The Role Mice Play In Our Outdoor Lives.


Can’t say I love them.   Yet, I don’t have the desperate fear of the existence like some folks I know.   My wife, in particular.

If you enjoy the outdoors the time will eventually come when you must deal with mice.   Granted, they can be a real pain in the ass.   Take, for instance, the mice that invaded an old hunting truck I used to own.   One day I was driving along with the heater blasting to take the chill out of the air.   Suddenly, what once was nice comforting heat transformed to smoke and a truck that was in serious trouble.   I immediately turned the truck off suspecting an electrical problem of some kind.   Nope…just mice that built a nest that started on fire.   Little bastards!!

I’ll never forget a bear hunting trip about 25 years ago with a close friend staying in an old (mostly abandoned) farm house.   The house seen human occupants just a few weeks each year during hunting seasons.   On the other hand, the full-time residents were various vermin ranging from mice to…well, I don’t care to dwell on that.   Suffice it to say sleeping at night was interesting.   You could hear the faint pitter patter of feet across the old linoleum floor all night long.   Even worse, those little rascals had no regard for a person sleeping as they zipped across the bed sheets tickling a person’s torso.

By all accounts this depicts a good day on the mouse trapline.

By all accounts this depicts a good day on the mouse trapline.

Yeah.   Mice are sure fun.   The only good mouse is a dead mouse used for fox bait.   And trying to eradicate them from anywhere can be challenging as any hunt you might take on.   I’ve used snap traps, poison, ultrasonic sound, even pails with spinny pop bottles to teach them a lesson.   To some extent all those methods work, but none of them is the perfect answer.

Particularly frustrating for me is keeping mice out of my boat during winter storage.   I’ve used moth balls, I used packs filled with dried mint leaves.   Nothing is foolproof.   The little rascals get in all my compartments and make a mess.   In my glove box they shred anything that is chewable and seem to have a good time doing it.   Worse yet, they pee and poop on everything.   Once they stake their claim to your property nothing can be deemed clean anymore.

Yet, to many people mice are much more than just an occasional nuisance.   I’ve known women AND MEN who shriek at the mere sight of a mouse running loose.   Somehow their life can be in perfect control one minute, but add a mouse to the picture and all chaos breaks out.

Another one bites the dust!  The days are over for this little bastard getting into mischief.

Another one bites the dust! The days are over for this little bastard getting into mischief.

Case in point, two years ago we went on a family vacation to a resort for some fishing and relaxing for a week.   That goal was achieved until about the 5th  night in when a mouse was witnessed scurrying along a wall.   The next morning when the office opened my wife was complaining how our cabin was overrun with pestilence.   Amazingly, we had existed in the cabin for several days with no sightings…but eventually all good things come to an end.

Yup, and so did the trip.   We were packed and on our way headed back home a day early thanks to a furry little mammal weighing a few ounces.   Indeed, the mere presence of a mouse can profoundly impact many good plans.

So, tell me about your adventures with mice.   Do you have a good story?   How have mice or other rodents impacted your outdoor experiences?   In particular, if you have a funny incident we absolutely must hear about that.

A Quick Primer On The Care Of Your Gore-Tex® Garment

Okay, I’ve covered many aspects of W.L. Gore’s Gore-Tex® membrane technology over the past several blog posts.   In fact, some of you are probably hoping this series wraps up soon and I move on to a completely different topic.   Well, good news…there is just one more blog post remaining after this one talking about Gore®, but I’m saving the best topic for last.

Next time I will be writing about the science of camouflage as it relates to ungulate animals (animals with a cloven hoof).   Specifically, I’ll be covering Gore’s® new OPTIFADE Concealment system designed primarily for bowhunters and marketed by Sitka Gear.

But today, I’m going to cover a topic that is vitally important to all Gore-Tex® wearable consumers.   Essentially, what do you do with that new Gore-Tex garment once you bring it home from the store.   How do you care for it properly?

Honestly, I’m not going to draw this blog post out with an exhaustive bunch of necessary steps consumers must do with their Gore® clothing.   Why?   Fact of the matter is…your Gore-Tex® doesn’t really require a bunch of special care.   Sure, you’ve just invested perhaps hundreds of dollars into a breathable, waterproof garment so the natural tendency is to treat it with kid gloves, so to speak.

And by all means you don’t want to abuse it…but in reality, with some of the testing I’ve previously shown, Gore-Tex® will withstand very demanding use.   NOTE: Washing and occasionally cleaning the outer fabric IS NOT ABUSE.   In fact, such actions are a must to get the most performance out of your clothing investment.


In this picture, Larry Bollinger, customer service manager for Gore®, shows how a cross-section of Gore-Tex® material is essentially made up of very tiny microscopic pores— in fact, 9 BILLION per square inch.   These tiny pores are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet, but moisture will easily pass through them in the form of vapor, such as perspiration from the body.

What is vital to the performance of Gore-Tex® is to keep these pore passageways unobstructed so this vapor can readily pass.   In fact, Bollinger said the most common complaint his customer service team gets about Gore-Tex® not performing properly is easily fixed by washing the garment or cleaning the boots.

When a customer calls up and says their boot is leaking it’s usually a result of two main issues.   The membrane has either been punctured or torn (i.e. barbed wire, nail, etc.) or the boot is so dirty from use these microscopic pores are actually clogged with debris or the improper use of some form of boot dressing.   In the latter case the boot is not leaking, it’s just not allowing the owner’s perspiration to pass through the membrane.   Same effect—wet and uncomfortable feet.

That’s why Bollinger’s best advice to someone who brings home a new Gore-Tex® garment is to wash it.   These important pores can get obstructed even during the assembly process of the garment or boot…so if you want the ultimate performance out of your Gore-Tex® clothing wash it to ensure it’s clean—even if the item is brand new from the store.

Now, the sales folks at the store will likely try to sell you a bunch of after-market detergents to keep your new Gore-Tex® clean.   While Bollinger will not endorse any particular product, I got the sense from him that such expensive specialty care products are not necessary.   In fact, you can use just standard laundry detergent—powder or liquid—just avoid those products also containing fabric softeners…and by all means avoid dryer sheets.

One important note.   The quickest way to restore your Gore-Tex® garment’s Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating applied to the fabric on the outer layer of the garment is to throw it into the dryer on medium to high heat.   Over time and as the garment is worn, this action is oven necessary to rejuvenate the first-line of repellancy of the outer material.   Failure to do so can cause the outer layer to soak water, become heavier to the user, and possibly disrupt the exchange of water vapor through the membrane.

Again, the important thing to remember is Gore-Tex® containing clothing might be some of the most expensive clothes you ever purchase…but with a few common sense care instructions it will outperform and outlast other articles of clothing found in your closet.

In closing, I want to show you these two quick videos produced by W.L. Gore & Associates.   I thought about making some videos of my own, but these are so well produced I really couldn’t improve on them.   Take a look and you’ll see that owning Gore-Tex® is not a big hassle when it comes to proper care:




Now, just in case you still have questions or concerns about your Gore-Tex product, you can call their customer service at 1-800-GORE-TEX or visit them on the web at: or or
©2011 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Check This Out | Allegedly The ORIGINAL Motor Home

Received this tidbit in another Email.   Not sure where the photos came from or if the information is completely accurate, but it sure looks intriguing.   You be the judge.

Ford House-Car 



One of only six said to have been made per year in the mid-30’s at the Ford plant in St.Paul, Minnesota , according to an article on this car in a 1993 “Old Cars” magazine article. Very few others–perhaps none–remain on the road, and certainly not in such amazing original condition.

The only other known example that I heard of was supposedly housed in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn , Michigan . But that turned out to be an early 1920s Model T conversion, the curator told me. He said he’d never seen anything like this ’37!

When discovered in a garage (under a heavy cover) in Northern Minnesota in August 2001, she had only 19,000 miles, and the owner’s manual was actually still in the glove box in like-new condition!

She had always been garaged and treated with ‘Much TLC’ as a collector vehicle.

The interior, all wood lined, was still the way it appeared in the ’30’s and ’40’s, complete with framed photos of the original owner on his travels (mainly to Florida) and his cabin in the North Woods, plus and other memorabilia from the era.

Built on the ’37 Ford Pickup frame and cowling (powered by a 60-hp flathead V8 with aluminum heads), the rear framing is all wood, with the metal skin wrapped around it. The roof structure, too, is all wood, over which the heavy, waterproofed canvas top is still very securely fitted. The structure of the Body is solid, appearing from underneath to be all oak, and still in a remarkably unaltered, undamaged condition.

The door frames are thick, solid oak, and oak is visible around the window openings (as on the four side windows in back) — though it is painted over.

She was a big hit at this campground once we got that Great old flattie V8 hummin’! Note her expanding roof and the original dark green color, which had been repainted. I figure the canvas roof was originally painted in reflective silver to keep it from getting too hot inside. All four side windows open, while the back one tilts out to three positions. The windshield also tilts open at the bottom for natural AC while driving. 

Here are a few shots of her in August 2001, out on the road in the Chippewa National Forest north of Grand Rapids, MN … Practicing for her next adventure: “Destination Wavecrest 2001.”





A peak inside: A slice right out of 1930’s, just as the original owner left it. All the windows open, with curtains on the four side ones and pull-down shades on the back window, as well as on the driver’s and passenger door windows.
A wide storage cabinet is located under the bed.


The wood headliner, with vent and canvas expanding portion visible. Four wood pieces hold it securely in the up position, while clamps hold it down while driving. 


More interior views….note the cedar branches hanging in the corners for that north woods aroma. Cabinets and aluminum sink (with a wood cover insert) are visible on the left. All the antiques stuck away inside, as well as those hanging on the walls, came along for the ride. Also note the table behind the driver’s seat, which folds down.




©2010 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction without Prior Permission.