Entry #18 – Old friends and sourdough

Home/Entry #18 – Old friends and sourdough
Pat cooks sourdough pancakes

Pat cooks sourdough pancakes

Old Monte & MIke Pat Armstrong cooks sourdough pancakes at Timber Butte Homestead

Old Monte & MIke Pat Armstrong cooks sourdough pancakes at Timber Butte Homestead

Pat Armstrong has been my friend for over forty years.  He’s been like a big brother ever since we met on the College of Idaho campus in the late 1960s.  I was a college sophomore in those days and Pat was a teaching assistant in the chemistry department and my cross country coach.  Our life-long friendship started as we ran and cross country skied in the back country of Idaho.  In the years that followed we had wonderful adventures flying my old J3 Cub in the back country, climbing in the Sawtooth mountains, and packing horses into remote rugged country.  Years later after I had a family and a job teaching school Jr. high school, Nancy, the kids and I spent much of our summer breaks working for Pat building trails in The Sierra Nevada mountains.   We built long sections of the Pacific Crest Trail using bars, shovels, cross cut saws, dynamite and Pat’s team of mules named Monte & Mike.  I’ve shared more campfires with Pat Armstrong than any other person on earth.  In 1989 after our family left the old ranch in California to start a new church in Boise, Idaho, Pat too moved his family from Bishop, California to establish a cattle operation in McCall, Idaho.  The closer proximity of our new homes allowed us to rekindle our long time friendship.  Monte & Mike–the two old mules–were approaching their 40′s by then but still had the vitality to pack us into our hunting camps every fall and carry out both elk and deer.Pat has been a mentor to me in skills that have enriched my life; teaching me such things as horse packing and using harness and horse drawn implements. One of the things that Pat may be the most esteemed for however, (at least in the eyes of our family) is his expertise in sourdough and Dutch oven cooking. Pat is a master. Everywhere he goes; be it in his wilderness camps, in his back country cabin overlooking Hell’s Canyon or in his Alaskan commercial fishing boat, he is rarely found without his croak of sourdough. His sourdough start is an ancient one having been handed down to him by a favored aunt even before I knew him during those early university days.  Pat stopped by Timber Butte shortly after we moved into the new ranch house and christened our Home Comfort cook stove with a stack of sourest pancakes you could ever imagine. As Pat departed that morning he left us with a sourdough start from his crusty crock. It was a housewarming gift that will bless our family for years to come always reminding us of the fires we have shared and the memorable stories that had been told by this old friend. One proverbs reminds us “…a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” [Proverbs 18:24] and through it all Pat has surely been that to all of us.

By | 2017-05-07T01:08:56+00:00 December 19th, 2008|Country Living Reflections|0 Comments

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