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COME ALONG FOR THE RIDE WITH THE TRAVELLING COWBOYS AND MEET THE PEOPLE THAT MAKE SOMETHING.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Going Off Grid, Building a Home and Checking Out in Bridesville, British Columbia

Checking Out


"The total tax bill for the average Canadian family will exceed $38,000 in 2018 or 43.2% of their total annual income. This is more than what the average family spends on housing, food and clothing combined. And that does not include the impact of the newest "let's fleece the sheep" invention of a Federal Carbon Tax!" (Toronto Sun, Jan4, 2019). Believe me, the numbers get even worse when you dig a little more.

The truth is, we've been restless for a while as we saw our disposable income dwindle and meaningful jobs disappear. It happened also with our clients and our business prospects in Canada. We've been looking for a way out which doesn't include producing more and generating more revenue only to be clobbered with even more permits and regulations, while the Taxmen are waiting on their other side to relieve us of the meagre profits we manage to eke out.

We've seen many packing it in around us, and even more entrepreneurs like us, simply disengaging or sitting it out, hoping for a better tomorrow.


DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED?

Don't get me wrong, we are not against some contribution towards the collective public good and paying our way for what we use. But when the "public good" is no longer in your best interest, then there is a serious problem.

If the "good guys" think that 50% of your income should be under their control, because they know better what to do with your earnings, then someone is getting hosed here and will be for the foreseeable future. Ask John Barlow and Pierre Poilievre. We have them on camera in 2017 proclaiming that they think a 50% tax is a fair tax! And, they are supposed to be the voice of reason in today's Canadian politics!!

No wonder the citizens are getting restless and donning high visibility clothing downtown on a Saturday! In New Zealand, when a Kiwi gives you a high viz jacket, you are the next hunting accident waiting to happen. People will read about you in the newspaper tomorrow morning! In Canada, the accident occurred already. You and I are the free-range cows that are getting milked on the tax farm with every paycheck, every tank of gas, mortgage payment, bread, beer, permit, permission and watt of electricity we use.

Where it Hurts the Most


Here is where it gets real for us. The Two Cowboys has been on a mission to showcase the stories of the little guy all over our home Provinces and even as far as New Zealand. We do it because no one else seems to have an interest in doing it anymore.

Media companies and fat not-for-profit (tourism and industry) associations have long been annexed, taken over, consolidated and corraled into the service of unsavoury corporate masters or empire building hold-on-to-your-job career builders. They are now manned by "Professionals" that are more set on attending conferences, having strategic workshops, and winning prizes, than walking the streets and promoting the stories of the businesses and destinations they are paid, with our tax money, to serve.

The people we feature are the value creators, makers and producers. They are the foundation of our economy and the backbone of our communities. If your job does not involve creating physical value, then you are indebted to them. They make your and my world possible. It is microeconomics 101.

We've seen that those of them with the least to give are the ones that are the most appreciative of the light we shine on their stories. Unfortunately, they are also the ones broken. More of them are bowing out every week than ever before.

Go Make Something


What should we do in today's circumstances where we are disenfranchised from our means to earning a living, and overtaxed and overregulated when we do? You can start a war but that is probably only going to make things worse. You can leave, but where should you go? Over taxation and regulation is a global disease. Our advice has been, and still is, "Go make something!"

First of all, make something of value for yourself. Cook an egg. Sow a button. Smoke a ham. Hammer a nail. Plant a seed. Harvest a berry or glue something. Whatever you do, take a tool, find some materials and make something with your own two hands. By doing this, you will start on a road of self-discovery, fulfillment and dare I say it, self-sufficiency. It puts you in a position to take back control for yourself and your destination. You will discover a new world.

Firstly, it will give you an appreciation for how resourceful you are as an individual. You will be challenged to learn. You will discover how much you take for granted and how little value you have for things when simply buy it from a store.

You will also appreciate not having to pay all the taxes and profits to large corporations that come with the store-bought items. Even more importantly, you will discover how much better an cheaper it is, if you made it yourself. The value you create cannot be confiscated through taxes and levies. If it is taken from you it is called theft! Better even, you can share it freely with those you love and maybe also trade or sell it.

Here's the warning. You will get distracted. The more you make something, the harder it will become to live on your credit card, pay the mortgage and stay on the hamster wheel of "modern civilized living" with meaningless jobs and paychecks that seem to never cover the overhead.

Living from paycheck to paycheck will drive you nuts. Today's world will frustrate you more and more. You will want out. If there was a red pill, you will cry out for it sooner than later!

Building a Home


We've been on this journey for a while now. We are living as nomads to cut down on our cost of living while we tell the stories of the little guys. We make our own beer and cook our own food. We've minimalized where we can. It is a lot of fun as you can see from our content. Sometimes we make a dollar from it. Most of the times we are rewarded with a growler of beer, a wheel of cheese, a camping spot, bread or a plate of food for dinner.

We are thankful our brand profile is growing, and we hope to turn a corner financially by being able to afford our mission in 2019. No, the Two Cowboys are not making any money. We are not even covering our costs!

Most of the people we feature are not doing much better than us either. It doesn't deter us to continue to do what we do with the single goal of helping more entrepreneurs tell more of their stories and our audience discovering more value in their own lives and learning from that of others. While we entertain, we hope to also inspire people like you. 

We need to make something big and realized we cannot always be on the road. We are going to build a home in 2019 with the help of our good friends at Knotty Pine Cabins.

This blog post is already too long, so I am not going to bore you (yet) with the amount of bureaucracy, permitting and red tape it takes to nail two planks together and calling it home. In British Columbia, it is easier to train pigs to fly. It will drive you to tears and put any sane person off even trying to be an owner builder.

However, we believe that the ultimate reward, for any man is to be able to build a home, even a tiny one, for his family. If this is the only thing we do, it is the single most worthwhile thing we can do. Welcome to our journey as we go off grid building a home and trying to turn a corner in our fortunes in 2019.

Let's go make something!

Hendrik
Builder Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.


Photos


A Home 

Our Makers

Making Us Famous

My Land

My Trees

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Welcome to the Church of Braai with the Two Cowboys in South Africa

Church of Braai


If you want to understand Canadians, you have to understand Ice Hockey. No, not just the game. Everything around the game. The rituals, language, colloquialisms, unspoken precepts, customs, culture and passions that drive the identity and lifestyle around the game of Hockey. It is integrally part of every true ice-blooded Canuck, whether they've ever been directly involved with the game or not.

I guess every nation can point to a sport or an activity that conjures up similarities in its ability to define or reflect their identity and culture. Games that come to mind are Soccer in England, rugby in New Zealand or the ancient Mexican game of Ullamaliztli where the victors were sacrificed to the gods.

There is something similar, even more universal, ancient to the degree that it is primal, that all people have in common. It is buried so deep in the enclaves of traditional culture that we take it for granted. It is what we do.

It only comes to the fore when people gather around to cook and share a meal. The food doesn't matter as much as the rituals, customs, precepts, and passions that goes hand-in-hand with eating together. Society developed from this simple ancient act of sharing and reciprocity. It avoided wars because of it and wars we started as a result.

Where we come from, we call it "braai".

Ministry of Braai


Conventional wisdom indicates that it evolved from the word "braden" (Roast in Dutch) into braaivleis (which is Afrikaans for grilled meat) and then into the verb braai which means “to grill”. The word "braai" forms a proud part of South African slang and today it is used by people of all languages.

However, defining the word comes nowhere close to grasping the meaning of the act. The truth is that the act of braai is responsible for more unintended sacrificial destruction of protein than it is for the good practices of proper food preparation. There is a lot more to it.

If one wants to understand the concept of braai you have to get a lot closer and look much, much deeper into the psyche of the culture of its origin,  the Afrikaner. Books have been written, movies have been made and poetry published about the rituals accompanying the braai. For example, some would swear that a braai without fire is not a braai. A braai doesn't have to include meat. Afrikaners can braai anything and people don't need an excuse for a braai to take place. It happens any time of the day and in any weather. Some do it at -28C in Canada and at +51C in the Outback.

There are very specific rules at a braai. For example, you never criticize the person in the act of a braai and never touch his tools. Men tend to keep to themselves and woman do the same until the meal is served. It is an honour to be invited to a braai and it is a disgrace to arrive at a braai without a contribution (never bring chicken!). The following words are forbidden at a braai, "Wanneer gaan ons braai?", which means "When will the grilling of food commence?".

Whichever way you look at a braai, it becomes clear that it is an event that brings people together around the preparation of a meal and the act of sharing food. It is a tradition claimed as part of the identity of Afrikaner. It is their heritage and one of the last bastions of their culture. They will fiercely defend and protect it from outside influence. It is also the first courtesy they will extend to any stranger. "Kom ons braai"loosely translates into "Welcome, pleased to meet you. Let's get to know each other a little better".

Oh, yes! It is also about preparing food. The amount of food at a braai is incredible. It is a testimony to the generosity that comes with a nation that has seen its fair share of trials and setbacks. A hardy group of people that are now spread all over the world armed with this one simple authentic act of cordiality. They are showing the world how to braai.

Pilgrimage to Braai


The Cowboys will be arriving in South Africa at the end of January 2019 to rediscover our braai roots.

As Afrikaner emigrants, we've taken our braai custom all over the world since we left the country almost two decades ago. The movement of braai has evolved back home. We want to rediscover what it is in South Africa and what it means for its local practitioners. We've certainly adapted and incorporated what we've learned along the way in the countries we visited. Low and slow, smoking, grilling, picanha, brisket, barbacoa, shrimp on the barbie, arepa, and rodizio, to name a few.

Braai has and still is playing a role in bringing people together from all corners of South African life and all corners of the world. We want to show the world where it began and we want to show South Africa what we learned in the world.

See you on the road. We are coming to a braai near you!

Hendrik
Braai Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Getting Slapped in the Face with a Hoppy Rag at Deep Creek Brewing Co in Auckland, NZ

Hoppy Beers


If you say "hoppy beer" to anyone that doesn't know beer, they think of bitter beer.

Bitterness is a typical characteristic of some European style beers. The lighter beers of the Pilsner and Lager styles thrive on a bit of bitterness to quench your thirst. Some readily available mainstream commercial beers which used Pilsners and Lagers as their foundation for their taste profiles perpetuated this play on bitterness. We think it is to the detriment of the beverage's reputation. Beer should be better.



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED?


In the early days of craft brewing, the brewers also managed to get bitterness wrong (some still do). You often end up with tonsil-throttling gill-destroying bitterness in an American or Indian Pale Ale, with a healthy dose of excuses claiming that if you cannot stand the heat (bitterness) in the kitchen (craft brewery's beer), then you better get out (drink some Bud, bud). Bitter is cruft!

No, it is not! Hops have many roles to play in beer. It imparts bitterness. It has a preservation effect to keep beer yeasts happy. Most importantly, Hops is about flavour. Flavour is all about profile and balance.

What people are discovering, with more beer choices on the market, is that bitterness is only one part, although an important, part that hops play in the flavour profile of a style. We believe there is a much bigger part, which most beer drinkers don't really know about, understand or appreciate. It is the ability of Hops to impart unique flavours to beer.

If hops flavouring is where the rubber hits the road for a good beer, it is also where the wheels come off. For all the angelic flavouring qualities the immaculately expensive hops from all the corners of the world bestow on our favourite beverage, they have one unfortunately quality. They are masters at escaping. As soon as you get them into beer, they have this one unfortunate peculiarity. They pull a vanishing act.

It has driven many a brewer to drink trying to solve this simple dilemma. They can pull off a juicy, citrussy cloudy ale with perfection, only to discover their creation became just another flat clear pale ale three weeks later. If you know what they know, and we know, you will drink the beer when it is fresh and ready. Choose your timing wisely. A week later and it is no longer be the master creation it was intended to be because the Hops flavours departed.

What if you can make the perfect beer and still have it perfect for weeks and months later with the same breathtakingly beautiful aromas and flavours, as the day it came cold crashed from the fermenter?

You can now. The world of beer is about to change forever. Steamed distilled Hops Oil makes it possible. It is popping up everywhere - even in New Zealand, and it is making the beer better. We've had our own disasters brewing with it. However, with a little practice, refinement and restraint we have discovered a whole new world of taste in beer - the way it was meant to be.

For more about Hops Oil, have a look at this entry in our Blog about Glacier Hops Ranch and their HopzOil Product.

Observations


On our recent whirlwind tour of New Zealand, we crashed into Scott Taylor of Deep Creek Brewing Co., at the Dunedin Craft Beerfest. We did a double take when he mentioned that they have a beer, a very popular one, that they made with Hops oil.

Now, there is Hops oil and then there is Hops oil. We were skeptical. But, he had our attention when he mentioned that it was steam distilled oil from fresh New Zealand hops. Apparently, they bet the Hops farm, bought a whole bunch of fresh hops from a farmer in the South Island and got a lavender oil distillery in Christchurch to distill them some oil. Next thing is, they are selling out on Hops Oil beer!

We thought that that North American craft brewers were the pioneers. In typical Kiwi fashion, they knocked something up in the barn and before you know it, the Kiwis are not just keeping up with the Jones', they are leading the charge!

Meet Paul, Scott and Jarred.  They’re the original guys behind Deep Creek Brewing Co, the craft beer brewery from Auckland, New Zealand. Deep Creek was born from a long-term friendship and a burning desire to produce flavour fuelled handcrafted beer and bring it to the kiwi masses (and people as far as Norway) to enjoy.

We loved their beer and their innovation. They have a pretty good restaurant and bar in Howick too. We will be back with more from Deep Creek. In the meantime, enjoy the video and let them know the Two Cowboys sent you!

Hendrik
Hoppy Beer Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


Napkin for the Juice

Go for Brew and Eats

Flavour Palace

Juicy, Juicy!!

Good Fair!