Boston and the ROCKMAN Affect

“The sound that ignited rock & roll . . . strikes again!”

Necessary equipment for fun! Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson

Greetings and welcome in to this edition of Zero528!


1. influence, sway; modify, alter.

2. touch, stir.

Regarding the rock band Boston, Tom Scholz,’ and the ROCKMAN guitar amplifier’s positive affect on me and my life…the definition noted above says it all.

Boston Memories – How it all began

At 12 years of age I saw Boston in concert. The year? 1979. The place? Iowa City, IA.

My brother Dave and I endured a seemingly never ending bus ride from southern Iowa to Iowa City to visit family during spring break. I can’t recall how, but we got the news that Boston would be in concert at the Iowa (Hawkeye) Field House while we were in town. Choice!

Boston 1979 tour program w-tic to show-1I had never been to a concert, let alone a rock & roll concert with an estimated 10,000+ people in attendance. I had heard Boston songs on the radio of course, and my siblings owned and played Boston records (and 8 tracks) . . . anyway, my life has never been the same.

Don’t Look Back

Witnessing Boston live with the original line up was a simply amazing experience – Tom, Brad, Barry, Fran, and Sib. The 1979 tour was in support of their second release, Don’t Look Back (my favorite Boston song). I’ve since had the pleasure of meeting and visiting with Brad Delp and Barry Goudreau, corresponding with former Boston drummer Doug Huffman, and thoroughly enjoying four additional Boston concerts over the course of many years – each one a real treat!

Notice the flames which were removed from the final Don’t Look Back album cover art.

Back to the Iowa Field House . . .

While Dave, our friend Doug Fox, and I were standing in line to get our tickets, some guy tried to pick-pocket me. I was wearing bib overalls, so I immediately stuffed my wallet into the front chest pocket so as to avoid any other attempts to steal it. We didn’t have a chaperone – didn’t even know we needed one, and so another fella in line behind us was quick to state that the three of us “were with him”…whew!

Upon receiving our tickets we noticed everyone else scrambling up the stairs to the general admission seats – so, we followed suit- realizing very quickly our ticket seat numbers didn’t mean a thing. Cheap Trick was the opening act – if my memory serves me correctly. I remember vividly the music was quite loud – so much so that we temporarily lost most of our hearing for nearly three days. Of course we thought that was neat.

The highlight of the evening for me was of course Tom Scholz conducting his mastermind wizardry on the guitar and keyboard/Hammond B3 organ (cloaked in a cape – like a vampire during one segment). These images became etched in my memory, but it wasn’t until modern day YouTube videos was I able to truly relive those fantastic moments.

A little research of my own

On into my teenage years, I was a Boston fanatic. I learned to play the drums but realized it was hard to write a song (and melody) on the drums. So, I also learned to play guitar and owned a Gibson Les Paul and ROCKMAN x100 (described below).

I purchased Boston posters and any other Boston paraphernalia I could find to adorn my bedroom. Converse Chuck Taylor’s even made it onto my feet. I had glued gold glitter onto them to resemble the image plastered on the inside album cover of Don’t Look Back. The better part of those years was spent desperately searching/investigating information about Boston’s highly anticipated third album.

A small portion of the Boston memorabilia I had collected all those years ago. Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson

What had happened to the band? Why was it taking so seemingly long for them to release another album?

The internet hadn’t yet come into being, so I delved into the periodical section of my high school library. Instead of doing my homework, I spent my time looking up Scholz or Boston in the appendix. I peeked into every guitar magazine I could find at the local book store seeking clues about the band’s status. I was desperate. Desperate to discover the status of the band because I had heard the “sound of music” changing before my very ears – becoming “pop.” I needed Boston – to protect rock & roll from dying.

The Arrival… awaiting the next “Boston”

But, it wasn’t just me who was curious about the status of the band – as I recall reading, even recording industry A & R executive’s comments eluded to seeking/finding the “next” Boston – of which many bands with a similar line up  – two guitars, lead singer, bass player, and drummer – came out of the woodwork like termites. Multiple bands popped up by the baker’s dozen including Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Ratt, the Scorpions, Whitesnake, Poison, etc . . . in my opinion, to fill a huge hole that had been vacated by Boston.

Powered by ROCKMAN

In 1982 – Scholz Research and Development (SR&D) released their answer to Sony’s Walkman – except it wasn’t a radio/cassette player, it was a miniature guitar amplifier the size of a “peanut butter sandwich.” Through the mini headphones or plugged into another speaker source, this series of amplifiers known affectionately as the ROCKMAN, enabled guitarists to achieve similar guitar tones found on Boston recordings including various distortion levels which were previously only attainable at high volume levels. Along with the distortion tones, which were noted in a review as being “church-friendly,” others could  be individually dialed-in to achieve a host of sounds from clean to edge and chorus effects.

NOTE: Prior to SR&D’s line of modules (Power Soak, ROCKMAN, etc.), guitarists had to set their amplifier volumes on high/10 to achieve sought after distortion levels – not an ear-friendly situation.

Simple yet Complex

The answers I finally discovered, as for the delay of the third album (Third Stage), were simple and quite complex at the same time. One, Tom Scholz is a perfectionist and makes albums slowly . . . very slowly and two, during his attempts to produce Third Stage he, his band-mates, and their management company were being sued by CBS/Sony/Epic Records for not fulfilling the contract to have produced a third album – this according to CBS’ timetable. SR&D also became Scholz’ platform which to generate revenue in defense of the CBS lawsuit against him.

Triumph – David over Goliath

After a long battle, Scholz was finally able to provide sufficient evidence in US District Court which indicated that no matter how slowly he was working on the highly anticipated third Boston album . . . he was working on the album. Therefore, it became apparent that CBS was in fact guilty of “breaking the recording contract” when, in their attempts to force Scholz to produce the third album, illegally withheld royalty payments to Scholz which had been and were being earned and generated from the sales of Boston’s first two albums.

Third Stage

Finally, Third Stage was released in 1986 on MCA Records. The album instantly shot to #1 on the Billboard charts and produced a #1 hit, Amanda. I raced to Texas Tapes and Records to purchase my copy of the album…the unmistakable sound of Boston was solidified in my mind upon hearing the riff and G-string double bend embedded in the song “Cool the Engines.” Whoa! Boston was BACK.

A Pioneer

Scholz’ contributions to music (better music through science), musicians, and the music industry business can be best described as colossal. Did he do it alone? No! Although an amazing and talented musician, writer, producer, and engineer – in my opinion – many other talented musicians influenced him and many individuals helped him achieve his vision of Boston.

Tom Scholz was a true inspiration to me, and I look forward to sharing some of my music with him one day soon. Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson

NOTE: Tom if you happen to be reading this, it’s on my bucket list to meet you. How about I treat you to one of my vegan fruit smoothies?

The author in the studio sporting a WYO Cowboys shirt and strumming a G & L ASAT powered by Orange Amps and an SR&D-Rockman XP100. Listen to  Zero528. Photo © 2017 M.R. Gonzalez

“Enjoy and keep a good thought!” Bob P.


Credit where credit is due:

Boston name and logo ™ 2017 Tom Scholz

ROCKMAN™ Jim Dunlop Corporation

Additional images of Scholz © as noted

Boston and Scholz images where NOT noted © 2017 Ron Pownall

RIP Brad Delp and Sib Hashian


Birdwatching Fundamentals

“Make no mistake, birdwatching as a hobby can be tremendously rewarding.”

Red-shouldered Hawk- male-002
Red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) spying dinner. Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson

Greetings and welcome in to Zero528!

As promised, this edition of my blog continues the theme of birdwatching (see previous post to discover binocular fundamentals).

Billion Dollar Industry
Make no mistake, birdwatching as a hobby can be tremendously rewarding. It has also become an extremely popular pastime – generating a Billion dollar industry.

According to a US Fish & Wildlife report (2013), information on the participation and expenditure patterns of 47 million birders in 2011 – the breakdown is as follows:

Trip-related and equipment-related expenditures associated with birding generated nearly $107 billion in total industry output, 666,000 jobs, and $13 billion in local, state, and federal tax revenue. This impact was distributed across local, state, and national economies.

Simply “Make” the Time
As a Visual Merchandising Lead at L.L. Bean, I still make the time to use my wildlife ecology background by actively participating in the joy of birdwatching. The beauty of birdwatching is that it is NOT a requirement to be a scientist…ANYONE can use their basic observational skills to discover and question the wonders found in nature.

Birdwatching Fundamentals
Essential equipment:
1. Binoculars – 8x 42 and camera
Best for serious wildlife viewing and for use on boats. Full-size binoculars capture more light and perform better in low-light situations. They usually provide steadier images and a wider field of view, so they’re great for birdwatching, but they’re generally too big and heavy for backpacking.

Short-eared Owl
Cameras can be a nice edition to an outing but sometimes can be cumbersome, too. That said, I usually regret not having my camera with me – Moto: Better to have it and need it than to NOT have it and need or want it. Evidence trumped, the day I captured a short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) on the premises of the MSSU prairie – first time this species had ever been documented on the site. Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson

2. Field Guide – Birds, Songbirds, Eastern NA
Many field guides to birding exist. Here is a list of those most commonly used:
• Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central (or Western) North America
• Sibley Birds East – Field Guide to Birds of Eastern or Western North America
• National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Eastern or Western Region
3. Field Notebook and pencils/Rite in the Rain pens
Now is the time to become a Naturalist – ha! Having a notepad and pen/pencil handy will assist in determining various species. Draw a small pic of the bird in question and take lots of notes – more on this later.
• L.L. Bean Field Notebook
• Rite in the Rain Notepad
• Pencils and/or Rite in the Rain pens

Northern bobwhite tracks
I was not able to capture an image of the northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus) with my camera, so I settled for evidence of the covey having been present on the MSSU Prairie in Joplin, MO. Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson

4. Water
Remember to hydrate before, during, and after taking to the field.
5. Backpack
A backpack is a great way to carry essentials noted above, including a CLIF® bar or mix of nuts and dried fruit.

When, Where, and How to “birdwatch.”
Have fun with the decision to go birding. Communing with nature is always good for the soul and can be a rewarding and enjoyable hobby. I like to begin my early morning having already predetermined where I’m headed to “go birding” and what species I’m hoping to view. Perhaps I want to see some waterfowl…well, I best head to where the water is – a lake or large pond/stock tank or river. Perhaps I’m interested in viewing some neotropical migrant warblers. Well then, the timing of year must be right (early May for birds returning from South America) – brushy cover near a field/stream might work, and it could even be in an urban setting.
NOTE: I have previously documented 63 species (over a two-year period) from my backyard while living in a somewhat urban setting in Southwest Missouri.

Scissor-tailed flycatchers (Tyrannus forficatus) . . . one of my favorites. Ya never know which unique species may pass through your own backyard – “Stay observant my friends!” Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson

Firstly, to add to the enjoyment of an outing I note the following data in my field notebook: (also see SAMPLE NOTES below):
• Date – (e.g., 02/09/2017)
• Location – (e.g., USFS Dakota Prairie National Grasslands)
• Time – (e.g., 0600)
• Temperature – (e.g., 28° C)
• Weather – (e.g., winds S/SW @ 10 kph)

ANYTIME OF THE YEAR! The best times to bird are early mornings and later afternoon…feeding times for the birds. Don’t forget about spring migration (early May returning to breeding grounds) – one of the best times to view birds that are “just passing through.”

Passerina ciris- painted bunting-1
Have an enjoyable experience when birding… look up, look down and be patient. This painted bunting (Passerina ciris) was waiting for me when I turned a corner around a fence. I would have taken more photos but had forgotten to ‘charge’ my camera battery – lesson learned. Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson

Birding can be conducted nearly anywhere. Set up a bird feeder outside the window at home and as the adage goes – If you build it they will come. Other birding areas include:
1. Wildlife refuges
2. Nature centers
3. State or city parks
4. Cemeteries – yes, especially if they are old and kind of grown over a bit
5. Backyards

Among the forbs and tallgrass of Prairie State Park (MO), sits a female Dickcissel (Spiza americana). Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson

Quietly and patiently- look and listen – use all observational skills. Alone or in small groups is best. I’ve found that when I’m still, the birds will come to me and/or reveal themselves – Look up, look down. Have the notebook and pencil handy…
Listen carefully for the bird songs or calls. Follow the bird song (auditory clues) to discover the species responsible until it is no longer necessary to positively identify the bird visually – could take multiple times.

Once a bird has been spied, look closely and note the following Four Keys to Identification:
1. Size and Shape – Jot down notes immediately by observing the bird’s basic topography:
Sparrow size
Robbin size
Crow size
Shape of body
Shape of bill (mandible)

2. Color Pattern – Pay close attention to:
Bill color
Wing bars
Eye ring
Note any striking features when drawing the bird

3. Habitat – Keep in mind the location. And, consider the bird’s behavior within in its habitat (home):
On land?
On water?
Near the shore (river or lake)?

4. Behavior
Does the bird flutter from its perch to catch an unsuspecting prey and then quickly return to its perch again?
Does it forage on the ground?
Is it searching for insects on/in the bark of the tree?
Does it have a nest or is it a cavity-nester?
Does it bob its tail?

NOTE: Songs and Calls
• songs – used in breeding season
• calls – used all year, general communication
• alarm calls – predator nearby

A Page From My Personal Field Notebook
Date: February 2, 2013
Location: Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area
Time: 6:55 am – 9:00 am Temp: 27°F – Weather: wind-E-9 mph, 63% humidity, partly clear skies, beautiful morning – watched sunrise against cloud cover.

Bird (common name) and Habitat
Tufted Titmouse – woodlot/edge
American Crow – in the distance
Northern Cardinal – woodlot/edge
Carolina Wren – shrubby cover edge/near glade
American Robin – woodlot/edge
Song Sparrow – woodlot/edge
*Pileated Woodpecker – forest/woodlot (in the distance)
Red-bellied Woodpecker – woodlot
Blue Jay – woodlot
Yellow-rumped Warbler – shrubby cover edge/near glade
*Wild Turkey – woodlot/edge
Downy Woodpecker – woodlot/edge
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – river bottomland/edge
*Kingfisher – river bottomland (in the distance)
White-breasted Nuthatch – river bottomland/edge
Eastern Bluebird – river bottomland/edge
Carolina Chickadee – river bottomland/edge
White-throated Sparrow – river bottomland/shrubby cover
Brown Creeper – woodlot
*denotes heard but not seen

I got my day started early and arrived at Busiek around 6:45 am. It was a cold morning, but that is the way I like it. Although admittedly, my nose, fingertips, and toes did get cold near the end of my walk. The trailhead said “closed” but that didn’t stop me. I wandered up to what appeared to be a glade restoration project along a south facing slope. It wound around towards the east. The sun popped out just long enough to tease me, and then back behind a cloud. The highlights of the field trip were hearing the Pileated, observing a Red-bellied Woodpecker dominate a Downy/take over the position the Downy was holding, and observing one Yellow-bellied Sapsucker chase another for several minutes forth and back between two trees. It began to sprinkle as I made my way down the east end of the hillside towards the river bottom.

Remember – don’t worry about photo quality. It is okay if the pics are not expert images. What is important is that a moment was captured which can later be used to identify a species and fondly look back on the day’s events. Here a Harris’s sparrow (Zonotrichia querula) becomes interested in me. Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson

This guide should prove useful when beginning this new found hobby. Additionally, visit for a fantastic resource about ornithology (the scientific study of birds).

Share, Like, and Follow this blog.

“Enjoy and keep a good thought!” Bob P.

Credit where credit is due:

USFWS. 2013. Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic Analysis (PDF)

Binocular Fundamentals

“…it is imperative to first cover the basic features and operations of binoculars…”

Bob Peterson, Wildlife ecologist and L.L. Bean Visual Merchandising Lead, interacts with attendees at a recent L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School Birdwatching and Binocular Fundamentals Clinic at the Mall of America. Photo © 2017 Kelsey Wotzka

Welcome in!

It’s been a little while since I’ve reached out… thanks for checking out this edition of Zero528! Enjoy!

Birding is Fun and Easy
If I’ve inserted one main take away message for this blog, this is it!

To begin to understand the joy in birdwatching it is imperative to first cover the basic features and operations of binoculars – a key piece of equipment for the outdoor enthusiast and birdwatcher.

Unfortunately, I can’t show “how” to operate a set of binoculars, but I suspect my readers are a sharp group, and I’ve added a few resource links to aid in discovery.

Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis), perched on my backyard fence. Be certain to ‘clean out’ bluebird boxes each spring to insure these beauties make use of the cavity nesting opportunity. Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson

Objective of this blog:

• Understand basic types and use of binoculars

Binoculars: Fundamentals and Features

Image ©

Binoculars: How to Choose
A wide range of prices exist on similar-looking styles. Understanding binocular specs, such as magnification and objective lens diameter helps narrow down which pair works best for specific needs.

Binocular Size:
• Full-Size (common specs: 8 x 42, 10 x 50)
Best for serious wildlife viewing and for use on boats. Full-size binoculars capture more light and perform better in low-light situations. They usually provide steadier images and a wider field of view, so they’re great for bird watching, but they’re generally too big and heavy for backpacking
• Mid-Size (common specs: 7 x 35, 10 x 32)
Best all-around choice for wildlife and sports use. While a bit heavy for backpacking, these binoculars balance moderate size and above-average light transmission.
• Compact (common specs: 8 x 25, 10 x 25)
Best for daytime outdoor activities. These are the lightest, smallest binoculars for backpacking, but they’re less comfortable during extended periods of use.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias). I like to take along a camera in addition to other necessary equipment. Birds don’t always cooperate, but I like to use the pics as evidence of my sightings. Photos don’t have to be ‘perfect’ and are a great means of remembering the outing. Motto – better to take the camera and need/want/attempt to take a pic, than to want it and NOT have it. Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson

Two Numbers
Binoculars are identified by two numbers which indicate:
1. Magnification power (e.g., 7, 8, 10)
2. Objective lens diameter (e.g., 35, 42, 50)
e.g., 8 x 42 binoculars have a magnification power of 8 and an objective lens diameter of 42mm
Binocular Magnification Power
A magnification power of 8 means that an object will appear 8 times closer than it would to the unassisted eye; e.g., when viewing a deer standing 200 yards away through 8x binoculars, it will appear as though it were 25 yards away (200 divided by 8).
NOTE: Binoculars with magnification powers greater than 10 amplify the movements or shakiness in the holder’s hands, making steady viewing difficult.
Binocular Objective Lens Diameter
The second number used in binocular identification refers to the diameter (in millimeters) of the objective lenses (those farther from the eyes / closer to the “object” being viewed).
Example: 7 x 35 binoculars have objective lenses measuring 35mm. The diameter of the objective lenses largely determines how much light the binoculars can gather. More light equates to a brighter view, particularly in low-light conditions.

A red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) investigates a crack in this tree in my backyard – notice the foliose and crustose lichens.  Photo © R.L. Peterson

Binocular Field of View
This spec determines the width of the area (usually in feet) that can be viewed at a glance, 1,000 yards from where you stand. A wide field of view is best to find and identify objects such as birds. Usually a higher magnification power results in a narrower field of view.
Binocular Focus
Almost all binoculars feature a central focus wheel that focuses both barrels on the binoculars at the same time. They also typically include a diopter adjustment ring which focuses one barrel independently of the other. This feature compensates for differences in vision between the users eyes. Once the diopter is set, then the two barrels should stay in proper relation. From then on, focus by turning the central focusing knob.
The diopter ring is usually located on either the left or right barrel near the eyepiece.

Stay tuned for my next exciting blog- Birdwatching Fundamentals.

“Enjoy and keep a good thought!” Bob P.

Additional resources:

L.L. Bean


All About Birds




Prelude to a Sunrise

“…it became difficult to make the determination where Earth ended and Heaven began…”

Beep, beep, beep – 4:45 a.m. sounded the alarm clock. I sat up in bed, wiped the crust from my sleepy eyes, and stretched forth my arms toward the ceiling. I was quite tired, and as I collected my thoughts I instantly began dreading the long day afield. But, I had a job to do, and so I got dressed and gathered my pack of research gear and equipment and headed out.

According to my calendar, sunrise was not to occur until 6:01 a.m., and I had plenty of time to make it to my final destination of Prairie State Park. It was still dark and a bit cool outside, but the 35 mile drive up Highway 43 in my pick-up truck allowed extra time to ponder my morning’s duties and activities. Neither heat nor A/C was necessary. So, I rolled down my truck window to aide in the process of becoming fully awake and alert – paying little attention to the roof liner damage which worsened as I approached full speed; the touch of the cool wind on my arm and face had invigorated my senses. I became keenly aware of the sights and sounds to which I was a grateful spectator.

With each passing mile on my journey northward the night began to magically turn to dawn. I was treated to glorious glimpses in the morning sky – sights to behold – unlike any before or since. At no cost to me, whatsoever, I’d been freely provided a front-row ticket to one of the most fantastic out-of-this-world experiences . . . a prelude to a sunrise.

Colors abounded and deep shades of pink and purple delighted my imagination. An overwhelming backdrop of light blues accompanied the white streaks of soft clouds which shifted boldly – eagerly rolling and racing across the sky. The eastern horizon line provided the contrasting dark to the light and proudly embraced its role as the point-of-no-return, the giver of day and taker of night.

Photo ©2017 R.L. Peterson

Something special had happened before my very eyes – it is doubtful that fortuitous moment could ever be repeated. Through a rarely seen depth effect which caused the clouds to appear as a continuation of the landscape, it became difficult to make the determination where Earth ended and Heaven began . . . and it was mine to take in – just me – alone, about to witness the extraordinary birth of a new day.

“Enjoy and keep a good thought!” Bob P.



Peanut Butter Power Cookies

“Power because of the daily value of fiber and protein found in the peanut butter . . .”

These Peanut Butter Power Cookies are packed with Krema/Crazy Richard’s peanut butter . . . Oh joy! Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson

Greetings and welcome in!

I am quite excited to share this recipe. It’s been a labor of love (for peanut butter mostly), but methinks I discovered just the right mix of ingredients.

Peanut Butter “Power”

Nearly everyone loves peanut butter especially the Krema/Crazy Richard’s brand which received an A- rating from Fooducate.

These cookies will be the hit of ANY occasion.

“Power” cookies because of the daily value of fiber and protein found in the peanut butter and Bob’s Red Mill’s wheat germ and flaxseed meal. And, because the cookies are baked on a Lodge Cast Iron griddle – what a tasty and healthy combo!

Peanut Butter Power Cookie Recipe

In large Nordic Ware bowl, mix wet ingredients thoroughly. Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson
In medium Nordic Ware bowl, sift and mix dry ingredients thoroughly. Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson
Baked in the oven on a Lodge Cast Iron griddle – fresh and ready to devour! Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson
Is there such a thing as too much peanut butter? Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson

Ingredients and Instructions

In Large Nordic Ware bowl, mix together thoroughly

  • 1 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer combined with 2 Tbsp. water (premixed in separate mini prep Nordic Ware bowl)
  • ½ cup coconut oil (softened) and 1 Tbsp. water
  • ½ cup Krema/Crazy Richard’s Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • ¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill Cane Sugar
  • ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup honey (preferably wild or raw)

In Medium Nordic Ware bowl, sift and mix together thoroughly . . . stir into above mix

  • 1½ cups Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp. Bob’s Red Mill Baking Powder
  • ¾ tsp. Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Bob’s Red Mill Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Germ
  • 1 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal

Additional Instructions

  1. Chill dough for an hour or more then proceed to step #2
  2. Preheat oven to 375°
  3. Place Lodge Cast Iron griddle in oven and preheat for 5-8 min . . . remove from oven
  4. Roll dough into balls the size of large walnuts
  5. Place 3” apart onto preheated Lodge Cast Iron griddle
  6. Flatten with fork dipped into water . . . crisscross.
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes – until set but not hard
  8. Place onto cooling rack and serve

Makes approximately two ½ dozen cookies

Don’t hesitate – go ahead and spread some peanut butter and grape or strawberry jelly between two cookies… and LOOK OUT! Double yummy peanut butter & jelly sandwich!

“Enjoy and Keep a good thought!” Bob P.

Credit where credit is due:

All photos © 2017 R.L. Peterson

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook; 1950 Edition; pp. 204


Blues in the Night Smoothie

” . . . progressive styles of blues feature blues-based guitar chord structures and riffs . . .”

Recording “These Broken Tracks” in San Antonio, TX.  Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson

The Blues

Musically speaking, the “blues” can take on many shades and tones. Some blues can be mellow, moody, or jazzy (B.B. King, Buddy Guy).

More progressive styles of blues feature blues-based guitar chord structures and riffs which can rock the house down (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Steve Gaines).

ZZ Top’s “El Diablo,” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s version of “Crossroads” are two favorites that rock the house.

Blueberry (Vaccinium L.) states that blueberries are low in fat, packed with vitamins C and K, a good source of fiber, and an excellent source of manganese.

According to, blueberries are the king of antioxidants, which protect bodies from damage by free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage cellular structures and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.

Blueberries are believed to contain the highest antioxidant capacity of ALL commonly consumed fruits and vegetables.

Zero528 agrees that blueberries taste YUMMY! Especially in this purple-shaded “Blues in the Night” fruit smoothie blend. Add some peanut butter and WHOA!

Blues in the Night Smoothie Recipe

Yet another winning line-up of tasty ingredients. Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson


Minnesota “home” glass filled with the Blues in the Night Smoothie. Photo © 2017 R.L. Peterson



  1. Add all ingredients in a blender and mix until creamy
  2. Serve immediately or freeze to enjoy later

Makes two servings!

“Enjoy and keep a good thought!” Bob P.

Credit where credit is due:

All images and photos © 2017 R.L. Peterson

Recipe inspired by P.L. Wiese

Log Cabin Flapjacks

“. . . had it not been for the CCC, the rustic log cabin architectural style might have disappeared altogether.”

During the late 1930s and early 40s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed hundreds of park structures throughout numerous national, state, and local parks. The undeniable attraction of this aspect of the park system, was achieved in part through the use of time-tested tools, master-craftsmen style construction, and creative and rustic design elements in the majority of park building sites. Robbers Cave State Park, OK. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

Greetings friends and welcome in to this edition of Zero528.

This weeks exciting blog brings many likes together – breakfast, log cabins, and the CCC. Add some of this music and the experience is complete.

Log Cabin

Log cabin is loose term generally considered to define a quaint rustic structure consisting of a variety of materials including round or hewn logs, clapboard siding, mortar, rock, and/or some combination of these natural materials.

To many visitors to historic and scenic Ozarks, the pioneer log cabin and house provides a glimpse into Missouri’s rich past. Image public domain

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

This blog entry is devoted to the unheralded feats of natural resource improvements implemented across the United States by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) – one of the most creative and successful New Deal programs put into action by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on the heels of The Great Depression.

While the CCC is widely known for their conservation efforts, they unquestionably contributed the lion’s share of manual labor necessary for the construction of a multitude of various types of park buildings and structures.

Caney fire lookout tower complex once used by the US Forest Service on the Mark Twain National Forest (MO). Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

CCC projects included administrative buildings, equipment and maintenance buildings, concession and refectories, bathhouses, picnic shelters, outbuildings, signs, bridges, dwelling complexes, garages, drinking fountain “bubblers,” water supply pump-houses, and fire lookout towers.

Original designs were simple in form and functionality yet durable and sensitive to the regional characteristics, heritage, and local materials available at each site. Naturalistic effects were incorporated to give the structures the appearance of having sprung naturally from the ground (McClelland, 1998).

The largest group of structures was constructed by the CCC or the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Photo © 2016 R.L. Petersen

Each man-made feature quaintly nestled within the boundaries of national, state and local parks and national forests, grasslands, and monuments, provides enjoyment even if examining original blueprint and design layouts.

Dolliver Memorial State Park, IA. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

Having developed the concept of a ‘master plan’ for each specific site, landscape architects, designers, planners, and engineers enlisted from the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service collaborated on the design details of the CCC projects.

As a point of interest, had it not been for the CCC the rustic log cabin architectural style might have disappeared altogether (Weslager, 1969). Lake Murray State Park, OK. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

Log Cabin Flapjacks Recipe

The word ‘flapjacks’ conjures thoughts of an innocent and bygone era and images of a warm down-home breakfast deep in a backwoods log cabin somewhere in rural America.

Get ready for a real treat… oh joy!

Wet ingredients – prior to being mixed in the Small Nordic Ware bowl. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson
Dry ingredients being combined in the Large Nordic Ware bowl…tasty at this point. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson
Pour batter onto preheated Lodge Cast Iron griddle…ahh! Fun silver dollar-sized! Photo © 2016 R.L. Petersen
Log Cabin Flapjacks! Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson


  • 1 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer combined with 2 Tbsp. water
  • ½ cup (4 oz) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup Almond Breeze Almond Milk-Original
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Bob’s Red Mill Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda
  • 1 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Cane Sugar


  1. In a Small bowl, combine ‘egg’ replacer and water, applesauce, and almond milk. Set aside while preparing the remaining ingredients
  2. In a Large bowl add the dry ingredients and mix together before adding contents of Small bowl. Mix until incorporated, but be careful not to over-mix. Over-mixing causes the gluten in the flour to activate and this will result in hard, chewy flapjacks
  3. Spread a small amount of organic coconut oil into Lodge Cast Iron griddle and heat to medium (350°)
  4. Once the batter is gently mixed and the griddle heated, pour batter into desired size flapjack – the smaller, the easier to flip
  5. Flip the flapjacks when the edges begin to dry and bubbles appear in the center
  6. Once flipped, allow to cook for a few more minutes
  7. Set on cooling rack and serve

Makes 22- 25 silver dollar-sized flapjacks

Suggested toppings:

“Enjoy and keep a good thought!” Bob P.

Credit where credit is due:

All images and photos © 2016 R.L. Peterson except where noted

Recipe adapted from runningveganrecipes

Literature cited:

McClelland, L. F. 1998. Building the national parks: historic landscape design and construction. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Weslager, C. A. 1969. The log cabin in America: from pioneer days to the present. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, N.J.

The Rite of Prairie Passage

“. . . less than 1/10th of 1 percent of Missouri’s nearly six million hectares of presettlement tallgrass prairie remains today.”

Rough blazing star (Liatris aspera), on the campus of Missouri Southern State University’s native “prairie land.” A small portion (14 ac.) of this remnant tract was set aside, thanks in small part to the author’s unrelenting passion for preserving the site. Joplin, MO. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

Hello again… and welcome in!

This Zero528 blog entry considers the tallgrass prairies of West-Central/Southwestern Missouri and the perilous time signifying the period during which their demise began – their composition impacted, their form altered, and their existence nearly eliminated.

It is my intention to spark interest in and create awareness of, the tallgrass prairies in North America. However, it is beyond the scope of this blog to delve too deep on the topic.

Holistic overview

The tallgrass prairie ecosystem is widely considered one of the most diverse and yet most endangered terrestrial ecosystems in North America. Many conservation efforts are being conducted to save, improve, and restore portions of remaining tallgrass prairie across its original range.

The demise of North American prairie grasslands began approximately 150 years ago with cattle replacing millions of native grazing mammals followed by the conversion of most tallgrass prairie to tilled crops (Samson and Knopf, 1994). Surely more answers exist which explain this unfortunate occurrence.

Bison (Bison bison), resting on the native tallgrass prairie of Prairie State Park near Liberal, MO. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson


Presettlement tallgrass prairies once covered 26.7% (47,663 km2) of the state of Missouri (Schroeder, 1983; C. Davit, Missouri Prairie Foundation, pers. comm.). Of the nearly 6 million hectares of tallgrass prairies, less than 1/10th of 1% remains today (C. Davit, pers. comm.).

Missouri’s premium tallgrass prairie region was historically the West-Central region (Schroeder, 1983). This region, situated along the central-eastern edge of the Great Plains south of the Missouri River and west of the Ozarks, was significantly impacted and severely threatened by those who sought to extend the range of the western edge of the American frontier.

I had the fortunate opportunity during the spring of my senior year at MSSU, to monitor greater prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) via radiotelemetry on Wah’Kon-Tah prairie near El Dorado Springs, MO. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

The highest percentage of prairie of any Missouri County was Barton County (86%) with Bates and Vernon Counties each containing 78% and 73%, respectively (Schroeder, 1983). This region currently represents the largest remaining area of native grasslands within the state.

Located on Prairie State Park, Regal Tallgrass Prairie Natural Area was the site of my Master of Science research project – Influence of vegetation structure on density of northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus) on a tallgrass prairie in southwestern Missouri. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

Remembering the Past

Contemplate the timely exhibitions of the various blooming prairie wildflowers, which fortunately can still be witnessed, albeit on a much less grand scale.

A diverse abundance of big-game animals once roamed the grasslands unimpeded  – imagine immense herds of bison (Bison bison) thundering across the prairie, Elk (Cervus elaphus) grazing nutritious grasses, and pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) browsing forbs (non-woody flowering plants) at will.

Listen for echoes of the seemingly innumerable greater prairie-chickens  (Tympanuchus cupido) “booming” upon their leks and recall the exploits of French missionaries and traders and their influence on the Osage Indians of the region.

Pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida), peeking at the horizon line on Penn-Sylvania Prairie in Dade County Missouri. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

Recollect the terrors inflicted upon civilians by the infamous Quantrill guerrillas that patrolled with a vengeance along the western border of Missouri. Consider legendary bushwhacker outlaws including Jesse and Frank James and lawless bank robbers of the area such as the Doolin-Dalton Gang.

The Rite of Prairie Passage and the Point of No-Return

As a quail biologist/ecologist and Missouri history enthusiast (among other things), natural curiosity found me pondering the point of no-return conditions (cultural, social, environmental, etc.) marking the transition of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem in Missouri –  from its dominance to its near disappearance.

The Perfect Storm

My research indicates the culprits responsible for the downfall of the tallgrass prairies in West-Central/Southwestern Missouri, consisted of an extensive list of fortuitous occurrences. These events occurred cumulatively at an accelerated rate and spanned the time period near the dawn of the Civil War through the post-war era. A tumultuous time to be sure.

As pioneers (mostly European immigrants) pushed the boundaries of the frontier and found their little piece of the green earth, they began to keep a written account of their lives and those events happening around them and to them in West-Central/Southwestern Missouri.

In addition, as they traversed from county to county, early Missouri land surveyors logged their visual accounts of the differences in the landscape and varieties of wildlife species encountered.

Somewhere on The Great Plains. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

Therefore, written historical accounts provide insight into factors which cannot be discounted as potentially having deleterious effects on the tallgrass prairies of the region – the relocation of its native caretakers, the conquering spirit of the individuals who settled them, the invention of tools that broke them, the laws enacted that limited their management, the expansion of the railroad which fragmented them, the contentious livestock controversies which altered them, and the turbulent Civil War times that produced rugged vigilantes who gallivanted across them.

Hereford cattle grazing in Oklahoma. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

Moreover, these events were happening simultaneously and were set against the backdrop of a fire control law (burn ban), human population explosion, increased grazing pressure, cultivation of hay, invention of barbed-wire fence, martial law, lawlessness, bushwhacker violence, guerrilla warfare, oaths of Union loyalty, and Southern sympathy.

It is likely that small-scale farming by the settlers, which fragmented the landscape – coupled with the laundry list of other forces and influences noted above -had perhaps already begun to take its toll.

These combined events created the perfect storm of conditions which sparked the subsequent downward spiral of the tallgrass prairie and the habitat it provides to a host of wildlife species.

Dickcissel (Spiza americana) male calling to a prospective mate on Prairie State Park near Liberal, MO. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

My research describing how, when, and why the tallgrass prairie has all but disappeared in Missouri, is strengthened and formed in part through critical examination of historical records vividly describing the lives of the aforementioned pioneers who braved the western edge of civilization amidst the volatile events occurring during the mid-nineteenth century.

Gaining momentum on my proposed signed “Prairie Passage” Auto-Tour Route for the West-Central/Southwestern region. This passage (auto-tour route) would link the highest concentration of remaining native prairie tracts within Missouri, all of which offer free public access. Image © 2016 R.L. Peterson

21st Century and Beyond

Today, only a fragment of the North American tallgrass prairies remain. In the name of conservation, preservation, and restoration, it is imperative that this precious resource, and the ecological linkages which rely on it, be protected as much as possible.

Visit the Missouri Prairie Foundation to discover how to actively participate in discovering, and helping save, Missouri’s native prairies. Additionally, visit GrowNative to ascertain information about supporting biodiversity on the local level.

Prairie State Park (Missouri) celebrates a biennial Prairie Jubilee – a festive event for the entire family. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson.

The call is to anyone and everyone to enjoy this resource. So, don’t delay – grab a pair of binoculars, hiking boots, backpack, and/or Brooks running gear and hit the trail of a native prairie nearby. As the seasons change, so do the prairie scenes…fascinatingly beautiful.

Keep a good thought! Bob P.

SIDE NOTE: In my opinion, managing for biodiversity is key to proper prairie management. Under carefully monitored conditions and with a proper burn plan in place, fire can be an effective management tool – with the objectives being to suppress woody encroachment and to create a heterogeneous landscape necessary to support biodiversity.

Conducting a prescribed burning exercise while interning at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore, OK. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

Fire suppression has occurred historically as a result of liability concerns and recently, due to severe drought conditions. For information on prescribed burning and other upland management tools, visit Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation.

All photos and images © 2016 R.L. Peterson

Literature cited:

Samson, F., and F. Knopf. 1994. Prairie conservation in North America. Bioscience 44:418-421.

Schroeder, W. A. 1983. Presettlement prairie of Missouri, second edition. Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City.

Hawkeye Corn Fritters

“. . . Sweet memories exist for me of my childhood in Iowa.”

Hawkeye Corn Fritters on a Blue Willow plate – can’t get much more nostalgic than that. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

Hello Zero528 followers and thank you for your interest in my website/blog. Feel free to comment and/or share with friends on social media (links below).

This breakfast treat was calling my name about a month ago, so, I decided to alter an old classic.

Native of the Hawkeye State

Born and raised in Iowa (through age 12), the name for this recipe was selected due to fond memories of Mom making corn fritters for my siblings and me when we were growing up in Lamoni, Iowa.

What I didn’t know until I began to make this entry, was that our Grandmother Turpen had prepared corn fritters for her family, as well.

The Peterson siblings entertaining ourselves during the holidays in our home in Lamoni, Iowa. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

I quickly became an Iowa Hawkeye fan when our family moved from small town America (Lamoni), to Iowa City, IA.

Tackling my brother Dave – not an easy thing to do – having earned the nickname ‘The Iowa Plow’ for a reason. Sweet memories exist for me of my childhood in Iowa (the Hawkeye State). Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

We lived approximately a mile from Kinnick Stadium and managed to attend many Iowa Hawkeye football games… methinks my brother Dave and I would most-likely, sneak into the games.

And now, on to the tasty treats…

Hawkeye Corn Fritters Recipe

Adding Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer mixture to dry ingredients into a Nordic Ware  mixing bowl. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson


This recipe deviates a bit from the traditional vegan cooking style by incorporating frying in an iron skillet. Organic coconut oil is used as a substitute for vegetable oil.

Carefully spooning batter into a Lodge Cast Iron skillet – flattening/pressing the batter to approximately slightly larger than silver dollar size. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson


Using a fork, turn fritters to brown evenly. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson
Almost ready to eat…wait for it… ahhh! Photo © 2016 R.L. Petersen

I hope you enjoy this tasty breakfast treat anytime day or night.


  • 2 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer combined with 4 Tbsp. of water
  • ¾ cup Almond Breeze Almond Milk-Coconut-milk blend
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Bob’s Red Mill Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Bob’s Red Mill Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. organic coconut oil
  • 1 can drained whole kernel Iowa corn


  • In a Small bowl, combine ‘egg’ replacer, water, almond milk, and coconut oil
  • Place sifter into Medium bowl, add all dry ingredients into a sifter and mix together
  • Add egg replacer mixture and corn to dry ingredients and mix until blended
  • Using two spoons, spoon batter into Lodge 8” cast iron skillet containing hot coconut oil (375°) a few inches deep – flattening/pressing the batter to approximately slightly larger than silver dollar size
  • Using a fork, turn fritters to brown evenly
  • Lift from skillet with slotted spatula
  • Place onto cooling rack with a paper towel underneath

Makes 20-25 small fritters.

Serve plain or top with Krema/Crazy Richard’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter and/or pure maple or blueberry syrup.

Enjoy and . . . Keep a good thought! Bob P.

Credit where credit is due:

All photos and images © R.L. Peterson

Many thanks to my assistant P.L. Wiese

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook; 1950 Edition; pp. 78





Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Banana-Nut Muffin

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Banana-Nut Muffin! Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

Greetings “followers!” Welcome in again to Zero528 website/blog featuring an eclectic collection of personal interests.

This entry features yet another yummy recipe which has been altered to vegan. It also is the first of many Zero528 vegan recipes which will be utilizing Lodge Cast Iron bakeware/cookware.

Why Lodge Cast Iron? I’ve always been interested and intrigued by the use of these products from a nostalgic and historical perspective and will be adding more to my collection soon.

Look for Lodge Dutch Oven ‘vegan’ recipes coming soon from Zero528.

Oh, and did I mention that all of the Lodge foundry Seasoned Cast Iron and Seasoned Carbon Steel products are manufactured in the USA!

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Banana-Nut Muffin Recipe

Zero528 is proud to support Bob’s Red Mill and uses their fine baking/cooking products as much as possible in its recipes. Additionally, Zero528 features Almond Breeze Almond Milk and Krema/Crazy Richards Peanut Butter. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson

Nordic Ware bowl filled with tempting batter. Photo © 2016 R.L. Peterson


Don’t hesitate…go make a BIG muffin now! Photo © 2016 R.L. Petersen

My hope is that this breakfast treat will be enjoyed at all hours of the day. It makes for a great snack packed full of healthy!


  • ¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill Rice Bran
  • ¾ cup Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ cup Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 tsp. Bob’s Red Mill Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Bob’s Red Mill Sea Salt
  • ¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill Cane Sugar
  • ¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill Flax Seed
  • ¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Germ
  • 1 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer combined with 2 Tbsp. of water
  • 1 cup Almond Breeze Almond Milk-Original
  • ½ cup (4 oz) unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil (liquid)
  • 2 ripe bananas, peeled and quartered
  • ½ cup walnut or pecan pieces


  • Preheat oven to 400° F
  • In a Medium bowl add dry ingredients into a sifter placed in bowl and mix together
  • Add flax seed and wheat germ to dry ingredients in aforementioned Medium bowl
  • In a Large bowl, combine ‘egg’ replacer, water, almond milk, and coconut oil
  • Add dry ingredients to egg replacer mixture and mix until blended
  • Add applesauce, bananas, and nuts and mix until blended (mashing bananas)
  • Pour batter into lightly oiled (coconut oil) Lodge 8” cast iron skillet
  • Bake for 28-34 minutes or when top springs back when touched – toothpick is clean

Makes one giant muffin – share and enjoy!

Keep a good thought! Bob P.

Credit where credit is due:

Recipe adapted from Lighthouse Rita