Friday, December 21, 2012

A little something for the gods......

Following the longest night of the year, the dawn weakly rose to the coldest temp so far this year. -7F.
Two fires are ignited as an annual homage to the ancient ancestors
One for the new daylight and one to hasten the second longest night toward the summer solstaice

The second fire is said to be accompanied by vodka
and drumming
and dancing
and toasts to deeds and dramas now past
and to the ghosts
of those we have loved
and those that are yet come

It is time to kindle and toast
 Na zdrowie !!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Solstaice

Finally a little snow has fallen
Decoration for the holiday season
Rain preceded the snow

Ridiculous that it should rain near the winter Solstaice in Minnesota 
Oh well, another log on the fire
Another glacier gone

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tough bite

Clear. 22F.  SW wind @ 5mph
The lake is less rumbly this evening.
The fish are here but not real eager to bite.
First bluegills under early ice.


Filled with chironomid goodness.

                                    No wonder the light bite.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

On the ice.

It is safe to be out now.
Six solid inches of ice are uniformly distributed atop the pond.


With temperatures in the teens, and only 2 inches of snow on the ice, the freezing process is in high gear. The boys and I head out and drill a few holes just before the daylight fails. The lake is noisy and alive - full of expansion music.
Slsssssss - aaaaaah aaah - slssssss- crick crick crick - aaaah - Boom ! Creeeeeekk - bBoom!
Water rises and falls in the holes with each new crack and quake.  The dogs look nervously at each other, at me, toward shore. The whole sheet of ice is on vibrate.  But then a crappie comes up the hole and the youngster is transformed into a dog possessed.
I unhook and drop the 9 incher back down the hole. I have made the dog insane ! A couple more bangs - bBaaaang - aaaaaah - errrrrrrr - clank ! Sounds like beating on a steel drum with a bat ! The spaniel bugs out for the shore.

Craaaaack - reeee reeeee reeeee- slllllsssss- errrrrr - bbBoom! 
No more bites.
The music too loud and sweet.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Oops !

It is perhaps a bit soon................

I don't see a pickup connected to this rig, but then that would be the less buoyant bit, wouldn't it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Leave no trace

Of course there are different ways of walking across the land. Mr. Big's pursuer, I can assume, takes a different path than mine. He provides numerous clues about his life and character.  Clues which I would not leave behind for anyone or any thing to ponder.

Mr. Big's pursuer set up his tree stand in a 60 year old red pine that grows in the corner of property that he does not own and is not public ground.  It is within 50 yards of Mr. Big's prominent calling card. He smoked at least eight cigarettes while waiting for a deer to come within range of his 30-06. He used scent and wicks to attract a buck. He fired his rifle twice.

I collected his trash and took it home. He is a pig.

I find no evidence that Mr. Big was killed here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Who Killed Mr. Big ?

I don't know if anyone killed the big boy who's responsible for this, but if they did I would like to see the candelabra atop his head.  The youngster and I got out and about for the last hour of daylight, and found this place of Rut-O-Rama in the corner of the woodlot.  We also found a grouse to miss.  A great outing.  That's a little 28 gauge Uggie for perspective.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


During the night of the twelfth
twelve degrees fahrenheit were achieved
freeze up the result

goodbye long rods
kayak paddles

no roll cast
double haul
nor Duncan loop

unjoint the angles
oil the reels
bag up the dekes
pickle the outboard

many months of stiff water
to endure
hurry April

Monday, November 5, 2012

And October is but a memory as well......

 Seems that I kept a more detailed and timely record of stuff when it was just a notebook and a pencil. Weather, phenology, what the fish were taking, how many fish got bonked on the head, flush to bag grouse hunting statistics, annual tally of trout kill and release, and the occasional crude sketch of some piece of beauty.  A few lines penned, just for the record, just for my consumption, maybe for later, you know - the dream of someday actually writing something worth reading.

Now with the ease (insert consternation here) of communicating in the digital age, I find that I don't keep track of much of anything in writing, either in the old notebook or on this blog page. Seems that I have more shit to do and less shit gets done. And less time, all the time.

And now October is gone.  September as well.  Best intentions were to splash a bunch of fall leaf colors on the page and wax on about living inside a kaleidoscope and how the sugar content was different this year, and how the colors were predicted to be poor because of the drought, but then No ! they were wrong, the drought induced brilliant colors! and how can the Theys of the world be so wrong and so right at the same time about the same thing.  And then, well that brought me back to politics and the presidential race and being so left and so right at the same time over the same things and negativism and attack ads and well.....  I was just about ready to shoot myself !!!

So, instead I took the young dog into the marsh. And the world just kind of slowed down for at least one morning. Ah wilderness............... The  sunrise was on time, the ducks flew, and I shot well. All the training paid off.  The youngster retrieved six birds!  And I didn't do any shouting or cursing.

I best go bird hunting again.  Soon.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chicken with Rice.......or Fife and the Piscator go Native

Politics, the job, the dutiful societal niceties, the weather, the failed apple crop
it doesn't take much to make me sick of the whole damn situation.

Full on partisan contact sport in every conversation
on every blaring media outlet
in every bloody space you care to enter
so completely frantic
so absurdly useless.

Testosterone and treasure
both squandered
at the grid iron and the campaign arena
both during the same season
no wonder the shooters

Switch it off man........................look at the blue moon......................feel its grasp

September first finally arrived along with rescue via brother Fife. We embarked on an adventure so ancient yet completely new to me. Manoomin, Menohmon, MNohMN.  Zizania, palustris - wild rice. That which kept the Annishinabeg and Lakota alive for millenia.

Primal and eternal - a completely different mode of thinking, and as close to the earth as possible. Thin or thick ? Green or ripe? Falling or clinging on for the next day?  You cannot force answers to such simple questions. You can only give yourself to the play, and ride the endless spinning cycle.

Right on Brother!  He is the old hand, me the novice. I poled, he knocked. A right good moose hide grew in the canoe bottom as we plied the carefree waters. Ducks and herons flushed.  The little sora rails fluttered,  unaware that I fancied them in cream sauce with the rice. Goose music wafted from afar and eagles soared. I hit the wall at five and a half hours into our legally allotted six hours of white man time. My arms, they paralyzed !

Burnt by sun and wind, sore of pole and flail, sweated out and bug bitten, we happily arrived at home.  A short walk produced a fresh chicken.

One hundred pounds of green wild rice became forty-five pounds of winter comfort food and presents for those that are loved.

We felt like Kings !

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kingdom of the other

They concern themselves not with the utter nonsense of humanity
Secure in their knowledge of nearly infinite existence
controlling the destiny of all things biological
alive, dying, and deceased
they wait

then erupt as ephemeral artworks

Stink-horn -  completely consumed by the scarabs within 6 hours

Lactarius ?

Parasitized and transformed into a lobster.

Chanterelle?  sauteed  with onion and garlic and a dash of wine, only to be tossed out after the first bitter bite!

Puffball, eggplant - it's all the same.
Boletes  key as edible, but no kings have been found to test my palate.

 Northern tooth. Beautiful massive and non edible.  An absolute lamprey.

Fairy wings on the back of a fallen maple.

Mixed bag.

Waiting patiently for the chicken, and it finally comes along, as it is the only one of this lot that I trust.

They concern themselves not.
I, however, must concern their siren beauty and quell the desires they imbue.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Third year shroomin'

Except for the morels, my knowledge of mushrooms is pretty skinny. The fall of 2010 was a wet one around here, and the resultant bloom of fungal fruits in the woods of the home place was prolific and spectacular. That got me going. Going in a number of new directions.  One direction was to the internet / blogosphere, field guides, friends and acquaintances  -  to learn what I could about identification of edible mushrooms. Lots of good stuff and good people out there - lots of junk, as well.  So, I profess nothing about the ID or procurement of wild mushrooms, only relate the most recent, delicious encounter.  Blondie still thinks I'm nuts.

The last week of May produced what I thought were the right conditions for oyster mushrooms to erupt.  Three plus inches of rain the previous week, temps in the mid 80's, plenty of dead aspen, inoculated from last June's incredible blush of oyster fruit. What do the texts say ?  Not exactly conflicting information - more like non specific information in terms of both timing and location.  May seems a bit early. But what the hell- I know what they look like, right ?  But then, oh there's that voice of caution rattling round the brain. The other rattling voice (but one of many) gets the nod,  "Bugger off caution, I'm hunting now".

So, before I even get 200 feet from the barn, I encounter the first group of oysters, just hanging there like a big load of free meat.  Wow, this going to be good I think - and yes indeed they were hanging out in all the usually places. So, I cut about a pound from the upright husk of a big-toothed aspen. Only a couple of beetles present that were easily brushed away  -  and I am a pig in shit !

So to home and kitchen.  I went a couple of different ways with this sweet tasting pleasure - light and dark.   Both worked for me, and I reckon that the variants to these are limitless:


2 Tsp butter
2 Tsp extra virgin olive oil  
1/2 pound sliced  oyster mushrooms
1/4 small onion diced
3 bigass bluegill fillets cut into 2 " chunks
salt & pepper
white wine
3 Tsp flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 lemon
flat leaf parsely

Sweat the onions & musrooms in the oil & butter until tender
season w/ salt & pepper
remove from pan
deglaze with a dash of white wine
make a rue with the flour and chicken stock and a bit of water, if needed - let thicken
add the tarragon and bring to simmer
add back the mushrooms & onions, the fish, the squeezed lemon juice and flat parsley
simmer till fish are just done - two minutes for bluegills
season again, as desired


2Tsp butter
2Tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound sliced oyster mushrooms
1/4 small onion diced
1/2 pound red meat (in this case, left over venison roast)
raspberry vinegar
3Tsp flour
meat stock (venison drippings here)
fresh spinach, rough chopped

Pretty much the same method as the first one, except at the very end , add in the fresh spinach and let it wilt down for a couple of minutes.

Both of these dished were sweet and fruity due to the mushrooms, but the dark one is, well,   dark, with the venison and spinach. 

Now if I can find chanterells later in the season, that will be something else !