Saturday, May 24, 2014

The littlest fisherman in the North Woods

A couple of days ago, Jackson and his Dad packed up the canoe for his first fishing outing at Clayton Lake. He was pretty successful in catching 4 brook trout all cast and reeled by himself!


He doesn't only love to catch the fish, he and his little brother love to eat them. There are probably only a handful of three year olds in this world who can say they've caught their own dinner.

Fishing is the topic of the month and probably will be for years to come. His favorite show right now is Animal Planet's River Monsters, and it has only accentuated typical fisherman story telling.

When outside, he can be found in the same spot turning over mounds of grass that the plow ripped up this winter, searching for worms. I never know what is going to be brought to me when he comes to the door. A handful of worms, a slug, a big chicken, a baby chicken, a dead woodcock, or small carcasses that he's found left over from winter. Those are a few of the pleasant surprises I've had this month. :)

I'm so thankful that he is content to be here. We are learning new things together. The names of different flowers, birds, fish, plants, and how to recognize the sound of a woodcock, grackle, gorby, bittern, and woodpecker.
10403097_789655857714251_1028108936272053242_n "....A northern Maine summer is really something to look forward to. We had in our front dooryard what thousands of city people would give a great deal to enjoy--a spot of woods that only a few sportsmen could have access to."
Helen Hamlin said it perfectly in Nine Mile Bridge. We are excited and thankful to be able to experience our first summer at Clayton Lake.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fish and Forage: Fiddlehead risotto and pan fried brook trout

After a couple of 80 degree days a week or two ago, we have not seen much of the sun. So far, there are no signs of black flies and wishful thinking has me hoping that maybe they won't show this year! Foolish, I know. We've been taking full advantage of the warmer weather and getting outside every chance we get.

I love to fish but don't get to do it often with two wild ones to look after. I caught my first North Woods fish a couple of days ago at the Umsaskis thoroughfare. I was being critiqued by my husband for not using proper technique with the open face spinning reel, when BAM, all of a sudden I had a bite. The beautiful 13 inch brook trout hadn't seemed to mind my technique. :P

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After fishing, we started our fiddlehead exhibition. I've been tempted all week by beautiful photos of fiddlehead recipes on foodgawker. When I waitressed at Helen's Restaurant in Machias, tourists would ask for a description of the local vegetable. I always said they remind of something you might see in the swamp scene from Star Wars. The shape and detail of the coil like a vine that could release at a moment's notice and recoil around any of your limbs. They are one of the coolest vegetables, and I find it very exciting to be able to search for your vegetable in the woods!

We were surprised to find what seemed to be an overabundance along the shore of Umsaskis. After picking about three cups, we headed home. I posted a picture on Facebook to double check with a few fiddlehead experts before I started to clean and cook them. When someone mentioned that the stem should have a groove in it like on a piece of celery, we knew we had been mistaken.
After a little help from some folks who know these woods better than we do, we were pointed to a spot nearby where fiddleheads have been known to sprout. A little while later, my prince charming walked through the door with a hat full of gorgeous ostrich ferns.

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After a quick shake in a pillow case, rinse in the sink, and blanch session, they were ready to be added to the creamy risotto.

I didn't get a picture of the brook trout because the boys scarfed it down as an appetizer. :)

So thankful for the bounties the woods has to offer. Happy Friday, friends!
I use the risotto recipe that's in the Joy of Cooking cookbook!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Thirsty Moose

Yesterday was a gorgeous day up here in the woods, 67 degrees in the shade. Trucks are still not running and it is SO quiet. After lots of playtime with the wild creatures, I sat outside and read while they took their nap. I kept hearing a partridge drumming and wanted so badly to get a picture or a video. I walked up and down the road in front of the house trying to find it, but I couldn't tell where it was coming from.

After my failed photo opportunity, my better half showed up last night with these pictures on his camera. I know I'm going to be jealous when he passes me the camera with a smirk on his face and leaves the room. Jealous might be an understatement......

This guy stopped by the logging depot at Clayton lake for a sip of water.

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IMG_0313These are a couple of pictures of ticks on a moose who had been dead for a couple of days. Unfortunately, this is the end result for some after this long winter. IMG_0310

The refreshing warm weather has brought out several of these friendly faces this week. :)