Friday, August 20, 2010

Catching Up!

I often recall something my grandfather once told me when I was a young man.  Enjoy your time now, as you get older you will find the time goes fast and the days grow short.  This last week and a half has been nothing short of that example.  We are definitely in the "Dog Days of Summer" with high temperatures, high humidity's resulting in thunderstorms every other day.  The bite on Mille Lacs has been less than stellar and even with the hectic schedule, I have managed to get out a few times.  As stated my neighbor Tom and I did fish the Mississippi River south of Clearwater Mn a couple of Sundays ago.  I broke my #1 rule when going fishing.............make sure your camera is with and ready.  Having caught a number of nice smallies we were relegated to Tom's film camera, which I am waiting for him to develop.  Normally at this time of the year the river is quite low and caution is the word.  Tom has a 16 foot Lund which is more capable in these conditions however the river was running very high giving us a lot of freedom to fish where we wanted to.   Wanting to fish minnows, we picked up a dozen and a half red tailed chubs at Actions Bait in Anoka.  They were on the small side but adequate.  The fishing turned out to be great with around 20 smallmouth caught, the largest around 18 inches.  One of my goals was to continue the experiments with the circle hooks and they were 100% effective for corner of the mouth hook sets.   Last Sunday Tom, his daughter Brenna, and I spent a quite evening catfishing on the neighbors dock again.  Upon arrival at the dock I discovered that every nightcrawler in my crawler box had evaporated!  Luckily I had some new Berkley Power Catfish Bait.  I never believe this stuff is as good as crawlers but it's all we had.  The river levels were still high and the bite was off but I did manage to get this very nice channel cat.  We tempered the slow bite with a few of Tom's favorite beverages, Moosehead. 

One of the things this hot an humid weather does is make the garden grow like crazy.  From sweet corn, to potatoes, to cucumbers, everything is ready to go.   The last couple of weeks has been the attack of the pickle!  I tried something different in my garden this year.  Having visited my wife's uncle Bernie's garden, he had his cucumbers growing on a fence.  Thinking that was a great idea I headed to Fleet Farm (the store where if they don't have it you don't need it) and bought enough 4 foot fence and poles to create my own vertical pickle producer.   As plants go cucumber plants are pretty stupid.  I had to train most of them how to utilize the nice structure which was erected for them.  It took about 2 weeks but they finally figured it out and have been reacting like crazy ever sense.  One of the nice things I have discovered about growing cukes on the fence is that pickles themselves are off the ground and require very little scrubbing before use.  This picture shows the fence post at 5 feet and gives you an idea of how prolific the plants have been.

This hot weather generates enough to do about 12 jars every 3 days.  Needless to say I am busy.  One of the best things I have discovered is Mrs. Wages Pickle Brine Mix.  Once again Fleet Farm saves the day and carries a number of these convenient brine mixes in Polish Dill, Kosher Dill, and Bread and Butter flavors.  Besides tasting excellent, the pickles are ready in little as 24 hours after processing.  Although I have dill, the classic flavor is in the mix.  Adding some chopped garlic, mustard seeds, and peppercorns to each jar, it gives it my distinct signature.  Using the Refrigerator Bread and Butter mix, the batch made last week is excellent.  The unfortunate part of all this is in a normal year with the heat, moisture, and deer, the cucumber plants would be done by now.  Up on the fence the plants get plenty of air and look to yield for at least another 2 - 3 weeks.  I hope some of you like dill pickles! Having to replant my sweet corn this spring and it is also finally ready to process.  Using my chamber vacuum packer to seal them in bag for freezing, this works very well for preserving.  If the deer continue to leave my peppers and tomatoes alone, salsa is next on the project list.

Hopefully I will have and August full moon report next week.

1 comment:

Dewey said...

There's deer spray available which really does keep em away from your plants and trees. Problem for us is that the bears don't care.....