Thursday, April 3, 2014

In Between

Guidlines for Pruning Apple Trees
It looks like we are heading into a long "In Between" period again this year, from the last ice fishing trip until opener.  Just when the snow is finally melting away, we are bracing for another major snow storm to pass through Dayton later tonight, with 10 - 14 inches predicted by Friday evening.  Now I know it snows in April but this is getting old.  There actually is enough ice on the lakes to fish yet my list of things to do before opener isn't getting any shorter.  One of my big chores in the March/April time frame is to prune all of my fruit trees.  I have 3 pear trees and 9 apple trees that need constant attention if I expect fruit from them this fall.  Pruning helps the health of the tree by thinning out the branches and allowing the fruit to develop better.  The pear trees really sucker bad and can grow over 6 feet in one growing season.  These all have to be removed as the suckers take energy away from the fruit development.  Both the pears and the apple trees can grow quite high which causes 2 issues later on.  The first being my hose sprayer doesn't go that high so I try and keep the trees at around 15 - 20 feet at the most.  Second, when it comes to picking time it's a lot easier if I can deal with the fruit using my standard ladders.  It takes about an hour to really do a good job on each tree but in the end it's worth it.  My friend Rick Shermer has a small orchard and last year he really went to town on his trees.  I just shook my head as he basically gave each one a butch haircut.  I promised him that this spring would see me come by the house and take over his task before he turns the trees into wood for smoking.   With the storm coming it will probably be next week before I can get mine finished and head over to do his.  Our neighbor Brandon has been maple syruping the last week and has 4 of my large sugar maples tapped.  His goal is about 1500 gallons of sap which will produce around 40 gallons of pure maple syrup.  It's a nice treat as he brought over a bottle from his first evaporation batch and it's very good. 

Dick's Fried Walleye Louisiana Style
Last week Lory and I attended the Northwest Sportshow at the Minneapolis convention center.  Attending on opening night, which was last Wednesday assured there was plenty of room to look at everything as it really gets busy on the weekends.  The first thing we got was a nice lighted bobber that the first 300 people got free.   It's pretty nice however with the night ban on Mille Lacs this year for the entire season, I probably won't have an opportunity to use it.  The next thing was to pick up some Cajun fish spices from Wayzata Bay Spice Company of Roger's Minnesota.  They have a couple of excellent blends as I needed them for the Redfish caught in Louisiana a few weeks ago.  The rest of the show was pretty normal, nothing really new this year, or at least I didn't think so, yet it is always fun to check it out, especially seeing my friends Judy and Ken Marlow.  We have stayed a number of times with the Marlow's, at their cabins on the Kenai River in Alaska.  As usual, he had a jar of canned smoked salmon, definitely worth the price of admission!  Sunday was our fish fry to try out the fillets sent back from my trip.  Dick Daugard, my Texas friend called me about a month ago and offered to trade me flounder fillets for walleye fillets, if I had any to spare. He reads the blog and had never had walleye before.  Eating walleye is common here in Minnesota and it seemed to be a pretty good deal so I brought a couple of packages from the Red Lake trips earlier this year and gave one to Dick and the other to Robert.  Dick fried them up after we left camp then sent a picture of  his work just before they got consumed.  His comment was that they were spectacular, which we already knew.  Dick is quite a chef and can really cook up pretty much anything you give to him.  We did get catch some flounder as we fried that up on Sunday and although I am a big fan of saltwater fish, admittedly the walleye is better.  The menu was decided as we cooked up 3 types of fish, flounder, redfish, and black drum.  The flounder was pan fried, we put the black drum and a smaller red on cedar planks, then cooked the large redfish fillet "on the half shell".  Describe a couple of posts ago, I was anxious to show my neighbors how it was done.  We all agreed that the pan fried flounder was good, the cedar planked method was good, but the redfish on the grill was absolutely fabulous.  I do have a few more redfish fillets and look forward to our next cooking event.

Opening my Outdoor News Sportsman's Weekly paper, on the front page has the headline: Ice-covered opener: Two years in a row?  All I can say is Uffda!  Living here in Minnesota for 38 years now, I can't imagine this happening again so Team Walleye is simply keeping their fingers crossed.  A lot can happen in 5 weeks so it's no use to get too worried yet to be honest, there is still quite a bit of ice on the lakes up north.  Our best fishing was the year we had significant ice on Leech Lake yet we could easily get out of Brindley's, where we stay.  Oh well, there is little we can do about it anyway as their is a lot to do before opener.


Duane said...

Start hunting turkeys.....

Laura said...

thats a very good diagram for pruning, thanks for sharing!