Thursday, April 23, 2015

And The List Goes On

Ready to be planted!
Man, there's a lot to do before opener, both the Minnesota and the Ontario.  We are 2 weeks away from our annual Leech Lake event and the lake finally became ice free early last week.  This never assures how the fishing will turn out but the spawn should be well over with and the fish should just start to be recovering and hopefully HUNGRY!  I did call Frankie's last week to get the final word on my boat delivery as things are much more sophisticated than they were years ago when it was just an educated guess.  Well the confirmation date is May 20th, I guess I was sort of expecting it but one can never discount miracles.  The bad thing is that I did turn in my old boat to take advantage of the market based on what we figured would be an easy delivery before opener. Well the flood of orders coming in and you know Ranger's motto....We Build Them One at a Time, means a few weeks delay. Fortunately I have experience in manufacturing and age has taught me to be more patience, I know they are doing the best they can.  Never the less it has force me to go to plan's B for both the Minnesota Opener on May 9th and the Ontario Opener on May 16th.  This isn't the end of the world and I am hoping that Frankie will come up with a loaner for the weekend, we'll see.  If that doesn't work it's simply amazing that my friends have offered the use of their boats so if push comes to shove, I'm covered.  On the Ontario trip it looks like we will be taking Garith's float plane up again. He just had the engine overhauled and we should be in good shape as the trip only takes about 5 hours vs the 10 to drive there. In the meantime it's been perfect for getting out in the garden and preparing it for the growing season.  Just like last year my good friend Ricky Shermer brought over his Kabota tractor along with his 3 point rotor tiller and powered harley rake for preparing my garden.  The first thing he did was use the harley rake to go over my asparagus beds and loosen the soil and level it out.  That thing works great for soil preparation and leveling.  Next was to hook up the rototiller and run over the areas that I did last fall to get the ground pulverized. One problem with the tiller is it piles the soil up behind it and because of the way the garden is, on end gets higher than the other.  I have used my Ferguson TO35 and the back blade to drag some of the soil back towards the other end but I have to admit, the harley rake really did a great job.

Asparagus spears pushing through.
The Spring season for 2013 and 2014 were quite cold and it was well after fishing opener before I was able to get in the garden and really work the soil.  This year it's more like normal however the last 2 years makes it feel like it's early. With little snow this winter and the fairly warm March my asparagus is waking up almost 3 weeks earlier than last year and it looks like a bumper crop. I'm not out of the woods yet as this week has lows below freezing which will destroy what has popped up but does little damage to the plants. My next job will be to take some grass clippings and put over the plants as it really helps to keep the dirt out of the top of the spears and are a lot nicer to eat without the crunch.  On Thursday we are expecting our onion plants special ordered from Texas to arrive in time for planting.  Last year we did this with great results but unfortunately some of the varieties which grew really huge were not very well rated for storage, some only 4 weeks after the tops died.  Nice to look at when they were in the ground but I was surprised how easy they rotted on me.  This year I paid more attention to the storage times and bought only the varieties that would last 4 - 6 months.  Along with the onions I have a special mixture of volcanic ground elements that "enhance" the soils that are perfect for onions.  Mixing it with a balanced fertilizer, it will help the plants get started before pouring the nitrogen to the plants.  The onion itself is a bulb and not considered a root an therefore loves nitrogen based fertilizers and are very heavy feeders.  I have 46-0-0 for them and hopefully by getting them in early, I'll have 2 pound onions by August!  Beyond that I have potatoes to plant then probably nothing till Memorial Day which is the earliest it can be this year.

In the meantime I have been getting ready for opener.  I picked up a different 2 piece spinning rod for Canada, have replenished the empty spaces in my jig box with a couple of interesting and new type jigs.  Line needs replacements on all of my spinning reels and this year I'm going to try P-Line CX Premium Fluorocarbon Coated 8# test Monofilament.  Usually Stren Magnathin is my line of choice however the CX has the same diameter and is rated very high for both strength and limpness, which is important.  We'll see how it works this year as I bought a 3000 yard spool for about 1/2 what the Stren would cost.  My initial tests are impressive.  My friend Keith Holtan and his wife Jane are already back in Alaska, although with the Minnesota Wild doing well, I'm sure he wishes there was a little more time to spend with his hockey friends watching the games.  Beyond that it's simply waiting for opener in about 2 weeks yet there's still a lot to do.

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