Thursday, September 10, 2015

Labor Day Labor

My 1 pound Pear
September is looking more like one big blur these days.  With the sun setting earlier each day there seems little time to get anything done, maybe getting older doesn't help either.  The other issue is the amount of rain we've had this summer.  Usually parts of my property gets pretty dry this time of year and requires little mowing but not this summer as we have had frequent and adequate soakings to keep all of the grass nice and green and growing.  The wet weather has taken a toll on a number of trees that are succumbing to fungus and blight and the outcome doesn't look to good.  My favorite apple is the Firesides I have and last year the wet spring killed one of the two I had and now the remaining one is full of fungus.  My Honeycrisp apple trees don't look any better and I have a rather large Sugar Maple that is dying as well so it looks like I have some work to do this winter with the chainsaw.  On the positive side it's been a wonderful year for my pears.  The trees weren't too loaded with fruit so it helps to create fabulous sizes on the pears that were on the tree.  I have included a picture of one of the largest off my Patton Pear tree, it weighs in at about 1 pound and is big as a softball.  Admittedly it's the largest pear I have ever seen come off my tree.  They are actually very good to eat as the fruit is crisp and sweet.  With the help of our neighbors and friends Lory and Lynn Brasel, we got the entire tree picked before they start rotting on the tree, which some have already started.  Later this week her and my wife plan on canning a bunch, something I have never done.  They canned the fruit from my SummerCrisp Pear tree by simply using apple juice instead of a syrup and it's pretty amazing how well they turned out.  Because those pears were smaller they used pint sized jars but these will definitely require quarts.

Flooding as the pond overflows in Eleva
Last week it was very hot, humid, with a strong south wind.  Sunday was no different as we drove down to Fountain City, Wisconsin to visit my wife's cousin and to attend Farm Fest, a small event on the top of the ridge just north of town.  It was pretty interesting to see all the old tractors and engines however I think that the hot weather kept a lot of people away.  Never the less it was nice to spend time with the guys, John, Greg, Bob, and John Charles solving all the worlds problems.  Sunday night had torrential rains forecasted so we headed back only to run into those rains around Alma and drove through some pretty heavy downpours for the next hour.  In my home town of Eleva it was a completely different story as they had severe flooding both from the north coming into the Eleva Pond and from the east when the dam in Strum breached and sent a wall of water down the Buffalo River heading right for Eleva.  Although the water is high in this picture, the damage happened after it had carved a channel through the dike surrounding the old Chicken Plant (now Family Farms) and completely flooded the lower part of the building.  Bud Tollefson use to live in the house below the bridge and definitely in the flood plain however it's been since 1978 when Eleva had the last incident.  Apparently that house had a foot of water on the first floor which meant the basement was completely full.  I called my friend Kevin and his son Ben and got the story, particularly the rush to sandbag critical areas before the wall of water arrived from Strum.  With over 100 volunteers helping, they averted most of the issues but it's still going to be a few weeks before things get back to normal.  They did tell me that it was necessary to pull the planks on the Eleva Dam and at this point the pond is empty.  I am going through on Saturday and see how everyone is doing.

Salsa cooking down
So it obvious that I didn't get out fishing this weekend.  Labor Day means one thing and for me it's not a rest from Labor but a day off from work to labor around the house more. There is still a lot of issues in getting ready for Lac Seul and to be honest, I'll get a month's worth of fishing in a week and with the harvest in peak mode, there's little time to get anything done (Sound like a broken record, uh!).  I did start working on getting the Salem Ice Cabin ready for the winter.  It's amazing that something you pull down a salty road in the winter uses standard steel screw to hold everything in place.  I have been changing them out with Stainless Steel and with some it's simply too late as the heads simply break off or in some cases are already corroded off. Everything is greased up and I like to repaint the frame areas that tend to rust easily, it simply makes it look nicer, that's all.  With the last of the tomatoes ripening I made the last batch of salsa on Monday night.  I've probably said this before but I do think my salsa is pretty good for homemade.  Not as good as fresh but certainly as good as any store bought I've had.  It does take a lot of work and time, about 4 hours to make 7 quarts. This year ended up around 33 quarts, enough for the football season at Tim's, my ice fishing trips at Red Lake, and maybe enough to take for opening fishing next spring.  It's really thick and tomatoey but I am always surprised that once cooked the heat of the peppers seems to wane.  Oh well, it's really easy to spice up and this year I'm going to try a trick that my friend Ricky Shermer does, adds freash cut onions to his salsa that he opens up and serves.  Seems like a great idea. Hopefully I can get out this weekend and make sure everything is working in the boat.  I have had some issues with glueing a panel to the underside of my console that I have bolted my ethernet hub to.  Originally I used Silicon adhesive but that didn't work very well and it fell off.  I've tried GOOP and liquid nails with little luck and believe my initial instinct of using 3M 5200 Marine adhesive will work.  It's hard to find but I need to do something before the following weekend.

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