Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Apple Cider Time

Cider Press with Grinder
A couple of weeks ago the apple harvest began in earnest and when it was all said and done I suspect we had over 20 bushels of apples to deal with.  So what does a guy do with 20 bushels of apples .... well, the quickest thing is to make it into a drinkable form.  Here is a picture of my cider press with an apple grinder attached to the top of it.  I don't know why I did take any good pictures last night, I guess I was working too hard! Depending on the type of apples we get from 2 - 3 gallons of pressed cider per bushel of apples.  It is always good to blend varieties of apples, as I believe it makes for a better balanced juice, not too tart with a full rich flavor.  As stated before, the majority of the apples this year consisted of Haralson, Fireside, Honey Golds, McIntosh, and Wolf River varieties.  I personally like a good base of Haralson apples (Tart) blended with the Honey Golds(super sweet) , a fantastic combination.  This year we had a bumper crop of Haralsons which made up the basis for most of our cider.  Last night we doubled down with quite a crew to finish the 8 bushels of apples we had left before the weather turns cold on Thursday night.  My crew consisted of my neighbors, Lory and Lyn Brasel, Todd and his daughters Allie and Brenna, along with my friend Jack and Janet Taylor with their son Ben, and of course myself and Lyn.  It was a lot of fun as we ground up the rest of the apples and pressed 17 gallons of fabulous apple cider.  I would say that we processed around 50 gallons of cider this fall.  Lory took 12 gallons and has started making wine, Todd has got about 11 gallons and he is making hard cider out of it, and the Lyn's will be making apple sauce, all is good at the Anderson Orchard!  What was really fun is to have both or Todd's girls and Ben help with the process.  It is fabulous to work with the outstanding young people as some of my fondest memories growing up was hanging out with my dad's friends, Vic Wenaas, Daniel Van Pelt, Art Kelley, my uncles Keith, Dewey, and Jerry, Gyle and Bud Tollefson, all treated me as their friend and always had a lot of expectations of me, which was good.  I love paying that forward to our young people today.  Even at 62 I cannot help but remember Art Kelley who loved pheasant hunting and would have me clean his pheasants for $0.50 each.  For me the money was the bonus, just to be thought of as one of the guys was all I needed to be happy.  Or cat fishing with Vic or bailing hay with Gyle, these guys still influence my decisions every day and hopefully I can be that for some young person going forward!

Last weeks post was a summary of my day of fishing with my good friend Bill Lundeen at a special trout lake north of his shop.  As stated previously, I acquired an in line camera called the Water Wolf that attached to my main fishing line causing the camera to face backwards towards the lure.  I attached an 18 inch crawler rig with a spinner and used a half a crawler and embedded it to the 2 hook rig.  The results is sort of random as being in a canoe, I wasn't about to bring a computer with me to validate the camera's integrity, so it would be what it was!  In total I filmed over 2 hours of action with the camera facing the bait.  I have a guy at work who with my help we edited down to about 15 minutes and admittedly it's pretty cool as the trout are quite easily recognized and even though it was a 2 hook rig and I made sure the hook were sticky sharp, it was amazing how many hits that did not hook up.   The sounds that are present are the sinkers banging against the body of the camera as the fish hit and fight.  Some of the highlights points are at the 3:00 mark I am reeling up to check my bait after a sunfish hit it a few seconds earlier.  You can tell the lure is getting close to the surface as the background color goes from green to blue.  Just near the top a rainbow trout hit the nightcrawler and I catch it.  At around 7:28 you can see a sunfish go after the lure however a trout decided it was going to succeed and soon became dinner!  At around the 8:10 mark you will see 3 trout come after the lure, and of course one does eventually get it!  One of the things that was interesting is how long some of these fish will follow the lure before getting striking it.  Anyway it's interesting as the camera is tied right to the line.  You can be assured I used a heavy duty rig with 40# Fireline.  Now that I have some experience, I am going to see how it would work icefishing as it would be a lot better with the camera inline with the bait instead of simply sitting next the main line down the hole.  Less tangles for sure.

Well they are predicting snow on Friday night, maybe this is a good omen for ice fishing this year.  Still there is a lot to do yet, dig potatoes, finish putting the Salem Ice Cabin back together, getting the boat up to Frankies to finish those less important issues that need to be taken care of.  This weekend means I need to put up my deer stand and get my license.  Uffda time moves!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Trout Fishing With Bill

Nice Rainbow Trout
For the last few years, the third week in October generally means a trip with my friend Bill Lundeen to fish trout is in order.  This week was no exception as we could not have planned a more perfect day.  We took off  to Bill's "secret" lake where we launch the canoe complete with front and rear depthfinders, electric trolling motor, and a definite cramped style that takes a bit to get comfortable with, which is not impossible.  This year I decided to purchase a Water Wolf underwater camera that attaches directly to your line.  The camera looks back as you tie your lure to the end of it, therefore you can record a video of the bait going through the water and any of the fish that happen to strike the lure.  The camera has 4 hours of battery life and a 32 gb memory card, the card and on/off switch is embedded under a water tight cap so once you turn it on, it's on.  It purely records video and records everything, however you do not have any feedback on how you are doing until you pull out the memory card and put it in a viewer.  Because it's a .mov file, it has to be a compatible viewer and for me, Quicktime seems like it is the only easy accessible viewer that works.  Therefore you don't know if you have too much weigh making the lens point up or down, not straight back.  Obviously speed makes a difference as well.  We fished from about 11:00 AM til 2:00 in the afternoon and accomplished catching our limit each of nice trout.  In addition there is about 2 hours of video that needs to be edited down to show the highlights of the action.  It is very cool but it probably won't be done for a couple of days so I will have to add it to a future post.  I did get to see some of the video recordings before starting to write this and admittedly it's pretty interesting.  Fearing I could lose the camera, it was fastened to one of my casting rods with 30 lb test braided line.  Luckily we did not run into any issues as the transducer position gave me a perfect understanding of how deep I was.  Either way it's simply amazing how hard those fish hit the lure, one 13 inch fish almost jerked the rod right out of my hand.  In two and a half hours we stopped our trolling and started to cast simple ice fishing spoons that we use for walleyes, and had very good luck.  It was a nice change of pace as well.  As soon as the edited video is done, it will go on my Youtube channel, elevadave, and I think you will find it interesting for sure!

Nice crappie, unfortunately the only one I caught!
Getting our trout early means there is time in the rest of the day to crappie fish.  We chose Camp
Lake, just west of Mille Lacs for our destination.  Camp is a very pretty lake and the deepest areas of the lake tend to be about 30 feet deep.  Here the crappies tend to follow their predictable patterns and start schooling in the deeper structures, suspending off the bottom.  These schools are relatively easy to find on the depthfinder, look for solid marks or blobs just off the bottom or suspended half way in 25 feet or deeper water.  After checking out the issues with Bill's trolling motor earlier, we were successful in having it work for our crappie fishing which is critical, for as soon as we mark a school of fish, we hit the anchor mode on the trolling motor and fish the area.   Bill seemed to have the crappie touch this time as I sat and watched him pull in one after another.  Finally decided that maybe they didn't like an orange jig or I wasn't deep enough, I finally switched to a chartreuse color.  As well, I added a large split shot just above the jig head to aid in it's descent.  I finally nailed a really nice crappie, the largest of this portion of our adventure.  With the sun setting and a desire to get something to eat, we left before it got dark.  It would have been nice to get a number of this size fish but our excuse was that it was quite windy therefore making it hard to fish with light line in deeper water............sounds good to me!! It turned out to be a beautiful day, we caught some nice fish and spent some quality quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of work.  I am so glad that this has become a tradition for us, I really enjoy the fishing and spending time with Bill.  As a bonus, I even bought some of his hand harvested Wild Rice, it is so good!

The neighbors Todd, Lory, Lynn and my wife Lyn, they all helped to get the apples picked.  If I had to guess, I'll bet there is over 20 bushels of apples.  On Tuesday we pressed 8 gallons of cider and barely made a dent.  Todd needs cider to make his homemade hard cider and Lory needs about the same, 10 gallons to make his homemade apple wine.  As long as they help, it's a good use for the apples, but admittedly it's a lot of work.  I guess that's what makes it so good!  Definitely have cider pressing on the agenda for this week end.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fall is Finally Here

Haralson Apples
Well, it's the week of October 9th and we finally received our first killing frost of the autumn season early this week.  It wasn't too long ago that we would have a frost in September and this time of year would be known as Indian Summer, the warming period after the first frost.  The first frost also is the signal that most of my apples are ready to harvest.  As some of you know I have a small orchard on my land that consist of about 7 mature apple trees and 3 mature pear trees.  The pears were done a month ago and our neighbor has taken some and canned them as well, has a batch of pear wine brewing in his basement. My main varieties of apples include McIntosh, Haralson, Fireside, Honeygold, Haralred, Zestar, and I have a rouge Wolf River apple that provides a great conversational piece as they often weigh up to a pound each.  The McIntosh apples are generally the earlier ripening apples and although good, they turn mushy pretty fast.  I actually have 2 of these trees, personally I would not have planted another one however like my wolf River apple, the trees were mismarked at the nursery and by the time they are producing apples it's too late to complain.  One other issue that I have is the trees were planted in the early 1990's and 27 years later they are starting to die off one by one.  I talked to a guy who seems to know what he's talking about and his claim is the trees only last about 25 to 30 years then fade away.  I am sure that a a disease known as fire blight doesn't help, some of my trees are more resistant to it however my Honeygold's and Fireside's seem to be more susceptible to this as I have lost a couple of my trees in the last few years and this summer I had 4 heavily laden branches simply break off, and these were substantial limbs.  Oh well, I am not a big fan of the Honeygold apples anyway as they seem to turn brown quite easily.  The gentleman at Anoka Feed Store sold me some fire blight spray which I will try next spring.  In the meantime this year is a bumper crop so the harvest goes on.  The frost is great for the Fireside apples, my favorite of them all and the plan is to get out the cider press and maybe make 10 - 20 gallons of fresh cider.  Both my neighbors have sight on getting some cider, on will make apple wine and the other wants to try and get good at making hard cider.  I am all for it as the truth of the matter is.......what the heck am I going to do with all of these apples!  They are very good to eat for sure!

Check Out the Size of that Minnow!
Being preoccupied with my fall routines gives little time to go fishing.  To be fair, my travels have put me behind in a number of things and as well, the older I get the lazier I get!!  Never the less my friends continue to report on their fishing successes and one such guy is Pete Mlinar of Monticello, MN. Pete is an amazing river rat and it's been a while since I have fished with him however he is the guy who got me going on fishing the Mississippi River.  His technique is quite simple, fish the largest Redtail or Creek Chubs you can and hang on. He has been teasing me with his pictures of  the walleye's they are getting on the river and I have to admit, it working.  Pete is retired so it's easier for him to just leave and fish whenever he wants.  He sent me this picture earlier this week of a nice walleye he had gotten however the first thing I noticed was the size of the minnow in the walleyes mouth.  I call him and asked if this was staged but he assured me that this came right out of the water, if you look closely you can see the line under his wrist.  That is pretty amazing.  Now he did sent some pictures of the 27 inch walleyes that they caught but to me this one was the most impressive.  I know that they simply bounce rigs off the bottom in 10 - 12 foot holes in the river, something I would like to try behind the house as I know where these holes are.  Just where to find the time is always the problem.  One of the things I have learned to do is shoot photography.  I have a nice camera and photoshop to process them.  Over the years I have done a lot of my friends and relatives, and their children's wedding photo's but admittedly that takes time.  This Saturday I am committed to help a friend out and do his wedding pictures. I hate to turn my friends down when they ask however for the most part I'm going to be there anyway I might as well be doing something.  These events always come with a caveat, I am not a professional and I will shoot it in a more casual theme.  Well, that along with picking apples will pretty much eat up all my time this weekend.

Wednesday is my annual Trout fishing date with Mr. Lundeen.  We go to his secret lake and fishing out of a canoe we generally do quite well, each coming back with our limit of 14 - 17 inch rainbow trout.  The lake is quite clear so this year I have a Water Wolf, in line underwater camera with hopes to capture some footage of the trout hitting the spinners we pull behind.  We will see and maybe next week I'll have some interesting results.   Like everything it will probably take me a few days to learn this.  Still need to get my step welded on the Ranger Trailer, The boat goes in next week to Frankies and have some of my lingering issues taken care of before the winter. I really need to grease the wheel bearings on my Ice Cabin before it get's too cold.  The list goes on and on and on and on!  Heck somewhere I have to fit sighting in my gun for deer hunting which is 3 weeks away.  Next Wednesday my good friend Mark Applen is heading to Colorado to hunt elk and I am pretty excited to see the results.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Back From Chicago

My Friend Gary Hicks and a Nice Lake Michigan King Salmon
This week was spent in Chicago at the International Coil Winding show, sounds exciting doesn't it! It gives me a chance to touch base with all of my important vendors who service our business as well cmake contact with my fellow colleagues, who own their own transformer winding companies to see how they are doing. Of course most of my friends at the show know about how much I like to fish and as well have fished with me in the past at conferences around the United States.  One of those guys is Gary Hicks, he is the owner of Dongan Electric Manufacturing in Frazier, Michigan.  He is also an avid fisherman and when I saw him on Tuesday the first order of business was talking about his salmon fishing trip on Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan.  That really brought back some memories of the mid 1980's when my friend Kevin Aiona and I would meet Gary Barneson in Appleton then go over to Algoma or Two Rivers Wisconsin and troll for salmon and trout in my 16 foot Lund Pro Angler boat with a 50 hp, 4 cylinder, tiller Mercury motor.  That was some of the best fishing times I have experienced.  Gary Barneson lived in Appleton at the time and he became quite proficient at fishing Lake Michigan in small boats...........heck he had (still has) an Early 1980's S14 Deluxe with a 25 hp Johnson tiller motor, he was my influence as in 1982 I bought the very same rig.  The 16 foot boat wasn't much larger however the 50 hp Merc purred like a kitten yet it would burn a gallon of gas an hour at trolling speed.  We really never encountered bad weather as the wind was more often from the west which would blow the warmer surface water to the east and the colder water from the deep would replace it.  Surface temperatures would often be in the high 40's so the fish would not be very deep at all, often in the 20 to 40 foot range.  We had 2 downriggers, 2 large planar boards, a couple of Dipsy Divers, the two of us could legally rig up 3 lines apiece.  Our tackle consisted of very light weight spoons we called Northport Nailers, brightly colored 6 inch minnow baits like Rebels, and flashers and rubber squids, we'd alternate baits and different colors to try and figure out what the fish would hit more consistently then switch the lines to those baits or colors.Downriggers were dropped to 40 feet, Dipsy Divers took the bait down and out, meanwhile the
Captain Aiona Running the Tiller!
trolling boards would get your bait away from the boat in case it was spooking the fish. It was fun as you never knew what would hit what.  One of the nice things that you could do in a smaller boat is stop the motor and fight your fish.  If you notice the prop wash in the picture of Gary, the charters never stop their boats.  Because of the amount of lines out and the mad scramble, they would simply let the water push the fish to the top and if everything worked out right you would reel that fish up the prop wash.  Kevin and I did it differently.  If we hooked a fish we'd hollar.......FISH ON and the scramble began.  The other guy in the boat would crank up the down riggers, trip the dipsy lines and reel them in, and depending on what the fish was caught on and where it was, we would usually leave the trolling boards out as well.  Then the fight was on!  We were fighting the fish on our terms and fight they would often pulling the boat until it or we were exhausted  At that time the fish were pretty good size as we would go in Mid July when Gary could get off.  It was certainly a team effort as we'd normally take turns steering the boat as the downrigger board was secured to the middle of the boat and we needed that leverage and space to reel them up each time.  The usual bag of fish included  King Salmon, Coho Salmon, Rainbow trout, Brown trout and the occasional lake trout that showed we would try for every once and a while. The last time I fished Lake Michigan was probably in 1986 with my dad and brother as we were on a trip to visit my Uncle in Sheboygan.  Today I understand because of the water clarity most have to fish away from the boat and using super long lines and or lead or copper lines to get the bait down.  We did get some nice fish however, King Salmon in the 35 pound range, Coho's (Silver) in the 15 -20 pound range and big football shaped browns in the 16 pound range.  We occasionally went out into the 120 feet of water and hauled some beautiful lake trout up from the bottom.  It was interesting as the boat had a paper graph for a depthfinder.  I wish I would have saved some of those rolls of paper as they told an interesting tale indeed.

Inside of my Rod Storage Lid delaminating
This weekend is my cousin Paul's daughter's wedding, as well I have plenty of apples to pick and process.  With little time available, I have been cleaning the sand out of the boat from the Lac Seul trip a few weeks ago.  Opening the rod locker, something didn't seem right so I forced it open and apparently the fiberglass is delaminating.  I sent this picture to Frankies and told them to order a new cover, thy said it should be covered under warranty.  Pulling the carpet back in the cockpit area to dry out, I decided to look at the batteries. sure enough the latch pulled right out.  These latches are very heavy duty and I have never had one do this on my last 3 boats.  I found the back flange the keeps it in place, stopped at my neighbor Todd's and he gave me new stainless steel replacement bolts.  A little blue Loctite thread locker on the threads and it's good as new.  Today was the day to get the trailer step welded but the weather doesn't look so good that will have to wait till next week sometime.  We haven't had a frost yet so everything is pretty green, that will probably change next week.  Bill and I usually go trout fishing in October so I have committed to go in a couple of weeks however both of us are quite busy so we will see what happens.  Deer hunting is in 4 weeks and the long term forecast is for a cold winter, maybe enough to allow us to pull the wheel house out on Red Lake over Thanksgiving like we did in 2015.