Friday, April 17, 2015

In search of chaga

If you were out in the woods and saw this, would you be able to know it was chaga right away?  I was lucky that I had Robin with me and she was able to point it out with 100% certainty of what it was. She was also on top of things and brought a saw to get it off the tree.

It was a beautiful, somewhat windy day and we got out in snowshoes before it got too sloppy and slushy.  It was almost hot when the wind died down. 


We took two pieces off of the tree and went in search of more, which we did not find.  I am hoping to keep working on my ability to identify this in the woods when I am out now but it may take a time or two before I am totally confident in my finds.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Honest Kitchen: seared duck breasts

Honest Kitchen: Honest, whole food cooked from scratch. Simple, delicious and sometimes from the wild side. Robin, Erin and Michelle often prepare wild game, mushrooms, berries and other foods they harvest, grow or buy locally. Regardless - come cook with us. Copy this paragraph (please leave the links) into your blog and leave your link in comments each Wednesday so everyone can visit.

We were in the mood for something a little different and headed to Pat's Meat Market to see what they had that would not be totally foreign to cook.  The result was duck breast.

I put the meat in the warm pan with no added butter or oil.  Duck is fatty as is and I like the natural flavors better.  I kept the pan on medium heat and let the smells start permeating the kitchen and dinning room.  I flipped them once to sear it but let them cook while I prepared some roasted chickpeas and broccoli.

Duck is one of those meats that you cook like something else (bear, you treat like beef but cook like pork).  Duck, you can season like chicken (maybe) but can cook it like beef - you can have some pink. Yum! Yum! Yum!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Grand Lake Stream on Opening Day 2015

When some blogs just talked about opening day of fishing season, Robin Follette and I LIVED it!

I drove four hours north the day before to hang out with Robin and go on a few adventures (those posts are coming, but here is a sneak peek).  The biggest was to stand in the Stream in Grand Lake Stream on opening day and try our hand at fly fishing.  We didn't really care about catching a fish but we were excited to see the groups of people that would be there and the excitement surrounding the beginning of fishing season. 

We met up with Brian Donaghy of Epic Adventures to help us with gear and guidance. When we pulled into the parkinglot, we saw Brian and only 4 or 5 other vehicles.  This was not the crowded fishing adventure that people said that it would be. Robin and I were the only women there with about 6 or 8 other guys who were there to hang out and talk to people or fish.

Grand Lake Stream
Fishing the stream
Fishing the stream

Robin and I got into our waders and got ready to head into the water with Brian.  We had to get up and over the snowbanks and deal with a few icy spots but we made it.  I was borrowing waders from Brian and had to come to terms with the idea that my boots would fill with water but the waders and neoprene would keep me warm.  What I did not think about was that my boots fit my feet with one pair of socks on.  Add a couple pair and the waders and my feet were almost numb from the lack of circulation well before we walked into the icy water.  If I am going to keep fishing more, I may need to buy a pair of proper wader that fit.

Brian and Robin
The only two women fishing.  We don't look too bad!
Wind, layers and a fly rod

The sun felt wonderful and it was warmer standing in the water than when we got out.  Almost instantly there was ice forming on our waders, the eye of the rods and even the lines.  We were more excited about the act of being in the water and fishing on opening day than anything else.  As Robin said, it was 'a great morning of friendship, fishing and conversation.' I could not have agreed more.

Here is to more days on the water, fish that will be caught and great conversations with friends while enjoying the incredible Maine outdoors!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A True Maine Outdoors Woman!

The following is a copy of my article from the Northwoods Sporting Journal 

Who is on your short list when you think of outdoors women?  I would like to think that if you are reading my articles, that my name would be there.  I also hope that Robin Follette is on your list.  If it isn’t, you need to quickly head over to her website and be prepared to spend hours reading her stories and reviews.  She is one of the top outdoors women in Maine that you may not know about.

Last year, Robin declared that it was her year and she was going to attack that to do list with gusto.  She had a long list of goals having to do with her vegetable garden, flower gardens, fruit trees and bushes as well as trying to raise two pigs, six turkeys, meat chickens and ducks to provide meat all winter long. She also wanted to:

* Bow hunt turkey and deer

* Bear hunt

* Rifle hunt deer if bow hunt fails

* Moose hunt

* Partridge and woodcock hunt

And these are just a small sampling of her list from last year.  The best part about it was reading her stories as she checked each goal off the list.

On opening day of the season, Robin shot a 17 pound, 12 ounce Tom with a 9.5″ beard.  Her second turkey ever!  In September, after seeing a big bear on her trail camera, Robin made up her mind to dedicate the time needed to harvest that bear.  She told herself that she would make time (her daughter was getting married, she had teaching courses on the calendar etc) and put in a good effort in order to shoot her first bear.  Then, as she sat in her ground blind, she made the decision to take a wounded bear when it had a hard time opening the bait barrel. Knowing that it might not make it through the winter, Robin took her shot and got her bear.  Her trophy bear. 

Then, in November as I waited for my husband and Dad to come in from the woods, my phone started ringing.  It was Robin. I got so excited that I almost didn’t answer the call in time.  Seven years of deer hunting and she had just shot her first deer - a bruiser of a buck that weighed in at 188lb and had 8 points on his head.  In one year and lots of determination, she had three incredible hunts under her belt.  All of these experiences plus a whole host of others were documented on her blog for us to read and experience with her.

From battling snapping turtles and hunting turkey and bear to learning how to pickle deer heart, skinning ducks and raising/hunting a year's worth of free-range meat, Robin tackles any challenge head on and full of excitement to learn more.  When you read her blog, you can not help but get sucked in and become just as excited as she is.

I met Robin when we were both on the board of Friends of Becoming an Outdoors-Woman in Maine. Since then, Robin has continued to teach classes at each of the Introductory Skills weekends for BOW.  She is a community leader for the Woman and Our Woods program, run through the Downeast Lakes Land Trust and is actively promotes and encourage any woman who wants to learn more about hunting, fishing, homesteading etc. to do so and be comfortable asking questions.  She is there to help with questions about fishing, writing, cooking, gardening, hunting and is open to any thoughtful conversation.  Robin opens herself up to "anti-hunters" and encourages them to ask questions and have a dialogue, believing that we are not that different in our love of animals. 

We don’t celebrate the outdoor women around us enough and Robin Follette is one to be celebrated.  She is honest in the challenges and successes of outdoors women and celebrates them.  We are lucky to have her as a resource and advocate for hunters.  She is a true Maine outdoors woman!