Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Learning to forage

I don’t trust myself not to kill myself. I wish I did. But I am going to learn! And the first step in this process was heading out into the woods with my friend Robin Follette during some downtime at BOW. We were off in search of edible mushrooms!

My love of mushrooms is not normal. They are my selling item at a restaurant; if a dish has mushrooms in it, I will order it. I can eat mushrooms with every meal. But one thing I can not do; identify which ones in the woods are actually safe for me to pick and eat.

Robin agreed to show me some basic mushrooms. She told me what they were and talked about how to make sure they are edible or not.






Fast forward a couple of weeks and I met Greg Marley at the Common Ground Fair. He hears me raise my voice as I enter the tent “Ohhh mushrooms!!!” and knows he has an easy sell on his hands. He hands me a cup of Chaga Chai to drink and tells me about some courses he is teaching and how I can learn how to not kill myself.

My plan now is to take what Robin has taught me, add in a course by Greg and see if I am confident enough to go into the woods to find some mushrooms. I doubt I will be at first, but I wont know if I don’t try. And I do love mushrooms!

Monday, September 24, 2012

I got kinda distracted...

So, I do have 3 more blogs to write about Becoming an Outdoors Woman. They are already drafted and the photos are ready to go. But, I got distracted.

Last fall, my friends invited Hubby and I to their house. We headed to a local fair and then Jason convinced us that it would be really fun to pick tomatoes from the garden and then make tomato sauce. Apparently, I would be one of the kids painting the fence in Tom Sawyer.

This year, I went out and bought all of the attachments I would need for my KitchenAid and set about making my own tomato sauce. For the record, I hate tomatoes, so wrap your brain around that!

But, I am a sucker for good, homemade stuff. And harvest season. And getting an amazing deal on tomatoes from a great local farmer. As a result, instead of blogging and posting, I did this:






When all was said and done, I had 8 pints of corn and 6 quarts of tomato sauce.
I am SO ready for the snow to fly - I am like a squirrel collecting nuts =)



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Becoming an Outdoors Woman: Fishing the right way

We could not have asked for a better weekend for the BOW Skills Weekend. It was crisp, mostly sunny and the excitement was palpable. 106 women, 36 different sessions taught be awesome instructors and most of the Friend of Maine BOW board members were there. It was a time to test our skills, try new things and learn to push ourselves to do things we might have thought we could not do.

For me, I wanted to try Don Kleiner’s session: Intro to Freshwater Fishing. After my trip to Jackman, I needed all the help and advice I could get.

Big, big kudos to Don! If you can ever take a class he is teaching, do it. He encourages questions, clearly knows what he is talking about and has an infectious laugh. The 6 of us in his session were put at ease and enjoyed having a smaller group to be able to get more one on one instruction.

Don introduced himself, his business and assured us that if he could teach kids to fish, we shouldn’t have a problem. He got us started by practicing the improved clinch. His confidence in us was fantastic and I think we quickly got the hang of it. He explained that when using monofilament line to tie the knot, we needed to wet the line to reduce the heat (which could cause the line to weaken or break) and thus, keep the line strong. One woman in our group laughed, “So that’s why my husband does that! I thought he was just weird.”

Don had us piece together our rods, tie on the hook, a small sinker and a bobber. Then it was off to the water’s edge to catch fish.

We were using closed-faced rods, so unlike my rod at home, there was a button that I needed to push to let the line out. We spent time casting without bait on the hook first. It was a sad state of affairs. I tried and I tried and the bobber would end up maybe 2 feet away from me. At its worst, it ended up at my feet. Don assured me that it was equipment failure and attempted to prove it. His cast went about 20 (probably more) feet into the water. I tried again and again. Having helped the other women with their casting and preparing to bait our hooks, Don assured me that there must be a knot in my line and processed to pull line out of the reel until he found what might be considered a knot.

With a new line ready to go, I started casting again. Only this time, I didn’t think about where my feet were, where my hips were or really where my thumb was when I released the line. And it worked! Before I knew it, I was getting the bobber more than 5 feet in front of me. My first cast with a worm, I caught a sunfish! (and proved that Darwinism is a real thing.) Soon, the group had caught sunfish, small mouth bass, large mouth bass and I caught 2 yellow perch. Pretty much everyone in our group had caught a fish and got the chance to cast a lot. One woman said she wanted to be able to get her fishing pole ready by herself because up until that point, her husband had done it and just handed the pole to her. Another wanted to prove to herself that she could put the worm on the hook herself, without getting grossed out. And I wanted to learn a new skill that will hopefully turn into another outdoor passion.
I loved the class and became confident enough that when I got home Sunday night from the weekend, I knew how to take apart my fishing pole, how to tie off the line and where to store the rod until next time.

Knowing that I can now go out and be a basic level fisherwoman all by myself is a great feeling. Now, instead of the comedy of errors that was the trip to Jackman, I am now confident that I can catch something, even if its a sunfish the next time I go out. I am ready now!

Final count: Fish 2 Erin 3

Thank you Don!







Sunday, September 16, 2012

Becoming an Outdoor Woman

I joined the Becoming an Outdoor Woman in Maine board in April because I love the outdoors and write a blog about hunting. I joined because my friend Rabid sent me the application. I attended board meetings and started understanding what is it we do as Friends of Maine Bow.

But it wasn't until this weekend that I got it.

We help to empower women to be confident and know that they can do anything they put their minds to. From hatchet throwing to freshwater fishing to muzzle loading and beyond, there was no skill these women could not do.

We laughed, we cried and we shared stories that linked our experiences closer than I think many of us realized.

Over the next week, I will be posting stories about the classes I sat in on, the women I met and my hopes for next year's Skills Weekend

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall and Family Traditions


I love fall. I love the cooler air and the countdown to hunting season. I love the prospect of the first snow and being able to break out the sweaters. Fall is when I can finally get back outdoors and relax. And its harvest season.


This year, I have a pressure cooker and huge lobster pot in my kitchen. Both have been used for canning. I have beans and tomatoes canned and ready for winter. I have apples and tomato sauce on the list that needs to get canned before hunting season starts and I have no free time.

One of the things that is a must for my family in the fall is apple picking. It is one more thing the deer and I have in common; our love of fresh apples off the tree. Last weekend, my Mom and I made our first (of many) trips to a local apple orchard, North Star Orchards. We have been picking apples with the Dimock family for 20 years or more. We are on a first named basis with most of the family, which adds to the draw of wanting to come back again and again. It’s a trusted relationship and they will help us (more so me) with questions about which apples are best for… apple pies, apple butter, apple sauce or which goodie baskets are best to be sent to family across the US. It is a welcomed family tradition to pick apples here and be able to support local farms of all kinds. And so worth me driving almost two hours to meet my Mom here and enjoy the sun and apples!


So, I say welcome fall! Welcome the cold temps and the countdown to hunting season. Here is to enjoying the harvest season, the fresh veggies and fruit that we can pick off the trees and vines.

And here is to being one day closer to hunting season.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Trouble with Trail Cams

I need some advice. Dad and I have 3 trail cameras that are spread throughout our hunting grounds. In the past, we have seen photos like this:






But now, we are getting photos of the trees. We have tweaked the timing so they are set for 15 seconds between photos. We have them where the deer are (as evidence by the tracks) but no photos of deer. We have them in the same spots we did at some point last year when we got the above photos. So…

What are we doing wrong???