Friday, May 29, 2015

Finally! I caught something

The family and I spent a day one weekend with Robin and among the outdoor activities we did, we got to go fishing!  Given my track record here, I didn't have much hope of catching anything but any excuse to be on a boat is good enough for me.

Hubby, O, Robin and her husband Steve and I piled into the boat and launched into East Musquash Lake.  O was all about helping me reel in the line and being outside.  He was not so excited about his lifejacket but it helped that we all had them on.

O and I casting and reeling
 My goal for him is to be a fisherman so that he can better teach me - and so that we can cover all of our bases by having a hunter and fishermen bringing food to the table.

O wanted to jump into the 50 degree water and was mad that I wouldnt let him.
We trolled for a while and enjoyed the breeze and beautiful weather.  It was a perfect Maine day and we could not have picked a better one to spend outside.  It is easy to lose track of the day when you have great friends and great weather and are on a boat!

We pulled in the trolling lines and headed over to a shallow spot to try our luck at catching bass.  Robin and I stood up and started casting.  I was hesitant at first; hooks, a two year old and four adults on a boat and this adult is a horrible caster!  Robin told me to not think about it and just cast.  It was like she put a magic spell on me because I threw out the best casts of my life!  I didn't even care about what I was doing or if I would catch anything.  It was fun to be out there. 

I got to the point where I could cast without really thinking about it and while still talking to everyone on the boat. 

Then... I had something hit my line! I got something! I started reeling and reeling and remembered to set the hook, or at least try to.  I could see the fish on the line getting closer and closer... Robin and Hubby rushed to get the net ready as the fish came into view close to the boat.  It was a Pickerel and no one wanted to get that guy off the hook - they have teeth.  I started to lift him up from the water and he threw the hook.  The entire boat seemed to sigh. At least I had caught something.

I reeled everything in and straightened out my lure and cast again.  Another bite! I hoped that it was not that pickerel again.  I tried to set the hook (I really am not sure if I am doing it correctly) and kept the tip of my reel down.  I started reeling and Robin and Hubby were ready again with the net.  I could see the white belly as I reeled the fish in closer to the boat.  Robin put the net in the water and scooped him up Its a brookie! She yelled You caught a brookie!

I was just excited that I had caught a fish.  Can I keep him?  Steve pulled out the rule book and declared that yes, he was legal size if I wanted him.  Yes please!  But, that fish didn't want to go easily and got himself stuck in the net with the hook well embedded in him.  And Robin got hooked on the lake bottom with her rod.

Me waiting for Robin and Hubby to untangle my fish (see below)
Here is the scenario: Steve is driving the boat around to where Robin's lure is stuck in hopes of getting it unstuck.  I am holding onto my fishing rod because the fish is still attached to it.  Hubby and Robin are trying to get the fish off the hook and keep the two yer old under control who is not impressed at all with a flailing fish. 

They got my fish unhooked and we got Robin's lure back and reeled in.  O calmed down but wanted nothing to do with the fish, except to know where it was at all times so he could avoid it.  We measured him up and he was a legal fish!  We packed him away so O wouldn't freak out and cast a few more times before heading in and on to our next adventures. 

Me and my Brook Trout
It is not the biggest fish but it is my first fish!  And he tasted delicious.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Honest Kitchen: Trout

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.

I will get to how I got the trout in a little bit, but let's skip ahead to how to eat it!

I did not get photos of how we cleaned it, but it was literally three cuts; two angled from the front side fins towards the head to remove the head and one up the belly to remove the guts.  This is what it will look like.  Look at those spots!

Since I wanted to quickly cook this fish up, I didn't bother buying any lemons or trying to make it fancy.  I washed the fish down, and dredged it in some flour, salt and pepper, making sure to get both sides.

Then, melt some butter in a frying pan over medium heat.

Put that fish in there and cook it for 5-8 minutes on each side.  To be honest, I did not keep track of the time but watched for the color of the flesh to change from pink to more opaque and for the smell to start making my mouth water.

Since this was the first fish that I have ever caught and cooked, I let the fish cook a little longer than I thought I should have just to make sure that it was done.

It was also the first time I have ever de-boned a fish!  And I was successful in getting every one of those little buggers out before I ate the fish.  I didn't worry about making anything to go with it, I ate it straight off the bone with my fork. 

It was one of the easiest things that I have done and for someone who is just getting into fishing, it was surprisingly easy.  Maybe if it were a bigger fish, then I would have been in trouble, but this guy was fantastic!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunrise on the Big Lake

I woke up very early on our first full day in Grand Lakes Stream ( I think it was because I knew that we were going to spend the day with Robin) but I snuck out of the cabin and onto the dock to take photos of the sunrise.  I have not doctored any of these photographs and they are in chronological order... it is just that spectacular!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Birds on the Big Lake

From the dock and our porch window, we could see all kinds of great bird sightings.  I wrote about the osprey here but wanted to share a few more pictures:

A pair of loons hanging out near the dock
Anyone know what kind of bird this is?

The nesting pair of osprey at sunrise

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Osprey's dinner

We were hanging out at the dock at Chet's Camps when we heard squawking and saw this osprey flying and swooping and seeming to taunting the two loons that were in front of us.  The osprey has what looked like bass in its talons.

Osprey landing with a fish in its talons
Looks like the osprey caught a bass

Friday, May 15, 2015

There is nothing wrong with more bucks

I am now going to be stalking the trail camera pictures and probably trying to put out more as the summer goes on.  This is a new buck - a little smaller than the earlier one that I posted which means that at least a couple of them made it through the winter and with the amount of does that are around, I would say that we have a pretty healthy deer herd hanging around!

Look at those pedicals

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Honest Kitchen: Atlantic Salmon

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.

The other night, I wanted to make a yummy salmon dish that was quick, easy and tasted great.  I pulled out some salmon that I received from a fish guy that I know and decided to do a little spice rub combo'd with an avocado that I had. 

The best way to deal with fish and clean up, is to use foil to help keep the juiced in and not burn on to the glass dish.

When you are looking for spices to add to your kitchen, really - go to Wild Cheff and just buy a handful of them.  This Honey Chile was perfect to rub into the salmon.  I drizzled some olive oil on the fish and then put a decent amount of this rub on top and let it set for a few minutes before I popped it into the over at 350.

Next, I chunked up the avocado and mixed it with a little red onion and lime juice (maybe two tablespoons) until it was well blended.  I do not like onion, so I will add less next time.  I suggest starting with about 1/4 of the onion and add more if you are a fan.

I made some couscous to go with the salmon and topped the avocado mixture on top.  It may not look overly fancy but the mixture allowed for the creamy to counter with the spicy and that was (to quote my two year old, who actually ATE it!) delicious!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mud season tracks

I would love to find the owner of this track!

Deer hair in their travel paths

As much of a pain as mud season it, it is a great way to see where the deer are and how big some of them are getting.  It is almost like snow because it gives you a great idea of what is traveling through.

I was very happy to see all of the deer tracks but then I saw this one.  It wasn't as fresh as some of the deer tracks but it wasn't too old either.  Looks like I am hunting something besides deer and turkey this year.

Good size coyote track

Saturday, May 9, 2015

I spy (answered)

Did you see the camo's critter?  Here are some better photos of him.

He still has white on his back feet and belly but the majority of him is brown now.  I hope he sticks around for a while - without eating all of the plants.

Friday, May 8, 2015

I spy...

I spy with my little eye...

I snapped a few pictures of this critter as it scurried across the lawn.  It was hard to see when he was in the brush but I got a few good ones when he came back out onto the lawn and again the next morning.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Honest Kitchen: The best basic burger

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.

If you have never gotten burger from a specialize meat market or made it yourself, you don't know what you are missing.  Maybe that is a good thing, ignorance can be bliss but trust we when I tell you to take the time and go get some local burger.  It is nice to know that there are no mystery ingredients in the meat and that the time from cow to burger is traceable instead of an unknown amount of time. Local and organic really does make a better burger - you can taste it.

Here is my favorite recipe for a basic burger - nothing too fancy and feel free to add whatever you wish, but this is the best starter burger I have ever made.

1. Get a pound of burger from the local butcher
2. Get some great cheese crumbles.  I prefer something with flavor like the garlic & herb feta.
3. Add some into the burger and mix.  Better to add a little at a time than too much!

4. Make that cheesy-burger ball into some burgers and throw 'em into a frying pan.  I highly suggest a cast iron frying pan!  Since the cheese will melt, you will want to cook them on a lower heat than normal and probably flip more than normal to make sure the cheese doesn't stick to the pan.

5. Break out the condiments. Raye's make a great local mustard and they have a bunch of varieties to choose from.  Add whatever you like, really, but in keeping with the local, honest cooking, I like this.

6. Enjoy!!! And with the cheese (and flavors) all through the burger, you don't have to worry about it  not melting enough.  I suggest adding sauteed mushrooms and some lettuce but that is just me.