Monday, June 29, 2015

You are not welcomed!



We have seen the tracks and scat and now... urgh! There were three pictures of him coming down a deer trail.  We had pictures of a doe walking in the opposite direction about 30 minutes before and then this. I might end up buying a call and seeing if I can lure him into the field by the Sky Condo.  The last thing we want are coyotes around, especially if we have a nice herd of deer and flock of turkey. 







Friday, June 26, 2015

Welcome back critters

Dad was able to mow the field around the Sky Condo the other day and when we pulled the memory card from the camera, I instantly put it into my digital camera and started turning the wheel to see if we had any bucks.  The first picture that I came to that had hunt-able animals were these:


The bird that we swore had disappeared into the ether when we were hunting suddenly came back in full force.  There were all kinds of pictures of turkeys.  Like this one.  I especially like that the jake made sure to show me his beard. 


I was more excited about this photo.  Not because it's a button but because that means that the bucks will hopefully start moving around.  We got the first photo of the 10 pointer last year, in August.  Although I can not remember if it was because that is when he started coming around or if that is when we started putting the cameras out.


He looks scrawny and not nearly as healthy as some of the does that we have around but he made it through the winter and will hopefully be a nice little spike this fall. 


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Honest Kitchen: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

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.


~~~

My grandmother passed away in September and a few weeks ago we were over at her house and my aunt picked some of the rhubarb that is there.   I offered to take it home and make some crisp with it.  We made a double batch so if yours doesn't look as full or like you have enough, that is why.  Below is how to make 1 batch.

Ingredients:
* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 3 cups fresh strawberries (don't use frozen because there will be extra liquid that you don't want)
* 3 cups diced rhubarb (in half-inch chunks)
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 cup butter
* 1 cup rolled oats

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 375
2. In a large bowl, mix sugar, strawberries, rhubarb and 3 tablespoons of flour

3. When mixed, pour into 9x13 baking pan


4. Mix flour, brown sugar, butter and oats together until crumbly.  Mom said I wasn;t mixing fast enough so I had her do it while I snapped a picture.

5. Pour topping on top of strawberry-rhubarb mixture.  Cover evening and don't worry about leaving any holes.  The juice will find its way up.

6. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Let set for 15 minutes before diving in.

Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fishing with friends

My friend Staci is a fisherwoman.  She had the gear, knows her stuff and has years of experience.  Somehow, someway, I convinced her to take me fishing.

We were watching the water height and strength online and it looked promising so that is where we headed.  An hour later we arrived to this:  the water had been released from the dam above and was raging.  I snapped a couple of pictures and we headed to a different spot to try out luck.


Staci said this was a little high compared to what it was a few days before when she was there with her husband but it seemed doable and we wanted to be able to cast a few times just to say that we did it.  I had received two pairs of waders from a retiring coworker so I was eager to try them out and hoped that they would hold up.

The bridge swung a little as we drove over it



We geared up, Staci put some ties on both of our fly rods (I watched her and tried to adjust the waders).  And we headed into the water.  I could feel the coldness hit my legs but the boots and pants did not leak and kept me very warm.

Staci knows what she is doing
I have a big learning curve in front of me

We didn't catch anything or have a single bite but it was a fun day out on the water in the woods of Maine.  The more I try to understand and learn how to fish the more addicted I can see myself becoming.  I need a tackle box so that I can graduate from my small plastic Cabela's bag but I have a pole and waders now, so I am slowing getting there.

I just need to practice and I will eventually get the hang out it, right?  Until then, I am thrilled that I have a fellow outdoor woman to go fishing with.

Friday, June 19, 2015

I want to stay at camp forever

About a month ago, we headed downeast for a well needed vacation.  It was the second year that we stayed at Chet's Camps and it was better than the first!

The Big Lake in Grand Lakes Stream
The most amazing thing happens when you turn off of the pavement and head towards Chet’s Camps in Grand Lakes Stream.  The world slips way and you are surrounded by beautiful waters, incredible hosts and world renounced fishing.   

Chet’s Camps were built in the early 1940’s and since their construction, the camps have served as seasonal camps for those who are eager to get away from everyday life and relax in the outdoors. The four cabins range in size but all have incredible views of the Big Lake and come equipped with everything you could possibly need; a shower, coffee pot, comfortable relaxing chairs and couches and from the front windows, you can watch loons swim by, hear osprey calling and watch them catch fish as well as catch some of the most breathtaking sunrises. 



Sunrise was at 4:15am on the Big Lake.

  In 2002, Chet’s Camps were bought by Sue and Al LePlante, two Maine Guides with a passion for the outdoors.  Both former teachers, Sue and Al work to promote the outdoors and are passionate about the outdoor issues that impact Maine and Grand Lakes Stream.  More than once I have been invited to come into their home and sit-down for great conversation about past hunts, latest catches and the need to preserve and protect Maine’s beautiful lands and incredible hunting and fishing resources.  Once you arrive at Camp, there is no need to look further for a local guide to help give you the inside scoop of where the best activities are, Sue and Al can help to customize your trip in a number of ways, from guided fishing, ATV trips, back country canoe and kayak expeditions, to GPS and Geocaching instruction, fly fishing instruction, and river expeditions.

That is what drew me to this hidden gem in Grand Lakes Stream and I spent my first Mother’s Day with a fly rod in my hand on the Big Lake with Al.  We were looking for some of the lake’s best known catches; salmon, small mouth bass, togue, perch and pickerel but all I caught was a small salmon that I had to throw back.  While we were trolling around the lake I had the opportunity to talk to Al about the rich fishing and Native American history of the area, the bear, grouse and deer hunting and the excellent hiking trails that have been established by the Downeast Lakes Lake Trust, for hikers of every kind. Al taught me how to cast and what proper fly casting form looked like.  He was more than happy to take the time out of his day to teach me how to tie a clinch knot to secure my look and answered all of my questions, no matter how small they may have seemed.



The Icehouse could be my favorite cabin on the lake
The first year that my family went to Chet’s Camps, we had our dog and 11 month old son.  Sue emailed me a few times prior to our arrival to make sure that I had everything taken care of or if I needed things like a Pack ‘n’ Play and highchair.  The cabin was packed with infant necessities and ready for us when we got there.  There is nothing better for a new mom then to know that things as simple as a high chair were waiting at camp so that we didn’t have to pack ours into an already filled car.  The second year that we headed back, Sue did the same thing and made sure the cabin was as family friendly as it could me.  Chocolate chip cookies, a basket of kids books and a stuffed loon were wonderful surprises that my son could enjoy when we were not playing on the docks, kayaking or fishing. 



Calm, beautiful water to kayak on.
A turtle hanging out on the rock.



In addition to the fishing, we used the available kayaks and paddled around the Big Lake and up the stream.  The minute that we said we may want to go, Sue had them ready down by the water with lifejackets and paddled waiting.  Our son was able to enjoy his first kayak trip as we paddled around, watching the loons and seeing the turtles sunbathing out on the rocks.  It was a perfect way to get outdoors as a family.  

After only two years of going to Chet’s Camps, my family and I already have great memories.  It is the place where we can relax and watch the Maine outdoors around us.  I hope that as we continue this yearly tradition, my son can begin to create his own fond memories of our time there on the Big Lake.

For anyone who wants to get away, go fishing or hunting and enjoys the Grand Lakes Stream area, Chet’s Camps is a must.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Honest Kitchen: Getting the most out of the Farmers Market

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.


When you don't have a garden, the best thing to do is head to the local farmers market and talk to the people who are growing massive amounts of food.  If you want to make honest food, talking to the people who are growing your food will help you to understand the conditions, how big the farm is and get to know the farmers themselves.


My first trip this season was a dream!  There was fresh bread, lots of greens and a mushroom booth!  I could eat mushrooms for every meal so I immediately made a b-line when I saw them.  The Maine Cap 'N' Stem is new to the market but I will be stopping by every time I go.



Local and honest.  You can not go wrong with that!  For me, I have to make a grocery list before I go otherwise, I will be buying everything I look at.  Different types of kale, chard, lettuce... how can you not want to buy them all?!



I love the smell of tomato plants but I hate tomatoes.  I can be an adult and eat them but given the chance, I will pass (although I make an incredible fried green tomato!) and let someone else munch on them. 

Each booth has someone working there that has gotten their hands dirty in the process of making and bringing these delicious foods to the market.  Not every market is this big, but there are farmers almost every where and it is never a bad thing to strike up a conversation with the farmers.  They are pretty great people who can share recipes, let you know what issues they may be having or how to best store the foods.  It's a city dwellers dream!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Doe sighting

There are three does around my parent's house.  One of them looks as though she doesnt have a tail OR that she has a solid white tail.  Over the past few weeks, she has disappeared, presumably to have a fawn.  I couldn't zoom in as much as I needed to, but I think this could be here.  I spotted her after I had put O to bed after his day long birthday party.


 
Also, there were not a lot of deer pictures on the trail camera when I checked it the day before.  A couple does, a racoon and some caterpillars crawling over the lens.  We need to mow the grass down and hopefully we can get some bucks walking through.

But, there are deer around and I will take that any day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

My kind of company

I have written a few times (here and here) about the lack of women's clothing in the outdoor industry that fit and do their job.  I have pieced together my hunting wardrobe with a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  Then, a friend of mine on Facebook posted something about EvoOutdoors and I checked them out.  It was like finding a pot of gold. Not just two pairs of pants that would not fit right or a jacket too big, but actual women's hunting clothes with options!  I wanted in.

This is my Classic Mainer look: WOOL!
This is how the website describes this awesome group that I am now a part of:

EvoOutdoors ProStaff Team members have a passion for the outdoors. They are a group that prides themselves in ethical hunting techniques and passing that tradition to the younger generation. You can find them sharing their talent mentoring others, volunteering in their community, and of course out in the field in the pursuit of game!

YES, PLEASE!

Have you ever started talking to people and found that you just click? The same interests, the same passion and the same enthusiasm for the outdoors, hunting and fishing.  It's fun and exciting to have conversations with people on the West Coast about their elk hunt, the types of cameras that they use and how to get better gear for our adventures.  THAT is what EvoOutdoors is!  This incredible, supportive group that have the wackiest, most entertaining conversations (online) with one another.  It is like stepping into a large family that is laughing and joking and genuinely like each other.  AND they have gear and clothes.  I don't think that it gets any better than this.


EvoOutdoors not only offers deals on some of the best clothing in the industry BUT they will actually pick out the clothes you need for your hunt.  Think Maine girl wanting to elk hunt (someday) and having no idea what I would need (probably not wool) - Evo would help me get the right clothing with the right camo pattern and take the guess work out of it.  Hello, spoiled hunter!

I'm thrilled to be a part of EvoOutdoors and help get more people the gear that they need for the best outdoor experience.  There is nothing worst than being cold or wet and unable to stay in the woods.  Evo has GREAT companies that are partnering with us, so there is something for everyone.  Kids, men and women(!!) can finally get clothes that fit, hold up and it takes the worry about of that part of preparing for your hunt.

 Evo shares great deals and discounts on their Facebook page, so give them a 'Like' and keep up with the deals, pre-order opportunities and the fun stuff we are doing in the outdoors.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

I am learning!

Slowly but surely, I am going to learn how to fly fish!  There is a blog coming (along with a couple turkey blogs) but until I can sit down and publish them... enjoy the view from the river.


We arrived about an hour after they released the water.
A little better!

Monday, June 1, 2015

What season is this again?

The night before we were going to be heading into the woods, I looked around for my home made box call and slate call and could not find them.  I only had a store bought box call, push call and electronic call.  I have tried and can not use the mouth calls, so those are pointless. I gathered up my camo and got ready for the 4am excursion. 

I can't help but wonder exactly why I want to go turkey hunting; it's a season of ridiculously early starts, ticks and warm weather. And ticks!  There is really not much that is appealing about it.  But, Dad and I were going to try to find a turkey. 

We started off at the Sky Condo in a ground blind.  We sat and waited. I used the chalked-up box call and the electric call.  I listened and waited.  It was like muscle memory coming back to me since I sit and wait while deer hunting.  I called some more and heard a noise. I motioned to Dad and I watched as one, two, three sets of legs emerged 25 yards from us.  The deer never smelled us until they were almost 2/3 of the way across the grass.  It was fantastic to watch them stretch their necks and lick their noses, trying to figure out what they were smelling that they couldn't see.  They stayed there for five minutes before deciding that they didn't want to risk whatever it was they could smell and they turned around and headed back into the piece of woods that they had just left.


She is trying to figure out what she is smelling

Dad and I called a little longer and then headed for the nearby corn field hoping to catch sight of a bird or two there.  We started walking up our regular deer hunting trail and jumped the same three deer.  They headed back towards the Sky Condo and we kept walking.  I would call every once in a while and listen.  Absolutely nothing.  I took pictures and did find a small turkey feather, proof that they had been around at some point.

Look how well we blend in
About 100 yards from the field, I called again with the electronic call.  Branches snapped and we saw four or five deer jump.  It was a different bunch than the original three.  They moved their heads around the trees tying to figure out what we were.  I guess our camo worked fairly well.  I called again and the deer ran off.  If nothing else, we knew that we had a very healthy deer herd around.

This is where the turkeys should be

The field was empty.  No other deer and no turkeys.  The flocks that we had seen just a few months ago seemed to have vanished.   We turned around and headed to a new location. 

Dad and I slowly drove down the dirt road and stopped occasionally to call and listen.  There is a partridge that resides on a certain corner. He was there checking us out and seemed to like the turkey call.  He may have liked it but there were no turkeys around to answer.   We continued down the road and listened.  Again, there were a lot of deer tracks but no turkeys.  We got out of the car and walked around.  Dad found a deer tick on his leg and showed it to me to verify that it was what he thought it was.   He killed it but it sent me into a frenzy trying to make sure that I didn't have any on me. Yuck!

First deer tick of the season
We called it a day around 10am because I had a graduation party to go to.  Dad headed back to the spot where we had just been to get some work done on the road.  He left his gun at home and, as luck would have it, he saw a bearded bird with three hens following right behind him.  That pretty much sums up my life as a turkey hunter!