Friday, July 31, 2015

Stay away from my bird!

Here is how we got to this point.

The two men did not seem to see is and Tim and I tried not to give ourselves away but we were on the edge of the field.  Tim tried calling the land owner because the property was posted and he was supposed to be the only one hunting.  No answer.  We stood there and listened as the two men began calling and waiting for a response.  They were much closer to those two birds who had just been calling back with us.  One gobble and those guys would be headed into the woods. Luckily, those stubborn birds kept quiet.  But the idea of hunters in the area made us question our decision to move on from a spot that we knew had active birds.

Tim placing decoys in the field
So we carefully crossed the field and got into position along the edge.  Tim called and we could hear the birds within 50 yards of us.  No matter what Tim did, they still did not want to move.  We changed tactics and I sat in the woods while Tim moved away from me in an attempt to pull the turkeys down the trail past me.  Still nothing.  We waited and moved and called.  Those birds stayed right in that area and never moved.  At one point, we were sure that we could hear them walking past us.

Defeated, we had to head back to the truck.  Standing in the road was a tom, just walking through.  Perfect.

Our decoys in the field.
Different spot, hanging out with a decoy

We tried different spots, different decoys and different days (I was able to go out for a couple of hours with Tim a couple of days later) but I ended the season without a bird.  We had a lot of them calling to us, made a hen incredibly mad when we pulled a tom away from her and made her work harder to get him back but I never had the opportunity that I had that first morning with Tim.

What little time I had to go out, it was a lot of fun with some great sights and sounds!  Guess I need to wait one more year or get lucky this fall.  We shall see!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Honest Kitchen: Chickpeas and chicken

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.

This should really be called: what to make when you are hungry but your two-year old is screaming.

Here is what you will need:
* 12 oz of chickpeas, rinsed well
* One head of broccoli, rinsed to make sure the worms are out (this is fresh broccoli from the farm)
* Wild Cheff's Mediterranean seasoning.  I stock up and use this for almost all things chicken.
* Chicken breast (from a local meat market)
* 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
* 3/4 cup mayo

1. Dump rinsed chickpeas, cut up broccoli, EVOO and the seasoning into a gallon storage bag and shake.  This is super easy if that two-year old is still screaming.
2. Spread evening on baking sheet and set aside.

3. Mix together mayo, Parmesan cheese and seasoning. 
4. Spread evening on chicken and place in preheated oven at 350.
5. Place tray of seasoned chickpea/broccoli mixture into oven as well.
6. Bake both dishes for 15-20 minutes or until broccoli is browned on the edges and chicken is no longer pink.

I was unable to get photos of the finished dishes because of said two year old screaming but the flavors mixed well and overall, it was a quick dish to make with limited dishes for cleanup!


Monday, July 27, 2015

Third time is the charm... right?

As you know, Dad and I saw way more deer than turkey when we attempted to turkey hunt for the third spring season in a row.  It is still a little surreal to think about because our first turkey season ended two weeks before I had O.

My schedule was so busy that I had to cancel a turkey hunt with David Hodgkins of Blackfalcon Custom Calls and reworked my schedule to get a half day hunt in with Tim Cote of Cote and Son's Guide Service.

I met Tim at 4am and we headed to a spot where he had been the night before.  He knew that there were toms around and he knew which spots they would be in.  It was a perfect set up.

Come on turkeys!
We sat just over a little knoll with a couple of chairs and bushes helping to keep us hidden.  Tim put out two decoys and we sat there in the earliest light of day and waited.  It did not take long before we heard the first gobble. Then another and another.  We had three or four birds calling before it was truly light enough to see.  I was thrilled! There were birds around and we knew where they were.  It was already more than Dad and I had experienced.

Tim started calling when the gobbles were happening more often.  Dressed in full camo, we waited and tried to contain our excitement when we had two birds call back to us.  They were headed our way.  I moved as little as possible and got the gun in place on my knee for a shot near the decoys.

They're coming Tim whispered.  The gobbling had stopped and before long a red head popped up from the other side of the knoll and looked around. Tim could see it but I was hidden by bushes and didn't see them at first.  A white head popped up behind the red one, Go for the back one Tim instructed.

The jake and tom saw the decoys and moved in. The tom started strutting to impress our hen.  The two birds slowly zig-zagged their way closer.  My heart was racing and I was trying incredibly hard not to move.  I slid the safety off and waited for the tom to get closer.

Shoot Tim said and I placed the front bead on the tom's head and squeezed the trigger. My whole body jerked back and I watched as the tom threw his wings back like he was trying to stop quick. In a split second, the two birds ran away from us and into the woods.

Tim shook his head.  Did I hit him at all? I asked.

I felt horrible.  I had had a great shot and I missed. Tim tried to reassure me that it was normal to miss. I didn't care.  It was 5:58am and I had blown my shot at a nice tom.  Tim didn't let me get discouraged and we tried to figure out what had happened. Was the back bead lined up with the front? Tim asked. I hung my head.  The one thing that Dad had dried to drill into my head when  he painted the back bead in an effort to help me line the two up, was the one thing that I blew and it cost me a bird.

Tim and I waited about an hour before he tried calling again.  We only had to wait a few minutes before we head gobbling from the exact spot where the two birds had run into the woods. They called, we called.  They answered almost every time Tim called but they refused to come out from the other side of the field.

We decided to move to a new location and maybe come back for the birds if we had time but as we headed towards the truck, a white pickup pulled up across the field - one the same side that those birds were sitting.  Two guys got out of the truck.  They were dressed in camo. 

What were we going to do?


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Moose Crossing

Dad and I were making our normal trip to check the trail cameras.  We pulled out of the driveway and drove 1/2 mile up the road.  I was looking for the snowshoe hares since they have a tendency of playing in traffic when Dad slowed the car down, moose!

Maine moose heading across the field
I got my camera out as Dad brought the car to a stop.
"I bet he is headed over to the mountain." The moose was headed in the direction of the land where we had seen the moose tracks the day before.

Maine Moose
In order to get a few more pictures, Dad pulled the car into a roadway along the edge of the field and slowly stopped.  The moose stared at us for a few seconds and kept walking.  He never changed his pace or his direction.

Maine Moose

He walked through the field and on his way (hopefully) to our land where he could try to escape from the horseflies that were bothering him.  Luckily, there were no sign of ticks or spots where he had been trying to rub them off.  He looked very healthy.

Bye moose
Dad and I watched him walk into the next field then we backed out onto the paved road and continued on our way to get the memory cards out of the trail cameras.  We didn't get any great photos from the cameras but I didn't really care; we got to hang out with a moose for a few minutes.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Why you need to shop EvoOutdoors

We have all been there: you want to order a piece of clothing online but it is out of stock.  You try a different color but that is out too.  There is nothing close to what you need so you just walk away.  Now imagine that what you need is for the upcoming hunting season and you really don't want to go to the local big-box store but you don't know what alternatives are out there.  This just happened to me.

However, I get my hunting clothes from EvoOutdoors.  Yes, I am partial and I am a part of their ProStaff team but I wanted to test Tracy out a little bit and see how the Camo Concierge works.

A few months ago, I ordered a hoodie with the idea that I would wear it over my FirstLite base layer.  Tracy emailed me earlier this week to say that the company was discontinuing the hoodie and would I like something else.
"Sure, what would you recommend?"
"Did you want it for the brand, fit or pattern?"
I described what I was looking for and Tracy came back with three different suggestions from three different companies. These were not just suggestions, Tracy actually wears one of the tops she was suggesting and could speak from experience on how well it held up.

We talked about fit (some are unisex sizes) and which patterns were better for the type of hunting I would be doing.  I ended up ordering a Valhalla 1/4 zip from Kryptek for bear season, turkey season and maybe a few warm days during deer season.

Tracy helped me order a critical piece of clothing that I didn't realize I was missing and needed.  This top is more functional and crucial to my actual hunting season than the hoodie I originally ordered.  I can not wait to get it and start using it.

As I build my wardrobe with clothing that will help keep me comfortable as I am in the woods hunting, I am so grateful to have found EvoOutdoors! If you have any questions or need clothing for an upcoming hunt, contact Tracy and Dave.  You will be so glad that you did.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Trail camera pictures

Still no bucks on the trail camera but the does and fawns are still around and looking very healthy!  The coyote is still around and the deer tracks in the muddy areas are proving that there are some big deer around.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Making T3 invisible

The 4th of July was a sunny and warm day so Dad, Hubby and I headed into the woods at 7am to paint T3 and beat the heat.  We carried down paint, ladders, rollers, another trail camera and some rags.  I was excited to see what deer sign were around since this is the same spot that I shot my deer last year.

We needed a weed-wacker to blaze trail! I was so happy that I was dressed the way that I was: jeans, rubber boots, sweatshirt... and enough deet to (hopefully) kill all bugs that came in contact with me.

I snapped a few before shots and then grabbed a gallon of paint and climbed the ladder.  My job was to paint as much of the outside as I could reach then paint the inside - specifically what the rain may hit - and then paint the outside and my sunporch.  I also needed to make sure that I did not paint myself into a corner or miss one spot that only I could have reached.  Luckily, I had had my strong coffee!

Before the paint job
Hubby helping to nail on a couple more braces

As I painted, I envisioned deer walking by or watching us.  I thought about which lane I would want to shoot a deer from and how things looked from a spot where I would be sitting.  I also realized that there will be a lot more opportunities to see the deer walking by and that I would need to up my game and my attention to movement.  In my treeseat, there were limited spots where deer would be seen and I did not have to move too much to keep track of them.  Now, there are about 7 different possible points where I could see movement.  I am not good shooting quickly; if there is a deer walking through, I will need to see him crossing one opening and be ready when he walks into the second.  I can not (currently) see him in one shooting lane and make a shot almost instantly.  Dad can.  I can not.

But, I have until October 31 to get mentally prepared!

T3 stained and ready to go
T3 blending into its surroundings.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Trail camera mystery critter

When we pulled the memory card a week or so ago, we saw this picture.  Nothing before and nothing after, just this one glimpse in time.  I posted it on my Facebook page and got some great comments about what it could be.  What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Honest Kitchen: Stuffed peppers

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.

Sometimes, the best dinner is one that you can literary throw into a pot and be done. In this case, I filled green peppers with that one pot creation and had a great dinner.  It was also nice to have half of the ingredients canned by me.

3-4 bell peppers
1 cup quinoa
1 can/jar tomatoes (approx. 16oz)
1 can/jar sweet corn (approx 16oz)
1 can/jar black beans (approx 16oz)

A little blurry but here are your basic ingredients
1. Preheat your oven to 350.
2. In a pot on the stove, warm up the corn, tomatoes and beans. (Note: rinse and drain the beans well)

3. Start the quinoa.  The formula is very easy 1:2 = 3.  I used one cup of dried quinoa, two cups of water and ended up with three cups of cooked quinoa.  It was a little watery so you may want to go with a little less water.  Cook this like rice: bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes or so.

4. Carve your peppers and clean out the seeds.  Place in a glass dish and make sure the pepper will not fall over.  The last thing you want is for a filled pepper to fall over and spill the stuffing in the dish, on the plate or somewhere in between.  Also, add a little bit of cheese to the bottom to help keep the juices in.

5. When the quinoa is done, mix it with the corn/bean/tomato pot and add whatever spices you may want.  Other versions of this recipe involve using burger.  I didn't have any in the house so I skipped it, but the added meat is always yummy.

6.  Fill the pepper with the filling.  Each pepper should take about 1.5 cups or more.  Pack it down to every possible space in the pepper is filled.  Top with cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

7. I use tongs to place these and ensure they don't spill.  Once they are served though, you have to just make a mess. Good thing they taste great!

Monday, July 13, 2015

They mock me

Ever since the season ended on June 6, we have had turkeys on every pull from the trail camera.  Every time! Clearly these guys are just mocking me.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

GoPro Bass catch

As I was reeling in the first bass that I would keep, Don started the GoPro to document the actual catch.  Hmm... I may need to get one of those!

Come here please.

Bringing him into the boat


A big thanks to Don at Maine Outdoors for sending these along.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Honest Kitchen: Fish filets

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.

It is always a bit of a relief to return home after being outside and have dinner coming home with you.  Luckily, Don and I were successful with our trip and I had some filets to fry up. 

I pulled out some plain breadcrumbs, italian seasoning, salt and pepper and shook the whole thing in a gallon bag with four fish filets from the bass.  I made sure I coasted the fish well before putting them into a pan with hot butter.

I couldnt tell you how long I cooked them for, but the filets did crumble a little when I flipped them.
However, the smell they were giving off made my mouth water.  I would wait until the edges start to turn golden.

I wilted some swiss chard from the Farmers Market to go with the fish.  Why not, right?

The whole dish took maybe 15 minutes to make.  It was a simple, clean dish with food that came from the market or I had caught myself. Not too bad!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Bass: it's what's for dinner

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to catch Don Kleiner of Maine Outdoors with some free time on his hands and convinced him to take me fishing.  We could not have picked a more perfect day to be away from the world and on the water.

We set off to catch Smallmouth Bass.  Having caught my first fish with Robin, I was hopeful that I could at least catch something besides grass.  Don was brave enough to attempt to teach me how to fish a few years ago and I hoped, as I stepped into the boat, that I had improved my skills a little bit since then.

Our first spot was a fairly shallow spot near some overhanging trees.  Don taught me that fish do not have eyelids so when it is sunny out, they usually hid in the shade so that they can keep watch over any predators that may be around - like eagles, osprey or us.  My first cast was horrible but I kept reminding myself that I did just fine with Robin and needed to not over think it.  The next few casts were a lot better.  Don would point out a spot to cast to and I would try my best to hit that spot or as close to it as I could.

Before too long, I had a bite and reeled in my first fish of the day!  We took some photos, tossed him back and continued to cast.

Me and my dinner: a smallmouth bass
We went to four different spots on the pond and second was my spot.  At my best, I was catching fish on my second or third cast.  Some were nice and legal, some were small.  They were all smallmouth.  Don caught a pickerel and a largemouth as well as a bunch of smallmouth.

Largemouth bass

Pickerel with a mouth full of teeth.
It was a lot of fun to work on my casting and learn more about fishing in Maine.  Don is a Master Maine Guide and takes all kinds of people out fishing through his business Maine Outdoors.

At the end of the day and after catching maybe 15 fish on my line, I had two bass that were coming home for dinner.  I was pleasantly surprised and learned a lot about how to work on my cast, side cast and what happens when you hook a nice big branch (I never lost the lure!) and need to retrieve your line.  I was able to work on my casting, my comfort level and learn so it was a fantastic day outside.

Already this summer, I have fished more than I ever have before.  I am still freaked out by hooks and the idea of having one piece through my skin, but the more I fish the more comfortable I will hopefully become.  It is a lot of fun and maybe I can get my kiddo interested soon!

It was a great day on the water with Don and hopefully, I will get to be out a few more days before my thoughts and plans change over to bear hunting.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Look at the babies!

I was thrilled to see these pictures on the camera.  I dont think I have ever seen a fawn this little in the pictures.  We had three of them, but he was in a hurry so this is the least blurry one.  I can not wait to see if there are more pictures when we pull the card next time.

Doe and new fawn run across the field

And even though we saw the rafter of turkeys, it is nice to see the hen with such a healthy group of babies.

Hen with 10 poults

It will be great to see them grow over the next few months.  Hopefully they can do that without any interference from this.  Otherwise, Dad and I will have to take care of it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Honest Kitchen: Bear with mushroom cream sauce

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.

Bear meat and a crockpot go together like a hand and glove, deer hunting and 4 degrees, my kid and Buzz Lightyear... a perfect match.

For the chilly, rainy days there is nothing better than a crockpot meal when you come home from work.  Here is how I made bear with mushroom sauce.

* Fresh mushrooms (as many as you want because there is no such thing as too many)
* Maine Cap N Stem meat seasoning
* Reduced sodium cream of mushroom soup
* bear meat (let's say 1 pound)

1. Put the bear on the bottom
2. Coat with the seasoning and fresh mushrooms

3. Pour mushroom soup on top
4. Set on low and come back in 8 hours.
5. Serve with smashed potatoes for a great comfort food meal!