White Water Canoeing on the Madawaska

This blog could be accused of focussing too much on the Hunting and Fishing aspects of Southern Ontario and I would be hard pressed to refute the accusation.  I mean they are my two favourite past times, which explains why they often make their way to the forefront of this blog.

However I do occasonally get a chance to step outside of my cofort zone and try something new and exciting.  Last weekend was such an occasion as I was invited to a bachelor party which included a white water canoeing component.

The trip took place on the lower portion of the Madawaska starting at the Paddlers coop in Palmer Rapids and finishing some 41 kms in Griffith.  The route took us through the Lower Madawaska River Provincial Park and over several sets of rapids.

The trip started following an early morning of fishing on a small back lake I frequented in my youth.  We camped at the Paddlers Co-op for the night and awaited the remaining 3 members of our group to arrive.  For those who have never been, the Paddlers coop is a great location to get your learn on when it comes to white water.  The facility is a non-for profit organization owned and run by paddlers who really enjoy what they do.  Its also a great place to get outfitted for the river if you don’t have your own gear (https://paddlerco-op.ca/). It’s funny, I’ve spent a ton of time in the Bancroft area as a kid and had no idea a gem like the paddlers Coop existed.

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DSC_0152(ii)Everyone who has ever camped at bon echo or head up highway 41 knows the Kaladar General Store.  There aren’t a whole lot of options for gas in the area and the KGS is a great spot for fuel and odds and ends you may need for your outdoor adventures.

DSC_0161 (ii)Typical foggy morning landscapes from the Bancroft area.

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The first day started with a leisurely paddle from the Paddler Coop.  There are several flat stretches right off the hop just downriver from the Coop.

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Aumonds Rapids (shown above) was the very first set we encountered, and my very first set as a newly minted white water canoeist.  Although it was only a class I in low water, it seemed huge to a newbie.  We did scout this rapid, which in hind sight was probably more for my benefit than safety.  Glad the guys eased me into these things!

But lets not down play the importance of scouting when canoeing whitewater.  Scouting is a vital component of white water canoeing in order to stay safe.  Scouting allows the paddler to assess the level of difficulty of each rapid set and allows for the development of a game plan prior to entering the set.  Rocks can be game enders and since they can be difficult to see from the low angle of a canoe, scouting is critical.  If I haven’t already sold you on it consider this:  Water conditions can vary greatly from season to season or even between rain events and rapids can change drastically over time.

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(View of snake rapids above)

Fishing on the trip was dominated by 1-2 lb smallmouth bass.  They seemed to be everywhere in the river and very hungry.  They also made a delicious addition to our evening meals.

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To be honest, I was pretty terrified of running some of these rapids.  Most were Class I to II however there were some class III rapids, which on paper seems beyond my confidence level.  Good thing the other gents on the trip were pros and more than willing to teach me the ropes.

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(Nailed it!)

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(Above: Dave crushing Rifle Chute)

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White water canoeing has inherent risks, and spilling can be a frequent occurrence.  Thankfully the Madawaska is a fairly forgiving river in the sense that most rapids are followed by slow moving pools which easily accommodates spilled paddlers.  Swimming to shore from these pools is usually fairly quick and easy to do.

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(The author hitting split rock rapids)

River features like rapids and specific rocks often come with weird and quirky names.  Some seem to have no meaning at all, while others are aptly named.  We encountered one such feature ( a rock) in Raquette Rapids dubbed “The Canopener”.  This rock is located immediately down stream of the rapids that canoes often get pinned against, leaving them “open” the current. According to the locals, it can be nearly impossible to remove the canoes from the rocks during high water.

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The addiction to white-water grew over the trip and by the end, I was eagerly anticipating the next set.  Definitely a trip I would do again.

Cheers from the rapids,

Albert

 

Bay of Quinte 2016

Southern Ontario is still in the grip of a drought.  Water levels are extremely low and the temperatures seem to stay above 30 almost every day.  Typically I would say these conditions do not bode well for fishing.  However chances to fish with my family are few and far between so we didn’t let that dissuade us this weekend.

We started the day off at the launch in Deseronto and took a quick trip down Long Reach.  we did a little scouting in some deep water and tried a few favourite spots.  The day started off with a bang as the first cast immediately landed a chunky largemouth in a favourite hole of mine.  Not the species we were looking for but a fish is a fish.

We moved on to a different area and played around fishing in varying depths of water ranging from 11 to 25 FOW.  Fishing was slow following the first largemouth and we decided to leave our first stop and head to a shoal not to far away.

The area seemed pretty crowded so we slowly approached so as to avoid interfering with other boats.  We trolled the outer edges of the shoal for a while until the crowd thinned and we were able to move in a bit closer.  Suddenly the bite turned on and the fishing heated up.  The first fish we landed was a decent fresh water drum caught on a spinner bait.  The fish put up a good fight with a few good drag peeling runs.  Sheepshead may have a bad reputation for being ugly and smelly, but man are they fun to catch.

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We continued to fluctuate our depths, make a gradual approach to the shoal as we did each pass.  We seemed to find the sweet spot as we  started to catch the odd smaller walleye mixed with perch and white bass.  Action steadily increased over the course of an hour and a half until finally we started get a few stronger hits.  One of those hits turned into a chunky 3+ lb walleye for my brother.  As a bonus, this was the first Walleye he has caught since we were kids (some 20+ years ago)!

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The four of us ended up caching 10 walleye in total on top of the countless perch and white bass which made for a very action packed morning.  Finally around 11:20 we decided we would do one more pass over one of the most productive area which happened to be right beside the shoal in 14 FOW.

Of course the last ditch effort paid off as my dad announced to the group he had hooked up, and of course it had to be the biggest fish of the day.  That’s just how fishing goes.  My dads claims of “this is a big one” were confirmed as the drag on his older real started to scream with strain.  The fish was making some impressive runs and didn’t seem to want to give up.  As I hung over the side of the boat with the net in hand, it seemed like the fish would never make it to the surface.   Finally my Dad wrestled the fish into the awaiting net.  What a tank too, a healthy 4.25 lb walleye.  Bigger than the other fish we caught which we guessed were in the 1lb range.  To make matters even better, the fish was caught on an old south bend spinner bait that was handed down to Dad from his father and that looked like it was 300 years old.  The fish was nice but the excitement on his face was nicer.

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The day was done and we returned home with a full live well of fish.  We don’t always keep fish, in fact we rarely do, but in this instance the fish looked too appetizing to pass up.

I’m glad the heat didn’t effect the walleye bite too much.  I’m also glad we caught fish.  I’m most glad that my brother made his triumphant return to catching walleye.

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I find it strangely fitting that we all got shown up by Dad.  It puts things in perspective a bit.  Maybe we have all the gear, a big boat, new rods, etc.  But regardless of all that, days like today teach us that nothing is more valuable on the water than experience.  Oh, and maybe that 300 year old south bend spinner that seemed to work so well.  Now excuse me while I go spend a few hours scouring antique lure sites…..

Cheers from the Lake,

Albert

Loughborough Buckets

Travelling is great, especially when you get a chance to experience the majesty and greatness of a country like Canada.  This was exactly how we felt during our recent trip to Alberta.  Alberta is a beautiful place.  Very different from Ontario.  However, part way through the trip I started feeling like something was missing.  This feeling got progressively worse as the trip neared its end and after a few days I realized what the issue was.  It was early July and I had only been fishing bass once.  My fingers weren’t sore from lipping too many bass.  I wasn’t sporting a racoon tan from endless hours pounding the slop with minimal sunscreen.  It was as if my body was rejecting this cushy non hardcore existence.

Thankfully Im happy to report the withdrawal symptoms are over as I made it out yesterday to the back lakes here in Ontario. Loughborough Lake to be specific.  I even managed to time my inaugural trip back on the water to coincide with the Friday before a long weekend!  Just before things turn into a zoo on the lake.

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Thankfully the bass gods recognized the sorry, bassless state I was in and decided to play ball.  We hooked into a large number of fish, many of which were 3 + lbs with a few pushing 5.  Even managed to hook a decent size smallmouth on the eastern portion of the lake, which If you know the lake, isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence.  Didn’t get a whole lot of pictures, which can attest to the quality of fishing we had, but here is a shot of one of the average sized largies we hauled in.

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It was a great day on the water and my hunger for bass fishing has been sated, at least until this afternoon.

Cheers form the lake,

Albert

Bass Opener Derby 2016

Bass opener is here once again, and so is our annual bass derby.  Unfortunately my regular partner, and former tournament winner, Dave was unable to attend due to some family commitments so my uncle took the opportunity and filled his spot.  We spent the evening before the tournament catching up with the group and loosing money to Jay at cards.  You would think I wouldn’t be happy about this, however I was ecstatic.. Why? historically anyone who wins a cards usually doesn’t win the derby.  A few crumpled 20’s or the big 1K pot?  easy decision!  Finally my uncle and I had enough so we headed to bed to rest up for the following day’s fish.

Daybreak arrived and we made our way to the launch.  Just like clock work we were greeted by the usual early risers from our group who were rearing to go.  We awaited the stroke of 6 am and broke the stillness of the lake with the roar of our engines.  Each blasting off in a hopeful hurry to make it to there spot.

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Little did the other fisherman know I had a secret weapon…. a lucky picture made by my wife and daughter.  I’m certain this had something to do with my success.

 

 

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Fishing was hard right off the get go.  It seemed the big bass hadn’t woke up yet and we fought to get an early morning bag.  Fish came off of shoals that were scattered around the lake and from some weedlines scattered around the shores.  Luckily we found an edge that seemed untouched and we proceeded to pull a nice 3+ lb fish from a pocket.

 

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The morning ended with my bag sitting near the top. it seemed I was on the right track but lots of folks were close behind.  It seemed that I wasn’t the only one  who had managed to scrape together a decent bag.  One of the gents even found a nice 4lb 4oz greenback which had him right near the top.

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We scarfed down lunch in haste anxious to see if we could upgrade our first two fish.  This was tough to do after the lake had seen an onslaught of boats in the early morning.  Thankfully I managed to eak out a gew more ounces on my bag but it wouldn’t b enough to hold the day.  Jay, who previously landed the big 4+ fish had found some other and ended the day wth a solid 7 lb 5 ox bag for two fish.  Sitting in third, my high 5 lb bag didn’t seem like it had much of chance. Regardless, on a small lake like this, all it takes is one big fish or two decent ones to change the game.

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And so the evening came and went and the morning of the Sunday  arrived.  We had from 6 till 12 to add another two fish to our limits.  Frustrated I wasn’t sure where to start.  Typically the first day is always the best and the second day can see the bass shut right down.  I needed two good fish and fast and I had no idea where to begin.

So we did what we did on the first day, we worked our favourite shoal and the adjacent bay in hopes of finding some more fish.  I’m not one to return to a fished spot in the same tourney but I learned something during this tourney.  If your spot is adjacent to big water and has some attractive structure, its likely several groups of fish use the area which means you can return multiple times.  So this si what we did, right up to 15 minutes before the end of the tourney when I caught a decent 3lb 11ozer right fro the spot we first began in.  Now I had 7lbs 5oz to add to my total.

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This would put me at 13lb 3oz for four fish which for such a small lake is pretty damn good. In fact, it turned out to be the largest bag ever recorded on the trophy for 4 fish!  I’m telling you it had something to do with the lucky fish picture my daughter drew for me.  Note to self, have her draw one for  every tournament I do.

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And so the tournament was over and the trophy will stay in Kingston one more year.

Thanks to Gab and Fatima for hosting such a great event.  You guys are great hosts.  Thanks to my uncle for making the trek down to take part in the fun.  Special acknowledgement to Jay for the big fish of the tourney.  I’ve got a feeling that next year could be your year, all you have to do is loose the poker on purpose!  Oh and somehow get my daughter to draw you a fish picture!

 

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Cheers from the lake,

Albert

One Eyed Bandit

Got out to a new property for a turkey hunt this morning.  We recently gained access from the owners for turkey hunting on the property, although we previously had access for deer.  With the amount of turkeys seen during deer season, we knew there had to be birds and are glad to have access.  Gotta say the property owners we deal with are generous folks allowing us to access such a paradise for hunting.  We greatly appreciate their generosity.

We began once again at 5 am, and sat along the edge of a corn field which we knew to be a throughway.  After the first few calls we had a couple gobblers respond but nothing seemed to be moving towards us.  We repositioned within a row of pines next to another field to the north near a gobbler we heard.  Unfortunately the only takers we had were a hen and a curious one eyed racoon.  Pretty neat to see the racoon get right up close to our decoys to inspect them.

Its amazing the things you see in the blind.

Cheers from the wild,

Albert

 

 

First Turkey

For many, the purpose of hunting has always been to source out local, organic, natural meat that explores unique flavours not found in domesticated animals.  Still a good number more are attracted to the potential cost savings on meat if you source it out yourself. I have always stood with a foot in each of these camps.  Forever looking for a deal that’s big in taste, while tryin to achieve it on the cheap with my discount, mass produced firearms and inexpensive army surplus camo.  You can be sure I calculate the $/lb cost of all animals I harvest.

So when I did the math on wild turkies I was left scratching my head. A $30 tag gets you 9 – 15 lbs of dressed meat.  That’s a far cry from 100-200 lbs for a 50$ deer tag, and a fair bit more than a butterball.   Based on this math, wild turkeys weren’t even on the menu.

Regardless, I am interested in experiencing all that our local outdoors has to offer, which eventually led me complete the specialized turkey course required for Ontario turkey hunters.  For many years my attentions were on bigger game and the license went unused.  But after a unseasonable warm and disappointing ice fishing season, I was getting stir crazy and needed a reason to get out.  So when a member of my deer group started talking turkey, visions of smoked wild gobblers began dancing in my head, and I started listening.

So here we are, a week into my first legit season of turkey hunting and I can honestly say am a changed man.

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Scouting

After much discussion, and an agreement to commit as much time to the hunt as was needed to harvest a bird, we arrived on the Sunday before opener.  Our plan was to scout the woods in areas where turkeys had been seen before to hopefully locate a group of birds.  According to my friend and most articles I’ve read, finding birds before setting up is crucial.  You can set up the nicest decoys and be the best caller in the world, but that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if there are no birds in your woods.

So the scouting continued.  I’ll admit I was still pretty hapless at this point, with no real clue as to what to even look for on our scouting trip.  Thankfully, my fellow deer hunter Jordan had grown up around turkey hunting his whole life and right away took us to some spots where the birds usually roosted.  Signs of scratched earth abounded and like many other species, water, food and shelter were key components to these areas.

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We started before daybreak and walked towards our chosen blinds. Unfortunately on our way to our blinds, we walked right under a group of birds that were roosted in the trees, not seeing hem until it was too late.  For those non turkey hunters, this is one of the surest ways to get “busted”.  The turkeys spot you, sometimes before you spot them,  and there is no chance in hell you’ll be able to call them in.  Lesson learned:  Use a locator call to find where they are roosting before you go stumbling through the woods.  Jordan reassured me that the first day was often a bust, but there was valuable intel to be gained, as every bust brought you one step closer to dialing in on the birds.

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Day 2: we took a break.

Day 3: We approached the same area in hopes that the birds had roosted in the same place. unfortunately they hadn’t.  Fortunately for us they had roosted about 100 yards in another direction!  We crept through some scrubby apple trees and crawled up to the edge of a ridge.  Immediately we heard a male gobble, so we set up our decoys 20-30 yards away, sat back to back at the base of a cedar tree, and commenced a series of Kee Kee calls on the Quaker boy box call.  Lesson learned, if you spot them in one place, there is a good chance they wont go too far away, even after being bumped.

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I wasn’t really prepared for things to escalate as quickly as they did.  Within minutes of sitting down the birds had descended from the trees and were making their way to us.  We could tell by the volume of the gobbler the turkeys were getting closer, driven mad by the expert calling skills of my buddy Jordan.  We got a visual on the tom with two hens within 15 minutes of calling.  I can honestly say this led to one of the fastest pulse of my life.  If that wasn’t enough, we heard what all turkey hunters dream of, a competing gobble from another tom that was approaching from another direction.  Things were red hot and my eyes kept darting from the birds we had spotted to the hidden gobbler.  I stilled my heart, slowly raised my Remington 870 while the birds were out of sight, and waited for them to reappear.

The first hen popped out from behind a shrub, followed by a second, followed by a respectable adult male bird. I kept waiting waited for the other Tom who was fast approaching to see if he would appear for a possible double header.  The bird strutted to the clearing towards our hen decoys.

Then the first bird saw me. Then I fired. And then, the second tom headed for the hills.

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Just like that, we had a text book turkey hunt that took no more than 30 minutes.  I. Was. Ecstatic.

Contributors to my success? a damn good caller as a partner, and not moving a bloody muscle.

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My first bird turned out to be a young adult male weighing in at 19lbs fresh and 12lbs fully cleaned. He had a 3″ beard (which isn’t very big) and smaller spurs. Regardless, the bird was my first and my family will feast.

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Day 4, We set up in another location to give the hot spot a rest and almost immediately had a gobbler and a hen answer our calls.  Unfortunately the gobbler didn’t seem to be able to make it to us and we never laid eyes on him.  Lesson learned: locate your birds and choose a setup location that doesn’t have too many obstructions that can’t be navigated by a riled up tom (like a big swamp or well built fences.

Day 5, we decided to try the hot spot again and set up in the same place.  Once again, we immediately had a gobble from the same spot where the first tom had come from.  The call backs went on for a good 1.5 hours.  At times it seemed the Tom was headed in our direction, and then he would head away, and back, and away… repeat for 1.5 hours.  We managed to call in a hen and what looked like a small Jake but no shots were taken.  Still that’s a lot of action for one morning.

So here we are in the second week the night before the first hunt of the week and Im mulling over why ive changed my mind on turkey hunting.  Here’s what I have come up with:

  • For starters, turkey hunting can be some of the most intense action packed and engaging hunting possible In Ontario.
  • Next, the birds are fabulous table fare
  • Each hunt takes a lot less time than sitting in a blind for deer.  Heck my hunts were completed each morning before work and I wasn’t even late!
  • They are sharp birds with a keen sense of hearing and excellent eyesight making them difficult prey.  I do love a challenge.
  • They are a part of our provinces history having been extirpated by unregulated market hunting and habitat loss, and reintroduced to very successful levels.
  • They offer an opportunity to take part in one of the most sustainable hunts in our province and to contribute financially to preserving the provinces natural heritage.  Every dollar you spend on a tag goes to support the MNR and their management of while turkeys and other conservation initiatives.

The whole experience has taught me that life isn’t always about dollars and cents, and pounds per dollar.  Sometimes spending a bit more for something you enjoy is worth it.  Especially wen those extra dollars get you a month long season full of adrenaline packed days, delicious meat, and most importantly, a contribution to preserving the natural beauty and health of our province’s flora and fauna.

The real question here should be why the heck aren’t you hunting turkey?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amherst Island – A Beacon of Biodiversity

Kingston and the surrounding area is full of amazing places to see, things to do and animals to encounter.  We are bordered by Lake Ontario to the southwest, The St. Lawrence to the Southeast, broad shield forests to the north, and lots of unique wetlands in between.  Each with its own diverse, and unique ecosystem home to a huge number of interesting creatures.  One such place that deserves specific mention is Amherst Island.  Located just a short ferry ride to the southwest of Kingston, Amherst Island is sandwiched between its bigger brother Wolfe Island and Prince Edward County.  The island is famous as stop for numerous birds on their migration routes.  Not to mention a large number of resident species from all corners of the animal kingdom.   I recently had an opportunity to this unique place for work and was reminded of just how amazing the Island is.

The day started with an encounter with a groundhog in our office driveway.  Not a resident of Amherst, and not a particularly unique species, but worth a mention due to the specimens especially vibrant red fur.

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I loaded my work gear while the curious rodent silently looked on and made my way to the Ferry Dock where another photo op waited.  While waiting for the ferry I had the chance to get my lense on a number of diving ducks that had gathered near the dock and along the4 shore.  Lots of interesting diving ducks frequent the waters in our area during the spring and late fall.  A couple examples I encountered on this trip were several groups of Golden Eyes, Buffleheads, Long Tailed Ducks and Common Mergansers.  The odd Mallard and flock of Canadian Geese were also spotted but I missed pictures of them.

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There also seemed to be several loons and cormorants poking about in the straight between Amherst and the mainland.

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Once I made it to the island I completed my work and took a brief drive along Front Road which follows the North shore of the island. Once again the Island offered up more impressive photo ops of various species including a Kestrel, Flicker, and an injured Garter snake (possibly a Redsided garter).  These of course were in additional to numerous flocks of diving ducks and common bird species like bluejays, mourning doves and the like that were encountered.

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I was pleased with the plethora of animals to be seen on and around the Island.  This visit only added to the number of species I usually see during my semi annual visits which typically include including deer, fox, coyotes and numerous song birds and birds of prey.

With a peaked interest, I decided to ask a local land owner, who I was meeting with that day, about his wildlife experiences on the Island.  Specifically about various topics like predator levels and predation on his farm, deer populations (which i’m told are booming) and interesting species he has encountered.  Strangely enough, he noted that a flock of Turkeys had made their way to his farm in the winter for food.  According to him,  this is the first time he has seen these birds on the island (and he had been living there since before 1979).

We talked a bit more about his farm and other areas to visit on the island and he suggested visiting the famous Owl woods, located near the eastern edge of the island.  Sadly, my time on the island ran out and I begrudgingly returned to the ferry with a , sad to be leaving such a beautifully rich place.

More information on the Island can be found at http://www.amherstisland.on.ca/

A fairly in depth look at birding opportunities on the Island can be found at http://kingstonfieldnaturalists.org/birding/amherst_island.pdf

Maple Syrup Season – Tapping a Crimson King

Winter is on its last legs here in South Eastern Ontario and the foraging season is steadily approaching.  Unfortunately there isn’t  ton to do outdoors if your a hunter or fisherman and many regard this transition time as down time from their busy outdoors schedules.  For me, it just means I have more time to contemplate the numerous projects id like to tackle.

One of those projects happens to be tapping trees to make maple syrup.  I’ve always wanted to make my own syrup, but without land with mature trees it can be a tall order.  About the only opportunity I have for tapping is a giant Norway Maple in my front yard., but I was never sure  you could even tap these trees.  Well the curiosity built and after a quick google I learned you can in fact tap these purple behemoths.  And according to some, the sap is actually quite good.

So I borrowed a couple taps and proceeded to tap old purple.  Fortunately for me, the Crimson King does just fine for syrup production, albeit a bit slower than a sugar maple.  Not to mention the sap tastes great!

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(The sap immediately began to flow as soon as I inserted the tap).

Now all that is left is to collect enough to make it worth boiling into syrup!

Cheers from my front yard,

Albert

Current Aerial Imagery + Weather Conditions Resource

Winter has finally begun here in southern Ontario.  Our temperatures have finally dropped into the negative teens, although only for a couple days, according to the weather network.  Still I’m optimistic for competent Ice, hopefully by mid to late January.

So to pass the time, I decided to add a few more resource links to the blog.

The first is a website called Flash Earth, which displays images obtained by NASA.  This website provides daily aerial imagery for the planet.  The scale isn’t great but it should give you a general idea of where Ice has begin to form and when things have begun to thaw in the spring.  WARNING, there is no real way to tell if any Ice is safe from just looking at aerial imagery.  Practice good Ice safety and pay close attention to local warnings and ice reports.  More detailed ice conditions may be available on the various  fishing forums found on the internet.

http://www.flashearth.com/

The second is an App/website called Accuweather.  Accuweather offers hyper local weather reports which go as far as predicting precipitation down to the minute it will occur with an two hour window into the future.  Although this level of accuracy and precision is hard to attain, the app seems to be accurate for my location so far.  Added features include reporting conditions from your location (which no doubt increases the accuracy of the app) and access to radar images.  Overall a worth while app for the outdoorsperson or anyone for that matter.

http://www.accuweather.com/en/ca/canada-weather

Here’s hoping I’ll have some Ice fishing reports on here soon.

Cheers from my desk,

Albert

 

Wild Duck au Poivre

Wild ducks are versatile things when it comes to the culinary world.  They make great stews, are great cured, can be pan seared on their own, and go great with a number of taste profiles and sauces.  In my opinion, there are very few individuals who understand this more than one of my favourite chefs, Hank Shaw. So whenever I am looking to try a new recipe, his website (http://honest-food.net/) is one of the very first places I look.  With inspirations from a number of international cuisines and cultures, you are guaranteed to find something interesting on his website. And if my endorsement isn’t enough to get you to try it out, consider this: The guy wrote a friggen book on cooking waterfowl titled “Duck, Duck, Goose”.  If that doesn’t give him a serious amount of street cred, I don’t know what will (Duck Duck Goose).

And so I found myself with a couple plump and delicious looking mallard breasts the other day after a hunt (Mid-Season Waterfowl) and a desire to try something interesting with them. After a brief consultation with you guessed it, the duke of duck cooking, Hank Shaw, and his handy dandy website I settled on a classic French dish, Steak au Poivre.  Or what I’ve come to call Wild Duck au Poivre. Recipe

I wont take away from Hank’s great, comprehensive instructions, so go check out his website if you want to know how to make this tasty number.

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I did make a few adjustments, mostly to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand.  Instead of porcini and bitter greens I substituted in some nice German Feldsalat which my inlaws grew late into fall.  I added a bit of a dill vinaigrette just to spice it up a bit.

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Next I decided to roast some potatoes I had grown this year in m y backyard garden.

The recipe for the potatoes is as follows:

peel and cut potatoes into coarse cubes.  Lay in a pan and cover with water, a dash of salt and a dash of chicken stock.  Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until the water boils.  At which point let them simmer for around 5 minutes.  Once the potatoes start to soften, remove and Drain.  Rough up the potatoes in a strainer, coat with flour and seasonings (chives, salt and pepper), and fry in hot oil until the edges brown.  throw back in the oven at bake until crisp.

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Everything tastes better when cooked in butter.

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Voila, Wild Duck au Poivre!

 

Cheers from the kitchen,

Albert