Sunday, September 30, 2012


I always look forward to Homecoming weekend to roll around each fall  But not for the reasons you might expect.

 For the past 12 years MHS homecoming Friday  has meant small town parade and big football game.  Football has never really been my thing but i do love a parade.  In the past I've been in the parade, judged window design and floats.

We've had damp rainy cool weather and beautiful sunny crisp fall weather.  This year was once again the latter.   

 The community really gets involved from the bomb fire, to the jersey auction and the parade. 

 This year was exceptional weather.

After fulfilling my duties lining up the parade participants  I hit the back roads to check out the fall colors and the trout streams.

The first stop was Maple Valley.

I tied on a jig that Big Jim had tied years ago.  A bright yellow wolley bugar with a hot pink collar on an old second jig the the women who tied for Lacey Gee  had tossed aside.

It was Lacey Gee, owner of the Wapsi Fly Company of Independence, Iowa, who discovered that the tame white turkey had feathers similar to the marabou stork, and he began packaging them to sell to fly tyers. In the early 50s when jigs began showing up in fresh water, he set about designing a marabou jig

 Some suspect his first, a tiny, 1/16-ounce tinsel and marabou concoction was probably originally tied by him as a streamer fly for crappies, but that jig, the Mitey Mite, soon became the standard against which all crappie jigs were measured. It still is.
It was during those years that Big Jim fished with him on the Wapsi, in the  ‘60s and ‘70s .

No luck on the stream.  But, I did see a few spooky trout flash in some of the larger pools.

Saturday we went down to Iowa city to hang the show down at the Motley Cow.  ART at the Mtotley Cow Cafe

After the show was hung we met up with Beau and Anna to watch the Hawkeye Home Coming Game down at Joe's.  Then to the Hamburg Inn 2 for a bite to eat.

Home coming is much more than football.  Its friends, family and fishing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


 Beatnik and hipster but with a much cooler zen-bohemian and streetwise hipster vib. That's wh0 came to our gathering last Saturday night.   And, couldn't have gone any better.

All summer has been dedicated to getting our place ready for our Rockabilly Bash.  

We had everything looking good and the weather was exquisite.  It was  a beautiful fall football  Saturday,  that started out with 6:30 am rise and shine for the opening of the Youth deer season. 
Two separate groups of hunters passed through so  by 7:30 it was time to grill the seven pork roasts. 
 Now, don't laugh at my grill stand.  It gets the job done.  I've always liked the webber grills they  are possibly the best of the "mass market" grills on the market its just the legs aren't worth a dam.

By 2:30 the Creeperville Camp crew rolled in to set up camp and listen to the Iowa Hawkeyes  vs  UNI Panters football game and some quality  control on the kegs of Linie's Octoberfest and sample the seven plus brands of whiskey at the whiskey bar.

The band, family, friends and neighbors all rolled in between 6:00 and 7:00 for the great food spread that Susie had put together.The menu consisted of pulled pork tacos, grilled corn and black bean salsa, purple cabbage with pineapple slaw, chips and four wonderful cheese cakes.   Peanut butter fudge, chocolate raspberry, caramel apple and my favorite German chocolate.

  The Fast Clydes are fast, fun, and furious!
 We all danced and had a great time!
Maybe turning 50's not all that bad ;-} 

Monday, September 10, 2012


For the uninitiated (formerly, yours truly), an apple cider press is a machine that essentially grinds up the apples into pulp and then presses the juices out.
In colonial days, it was common for farmers and families to own a barreled cider press (and in those days, the cider was often left to ferment and become an alcoholic "hard" cider). Today, I have a feeling that the old-fashioned cider press is becoming more popular again, perhaps because more people are planting fruit trees.

Gearing up for a gathering at our place this weekend so I picked and pressed a few gallons worth of apple cider from our trees around the yard.  We've got four varieties of trees in season right now and a fifth  a  yellow transparent is a well-known early summer apple, good for drying, freezing, sauce, juice and wine. Transparent pale yellow skin. Crisp, light-textured, juicy flesh. Very sweet flavor. Not good storer.  That is already past.

 The four we have now are Red Delicious is one of the most famous American apples, and one of the most widely grown apple varieties and is basically sweet apple
The McIntosh style is typified by attractive crimson color and a crunchy bite, often with bright white flesh. The flavor is simple and direct, generally sweet but with refreshing acidity, and usually a hint of wine - often referred to as "vinous".  In general these apples keep reasonably well in store, but the flavor falls away quite rapidly - although remaining perfectly pleasant.  Nevertheless to get the full vinous sugar rush it is best straight from the tree. 

Our Wolf River.
A well-known American cooking apple, notable for its large size.  Wolf River is mainly used for cooking, and it keeps its shape when cooked.  It is fairly sweet and doesn't need much sugar added.
Wolf River has a very high natural resistance to the disease apple scab, and good resistance to fireblight and mildew.  It is also very cold hardy, making it a good choice for growing in the northern part of North America.

 And my favorite is the Jonagold Apple a controlled cross of New York's old and very well-respected Jonathan Apple with the popular and versatile Golden Delicious. Jonagold is a widely-grown American apple variety with a rich fragrant flavor that's the perfect mix of sweet goodness and lovely sharpness. 

The four varieties blended nicely to make an excellent cider which we can serve both hot or cold and maybe a batch of hard cider.  We'll see.

What a fun time! Cider pressing is a great occasion for friends and family to get together on a fall day. The kids—of all ages—had a blast cranking the press.
If you have the inclination, find  (or make) a cider press and throw your own Autumn Harvest Party next year!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Labor Day Weekend!

 Went to Madison, WI.  this weekend for University of Northern Iowa  vs  Wisconsin home opener and the Farmers Market.  The folks of Wisconsin got it right about Governor Scott Walker

Thanks to Scott Walker and his Fitzwalkerstan Cult, there were stronger turnouts for Labor Day celebrations than recent years and the power of the Worker and unions could not be stronger. 

And they've got it right about Mitt and their native son, Ryan.

  The Romney-Ryan plan would raise taxes on middle-class families with children by more than $2,000 a year. Their plan would raise taxes on 95 percent of Americans to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest 5 percent. The Ryan-Romney plan would give every millionaire a new $265,000 tax cut on top of the Bush tax cuts.
 Susie takes a stroll past one of her favorite venders at the farmers market.

  The Flower Factory is a really great nursery, near Stoughton, south of Madison. They have demonstration gardens, and a very extensive variety of hostas and daylilies, as well as other perennials and unique rock and train gardens.
Marty at another one of our favorites is this Apple  vender from
The Weston Antique Apples has focused on smaller quantities of a larger variety of rare apples.  This is just a fantastic, small, specialty apple orchard; they have a truly amazing selection of heirloom apples. 
Two of our favorites are the Strawberry Chenango, which was named for Chenango Valley in New York. That was about 1890-something, maybe early 1900s. It has the flavor and fragrance of roses. It's very difficult to pick this apple. We have to use gloves because the skin is so tender. It's excellent for apple sauce, as well. A lot of people use those in place of flowers on tables to give fragrance to a room."and  the Pink Pearl which was introduced in 1944 by the California plant breeder. Rich flavored with bright-pink flesh, the skin is cream and pale-green with a light crimson cheek. Pink Pearl is a wonderful table apple and also makes a beautiful pink applesauce.   The orchard offers an amazing variety of the most hard to find apples for eating, cellaring and cooking.  

After the market we walked to the Union South.

 At every Badger Bash, you can enjoy great food, live music, a UW Marching Band performance, Bucky Badger and games for the whole family!
just steps away from Camp Randall Stadium    

Don’t miss the fun!
 Speaking of FUN...