Wednesday, July 24, 2013


 For the past two weeks plus, Marty and I have been installing 21 new windows and three new door at our friends Jerry and Gails.  Mart and Joan are bustin out for the mountains on the weekend  so we've got a few days for a little RnR..

We got our buddy Steve fired up for some fishing and believe me, it didn't take much.  Steve knows the river better than anyone in the area.  He is the ultimate outdoors man.  After a pot of Joe at Steve and Peg's we jumped into his 95 Vanagon with with the boat and we hit the river...

We fished the rip-rap just below the dam on the East side and more than once we had all had fish on.

 We pretty much had the river to our self the only other fishermen were the pelicans that hung out below the dam.
We stopped by the shore line of the old Bellevue button factory and picked up some of the old discarded shells and some of the old button blanks

Round saws were used to cut blanks or circular pieces from the clam shell. The white pearl shells were often 1/2 inch or more thick. This blank was divided into several unfinished buttons which were ground on a traveling band that passed under grindstones. A depression was made in each disk and holes drilled for the thread. The buttons were then smoothed, polished with pumice stone and water in revolving kegs, sorted, and sewed on cards. The "holey" shells and rough blanks can still be found in the soil along the river.

 Mart and I just couldn't call it a day just yet so we went up river to  the cabin.  We kicked it old school like Huck and Tom and rowed the boat a mile up river then drifted back down the Mississippi and pitched for bass.
 We each caught fish and we each missed a few.
Tonight we on the road to Cascade for the Braves game in the tourney semi finals.  Catch ya later.

Update Braves win!   Fished Thursday.
More bass, a couple northern and a trout out on little mill.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Grow Your Own.

With the temperature in the mid 90* I need a project for in the pole barn so I got started growing Shiitake mushrooms that I got for a Christmas gift.

Long a symbol of longevity in Asia because of their health-promoting properties, shiitake mushrooms have been used medicinally by the Chinese for more than 6,000 years.
They have a rich, smoky flavor and can often take the place of meat in a meal.

Last spring cleared an oak tree from near our power line and blocked the larger pieces up into four foot lengths.

- logs, 3-4 feet long, 4-6 inch diameter
- ‘dowel’ or ‘plug’ spawn
- high speed drill
- 5/16” drill bits with stop at 1”
- bees wax
- old paint brush
- old can for melting bees wax
- hammer

Drill holes, 5/16” diameter, 1’ deep, every 4 inches along the log. Rotate log and
repeat. To create a diamond pattern, shift the 2” down along the guide for every
other row. Typically 1 row of holes is drilled for every inch of log diameter.

 Place a plug (dowel) spawn in each drilled hole and hammer it into the log.

Each plug should lie just below flush with the log surface.

Apply thin layer of liquid hot bees wax with the brush over the holes and the exposed end of the log.

The ‘laying yard’ which is the place
where the logs are incubated and where routine “maintenance” is performed. Almost
nothing is more important that laying (incubating) the logs under year round shade in
order to keep the logs from drying out due to sun and wind.

Keep an eye out for pests too.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Late Hatch In The Berry Patch

This morning Susie and I ran up to the Dubuque Farmers Market and then down to the National River Museum for the Ding Darling celebration .

Ding was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes for his editorial cartoons, and President Roosevelt appointed him to what would ultimately become the US Fish & Wildlife Service, which today continues to sport the original National Wildlife Refuge  "blue goose" logo designed by him.

  Aside from many conservation efforts enacted within the governmental system as a politician, another result of his leadership and vision was the creation of the Federal Duck Stamp  program.

 When we got back Maxine and I went down to the Sugar Bush to pick some black raspberries.

I just about dropped the whole batch of berries when I flushed a hen turkey off of her clutch of eggs.

My hope is that  

More Berries  =  More Tarts!

Friday, July 12, 2013


 Susie and I went back the other night for round two of cherry pickin.  After Susie got her share for another batch of jam, I got a few cups for some Cherry Bounce!

There are many cherry bounce recipes that you can find online by googling. One tactic I use when looking for a recipe online that I have never tried, is to look at as many as I can and then filter out the nonsense or oddballs.

This is like a quick statistical approach by using your own experience, knowledge, and common sense. You can find cherry bounce recipes that call for cheap whiskey or brandy or vodka.

But then you have to ask yourself what it is you are trying to do.
 The next step is to ask what spirit you want to use and why. Vodka would be great for a neutral, all cherry flavored infusion.

Use a higher proof Vodka, since it will have the addition of cherry juice and sugar. This really ends up being a nice, high proof sour cherry liqueur.

4 cups of fresh unpitted sour cherries
2 cups of cane sugar
In a non reactive bowl add cherries and sugar and allow to macerate for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
After 30 minutes add this to a sauce pan and heat until just a simmer, always gently stirring or turning the cherries and the sugar has completely dissolved. Allow to cool.
 I divided the cherries evenly into the three pint jars and topped them off with some Stolies.

It should bee good to go in just a few weeks but why rush it? 

Save it for a special occasion and enjoy!
Put the jars in a cool, place, with no direct sunlight...A cellar or pantry would be ideal. Once a week do a turn of the jars to mix up the contents.

Monday, July 8, 2013


 An early morning run out the valley yields a nice little brown trout.

One and done.

 To town for the Fourth of July Heritage Day celebration.  That means lots of tractors.

This old Farmall was one of the coolest rides, great for the fields but not really set up for driving on the pavement with the steel wheels.

Along with the parade we hit the park to socialize.  We caught several bands over the weekend at Cole Park, La Motte, and at Off Shore.
 A good harvest of blue berries.

 Just a handful of Red raspberries.  The first of what's to come in the next few weeks.

 I was in the berry pickin mood so I walked the dogs down to the sugar bush and picked some Black raspberries too.

Black rasberries  (Rubus occidentalis) tend to ripen over the course of a few weeks (around here late June through mid-July).  If they didn’t, I’d probably make myself sick eating them all at once.  They may be smaller than most cultivated berries, but their flavor is unmatched.

 Can you say fruit tart?

 Then it was on to picking cherries at out friends house.  This is a 50/50 share program. 

I picked  two ice cream buckets full of sour cherries, one for them and one for us and barely put a dent in the trees fruit.  That was round one and I'll be  back for more.

The first of many trips to the garden.  So plentiful that it can be shared with friends and family.