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Friday, July 22, 2011

Excuse Me Ma'am...

9:01 AM 3 Comments

"Excuse me Ma'am" said the grey haired gentleman in the supersized pickup as he rolled up next to me at the edge of our village's municipal lake, "Can I just watch you fish for a few's been a long  time since I've seen anyone flyfishing."

I was suspicious that perhaps given my lack of good form, he just needed a little evening entertainment. This gentleman and I really don't know each other - he's one of the hundreds of construction workers that descended on our community a few years ago to work on a large power plant project. His license plates say Montana, and he maintains his "home" in a camper at our village lake.

We've often exchanged pleasantries, comments about the weather, about how fishing is or isn't going, and so on.  He sees me fishing, coming in and out of the woods, training Willie;  "He's a good blocky cold weather lab- not like most of those houndy looking ones I see around here" .

photo courtesy of Adam Rutkowski

Photo Courtesy of Adam Rutkowski

He watches from his swing in front of camper and gives the occasional giggle and "Stubborn little blockhead isn't he"  when Wllie refuses to fetch up a bumper and I have to wade out up to my neck to retrieve it.

But this watching me fly fish? Seriously? Surely he would rather watch someone who actually knows what they are doing, that doesn't suffer snags and tangles and fits of unlady like language.

" No one fly fishes around here, do they? You're the first person I've seen on this lake with a fly rod since I got here. "

Bear in mind I was just having a little fun catching little bluegill for catfish bait. Truthfully those little blue gill would just about latch on to a bare hook, and a cane pole with a bobber would be perfectly sufficient for grabbing enough to use on the lines that I was planning on setting  later that night.

But it's fun to use the fly rod and see the little guys punch up, snatch the fly, and run, they fight and zig and zag as if they were a big fish, and heaven knows I need all the practice with a fly rod I can get. Let's just say I have a style and form that is uniquely all my own, one that  causes true flyfisher folks to cringe and run for cover.

But even my poor form was good enough  on that hot summer evening to satisfy my grey haired friend. We went on to chat about cat fishing, fly fishing, the lack of a clear running streams in southern Illinois and the lack of trout.
"Those stocked trout in those strip pit lakes" he snorted " That's not trout fishing."

As darkness fell and I filled my bucket with small gills  to use for bait on my tightlines, he shared stories about the clear mountain streams, the clean crisp air, all of the things he missed about about his home as we sweltered in the 100 degree heat and 100% humidity of Southern Illinois.

When he started his truck to head to his home away from home on up the shore of the lake he thanked me...
"Thanks for letting me watch - and thanks for the talk; I was a little homesick until I came around the corner and saw your line in the air and landing on the water. And don't pay attention to those guys that tell you that you aren't doing it right. You've been catching fish, and you're having fun. That's all that matters. "

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dancing Arrow Diva Giveaway

9:02 PM 10 Comments
The time is growing near for the first media trip that TeamWON  is taking- Babbs in the Woods over at Women's Outdoor News has great post up today introducing all of the players in the upcoming Great Carp Caper.
I've been thrilled this season to see all the new feminine faces in the sport of bowfishing - and especially happy to see the younger set getting in on the game, and doing some serious butt kicking in the old boy network.
Christine Appleberg - The true Queen of the Carp  
Ashley Allison - Took the Big Fish award at her very first tournament
Kendra Mason - an up and coming walk and stalk bowfisher gal 

Ashley Copher  with her first gar
California native Mackenzie Mueller having a little backwater southern Illinois fun
I like to call the feminine invasion  of the bowfishing world  The Dancing Arrow Divas - so in honor of that feminine invasione and the upcoming Great Carp Caper with TeamWON I'm giving away a Dancing Arrow Diva Gift Bag chock full of Dancing Arrow Diva gear !
a dandy key fob!

a mouse pad

a bumper sticker

a journal for all your carpy adventures

and of course you need a pen with the journal

a beautiful Dancing Arrow Diva t shirt
and a tote bag to cart all your Dancing Arrow Diva loot in!

This a the perfect bag of Dancing Arrow Diva loot for the lady bowfisher or the ladybowfisher in your life!
Here's the details : To enter simply leave a comment about why you love bowfishing, what's great about bowfushing, why you would like to learn about bowfishing..anything about bowfishing! The contest runs through August 15th , and the winner will be announced on August 16th. The winner will be chosen via a random number generator and the number of your comment will be your assigned number.
Feel free to pass this great Dancing Arrow Diva giveaway on to all the bowfishers and anglers in your world! Now if you'll excuse me, my arrows are ready go dancing!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Gold On the Forest Floor

4:49 PM 0 Comments
It's chantie time..chanterelles, those deep golden apricot scented mushrooms that we are treated to in the dog days of summer. All signs in my neighborhood point to a banner year. Hot weather and the very very moist ground from receding floodwater and heavy rains have left the forest floors carpeted in gold.

I must admit that as much as I love the chanties, collecting them is not necessarily my most favorite thing. The hardwood forests in deep summer are like a jungle, hot, hazy, nary a breath of air or breeze to be felt. spiderwebs abound causing me to traverse the area swinging my spider stick much much like a shaman swings and swooshes a smudge bundle. Even so it seems I spend as much time spitting out mosquitos, gnats, spiders, wiping sweat from my eyes as I do cutting mushrooms.

But the golden egg yolk yellow treats covering the forest floor make the bugs, the heat, and the briars worth putting up with. I generally hit my patches during the early morning hours  - by even noon the woods have become oppressively intolerable - the air heavy, thick and insect filled.Thankfully I have no reaction to poison ivy, as it seems the thicker the poison ivy, the thicker the chanterelles.

Often as I head into a favorite patch I will set a tightline for a nice summer catfish to complete the days meals. Nothing better than coming back out of te woods to find a good cat on your pole to go with a bag of chanties.

Even during the oppresive heat I favor long pants, boots, and long sleeves - there's just to many bugs and briars to scampering around with much bare skin showing. A sharp knife and collecting bag, basket or bucket are all you need.
Chanterelles are one of the few mushrooms that should be pulled from the ground - cutting them of at ground level can leave the mycelium trail open to a parasitic fungus that will destroy a good patch. Speaking of patches, they will return year after year, just as morels do, so one you find a good spot, remember it for next years harvest.

Once the chantie has pulled from the ground I give it quick once over and trim away the dirty end and any bad spots that might be present. Despite the fact that they flush during the buggiest season of the year, rarely does one find many insects in the chanterelles.  Cleaning them once home is simple matterof brushing them clean with a vegetable brush, trimming any broken of parts that have been damaged in transit and popping them in the fridge.

This mornings mess after cleaning headed for the fridge

We eat seasonally at our house as much as possible so tonight's menu will include fresh grilled catfish filets, and freshly picked zucchini stuffed with chanterelles sauteed in butter with a few herbs and some bread crumbs and grated cheese thrown in for good measure. 

To make the stuffed zuchhini:
(serves 4)

2 medium zuchhini halved with seeds and some meat scooped out with a spoon

2 cups sliced /diced chanterelles

2 cloves minced garlic

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon butter

3 Tablespoons chopped parsley (or herb of choice)

Slice each squash in half and, using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and some of the meat.
Melt the butter and olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add shallot , garlic, and bits of zucchini cook until golden. Stir in the mushrooms and cover for 2 minutes. Uncover and reduce the liquid down to almost dry, stir in parsley
and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper,
Fill the Zucchini boats with mushroom mixture
Top with breadcrumbs, mixed with chopped herbs of choice, and butter. Bake at 350degrees for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with a shredded cheese mix of your choice last five minutes of baking.

 Grab your spider stick, take an early morning stroll through the forest and see if you can't find some the forests golden treasures for yourself! 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Where did Wednesday Go?

8:04 AM 1 Comments
Life with MS is a bit like living with frequent thunderstorms that blow in, wreak havoc and blow out leaving us with the sunny days in between.
My apologies to any and all who checked in yesterday looking for my usual Winning Wednesday post. Wednesday sort of disappeared for me this week. I'd like to chalk it up to confusion since this was a holiday week, but alas I really can't.
Seems I'm having some  MS speed bump issues this week. Maybe this is good opportunity to explain MS fatigue - as difficult as that often is.
MS Fatigue is light years different than plain old tiredness, than even plain old fatigue. It's often called lassitude. In that case, just call me The Lassitude Lassie  this week.

The National MS Society explains it far better than I can and frankly, I'm too tired to type.

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of MS, occurring in about 80% of people. Fatigue can significantly interfere with a person's ability to function at home and at work, and may be the most prominent symptom in a person who otherwise has minimal activity limitations. Fatigue is one of the primary causes of early departure from the workforce.

What Makes MS Fatigue Different?

Several different kinds of fatigue occur in MS. For example, people who have bladder dysfunction (producing night-time awakenings) or nocturnal muscle spasms, may be sleep deprived and suffer from fatigue as a result. People who are depressed may also suffer fatigue. And anyone who needs to expend considerable effort just to accomplish daily tasks (e.g., dressing, brushing teeth, bathing, preparing meals) may suffer from additional fatigue as a result.
In addition to these sources of fatigue, there is another kind of fatigue—referred to as lassitude—that is unique to people with MS. Researchers are beginning to outline the characteristics of this so-called "MS fatigue" that make it different from fatigue experienced by persons without MS.
  • Generally occurs on a daily basis
  • May occur early in the morning, even after a restful night’s sleep
  • Tends to worsen as the day progresses
  • Tends to be aggravated by heat and humidity
  • Comes on easily and suddenly
  • Is generally more severe than normal fatigue
  • Is more likely to interfere with daily responsibilities
MS-related fatigue does not appear to be directly correlated with either depression or the degree of physical impairment.

Cause of Fatigue in MS Remains Unknown

The cause of MS fatigue is currently unknown. Ongoing studies are seeking to find an objective test that can be used as a marker for fatigue and for precise ways to measure it. Some people with MS say that family members, friends, co-workers, or employers sometimes misinterpret their fatigue and think the person is depressed or just not trying hard enough.

That last sentence is the killer - when others perception of me is that I'm just lazing around lying on the couch eating bon bons..
Anyone who knows me very well knows I'm some half crazy driven type A gal that prior to MS worked three jobs and juggled a myraid of things. Since MS - there are days when simply washing my face, brushing my teeth and getting dressed sends me back to bed.

There are no gaping wounds in MS - it's an invisible disease, so often we  MSr's hear "but you look so good". As well meaning as this statement is,  it's then one that often makes me want to scream -" but I don't feel good..I hurt, I am too tired to hold my head up, I am not good!"

This isn't a plea for sympathy - just an explanation of one of the parts of life with MS. It's frustrating,  and it's sometimes frightening, but it will pass and I'll be back full tilt boogie in just a few days. There's too much fun to be had outdoors right now, and I can nap in the shade of a cottonwood next to the river while I watch my catfish lines, just as easily as I can on my couch. 

See you all when 'ol Rip Van Winkle here finally wakes up!