Fishing

Tasty Treats Wandering Into My Woodland Realm

Today I figured I’d share a collection of just a few things that have decided to make my yard and surrounding area ‘home’.

First up we have a ‘hare’ raising photo. There are a bunch of these around. I’ve identified at least four separate individuals. The largest of which will likely be in the stew pot come fall.

(Note: All pictures can be clicked on for a full sized version!)

Rabbit

Second, we have a rather snarky looking groundhog that loves to meander about and eat the tops off of my orange hawkweed. Considering those are my wife’s favorite flower, she has a special vendetta out for this creature and has made it known to me in no uncertain terms that the beast shall not survive the winter, even if she has to get out her bow and do it in herself. 😉

Groundhog

Next up we have a slither. Why did the slither cross the road? To end up battered and fried!

Eastern Rat SnakeEastern Rat Snake 2Snake and Wild Garlic

Also, being a bit of a wildlife haven, my yard tends to attract some of these fine folks:

Deer

They are always welcome on my property. Get fat, eat well, and come winter time they are a resource if I need them, right outside my back door.

Also not too far away, I found some of these the other day:

Geese 2

I love geese. Both on the table and as an animal in general. They’ve got personality. My favorite goose I ever had was named ‘squeaky’. He was awesome. I raised him from a tiny gosling swimming around in my bathtub to a full sized gander. He never once hissed at me and was very protective. He was also the only goose I couldn’t bear to eat. Had it been life or death survival, I’d have eaten him of course, but as it stands this was about ten years ago and availability of other food sources wasn’t an issue. This picture is of course just for illustrative purposes, as you can’t take deer, geese, and the like without all the proper permits, paperwork, and all that modern nonsense. Thus the geese were not on the menu, sadly. One would almost think that it was deliberately engineered to make it nearly impossible for you to find and dine on your own free wild food…

These however, were on the menu, and were taken from the same waters. (Yes, legally, proper licenses and all.) And they fried up lovely. First is a Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), and below is a Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatum). Most people are confused as to what a Black Crappie is. A Black Crappie will have black SPOTS . A White Crappie (Pomoxis annularis) has stripes, or ‘bars’.

BluegillBlack CrappiePanfried Bluegill
I also have a full on herd of squirrels in my yard. They wouldn’t sit still long enough this morning to get a proper picture though. The idiot neighbor’s idiot dog likes to chase them to hell and back so they’re very skittish and they bolt at the slightest sound. (Such as the sound of a window opening to get a clearer picture…)

UPDATE: I finally got one to sit still for half a millisecond!

Squirrel

So, what’s in YOUR neck of the woods? 😀

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Categories: Animals, Fishing, Food Health, Foraging, Green, Hunting, Nature, Nature Photos, Organic Meat, Uncategorized, Wild, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Paleo Day 6

Last night was a lovely dinner of crappie and bluegill with wild garlic (and a little salt and cracked black pepper and olive oil).

The night before was slither, prepared the same way. (More on that at another time, perhaps.)

Either dinner, or supper today, depending on how hungry I am and when I am hungry, will consist of the remaining bluegill that I didn’t make yesterday. Probably made the same way, but likely without the wild garlic as it’s been raining cats and dogs today.

I’ve also pretty much eliminated legumes. I’d add them primarily to soups, and by switching from the ‘winter/spring’ diet to the ‘spring/summer’ diet, soups are naturally eliminated from my diet until the colder months anyway, so that one was pretty easy, as I’m used to eating near zero legumes during the summer anyway. Thank goodness for small little gifts, eh?

Breakfast today will be oatmeal (real whole oats) with cinnamon and half of a real apple cut up.

I’d like to eventually cut out the oatmeal, but I have nothing I can consistently replace it with yet that won’t bankrupt the tribe’s monthly food budget.
We’ve been eating the same thing for breakfast, nearly every day, with only the fruit being changed out for quince when it’s in season, or occasionally a few raisins or shredded carrots in lieu of the other fruit, for a few years now.

And considering that when I cut out milk and cereal for breakfast, and went to the oatmeal every day, is when I went from 215 pounds to 160 pounds in the course of one winter.

So, yea, it’s a carb. But honestly I don’t think it’s the most egregious of them out there. Though I also cut out most processed foods as well, and totally cut out HFCS.

None of us are fat. None of us are overweight. Hell, if anything, I’m a bit underweight. Though this could be because of my very high metabolism, and because I’m the most active member in my family. (I do get a bit of walking in when foraging, of course.) I’m a bit over 6 foot tall, a size 32, and currently clocking in at 154 as of this morning. By reducing carbs and massively reducing my sugar intake (down to 1/10th what it was 6 days ago!), I’ve lost about 3 pounds in the last 6 days. Pounds I didn’t need to lose, in my opinion. To be honest, I’m petrified of losing any more weight. It was a long and rough winter, and for a while there, I was down to 145 pounds and not feeling good at all. I’m in no great hurry to ever go back there. I need to put weight ON, not take weight OFF.

And that weight loss over the winter was even whilst I was eating high carbs (two bowls of rice a day plus oatmeal, plus bread, plus crackers) and high sugars, about 10 teaspoons worth all things considered, per day.

I’ve always had a very high metabolism. Since I’ve gotten rid of 99.9% of processed foods from my diet, my old metabolism has kicked back in, in SPITE of the sugars and carbs that were still part of my diet.

And all of this is with a minimum of actual ‘exercise’. It’s not like I’m expending massive amounts of calories. The most calorie burning thing I’ve done during that time was doing some walking whilst fishing and standing in place for 6 hours whilst fishing. (Which did quite a number on my back, as I’m not used to standing in one place for that long.) I typically do pushups in the morning most days, as does my wife, and she does some stretching and crunches and other exercises.

So, we’re shedding sugars and carbs a bit at a time. We’ve also not baked any bread in 3 days. And if it doesn’t exist, it’s a lot easier to not eat it.

It’s quite likely, the oatmeal will be the last thing to go. Of all the carbs I’m currently eating, I feel it’s the least offensive of the various carbs. It’ll go, it just won’t go all at once.

The white rice, on the other hand, is likely the most offensive, next to the white flour. And we’ve already started massively ratcheting that back by simply not baking bread. Which is really a kick in the grapes, I must say, because I bought eight bags of flour for our monthly food budget like two days before we started going Paleo/Primal! (Talk about bad luck.) Oh well, we’ll eat them eventually. Just very spread out, instead of all at once.

The key here is that we replace the carb foods with non-carb foods, once they’re depleted with our pantry. In other words as we use the rice and flour and oatmeal, we replace it with something ELSE.

Unfortunately, all our food for this month has already been pre-purchased, so no change out of any kind is going to happen until July. All I can do until then is add more meats and good fats to the diet, and reduce the portions of the carbs.

Update: This was dinner. Yum! The garlic greens were fried in coconut oil and served over a very small sliver of rice. About 1/3rd of what I’d normally eat.

Panfried BluegillSauteed Wild Garlic

Categories: Animals, Fishing, Food Health, Foraging, Nature, Organic, Wild, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fishing for Food

I went fishing yesterday from about 3 PM to around 8:30 PM, and got home right before dark.

I do enjoy the actual act of fishing, but this isn’t recreation or leisure time. This is absolutely serious ‘foraging’ time. Coming home empty handed means no meat for dinner. It’s very different from what most people I know do…  going out and wasting a few hours with a pole in the water, and not caring if you catch anything or not. Heck, most people will throw the fish back if they only catch a few, thinking it’s ‘not worth their time’ to clean them unless they have a bunch. This mindset is alien to me.  I fish for one reason only: food. I never, ever, fish for ‘sport’.

When I arrived at the fishing location, the road was totally blocked by some dingus in one of those monster sized pickups, doing gods know what. (I think that people with trucks bigger than a small house, that have no real off-road function, are definitely compensating for something…)

So, I went to the first turn off instead of my usual spot. It’s a nice area, I’ve just never caught a single fish there. Ever. I’ve seen other people catch them. I’ve just not done so. It’s not a very sheltered area, and the wind whips in pretty good. Most of the folks that I’ve seen catch fish in that spot use a boat, and then fish IN towards land in the little nooks and get fish that like to hang out around the root structures and such. If I only had a canoe or kayak or some such, that’d be me. But I can’t stand motor operated watercraft. The noise and the endless disruption grate on my nerves, not to mention the fact that the gas powered motors kill loads of fish. If they banned all motor driven watercraft from this lake, I’d be very, very happy. People get a motor boat and think they’re all of a sudden uber-fishers.

The first three hours I didn’t get a single nibble, using any bait. Then I got a few tiny nibbles, and it was the itty bitty fish that like to harass and steal your bait without biting the hook.

However, I did see quite a few geese. They’d pass within only a few feet of me. Oh damn our twisted society and it’s idiotic rules and regulations! Here, passing within spitting distance, was breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the wing. For a week. For a whole family!

Geese 4

(And just for record and to be clear for all the legal beagles and fluffybunny ninnies, and so called ‘sportsmen’ that read this, I’d never take any wild game out of season or without the proper legal ‘permits’, ‘licenses’ or other BS nonsense that one now needs to have in order to do what people and animals have been doing since the dawn of time: eating.)

Thus, no goose for me. Though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want one.

I do like geese though, and not just for eating. I think the goslings are cute and squeaky. I’d still eat one though. I absolutely love goose. Never had a gosling though. I think it’d be like a tender young chicken, but goosey flavored.

Geese 2

I finally moved somewhat close to my usual fishing spot. It was a less-favorable spot (in my opinion, and for what I was fishing for) than my favorite fishing spot. It was also closer to the boat ramp, which meant that literally every 10 to 15 minutes, someone was load or unloading a boat. There was also trash littering the beach, in great quantity, and I mean that in more ways than one. Unfortunately my favorite spot was taken up by two white boys, only a bit younger than myself,  who apparently thought they were inner city gangstas. At the very least, they certainly talked like it. And for the love of everything precious and good, they just would not shut the heck up! I got regaled at full volume on such topics as football, basketball, baseball, rap music, boxing, as well as listen to two supposedly best friends ‘cut’ on each other (verbally) the entire time. If there was any other decent fishing spot, I’d have moved. Such was the fun fishing next to ‘Joey’ and ‘Mario’. They were about 60 yards away and I listened to their BS for three and a half hours before they finally left (in a Lexus SUV of all things!)  And, as it was getting cold and dark, I left soon thereafter.

However I did end up catching 6 fish at that spot, all bluegill.

Here’s one of the bluegill I caught. It is a female.

Bluegill

As I was leaving, a nice fellow about my age who’d been out on a boat asked me what I was fishing for, and I said ‘Bluegill’. He asked me if I wanted a crappie, as he caught only one and was going to throw it back. I said “Absolutely!” It was a very nice sized black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) I thanked him heartily for the unexpected fishy gift. Which, by the way, was the largest by far of all the fish in my bucket. Though to be fair, crappie tend to be bigger than bluegill most of the time.

In case you don’t know, black crappie have black spots. That’s what nigromaculatus means White crappie have 8 to 10 vertical stripes. Most fishermen seem to call the black crappie ‘white crappie’, because no one has explained the simple difference to them.

Black Crappie

One of the fish expired, so I cleaned it when I got home. But the others were still alive and flippy, so I left them in the big cooler overnight. Unless I’m in a hurry, I prefer to let them expire on their own accord vs having to deal with them whilst they’re all flippy.

When I woke up, they were all dead on the bottom of the cooler. I expected as much. They probably expired sometime in the wee hours of the night. I put them in a bucket of ice cold water, and there they shall sit until I finish eating and typing this. After which, I’ll clean them, scale them, gut them, and behead them, and into the fridge they will go for supper tonight.

Categories: Fishing, Foraging, Nature, Nature Photos, Organic Meat, Survival, Wild, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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