Cabin Trip # 2, 2013

We were fortunate enough to get up to the cabin for a second trip this summer for me and a third trip this year for Mike. 

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Our thought initially was we were going to help build the deck we tore down on our last visit. However, Michael has a very industrious Mother and Step-Father who decided to build the new one in the few days they got there before us.. (thanks, guys!)

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Which left everyone more time for napping…

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…and digging…

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…and catching lots of fish! (Not bragging, but for factual documentation, all three of those pike are mine. Just sayin’.

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These were not mine.

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Fortunately, we had this shiny new fish cleaning station on our dock!

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It went by too quickly and we all had a great time! Until next spring, Ontario!

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Gone Two Days…

I was gone two days and came home to this! 

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#Zucchiniproblems

ImageI knew it was coming…

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Zucchini problems. I, like so many Mid-westerners, have a compulsion to grow it in insanely large quantities . We do it in knowledge that we will almost certainly receive a paper bag full of it from a neighbor. We have also been raised better than to refuse it, even though we have too much to handle at home… It’s strange, but who am I to deny tradition?

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I made two loaves of zucchini bread and was bored. So I decided to think outside the box: I made Zucchini Relish!

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I started with two small zucchini

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This should give you about 4 cups shredded.

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Put the zucchini in a large bowl and add one finely chopped onion. Cover it in cool water and add 3/4 cup of salt. Let it soak for a couple hours.

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Drain that sucker!

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For the pickling brine pour 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 teaspoon of mustard seed, 1 teaspoon of celery seed, 1 tablespoon of picking salt and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Also add a generous sprinkle of turmeric.

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Bring the brine to a boil. As soon as it’s rolling  add the zucchini and onion and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

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I was using multiple recipes to make this. If you know me, you know I am AWESOME at math (not really.) As a result, I got about a pint and half with the measurements I listed above and it was a bit too liquid-y. I drained some liquid and had enough to process a full pint jar.

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I processed the pint jar after pouring the relish into a hot jar. I processed it in a boiling hot water bath for about 10 minutes. How are you making the most of your zucchini problems?

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July Cabin Trip

I didn’t know when I met Mike that he also came with a Canadian cabin! But I’ve really fallen in love with it and we were lucky enough to escape to Ontario earlier in the month to get some fishing in and also to do a little bit of work on the place. 

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Mike’s mom and step-dad have been an enormous help in doing all kinds of projects on the place!

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Above is the new bunk house. It’s a completely new structure and will be really nice when guests come to stay!

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The new outhouse is a very welcome addition!! 

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Last time Mike was up with his mom and step-dad they were able to get these cribs in. The next trip up we are planning on leveling the whole house with a permanent foundation.

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Hello Friends! 🙂 Please don’t mind the junk pile!

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The new crib dock…

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Ron looooves to swim! We wouldn’t even throw a stick out or anything and we would find him doing laps just for fun!

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Before we got to work on our big project at the house, we had to get some fishing in! This is me with my second pike of the day. By the time we were finished we had 8 between us! (I out caught Mike by one but don’t tell him I told you that!)

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A good catch of Mike’s…

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Fried Pike and Canadian Molson (it’s different and better!!) 

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In order to do the foundation work that needs to be done, Mike and I decided to tear off the old deck. We nailed in supporting beams to hold up the roof for the time being. If all goes as planned we will have a new roof on by the time winter rolls in. 

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“Careful up there, dad!”

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We met our neighbor for the first time! He brought beer and a chainsaw over to help! I love the Canadian hospitality so far!

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The job went much faster than we were planning with his help and the help of power tools!

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All gone! 

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Here is a sketch of the blue print after all the work is completed! The projects are fun to be a part of but I can’t wait to see the final product!

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We came home with a cooler full of pike…

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And some much needed R&R… Until next time, Canada! Bon Voyage! 

 

 

 

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You Should Know Pike Like I Do… (Michael’s Post)

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Guest Blogger: Michael

Pike often get a bad rap. Many people don’t know how to clean them properly. This alone has turned many sportsman off to the species. Properly preparing these fish will make them as good, or better, than most fish you have eaten. Many times we’ve piled high a plate combined with fresh caught pike and walleye. The guys eating (who swore they didn’t like pike) had no idea what they were eating and ate several pans full. It’s important to give credit where credit is due. My Step-Father Fred taught me well and I eat better with every trip to the cabin because of it.

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I must admit; there is a certain amount of hesitation in sharing these secrets… I would hate to think that this blog would turn the world on to the joys of catching pike and eventually deplete the fishing grounds of some of my favorite localities. Alas; my favorite weed beds are well hidden in the north.

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Let’s not over complicate this…You’re main objective in cleaning this fish is to “eliminate the Y bone…”

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First simply take off the fillets and skin them.

 

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Depending on the size of your fillet, you are probably going to want to cut it into quarters. The tail will not have many Y Bones (and is the best piece to eat 😉 If you’re running the cast iron save them for yourself and send the rest to the table.

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The middle pieces will have more Y Bones just to the right of center when facing up. This is the tricky part. You will be able to see and feel with your finger the points of these bones sticking up along the top of the piece of the meat. Your first cut will be to the right of these bone tips down slowly, feeling for the bones with your knife. This requires a flexible, sensitive knife to detect these soft bones. As soon as you feel these bones, turn your blade to the right and away from the center of the fillet. Now go back and make an incision just to the left of the bone tips at the top. Cutting down and slightly to the right, cut at approximately the same angle.

 

This is difficult to articulate without showing you personally and even then it will take practice. Expect to carve up a few fillets the first few times. But I promise, if you learn this technique well and you enjoy eating fresh fish this is something that will soon have you reorganizing your tackle box with classic red and whites at the top.

 

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Always remember, if you’re upset because you’re not catching any fish you’re missing the whole point.

-Michael

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Busted

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Imma get me a woodchuck

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