LIVER DUMPLING SOUP
Made german soup dumplings out of some bear and deer livers, ground almonds left over from making almond milk, parsley and other flavourings, and cooked and served them in a wild mushroom, wild ramp, carrot and celery laden broth flecked with barley and pepper. It is officially fall today.
Wilma’s second wood cock. We took a quick detour to some abandoned farmland in Matheson to take some pictures of our spiffy selves, only to swap our duds for camo and guns to hunt the wood cock opener. We were successful both days we were out. Gee whiz, look how cute we are.
Wilma’s first Woodcock (scolopax minor) Early September in the North East is very golden, sunny, bright and cold. We have been waiting for this special month all year. It is the beginning of many seasons, ducks and geese, grouse, and archery hunts for moose and deer. We’ve spent a few days in a row now out east of Timmins, between Monteith and Matheson, hiking through...
BEAR MEAT AND BOOT GREASE
A whale of a tale unfolded this past week. The short version being that our hard work has paid of, and Brandon arrowed his first black bear on Thursday evening. It was an approximately 375 pound male. ￼ This big ol’ guy started to come in around the previous weekend, scaring off all other younger bears. He must have really liked all of the popcorn I was making him. He is as tall at the...
The elusive King Bolete (wild porcini), very hard to find them perfectly fresh and not ravished by slugs around here. Little brown and pink deer/fawn mushrooms, and a honkin’ ol lobster mushroom. It is high mushroomin’ time here, with lobsters, king boletes (porcini) and fawn mushrooms popping up everywhere. We’ve picked a good 20 - 25 lbs so far, mostly lobsters. Feasted...
Ol’ fuzzface is growing wiser by the minute. Her steadying work on our homers is coming along nicely, in time for grouse opener on September 15th. Whoa breaking a dog is an interesting new process for us. So far, the Perfect Start/Perfect Finish method has been working like a charm, love the slow and steady, calm approach to reading, proofing, and progessing with the dog. Wilma tends to...
LES BLEUETS SAUVAGES
Evening sun casting its glow on our bounty Spent the day ‘neath the pines, hot dry summer breezing through the plush needles. Very slim pickin’ this year in these parts. Uncle John and his trusty local blueberry hounds say it is one of the worst in a long while, which is sad for the birds and bears who need em to fatten up. There seem to be plenty of raspberries and choke and...
DOWN BY THE RIVER
We re-visited our wedding location with our mothers and Wilma while we were home, since we’re planning everything from so far away. It is a year away to the date, and we’re looking forward to spending the day with our family and friends under big swaying willows and pine, among the wildflowers and grasses on the Grand River just outside of Cayuga. [[MORE]]There are lovely 19th c....
SWEET HOME, SOUTHERN ONTARIO
We hit the long road home last Friday. The drive was uneventful, though the contrast from our northern pines to the swaying, heavy, deciduous branches made it feel all the more southern by the time we hit home. We had several items on our agenda. Primarily we wanted to visit everyone we’ve missed so dearly, secondarily, we wanted to visit our favourite spots and enjoy the late spring...
While up at the Jameson farm on Monday we also set up some birds in launchers for Wilma, and she locked up on some solid points. I usually end up on the other side of Wilma, working her on the check cord, so it was nice to capture her darling concentration while pointing. Big, deep, sniffs of bird scent and intensly focused eyes.
We spent the early morning hunting for wild turkeys, up in the lovely carolinian sugarbush of the Jameson farm in Sheffield, Ontario. I’ve missed this spot dearly since we’ve been living far north, and it did not disappoint on our short, sweet visit. The forest floor was alive with yellow lady slippers. They are one of my very favourite flowers, and a really special treat to...
Some tulips I picked up for 89 cents, turned into huge double blooms. It is too early yet for planting in Timmins, the frost free date is June 8th. We’ve got a very short growing season ahead of us, though we are looking to make the most of it with veggies and herbs, and a good amount of colourful flowers. So far we’ve got baby roma tomatoes, several variety of cherry tomatoes,...
A man may not care for golf and still be human, but the man who does not like to...– Aldo Leopold
Brandon’s first two deer - first one on the right, second on the left, both shot with an arrow fired from a Hoyt compound bow. We cleaned and mounted the skulls ourselves, [[MORE]]fairly simple process. Sunbathing like a lady.
EARNIN' HER STRIPES
Out running Wilma on some grouse, no shooting, as they are not in season til the fall, but trying to get her on as many as possible before they start having chicks. She came into her first heat on Sunday the 15th, and these pictures were taken Easter Weekend, before her Birthday. We’ve dubbed it grouse lane, as in just over 2kms she found over a dozen birds, yet again. As can...
WILMA DARLIN' PUDDIN' PIE
Today is the little goober girl’s first birthday. We celebrated with a long hike through the woods in pursuit of grouse and hare. No birds were shot, as the season is closed until fall, but she was livin’ it up and pointed a baker’s dozen of birds, and got after several hares (who look clownish at the moment, stuck in a marbled limbo between winter white and summer brown). ...
One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of...– Aldo Leopold
PUSSY WILLOWS AND COLD SMOKE
Wilma scampering about in search of game. We headed up a little ways north of Kap for the last weekend of March. The weather here had been unseasonably warm and drastically changed the landscape in a matter of a few short weeks (see previous post for snow conditions a mere two weeks prior). The snow has all but gone, the smaller lakes around are ice-free, and the larger are on the verge of...
A fine, long sunny day fishing for Truit Gris (lake trout, lakers, logs, etc). We managed to sun speckle our cheeks, even. To say these golden skinned trout are beautiful is an understatement, they fight hard and gleam in the sunlight.[[MORE]] Best served seared whole (gutted, head removed) in a slick of butter on hot cast iron, with sea salt and pepper. Herbs are fine, lemon is fine, but...
RUNNING WITH THE DEVIL
We’ve been making a concerted effort to take Wilma out running several times per week. The snow is deep and impassible without snowshoes, which gets her some great excercise when we are out after hares (she sinks up to her chest and has to bound through it with the force of a freight train). However, since early January we’ve had our Skidoos up here with us, and have also made great...
[[MORE]] The day was spent fishing for lakers on this lake. Thick grey skies blanketed the landscape. On the way home, a fog crept along the horizon.
You know when you are alone in the wild, and if you listen hard you cannot hear a single fucking thing that is remotely man made, save for the clinking of a reel excitedly cranking in a “big one” or the crack of a rifle firing, the thwack of a bow string, or the patter of wing beats, and that alluring whiff of sulfury-smoke in cold air. It is most effectfull when it is snowing...
GRIS ET BLANC
A long drive down Pine St. S to the point where it becomes impassable other than by foot. We were after lakers and snow shoe hare. [[MORE]]
IN THE QUIVERING FOREST, WHERE THE SHIVERING DOG...
Wilma tracked this snowshoe hare through the deep snow filled thickets of birch and black spruce. She has grown from this into a canine sort of lynx. It was a clean headshot, which she retrieved perfectly (although we let her hold onto it for a minute, she was so proud she might have burst). The pelt is in the freezer along with two others we have snared, waiting until I have enough...
We were home exactly one year before we moved up to South Porcupine. In this past year we made the most of our life in Southern Ontario, knowing we would one day end up north. We did all of the things we love, as often and richly as possible. We hunted pheasants, trolled for salmon on Lake Ontario, fished for walleye and big catfish on the grand river, picked wild ramps on the escarpment behind...
SO LONG, SOUTHERN ONTARIO
He bid a long farewell to all of his friends, He said I’m leaving town and I hope to begin Something up north where the wind blows cold I’ll be up there until I grow old. All he had to his name was a suit case in hand Five whole dollars and no place to land Two shells in his rifle and a knife in his sack - The Deep Dark Woods A good three feet of snow on the ground greeted us. ...
Branta Bernicla This goose was special. Our first brant. Rather rare in this neck of the woods - a lot more common on the Atlantic coast. Quite small and striking looking, especially after shooting countless dozens of Canadas (including some Giants) over the past few years. Our days have been filled with early-as-fuck morning hunts on the north shore of Lake Erie near Selkirk, Ontario...
I have always lived at 30 Lakeshore Drive (other than time away in Nova Scotia). It used to be a gravel road, with more ridiculous potholes than flat surface (which make for the best mud-puddled bike riding). It was given the affectionate nick-name “the bumpy road” by my cousins, who would sing a song about it each time they visited, the words to which I’ve long forgotten. It...
Rose hips on the edge of a wetland, in Northern Ontario Most recently, rosehip jelly. Mostly plucked from a long-lived bush near the edge of our property. I distinctly remember it for marking the edge of where I could wander when I was under the age of five. I was adamant that I would try to make a jam of it (as I tend to favour jam, and usually only make jelly when I can only procure the...
WILD GOOSE CHASE
Awake before dawn, before twilight. After determining the best location in the field in consideration of the wind and weather of the coming day, the truck is unloaded. The blinds are laid out, dozens, sometimes hundreds, of decoys are thoughtfully placed. Corn husks and stalks, grasses, and clover are tucked and woven throughout the fabric of the blinds, blending them into the surrounding...
Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began...– Aldo Leopold
Come wintertime I like to pretend I live in the far north. There is a small group of buffleheads in flight in this picture looking beyond our backyard on Lake Ontario. October 15th marked the second annual National Buffleheads Day in Canada. This factoid whispered over the low volume radio tuned into the CBC. I did not know they had their own day, and I am sure they don’t know it either -...
WOODSMOKE AND CANVAS
Spruce Grouse (also Canada grouse) Falcipennis canadensis On the twelfth of September this year, Brandon, Wilma, and I ventured up a long ways north to Foleyet, Ontario. We’d made this trip once before, two years ago. The purpose of the trip to Foleyet is multifaceted. Solitude and solace in the wilderness, wing-shooting grouse over our young pup, hearty simple meals cooked in cast iron...
CLOVER AND HICKORY
Lush soybeans, and the big ol’ shagbark hickory (on the right) on one of our favourite farms to visit. The weather has been perfect the past few days, and we’ve been finding ourselves spending the late afternoons until the stars come out up at one of our favourite farms in Binbrook. Lots of mourning doves for Wilma learn to work, and we’ve been working on getting the tree...
BOWS AND ARROWS
Late evenings target shooting, getting ready for deer season.
A thunderous afternoon spent in the bedrock sugarbush woods of swampy, carolinian, Sheffield, Ontario (43.360921,-80.177069). As we approached the back fields, this year filled with soy and alfalfa, four big Jake turkeys ran off into the woods behind the sugar-shack. They evaded the business ends of our shotguns this spring, and I am sure they will again. We sat and ate home-town winona...
Wilma is our pup, currently 19 weeks old, and growing like a weed. We met her mother and extremely kind owner when we were living in Nova Scotia. She is a schwarzschimmel Deutsch Drahthaar, which translates into a black German Wirehaired Pointer. To put it simply, DD’s differ from GWPs in that they are not affiliated with the CKC or any such registry, and belong to a German...
SNOOD AND SPURS
I named my first big gobbler, shot in mid May of this year, Jukebox. Gobbled his heart out all the way across the farm in Binbrook, Ontario (43.113462,-79.865661). He was real purdy. I’ve mounted his tail, and have his skull and feet in our game freezer for later cleaning and preserving. Turkeys are tasty, very tasty. While I am sure that their deliciousness is hardly disputable...
LAKE OF SHINING WATERS
Over the past 20+ years I have witnessed many changes to the balance and ecosystems of Lake Ontario. I have lived along the southern shore of Lake Ontario my entire life (except for some time in Nova Scotia), with some of my fondest childhood memories being those of going Salmon fishing with my father, launching the boat in our backyard into the cool clear waters of the mighty lake and...
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha Purple, opalescent, black mouthed and dotted. Long, hard battles with a 30 lb chinook, drag screeching, hundreds of yards of line taken out in the lake, on a hammered spoon with just the right colour pattern. We let most go, and keep only those hurt lethally from the hook, or in the under five pound range. The flesh and skin is delicious, especially this...
CATTAILS AND CATFISH
Early June on the mouth of the Grand River near Lake Erie (Dunnville to be more precise). Our 12 ft tinny chugs along, as we troll in hopes of big walleye. We’ve had our pup for a week, making her just about 9 weeks old. She takes everything like a little champ, nothing seems to phase her. Being our first bird dog, our goal with Wilma is to introduce her to as much as possible, as...
We had some great early season salmon fishing today. Almost a grand slam, except for that elusive Atlantic Salmon. The brown trout is for dinner tonight.