Monday, May 21, 2007

May...It's Been a Good Month

So...for May I have had not one, not two, but three new experiences. Morels was the first. A successful charter fishing trip (note the word successful) was second and an ORV Jeep tour was third. I'm sharing details about the fishing first.

On Monday, May 14, I had the opportunity to board the Best Chance Too charter boat with Captain Bill and Captain Dave. I was on a media tour with Kelly Gotch from Michigan Out of Doors TV (PBS, Thursdays at 7pm) and Adam Star from ShowSpan (see picture). It was a glorious morning -- the start of National Tourism Week. What could be better? Well...the day certainly got better...and better and better.

By 8:30am, we were 12 miles out from the port in St. Joseph. The Captains started dropping lines and we only had the fifth down we got our first hit. Adam stepped up to take charge and after about 5 minutes, he had landed a nice King Salmon. More lines were dropped...I don't know...maybe 18 or so. Next fish on and it was my turn. Who would believe that a 12 pound fish could put up such a fight. What a rush! The day continued to progress at a nice pace. There were times when we were reeling in three lines at a time...landing them as fast as we could put new lines down. It was crazy!

By 10:30, we'd reached our limit. We had 20 kings, cohos, 2 steelhead and 1 lake trout. I must brag that I was the one who brought in the steelies and fact, I was the only one on the boat to pull in one of every species. It was an excellent day on the water! We returned to port and Captain Bill cleaned up the fish with the skill of a master and when all was said and done, I walked away with 25 pounds of filets (20 in all) and enjoyed a fine piece of salmon that night off the grill.
Have I mentioned lately that I LOVE my job??? Life is good.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Yes...I'm still talking about May's experiences

The day after planting grape vines for the first time, I took my first sailing lesson/trip (okay...more of a trip as I really didn't do much to assist, other than serving as a windshield for those behind me). I set out on Platte Lake in Benzie County for a few hours on this Hobie with Mark and Ross (the owner of the boat). I can't really tell you much about what we did exactly or how we did it. I can tel you that the sails were beautiful and the weather was excellent for early May and it was great fun. And, unlike my kayak trip in January, I didn't fall in!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

More Vine Action

Back on May 5 (I told you May was a busy month), I planted my first grape vines (remember in late March, I learned how to prune vines?). There were actually a couple days in May and June where I played in the dirt and helped my friend Mark in planting vines in Frankfort (Benzie County). Here I am running an auger (for the first time I might add) as we plant a variety of grape vines which will someday produce award winning wines which we'll enjoy from atop the vineyard as we watch the sunset over Lake Michigan in nearby Frankfort. The vines haven't been my only horticultural experience this year...I've also planted a variety of flowers, vegetables and herbs in a garden at home. My kids say I'm a weed-a-holic, because I can't walk from the front door to the car without first stopping to pick any new pesty weeds that have sprouted. I even have aspirations of redesigning my backyard to include a small pond and a corner flower bed (I've even drafted it out on paper). I'll keep you posted on the progress of both the vineyard and the garden!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

MAY'S FIRST: Morels and More Morels

Here's the latest "First Experience" blog...May 2007. I spent about 45 minutes last week out searching for morel mushrooms in Northern Michigan in a place I'll refer to as Narnia.

So...with a glass of pear wine from Black Star Farms in one hand and a sack in the other, I began to harvest these fabulous fungi from the wooded floor. First one, then another and another and then dozens and dozens and hundreds and hundreds. It was incredible. My guide for the day (the one who let me fall into the Platte River and who was with me as I burned through my coat on the luge) was busy taking pictures and repeating that he'd never seen so many morels in one spot before. It was beginner's luck I told him -- and I was the lucky one!

It was 3-4 days before we made our way through our massive pile of morels (and yes, we did share with friends). We made a tasty morel bisque (using an incredible pesto that was made from wild ramps we found alongside the morels) and a morel omelette and of course fried morels. My culinary experiences during that week long trip to the Traverse City area were among the best of my life. No wonder I want to move up there some day.

Let's see...any other "new experiences" during the trip? Just some new places like Funistrada in Maple City, The Cabbage Shed in Elberta and Fusion in Frankfort. Oh, and I practiced my vine pruning skills as this up and coming vineyard. The roughest part of the whole week? Getting back to reality on Monday morning!

Another "new experience" is coming later this month...a trip to Silver Lake for a ride along the sand dunes!

Stay tuned for June...any ideas??