Biting Off More than You can Chew!

Hands down, June is the busiest month in my little fishing community.  It is the prime month for fishing tournaments, called rodeos, and as a result, prime time for camp rentals. That means I’ve been super busy booking the camp and cleaning it and doing laundry.

School is out, while schools of trout make their way to the Gulf of Mexico to spawn, and every weekend warrior with a boat makes his way down here to make a run for the speckled trout.  What boggles my mind about that is the fact that those trout never leave this area during the fall and winter.  They are snuggled up in the marshes and inland lakes and can be caught through January.  But for some reason, part-time fisherfolks would rather make that long run to the Gulf in the heat of the summer to chase the trout.  I can’t figure that out. (Well, that’s not entirely true – the guides who fish for a living can put 100 trout in the boat by 8 a.m. this month!)

June has been my month for repeats, starting with The Assorted Nuts from central Louisiana, who came back in full force.  Well, they are all doing fine as wine, and quite honestly, having so much fun in their seventies that it should probably be against the law! It was a delight having them back, and they provided me with some much-needed comic relief.  We didn’t catch many fish, but I think that’s because we didn’t use cracked crab. You may recall that they are the ladies for whom I had cracked all those bait crabs back in 2012, resulting in a case of Vibrio Vulnificus. Sorry but I just have a hard time bringing myself to do that now. Oh sure, I’ve used gloves, but do you have any clue how much of a hassle it is to wear gloves when you’re trying to help 4 women with tangled lines, etc.?  I end up spending way too much time pulling them off and misplacing them. It’s just easier to use bait shrimp, but the big reds just didn’t care for the shrimp this time out. Next, I had the honor or taking a group of adventurous young women fishing who were first cousins, most of whom had never been saltwater fishing before.  They were Sicilian, ranging in age from from 25-49, and every one of them was beautiful and high spirited. They got the hang of casting very quickly and before long they were fishing like old pros.  Even though the red fish didn’t cooperate, those gals fished a solid six hours and had a really good time.  As a bonus, they got to hear four big male gators grunting, and they saw something I’ve never seen before, which I’ll share in a few minutes!

And then the Hoos came back, consisting of two of my classmates, whom I’ve known since junior high, and LilSis.  I’m not sure how we ended up calling ourselves the Hoos, but we had a a little Hoo-rah last weekend.  They were part of the first ever Bayou Woman Adventure in June 2012, but they didn’t really want an adventure this time, refusing to let me “work”.  Seems all four of us have had some very challenging events in our lives over the past year and all just needed to rest and regroup.  So that is what we did, and it was just what the doctor ordered.

And in the midst of all the camp rentals, cleaning, fishing, touring, and entertaining, I’ve written three grants this month as part of my part-time job as Ex. Director of Keep Terrebonne Beautiful.  Also, I wrote and submitted an article with photos for the August issue of Country Roads Magazine.  Oh, and right in the middle of our Hoo weekend, it was my turn to host the radio show, on topics I had to choose and research.  Just in case all those deadlines were deadly enough, I’ve got one more this month.  Maybe then I’ll take a break in July!

So, all of the above are the MULTIPLE reasons you haven’t heard from me since Father’s Day weekend and the reason for the title.  Looks like I almost bit off more than I could chew this month; hence the reason for the title.  But that’s not the only reason for the title–looks like somebody else really did bite off more then he could chew…take a good look!

Biting off more than you can chewThis is a diamond backed water snake biting a catfish.  The snake came up out of the water, just about ten feet from where the Sicilian cousins were fishing.  We had gotten out of the boat and were fishing off of a metal weir, and the girls had just talked about stepping off onto those rocks to get closer to the marsh for better casting along the bank. Well, I’m really glad that one of the girls saw the snake before they braved the rocks. Even though it’s not a poisonous snake, I think its looks alone could have caused an accident on those rocks!

Biting off more than you can chewThe snake hung out on the rocks, holding the fish, before going back down into the water. At one point, we could see its entire length, which appeared to be about five feet. I haven’t done the homework, so I have no clue how that snake would ever eat that ten-inch fish. Regardless of how it would consume its meal, that was definitely one of the best National Geographic moments I’ve ever encountered on a fishing trip.

Biting off more than you can chewWell, things are really heating up down the bayou, zapping me of all energy and making me very thankful for central air conditioning and enough money to pay the “light” bill!  Things will begin to slow down now, because most of the fishing rodeos have come and gone, and it’s just getting too dog gone hot to fish much past 10 a.m.  The next thing here will be the fig harvest and preserve making! I noticed today a handful of them are almost ripe, and with all this rain, they should be ready to pick in a couple of days!  Better get my jars and lids ready!  Oh, and gotta go buy plenty of sugar, too!

I’m anxious to hear from  y’all about what you’re up to this summer–gardens, vacations, canning, etc. So, let me hear from you!

BW

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Comments

Biting Off More than You can Chew! — 71 Comments

  1. I’ve been wondering what has been going on with you. We haven’t talked in awhile. I’ve been busy off on travels and adventures of my own. I’ll be seeing you in about a month! I’m looking forward to seeing you again.

    • It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve just been so busy with everything mentioned that I barely have time to do personal emails. But anytime you’re wondering drop me a note or send me a text, and I will answer!!! I’ve been seeing fabulous photos of your travels. you and Sam go some amazing places and see wonders of this country! Envious!

  2. Ahhhh… me suffering from chemo ‘helper’ drug. No permit in mail yet to ride scooters. Slept last 2 days about 90% of time. 90 deg plus next 3-4 days. Oh well….. I had a nice big snake guarding one of my secret spots for 3 years till some nut smashed its head with riprap. Off to bed I guess….

    • So sorry that your guard snake was murdered. Some people really are afraid of snakes. I know there’s a word for when you’re afraid of spiders, but what about snakes? herpaphobia? Blu, just hang in there and rest so your body can do the work of healing. We are all pulling for you, and your scooter permit will be here before you know it and i hope it’s not too hot to ride it already! It’s so humid here, my hair looks like a wire terrier!!!

    • Will you make salsa? I used to do that when my 5 kids were little, and we loved it. I would like to find a nice supply or organic tomatoes and make some this summer. how big is your garden?

  3. Well, I’ve got a lot of green tomatoes. The only variety I’ve picked so far is Cherry tomatoes. My garden this year has really been a bust. It’s rained so much I can’t get in it without mud going up to the ankles. The first time I got stuck, I decided I would buy beans and cucumbers. My Figs aren’t anywhere close to being ripe. BTW, I’ve got HUNDREDS of Satsumas to harvest next Winter.
    About that snake… you would have seen me walk on water to get away from that!

    • Steffi, I know cherry tomatoes are delicious right off the bush and in salads, but have you ever made salsa with them? or would it take too many? I love their fresh flavor and find the ones they sell in the stores taste nothing like the ones Daddy used to grow. I need to go check my figs today and hope the folks staying at the camp this weekend didn’t help themselves. I shouldn’t mind though because they had a mouse in the bedroom and willingly set a trap and caught it within an hour. They were determined to catch it before they went to bed. What nice folks!!!

  4. My gardening is pretty much the same as Steffis. Either mud or sun cracks and we are on water restrictions too. I do have some herbs and a couple of pepper plants but, that is all that made it. Mom is in what her doctor called “soft casts” on both arms from her falls. And even with all her health problems and her memory loss, she has 3 small gardens going and goes out to them at some point every day. I get regular calls to come down and pick her up off of the ground or floor. So with all the running and my health problems, I am retiring from my volunteer work. Going to miss everyone. I have been there for 10 years and it was fun, frustrating and gave me a sense of giving. Hope your month is profitable and you get to have a break to rest up soon.

    • We’ve got more water than we know what to do with down here. Oh, I’m so sorry about your mom’s casts. What an amazing woman with 3 gardens. She remembers the Depression, right? Those Victory gardens were a must and anybody who had any kind of yard had one. Maybe you could ask her about it and share with me? Did y’all always have one growing up that she tended? And i’m sure that’s where you learned your gardening skills. Now your job has turned to caregiver, and i know you will really be missed at your volunteer work. now you will be giving back to your mom, which can also be quite frustrating and at the same time rewarding — and if you didn’t care for her, you would regret it after she’s gone. you will be in my thoughts for strength and peace and love!

  5. Well lets see, so far, I have made strawberry liqueur, got about 2 gallons made this year, one gallon is exceptional! I have put up 18 jars of strawberry jam, 20+ jars of red plum jelly, I am thinking about trying some either nectarine or Peach tomorrow. The peach is really mild so it would have to be jam to get any flavor. The Nectarines have a stronger taste but I have never heard of anyone making jelly out of ’em, they may be too citrus. BUT I have a gallon of each trying to make liqueur on the counter already….LOL Now I need to find some snakes so I can justify taking all this snake bite medicine.

    AND this last week I attempted some watermelon rind pickles ( from an outstanding yellow meated watermelon), the homemade pickling syrup was totally awesome, but the rinds didn’t crunch. I am thinking I either brined too long or cooked too long. Anyone ever make watermelon rind pickles?

    I just ordered an new BIGGER smoker with extra horns and whistles today so I am guessing I’ll need to start watching the paper for butts on sale to make sausage, andouille and tasso.

    Its really hard to find the old butchers like we had as kids. Today to get meat that is not in prepackaged cryo bags you either have to raise your own or pay a premium to get meat from a custom or artisan butcher. Its really ridiculous! I read today that in 4 years the average price of meat has gone up by 170%

    Actually thinking about cleaning out the hog pens and buying some pigs, course that would make me again start up the chicken-coop which I just got away from last year, something ate all the chicken. I think it was Eagles. I was so enjoying not having to muck around in the chicken &*^% to feed and gather everyday too! Aren’t I sad and pitiful…..LOL

    OH! and most importantly, I cleaned out the upper kitchen cabinets (requires an 8ft ladder to get up there too), cleaned , threw away, and sorted 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, 1 cup, 1 pint, 1 1/2 pint, quart jars and bigger too, Large and regular mouth. Threw away a couple a cases of stuff that had been up there so long the lids had rusted thru…. yeah I know Ewwwwwwwww…….

    Lost my navel orange to the freezes this year, but the base is budding out again. But it will take years before it fruits again. The big Satsuma is strange, it only flowered and put out leaves on one side……. I know, weird huh? Little Satsuma is covered with fruit, it has the large Satsuma’s too.

    The grass with the weather is growing at a ridiculous rate and the mosquitos are so large, not only can you distinguish the colors but also the dots and specs on their back. I’ve started naming a few.

    • Naming mosquitoes, now I do believe you took the cake with that one! I knew you’d be up to lots of canning and concocting this summer! I guess I’m gonna have to drive up there to get a bottle of that strawberry snakebite medicine! Maybe just one side of that satsuma is dead? My tiny satsuma survived the freeze but it’s very spindly and don’t see those skinny branches ever strong enough to hold up fruit. About those pigs- go ahead and do it. There is a young couple on my bayou that have a farm now and they are selling broiler chickens and pigs. And wouldn’t it stand to reason that you are going to pay more for meat from a little farm because they are rocked and coddled and tucked into bed at night? Someone told me the fresh chickens are $7 with feathers, and $15 plucked. That’s some pretty pricey birds.

      • Chickens is for eggs only! I have plucked my last fowl, I even had gotten to skinning ducks and geese and I hated that I did it, but plucking is not an option.

        Baby Sister showed up today for lunch with…… about a bushel basket of fresh peaches and another yellow meated watermelon. Peaches looked ok, guessing jelly and more liqueur. The new mellow is like 1/2 the size of the last one, but if there is any good rind I am going to have to do it again. I am really enjoying all this homesey kinda stuff. I am going to have to start getting the big bags of sugar though. Since they shut down the local sugar mill I have to buy sugar. You just don’t appreciate it when ya got it good.

        Neighbor lady, ran up yesterday and told me you saw an alligator in my neighbors yard, so she had called the Sheriff. LOL… bless her heart. In all my life, I never saw a gator here. I am wondering what the sheriff found…LOL She’s really nice, she meant well, she just sometimes gets confused. But every time I think about it I start giggling. I would have to apologize if she really saw one.

        SO this week it looks like peaches!! BTW I had to look something up today, some of my liqueur started clotting. Then something in the back of mind started trying to get out. When I was a kid my Mom never used Sure-Jel to make jelly. She put all the fruit in a fruit bag or cheese cloth and squeezed it out then re-boiled the pulp and skins to make the pectin for the jelly. Any one else remember this? Well my Liqueur was doing the same thing without boiling. Now I know it has to be peeled.

        Now I ramble….. Going to go check stock for peach jelly tomorrow!

        LOL.. can’t ya just see shoreacres on her hands and knees sneaking thru the garden, berry berry carefully…..

        • Mom always made watermelon rind pickles. I have never cared for them so, I have never made them. Our plum tree put out tons of blooms that froze solid. Never found a single plum this year. I have made jelly using a mixture of fruit. My favorite jelly is the mixed fruit so, I decided to try making it before. Peaches, plums & dewberries. It turned out a bit watery but tasted fantastic!

          And I am one of the lucky ones. I live less than 2 miles from an old fashioned meat market. He even has game during the seasons. And my son has a friend whose father owns a meat market about an hour from here. He has brought some of the best homemade sausages to us before. I love the slovacek summer sausage. It is sooooo good. I hope I get the time to make some tamales soon. It takes me close to a week to do it all since I make everything from scratch including the red sauce. I usually make about 5 or 6 dozen at a time and the kids descend upon my freezer like a hoard of locust! 🙂

          • Wow Cammey, I made my first ever tamales in the last 6 months! I was so impressed with myself that I didn’t write anything down. Doh! I didn’t expect them to be good on a first attempt. I used some boiled smoked turkey broth I was going to make a gumbo with to mix with the Maza and some pulled pork for the meat. But I admit, I will spend all day making a Marinara, but I buy both my red and green sauces for Mexican food. LOL I only made three doz. tamales but even the big boys only could eat no more than 4 each. They were monsters. Sister said she’d never seen ’em so big……LOL I fell in love with them out in Pecos Tx. But that’s another tale.

            Oooooo…… and watermelon pickles were better than candy. My Pop’s oldest Sister, anytime she needed something done, which was usually more for us kids something to do than to help her, we knew we’d all get some water melon pickles as a reward.

            If you can, ask your Mom about the brining time and I think my salt to water is ok, but I did mine over night on the counter. After researching there are many recipes with 3 to 4 hours brines and they use ice water. Do you know which she did? I would really appreciate it. I used the recipe in the Ball Blue Book. Its the pickle bible for me.

  6. WELLL! I am mildewed with all this rain and white flies and mosquitoes. I also put up 10 bushels of peas and butterbeans, 6 quarts of blueberries and I am waiting on the figs. Now about that snake, are you sure he is non-poisonous? As ugly as he is, it would not matter to me. Have a good week!

    • Louise, I thought the snake was some kind of pit viper too because of the huge head, but my guide books say diamond backed water snake and that they eat fish. You have been busy in the kitchen! Where did you get your peas and butterbeans? Do you have a garden back behind that beautiful yard of yours? And the blueberries? I’m sure you have a fig tree. Don’t get too hot picking those figs, ok?

  7. First, let me say that snake and that fish is exactly as you described it — a perfect National Geographic moment. What an amazing thing to see. From a distance, thank you very much.

    For once, I have my own garden news to report. I found a farm about fifteen minutes from me that has rows and rows and rows of squash, cukes, tomatoes, eggplant, zuchinni, etc.etc. That’s what’s been coming in recently, anyhow. There are beans and such too, that will come a bit later. When I say rows, I don’t mean some little 12′ row. I mean rows that have to be 50′ long, with about 8′ between. They have so many varieties of tomatoes – Italian tomatoes for sauce, the usual slicers, little yellow pear tomatoes, and so on. Likewise with squash varieties, melons and cukes, although those rows are even longer.

    They have a peach orchard, Meyer lemons, figs, apples and – BLACKBERRIES! Rows and rows of different varieties. My personal favorite is the Kiowa. They’re so sweet, and can be as big as your thumb. Unfortunately, they’re a thorny variety, but they’re all trellised, so it’s not too bad. Right now, my freezer’s full. I think I must have about 20 pounds of blackberries and the same in blueberries. And, now that the freezer’s full, I just make cobblers. They vines still are bearing, so I think there may be one last picking to be made once we get a couple of days of sun — rain all last week.

    Can you tell I’m enthusiastic? I’ve learned a few things, too. My new rule #1? Pick low and inside – you’ll find the best berries other people weren’t willing to work for. And #2? Just about the time you finish a cobbler, all the thorns will have worked their way out our your skin, and you’ll be ready to go pick again!

    • ” And #2? Just about the time you finish a cobbler, all the thorns will have worked their way out our your skin, and you’ll be ready to go pick again!”

      My Pop would call that an attitude adjustment!

      I assume you are gathering all those berries and veggies from the midnite farmers market? Ever wonder why all the best watermelons are closest to the house or the dog pen?

  8. Oh my! I’m so excited for you! So that is a pick-it-yourself farm? That is so neat! i guess you didn’t take my advice from one of my past dewberry picking posts . . . how even I have had to resort to gloves. Seems our skin gets softer and softer and offers no resistance to the thorns any more. maybe your hands are tougher because of the work you do?? You’re right about low and inside. Another lady and I were just talking about that this week. That’s where the sweetest ripest berries are and well worth the scratches!

    • The only problem with gloves is you can’t get in to the best berries. It really is funny, though. The last time I picked was Friday night, and by today, every single thorn had worked its way to the surface. I’ve got berries on the stove again. My neighbors finished off the first cobbler, so it is time for #2! (Actually, it’s #3, because I threw a peach and blueberry in there, too, in my search for the best topper. Now that I’ve worked out the kinks in the recipe, I’m good to go.

  9. BAD NEWS! After customers left camp yesterday, I went to check on the figs and the DOG GONE BIRDS had already eaten the ENTIRE FIRST BATCH of ripe figs. And they don’t even wait for them to get soft enough for me to taste. This is going to be a terrible battle. I made a big mistake last year letting them have the figs and not fighting back. now, they think they own the tree! What shall I do???/

  10. Mom used to use old foil pie pans and she had a big, plastic owl in hers. Now, she has to chase the neighbors out at night. They climb over her fences and break the lower branches standing on them. Her dog can’t get to one of them and that is the one they go after.

  11. I screamed out loud when I saw that picture!!!! I do not care what kind of snake that was. Really, I do. What’s the outcome? National Geographic will come calling soon. It was a fantastic photo, Cuzzy.

    Sowed some parsley and basil seeds in planters. Sprouts coming up now. Yay.

    My computer died so it’s hard to keep in touch.

    • We didn’t hang around long enough, but when we left, they were underwater and out of sight. By NatGeo moment, i meant it’s the kind of stuff you see in their magazine or on one of their documentaries. Don’t typically see this cool stuff for real! Sorry about computer.

  12. I love reading what you are all up to in your gardens. And jealous that your figs are ripening already! Here in France fig trees have two crops: an early crop, due in July, and a second, heavier crop that usually comes in late September or October. The first crop figs are getting big now, the size of apricots, but they are still green. We’ve had a comparatively cool and damp year so far, but a few burst of hot weather will bring them on. Meanwhile the second crop figs are only the size of olives, but it looks like there will be quite a lot of them.
    BW, did I ever send you the recipe for fig chutney? This is a sweet-sour-spicy conserve that in England we eat a lot with cheeses and cold meats. Good fresh bread, a hunk of good cheese and chutney and you have a ploughman’s lunch! Chutney is also a classic accompaniment to curry, and it’s good stirred into things like baked beans. So it’s a good alternative when you’ve made all the fig jam you want. There are lots of recipes for it, using different additions (apple, onion, lemon, different vinegars, different spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, etc etc). If you’d like to give it a go, and I didn’t send you a recipe or two last year, let me know and I’ll send them now.

  13. Just like everyone else, our garden is behind due to too much rain and a cold Spring. So far, I have made mayhaw jelly, and we have picked about 2 gallons of blackberries. A friend from work brought me 2 gallons of lovely blueberries, and I’m about to make some muffins : ) Garden is FINALLY starting to grow well, have lots of green tomatoes, small to med eggplant, a little okra, and squash and bell peppers blooming well. Have some field peas blooming and some that we just planted a couple of weeks ago are up and doing well. Oh, I also bought a couple bags of beautiful corn from a local farm and my Daddy has a nice patch of corn growing. If it doesn’t turn off too dry this Summer, we should have a fine crop of muscadines. A wild vine started growing across the top of our chicken pen, and Hubby wanted to cut it down , but I said “NO!” It now is covered with green muscadines. I just planted my fig tree last year, so it only has a few figs. Several family members have large trees,so someone usually shares with us. LOVE fig cake made with fig preserves!

    • Everyone??? please welcome Marianne to the bayou. She’s located up in northeast La. and is the author of louiaina heart and home Facebook page which currently has 10,000 followers! I want to be like her!!! Now, Marianne, I have an interesting coincidence to share with you. Prior to today, I did not know your name. This past weekend, a distant cousin contacted me via Facebook, whom i have not talked to in many years, even though she lives in Baton Rouge. And her name is just like yours and spelled the EXACT same way! So, when i started reading your comment, i thought it was from her–which would be the first time she’s read and commented on my blog. As I read on, though I realized it couldn’t be her . . . no way she has chickens in Baton Rouge, lol!!! Anyway, what a coincidence, right? Thank you for taking the time to come over here and share with us about your garden. i really do want to visit you one day . . . . . and I welcome you down here, too! BW

      • Awwww, thanks, Wendy! Did you know that “Marianne” is the symbol of France? Sort of like the Statue of Liberty, and that is the French way of spelling it~your cousin would probably be interested. Love your blog and one of these days I am going to get down there and go fishing with you!

  14. Well I have noted today what I knew was coming. The last two weeks of rain have washed away those beautiful watermelons and cantaloupes from around here. The Yellow-meated melon I cleaned today was starting south already (although I did peel the rind, I have got to do these pickles), and the cantaloupe would have been mush tomorrow without refrigeration today.

    Rinds are brining in ice water!

    • Me too, maybe your luck is better……

      I have rinds this time mega cold in the reefer. Going over night again with Cammie’s advice. Going to reduce cooking time with this try.

  15. I want to hang with Foamheart1. Going to go munch on dinosaur eggs. Ever see black apricots? In the produce section at my grocer.

    • Wow Blu, black apricots? Apricots were my Mom’s favorite. I actually smoked a turkey last year that I stuffed with apricots and it was the best turkey I ever had. Shame they are always all gone by Thanksgiving.

  16. I couldn’t resist stealing one of your ripe figs yesterday when I dropped off the halibut at Camp Dularge. Mmmmmmm!

  17. happy 4th. resting back. cleaning up. smoking a cigar. all as time and dogs allow. floor panels need to be put back on silverwing too.

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