It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas every where I go... well, if not Christmas, at least harvest time. Yesterday I took the pooch for a run and we spent some time checking the quality and ripeness of some rice in the local lakes. Not quite ready- another week or two, if we get some decently warm, sunny days. I was not the only one checking conditions, I discovered as we meandered around taking a few pix. Other locals were doing the same, so it's going to be a race of sorts to be the first in, get while the best is available and not have to struggle for the second harvest.
As you can see from the pic, there's a lot of green rice yet, and some that is ripening. By the time it's mostly brown and more firm, it'll be ready for harvest.
In the meantime, there is more to do to get myself ready for the season. The duckbill could use a new handle- so I may find a ten- or twelve-foot pine and whittle a new one. Also, a couple of beater sticks need making so I'd better get to that. I'm going to try using my brother's 12 foot canoe rather than my 17- a bit easier on the back, though it feels much better on these cools days. Until I begin shivering, anyway, then it's back to the pain pills. The tub I was using to parch kind of got used for other things, so a new one will have to be made as well.
Simple tools, to be sure, but definitely a labor-intensive job, yet so worth it: the license to harvest is $25 for the season, and in a couple of canoe loads a worthy winter supply can be had. On the open market, hundred of dollars worth. Too, the rice can be packaged and sold, easily going for $8 to $10 a pound. Too much work to sell, tough, considering what it is: excellent food, high fiber and protein but little carbs yet wonderful in soups, casseroles and mixed with ground meats, or by itself as a side dish. Too, it can be popped like corn for evening snacks, or any time. It's especially good in duck...but don't tell my better half about the duck...(wink).
One of my neighbor friends was over a few days ago and we talked about netting whitefish this year. He's not really 'into' the idea but he sure does like his smoked fish, and whitefish are some excellent fish for smoking. Brine them a few days in a salt mixture, run them through the smoker for 24 hours and you'll have a tasty, nutritious treat or meal.
He's in the bush a lot more than I and hasn't noticed much in the way of nuts this year- what we locally call filberts and some call hazelnuts. Not that I'm going after the nuts, but one of my aunt's loves them and will send her kids to pick them (be careful: they're covered with little spines and itch for days, so wear gloves) and she'll spend hours and hours toasting them in her oven. Of course, they always taste wonderful around Christmas time.
My last couple weeks have been spent mostly getting some work done on the house, insuring some winterizing is done before it gets cold, for a change. (It's great to have a shopful of tools and supply of wood so manufacturing needed items, like trim, is easily accomplished. Beats going to town and paying factory prices and always more fun making things myself, anyway.
Thus endeth today's sermon. More to follow on ricing as the season progresses. All these preps better get moving, though: there's color in the trees and the grasses are brown already. Winter ain't far behind.
Enjoy, keep your powder dry, your compass oriented-