Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Quick update -- and a new addition to the kitchen

© 2017 Joshua Stark

Back here for a quick update:

Still raining.

No joke, the rain is not letting up here in California.  As a result, many critters are accessing habitat they'd been locked out of for a decade, including our amazing King salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha).  Here's a great Capitol Public Radio report on the floodplain known as the Yolo Bypass.

I was blessed to get to hunt this stretch of water on the final weekend of duck season with a good friend.  It made for a great adventure -- canoeing in with dog and decoys, the sky full of birds (most of them juuuust out of reach), and the weather perfect California -- 50 degrees and sunny, with 40 degree water.

My friend managed three ducks, and I, one, but we had more opportunities than just these -- including a great chance at a pair of mallards (I whiffed), a pair of canvasbacks (I whiffed, and still kick myself for it), and Canada geese (they must have been wearing kevlar).  He was kind enough to give me his birds (I think he was done cleaning birds for the year).

It wasn't fast shooting, but it kept on and on, and it varied.  A flight of pintail drakes came ripping overhead.  My pal reeled in a pair of geese with a call like he had 'em on a line. A few times, we'd be watching flocks of wigeons, pintails, or flights of diver ducks three or four hundred yards out, when suddenly six or eight teal would come screaming in about two feet off the water to land right in our decoys.  

It was a great, great day, especially for this river rat who loves the marsh, and who got to be a part of it. We even saw a mink. Thanks, Ryan!

Back home and a week later, I'm still reflecting on that wonderful day.

Oh, I also picked up a new item for the kitchen:

An extraordinary deal!  It's a whole new world for me...

 I've never, ever owned a stand mixer before.  It's a dream long-deferred, because these suckers ain't cheap.  But it was a great deal, on the 575 watt model, which is what I'd been holding out for.

Tonight I'm breaking it in, probably with either a soda bread, gingerbread, or maybe an acorn cake. 

Let me know your ideas for using a stand mixer -- what should I do? What accessories? Any interesting tip and tricks, send 'em my way.