Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Monday, April 30, 2012

Iambic Pentamenter may be a killer

(Found this in my files. I wrote it several years back. My grandson recently questioned the value of poetry related to a school assignment. Thought, he and other might enjoy this nonsense.)

People study the strangest things. They obviously have someone with more grant money than sense to back them, and they also have too much free time on their hands. 
A fellow named James Kaufman with the Learning Research Institute at California State University at San Bernadino has studied the age of dying writers, and found poets die younger than other writers.
Guess I should have figured a study like this would come out of California.
Anyway, Kaufman studies nearly 2,000 dead writers (some would say the best kind) from various centuries. They were from the United States, Turkey, China and Eastern Europe. In his study, he classified the writers as poets, playwrights, fiction writers, and non-fiction writers.
He didn’t study how they died, just what age they were when they expired. Poets in the U.S., Turkey and China died significantly sooner than either fiction or non-fiction writers. Some of these poets lived several hundred years ago and others were more recent, but because of the difference in the times they lived, there is no good way to compare them to the age when the general public expired at the time.
However the average poet studied lived to be 62, playwrights made it to 63, writers of novels passed on at 66, and non-fiction folks like newspaper reporters lived longest at an average of 68.
Kaufman also found that poets had more mental illness than other writers, but I’d guess most people who take up the pen or keyboard today have to be a bit wacky. The study even revealed that lady poets have even more mental problems than men. Honest, it’s true.
You have to wonder about the value of this great research project. Guess maybe it might help life insurance companies add a few bucks to the premiums of those who rhyme. But then, not all poems rhyme.
Kaufman didn’t have any good reason why poets live fewer years than other scribes. One theory is that poets write most of their works in their younger years, and other writers produce more in later years. (Wonder who did that study?)
My theory is that it has something to do with poets worrying about iambic pentameter. If you had to worry about iambic pentameter every day, it would be bound to shorten your life.
I vaguely remember a professor bringing up iambic pentameter in one of my class and I suddenly was overcome with stress. I never did figure it out, but thought it might be the death of me in that class. 
One of the great things about journalism classes was the prof always emphazized  kept it simple. Keep paragraphs to about 35 words and write to the fourth grade level. That works for me because that’s a level I’m comfortable with.
Since I figure iambic pentameter is a likely cause of early poetic demise, I figured after all these year I better learn a bit more about it, so of course I went to the sometimes trusty Internet.
According to one website, iambic pentameter consists of one short syllable followed by one long syllable: one unstressed syllable, by one stressed. It obviously is stressful to write unstressed syllables followed by stressed ones.
However, that is just the half of it. Pentameter is “a measure of verse having five metrical feet.” No, I’m not going to get into metrical feet. I figure I’ll live longer not trying to understand that stressful form of writing.
A few noteworthypoets were required reading in school, but beyond that I have never really grown to appreciate poetry. It may be like Scotch. You have to learn to appreciate it. I’ve never been able to fully appreciate it.
I’ve never progressed much further than enjoying a good verse inside a Christmas or birthday card.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shot your turkey; next comes field dressing during warm weather

Photo courtesy NWTF

After successfully shooting a wild turkey, field dressing should come next if the weather is warm.

       Turkey season is underway with youth weekend leading the way, and from all indications there should be plenty of birds for Hoosier hunters.
Indiana DNR wildlife research biologist Steve Backs said hunters should plan to work a little harder this year. 
Backs is forecasting a spring turkey harvest of 11,000, plus or minus 1,000. His prediction is about 6 percent less than the 11,669 birds harvested in 2011, and 20 percent less than the 2010 spring harvest, when hunters bagged a record 13,742 turkeys. 
Backs said expectations are lower this year for two reasons, several years of below normal brood production and the advanced progression of vegetation. 
The Hoosier state has experienced seven consecutive summers of below normal turkey production primarily due to above normal precipitation in June. 
And due to the record warm weather, the spring progression of vegetation is three to four weeks ahead of schedule. More greenery will make seeing and hearing turkeys more difficult, but also provides more concealment for hunters. 
Hoosier hunters may take one bearded turkey per day and a total of two during the season. A spring turkey license is $30 for residents and $60 for nonresidents.
Indiana’s spring wild turkey season begins this weekend (April 21-22) with a youth hunt. The regular season starts April 25 and continues through May 13. A turkey license is $25 for residents and $120 for nonresidents.
Should you be lucky enough to bag a bird, field dressing the bird is extremely important, especially during the warm spring weather being experienced this year.
According to the National Wild Turkey Federation folks, in hot weather hunting conditions, field dressing your bird is a good idea before you clean it for the table’.
If you decide to field dress your bird, start by placing the turkey on its back. Find the bottom of the breast plate and insert your knife, making a cut to the anal vent. Remove the entrails from this opening and then reach into the cavity to sever the windpipe, heart and lungs. Cool the cavity by placing ice inside the chest.
Detailed information about how to clean a wild bird can be found on the internet at:: However in general, it isn’t much different than cleaning any other game bird.
One of the interesting debates among outdoors people cleaning wild turkeys is plucking vs. skinning.
Considered the traditional style of cleaning a wild turkey, plucking is a perfect way to prepare your bird to be roasted, smoked or whole deep-fried, according to the experts at NWTF.
 Before you remove the entrails or field dress the turkey pluck the turkey's feathers to help keep the moisture in the turkey while cooking it whole. Remove the feathers after dipping the bird in hot water. Some people use boiling water but it has been said that 140-degree water is optimal for plucking a bird. 
Plucking does take time and produces more of a mess than does skinning; however, the taste of deep-fried or roasted turkey skin is worth the effort.
Many of today's turkey hunters prefer skinning to plucking. 
Skinning a turkey allows you to cook the bird by frying or grilling the pieces of meat. You can skin and fillet the turkey breasts, and slice as much meat from the legs and wings as necessary. Make a cut just along one side of the breastbone. Then, it's just a matter of working the skin off the breast halves, down the back and over each of the legs. 
In some states it's illegal to only fillet the breast out, leaving the rest of the carcass behind. Always check your state's hunt regulations, and make sure your turkey is properly tagged for transportation.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Morel season ending when it should be starting due to warm spring

Morel mushrooms are great eating. Add steak and salad and you have a great meal.

        It seems most everything is off schedule or ahead of schedule this spring with the warm weather. That includes morel mushrooms, which people have been finding several weeks earlier than usual. It appears we are approaching the end of the hunting season when it just should be starting.
Veteran shroomers (mushroom hunters) were finding the yellow morels in March even before the small black morels normally begin to peak through the leaves of the south side of wooded hills.
Prime morel time normally depends on weather and where you are located. In Southern Indiana, I’ve found morels (rarely) as early as the end of March, but the best picking usually comes about the middle of April.  This year, the peak hunting may be over by mid-month.
In this area, the top picking usually is the last week of April through the first week in May. 
Some morel enthusiasts then head north into Michigan for more picking. Some areas in Michigan are well-know for their fabulous wild mushroom crops.
        Morel mushrooms current sell from $35 to $40 per pound. So even if you don't eat them, hunting can be fun and provide some extra cash.
There are several types of morels and the earliest to appear are called by a variety of names, including “hickory chickens”. They must have at least a dozen other local names.
Deep, heavily wooded areas are the place I usually find the blacks. I normally find the first blacks on the south or southeastern side of hills where the early spring sun strikes first. 
The blacks are  followed (and overlapped) with the long stem variety, then the white morels and the big yellow sponges. There usually is three weeks or so of good morel  hunting.
I strongly recommend that new morel hunters NOT eat any mushroom they aren’t positively sure is safe. The morels are wonderful eating; however, some other types of fungi are poisonous--some very poisonous. There are numerous books and internet websites which identify the edible mushrooms. 
While there are many types of mushrooms; I concentrate on the morels. They are the ones I know best, and I feel confident picking and eating them.
When I return home after a successful mushroom hunt, I cut them lengthwide in two pieces . Rinse off any dirt and bugs, and place them in a bowl of salt water. I let them soak in the salty water overnight to kill any bugs missed in rinsing. There will be some. That’s part of mushroom hunting and eating.
When I’m ready to cook them, I rinse them again. Next I roll them in flour, salt and pepper, and place them in a skillet with about a half inch of hot canola oil. However, I cook up several cut up pieces of bacon in the skillet for flavor, before adding the oil. In my opinion, it enhances the flavor.
I cook them until golden brown, then place them on paper towels to drain prior to serving with the rest of the meal. Unfortunately, I seem to sample so many, it’s tough to cook a serving plate full. Don’t put paper towels on top of the fried morels or place them in layers after cooking. It makes them soggy.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Safe turkey tactics also can produce more birds

Photo courtesy NWTF
Sitting against a large stump or tree trunk that is wider than your shoulders and higher than your head when calling turkeys will protect you from hunters approaching from behind.

By Phil Junker

Turkey hunting requires preparation. Wild turkeys are much different from the farm raised relatives. They are much smarter.
The more a hunter learns about wild turkeys and their habits, hunting equipment, and where the birds are located, the more likely he or she is to be successful. Scouting for birds before opening morning is important.
Preparation includes learning safety techniques, which may not only make the hunter safer, but also more likely to bag a bird.
Turkey season kicks off in Kentucky April 7-8 with youth weekend. The opening day of the regular spring hunt is April 14 and the last day is May 6. Hunters may take one bearded turkey per day and a total of two during the season. A spring turkey license is $30 for residents and $60 for nonresidents.
Indiana’s spring wild turkey season begins April 21-22 with a youth hunt weekend. The regular season starts April 25 and continues through May 13. A turkey license is $25 for residents and $120 for nonresidents.
Safe turkey hunting tactics are well worth learning, according to Tom Hughes, assistant vice president of the National Wild Turkey Federation. He says the safety tactics also are tactics, which will help a hunter get that gobbler into range for a shot and a place on the dinner table.
 A safe turkey hunter is much like a safe driver -- you must be defensive minded. Also, keep in mind that a safe hunter is an effective hunter. Here are 10 tips from the NWTF to consider when you're in the woods:
Leave the area if you suspect there's another hunter already working the same bird.
Resist the urge to stalk turkey sounds. It is nearly impossible to sneak up on a turkey. It is also unethical and could lead to an accident.
Select a spot that is in open timber rather than thick brush: wearing camouflage clothing and eliminating movement is more critical to success than hiding in heavy cover.
Sit against a large stump, blow-down, tree trunk or rock that is wider than your shoulders and higher than your head when calling wild turkeys.
Never wear bright colors, especially not red, white, blue or black because these are the colors of a wild turkey gobbler. Watch out for red, white or blue on your socks, t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, hats, bandannas, etc. Wear dark undershirts and socks, and pants long enough to be tucked into boots.
Remain still and speak in a loud, clear voice to announce your presence to other hunters if necessary. Never move, wave or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter of your presence.
Keep your hands and head camouflaged when calling.
Maintain a clear field of view when using a camouflage blind or netting.
Ensure your decoy is not visible when you are transporting it. Stash the decoy in your vest and make sure the head is not sticking out. If you harvest a wild turkey during your hunting trip, you also should cover the bird's head and body when carrying it out from your hunting spot.
Put your gun's safety on and approach the downed bird with your firearm pointed in a safe direction after firing. Never run with a firearm.
Spring turkey hunting is a wonderful experience. Of course, every hunter wants to harvest a tom, but even if you are unsuccessful, watching the sunrise and listening to the sounds of spring as it becomes alive in the morning, is a wonderful reward itself.