March 31, 2018

Fun Stuff 2018

Unbelievable! 2018 and I've already paddled twice.  Seven days total on the river out of the past two weeks.  Sweet!
Jan 1st - BCC Feast At The Beach.  In the LL Stomper 80.  6 of us paddled the Mulberry at 1/2 a foot.  Weather freezin-azz cold, maybe 20F?  Alex S. got a great roll at Lunchstop.  Then we had chili around a nice bonfire at the takeout.  Photos here.  

Jan 5 - Locust.  Level 2.1.  In the LL Stomper 80.  To Swann.  Sunny and in the low 30's.   Icicles on the rocks, and iced over eddies.  With Norma L. and Josh H.  Josh let me try his new medium Pyranha Ripper from Double Trouble to the beach across from Austin Creek.  Sweet boat! Photos here.

Icicles on the Locust Fork
Jan 20 - Lesson on the Ocoee with Kirk E.  In the LL Stomper.  Release was from midnight thru 11 am ET, so I drove up at 4am.  5 hour lesson, very thorough.  Stoked to do more lessons with Kirk!
Then I drove to Mary M's house, and had dinner with her at the Hoppy Trout in Andrews.  

Jan 21 - Demo medium Ripper, Nantahala, thanks to NOC for the demo!
Jan 22 - Aimee Mann at the Lyric Theater.  Great show!  My first visit to the Lyric.  Fantastic venue.
Feb 3-4  - Locust Fork Races.    I did not race.  I did spectate.  Sunday the river had come up so the set of gates below the last hole were very entertaining.  Most racers flipped there.  Most rolled, too.  Some flipped and rolled a few times.  I wish I had taken video.

Dry weather spell... then... RAIN

Feb 10 - Mulberry take-out.   In the Dagger Axiom 8.5.  With William who let me demo his Axiom.  Weather forecast had a flash flood watch so we just goofed around at 5-0 instead of running the river.
Feb 11 - Graves Creek and Calvert Prong.  In the LL  Stomper.  With Andy, James, Riley, and others on Graves.   Andy, James, Matthew and others on Calvert.  We had a bad strainer incident.  Graves is a cool little creek that needs wood cut out.  Portages, carnage. I swam at the strainer.  Calvert is clear of wood and delightful as always.  Level on the Locust high,  7-8 ft.  Locust portion of Graves was tall wave trains.
Feb 16-18 Grotto Getaway.   At Maranatha camp.  Really nice place for our SERA!  I stayed in a hogan with the Howells, Andy and Gary.  Ridgewalk on Saturday in the mist and rain, I found a blowing lead high in elevation that we are excited about returning to.

Feb 18 Locust Fork.  In the LL Stomper.  With Clayton and Kahyee, Lynn.  Many folks on the river.  Level in the 3.5 range, which is a good filled in medium.   Weather in the low to mid- 60's, sunny at first, then cloudy.   I was happy to wear the drysuit.
Feb 24 Mulberry.  In the LL Stomper. What a change 5 days of warm temps makes.  Can't believe it's real.  
Mulberry today at 1.5 ft. In February. No drysuit. No drytop. I was in a shortsleeve top, and IR shorts. It rained some on us. The rain and the river water were both mild.temps. Unbelievable, wonderful day.   With Clayton V. and William C.
March 3-4 Mulberry Fork Races.   I was gate judge coordinator, so I didn't paddle.  The level was in the 2.5-3 ft. range on Saturday, closer to 1.5 on Sunday IIRC.  It was very cold both nights and I found out my 20 degree bag isn't even a 40 degree bag anymore.   It was sunny both days and the gate judges did their jobs well.  I'm impressed with how much hard work it takes to put on this event every year, and it's been going on since 1980.

March 9 - 12 ALF.  With the Lost Tribe.   Drove up Friday afternoon.   Middle Tellico K1 Saturday at 1.8, sunny, 50's during the day.   Middle Tellico OC2 Sunday at 1.7, sunny, low 60's.    Mulberry Fork K1 Monday at 3.5.  It was snowing and cold at the Tellico on Monday so I drove south to find sunny skies and 50's in Alabama.   I didn't take photos this ALF. 
March 18 Locust Fork.   In the LL Stomper.  Level 3.1.  With Ross Jacobs, Jason Hardy for his first trip on whitewater in his Dagger Katana, Shahn and others.  Weather mild.
March 24 Mulberry.   In the WS Project X 56.  Level 1.5.  This was correlated to both bridge gauges and new digital gauge.  Weather chillier than predicted and water temps chilly as well.  I wore my shortie top and shorts and was underdressed for the occasion.    We surfed our tails off.   With Andy L, Joan S, Clint (new boater).

March 30 Tellico.  In the LL Stomper.  Level 2.3.  Weather and water temps mild.  Predicted 100% chance of rain, instead we had blue skies and puffy clouds.  I am convinced that it's impossible to predict weather in the Smoky mountains and their kin.   This was a quick day trip to get wire from Mary Mills for our SERA.   Chattanooga traffic going home made it a longer day than I wanted.  Still worth it.  Always.
March 31 Mulberry.  In the LL Stomper.  Level 1.5, same as last Saturday.  Weather warmer, water still chilly, glad to have my drysuit on.  Surfed a bunch again.   With Andy and Lynn, Joan S., Clint, Josh H., others.  Great day.
April 7 Paddlefest.  Chilly, upper 40's, windy.  The event was a bust.  I felt terrible for the event organizers, but Mother Nature had other plans for us.   I didn't paddle.

April 8 Mulberry. In the ProjectX 56.   In the drysuit which means big shoes for the drysuit socks.  ugh.  my feet!  Nice weather though.  Still chilly but sunny.   Afterwards I visited the Caudles.
April 14 SERA workday.  HUGE rainstorm that night led to:

April 15 Upper Mulberry, Calvert Prong.   Trip report here:
Weather overcast, some sun, it got to 60.   Mulberry was at 5 feet when we got to the stick gauge.  Locust at 7 feet.  Calvert needs better correlation.  A bridge gauge hopefully.

March 16, 2018

Cardune/Cardoon recipe

'Tis the season for Cardune, a Sicilian delicacy.  I thought I had a page about this already, but it's not showing up in a search, so...
Should you know what these are, and be fortunate enough to have a local grocer who gets them in early Spring, celebrate. Cynara cardunculus are a relative to the artichoke and when they are cooked properly they taste kind of like artichokes.  

Clean like you would celery then with paring knife, peel any obviously tough strings and discard. 
Cut the cleaned cardoon into 4-6 inch pieces and place into large pot of water with the juice of one lemon in it and turn on high heat. 
When water comes to a boil, continue cooking until cardune pieces are tender, but not mushy. 
The cooking time might vary from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. 
Keep testing them to make sure they are tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water. 
 Pat dry with paper towels and prepare your coatings. 
Make one bowl with beaten eggs. 
One bowl with seasoned flour. 
Dip cardune pieces in then egg, then flour, then in pan of heated vegetable oil mixed with olive oil.  Do not crowd in pan – dip, flour and fry as you remove cooked cardoon.
Fry until golden, then turn over and brown on both sides, place on paper towels to drain.  Salt and pepper to taste. 
They are delicious warm or cold.

"The Cardoon has a long history in American horticulture, as it was a common colonial vegetable and one grown at Monticello in long rows. Today, few bother to grow the plant for food, opting for imported artichokes or those flown in from California, but the cardoon offers a more sustainable option to air-shipped artichokes, especially for those who garden in the north, and as an ornamental and a vegetable, it can be planted in the border rather than the vegetable garden."