It would not be a state Izaak Walton Convention and Trap shoot without the local Boone Valley Chapter. And it would not be a state trap shoot if they did not finish high up on the leader board. It's become a trapshooting tradition. I can't ever remember when a Boone Valley Chapter trap team has finished lower than fourth place, and usually it's in the top one or two (first or second place). The local team included Dave Gordon, Wade Johnson, Gary Loder, Steve Loder and Doug Luppes.
The Iowa Ikes state trap shoot was held at the Newton Gun Club one of Iowa's oldest and most historical trap ranges a legend in and of itself. The range is different. There isn't another one like it. You either love it or you hate it. It's built on a small knoll. The trap houses are arranged in a semi-circle and that means the north trap house is almost back-to-back with the south trap house and most of the traps face east (right into the sun). I grew up in newton and shot my first round there at the age of 14. Eleven trapshooting teams went to the state shoot. The local Ike's won their first place trophy the hard way on the road, in the rain, in a shoot-off with Muscatine and at handicap. In the final shoot-off, the team shot ten clay targets at the 16-yard line and the final ten targets at their handicap yardage.
Somebody left a message on my telephone answering machine (but didn't leave a name) telling me they had just shot a turkey with full beards. And Earl Stewart told me that he knew of a hunter that shot a turkey with three complete full beards. Mother Nature does strange things.
I'll be the first to admit it, I'm not a big connoisseur of "different" fish recipes. I like my fish prepared the old-fashioned way deep-fat fried or fried in a skillet in a heavy coating of fish breading or a batter mix. The other evening, however, I was invited to a family fish dinner over in Fort Dodge. I've got to tell you, they changed my way of thinking about this. They served up catfish, prepared as catfish curry and it was pretty darned good. Here's the ingredients: 1 pound of boneless, skinless catfish fillets cut into 1-inch pieces; 1 large onion, sliced; 1 clove garlic, minced; 2 teaspoons Thai yellow curry paste; 1 teaspoon brown sugar; salt to taste; one 15-ounce can of coconut milk; one-half teaspoon vegetable oil; juice of one fourth lemon or lime; cooked rice.
In a large fry pan, combine catfish with garlic, curry paste, brown sugar, salt and half the onion. Mix well, add coconut milk and simmer about three minutes or until fish is cooked. Set aside. Heat oil in fry pan and saute remaining onion. Add to fresh mixture, stir in lime juice and cook over low heat for five minutes. Serve over cooked rice. Serves four to six people.
It's good ... real good. I eat a lot of fish over the course of a summer, but a good flathead catfish is just about as good as it gets. I couldn't forget about the catfish if I wanted to. They don't offer the dramatic action many sport fisherman are looking for, yet my mail ever reminds me that the catfish suits thousands of anglers just fine, thank you. And a nice string of catfish either channel or flathad provides a lot of fine eating.
Where the wild things are
So many questions; so few (make that none) answers. Everyone's asking: "Where did all the birds go?" I don't honestly know, and I don't really think anybody else does either. A few people have a lot of birds at their feeders. Most people all of a sudden don't. I'm one of those that fall into the "don't" category. I'm seeing a few indigo buntings, grosbeaks and brown thrashers. There's a lot of those cute little sparrows with the rufus (reddish-brown) head those are chipping sparrows. Several folks report an influx of house finches and cowbirds and grackles. The blue jays, goldfinches, cardinals even the little chickadees and nuthatches have kind of disappeared. Even during the nesting period, they are generally conspicuous, but for the most part they have remained out of sight.
I've talked with some friends down in Missouri and up in Minnesota and get the same story. These are year-around birds that usually are abundant all winter and commonly in plain sight all summer. Interestingly, the little house wrens are here already about two weeks early. Semper Fi.
And now, have a good weekend.