By Ken DeLaat
Two items on the agenda today. The ongoing battle with unwanted fish and an epicurean focused al fresco experience
The Carp Wars
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”- Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Hess Lake has a crapload of Carp
Estimates gathered from researchers figure somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-35,000 of the bottom feeders who create numerous problems for the clarity of the lake as well as crowding out the other more, shall we say, likable species.
During spawning time the shore at N3 World Headquarters and Monarch Maternity Center seems to be a honeymoon destination for the Cyprinidae Clan who roll about in a kind of fish-related mating frenzy.
Residents have amped up the battle in recent years. There have been bounties for those who bring in the beasts, bow fishermen cruising about at night and more recently carp cages.
And now it’s bluegills.
Yes, the highly desired panfish that have filled the creels of fisherfolks forever, providing a sumptuous meal when dipped in a little Drake’s and fried to perfection.
They are the new heroes, cast off on a mission to help reduce the number of boisterous bullies by biting into the products of their cacophonous carousing.
Will it work? Well it may take time since they lack the capacity to choke down the elders, but reducing the up and coming behemoths has got to help in the long run.
In the meantime a platoon of stalwarts see to the cages (no easy feat), net the amorous actinopterygians during mating rituals, and employ bows, nets and poles to pick off as many adults as possible.
And while this might sound a bit harsh to an outsider, these riparians are united in their desire to rid their waters of anything that might harm the health of their Hess Lake habitat.
And seriously, no one is rooting for the Carp in this war.
Lil and I ventured out a few weekends ago and happened upon the charming little venue known as Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm Market. It was a Saturday and the market was featuring some very smooth sounding jazz and pouring out a variety of honorable home brews. We ordered up a couple of appetizers and settled in for a bit of time enjoying both the vittles and the vibe.
It’s a very cool place and music occurs on Friday evenings 6-9 and Saturday afternoons Noon to 3. One of our local groups, The Faulkners, played there recently and only my commitment to the Household Hazardous Waste Day kept us from cruising over to see Carmen and Scott crooning tunes for the farm faithful. (They return July 21st).
That day it was decided to make the Walker venue a more than occasional destination when venturing out for a mini road trip.
Then earlier this week I heard they were putting on a spring dinner to be held outside in their orchard. A 5 course meal including 3 courses involving my second favorite seasonal food, asparagus. And as a bonus the appetizer and dessert both included rhubarb in a starring role.
Goat Cheese Crostini with Rhubarb Chutney, asparagus soup, Asparagus, Tomato and Feta Salad, Bacon Asparagus Pasta Carbonara and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie….Ala Mode, mind you.
I was in asparagus/rhubarb heaven.
And the brew-master John Stewart, who has created some seriously fine beer, was on hand to field questions about the selections on tap.
My suggestion? Go for the Ridge IPA.
There were somewhere under 100 folks, though not many under and we all sat at a single long set of tables. Lil and I sat next to a few couples though there were many 3,4,5 and 6-somes present. Surprisingly one person we discovered was from Fremont, another fellow diner said she once lived in Grant, we had a few people in common with a couple of others and the conversations up and down the elongated line were lively and animated. Our grouping spoke of a number of subjects including theater, favored eateries, jobs and/or avocations and the enigmatic enjoyment of dining al fresco with a huge group of strangers.
The ‘Girls’ do it well. The place has a good feel to it, the service borders on outstanding, the food is righteous and while the beer is my forte, the wine selection is popular, particularly when I’m thirsty, waiting in line and the two ladies in front of me sample 4-5 before landing on one.
It looks like they have a summer dinner as well and all I can say is if it involves my #1 seasonal food (home grown sweet corn of course) I hope to be sitting at that lengthy table ready to butter up.
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