Archive | February, 2011

It’s Go Time!

28 Feb

Photo provided by Longboat Outfitters - The Open Day Alternative!

The whistle blows for many of Missouri’s trout fishermen starting tomorrow.  It signals that spring is around the corner, and that is as welcome as the flowers in May.  It also signals that the walleye and white bass will be upriver soon.

The trout parks were closed for a couple of weeks before tomorrows March 1 trout “opener”.  I bet they figured they needed to stock a few more trout than they anticipated. They are estimating 8,000 or more anglers to be on hand at the Missouri Trout Parks.

The good part is all that insanity will have most of Missouri’s trout freaks shoulder to shoulder in one area.  I can’t begin to tell you how happy it makes me feel to roll through Roaring River and to see the lunacy, and then to leave it all behind as I head down to Beaver Creek to the quiet spaces left by all those folks trout fishing. Hey, I love to fish for trout .  I will even wet a line in the busiest hole on the river  if I have someone twist my arm.  I might even like it. When I go to the parks, I expect a bit of chit chat,  but some of it can be a bit disturbing.  The parks are enjoyable and entertaining during opening day.  You don’t see them like that most of the year and for some vendors it basically makes their month.  I understand why some people love opening day.  There are some huge trout in there and it’s an Ozarks tradition that is many years in the making. I would imagine by the time this article is read by most of you there will be some nutjob standing in the river staking out his spot.

I hope you all have a great time this year at the parks, when the whistle blows leave old Beaver Creek for me.  I’ll bet Kyle will be headed down to the Current, that is if… I were a gambling man. Good luck old boys!

Three of Missouri’s trout parks–Bennett Spring, Montauk, and Roaring River–are owned by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Maramec Spring Park is owned by the James Foundation. The Conservation Department operates trout hatcheries at all four. For more information about trout-park fishing, call:
• Bennett Spring – 417-532-4418.
• Maramec – 573-265-7801.
• Montauk – 573-548-2585.
• Roaring River – 417-847-2430.

Anglers need a daily trout tag to fish in Missouri’s trout parks. Missouri residents 16 through 64 need a fishing permit in addition to the daily tag. Nonresidents 16 and older also need a fishing permit.
One new feature at all four parks this year is the availability of wader-wash stations. These are baths with a 5-percent salt solution for boots and fishing gear. They are designed to kill the aquatic invasive species, Didymosphenia geminata. commonly known as Didymo. It’s less appetizing nickname, “rock snot,” captures its slimy experience and general undesirability.

Didymo is an invasive alga that forms dense mats on stream bottoms. It can become so thick that it disrupts natural food chains, making fishing impossible. Its arrival in trout streams around the globe probably is the result of its ability to cling to the porous surface of felt-soled fishing waders. Didymo is known to infest streams in 19 states. The infested stream nearest to Missouri is in northern Arkansas.

“We strongly encourage anglers to make use of the wader-wash stations to clean not only waders, but any fishing equipment that has been used in other states,” said MDC Hatchery Systems Manager James Civiello. “Anglers can unknowingly spread the microscopic alga on fishing gear, waders, and especially in any porous materials on wader soles.”

Civiello said anglers can help prevent the spread of rock snot by cleaning fishing gear and waders and drying them in the sun for 48 hours when moving between waters. They also can help by replacing felt-soled waders with rubber-soled ones.

Trout parks are only one option for Show-Me State anglers. For more about the state’s extensive system of trout streams and winter trout fishing, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/7248.

MDC also maintains rainbow and brown trout populations in 120 miles of 17 streams designated as blue-, red- or white-ribbon trout waters. Lake Taneycomo has world-class trophy trout fishing, and MDC stocks trout in selected lakes and ponds in several communities around the state during the winter months. You can find details about all these trout-fishing opportunities in the Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations, which is available wherever fishing permits are sold or at http://bit.ly/g8carJ. Information about winter trout fishing in urban areas is available at http://bit.ly/gSLEyx.

A Trout Permit ($7 for adults, $3.50 for anglers under age 16) is required to possess trout on waters outside trout parks. A fishing permit also is required, unless the angler is exempt.

Current River – The Vanishing Ozarks

26 Feb

The Vanishing Ozarks from Missouri History Museum on Vimeo.


This film by my estimation was produced  somewhere between 1958-1961 after seeing the Pontiac on the ferry.  It was hard to quickly research the year, the shot went by pretty quickly but I know I am in the ballpark as there were a couple of early Volkswagon’s spotted as well on the riverbank.

By the third decade of the twentieth century, the loss of the forest resulting from the hinterland development threatened traditional ways of living along the Current River even more than had the many social and economic changes of the lumber and railroad era. Timber, the resource that attracted the railroads and many people to the Current after 1880, showed signs of playing out soon after 1900. The forest was the foundation of the uplander culture. It housed the game that the uplander hunted and fed the hogs that the hill families ate. The uplander-frontier culture’s economic tradition was based on a reactive relationship with nature. Before the introduction of large-scale lumbering, the settlers made few visible changes to the natural environment. Their hunting practices helped to deplete much of the big game but their open range livestock grazing had little impact on the forest. The loss of so many trees through unbridled lumbering, however, damaged the natural and thus the cultural habitat of the traditional homeland.

Some Ozark and state leaders saw tourism as the economic salvation of the region. The early development of modern recreation on the Current and Jacks Fork rivers accompanied the introduction of railroads into the southeast Missouri Ozarks. There were two trends in the growth of recreation. First, the railroad and lumber companies encouraged sport hunting and fishing. The depletion of the wildlife and the exodus of the large pine lumber corporations limited this activity and, by 1914, the promotion of recreation began focusing on attracting tourists to the areas scenic beauty. Although tourism boomed around the springs of southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas during the previous century, it was slow to develop in the more isolated Courtois Hills. Unlike lumbering and hunting, tourism was an unfamiliar concept to most residents of the Current River region.

Urban businessmen formed several hunting and fishing clubs and built cabin retreats on the Current River after the Current River Railroad laid its tracks to the mill of the Missouri Lumber and Mining Company. In 1888, the year that the railroad was completed, businessmen from St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield, Missouri, established two clubs. Sportsmen in St. Louis chartered the Current River Fishing and Hunting Club with a five-dollar membership fee. Another group from Springfield and Kansas City organized the Carter County Fishing and Shooting Club and charged its members twenty dollars to join. The Current Local reported that the club had 125 members and that Alex Carter, a leading political figure in Carter County, appeared to be the only member from the county. The incorporators of the club were mostly officials of the Kansas City, Ft. Scott, and Memphis Railroad, the parent company of the Current River Railroad. With lumber from the Grandin mill, the members built a clubhouse six to eight miles south of Van Buren on a bluff overlooking the Current.

In 1912, another Springfield group incorporated a club, Shannon County Hunting and Fishing Club, and built cabins on the Jacks Fork. Again, as the purpose of the corporation stated, it solicited an exclusive membership:

“The object and purpose of this club shall be to furnish facilities for bringing together as often as may be, gentlemen in commercial, manufacturing and professional pursuits throughout Southern Missouri for educational, and for recreation and improvement . . . [and] to develop the mental and moral faculties of its members.”

The Shannon County Hunting and Fishing Club out lasted the other organizations and continued to exist into the 1980s.

The records of the Carter County Fishing and Shooting Club described something of the logistics and recreation activities of late nineteenth century float trips down the Current and Jacks Fork rivers. Because of the club’s association with the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis Railroad (later part of the Frisco line) and because of this railroad’s partnership with area lumber companies, club members had ready access to the main KFS&M lines and the lumber trains. The sportsmen often traveled by train to Chicopee or to Chilton and from there headed the short distance downstream to the clubhouse. The favored pastime was floating and fishing down the rivers and, at least until 1930, most parties recorded in the club registry their catch and sometimes highlights of their trips. A 1907 entry by sportsmen from Carthage, Missouri, stated:

Put in Jack’s Fork about 3 miles above Eminence May 24, 1907, and floated to Club House. River about 18 inches high. Caught 60 bass, one jack salmon, one shad. Saw first engine cross Jack’s Fork. E. B. Jacobs caught a double consisting of two 3-pound bass. Had a fine time and good ride with Andy Pitman (guide) in gasoline boat.

This brief trip record noted an important transportation improvement furnished by the lumber railroad crossing the Jacks Fork. Before the construction of the tram in 1907, the fishing parties heading for the upper Jacks Fork had to depart the KFSM track at Birch Tree or Winona and travel overland by wagon to the river. They then floated downstream in canoes or johnboats, the latter was most common on the Current. The early johnboats were built of pine planks sixteen to twenty-four feet long. They were narrow (often three feet wide), flat bottomed, with slightly beveled sides. “Bow and stern [were] blunt, and the bottom at both ends tapered upward so that the boat [could] be swung easily in the current by a boatman operating with a single paddle from the stern.” Boards for making boats were carried to the departure point, along with the other sporting gear, and local woodsmen/carpenters built the boats on the spot for the fishing parties. The club records indicated that members organized float trips of varying lengths. Some excursions started up at Round Spring, on the Upper Jacks Fork, at Van Buren, or a number of other locations.

During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the tallies of fish caught boast of the Current and Jacks Fork as a “fisherman’s paradise,” but a marked decline appeared after 1900. In 1946, Charles Callison, secretary of the National Wildlife Federation, demonstrated the decline by examining the number of fish caught by members of the Carter County Fishing and Shooting Club during the decades 1890-1940. The last column of the table, displaying a person’s average catch per day, reveals two dramatic declines: first, after 1900, the catch dropped from 13.5 to 7.3 and then, after 1920, fell from 8.8 to 5.9. The number of recreational fishing trips, themselves, decreased sharply during the Great Depression decade of the 1930s. Yet the trend reflected more than just the extensive removal of fish by sportsmen. The gigging and illegal dynamiting of fish by the residents of the Current River basin also contributed to the decline.

(Excerpt From the National Park Service)

Hillbilly Archaeologist

25 Feb

Abandoned In Stone County

Ever driven down an old country road, past a crumbling old farm house and thought to yourself “I bet that place has a million stories. I wonder who lived there?” I know I have and in most cases I am so busy going somewhere I don’t even pay attention to them. Once in a great while I get up just enough gumption to park the truck and grab the camera. This is one place I couldn’t pass up.

This home was struck down by a huge tree that uprooted and fell through most of the structure.

Sometimes you have to look beyond the current condition of things and use your imagination to see the positives to a house like this. The stonework is classic Ozarks, you don’t find work like this in many places other than the Ozarks. It’s color and size make it especially nice and the craftsmanship was excellent. It is a shame that the tree took it out. It gets better, just follow me…

At this angle you can see that the tree simply ripped it's way through.

This tree was massive and did enormous amounts of damage.

The back porch is roughly a 10′ span attached to the house and covered with clear material to let the light in. I bet they had plants. It sat on a poured concrete slab which was very cool to the touch, we’ll get into the natural air conditioning shortly. The porch actually held under the weight of the tree, amazing stuff.

Behind the house stood the family (root cellar?), a two story built into the bluff side.

The well house was something extraordinary, two stories with built in shelves upstairs and large material storage downside. It was also equipt with electricity and ran a refridgerator which was still sitting where they left it.

Built in shelves to store canned goods, and lots of them.

Standing at the well house the view to the back of the house and the spring house in the foreground.

Notice the steps leading down from the house into the spring house, a perfect set up for the milk cans.

Used for storing milk and cream cans I imagine.

However another possibility hit me like a trout takes a mayfly…it might have been used to raise trout. With a small cool water lake adjacent to the house and connected to the spring it is possible.

This spring was really putting out the water, and cold...really cold. Making the concrete cool all the way to the back porch of the house. Natural AC!

I noticed that the walls of the springhouse were brown from probably iron in the water.

It flowed out and then into the lake through a concrete whistle that was built by hand.

This is what really caught my interest. The iron bridge minus the wood walkway is still usable.

I would love to walk out in my front yard to a view like this.

The proximity of the lake to the house was just right, not more than 50 feet away from the house and access from the back and the side of the house. This was well thought out, if I had the chance to do something with this place I would simply clean it up, remove the wooden structures and rebuild as close to original as I could. Cleaned up and fresh this would make one nice place to entertain. On a sad note, the house was fully furnished including clothes still hanging in the closet, a half stocked kitchen, appliances in tact, a wood burning stove,  couches and chairs, bedding and such. It makes you think that the owners may have suffered consequences from the tree as it hit directly in a bedroom area and the fact it’s still furnished. It doesn’t look like it’s been lived in for 10 years or more.

I will mention I only take photos away from places like this. I never give out any locations and I usually am careful about property owners privacy…but I couldn’t resist. My apologies.

Pheasant for lunch, lucky me!

24 Feb

Rick Smith owner of Ozarks Quail Farms at the helm of the big Green Egg!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the better part of the day with Rick Smith, Owner of Ozarks Quail Farms in Republic. Much of it was hashing out old fishing stories about those big ones that got away or the covey we flushed near Miller back in the day. The end result to all these discussions was a great pheasant lunch he so kindly grilled for us. It had been quite awhile since I had any pheasant and it was awesome to say the least.

His wife, and partner Deb, had wrapped the birds in bacon and stuffed them with onions and a slice or two of mandarian oranges. Seasoned just right I have to tell you they were incredible.

Rick checks the temperture of the birds. He told me it's important to let those birds reach 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

I asked Rick if the pheasant were available to purchase already processed and I am sad to say no they aren’t. He raises them strictly for hunting preserves and he did say that the birds were for sale in a few local markets over last summer but they are gone and he probably won’t be processing again for some time.

So if you were one of the lucky ones that bought some of those you know what I am talking about when I say “They were awesome!” You can follow Rick’s blog or visit his site he’ll be glad to hear from you, drop him a note. Thanks Rick for putting on the feedbag!

News From The Quail Farm

21 Feb

Good Weekend on the Farm
It was a good weekend for us on the ole quail farm. Saturday was a beautiful warm day. Our son Shaun came out and tilled a lot of ground for new blueberries, raspberries and wildflowers for the bees. The bees were very active and we noticed they were coming in with their legs loaded with red pollen. Debbie was preparing lunch for her quilt circle. Shaun’s wife Leslie, her sister, mother and another friend are making quilts to donate to the mid wife that delivered our granddaughter Cedar. She does about 50 births a year and many have lots of needs. They thought giving those babies a heritage quilt would be a great ministry of help. It does me good to see the ladies sewing together and enjoying the country life. While they sewed Shaun & I caught the remaining pheasants and one of my dog training customers came and bought them. We just have a couple hundred quail left and they are ready to deliver in a couple weeks. I took orders this week for about 1,000 more fall delivery quail. This is so rewarding to live this simple life and fellowship with those that want to take care of themselves and give to others, too. My good friend Mark and I are planning a day sometime this week to fire up the Green Egg smoker and cook some pheasant for lunch. We might even make a short trip down Route 66 for some pics to post on our; Missouri Route66 site. We have been good friends for many years and it’s always a lot of laughs we we hang out. Watch for the results of our pheasant feast, hopefully.

Rick Smith

Follow the Quail Farmer on his blog!

The Earth 2050

21 Feb

According to a report out of Washington, DC, earth will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as it has in the past 8,000. The director of the Initiative in Population Research at Ohio State University, John Casterline, said the planet’s swelling population will stretch resources well beyond existing abilities.

Specifically, the United Nations predicts that this year the earth’s population will rise to 7 billion. And, by 2050, the population is likely to be about 9 billion, with much of the new population arising in Africa and Southern Asia. Consequently, population experts are calling for more finding for family planning to help control population growth, especially in developing nations.

The swelling population will exacerbate problems, such as resource depletion, said John Casterline, director of the Initiative in Population Research at Ohio State University.

But incomes are also expected to rise over the next 40 years — tripling globally and quintupling in developing nations — and add more strain to global food supplies.

People tend to move up the food chain as their incomes rise, consuming more meat than they might have when they made less money, the experts said.

It takes around seven pounds (3.4 kilograms) of grain to produce a pound of meat, and around three to four pounds of grain to produce a pound of cheese or eggs, experts told AFP.

“More people, more money, more consumption, but the same planet,” Clay told AFP, urging scientists and governments to start making changes now to how food is produced.

Population experts, meanwhile, called for more funding for family planning programs to help control the growth in the number of humans, especially in developing nations.

“For 20 years, there’s been very little investment in family planning, but there’s a return of interest now, partly because of the environmental factors like global warming and food prices,” said Bongaarts.

“We want to minimize population growth, and the only viable way to do that is through more effective family planning,” said Casterline.

Source http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110220/ts_afp/scienceuspopulationfood

In a related story…
The extreme freezing temperatures that hit swept across the country over the last few weeks may cause a huge increase in food prices over the coming months.

Farmers across Northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States have been hit with gigantic crop losses. An estimated 80 to 100% of Northern Mexico’s Food Crops have been destroyed by cold weather.

Mexico supplies a considerable amount of our crop vegetables and this loss will defiantly have an impact on prices. Sysco, one of the largest grocery suppliers in the country, is already having a hard time keeping up with demand and has issued a force majeure telling its buyers that price increases are on the way.

To make matters worse, Florida which is also a major grower of these types of crops had huge losses due to the extreme weather last month. Up until a couple weeks ago Florida was actually importing much of its supply from Mexico.

Watch for a spike in things like tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, squash, asparagus and peppers.

Garden Fever

21 Feb

Ozarks Gardening Feb 16, 2011

By: Jim Long

It may not feel like it with all the deep freeze cold and snow we’ve had, but it’s garden planning time. Mid-February to mid-March is the best time to plant peas, onions and potatoes if you want the best growth and the fewest insect problems. Ozarks tradition dictates peas be planted by Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t accomplish it this year. My garden was still under several inches of snow that day. Next week will be soon enough.

Beetle provided by: Horn Farm Community Gardens York, PA

Potatoes, as I’ve mentioned in this column every winter for almost two decades, will tolerate a lot of cold in the spring. The earlier they are planted, the better you will avoid potato beetles. Onions too, benefit from early planting.

February is also the ultimate month for pruning grapevines and muscadines. Why so early? Because as soon as the daytime temperatures start easing upward, the sap rises in grapevines. If you wait too long to prune, the vines will “bleed” sap, sometimes gallons a day, for a week or more. Early pruning while the weather is still cold will prevent that.

This is also the month to prune back sage and lavender plants. Both herbs should be if cut back by two thirds in early spring before new growth begins to prevent die-out of the center of the plants. Hard pruning also encourages more vigorous growth and blooming. (More)

About The Author: I have been a columnist for The Herb Companion magazine for the past 19 years and have regular columns in The Heirloom Gardener and The Ozarks Mountaineer magazines. My syndicated Ozarks Gardening column runs in newspapers across the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks and I am the author of 25 books on herbs, gardening and cooking. I travel and lecture for groups and national conferences throughout the year and travel abroad in search of new culinary plants to grow, photograph and write about. Visit my website