Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
Using sourdough gives these cinnamon rolls an amazing flavor and texture. I like to measure out the sourdough starter 8 to 12 hours before mixing up the recipe. I then add a tablespoon of flour and sugar to the starter so starter can get nice and bubbly. This helps the dough rise and really brings out the flavor of the starter. Using the bread machine saves some time and simplifies the dough making process.
1 cup sourdough starter
3/4 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons soft butter
1 egg slightly beaten
3 1/4 cup bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
About 2 tablespoons milk
- Put all ingredients in bread machine as per machine instructions. Set for dough cycle and make sure dough is of the proper consistency.
- When dough cycle is done, remove the dough to a floured surface, punch down, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Grease a 9 X 13 cake pan
- Roll out dough in a large rectangle shape. Rectangle should be bigger than the cake pan.
- Brush melted butter on to the entire surface of the dough, then sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top of the buttered dough.
- Roll the dough on the long side until it is in a long “log.” Dampen the top edge of the dough with a bit of water so the final long edge rolled dough sticks together.
- Cut dough crosswise into pieces that are about 1 to 1 ½ inches wide.
- Place rolls in greased pan. Leaving as much space as possible between the rolls
- Cover and let rise at least 60 minutes. I usually prepare the rolls the night before and let rise over night.
- Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes
- Let cool slightly and frost. To make frosting, place sugar and vanilla in a bowl, add a bit of milk and beat. Add a bit more milk if necessary. Frosting should be smooth and creamy.
2021 Spring Hearings will be on-line.
The annual Spring Hearings will be held on April 12, 2021 starting at 7:00 PM. The on-line portal will then remain active for 72 hours. A link and more information on the hearings are at this link [https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/about/wcc/springhearing]. The spring questionnaire is posted on the same link. This year there will be questions from the DNR on Fisheries and Wildlife Management. The Natural Resources Board has one question, and the Conservation Congress has 27 questions.
All of the DNR Fisheries questions propose changes that only effect local bodies of water. There are no proposed statewide rule changes. The first two questions by the DNR deal with the Walleye Fishery in the Ceded Territory. Question 1 would create a slot limit in Ashland, Iron, Price, Rusk, Sawyer and Vilas counties on waters between the Turtle-Flambeau Dam and the Thornapple Dam. The restrictions would not allow walleyes under 15 inches nor between 20 and 24 inches and only one walleye over 24 inches to be kept. The daily bag limit would remain at three. Question 2 would apply the same slot limit to Escanaba Lake in Vilas County. Questions 4-6 tinker with bass regulations on a number of lakes in the Northern third of the state. Question 4 will ad a slot limit to some lakes while questions 5 and 6 will remove size or slot limits. Questions 7 through 12 also propose changing size limits on a variety of lakes through out the state. Question 13 would lower the pan fish limit from 25 to 10 on Big Eau Pleine Reservoir, Marathon County; Big Round Lake, Polk County; Cranberry Lake, Price County; Lake Chippewa, Sawyer County; Huron Lake, Waushara County. Questions 16 -20 propose a variety of changes to trout regulations on different trout streams through out the state. The changes include bag limits, catch and release seasons, and size limits. Question 24 would maintain a daily bag limit of 5 trout and salmon on Lake Michigan and Green Bay and the tributaries.
The first of the five wildlife management rules would allow falconry on Richard Bong Recreation area after 2:00 pm when pheasant hunting closes. Questions 2 and 3 propose changing the date for the use of cable restraints for trapping and the zone framework for mink and muskrat trapping. Question 5 calls for moving the closing date on squirrel season from January 31st to the last day in February.
The Natural Resources Board’s only question suggests forming a collaborative scientific working group to control the spread of CWD. Some of the members of the working group would be Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Board, Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin Conservation Congress, County Deer Advisory Council, Wildlife Groups, Deer Farming Organizations and Native American Tribes.
The Conservation Congress questions, as is often the case, may prove to be some of the more controversial questions. Question 14 would permit the hunting and harvesting of Albino deer. Question 21 is of major significance to Dunn County residents. The questions calls for restoring local control to counties for shore land zoning regulations. Dunn County had passed compressive shore land zoning regulations to help stop the green algal blooms from taking over the lakes, but were forced to rescind many of the regulations when the law was changed. Question 9 would permit the use of unused Up River sturgeon tags on Lake Winnebago. Questions 7 and 8 would require in-person ATV/UTV and hunter safety classes instead of exclusively on-line courses. Question 19 suggests granting DNR wardens the authority to enforce trespassing laws. Currently only local and county law enforcement officers can enforce trespassing laws. Question 20 is designed to encourage the passage of a law to develop a statewide curriculum for comprehensive firearm safety courses in Wisconsin schools. Question 23 calls for a study to determine the effect of dog training and trialing on nesting birds. Currently dog training and trailing is prohibited between April 15 and July 31. This study could end the closure.
The annual spring hearings are a cherished decades old Wisconsin tradition that was Initiated by Aldo Leopold. With the change to an on-line format, participation has greatly increased. Help keep the tradition strong by participating in the Spring Hearings.
Linzer Torte Cookies
Linzer Torte Cookies are somewhat similar to the famous German Linzer Torte. The dough is almond flavored and there is raspberry jelly in the middle. This cookie adds a twist with chocolate in the middle. It is not a difficult recipe to make, but it takes a a bit of time to make since there are multiple steps to completing the cookies and some rest times in between the steps. Give yourself plenty of time to make this cookie and enjoy the results.
2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
¾ cup butter softened
½ teaspoons almond extract
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup seedless raspberry jelly
Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. In a separate mixer bowl, cream butter and then add sugar, after well blended add eggs and almond extract. Gradually add flour mixture until all is well blended. Divide dough in half, and shape as round disk. Wrap each half in plastic and chill in the fridge until firm.
On a floured board, roll one of of the dough disks to about 1/8th inch thickness. Cut with a round cookie cutter. Cut circle out of center of ½ of the dough cookies. A donut/cookie cutter makes this step easy. Re-flour board and re-roll left over dough and repeat cutting process, until both dough disks are gone. Cook on ungreased cookies sheets at 350° for 8-10 minutes. Place on rack and cool completely.
Melt chocolate over hot water, or in microwave. Spread on full cookies rounds. Allow to cool. Spread raspberry jelly on top of chocolate and place top on cookie. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top of each cookie. Pairs well with hot chocolate.
Pheasant in Cream
4 deboned pheasant breasts
1/3 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
8 oz. portabella mushrooms
1 pint heavy cream
Add salt and pepper to flour and mix. Coat each piece of pheasant with the flour mix. Melt butter with garlic in a Dutch oven. When hot, brown the pheasant breasts on both sides. Remove the pheasant from the pan and add mushrooms. Lightly saute the mushrooms. Take Dutch oven off of heat. Remove the mushrooms and place the pheasant back in the Dutch oven. Put mushrooms on top of the pheasant and pour heavy cream on top of both. Put lid on dutch oven and bake at 350° for 60 minutes.
Travel Destination: Vernon County
The Kickapoo is a fun river to canoe. It is narrow, winding and very scenic
I have made several trips to Vernon County in the last year and have found that the county offers many activities to fill a long weekend. I started my most recent trip, by canoeing on the Kickapoo River and ended it with some amazing trout fishing. Vernon county also has many places to stop on the highways and byways to eat and to shop. Also, if big water adventures are your forte, the Mississippi River forms the Western boundary of Vernon County.
The Kickapoo river is rightfully one of Wisconsin’s most famous canoeing rivers. The upstream beginning of the canoeable portion of the Kickapoo is the village of Ontario. I will admit when I first saw the river I thought, this is a famous canoeing river? The Kickapoo is a narrow muddy meandering stream coming out of Ontario. I wondered if there was enough water in the river to float a canoe. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised by the river. I canoed the stretch between bridges 4 and 5 which meanders through Wildcat Mountain State Park, and it is a beautiful section of river. Being this is the driftless area, there are lots of rock out cropping’s and bluffs to enhance the scenic beauty of the trip. It is crooked enough to keep the canoeist busy guiding the canoe around the bends, the trees, and sand bars in the river. It is not a difficult river to paddle, but the river demands that you pay attention to it. It only took a few prys and draws to get around most of the obstacles in the river. Given the steep terrain that dominates the Kickapoo watershed, the river is vulnerable to flash floods so paying attention to the weather is important. Canoeing after the spring melt or heavy rains is not advised. Since the river is narrow and heavily wooded, many trees fall in or across the Kickapoo. There is a task force of riverine lumberjacks that cut up the trees that obstruct the river in the section that I floated. I would speculate that the canoe outfitters in Ontario are the organizing force for the river lumberjacks.
If you do not have a canoe or kayak and want to canoe the river, there are three outfitters in Ontario that cater to Kickapoo river travelers. They all have a very large livery of rental canoes and kayaks. Rumors are the outfitters can put up to 500 canoes on the river in a single day. Hence, it can get really crowded. My float occurred early on a Friday morning and there were only a few other canoeists out. But by late morning, when I loaded up the canoe, it was beginning to get busy. If canoeing without crowds is important, plan the trips for mornings during the week. Having the outfitters there also means, that if you do not have a canoe and want to canoe or kayak the river, it is simple to rent one. For information on canoeing the Kickapoo see this link
Wildcat Mountain State Park and the Kickapoo Reserve create a big block of public land for canoeing, hiking, and camping. The campground and picnic area at Wildcat Mountain are literally on top of a big ridge. (Calling it a mountain is a bit of a stretch). The road to the park entrance from Ontario is one of the crookedest roads I have traveled on. Wildcat has a nice, but small campground. Many of the campsites are cramped due to the limited space on top of the ridge. There is an extensive 21-mile trail system that can be used for hiking, horseback riding, skiing and snowshoeing.
The Kickapoo Reserve is an 8600, acre parcel of public land which is owned by the HoChunk Nation and the State of Wisconsin. It is governed by its own Board. It is a unique land in terms of management and ecology. The Kickapoo river runs through the middle of the Reserve and provides some very scenic canoeing. The reserve also has campsites near the river for the adventurous canoeist. But they are located a ways away from the river to reduce the danger from flash floods. meaning it is an uphill haul to get the gear and canoes from the river to the campsite. Additionally, there are hiking and carrying campsites along the trails of the Reserve.
Bringing a bicycle along with the canoe is important. The Kickapoo Reserve has an extensive trails system some of which is dedicated to mountain bikes and some of which is mixed use trails. Vernon county has lots of rural roads to ride on. The roads run through lots of hills and valleys, so the ride is steep and winding making for fun riding. The nature of the roads also creates some safety hazards so consulting the WI DOT bike map is a good idea when planning a route. Wilton, which is near the halfway point of the Elroy Sparta Bike trail, is only a 10-minute drive north of Ontario.
A small waterfall tucked away at the end of the Ice Cave Trail
If riding a horse is preferable to riding a bike, Wildcat Mountain and the Kickapoo Reserve a have a combined 55 miles of equestrian trails. Fifteen miles of the trails are in the park and forty miles in the Reserve. Horse Camp is located in Wildcat Mountain and is one of the nicer and most complete horse camps I have seen.
Some of the best trout fishing I have ever experience occurred on this trip. I fished a stream in the northern part of the county and caught many nice sized trout. One was a little too big as it busted my 4 lbs. line on my ultra-light spinning rod and made off with my favorite trout spinner while making a spectacular jump. I kept just enough trout to have a nice fish fry for supper. Many of the trout streams are Class 1 or 2 streams. Wisconsin classifies its trout streams as 1 (the best) 2 (really good) and 3 (OK). A quick glance at the trout stream maps shows that there are more miles of Class 1 and 2 streams than Class 3. There are numerous DNR fishing properties, easements, and other accesses points to the trout streams so accessing that secret trout fishing spot is relatively easy. The DNR, local conservations clubs and groups like Trout Unlimited have been working for decades to restore and improve the trout streams in the Driftless Region. As a result of all this hard work, the Driftless Area is now one of the premier trout fishing regions in the US.
A nice trout supper thanks to the efforts of many people and groups to improve the trout streams in the Driftless Area
A good night’s sleep and good food is vital to any great trip. Vernon County is a small rural place, so the lodging is small and rural. Wildcat Mountain is the biggest camping spot. Additionally, many of the small towns in the area have campgrounds and there are several private campgrounds scattered around the county. Small resorts with a few cabins and bed and breakfasts are scattered throughout the county. Local restaurants are abundant, and they usually feature a good Wisconsin fish fry on Friday nights.
Vernon has a plethora of actives for the outdoor enthusiasts. It is a good place to head for an activity filled weekend or for a longer vacation
Camping at Perrot State Park
How Not to Launch a Boat
The view from the boat landing at Miller Dam. Its a big, fairly shallow lake with lots of fish and emergent aquatic vegetation
I pulled my small 12 foot john boat over to Miller Dam Flowage the other day to do some fishing and to check out the wild rice beds. As I was pulling out of the driveway, I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw the gas tank for the motor still sitting in the driveway. Oops. So I pulled over, ran back, grabbed the gas tank and put it in the boat. Then I noticed that the drain plug was missing. That would be a big oops. I ambled back to the garage to find the missing plug and was unsuccessful. Well, I reasoned its good to have a spare, so I stopped at Farm and Fleet and bought a new drain plug on my way to the lake.
I got to the flowage, and began the process of getting ready to launch the boat. I did remember to install the drain plug. As I was putting the 5 hp Merc on the boat, the cord that attached to the emergency stop key, got caught up in the motor mount. Something I did not realize until much later. I did a quick check of the boat: 5 hp motor securely attached, fishing poles, PFDs, bait, net, lunch, tackle box all in the boat. Its time to launch. I removed the two tie down straps and attached a painter rope for launching. I was excited because this was the first time I was able to launch this new boat for a full day of fishing. I had taken it for a test drive once but that was it. I climbed in the Forester and began backing up to the boat launch. As the tires of the trailer began to slip into the water, the boat began to slide off the trailer. I thought, Oh NO! I hit the brakes, jammed the car in park, pulled up the emergency brake all while opening the door and jumping out of the car. I got to the trailer as the boat began to slide into the water. I hopped over the trailer and ran to the dock. At the end of the dock I reached out to grab the boat amidships, but could not reach it. I instantly knew that my only course of action was to jump in the lake and grab the boat. As I was a jumping, I wondered how deep was the coffee colored water at the end of the dock. It proved to be arm pit deep. I was impressed since the dock was only about 15 feet long and I am 6’5.” I waded the boat to shore and then tied it to the dock. I took some very soggy steps to the car and parked it and the trailer. I left a nice trail of wet steps in the parking lot as I made my way back to the boat. That “squeesh, squeesh” sound that soggy walking shoes make is annoying. I climbed in the boat, and started the motor. Or at least I tried to start the motor. But the motor had other ideas. No combination of choke and pulling the starter cord helped. I checked to make sure all the knobs and buttons were in the right spot. I pulled on the starter cord another 50 times and still the motor refused to start. After describing the motor with all the four letter words I could think of in that moment, I decided that the only thing to do was to load up the boat and make a wet soggy drive home. So I squeeshed my way back to the car and loaded up the boat. As I was taking the motor off the boat I realized the kill switch key was tangled up in the motor mount and not in its proper place. I took the motor off the boat, untangled the key and cord, put the motor back on the boat, put the key back in its proper place and pulled the starter cord. The motor fired right up. I immediately shut it down. I then tied the painter rope to the trailer, and relaunched the boat without incident. The motor fired right up so I headed out to the lake.
I even managed to catch some fish while on the lake. When I pulled the boat out of the water that evening I was almost totally dried off from my earlier plunge in the lake.
Lesson Learned: The boat ready to launch on its next big adventure. The mismatched boat and trailer were part of the problem. The trailer was designed to haul my 17 foot square stern canoe, and then I put a bed on it so I could haul camping gear and canoes. I now have a rope tied to the boat and trailer so it won’t try to escape again.
Staying Chill When the Heat is High
Water, planning, and rest are the keys to successful outdoor activities when the heat is high. The plan for extreme heat must include taking along enough water for the activity or having infallible means of procuring more water, planned cooling off time, and plans for keeping hydrated. Water can be carried in old fashioned canteens like my well worn one on the left, water bottles, or hydration packs. The most important aspect of the plan is following it.
She thought I was dead. I was on the second day of a bike ride from Menomonie to Madeline Island. The temperatures were in the upper 70s when I began riding, and quickly climbed into the mid 90s. I could not drink water fast enough. I decided to stop every 45 minutes to an hour to cool down. I stopped on a gravel road with a shady spot. I parked my bike and lay down on the road to chill for a few minutes. Then the bike tipped over in the soft gravel. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to leave the bike on the ground until I was done resting. Suddenly, a pickup truck come around a bend in the road, made a sudden stop, and the woman driver jumped out and yells, Are you alive? I immediately sat up and told her yes, I was fine and explained that I was taking a cool down break and that my bike had fallen over in the soft gravel.
Because I had been taking precautions on my ride, I was not suffering from one of the several heat related problems that can arise when the temps rise. Physical problems related to heat include dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. The underlying causes of heat related illness is lack of fluids in the body and loss of electrolytes from the fluid loss. With out these two items, the body cannot function properly and over heats leading to a variety of problems that can be painful and even fatal.
Dehydration can occur in any temperature, but high heat causes excessive sweating and without a conscious effort to replace lost fluid, one can become dehydrated. One can become dehydrated and not initially be thirsty so thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration. One way to check your fluid level is by keeping track of your urine. When a person gets dehydrated they urinate less often and the urine turns a darker color. Dark yellow or even reddish colored urine can be a sign of serious dehydration. Other signs of dehydration include fatigue, dizziness and confusion, and eventually extreme thirst. Drinking water in smaller amounts very frequently is the best way to prevent dehydration.
Heat cramps often occur after one stops strenuous activity in the heat. The muscles have painful and rapid spasms. The cramps usually take place in the limbs or abdomen or can affect any part of the body. Treatment for heat cramps includes resting and cooling down in a shady place; drinking lightly salted drinking water, clear juices, or sports drinks with electrolytes. Light stretching, and massage of the cramping muscles can help, but do not over do as too much stretching or massage can worsen the problem. After the cramps end, wait several hours to a full day before resuming activities.
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body heats up faster than it cools to the point of being over heated. Signs of heat exhaustion include dizziness, fatigue, weak rapid pulse, low blood pressure when standing, faintness, heavy sweating, nausea, thirst and headache. The skin of a person will be pale or dull colored.
To treat heat exhaustion, get the person to a cool shady place. Remove any heavy or tight clothing, and have the person lay down with feet slightly elevated. Give water to the person in small quantities since drinking large amounts of water may trigger nausea. Use damp clothes or misted water to help cool the victim. The victim should begin to show signs of recovery within an hour, but full recovery can take up to 24 hours so its best to pitch up your camp right where the person is diagnosed with heat stroke. Also, a person who has suffered heat exhaustion is more vulnerable to a relapse, so they should be watched carefully for the rest of the trip. Heat exhaustion can develop into life threatening heat stroke, so it must be dealt with immediately.
Heat stroke is a life threatening condition that can occur in two forms: classic heat stroke and exertional heat stroke. Classic heat stroke most frequently effects people indoors who are in a room that is too hot for too long. The signs of classic heat stroke are skin that is red, hot and dry.
Victims of exertional heat stroke will act irritably or irrationally. Their skin may be cold with heavy sweat. Victims of both types of heat stroke can have rapid pulse, nausea and or vomiting, and headache. Fainting can be a sign of heat stroke. Because heat stroke is life threatening a call to 911 is in order. Emergency treatment includes getting the person into the shade remove excess clothing, cooling with water, ice in the arm pits or groin, covering with damp cloths. Have the person drink water in small quantities. If in a wilderness setting and EMT personal can’t be contacted, the victim must be transported out of the woods via stretcher.
Prevention is the best way to avoid all the heat related illnesses. When heading to the woods in hot weather have a plan to stay cool and hydrated. Plan for frequent breaks in the shade and drink frequently. Wear appropriate clothing. I prefer lose fitting breathable clothing. Pay attention to the humidity level also, as very dry conditions in the desert require lots of water, and very humid conditions make evaporation difficult, so evaporation cannot help keep the body cool. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Both substances make it harder for the body to regulate internal temperature. With wise planning, heat does not need to keep one out of the wilds.
Nettles Watercress Soup
This soup is a great late spring/early summer food for folks that like to gather their eats in the wilds.
Combining two relatively abundant wild foods in one dish is a great way to jazz up a meal. This recipe comes from Germany. Being a fan of both wild food and German Food I absolutely had to try this soup. Gathering the nettles is the most challenging aspect of putting this soup together. I was able to pick the nettles sting free by using the scissors on my Swiss army knife, a pack basket and gravity. When making the soup, I did not have any spinach in the garden so I substituted Swiss Chard as the two have a similar taste. Plus, the Swiss and the Germans get along, so I figured the ingredients would compliment each other in the soup. My wife highly recommends the soup.
1 ½ cup baby spinach or Swiss Chard
½ cup stinging nettles leaves
¾ cup watercress
1 medium onion
3 small potatoes
4 cups vegetable stock
1 strip unwaxed lemon zest
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon cold butter
Wash and drain the spinach or Swiss chard. Blanch the spinach or chard and the nettles separately for about 1 minute. Then plunge into ice water. Drain well, squeezing leaves and then finely chop.
Wash drain and finely chop the watercress. Since water cress comes from creeks, I spray the watercress with vinegar before washing to hopefully remove any gut flushing bacteria.
Peel the onion and potato. Finely chop and add to vegetable broth. Simmer for 20 or minutes or until the onion and potatoes are soft and tender. Add cream and blend with immersion blender. Add lemon zest. Let zest infuse for a few minutes and then remove it.
Peel and finely chop the garlic. Shortly before serving, add the spinach or chard, nettles, watercress, garlic, and butter. Again, blend with immersion blender. Let stand for 3 minutes. Then season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Serve immediately.
I don’t have an immersion blender so I strained the onion and potatoes out of the broth after it was done and then ran the potatoes, onion, garlic, nettles, chard and watercress with a bit of broth through my blender. After blending, it all went back in the kettle for three minutes before serving. Also, to save time, I started the broth, potatoes and onions cooking and then blanched the chard and nettles.