Canoeing the Flooded Dunnville Bottoms

I was able to sneak in a canoe trip to the Dunnville Bottoms between rain storms this week. The super wet spring combined with the heavy snows from this winter have kept large portions of the river bottoms under water all spring. The river bottoms are formed by the confluence of the Chippewa and Red Cedar Rivers. Both are extremely high right now. I launched the canoe off of 580th Street into a bottom land lake. Late last summer this lake was mostly a muddy pit as the water level was really low. Now it is flooded. While paddling around the flooded bottoms, I was reminded of the bayou country I visited around Pine Bluff, AR. At least when floating the bottoms up north, I didn’t have to watch for alligators or water moccasins.

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I went around a bend and a goose exploded out of the brush. A closer look at its exit point revealed this goose nest. I snapped a quick photo and got out of there as the two geese were flying over head and angrily honking at me. I expected to be divebombed by the geese. But I guess, I am too hairy and scary, so the geese left me alone. I hope the waters don’t rise even higher and flood the nest.

Once among the trees, navigating the tangled mess of trees and brush was interesting. I used a combination of paddling, poling with the paddle, and pushing and pulling on the trees and brush to crash though the areas where the trees and brush were the thinnest.

I was surprised to see water flowing swiftly in this area. The water creating the current had to come from the Chippewa River which is about a mile away from the launch point. The flooding is indeed mighty.

When you a paddling this summer, I hope the wind is at your back and the skeeters are few.

Veggie Herder’s Breakfast

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This recipe is a different take on the classic Sheepherder’s Breakfast, which uses bacon, hash browns, onions and eggs. I was looking for something different, so I threw this together this morning for breakfast and it was quite good. Give it a try.
Ingredients
Red bell pepper diced
4 ramps chop entire ramp into 1-inch pieces
Half a bag of shredded hash brown potatoes
1 cup whole cherry tomatoes
1 avocado sliced the chopped into large pieces
4 eggs
Oil
Directions
Heat oil in cast iron skillet and add ramps and peppers. Cook until ramp leaves are wilted. Add hash brown potatoes and cook until potatoes nearly done. Add cherry tomatoes and sliced avocados. Mix well and heat for about 2 minutes. Crack four eggs on top of potato mix, cover, and cook on low heat until eggs are done. Serve with salsa.

Sheepherders Breakfast

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This meal is best when made in a Dutch over over a fire. It is a perfect camping food and it can be used for breakfast, lunch or supper. It has bacon and eggs. How could it be anything but delicious? Total cooking time is about half an hour. To speed things up start the charcoal before beginning to slice up the onions and bacon.

Ingredients
1 lbs. bacon diced
1 large onion diced
1 or two packages shredded hash browns, or 6 to 8 potatoes peeled and diced or shredded
6 to 9 eggs
salt and pepper.
Paprika (Optional)

Directions

Heat Dutch oven and add bacon. Fry until crisp. Add onions and saute’ until translucent. Stir in potatoes and cook for a few minutes. With a large serving spoon, smoosh down potatoes, onions, and bacon so top is flat. Press spoon into surface to make an indent. Crack an egg into indent. Continue this process until eggs are spread around the the Dutch oven. Sprinkle paprika on top. Place lid on oven and add coals for medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes or until eggs reach desired level of cooking, i.e. soft yokes or hard. Can be served with hot sauce. If using fresh potatoes, soak in cold water for a bit to remove the starch. This makes for crisper hash browns.

Apple Pie

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Ingredients
6 cups peeled and sliced apples
1 cup sugar (I use a sweeter apple and go light on the sugar)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash ground nutmeg
1 table spoon butter- cut into quarters.
Pastry for a double crust pie
Directions
Place bottom crust in pie plate and fill with apples. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Then sprinkle mixture over apples. Add butter pieces, Place top crust on pie and seal and flute edges. Place pie in Dutch oven on trivet or corner irons. Place coals on top of Dutch oven. Suspend oven over more coals. The heat on top should be greater than on the bottom. Do not over heat. Check frequently. Pie should be done in about an hour.

Chapatti

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When I was in Uganda , I got to sample many new foods. Chapatti is a flat bread that is widely eaten in East Africa. Chapatti originated in India and migrated to East Africa where it has become a staple food. The Ugandan version is made slightly different than the Indian version. I managed to have a phone conversation with Jennipher Makoye, who is the cook for the guest house that I lived in when I was in Uganda. She gave me her recipe for making Chapatti. The measurements are approximate since many ingredients are measured by the handful. A tip from the cook shack: This bread must be cooked on high heat so it gets puffy while cooking. But do not take your eyes off it, because the bread will burn fast. A large cast iron griddle is the best pan for cooking the chapattis.

This bread is simple and quick to make and cook. Add a bit for world cuisine to your meals today.

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
warm water
cooking oil

Directions:
Mix flour, and salt in a bowl.
Slowly, mix in enough water to make a thick dough.
Kneed dough for a few minutes adding water or flour as necessary
Cover bowl of dough with a clean cloth and let sit for about a half-hour.
Pre-heat (medium high or high) and lightly grease a skillet or fry pan.
Divided the dough into tangerine sized balls.
Using a rolling pin, on a floured board flatten the balls into six-inch circles.
Lightly flour the chipatis before stacking while rolliing additional chipates.
Fry until each side has golden-brown spots, flipping once.
Cover the cooked chapais until served. To keep warm, wrap the stack of finished chipatis in a heavy plastic grocery bag or place in oven on lowest setting.