A rare find, a special family farm located in eastern Connecticut that has a reputation of producing some of the finest cheeses that I have ever tasted. While I can't be considered a gourmet expert in the quality of cheese but I am a consumer who knows what a good cheese is. Jeanette and I stopped by Cato Corner Farm located in Colchester Ct and spent some time wandering the farm as well as getting a history lesson on the farms start as well as sampling some of it's "made on the farm" cheese.
Walking the farm roads you see many of the pastures in which the farms 45 plus cows are allowed to graze naturally.
This is Elizabeth MacAlister, she along with son Mark started the business back in the 90's. The basis is happy cows make for good milk which makes for some of the tastiest cheese.
Little guys, so curious.
The cheese shop. We were treated to some of the variety of cheese that were featured.
"Dan" he was our guide this day. He told us about all of the cheeses made on the farm. In talking to us we told him of our preferences in cheese and then gave us a sample to taste. I fell in love with two of the offerings which we took home with us. If you are ever in the area please stop by. Their hours of operation are on the sign, and they have a web site. The cheese is also available on line.
This is "Womanchego" in the kitchen of Casa Petrucci...I kid you not it is the best cheese I have ever tasted. Made from raw cows milk it's semi-soft texture with a very unique flavor is a delight. "Womanchego" was voted American Cheese Society best American Raw Cows Milk Cheese in 2017.
On my last outing I took a good look in my box for a certain fly and the conclusion was "get it cleaned up and organized". It was a mess with flies crushing each other, winter flies, big woolly buggers, all mixed in together so that trying to find a partridge and orange spider was impossible.
When I got home I did get the box in order and it looks a lot better today then it did. While I was doing the necessary weeding out of flies I came to the conclusion that for a small stream guy all I needed to fish successfully in those little waters was a simple as "A.B.C."....let me explain.
The "A"...Adam's Parachute... for the small stream guy this is a top fly. In a couple of sizes it works great.
The "B"...Bomber, Fran Better's pattern that is responsible for taking more small stream trout for me than any other fly I have. I tie it in a couple of sizes but size 14 is all I need.
The "C" the caddis..here is the elk hair caddis. I'm showing this fly but I fish several caddis patterns. Most of these patterns work super well on small streams. While I will always carry more than I need it's good to know that I can get by with only 3 patterns. It's easy as A.B.C.
Having fished the Farmington river since the late 60's I have pretty much covered most of its waters that allowed me to cast a fly. There have been some banner days in the many outings along with many skunks. The one overwhelming constant is I have never had a bad day on the Farmington when it comes to the beauty that this river gives forth. There are many named pools in this river. Many are well known and fished extremely hard, in fact I would say some have seen just about every fly ever created. I will say I have my favorite places to fish on this gem of the northeast. A few of them I can be assured that I'll be alone with the only competition being a heron or eagle. But one of the most beautiful pools on the Farmington is Whittemore. I make it a point to stop here every time I'm at the Farmington.
While Whittemore may be the most beautiful pool on the Farmington it has been a difficult one for me to fish. It's riffled head, it's long sooth and deep center as well as it's rapid tail out have proved to be quite the challenge for me.
Several very large trout were seen here...rising to something I could not see. It was a grand sight.
Whittemore lived up to it's name as the most beautiful, and frustrating pool on the Farmington this day but it did manage to give up one of it's wild browns.
Yesterday was a change of pace, or should I say a change of place as to the target of our quarry for the day. John and I got together to do some fishing. The relaxed style and the type of fishing which was let's see what's biting and enjoy what happens. The place chosen was a warm water hot spot, and the beauty of the area came bursting forth. The backwater ponds and canals were home to pike, bass, crappie and bluegills. Flies were used, and when we figured out just what they liked we were on our way to a fine morning.
I had success with salmon flies..."Salars Nemesis"
And the "north country spider" also proved it's value.
Look at that CGR bend...
John holding a "battler"
A great day for a couple of guys remembering what we did together some 60 years ago.
Yesterday I was fumbling through some fly fishing magazines when I came across an article that really hit a nerve so to speak. It told of an angler who was fishing a river and using a bucktail. What's so interesting about that you say. Well fishing for trout in rivers with bucktails and streamers is nothing new you say, and I agree. The thing that was unique was the fact that the angler was fishing a "Wardens Worry". This fly is a very old Maine pattern that when fished for brook trout is a killer. With exception to anglers in Maine I don't think I've ever seen this fly fished anywhere else, let alone written about in a national magazine. Well this fly was being fished in a eastern river by a Catskill angler and the Wardens Worry managed to bring a very big brown trout into feeding on it.....to go on.
The majority of browns that take a fly seem to prefer something more bug like to take a whack at.
These browns paid no attention to what is supposed to be hatching, they just took the fly offered.
What is it....
I mean you guys don't see these all the time on your streams. Try one and let the trout decide.....just as he did when he chose to take a "Wardens Worry" outside of the great State of Maine.
Spey flies are normally associated with fishing for salmon and steelhead. The flies are beautiful and very effective. The long sweeping lines that are created by various feathers used give them a look similar to the Rangeley style of streamer fly. My experience with Spey flies is zero, having only fished for steelhead once and the Spey was not the fly of choice for me at that time.
But my experience with a salmon fly tied down to a size which enabled me to use it for trout has proved to be an over whelming success. This led me to tie a few trout sized Spey flies. I did up a few over the last couple of weeks but have not fished them. With hope I look forward to them being successful with the trout I pursue.
Trout Spey 2
The hooks used in all three are Saber Steelhead/Salmon size 8...I may change that if the hook is to large, or to heavy.
Tis the season...hot dog time. Well in our house hot dog time is all year long, we enjoy them in many ways, even at breakfast. Summer though brings out the family to the deck to get the grill going and feature the "frank"...by the way grilling be it gas or charcoal is my least favorite form of cooking hot dogs. Number one is steaming, and number two is grilling them in a hot cast iron fry pan. I use a natural casing frank, for it seems to hold in the juices. When steaming them do it slowly. Place the hot dogs in cold water, bring to a boil remove pan from heat at let stand a few minutes. The skin will remain intact and all of the flavors will be there. The cast iron method is to heat the pan first, place the hot dogs in pan and watch them, turning them several times until they become a light brown making sure they don't burn or blister and pop.
There are many toppings for the hot dog, anything and almost everything will work. One of my favorite toppings is my homemade relish. I use pickling cukes and red radish. They are grated mixed and then my secret spices are added. This relish along with diced fresh onions is all I need.
Grote and Wiegle are my local maker of NC franks. I buy them in large packs. When opened I remove them from their plastic wrap and place them in a sheet of freezer paper and wrap them up. Placed this way in the fridge they will keep for 10 days. Franks can also be frozen.
A grilled hot dog. Notice the bun...toasted New England style. When the buns are toasted they seem to hold up better to the toppings and don't get soggy.
Here are a couple of special dogs I'd like you to meet. The one on the left is "Kira" and the one on the right is "Parker"...Kira is a working K-9 and Parker is a working fetcher. The both of them are so sweet and so special to us.....and they love "hot dogs".