Lately I feel like a dog that’s just been let out of his cage, over-excited by the total and sudden freedom running like a maniac until he can no longer stand. Having a desk job where you sit for 8 hours a day, week after week, for 14 years straight does not prepare you physically for spending all day everyday active and on your feet. Not a day of my freedom has been wasted and I have been sleeping well to say the least. As we settle into this new lifestyle, we still break up our week with varying activities. This includes one or two days a week getting away from the homestead. So far, we have had no trouble occupying ourselves with free adventures.
If you are going to have a full day of adventure you need to have some fuel. It’s summer time now and perfect time for picnicking. Nearly every time we go to the parks, it’s always the recent immigrants who have packed the best looking picnics. Sandwich spreads, watermelons, corn on the cob, fruit platters, and many times some amazing smoke is wafting as marinated meat drips its juices onto hot coals on the park grills. It’s like the rest of us have forgotten how to live well, and without a fight, succumb to the ease of stopping for shitty fast food. You can be lazy and try to find a restaurant with some outdoor seating, but in my opinion, money cannot buy better food nor better ambiance than a good picnic. So to prepare for our adventures this day, we packed a quick picnic cooler. It took me all of 5 minutes to construct a couple of sandwiches with leftover roasted chicken and fresh lettuce that I grabbed from our garden.We were headed to the countryside to visit a local flower farm and do some picnicking, but on the way I recognized one of my favorite stretches of river to fish. I had found this area a prior summer when I hiked the majority of the river’s length in search of good trout spots. Since we were on no particular schedule, we pulled over and started to fish a bit. While the wife hiked up river, I found a nice spot where the water tumbles over some rocks into a deeper pool under the shade of a tree. I started to get a few bites, then my rod bent over – I could see a rainbow trout darting about with my line. It was a really good fight but nothing my $10 rod could not handle – I landed my first trout of the year.You do not need fancy gear to fish, just a fishing license and willingness to explore the waterways. It was not a fancy rod, or even some fancy lure that caught the fish, some cheap basic gear will do. Catching fish is more about luck and perseverance, combined with the time put into understanding how the water runs and which deep pools are frequented by trout. I had already fished a few times this year without results, and this was the first time I fished since quitting my job – I’ll take it as a sign of good things to come. We decided that being the first good keeper of the year, it would make for a fitting dinner with the first crops coming out of our garden. Luckily, we had our picnic cooler to keep our fish on ice while we continued on.
After a quick and productive stop along the river, we moved on – our eyes now scanning the countryside for a scenic picnic spot. We made it to the flower farm and did a quick tour. The beautiful displays gave us new ideas for plants to seek out in the future. We were there just to look, preferring to propagate our own plants from cuttings, or trade with friends for free. By this time, we were ready for some food. We headed back toward a public park on a lake that we had passed. A nice view on a sunny day makes everything taste even better. Back home, we turned our attention toward the fish dinner. We harvested some fresh salad greens from the garden, and it was also time to take the garlic scapes. I descaled the fish and coated it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and stuffed it with dill, then into a hot oven until crispy. In the meantime, Mrs Crazy Kicks whipped up a garden salad, rice, and sauteed the scapes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. A nice thing about fresh ingredients is that you do not need to do much to make a tasty meal. Another fulfilling day of enjoying nature. After a delicious dinner, we enjoyed some local beers and once again, a good night’s sleep.