Living off the land at North Knife Lake

Reimer and Webber Family - Enjoying life in the north!

Family time in the North!

by Mike Reimer

The Reimer and Webber families, like most in the North, have spent a lifetime enjoying nature’s bountiful harvest. In our case this includes big game such as moose and caribou, several species of freshwater fish, as well as a variety of wild berries used to complement these delicacies.

Our version of Saturday afternoon grocery shopping does not mean driving to the mall in a minivan, but rather involves a snowmobile, a boat or good old foot power. There is no healthier more satisfying way to put food on the table than harvesting fish, game and berries for the winter while immersing yourself in God’s wonderful creation. And of course, there is no such thing as a bad day of hunting or fishing. Sure, the wind might be blowing the rain sideways at 60 km an hour or whipping the snow into a windchill of -50°C, but that can be exhilarating!

We have had many great outdoor adventures over the years with friends and family, highlighted by the exceptional top-of-mind experiences that most often involve our children. Several, okay many, years ago (yikes!), we decided to spend a family Christmas at our remote fishing lodge on North Knife Lake.

It was a beautiful experience highlighted by wolves howling at night to the Northern Lights, hauling northern pike in through 5-foot thick ice, enjoying fireside chats, sliding down the esker in -40°C, dream watching roaring fires in the Lodge fireplace, and bathing kids in the metal wash tub!

And just when we thought nothing more could be added to this idyllic setting, the caribou migration showed up. This was too good to be true, and soon our oldest daughter Rebecca, who was 10 years old at the time, started bugging Dad to let her “catch” a caribou. We were not going to let all that fresh meat just walk on by!

Father and daughter slipped out the cabin door early the next morning and quietly trekked through the snowdrifts down to the lakeshore. For several minutes we sat snug in our goose down parkas watching a long line of caribou file across the ice, their ankles clicking loudly in the frigid morning air. It wasn’t long before a shot rang out from the rifle of our young huntress and one of the caribou stepped out of line and fell to the ice.

The sound of the rifle brought sisters Karli and Allison and Mom Jeanne dragging little Adam on a sled down to the shore, where we soon had a roaring fire of driftwood warming frozen fingers. The next couple of hours were spent on those rare teachable moments you sometimes get with your kids. Each part of the skinning and butchering process was carefully analyzed and discussed in much detail, while choice bits of caribou sizzled on sticks over the open fire.

Outdoor life, as good as it gets!

Goose Stew with Cheese Biscuits for crisp fall evenings and cold winter nights

Bubbly hot stew for those cool fall evenings or cold winter nights. Goose Stew on page 22 of Black Currants & Caribou and Cheese Biscuits on page 49 of Blueberries & Polar Bears, by Helen Webber & Marie Woolsey.

Goose Stew with Cheese Biscuits - Black Currants & Caribou

Goose Stew with Cheese Biscuits!

Goose Stew Ingredients:

  • 10 goose breasts, cut in chunks, (if you are using Canada Geese 6 breasts should be enough)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup (250 mL) dry red wine
  • 1 tsp. (5 mL) salt
  • 1 tbsp. (15 mL) Dymond Lake Seasoning (DSL) OR 1 tsp. (5 mL) seasoned salt, 1 tsp. (5 mL) seasoned pepper
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) beef stock (and water to cover)
  • 3 cups (750 mL) sliced carrots
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped celery
  • 5 cups (1.25 L) diced potatoes
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) flour
  • ½ cup (120 mL) cold water

Goose Stew Directions:

  1. Combine the goose, onion, garlic, bay leaves, red wine, salt, DLS, and beef stock in a large pot and simmer until the meat is tender, 2-4 hours. Add water to cover as needed.
  2. Add the carrots, celery and potatoes to the meat mixture in the pot; return to boil and simmer until the vegetables are just barely tender, approximately 20-25 minutes.
  3. Thicken the stew with paste made by adding the ¼ cup (60 mL) of flour to ½ cup (125 mL) of cold water.

Serves 6-8.

Cheese Biscuits Ingredients:

Occasionally, you want a change from traditional tea biscuits. A hint of cheese gives a tasty alternative. These drop biscuits are ideal for the busy cook.

  • 2 cups (500 mL) flour
  • 4 tsp. (20 mL) baking powder
  • ½ tsp. (2 mL) salt
  • ¾ cup (175 mL) butter OR margarine
  • 2 cups (500 mL) finely grated cheese*
  • 1cup (250 ML) water

Cheese Biscuits Directions:

  1. Put flour, baking powder and salt in bowl. Add butter and cut in with pastry blender until fairly well blended. Small lumps are alright.
  2. Add cheese and stir in with fork, carefully separating any cheese that has lumped together.
  3. Add water all at once and stir with a fork just until blended.
  4. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons (about 25 mL) on to an ungreased baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 10-12 minutes. Jagged peaks on the tops of the biscuits will be browned. Remove the biscuits from the tray immediately.

Makes 15 large biscuits.

SERVING SUGGESTION: Serve warm for an evening snack or to accompany a light lunch. Or with goose stew :)

*Use Cheddar or Mozzarella or a mixture or experiment with any hard cheese. Cheese should be only loosely packed when measuring.

Cookbook author Helen Webber picks cranberries with polar bears

Cookbook author Helen Webber has been picking cranberries with polar bears for 40 years.

Cookbook author Helen Webber has been picking cranberries with polar bears for 40 years.

What do 5,000,000 Cranberries look like?

Why not ask the Cranberry Queen, who has personally handled each one of those delectable beauties.

Helen Webber, the Grand Queen of the Webber/Churchill Wild empire, has spent the last 40 Septembers faithfully collecting buckets and buckets of incredibly tasty wild cranberries with which to complement the lodges’ Arctic cuisine.

It takes some real dedication to the needs of the palate to spend all those cold fall afternoons crouched over the berry patch all the while keeping a sharp eye out for wandering polar bears.

Many recipes for our best-selling cookbook series Blueberries and Polar Bears were developed by Helen and friend Marie Woolsey using these marvelous berries to enhance a variety of meals at the lodges.

Wild cranberries vastly surpass any tame grown berries for flavour, texture and gourmet pizzazz, and one taste of these tundra delicacies over snow goose pie or roasted turkey pretty much ensures the supermarket variety stays on the shelf.

This past fall while cooking (yesssss, Helen is still working!) for the Arctic Safari at Seal River Lodge, Helen took a little time to harvest the bountiful crop of berries sprayed across the tundra near the lodge.

Along with her trusty assistants, Helen hauled in 300 cups of crimson berries in six hours, setting a new record for the foodie team and likely establishing Helen as the most prolific cranberry picker of all time! We’re thinking there must be a spot in the Guinness record books for this category.

Hopefully some of the kids and grandkids pick up on this talent, as Helen keeps threatening to hang up her bucket for good soon.

Have a wild cranberry! L to R, Mike Reimer, Helen Webber, Krysten Martens, Karli (Reimer) Friesen.

Have a wild cranberry! L to R, Mike Reimer, Helen Webber, Krysten Martens, Karli (Reimer) Friesen.

Wolf families back with new pups at North Knife Lake

Wolf at North Knife Lake Lodge

Yes, I can see you.

by Doug Webber

It’s been a banner year for the wolves of North Knife Lake!

Saw the big Momma, two of her offspring from last year and two pups about three months old, all at the runway in the evening a few weeks ago. In total, we have seen seven different wolves so far this spring and summer!

All have typical timber wolf colouring with one having distinct reddish tinges on its side. Pups are sandy coloured and they look well fed, quite chubby actually. All the fish must be going to them. The adults did quite a bit of howling and one disappeared into the bush after doing the bark-bark-bark-howl bark-bark-bark. The wolf that stayed on the runway continued to bark-howl-bark until we left.

Josh went ahead with the 5-wheeler while we walked. A big wolf came out of the bush at the sand bowl and followed him until the turnoff to the equipment grounds. What an evening! About 30 trout caught at Hahn Hole and fishing in front of the Lodge. We kept a couple for eating and released the rest. Two were master anglers!

A few days later we had more wolf sightings down at the runway. We took some fish trimmings out to them, howled and waited. After about 10 minutes we noticed something moving at a hill to the south of a turnaround.

It was a small pup lying down in a bit of a washout. We got a few photos before it disappeared into the bush. We drove back to the Lodge and while I was cleaning pails the adults started to howl, so Norm and I drove back out to the runway.

We saw four pups, two with the momma, one black and one gray, and two off by themselves near the turnaround. Momma was on the south hill with the black and gray ones. So far we have seen Momma, papa, three smaller ones that we suspect are last year’s pups and four pups from this year.

One of the young adults is very brave and has come within five meters of us on the 4-wheeler. She shows up pretty much right away when we arrive at the runway with supper. Another one or two wolves generally happen along five to 10 minutes later.

The wolves have also been getting close to the Lodge a couple of times a day. We’ve only seen them outside the Lodge on three occasions, but we see their tracks at least once a day.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to have the wolf families back at North Knife Lake Lodge.

It’s a magical time… in a special place.

Honeymoon at North Knife Lake Lodge. With wolves!

The wolf at North Knife lake Lodge was always watching us.

The wolf in charge. Always watching us.

by Karli Friesen

Our decision to honeymoon at North Knife Lake Lodge in northern Manitoba was made years ago before we were even dating.

“You can’t honeymoon there, I’m honeymooning there!” we said to each other.

Little did we know (though by that time we may have hoped) that three years later we’d be honeymooning there – together!

North Knife Lake Lodge is the perfect honeymoon destination. That’s assuming you can stand 25 degrees C, sunny blue skies, no bugs, loons calling at night, long walks in the woods, canoeing and fishing on windless days and various animals providing endless photo opportunities. Every moment we felt like we were the ones being watched and studied, not the other way around.

Oh, and did we mention the wolf pups?

Sunny days at North Knife Lake Lodge!

The honeymooners. Riley and Karli. At North Knife Lake Lodge.

As the plane flew off into the distance, we stood on the runway watching, wondering, if our decision to be completely alone in the Canadian north for a week was a good one. We started the hike back to the Lodge, hoping to return with the four-wheeler for our gear before any wild animals got into the groceries.

As we rounded the first bend on the trail, 25 yards ahead of us a big timber wolf stopped and looked back over his shoulder toward us. We froze and everyone watched each other for a moment, before the wolf trotted off into the bush. That was our first sighting of him, and afterwards, we knew he was never very far away.

The next morning, I was excited to show my new husband the wolf den that my cousin and I had discovered a little less than 10 years earlier. We packed the essentials — food, matches, water, camera, flashlights and rain jackets — and headed off toward a lake known as Wrong Lake. As soon as we were on top of the first esker off the west side of the runway, we saw the wolf again, trotting through the trees below us, about 200 yards away.

Every so often he stopped to look back at us, but wasted no time posing for pictures before he was gone again. We continued on toward the wolf den. When we were within a couple hundred yards, though we couldn’t see it yet, we decided to circle down below the den in case it was active. Though I had been to the den every summer since we’d found it, it had never been active to my knowledge. Still, on the off chance it was, we gave the den – and whatever wolves were around – some space.

We came up from the bottom of the esker about 50 yards from the den. As we approached the entrance, we could see that most of the grass around the entrance had been flattened, and that there were wolf tracks and caribou hair surrounding the entrance. Still, we weren’t sure.

I crouched down by the main entrance and looked down into one of the secondary entrances. Small tracks and some scat lay around the smaller entrance, but both looked too small to belong to a wolf. Maybe a fox though.

The trees at the den entrance groaned slightly as they swayed in the wind, and we chatted quietly, mulling over what we were looking at and wondered if the den was active. Until we realized that the groaning wasn’t the trees!

Suddenly, the groaning sound was joined by whimpers, grunts, snorts and whines, the sound a sleeping pile of puppies make when they all start to shift and jostle. I was beyond excited! As a young girl, I had always dreamed of finding an active wolf den and finally the day had arrived!

Since we knew the male wolf was around and now suspected that these puppies probably belonged to him, we left the den entrance and headed up over the top of the esker to make our way back to the Lodge. Sure enough, only 100 yards away, just on the other esker, that same wolf stood watching us. He was directly in our path but heading west, so we swung east to give him plenty of space to get back to the den.

That evening, we fished the creek north of the runway and brought a few fish home with us. We saved the guts and trimmings and decided that the next day we would take the fish remains out to the wolves to let them know we were friendly. The next morning, we set out early again, bucket of fish guts in tow.

Karli Friesen by creek at North Knife Lake Lodge

There’s fish in this creek!

When we arrived at the trail that would take us from the Wrong Lake esker to the den esker, we heard a bark behind us. We snapped our heads up and found ourselves looking at our wolf again, standing in the middle of a sand patch on the esker south of us. He barked again, and again, before letting out a long, low, howl, the kind that makes you pay attention. He seemed agitated and continued to bark and howl over and over.

We waited for a response from another wolf, but there was none. We guessed that he was trying to draw us away from the den or warn his mate of our presence. We decided not to go back to the den, but to leave the wolves as they were before we showed up, so we dumped the fish guts where we stood and started walking straight toward the wolf. He watched us coming towards him for a moment then disappeared over the edge of the esker.

We stopped on the same sand patch where the wolf had stood and had our lunch. Afterwards, we were making our way home and as we emerged from the trees, the wolf appeared on the edge of the runway. Again, we stopped to watch each other, before both parties crossed the runway and continued on our paths back to the Lodge. There is nothing quite like the feeling of knowing a wolf is escorting you back to your home and away from his.

Riley and I agreed that we wouldn’t return to the wolves’ esker after that, but still each day we saw the wolf. Nearly every time we crossed the runway we were guaranteed to see him there, a few hundred yards off, watching and waiting to see which way we would go. No matter where we went, we had a feeling that he was nearby, adding an element of mystery to all our hikes.

One day, we crossed the runway with the wolf and stopped on the east edge to watch him. He stopped as well and sat down, facing us. Suddenly, he threw back his head and howled, barked, then howled again. We watched and listened in awe for a few minutes, before deciding to try our own barks and howls. We were pathetic at first – we sounded more like scrapping cats than wolves – but as we got the hang of the low, deep, drawn out howls, our wolf started to respond to us.

What's a honeymoon without a wolf?

What’s a honeymoon without a wolf?

Surely he understood everything he was trying to communicate and probably wondered what foreign dialect these strange creatures were speaking.

When our voices started getting weak, we made our way back to the Lodge, with our escort slipping in and out of the trees, unseen and unheard, but definitely felt.

Now the Lodge sits empty again, and I imagine a den of puppies somewhere grows bigger and stronger every day, practicing barks and howls, uninterrupted by worries or cares and enjoying the magical wilderness at North Knife Lake.

A special place we were lucky enough to be a part of for one fabulous honeymoon.

Couple enjoys fishing trip of a lifetime at North Knife Lake Lodge

Nina outfishing George

Nina outfishing George. Again. But it doesn’t seem to be bothering him :)

Fond fishing memories will last forever

Guest Post: by George and Nina Williams

We could easily run out of gushing adjectives trying to describe our trip to North Knife Lake Lodge a few summers ago – incredible fishing, fabulous food, exceptional customer service and accommodations, an awesome guide and wonderful company – all at once – in a pristine wilderness setting.

It was the most enjoyable, stress-free vacation we have ever taken. And to think we almost didn’t make the trip together. Up until the very last day Nina was balking.

“I am not a fisherman,” she said. “I never did claim to know what I was doing with a fishing rod. Why don’t you take one of your friends? Why do you want me to go?”

After 23 years of marriage, I thought a back-to-nature style vacation (and a chance to catch some trophy northern pike and arctic grayling) would do us some good – give us a chance to reconnect. We flew to Thompson from Winnipeg on Sunday, stayed at the Days Inn overnight and flew out the next morning in a well-appointed Beaver floatplane piloted by Lodge co-owner Nelson Morberg.

Trophy northern pike at North Knife Lake Lodge.

Trophy Northern Pike!

The flight was perfect. No turbulence, a great view of the wilderness below and a very smooth landing on North Knife Lake. We were immediately welcomed by Webber’s Lodges staff, who carried our gear up to the main lodge.

Once in the lodge, we were greeted by award-winning cookbook author Helen Webber, Chef Dave Schellenberg and more polite staff members. We were also treated to a feast of waffles, bacon, homemade bread and jam and numerous other accompaniments I can’t remember – except for the fact that it was all was delicious.

We were then shown our accommodations, a beautiful condo just up the hill from the main lodge that included a double-bed, a wood-burning fireplace, a loft with more beds and a large bathroom. With a hot shower!

Our day began with our guide Ryan Suffron already waiting for us with the boat, rods, tackle and everything else we needed. All we had to do was show up. We headed to our first fishing spot and on my fourth cast I caught a trophy northern pike – a 43-inch Master Angler that probably weighed in around 25 pounds! I’d already caught my fish of a lifetime and I’d only been on the lake 10 minutes!

Nina also caught a good-sized pike in her first few casts and then we got another surprise. While she was reeling her pike in, I hooked another one – but when I went to take it off the hook our guide said not to. “You guys don’t have to do anything,” said Ryan. “I’ll take care of everything. Just sit back and relax.”

Our guide really made the trip for Nina.

There were always alot of smiles at cocktail hour

There were always alot of smiles at cocktail hour.

“If I’d been alone in the boat with my husband all week I don’t think we would have made it,” she told lodge co-owner Toni Morberg one evening. “The encouragement, instruction and conversation our guide provided was both invaluable and enjoyable.

“We caught numerous big fish that day and also were treated to the sight of a moose and her baby swimming across the lake to an island. During the trip we saw more than one eagle and her babies, loons, arctic terns and whiskey jacks. There were also wolves in the vicinity based on evidence shown to us by one of the guides. We didn’t see the wolves but we were certain they saw us! They were just too smart.

Back to the Lodge after our first day of fishing we had soothing hot showers in our condo, changed our clothes and headed down to the main lodge for 6 p.m. cocktail hour. Cocktail hour is a special time of day at North Knife Lake Lodge, when all the guests get together for specially-created drinks and appetizers and a chance to tell their big fish and adventure stories from the day.

Dinner time at the lodge was always a wonderful experience. The chefs prepared fresh breads, salads and delicious entrees every day, many of them from the Webber’s Lodges series of award-winning wild game cookbooks. There was also a different delectable dessert at every meal. All the dishes made from scratch using natural ingredients and the preparation was always superb.

Shore lunch on North Knife Lake. Always delicious!

Shore lunch on North Knife Lake. Always delicious!

After dinner we had a choice of spending time conversing in the main lodge with the other guests, watching a movie or playing a game of shuffleboard or pool in the upstairs section of the lodge, or enjoying some time in the wood-fired hot tub. Usually after an hour or so we would be ready for bed.

A day on the lake catching big fish while surrounded by “real” fresh air and nature tired us out!

On day two, three and four of our trip we continued to catch a number of good-size pike and visited numerous lake trout holes packed with lunkers. It was a real thrill to catch our first ever lake trout. They fight totally different from pike, preferring to dive deep and strong, and in one case, charge the boat!

We managed to land two more monster pike, one at 40 inches and another at 42 inches, with Nina probably losing the biggest fish when she hooked into a huge lake trout that charged towards the boat after numerous deep dives in attempt to unhook itself. The trout won that battle, but Nina won most, landing numerous big fish.

Our shore lunches were always a mouth-watering creation freshly prepared by our guide, like sweet and sour pike, fish tacos, beer-battered trout and pike and more – but it all tasted just a little bit better each day. We were really hoping to try fly fishing for arctic grayling on our trip and our wish came true on Day 5.

Nina with first arctic grayling at North Knife lake Lodge.

Nina with first arctic grayling!

Neither of us had ever fly-fished, nor had we ever caught, or even seen a live arctic grayling. Our guide arranged a fly-out to a secret river location 100 miles southwest of Churchill.

A top fly fishing competitor, Suffron had given us all fly-fishing lessons the evening before (George was by far the worst student) and we were ready for action.

A quick and smooth 18-minute float plane flight landed us in one of the most beautiful places on earth. We donned hip waders and walked through the bush for five minutes before arriving at our selected spot – on a river no one had fished this year!

We didn’t know quite what to expect – casting tiny flies on 4-pound test line into a pool of ravenous wild fish. We quickly had our guide running back and forth through hip-deep water unhooking one grayling after another! Within a few hours we had caught over 30 arctic grayling including five Master Anglers – one that matched the largest caught in Manitoba the previous year, 20 ½ inches. Luckily our guide was up to the challenge. We certainly tired him out!

Between Nina and I we caught too many fish to count, including seven Master Angler northern pike and arctic grayling.

Romantic sunset at North Knife Lake.

Romantic sunset on North Knife Lake.

We met some wonderful and remarkable people and experienced some of the world’s best fishing in a pristine untouched wilderness.

We also created some very special memories that will last a lifetime. There just couldn’t have been a better way of celebrating our 23rd anniversary.

It truly was – the fishing trip of a lifetime!

Spring fishing for trophy northern pike!

Trophy northern pike! Hungry in the spring!

Trophy northern pike! Hungry in the spring!

Pre-spawn prime time for trophy northerns

When the ice starts to melt, big northern pike go on the prowl, not just for food, but for the ultimate spawning ground. As the sunlight attacks and the ice starts to trickle into the water, northern pike start moving into areas adjacent to the shallow sun-warmed spawning sites. Big female pike are hungry. They need energy for spawning, and they need big male pike to help them out, which means prime time for trophy northern pike!

As an added bonus, the pre-spawn period generally attracts fewer fishermen, which means more pike for those who don’t mind the sunny chill of spring. And since this is also the time of year when northern pike tend to congregate near the spawning grounds, you’ll spend less time finding fish and more time catching them. While the real monster northerns tend to stick to themselves, if you can find one or two small to medium sized pike adjacent to a spawning site, you’ll usually find more.

The actual timing of the pre-spawn period depends on how far north you go. In Minnesota the pre-spawn period for northern pike will usually occur sometime in April, whereas in cold northern Canadian lakes the pre-spawn period can occur as late as July.  Because the water is still cold, the movements are slow but…

You can catch big northerns even before the ice is completely off the lake (if your local fishing season is open) by casting from shore and dropping your lure on the edge of the ice. Drag the lure to the edge of the ice and let it fall naturally. On a warm sunny day the flutter of a shiny spoon will be enough to entice a hungry northern if it’s in the vicinity. If that doesn’t work you can also try a quick jerk once the lure is a few inches down, followed by a light flutter and then a steady but slow retrieve.

Male pike will generally be more aggressive than females during the early pre-spawn period but all big pike will take dead-baits, slow moving spinners and crank baits.

Pike move into warmer shallow bays and flats with slightly murky water as the ice fades. Darker water attracts both bait fish and sunlight, a double whammy for big pike hunters. Shallow, slightly murky, creek-fed backwaters with reeds, weeds and a sand-muck bottom are best, because they warm quicker than the clear hard-bottomed regions of the lake. Trophy northern pike can be taken in less than three-feet of water on a warm spring day, so if you see a big log lying in the shallows, always take a second look. It could be that lunker pike you’ve been looking for your whole life.

Five-inch minnow imitating plugs of silver, perch color or spots of red almost always work well for pre-spawn pike, just remember to keep the retrieve slow. Light plugs, floaters and those that will hold just under the surface work best, and if you’re going to cast spinners and spoons you’ll need to keep them light due to the shallow water.

Fluorescent colors will likely work best in murky water but a flash of silver will also draw the attention of a shallow-water pike with one quick jerk of a spoon or spinner as soon as it hits the water. If you find the pike are following your stick baits or plugs up to the boat or shore but are failing to strike, try a three to five inch Mepps spinner with a bucktail and you might just change their minds.

Sudden cold weather will push pre-spawn pike back into deeper water adjacent to the spawning areas, but they will move back into the shallows as the weather and water start to warm again. The pike will hold steady, often at mid depth in 10-15 feet of water during a cold front, and trial and error on your retrieve depth will help you find just the right level.

Afternoon will usually be the best time for fishing in the pre-spawn period, after the sun has had time to sufficiently warm the water and the pike are on the move. The smaller fish will congregate in mid to shallow flats within a bay while the big monsters will hover off the points and move into the shallows to feed in late afternoon and early evening.

In the pre-spawn and spawn periods, good spawning grounds combined with ample baitfish are the key to finding big pike. Later in the season, as the water begins to warm, pike will seek out cooler water and deeper weed beds, but these must still be adjacent to good baitfish hangouts.

We catch numerous Master Angler northern pike every spring and summer at North Knife Lake Lodge. The cold pristine waters of North Knife Lake are strictly managed and fished by less than 100 people per year. Thus it produces monster northerns (and lake trout) every season. And while it is catch and release, we do keep enough for the most delicious shore lunches on the planet.

Big fish. Clean water. Exceptional food. Great company. We hope you’ll join us!

Good fishing!

Fun fishing video from New Brunswick, Canada to brighten your day

Here’s a fishing video that is certain to brighten your day! Glen Ferguson, Curtis Hachey and Brian Kenny play “Can’t Catch a Fish if Your Line Ain’t in the Water” with a couple of acoustic guitars during an ice fishing adventure in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada. And they’ve got talent!

 

Thanks to fishing guide and outdoor writer J D Richey for this. You can follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/fishwithjd or visit his Fishing Magazine Web site at http://www.fishwithjd.com.

A warm cooking letter to Webber’s Lodges, from a far away country

Diane Edgeworth and Friends at Manos de Amor Orphanage in Mexico

Diane Edgeworth and Friends at Manos de Amor Orphanage in Mexico

You just know you’re doing something right when you get letters like the one below from Diane Edgeworth.

Diane bought one of our Webber’s Lodges Cookbooks from the Blueberries & Polar Bears Cookbook Series, and used it to help a charity in Mexico!

Dear Webber’s Lodges,

Several years ago I purchased your Blueberries & Polar Bears cookbook. It is my very favorite as well as my daughter’s, so it is well traveled between her house and mine. My husband and I spend several months in Bucerias, Mexico. We have become involved with the Manos de Amor Orphanage here and help with the bake sale part of a big fundraiser they have each year in February. We bake an enormous amount of stuff for five days before the event.

This year we included cherry and apple pies and butter tarts in the lineup, and I used my tried and true pastry recipe from your book. I wanted you to know that many, many people said it was the best pastry they had ever had.

This afternoon I am going to the orphanage to teach the ladies that work there how to make pastry and pies. They really want to learn this, as it is something they have never done. Last year we made carrot cake together, a huge success.

Thanks again for making my baking skills look so good!

– Diane Edgeworth

Thanks so much for this letter Diane. Such a wonderful story! We’re so happy to hear that you are enjoying one of our cookbooks and putting the recipes to work for a good cause. We wish you the very best in your charitable endeavors and we are including a link to the pastry recipe you wrote about, Helen’s Pastry, with the hopes that others will use it for a good cause too.

Thanks again Diane! You made our day!

Helen’s Pastry Recipe: Blueberries & Polar Bears Cookbook Series

Helen's Pastry Recipe from Blueberries & Polar Bears

Soooo… delicious!

Helen’s Pastry

(Helen) Let’s talk about pastry! From my experience with my three daughters and the women who have worked with me at the lodges, pastry is one of the most intimidating challenges they face.

Marie and I don’t use the same recipes for our pastry. Hers is slightly saltier and mine is slightly sweeter. They are both non-fail and they bring rave reviews whether we use them for our main course pies or desserts. We have shared these recipes with sisters, children and friends and they all have moved from the “I can’t make pastry” class to “Hey, this is easy!”

These make enough for three, 2-crust pies. If you don’t need it all, just roll the dough into 1-crust-sized balls, store them in a freezer bag and either refrigerate or freeze. Bring the dough to room temperature before rolling out.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups Flour 1.25 L
  • 1 tsp. Baking powder 5ml
  • 1 tsp. Salt 5ml
  • 1 lbs. Lard 500g
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tbsp. Vinegar 15ml
  • 1 tsp. Brown Sugar 5ml
  • Cold water

Directions

  1. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Cut in the lard with a pastry blender until the moisture is crumbly and the lard is distributed like little peas throughout the flour.
  3. Break the egg into a measuring cup; beat with a fork and add the vinegar and brown sugar. Beat again and add water to the 1-cup (250ml) mark. Pour the water mixture around the edge of the flour mixture while stirring with a fork. Be sure to moisten all the flour but do not over mix. Divide the dough into 6 equal balls. (1 ball equals 1 pie crust)
  4. Sprinkle a board of counter top liberally with flour and roll out dough with a floured rolling pin, adding more flour if necessary. Place the dough in a pie plate, add filling and cover with the top crust. Cut vents to allow the steam to escape.

Blueberries & Polar Bears Cookbook

Blueberries & Polar Bears

Makes pastry for 3 double-crust pies or 6 single-crust pies.

NOTE: Never throw away leftover pastry! Make Cinnamon Pastry Rolls. Roll out any amount of pastry in a rectangular shape. Spread with butter, sprinkle liberally with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up, starting from a long side. Cut into 1” (2-3cm) slides and put on an ungreased baking pan. Bake at 450*F (230*C) for 10 minutes, or until slightly browned.

From Blueberries & Polar Bears, Page 184, Desserts