Real Patriotism and Political Preservation Processes 2009

Real Patriotism is in the fight of its life with federal legislation, policies, and processes. 2009 will probably be noted as perhaps the year both sides took the gloves off. If you haven't noticed, then it might be you only watch the 10 to 15 minutes of pathetic excuses for news casting on t.v. once you remove all the commercials? There is quite a bit to yammer about right here but instead I must take you back with me to the initiation of a reflection upon the awakening which is occurring in this country. It is an awakening which many who have screamed from the rooftops, about this rising danger before us, had nearly given up hope ever seeing.

It began with standing at the backside of a old chevy pickup truck listening to two fourty plus year old brothers tell the story of the elder driving the truck the several miles back to civilization from a half hour at the river spent fishing. Now you would think, what? I thought you were going to tell me a little something about politics and current events in this September of 2009...yeah well, hang in there, I'm just getting started. You see politics in Montana and the insight which comes from dialog regarding it is a strange experience best served along with the fish.

So anyway, back to the brothers and what they figured was a world record for the shortest profitable fishing escapade ever. This tale is made better by the fact that one of them was still hilariously sporting a blindfold made of several strands of dental floss and was gleefully proclaiming victory over the bet that he could make the drive home in one piece. Now I know you are really looking at me like I've lost my mind but trust me despite the fact I think my husband's friends had lost theirs that day, I assure you I have not. The story gets better. I'm standing at the back of the truck because my better-half has decreed I have a chore to do. I of course gave him THAT look for playing chauvinist just for the benefit of his buddies. But looking in the back of the truck bed one had to shrug that off because there lay fourteen huge trout. Seven for each of the fools just across from me still jostling each other like a couple of school boys. Ok, terrific he wants me to clean them up and stow 'em.

So I climb in the back to retrieve the booty. And then it occurs to me. The two comedians trying to un-tie the dental floss had been on a 30 minute fishing spree...so how do you bag this number of fish in that time, I queried? Oh you'll never guess the tale they told. It is a tale of a beer apiece, two very bored men, a vehicle radio antenna, and a base ball bat. Uh yeah, and did I mention both of them were soaking wet to the skin? Seems you can bag more fish with a radio antenna and a baseball bat in shallow water of a river pool than you can with a fishing pole which they just don't own so you can see how innovation filled the gaps. I'll leave the precise method a little obscure from here so that others in need of frustration release may do their own experimentation on an afternoon by their own local river. (Suffice to say you might want to be something akin to physically fit before you attempt it and knowing how to swim before hand might put you in a state of competency more advanced than these two.)

So how under the sun doth this have any correlation to politics, politicians, or current state of events in America? Well I had the fortitude to ask them what possessed them to go fishing in this manner and why you would think to blind-fold a driver with dental floss in the first place? Well, comes the answer, politics today is a fishy business and anybody you can blindfold with dental floss shouldn't be driving a car, even if it IS possible. hm-mm, can you say veiled insult in such a statement?

Yes he was referring to the yahoos in D.C. at home across the nation engaged in town halls. Lol, I don't know what I laughed harder about, their antics or the sad state of American politicians who boast that they don't have to read legislation before passing it upon the people. Is there a law yet that says sufferer's of alzheimers disease are not allowed to hold public office? I wonder because I suspect a large swath of the politician community have forgotton who and what they are supposed to be. Shrug. Just a side question....anyway, even these two fully understood the big picture. The message of the true state of the union has reached into the depth and breadth of the American population. Just don't be surprised at how it gets expressed.

So with great reverence under my new found insight, I collected the fish and without balking, properly cleaned and prepared them for preservation as dried salt fish. This experience reminded me of Thomas Jefferson in one of the final years of his life expressing his deep satisfaction with 'dumb cod' as he described it. This is dunning cod which is dried salt codfish from the Isle of Shoals, Massachusetts.

"It was split and slack salted, piled up for two or three months, covered with salt hay or eel grass in a dark store, uncovered once and re stacked under pressure, and by late summer, if nothing went wrong, had acquired the proper ripeness and dull color," describes one Admiral Morison.

Handling the fish carefully I carted them into the house and lined them up near the sink. Fish must be in top notch condition to dry salt preserve them. First I broke out my best gilly knife (slang for a narrow fish knife) and assured myself it was sharp enough. Nothing worse than a dull knife when faced with a batch of fish to clean. I am particular when it comes to gutting and cleaning fish. You can ruin a good river fish very quickly by breaking into the guts in the process of slitting their belly open. It is also imperative to use a wire bristle brush to clean all traces of blood and debris from the underside of the spine. After that is done I scored the fish on the underside of the backbone and lengthwise on the other side too so that it could open up near flat.

While I was cleaning the fish I sent my oldest daughter to disinfect a water barrel that had been out in the storage shed awaiting a different purpose. This barrel was then filled with 10 gallons of water and 4 pounds of salt. I placed the prepared fish in the brine to soak. Roughly a half hour later I removed the fish and set them to drain on just about ever wire rack I could contrive. A note here...if you try dunning fish yourself be certain everything you use is excessively clean and have ALOT OF SALT ON HAND BEFORE YOU START. I let them sit and drain for about fifteen minutes.

Next I took out my canning pot as it was the largest kitchen container I had to work with and put several canisters of table salt in it. I then took each fish and diligently ground salt into every nook and cranny of the fish I could achieve. When I lifted the fish from the pot I made certain to have it as thoroughly coated as possible. I don't use sea salt for this as sea salt is said to contaminate your meat with bacteria. You're supposed to use salt from a land mine.

Each fish then went into a plastic storage bin on top of another thick layer of salt. Each fish is stacked at a 90 degree from the last. The bottom fish are skin side down and the very top layer is stacked in with the others skin side up. Each layer has a salt layer added atop it for good measure. The salt retards the bacterial growth so this is very important. The packing recipe is 1 pound of salt to 3 pounds of fish...when in doubt of exact weight, use more salt.

This container is then set out in the shed to brine the meat with a light fabric covering to keep the bugs off but allow air passage. The minimum time allotted is 36 hours upwards to 48 hours. The old Massachusetts method mentioned above would entail more salt, a setting time of 2 - 3 months and a thick covering of hay or grass with a one-time uncovering inspection, and re-stack under pressure until the end of summer. In my case, I didn't take quite that long a brining...after the brining period I brought them back in and washed them thoroughly in the same recipe of salt solution which I initially used in the very first step. Then I let them drain and dry a bit same as before.

Article continues below.....

Salt Dried Fish On A Clothesline

A spectacular photo of Salt Dried Fish by Ben Hansen, One Hundred Outports (St. John's, Newfoundland: Vinland Press, ©1990) 19.  A useful skill to practice.
A spectacular photo of Salt Dried Fish by Ben Hansen, One Hundred Outports (St. John's, Newfoundland: Vinland Press, ©1990) 19. A useful skill to practice.

Then in the next step I took them outside and pinned them up on a clothes line which I strung between our cottonwood trees. The line was placed high enough so that the dogs couldn't jump and snag any of the fish. There they hung for about 5 days twisting in our notorious Montana wind. We are in a pretty dry climate here so I didn't have a problem with night-time dampness causing mold on the fish. In a damper climate you might have to bring them indoors at night. Not a thought I would relish myself but hey, you do what you have to do.

After they've dried they should be fairly crispy on the outside particularly in the thin areas. The thicker areas you should not be able to dent with your finger when you apply pressure. Once they are done with that step you pack them in a box between sheets of wax paper with salt between and over them again. Here the recipe is 1 pound salt to 10 lbs fish. You check these stored fish periodically especially important in the first couple days/weeks. If you start to see signs of discoloration or mold you can do one of two things, either toss the affected fish (dog food) or if not too bad you can take them back to a brine solution and scrub them well then dry them again on the clothesline until ready to repack as before in the box.

I must admit that watching fish spin in the wind on a clothesline brings to mind the organized chaos being effected through town-hall demonstrations and of the obviously unprepared politicians. They are salt pickling themselves under the onslaught of questions and controlled fury when they even bother to show up. I don't think they expected to see the reaction and awakening their actions in D.C. have brought out in the people. They are certainly dumbfounded to see Americans taking to exercising the open-carry rights and that some of them are not just packing a pistol but AK-47's and the like. It certainly brought the fanatical red-shirted obama-ites up short with their intimidation efforts.

Unfortunately one poor un-armed soul lost his finger to one such obama-ite fanatic just last week for that he arrived at a town-hall meeting (being mearly curious rather than actually involved). I hear though, that the elder threw a terrificly good punch under the circumstances. Yep, I'd say his sense of self preservation developed rather quickly.

Well, apparently just like with dunning cod-fish, politicians and the public have to be "boiled a good deal to soften and freshen them." [Jefferson's granddaughter Ellen Coolidge, on dun cod-fish preparation to her grandfather, 1826] Judging from some of Thomas Jefferson's comments I dare say he'd probably agree. It has taken time for America to rediscover their sense of self-preservation. The public appears to have reached the boiling point alright and the politicians are being freshened now every time they blink.

Some recent articles on the town-hall meetings:

At a town hall meeting Wednesday, (Congressman) Broun said Obama either already has, or will have, the three things he'll need to make himself a dictator: a national police force, gun control and control over the press.

Disabled woman, heckled by teabaggers, strikes back

Emotions Run High Before Virginia Town Hall Meeting

About 200 turn out for Eshoo town hall in Ben Lomond

Guns near Obama fuel 'open-carry' debate

Interview: The NH Man With A Gun Outside Obama's Town Hall

NBC29Healthcare Reform Town Hall Meeting

Obama Town-Hall Gun Toters May Have An Upside

Health Reform Town Hall

Eleanor Holmes Norton Cites Obama's Safety in Call for Gun-Free Zone

Health care dominates Latham's town hall

Speakers set for Oklahoma City Town Hall lecture series

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