Saturday, August 23, 2008

First Annual Wisconsin Aquaculture Day

It turned out to be a lovely day to make the quick trip to Red Cliff to visit the Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility as part of the Wisconsin Aquaculture Day. I was pleasantly surprised to find a family finishing up their tour of the facility as I arrived. That is a neat place to visit if you are interested in aquaculture. There is a lot going on there. I did have to laugh though because I had forgotten how horrible it is to drive through Bayfield and it really is by chance that you stay on Highway 13 because there is precious little signage (for driving, that is). If you think driving through Minocqua is "Tourist City", go to Bayfield. And once I got through Bayfield I began to wonder if I somehow missed the turn off to the Facility because the road quickly got very lonely and wild looking. Of course, as I was just starting to sweat, I came upon the entrance. You really can't miss it. But after I got home I pulled out a map and discovered that it was just a short spit to land's end. Here's a tip: If you ever want to visit the Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility, once you get past Washburn take Highway J near Hatchery Road and the Bayfield State Fish Hatchery off of Highway 13. (It's a left turn as you are heading North). J winds arounds quite a bit so stay sharp and it will take you the back way around the town of Bayfield past all the apple orchards and will bring you back to Highway 13 just a short way from the Demonstration Facility. And if you go there soon, heads up, there's some annoying road construction on both Highway 13 north of Ashland, and quite a bit on US 2 in Ashland which includes a southbound detour.

But back to the visit. I had a lovely visit with Ron and his wife, Cindy as they showed me around and patiently answered my questions. Their research projects were fascinating, and certainly the equipment in use was way above the scale of what I have in mind. But I learned a lot and received quite a bit of additional information for further reading. I think with a little more research I may be able to sit down and start drafting a business plan. If you click on the title to this post, you will be taken to the Wisconsin Aquaculture Association web site.

On the way home I stopped and took a couple of pictures of Hockers Field. They are baling straw now. Ever since I was a little kid, I have always loved that field. I don't know what there is about that place, but I just love it.

After supper I ran out to the field and watered everything in the high tunnel. It is supposed to get down to 40F so I lowered the high tunnel sides to just a crack open and covered the more tender veggies like the hot peppers, melons, okra and eggplant. Then I brought back some Agribon and wire hoops as a secondary cover for the beans in one of the garden boxes behind the house.

I took a stroll through my disastrous bean patch and took some pics of my hops.

And I actually found a bean to pick and greedily eat. I took some pictures of the wild hollyhocks or mallow (I want to identify the plant because if it is wild mallow, I want to put it in my medicinal herb garden). I think they are very pretty.

Lastly, I took some pics of a Wong Bok plant with seed pods that I took back to the house to ripen in the garage, some Sweet Fennel, Copenhagen Market Cabbage that is finally starting to head up, and a Champion Collard plant. If the weather is good tomorrow, I will dig the onions and hang them in the garage to cure, and I'll check out the Red Chief potatoes.

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