Sufferin’ Succotash!

Hi and welcome to the blog.

First, I was contemplating what to say about the whole situation with the rioting and looting that we are seeing in the US and hearing so much about in social media.  Let me just say I am praying for the George Floyd family and that peace will be restored to our nation soon.

It’s tranquil right now in most of this area.  Nonetheless, after minor vandalism in our town (probably some darned teenagers with no jobs and nothing to do), I opted not to camp this week … just to keep a presence at home.


Looking about 1/3 of a mile toward my van…


On Tuesday I met up with buddy Steve and we decided to go fishing at the Hale Ponds east of town and try a ** new pond **.  The temperature was over 90 degrees with high humidity.  But the action was lively and it was worth the trip.


Click for a 14 second YouTube panoramic view of the pond…


The wind was blowing pretty hard – about 25 miles per hour.  With the strong breeze, the gnats stayed at bay.


Buddy Steve standing at the water’s edge.


Though the fish were biting like crazy, there was little in the way of breaks from the weeds along the bank.  One had to cast over them.  If a fish was caught, you had to walk to the water’s edge and lift the fish high in the air.  This worked fine for me but not for Steve.  He is a little shorter.  He tried to pull the fish through the weeds and lost them, one after another.


That’s my size 14, 4E wide shoe…. The catfish was about 17 inch… a nice eating size!


I had learned my lesson after losing a fat catfish in the weeds and you can imagine I wasn’t too happy.  But this nice one and another, smaller keeper sized cat ended up on the stringer.  Then a very nice bass hit and, to my dismay, he was under the 15 inch size limit.  If he’d come from the river, the minimum size is just 12 inches.  Oh well.  The final score was two fish… Poor Steve didn’t get any… but we vowed to go back out again soon!



As afternoon turned into evening, the sun finally started to set. One could see the top of a distance storm that was hitting Decorah and Waukon up near the Minnesota border in “trout country”.

The scenery was tranquil and a good reminder there is still much peace and beauty in the world.  You don’t see enough positivity on Facebook any more… and the toxicity can affect a person.  It had gotten me pretty grouchy lately, too.  But just as easily, nature is a terrific anti-dote for anxiety and situational stress.  Putting down the cell phone and picking up the fishing poles has helped a lot.  So have cleaning the house, mowing, gardening, etc.



The catfish were cleaned Tuesday night using the fish cleaning bucket.  The two I brought back made some very nice-sized fillets.  Tonight I cooked some potato succotash and fried up the catfish in Cajun seasoning.  The succotash has become a favorite and I’m really enjoying the vegan dish!



The succotash idea came from doing vegetable packets.  It uses thin slices of potato (I use 3 or 4 small gold potatoes for the best flavor), slices of zucchini and yellow summer squash, onions, sweet corn, and diced peppers.  It’s cooked in a generous amount of olive oil and seasoning salt until the potatoes are soft and the squash cooks down.. about 15-20 minutes over medium heat in a skillet, work or even on a griddle.  This dish tastes even better after being refrigerated.  And to think it’s something healthier than a burger.   🙂

That’s about all for now.   Take care, safe camping, and let’s hope and pray for more peaceful times.  Thank you for visiting!


Mister Duke


Brad and Jenny and Duke
Jones County, Iowa

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

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