It's that time of year again when Newfoundlanders cannot wait any longer for sunny skies and warmer temperatures. Rain, drizzle, fog and yes, even snow will not dampen the spirits of those hardy souls who are pale skinned from lack of sun, fog and wind burn .The following is a hodge podge of all things May 24...actually a jumble of unrelated and related things, that will hopefully "kick start" your system to long for the upcoming weekend!
The deep, longing for this infamous weekend is reflected in R. A Parsons poem:
May 24th (Trouter's day in Newfoundland)
R. A. Parsons
The twenty-fourth of May
Is the Queen's birthday.
If we don't get a holiday,
We'll all run away - trouting, that is.
This the twenty-fourth of may,
The Newfoundlander's holiday
When young and old abandon care,
The pauper and the millionaire,
And to the ponds and river fare,
By limousine or by shank's mare.
And though you have but little time
To fish, and other days decline
To fish at all, come rain or shine
Today you're bound to wet your line,
And on tomorrow, round our way
I doubt not what a fellow'll say,
Or what conclusion he'll betray,
If asked what he did yesterday.
He'll think he hasn't heard aright,
And just say how he found 'em bite
And though the winter lingering,
Still racks the ragged robe of Spring,
Tradition claims that we this way,
Observe the twenty-fourth of May.
|Troutin' from the Shore|
Michael T Hall's Ode to the Newfie Bullet also makes reference to the Trouters Special, a special train run available to avid anglers on May 24th.
The Newfie Bullet it is gone
Like so many things I know,
Like the street-cars and the bulls-eye shops
And things of long ago;
Like cobblestones and schooners
With their sails against the wind,
All the things I loved since boyhood
Gently going one-by-one.
In the long and lazy summers
I remember as a boy,
I can hear once more, the whistle
Of the train against the sky; (Woo Woo)
I can see the cinders flying
As they shovelled in the coal;
And the air was filled with magic
As the Newfie Bullet rolled.
Once again the Trouters Special
Seems to haunt me through the years,
As she left the old, old station
'Mid a burst of happy cheers;
All the gang with poles and waders
Loudly singing one and all,
And the Screech was quickly opened
As the dusk began to fall.
|Jacob with a Trout|
Down the misty lane of memory
Rolls the Five O'clock Express;
Passing through the Codroy Valley
With an air of pomp and dress; (Click Click)
I can see the people waving
As she sped with gentle ease,
And the voice of the conductor
As he shouted, "Tickets, please."
It is sad to see the engines
And the train we loved so well,
Pass away in all its glory
With a final, long farewell;
It is not the service only
We will miss as time goes on,
It's a way of life we cherished
That will soon be past and gone.
In the stillness of the evening
We will hear its sound no more,
As it sped across the Island
Like the happy days of yore;
Other forms of transportation
Only take its place in vain,
For to me and thousands like me
There will always be that train.
Yes, that famous locomotive
The Newfie Bullet train.
Half the thrill of landing trout is the anticipation of cooking and eating them. The following is a hodge podge of trout stuff, from building an outdoor cooking fire, cooking and "toasting your catch" with a shot of screech.
Campfire cooking requires a clean-burning, hot fire. This is only achieved with dry, seasoned wood. Stripping trees of green wood is fruitless - your fire will be smokey, will burn poorly and create unnecessary pollution. If dry wood is not available, it will need to be packed in. Pay close attention to the ground before preparing any fire. In circumstances where building your fire on a rock is not possible, one should ensure that the base of the fire is on bare soil.
A fire that is burning all evening has lots of time to burn through the organic layer of the soil and will not be put out with a simple bucket of water. Use previously established fire pits if available, to avoid scarring the area with more fire pits.
Any medium to strong wind is hazardous. The danger of sparks getting away can ignite a forest fire. Also, the coals will reduce more quickly and provide much less cooking time. If substantial wind shelter is unavailable, any outdoor fire is out of the question.
|Proper Fire for Cooking|
With small and medium pan size trout, you can cut the head off and gut the fish. Then roll the fish in some flour. Then throw it in a frying pan and fry in some butter. When the trout is cooked, grab the backbone and pull. All the bones slides out of the meat.
With large trout, you can stuff with savory, bread dressing, and fry as you would a small trout. After you have devoured your trout, pick up the largest trout head you have with a pair of tongs, pass it around the campfire for all to kiss on the lips, now one is eligible for a swig of Newfoundland screech and a delectable dessert like Newfoundland Ginger Snaps.
Happy May 24th from NL Interactive!