Print Story Happy As A Clam, Cooked in Butter and Soya Sauce
Puzzles & Riddles
By slozo (Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:15:31 AM EST) (all tags)
A way-late picture diary on the annual camping trip with my sister's offspring. We visited Arrowhead, where we embarked on many an adventure - smoky fires, beaches, clams, wildlife viewing, and waterfalls.

Don't miss this week's exciting new POLL inside!

This might be the last year of peace, as we once again opted not to take along Baby Yam (who, I should add, I will refer to as Yam from now on, as he has left Baby Burg a while ago, and is anxiously trying to leave Toddler Town at the moment). Being 2ish, we thought it a bit too much for the preggers wife and I, and there's the diapers thing . . . basically, once out of diapers, he's good to go, so it'll be next year for sure for Yam. With my own Little Bean to contend with too, that will be a handful, and I'll leave that to contemplate on later.

So, it was the excited Popsicle and myself and YJ off to the northern hinterlands as a trio, to visit Arrowhead Provincial Park, somewhat to the SW of Algonquin. I hadn't been there before, but through online research I knew that they had some beach there, and that they had lots of trails - many for mountainbikes, actually. We left Saturday afternoon (this was the long weekend for Canuckleheads) and still got caught up in cottage traffic a bit, so it took a bit over three hours to get there. Still, the sun hadn't set, it wasn't raining for once, and we were camping!

The site I had procured through online services was very large, and quite private, which was nice. I always find it a bit of a crapshoot booking a campsite that you haven't been to before . . . there usually aren't enough (usually none) reviews or info on them in general. Anyways, we lucked out, as when I had booked it, it was one of the last ones available, and it was at the end of a staggered line of widely spaced sites - great for privacy.

Initially, I had some negative, foreboding thoughts, as I put up the tent to the blaring hell that is 'new country'. If ever there was a most undesireable music list for me, new country would be right there at the top, and at first we were getting an earful. Despite the privacy and space between our only neighbour, we could see that it was a large group of youth and adults there, and I prepared to go there afterward to see if I could persuade them to turn it down. But, it turned out it wasn't necessary, as twenty minutes past the time my ears started to bleed, a camp ranger drove by, and miraculously the music was turned down to inaudible. Awesome!

After setting up, we had a couple of hours of daylight left, and at the insistence of Popsicle, I drove us to the nice beach we had scouted out previously. It was a nice lakeside beachfront with trucked in sand, and perfect for the not-quite-ready-for-deep-water kiddie we had with us, as it was a long shallow stretch before getting deeper. I jumped in along with Popsicle, and we frolicked and whatnot, quite refreshing after the long ride to get there. Then, Popsicle started finding clams, buried in the sand, some that were even quite large and alive still. After Popsicle three or four more, we both started collecting them, after some discussion with YJ over certain food items we had brought with us.

A plan had formed - we would try eating freshwater clams!

Fairly successful we were at gathering the buggers, as Popsicle would wade around in the shoulder high dark water and say "Found one!", while I would swim over and grope around with my arm or feet and dig up whatever it was. About half the time it was an empty shell or piece of wood, but find good clams we did, and by the end of it we had collected about 15-20 dark-shelled bivalves. Almost getting dark, we walked back up the sharp incline to the nearly empty parking area besides a long huge pile of beach sand. Popsicle was giddy with excitement over the experimental clambake, as we had even hidden our catch in my pockets so as not to create a fuss with a nosy passerby. I unlocked the car doors and . . . I just looked behind me for some reason.

I whispered to Popsicle that she could very slowly approach to say hi.

It was a special little moment, as Popsicle ended up getting quite close to the timid, teenaged deer.

And then we got back to the campsite, where a note had been left for us in our absence. The park rangers had evidently noticed the branches I had stacked under one of the large picnic tables, and had left a note of warning that it was against the rules to be foraging in the forest and pilfering it, even if it was deadwood.

Minutes later, a park truck came by and I flagged him down. I explained to the two young men that I hadn't torn down any trees or branches, and had simply found some of the wood branches and long logs in the cleared area of the campsite (this was basically true). He explained the rules again, inferring that I still should just use wood from the store that they sold, and that I should leave any wood here as it was. Asking if I could use the wood I had already gathered, he grudgingly reiterated that he would prefer me to just use the bagged firewood they sold. I didn't press the issue, and he continued on his way.

They were very strict here, evidently - but I could respect that. They patrolled this place more than any other provincial park that I had visited in recent memory, and it was clean and well run. Well, I thought to myself, I might as well bite the bullet and spend 20 bucks on wood - after all, profits went to a good cause in the end.

I ended up putting back all but the small dry branches, and bought three large bags of good hardwood.

Eventually, after eating some dinner heated up by the little propane campstove I have, we started cooking up the clams. We boiled them for some time in water, and watched in awe (well, Popsicle was very excited by the whole process - nothing beats the wonderment of a child) as they opened up in their death throes. They looked ok, I thought. Then, when I made sure that they were more than done, we took them out of the pot, and cleaned them with water further, to get out the grains of sand. This caused most of them to fall off the shell easily, which was nice . . . until we were left with a small cup full of boiled clams. YJ cooked up a butter and soya sauce dip, and I tried it first, being the head guinea pig of the lot.

Somewhat bland, like a store-bought mussel without the taste . . . but dipping it in the sauce made it quite edible. After waiting a while, it was apparent that it wasn't poisonous, and both YJ and Popsicle tried a bit, although very tentatively. They weren't impressed with the taste, and I ended up finishing it off myself, pouring the sauce all over it. Once thoroughly soaked, they were tasty, especially so since it was free food harvested by us all.

Popsicle loved to play with the shells, and arranged them in ways that she explained, but that I cannot remember.

That night, after a blissfully clear but cool night provided us with a canopy of sparkling stars, we huddled around the campfire while Popsicle insistfully asked question after question. My belly never complained about the exotic meal I had enjoyed.

The next day, we spent a good amount of time at the beach, and of course collected a whole bunch of clams again. We weren't going to, but I happened to step on a virtual colony of them, and they were good-sized, so I stuffed them in the large pockets of my surfer-style swim trunks - underwater, of course. We went on a short trail to a neat waterfall, where Popsicle spotted with amazing observation skills one of the largest 'dock' spiders I had ever seen:

At the foot of the waterfalls, I contemplated children . . . although the picture looks serene and quiet, there were quite a few people about.

Later, Popsicle got to play on the huge sandpile, we sang wacky songs by the campfire, and I ate more clams (really started to like them!). On the Monday, we swam at the beach one last time before heading back, while fully clothed Chinese tourists walked by in a large group to take video of the scene around them. Then we drove back while Popsicle slept . . .

Arrowhead gets a solid A in my book - a very tight ship, well-run, clean, and orderly. And we all enjoyed ourselves immensely.

< Now wait a minute here. | Enjoying the Eee mostly >
Happy As A Clam, Cooked in Butter and Soya Sauce | 27 comments (27 topical, 1 hidden) | Trackback
Super cute!!! by littlestar (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:38:52 AM EST
I love the rat holding on to the shell while Popsicle arranges them. Hahahahaha.... she's so cute!!

I had forgotten to send you all the pics . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:57:11 AM EST
. . . doing it now!

[ Parent ]
Popsicle is absolutely adorable!! by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:38:48 AM EST

[ Parent ]
...and I was happy to hold it for her... by greyrat (2.00 / 0) #23 Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 05:10:57 AM EST
But seriously people, the cuteness involved is here is overwhelming.

[ Parent ]
i can't believe you cooked and ate the clams by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:38:17 AM EST
as it was probably very against the rules, if not the law (in Texas parks, it would be flat-out illegal).

Not to be too trite, but . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #6 Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:55:31 AM EST
. . . why can't you believe it?

Yeah, it most certainly was, I'm sure, against park rules - they forbid hunting of any creatures inside their confines, so I am guessing that includes the harvesting of bivalves as well. But they were plentiful, I had never tried them before that (or found them in quantities for eating), so I thought, why the hell not? No harm no foul in my mind.

Why not live a little?

[ Parent ]
did you leave trash at your campsite as well? by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 03:02:38 PM EST
parks like that are for all to enjoy.  you can damage the eco-system.  and you're thinking "it was just a few clams!" but if everybody who went there did it, you'd have no clams.

considering your feelings on other environmental subjects, i'm just surprised.

it's about outdoor ethics

[ Parent ]
Even more so with fallen wood. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 03:46:55 PM EST
No fallen wood on the campsite means no insects living on it, means no birds and squirrels eating them, means no eagles eating them,...

The signs in the attended campsite I just went to in BC were quite explicit.

[ Parent ]
No one said fallen wood . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #18 Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 03:59:46 AM EST
. . . so why are you assuming? Just to jump on the bandwagon of self-righteousness?

The wood had been cut by a man-made implement, I assume a chainsaw. I am sure the ranger who did it was clearing the open area of the campsite a bit, perhaps even saving it to pick up later as firewood to sell. It was piled on the side of the gravel 'driveway'. I took a small portion of it at first and broke up the smaller branches to get some dry, firestarting wood.

Save the lectures for the folk who don't camp very often, thanks.

[ Parent ]
Well, by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #20 Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 04:05:47 AM EST
You're the one saying the ranger's in the wrong. Does he camp more often than you?

[ Parent ]
No, I didn't say that . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #21 Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 04:15:08 AM EST
. . . please re-read.

[ Parent ]
I see now, the word deadwood was used . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #19 Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 04:05:34 AM EST
. . . but that was the term that the ranger used with me, and I had to correct him (which I didn't explain).

So, I suppose I did infer that it was deadwood, so disregard my mild venom - I was not feeling the love this morning as I checked through comment responses.

[ Parent ]
No, I took my trash with me . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #17 Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 03:52:31 AM EST
. . . as I always do. But thanks for the lecture, it's hilarious self-righteous commentary.

It's worth noting that you try to attack almost any small little thing you can pick out in my diaries, and always peer down on me from some sort of noble throne of wisdom. I eat 25 freshwater clams, and you start looking up which law I broke . . .

I can only assume that you are jealous of my enjoyment of life.

[ Parent ]
i asked by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #22 Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 04:52:13 AM EST
because as somebody who talks the responsible game that you do it seemed odd that you would act in such a fashion.

i would like to also point out that the laws i quoted were not aimed at you at all - a fellow Texan asked about Texas laws, and i answered him.

i will not bother you again.

[ Parent ]
You are the one who is the ball licker! by garlic (2.00 / 0) #25 Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 07:35:23 PM EST

[ Parent ]
You poo poo head! by slozo (2.00 / 0) #26 Tue Aug 19, 2008 at 04:35:36 AM EST

[ Parent ]
orly? by riceowlguy (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 02:55:19 PM EST
Fishing is allowed in TX state clam digging specifically banned?

[ Parent ]
fishing by StackyMcRacky (4.00 / 1) #10 Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 02:58:29 PM EST
fish populations are monitored by TPWD, and stocked as necessary.  clams (and other animals) are not.

[ Parent ]
PS by StackyMcRacky (4.00 / 1) #12 Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 03:08:46 PM EST
"Except as authorized by the commission under Sec. 62.062, et. seq., no person may hunt a wild animal, wild bird, or wild fowl in a state park, fort, or historical park under the jurisdiction of the department."

"Consumption of Clams and Mussels taken from public fresh waters is prohibited by the TDSHS."

Check here and here

[ Parent ]
Well by riceowlguy (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 05:35:47 PM EST
that's pretty unambiguous.  Good to know, thanks.

[ Parent ]
Damn by Gedvondur (4.00 / 2) #5 Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:51:09 AM EST
Popsicle is like littlestar in miniature.  I haven't seen a pic since HuSiStock

"I love my brain. It's the only organ I can afford to lose." --frijolito

LOL by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #16 Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 01:11:55 AM EST
I see a wee bit of Daddy's impishness in that grin.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Crazy uncle scores again! by greyrat (4.00 / 2) #7 Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 12:26:35 PM EST
Looks like a well played trip sir!

But you'll need to start packing the shotgun for Popsicle's suitors soon.

Yarg by R343L (4.00 / 2) #8 Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 02:01:34 PM EST
I don't think you're allowed to post pictures at that level of cuteness. The tubes can't handle it.

Also, that spider will haunt my zombie dreams (because there's nothing like running from zombies only to be startled by a harmless spider).

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

Why do you keep calling them bivalves? by Clipper Ship (1.33 / 3) #14 Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 04:09:43 PM EST


Destroy All Planets

You are a great uncle. by muchagecko (4.00 / 2) #24 Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 05:22:59 AM EST
Thanks for sharing the trip with us.

"It's the abstract I deal in; software, and donuts." MohammedNiyalSayeed
Happy As A Clam, Cooked in Butter and Soya Sauce | 27 comments (27 topical, 1 hidden) | Trackback