Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thousand Cankers Disease Decimating Black Walnut Stands

This issue was brought to my attention during a discussion on the forum American Longrifles. The discussion centered around buying and storing stock wood for the future; someone made the comment about a disease killing off black walnuts. I tracked it down and here is what I found.

Consolidated report from  NutGrowing.Org and UGA Center for Urban Agriculture

Another damaging disease that has the potential to kill trees has been identified. Before we delve into it, let's look at some of the present ones we are aware of.

Emerald ash borer is killing ash trees in the mid-western states and was recently found in Tennessee
Laurel wilt is killing red bay trees along the Georgia/Florida/South Carolina coast
For years we have been dealing with the repercussions of Phytophthora ramorum, cause of sudden oak death in California. (I believe I have seen exidence of same in Florida.)

For several decades black walnut trees planted in the western US have been dying presumably in response to the droughts and other urban stresses. Upon the insistence of Kathleen Alexander, Boulder City Forester, Whitney Cranshaw, an entomologist, and Ned Tisserat, a plant pathologist, identified and described the causal agents and coined the name Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) because it takes thousands of the small cankers to deplete the energy reserves and kill a black walnut tree.

The disease that  has researchers in Colorado concerned that black walnut (Juglans nigra) will succumb to disease just like the American elm to Dutch elm disease and the American chestnut to chestnut blight, is called Thousand Canker Disease (TCD) of black walnut and it was recently identified in Knoxville, TN. This recent discovery is significant because the disease had not been detected east of the Mississippi River and was originally thought to be limited to Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California. TCD is caused by a fungus, Geosmithia morbida sp. nov, that is introduced into the tree by the walnut twig beetle (Pityophthorus juglandis).

Infected trees die from multiple cankers that infect the cambial tissues of the black walnut trunk and branches. The trees are killed from a collective group of shallow cankers that interfere with water and nutrient transport.

On Arizona and California walnut, the disease causes minor damage affecting branch tips and acts as a natural thinner of foliage. However, the cankers produced on black walnut are larger and it affects larger branches and the trunk. Initial symptoms of infection are branch flagging (yellowing and browning) and crown decline, which may not be evident for several years after the beetles infest the tree.

Once infected with TCD, there is no cure and the tree will die. Once TCD symptoms are evident, the tree dies within 2 - 3 years. The twig beetles reproduce prolifically in black walnut. An infested walnut tree may contain tens of thousands of beetles that carry the fungus beneath their wings.

The good news is that in laboratory tests, the fungus has not been shown to produce cankers on pecan or the other Carya species tested.

In late July news that TCD was confirmed on several street trees in Knoxville, Tennessee was made public. Photographs of these trees show varying degrees of branch and crown dieback and included one dead tree. Because it normally takes 8 to 10 years from the time the insects initially attack a tree till it kills the tree, we assume it arrived nearly a decade ago. In early August, TCD was confirmed at three urban sites in Knoxville, two of which were seven miles apart. Branches have been collected from suspect trees in Knox and surrounding counties and are currently being evaluated for the Geosmithia fungus to determine the extent of the disease.

There is no control once the beetles infest the tree other than removal of infected trees and wood to reduce disease and beetle spread. Beetles can reproduce within cut logs and it is believed that transport of infested wood (logs with bark still attached) can spread the beetle and disease to new areas. Currently, the source of the beetle infestation and the disease in Tennessee is not known, but transport of beetle infested wood may be a possibility.

What makes this disease important and something to be on the lookout for in southern states adjacent to Tennesee is that based upon the severity of the disease on the affected trees in Tennessee, the beetle and disease has probably been in Tennessee for years before someone took a closer look as to why the trees were dying. Foresters initially believed the declining walnut trees were dying due to drought stress.

For more information and for images of the disease and beetle, please see the Tennessee Department of Agriculture website ( and the TCD Research and Education website for Colorado State University (

For those of you in the affected areas, if you see walnut trees with what you believe to be TCD symptoms and have a digital camera, take photos of the entire tree with recognizable landmarks in the background (so the tree can be identified in the winter) and close-ups of the foliage and symptoms. Submit photos to Jerry Van Sambeek at Alternatively submit photos to so that Simeon Wright, MDC Forest Pathologist, and Rob Lawrence, MDC Forest Entomologist, can evaluate and arrange for a site visit if warranted.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chad Love Joins Quail Forever's Quail Blog

Chad Love Joins Quail Forever's Quail Blog Writing Staff

Chad Love, our blogging compadre of The Mallard of Discontent has become a contributor to the Quail Forever blog:

Saint Paul, Minn. - Quail Forever introduces Chad Love as a new contributor to its Quail Blog. Love, a resident of Woodward, Oklahoma, Quail Forever member and the gun dog blogger for Field&, will provide fresh perspectives on quail conservation, quail hunting and quail bird dogs multiple times weekly.

"Quail Forever's growing membership is demanding more and better online quail content, and Chad Love brings a level of quail passion and expertise to meet that demand," said Bob St.Pierre, Quail Forever's Vice President of Marketing. Quail Forever, the quail conservation division of Pheasants Forever, now boasts 120 chapters across the country.

Love, an Oklahoma native, has hunted quail since he was a teenager and resides amidst some of the finest bobwhite quail habitat in the United States. "Quail occupy a very special place in my heart," Love said, "To paraphrase Orwell, all upland game birds are equal, but some are just a little more equal than others. That's how quail are for me. They're home. The bobwhite quail was my introduction to the world of hunting, and although I do flirt with the deer and turkeys and carry on a pretty torrid affair with pheasants and waterfowl, Mr. Bob is my first love and always will be. And to be able to write about that passion and wonder for Quail Forever is, for me, an honor."

Love, who writes the Man's Best Friend blog for Field&, has a young English Setter and looks forward to creating an online community with quail bird dog enthusiasts. "I got my first gundog in college, a Lab, and got my first pointer a couple years later and I've never looked back," Love said, "You can't have a blog about quail without talking about bird dogs."

Love has spent much of his career as a freelance writer focusing on conservation and environmental issues, and is excited to align with Quail Forever's wildlife habitat conservation mission. "I've always been particularly interested in upland and prairie bird conservation and as such I've devoted a lot of my writing efforts toward highlighting why upland game birds like quail matter every bit as much, why they're every bit as important as deer, turkeys, or elk or anything else," he said.

Love is a native of Norman, Oklahoma, where he landed his first writing job as the outdoors columnist for the Norman Transcript. In addition to his work for Quail Forever and Field&, love also maintains The Mallard of Discontent blog and contributes to the blog Mouthful of Feathers.

Quail Forever is dedicated to the conservation of quail, pheasants and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs.

Anthony Hauck (651) 209-4972

Reward Increased in Endangered Florida Bear Shooting

From the FWC
Reward Increased in Florida Bear Shooting

The FWC reports that wildlife authorities are hoping a larger reward will lead them to whoever shot and killed a large black bear last Friday on the grounds of the closed Shoal River Golf Course at Crestview.

Florida's Wildlife Alert Reward Association is offering up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the shooter. Now, the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Land Trust have stepped forward, offering an additional $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the killing.

A resident at 306 Shoal River Drive reported hearing a single gunshot on Feb. 11 at about 4:30 a.m. across from his home. It was a place where the homeowner has been feeding deer for some time. Responding officers of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) found a dead, 200-pound male bear. The bear had been shot, apparently with a rifle.

The bear was the same one FWC biologists moved Nov. 18 from Fort Walton Beach to Eglin Air Force Base, after it had been shot and wounded by a homeowner. The homeowner, who wasn't charged, feared the bear was about to attack his dog.

"Someone knows who did this, and we're asking that they step forward and help us solve this," said Lt. Mark Hollinhead, FWC supervisor for Okaloosa and north Walton counties. Hollinhead said anyone with information should call the FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.

Callers can remain anonymous.
Stan Kirkland, 850-265-3676

Stone Crab Recipes

© 2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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Stone Crab Recipes

Florida Fishing, Albert Rasch, The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
I scurried and searched my way through the internet and found several recipes for stone crabs that are sure to please! I'm willing to bet you can pretty much substitute any good sized crab claws for the stone crabs and still be pretty pleased when it is all said and done!

“Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant” Mustard Sauce

This is Joe's signature dipping sauce. Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant is a Miami Institution, but if you decide to go, don't br surprised if you have to wait a couple of hours to get in! Might as well just make the sauce yourself and save yourself the wasted time.

Yield: 1 Servings
3 1/2 ts dry English mustard
1 c mayonnaise
2 ts worcestershire sauce
1 ts A-1 Steak Sauce
1/8 c light cream
1/8 ts salt

Blend the mustard and mayonnaise. Beat for about 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until the mixture reaches a creamy consistency.

Yield: 1 cup

A Classic Florida Stone Crab Recipe


3 pounds stone crab claws
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Florida lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-dry vermouth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper


First crack the stone crab claws and remove the shell and pincer. Leave the meat attached to the remaining pincer. Next it is time to heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add Florida stone crab claws and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the claws are heated through, and turn the crab claws frequently. Turn heat to high; add vermouth, lemon juice, salt and pepper to pan. Cook 1 minute more, spooning vermouth sauce over claws. Serve claws hot or cold as a delicious appetizer or seafood entree.

Florida Fishing, Albert Rasch, The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, best fishing in Florida
Marinated Stone Crab Claws


1 pound Florida stone crab claws
1 cup tarragon vinegar
2/3 cup Florida sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
salad greens


First crack the Florida stonecrab claws and remove the outer shell leaving the crabmeat attached to one side of the claw. Combine the vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and garlic, then mix until sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour over stonecrab claws and cover. Let the crabs rest and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, then drain. Serve on a bed of salad greens as an appetizer. Delicious.

Mango Marinated Stone Crab Claws

3 pounds medium Florida stone crab claws
2 cups ripe Florida mango, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 tablespoons Florida cilantro, finely chopped
2 Florida jalapeƱo peppers, seeded and minced
4 tablespoons Florida lime juice
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
Florida salad greens

Crack claws and remove shell and movable pincer, leaving the meat attached to the remaining pincer. Place in a single layer in a shallow dish. To make salsa marinade, combine mango, cilantro, peppers, lime juice and sugar in a mixing bowl. Taste for seasoning, adding more lime juice and/or brown sugar as needed. Spoon the salsa mixture over the meaty part of crab claws. Cover and marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours. Serve claws on a bed of salad greens with mango salsa as an appetizer.

4 servings


Related Posts:
Catch Your Own Stone Crabs!

Tags: florida seafood, crab appetizer, seafood recipes, stone crab seafood appetizer, fresh choice, stonecrab claws appetizer, seafood entree, florida stone crab, classic florida stone crab, crack stone crab claws, stone crab claws, crab claw removal, florida seafood, crab appetizer, stone crab recipes, crab claws

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Random Picture Series: The Home Front

Photos from home to remind me why I'm here.

Monster Truck Jam at Reymond James Stadium Tampa Florida

The Pirouge gets you to the fish!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cold Weather Camping

Cold Weather Camping and Hiking Tips and Techniques
© 2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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Camping in Cold Weather,
What You Don't Know May Kill You!

As you undoubtedly know, sleeping outdoors in low temperatures when backpacking alone with nothing more than a sleeping bag, tent, and a fire, can be a dangerous adventure! I thought I would put together a few hints and reminders for not only the veterans out there, but some of our new tenderfeet.

There's no sense in beating around the bush. I have yet to meet anyone who hasn't, at one time or another, (In some cases several!), had a terrible night out in the field, and darn near froze themselves to death, due to lousy or ill maintained gear, improper setup, or more usually, out of exhaustion or laziness!

The cold brooks no foolishness and is a terribly exacting master. Small mistakes or issues that wouldn't warrant a second look during mild weather can be devastatingly deadly in the cold. In the cold, everything needs to be attended to immediately and without delay. In other words, don’t screw around when you’re outdoors in the winter because your life may depend on it!

Let’s Start Out with Your Clothes for Cold Weather

Regardless of what happens, you will likely have your clothes on while you’re camping under cold weather conditions. If you don’t, and you find yourself in the buff, I’m really pretty sure I can’t be of much help. (Certain circumstances notwithstanding of course.)

Your clothing will determine how your body withstands the elements. Remember that clothes act as an insulator, keeping precious body heat in, while blunting the effects of the environment. What you choose, and how you use it will determine how effective it is in doing so.

Clothing can be divided into two types: synthetics and natural fiber. Wool, silk, cotton and linen make up the natural fiber realm, while nylon and the innumerable blends of petroleum based long chain molecule based fabrics make up the synthetic. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Wool keeps you warm even when wet, but it can be heavy, smelly, and itchy. Cotton breathes well, but has little or no insulation value when damp. Nylon and its derivatives are wind proof and water resistant, but in many cases doesn’t breath until you get into the exotics. Silk breathes and dries quickly, but costs a small fortune. Then there are synthetic and natural blends. It’s important to determine your personal behaviors when out in the field, and how you interact with the environment.

For instance: I wear Wrangler blue jeans when I go out camping. Rain, sleet, or snow, you’ll find me in my Wranglers. Except in the summer when I wear khaki shorts. Wranglers, by a long shot, are probably the worse choice for winter camping. But I were a poly blend set of under garments, and have managed not to get too wet tromping about. But I have found myself with ice bound ankles and calves on several occasions, necessitating the outdoor drying of said pants by the fire before I could go into my tent! The other point is that I have only winter camped in temperate regions, never in sub-arctic or tundra regions. Your area of operations may dictate your choices.

Another important aspect to take into consideration is breathability. Hiking about in the wilderness will make you sweat, and sweat will make you wet. In order to resolve that, you need to use clothing that will wick away the moisture and allow it to evaporate it away from the body. The new versions of polypropylene undergarments are very effective in moving moisture away from the body and allowing the body’s heat to remove it. As long as each layer can breathe, the moisture will escape leaving you dry and warm.

Worn properly, clothing will provide the means to maintaining a constant body temperature and warmth. Layering starts with the polypropylene long underwear, to which several garments are added culminating in the use of a parka or other well suited exterior gear. The layering system acts as the body’s temperature regulation system. By layering, an individual can regulate his personal thermostat. As you begin to feel cool, you put on another layer to increase insulation and raise the effective temperature. Likewise as your body begins to heat up or sweat, you simply remove a layer to regulate the temperature.

Your feet are as important as any other part, and most likely to suffer the ill effects of being under-dressed! How many times have you been distracted or even miserable because your feet felt frozen! Layers on your feet will perform the same as layers on the rest of your body. Wear thin poly socks to wick moisture away, and your wool or wool blends over that. Make certain that your socks are not too tight, as this will reduce blood circulation and you will end up with cold feet. And if your feet do get wet, change into a dry, clean pair of socks as soon as you can!

Much body temperature regulation can be performed through the use of a wool cap. As you know, the human body loses 80% of its heat through the head. A wool cap keeps the warmth within your body, not allowing it to escape easily. Of course some of us look better in woolen caps than others, and it is your choice whether you allow vanity to overrule common sense.

Your Choice of Shelter for Cold Weather Camping
From Cabin Tents to Bivi-sacks, the sizes and styles are endless. Of more importance is the consideration that you give to its set up. If push comes to shove, can you set it up right there and then single handed? That should determine just what you will ruck in and out. Depending on the terrain you are traveling through you may have to consider whether you can set up your tent in the worse weather conditions you may encounter. Pitching a tent on a windswept ridge or on a flat vale in rain and hail may be impossible. What’s you back-up?

Many competent hikers and campers have switched to Bivi shelters, a compromise between a bivy sack and a single-person tent. Calling them a tent is a bit of a stretch. Call them a shelter for you and your bag! Often employing hoops over the head and feet, a bivy shelter is held sufficiently taut to keep the fabric off the occupant inside in order to prevent condensation from driiping onto your bag. This style of shelter also provides some additional breathing room around the head.

Many campers gladly accept the increased carrying weight of a bivy shelter for the increase in comfort it affords. Keep in mind that the bivy sack is still used by many experienced mountain climbers and backpackers, and is carried on long or dangerous hiking, treking, or mountain climbing expeditions as a compact emergency shelter.

Sleeping Bags
Don’t let anyone ever tell you that a particular sleeping bag is too warm. You can always alleviate that; if you get too hot, unzip it or get on top of it. Now get one that doesn’t keep you warm enough and you’ve just taken the first step towards disaster.

There is the perennial argument about down or synthetic. I love and prefer down sleeping bags, but with kids I buy nothing but synthetics. I can wash them and they last forever. Currently we use military issue bags that are really quite good compared to what I had thirty years ago. Anyway, the key is to keep your bag clean and dry. A wet bag is useless, uncomfortable, and a danger to you. Remember a good night’s rest allows you to be at peak performance the next day.

Weather Conditions
Ok, what about weather conditions? You have two conditions to consider it’s either wet and cold or dry and cold. Let’s look at them individually and consider them in turn.

Cold and Dry
Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Low temperatures don’t necessarily mean that you will automatically be cold or uncomfortable. Proper clothing for the temperatures involved and the proper use of them will keep you from being affected. The biggest concerns are rain and wind, with those absent you should have no problems if you follow the common sense advice we have discussed.

Wet and Cold
Now is when people get themselves into trouble. Wet weather immediately adds a discomfort and frustration factor to any activity. Compound that with the cold and nature has create a deadly combination. Your key to surviving is how well you stay dry and conserve strength and energy. Be smart about how you set up and maintain your camp, and don't allow the inclement weather to make you hasty and fail to setup properly.

Cool, Wet, Windy Conditions
These are the conditions that will cause you the most concern. Not knowing how to deal with conditions such as these can easily result in death. An ambient temperature of around 36 to 26 F with a stiff breeze and some rain, will make a comfortable trek into a winter death march. A few hours of this on any exposed terrain,  while carrying a heavy pack, will drain you of energy; leaving you tired and befuddled.

Our next installment will cover the importance of knowing when enough is enough, and the importance of having a plan to follow through on when you stop, whether by plan or happenstance.

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Shindand Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida

Albert Rasch,HunterThough he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

SiegeWork Creations Longbow

Excellent Value for the Money! Well built and Fast!
© 2009- 2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.
"A Chronicles' Redux"
SiegeWorks Creations SWC American Longbow

It's here!!!

I've been waiting on this beauty for a couple of weeks. I can barely contain myself from the excitement and desire to string it and shoot a couple of arrows with it!

Friends, you will just have to be satisfied with a few pictures I took, I want to give this bow the careful and thorough consideration it deserves, and really do it justice. I also have to learn how to use the photo editing program I am using now. Just cropping these shots has taken me a bit of getting used to.

Just s few observations: