Really Old Dominion

I’m off to Virginia for a week of eating, hunting and fishing. Just want to say THANK YOU to all the readers of deadbait and to wish you all a happy, safe and fun holiday. I’m thankful for your comments, when you share your stories and point me in new directions. Lets keep this little thing going, shall we?

In the meantime, I want to make my readers aware of some disturbing news about the rights of anglers in the state of Virginia. If you haven’t heard, a couple of kayaking anglers are being sued by a landowner on the Jackson River for trespass. Now here’s the thing–Virginia Game and Wildlife makes it clear you can fish the streambed of any river in the state, but property owners are invoking an ancient law whereby the King of England grants exclusive rights to the property owner.

“After having their criminal trespassing case dismissed by a judge in general district court in 2010, the developer of the River’s Edge golf community near Covington, VA has filed a civil trespassing case against three Virginia anglers who lawfully entered the Jackson river with kayaks at the Smith Bridge public access point (see the VDGIF map) and remained within the river banks while fishing down the river. The developer is seeking an injuction to prevent the anglers from wade fishing a stretch of the Jackson that runs past their adjacent land.

Under a Virginia statute that is more than 200 years old, the beds of all rivers and streams “are the property of the Commonwealth and may be used as a common by all the people for the purposes of fishing, fowling, hunting, and taking and catching oysters and other shellfish.”

In this case, the adjacent River’s Edge property owners are claiming that they own the bed of the Jackson River by virtue of two different 18th century land grants that predated the passage of that statute: a 1743 crown grant executed by the governor of Virginia on behalf of the King of England and a 1785 grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia, yet neither of the developer’s old land grants explicitly reference the bed of the Jackson River when describing the property conveyed. The grants also do not mention fishing rights. This case is therefore very different from, and potentially more threatening to anglers, paddlers and hunters, the previous Jackson River VA Supreme Court case (Kraft v. Burr) where it was undisputed that the landowners owned the bed of the river.”

How an old english law still has standing in the US is beyond me, but you can learn more and even help stop this nonsense by going to the Virginia River Defense Fund and giving. Your current stream rights might be safe in your homewaters, be thankful for that, but if the VRDF loses the suit, it could set strange precedents that will affect every state, and every anglers rights. You can donate here if you like.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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…from Fall to Winter in Brooklyn

I woke up with with flu (day three) and snow flurries and howling wind. The cat, ninja, is somewhere warm. Despite that, it was a busy weekend as we transitioned from fall to winter in my house, and prepared for the holidays.

In the last week we polished off the leftover Turkey….

Turkey Pot Pie with Whole Wheat Crust
Turkey Chili with Andouil

Bought the tree…

Needs decorations...
Gold and Ivory color scheme by my wife

I bought French handblown glass ornaments from Darr’s Williamsburg outpost next to Hollander and Lexer. Darr is one the best curated home goods store I’ve ever been in. Vintage, handmade crafts, items. Also hit up LeGrenier but couldn’t find anything for the tree. Might hit Brook Farm General Store later…but all are good for Christmas gifts if you’re in the ‘burg and want to shop local.

box of glass ornaments at Darr
pictures can't do Darr justice

And we hit up Fairway to get food for my annual Festivus Holiday Party. I can’t believe this will be the fifth year.

on my menu so far:

  • Virginia Ham Sliders with Cranberry Korean Pear Sauce
  • Baked Brie with Strawberry Balsamic Jam (from Anarchy in a Jar)
  • Chips & Crudite with Brooklyn Salsa (the Burnt, and the Green)
  • Red Orchards Mulled Spiced Cider with ROOT (from Art in the Age)
  • “Hudson Valley Cold Snap” (Hudson Whisky & SNAP also from Art in the Age)
  • Applesauce Cake w/NY State Cortlands
  • Selection of Brooklyn Brews
  • Clementines
  • Candy Canes

Lastly, went up to Kensico to see if I could snag dinner (Lake Trout) but no luck. The coldfront was biting.

I don’t know what was up with my cellphone’s camera (a 8mb Droid X) but on “landscape” these images came out looking “posterized”.

Nice effect.

Thank Squanto at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving–was a lovely holiday spent with the in-laws in Duluth outside of Atlanta, but I didn’t get to hunt as we were rained out! Bummer. however, after an aamazing southern farm-to-table lunch at JCT Kitchen, we had to stop in upstairs at Sid Mashburn’s, the best preppy style menswear shop in Atlanta and arguably the left coast (with the exception of J. Press in New Haven, maybe). I bought a lovely wool tie and gingham shirt.

My in-laws are first generation Korean-Americans, so the pre-thanksgiving meal consisted of several types of Kimchi (bok choy, cucumber, napa cabbage), stuffed prawns, and braised short ribs with chestnuts.

Because our initial union was not approved by the family, my wife and I had much to be thankful for. Our marriage earlier this year seemed to finally break the cultural barriers that kept me from getting to know her parents for the first four years of our relationship. In fact, our visit was a homecoming that saw years of tension melt away. As we sat down to the Korean feast the night before Thanksgiving, I couldn’t help but smile deeply at the miracle of the meal that was a long time coming.

Later that night, I set out to prepare the turkey–brining the 20 lb. bird in three cans of Guinness, kosher salt, water and Canadian Grade A maple syrup.

During the day, we visited the massive H-Mart, a Korean supermarket where we watched Kimchi made in bulk and had traditional street food (pancakes filled with red bean).

I forgot to take a picture of the finished bird, but here are the leftover sandwiches with my wife’s cranberry and Korean pear sauce, turkey, gravy and stuffing on rolls, yum.

Other lovely meals this holiday…

Drinks and piano music with my brother and his friend from Brazil at the Manhattan Inn, a Cinnamon Sidecar, Old Fashioned and Warsaw Mermaid (green tea vodka, sake, jasmine, creme de violette). Every time I go I order the Fried Wild Pollock sandwich…its the sea on a brioche bun.

Breakfast with the wife at Five Leaves, late of Heath Ledger, but fast becoming an institution on McCarren Park…the Big Brekkie and Merguez Scramble…

Last year we watched the NYC Marathon from Five Leaves over brunch, this year, we sat at the bar at the Manhattan Inn.

Its worth taking a moment to “thank Squanto” for Thanksgiving. Squanto was a native american of the Patuxent tribe in the Massachusetts coast. He taught the Plymouth Pilgrims how to hunt for eels and farm corn, contributing greatly to their survival. He spoke English because he had in fact been caught as a slave, nearly sold in Malaga, Spain, rescued by Friars and resolved to return to the “new world” after journeying to London where he lived for several years as a ship-builder, then joined an expedition to Newfoundland, and finally after a few attempts made it to his tribal lands. Sadly, most of his tribe and several other coastal groups died in an epidemic while he was making his way home. Amazingly, he settled with the Plymouth colonists (who were on his ancestral lands) and still–in the deepest spirit and meaning of giving–helped them to survive. The story of Squanto really is the story of Thanksgiving, its not just “thanking god” for survival, but continuing to hold love in your heart when your very survival is threatened. That’s the real lesson.

So I guess when all is sad and done, though the cultural barriers thrown up by my wife’s parents caused us years of pain–we were able to keep love in our heart, to continue to invite them into our lives at every opportunity, and love won out. Thank Squanto.