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Story Tools

Date of Issue: September 30, 2009


Weather changes subtle, plus fishy stories

Fall plopped down on us Sept. 22.

No falling leaves, no dramatic change in temperatures, no significant change in air — except for true natives.

Some of us — natives — noticed the weather change a few weeks ago. Sure, we finally got some rain and subsequent cooler air and water temperatures, but the air felt, well, different.

More dry. More fall-like. And there was that early morning breeze.

Seasonal changes don’t hit us over the head in Florida, unlike our northern neighbors.

No green-to-orange change in tree leaves.

No 80- to 50-degree days — yet.

No wake-up-to-a-foot-of-snow times.

Ye-hah!

It’s subtle down here on Anna Maria Island.

There was a scant dry scent in the air a couple weeks ago. The clouds looked different. Despite all the rain, things felt different.

And now we are into fall, arguably the best time of the year on AMI.

Although we love our Winter Friends, October is probably the best month of the year as long as the whirly winds from the Atlantic and Caribbean, and even the Gulf of Mexico, stay away.

We love this time because we have our Island to ourselves.

And there’s almost nobody here to create lines at our favorite places.

October has always been one of those elusive months. The weather is about as perfect as it can be. Gulf water temps are superb. Fishing is beyond belief.

Yay!

Go scuffle in the sand on the beach, cast a line in the surf or just soak up some rays in your back yard. You deserve it after a long, hot summer.

…and coming soon is winter

It’s time to delve into the future as predicted within the “Old Farmer’s 2010 Almanac” for what’s ahead.

The little book is wonderful, by the way. Especially love the hole on the top corner of the cover so you can hang it by the door, on a cabinet knob or wherever it will be convenient.

Anyway, the missive for Florida is:

“Winter will be warmer than normal, on average, with the coldest temperatures occurring in mid-January. Rainfall will be above normal, with the best chance for any snow in the north around Christmas.

“April and May will be warmer and much drier than normal.

“Summer will be cooler and rainier than normal, with the hottest periods in early to mid- and mid-to-late August. Watch for a major hurricane in late August or early September.

“September and October will be slightly cooler and much rainier than normal.”

Wet fish, good eats

The rainy weather didn’t do a lot to help the Second Annual Ben Gullett Mullet Invitational fishing tournament, but it sure didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the 100-plus folks who turned out to eat the catch at Star Fish Company Market and Restaurant.

Although the guy with the snake-in-a-box can stay home next year, please. Or leave the darn snake home.

Mullet always reminds me of my old buddy Bob Ardren, who died Jan. 1, 2008. He was a writer for a slew of newspapers and magazines, including The Islander, and knew a good mullet eye-to-eye.

Or tooth-to-stomach.

Bob stories are myriad.

There was the time we were out in my little boat, coming to the dock. He looked at me, grinned, said, “Man overboard drill” and toppled over the side. I retrieved him after my heart started again. The feat became a regular ritual.

But he loved mullet. Really loved mullet. Especially Cortez Hot Dogs, crispy fried mullet on a hot dog bun with tartar sauce. He used to gobble them down like, well, hot dogs. But better.

Bob had a cat that was literally on his last legs when I brought Bob some smoked Cortez mullet one afternoon.

Cat hadn’t eaten in days.

Cat sniffed.

Cat purred.

Cat ate.

Cat gained weight on his new mullet diet, which continued for another year.

When Bob got sick, we pumped him with mullet and I’m convinced gave him another six months of a very good life.

Sandscript factoid

This column doesn’t often feature cooking or recipes.

Usually.

Wanda Fulford’s Original Smoked Mullet Spread is a whole different animal.

I watched Bob eat, oh, about a ton? of the spread one afternoon.

From the book “What’s Cooking in Cortez” comes this:

2 pounds smoked mullet.

1/2 cup small onion, grated.

1/4 tsp. Accent.

1/4 tsp. black pepper.

1 1/5 cup Miracle Whip dressing or mayonnaise.

(Go with the Miracle Whip. You’ll know why.)

“Flake mullet into medium mixing bowl, being very careful to remove all bones. (That’s for someone other than a Cortezian who caught, filleted and smoked the fish.) Add onion, Accent and black pepper and mix will before adding salad dressing, then mix again. Wanda’s spread is a mouth-watering treat served on crackers or in an avocado half.”

Two things:

Gotta go with Miracle Whip.

Gotta mix twice. And not too much.

Yum.

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