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Tuesday, May 29   12:57 PM

Northwoods Skillz: Good Times with Wally

My family was no doubt surprised to find that the time I spend each day talking about tomatoes had increased by about 3,000%.

(One last note on that subject: I was bamboozled! One of my plants is a Mystery Tomato Plant and not an Early Girl. Kids: always buy the Identify spell.)

I hardly did anything besides reading sci-fi and sitting around the campfire, but the trip up north was nevertheless enjoyable. In St. Paul I'm usually far too distracted to sit back, relax, and let the introversion take hold.

The notion of having more of that breathing room — not having to deal with our loud neighbors and their screaming, rock-throwing little terrors, for example — is becoming more tantalizing. I'm not sure if I'll maintain more than a toehold in our current apartment if the drive to Matt's villa from my workplace is as reasonable as he claims. Maybe an air mattress and a change of clothes.

Sunday at the cabin was quite nice, and the weather has transformed our road up there into a ridiculous parody of summer: marsh marigolds and wild strawberries were everywhere. I even called Jess — my designated herbalist — to see if there wasn't anything I could cook with.

After a dinner of delicious fish tacos, I surprised everyone but myself by deciding to go walleye fishing for "an hour." I'd quite forgotten that an hour of our time is at least two hours of my dad's time, but the fish were biting and to my immense relief walleye fishing does not rely on casting.

This was probably the first time I'd gone fishing in six or seven years, and you could tell: I tangled my line twice, snagged my uncle's line, and pithed a minnow so as to cause immediate brain death. My dad spent a fair bit of time fixing my mistakes.

That said, I outfished the other two people in the boat, catching a big perch, a tiny walleye, and finally a 24-inch, 5-lb walleye.

There's walleye in my freezer now (enough for a fish fry!) because free food is extra delicious.

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