Monday, April 25, 2011


'Twas a long winter and early spring. I don't feel like writing a bunch so here's some pictures with captions:

We've been camping in the cold weather (thanks to a indoor-safe propane heater) while scouting turkey hunting lands...

I got a kick-ass espresso maker that can be used when camping...

I got a kick-ass Subaru Outback and we've been camping from it...

the kids and I have been doing a lot of deer watching to pass the end of winter...

We got a big trout on the C&R opener.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nice pictures

I hit a very small stream in August and came away with a couple nice pictures.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


This year I went deer hunting for the first time. I always wanted to hunt but I don't come from a deer hunting family. We're from Chicago. I am part hippie. Guys like me don't just start deer hunting.

One time, over a campfire and venison brats, I listened to my pal Brian tell some hunting stories. He just broke out one season and started deer hunting (with some guidance.) I certainly was intrigued, but I felt deep down that I was too far away from hunting to actually do it. Just because Brian can just up and start hunting doesn't mean that I can. Don't get me wrong; I love the outdoors. I love fishing (but not so much cleaning fish.) Stream trout fishing in particular feels like hunting, stalking, but shooting a large mammal with a large gun is different.

But, with Brian and other friends as mentors, I decided to try it. I wanted the experience. I wanted to reduce my families' dependence on farm-raised beef (and all the harmful farming practices.) My wife and I looked forward to lean red meat that was free of hormones and antibiotics. Deer get to live freely in the wild as opposed to cattle.

If I am willing to order a steak at a restaurant, I might as well be willing to kill a deer.

One of the first steps was learning to use a gun. Brian took me to the Oakdale Gun Club to practice shooting slugs with a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. Gun clubs can be an scary place for a city boy with ties to the Socialist party, but all them NRA-card-carrying-members were kind and welcoming. I did feel very much out of my comfort zone, though, and when I fired my first slug I (and my shoulder) were certainly very uncomfortable. I seriously wondered if I was up to deer hunting. Maybe I should just hunt rabbits first. Squirrels. With air rifles.

A week later when the ringing in my ears stopped (I am being a little dramatic,) I went to the range with my pal David. David had a semi-automatic shotgun that didn't quite kick like a mule. I felt more comfortable with the gun. I felt a little more confident.

At the urging of my father I signed up for a Hunter Education class that the DNR offers, despite being old enough to not have to. After completing an online course that was more involved than I expected, I took part in a field day. I was officially able to safely handle a weapon.

Meanwhile, I absorbed information from anyone and everything I could. The safety guys at the gun range, dudes on Youtube, the guy behind the counter at Fleet Farm and even my boss who happens to have grown up deer hunting in Wisconsin (and she's a lady!)

I couldn't believe how much information I'd downloaded in such a short period of time. I felt (kinda) like Neo with kung fu. I learned how to field dress a deer through a computer.

In late October, I hunted the early antler-less season down in southeastern Minnesota. I saw a few deer, but none that I could shoot at with the 12-gauge. It was an awesome experience though, despite the rain, gaining more confidence in the field, safely handling a loaded gun. On a side-note, I was using a semi-automatic shotgun, but typically I had only one shell loaded because I didn't want to shoot at something and then, while adrenalized and excited, have a live gun in my hands. I was allowing myself one shot. No runners. Broadside only.

Then, for the "main" firearms season I again couldn't find anyone to hunt with. I had a couple contacts for joining others on private land, but in the end they fell through and I decided to head north to hunt public land in the Superior National Forest. I was just hoping to find a young doe. Something with nice meat that I could easily handle by myself.

This time I got to hunt with a rifle being that I would be hunting in the northern part of the state. One of my neighbors was kind enough to let me borrow a Marlin 336. Some say that gun has killed more deer than any other. I took a couple trips to the Gun Club to practice and quickly I came to realize that bullets are not cheap.

Now I was faced with camping in the north woods, in early November by myself, meanwhile trying to hunt land that I hadn't scouted at all save for Google maps. I called a friend's father who has a cabin up in Superior National Forest. He was planning on staying at the cabin that weekend, but invited me to stay with him.

The Friday afternoon before the opener I was able to scout a little and I found a place with no other hunters, and some deer sign. Saturday morning at 6:30 am I set out. Not far from the cabin I passed an old gravel pit and my head lights flashed on a doe near the road. I drove on twenty minutes to the spot I had picked the day before. In total darkness with a headlamp on I stumbled into the woods and I sat on a fallen tree for three hours. I didn't see a deer but I heard gunshots far off in the distance.

That afternoon I scouted the aforementioned gravel pit which sat on the northern edge of a large expanse of forest. I found several rubs and a scrape with fresh scat in it. There were many well-worn trails and quite a bit of deer sign.

At about 4:30 PM I was set up on a small hill downwind from the gravel pit in bright sunshine and a stiff breeze. To my left fifty yards was the scrape. Down a small hill there was a watering hole in front of me a little to my left with plenty of tracks around it. I had only been there a half hour when a deer slowly appeared out of a small clump of trees thirty yards in front of me. The deer was just sniffing at the ground and slowly walking. I watched it for a while as it was head-on and I was waiting for a broadside shot. I slowly drew the hammer back on the rifle. The deer didn't hear me. It didn't know I was there! I waited maybe a half a minute and the deer turned broadside, looking to my left. I raised my gun and as I aimed at the deer's armpit, just as it began to walk quickly down the hill towards the watering hole. A few more yards and it was gone. I swept my gun with the deer and fired. I don't remember hearing the shot. The deer dropped on the spot and kicked a couple times.

I sat there. My hands were shaking a little bit. I couldn't fucking believe it. I shot a fucking deer. I was both thrilled and shocked; it was violent.

I had driven four hours to get there, I was wearing blaze orange, sitting in the woods with a loaded gun on my lap-fully hoping to kill a deer-and when it actually happened I couldn't believe it. I unloaded my gun and waited maybe three minutes before approaching it. It was a buck. I approached from behind and touched his eye with the muzzle of my gun. He was dead. I didn't understand why it didn't run at all.

I sat quietly for a few minutes and just observed the deer. I couldn't wait to try my hand at field dressing. After a couple photos I started dressing the deer. It went about as well as it could have. I saved the heart and the shockingly large liver. I couldn't believe how heavy the deer was. The deer's insides were very hot. No Youtube video can prepare you for that. Only when I reached up in its chest did I confirm that I hit about eight inches high and nipped its spine.

I dragged him back to the car and brought him back to the cabin. When I saw my friend I gave him a hug. It felt like I had accomplished something and he was the first person I got to share it with. It was also a little emotional. I had just killed a large animal that in many ways was more incredible than myself.

On the phone later that evening my wife was yelling "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU SHOT A DEER!" and I had to admit I felt the same way. She said she really didn't expect me to get one. Neither did I.

The buck hung from a tree for two nights then on Monday I was able to bring the deer back and, with the guidance of Brian, butcher it myself.

We've had a few meals of venison already and the whole family has enjoyed it.

I am grateful that I was allowed to harvest such an amazing animal for my family.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Walking a stream

Back in September I stayed at a friend's cabin up on a ridge in southwestern Wisconsin. It was right after the heavy rains that caused the heavy flooding in Minnesota. On the drive down we got detoured because highway 52 was closed.

With all the streams muddy I was prepared to just sit in the cabin all weekend. After a day of relaxing by the fire, I decided to get out and take a walk in the valley. DNR maps showed designated water in the valley to the west of the ridge. I scrambled down the side of the ridge and found the stream when it was only a few hundred yards old. Just a few feet across and wade-able with waterproof hiking boots.

I followed it down past a convergence with the eastern valley's stream. I found a spring seemingly flowing out of the forest floor. I followed the stream until I found a narrowing and a small hole near a big, red barn. [props to my mother-in-law for getting me the collapsing spinning rod.] I pulled out my spinning rig from my backpack and proceeded to catch a beautiful brook trout on a jig.

For perhaps the first time I walked a trout stream with out a fishing pole. I normally admire my surrounds when fishing, but this time I was able to focus on the beauty of the stream and the surrounding forest.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Adding oci8 support to php on linux (RHEL5 64-bit)

This is a fishing blog, but I feel compelled to post a solution to a computer problem I had a great deal of difficulty with.

Here are my notes on how I got php's oci8 extension compiled and working on Red Hat 5 64-bit.

Plain text notes here.

On RHEL5 (64-bit) using php 5.1.6-27

Downloaded the instantclient


Created diredtory /usr/lib/oracle/instantclient

Unzipped the instantclient zip file, added the instant client files into new dir called "lib":

[root@servername lib]# pwd
[root@servername lib]# ls -al
total 178772
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 4096 Oct 18 14:18 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 4096 Oct 18 14:18 ..
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 25532 Oct 18 14:12 adrci
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 439 Oct 18 14:12 BASIC_README
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 46352 Oct 18 14:12 genezi
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 17 Oct 18 14:13 ->
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 52439406 Oct 18 14:12
-r-xr-xr-x 1 root root 7898628 Oct 18 14:12
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1972824 Oct 18 14:12
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 115820762 Oct 18 14:12
-r-xr-xr-x 1 root root 164756 Oct 18 14:12
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 2030135 Oct 18 14:12 ojdbc5.jar
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 2152051 Oct 18 14:12 ojdbc6.jar
drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 4096 Oct 18 14:12 sdk
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 192341 Oct 18 14:12 uidrvci
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 66783 Oct 18 14:12 xstreams.jar

Added symlink in "lib" directory: ->

Then downloaded the sdk files:

Copied them into the lib directory in a dir called "sdk":

[root@servername sdk]# pwd
[root@servername sdk]# ls -al
total 320
drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 4096 Oct 18 14:12 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 4096 Oct 18 14:18 ..
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Oct 18 14:12 demo
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Oct 18 14:12 include
-r-xr-xr-x 1 root root 869 Oct 18 14:12 ott
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 298394 Oct 18 14:12
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 435 Oct 18 14:12 SDK_README

Then, from /usr/local/src I ran:

pecl install oci8

And when prompted, I entered:


(I can't remember exactly which one)

Compiling worked, now with the oci8 extension compiled and copied to the proper directory (in my case: /usr/lib64/php/modules/)

I added a file called "oci8.ini" to /etc/php.d which contains:

Then I run "/etc/init.d/httpd restart"

And then phpinfo() displays:

OCI8 Support enabled
Version 1.4.3
Revision $Revision: 300752 $
Active Persistent Connections 0
Active Connections 0
Oracle Instant Client Version 11.2
Temporary Lob support enabled
Collections support enabled

Until the "lib" and "sdk" directories were located in the proper place I got errors such as:

"Instant Client SDK header files not found"


"Oracle Instant Client libraries not found"

I hope this helps someone down the line.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Camping with mini me

The boy got his first trout and we enjoyed two wonderful nights out in a meadow on top of a bluff in south western Wisconsin. Many small creatures were discovered and gently handled. I was made to promise that when I die my son can have all of my fishing gear.

Finally fished trout on worms. Whoda thunk you could catch them in the midday sun...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

New rig

Refinished trailer and the new Alumacraft.