Elephants, Sharks, and Assorted Antelope

Last Saturday (the 12th) was our wedding. Getting past that and into this week (and finally being able to actually do homework for my classes like I’d hoped) was like coming up for air. The last 11-12 weeks have been a whirlwind, to say nothing of the month or so before that.  So I thought I’d spend my morning writing some catch-up material.

So we spent 10 days in South Africa. After a grueling 18 hour flight, plus 6 hours in layovers each way.  We were shuttled around by our PH, Sirk. He drove us all over the place and generally was a babysitter/guide, and he was awesome. He put us onto pretty much all of the animals in our package, and big ones, at that. He set up a day of shark fishing for us with a friend of his, and got us a day of video safari at a beautiful reserve. The only animal out of our original package that we failed to get was a warthog. From what I was told, the weather thwarted us there- it was cool (ranging from low 50s F for a high to a few days in the 60s, almost 70s), and often rainy. Warthogs apparently aren’t out and about in that weather, so I swapped for a different animal, a duiker.

The people were all wonderful, the scenery was stunning, and it was quite an experience to be in a country on a continent I never thought I’d visit. So let there be pictures.

As mentioned, we got all of our animals, and with time to spare.

My blesbok, shot at 235 yds

My blesbok, shot at 235 yds

Duiker, shot at about 150

Duiker, shot at about 150

Matt's impala was quite close, inside 100yds

Matt’s impala was quite close, inside 100yds

The kudu was impressive, ad shot at 450.

The kudu was impressive, and shot at 450.

These rhinos were on the farm where we shot the kudu. We were inside the fence.

These rhinos were on the farm where we shot the kudu. We were inside the fence.

Springbok, shot just under 100yds

Springbok, shot just under 100yds

Me following Sirk after some blesbok. He made a good place to hide behind. He was basically a mountain.

Me following Sirk after some blesbok. He made a good place to hide behind. He was basically a mountain.

Matt's big Blue Wildebeest.

Matt’s big Blue Wildebeest.

Unfortunately, I’m still searching for the external hard drive we loaded all of our pictures onto. Once it turns up, I’ll get some more pictures of the scenery and other things we saw up.

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Battle on Bago 2015

This week, I’m relegated to my tablet, since the pup chewed through my laptop cable. The pictures will come at the end, bear with me.

We returned to Lake Winnebago last weekend to participate in the two day Battle on Bago tournament. We arrived later than expected on Friday, and were set up just as it got dark. We stuck it out in a hastily-chosen spot on the south end of the lake near North Fond du Lac until about 8:30 when the lack of fish and the cold drove us off. Continue reading

Bear Down

I can’t read the phrase I used for the title without thinking of the Chicago football fight song, but blame that on my roots. I told Matt that he was going to be writing the post about the hunt, since I wasn’t there. But I wanted to at least get the pictures up: he got his bear. Continue reading

Wild Dessert: Blackberry Crumb Bars

After putting together wine and brandy, I used what was left of my blackberries to make a pan of crumb bars. Like with most of my recipes, I adapt an existing recipe for grocery store, domesticated whatever it is. I used smittenkitchen’s recipe for blueberry crumb bars (though at some point I’d love to go wild blueberry picking), and just swapped the fruit.

So, like most of the best desserts, these things are full of buttery goodness. I followed the recipe exactly:

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

And then once assembled, into a 375F pre-heated oven.

Mixing the dry ingredients with the butter.

Mixing the dry ingredients with the butter.

The texture you're shooting for.

The texture you’re shooting for.

Bottom crust pressed into the pan

Bottom crust pressed into the pan

Filling mix- berries sugar, cornstarch.

Filling mix- berries sugar, cornstarch.

Filling.

Filling.

Crumbs on top.

Crumbs on top.

A nice golden brown about about 45 minutes in the oven.

A nice golden brown after about 45 minutes in the oven.

 

The end result.

The end result.

I’ve already eaten about half the pan. I’d also go a further step and say I like them a bit better the second day. I also went out yesterday evening, and gathered another 3 pounds of blackberries. If I can scrounge up another pound or two from somewhere else (I’ve gotten just about all there were ripe out at sunny slope), I might start a second gallon of wine.

More Solo Fishing

I had originally requested this past weekend off, thinking Matt and I were headed down to bowfish for Asian carp on the Illinois river back by home. Turns out, Matt forgot he had work to do both Saturday and Sunday. So I had the three days originally requested, plus two more. That was a lot of days to fill.

Friday, I volunteered to drive to Racine and pick up the new gas tank for the ditch boat. We gave up on the old one, given that the sealing kit barely covered half of it. We got a new, plastic one for under $200. Shipping would have been almost as much as the tank itself, so I drove down for the day. After wedging the tank into the VW, I headed to the river there to fish. I went to the Steelhead facility, where Matt and I had been fishing before. Everyone I asked said there was little trout activity, and I wasn’t surprised- the water was pretty warm. So I cast for bass and whatever else might bite. I did find some bass. But there was a surprise in store for me.

Little bass

Little bass

SAMSUNG

Little bass

Little bass

Whoa, hang on a minute.

Whoa, hang on a minute.

Yup. A 6 1/2 muskie fingerling

Yup. A 6 1/2 muskie fingerling

My first muskie was about as big around as my index finger. Though, at this point, I think I have cast for one a few thousand times. Maybe my next one can be a little bit bigger. I released him & told him to go get bigger.