October 28, 2017

Catch The Rainbow


Rainbows caught in the Wisconsin driftless are ALL brooder/hatchery fish.

All are typically released off bridges in the center of catch and release year round water.

October 27, 2017

Early Trout Season

I went out opener last year.  I nearly froze my do dads off.  I will be much more selective of when I go out in 2018.  Also my favorite waterway was dirty a large majority of the season.

October 26, 2017

Billboard already up

More billboards to follow with other photos of mine.

October 25, 2017

What If?

What if?

Our house was quiet but busy.  Everyone was walking around in a daze.  We were shell shocked.  My sisters were keeping my mom busy so she couldn’t dwell on what was happening.  My youngest sister was in a dress and totally oblivious to what was happening.  I can remember me thinking I wished I was like her and so young I didn’t know what was about to happen. 

My oldest sister handed me a suit coat with a matching pair of pants and a tie.  I didn’t own dress clothing.  I didn’t need it before that day.  The clothing was borrowed from a local family.  I remember the pants were too long and a little too big in the waist. My sisters searched and found a belt for my pants.  I remember being uncomfortable in the pants because they were too big and they had to be pulled up really high so the pants legs wouldn’t drag on the ground.  I didn’t own dress shoes.  My mom borrowed a pair from the same family that lent us the suit.  They were two sizes too big but I had to wear them.

 My mom was the only one in the house that knew how to tie a tie but she was in no condition to do it for me.  I can’t remember who tied it for me but it was tied and way too long. We were all about to leave and my mom gave us all a once over and she wet my hair and combed it.  I never combed my hair typically.  I tried my dangdest to look like my dad always.  He never combed his hair either.  He had a curly mop of black hair that always looked like he had just been outside hunting.  Before we left I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself in the mirror.

We all loaded into two cars and headed there.  We walked in and all sat in the front row.  My cousin Chris came and sat by me.  We whispered back and forth during the priest reading something that I totally tuned out.  It seemed endless.  My mother was looking down all the time trying to keep herself together.  The readings were finally over and people lined up and gave their condolences to my mother.

There was lots of crying so Chris and I walked up to the front.  We both didn’t believe what had happened. We both stood there dumbfounded.  My sisters went up and said good bye to him.  Chris and I waited until last to go up.

I looked at him for a long time.  I questioned if that was my dad laying there.  He was in a suit and his hair was combed.  It was the first time in my young life I had seen my dad in a suit and his hair combed.  Chris and I stared at him and he prompted me to go to him and say good bye.  I remember touching my dad's hand.  It was so cold.  I remember leaving the funeral not believing it was my dad in that casket.

Our family had been dealt a hand that I wish upon no one.  My father had died at age 40 while deer hunting in northern Wisconsin and left behind six children ranging from age 3 to 17 and his wife that was only 39.  Fate had been not so kind to the Harris family.

Through the years when bad things happened to me I always blamed it on my father dying.  I don’t know how many times I said what if he had lived.  I visualized myself as a completely different person on a much different path.

There were times through my life I felt that I had no control of what the future held for me.  I was the proverbial leaf in the wind.  I changed my career path a couple times in my life.  I went in the army for seven years and married a German national and that ended after a short time.

When I got out of the service I ended up back in my small hometown of 624 people.  The town was my anchor throughout my life.  A few years later I married a hometown girl and had one beautiful daughter. I am now retired.
My cousin Chris and I.  Chris was the brother I never had.  He left us much too early

I typically visit my mother these days on Wednesdays.  She still lives there in the hometown she was born in and the town she called home with my father.  We started a new tradition a couple months back.  I take her somewhere new to eat lunch.  She is 89 years old and doesn’t drive anymore.  She has told me numerous times throughout my life how much I remind her of my dad.  The fall colors were still good today so we took back roads to see the last colors of the season.

We were backroading near Desoto and I decided to look for a place to eat there.  My mom went silent as we pulled into Desoto.  I asked mom what was up?  She choked up a little and told me this was the first time in 50 years she had been in Desoto. She told me that almost 50 years ago to the date she and dad went house shopping in Desoto.  I had never heard this story ever.  My dad worked at the power plant near Desoto and the drive of 40 minutes one way was getting old and they had decided to move.  They had not told us of the move because of the blow back they expected from six children being uprooted and moved away from the only home they had ever known.

Mom told me she never told us about the move because it was not going to happen without our father.  This November it will be 50 years since he left.  My mother never remarried.  She did the best she could as a single mother of six.

My wife and I were talking tonight on the deck and I told her about my mom’s story today.  I told her about my feeling of being a leaf in the wind for a large part of my life until I met her.  Barb smiled and said two profound sentences.

What if there is no what if?

What if there is only what is?

I love you Barb

Thank you mom.

October 22, 2017

Proper Tool For The Job

And no none of these are lake runs.

My birdseye maple and walnut burl have seen some seriously large driftless trout.