Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Is Good With Kids...

We have a tour guide that is glad to take you on a trip around Pop's property, the land. As the title says and you can see from the photo he's good with kids. Makes them holler and clap in the most adorable way as he zips about on the John Deer Gator. He's personable, knowledgeable and dedicated to all having a good time.  Did I mention the part about all have a good time? Ok, good. 
I assure you just as fast up hill as he is down. 

I would have got closer to make these photos but tour services as these must be as committed to bystander safety as the are rider safety. 


Saturday, January 19, 2019

High Water...

I guess it's as good a weekend as any to have to work. High water on Lake Sam Rayburn, with possibilities of soon being the highest ever has many boat ramps closed. Here are a few shots I took around our little area of the lake this afternoon. 

This is the road into the Little Han's Creek campground. The park is totally closed and quiet as a ghost town. Certainly not usable due to flooding and there were none of the live in park attendants anywhere in sight so they might be sitting at home during the no pay vacation that is ongoing. Cathy has sites 23 and 24 reserved for a spring break campout. I'm taking bets of the government reopening or the water going down, take your pick, by then.  

Check out the middle right of this photo. You may remember we had Camp Catfish with Bill and Geneva's travel trailer parked there back about the first of October. 

Even the camping shelters are in danger of flooding. 

This is the entrance to the Monterey Park boat ramp. Can't even get close. Thanks to Mary and Miguel for the birthday present of a wheeled canoe hauler. I might get to put it to use here. I can recall many summer bass fishing trips with my dad in the early 1980s when the lake would be low and we would launch here and tightly hug the curves of a creek channel leaving the boat ramp to make deeper water and still occasionally drag bottom.    

The park sign, flooded. 

This is a road to the right as your enter the park. From the main entrance you can spot a mail box about half way down the road but I have never driven there, always respecting the resident's privilege to enjoy the low traffic area of a dead end. I would expect there is some lake access down there right now. 

Just up the road from Monterey Park is Popher's Creek. When it's in the banks I sometimes launch my canoe here. If you stand on the hill at Cassel's Boykin Park you will get an idea of the valley that this creel and several others drained through on their way to join the waters of the Angelina and Attoyac Rivers before the reservoir was built. I think I read somewhere that from where this creek begins it is now about three miles to the lake. With the recent rains I think this creek is three miles wide. 

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

I Yam What I Yam...

"Pretty good grub, what you think?" 

"I think so too." 
"Ever had sweet tater? The sweet tater originated in south and central America. Probably the first Europeans to taste sweet tater were members of Columbus's crew in 1492. Carbon dating indicates they were present in the Polynesian Islands of the Pacific 1000s of years before humans arrived leading to the theory of natural dispersal. Try a bite" 

"I believe I will. Seems to be one of the old ways, eating sweet tater" 

"You are right, it's good!  I read the global production in 2016 was 105 million metric tonnes led by China." 

"Well given the population of China I guess there are more people available to plant sweet taters. Glad you like it. Let's get seconds."  

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Finally Christmas...

I realize some don't like Christmas and there certainly can be things attached to the Spirit of the season that cause us to miss the point sometimes. Christmas lasts a long time for us because it takes a bit of doing to get so many people together. We gathered our family and the Cooney clan all up this past weekend to spend a bit of time enjoying and prolonging Christmas.  

Here's are the Cooneys. Brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, husbands, wives, in laws, out laws, grand and great grand parents, I think 34 people in all.  

My family. Seems this has become know as the fake photo. 

This has become know as the real photo. 

There is also a fine Cooney Christmas tradition of some one screwing things up. I think I started it years ago during a family soccer game when I kicked a ball through a house window completely shattering the glass. Nice to see some keep the tradition alive with a truck stuck in the yard. Maybe next year I'll crash an airplane or something.   


Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Yard Sign...

A day off from work and a bit of sunshine had me out exploring the yard. With all the rain we have had lately it has turned a walk into a mudhog situation. Or should I say mud deer. I noted these fresh tracks 20 yards from my backdoor this morning. A while back taking mail to the box one morning I noted a rank wet animal smell in the air and that afternoon I noticed the tracks from whatever it was I startled. From the smell I thought hog but I think this is deer. 

I have noted a deer in my yard once in all the years I have lived here and this morning there was a doe hit by a car about a 100 yards down the farm road. Don't know what is attracting them to my area all of a sudden. There has been a bumper crop of acorns so it may just be food. There is also a busy enterprise in the area that seems to be building a row of insta brick homes on spec that are attractive and sell quickly. These are probably displacing habitat and my little corner of the world probably seems quiet. 

The paper whites are blooming in my yard in several spots, in a row and around trees. They are a Mediterranean native from Greece to Portugal to Morocco and Algeria now considered naturalized in Texas. An immigrant so to speak. 

More paper whites with the green close to the ground wild onions. I'll be eating some of them later this spring even though the kids think I'll poison myself with my backyard forging. 

I have forgotten this plants name but it's a pot plant that won't take the cold. Cathy sometimes makes a deck display of them in hanging baskets and with the end of summer and the oncoming cold they will scream had enough and get dumped over the side of the deck. There in the shelter of the house they have taken hold and I made a little flower bed to surround them. They survive the cold by raking up leaves all around. They are getting big and harder to cover. We will see have they hold up this year. 

I have discovered I can grow these types of palms. 

Old Mardi Gras beads dangle by the deck stairs in the wind. Somewhere there is a tuba nearby. We are well on a design plan to make the place look like a 100 year old French Quarter bungalow that AirB&B passed on by. 

Whoa! Man! Jesus! Panther track! 

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Monday, January 07, 2019

The Lake is High and Rising...

If you are local you may have seen reports of high lake levels. There has been a lot of rain, kind of like this is becoming the new tropics. They can't let a bunch of water out of the dam because of saturated areas down stream will make things worse for the people there. People are not the only ones that have issues as you can see from these osprey nest photos taken at Lake Sam Rayburn. 

I noted the other day fishing that our favorite deep water spot, a tree we tie to is usually at least 10 feet out of the water. There were only 3 feet sticking up the other day. Ospreys, if nesting on the open water, usually chose the tallest trees. You can imagine what these birds thought when the found the water about 7 feet closer than was expected. I don't know which sex picks the nesting tree but I bet the male bird got an earful about this situation. 

No birds were noted anywhere in the area so we felt like pulling up for a close look was ok. No chicks present either. An osprey will take on a bald eagle in fierce airborne combat. They can easily chase off a man in a fishing hat.  This nest appears to be abandoned. 
At another one of my shallow fishing spots there was an osprey nest we fished under in a shorter cypress tree. Wind and wave action on the point have washed that tree away, nest and all.  

A closer look at construction and a pile of fish scales when they have a take out of the water dinner each day. 

I have been fishing this lake my whole life. I can recall many times of drought where the boat ramps were too shallow to use. The last 5 years or so have seen boat ramps closing due to high water. Global warming? Some say no, some say fake news. I look to see what the animals say.  They have split for the high ground. 

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Monday, December 31, 2018

Last Catfishing Trip of the Year...

Rose, Warren and Coraline joined us for the last catfishing trip of the year. We caught 29, mostly in shallow water under slip corks with Rose scoring a 3.3 pound blue cat from deep water. I say last catfishing trip of the year and it will be the last till I replace my fishing license and everything else in my wallet that somehow came to be missing during this trip.  

Cathy and the grandkids try to figure out who is most responsible for this catch. I did the total for the year today and looks like we have caught 572 fish, mostly catfish but some bream and bass for good measure. I did not count fish caught at the beach or at Pop's pond since they were mostly released but I would imagine that should put us easily over 600. There were a good many canoe trips during the year, a bunch of swimming and skiing trips and it looks like there were about 21 trips where fishing was the main business that produced these fish.  

Old Pop Pop gets a hand on a fat blue cat. 

So despite all this fish we really do not have a huge stock on hand. There was a big family reunion fish fry, a lot of small get home from the lake impromptu parties and we gave quite a bit of fish away to anyone that went on a trip with us. 

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