Thursday, September 21, 2017

Texas Coast Birds...

I spend a good bit of time outdoors, usually near water. While I am waiting for a fish to bit I watch the birds. It's how I pretend that I use all minutes of the day being productive. Most of the time the little birds are scampering and flying here, moving there and seem to be poking, searching for a bite to eat. I wonder how much time a bird has to spend eating each day? Is food easy to find? Is it tasty or are they like a human, "I just gobbled that down so I could keep on going" kind of thing. I might never know but here are photos of some Texas Coast Birds I made.

This looks like a blue heron only a bit smaller than the East Texas verity commonly seen on fish rich Sam Rayburn Lake. Maybe a young one, maybe having to hustle more for food. 


Sandpiper. They run along the beach at the edge of the waves poking and picking in the sand. 


Not sure what this is. He seems to be performing a physical therapy activity that I would called single leg stance. Did you know if you are in your 50s average SLS time should be 45 seconds, if in 60s it's 40 seconds and in your 70s you should do 27 seconds. 80 and above is 12 seconds. This guy actually had two legs, just resting and I don't know the birds age. 


This is a willet. Numbers have declined since the 60s despite protection by the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. A meat eater mostly feeding on crabs, worms, clams and such they are good to eat by humans apparently hence the need for protection in 1918. Biggest threat these days is you know who, draining and building on the wetlands. 


I could not ID this fellow by it falls under the catch all name that my dad used to use "crane." 


More one SLS. That timber in the back ground would have made a good art project of some time but the tides that seems higher than normal buried it for the purpose of beach stabilization. 

As I recall I once spent an afternoon years ago drinking in a bar up the coast called the Ruddy Turnstone. As I view my photos I think I saw some of these but did not get a picture. Don't worry there are not any photos of that afternoon either. 


This photo by Mary. A bird skeleton. No birds harmed in these photos and none are swimming in my belly. Life is tough. Like the birds, keep moving. 


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Monday, September 18, 2017

Guitars Just Find Me...

A local punk rock group The Dead Chachis did a good thing. I mean besides put out some homegrown old style type punk they sponsored a guitar raffle to benefit Hurricane Harvey Relief. I always try to support local music, I bought the cd, the t shirt and I won the guitar. My wife likes to catch me at unguarded moments and ask how just how many guitars I do have. I can't come up with an answer real quick and best I can counter with is "do I have to count banjos, mandos, ukes and a lap steel?" Anyway here is the newest one. 

No, not really a Gibson but according to Dead Chachis guitarist Adam Rios it's a knock off copy in the SG body style that was his first attempt at painting a guitar. It came out pretty good. It does fit in well with what Cathy calls the "tooth paste Guitars" as it is the third guitar I have acquired that's just a shade off the color of old school Crest.   

I Think these last two photos with a flash give a bit more of the true color. 


Those pickups, for the electric guitar uneducated are what they call hum buckers. It's the first guitar I have owned with these so up against the P90, single coil, gold foil, DeArmotrons and lipstick pickup guitars I own it gives another tool in the tool box.   

I might do a little customizing with some fancy knobs and stuff. 


Check out some Dead Chachis and like them on facebook. 

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Salt Water Fishing Report...

Sometimes an old dog can learn a new trick. He made need to. Especially if he's doing something he only does once a year and he really wants to make good at it.  That's me and salt water fishing. I've had some great luck over the years but it's a fine line of wind, tide, maybe moon and of course this year there was a big old storm and then there was a deluge of fresh water river run off. My luck this time was not so great. 


Fresh caught was plentiful the first few days. Here you see Matt make a fine cast new throw. I think I had bait on my first throw, nice finger mullet. Bait got hard to catch after a few days but we caught bigger baits which we thought was going to be good for big fish.  


Surf rods set on the beach. It's a good time of the year for red drum and shark. I think Matt had one bait that was shark bit. First couple of days we caught hard head, a lady fish that Coraline reeled up and this sting ray. Remember a few years ago I stung by one of these boys wading the surf. Not fun. I got off light with only a small wound that drained for 9 weeks. I did the good manners Gulf Coast thing and snipped his barb before release. 

The surf got rougher for several days and made bottom fishing with big rods harder. Last day we fished we bought fresh dead shrimp and started catching red drum 14"-18" inches long. Those, while about the size of a redfish fillet you might get in a restaurant and so a bit hard to throw back are undersized fish. They gotta be 20-28 inches long and you can keep one fish over this.  A good thing to go by the law. If you recall in the 1980s Cajun Chef Paul Prudhomme invented blackened redfish and the population took a severe nose dive.

The trick I picked up is I should have gone to the shrimp earlier. I don't mind buying live shrimp if the fish are really on. I'm slower to spring for shrimp if conditions are bad but we might have lucked into a big red on lighter tackle and we did catch quite a few small whiting. They are a pan fish type of critter and while you won't read any fishing reports detailing the glory of whiting fishing they are tasty and there is no restriction of any sort. A couple of days and we could have cobbled together a fish fry. 

I think me and Matt had 8 or 10 of these reds. That's my fishing shirt. Makes me invisible to the fish. This photo is a ghost red. No spot on the tail.   


Matt and his fishing hat. Hat makes him invisible to fish. 



I checking right now what other tricks I need to learn. 

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Back From Vacation...


We have been on vacation. Luckily Hurricane Harvey spared one of our favorite places, Surfside Beach and we were able to rent the Soundwaves Beach House. It's one we have rented before and you can find photos scattered all through this blog of times we have spent there over the last few years dating back to 2010. 

Time at the beach is downtime and the fishing was kind of poor and being that I am getting kind of old I did not thrash the water to as big a froth as I usually do. Internet connection was poor so I was not able to keep a running live blog. Just as well as not. It's been at least 15 days since my last blog post. I guess that was OK with some folks as I note that there have been about 16 visitors to this web site today.  I have used the little facebook "on this day thing" that pops up each day to read and review old blog posts. I impress myself sometimes. On reflection they are good. I usually do not read anything I wrote twice so there have been some nice surprises. 

I don't think I have written so well lately and I can't quite put my finger on why. Sometimes I think it's because things happen pretty fast and I let them pass without recording my thoughts. I read somewhere that if you have the urge to write a song, a story, a poem you should not let it pass because where ever that urge comes from may stop sending the inspiration. 

Now I don't feel out of inspiration by any means but maybe I need to just sit down and  pound those 300-500 words as often as possible. 

The photos, you know that's what you look at, the top shows me Cathy and Coraline and the wreck of the pop up sun canopy. How would you like to see that across the stern of a sail boat for a name? It took a bashing from the waves and stood until we woke one morning to find it disappeared, tie downs and all. I suspect a beach junk man on a recycle scrap metal run. Bottom photo Matt walks out into the surf with a pole, Mary gazes on the sea with Ezra strapped in one of those snuggle things and Cathy, Coraline and Warren dig. They just dig. 

Can you?   


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Monday, August 28, 2017

Storm So Far...

My prayers certainly go out for those most affected by the storm but so far things have been slow and wet here. That may change because things happen slow after a hurricane. It's a long playing event and my time may not be here yet.

So far immediate family is fine. Morgan and Ali are in Pearland with some water in the street but the house is dry and they have power. Rose and kids stayed in Lake Jackson till last night and then decided to hold out at boyfriend Tim's two story house in Alvin. Lake Jack did not take a hard hit from the storm compared to other places but there is going to be a lot of water coming down the Brazos River and the danger will be isolation with all roads out closed from this flood. 

Here's a couple of photos of my property. I am down hill so this water runs across the yard and down the road and collects along the property line. It then flows out the back of the property into a ditch beside the church and on into roadside ditches to the creek. The creek seems to run off pretty quick. At midday yesterday it was not even full banks. The occasional break between rains lets it flow on out. This might not be the most water I have seen in this spot.

This is not a tree no matter how the photo looks. One time years ago, must have been last century a small twister or something came through and took the top out of a cedar tree right by the house and leaned it over on the chimney. I hooked a rope on it and pulled it off with the truck. Slight chimney damage had to be repaired and I had a big log in the yard. Actually come to think of it there was also a cedar that fell across the road and I had to move it so I can't really remember which tree this was. It was, after all last century. 

What I ended up doing was I took a chain saw and from one piece sculpted a bench of sorts. It's still here but got grown over by Chinese Juniper used as a ground cover. Some how and I don't really remember ( I was younger and stronger in those days) I stood the rest of the tree up, concreted it in and it has been used as a sort of a totem pole, a bird feeder hanger, Christmas light display and I don't know what else. Current the greenery you see is one of those vines with the orange horn shaped flowers. Probably an invasive species but they do seem to draw humming birds so they can't be all bad I let them have the run of the place in accordance with my southern rot and decay gardening style. Boy that would be a good blog title, southern rot and decay. I have used that line in a song I wrote.       


We did get one report that Cathy's uncle and Aunt, Dave and Peg had some water in their house in the Houston area but have not verified that. Brother in law Matt is reporting water almost crotch deep but not in his house yet. 

Hope all stay safe

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Lyle Lovett in Concert...

Last night the Angelina Arts Alliance hosted Lyle Lovett and his Large Band. It was a great concert in a really great hall. We had balcony seats and they gave us a fine view. 

Lyle gets lumped in with the music that's called country. He might actually be a real cowboy as he owns and competes quarter horses but I doubt he gets played on the radio and you probably won't see him dancing in the back of a pickup wearing a cap and sparkle butt pants for a music video. His music is a combination of Tom Waits style night club, Mose Allison, Bob Wills western swing, blues with touches of bluegrass and jazz. If you don't know bout all that kind of stuff keep on dancing in the back of the pick up.  

I got fair photos from the balcony. Not really a stand up and wave your cell phone type venue but then I did not get hit in the head with a beer bottle so there are some pros and cons but I managed  a few quick picks with my trusty canon.  . 


The bluegrass part of the show. The mando and fiddle player were featured on a couple of their own tunes that were great. Each band member kind of got a little solo or had a little entertaining interview with Lyle. Most have been with him since the early 1980s.  


This photo of the horn section is a bit blurry but notable because the sax player on the left, Harvey, played with Jimi Hendrix and Billy Cox in Nashville on their discharge from the army in the early mid 60s. Those guys went on to play Woodstock, formed the group Band of Gypsy and you know the rest. Harvey's resume reads like a who's who of the music business playing with anyone and every one.  

There is also a trombone player not shown. I could not see him from my seat I don't know, maybe a mysterious guy. Trombones are like that. 



We have some tickets for another big concert type show next month, the Tedeschi Trucks Band with Todd Snider and the Hard Working Americans opening. If you don't know these guys check them out. I hear people say, "there's no good music." They are wrong. 

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Ok This Solves Everything...



The other day I stopped in to what woman pleasing singer songwriter Shiny Ribs calls "The Po People's Sto." It's got all the stuff you need to make life comfortable like extension chords, disposable batteries and cheap toilet paper. And the great thing is that usually there are two of these stores, different brands, different vibes right across the street from each other. Some kind of competition thing but what the hey why not stop at both of them?

At my recent stop in I spotted this item on the isle of various remedy type products. I can't help but note that it's right there by something called Focus and down on the lower shelf you can grab a six pack of Boost.  Now to quote or maybe paraphrase another notable singer songwriter, Jason Isbell, I don't drink likker or keep beer or wine here and that job with the county "keeps me pissing clear" I am not needing this product. Thankfully for those that do need such as opposed to the cost of most health care services this one is cheap at $1 per test. I think my investigative reporting skills are slipping because I should have checked the other end cap to see if maybe a test for a different drug hung there.     

Now if this sells for a buck capitalist economics or any economics for that matter tells me that it costs very little to produce. The difference in those two figures is called profit and given that  marijuana is completely legal in some states and decriminalized in many more (better heads than me are welcome to provide the statics in the comments section) I'd say this is a short term business opportunity. 

I can't endorse marijuana use. I see it as kind of like fried catfish. Not really bad for you but too much can certainly cause problems and if you know me very well at all I keep a catfish jones on that requires my full attention and after all weed is illegal here.

My thoughts on the legal thing is that here in Texas there is a market for drug testing yourself. In some states right now as folks stopped in the store for their weekend fun just like I stopped and bought a shave ice on the way home from work. Down in Louisiana in a bend of the Mississippi River on the site of the old Angola Plantation is Angola Prison. For those locked up there things have not changed very much at all since the plantation days and there is a bunch of old boys locked up for the same thing that other states have pronounced legal. That's the real crime just like selling a $1 drug test that is legal but somehow is taking an vantage of people who end up paying dearly for everything. 

Let's listen to the guys sing. 

   





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