Saturday, December 27, 2014

It's the Most Confusing Time of the Year...

I know that it should be like the old song goes, the most wonderful time of the year.  When it comes to the great silly string shoot out that is a yearly part of the stocking stuffer gift it can be confusing to the grandchildren. I know it's not confusing to you because as I say it's yearly and you have seen it  posted here before. 

It's confusing to the children because it's adults making a big old mess and getting stuff all over their nice pants. I still get in trouble for getting my trousers messed up even though I am not a child. I remember how I used to think and laugh about how it was so so square for a guy to be in Sears or JC Penny shopping the slacks that advertise "stain resistant." I have since grown. I usually find myself in those stores once a year or so and I can see the advantages to a stain resistant product.  

I also get in trouble over making a big mess and so do the children. They know almost from the start you are not supposed to do that and I guess I know that also. That's why it's so troubling to us and Coraline hollers "All over my dress." 

So here are the photos of the great silly string massacre. If you look close you might see silly string from last year on the walls. It's like that around here. A big old mess, a good mess at a wonderful time of the year..  


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Another Christmas Possum...

The first Christmas possum, as you saw in a previous posting was secured just in time for everyone's holiday arrival. Christmas saved. That's what we think around here. Of course you may think something different and that's ok as long as you don't make me try to think that also. In fact our Christmas was so good and blessed and happy there was a second Christmas possum.

Now contrary to what you think these possums are not swimming in our belly. They are catch and release only. Mary and Miguel are the champion possum catchers. Seems they have some sort of trap that you put a little tuna fish in. I know tuna fish would be protein to fight over with automatic weapons in some parts of the world but like I said, it was a blessed Christmas and a possum will go right in the trap for a bite of tuna. They also have fertile trapping grounds. It's Miguel's parent's house. I don't know why there are so many possums readily available in that neighborhood of tidy early 1960s brick homes. They are mere blocks, walking distance from the hub of downtown Lufkin. Yes sir these are town possums. Maybe we are on the verge of discovering a North Korean invasion plan (they are everywhere) or at least the idea of a plot for a stalled science fiction novel or a new Christmas Story. .In any event the possums for two years in a row have been brought to my cozy comfortable country home for release.

Mary with possum. Nothing makes a girl look prettier than standing next to a possum. 

Peter and Katie squat before the possum in great reverence. Peter had never examined a possum up close. He's Canadian and I know it's the great north woods but he is not that kind of Canadian and  this is Texas and I am not wearing a six shooter on my hip because I am not that kind of Texan even if other people are soon to be.   
Somebody may have to go in after the possum. When they do they will perform "The Interview." Could not resist that one. 
And he is off and running. Katie crosses arms, thinks, "he could run faster, it is Christmas after all. 
The possum has set a course dead east. 
The excitement is over. Katie and Peter watch the possum disappear into the distance. Juan missed it. Mary sets out to catch the next one which by second hand reports was successfully released but tried to go up the steps into my house.  I may be responsible for next year's possum since we are increasing the possum population in my neighbor hood. 

On final reflection it might be some significance the possum headed east. North Korea, Hermann Hesse, war, time, space and a secret league of some sort seem to be topics we could use to explain all these happenings and address who is going to read all this. 

Let us not read. Let us listen to the Tarbox Ramblers and "A Fix Back East.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Morning Duck Hunt...

I have been dragging my feet on the duck hunting this year. It's something I want to do and like to do but the thought of a long cold boat ride in the early morning hours or a long walk in thick brush wearing waders has put me off. I can remember when my dad, who rarely deer hunted suddenly wanted to deer hunt all the time. And I seem to recall that he never killed a deer. I think he just gave up those cold morning struggles of duck hunting and was sitting in the woods taking a nap. I think he was about my age when he started doing this. I decided to toughen up and this morning and head out to the Big Slough Wilderness Area for a hunt. Here's a look up the big slough where I hunted this morning.

I did not duck hunt last year. So I was a little cautious about driving over in the dark morning hours to the wilderness area as I did not know the condition of the road. It's a good road and not slick in the rain but in the wilderness area there is only the most basic maintenance. I set out and with the road fair to good arrived at exactly sun up. You can shoot ducks 30 minutes before sun up but in my two year absence from this area the trail I walk in on has about gone away and I did not want to try to find my way in total darkness.. I had my land marks on GPS but the brush was very thick and I ended up following some one's flagged trail that ended up at a point on the big slough and at that point sat about 30 ducks. I dropped one as they flew. 

It seemed a good spot so as I had backpacked my waders in I put them on, retrieved the duck (a wood duck hen) and settled in. Those ducks liked that spot for some reason and I waited less than 5 minutes and killed a drake. by the end of an hour I killed a second drake and although you can kill 6 ducks 3 wood ducks is all you can have of that species.  

I never really identified where I was on the big slough. The GPS showed and this is crow flies measurement that  it was .15 miles to my favorite ambush bend, .34 miles to where the old main trail ends at the slough and .64 miles to the car. That involves a bunch of walking around thick brush and downed trees.   

It took three shots for these ducks. I was a model of efficiency this morning. In that photo is the shot gun, a Winchester 1200 that I got for Christmas when I was about 17 years old. It has served me well as has the single shot 20 that was my first shot gun and sits waiting for grandchildren to grow big enough for the old family fun of a duck hunt. I was hunting with my dad's old model 12 duck gun the past few years but it's about worn out. These are good all purpose guns that are made to serve a life time. 

So it probably took me longer to walk in and out of the area than the hunt did. On the way out I flushed a bird along the trail that was about crock pot size that I could not identify and stopped and took a picture of this fellow. He is not swimming in my belly but I would like some help from the bird experts in knowing what kind he is. 

On the way out four does ran in front of the truck. It was a great morning in the woods and now we have duck to eat.  


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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas is Saved...

If you recall last year one morning during the seasonal frenzy I burst from the house well before the dawn headed for work. I was confronted by a possum in a wire cage. It's the new tradition, a Christmas possum started by Miguel and Mary. Always important for a new couple like that, they had only been wed about 7 months at the time to start lasting traditions as they begin their lives together. That's just so romantic you will have to wait because I feel all warm inside and I need to get up and dance around the room in my underwear for a minute. 

Ok I'm back. And don't ask me how Miguel does it. There are secrets on this blog. Secrets that we will never tell. Secrets like how to save Christmas. Meet this years Christmas Possum! 
Maybe we will drive around later tonight and stop at places like Standpipe Coffeehouse, The Factory, Blackspot Tattoo and the Old Souls Food Truck and you can meet us there and we will take Christmas photos of your kids holding the Christmas Possum in their laps. No charge of course. Just our way of giving back to the community. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Friday for Me...

I've been rocking out with the boys tonight doing some good loud jamming. I came home and played some more guitar. Now I'm watching Social Distortion videos on youtube. They are a band I missed some how and although I have always been aware of them I just never found the time to like them. I have found the time. The music makes me feel good. Here are some photos from when I saw them at Riot Fest in Chicago last September. 

Mike Ness. Looks like what with that Fender piggy back amp in the background he might be a man after my own heart. 
Other Guitar player is Jonny Two Bags. I just picked up a solo cd by him and while it's not a ground breaker it is good music with the Americana vibe going on. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

He's Making a List and Checking it Twice...

It's that time a year and time for the big game I play. I hear such an uproar each Christmas season. (And really it is not even Christmas. It's Advent, the time where we prepare a way for the King) Also lately I have encountered some folks that want to grip about things they don't even understand. So time I check my scoreboard of Christmas cards hung in the window. 

See there's a push to put Christ in Christmas each year. But when I check my Christmas cards as I do each year the score is 17 to 9 with secular Christmas cards leading the religious cards and looking to pull away.  Some people are not putting their money where their mouth is because I think most of these folks, well except for the card I got from the WH are coming from the same Judo Christian background as me.

Now I know you say "Mudbelly don't be so grumpy! It's because you only have 26 cards, I must have 60 or 70" And I know you probably bought your cards last Dec. 26 during a clearance sale at the poor people's store when they were already too well picked over to get anything meaningful. But if you sent me Charlie Brown Christmas and don't like it when I tell you happy holidays because I happen to like alliteration phooey on you. 

But then I am just writing, raving and pointing out things. I really don't care what you say and I think B.O.'s dogs look nice on his card. I am a tolerant guy. I hope you are too and must be if you like Frosty the Snowman.  Anyway here are my Christmas decorations outside my home. It's really a picture from last year as I usually do about the same thing and I always make sure I have them all taken down before Easter. I hate to waste a perfectly good Easter morning taking down Christmas decorations. 
There is still time to turn the game around. I'll post updates on the score as Christmas approaches. I'll even give a grace period so if you are a little harried this year you can get your's in. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

It's a Changing Environment...

I am a recycler. I am outside the city limits so once or twice a month I load up newspapers, magazines, pizza boxes, fish grease, plastic milk jugs and discarded big screen TVs and take them by the city recycle center. Aluminum cans go to a collection point at church where they make money off the scrap. The brand of shoes I have been buying lately have soles made from the milk jugs and Willie Nelson gets the fish grease to power his bio diesel bus.  I don't know what happens to the big screens.

Some may think I recycle blog post. It's always about music, mine or some I have gone to see, grand children or catfish. Seems like from the feed back I get the cat fish is pretty impressive but how do you know I am not recycling those photos? Well the time to recycle those photos may come because this photo is one I made in the cove at Hank's Creek where I launch my boat most of the time. It's the invasive species Giant Salvinia.

This plant was floating in numerous bunches up and down the cove. Judging from it's progress on other nearby water bodies such as Toledo Bend and Lake Conroe we are going to have a large problem and may already have a giant problem. I only go to one little old spot on Big Sam Rayburn so there may be areas I have not seen where the plant is growing fast. I first noted this plant in an area we were duck hunting two years ago. Here's a youtube video with some info on Giant Salvinia on Rayburn. Note that is from 2009. I have seem more of the plant since then than before this was produced. 

I am seeing changes to the environment, noticeable changes in my lifetime. One of these days and it will be sooner rather than later I won't be quite so mad at the catfish and I won't be trying to get them all out of the lake or I will get too old to do the man against beast thing at the side of the boat and still win. I will leave it all to those young hungry ones, my children and grandchildren. I hope this plant does not turn into a disaster that ends in all the fun Lake Sam Rayburn and the great outdoors has been for me all these years and just turns it into a memory recycled and posted on this blog. 

So check your boat trailers, empty your live well before leaving the lake and while you are at it think about other ways you can influence the environment. It makes a difference and it's more fun that recycling big screens. 

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