Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bird Photos...

Birds are a favorite photo subject here and just to catch up on the most recent things check this photo, made on Christmas morning as me and Morgan made a scouting trip to the highway 147 bridge area of Sam Rayburn Lake. These look to be canvasbacks, bag limit is one per man, laid to out of the wind near the bird island area where we do a lot of our late summer fishing. Water is low, you could probably walk out to hunt these birds but the open sand bar makes concealment of your intentions difficult considering the number of times these birds may have been shot at on the way down from Canada. Bunch a work for one bird apiece.

More migratory friends from the great lakes region photographed while fishing with cousin David are the American White Pelicans. Seen each year on Rayburn a little Internet research shows they eat 4 pounds of food a day including cat fish. There were 13 birds in this group, that's 52 pounds of fish, almost as much as I ate at the fish fry Monday evening. They also cooperate while fishing, chasing their prey into each other.

These look to be grebes. Peaceful little birds minding their own business, Swimmers and divers they can fall over on the land because their feet are too far back to balance. They can also adjust their feather angle to effect buoyancy, floating high or low in the water as needed.


Not sure of this bird, he's slipping along feeding on the shoreline of Lake Belton the frosty morning we hunted there. A little grainy because of cropping, I think the gray dawn light and the winter frost colors are exactly what my eye saw that day.



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Monday, December 27, 2010

Fishing with Cousin David and The Mystery Fisherman...

Some people checked the temperature this morning, in the newspaper, their thermometer, on their iphone and depending on the quality of the media it said mid to upper 20s, Fahrenheit. Not to cold for these cat fisherman, my Cousin David, visiting from Plano and a masked mystery fisherman as they score a double on big Sam Rayburn Reservoir.. Double hookups like this were common and we scored at least three triples on the way to 49 fat cats in the boat.
Here you see the mystery cat fisherman with big fish of the day, a 2.5lb blue cat. Nickname for the spot the boat is tied to in the background is "the elevens."
Me and David pose for the tub shot. We are huddled as close as possible to the heat pump unit of my house for warmth.

We called my Mom out and I used her Christmas gift to me, a fish cooker to fry up a fine fresh mess of these cats. The new cooker is quite the improvement over the old one. We are well equipped for the next large fry.







Mystery fisherman reveled! It's none other than Cathy and she holds up her two big fish of the day. It was a really great day spent with family fishing, frying and having fun.
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Banjo Boys...

Finished with the 3rd of my banjo restoration projects just in time for a jam session with Morgan and Miguel. Right to left Miguel holds the late 20s-early 30s Ludwig Kingston. In the middle I am playing the B&D 1925 super banjo. Morgan holds the latest project what seems to be a no name kit banjo.

The no name job actually took a bit of work. While taking the strings off, the fret board was noted to be loose. Further monkeying around and it came completely off. Then the nut came off. Just a little more monkeying the fretboard broke about the 10th fret at a place where there seemed to have been some previous repair. Fortunately a little Elmer's glue and some rubber bands to hold things in place yielded us a serviceable instrument several hours later.

Future plans for this group include a joint venture with Pop, a banjo choir I believe these things are called, Grupo Del Banjo in some cultures.
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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas From the Clan...

This is the 2010 Official Wallace Christmas Photo.

Reoccuring blog characters, from the bottom left, Juan with Coraline, Cathy, Rose, Carl, mary, Ali, Katie, Peter, Miguel and Morgan.
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Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas Eve on Big Slough Man...

Nice Christmas Eve duck hunt on Big Slough this morning with my son, Morgan. I killed three wood ducks, two drakes and a hen, he killed one squirrel. Here's a photo of my woodies and my Dad's old 1959 Model 12 Winchester 12 gauge shotgun. My ears are ringing a bit from it speaking it's voice in the still river bottom woods as day broke.
Three woodies is all you can kill. You can fill out a six bird bag with other kinds, but here you see Morgan taking up my spot to see if I left any.
Low water in the background. How I like to hunt the big slough. Slough you see behind me is about waist deep.














I let this boy pass. Not sure what it was, the hair style indicates some kind of merganser. Might not have even been a duck. He was minding his own business, grunting and diving for food while I took his picture. The next bunch of woodies came in while he was still there, might have scared him a bit, I got a double from that group.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Coraline's First Christmas...

The kids were in last week and Coraline got a early first Christmas taste. Here Juan holds as Rose teaches the tear with the teeth technique.
Peter evaluates Katherine's parenting skills as she teaches the poke yourself in the eye with your gift technique. I should have taught that as I managed to accomplish this myself at Christmas with one of those suction cup arrow sets. When I was a kid, not last Christmas like you might think.
Cathy lets Coraline gnaw the made in China sticker plum off her gift.













What's this all about?

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

More Banjo Restoration...

If you can call new strings, lemon oil and a good dusting a restoration I got this B&D Super Banjo in playing shape. According to my banjo consultant and Pop Fest Promoter, Pop himself, it dates from the 1920s. He gave it to Cathy's Grandfather Langdon, who played it with Houston's Bayou Club before returning the instrument to Pop.

This Banjo has a better sound than the Kingston I recently got back in action. It has a good chunky neck while the Kingston has a more slim guitar taper.
A nice headstock with nice fret inlays. I still give kudos to the Kingston for overall ornamentation. As well as I play, I might chose the Kingston at this point for visual impact alone, make no doubt, this is the better banjo.
Back of the headstock. Tuners a little sticky at this point makes tuning a bit iffy, but I think it will be ok.













USA made, Groton, Conn.

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More Silly String...



You guys leave the camera man out of this!
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Valiant Struggle #11

This is an art installation we spotted in Millennium Park on our Chicago trip. Titled "Valiant Struggle #11" it immediately brings to mind the nature of the preceding 10. Sorry, I did not get the artist's name. Remember, Google is your friend. I thought about this piece of work because it's been that kind of week, a real busy week.
You know how it is in the holiday season, plenty parties, a big one just finished at my house with all the kids in. Another party at work and at the TKD school required pot luck dishes prepared. Thanks to the kids for my gift a USB turntable that I got set up this week. It works well. Burned some of the old Dixieland records Miguel gave me. A minor struggle to install the needed software, I guess it's all over town now that itunes owns me.

The photo at the left depicts the struggle I have had with a hot tub repair. Out of order almost two months now the needed part is expected to arrive after the first. Don't ask me for a recommendation on pool and spa companies right now.


The part of the struggle depicted here is when I awoke to a water bed leak at 4:30 am Wednesday morning. I had it patched by dawn, couple of days to let things dry a bit and I will give it a try tonight.

I think it was the reggae band Steel Pulse that had a song, "The Struggle Goes On." I'm working this weekend, cooking for a party tomorrow night and so on.


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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Great Christmas Silly String Massacree...

Here it begins, that old home grown custom, the silly string stocking stuffer. Why we let them do this I don't know, I know I'm picking silly string out of my couch cushion for the next 12 months. How many years have we been doing this now?
Starting to get thick for Peter, Katie, Ali and Morgan.
Look at Mary, she is happy, she made the baby cry.












Get the baby down! Rose and Juan came prepared with extra silly string tucked in their pockets. When all have run out it really becomes a massacree. You can see that the only defense left for some is a useless shield of a hand thrown up to beg mercy.

More photos of this bloodletting later.



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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Also Cooney Christmas This Weekend...

The oyster shucking tradition carries on as Carl shucks it looks like Margaret is trying to break his concetration.
Kevin and Margaret visited from Indiana with kids Grayson and Addison. Thanks once again to Kevin for bringing the oysters. He helped pay for some of the BP spill cost as the price oysters seems to have jumped to $52 for a hundred count sack. These were some of the best eating easiest shelling oysters we have had.




Katie and Peter, in from Chicago saw a good spread of East Texas weather, ranging from highs in the 70s on Saturday to a low of 27 Sunday morning. I would say that beats Chicago, at least where travel is concerned with about 1400 flights out of O'Hara were canceled due to snow Sunday.





John, Mary and Pop shuck away and you can see a couple of oysters broiling away on the half shell on the faithful Coleman grill

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Wallace Christmas This Past Weekend...

All the kids were in for our Christmas this past weekend. A little early but best that could be worked out with every one's schedule. Here is Great Grandma Bessie with Coraline having a merry time.










The tree with all the loot.
















Cathy made pajamas and robes for everyone this year, matching by couples. Left to right, Katie and Peter, Miguel and Mary, Ali and Morgan and Rose and Juan.


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