Tuesday, March 29, 2016

More Cigar Box Builds...

People ask me all the time, the musicians anyway, "what you got going on, where you playing?" Other people, not musicians ask me "when is the next fish fry" and other stuff like that. Well to answer both those questions I played music at church 4 days in a row over Easter weekend, I built cigar box guitars and a fish fry is in planning stages.   

Here's two guitars. The dark wood is spoken for. It's my cousin Beverly's guitar. The other will be hanging in Sound Techs music store in downtown Lufkin for sale at a price of $75 later this afternoon. 

The guitar for Beverly has a special finish on the neck. It's hand rubbed to a nice mud brown using J Pigg's Catfish bait. Extra bracing inside makes it useful as a boat paddle or a snake killer if you do take it fishing.  

Both guitars are electric but sound great acoustic. They are tuned to open E and each chord is a bit different. The dark guitar is low to high E, G# B and the other is B, E, G# so a little. 

More guitars are in the works. I have a lot of boxes and more are on the way. Next guitar has some new features such as a single coil pickup so if my ideas match my planning it should be a electric screamer. 


Monday, March 28, 2016

How Many Cats Can a 5 Gallon Bucket of Stink Bait Catch...

We start the count to day. I ordered a 5 gallon bucket of J Pigg's Stink bait. It's our favorite and with shipping and all it was more economical than buying a gallon at a time as we have been doing.  

Our neighbors Robbie and Bob went with us today. I have know Robbie a long time as I bought my house from her dad long years ago. Bob knows how to catfish and has done it various places around the country and his favorite bait is  shrimp. The shrimp started out hot and did take some good fish but we do know what's best after a head to head comparison. 

Ok how many photos are there of Cathy doing this? 

Bob at the cleaning table.  Final count was 37 fish. 

A supper for me and Cathy. That's grilled black pepper Greek Parmesan cat fish fillets. We ate it on the deck with noodles, kale salad and a bottle of alcohol free white wine. It's been a good day.   


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Here's a Throw Back Thursday, The Dead Weather...

Well it is kind of cloudy today, the Jazz Fest Cubes are released and I sat around last night listening to Jace's play list of the Dead Weather, the Greenhornes and some tunes by an artist that they are trying hard to get for a downtown Lufkin show this summer I decided I'd post some throwback Thursday photos I made of the Dead Weather at the New Orleans Jazz Fest 2010. Now before you go tell everybody "Carl is listening to jazz" the Dead Weather are not jazz. They rock. 

The Dead Weather do have out a pretty recent release. I have it. You should also. I like Jack White and here is one of the reasons:


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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Turtle Rescue Society...

There are no membership dues and no meetings of the Turtle Rescue Society. Al you have to do is rescue a turtle. When it's spring time in East Texas the turtles come out. They crawl across rural farm to market roads in search of the things that make life good like food, water, shelter and the friendship of other turtles. Only bad thing about this is that there are humans driving automobiles up and down these roads and they are also in search of food, water, shelter and friendships and who knows what else because while humans are distracted by all these things they often don't notice the ancient beast whose ancestors crawled this same path long before humans decided to bisect it with there business. That's why you need to be a member of this great society because when humans don't see a turtle crawling across the road as they flash along at their business it's bad for the turtle. 

There is not a handbook to go by. Does not matter who you voted (it matters but not when it comes to rescuing turtles) for in the primary. Just stop and get the turtle off the road. He won't get run over by a speeding car. Turtle shell is hard, but not that hard. On a recent grandkid visit we rescued a turtle near our house. We took it with us over to Mary's house. Mary is the turtle society turtle expert. She knows stuff about turtles because she keeps one as a pet in a nice little turtle environment built at her home. It's a happy turtle. It eats from her hand and occasionally lays an egg. Since the eggs don't hatch because there is not a boy turtle currently in the picture we thought we might introduce the two. It's not a match because Mary said our turtle is a water turtle. 

We headed over to a park with a creek running through it. On an access road to the creek we performed our second turtle rescue of the day. It's the big one on the right. Old little bit on the left was the one from near our house. I can only assume they lived happily ever after because as they crawled to the creek I went on doing what humans do, the relentless food, water, shelter, friendship thing.  

Same picture, with Mary looking and the kids not looking. 

Join today! 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Live Music Lufkin...

Good show last night in good old downtown Lufkin out behind the Big Thicket Brewery. A singer songwriter Joshua Black Wilkins was on his way to SXSW and his stop in Lufkin was a little gig set up by Old Souls Food Truck, Jace, the brewery and who knows whoever else had a hand in a great night of music. 

JBW music kind of brings to mind Austin singer songwriter John Dee Graham, Gil Landry, who was a former member of Old Crow Medicine Show's solo work or maybe even good old folk singers like Woody and Leadbelly. It a genre we call "sad old sumbitch songs." He's good at it. Do you know how hard it is to write a sad old sumbitch song? It looks like my candidate is going to be elected President. I like the food at every restaurant in town. I'm a happy guy. It's durn hard to write a song like this and I admire the man that can write a good one.    

This looks like the same photo but it's not. So happens the best two I took look the same. 

This little Wednesday night concert brought to mind the good old days of the old Crossroads Club in Nacogdoches where bands like SRV, The Lotions, The Killer Bees, the Explosives and many more who made the Austin, Dallas, Shreveport, New Orleans, Houston axis stopped by for some East Texas fun on weeknights and then continued on for big city gigs on the weekends. Maybe we can get something going like that again around here. 

A little computer shading. Making art out of a blurry photo. 

JBW had three cds for sale. I bought them all and listened to them as I drove around to a couple of my different work locations today. They are good. Here's a video and as a plus it's just the kind of dancing I like. Be sure to check out all his stuff. There's a lot of variety. 


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The New Secret Cat fishing Spot...

Well it was secret for a while till they found us. I know it was spring break so there are some extra people on the lake and I know this blog is read worldwide (this mornings visit log shows that some one in the Ukraine read the last catfish report) but give us a break.  

Despite the helicopter surveillance we landed 25 catfish yesterday at the new spot. It took a while for them to find us as we had fished for one hour before the bite started. It got busy after that. 

Some nice channels cats in the 16-18 inch size. I must admit my wife has pretty much put it on me the last several times by out fishing me. I started out fast but I think she caught up. 

If you note the bushes we are fishing around in the photos. Distance is a little misleading. Those bushes are probably a 20 foot cast away. I was making a longer cast taking fish from the farthermost brush line.  Close to the boat if a fish took your line he immediately ran in some kind of submerged obstacle and hung you up. We lost several rigs each in this manner. Not easy fishing.  

As I say this is a new spot to fish but several seasons ago I duck hunted this area to fair success. With the lake 5' low the far bank of this creek was wade-able for hunting and there are still a lot of wood ducks in the area.  It's about 10' deep from where the photo is made maybe 15 in the middle of the channel.

A tub full of catfish. Beverly and Donnie called as we left the lake. They came over for a fried catfish dinner and we put a big sack of fillets in the freezer. Cousin Beverly says I am better than our dad's at cooking fried fish. That's high praise. At church the other day a man approached me and asked how much fish I had in the freezer. Seems like I had kind of took a count a while back and knew we could host a fish fry for about 30 people. I told him this and he said "if it must be invitation only please put me on the list." Chuy, you are on the list! 


Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Catfish are Shallow...

After a few days of soaking rain we took advantage of the sunny break yesterday afternoon to run to the lake for some catfishing. With rising water the main boat ramp at Hank's Creek was closed but the park attendants were nice enough to let us launch at the campground ramp. 

The other day I was walking into a local store with Coraline and Warren in tow and an old man stopped, looked us over and said "I see you have a couple of swampers." A quick lookup tells me a swamper is an assistant, a helper with the term going back to the southern United States in 1857 to mean a laborer who cleared roads through the swamp for tree fellers. Cathy has the swampers help her unload the boat.

Coraline has developed some impressive casting skills. I remeber that Morgan also learned to cast a Garcia 5000 by the time he was 6. I don't think my dad let me have a casting rod in the boat till I was shaving which if I remember correctly was about the 4th grade. 

We tried our proven spring time spot, a wind swept sand bar with no luck so we relocated farther back in the same cove to a creek bend about 8'deep. They were there cruising the brush edge. By sundown the action was pretty quick We ended the day with 26 cats some about 18 inches long. 

Warren likes to give the cats a tail rub. 

Cathy and the swampers drive the boat on the trailer in the dusky dark. We came home and fried up a big salad bowl of crisp fillets and put about 5 pounds in the freezer for another day. 

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Friday, March 11, 2016

The Charliecaster...

In the 1950s when Leo Fender was building guitars he wanted modern shapes and names to reflect the progress of science and culture of the time. He called his guitars Stratocasters and Telecasters. Now when I build a cigar box guitar I don't have a lot of choice to the shape but I'm calling this one I built for a high school classmate of mine, Charlie Harris the Charliecaster. 

I have a bunch of cigar boxes here at I home to use in my builds but as have a couple of people Charlie had a box he liked and I made a custom model. 

I had actually build Charlie's sister Jo a guitar in trade for a bunch of boxes and Charlie had been playing hers. He said she was tired of sharing and he needed one. Siblings will do that kind of thing to ya. 

A look at the top secret tone machine innards of a mudbelly build. Piezo disc pickups in bottle caps along with a capacitor jumping the input jack  tame some of the treble shrillness of the piezo.  Not all are like this. I kind of do things with what I have on hand and that's what makes the instruments all different sounding.

Charlie takes delivery of the Charliecaster. Thanks! 


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Walking the Pirate Way...

Sitting around with the grand kids last night we watched the old Disney movie Swiss Family Robinson. I remember being inspired as a child with the idea of living on a deserted tropical isle. I enjoyed the depiction of the pirates in the movie, They were colorful and seemed to be of  unidentified mysterious nationally.  This brought to mind our recent trip to Galveston and a visit we made to the site of pirate Jean Lafitte. 

If you recall history Lafitte was very instrumental in the victory at the Battle of New Orleans in the war of 1812. For this bravery he was pardoned from pirate activities by the U.S. government. He then moved operations to Galveston and built the house Masion Rouge or Red House on the bay. I have often driven by this location on Harborside Drive but as I was in a car speeding passed I never stopped. On our last visit we toured around the island on bikes and we stopped at the site. 
Apparently no structures from Lafitte's time exist but the walls and steps are from a house built over the cellars of the pirate's home. These structures date to the 1870s  and were built by a sea Captain named Hendricks. The home was called 12 Gables.  

The front chain link fence was locked but we gained entrance from the alley in back. From the looks of things homeless folks occasionally sleep on the grounds. 

Like a lot of historical figures Lafitte has his good moments and bad. After the glory of the New Orleans battle and his relocation to Galveston he seems to have become mixed up in in a slave trading scheme with Jim Bowie. 

A U.S. law in 1818 made the importation of slaves illegal. It did not make slavery illegal. This law was really a benefit to many writers of the U.S. Constitution who owned slaves and could sell off what was referred to as "natural increase" in those days for a profit cutting out the foreign traders. What Lafitte did was capture slave ships, sell to smugglers who then turned the slaves over to customs officials in New Orleans. They were then put on the auction block with a representative of the smuggler purchasing them. The smuggler became the owner who resold in New Orleans or transported them to other parts of the south for resale.  

There is a lot of politics involved in this scheme as well as the politics of the 1818 law which basically ended the re-Africanization  of the slave culture in the United States by ending the import of people from Africa. Several very good books on this by Ned Sublette I am reading now. Probably another blog post in the future.  

I almost made what I think would have been a good art shot of this lock and gate but the sun obscured the view finder of the camera and I cut it off. Apparently the place had to be locked because treasure hunters would dig at the site. Reportedly gold still turns up in the ship channel just across the street when the harbor is dredged.  

Lafitte burned the house and town he built on the harbor, fled Galveston and continued to raid the shipping lanes around Cuba. Many reports and legends surround the end of his life but the most reliable seems to be he was killed attempting to take two Spanish ships and was buried at sea in the Gulf of Honduras.  

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Old Souls Food Truck...

I don't know if they have noticed  but Cathy and Mary are hitching a ride on the Old Souls Food Truck. We have hitched ourselves to the grub served up by Tom and Arron and can be found eating here on our off from work weeks whenever we have a chance. I guess we are good customers because Tom will let us play guitar in the ally between the Big Thicket Brewery and the Angelina Hotel. I must be a real good customer because he will even let me play the tuba there also. 

Food trucks are something that have become all hip and cool in the big cities and we have quite a few of them in  Lufkin. They have their roots in the cowboy chuck wagons of old, the lunch wagons that fed factory workers and the mobile canteens of the army used to serve hungry troops. The modern food truck puts a trendy spin on good fancy affordable eats. 

Check out Old Souls for some combination of Cubano sandwiches, the pork and brisket tacos, slider hamburgers, turnip green soup and apple jack grilled cheese on the daily menu. Often times if you stand around long enough, play guitar loud enough or otherwise hang out Tom or Aaron will do a tasty one off treat for you. 

The truck can be found downtown usually Thursday, Friday and Saturday lunch and supper but be sure to check their facebook page to see what's going on and given day.   

Check out the event sponsored by Big Thicket and Old Souls. It's the singer/songwriter Joshua Black Wilkins who is making a stop on the way to SXSW on March 16th at 8pm. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Just Making My Fishing Log Up to Date...

 Sometimes when January rolls around I want to know how many fish we boated during the past 12 months. For remembering I have a handy online tool. It's this blog. I simply scroll back through all the postings and I total the number of each trip. For all the big piles of fried fillets that are swimming in your belly that number is not as high as you think it might be but it certainly is enough. 

Fishing was slow last Saturday but Morgan was in for a visit and the lake was beautiful/ View over the bow looking south. 

I netted a few ditch craw fish in hopes of a white bass river trip but river reports had the current reported as too strong. If the rain holds off maybe next week. I did not get a bite on this fellow. He looks too mean to eat. 

Morgan and Cathy. 

By the way we caught 8 channel cats. 

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