Friday, April 27, 2018

Sights of Chicago...

We visited the Chicago Cultural Center. It's an impressive building completed in 1897 as a memorial to the Civil War Union Army, which by the way won the war and as a meeting hall for vets It was also the cities first public library. It cost nearly 2 mil back then. I guess they are still paying the note because it seems that I recall someone said you could rent the Grand Army of the Republic Rotunda and Memorial Hall, pictured below for your wedding at the going rate of $50,000. And they don't cater or decorate either. This building was originally built to show how sophisticated Chicago had become. I judge from the price they are still sophisticated.     

The sky light entering the hall. It's purposefully meant to set a dark, sad tone

No she did not fall or have to take a nap. Just getting a better photo. 

This is the skylight in the Preston Bradly hall. He was a famous Chicago theologian and it's the largest Tiffany stained glass in the world. My photo did not do it justice as to color but it's a pattern of fish scales. It was worked on by women as they were thought to be the best at attention to detail and maybe still are.  


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Busy Times...

So things have been busy enough they almost pass by with out my journalistic description. We just had a weekend in Chicago with the PK, relatives visited here and we visited Cathy's folks. It's back to work now so maybe I can rest a bit and get some adventures pictured here. 

Snow greeted us in the Tulloch back yard on our arrival in Chicago. 

Cathy and Katie with Wallace hanging out in the neighborhood. 

Cathy and Wallace head downtown on the CTA. 

The family, Katherine, Peter and Wallace. 

It was a good trip and as I get time I'll post more photos. 

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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Thrift Storing...

Great minds think like. Even though Cathy went out of town while I stayed home we visited similar concerns. I guess that's what makes us good together.

It started with my need for a black shirt for the upcoming Angelina College Community Band gig on April 29th. I hit at least two thrift stores before I hit the gold at Second Blessings in Huntington. I got a black long-sleeved shirt so nice that I just had to spring for the black trousers that fit like they were tailor made. I passed on the French cuffed black shirt as I though the sleeves looked a little too bunchy. Since I was on a roll a quick look around the store and there was a statue of St. Theresa just waiting for me.

If you remember, Saint Theresa was a Spanish Mystic, a Carmelite Nun and a Saint of the Catholic Church. A motto associated with her is "Lord let me suffer or let me die." I think the Mountain Goats said something like that also. "I'll get thorough this year if it kills me."

Today was the day that Heritage Antiques in downtown Lufkin hosted their Spring Fling of vendor booths in the parking lot. I have been selling my cigar box guitars at their spring and fall events for a couple of years and it's good folks down there. They understand my shtick. Not everybody does. I had to work so no booth for me. I went down after work this afternoon and despite the morning rain it was a good turn out of vendors. I bought a couple of things from my favorite guys. Mike sells records and sell is what he does. I usually find out I know more about the records. I guess he just likes to sell and they are good prices. He had a record by the old reggae band that used to play the Crossroads in Doches, the Lotions. He said "don't you want that Lotions record?"  I said, "dude,  I bought a Lotions record from you two years ago." Not many people come by two of those records. 

Anyway I picked up a Buddy Miles, former Jimi Hendrix drummer who I also saw play the Crossroads one time, great show, called Roadrunner. It did not have a cover but a quick google shows this to be a $15-20 record in good condition.

The Good the Bad and Ugly sound track by composer Enrico Morricone is a must have for all music fans with a case of the spooky spaghetti western jones on.   

Also without a cover I got the old Chicago Live at Carnegie Hall. I had this release 8 track back in the day. I looked it up and seems the group is divided on the quality of the recording. Some likened the horn sounds to kazoos. That's cool I like kazoos. Also there have been a couple of recent documentaries on the history of this band where they admit to being reckless cocaine users. That will have effect on what you think your horn sounds like as well as what it really sounds like.

I think this record still holds the mark as the best selling 4 LP box set release ever. I gave $5 total and have only had to get up and kick the record play twice when the needle got stuck so far.

I bought this from a guy, and I forget his name I am sorry but he has promised me if he ever raises good gourds he will give me some for guitar making. A tiki totem from someone's cruise vacation I'll probably hang it on a tree in the yard and years later the kids will think it was some kind of shrine their crazy old man was out praying at. Maybe I'll combine it in an alter with the Saint Theresa.

Meanwhile I was busy with all this Cathy picked up these two Astros shirts at a thrift in Lake Jackson. We have tickets for the Stros and White Sox next visit to Chicago. Someone I know was worried I might wear White Sox gear to that game. Get outta here dude! 

Cathy also picked up a $5 all you could stuff in a bag special of clothes. Cathy never buys new clothes. Always used. Maybe a new t shirt from a favorite band now and then. 

I did hit up a garage sale with a bunch of used fishing gear but they had nothing essential. 

Total expenses thrifting comes to about $32.  

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

I Think This was a Scam or Something...

Saturday morning we are getting ready to go to the lake. Misting rain, but we are not discouraged so preparations are underway to brave all elements. As this is ongoing some guy, he has a girl with him pulls up in my drive way. Has what seems to be a legit concern but I soon suspect a scam of some sort.

The guy introduces him self as Austin Barra, there is a girl in the car also, and as if it builds trust he claims to be a youth minster from a church in Tenaha and he is working for some kind of oil field supply company to recover a couple of GPS units that are on rental from another company and that some hand who drug up has made off with. He says, maybe not stolen but just kept by mistake. He shows me a photo of the units. He then shows me a photo of a google Earth type shot of my property that shows a pin dropped right where my pick up is parked in the drive way. He thinks they are in my truck.

I say well, have a look. I have been at the lake several times maybe someone threw them in the back of my truck. He looks there, I'm hitched to the boat and with my permission he kind of looks and in a glance around sort of way at my boat garage and the wood pile. He asks questions have we worked in the oil field, been to West Texas and stuff like that. I don't, I haven't. He gets in the truck and pulls up in the neighbors driveway asks them stuff but does not stay long there and he's back at my house. Here's the guy, of course I made his photo for the blog.

On his return to my drive he thinks the GPS thing is right around. I encourage him to look in the wooded strip of property along the road, the trash can you see in the right of the below photo of his truck just in case the item is tossed there.  He don't look at these places but gets another guy on the phone he claims is the guy that hired him to track down and I talk to this guy, answer same questions about and oil business I might have done and I inform that his man is not really looking in places I have suggested all that well. He is just questioning me and that if it's stolen goods the high sheriff might be better to be involved. This guy on the phone don't want the sheriff involved. He just wants his stuff back.

He seems to get a bit impatient. I am getting my R.E.D. Neck business on because I feel he may not be on the level. I put him on the road with the threat I will call the sheriff. I asked for a photo of his drivers license. He refused this and I would have also but he did let me photo an expired security ID.  

I made sure the house was locked up tight and left for the lake. His truck was sitting in the church parking lot on the farm road when I drove past. I feel like I acted pretty quick getting photos of his ID and plate but what I wish I had done was drive to the lake, get him to follow and see if his GPS pin on his phone still showed in my truck. 

I have not seen this guy or truck around again. Anybody got and input on what he might have been up too? 


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Fish Hard Day 5 and the Week Comes to a Close...

We had guests Roy and Nancy on the boat today to close out fish hard week. We had never fished together before but you would not have known it as we managed 45 catfish in a little over two hours of fishing time.

It was a really great day on the lake that included a great air show sky dance by the resident bald eagles that took place right over our heads and ended with a bunch of these cats swimming in my belly. 

I wish I had took more photos but we were so busy catching and having a really good visit that we will just have to do with these. 

We have seen a few innovations, new baits and tactics. Nancy impaled a tube jig body on a treble hook and stuffed it in the punch bait. She made long casts to the center of the creek channel and the tube body held the bait in and the cats liked it.  

Of course Cathy caught fish. Looks like we went through one gallon of J.Piggs and one gallon of a new bait we tried CJ's. There are several flavors of CJ's. We use Monster, Minnow, Shad and Grasshopper flavored baits. All caught fish. I caught a lot of fish on the grasshopper, it's a pleasing green color but the others stay on the hook better. I not on his web site CJ is offering reduced shipping and says if you want 8 gallons call first. Sounds like he might make a deal. If he can beat the price I am paying now I might switch.

Another thing I tried and this helped when making a longer cast to deeper water with the slip cork was putting a bit of the Gulp Power Bait Earth Worms on the hook and dipping it in punch Bait. It helped to make sure some bait arrived in the fishing zone. I'll try those Gulp baits out with the grandkids using them this summer.   

No big fish but plenty of eaters. 

Roy and Nancy like fishing but had never have fished using our tactics. Cathy gives a few pointers. They caught on quick and Roy can clean fish. 

The crew for fish hard day 5 called it quits at 7:45pm. Total fish for 5 days 206. 

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Sunday, April 08, 2018

Fish Hard Week Day 4...

Fish Hard Week Day 4 got off to a rugged start. We drove to Hank's Creek and both boat ramps were closed due to high water. We continued on down to Monterey Park and the boat would not start. Would not even turn over. We returned home, read the owners manual over lunch and it turned out to be a blown fuse. With the fuse replaced we headed out and launched at Shirley Creek.

It was a wise decision as the first fish of the day, caught by Cathy weighed 10 pounds 6 ounces. Her brother Matt performed net duties. This is a rod and reel record for the boat. We have caught bigger on floating noodle lines. 

No eggs in this big girl. Blue cats have probably already spawned. 

One thing to note is this guy on the other side of the trees. We often fish that area but we are tight to the brush. He's a little off shore. I think if you fish an area like we do passing boats soon say we see that boat there all the time. 

If you want to see even more photos of Cathy and big cat check Instagram. 

Final total for the day was 53 cats. Total for fish hard week is 161 fish. We have one more trip planned tomorrow. 

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Hard Fishing Hard Fish Week Day 3...

Cathy's brother Matt joined us on hard fish week day 3 and it was harder fishing. The weather was colder with rain splatters and occasional fog. We spent 6 hours on the lake and caught 36 catfish. They ran smaller and while we caught fish in each place we moved around a bit to four different spots. All on slip corks in 4-10 foot of water.

I think this bird photo says it all. 

Cathy and brother Matt. 

Our shallow water fish technique is we tie the back of the boat so the wind swings the front into a likely pocket near flooded brush or a shallow sand bar and we sit in the front two seats focusing our casts to a small area. Hard to fish a bunch of folks like this as opposed to hot weather fishing where we tie over deep structure and let lines straight down. 

We have developed something new. If you look closely at this photo there is a green float marking the edge of a creek channel at 10' deep. On the right sharp eyes might just make out my day glo orange float. I'm doing it the old way with the yellow rod being a 1970s Eagle Claw with a matching vintage 70s Zebco 33. I have pulled quite a few cats from this deeper  area the past two days.  

I think this will be a tactic we can use, marking the drop that the cats use to stair step into the shallow feeding area. 

The boat is filthy. It's been washed by rough waves, rained on, has a lot of organic debris from crowding tight to the brush and the usual smears of bait and chum.  

36 cats mostly smaller 14 inch fish on a cold day. My facebook memories thing shows me fishing without a shirt on this day 2 years ago. 

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Friday, April 06, 2018

Fish Hard Weekend Day Two...

We Got to the lake at noon. We fished till 3pm. We took home 41 cats with the biggest a 5 pound blue cat. Cathy fished the front of the boat and I fished the back probing a creek channel edge about 9 ft. deep. Seemed to make no difference. They were in both places. 

Here's the big blue. I rigged up a shy bite rig with a light foam bobber on spinning gear with 8 pound test. This fellow put up quite a fight on that rig. You probably know by now that there is a back story to everything I do and everything I have. I gave my dad that rod for father's day maybe 35 years ago. It's wore out a couple of reels during that time and put a lot of meat in the boat. 

The Cathy and Catfish photo. I was worried about running out of bait and did not order by internet from my usual bait supplier, J. Piggs so I went down to the big box sporting goods store and picked up some CJ's. It has been working just as good. It's grasshopper flavored.  

What kind of tree is this? Catfish like to be under it. It's not willow, it's not Cyprus and I don't think it's buck brush. 

The crew for supper tonight. Ezra had his first fried catfish. He ate two small fillets. 
A friend from church came by and left with a big bad of fillets and we donated 7 pounds of fillets to the Joseph House Hospice today so the residents can have a nice fish dinner.  

Fish hard week will continue. Stay tuned for the next report. The main ramop at Hank's is closed and the campground attendants are freaking over the prediction of storms so we may be launching down the lake tomorrow.   

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Fish Hard Weekend...

Looks like we have a couple of events the next two weekends we are off from work so Cathy has proclaimed this fish hard weekend. She has taken to using two poles at a time and yesterday they kept her busy. We only fished for two hours so some might question the fish hard work ethic but we ended up with 31 catfish. 

Lake is up enough after the rain that the main ramp at Big Hank's is closed and we had to launch at the campground. I like that better but the weather has taken out a section of the pier. We caught the fish at the same spot as last time even with a 2 foot water rise. We now call it the horseshoe because of the shape of a little pocket in the brush that we cast to. That's the horseshoe dead center of the slip cork. Cast there you got a bite. I'd like to know what kind of tree that is overhanging the area. Maybe I'll take a better photo next trip. 

Cathy fights a bent rod. With bloody hands. She says "Not my blood." One thing I have noticed about using a lot of 70s vintage rods we pick up at thrift sales and such is that modern reels do not fit them as well. 

I may have to submit and endorsement if I get one more slip cork in these photos. We get those when ever we pass a bass pro shops. The come in a bag and there is a bunch for a good price. Bad thing about fishing the wind if you hang up and loss a cork most of the time it drifts up into brush and is irretrievable.  

Foil packet on the grill catfish. That's Siracha Chili Sauce, purple onion, and yard foraged wild onion and pink wood sorrel with butter. 

This was Cathy's choice. That's Tomato Chili Chutney, purple onion and butter.    

Of note is that one of our usual places that we have not fished because it's more exposed to the high winds of April had two pontoon boats fishing on it. They were not tight to the brush like we fish but a little bit offshore. They might pick up some fish because it's such a good area. Little do we know these folks might be like us and are on the lake a lot. They pass us by out in to boat lane but sooner or later put together the fact that, "hey, those guys are fishing there every time we pass." 

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Thursday, April 05, 2018

More Birds...

I snapped this photo from a moving car, or maybe Cathy did I can't recall crossing the Lake Livingston Dam. All gates are open and the little white blobs are the white pelicans that you have seen so many times on this blog before. Conventional wisdom tells us that with all gates on the dam pouring water the fish bite is going to be slow. A little internet research tells us these birds need to eat 4 pounds of fish a day.

Here some Sam Rayburn Lake birds as they round a shallow point heading to deeper water. 

They are mixed in with a flock of cormorants. 

Although close to shore that water there is about 30' deep. These birds work together to feed herding various fish and often stealing from other birds like the cormorants. They are not diving feeders.  Note the gull at the top left in the photo swooping in to see what the fuss is about. I note 15 pelicans in this photo They ate 60 pounds of fish out of the lake on this day. I think I ended the day with 8 pounds of fillets. 

More research tells us that the northern most nesting sites from these birds are on the Slave River between Alberta and the Northwest Territories in Canada. The southern most nesting areas are in Southern Wyoming. They usually gather to nest in March and April. I'd say these guys better get going. Maybe they won't. I have heard of a thing called global warming. Might not matter if the are in Canada or Texas. We shall see. 

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Wednesday, April 04, 2018

The Bath...

At the recent Pearland Crawfish Boil we got a room. People tell us to do that all the time. This was a chain hotel and I think it was Best Restroom or something like that. We booked the room because Morgan and Ali had other guests expected and we let them have the extra space at the house by staying off site.

I think Cathy booked this particular place because their website advertised a hot tub.  We have a hot tub and enjoy a soak to old tired bodies several or more times a week so this would be a plus to keep up the routine. As we pulled into the place Cathy suddenly remembered she forgot a bathing suit and as I did not know of the hot tub it had not occurred to me to bring a suit. Have no fear I told her. There next door to the motel stood corporate giant retail sales in the form of Walls-Mart. In our soon to be controlled by tariffs spirit of American consumerism we just we go next door and buy another one. 

No matter that I have approximately five thrift store bathing suits at home (I am on it this morning. What a band name Mudbelly and the thrift store bathing suits.) I can cram one more into already overflowing drawers, which is just one more thought to ponder. Anyway before we get to far out to sea and ship to shore communications get iffy the hot tub at the motel was broken. We did not need a suit.

There was a nice pool area and it made a good place to sit in the pleasant spring weather. I took these photos of a grackle, all fat and slick from grazing of spilled chips, pop corn and French fries in the Walls-Mart parking lot as it took a bath in a little waterfall feeding the pool. 

All clean. See you later. 


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