Thursday, January 23, 2020

Fishing with Dave


I tried fishing two poles, one my usual slip bobber rig and the other a Carolina rig, (a slip sinker rig the same as used for walleye). However, the strong wind was blowing in one direction and the tide in another so all I ended up doing was getting both rigs crossed in the worst tangle I have had in quite a while.
Meanwhile Dave was adding to the fish on his stringer and they were bigger than my just legal black drum. Laying one pole aside and using the Carolina rig, I cast close to the oyster reef in really shallow water. Immediately I had a bite and missed it but on the next cast I hooked a nice keeper black drum. Another cast resulted in a missed fish and then I caught three redfish in a row. The last one was a twenty-two-inch fish and it was my first legal red of the year!
Dave had knocked on my door and asked if I wanted to go fishing. Even though there was a dense fog advisory, I said yes as I knew he would be cautious. After hooking up to his boat, we bought some live shrimp and discussed the options. Either we could launch by the bridge and fish the shoreline or we could go to the state park and try the old pier.
Either choice would let us stay in sight of land and so we first headed to Goose Island State Park, (Dave also has a good gps chart and fish finder). The good news was that the public fishing pier was being repaired, but the bad news was that the heavy equipment was pounding supports into place and the fish had disappeared. Still I managed to catch a legal black drum.
After an hour without any more bites, the fog lifted, and we were able to make a long run to one of Dave’s favorite spots. It’s a big oyster reef that sometimes holds fish and several years ago we had caught a nice limit of big legal-size black drum, (the black drum must be between fourteen and twenty-eight inches to keep). After anchoring the boat several times, we finally figured out where we could fish without being blown onto the reef.
He had made another wise decision and we spent the rest of the day adding to the stringer until we had our limit of ten black drum and on redfish. Now it was time to head back, show off the fish and clean them.
Black drum are ne of my favorite fish to eat and the white and brown pelicans swam below the cleaning station fighting for any scraps, (the white pelican will even swallow the whole carcass and will swim away with the tail sticking out of their big beaks!
A great blue heron and an egret stood by as gulls flew overhead. You have to watch the fillets carefully as gulls will swoop down and steal a fillet if they get a chance, while the others will walk over and steal one from your cooler.
It is always a good day, whether or not you catch fish and, on the way, back we were rewarded with the sight of a pair of whooper cranes on the Blackjack Peninsula. So, the question now was black drum in a lemon/caper cream sauce, or parmesan crusted  and lemon panko baked fillets? 
Thanks Dave for the great day!

Clear skies

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Back in Rockport, Texas for The Next Three Months


We left Treasure Island and stopped at Monticello, Florida to visit with our friends Bob and Sue.  It was a good thing we did as they are selling their house and moving to Tennessee. They decided that they needed to be closer to family members.
Sue fed us a great homemade soup with a custom crusty bread from the local market! Their friends Dave and were also there and after dinner we played a fun game called Wizard. It was a fun and simple game with lots of chances to set your opponents, so the lead changed right up until the end!
From Florida we made a long drive to Grand Isle, Louisiana. The drive was through heavy rain and high winds and we were glad we had the car instead of a high-profile truck. As usual Connie and Gary welcomed us with a dinner of gumbo, Cajun Style of course. Gary did model his new garb, a Christmas present from his son Blaine.
The weather and wind abated for a day and Gary took me out in his boat. We tried several different places before he caught the first fish, a nice sheepshead.
Gary then proceeded to show me how it was done and he caught six more, before I finally caught a couple myself, (Gary is quite a good fisherman and he usually out fishes me, so it wasn’t any surprise).
Leaving Grand Isle, we decided to drive along the coast and take the Ferry at Cameron, Louisiana. The drive was slow, and it took longer than if we had taken Interstate Ten, but at least we avoided all the heavy traffic.
It was a two-ferry ride day as we crossed the Bolivar Peninsula and spent the night in Galveston. The next morning, we drove to our winter spot in Rockport, Texas and it was so nice to be warmly greeted by our friends.
Now it was time to concentrate on finishing our jewelry for our first show in February.
Dave, different then the Florida Dave), invited me to go fish the Jetty in Port Aransas.
Terry and his sister-in-law Marlene joined us.
The fog was so thick that we couldn’t see the ships passing before us and we all jumped when they blared their fog horns!
We all caught quite a few fish and ended up keeping four sheepsheads. We also caught trigger fish, but they were too small and so all were safely released. If you don’t use circle hooks you should give them try!
Clear skies

Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Rescue of the Lady Dulcina, Grand Isle, Louisianna


It was a long drive from Florida and the difficulty of the drive was compounded by the heavy rain and wind. Our new car shrugged it all off, even when we had to drive through a deep flooded pond that formed in a parking lot.
Arriving at Grand Isle we were warmly greeted by Connie and Gary who told us of the beached shrimp boat, the Lady Dulcina. It had run aground in the high winds and waves and needed rescue. It had tried to free itself to no avail and the word was that the Master Devin, a larger two screw shrimp boat, was coming to the rescue.
So, the next day we drove to a beach access point from which we walked to a point near to the stranded shrimper. A two-motor fishing boat attempted to tow the Lady Dulcina, from Golden Meadows, but even with the moving screws of the shrimper the boat remained stuck.
Next a larger boat, the Master Hayden secured a line run out to it by the runabout, but it simply kept the line tight until the Master Devin, a two-screw ship, transferred the line to its stern.
The Master Devin next motored as near as it could get before securing a stronger line passed from the motorboat, before drawing the line tight and starting the rescue.
Back and forth the larger boat rocked the Lady Dulcina before the small shrimper finally begin to move. The movement was extremely slow, and we all wondered at the strength of the line. The Lady Dulciana finally cleared the shore and promptly ran aground on the second sand bar.

However expertly continuing the job, the Master Devin successfully cleared the small shrimper! It was later reported that the Lady Dulcina had damage to its steering and was putting in for repairs while the Master Devin started to shrimp along the beach.
Well done to the Captain and Crew of the Master Devin and for the assistance of the Master Hayden!
Clear skies

Ps all images and text are my property and are copywrite by me. Any use without my permission is illegal

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Grasshopper and the Ant, an Exhibit by Jennifer Angus


My brother had disappeared into one of the exhibits and his daughter Melania had to call him to find where he was at. He came out of the exhibit, and almost stunned and said, you have to see this, there are jar after jar of bugs”.
All of us entered the exhibit, “The Grasshopper and the Ant, and Other stories”, by Jennifer Angus and I was transported back in time. I remembered my brother patiently killing bugs, by placing them in a killing jar, and then taking them out, pinning them, and then identifying each one as he added them to his collection.
He was enrolled in an Entomology course at the University of Northern Iowa, majoring in Biology, and he was working on his assignment. Our whole family was used to his obsessions by now, and his collection was simply added to the jars of organisms floating in formaldeheyde.
Now here were jar after jar all each filled with a colored fluid in which a large insect had been placed. Passing through the collecting room we entered the main gallery where giant locusts, beatles, moths, and leaf hoppers had been pinned to the walls in geometric patterns.
Many of the bugs were from Asia and Central and South America, (many were as large as your hand), and many were farm raised for collectors. I may never 
write thoughts and prayers again! The walls were covered in large spirals and swirls much as one would expect to see on a quilt and Jennifer Angus is a textile artist, (Do any of my quilter friends feel inspired to make a quilt of bugs)?
In another room more spirals but there were eight glass covered domes in which each one contained a diorama with a large bug inspecting a microscope slide. Calling cards were placed around the rooms with appropriate quotes from different animals.
In another section a large table was set in the style of the meal in Alice in Wonderland, but this table contained stuffed animals including a large diamondback rattlesnake.
A squirrel was eating a nut and I was reminded of our friend Jim who has taken on a large squirrel trapping and relocation program).
Eve more bizarre were several large wooden cases. Each was a moneto mori.
The tour guide opened some of them and showed us that each contained a theme story complete with more insects One of the stories was of the large beetles paying homage to their queen, again perhaps inspired by the aforementioned book.
Many of the stories told of the destruction of the rain forest and the worlds wild places. They all lamented the extinctions. They told of the effects of climate change and the fools that did not believe it was happening.
Renita asked to see the drawer with her birthday year and inside were insects staring at dying flowers. I was afraid to ask to see my drawer as perhaps it contained a nightmare, and Mike and I both had strange dreams that evening……
If the exhibit was meant to move us, it certainly did. One wonders at the brilliant minds that coexist with us and the strange and different thoughts that we all have. Luckily most of us do not act on them referring to them as temptations.
There are good obsessions and I think this exhibit had to be created by a textile artist. I know I will never look at my quilter friends again without remembering the bugs and I will certainly never turn my back on them, especially if they have a large pin in their hands.
Clear skies and sweet dreams…….

ps all of the bugs colors are natural

Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Treasure Island Boat Parade 2019



The Christmas boat parade had been canceled once before and with the high winds forecast, we really didn’t hold much hope for it to occur.
However, Jen called to let us know it was on and we drove to their condo to watch the celebration.
We could see several boat’s lights, but it wasn’t until the lead boat, a police boat headed our way that we knew the parade had started.
The boats spread out, or at last appeared to as they followed the channel up from Blind pass.

As they neared, we went down to the waterfront and found a bench out of the wind.
The wind wad still strong and it reminded me of the times I had climbed Devils Tower, (for all the English teachers out there the “s” in Devils Tower is not hyphenated).
If the wind were strong enough it would blow straight up the Tower and when we threw our repelling ropes over the edge, they would blow back up, That how strong the wind was during the parade!
(on those occasions you had to have the first person down coil the ropes around their body and uncoil them as they went descended).
As the first boats went by, I wondered if I could even get an image as the wind was pushing the boats!
The captains however did a great job of maintaining control and they kept a safe spacing and maintained their heading.
There were about thirty boats in total and some of the images were blurred but I did get some good ones.
Enjoy the decorations, excuse the poor images and enjoy the parade.


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Second Week in Florida, Beaches Family, and Friends



Almost every day a flock of Nanday Parakeets fly by our condo. They are a gregarious bird and the flock contains about seventy-five birds. You don’t have to be watching for them as their raucous calls are easily heard from inside.  I have tried to take pictures with our best camera but as soon as they hear the door open the whole flock flies away.
We have continued our daily walks on the beach, and we have walked more steps and miles than in the last two months combined. There are a lot of sponges that wash up on the beach and a lot of shells, but there are also many early bird shell collectors who beat me to the beach, at least so far….
Last weekend we drove to Stuart, Florida where we stayed at Nancy and Jim’s new condo,(not one of those pictured). They are full time rvers like us and finally decided to buy a place to spend the winter. Like us their rig, after twelve years is aging and they both want some quiet time to rest before the summer travels, (if you look at our blog list you will see their blog, Running Down our Dream).
One of the most wonderful things of traveling by rv, is meeting so many nice people Jim was a junior high teacher and a basketball coach in Washington, Pennsylvania, while Nancy worked in an office. We have crossed paths on the road and whenever we get together, it’s always a special time.
They invited us to stay with them and so we made the drive to Stuart, about two hundred miles. They have a beautiful place and they have done a wonderful job, (Nancy especially although Jim also takes part), in imparting their lives in their new home. While there we took a walk on Ross Witham beach and besides shelling, we got to dip our toes in the Atlantic Ocean!
At dinner we were joined by another couple George and Nan. Nan was a former art teacher who also makes jewelry and has sold some on Etsy.
We also walked around their complex and it’s the first time we have had an iguana encounter. Besides the iguanas there are also quite a few different lizards of which most are alien invaders.
The second day they took us to downtown Stuart. Vender booths were set up one of which was a silversmith who did beautiful work setting stones she bought in sterling silver. It’s rare to find someone who saws, grinds, and polish their own stones and that gives us an advantage.
Stuart has a long boardwalk and we strolled along identifying birds and watching brown pelicans diving into the water after the schools of mullet. We also saw American white ibis that have picked up an unhealthy habit and swoop down on tables eating leftover people food.
We ate dinner at a sports bar that had more TVs than any place we have ever been in, too many in fact, and I had to take out my hearing aids as the different voices were deafening. I made it a late night, ten pm, as we stayed up sharing stories of our times on the road. Its always a pleasure to meet fellow bloggers, and when you follow a blog its like you have talked to them every week.
The next day, they fed us great omelets before we packed and headed back to Treasure Island. On the way we passed a landfill and here, because of the high-water table the dump becomes a vertical mountain, on the flat Florida landscape. We also passed mile after mile of orange trees and stopping is against the law!
It has been another great week in Florida! Thank you, Jim and Nancy, for letting us stay with you, for your great hospitality, and for showing us around in Stuart, Florida. Clear skies