Saturday, November 25, 2023

November 2023 fishing Report

The weather here is the limiting factor on our fishing. When we first got here it was so hot and humid that we stayed inside. In Wyoming we rarely use our air conditioner, and when we had a house, we didn’t have air conditioning for thirty years. Here it’s a must. We did manage to have some breaks in the weather and have gotten out three times. The first time was at Goose Island State Park, where we caught small, speckled trout, an alligator gar, and small sand trout. Its always fun to catch fish but we had hoped for some to eat. A week later the wind was down, and Renita and I took our kayaks out to our favorite spot. Arriving we were dismayed to see a boat sitting on it. We fished in other places with no luck. Finally the boat left the spot and we paddled frantically to the shell ridge.
On the first cast I caught an eighteen-inch sheepshead! It’s one of our favorite eating fish along with black drum, pompano, flounder, and speckled trout. Lots of people here love redfish, and while we do keep ones for grilling on the half shell, its down our list of fish to eat, (leaving the skin on and grilling the fillet). The flesh is somewhat coarse compared to our other favorites. It was Renita’s turn next, and she caught several speckled trout, a nice sting ray, and even wound in a blue crab! I got lucky and added a keeper speckled trout. Just before we left. Renita landed a large sting ray and the biggest speckled trout of the day, over sixteen inches! This all happened in less than two hours before the wind came up and we had to leave. It was starting to whitecap. Our kayaks are small and while we could handle the waves it’s too hard to paddle and so we headed back to our car..
On our third trip we returned to the state park. This time the speckled trout were hitting and we both caught several but Renita took the cake. I had to go back to the car and when I returned, she was fighting a nice fish on my pole! We were both surprised when she landed a nice pompano. Usually, we only catch them while surf fishing and this was the first and largest pompano we have caught! I later filleted the fish, and the two fillets were more than we could eat at one setting. So the fishing has been good, when we get out, and we have had three meals from our catches. There is nothing better than fresh fish. However, another cold front, with strong winds, has passed through and it looks like we won’t get out till next Wednesday.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

The Houston Gem and Mineral Show, Humble, Texas

Each year we attend rock and fossil shows. One of the purposes is to purchase rough rock, slabs, and even finished cabs to turn into jewelry, (over 90% of our cabs are ones we grind ourselves). One of our favorite shows is th Houton Gem and Mineral Society’s show held in Humble, Texas. It’s about two hundred plus miles from us. We were delighted when Angie and Pete,(cousins), invited us to stay at their home, (Pete is a retired Petroleum Geologist and has a lifelong passion for rocks)
. Arriving at their house we ate a quick lunch, visited a bit and then headed to the show! We try to attend all three days for any special rocks or sales taking place and this year it was a great plan. Arriving at the show Renita and I hurried to one of our favorite dealers.
He had a sign up, “Going out of business, 60 percent off”. He didn’t have much left,
but he did have a Mexican opal and a 300-gram piece of polished Larimar, (that’s about two thirds of a pound). One of the mail reasons we went to the show was to purchase Larimar cabs. Stopping at another of our favorite dealers we saw she had a case of larimar cabs. Deciding to wait till Saturday, we quickly walked around and then headed back to Pete and Angie’s house. The next morning, we had breakfast before heading to the show and didn’t get there till about ten thirty.
Our first stop was at the business with the case of larimar cabs and we saw she had sold some. Now Larimar is only found in one place, the Dominican Republic, and the one mine in the world has been closed. The price is going up and so we bought eight nice cabochons. We next went to another dealer and bought two more larimar cabs, spending more than we wanted, (larimar is tough to grind and we spent a lot for a piece of rough that shattered). From there we split up and looked for whatever caught our eye. A new dealer specialized in wooly mammoth teeth, wooly rhinoceros’ teeth, and other fossils.
They were the best we have ever seen and so I had to buy the best wooly rhinoceros’ tooth in his shop. They were all from Siberia. I also wanted to buy one of his wooly mammoth teeth, but I had already blown through our budget.
Lunch time came and passed so we left the show and ate at our favorite café, The Humble Café. The serving size was more than we could eat and we ended up taking home almost half of what they had served us, (I managed to eat all of the four fillets of my catfish). The third day of the show and we returned to find out that several dealers had sold all out and were and packing up. We ran into members of our Gulf Coast Gem and Mineral Society.
Still Renita did find several pieces for her own collection,
and I bought several of the Moroccan fossil sand dollars.
Joining forces, we walked around and bought a slab of Mexican Crazy lace agate.
It’s one of our favorite materials and we should be able to make three or four cabs from the large slice. The next day we said our goodbyes, and headed south ot our place in Rockport, Texas. It was a great show, and we will soon start wire wrapping the pieces for next year’s shows. Our first Texas show is in February and then the Gulf Coast Gem and Mineral Society show. It’s always the first weekend in March! Clear skies

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Leorna Turnbill Birding Center October 28th, 2023

From Charley’s pasture we next drove to the Leorna Turnbill Birding Center. As usual the parking lot was almost full and after parking, we headed to the first viewing Tower. We noticed a birder with a huge lens that was attempting to take pictures of a Northern Parula and Common Yellowthroats. We stopped and got some great pictures ourselves.
Another bird that posed was a Lesser Yellowlegs and as we walked out, we watched a great egret hunting for its meal.
Another birder stopped to talk and told us that he had seen Sora, Virgina and Clapper rails.
That got my attention as we have yet to add a clapper rail to our life list.
Would we have two new birds in one day? We never did see the clapper rail. Reaching the first fork in the elevated boardwalk we turned towards the second Tower, Underneath the Tower, a night crowned heron perched,
and the huge resident alligator was lying in the tower’s shade. It started to come out from under the tower, and Renita took quite a few pictures.
American White Pelicans, shovelers and mottled ducks were crowded together, along with blue-winged teals and White ibis.
Still looking for a clapper rail, I left the tower and walked further along the boardwalk but didn’t spot one. We had had a pleasant morning and so we left for our winter spot. It’s always fun to have such a good birding partner, to share our discoveries, and to learn from the knowledgeable birders that live in Port Aransas. Clear skies