Homesteading and Survivalism

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Tag: jasper texas

Planting Loblolly and Longleaf seeds

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When settlers moved into the southern portion of the United States they were greeted by vast forest of Longleaf and Loblolly pine trees.  These were majestic trees reaching heights of over 100 feet tall.

Human greed knows no ends.  Vast tracts of virgin timber were cut down with no regard to conservation or the effects upon wildlife.  By the time the 1930s arrived the Southeast Texas wild Turkey and Whitetail Deer were pretty much extinct.  Because their populations had been decimated, turkey and deer had to be reintroduced to regions of Southeast Texas.

The Red-cockaded woodpecker which nest exclusively in Longleaf pine trees was almost made extinct by deforestation.  The woodpecker covers less than 1% of its original territory.

What lessons did we learn from deforestation and habitat destruction?  Not much.  Timber companies still cut down old growth oak trees to make way for pine plantations.  Thousands of acres are clear cut and replanted in fast growing hybrid pine trees.  Old growth forest are gone forever, or are they?

One of my projects here on the farm is to restore a few acres for old growth oak and pine trees.

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Disrespect for nature

Disrespect for nature
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Friday April 25, 2014 my daughter and I went fishing on the Angelina River here in Jasper Texas.  We left the house around 7:30am, went to the  Exxon gas station at the intersection of HWY 96 and HWY 190 for a bag of ice, went to the donut shop on HWY 190 then headed to Bevil Port.

For breakfast my daughter got a large kolache while I got a ham, egg and cheese croissant.  While at the donut shop I asked my daughter if she wanted a chocolate milk to drink.  She promptly replied she was not three years old anymore.  I smiled, gave her a hug, and told her something like “nope, you are not three years old anymore.”  Kids grow up so fast it seems time flies by.

The launch at Bevil Port was typical.  Pull the boat around, unstrap, make sure the plug is in, load tackle box, life jackets, 5 gallon bucket of noodles, then pull around and back the boat down.  The starter switch on the motor is going out, so I had to use the pull rope to crank the motor.

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Turning Points in My Life

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As I was reading through an article on Toms Hardware about the greatest video cards of all time, I caught myself looking at the dates on the video cards, and then comparing those dates to things that were happening in my life.

Between 1996 – late 1999 were a great time in my life. My third son had been born in 1994, my daughter had been born in 1996, I had a steady job with good benefits, a little overtime here and there.

I started going to Lamar College in Port Arthur around 1995.  It was time to get out of the welding field, so I went to Lamar to learn computers.

Then there were the video games such as Diablo, Quake, Red Alert, and the camping trips into Orangefield Texas in the mid 1990s.

The early Quakecons were a blast. Driving to Dallas, staying with my buddy “Acid Breath” and his wife for the weekend, those were good times.

Around August 1999 all of that fell apart when I was laid off from Allied Fabrication in Rose City. The company had recently lost a lot of money, I had missed time due to my drinking. When it came time to reduce cost, I and a couple of other people were let go.

In all honesty, I loved working at Allied Fabrication. They were a great group of people that I really liked working for.

Regardless of how much I liked the job, all good things must come to an end.

Towards the end of 1999 and into early 2000, I was feeling really down. The jobs I was able to find sucked – terrible pay, no benefits and really long work hours.

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Drawback to Remote Primitive Camping Sites

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One of the major drawbacks to remote primitive camping sites, you never know what idiot you are going to end up next to.

November 24, 2012 a buddy of mine and I headed out to the Angelina river close to Jasper Texas to do some camping. These are primitive camping sites that are only available by boat.

We arrived at the camping site, set the tents up, then headed out to the river to do some fishing. Just before the juglines were set out, I got a call on my phone saying my son-in-law and his hunting buddies caught a hog in the river bottom. The dogs had chased the hog a long way from the boat, and they needed some help. But that is another story.

After helping my son-in-law and his hunting party pack the hog back to the boat, my buddy and I headed back to our camping site.

By the time we got back to the camping site we only had about one hour of light left. We broke out the camp stoves, cooked a quick meal of Mountain House freeze dried foods, then started the camp fire.

Shooting – The whole time my buddy and I were cooking dinner, and starting the camp fire, the group in the next camping site over were shooting their guns. After the sun went down and the last glimpses of light faded away, the people kept shooting their rifles.

Gun safety – trigger disciple, muzzle disciple, target disciple.

How the hell are you supposed to have target disciple when you are shooting into pitch black darkness?

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Walmart Jasper Texas and Black Friday

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This is a rant about walmart in Jasper Texas not having the Sig Sauer M400 rifle like they are advertising in the black friday sales paper.

What the hell has happened to the nation that firearms are put behind big screen TVs and video games? I found out today the walmart in my town (Jasper Texas) is not going to have the Sig Sauer M400.

The next nearest walmart, which is in Woodville Texas is not going to have the rifle either. The walmart in Silsbee Texas said it is going to have 3 of the Sig Sauer M400 rifle sin stock.

Looks like I might have to drive an hour one way to get a Sig Sauer M400.

This really pisses me off. I bet walmart is going to have plenty of video games, wii, playstations,,,, and everything else, but no AR-15s?

What is happening to this nation that a store does not carry a rifle it advertises? I thought there were laws that prohibited deceptive advertising. If a store advertises a product, I thought they were supposed to have it in stock?

Black friday is supposed to be the biggest shopping day of the year, but no AR-15s at walmart? What would Sam Walton say? I thought Sam was supposed to be sportsmen friendly?

Screw video games, TVs and bb guns, I want a Sig Sauer M400 for Christmas.

I have sent several tweets to walmart, but they have yet to reply. I doubt they care if I get my M400 for Christmas. Maybe I should get Devil Dog guns in Jasper Texas to order me a Bravo Company rifle instead of dealing with walmart.

Fishing Trip October 19 2012

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Man oh man, what a day.  Long story short, my wife (her name is Kristy) and I went fishing on the Angelina river south of Bevil Port, which is close to Jasper Texas.  We caught some fish and had a great time.

Now for the rest of the story

Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn, Kristy and I decided to sleep late.  A cool front pushed through Wednesday October 17, which dropped the morning temp down to 47 degrees.  We did not want to deal with temps in the upper 40s, so we waited a little late in morning to head out.

Kristy got up and did our usual morning routine, which includes  a shower, brushing teeth, getting dressed,,, just your typical stuff.

For breakfast Kristy fixed me a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich.  The egg came from our chickens.

Boat loaded up and ready to goThe boat was hooked to the truck and the gear was loaded up.  For this trip I brought my Maxpedition Condor II, 2 closed face reels, one open face reel, 16 noodles, Igloo marine ice chest, tackle box, catfish bucket, collapsible cooler, and a pair of shorts for Kristy and I to change into when the weather warmed up.

Usually, Kristy and I will make a trip to a corner store down the road from our house to buy a couple of bags of ice for the Igloo marine icechest.  Instead of buying ice, Kristy put our drinks, sandwich stuff and snacks into the collapsible cooler, then put the collapsible cooler into the Igloo marine ice chest.

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Trip to the hunting lease October 4 2012

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Long story short, my dad and I went to the hunting lease, filled up the feeders, bush-hogged the 4 wheeler trails then went home.

Now for the rest of the story, The day started off nice and cool.  Here in southeast Texas its takes a little while for the summer heat to wear off.  It is not unusual for the first part of November to have highs in the 80s.  There have been times when I have been sitting in a deer stand on opening weekend sweating.

On October 4th fall was in the air.  A cool front had pushed through a couple of days earlier, which helped bring the temps down to a bearable level.

Dad went to the camp on October 3rd, were he spent the night.  The plans were for dad to pick me up in Jasper, then we were going to the hunting lease.

Kristy and I woke up Thursday morning, did our typical morning routine, which includes a shower, brush our teeth, then eat breakfast.  While I was eating breakfast, I called dad, he said he was running a little late.  I asked dad if he wanted Kristy to fix him some breakfast, he said sure.

Dad showed up about 45 minutes later; Kristy fixed him some sunny side up eggs the hens had laid.

After dad finished his breakfast we went to walmart in Jasper to pick up some deer corn.  I tell you what, the price of deer corn has gotten outrageous.   A few years ago corn was somewhere around $4.75 a bag, now its almost $10 a bag.

Dad bought 16 bags of deer corn.  He had 4 bags in the back of the truck, so there was a total of 20 bags to put in the deer feeders.

We left walmart and drove to the hunting lease.

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River trip part 4

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This update was supposed to be in 2 parts. The first part was supposed to be doing some maintenance to the boat, such as fixing some broken rivets. The second part was supposed to be taking the boat out on the river to make sure is running ok, and to to use a GPS to see how fast the boat can travel down the river.

Well, the boat never made it to the river.

Broken boat rivetThe front of the boat has a deck that is held in place with rivets. Over the years of walking on the deck the rivets have slowly pulled lose or broken.

Replacing the rivets

Use a drill bit the size of the rivet, drill through the middle of the rivet, the head should come loose.

Use a punch or drift pen to drive out the middle of the rivet.

If the rivet does not want to drive out, use the drill to drill it out.

Insert new rivet into the hole.

Use a rivet gun to secure the rivet.

Fixing boat rivetsIn all, 25 rivets were replaced, which took about an hour.

If you are wondering what that stuff is on the deck of the boat, that is boat carpet that has rotted and fallen off. I need to take a scarper to remove the last bit of the carpet. My son suggested taking the boat to a car wash, then using the high pressure setting to wash the rest of the carpet off.

I thought about getting a stainless steel wire wheel for my grinder to buff the last parts of the carpet off.  But then again, a paint scraper might work just as good.

Why the boat did not make it to the river

The lower unit is leaking oil.

Evinrude leaking oil from lower unitBefore the boat was taken on the upcoming 100+ mile river camping trip, I wanted to put in the shop for some preventive maintenance.  The water pump impeller had never been changed, the spark plugs needed to be replaced and I wanted the oil in the lower unit replaced.

While the boat was in the shop, the mechanic discovered the power pack was going bad.  This might have explained why the motor had been difficult to start.  After talking with the mechanic on the phone, I gave the go ahead to replace whatever needed to be replaced.

When I got the boat back, the motor would not even idle.  I also noticed there was some oil on the ground below the motor.  I did not think anything about the oil, I thought it was residue from the mechanic cleaning the motor.

After a closer look, it appears the oil is leaking from a water vent hole.

Edit

At first I thought something was wrong with the motor, but after talking with my dad and several internet searches it seems that its just un-burned oil in the gas.  My dad suggested that I take the fill screw out of the skeg, check the oil for water, and go from there.

My wife and I are planning on taking the boat out on the river today. While we are out I plan on getting a fresh can of gas, mix in some oil and go from there.

Forum thread on Evinrude 30 horsepower leaking oil.

Other sections to this article:

River trip part 1
River trip part 2
River trip part 3

This series of articles is in preps of a 100+ mile river / camping trip down the Sabine river.  My buddies and I are planning on launching the boats around Bon Weir Texas, and ending up in Bridge City.

River trip part 3

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Evinrude 30 Horsepower Angelina River TexasWhen planning a trip like a 100+ mile river / camping trip, its important to test your gear. Part of the testing phase is making sure your boat is in good running order. The purpose of todays trip was to test the boat to make sure it was in good running order.

A few weeks ago I put the boat in for repairs. During a recent camping trip a bolt fell out of the gear shifting lever, the water pump impeller has never been changed, and the spark plugs were looking a little old, the oil in the lower unit had never been changed and there was a short in the starter button.

Trip to the shop

I brought the boat to a local boat repair place. the service guy was told what I wanted, I even had him go out to the boat and take a look at something I wanted fixed.

When I got the boat back, not was it running worse then before it went in the shop, but some of the parts I wanted fixed were still on the boat. I especially told the guy I wanted a part replaced. Since it was not replaced, I guess what I said was not important enough for him to listen to me.

While I was talking to the guy about what all I wanted done to the boat, I specifically told him some of my buddies and I were planning a 100 boat trip down the Sabine river.  The plan is to out in at Bon Weir where HWY 190 crosses the Sabine river, and go all the way to Bridge City.  I hoped the service guy would take what I told him about the river trip I had planned, and with that information make absolutely sure the boat was in running order before I got it back.

Before the boat was taken out to the river for a test run, the water hose was connected to the motor, the motor was cranked and let run for a few minutes.  The motor seemed to be running a little rough.  I did not think anything about it.

The trailer was hooked up to my truck, and off to the boat launch my step son and I went.

Once in the water, the motor cranked up fine, but seemed to idle a little rough.

I back the boat out to the main river channel, then gently throttled the motor.  As soon as the boat started to plane out, I knew something was wrong.  At maximum throttle, the boat would drop RPMs.  On top of acting a little sluggish, the motor does not sound right.  Its difficult to describe, but something just does not sound right.

Spare parts

While talking to a buddy of mine a few days ago, I need to pick up some spare parts for the trip.

Some of the spare parts I may need to bring:

Spare fuel line
Duct tape
Electrical tape
Fuses for the light system
Pliers
Screw drivers

One thing that will shut down a boat motor quick, and that is a broken fuel line. The fuel line on my boat is getting close to 3 years old. It would be pretty bad if the fuel line ruptured while on the trip.

Other sections to this article:

River trip part 1
River trip part 2
River trip part 4

Field trip with nature class

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Wilderness hikingContrary to popular belief, nature classes do not take their clothes off and run around naked in the woods. In fact its just the opposite. We keep our clothes on and drive to where we want to go.

Saturday morning the nature class that I am a member of did a field trip. The purpose of the field trip was to see some of the native and rare plants, and to see some of the unique geological formations around the Jasper Texas area.

At 8:00am we met in the parking lot of the Stump restaurant on hwy 255, which is just north of Jasper Texas. The places where we were going to go were old logging roads. The people that drove cars parked their vehicles at a nearby hotel, then we carpooled in the 4 wheel drive trucks and SUVs.

The first place we stopped at was on top of a pipeline. We parked our trucks on top of the hill, then walked around the rim of the hill top looking at different types of trees and plants.

After we got finished looking at the plants, we went back to the trucks, over the hill and down to a creek bottom. The cool thing about the creek bottom, it was filled with petrified wood. There were small pieces, large pieces and medium sized pieces. One of the men in the group was an amateur geologist. He talked to the class about the different types of trees that grew in southeast Texas during the last ice age – white oak, pine (conifer trees) and palm trees.

One piece of petrified wood we found must have weighed close to 300 pounds and was about 3 feet long. On the outside of the piece was petrified resin, like the resin that comes out of a pine tree. Some of the amateur geologist estimated the piece could be up to 200 million years old.

Some of the petrified wood sticking out of the ground in the creek bottom seemed to be in layers – layer of petrified wood, layer of dirt, layer of petrified wood, layer of dirt. I wondered how any tens of thousands, or even millions of years had to pass for the petrified wood to be laid down in the manner that it was. Some of the pieces were rather large in diameter, maybe 2 feet across, and that was only about 1/2 of the diameter of the original tree. It was like the original tree broke in half, and only half of the tree became petrified.

After looking around the hill top for maybe an hour, loaded up in the trucks and drove through some of the logging roads. As we were driving along, the guides would stop and show everyone some of the unique plants in the area – like the Arkansas oak tree, wild plums, chickpea tree,,, and a few other plants that I can not remember the names of.

Maxpedition NoatakFor the trip I bought along my Maxpedition Noatak, 32 ounce Maxpedition water bottle, peanut butter and honey sandwich, bag of chips, breakfast bar (for a snack), GPS, compass, rain poncho, camera,,,, and a few other things.

With temps in the upper 90s by noon, I was sucking down the water right and left.  I felt like I was sweating faster then my body could digest the water I was drinking.

In 5 hours, from 8:00am from when we started, until 1pm, I drank close to 50 ounces of water – a 32 ounce water bottle, a 16.9 ounce water bottle, and some water out of a cooler.  The thing was, the group was not walking “that” much, and we were in the shade a lot of the time.

Being out in the 100 degree heat made everyone sweat more then we could drink.  When the group arrived at a waterfall, one of the ladies got under the water to cool off.  A couple of other people took their shoes off and waded through the water to cool off.  A couple of other people used cloth rags soaked in water to cool their heads off.

Around 12 noon we stopped at a waterfall, ate lunch, and took a break from moving around.  The waterfall in the background made for a beautiful backdrop for our lunch break.

Feeling refreshed from our lunch break the group loaded up and headed to the next location, which was a waterfall.

As the group was standing around the waterfalls, I could not help but wonder how primitive man used those locations.  Were the waterfalls a place to wash clothes, meet and socialize with other people from the tribe?  Just as we ate lunch at the waterfall, did people a thousand years go do the same thing?

We ended our field trip around 1:00pm.  Overall everyone seemed to have a good time, except for the heat.  We will probably take another field trip sometime in the spring, when the weather is a little cooler.

Post your comments in this forum thread about my nature class field trip.

Wildfire in Jasper Texas

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On Saturday June 18, 2011 the residents of Jasper Texas got the dreaded news,  a wildfire has broken out in the Northern part of the county.  Over the past couple of months Jasper county has been under a burn ban.  But for some reason, people still continue to burn outdoors.

A few weeks ago a fire broke out close to Sand creek park on the south side of Dam B.  After a couple of days the fire was contained.  But this new fire was different, it was in a part of the county that was difficult to access.

jasper texas wildfire

It seems that this new fire was started when someone was shooting propane tanks.  The size of the propane tanks is unknown at the time.  But the fire must have happened pretty fast, because the people (or person) left their ice chest full of beer at the scene of where the fire started.  Police have taken the ice chest and the contents as evidence.

As of Sunday around 5pm, highway 255 remained open.  Sometime around 8:00pm central time, highway 255 and part of 1007 was closed to through traffic.

As of Saturday night, somewhere around 1,500 – 2,000 acres have been burned.

A camper trailer and a canvas tent in a deer camp in the path of the fire were consumed by the inferno.

This wildfire brings up several questions:

1 – The intelligence of some people.  Jasper county has been under a burn ban for several months.  Who in their right mind goes out to the middle of the woods and starts shooting propane tanks?  What does that say about people?  The person clearly did not understand the widespread disaster their reckless action would cause.

2 – Your remote camp / bug out location is not as safe as you think.  The reckless actions of someone miles away could destroy everything that you and your family have worked for.  This is where your going to need some kind of home owners insurance to help rebuild.

Good thing this wildfire did not happen during some kind of long term SHTF survival situation.

Post your comments in this forum thread about the wildfire in Jasper Texas.

Fishing in slews and gators

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Alligator Magnolia Ridge Park Steinhagen ReservoirShort version: This morning my daughter and I went to a local park to go fishing. After a few minutes a 6 foot gator showed up to see what was going on.

Over the course of about 15 – 20 minutes, the gator slowly worked its way to within about 8 – 10 feet of the bank.  the day was getting hot, and the gator was getting a little too close, so my daughter and I decided to pack up and go home.

Long Version:  The day started off around 10:30am when my daughter decided it was time to drag herself out of bed so we could finally go fishing.  I had already been up for a couple of hours, had gotten my shower, brushed my teeth, and even made a trip to the store to pick up a couple of low carb blue rock star energy drinks.

While I was waiting for my daughter to get ready, I went through my tackle box, sorted through some of my fishing gear, rounded up the fishing poles, loaded a small ice chest with drinking water into my truck,,,,, finally we were ready to go.

As we were driving out to the park, the wind was hitting the side of my truck pretty good.  With the wind like it was, I figured the water around Martin Dies State Park would be stirred up pretty good.   So my daughter and I changed plans, and went to Magnolia Ridge Park.

As my daughter and I stopped at the entrance of Magnolia Ridge Park to talk to the attendant, I noticed the lady was eating on a burger.  And I must say, that was a nice looking burger.  After talking for a few minutes, the attendant told me where she got her burger at.  As my daughter and I entered the park, we made a u-turn, went back out to the main rode, and drove to the local country store to get us a cheese burger.  It was lunch time anyway, so why not.

Time to eat – I do not remember the stores name, but its right across the road from a rest area that over looks Dam B.  We placed our order – 2 cheeseburgers, with everything, but cut the onions.

While we were waiting for the burgers to be cooked, my daughter and I walked across the road and looked over Dam B.  I think its rather neat how the Neches river winds its way from Jasper, all the way down to Sabine Lake.

After talking about the Dam and the lake for a few minutes, my daughter and I walked back across the road to the store, got a fountain drink to go with our burgers, then drove back to Magnolia Ridge Park.

There is a spot at the very back of the park where there are some camping areas and a nice bathroom – that is where my daughter and I went.

When we arrived at the spot, I ate my burger and walked along the waters edge looking for a place to fish.  There was a nice cypress tree that was growing on the edge of the water, there were also some open spots in the water that were not covered by moss.

Fishing Steinhagen Reservoir Woodville Texas

Here is the thing with the tree – fish like to hang out under trees, and the tree provides shade to keep the hot sun off my head. In a survival situation take shade when possible. Its not a good idea to stand out in the hot sun when its 100 degrees.

Why do fish like to hang out under trees? Maybe its the change of water temp, with the water under the tree being cooler then out in the open water. Maybe its the occasional meal when a bug falls out of the tree and lands in the water.

The first line in the water was not for perch, but for catfish.

A few days ago I went by a local sporting goods store and picked up some leader material to make homemade leaders. The leader had a swivel where the line was going to be tied, then two 30 pound cable attached to the other side of the swivel. One cable was about 10 inches along and had a weight attached. The other cable was about 16 or 18 inches long and had a #1 hook attached.

The hook was baited with a worm, then cast about 40 feet off the bank. As I cast the bait, something splashed in the water no more then about 6 feet off the bank. There are only a few things that get that close to bank, and one of them is an alligator.

When the rig was reeled in, there was so much moss in the water that it got hung up and the line broke.

Ok, enough with the catfishing, the moss is too thick, lets see how the perch are biting.

The good thing about the perch, the moss stopped maybe 8 – 10 feet away from the bank. This provided a nice place to drop the hook and worm without getting hung up.

Those perch must have been hungry. As soon as the worm hit the water, they went after it.East Texas Perch

It was at this time that I saw what had splashed in the water a few minutes earlier, and it was a gator. Gators are a common sight around Southeast Texas. When I was growing up in Bridge City, gators were a common sight in the bayous and marshes. There were lots of times when I passed a gator while hydro-sliding down Cow Bayou.

As long as you keep your distance, don’t harass them, don’t try to hand feed them, keep small pets and children away from the water, everything should be good.

Unlike cats and dogs, gators are not interested in being petted. A little scratching behind the ears is not going to win them over, so don’t even try.  With their thick skin, is a gator even going to feel you trying to scratch behind its ears to start with?

As more fish were caught and thrown back, the gator zeroed in on the commotion in the water.  Over the course of maybe 15 – 20 minutes, the gator moved from about 30 feet away, to about 8 feet off the bank.

The gator appeared to be about 6 feet long.  At that length, I do not think he posed any real danger to myself or my daughter.  As long as we did not go into the water, everything should have been fine.  But even with this knowledge, I could not help but to feel uneasy with our unwelcome guest so close at hand.  Although I have been around gators for most of my life, there is just something about being so close to a top level predator that is difficult to describe.SouthEast Texas Alligator

The weather was getting a little hot, the gator was a little too close for comfort, so my daughter and I packed up and headed home.

When my daughter and I decided to go home, it was more then “lets go home”, I felt that I needed to set an example for her to follow.  That example was to give wildlife their room.

We had intruded into the gators home.  I could have thrown a stick across the gators head and drove it away, but what kind of example would that have set for my daughter?  That we go into nature and drive the animals away?  No, we have to share our planet with nature.

Even though the gator did not pose a danger, I felt it was important to set an example for my daughter and that example was why we went home.

On top of giving wildlife its space, my daughter, my wife and I had plans on going to the movies later in the evening.  My wife and I were going to go see Green Lantern, and my daughter wanted to go see some penguin movie with Jim Carrey.  So lets go home, and get freshened up before we have to go to the movies.

While we are on the topic of gators, how about a video from July 2010 where I spot a gator on the Angelina River. Some friends and I were out in the boat, when we spot a gator tearing chunks off of a dead turtle.

Post your comments in this forum thread about fishing with my daughter.

Going out on the Angelina River

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Weldbilt boat on the Angelina RiverLast Saturday my wife and I went out on the Angelina River south of Lake Sam Rayburn for a day of fishing and relaxation. Long story short, it was hot, my wife got sunburned, and she caught the only fish of the day.

I don’t know what it is, but the fish just were not biting. The fish were not biting pumpkin seed worms in a Texas rig, nor were they biting a beetle spin. The only thing we even got a nibble on was a worm on a perch hook.

Awhile back I received some lures from Daves Great Outdoors, also known as The Fishin Shack.  One of the lures I rigged up like a beetle spin.  That was the only lure that I saw fish cashing, but nothing was hitting.  The fish would follow the lure right up to the boat, then turn around.  Which was more then they were doing for the pumpkin seed worm.

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Another weekend has passed away

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jasper texasHave you ever had a weekend that you never wanted to end? Well, that is the weekend that I had this weekend. Things kicked off Friday with getting ready for Relay for Life here in Jasper County. TJ went to Beaumont to pick up my kids from my ex-wife for the weekend, so that saved me a LOT of time. After lunch I washed my truck, hooked up the pit, loaded up some stuff, left home about 5pm, drove to the Jasper County court house square, and setup for the relay.

The thing that I spent a lot of time thinking about Friday was washing my truck. Because it was more then just washing off dirt, it was washing off memories. The majority of the dirt on my truck was from driving to the lease during hunting season. So the dirt had built up like memories, good memories. Like when my son got his deer for the 2010 – 2011 deer season. For the deer hunting story, visit this article – our first deer of the 2010- 2011 season.  As I was washing the layers of dirt off, I was also thinking about the memories built around the truck over the past few months.

Around 4pm my wife and my step-daughter show up and start loading stuff into the truck.  We loaded up the canopy, ice chest, tables,,,,, and other stuff.  they left a little before 5pm to go get ice.  I left for the court house around 5.

Got to the court house square, backed the pit into place, and started setting everything up. The event started at 7pm, and within minutes we had a line at our table. We were selling hotlinks – on a bun, stick, or flatbread.

In all, we raised a little over $600 Friday night, which was donated that night.

There did not seem to be as many people at this years relay as last year. The weather was great, so I dont know what the issue was.

Even though we were supposed to stay all night for the relay, I had made prior commitments for Saturday.   Somewhere around 2:15am we loaded up our stuff and headed home.  We had a good time at the relay, but I had promised to help a buddy Saturday.

Saturday morning rolled around, my buddy called and did not need my help after all.

Sunday evening we went to a birthday party at a bowling alley in Beaumont.  My wife and I rented a lane for my kids and a friend of theirs, and got them a pizza for lunch.  Everyone seemed to have a good time, at least I hope they had a good time.

We dropped the kids off with my ex-wife around 3:30.  From there my wife and I went to Kroger in Beaumont to look for long term food storage items.

Unfortunately we did not find what we were looking for (powdered eggs), so we went to HEB in Beaumont.  I could not find powered eggs their either, but we did find pinto beans in 20 pound bags for making up some 5 gallon bucket superpails. The 5 gallon mylar bags and oxygen absorbers were ordered last week and will hopefully be in Monday or Tuesday. When the mylar bags come in next week my wife and I are going to make up 5 – 5 gallon buckets; 1 – rice, 1 – pinto beans, 1 – bisquick, and that is all my wife and I have talked about. The last 2 buckets I am not real sure about yet.

I am pretty happy with my canned food stockpile, so now its time to move forward to stockpiling food in mylar bags.  The goal is to have a stockpile at my home, and at the camp.  Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that is where I am starting with my mylar bag project.  We need powered milk, powered eggs, powered milk, instant pancake mix,,,,, and a few other odds and ends.

I will post more about the mylar bag project later.

Out on the Angelina River sunday

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Angelina river Jasper TexasWhat happened to the clear skies we were supposed to have Saturday and Sunday? For the past 2 or 3 days the local weather people have been saying the clouds were going to push out by Friday, and we were going to have clear skies Saturday and Sunday,,, what happened?. Instead of being clear and sunny, we had overcast skys, chilly temps and winds gusting out of the south up to 35 miles per hour.

We were “supposed” to head out on the river Saturday, but postponed things until Sunday morning. Sunday morning my mom, dad and my wife headed out to the Angelina River here in East Texas for a boat ride, picnic and do some fishing.

We launched the 2 boats at Bevil Port, headed north for a little bit, then turned south. After maybe 15 minutes of heading south on the Angelina River, we saw a nice sized gator on a log catching some rays. The first signs of summer were out in force. The trees were starting to bloom, the wind was out of the south, and the gators were starting to stir.

We stopped at Angelina 1 primitive camping site, had lunch, did some fishing, took some picture, then loaded up our gear and headed down to the forks of the rivers – where the Angelina and the Neches rivers meet. We tried to do some fishing, but the gusting wind was pushing the boats around too bad.

After a little while of “trying” to fish, we headed back to the boat ramp, loaded up the boats and went home.

It wont be long and spring will be in full bloom.  Hopefully the fish will start biting, and the weather will settle down a little bit.

The dry summer of 2010 is still playing havoc with the water levels of Lake Sam Rayburn.  Before we decided to go out on the river, mom, dad, my wife and I made a trip up to Mill Creek park to take a look at the lake – it was probably 10 feet low.  We need some rain bad, or else the lake level will continue to drop.

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