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Sunday, August 31. 2008
Dove season had just opened in the south zone, and having nothing special to do that Saturday, Layla and I decided weâ€™d run down to Crystal City for a hunt.Â We could be back to our home in Cypress before midnight and then, gas was only around $.60 a gallon!
Our plan was to find a shady spot around the stock tank and ambush the Doves when they came into water.Â This was a great plan, but arriving at our lease and driving into the stock tank, we found it completely dry!Â We were pacing around and worrying about what to do when Eldred Lawrence drove up.Â He too had made identical plans as ours and couldnâ€™t understand why, or how, the tank had dried up so fast.
Walking around and worrying, no shooting yet since it was a good hour before the Doves would water, I noticed a 2 inch hose and curiously followed it to a large pump with an electric motor.Â The pump was directly wired to an incoming 220 line and beside it was a switch on a fuse box. Â
Quickly adding 2+2 and getting a solution, I would see if the pump worked and if it would pump water.Â Hollering for El and Layla to come over, I flipped the switch, the motor hummed the hose â€œbowed upâ€ and out came water into the tank!
Saying, â€œWhy donâ€™t we just run this hose for and hour or so, until the birds come around, then we can turn it off?â€Â My fellow hunters agreed.
El walked across the tank from us and sat his stool in the dappled shade of a mesquite tree.Â Layla and I spaced apart and followed suit.Â The pump kept pumping and soon we had enough water in the bottom of the tank to make a difference.Â As the pump pumped and the water gushed, the first flight of Doves came zipping in and tried to land in a dead mesquite next to El.
Rising up, he fired, bam, bam, bam and one Dove tumbled down.Â Here came another bunch toward Layla and I and we knocked down 3.Â Running over to the switch, I flipped it off as El whirled around and fired away from the tank and the bird tumbled into the brush.Â He got up to go retrieve it and I returned to my vigil.
â€œSon of a gun!â€Â Boom, boom, boom, both El and his 12 gauge, autoloader barked.Â I didnâ€™t see any birds, so I thought a predator perhaps.Â He called to us, â€œJon, Layla, come over and see this rattler.â€
Walking over to him, several pieces of a large Rattle Snake were laying 3 or 4 feet from the downed, Dove.Â We figured the snake made a serious mistake and thought he had found an easy meal.
We had an excellent hunt and in a little over an hour, ended up with 3 limits and no more snakes,.Â Any bird that fell outside of the tank was carefully retrieved and, during the retrieve, all eyes were firmly locked on the ground!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, August 29. 2008
This past Monday I had lunch with Brad and his wife, Joan.Â After lunch, as Brad and I went out to load some oak firewood into my truck, I noticed this motivational poster lying on his workbench.
Picking it up and admiring it, Brad told me that heâ€™d seen this picture when heâ€™d been in Iraq and, that obviously, someone had added the 'sentiment' and made a poster out of it.Â
The picture is of an Army sniper and his M-14, in Falluja during the big fight there.Â The â€œsmiley faceâ€™ got my attention, but I really liked the prose.
Remember, â€œThree muscles for proper trigger squeezeâ€, but always keep smiling!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, August 27. 2008
My life has been blessed with many different events; some rewarding, some terrifying, many dangerous, many stimulating, but none remain with me like Allison, the tropical storm that flooded and devastated not only Texas and Louisiana, but also the Southeast and Eastern United States. Â
Damage estimates were over six billion dollars.Â Texas and Louisiana led the list, with third place in damage, of all things, Pennsylvania!Â Over forty people were killed by the storm, twenty-three in Texas alone, and Allison dumped over forty inches of rain on southeast Texas, which was the fourth highest amount of any storm in recorded history
Allison began as a tropical wave off the coast of Africa, moved west and crossed upper, South America into the Pacific, then moved over Mexico back into the Gulf of Mexico and wandered north, made landfall between Freeport and Galveston Island, with the eyes, yes two eyes, passing over Bayou Vista.Â It hit Houston and moved not over 100 miles north and stalled, then moved south back into the Gulf Of Mexico, pounding the entire Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard and finally sputtering out in Massachusetts where it produced a tornado and flooding.Â It was the costliest tropical storm in history and the only one that has had its name retired!
Houston experienced over seven inches of rain in one hour and over twenty-eight inches in twelve hours and that is where my Allison story begins.Â
Continue reading "Two Eyes, Tropical Storm Allison"
Posted by Jon Bryan in Weather at 08:05 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, August 25. 2008
In August of 1941, my family and I had recently moved into our newly constructed home in a brand new, incorporated, subdivision, several miles outside of Houstonâ€™s western boundary.Â Being west of Rice Institute (now University), the subdivision was aptly named West University.Â â€˜West Uâ€™ as we called it had, and still has, its own fire, police and water departments.Â Â Â
Houstonâ€™s urban sprawl now has encircled â€˜West Uâ€™ and driven prices sky-high!Â Our 3, bed room, frame, house and lot, had cost $3,900.Â Today lots are over $100K and homes over $400K.Â Back then, drainage ditches lined the streets that were â€™pavedâ€™ with oyster shell.Â When new shell was applied to the streets, on calm and still days, the smell was overpowering!Â Now â€˜West Uâ€™ is a model, pricey, yuppie haven, not the almost country place of my youth.
The radio had alerted us of a storm thrashing around in the Gulf of Mexico and apparently headed for landfall on the upper Texas coast.Â It hit between Galveston and Freeport and unknown to us, was headed our way.Â Now, with satellites and radar we can tell within miles of where one of these monsters will hit.Â Back then it was just an educated guess.Â Â To me, not yet 6 years old, it sounded like a lot of fun!Â Looking back, I just donâ€™t know how we survived without the TV weather folks telling us what to do, how to pack our survival items and not to drive our cars into the deep water!
The storm made landfall and bored inland.Â â€˜West Uâ€™ is about 60 miles as the â€˜crow fliesâ€™ from the coast and we received almost the full fury of the storm!Â Â The rain was first, beginning in mid morning, then the wind, strengthening and making noises that I had never heard before.Â By early evening the lights went out, the telephone was dead and we had lost all power.Â Â Lightning flashed, thunder roared, the rain came down in sheets, but our new house held together!Â Then everything stopped!
The hurricaneâ€™s eye was passing right over us my Mom and Dad explained to my sister, H.R., and me, as they took us outside for a quick look around.Â It was dark but we could tell that there were no clouds above us, the stars were out and there was no storm, wind, rain or lightning.Â Our parents hurried us back inside and we waited for the onslaught to begin again, and it did with a vengeance!Â More wind and heavy, rain, not as much thunder and lightning, but the storm pounded us until morning. Â
The hurricane had moved away and following my Dad outside, we both heard a tiny â€Mewâ€ and looked under the edge of our house (it was built on a block foundation and raised about 18â€ above ground level) and found that the source of the â€œmewâ€ was a tiny, yellow kitten.Â I picked him, I discovered later, up and ran back inside, yelling, â€œMother, can we keep it?â€Â She replied, â€œIf your Dad says so.â€Â He was easy on this one and â€˜Tomâ€™ lived with us for the next 14 years.
Not knowing it then, but we had a much bigger and deadlier â€˜stormâ€™ coming our way on December 7, 1941!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Weather at 08:05 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, August 22. 2008
One of our Grandkids, Sara, a sophomore, was selected to be a varsity cheerleader for the Copperas Cove Bull Dawgs, a Class 5A school.Â Quite an accomplishment!Â The 'Dawgs' have been to 'State' the last 2 seasons.
Goldthwaite is no different and last Friday night, held in the high school gym in deference to the heat, was the official start of their season â€“ Meet The Eagles! ÂLayla and I had two of our Grandkids introduced.Â
Colton, on the left, was introduced as a varsity, defensive line backer and offensive guard.Â He made his goal of making the varsity team as a freshman.Â Colton, and his friend, Tyler, both being freshmen, were introduced first.Â
On Saturday morning we drove through a driving, rain, storm, out to Bangs, for a controlled scrimmage between the Class A, Goldthwaite Eagles and the Class 2A, Bangs Dragons.Â Fearing the season opener would be postponed, we arrived in Bangs, and to our surprise, the scrimmage was being held in an indoor practice facility.Â I would expect this at Katy or Southlake-Carroll, both big Class 5A, schools, but not small, Class 2A, Bangs.
Colton, in the middle, and Tyler, left outside, both started at linebacker for the Eagles and after a few stuttering plays, settled in and played excellent football, especially for freshmen.Â A wall of the indoor facility is in the background.Â I wonder why they played crossways to the stripes?
The longer the scrimmage lasted, the better the Eagles performed.Â If the team builds on this early success, maybe theyâ€™ll be a December team?
Posted by Jon Bryan in Sports at 08:05 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, August 20. 2008
Generally, this is not a political blog, but sometimes a person has â€˜to take the bit in their teethâ€™ and speak out for what they believe in and I really believe the following.
Being a Life Member of the National Rifle Association, I recently received their September, 2008, issue of â€˜The American Riflemanâ€™ and perused with interest their story on pages 40 and 41, â€œBarack Obamaâ€™s Ten Point Plan to â€˜Changeâ€™ The Second Amendmentâ€.Â Having scanned in his Ten Point Plan, I want share it with everyone:
When it comes to politics, I am definitely not a â€˜one issueâ€™ person; and I believe in low taxes, the use of all of our own natural resources, smaller government â€“local, state and federal, the rights of the unborn, strict judicial interpretation of our Constitution and my individual right to keep and bear arms.Â Most important, I believe in God and love Jesus!
I also love and respect our Constitution and have sworn to uphold it!Â It is a wonderful, insightful document, written by far sighted, intelligent men.Â It doesnâ€™t â€˜liveâ€™, but it does clearly state our rights as citizens and, to me, near the top, is our right to keep and bear arms!Â The Second Amendment reads:
â€œA well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.â€
As our Presidential election nears, I believe that hunters, shooters, gun owners and their supporters must band together and prevent Barack Obama and the rest of the liberal democrats from gaining control of our government!ÂWhat are some of the things that we can do to push our agenda to the front?Â Here is my 10 Point Plan To Save Our Gun Rights:Â
1.Â Â Â If not a member already, join the National Rifle Association.
2.Â Â Â Encourage friends and supporters of the shooting sports to do likewise.
3.Â Â Â Contact your local, state and federal representatives to support firearms,
Â Â Â Â Â Â ammunition and right-to-carry laws.
4.Â Â Â Vote only for representatives that share and support your views on this subject.
5.Â Â Â Vote for McCain.
6.Â Â Â Donâ€™t hesitate to speak out!
7.Â Â Â Get involved in shooting sports.
8.Â Â Â Get your family involved in the shooting sports.
9.Â Â Â Get involved in local, state and national politics.
10.Â Â Keep the pressure on our elected officials to preserve the Second amendment!
All of these things have to start at the grass roots level!Â Get involved and, as we say in Texas, â€œGitâ€™ â€˜er done!â€
Posted by Jon Bryan in Politics at 08:05 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, August 18. 2008
Mowing the grass around my garden, right beside the shed, I spied a â€œspideyâ€.Â The large, almost 2â€™ body length, and vivid, orange, black and white coloration, made my identification easy.Â A Garden Spider, probable better known as a Writing Spider, Argiope Aurantia, in Texas, better known as a Writinâ€™ Spider.
These large guys arenâ€™t dangerous to humans and build their nests in and around gardens and use their webs to catch insects attracted to the garden.Â A Writinâ€™ Spider will usually make one egg sack and then dies before winter.
Itâ€™s easy to see how the heavy portion of the web looks like writing.Â I wanted to get a picture of the Writinâ€™ Spider on the â€œwrittenâ€ portion, but when the lawn mower approached, the spider retreated to the upper part of its web.Â Since the Writinâ€™ Spider is one of the gardenâ€™s good guys, I ceased all mowing operations in the vicinity of its web. Â
However, I canâ€™t mention this sighting or the location to Layla, because 8 years ago, she was bitten by a Black Widow Spider, and still hasnâ€™t forgotten her painful recovery and 3 day ordeal in the hospital!Â Now, she is quite insensitive toward ALL spiders! Â
Continue reading "The Writin' Spider"
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hill Country Happenings at 08:05 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, August 16. 2008
Wednesday evening, just before dark, I saw two very big bucks in the field behind my house.Â With my binocs, looking thru the picture window, my estimate was that both of them had a minimum of a 20â€ spread and had 10-12 points.Â Both looked like they had dead cedar trees on top of their heads. Having seen some nice bucks this year and even photographing one last week, these two are definitely â€œMuy Grandeâ€!
Thursday evening, 30 minutes after the sun had gone down, I saw a small buck walking across the field behind my house and thought that I would sneak over to the old house, get my binocsâ€™ and see what I could see.Â There were plenty of deer!Â Â I counted 21, with 3 or 4 small, bucks but no big â€˜uns.
Last evening, Layla and I were returning from our townâ€™s annual, â€œMeet The Eaglesâ€ event, where this yearâ€™s football teams, cheerleaders, twirlers and band are introduced.Â Looking out into the field, there stood both big â€˜uns, not 50 yards out.Â They are magnificent deer!
Iâ€™ll start feeding corn and deer pellets next week.Â Luckily, I can buy bulk corn at $7.50 a hundred, while bagged corn is around $10.00 for 50 pounds.Â What a big deal?
You know, I think itâ€™s terrible that our government has subsidized corn and driven the prices up so much!Â Ethanol is more of a problem than itâ€™s worth!Â Sugar cane produces better ethanol, but we have import restrictions on cane!Â But that is â€œanother storyâ€.
These 2 big â€˜uns have really stoked my fires for this year.Â Hopefully, and I say again, hopefully, I can at least, get a picture of one of them!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
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