A Merry Christmas to all who land here, and Happy Holidays for all!
I heard from fellow blogger and my friend Zach today, and it inspired me to at least throw a few words out there. It's been an interesting year, with the last 3 months being especially stressful and busy. Strangely, the past 90 days have just flown by, as has the past year.
We've been getting rain in our part of Texas lately, and finally. After the months long drought and heat wave Texas underwent this summer, it's a weird weather warp around here right now. The San Augustine and Bermuda grasses in my yard think it is spring, as do the weeds. Roses in the front garden have been blooming, and many of the trees that would normally be leafless are now where they should have been at the end of the summer. The beech tree in the front is just now, four days from Christmas, throwing out pollen balls or whatever they are, that usually fall from the tree in mid-summer.
I've been through many droughts in Texas over my life, but none as severe and as long lasting as the one this year. I read today in the paper where Texas lost an estimated 500 million trees. Yes, you read that right. 500 Million, or roughly 10% of the trees in the state. My old friend Billy Ray has been making many family visiting trips out to West Texas this year, and has been foretelling of the large number of dead and dying trees he's seen making that journey from the Hill Country. Billy Ray is an old Texas road dog, and has racked up a lot of miles over the years, and he knows the topography of the state well.
On my rear porch, today I saw a new family of birds moving into a gourd birdhouse El Fisho Jr made some years ago. Thing is, usually birds only move in that house in the spring. Well, the new bird family is moving in nesting material and by all appearances is setting up a springtime nest. I'll keep you posted if chicks appear.
The Guest Rooster still lives across the street, and now has a passle of young 'uns that he leads around the area. It's hilarious, like Foghorn Leghorn he's got three small baby roosters following him like robots, roaming the area. He comes by the front fenceline every few days just to annoy my dogs and let them know he's still around, teaching his offspring how to annoy my dogs.
Texas Rainbow Trout stocking season is upon us, and I am going to do some emailing to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and see which lakes and creeks are actually being stocked. Despite the budgetary crisis thrust upon our TPWD by our inept legislators, they've managed to hobble together the trout stocking program yet another year.
For many Texans, it's the only opportunity they'll have to fish for Rainbows. Ever. And of course, they are a culinary delight, and having been raised by the TPWD, are probably as safe to eat as any fish caught in the wild, even though the trout are hachery bred and raised.
I've been fishing for Rainbows all over the state, since I was a kid. My dad was also excited by the stocking program, and it was he who would schedule family vacations during spring break so we could go catch trout in the Guadalupe and in those colder western and northern stocking places in the state where trout were still lingering in early March.
So I've been doing the Rainbow fishing thing every year since then. Somewhere. Somehow, I manage to get to a lake for the trout fishing. I've been remiss the past few year in taking Rainbow Trout roadtrips, and need to make the time for them. El Fisho Jr. mentioned the other day how we had not talked about Rainbow fishing yet when we were dining with his Godfather Billy Ray.
Billy Ray was raised in Houston and like me, had a dad who enjoyed fishing for Rainbows and who took his family in quest of them. Time after time, when I go fishing for the Rainbows at various locations, I meet other folks who've been doing it as long as I have. Like a family tradition in Texas, not unlike the white bass runs of springtime or the crappie and largemouth bass breeding seasons.
But again, back to reality and the fact that many of the locations that are on the current stocking list are probably devoid of enough water to support any healthy fish population. The temperatures couldn't be better, for the stocked trout get that (what I suspect is) genetic friskiness when it gets cold, and that of course leads to more eating and better fishing. It's in the mid-40's at my house right now and would be perfect, except my local stocking location which is due to be stocked soon has about 1/4 of the usual capacity.
I suspect it's the same story for many other places in Texas where the trout are usually stocked. Since Christmas is smack dab in the middle of the normal trout stocking season, I often equate the time off on the holidays with a little trout fishing.
So I'll get in touch with the powers that be and see how the stocking program has been going, and hopefully will muster the effort to post all of that here. I've driven hundreds of miles to fish for these rascals in years gone by, and I'm not above driving hours to a good location.