Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

July 31, 2011

Our Gardener – Grandson Garrett Adkison

Filed under: Family — Freddie Keel @ 6:46 am

Our grandson loves to grow things.

He got a small taste of gardening from his great grandfather.

And that taste has developed into a huge gardening appetite.

His space is small but his desire is large.

View full screen by clicking bottom right icon.. Esc gets you back..


I think you also have influenced him. If he had it his way, ALL the “flower” beds would be turned into gardens. When his Aunt Stephanie was here yesterday, he gave her a watermelon. He was soooo proud!!

Comment by Cindy — July 31, 2011 @ 9:37 am

July 30, 2011

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE – Mary Howell – JULY 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Freddie Keel @ 6:32 am

The lazy, hazy, crazy days of July are here but the residents of Hemphill Care Center have remained comfortable and busy with fun summertime activities.
First of all we would like to express our appreciation to Tommy and Sunny Whitington for the delicious watermelons, Stacy Hamilton for the fresh tomatoes, Thumper Rhame for the purple hull peas we enjoyed shelling, Six Mile Baptist Church for the tasty cake we had for dessert one  night, Norma Harris for the donation of dolls for our bingo games and Hornet Express Video for loaning us a new movie every week for our Tuesday matinees.
We celebrated the 4th of July with a melon madness party. We had fresh and tasty watermelons, cantaloupes and honeydew melons. Our Activity Staff has come up with a few new and exciting things for us to do. On Tuesday afternoons we turn our dining room into a movie theater. So far we’ve seen the new True Grit, Down Low with Robert Duvall and Men of Honor. Our matinee is complete with cold cokes and hot popcorn!. One Friday afternoon we took a mini vacation and never left our chairs. We took a magnificent tour of the Grand Canyon on our new big screen tv. We shuffled our feet during a dance class hosted by Johnny Davis and Jackie Holman in hopes to be better prepared for our “Sock Hop” which we will be having on Friday July 29th at 7pm. We want to take this opportunity to invite our families and friends to come and join us at the Sock Hop!.
Thank you to the following for coming out for worship services and gospel singing: Hemphill’s First Baptist Church, Hemphill’s  Church of Christ, Fairdale Baptist Church, Bethel Chapel Baptist Church, Community Fellowship Church, Parkway Baptist Church, Quincy Martindale from Odyssey Hospice, Little Flock Baptist Church, First United Methodist Church and Bethany Baptist Church.
We enjoyed playing bingo with our friends from Hemphill’s Church of Christ,  Texas Home Health, Parkway Baptist Church and the American Legion.
Our resident council named Debra Frost and Juanita Merchant as our employees of the month, Sandy Trahan as our volunteer of the month and yours truly as the resident of the month.
We honored our laundry workers with a thank you party Friday July 15th. These ladies do a fantastic job!
Last week we were happy to have our VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post 10351 stop by. They treated us to delicious cupcakes. We were serenaded by the Pineywoods Pickers last Wednesday, playing our favorite tunes. Last Thursday the mission ladies from Macedonia Baptist church came and brought delicious homemade pies and cakes for our pleasure.  Friday C.J. Michaels the One Man Band came and rocked the house!
Our deepest sympathy goes out to the families and friends of Geraldine Dupree and Ray Nye.
Happy Birthday wishes go out to Artie Rash, Wilma Graves, Ruby Mitchell, Louis Scott, Baker Tiner and Neva Poindexter.
Once again we welcome our friends to join us for a delightful Friday evening this Friday at 7pm.
Visitors and guests are always appreciated. They give us a “Day on the Bright Side.”

July 29, 2011

Hot Days of Summer – Our Forecast for Next Week

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 9:03 pm
Partly cloudy. Highs around 101.
Monday Night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 70s.
Partly cloudy. Highs around 102.
Tuesday Night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 70s.
Partly cloudy. Highs around 103.
Wednesday Night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 70s.
Partly cloudy. Highs around 103.
Thursday Night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 70s.
Partly cloudy. Highs around 101.

A message from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:43 am

Dear Registered Texas Boater,

What you can’t see can damage your boat and harm Texas lakes.
Zebra mussels are an invasive species that produce millions of microscopic larvae that can hide in your boat. Adults reach 1 ½ inches and attach to your boat’s motor, hull and to other hard surfaces. Zebra mussels can seriously hamper your boat’s performance and are devastating to our native plants, fish and wildlife.  They also threaten our water supply.
Thanks to the following Texas Parks and Wildlife campaign partners for helping spread the word, not the zebra mussels: North Texas Municipal Water District, Tarrant Regional Water District, Trinity River Authority, City of Dallas Water Utilities Department, Sabine River Authority, Canadian River Municipal Water Authority, San Jacinto River Authority, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and Angelina and Neches River Authority.

July 28, 2011


Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 6:57 am

These pictures were taken on July 7th by a cowboy looking for strays.  Rattle snakes generally bunch in the spring when they come out of the den and the weather is warm enough for them to sun.  The cowboy thinks the drought is so bad in West Texas that they are not going far from the den and returning daily.





It’s been circulating since 2008 :) So I hear. There is much controversy over where it was actually taken.

Comment by Juli — August 3, 2011 @ 10:59 am

Yes, I agree about the question of where these images were actually taken.

I researched the email prior to posting and was satisfied the images were real

and rather than give location in floating email, I used West Texas to

cover lots of ground.

My attraction was the snakes rather than the location.

Thanks for pointing out the location controversy as I should have mentioned it in my posting.

Thanks for viewing.

 —– tadpole

July 26, 2011

A dry Houston may seek its share of Lake Conroe water

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 6:01 am

Water from Lake Conroe could soon be used to water the lawns in Houston.    Lake Conroe ‘water front property’ could soon be ‘water view property’. This article points out the need for water front property owners to be ready to remove water craft from their boat houses as they may not longer have access to the lake if Houston starts taking their share of  Lake Conroe water.


Although official notice has not yet been issued, the city of Houston has given preliminary indications that it will soon request a measured release of water from its two-thirds share of the water rights in Lake Conroe to meet the city’s operational needs in Lake Houston.

While the exact quantity and start date is not yet known, initial estimates are that the city might request a release of up to 150 million gallons per day beginning sometime within the next two weeks, said San Jacinto River Authority Deputy General Manager Jace Houston. This equates to approximately half an inch of water lost per day.

According to the Texas Water Development Board’s real-time data Saturday, Lake Houston is at 3.66 feet below mean sea level. By comparison, Lake Conroe is 3.46 feet below msl, but the surface water level is affecting the intakes at the city of Houston’s water treatment plant.

“That’s the rumor we’ve heard for several weeks,” one Montgomery area engineer said.

The amount of water requested from Lake Conroe would be adjusted daily based on weather conditions in the Lake Houston watershed, and the releases probably would continue until the current drought conditions begin to abate. Officials with the city of Houston Public Works Department could not be reached Saturday.

Based on current weather patterns and inflows into Lake Houston, the SJRA does not currently see an immediate need to make any releases from the SJRA’s one-third share of Lake Conroe to meet the needs of its own downstream industrial customers, Jace Houston said.

However, if severe drought conditions continue, it may become necessary for the SJRA to release a small amount of water in addition to the city of Houston’s release. If this were to occur, the SJRA’s release would be relatively small – probably in the range of 10 million to 15 million gallons per day (approximately 1/20 of an inch per day, or 1-1/2 inches per month), according to the SJRA.

During the hot summer months, this is approximately equal to the amount of water that evaporates from the reservoir.

Lake Conroe was built in the early 1970s as a joint venture between the city of Houston and the SJRA, with the city owning two-thirds of the water rights in the reservoir and the SJRA owning the remaining one-third for a total of 100,000 acre-feet of water.

But in September 2009, the SJRA and the city agreed to an 80-year water supply contract that secured the SJRA’s right to use all of the water in Lake Conroe for the SJRA’s countywide Groundwater Reduction Plan program.

If such releases are required, the SJRA would reimburse the GRP program for the appropriate amount of reservation fees that were paid for the SJRA’s share of the water in Lake Conroe. In terms of impact to the level of Lake Conroe, the estimated release of up to half an inch per day would equate to three or four inches per week.

SJRA officials who operate the GRP program have contended there will not be a significant need of Houston’s water until at least 2025, and during those years in which Houston’s water is not used by the GRP, the contract allows the city to use its share of the water on a year-by-year basis.

“They retained the right to use it. We don’t have a choice in the matter,” Houston said.

The SJRA pays the city of Houston $1 million a year to “hold” its share of Lake Conroe surface water until the GRP goes into action.

“We’re not making one penny off this,” he said.

Conroe Mayor Webb Melder, often a critic of the SJRA’s recent actions, lauded the SJRA for the press release it issued Saturday.

“The citizens deserved to know. The rumors were starting to fly,” Melder said.

Lakefront property owners with boat slips should monitor water levels and take appropriate action as needed to trailer their boats or store them in marinas until normal rainfall patterns return and lake levels begin to rise.

If it doesn’t rain, Houston anticipates the gates at Lake Conroe will open in 10-14 days. The water will flow down the East Fork of the San Jacinto River and into Lake Houston.

July 25, 2011

It’s time to prepare for your Fall/Winter Gardens in East Texas

Prepare In July For Fall/Winter Vegetable Harvest

by Keith C. Hansen, Extension Horticulturist

Mid-July means two things: the dog days of summer and fall vegetable gardens. Everyone can relate to dog days – it’s hot and humid, good only for dogs to find a cool spot to dig a hole.

But fall gardens? In July? That’s right! Mid-Summer is the time to begin preparing and planting the garden for a fall harvest.

The first key for a successful fall garden is to get the weeds out. And if Bermuda or bahia grass are among those weeds, you can’t just rototill everything under because once you start watering and fertilizing again, you’ll have the greenest lawn in town.

Solarization is one method to reduce weeds, and other pests, by using the sun’s energy to pasteurize the upper layer of soil. However, this takes time. Prepare the soil, removing garden debris and weeds, form your beds, and then thoroughly water the soil. Cover the prepared area with clear polyethylene, sealing the edges with soil, to trap the sun’s heat. This doesn’t sterilize the soil, but reduces populations of harmful nematodes, weeds and other pests. It’s critical that his is done during July and August, the hottest time of the year. Treat for at least 6 to 8 weeks. You won’t get to plant tomatoes or peppers, but the garden site will be ready in time to plant cool-season vegetables.

Another non-chemical method of killing weeds is to smother them under 6 to 8 layers of wet newspaper, and then cover this layer with pine needles, old hay or grass clippings. Whenever weeds like Bermuda grass shows up through the edges, place another layer of paper over it. By continually denying them light, they’ll eventually weaken and die. Transplant through the papers, or just use them in the pathways. The paper will be mostly decomposed by next spring.

Hand digging is another option for real small plots, but take care not to get heat stroke; work early in the morning before it gets too hot.

If the garden spot has perennial weeds, like Bermuda, you can spray the weeds in an empty garden site with a weed killer that contains glyphosate. Some brand names for glyphosate include Roundup, Kleenup, and Weed Away. Check the ingredients on the label for the term glyphosate” and follow label instructions for application rate. Glyphosate will not stay in the soil; it is strictly a foliar weed killer, but it kills roots and all. It takes about 2 weeks to completely kill Bermuda, maybe slightly longer if the weeds are under drought stress. It works best if weeds are healthy, actively growing and not suffering from lack of water. Remember, the garden spot must be empty to use glyphosate! Read the label completely before using.

There are also organic herbicides formulated with oils and soaps that will kill many tender annual weeds, but will not eliminate Bermuda and other perennial weeds with one application.

For future weed control, once you have your garden prepared, always maintain some sort of mulch covering the surface of the soil to prevent weeds from taking over again.

Every time you prepare the soil to plant a new crop, always mix in as much compost as you can get your hands on. Add well-decomposed animal manure, fertilizer and lime if soil tests indicate a low fertility or pH, and work all ingredients into the soil.

Southern peas such as blackeye, purplehull, cream and crowders make a great, edible summer cover crop for building the soil and providing food. The pea vines can be mowed and rototilled under while still green for extra soil building benefits or allowed to produce peas and then tilled under.

Tomatoes and peppers need to be planted soon – by the first of August – if they are going to make a good crop before first frost. What if your garden spot is not yet ready? Buy your transplants now and grow them in a larger container to plant in the garden later.

Get either 6-pack transplants or 4-inch transplants. Put them in a 1- or 3-gallon nursery container filled with potting soil. Do not use soil from your garden. Add slow release fertilizer (like Osmocote or other slow release formulation) to the soil mix. Set the pots in a sunny spot in the yard, not in the shade!

Every time you water, use a water-soluble fertilizer solution instead of just plain water. Your transplants will continue to grow and be healthy, just as if you have transplanted them directly into the ground. Once your garden site is ready, you will have large, healthy tomato and pepper plants to set out. They will be easier to take care of and you will be assured of a bountiful harvest before the first freeze of winter.

Grow fast maturing tomato varieties for the fall harvest. Look for varieties with less than 75 days to maturity, such as ‘Merced’, ‘Bingo’, ‘Celebrity’, ‘Whirlaway’, and ‘Carnival’. ‘Surefire’ is a smaller, processing tomato variety (with thicker skin) which sets and matures all of its tomatoes very quickly, giving you a “surefire” harvest that beats the first freeze. Most cherry tomatoes will bear within 65 days of transplanting.

Timing is very important for a successful fall garden. Heat tolerant/cold sensitive crops need to be planted in time to mature before cold weather slows and stops growth, while cool season/heat sensitive crops are planted late enough to avoid the heat, but early enough to take the first frosts of winter.

The following are optimal “windows of time” for planting fall vegetables:

Beans – 8/1 – 9/1 (lima beans 7/15 – 8/15) Muskmelon (Cantaloupe) – 7/15 – 8/1
Beets – 9/1 – 10/15 Mustard – 9/15 – 10/15
Broccoli plants – 8/1 – 9/15 Parsley – 8/15 – 10/1
Brussels sprouts – 8/1 – 10/1 Peas, English – 8/15 – 9/15
Cabbage plants – 8/15 – 9/15 Peas, Southern – 7/1 – 8/1
Carrots – 8/15 – 10/15 Pepper plants – 7/1 – 8/1
Cauliflower plants – 8/15 – 9/15 Potatoes, Irish – 8/15 – 9/15
Chard, Swiss – 8/1 – 10/15 Pumpkin – 7/1 – 8/1
Collard/Kale – 8/15 – 10/1 Radish – 9/15 – 10/15
Corn, Sweet – 8/1 – 8/15 Spinach – 9/1 – 10/15
Cucumber – 8/1 – 9/1 Squash, Summer – 7/15 – 8/15
Eggplant plants – 7/15 – 8/1 Squash, Winter – 7/1 – 7/15
Garlic – 9/1 – 10/15 Tomato plants – 7/15 – 8/1
Kohlrabi – 8/15 – 9/15 Turnips – 10/1 – 11/1
Lettuce (leaf) – 9/15 – 10/15 Watermelon – 7/1 – 8/1

Seeded vegetables can be tricky to get up in the heat of summer. Soil often forms a crust on the surface after tillage and watering. This “crust” can hinder tender seedlings from breaking through. Here are a couple of tips to help get seedlings up in the summer.

Open a furrow down the row as you normally would to sow the seeds. Before sowing, take your garden hose and thoroughly soak the bottom of the seed furrow with water. Next sow the seed. Finally, cover the seed to the proper depth with dry soil and firm. The seed should stay moist enough until germination, and if you avoid overhead watering, the soil will not form a crust to hinder seedling emergence.

Other folks will place a board or wet burlap over the seed row to provide constant dampness to encourage germination and emergence. You need to check every day for signs of emergence, and remove the covering when you see the first seedlings breaking through.



Thanks, good info to have. I put the goats out in our garden a couple of weeks ago. It is almost mowed down and fertilized. After they have finished I’ll move the geese out there to get the final weeds. I need to do the final step and smother them in this heat like your article recommends.

Comment by Kris — July 25, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

Thanks for the info. We have to finish unpacking so Garrett and I can get on this.

Comment by Stephen Adkison — July 25, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

July 24, 2011

Texas Game Warden Field Notes

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 6:57 am

  • On June 26, Game Wardens Rick Snitkin and Randall Brown responded to a Jet Ski accident on Lake LBJ involving a subject who had attempted to do a back flip from the watercraft.

Unfortunately, the subject hit his head on the Jet Ski during the attempt.

The collision rendered him unconscious and face down in the water.

A witness to the event responded to the scene and retrieved the victim from the water.

The victim was flown by EMS for treatment.

  • Game Wardens Lerrin Williams, Jim Lindeman, and Cody Hatfield responded to the scene of a boating accident on Lake LBJ on June 27.

The victims were operating personal watercraft too close to one another. The front Jet Ski  stopped abruptly, and turned and the following Jet SKi  crashed into it.

Two people, both of whom had leg injuries, were transported by EMS.

  • Harris County Game Warden Kevin Malonson was patrolling the San Jacinto River June 24 for water safety and fishing regulation compliance.

As Warden Malonson approached a vessel with a fisherman aboard, he was given an extensive welcome and thanks for the great job that state game wardens do.

After checking the water safety equipment, Malonson inquired several times whether the angler had caught any fish.

The fisherman finally stated that he caught a few.

Upon inspecting the angler’s cooler, Malonson discovered four undersized black bass.

“Mr. Fisherman” stated that he has never violated any game laws, but the reason he did so this time was because a friend of his, whom happened to be a preacher, wanted some fish.

Case pending.

  • Jasper County Game Warden Justin Eddins received information June 23 about an alligator that had been taken illegally.

With the assistance from the constable, officers stopped the suspect’s vehicle and Warden Eddins discovered a 5-foot alligator, dead, behind the seat.

Charges and civil restitution are pending

July 23, 2011

I challenge you:

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 6:24 am

Full Civic Literacy Exam

This test is not an easy one

and it will take a little time.

I scored just above 70%.

I challenge you to do better than 70%.

Be sure to check out the chart at the end that

gives results for government officials

The website reports that college professors average about 55%.

Intercollegiate Studies Institute – Educating for Liberty




  1. I scored 75.76%.
    Some of those were pretty difficult.

    Comment by Stephen Adkison — July 25, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

  2. You’d think after taking History 3 or 4 times I would’ve done better…45%

    Comment by Cindy — July 25, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

  3. I scored 66.67%

    Comment by Jill — July 24, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

  4. The average voter today could not guess and make 50%. Our education system today will not provide enough knowledge to pass thei test at 70%, including graduate schools. History is not important today for both professors and students. I never saw half of these questions in school through graduate level. I made a tad over 70% from reading history on my own.

    Comment by cb75948 — July 23, 2011 @ 8:04 pm

July 22, 2011

hot weather — blue birds need a drink

Filed under: Birds — Freddie Keel @ 6:32 am
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