Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

February 29, 2012

On The Bright Side – February, 29, 2012 – Mary Howell

On The Bright Side
February, 29, 2012

Today is Leap Day. The residents and staff are happy to have one extra day this year for God to bless us!
On February 1st our Resident Council met and selected Estella Tibbs as our resident of the month, the Domino Guys from the LDS Church as our volunteers of the month and Ashley Bumstead and Elisde Carranza as our employees of the month. The next day we were curious to know if the groundhog would see his shadow….and he did! The groundhog legend tells us that winter is not over yet.
We enjoyed playing bingo with Carletta from Texas Medical Enterprises on the 1st and 3rd Friday of this month. We also had fun playing bingo with friends from Hemphills Church of Christ,  Parkway Baptist Church and the American Legion.
On Superbowl Sunday we had a party with Juanita, she served great snacks while we watched the pre-game show and activities on our big screen tv. The Lakes Area Hospice Clowns entertained us Monday afternoon with their lively tunes and funny antics and skits. In honor of February being Black History Month, the movies we watched at our Tuesday afternoon matinees were created by black artists. We sure want to thank the Hornet Express Video for loaning us all our movies this month. On Wednesday afternoon Katherine Crippens from Texas Parks and Wildlife came and taught us about all the various types of woodpeckers that we have in this area. We sure learned a lot! This month our craft ladies(Carol & Linda) and our friends from the Hemphill Garden Club came and helped us make beautiful decorations for Sweetheart Day.
Thank you to the following church’s and people for providing worship services and gospel singing; Bethel Chapel Baptist Church, Fairdale Baptist Church, Hemphill First Baptist Church, Hemphill Church of Christ, Little Flock Baptist Church, Parkway Baptist Church The Pineywoods Pickers, First United Methodist Church Community Fellowship Church Bethany Baptist Church and Quincy Martindale from Odyssey Hospice. We would also like to thank our newest volunteer Brandi Chapman from Harbor Hospice for the interesting bible studies this month.
The highlight of the month for us was our Sweetheart Dance, which was held on Valentines Day .Our king this year was Edgar Smith and our Queen was Estelle Granger, they sure made a good looking couple. Our wheelchairs were rocking and rolling for sure. If you’ve never seen wheelchairs swing to the music come and join us for our Spring Fling Dance on March 20th at 6pm. Another highlight was our Mardi-Gras party, which was sponsored by the
VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post 10351. We had a fun-filled afternoon dancing to zydeco music and eating King Cake.
Last Wednesday afternoon the Care Center stars came out and enjoyed singing karoake with Marti Bible. On Thursday we held our 6th Annual Chili Cook-Off. We say thank you to everyone that made chili to enter in the contest. And the winner was…….Gina Jackson our Dietary Manager.
We enjoyed a Friday afternoon jamboree with C.J. Michaels, the One Man Band.
Ya’ll should have been here Monday. We celebrated National Chocolate Cake Day with several of our favorite yummy chocolate cakes. Today we will celebrate Leap Day with Quincy Martindale from Odyssey Hospice, he is coming by to tickle the ivories for us.
We would like to extend Happy Birthday wishes to Barbara Bickerstaff and Jo Kelley.
We express our love and sympathy to the families of our dear friends; Shay Felts, Ebb Dickerson, Bobbie Gross, Ann Strickland and Dot Hamilton, they will be truly missed.
We at Hemphill Care Center wish everyone a day On The Bright Side.

February 28, 2012

Is this sorta good news and bad news?

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 6:48 am

(thanks to Kris for referring this article)

Texas Drought Eases, But It’s Too Late for Some

Andrew Freedman By Andrew Freedman

Defying seasonal climate forecasts, this winter has been very good to Texas, which has been locked in the grips of one of the worst droughts in state history. But the unexpectedly generous winter storms have come too late for some, since water supplies are still running low.

As I reported in late January, managers of the Lower Colorado River are likely to take the unprecedented step of denying water for rice growers in Southeast Texas, putting several thousand jobs at risk. Although the decision won’t be made until March 1, it is unlikely that Texas will receive enough rainfall to put reservoirs above the mark set by water managers, who must balance the needs of agricultural producers with the water demands of the city of Austin, power companies, and myriad other users.

Precipitation during the past three months in Texas. The outlined areas show the region where water flows into the Highland Lakes reservoirs. Credit: Victor Murphy/NOAA.

The Houston Chronicle reported this week that the Lower Colorado River Authority “may have no choice but to cut off the farmers. The Highland Lakes, two large reservoirs near Austin, must hold a combined 850,000 acre-feet of water by next week before the growers’ share can be released, under a drought emergency plan now in effect. As of Wednesday, the lakes had 830,000 acre-feet, 41 percent of capacity.”

The fact that the reservoirs are still so low indicates the severity of the long-term precipitation deficit that Texas is still dealing with, despite a three-month period with above average rainfall.

The rains have certainly eased the drought in the short-term, however, as seen in the U.S. Drought Monitor. On Dec. 6, 2011, 90 percent of Texas was experiencing between “severe” to “exceptional” drought conditions. In the latest update to the map, however, 67 percent of the state falls into that range, and a sliver of the state is shown to be free of drought conditions entirely, at least for now.

U.S. Drought Monitor for Texas as of Feb. 21.
U.S. Drought Monitor for Texas as of early January.

The above-average rainfall this winter stands in stark contrast to the bone dry weather pattern of a year ago. For example, during the past five months, several Texas cities have received at least 120 percent of the rainfall they saw in the preceding 12 months. Brownsville, a costal city that sits at the southernmost edge of the state, has seen more than 4 inches of rain this month, which is 500 percent of their normal rainfall in February.

The beneficial rainfall (and in some cases, snowfall) so far this winter has surprised weather forecasters, who had called for drier-than-normal conditions across the entire southern tier of the U.S. However, drought conditions seem to have shifted eastward, with an expanding drought in the Southeast, particularly in Florida.

So why has Texas been so lucky lately, when luck had not been on its side for so long?

According to Victor Murphy, the climate service program manager for the National Weather Service’s southern region, Texans should thank a combination of factors. First, there is natural climate variability, the effects of which are difficult to predict. Second, he said, the weak La Niña event in the tropical Pacific Ocean is playing a role.

Last winter also featured La Niña conditions, which tend to result in drier-than-average winters in Texas, but last year’s La Niña was much stronger than this year’s event. La Niña conditions are characterized by cooler-than-average water temperatures along the equator in the Pacific Ocean, which can influence weather patterns worldwide.

The other key factor, Murphy said, is the jet stream — the high altitude river of air that helps steer storms and air masses across the country. This winter, the jet stream has run across the northern U.S., allowing slow-moving storms to meander across Texas, dropping beneficial rains as they went along.

“The same anomaly in the jet stream that is causing the contiguous U.S. to have its fourth warmest winter on record through the end of January is mainly responsible for the wetness across Texas,” Murphy said via email.

The big question now is whether this wet weather pattern will last long enough to make a lasting dent in the drought. Unfortunately, the spring outlook still calls for below average rainfall. If this happens, look for a swift end to the recent improving trend, and drought conditions could worsen once again during spring and summer.

February 27, 2012

I sure confused several motorist!

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 6:55 am

On the way to get the grand-kids from school,

I lowered my window

and propped my arm out the window

in the nice warm weather.

Who knows why I decided to use hand signals

rather than the directional signals?

I noticed several other motorist staring

or glaring when I gave a signal to turn or stop.



You kids out there will not understand this post.

February 26, 2012

guys night out to watch a college basketball game

Filed under: Family,Misc — Freddie Keel @ 6:37 am

Brett, Lukie, their dad Denny and I enjoyed

watching the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

play a team from North Carolina.

SFA won the close game which

added to the enjoyment.

February 25, 2012

Next Christmas, save your Christmas Tree.

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:59 am

The gift that keeps on giving — sinking old Christmas trees makes great crappie structure

Sunday, 19 February 2012 12:06 Conor Harrison
Lone Star Outdoor News


DSC 1189OLD TREE, NEW PRESENT: Anglers hoping to secure a new sweet spot can sink old Christmas trees to provide habitat for crappie, bass and catfish. Along with Christmas trees, willow, bamboo and sweetgum can also be used. Photo by Dan Bennett, TPWD.

If crappie anglers are looking to get a jump on the spring crappie season, they should start soon.

According to Sam Rayburn guide Stephen Johnston, if anglers are going to sink a Christmas tree or two for crappie structure, they need to do it within the next few weeks.

“Sink those trees within a month or two (after Christmas),” he said. “If you wait, those trees will dry out like cork and it takes triple the weight to sink them.”

The Hemphill native would know, having sunk hundreds of trees and brush piles over the years to improve fish habitat on the lakes where he guides.

While sinking trees, he has learned a few tricks to help simplify the process and make it easier for anglers looking to improve fish habitat.

“Sink the tree upside down,” he said. “If you sink it the regular way, it folds in on itself and the fish won’t get up inside of it. If the tree is upside down, the water will pull the limbs apart to allow fish to get in between them.”

Johnston said he sometimes takes three or four trees, ties them together and puts a 2-liter coke bottle on the tree to hold the trunk off the bottom and stand it in the correct position.

“A lot of people thin the trees but I don’t really do that,” he said. “I actually prefer to sink sweetgums or willows, but you have to be careful about local laws and cutting those trees on public land.

“But Christmas trees are good for a lake.”

Johnston said he doesn’t spread his trees out very much, saying the tighter trees will hold more fish.

“I like to put my trees or brush in a 12-foot area,” he said. “I have a 24-foot boat that I take clients out on, and I like to get right on top of the trees and have the anglers fishing over both sides of the boat on the edges of the trees.”

For depth, Johnston recommends putting trees in one of three depths: 19-22 feet for early summer fishing; 23-27 feet for late summer; and 30-31 feet for winter.

“For most people, I would say 22-27 feet would be about right,” he said.

Once an angler is ready with a tree or trees, weighting them down is a big piece of the equation. Johnston recommends sand bags.

“A lot of people use concrete blocks,” he said. “I use sand bags because you can find sand on the bank and fill them right there. I always have a friend or two to help out. You just get a shovel and start filling.

“I fill each bag up to about 45 pounds.”

Johnston said to always wear a life vest when sinking trees because of the lines and weights involved.

“If you get wrapped up in a line with a couple hundred pounds on the other end, you will go to the bottom,” he said.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department district biologist Kevin Storey said anglers should check with the controlling authority of the water body before sinking trees.

“It is a common practice that has been going on for years, and most don’t have any objections unless it becomes a navigational hazard,” Storey said. “But it does help, especially in reservoirs without a lot of structure.”

February 24, 2012

our tree farm gets mowed.

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 6:06 am
Tags: , , , ,

It was a good day to bush hog (mow) our small tree farm.

These superior loblolly pine seedlings were planted in February 2010.

Mowing controls the undesirable grasses and trees.

In a few years, the canopy of these trees will block the sun

from reaching the ground which helps control the undesirables.

February 23, 2012

Migratory Bird Treaty with Canada protects these killers

Toledo Bend 02/13/12 photo courtesy of Grumpy

The black birds are Cormorants

which eat about two pounds of fish per day.

The white birds are Pelicans

which eat about three pounds of fish per day.

February 22, 2012

On The Bright Side – 2/22/12 – Mary Howell

Filed under: Mary Howell — Freddie Keel @ 6:31 am

On The Bright Side

Mary Howell


Today’s date brings back special memories of my grandmother, Mary Etta Smith Thorp who was born on February 22, 1883.  She was born in the small community of Amity, Arkansas where she lived until she was 18 years of ago.  Her parents were farmers and they moved to the south plains of Texas to grow cotton.  Granny left her childhood sweetheart in Arkansas but he continued in her memory throughout her lifetime.  After moving to Texas, she married my grandfather, George Wyatt Thorp and they became the parents of six children.  Their oldest son, Johnny, died when he was 16 years of age. His health condition made medical history because his organs were all reversed.


Granny and Granddad continued to grow cotton until they moved from Klondyke to Lamesa where they spent their retirement.  They had three small apartments that they rented for $10. A week.


Since my parents and sisters and I lived 600 miles away, visits to our grandparents house were special.  I remember that I would jump out of the car and surprise Granny when we arrived. 


Granddad Thorp passed away just after I turned 4 years old but I remember him sitting in his big red velvet chair and seeing him smoking his pipe.


Granny made our visits to her house very special even though she lived on a meager income.  She cooked our favorite foods and always had ice cream for us. Granny taught me many things that prepared me for my present life.  She fell in her living room when she was 80 years old and was never able to take a step by herself after she fell. He left leg shattered before the fall. She also had another accident when she was swatting a mosquito while standing on the bed and broke her arm.


Although she could not walk, she lived a happy life and even took her first airplane ride from Houston to Kansas City when she was 85 years of age.  She was never afraid to fly.  She believed God would take care of her in the sky as well as on the ground.


Granny always had a song in her heart which she hummed or whistled.  I loved to sit beside her and listen to her hymns.  Granny was thankful for all of her caregivers and always expressed love  and appreciation to them.


February 22, 2012


February 21, 2012

It is time to plant your potatoes.

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 6:29 am

Easy Growing…Irish Potatoes

Preparation of Seed

Irish potatoes are not grown from seed like most other vegetables. Instead, pieces from the potato itself start new plants. Home gardeners should purchase good seed potatoes that are free of disease and chemicals. Do not buy potatoes from a grocery store for planting.

The seed potato contains buds or “eyes” which sprout and grow into plants. The seed piece provides food for the plant until it develops a root system. Too small a seed piece produces a weak plant. Large seed potatoes for the spring crop should be cut into pieces which weigh about 1 1/2 to 2 ounces (about the size of a medium hen egg). Each seed piece must have at least one good eye (see figure 4). Cut the seed 5 or 6 days before planting. Hold the cut seed in a well-ventilated spot so it can heal over to prevent rotting when planted in cold, wet or very hot weather. Plants killed by a late spring frost will not come back if the seed piece is rotten. One pound of seed potatoes will make 9 to 10 seed pieces.

For fall-grown potatoes, most Texas gardeners plant small, uncut potatoes since they are more resistant to rotting in hot weather than cut potatoes. Potatoes have a rest period which must be broken before they will sprout. The rest period is more easily broken in small, mature potatoes. Select mature potatoes about 1 1/2 inches in diameter for fall planting. To be sure the rest period is broken, store the small seed potatoes under warm, damp conditions for 2 weeks before planting by placing them in a shady spot and covering them with moist burlap bags or mulch. The potatoes should have small sprouts at planting time.

Seed usually is more available in the spring than in the fall. Many gardeners choose to buy extra seed in the spring and hold it over for fall planting. To do this, keep the potatoes in a cool, humid spot such as the bottom of a refrigerator. Do not save your potato seed more than one year. This can cause buildup of virus disease which will reduce yield.


Potatoes should be planted when the soil temperature 4 inches deep reaches about 50 degrees F, or about 3 weeks before the last spring frost. Potatoes should be planted in February or early March in most areas of Texas. If planted too early the tops can be frozen off by spring frost. For a fall crop, plant about 110 days before the first expected frost, or mud-August in most areas.

Use a hoe or stick to open a trench about 3 inches deep down the center of the bed. Drop seed pieces 10 to 12 inches apart in the trench (see Figure 5). Step on each seed piece after dropping it to assure good contact with the soil. cover the seed about 3 inches deep. If covered too deeply, the plants will be slow to break through the soil and will be more subject to disease and seed decay.


The most common type of Irish potatoes are red or white. Most red varieties store longer than white varieties. Most white varieties have better cooking qualities than red varieties. Many gardeners plant some of each in the spring. The whites are used first and the reds stored for later use.

February 20, 2012

our tennis player

Filed under: Family — Freddie Keel @ 5:56 am
Tags: , ,

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