9.05.2011

The One That Got Away But Didn't

While at work last hitch, we pulled up and tied up next to one of our other company boats to stand by for dock space.The dock where we discharge the oil that we pick up, was occupied by a big river boat and he was gonna be there for awhile, so we settled in to wait him out and do some catfishin'. When I stepped out of the wheelhouse, a friend of mine on the other boat hollared at me, "Cap, I thought you said there was some nice catfish here??"  "There is!", I replied, "ya just gotta know how to catch 'em", I taunted. "Give me some time to catch up my paperwork and I will show ya how it's done",  I hollaredI had checked my GPS a few minutes ago and knew it said prime fishing time on a 'good day' was 2 hours awayAs I sat there doing my paperwork and thawing out some chicken livers for bait, I worried that maybe I shouldna bragged so much or ribbed him so hard, but I figured either I'd strike out or catch something, and either way it would be funAt 1 p.m., the appointed time, I stepped outa the galley door and headed for the stern with a bag of recently thawed bait. I had a handline wrapped around a Gatorade bottle, so I baited it upThe line is 120 lb tar-dippped nylon, and for weight I had 4-1and 1/4inch flange nutsI baited the 2 #4 stainless steel hooks and let the line freefall into the water towards the bottomIt went down about 20 feet astern, about 20 feet deep 'til I felt it hit bottomI sat on a 5 gallon bucket, held the line in my fingers and waited, and waited, and waited some moreAfter 15 minutes without a bite I was scared I had bragged too much, and after another 5 minutes I began to pray, "Lord", I said quietly, "I know Ya have a soft spot in Ya heart for fishermen. Heck, some of 'em were Ya own disciples. That joke Ya pulled on them the time Ya told them they were fishin' on the wrong side of the boat was priceless, Lord,  I thought, and then that time Ya went walking out to them that night on the water, actin' like you were gonna walk right on by them had to be the best practical gag in recorded history.  So I know Ya love fishermen and us salty ol' boat trash, too.  Well, Ya heard me shoot my mouth off, Lord, and here I sit without a bite. Lord, I promise if I catch a good one I will never tell the story without mentioning that You helped, so pleeeese, Lord, how 'bout a fish so I don't have to take any crap from Terry (my friend on the other boat) cuz I'll never live it down."  Well, I barely finished my lil prayer when the line jerked so hard it hurt my shoulderThe line started slowly slipping through my hand as I hollared, "Boys!It's a big one!"  I only had like 2 feet of line left when I finally got him stopped fighting hard, but still, it was back and forth for a few minutes as I slowly hauled in the fish, hand over hand.  By the angle of the line in the water, I could tell that he was coming up to the surface. When we all saw the size of him thrashing and twisting about 15 feet behind the boat,  the whole crew of both boats were watching and hollaring and whooping as I struggled and got him to the boat. As the big fish twisted and thrashed, he wrapped the line around the center of him, and the other hook got caught on the line and wrapped around his middle, like a noose, and now I was really in a bind, trying to pull him in sideways. When I finally got the fish right up to the boat, both of us were tuckered out. Now I had a big problem. I couldn't reach far enough down to grab him, and because the line was around his middle, I couldn't pull him up by his head so's I could grab his jaw. He seemed to have gotten a second wind, so he started jerking around like a strong corkscrew, the crews were hollaring, I was leaning way over the edge of the boat, stretching, when something horrible happened! I had managed to get the noose off from around his middle, and started to lift him up, when the hook came out of his mouth and he was free! Completely unhooked.  Pandemonium on both boats ensued as the fish just laid there on his back, panting and slowly floating away in the current. My quick-thinking relief captin grabbed the only thing handly, a deck brush, and managed to pull the fish back to the boat. My long-armed deck hand reached down and got one finger in the fish's gill and lifted him barely high enough, but his finger slipped loose, just as I grabbed the fish's bottom jaw and I held on for dear life. It was quite a struggle, but we managed to lift the fish up onto the boat. 

After I caught my breath, I told the Lord, a hearty heartfelt "Thank You", then like any salty ol' sailor,  I fillet'd that bad boy, threw his gizzard to the seagulls and invited him in to a fine meal with our crew.  We kept his liver for bait and caught a bunch of "seacats" with it but das another 'tail'.

Goin' Bananas

I got off the boat just in time for Tropical Storm Lee to rain on our parade.  Here it is 5 days later and the sun is just beginin' to peep out through the clouds.  Last hitch on da boat I kept tellin Peg how I really needed some down time; some "just sit back and chill" time.  Well, be careful what ya ask for, 'cause after 5 days and over a foot of rain, I am about going bananas.  I can only stand so much recliner time. When Lee finally decided to leave town, the sun was such a welcome sight, that I put on some Crocs and waded out into the yard to have a look around.
From the looks of the banana leaves, we aint wrapping anything in them to bbq any time soon.  The wind tattered the leaves into ribbons.  Not to worry though; this doesn't seem to hurt them and already new leaves are already shooting up and unfurling.  We rescued a nice bunch of bananas that the wind had broken the palm that they were growing on.  Peg tied them up on the patio and as they ripen I am already drooling at the thought of her wonderful 'nanner nut bread.

With all the rain, the yard feels like a sponge and looks like a jungle.  I can hardly wait 'til it dries up so we can go out and play.

8.27.2011

The 2011 Robin Family Annual Jambalaya

Well, I've taken my sweet time to post about the Family Jambalaya that took place last month. My daughter, Sookie and her guy, David came down from Kentucky for the occasion, and we all had a wonderful time. It was her first family Jambalaya, and it was so nice to have her around to hug whenever I felt like it :-) David pitched in and helped Cappy prep the meat, while Sookie and I, (and then Cappy and David) chopped the veggies that go into the pot. Cappy had me make a pot of white beans to go with the jambalaya, as tradition holds, and I also made my Mom's bbq sauce for the Cajun sausage 'chunks' to swim around in, til they are fished out with toothpicks. I have to say thank you to Sookie and David and our buddy Smokin' Sam, or else Saturday I wouldn't have had anything that I could have to eat. Even with all the luscious foods around, I didn't dare eat anything because of this danged celiac business...grrrrr. So, thanks, guys!
   Okay.... I put together three slideshow/videos and stuck them over on youtube, where they've been sitting for three weeks on "cappyandpegody's channel" with about 40 some of our other videos, but I'll try putting the three of these jambalaya videos directly here from the computer onto this blog post.  HMMMmmmm....well, I see that I'm still not used to this new format on here, so the videos are all out of order. The first video you should see is now sitting on the bottom...last. The last video, number 3...the Pool Party is sitting here at the top. The middle video, is the middle. It's up to you as to how you want to view them. (pant pant pant)
video video
   We got to see a lot of Cappy's family again this year, although there were quite a few missing in action. And they were indeed missed. Ah well, maybe next year. We really did enjoy getting to "hug their necks", as Cappy says, of the ones who were there. I visited with Cousin Cindy's son, Alex, talking about football...New Orleans Saints, of course, and (wow!) right away, I realized I was in way over my head talking to that guy...he could be a sports commentator. He rapidly quotes stats and drafts and...and....and...whoa, I felt like a real dummy, but learned a lot, too! We love dat guy!  I got to hold Kolbe, Alex and Lindsey's beautiful baby for about 45 minutes or so, and hadn't realized how much out of practice I'd gotten. I was thrilled when Mary brought him in from the heat outside and handed him to me, but I soon realized his nuck-nuck wasn't satisfying him, no matter what I tried. I breathed in the sweet new baby smell, relishing what a dear little baby boy he is, while bouncing him and rocking him; I just wanted his Mommy and Dad to be able to have a little fun outside visiting family and cooling off in the pool. Wouldn't you know it...just about the time Cappy had the jambalaya all cooked and being plated, poor Kolbe decided he'd had enough of this out of practice grandma and started loudly demanding his mother. She had just gotten the food on her plate and didn't even get a chance to take one bite. Ahhh, yessss...I remember that scenario all too well myself, having had five little ones of my own.  I sure miss cuddling babies, and enjoyed holding precious little Kolbe. You can see from the pictures what an adorable little guy he is. When they named him, they hadn't realized that a great grandfather had that same name, but the spelling was different; Colby. There are only two people in the United States with the name spelled Kolbe like our little Sweetie. 
 I had to laugh about Uncle LeRoy, who had on this particular straw hat, with the price tags still dangling from the back of it. He said he was not trying to imitate Minnie Pearl, but rather was leaving it on, so's to be able to take it back to the store the next day. It was a great running gag all weekend. I thought that it must be pretty darned expensive for him to have to wear it, then return it...but still couldn't fathom that being the story...not for real. Finally, late in the day, I sneaked a peek at the price on that fluttering tag,  thinking it would be some HUGE $....then about fell over laughing my butt off when I saw it was only $10!!!! I LOVE that guy! Cappy's uncles remind me of my uncles; they are too much fun.
   Uncle Maurice and Aunt Margaret's home, as you can see is very lovely, and we all appreciated their warm hospitality. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes that everyone is not aware of, to host such a big 'to do' like this. Cappy and I are very grateful for all their hard work.
When I made the videos...and any time I make slideshows and/or videos, I like matching the words of the songs to the pictures, if at all possible and love making 'sight gags'. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy making them for yall.
video
  

8.01.2011

Cappy's Black Iron Pot Jambalaya

Folks are always asking for my recipe for my big pot of Cajun-style jambalaya. So, here is a recipe and a few pictures and instructions.  Hope this helps.


Recipe:
      Griods
30 lbs of cubed Boston butt pork roast
1-12 cup Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup hot sauce (to taste)
3 Tablespoons Worstershire
1  12oz. beer
            SEASONING
15 lbs of Cajun smoked sausage, sliced
15 lbs of yellow onions, coarsely chopped
6 large bell peppers, chopped
6 bunches of green onion greens, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped parsley
6 lbs of small button fresh mushrooms (optional, but highly recommended)
15 lbs. of Mahatma long grain rice


                                         Preperation Instructions
Get your Boston butt pork roast thawed out.  Peggy and I are always looking for a sale, and our "foodie" friends swap information about sales for this versatile cut of meat.  Our friend, "Smokin' Sam" called me on the boat and told me about a big sale just in time for our family reunion. 
We cube the pork into slightly larger than bite size pieces.  (It shrinks some in the cooking.)
We then mix in the Cajun seasoning, Worstershire, hot sause and beer.  Mix thoroughly by hand, and store away to marinate.  We put it in a big zip-lock bag and parked in in an ice chest overnight. 
These are the "Griods".  Then we chop the onions coarsly.  I cut onions in half then chop 3 or 4 cuts vertically and horizontally across the onion halves.  Slice our sausage into 1/4 inch slices.  We do it with a knife, but a meat-slicer makes quick work of this part.  We chop and prepare the bell peppers, green onions and parsley, bagging them seperately in zip lock bags and parking them in ice chests.  Then we wash our mushrooms, saving the smaller ones whole, and cut the bigger ones in half.  The idea is that, the folks who love mushrooms can easily see them in the pot, while people who dislike them, can avoid them while serving themselves and can conveniently discard them if the find any on their plate.  This is a great way to make everyone happy.

When we plan on serving around midday, we do all the prep work the night before.  The Griods go in one ice chest, the onions and sausage in another, and the greens and "mushies" (mushrooms) in yet another.  The whole project is organized in stages, making the whole process easier and well coordinated.  If ya cooking for an evening meal, this can all be done by starting in the morning.  The prep work, or sous "cheffing" is always a family event and lots of people like to help.  It can be an event in itself, and we often have a chopping "party".

                                                                                                 COOKING
In a 20 gallon well-greased old black iron pot, dump in your marinated griods.

Enlist the help of an ol' uncle or two, and have them help you cook the griods down until well browned. If it starts to dry out or stick, you may need to deglaze the pot on occasion with water, stock, or the beer ya got in  your hand,  to keep them from burning, but the pork usually releases enough juices to do the job.




Once the griods have browned over medium heat, remove them from the pot.

Dump in the sausage and onions from the second ice chest into the pot.  Stir this over medium heat until the onions are browned and begin to break up.






Once the onions and sausage have "browned down", put the pork chunks,  all the veggies and a gallon of water back into the pot.  Once this has come back to a hard simmer, cover the pot, then cook for a half hour, stirring occasionally.  We skim any grease off the top during this stage, greatly reducing the "heart burn factor".  In this picture, you can see some grease collecting towards the top of the mixture.  During the 30 -45 minutes that we simmered this, we removed a half gallon of rich, seasoned pork fat from the top of the gravy.  Me and my family stood around thinking about how in the old days those drippings would have wound up in a lard bucket on grandma's ole stove and used in all sort of wonderful dishes.  It was with many a heavy (high cholesterol'd) hearts that we poured this golden elixer in the trash.
The next step is to add 2 gallons of water and bring the pot to a boil.  Once boiling, ya pour in the 15 lbs of rice and cook, stirring often for 5 minutes. (Make sure ya "stay with it"!)
After the rice has boiled for 5 minutes, ya firmly apply the pot lid, turn the fire off and post a guard to make sure no one opens the lid until ya return. (Very important!) Feel free to go take a break for 45 minutes and have a few beers. Inform the guards that anyone that tried lifting the lid on the jambalaya pot runs the risk of assault with the big stainless steel stirring paddle.  Once the rice mixture has steamed on its own inside the pot for 45 minutes, remove the lid then dig the paddle deep into the jambalaya, bringing the contents up from the bottom and gently stir in the gravy on top til the whole mixture is consistant.  Wait another 5 or 10 minutes til every one has gotten a good whiff and began salivating, then turn them loose on the pot.


We took the lid off at 2 p.m. and by 5 p.m. the pot was empty.  Feel free to give it a try and I'm wishing ya the best of luck.  Please post us a comment and let us know what ya think, and how yours came out.  We will gladly answer any questions and help anyway we can.

7.27.2011

Don't Bite More Than You Can Swallow

        I was sittin' on da boat when I noticed a seagull trying to swallow a rather large fish he had plucked out of our wheelwash.  I grabbed my camera and got this picture of him struggling with it.


             I was surprised when an Egret suddenly swooped into the picture and stole the fish from the seagull.

             I watched him struggle with the fish for awhile to get it into swallowing position.  Swallowing it wrong is bad news for a birdie.  The fins open up and scratch their way down.  After some time he finally managed to choke it down.
You can tell by the lump in his throat that it was almost too big for him to swallow.  Wonder who was next in line to try; a pelican maybe? 

7.25.2011

Wild Canaries

When I was young, I used to see these little yellow birds all over the western Atchafalaya Basin where I grew up.  My Grandpa and Dad usta call them wild Canaries.  It was a joy to see them flitting through the bushes cheeping at us on early morning fishing trips.  It was only much later in life when I learned that they were finches. Nowdays, I see them often in the morning on the boat, in the early morning, while drinking coffee and waiting on the regular morning radio call from the office.  This little fella happened to hop into range of my zoom lens (thankfully, before the camera fell hard down onto the deck and broke).  These little guys will be, forever in my mind, wild canaries, despite what some learned college professor may say.  I can still hear my grandfather whistling little cheeps at them, and them returning the calls as we fished along.  A truly golden memory.

7.23.2011

A Fish "Tail"

It was a long, strange ten-week hitch.  My relief captain got promoted to captain of another boat and that left us short-handed.  My pilot "pulled" 6 weeks and moved into the relief captain's hitch and position.  They didn't have anyone to take the pilot slot so I rode over 'til they found someone.  I wish I had pictures of the several 5 gallon buckets full of catfish we caught, to show yall, but my camera broke and I didn't get their picture.  I wish I had a picture of the monster that got away, but it broke the 80 lb test nylon line we were using, before I could get a picture of his bucket-sized mouth.  I wish I could tell yall what a fight this 20 + lb fish (in the picture with some five gallon buckets) gave us on our jug-line, but I can't on accounta da dock man caught it and gave it to us.  What I can tell ya about this fish, though, is his flesh filled 3 gallon zip lock bags and it took us a couple weeks to eat him.
Here is part of him after being dipped in my spicy mustard, egg wash, rolled in corn flour and deep fried.  Served up River Cajun style with a pot of white beans and rice to keep him company.  We also got a redfish that I filleted out and made a sauce piquant with him.  Sorry no pictures of that one, as we got him after my camera took an unexpected trip to the deck without me.  Well, I'm finally home again and look forwards to playing with Peg for a couple weeks.  Next hitch I'll be heading out with a new and better camera.  Maybe I can keep this camera from jumping off the dash board and bouncing down the stairs outa the wheelhouse. I'm already shuttering in anticipation of the fishy tales I'll be bringin' back home next time. 

6.22.2011

Crawfish Bisque, Thank You Very Much.

Crawfish Bisque. I almost feel as though I have to pinch myself. I never in my wildest dreams expected that an huge pot of it would be sitting in our kitchen, (especially with Cappy away on the boat). I've heard about this mysterious 'dish of the gods', this specialty, labor-of-love-to-make-it pot of wonderous elixer, for years. I've smelled it a couple of times next door at our dear Miss Annie's house. It was bad enough to sit and bathe in the warm tantalizing cloud of it cooking in Miss Annie's kitchen, where she had taken hours and hours to prepare it. She was unaware that it felt like a cruel cut, but she had me bring a dish of it home for Cappy. As Cappy loves to say, "I was drooling so much, I was about drowning in my own spit". I never cry about such occurances any more. I'm used to it. I guess I'm used to it. I kind of file it away in a mental lock box; the fact that I can't have anything that special, being a celiac. Usually, people who are wheat and gluten intollerant find a way to make some kind of substitute or redo the whole recipe. Well, I know that it's very, VERY labor intensive, so who in their right mind, (so I thought), would invest so much time making a big vat of it, because it would have to be some kind of experiment, and who knows how it would turn out in the end after all their efforts? Well, I should have known. Cappy and I keep asking ourselves, over and over, "What in the world did we ever do to be blessed by God with such sweet, dear, loving, giving friends like Sam and Louise??" About a month or so ago they had mentioned that they might give it a try. Now this is is silly, but I about started bawling right there. Even now, ...what a wimp I must be...well, ANYhow. Even tho' they had mentioned it, mentally, I dismissed it, because, as I said, I know from having heard, how expensive and labor intensive it is. See, I say a lot of stuff, but a lot of times, I just don't follow up. A few days ago, they sent me an email asking me about corn flour. Well, that Sam is always cooking up something over there. He has a nice garden, a smokehouse and a pioneer spirit, so I asked him what he was going to cook. I'm telling you, when he said, "Crawfish Bisque", I almost fell out of this very chair I'm sitting in. Surely they weren't going to be cooking any that I could have. Well, (BAW!...I love those guys) yesterday Louise called and asked if I'd like some crawfish bisque. I think I hung up our phone and didn't leave it dangling before I ran out the door to drive across town. I dragged my video camera along and made this video for yall.




video
Can you believe they went to all the trouble making this, just because of me? It's hard enough to make it the regular way. When I told Cappy how many stuffed crawfish they had given me (...well...us, cuz Louise told me on my way out their door, to, "make sure and save some for Cappy") he was shocked. He said, "that's costly, a lot of hard work, and they were very generous!" Boy, when I sat down to have my dinner last night, didn't I feel like I was somebody. I said Grace and thanked God for our amazing friends....oh, and for the crawfish bisque, too, of course :-9

P.S. When this Blogger changed their format on here, it's kind of hard getting used to it, and thus, has kinda cramped my style. I say this just in case any of our usual readers have noticed and wondered, "Whaaaaa??" 

6.16.2011

Just Another Any Other Day

Darn that Cesar Millan guy, that "Dog Whisperer". I try being a good Mom to these dogs. All the other dogs I've ever had appreciated that fact. ONE of the dogs we have now does, too, but ONE of them is a smart-aleck Brat, who trots to the beat of another drummer. When he was a puppy we sent this brat to obedience school. The only reason they let him "graduate" was because we had paid the $80. They weren't fooling anybody; we all know why they "passed" him. "No chow left behind" and apparently no Bichon Frise, either. He won't mind; he never does, but Cappy loves that SparkyBear is a free-thinker and has a free-spirit. He loves that The Brat, as EVERYbody calls him, is a brat. He is smart, I'll give him that. The other day his brother, MarkyBear, the obedient "child" was on his usual quest of tracking down squirrels. Since his successful surgery, he's recovered and has taken to running everywhere he goes, which makes his zeal for squirrel hunting a whole lot more fun. I forget why, but I wanted to get him to come to the house, so I tried whistling the way Cappy does. I'm not good at whistling. SparkyBear was already inside, sitting there watching me whistle. I talk to them all they time and they know a lot of words. "Whistle" is one of them. I told Sparky, "See, I'm trying to whistle". I should have just given up and gone out and hollared for Mark, but I kept trying every way that I knew, to pucker and make a loud shrill sound, with the brat probably thinking, "boy, you don't know anything". Leastwise that seemed to be the look on his face. I heard one of those Mocking Birds, that love to sit anywhere in the yard slightly above MarkyBear and taunt him. So, besides squirrels, Mark will bark and "chase" the birds to safer heights. So, I managed to make loud chirping noises and away came MarkyBear, running toward the house to answer my poor imitation of a Mocking Bird. I looked down at SparkyBear and said, "See, I did a bird whistle". He got it...he knows both those words...his ears went up, he jumped up and started doing his biggest dog "laugh". He thought it was funny. (Come on, you've heard how dogs laugh, right?) Well, that story might have been lost on you, but anyway, I've tried everything that I know of, to make him  understand how to be well-behaved. It's never gone well. That's why, amongst other things, I resorted to watching "The Dog Whisperer". I needed to learn a few new tricks. I tried a lot of stuff on the Brat and none of them worked. When he's really mad, for instance,....trying to think about why he's been mad in the past. When he does get mad, tho', he's got a bad temper. Not often, but it happens. So, once when he was really upset about something and growling; showing me who was boss when his Dad is away, out on the boat. I said, "Oh no you aren't! Here ya go, Mister", I grabbed him, laid him down on his back and held him there, waiting for him to finally give up that deep breath of resignation, as I'd seen Cesar do dozens of times. I knew he had to wait for quite awhile sometimes before those dogs would 'give up'. I waited and waited. My arms were getting tired. He just laid there rigid, glaring up at me and sometimes growling. I tried talking to him soothingly.  I said, "I'm getting tired, here, you've gotta give up; I'm the boss, not you....honey". "Grrrrrr".  "Okayyyyy, just relax and Mommy will let you up."   "Grrrrr". So I wait. And wait. And wait some more and wait lots more...twenty minutes, by the clock. He started to doze, but he'd wake up and growl some more. Finally, after half an hour, I gave up. The brat had won and he knew it. He still thinks he's the boss of me, I guess.
 Another thing I learned on "Dog Whisperer" that does...kinda/sorta does work. It works for SparkyBear and MarkyBear, but it's mostly the Brat who pulls this. I learned that if a dog gets ahold of something very important that you don't want him to have, you can bargain with him. "Trade" it for something he likes, like a treat. When he drops your valuable item, give him his 'treat'. It works! Of course, the Brat won't drop what he has until I drop what I have for him. He insists, "You first".
Ok, so now he's got another number up his sleeve. He peruses the house looking for things I've left laying around, or which he can jump up and reach. Anything like that, he considers fair game. He gets this mischievious look on his furry face,  and stands ready to run away with it, if I start after him for it. If I yell, "HEY! You're not supposed to have that!!!", he either runs under the bed with it, where I can't get him or out the back door with it. He usually pulls this when I'm otherwise occupied, like writing or cooking, etc. Sighhh...it's just easier and quicker to give in. Once I left my art box open and he thought he'd hit the mother lode. I was in the kitchen, hands all goopy, when he trotted out one of my special gold paint markers. (YOW!) "Ok...ok..."as sweetly as I could, so he wouldn't know the value of what he had, I asked, "You wanna trade for a treat??" He took a couple cautious steps forward, kinda biting it. (I envisioned gold paint gushing everywhere, even into his mouth, and I don't know if it's toxic...not more vet bills!)  I rushed and grabbed dog treats, "Here...HERE ya go!!" all as merrily as I could fake it. And it worked again. MarkyBear, the good boy, always lumbers by at that point and asks where his treat is. So he gets a treat, too. I resumed whatever it was I was deeply engrossed in before, when a few minutes later SparkyBear appeared with that devilish attitude and a red plastic puff paint bottle in his mouth. "What??? Where are you getting these things?!"  Then, too late, I remembered I had left the darned art box on the futon, opened. While he and Mark were snarking down their second treat, I put the box high up in the cupboard over the computer desk.
 I have to keep the bathroom waste basket up on the back of the toilet because if it's left on the floor, as in normal homes,  he'll ferret through that, shredding empty cardboard toilet paper rolls or tissues...whatever. Always wanting to 'trade', of course.  He used to bring me whole pieces of paper or cards that he'd found. Now, I have to be extra careful, because of late, he'll come into the computer room, for example, looking like a bunny with big white buck teeth, which is, in reality, a shred of white paper hanging out of his mouth, ready-to-run bratty attitude, 'asking', "What can I get for this?" I always think, "I know what I'd like to give you for that", but being a NICE dog Mom, and knowing better, I just sigh, and ask him if he wants to 'trade', which is the whole deal anyhow. Somehow he's figured that by shredding the whole card or paper, he's got more currency to 'deal' or bargain with. Horrible dog. HORRIBLE dog, I tell him. Whenever I see or, now I listen to hear if he's shredding anything, I run to make a quick trade, because it might be something important that I've foolishly left down. ONE treat for that. I've learned to always honor their deals, tho', thinking that it's the right thing to do. How do I stop now and go back to finding pencils  or pens shredded, or a credit card snatched while I'm cleaning out my purse?  (which Cappy sez never happens...cleaning out my purse :-P) Or who knows what kind of calamity would happen? So whenever he comes in with something and that look that says, "What can I get for this", it's a quick treat, period, so I can have some kind of quick resolution and it makes the dogs happy; whatever. Well, now I know I'm in trouble; I'm in over my head. Yesterday The Brat came in the house with a blade of grass hanging out of his mouth. Now the whole world is his oyster. "Trumped" by a dawg.
       

6.05.2011

Water Works

Well, all seems calm, all seems bright. It's strange, tho'; our town hasn't had rain in two months! Usually, we're 'makin' bayous; rain, rain, rain. One day last week, the radar even showed that we were getting some "per-sipper-tay-shun", but we didn't even get one drop. I don't understand it. Our lawn still needs mowing once a week or so, but I have to water the garden or it dries out. I'm getting some nice green beans, okra, a few cukes and assorted peppers, not to mention strawberries. From the last few posts, you know that the Mississippi River, right near us, is pretty full. Yesterday there were flood warnings right across the river from us. I know it's high, but I'm told, by Cappy, that the other side of the river's banks are lower than ours, so that if the banks were to overflow, it would be on the other side first, and not ours. I haven't heard anything more, but, to me, from that report, it almost sounded as though water was, indeed going over the banks.(but I doubt it)-----The other day Louise and I went for a ride and saw for ourselves, the Bonnet Carre` Spillway full of water that's been diverted from the River just before it gets to New Orleans, to keep the City from flooding. I was surprised to see how high the water was rushing and swirling around the tall trees. Like with the Morganza Spillway north of Baton Rouge, the idea is to have an unihabited area for the very purpose of, in case of potential flooding, that the water could be siphoned off the Mississippi River, so to speak and have a place to go. In the case of the Bonnet Carre` Spillway, the water is rushing into the big Lake Pontchartrain. Because of the extreme drought conditions here in South Louisiana, the water table has been very low, so that when the water was released into the flood plain north of Baton Rouge, instead of the terrible flooding predicted by the national news media, the water came back up to where it normally would have been, if we'd had the rain that we ususally get. No tragic harm done. The spillways did a great job. Mission accomplished.-----Even though so much water has been diverted from the River, it's still very high. I can't even fathom how much damage would have been done, had they not opened the spillways. The other day Louise and I made another trip, but this time it was to take a few supplies to Cappy, who is still way down at the bottom of the Mississippi River south of New Orleans. Usually the water is low, so that only the top masts of the ships can be seen, because they are nestled down between the levees. Now, with the water being so high, the ships can be seen in entirety, as they skim along on top of the very high and fast flowing rush and look as though they could come steaming right over the top of the levees and on down onto the road to 'greet' us.
----Well, we did get greeted when we got the "Chevy to the levee" and brought a bunch of goodies to Cappy and his crew, who were out there on the water, "doin' their job".
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

5.22.2011

Weight and Sea, Buttercup

So far all's well...so far. Drove my Chevy to the Levee (last week), but the levee was dry. And yesterday some people musta been drinkin' whiskey and rye sayin' "This'll be the day that I die". May 21, 2011, when there was no "end of the world" earthquake or "The Rapture". I'm sure it will happen sometime, but not yesterday. So. What a week, izzall I can say. I guess we should all just keep on keepin' on...what other choice do we have? Live EACH day like it's the last. Yesterday, I thought to myself, if this was indeed my last day, what should I be doing? And I sez to myself; "nothing different than any other day". I love the Lord and try to live and enjoy every single day he's given me, and continue the running conversation I have with Him most all day long, as usual. One thing I need to change, tho', is how I take care of the 'temple' he's given me to 'ride around in' in this world. Leastwise that's how I look at it. Ever since I was burned and temporarily died when I was four years old, I'm more keenly aware that my spirit is not my body. My spirit recognized Jesus, when I died, and was swept up into His presence. My body was left lying in the hospital bed. At some point, I'll relate the whole experience, but not just now. It was....well, more than amazing, but then He said I had to come back. A tale I can hardly ever tell without puddling up.-----And now, as I look at the 'vessel'...the container for my soul til That Day that I get to go back to be with Him, ...as I look at how badly I've taken care of it, I get very disgusted with myself. I know I'm not the only one with this problem. Indulgence; neglect. The bane of our society. I've tried and tried and given up and given up. I dunno, I think I'll try again. It's a lot of weight to try to shed in my sedentary life over here. Yesterday Louise came over and I got on my Wii. We had a nice visit, and I'm hoping she'll come over again, so we can play on the silly thing. I do great when Cappy's on the boat, but when he comes home....and I don't why, but all bets are off. We just have way too much fun doing other things, and that usually includes ...like...the BEST food ever. We both love to cook for each other. We are in the midst of a duck showdown. I went first. (It was so-so) He 'goes' next time he's off the boat. We're usually 'on the road' too, where food is included. We went to Breaux Bridge with Sam and Louise to the Crawfish Festival...again FOOD! But we sure love those people.


























































Cappy and I can't even drive down the road without something distracting us...he hollars something about butter. Huh? "STOP da truck." Out in the middle of nowhere I stop to see what butter we're onto now. "Look! The buttercups are in bloom". I forgot; we go through this most every year. There along the bayou is a patch of pink flowers. I always mention that buttercups are YELLOWWWWWwwwww, to which he always says, while hopping out of the SUV, "...down here they are pink...or white sometimes". He parades through the middle of the patch, picks one, sticks his nose down into it, and smiles, "See?? I like butter, and dat's why dey call 'em buttercups down here in South Louisiana". I always love that adventure, and can't wait to see what else he'll have in store for us when he's back home. Right now he's wayyy down at the bottom of the Mississippi and has to go out into the open water. It's been so very windy down this way of late, which has caused a lot of navigational problems. Now the high water inside the levees, farther up the Mississippi River have caused problems with barges breaking loose, but the flood water hasn't troubled Cappy's boat. It's the wind that's been his problem. When the wind picks up like it has this past week, going out away from land into the open water with a towboat and barge can be a dangerous proposition. ...But I know Cappy knows what he's doing. He looks out for his crew. Oh...and by the way, Cappy's tankerman, Dana's mother just passed away yesterday. Cappy quickly got to a location where Dana could get off the boat, to get back to California to make arrangements. These sailors...and Dana is an ex-Marine...but still, these guys might be burley and tough, but when it comes to losing a mother, ...well, ...please keep Dana in your prayers. ----------So, I guess that's all the news that's fit to print, so they say. (I'm not so sure about this post, tho'...) We'll also take your prayers about the River's situation. My sister asks why I haven't left yet. Well, for now it's all just a matter of ...re-read the Title,... but in other words :-)

5.16.2011

I'm Still Not Out of the WOULD's

Every morning I wake and wonder if that point in the levee is going to hold. I wonder what's going on under the water. The River is rushing so fast; is the bank eroding in the depths below? Cappy and I have discussed this at length, much to his exasperation. Despite all his best efforts, unfortunately, he can't make me believe all is well. I still feel 'in harm's way'. If all is going according to the Corps of Engineers' plans, I asked Cappy why am I still thinking that the "V" is vulnerable to erosion. He sez I'm always having "ditzy thoughts". He must know me after all these years. I keep thinking, in my 'ditzy' pondering, about that very sharp point which the high flood water has to make, and right at the sharpest point it's got to be at it's fastest and most powerful. Not sure what the science of this is, but it's something I think I inately understand. So, again, I wonder what's going on that can't be seen from the surface. And how long can it hold? It's expected to be rushing like that for a couple more weeks.--- And thus, I'm still unsure about what I want to do, if anything. I was thinking it would be nice to take advantage of the situation and go visit Sookie, high and dry in Kentucky. We've had a lot of family members and friends who have graduated this year and Cappy has always been very generous, which is the right thing to do. We still have a ton of medical bills for MarkyBear. All this makes it financially impractical for me to take the dawgs and go 'tra-la-lahing' off across the country dropping money all along the way at gas stations and hotels or campgrounds.--- I thought well, maybe I would like to, instead, find a campground on high ground close by.--- To get a better perspective of what the Mississippi River is actually doing over there in our back yard, so to speak, yesterday I thought I would take the dogs and go take a few pictures of the situation. The news 'talking heads' on television have been saying for everyone not to drive on the levees, and to stay off them. Where we live, as I drove along on River Road, I saw so many people hither and yon up there, I thought, "Well, maybe the authorities wouldn't mind if I did a quick peek with the video camera. So up I went,(walked) then today I made a (SHORT, shakey) video and put it on youtube. (I'm having FITS with our video makers since we got the new computer...it put my voice on, that I took off, it put words in the wrong places after I meticulously edited it and it all looked good, so I sent it to youtube, where it's a MESS. I'm not sure, yet, how to delete my own videos on there...sighhh) I would take the time right now to try to redo it, but I'm not gonna. So here that mess is anyhow: http://www.youtube.com/user/cappyandpegody then, once at youtube, click on "Swollen Mississippi" video (the awful one...sorry). ----I was on the phone with Cappy at the time telling him about the view, from up the River. He's way down at the bottom of the River just now. On the news, too, they warned everybody that there were a lot of snakes and alligators around because of the high water, and to really watch out for them. When I got on top of the levee, I was stunned to see a gathering of people playing in the water! I didn't notice one of the big red dogs dragging something out of the River, until I was home looking at the videos. What in the heck did that dog carry out of the water? The people aren't even paying attention! And there were kids in the water! I shook my head and went back down to the SUV, where the dogs were sticking their heads out the windows watching. As I got in to leave, I noticed a man standing in back of us, apparently writing down our license plate number. I wasn't on the levee, but at the bottom of one of the access roads. I got out and asked him about it. He said that he was supposed to report license plate numbers to the authorites. (oh oh.) He asked me my name and where I was from. This is such a close knit community, that everyone is related somehow, and there are only a handful of names in our town. When I told him my last name, he asked, suspiciously, (I have a Yankee 'accent' remember) "You're from here, ehhhhh?" See, our name is not from around here. I told him that we live across the street from Jude and Sonia, and immediately, he knew I was ok. Like everyone in our town, everybody knows and deeply respects them. I apologized for being on the levee, and told him that I was taking pictures for our blog, where we write about 'everything South Louisisana'. He was a very nice gentleman, doing a good civic duty for our community. I wonder how many times he had to come out of his house on that Sunday...day of rest, trudge across the road and tell people not to stop there or go up on the levee. I did tell him about the people up there swimming. He was astonished. "Swimming??!" I shook his hand, got in the SUV, Cappy still in my earphone, and pulled out, with Mr. Jasper heading up the levee to take care of the situation. As I only just got down the road, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a sheriff's car coming around the bend and pulled into the spot I had vacated only moments before. Cappy said, "Tuck in your tail and just keep on going, Peg". Well, I like that they are all on the ball over there by the levee. It's a little more reassuring. Here I'm worried and I don't live right across the road from the River like Mr. Jasper does. Bless his heart for volunteering like that. I'll bet by the time he and that sheriff were finished with those people, they got out of there for sure. ---So. As my Mom would say, "Here we sit in silent bliss....", 'butsept', I'm not so silent. When I looked at the River, it didn't seem to be as high as in 2008, but then I couldn't actually get to the same site, without fear of getting in trouble for real this time. If that "V" broke right at the point, people I care about would be in danger before I would. If that happened, the river would empty itself right here...why would it be compelled to complete the bend, if it could escape the levee right there? That 'V' is farther away than I had first said. Another thing Mom used to say when frustrated was, "coulda, woulda, shoulda".--- I watered the garden tonight, will pick beans tomorrow, I've got important papers "up" and ready to go. I guess Cappy's right, I do think "ditzy thoughts" more than I care to admit. I just want to be ready to do the right thing whatever happens, or if nothing happens. I feel so badly for those people over in the Achafalaya River Basin, who aren't uncertain about what's about to happen. They need our prayers.


But I still dont' know what to do. Don't you just hate indecision? As for our area, I hope all will be well. Knock would.

5.13.2011

Mississippi Rising; Can We Dodge This Bullet?

I don't know; I just don't know.
This picture was taken in 2008. Notice that if the water had gone all the way on top of the levee, how far above the houses and road (and cars) it would be? What looks like the River, is actually not the River...the River is about a quarter or half a mile off to the left. Where you see water now, is usually a nice grassy little valley. What is considered "flood stage" is when the water goes past it's banks and then sits next to the levee, like in this picture. Then all it has to do is rise and rise, foot by foot, creeping up and threatening to overflow if something isn't done.
That year, they opened the Bonnet Carre' Spillway, which helped. Today, the water is sitting just as high (much higher today); they've opened the same spillway, but it hasn't helped, because the real flood is still some ways north of Baton Rouge. The flood waters aren't even here yet, and are expected to be a whole lot worse than this. This levee just might overflow, and most likely will, if they don't open the Morganza Spillway, just north of Baton Rouge.
I see on television, places like the Weather Channel, that they are saying that many thousands of acres will be flooded if they open that spillway. The Achafalaya River Basin with it's levee system was built for just that purpose. Way back in the day, they built the levees all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and made the people who lived there move. They didn't want anyone living there because whenever they opened the Morganza Spillway, that's where the water was supposed to go on it's way to the Gulf. It's never been used for that purpose, tho'. It's only been opened once, and that was to help balance some water level at some other place. (I've heard conflicting stories about this; however.)If they opened this spillway now, it would be the first time for any flood to go down it.
Since there has never been a very bad flood, people have gotten complacent and have built or planted inside the levees. Camps and 'squatter' homes. Yep, they'd get inundated for sure, most likely. But this year, the water volume is so extremely high, that the water would not only fill the 23 mile wide and (I don't know how long...from north of Baton Rouge, all the way to the Gulf of Mexico) Achafalaya flood plain, but the water would also overflow even those levees, and take on towns and villages, not to mention farm land.
What to do, what to do? As I said, the real flood water is not even here and already the levee system below the Baton Rouge to New Orleans is being stressed and is 'leaking'. Here in South Louisiana, we've been suffering a drought. Rain has gone to the north of us. The soil is dry deep down.
I remember one time in Rochester, NY when there was a drought situation. No-one thought much about it, til the Spring rains came and the Genensee River rose. The high water hit the dry river banks and a big section collapsed, taking part of Scottsville Road with it.
Where this picture, above, was taken, the 'point' is not only "pointing" to those houses sitting in the shadow of the levee, but also toward our town, an half a mile away. Whenever the Huge mass of flood water comes roaring down the river, and hits this dried out, and thus weakened levee "arrow", it just might give way. It's Cappy's opinion that all will be well, and I sure hope he's right. Me, I'm not so sure. Do I bite the bullet, wait and see, or "get the heck outa Dodge"?

5.09.2011

Country Livin'

Half the town thinks I'm crazy when I do this, but every once in awhile I feel like sawing wood. Sure, I could fire up a chain saw, but I like doing it manually and breaking a good honest sweat. This morning I cranked up my outdoor speakers and went to sawing. My friend, Smokin' Sam, had dropped off a truckload of old wood and fencing that he didn't need. Well, instead of him carryin' it to the dump, I told him to drop it here and I'd turn it into firewood. While sawing to some good Cajun music, one of my neighbors, "Turkey Neck", rolled up on his 4-wheeler and made the same ole statement, "Meh, Cap, you workin' way too hard!" He sat on his 4-wheeler drinkin' a beer while I dripped sweat off'n ma nose and we visited awhile.

He offered me a beer, but I said it was too early for me. When he looked at me kinda funny, I explained that I had a lot to do and when I'm hot I drink 'em too fast. We chatted a bit, talkin' "country boy" stuff, I gave him a strawberry fresh from the vine, and we compared green bean stories. He is pickin' his beans now; we gonna start pickin' tomorrow. Before he left, he handed me a some homemade alligator sausage, deer sausage, and 2 big Cajun smoked andouille sausages. I am truly blessed to live in a small town. Neighbors see ya workin and come over, offer to help (by offering a chain saw) and bring over a basket full of homemade sausage. Das what Country livin' is all about :-)

5.05.2011

Cappy's 5-Gallon Bucket Tip

Dang near every country boy I know has a bunch of 5 gallon buckets around. These versatile pails have much too many uses to list here, and anyone could come up with 20 or so without even thinking hard. They always wind up stacked up one inside the other in a big pile in a shed or barn somewhere and stick together so tightly that it takes all your strength, determination and profanity to pry them apart again. Well, here's a great little tip that solves that problem while still allowing ya to stack them up for storage. Take a piece of nylon twine and tie the end to one side of the bucket handle. I use some tar-dipped nylon catfishin' string I always have around the house, but any good strong twine will do.Let the string hang down in the bucket. Place another bucket in the bucket on top of the string. Adjust the length of the string so that the top bucket fits in just to where it's handle is touching the second ring of the bucket, and tie it off.Once the string is tied, you can push the handle of the top bucket under the ring on the bottom bucket and that locks the buckets together.Once hooked together they stay together well and never get stuck. All ya have to do is lift the handle of the top bucket and they slide right apart. The string keeps them from getting stuck together.
You can easily stack and carry many buckets as ya want that way. They hook together by their handles.
If you need more than one bucket just lift the handle of the bottom bucket ya want and they will lift easily from the top of the stack.
This bucket tip will solve ya lots of stuck buckets and save ya space in storing them. When using the bucket alls ya gotta do is flop the string to the out side of the bucket. This sure makes this country boy's life easier.