The Fruit of the Sea

Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it. ~ Bubba (Forest Gump)

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I threw this together really quickly. The quality is lacking but I thought you might enjoy seeing some photos from the harbor.

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We’ve spent a good part of this past week talking with local fisherman. It’s been great fun! Shrimping isn’t particularly good right now. It’s the drought. Who knew the drought affects shrimping?

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LJ, the captain of The Mr Marker patiently explained this while showing us his catch for the day – all of which was going to a bait store.

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Tomorrow we pick up the RV and then it’s back to the holding tank while we wait for an assignment.

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Joe Btfsplk and Other Wonders of Nature

For hours days I’ve been going to sleep to the sound of rain pattering and periodically pounding on the RV roof. I love the sound of rain –  when the slides don’t leak and the wind doesn’t tear off the non-retractable awnings over the four slides that magically transform this little trailer on wheels into a home.

I sleep and dream of the ocean. For three years, I often fell asleep to the sound of rain. I lived in the tiny town of Gold Beach tucked away in a little southern crook. With its temperate rain forest climate, there are more sunny days there than any other place on the Oregon coast. Although I often slept to the sounds of rain, most days offered a generous helping of sun.

For 14 months, I’ve lived in the drought stricken state of Texas. I’d all but forgotten the sound of rain on the roof. It hadn’t rained until I began my period of necessary unemployment. Since leaving the gate Thursday morning, the rain hasn’t stopped.

I’m beginning to feel like Joe Btfsplk! Do you remember Joe from Li’l Abner? Me either, but I’ve read about him. 😀

Joe Btfsplk was a character in the satirical comic strip Li’l Abner created by cartoonist Al Capp.  A small, dark rain cloud perpetually hovered over his head. Btfsplk and his ever-present cloud became one of the most iconic images in Li’l Abner. The rain cloud was supposed to represent Joe’s unfortunate tendency to bring bad luck.

This past week, our job came to an abrupt halt;  Heidi’s renters moved out 7 months before their lease was up; the house requires $5000 in repairs; the RV insurance rate doubled due to my palm tree tango; a random stone shattered the living room window; and the weather forecast is for another week of rain.

Just call me Joe. 😀

I may just be a rain carrier. We head east tomorrow to check out the Texas bayous where the rain is expected to continue.  I consider it my gift to a thirsty state. I’m hoping to leave the bit of bad luck behind. I think, just to be safe, Heidi better drive. 😉

For those of you who are interested in the oil business down here in south Texas land,  Andrew sent me this great link about the Eagle Ford Shale play.  The Houston Chronicle article lists everything from the average salaries to the local economic impact.

More from the bayou tomorrow or the following day. I still have some Louisianan bayou tales to tell. Until then to end with a couple of Capp-isms: good is better than evil because it’s nicer. 😀

To be corn-tinued

Not Great Year for the Great Pumpkin

Linus will have to find a patch somewhere else – there’s nary a pumpkin to be found here in Wharton – and not many in Texas.

Ghosts of Pumpkins past

The drought has affected even the hallowed practice of  carving a jack-o-lantern on Halloween.

The Texas pumpkin crop is down an estimated 50%. Texans are being forced to buy out-of-state gourds, if those can even be found.

Few things scream Halloween like a jack-o-lantern, but it proved impossible to scare one up this year. I had my pumpkin carving tools ready and even bought special pumpkin lights that would be impervious to the Texas gusts. I set up the little wooden table, thinking happy pumpkin faces would be a pleasant gate greeting. But after scouring the town there were none to be found.

I can’t explain why I like to carve pumpkins. As you can see from the photo above, I have no artistic ability. The pumpkin on the far left was Heidi’s last year. You’ll notice a striking resemblance to that one in each of the photos above. She’s a firm believer that there is one proper pumpkin face and that’s it. Most emphatically, Heidi believes the jack-o-lantern should never have a nose. It must be an Iowa thing. Ours always had noses in Indiana.

My Mom and Dad really loved holidays. All holidays! I guess I’ve never quite recovered from their joy of celebration! 😀

Backward, turn backward,
O Time, in your flight
make me a child again
just for to-night!
~Elizabeth Akers Allen

You might think you wouldn’t have many trick -or-treaters if you’re working as a gate guard on an oil rig. But even though it’s barely Halloween – a little after midnight, I just opened the door and sure enough, the trick-or-treaters are lined up as far as the eye can see. We have cement trucks, chemical trucks, torque trucks, trailer trucks, water trucks and some I’m not sure about yet.

I don’t know that there are real ghosts and goblins, but there are always more trick-or-treaters than neighborhood kids.  ~Robert Braul

I’m ready for them with my Dollar Store pumpkin and WalMart treats. Penny candy seems to bring a smile at any age and all the commotion is keeping the mice at bay!  Note to Heidi – even the plastic jack-o-lanterns have a nose!

Happy Halloween!