SOUTH DAKOTA BEES
by: Eddie Trapp
Our two or three trips to the Gulf each year usually begin in May but this year we jumped the gun and left Sunday, April 1 heading for Galveston. Sam’s Restaurant in Fairfield was excellent as usual then we traveled on, stopping at Buckee’s in Madisonville. This has to be the world’s best tourist trap. Tour buses stop. A hundred kinds of fudge and jerky of all species. Don’t forget the twenty pounds of ice for ninety nine cents. Heck, that’s so cheap I bought an extra bag just to let it melt in the back of the pickup. Somewhere south of Madisonville we got in a lane beside an elderly couple with two dogs in the back of their pickup. You know how sometimes you see the same people over and over as you travel a long way? Well that’s the way we did them. All the way to Houston we would see them occasionally. Zack stayed fuzzed up growling and looking at the dogs. Just north of Houston we hit heavy traffic as somebody had been following too close and wrecked. About that time an eighteen wheeler pulled up beside us with a load of honeybees from Colton, South Dakota. Many of those bees were out from under a big net and flying all around, apparently mad about having to fly so far. Some people with no air conditioning were riding along with windows down but had to roll them up and sweat it out since there was nowhere to go in the stalled traffic and bees were everywhere. I told Jean I hoped the pickup with the two dogs in the back didn’t get close. Yep, about that time one lane started moving and here came the two dogs up near the bees. Everyone was pointing and taking pictures. The dogs got by without being stung. I think farmers pay bee keepers to bring in the bees to help pollinate crops.
Spent Sunday night in Galveston and heard thunder all night. Rained a lot Monday morning and finally cleared off. Drove toward San Luis Pass and pulled out on the beach. For over thirty years we have visited this area and never have we seen as many trees and limbs washed up on the beach. All sizes from finger size limbs to trees thirty feet tall. Just washed up on the beach. Two men were picking up aluminum cans and I stopped to ask where the limbs and trees came from. They said the current brought them all from Alabama where the tornados had been. Lots of work will have to be done to clean the beach for miles in each direction. High winds kept us from wading out chest deep in the surf as we normally do to cast our lines. At San Luis Pass the strong current keeps the waves down so we tried fishing there with no luck. Paid two dollars to cross the toll bridge and drove a couple of miles toward Freeport. Checked the beach which was still covered with limbs. Met two ranger type guys who said they thought all the trees and limbs came down the Brazos which had been very high lately.
Tuesday morning the surf was very high so we gave up fishing on the island and crossed the ferry to try our luck on Bolivar Peninsula. High surf again forced us to change our plans. Stingaree Restaurant is right on the Intracoastal Waterway and usually provides good fishing with no high waves. Zack smelled and chased little crabs around the big rocks lining the bank while we caught hardhead catfish and gaff top catfish. Nearby we bought two pounds of big shrimp to be grilled with garlic butter that night. Tiring of the slow action with the saltwater catfish we drove to Rollover Pass and caught about a hundred more of the catfish along with two sheepshead. While there we received several text messages asking if we were alright. Few people knew we were on the coast and the others thought we were at home in the path of the tornados. Spent the night at High Island just a mile or so off the beach and decided to make further plans the next morning.
Wednesday morning the wind was still relentless so we gave up the idea of more fishing. High Island is one of our nation’s best bird watching areas this time of the year because many species are returning north from Mexico and need a rest after flying across the Gulf. We toured several of the hot spots and had a great time walking along trails and boardwalks in a thick jungle type setting. Huge limbs have arched across the trails over the years giving it a tunnel effect. A few years ago I saw a large dove, almost twice as large as our regular mourning doves. They have really moved into our area over the last few years. Several of the large doves were at High Island and I confirmed from some of the experts that it was, as we identified it back then, an Eurasian collared dove. You may see them around northeast Texas. Characteristics are large size, ring around the neck, and wide white banded tail. More next week.
If you like western swing type music remember Bob Wills Day the last Saturday every April in Turkey, Texas. If you don’t know where that is, it’s just down the road from Quitaque, pronounced Kitty Quay. This year the last Saturday is on April 28 and the dancing starts Thursday, April 26. Bob Wills type music.
April 15, Saturn, the second largest planet will be at its best of the year. It rises about sunset and shines all night just to the left of Spica, brightest star in Virgo.
I bought a small book at a garage sale recently. Lost, by Dwight McCarter tells of search and rescue operations in the Smoky Mountains. The sad stories contained one bright spot as a man was looking at a fresh grave. He told his companion, “There lies the truth, because it never came out of him.”