Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sea Rim State Park. Nature and Birding. McFaddin Beach. Sabine Pass Battleground. Big Thicket. Shakespeare. Judy Garland. Cantilevered Porch Roof.


For “Travel Tuesday”, let’s visit the Sea Rim State Park Area which is in the Texas Gulf Coast region.

#Region.R_Description# “Home to some of the best beaches in America, the Texas Gulf Coast region draws millions of visitors to this Texas playground. Stretching some 350 miles from South Padre Island & the Rio Grande Valley, all the way to Beaumont & the Louisiana border, this region is renowned for its wildlife & natural beauty, as well as the home of America's space program. Discover the Beaches of the Texas Gulf Coast Region.”

Sea Rim State Park IS actually open

imagesCATY6CFBThe seagulls would enjoy some company at Sea Rim State Park.

"We're hearing from some people that they didn't realize it was open until they drove up and saw the sign," said park superintendent Tracy Ferguson.

But the state park, which took back-to-back hits from Hurricanes Rita (2005) and Ike (2008), is open and has been for more than a year.  The park today resembles nothing of its former self. The enormous welcome center was demolished after Ike did catastrophic damage and roads are pretty much nonexistent within the park.

imagesCAUZIUTR But along the five miles of beach just outside of Sabine Pass, a handful of visitors chase hermit crabs, pick up sea shells and toss balls to wet, sandy dogs.

After Ike, the park needed $7.5 million to put itself back to what it was, Ferguson said, but the state approved $2 million.  With the money, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has started work that will at least provide basic services to guests.”     More at: http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/life/article/Sea-Rim-State-Park-IS-actually-open-3723675.php


Sea Rim is summer ready

Chad Hurley disassembles a tent at Sea Rim State Park on Thursday. Hurley and a small group spent two days in the area saying they enjoyed the beach, but had to stay in a local motel to avoid mosquitos.
Photo taken Thursday, July 19, 2012
Guiseppe Barranco/The Enterprise Photo: Guiseppe Barranco, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER / The Beaumont Enterprise“At $3 a beach lover, tourists can budget a summer stop at Sea Rim State Park, the Port Arthur, Texas beach just past Sabine Pass. The Gulf of Mexico washes shells ashore and provides a setting for families wanting prime real estate in sand castles.

Tracy Ferguson, park spokesman, says there’s an honor system in place for park payment. To spend the night is an extra $10 for each vehicle.  Camping is primitive, as it often should be. Visitors are coming back after Sea Rim reopened after Hurricane Ike damage.  Plans are in the works for upgrades, Ferguson said.

imagesCAYA61L4 The State Park Guide reports Sea Rim offers more than 4,000 acres of marshland and 5 miles of Gulf beach shorelines. Activities include fishing, shelling, bird watching, nature study, hiking and wild life viewing in addition to simply hanging out at the beach.

The park’s features are noted in the June 2011 issue of “Texas Highways” with a 10-page spread on the Port Arthur area’s  watery pleasures. 

Sea Rim State Park is along Texas 87. For information, call (409) 971-2559.

The feature also mentions Museum of the Gulf Coast, which features memorabilia from rock legend Janis Joplin, who called Port Arthur home.” More at: http://www.visitportarthurtx.com/texas/port-arthur-general/sea-rim-summer-ready/



“Located along the Greater Texas Coastal Birding Trail, Sea Rim State Park serves as a rest stop for many species of migratory birds traveling the Central Flyway. Warblers, swallows, vireos, grosbeaks, buntings and flycatchers are only a few of the birds that visitors can expect to see. American alligator, mink, nutria, raccoon, rabbit, opossum, skunk, river otter and muskrat are some of the many animals found in the park. At dawn and dusk, bobcats and coyotes can sometimes be seen.

White and brown shrimp, crabs, and various sport fishes, such as red drum, speckled trout and flounder, thrive in the park's lakes and bayous. Rich with plankton and organic matter, the marshland waters serve as a nursery for various species of aquatic life, supporting marine fisheries and migratory waterfowl.


Area Attractions

“Nearby attractions include Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site, Village Creek State Park, McFadden National Wildlife Refuge, Pleasure Island, Sabine Woods, Big Thicket National Preserve, and the J. D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area. A wide variety of festivals are held throughout the year in the cities of Port Arthur, Nederland, Groves and Port Neches. Early Arcadian homes and turn-of-the-century villas, museums, historic sites and oriental gardens offer tours for visitors.”   More at: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/sea-rim


Sea Rim State Park, Sabine Pass, TX

BONUS ALERT =  Camp with an open view of the ocean!

Walking the coastline at Sea Rim SP, TX

“This is a great little spot 10 miles West of Sabine Pass. It’s a super-easy “starter” location for RVers who want to try boondocking for the first time.  It’s a wonderful spot on the TX coast with fully open beach views and over 5 miles of coastline to play on. You can boondock either on the concrete parking pads in the park or anywhere on the beach. The area doesn’t have shelter so you’ll feel the winds when they whip up (as they do often down here), but the untamed beauty is gorgeous. During the week it’s very quiet and very few RVers come here, but the locals do show up on the week-end. Nearest shopping is 20 miles away in Port Arthur so come prepared.  This was a superb spot and we would definitely come back.”  More at:  http://wheelingit.wordpress.com/tag/sea-rim-state-park/


McFaddin Beach: This Site Is All Washed Up!








“McFaddin Beach is a 32-kilometer long stretch of sandy beach in Jefferson County on the upper Texas Gulf coast, extending from High Island on the west to Sea Rim State Park on the east.

Although this beachfront parcel has been assigned a trinomial archeological site designation (41 JF 50), it is not really an archeological site, but rather a place where artifacts and animal bones have been washing ashore for many years, awaiting discovery by beachcombers. Archeologists use the terms redeposited or secondary context to refer to accumulations like this.

The Texas coastline is a dynamic environment where sand can either be added or subtracted by currents and storm surges, and McFaddin Beach is a place where net erosion of sand has been taking place, flanked on either side by areas of net accretion. Despite this, it is clear that the artifacts are washing ashore from the Gulf, not eroding out from deposits behind the beach. A few of the artifacts have marine organisms (barnacles or bryozoa) attached. Backhoe testing (in 1983 and 2004) on both sides of Highway 87 has shown that the Pleistocene Beaumont Formation lies less than 2 meters below the ground surface, overlain by sterile Holocene sand and clay representing swamp and marsh deposits. Radiocarbon and OSL (optically stimulated luminescence) dates on the Beaumont/Prairie Formation range from roughly 28,000 to about 135,000 calendar years B.P. or more.”  More at: http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/mcfaddin/


Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site

“Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site is located in Jefferson County, Texas, where the Sabine River enters the Gulf of Mexico. The site is the location of a significant Civil War battle.

In September 1863, members of the Davis Guard—led by Confederate Lt. Richard “Dick” Dowling—held off a Union attack at Sabine Pass, a key port for Confederate shipments of supplies. In a battle lasting less than an hour, Dowling and his men destroyed two gunboats, captured nearly 350 prisoners, and prevented Union forces from penetrating the Texas interior.  Thanks to their efforts, area ports escaped capture and Union forces never penetrated the Texas interior.

During World War II, the area was also the site of a U.S. Army coastal artillery battery, and four historic munitions magazines are still located on site.
The state of Texas bought the site in 1971 and opened it to the public. Features include the 1936 statue honoring Dowling’s feats, a monument dedicated to the Union casualties, an interpretive pavilion, a boat ramp and picnicking and fishing areas.

Today, the site is operated as a historic site by the Texas Historical Commission. Features include the 1936 statue honoring Dowling’s feats, a monument dedicated to the Union casualties, outdoor educational exhibits, and a scale model of the Civil War-era fort and battle.”  Learn more about the history of Sabine Pass Battleground.


Big Thicket National Preserve

imagesCAREIFXH “The "Big Thicket"—now there's a resonant name, one that conjures images of Grimm Brothers' fairytales and Blair Witches. But in this 83,000-acre swath of East Texas's Piney Woods, truth may just be stranger than fiction: Dank, dark, and overgrown, the Big Thicket is a maze of swamps, rivers, and impenetrably dense forests, a place both weird and wonderful. There aren't many undiscovered gems left in the National Parks and Preserves system, but Big Thicket is one of them.

imagesCAWE22UQ Big Thicket is a naturalist's dream, a remnant of primeval forest that's been called an "American Ark" for its biological diversity. The last Ice Age greatly influenced this region by "herding" species from four different biological systems into one relatively small area. Southeastern swamps, eastern forests, central plains, and southwest deserts all converge here, and odd juxtapositions are everywhere—magnolias blooming next to cacti, hardwood forest abutting cypress slough. And as local legend puts it, "you'll find every critter in there from crickets to elephants"—the latter may not be true, but there are armadillos, alligators, panthers and bobcats, snakes, and a formidable array of insects.

imagesCAQ6Y9VU Once the inaccessible haunt of outlaws, well-marked footpaths, boardwalks, and myriad canoe trails now ply Big Thicket. Next time you're planning to walk through the looking glass in fall or winter (skip summer's prostrating heat and legions of bugs), keep Big Thicket in mind—it offers a fascinating glimpse of how wild the West can still be.”    More at: http://www.gorp.com/parks-guide/big-thicket-national-preserve-outdoor-pp2-guide-cid8813.html


On This Day:

Birth and death of William Shakespeare celebrated, Apr 23, 1564:

“Historians believe Shakespeare was born on this day in 1564, the same day he died in 1616.

Although the plays of William Shakespeare may be the most widely read works in the English language, little is known for certain about the playwright himself. Some scholars even believe the plays were not written by William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon but by some other well-educated, aristocratic writer who wished to remain anonymous.

Shakespeare's father was probably a common tradesman. He became an alderman and bailiff in Stratford-upon-Avon, and Shakespeare was baptized in the town on April 26, 1564. At age 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, and the couple had a daughter in 1583 and twins in 1585. Sometime later, Shakespeare set off for London to become an actor and by 1592 was well established in London's theatrical world as both a performer and a playwright. His earliest plays, including The Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew, were written in the early 1590s. Later in the decade, he wrote tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet (1594-1595) and comedies including The Merchant of Venice (1596-1597). His greatest tragedies were written after 1600, including Hamlet (1600-01), Othello (1604-05), King Lear (1605-06), and Macbeth (1605-1606).

He became a member of the popular theater group the Lord Chamberlain's Men, who later became the King's Men. The group built and operated the famous Globe Theater in 1599. Shakespeare ultimately became a major shareholder in the troupe and earned enough money to buy a large house in Stratford in 1597. He retired to Stratford in 1610, where he wrote his last plays, including The Tempest (1611) and The Winter's Tale (1610-11). Meanwhile, he had written more than 100 sonnets, which were published in 1609. Although pirated versions of Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet and some other plays were published during Shakespeare's lifetime, no definitive collection of his works was published until after his death. In 1623, two members of Shakespeare's troupe collected the plays and printed what is now called the First Folio (1623).”


Judy Garland plays Carnegie Hall, Apr 23, 1961:

“She was one of the biggest and most popular movie stars of all time, making her first film appearance at the age of seven and earning the first of three Oscar nominations at 17 for her starring role in what may well be the best-loved American movie of all time, The Wizard of Oz. She was also a prolific recording star, selling millions of records and winning five Grammy awards in a single year nearly three decades after starting out as one of the youngest performers ever signed to a major record label. These accomplishments alone would be enough to impress anyone who was somehow unfamiliar with her work, but "to experience Judy Garland's full power," as the PBS series American Masters put it, "one had to be in the auditorium when she brought her God-given gifts to bear on a suddenly unified collection of strangers." Never did Judy Garland so unify a collection of strangers than on this day in 1961 during the famous Carnegie Hall performance often called "the greatest night in showbiz history."”



Jay called, wanting to work, so Misty and I went to get him.

I stopped at Sam’s to make sure he was managing to give Mikey his pills, and he said he was doing it OK.

There is still some carpentry work to be done around here, and Jay is better at that than Ray.  We took down a beam off the screen porch which had originally had the pergola attached to it.  Now we need to get some boards cantilevered into the house ceiling joists to make a canopy over my front door, with no posts to support it.  This will stop the driving rain from coming into the screen porch, and make some shade in the living room, now that the pergola is gone.

Ray came over and helped too, as cutting into the house, and making the template for the exact angle took all morning.  But no boards are in place yet.  Jay and I have differing views on imagehow this cantilevered roof should be built.  I have done it before, over all three doors at my house at Lake Livingston.  Jay has one on his porch, too, but won’t even hang a single swinging chair off it, as he doesn’t think his is sturdy enough. 

This is how I think it should be done.  I know we should be starting in the attic, but Jay wants to start by tying onto the screen porch, and hoping it will match up with the ceiling joists.

We had to take down some of the shade cloth at the top of the screen porch which left a gap at the roof line, so Gummie-cat can’t go out on the porch for a few days.

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