Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wild life at J.D. Murphree

 

The wild life at J.D. Murphree
We take in Port Arthur’s marsh at the posted speed limit.
I experienced a summer evening on one of our own wetlands, and cherish the memory of a seemingly quiet landscape that’s actually teeming with life. The setting sun changed each view by the minute and the rustling of canes and grasses, the call of birds and the buzz of insects become more noticeable.
If you have a group that is really into nature, consider contacting biologist Andrew Peters about a Hurricane Ike Recovery Marsh Restoration covering a fraction of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) 24,250 acre J. D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in south Jefferson County.
Peters said Hurricane Ike scoured 800 acres of these marshes and TPWD is working to restore part of Texas’ largest emergent marsh system. TPWD, supported by NOAA Fisheries Ike Recovery Grant, partnered with local industry and Ducks Unlimited to address emergent marsh loss. Now 37.5 acres has expanded to beneficially place 3.2 million cubic yards of dredged soil into 1,500 acres of emergent marsh on the WMA.
For information on the WMA, Contact Andrew Peters at (409) 736-2551 X31. Headquarters is at 2710 H.O. Mills Blvd. in Port Arthur.




Big Thicket read 
Mirabeau Lamar, of Lamar University fame, is accused of writing bad poetry in a book on the Big Thicket. It ties in with a relative of Joseph Grigsby of Grigsby’s Bluff, now Port Neches. Rumors of Jean Lafitte’s buried treasures, a tip on how to ferment your mash and thoughts on baskers fill the pages.
Baskers are turtles who get sun themselves and include the chicken turtle, which tastes like chicken, and the stinkpot turtle, which climbs the highest for sunny spots, perhaps even into trees. Geraldine Ellis Watson shares these stories in “Reflections on the Neches: A Naturalist’s Odyssey along the Big Thicket’s Snow River.”It is noted that this is not a book to skim. Locals should love it, because we have lived it. The author was a plant ecologist and park ranger for the National Park Service for 15 years. This book is out from University of North Texas Press.

Log Cabins
“Dog Trots & Mud Cats: The Texas Log House” opens with a scene of downtown Dallas, with the eye drawn up to Reunion Tower’s globe. Gradually the eye flows down, past other levels of tall buildings, to a tiny log cabin.

Linda Lavender’s book discusses how the homes American frontiersmen crafted became used for political sway and commercial promotion. You’ve had the syrup, haven’t you? One story tells how a woman hauled her prized possessions from her cabin, swore her offspring to secrecy and set fire to the place, so that her husband would be forced to relocated in a more modern community.
Now log cabins are making a come back and she discusses that, too. In 1979, the staff of the Historical Collection at what is now the University of North Texas assembled an exhibit on the Texas log house that was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The exhibit traveled the country and was supported by this beautifully illustrated book, now being made available again by the University of North Texas Press.
ddoiron@panews.com

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Cosmic Costume Bowling Tournament
Spoiler alert: you do not want me on your bowling team. But as a Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, I am trying to get teams together for something so crazy-fun it must be working: the Second Annual Cosmic Costume Bowling Tournament. Max Bowl will host the fun on Oct. 29. Who wouldn’t want to dress up and knock a few pins down for good chamber causes. I hope to be there as a cheerleader, not a bowler.  I also put some cookbooks, as reviews in my Port Arthur News column, into the silent auction. Sign up for fun through Paige Snyder, (409) 963-1107.


 A look at Texas
Though times were “thin” in Crockett, Texas the people on errands in the town square were dressed up, if not in Sunda-go-to-meeting clothes. Boys had ironed shirts and scrubbed faces and girls were in scarves. This is some supplied info that goes with a photo of a vintage bustling town square in the picture book “A Family of the Land: The Texas Photography of Guy Gillette,” a University of Oklahoma Press book. The life of a generation ago in east Texas towns is captured in this beautiful book. Though the photos are in black and white, it paints a colorful image of our recent past.

 Yoga towels
Dear  reader, if you are a couch potato, you may not realize how many towels are for specific sports. This isn’t just to create more laundry. I became aware of the golf towel, with a little hook for your belt or bag, through the Port Arthur News Newspapers in Education tournaments. I’ve seen long sweat towels to drape around one’s neck at luxury hotels. Are you familiar with hot yoga, performed under humid conditions? You’re mat will need a towel. Now if you didn’t even know you’d want a mat for yoga class, thanks for reading thus far.
Yoga fans note that Gaiam has a Thirsty Yoga Mat Towel that fits your mat, offering a hypoallergenic microfiber that dries in half the time of ordinary cotton towels. Maybe you’d better towel mats to double as after-shower towels. While I am using a beautiful orange towel with a pink trim for its semi-intended purpose (my mat is for exercise somewhat less disciplined than yoga) I will also tell you this long towel cuts the chill when draped around the shoulders and typing a column. Life.gaiam.com
ddoiron@panews.com

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Golfing for the Food Bank at Bayou Din


The South East Food Bank got a boost from a benefit golf tournament at Bayou Din that attracted hundreds of supporters to help feed the area’s hungry.
People at the course did not go hungry, because several groups showed up with their best offerings to refresh the golfers. I met some wonderful people and got some great culinary tips to share:

Market Basket Smokehouse
Chuck Barbee of Market Basket said Mid-County residents are enjoying the new smokehouses in their stores.
“They love it. They really do,” he said.
Shoppers across the border in Louisiana have smoked boudain kitchens and Barbee said shoppers line up to buy it in Lake Charles. The spicy links fared well in a little competition they call Boudin Wars in Sulphur, La., he said.
Look for Market Basket web site opportunities for shoppers to share their recipes.

Olive this dip
Shirley Corbin from the Food Bank told me of a twist her husband loves in boudain dip. In addition to smoked or original boudain and sour cream, he loves chopped olives mixed in. I recall this Nederland family likes them ripe, but I’d try green or black, because she made it sound so good. Fritos, crackers or whatever you like will carry a scoop of this blend to your taste buds.

Sliders
The Brock team was proud of their barbecue sliders, and they had a right to be. I was proud I didn’t eat more of them then I should have.
To volunteer at the Food Bank, call (409) 839-8777.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Have a 6-Pack with David Joel

 
Have a 6-pack with David Joel
David Joel says Texas country music is best presented live and he’s getting ready for some of that. He’s just signed with Bou Boy’z Entertainment and will play a “6-pack” sampling from “Steamy Windows.”
The party will be at 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Capri Club, 8585 Ninth Ave., Port Arthur.
Rocking Texas country is Joel’s sound. He’s a singer and guitar player who says he gives a high-energy show.
“I want them to be excited. There’s a lot of excitement in my show. Every song,” he said. “Dynamics is the thing in my show. We try to lift as high as we possibly can. Full of energy. Then, we may go do just me and my guitar after that song.”
He started playing at 9, after his Dad gave him a guitar. His mom sang in church.  Now, he’s a lot about the audience.
“I make it a point to go around and shake everybody’s hand. It genuinely means the world to me that they come out. I enjoy the people I’ve met in music. It has opened so many doors. You’ve got to have a talent,” Joel said.
Bou Boy’z Entertainment has signed Joel. Jordan Boudreaux and his father, Randy, run the company. Randy Boudreaux has written more than 70 produced songs, including “Brokenheartsville” by Joe Nichols, “Goodnight Sweetheart” by David Kersh and “Alibis” by Tracy Lawrence.
The signing party cover is $10. For information, go to 
www.davidjoelmusic.com  and DavidJoelMusic@yahoo.com Have a 6-pack with David Joel
David Joel says Texas country music is best presented live and he’s getting ready for some of that. He’s just signed with Bou Boy’z Entertainment and will play a “6-pack” sampling from “Steamy Windows.”
The party will be at 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Capri Club, 8585 Ninth Ave., Port Arthur.
Rocking Texas country is Joel’s sound. He’s a singer and guitar player who says he gives a high-energy show.
“I want them to be excited. There’s a lot of excitement in my show. Every song,” he said. “Dynamics is the thing in my show. We try to lift as high as we possibly can. Full of energy. Then, we may go do just me and my guitar after that song.”
He started playing at 9, after his Dad gave him a guitar. His mom sang in church.  Now, he’s a lot about the audience.
“I make it a point to go around and shake everybody’s hand. It genuinely means the world to me that they come out. I enjoy the people I’ve met in music. It has opened so many doors. You’ve got to have a talent,” Joel said.
Bou Boy’z Entertainment has signed Joel. Jordan Boudreaux and his father, Randy, run the company. Randy Boudreaux has written more than 70 produced songs, including “Brokenheartsville” by Joe Nichols, “Goodnight Sweetheart” by David Kersh and “Alibis” by Tracy Lawrence.
The signing party cover is $10. For information, go to 

Can you be a zero waster?
Is it now hip to dig trash out of the can? How about if it helps save the earth?
I read about families who recycle so much, or simply don’t buy what they can’t recycle, that their household waste fits into something the size of a shoe box at the end of the year. If I can’t go that route, I can at least be better aware of my choices and bring my own cup when I can.
The book is In The Zero-Waste Lifestyle by Amy Korst and I checked it out for an e-reader through the Beaumont Public Library. We all know it is better to keep stuff out of the landfills, but now I have a better grasp on why. She writes that the big, dirty problem is that the average American tosses out nearly 2,000 pounds of garbage every year that piles up  and does not decay, and mixes with toxins and threatens our air and water quality. Maybe you are not ready to take your own container to a store when you buy meat and cheese so as to avoid packaging. Maybe you won’t simply stop buying some products and make your own more earth friendly version. I learned I can compost paper napkins and more boxes than I thought. You can compost your Port Arthur News after you read my column.
I found her mindset very encouraging. I commend her family for leaving extra room in their suitcases so they can bring home their used paper products from restaurants for recycling. I wonder how that works if you are coming home from Europe and customs finds all your garbage tucked into  your bags.
ddoiron@panews.com

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Watching pots boil

 
A watched pot
Someone may have said this before about the watched pot that never boils, but the Chef’s Choice International Cordless Electric Kettle is one you’ll want to watch. The phrase “dinner and a show” also comes to mind, because when the bubbles start to boil in this clear showcase over a brushed stainless steel base, there’s dancing that becomes a storm of drama. Then, you have hot water for coffee, tea, oatmeal and soup. My mom is still questioning the need for a separate appliance, but this little beauty is a game changer, boiling water faster than a stove or microwave. It shuts off and the cord adjusts and hides in the base. Other than telling you how efficient is the Electric Glass Kettle Model 680 is, I can think only of clich├ęs to tell you how awesome it is to think “I want tea” and be sipping from your warm mug so quickly. I love that this device encourages me to drink more for my health.

Rice
Winnie will host the 44th annual Texas Rice Festival, Oct. 2-6. Are you ready for rice? If your family can go through 20 cups of cooked rice faster than your gumbo pot can empty, make some counter space for T-fal’s  3 in 1 Rice & Multi Cooker. Maybe your healthy lifestyle calls for some shrimp, rice and steamed vegetables. This 600 watt beauty goes for grains and the 5-layer non-stick pot helps deliver even heat distribution. All sleek and steel-looking, this big cooker has a handle that makes it easy to tote your meal or store your pot. As much rice as we Southeast Texans go through, this is another durable T-fal offering that’s bound to come in handy this family-feeding holiday season.


The Scrubbies
The one thing I want a good cleaning pad for is my glass-top stove burners. With a slim, pink pad of power from The Scrubbies Company, I can keep both the surface and the pad clean, because one peels away layers of the pad when needed. This Made-in-America product scrubs everything from vegetables and patio furniture to shower stalls and kyaks. Makers call it “The only cleaning pads you will ever want.”

By accident
Here’s why my skin is feeling better. Okay, I’m convinced. When something really works, just a little bit of the good stuff can go a long way, and can be worth the price tag it fetches. Consider MitoQ, discovered by accident (like Viagra, Quinine and Botox, makers say) when people of science were seeking something else. This time researchers at Cambridge University were looking for a cure for liver damage created something to reverse the signs of aging. Here’s what they say: “MitoQ, a topical serum that softens the skin while lightening and actually reversing the signs of aging, is a patented blend of unique ingredients, which scientists Mike Murphy and Rob Smith stumbled across while trying to find a cure for liver disease.  Their work culminated in the discovery of a delivery system that floods cells with antioxidants directly into the mitochondria, the source of free radicals, which are responsible for aging and tissue damage.” They say mitoquinol is proven to be 1,000 times more potent than other CoQ products on the market and delivers ingredients deep down to mitochondria to rejuvenate cells, encourage natural production of collagin and elastin and, what we are all looking for, a radiant “lit -from-within glow.” I feel glowing and look forward to pumping a dallop from my sample bottle each night. Readers, I’ve heard a lot of you talking about your skin-care regimen, so face up: You might want to check into this “accident.”
ddoiron@panews.com