Thursday, July 24, 2008

Picking more blueberries and the Texas Freshwater Fisheries

We headed off on an adventure this week to see the Texas Freshwater Fisheries with some friends. In researching the location, I discovered a blueberry farm nearby that still had blueberries (lots of them in fact!) and so we made a detour to feed my need to fill my freezer with delicious blueberries (instead of the marbles they sell at the store and pretend are the same thing).

This blueberry farm was awesome. It was huge and full of very tall blueberry "bushes". They were pretty much trees. And they were covered with blueberries in bunches, just ripe for the taking. We had fun picking them.

I almost put my hand right into this spider. Luckily I saw his beautiful web and then saw him before I destroyed the web and upset her. I am not a huge spider fan, especially large spiders. She is an Argiope aurantia or Yellow garden spider, of the orb weaver variety. (click on the picture to enlarge, the spider is in the top left of the center).

Because the bushes were so high, the kids decided they needed a boost in order to reach the high berries and used this dad as their lifter. He got quite the shoulder workout at the blueberry farm!

Immediately after we arrived at the Fisheries center, the kids asked for money for fish food to feed the fish. We walked down to a window where we saw others feeding fish and were met by this swarm of catfish. I got splashed by fish jumping on each other to get to the top of the fish pile! Their gaping mouths are a bit scary when they are reaching right at you for food!

Here's the view from behind the safety glass. Notice that girls are good at posing for pictures while boys (at least mine) give me approximately 1/64th of a second to take the photo and then run off to more important things. I wish I'd taken a video of the catfish as the pictures don't capture the awesomeness of their swarming. It was really an experience.

I wish I wasn't in this photo. In my defense, I am 17 weeks pregnant. (Surprise!) Trainboy is still too busy to look at a camera, and Dinoguy is making a face. I love my boys.

They did have a nice museum full of interesting displays all about fishing, fish hatching and stocking all the "lakes" here in Texas. Did you know that there is only one natural lake in Texas? The rest are man made!

Pop quiz: The best use for an empty room full of chairs meant for watching a movie
is _____.

It was a favorite room of mine, because I could sit and watch the giant fish tank while the kids worked on acing that quiz. (See above)

Eventually we all were ready to head outside and try the fishing. They give you poles and stinkbait for catfish. Next time, I'm taking my own bait as stinkbait really stinks.

Fishing with a bunch of kids is not as relaxing and boring as it is supposed to be. I was constantly putting bait on hooks and helping cast lines. Almost immediately, our blond friend caught a catfish along with a big clump of algae. The fish was so well hidden in the algae that the entire time it was being pulled in we were debating whether or not there was actually a fish in it. She got her first fish! (And then we released it for the next fisherman.)

Also, fishing in July in the afternoon is pretty hot. Thankfully they had shady spots. The kids had some fun for a bit, but when they didn't have immediate results, got bored. I was helping Trainboy bait a hook when I hear the sound of a pole moving and look and try to chase Dinoguy's pole as a fish pulls it into the water. I didn't catch it, but the workers kayaked out later and got it because the bobber was still floating. That ended fishing for me as I ran out of patience at that point, which upset him, because he wanted to catch a fish. Hey, you technically did - but you weren't holding onto your pole!

So we headed back inside to wait for the crocodile feeding and for snacks for us too. My favorite memory of this was my friends' 2 yr old twin boys sitting in my lap and eating a bunch of my sugar snap peas. They are adorable.

The crocodiles ate several chicken legs right in front of the glass and then went back in their pond toward the end. It only lasted about 10 minutes but was neat to see.

The kids were all fascinated by watching them swallow the chicken legs whole. There were two employees with the bucket of food and long sticks to bang and push the chicken legs around with. I guess the crocs are pretty tame because I would want more protection between me and the crocs at feeding time. I'm glad that's not my job!

We were pretty tired after this and went back and actually kind of watched the movie in the nice cool movie/aquarium room before deciding to pack it up and head home. Okay I did get to go look for 2 letterboxes in a cemetery before heading home, though only 1 was there. We do have to support my letterboxing habit by going occasionally after all!


Sarah, Chris, Elijah & Sadie said...

I don't even know where to start commenting on this post. What a day! I think you look great- pregnant or not. Very jealous of your fresh blueberries. the 1 gallon that we got from our pick was gone way fast and the kids are begging for those store-bought marbles :) The stink bait sounds very appetizing- especially during pregnancy.

Mel said...

WOW! We didn't blueberry pick or letterbox and it was still a full day for us. We stopped on the way home to see my folks and that was it.

Can't wait for the camping trip!

Jessica said...

wow! you are always sooooo busy!! it looks like you're having a fun summer, though. and congratulations on being pregnant!!! you're the 3rd person this week i've found out is pregnant. are you due in january then?

The Kane Family said...

Totally fun! I would have loved to have gone, definitely need to plan a trip there again!

McKay Missy and Boys said...

Blueberries fresh off the bush sound so yummy! Congratulations on your pregnancy! Are you going to find out the sex?

Roni said...

Holy Cow!!! What a full day!!

Those blueberry bushes (trees) look amazing!! My tummy is rumbling now! :-)

And, I don't know what you mean about wishing you weren't in that picture. You look gorgeous!!!!

Jenny Timmerman said...


Chrispy said...

What a day! Those fish... that crocodile! The blueberries! I loved your description about fishing with kids... :)

Thanks for sharing your fantastically full day!

mariann said...

Hey Congrats on your pregnancy! Hopefully you are over the morning sickness phase!

Rachael said...

Woa - you're pregnant!? Did I miss reading that somewhere? Congratulations!! We are so thrilled for you guys. Hope everything is moving along okay.

The aquarium you went to looks amazing. Great mom that you are - taking your kids when you're feeling sick :)

Lise said...

Congratulations Malina!!! I am so excited for you. I don't know how you do so much while you are pregnant. I haven't done hardly anything since the whole nausea and tiredness kicked in. I hope it goes well for you! -Lise


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