Outdoors

Southeast Texas is not without plenty of hiking trails, and three of the best places to check out while we’ve still got cool winter weather include the Big Thicket just north of Beaumont, Village Creek State Park in Lumberton and Martin Dies Jr. State Park near Jasper.

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Just think of them as that tough, rugged individual that lots of ladies look for in their 20s. The sedums are independent succulents that will make you happy in good soil, bad soil, little water — “in sickness and in health.” They bloom for months and don’t require much day-to-day care. There’s a sedum for most any sunny spot you have to fill.

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Big bass will be more active on warm and sunny days in January. Bass pro Lonnie

January is not the most pleasant month to be out on East Texas lakes casting for bass, but hey, it could always be worse, like, uh … February.

But on the bright side of things, this is a month that a lot of anglers begin their hunt for lunker bass on East Texas lakes, specifically Fork and Sam Rayburn.

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Back in the times when there were more folks living on farms or just in the country, winter was hog killing time. There was no cold storage other than an icebox. That made it necessary to wait until there were a couple of cold fronts to put their annual pork supply to bed. Smoking the meat or using salt in vats were the methods of that day for preserving their meat. We can still do those things, but the use of freezers is a lot simpler. To get that great smoke flavor, we can smoke it for a few hours and it’s ready to put on the table.

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Most gardeners know that lots on insects in the garden are what keep things “in the pink.” Of all the insects in the garden, the ladybug is one of the most recognizable and helpful. They are a friend – no, a best friend – of the gardener. They just love to make a meal of those dreaded aphids. Not only that, they look so darned cute.

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There seems to be one cold front behind the other now coming through Southeast Texas. For those of us that prefer staying warm, the cold is only tolerable. For those of us that enjoy the lower temperatures, the cold fronts are welcome. I’ll say here that what is cold in Southeast Texas is not cold in the more northern areas. That is unless you add in the wind and humidity. That situation does close the cold gap.

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A few days ago, I was at a South Texas feed store that also sells deer blinds and feeders. Something caught my eye — three blinds. One was painted in UT burnt orange, another was Texas A&M maroon and the other was hot pink in honor of breast cancer awareness. I mentioned something in regards to the traditional camouflage green stands to the salesman. The guy laughed and said they had actually sold quite a few of the odd colored blinds. It seems that deer no longer care what color the blind or feeder is as long as it’s still slinging tasty nuggets of corn.

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When sitting in an East Texas deer stand before daylight, there is time to reminisce about all sorts of things. The first sign of the coming sunrise is the raspy sound of the thrashers. These little chatterers seem to always be around to usher in the new day.

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It’s big deer time in South Texas and Beaumont hunter Danny Byrom didn’t waste any time in tagging the best deer of his life while hunting on his brother’s ranch in Uvalde. Danny shot his first deer three years ago at the age of 60. That was a 10-pointer.

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Yes, we can have trees with color in our yards. Folks might not make an annual pilgrimage here to see our leaves change color as they do where climates are colder, but if you make the right choices with trees, you can watch your own leaves become orange, purple, red and yellow.

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