Outdoors

Our master gardeners are keeping us busy this fall. Just a couple of weeks ago at the Jack Brooks Regional Airport, they set records with the number of folks who came to the annual Fall Plant Sale. And this is with good reason. Their plant options are numerous and varied.

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This week’s blast of cold weather will more than likely send big-time numbers of ducks and geese down the Central Flyway. The duck season so far has been hit and miss here in Southeast Texas, but the numbers of ducks on the middle Texas coast is definitely better than expected.

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If you have never tried to grow citrus in your own backyard, you might be surprised at how much luck you could have. Yes, we can grow oranges, grapefruit, lemons and other citrus with just a little care, patience and knowledge.

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I don’t know if it gets any better than this in Texas. We can hunt deer, shoot ducks and geese, fish for reds and trout under birds on Sabine Lake, or head to the surf to catch bull reds till our arms give out.

A few days ago, I fished Sabine Lake and two of us caught enough trout and reds to feed a family reunion. The very next day, I was sitting in a duck blind shooting red heads and pintails over a spread of decoys.

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We are lucky to be in Texas this time of year. Some of our summer blooming plants like hibiscus and bougainvillea are still giving us a show, and we can add in gorgeous fall blooming annuals and perennials. Just for fun, how about we focus on some purple beauties and create an area that will not only draw you to the garden but butterflies, bees and birds as well? It seems that we all love purple.

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White Tail Deer

Finally the biggest event in Texas hunting is here – Saturday, Nov. 1, is the season opener on deer across the Lone Star state. It’s a fact that white-tailed deer hunting in Texas provides an opportunity for more than 800,000 hunters to go afield and harvest America’s most abundant big game animal. It’s also a fact that deer hunters annually contribute more than $2 billion to the Texas economy.

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The classic Black-Eyed Susan is known and loved by all gardeners. You may also know them by Coneflower or their common name, Rudbeckia. They look great in fields or pastures growing wild but are equally stunning in more “domesticated” settings. Picture them in your yard with their bright, yellow-gold petals and picture perfect dark brown, rounded centers.

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These two river fishermen used live minnows to a catch a hefty stringer of crapp

One thing is certain – small ponds, creeks and lakes can hold big time numbers of panfish, as well as bass and catfish. There are hundreds of these small fishing waters scattered throughout East Texas on public and private property. They are all easily accessible most of the time and can be fished from the bank or in a small, flat-bottom boat.

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Thanks to a flood of rain water heading down the Neches and Sabine rivers, fishing on Sabine Lake is going to take a direct hit, meaning slower fishing. However, a good place to find both trout and reds will be along the Gulf side of the jetties, and at the short rigs. Fishing jigs around the rigs, anywhere from a half mile to 7 miles off the Sabine jetties, has been a good way to catch some pretty good numbers of trout.

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One of the most joyful blooms you find in the summer are those of the hibiscus. They can be dramatic. Some of the hundreds of varieties will grow flowers as large as a child’s head. Now lets talk color! Look for hibiscus in all shades of pink from soft to hot, shades of red, white, yellow, peach, purple and orange.

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