A Trip Down Bayou Lafourche

Sunday evening after the sun and it’s blazing temperatures settled down, we took a little trip down Bayou Lafourche to where the bayou crosses the Intracoastal Waterway. It was a peaceful ride and I took a number of pictures and shared on social media as we traversed the water.

We drive at speeds to fast to take in the scenery and I thought people would enjoy the contrast of a meandering trip on the water along with pictures of sights you wouldn’t ordinarily see from the highway. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Our current alligator in residence. He’s about 8-9 feet long.

You will notice many boats tied up along the bayou and the Intracoastal Waterway. It is a sign of the lagging economy which is showing no signs of recovery.


A friend’s houseboat.

Before the downturn of the economy you would never have seen an offshore supply boat this far north.

Sunken trawl boats.

An old wharf.

The T-Bois lift bridge. I love being the one the bridge is going up for! Living on the bayou you spend a lot of time waiting on bridges and boat traffic! Cities have traffic jams. We have opened bridges.

Dare I ask who’s driving the boat?

It’s odd how people tie up a boat and then leave it to the elements, not taking care of or selling the boat.

This has been a favorite of mine. I’ve nicknamed it the pirate ship. It would make a wonderful houseboat.

Out of work boats means out of work people.

The Larose lift bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway

The locks and distant bridge.


The high rise across the Intracoastal waterway, the North American shipyard and out of work boats.

Hubby was “cutting donuts” in the middle of the waterway which made these pictures possible. Kidding there. He was turning first one way and then the other to see which direction the boat turned the easiest.

Ever wonder what it would be like to ride the bridge up? The repairmen had the chance to find out. Knowing my luck I would choose a bridge that opened in the middle and I would be having a Lucy moment as I slide back down and landed on my rump!

Beautiful sky.

Taking a turn at navigating the waterways.

The Valentine water tower.

Our lights.

Our wharf and boathouse.

A few pictures of progress on the inside of our houseboat.

My Daily Drama – Hey! It's Cold in here!

After the rough holiday called Thanksgiving, I’ve had a difficult time getting back into the swing of things – namely writing. But, I’m back.

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Hey! It’s Cold in here! Our house is freezing – or rather it feels like it. The heater would not come on Thursday night. Our house is very well insulated so it takes a couple of days for the outside temperatures to register on the inside enough to warrant changes in the heat or cold being turned on or off.Winter Tree Owl

That point came Thursday evening when I was sitting at my computer and found myself shivering. It dawned on me that I just may need to put the heat on. We are not like most people in that we have the house ultra warm or cool depending on the outside temperatures; but it was cold.

i got up and put the heater on and sat back down. I don’t remember how long it was before I realized that I was getting colder, not warmer as I had hoped. Hubby’s band was practicing in the garage so I flagged him by flicking the lights a couple of times. I’m not sure if he likes it or not, but it never fails to get his attention. Also, it is a little funny to watch everyone when they think the power is going out. (Sorry, I have a weird sense of humor at times.)

Hubby also came to the foregone conclusion that we would not have heat that night. He spent most of Friday trying to figure out the problem. I spent most of Friday turning the unit on and off. I did warm up the kitchen by cooking soup and beans for the freezer, but all the stirring and chopping wreaked havoc on my arthritic hand. Factor in the cold and I spent all afternoon and most of the evening with a warm rice bag on my hand.

I was hoping to make bread yesterday, but the house was too cold for it to rise. When I posted to Facebook, I had a few interesting suggestions. The one that really made me laugh (and not at the person) was the suggestion that I put the bread to rise on a running dishwasher. Don’t see the humor? You will. I promise. I am the dishwasher so the comment had my imagination forming a picture of the dishwasher (me) running with the bread while it rose. Not a viable solution! Another suggestion was putting it on the hood of the car in the sun. We have a garage and the truck hood was colder than the house. Helpful suggestions are always interesting and I’ll just wait until the heat is back on to make bread.

Thank goodness for heated mattress covers! At least nighttime is warm and the only reason to go to the bathroom is to put the heat on for a while. Funny the sources of heat we will find when we are cold. And, what is it with men?! (and some women) Hubby got out of a warm bed to go duck hunting in the cold.

English: Taken by Dr. F Eugene Hester. Picture...

Duck hunting doesn’t mean just riding to a duck blind in car; it means riding for a mile or two in a boat in the cold and then sitting in a blind hoping for a duck to fly by. I went hunting once. Well, truth be told, I went and sat in the boat and watched Hubby stand there very quietly while mosquitoes sucked blood as he was watching for ducks – not fun. This was after riding down the bayou, under bridges, down the Intracoastal with tugs and barges to the lake and to a duck blind. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, I had to make the same trip back home.

That was the extent of my hunting days. Well, I’m off to heat up the rice bag again. My fingers are almost numb and the pain in my hand with erosive arthritis is getting bad. Thanks for stopping by to visit. I hope you leave a little message with how your week is going. And, if you’re curious, the repairman closed his office early on Friday! That means it will be cold until Monday!

 

My Daily Drama – It's all about the boat!

I back with more daily drama! I think I posted that Hubby and I have been searching for a houseboat. Well, we finally found one north of Chicago. We traveled a thousand miles there and another thousand back. The trip was worth it because we found our boat.

Our boat made the trip down safely and arrived last Saturday morning.  We even had our little parade! It was a little nerve-wracking to watch them unload the boat and place it in the bayou.

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As you can see, we had loads of help! The owners of the dry dock and friends who had spread the word that our boat was arriving. The bayou has its own form of communication – much like the old string can – and word travels fast. We had calls from friends that we didn’t know knew we were getting a boat letting us know the boat had passed their house! Everyone was excited for us.

This is the video of the actual launching. It was so exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time – watching the boat come off the trailer and then swinging in mid-air.


The boat ended up spending the night at the dry dock and Hubby was able to bring it home on Sunday morning. (These pictures were taken from our wharf.)

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Down here in Bayouland, we have to time trips up and down the bayou according to curfews at the locks and bridges. We tied up the boat at our wharf and the weather got really bad due to the remnants from the Mexico hurricane. The water in the bayou rose almost three feet. Our wharf no longer existed for a while, which made boarding the boat hazardous for a few days.

When we were finally able to get on the boat, we began clearing out everything that had been stored for shipping – the Bimini tops, rails, etc. I guess I should back up. What we found when we boarded was the mess the marina left us. (Check out the first picture.) They prepared the boat for shipping by packing all of the trinkets left behind by the previous owners so nothing would get broken or cause damage.

They also “packaged” lights to the walls as well as the electronics. They literally used so much tape, the items looked like they were packaged. As we began to remove the tape from items that did not need securing in the first place, the tape also delaminated the walls. That’s right! The idiots used clear packing tape; the same that is used to tape boxes for mailing! The inside of the boat is a mess and we are very upset.

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Nothing is ever easy, right? We’ve been on the phone with the marina and they tried to deny the mess they made. I’m exploring our options at this point because the perfectly good walls of the boat that we purchased are not ruined and the only way to rectify the situation is to replace the walls. And, that is just not something we want or planned to do at this point. We do feel that they should offer something to cover the cost of the repairs.

We took out rails and the Bimini tops and those were like a jig-saw puzzle, but we put those together and the outside of the boat is finally looking complete. We have plans to clean it up and re-stripe it with blue stripes. Hubby found a few photos of the boat while digging through the mess and we are hoping to match the stripes. It is fun seeing it come together now that it is ours.

I spent most of Friday afternoon removing about a million screws, but that job is done. We noticed where the previous owners had varnished some of the cabinets and the wall. We may take that idea and try to varnish the all the walls in the boat. We are thinking that it might help camouflage the missing laminate, as least until we can re-panel the boat.

I took measurements to replace all of the cushions. I think they are as old as the boat and really yucky.

One step at a time. I really wanted to go for a ride today as I haven’t yet ridden in the boat, but we have had high winds due to more inclement weather coming in so maybe tomorrow afternoon – fingers crossed.

We had some friends who did take their houseboat for a ride on the bayou today and they stopped by and we chatted for a while. Later on, we saw them anchored out and swinging in the hammock. We came to one conclusion! We need a hammock too!

Goin' see a man about a boat…

You will remember my first story in our search for the perfect houseboat (for us). We are looking for a fixer-upper because we have definite ideas about what we want the inside to look like and how we want it to function. We knew it would be a journey, I just wasn’t prepared for some of the things I would see and learn along the way.

If you’ve forgotten “The African Queen“, you can read about here – https://mylifeonestoryatatime.com/2015/08/05/what-happens-when-you-take-lucy-and-add-dennis-the-menace/

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You’ll recall that boat didn’t even float! That was a bust and so we continued searching. Hubby said he found one that someone was hoping to sell and maybe we should take a ride out to see it. When Hubby said that this one was at least floating, I admit to feeling a bit more optimistic. Not accustomed to being on houseboats, and my only experience being the sunken treasure, this boat, while a little crudely put together, was a much better prospect. After thoroughly looking the boat over and lots and lots and lots of discussion on the way home and in the following days, we came to the agreement that this was not the boat we were in search for.

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And so, the search continues…

What happens when Lucy meets Dennis the Menace for an adventure?

This all started when Hubby and a good friend decided that they needed a camping boat to take to the hunting lease. What began as a search for an old boat on which to build a cabin with a couple of bunks soon turned into an attachment to an old sunken houseboat, which we promptly dubbed “The African Queen.”

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Hubby spotted this mess down an overgrown street along a wharf in Leeville, Louisiana as the two of them scouted the bayou in search of a treasure. (Maybe they were looking for sunken treasure?) Since the boat wasn’t easily seen from the highway, they truly saw this as a sign from God that they had found a prize. It didn’t matter that the boat was sitting on the bottom of the bayou, submerged in three feet of water. The two of them were not the least bit discouraged by this revelation. They quickly set about locating pumps and huge marine batteries to pump out the boat in an attempt to raise it from its watery grave, which I might add it seemed to be enjoying.

After much discussion and subsequent daily trips to Leeville (an hour trip) to exchange batteries and check on The African Queen, they made an offer to the owner. They just knew that if the owner would accept their offering price, it would be yet another sign that this was meant to be.

Meanwhile, I had to accompany Hubby on one of the trips to exchange the batteries and to continue pumping the water out of the boat. True to form, the adventure was straight out of Lucy and Ethel.

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Dennis the Menace (1959 TV series)
Dennis the Menace (1959 TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, the battery was so heavy I could not even help lift it off of the truck tailgate, much less help haul it to the boat, which, by the way, sat next to a precariously tilting wharf (that Hubby neglected to mention). Hubby managed to carry the battery by himself and then swing it over onto the boat. After the battery was safely ensconced aboard the sunken vessel, he climbed aboard.

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Sensing an impending disaster and knowing my help was now needed, I boarded the boat. It was easy to see that Hubby was already formulating a plan as to how we were going to get the battery from the back of the boat to the front where the pump was located. I can only assume, as I didn’t dare ask a question I didn’t want to know the answer to (how did he and his friend get the battery to the front of the boat) that he and his partner in crime had actually carried the battery to the front. Not being strong enough to handle the weight of the battery, I knew carrying it wasn’t going to be an option.

Knowing the battery was too heavy to carry unsupported and sliding it along top the loose railing was not an option, the game plan finally became Hubby pulling the battery along the narrow walkway while I used my foot to keep the other end from sliding off of the boat and into the bayou – all while trying to balance without falling off the boat as none of the hand railings were secure! As I said, that move was straight from one of my Lucy moments. I was desperately trying not to picture myself sliding off of the boat into the murky waters of Bayou Lafourche. My imagination was working overtime! As I had already fallen off of a ladder a few hours earlier and huge bruises were already beginning to form, my confidence at staying on the boat was waining. After quite of bit of pull, slide, pull, slide, we managed to get the battery to the front deck and into position.

It was then I realized that the other battery was in the hull of the boat! Geez! I was thinking, this just keeps getting better and better. Lucille Ball, meet Dennis the Menace! How do you do?! Needless to say, I was freaking out just a little (lot) because Hubby was lowering himself into the dark hole filled with black water. He did have boots on, but the water had gotten pretty high again since the other battery’s power was quickly depleting.

After lots of coaxing (whining) I convinced Hubby to leave the new battery on the deck and just hook it up. If anyone could lift that battery, carry it to the back of the boat and then onto the unstable wharf, then they were welcome to steal it. After finally agreeing, he hooked up the new battery and we began the arduous task of waiting for the water level to recede. Meanwhile, back on the boat deck, the gnats and mosquitoes were beginning to swarm. If you’ve seen South Louisiana insects, you know this is not a good thing. They are HUGE!

After connecting the pump to the new battery, Hubby was anxious to show me around the boat. It didn’t take long to explore the water infested contraption. It was bad. Really, really bad. Did I mention it was really, really bad? Black moldy kind of bad? The Black Lagoon kind of bad?

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My husband is a talented carpenter and I’ve seen him turn nothing into something gorgeous, but not even he could resurrect this thing from the dead. The more discussion that ensued, the more horrified I became. The more I looked around, the more certain I was that the owner would have to pay me to take this boat off his hands!

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Wharf to nowhere!

I will be the first to admit, there is nothing more satisfying than taking something worth next to nothing and building it into something great. Our piece of property used to be a junkyard. It’s gorgeous now. I have great foresight and could imagine the inside of this boat (had it NOT been sitting on the bottom of the bayou) taken down to the ribs and completely refurbished. It could indeed be a thing of beauty. But the more conversation I heard going back and forth between Dennis the Menace and his cohort, and the more questions I asked, I realized it would be less work if we just built a boat from scratch like Noah did!

I gleaned from the conversation that IF the patches held and they made it up the bayou (with the pumps going) to a dry dock, the boat needed quite a few ribs replaced. I had questions!

“Patches? What patches?”

“The patches in the hull of the boat (to keep the water out of the boat that was sunk in the bayou).”

“Oh! The patches could blow?”

That was when I began to see the real picture – exactly what was in store. They could possibly raise the boat from its watery grave and begin the trek up the bayou to a dry dock, hopefully without the boat sinking along the way. Okay……Anyone who knows me knows I just have to ask, “What happens if the patches blow and you take on water (I couldn’t bear to say sink)?”  “Then we just pull it to the bank and beach it.”

Okay – I laughed. I cackled! I hooted! I was speechless! I may have snorted! Just saying. Because I could just see the scene in my head so vividly. Cohort’s wife and I driving a non-sinking boat pulling The African Queen up the bayou ever so slowly. Dennis the Menace and cohort bailing with tin cans for all they are worth, yelling “Beach it! Beach it!”

It was fun while it lasted – and it lasted just long enough for one of us wives to get a good look at what our husbands were up to! It provided many, many hours of fun and laughter that week between the five of us (our great friend, Father John was in on the fun as well). Oh! But the plans we had for that boat! When I think back, I can see Dennis the Menace and his cohort scheming to get the African Queen up the bayou amid dreams of grandeur and I can’t help but chuckle.

Not long after, and many discussions in between, it was decided that this was not their boat. Although now, Hubby is on a mission to find a houseboat of his own. But, as the saying goes – live and learn – I’ve already begun learning my lessons. Next boat I am taken hostage to see – it will NOT be a sunken treasure.

This boat may have died a watery death but the dream has just begun. Stay tuned as the search for our African Queen continues.

By the way, we plan on a movie night with The African Queen.

The African Queen (film)
The African Queen (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s just life on the bayou…