The definition of "outdoors" is "what’s out the door," in its simplest form. Outdoors is a lot closer than most folks might think.
This column is appropriately named Outdoor Corner. I co-host a TV show named Ascension Outdoors. But a popular radio show south of here is named Outdoors with Don Dubuc, and there are many more columns and TV shows that are titled "Outdoors with (fill in the blank)."
The outdoors usually brings to mind a place far away where there are no houses or civilization. Ascension Parish used to be “the country” back in the day, but we don’t think about it that way now. We have to travel to find the outdoors. Or so we think.
The definition of "outdoors" is "what’s out the door," in its simplest form. Outdoors is a lot closer than most folks might think. It could be as close as your front or back door. It’s not necessarily in a rural setting and doesn’t have to be in the country. It can actually be in the city, just about anywhere you’re out the door--even right out your back door!
We were leaving one Sunday morning for church at Household of Faith, heading down Bayou Terrace Drive when I noticed a bald eagle flying overhead. About the time I pointed the magnificent bird out to my wife, there was a turkey feeding not far from the edge of the road. How cool can it get? An eagle and a turkey within a few seconds of each other.
Last week on my way home from work I saw three turkeys feeding on the edge of the swamp about 100 yards from our house. A normal ritual for Deborah and I is to head out to the pier to enjoy a little time on the swing. I began to take notice of the different birds that were there for our viewing pleasure.
The first ones we saw weren’t so glamorous. A few crows flew by, trumpeting their annoying caw, caw, caw. In the upper elevations were a number of common vultures (buzzards) looking for an easy meal. Next on the list were a few laughing gulls that patrol the Diversion for any scraps of food that they can find.
As always, a few great blue herrings fly back and forth over the river looking for a place to land for an easy meal. They have been known to steal a small catfish or two from my fish “live well” if I don’t cover it. But it really doesn’t matter where you might be. At home, at work, or traveling on the road, the beauty of nature can be enjoyed almost anytime.
As a matter of fact there’s an eagle's nest just off of I-10 on the right side heading into New Orleans before the 310 exit to Boutte. That’s some of the most beautiful cypress swamp around. There is also a new pair that nest on the opposite side in a very low tree that’s out by its lonesome. I’ve seen those two already. It is time for the eagles to return here for nesting in the winter.
Although I don’t recommend that you take your attention off the road too much while driving, that four-or-five-mile stretch is a remarkable scene. Lake Pontchartrain starts off on your left, and seeing a boat or two enjoying a fishing trip is not unusual. The Bonnet Carre Spillway is on your right. It’s one of my favorite fishing and crabbing holes.
After passing the lake, the LaBranche Wetlands are on your left. This was open marsh that was filled in with silt pumped in from Lake Pontchartrain. It is a successful project that not only re-established some much needed marshland but also created a deep hole in the lake that has become a really good fishing spot.
Next on the right is a healthy marsh with canals and ponds that is home to wading birds of all kinds and winter stopping spots for ducks of all species. Then comes that cypress swamp, and this time of year young eagles just born are being fed and tended to by the parents and can be seen pretty regularly.
When I lived in Prairieville, I had a rubber glove hanging on a nail under the patio that was used to clean fish. After a successful fishing trip, everything was set up to fillet our catch. I reached for the glove to put it on when a wren flew out of it--nearly scared me to death!
After the fish were cleaned, I retired the glove in its place. That pair of wrens used it for their bedroom. Right before dark they would return every day to fly into the glove and spend the night. If we sat a little too close to their boudoir, they would fuss at us until we moved.
If we’ll just take a short break from the hectic pace of life and look around when we are “out the door,” no matter where we are, nature can be seen and enjoyed. Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Until next time, have fun in the outdoors, be safe, and may God truly bless you!
Lyle Johnson is a free-lance writer, co-host of Ascension Outdoors TV and Curator of the Louisiana State Fish Records. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
EASL Monthly Meeting: 3rd Monday every month, East Ascension Sportsman’s League meeting held at Chef KD’s on Highway 74 starting at 7 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.
Squirrel season: Oct. 7-Feb. 28 daily bag limit 8 possession 24.
Rabbit season: Oct. 7-Feb. 28 daily bag limit 8 possession 24.
South La. Highpower Club Match: Oct. 28, 8:30 a.m., Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Range, 9300 St. Landry Road, Gonzales. NRA match rifle or service rifle, 200-yard/50-rounds match course. Fee $12 members, $15 nonmembers, $5 juniors. $15 annual club & Civilian Marksmanship Program membership (allows purchases from CMP). Call George Serrett 225-389-6118. Email: SouthLAHighPower@hotmail.com.
Delta Waterfowl Banquet: November 2, Lamar Dixon Expo Center, starting at 6 p.m. with dinner starting at 7:30. Contact Kristen Latiolais at 225-315-3023 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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