Thursday, April 30, 2015

Chamber of Commerce

The weather here has been just spectacular.  Chamber of Commerce couldn't have asked for anything better.  Sky so blue and clear it almost hurts your eyes.  

The days have started out really cool and then into the mid 80's and just the right amount of humidity.  This is one of the bonuses we get for living in this area.  That will soon give way to scorching heat.  Hot enough to leave skin on the seat of your truck if you are wearing shorts.  Everyone wears them here then.  Even old guys like me.

I even went with Kim when she took the Grands down to the neighborhood park. 

I rarely go there anymore.  The lake is a place I used to fish quite a bit until we got to busy raising kids.  Then it went dry for a couple years.  It developed a leak somehow and wouldn't hold water.  The HOA got that fixed and restocked it this past year.  Maybe in another year there will be some catchable size bass and catfish in there again.  There isn't any cover for bait fish.  I hope that gets fixed.  My friend has helped the HOA with restocking since he is a fisheries biologist.  Maybe he can persuade them to put some dead trees and such in there.  There are already a lot of soft shell turtles in there.  Saw plenty of minnows and perch, a snake and some wading bird. 

The HOA for all it's problems really does a good job keeping the park updated and in really good shape.  It gets really crowded when there are events there.  It is becoming the focal point of our community it seems.  Kudos.

And lastly, yes, I stayed up for the entire Spurs game.  Almost 1:00 AM.  I was toast and had to nap yesterday.  It was a really exciting game, one they had to have.  Maybe, just maybe they will advance to the next round.  Fingers crossed.

Since the Grands are here, there may be no post tomorrow.  

Happy Trails.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


I will be up way to late watching the Spurs, unless they absolutely choke.  Not sure they have enough gas in the tank to go the distance this year.  But, everyone has said the same thing for at least 5 years and they continue to prove the experts wrong.  This year, there seem to be significant injuries that are hampering the play of several of the main players.   It's not looking real good for a deep playoff run.  I hate to be greedy, but it would really bring a great and fitting end to Tim Duncan's glorious career.  If he decides to call it quits.  But he looks like he could play another 5 years.  That wouldn't disappoint me at all.  It's a really late game, doesn't start until after 9:30 PM.  If I can stay awake until it's over, it will be a heavy coffee morning. 

On another note, had started a prototype knife sheath/scabbard that my friend asked about.  It was going good until, I was ready to move on from the wet forming.  Mildewed leather.  It's happened before, but not like this.  My remedy didn't touch this and it happened overnight.  That tells me that it was present a long time before I even cut leather.  Not sure what's up.  I cut some more leather from a different piece.  We'll see how that goes.  My friend says he is in no hurry.  I want these sheaths to turn out really nice so he will ask for more in the future.

Grandkids are coming to spend the night sometime Wednesday.  They went on a vacation to some fancy resort/dude ranch.  It will be fun hearing about the ponies they fell in love with.  Their Dad said they had meltdowns having to leave the ponies.  Love is hard at times.

Happy Trails.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Why is this Bruce Jenner person still in the news?  I was just sitting there eating breakfast when this thing came on about this freak.  It seems that there has been something everyday for at least a week.  Did he cure cancer?  Will he stop all the wars?  End world hunger?  Why in the world do they keep force feeding this garbage on the public?  I walked out before they told me why he was still on the news.

I know the answer.  Most everyone that watches network news don't want anything of substance, i.e. no grey matter.  The network morning news shows have become more about entertainment than anything newsworthy.  Don't even get me started on the freaks that were on there yesterday.  The reason is people are more interested in the garbage than actual news.  This is one of the reasons we have the jack-ass that's now in the white house.

We have been considering just doing away with that cable TV and going to those subscriber things like netflix and others.  I don't have a clue how they work but we may make the leap soon. 

I need to calm down, my jaws really got tight there for a second.

Happy Trails

Monday, April 27, 2015

I've Been Slackin'

I am trying to get back into regularly working on leather.  I have been hit a miss over the past few months.  My skills have a eroded a bit with not doing much of it.  That would be the actual carving of the leather for the various designs that might get put on there to dress it up.  It is surprising to see the decline over such a short time.
My arthritic hands are paying the price of no work.  Some of it is due to a lack of motivation.  I also have a small inventory built up that hasn't sold.  I really didn't want to add to the inventory, wasting supplies and money to have it just sit.  Hopefully that will change in the near future.  I do have plans to add to the inventory a few things that I already have supplies for.  Also with Kim adding another resort that will let her sell he wares, things should pick up.  I did finish up a couple projects I had been working on.

This a natural finish wallet with a buffalo hide interior.  I really like these interiors.  They are much nicer and more durable than the previous ones I have used.  I have 3 more with 6 pockets as opposed to the four this one has.  

I really like the distressed look of these interiors.  I haven't been able to figure out how to do that yet.

This is a new size style phone case I am trying out.  This one should fit the larger android phones.

A friend that has his own store in a smaller town on the edge of West Texas asked me about supplying him with some hand made leather knife sheaths.  He sells Case brand knives at his store and wants these sheaths/scabbards to go with them.  We aren't talking big numbers here at all.  Maybe a half dozen.  If the sell well then he may want more in the future.  He says the scabbards will help the knives sell.  These will be very plain utilitarian scabbards for a working man.  An quick fun job for me.  I really like making knife scabbards/sheaths.

I gave him an estimate and then thought that I might barter with him for one of  knives and maybe some ammo.  Not sure he can do that but I will see how he wants to handle it.  This is what he has been getting

Pretty sure I can do him a better job and leave him some room to make some money too.

We have had some pretty interesting weather here.  Threats of dangerous thunderstorms, heavy rain, lightning, hail and even a random tornado.  Quite a bit of hail has fallen around us but it has missed us and spared my garden.  Last night North Texas had several tornadoes play havoc.  Again just enough rain is falling here that I am not even having to irrigate anything.  This is a blessing after the last 5 years ( it may be more, I lose track) of drought.

Happy Trails

Friday, April 24, 2015


All of this months doctor appointments are done, over, finis.  Just the usual follow ups in the near future are required.  

Nothing was found that should give any concern at any of the visits this month.  Just have to await the latest blood tests from my PCP annual.  We don't expect anything.  The PCP did not preform the digital test that all men hate.  A bit of a silver lining in not having a prostate any more.  He said I had had more than my share of those.

On that note, I just read an article about the PSA test.  Some doctors are questioning the need for it.  The school of thought is that it has caused a rise in unnecessary procedures and concerns regarding prostate cancer.  From my perspective, it was good that we proceeded with surgery.  The cancer was more aggressive than suspected or that the biopsy indicated.  Most of my experience had gone against what the doctors expected.  It turns out, that taking the more aggressive approach to my cancer was the right choice.

Everyone is different and age is one of the things to consider when making this decision.  For me, I wouldn't have been at all comfortable knowing there were cancer cells in me regardless what the doctors told me about my future.  I want to be around as long as I can be.

I can't give you advice on how to proceed with your concerns if you have any.  Peace of mind was my biggest concern.  Talk to your doctor, research on your own.  You are your own best advocate where your health is concerned.  Get informed.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cool Dog

Buster, our Australian Shepherd, is going on 12 years old this June.  With that advanced age, he just runs out of gas much sooner than he did just a couple years ago.  About that time we decided with these extremely hot summers we had been having that he would probably be much more comfortable with a haircut.  I have read some cons in the past about doing this, however, having him feel cooler and more comfortable with less heat stress I figure it might help extend his days.  Besides, for some reason now that he has gotten older his fur just doesn't look as good as it did before.  There is just way to much frizz for some reason that he never had before.

The most recent photo prior cut

We have opted to try to give him his haircuts in lieu of paying a groomer for a couple reasons.  Cost being one.  Another, he doesn't do well around other dogs.  To avoid any accidents we have chosen to do this ourselves.  Of course we don't make it look like a pro but it is passable.  He even seems to enjoy it.

Hard to tell much difference but we cut enough off to make two more dogs and there is more than enough for two more left.

Happy Trails

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Garden Progress

I am extremely happy with the progress of my garden.  There is a significant difference in my tomato plants compared to last year.  This is what it looked like at planting around March 20.

Click the big for better view.

I have no doubt it is due to the soil I hauled in and the timely rains.  When I say timely, I mean, every time I think I need to water, we get just enough rain.  This has been going on like this the past two weeks or so.  After the first rain like that, you could almost see the plants growing while you watched.  This is how it looks now.

The strawberry plants have bloomed although they haven't grown comparably to the tomato plants, I do see little strawberries and even this red one.

The battle with snails is ongoing.  There has been a significant decrease in numbers.  I see more of them right after a rain.  I found some sort of organic snail bait I am using but still check for them and remove them by hand.  No real change in my onions.  They will be pretty slow growing.

Looking forward to natures bounty.

Happy Trails

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 21, 1836 San Jacinto River

On this day the Great Runaway Scrape ends.  General Sam Houston and his small army of Texians, approximately 800 volunteers, finally stop retreating and make their stand against the Mexican forces under the command of the president of Mexico, Generalissimo Juan Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana.   General Sam had withstood challenges to his strategy and questions about his manhood.  All to culminate here at a prairie at the junction of Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto River.  Deaf Smith and a few others were ordered to destroy the bridge that Santa Ana had just used to prevent any escape. 

The Mexican troops numbering about 1500 had camped across the prairie after encountering the Texian army on the 19th.  They were greeted by a volley from cannon fire from the 'Twin Sisters.'  They were also harassed by Texian cavalry until falling back into the woods with their backs to the river.  The stage was set.

As legend has it on the afternoon of the 21st, while Santa Ana was 'occupied' with the legendary 'Yellow Rose of Texas,'  General Sam gave the order to advance.  There was no hesitation.  When the Texian troops were within 100 yards they opened fire.  The cries of Remember the Alamo!  Remember Goliad! were heard across the battlefield.  The Texian troops took out their frustrations that had been building on the Mexican army that began to flee.  700 Mexican troops were killed and 730 were captured along with Santa Ana.  Thus effectively ended the Texas War of Independence.

Song of Liberty
By William Barton 1836
(for whom Barton's Creek and Springs in Austin is named)
WHEN the locusts of tyranny darkened our land,
And our friends were reduced to a small Spartan band,
When the Alamo reeked with the blood of the brave,
And Mexican faith slept in Goliad's grave;
When our star that had risen so beauteously bright,
Seemed destined to set in thick darkness and night;
'Twas then our proud leader addressed his brave men,
And the Prairies of Texas re-echoed-Amen.
On, on to the conflict, ye Texians brave,
March forward to victory or down to the grave
Let your swords be unsheathed in Liberty's cause,
And your bosoms be bared in defense of your laws
Let your watchword be Fannin, in treachery slain
And Alamo's sons, whose bones whiten the plain
For your friends and your homes let your rifle be aimed,
For your country that's bleeding, exhausted, and maimed:
Go, show to the world that our handful of braves
Can never be conquered by myriads of slaves
'Twas said, and the single-starred banner waved high
O'er the heads of our hero, whose deep slogan cry
Made the cravens of Mexico tremble and cower,
While our bugles rang forth, "Will you come to the bower?"

Happy San Jacinto Day

Monday, April 20, 2015


Not a lot going on here.  So I don't really want to waste your time with drivel.  I have the last of the doctor appointments this week is about all I have and working some more leather.  I won't get through with any of the leather this week so no photos and I forgot to take a picture of my last project DOH!  It was a belt carried case for a phone.  They loved it, even though I thought it was below par.

Happy Trails

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 19

It's been twenty years.  I wept at work that day.

A little piece of me died that day.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Open Carry in Texas

I didn't think it would happen.  Regardless of what the perception of others is of Texas, there are a lot of libtards here that still make life, shall we say interesting.

In Texas, the Lt. Governor wields as much or more power than the Governor.  He presides over the senate and can prevent legislation from even being considered. The Governor has stated he WILL sign any open carry bill that comes to his desk.  The senate and the house have both passed an open carry bill.  There are differences in each that will have to be worked out before heading to the Governors desk.

There had also been a movement for constitutional carry.  The Lt. Governor had opposed this and would not allow it to come to a vote.  I assume that this open carry bill was a compromise to get less restrictive legislation.

I don't know what all is in the bill, I know that there will be restrictions.  So it won't be a true 'open carry' like those that fear we are returning to the days of shoot outs on the streets fear.  How this bill will work with current CHL license holders I haven't seen yet either.  I will not be walking around with a gun showing on my hip at any time anyway.  I think that would just ask for unwanted attention.  One person said he would be able to walk around his house/yard with a gun in the open without worry.  I have never felt the need to carry at home.  Some have told me they just want to be able to exercise their constitutional rights.  I have no argument with that.  In fact I agree with it, anything that makes it harder for the Feds to grab our rights I'm for.  However, I don't agree with those folks that walk around with their rifles, the militant open carry advocates, that just like to bait the police.  It seems we have more than our share of those here in Texas.  This just hurts our rights more than helps IMHO.

Interesting times in Texas.

Happy Trails.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Not much happening here.  Read a couple articles that I thought were pretty nuts.  So I get to share that with you.

This one really got my attention since there had been talk a little while ago about banning back yard BBQ's.

This really doesn't surprise me about Austin.  This is the home of some great BBQ joints.  I haven't been to them but when you stand in line 3-4 hours and they run out before the day is over, that's probably some pretty good eatin'.  Franklin's BBQ is pretty famous. 

But I won't stand in line 3-4 hours for anything.

Austin needs to be moved to one of the Blue States.  Yes they have some pretty weird things there, left wing ideas abound.  Don't think I would miss them much.  But banning BBQ can start a rebellion.

Then there's this short one about Bacon extending your life.

Hey, why not, pass me some more please.

Then there was this one you have probably seen.

My initial reaction, Wow, just wow.  Was that officer pissed or what?  I am not going to judge this situation as I wasn't there. 

Happy Trails

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Flat Tax

Today is the day we have to pay the tax man.  The annual shakedown.

With all the politicians starting to throw their hat in the ring for the White House, taxes are one of the subjects of their campaigns.  We hear about tax cuts and raising taxes for various reasons.  Then there are those that want to abolish the IRS.  There is also talk about a flat tax rate that's the same for everyone.

I don't understand how we can do away with the IRS, I haven't researched or even heard about what the alternative would be, so I can't comment about that.  I do know I don't want the taxes to be raised, at all.  

The Flat Tax for everyone is always an intriguing idea.  We never hear any real numbers on what the rate would be.  I recall something like 10% at one point.  One reason it sounds good is that it should make taxes much easier to file.  But this is the government we are talking about.  There is so much bureaucracy nothing is ever easy or simple.  My tax preparer has me convinced it is not such a good idea after all after showing me some numbers.  He is convinced that a 10% rate would hurt a lot of folks, they would be paying much more than they are now.  There are a lot of deductions that get that rate down.

We have been paying a good chunk for years now.  I can't imagine that going up even more due to a flat tax.  Of course this won't be true for everyone.  I just don't know enough about it to really understand it all with my weak mind.  It makes my head hurt.  Why did I even bring this up?  Sheesh.

Good luck and Happy Trails

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Not a Good Morning

The coffee pot quit yesterday.  Yup, nothing, just a light that said it was on but no coffee being made and the hot plate didn't even register a single BTU. 

Fortunately we had a used one my Mom gave us.  This thing is much fancier than anything I am used to. 

It has a 'thing' that makes steamed milk for all the hi-falutin' type coffees, all those 'chino' things, you know the frapacinos etc.  It was good to have this in an emergency to fall back on.  It worked.  However the pot is pretty small.  The wife got one cup and I got almost two.   That just isn't gonna cut it.  Not a good morning when you can't get your coffee and as much as you want.

We have extremely hard water here.  There is a lot of scale from the limestone that we live over and the water comes from. 

 Consequently there is a lot of buildup on coffee pots and anything that gets water, especially hot water, on it.  I would guess we have gone through 10 coffee makers in as many years.  We avoid the pricey ones for that matter.  We can usually buy 2-3 coffee pots for the price of one of the pricey ones and they last just as long.  Not only coffee pots are victims of the hard water, but it's especially hard on water heaters.  We are on number five since 1986.  Unfortunately we opted out of a water softener when we built the house.  We hadn't needed one at previous houses, even with the hard water in town, and thought that it would be the same here only 30 miles from where we lived previously.  WRONG. It is so much harder here than we even thought. Now the cost is prohibitive to us.  We make do anyway.

So we are considering a different way of making coffee that I know nothing about.  We just heard about it from one of Kim's relations.  They are more 'cosmopolitan' than our normal runnin' buddies.  They use something called a French Press. 

They say all you do is pour boiling water over your coffee, in the pot.  That would certainly relieve the dependency on coffee makers and having to replace them every year or so.  But it also means not being able to walk away from your coffee maker and letting it do all the work.   From what I have read it sounds great, if someone else does it.  I love coffee, but I am not sure I love it enough to use one of these.  Sounds like it would be a PITA at times.  I might get one anyway and use it occasionally.

Happy Trails

Monday, April 13, 2015

Getting Crowded

The county I live in is growing in population extremely fast.  Much to fast for me and it seems some of my family is having some of the same thoughts.  It is shocking to see the growth in our area and the traffic, oh. my. word. the traffic.  I was in the highway business and am pretty tuned in to traffic issues.  What I am seeing just blows my mind by the growth in traffic, not just where I live, but every where I travel in a 3 county area.  I see different numbers for population in our county and the numbers shock me.  They have more than doubled in the last 15 years or so.  It must be all those yankees that always bad mouth Texas and Texans that seem to be moving here.  They sure do tell us how dumb we are and how great it was back in so and so and they had no choice they HAD to move here. Yes, they have no problem saying something like that to your face with much disdain in their voice. 

There are predictions that in 10-15 years it will double again.  I just don't see where they will put them all.  We don't live as densely as areas on the east coast and up north, but this is Texas for crying out loud.  To the transplants, it won't seem like such a big deal to live so close to your neighbors that you can hear them fart in their own house and deal with stop and go traffic every where you go.  But to this native, who has never lived more than 25 miles from where he was born, it's down right distressing.

The son brought this subject up a couple weeks ago and it bothers him too.  This is the son that was ready to move to Dallas because it was bigger and more exciting.  The son who wanted to attend college at the largest university in the State and probably the nation.  Now he sings a different tune.  I guess having your own family will do that.  Our solution was that we would all move to a small town somewhere else (in Texas).  Since he works from home location isn't an issue.  However it is an issue for son number 2. 

Lots of suggestions and discussion about moving.  Fun to think about and talk about but, I am not sure I could just pull up stakes and leave my elderly parents with just my brother to look out for them.  So it would have to wait.  But, then I am not a spring chicken either.  I hate the idea of a move and all that entails.   ( I am talking myself out of it obviously) Waiting until that time, when my parents are gone, may be to long for me also.  All my grandparents except one lived into their mid to late 90's and one was almost 101.  I expect my parents to be of similar age from what I see.  That's still off aways.  That puts me near to my parents current age.  I can't imagine moving then.  But I really like Abilene or San Angelo, or maybe Brownwood, then there's.....

Happy Trails.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

We're Good

Yes, we got great news at the surgeon's office yesterday.   

This is the first PSA test since my surgery.  No detectable PSA.  '0,' none, nada.  That is what we were hoping for.  Now we get sent back over to the regular Urologist for regular checks for the next 5 years. 

I have to say that I have a little regret we will be going back to him.  This is because this surgeon is probably the most cheerful and upbeat doctor I have ever been around.  I can tell he would be like this whether he was a doctor or not.  I had been told he was a 'character,' while that is certainly true, he is just a genuine good ole boy.  I could easily be friends with him and would enjoy his company even being 20 years younger than me.

We (I) will see the regular Urologist in 3 months.

The wife and I were discussing my reaction to the news and everything related to this particular doctor visit.  The way I react has changed so much over the years.  I had been a 'worrier' most of my life.  It took a long gradual length of time for that not to be true anymore.  I wasn't anxious at all about this visit other than wanting it behind me.  I was happy but not with the feeling of relief I used to generally feel with something weighty and then get good news.  Is it age?  Is it experience?  Is it perspective?  Or is it my Faith?  I believe it is a combination of all with most of the weight being given to my Faith.  I am not one to go into some long drawn out discussion on these things or even think on them much.  But, these have crossed my mind and I do consider them worthy of such.  Putting these thoughts into words is much harder than I would have thought.  I tend to ramble so I will spare you what my weak mind produces on these matters.  Your welcome.

Fellas, if you haven't had a prostate check in the last year, including the blood test, please schedule one.  You owe it to those that love you.

Happy Trails.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Doctor Appointment

Off to the Urologist.  Will get the results of the blood tests.  Hoping and praying for that '0'.

Happy Trails

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Found Them

I think I found out what was feeding on my tomato blooms and my cilantro.  Snails!  Yes, pretty sure, there was one crawling around on my one cilantro plant and one on one of the tomato plants.  They are gone but I will keep an eye out for the slimy critters.  I have little to no knowledge of snails and what they eat.  But the evidence was condemning.  No, no picture of the actual miscreants but they were this type.  The shell was whiter than this one.

When I 'googled' snails I had no idea there were so many.  The ones I had are pretty common here and we see them all the time every where.  I'm glad we don't have those other monsters I saw.

There were many many more, more than I have wanted to know about.

If you know how to keep these out of a garden please, let me know.

Happy Trails

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What the.....

I am trying to be completely organic with my garden.  This means No pesticides to keep the pests from enjoying the fruit of my labors.  My garden guru has told me that since he went entirely organic, he has less of a pest problem than he had previously.  The only thing he uses is liquid seaweed sprayed on the plants.

As it so happens I noticed that my tomato plants were missing most of the blooms they had sprouted. 

Not sure you can see it, top left quadrant.

Cut right off, could have done better with scissors.  I had spayed once when I noticed my cilantro/parsley had some chewing done to them.  Not good, not good at all.  Will try spraying more often, maybe everyday.  Then maybe a visit with my guru to see what he has to say.  Unfortunately my new air rifle I got for pests won't help one bit for this.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, Spring time in the Texas Hill Country is just spectacular.  What with the annual display of natures grandeur with the multitude of wild flowers that populate the State.  

The Texas Star part of the Bluebonnet

There is even a program to seed the more traveled roadways i.e. interstates with native wild flower seeds that entice visitors from other regions to travel here. 

I have only one minor complaint about this time of year.  Our Oak Trees.  I love them, but for about a month or more they are a major PITA.  Early Spring is the time they lose their leaves, not Fall.  They are never completely denuded.  New growth starts immediately.  These leaves are everywhere.  They aren't as easy to pick up as other leaves as they lay very flat.  You can never get everyone of them up.  Then there is the pollen.  Oh the pollen.  My black truck takes on an iridescent yellow green glow for about two weeks.  Then the tassels start to fall.  

Depending on the type Oak you have, you can have a couple inches of tassels on the ground.  We don't have those kind but we have a quite a bit.  They stick to Buster, especially the long hair on his paws.  Did I tell you he is an 'inside' dog most of the time.  Yeah, it's a mess, when he forgets to wipe his paws.

Happy Trails.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hill Country Trip

Monday we hit the road for a few hours.  It is the peak of the Bluebonnet season here in Texas.  It's just one of those 'Texas' things.  You will see whole families on the side of the road looking and taking pictures. 

You will also see 'city folks' do some incredibly dumb things because they are so focused on the scenery.  You always have to watch for suddenly slowing traffic or totally stopped in the middle of the road, for no apparent reason.  People walking casually along taking pictures with not a care in the world, in the middle of the road.  Not to mention the trespassing.  I don't think the city folk understand how serious it is to trespass out in the sticks.  But hey wait, there are some Bluebonnets I need to walk in over that fence.

These are a few of my photos of the day.  Since it was a bit overcast I took the liberty of doing some HDR to these to bring out the colors.  Tried to make them as natural as I could but I still get a little overboard on it a bit.  Be sure and click on each to get the FULL size, it's worth it.

The last one is my back yard, can you see my lone Bluebonnet under the windmill?

Happy Trails