Thursday, April 27, 2017


The wife has headed over to my parents house to help with going through the many boxes of things they put in storage during their moves over the last year.  This is something that my Mom has been wanting to get done recently along with a lot of other little things.  She has become a bit obsessive about some of these things lately.  She is about to undergo a very serious surgery on her throat and she feels the need to get things in order.  It is putting a lot of stress on her, worrying about all these really inconsequential things.  

For instance, the house they are living in now has burglar bars on all the windows and doors.  I am not of fan of these at all.  More on why in bit.  These particular bars are cast iron and are painted black.  They have evidently been in place for a long time.  The never got cleaned so show a lot of dirt and there is some rust.  But the casual observer from the street can't see any of that, at all.  But it is driving my Mom nuts and she wants them painted ASAP, before her surgery.  She and my wife think it won't be a big deal to paint them.  She wants a much lighter color (that will make them more visible IMO).  The wife volunteered to paint them for her, no big deal.  She was looking at 'color swatches' the other day when I found out what the plan was.  She was just going to slap some latex house paint over those bars and call it done.  I proceeded to explain to her about the need to remove the rust and dirt and how latex paint wouldn't work at all.  The bars would look worse than before in a short time. 
I think I finally got through about all the prep that was needed and the correct type paint, but that didn't sink in until she spoke with the paint guy at the depot of homes.  Not sure what the plan is now.
Maybe they will come up with some new and wacky way to get it done today while working on the boxes.

A bit about her condition.  She is not able to eat or drink much at all due to choking.  It's not only uncomfortable it is dangerous, more so than she thought.  The surgeon told her she could aspirate very easily.  It has become such a problem, it has considerably curtailed their activity.  She won't eat in public or with others.  It embarasses her when she chokes while eating.  OK so eat at home.  But they have not been eating at home in years, not much anyway.  They eat out lunch every day and that is their socializing also.  She has lost a lot of weight, too much in fact.  Yes they do eat more at home but it isn't as much as before.  They aren't getting enough.

She has had this surgery before by two other doctors.  Neither one was confident they could fix it. They were gastro doctors.  They were right, they couldn't fix it.  This time she has gone to a very well known ENT.  This guy says he has done a lot of these surgeries.  Yet it is a somewhat rare condition, he only does about a dozen a year.  He can find no evidence the other doctors did anything.  SMH.

There are other things that Mom has been worried about, this is just small sample.  I think a lot of the stress of her condition and the surgery has clouded her thoughts.  I try not to add to that.  She sent a message to me through the wife because she thought I would argue with her about it.  I really need to watch what I say in the future obviously.  

About my not liking burglar bars.  While I agree they are great for security or making you feel safer, I find them to be a death trap.  There have been too many house fires I know about that have killed families that got trapped by the bars.  Imagine being in a raging fire and you need to find the key to unlock the bars to get out.  Sounds easy but you would be kidding yourself.  Panic sets in and then it's too late.  If you are in the market for bars, do your homework first.

Happy Trails

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


I am finally getting over the near fatal man flu.  Well, that's what I tell the wife anyway.  I thought it was just allergies but it turned into some sort of infection that really took the desire to do anything at all out of me.  I don't know, maybe that part is permanent.  I still don't feel like doing much and I have a growing list of things that need attending to, mostly yard work.  The thought of stirring up all that dust while I still have some residual effects on my breathing just doesn't make me want to hurry out and do that.  It is hard enough to try and do the bit of exercise I have been doing over the last month or so.

I am working on a small leather sheath to hold the multi-tool I plan to give to my little buddy before he moves away.  I found a piece of alligator embossed leather I had forgotten about.  I think that will be rather unique.  I will post a couple pics when it's done.  I wish I could come up with a realistic color pattern for it, but the brown fade will have to do.  

I also didn't realize how much those multi-tools could cost.  Wow, the one called a leatherman can get very pricey.  I have a couple of the multi-tools but they are some other brand.  They were gifted to me.  I really don't ever use them like a lot of folks do.  They are just not my thing.  I would much rather just carry my pocket knife than some bulky tool.  I have just not found a real need for it.  After a little search online I was able to find an acceptable priced tool that seems to be well made.  In fact it was very cheap compared to most of the others.  

Happy Trails

Friday, April 21, 2017

Fiesta San Antonio

Thursday was the start of Fiesta in San Antonio.  That's about 10-11 days of non stop partying and parades.  Most all of it happens downtown.  I never go anymore.  Just way too many people with most of them having consumed many adult beverages.  Whether you partake or not, you will get home smelling of beer.  With that many people and that much to drink there is the waste issue also.  I have heard stories, I would have to throw away my boots if that happened.

This it the biggest event in San Antonio.  Even bigger than the Stock Show and Rodeo.  There are at least 4 major parades.  These are not small parades.  They are all several hours long.  The Fiesta Flambeau is a night parade and it closes out Fiesta on the last day, a Saturday night.  I believe it is billed as the biggest night parade in the world.  It is a little over 3 miles long and has hundreds of entries.  I marched in it once.  Glad I did but never again.  There are anywhere from 300K to 500K that go downtown to watch that one.  It's mostly the younger crowd that goes down there with all their family.  If you have ever been to downtown San Antonio, you know parking is a problem even without a parade that closes access to streets and has that many folks crowded into it.  You used to be able to go down and and squeeze in to a place on the sidewalk and watch for free.  Not anymore.  Everyone cashes in on selling tickets to get access to seats along the route.  If you love parades, that one and the one on Friday at noon, the Battle of Flowers parade, are the ones you should catch.  they are pretty spectacular.  

The Flambeau in front of the Alamo

Yeah we compete with New Orleans for costumes

another of the night parade

One of the street parties

The River Parade

If you come, don't call me, you will have to go by yourself.

Happy Trails

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Weather, Man Flu and Garden Update

I am a bit under the weather.  Nothing serious, just the man flu.  That's what I tell the wife anyway. But she is less than sympathetic and knows me too well.  Only took her a few seconds to diagnose the man flu.  Allergies I suspect.  Sore throat, pounding head and the dry air is not helping with the throat.  Then she proceeds to tell me how she suffered with her latest ailment and she didn't whine like I was.  The nerve.

We have a had a few pretty good showers over the last week or so.  That has really put my tomato plants in high gear.  They have more than doubled in size and we have a few small tomatoes already appearing.  This breed (Florida 91 hybrid) really set fruit fast compared to others I have used. Hopefully we will be harvesting by mid May.

I came across an organic weed killer on the book of faces.  Thought I would give it a try and see if it would handle a few problem areas for me.  It consists of vinegar, epsom salts and Dawn dish soap.  It worked beautifully on the weeds growing up in the granite walkway.  The garden has the accursed Bermuda grass.  Did I ever mention how I hate pulling weeds/grass?  Didn't work as well.  But I am trying a second round today and soaking it a bit deeper.

If you're interested in this solution here is the mixture.  All you need is a garden sprayer and they can be had for about 10$ for a small 1 gallon one at the depot of homes.

1 gallon vinegar
2 cups epsom salts
1/4 cup Dawn  ( I would guess most any dish soap might work)

That's it.  Just pour into your sprayer and have at it.  I did it in the morning and by evening I could see results.  Pretty impressive.  Not to mention you don't have the toxic chemicals to deal with and it's very cheap, especially if you already have the items at home.  I will keep some on hand all summer ready to go.

Happy Trails

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Man Rules

I know, I haven't been posting much.  Life has gotten in the way.  Nothing important, just general things, nothing worth mentioning here.

A couple posts back I mentioned a young lad (13 years old I believe) I helped with his Texas History assignment.  Things have been moving pretty fast for his family the last week.  He is being raised by a single Mom along with his sister.  His Mom has some very serious health issues, and a move to South Carolina to be with closer relatives is the best for them at this time.  It gets real complicated as to what all is involved and I won't go into that here.  The health issues are life threatening.  

I haven't gotten to spend as much time with him as I should have, they live about 45 minutes away, school etc. and life in general and my laziness just kept getting in the way.  His Mom has asked me to talk with him in the past since he has no father or male figure present in his life.  I was a bit leery at first taking on the responsibility of mentoring in the manner of a role model.  I take raising my kids as an issue only I and my wife are responsible for.  I don't for a second believe in 'it takes a village.'  No one else is responsible for their kids but the parents themselves.  God loaned these lives to us, not the village.  So me giving important advice to someone else's kids, serious life advice, I wasn't real keen on that.  It only took me a few seconds to change and give him some words he needed to hear.

We never got around to going fishing together, my fault.  He wanted to learn to make the coin rings I make on occasion.  But he couldn't come to our house since he was deathly allergic to cats and we had two.  I couldn't take all the tools to his house.  We teased each other about our favorite football teams.  He did it just to raze me a little, I don't think he was a real fan of the rival school.

He has been on my mind enough that I plan to send him off with a couple remembrances of me.  He likes to work on things with tools.  He will get a multitool.  I hope I can get a personalized scabbard made for it too.  He will also get a small New Testament.  I had planned on giving him one of mine but it has seen some better days.  I may pony up for a new one so it lasts longer.  I am not at all sure which would mean more to him.  I have also composed a letter.  It has my goodbyes and well wishes and my list of "Man Rules."  These man rules aren't what you see on the internet and meant as funny etc.  These are all biblically based and I believe his Mom would appreciate that more and maybe she can refer to them too.  Maybe they will plant a seed.  I will take him to lunch before he leaves and have a chat and give him these things.  I think I'm gonna miss this little guy a bit.

Happy Trails

Friday, April 14, 2017

Trip to the Alamo

I don't know how many times I have been to the Alamo in my life.  I have never come away disappointed, until my most recent trip.  It was unbelievably crowded.  Most of it consisted of kids on school field trips.  I am glad they get a chance to learn about our Texas history, but from what I could see they weren't very engaged, at all.  Especially the older middle school age kids.  They were more interested in blocking the walkways to visit with each other.

Then there was this guy, I thought I was in Cali or somewhere but he had a Texas firefighter shirt on.

Not what you expect to see on an elderly man in Texas.  He also had something in the other ear.
Sorry I just don't get it.

We made this trip especially for the James Bowie exhibit they had been advertising.  I was already in a somewhat unhappy mood due to the future that is planned for the Alamo that I read about yesterday.
Then after spending 15$ to park when the sign clearly read 5$ ( the fine print is what got me) and deal with the crowds, I was hoping to see some really good exhibits I had never seen before.

There were very few artifacts of which none were related to Jim Bowie, except for one knife his brother Rezin had made for a friend.  Everything else looked like posters with excerpts about his life, things I had already read and known about.  This is what was there for the most part without the posters.  Almost everyone of these knives were reproductions, others were very late knives that were to show what they looked like over the years.

This is a part of one of the posters

These are the knives they had

There were a few other knives but I didn't care by this point.  I have never spent such a short time at the Alamo.  After a quick run through the gift shop we left without spending anymore.

Disappointed to say the least, but I will be able to forewarn a friend that is interested in going.

Happy Trails

Thursday, April 13, 2017


I have a bad case of the blahs as far as blog posts are concerned.  Sorry for that.

The young lad I helped with his history homework, I mentioned in my last post, got a score of 100.
His teacher was impressed with his initiative.  I assume the score was just for the question he posed to me.  His initiative apparently was because he went so far as to mention he contacted a Texas history expert and reenactor.  Yes, that is what he told her.  No, I don't do any reenacting anymore, it was more living history than reenacting.

We plan on heading down to the Alamo Thursday.  They have an exhibit featuring James Bowie that is new.  Probably includes some new artifacts they obtained from Phil Collins the musician.  He is a huge Alamo fan and had a large collection of items he donated to the Alamo the last few years.  It has be a few years since I have been there.  

There has been a lot of work going on toward making some huge changes on how the Alamo is presented.  If you have ever been there it is in the middle of downtown San Antonio with all the buildings sitting right next to it.  Most of the compound has been lost over the years to development. 
I have heard a lot of comments about how shocked people are when they see how small it is and are somewhat disappointed in how they find it.  I can understand this viewpoint.

There is a effort underway to 'reimagine' the Alamo.  To change how things look down there.  A lot of hope was placed in this effort by those like me that believe the original footprint of the Alamo (at the time of the 1836 battle) should be restored.  Various reports coming out about how it was to be interpreted were discouraging, leaning toward the PC approach.  Then there were other teasers show casing videos of other battle sight locations throughout the world that showcase how it could be done.
These gave me hope.  But I had huge doubts as non-natives were involved in this process.  They may know their stuff but they don't know Texas and least of all how people like me revere the Alamo.

Well the big reveal on what the proposes 'reimagining' is to be.  Worst. Idea. Ever.  It is a travesty to say the least.  The original footprint?  Well that will be handled by using glass walls in place of what was there originally.  There will be seating areas in the courtyard with tables and chairs for folks to eat or just relax, right on top of where heroes sacrificed their lives.  This doesn't even include the rooftop restaurant.  You can google the big reveal if you are inclined to check it out.  They have already heard from me, and what I have seen on social media, not many folks are happy with this either.

This may be my last chance to see the Alamo as it is now.  Once this monstrosity is in place, I won't go ever again.  Shame on us and shame on them.

My heart weeps

Friday, April 7, 2017

Hill Country

We finally made a trip into the Hill Country Thursday.  We dropped the wife's car at the dealer for a recall on her air bags and then headed out.  Unfortunately the wildflowers were underwhelming this year.  I didn't take a single photo.  We did get to eat some good BBQ in Llano, no it wasn't at Cooper's.  It was nearly 2:00 PM and I didn't want to stand in the line that was out the door.  I know they are famous but I don't wait in line when I am that hungry, so we passed them by and found a hidden gem.  It was a good trip despite the lack of wildflowers.

There is a young lad I try to 'mentor' a little at times.  He gave me a phone call the other night with question about his assignment for history.  For some reason he has a belief that I am an expert in Texas History.  I am just a proud Texan and love our history, but no expert.  The State School Board in Texas mandates that Texas History be taught in Texas Schools.  Since he is homeschooled I don't know if that is required.  His question to me was:  Give 3 reasons why Texas joined the Confederacy?
He needed the answer for the next day.  He also needed to give a reason or explanation of each.  Not something that can be answered easily over the phone.  But I did my best.  

I know what the schools teach these days and it has become even more PC that slavery be taught as the sole and only cause for the War Between the States.  But it is much much more complicated than that.  There was no ONE defining issue that caused this war to come about or why Texas joined the Confederacy.  All wars are much more complicated than a one word answer.  I can pretty well guess what the answers are that the teacher wanted.  But she most likely didn't expect to get the answers I gave him.  

I explained the Morrill Tariff and it's affect on Southern States and the National budget, basically it's effects on the economics of Texas being big cotton producer and it being the largest money maker in the State.  This was well before oil and beef.  I also gave a brief answer about States Rights and how the North was leaning more and more to big government.  There was a reason why the United States was a Confederation in the early years just after the Revolution.  The South wanted more autonomy to do it the way they saw fit and the North wanted to tell them how to do it.  Sound familiar?  The other answer was freedom.  The same freedom the founding fathers fought for.  

This was all I had time to give him over the phone, I know there is much much more and all of the ones I mentioned could be expanded on greatly.  But I wasn't going to fall into that PC answer, the one I suspect his teacher from Rhode Island was expecting.  I doubt she has even heard of the Morrill Tariff.  I could be wrong, but I have never met anyone that has.  I am curious to find out how his answers went over.

Monday, April 3, 2017


Sundays are a standard routine for us.  It is really the only day we regularly have something we do, every Sunday, without fail.  We get up early, have breakfast and head to the church house.  This Sunday was unusual in that we didn't go.  Talk about a strange feeling not being at church. 

We had been under a severe storms alert all night and nothing arrived, yet we could tell the weather was very unsettled.  Kim got the weather report while I was in the shower and I could tell she was a little worried.  There were reports of tornadoes again, lots of large hail and heavy lightning.  I watched one weather report and the radar they had pointed out a 'hook echo.' The weather guy then told how tornadoes form in those.  The line of progress was heading straight for us and it would arrive in about 20 minutes.  Their timing these things is pretty remarkable.

No tornado had been spotted in that 'echo' yet so we scrambled to get our things we would need and placed them in our 'bunker.'  Our bunker is an inner bathroom and would be the strongest room of the house.  It's all we have.  

Everything turned out OK.  We only got a little rain, not much thunder.  Buster didn't even flinch at the little thunder there was, but he was nervous since he was picking up on our mood and activity. The hook echo just seemed to dissipate and a lot of the worse weather headed to our North and some other was South of us.  It missed us almost entirely.  We made it to church that evening.

The rest of the week is supposed to be Chamber of Commerce type weather and we plan to head to the Hill Country.....but we see how that has turned out the last time.

Happy Trails.

Saturday, April 1, 2017


IT LIVES!  The weedeater roared to life easily with my latest effort.  It should have been the very first thing I tried.  The fuel evidently had gone bad.  I had never had that happen before and I have been using these things for years.  So I got caught up on some of the yard work Friday and there will be more Saturday.

Our friend that has been in the hospital for almost 2 weeks appeared to be significantly improving earlier this week.  Then late Thursday he had a setback that really dealt a blow to his wife.  Then he rallied Friday afternoon.  Hopefully he will continue to improve.  He has been so sick for so long that they plan on him going to rehab after the hospital.  Not sure why, maybe it's his age (76).  That doesn't seem so old to me.

The Grandkids visit was much too short, less than 24 hours.  I didn't get enough time, the wife seemed to be the center of attention, especially for my Granddaughter.  She spent a longer time than usual sitting in her lap.  Hmph!  Poppy didn't get none of that.

We had planned to hit the Hill Country Friday just for a drive to view the wildflowers as we usually do.  However, Kim was upset about the call we got about our friend in the hospital.  So I cancelled the trip and we went into town to the hospital to get the scoop and offer to give his wife a break and stay there for her.  She wasn't having any of that.  Hopefully this perfect weather will be here Monday and we can try for the day trip again.

Happy Trails