First thing in my face this morning were some of the most insulting comments ever received from a Texas reader, I’m embarrassed to say.

Whether they were actually posted by a government-paid “troll” (which really do exist, using multiple personality software developed 10+years back) remains to be seen.

At any rate, the insults were thick but not uncommon. We’ve run into them before here in Texas.

Most Texans, you have to understand, are not so shrill. Far and away, the vast majority are honest, hard-working folks, who have an “I’m free to do what I want, and so are you…” attitude.

Yet there’s a streak in a small number that holds Texas birthright as somehow entitling them to be above all other humans; giving them right to judge and insult, as their way of thinking runs. As happens in this morning’s comments in the Comment Section people often claim heritage dating back to the Alamo and before.

To be sure, it’s an honorable thing to have in a family’s background, no quarrel there. Having kin who died in the Revolutionary speaks to longevity as Americans no doubt.

But the “B&R” (born & raised) in Texas bit gets overdone.

Even to someone like me who has friends in the Republic of Texas movement and who’s written about that from time-to-time.  I may have to send a note to my bud Grover – perhaps he can set me right.

In some families, love be damned, if a spouse isn’t also B&R, it’s a bad marriage and is not embraced by the whole family. I’ve seen this recently in a “mixed B&R” family we know.

While it’s true that having relatives who fought at the Alamo also speaks well to that ancestor’s character, it is muted as to what the present generation’s done. Last time I checked, Alamo fight ended in 1836.

Fighting and ancestry issues aside, what anyone’s forefathers (and sixmothers) did does not the current person make, except insofar as values were passed on directly by a parent or grandparent.

Despite the B&R’s denials, Texas is a land of immigrants, just like the rest of the USA.

Some of us have just barely arrived (a mere 13-years for us) while others will move here next week. That’s how the modern world works.

This morning I’d like to ask your help in a research project, if I may?

Where is a book or reference citation that can tell me more about these “above it all Texans” that places them at the right-hand of the Almighty?

I didn’t see any references to Texas in Bible. There’s no mention or legal description of when a person can describe themselves as “Texans” in any public document…So where does this come from?

I was shocked at the nature of this morning’s insults – and refering to president Trump as the “oaf in chief” but maybe this puts the commenters in the LBJ/B&R/democrat category.

Government (or NGO Soros) troll? Perhaps. While I have a pretty thick skin, absent an apology, I may have to ban a second reader. (The good news is, that will leave just you and the one other reader in Nevada.)

Near as I can figure it, we’re just now coming up on the part of the Trump presidency where we will find out if he can “fish or cut bait.” Looming over his plans and efforts is a Congress led by Paul Ryan who we have more than a few reservations about.

But if you could help clarify our thinking on the superiority of Texas super-nationalism, any documents and cites would be welcome.

Weekend of Prepping and Limbing-Up

This weekend was like one project after another around here. No big home run type events, but the kind of maintenance that sometimes you just have to buckle down and ‘git ‘er done.’ Yep, that kind of weekend.

Toilet Repair:

If the crap ever hits the fan you’ll want your crapper to be in top condition.

Elaine had pointed out that the guest quarters throne was flushing fine, but the water wasn’t coming back up as high as it used to.

Sure enough, the little hose off the valve assembly that is supposed to point down the overflow pipe had come out. Jiffy to fix, but it’s that kind of thing that if you get too many of them can make life miserable.

FTA TV Receiver Change-up

Since we went with the UHD TV in the living room, having the old satellite on Galaxy 19 for various multinational news inputs wasn’t running. Troubleshootizing hat on again, it quickly because apparent that the old receiver’s HDMI wasn’t going to play nicely and when the new $40 receiver was plugged in, there were no signals to be found.

Out comes the ladder and it was determined that one of those damn f-6 cable connectors had broken, so time to cobble up a jumper from the tracking motor to the LNB…

Still to come, shot alignment on Galaxy 19. For now it’s on some other bird but the CGTV Chinese television programming, especially the English documentaries, like the one on King Fu I got sucked into…we’ll, no hurry to re-aim the dish.

As long as the ladder was out, it was time to do a spring trimming on the ficus (or however it’s spelled). We could wait until summertime, but we lost on of the bushes that got too high (and hence top-heavy)… So a preventative routine there.

Elaine helped rake up the mess which landed on the burn pile, and so that was set off.

I’ve got about half a dozen burn piles to light off in the next couple of months.

But before I lit off the first one (small), it was time to “limb-up” some additional trees. Like this one:


About here we get to the “real-deal” of prepping. Notice around the bottom of this oak-looking tree that didn’t drop all its leaves that there’s a pile of limbs which Ures truly and his (black And decker battery powered pole saw) took down with about 10 minutes of work.

The reason I categorize the “limbing-up” of property is not that it will stop wild fires entirely, but you have a much better chance of saving a home from one if all the trees are bare for about 10-12 feet up.

The thinking if you can catch all the grass and (around here) mat of pine needles on fire, and it can burn its little heart out without touching off the major part of the tree’s “crown.” The reason some forest fires have been so devastating is once the fire starts to jump from crown to crown, you only real options to stopping it (short of water tankers) is top drop trees and run a line around if with a bulldozer.

In this picture, you can see how this works out:


Notice that there is little other than pine needles and dead leaves…and while they will burn, when we’ve had forest fires around us here in the Outback, the places easiest to STOP a fire from getting bigger is to have done the limbing-up to deny the fire a good fuel source. Once you have limbed up trees 10-12 feet and you have a series of fire trails – ideally 10-feet or wider and never allowed to grow more than 4-inches high, then if a fire comes your way, you just drop the brush hog down on it’s rails. This leavea a furrow an inch or three wide, and with the grass chewed down to dirt, it becomes a good stop.

The other thing all this limbing-up does is opens up the ground so you can see all over your property:


Since we’ve been slowly working on this project for almost a year, the place has a much more “tailored” or “state park” look to it.

Side benefits? Besides fire suppression?

Well, with less brush, there are fewer places for snakes to winter over, and less food for field mice and the like. We have a couple of owls and a family of what sounds like four or five red-tailed hawks now. Between then and the LBC (little black cat) that we feed when Zeus is napping, we figure to have really squeezed-down the food supply for a bit of the area around the house.

Over time, we will continue working at this since it’s one of those jobs that never really gets “done.”
You just get to stopping points until it grows back and needs another treatment of pole-sawing and tractorfying.

Much more fun doing this kind of work in good working weather than when it’s 90+ and humid…

Last Prepping Item

I’ve been playing around with SDR radios for a while now. That’s software-defined-radios and the dongles and the software package called SDR# (ess-dee-ar-sharp).

If you remember back a few months, I was thrilled to be able to pick off the NOAA polar weather satellites which pass over between 2 and 3 times per day.

Problem is? I haven’t had time to build up the right-hand polarized quadrifilar antenna on 137.5 MHz to get things right, so for now, my images are still sub par. But I can say that a dialed-in 2-meter FM rig on the wide bandwidth setting does a better job than the SDR toys on the same antenna.

Dang, and I so wanted it to work…

Oh well, still more projects to come including figuring out how to get geostationary weather downloaded. For that, I have a six-foot dish and assorted LNBs and such.

But all that has to wait for the rest of the winter projects like…Oh. Reminds me: This week it’s off to the garden to get the plants set out on a heat mat. Damned if we’ll pay $2.49 for a 3” high tomato plant again with we can building dozens of them for the cost of seed, water, some potting soil, the cold frame, and electricity for that other grow light (red light) we picked up for just such events.

Unless you own stock in your local Big Box store, this is the week (new moon later on this week) to get the little guys a head-start so you can be eating fresh sooner than later.

New Moon was on the 27th and waxing crescent now – prime for new plantings, so I’ve been told.

Write when you get rich or caught up on projects…