Thursday, February 28, 2013

RV Water Damage. Power-hog RV Lights. Truck Stop Fueling. DNA. Satchmo’s Vet Visit.


For “tRaVersing or RV Day”:

How to inspect an RV for water damage

“I received a question from a concerned RVer the other day that went something like this;  “My neighbor just paid an expensive repair bill for water damage on his RV and I would like to know what I can do to prevent this same thing from happening to

“One thing is for sure, if there is a way for water to get in your RV it will find it. Water leaks on an RV can cause extensive damage and can be extremely costly to repair. To protect your investment and your wallet you need to take the time to REALLY inspect for water leaks. The outside of your RV may look fine but the internal damage caused by water over a
period of time can result in the entire roof, floor or wall rotting away without you even knowing it, until it’s too late. You should
inspect your RV for water leaks twice a year at a minimum, and
especially prior to storage if it will be stored outside.

Here are a few things to look for during your routine inspections.

* To stop a leak before it starts thoroughly inspect all roof and body seams. Reseal any seams or sealants that show signs of cracking or separation. Consult your RV dealer for sealants compatible with different types of materials.
* Look for any discoloration, and feel for any soft spots on the ceiling around roof vents, air conditioners, TV antennas, plumbing vents, and any other openings that were cut in the roof. Soft spots are an indication that water damage has already started. Find the source of the leak and have it repaired immediately.
* Look for any discoloration or wrinkles in the wallpaper, and feel for any soft spots on the walls around all windows, doors, slide outs, or any other openings that were cut in the side walls.
* Identify the location of items like the water heater, furnace, outside shower, potable water fill and city water inlet on the outside of the RV and then access those areas from the inside of the RV. Look for any indications of water damage around these openings.
* Open all overhead cabinets and look in the top corner where the walls meet the ceiling for any discoloration and feel for any soft spots. This would indicate a leak at the seam where the sidewall and the roof attach.
* Check in all outside storage compartments for any indications of water leaks or water damage.
* Check for any soft spots on the roof itself especially around the roof seams at the front and rear of the RV. Thoroughly inspect all sealants on the roof around every opening.
Caution: Be extremely careful when working on the roof of your RV, a fall can cause serious injuries, or be fatal. Not all roofs are designed to be walked on. It may be necessary to use 2X4 foot sections of 1/2” plywood to distribute your weight over the roof rafters.
* Some Class C motor homes are notorious for leaks in the cab over bed area. Look for any signs of discoloration and feel for soft spots. Remove the mattress and feel for water.
* If your RV has fiberglass sidewalls look and feel the outside walls for any signs of delamination. Delamination is caused by water getting between the exterior fiberglass and the sidewall. When this happens the exterior fiberglass separates from the sidewall of the RV. You can stand at the front or rear of the RV and look down the side for any noticeable ripples or what looks like a bubble. You can also press on the sidewalls. If you feel the exterior fiberglass move it is delaminating.  Many times delamination starts where an opening was cut in the sidewall
of the RV. Have any noticeable damage repaired immediately!
The key to preventing water damage on your RV is to perform these inspections on a routine basis and to discover and repair any leaks while in the early stages. If you don’t feel comfortable performing these inspections have an authorized service center do it for you.” From RV Tech Tips with Mark Polk)


Let your light shine before men – with less power

“Boondockers--those who by definition "camp in the boonies," away from utility hookups – have to be careful of their precious resources. One of the biggest pains is "running out of power." Lighting up the inside of the rig can consume a lot of juice in a short period of time.

Take a minute and add up how much power you use:
A typical incandescent bulb light fixture, sometimes called a "pillow light" by its shape commonly uses an "1141" bulb. Each 1141 bulb consumes 1.5 amps per hour, and produces a pitifully small amount of illumination. At least that's what our aging eyes tell us. So we turn on another one or two, and pretty soon, we're happily munching away at the "house" battery.

In comparison, the typical "double tube" fluorescent lamp produces gobs of light for just two amps per hour. Wow! What a difference technology makes. Now compare the "latest technology" light fixtures that produce light with light emitting diodes. Super-efficient, they produce almost no heat (hence no waste), and use power measured in "milli-amps," or thousandths of an amp.

We use all three types of lighting technology in our rig. Turning on an incandescent light to fish something out of a dark corner doesn't take much power because we keep the use short. Fluorescent lighting is our "mainstay" giving us plenty of light to keep us working and safe at night. The pricier to install LED technology is perfect for a reading light. The latter may take you some time to get used to, as the "color" of the light is different, and it's best used as a highly directional light, but when your power comes from solar panels or precious gas-fired generators, you surely want to keep your power consumption way down.”  From: RV Boondocking News


Truck stop fueling tips

imagesCAOX9VY8 “If your RV runs on diesel, you may wonder about filling up at the truck islands. Some RVers feel a bit intimidated by the big rigs and professional drivers. Don't be afraid, but do be courteous and things should go well for you.

First, remember for the truck driver, time is money. When you roll into the fuel island, be prepared to "get 'er done" as quickly as possible.
If you have a helper, send him or her inside with the credit card to pay. If you don't, go in yourself and leave your card at the fuel desk.
You'll find many pumps don't take credit cards, or if they do they're usually limited to fleet cards.
If you have tank ports on both sides of your rig, don't be afraid to use the satellite pump and the main pump at the same time. If your fuel port is on the side opposite the main pump, you'll need to take the filler nozzle out of the cradle, set it on the ground, and flip the lever up to operate the satellite pump.

Be careful when filling, the pumps on the big rig side pump MUCH FASTER than the consumer-style.
Clean your windshield? Sure, just do it while you're fueling. Once the tank is full, stop window washing, pull WELL ahead of the pump island so the next guy in line can get in and start pumping. THEN finish paying, and complete your windshield ministrations.
If you need to make a purchase, or hit the rest room, move your rig to the parking area FIRST.”  By Russ and Tiña De Maris

On This Day:

Watson and Crick discover chemical structure of DNA, Feb 28, 1953:

“On this day in 1953, Cambridge University, England, scientists James D. Watson and Frances H.C. Crick announce that they have determined the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes.

Though DNA--short for deoxyribonucleic acid--was discovered in 1869, its crucial role in determining genetic inheritance wasn't demonstrated until 1943. In the early 1950s, Watson and Crick were only two of many scientists working on figuring out the structure of DNA. California chemist Linus Pauling suggested an incorrect model at the beginning of 1953, prompting Watson and Crick to try and beat Pauling at his own game. On the morning of February 28, they determined that the structure of DNA was a double-helix polymer, or a spiral of two DNA strands, each containing a long chain of monomer nucleotides, wound around each other. According to their findings, DNA replicated itself by separating into individual strands, each of which became the template for a new double helix.    In his best-selling book, The Double Helix (1968), Watson later claimed that Crick announced the discovery by walking into the nearby Eagle Pub and blurting out that "we had found the secret of life." The truth wasn’t that far off, as Watson and Crick had solved a fundamental mystery of science--how it was possible for genetic instructions to be held inside organisms and passed from generation to generation.

Watson and Crick's solution was formally announced on April 25, 1953, following its publication in that month’s issue of Nature magazine. The article revolutionized the study of biology and medicine. Among the developments that followed directly from it were pre-natal screening for disease genes; genetically engineered foods; the ability to identify human remains; the rational design of treatments for diseases such as AIDS; and the accurate testing of physical evidence in order to convict or exonerate criminals.

Crick and Watson later had a falling-out over Watson's book, which Crick felt misrepresented their collaboration and betrayed their friendship. A larger controversy arose over the use Watson and Crick made of research done by another DNA researcher, Rosalind Franklin, whose colleague Maurice Wilkins showed her X-ray photographic work to Watson just before he and Crick made their famous discovery. When Crick and Watson won the Nobel Prize in 1962, they shared it with Wilkins. Franklin, who died in 1958 of ovarian cancer and was thus ineligible for the award, never learned of the role her photos played in the historic scientific breakthrough.” 



A busy day! After tending to Misty and Satchmo’s needs, I headed into the next town to go shopping.  I dropped off a bunch of used grocery sacks at St. Mark’s Thrift Shop.  They had been running a “$5 a Sack Sale”, where everything you could stuff in a sack was $5.  They were running out of sacks. 

Then I stopped at the Assistance League Thrift Shop as they were having their end of the month sale, but all I bought was a feathery toy for Satchmo. 

At The Nearly New Thrift Shop, I bought a C-battery/110v radio/cassette player.  Battery operated radios are always a good thing to have around. Now I won’t have to go out to the motor home to get that battery radio when the power goes out.

Then on to the appliance repair place, and as I thought, Mark said my washer was beyond repair.  I had bought it used, from him, in 1995, but the bottom had just rusted through.  Good thing I kept my other Maytag washer that I bought from him, used, in 1994. Back then I had another house at Lake Livingston, so that is why I had bought two.

As Mark is a certified AC repair man, I asked him why it is so expensive to have Mini Splits installed.  He said it isn’t difficult at all, and even a DIY project.  Hmmm! Maybe I’ll get one after all.

The enormous bin of scrap metal was already in the van, so when I went to the salvage yard, the washer went across the scales with the rest of it.  The proceeds will buy me a month’s gas.

There wasn’t much time to dilly dally, as I had to rush home, get some lunch, put Satchmo in his carrier for a free vet check that came with his adoption at their vet.  Satchmo didn’t like being in the carrier, and even more so because I had put a harness and leash on him.  I didn’t want him to escape, and get in some hidey-hole at the vet’s office.   The check-up was for his teeth, but the vet was very concerned about his voracious appetite.  Satchmo wants to eat all the time. Two vets felt around his throat and said that he needed to have a thyroid test, especially as his heart rate was up.   I wanted an older cat, so I suppose that’s what comes with it. 

Poor Satchmo has hardly any teeth, and his canine teeth were in terrible shape, plus he has gingivitis, so it really must hurt for him to eat dry food.  He was very good at the vet’s and let them look at his teeth, something I had tried to do, but failed.  The vet gave me some antibiotics for his bleeding gums and told me that they will do his dental work after the thyroid test. 

Funny, how pets think…on the way there he thought I was returning him to his previous place, and meowed constantly.  As soon as he found out he was coming home with me, he settled down in his carrier.

At Petco, I put Satchmo’s carrier in a cart, and we went to visit Miss Priss in the SPCA habitat.  She was doing great in there with Arty, and as it happened Kenya was there, so she saw Satchmo.  She was glad that I had found him, as she had been trying to find me an old cat, but all the SPCA ones were at most 7 years old. 

I have been feeding Satchmo three canned or home-cooked meals a day, but he still wants dry food, too.  After seeing how sore his gums are, I have started soaking his dry food just like I have to do for poor old toothless Misty.  If those two got in a fight, which they won’t,  they would be in bad shape, especially as Satchmo was declawed on all four corners!  Misty was very glad to see Satchmo in his carrier being brought in and put on the living room floor, and danced around it, tail a ’wagging.  Even though, back to normal, they ignored each other as soon as he was let out of his carrier.

The free check-up covers his teeth, but not his thyroid test, so Satchmo and I have an appointment to have that done at my vet on Monday.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Banded Cotinga. Bird-Friendly Farms. Chickadees. ‘Saved by the Birds’. Eagle Crossing. Moorhen’s Return. Brit Bird’s New Diet. Happy Emmett. BirdNote: Coots, Bluebirds, and Crows ... Bats Live Long. Andersonville. Leaning Tower of Pisa.


For “Winged Wednesday”:

Banded Cotinga

Banded Cotinga by Ciro Albano

“The male Banded Cotinga is a strikingly beautiful bird, with bright blue plumage set off by a vivid purple throat and belly divided by a blue breast-band, set off by black mottling on the back with black wings and tail. The more low-key female is mottled dusky brown and white. Males also have specially modified primaries (the biggest flight feathers) that produce a whirring sound as the bird displays.

These are treetop birds that live high in the forest canopy, where they feed on mainly on fruit, sometimes supplemented by seeds and insects.

The biggest threat to the Banded Cotinga is habitat loss; extensive, continuing deforestation within its range has restricted populations to a few protected areas, including the Stresemann’s Bristlefront Reserve, managed by ABC’s partner Fundação Biodiversitas. These birds have been collected for their feathers by local indigenous people, and capture for the cage-bird trade has also posed a threat.

Recommended conservation measures that will benefit this lovely species include surveying areas of suitable habitat within its range to locate further populations, continuing protection of known territories, and reforesting adjacent areas with native trees. ABC continues to work with Biodiversitas to protect this beautiful bird and its Atlantic Forest habitat.  Check out a YouTube video by Ciro Albano!”

Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!

Photo: Ciro Albano; Range Map, NatureServe


Bird-friendly Farms Catching On in California

Migrating cranes in a field in Staten Island, California.

A pair of sandhill cranes forage on a farm in Staten Island, California. Photograph courtesy Cynthia Tapley, The Nature Conservancy

“Migratory birds find refuge on farms as part of conservation plan.  On a recent bright afternoon in late January, scattered flocks of geese, sandhill cranes, and other birds foraged for food in cornfields on Staten Island in California's Central Valley.

"Some farmers, if they had this concentration of geese, will put out the shotguns and use the sound to distract them," said Brent Tadman, who manages the 9,200-acre (3,700-hectare) Conservation Farms and Ranches on the island.

But birds on Staten Island are allowed to forage in peace, because this is no ordinary farm. Located about 80 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Staten Island was purchased by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in 2002 in order to create a place where agriculture and conservation can coexist. (Related: "'Walking Wetlands' Help Declining Birds, Boost Crops.")

TNC hopes bird-friendly practices developed and tested on Staten Island will set an example for other farmers for how they can keep their land productive and profitable—while creating habitat for birds traveling along the Pacific Flyway, one of four primary migratory routes in North America.”  More at:


How Chickadees Weather Winter

Black-capped chickadeeThe little black-capped birds that visit your yard during the cold months have evolved some remarkable adaptations to help them survive even the most frigid conditions.

“IF YOU LIVE in the northern half of the country, the odds are good that a black-capped chickadee will visit your property this winter. The most widespread of North America’s seven species of chickadees, it also is one of the most commonly seen backyard birds, particularly during the cold months when most other featured creatures have flown south.

For years, scientists have been intrigued by the ability of these tiny imps to survive—and thrive—during even the most frigid days. As a result, today biologists have a clear understanding of many of the species’ survival techniques, which likely are employed by the other members of the chickadee clan.

“Black-capped chickadees have a wonderful assortment of adaptations for the winter,” says biologist Susan M. Smith, who has studied the birds’ biology and behavior for more than a quarter century at Cornell University and Mount Holyoke College. “Carefully hidden food items, dense winter coats, specially selected winter roost cavities and, perhaps most remarkable of all, the ability to go into nightly hypothermia, thus conserving large amounts of energy, greatly increase the chances of survival.””  More at:


Montana woman is ‘Saved by the Birds’ after seeing a floating eared grebe


“Somewhere there may be a touch of irony in the fact that the bird Helen Carlson credits with saving her life will go 9 to 10 months at a time without ever flying once.

It was May 5, 1967, when Carlson – who now lives in Billings – sat down next to an unnamed body of water and noticed a bird swimming by.  “What is that?” she asked a woman nearby. 

imagesCAS2NXE2 An eared grebe, Carlson was told. Curious, she bought a book about birds the next day.  And a pair of binoculars.

“I’ve never stopped using either one,” Carlson says in “Saved by the Birds,” a 7-minute short in the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.  On the day she noticed the eared grebe, Carlson says, she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  “I had thought many, many, many times about trying to commit suicide,” says Carlson, who lived in Bozeman in 1967.

Why she was thinking about killing herself, we never really learn, other than Carlson says she was depressed, felt sorry for herself, and cried all the time.   Birding, she says, gave her a newfound reason to live. In the 45 years since, Carlson has recorded a Montana-record 394 species she’s spied in the state.   When “Saved by the Birds” was made by Damon Ristau last year, Carlson was 90, and still headed out the door every morning at 4 a.m. to document what birds she could find, and where.  More at:


Bald eagle crossing signs up along I-95 as strikes becoming more common

In an attempt to keep motorists from hitting eagles, state officials have set up a variable message sign newly set near mile 242 on Interstate 95 in Medway, seen here on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013.Nick Sambides Jr.

In an attempt to keep motorists from hitting eagles, state officials have set up a variable message sign newly set near mile 242 on Interstate 95 in Medway, seen here on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013.

“The confluence of the Penobscot River, Interstate 95 and Route 11 and the thick woods near them make a seven-mile stretch between Medway and Sherman the deadliest place in all of Maine for the state’s fledgling population of bald eagles, the state’s endangered species biologist says.

The high number of eagles struck by vehicles along I-95 in that area prompted the Maine Department of Transportation about three weeks ago to place large variable-message signs between mile marker 242 in Medway and marker 249 in Sherman warning motorists to avoid eagles they see.”   More at:


Marsh restoration brings long-missing birds, plants home again

gallinule Mike Dee

A threatened species in Michigan, the moorhen has just returned to Lake St. Clair Metropark after a decade-long disappearance. Photo: Mike Dee Photography.

“The restoration of a southeast Michigan marsh has already returned rare plants and birds to a Lake St. Clair park.

Among the birds returning after a nearly decade-long hiatus is the common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus). A dark, duck-like bird with a flamboyant splash of red on its beak, the moorhen is threatened in Michigan.

“This park was always a good stronghold nesting area for moorhens, but over the last eight to 10 years, they declined so horribly that I didn’t even see adults, let alone a nest with babies,” said Julie Champion, eastern district interpretive manager for the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, which includes Lake St. Clair Metropark.

“This past year we had a pair of moorhens and they were calling,” Champion said. “We’re pretty sure that they were a nesting pair because we saw an immature.”  More at:


British birds may be learning to use invasive wasps as key food source, research suggests

Blue tits learn to eat alien wasps

Asexual (autumn) generation gall of the oak marble gall wasp, Andricus kollari, on a native oak tree.

“Biologists have found that blue tits, great tits and other native birds have learnt to peck away the tips of the galls formed by invading oak gall wasps and eat the juicy larvae inside, which are rich in protein. This helps them survive the crucial early spring period, when other food is scarce.

The new food source could help counteract the effects of climate change, which is causing some birds to lay their eggs too early in the year. The young then hatch before their main food - caterpillars that feed on oak leaves - becomes available.

'What is exciting is that we've shown that the gall wasps are a really significant food source, and not just an occasional snack.'”  More at:


Emmett WAS an Unhappy Bird:

“Emmett had a medical condition called papillomatosis, which is a contagious viral form of avian (bird) warts that can affect the entire digestive tract of a bird. He had them in his mouth, presumably down his throat, and all the way to his vent. These limit his ability to eat and can turn cancerous. The only thing that can be done with traditional medicine is antibiotics given when infections set in.
An alternative medical option is being done, with Copaiba & Frankincense essential oil to see if they will disappear. After that treatment, I was able to capture an immediate response from a depressed bird, when spritzed with "happy oils" of lemon and orange and calming oil of lavender for the first time!”



BirdNote Weekly Preview: Coots, Bluebirds, and Crows ...

Upcoming Shows


American Coot

SUNDAY American Coot by Frances Wood LISTEN NOW


Western Bluebird

MONDAY Nest Cavities - Book Early by Bob Sundstrom LISTEN NOW


Eastern Bluebirds

TUESDAY Rita Shultz - Friend to Bluebirds by Ellen Blackstone LISTEN NOW


Sage Sparrow

WEDNESDAY Sage Sparrows Return by Bob Sundstrom LISTEN NOW

Kirtland's Warbler

THURSDAY Birds and Climate Change - Places for Birds to Go by Gordon Orians LISTEN NOW


Willow Flycatcher

FRIDAY Voices and Vocabularies - The Basics by Bob Sundstrom LISTEN NOW ►


American Crow

SATURDAY Crows Recognize Individual Faces featuring John Marzluff LISTEN NOW


And other winged ones:

Bats Live Long Healthy Lives… and Now We Know Why


“A study published recently in Science Magazine provides fascinating insight into why the much-maligned bat lives such a long and disease-free life.

The genes of two species of bats were examined by a group of scientists called the “Bat Pack.” The researchers discovered the bats are missing a gene segment that triggers an overwhelming immune response to infection – a response that can be life threatening.  Researchers also learned the bats have an extra large number of DNA repair genes that also play a role in preventing disease.”  Complete article at:


On This Day:

Federal prisoners begin arriving at Andersonville, Feb 27, 1864:

“On this day in 1864, the first Union inmates begin arriving at Andersonville prison, which was still under construction in southern Georgia. Andersonville became synonymous with death as nearly a quarter of its inmates died in captivity. Henry Wirz, who ran Andersonville, was executed after the war for the brutality and mistreatment committed under his command.

The prison, officially called Camp Sumter, became necessary after the prisoner exchange system between North and South collapsed in 1863 over disagreements about the handling of black soldiers. The stockade at Andersonville was hastily constructed using slave labor, and was located in the Georgia woods near a railroad but safely away from the front lines. Enclosing 16 acres of land, the prison was supposed to include wooden barracks but the inflated price of lumber delayed construction, and the Yankee soldiers imprisoned there lived under open skies, protected only by makeshift shanties called "shebangs," constructed from scraps of wood and blankets. A stream initially provided fresh water, but within a few months human waste had contaminated the creek.

Andersonville was built to hold 10,000 men, but within six months more than three times that number were incarcerated there. The creek banks eroded to create a swamp, which occupied a significant portion of the compound. Rations were inadequate, and at times half of the population was reported ill. Some guards brutalized the inmates and there was violence between factions of prisoners.

Andersonville was the worst among many terrible Civil War prisons, both Union and Confederate. Wirz paid the price for the inhumanity of Andersonville; he was executed in the aftermath of the Civil War.”


Leaning Tower needs help, Feb 27, 1964:

“On February 27, 1964, the Italian government announces that it is accepting suggestions on how to save the renowned Leaning Tower of Pisa from collapse. The top of the 180-foot tower was hanging 17 feet south of the base, and studies showed that the tilt was increasing by a fraction every year. Experts warned that the medieval building--one of Italy's top tourist attractions--was in serious danger of toppling in an earthquake or storm. Proposals to save the Leaning Tower arrived in Pisa from all over the world, but it was not until 1999 that successful restorative work began……

……Finally, in 1999, engineers began a process of soil extraction under the north side that within a few months was showing positive effects. The soil was removed at a very slow pace, no more than a gallon or two a day, and a massive cable harness held the tower in the event of a sudden destabilization. Within six months, the tilt had been reduced by over an inch, and by the end of 2000, nearly a foot. The tower was reopened to the public in December 2001, after a foot-and-a-half reduction had been achieved. It is thought that those 18 inches will give another 300 years of life to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.”  More at:



Misty and I wore our long warm coats when we went to pick up Jay, the strong winds were cold.

Ray was going to cut a piece of fiberglass and some carpet on the table outside the workshop, but the north winds were whistling through there, so he worked on the van until Misty and I returned with Jay. 

That took longer than usual, as Jay had me drive over to one of his jobs here in the subdivision where he loaded up a bunch of landscape timbers in the Puddle Jumper.  Misty gets used to her little station wagon being used as a truck!  We transferred them into the van, as it is street legal, and took them to a storage unit that his boss had rented.  Jay is going to build a lumber rack out of them for his boss.

Then, the sun came around, and the wind died down, so we were able to get the fiberglass and carpet cut.  The fiberglass was for a backsplash in the cargo trailer, and the carpet was new remnants to put in the back of the Puddle Jumper and the van, to protect the original carpets.  They both get used for hauling stuff.  If I didn’t haul so much junk stuff, I would still be driving the lovely white Cadillac that I inherited!  The day that I had to go buy several lengths of sewer pipe in it, and had to drive with them sticking out of the front passenger window, that was enough driving cars for me.

While we were all here, Jay, Ray and I, we moved the washing machine out on the hand truck, and loaded it into my van to take to the repair shop.  That is why I wanted the carpet in the van. 

Ray and I fixed a couple of plumbing problems that cropped up un-expectantly, while Jay took down some more of the garage wall panel down, so that we can access the existing 220v. wire for the new heater. 

Then it was time to call it a day.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Matagorda, TX. Half Moon Reef. Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse. Matagorda Bay. World Trade Center. Prissy At Habitat.


For “Travel Tuesday”, let's go to Matagorda.

#Region.R_Description#Which is in the Texas Gulf Coast region.  “Home to some of the best beaches in America, the Texas Gulf Coast region draws millions of visitors to this Texas playground. Stretching some 350 miles from South Padre Island & the Rio Grande Valley, all the way to Beaumont & the Louisiana border, this region is renowned for its wildlife & natural beauty, as well as the home of America's space program. Discover the Beaches of the Texas Gulf Coast Region.”

Matagorda County, Texas

Family fun at the beach

“Whether your vacation plans include non-stop activities and fun or you prefer a place to unwind and relax, Matagorda County is your perfect destination.

Situated where the Colorado River empties into the Gulf of Mexico, Matagorda County is home to miles of glistening, sandy beaches, pristine waters, world-class fishing, and diverse wildlife. In fact, if you like being in and around the water, you may never run out of things to do. From sailing in the Gulf, canoeing down the Colorado, to fresh and saltwater fishing, swimming and surfing, you won't find a better place for family fun.

Matagorda County is known as the "Birding Capital of North America." With over 300 different feathered species- including migrating and resident songbirds, shorebirds and waterfowl-bird lovers come from all over the country to look for their favorites or to spot an elusive rare bird. Matagorda's Mad Island Marsh was selected by the Audubon Society for their prestigious annual Christmas Bird Count and has been a repeat winner over the last 15 years.

Downtown Matagorda County

Matagorda County is more than just nature, though. It's dotted with seaside villages and historic towns, each with its own story and ambience - pure, small-town Texas with big city amenities. You can shop till you drop for unique gifts, clothing, books, art and antiques. When you're ready for dinner, the hardest part will be deciding which top-notch restaurant to choose. Not surprisingly, you will find locally-caught seafood on almost every menu. Authentic Tex-Mex is another regional specialty.

Located just 60 miles southwest of Houston, and a short drive from Austin and San Antonio, it's no wonder the Houston Press named Matagorda County the "Best Weekend Getaway".

Wherever you go in Matagorda County, and whatever adventure you choose, you'll encounter nature at its best and Texas hospitality at its warmest.”


Top 10 Things to Do and See

“Whether your ideal vacation means getting close to nature, great shopping or just relaxing on the beach, Matagorda County offers many activities for the whole family.

1. Spend a day at the Matagorda Bay Nature Park. This 1,600-acre nature preserve sits along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and the Colorado River. The park offers miles of pristine beaches, gulf and river fishing from public piers, guided nature trails and prime birding opportunities. For general park information, call 1-800-776-5272, ext. 4740.

Matagorda County is known as the Birding Capital of North America

Matagorda County is known as the Birding Capital of North America

2. Passionate about birds and conservation? Hike along the Great Texas Birding Trail. The trail provides many observation sites to view diverse bird populations and their nesting areas, feeding grounds and migratory paths. Detailed Birding Trail maps are provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife. You can also find birding maps at the Matagorda Birding and Nature Center.

3. Shop Bay City's Market Day, around the downtown Courthouse Square, on the 3rd Saturday of every month from March through December. Featuring over 100 vendors, you'll find handmade crafts and jewelry, antiques, and hand-crafted edibles such as cinnamon-roasted pecans, pickles and salsas.

4. Go Fish! With over 50 miles of shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and hundreds of miles of waterfront along creeks, rivers and bays, Matagorda is a fisherman's paradise. Cast your line from the beach or wade in to catch redfish and trout, plentiful year-round. Other in-shore species include catfish, mullet, black drum, snook and whiting. If deep-sea fishing is your passion, fish the Gulf for grouper, red snapper, amberjack, kingfish and shark.

5. Golfers of all levels will find a challenging course at the Rio Colorado Golf Course. Rio is an 18-hole public course featuring a championship layout built along the Colorado River. Golfers can also sharpen their game at the Palacios Golf Course, a 9-hole public facility. For more information and reservations, call the Rio Colorado Golf Course at (979) 244-2955. Call the Palacios Golf Course at (361) 972-5947.

6. For a relaxing day of shopping, Matagorda County offers a great selection of stores. Hot-spots include Palacios' Main Street, Bay City's Historic Downtown Square and the village of Matagorda.

imagesCAF2D04D 7. Take a cruise on R.V. Karma and learn about the exciting natural world around you. The Karma is a 57-foot teaching and research vessel, offering students of all ages a rare opportunity to explore the Gulf Coast's natural environment. Public cruises are offered on the first Saturday of each month. Call 361-825-3460 for more information and reservations.


imagesCAYPRZSW 8. Paddle a kayak down the Colorado River or weave through the saltwater marshes along the Gulf. Whichever path you choose, you'll enjoy a relaxing way to experience the water and its surrounding wildlife.

9. The past comes alive at the Matagorda County Museum. Exhibits include artifacts from the Karankawa Indians, cannon from 17th-century French explorer LaSalle's ship La Belle and more. The Children's Museum on the lower level features a recreation of an early 20th-century Texas town where kids can "shop" at an old-fashioned general store, dress up in period costume, and interact with the past.

10. Take in one of the many fun festivals that attract both locals and visitors: the Matagorda County Fair and Livestock Show, Palacios Carnival, Bay City Rice Festival and many more all year long.”


Restoration of Halfmoon Reef in Matagorda Bay, Texas

“In the 19th and much of the 20th centuries, Halfmoon Reef was a major feature in Matagorda Bay, providing a rich supply of commercially harvested oysters and habitat to a wide range of estuarine life. It was also a factor in navigation. Just 13 years after Texas had joined the Union in 1845, a major lighthouse was erected by the US Government to mark the Reef.

Matagorda Bay has undergone many changes since Civil War times, including diverted river inflows, changes in the watershed and flow regulation, navigation channels, and perhaps the most significant, dredging of oyster shell for construction materials. Late in the 20th century Halfmoon Reef had essentially ceased to exist, although there is still an Aid to Navigation marking the location where the original pre-Civil War lighthouse once stood.

imagesCALFKET0 The Nature Conservancy has major restoration programs in many parts of the world. They have found that as much as 85% of the world’s oyster reefs have been completely lost and that oyster reefs are even more endangered than seagrasses, coral reefs and mangroves. Working with state resource agencies, The Nature Conservancy identified Halfmoon Reef as a prime candidate for restoration.”


Half Moon Reef.

Restoring oyster reefs can restore the delicate balance of nature in the Gulf of Mexico.

Boat at Half Moon Reef Boat and device used to measure hydrologic cycles in an oyster reef restoration area. Courtesy of Mark Dumesnil

    Half Moon Reef Spat cage.

    “While oysters are one of the most delicious bivalves around, they are, more importantly, the unsung heroes of the Gulf of Mexico. They play a vital role in protecting our shorelines and the health of our oceans, and contribute tremendously to the economic vitality of the five states whose future is intertwined with that of the Gulf: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. That’s why in the spring of 2013, The Nature Conservancy will be working to restore Half Moon Reef, a once-massive underwater oyster colony in the heart of Matagorda Bay, which is one of the most productive fisheries for blue crabs, oysters and shrimp in Texas.

    One thing is certain: Keeping the Gulf healthy is paramount for both nature and people. The Lone Star State has more than 3,000 shoreline miles of Gulf Coast bays, lagoons and estuaries, and nearly one-quarter of Texas’ population lives along the Gulf Coast. Literally millions of people across the state and around the country rely on the Gulf of Mexico.    Consider this:

    • The Gulf supports one of the country's largest recreation and tourism industries—to the tune of $20 billion a year and more than 600,000 jobs.
    • It produces 90 percent of the nation’s offshore oil and natural gas production and supports more than 55,000 U.S. petroleum workers.
    • It produces more than a third of the seafood Americans eat, including more than 80 percent of our shrimp and 60 percent of our oysters.
    • The Gulf is one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world.

    Moreover, the Texas coast provides critical stopover and nesting sites for threatened and endangered birds, sand dunes where endangered sea turtles nest and some of the most important fish and shellfish nursery habitat in the Gulf.”  More at:


    Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse

    “The Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse still welcomes visitors to Port Lavaca. However, having been moved ashore from its perch above the waters of Matagorda Bay, it now performs that function for travelers entering Port Lavaca from the east on Highway 35, rather than for mariners arriving from the gulf.

    Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse

    After Matagorda Island Lighthouse began guiding traffic into Matagorda Bay in 1852, requests were made for additional lights to mark channels and obstacles in the bay itself. Complying with the demands, the Lighthouse Board successfully petitioned Congress in 1854 for funds to construct a light on the southern tip of Halfmoon Reef, a shoal on the eastern side of Matagorda Bay. Two years passed before the plans, which called for the construction of a screwpile lighthouse, were finalized. The lighthouse would consist of a wooden, hexagonal structure, sixteen feet on a side, surmounted by a lantern room and supported by seven, twenty-five-foot iron piles. On one end, the piles had threads, two feet in diameter, which facilitated screwing the piles into the shoal to a depth of nine feet.

    The piles arrived at Matagorda Bay early in 1858, having been shipped to Galveston from Baltimore aboard the same vessel that carried the cast iron extensions for the Matagorda and Bolivar Point Lighthouses. The Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse was completed by July 1, when it began operation. A fixed, white light produced by a sixth-order Fresnel lens shone from the lantern room. However, mariners claimed that as they sailed in the gulf along the Matagorda Peninsula dunes would periodically obscure Halfmoon Reef Light, creating a flashing signature like that of the nearby Matagorda Island Lighthouse. To eliminate the confusion, a ruby red glass chimney was used in the oil lamp, changing the characteristic of Halfmoon Reef Light to red.

    The station’s light was extinguished during the Civil War, but unlike other Texas lighthouses, Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse was not dismantled or damaged during the conflict. Although the war ended in 1865, the lighthouse did not return to service until February 20, 1868. The reestablishment of coastal lights and those marking major ports took precedence over bay lights.

    Surrounded by water, the lighthouse was an isolated island for its keepers. Perhaps that was why twice the lighthouse had the unique distinction of having a keeper and an assistant who were husband and wife. A few children were raised at the lighthouse, but the fear of having a child unknowingly fall into the water, prompted several wives to keep a residence on land. One keeper, Stephen Hill, had a daughter named Sadie who was prone to sleepwalking. After Sadie had been discovered taking a nighttime stroll dangerously near the edge of the lighthouse, her parents decided that something had to be done. Their solution was to tie a string between Sadie’s big toe and her sister’s big toe each night before retiring. The string brought an end to Sadie’s nocturnal adventures, though probably at the expense of several sound nights of sleep for her sister.

    Visitors at Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse

    Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse suffered little damaged in the 1875 hurricane that devastated Indianola and destroyed the East Shoal and West Shoal screwpile lighthouses at the entrance to Pass Cavallo, killing all four of their keepers. The hurricane of 1886 caused moderate damage to the lighthouse, and as traffic in Matagorda Bay had declined, the Lighthouse Board decided to discontinue the light, rather than make the necessary repairs. Fortunately, the lighthouse was retained as a daymark, for when vessel traffic to and from Port Lavaca experienced an increase around the turn of the century, the light was returned to service in 1902, but before this could be done extensive renovations were necessary. All the metalwork was scaled and painted. All the woodwork was renewed. A new galvanized iron roof was put on the lighthouse. An oil room with a brick floor was built along with a storeroom and coal room, and a new landing ladder was put up. A fixed, fourth-order lens was used to produce a red light that went into service on September 15, 1902. A few years later, the lens was replaced by a more modest lens lantern just a few years later.

    In 1911, a schooner arrived at the lighthouse loaded with construction materials. Over the next several days, a work crew lived aboard the schooner while they added a roof with a steeper pitch to the lighthouse. This modification, carried out to address persistent leaks reported at the station, can be noted by comparing the top two historical pictures at right.

    The following story, entitled “Disappearance of Keeper of Lighthouse on Half Moon Reef in Bay Mystifies Texans,” appeared in the December 27, 1934 edition of the Daily Tribune.

    PALACIOS, Dec. 27.—A baffling mystery of the sea Wednesday night confronted officers of this Gulf coast town as they searched for H. O. Welch, 36, keeper of the light on forlorn Half Moon Reef—a desolate rocky place in the bay.

    Welch was last seen when boatmen took him to the crescent-shaped reef on Friday, December 13. That night he made his last entry in the lighthouse log. It read:

    “Lamp lighted at 6 p. m. All is well.”

    Three days later when the alternate lightkeeper went to relieve Welch the beacon was darkened and there was no trace of Welch on the barren reef.

    The missing lightkeeper’s watch, money and personal effects were inside the lighthouse. Apparently, investigators said, Welch had prepared for bed but did not retire for the bed bore no evidence of having been in use.

    The beacon light had consumed the oil and wick and was extinguished when relief reached the reef. Authorities said the light was an old fashioned type that burned for 24 hours without refilling.

    Half Moon Reef is two miles from the mainland and a strong undertow swirls around the bay, desolate spot. Because of the undertow, officers said, it would have been practically impossible for Welch to swim to the mainland if he had sought to do so. Welch was marooned on the reef without a boat. Coast guardsman and aviators Wednesday searched for marsh-like mainland for miles in quest of the missing lightkeeper.

    Earl R. Allen of Palacios, brother of the missing man and other relatives have kept a vigil along the shore for the lightkeeper.

    “I can’t understand it,” Allen told friends. “He seems to have just vanished from the reef.”

    A follow-up story, printed two days later, announced that the keeper's body had washed ashore near Port O'Connor, twelve miles from Halfmoon Reef. Authorities ruled it an accidental death, believing Welch must have fallen from the lighthouse and drowned.

    Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse on land

    In 1935, the position of assistant keeper was eliminated and not longer thereafter an eight-day lantern was installed in the lighthouse, permitting the remaining keeper, Mike Nelson, to live ashore. Besides calling at the lighthouse once a week or so, the keeper was given the additional responsibility for several other lighted beacons on the bay.

    Given its exposed location, the lighthouse managed to weather several violent storms remarkably well. However, in 1942, its luck changed, when a hurricane tore the walkway from the lighthouse and left it sagging on its pilings. The Coast Guard decided to sell the structure rather than repair it. Bill Bauer and Henry Smith purchased the lighthouse, which they planned to use as quarters for the night watchman at their Point Comfort dredging business. Bill Bauer frequently visited the lighthouse as a boy with his father, who would transport shellfish harvested by local fishermen from the station to shore.

    Aboard a 124-foot barge with a lifting crane and 34-foot steel beams, Henry Smith and a work crew set out to retrieve the lighthouse. As they were preparing the lighthouse for the move, military personnel arrived in a motorboat and ordered them to leave the area before the planned bombing practice set to begin in a half hour. The movers, however, were not willing to leave the lighthouse, and the bombing had to be delayed while the structure was salvaged.

    In the early 1960s, Pat Riojas II was a truck driver for Bauer Dredging, and he and his family actually lived in the lighthouse, located just inside the Bauer fence line.

    In 1978, thirty-six years after purchasing the lighthouse, Bauer donated it to the Calhoun County Historical Commission for use as a museum and supplied a sizable trust fund for maintaining the structure. The lighthouse was transported across the Matagorda Causeway, and then restored the following year as an Eagle Scout service project. In 1985, the lighthouse was placed atop its present piers, the encompassing porch was added, three flag poles were erected, and a Texas Historical Marker was unveiled at the site by Mr. and Mrs. Bauer, the generous donors of the lighthouse and the namesakes of the nearby community center. Today, the lighthouse sits alongside Highway 35, adjacent to Port Lavaca's Bauer Community Center.” From:


    Sand, Sun and Adventure at Matagorda Bay Nature Park, Texas

    “A special place awaits you where the lower Colorado River meets the Gulf of Mexico. Matagorda Bay Nature Park, Texas, is a great place to relax at the beach and explore hundreds of acres of coastal marshes and dunes. It is also one of the best birding sites in the nation.
    The 1,600-acre park is a unique, environmentally significant property being carefully preserved and developed by LCRA, a conservation and reclamation district created by the Texas Legislature.
    What's there to see and do? Play in the warm waters of the gulf, hunt seashells along 22 miles of beach, go fishing, or visit the natural science center. Three piers extend over the river channel and a fourth pier extends over the Gulf of Mexico.
    Tent camping is allowed on the beach and an RV park is on the river channel.”


    On This Day:

    World Trade Center bombed, Feb 26, 1993:

    “At 12:18 p.m., a terrorist bomb explodes in a parking garage of the World Trade Center in New York City, leaving a crater 60 feet wide and causing the collapse of several steel-reinforced concrete floors in the vicinity of the blast. Although the terrorist bomb failed to critically damage the main structure of the skyscrapers, six people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured. The World Trade Center itself suffered more than $500 million in damage. After the attack, authorities evacuated 50,000 people from the buildings, hundreds of whom were suffering from smoke inhalation. The evacuation lasted the whole afternoon.

    An informant later identified a group of Serbians in New York as the culprits. However, when the FBI conducted surveillance of the gang they found not terrorists but jewel thieves, putting an end to a major diamond-laundering operation.

    Fortunately, investigators at the bomb scene found a section of a van frame that had been at the center of the blast. The van's vehicle identification number was still visible, leading detectives to the Ryder Rental Agency in Jersey City, New Jersey. Their records indicated that Mohammed Salameh had rented the van and reported it stolen on February 25.

    Salameh was already in the FBI's database as a potential terrorist, so agents knew that they had probably found their man. Salameh compounded his mistake by insisting that Ryder return his $400 deposit. When he returned to collect it, the FBI arrested him. A search of his home and records led to two other suspects.”



    Misty and I went to get Jay, and we had our walk down there.  Jay joined us with Maddie, so both dogs enjoyed sniffing around, and had the company of a pug who was wandering around.  Then it started to rain, so the pug ran home, and we came up here.

    Jay and I started to take the plywood panel down in the garage which backs onto the south end of living room where the 220v. is.  We are going to have to tie into that 220v when the new cat's pawheater arrives.  Unfortunately, the contractors had installed that plywood with a nail gun, so it was difficult to remove, even with a '”cat’s paw”.

    Then Jay’s boss came to pick Jay up, so that didn’t get finished.

    Prissy-Arty-in-habitat.2013-02-25Later, Chris, another SPCA volunteer called to say that Arlo had been adopted out of our cat habitat at Petco, and asked if I want Miss Priss to go spend some time in the habitat with Arlo’s brother, Arty.  So I put Miss Priss in her carrier and off we went with Chris. 

    Miss-Priss and-Arty-habitat-2013-02-25 It was Chris’ turn to care for the habitat, so I put Prissy in with Art, while we were tending the habitat.  If they had shown any animosity, I would be bringing Miss Priss home. But they got along great.  When Arlo was here, he was in Miss Priss’ territory, and she domineered him.   I am sure she knows that she was in Arty’s territory now, so she won’t have that attitude. This picture is just one quarter of her temporary home, she and Arty have the run of three more sections, and they chased back and forth having a great old time.

    This is bittersweet for me, as I know she will probably be adopted from there, so it was her last time here at home yesterday.

    Monday, February 25, 2013

    World Spay Day. Run for the Wild. Abandoned Kittens. Omega-3 Fats Essential. Povidone Iodine. Ditched! Jade and Pistol Graduate. Bison Homecoming, Then Fire! Miami Drive-in.


    For “Mammal Monday”:

    World Spay Day

    “World Spay Day is February 26, 2013. On that day, and throughout February, Spay/Neuter Awareness Month, organizations and individuals worldwide will promote spay/neuter as a way to save lives.

    Join us! There are countless ways to get involved – from hosting a spay/neuter event, leafleting in your community, passing a resolution or having your own pet spayed or neutered.

    Don’t wait - visit the “Participate” tab above to get started! And check out the photos below to view events from around the world.”  More at: 

    “Why spaying and neutering your pets will reduce the number of strays, feral cats, and street dogs who face dying in shelters or on the street.”  More at:


    Registration is Open

    A Wild Success

    “Now in its fifth year, our annual WCS Run for the Wild is set for Saturday, April 27. Sign up now to guarantee your place at the starting line and get a jump on raising funds for elephants. As always, your registration includes:
    • Free all-day access to the Bronx Zoo for all participants
    • Staggered starts for runners and walkers/ families
    • Free t-shirt for participating children
    • A host of great prizes for fundraisers of all levels, and more!”  Register Now


    Abandoned Kittens Rescued and Adopted by Once Homeless Dog

    “A litter of kittens were rescued by a once homeless dog who found them inside a box atop a trash heap,  “He gently tore the box apart, and then carried the kittens—one by one—back to his human’s home,” reported Pawnation.

    Little abandoned kittens rescued by a once homeless dog, Banzé.

    The dog named Banzé (or “Scamp”) is also a rescue from the streets. “So when he heard the plaintive mews of an abandoned litter of kittens, he didn’t hesitate to save them, as he had once been saved.  He brought them home one by one from the trash heap and started caring for them.”  Pictures and more at:


    Fail to Give this Fat to Your Pets and You are Asking for Trouble

    “Contrary to popular belief, not all dietary fats cause obesity in your pet. Just as in humans, the “good” fats (omega-3 fats) enhance energy production in your dog or cat, so they actually create less fat.

    Because most pets consume an abundance of high carbohydrate, empty calorie dry foods (kibble), the pet obesity issue is quickly rivaling the human obesity epidemic.

    Your dog or cat has a fundamental dietary requirement for certain fatty acids that it cannot produce on its own. These fats can only come from the food you feed your pet, thus the term essential.  Omega-3 fats have tremendous potential to positively impact your pet’s health.

    Omega-3’s encourage the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, compounds that help regulate inflammation, immune system response and blood clotting activity in your dog or cat.

    They help to reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis (including rheumatoid arthritis) and conditions of the bowel such as ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease.

    Research indicates omega-3 fats may also prevent pet heart problems like arrhythmia and high blood pressure, as well as decrease triglyceride and blood cholesterol levels.

    Omega-3 fats are also being researched for their potential to slow the development and spread of certain cancers in pets, as well as for their ability to prevent or alleviate auto-immune disorders, allergies, and some skin conditions.”  More at:


    This Simple Home Remedy Cures Most Canine Skin Issues - No Drugs Needed...


    “Your dog's skin abrasions, cuts, hot spots and minor infections can be safely and easily treated at home.   The two keys to treating skin infections: keep the area clean and disinfect twice a day with a diluted povidone iodine solution.

    Keeping on top of your dog's skin infections will help them heal quickly and prevent the need for antibiotics.”  More at:



    “The Shelter Pet Project is a public service ad campaign focused on spreading the word that pets in shelters are wonderful and lovable, and encouraging potential adopters to consider the shelter as the first place to find a new best friend. Visit  to search for available shelter pets in your area and learn more about shelter pet adoption.”


    Jade and Pistol Graduate.

    Jade’s former service dog Katie developed bone cancer and had to be put to sleep in November of 2011, right around the time Jade was due to graduate from college. Jade had hoped to walk across the graduation stage with Katie, without whom it would be nearly impossible to stand.
A week after putting Katie to sleep, Jade said that life without a Dane was not an option, and appeared at the Service Dog Project’s farm with her mother. They were both determined to find another match for Jade. SDP accepted the challenge - Jade had only a week before flying back to college for graduation, and she hoped to walk across the stage with her new dog in front of 3000 people.
The only dog that was anywhere near trained enough at SDP was a breeding female house dog named Pistol. SDP put Pistol through the ADI public access test immediately with no problem, and Jade and Pistol bonded right away. Here is Jade’s account of her college graduation with Pistol:
“Pistol could not have done better at graduation! We made it up and down the stage slowly but surely without any issue. There were over 3000 people there and everyone there cheered for us. The announcer even announced her name with mine as we walked across the stage. On the way out we went down a long hall lined with 100 faculty members cheering and ringing cowbells. She was again unfazed - that may have been the most impressive part.”

    “Jade’s former service dog Katie developed bone cancer and had to be put to sleep in November of 2011, right around the time Jade was due to graduate from college. Jade had hoped to walk across the graduation stage with Katie, without whom it would be nearly impossible to stand.

    A week after putting Katie to sleep, Jade said that life without a Dane was not an option, and appeared at the Service Dog Project’s farm with her mother. They were both determined to find another match for Jade. SDP accepted the challenge - Jade had only a week before flying back to college for graduation, and she hoped to walk across the stage with her new dog in front of 3000 people.

    The only dog that was anywhere near trained enough at SDP was a breeding female house dog named Pistol. SDP put Pistol through the ADI public access test immediately with no problem, and Jade and Pistol bonded right away. Here is Jade’s account of her college graduation with Pistol:

    “Pistol could not have done better at graduation! We made it up and down the stage slowly but surely without any issue. There were over 3000 people there and everyone there cheered for us. The announcer even announced her name with mine as we walked across the stage. On the way out we went down a long hall lined with 100 faculty members cheering and ringing cowbells. She was again unfazed - that may have been the most impressive part.” From:


    Bison Homecoming

    A long effort by American Indians and conservationists brings genetically pure bison to the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana

    “THE BISON ARRIVED AFTER DARK on this blustery late-winter night at the Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana, a road-weary herd of stubborn survivors and promising pioneers.

    imagesCAYXVU43 With the clang of a gate and the rumble of hooves on prairie grassland, 61 genetically pure Bison bison completed a long-awaited return to the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes. By the light of a semi-circle of motor-vehicle headlights, a welcoming committee of Fort Peck tribal officials and members watched with wonder as the massive bison thundered from cattle trailers towed by pickup trucks. Robert Magnan, Fish and Game Department director for the Fort Peck tribes, coaxed a few reluctant bulls into the large holding facility bordered by 8-foot-high, bison-proof fences. “Go on,” he told the bison wavering in the back of a trailer. “You’re home.””  More at:


    Devastating Fire at Fort Peck Leaves 10 Bison Dead

    Herding up

    “Nearly all of that rolling grassland burned in a tragic fire last week, leaving 10 dead bison in its wake.”




    The new herd of Yellowstone bison at Fort Peck began with the arrival of 61 bison in March and the birth of 21 calves this spring. In July, all 82 bison were released from a temporary enclosure into a 2,100-acre pasture. Fort Peck has plans to open an additional 5,000 acres for the bison this fall where the herd could eventually grow into the hundreds. About half of the bison will be given to the Fort Belknap reservation once fencing is completed there.   More at:


    On This Day:

    Miami drive-in debuts, Feb 25, 1938:

    “American drive-in movie theaters experienced their golden era during the 1950s, but some Floridians were watching movies under the stars in their cars even before then: The city of Miami gets its first drive-in on this day in 1938. The Miami drive-in charged admission of 35 cents per person, which was more than the average ticket price at an indoor theater, and soon had to trim the price to 25 cents per person.

    America's first-ever drive-in opened near Camden, New Jersey, on June 6, 1933, and was the brainchild of Richard Hollingshead, whose family owned an auto parts company. The inaugural feature was a 1932 film called "Wives Beware," and admission was 25 cents per car and an additional 25 cents per person. The sound for the movies was provided by three large RCA speakers next to the main screen. (The quality of the drive-in experience improved during the 1940s with the advent of the in-car speaker.)

    Following World War II, the popularity of drive-in theaters increased as America's car culture grew. By the early 1950s, there were more than 800 drive-ins across the United States. Although they earned a reputation as "passion pits" for young couples seeking privacy, most drive-in customers were families (parents didn't have to hire babysitters or get dressed up and their children could wear pajamas and sleep in the car) and often featured playgrounds, concession stands and other attractions. Some drive-ins were super-sized, including Detroit's Bel Air Drive-In, built in 1950, which had room for more than 2,000 cars, and Baltimore's Bengies Drive-In, which opened in 1956, and claimed the biggest movie screen in the U.S.: 52 feet high by 100 feet wide. Over the years, attempts were made to develop a daytime screen that would enable drive-ins to show movies before it got dark, but nothing proved successful.

    At their peak in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there were some 4,000 drive-ins across America. However, during the 1970s and 1980s the drive-in industry went into decline and theaters shut down, due to such factors as rising real-estate values (which made selling the land for redevelopment more profitable than continuing to operate it as a drive-in) and the rise of other entertainment options, including video recorders, multiplex theaters and cable television. By 1990, there were around 1,000 U.S. drive-ins. Today, they number less than 400 (states with the most remaining drive-ins include Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York).

    New Jersey has the distinction of being the home of not just the first drive-in but also the first fly-in theater. In June 1948, Ed Brown's Drive-In and Fly-In opened in Wall Township and had space for 500 cars and 25 planes.”



    Because I hadn’t prepared yesterday’s blog, I was behind all day, having to write it in the morning.  Then Jay called, he wanted me to take Misty for her walk down there, so we could talk.  So we went down there about 9.30 AM.  Jay and I sat on his mother’s porch for a long time, talking about his drinking.  He realizes that it is ruining his life, and needs to quit, but just doesn’t know how.   Mind you, he was drinking beer while he was talking!!  He wanted to come up here to work for a while, as he was out of beer.  It would be two hours before he could buy any more, as it was Sunday.  He said that working would keep his mind off it!  The only days that he doesn’t start drinking in the mornings are the days that he knows he will be working here. 

    While Jay was working, I did some laundry in my washing machine which is agitating very slowly these days.  But it spins very well, so I am hoping it is just a worn belt, and not the transmission.  Jay finished vacuuming the Puddle Jumper, washed it, and then vacuumed the van before it was time to drive him home.  He knows that I won’t take him around the corner to the store to get beer, so he sneaks through the woods on his ATV.  I guess he hasn’t had enough yet, even though he is sick and tired of being sick and tired!

    Later in the afternoon he came by with his boss who had just bought a travel trailer.  His boss bought one of the RV stoves that I have for sale.  So something was accomplished yesterday.

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

    Roman Crucifixions. He Who Rules. Relationships. Christ's Second Coming. Andrew Johnson. Prince Charles and Lady Di. Two Antiochs.


    For “Scripture Sunday”:

    Roman Forms of Crucifixion

    “Crucifixion wasn't always carried out the way we've seen it typically depicted in paintings and pictures. In fact, as noted in this chapter, a crucifixion victim likely wasn't nailed through the hands, since their structure cannot support the weight of a human body. Most likely victims were nailed through the wrist or, in some instances, had their arms tied rather than being nailed.

    Nor were victims always crucified on the kind of cross typically shown in depictions of Christ's crucifixion. Note what The Anchor Bible Dictionary says in its article on crucifixion:

    "At times the cross was only one vertical stake. Frequently, however, there was a cross-piece attached either at the top to give the shape of a 'T' ( crux commissa ) or just below the top, as in the form most familiar in Christian symbolism ( crux immissa ). The victims carried the cross or at least a transverse beam ( patibulum ) to the place of execution, where they were stripped and bound or nailed to the beam, raised up, and seated on a sedile or small wooden peg in the upright beam...

    "Executioners could vary the form of punishment, as [Roman historian] Seneca the Younger indicates: 'I see crosses there, not just of one kind but made in many different ways: some have their victims with head down to the ground; some impale their private parts; others stretch out their arms on the [cross-piece]'...

    "In his account of what happened to Jewish refugees from Jerusalem [in the Jewish war of A.D. 67-70], [first-century historian] Josephus also lets us see that there was no fixed pattern for crucifying people. Much depended on the sadistic ingenuity of the moment" (David Noel Freedman, editor-in-chief, 1992, Vol. 1, pp. 1208-1209).

    "The accursed tree"

    The Roman historian Seneca, describing the horror of crucifixion, argued that it would be better to commit suicide than endure such a tortured death. "Can anyone be found who would prefer wasting away in pain dying limb by limb, or letting out his life drop by drop, rather than expiring once for all? Can any man be found willing to be fastened to the accursed tree, long sickly, already deformed, swelling with ugly weals on shoulders and chest, and drawing the breath of life amid long-drawn-out agony? He would have many excuses for dying even before mounting the cross" (ibid., p. 1209).

    Seneca's reference to "the accursed tree" is strongly reminiscent of Peter's words when he speaks of Jesus, "who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24 compare Acts 5:30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. See All...). In some cases crucifixions seem to have been carried out on a literal tree, albeit one that was basically only a trunk from which the branches had been cut away.

    In these crucifixions the condemned victim would be nailed to the upright trunk or would carry his own crossbeam, which would then be fastened to the trunk and him nailed to both. It's possible that the "cross" Jesus carried to His execution, carried part of the time by Simon of Cyrene, was simply a large beam of wood.

    Shape of the cross not spelled out

    The word translated "cross" in the New Testament is the Greek word stauros, which "denotes, primarily, 'an upright pale or stake'" ( Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, "Cross, Crucify").

    "Both the noun and the verb stauroo, 'to fasten to a stake or pale,' are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed 'cross'" (ibid.).

    The Bible contains no specific description of the stauros on which Jesus died. The word stauros was used in nonbiblical writings of the time to refer to pieces of wood of various shapes, with and without crosspieces. If it were important that we know its exact shape, the Gospel writers could have easily provided us that information—yet none of them do. What is important for us to know is the willing sacrifice Jesus made of His own life for our sakes.

    If we don't know whether Jesus was executed on a stake or a cross, or what shape of cross, how did the t-shaped cross come to be the most popular symbol of Christianity?

    Vine's explains: "The shape of the [two-beamed cross] had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt. By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith.

    "In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches...and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau, or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the 'cross' of Christ'" (ibid.).

    Thus we see that the most common symbol of Christ and Christianity was a symbol that long predated Jesus and biblical Christianity.” From:


    File:Justus Lipsius Crux Simplex 1629.jpg

    John 19:30-36 ------------ When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and
    gave up his spirit. 31Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there
    came out blood and water. 35He who saw it has borne witness— his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth— that you also may believe. 36For these things took
    place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: "not one of his bones will be broken.”


    He Who Rules Over Men

    2 Samuel 23:3 “The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.’”

    “David, a man after God’s own heart, recorded these “last words” (2 Samuel 23:1) to teach future leaders how they should rule. Our God is a God of both justice and mercy, and He wants those in leadership positions to judge righteous judgment and to be fair to all. The basis of right leadership is a reverence for the all-powerful God who sets the perfect pattern of leadership. Jesus Christ set the example of service and sacrifice. We, too, are to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). God’s rule is truly for the benefit of those governed.”  From:


    Relationships Blog

    Relationships, Relationships, Relationships

    Life is all about relationships. Life is all about relationships. Life is all about relationships. How can we improve all of the important relationships in our lives?

    On the first day of class, my education professor told us what he believes are essential parts of being a teacher. “Our profession is about three things,” he said as he counted them off with his fingers, “relationships, relationships, relationships.”

    Actually, those three things seem to be what everything is about. Out of my six college classes this semester, four have a direct connection with relationships and the other two have made a brief mention of them. One of my classes even has the purpose of helping college freshmen make new relationships with the students and staff.

    I’m starting to get the idea that college isn’t just about books, labs and studies—it, too, is about relationships.

    Relationships with God

    College is not the only thing about relationships—so is life! And the best way to start looking at relationships is to consider our relationship with God, our Father and Creator.

    God is the Supreme Being in this universe. With a word, He can create stars and planets and galaxies. With a thought, He can create life. With a whisper He can change the earth. He’s just that great. How do you approach a Being with that much power?

    Actually, God has probably already approached you. He may not have talked to you like He talked to His prophets in the Old Testament, but today He talks to us through the Bible—His book on relationships. He has actively inspired the Bible so that we can learn and grow (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

    What does the Bible say about our relationship with God?

    One of the most important aspects of our relationship with God is that we must fear Him. By fear, we don’t mean be terrified of Him. The fear of God is a reverence, a respect based on His power and authority. We are told multiple times in the Bible to fear the Lord (Leviticus 19:32 and 25:17, for example). If we properly fear God, then we will strive to obey Him and do exactly as He says.

    Yet, as great as God is, our thoughts and desires are important to Him. God cares about each of us as individuals—not just one great blob called humanity. In Numbers 12:8 God described His close relationship with Moses. Though we can’t see God face to face, we should all build our relationship with Bible study and prayer. God speaks to us through the Bible, and we can communicate with Him by praying (John 16:23-24).

    Relationships with ourselves

    Do you love yourself? If you answer no, then there could be a problem.

    When Christ gave us the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12), He based it on the fact that we would want the best for ourselves. That was the point behind the Golden Rule—to treat everyone as well as we would want others to treat us.

    We most definitely want to avoid the extreme of pride (Proverbs 6:16-17). However, we shouldn’t see ourselves as worthless either. God created us and gave us the potential to be His children! If we think of ourselves as worthless, we may be questioning the God who made us, and that will affect our relationships with Him and others in a negative way.

    Ask God to help you see yourself from His perspective—as a sinner who needs to change, but also as a potential child of God, greatly blessed by our Creator.

    Relationships with others

    Six of the 10 Commandments deal with our relationships with others. Six of the 10 Commandments deal with our relationships with others. Six of the 10 Commandments have to do with our relationships with other humans. All of our relationships—from our families to our friends to our coworkers—are extremely important. Man is not made to be alone (Genesis 2:18). We are built to have relationships.

    These relationships will require some work. However, anyone who has had an excellent friend, good parents or a loving husband or wife could tell you that every bit of work that you put into it is more than worth it.

    Sometimes relationships are all that can keep us going. When we fall or stumble, it will be those with whom we have good relationships—our friends and family—that we will turn to (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

    To give us an idea of how important relationships are, Christ told us to love even our enemies (Matthew 5:44). If we are to care for our enemies, then what does that say of those who are not our enemies? We are to care for everyone—to have a relationship with everyone.

    Now, in a world with over 7 billion people, I don’t think that Christ expects us to personally know everyone. But we can form relationships with the people around us—positive relationships that help us as much as they help others.

    Life is about relationships—and that is what we must be about. We must have a good relationship with God, with ourselves and with those we encounter throughout the day. Like my professor said, it’s all about three things: relationships, relationships, relationships.  Read more in our "10 Commandments" section.” From:


    This morning’s TV program on WGN:

    Christ's Second Coming: When Predictions Fail

    “Be wary of self-proclaimed prophets. Only God the Father knows the precise time of Jesus' return.”

    Transcript at:


    On This Day:

    President Andrew Johnson impeached, Feb 24, 1868:

    “The U.S. House of Representatives votes 11 articles of impeachment against President Andrew Johnson, nine of which cite Johnson's removal of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, a violation of the Tenure of Office Act. The House vote made President Johnson the first president to be impeached in U.S. history.”


    Prince Charles and Lady Di to marry, Feb 24,1981:

    “The Prince of Wales and the Lady Diana Spencer have ended months of speculation with the announcement they are to be married.

    Lord Maclean, the Lord Chancellor made the following statement at an investiture at the Palace: "It is with greatest pleasure that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh announce the betrothal of their beloved son the Prince of Wales to the Lady Diana Spencer, daughter of the Earl Spencer and the Honourable Mrs Shand Kydd."”  More at:



    After Wendy and I had our Saturday phone call, Jay called to say that he wanted to go to afternoon church in Willis, as he had to work in the morning.  When he goes, he prefers to go to the morning Conroe Church. Jay’s boss had told me that he already knew that the Sabbath is on Saturday, but wanted Jay to do some ‘make ready’ for a trailer that he is renting out.  The new tenants were arriving noon. 

    Jay doesn’t like to go early for Bible Study, (but likes to stay for the potluck), so I thought I had better get ready early, in case Jay begged off again. I like the Bible Study, we have fun discussions, and learn a lot. Jay asked me to call him on his cell at noon, but he didn’t answer, three times.   So Misty and I drove over there. Jay’s mouth looked square-shaped, a good indication that he had been into something.   Pills, booze, whatever.  So he said he wasn’t going to church after all.

    Bible Study was about The Miracles of The Prophets, Deut.18:18-22 and about the miracles in the time of Elijah. I and II Kings.

    images[8] The sermon was about The Joy of The Gentiles, Acts 13 and Paul’s first missionary journey between the two Antiochs. The one in Syria, and the one in Pisidia.

    “There are two Antiochs in the book of Acts. What are the differences between them?  The ancient world had a number of cities named Antioch. Most of them were founded by Seleucis I who ruled from 305 to 281BC. He was the founder of the Seleucid Empire that ruled from Turkey to Iran. He named the cities after his father Antiochus.”

    The pot-luck was great, as usual, and out of their kitchen window, I could see the tents set up for another night of camping and nature walks on the grounds.  I wish I could have stayed for that, but my MH isn’t ready yet, I would have to take it for Misty to stay in.  

    I hadn’t slept well the night before, so I was beat.  I fed the animals, and laid down for a nap, but didn’t wake up until 600 AM today!