Friday, February 24, 2017

Texas Land

Back in the day to finance the railroad the U.S. government gave the railroads government land (land taken from the Native Americans) on either side of the railroad right of way to sell as a means of raising money to build the road ways. My Grandparents purchased the family farm from the T&P Railroad around the turn of the Century.  They raised 6 kids sending all to college while farming a West Texas dirt farm. My guess it was tough. My Grandmother also raised me until I was old enough to go off to boarding school in San Antonio. Over the years I lost touch with the family for reasons. BTW, I will get to the chase.

A couple of days ago I received a phone call from an investor who offered me a sum of money to buy my share of the farm that I did not know I owned. Of course he was trying to "steal" it. After a couple of days on the phone trying to pin down ownership, it is looking like I may own 90 acres of West Texas. It gets even stranger: My clients this week were present when I received the call about the farm. One of the client's son is a "Land Man". For those of you not from the oil patch, a Land Man is an employee of drilling/oil companies whose job is to buy mineral rights and drilling permits from land owners.

Bottom line: He, the Land Man, is nailing down ownership and will buy the mineral rights if I still own them. He said there is good activity in the area and the property may have some value. That could be the best of all worlds, mineral rights go for about the same per acre as the land price. If everything works out I will keep the land and lease it to one of the local farmers and sell the mineral rights. Could be a nice unexpected chunk of change in my pocket and a good monthly income to help with retirement.

I'm not headed to the Chevy dealer to order my new diesel truck yet but it will be a nice surprise if it does work out.

On a totally unrelated note. MsBubba called me this morning in a panic, one of her friends said there were many house break-ins happening in our part of town and she is worried we do not have enough insurance to cover my shop and the contents of the house. The only answer is "yes Dear I will call State Farm about the house coverage". In line with the call she wanted an inventory of the shop, as she put it "what it really cost, not what you tell me it cost". The old gal is pretty sharp :-). The good news, we have $250,000 USD house hold goods coverage and a very generous accounting of replacement cost for everything in the shop is only around $60,000 USD and I want to see the thief that can pick up almost 2 tons of pig iron and run with it.  BTW, I've got to go out and buy more tools because MsBubba guessed there were more than $100,000 USD of tools in the shop, I've $40,000 to go because I sure do not want to disappoint the boss.

See you guys on down the road,


Monday, February 20, 2017

Texas Red

For every Texan worth his salt there are two truths: The only "real" BBQ comes from Texas and the best is __________ (fill in the blank) and they personally make the best Chili to be found anywhere.

What started me down this road today was making a pot of Chili this morning. BTW, Chili does not have beans or tomatoes in it, if it does it is bean or tomato soup. A proper bowel of red will have sliced and cubed beef not ground beef and never pork, turkey, or whatever other abomination non Texan and, I have to admit, even some so called Texans call Chili. In addition to beef, a mix of dried chili peppers. I like to use 3/4 Ancho, 1/4 Hatch, and 1/4 Chipotle peppers, a little Cumin and garlic with just enough water to process the peppers for the sauce. Add salt to taste, cook until the meat starts to "tender" stir in a small hand full of Masa de Maiz to thicken and simmer another 5 or 10 minutes. Serve with Saltine crackers, a big slice of onion, and some cheese on the the side. Close to heaven if there is one. Only beans and cornbread or BBQ from Luling City Market (I filled in the blank) come close to being as good.

One more thing to add, buy the toughest, cheapest meat in the market. The good stuff just falls apart and has no flavor. If done correctly the only water you need will come from the chili sauce. The reason for the chili selection is the Ancho are the major flavor, Hatch adds the heat, and the Chipotle peppers bring a wonderful smoky note. You can use nothing but Anchos and your Chili will be very good.

Paid off the mortgage today, Truck will follow in a few months. If anyone other than Trump, even another Republican, was in the White House I would retire....for now it ain't going to happen. Up until Shrub I alway maintained the President really couldn't do too much damage, the checks and balances were such they could constrain even the worst actors. Shrub proved that wrong, Trump scares me.

See you on down the road,


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The English Woodworker

Richard Maguire has started an new video series on sharpening. Richard is a good teacher and is very entertaining to watch. In addition the first two videos validate my way of sharpening :-), so they must be good.

You can find the the videos on Richard's blog.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

This and That

As sweet as the Japanese saws cut there is a deal killer to their use, the kerf is too damn narrow. I didn't realize how narrow it is until I tried to saw some dovetails. I've several "turning" saws, bow, coping, and fret, I use to saw out the bulk of waste on both the tail board and the pin board. None will fit in the Japanese saw's kerf.

My deep thought for the day: Why do we spend so little time talking and/or writing about sawing? I know planes are sexy and chisels are macho but saw skill is the base skill of woodworking, if you can saw, everything else falls into place. What the heck, I guess it is more fun to debate oil vs. water or Stanley vs. LN vs. LV.

Speaking of Stanley vs. everything else: I finally got around to changing all my user Stanley planes back to OEM irons and cap irons. Of course the biggest problem is finding usable OEM irons and chip breakers. The OEM irons and chip breakers make for a much nicer plane. The weight difference is very noticeable and the irons are easier to sharpen. It could be my imagination but I also think the OEM cap iron does a better job of chip breaking and ejecting than the aftermarket ones. The only downside to the Stanley cap iron is it does take a little fiddling to get it to work well.

Other things you don't learn in school, Last week I had the motorhome in the shop for some minor work. While there the shop allowed the "house" batteries to run down. That's a long pointless story as well, someone stole my surge protector through the fence of the maintenance shop and left the shore power disconnected which in turn allowed the house batteries to discharge. Anyway on to the original story, we do not have TV in the house, only in the motorhome and there was a program I wanted to watch last night. When I went to watch, the satellite was tits up, all I could get was the set up screen. After a call to tech support and 30 minutes or so of fiddling all returned to normal. I don't know this for sure but I'll bet the satellite box draws a small current to keep the box's memory chip working.

It was over 90F day before yesterday, there may be another cold front or two before Summer but Winter is over. Every Winter I keep threatening to move farther south but I'm just about as far south as you can go without moving back to Texas or to Mexico. Whatever the "sweats" are off and it is shorts and T's for another 9 months.

What is it with people, I have a box of motorcycle gear to get rid of. It is a great mystery box with lots of high end stuff.  My best guess is close to $5000 USD of motorcycle boots, electric heated pants, gloves, and jackets, helmets, motorcycle covers, and so on. Almost any one item, even used, is worth the $200 USD I'm asking for the whole box and I'm very clearly stating that, "I'll sell you anything in the box for $200 but you must take the whole box". I haven't put it on Craig's list yet but have told a few "friends" about it. The response: "I don't want the helmets, could you give me a list of the heated gear" or "I just want the Sidi "On Roads" how much for them".  My answer to both is the box will go to Goodwill first.

See you guys on down the road,