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July 2011 Letters

TCP Talk

Letters and comments from our readers

Will van Overbeek

Saving the Pure Longhorns

Regarding the May 2011, “Who Knew?” item about the Texas longhorn. There is an interesting debate going on about the true Texas longhorn. It is my understanding that the pure, historically correct longhorns are the cattle that were rounded up in South Texas and Northeastern Mexico and were at that time crossed with English cattle in the late 1800s. There is an abundance of these crossbred “longhorns” today, but there are only 3,000 or so that have been identified as historically correct.

The two nonprofit organizations trying to save the “old-timey pure longhorns” are the Cattlemen’s Texas Longhorn Conservancy and the Cattlemen’s Texas Longhorn Registry, both based in Gonzales. The conservancy funded the research to genetically define the Texas longhorn. The registry uses visual inspection and DNA mapping as a requirement for the registration of animals. They are interesting and dedicated groups.

Tracy Salmon, Comanche Electric Cooperative

A Top Rating for GVEC

I would like to thank Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative (GVEC) for the continued electric power I receive and the low rates. I don’t remember the last time I had an outage at my home.

I live in Schertz, and my last bill from GVEC was $39.21 for my all-electric, two-bedroom house. My bill from the City of Schertz for 700 gallons of water was $44.32, and my lawn watering is paid for in my community maintenance fee.

Thank you very much, GVEC.

David A. Kling, Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative

Kudos to Jasper-Newton EC

I want to express my thanks for the expedient service that I received on April 19. A large oak tree had fallen across the power lines and broke a pole at approximately noon, and by 3:30 p.m., a Jasper-Newton Electric Cooperative service crew had restored power to my house.

One week later, a transformer blew, and the service crew had my power back on in less than two hours. In a time that service is lacking in almost every segment of our culture, our local electric co-op stands well above the norm.

Gary and Karen Hinson, Jasper-Newton Electric Cooperative

Praise for Booger Red article

To Charles Boisseau: You wrote a great article about Booger Red (May 2011). Too bad it only appeared in the online section.

Larry O’Neill, Central Texas Electric Cooperative

Editor’s note: The article about legendary bronc rider Booger Red appeared in some May 2011 print issues of Texas Co-op Power.

Charcoal to Cash in Africa

I read the “Charcoal City: Turning Cedar into Cash” article by Clay Coppedge in the April 2011 issue. It reminded me of a picture I took in Zambia, Africa, in 2001. My husband and I went to Zambia as part of a medical mission. I was impressed that they make charcoal out of trees and sell it.

They do the same as described in the article—cover the wood with mud, start a fire and close all holes to let the wood smolder. I don’t know what kind of tree they use.

Carol Higdon, Taylor Electric Cooperative

Thanks for Fiddling Memories

Hi, y’all. The “Texas-style Fiddlin’ ” article in the April 2011 edition brought back a lot of good memories of fiddling music. We used to have those good ol’ family reunions in Childress and Vernon every year when I was growing up. My daddy had a musical family, and they always brought their fiddles, guitars and bass fiddle to the reunions. His accompaniment at the reunions was my Aunt Lena (his wife) on piano, my daddy, Loyd (Bud) Nivens, on guitar, Uncle Ben Nivens on bass fiddle and Uncle Doice Nivens on steel guitar.

My Uncle Wes Nivens was president of the National Old Time Fiddlers’ Association for many years. He played with the famous Wills family many times. Uncle Wes made many records and cassettes (remember those?). He served as one of three judges in the World Championship Fiddlers’ Festival at Crockett in 1975. As with several of the fiddlers in the article, he never took lessons but learned by watching the other fiddlers as he grew up, and then adding his own flair to make it his style. Uncle Wes owned three fiddles, one of which was owned by Bob Wills’ father, “Uncle John” Wills. The list of songs he played is much the same as today. I particularly loved to hear “Osage Stomp” and “San Antonio Rose.” He played “Under the Double Eagle,” a polka tune, and “Red Wing” and then could go into “Westphalia Waltz” or “Whispering Hope” just as well.

On the back cover of one of his albums it states: “Old Fiddlers Never Die, they just Play Away!” Thank you for that wonderful memory and for capturing the real spirit of those Texas-style fiddlers!

Linda McMurtray, United Cooperative Services

Fire Ants, Meet the WD-40

My husband always kept his horse feed in large, blue, plastic barrels. One night when we went to feed, we found the barrels covered with fire ants. I grabbed the WD-40 and sprayed a whole barrel on the outside. That was the end of the fire ants invading our horse feed. I got this idea from my father-in-law who used WD-40 for everything, even on his sore leg.

Verna Mae Brashear, Wise Electric Cooperative

Editor’s note: See our story on fire ants here.