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July 2014 Letters

TCP Talk

Letters and comments from our readers

Readers Know Vino

The article “We Know Vino” [April 2014] was good, but Laura Jenkins left out the names and work of two pioneers in our wine industry—George Ray McEachern of College Station and Jim Kamas of Fredericksburg. Both men were there at the start and continue to work with growers across the state.

Al B. Wagner | College Station
Bryan Texas Utilities

I was a little disappointed in “We Know Vino.” She didn’t mention the oldest winery in Texas. The Val Verde Winery in Del Rio has been in continuous family operation since 1883. It was established by Frank Qualia upon his arrival in Del Rio.

Daniel Decker | Mountain Home
Central Texas EC

“We Know Vino” told about many wineries in our great state of Texas. Most of the wineries mentioned were in the Hill Country. I wondered whether Laura Jenkins was aware of the Haak Winery in Santa Fe, Texas. Many people thought grapes could not be grown in that Galveston County climate, but the owner, Raymond Haak, has been very successful.

Johnnie Haak | Georgetown
Pedernales EC

The Big Pig Problem

Mike Leggett reports on an issue close to home for me [“Here a Pig, There a Pig,” April 2014]. Our family ranch in the Hill Country is rife with feral hogs. Using the old-fashioned “rifle” technique, we have kept the population down, but they continue to proliferate.

While reading Leggett’s article, the notion came to me that baiting feed with birth control might slow the fertility of the sows. Of course, we would not want the white tail deer, red foxes and other small mammals to get to the bait. Has there been any method of controlling the feral hogs with this concept in mind?

Anne Kobdish | Austin
Pedernales EC

I have a big problem with hogs, too. I have had a circular trap about 40 feet around for the last five years, with a corn feeder in the center of the pen, which has a spring-loaded gate 4 feet wide and a trip wire near the dispensed corn. I caught three pigs the entire year last year and none so far this year.

I suggest that pressure be put on Texas Parks and Wildlife to get a sodium nitrite project completed. Someone needs to find a company to pelletize the sodium nitrite so we can start using it to poison pigs. It is used in Australia with great results.

Ed J. Wagner | Hallettsville
Guadalupe Valley EC

Add to the list of damages caused by wild pigs the destruction of nests of ground-nesting birds such as quail and turkey.

For several years, my goat kid crop sustained overnight losses of newborns until, with a bit of luck and a .22-250 rifle, I managed to shoot the pig of 300-plus pounds that had done thousands of dollars in damages. It only takes one.

Dave Harris | Fredericksburg
Central Texas EC

Artwork Slipping Away

Thanks for Eileen Mattei’s colorful and historic piece on the Rio Grande Valley’s citrus crate artwork [“When Crates Became Canvases,” April 2014]. Who knew? Like record album covers, this artwork has slipped away, almost completely unnoticed.

Mike Dailey | Harlingen
Nueces EC