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October 2008 Letters

TCP Talk

Letters and comments from our readers

Brewing Mesquite Tea
RE: Letter writers’ ongoing discussion about mesquite: My wife and I look at the mesquite tree as our food tree. We strip off about a handful of leaves from several trees until we have about a gallon of leaves. We place them into a plastic bag and fluff them one to two times a day until they are dry. They make a good green tea.

After the beans have matured and fallen off the tree, they can be harvested and ground into flour for cookies, fry bread, pancakes, etc. My wife cooked the beans into syrup, I think, equal to Log Cabin Syrup. We have also made mesquite wine. In my research, I have found instead of using the wood, use the bean to barbecue your meat.

Larry Dunbar, Cooke County Electric Cooperative

Birds Shouldn’t Be a Concern
Subject: John Abrams in his (August 2008) letter about windmills generating electricity and killing birds. I’ve never seen a windmill kill a bird; however, I have seen plenty of birds killed by automobiles. Perhaps John should stop driving his car and mount a campaign for the rest of us to do likewise. Windmill-generated electricity is a safe, clean way to help with the energy problem we are now facing. I was pleased to read in this morning’s Corpus Christi paper that the co-op has signed on to the wind generators on the King Ranch.

Edward Otti, Nueces Electric Cooperative


Trough Technology Overlooked
Your solar article (July 2008) seems to be oblivious to the day-in and day-out solar thermal power plants of the parabolic trough design. We have partnered in the past with the Sandia Nation Laboratories and National Renewable Electric Laboratories in making this type of green power more efficient for the last few decades while turning a profit for the investors year after year. The newest solar thermal power using the parabolic design was put online earlier this year in Boulder, Nevada, by a few of my former coworkers who now work for Acciona (

Many more plants are in the planning stages. I believe the closest to completion is south of Phoenix, Arizona. I just wanted to point out that in our own country, we have demonstrated the feasibility of solar power for more than two decades, and it is not centered around the tower receiver design. Thanks for listening and writing the story about solar power in your magazine. I hope to hear about many, many more.

Gordon “Solar Homer Simpson” Bishoff, Control Room Operator, Kramer Junction Solar Thermal Power Plants, Mojave Desert, California


Idle Alone, Not in Traffic
Re: Your article on “Don’t idle away your time and money”:

All the “experts” are wrong, again. Their advice is based only on what is good for one individual, and not what is good for everyone.

The suggestions to accelerate and decelerate slowly is fine in the country but will lead to overall more gasoline consumption in urban areas in the long run.

The article suggested that one might save if they shut off the engine when they are going to idle longer than 30 seconds. In already congested urban areas, that will only contribute to gas consumption.

Traffic lights are generally timed to maximize traffic flow through an intersection. When the light turns green, if one would accelerate normally–not jackrabbit and not slowly–more cars can make it through the light, thus fewer cars idling by being caught behind you when the light changes. The more cars that follow the “expert” advice, the longer the commute time for everyone behind them, thus more idling by those behind them, thus more fuel consumed, thus more pollution.

Patrick H. Bell, Austin