Saturday, April 30, 2011

Re-handled WW2 Kinfolks.

Might be a Schrade.

TSRA Mid-Range Video is up.

Shoot, shoot, shoot. Wind blows. Shoot, shoot, shoot. More wind. Then we give awards.

Ebay Vintage Knives.

Lower knife in todays mail. Wonderful blade. Aircraft windshield acrylic handle. The other was a re-handled Kinfolks blade.

Like Christmas in April. Two cheap knives in the mail, both theater-made knives from WW2. Cleaned them up. Good sheaths though one doesn't fit. Something will. I'm basically buying anything that catches my eye and reselling the non-favorites. Upgrading the pile pretty quickly with more interesting knives and not spending any money doing it. Probably 10 knives ready to go back out on the block.

Video of a little doe-dressing using vintage knives.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just a couple of does wandering around.

Bought a new par of hand clippers and opened up the trails. Branches reaching in from all directions and I like them wide enough to walk in the dark without a flashlight.

Cat Nuttery.

Miss Kitty kicked off the Fleaquinox with about 25 fleas. I combed her for a couple of days and the count has dropped to nearly zero. I wonder about the flea-carry capacity of a fluffy cat. Am I getting 98% of them? 70%? 10%. Unknown but the hit count really drops over a day.
Last night she spent the night out and was missing this morning. That means she is locked in the neighbors garage so I went over and extracted her. Now she's rolled up in a cardboard box she favors sleeping it off.

Something killed one of the neighbors numerous cats. I don't trust folks descriptions of the scene enough to try and figure out what killed her. I have heard Barred Owls on the block every evening this week at dusk.

Update: Hardly a SINGLE flea- most days none, on the cat since the Fleaquinox. Maybe I got them all.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Texas fires.

Possum Kingdom Lake properties burning.

Hate to think of all the personal property lost. Really destructive.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Santa Anna and Sam Houston.

Classic painting. Houston. Santa Anna. Deaf Smith. Twin Sisters. Almonte. Burnet. Lamar. Probably all the Texans of note. Couple of Mexican flags furled against the tree trunk.

Moultrie Blues.

One cam killed by kids, another which won't fire it's flash but has a VERY sensitive motion detector, another new cam moved to a new location.....and never has anything on the card. Need two new cams.

Also missing my Craftsman hand shears. I wear a pair out every couple of years and go get a fresh pair but this time I lost them at the same time they began to go dull. Trials growing shut at the lake. Need 'em, bad. When you catch yourself twisting off leafy need tools. Homo sapiens. I did have two good knives, a French folder and a WW2 Kinfolks sheath knife but neither are the right tool for twig clipping. Cutting through the brush looking for sheds ought to be easier.

Daily Deercam

Wandering hog. Nothing but the mere hint of the scent of corn on the site, but he came back twice.

Pregnant-with-twins mature doe. I'm sure she can handle almost anything.



Coyote in the daytime.

Warm woods and some really excited ticks. You would think the snow would have set them back but the last few years have been the tick-iest I can remember.

The Spring Fleaquinox.

10 healthy fleas off the cat this afternoon with a little brisk flea combing. Tickquinox was a couple months back. Snakequinox still coming. Haven't had a flea off the cat since late November. Azalea District ecosystem is full of squirrels, possums, coons, et. Lucy gets flea treatments even with snow on the ground but the cat lives off fleacombings.

1936 three-cent stamp celebrating The Alamo, Houston and Austin.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Alfonso Steele

Alfonso Steele, last survivor of the Battle of San Jacinto.

Alfonso Steele, the last man standing. Died in 1911 in Kosse and is buried in Mexia. Steele was wounded in the first few shots but continued fighting. Houston rode his horse after Saracen was shot out from under him. Steele's horse was shot and killed as well.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Houston is elected President of Texas.

Santa Anna doesn't make it back to Mexico until early 1837. He is sent to Washington D.C. instead where he meets Andrew Jackson. By the time he gets home he has been tossed out. He regains power, looses a leg to a French cannonade and gives the severed limb a military funeral. His replacement wooden leg is captured by the Illinois National Guard during the US/Mexican War. He helps invent chewing gun with investors in New York. He gains the Presidency and is deposed 11 times. Not bad for a genocidal megalomaniac who deserved to be gutted with a bowie knife at San Jacinto. He dies in 1876 in Mexico.

Emily D. West, is released from her indenture as a servant to the Morgans and returns to New York City.

Buzzards and coyotes eat Saracen. The Mexican dead are left on the battlefield.

Stephen F. Austin misses the whole war in New Orleans and is eclipsed by Houston. He dies in 1837 and the Yellowstone carries his body up the Brazos.

Deaf Smith dies in Richmond, Texas the next year. He is 50.

The bones and remains of Fannin's men are gathered and buried.

General Juan Almonte serves as translator for Santa Anna with Houston. The two men are held at the Phelps Plantation on the Brazos. Rumors of a planned rescue attempt cause the Texans to equip both men with iron balls chained to their legs.

General Urrea protests the withdrawal from Texas. He blames Filisola for obeying orders issued under duress, but he does march his army back to Mexico.

Mirabeau B. Lamar, Georgian and newcomer, land speculator and horseman becomes President of Texas and drives the peaceful Cherokee and Caddos, friends of the Big Drunk, Houston, out of East Texas.

The Yellowstone disappears into the mists of History.

The Twin Sisters are lost, probably buried near Houston after the Civil War.

Santa Anna in hand.

Texas troops scouring the countryside for escaped Soldatos and Santa Anna find him, dressed in a private's uniform. He's worth much more alive than dead as he -under some duress, issues orders for General Filisola, his immediate second in command, to retreat to San Antonio. Couriers go out to the Mexican forces with the message.

Houston and Santa Anna are both Masons. Almonte does the translating.

Houston having quite a bit of difficulty with his ankle. It will trouble him the rest of his life.

Sam ran the war with 200.00 in his saddlebags. His horse Saracen is dead. He spent the 200.00. The Texans find 12,000.00 silver in Santa Anna's tent.

Secretary of War Rusk had a letter in his pocket relieving Houston of command the whole time since Gonzalez. Never used it.

The Texas Government steams to the battle site from Galveston on the good ship Yellowstone, stacks patched from the dash past the Mexican camp on the Brazos with the 1836 equivalent of duct tape.

No word of the fate of Emily D. West, though Col. Morgan, her owner is on the field. She deserves Texas highest honor for helping catch the Generalissimo with his pants around his ankles. God bless the Yellow Rose of Texas.

Given the provocation, previous Mexican depredations and death toll, 650 Mexican dead 230 wounded out of 1300 seems light.

Col. Adrian Woll, English mercenary, rides in under a flag of truce, to find out the terms of surrender but also to calculate Texan strength. He is detained and sent home through Velasco and Goliad. He returns to Mexico with Filisola's troops.

The word slowly gets out. Still substantial Mexican armies in the field stretched from New Washington to the Rio Grande. Nobody going home for a bit. Refugees scattered to the East all the way into Louisiana. Slow turn-around.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Night at San Jacinto.

Fires are burning. Houston is laid out under his oak. Couriers and messengers coming and going. Almonte is helping translate and sort out the prisoners. Texans still combing the cattails. Cos is in hand, Castrillion dead by the Golden Standard. No Santa Anna alive or dead. There are two capable Mexican armies in the field, Gaona and Urrea. If he makes it to one of them today will only be a footnote. Deaf Smith and the scouts are searching the roads and pushing people into the brush.

It's been an afternoon and evening of slaughter. Bodies everywhere. Peggy Lake is red with blood.

Almonte surrenders group.

Houston shot through ankle. Saracen, his horse, dead. Santa Anna missing. General Filosa dead at the Golden Standard. Almonte manages to rally troops into formation to surrender as a group, saving 400 lives. Men scattered throughout the canebrakes, marshes, lakes, bayou, river. Hunting or being hunted. 600+ dead. The slaughter continues into the night.

Nine dead, 30 wounded on the Texan side. 630 dead, 208 wounded, 730 captured on the Mexican side.

Remember the Alamo.

Clark and I walked out of the oaks to stand in the road. Simpson led Dutch Boy through the trees to the right. He came out on the road where the cavalry was beginning to muster. Dutch Boy shook his mane and I quit watching. Burleson walked out backwards and his men emerged in one big line on our left. Nobody talked. Houston walked out of the grove leading Sarecen, a big white he favors and swung into the saddle. He stood up in the stirrups, looked up and down the line, sat back with a squeak of leather and simply said, "let's go."

The line stepped off. Hockley and his men manhandled the Twins over the mounds and the rest of us walked quickly through the tall grass. I noticed a bloodstain, then some paper. About 200 yards out we skirted the little copse of trees and the spot where the Mexicans had the cannon yesterday afternoon. There was a glove and a shako left behind. The copse of trees looked worse for cannon fire than I imagined. Another 100 yards there were six buzzards sitting on a stripped corpse. They flapped away. We dressed the line. Dick was clicking along on his drum, then the fife man O'Toole started playing a little marching tune. Ahead I could see the Mexican Flags and a line of baggage coming into view. Clark unwrapped the rag from around his lockworks so I did the same. All I could hear was crackling grass.

We walked nearly up to their wall. I could see boxes piled around a wagon, some leather trunks. Can't they SEE us? We are standing in the wide open sunlight. it was a shock to see their stuff. Close enough to touch. I smelled cooking.

Houston pointed at the Twins with his sword and Hockley's men swung them around. Houston said "fire!" so loudly that I jumped and Clark and I looked wildly around. Have the Mexicans left? One twin went off and the second echoed. The wagon axle jumped five feet in the air and I could see into the camp. We ran to the wall and looked over. I heard rifles crackle up and down the line. I leaned over a leather trunk and aimed at a man in a white shirt standing in front of a tent. Before my lock fell he was down. I aimed at another but Clark jumped over the wall and I pushed aside the trunk and followed. Our army began to scream like a panther, men yelling and screeching up and down the line. A soldier threw back the flap on a tent just a few feet in front of me and I shot him without aiming. He fell back inside and the flap jerked like he was hooked. To the left I saw cavalrymen jumping their mounts over the barricade. Men screamed in spanish and english and the air was full of gunsmoke and dust. Clark had disappeared and I pulled my pistol and shot at three men in a group a moment before a horseman sent them all sprawling. I put my rifle down so carefully beside a tent that it made me laugh, then tossed the pistol, jerked out my hatchet and split the head of a man who was backing into me. I'd never hit a man with a hatchet, never thought of it. The hatchet went into his head like a green gourd. Hung up. He went down in a heap and started running on the ground. I was shocked. Never killed a man before...then I thought of the one I shot just a few seconds ago. Funny how your mind races. A Mexican tackled me around the knees and I thought I was gone but he was begging, crying. I shoved him away and he grabbed me again. I pushed him off a third time and glanced back just as Clark shot him from behind and kicked the body aside before it could fall. I had to get out of those tents. Balls were snapping through the canvas like sparrows. We ran around the line of tents and one was burning in a way that seemed wrong. In the open Mexicans were standing to their guns around the cannon. They were falling like flies and then one man ran and the rest followed. Some of our boys jumped on the crawling wounded and began to hack. I ran back for my rifle and pistol and Clark followed. We looked at each others faces. A scalped Mexican holding his head shoved blindly between us and we both frantically started reloading, digging for the balls and jerking out the ramrods.
"This way," I told Clark, and just ran. Smith and Lebel came out of the smoke, so red that I thought they were dead men until I noticed their blood-soaked Bowies and tomahawks. They gave us a look and ran back the way we had just came. A cavalryman thundered past. Three Mexicans, hatless with white shirts on appeared out of the smoke. One had a musket with bayonet. Clark and I pointed our rifles just as he threw it down. I shot the closest on my side and Clark shot another. The middle man looked at us with wide eyes and then ran. Ahead by a wagon a woman was crying and two of our guys were killing Mexicans with axes. Never seen that one. Sounded like chopping wet logs. Hockley was waving men into a line. We joined just as the line broke off in different directions chasing soldatos. One man ripped through the contents of a trunk. Clark and I ducked through a fly hung as shade that had a dead man in a chair under it. There was a fancy knife on the table and I grabbed it. We both skidded to a halt to reload. Clark finished first and sighted in on a limping man being helped along by a fellow in a blue tunic. It was the first careful aimed shot I had seen, like shooting a doe out of the pea patch. The lock flashed, blue tunic threw up his hands and the other man tumbled. I pulled my ramrod, took a deep breath, sighted the rifle and shot him through the shoulderblade. We calmed down and actually started shooting. A group of Mexicans with rifles backed past. We picked at them and shot three. A blue tunic ran by while we were reloading and we ignored him. I shot a man off an bareback horse. Clark shot one who was crawling on all fours. One of our cavalrymen was sabering with a dragoon and we shot the horse from under him. He was being beaten to death before he hit the ground and I could hear the man yelling, "Remember the Alamo! Remember the Alamo!". Clark and I left the fly and followed some of our men into the trees. I put the fancy knife through my belt. Clark picked up a dropped Mexican carbine and then leaned it against a tree. A line of our boys ahead was standing on the shore of a lake shooting into the water at floundering Mexicans. The smoke was so thick you could hardly see out of it. Clark and I couldn't find a spot and just about the time we noticed that we noticed it was over. Rifles quit rattling and just were popping now and then. The yelling stopped. We walked back around toward the right and there was Simpson standing by Dutch Boy.

Houston climbs his oak.

Deaf Smith and six others are off burning Vinces Bridge. Houston climbs a big Oak and looks into the Mexican camp with a spyglass. He sees Santa Anna and Emily D. West sitting down to lunch. The aide pours champagne. Houston watches until they go into the tent.

Santa Anna stands down the troops.

The Mexican troops have been up most of the night anticipating an attack. Cos rode in at 9:00 and the morning has been spent getting his people squared away. Santa Anna consults his commanders and decides that Houston, like every time before, is going to retreat or wait to be attacked. Santa Anna has more troops just hours away and nothing to lose by waiting. He give the order to stand down. The cavalry unsaddle and begin to tend horses. The men eat and finally get a chance to nap and rest. Muskets are stacked and troops disappear into their tents. Out of sight, over a low rise and in the thick oaks the Texans are making final preparations.

Santa Anna decides to have a late lunch with Emily D. Smith. Champagne and grilled quail sound about right.

Juan Seguin, Texas revolutionary and Patriot.

Houston tells Juan Seguin that he and his men will guard the camp so as not to be mistaken for Mexicans during the fighting. Seguin replies that some of his men are already standing down, dead at the Alamo or Goliad. He and his men put cardboard squares in their hatbands and join the line.

Decision made at San Jacinto: Texans will attack, not defend.

The lunch meeting ends. Accounts vary as to who wants to attack, who wants to defend and who wants to retreat. The overwhelming sentiment is: Lets get it ON. So it's on.

Mirabeau B. Lamar shaves his horse's butt with the words: "Support your local Revolutionary" on one side and "Shoot a Mexican Dictator today!" on the other.

The Texans sort out by company in the woods. Sidney Sherman, (relieved of leading the Texas Cavalry), and his Tennesseans on the Texas left. They will go up the woodline and into the Mexicans on that end through the brush along the San Jacinto River. Burleson will be next to him up the left center of the field. Hockley, (replacing the wounded JC Neill), with the Twin Sisters up the middle, Millard and his regulars up the Texas right. Lamar and the cavalry will wide right to cut off retreat and roll up the end of the Mexican line against the Mexican Cavalry if they come out.

San Jacinto: Clear and dry.

No rain. The dawn has been clear and dry. The Mexican Army isn't across a river or behind walls. The Texans left their extra equipment behind at Harrisburg and the most anyone has is a blanket and a cup. They are ready to FIGHT, if only someone will give the order.

Instead, there is a meeting. The captains and commanders and impromptu leaders gather at lunch.

Up the pasture, because of the slight crown in the field, you can't see the Mexican position, only the tops of flagpoles and pennants floating in the morning sunlight. If you climb an oak, as several men do, you can see more. The Mexicans have erected a barrier of wagons, baggage, gear.

Breakfast is leftovers off the captured Mexican supply flatboat. Horses watered and grazed. They saddle up and unsaddle them. Rifles cleaned loaded and oiled. Knives sharp. Tomahawks edged. Everyone ready to GO.

4:00 Wake-up, Sam Sleeps in.

Map of the battleground. Notice the small grove of trees where the one Mexican cannon, the "Golden Standard" was positioned yesterday during the skirmish.

A freedman named "Dick" beats reveille on a drum at 4:00 and gets the Texan camp awake. Houston has left orders not to be disturbed and sleeps through it. General Cos rides in with about 450 men at 9:00, over Vince's bridge, the only good way in and out of the battleground. The Mexicans now have more men, giving the Mexicans a 1,200 to 900 edge.

Houston sends Deaf Smith and Henry Lane around behind Santa Anna's camp to get a rough count of troops and observe their disposition. Smith and Lane sit on their horses 300 yards back while Deaf counts tents with a telescope. The Mexicans send a company after them and they are forced to run.

Back at the Texan Camp Houston gets the information and sends Smith and six others to burn Vince's Bridge to prevent more reinforcements. At noon officers gather to demand a plan of action from Houston. Are they standing firm in the oaks and waiting for an attack or attacking?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 20th, evening.

The Texan camp in the trees is raging. SOMEONE is going to lead an attack in the morning. The Mexicans are bulwarking their line and camp with baggage. Speculation burns in both camps about night assaults. The Texas Army is about to quit on Houston but stays together anticipating getting at the Mexicans. Rifles are cleaned and bowies whetted. The rain has held off and the men are washing up and drying out, plus everyone is getting to eat. Newcomers, latecomers, old settlers, Tejanos from the San Antonio area, everyone ready to fight.

The men left in Harrisburg are wondering what happened since the army marched away. It it goes bad, they are sitting ducks.

Private Mirabeau B. Lamar, Georgian land speculator, who just arrived a couple weeks ago is now Col. Lamar, due to his display of nerve, pistolry and horsemanship.

Houston, who hasn't been off his horse or slept in days finally rolls up in a blanket and goes to sleep.

San Felipe burned, Harrisburg smoldering, New Washington gone. Fannin and his men rotting outside Goliad. Alamo in rubble. The whole countryside turned into refugees. Coyotes digging dead children out of shallow graves along every road.

Santa Anna is having a late dinner with Emily D. West.

Tomorrow this is going to be settled one way or the other.

Houston speaks to the men: Remember the Alamo!

For the first and only time Houston forms up the army around him and gives a speech. They are going to fight. He actually uses the words: Remember the Alamo! The army has been ready for some time.

They leave 248 sick and infirm men in the ruins of Harrisburg, cross Buffalo Bayou on a leaky boat and a log raft and force march all night toward Lynchburg. At midnight they collapse in place along the road.

Reveille gets them up at daybreak and they march for two more hours, finally taking a break to brew coffee and slaughter two beeves. They hardly get the steaks on the fire before scouts come in saying the Mexicans have burned New Washington and are heading for Lynch's Ferry. They eat whatever there is while marching and race toward the ferry, arriving and crossing before the Mexicans at mid-morning. They flow into a slightly elevated wood backed by Buffalo Bayou and have lunch courtesy of a captured flatboat full of Mexican provisions. (Coffee, Steak, now Mexican food. The way to the future is clear!)

The Mexicans march in at about 2:00 to the same area. Santa Anna can't see the Texans in the woods but scouts report the location of the Twin Sisters. The Mexicans shake out a skirmish line to probe the rebels with their only cannon, a 12-pounder called 'The Golden Standard" in the center. The Twins and the Golden Standard trade fire with casualties on each side. Texan Artilleriest JC Neill, the man who fortified the Alamo is wounded. The Mexicans begin to withdraw.

Sidney Sherman, leader of the Texian Cavalry is ready to press the issue. With 61 horsemen he rides out on a limited recon that becomes an attack answered by the Mexican Cavalry. Sherman, Texan Secretary of War Thomas Rusk, Mirabaeu B. Lamar and others spur their mounts against the Mexicans. It turns into a horse-ridden melee. The Texans dismount to reload and the Mexicans swarm in with sabres and lances. Against orders and ignoring Houston, Captain Jesse Billingsley leads out his infantry company to rescue the Texan Cavalry. Other units advance piecemeal out of the cover of the trees.

On the field Walter Lane, a 19-year-old Irishman had ridden headlong into the Mexican Cavalry and been lanced off his horse. As the sides separate he staggers to his feet. The Mexican lancers turn back to finish him off and Lamar rides to block them. He shoots a cavalryman off his horse with a pistol. Scout Henry Karnes swoops in and snatches Lane as Lamar holds the Mexicans back. Santa Anna dragoons pull up and applaud Lamar's bravery. Lamar bows and retreats. The whole Texan Army is watching.

Houston is livid. Captains are ignoring his orders. They are lucky to have come off so lightly. His army is nearly in revolt of his leadership. The evening comes with much debate about bravery, leadership, tactics. Houston has about 910 soldiers. There are about 909 opinions of what to do. The 42 year old former Governor of Tennessee and Supreme Commander of the Texan forces stays up late into the night.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

William Barrett Travis saddlebags.

Henry Karnes and Deaf Smith show up with a captured Mexican Courier who is carrying dispatches from Santa Anna in William Barret Travis saddlebags. Houston finds out the Santa Anna is at New Washington with a small force. Houston is finally ready to attack.
Unknown if the courier survived capture.

Santa Anna to New Washington.

Santa Anna and Almonte turn SOUTH toward New Washington looking for the Texan government. Col. Almonte splits off to seize the Lynchburg crossing of Buffalo Bayou. To the North Sam Houston and the Texas Army approach the fork in the San Antonio Road. The North road leads to Nacogdoches. The South ford heads straight to Harrisburg. Sam is at the back of the column and a band at the front. A local farmer, Mr. Roberts stands at the intersection loudly pointing out the way to each. The band takes the rebel army South toward burned-out Harrisburg, BEHIND the Mexican Army for the first time.

Mrs Pamela Mann had loaned the army a pair of oxen to pull the Twin Sisters. She understands that her beasts are going to Nacogdoches, safe from the fighting. When the army turns South she appears on a mule with a bowie knife, cuts her beasts free and leads them away. Conrad Rohrer, the army wagon master goes after her but returns, shirt tattered and without the team.

The army marches 58 miles of muddy road into Harrisburg. They will retreat no more.

At Lynchburg, Col. Almonte chances upon a mixed-blood young lady famous for her beauty and charm named Emily West. He knows Santa Anna has an eye for women so he escorts her back to the General. The Yellow Rose of Texas is in place.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Santa Anna Burns Harrisburg.

April 18th. In protest of future Texans having to conform to a corrupt and unwieldy tax code, Santa Anna burns Harrisburg, the momentary Capitol of Texas. No word on what happened to the three printers.
Col. Almonte's dragoons sent in pursuit of the Texas Government had missed them by yards and moments. The last rowboat with Texan President David Burnet had just pulled into the water when the Mexicans showed up behind them. They were in range even for cavalry carbines. Col. Almonte refused to give permission to fire because women were in the boat.
Very close.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Runaway Scrape

Roads in Texas are clogged with refugees heading east. Mexicans are burning and looting everything they come across. Many old people and children dying on the road and being buried quickly. Familes hoping to return and give them a better burial later. Estimated 10% of the Anglo population of Texas dies during this period.

Daily Deercam

Little buck that just shed his horns.

Here he is again. Look at those head bumps!

Doe and yearling fawn. She'll have to run that fawn off soon as she gets ready to deliver twins. Look how marked up their coats are. Shedding winter fur but they still look like they have been in a tussle.


Last year's fawn, now a yearling.

Br'er Possum.

Woods leafy but dry. Deer tracks and sign around. Little cam on the knoll had a spiderweb wrapped around the side. I got a twig and raked it off- I could tell it was fresh and strong.....and had that random patter. Behind the cam was an Alien-Queen-grade Black Widow. Yug.

Poison Ivy. I smelled, (of all things) Chicken Snakes at one point. They ought to be courting and breeding. When the kids swiped my cam down in the flat I carried it's corn load up to the little cam on the knoll. The coons still haven't forgotten that that corn was once there. They were working the leaves and I had 200 files of coons at night. Armadillo came by and Br'er Possum.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Santa Anna arrives in Harrisburg.

On a rainy, muddy night, Santa Anna struggles into Harrisburg just after midnight trying to catch the Texas Government. He misses them by just a few hours. Harrisburg is deserted except for three printers. President David Burnet and the cabinet had ridden toward New Washington. Santa Anna sends Col. Almonte and the cavalry after them. The local word is that Houston is marching toward Nacogdoches.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Yellowstone.

Steamboatin' during the Texas revolution!

At Groce's Plantation on the Brazos, Houston's men use a steamboat named "The Yellowstone" to move supplies and cross the flooded river. Yellowstone Park is far in the future and not enough Anglo explorers have seen or visited it to make up a softball team. The Yellowstone RIVER joins the Missouri...far to the North in the Mississippi watershed.....but still it's a little known area or name. Lewis and Clark were there in 1805. What in the world is a steamboat named "The Yellowstone" doing on the Brazos in 1836?"

Here's the story.

Here's a longer version: Unbelieveable tale.

Mirabeau B Lamar, a 38-year-old newcomer from Georgia hatched a scheme to raid Mexican positions downstream with the Yellowstone. Houston squashed that plan and another quirky, (but probably fatal), event in Texas History was missed. Sounds like fun though, doesn't it? Steam downstream, shoot up some Mexicans, chug back North or run to the Gulf and go have a drink in Galveston. Good times.

After crossing Houston and his troops the good ship had to navigate past two Mexican armies on the Brazos. They armored her with cotton bales, threw some pine knots in the boiler and made for the coast, suffering only bullet holes in the stacks. One Mexican tried to rope them as they steamed by. Must have been some shocked faces along the bluffs. Paddlewheelers were a very rare thing in those parts.

Update: As a note, the average Texan in Houston's army was spoiling for a fight and convinced they could whip Mexicans with odds of 10-1. They despised Houston- former Governor of Tennessee for retreating. Everyone ready for blood.

UpdateII Captain John E. Ross gave the ships bell to Sam Houston after San Jacinto. It's either at Star of the Republic Museum at Washington on the Brazos or The Alamo Museum, depending on the website you read.

Camp Swift

A rare image of myself and Rick Crawford getting ready on Saturday at Camp Swift. Rick shot pretty well. I had gun and eye problems. TSRA Director Steve Hall was lurking around with a camera.

Santa Anna stuck in the mud on the way to Harrisburg

Getting tighter. All the forces getting jammed down to a smaller area.

Santa Anna leads a force of 700 out of Ft Bend toward Harrisburg to capture the Texan Rebel cabinet and government. He's got a cannon with him that repeatedly bogs down in the quagmires that pass for roads. It's raining steadily. Several mules loaded with supplies drown in a creek. The column stretches out in the rain and mire and becomes unwieldy and disorganized, struggling along.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

El Ranchero

Cheap and quick place to eat that backs up to Los Guerros. This week was the first week the pup couldn't go- it's quickly getting too warm to leave her in the car. Wonderful cheap and good food, tastefully presented. You do have to watch Mexican soap operas or MTV, loud. They keep it cranked up. Mexican soaps have more overacting than a Jim Carrey movie and more cleavage than Fox News.

We won the war and built Texas to it's present state, now every Mexican with any sense is moving North. The war that was won is now lost. Border is wide open and going to stay that way. Demographics say the culture has already changed. Wish I spoke a little more spanish but some of the newcomers aren't literate in english or spanish. Great folks and I certainly emphasize with getting the heck out of Mexico. Los Rancheros full of folks who looked like they arrived last week. You see the families walking around the rent houses in the neighborhood looking in the windows and talking on cell phones.

Local bureaucracies have the property owners at gunpoint. Police hand out traffic tickets like mad....if you have a drivers license and address. If you don't, I think they just cut you loose. Gets tiresome being in the grip of government. Wish I could present a fake ID and pretend not to speak english, toss tickets, appraisal district notices, et. El Ranchero has horse racing photos all over the walls from the illegal horse track in the North of the county. Guy was shot up there last year and 600 witnesses just walked away. One of the local constables was handling the gate and security. By the time real LEOs got there there was only a body with no ID and a lot of hoofprints going out. That's modern life in Smith County. The commissioners want a new jail and the ISD wants some new schools. For the future. Gotta move forward.

...and he rode a pale horse: Dick Curry collecting scorecards at the TSRA Highpower Rifle Championship.

Alan Wilson gives a live performance of the Star Spangled Banner.

Colton Anderson, TSRA Junior NM Team shooter.


Travis Rogers salutes himself.

Bailey Fairchild.

TSRA Junior Team Member.

Emily Hogg at the AMU Clinic.

Bailey Fairchild at the AMU Clinic.

Santa Anna goes for Harrisburg.

Santa Anna and his various armies are across the Brazos. Houston is to the North of him retreating East from Groce's Plantation. The Texas Cabinet is rumored to be at Harrisburg. Houston has done nothing but flee from the Mexicans and is rumored to be marching to Nacogdoches. If the Mexicans can hang the leaders and cut off Galveston, the last open port, the war will be over. As a practical matter it's over now, with no more big offensive operations anticipated.
Hang the cabinet, post some garrison troops and head for Mexico City. Santa Anna decides to leave Fort Bend and head for Harrisburg.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lizard from down near Dibol, Texas out of the Temple-Inland Wildlife Management Area.

Arisaka misery.

Arisaka 7.7 out of the stock for cleaning.

Somebody offered me a sporterized Arisaka for free. It was the 7.7 caliber, a strong but absolutely miserable round. I waffled but then he brought it to the Highpower Championship. Put it in the truck in the dark and by sunup he was pestering me about what I was going to trade for it.

Can't imagine...or maybe I can, someone pouring through the Herter's catalog looking for bedding compound and a stock to sporterize this gun. They left the sights on but the rest of the pieces are long gone. Be interesting to time machine back to the soldier who carried it and the service guy who brought it back, the sporterizer and subsequent owners. Straight bolt. I guess it could be restored but who would want to? In military config it would be interesting, maybe shoot down airliners at 30K feet with those airplane sights. (missing on this rifle along with the Chrysanthemum.)

I've got a little T44 6.5 Arisaka that doesn't feed and is missing the flip-up bayonet. It shoots. Barrel floated.

Oil-soaped the stock. Wiped the barrel and action down. OK rifling. I'm sure it shoots that very rare-and-expensive-and-not-better-than-30-06 ammo with a recoil like a mule carrying two barrels of white lightning. Or Saki, in this case.

1902A3s got for 700.00 bucks. Arisakas in 7.7 go for about 150.00. Both the same age. Sporterized Arisaka 7.7s go for about 50.00....and you have to give them the 50 in cash along with the rifle.

Probably cleaning this gun for free. I'm not trading more than a half sandwich for it.

Update: So here's the deal you 2-cent-er: (The Japanese common soldiers got a draft card in the mail which cost two cents to deliver. The officer cadre referred to them as 2-cent-ers) In 2011 some internet junkie Texan will be using up a months supply of Q-tips cleaning the Emperor's sporterized Arisaka you let walk off, (and complaining about it), you'll be a pile of 66 year dead mummified sulphured-up bones in a collapsed cave on Iwo, a thimbleful of gold tooth filings on Guadalcanal or a coral-encrusted lump at the bottom of the some lagoon. Your parents will be dead 30 years and nobody will have thought of you in 29. How's that for glorious service to the Rising Sun?

Update II: Back together. Ugly.

Squirrel catapult.

Long winters pestering small mammals.

More redneck engineering.

Longer version Suborbital.

Spinning squirrel.

I thought that was spinning. THIS is spinning.

Best spinning music.

One more.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fooling the Ferryman.

Above Fort Bend the Mexicans spotted a black ferryman on the Texans side of the river. Col Almonte called to him in perfect english and got him to bring the boat over. Santa Anna and his staff sprang from cover and captured the boat. They immediately began to cross troops. Martin, hearing that the Mexicans had troops across the river, was forced to retreat. Baker, with a dead man and a burned town to show for his defense of San Felipe had to fall back as well.

Houston marched his men East from Groce's Plantation. Secretary of War Rusk had a letter in his pocket from Texan President David Burnett authorizing the firing of Houston as Supreme Commander if he didn't make a stand and fight. He kept it in his pocket and retreated with Houston and the Texas army.

TSRA Highpower Rifle Championship.

Chief Rick Tanner, home for two weeks from Afganistan presents TSRA Executive Director Steve Hall with a flag flown in theater.

Match Director Ken Gaby.

TSRA Junior Team Member on the line.

TSRA 2011 Highpower Rifle Champion Keith Stephens with the Ike Lee Trophy and his tube gun.

Sgt. Brandon Green during AMU Clinic.

More Sgt. Green lecture during AMU Clinic on Friday afternoon.

Emily Hogg with her AR15 at the AMU clinic.

Heavily armed teenager.

Rifle-fu demonstrated at the clinic.

Kids with assault rifles. A good sign in any culture.

Kids with gunz.

Top gives pointers on shooting them in the center.

Our favorite Hogg.

Giving directions to the Alamo.

AMU Clinic.

TSRA Junior Team member.

Two of our favorite guys, Travis and Clayton Rogers at the AMU clinic.

You don't see this everyday: Concussion pattern at prone position at 300.

Sunday shooting in crosswinds.

Green sends them while Anaya counts him down.

300 yardline grimace on Sunday during 9-25mph fishtailing pickups and let-offs.

AMU Team that won the Texas Team Championship on Friday. Then they had to leave because Congress and the President had FUBARED the budget. Then a bandaid was put on and they were back on Sunday. Can't anybody here PLAY this game?

The most wind anyone can ever remember at Camp Swift, solid from dawn till dusk. My rifle and gear are coated with red grit. Big turnout and a wonderfully run match by directors Ken Gaby, Rick Crawford and Don Tryce. Over 100 competitors shot the two day aggregate score match. 80 shot match on Saturday and a 50 shot match on Sunday. Team Day was Friday and the AMU also held a Highpower Rifle Clinic.