Archive: » 2022 » February

Little Brother Handy With Tractor, Truck

It sure is handy having a personal tractor mechanic, someone who is also pretty handy at working on vehicles. That would be my little brother Gregg, who learned his diesel mechanic skills in the Marines. While he wisely later studied to become a database engineer – think indoor work with no heavy lifting, and air-conditioning to boot – he still enjoys tinkering and knows his stuff. Gregg, who is nine years younger than me, came over Saturday from Garland to work on both Little Red, the tractor, and Big Red, our 1965 Ford F100. The tractor had developed a slight fuel leak, forcing me to spread...

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The Plain Truth About Planing

At last, all the power tools are tuned up in the woodshop and ready to make some noise. The bandsaw hums along nicely without the blade flying off the wheel. That required painstakingly adjusting the top wheel and aligning other pieces as well. It was trial and error, frequently consulting the owner’s manual. Now it stays on track. The bandsaw, for me, is the scariest Machine That Can Cut Your Fingers Off in my shop. I am always conscious with any of these machines of where both my hands are, at all times. I would prefer not learning how to type with nine fingers. The jointer-planer needed...

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Columns Leads to Unexpected Windfall

My Sunday morning routine rarely varies. After getting caffeinated, I sit down to finish the Capital Highlights column I write for subscribers through the Texas Press Association. About 100 newspapers, mainly weeklies and twice-weeklies in small towns across the state, publish the column. Throughout the week, I check more than three dozen state agencies and elected officials to whom I have subscribed to get their news releases, comb the state’s metro newspaper websites, as well as several nonprofit news sites, looking for items that might be of interest to readers. I save the links to those stories...

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A Plucky Editor in 19th Century Deep East Texas

As I have mentioned previously, I am working on a book about the San Augustine Red-Lander and the interesting characters that ran that paper during the Republic of Texas years and into the first years of Texas joining the union as a state. I hope to bring that fascinating period alive through the thousands of pages of newspapers I have perused and transcribed over the past two years. Whether I succeed or not will be up to the readers, of course. The prominent editor of the Red-Lander, for seven of its nine years in existence, was Alanson Wyllys Canfield, who emigrated to Texas from his native...

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