Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kissing Bugs

I was writing a draft for this blog and had stopped to think [it's harder than it used to be] and a kissing bug walked across the desk to my hand and started up my fingers. I was able to scoop it into a Scotch tape dispenser and go get my camera for pictures. I thought a warning was in order as most people know nothing of it's insidious nature.

Kissing bugs usually crawl onto the victim while they sleep and bore holes in them and suck or lick the blood out. If you find a row of three to six little red spots on your body and slight itching in the morning, they are probably the cause. You wont lose much blood but there are possible side effects.

When a Kissing bug sucks enough blood to fill itself up it turns around and poops right where it was eating. As the bite starts to itch and you start to scratch and rub the poop into the wound you could contract a disease called Chagas. Chagas is a horrible and debilitating disease that can take up to twenty years to kill you. And, the worst part, there is no cure.

Fortunately, it is very rare here in the states. However it is rampant in central and south America. I read where as many as ten million people could have it. There has been only a few cases of it in Texas and most of those people have been out of country before.

However, a customer of mine that lives down the road, and used to run a hunting ranch in south Texas, has had to put down sixteen of her hunting dogs that have contracted it. They traced it back to illegal aliens that worked on the ranch. The medical officials don't know how the dogs contracted it but think that there may be other ways to contract the disease. A&M University is helping her out with this and has tested over twenty of the bugs that she has caught on her place all with negative results. You can Google this for more information. I thought I would pass this along.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Art at Hill Country Natives

Hill Country Natives nursery is having their annual open house this month. They have invited several artists that do some work that would fit into the house, yard or garden. And, well, I've been invited. I think it's pretty cool. I've never thought of myself as an artist. Maybe a welder with an imagination, but an artist, I don't know about that. I have built some pretty cool stuff. I do work for a bunch of interior decorators. I have items in an artsy kind of store or two. I have been commissioned for several items. I don't know, maybe I could be an artist.

I must admit that I don't like the title that much. I've always thought of artists as people too lazy to get real jobs. But I could be wrong. I truly don't like art for art's sake. The Mona Lisa would have been better if it had been painted on a door. You gotta have a door, you might as well have an interesting looking door rather than a plain one. But the painting accomplishes nothing but to just hang there, a woman with a grin like she just broke wind and she's thinking no one knows.

Useful art I can agree with. That's what I build. If you need a table, I'll build you a table that well may be a work of art. Curtain rods, every one needs curtain rods, you might as well have beautiful curtain rods. Whether it's a bench to sit on or a wine rack for your favorite merlot, it's better to have a one of a kind, beautiful piece than run of the mill and mundane. That is useful art. So, I might be a kinda, sorta, artist.

Although I must admit that while dragging pipe through fresh horse poop to build corrals the other day I didn't feel like an artist. Oh well, you do what makes you a living. It's a real job.