Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

July 31, 2012

A polictical leader providing christian leadership

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 6:47 am

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July 30, 2012

My Fishing Crew

Filed under: Family — Freddie Keel @ 6:24 am


July 29, 2012

“THE TREE” BY: NEAL MURPHY – July 29, 2012

Filed under: Neal Murphy — Freddie Keel @ 5:52 am






I think Joyce Kilmer got it right when she penned these words – “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.”  I like those words because I love trees as well.  Being reared in East Texas I am comfortable with the tall pines, and sturdy oaks.  I do not like the flat plains of West Texas where trees do not naturally grow.

I purchased my first house in 1965 while living in Houston, Texas with my family.  A grand total of $12, 500 bought me a modest three bedroom, one bath home on a corner lot in Bellaire, Texas.  Corner lots were at a premium at the time and I was a happy homeowner residing on Evergreen Street at Calvi Court with a monthly note of $95.00.  Life was good.

Several months later we were visiting my parents, Cecil and Alice, in San Augustine and I mentioned that it would be nice if I had a shade tree on my corner lot.  My mother suggested that I look around her two acres for a suitable tree and I could transplant it to my new corner lot.  I found a young tree approximately three feet in height, dug it up, and took it back to Bellaire in the trunk of my car.  I think it was a young pin oak.

I immediately dug a hole at a strategic location on my lot and planted the young tree.  I was pleased to be able to give a new tree a good home and hoped that it would provide shade from the hot sun in return.

The next morning I received a telephone call from my across-the-street neighbor, Mrs. Avery.  To my surprise she was quite upset that I had planted the tree on my corner lot.  I asked her objections and was told that the tree’s roots would clog the sewer line and cause all manner of other problems.  I politely thanked her for her concern but felt that she was in error.  I promised that if at any time in the future the tree caused any problems I would take appropriate action.   That seemed to satisfy her.

Three years later I had an opportunity to purchase a larger home in the Westbury area for $18,000 and gain a second bathroom and a two-car garage.  So, we moved from the Evergreen house and left my now teenaged tree behind for the next owner.  Eventually my first house and transplanted tree were forgotten amid new responsibilities.

In September of 2011 my daughter was in Houston and drove by our first home on Evergreen and took pictures.  I was shocked to see how large the transplanted tree had grown. Other trees and shrubs had been planted but my tree overshadowed them all.  I felt a sense of pride that this tall East Texas tree had flourished and provided a canopy of shade on the corner lot, even though I had not been able to enjoy it.  Yes, a tree can grow considerably in 46 years.

As Kilmer said in her poem, “Stories are written by fools like me, but only God can make a tree”.  I hope my tree continues to fulfill its destiny for many more years.  However, I am afraid that the old house will be purchased and torn down so a new one can be built and the tree taken down.  That would be a shame, however time and progress do march on without regard to sentimentality.


July 28, 2012

Raw Milk – By: Tadpole’s Oldest Daughter Part III: Why People are Demanding Raw Milk

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 6:01 am

Raw Milk

By:  Tadpole’s Oldest Daughter

Part III:  Why People are Demanding Raw Milk

The American food supply is making us sick.  The bastardized food supply hits home in our household.  We have a child who suffered from extreme eczema for 10 years.  In the last 6 months, her condition has gone away.  Parts of her skin look like she is a burn victim from the scars, but we are so thankful she is pain free for the first time since she was one year old.

We took our daughter to the experts.  One source was the Houston Medical Center.  She had one of the most renowned pediatric dermatologists in the world that practiced at Houston’s Texas Children’s. We also visited numerous other doctors. We spared no expense and spent thousands trying to find a cure.  I asked every doctor about diet and was told each time that it was not a cause.  Compared to most of the population, we had a good diet.  She was prescribed so many drugs I lost count.

Then I heard about a doctor who is treating kids like ours and making progress.  The medical community probably considers her a quack.  She had us do several unconventional treatments, one was to eliminate all pasteurized / homogenized commercial dairy.  Our child could have raw dairy products; preferably goat. It has been less than six months and she is no eczema.

I had to leave the conventional treatments and get back to traditional whole foods. I thought our diet was fine, but I was so naïve.  For example, purple organic yogurt in a plastic tube is not OK.  Plain yogurt made from raw milk is our new choice.  Goldfish crackers no longer have a spot in my pantry, and fresh fruit is now our snack of choice.  Unfortunately a serving of fresh apple costs more than a serving of goldfish crackers, but that is another discussion.

I’m not alone.  Many parents are facing exploding illnesses that hardly exited when I was a child.  Raw milk is one food that is proving to help many of these children.  That is why we’re seeing an exploding demand for raw milk.  The large dairy industry is threatened and the government is using precious police resources to crackdown on illegal milk sales and imposing hard regulations for those trying to sell legally.

So why was milk one of the foods making my daughter sick?  First of all, pasteurization destroys beneficial bacteria along with the bad ones and destroys enzymes essential for nutrient absorption.  Not only is commercial milk pasteurized, it is homogenized.  But why?

One of the reasons homogenizing milk became standard processing plant practice is that it allowed cheap Grade C milk (with little cream rising to the top) to be mixed with Grade B and valuable Grade A milk (with lots of cream rising to the top) to all be labeled as Grade A and priced accordingly.  There is no known health or nutritional advantage to homogenization.

Pasteurization and homogenization wasn’t enough so the industry introduced ultra-pasteurized where they heat the milk at an even higher heat.  The milk is so dead that is does not require refrigeration.  They continue to refrigerate it because consumers would not buy milk that could sit on the regular shelf.  And notice the use by date.  For ultra-pasteurized milk it is sometimes 2 months out.  I’d never leave my raw milk in the fridge for that long and think I could drink safely.  The reason this commercial milk is ‘safe’ at 2 months after packaged is the same reason it is dangerous.

And finally, the industry uses a growth hormone called rBGH or rBST.  Don’t worry; the FDA put their stamp of approval on this to be used in dairy.  The experts say it is safe.  However, most other countries in the developed world refused to allow it into their dairy supply.  The genetically altered hormone has been banned in the European Union, Canada, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

It increases the cows milk supply, makes them uncomfortable and prone to illness.  For any mother who has breastfed a child, can you imagine being given a drug that increases your milk production by 10% to 15%?  God did not design their udders for this volume.  It is cruel.  These animals get sick and have to be given antibiotics.

We have been told it is safe for humans.  How is safe determined?   The year before the FDA approved the first genetically engineered protein, it said, “Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety.”  We are being used as the testing ground.  No long-term human trials were conducted.  Rather, an industry whose interest is in selling as much as possible was allowed to taint our milk supply.  At the same time we saw increasing rates of antibiotics used on our livestock, we had increasing rates of early puberty and cancer.

So our children are drinking milk that is dead and produced by a cow that is fed hormones and antibiotics.  And it is not just milk, but many dairy products.  Are we crazy?

Next – Part IV:  Why raw milk is good

July 27, 2012


Filed under: Birds — Freddie Keel @ 5:57 am
Tags: ,

One of our Hummingbirds made a mistake

and flew into window.

It was stunned for a few moments

and then back into flight

with no apparent injuries.

July 26, 2012

Time to support Chick-fil-A

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 9:10 pm

Chick-fil-A’s Gay Marriage Fight Hits Boston, Chicago

By Andrew Lu at FindLaw.com

Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:44pm EDT

The Chick-fil-A gay marriage story is the story that just won’t die. The mayors of Boston and Chicago have now chimed in saying that Chick-fil-As are no longer welcome in their respective cities.

Earlier this month, the president of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, made several very public statements against gay marriage. Cathy said that gay marriage went against the bible and proponents of gay marriage were inviting God’s judgment, reports The Associated Press.

Chick-fil-A is famously built on Christian principles (they close on Sundays), so the president’s comments were not all that surprising.

However, not unexpectedly, Cathy’s comments sparked off a firestorm and gay marriage advocates sought bans of the popular chicken sandwich fast food chain. And now it has become a political issue.

A Chicago alderman vowed to block a Chick-fil-A that was proposed to open in his district. Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel supported the alderman saying that, “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values,” reports the AP. Similarly, Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino wrote a letter to Chick-fil-A stating, “[t]here is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it.”

With gay marriage supporters looking to block Chick-fil-As from opening, Christian conservatives have predictably thrown their support behind the company with a planned “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” next week.

As the Chick-fil-A controversy hit major cities like Chicago and Boston, it’s a good reminder that this is more of a political controversy than a legal one. There have been no reported acts of discrimination against Chick-fil-A workers or customers by the company. And given that sexual orientation is not a protected characteristic under federal anti-discrimination law, it’s not clear what remedies someone claiming discrimination would have anyway.


Evangelist Billy Graham defends Chick-fil-A

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN)– Billy Graham, the dean of American evangelists, has once again broken his usual silence on hot-button issues, defending the president of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain for his opposition to same-sex marriage days after issuing a letter decrying what he sees as the nation’s moral decay.

Earlier this year, the ailing preacher publicly endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay unions in North Carolina, raising eyebrows among many who’d watched Graham studiously avoid thorny social issues for years.

On Thursday, he issued a statement of support for the popular fast-food chain. Many people have slammed Chick-fil-A President Don Cathy for saying his company backs the traditional family unit and is opposed to same-sex marriage.

Graham praised restaurant founder S. Truett Cathy and son Don Cathy, the company’s president, “for their strong stand for the Christian faith.”

“I’ve known their family for many years and have watched them grow Chick-fil-A into one of the best businesses in America while never compromising their values,” Graham said.

The Chick-fil-A controversy reflects what many see as America’s deep cultural and religious divide. The company’s position on same-sex marriage doesn’t sit well with Jim Henson Co., whose Jim Henson’s Creature Shop toys have been served in Chick-fil-A’s meals for children.

Jim Henson Co. is named for the creator of The Muppets. However, the company transferred The Muppets’ rights and ownership to the Walt Disney Co. in 2003, according to Jim Henson Co.

“The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over 50 years and we have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors,” the company said in a posting on its Facebook page.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2008 GOP presidential candidate, is backing Chick-fil-A. He urged people to turn out to Chick-fil-A restaurants on Wednesday to show their support for what Cathy had to say about marriage.

Graham says he appreciated Huckabee’s leadership and plans to visit a Chick-fil-A on that day, August 1.

“Each generation faces different issues and challenges, but our standard must always be measured by God’s word. I appreciate the Cathy family’s public support for God’s definition of marriage.”

On Tuesday, Graham leveled deep criticism at the United States. He compared the country to Sodom and Gomorrah, the Biblical cities synonymous with sin.

“Self-centered indulgence, pride, and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle,” Graham writes in the open letter released by his organization this week.

He blasts what he sees as efforts to keep references to Jesus out of the public sphere.

“Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone – except God. Yet the farther we get from God, the more the world spirals out of control,” he writes in the letter released Tuesday.

Graham, 93, has preached to untold millions over six decades, and provided counsel to generations of U.S. presidents.

His open letter also contains a fund-raising appeal and a notice that Graham’s son Franklin, himself a major evangelical figure, is launching a new effort to “bring the Gospel into neighborhoods and homes in every corner of America next year.”

Randall Balmer, the chair of the religion department at Dartmouth College, suspects the motivation for the letter is at least partly political.

“It’s hard for me to believe that this letter does not have political intent,” he said.

Its move to decry what he would see as moral decay “would be tied to the Obama administration,” he argued, asking rhetorically why Graham would not have issued the statement in response to an event like the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.

Graham’s spokesman did not immediately respond to a question about what prompted the letter.

It does not clearly refer to specific recent events.

Balmer said that evangelicals would take note of the letter, though Graham has largely retired from the public eye in recent years.

“There is certainly admiration for Billy Graham, as there should be,” Balmer said. “There is lingering respect for Billy Graham and I think that people will take notice.”

But he said the comparison to Sodom and Gomorrah – which Graham attributes to his late wife Ruth in the letter – was startling.

“When Billy Graham came to Madison Square Garden in 1957, he made comments comparing New York City to Sodom and Gomorrah and was roundly criticized for it,” Balmer said. Since that time, Balmer said, Graham has largely avoided making the comparison to the Biblical cities.

CNN’s Joe Sterling contributed to this report.

Short count of whooping cranes

Filed under: Birds — Freddie Keel @ 6:54 am

SAN ANTONIO – The first official whooping crane count of the year was released Thursday and brought up more questions than answers.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service counted a total of 193 birds on three flights in January over the endangered species’ wintering grounds around San Antonio Bay.

An additional 16 birds were counted outside of the normal wintering grounds as far away as Nebraska.

The low number and wide distribution are a concern because at the start of the season crane experts estimated as many as 300 birds would be wintering on  the coast.

Officials at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge said they do not believe 91 birds have died, as they have collected only two carcasses. But the drought is drastically changing the birds’ habits.

Tallest U.S. bird

At 5 feet tall with white plumage, except for black tips on their wings and a crow of red skin, the tallest birds in North America are relatively easy to count in normal rainfall years when they stay along the shoreline.

“But this year we know the birds are moving around much more, so it is not as easy to determine the count,” said Vicki Muller, a wildlife specialist at the refuge.

The lack of rain and river inflow at the estuaries the birds depend on has caused a shortage of potable water and reduce the number of blue crabs, their preferred food.

Now the normally fiercely territorial birds are leaving the edges of the bays and estuaries to fly inland looking for food, according to the report.

They’re spread out

While most of the birds appear to be congregating near the coast at water holes and burned areas where they can find acorns, small mammals, reptiles and insects to eat, some are as far away as Granger Lake, northeast of Austin, and along the Platte River in Nebraska.

“They have pretty much abandoned their territories,” said Capt. Tommy Moore who leads crane boat tours.

In late November, Moore’s tours would pass up to 30 birds along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Now, he said, he sees three adult pairs and their young.

The refuge plans another count this month and again in March.

The count is significant because a federal judge is weighing arguments about whether Texas is doing enough to assure freshwater inflows for the federally protected birds.

During the drought of 2009 when river flows were minimal, the refuge reported at least 23 cranes died. It was the largest die-off of whooping cranes ever recorded and became the basis of the lawsuit against Texas.

If the judge rules Texas is not doing enough, water in the Guadalupe and San Antonio rivers could be reallocated. That would directly affect large industrial water users.

July 25, 2012

On The Bright Side By Mary Howell – July 25, 2012

Filed under: Mary Howell — Freddie Keel @ 6:02 am

On The Bright Side

By Mary Howell


            The month of July has been filled with summertime activities for the residents who call Hemphill Care Center their home.

For the 4th of July, we enjoyed a picnic lunch in the dining room with cold drinks, hamburgers, chips, and watermelon.

We say ‘thank you’ to Kyle Bolyar and Marc Griffin for donating watermelons for our enjoyment.

During July we were delighted to have four block parties, one for each hall. The parties were complete with jazzy music, snacks, and a piñata filled with candy. The residents had fun taking turns trying to break the piñata open.

We give recognition to our friends from Hemphill Church of Christ who were chosen as Volunteer of the Month.  

The Resident Council selected Debra Frost and Patty Helmer as Employees of the Month. I was blessed that my friends chose me as the Resident of the Month.

We wish Happy July Birthdays to: Maye Davis, Artie Rash, Wilma Graves, Louis Scott, Ellis Tiner, Lorene Jones, Marilyn Riordan, and Neva Poindexter.

We enjoyed worship services and gospel singing hosted by: First Baptist Church, Fairdale Baptist Church, Community Fellowship Church, Bethel Chapel Baptist Church, Hemphill Church of Christ, Parkway Baptist Church, Bethany Baptist Church, and Lester and Kay Fatheree. 

We say ‘thank you’ to Macedonia Baptist Church mission ladies for the delicious cakes and pies they bake for us. We also appreciate the banana splits provided by the VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post #10351.

The Tuesday matinée is always a fun time for movie lovers. The movies are donated by Hornet Express Video store.

The July sponsors for our Bingo games were: Hemphill Church of Christ, Parkway Baptist Church, Lorene from Consolidated Health Care, and Juanita and Melissa.

Brandi from Harbor Hospice led us in Bible study. She is always a blessing to us.

On July 18th, we had a good time tapping our toes and rocking and rolling our chairs to the lively music of The Pineywood Pickers.

Today we look forward to our Fourth Annual Homemade Ice Cream Contest. The contest is in celebration of National Ice Cream Month.

We also look forward to our pizza party which will be next Tuesday, July 31st.

We welcome family and friends to join us for any activity at the Care Center. Your presence will give loved ones a day on the bright side.


P.S. My book Life on the Bright Side is still available at J. R. Huffman library, First Baptist Church office, and Healthy Solutions health food store.



July 25, 2012

July 24, 2012

Part II: Bye-Bye Raw Milk By: Tadpole’s Oldest Daughter

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 6:17 am

Part II:  Bye-Bye Raw Milk

By:  Tadpole’s Oldest Daughter

Our country’s health has declined tremendously since the industrial revolution.  Life expectancy has increased, but this is due to fewer females dying from childbirth, brilliant surgeons and drugs that treat life-threatening conditions such as diabetes; as well as other factors.

Even though life expectancy has increased, overall health has taken a nosedive.  Just go to your local Wal-Mart and watch people from the children to the seniors.  Many are obese and others have dull hair along with pasty looking skin.   We are sick physically and mentally.  According to NCHS Data on prescription drugs, about 10%-20% of US adults are now taking either anti-depressant or anti-anxiety drugs; which doesn’t factor illegal drug and alcohol abuse.  Our children are also taking mood-altering drugs at alarming rates.  We are the living ill.  Now is the time to take our health back because Obamacare will change our healthcare options.

I believe eating the traditional foods our grandparents enjoyed is key. One of these foods is raw milk. Our country drank raw milk until the industrial revolution. Raw milk even goes back to Old Testament times – “the land flowing with milk and honey.”  Why was raw milk a core food for thousands of years but dangerous now?

In the 1800s, the industrial revolution was hitting the US.  Workers were flocking to the city.  The demand for whiskey hit and distilleries popped up to supply.  This left spent grains with no use.  Soon, cows were confined adjacent to the distillery.  They were fed the hot, reeking swill left over from the whiskey-making process while being confined to filthy manure laden pens.  In addition, the cows were milked in unsanitary conditions and contaminated with deadly bacteria.  The milk was terrible and killed people.  In New York City during 1870 alone, infant mortality rocketed to around 20% and stayed there for many more years.

Mothers demanded clean milk, and upright local farms became certified which gave parents comfort knowing the milk met certain standards.  However, this milk cost up to four times the price of uncertified milk.  New York philanthropist Nathan Straus, who lost a child, to milk contaminated with diphtheria, felt differently. He was not on board with certified raw milk but believed the only safe milk was that which had been pasteurized.  He spent a fortune over 10 years promoting the pasteurization of milk.

Pasteurized and certified milks co-existed until the mid-1940’s.  In 1944, a concerted media campaign was launched with a series of slanted and agenda driven magazine articles designed to spark fear at the very thought of consuming raw milk.  Pasteurization was in, raw milk was becoming taboo.

Today raw milk is it making a comeback.  People are taking great risks to produce it and purchase it.  In some states, it is illegal so people are transporting it across state lines and receiving high penalties when caught.  What is driving people to take these risks and go to this much trouble?  And what is driving government crackdowns?

Next – Part III:  Why people are demanding raw milk

July 23, 2012

When you see me on the lake, I will be wearing my life jacket!

Tadpole (photo by Martha’s World Wide Photos)
DANGEROUS: With lake levels up, TPWD is planning on lots of people out on the water this year. After a bad year last year, they are urging people to wear life vests.

Much needed rainfall has put water back in many Texas lakes. And after a dangerous year on the water last year, Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens are anticipating a busy boating season.

“Last year we had 32 boating fatalities across the state,” said Jeff Parrish, assistant chief for marine law enforcement. “Tragic as that number is, we can learn something from statistics. Of those 32 deaths, all but five were of people not wearing a personal flotation device. That really underscores the vital importance of wearing a life jacket.”

State law requires that a personal flotation device be available for each occupant of a boat, but only those under 13 years of age are mandated by the law to wear one while the boat or paddle craft is underway or drifting.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Parrish continued. “Wear a life jacket and your chances of surviving a life threatening event on the water increases 10 fold.”

While the life jacket requirement is not new, the last session of the legislature did make it mandatory that all persons born on or after Sept. 1, 1993 obtain a boater education certificate before they can legally operate a vessel with a rating of more than 15 horsepower. Anyone supervising the operation of a vessel by another must be exempt from the boater ed requirement (born before 1993) or have a boater ed certificate.

Six of the boating deaths in 2011 were alcohol-related, underscoring the importance of not drinking while operating a boat.

“If you want to drink when you’re out on the water, do so responsibly or have a designed operator,” Parrish said. “Anyone our wardens find operating a boat while intoxicated will be going to jail.”

In addition to the 32 boating fatalities in 2011 (up four from 2011), Texas saw 229 boating accidents that resulted in 121 injuries. State game wardens and other marine enforcement officers made 259 BWI arrests and issued 305 citations for no life jacket.

“Anyone stumped on a gift idea for a high school graduate could see that they get signed up for a boater ed class,” Parrish said. “That’s a gift that could end up saving a life.”

“Getting caught on open water in a storm is not a fun experience,” Parrish said. “If rough weather is anticipated, it’s best to stay off the water or close to shore.”

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