Mystery Plant

 , By Ronald Howard Livingston
on Thursday, March, 28 2019 12:45:00 am   , 225 words  
Categories: Uncategorized , 12091 views

 Over the past few years I have been noticing a rather unusual and intriguing plant species in the vegetable garden and flower beds. I have not seen these diminutive plants growing anywhere else, so I doubt that seeds from them were brought in inadvertently in compostable materials or with cuttings from others' gardens. Though they are rather plentiful here now, they are not a problem to control, but before thinning them out or tilling them in, I'd like to know what they are. Can any of my readers identify these plants?


Though they look somewhat delicate. they are actually rather hardy. The recent late winter and early spring cold snaps have not affected them adversely at all. They have proved to be quite able to withstand prolonged dry spells, though this past year has not been particularly dry.


Pictured are the plants at two stages: The first two illustrations show the tight ground-hugging nearly "stemless" 4-inch diameter rosettes of young leaves on the first of March, whereas the others show the stems up to about 10-inches in height and the small clusters of flowers of five-petals.


The leaves are light green, basically oval with pinnate venation and acute tip, somewhat glossy, and very delicate (with texture like the feel of a chickweed leaf).


The geographical area here is coastal Texas, about 55 miles south-southeast of Houston.


Murders Solved?

 , By Ronald Howard Livingston
on Thursday, November, 08 2018 07:28:00 am   , 353 words  
Categories: Uncategorized , 11337 views

Between the evening of June 9 and the early morning of June 10, 1912, in the southwestern Iowa town of Villisca a horrendous murder took place. Killed, bludgeoned in their sleep mainly with the blunt end of an ax, were Josiah and Sarah (Montgomery) Moore, their children, Herman, Mary Katharine, Arthur, and Paul, and two house guests, sisters Ina Mae and Lena Gertrude Stillinger, who were spending the night with the Moores, having participated in the Children's Day Program (of which Sarah had been the coordinator) at the Presbyterian church on the evening of the 9th.


The case, unsolved for over a century, received nation-wide attention at the time.  It was one of several similar such heinous crimes which occurred throughout the country from 1898 to 1912, the year of the Villisca killings. Many of these cases involved identical aspects which in more recent times might be taken to point to an itinerant serial killer. At that time, most of such occurrences, were perceived to be the work of someone local and likely with a grudge.


An examination of this murder in comparison to others like it appears in a book by baseball statistician and writer Bill James and his daughter Rachel McCarthy James.  After researching the Villisca case, Bill James began to look for similar cases to determine if the Moore-family murders could be the results of a serial murderer. In The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery the Jameses identify several commonalities that tie the crimes together as the probable work of a single serial killer. Not only do they identify particular crimes committed by this person, but through their examination of thousands of newspaper items, court transcripts, and public records, they have been able to name that particular individual as Paul Mueller, an ethnic German. The authors suggest that the 1922 Hinterkaifeck murders (in Bavaria) may have been the deed of Mueller.


This video on YouTube mentions the killer's activity in Kansas,



and HERE is an article by the Jameses on the March 11, 1910 Schultz family deaths, believed at the hands of the same murderer, in the Houston Heights, Texas.

Landrace Neat Cattle

 , By Ronald Howard Livingston
on Wednesday, August, 15 2018 01:06:00 am   , 277 words  
Categories: Uncategorized , 9136 views



Landrace neat cattle (and landrace animals in general) are members of domesticated populations which have been left to pretty much "raise themselves" with no selective breeding conducted by humans; instead, these animals have undergone survival of the fittest (mainly through natural selection, though overseen by humans over time for economic exploitation). Landrace populations are representative of animals long endemic to a particular geographical area that thus manifest the characteristics best apt to be beneficial in that environment.



Cattle brought mainly from Spain as early as Columbus' second voyage (1493) contributed their genetics to the further spread of bovines into the mainland of the New World, such as the arrival of Hernán Cortés in Mexico in 1519 and the 1521 expedition to Florida of Juan Ponce de León. These stock introductions and the spread of small populations from them led to the development of landrace breeds such as the Florida Cracker (or Scrub) Cattle, Pineywoods Cattle of the U. S. Gulf Coast region, Criollo Cattle of Mexico (variously called Corriente Cattle in Sonora and adjacent areas, and Chinampo in Baja California), and Texas Longhorns. (The Texas Longhorn breed has become a standardized breed, now with breed standards, a breed registry, and breed association.)  Landrace breeds in the United States from non-Spanish ancestry are represented by the Lineback and Randall breeds which originated from cattle brought to the New England states from the British Isles.






(The bull in the top picture and the young brown bull in the second,  fourth, and fifth pictures are for sale.  If you are interested in purchase or desire more information about these particular cattle, contact me by using the contact form of this website).





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