Texas Soil Profiles


Vol. 17 No. 2

August 1999

Published by the Professional Soil Scientists Association of texas


In this Issue...


Message From the President on PSSAT at the Texas State Fair - Jonathan Wiedenfeld

Bear Advice

PSSAT Web Site Gets Facelift - Ricky Lambert

Vial Stuffing and Fish Fry - Mike Risinger

PSSAT "Etc" Fair Display and Work Party - Mike Risinger

Can You Beat This? - Ricky Lambert


Message From the President on PSSAT at the Texas State Fair - Jonathan Wiedenfeld

I never realized how much PSSAT does between meetings until now. There are few days that I don't see something PSSAT related. Right now, we are working on the PSSAT/NRCS booth at the State Fair. This booth is part of the Centennial of Soil Survey celebration and will have the monoliths of Texas soil orders, Houston Black vials, and other soil survey paraphernalia. It runs from 24 Sep to 17 Oct 99.

A lot of volunteers are needed to operate the booth for a month. I want to provide PSSAT money to volunteers to defray costs. Unless there is an objection from the members, I would like to handle this through the executive council. I will send a message to each member of the council this week to resolve this issue. If anyone is interested in volunteering time at the State Fair, they can contact me.

Jon Wiedenfeld


Bear Advice

In light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly bear encounters, the Montana Department of Fish and Game is advising hikers, hunters, and fishermen to take extra precautions and keep alert for bears while in the field.

"We advise that outdoorsmen wear noisy little bells on their clothing so as not to startle bears that aren't expecting them. We also advise outdoorsmen to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a bear. It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity. Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear dung. Black bear dung is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear dung has little bells in it and smells like pepper."


PSSAT Web Site Gets Facelift - Ricky Lambert

Beginning this fall, the PSSAT Web Page expands with more glitz and substance. Presently, the newsletter has the Professions in Soil Science brochure and the ability to post the newsletter. PSSAT members Ricky Lambert, Craig Byrd, and Jon Brandt are working on the design and location of the new page. Some of the new features include space for pictures, bulletin board, and links to other soils organizations. Members will be able to send messages and photos to the webmaster for posting on the bulletin board and photo gallery.

Jon Brandt, the webmaster, will host and maintain the new PSSAT website at www.io.com/PSSAT (PSSAT must be in all caps). The move to a new address increases available file space, shortens the URL address, and avoids the annoying banners and watermarks associated with GEOCITIES. GEOCITIES provided PSSAT with only 10 megabytes of file space, while the new site has approximately 50 megabytes. The extra space gives PSSAT the flexibility to show photos and other multimedia items that can enhance the organization' s various projects. In addition, the new page has an animated PSSAT logo and several cartoons that make the page fun to see. As before, the newsletter can be read from the new site so look for the updated website soon!


Vial Stuffing and Fish Fry - Mike Risinger

Even though we endured 104 degrees in the shade temperatures, we completed filling all 20,000 of the vials with soil. We also put labels on about half of them. Hopefully, we will finish the labeling at the state office this week.

We had good visit with each other as we filled the vials and a world class catfish supper after all the work was done. I wish you could have stayed for the fish it was the best part.

Participants were: Co-sponsors-Special Committee for filling vials: Glen Chervenka and Mike Risinger.

Chief Cook: Glen Chervenka

Assistant Cook: Gaylon Lane

Vial fillers and fish eaters: Nathan Haile, Mike Golden, Ed Janak, Gaylon Lane, Larry and Gladys Wilding, Miki Yoder, Glen and Freda Chervenka, Charles Batte, Lynn Cassens, Mike Risinger.

Vial fillers and label stickers: Pat Weber, Veronica Mershon, and Lynn Dreher. (were not able to stay for fish fry)


PSSAT "Etc" Fair Display and Work Party - Mike Risinger

We are planning on a work party on Friday August 27 to put the Houston Black samples in small vials for handout at the Fair. We are to get the vials in early that week. If they do not show we will notify you by way of SOILTALK. We think we can get people within 1 to 2 hour drive of Temple to come for a work session and a fish fry after that. We plan to start work early after lunch. Hopefully we can have an assembly line type of operation. We have 20,000 (twenty thousand) to fill and label. The site of this activity is east of Temple about 12 to 15 miles. It is the site of the previous Houston Black pits for those of you who might have been at those activities. From Texas highway 53 at Zabcikville which is about 10 miles east of Temple take Farm Road 437 south toward Rogers, approximately 5 miles, turn left on Leedale Lane(gravel) for 1/2 mile to residence. OR from Rogers which is about 10 miles south east of Temple on US 36 take FM 437 for about 5 miles make a right on Leedale Lane, 1/2 mile to residence. We plan on a sign that says SOIL PIT. We will have fish and fries about 6 or 7 PM depending on how the work goes. We will have ice water and tea. Any other refreshments are up you. We need a reply as to number coming so we can get food. Please reply to mrisinge@tx.nrcs.usda.gov. The work area will be outside under trees, so dress accordingly. Lawn chairs would be appropriate. Not all are on SOIL TALK so hopefully those in the local area can tell others about the activity.

Special "dirt committee"

Risinger and Chervenka


Can You Beat This? - Ricky Lambert

Have you ever had one of those days that you should have stayed in bed? I had one of those days while on the Goliad County Soil Survey Detail in June. The day started out innocently enough. After breakfast at the LaQinta Inn in Victoria, I began packing my soils truck to head for the field. What a great day for mapping, I thought, and I was ready to map major acres. But I worried that my vehicle was due for a break down. It likes to visit the mechanic about every month or so. Back in Beaumont, the mechanic and my 1989 Chevy soils truck know each other on a first name basis. The owner of the auto repair shop was able to put in a pool at his home since I started taking my truck to him. Dave Wagner was also packing his truck, which was beside mine. He finished first and started to head out of the motel parking lot. Dave pulled onto the street and I was following. He got onto the street, but I had to wait at the motel entrance to let traffic pass. Once it was free to go, I tried to dart onto the street. My truck was not as willing as it suddenly stalled and it would not restart. I tried to wave at Dave as he was disappearing over the horizon in his nice, shiny, new Dodge Ram, but he did not see me. I got out of the truck, and with assistance of some motel guests, pushed the truck onto a side street.

I walked back to my room and called Jamey Douglass for assistance. By now, the rest of the detailees had summarized that something had happened to me. Jamey called a wrecker and then came to the motel to assist me. The wrecker finally came after we waited for about an hour. After following the wrecker with the sick truck to the Chevrolet dealership, Jamey and I went to the office to regroup.

While at the office, it was decided that I should use Jamey's truck, since he and Jon Wiedenfeld were going to review some troublesome areas. My mapping area was southeast of the town of Goliad. As with most areas in Goliad County, there is no direct route to the mapping area. The ranch I was working on is only 20 miles from Victoria as the crow flies but I have to go all over the county to get there. To get there, I normally went west to Goliad, then southeast on a state highway, and then back east to the ranch. This took a long time and I had wasted too much time as it was. Jamey suggested a shortcut that would cut fifteen or so miles off the trip. I took the bait.

I traveled west to the town of Fannin, turned south, and started on my shortcut. The shortcut is partially state highway and the rest is a county road. The route was great....for the first five or so miles. The smooth bump-free pavement was soon replaced by a slick, rutty dirt road as the state maintenance ended. It rained the day before, and I found myself skidding from bar-ditch to bar-ditch traveling at the sonic rate of fifteen miles per hour. The last five miles seemed to take forever, and was like riding a rodeo bull. About three-quarters of the way through, I found it very hard to steer in the ruts. I was to find out shortly that it was not entirely all the road's fault. The next leg of the shortcut, a state highway, finally appeared on the horizon. I thought my ride on the road from hell was about over until I had to negotiate a 90-degree turn. As I started my turn, the steering wheel greatly resisted my efforts and I realized the next chapter of troubles was just beginning.

As soon as I turned off the ignition, a large mushroom cloud of steam and smoke appeared. What could it be now? A broken radiator hose? A clogged up radiator? No, I knew what was wrong. I opened the hood to find the drivebelt cut up into spaghetti-like strips. This was my second breakdown and it wasn't even noon. Fortunately, I had a cellular phone but it had not been working but I tried it anyway. This was my first taste of good fortune for I got Jamey. He gave me the number for a wrecker in Goliad. There is only one wrecker service based in Goliad and I was able to get them.

About one-half hour after calling the wrecker, they called me back to say they would not be able to help me. While coming to assist me, their wrecker broke down. However, the folks at the wrecker service were able to find another wrecker to come and get me. They showed up and towed me in to Goliad, and the vehicle was serviced at the Ford dealership (the one with the wrecker with the blown engine). By about 3 P.M., I was ready to roll again. I still had several good hours of mapping time left in the day, so I, once again, proceeded to the area to be mapped. I just started working when a large thunderstorm blew in and shut me down for good.

It was now eleven hours later and two vehicles with over $400 in repairs, and, not to mention, my "good luck" spilled over to the wrecker service in Goliad. I was totally dejected, having mapped only about 100 acres. By the way, my truck had stalled due to the electronic ignition module failing. This day was not meant for mapping! Oh yes, did I mention that the fuel line sprung a leak the day before and a tire...

  Texas Soil Profiles is Edited By: Jamey Douglass

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