Monday, October 23, 2017

5 Ways To Improve Education (a link)


Another Dozen Memes

Click images to enlarge.


74-Year-Old Man Needs Kidney For Wife (a link)


BEWARE East Tennessee Deer Hunters (a link)


Can you help this guy?


“…. Y’know, I sit and read the paper, watch the TV shows and news, listen to the radio, and just plain take time to observe what is going on around me, and I can’t begin to fathom what the hell has happened to the Country and the people that I grew-up, worked, and played with for all of my 76 years on the planet.”

        ~ Dennis ~

A Regular Guy ...

I used to think I was just a regular guy, but I was born white, which now, whether I like it or not, makes me a racist.

I am a fiscal and moral conservative, which by today's standards, makes me a fascist.

I am heterosexual, which according to gay folks, now makes me a homophobic.

I am non-union, which makes me a traitor to the working class and an ally of big business.

I am a Christian, which now labels me as an infidel.

I believe in the 2nd Amendment, which now makes me a member of the vast gun lobby.
(*and I am too)

I am older than 70, which makes me a useless old man

I think and I reason, therefore I doubt what the main stream media tells me, which must make me a reactionary.

I am proud of my heritage and our inclusive American culture, which makes me a xenophobe.

I value my safety and that of my family and I appreciate the police and the legal system, which makes me a right-wing extremist. (*in spades)

I believe in hard work, fair play, and fair compensation according to each individual's merits, which today makes me an anti-socialist

I believe in the defense and protection of the homeland for and by all citizens, which now makes me a militant. (*Proudly)

Recently, a really sick old woman, (who ran for President BTW), called me and my friends a “basket of deplorables”.

Please help me come to terms with the new me . . because I'm just not sure who I am anymore! (*Hee-he-hee)

However, I would like to thank all my friends for sticking with me through these abrupt, new found changes in my life and in my way of thinking!

I just can't imagine or understand what's happened to me so quickly!  Funny though..,  it's all just taken place over the last 8 years!  Then as if all this crap wasn't enough to deal with.
I'm now confused as to what to do if a woman walks into the restroom I normally use!”

        “It has become blatantly obvious to me that the shameful fact is that an alarming number of American Elementary & High Schools, Colleges & Universities are, and have been for quite some time, producing generation after generation of woefully under educated and totally dysfunctional liberal ‘zombies.”  
                                                      ~ *Dennis Staer ©2017 ~

Yes, Antifa Is Communist. (a link)


Amusing Clydesdale Video


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sweden Considering Using Military In No-Go Zones (a link)


Full Censorship In Germany (a link)


Romania Now Rejecting Islam (a link)


Biggest Scandal In American Political History? (a link)


Big Fire(w/pics) - Day Trip

Last night, just after the late news, I saw a post on Facebook that the old factory building where I worked was engulfed in flames. I’m not surprised. Parts of the building were well over a century old. I’m sure some of the wiring was nearly as old as I am. Some of the place was insulated with asbestos. The inside walls were covered with many coats of lead/oil based paint. The roof had so many layers of metal, wood and asphalt roofing that they gave up trying to nail the patches on and fastened them with only roofing cement. The last time that I drove by when the giant doors were open, the place was filled with rolls of plastic being stored there. I’m not sure what all was in there when the place mysteriously caught fire. I will assume that the building and its contents were WELL insured.

The missus and I had planned to go to Ohio’s Amish country today, and we did. Heading toward town to get a drive-thru breakfast and get on the interstate, the first thing we saw was the huge smoke plume billowing from the big fire across town. Covering over one city block, the building would contain a lot of stuff to burn. Heading north on the interstate, we mostly kept the plume in sight and noticed that it crossed the Ohio River about 15 miles to the north. It seemed to fan out, with the outer edges the heaviest and forming a “Y.” Both trails of smoke were huge in their own right and looked like the worst storm clouds that you could ever imagine. The middle of the Y was still heavy with smoke, but not like the edges. Our northward travel ever-so-slowly cut across the center to somewhat parallel the left (western) fork of the plume. It was at the 70 mile marker that we finally passed the head of the thick plume of smoke, though thinner smoke obviously went miles further. That meant that the main smoke plume had gone about 85 miles in nine hours. It was still so thick that it wouldn’t surprise me if the smoke eventually became noticeable at Lake Erie. I guess time will tell. The only good thing about it so far is that the smoke is rising quickly at the source, not hugging the ground.

At Amish country, we discovered that not only is the place continuing to change for the worse (in OUR opinion), but that we are no longer able to see the place as we once did. The missus has only been able to visit about half the shops in Berlin, Ohio, for the past few years. Today, she was down to one-fourth. We haven’t decided whether to quit going or figure out some way to continue. One option is for me to push her to each shop in a wheel chair, and then me sit in it while she hobbles around inside. The other option is to get her a scooter and me hobble around the antique shops while she “shops” (she rarely buys anything anymore). I guess time will tell.

A check of the local TV website gave the information that the big fire is being considered a chemical fire. The disaster notice and two photos from Facebook are posted below.

disaster notice

Drew Edgar photo

Andrea Duke photo

Flooded Cars Flooding Market (a link)

Bayou Renaissance Man: Am I a prophet, or what? - used car edition

Friday, October 20, 2017

Live And Learn

I bolted the first two pieces of metal onto my sawmill frame yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice that I needed five lag-bolts and three carriage bolts and instead had four of each. Plus, when drilling one of the guide holes for a lag-bolt, the drill made a strange hammering noise, as if it had a hammer mode, though it doesn’t. I finally decided that the drill was rubbing an unseen spike in the frame.

I debated whether to put the bolt in that hole, or drill a new one, but I figured it would be okay, since it was typical worthless lumberyard pine. I decided that the frame would have enough give to allow the bolt to screw in okay. I put that bolt in last, and even though I didn’t think I had yet matched the torque I’d put on the other bolts, it twisted off just before it tightened down firmly on the lock-washer. I drilled another hole and looked in the basement JUST IN CASE I might have a couple stray lag-bolts that size lying around, but no such luck. So, I went to the hardware store later that day and picked up the required two lag-bolts. It was late enough when we got home from running sundry errands that I decided to wait until today to put them in.

Today, I made several phone calls to three nurses in my heart doctor’s office before reaching them and taking care of some matters. Then I cleaned my truck windows, put some Freon in the truck AC, gave the dog a thorough combing to thin out some of her shedding hair, and clipped her nails. Having been awoken early (and unnecessarily) by the missus claiming the pooch needed to pee. I was tired enough that I took a nap. My presence was then required to life the pooch in and out of the tub, so my wife could give her a much-needed bath. Finally, not long before dark, I went out back and installed the two lag-bolts in the frame.

And SO ladies and gentlemen, if you ever drill a guide hole for a lag-bolt and realize that your drill bit is rubbing another piece of metal inside the wood, save yourself some aggravation and just drill another hole to begin with! © 2017

Chapter 4

Chapter 4

The After Hours Culture Club

The Friday night meetings—such a part of so many people’s lives for a few years, began simply as a couple guys having a beer in the backroom while catching up on fletching arrow-shafts. The get-togethers just sort of evolved; they didn’t start out as a planned event and they never had an official name, yet they eventually became a weekly musical and social event for at least two dozen fellows. If you consider that those present rotated from week to week, due to work schedules and family obligations, the number may have been double that.
The site of the event was Flattop’s Archery Shop, located near the point where Beulah Street crosses Combs’ Run in the North-Side area of Newport. The host was Flattop himself, so nick-named because of his out-of-date haircut. He and Ralph, the manager, saw to it that the fletching jigs were always full, so that the time spent in the celebration of our musical heritage and archery traditions were fiscally advantageous to the shop. The combined smells of wood smoke and fletching compound (think old-fashioned airplane glue) gave rise to smart-Alec remarks that the backroom had a certain “air” about it. Many fellows marveled that such “air” didn’t ignite and blow the crowd to Kingdom Come when sparks flew as someone stoked the old boxwood heater on frosty evenings.
The patriarchs of the club would start arriving about seven in the evening with their archery gear, an instrument case and a brown paper bag. First stop would be in the back room where, amongst fletching jigs, arrow boxes and general shop clutter, they would find safe places to deposit their instrument cases and brown paper bags. Some of the larger bags would go into the old round-topped refrigerator, a cast-off from someone’s kitchen remodel many years earlier. Most of the fellows would then mosey upstairs to the indoor range to shoot a few rounds until the beginning of the festivities. Either Flattop or Ralph would stay in the back room while the others shot, in part to remove from the jigs those arrows whose fletching had dried and replace them with new ones which still needed to be fletched, and partly to keep an eye on the instruments and brown paper bags. Sometimes, archers who’d gotten their fill of practice during league nights earlier in the week would stay in the back room with the resident fletcher to keep him company.
Just before nine o’clock, the regulars would start drifting downstairs and into the back room. As everyone was squaring up with Flattop over range-fees and purchases, a few latecomers would slip in the front door as those who chose not to attend would pay up and file out. At nine sharp, the front door would be locked and the showroom lights would be turned off. Any late arrivals would have to walk around to the back of the building in darkness and knock on the windowless back door to be let in.
Orphaned dining-room chairs from half-dozen or more ancient sets, which comprised the best seats in the house, had long been claimed by the patriarchs. The remainder of the crowd sat where they could. Musical chairs was played the rest of the evening as guys (and rarely gals) stood up to unlimber stiff joints, refill plastic cups or get a handful of snacks from the array of goodies on the folding card table near the main work bench. Whether their seat was on a wooden bench, an old nail keg, or a drywall bucket, they were likely as not to find it taken if they lingered too long elsewhere.
The first few strains of melody always came from the back room even before the front door was locked as early arrivals would check their instruments for tune. The initial burst of music brought a general rustle of activity as older club members added ice to plastic cups, poured in liquids from the small brown bags, and mixed in soda from the pop machine. A few hardy souls skipped the soda. Other fellows scorned the sweet mixes or solvent-like liquids of their peers and pulled out cans with German names printed on them from the fridge. The younger crowd, of course, had to content themselves with offerings from the pop machine.
During summer, there might be as few as three musicians as folks tried to stay ahead of chores at home. During the winter months, however, there would often be a dozen or more instrumentalists, since hunting season was over and there was no grass to mow. The musical selections started out with contemporary country songs, moved to a handful of old ballads,  then a little bluegrass and ended with a couple short classical pieces.
By that time, about 45 minutes had passed and the musicians needed a break. There was a general refreshing of drinks, telling of jokes, passing of the snack trays and an unsuccessful attempt or two by one teenager or another to spike his drink. If there was some hunting story to be told, some parable to be passed on to the younger members or an announcement to be made on conservation matters, it was done at that time. The scents of sour mash, lager and corn chips were added to the already intoxicating smell of fletching compound and wood smoke. Thus, the cluttered concert hall was permeated with a delicate bouquet, improved only on those occasions during hunting season when traces of buck lure were unwittingly added to the mix by hunters who hadn’t changed their clothes before coming to the backroom music-fest.
After a break of 15-20 minutes, the second round of music began and it was usually noticed that things had smoothed up a bit. In part, it may have been that the whiskey had washed away some of the week’s worries and woes, leaving performers more relaxed and focused on their music. One of the fiddle players was a young teetotaling block-mason who complained that his strenuous work stiffened his fingers. He feared that he would someday have to choose between the work which fed his body or the music which fed his soul. Another of the fiddlers was a non-drinking farrier whose frequent need to hold up the feet of lazy or stubborn horses caused the same problem experienced by the block-mason. However, after the first dozen or so songs, their fingers seemed to loosen and they got in as good of form as their suds and liquor-sipping friends.
The most interesting fellow to watch was “the southern gentleman,” a quiet utility-company supervisor nearing retirement age. He’d earned that nickname from his ability to get along with everybody; his quiet gentility and couth making all around him feel as if they were someone special. His normal location was perched on a high stool near the end of the main workbench where most of the whiskey was kept. From observing his fondness for that nectar, it was plain that his location was no accident. As the evening wore on, his eyes stayed closed an increasingly greater percentage of the time, and he seemed more and more to be one with his fiddle. His swaying with the music got so pronounced at times that bets were placed on whether he’d eventually fall from his stool. Still, he never missed a note, and when they would take a turn at a classical number, he deftly made the change from hoe-down fiddler to first violin.
One of the mandolin players could always be counted on to cut a dashing figure. He’d never joined the camo craze that was then sweeping the country but preferred the wool pants and green plaid jackets of an earlier generation of archers. He rarely bothered to take off his armguard when he switched from archery to instrumental endeavors, and even wore his befeathered Robin Hood style hat, giving him the air of some sylvan troubadour. Though he seemed a little eccentric to some, he got his deer every year and told folks they would, too, if they’d just learn how to quit fidgeting.
For whatever the reason, the fiddle players seemed the most faithful in attendance with the mandolin players a close second. Banjo, guitar and harmonica players were more of a circulating group with different players attending the club on different Friday nights. Even those in attendance didn’t always play every song, though. There was often a shuffling of performers between songs as some sought to beat the break-time crowd at the refreshment table or pay a visit to the little room in the back corner of the shop. A few would take an occasional smoke break. You must remember, this was in the days when a businessman could smoke in his own place and tell those who didn’t like it that they could take a hike.
There would be three hitches of music and breaks by the witching hour when those who had to work the next morning, and the teenagers with curfews, had to gather their things and hit the road. A similar scene would be repeated at one o’clock for those who felt the call of the home-fires. At two o’clock, or when the musicians got down to a duo, whichever came first, those remaining would finish off the food or pack it to take home. One by one, the late-stayers parted with a handshake or a pat on the back. The last to quit playing, and usually one of the last to leave, was the southern gentleman. After all the speculation as to how long he could stay atop his perch, he would case his violin and bow, light his pipe, tip his hat to the few souls remaining and walk to his car with a stride as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar.
Some folks wondered at the time why the teenagers were tolerated, since they added nothing to the performance. Others may have thought it improper for them to be in the company of adults who were drinking and smoking. Yet, the young people in attendance soon noticed that an occasional drink didn’t have to be an invitation to debauchery. In all the years of the club, not one single person ever got so inebriated as to create a problem. As for smoking, most had a parent or grandparent that smoked, so it was nothing new.
Considering that the club existed during the Vietnam years, the youngsters at the meetings could just as easily have been somewhere smoking wacky-weed, getting their girlfriends pregnant or any number of other less uplifting pastimes than listening to traditional music. Perhaps the patriarchs allowed their young, fellow archers to attend for that very reason; maybe too, they realized how few kids of that era were getting the chance to gain an appreciation of so many varieties of music beyond rock.
Sadly all good things really do come to an end. Flattop retired and sold the business to a much younger man who did indeed smoke wacky-weed instead of drinking whiskey. No one knows if that had anything to do with the place burning down in the wee hours of the morning one weekend. The club had ceased meeting when Flattop retired, so many of the former club members didn’t get the news about the demise of the old landmark for days or even weeks. It was like hearing about the passing of an old friend when the members got the word.
They still see Flattop on the road once in a while. They say he drives with the cautious slowness of the white-headed old man that he is. They always give him a wave, though more often than not, he doesn’t see the gesture. The youngsters of that day are starting to grey themselves now, but each one remembers fondly that smoky back room and the good times and the good music of The After Hours Culture Club.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Being A Know-It-All Is A Mixed Blessing

Many years ago, the missus and I were visiting PearlBuck’s birthplace and a young volunteer showed us a little metal gizmo and told us it was a meat grinder. When the rest of the crowd left, I told her that being a country boy, I knew it to be a cherry-pitter and thought she might want to know. My wife and I had to smile at one another later to overhear her giving another girl the devil for not telling her the right thing. The second girl’s defense was “Well I didn’t know!”
Several years later, I was in Campus Martius Museum and saw a couple things mislabeled. They acted like they didn’t appreciate being told.
Yet later, the missus and my mother were visiting Henderson Hall and the on-in-years volunteers showed the tourists what she called a “tomahawk” the first female who lived there kept by the bed to protect herself from Indians. My mother didn’t even wait for the room to clear before she informed the lady that it was a broad axe, not a tomahawk. The lady seemed unappreciative of the information. (Had I been there, I could have also told her that the Indians ceased to be a danger in that area nearly three decades before the mansion was built.)
Today, I was in an antique shop and saw a coal grate mislabeled as a “wood holder” and a froe with an upside-down blade labeled as an adze. Luckily, the shop belonged to a guy that I do business with (usually selling, but buying on occasion) and he wasn’t offended at my comments. In fact, he began making new labels on the spot. He knew the grate was for a fireplace but didn’t know the name. He also knew that the piece was NOT an adze, but couldn’t remember the name “froe.” I don’t know if he remembered to turn the blade around or not.
It really isn’t that I want to show my “smarts;” it’s that I want history to be properly preserved. I’ve actually USED a lot of the tools that are displayed in museums, or at least SEEN them used. Both sets of grandparents had a coal grate, for instance. Just for the record, if you ever use one, burn some wood with your coal and your flue won’t soot up as badly.

I’ve used drawknives, adzes, T-augers, froes, peavey hooks, axes, hatchets, post-hole diggers, fence tools (the kind with the steeple-puller), gimlets, glass-cutters, cross-cut saws, hay forks and manure forks, curry combs and a host of other things that nearly every country kid used to know how to handle. Should I keep my mouth shut in this age where no-one really cares anyway? Probably. WILL I? Probably not. – LOL © 2017

Getting Up For The Dog

I awoke at 6:25, silently singing the complete third verse of Holy, Holy, Holy. That was a new one for me. As I sat staring at the now “alarmless” alarm clock (it tuckered out recently), I tried to repeat the verse and found myself unable to do so in a waking state. I’d last taken the pooch out at 1:30, just before I went to bed, so I knew she’d probably be ready to venture outside again. Going to the head of the stairs, I silently asked the Lord not to let me fall and then slowly descended, a hand on each wall. I remember when I could bounce down the stairs like a young feller.

After taking a drain my own self, I went looking for the dog. She wasn’t at her normal station by my wife’s bed, so I checked under my desk in the next room. She didn’t want to come out as I called quietly, so I sat down in the desk chair and petted her a few minutes. When I arose, she followed me to the door.

It would have been daylight just a few weeks ago, but the stars, our dusk-to-dawn light out by the road, and seven outdoor lights at the neighbors were all that lit the yard slightly. No sun or moon was to be seen. I think it was only yesterday that a crescent moon hung directly over the neighbor’s house at this hour with the bright morning star beside it. That moon was sitting there like a bowl, and the rest of the moon, in shadow, looked like someone had piled it into the bowl. The star was there again today at least, and all its kinfolk. God has them all named; imagine that. The pooch took a good long drain as I stood there in my skivvies noticing the coolness of 35 degrees darkness. I was tempted to sit on the porch with her a few minutes, but there seemed to be the slightest of breezes and I thought that I might be pushing my luck.

Back inside, I gave the pooch a couple slices of cheese, hoping that would keep her from waking my wife up for a breakfast that she wouldn’t eat anyway, dern fickle dog! The cheese seemed to work and she lay down beside the missus’ bed and went to sleep. I just heard her snore as I typed that last sentence (the pooch, not me wife).

Well, I’ve checked Facebook and my blog, and typed this post. It’s now 7:30 and daylight. I guess I should try to get a few more winks before the missus gets me up to run our errands. She’s awake for now, so I’m pushing my luck staying here any longer. Catch you later! © 2017

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Last Mowing – Maybe

I mowed the yard today. It literally looked like a fourth cutting hay field from a distance, though the “tall” stuff was only half-height broom sedge. Mixed with it was some sort of miniature fox-tail and plenty of “fall grass” (crab grass). Most places were actually rather sparse, due in part to a dry summer and fall, and partly due to the deer that graze in my yard at night. I KNOW that I’ve mowed the yard less than a half-dozen times this year, perhaps as little as four times. As a never-seriously-fertilized wild lawn, it’s a bit sparse to begin with, then there’s the deer and the weather as I mentioned, PLUS there’s the fact that as a country place, I feel no need to make it look like a city lawn anyway. Also, being poor, there’s the fuel issue. The neighbor, having none of these inhibitions or character flaws, has probably mowed his at least 20 times this year. So be it. As one of my “non-judgmental” former church members once told me, “It looks nice when it’s mowed.” He was correct. – lol

I was surprise to see more walnuts at the lower edge of the lawn than I expected. First, I didn’t think the tree had that many; second, I’m surprised the squirrels haven’t gotten them. Then again, I haven’t seen our resident squirrel lately; maybe something got him! I should get some drywall buckets and pick them up.
Also at the lower edge of the lawn is a good stand of black Indian hemp, though it’s neither black, Indian, NOR hemp. Its proper name is dog-bane, I believe, and it’s reputed to make excellent cordage. I’d thought about gathering some and hanging it up to dry. However, I recently read that it’s poisonous enough that you shouldn’t even HANDLE it when it’s “green” (purple, actually), but should let it die naturally and gather it in the winter when the stalks are dead. I may do that.

After I finished mowing, we drove to town and got a six-piece order of buttermilk chicken strips at the fallen arches restaurant and shared them equally with the pooch. It made a good snack for us and a good meal for her. It helped her appetite that I reached each bite into the back seat and hand fed her. Her Royal Lowness expects no less! (She’s a dachshund, in case you forget.) Of course, I had to use some wipe-ups diligently after I fed her and before I could eat mine.

As we got out of the truck, back home, a couple barred owls down the ridge a ways behind our house were hooting. It’s nice to hear them, but I still miss hearing the big hoot owls (Great Horned Owls) of my youth. I think the reason they’re gone from the area is that all the huge old hollow beech trees of my youth have died and fallen and there’s no cavities in the younger trees large enough to make nesting sites for them.
I’d hoped to tinker on my sawmill frame some today and cut the ash sprout to length for a walking stick. However, I didn’t feel up to snuff this morning, and I mowed this afternoon, so maybe tomorrow, though my wife and I also have other things we need to do.

I’d like to get another mowing in November, to “smooth-up” the lawn so the leaves won’t stick so badly as the winter wind blows and the white oaks drop their leaves all winter long. Time will tell, I guess. © 2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Three Porch Sits And Not Much Else

I didn’t get to sleep until about 2AM this morning; then, I got up at 6 to take the pooch out again. I trudged back to bed, but the missus woke me up at 8 to tell the pooch was dying to go out again. I was NOT a happy camper. She drained a little and gave a slight dump, but I think she was mainly just bored and wanted to see my handsome face. Since I’d planned on getting up around 9 anyway, I sat on the porch with her for a full hour before going in and getting dressed and such. It was very breezy and from the wrong direction, so I knew it was blowing something up. The breeze was rowdy enough that I couldn’t hear too many other sounds. The pooch laid her head down and closed her eyes, but her little nose twitched at 90 miles an hour as she tested the wind and her ears perked up whenever she thought she heard something.

Soon after, the missus and I went to Chinamart, where she picked up some groceries for us and I picked up a few things for Mom. I got everything Mom wanted, but the missus wasn’t feeling top notch so she left before getting everything she would have otherwise. On getting home, I took the pooch out again and we sat on the porch for a little less than a half-hour before she chose to go in and check on the missus. She knows when one of us is under the weather and gets concerned.

Later, I tried taking a nap for a couple hours with only moderate success. It was 5 by the time I got up, so I took the pooch out and we parked on the porch once again. It was downright WINDY that hitch, but still rather sunny, and the wind was from the west, as is normal here. The trucks on the four-lane a mile or two away sounded like they were running up the main hollow on my place, so I knew rain was coming. The only other sounds, other than the wind, were a couple crows flying over and a few cars that went by on the country road at the front of our place.

Suddenly, at 6, the sun disappeared as a huge cloud blew in over us. The pooch noticed the difference and didn’t seem to like it. A couple minutes later, she stood up and walked the few steps to the door, wanting to go in. twenty minutes later, it was pouring down the rain and the place where she’d been lying was soaked. I guess she’s psychic.

As usual, there’s nothing interesting on the TV, so I’m copying the messages on the backs of some old family postcards so I can sell them and get some spending money for a project that I’ve got in mind. The fronts are already copied, but I wanted to save the messages, too, since the cards are those of my grandparents when my granddad worked in the oilfields. I’ve posted quite a few of them here. Maybe I’ll post another one tonight. I hope your day was a good one. © 2017

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Swimming Chickens

I’ve told this before, but not everyone was listening. You see, my dad grew up on a farm and during the Depression. They had enough to eat, but they didn’t have much spare change. Like most farm folks of the day, though, they had chickens. One was an old hen that would have tried to hatch a brick if you’d put it in her favorite nest. So when they wanted some new chicks, they’d put a few extra eggs in her nest and let her do her thing.

One day, a neighbor gave my grandma a few fresh duck eggs but, rather than cook them, she put them under the old hen. Sure enough, they hatched. Naturally, she considered them her chicks and they considered her “good ol’ Mom.” They followed her around in their little row and learned to eat bugs with the best of them. They were soon nearly as big as her, but she mothered them like the good little mama she was.

One day after some rainy weather, the creek, about 75 yards away, sent its waters out of the bank and right up to the edge of the yard. The young ducks had never seen so much water before and happily swam out into it with no thought for their poor mama. They quacked and swam and swam and quacked and had a good ol’ time. But the poor hen was SURE her babies were going to drown and ran back and forth at the water’s edge clucking frantically, trying to get those foolish young “chickens” to come back to terra firma. Still, she apparently knew better than to try going after them.

By roosting time, the water was beginning to recede and someone called the chickens into the coop for a little evening scratch feed. The ducklings came along, of course, since food was involved. They kept all the chickens in the pen the next day, until the water was back to normal, so the poor hen wouldn’t die of a heart attack.

Dad laughed as he recounted the tale, but he said that they were actually afraid the hen would go into the water after the ducklings, since she was so frantic. That just goes to show you that motherhood is one of the strongest forces of nature and that a child doesn’t have to be blood to be family. © 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

‘Til The Cows Come Home

Most folks over 50 know that expression to mean that some event will happen at an unspecified time in the future, perhaps the distant future. As a kid, I always wondered how that saying originated, because we always knew EXACTLY when OUR cows would come home—whenever we called them, especially if it was DAD that called them!

We had a herd of purebred, but unregistered, Polled Hereford cattle when I was a kid on the farm. For those not familiar with the term “polled,” it means without horns. Now ours was a hill farm, so the pasture wandered around one side of the hill, across part of the hilltop, down into the valley, up the hollow and then up the next ridge to a flat over there. Dad jokingly named that far end of the pasture “Maternity Flats,” since so many of the cows went over there by themselves to calve. Maternity Flats was probably about 3/8 of a mile from the barn and house as the crow flies.

Even though it wasn’t a huge pasture, the land was rough and partly wooded, so we’d sometimes go a day without seeing the cattle. Since you need to keep an eye on cattle for health problems or cows giving birth, we’d either go looking for them the next day, or Dad would call them to the barn. Every farmer has his own call. Dad’s started with a long, loud, drawn-out “sa-caaaaaaalf.” Usually, there was a bawl from at least one cow, even on the first call. Several more calls and more cows would answer, and you could tell there was a sort of excitement in their voices. Dad then started a series of similar, but faster calls, “sa-calf, sa-calf, sa-calf,” sometimes a dozen at a stretch.

Then the cows would really start sounding exited as they responded and bawled at each other and their calves to get the herd moving. You could hear when they started down the slope into the hollow, because the bawls would be slightly muffled, but closer sounding. At that point, Dad knew they were on the way, so he’d call a little less. The sound of their progress slowed as they climbed the steep grade to the hilltop, still answering every call.

When they topped the hill, they’d sometimes break into a run, even kicking up their heels at times, for they knew that Dad wouldn’t call them unless he was going to give them a treat. You’ve never seen bovine happiness until you’ve seen a fat, 1600 pound cow kicking up her heels like a month-old calf as she comes running for the barn. The bull usually brought up the rear at a trot, even though he was probably in better shape than they were. As they came huffing and puffing up the last small grade to the barn, they’d hear Dad inside, still calling, and they’d hear the ringing of the lid coming off the grain barrel as he filled a couple buckets with corn and oats chopped.

As they came into the barn, we’d be watching for any injuries from their fool run across the flat, and for cuts and scrapes from fences or brush. If it was fly season, we’d check them all for pink-eye, too. The grain would be waiting for them as they entered the barn, and they’d go after the molasses-coated feed like kids eating ice cream cones. Of course, even a little herd of 12-20 cattle makes short work of a couple buckets of grain, so then they’d look at us as if to say “What else ya got?” We’d usually put down some mineral salt then and they’d go for it nearly as quickly as for the grain. Lastly, we’d put down a couple bales of the best clover hay we had, since they weren’t about to eat junk hay in the summer.

Naturally, we’d do a head count to be sure they were all there. If one was missing, it was usually during calving season and we’d go looking for her. Usually, that meant the cow was “coming fresh” (ready to give birth and produce milk). One time though, a cow and her calf were both missing. We found the cow all worked up and mooing at a big washed-out ground-hog hole. Looking down into it, we saw that her calf had fallen in and couldn’t get out, so we helped it out and mama soon settled down.

I think the cattle have been gone now for forty-two years while Dad’s been gone for 33. Sometimes in my mind’s eye, I still hear Dad calling his herd, hear their excited replies and see them come galloping across the flat. I wouldn’t be physically able to live that kind of a life anymore, but I miss those days like crazy sometimes. One thing’s for sure, I’ll have those memories ‘til the cows come home. © 2017

Click image to enlarge.
Homer, Pet, Blackie and their calves

Monday, October 9, 2017

Missing Pics, Hurricane Rain And A Grey Paper Globe (and its pic)

I’ve been continuing to save past posts, but I’m getting to where I finally began saving them in an organized manner a couple years ago, so some saves are actually doubles. No problem. I’m saving the photos on my blogs double anyway, by copying to a separate file, as well as leaving them with the article. I’m realizing that I must have long ago deleted the posts that were “photos only” from my driving days without saving them. I have no idea why I did that; some of them were a little more artsy than my one-handed, 50 miles-an-hour drive-by snap-shots. A lot of them were “ugly art”—abandoned steel mills, junk vehicles, huge old rusty heavy equipment parts that had been left on site after being replaced and other things that only an oddball like me would enjoy. Oh well, I’ve never laid any claim to brilliance.

It rained part of yesterday and nearly all of last night. The weatherman said that it was the remnants of Hurricane Nate passing through, but there was little wind and the rain was nice and gentle, as we like it. It was hot and MUGGY here today, as the moisture on the ground began evaporating into the air. I hope things don’t dry out too much, since it’s fall. We don’t need any forest fires.

It wasn’t so hot but what the Mighty Dachshund and I could do a little porch sitting. The yellow leaves on the greenbriers at the forest edge got rained down, so I can see through the woods even better now. Green ones still remain. As I sat there in the swing, I saw what I first thought was a burl on a white oak a ways down in the woods. As I studied it though, I decided that it was a hornet’s nest, high in a young sapling this side of the oak. I may cut the sapling to get the nest this winter. Even if it’s damaged in the felling of the sapling, it won’t matter for what I want. I just want to save some to use as wadding, if I ever decide to use bird shot in my .54 caliber smoothbore muzzle-loader. The old-timers say it doesn’t catch fire from the burning black powder as easy as newspaper does. I guess giving it a soak in borax water would help that problem, too.

I was hoping to get something productive done outside today, but that didn’t happen. I guess I’ll get back to work on saving and deleting my old blog posts. I hope your day was a good one. © 2017

If you click this photo to enlarge it, and look closely, you may see a tiny grey dot
near the center of the photo under the horizontal limb hanging in the brush.
The photo was taken from my porch swing.

If you enlarge this photo, also, and look at the same spot under the horizontal limb,
you MIGHT be able to see what I thought was a burl.

In this photo, you may actually be able to see the nest without enlarging it.
I apologize for the poor photos, but I never have leaned to zoom my current camera.
I need to look online, I guess, until I can remember where I put the owners manual.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Smokers In The Woods

I've long felt that smokers are generally inconsiderate slobs, throwing their cigarette butts down wherever they happen to be, even if there's a butt can five feet away. There are exceptions, but very few, it seems. Back in 1949, my dad spent one whole night fighting fire on the property where I live. The fire began at the exact spot where his best friend (a smoker) had spent most of the afternoon squirrel hunting.

I severely limit the number of hunters on my land for safety reasons, though there are trespassers every year. A few are guys stop every year and ask permission to hunt, and I feel bad turning them down, since they were decent enough to ask. I ALWAYS turn down the smokers, though. In the photo below, you can see WHY. Click the photo and then look in the lower left-hand corner.That's the front porch to my house, incidentally.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Saving, Deleting, Reading And Remembering

I’ve never been diligent about backing up and properly organizing my computer. I used to have an excuse, since I had to work for a living, but that ended two years ago on Monday. I finally faced the fact that I’d run out of excuses. My “back-up” is a handful of USB’s full of outdated stuff that needs checked for redundancy and updated.

I started the process by getting rid of all the old copies of my book and making a couple copies of the most recent edit. I then began checking to see how many of my old posts had been saved, so I could begin deleting old posts on my blog. Blogger told me once that I’d gone beyond the allowable thresh-hold and then deleted some of my posts. Strangely enough, they seemed to delete some in the middle of the “pile,” instead of the earliest ones. At that time, my “back-up” was tossing a copy into an unorganized file, where they organized themselves by name, not by date, so I never bothered to double-check which ones were deleted.

Recently I’ve been getting up over 900 posts accumulated, though I did save and delete some of the earlier ones over the years. I’ve decided that as I get the time, I’m going to save and delete everything older than the month before the current one. One reason is that all my readers have had plenty of time to peruse my old posts if they chose. The other is that spammers and incidental visitors sometimes comment on posts that I can’t even find, there are so many still up.

In the beginning, I was all business about the job, but once I figured out that it really was do-able, I slowed down and looked at some of the old posts as I went. I’ve been blogging for nearly a month past eight years, now. In some ways, it seems like yesterday that I started, but in others an eternity ago. I find that my posts averaged shorter and fewer in the beginning. That was partly by design, but partly because I worked back then. I didn’t take as much time to discuss the feel of the breeze on my cheek, the trembling of the aspen leaves or the birds singing in the forest edge. I’m retired now, so it seems I’ve turned into a windbag.

Also, though I had few followers then, I had more comments. Many of those folks are no longer blogging, though; perhaps some of them are dead. Then again, many are like Budd E. Shepherd at The Lazy Farmer (one of the first to encourage me), and are simply stretched too thin these days, time-wise, to either post OR comment. Life ain’t easy for the working class. Many of my other followers rarely post, either, and I think for the same reason. Some folks, unlike me, still have lives. – LOL

I do want to thank each of you that have stuck with me, and especially those who still comment on occasion. Comments seem so much more tangible proof that someone is still listening than mere numbers on a chart. I think I’ve mentioned in the past that this blog is probably, in part, a replacement for the kids and grandkids who never hung around listening to their pa and grandpa tell whoppers about the old days. The desire is there to tell someone what’s on my mind, so I guess you folks are my kids in a way, even if you’re older than me.

I originally began this blog to gain a platform from which to launch a few books, but the world and the publishing industry has changed mightily since then, and every other person now wants to be a writer, so I’ve pretty-much given up the idea of being published. Now I write in part for myself, and in part for you. This blog has changed directions a time or two, due to my getting older and to my employment, or lack thereof. One relatively new thing is my posting of memes from Facebook. I realize that some of you like them and some don’t, but I guess you’ll just have to continue to pick and choose what you read. I do the same with the blogs I follow. Not surprisingly, I show the most interest in those who show the most interest in me. I don’t know if that’s proper, but I suspect it’s basic human nature.

Well, I see I’ve been a windbag again, so I’d best shut my trap. I hope your day was a good one. God bless you and keep you, my friends! © 2017