Wednesday, December 30, 2015


The little woman and I live very withdrawn lives these days. We don’t visit others and they don’t visit us. Yesterday morning was a rare exception to that.

When the Mighty Dachshund began looking toward the front of the house and barking at about eight o’clock, we found my stepson and his eight-year-old daughter outside putting on their hunting togs, getting ready to head over the hill to try and ambush a deer. Of course, my wife was appalled that he would take her hunting at all. She was even more upset that he’d put her in danger of all the bears, mountain lions and coyotes out there these days. Actually, bears and mountain lions are scarce around here, though song dogs are pretty plentiful. I just suggested that he give a glance to his back-trail occasionally, especially since he had a child with him.

An hour-and-a-half later, they were at our door, because the granddaughter needed to use our throne. I asked her if she didn’t know what bears did in the woods and, while she apparently understood the reference, she informed me that she was a lady, not a bear. Knowing what a little rapscallion she is, I found her remark particularly amusing. After answering nature’s call, she told her dad that she would prefer to stay there with us, while he returned to the woods. And so she did.

Now, NOTHING shows you just how old you are like a hyper eight-year-old running loose in your normally quiet home. She “helped” her grandma around the house, dominated my computer watching funny animal videos and wore out the Mighty Dachshund with more play than she usually got in a week from us two old folks. That child is a definite handful, but we love her dearly and wouldn’t trade our time with her for anything.

A couple hours later, we assumed it was her dad ringing our doorbell, but I was pleasantly surprised to see my old “pizza buddy” from the factory standing on my porch. I’d given up dropping in on him at his home two counties away, because I feared that I was wearing out my welcome. Even when you only see someone a couple times a year, if they don’t reciprocate, you sort of wonder if you’re pushing things. I told him the last time that the next visit was up to him. It took him two years, but he finally made it! – lol – In all fairness, he only makes it down this way a couple times a year, so IF he stopped by, I knew it would take a while.

He’d brought his wife with him and we all sat and visited for an hour or two. We got caught up on work, retirement, health, family and loved ones passed on. Of course we hit the high spots of politics and a few other things, too. Incidentally, the reason we call each other pizza buddies is because every Friday night for a few years, we’d share a large pepperoni pizza from Dominoes and a two-liter Pepsi for our supper at work. In order to get the best price, and help out my coworkers, I took orders from anyone else who wanted to order there, too. I remember ordering as many as 25 pizzas, plus sandwiches. The manager of that store even won a vacation due to the sales volume there!

Of course, all us old folks had only talked for five minutes until our granddaughter fell asleep from boredom and slept soundly until her dad eventually returned. He had no deer but he did find a dead 9-pointer and asked if one of his friends could have the antlers for craft-work. Naturally, I agreed.

Our company all left about the same time, but I think we all had a good time. I told my buddy that I’d be up to see him eventually, but that I’d probably wait until warm weather (meaning spring). He allowed as to that being a reasonable idea. Our morning sure didn’t follow our original plan (going to town to run errands), but we wouldn’t have wanted to miss a minute of it. © 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

And They Wonder Why We Don’t Trust Hospitals

Last February, I’d self-diagnosed cellulitis in my left leg. After several days, I noticed one evening that the swelling and some of the redness had spread from my shin, to clear above the knee. The idea that I might be on the verge of going septic scared me, but the walk-in clinics were closed, so I was forced to go to the emergency room of the local hospital—NEVER a good idea if it’s avoidable. I was almost broke and had no insurance.

I got there at 9pm and waited an hour for a doctor. She refused to treat me until I agreed to get a $300 ultra-sound of my leg to rule out Deep Vein Thrombosis, a highly unlikely situation, considering that I’d been taking 400 units of Vitamin E and 325 to 1950 grains of aspirin a day. I’m sure they were more interested in charging the money and “sue-proofing” their backsides than they were convinced the test was needed.

Some of the folks who provided that service were sick, and the lady who was filling in was working a double and had a waiting list. It wasn’t her fault; she was a nice lady doing the best that she could, but I had to wait over two hours for her services. That put me well after midnight. It was just after 1am when I was fully treated and released.

The bills eventually totaled nearly $2000, what I consider a grossly immoral amount. I was told that by managing to keep me there until after midnight, they could legally charge me for a room. I forget how many hundreds of dollars that was supposed to be.

I’m often slow to pay my bills, due to poverty, but I always get them paid eventually. Still, since I was only working a few hours a week through the spring, it was about three months before I could start paying ANYTHING. By that time, I was being threatened with collection agencies, but I just started sending them some money every month and nothing has happened yet.

However, they have the cost divided into two accounts, probably to deliberately confuse me into paying quicker. It hasn’t always worked. As a result, I’ve been getting a call once in a while by a lady, who says that she’s with them, who asks if she’s speaking to the right person. I tell her that she is. She asks if I’ve been receiving my bills, and I tell her that I have. Then, she says that she called to discuss my account and she needs the last four digits of my Social Security number to confirm that I’m who I said I was. I remind her that she called ME, not the other way around and that I never give information to strangers who call me on the phone. I ask her if she has any way to prove that she’s who she says she is and she has to admit that she doesn’t. She tries to be diplomatic and talk me into divulging the info anyway, but I thank her for calling, tell her that she’s wasting her time with that approach, bid her good-bye and hang up.

Recently, they’ve tried something new. They make a computerized call stating who they are and asking me to HOLD FOR THE NEXT AVAILABLE OPERATOR! Now you KNOW that ain’t gonna happen! I believe they really are who they say they are, but I can’t pay any faster anyway. Besides, considering their grossly immoral prices, I have a real hard time working up any sympathy for them, especially considering how stupid their main collections supervisor must be. © 2015

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Wage Slavery And Multiple Streams Of Income

I can thank Mike Oscar Hotel, over at for accidentally giving me the idea for this post. He’d made the comment on one of my posts (paraphrased here) that, while it was sort of too late for him, he was trying to teach his kids not to be wage slaves. I can certainly sympathize. Besides the virtual slavery “working for the man” entails, such employment can end at literally any moment. That can throw a gigantic monkey wrench into the lifestyle of the average American.

While I worked several part-time jobs on the side over the years, I spent the first 20 years of my adult life in self-employment. Had I remained single, I would have remained self-employed. However, when you’re married, you tend to try making your partner happy, even after you learn that happiness will be forever unattainable. As a result, I accumulated some debts which gradually grew beyond my ability to pay for on the income I had from self-employment. So, I went to work at the factory.

Unfortunately, it really is true that the more you make, the more you tend to spend. That’s why my debts actually grew, and I had no choice but to sell my ancestral home when I saw that the factory was eventually going to close (despite what THEY said). It goes back to living beyond your means (debt) and growing dependant on the job furnished you by the man. Let’s face it; the only person who actually makes it in this world is the man at the top. That’s why you need to be king of the hill, YOUR hill, even if it’s little more than a mole hill. You will never fire YOU, Even when times are bad! That doesn’t mean that your business can’t fail, but at least you won’t get the axe due to corporate belt-tightening.

Personally, I believe that if you want an income that is relatively safe, regardless of the economy, you first need to provide a product or service that is needed no matter what shape the economy is in. Being a self-employed plumber or electrician would fall under that description, but it may require a few years of apprenticeship to get there. Being someone who repairs lawn-mowers and chainsaws might be another example that would be easier to get into, IF you have the talent. A carpenter or general handyman may also fit the bill. One fellow that I used to know spent his life plowing gardens and brush-hogging properties for people.

It’s good, also, to have what writer and businessman Robert Kiyosaki calls “multiple streams of income” in his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I don’t care for the man’s politics, but the business idea is sound. In fact, my father (and later myself) had unwittingly followed it when we had the family business. Of course, we just called it “not putting all our eggs in one basket.”

It stands to reason that you should try to use whatever resources and talents are available and comfortable for you. We didn’t have any technical training, but we had the family farm, a sawmill, a few hundred acres of timber at our disposal and the skills accumulated from a life of living on the land.

The cattle were originally the main concern of the farm, since granddad had a dairy at one time. After he got a second-hand sawmill, the sawmill gradually became the best money-maker, so they concentrated on it and turned from dairying to beef cattle, which required less of a time investment. The lumber business was only good during the time of year when they could get the tractors and truck into the woods. Much of the winter was a bit bleak, then, for sawmill income. However, They stacked up their slabs, rather than burn them like many mills did back then. They also cut the tree limbs into firewood, rather than leaving them in the woods like most loggers. That way, they could saw up the slabs into firewood lengths in the winter time, mix them with the wood from the treetops and sell the wood to folks with woodstoves and fireplaces.

Edgings were saved, too, and ripped into tomato stakes and bean poles during the spring, when it was still too muddy to reach the woods dependably. Of course, there were calves, and sometimes yearlings to sell in the fall or winter, and we sold extra hay, when we had it. We also worked in quite a bit of mowing and baling for other people at an hourly or per bale rate. Several years before he passed away, Dad began selling Christmas trees that he grew on fields no longer needed by the cattle. Eventually, a few years of low prices caused him to drop the cattle all together.

I kept the business going when Dad died, too young, at age 59. Gradually, not following my own judgment caused the debt that eventually did me in and caused me to become a wage slave like most other people. It doesn’t have to be that way. If at all possible, you’d be wise to find a way to work for yourself. In a failing economy, it may be the only option.

Just for the record, I’ve read that when this country was founded, we were a nation of small businesses, since the industrial revolution hadn’t quite arrived on the scene yet, and serfdom wasn’t the law of the land on the new continent. Find a few things you can do to turn a buck and start building on them; you might be surprised what you accomplish. © 2015


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

An Idea For Redneck Carry Permit Holders


I noticed a couple guys at the doctor’s office today wearing bib-overalls. I used to wear them sometimes before I got married. I liked them; she didn’t. Now that I have a permit to carry, I tend to notice things that I never thought about before. One is the number of folks who carry (there sometimes ARE indications). The other is how some types of clothing are more conducive to carrying. Overalls are a case in point. If you get them a couple sizes too large, a guy could carry a couple real hawg-legs in them. Heck, if you ain’t worried about being legal, you could use a cane, walk with one knee stiff and carry a good-sized shotgun or even a military-style semi-automatic rifle. I’ll have to rethink my wardrobe! © 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

Watching The Puker

He would probably prefer being referred to as a chef, author, TV personality or world traveler, but my wife and I just call him "the puker." It started when he got some bad food and drank too much booze on two or three shows and puked his guts up (to hear him tell it). Still, we find Anthony Bourdain of "Parts Unknown" interesting most of the time. It's one of those culinary shows where social studies, travel and history are often mixed together. I find that sort of thing far more interesting than the moronic cooking contests that most supposed culinary shows have become. While his politics and outlook are far different than mine, I respect that he sometimes goes dangerous places and asks dangerous questions. In some places he's been, people who spoke with him got arrested after he left. That's cutting it close.

Tonight's rerun was in Cuba. He managed to show glimpses of the totalitarian regime in power there, and the way it is gradually changing. He also managed to make some mention of the fabulous, intriguing, corrupt system that preceded it. Change is coming quickly to Cuba. It's predicted that in five years, it may be a different world. Money and development are on the way. The question is whether the culture and atmosphere that make the place special can be preserved, or if modernization will destroy the very thing people now flock there to see. I suspect destruction will be the outcome, much like happened to pre-war Hawaii. If you're one of those lucky folks who can travel, you might want to go as soon as it's legal, or it might not be worth going to see. Copyright 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Another Local Landmark Gone

I think I was 15 the first time that I entered the neighbor’s barn. The neighbor had hired the kid across the road to brush-hog for him and the kid felt the job was overwhelming, so he asked me to help. Using Dad’s Ferguson 40 and my grandfather’s brush-hog, I managed to get several hours of the 80 hour job. We kept our water jugs and lunches in the old barn and met there for lunch and water breaks.

It was good money for a kid, and we were at the age where our inner consumer had been awakened. We also pitched a lot of hay bales into the mow of that barn for a couple years. The neighbor kid did all the mowing the next year or two, but he was soon off to a bigger and better life and I inherited the job. I still took many of my breaks at the barn, since anything left under the trees in the fields drew the attention of the cattle.

I’m saying this from memory, but I’d say the center, two-story, section of the barn was four 16 foot square bays long, meaning it was 16 by 64 feet. Near the mid-point, it had a couple stalls and a place where a set of steps once went upstairs. For some reason, they had been removed and were laying across the top of the opening, perhaps to discourage trespassers from going into the upstairs mow. The mow was about six feet at the sides and ten feet at the center.

On each of the long sides was a 16-foot-wide shed running the length of the barn, with a two-foot-wide manger running the length of the side against the main barn. It was open along the sides of the mow, so you could drop hay into the manger to feed the cattle. The cattle could come in either end of either shed to eat, get out of the rain and snow, or just loaf in the shade on a hot day. There wasn’t anything fancy about the barn, and it was painted entirely black, probably because it could be purchased cheaply, plus would blend with any creosote put on the bottom of the vertical siding boards.

Although it was a small farm of perhaps a hundred acres, when the owner’s grandfather lived there, it was only one part of a system of farms that once held the largest herd of Polled Herefords east of the Mississippi. You don’t think of such an operation being in West Virginia.

I mowed the farm for many years for the owner, until my working at the factory began to interfere. The work then went to a local farmer for a few years and then to a neighbor of mine who’s about ten years younger than I.

The barn sat on a slight rise above the valley floor, safe from any flooding. There at the side of the end of a ridge, and not far from the interstate highway that divided the valley back in the 60’s, it seemed like a fortress guarding entry up the “bayou,” as I called it. It was a welcome stop, not just when I was working there, but also on the hot days of my youth when I fished the bayou. It was also a stop where I hid from the incessant wind for a few minutes to warm up the winter I taught myself to trap muskrats under the ice. It was in the single digits some mornings that winter, and the ice was up to ten inches thick on the bayou. That’s a real rarity for this area, so, since I was young and crazy, I wanted to learn a new skill.

The old barn had been there since the late 30’s or early 40’s. I had over forty years to snap a picture of the old barn, but I never did. It’s ironic that we so seldom take photos of the things that loom large in our memories. The only photo I have is the one stolen from the local TV station as it burned, and it shows only flame, no barn. It was decided that it was caused by a trespasser’s cigarette butt, not deliberate arson. Due to stupidity, an old landmark is gone. It will be replaced by some smaller, ugly, metal-sided shed. The fellow doesn’t graze cattle there anymore, so it will hold only a few pieces of equipment. I’ll miss seeing the old place, but I’ll always remember it. © 2015

A moment's stupidity and a landmark is gone. (Click image to enlarge.)

Monday, December 14, 2015

This Morning

I only slept 'til six this morning. Considering that I didn't get to sleep until after midnight and took the dog out at three, that's not enough for this old geezer. I took the pooch out again at six and then got on the computer, since the missus turned the TV up to watch the morning news. At 8:30, I took the pooch out again and we sat on the porch for a half-hour or so. You could tell a rain was coming from the clouds and the way the far-away trains sounded so near.

Later, I picked up a couple tarps the wind got ahold of the other day. After refolding them, I stashed them where they should be safe from the coming predicted gusts. I went down to my compost pile and added the last of the jugs of "night water" stored there. The pile of leaves that started out four feet tall, now measures only about ONE foot. By planting time next spring, it should be usable, especially if I give it a stirring this winter. Now that I'm sleeping downstairs, only about 16 feet from the throne, there will be no more such jugs.

I was on the porch again with the pooch when the meter man came to read the electric meter on the corner of the house. The Mighty Dachshund made sure that he didn't sneak in the drive-way, step out of his truck or step up on the porch unnoticed. I told him not to worry, that I had a firm hold on "Killer," (with her big mouth and wagging tail). He laughed and wished me a merry Christmas.

I took one of the two big firewood cuts from under the big white oak in the front yard and put it down near the compost pile. That way, I can have a seat when I'm tinkering down there, or play out before I make a full round of the lawn. I've decided to have several in strategic spots, so I have a ready rest if I get tired or winded when I'm outside. I figure it will require one in each corner of the yard and four on the trail between the house and the bench of the hill down behind the house. I don't go there often anymore, but it's a long haul back up when I do.

As is my custom, I sat on the edge of the front porch to trim my toe-nails. I'll miss that spot, if we ever get the front porch screened, like we hope. After that, I sat in the swing again for a while. The wind was picking up as my wife opened the door beside me and chatted from the doorway. Slowly, the rain began, the drops kept getting bigger and the wind gained speed. Finally, I was getting soaked, despite sitting about six feet alee of the west end of the porch. In fact, my wife was also getting wet, standing in the doorway, five feet further down the side of the house, even though the porch is six feet wide.

That ended my time outdoors, so I got on the computer a while and my wife watched a soap opera. It had quit raining by the time we came back from town this afternoon, but it was cooler and still breezy, so I just let the dog do her things and we both headed indoors. © 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Saturday Morning

My first brush with the new day was at 3AM, when I took the Mighty Dachshund outside. It was a warm night for December so, after she drained, we sat on the porch and enjoyed the night a while. It says something about the temperature that I was sitting comfortably in the porch swing wearing only my skivvies, a t-shirt and my L.L. Beam camp mocs. I guess it says something for the convenience of darkness, too, that I could get by with such an outfit. One thing about my simple way of dressing, all I have to do is add a pair of blue-jeans and I'm road-ready!

The 4:30 rooster was already stirring for some reason. Perhaps he senses that his owners are gone and feels lonely or frightened. They've been good neighbors over the years, minding their own business rather than ours, but I heard through the grape-vine that we're going to lose them. They're going to retire to the mountains, I guess. Maybe that's their way of preparing for the crash or, maybe, they just like to trout fish. We've seen no signs of life for the last few days, so I suspect they're in the mountains making arrangements. I don't know who's taking care of the chickens, but their son lives out the road, so I suppose he's doing it.

Sitting there in the swing, I could hear the tires of the trucks on the four-lane a couple miles away. I don't know how far that sound travels but, when I was younger, I believe that I was seven road-miles from the highway, up on a mountain, and could still hear them. Of course, being in West Virginia, they might have only been a couple miles away as the crow flies.

Speaking of crows, while sitting there, I heard what sounded like the fighting “purr” of a crow in the distance, though it could also have been a turkey gobbling at a much greater distance. I don't know why either one would be stirring at that hour of the night. Still, the pooch and I spooked a flock from the trees in our yard just after dark the other night, so who's to say. I was a bit startled for a second when that happened, but the little dog just looked up in curiosity with no apparent concern. Maybe she figured the “big dog” (me) would protect her if any trouble came of it.

When I took her out again at 6:30, I realized that I hadn't heard the six o'clock rooster for several days. A couple weeks ago, there were some red lights at one the homes out the road, and we haven't seen that neighbor since. In fact, it looks like someone is cleaning out his trailer and sorting his stuff. They must have already dealt with the rooster. Since we don't socialize with anyone, we never know what's going on. One of our other neighbors was dead a year before we ever heard. Since I quit getting the paper, I don't even see the obits. I guess I could check them online, but I never think to do so.

We sat on the porch a while at 6:30, also, and the Mighty Dachshund was just as happy as before. The big light on the pole out by the highway casts a fair amount of light in our yard, now that most of the leaves are off the big oak out that way. She kept an eye on things, but her nose was even more active. Even during the earlier stint of porch-sitting, there was enough light to watch her nose twitch from side to side and see her sides move as she took quick “mini-breaths” to aid her sniffing. She'd love to be an outside dog if we'd let her. Of course, she’d expect us to live out there, as well.

It was 10:30m before I took her out again. She fertilized the side yard, as well as drained that time. Even though she’s back to living mostly on people food, she's off cheese-burgers and chicken jerky and seems to be doing alright. She'd live on chicken jerky if we'd let her, but it gave her the trots, plus, the vet said it was loaded with fat. The trots are gone now and she deposits nice healthy-looking “cigars” in the grass now, instead of what looked like a calf would leave if it had scours.

I weighed in at 395 when I came back in the house. I'd gotten down to that point at the first of the week, and then, immediately bounced back up. It's taken all week to get that weight back. I doubt if I ever get down to where I should, but if I can lose an average of even just a pound a week, it'll be a good thing.

Take it from me; don't ever let yourself get fat. © 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

Is Obama Our Last President?

I think Obama has been trying to stir open revolt for years. I believe he (or more properly, his handlers) are frustrated by the apparent cowardice (or patience) of the American citizens. Muslims are being brought to this country so they will begin jihad here. Enough of that will give Obama reason (in his mind) to declare martial law “for our nation’s security.” On the other hand, if he holds off, vigilantes will inevitably begin shooting muslims on sight. Then, he can declare martial law to protect those poor, innocent, peace-loving muslims.

If a republican is elected president next fall (especially Trump), that may be the catalyst in forcing his hand. Will this country ever swear in another president? If Obama declares martial law, I seriously doubt it. Nothing would make me happier than to be proven completely wrong, but I guess only time will tell. © 2015

Sunday, December 6, 2015

An Odd And Unexpected Birthday Gift (w/pic)

No, it’s not MY birthday; but my first cousin-once-removed turned 52 today. I’ve always liked him since he was little. He’s just one of those fellows that always has a mischievous grin on his face that makes you grin back and keep an eye over your shoulder at the same time. I was thinking that he was only 50, but Facebook told me otherwise.

Now Jack has had several women over the years, but no wife. Of course, his parents, though married for several years, didn’t set much of an example. It’s his dad that’s my first cousin, but it’s his mom that has the sense of humor; she can keep you in stitches. His dad, generally, has the personality of a brick. Thankfully, he took more after his mom. Jack is still single, though, and somewhat heartbroken. I think he’s resigned himself to bachelorhood though, perhaps, for some reasons of his own making. Still, I enjoy his company.
Recently, he bought three acres in the country with seven apple trees and a run-down house on it. He lives in a little house in town, which he bought several years ago, that once belonged to his maternal grandparents, but I think he plans on moving to the country eventually. From the work ahead of him, I’d guess the move is still a couple years away. He’s doing all the work himself, and seems to doing well at it. He seems to have most of the tools that he needs, too.

Still, I came across something in the basement recently that very few folks have anymore—a super heavy-duty crowbar. It has no crook on the end, but it has a small blade-like tip on one end, and a moderately slim point on the other end. It’s about an inch-and-a-quarter at the middle of its five foot length, and about an inch-and-an-eighth nearer to the tips. If you look closely, you can tell that it was forged from an old solid drive-shaft, probably off some vehicle from the 20’s or 30’s, knowing Granddad’s history.

Now, finding that bar put my total at three, which is at least one more than I need. I’m sure that it saw a lot of use when Granddad still worked as a rig-building contractor in the oilfields. I know that Dad and I used to use it a lot around the farm and sawmill when I was young. If you do a lot of heavy outdoor work, a heavy bar can be a good thing to have. Being hard up, I’d tried to sell it at one point, but very few folks want to buy things that have to do with hard work.

Since Jack has all that work to do on his “new” house,” I asked him if he’d have use for it, and he answered to the affirmative. Since it was still on hand when Jack’s birthday came around, it seemed a good time to get it out of my way. Today, on our way back from town, my wife and I took the side road to his new place and found him there, working on the roof of the large back deck. He seemed to enjoy getting the crowbar. After a couple handshakes and a cursory glance at the place, I let him get back to work.

To tell you the truth, I’m glad the old tool will stay in the family a few more years. © 2015

the old crowbar - click image to enlarge 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Rain And Other Things

It rained here fore most of 72 hours, but it finally stopped yesterday. Sometimes, it was a mist so fine that you could barely feel it on your skin. Other times, the rain was heavy. Mostly, it was just a nice gentle, steady rain.

I don't curse the rain as some folks do. That comes from being raised on a farm, and understanding the consequences of dry weather. In fact, I rather enjoy a SHORT stint of rainy weather. I'm reminded of sitting on the porch of our farmhouse, or the hay in our barn, or the skids in our old sawmill shed and listening to the patter of rain on shingles or tin. I especially enjoyed the sound of the rain on the leaves of the surrounding trees. The fact that rain put a temporary hold on some of the more onerous tasks around the farm may also have sweetened my pleasure at the falling droplets.

My wife is generally the opposite. Like the blossom of a four o'clock, she closes up and withdraws when the sun isn't shining. Needless to say, she's been a bit down these last three days, while I've while I've been as happy as a duck. Don't ask either one of us what we think of being snowed in after the second day, though! Incidentally, there were a few snowflakes last nigh, for the second time this fall.

I recently sold my collection of 14 Ames belt buckles that came as safety prizes from the shovel factory where I used to work. I had no sentimental attachment to the company. They were, after all, the folks who closed us down and move the bulk of the work to China. The remainder, they sent to Pennsylvania, where the work is done by Mexicans. I see the buckles priced at $15-20 on eBay, though I don't know what they actually bring. I only got $4 for mine, and only then because they came with a nice walnut display case. Oh well, It's one less piece of clutter in the house and a few more groceries in the kitchen.

I can't remember if I've already mentioned that my cruise doesn't work on my truck, but it doesn't, And that after spending over $500 that I thought would also restore the cruise. It's supposedly going to require an additional $400 that I don't have to fix the it. I guess I'll continue doing without cruise for a while. I just wonder what all will go when the spiral cable goes (the supposed culprit).

I drug a couple boxes of gun parts out of the basement to inventory and photograph today. I have enough parts to build a cherry full-stock flintlock, and a maple half-stock percussion. The guru has already spoken for the flintlock. I hope I can sell the other one, too. I need to start saving a few hundred dollars for April 15, as Obama is going to tax me for being too poor to get insurance on my wife. So far, the tax is still cheaper than any insurance I  can find.

I found that I had a few muzzle-loading accoutrements that I'd forgotten about, plus I came across some others that I had misplaced. I'm glad I found them, as I plan on keeping the old Thompson Center Renegade that I had bored out to a .54 smoothbore. I think a small caliber smoothbore is the best single gun to have after a .22 rifle. Flintlock would be best, but mine's percussion. Then again, I'll probably never part with my old 12 gauge ribbed, Iver Johnson, either. It must be what poetry would feel like if such a thing was made from steel and walnut.

I hope that I have time to rummage around the basement a little more tomorrow. There are a couple things that I want to throw in with the flintlock when I find them. The guru's done me a lot of favors over the years, so I want to be generous with him. © 2015