Saturday, April 19, 2014

Antique Easter Cards

I believe that Yeshua, the one we call "Jesus," arose at the close of the Sabbath (sundown Saturday) NOT the first day of the week, when his absence was discovered. I also believe that we should celebrate a Christian holiday called Resurrection Day, NOT the pagan holiday of Easter. That said, I present to you a couple antique cards only for their sentimental and historic interest. The first is from 1913, the second, probably from the 1940's.



May you have a blessed Resurrection Day!
-

Friday, April 18, 2014

Children – The Weapon Of Choice


-

Being an old geezer, I can remember being taught caution as a child. You don’t play in the street. You stop, look and listen at rail crossing. You look both ways before crossing the street. You don’t step into other people’s path and so on. These lessons were backed up by the good examples set by our parents.

Unfortunately, even while I was still young, I could see an increasing incidence of parents letting their children run wild. This resulted in a lot of kids being hurt in ways that most kids would have avoided in an earlier era. Now that the unwatched children of that era have become parents and even grandparents, I’m seeing a new phenomena. Children are no longer just being allowed to run wild and endanger themselves, they are actually being used by their parents as a sort of passive/aggressive weapon for the parents to sidestep manners and good sense.

Children, warned to wait for their parents by previous generations, are now allowed to run into both foot traffic and vehicular traffic to clear a path for the parents. I suspect our lawsuit-happy society has helped encourage such behavior, for you sometimes hear the phrase “ just you let someone hurt one of my kids…” I’m not sure how a lawsuit would bring back a dead child. Granted, you never know what a child will do, even one raised by responsible parents, but you can tell that some parents are willing beneficiaries of such dangerous behavior.

The thing I see that most amazes me, however, is the number of parents, usually young women, who push their baby-stroller out into traffic to make cars stop and clear a path for themselves. Genteel drivers will stop and allow a woman with children to cross safely anyway, though such drivers are also shrinking drastically in number. Many young women just charge into traffic baby-first, though, seeming to dare drivers not to come to a screeching halt. Many don’t even look at the traffic, apparently assuming that the rest of the world will look out for their child better than they are. Sadly, they’re probably right. It’s a dangerous time to be a child. © 2014
-

The Mighty Dachshund And Her Singing Birdie!

-

She's driving us buggy with it!
-

Chinese Steam Engines In Iowa? (a link)

-
http://coopfeathers.blogspot.com/2014/04/friday-night-steam_18.html
-

A Different Way To Become Smarter (a link)

-
Coffee with the Hermit: A Different Way To Become Smarter...!
-

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Aggravation And Pleasure

-
We made the effort to meet a fellow today who supposedly wanted to buy something from me. He turned out to be a no-show. I’ve tried twice before to make connections with this guy, but to no avail. He saw my ad on Facebook, so he’s some sort of troll, apparently. Oh well; live and learn. I then had to run a few errands, including dropping off some applications at the job service office in town. People are rushing around almost as bad as they do at Christmas. I guess they’re trying to get their last Easter items picked up. One thing is for sure, some of them should never be allowed behind the wheel of an automobile. We were glad to leave town and the traffic behind us.

When we got home, I went over to where I need to fall another oak tree and dug around a small hickory that I wanted to make into a root maul. It’s right where I need to fall the oak, so will be damaged if I leave it. Unfortunately, it had been filled around a little when they made the log road beside my house when the tree was just little, and the roots were a bit deeper than I wanted to dig. Furthermore, it may have some internal scars from a dozer, but I can’t be sure. I decided that I’m just going to make a “butt-swell” maul, rather than a root maul. I’ve never heard of such a thing, but then I’ve always been a trend-setter.

After getting my fill of digging, I honed one of my small axes with a disc-shaped stone that was my father’s, and then marked the first two logs on each of the three small oaks I fell recently. I also trimmed off the small limbs up to where they got big enough that a chainsaw or a bigger axe is required. I guess they must have formed from epicormic sprouts, since they were quite a bit smaller than the ones further up the tree.

Next, I sat on the larger of the three tree trunks and soaked in the ambiance of the warm spring evening. The birds were still singing a bit, though it was nearly sunset. Strangely enough, a rooster was crowing about a quarter-mile away, something I’m more used to hearing before sunrise than at sunset. I suppose some roosters are just blabber-mouths, like some people. I was watching a squirrel hopping around the woods when my wife called from the side porch that she was putting on a movie.


The missus has a fairly extensive collection of old movies, most of which she got in the $5 bin at Wally World, probably because they couldn’t sell them to today’s “normal” consumers. It turned out to be “Easter Parade,” with Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Peter Lawford and Ann Miller with some of the numbers (maybe all) written by Irving Berlin. Face it, if you know who I’m talking about, you’re OLD like us! The musical had the typical shallow plot, but great voices and fantastic dancing of most musicals of that era, so my wife and I enjoyed it immensely. It was filmed in 1948 and was set in New York during 1912 and ’13, so that was a plus to a history buff like me. It’s nearly time for the late news as I type this, so I guess it’s time to return to reality, such as it is. © 2014
-

A Horse Named "Nelson" (a link)

-
http://coopfeathers.blogspot.com/2014/04/nelson.html
-

Traditional Shepherd Huts (a link)

-
http://theflyingtortoise.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-simple-beauty-of-traditional.html#comment-form
-

Economic Analysis (a link)

-
The Deliberate Agrarian: Deliberate AgrarianSnippet #4Economic Analysis
-

Buff Leather Felling Axe Carriages - 18th Century (a link)

-
Scroll down through, or you'll miss the most of it.

A Woodsrunner's Diary: Buff Leather Felling Axe Carriages. 18th Century.
-

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

BLM Tries To Hide Harry Reid's Connection To The Bundy Fiasco (a link)


-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqQRhJjS0ww
-

Why The Feds Folded At Bundy's (a link)

-
http://prepperchimp.com/2014/04/14/why-the-feds-chickened-out-on-a-nevada-ranch/
-

The Hole Keeps Getting Deeper (a link)

-
http://www.wealthreporter.com/sa/fed-employees-trap.html?prcode=PPSIQ349
-

USS Virginia (BB # 13) - (a link)

-
http://coopfeathers.blogspot.com/2014/04/uss-virginia-bb-13.html
-

Your Tax Dollars at Work: Thank You Taxpayers (a link)

-
Medley of Worship: Opus 2014-92: Your Tax Dollars at Work: Thank You Taxpayers
-

The Bundy Ranch, Tax Day, Foul Weather and Pear Blossoms


-

For those who haven’t been following the situation out in Nevada, there’s a whole lot more to the story than the media tells. Understand that I cannot vouch for the validity of any of the information here, I’m merely repeating what I have found at various non-government sources, and which I believe to be the truth. I’m not going to get into the legalities of who actually owns the land, some say Bundy still owns it, while others claim that it had already been legally stolen by the feds years ago. Few people in the media have even admitted Harry Reid’s connection to it all. You see, he represents a Chinese company that wants to put a “solar farm” on part of the land. The Chinese say that cattle roaming through their fields of solar collectors could damage their equipment, so the company wants to get rid of the cattle belonging to the American rancher. Reid is doing his best to help the Chinese company, of course, NOT the American rancher.

The government has been saying that they were kicking the rancher off the land to protect the desert tortoise that lives there. They don’t mention that they have already been killing off the turtles because they don’t think it’s feasible to protect them. I’ve seen figures on the murdered turtles from a few hundred to 300,000. I have no idea what the real number may be. However, it’s obvious that the feds aren’t concerned about the turtles, or they wouldn’t be killing ANY of them. Somehow, I suspect that the construction of the solar farm by the Chinese company might kill a few turtles in the process, as well.

Another thing the media hasn’t mentioned is that a nearby city also wants part of the land for the water that’s available there. Most of you know that when the government, at any level, starts talking about water, it involves a dam, usually with many thousands of acres of formerly dry land being flooded. I have to wonder how land turtles are going to live under water. Let’s face it, the “information” the government has given us through their stooges in the media has been nothing but a pack of lies from beginning to end. Incidentally, Bundy’s neighbors had already given up fighting for THEIR land and had accepted payment from the government that amounted to pennies on the dollar of the land’s actual value. Evil, being as persistent as it is, I’d venture to predict that the feds will be back soon enough. ‘Nuff said for today, I guess.

Today is tax day for America, the day that we should probably be thankful that we don’t yet have as much government as we pay for. Sadly, Tax Freedom Day (the day when your taxes for the year have been earned, thus allowing you to work the rest of the year for your own financial needs) won’t be until April 21 this year, three days later than last year. No doubt that date will move a couple months further into the calendar as Obamacare gets more fully implemented.

I’m glad the winter is over, but I was hoping we weren’t going straight into summer, as we sometimes do. It got into the 80’s here a couple times in the last week, and my wife actually turned on the house air-conditioner yesterday. Luckily, it worked. Not so for the one in my truck. The other day, my wife took a call while we were on a drive, and I put the windows up to make it easier for her to hear. Being a warm day, it soon got hot in the cab, so I turned on the AC, only to learn that it no longer worked. So, I scheduled a time at a local shop to get it repaired. That time was at 10AM this morning. Ironically, on my way to town, it was 36 degrees and huge snowflakes were coming down so thick that you would never have guessed it was April. My studded tires will be illegal here tomorrow, but I’m going to leave them on a couple more days, just in case.

Sitting at the mall the last couple days, as my wife took her daily constitutional, I noticed the ornamental pears were loaded with their white blossoms. Once, I even caught their scent wafting through my open truck windows on the spring wind. Many years ago, I picked a pretty bouquet of them and put it on my mother’s dining room table. In the great outdoors, they had seemed scentless. Returning to the house just after she arrived home from work, I noticed a very unpleasant odor as I entered the kitchen. It grew stronger as I entered the dining room. When I asked my mother what the odor was, she answered my question with another. “Those wouldn’t happen to be pear blossoms on the table; would they?” When I said that they were, she laughed and told me that nearly everyone makes that mistake once. Picking up the blossoms and their vase, I took them outside and put them on the patio table. Like some people, their beauty is best enjoyed from afar. © 2014
-

Three Brave Men (a link)

-
http://hermitjim.blogspot.com/2014/04/paying-ultimate-price.html
-

Tomorrow May Be Too Late

-
http://learnedfromdaniel.blogspot.com/2014/04/tomorrow-might-be-too-late.html
-

The Problem Is Not Immigration, part 2 of 2 (a link)

-
Medley of Worship: Opus 2014-91: The Problem Is Not Immigration, part 2 of 2
-

Monday, April 14, 2014

A VALID POINT

-
The "guru" made this point on the BUNDY RANCH situation:

"I guess nobody gives a hoot that the other ranchers were eradicated by similar legalized Gestapo(ish) tactics and eminent domain so a pet project of Senator Harry Reid (and the big businesses — a Chinese energy firm with $5 billion to invest — he represents) sun energy farm could be built on their lands.  Where the heck is the endangered tortoise if they go through with those plans."
-

Too Soon Old, Too Late Schmart!

-
That was the saying on a tourist trinket that an aunt sent me from Pennsylvania Dutch Country many years ago. I was reminded of that saying on the drive that my wife and I went on yesterday. At one spot along the way, I saw what was a patch of freshly harvested timberland 40 years ago, though the average person wouldn’t recognize it as such these days. My father and I were walking the area with a group of fellow loggers, during a BMP workshop put on by the WVDNR back then, when I spied an unusual-looking stone along the rough edge of a reclaimed logging road. It reminded me somewhat of hematite, but was far heavier. I decided to take it home with me find out what sort of material it was, but after an hour or so of carrying the softball-sized chunk of over-weight stone around, I reconsidered the idea and dropped it along the road’s edge.


It was only after getting back home, doing a little research and asking around among a few knowledgeable folks, that I determined that I had thrown away a iron meteorite. It might have brought what a country kid like me would have considered a fair chunk of change. I considered going back to get it, but I didn’t know who to ask permission from to go on the land and didn’t want to trespass. Besides, it was several miles away in another county. I mentally kicked myself in the keister every time I went by there for a few years. Needless to say, I’ve never found another one! © 2014
-

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekend Musings, Memories And Observations

-
I sat a while in the parking lot at the mall the yesterday, while my wife did a round inside for her health. I should do the same, but refuse to walk on that much concrete. Sometimes, though, the Mighty Dachshund and I go for a stroll around the grounds at such times. Yesterday, however, I went online, using their Wifi and did a few things.

During that time, a gaggle of geese flew over as they made their way to the huge mowed area in the back of the structure to graze for a while. Their honking stopped once they hit the ground and started the task at hand. My little companion stuck her head out the window just in time to see them land and gave them an insulted yap, to complain about them landing without asking her permission. Her Royal Lowness seems to think that she owns the world. She didn’t notice the great blue heron that silently flew over a minute later, making great slow silent strokes that made it look as if anyone should be able to fly.

A train sounded its whistle for a grade crossing just out of sight, and then came through the small section of woods between the mall and the store just upstream. Guess I forgot to mention that the Ohio was rolling southwestward just beyond the lawn, the tracks and the woods. In not too long a time, the train was gone, with only a single growl from my little friend. I suppose she thought that she had no business mouthing off to something THAT large. Soon, four teenage boys came strolling down the tracks and then sat down side by side on the nearest track to discuss whatever is important to gentlemen of that age these days.

When I got home, I repaired one of our water hoses. I’d ruined the male end last winter when taking off a corroded nozzle to allow the hose to drain. Since the neighbor likes to have bonfires, and our home is surrounded on three sides with trees, my wife wanted me to get it fixed, in case he got careless. It was at a bonfire where I met my first wife many years ago. I guess that goes to prove that not everything that begins well ends well. I spent a lot of hours with friends or family, sitting or standing around burning brush heaps, campfires and bonfires in my youth. I must say that I miss the camaraderie of those days, though I wouldn’t choose to reconnect with every person from those days.

The three of us took a drive in the next county today. The first thing I noticed is that their highway department is as stupid as ours, when it comes to sign placement. Have you ever noticed how many times they don’t tell you that a road is closed until you’ve passed the last possible place to turn around easily? And then there are those 55mph signs posted only a few yards before the signs that recommend the safe speed for the immediate bend in the road is only 30mph. Of course, I should know that common sense and bureaucracy don’t mix.

You know the old saying that people are the same all over? It’s partly true, at least. As I tooled along at a “overly safe” pace on a crooked road with 55mph signs, they would ride my bumper the entire length of the passing zones, and then pass on a double yellow at the start of a bend.

Also, if you ever want to see how slow “fast” food can be, stop at a chain burger joint in a small town. If you live in a city where things are a bit faster paced, you’ll have time for two nervous breakdowns and one appendectomy before you get your order. It was hot and we wanted some ice cream for us and the pooch, but we ended up leaving without it.

Now that it’s warm enough that an air conditioner would be handy on occasion, I learned today that the one in my truck isn’t working. My wife’s body has never regulated its temperature properly, and she was a bit over-heated when we arrived home. Luckily, the house air-conditioner is still working and she got cooled off okay.

Sitting here at my desk, I see the price list that arrived yesterday from a company that buys botanicals. Years ago, I collected a few herbs and roots and dried them. They made a fair-sized package, but when I got my check, I saw that it was for “samples” and amounted to less than $20. With the amount of work involved, I knew that I’d never do THAT again, but at least I got a good laugh out of it. For one thing, the prices they pay are so low that it barely covers the shipping.


Strangely enough, those botanicals are turned into common medications that are prescribed by doctors who scoff at herbal medicine. I suspect their attitude is more a matter of protecting their turf (and the related cash-flow) than on any scientific evidence. Most botanicals are also edible, so I think they have more value to the average person as food to help PREVENT sickness in the first place. © 2014
-

Talk About Timeless !

-
Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us? For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him. The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted. - Psalm 12
-

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Friday

-
I slept late this morning, since I’d been up late last night posting items for sale on Facebook sale sites. Since I’ve been successful at selling a few things there, my wife has decided to try her hand, except she makes ME do the posting. It wouldn’t be so bad, but my wife never does anything halfway. She now has 31 years of “stuff” that she has decided to sort through and sell some of. She wants to thin her things out, and enjoys getting the money. At the same time, I can tell that it really shakes her up to part with her belongings. I’ve been doing it for years, but this is something new for her. Since folks will only pay pennies on the dollar for most things, I can only imagine the monetary loss she’s suffering.

After taking the Mighty Dachshund out for the second time this morning, we sat on the porch and watched a storm approach. There wasn’t a lot of breeze at ground level, but the clouds were moving along fairly well. The birds were out doing their thing at what seemed like a faster pace, trying to fill their bellies before they had to weather the storm, I suppose. As the thunder got closer, a gobbler on the next ridge began to shock gobble with every rumble from the heavens. I thought that he would surely lose his voice when a passing jet added its noise to an especially long jostle of “the old tater wagon.”

We met a lady in town today who bought a couple things from my wife. She was obviously not hurting for cash, but she still thought she had to get the price knocked down. Most folks just allow for that by asking a little more than they’ll take just to satisfy the egos of all those folks who have to think that they need to have the upper hand in the deal. I don’t know who thinks their fooling who.

I have one item advertised that’s a little more expensive than most things I’ve sold. I did a search to find what such things were bringing and priced it a little on the low end of the scale, since we’re in such an economically depressed area. Even then, some guy who moved here from out-of-state tried to get me to reduce it considerably, but I didn’t. In fact, it was all I could do not to tell him to go back to where he came from. Guys like him come here and steal our jobs and then complain about our state and brag about their own. I figure if it’s so great elsewhere, don’t let the door hit you on the backside.

I’ve managed to get some applications and resumes turned in this week, plus had one job interview. Interestingly enough, it was in a McDonald’s parking lot, standing by the back of a garbage truck. Dern right I’d do it, the pay is very good and I’d get the exercise I need! He’s already interviewed seven other guys, though, so who knows.

I’ve been following the goings on at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada. I believe the BLM would have turned it into another Ruby Ridge if they’d had the chance, but they may be too much in the spotlight now. If there’s going to be a civil war in this country, it may well begin at some such event that our insane government thinks is insignificant. I pray it doesn’t come to that, because I think OBAMA is hoping for exactly that, so he can declare martial law and never leave office.


I really believe the Lord may be coming before long. I’m almost to the point of wishing he would. © 2014
-

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Once A Curmudgeon....

-
Here's some unsolicited advice I gave on a sale site on Facebook. Tell me what you think! LOL
Here's a tip for people who make offers on items for sale here. Some stubborn old cusses like me don't deal with people who start their offer with the word "I" or "Give." that's a rude way to deal with someone who you want to cut the price for you. Be ladies and gentlemen and you'll have better luck.
-

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My, How Things Have Changed!

-
I heard this afternoon about a knife-weilding attacker at a school. In my day, even many of the girls would have fought back, NOT ran or cowered. Many guys would have taken him on one-to-one and beat the snot out of him. We've turned our children into such wimpy panty-waists that few would ever consider self-defense. Of course the school would expel them if they DID resort to self-defense, but better to be out of school than dead. We're just where our enemies want us. Can you imagine during WW II, if someone had tried hi-jacking a plane with a box-cutter? He's have been laughed at first, then decked. It ain't good, folks; it ain't good!
-

A Scare Tactic, Or A Message?

-
I had another strange dream, yesterday morning, just before arising. Few dreams shake me up; THAT one did. I dreamed that I was in some city at night and entered what seemed to be a business of some kind. Once inside, though, it appeared to be a night-club, with things being done and said that you wouldn’t normally expect, and that I didn’t really need to experience. Feeling the pull of sin, I knew that I needed to leave, and did so. When I crossed the street, I found that my vehicle was no longer in the parking lot where I’d left it. Feeling the urgent need to leave the area, I first asked passers-by if they’d seen my vehicle. Then, I started asking if any were headed in the direction of my home and would they give me a lift. I received no answers to either question, only grins and laughter.

Knowing that I would need to walk home, I looked around me and realized that I was on the lower end of the main street in my own hometown. The buildings all were known to me, though many of them no longer exist in reality. Though it was night, they were lit up with flood-lights to where they seemed to nearly glow of their own accord. They were not complete, though. The insides and roofs were mostly missing and they reminded me of the bombed-out cities of Europe during and after World War II. A loneliness came over me which made me shudder—a loneliness and aloneness that I have never felt. Then, I awoke.


The feeling persisted into my waking moments. It wasn’t just a physical aloneness, but seemed to be a spiritual aloneness that penetrated my very soul. I was wondering if Satan was trying to shake my faith, or if God was trying to give me a message. I still wonder. I spent several minutes in prayer and was reminded that the Lord had spoken to me on at least two occasions, plus had answered many prayers. My salvation surely wasn’t the issue then. Was Satan trying to make me doubt that; was God trying to give me a message, or was Satan trying to offset a message that the Lord was trying to give me? I’m still not sure. However, I’ve noticed that I’ve been wondering a lot, since, if the coming “blood moon” and the first horseman of Revelation might be connected. Perhaps I’m just suffering from information overload, and perhaps not. I’ll be watching…….and praying. © 2014
-

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Bad Day, But A Good Evening

-
I was up a bit earlier yesterday than I normally would have been. The folks who bought my old homeplace had made this month’s payment with a check the evening before, and I wanted to be present when their bank opened, for reasons you’ll soon understand. As I suspected, it bounced. I then went over to the DMV office to take care of the last paperwork to get my CDL. There was a line of people standing in the rain waiting for the place to open at 8:30. I didn’t figure that it was quite THAT important, so I stayed in my truck. When the doors opened, I headed in and was probably about number 30 in the line. Soon, there were another 30 behind me and they had ONE window open out of 13. Gradually, a few others opened.

I was thinking that the only cost would be $5 for a duplicate license, since I still had a year on my current license. Not so! They “HAD TO” give me a six-year license, which cost me $50. I didn’t have that much cash on me (though I DID have a bad check in my pocket for over $500), so I did what the other folks did to me and wrote the DMV a bad check for it. During my time at the DMV, I also learned that an error of omission by the county clerk’s office many years ago would cause me to be unable to get the federal version of the license. The lady waiting on me said that since the suffix in question was on my current license, I should be able to get the state version, though. So, I left there with my CDL, after an hour-and-a-half. Needless to say, the next thing I did was to scramble to cover that check before the modern electronic banking system could make a criminal of me!

Later in the day, I got a call from the DMV saying that they should not have put the suffix on my name, even on the state license, and asking me to come back, so they could correct it. I won’t discuss my feelings towards the DMV at that moment, but I DID have to wonder why the name that had been fine for 42 years was suddenly incorrect. They WERE kind enough not to charge me for their mistake, and I was surprised at that. After waiting another 50 minutes, I walked out their door with my new “corrected” CDL that did NOT show my full name. Ironically, the paperwork for me to send to the state capital to get my birth certificate corrected was on my desk at home. I’m sure that when I get it corrected, I will be given the grand privilege of paying them $5 for the license that they SHOULD have allowed me to keep in the first place! Let’s see, they got $30 for the “learner’s permit” test, $50 for the test that I had to take over, $15 for adding the tanker endorsement, and $50 yesterday. That means that little piece of plastic in my wallet has cost me $145, SO FAR. That doesn’t include the cost of the school, which the state paid. It all sounds like a racket to me!

On getting home at last, I got the chainsaw out of the basement and cut down three small oaks in the back yard. One was growing into the small stained-glass window in the west wall near the peak of our upstairs bedroom ceiling. The other two had to be felled to make it easier to safely fall the first one, without smashing into our deck. I was glad to see that my efforts succeeded. It felt good to reconnect with my roots, having been raised in the woods, working with my father.

For those among you with timbering experience, I use only the open-face notch anymore, never the old 45 degree notch. I feel the open-face notch gives far better control. The small trees measured 9, 12 and 14 inches dbh (chest height). Most folks would see only firewood in them. I see at least eight 8ft. 4x4’s, plus at least 200 feet of side lumber. I was surprised that my International Rule Biltmore stick actually scaled them at 285 feet. I’m sure the Doyle rule would scale them at far less. I see some firewood as well, and maybe even a couple rustic chairs (if I get industrious).


Soon after dark, the lady showed up with the cash to cover her bad check. Later, we watched the old movie Parent Trap, with Haley Mills, Brian Keith and Maureen O’Hara. It was filmed 53 years ago. No wonder we got a kick out of it; it’s old, like us! © 2014

Here are the oaks that I felled. Click the image if you wish to enlarge it. Notice the limbs mostly on the right side of the larger one. They were hanging over the deck.


Notice the closeness to the deck in this photo. Incidentally, that post is plumb, but the camera angle makes it look otherwise.

-

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Finally !

-
After much time and aggravation, I finally have my CDL for all practical purposes. All that remains is some paperwork next week at the DMV. Thanks for your prayers and moral support. (Some folks have always felt that my morals NEEDED supported!)
-

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Good, The Bad And The Lightning


-

With Satan’s influence, which came into the world at the fall of man, God’s many blessings often seem to be mixed blessings. In Fiddler on the Roof, the words are sung that life is full of happiness and tears; and so it is. The Orientals refer to this situation as Yin and Yang. This understanding is even touched on by science, with the observation that every action has an equal and opposite REaction.

It is, perhaps, a flaw of my character that I see with sometimes uncomfortable clarity the apparent dichotomy of nearly all things in life. A former co-worker once told me that I always had a “but.” Not a “butt,” mind you, though mine is prodigious, but a “but.” Until then, I guess I never fully realized my tendency to see the bad in good things and the good in bad things, or my tendency to express it.

And so it is with the seasons, it seems to me. Good and bad walk hand in hand through the calendar. It’s easiest to see with winter and summer. The end of mosquitoes, flies and bird flu is countered by snow and cold. The season of growth and warmth is countered by bugs, droughts and heat waves. Spring and fall are judged a little less harshly by most of us, I believe. Autumn, with its vibrant colors, harvested crops, and generally mild weather is much loved, but we always know that it’s the harbinger of winter. Spring, too, is rather pleasant, as the cold of winter slowly transitions to the warmth of summer, bringing with it all the sounds, scents and sights of renewal. Yet it, too, gives hints of things to come.

Just yesterday, from among the scent of daffodils and the sound of birdsong, came the first serious rumble of thunder for quite a while. When I was a kid on the farm, I savored thunderstorms. Their noise and flashes of light were better than any light-show put on by man. I've even heard them called “God’s fireworks.” With time, though, my thoughts changed on those grand displays of nature’s power. Perhaps it started with losing the old walnut tree in the front lawn of my Civil War Era home. It had the best-tasting nuts of any tree around, but one gigantic blast from the heavens and it was a thing of the past. Then there were the neighbor’s barns that burned after lightning strikes, the roof nearly blasted off our outhouse, and the near microscopic strands of fishnet that had formerly been my mother’s clothesline. And there, high on a hill, exposed daily to nature’s worst, stood our home and our barn. Over the years, I've heard of entire herds of cattle killed by a single bolt of lightning, golfers killed on the fairway and farmers killed on their tractors. Thunderstorms gradually became something that I dreaded, rather than savored.

So yesterday, when I heard that first rumble of the season, I knew it was a sign of things to come. July may hold the title of having the most storms, for the Native Americans called July “the thunder moon.” Still, damage can result from any storm, so I did what I always do anymore at the first sign of a storm—I prayed. I prayed that the Lord would cause the storm to be harmless, and that no-one would lose their lives to its fury. I prayed that not only would the people be safe, but their homes, their barns, their livestock, their equipment, their pets and anything else they (and we) might have. I prayed also that our utilities wouldn't be interrupted. I even asked Him to protect the wild creatures and the trees. I don’t get nervous like our little dog, and I’m sure that in the great scheme of things, lightning serves a useful purpose. However, these days, I’m as happy to see it cease as I once was to see it start. I guess age can do that to you. © 2014
-

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wednesday Ruminations


-

My wife and I have a few things for sale on Facebook, but everybody wants a deal. To even get any interest, you have to price things at 10-20 percent of their original value, even if they’re unused. Then, some folks immediately try to get you to lower your price. I was raised that you didn’t try to haggle if you haven’t yet even seen the product. I realize that some folks only have so much to spend, but if they can’t afford the price listed, why would they even call? I swear, I believe that if you offered free solid gold bars, some jerk would ask how much you’d pay him to haul them away!

Some folks seem to feel entitled, too. I’ll never forget the couple (obviously dealers) who came to a yard sale we had and offered an insanely low amount for our whole porch-full of stuff. I told them that if we didn’t get enough to make it worth our while we’d just give it to charity. They could barely contain their wrath as they asked why we’d turn down their offer just to give it away. I just told them that if they thought our prices were too high, that they could check the following week and see if the Salvation Army priced the stuff any lower than we did. They left very unhappy folks. We always hear about dishonest merchants, but sometimes I think we need to remember that the customer should have a little couth, as well.

The Easter flowers (daffodils) are beginning to come into bloom around here. You can often spot old homesteads through the still-bare woods by seeing clumps of yellow flowers in the distance. There’s a spot I know of between a couple large businesses and the railroad tracks where a small rise has a flat top and a huge old maple tree. I told my wife that I was positive there was once a house there. Sure enough, when we went by today, the small stand of young timber now covering the area was filled with yellow and white blooms. When everything else is gone, the Easter flowers seem to remain and thrive.

As I sat on the porch with the Mighty Dachshund this evening, I saw the first bat of the year, flying back and forth over our side lawn. I hope he thins the mosquitoes well, I saw the first of them when the snow was still on. Unlike my wife, I like seeing them around, knowing that they prodigious eaters of bugs. You can get too many in a barn, though. We’ve had so many in times past, that their guano began ruining too much hay. So, we had to thin them down. THAT”S not an easy job! We’ve had two bats get in the house over the years, too. I’ve learned to turn on every light in the house and keep them moving. They eventually seek the darkness outside the open door.

I’m starting to watch for spring greens. It won’t be long now. My wife complained so much about the smell that I promised I wouldn’t cook any more in the house. I didn’t think they smelled at all, so I suppose it’s really just a way to keep me from using the kitchen. She doesn’t seem to mind the smell of cooked cabbage, even though I tell her that “it smells like it’s already been et once.” I really should try watching for morels this year, too, but I think the deer get them all around here. My wife thinks I’m weird eating wild foods, even though she grew up with a mother who foraged. I tell her that they’re the only truly safe foods that you can get. Oh well, her loss.

I found a home for the “invasive species walking stick” from my previous post. A young man that I used to work with has a severe weight problem and is beginning to walk the trails in a nearby park. (I should do the same.)  He was impressed by the stick’s appearance, so I gave it to him. He seemed to really appreciate it. I’m glad it’s going to a good home. © 2014
-

Monday, March 31, 2014

"Invasive Species" Walking Stick

-
Click image to enlarge.

I've been watching a tree-of-heaven sprout in one of my forsythia bushes for a couple years now. Noting that it was in a life-and-death struggle with some Japanese honeysuckle, I left it to grow to a more usable size. I cut it about dark last night and carved most of the honeysuckle vine off this evening, while the Mighty Dachshund supervised. Neither species is native, though a lot of folks don't realize it. Japanese honeysuckle DOES have the slightly redeeming virtue of being fairly high in proein and making good deer browse. Tree-of-heaven has no redeeming virtue whatsoever that I'm aware of. Not surprisingly, it came here from China.

The stick measures 57" and would make someone a nice walking stick, if they didn't need it for heavy use. I doubt if I could sell it, and if I offered to give it to someone who needed it, I'd be more likely to get someone who'd pretend to need it, who would then include it in craft items to be resold. Oh well, it looks sorta neat leaning against the bathroom door in the photo, and it looks good, too, on the top position on my gun rack (which only holds one gun these days). I guess that's where it will stay for a while. © 2014
-

Sunday, March 30, 2014

He Should Know!

-
-

Under The Weather

-

The Mighty Dachshund and I are both under the weather a bit today. She apparently didn’t land right when she jumped up the porch step yesterday and has been limping ever since, though I can’t find a touchy spot on her. I, on the other hand, am carrying a slight fever and my nose is flowing like a maple tap. I had a post that I wanted to work on, but don’t feel like it right now. Think I’ll go take a nap!
-

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Problem Solved!

-
I have a large "he-man" black umbrella that is just the right size for a ponderous pedestrian like me. I take it with me often as I take the pooch on her daily constitutional through the changeable spring weather. She's small enough that I can pick her up and carry her and keep her dry under my umbrella. The problem is that I have to fight the urge to use my portable rain roof as a walking stick. It's sturdy enough, mind you, but the plastic tip would soon look beaten and battered if I would give into my natural inclination. So, today, I stopped by the little mom and pop hardware store in town (the only one left) and picked up a half-inch black cane tip. Pushed onto the end of the umbrella, it was a perfect fit and cost only 49 cents. However, the perfect seal of the rubber on the tapered shank, and the resultant pressurized air under the tip, caused the tip to back off about 3/32 of an inch between steps. A tiny cut with my penknife in the end of the tip let the air out and the tip has remained in place thereafter. Now I can stroll down the avenue in style, with my cane-tipped bumbershoot in one hand and my mighty Dachshund in the other. Problem solved! © 2014


-

And Then It Was Evening

-
About a half-hour after the national news went off, the dog came to me and told me that she needed to go outside. Yes, she does talk to me, but in Dog, not English. After putting on my jeans and putting her in the leash, I took her outside to her favorite draining area. I suspect the reason that she likes to go back to the same area is not so much because it smells like “her,” but because every other dog (and some other creatures) that comes through leaves its own “mark.” I think it must be sort of a cross between a canine community bulletin board and an olfactory version of “Kilroy was here.” She sniffed a while, and then, when she found JUST the right spot, dropped and drained. A somewhat shorter visit to her “dumping area” was followed by a trip to the truck, where I dried and cleaned her hinder parts to carpet compatibility.

Instead of taking her back inside, though, I had her jump up on the porch. Then, I sat on the porch edge and she laid down beside me. We stayed there several minutes watching the cars go by and listening to the birds in the nearby forest edge and a dog in the distance. She would be an outside dog if we’d let her. Of course she’d expect us to move out there with her. However, my wife utterly refuses to make the move, so that’s why the pooch remains an inside dog. She wouldn’t want to remain outside without us anyway, and with coyotes, big dogs and cougars wandering the area anymore, we wouldn’t dare leave her out there unprotected.

Eventually, I could see that she was starting to think of my wife, so I let her in, but closed the door behind her. I got a flannel shirt from the truck and put it on. It was a Chinese model (is there any other kind) in 5X, but with short, narrow arms. Do you suppose that Chinese men with weight on them honestly have child-sized arms? Somehow, I doubt it, but they’re sending them to America, so they don’t give a hoot. Taking the splitting maul from the back of the truck, I walked over to where three large oak chunks lay on the ground. After standing them up, I rolled up the arms of the shirt, so my swinging of the maul would be less likely to tear a seam.

It was one finger ‘til sunset when I sat on another big oak chunk that I’d saved for a stool. The birds were still singing and the sky glowed pink in a strip below a dark cloud and above an orange sun. I split the first chunk into eighths and sat down to catch my breath. In the head of the hollow to my right, it sounded like a bull moose running through last fall’s leaves, so I assumed it was a distant chipmunk, or maybe a squirrel. I split the next piece and sat and listened, then split the final piece and sat again. By that time, the sun was long gone. The birds were singing less lustily by that time, but still they sang.


After a bad morning, such stolen moments of pleasure help restore my inner balance. Man wasn’t designed to work in factories, offices or mines, but for work and times such as I was enjoying. God had a good plan until human greed messed it up. Gradually, I became aware that a mosquito had discovered my bare ankle, so I put the maul away, put the flannel shirt back in the truck and joined my wife and dog before the electronic hearth. © 2014
-

Friday, March 28, 2014

There Is No Joy In Mudville,…

-
…the would-be trucker has struck out! Yes folks, I blew it. Senior moments kept hitting at all the wrong times and I couldn’t recall things that I knew so well that I was sick of them. Hours of reading and re-reading the list of things to check on a pretrip were spent to no avail. Pages and pages of hand-written lists were likewise. My mornings spent standing in near-zero degree weather, wind howling and list in hand, forcing myself to look at truck parts that I’d looked at dozens of times before, seemed utterly wasted. All the knowledge in the world can be useless, if you can’t remember things when you need them.

I was never the type to get test-panic in school. I felt pretty laid-back this morning. The guy who gave the test was very nice and tried to give me plenty of time to recall things and even made it obvious when there was more that I needed to mention, but I’ve always been the type whose memory can’t be forced; it’s either there or it’s not. This morning it was not. The only thing that I can figure is that somewhere deep down inside of this old geezer, is a thirteen-year-old kid who chokes on tests. Some of you will remember that I had to take part of my “written” test a second time to get my CDL learner’s permit. Or maybe the Lord’s just trying to keep me humble.

Oh well, I have no choice but to keep going. As my time without a job keeps stretching out (14 months and counting), things keep getting tougher, but the Lord will provide. He put $50 in my pocket yesterday; perhaps, he’ll do it again soon. One thing’s for sure, the guy is going to see my face again next week! © 2014


P.S. For those too young to know the story about Mudville, you can learn about it at this link: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/poetry/po_case.shtml
-

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Matter Of Talent

-
My "West Virginia" post reminded me of something. Back in the days when I would actually spend some time INSIDE the Walmart while my wife memorized price codes, I frequently took advantage of their "facilities." Not only did it kill a little time, it also appealed to me to let the flush be on them and save my time at home for other things.

There was a lady who used to work there that we became acquainted with and would stop and talk to sometimes. Oddly enough, she seemed driven to tell me how I spent so much time in their restrooms. (Maybe she thought I was a pervert or something.) I always responded that I figured that anything that I did well, I should do often. She always got this look on her face like she couldn't decide if I was trying to be funny, or was just plain stupid. Yet, the next time, she just couldn't help commenting again. Of course, I responded the same. I have no idea if she ever made up her mind. © 2014
-

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Guru Sounds Off On Dried Milk

-
Sanalak is so-so.  It is Non Fat and tastes it. The absolutely best, could not be identified as anything but real milk even by discerning and picky kids, was Foremost Milkman which was used in all those college and military cafeteria liquid milk dispensers.  Powder went in, filtered water went in, milk came out with the flavor and healthfulness of regular whole milk from the store.  I used it exclusively in Alaska and bought it by the case.

However, in 1982 Foremost Milkman was sold off and the country lost a quality dry milk ... although it was still made and marketed by the ton overseas where it is still available.

Finally, a couple of years ago, someone started importing it and it is available from Amazon.  It costs about $2 per quart, but keeps for a long time in the sealed 1 quart packets.

Sanalak has gotten better over the years, but I think it is only available in large sized cans that need to be used relatively soon after being opened, only has a two year shelf life, and still tastes not so good. However, PEAK, from Holland, is a WHOLE milk that rivals Foremost MILKMAN.  I tasted it once a few years ago and was not displeased.  I have not purchased dry milk, though, in about 5 years.

I just ordered a can of PEAK to see if the taste is still as good as I remembered.  I noticed there are some other "local-ish dairy" whole dry milks available, but have absolutely no knowledge about them or their taste.  I know Foremost MILKMAN was a whole milk when we were purchasing it, and it mixed VERY easily.

Will let you know about the PEAK ... it will be an outstanding coffee creamer at the very least!
-


Sold!

-
After a year or so, we finally got our waterbed sold. I paid about $1800 for it and a couple night stands several years ago. We no longer use that bedroom for anything but storage, though, so there was really no need to keep it. I originally priced the three pieces at $700, but we ended up selling them for far less. The nice young couple who bought it got a heckuva deal, but they were so nice that I didn’t begrudge them the low price. The old saying is that something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.

My wife has decided to sell her clothes steamer that she just HAD to have a few years ago and then rarely used. I’m still trying to sell some once-fired Winchester AA 12 gauge hulls and now have them priced at half their value. I got them when Clinton was in office to have a way to keep hunting if he pushed through a really bad gun control bill. However, someone stole the wads and the black powder I had stored with them and, since I never got much shot purchased, so I decided part with them.

Several things we’ve sold, we’ve practically given away. I sold some small items at the antique store this week and didn’t get what I felt they were worth, but still more than I expected. I’m always reminded of the line in the Bible where it says that without the mark of the beast that we will not be able to buy or sell. In MY neck of the woods, it’s pretty much that way already, without worrying about any mark. Maybe those times are closer than we know.


Our funds were running low again, due to school dragging on as long as it has, so the sale was literally a godsend. If I can pass my CDL test Friday, I hope to be employed again in a couple weeks. That should make life a bit easier. © 2014
-

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Driving School Update

-
For those who've been following CDL my misadventures, I was on the road a couple days this week. They plan on putting me on the road a couple days next week and then having me test with the stae on Friday. They show me with an hour more on the road than I really have, so they can get me out the door a little quicker, I'm sure. I'm starting to get better with the Eaton Super 10 transmission, but I wouldn't say I'm good at it yet. For those of you unfamiliar with it, there are two gears at each lever position, but it's NOT your old-fashioned split differential with high and low range. It's similar, but not the same. What may nail me on the test, though, is that alley-dock maneuver. I'm getting better, but I'm not there yet. Guess it's crunch time! Pray for me, friends! Thanks.
-

The "Guru" On Inflation

-
I recently received this email from the friend that I jokingly call "the guru." It's posted here with his permission.


I agree with JaneofVirginia on your linked Rational Preparedness blog. What bugs me is the government constantly changes the content of the "standardized" shopping cart they use to make statistics say what they want, as well as change definitions at the drop of a hat.


To see how bad inflation really is, simply translate prices into hours worked.  A pound of hamburger used to cost about 10 minutes of work at minimum wage.  Now, at minimum wage, it costs almost 45 minutes of work.  Bread has risen (no pun intended) from about 5 minutes of work back in the 80s to about 30 minutes of work today.


The minute you get rid of the dollar and look at hours worked for an item, you can see how bad inflation really is.  Like JaneofVirginia's daughter, my wife’s salary has increased a bit over the years, but the cost of taxes taken out and medical insurance has risen faster.  Just two years ago she brought home $580 a paycheck, and today it is only $450.


My salary (as well as my co-worker’s salaries) has remained static the past ten years or more.


We are buying more and more food at the dollar store.  A 3-pouch box of chicken noodle dry soup, which tastes EXACTLY like Lipton chicken noodle dry soup, costs only a dollar while the Lipton brand is now close to 3 for only two pouches in a box.  I remember about 7 years ago I was paying only 79 cents for that same Lipton box.


And that explains why the dollar stores, where everything is a buck, are doing so very well now ... people cannot afford the brand names.  Inflation, greed, and lust for money are the rule of the hour, day, month, and year.


Oh well.
-

Stanley No. 3 Cherrywood Level

-

Stanley No. 3 Cherrywood, Brass-bound Level, pat’d 5/3/06 and 11/3/08

This level belonged to Ulysses S. Fleming, a member of the once well-known blue-collar Fleming family of the oil boom-town of Volcano, West Virginia. “Lyss,” as he was known to his family and friends, spent his entire life in Volcano, and the surrounding area, working on various wells and for different companies. He may also have had some interest in a few wells himself at one point. During his early years, the oil derricks were made of wood, and he had a sizeable collection of needed tools for woodworking and carpentry. Even in later years, when derricks were made of pipe and angle iron, levels were still needed on the well-sites. This level was found wrapped in an old rag which was still slightly moist with crude oil.

As you might guess, good tools had a way of “walking off” if left unattended for a while, so Lyss stamped his initials on them to help prove ownership. Somewhere along the line, his “F” stamp became lost, or unusable, and he began substituting the “E” stamp in its place, often trying to tilt the stamp so it hit hardest on the top left corner, in hopes that the bottom bar of the “E” wouldn’t show. It wasn’t an entirely successful plan. He appears to have not even bothered with trying to do so with this level.


Lyss never married and lived his entire life in the small family home at Volcano with his unmarried siblings Frank, Ella and Mary. He died sometime in the 1970’s at the age of 97. Lyss is buried in the cemetery at Petroleum, West Virginia. © 2014
-

Friday, March 21, 2014

My Project This Week

-


The two axe heads above were purchased at antique stores in Ohio’s Amish country. I suppose because I cut my teeth on axe handles, so to speak, I can’t bear to see an axe head lying around unhafted. As a result, I often come back from taking my wife to the tourist traps of the areas frequented by the plain folk with an axe head in the back of the truck. I don’t NEED another axe, for heaven’s sake! I have a hatchet “collection” of sorts and the beginnings of a collection of full-size axes. It’s a sickness, I suppose, like kleptomania or gambling. With three chainsaws, I don’t even USE axes as much as I used to, when I was on the farm. However, let me go into an antique store and see a usable old axe head sitting unloved on a shelf, and something in me wants to save it from its embarrassing incompleteness and restore it to its formerly honorable usefulness. If it’s five dollars or less, and in decent shape, it’s coming home with me; it’s a given.

The top axe in the photo above was four dollars, I think. I’d guess it at 3-1/2 pounds. In carelessness, I let the blade tip away from the camera when I snapped the photo, and the blade looks shorter than it is. It has a pretty good nick in the blade, but nothing that won’t grind out with little effort. Despite being unmarked, it seems to have a blade thickness about right for chopping. I prefer a square cornered axe, but hey, it was calling to me for mercy; what could I do?

I’d guess the bottom axe head at 2-1/2 pounds. I think I only paid two dollars for it. From the grinding that’s been done around the poll, I’d say it was abused a little in the past and someone ground off the battered corners to make it more presentable. From the rust on the grinding, though, it was sometime in the past, but AFTER the blade was allowed to lie somewhere and rust enough to pit the surface slightly. It shows no markings, either, but appears to be of decent design. I’d wanted to put a 28 or 36 inch handle in it to make a light-weight cruising axe, but I couldn’t find any long handles to fit that were smaller enough in the eye, so I put it on a 20” hatchet handle. I could have worked a long handle down to fit, but decided against the effort. The head is almost too heavy for a 20” handle, but it would make a good heavy-duty camp hatchet, or a logger’s marking axe. Be assured that anytime you see a handle colored such as it is, that it’s done for a reason. This one has a big mineral streak in it, which could weaken a handle on a full-sized axe, but should cause no problem for the short handle of a hatchet. So, they stained it dark, hoping no-one would notice.

I’ve never tried making my own handles. With the amount of time I’d spend making them, I don’t consider it practical, as long as I can get serviceable handles for five to nine dollars. My usual method is to drive the handle in as far as reasonably possible, then start cutting or rasping a line on the handle, just below the socket. After driving it in until that line is covered by the socket, and small splinters are starting to form there, I take the rasp or knife to the handle again to work it down a little more, then, drive the handle in again. This, I continue until the handle is sticking out the top of the socket slightly, at which time I drive the wooden wedge in the slot in the handle to expand the top to fill out the socket. “Veeing out” the groove very slightly before starting to drive the handle into the head allows the wedge to start easier. After trimming the wedge even with the end of the handle, a little linseed oil or lacquer or such will help swell and seal the end of the handle.

Such things could be done in an hour or less, perhaps, but my work space in the basement is directly below my wife’s big screen TV upstairs. As a result, I can only beat on the end of the handle a few times before she threatens violence. So, I drop the project for the day and move on to something else. That project, too, may only get a few minutes of my time, often for similar reasons, but if you keep returning to such projects, they do EVENTUALLY get done. These two examples prove the fact.


Well, gotta run; the missus is calling for me to spend a little “quality time” with her and the dog in front of the TV! © 2014
-

Flowers For Chickenmom

-
As per her request on my "signs of spring" post, here's the daffodils that I mentioned.

-

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Signs Of Spring


-

The newsman told us tonight that spring comes tomorrow. I could have told him it was soon. Us country folks have our ways of knowing. The pesky little fly-catcher that builds a nest every year on our front porch is back. My early Easter flowers (daffodils) are ready to burst into bloom. I’ve already seen several dead groundhogs on the road. And most importantly, today I saw the first rude, spandex-clad city-slicker bicyclist coming out my road deliberately holding up traffic unnecessarily. Spring, the season when the minds of redneck motorists turn to homicide! Hope yours is a good one! (And always remember to destroy the evidence.) © 2014
-

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Memories For Sale

-

I’ve been selling things ever since I got married the first time, 38 years ago. The big stuff and valuable stuff, like my horse and saddle, tended to go first. Smaller things and items that I was especially attached to have tended to remain. I’ve been sorting and selling again since losing my job 14 months ago, yet I still have some junk laying around collecting dust.

A lot of the things have no real value except for the memories they elicit when I see them. In my youth, I’d thought that I’d keep a lot of those things to use as visual aids when telling stories to my kids and grandkids about their ancestors and ways of life long gone. Alas, as some of you know, I had no kids and the grandkids that I have by my stepson are basically unknown to me and unconnected to any of the stories in my mind. And so, some things have been saved just for my own pleasure and some just because I haven’t figured out the best way to dispose of them. Many are a combination of the two.

And so it was with the old ammo box that I came across in the basement yesterday. The box contained the seven paper-hulled shells that you see in the accompanying photo, five Winchesters and two Remingtons. Three shot sizes are represented in the small collection—4’s, 5’s and 6’s. Granddad used the 5’s and 6’s to hunt squirrels, I’m sure, probably in the 40’s, but maybe the 50’s. I’m not sure what the 4’s were for, unless he couldn’t find the size he wanted one time. It was with a paper-hulled shell from this box that I took my first squirrel at age 12, using his old rabbit-eared double barrel with the Damascus barrels. He’d been gone four years by that time.

The five little .32 Smith & Wesson shells in the photo were in the .22 long ammo box. That was a full loading for the little Iver Johnson owl’s head revolver that he carried in his hip pocket most of his life as he worked in the oil fields. Even after his “retirement,” he still used it to kill hogs at slaughter. There had been a few more rounds, but even with a broken mainspring, I learned that all it took to fire the gun was a strong rubber band. I saved the last five, though. I gave the pistol to an older cousin a couple years ago. I almost wish I’d kept it and had it repaired, but that would have been selfish, I guess. Besides, I don’t think you can buy ammo for it anymore.

The .22 box is definitely from the 40’s (maybe even the 30’s), because it would have belonged to my dad, and he was married and out of the house by the 50’s, and Granddad never had a .22. Dad took only head shots on squirrels and didn’t need the extra power of a long rifle cartridge, plus longs were cheaper than long rifles in those days, unlike now. Also, his Mossberg 37-A would hold a few more rounds in the magazine when using longs.


Dad’s rifle and Granddad’s shotgun left my home a few years ago in a previous round of poverty. They didn’t bring much, but much more than this little pile of memories will fetch. I’ll just advertise these few things for “best reasonable offer” in our local sale paper and see if I get a bid. I’ll always have my memories as long as I have my mind, and parting with these things will leave a tiny bit less clutter in the basement. © 2014
-