Thursday, March 5, 2015

03-04-2015 – Riding Shotgun – Rain, Rain, Go Away

After delivering salt to Mill Creek yesterday, there wasn’t time for a second delivery, so I preloaded for today. At 6:50 this morning, I pulled out, headed for Glenville, West Virginia. Another driver and I travelled together down to Elizabeth on 14 and then took 5 over to Glenville. The road was full of standing water from the rain that had been coming down since yesterday evening, so we went a TINY bit slower than we might have otherwise. The rain, falling on the snow, still lying on the ground, created a certain amount of fog to mix with the falling rain. Driving under such conditions isn’t particularly enjoyable. The Little Kanawha was running near full bank on our way there. About halfway there, a couple more trucks caught up with us that had left just after we did. That told me who’d been driving the fastest. Our directions were a little better today, at least; the dump site was only a mile and-a-half farther from the stop light than stated, rather than ten miles like the other day.

Going back, we took 5 to Grantsville and then 16 to St. Mary’s and reloaded. Then, we headed the same way back to Glenville by way of Grantsville. Travelling the ridges was interesting. There was far more fog on the hills than there had been along the river. Between the fog and the rain, visibility was downright bad at times. I, and the guy I’ve been running with some lately, got started just after the other two, but they must have tried a shortcut, because we arrived at the DOH garage before they did without ever passing them. Once there, one of them pulled in as we were ready to leave, saying the other one broke down. I went ahead to the gas station down in town to use the restroom, while my “buddy” waited for the other guy to unload. I assumed they’d wait for me, but they didn’t. Apparently, the guy who’s been driving with me has no connection with me, particularly; he just doesn’t like to travel alone.

The guy had remarked that I’d been awfully quiet on the way up. I didn’t tell him that I was remembering all the times that my ex and I had traveled those roads. I was recalling the visits with her relatives, and her grandmother feeding us when we went up to clean the cemetery where the her father lay buried with his kin. We questioned relatives about her family history and were interested in the fact that they didn’t like to talk about the ancestor who was killed while serving as sheriff. Apparently, he was raiding a moonshiner’s still and got himself killed in the process. Local sympathies (even among his own relatives) seemed to favor the moonshiner! Many other memories from those days went through my head, too.

The strange truth is that we got along far better most of the time than I do with my current wife of 32 years, EXCEPT about money. She was completely obsessed with it, once working three jobs to make all the lovely green stuff that she could. I, on the other hand, was completely too unconcerned with the matter. As long as I made enough to cover my needs, I didn’t worry about it much. In fact, I felt that working an extra job, for most people, meant that they were refusing to live within their means. It also amounted to stealing a job that some other poor soul may have desperately needed. The truth is, I still feel that way, but I now realize how important money is if you want to lead a “normal” life. Ironically, my first decent job didn’t come until four months after our divorce was final.

Coming back to town, I chose to take Tanner road to Burnt House and in 47. I hadn’t stopped to think that maybe the Hughes River might be running heavier than thee Little Kanawha. It was. I got the driver’s side wheels wet three times and both sides once. The latter was when I drove through about 18-24 inches of muddy water for about 100 feet. I figured if the van in front of me could make it, my dump truck should handle it. It did. I spent a lot of the drive back to town talking to the Lord, asking Him not to let me get stranded for the night waiting for the water tom go down. He graciously granted my request.

When I got home, the rain was indeed going away (by turning to sleet), so I took the wife and the dog to town, got some gas, some groceries and some snacks. In the meanwhile, the sleet had changed to huge snowflakes. The road up our hill was just barely passable for my temporarily two-wheel-drive pickup by that time, but we got safely ensconced in our home before the lights started flickering. So far, they’ve only cut out twice and come back on. It’s a wet, line-breaking snow, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed and praying a little that our juice won’t go out while we’re house-bound. I hope you’re warm and safe tonight. © 2015

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This link made me think of something!

Here's the link:

And here's what it brought to my mind:

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Matthew 25:41-46

FUDD? (a link)

While designed for women in combat (which I don't believe in), I can actually see how it might be a good thing for female preppers to have.


This is actually just one of MANY such places in the U.S. !

Sunday, March 1, 2015



Everyone should start carrying $2 bills! I'm STILL laughing!!
I think we need to quit saving our $2 bills and bring them out in public. The younger generation doesn't even know they exist!
STORY: On my way home from work, I stopped at Taco Bell for a quick bite to eat. I have a $50 bill and a $2 bill. I figure with the $2 bill, I can get something to eat and not have to worry about irritating anyone for trying to break a $50 bill.
Me: 'Hi, I'd like one seven-layer burrito please, to go.'

Server: 'That'll be $1.04. Eat in?'
Me: 'No, it's to go.' At this point, I open my billfold and hand him the $2 bill. He looks at it kind of funny.
Server: 'Uh, hang on a sec, I'll be right back.'

He goes to talk to his manager, who is still within my earshot. The following conversation occurs between the two of them:
Server: 'Hey, you ever see a $2 bill?'
Manager: 'No. A what?'
Server: 'A $2 bill. This guy just gave it to me...'
Manager: 'Ask for something else. There's no such thing as a $2 bill.'
Server: 'Yeah, thought so.'
He comes back to me and says, 'We don't take these. Do you have anything else?'
Me: 'Just this fifty. You don't take $2 bills? Why?
Server: 'I don't know.'
Me: 'See here where it says legal tender?'
Server: 'Yeah.'
Me: 'So, why won't you take it?'
Server: 'Well, hang on a sec.'
He goes back to his manager, who has been watching me like I'm a shoplifter, and says to him, 'He says I have to take it.'
Manager: 'Doesn't he have anything else?'
Server: 'Yeah, a fifty. I'll get it and you can open the safe and get change.
Manager: 'I'm not opening the safe with him in here.'
Server: 'What should I do?'
Manager: 'Tell him to come back later when he has real money.'
Server: 'I can't tell him that! You tell him.'
Manager: 'Just tell him.'
Server: 'No way! This is weird. I'm going in back.
The manager approaches me and says,
'I'm sorry, but we don't take big bills this time of night.'
Me: 'It's only seven o'clock! Well then, here's a two dollar bill.'
Manager: 'We don't take those, either.'
Me: 'Why not?'
Manager: 'I think you know why.'
Me: 'No really, tell me why.'
Manager: 'Please leave before I call mall security.'
Me: 'Excuse me?'
Manager: 'Please leave before I call mall security.'
Me: 'What on earth for?'
Manager: 'Please, sir..'
Me: 'Uh, go ahead, call them.'
Manager: 'Would you please just leave?'
Me: 'No.'
Manager: 'Fine -- have it your way then.'
Me: 'Hey, that's Burger King, isn't it?'
At this point, he backs away from me and calls mall security on the phone around the corner. I have two people staring at me from the dining area and I begin laughing out loud, just for effect.
A few minutes later this 45-year-oldish guy comes in.
Guard: 'Yeah, Mike, what's up?'
Manager (whispering): 'This guy is trying to give me some (pause) funny money.'
Guard: 'No kidding! What?'
Manager: 'Get this. A two dollar bill.'
Guard (incredulous): 'Why would a guy fake a two dollar bill?'
Manager: 'I don't know. He's kinda weird. He says the only other thing he has is a fifty.'
Guard: 'Oh, so the fifty's fake!'
Manager: 'No, the two dollar bill is.'
Guard: 'Why would he fake a two dollar bill?'
Manager : 'I don't know! Can you talk to him, and get him out of here?'
Guard: 'Yeah.'
Security Guard walks over to me and......
Guard: 'Mike here tells me you have some fake bills you're trying to use.'
Me: 'Uh, no.'
Guard: 'Lemme see 'em.'
Me: 'Why?'
Guard: 'Do you want me to get the cops in here?'
At this point I'm ready to say, 'Sure, please!' but I want to eat, so I say, 'I'm just trying to buy a burrito and pay for it with this two dollar bill.
I put the bill up near his face, and he flinches like I'm taking a swing at him. He takes the bill, turns it over a few times in his hands, and he says, 'Hey, Mike, what's wrong with this bill?'
Manager: 'It's fake.'
Guard: 'It doesn't look fake to me.'
Manager: 'But it's a two dollar bill.'
Guard: 'Yeah? '
Manager: 'Well, there's no such thing, is there?'
The security guard and I both look at him like he's an idiot and it dawns on the guy that he has no clue and is an idiot.
So, it turns out that my burrito was free, and he threw in a small drink and some of those cinnamon thingies, too.
Made me want to get a whole stack of two dollar bills just to see what happens when I try to buy stuff.
Just think... those two are of the age to be voting!!!
NOW do you understand why and how Obama got a 2nd term?

A Mixed Bag Of Blather

I forgot to mention something that struck me as hilarious that I saw along my route home Friday afternoon. Near the edge of one small town that I visit at least once a year, I passed a large Victorian home that had been added to in a big way many years ago (in an industrial sort of way). It’s now a bed and breakfast. I called my mom and she said that it was a hospital when she was a kid. As for me, I can vouch for the fact that for at least 40 years, it was a FUNERAL HOME! I have to wonder if they mention that fact to their guests.

For some reason, today, I got to wondering about the background of an old iron kettle I have. I remember Mom planting flowers in it every year out by the dinner bell post. (I have the bell, too.) Amazingly, it never rusted through or froze and cracked. So, I cabbaged it many years ago and it now sits in my basement, should I ever decide to make some lye soap or a REALLY big batch of stew. It turns out that it came from my dad’s side of the family, but she doesn’t know any more than that. That places it to at least my grandparents, but I don’t know if it was from earlier. It has a folding handle to go with it.

The Mighty Dachshund has long hair, but she’s still been shivering in the extreme cold when I take her outside to relieve her bowels. As a result, she’s decided to wait until spring to poop. When I take her out for anything more than just a quick drain, she sniffs the breeze, listens to any distant dog baying, looks for squirrels in the treetops, or does anything else to keep her mind off the subject that I keep encouraging her to consider. It’s not a complete success for her, though. Every two or three days, the pressure has to be relieved and she prances back into the house a colder, but much lighter dog.

Driving around back of the Chinese Emporium today to avoid traffic, I spotted a single Canada goose standing by the railroad tracks, turning his (her?) head and looking skyward. I had to wonder about the lone goose, since no other geese were anywhere in sight. Most of the geese are still in flocks, but I notice a few pairs starting to separate from the group. I’m sure they aren’t nesting in this horrible weather, though. The goose seemed to walk okay when it moved and I saw no ruffled wing to indicate injury, so hoping for the best, I drove on. Perhaps it’s lost its mate since last year or, maybe, it’s just waiting on its mate to return from a short excursion. I hope the latter.

For some reason though, as I looked at the lone goose, the sixth and seventh verses of the 102nd Psalm came to mind: “I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.” © 2015

What is a CINO, and Why Does This Concern Preparedness ? (a link)

I'm not in total agreement on a few of Jane's minor points, but these are things that should be considered by those of you practicing preparedness.

"Rational Preparedness" : The Blog: What is a CINO, and Why Does This Concern Preparedness ?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Why Don’t Moderate Muslims Speak Out? (a link)

Medley of Worship: Opus 2015-53: Headlines: Why Don’t Moderate Muslims Speak Out?

02-27-15 – Riding Shotgun – Barreling Down Memory Lane

I’ve been hauling salt this week, and seeing some old familiar places in the process. I’ve mentioned in posts past that the folks took me and my sister to the mountains for day trips and over-nighters when we were growing up. That often involved traveling east on the old Northwestern Pike as far Red House, Maryland, then heading south, back into West Virginia. Sometimes, we turned south at Clarksburg and traveled old Route 19 to points south. Occasionally, we’d even take the old Staunton Pike eastward into interior West Virginia. Along the way, we stopped at places of interest and had picnics in the road-side parks so common back then. When I was a teenager, we also traveled to Buckhannon quite often for a year, as my sister went to school there her first year of college. Lord only knows how troubled my parents lives may have been back then, but it was “the good ol’ days’ for me, though I didn’t think about it then.

We hauled salt to Mill Creek this week, a ways below Elkins. The directions that we received were extremely inaccurate, but we got there anyway. Along the route, I watched as best I could from the four-lane and compared certain points to the same spots during my youth. I have ancestors out that way, and I noticed family names on both gravestones and local businesses as I whizzed along. Needless to say, there have been a lot of changes over the years. The road-side parks are long gone, victims of disuse, vandalism and sexual deviants. The natural sites are intact, of course, and various signs still point the way to them. A lot of businesses from back then are gone now, either sitting empty or replaced by new ones. The mom and pop places have largely been replaced by restaurants, stores and gas stations owned by chains from out-of-state, further impoverishing our state.

I still remember the feeling of wind coming through the open car windows, the scents of local restaurants (and barnyards), and the scenic vistas that we encountered along the way. Then there was also the taste of sandwiches made with country ham, along with big helpings of potato salad, or a few deviled eggs, all washed down with strong, sweet iced tea (all made by Mom). As often as not, dessert was homemade cake with chocolate icing, transported in the huge, squeaky Styrofoam cooler along with everything else.

We hauled salt to Millstone this week also. The journey involved loading near St. Mary’s, then driving across Route 16, through Ellenboro, Harrisville, Smithville and Grantsville. We stopped before getting into Millstone proper, since the DOH garage was on the northern side of “town.” Two drivers were ahead of me and the driver that was running with me, so any chatter on the CB was just between the two of us. I suspect that he got tired of my comments about all the places we passed where I’d delivered for Red Rose Feed 36 years ago. There again, many of the places were still there, but many were also out of business or operated by other people. No doubt, many of the people that I dealt with then are in their graves now.

We came back by returning to Grantsville and taking Route 5 to Elizabeth and then 14 to Parkersburg. That happened to be the same route that my first wife and I sometimes used when returning from Glenville, where we’d visit her paternal grandmother. I didn’t mention that to the other driver. Along the way, I saw the little church where we once had to pull in to change a flat tire. She still has distant relatives there, proved by the sign on one of the businesses along the way. In fact, I also have cousins there that I’ve never met, for one of my family names is common up that way, and everyone in the country with that name is descended from one particular man. As we neared Elizabeth, we passed through Burning Springs. Oil from a well there lubricated the machinery drilling the well in Pennsylvania claimed to be the “first oil well in America.” So much for the accuracy of the history books.

My last run on Friday was to Spencer. The salt dealer sent me out later than they should have (2:30), considering that it was Friday and the DOH tries to close shop at 3:30 when possible. I decided to go Route 14 rather than south down the interstate and east on Route 33. I hit town just as two other drivers were leaving. I never saw them, but I spoke to them on the CB. The guy at the DOH knew I was coming, so he waited on me and, five minutes after getting there, I’d unloaded and was leaving. Knowing that it was an easier route, but would take 15 minutes longer, I still chose to go back 33 and I-77, rather than fight the crookedness of 14 all the way back. I got to the shop at 6:30 that morning and didn’t get off ‘til 6. That made sort of a long day, but started my next pay period off well.

I covered a lot of familiar ground on the way down. As a child, I often went with the folks when they visited my mom’s maternal uncle in Elizabeth. Most of the time, we’d go on to Spencer on Route 14 and visit with her maternal aunt, too. Lots of times, we’d take her parents (my grandparents), along so Grandma could visit her siblings. They lived down there a couple times when Mom was a kid, so there were a lot of memories there for them. My very first memory of life is of one of those trips, so there are a lot of memories there for me, as well. I wish I could have slowed down and enjoyed the journey a little more, but that wasn’t my purpose for being there. Still, it was nice to get my memory jogged, even if it was at a high rate of speed.

The way this old world is getting to be, those memories are growing more precious every year. I miss seeing those folks, but I guess I’ll see them soon enough since, like me, they trusted in the Lord. © 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hauling Salt And Rooms With A View (w/pics)

I’ve hauled two loads of salt to Sutton,West Virginia, this week, one to Gassaway, and another to Weston. We keep having snow just often enough to require continued salting of the highways, even though we haven’t had any serious accumulations in my area. Afraid they’ll run out of salt before they run out of winter, the various DOH garages are restocking at least some of their salt supplies. All four deliveries I’ve made have involved driving Interstate 79, so I’ve travelled it enough by now to have certain “landmarks” in my mind.

I’ve mentioned in other posts how “progress” always comes with a price. Almost anything done “for the common good” manages to destroy the livelihood or property of some individuals. A case in point is how large highways to help move the masses, destroys small towns and small businesses along the former route. Being a country boy, one thing that I’ve particularly noticed are the number of once-fine farms destroyed by interstate highways. Several are evident along I-79 (and every other major highway). I managed to get some photos of a couple farmhouses today that once had farms to go with them. Both are near Jane Lew, West Virginia.

Located in the head of a hollow that opened onto a slightly larger valley, the first one was obviously a cut above the more common brick homes of the day. Arches over the windows, rather than lintels, and gingerbread on the exterior woodwork show a level of craftsmanship missing from most country homes of the day. A small barn still stands out back, probably once holding a team of horses and a milk cow or two. The main part of the farm would have been in the valley, I believe. The one mostly filled with fills to lift the highway from the valley floor. What little may have remained of the farm is now on the other side of the four-lane, inaccessible from the house.

I remember when this road was built, decades ago, and back then, the house was obviously lived in. Now, I can’t be sure. One thing I know, the place is going to pot, and no-one will want to buy a house where strangers can look in the second-story windows as they cruise by only 75 feet from the front porch. Can you imagine looking out the window of your country home, only to see cars and trucks of all decriptions flying by with deafening results. I’m sure the government paid the farmer “fair market value” for the homestead that they ruined. That usually is computed AFTER everybody learns that a big highway is coming through, so it’s a pittance of the real value.

Click images to enlarge. 

The second home is a frame home located, once again, at the head of a small valley, but this one was up the hill a bit, above the valley floor. At least the highway is level with the downstairs instead of the upstairs. Unfortunately, you can still sit on the porch and chuck walnuts at the passing cars if you’re so inclined. Like the other place, it’s permanently cut off from any part of the farm in the valley. This house, too, is suffering neglect, whether from aging owners or renters, I don’t know.

It was a terminal blow to the old homes to lose the farms that went with them, I believe. Sometimes, it just takes a long time for them to die. © 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Today And Long Ago

We needed a few things from the store today, though nothing we couldn’t live without. However, when the plow went through at 3AM, it had no seeming effect, so we wondered about the hills between us and the main road. Just before noon, we loaded up the dog and slowly drove out the ridge to the first major down-slope and gazed over the brink. We decided that the road was too bad to risk travel and decided that we’d just make do with what supplies we had on hand. Turning around, I suggested to my wife that I go home and put chains on, so we could go anyway. And so we did. We left the dog in the house, knowing that chains would allow us to return with certainty.

It had been ages since I’d put chains on a vehicle. Having four-wheel drive sort of makes them unneeded 999 times out of 1000. But, with my 4WD not kicking in like it should, I was back to a 2WD pickup, so I was glad I’d purchased chains when I first got the truck. It probably took me twice as long to mount them as it did in the past. Not only was I out of practice, I was also much older and fatter. Still, in a few minutes, I told my wife that we were ready and off we went.

It was interesting to see all the 4WD’s out on the roads. I suspect most stayed home yesterday like we did, but decided to hit the road when they saw the sun today. One thing I noticed was that we were the only folks on the road with chains. The few folks who were standing outdoors craned their necks to look as we went by, many of the younger ones probably having never seen chains on a vehicle before. The curiosity of others continued when we reached the bare four lane and the equally bare streets of town. One guy even laughed at us as we drove by his home.

As we talked about it, my wife and I decided that the last time that I’d used chains on the highway was 21 years ago. I’d just landed my job at the factory when we got snowed in for three days and the factory closed down. I kept calling, since I didn’t want to lose any work, and the day they said that they were going to run all shifts the following day, we lost our electric here on Tick Ridge. So, I put the chains on the ’79 GMC that I had at the time, we loaded a couple changes of clothes and a few supplies, took the little dachshund we had at the time and headed off for town through 21 inches of snow. At one place a pine was across the road and I got hung-up driving in the road ditch to avoid the treetop. A kind neighbor pulled us out with his tractor and we finished our trip. For the next week, we lived in a motel, while I worked my new job. We ate most of our meals at the McDonald’s next door and did laundry at a nearby laundromat. It was a rough week, but we made it.

After getting to our destination today, I paid a visit to the men’s room at the Chinese Emporium, while my wife did her shopping. As I headed back to the truck, planning to snooze a bit, I noticed a large flock of gulls in the parking lot, and sat down on a bench in the store’s side hall to watch them a few minutes. As I sat there, one of the workers that I sometimes speak to began taking apart one of the recycling boxes near me. As we chatted, I mentioned that I was using chains, in order to get to and from my home on Tick Ridge. At that, he mentioned that he was raised on the road we took when we hit the valley, so I asked his last name. When he told me, I asked if he was related to Charlie and Janet, farm folks that I once knew of the same name. He told me that they were his parents!

It’s funny how even country folks can grow up almost in the same neighborhood and not know one another. He looked to be near my age, but I don’t remember him from those days, nor did he remember me. I remembered my dad and I doing business with his folks though, and he remembered when our family sawmill was in what’s now my front yard. That was 40-some years ago. Both of his parents have been gone for a few years and my dad for over thirty, so it brought up a lot of old memories. After a brief chat and a handshake, I left him at his work and continued on to the truck.

On the way home later, my wife and I discussed the gulls, the winter of the big snow, our now antiquated method for gaining traction, and the changes in our neighborhood, just in the years that we’ve been married. Sometimes, it seems like we’re too young to be this old but, obviously, we aren’t. © 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

More FromThe Writings of Eleutheros (a link)

The Deliberate Agrarian: More FromThe Writings of Eleutheros


I’m not going to pretend that my situation is anything unusual right now. I suppose that half the country is suffering cabin fever along with my wife and me. I didn’t work any this week, so had no real reason to be out, except to break the monotony for my wife. Still, we managed to get out about every other day. Today was one that we didn’t, so we’re both a little bored.

If the four wheel drive was working on my truck, we might have gone out anyway, but it isn’t, and it would be stupid to risk getting hung up for no reason. We’re starting to get a little low on a couple things, though, so we may go out tomorrow, IF the state ever plows the road. They haven’t been across the ridge since this last snow started over 24 hours ago. I reckon they’re down by the edge of town, keeping all the city-slickers happy.

I have some things that I could do upstairs, on my other computer, or downstairs in the basement. However, that would entail “neglecting” my wife, and she wouldn’t look kindly on it. Over the past few years, she’s lost interest in the things that used to keep her busy, so she now considers me and her TV the providers of her entertainment. It can be a difficult and aggravating burden to bear at times, but what can I do; she’s put up with me for 32 years! Maybe we can go to the Chinese Emporium tomorrow and she can get her exercise pushing a cart around for an hour or two, while I sit in the truck and discuss politics with the dog. (NO, I’m NOT crazy, the REST of the world is crazy!)

We’re supposed to get freezing rain tonight on top of our snow, so I’m praying that our electric won’t go off. That would put us in a REAL fix. Well, guess I’ll quit neglecting my wife and go watch a little more TV with her. Baduh, baduh, baduh, that’s all folks! (I’m fine, REALLY!) © 2015

NUMBER ONE WITH A BULLET (a link) (Send this to your favorite liberal!)

A Woodsrunner's Diary: NUMBER ONE WITH A BULLET

Still No “Woodwright’s Shop” For Me

I was always a fan of the Woodwright’s Shop on PBS. Roy Underhill does a good job of bringing old woodworking tools and methods to life, some of which I grew up with. His quirky humor adds yet another dimension to the show. Since my wife’s Saturday schedule involves never being home when it’s on, I used to record it and watch it later. Then PBS started moving things around to where I could never depend on recording the right thing. Then, my VHS recorder quit working. Realizing that the only time I used my TV was to watch Underhill, it didn’t make sense to replace the recorder. So, I quit watching the show. I DO have all of his books.

When they brought his shows out on DVD, I thought about collecting them but, at the time, they were charging something like $20 for a single 30 minute episode. I considered that to be ridiculous, and still do. I see they’re now available as “seasons” for $30. That’s more reasonable, but I can’t really see my way clear to afford them.

I noticed that you can view them “for free” online, so I thought I’d check it out. As it turns out, you can only view a portion of the show, then, they want you to sign up with their local PBS station. I didn’t pursue the matter, but I figured they’d demand a contribution. Even if they didn’t, I’m sure they’d hound you for money from then on. It was hard enough to get them to stop bothering me when I had to quit donating to them a few years ago. I have no intention of getting that started all over again.

So, it was nice watching you Roy but, for me, I guess you’re history. © 2015

A Chilly Reminder (pic)

We sit in our relatively warm houses and complain about the cold (or at least I do). We sometimes forget the wild creatures or even our own domestic livestock that have it much worse. Below is the sight I found outside my door when I took the pooch out a 3:30 AM. Sometime after midnight, one or more deer had been scaping through the snow, hoping to find a few stray acorns yet remaining under the white oak in the side yard. It sort of puts things in perspective; doesn't it?


EVERYONE Should Read This ! (a link)


Friday, February 20, 2015

A Visit To The Doctor And A Thank You

My doctor has begun opening Friday evenings for folks who can’t get there through the day. It’s walk-in, though, as opposed to appointment, but that works for me! I was there before 4 for the opening of the office at 5, so I was the first one waited on. He renewed only one of my prescriptions and said another ten days should do it, even if I am reacting to it slowly. He also told me that some of the redness and swelling would remain a while after the infection was gone, so not to worry, unless it started getting worse again.

He also took a look at the place on my left side that’s been bothering me for several years. It’s on the site of the small scar from an incision years ago, and I originally figured that it was a bundle of nerves that had grown in a sort of rat’s nest. I noticed, though, that for the last two or three years, it’s been turning a darker purple color and had risen up at least an eighth of an inch above the surrounding area. He said that it was an aneurism and that he could remove it easily in his office, if I’d make an appointment. Those of you who’ve had hemorrhoids know the pain that can occur at times. Imagine having one on your side, where it gets bumped all the time and you can see how it could be aggravating. I’ll be glad to get rid of it.

It appears my current health problem will soon be taken care of, and the Lord even threw in an extra fix that I wasn’t counting on. So, for all of you who’ve been praying for me, thank you very much and may God bless you. © 2015

Friday Night Steam (a link)


Hozomeen: A story about chert, identity, and landscape (a link)

A Woodsrunner's Diary: Hozomeen: A story about chert, identity, and landscape

How Much Booze Is Too Much? (repost)

No doubt everyone has their own answer to that question. Some believe as my maternal grandfather did and think that one drop is always too much. That probably ties into him seeing his father come home so drunk that he would sometimes fall off his horse. Others feel that any amount short of what’s required to cause alcohol poisoning is A-okay. Many folks like to quote the verse in the Bible that tells us that “wine is a mocker and strong drink is raging.” Far fewer seem aware of the biblical advice to “drink a little wine for your stomach’s sake,” or to “let the poor man drink and forget his sorrows.” If even the Bible seems a little indecisive to you on the matter, how do we know what’s an acceptable amount of alcohol to consume?
Personally, I feel the answer lies in two seemingly unrelated teachings of the Bible. Proverbs, especially, teaches that we should seek wisdom. Exactly what is wisdom? It’s the same thing that most people call common sense. If each individual applied common sense to their situation, they would soon discover the best answer for them, personally. The other teaching is where the scriptures tell us that IF your hand offends you, cut it off. It’s not speaking literally, of course, and most people understand that. What most folks ignore is that little word “if.” The scriptures DO NOT say “cut off your hand and it will never offend you. So how much alcohol can a person consume without it being a problem? Let’s try to answer that using common sense……er….wisdom.
If someone is an alcoholic or a binge drinker, they should NEVER drink a single drop. It’s not worth them taking the likely chance of getting re-hooked on the stuff, or of getting behind the wheel when they’ve had too many. Wise folks don’t drink a drop if they’re going to be driving later in the day or evening, either. Say that you’re stone-cold sober and some kid who just got his license is doing 50mph in a 25mph zone, while smoking a joint and talking on his cell phone rear ends you. If the officer who shows up smells the slightest trace of alcohol on your breath, just who do think is going to get blamed for the accident?
Obviously, those who have health concerns about consuming alcohol, or who simply don’t care for the flavor, would be better off leaving the stuff alone. The same might be said for folks like my first wife, who felt that she grew more sober with each succeeding drink (she most certainly DIDN’T). That leaves the rest of us. Guys like me who have a half glass of wine before bed to combat cancer, diabetes or heart problems, shouldn’t worry about it, especially if they sometimes forget it like I do. Folks who have a beer or glass of wine a day and stop there, OR have even double that with a full meal, shouldn’t worry about it either.
As we continue, though, things get a bit dicey. If the thing you look forward to more than anything else after work is some form of alcohol, you may have a problem. If you can’t envision having a good time with your friends without alcohol, you may have a problem (and so might your friends). If you drink enough that you sometimes find yourself just a little embarrassed about your behavior when you look back the following day, you have a problem. And here’s the biggie—if you wouldn’t want your children copying your behavior, you’ve got a REAL problem. The reason for the latter is because YOUR behavior is exactly what THEY will probably pattern their lives upon.

During my time on earth, I’ve seen some really likeable people destroy their health, their marriages and their very lives with alcohol. That doesn’t have to be the case. I believe that the Bible teaches that alcohol in moderation is not a problem, but that drunkenness is a sin. If you can’t stop with a little, it’s best to “cut it off” from your life. It’s just…..wisdom. © 2011

Introducing Agriphemera (a link)

The Deliberate Agrarian: Introducing Agriphemera

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Grumping, Shivering, Doctoring And Endeavoring To Persevere

Well, my latest pay period ended this afternoon. I have a total of three hours on this pay, so it will qualify as my “waiting week” for low earnings (partial un-employment). Then, should I have another week like this, I can draw a few bucks from the state that I and my employers have paid in. If I’m still working there next year (as I expect to be), I’ll be able to draw more than the paltry amount I’d get this year. Being off work for 15 months really messed things up for me.

I don’t think it ever got above 9 degrees here today. The wind chill made it seem worse. The windward end of the house is the coldest. I never started my truck yesterday, so it had to be jumped today when we decided to make a run to town just get out of the house a while. I carry a fully charged battery in the back for such occasions. I bought it as much for the use of others as myself, but I’ve jumped my own truck as much as the rest of the folks put together. If I was rich, I’d trade the tundra in. It’s not the truck my old ’79 GMC was. BUT, the new GMC’s aren’t either.

I organized my desk a bit more today, but not much. I DID get rid of the old rolodex my wife gave me years ago, when I was self-employed. I didn’t need most of the numbers and addresses any more. For those that I did, I trimmed down the rolodex cards and put them in the little notebook I have that’s made for business cards. My wife decided to keep the rolodex herself. Now there’s slightly more room on my desk.

My cellulitis keeps improving, but it’s obvious that I’m going to run out of meds again before it’s cured. The nurse doesn’t want to give me any more antibiotics if possible, since she’s afraid they’ll mess up my stomach. She told me the doctor now has walk-in hours on Friday evenings and to come in tomorrow so HE can see me. Theoretically, cellulitis can be fatal if untreated, so that would make it a little hard for me to hold a job. Guess I’ll go see the doctor.

Even the Mighty Dachshund seems to get cabin fever, but it’s so cold that she even puts off taking a dump until she’s desperate. As soon as she drains her tank, she tries dragging me to the house. She finally needed to relieve herself bad enough about 9:30 tonight that she made time for a quick hunker and made a momentous deposit in the snow. Back inside, she decided that she wanted to share my lap robe and crept underneath. However, I kept feeling warm air around my leg, followed by a foul stench drifting out from under my lap robe, so I had to send her packing.

It’s currently zero here on Tick Ridge, and is supposed to go down 5 or 10 more degrees, with a wind-chill of -20. We’re watching TV, and I’ve been doing some things on the computer that I’ve needed to catch up on. I guess until the weather breaks, we’ll just do like the old Indian in Josey Wales and endeavor to persevere. I hope ya’ll manage to do the same. © 2015

Interesting times... Gun Control - Jersey Style (a link)

the lazy farmer: Interesting times...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A “Ready For Spring” Whine And A Prayer Request

I’m sick of winter. Besides the inconvenience of bad weather, it costs me money when I can least afford it. I only have three hours on this pay period so far, and don’t work tomorrow again. I doubt if I work Thursday, either. That’s when the pay period closes. I suspect that I won’t work Friday, either, which is the first day in the next pay period. In the meanwhile, we both need to see a dentist, a doctor and the eye doctor. I’ve now got a hospital bill and doctor bill to pay, and the dog needs caught up on her shots. Plus, we couldn’t do anything for our youngest granddaughter’s birthday for lack of funds. That’s a REAL bummer! I’ll be glad when the overtime starts again. I guess that sometimes happens in March. Then I’ll start complaining about no time and no rest. I guess I’m just one of those folks who’d complain if you shot me with a brand new gun.

On a slightly more positive note, I’ve managed to clean my desk some and sort the stuff there into “save” and “trash” piles. The trash has already been put into the circular file, and some of the save items have already been filed away upstairs. Also, I have a short article on a local rock formation that I think I’ll send to the same magazine where I sent my sawmill article. If they use it, it will be nearly two years from now, but I guess the money will come handy whenever it comes.

I haven’t been able to finish my maul, because the weather is just too cold outside. I suppose I could do it in the basement, but then I’d have a mess to clean up. Outside, the wood chips can lie there until the mower “distributes” them this spring. That’s one advantage to living at the edge of the woods; small things tend to blend in with the constantly blowing leaves until you either decide to do something about them, or they decompose.

I need to do my taxes. I can’t really afford to pay an accountant anymore and I hate to ask my stepson to do them again. He can get the online forms to print out, though, whereas I have trouble with it. Remember the good old days when the IRS mailed you the forms that you needed? Our STATE still does.

My cellulitis keeps gradually getting better, but it seems TERRIBLY gradual. I hope I don’t run out of dope a second time without it being cured. I’ sure I’ll have to go see the doctor again if I do. I’d really appreciate any prayers from fellow followers of Christ.

I reposted someone else’s post on Facebook today about Christians needing to be more positive. Wow, I definitely need to do THAT. I hope things are going well for you folks who are kind enough to read my drivel. If not, at least try not to be as grumpy as I am! ;-) © 2015

Google "Larry Nichols" (and/or read this link)

Isn't it strange how we never hear babout things like thisn on MSM?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Cinnamon Bread, Northern Invaders and Unknown Twins

Some of you know that cinnamon has some health benefits. So does honey. Mainly, though, I like them because they taste good. Wanting to satisfy my sweet tooth without eating complete junk, I’ve been putting honey on whole-grain bread as a bedtime snack occasionally. Recently, it dawned on me that adding cinnamon would give me a way to gain some health benefits, while making my snack taste even better. If I just want a small amount, I put the two flavorful additions on half a slice of bread and then fold it back on itself. It brings back memories of the cinnamon toast that my mother used to make for me when I was a kid. The advantage is that the honey is better for you than white sugar, and the slice of whole grain healthier than white bread.

I think I’ve mentioned earlier in this blog that I’ve been spotting a few gulls around town lately. Today, though, I saw a couple flocks that probably had several hundred members. I suppose they’ve come down from points north looking for open water and bare ground from which to scavenge food. I’m sure it was no coincidence that I saw both flocks in huge parking lots near fast-food joints. Critters soon learn where the food is.

Many moons ago, I took a couple edible foods courses at our local college. While there, I bumped into a guy who could have passed for my twin. They say that we all have one, but it was sort of strange to see myself walking down the hall. The thing is, he also wore jeans as I did, along with work shoes, flannel shirts and even a couple vests like I had. It was quite understandable when my new wife came home from college one day telling how she’d almost hugged the wrong man from behind as he sat at a table in the library. After all, he has longish blond hair, a beard and wire-rimmed glasses like I did, too. I can only hope that he doesn’t look like me today, or he’ll have some serious health issues.

A few years later, I got divorced, and the woman that I would eventually marry lost her husband to cancer. We didn’t yet know one another when she was shopping in a nearby grocery store and a huge pair of arms gave her a bear-hug from behind. When the arms let go and she turned around, she saw the smile on the strangers face turn into a look of utter fright. He turned and ran like a little boy as she stood there and laughed at the obvious case of mistaken identity.

Only about three years later, I had lost my truck-driving job and had hired on at a local muzzleloader shop. One day, I was out in the showroom, filling a mail order from a parts tray, when I heard the front door open. I looked up just in time to see the back view of my wife as she closed the door. The words “Hi Hon, what are you doing here?” were just ready to come out my mouth when she turned and I saw that it was the wife of a local gun dealer that I did personal business with. I was SO glad that I was slow to speak, though she would have laughed and taken it well anyway. I knew that she was the same height and weight, and had the same hair color and hair style as my wife. I just didn’t realize how exact those similarities were! © 2015

For anyone interested, below is a picture of the hippified redneck that once was me. 


Saturday, February 14, 2015

From Dining Out To Snowing Sideways (w/pic)

Several months ago, I promised my wife Valentine’s Day dinner out, so I went to bed last night knowing that I wouldn’t be lazing in bed this morning for as long as I might like. Sure thing; I got up at the crack of 8:30 to pee and my wife told me that I should go ahead and shower. Yesterday, we’d decided to go at 3 pm, between the lunch and supper crowds, so it might not be as busy. True to form, she changed her mind and decided that she wanted to be there when they opened their doors. A phone call proved that the restaurant of choice served their lunch menu until 3 and we wanted the supper menu, so she decided to go to Olive Garden instead. I was hoping she’d choose another restaurant a bit further up the street, since it has handicapped spaces right by the front door, but no dice.

Our local OG is faced onto the street, but the parking lot is in back. Thus, fair weather and foul, you have a rather long hike to get to the front door. It was cold and extremely windy just before 11, when we showed up, but they were nice enough to let us in and seat us. I forgot to order the dinner size heart-attack-on-a-plate, so ended up with the lunch size. I could have eaten more but, truthfully, it was all I needed. Both of us thought the quality was good, though the service was second-rate, due to a customer invasion of the place just after we arrived.

Afterwards, she wanted to go to the Chinese Emporium to pick up a few things that she forgot yesterday. I stayed in the truck and touched up the edge on the little scout axe that I’d bought years ago and rehafted, as well as the hewing hatchet (side-axe to you English blokes) that I bought probably over three decades ago when a local hardware store went out of business. I plan to use the hewing hatchet on the handle of the maul that I’m making. It came from the factory with a rather poor edge and needed the honing. Worse, some factory worker who didn’t understand its function put the slightest of bevels on the flat side. I can remedy that, but it will take more than a hand stoning to do it. I wondered what would happen if some politically correct busy-body saw me in my truck sharpening hatchets, but since I was parked in the back lot, apparently that didn’t happen. At least no SWAT team showed up.

My wife said that the store was packed with people trying to stock up for the bad weather predicted. The frenzy must have infected her, too, for I sent her in with $40 and she came back with $30 worth of groceries that she’d paid $100 for. We stopped and picked up a chicken sandwich for the pooch, which had been left at home for a change, and headed the old horse (tundra) for the ridge. We hadn’t been home five minutes when the first of the foul weather hit. The sunshine gave way to sideways snow and the wind howled through the trees and any cracks it could find in the house. A lot of the snow “fell” on the west side of the tree trunks.

They’re predicting a little more snow and a LOT more wind tonight. The electric has already blinked off twice, so we’re currently keeping our fingers crossed and will add a little prayer later. Hope y’all stay warm. © 2015

Today’s view from my office window.


Too Dern Cold

The digital read-out on my truck dash said that it was seven degrees when I left for work this morning. It was also seven degrees at the yard when I arrived but, in between, the thing dropped down as low as three and five at certain places.
I gave the dump-truck engine a shot of starting fluid before I started cranking it. It didn’t start on the first grind of five seconds or so, but it did on the second. After putting my lunch inside the cab, I parked my pickup and went inside the shop.

A handful of guys got runs at the regular dispatch time, but over a dozen of us didn’t. After a half-hour or longer, a couple fellows volunteered to go out and shut the idling trucks down for the rest of us. We didn’t argue with them. In the office, we could hear the dispatcher calling various customers, trying to drum up business. Three hours from starting time, they still had no runs for us and sent us home.

Being payday, it was sort of nice to get off early, but it means that I’m starting the next pay period with a short day. The weather forecast for next week shows cold and a little snow, so I’m thinking there may be more short days than long ones. Maybe next winter I can draw some low-earnings, but not this winter. I haven’t been back to work long enough.

The inlet behind the shop is frozen over, as is the river beyond. The resident Canada geese are landing on ice for now, unless they go to the big river, about a mile away. There’s been a flock of seagulls hanging around the last couple days. I never saw any around here as a kid, but they’re not uncommon now.

When I got home, we went out and washed the truck, fueled it up and went to the Chinese Emporium to pick up a few things. Then we returned home before the day started cooling down too much. It never got above 23 degrees today. I started to work on my maul a little bit, but it was just too breezy to be enjoyable. Still, I sat in the porch swing a few more minutes to enjoy the day a bit more before confining myself to the darkness of the “cave” (our home with the curtains all closed up for warmth).

We watched the first part of a two-part Civil War movie to pass some of the evening. It was pretty good, but I had to laugh when they talked about a “stone bridge” that turned out to be an abandoned bridge of cast-in-place concrete from the 30’s or 40’s. Oh well, most viewers would never catch it. I’m bad about catching anachronisms, though.

Tomorrow, I’m taking my wife out to lunch at one of her favorite restaurants. I really can’t afford it, but it’s our 32nd anniversary, so I’ll find a way to survive the rest of the week ahead. We don’t do gifts, cards or flowers anymore. She said that she’d rather I just save the money so I can take her to a nicer place to eat. Hey! Works for me!

Stay warm folks! © 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Grumping, Grouching, Griping And Grousing

Yeah, I’m in one of those moods. I only got in a half-day at work today, and less than three hours on Monday, so it will be another short pay tomorrow. I’ve only had one full pay since Christmas—not a good thing with winter bills. I never thought that the day would come when I’d look forward to overtime, but when you can’t live on the pay you get for 40 hours (or less), your perspective changes. I’ll be glad when spring comes this year, for more reasons than one!

Ten days ago, I went to the emergency room about my leg. It DID turn out to be cellulitis, but the doctor wouldn’t treat it without doing an ultra-sound on my leg, “to be sure I didn’t have deep vein thrombosis,” or whatever they call a blood-clot in the leg. I told her that I take at least one aspirin each evening, plus, I take Vitamin E every morning, and both are blood thinners. Therefore, logic tells you that it’s unlikely that a clot would ever form. She would have none of it. After all, they have to cover their keisters for liability, plus they want to rack up all the charges possible for me to pay.

 The doctor ended up giving me two antibiotic prescriptions, a shot in each hip and an antibiotic pill for that night. She also gave me a prescription for pain pills, but when I found out it was only for two days worth, I didn’t bother to fill it. The progress has been slow; perhaps because I’ve built up some immunity to their effects (from all my past illnesses and the accompanying medicines). Doctors won’t give you any more than ten days worth of prescription, when I usually require at least 14.

So, I called the pharmacy to see if they could wheedle an extension from the ER doctor and they said that never worked; they want you to see your doctor or come back to them. So, I called my doctor’s office and got their cursed answering machine. Strange, but they never run it except when they’re in the office, and then NEVER answer the phone. Their time is very valuable, after all, while yours is utterly worthless. So, I left a message for Doc’s nurse, figuring that it was a waste of time. I haven’t always got the best results from their system, but she came through for me this time and called the meds in to the pharmacy I use. She also told me to get some probiotics since I was going to be on antibiotics so long. My leg IS better, and another ten days (which I hope is what she called in) should do the trick.

I got my bill from the hospital today. The amount due is $962.36. I hate to tell them, but they’ll be lucky to get it all by the end of summer. The two glorified acetaminophen cost $18.36. The unneeded ultrasound (I wasn’t pregnant, by the way) cost $305. The “Emergency Services” cost $639. Now, I really doubt if the hospital has any more time in my treatment than my doctor would have, so, why can he do it for a $100, and they need $639?

That kind of morally reprehensible bull pucky is part of why we ended up with Obamacare. Not that the owners of the hospital would care anything about morals or mere people. And THAT, as they say, is the view from HERE! (Hopefully, I’ll be in a better mood tomorrow) © 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Is There A Camper In Your Future? (w/pic)

Click image to enlarge.

The photo above is of a local private canmpground. There are several in my area, and even this time of year, quite a few folks seem to be using them. Considering how tough the times are for the poorer class, I have to wonder how many folks are living there full time. The owner of this one says that he suspects that one guy, but only one, is doing so in his campground. Since the sites don't have water or sewer, that would be illegal, so he doesn't like the idea that he may have to ask the fellow to move on, if he ever finds out for sure.

I've been reading, on the internet, about folks moving into campers for year around living to cut expenses. At one end of the spectrum, you have folks with an untowable camping trailer with a tarp over the roof, kept on a friend's property. At the other end, you have better-off folks with a motor coach who own a northern lot and a southern lot, both with a shed roof to pull the coach under and with full utility hook-ups. Winter is spent down south, summer - up north. Most camper-dwellers fall somewhere between the two extremes.

Whether a person parks on the land of a friend, or at a low-priced campground, it IS an alternative to paying ridiculous property taxes for a home full of "stuff." If the camper is in towable condition, you also have the option of moving away from dangerous weather, or dangerous social conditions. Of course, that means that you have to maintaain a vehicle capable of towing the thing. Just one more thing to think about. © 2015