Friday, July 3, 2015


Those who’ve followed me for a while know that I’ve done several articles on prepping in the past, some with the help of the friend that I call “the guru.” I know that some of you have an interest in such things, too. On Facebook, I daily repost things from other folks that have to do with prepping, homesteading and DIY projects. Some folks prepare for societal collapse, financial collapse or the collapse of the power grid. Other folks prepare for things like floods, tornados, wind storms, drought, and food shortages due to various scenarios.

While many of my readers are exceptions to the rule, people at large don’t seem to want to prepare for the one event from which none of us escape—death. No, I don’t mean just buying life insurance to protect your family if you croak. Nor do I mean pre-arranging your funeral, making a will, or doing estate planning to lessen the taxes paid by your heirs. I’m thinking of something bigger, the biggest in fact—dealing with eternity.

Science tells us that energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be made to change forms. Science also tells us that we have an aura that is photographable with the right equipment. When we die, that aura doesn’t fade; it leaves the body and heads elsewhere. Religious folks will tell you that aura is the soul moving to the next realm.

There are people, of course, who choose not to believe in any god or in life beyond the grave. Surprisingly, this attitude is more common in the lower classes and less educated. People would be shocked to learn how many scientists are religious. For those folks who simply think they’re being pragmatic not to believe in spiritual things, I’ll quote my late uncle. He was neither the first nor the last to say such a thing, but he was the first to articulate it to me. He said, “If I spend my life believing in God, only to die and become nothing; I’m not out a thing. A lot of folks go through life mistaken about some things. However, if some guy goes through life NOT believing in God and finds himself at the judgment seat after leaving this life, he’ll have literal hell to pay.” And that will be for all eternity, folks. Have you ever considered the idea of something with no end?

Concerning Jesus, Acts 4:12 tells us “…God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (NLT) That means Buddha, Mohammed, Vishnu nor any other person, living or dead, can get you into Heaven. You have to accept Jesus as your savior, or you’re headed somewhere else entirely.  We can’t make it in on our own either, for Romans 3:23 tells us, “ For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (NLT) However, once you make that decision to accept Jesus as your savior, He won’t turn his back on you. Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (NLT)

Sadly, I believe that Satan may have more fake Christians out there than God has real ones, so don’t be swayed by “Christians” who set bad examples. If you know one who has impressed you with his (her?) behavior, go to him and ask about “getting saved.” If he’s sincere, he’ll find the answers you need, even if he doesn’t have them on the tip of his tongue. Feel free to ask me to converse privately, also. Otherwise, get a red letter edition Bible and just read the words in red a few times, so you get familiar with what Jesus says, instead of what people say about Him. Then, you might want to read all of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John plus, perhaps, Proverbs.

Please get prepared for eternity, because your world could end at any moment, and eternity is a long time to suffer needlessly. Heaven sounds like a much nicer place. © 2015

Historic Canadian Steam Train (a link)


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Oilfield Ingenuity (pics)

Okay, so if you need two of these, but only have one,

you just use one of these; right? I mean, who will notice the difference (sitting there on the hilltop)?

Click photos to enlarge.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Stories Of Two Unsung Heroes (links)

Sometimes, it's the little daily things that show what someone is made of.

A School that Works (a link)

Medley of Worship: Opus 2015-199: Headlines: A School that Works

More About Ol’ Duke (a repost from 2011)


With all the politics and moral subjects driving us batty right now, I thought a change of pace might be welcome:

As I’d mentioned in a previous post, Ol’ Duke, the last workhorse to be used on the farm where I was raised, was already trained when my family bought him at age seven. That meant that his habits, for better or worse, were pretty well ingrained. Luckily, he didn’t have any truly BAD habits. However, he DID have a couple quirks that could cause his driver some consternation on occasion.

The first was a sort of “safety feature” that had been trained into him. A horse-drawn plow could only be built so strong and still be light enough for one horse to handle, so its design was a compromise. The idea was to have a plow that was light enough to be easily transported, yet strong enough not to break apart under difficult conditions. Despite having small feet for his size (think traction) and not being an especially large horse, Duke was apparently a heck of a puller. Perhaps for this reason, his trainer had taught him to stop if the plow met unusual resistance. The idea was probably to avoid pulling a plow apart if it caught on an immovable rock or root. The problem was, erosion over the years would sometimes thin the topsoil enough to allow the plow to catch some of the harder subsoil below. Other places, if soil had been worked while wet too many times, especially by tractors, a hardpan could develop. With Duke, either one of these caused enough resistance to make him stop, rather than ruin the plow. The thing is that hardpan in that small a quantity won’t ruin a plow, yet the plowman would have to restart Duke each time. Then, the next time he hit a hard spot, the whole scene was repeated.

In the woods, they had the opposite problem. When logging, Duke knew his job was to move that log, no matter how heavy, so he gave it his all. That was great on a smooth trail; the problem came when a root or stump was encountered by the leading end of the log. Instead of stopping, as he did when plowing, Ol’ Duke would hunker down and pull for all he was worth. When that happened, something was going to give! Sometimes it was a connection of the trace-chains. More often, it was the single-tree, the heavy wooden cross-bar to which the load was hooked and which kept the trace-chains spaced far enough apart that the horse wouldn’t be rubbing the traces with his legs. They spent so much time replacing single-trees that they even bought an “unbreakable” steel single-tree. Unfortunately, it wasn’t “unbendable.” He was just trying to do his job, so neither Dad nor Granddad ever rebuked him for his actions when he was plowing or logging. He was just doing as he was taught and they never seemed to be able to “unteach” him those habits.

Duke was a good steady horse in every other way, so they didn’t complain. In fact, I think Dad told me that, if the trail was smooth, he and Granddad could let him travel unattended between the logging site and the landing, pulling a log one way and traveling “dead-head” the other. That allowed one of them to work at the logging site and the other at the landing. Few folks today know the pleasure of working with a well-trained animal of any kind; it must have made a hard life a bit easier and more pleasurable. © 2011

The Handwriting On The Wall (a link)


Ungodly Attack On American Families Foisted By SCOTUS (a link)

_It Don't Make Sense_: Ungodly Attack On American Families Foisted By SCOTUS

Facebook's New Filter Coming In Handy

The new rainbow filter that Facebook made available is coming in handy. So far, I've unfriended one person and have hidden several friends of other folks whose posts made it to my page. I'll be called prejudiced and homophobic by some folks who don't matter to me, but why should I care? I have do desire to associate with people who are PROUD to support behavior that Almighty God calls an abomination. (Just for the record, I have a couple gay relatives, but they keep their private lives private, and don't join parades and imitate sodomy on the streets.)

Permaculture Swale Planting Bed (a link)


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Animals in the Heat Wave (tips) (a link)

The Locust Blossom: Animals in the Heat Wave (tips)

Bicycling For A Cause

I saw the first rider before I ever made it off the ramp that led up to the eastbound lane of the old Northwestern Pike. He was in Spandex, like the ones that come out onto my country road and create safety problems. Unlike them, he was riding on the berm, instead of the center-line. Then, I saw another rider ahead of him, and then another. I thought that it was probably one of the local clubs, out for a week-day ride. Then, I noticed the “chase-car” stopped on the berm ahead, waiting for them to catch up. That’s when I realized that it was something bigger. As I drove further out the highway, I saw numerous cyclists and chase-cars.

At least once a year, some national gathering of bicyclists passes through town, usually doing a coast-to-coast ride for some charity. When I passed the second chase-car, I was able to read just enough to tell that the effort was tied to some cancer research charity. Good cause—wasted effort.

Those who’ve lost friends or relatives to some disease, understandably, want to do something to keep others from suffering through the loss that they faced. It makes them feel like they’re helping others, like their own life is making a difference, and it helps them overcome the feeling of helplessness that came from watching someone that they loved slip, daily, a little further into an early grave. Their efforts are sincere and commendable. It’s just sad that the money, that they work so hard to raise, will go to line the pockets of some already rich “research scientists” and not to the cause for which it was given.

Over the years, I’ve read the columns of a few conservative black commentators. I can’t remember which one did a piece on cancer charities, but he made the wise comment that no doctor or scientist will ever find whatever it is that you’re paying them to look for, since that would end their cash flow. Instead, they “discover” just enough information to keep hope up, meanwhile, searching all around the answer, without quite stumbling onto it. He said that if we want the answer found, that we should not pay ANYONE to search for that answer. However, we SHOULD pay multi-millions to the first person to find the cure. I’m certain that he’s right.

You may understand why I don’t waste money on disease charities. Nor do I participate in “walk-thons and such because I know where the money REALLY goes. So, how do I help sick folks and their families? I pray for them. You can, too. It will do more good than making the doctors gain a tax bracket. © 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

They’re Selling My Truck!

I’ve only driven one truck as my regular truck since I hired on with my employer 11 months ago. It’s a 2006 Mack tri-axle with a 16 foot dump bed. It’s also an automatic. It’s one of only two that I fit into comfortably, and I suspect they’re selling the other one, too. The boss just decided that they’re too expensive to maintain. Whether that belief is based on speculation or solid bookkeeping, I really don’t know. I DO know that I didn’t hear anything about it until my truck blew a tire this afternoon, something completely unrelated to the truck itself. Who’s to say?

I DO know that I’ll miss my little truck. It goes places that some bigger ones won’t go. Plus, I’ll have to get used to driving a standard again, after eight years of driving automatics. And then there’s the problem with most cabs not allowing enough room to adjust for fat guys like me. The other fat guy with the company is driving the twin to mine. He may be out, too.

My years of self-employment had their problems, but they had their good points, too. One was not being completely dependent on the whims of any one person. Sometimes, I miss those days. © 2015

1925 Steam Car (a link)


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Gun Control In Perspective

The guru emailed this to me today:

According to a 2013 Pew Research study, 37 percent of households had an adult who owned a gun — 24 percent said they owned a gun, and 13 percent said someone else in their household did.
There are about 319 million people in the United States, so that means there are about 118 million gun owners in this nation. Mother Jones reports there have been 69 mass shootings in the last 30 years. The Washington Post says, a Congressional Research Service report published in 2013 counted 78 incidents over roughly the same period, in which 547 were killed.
That means, out of 118 million gun owners, 78 or .00007 percent of the gun owning population are potential mass murderers (using a 30-year total).
Since Mother Jones published its analysis, five people were killed in a shooting spree in Las Vegas that authorities said was driven by anti-government views. In February, a man named Joseph Jesse Aldridge killed seven people in Texas County, Mo., including several of his relatives, before taking his own life. His motivations remain unclear. So that makes 560 people killed.
Now we can add Dylann Roof to the list. It is awful and tragic. He appears to be a sick human being who should never have been given a gun.
Of course, now the gun control activists are out in force. Any white person who legally owns a gun must be a racist white supremacist nut bag.
It is a sad truth that there are likely more mentally ill individuals in our nation who will one day get their hands on guns, legally or illegally, and take the lives of some innocent souls.
But some perspective is needed.
Let’s take that figure for the number of people killed in the last 30 years during a mass shooting of 560 and add another nine to it. That makes 569.
Now compare that number to 10,076. According to MADD, that’s the number of people killed during drunk driving crashes in 2013 alone. In fact, every day in America, another 28 people die in drunk driving crashes. Every. Single. Day.
Using the liberal logic of banning guns because of tragic (and thankfully, comparatively rare) mass shootings undertaken by crazy white folks (and some not so white), should we not then ban cars?
Cars clearly cause many more fatalities in terms of numbers each day than whack nuts with a gun.
Heck, we should ban bathtubs too. Because 341 people die from drowning and submersion while in or falling into bathtubs. And floors. We need to ban floors too, because 565 people die each year from slipping, tripping or falling.
I don’t mean to be flippant, or to trivialize this terrible tragedy. But as the stories fly around in the next few days regarding this event, you can be darn tootin’ liberals will begin pushing their agendas.
It’s useful to have some facts at your fingertips to provide some perspective – because you’ll never get that from the mainstream media.  [by Michele Hickford, June 2015]
NOTE: To expand a bit, 32,712 (89 per day) highway deaths vs 11,202 (30 per day) gun deaths in USA in 2013, so his numbers remain substantially correct. Cars need to be banned since they cause three times the deaths of guns.   By the way, commercial airline deaths in 2013 were 224, less than one a day.

REAL Cars From 1935 (a link)


Saturday, June 20, 2015

What’s It Worth To You?

Several years ago, I read a book about personal finances. One of its main ideas was that we should figure the cost of an item not in dollars, but in the number of hours we work to acquire that item. In other words, if something costs $50, and you make $5 an hour, it costs you 10 hours of work to purchase that item. Of course, if you make $25 an hour, it only costs you two hours. It puts things on a rather personal and ACCURATE cost basis. I’ve tended to look at things from that angle ever since.

A case in point was our lunch today. We went to a well-known and popular restaurant that we go to on occasion. The cost there is more than a fast-food joint, so we don’t go there frequently, but ever so often, we like to splurge. Normally, it has cost me about three hours of labor for my wife and I to dine there, and that included the tip. Today, the cost was four hours (again, with the tip), despite getting the same meals that we usually get. I hadn’t looked at the prices when we ordered, so I was a bit surprised, though not shocked.

I realize that prices are going up on EVERYTHING these days, and that the restaurant may have simply adjusted their prices as needed to stay in business. I also realize that their own greed could have played in the higher price to some degree, as well, though it wouldn’t be provable. I know, too, that the rise in poultry prices, due to current disease problems, will cause a rise in other the cost of other meats as consumers switch to those other sources of protein.  However, there are other restaurants that haven’t yet raised their prices to that degree.

All in all, I felt that the cost of our meals had exceeded my willingness to pay. I had to pay for today’s meal, of course, but I have a choice to make the next time I feel like dining there. Will we go to a less expensive restaurant, or will we simply choose to eat at home. Since my wife likes a break in the kitchen on weekends, I suspect that I already know the answer, but it’s a decision, nonetheless.

So what would YOU do? Is there a “test” that you use to decide when your willingness to pay has been misused or abused, or that something is simply beyond your means? © 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Night Steam (a link)


The Snake and the Frog (a link)

Medley of Worship: Opus 2015-179: Should-a-Beens: The Snake and the Frog

It's Not A Matter Of Skin Color (a link)

_It Don't Make Sense_: It's Not A Matter Of Skin Color

Not A Good Week

I thought that I was going to have a little extra cash last week to apply toward bills, but I ended up using it Sunday to go to the quick clinic. I finally realized that I was into my yearly sinus infection, and every hour that I put it off would increase my suffering and recovery time. So, there went $100. According to their records, I’d skipped last year. I hadn’t realized that.

At work Monday, my truck went on the fritz as I was leaving the lot, and the owners decided to take it to the dealer a few miles up the river. Since I wasn’t feeling well and I would have been put in a different truck, I chose to go home, though I only had two hours in at the time.

Tuesday, I waited a couple hours to even be assigned a load, and then had to take the truck of a guy who was working evenings. It was hard for me to climb into the big Volvo, plus it was a standard. It’s been eight years since I’ve driven a standard regularly, and I’m VERY rusty. Shockingly, I didn’t rake a lot of gears, but I did miss a few completely. I had to stop my day a bit early to return the truck and get it ready for the night-shift guy. I felt lousy all day.

Wednesday, I waited three hours for a load and then was assigned yet another standard Volvo. I had the same problem getting in, and the seat-belt in that one choked me even worse than the one from the day before. I felt even worse than the day before, plus, my water pills were going wild and I needed to pee about every half-hour to 45 minutes. Twice, I couldn’t make it to a john and I had to improvise. Once, I settled for a big bush on the access road to the landfill. The other time, I had to answer nature’s call behind a pickup parked in the storage shed of the waste-water treatment plant. The former wouldn’t have been so bad, since I grew up on a farm, but it was pouring rain, plus, I fell down on my hike to the bush and got soaked from head to foot. From the odor of my urine, I finally figured out that I have a urinary tract infection to go with my sinus infection. I thought that was a female thing! Oh well, the same antibiotic should cure them both. I felt lousy all day.

Thursday, two other guys and myself were sent home after waiting three hours for a load that never came.

Today, Friday, there were ten of us that suffered that fate (again, after a three hour wait), but at least we had our paychecks when we left. I noticed I’d gotten a 45 cent raise (I’ll have to give the bosses a thank-you card). Every little bit helps, but rain-free weather would be a bigger boon to my pay right now. Construction jobs shut down when the mud gets too deep.

I’m sore and achy in the shoulders and hips from making those 20-24 inch steps to drag my overweight carcass into the trucks I was driving the last couple days. I hope I have my truck back Monday, I could use some comfort and some good news. © 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Yep, It Works! (pic)

Click image to enlarge.

I finally got around to trying the maul that I made a while back. It works fine, as you can see from the split piece of firewood. An axe of some kind is still needed to severe splintered sections, of course. My little log-marking axe is shown here.

The advantages of a maul are three-fold. If you're traveling to the backwoods, you save the weight of carrying a sledge-hammer. You can make it yourself, with only an axe, once you get there. Plus, it doesn't distort the base of steel wedges that you may be driving with it. Still, I don't plan on giving up my splitting maul, though I could get by without it.© 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Greed Ultimately Destroys The Product

I’ve seen it often over my nearly 60 years of observation. A product fills a need and gets popular and profitable. The company gets rich, but has visions of getting even richer. They start “new and improving” the product, each time finding a way to make the process cheaper, or to leave out a part or ingredient entirely. Eventually, this affects the usefulness of the product and people start buying it less, or move to competing products. Faced with declining sales, the company finds ways to make the product even cheaper, often by sending the work overseas. Eventually, the product becomes so poorly made as to be worthless, and the company goes out of business. This happens quite frequently when the second generation takes over a family-owned company. They didn’t work and sacrifice to create the company, and often don’t have the pride of name and quality like the founder.

I’ve noticed the same downward spiral with restaurants. They offer a good menu, fair prices and good service. The public responds by flocking to the establishment and spending their money. However, the owners or stockholders get greedy and want more, more, more profit. First, they try to get by with fewer wait staff and less skilled cooks. Soon the food quality suffers. I’ve seen quality get so bad that my dog wouldn’t eat the stuff! Then, they close their doors.

I’ve seen this with cereal brands, clothing companies, cleaning supplies automobiles and other products.

Recently, Grand River, a brand of Chinese-made jeans that I’m forced to buy (due to them being the only ones available in town in my size), has decided to save money by putting less fabric in their jeans. The way they did this was to keep the waist size the same, but skimp on the butt and thigh areas of the pants. Now, I realize that there are butt-less wonders out there that have a spare tire, but no backside to match. I’m not one of them. If their trick continues, I’ll soon be buying my jeans online from a place where one of my coworkers shops. If the big-butted guys like me outnumber butt-less wonders, Grand River may soon find itself a brand of the past.

A couple days ago, my wife set a “new and improved” bottle of Dial liquid soap on the bathroom counter. The first squirt went nearly across the counter. It was like WATER! If the next bottle is like that, it will be our last.

It seems too many companies just can’t make enough money. I always remember John D. Rockefeller’s answer when asked how much money it takes to make a man happy. “More,” was his reply. © 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Me And Music

(If the title is improper English, mind your own business.) ;-)

Parkersburg, West Virginia, Big Red Marching Band, circa 1943. Click image to enlarge.

My taste in music is pretty broad. I like most classical music, folk music from nearly any time or country, “tribal” music, old country and western, SOME so-called country of this day and age (most would have been called “southern rock” in the past, with some being just plain rock. I like blues, swing, soul, bluegrass and jazz. Name any other kind, and I probably like it, too! Just don’t mention rap; it ain’t music. (I have spoken!)

Some of my favorite music, though, is the pop music my parents enjoyed during their younger days. I find music from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s to be either pleasant or poignant, except for the silly stuff, which is okay, too. Mairzy Doats is an example of the latter, and I get a kick out of it. You can hear it HERE. An example of poignant a one is “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” which you can hear at THIS link. The “pleasant’ song that I now love/hate from a week of catching myself humming, whistling and singing is “Bie Mir Bist Du Shein.” You can hear it HERE. I guess you could call my taste in music “eclectic.” ;-) © 2015

What If You Can't Garden - Part 1 (a link)

Mom's Scribbles: What If You Can't Garden - Part 1

Men Giving Up On Women (a link)


If It Ain’t One Dern Thing, It’s Another!

I had a little money left over this week that I thought I could use to pay down my colossal medical bills from a four-hour visit to the emergency room a few months ago. At that time, I didn’t have the money on me to go to the quick-care place and pay the $100 up front, and I sort of panicked when I realized that the cellulitis was moving UP my leg, so I went to the hospital emergency room. I knew that I could go then and pay later. I figured it would run $500-1000. It ended up about $2000, altogether. I should have waited and taken off work and gone to the quick-care place the following day, I guess.

I’ve been having some health problems (caused by my weight I figured), but I finally realized that not all the symptoms were related, and that I had my usual yearly sinus infection. Once they get to a certain point with me, they only get worse, NEVER better, so I have to get medical help. This one was getting to the chronic headache stage, with about a 10-point rise in blood pressure. Surprisingly, the doc told me that it had been TWO years since I’d been there with that problem. That must be a record for me. Regardless, the doctor got my bill-paying money. I got a shot in the hip and a prescription that probably won’t last long enough to do the trick. That may mean another office visit and another round of antibiotics. Only time will tell. © 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Too Tired To Blog

I appreciate the larger paychecks that come from 60 hour weeks, but it sure doesn’t leave me any time to blog, OR do much of anything else. I’ve discovered that I’m not made for such hours. I’m chronically sleepy (a bad thing for a driver) and grumpy (a bad thing for my wife and my dog). I slurp coke through the day to keep from falling asleep at the wheel and take anti-acids to counter its effects on my stomach. No, I think 50 hours is more than enough, but the larger paychecks ARE helping me catch up a bit on my doctor bills.

I started the week hauling limestone sand to fill in part of an old sewage treatment plant. They call it a “waste-water treatment plant” now. I’m not impressed, as a “rose” by any other name,…..well, you get the idea. Interestingly enough, they’re erecting a new medical building next door to it. Maybe the change in terminology WILL serve some purpose! LOL

I hauled some stone to a new medical building going in across the river in enemy territory this week also. I’m glad to see the little town finally get the medical facility that it deserves. Now their ambulances won’t have to bring them across a state line to our town, OR speed them several miles up the river to the hospital in the next town.

I spent the last two days hauling top soil and fill dirt from a little power plant up the river to the farm of one of the fellows working there on a building project. It was a fellow that was in school when I was, so we were vaguely acquainted. His first wife was a girl from my French class in high school, plus, I used to do a lot of business with his brother back when I had the sawmill. The thing I’ll always remember most about the guy was that he was on the wrestling team and took on the wrestling bear during half-time at a Globe Trotters game here in town. The funny thing was, the guy WON and the bear got angry about it!

As I looked around that jobsite those two 93 degree days, I noticed that most of the workers were older, like he and I. The only younger fellows were the “educated” kids riding around in the air-conditioned pickups with blueprints and cups of coffee. I couldn’t help but wonder who will do the grunt labor when my generation retires. SOMEBODY still has to get their hands dirty, and the fewer folks willing to do it, the more those jobs will pay. I suspect I know who will be doing that work, and they won’t be speaking English as their first language.

I’ve noticed several small gas-fired power plants going in the region. As much as I think it was unwise to rush the closing of the coal-fired plants, I believe the smaller, more numerous plants are the way to go. For one thing, no one act of terrorism could shut them all down. Also, if one plant has to go down, it won’t affect such large numbers of people. The only problem I see is that they’re still, undoubtedly, tied together with an antiquainted grid system.

There was a bad wreck out on the four-lane a day or two ago. Someone rear-ended another vehicle in a work zone. That vehicle was knocked into a third, which was then knocked into a fourth. The bad thing was, a worker was between the third and fourth vehicles and was crushed to death. He was only in his 40’s. I see people do stupid stuff every day in those work zones, both the folks driving by AND the workers. It’s amazing there aren’t more people killed.

I hit the big six-zero Thursday and, even though we have a “no gifts” policy for us older members of the family, my 85-year-old mother wanted to do something special for me. SO, I suggested she make me a few chocolate chip cookies. I went by today to pick them up and pay her with a hug. She also gave me a hymnal from the old church that’s closing down that has my aunt’s name printed in the front. I’m to give it to the cousin that helped install my water tank, since it’s his grandmother’s name in the book. I saw him earlier today when he put some freon in my pickup’s AC. Guess I’ll see him again tomorrow.

As I came home from town today, where I’d gone to get a haircut, I topped our ridge to find a doe standing right on the center-line nursing her fawns. I stopped the truck, but they left quickly anyway. The doe picked one of her rear feet up as high as her belly to keep from knocking one of her fawns over as she moved. Now THAT’S being a gentle mother! I didn’t have my camera, unfortunately—maybe next time. © 2015

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Duggar Situation Brings Out The Haters

 With all the attention focused on the family, I actually feel sorry for ALL the Duggars, including Josh. He tried to do the right thing by coming forward on his own and trying to stop his wickedness. He seems to have succeeded, with much help. As for the affected girls, the current media circus has violated them far more than the actions of their brother, considering that they were not even aware of what had happened back then, until they were told. As for the parents, I wouldn't wish their situation on anyone. Some folks, though, seem to want to line the whole family up for the firing squad.

I've seen few issues bring the haters out like this story. The hatred isn't reserved just for the Duggars themselves, but for anyone who doesn't think an sdult should be drawn and quartered for acts committed as a young teen. I've decided that much of that hatred probably comes from two sources, though I have no way to prove it. The majority are down on the Duggars at large, not just Josh. I think that's because they're personally at war with God, and the Duggars represent Him in their minds. Therefore, since they hate God for not approving of their sins, they hate the Duggars even more, since they have earthly faces at which they can aim their vitriole. As unrentant sinners, those folks can't know that "winning" a war against God is the ultimate defeat.

The other group is the surprisingly large numbers of people in this country who have, themselves, been victims of sexual abuse, often of the violent type, and feel that no-one who has even harbored a single thought of pedaphilia can be human. Their position is more understandable, but still distorted. The sad thing is, there may never be a way for them to truly heal until they can forgive the individual who violated them. (Remember that forgiveness and approval are two ENTIRELY different things.) The more I see and hear, the more I think this story has tarnished the reputation of the media and general citizenry even more than it has the Duggars. THEY, at least, seem to have some sense of compassion. © 2015

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Wirt County Hillbillies

My mother told me a little story on the phone tonight, about when she lived in Wirt County, West Virginia during the early 40’s. My grandfather had lost his factory job as the war first started winding down and had returned to his first love—farming. There wasn’t much money to be had on the farm, but there was plenty of food. That came in handy when his kids wanted to go to 4-H camp. It seems that they would let you bring food to help feed the campers if you couldn’t afford the camp fees. That was good arrangement in the days before government interference put an end to common sense.

Mom’s best friend also wanted to go to camp, so they figured they’d ride together, along with their siblings. Her friend’s dad took them in his pickup truck and the kids rode in the back with their luggage, produce, eggs and live chickens. At every bump, the old hens would give a cackle and, of course, the road to Camp Barb was gravel back then.

She said that when they came rolling into camp, more than a few folks noticed their arrival. That was before anyone had heard of the Beverly Hillbillies, but the look must have been similar. They were kids, they didn’t care and they had fun on the trip there and fun the week of camp. What more could you ask for? © 2015

The Great Mystery

As I cruised back toward the shop, after a hard day’s driving, I was enjoying the relaxed feeling of the wider road and the lesser twists and turns of the larger two-lane. I was passing through a narrow wooded valley when I noticed something white near the center of the road far ahead. The hillsides and the tiny valley floor were covered completely with young forest with surprisingly little undergrowth. The effect was that you could see a long distance through the woods in any direction. There were no driveways, outbuildings or houses, so I assumed that the white thing in the road ahead was a piece of trash or litter from some passing vehicle.

As I drew closer, I could see that a slight breeze was ruffling some of the material on the pancake-flat object. The nearer I got, the more feather-like the material looked. Suddenly, I realized that the narrow part pointing my direction had a yellow beak and a pink comb attached. The white, fluttering things were indeed feathers. There, in the seeming middle of nowhere, lay someone’s white leghorn chicken—dehydrated and severely compacted.

Having recognized the object for what it was, I took another quick look around me. Nope, there was no sign of human habitation in the considerable distance that I could see along the valley or up the hillsides. SO, where did this avian adventurer hail from? What brought her to this lonely section of country highway? And WHY,…..WHY did she feel the need to cross the road? © 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015

Interesting - But Depressing (w/pics)

This week, a couple other fellows and I have been hauling "rap" (old broken-up concrete and other demolition debris) away from an old plant that's being demolished. At one time, the plant was a huge specialty metals place. Since then, it's been bought and sold a couple times, parts of the original operation have been spun off as seperate businesses, and some parts have been sold to other companies that continue to operate on the same property. Still, much of the property is no longer used, so after many years of disuse and neglect, the unused parts are being "deconstructed." Nearly all the metal is being recycled. What materials can't be recycled, we're hauling to the dump.

I had to wait a bit to get into the place on one trip.

Click images to enlarge.

The excavator marks the spot where we've been loading the last couple days.

I find it interesting to see a world that I've had little contact with, but the scenery reminds me of pictures I've seen of bombed-out areas from World War II. The effect may not be as different as we think, either. Probably, many closed plants have EPA regulations to thank for their demise. That production, and the jobs that went with it, moved to foreign countries that have no concerns for the invironment, or for the well-being of their workers.

Wages from those jobs paid the expenses for hundreds of area families. The loss of those jobs probably caused the loss of some homes and many automobiles. The financial stress probably broke up some marriages. Some kids may not have been able to go to college. A few adults and children may have even gone hungry, once those jobs weren't there to buy the groceries. However, the bureaucrats enjoyed their power, and the executives and shareholders found they could make even more money exploiting foreign workers than they could doing it to our own citizens.

Here are three more shots of the once-flourishing factory:

I did see ONE thing that I'd love to have. About 50 feet of natural hedge along the edge of the area was made up of small sassafras trees. I have very few on my place and would love to have more. They're unbeatable for beanpoles, hotdog sticks and TEA!

Funny how quickly nature tries to reclaim its own! © 2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Stone Work Of Calhoun County, West Virginia (w/pics and link)

My first acquaintance with the stonework in Calhoun County was 36 years ago when I drove a feed truck around the area on deliveries. The house beside the main store in Big Bend was of excellent stonework, unusual in our local area. The store owner at that time told me that the store owner during the depression provided room and board for a gang of Italian WPA stonemasons in exchange for them building him a stone house. The story made sense, so I never questioned it. Below is the house today.

Click photos to enlarge.

I really didn't pay so much attention to the other stonework in the countyb at the time, though I knew it was there. Recently, though, I've been hauling limestone and blacktop through the area, and it's piqued my interest in the quality and quantity of such work in the county. For instance, there's the grade school in Grantsville.

Notice the stone walls in the four photos, also. There's quite a bit of such work in the town. Notice the stone garage in the next photo; there are four in town, I think; I suspect there may have been more at one time.

Here's a photo of the back of their courthouse and jail, though prisoners are no longer kept in the jail. I didn't get a shot of the front, but found one online.

Here's the one of the front from online. I brightened it considerably to make things plainer to see.

Here's another example of the area stonework found online, it's of the old high school, no longer in use. Both it and the grade school are now boarded up.

A few miles away, near Millstone, also in Calhoun County, a DOH garage shows the same quality stonework as many other buildings in the county. (Taken through a wet windsheild in the rain.)

 All this time, I'd been thinking that this was all possibly done by a group of Italian immigrants working for the WPA, and that could be partially true, but the main story, I discoverd almost by accident in an old article at The Hur Herald. Please take a look:

I hope they find a way to save this part of their heritage. If these buildings were in Parkersburg, They'd likely have been torn down years ago. © 2015

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Waste (w/pic)

I hauled some “dirt” (contaminated sawdust) to the dump a couple weeks ago for about a week, at five trips a day. Once again, I was amazed by the things that I saw going there. The construction and demolition debris going there continues to be downright sinful. Having come from a sawmill family, I cringe every time that I see absolutely UNUSED material going to the dump to be covered over with filth and wasted. Some landfills refuse to accept yard waste and lumber, insisting that they be recycled or composted. I wish ours was that way. It wouldn’t put the contractors in such a bind, either, if everyone had to live by the same rules.

This past week, I worked for another company that our employers had farmed some of us out to. Once again, nearly perfect farmland is being used to enlarge an industrial park, while a swamp (aka “valuable wetland) sits unused next door. On the job where I was hauling, there were TWO state inspectors sitting in their cars, not really communicating with each other, making me think they were from different agencies. Neither one seemed to be serving much purpose, other than to slow the work down occasionally. The one was so young that I was surprised his mother let him out of the house, so I couldn’t help but wonder if us taxpayers were getting our money’s worth.

A little piece down the road, the renting farmer got the field plowed and disked before the owners came in and drove survey stakes all over the place and put up little plastic erosion barriers. I don’t know what’s going in there. In front of another industrial property, a bunch of maple trees are being cut, with no indication that it’s for any reason other than to have a more manicured front lawn. The entire trees are being chipped, logs and branches alike. Next door, a two foot thick walnut tree was cut into firewood because it was too close to power lines. I don’t blame them, but they could have sawed that tree into at least $500 worth of beautiful lumber, rather than $50 worth of firewood.

I found out, this week, that an old stone school building, probably from WPA days, was being demolished. It was one of the few remaining stone structures in town, and was solid as a rock, so I guess it just HAD to go. This area seems to have no appreciation either for quality structures, or history. It would have made a good apartment building or something, but I guess the land is freed up for “development” now. No wonder we have nothing in this area, we keep destroying what we DO have.

The Roosevelt School, Parkersburg, WV, stands no longer.
(Photo from online source.)

© 2015

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Ditching The Duggars

Well, the heathens among us will be happy. They dug deeply enough that they found some dirt on the Duggars. They had to go back 12 years, but they found it. Now, they can use it to insinuate that the whole family, and even all of Christendom, is corrupt. TLC has dutifully cancelled the show, I’m told. I assume because they’re spinelessly giving in to politically correct pressure to paint all Christians as guilty for the sins of one 15-year-old kid.

I don’t know the details of what Josh did, and I’m not sure that I want to, but I certainly don’t approve of child molesters going unpunished. Still, he came forward on his own back then; he wasn’t discovered and accused by others. That shows me that he was raised right and was under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. God can forgive him, even if people can’t. Since this was apparently dealt with back then, exhuming the long-past crime at this point serves only to provide ammunition for the haters. There will be calls for blood, maybe literally. One homosexual commented that perhaps his lifestyle now didn’t look so bad by comparison. Perhaps he’s right, but I doubt if he’s 15 any longer, either.

When accusations and hatred fly thick in the media, I frequently find myself remembering a line by Sinclair Lewis from It Can’t Happen Here (a book I highly recommend): “Every man is a king, who has someone to look down upon.” © 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How Sad!

The mechanic where I work has little if any formal training, yet mostly manages to keep the trucks on the road, without the need to send very many to the dealer. However, he's shown little respect by either the company or the drivers. I've always clearly shown him my appreciation for all he does for me, and he's always gone the extra mile to take care of me. Today, I tried to give him a gift card to a restaurant as a token of my appreciation but he wouldn't take it. He told me that my "thank you's" meant more than I'd ever know. He said that I was about the only one around there who treated him like a human being. I told him that was pretty easy, since he IS one! He was adamant about not taking it, so I just had to say thanks again. I happen to appreciate windows that roll up and down and an air-conditioner that works. It's a shame that so many others take them for granted. © 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Gold-Plated Skivvies

One should never be too tall, too short, too skinny or too fat. If you are, you’ll have trouble finding clothes and will pay through the nose for them. If I was an average size person, I could buy jockey shorts (briefs) at the Chinese Emporium for only $9.64 for SEVEN pair. As it is, I’ve been paying about that for three pair of 3X. I need a larger size, but that’s as large as they carry. I can’t continue doing that, though. The last couple of packs have had less fabric in them (actually making them a smaller size) and almost NO elastic. As a result, I feel like I’m wearing a white Speedo when I’ve got a pair on. Not surprisingly, they’re made in Honduras.

Today, I checked a small, independent store on the other side of town and found 4X, 5X and 6X. I bought a package containing a couple pair of the 6X to see if they’d work. I guess I’ll know tomorrow. The problem is that they were $19 for those two pair. Some of you will laugh at me balking at the price, but remember what I’ve been paying. To make matters worse, they were made in Bangladesh, and by muslims, no doubt. If I’m going to have to pay that for skivvies, I’m going to go looking for American made. Wish me luck! © 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015

An Old Road Warrior (pic)


When I was a kid, it seemed like every other truck on the road was one of these "off-center" Macks, as I called them. You almost never see one on the highway these days, but a few show up as maintenance trucks at construction and oil well sites ocassionally. This one hides in a shed at the local landfill.I think it mostly hauls fuel to their other equipment.

Ravens, Groundhog Pancakes And The Last Pawn Shop Visit

The experts say that I live in the area where ravens can be found in this country. Over the years, I thought that I’d seen a few, always one at a time. The ragged-looking crows seemed slightly larger than normal, so I wondered if I was looking at a raven, but I never knew for sure. Lately, I’ve been hearing a crow near my home that seems to have a sore throat. His (her?) voice seems lower and a little raspy. At the dump the other day, however, there was no doubt in my mind. While crows were all around, three of their larger cousins sat on a yard-high ridge of red clay and croaked at one another as they watched me drive by in the dump truck. I wouldn’t have had time for a shot, even if I’d had my camera, but they were RAVENS, by golly. Thankfully, they weren’t rapping at my chamber door.

Yesterday morning, on a long, straight section of roadway a few miles up the Ohio from my home town, I saw a young groundhog quickly scoot out to the center of the highway and lay down to sun himself. I knew what he was doing from being around animals, both wild and domestic, all my life. He drug his rear legs out behind him and splayed his front legs to make the maximum contact with the sun-warmed pavement, after exiting his cool den and waddling through the damp grass. The problem was, he was laying just on my side of the center line, and where my wheels would pass, unless he moved. There no cars behind me and no cars ahead of as far as the eye could see. So, I did what any self-respecting, animal-loving truck driver would do—I laid on the air horn. MY but he was a fast little feller! I have to wonder, now, how many groundhogs meet their demise simply because they take a minute to warm their dew-cooled bellies on the sun-warmed asphalt of some country road.

After cashing my check yesterday evening, I went to the pawn shop and picked up my last gun that was in hock. It tells the story that I’ve been working nearly 10 months and have just now been able to reclaim my deer rifle. Trying to catch up from over a year with no work, and low hours this winter didn’t help any. I paid out more money that the rifle was worth, to keep from losing it, but it’s set up just the way I like it, and I’d never bother to get another. So I did the illogical and kept paying their 20% interest per month and paying on the principle until it got down low enough that I felt I could afford to pick it up. I won’t miss seeing the place.

That rifle was the one that sat in the corner all year, except for the day that it would fire one shot and put a deer in the freezer. Then it would go back to the corner (after cleaning, of course). That went on for about five years, until I quit bothering to shoot a deer at all. Still, it feels good to have it back. © 2015

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Little House On The Hill (w/pics)

One thing about about being an over-the-hill truck jockey on water pills is that it has helped me develop the ability to spot a plastic privy at 1000 yards. Of course, some are placed in some pretty obvious locations. (Thank goodness!) One case in point is the "welcome station" at our local landfill. You can see it at the top of the grade as you head for the hinterlands of the fill. In fact, it almost appears that the reason for the road is access to the privy.

As you get closer, it warms the cockles a' yer 'eart to know that the garbage folks saw fit to provide this service to those who bring them their trash, their junk and their putrid refuse. One thought: this hilltop location, while well venilated, might make it an unwise place to sit and ponder the deeper problems of life during a thunderstorm.

Like most guys, I actually make use of the facility on the way back out, since you can drive right up to the door and barely take two steps to get inside ( a good thing at a landfill). Incidentally, they've chosen to use a large size that is handicapped accessible. It's nice and roomy, unlike some that I've been in where a big guy like me can just about rub on all four sides at once!

It;s said that babyhood and extreme old age are the only two stages of life when it's acceptable to make bowel movements the center of your life. Unfortunately, for anyone with an artificially active bladder, there's also a stage where plastic privies (or restrooms of ANY kind, including BIG bushes) maintain a large part of your thinking! I ,for one, never dreamed that the day would come that I'd be telling folks that true happiness comes from having an empty bladder. Of course, there might be one thing worse - being so bored that you read this drivel! lol I hope your day is filled with nobler thoughts. © 2015