Thursday, February 4, 2016


My home computer is haywire and I'm limited to using Wi-Fi in town with my laptop. Don't be surprised if there's very little activity here for a while, as I have a lot of other irons in the fire right now as well. Thanks for your understanding.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Sent in an email:
Heavens to Murgatroyd!  Would you believe the email spell checker did not recognize the word murgatroyd?
Lost Words from our childhood:
Words gone as fast as the buggy whip! Sad really! The other day a not so elderly (65) lady said something to her son about driving a Jalopy and he looked at her quizzically and said what the heck is a Jalopy? OMG (new) phrase!  He never heard of the word jalopy!!  She knew she was old but not that old.
Well, I hope you are Hunky Dory after you read this and chuckle.
 by Richard Lederer
 About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology. These phrases included "Don't touch that dial," "Carbon copy," "You sound like a broken record" and "Hung out to dry."
Back in the olden days we had a lot of moxie. We'd put on our best bib and tucker to straighten up and fly right.
Heavens to Betsy!  Gee whillikers!  Jumping Jehoshaphat!   Holy moley!
 We were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley, and even a regular guy couldn't accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill. Not for all the tea in China!
Back in the olden days, life used to be swell, but when's the last time anything was swell?
Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys and the D.A.; of spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes and pedal pushers.
Oh, my aching back. Kilroy was here, but he isn't anymore.
We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap, and before we can say, well I'll be a monkey's uncle! or, This is a fine kettle of fish! we discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent, as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues and our pens and our keyboards.
Poof, go the words of our youth, the words we've left behind. We blink, and they're gone. Where have all those phrases gone?
Long gone: Pshaw, The milkman did it. Hey! It's your nickel.
Don't forget to pull the chain. Knee high to a grasshopper.
Well, Fiddlesticks! Going like sixty. I'll see you in the funny papers. Don't take any wooden nickles
It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than Carter has liver pills.
This can be disturbing stuff !
We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeful times. For a child each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age. We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of remembering there are words that once did not exist and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more,except in our collective memory. It's one of the greatest advantages of aging. 
See ya later, alligator!

Today's Quote

If you start to say we mustn’t, we mustn’t criticize or offend them then humor is gone. With humor goes a sense of proportion. And then as far as I’m concerned you’re living in 1984.” - John Cleese

Gun Owner's Alternative Sale Sites To Facebook (a link)


The Deliberate Agrarian: TrailersteadingUpdated (a link)

The Deliberate Agrarian: TrailersteadingUpdated

Monday, February 1, 2016

Windbag Preachers

Here's a post from WAY back:

Now, I’ve been a Christian for over a quarter-century, so I’m not down on the messenger because of the message. Also, of the four men in my life whom I most respect, two are Baptist preachers, so it’s not the profession that turns me off. What wears thin with me is a sin common among preachers, for which nearly ALL of them make excuses. The name of that sin is vanity, though it might just as easily be called pride, arrogance or self-righteousness. In a sense, that’s still okay—we all have some version of those sins (and many others); that’s why we need forgiveness and ongoing grace. Unfortunately, when preachers get long-winded, the whole congregation suffers, as does that pastor’s ministry.
The problem starts when the pastor gets the idea that everything he says behind the pulpit is automatically inspired by the Holy Spirit. Obviously, that’s not true; some preachers spend far more time pontificating than preaching. One layman I know got so fed up that he now occasionally interrupts his pastor to ask whether a statement is scripture or opinion! The preacher doesn’t like it, of course, but he is growing more careful in his choice of subject matter.
Something that preachers forget is that most public speakers lose the interest of their audience after about 20 minutes. A few preachers, like Billy Graham or Charles Stanley, can hold a crowd’s attention for much longer, but they are rare individuals, indeed. Too many, though, are like a friend of mine who preaches thoughtful, hard-hitting sermons, service after service, but seems incapable of knowing when to stop. After making a statement that would leave his listeners reeling from a near overdose of truth (were it his closing sentence), he seems to think that he’s on a roll and continues another 15 minutes or so. Those further remarks are mostly unplanned, irrelevant blather which causes everyone to forget the powerful point he’d made only minutes earlier. He then ends his sermon with some unmemorable statement that leaves everyone thankful it’s over, rather than thoughtful about how to better serve the Lord.
Of course if you say anything to these fellows about their windiness, they get their feelings hurt and automatically fall back on the old defense that you’re trying to “quench the Spirit.” Now, I’ve been in a few services over the years where the Spirit was truly at work, and when that happens, NOBODY cares how long that service lasts! (Well, okay, there are always one or two malcontents.) Therefore, at any service where the congregation thinks the preacher talked too long, there’s about a 99% chance they’re right. In fact, you have to wonder if the Spirit may have gotten bored and left the building about ten minutes before the preacher’s gums quit flapping!

The most important point that pastors miss is this: any unsaved visitors may never return if they get worn out from just being there. Whose work is that preacher doing then? © 2009

Dear Abby

My husband hasn't worked for the last 14 years. All he does is get dressed in the morning and hop in his fancy car to visit his cronies. I know he`s cheated on me many times with young girls who could be his granddaughters. I know because he brags about this to me. He smokes fancy cigars and drinks the most expensive Champagne day and night. We sleep in separate beds, because he`s always telling me he knows I`m a lesbian and that my varicose veins and ugly face turn him off! Should I clobber him with my frying pan, or should I leave him? Your advice would be appreciated.

Mad as Hell

Dear Mad as Hell,

You don`t have to take that kind of treatment from any man. I suggest you pack your bags and move out a.s.a.p.! Don`t resort to clobbering him with the frying pan. Remember, you`re running for President of the United States, so try acting like it!

(Sent to me in an email.)

The Nash Healey Automobile (a link)


News About The Federal Judge In The Oregon Situation (a link)


So Much For Free Speech !

This just came on Facebook a few minutes ago.

Dear Friends, we do not expect this Facebook page to remain.
Facebook is actively removing our posts and today we were threatened with termination of this page by Facebook.
We want to stay in touch with you, you can do two things to ensure that we can.
1: Follow our Blog
2: Join our Email list:
Text the word BUNDY to 22828

Sitting And Thinking

It’s been a while since I’ve had the time and the weather to do any porch sitting. Today got up to 64 here, though, and I had some odd moments here and there, so I had about an hour’s time to enjoy the outdoors. My time sitting there was divided into three hitches, though. The first hitch was for about 15 minutes when my wife and I got back from a sortie into enemy territory. The second was for about half-an-hour, after taking the dog out. She stayed with me until my wife got lonely and reclaimed her. After dark, I went out and sat again for about another 15 minutes.

It was rather breezy today—“trying to blow something up,” as the old-timers used to say. Perhaps it was the breeze, but there were few sounds of wildlife today; I mostly just heard the sounds of man. You could tell from the increased cloudiness that it was “puckerin’ up to rain,” as the old man across the road used to describe it. He was an intelligent but humorous fellow who wore bib-overalls and acted like a country bumpkin, but he was nobody’s fool. I still miss the old codger after these 20 years or so that he’s been gone.
That got me to thinking about him and a lot of other things. Also, I was looking at all the brush and greenbriers that I want to cut at the edge of the yard. Two trees need cut on the other side of the house and some patching done on the roof, too.

Something else then popped into my mind. Since I’m soon going to have a defibrillator in my chest, and I believe that there will be a deliberate EMP event in years to come, I’m curious as to how it would react to the EMP. Would it simply cease to work, or would I croak from a little machine gone wild. I’d hate to be driving at the time, as a dying man would have a difficult time controlling a dying vehicle. I’d hate to hurt someone. I guess I could turn down the operation and just trust in the Lord to have me live as long as He wills. Still, I suspect this opportunity is from Him, too, so I might as well do it. Things are in His hands, regardless. © 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016

True Quote (and a link)

In discussing ammunition importation, H.F. said:

None of the Republican clones will change anything and a Democrat will make it worse.

Personally, I think it holds true for almost any subject.

Here's where I got the quote:

10 Things You'll wish You Had More Of When SHTF (a link)


A bit of History (w/pics & links)


I put a few more antique items up for sale yesterday—three long augers and an old wrench. All came from the estate of some relative at Volcano, West Virginia. The augers are usually called “raft augers,” since they were used by the brave souls who used to ride the log rafts down America’s rivers. They allowed the men to stand up and drill the holes for whatever system was used to link the logs. The operator’s upright stance was also aided by the use of a special tall brace to hold the “bit” (auger), that allowed BOTH hands to crank, thus upping torque on the bit. In an economy version, the brace and bit was made in one piece, and was solid, with no swiveling hand grips.

photo of economy version found on internet

Such augers and braces were also used in the early oilfields to drill holes in the sills, band wheels, bull wheels, etc. on the old wooden rigs (derricks). The bits in the photo were some of those. My grandfather was a rig-building contractor in those days and had some of the bits and one of the braces, also. He called the brace a “gary own,” pronounced the way I spelled it, though I don’t know how HE spelled it, or why he called it that. I donated his tools to the local oilfield museum many years ago without remembering to take a photo first.

SO, there’s your history lesson for the day. I hope you enjoyed it. © 2016

What Your Food Cravings Tell You (a link)


Friday, January 29, 2016

Acesulfame Potassium Anyone? Drink Lipton Green Tea!

I drink water most of the time when I’m thirsty—bottled water, since I can’t easily get to the single spring located on my property. (Those who get all self-righteous and rage against bottled water are welcome to bite their tongues.) Still, I like to sip something with a little flavor once in a while. I try to avoid artificial sweeteners, and I no longer drink alcohol (for purely practical reasons, not moral ones). I will drink sweet tea and fruit drinks, if not overpowered by TOO MUCH sugar, but I DO like my sweet tea to be sweet.

As a matter of convenience, we drink a lot of Lipton green tea (citrus). I realize that it’s sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, though, so I try not to over-indulge with it. Needless to say, I DON’T get the diet version. And, while I’m a label reader, I’m so used to seeing our processed food and drink loaded with chemicals that I don’t worry too much about it unless it’s something that I use a lot.

Today, though, I made a mistake—I re-read the label on the stuff. It said that it had only 100 calories. THAT certainly threw up a red flag! A bottle that size should have at least 175 calories and maybe up to 250. I KNEW there had to be an artificial sweetener in the corn-pile somewhere. The only chemical name that I didn’t recognize was acesulfame potassium. When I searched it on the internet, sure enough, it’s an artificial sweetener. Here I thought I was being slowly killed only by poison corn syrup, only to learn that they’re trying to do me in with a carcinogenic chemical, as well. Having to restrict my fluids, due to my CHF is bad enough; limiting myself more and more to only water is a real drag. Still, I guess I’ll be drinking less of Lipton’s green tea, in part because I get peeved being deliberately misled. © 2016

A Woodsrunner's Diary: Using The Axe By Keith H Burgess

A Woodsrunner's Diary: Using The Axe By Keith H Burgess

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Trump No Show On Fox (a link)

_It Don't Make Sense_: Trump No Show On Fox

News And Blues

The W-2's from my employer came today - already opened and taped shut, with the short note, "opened by mistake" on the envelope. I guess one of my neighbors now knows what I made on my job last year. I don't care too deeply, but I still sort of hope it wasn't one of the neighborhood gossips.

Velveeta "cheese food" has made its last appearance at our house. My wife uses no fillers of any kind in her macaroni and cheese, yet today's version seemed to have as much filler in it as cheese. It's always contained cellulose (from wood fiber), which didn't bother me, but when it starts tasting like the yellow slop served by Golden Corral, it's time to look elsewhere for cheese.

Something has changed with my Medicaid provider and They won't continue approval for my Eliquis without reprocessing the whole thing. This after I've been on it for four months. Thankfully, my doctor has given me some samples to use. Bureaucrats should have to live the same way that they force other people to live!

My tests last week showed that my heart is staying the same, and not improving. Since it's currently only working at 30% efficiency, my heart rate is high, and I'm in near constant A-Fib, they scheduled me for a defibrillator to be implanted in early February. I'm not really concerned, but my wife is worried. She lost her first husband to cancer and I guess she wasn't planning on parting with my charming self just yet.

I'm having little luck selling some of the things I've currently got posted for sale on some Facebook sale sites and the local buy-sell-trade paper. Since some items are still usable to me for certain things, I believe I'll quit advertising them, rather than have some guys try to get me to pay them to take things off my hands (an exaggeration, but not by much).

One guy just called wanting an item. I'll meet him tomorrow and buy a few groceries with the proceeds. The Lord always seems to pull just enough out a hat to keep us afloat. I'm glad He's on our side! © 2016

There's No Rolls Like An Old Rolls ! (a link)


Poor Man’s Furniture (w/semi-related pics)

Click image to enlarge.

During the Great Depression, and the rationing of the war years, there were no Walmarts to supply cheaply built, overpriced furniture to those of low income. Nor was there enough money in the checks of those on “relief” to acquire any worldly possessions. As a result, those near the bottom of society’s ladder depended on other people’s cast-offs, second handle merchandise, things passed down from older relatives, or those things that they could make or scrounge themselves. “Yankee ingenuity” was still a common and admirable trait in a person, so some folks scratched their heads, went to work and made what they needed from whatever materials were available.

One useful thing for those with a need for furnishing a home cheaply was available for free at most grocery stores—wooden orange crates. Cardboard hadn’t replaced wood in those days. While the boxes could be disassembled and the small thin boards used in creative ways, it was more common to use the boxes whole, without the need for cutting and fitting. The boxes were a standard size (12.5 x 12.5 x 25 inches), so the company of origin didn’t matter. Being that their length was exactly double their height (depth?) and width, they were easy to arrange in stacks of various shapes. Having a solid piece of wood spanning the width and height mid-length made them very strong for their weight.

I’ve seen simple illustrations from the 1930’s through the 40’s, and even into the early 50’s that showed many things that could be made from the crates. These pieces of furniture included beds, shelves for books and clothing, tables (with doors for tops), stools and even living room chairs with book storage on the sides and back. The possibilities were limited only by one’s imagination and the number of crates available. Many a pair of newly-weds began their lives with at least some of their furniture being made of orange crates.

The only place I personally remember them being used was at my paternal grandparents, where single crates were used as flower stands, kindling boxes and, believe it or not wash stands. They had only cold running water in their kitchen, from a spring on the hillside. It was available from a stand-pipe, under which sat a crate to hold a bucket to be filled. When you wanted to wash your hands, you moved the bucket out of the way, took the enameled metal wash pan from the nail on the wall and set it on the crate. Then you used either just cold water from the bucket, or added a little hot water from the huge teapot kept perpetually heating on the enormous kitchen stove. The crate in the kitchen was simply painted white. The inside of the crate, with its “shelf” and wooden base, served as a tiny cabinet for extra soap and cleaning supplies. The dirty water was emptied into a big bucket and taken outside to water flowers with when full. Splashing the plants with the soapy water helped keep the bugs down.

My grandma’s sister lived in a building just across the driveway, and had one of the stands in her bedroom. Having no running water in her room, she would carry a bucket in from the house (or from the nearby milk-house, where even hot water was available). She fancied her stand up a bit with part of a patterned plastic curtain or shower curtain tacked around three sides. Again, the front was left open for storage. When she moved into the house with Grandma, after Granddad died, the stand ended up sitting on the concrete floor in the basement. When she eventually moved in with my folks, many years later, the little stand went with her, though it was pretty decrepit by then.

Eventually, I inspected the crate, where it sat in my dad’s barn, and discovered that only one end and one side were still solid. I brought those two pieces to my house and gave the end piece to my wife to display above the kitchen sink. The side-piece remained in the basement all these years until a few days ago, when I decided to drag it out and see if I could sell it. As soon as she saw it, though, my wife laid claim to it, so I washed off the specks of bird poop from its barn days and put a little oil on it. I gave it to her today, but she hasn’t figured out where to hang it yet.

Interestingly enough, though it was the exact same size as an orange crate, it had been used for shipping coffee. I suspect that it was left from the days when my granddad ran a store in the building where I remember my great aunt living. I guess that sort of gives the piece a double story.

© 2016

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Another Surprise

Several years ago, the missus and I were on our back deck when we began to hear water splashing. The sound seemed to be under the deck. Turning around, we saw our little black and tan dachshund doing a perfect job of straddling a crack between two deck boards, peeing down the crack without any puddling whatsoever. We cracked up. She was paper trained and would never pee either outside, OR on the floor. I guess she got desperate, and figured it wasn’t the regular floor, so it was okay in her mind. Actually, it was okay in ours, too, since she hit the crack. She never felt the need to repeat the action.

With all the snow we’ve been getting in the last 24 hours, I’ve yet to bother sweeping a place for our little long-haired red dachshund to pee. Instead, I’ve just been letting her jump down into the same body-sized hole where she first peed and use the spot again. I figure that saves her having to wallow through fresh snow, plus, then urine seems to drain down out of sight anyway.

The last time, though, she stopped just before diving off the porch, squatted and peed on the snow-packed porch. By sheer luck (I suppose), she was perfectly centered over a crack between two deck boards, just like the other little pooch, years ago. I cracked up. I didn’t even scold her, since I couldn’t blame her for not wanting to jump down into the snow. I know that I’ll have to sweep a bigger place for her before dark, though, because she’ll probably need to do something more than pee. I just hope she doesn’t surprise me with that, too! © 2016

Friday, January 22, 2016

Unfollowing Friends

For those of you who don’t use Facebook, anyone you allow into the group of people that receives your posts is termed a “friend.” They may be a total stranger, but the term remains. You see their posts, as well. Surprisingly, I have several young people as members of my group, some of whom are former co-workers, and some who are friends of those folks. A couple younger relatives are in the mix, too. One by one, however, I find myself unfollowing them. They can still see my posts if they choose, but I won’t see theirs. As far as I know, there’s no indication on their end that I’ve unfollowed them, unless they notice that I no longer comment on their posts.

It’s not that I don’t like them as individuals; it’s just that I’m growing tired of their lack of wisdom. Although I can tolerate folks who believe differently than I, there needs to be some logical reason for their beliefs. Being open-minded is how we continue to learn as we grow older, but we need to be able to apply what we already know in order to do that. Most of these “kids” (ages 20 to 55 – lol) are above average in intelligence, yet are poster children for the dumbing-down of America. They have been so indoctrinated by their schooling and the main stream media that the things they know have nothing to do with what they believe. Naturally, they can’t see the disconnect.

If you try to discuss something with them, any disagreement raises tired platitudes, false facts, hurt feelings or aroused tempers. I have learned very little from them, and I believe that they’ve learned absolutely NOTHING from me, though one or two seems to consider me a wise old codger. I guess I’m just growing less patient in my old age. Plus, I’m growing tired of trying to explain myself to folks who seem unable to comprehend anything that doesn’t fit heir preconceived world views. I can still message them if I want, and vice-versa, using Facebook’s version of email; I just don’t see their posts. Frankly, it makes my life more peaceful. © 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Went To The Doctor Today

I had a EKG today. I won't know my heart efficiency until next week's appointment but my pulse averaged 140 today, even though I've been on a medication for two weeks that's supposed to help regulate that. I suspect I'll end up with a defibrillator (think pace-maker) before it's all over with. Next month, I go to the sleep doctor to see about being tested for sleep apnea. I've had it for years but, naturally, I'll have to be tested for it so they can make some money. It ain't no fun being old and unhealthy!

From Tree To Memory (w/pics)

When my paternal grandfather bought the farm on which I would someday be raised, it was an active orchard and dairy. The farm lay mostly on a ridge top and was about four times longer than it was wide. About two-thirds of the way back the ridge, a high bench circled the head of the main hollow that ran back about three-fourths of the length of the farm. On the right-hand side of that hollow, the bench had been planted in peach trees in years past. For quite a few years, granddad continued to run the orchard and dairy, but gave up both sometime before his retirement from the oilfield. However, even many years later, that area of meadow was referred to as “the peach orchard field,” despite there being not a single peach tree remaining.

There was, however, a row of half-dead York Imperial apple trees along the brink of the bench and a huge, ancient wild cherry that marked the property line on the left end of the meadow. It was, perhaps, three feet thick at ground level, but tapered to about 30 inches just above where the top strand of barbed wire exited the bark. It was in even worse shape than the old apple trees and had only one or two live limbs, which died shortly after I was old enough to pay attention. The resulting snag served mainly as a place for the crows to perch, but and Dad left it since it was on the line. The day finally came when the last apple tree was dead and removed, but the old cherry tree remained, its outer few inches gradually succumbing to rot.

Finally, about the time I hit my twentieth year, Dad decided to cut the old tree. That was mostly because he’d recently moved his part-time sawmill operation from the wooded ridge three miles away, where I now live, to the farm. Cutting the tree off above the barbed wire, he found that he still had nearly 24 inches of solid wood which tapered, of course, to a smaller size as he went up the tree cutting logs. I don’t remember how many logs he got, but not many, as the rot got deeper toward the top. Still we got what we got some usable wood, sawed the logs on the mill and stickered the lumber in the upstairs of the barn.

There it sat until a few years after Dad’s untimely death, when I took the best plank to the muzzleloader shop where I was working and sawed a full-length gunstock blank from it. It also yielded a couple slender pistol stocks on the Tower pistol pattern (which I inletted for 13/16 barrels), and a few scrap pieces, which I saved. I further processed the stock blank into a slender, southern style stock blank with about a quarter inch of “cast out” and inletted it by table saw for a 13/16 barrel. I also drilled the ramrod hole.

My plan was to use iron mountings (as opposed to brass) to make it a “poor-boy” rifle. Though I didn’t belong to a re-enactment group or have period clothing, my plan was to set up a “long-hunter” kit of accoutrements. I traded some over-time for parts and ended up with a 40” Douglas barrel in .45 caliber with breech plug installed, two Small Siler flintlocks, a North Star double-set trigger, a set of iron sights, and a simple butt-plate from another gun that been “upgraded.” I’d planned to get a third Small Siler flintlock, a pistol barrel in .45 and a smooth-bore pistol barrel that would take the same size ball (probably about .46 caliber, since there’d be no rifling to accept the patch) and some simple triggers for the pistols. The idea was to hit the woods either with a rifle and two pistols loaded with round balls, OR load the smooth-bore with shot, for those frustrating times when a grouse practically climbs on your toe when you’re deer hunting.

Unfortunately, I parted ways with the shop after three-and-a-half years when they demanded that I work for them full-time all year. I was making more money at that time working part-time for myself than when I worked full-time for them, so I couldn’t really afford to capitulate to their demand. As a result, I never got traded for the third lock or the pistol barrels. I DID, however, find a horn with some reddish tones in it and make it into a powder horn with cherry end-plugs.

Full-time self employment can be an endless job, so work on the rifle kept getting put off. I finally decided to save it for a retirement project, along with a partially completed half-stock squirrel rifle that I’d been working on.

One thing that I did work on after leaving the shop was large knife for my intended kit. A neighbor had literally made the deal for another neighbor’s property at the man’s funeral. The little house and outbuildings were falling in, so the new owner took everything he wanted one day and told me to take anything that I wanted before he bull-dozed the place the next day. The only thing I found worth keeping was what I took to be a large, home-made butcher knife, though it could have been a corn-knife. It was rusted and pitted and nothing a normal person would want, but it caught MY eye. At nearly 20” long overall and 1-3/4” wide, I figured it would be the perfect “fighting knife” for my long-hunter kit. Many of the old-time woods runners carried a big butcher knife or something similar that could be used like a short sword or small saber; the big knife would be my version of the same. I got so far as to fit and glue a cherry handle on the tang end after drilling the two handle pin holes exactly where the originals were. I’d panned to cast a “pewter” hilt on the knife, but never got to it, and there everything has stayed these many years.

After learning that I had heart trouble and being off work because of it, I decided to sell the rifles, despite them being incomplete. Luckily, the friend that I jokingly call “the guru” was kind enough to buy the full-stock rifle for a little more than I might have had to settle for in this economy and locality. I threw in the powder horn and the big knife. I would have thrown in the pistol stocks, had he bought the second lock, but his generosity may have been straining his own budget. Maybe it’s just as well; I haven’t been able to uncover the pistol stocks yet, though I know very well that they are in the basement SOMEWHERE.

The guru is a bit of a Renaissance man, and a craftsman, so he needed a project. I hope I get to see the rifle when it’s done, though his vision for it is a little different than mine was. A photo of the incomplete rifle and knife are below. Click the images to enlarge.

The Cherry Full-Stock

The Big Knife
© 2016

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Dredging Up Another Memory (pic)


I always remember the little curio case sitting in the center of the living room mantel. It had been painted white at some point, though it was a bit yellowed with age. Inside were two shelves, plus the base, where small items could be displayed. The only one that I remember at this time was a small, blond boy in a red devil suit, done in plaster. One arm was up and had a hole in it, indicating that he had once been holding something, probably a wire trident. I refused to bid on anything when Mom had her moving auction, so I didn't even attend the emptying out of my old home place. I would like to have had the little devil, and one set of candle-sticks that originally belonged to my grandparents, but that's life. The old case was already in my possession and had been partially stripped at the time. So it remains.

I came across it in the basement today and decided to see what I could get for it on Facebook. I guess I'm having a moving sale of my own, I just don't know when I'm leaving. I DO hope the residents in my eventual home don't dress like the little devil, though! -LOL © 2016

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Sorting Off My Desk


My wife has been after me for weeks to clean off my desk so she could dust and polish it. So, little by little, I’ve been working in that direction. My work is almost complete now. Among all the papers that I’ve filed, I came across the following: a reproduction 1860 Army Colt (cap & ball revolver), a Boy Scout axe in need of sharpening, a tire gauge, a complete copy of Hoyle’s rules for card games, a phone book, a copy of Halley’s Bible Handbook, an older model of a Leatherman multi-tool, a small “book light” for reading in the dark, a letter opener, a journal, a bottle of Tums, a can of spray for athlete’s foot, a container of cinnamon, a clip for opened bags of snacks, a bottle of look-alike Pepto-Bismol,  and a book on the glycemic index. Hmm…..maybe it WAS time to sort things out a bit! © 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

Book Excerpt # 17

The story of Annie Weber as told to Gorges Smythe.

It was March before Roy could get us a place on base to live. One weekend, he got one of his buddies to drive him home to get me, since he didn’t have a car. There was snow in the mountains when we headed back, but we eventually arrived safely. It was about three o’clock in the morning when we pulled onto the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia. There was a light snow on the ground in the pine grove where the little trailer park was located. Lit gently by the street lights, I thought it was one of the most beautiful scenes I’d ever witnessed. Of course, my feelings might have had something to do with finally being permanently united with the love of my life.

Our little home was a small, aluminum clad mobile home, originally put there for family quarters for marines living there during World War II. The inside was beautiful wood paneling, walls and ceilings, much like an Airstream® trailer. I always assumed it was mahogany. It might have been 30 feet long, but it was only eight feet wide. You entered the living room, which was on the right end, turning left, you moved into the kitchen area, and then went down a very short hallway past a VERY small bathroom and into the bedroom. When you opened the bedroom door, the bed was so close it was almost touching your knees. I thought the place was wonderful, though; I would have lived in a tent to be with Roy. Still, it was kind of rough to be away from my family, so I was thrilled to hear that they were going to stop by as they passed through on their vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains.

As hard as things had been at home, I’d always loved our family vacations. Every summer, the folks would load up us seven kids and we’d spend two weeks traveling, mostly in the South, and mostly in the Smokies. Dad traded for a new Chevy station wagon each year, so the car was always up to it. There were no seat-belt laws then, so we kids often laid down when we’d get tired and slept on the seat, or in the back, especially the boys. The folks took us to some of the historic places in our travels, especially some of the battlefields, but they also made sure that we saw the beauty of the scenery. It must have stuck with my brothers, for when they got older, they’d go backpacking and camping in the mountains of our own state.

We sometimes ate breakfast in a restaurant, but most other meals were sandwiches fixed from the things in the ice chest, or hotdogs and hamburgers grilled in some roadside park. Back then, four-lanes and chain restaurants were unheard of most places, but roadside parks were plentiful. Many were downright beautiful in their own right. With a car full of kids, someone ALWAYS needed to pee, so we stopped at most of them. I miss the roadside parks, but four-lanes and chain restaurants made them obsolete, I suppose, and it got to where the states didn’t maintain them too well. Plus, many of them turned into hangouts for druggies and sexual perverts.

Dad never had much pleasure as a child, so he made sure we stopped at all the tourist traps and looked to our heart’s content. The folks didn’t usually buy things for us, but they’d give a little money to each of us, and we could spend it as we saw fit. One thing that Dad DID buy was fireworks. They were illegal in our state, but we lived in the country and could pretty-much do as we pleased. (Neighbors weren’t so inclined to snitch on one another back then, either, so the deputies usually never even heard about it when we set them off.) One thing us girls liked was that we got our own room in most motels, so we could sneak out and buy pop that we usually weren’t able to get. Sometimes, Mom even came over and had us get her a bottle, too, so she wouldn’t have let my brothers or Dad see her drinking it. We could watch what we wanted on TV, too, as long as we didn’t get caught. Of course, Emmaline started whining when she got tired, so I had to turn the TV off, or she’d tell Dad and I’d get beat.

One place we went every year was Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It was a quaint little mountain town back then. Many of the crafts were locally made, but there were a lot of cheap things from Japan, too. It seems strange to old folks like me that Japan is now considered a place that manufactures quality goods, while China is the new source of worthless junk. Anyway, we kids really enjoyed ourselves in Gatlinburg. It was a small enough place then that the folks weren’t afraid to turn us kids loose, boys with boys and girls with girls, without worrying about us. Of course, things were very different back then.

We always stayed in the same cabin at Gatlinburg. Roy Acuff had a group of cabins that he rented, and we always got one that had a little stream out back. You could swim in his pool through the day, if you wanted, and then lie in your room at night and hear the run gurgling. It seemed to lend a peaceful sound to the already sleepy little town. Mr. Acuff was a real nice fellow, and completely down to earth. He and Dad would sit sometimes and talk about hunting and farming and such. I guess Dad must have spoken for the cabin a year ahead each summer. A few years after I lost Roy to cancer, I remarried and my second husband and I eventually visited Gatlinburg. I nearly cried to see what the once quiet little mountain town had become. None of my old landmarks seemed to be there, including Acuff’s cabins. It had become just one more generic tourist town.

We spent most of one day visiting when they swung by that first summer that Roy and I were in Quantico. When they left, they invited me along, but Roy couldn’t leave the base, of course, and I wouldn’t leave him. It was heart-breaking to see them pull away, and I think most of them felt the same, but our lives were moving on. I found out later that they never went on vacation again. They all agreed that it just wasn’t the same without everyone there. I figured it was more a matter of the kids getting older than my company being so sorely missed, though. Still, I miss those times, even today. © 2016

Saturday, January 9, 2016

I'm In That "Precontemplation" Stage!

In the mail today, I received a response to the online questionnaire recently sent to me by my Medicaid provider. Naturally, I was curmudgeonly blunt about the likelihood of making any drastic lifestyle changes to improve my health. (Actually, I am SLOWLY making a few changes, but I'm not going to sugar-coat it to make them feel better.)

Of course, in this touchy-feely, politically correct world that we live in, they don't really want to say "Do it our way or die, sucker! So, they tell me that I'm in the "Precontemplation stage." That means (they say) that I don't intend to make any changes in the next six months. They then tell me, using terminology that a bubble-headed first grade teacher (as opposed to a good one) might use, to kindly explain what I might do to slowly see the error of my ways. They also tell me that I might want to show this letter to my doctor, no doubt hoping he'd have the courage they lack, and tell me to straighten up and fly right. He already does that, but I just tell him that I have to die someday, anyway.

I guess I'm just a precontemplative kinda guy. © 2016


Friday, January 8, 2016

Parting With Another Memory (pic)


The old snatch block had first been used in the oilfield by my granddad. I don’t know if it went clear back to the wooden derrick days, when Granddad first began building them under contract, or if he got it after the steel derricks came along. I DO know that Dad and I used it many times around the farm, sawmill, or in the woods. If you anchor one end of a steel cable or a big rope to something solid, you can put the snatch block on the object being pulled, hook the other end to your tractor and pull half as hard to move the object. Often, that means pulling something that weighs far more than the tractor could pull without that advantage.

A snatch block differs from a simple pulley by being opened sideways and slipped over your line at any point, as opposed to needing the line to be threaded in, like threading a needle. This makes them a lot faster to hook up. Some, like ours, also swivel, so if the object rolls, the line won’t start rubbing against itself and wearing. This one has a four inch pulley, but five inch is also common. Though it would handle any size wire line up to ¾’ easily enough, we mostly used it with a one inch manila rope.

I got rid of my farm tractor a few years ago, and I’ll never use my gussied-up Toyota to do heavy work, like I did with my old flat-bed GMC. I have a much smaller version of snatch block that I use with 3/8 nylon rope with my lawn tractor. So, I really have no reason to keep the old one around. They sell new for around $150, so I advertised it at $75. Around here, though, and in these economic times, I may be lucky to get $25 out of it. Better that than nothing; I’ll always have the memories anyway. © 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Who'd A Thunk? (pic)


The old toolbox was basically black when I fist saw it, but it was hard to say if was stain from an early paint-job, or if it was the crude oil and dirt sticking to it that gave it that color. At the time, I think it was holding a set of pipe-threading dies and handle for my dad's elderly half-first cousin. He'd spent his life working in the oilfields and was getting to the point where he and his two old maid sisters could no longer live in the old home place.

My dad and I ended up with most of the tools when the cousins were relocated at a nursing home, so the box ended up in our barn. The contents were either sold or given away, and I cleaned the crud off the old box and painted it with grey metal primer. For many years, it sat in Dad's barn with some of my tools in it. A few years after  Dad passed away, it ended up in my basement, but the tools were put in other boxes.

Recently, in an effort to rid clutter from the basement, and pick up a few bucks, I decided to put it up for sale. I'd always heard that it was originally made to mount on a car or truck's running board. That alone tells me that it's old. A look online shows me that there's a very good chance that it was made for a Model T Ford. That end of the family had a garage where they worked on vehicles for people back in the 20's through, perhaps, the early 40's. I guess that makes it all seem pretty likely it is what I think it is. © 2016

Monday, January 4, 2016

Consulting With Children

She wasn’t a child, actually, though she was more than young enough to be my daughter, and darned near young enough to be my granddaughter. Still, she was a fully certified nurse practitioner, filling in for my doctor as he worked a busy day of appointments. I was a walk-in, after all, there to whine about the cellulitis coming back after I bumped my leg a couple weeks ago.

After all the requisite questions and checking my vitals, she gave me the prescription that I’d expected. Before leaving, I asked her if she thought that alum would dry up the weeping blister on my leg. I had to spell it for her when she thought I’d said “aloe.” She then admitted that she was familiar with the substance. I explained to her what it was. Then I asked her if she thought a styptic pencil would dry it up. Once again, she’d never heard of it, so I explained what such an item did for us old timers who still shave with a blade. I joked that she should google both terms and broaden her knowledge. She smiled and told me that she planned on it.

The situation sort of repeated itself at the pharmacy, when I asked the same questions to the young fellow working there. He assured me that they didn’t sell alum at the pharmacy area when I asked. When I got home, I looked on line and found that I should be able to get alum in the McCormick section of spices at most any grocery store. I think it’s used in some pickling recipes, if I remember. One thing I know, I shouldn’t bother asking young people anything unless it’s about things their age group is very familiar with. LOL © 2016

Cribbers And Termites

I’ve only owned two horses in my life, but I’m thankful for the experience. I once read a quote somewhere that (paraphrased) said that there was something more noble about a man on a horse than in the sum total of the two of them separately. In other words, it was a case where the total was more than the sum of its parts. I’m not really smart enough to explain why, but maybe it has something to do with the co-operation of the two species, or the ability to focus energy for a cause. I don’t know exactly what the reason, but I agree with the statement.

The ownership of any animal, though, comes with certain responsibilities and potential problems. Having been raised around cattle, and having a neighbor who fancied himself a cowboy, I was familiar with most of the responsibilities of keeping a horse. One unknown factor, though, was how my new ride would handle confinement. Being kept in a cattle stall, instead of a stable, there were times when he had to be confined to that stall, rather than running in the paddock with the cattle. He didn’t deliberately try to hurt them, he just assumed they’d like to run and play like a herd of horses, rather than the herd of cattle that they were.

Now I’d seen “cribbers” and “termites” at the neighbors, and hoped that my horse wouldn’t be either. I was blessed that neither he, nor the one that I traded him for a few years later, had developed either habit. Cribbers, as I understand it, swallow air as they clinch their teeth on the top edge of the stall or a fence board. They don’t really chew on the board, but it gradually becomes rough and splintered from the activity anyway. Unfortunately, the air in their stomach keeps their innards in an uproar and keeps them from ever performing at their best. Many folks get rid of horses that crib, especially if they use them in competition. I believe that you can buy a collar that is supposed to prevent it, though.

Termites, on the other hand, simply “chew the stall down,” by chewing on every wooden surface available. They don’t crib, and they don’t swallow the splinters, but they sure can destroy a stall in short order, and even board fences at times.

I believe that it’s boredom that causes both habits to develop. They run out of hay or grass and start looking for something to do. Like with human teenagers, the results are often negative. I simply kept plenty of coarse hay in the stall for my horse. When the good hay was gone, he could start eating the coarse stuff if he got bored. I once saw him start chewing on the small end of a six foot tall dried ironweed and keep chewing until he’d reached the other end, eating it as he went. I’m sure it didn’t taste that great, but it allayed his boredom. Of course, he had a “hay belly,” but that didn’t bother me, since he wasn’t a show horse. Understandably, those folks who try to keep hay bellies from developing on their horses, by weighing their feed and limiting roughage, often end up with cribbers and termites.

I was reminded of all this when a distant neighbor finally got a second horse, to replace the one she’d sold a year or two earlier. The sorrel she’d kept hadn’t chewed anything up, but the first week the little buckskin was in the pasture, he chewed the bark off the bottom three feet of a poplar tree in the pasture. He didn’t bother anything for a while, but the ennui must have overcome him again and he took another three feet of bark off the same tree. Granted, the inner bark is nutritious for him, but the tree will now die. So far, he hasn’t bothered any other trees. I included a photo so you can see his handiwork. © 2016


Saturday, January 2, 2016

Green River Whiskey Token

Among the old coins that I came across (and sold) a few months ago was this item of interest. It's about the size of a fifty cent piece and goldish colored. Someone has drilled a hole in it to put it on a chain, thus ruining any value that it might have had. I'm sure I wouldn't get anything for it, as the highest priced one that I saw on eBay was $18. Who do you give something like this to? Probably not any of my grandkids, as I don't want them to think that I'm encouraging them to indulge. I guess I'll just leave it in the desk drawer for now.

This is a lousy photo, as I was too shaky to keep a good focus. it has very little wear, as you can easily read the words "Green River" on the saddle bag or pouch.

This one is a little better in focus.

Below are a couple links on the subject.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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