Sunday, August 30, 2015

08-30-2015 - Riding Shotgun – New Territory

I've spent some of my days the last couple weeks working about an hour-and-a-half north of my home base. One to four other drivers and I have started our day with a transfer from the local limestone mine to that company's stone yard in New Martinsville. Their stone there usually comes in by barge, but deliveries aren't quite keeping up with sales, so we're helping them out a little. We then spend the rest of our day delivering stone to a DOH garage about 20 miles away at Pine Grove, on their behalf. The road there is hilly, crooked and rougher than a cob, and it LITERALLY makes my backside hurt to drive the route. Along the way, I pass through a place called Porter's Falls, which appears to be much on the decline, Reader, which appears to be doing okay and, of course, Pine Grove, location of the DOH garage where we deliver.

Something I've never seen before, that some of you may have, is two traffic lights in the seeming middle of nowhere, but only facing one way, and opposite one another about two miles apart. Mid-ways between them, though, is a gas separation plant with several tanker-type rail cars on multiple tracks and a place for trucks to fill their huge transporting tanks with propane. Obviously, the lights are on the highway to warn folks not to enter the area if there's a fire or such. The smell of leaking propane fills the air as you drive by the truck facility, and the guy who runs the DOH garage says it's been that way ever since he was a little kid. I suppose to help keep the area safer, the easy 30mph bend behind it has a 20mph sign on it. I assume that's to lessen the chance of a wreck, with its sparks and chances of igniting the leaking gas. Ironically, there's a bar across the road from the place, perhaps not the best business to have next to a gas yard with leaks.

Something I noticed up that way is the acres of Japanese Knotweed along the creek paralleling the highway. In many areas, it's completely taken over the entire area between the creek and the road. The plants are currently in bloom, making their clusters of tiny white blossoms look like the objects that earned the plant its nickname, “Lady-Fingers.” The bees used to work them really heavy when there were bees to be had. As I drove the route to New Martinsville and back from the home base, I noticed, though, that knotweed is beginning to take over other places, too. It's a shame people can't, for the most part. Just leave plants in the areas where they originate, rather than dragging them around the globe, where they often become invasives.

On the way up the Ohio River to get there, I pass through a small town called “Sistersville.” There's been a ferry across the Ohio River there almost continuously since 1818. The current one only operates in warm months, though, and shuts down for the winter.

Coming back down the same route, I saw something amusing the other day. I was looking at the old road-bed, lying tight against the hill, where the Wheeling Pike ran in the days before numbered routes. At one point, the pike went across the mouth of a small hollow, where a six-foot square, cast concrete culvert beneath the old route drained the hollow. In that culvert, now in the side yard of a little country home, lay a six-point buck, watching the traffic go by, not 75 feet below him. He could get into the culvert from the little hollow without being seen and spend the day in the damp, cool culvert virtually unknown to everyone but an occasional observant passer-by on the highway. Smart deer!

Another amusing sight in one of the small towns that I passed through was a couple motorcyclists, or ONE actually. At the little mom and pop gas station, an older biker sat on his hawg, talking to a much younger biker who stood beside him. The older biker had all the expected appearances and accouterments of his pastime, as did the younger biker, but you could see a great difference in the budgets of the two. On my next pass through the area, I met the older man coming slowly out of town, his powerful bike sounding like a Kenworth at a fast idle. A minute later, I met his young friend flying out of town to catch his friend. He was astride a skinny, lime-green street or trail bike wound up to where it sounded like a kamikaze bumble-bee. The comparison of a bike going “ringydingydingydingydingy” with the low rumble of the hawg was too much to make without smiling. I hope the kid didn't see me; I wouldn't have wanted to hurt his feelings.

We still have several loads to haul up there this week. I'll be glad when we can move on, my backside needs the rest. I DID learn to return home on the Ohio side of the river, since the road is smoother over there. That helps a LITTLE bit! © 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ignorance Ain't ALWAYS Bliss!

There have been many times in the past when I happily operated under the idea that I knew what I was doing. More often than I want to admit, my knowledge wasn't always what it should have been during some of those times. I have recently had another such experience.

Most of you who read my blog are aware that I've had some health issues lately, particularly with my breathing. Having finally shook the horrible cold that I had complicating things, I'm somewhat better, but the underlying problem is still there. Mondays, I usually go to work feeling slightly better, but as the week progresses, I feel worse and worse. As always, Friday was MOST welcome this week.

I didn't eat my usual banana and three clementines yesterday, though, as my wife told me about hearing of a drug interaction with those fruits and some blood pressure medications. I knew about grapefruit, but not bananas or oranges. Looking on the internet, I found that she was correct.

That evening, I decided to do a search for other foods rich in potassium, the culprit in reactions with the lisinopril, which is my main BP med. Low and behold, the other foods in my lunch turned up on the list! My single-serving cans of baked beans are made with white beans, which are rich in potassium, and my yogurt is rich in potassium, as well. So are the pears that I've only recently begun taking, and so are the raisins, cashews and almonds in my “trail mix.” Of course, the ham that I take has potassium lactate in it.

My two options are to change what I eat, or change medications. Since I tried changing medications once and had less than perfect results, I guess I'll experiment with changing what I eat. My wife is going to fry me five burgers which I'll use through the week on whole wheat buns. That will lessen my use of ham. I can still eat boiled eggs, since they're not that high in potassium, and I'll switch peaches for pears. Time and research should open up other options.

It may take a week or two to notice any real change, so I'll be patient and see what happens. I've decided that a developing ulcer is part of my problem. I'm on an over-the-counter treatment for it. It will be interesting if potassium reaction is the bulk of the remaining trouble. I still plan to work on my weight problem, though, since I wouldn't even NEED meds if my weight was normal.

The irony here is that most folks have a real problem getting enough potassium in their diet. In fact, I would, too, if it wasn't for the fact that it may be the problem with my breathing, due to interaction. Life is strange! © 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Breathtaking - Jeb Bush (a link)

It Don't Make Sense_: Breathtaking

The Pooches And My Health, Plus Sundry Blather

It was great to see the change in the Mighty Dachshund by the evening of the day we took her to the vet. In fact, she seemed calmer even on the ride home. With a shot for the itch, she got her first decent night's sleep in months. That translated into a better night's sleep for my wife, too, since they sleep in the same room. If the anti-itch shot is used too often to treat her allergy symptoms, it could make her diabetic. Considering her age and discomfort, we've decided to use it however much she actually needs it, and if she turns diabetic, we'll deal with it.

Speaking of dogs (and cats), just a word to the wise, Some folks are answering those “found dog” ads and collecting dogs to use as bait for dog fighting. If you find a lost pet, don't advertise the breed or show its picture. Make THEM furnish that information to prove ownership. The world is full of evil, cold-hearted people.

My own health is less stellar than the pup’s. It seems to just be a matter of good days and bad. On the good days, I feel like I'm getting better. On the bad ones, like yesterday, I'll have to stop a half-dozen times to catch my breath WHILE SHOWERING! Yesterday evening, it was finally cool enough that I could stack some wood and get it off the ground. And so, I would stack 3-4 pieces of wood and sit down to catch my breath, over and over until the small job was done. I'm sure I would have looked like the world's laziest woodcutter to anyone watching, but at least I won't have to mow around those pieces of wood any longer.

I've actually started using the electric cart at Walmart on occasion. I try to use it quickly and get done, so someone who needs it worse than I can have it when they come in. Our gutters need cleaned before this fall’s crop of leaves start falling, so I'm going to have to hire the neighbor, since I can't climb a ladder anymore. I'm thinking of turning one upstairs window into a clandestine door, so I can access the roof for small jobs. Like using the cart, it’s another adjustment that needs made.

My health situation has caused my wife and I to have some discussions about what to do should either of us croak. It's a discussion every couple should have. She didn't have it with her first husband, and says a lot of things would have been easier on her if they'd prepared. I've got a “little black book” now sitting on my desk, filled not with the names of loose women, but with instructions of things to do after I'm gone. It covers life insurance, funeral preferences, bequeathments and so on.

There's a tendency to ask why God allows such things, when trouble or tragedy wallops us up alongside the head. I know I wondered why the Lord sent me to the telemarketing job and then left me there for four years. Later, I realized it was to show me how much I'd taken the good things in my life for-granted. I suspect it’s a similar reason that he's let my health turn sour for a while. Plus, if our bodies are the Lord's temples, I have certainly been guilty of dereliction of duty, when it comes to maintenance.

I'd originally planned to retire at 62, since the numbers said that I'd have to live an extra 13 years to recoup the money I'd lose by NOT retiring early. I figured the chances of a fat guy living to age 75 were slim (pardon the pun). Then I decided that I wouldn't be able to afford to do so. This breathing thing has got me re-convinced that early is best. Maybe I can find some way to enjoy a bit of life while I still can. Of course, Obama may yet take away that option. If he does, you can be sure no future republican would restore it. Regardless, the Lord will provide. © 2015

Honeybees And Their “Pure” Product

Honey has been around since the beginning of time, I guess. The Bible makes multiple references to it being good to eat. I certainly agree. I had four hives at one point, many years ago, and enjoyed the hobby, and the product. I ate a fair amount of the stuff, back when I had my own bees, and drank a little too, as mead (honey wine). I didn’t go for the light, popular honeys like clover, sourwood or buckwheat. No, I liked the dark, bold stuff from the fall flow. The goldenrods, wing-stems, sun chokes, asters, iron weeds, Joe Pye weeds and so on created a delicious mix of dark, spicy honey that was right up my alley. To this day, I think of all that wonderful honey when I see the fall blossoms.

Each hive has its own personality, by the way. I suppose it reflects the personality of the queen. Two of my hives were moderately friendly, yet would keep you on your toes if you took them for granted. It wasn’t wise to work them without suiting up. Another hive, though, was as friendly as an old dog. I could work them using little or no smoke and wearing a t-shirt. The fourth hive, however, must have had a queen that was at war with the world. They swarmed out at the slightest provocation to destroy whatever was causing them concern. Usually, that was me. No amount of smoke or tight suiting would prevent me from getting at least one sting when I worked “the hive from Hell.” It was my most productive hive, or I might have done away with it.

A lot of folks don’t realize that honeybees aren’t native to this continent. Some Indians called them “white man’s flies” when they first started showing up in their world. If you think about it, any fruit or vegetable that originated with the Indians did so without honeybees. Considering the decline in bee numbers, due to agricultural chemicals, it might be wise to concentrate on such varieties in your gardening and seed saving.
At the gas station the other day, the honeybees were swarming the trash can something fierce. I could only assume that somebody had poured their soft drink in the thing. I expect yellow-jackets to be a nuisance at such places, but I hadn’t thought about honeybees. I shouldn’t have been surprised, though, considering that I used to keep the little buggars. Beekeepers sometimes feed their bees sugar-water to get a new hive started, or to help a hive through the winter that was robbed a bit too aggressively in the fall. I suppose a little flavor with their sugar might be a good thing for them. I then had to wonder: would they use the stuff only to eat and feed the drones, or would they make honey from their trash can find? I suspect some of it will find its way into their product. After all, “honey-dew honey” is much sought after in Europe, and it’s made from what aphids leave behind! See this link for more details:

My wife’s grandfather always kept bees and constantly had a big bowl of honey sitting on the table. Her dad wouldn’t eat it, though, since it was a common sight to see honeybees in the “downstairs” of the outhouse, or crawling on a manure pile. The consensus was that bees needed a certain amount of salt, so the old fellow was one of those who left salt out for his bees, to prevent them from gathering it at less approved places. There’s still some disagreement on the need for salt, with the anti-salt folks saying that the bees don’t live as long if they get it, while some “salters” espouse sea salt, saying the minerals are, perhaps, more important than the salt itself.

Something else I’ll mention is that the preformed foundation used by beekeepers has slightly larger cell size than what is natural. I think that’s so the bees will spend less time making wax and so the honey will extract better in the machines. A result is that the bees raise replacements to a larger size when the eggs are laid in the cell, rather than its being used to store honey. I can’t help but think that would slightly limit the species of flowers used by the larger bees for gathering nectar.

In its natural state, honey contains a little pollen and some propolis (bee-made hive glue). For better or worse, most of the honey you’ll find in a store has been ultra-filtered. As a result, it has none of these things that supposedly make it a healthy additive to a person’s diet. Leave it up to the food industry to take something that’s good for you and turn it into empty calories. That’s a good reason to buy your honey straight from the farmer.

SO, knowing what I do about honey, do I still eat it? Dern tootin’ I do! I got a tad hungry as I typed this up at three in the morning, so I went downstairs and fixed me a butter and honey sandwich on multi-grain bread. YUM! © 2015

Crystal's Newest Book! (a link)


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Real Reason behind the War On Coal (a link

Kentucky Hollers: Finally...The Real Reason behind the War On Coal

Wisdom From The Email Bin

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be very liberal, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs, in other words redistribution of wealth. 

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch conservative, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his. 

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs. 

The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school. 

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying. 

Her father listened and then asked, "How is your friend Audrey doing?" 

She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over." 

Her wise father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA." 

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, "That's a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I've worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!" 

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, "Welcome to the conservative side of the fence." 

If you ever wondered what side of the fence you sit on, this is a great test! 

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. 
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed. 

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. 
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone. 

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. 
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.. 

If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. 
Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down. 

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. 
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and Jesus silenced. 

If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. 
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his. 

If a conservative reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh. 
A liberal will delete it because he's "offended." 

Well, I forwarded it to you.


A Poor Design By Volvo

If you look online for instructions on how to open the hood of a Volvo truck, you get all these wonderful bits of advice on the latch being at the bottom of the steering column inside the cab. Well, guess what? There's no such thing on the one that I drive, No, with mine, you have to reach up INSIDE THE WHEEL-WELL, feel under a plastic flap and then trip a lever. You then have to do the same thing on the OTHER side. Think about that. You'll get your hands (or gloves) filthy every time you raise the hood. Worse yet, if you've been to your local "unsanitary landfill" lately, you may be scraping your skin against bits of putrid food, fouled baby diapers, hospital waste, and other disgusting things. WAY TO GO, VOLVO!

Homestead Evacuation Plan (a link)

The Locust Blossom: Homestead Evacuation Plan

Monday, August 17, 2015


Click image to enlarge (slightly).

Sunday, August 16, 2015

08-16-2015 – Riding Shotgun – Communications On The Road

In the old days, truck drivers had only their lights to get ideas across to their fellow drivers. If memory serves me correctly, one flash meant a road hazard ahead. Three flashes meant a cop, and two blinks of the tail-lights meant “thank you,” when someone had blinked their lights to let you know that you were clear, after you’d passed them. Contact with the company office required a pay phone, though a few companies had company radios for local communication. These days, few folks know that simple code, even fewer folks say thank you, and pay phones are almost extinct.

I think it was the late 60’s when the CB radio became common in the truck cabs of America, and they were at their heyday during the 70’s and 80’s. Not wanting to divulge their real names, and since few bothered to register their radio, everyone had a “handle.” Mine was “Ridge-Runner.” By the 90’s, the cell phone was starting to be used quite a bit, and CB’s were losing ground. These days, most truck cabs still have a CB, but they’re used far less, in favor of cell phones. Few folks have handles anymore and you’ll rarely hear the old “breaker-breaker 19.” Most folks just try to talk over everyone else.

On my job, there’s a company radio in the truck, I furnish my own CB, plus, I have my cell phone. The company offered me a cell phone, for those times when I’m out of radio range, or there’s information they don’t want on the air, but I turned it down. I’d keep my phone anyway, so it wouldn’t save me anything, plus, they’d already gotten used to calling me on it; so why change?

The problem with having three devices is that sometimes all three are active at once. For instance, all I have to do to get the CB and shop radio to blare on is to try to call my wife on the phone. OR, if I’m talking with the dispatcher on the company radio, the phone may ring and the CB may come to life. After you turn the other devices down, you then have to remember to turn them back up when you’re done, or you could miss calls. It can be aggravating.

The opposite problem is when you get so far out in the sticks that NONE of them work. While I’ve been on some high hilltops (mountaintops?) in Ritchie, Doddridge and Tyler Counties where all three worked, I’ve been on others where it seemed that you see a hundred miles without a phone tower in sight. The CB might work with any other trucks nearby, but there’s no calling the office.

That’s less of a concern if you’re running in a convoy, as is often the case, or at least in pairs. However, if you’re running alone, or you’re a laggard in a convoy (as I often am), you can find yourself in God’s country with no way to tell the shop, should you break down or need information. Then you depend on advice that I used to give a friend years ago, “Always wave at the locals, you never know when you might need to use their phone!” Seriously, on the rare occasions when I’ve had to go begging for a phone call, I’ve always found country folks very kind.

I worked alone in the woods and on the farm for many years with no way to quickly get help if I needed it. That’s when you learn to be safe as possible in everything you do. And one thing about those times when I’m in God’s country, I know that until I get back to “civilization, I’ve still got one friend with me, so I talk to Him about any problems that I encounter. His line is always open. © 2015

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Going To The Vet

It's been two years since our little pooch has been to the vet. Either due to itching or boredom, she'd scratched and chewed off nearly every hair that she could reach, and had herself stinking something awful from her efforts.  Our Long-Haired Dachshund was soon going to look like a Mexican Hairless if we didn't do something. Lack of money was the reason that we'd put it off so long, the same reason that it has been even longer since either of us has been to the dentist or eye doctor. I had a little overtime this week, though, and figured that I could spare a hundred or so, if need be.

I  called the vet during a stop along the road this week and got an appointment for 8 o'clock this Saturday (today). The vet who I was supposed to have was running late, so another vet stepped in and waited on me at 8:30. She soon diagnosed the problem as a primary allergy to something, which caused the itching, licking and scratching. This, in turn, caused a fungal infection and a slight flea infestation, plus she had an ear infection. In 20 years of having a dog in the house, this was the first time for a flea problem. The vet did find one live flea on her, though. The pooch ended up getting a needle in each quarter, one for the fleas, one to help with the itching, one for the fungal infection, and one shot for distemper, which was past due.

I discussed with the vet about getting her the anti-itch shot more often, but that my wife and I knew it could bring on diabetes. She said it might not be needed every month, and that not all dogs were sensitive to it anyway. The poor little thing is so miserable that we may take the chance; she's certainly miserable as is. Even if she does turn diabetic, that's something that's treatable. The vet said she'd send the meds to the front desk, so we said our goodbye's and I went over to the desk to square up. I about fainted when the girl said  “$289". I don't think we'll be having any more dogs after this one.

Oh well, it's not like we need to eat this week! ;-) © 2015

Getting Up In The World w/pic

I suppose truck manufacturers never stop to think that a short person, or REALLY fat person might want to climb into one of their trucks. Why else would Volvo only put two steps on their trucks, and THEM 19 inches or more apart? My old Mack was hard enough for me to get into, but my current one, a Volvo has, on several occasions,  actually caused me to make more than one attempt in order to get behind the wheel. That's bad enough, but it was becoming obvious that I was going to blow out my left knee VERY shortly, unless something changed. So, it changed.

Drilling no extra holes, I used the existing 5/16 holes in the steps to run two all-threads of that size between the steps. Putting a piece of pressure-treated 2x4 at the halfway point gave me the added step that I needed. The distance from the ground to the first step wasn't inconsequential, so I wanted to add something there, too. I hesitated to mount anything solid, though, as it might catch on something and rip the whole step assembly off.

Seeing a length of 5/16 chain some former truck-driver had carried in the truck (probably for "protection"), the idea occurred to me of a hanging step. Mounting a couple eye-bolts on the bottom of the lower step gave me a place to hang each end. Since certain places might still have objects that could snag a chain, I put a carabiner on each end, so the chain could be removed quickly, if desired. Using a bolt-cutter, I cut the excess length off the two previously mentioned bolts, and the eye-bolts, and called the job done. The system is still a tad awkward, but it's a whole lot better than what was there before.

As you can see in the photo, a couple trips to the limestone mine has already coated the carabiners with limestone slurry from the access road, so I'd best keep them cleaned and oiled a bit, to insure their easy removal. © 2015


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Our Border With Mexico Is Like A Wound Without A Scab (a link)


-It Don't Make Sense_: Our Border With Mexico Is Like A Wound Without A Scab

My Laptop's Back - Sort Of

That last 22-item update from Windows seemed to be the straw that broke the camel's back, and my hard-drive crashed on my laptop. A local shop charged me $150 to put in a new one and save all my files. Unfortunately, Word is now gone, the thing can't get recognized by my router, so I can't get online at home, Facebook doesn't let me on, and Blogger didn't seem to be working right. The latter could be caused by weak WiFi from Lowe's, as I sat in the Walmart next door. I now have the free version of Word. It's called "OpenOffice, I think. It's a very pale imitation of Word. In essence, my laptop is ALMOST as worthless as certain female appendages on a boar hog. Time, and some money, will gradually change that, I believe, but it's sure inconvenient for now.

Nagasaki: Day Zero (a link)

Stranger Things Have Happened: Nagasaki: Day Zero

Saturday, August 8, 2015

I Wish I'd Had A Camera!

Yesterday, I was sent to stone quarry, located across the river in enemy territory and a few miles north. I'd been there before and had been impressed with the gentleness with which the loader-man put the half-bushel sized stones into the truckbed, as opposed to dropping them from several feet in the air, like some guys do. I was only half watching in the driver's side mirror as he loaded, mainly for a hand signal from him that he was done, and that I was ready to leave.

The big machine is called an excavator by some, a track-hoe by others, and sometimes still, a “steam shovel” by old-timers like me who are having a senior moment. As the guy loaded, the front edge of the machine swung a smooth arc of as much as 270 degrees between where he picked up the stones and my truckbed. Gradually, I became aware that there was a little face in the area below his right knee. Lying there serenely, watching the world swing by from side to side, was a little pooch. His (her?) erect ears and “glass eyes” indicated an Australian Blue Heeler. His face looked like he might have had a Beagle  somewhere in his ancient ancestry. His eyes were watching mine at times, so I knew that HE knew that he was being watched. That fact didn't seem to bother him any more than the swinging of the mighty steel machine.

When the guy signaled that he was done, I stepped out onto the truck step and told him that I'd never thought about him needing a body guard back there, working alone in the quarry. He laughed, and if I heard him right, he said that he'd set him in there one day and that's where he's expected to be every day since. I told him that it was nice to spend the day working with your best friend and he agreed.

I thought of you folks as I pulled away and wished I'd had my camera. I know some of you would have found it as cute as I did. © 2015


From an email:
Interesting that the LA Times did this.  Lou Dobbs reported this on CNN and it cost him his job.  The only network we would see this on would be FOX.  All the others are staying away from it.  Whether you are a Democrat or Republican this should be of great interest to you!

Just One State - be sure and read the last part...try for 3 times.

This is only one State....If this doesn't open eyes, nothing will!

From the L. A. Times.

1. 40% of all workers in L.  A.  County (L..  A. County has 10.2 million people) are working for cash and not paying taxes.  This is because they are predominantly illegal immigrants working without a green card. 
(Donald Trump was right)
2. 95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens.

3. 75% of people on the most wanted list in Los Angeles are illegal aliens.

4. Over 2/3 of all births in Los Angeles County are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal, whose births were paid for by taxpayers.

5. Nearly 35% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.

6. Over 300,000 illegal aliens in Los Angeles County are living in garages.

7. The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegal aliens from south of the border. 

8. Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal.

9.  21 radio stations in L. A. are Spanish speaking. 

10.  in L.A.  County 5.1 million people speak English, 3.9 million speak Spanish.  (There are 10.2 million people in L.  A. County.)

(All 10 of the above facts were published in the Los Angeles Times)

Less than 2% of illegal aliens are picking our crops, but 29% are on welfare. Over 70% of the United States 'annual population growth (and over 90% of California, Florida, and New York) results from immigration. 29% of inmates in federal prisons are illegal aliens.

We are fools for letting this continue.


Send copies of this letter to at least two other people.  100 would be even better.

This is only one State...If this doesn't open your eyes nothing will, and you wonder why Nancy Pelosi wants them to become voters!

Nancy Pelosi wants to put a Windfall Tax on all stock market profits (including Retirement fund, 401K and Mutual Funds!

Alas, it is true -- all to help the 12 Million Illegal Immigrants and other unemployed Minorities!
This woman is frightening. She quotes...' We need to work toward the goal of equalizing income, (didn't Marx say something like this?), and in our country and at the same time limiting the amount the rich can invest.  (I am not rich, are you?)

When asked how these new tax dollars would be spent, she replied:

'We need to raise the standard of living of our poor, unemployed and minorities.  For example, we have an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in our country who need our help along with millions of unemployed minorities.  Stock market windfall profits taxes could go a long way to guarantee these people the standard of living they would like to have as 'Americans''.

(Read that quote again and again and let it sink in.) 'Lower your retirement; give it to others who have not worked as you have for it.' Send it on to your friends. This lady is out of her mind!!!!!

My Stint As A Wildcrafter

The term “wildcrafter” always made me think of the folks who take items from nature and make useful or decorative things from them. Not so. It’s a term used for those folks who gather herbs, roots, or other such things, and sell them to companies that produce seasonings, flavorings, herbal remedies or medicines from them. (For a bit of irony, be aware that while drug companies pooh-pooh herbal medicines, a surprising number of the herbs and roots purchased eventually end up in the hands of drug companies, who turn them into “regular” medicines.) There are a few folks, most of whom live subsistence-type lives, who do wild crafting as a large part of their income. As a young man who grew up in the country, I realized the abundance of some of the plants purchased, and decided to try my hand at it, just to see the practicality of supplementing my income by such efforts.

The desired plants most common to my immediate area were may-apple, yellow dock and burdock, so they were my target. The may-apple was the most bother to “dig.” Though you actually just used your fingers to pulled it carefully from the forest duff, or from under a little soil, it was quick to break, and the companies preferred the roots as long as possible. However, a light rinsing was all it required and then it needed to be dried. I accumulated several pounds of it, rinsed it and then, for lack of anywhere better, laid it on some dry hay in the barn to cure. I SHOULD have spread newspaper down on the hard floor and laid the roots on that. The weather turned hot, rainy and humid and the roots all molded. I don’t know if they had that many mold spores already on them, or if they picked them up from the hay, but my efforts were wasted.

The dock roots had to be rinsed and brushed gently with a soft brush to remove all dirt. They could be split, if desired, to hasten drying. Since the weather was so humid, I did choose to split them, but not completely. That allowed me to hang them on strings, that I’d put up like miniature clotheslines, in the boiler room for the apartment building where I lived at the time. Mine was the only apartment with access. They were ALMOST dry when the owner happened to stop by on one of his rare visits and found my project. He requested that I remove them. They spent the rest of the time drying on a newspaper in my living room.

The day finally came when I deemed them ready to ship, so I wrapped them in newsprint, boxed them up and sent them to one of the better-known buyers. At least the buyer promised to reimburse me for shipping. All things considered, it seemed like too much bother for what I knew would be very little return. I had a rough idea as to the weight, but had no scale, so I was curious what they’d bring. A couple weeks later, my check came in the mail. It was for less than $20, including the reimbursed shipping. With all the effort involved, it was both amusing and mildly aggravating to see the word “samples” on the check memo.

Needless to say, I never bothered doing it again. Still, if I wasn’t working, I might consider it as something to do for a hobby. The problem is finding room enough to dry the stuff. Yellow dock is everywhere around here. If I were retired, and bored, I MIGHT consider digging it again. When the time comes, I just hope that I’m not that bored (OR that desperate). Still, I’m glad that I dug a few roots, those 40 years ago, since I learned a few things. © 2015

The "General" - Some Civil War History (a link)


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Another One That The Lord Laid On Me

These sort of verses keep showing up with regularity recently. I think we'd best pay attention.

"23 But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.
24 Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.
25 Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.
26 For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.
27 As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich.
28 They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.
29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
30 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;
31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?"
Jeremiah, Chapter 5

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Thoughts, Facts And Observations

I spent a large part of this week hauling dirt from the hospital to the far corner of the lot at the shop. My employers are filling low ground to develop, so nothing beats free dirt! Of course, they’re charging the contractor to haul the dirt away, the same as if it was being taken elsewhere. The soil is a rich, sandy loam, and would make good lawn or garden soil, but it has a little debris in it, so it’s going into the fill. It’s coming from under a paved parking lot, and contains a few old bricks and cut stones from the homes that once sat on the site. I’d guess they were from the 1800’s, from the style of stone and brick. I couldn’t help but wonder how many native artifacts might be mixed with the soil that was going to end up under stone or concrete again. I worked down there today (Saturday) also, not something that I normally do. My wife was upset, but the next pay should be a little larger.

I’m getting better at shifting my “new” truck at work. I still miss some gears, but I think that’s because I need to be more careful about matching ground speed with the gear that I’m going into. That means that I need to get my RPM’s lower on the gear that I’m leaving. Then again, one of the other drivers said that it was a difficult truck to shift; so who knows? I DO know that this truck is more awkward to dump with than my old one. The power-cord to my old CB went bad and I haven’t yet found a replacement, so I got a $35 model from the Chinese Emporium that seems to work alright. The steps into the truck are high up and 22 inches apart, so I’m about ready to ruin my knees climbing into the cab. I stopped and got some parts to make a wooden step between them and spent nearly $18 for two 5/16 threaded rods and 12 fender washers. Prices are ridiculous these days!

I saw a funny sight on the road yesterday. A tow-truck was towing another tow-truck belonging to one of their competitors. That must have been embarrassing for the company whose truck was being towed.
I’m finally going to have to address a problem with the state tax department. I forgot to include the W-2’s with my form and they can find where I worked for two months at telemarketing last year, but (strangely) haven’t come across my present employer, where I worked FIVE months last year. As a result, they’re trying to charge me over $500 in taxes, when they actually OWE ME about $150. THE JERKS!

I’ve decided to get rid of the copies I have of “Primitive Archer” and “Wilderness Way” magazines. I finally realized that I’m too old and out-of-shape to ever bother with most of the stuff shown in their pages. The magazines were only published for a few years, and I think I might have complete collections of both. I don’t really know what to ask for them. They’d bring good money in some other part of the country, but things are hard to sell around here.

The single cicada that I mentioned a few days ago has now been joined by 10,000 or so of his closest friends, so the night air is now filled with their “singing.”

I had a strange dream a couple nights ago. I saw a little girl, about 8-10, sitting in the front yard of a big old house downtown as I walked by. Her blond hair was pulled back into a pony-tail, and she was wearing a full-length light blue dress that had a peasant look to it. She looked as if she was too hot and seemed sickly. She also had tears in her eyes. I went over to her and asked if she felt badly and she said that she did. I then asked if she wanted me to get someone for her, and she said yes again. I knocked on the front door of the big home, expecting some grandmotherly type to answer for some reason, but no-one answered. I finally went inside and through a grand set of pocket doors and found a moderate-sized party going on. I found that the owner was a middle aged woman dressed in clothes a bit too young for her. I asked if she realized that her daughter was sitting outside feeling ill. She replied with a yes, but told me that he’d be okay.

“HE?,” I asked.

“Oh yes,” she replied, “we’re just trying to deprogram him.”

Suddenly, the room filled with other mothers screaming at her for ruining her son’s mental health. Then, I woke up.

I detest living in a society that causes a person to even have such dreams. Oh well, I suspect God will straighten it all out before long. © 2015

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Sound And The Flurry

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’d never driven a dump-truck before hiring on with my current employer. Like most companies, they just sort of pointed me in the general direction and said “here’s what we need done.” No-one told me for three months to NEVER back up with your tag-axles (cheaters) down, though I usually didn’t, but for my own reasons. No-one told me until LAST WEEK that the “regen” wouldn’t work on my old truck unless the coolant was kept almost full to overflowing (meaning that I might have been partially responsible for the loss of my truck). There were other things, though, that had nothing to do with vehicle needs for which I was somewhat unprepared when I took on the job.

The first was the noise. I hired on in July, during the hot months. Since “my” truck had been purchased used, like most of their fleet, the air-conditioner was more than a little inconsistent. It tended to go off and on according to a mystical sequence of potholes in the highway. As a result, I sometimes ran with the windows partly down when the AC was partly working, and clear down when it was on the fritz. Incidentally, I noticed a psychological effect of additional perceived speed with the window noise, about 10 MPH at highway speed, it seemed to me.

I often kept my windows down about an inch anyway, to stay in better touch with my surroundings. Of course, in letting in the sound of sirens, horns, shouts, squealing tires, engine noise of other vehicles, etc, it also let in more of the noise of my exhaust (on the passenger side) and the noise of my own truck’s engine. It was particularly noisy when the turbo kicked in. The windows were generally at least part-way down on job-sites, too, so I could hear back-up warnings, other machinery moving and the horn of various machines used to load the truck, many of which had diminutive horns in comparison to the size of the machines.
The independent radiator fans are nearly a loud as the engine, when they kick in, making it especially difficult to shift by ear, now that I’m driving a standard. Plus, in the old Mack, the speed sensor for the automatic transmission made a lot of noise, at certain speeds. I guess everything comes at a price. Besides the noise in the cab from the engine, transmission, hydraulic lift controls and speed sensor, all those items also add heat to the cab, good in winter, not so much in summer.

The flurry of activity with a dump-truck was also something I hadn’t thought about. My previous driving experience had been with long delivery routes with few stops. There ARE some days like that on this job, but not many. While the salt runs of winter may involve one or two trips a day to some far-flung end of the state, the local “dirt jobs” can involve multiple short runs. I believe 24 loads is my record so far for a day. I don’t usually mind the dirt jobs, though two weeks on that one was a bit much. The senior man, who was there with me, fussed about it after the first day and got moved to another job.

Often, the only breaks that we get are when the loader operators are adjusting their positions or their machine requires some sort of minor maintenance. On dirt jobs, it’s hard to answer nature’s call, or even eat your lunch (those things are difficult EVERY day, for that matter). We’re told when hired to always take a 30 minute lunch break (so they’ll be in compliance with the law) but, with the next load always waiting, few guys do, nor do they really expect us to, though they don’t complain if we do. Most guys do like me and eat on the fly, or when they’re being loaded. Lunch then, is not a meal, but a series of snacks. What you pack in your lunchbox soon begins to reflect that.

Keeping us busy, of course, is what keeps the company profitable and the drivers working, so I won’t complain. I must confess, though, I DO prefer the days when the things are a bit more relaxed. © 2015

Sick Day

Thursday, I called in sick for the first time since I began working with my current employer, nearly a year ago (lacking four days). My wife insisted that I go to the doctor, and I did. He gave me prescriptions for four kinds of dope and I now feel better than I have in a month. Amazing what dope can do. (The RIGHT kind, at least.) One was an inhaler to open my lungs (no refill). That alone gave me the first decent night's sleep I'd had in weeks. I didn't feel like I was going to suffocate if I fell asleep! I worked Friday and did okay, so maybe I'm on the mend.

I used to shake my head at folks who had a pile of pill bottles, now it seems that I'm one of those people.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Old Truck Is GONE!

The old automatic transmission Mack that I drove at work broke down once too often. It was stripped of its company identification that evening and my personal items removed, and it disappeared the following day. I'm now trying to relearn driving a standard (it's been eight years), and I have to say, the Volvo that I'm in isn't half the truck my old one was. For one thing, it has no power! But, the boss is happy. Maybe I'll take early retirement in two years, yet!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Thoughts From The Highway

It's been enjoyable seeing the wildlife along the road this spring. Obviously, I'm not referring to the road-kill. The young groundhogs have been venturing out of the den for over a month now. This year's squirrels and chipmunks have been seen even longer. I get tickled at the latter scurrying across the two-lane roads ahead of me. They raise their little tails straight in the air as they go.That's a trait found in many animals as they run. I assume that's where the expression "high-tailing it out of there" and its various tenses came from.

Squirrels seem rather plentiful, anymore, including the big fox squirrels, which took many years to come back after the winter kills of the late 70's. The prolonged deep snows of '77-'79 caused many to be unable to forage, thus they starved in their dens. The tiny bunnies are cute and remind me that the species isn't yet extinct. though it seems so the other seasons of the year.

I watched a young crow the other day, obviously just out of the nest. He was following his parents around, getting in their faces and demanding to be fed. They were doing surprisingly well at the task. I assume that seeing them scoop up a bug and put it in his mouth will eventually make him realize that he could eat better if he'd learn to do it himself.

To the unaware, it would seem that a lot of trees are dying this year. The seed pods on the locusts are brown and look like dead leaves from a distance, and the locust leaf miners seems to be at work already, making the real leaves turn brown. Also, due to the excessive rain in my area, the tulip poplars have brown tips on their leaves from a type of fungus that attacks them during wet springs. They'll recover, but it surely weakens them to some degree.

I've noticed in the past year on the road that people have gotten noticeably ruder and less considerate, even the truck drivers. I think it's not just on the highway, but in society at large. I remember that when I worked at my last telemarketing job that they had no button for "you're welcome," but had one for "no problem." I suppose they thought the two terms were of equal value. They AREN'T!

Our little dog has grown increasingly attentive to the calls I place to my wife, as I check with her through the day. She gets really upset if my wife doesn't let me say something to her. After I do, she lays down and rolls for minutes at a stretch in apparent celebration of hearing from me. Wouldn't it be great if we still found the joy in simple things that dogs and children do?

A Whine (Or Ten)


I've felt like crap all week. I mentioned in my recent prayer request that my weight has caused breathing problems for me. What I DIDN'T mention, was that I already have a 13% diminished lung capacity, due to scarring from several bouts of pneumonia as a child. As if that wasn't a bad enough combination, I got a really bad cold this week that tried filling my lungs with mucous. If it wasn't for a pharmacy chain's copy of Dayquil and Niquil, I'm not sure I'd be here to post this, literally. I THINK I'm finally getting slightly better, but Thursday was the worst I'd ever felt and still gone to work anywhere. Doctors could have done nothing but give me oxygen, since they can't treat colds (being viruses), so I elected to work sick and get the money. Now my wife has the cold and it's hitting her hard. The summer heat makes it rough when we have to venture outside and can barely breathe.

As if that wasn't bad enough, we recently had to replace our house air-conditioner. Our toilet quit working this week, but I was too sick to fix it, though I got the parts. (My brother-in-law was able to do it for me Friday.) The house roof and porch roof both need patched, and my laptop, on which I do 99% of my work, just crashed. This is turning into the summer of my greatest discontent!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Songs In The Night


The tree frogs have been singing in the hundred-foot strip of woods between our house and the neighbor’s, since early spring. Their raucous, repetitive songs remind me of the long summer nights of my youth. Last week, they were joined by a single cicada singing from the woods on the opposite side of the house. A week later, it remains the only one. Its higher pitch voice adds an odd harmony to the song of the tree frogs. Its presence tells me that it will soon be joined by many relatives who will, at times, make the night almost deafening. That, in turn, will be a reminder that summer doesn’t last forever and autumn will soon be on its way. I find myself humming the tune “Sunrise, Sunset,” from “Fiddler on the Roof.” Indeed, “swiftly go the years.”© 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015

07-11-201 - Riding Shotgun - Rainy-Day Hauling, Part 2

Two Friday’s before last wasn’t rainy in the beginning, but rain was predicted. Two of us went over into enemy territory to haul “topsoil” from a local sand pit to where a new home was being built about a mile-and-a-half away. We went down into the pit, and then wound around for a little while, before coming to the highwall at the back of the pit. There, the pit owner had constructed a crude road up the side of the dig to about 4/5 of the way to the top. There, he made a small turn around, so we could load and then drive back down the same road.

The road had an adequate berm on the lower side, but it was steep, with a decided hump in it. I had to try the third time to get up, and only then when I locked in the positive traction and all-wheel drive on the rear end. Once at the top, I saw there was barely enough room to turn and it required a bit of zigzagging, forward and backward, to get in position to load and then complete the turn and go back down. There was very little berm at the top, so it gave the impression of being on a narrow ledge of a sand cliff, probably because that was exactly what it was. I’d arrived first, but the second truck was waiting at the bottom of the grade when I came down. I laughed and told him that I reckoned that dump-truck drivers might be the only folks stupid enough to do such things. He had better tires and had less trouble with the grade than I did. Once he was up, I left to make the first delivery.

It started raining lightly about that time, and the next two trips up the sandy path became harder. The fourth time around, my truck wouldn’t make it, but kept spinning out just before the rear wheels cleared the hump, onto the flatter ground above. On the fourth try, I swear the front end left the ground, I was hitting the slope with such speed. If I’d had a confederate flag painted on the top of my cab, I’d have felt like I was on TV. (I think that was a day or two before all THAT stuff hit the fan.) I finally told the old fellow who owned the place that if we were going to keep hauling, we were going to have to go through the edge of his hay meadow, like his son running the loader had suggested. If looks could have killed, I’d have been dead on the spot.

Having been raised on a farm, I understood the fellow’s dislike of tracking up his meadow, but hey, he was selling the field a yard at a time; so what was the difference in the long run? A third truck showed up about then, so the loader man stayed a little busier which, of course, made the old gentleman money even faster. We drove as close to the edge of the dig as we dared, sometimes only five feet from the cliff-like sand slope to the bottom of the pit. We were as cautious as we knew how to be about chewing up the sod with our tires, and there was far less damage than I expected. Perhaps the sandy soil let the water drain so quickly that it just wouldn’t get gaumy.

As I looked at the meadow, I assumed it to be virgin soil, but the loader soon brought up terra-cotta pipes from an earlier era. Whether they had been part of a field drainage system or part of a drain from some long-gone house or barn, I had no idea. I wondered, also, how many arrowheads, flints tools and pot shards that I might be driving over from the days before the white man.

At 2:30, the builder called it a day, due to it getting too muddy for us to maneuver the trucks at his place. By that time, though, we had in eight hours and the pit owner had sold about 40 loads of dirt, so he didn’t seem worried about his meadow anymore. We each got a load of sand to haul back to the shop and agreed that it had been a pretty productive day to be so rainy. © 2015

Friday, July 10, 2015

Three Photos From This Week

Click photos to enlarge.
The photo above was taken in the yard at work. For now, I can park my pickup beside my work truck, so I can transfer my lunch and such a lot easier; plus, I don't have far to walk to go to work! "Old '53" isn't a large truck; it has a 16 foot long bed with five foot sides. The bottom, outside corners of the bed are rounded, to make it dump cleaner, so I don't know the exact yardage of the bed. I hope they have trouble finding a buyer, because I'd love to keep driving it, insread of another.

I've posted a picture of this building on here before, but I find it interesting, so I put it here again. It;s ugly, but it has a sort of historic, "ghost town" look. Still, I hope it gets torn down before long. I hauled debris from the plant a couple days last week, from sections that were being demolished. This week, I spent part of my time hauling some contaminated soil from the area to the rear of where I snapped this photo.

Since it was rainy, the dump was muddy, so they opened the "tire wash" on the way out and blocked other exits, so you HAD to go through it. It's NOT to wash off germs, but to get the mud knocked off, before it makes it to the highway, where the state could issue them a ticket. With all the "flora and fauna" in that mud, I'd think they should be able to grow some monster carp in that holding tank to the right of the wash! LOL © 2015

Sunday, July 5, 2015

07-05-2015 – Riding Shotgun - Rainy-Day Hauling - Part 1

After a couple near-60-hour weeks spoiled me pay-wise, two rainy weeks set in where I didn’t even get 40 hours. I have to work 50 hours at this job to get the same pay as I did for 40 hours at my factory job, 10 years ago, so I prefer to have a little overtime. The money doesn’t go nearly as far as it did back then, though. Since most of our work is tied to the construction business, rain in summer is almost as bad for us as snow in winter. The bosses are good about having a little “busy work” on hand to keep us working as near 40 hours as possible, however.

Thursday before last, the three of us with the least seniority sat around for the first hour, hoping for a load on that on-and-off rainy day. Finally, the dispatcher found us a job hauling for the mine. They had an overabundance of one size of stone, while their yard in town was a little low on the same size. Our job was to load up at the mine, 20 miles away, and haul the stone back to that company’s city yard, almost directly across the river from our employer’s shop. It was stone-yard to stone-yard, instead of stone-yard to mud lot, so it was a good rainy-day job.

Now you might think that, since their mine is only 20 miles away, the city lot would get ALL their stone there, but I’d never seen any evidence of that. Since the city yard sits between the river bank and a spur of the railroad, I figured their stone came by one method or the other. Not being bashful, I asked the lady running the scale about their stone source. She said that it came by barge from a source downriver—Kentucky, she thought.

I guess it says something about the cost of trucking that it’s cheaper to do the extra handling and ship it from another state than to haul it 20 miles by truck. Still, the stone spends a few minutes on a truck, even then, since the dock is about 200 yards downstream from their yard. So, the crane uses a clam bucket to load the trucks, and the trucks shuttle it the 200 yards to the stone-yard and dump it in a big pile. There, the end-loader pushes it up into a taller pile, so it soaks up less rain and takes up less space in the yard.

Incidentally, the company is very diversified and owns not only mines and stone-yards, but also manufacturing plants. In fact, it’s known primarily for its work in the aerospace industry. I’ve never been fully convinced that the whole moonwalk thing wasn’t just a slow-motion tape of goings-on in Area 51; I wonder if those “moon rocks” have been tested for lime content?

After hauling three loads apiece for that company, the dispatcher had us haul a couple loads each from the mine to the shop. That was just busy-work, but they’ll probably sell it there in a few days, since that’s where they do their retail business. Between those five loads and the hour’s wait that morning, we got eight hours on the clock, so that wasn’t bad for a rainy day. © 2015