Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Nail Jars (w/pic)


I’m not telling most folks anything new here. A lot of our granddads used glass jars to store small amounts of nails, screws, bolts, nuts and sundry other small parts in their workshop area of the garage or basement. REALLY small quantities sometimes ended up in baby food jars or other small jars whose lids had been fastened to the ceiling or to the bottom of shelves or ceiling joists. I never felt brave enough to hang glass jars over my head, but I have used jars for years, putting them on shelves instead.

The nice thing for us modern folks is that so many of the jars now holding our foods are plastic (NOT good for the glass companies or our health, though). I say that because I’ve accidentally dropped more than ONE of those old glass jars over the last four decades and the results are always the same—little metal things to pick up and glass shards to sweep up. Yeah, this is one place that I like plastic.

In the photo above, the right-hand jar once held 35 oz. of Walmart brand peanuts. It’s now holding two pounds of # 6 galvanized nails, and would easily hold another pound. The one pound peanut butter jar in the middle just barely holds a pound of 1-1/2 inch drywall screws. If I remember, I had to jostle the jar a few times to get the lid on. The one on the left holds a partial box of what the piece of box-side says it holds. The box was falling apart, an obvious flaw of the flimsy little boxes they sometimes come in. That’s why I usually buy bulk nails and such at my local hardware store and put them in jars to begin with. Tomorrow, I’ll try to get a mailing label on the two right-hand jars, write their contents on the label and put them all away.

If you’ve never tried this method of keeping small parts and fasteners organized, you should give it a shot. Those little sets of metal or plastic drawers that you can buy never hold enough for me anyway. © 2016

Eating The 17 Year Locust

Click  image to enlarge.

You’ll have to blame Pumice, over at Medley ofWorship for reminding me of this subject.

The big bugs which we call locusts in America aren’t really locusts at all, but cicadas. Still, they sometimes come in numbers that rival the real locust plagues of biblical mention. In the parts of the world which still have locust plagues, the natives often get the ultimate revenge on the destructive little devils by eating them. I’m sure that our wild animals, and some tame ones do the same with our cicadas, so why not us? The squeamish have already lost their last meal and written me off as a freak, so the rest of you stay with me.

You CAN eat the 17 year locust, and the Native Americans often took advantage of the easily gathered bits of protein, when they were available. They’re said to taste somewhat like shrimp, though I suspect the flavor could vary some depending on their main food source. Concerns include choking on the wings and legs if not removed, allergic reaction (especially with those who have shell-fish allergies) and mercury content (though I suspect that is worst in polluted areas).

Here are some sites to check out for the interested or the adventurous:

Google the subject and you’ll find many more sites on the subject. © 2016

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Wandering, Wondering, Stealing And Lying (w/pic)


Click image to enlarge.

I suppose Wally World is sort of like a theme park to the missus. She goes there to be entertained as she walks for her health. To me, it’s a place to be avoided, unless you have an overpowering NEED to go there. The other day, while the missus did her usual wandering around that great Chinese Emporium, I took the opportunity to wander a bit on the outside. The railroad tracks run just behind the store, and a very short bimble southward on them brings you to what was obviously a home-site at one time. I silently wonder if it was a fine big home here by the tracks, or some leaning little hovel. Regardless, the evidence of its existence is the huge maple tree still standing on the slight rise, and the pretty patch of mixed white and yellow daffodils. These things are surrounded by a tiny forest in its infancy—mostly low value hardwoods about the size of your shins.

The place actually belongs to the mall next door, so entering from the back of the site is less likely to attract the attention of the security guy in his little jeep-like vehicle with the flashing yellow light. Though the home is long gone, there stands a huge steel tank and a small cement-block building on the site that probably haven’t been used since the place was a grass-strip airfield 50 years ago. The forest is kept at bay around the tank, for the mall dumps snow there during the winter and dirt from repair projects through the summer. When it gets too rough to drive an end-loader over, they grade the lumps down a bit. The fill never seems to get very deep.

I had no real reason to go there the other day, for the only wild edibles I’ve seen growing there were pokeweeds, and that was later in the season. Soon after I left the rail-bed, I almost stepped on the blade of an old square shovel. It had plainly been there for decades, but I’d never noticed it before. It was warped a bit, making me wonder if it might have been in a fire at one time. It had been a high quality tool with a solid socket and holes for TWO rivets. Naturally, the handle was long gone. I figured that I could stick a piece of tree-limb in the socket and get a couple bucks from the antique dealer. I took it with me as I continued hobbling through the edge of the fledgling forest, scanning both the wooded area and cleared area as I went. I saw no plants of interest, except the daffodils, and finally entered the cleared area, as I got to the far side of the site.

Looking back, I could see a pile of empty beer bottles and two silver-colored “bottles” near the tank. Walking over to the pile, it was obvious that the silver items were two stainless bottles of high quality. There they lay in the grass, dirty, but undamaged. They had so caps, however. Adding them to my haul, I walked out the front of the site into a small lawn area and hobbled, as quickly as my crippled feet and hips would allow, over to Wally World’s parking lot and on to my truck. I was technically trespassing on the mall property, though there was no sign to be seen, so I basically was stealing the items that I’d found lying on the old home-site, though they would probably have lain there until covered up with dirt.

Putting my haul in the truck’s bed, I noticed that the bottles had the name “KleanKanteen” on them. Looking them up online, when I got home, I learned that the bottles cost $25 each, and caps can be ordered for $5 each, plus shipping. After I keep them in the basement a while, I’ll pull them out and tell the missus that I found them there. Then I’ll order the caps, clean the bottles well and use them. (She’d never tolerate me using them, if she knew the last user might have been a drugged up, disease-ridden drunk.)

I can’t say that I’m proud of my actions, but I’ll ask the Lord’s forgiveness and NEVER TELL MY WIFE THE TRUTH! Some folks may say that I’ve now stepped upon the road to perdition; I can only solicit their prayers. © 2016

The Mindless Middle

One of the highest officials in our state mentioned yesterday that he hadn’t yet decided who to vote for in the presidential race. I was shocked, as I’d always considered the man honest and intelligent. I don’t believe in making snap decisions, but the differences between candidates are so obvious at this point that no person of reasonable intelligence can possibly have an excuse for not having made up their mind. I’ve noticed though, that in nearly every election, it’s not the balance of the folks on opposite sides of the debate that makes the final decision, it’s those moody, namby-pamby, mindless people in the middle who waffle until the last minute that choose the direction of our nation. I find that scary.

Personally, I have more respect for those that are on the other side, than those mindless souls in the middle who apparently either have no clue what’s going on, or have no trust in their own ability to know right from wrong or good from bad. Yes, I realize that politics is more a matter of shades of grey (actually, brown may be the best term), but things have gone on long enough at this point for the facts to be obvious. You either gamble with change, or you cling to the status quo. Either side should be decided by this late date.

The only reason other than cluelessness for not knowing your mind at this point, would be if some folks are simply such mercenaries that they’re waiting to see which side offers them the most personal perks. I don’t have any respect for them either way. © 2016

Monday, March 28, 2016

I Had To Laugh

Today, my wife chose to go to Wally World, not because there was anything we needed, but because she wanted to walk. By having a cart to steady her, she can walk much longer there than she can at the mall or the park. By sheer chance, I pulled into the space that faces where I picked dandelions a couple weeks ago. Amidst the thorny locust brush, the dandelions had grown much larger, yet still looked light green and tender. After the missus left, I began picking. As I picked, an older couple parked beside my truck and got out to go inside. The old man asked if I was picking dandelions and I told him that I was. He said they looked really good even from where HE stood.

Covering exactly the same ground as the last time, I had more in the bag when I’d covered half the patch than I’d gotten from the whole patch last time. I wanted to keep picking until I had enough to share with my mother, but maintaining my balance on the steep slope, even with my cane, wasn’t easy, and my feet were hurting awful from the weird angles they were being stretched to fit. Plus, the bending was getting to my back. Ruefully, I left the right side of the patch unpicked and hobbled back to the truck moving like Tim Conway on the Carol Burnett Show.

Remembering the interest in Mom’s voice when I’d told her about my recent picking, I decided to give my latest picking to her and hope that I made it back before the other side of the patch grew rank and bitter. On our way home, I stopped by the old-folk’s high-rise where she lives and gave them to her. Nothing would do but that I had to take some pecans and walnuts that she hadn’t used for her Christmas baking. She’s bad about trying to keep an even score, but since I wanted some nuts but had decided not to spend the money, I was glad to get them.

On arriving home a half-hour later, I called Mom to tell her that the leaves would look a little stemmy, but not to worry about it, because they were as tender as the leaves. She told me that she already knew that, as she’d already cooked and eaten half of them! She must have been hungry for some fresh greens! She said that they were a little on the bitter side, and she was going to mix the rest with some garden greens she had in the fridge, to tone them down a little. I told her my little trick of putting a couple packs of pink sweetener in the cooking water to help offset the bitterness. (Keep it to yourself; I don’t want to hear about it!) Personally, I don’t mind a little bitterness, but I know that my wife doesn’t like it either.

After I hung up, I couldn’t help but laugh, as I thought of Mom rushing up to her apartment and putting the greens on to cook before I even made it out to the city limits. I guess I’d better try to take her some more when I can. © 2016

Sunday, March 27, 2016

My Foraging Journal

I mentioned a year or so ago that I’d begun a foraging journal. I’ve been expanding it a little the last few days. It’s a simple enough system. As I find (or remember) places where I’ve found wild edibles, I record them on the next open page, number the page, and draw a crude map of the area and where the plants are found. I give them the next letter of the alphabet along with the name of the plant(s) and write down the date that I’ve harvested that item, or at least have seen them ready to harvest. Turning to the back of the journal, each page is given a letter as needed, starting at the back page and moving FORWARD. On that page, I write down the numbered pages IN THE FRONT, where those items are found.

My plan is to be able to look at the back of the book and find the pages where maps show any particular plant growing. By recording each “picking,” I will gradually end up with an idea when those plants are available at each site. OR, by looking through the dates on the front pages, I’ll know when I should check a certain area.

Maybe the idea will pan out, or maybe it won’t, but at least it’s one more thing to keep me off the streets and out of jail. © 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

I learned Something Today (Ain’t THAT Amazing?)


I’ve probably read the Bible’s description of the empty tomb hundreds of times in my life. I’d always pictured the wrappings of Christ’s body lying flat on the stone bed of the grave, like an empty pillow case. NOT SO! On TV today, Hal Lindsey explained that the myrrh that was in the wrappings would have solidified, making them like a body cast. SO, when John (supposedly a teenager at the time) looked into the empty grave, he saw something similar to an empty cocoon, as the wrappings only came to the neck. The head covering was lying separate and to one side. He immediately understood that it would have taken a miracle to remove the body without unwrapping the cloth strips that formed the “cocoon.” Then, the Bible says that he “believed.” So it could be said that John was the first true Christian in history, because he understood and believed in the risen Savior. Interesting! © 2016

Thursday, March 24, 2016

An Aggravating Morning

Yesterday afternoon, I called the local library to see if it was true that someone there did taxes for free for old folks. They said yes, but only on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 8 to 12. I asked if there were certain qualifications needed to get the free help, and they suggested that I call the Senior Citizens organization, since they were the ones doing the work. There, they told me that there were no qualifiers, but that they only did it on THURSDAY mornings.

I showered at midnight, to save time in the morning, but didn’t get to sleep until 1:30. At 3:30 the pooch needed to be taken out. Unfortunately, I still wasn’t sleeping soundly when my wife got up at 5:30 to take her shower. I never got back to sleep and due to her impatience, we left at 7 for the twenty minute drive to the library. Thankfully, I talked her into splitting a McD’s breakfast, so our bellies wouldn’t be completely empty.

Due once again to my wife’s impatience, we were standing outside the basement door (where the work supposedly was done) at 7:40. It wasn’t very warm. At 8, no-one had come to the door, so I called the Senior Citizens again to check on the hours. Wouldn’t you know, they didn’t actually start until 9? Since my water pill had kicked in, we drove a couple blocks down the street so I could use the restroom at a gas station. Then, we returned to the library to wait. This time, we sat across the street in the truck until 10 ‘til. We waited upstairs this time, since I was growing a little dubious of the whole situation.

Although several workers were milling around inside, it wasn’t until a couple minutes after that a middle-aged lady sauntered over and opened the door. I held the door for the three ladies who’d gotten to the door as we were hobbling across the street, and the middle-aged lady held the door for those who arrived after us. Once she was inside, I asked her if the people were there yet that did the taxes, and she told that was only on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. When I told her that the center had told me it was only on Thursdays, she said, “Oh, they were meaning at THEIR office!” I smiled as I thanked her and we hobbled back to the truck. Since I don’t even know where their office is, and don’t want to go through all this again, I’m going to be lazy and have my stepson do our taxes again this year. He doesn’t charge me, either, bless his soul.

Since our plans were shot, my wife decided to go to the Wally World on the far side of town and get her hair done. I was all for it, remembering the nice crop of dandelions that I saw at the Lowe’s next door about three days ago. After dropping her at the proper door, I cruised to the back of the Lowe’s lot to pick a big mess of delicious dandelion greens, only to discover that they’d mowed yesterday! I didn’t see ONE usable leaf remaining. Disheartened, I tried unsuccessfully to snooze in the truck until she returned.

Just before getting to our driveway a few minutes later, I glanced down and saw the two bills that I’d meant to mail while we were in town. I just put them in our box and put the flag up. It was still only 10:15, so I tried to nap in my chair for a while, but my wife’s TV kept me awake. Finally, I decided to just get on my computer and whine to you folks.  I’m hoping for a better afternoon (but I’m not holding my breath). © 2016

Now It’s REALLY Spring!


My wife and I have been enjoying the “firsts of spring” since clear back in February, thanks to strangely warm weather part of that month. Still, we knew it wasn’t spring. None the less, it was nice seeing the first dandelion and the first robins in the yard. The first crocuses were beautiful and the lovely first Easter flower (daffodil) was much appreciated. We were happy to hear the first spring peepers, and see the first magnolia blossoms. It was heart-warming to see the first pair of Canada geese off by themselves, laying claim to their nesting area. Less appreciated was the first visit to our front porch of the little fly-catcher who always builds a nest there and poops all over everything. It was nice seeing the first periwinkle blooms of the year, though, and to hear the little birds singing with such gusto in the hollow by the house as they build their first nests of the year. It was very enjoyable to pick and eat the first mess of wild greens a few days ago. However, it was the lone bat swooping repeatedly past the front porch two evenings ago that made me think that spring might finally be here. Yesterday, though, came the clincher. Sitting on the porch after sunset, I had to swat TWO %^*&#@)!$ mosquitoes! © 2016

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sweet (And Bitter-Sweet) Memories (w/pic)

Grandma's Cookie Jar ( bean pot)  is about 7" across and the same high with lid. Click to enlarge.

Had I become the hermit that I once considered being, I’d still own my ancestral home, and it would be furnished with “hand-me-downs” (antiques) ranging from rustic to primitive to Queen Anne to repurposed “junque” to a few homemade pieces. Cooking and décor items would have been a similar hodge-podge of objects. Each piece would have had a story, which I would have happily told to anyone willing to listen. Alas, I got married—twice. There’s an old saying about marriage, “Two people can live as cheaply as one, it’s just that it costs twice as much!” I can vouch for the veracity of that statement. For 33 years, I’ve sold more and more pieces of my family history, as my wife and I have drifted from one round of poverty to the next. During that time, we’ve accumulated thousands of dollars of seasonal decorations in the attic, and some not inexpensive furniture which looks eerily similar to some that I sold for pennies on the dollar. Such is life for the unwise.

The latest piece with which I’m parting is my maternal grandmother’s cookie jar. However, it’s not actually a cookie jar, it’s a bean pot. Despite that fact, from shortly after my birth until adulthood, I can remember the little pink ceramic pot with the brown (black?) lid sitting on her kitchen counter with homemade treats inside, usually applesauce cookies. I always knew if she was baking those cookies when I entered her home. Their sweet, spicy scent filled the air and caused my salivary glands to react like those of Pavlov’s dog. They were about two inches across and an inch thick, soft and spongy, sometimes a little sticky to the touch, but always just sweet enough to be utterly delicious. The fact that I knew the trees which bore their most important ingredient made them taste even better.

I was sort of hoping that it was a McCoy piece when I decided to part with it, but it turned out to be a Bake Oven brand. I’ll probably be lucky to get $5 for it from the antique dealer, but with a few other things, I may still get just enough to make it worth stopping at his place.

The thinning of our belongings will probably continue, even if my financial plans soon work out. The reason being that my wife has nearly convinced me that we should sell our home and land in the country and move to a puny one-floor house on a puny, sterile lot in town. If I could still walk the hills and work on the house roof, I’d put up more of a battle, but I can’t. I have four leaks on the roof that I can’t get to, so I need to find someone who will fix them for me cheaply or for trade of something or the other.

I’ll miss life in the country, but I figure it might still be a couple years before those dreaded days come. I’ll miss all the things that I’ve parted with, too, mainly due to the memories they evoke of the people that they call to mind. I’ve reached that point in life, though, when I know I’ll be re-united with many of those folks in a few years. I rarely see any of my family that’s left anymore anyway, even the “close” ones, so I actually have more folks that care about me waiting on the other side. Folks tend to think I’m morbid when I talk this way, but I really don’t mean to be. I know where I’m going and have no fear of that day, though I’d prefer it not be today.

You know, I just had a thought, someday when I get to Heaven, if I smell applesauce cookies baking, I’m going looking for Grandma! © 2016

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Something Really GOOD From Wally World

You won’t normally find me bragging about the quality of anything that I buy at “the Chinese Emporium.” In fact, they have the poorest quality in town on most of their “fresh” meats, fruits and vegetables. Still, they have the lowest prices around here, so we usually just sort very carefully to try to get the best of what they have. If we decide to go for quality, we go to the local Kroger’s or Foodland. Ironically, if we want to drive 15 miles and cross the river into enemy territory, THEIR Wally World has QUALITY meat, fruit and vegetables at the same prices that our local one charges for crappy stuff.

We have to really watch our money these days, but the missus was getting a little tired of our budget meals the other day and asked me to help her find some good salmon. We were in WW at the time, so I was dubious. First I told her to be sure not to get anything out of the Pacific, as it might make us glow in the dark (think leaking Jap nuclear power plant). Actually, I didn’t figure they’d have anything else. I hate not to support our west coast fisheries, but I don’t trust what our government has to say about their safety, since they RAISED the allowable radiation in seafood AFTER the leak.

I was surprised to find two types of Atlantic salmon for sale, seasoned and unseasoned. At first, my wife was going to get the seasoned variety, since it was a smaller package for $11, compared to $18 for a larger package of the fresh unseasoned type. Both were vacuum-sealed. The smaller pack would have made us two meals, the larger, three or four. The seasoned was selling for $11 a pound and the unseasoned for $5 (cents dropped). $6 to toss on a few spices seemed ridiculous, so I convinced her that the larger piece would be cheaper in the long run.

When we got home, she divided the salmon into four one-meal packs and froze it. We’ve eaten two of the packs so far, and the stuff is DELICIOUS! She fries it in butter and uses absolutely NO seasoning, not even salt or pepper. The skin ends up hard and crispy, but it doesn’t matter; I never eat it anyway. Nor do I eat the gray, fatty layer of stuff UNDER the skin, which is thickest at the mid-seam of the meat. I consider that mix of fat and cooked fish blood to be the equivalent of the mud vein on a rough fish and I don’t eat it on ANY fish. I’m sure if I was starving, I wouldn’t be so particular.

The flesh is tender and moist and has the most DELICATE flavor that you could ever imagine. I prefer my red meat and poultry the same way, fresh and unseasoned and cooked, but not OVER cooked. I’m sure that those who’ve ruined their taste-buds with heavy seasonings and fiery sauces would consider our way of cooking bland. That’s okay, though, because they forget that sauces and such were originally designed to cover up the flavor of bad meat, in the days before refrigeration. GOOD meat needs no such camouflage. Fresh vacuum-packed Atlantic salmon from Walmart—AMAZINGLY good! © 2016

Saturday, March 19, 2016

It’s A Dirty Rotten Shame!

I have a first cousin that makes your average stink bug seem like charming company. He’s super-smart, maybe low genius, but he’s also an atheist and thoroughly arrogant in every way. In his youth, he married and divorced a woman of equal brains, but who had a likable personality. They had one son, who with his mother’s guidance, and that of both sets of grandparents, turned out to be a really likable guy. I’ve gotten reacquainted with him in the last year. He’s about 10 years younger than I.

He used to have a nice little homestead on the road next door, but in a moment of nostalgia, sold it several years ago to buy the home of his late maternal grandparents (in town). Last year, he bought another small property about two miles from me and began clearing the overgrown areas and making the house habitable. He’d put a lot of work (and no small amount of money) into the place. It would have made him a nice place, had he stuck with it.

Sadly, someone recently broke into the place and stole all his tools. They also broke into the pickup he’d left there and had tried to start it. He had the truck towed back to his house in town. He’s nearly out of money to spend on the place for now. He doesn’t yet have the money to buy new tools and he’s beat from all the long hours that he’s been putting in there. Plus, his retired mother has decided that she no longer wants to live in the home’s “granny suite.”

He’s decided to throw in the towel. I HATE that! I don’t think it’s what he wants down deep, but it all just overwhelmed him. All because some thieving sleaze ball probably needed another hit of drugs. It really is a dirty rotten shame. I wish I could get my hands on the guy(s?) that did it! © 2016

First Wild Greens Of 2016

I’d noticed last fall that a steep bank at the edge of the Wally World parking lot had resprouted some nice, tender dandelions after they’d cut the brush. Unfortunately, the frost got them before I did. The day before Saint Paddy’s day, the pooch and I were parked directly in front of that bank while my wife picked up a few things. Seeing a few familiar yellow blooms on the bank, I took a WW shopping bag and hobbled up the steep bank with my cane.

The leaves weren’t that big, but they were TENDER! Dead grass intertwined the leaves, making it tedious to stand on the steep bank and pick cleanly. Finally, I decided to tear off the entire whorls above ground level, taking what grass came with them. I also added a few narrow-leaf docks leaves scarcely bigger than the dandelion leaves. My sloppy picking style allowed me to raid the patch and return to the truck fairly quickly. When I got home, I hid them in a bin in the fridge, so the missus wouldn’t growl about me filling up the shelves.

I hadn’t felt like cooking them when I’d expected, so I checked them this morning and discovered that a few leaves were getting a bit limp. So, I went ahead and sorted out the grass, and a few wilted leaves, and returned them to their hiding place. This evening, while my wife was engrossed in a TV show, I brought them to a rolling boil, then turned down the gas flame and kept them at a low simmer for 10 minutes.

The missus finally realized that I was AWOL and came charging in just about the time that the greens were done, but she refused my offer of a small serving. She always does, fearing that I’ve picked water hemlock, I suppose, though she brags about how her mother always used to pick greens. I enjoyed my own small serving with a large dollop of semi-melted butter, leaving about the same amount to enjoy tomorrow. I’ll soon have a picking close around the house if I can get them harvested before I have to mow the yard. Yum! The missus won’t eat them, either; she says they probably have dog piss on them. I tell her that’s why I rinse them before I cook them! She’s never amused by my comments.

Hey, in a couple months, the common milkweed should be up! I think milkweed is the queen of wild greens, although it might be in a tie with pokeweed. I’m considering trying to cultivate both. Even if it doesn’t work out, I now make notes in a foraging notebook as to where I need to watch for such things, so I have no excuse not to “go green.” © 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

What If Trump Is A COMPLETE Phony?

The idea has been put forward, from the beginning, that Trump may be nothing but a liberal ideologue pretending to be a conservative. Those who know me as the Trump supporter that I am may be surprised to know that the idea is a very real concern of mine. It’s common knowledge that he’s spent a lot of time schmoozing with, and sometimes financially supporting liberal people and causes. The so-called conservatives have made that information super-available. The thing is, Trump has always been a businessman first and foremost, and that often involves dealing with people with whom you might prefer to not associate. For all I know, he may have spent equal time and money sucking up to unsavory conservatives. They certainly aren’t going to tell us if he did.

What I DO know is that nearly all the “conservative” candidates for national office are working hand-in-hand with those who are pushing one-world government (think Bush, Clinton, Soros, etc). Two of the three not obviously in cahoots with the globalists were defeated early on (Huckabee and Carson). By far the most moral of the group, their lack of success proves that even the rank and file republicans no longer have the stomach for moral leadership. (Don’t snicker, democrats, your morals disappeared 75 years ago.) That leaves only the loud-mouthed Trump. Personally, I don’t like the guy, but I respect the fact that he isn’t selling his soul to contributors (at least not in public) and that he was saying the same thing about protecting American jobs and businesses 20 years ago. I also like the fact that he’s not politically correct, though his over-all manners are reprehensible.

As sad as it is, those things alone are my reasons for supporting Trump. I can only hope that he is as conservative on some issues as he paints himself. I KNOW he isn’t where he should be on Israel and abortion, and I’m not sure about pervert “rights.” Still, ALL remaining presidential candidates in BOTH parties are closet globalists. Trump is our ONLY political hope. If he DOES turn out to be a phony, it will be the same as if one of the others had won, and we will be doomed, indeed.

Then again, I believe that we’re far past the tipping point on America’s ride to destruction. This election is solely about setting the throttle. If Trump is for real, we may stave off that destruction a few more years. If he’s a total phony, or someone else wins the presidency, we’re in for a wild ride. I’M VOTING FOR TRUMP AND PRAYING HARD!

Frankly, the only positive in all this is that no matter who’s elected president, JESUS IS STILL LORD! © 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Foggy Morning Porch Sit

My wife has a terrible week-long cold with almost flu-like symptoms. With her coughing and aching, she hasn’t been sleeping well. That means the dog and I haven’t either. A couple days ago, it appears that I finally caught it. Luckily, it isn’t hitting me quite as hard, but MY coughing kept us all awake the night before last. Last night, things were calmer and we all slept pretty well, even the dog. Though I took the pooch out about two o’clock, she hadn’t yet asked me to go out by “nine in the morning.” It seemed like a good idea anyway, so I did.

A night of steady rain had finally stopped, leaving a foggy morning. It wasn’t the pea-soup variety, but I’d say visibility was limited to less than a quarter mile. It was almost eerily quiet, as the thick mist had completely deadened the roar from the distant four-lanes, something pleasant enough, but unusual anymore. There were no sounds of man any closer, either, despite it actually being 10 o’clock by the new time. It was peaceful and relatively warm, so I after the Mighty Dachshund had drained, I sat in the porch swing and made her lie on the welcome mat (rather than the cold concrete of the porch).

The first thing I noticed was the sound of rushing water in the small, normally dry hollow a hundred yards north of the house. We’re at the top of the hill here, so the ground is obviously saturated. Interestingly enough, the birds made up for the lack of human sound. A raucous group of crows kept circulating through the mist, first flying a short distance and then landing in the still-barren tree tops for a moment before moving on again. They passed over and by our home several times, and the pooch showed some interest in their antics. Most of the time, though, they were out of sight, somewhere in the mist. Once, they must have gotten too close to one’s nest, as I heard the fighting call for a moment.

The little birds were singing up a storm, seemingly as happy in the mist as they would have been in the sunshine. At one point, an Indian hen (pileated woodpecker) flew over the house and into a tree not far from the porch. It moved from tree to tree, almost silently, looking for bugs beneath the bark, until it was nearly beyond my vision. Something must have startled it there, for it soon flew out of sight, voicing the staccato call that must have been the basis for Woody Woodpecker’s laugh. Only a couple minutes later, I heard it hammering on a tree, so it was either claiming territory or had found a tree with grubs in the interior.

It finally dawned on me that not a single vehicle had passed on the county road during my half-hour sit on the porch. That’s VERY unusual! However, the sound of a couple airplanes flying above the fog finally clashed with the peaceful sounds of nature and, five minutes later, I could hear my neighbor stirring in his yard. The breeze picked up slightly and began chilling my aging bones, so I grudgingly took the pooch inside and ended our pleasant vigil. © 2016


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Black Is For Mourning

(A long-winded diatribe on a subject dear to my heart)

I realize that I’ll probably never camp again, and that if I ever hunt again, it will be on a very limited basis. Those facts are true in part because of an uncooperative wife but more so, these days, due to health concerns. Still, when the missus goes to Walmart, and I ride around on one of their handicapped scooters, I nearly always find myself in Sporting Goods at some point.

The other day, as I approached the gun section, I was struck by what reminded me of four black fodder shocks, or maybe black stacks of arms. All four of the circular gun racks were full with a selection of .22 rifles, high-powered rifles and shotguns. As for the shotguns, there wasn’t a single-shot or double in the bunch. They were all semi-autos or pumps. Only three shotguns, and no rifles, had any wood on them, though at least they weren’t black. The only other variation was a couple of camo models. Otherwise, it was as if a gang of Goth street warriors had stacked their arms and went off to play video games.

The black trend is nothing new; it’s been developing for years. I think it came about first as a way to copy the military style, both by police and paramilitary units (the latter civilian and otherwise). Then, the mindset came to some hunters and shooters that black just looked “mean.” Why THAT is a virtue I’m not sure, especially, since it gave the anti-gunners another adjective for “assault weapons”—those “black guns.” I’m not completely innocent on that charge, though; I used to have a supremely accurate deer rifle that I jokingly called “The Black Death.” I parted with it during one of my many bouts of poverty.

Things were vastly different when I was a lad. I learned to shoot with Dad’s Model 37 Mossberg, with its blued barrel and walnut stock. I took my first game with my grandfather’s mule-eared double-barreled 12 gauge at age 12. It was a fairly inexpensive Belgian import in its day, but it had an amazing amount of beautiful engraving, and its graceful walnut stock was checkered on the wrist and forearm. The butt-plate showed a forest scene with three deer. Even my great-grandfather’s muzzle-loading “chunk gun” had a graceful, hand-whittled walnut stock. Sadly, I parted with all three during a heart-breaking round of EXTREME poverty, when there wasn’t much else left to sell..

Back in my childhood and teens, gun shops (there used to be such things) were filled with blued steel and real wood. Some used guns had much of the blue replaced by polished brown, from years of loyal service. Some of the stocks showed much wear on the wrist and forearm, from years of being carried afield and aforest. Most stocks were made of walnut, but some custom guns had cherry, maple or other woods. The fancier models had beautiful rippling and waving grain that looked like moving velvet or waving flames as you admired them. Those fancier grades, even when used, normally had perfect finishes, from a life of being reverenced and babied by their owners, even being re-blued and having the stocks refinished if wear became apparent.

It was the goal of many youngsters to gradually work their way from the plain and simple models with which most began their hunting career, up the ladder as time and money allowed, to where they had some of the shiny blue guns with velvety wood stocks. In the meanwhile, even their common models were never handled in such a way as to allow their skin to touch the steel, if at all possible. To allow that would be to invite rust. Their weapon (a term now out of vogue amongst the touchy-feely folks) was always cleaned and oiled after each use, just like a good farmer or cowboy never put his horse way without cooling him off, brushing him down and watering and feeding him. The main difference being that the gun could wait until AFTER supper if need be.

Things have certainly changed during my lifetime. The BATF has managed to drive most of the smaller firearms dealers out of business through paperwork and outright harassment. Many fathers often don’t teach their sons (and daughters) woodsmanship, through hiking, camping, fishing and small game hunting. They’re too enamored with getting “the big buck” so they can have a huge rack of dead bones to hang on the wall. Mostly gone are the fathers who teach their children the wonder in a beautiful sunrise, the wildflowers that come with turkey season, the peace to be found by a babbling brook, or the charming loneliness in the sound of an owl’s hoot, as you walk from the darkening woods. A few such gentlemen remain, but far too few. The farmers have been driven from business by politics, tough economic times and government interference, so finding a worthwhile place to hunt is nigh impossible.

Most of the wood on firearms has been replaced with black plastic; most of the metal is matt-finished, or stainless. What woods remains are usually cheap species covered with opaque finishes. Double-barreled shotguns are nearly extinct. So are GRACEFUL single shots, like the ancient one that I carry on my rare sojourns beyond the lawn’s edge. Engraving and checkering are solely the bailiwick of the privileged class these days, except for a few souls lurking at the edges of that group. Inflation, greed, higher (though still worthless) wages and multiple taxes have driven the common man from that market. The working stiff often has to content himself with the guns once considered entry level for the youngsters.

The other day, I saw an actual magazine ad with a man holding to the barrel of his rifle, using it as a wading staff to help him cross a shallow stream. In my day, the rifle would have been held above the water, even if the waves were lapping at your nose! Yes, times have certainly changed. Maybe black is a good color for guns after all, since it IS the international color of mourning. © 2016

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Week (Almost) In The Big House

I walked into the emergency room with mild chest pains at noon last Thursday and was wheeled to my pickup a half-hour PAST noon on Tuesday. That’s actually a couple days LESS than a week, but it felt like much more. They were pretty quick to get me admitted and give me an EKG, but they expected me to stay on that medieval torture machine they called a bed for three hours until they found me a room. It put my legs to sleep and made my back hurt. The doctor and nurses were very nice and even agreed with me that there was no excuse for such a non-ergonomic bed with all the technology now available. I mentioned that a recliner that could be raised and laid flat would be a great improvement. They told me that dentist chairs already do that. I’m sure it’s simply that the company’s bottom line is more important to the owners than the suffering of their patients. I spent most of that three hours sitting on a simple plastic chair which was infinitely more comfortable than the bed.

Naturally, they weren’t allowed to wheel me to my room in a wheel chair, so I had to climb back onto the bed and suffer, while they moved me two stories up and to the far end of the hospital. I was surprised when I realized that I had a private room, but was pleased. I did notice that the window presented a lovely view of a windowless yellow brick wall. No problem; I don’t bore easily.

Within 24 hours, they’d decided that I’d not had a heart attack and that the pain was muscular. HOWEVER, the heart doctor had me where he wanted me and kept me there with a near constant IV drip of antibiotics to clear up my cellulitis so he could perform surgery on Monday. At night, I rarely went more than an hour without a visitor checking in on me, drawing blood, or taking my vitals. Due to being stuck a lot in the past, and the blood-thirstiness of modern medicine, I can be a hard stick. I often had four or five draws a day and, sometimes, they would come only an hour or less apart, but for different needs. Common sense would dictate that you get all your blood at one time when possible, to save making a pin-cushion of the patient. Sadly, there IS NO common sense (or compassion) in hospital management. It soon got to where they had to make multiple sticks to get a good one.

I spent most of my days and nights in a slightly comfortable recliner in the room, and usually less than an hour a night trying unsuccessfully to sleep on the bed. With sleeping in the chair, my already irregular sleeping habits, and my constant stream of visitors, I got little sleep in the five days that I was there. They wouldn’t let me shower for liability reasons. The clothes hook on the bathroom door collapsed under about a ten pound weight, so no-one could use it to hang themselves. Also, when I requested a safety pin to keep my gown sleeve from constantly trying to pull out my IV, they told me that we weren’t allowed to have them for “safety reasons.” I suppose that they afraid the patients would all straighten them out and start an insurrection.

Since I had a private room and controlled the TV remote (something I’m not used to at home) I enjoyed watching TV more than I’d expected. Many were reruns from 20-40 years ago. Despite a total lack of respect for those who manage the hospital, I thoroughly like and respect those who actually do the work. Every doctor, nurse and assistant was as nice as anyone could possibly be, including the maintenance staff.

When they took me to surgery, they tried four times to put in a second IV before they finally gave up. Two blown veins didn’t help.

I was pleasantly surprised that they let me leave at noon the next day, rather than four o’clock. I pretended that I was waiting on my wife and stepson to show up and drive me home in my truck. After the wheelchair was out of sight, I slipped behind the wheel and drove home. It almost felt as if I was escaping from prison. © 2016


I don’t remember ever seeing such hatred against a candidate in a presidential election as I do this year. Granted, there have always been those who hate anyone who disagrees with them, but never have I seen detractors from BOTH PARTIES hate a candidate like they do Donald Trump. The democrats hate him because he stands against their now openly professed socialism (communism). He doesn’t embrace their touchy-feely, politically correct, namby-pamby, all-nations-should-be-equal idea of political nirvana. The republican LEADERSHIP hates him because they’re afraid that he won’t play nice with their growing fascism. That could cost the crooked leaders of BOTH parties a lot of money!

The liberal establishment’s lapdog, the news media, does everything it can to pass off their hate-filled rhetoric as neutral journalism, but they aren’t fooling anyone—poison is poison. The pseudo-conservatives try saying that Trump is a phony conservative, all while they’re sucking up to the liberal powers that be (many with FOREIGN money).

Trump was saying the same thing about America needing to look after its own interests 20 years ago. No matter how grating and arrogant his demeanor may be, his words are the truest being spoken by any presidential candidate. We need to elect a president that will get things done, not another worthless puppet who will go along to get along.

In the end, the politicos don’t hate Trump nearly as much as they do the American citizens who are interfering with them killing the goose that lays their golden eggs. After all, those miserable little b_st_rds are supposed to vote for those for whom they’re told! © 2016

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Well-Traveled Little Book (w/pic)

My dad and his sisters went to a one-room school about a mile up the road. My sister started there about 24 years later. By then, however, things were “progressing,” and she finished grade-school in a three-room school another mile up the road. I began at that three-room school six years later but, by my sixth-grade year, the three oldest classes (4-6 grades) were shipped off to a brand new school in town. Fifth grade, then, was the last year that I spent at the little school in the country, though I wished otherwise. The lower three grades stayed in the old school for only a few years, until the school was closed, and the little ones sent to town, also.

Times were different then. We began each day by putting our right hands over our hearts and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The lunch line went quickly in the little school, and we waited to eat until the principle had said grace. No-one objected to either. Boys who fought got boarded, as did the tattle-tail who told on them. There was a Christmas program and an Easter program, and every child in the school had a part to play, or a piece to recite. Yes, things were VERY different then.

One little rite of passage occurred in fifth grade to which every kid in our area looked forward—receiving a Gideon New Testament. Those who received one know that the little volumes also contain the books of Psalms and Proverbs. There were usually two men that showed up sometime in each child’s fifth-grade year, and were allowed to speak to us a few minutes and give us a “little Bible.” Kids from what appeared to be non-Christian families seemed just as happy to get them as those whose families went to church. Maybe it was because some of those kids were so poor that it seemed like a gift to which everyone was entitled. According to what I wrote inside it, we got ours on October 26, 1965. I’ve treasured it ever since.

Oddly enough, though I was raised in a Christian family, and taken to church, I wasn’t saved until shortly after I was married the second time, at age 28. It was already a well-traveled little book by then, though. It sat on the table in my bedroom, sometimes read, but more often not. However, when I started camping in a year or two, the little volume went with me. When I was a little older and went camping in the West Virginia mountains with my friends, it was in my backpack. When I got my first truck-driving job, it traveled in my lunchbox. It did the same on my second driving job, and my third. For the twelve years that I worked in the factory, it traveled to work and back with my lunch. It was likewise with the four years that I spent at telemarketing. I should have read it more over the years, but most of my Bible-reading was done at home in full-sized Bibles. Still, I usually had the little testament with me. So it wasn’t surprising that it traveled with me while I drove dump-truck on during the past couple years.

Last Thursday, I went to the emergency room and was admitted. The next day, I asked my wife to bring the little book to me when she visited. I read it some each day. I’m home now and the little book lies beside my computer monitor. I probably would have become a Christian anyway, but I still have to wonder if I would have, had that little book not traveled with me through so much of my life’s journey. © 2016

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” - from the Book of John, Chapter 1