Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Days Run Together As Life Rolls On

One problem with being retired is the lessening of schedule and structure in your week. As a result, some weeks, it seems like every day is Saturday (or some other day). So, when I try to think back about when I did what during the week, it makes it a bit confusing.

Still, I know that it was Thursday that I got back to work on my sawmill frame again, because it was the first cool day for quite a while. I did the final shimming to level and then spent about an hour drilling holes and installing drywall screws in the stakes that will keep the frame from shifting. I got about half done when the battery ran down on my drill, so I called it a day. I could have robbed the other big light of its battery and perhaps finished, but the backs of my legs were complaining from bending over and I was starting to tire anyway. I charged the battery that evening and the battery to the other light as well, though it didn’t take much.

Yesterday afternoon, I finished the task in a little over an hour, before even the first battery played out. I still need to shim three spots, not for level, but for extra support. Plus, I need to cut off a few of the stakes, where they’re sticking up slightly above the frame. I could go ahead and finish painting the frame with the creosote/used motor oil mix that I’m using, but I guess it would be better to install the hardware first. I didn’t work on the frame today, since it’s the Sabbath.

The pooch and I have gotten in a few good porch sits these last three days. The weather has been beautiful, and there’s been a little breeze, so it’s actually felt a bit cool on my arms and neck a few times. I need a shaw!* – lol – I let the pooch lay on the cool concrete during the hot weather, but it’s cool enough now that I put the welcome mat where she likes to lay, since it will be warmer for her. She thinks that’s fine.

I’ve noticed that the last three days, the breeze has been either from the north or east, rather than the west as it usually is. That’s one reason things are cooler, no doubt. It’s supposed to get back up to 80 degrees in a couple days, though. Bummer. I keep seeing farther into the woods as the days move along. It still seems to be that trees are losing individual leaves, rather than the trees changing color. I can tell that day is coming, though, as the greens are starting to fade a bit in a few of the maples and a slight bit of color is just beginning to peek through. I’d say in a couple weeks, colors will be obvious, at least in those trees that haven’t already lost their leaves by “attrition.” I noticed during the last porch sit today, that the evening sun is penetrating much further into the woods than it was a few weeks ago.

Incidentally, some of you may be amused to know that I’m currently reading Wind in the Willows. I bought it for my granddaughter, but never read it as a kid, so I figured “Why not?” There are actually some adult (NOT sexual) themes in there, though many folks might not see them, since it was written for kids. Actually, there are a LOT of adult themes in kids books from the old days; I can’t speak about today’s children’s books. I suspect, though, that any adult themes in today’s books are much less innocent than in the classic kid’s books I’ve read. My granddaughter will still get the book when I’m done with it.

We went to Chinamart today and had to wait over a half-hour for the two of us to get scooters. I was sitting on a bench near the door when a little old lady asked me if I was waiting for one, so she stayed there with me on hers until her daughter got the car and came for her. It actually took several minutes, so we chatted and enjoyed each other’s company. When she left, nothing would do for her but that we hug, so we did. It’s not often you meet folks that sweet anymore.

I’ve been heavy all my life, but never used a scooter until my heart started giving me problems. While I was waiting and talking to the little old lady, though, a couple young fat-_sses came out with scooters, parked them at the door and walked to their car just fine. I’m sure the only reason they were using them was pure cussed laziness. There were folks walking around there in even worse shape than me, and there those two brats were on scooters. They say it takes all kinds, but I don’t buy it! Oh well, I get to go to the other store tomorrow and enjoy even more blissful wandering through aisles of stuff I can’t afford. Lucky me. © 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

So You Want To Make It About Race?

Trump never said a thing about race when he commented on the slime-balls who kneeled during the National Anthem. Not surprisingly, race was the FIRST thing out of the mouths of his detractors. So let’s DO go there!

Blacks make up less than 15% of the population, so they claim it’s racist that the prison population is disproportionally black. The reason is simple – blacks commit a HUGELY disproportionate amount of the violent crime in this country, MOST of it against their own kind. The only way to keep prison populations balanced would be to just grab innocent white folks off the street and throw them in prison “just to be fair.”

They claim that cops arrest, harass and kill a disproportionally high rate of blacks. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that MOST of the time, those blacks are being pursued for committing violent crimes and are usually armed.

They say that they don’t get the opportunity that whites have, yet they get preferential treatment in admissions and funding for colleges and in hiring afterward. As for non-college jobs, maybe they’d have better luck if they’d quit harassing black kids who do well in school as “trying to be white.”

And here’s the biggie, all you black athletes – the NFL has 70% blacks on their teams! That is VERY unfair to whites and other races. To be fair, we should only have 15% blacks and fire all the rest. Then those empty spots could be filled with whites and other races at rates STRICTLY PROPORTIONAL to the part of the American population those races make up. THAT is fair you whiny black millionaires, so put that in your pipe and smoke it!

P.S. Yes, there are some good and decent black folks in this country, and I’m sure they’re embarrassed by the behavior of the “kneelers.” © 2017

Monday, September 25, 2017

Wood Crafting Tip (w/pic)

A white ash sprout came up among the canes of one of our forsythia bushes a few years ago. It wasn’t that noticeable, and I don’t bend as well as I once did, so I left it alone. This year, it shot up to where it was towering over the already tall and wild-looking forsythia (I don’t like the “ball” look so many folks seem to like). Looking at it a few weeks ago, I decided that it would make a good walking staff for someone. Two weeks ago, I cut it off at ground level, but I didn’t prune off the limbs.

Normally, I like to cut my staffs and other woodcraft items in winter, when the sap is down. “Experts” tell you there’s no such thing as “the sap being down,” but they’re merely experts. (Remember, it was a team of the finest experts that built the Titanic.) Not only is the wood drier and lighter then, but there’s less likelihood of bugs getting into the item in cold weather. However, there’s a way to at least partially offset the former problem—leave the limbs and leaves on and let them draw out as much moisture as possible. The leaves will continue to draw moisture from the inner bark, and maybe the sapwood, until they starve out and turn brown from lack of moisture and nutrients. Obviously, the piece will then weigh less, since much of the moisture has been pulled out. Most country folks will be aware of this, but those who didn’t grow up in the outdoors may not. The sapling in the photo had all green leaves when it was cut two weeks ago; they’re all brown and brittle now, so they’ll do no more drying of the shaft.

I’d like to leave the butt end of the shaft as part of the staff, since some crookedness adds character to the finished piece. Of course, you don’t want it so crooked that it affects the strength or function of the staff. I’m a little concerned that the butt end of the sapling may be a little too large and heavy, though, and I may have to sacrifice some of it. Still, the lower end has some sweep in it and that has to be considered, too. I guess I’ll figure it out later this week when I trim off the top and limbs of the sapling to see what the blank will look like. © 2017

Click image to enlarge.

Life In The Slow Lane

Our irregular sleeping habits, combined with the need to get scooters when we go to Chinamart, had us eating a cheeseburger for “lunch” at 9AM yesterday before we left home. We didn’t need to get much; mainly, the missus just wanted to escape Alcatraz for a while. They have double the number of scooters at the far store, but once the church crowd gets there, they can go in a hurry. We spent way too much time there to suit me, but the missus finally got her fill and decided to head home. It’s pathetic when your only source of affordable entertainment is wandering aisles of Chinese junk. You know what they say, I should have been born rich instead of so dern good-lookin’!

By the time we got home, it was too hot for me to do anything outside (too humid, actually), but the pooch and I managed to sit on the porch a while. The woods were a little busier than usual. Some little, mostly unseen birds were flitting and chirping in the brier tangle at the edge of the woods, while a couple blue-jays were squawking about whatever they always squawk about. I thought the mockingbird from this spring had returned to his(her?) corner of woods out by the road for a couple minutes, but finally figured out that it was a Carolina wren going through its repertoire. A distant crow kept commenting on his life and a less distant rooster gave a mid-day soliloquy for about five minutes. After a half hour, the pooch showed signs of wanting to check on the missus, so we went in, I to my computer and she to her spot beside the missus. After a 3PM “supper,” I took a nap.

I didn’t sleep well last night, so had to force myself to get up at 9:30 to take out the pooch. She didn’t seem all that interested, but there were no wet spots on the floor, so that was a good thing. She won’t normally drain in the house unless she’s unsuccessful in waking us, or we leave her longer than her bladder will endure. She was that way from the time we got her, so the pet store had trained her well.

After she drained, we took our place on the porch and she sniffed and listened to the world around her. Things were quiet again today; I don’t know why the difference. Fall is definitely here. The oaks aren’t colored, of course, yet some individual leaves are turning brown and falling off, not in droves, but not so rarely either. The woods are getting easier to see through as individual leaves on vines and bushes yellow and fall. The grape vines have already lost half their leaves. I wanted to have a jig made by this time to make uniform-sized wreaths, since I’ve got three vines to cut near the edge of the woods when I cut the small oaks supporting them. One more unaccomplished task in my life! A blue-jay finally interrupted the peace of the place, competing with the slightly louder than normal hum of traffic on the four-lane a mile or more away over the hills and through the woods. A distant train sounded less distant than normal, making it seem like rain’s a-comin’, but none is in the forecast. Eventually, my backside began complaining of the hardness of the oak in the porch swing, so the pooch and I stifly arose and went inside.

At 11AM, the missus told me that lunch was ready. The sausage gravy and biscuits were good, but the sausage was TERRIBLY salty. I’d wanted to work outside a spell, but it’s too hot again and my lack of good sleep is making me consider a nap. Life’s rough around here! The heat is supposed to break Friday. Who knows what will happen then!

I’ve discovered that I can reach the ceiling with the tip of my cane, even while sitting here in my desk chair. It makes it easy to keep the spiders under control, but if the missus ever looks up, I may have to wash and paint my office ceiling.

Well, nature calls and I’ve learned to be quickly obedient in my old age. It’s a crazy world out there once ya leave the hills, folks, so keep yer eyes peeled and yer powder dry! © 2017

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Concerning The Current “Knee Problem” In Sports

Starting off, we all know this crap would have been nipped in the bud, had those who first did it been white. Say what you will, call me a racist, I don’t really care; down deep, you KNOW it’s true. Naturally, since most so-called adults these days are really just big children emotionally, it became a case of “monkey see, monkey do.” No, that’s not a racial slur; it’s simply an accurate description of a lot of modern behavior, such as white liberal “entertainers” voicing their opinions on things they obviously know nothing about. The hypocrisy of their actions have apparently gone completely unnoticed by the millionaire players who are demonstrating about discrimination they’ve supposedly faced, in front of millions of fans who only earn pennies on the dollar by comparison.

Major league football is in trouble to begin with. Ticket prices have risen from disgustingly high to grossly immoral. Also, many former fans have drifted away because they feel that rule changes have made the game less interesting. I know that I used to get a kick out of the antics of ball carriers who scored a touchdown, when they did their victory dances in the end zone. Unfortunately, they had to stop such things because humorless fans cheering for the other team got all butt-hurt.

Still, a lot of folks get into sports as an escape from the grind of daily life. It gives them someone to cheer for and something to take their mind off their troubles. It used to even get them away from all the tiresome politics of this world. No More! A few immature, selfish, inconsiderate players have decided that they should bring their own petty politics into the game by being disrespectful to our flag and National Anthem. Of course, they don’t even begin to see that the flag and anthem, in part, stand for the men and women who have shed their blood and DIED to provide those “sportsmen” with a country where they can prosper and protest to their hearts content. They are, in essence, biting the very hand that feeds them (or dancing on their graves).

They have a legal right to protest, of course—ON THEIR OWN TIME. What they’re doing, however, is protesting on the time of the fans, on the short time set aside to honor our country, and on the time of their EMPLOYER. The latter is of the most legal concern. Let’s face it, ball players are simply well-paid entertainers, just like singers, dancers and actors. They aren’t paid for their opinions, but for their talent in the game. When they’re on the field, they’re at WORK. Would background singers be kept on the payroll if they knelt in protest when the lead was singing alone? Would a cop or fireman be allowed to carry a protest sign up and down the sidewalk WHILE THEY WERE ON SHIFT, even if they weren’t needed for anything at the moment? Would a factory tolerate an impromptu political protest every time the assembly line went down for a few minutes? You KNOW the answer! Yet half the country is ready to make excuses for these poor pathetic mistreated millionaires. How sickening!

I don’t agree with everything Trump does, but I agreed with him when he said “Fire the sons-of-b_tches!” Anything less is an insult to the fans, the owners and the nation. © 2017

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Another Thrilling Day In The Life Of Gorges Smythe

I don’t know how I handle all the excitement of my life here on Tick Ridge. It started at 5AM with taking the pooch out to drain. I figured there were too many skeeters around the porch, despite the fog, so we didn’t sit in the darkness as we will in a few weeks.

Being too awake to go back to sleep, I checked Facebook and my blog for activity. I saw where one of my former coworkers was having a birthday, so wished her a happy one. She’s younger than I, but has a LOT of health problems. I don’t normally wish people to go on disability, but she’s in bad enough shape that I hope she’s applied and gotten it. I don’t think her ailments are life-threatening, but I believe they were at one point.

After an-hour-and-a-half online, I went back to bed and slept fitfully for a while. Sitting on the edge of my bed at 9AM, wondering if I should arise, the missus rang our cordless doorbell “intercom” to tell me that my presence was needed. I thought maybe the pooch needed to drain again, but she was getting ready to leave for Chinamart and wanted me to do likewise, so we’d be early enough to both get scooters. I took the pooch out again, but only had a couple minutes on the porch before the missus came out, so I had to put the pooch inside and tell her that she had to stay home. She wasn’t happy about it.

Even after stopping a couple places and eating a fast-food sandwich, we arrived at Chinamart just barely after 10, but there was only one handicapped scooter left. The missus got it and went to the glasses place to pick up her new “eyes.” They look good on her. I checked the lost and found to see if her cane had been turned in from where she left it in a basket a couple days ago, but it hadn’t. It’s hard to imagine someone cabbaging a cane, but I guess some folks will steal anything. I finally got a scooter by sitting by the exit and waiting for someone to finish with one. The haughty fellow who left it pretended not to see me as I came over and laid claim to it as he walked away. I wonder if it was my beard, my blubber or my ragged jeans that he found offensive? I got the feeling that he was the sort of fellow who would have had a big smile for me if I’d been wearing an Italian suit and a Rolex. Maybe I form opinions too quickly. – LOL

We used a gift card we had to buy some of our stuff today, just as the missus had used our EBT card to get some stuff the last visit. She’ll save what little bit remains on it and let the whopping $15 a month accumulate until Christmas/New Year’s time, so we can have a little extra stuff around the holidays. Part of what she was getting this week was to stock up for winter, when times are more difficult. At one time, it would have bothered me to use food stamps (now an EBT card), but after all the taxes I’ve paid over the years so professional bums could live at my (and your) expense, I’ve decided to take everything I can get in my old age. If the nation’s finances tank, we could lose it all anyway.

I went online for a while after getting home and then checked the Woodwright to see if it was anything that I wanted to watch, but it wasn’t. Neither was the next one an hour later on another channel, so I napped a while. Dern, I just don’t know how I handle the stress! © 2017

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Leveling On The Sly

It’s hard to get anything done with my wife’s sleep habits. She can’t get to sleep all night and then sleeps until 10-12 the next day. If I try to do anything outside, the pooch often barks and wakes her up, because she’s not out there with me. It’s worse if I’m making the least bit of noise where she can hear me. Unfortunately, there’s no way to keep her with me and do some of what I need to do.

I was lucky this morning. I took the pooch out and let her drain and dump, then sat with her on the porch for a long stretch. When I took her back inside, I gave her most of my Little Debbie stuffed oatmeal cookie, so she wouldn’t be hungry. After sitting in the library for a while, I came out to discover that she’d fallen asleep on the floor beside my wife’s bed. I slipped out the door and locked it VERY quietly.

I located my $1 Chinamart plastic 9” torpedo level and headed to the back yard. (I tested the level at the store and it worked perfectly, so I figured it was worth the extravagant expenditure.) Checking the uphill end of my sawmill frame, I found that it was about 3/8” off level. I corrected that with a shim. I remembered that the downhill end of the frame needed a brick under each corner, so I installed them and then checked level front to back. A 1-1/2” block brought it up to near perfect on one corner and a slightly thinner shim brought the other corner to the same degree of levelness. A 2x4 pried over a cement block topped with a brick gave me the lever and fulcrum needed to silently lift the heavy lower end so I could insert the bricks, block and shim.

It’s so close that I could use it as it is, but I’ll revisit the job and try to tweak it just a tad some other time. It was getting so warm and humid that I was ready to head back inside after just a few minutes of tinkering.
The next time around, I may be able to begin fastening the frame to the stakes I drove earlier. That will either require a hand drill (quiet) or a cordless drill (less quiet). I’ll probably just wait until a time the missus is already awake and go with the cordless drill. I don’t mind drilling the screw holes by hand, but I don’t like the idea of all that screwdriver work.

There wasn’t much progress today, but a little is better than none. Once I get the mill in use, I need to cut enough lumber to build a tiny workshop/tool shed. Also, there are some wild cherry trees around the edges of the yard that I could cut and sell. I don’t like them passing tent caterpillars to my two dwarf apple trees. © 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017

My Day’s Work

I spent the last 45 minutes before typing this up outside working on my sawmill frame. I’d already driven six anchor stakes for it the other day. This afternoon, I drove the other six. The stakes are only 1-1/2” square and have a double taper 3” long on the lower end. Still, the ground under the White oak tree in the back yard is like concrete and all but one hit roots on the way down. I was only trying to sink them 8” into the soil and one wouldn’t even go that far. I was using an eight pound sledge, but only using about a half-swing, since the stakes were pine.

The sledging was hard enough, and my condition bad enough, that I had to sit down and catch my breath before starting the next one. As I sat there, I remembered the days, nearly 15 years ago now, when I could roll logs weighing nearly 1,500 pounds up 10 foot skids onto my high-bedded pick-up truck using a cant hook with a four foot handle. Now, it’s all I can do to lift a 25 pound dog out of the shower (as I found out yesterday). It’s aggravating to be so worthless.

Oh well, my sawmill frame is one step closer to completion. Maybe I can get it leveled up this week and the stakes fastened to the frame. As my comical mother-in-law used to say, “Live in hope if you DIE in despair.” Nothing pessimistic about her; was there? – LOL © 2017

Foggy Morning Porch Sit

The Mighty Dachshund was out last at 12:30 last night. Amazingly, she didn’t get desperate and wake the missus, or I’d have heard the cordless doorbell ring in my bedroom. (It was as cheap a paging system as we could think of, so I arrive a couple minutes after the ring, like any good butler.) Despite being up until 3AM watching FOX, when I awoke for another drain at 8AM, it felt like I might as well stay up. So, unlike the other times I’d awoken, I didn’t ask the Lord to keep the pooch content, but decided to get up and put her out. She was ready.

I could see a little fog in the woods, thirty feet away, the second that I opened the door. It was much thicker when I turned to the right and noticed that the neighbor’s place, 300 feet across the road, wasn’t to be seen. After the pooch drained and dumped, we took our positions on the porch. Through the light fog in the woods, it was easy to see the yellow speckles of dying leaves preparing to join their fellows who’d already hit the ground. The woods are obviously thinner than a week or two ago and I can see nearly across the little hollow, even with the fog.

The small birds, so plentiful earlier in the year, have apparently abandoned my edge of the woods for better foraging elsewhere. The woods sound so quiet without their singing and chirping. The crickets were still singing, though. Out near the road and through the fog, the sound sometimes came of a blue-jay squawking his delight over an acorn, or whatever it is that blue-jays squawk over. Once, I thought I heard a small bird chirp in the woods to my right, but I decided that it has just a cricket that had his legs crossed the wrong way. Perhaps on my place, or maybe on the neighbor, an Indian hen issued its Woody Woodpecker impersonation (and a poor one at that).

As the fog slowly thinned toward the neighbor’s place, his pole barn and house began to appear. I don’t think it was any actual movement of the fog, but as the view across the road grew clearer, the thickness of the fog in the woods to my right increased. About the time I could see the neighbor’s pole barn clearly, a couple crows beyond it began telling everyone that things were clear enough that it was time to get to work. Apparently, the Mighty Dachshund wanted no part of that, for she gave a whine that meant she was ready to go check on the missus.

Once inside, she reluctantly ate a slice of ham that I offered her, but was delighted with the slice of cheese that followed. After she got a drink of water, she took her position at the edge of the bed under my wife’s protruding elbow and settled in while I turned on the computer. © 2017

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Slow Day - But Then They ALL Are

Since it was the Sabbath, I didn’t even try doing anything outdoors, maybe tomorrow. We went to Chinamart and picked up some of our groceries. I swear we spend a little more money each week and bring home a little less, and the quality is crap.

My stepson called the missus on the way home, upset because he’s called her several times lately (he says) and she didn’t answer. He has no idea how hard of hearing she’s getting. Among other things, he told her that our oldest granddaughter got engaged today. I’m glad he told us, as she’d never bother to tell us herself. I like the boy, so I hope everything works out for them.

This evening, the missus saw another commercial for Dairy Queen’s “Chocolate Cake Blizzard” and decided that we needed one. I was surprised she’d go for it, as tight as money is, but I wasn’t about to argue. We got a small and they were STILL $4 apiece for a 12 ounce serving. Despite what they insinuate, they tasted exactly like an ice cream bar with the thin chocolate coating that I sometimes ate as a kid. Granted there was a bit more chocolate flavor, but only slightly so. It did have chunks of something in it which I assumed to be cake, but which could have passed for brownie pieces just as easily, considering how firm they were. It also had little thin slivers of chocolate exactly like the ice cream bars I mentioned, so I suspect they throw some in for texture. Overall, I thought it was worth about half what we paid for it. We won’t be getting any more of them.

One the way home, the fall bugs were singing loudly, even in town. The mighty Dachshund growled and barked every time I had to stop for a light or stop sign. It’s her way of saying “Get this heap moving!” I would respond with “Yes, Your Lowness,” since there’s certainly nothing high about her. She DOES consider the whole world her domain (turf) though, so she sure has the attitude.

Not long before we left town, we passed a house that has a small front yard that has been completely paved with concrete. Beside the front door stands a six foot concrete cat. We jokingly call the place “the cat house.” I’d love to sneak by some dark night and post a sign that says “Free Customer Parking.” Unfortunately, the missus won’t let me. I wonder if anyone would get the joke. © 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

Life’s Aggravations And A Wasted Day

My wife is having excruciating pain in her right hip these days after any kind of physical effort at all. We don’t know if it’s arthritis or if she could’ve cracked a bone the last time she fell. I’m thinking that it’s time for an X-ray but, since we have no healthcare, she doesn’t want to spend the money, fearing we’ll need it later for something else. She’d dropped off to sleep when I took the pooch out at 5AM. I stayed up a couple hours before going back to bed, so I finally arose at 10:30AM. As the missus was still asleep, I didn’t even take my morning pills, for fear of waking her, since I knew her suffering.

At 1:30PM, the Mighty Dachshund told me that she couldn’t wait any longer, so I took her out again. After relieving herself, we sat on the porch a while. Not a bird could be heard, though an occasional crack would come from the woods when an acorn hit a tree limb on the way down. The acorn crop is light this year, since it rained a fair amount during the oak bloom this spring. The deer’s ribs are showing and there won’t be enough acorns to fatten them any before winter.

It’s downright criminal the way that our DNR manages for license sales instead of herd health or carrying capacity. They’ve already priced hunting and fishing licenses out of the reach of the poor residents who need them most. THEN, they issue extra permits, but ONLY if you pay in advance for a ticket that you may never fill. It’s an obvious racket. A former DNR biologist once told me that, for the DNR, the deer herd is the goose that lays the golden egg. Call it what you will; I call it corruption.

The company that was supposed to contact me about whether they could supply me with one of my heart meds never has contacted me, so I called my heart doctor’s nurse again. She’s going to re-contact them and gave me some samples to tide me over for awhile again. I picked them up this afternoon.

We put gas in the truck and then stopped at McD’s to get a cheeseburger for the pooch and let me drain my tank. On the way back out a guy seemed determined to run me down as I walked back to the truck. I shook my cane at him and he hollered that he’d stick it up my _ss. Having too many hormones and too much male ego for a guy of my decrepit physical abilities, I told him it would be the LAST thing he ever tried. I’m sure he wasn’t scared, but he drove on anyway. Actually, I was pretty good at fencing in high school and would go for someone’s ankles, not their head, if I ever had to use my cane to defend myself, but I wouldn’t tip my hand. I’m pretty good at feigning one move but doing another; I guess means that I’m just naturally sneaky. Incidentally, the woman riding with the guy looked embarrassed - LOL

When we got home, there was something I wanted to do outside, but I just felt plain worthless, so I didn’t work on anything at all. That means I can’t do anything until Sunday, since the Sabbath starts at sundown tonight. Oh well, I’ll never get caught up on things as long as I live anyway; I guess there’s no need to worry about it. © 2017

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Bureaucracy At Its Best?

Some of you remember that after the missus began drawing her Social Security that I lost my Medicaid, leaving me with utterly NO healthcare. In fact, I was supposed to start paying out medication costs of more than $200 OVER what she was drawing. That doesn’t include all OTHER medical costs.

Well this month, DHHR sent me a form that I was supposed to fill out if I wanted to continue getting the grand sum of $16 in food stamp (now SNAP) benefits. I figured that since I’d paid taxes all my life so mostly deadbeats could prosper at my expense, I might as well fill out the form and keep getting what I could for all the money the government had stolen from me over the years.

It turns out that they thought we had $13,000 in the bank for some reason. We don’t. I was sort of hoping that once they learned that fact they might up our SNAP benefits. I guess that was too much to hope for. We got their latest ruling in the mail today. They are going to REDUCE our $16 worth of SNAP benefits by ONE DOLLAR! That’s right folks, even though we have less money than they thought, we’re now going to get $15 instead of $16.

We haven’t been using the money lately anyway, having decided to save it for what might be closer times this winter. Still, I feel like telling them to put their $15 “where the sun don’t shine.” However, I always come back to the fact that I’ll have nothing to show for all that money I paid in if I don’t take every penny that I can get in benefits. I’m just glad that after a lifetime of work, I’m getting so much help from my government “benefactors.” © 2017 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Church

People have often asked why there are so many Christian denominations. The simple answer is: sin. Those who read the Bible know that there was sin within the church from its earliest days. The overwhelming sin of the 16th century Catholic Church brought on the Protestant Reformation. The Protestants, being just as human as the Catholics, soon started pointing fingers at one another, finding sin in everyone but the guy in the mirror. Today, division has gone so far that not only is there a large handful of differing sects among Catholics, but over 30,000 Protestant denominations as well.
Jesus speaks of the church (singular), yet we turn it into many. Bible scholars understand that there is still only one church; unfortunately, many Christians want to insist that only their branch is the real McCoy. As a result, a ridiculous number of sermons on Sunday mornings are concerned with defending the “rightness” of the denomination rather than proclaiming the righteousness of God. Still, some strange beliefs by certain sects, or their political or financial arrangements, guarantee that ecumenicalism will never work without accepting the attitude that “anything goes.” Few serious churches can swallow that, either.

And so, the followers of Jesus struggle onward, well intentioned, but unnecessarily divided due to their belief that everyone must think alike. Few realize that by requiring perfect understanding of the scriptures (which they think they have), they turn their religion into a works doctrine, the antithesis of what the scriptures teach us. Still, in spite of self-righteousness, Christianity has found enough true righteousness along the way that it has changed the face of the globe over the centuries, and more importantly, has changed the hearts and minds of millions of people. © 2017

Wedging Sledges - as opposed to sledging wedges (w/pics)

This afternoon, I went to the one place in town that I thought might have the handle wedges that I needed. I would have gone there yesterday, but they closed earlier than the place I checked then. Today, I was lucky. They not only had the usual smaller size metal wedges, plus the usual assortment of wooden wedges, they had the larger size metal one that I wanted for one of the sledges. I got two axe-sized wooden wedges at 39¢ each. The 1-1/8” wide metal wedges were 75¢ each, the 3/4” were 40¢, and the 1/2” were 25¢ each.

The handle on the straight peen sledge was made by an old neighbor gentleman, whom I great respected, about 40 years ago. It was made from split stock, not a board, so it’s far better than what you can buy off the rack. Normally, the wedge would run front to back, but he chose to install it cross-wise for some reason. Having put in a stub wedge to drive the original deeper, I sawed the extra length from the too-tall stub wedge to make it almost flush with the end of the handle. I then installed one of the large metal wedges the long direction of the eye and across the wooden wedge. It was thick enough that it went in with great difficulty, but I finally got it.

The splitting mall had two of the worthless circular wedges installed by the factory (which was probably in China) and neither the handle nor the wedges would stay tight. I put one of the 3/4” wedges cross-wise near the narrow end of the eye where it would reach from side to side. The circular wedges tried loosening just from me driving in the regular wedge. If I have to, I can drive in another regular wedge between the two circular ones. I’ve never seen one out of the handle, but I assume the circular style is basically a short piece of pipe with the outside turned a little bit cone shaped while the inside remains straight. I could have reset the handle a little deeper, which should also have made the handle tighter, but since I’d already wrapped the handle near the head, I didn’t want to go to that effort.

I’m sure the regular sledge will stay tight for a few years now. I guess time will tell about the splitting maul. © 2017

Click images to enlarge.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Yesterday And Today

It was another sunny day here yesterday. I got in a 5AM porch sit with the pooch. I was in my skivvies and a T-shirt, but there was a stiff breeze out of the east and I wasn’t very comfortable. I noticed that it was cold enough that only one cicada was still singing and not very many crickets. Even they quieted down as it seemed to grow colder toward dawn. A couple deer came out of the woods to graze in the lawn and were silhouetted by the dusk-to-dawn light we have out by the road. The Mighty Dachshund wanted desperately to tell them that they were on her turf, but I wouldn’t let her. She’d have never kept quiet for the missus.

We went to the other Chinamart a little early to finish up our grocery shopping. On the way, we stopped at the sign of the fallen arches and got some breakfast burritos. They weren’t that full, so I tore a lot of the tortilla off mine and fed it to the English sparrows that had just arrived in the bushes by our vehicle. I tore the stuff into pieces the size of a quarter or smaller and they all got a piece and some was left over. I imagine they came back to check for scraps later, but we didn’t stay to find out.

When we got to Chinamart, there was some well-fed black dude panhandling at the entrance that I’d never seen before. In the store, the missus informed me not to get too much, because we didn’t have much money this week. I resisted the urge to tell her that we had exactly the same money that we do EVERY week, since I budget it. I didn’t get anything at all, but I noticed that along with the regular groceries, she got some potato chips and a magazine she wanted. I bit my tongue. OUCH!

Leaving the lot, the black dude was still there. I looked at his sign, but he tried putting too much on it and you couldn’t see what it said. Some of those guys don’t understand that brevity, and thus big letters, is a virtue on signs. I did some serious porch-sitting again with the pooch when I got home but, didn’t get anything constructive done except go to the basement to locate and carry out some pieces of 2x2 to use as stakes on my chainsaw mill frame.

Today, I cut the stakes to length and pointed them. They’ll be used to keep the saw frame from sliding around on me. It’s measures about five feet by eight and is sitting on cement blocks at the corners. There are already six stakes holding it in place, driven about eight inches into the hard soil; when I get the rest driven, there will be six more. Once the final leveling is done, I’ll use drywall screws to fasten them and the frame to one another.

The missus wanted to escape Alcatraz for a while late this afternoon, so we went to town and got a Coke at McD’s and drove over to the other side of town and back. On our return, I stopped at a store on that side of town that would pass for a general store, I guess. I was hoping that they’d have an assortment of metal handle wedges, but all they had was a “kit” with a wooden wedge and two small steel ones.

I have two sledges that need tight handles before I can drive the stakes for the mill, or finish splitting the firewood out front. One had the handle that the old man who once lived across the road put in it 35-40 years ago. I made a stub wedge the same size on the bottom that the old wedge was on the top, put some gorilla glue on top of the old wedge and drove the new one down as far as I could. It didn’t go far, so I suspect the old wedge bottomed out in the notch. I added some more glue around the new wedge and stood the sledge on end to let the glue dry for a day or two.

The other sledge is actually a splitting maul that I bought cheap in Amish country a few years ago. It has two of the circular “wedges,” one about ¾” across and the other one about ½ inch. I tried to drive them tighter using a center punch and the other sledge, but it was a wasted effort. The circular wedges are worthless, I think. That was the sledge that I was trying to find a regular wedge for at the store. Maybe they don’t even make them anymore except in the one size. It wouldn’t surprise me; I may have to make my own. I swear, you can’t find ANYTHING you need anymore. I guess that’s what I get for trying to use a factory-installed handle.

Until next time, y’all stay safe out there! © 2017

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Nice Weather, Storm Thoughts And A Struggling Economy

The weather has been beautiful here the last couple weeks. We only got two days of drizzle in the Mid-Ohio Valley from Hurricane Harvey. I’ve noticed for years that whenever there’s a hurricane down south, we normally have beautiful weather here. Days have been in the 70’s and a little breezy; nights have gotten down as low as 47. We’re predicted to continue having nice weather until Tuesday, but some rain then and maybe again on Thursday. That’s okay, we can use it here, though I’d gladly send it out west to the fire zone if I could.

I love the weather, but it’s always on the back of my mind that as I enjoy the weather here, the weather down south is killing people and destroying lives and property. That certainly takes the edge off the pleasure. All we can do here, of course, is pray for those down there. Naturally, those with a few extra dollars can donate to the Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Blessing or some other good cause. Just PLEASE don’t waste your money on the RED CROSS, it will do more good elsewhere!

The Mighty Dachshund and I have been getting some good porch time during this nice weather. We get the longest “sits” before dawn. There’s been a full moon this week and you really don’t need a flashlight to get around. I use one for her sake, though, since she’s down there at snake level. I just check the area and turn it off, though.

One morning as I stood beside her in the lawn, what looked like a slow-moving fireworks rocket appeared to be shooting straight up into the dark sky in the east. The “rocket” shined brighter than the morning star, although it looked smaller. It was a jet, of course, leaving its vapor trail behind it. The funny thing was that the vapor trail was glowing not from the sun just below the horizon, but from the full moon that still hung in the sky. A couple days later, I took the pooch out to be greeted by a fairly thick fog. It was only at ground level, though, and the still visible moon made the fog glow as if it was illuminated from within. I felt a little exposed in my skivvies in such light, yet the fog was dense enough that vision as far as the road was still very limited.

Daytime porch sits have been slightly breezy, but not windy. The woods are getting quieter by the day; fall is definitely on the way. Only an occasional crow, or a noisy Carolina wren or blue-jay swings near sometimes to break the silence. Clouds are many, but generally small, and the sun is no stranger. One day, I put the long leash on the pooch and let her lie in the grass, as she often likes to do, while I sat on the edge of the front porch. Even she seemed to enjoy watching the clouds roll by. Eventually, though, she wanted to go to her spot on the porch. There was a beautiful moon that evening and I tried to get a photo as it rose between the pines at the end of the driveway, but I never have any luck trying to capture the moon.

Despite having heard that West Virginia had the second fastest growing state economy last quarter (or month) things are dead around here. The streets and the mall and many other places seem nearly deserted. The restaurants, even the fast food joints, don’t have the business they once did. The friend that I call the guru recently was down-graded from full-time to part-time. His wife lost her job about a year ago. He says that they could go south and find work readily, but they hate to leave the grandkids behind.

We went to Chinamart today and bought some groceries. The paltry amount that we brought home for the money was ridiculous. The missus just got peeved at me because I have no money left for gasoline and she’s going to have to foot the bill for the ride that she wants me to take her on in a while. That’s nothing new; she hasn’t lived within my means the whole time we’ve been married. I’m not about to expect her to change in our old age! LOL

I tried watching The Woodwright Shop earlier, but I fell asleep during the first one and didn’t wake up until the second one was half over. I might actually have used the information in the first show, but I think I got still enough to put it to use anyway. I tried to nap a little longer, but the neighbor decided to do some target practice, so I got up. I would go outside and tinker, but it’s the Sabbath, so I’ll behave myself.

I’ve got five relatives and a friend in Florida, so I’ll be doing a little more praying than usual this weekend. If you happen to live down that way, I’ll be praying for you, too. Y’all stay as safe as you can, wherever you are. © 2017

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Writing Off Jack

I met Jack back when I was doing telemarketing. He was young, hot-tempered, idealistic, and thoroughly brain-washed by the educational system and the media, so he was basically a politically correct socialist. Still, he was honest, stood up for what he believed was right, and seemed basically kind and compassionate towards others. He also had a high IQ, I believe, and a surprising amount of knowledge. I told him once, with all sincerity, that if I’d had a son like him, I would think that I’d done fairly well in that department. The problem was that knowledge and IQ do NOT add up to wisdom. Jack was unwise in many ways, but I wrote that off to the lack of experience that is youth.

I’ve stayed in contact with him online and have enjoyed most of our conversations. Unfortunately, His “Bernie bias” doesn’t let him see anything positive about conservatism or constitutionalism. Over the years, we’ve had many discussions over political matters, mostly when he disagreed with my posts. Strangely, for someone with the amount of knowledge and education available to him, he often questioned my words or beliefs without getting the facts that were readily available to him. Plus, in the years I’ve known him, he hasn’t shown one iota of movement from the left toward the center. With all the historical facts available to him and with all the wisdom to be gleaned even from a few years of living and watching world events, he still has the mindset he did when I first met him.

A few weeks ago, I told him that I was done debating him. There were no hard feelings, but that I knew that we would never change one another’s outlook, so I wasn’t going to even go through the motions anymore. It wasn’t that I expected him to like who I like politically, or believe everything that I believe, but it was so clear that he was permanently brain-washed that any facts that didn’t back up what he’d been taught would be ignored or totally disbelieved. I guess what I felt the most was disappointment in him and sadness, knowing that his mind would never break free of the chains that held it.

Tonight, he took an opposing view of a meme that I’d posted. He may even have been correct in what he said, but he said it without considering the facts about the other side of the issue. As it turned out then, his point was basically mute, since HIS political heroes were guilty of what he was accusing one of my political preferences of doing.

Somehow, it just felt like enough was enough. Not only did I unfriend him, I blocked him. I’m just simply done with him. Six years is long enough to wait for a kid to start growing up. They say whatever you are by age 30, personality-wise, you generally remain. Jack isn’t too far from 30. I guess I should be thinking of someone else to leave my antique hand tools to when I croak. Life always has to get complicated; few other folks would even be interested. I’ll still pray for him some, but that chapter in my life is closed. It saddens me some, though; I had high hopes for him. © 2017

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Holiday And Thoughts About Being The Last Spouse

It was so long ago that I can barely remember, but I know that we went to the Chinamart across town yesterday. I always get my mom’s groceries over there, since we get most of our own groceries at the other store and I’d need two carts to get both. The missus always picks up a few things on Sunday that we forgot on Saturday. I also got some burlap to scour grime off a couple transitional planes that I want to refurbish and sell. I think the original owner wiped them down with crude oil on occasion and they’re rather black. I needed something to use with mineral spirits to scour them that wouldn’t be coarse enough to hurt the wood and thought of burlap. I’m hoping the stain from the grime colors the bare spots where use has worn off the original finish. I managed to get a couple nice porch sits with the Mighty Dachshund yesterday, too.

Today, we took a walk on the wild side and went to the Chinamart upriver and in enemy territory. I picked up three items that mom forgot to tell me that she needed yesterday and looked once again for her hair mousse. None of the three local Chinamarts carry mousse of any kind, so I’m wondering if it’s gone the way of the dinosaurs. I picked up the new Backwoodsman magazine while I was there. It’s the only magazine that I buy anymore, as it’s the only one that has more than one article a month that interests me. At the prices they charge for “mags” anymore, most just aren’t worth it to me.

On the way home, we noticed that the air conditioner was dying, so I recharged it before we went out this evening to take Mom her stuff. I got in one round of porch-sitting with the pooch this morning and it was blowing pretty stiffly, so it’s probably “puckering up to rain,” as the old man who used to live across the road would phrase it.

After the delivery, we cruised downtown and around a couple old neighborhoods that were nice in our youth, but are slums now. People have no pride anymore. It’s one thing to not be able to afford paint, or to let the yard get ahead of you, but there’s no excuse for trash and junk piling up in the yard or on the front porch.

We didn’t hear from any relatives this weekend. We’re too religious, too politically conservative, too boring or too poor to interest them anymore, depending on which one we’re speaking of at the time. Years ago, the missus didn’t call her closest relative for ages, just to see how long it took the relative to call her. She gave up after FIVE months and called the relative. He wondered why she hadn’t called earlier. I guess phone lines, like highways, only work in one direction.

Whenever my wife or I croak, no-one will ever know when the second one passes. It’ll be one of those deals where the meter reader calls the cops because the grass isn’t mowed and he/she smells the odor of rotting flesh. If it’s me that’s left, I might set up a daily call with another old geezer, so we can keep track of one another. Family is where you find it these days. © 2017

Saturday, September 2, 2017

My Holiday Weekend So Far

I took the Mighty Dachshund out a half-hour before first light on Friday. It was cool and very breezy. We sat on the porch a while and I felt under-dressed in my skivvies and my rubber mocs. The fall bugs were silent in the coolness, but the crickets were still singing. On a spring morning of that temperature the birds would have been awakening by that time, but the silence of fall is growing daily. The breeze kept me safe from mosquitoes, but the back of the swing felt cold to my skin if I moved away for a second and back again. I was sort of glad when the pooch decided that she was ready to go back inside and check on the missus after about 20 minutes.

After sleeping again for a while, the missus and I cashed a mortgage check, went to the bank and drew our retirement for the month, made a deposit and then went and paid some bills. The bank was full of people! Later, we went to Chinamart to pick up a few things and THAT place was packed. Still, we were early enough that we both got a handicapped scooter. By the time we came out, the place was even busier and the traffic was horrendous. It was obvious that other stores and the mall were busier than usual, as well. The obvious reason was that this weekend is a triple whammy. The welfare folks got their money Friday, and due to the 3rd being on a weekend, the social security folks did, too, PLUS it was a holiday weekend.

That evening, about a half-hour before dark, I took the pooch out on her last daylight bathroom run and we sat on the porch again. Obviously, that time I was dressed. It had been raining lightly since 10AM and even though it was only misting at the time, the leak in the porch gutter and the dripping of the tree leaves still made for a pleasant rainy sound. Both the cicadas and the crickets were too waterlogged to feel like singing much. The wind had mostly died down, though, and the mosquitoes found me after about ten minutes, so it was my call to go back inside that time.

It was still raining slightly when I took the pooch out before dawn this morning, but on the porch, I knew the mosquitoes would find me again, so I went quickly back to bed. The electric went off about 8AM. We went to Chinamart again, since the missus prefers to do her main shopping on Saturdays. I couldn’t get a scooter, though, so I spent my time sitting on a bench by the front door waiting for one. A couple guys I used to work with came by and chatted a few minutes each; that helped break the monotony some. I shared my bench a while with a black woman waiting on her husband, and later with a tall, handsome Hindu fellow who was 84. He could have passed for 20 years younger and was pleased when I told him so. After an hour I gave up on the idea of getting a scooter so, of course, a couple soon became available, though not for long. None of their stores have enough handicapped parking and that one has half the scooters they need. If it wasn’t for the missus, I’d never shop there again.

We took the groceries home, got the pooch and went out again, since I called the power company and they said the juice might not be on again until 5:30. We ran a couple errands, and then just went places to beat in time, and arrived home at 5PM to find the power back on. It rained all day, but never heavily. Tomorrow is supposed to be dry; I guess we’ll see. © 2017