Spring Rains Bring New Sump Pumps.

Yesterday I went to Menards to look for some way to close off the top of Dave's Septic tank.  There were all sorts of people talking to the guy in the plumbing department about sump pumps.   He was stationed on the aisle for the pumps and many brands were sold out. I hasn't rained hard enough for the pumps to run for a while and all the rain this week has exposed the old pumps to run and fail.  As I went out the front door of the store, a couple of men were carrying a pump into the store with a very wet and determined look on their face.  My advice to anyone replacing their pump, do it on a regular basis and buy the top of the line.  Cheap is not the answer.

I mowed early this week and now the ground is so soggy that I don't think I could get out there with my mowers.  There is one stretch of the front yard that I didn't mow and with the slope and sogginess I doubt that it will get mowed for a while.

News on the vision of the Master Gardener.  Her cataract surgery went well and yesterday she picked up her new glasses.  This morning she told me that she has not needed glasses for so long that she almost forgot to put the new one's on.  I reminded her that at least now she could find her glasses.  She has put them in the same place by her side of the bed for so long that it was automatic to grab them even if she couldn't see them.  I think it was ironic that she needed the Braille system to find her glasses.

Yesterday I went to Barry the Barber's shop for a haircut.  He is a baritone in the Barbershop chorus with me.  It is always fun to talk shop with him.  (Get it, barber and shop)  He was also in the military with me and we tell stories about the guys we served with.  He and I were both in the Guard a long time ago and things were a lot looser back then.  The rules about drinking and having fun were a lot easier.  Oh well, I would love to be young enough to serve with the kids today but alas I know I don't meet the high standards that are required. 

It was down in the 40's today so Barb brought her plants into the garage one more time.  Normally the 15th of April is a fairly good time to make sure her plants are kept frost free.  She has said that soon they will go out, frost or not.  What? Mother's day is only a week away?  Oh well, I just dig holes, she plants.

Years ago, I was playing with my nieces and they were in the back of their Mom's Station Wagon.  They were visiting the Gas Station owned by their dad and I worked there.  I snuck up and growled through the window.  A game we had played many times before.  This time the youngest niece turned to run away from the window and her feet got wrapped up in a blanket that was on the floor.  She fell on the back of the seat and hit her mouth hard enough to break some teeth.  (Thank god they were her children's set not the permanent) As she was eating an ice cream bar to calm the pain, she was saying "Mean Uncle Denny"  My sister said that yep my name was mud.  So, my family nickname and nom de plum is now MUD.

Better run and get ahead of the curve for the day.



Rain, Rain Go - Glub Glub Glub

It was a dark and storm night again and it rained somewhere between three and five inches here at Rabbit Run.  Didn't see or hear hail but there was a rotating wall cloud just west of Topeka that looked bad to those of us that watch the clouds.  It never did spin out a tornado but it did circle the drain up in the sky. 

This morning the master gardener told me that we need to get some milk if I go out.  Right after that, I opened Facebook and there on the computer was a picture that summed up a lot of things to me.

The dairy right up the road sells some of the best milk you could ever buy.  It isn't cheap, but it is still cheaper than Budweiser. 

Do you realize that you can buy a gallon of gas cheaper than a gallon of bottled water?   If you buy a case of 24 bottles of water, it costs $2.99 if you buy one bottle at a time it is $1.59.  "Splain" that to me Lucy!

Oh well, enough of that deep subject, I had better get on the road.  Things to do and places to go



War Stories

In a lot of cases, the only difference between a war story and a fairy tail is the opening line.  Yep, tales start "Once upon a time."    The veracity of a War Story has no basis on the truthfulness of the person telling the story.  What it does rely on is how long it has been since it was told and how many times it has been told with minor embellishments.  I swear the further from the actual event and the number of times it has been told blurs the actual event.  Yesterday I mentioned that the VA had in Leavenworth a place for old soldiers to go live when they need help.  Barb said it would be a great place for an old soldier who likes to tell and recount the telling of war stories to spend his final days.  I am pretty sure she was looking right at me.  Not sure why.

Some of my stories are actually War Stories but some are just the recounting of humorous events that happened in uniform.   One year we went to Fort Riley to do our spring shoots and it had rained all week and the place was so muddy that we could hardly get off the road and into our firing positions.  I spent the day up on the Battalion Observation Post and trained the Lieutenants how to shoot artillery.  I really loved that job and was pretty good at it.  I could also tell war stories about my time as a Forward Observer in Vietnam so it was mutually a good time. 

After waiting until about 3 in the afternoon, we finally started shooting and shot the heck out of things out there in the Impact Area.    There was a mortar crew right at the base of our hill that was shooting at the same time.  It was a pretty clear and sunny day and the temperatures were in the 60's.  After shooting until dark, we closed the OP and I went back to B Battery where I was assigned.  My Recon Sergeant came to me and asked if I was going to go anywhere that night.  Nope, we could sit around and talk and then get a nice night's sleep.  He took my jeep out "Mushroom Hunting."

The next morning, I woke up to the smell of bacon cooking at the mess hall.  They cooked all the bacon and were cooking Morell mushrooms in the pan the bacon had cooked in.  Seems like the hunt went well and the result was a breakfast fit for a Kid from Kansas.  They cooked the mushrooms and then put all the eggs in the mushrooms and made a scrambled egg mixture that was wonderful to smell and even better to eat.  They had lots of coffee, two slices of bread with a big slice of the egg and mushroom mixture and two sliced of bacon.  I was in hog heaven. 

After a couple of canteen cups of coffee, I started back over where my tent was to start packing my duffle bag.   I looked up and saw that my jeep hadn't returned  and started to look for my Recon Sergeant.  When I found him, he said the jeep was over at the maintenance section and did not run.  I went over there and found out that my jeep had been fished out of a mud wallow and it had stopped running.  I started to examine the jeep and found that it was just covered with mud.  The drain holes in the bottom of the battery box were plugged and the water had no way to drain out.  It had shorted out the battery and once the holes were cleaned out, the jeep could be jump started so we could take it home. 

On our way home, I got the rest of the story on the adventures of mushroom hunting at Fort Riley.  It seems the guys took a couple of jeeps out and were driving through the mud holes on the tank trails.  Seems like my jeep was the winner as it made it almost all the way across a very large and deep hole. Not all the way, but most of the way. 

We did drive to a car wash in Ogden, KS and cleaned out the radiator  so it didn't overheat.  We then went back to Horton where our home base was.  My Sergeant then took it to the car wash and spent most of his money to clean the jeep up. 

The only person that was mad about this was the owner of the car wash as we made one hell of a mess.  Oh well, that was what he put it there for and he got over it.

Have a great day and good hunting if you are a fan of Morell Mushrooms.

MUD  In case you are curious, the nick name MUD is short for Mean Uncle Denny - A story I will tell again someday. 

Ahh, Springtime in the Heartland

If you aren't addicted to the Weather Channel, you need to know that here in the Heartland the spring rains that the Poets brag about are often accompanied with thunderstorms, hail and air that circulates like water going down the bathroom drain.  Today is one of those days where they start telling us about the bad weather early and continue often. 

Joplin Missouri a few years back

Yesterday Barb and I went to Fort Leavenworth to get our ID Cards renewed.  I thought mine had no renewal date but was surprised to see that it was out of date almost when it was issued.  This time I got one that does not expire and Barb's will need updated only once more when she is 75.  Do you wonder what they do with all that information?  When we went through the gate at Fort Leavenworth, the MP had a hand held scanner and he clicked on it like the ticket takers at a KU game do.  When the little machine beeped, he handed the cards back and said have a nice day.  Makes me wonder where that data base is and how much of my life resided there.

Years ago, the Military built a DNA data base for Mass Casualty identification.  I know I am in there.  My entire Health history is on line with a Data Base from Cotton-O'Neil clinic and probably the VA.  Having been cleared for a Top Secret Clearance back in the 90's,  there is probably a really good record of me and my past somewhere.  I am one of the good guys and the Government knows all of my warts and short comings.  Makes me wonder what they really know about all of us.  I know you can search on line and find out about anyone.

When we were in Leavenworth, we drove south to Lansing Kansas where we had a house in the 70's.  It was still there although it is a different color and there is now a fireplace in the basement.  The road we lived on hasn't had any new housed built on it since we left.  Lansing does have a bunch of new houses on the south west side of town.  Lots of fast food joints now also.

Today I have an appointment with the endocrinology center to  check my thyroid.  When they were doing the scan to see what was wrong when I threw Pulmonary Embolisms, the found that my thyroid has several stones and was about twice the size it needed to be.  Other than it was just too big, everything was OK.  This check should get me off that list.  Might have to go have a cat scan but what the heck.

Better get my butt on the road and get ready.  have a great day out there and watch the sky.



It was a Dark and Stormy Night

Last night was the kind of night that weathermen in the Heartland start warning you about way early in the day.  As the day wore on, the warning area kept growing larger until about the evening time when most of the State Map was one color or another.  Most of it was yellow for tornado watches but there were red cells with lines drawn out ahead of them showing where there had been circulation spotted in the clouds.  These areas were generally accompanied with warning of golf ball to baseball sized hail. 

Nothing hit really near here but I did keep a fine watch on the local channels just in case.  In case you didn't know of have forgotten, in 1983 a tornado came to visit and we were home at the time.  Our house on Driftwood court was pushed off the foundation and we had to rebuild.  The good news is that we had fairly good insurance and most of the loss was covered.  The irreplaceable things were not lost and life went on.  That did make us a lot more aware of warnings. 

In 1961, the year of the Kansas Centennial, I earned a trip to Colorado by selling newspaper subscriptions.  I did so well in my own route that the District Manager took me to several other routes an I not only earned a trip, I made a good amount of pocket change.  The highlight of that trip was the trip up the Mount Manitou Incline.  We had been in line for a half an hour when they announced a severe weather warning and shut down the train ride up the side of the mountain.  The manager had us all move in under an awning over the loading platform and we watched in awe as an intense rain/hail storm closed in on us.  One of the trip sponsors had just purchased a brand new Chevy Station Wagon and the hail beat the hell out of that car.  I had never seen baseball sized hail until then.  It broke the windshield out of that car and  it looked like an Army of Midgets armed with ball peen hammers had attacked the body.  We had a front row seat to that hail storm and I will always believe it when they say stay out of the hail.

The other day, I was thinking about the damage the septic system truck would do to Dave yard when a story from Vietnam came to mind.    In the middle of the Monsoon season, a unit in our support area got hit and  we fired for several hours.  At first light, I went out to witness the damage done to the floor of the parapet from the firing of the howitzer.  The trails of the gun had dug down and in the ground so far that the howitzer was at almost a 45 degree angle to the ground.  The crew and volunteers from the other gun sections dug most of the morning to free the gun from the mud.  They gathered up debris and tried their best to fill the hole left there in the parapet.  They moved the gun several feet to the rear so the spades on the trail could dig in new dirt rather than in the hole.  The next day. there was a fire mission and one of the cannoneers was helping move the gun to a new direction.  As he got to the place where the hole was, he started to sink into the muck in the hole and... well, I do need to stop here and tell you that there was a project 100,000 where lower IQ soldiers that would have been turned down for service without a war were allowed into Infantry and Artillery units.  Our nominee for French Fries short of a Happy Meal was called Big Whoopee.  OK, back to the story.  As Big Whoopee stepped into the hole, he started to be pushed deeper and deeper. He hollered, "Hep me, this dam thing will push me down in this hole and I'll die."  The other guys almost fell down laughing.  They told him to simply let go of the howitzer and get the hell out of the hole. He did and the progression towards total immersion stopped.  That is a story that was told over and over for weeks.  The story was always told with the opening words, "Hep Me."  The rest of the story was not necessary as laughter would break out anyway.

Oh well, better get going.



Why I write this stuff

Once upon a time I was talking with my niece, Beck and she said I should write a blog.  My niece Jennifer echoed this and I started writing the blog because it felt good.  It wasn't an assignment, it was a joy.   I realized that I was doing it for me and no one else.

At one time I had readers from all over the world coming in to see what would come out of my mouth (OK, Fingers) on a daily basis.  I reached over 900,000 hits and it was growing fast.  Now my daily readership is down under 100 and I am really wondering what it is that I am doing different?

Perhaps it is not because of the difference, but the sameness.  It is hard to entertain at a high level every day.  In fact, I don't do it every day and that may be part of the problem.  Or, is that people are getting more and more involved with their activities and just don't have time for my simple rambling.

What amazes me is that there are blog sites where people stop in and leave comments every day.  If I look at the statistics of this blog, I seldom get comments.  Some day I will figure that out but not today.

Today in the Parade magazine, there is a great article on the Electorate College.  It is a fine description on how the College works.  What is left out is the why there is such a convoluted way of electing a President.  It is almost as if someone tried to find a way to disenfranchise those of in the smaller States.  I did find it interesting that the electorate votes from each states is based on the same basis as the number of members of Congress.  Two Senators from each State plus one for every member of the House of Representatives (Approx. 700,000 in population)  Throw in a couple for the District of Columbia and viola, there is your answer to the number of members in the Electorate College.  The rub comes in how the States divide their members up.  In some states, it is winner take all.  In others it is by Congressional District.   In some states it is not even a vote but something they call a caucus, whatever that is.  In my perfect world, the election would be based on popular vote.  Yes, I know that would have gotten us one less bush.

Oh well, I have things to do and places to go.  Have a great day out there.



Wednesday, Sunny Wednesday

The sun is out after getting some rain overnight.  One of these days I am going to get out and do a really good search for Morell mushrooms.  We had new asparagus showing up so the weather is getting about right.  If anyone had any good ideas how to start getting them to grow, I would be very appreciative.

One of these days I hope the rain stops early enough that by the time the temperature hit 70 it will be dry and smooth sailing on the bike path.  I have a custom recumbent bike that Putt-Putt built for me and I love it.  He is also responsible for finding the recumbent that Barb rides.  He has offered to build a custom frame for it but it seems to be good enough for Barb.  Wet bike paths and goose poop make for slippery conditions.  That is especially bad when the rider is near the ground and the bike has no fenders.

Do you ever watch the program called "The Dog Whisperer?"  I catch it now and then and today a couple had a German Shepherd that was out of control.  I know that Cesar took his time and he didn't cure all the problems in 30 minutes but it again pointed out that the problem was the owner not the dog.  Once he got the owner to understand that the dog wanted to be in a pack and if the owner didn't take over, the dog would become the pack leader. 

Today in the paper there was an article about the Kansas City Chiefs.  They are near the top in rushing but almost last in passing yards.  Somewhere, somehow they need to find a way to find a more balanced attack.  When all you do is rush, they get to load up the box against you and that was the end of the Chief's season this last year.  I hope that figure out ways to get better this year.  The Royals seem to be doing pretty well so far. 

Well, enough of this, work to do and I better get on it.



Rain in the Heartland

We are getting the rain we have needed for a month or two.  With a gentle rate of fall it seems to be soaking in rather than running off.  For a spring rain, there is little wind also so things are going to be well when it is all finished.  One of these days we need to move the plants out into the garden and off the racks and out from under the grow lights. 

When we planted some trees at Dave's, his engineer friend noticed that one of the trees is right on top of the septic tank.   We realized that the tank probably has never been pumped so they dug it out. m Yep, it needs pumped out in the worst way.  The problem we did have was that the top of the tank is open and it is raining.  I had a plastic swimming pool that the dogs used and I took it up and put it on top of the tank.  It probably will need to have a couple of days to dry out to be able to get the pump truck out in the yard where the tank is. 

Yesterday was the grill day here at Rabbit Run.  I made a trip to the grocery store and found some great meat at a fairly good price.  Put it on the grill with some hickory for smoke and things are great.  With Barb's potatoes and veggies, it was a meal fit for a king.  There will be a lot of leftovers for several meals later on this week.

This morning I am watching the Barret Jackson Auction and they just rolled a 1981 Corvette over the block.   The announcers said it was a terrible year for Vette's and only had a builders title.  It had been in a wreck and the Insurance Company totaled it out.  The car sold for $6,500.  That is several thousand dollars below what a car on either side of 1981 would have brought.  Someone got a pretty nice car for not a lot of money. 

Oh well, things will slow down the next couple of weeks.  There will be a trip to Oklahoma but it won't take long in the court. 

Have a great day our there.