Retaining Wall Project

This is the rock that Barb picked out to build a retaining wall with. It was $90.00 a ton and this pallet was over 3,000 lbs. Each rock probably weighs 100 to 150 lbs. The problem is to build a base and then build the wall.

This is the back deck and it is over five feet off the ground and at the far end of the pation about four feet off the ground. Not what Barb wanted so...

We dug a footing and stacked rock. Once te wall was built we started the fill with gravel from the local quarry. The 53 Chevy will haul a little over 1000 lbs without even a strain. I think I finally wound up with over 10 truckloads.

You can see the retaining wall taking shape along the bottom of the picture. It was another course of 6 in rock higher when we got it finished.

This is MUD wishing this project was finished. After getting the last of four loads of gravel today we came inside. A nap and an Aleve do wonders for old guys. Yes, I did use the furniture dolly to move the rocks from the pallets to the retaining wall.

Another Great Day

I'm not sure why the good lord is being so kind but this morning it is cool and the air feels dry. I will be in the 80's for a high and unless you are out in the sun, it is great just to be alive in the shade. I went out about 6 AM to get the paper and it was almost too cool for shorts and a T-shirt.

After catching up on reading the normal blog sites I visit, drinking my second cup of coffee I now turn to writing on this blog. It is not that I read others for inspiration, but I do think it is nice to see what others have to say. My good Bud two Dogs is always at the top of my list on the bookmarks as he hates the same things I do. There is a fellow from Ga who loves old cars as much as I do. I try to keep up with my nieces blogs even if I am the butt of some of their stories. There is one conservative actress that I read but when she is on a new gig her blogging always gets a little slow. The normal (and abnormal) chattiness of Flea, Country Doctor's wife and Jenni's Prairie Air are always good for a view into the life of women. I will admit that I don't get it all but I do try to read it. There is a country Cowboy named Dennis that does a good job but seems way too busy to post regularly.

I just wish I could remember all the funny sayings and things I hear during my day here at Rabbit Run. Between the radio and Barb I most often have one or two funny things that I think I should remember to post. Unfortunately lately I just don't seem to have the short term memory I need. I can remember the war stories but forget where my keys are.

Whatever, I'll get a breakfast snack and see if I can get a couple of hours in on the rock wall before it gets too hot. I promise to put in some pictures one of these days.



Perfect Day

There is just no way to express adequately how nice today was. It was just above 70 this morning with about a 10 mile per hour breeze that was cooling and felt dry. I worked for about three hours on the rock wall and almost didn't work up a sweat. I worked very hard but it was so nice. Barb was there helping all she could and we accomplished a lot. Tomorrow it will take a couple more loads of gravel and most of the second pallet of rocks.

After the work in the yard, we went to the "Pond Tour" put on by the local pond club. We drove all over town and saw some really good ponds. I'm sure that Barb now has some better ideas to improve our layout. Most of them are just a lot of work but one thing that stood out was that most of the ponds we saw had pumps that moved a lot more water than we currently have in our pond.

Oh well, life is always something to look forward to.



Kansas Sky

Barb managed to capture the Kansas Sky in one of its turbulent moments. I think this is a beautiful picture of the changing weather. I'm sure that somewhere nearby there were sirens sounding telling us to take cover.


Strange Skies Today

I am looking out the south side of the house and it looks like early morning here at 9:30. It is overcast and has sprinkled from time to time. If it clears off I will probably get in some mowing. If not, I will watch it rain from the inside.

Never did get highly motivated yesterday and accomplish much. Got one of those $12.00 haircuts and made a run to Wal*Mart. Dang, I realized that I need some breakfast food and coffee. Oh well, that's the nice thing about Topeka, there are two Wal*Marts and lots of grocery stores. (If you can get to them from here) We are in the midst of road building season and at least two of the four ways out of here is closed down to put in some new road. I think 45th and Coroco road is closed because they want to put in one of those damned roundabouts. They have had that road closed for well over a month and maybe two and when I drove by there the other day there isn't anything new, just the old stuff ripped out. I will admit that we have had a lot of rain but dang, they should have it all fixed one of these days. Perhaps when it freezes this winter they will put down some water and we'll be able to get through on the ice.

I am afraid that the hydrostatic drive on the Case tractor has finally bit the dust. I have for years abused it and pulled a mower all over this joint and it has been really a good tractor. I might spend some time trying to figure out what it needs in the way of parts and do a "in the yard" overhaul. We'll see. That cuts me down to two mowers so I'll be hauling one around for a while. Oh well.



This What my rock wall will look like

more cat pictures


Takin' Just a Little Time Off

For some reason yesterday when I was working hard, I felt pretty good. I continued to work a little longer than I should and this morning I am feeling it "All over my Body". I think it might be worth taking a little time off the rock project. But, by the same token if I feel as much better in a hour than I do from the time I woke up I might be convinced to get another course of the rock wall finished.

Barb fixed biscuits for breakfast this morning a a few carbs are good for the soul. I have stopped having my toast buttered when we eat breakfast in a restaurant but still haven't quite got used to the fake butter on the biscuits. When I eat them, it is enough that she uses the low fat Bisquick, I want real butter on them. I guess I will just have to continue to eat what I have. Wouldn't want "Moose Manure Pie" to come to the breakfast table.

For those of you that haven't heard that story, It seems that a bunch of men went hunting in Alaska and they said that if anyone complained about the food, that person had to cook the next meal. One guy started out as the cook and after about three days he was still in charge of the grill. He went out and picked up some Moose droppings and made a pie. That evening the first guy to bite into the pie declared, "Jesus Christ, (and then had a moment of brilliance) That's the best Moose Manure Pie I have ever tasted!" So the complaint department here at Rabbit Run is a box with Moose Manure Pie written on it.

The other day, Mad(eline) wrote me a comment. I think that MAD and MUD are cute names. MUD comes from the shorthand for "Mean Uncle Denny" given to me by Carrie when I scared her and she fell down. She fell hard enough to break a few teeth and I was given the name Mean Uncle Denny. I hope it is something that I can continue to joke about and not really live up to that reputation. You never know, but then again, I have a lot of "atta boys" and it would take several "Dumb Shits" to cancel them all out.

I had no idea that a picture of an old robin taken by Barb would cause my comment section to have 8 hits. I am pretty sure that the old boy was probably about to molt or die and that made his color so strange. We have seen a lot of interesting birds this year but in most cases have been able to find them in the big Bird Book.

Thanks for stopping in for a chat. I had better go see if I can work out some of the kinks and accomplish something good.



This Just Kills Me!


Strange Times

Somewhere in this world, there just has to be someone that can make sense of the last two Supreme Court Decisions. If a State thinks that Child Rapists should be executed, why do they get involved. I believe in MUD's mad dog rule. If what you do is so outrageous as to piss people off, and two or more people see you do it, they should just take you out behind the Jail and beat it out of you. Hurt little kids and you won't return from the learnin' you get there. Rape a child and you should die in my book.

Now, they finally read the Constitution and told the District Of Columbia that they can't pass illegal laws about guns. They actually had a law that said that you had to keep your gun disabled even if it was in your own home. Break into my home and you will just have to learn the hard way if my gun works. (Wanna' Bet) In their Majority Decision they put it in writing that obviously mental patients and Felons can't have a gun but the rest of us by the Bill of Rights have the right to remain armed. Try to take this old retired Guardsman's gun away and see if I can assert my constitutional rights.

I for one just don't understand how people can say the Government is so bad and then want the Government involved in our Health Care. The same guys that screwed up the Social Security "Lockbox" are the same guys that will give the yes or no on your health care. Sometime try to get a soldier on TriCare to explain how little they pay and how hard it is to get a doctor to take them.

Oh well, the rock retaining wall is coming along fine. 11,000 pounds of rock and 8,000 pounds of gravel moved by one old man. Barb can't lift a lot but she has done a lot to help with the gravel. Besides, she is a lot of fun even if she turns off my radio when I listen to Rush or Shawn.



What the Heck Is This?

Barb saw this bird out on a fence post in the field. We have looked at our bird books and can't find anything that seems to fit. Anyone have any idea?


What I Am Reading

Years ago, I found a little known author writing great stories about the Military. William E. Butterworth AKA WEB Griffin was writing a series called the Brotherhood of War. It started with the Lieutenants and went on through the Generals and into Special Opns. I found out who WEB Griffin was when I was reading a book about a Pilot flying into each state in a Gypsy Moth and when he was somewhere in the South he showed a picture of Bill Butterworth and named him as WEB Griffin.

As a general rule, I almost find anything written by WEB Griffin great reading. I even found a couple of his books written when he was writing under the name Alex Baldwin. If you go to the Used Book stores there are several books co written by Bill. In fact I found one of the M*A*S*H books he co wrote.

Lately, he has been letting his son William E. Butterworth IV co-write. In my opinion, you can tell where the two each write. If the reading in fluid and the characters well developed, the Dad is writing. If the material turns almost into a Thesis with cold hard facts thrown in, it is the son. He is truly a great writer if I was looking for a Doctoral Thesis. Perhaps with time he will lighten up some and become a fun writer and make things a little less precise. Fiction is or should be a story well told not written as if you have to argue the facts to a Board.

WEB Griffin has written several series of books and I like the Badge of Honor series almost as much as the Brotherhood of War.

If you want some action reading for the summer, pick up a couple of used WEB Griffin books from the books store and see if you enjoy them as much as I do.

MUD, COL (Ret)

Penny Candy

In the 1950's, a really nice woman opened a store in our neighborhood and I thought I had died and one to heaven. Mr Womack's new store had two at least 30 foot glass cases stacked up and so full of candy that the choices were just too much for a small child to pick the right ones. In fact most of the time unless you had a favorite, you would just tell her you wanted a nickel's worth of candy. If you were rick a dime's worth. She would go down the line and fill a small sack. Here are some of the one's I remember the best:
  • Jaw Breakers. You could eat on a jaw breaker for an hour. I'm sure that trying to crunch one also hurt my teeth.
  • Wax tubes filled with sugar water. Some were shaped like little coke bottles.
  • Supper Bubble. Much better than Double Bubble but Double bubble had little comics in them.
  • Malted Milk Balls. two for a penny. After a while they made smaller one's in a tube of cellophane.
  • Dots on wax paper.
  • Pixie Sticks. One time I breathed when I poured one of the lime one's in my mouth. I think I coughed for a week.
  • Caramels.
  • Necco Wafers. Sugar pressed into a candy and wrapped in a wax paper.
  • Licorice. I just loved the black and a lot of the girls liked the red. Later they had cherry but it was just red when I was little.
I'm sure there are a hundred kinds of candy that I just don;t remember the name of. I would go out and pick up pop bottles to change into candy. What were some of your favorite?

The price I paid is that today I have a mouth full of crowns because the candy and poor brushing habits but hey, it was the way we lived back then.



One Laugh and a Rant

lolday is july 7

My son turned me on to this web site and I laugh my butt off reading the insane captions and seeing cute animal pictures. If your day is boring (or if you are and need a relief) try reading this and see if it doesn't make you smile.

RANT! The following is a rant about recycling. Lately with all the great produce coming to the local grocery stores we have been getting some great ripe tasty produce. Barb has been putting the scraps in a bowl to go out to the compost pile. No, I don't really mind those little gnats by the bowl on the counter. I do really hate it when I open the refrigerator door and two are flying around in there. Dang it, they need to get a dog to pester and leave me alone!

Have a great day out there.



Just a Couple of cute Photos

I dedicate this photo to Barb and her desire to have an efficient vehicle. It is a one horsepower, er, cow powered truck.

This is dedicated to my bike muse Kenny and the Kansas cowboy who inspired me to relate my tale of the sneakers. Both of them can put a smile on my face.


Cowboy Shoes

This post is dedicated to Kansas Cowboy because he wrote a story about one of his Rancher Friends buying a pair of comfortable shoes at Wal*Mart and having trouble keeping his spurs on.
Here's my tale:

It seems that one of the Graduate students at the University in Wyoming decided to do her thesis on the functionality of Cowboy garb. She traveled over to Guernsey and then north to the oldest bar in the west. It has that name because in the 1930's someone imported a bar from England that was a couple of hundred years old and hence the name. I can't remember the name of that damn town but it is the first one north of Guernsey, WY so it can't be hard to find.

When she went into that smoky poorly lit place she saw that the place was almost empty so she asked the bartender/waitress/owner if he knew any cowboys she could interview. He pointed out that down at the end of the bar there was a leathery old guy sitting there nursing a beer and rolling his own cigarettes. She jumped at the chance to interview a real stock man and get his impressions of what a real cowboy would wear and why they wear it.

She ordered a fresh beer for him and asked the fellow about what he was wearing. Most old men sitting at a Bar would always be willing and able to sweet talk with a pretty young college girl. Even the most hard "snake bitten" old wrangler would have told this girl the answer to any question she asked. "How about the hats you guys wear?". "Well" he replied, "Most of us just wear a hat to keep the sun off our heads and the way we roll them up is just a matter of opinion. I wear mine rolled up on the sides some and that seems to funnel the rain just far enough that it don't run down the back of my slicker.

"How about the shirts?" "Well, most of us just but the cheapest shirts we can find and most of them have snaps on the pockets to keep our fixings in when we are working. Them dang store bought cigarettes will fall out of a pocket anytime you jump down off your horse so we have snaps.

"And the belt?" "Well most of us just wear one to keep our pants up. The buckles are memories from our youthful days. If you were good enough to win a buckle for roping or riding you could generally get a few extra dollars a month as a hand worth his pay."

"Your Pants?". "Cheap and durable is the rule. Buy them with the boot cut so you can tuck them in when you are in snake country."

"I notice you aren't wearing boots?" "Hell no, I don' want anyone to think I am a gol danged trucker! "

So from one good old boy that is "all hat and no cattle" I dedicate this little ditty to those fellows out there that make sure there is enough meat so I can have a little taste now and then.



My son has gone to work for Best Buy and I'll bet within a year he is the most technological guy on the block. He told me that the difference is that the hook up so he can use his I-pod and charge it in the car is about $30. Retail it sells for $50 and he can buy it for about $20. I don't know if it was a return or not but that's a pretty good deal if you want technology. When he was over last Thursday, or for the past 13 weeks, Storm day, Dave was working on a new notebook computer. It was fast, pretty and hooked right into my wireless system. His old notebook had some bad cord between the main computer and the screen. Dave is just sure that he can't get a replacement hence his refund or incentive payment went into a new machine. Now if he can just complete that on-line course he is taking this summer...

A couple of weeks ago the Hot Rod Power tour came to Heartland park one day during their tour from Little Rock to Minneapolis. A couple of young kids were walking towards the cars when one's pocket began to make music. He reached in and pulled out a bunch of wires and a cigarette lighter sized device. By the time he got it attached to his ear and all hooked up , he said," dang, it went to voice mail and I'm almost over my minutes". He pushed a few buttons and then spent about 5 minutes trying to convince someone that he really was busy right now and could not come to the other location for at least an hour or two. I walked on, secure that while I was not able to call anywhere, I was also no able to be found. Retirement should be good for something. For most of my Adult Military life I was hooked to some kind of communication system and on call for all sorts of emergencies. Not any more.

Retirement should be kind of like fishing. You can sit somewhere and think about your dreams for the future and fantasies of the past without someone making music in your pocket. I don't care if I am the theme from Star Wars on my son's phone. He is a recorded message on my phone when I get home. Unless and until life changes significantly for me, I will remain cell "phone less". Get used to it boys and girls, this is one old guy that thinks blogging right here is about as connected as I need to be. So There!



Painting the House

This morning my son Dave came with me to the Valley Brooke house and we taped the windows so we could use a spray painter to put a coat of paint on that house. About three hours of getting ready and about 2 hours of painting. Man does it ever go fast and look good. About a half hour of picking up and unmasking the windows when finished and it was all done. With a roller and a brush I figure it would have taken most of the weekend.

I sure appreciate the help I got from Dave and I appreciate all the comments I found on my previous posts. Makes a feller feel like someone at least reads my stuff.

Did I read that two Dogs proposed to Bean? Man I'll bet that will be a fun couple. I wish them the best. I'll try not to get political when I publish my food pornography. Must be getting old whe I think food is better than sex.



What's for Dinner?

Tonight as Barb and I sat together in the kitchen eating dinner, I remembered a "Ruth Chris's" Steak House radio ad that had played while I was fixing out supper. They have a two person special that will feed two people for the Special Price of $89.00. I don't know about you, but that's just not the way we eat.

For example tonight, I had linguine (with Ragu's Garlic Alfredo Sauce) with a grilled chicken breast sliced into the sauce. The sides were about a half a package of California Blend Microwaved and one Burpless Cucumber with about a tablespoon of Italian dressing and salt and pepper. We had enough food to feed at least one more person (Two if they ate like Barb) and the whole meal didn't cost $10.00. In fact if I had used the generic Linguine it would have cost closer to $5.00 but I used a special egg noodle linguine I bought at the specialty store when I bought some olives. Yes they were stuffed with cheese and closer to $10.00 a pound.

We had food that was from Arkansas (Chicken), California (Vegs), Texas (Cucumber) and New York City (OK, that was probably where the Dressing headquarters is). All cooked right here in the Heartland. I think we are the luckiest people on the planet to have a system that brings food to us in such quality for the price.

By the way, I don't like Barry Obama but I refuse to make up any lies or tell more of them. The internet lie today said he was going to be sworn in using a Koran. On one of the talk radio programs someone said he was like Hitler building a following. Folks, he is plainly just a US Senator running for the office of the President. Vote for him or not as you see fit but at least let him win or lose on the strength of his character not a pack of stupid made up lies. I don't like him but I sure as heck don't hate him. So there!


What's Wrong With Businesses Today

Last evening for the 12th or 13th Thursdays in a row, we had a major storm warning. Earlier in the day a tornado was seen hanging from a cloud but did not hit the ground. A major thunderstorm system was headed to Topeka and we had a severe thunderstorm warning issued. Dave came over to be in the basement in case it did continue to storm.

I asked Dave if he had to work that evening and he said that Best Buy had some kind of computer glitch and a lot of the floor personnel had their hours cut way back. I told him that he needed to tell his boss that if they continue to cut his hours, he needed to get a job that he could count on. If the corporation would cut a couple of hours from the CEO on down it would be no big deal. The corporations today just cut the hours of the workers at the store level without thinking about the effect. What the heck, they are simply names on a roster.

I related this to Barb and she said that the store she works at had the same thing happen. Many of the hourly workers had their hours cut way back. Barb had already reduced her hours so she didn't get cut like some of the others. She said that the corporate staff really cut the stores hours from week to week.

Is it any wonder that the kids today don't have any loyalty to where they work? If your job doesn't take care of your needs, why would you invest a lot of time and effort to them.



A Moment of Math

Yesterday, Barb and I went to a new rock place here in Topeka and found the perfect rock to stack for a retaining wall. How much is it? $90 a ton. We ordered three pallets of it and it weighed in at 11001 Lbs. The girl in the office took out her handy dandy jiffy good calculator and divided 90 by 2000 to get the cost of a pound of rocks and then multiplies it by 11001 and said it was $555.00.
Now, lets see if my math is different. 11,000 pounds is 5 1/2 tons or 450 + 45 or about $495.00. Where did the other $50.00 come from? From that damned calculator rounding the numbers to 2 decimal places. Instead of being 4.5 cents a pound (90/2000 = .045) it rounded the number to .05 and would have cost us an extra $50.00 had Barbara not been paying attention. It is the real McCoy for stacking but someone needs to watch that office girl.



Our Son Dave and his wife Barb after renewing their Vows on the Command Deck of the Star Ship Enterprise at the Hilton in Las Vegas.

Barbara and I went to Las Vegas in 1968 and got married in the "Chapel of the Bells" right there on the strip. It wasn't a big church wedding but a formal commitment to each other witnessed by several members of the family. I'm sure followed by many coins tossed into the slots. We were all too broke to have a formal diner. I think we had dinner at Denny's.

Many people today are all worked up about the same sex marriages out there on the Left Coast. How can it be much different than the just more than a Civil Ceremony that we had. It isn't the name, it isn't how, it is why and what you do when you get it. Hell, 50% of the marriages today fail so it can't be all that darn good or worth protecting the name.

In fact, I think Nevada needs to find a way to change their laws and have Same Sex marriages in Vegas and Reno. Fer Christ sakes, they have legalized prostitution in their Capitol County. Think about it, the entertainment Capitol of the world and you have to go to Barstow to get Married?

No more fuss about this, I think it is now a done deal and we should move on to bigger things. Love the one you are with. I don't care who does what to who(m) in you bedroom.



11,000 Lbs of Rock

I made the mistake of taking Barb to the new rock company on Topeka Blvd. They had this neat 6" stacking rock on pallets at $90 a ton. I did a rough estimate of what I need and told Barb to buy three pallets of rock. With a $225 delivery charge and tax it was only $750. Now I have to start digging a foundation for the wall, haul gravel and then start building the wall. Can't wait. Pictures will follow along the way to being a wall.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my sis, Carol. Here she is with their new dog, Maggie Sue. We wish her many more birthdays even if no one remembers which one it is.
The above picture was blatantly stolen from My Niece's blog site. Jenn is a Photo Journalist and takes one mean picture. If you think she is a great photographer, you should see her row a boat and/or coach her rowers. I love her lots and lots. I would have mentioned this earlier but I was in a hurry and did not even think that two minds would post this picture as a birthday tribute to my sister.


Business Card

I get an update from Military.com on a regular basis and one of their sponsors has free business cards. It caused me to think about just what the heck I would put on one? For example:
  • US Army Colonel (Ret) I'm not sure what the heck I would do with those talents but it is official. (and it pays money each month)
  • Head Laborer at Rabbit Run Farms. I have gloves, a shovel, a tractor, three mowers, hearing protection with radio for fun, lots of gardening toys. But, you would play cuffy getting me to do that kind of work for anyone I 'm not related to.
  • Old Car Mechanic. I'm sure there are people out there that would say I am an old car owner and they do most of the work.
  • Landlord. There I get to spend lots of time and lots of money making homes for several families. This year I will also get to do some roofing.
  • Recumbent Bike Rider. My goal is a couple of hundred miles this summer. You should get a chance to ride the Blue Racer snake that Ken made for me. It is fast, smooth and so much fun that it should be illegal. Most fun I have ever had with my clothes on.
  • Shootist. Everything from Howitzers down to pistols. Even won a small bore (pistol) championship with a team from Hqds, KSARNG. Got the trophy to prove it.
  • Leader. Mostly because I am not as much a good follower. Don't believe that crap about good followers make good leaders. They just make good followers.
  • Teacher. I have about 10,000 hours on the podium and have taught a lot of diverse subjects. One day I was a substitute at the pre-school and the next day I taught High School Chemistry. My favorite was teaching Customer Service to young adults. I can still hear their laughter at my saying WARSHINGTON! It was fun, but a whole lot of work.
  • Facilitator. I love to lead large meetings and work on problems. I attended a couple of weeks training on this and had a lot of impact on how meetings were held.
  • Future Planner. I worked on the development of the first future plan for the Guard. We developed several alternative courses possibilities and predicted which ones were likely based on real world factors. Lots of fun. A lot like writing a book.
  • Blogger. Love to write and the more diverse the content the better.
  • Cook. I love to grill and then make meals out of the leftovers. Not that I don't love to eat what I cook when it is right off the grill. So far I haven't cooked any lamb but I have cooked about everything else. I really love to use the food of the seasons and make meals that are using the best produce available.
  • Friend. I love to laugh, talk, work together and in general be with people. Some more than others.
  • Photographer. Mostly I have a really good camera and a lot of lenses. Barb can out shoot me on about any day but mostly it is because she works at it and I just enjoy doing it. I would rather ride down a bike path than take pictures of it.
  • Jack of a-lot-of trades. Not all trades, but I have a lot of tools and can use most of them. I prefer to not work on electricity as I have avoided it so much that I am pretty ignorant of it. Barb says she would rather be stranded on a desert isle with me than anyone else. (No electricity there either)
  • Financier. Actually I have been a good earner and Barb has been the one to make sure it got put in all the right places. We are doing well and have almost everything we need and most of what we want. (In some cases there are a few things that could be thrown away because I wanted them when I got them but they are just stuff now)
One funny part of this is that I have done so many things that I think of myself a mile wide and an inch deep in so many things. I would rather learn a new computer program than get bogged down in using one over and over. I would rather be OK at things than be considered an expert. I don't do things to ever show someone else up or just to be the best. Life has and will continue to be a wide open experience for me. I think of it as a journey not a destination. I only hope that I can continue to experience new things and not get killed by one of my experiences.



Rabbit Run Pets

Yes, we have two dogs. I will not mention their color but establish that they are Labs in general. The older girl with the white muzzle is baby and the senior member of the pets here. She is the first to run off and the one that you much catch to get back into the pen. She is generally found in the dog house and emerges when you holler loud enough or throw a stick on the side of the house.

After running all day yesterday she is showing signs of her age today. She has a very halting walk but does manage to wag her tail. the large member of the group is"

Taco with a stick in his mouth. He will greet anyone that comes to the fence with some version of a stick. This stick has been chewed down to what is more like a cigar in his mouth. Oh well,

Front Porch Cat goes missing about once a week or so. He comes home to lick his wounds and refuel. If you look at his right rear leg you can see a spot where another cat took either a swipe or a bite out of him. About a week ago he came home with his right front leg swollen and he didn't leave the place until he could walk. I think there must be a barn cat family nearby and he goes over to try to visit the ladies and unseat another male cat. I could have him fixed and maybe he would stay home but I just can't bring myself to do that. I don't have a clue how old he is but I estimate 6 or 7 years.

Father's Day Speech

For Father's Day, Barry took on the issue of Black fathers not being there for their children. While I think this is an admirable topic, the need to mention the "Black" part of the problem is to me a problem in its self. With the divorce rate at or near 50% all fathers need to be encouraged to be a part of the lives of their children. Don't take shots at the color of their skin, but the strength of their character. I vacillate between wanting leadership that points out the good things and sets lofty goals and wanting to point out failures. I know that one on one, the word leadership means getting out there and doing well and helping others do the same.
I personally do not believe in beating dead horses or shooting issues in a barrel.

Besides, there are issues out there that needs all of our attention. We need to help clean up our own economy, strengthen out borders, cut consumption and develop some alternative ways to get around. I will vote for the person that takes on some of these tough issues come election day. If I want someone to beat up the absent black fathers, I will rely on Bill Cosby. I in spite of what Al Sharpton says will not resort to calling these slackers the victims, that we should not beat up on.

Have a great day out there, ya' hear.



It just got dark in the middle of the Day!

This is really the 2nd tomato of the year but the first was such a sorry looking guy that I am going to proudly display it as the first. Can't wait for the rest. I just love a fresh from the vine tomato with just a little salt and pepper.

Living in the woods does expose you to nature's creatures. I was out in the yard and turned over a rubber water tank and inside all snug and dry was this beautiful and deadly spider. This is a Northern Black Widow. I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to have a picture for the blog. Barb has some good long lenses so she didn't have to get too close. This shiny black lady doesn't have just red on her belly but,

There are red spots on her back. This is one of the few spiders that Barb will take pictures of and then have me "deal with it". Most of the time when we find them inside Barb will gather the little buggers up with a jar and a piece of paper and shoo them outside. So far we haven't had black widows inside the house but I don't look nearly as close in the garage. There I just spray now and take no prisoners.

I want to make sure that you know that we have had the other kind of black widow spiders. When I brought the 1950 Ford home from California we had black widows for a couple of years. They seemed to like the frame and places that no one bothered. I finally "Black Flagged" the entire car and then we started having problems with pack rats. Oh well,...

When I am outside on the driveway, there is a motion detector that clicks when I walk by. It has a built in light meter and during the day the lights don't come on. Just as I came in from working on the dog pen, I noticed the lights are on and it is just past noon. There is another cold front to pass from the northwest and the weatherman is telling everyone to watch for quarter sized hail, lightning and heavy rain. The ground is soaked so any rain we get will add to the water in the streams and running over the road. Note: It got dark and sprinkled but in about 30 minutes was as light as if nothing happened. It sprinkled overnight but today is 70 and a light breeze.


Did Ja'

If you look close you can see one of the dogs in the lower right corner of this photo. (Directly in line with the left edge of the Webber grill lid.)

Did ja' ever have one of those days when you felt like doing a lot of nothing? Yesterday was a day that just didn't zing in my book. I didn't even unload the bike from the truck to make sure that it didn't get rained on. (I did check the weather channel) I left the mower and the chipper out on the driveway. There wasn't even a good marathon or some old program on TV. Barb went to work at Michael's and I sat at home most of the day and felt sorry for my sorry butt.

This morning I noticed that our female Black Lab was standing by the fence and barking. Normally Taco the big black slob is there watching but this time he was not there. I did see what I thought was a black blur in the driveway mirror. We have one of those big circles that allows you to see around the corner and there went a miniature Taco after the neighbor's dog "No Nuts". They neutered him to help him want to stay home. All it did was make his bark sound like one of those Italian "Castrates" in the choir. He bad a bark that sounds like he is about the size of a Chihuahua.

Our dog pen is from time to time electrified. Some of the time it is good to keep them penned up and other times the falling branches and green growing things short it out until it flips the GFI breaker. I am pretty careful to have a GFI breaker in the circuits that are in the garage or near water in any of the bathrooms. That did cause me some problem when the Fridge I had in the garage tripped the breaker where the freezer was when we were on vacation one year. That smell would gag a a maggot and you can't imagine finding a freezer full of stink greet you when you went out to get your first bowl of ice cream that first evening home.

I'll get some long pants on here soon and take the weed whacker out and clear around the fence. It might stay hot if I do that. If not, my father's day gift will be a new fence charger from TSC. (Tractor Supply Company) What do you get a man that has everything? what he needs at TSC. I'm sure that I'll also need a hand full (or is that hands full) of bolts n' such. They sell it by the pound and is about the best bargain in town.

Happy fathers day to all you fathers out there.



What Would You Do?

Yesterday at Dillon's Grocery Store, I went through the self service aisle. I only had one item that was on sale at $2.99. With tax it came to $3.17 (or so). I put 4 one dollar bills in the machine and it did not give me any change. It normally rolls out into a round plastic change area and the machine tells you to take your receipt and your change and have a good day. I looked around to get help from the girl normally watching the self service aisle and she had gone somewhere. A lady (Not connected to the store) came over and pointed to the chute and said my money was jammed in there and I should tap the machine and see if my money came out. I did just that and out came a slew of pennies and some change.

What would you do?

a. Smile, put the entire contents of the change bowl in your pocket and walk out of the store.

b. Wait until the clerk came back and make her count the change and only take what was your 83 cents.

c. Take your 83 cents and leave the rest.

No, I won't tell you what I did.


Recumbent Bike Riding

One of my faithful readers and often "commenter" asked about the difference in riding a recumbent and a regular bike. Just for the record the Bent riders call them "up-wrong" bikes not upright bikes because they have evolved into something that man is just not made to do. First of all, most backs need to be supported and the neck will eventually stiffen up if you look down all the time. If you needed to stand up and pedal, you could walk or jog and not bike. On a recumbent or bent, you have a real seat, your back is supported and you are looking straight ahead. OK, it does mean that you could get bugs in your teeth or goose poop on your face but hey, you can't have everything. You can put fenders on the bent and there are even wind screens for cold weather. But what fun is that?

Besides having a bike with a seat that doesn't turn your underwear into a thong, you use a different set of muscles on a bent. You are much more prone to set a steady pace of pedaling with the gears being used to make the difference as you ride. If it is too easy, you increase the gear size If it is too hard, you reduce the gear size. After a while you don't even think about pedaling harder, you just change the gears. I maintain a steady pace of pedaling and even with the hills and dales on our bike path I manage to stay on the middle of three on the front ring. When they finish the east side of the lake trail I'm sure that there is one or two places I will have to use the smallest ring in front. I have three front rings and 7 gears. That is 21 choices to find the perfect gear combination.

I don't know how many times lately that I have had to holler at a regular bike rider that I was straight ahead of him. They spend their time hunched over a handlebar leaning way forward and looking down. In fact, last year there was a collision on the the Lake Shawnee bike path where a very large man killed a woman bike rider because they were both looking down and just flat hit "head on". I can't imagine not looking where you are going.

No matter what you ride, there is one hazard you will face on any bike path. Other people! People think that they can walk four abreast without any consideration of other walkers or riders. There is also the new dog leashes where dogs can be reeled out 25 feet or so as you walk. Dogs are pack animals and are meant to be by the leader. To let them out on a 25 foot cord and allow them to run across the trail in front of bikes is stupid. I always say "Bike on your Left" as I get ready to pass people. I also will say "reel him in" to dog owners with the little dogs on the cords. There is just nothing you can say to the geese but make a hissing sound with your mouth closed. This time of year when there are gosling's out and about the mothers will even charge you as you go by.

Yesterday was the day everyone dreams about. The mid 80's, sunny, slight breeze of dry air from the north and no rain in sight. Today will be a repeat of that and I will try to get out and watch some of the Tinman Triathlon over at the lake.



Bike Across Kansas, fantasy Tour, Part 1

A month or so back, I participated in the "Walk Across Kansas" fitness campaign where teams reported their daily mileage and added it together to cross the State of Kansas. I am going to start the same trip on my recumbent and report my mileage weekly. This tour is fantasy so don't look for me out there on the road unless it is near Lake Shawnee here in Topeka.

My selected route is Highway US 36 which is approximately the Pony Express route taken in Kansas. My imaginary start point is the border of Kansas and Colorado on US 36 with an elevation of 3415 feet and I am headed East. The ride is fairly smooth with a slight headwind from the southeast. The temperature is in the mid 80's and after the front passed day before yesterday, the air is kind of dry. You can tell there has been a lot of weather activity a the ditches have water in them in places and you can hear bullfrogs even while riding.

The Highway is about as straight east as you can imagine until you arrive in the town of St.Francis 13 miles into the trip. This is the county seat of Cheyenne County. You pass the Republican river on the west edge of town and according to the locals in 1935 a flood on the Republican about wiped the area clean of houses and people. On the South side of the town is the Airport and the elevation is reported at 3411. Woo Hoo, a drop of four feet in 13 miles. Its all downhill from here. According to the Indian legend, the buffalo in the area would cross this river and eat along the banks. When the herds were moving, the water would be so foul with manure it was also known as the shit river. There was an old Indian trick that if you dug a hole in the middle of a sandbar the sand would strain the water and you could drink it. Lord have mercy on you if you tried to drink it straight out of the river.

Another 14 miles and you hit Bird City and another airport. Crop dusters. 11 more miles and the big metropolis of McDonald pops up with its grain elevator out here by the train tracks. No, there is no Golden Arches here. Just north of town the Airport is listed at 3340 feet so the elevation is just over 20 miles is down about 80 feet.

Another 17 miles and we move into the town made famous for having Little Beaver and Beaver creek meet. 57 miles from the border is Atwood where our former Governor and current head of Parks and Parties, John Michael (Mike) Hayden was born. You know the kind of guy he is, typical Kansan with a chaw and a drawl. Good Old boy.

So far, you can tell the miles by the intersection of a road almost every mile. In most of Kansas the surveyors laid the State in one mile squares and unless there is a river or stream there is a road out here. They raise K-State students and wheat. There are a few crop circles of corn but for the most part there is miles and miles of wheat.

So far in this number of miles there has been no problems with the blue racer. She is fast and easy to ride. I think my legs will get the hang of this pretty quick and I seem to be doing fine. Of course, I am really riding only about 10 miles a day not the 45 to 50 I would be if honestly trying to ride across Kansas. I will close here in Atwood for Part 1 and ride on next week.



These are some of the things I hear here in the heartland that I love:

Its as purdy as a speckled hen.

Like grease through a goose.

Mak'in stuff up.

Difference between getting what you want and wanting what you have.

Fair! If the word County doesn't precede that word, there is just no such thing.

Money. Income must be equal to or exceed outgo!

If you are in the hole, stop diggin'.

Only two ways to get out of debt. Start earning more or spending less.

Life is Blood, Sweat and tears; 'n joy, 'n happiness, 'n swimmin','n hugs, 'n BBQ, 'n taxes and death. The beauty of life is that the list is what ever you add to the list.

Never say "always" or "never" about anything. So There!


Rabbit Run Views

When you walk out the front door here at Rabbit Run, you are facing west. What you see from the front door is the jungle that is typical of the hardwood forest normally found 100 miles east and south from here. We are in the transition zone between the hardwood forest and the short grass prairie. This is mostly for Coffee Bean who lives in Colorado where they don't get near as much rain. Even if there is no food pictures, two dogs can look. I do want to see pictures of 1st LT Bean.

You will have to be careful of the wildlife (don't step on the front porch kitty) He thinks I am going to feed him so he got up to follow me around to his dish on the patio. Normally he wouldn't even look up.

If you walk away from the front porch and turn around you will see the rock that Barb picked out to cover the front.

Continue walking away from the porch on the west side of the house you are headed north past Barb's small garden by the front walk. As you can see, I try to keep some area on the west side mowed and the sticks picked up. (Fire hazard abatement. This is the small garden with the lilies shown later)

In the driveway is the big boy's toy full of big boys' toys. I just bought a second hand chipper shredder to help make mulch out of the piles of sticks caused by all the storms we have had here in the area this year. It started with an ice storm early and then the wind started to blow the dead branches down. That's my 53, five window with a new door and fender.

As you walk across the driveway you turn south onto Barb's patio/plant farm. Anything and everything that can hold plants does. Yes, we left a tree growing up out of the middle of the patio. I would have cut that sucker down but the Master Gardner wanted a little shade.

Continuing south from the Patio you will walk up some steps to the deck that runs around the east side of the house. Looks a lot like the west side but I don't mow it. from the deck to the ground it is at least 8 feet here.

On the South side you are closer to 12 to 15 feet above the ground and can see the path to the south. There is a creek down there that has had running water for a month and ran bank full yesterday. Another two or three inches fell after the ground was soggy.

Barb has planted a lot of Native plants but has a soft spot for some of the non-native plants. Here are some day lilies and some Asiatic lilies. I have a picture of the front porch cat here in the sun waiting for me to feed him again but I will skip it for now.

This post took me about 30 minutes to put together because Barb read my last post and we had to discuss and cuss it. Needless to say in spite of my presenting historical precedents and rules of law she thinks I am wrong and everyone in the world should have the rights we do. The big difference is should and do.

Happy Triscadecaphobia to all of you out there. I normally would go to Barb's class at Tecumseh South and write this on the board. Now that she is retired I guess I'll just have to say it to you. (That is fear of the number 13, especially when it falls on Friday)


US Citizen's Rights!

Hello! Hello! does anyone have any idea what it cost the United States to have the rights we have? How many dollars and lives did we spend to bestow our rights on the citizens? Free speech, right to remain silent, right to assemble, right to redress grievances in the court, Habeas Corpus. Then there are the Bill of Rights our founders addressed when they realized the inadequacies in the Constitution.

How come so many people want to bestow these rights on citizens of other countries and especially to those undeclared warriors in Gitmo? That is the name for Guantanamo, which is the base in Cuba. Soldiers have rights by the Geneva Convention, but it sure as hell says you can't strap on bombs and blow up civilians so we all know they don't think that it applies to them. I know it feels right for us to have rights and Freedoms but don't take those feelings to the rest of the world. Those people haven't got the same rights as we do. If they want the same rights, let them bleed for their country and obtain them the hard way.

In fact, look no further north than Canada to see horrible cases of the right of free speech trampled over because they think that by living next door to us they will somehow have those rights by association, geographic location or osmosis. One of the columns I read is always want us to write to some foreign government to get someone out of hot water because he used our "rights" as a guide and got busted.

OK, enough political stuff. When those people that fight for our rights finally say screw this, you go defend your own dam rights, don't look for me to come to your aid.



Just Dodged another Storm

Between 6:45 and about 7:45 another big train of storms that started near Wichita and ran up through St Joseph, MO. Draw a line along the Kansas Turnpike and that was the area that got an average of two inches of new rain. Remember when I said it was a soggy bog in my earlier post? Yep, flash floods cross the roads in a lot of places. Barb wants to wait another 15 minutes or so before we take out daughter-in-law home to give the water a chance to abate.

Does anyone have any idea what a cubit is in case I have to start building my Ark?


J'st For The Record

The year we bought Rabbit Run, it was so dry that I hired a guy with a post hole digger on his tractor to put in the corner posts and the line posts every 50 Feet. That ground was darned dry and tough. Today, Barb ad I walked out on one of the paths and the ground is soggy. If I was to dig holes today, I would have to come back and drain water out of them. We also got 3/4 of an inch of new moisture yesterday and last night. Dang, the green stuff is takin' over.


Vote for Who?

Before you all get your panties in a bunch, lets wait and see who these two pick as their running mates before we all rush out and write in someone we really don't want. The real truth is that neither one has had the courage to discuss the problems of the USA right now and a good plan to fix the problems.

I apologize that these pictures aren't the same size but it was the only way I could get them to post with McCain on the right.
Barb says I am biased that way and make up stuff anyway.

I feel a rant today and there are a couple of things I want to say about the Presidential race and some of the problems of today.
First of all, let me remind you that we use 20,000,000 (That is 20 Million) barrels of oil each day in the USA. We are currently pumping 8 million out of the ground here and importing the other 12 million. Don't let anyone tell you that we could drill our way out of this mess in short order. If Anwar (That Alaska Oil Field) was up and running it would provide about a million barrels. If the shale oil was in process it probably would be another million. If we had all the offshore drilling allowed it probably would be another couple of million barrels. That would leave us about 8 million barrels short of our hoggish ways. We need to get to cracking on alternatives and I don't care if chicken and hogs do go up another dollar a pound to lower the gas prices. (If you make fuel out of the corn you can't feed it to the animals at the same low cost as we had in the past) Electric cars for a lot of the commuting and a good easy trailer rental place is needed. I damn sure want our farmers to get some of the $ for a change.

Solutions are all around us and we continue to complain and not fix. That is what pisses me off about the current Presidential race. I don't give a good #$% damn who was or is Barry's friends and I don't care how many million John's wife makes off drunks in Arizona. What the hell are they going to do to fix the problems. If it includes me paying a lot more in taxes, count me out. If it includes me having to do things different to save our way of life, where do I sign up?

Change is coming, just what that means is yet to be seen.



The Enemy is US!

Today on the O'Rilley program I heard a ridiculous discussion about how the Librarian Association is advocating all the books that contain things parents don't want and this is the reason for the decline in morals in our children. This all followed from the New Jersey case where 20 young girls exposed their breasts and were photographed and the pictures published

As parents we need to stand up and be responsible for what our children see, read and hear. You cannot expect our children to act responsible when we have cable TV with full nudity and simulated sex acts available for the kids to see. If the parents don't select what the kids can see when they surf the net on their computer, don't be surprised if they see it all in its nakedness.

Parents can't divorce their responsibility to teach morals to the children to our schools. In the era of political correctness teachers can't possibly discuss things in the frankness and detail our children need to hear. If you wonder what your kids are thinking, doing and planning, it is your job to TALK to them.

Was I a perfect parent? Hell no, but I sure as heck won't say that the schools failed me or anyone else.


No 'Matoes or 'Nadoes Need Apply

Yesterday was a strange day in a strange week in a strange month here in the Heartland. It started out sunny and a little cool. Wasn't supposed to storm, even a little bit. Got in 8 miles on the recumbent at the lake and about 6 hours on the mowers at all the places and about dusk it got dark early. There was some rough weather west of town and the clouds that should have gone on north seemed to change direction and come over our way. Strangest thing, is that set of clouds didn't drop s sprinkle here. About Midnight, another set of rolling storms came through and gave us at least another 1/2 inch.

Looking to the west, you can see that there was a couple of hours of sunlight normally left in the sky. Got so dark that the Nikon lifted its little flash and snapped a flash at the sky when this one got taken. Stupid camera. Might have been nice if there had been people up close to see but it was just lost in the glory of a Kansas cloudy sky.

OK, Truth time, Barb took these pictures. After the riding, putting a new tire on her bike and driving the mowers for 6 hours I was by this time asleep on the couch. A good shower, a fan and low light and I turn into Dagwood and his horizontal resting position. (With loud sound effects added)

I sure hope they get this tomato deal fixed soon. What good is eating at a Mexican restaurant without salsa. A BLT is just a BL without that red fruit of the gods.

Another stormy day predicted. I better go out and batten down the hatches.



How Does Your Garden Grow?

A lot of mornings I go out to get the paper at "First Light" and because he is also old, the neighbor is often out fetching his paper. We stopped and talked about gardens and I mentioned our one tomato that is red. His goal is to have some by the Fourth of July. I admitted that we cheated and bought one plant with some setting on the plant when we bought it. This is one of the squash blossoms that I am hoping to start harvesting near the end of the month. I love to take yellow or zucchini squash and cook them in the microwave. Start with about a tablespoon of onion, one strip of bacon cut into one inch pieces and nuke them for a minute or two. Then cut up one or two zucchini and add them to the onion & bacon pan. Cook them for another four minutes. Stir that all together with a little seasoned salt and man is that some good eating.

This is one of the peppers (probably a JalapeƱo) that is set on. I think my genes have some Mexican of Cajun blood because I love these guys in about every way. Raw, cooked, stuffed and just eaten.

We do have some tomatoes setting on that were from the plant that had none when we brought them home. Our Black Walnut trees have kept us out of the tomato business until this year Barb insisted on having a garden out in the field where the leaves and roots of the trees don't reach. Yes, I also had to fence the garden because of the critters. If I can keep the wild turkeys off the grapes I could have some of them too.

This is some more green tomatoes with blossoms ready to set new tomatoes. In the past we could have great plants, they just didn't set tomatoes.

This is the cheat plant that had green tomatoes set on it when we bought it. Barb picked the red one today because it had some funny brown spots and a split on it. I'll bet we eat it with some bacon as BLT's tonight.

I didn't get any pictures of the peaches, pears and apples that are setting on the trees. (Barb didn't take any pictures of them) They seem to be growing well and this year we are actively spraying them to see if we can get anything edible. We have done well with our Asian Pears because they have a tough skin but this year we hope to eat some apples. Never had a peach, yet.

Hope your garden is growing and you can eat some great food this year. See, that Master Gardner course that Barb took wasn't a waste after all.



2008 HOT ROD Power tour

Today, the Hot Rod Power Tour 2008 stopped at Forbes Field south of Topeka. They had driven in from Springfield, MO last night and Little Rock the day before. There were probably 200 cars with the tour and another 100 "day Trippers from the local area.

I love this car except for why would anyone paint it pink?

Is this one of the last street capable Vegas? It went by quiet and straight. No smoke and nothing fell off.

You should hear this little truck go by. It was as loud as it was cute.
What would a car show be with out a 57 Chevy? I'll bet it is a 900 point car in a Chevy show.

I took this picture because it reminded me of Kenny's bus when he came through Kansas. This bus has a 454 Chevy engine with a blower. The inside was pretty much done with a nice tan material.

One of the guys in the row of vehicles had an Edelbrock Carb on his engine and I said to him, "You are having trouble with your idle aren't you?" He said he damn sure was and it was driving him crazy. I noticed that the little rubber boot on his constant vacuum side was cracked and I had spent hours trying to figure out what was wrong with my truck. I showed him that the rubber was cracked and when it got hot it would expand and let air in. I was glad to help out a fellow rodder. Almost all of the people there loved to visit about their cars and I got to talk with a lot of them.

This was a fun day but a lot of walking from where I parked to where the cars were. Should have taken the bent with me.