Is August Over - Already?

Seems like my birthday was just yesterday and now it is the 30th.  I guess time flies when you are having fun.  Let's see if I can remember a few more of my Dad's sayings to start the day...
  • ALL Hands on Deck.  I'm sure that this was something he got in the Navy.  He never served on a ship so to him it meant that everyone had to drag their tired butts out of bed.
  • Pack Your Bags.   If my dad decided that a quick trip to Arkansas was needed over the weekend, he would reach under the sink and pass out grocery sacks.  In 10 minutes, he would be in the car and what you had with you was what you wore for the weekend.  Most of the time, Mom nor Dad checked to see what you brought.  
  • Virginia, can you put some ice in my tea, or Can you put some tea in my ice?  dad's meds made his mouth dry and he tried to keep a glass of tea nearby.  Mom was from the generation that would keep him in style. 
Barb just asked if we need to go riding.  Weather report is light rain.  Not so much right here but soon.



To me, it is funny what memories pop into my head when I have thoughts of family members.  Do you think I would remember that my mother was at one time a very good cook?  No, I remember that she would put a roast in the oven and go off to church and we ate what was not cremated beyond description when she got home.  One of her favorite sayings was. "I cooked it, I don't have to name it."  She was famous for her cooking an entire dinner in one pan and often the results were amazing.  Barb is fond of saying, "Your mother would be proud." when I put together a meal in the same manner.  Pork chops in Spanish rice with green beans is an example of a one-dish meal I love.  Yes, the obvious ham and beans dinner with a side of cornbread is another.  Mom always used white navy Beans and I would much rather have pinto beans.  My dad would often look at one of the conglomerations and say, "Looks like the dog got sick."  

Mom and dad at Carol's house.

I read this morning that one of my friends lost his mother over the weekend and I was flooded with thoughts of Mom.  I often say that I was blessed that both my wife and mother loved me and they liked each other.  For a good part of her last years, Mom lived near us and I would go over and see her regularly.  I did all her shopping and ran errands for her.  My brother got to share the last couple of years with Mom and I'm pretty sure that he enjoyed her as I did.  There is a little oil royalty money coming in and every time a check is spent I think about how Mom would want me to spend it on other people.  

The days are getting a little shorter and the morning temps here in the Heartland are getting cooler.  Not long back we would ride early to avoid the heat and soon we will wait until later on in the day so it will be warmer.  It is never perfect, well... A couple of times each year it is but what's a little sweat when you are having fun.  Much rather drip a little sweat than have to wear a coat and try to keep the body the right temp.

You don't see the turtle I was looking at

Better Run - Pears to pick and perhaps circles with pedals to make.



Things to do in Topeka

This is not an inspirational or motivational blog.  It is just a few of the things we have done here and nearby lately. When our Zoo isn't trying to par-boil a hippo they really have worked hard to make the zoo a great place to visit.  The other night they had a grand opening of the wild dog exhibit and to get in you had to have a Fiends of the Zoo membership.  The good news is that they had the $50.00 membership discounted to $30.00.  Nice evening and it is always fun to see the new stuff. 

Barb and I ride our bikes a lot.  We rode to the east end of the Shunga Trail that is newly completed.  That will make the Shunga Trail about 7 miles long and if you park at one end and ride to the other it is a nice workout.  We have ridden mostly on cement trails and because we are working on getting ready to ride the KATY trail in Missouri (Not all of it, just the first 10 miles out and back) we rode the Landon trail.  It is an old rail bed trail and typical of what we expect on the KATY.   We went out about 9 miles on that trail and it was pretty neat.  It needs some minor work after the wind storm last week.  

From Brown vs Board of Education bldg here in Topeka, you will by the end of next year ride about half of the way on concrete and the rest on gravel from downtown Topeka to Berryton.  That is about 10 miles.  Can't wait for that to all be completed.   

The Brown Vs Board of Education Museum & Park is an interesting look see into the integration of the United States.  The short issue for Topeka to be proud of is Topeka was selected by the NAACP for the court case to integrate the schools because if the fact that a lot of kids lived in integrated neighborhoods and had to go out of their way to go to a segregated school.  Topeka was a lot more relaxed about the issue of integration and being a State Capitol they could probably get pretty good news coverage of the trial.  Separate but equal just didn't make sense here and it fairly easily won the Federal Court case here. 

I don't know what you do for fun but family dinners come to mind as one of our favorite things.

Austen with my camera
Kyler with Barb's Camera
Barb with her camera

 I get to sit on the couch and watch all the clicking.
MUD & Barb Jr.



Poison Ivy

When I cut down the trees behind the house, there were a lot of vines on the tree.  I guess one must have been poison ivy and I got it on my arms.  The good news is that so far it hasn't caused me a lot of skin damage but the itch drives me crazy.  I really clip my fingernails short so I don't scratch the skin deep but I do find myself rubbing the red skin and I'm pretty sure that it keeps the skin irritated.   yes, I know - DON"T DO THAT!

African Wild dog
Last night, Barb and I went to the zoo to see the new African wild dogs that are new to the zoo.  It was a beautiful evening and we loved the wild animals and all the little kids.   We are now "Friends of the zoo" and hopefully it will let us in some of the zoo's in our travels.  Because it is near the end of the year, the FOTZ card is discounted but nothing was said if it is an annual fee or lifetime.  We have a National Park pass that was a one time fee and well worth the senior citizen discount.  

Old Momma Lion watching the new dogs

Every year, I watch my horoscope work its way up to the top spot on the page.  I read it but I don't place a lot of stock in what it says.  As the summer ends, my horoscope falls to last place and that is my notice that fall is near.  I also notice that the spiders outside are getting real aggressive about putting up large webs to trap insects for their egg nests.  I don't mind the spiders but I hate driving my tractor and hitting one of those webs that coat you face with sticky strands.  This time of year we walk the paths here with a wand to wave at the webs to make the webs disappear.  

Yesterday on the radio I heard a cute story about hurricane season.  A policeman drove through a neighborhood about to be hit by a hurricane.  He told everyone to evacuate.  One old man said "God will Save Me."  A little later on after a levee broke they sent a boat to check on the old man.  He was sitting on his porch up to his waist in water and he again said "God will save me."  After the other levee broke they sent a helicopter to lower a rope and the man who was on his roof again said, "God will save me."  The old man drowned and went to the pearly gates.  He said to Saint Peter, "God didn't save me!"   Saint peter just shook his head and said, "God sent you a policeman, a boat and a helicopter, some times you just have to listen and help yourself."   



'Splain it to me!

Yesterday I went to WalMart to seek out some lotion for the itch I have on my arms.  There was a combination anti itch medication that was a combination of Calamine lotion and an anti itch.  It was over $5.00.  A simple bottle of calamine lotion was $1.27 and the anti itch stuff was $2.39.  Why on gods green earth would you pay a $2.00 penalty to have them mix it one bottle?  You also only got about half as much that way.  I guess we are spoiled that way.  Have you also noticed that products that have "No Sugar added" are also more?  I guess I am just not the one to make sense of such things.

Yesterday barb and I went out on the bike path and found a whole new section down by the Shunga creek.  The city has expanded the path on east of the old part and the couple I met said they will soon have the path around the city.    We were getting a little tired of the west side of the lake Shawnee bike path.  I am really tired of the nuts hulls the squirrels are putting all over the path.

When was the last time you had a taco pizza?  We had one last night and I found it interesting but not as good as the one by Godfather's.  I would rather have a meat pizza or the supreme with the meat and some onions, peppers and olives. 

The cool weather is here again this morning and I really should get out and cut up that downed tree behind the house.  I thought it was cool that I got it to drop right where I wanted but somehow it just hasn't cut its self up yet. 

Better get cracking.



Cool Front has Passed Through

It is a cool 60 this morning and I'm glad.  It got up to almost 100 yesterday and it sure felt way too hot about noon.  Perhaps Barb will want to go for a ride today.  The tree I cut down yesterday can wait until later on.  My cousin has a painting on exhibition at the Brown Vs Board of Education bldg and there is a trail nearby.  Quietly the City of Topeka is turning into a bike friendly place.  There is 8 miles around Lake Shawnee, a trail along the Shunga at least that long and a rails to Trails segment north to south.  We have high hopes that some day they will all interconnect but I will keep the Pick-up truck to get to where we want to ride.

Yesterday, Barb did her annual take the cats to school trip.  Her old school loves to have monarch eggs, cats and chrysalis's in their classrooms to show the kids the life cycle.  Some year we will make a journey to the hills above Mexico city to visit them there as they overwinter.  I hope for all the people of Mexico that they can find a way to stop the gang violence.  Probably won't get that done until USA stops some of the drug usage that is fueling the violence.  No, I don't even have a beginning of an answer to that.  I'm not sure we even know the question to ask about that.
The Sunflowers are blooming in the yard.

The daughter of my cousin Kathy was married sometime in the recent past.  I was amazed at the diversity of the group at her wedding.  I'm sure they didn't challenge the norms, they just did what they always do.  In the pictures, the bride shed her shoes as quick as she could and had a pretty smile on her face for the rest of the time.  At the reception they sang the song about the Plastic Jesus on the Dashboard of their car.  I would have loved to have been there to sing with them. 

Barefoot Reception
 Our friends from Morocco have returned home for the winter there.  They are both teaching school this year and I hope that doesn't cut down on their postings on their blog and Facebook.  I know they have a good time here visiting all their relatives and friends.   After meeting Gerald's brother, I can understand that they are a pretty darned nice group.  

My arm itches  this morning.  I wonder if I got into some poison ivy cutting the tree down yesterday.    I will go in and put some salve on it in a little bit.  No big deal but I do find myself scratching .  Oh well



'Nother Day, 'Nother Tree

This morning I checked the tree that was blocking the satellite signal and cut it down.  I cut up half of it and put the pieces in the wood pile.  I left half on the ground where it fell.  I will get up tomorrow and move that half.  It was way more work than I wanted to do all in one day.  In fact, I may crawl up the ladder and see if the other tree is blocking the signal.  I hate to cut all the trees down to the south of the house because they provide shade.  Lets see, shade or satellite signal?  get the chain saw boys, I'm cutting that bugger down.
My uncle Warren, Mattie and Elizabeth at her wedding
Since my mom passed, we don't hear from the Denver group much.  The picture above appeared on Facebook or we wouldn't have known anything.  I still don't know when or where the wedding happened.  The bride looks like her mother, Kathy. 

The weather here in the heartland went back into the 100's yesterday and today it will be in the mid 90's with a pretty high humidity.  I quit work outside about 11 AM.  I will go and shower off the sawdust soon.

Barb is up at her old school delivering Monarch eggs, cats and chrysalis's.  He friends there love to show the kids what the life cycle of the monarch is like.  Did I mention she is also delivering cup cakes?  I think she even has a bag of school supplies to take to Tecumseh North School.   Such a sweetheart.  You all know the old saying.  You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but she never loses her class.  

I love this picture



Just Another Day in Paradise

Yesterday I rode hard and then came home and cut down trees until I was just too tired to move.  I call it one of those days I was rode hard and put away wet.  This morning to stretch out a little, I didn't balk when Barb asked if I wanted to get out on the bike trail again.  We rode just a little over 6 miles today at a fairly leisurely pace.  During school and on weekdays the paths are pretty empty and we can just cruise along with out the normal people and dogs.  I think it is the dogs that worry me the most.  They are always excited to see a bike go by and some owners will let them lunge rather than shorten the leash.  Probably the worst is those little itty bitty dogs on those retractable leashes.  The owners think that just having them on a 30 foot string is control enough.  I will holler "Reel 'em in." and sometimes that works.  

As son as I finish here, I am going to get cleaned up and go get a haircut.  Might even see if the latest season of Dexter is available at WalMart.  Old taco could use a bag of Old Roy also.  I have him on half rations in the summer time and hope he will continue to cut down his weight.  Oh well, he doesn't have to be skinny to impress anyone.  

Biker Dennis early in the year

The Monarch's are coming back through and Barb is collecting eggs, small cats and releasing adults. She will take a bunch to her old school tomorrow.
If I had to tell you what the ideal life would be, it wouldn't be a whole lot different than what my life is right now.  I can ride when we want, eat what we want and go anywhere we want.  Barb has a lot of good books from the library and a lot of the family is nearby.  This weekend was a great time for all.  The thing we miss is my brother Rick who hasn't been up to traveling a lot because of his back.  Now that he has had surgery I hope he can come up more often.  Perhaps Christmas would be a good time for a visit.  Both of his daughters were down in Oklahoma until just recently.  Now one is in Wichita and the other is in Rogers, Arkansas.  

Oh well, enough of this - On with the day.



Traveling Trophy

This weekend we had a family gathering in Kansas City.  Our host, Dan, cooked some pulled pork and smoked some ribs.  The rest of the family all made their specialty and there was some mighty fine eating there.  I took some thick sliced, peppered bacon and smoked it.  I then put it on toast with some tomatoes that were made a little Mexican with some mango and cilantro.  It was my version of a cross between a baguette and a a BLT.  Just after I sat up my little grill to toast the bread, Jenn arrived with some pesto that was just a killer on the toast. Dan's wife Carrie, made a traveling Petty cookout trophy and Dan won for his ribs.  I think he would have won for his pork sliders if he had just a little slaw to put on them.   Janet had a killer cucumber dip and Jenn made a sorbet out of real cherries that was in the trophy hunt.  

This is Barb in Utah but seeing her with her camera is pretty normal

The best part of the weekend was the gathering together of family members and sharing the stories.  We have always enjoyed the stories part and the fact that we are spreading out just makes the stories even better.  Dan & Carries' sons are about to head back to Saint Louis to go to college again.  The oldest is a senior and the other one is a sophomore.  There was a lot of talk about where to live once college is over.  I think San Antonio is one of the favorite towns of all but we think Dallas/FW is a place with a lot of opportunities.  Once the real estate market settles down California might again be a good place to consider.  Me, I think right here is pretty fine.

On Friday night, Austen and Kyler got to come over and we laughed for hours.  We played silly games and ate lots of good food.  They are back in school full time on Monday and they are ready for another great year.  They recounted their trip to Vegas this summer and all the neat places they got to see.  Sandy and Larry Parks always take them to neat places.  I am sure that it is getting a little harder to find new places all the time but they seem to know what the boys like.  

Better run, time for a bike ride.



Something to Do.

This morning I woke up bright and early and wondered out loud what it was I thought worth doing this early in the day.  The usual suspects of making a pot of coffee, fetching the paper and hickory smoking some bacon came to mind.  Say What?   Yes, I know that unless you have time and extra hickory that seems like something not worth the effort.   We had some Bruschetta at an Italian restaurant the other day and while it was nice, I wondered what I could do to spice it up a little.   Anything with hickory smoked, thick sliced, peppered bacon added has to be better.  Sam's Club had the bacon and it sure works nice into a meal. I smoked the bacon on the Weber with some of the great Hickory wood from here on Rabbit Run farm. Lots of smoke and indirect heat makes for some tasty bacon.  I am going to try for the traveling cooking trophy at a family gathering tomorrow.   I also cooked Barb a couple of chicken breasts for her wild rice salad.  Now I need to go shower off that wonderful bacon and hickory smoke smell.  I make myself hungry.

Evening shoot in North Zion Park
 This morning the local TV channels said there are flood warnings out for parts of NE Kansas.  We went from dry 100 degree days to something like a Monsoon.  There was even 60-70 MPH winds with the latest round and a lot of us lost our electricity for a few hours. 

Better get my act together and on with the day



Thought for the day

I picked up this book by my computer and turned to page 9
The caption says MUD  

Works for me.



Life 101

There are a few more things I want to add to the series I called life 101.   These are the kind of thing I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about.  here Goes:
  • My mother never said life was fair.  She said it was full of people that will want you to do all sorts of things and a lot of them are more than my share of work.  If life were easy, anyone could do any job and no one would be worth a little extra money because the job is hard. 
  • I am reminded almost daily that people do stupid things to make a little extra money.  Again, look at the options and if something looks too easy, it probably is a sham, a fake or a rip off.  
  • Marriage is something that needs to be considered carefully.  In a lot of states, once you marry, all the debts of both parties can be considered joint debts.  Remember that the Judge is the one at the end of the marriage that will make the decision on who owes what.  It would be perfect if everyone only took out of a marriage what they brought in and their share of what jointly was  incurred during the marriage.  Don't forget that the money maker may get the job of paying the lawyer for both parties.  If you have questions, see the first bullet above.
  • It has been our experience that if you are asked by a relative to loan them money, do it only if you are able to walk away from the deal and not be in your own hole.  If you get your money back, celebrate.  If not, move on with life.  Consider it a gift and repayment is optional.  Listen to the Money talks program and see if most deals with a friend or relative end well. Dave calls these kind of deals a "Stupid Tax." I think you will find that for the most part you are the source of last resort and the risk is always higher.  Besides, is it worth a few dollars to ruin what you think of another person?  Not to me.
  • I learned too late in life that education and learning need to continue throughout life.  Like all investments, you need to look at the cost vs. the benefit.  Unless you are in the top 10% of your class, a degree from a State University is as good as any Ivy League school.  Get as many hours at a junior college as you can and then move on to the high priced spread.   Schools in Major cities are often a lot more flexible in when you can get your classes.    In most cases, a degree is just a filter to select people for a job, not the final criteria.  
  • Yesterday I wanted to buy an electric start mower.  I went out to the Honda dealer and man did I get a shock.  Their basic mower was over $400.00.  The options and cost just kept getting higher.The electric start mower was $899.00  Then the guy told me that there is a $25.00 administrative fee  to put it together and do the paperwork.  Thanks, but no thanks to your "no end of season" discount.  Next to the Big Box Store Lowe's.  Their almost top of the line self start, self propelled Troy Built mower was only $417.00 with tax and a three year warranty.  Guess what I bought? 
  • I smoked for years.  I found a great pipe tobacco and never considered the cost or the impact.  I quit and found that life was a lot more simple when you don't have to carry a lighter, a pipe, a tobacco pouch etc....    I decided that I would get a cigar for my birthday as my gift to myself.  I didn't find a good store until yesterday when I was out and about.  I bought a great cigar and found that about half way through smoking it, I got dizzy and it gave me the hick-ups.  I finally had to brush my teeth and use a mouth wash to get the taste out of my mouth.  This morning when I work up that taste was back with a vengeance. Perhaps that is one of those things I might put on my reverse bucket list.  Been there, won't do it again.
Crows are a lot easier to look at than eat.



A KC man is on trial in Osage City for the murder of his mother-in-law, his wife and his two daughters.  His lawyer in the opening remarks said the man was suffering from temporary insanity.  Yes, that is called the emotion of hate.  Hate is blaming someone else or group for you problems and thinking or reacting to that hate with foul play.   It is your internal emotion driven reaction and seldom changes the reality of life.  We think that people hating the United States must be crazy but is it a mental illness?  Hell no, it is common hate and comes from the dark recesses that we all have.  It is the lack of maturity to accept change and move on that separates us from the Charles Whitman in the University of Texas Tower shooting people as they go by. The guy mentioned above took a rifle to Osage City and in cold blood shot and killed four people.  He did not shoot his son and when the police arrived took statements from the wife and one daughter as they lay dieing on the floor.  It was premeditated hate that caused him to do that.  In most cases, I would apply the mad dog law on that individual.  If more than two people saw you do something so bad, they should just take you out behind the police station and execute you like the mad dog you are.  See, I too can hate without being crazy - I hope that's the case. 

I have no thoughts that  lead me to believe that even the most peaceful mother would not shoot someone to prevent hurt from being put on their children.  Most of trained by the military were taught to load, aim and shoot in a manner that precludes flinching.  That is the action without internalizing the feeling of the person we are shooting at.  Don't ever ask why a policeman or military member shot and killed someone who drew down on them.  There is a reaction not a thought that drives it.  Insanity?  I think not, it is action not reaction in most cases.  It helps us to sleep at night if we can also learn to hate the individuals that we shot at.  Shoot at me, and you had better be a good shot.  I'll shoot back.

It is a horrible thought that man can be so inhumane to his fellow man.  Stop and read history and you can see it from almost every society in history.  The Germans said they were just following orders in WWII.  The Japanese said it was their code to not respect their captured enemy.  We fire bombed cities and inflicted casualties on hundred of thousands of civilians.  There is no end of the despicable things the English heaped on their colonies throughout history.  On and on, man killed man and a lot of it was driven by hate.  I am not sure what thought or emotion would ever lead a Stalin like person to allow thousands of people starve in the name of a ideological thought.  Perhaps not loving his fellow man is a kind of hate.

The trial underway in Osage County would have rested the prosecution part of the trial if it I had been in charge.  The son as a witness, and the tape recorded statements of the dieing family would have been all I would have presented.  I pray that someone doesn't go on trying to further prove the case and make a mistake that excuses the guy from the responsibility of what he did.  I think the case of OJ was over proved and the defense got to shoot so many holes in all the data that the jury just didn't know what to do.  Anyone that doesn't know that a leather glove dipped in the blood of the victim will shrink should have the saying "If they don't fit. you must acquit" tattooed someplace where they can see it daily.

Oh well, I really am not in a bad mood or depressed today, I think every once in a while I just have to point out insanity, wait, that's crazy not hate.  Crap here I am over-proving my point.....

I will leave you with this last thought for the day:  One President, One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, , and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems  that plague this country.   Blaming the past, or other people doesn't solve our problems.  These people better step up and work on the problem or perhaps we will realize they are the problem not the solution. lead, Follow or get the hell out of the way!

Today I bought my Birthday cigar.  It made me dizzy and gave me the hick-ups.  Not a good thing for an expensive cigar.



Why I Shop at WalMart!

These points are all that I could think of right here and now.  I'm sure there are more but that's all for now folks:
  • I love to buy and hate to shop.  I go one place where I can buy almost everything.  I enjoy walking around in the Big Box store to get my exercise as I shop.
  • My dog loves to eat Old Roy dog food and he doesn't eat the other stuff as well.  Read the bag, it is the same stuff as comes in the high priced stuff.  How refined is Crude Protein anyway.
  • Did I mention that I love people and people watching?  I share a smile and a howdy with people I meet and most of the time I get one back.
  • The Walton Foundation is building Crystal Bridges in Bentonville.  It is an American Art museum and I am looking forward to seeing it when it opens this fall.  It is a beautiful building set in a beautiful setting and on of my friends is helping build it. 
  • When we travel, we use the WalMart stores as places to stop and get out of the car for a while.  The generally have clean restrooms, sell bottled water and travel snacks.  I have never had anyone say a bad word about us as we walk around the store to stretch our legs.  They place their stores near the Interstates and are generally easy to get to.  
  • One of my friends is the greeter at the nearby WalMart.  I love to stop by and say Hi to him.  He lost his wife a few years back and he greets people with a smile and sincere desire to make their shopping there good.  He is probably one person that knows the store better than I do. 
If this one thing makes me bad, I will wear that label gladly.  If you don't like the place, don't tell me, don't shop there. 

I have the urge to travel and see new places




I don't know why I even bother with knowing what day it is.  In retirement things are a lot like the same day after day.   It is a lot less crowded when we do things on Monday, but I don't hate people so crowds are generally not a big problem for me.  In fact, I look for check out lines where there is a kid in the cart and then I have someone to talk to.  Most of the time this goes OK for me but on occasion it hasn't been as successful.
Hot and dry is over for a while, we hope!

Yesterday I went to WalMart and met the poster child for the "People of WalMart" series.  This guy looked like he just got off work at the charcoal plant and his T-shirt had more holes than solid parts.  The really strange part was the grin  on his face like he was dressed up for the senior prom.  He was with a female partner and she walked ahead of him like she didn't want people to know they were together.  I always wonder if that's the best he can do or if that is like his weekend costume.  

The other day I was checking my lottery tickets to see if I had won the 220 million dollars but again, the elusive victory over poor eluded me.   It is fun to think about what I would do if we win but in reality I know it is a poor risk.  Another lady was checking what looked like $50.00 worth of different tickets and I asked her what she would do if she had won.  She immediately replied that 50% would get invested right damn now.   I asked her just where she thought was a good place to do that?  GOLD was her answer.  I fear that just about the time I would do that, the ship would have sailed.  Barb always says that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.   

I need to work on getting some pictures ready for more posts.  See you later.



Giggles and a Good Time

Yesterday evening we had Julie, Gerald, his brother Troy and his wife Emily over for dinner.  It really was a trick to get all their kids to show up.  Six kids played games with abandon and filled our lives with giggles.  My favorite was Matthew who challenged my "slather it with butter" as a side dish.  He can have only a small portion of fat in his meal and It challenged me to do a good job.   Barb did her part with no sweat.  She has been cooking low fat and sugar free for years.  She made a dessert with pudding, peaches and angel food cake that was to die for.  She didn't think it was that good but the kids scraped the bowl clean.  

I didn't realize that the trick of a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of sugar in the water to cook corn was not well known.  I tried to bring out the flavor so it didn't require butter.  There was no corn leftover either.  I ate corn on the cob for the first time without all that butter and salt and it was darned good.   Barb also put out a tray of great fruit of almost every description and most of it got eaten also.

Barb has that lets go for a ride on the bike look so I'd better cut this short.  




Every once in a while, events unfold here at Rabbit run that will require me to be busy at the grill.  In fact, today I'll probably have to fire up both grills  for a while.  We are having 8 or 9 adults and 6 or 7 kids over for dinner.  There is a wide and varied taste required plus one or two really low fat dishes.  One person can't eat any fat and another doesn't eat beef.  Gerald lives in Morocco and can't eat pork there so some pork will be put in the mix.  
This morning it was only 70. Hot August nights?  Not now.

Have you noticed that our Congress is on vacation and there is not a lot of talk coming from Washington, D.C.? The talk is starting on the race for the 2012 election and I hate the part where the participants tear each other up rather than talk about what they will do.  Here is my solution:
  • Call the leaders of the House and Senate in and give them a budget that includes not only not exceeding the revenue but includes paying off 1/10th of the old debt each year.  Then go on the News and announce that the congress has a budget it is their job to manage it and live with it.  Ram it up their agenda until they learn to live with it.  Make sure that they understand that it is their job to pay for everything and nothing new starts until they can find ways to pay for it.  No unfunded mandates and they get reminded that they must play together or call a press conference and point out who can't play together. 
  • Focus the Military on being a program that not only trains the service members how to conduct wars, but how to rehabilitate our infrastructure.  Put some of the people in the housing the Government owns out and about in the USA and have them help fix it up.  Put service members in the schools as resources that help with mentoring, being a role model and helpers so teachers can teach not have to spend a lot of time refereeing the free for all's.   I would focus their efforts on protecting our borders from drugs.  Shut the supply down to zero.  Write a plan to Invade Mexico if they can shut down the killing and  drug flow.  Tell the UN they are responsible and then do something.
  • Cut our losses in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Bring the boys and girls home and tell them they need to learn how to play together and stay the hell out of there.
  • Figure out ways to get our oil from the Oil Shale and sands and do it.  Let OPEC eat the oil and see if it doesn't get back to a lower price.
  • Mandate that all new houses being built after a certain date will meet minimum energy standards.  We all know that maximum insulation pays for it's self.   Credits for solar and wind power to heat and cool at a lower cost. 
  • Make sure that our Government knows that setting goals is a good thing.  Making mandates is not. We do need to focus on the schools that are winners, not punish those that are not there yet.  People will want their kids to go to schools that meet the standards and eventually close those that don't.  
Oh well, this lunch is free.  eat what you will and let the rest go.




Early Morning Stuff

Seems like my sleep habits are more like the chickens each day.  Is it dark, why not take a nap.  It is getting light in the east, better wake up.  I would laugh at my grandparents in Arkansas when they did that - with a nap mid day.  My life looks more like that every day.

Barb has started taking pictures of water towers and old barns
As August moves on, our friends from Morocco get closer to going home.  They get a chance to see the family and catch up on all the family stories.  I'm sure that it also helps keep the girls grounded in what life here in the USA is like.  I wonder if they get spoiled going to WalMart after shopping at the local market.  I know the produce there is every bit as good as here and it is different.

Julie eating a smore
Gerald and MUD  
Tomorrow night we will get to host Austen and Kyler for Fajitas.  I will marinate the meat and then grill it on the Weber.  Should be a good time and a great meal.  This is the last free Friday for the boys as they will start school next Monday.  Nothing like the laughter of a couple of guys to put smiles on our faces.



Careful Out There

I just found out that my aunt went to Colorado for a vacation.  I guess she forgot that us old people fall down and being in a place where that can really hurt you is just not being careful.  I can't imagine what a few days in intensive care will do to the cost of her summer fun.  We hope that Paula recovers well and soon.

Wasps love to build nests in isolated places.this was under the awning

No bike riding today, in addition to a little stiffness, there is some goose poop "slicker" falling from the sky.  If it rains hard, it washed the poop away.  If it sprinkles, it just makes everything slick  There is a path over in Lawrence where water crosses the bike path and if it rains much the moss grows on the concrete.  That has taken me down a couple of times especially where there is a turn and water in the same place. I guess I will just take the time to get a haircut and make a trip to WalMart. 

This is Harvey and MUD looking at the plans for Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, AR

Have I mentioned how much I am looking forward to a visit to the new American Art Museum in Bentonville, AR.  The WalMart Foundation has funded it and it is being built in one of the neatest places.  It will have some buildings across a water feature and it is built right in the woods.  Down one side and up the other side and they tried to keep as many trees as they could.  Where they needed to dig some up to build, they have planted new trees that will cover the cuts and slashes in a few years.

This is a door bell button from a Pullman car.  We went to a Sante fe auction and Barb picked it out.

The door bell button above was one that Barb picked out at an auction that Sante fe held a few years back. I have to do some modification to get it to work as our front door bell button.  Mostly there was some kind of transformer wiring inside and god only knows what voltage it worked at.  Now it answers to the 12 volts of the doorbell.  No, I don't know why it was in barb's pictures.  



Geo Caching

MUD, Jenn and Andrew

Yesterday Barbara and I went to Lawrence to meet with our niece Jennifer and her nephew Andrew.  It was our first lesson in Geo caching and while the company was great, it wasn't the most productive activity.  The first three locations had been removed and there was nothing to find.  It wasn't until the last two locations that we did find anything.  I will be happy if we escape without poison ivy.  I will admit that I did go to a location on the KU campus that I had never been.  On the west side of US 59 across from the Housing units is the Pioneer Cemetery.  In that cemetery is many of the graves of the people killed in the 1864 raid by the Quantrell's raiders.
Barb with her camera and the ammo can full of goodies

We went to McAlester's deli for lunch and it took two of those big ice tea's to quench my thirst.  Everyone drank a couple of drinks and we had a great visit. 
Jenn and her find

Jenn mentioned that she is going to row in a Master's regatta in Oklahoma City this weekend.  I think she is going to race in five or six races next weekend.  Man I think I have gone way far when I ride my bike at the lake.  Jenn has spent the summer with her nephew's and says she is having a ball.  



Perfect Weather

After all the noise I made when the temperature was way too dry and hot, I thought it was only fair that I would comment on a day when the bike riding was just great.  The temp started in the low 80's and raised up to the high 80's but the wind picked up a little bit and kept it nice.  I got in about 10 miles and Barb her normal 8 plus picture taking.  I'm sure the camera and two lens make up the difference.

Landscaping at the Lake

The other day I was talking about my sister's cabin on Beaver lake in Arkansas.  I was asked if I got to use the cabin.  I wondered out loud if I wanted to spend 5 hours in the car so I could have trees, snakes, ticks and a lake nearby.  I told the person that I'm sure that my sister would let me use it but I have most of those things right here at Rabbit Run.  I might go to the old house location over by Harrison to swim in the Little & Big Buffalo Rivers but Beaver Lake is just another body of water.

Watermelon on a hot day in Kansas        

While the watermelon prices have been kind of high this year, we have been blessed to have some of the best melons that have hit the market in years.  I wonder if the hot weather has helped or hurt the melon production?  I have noticed that with the additional juicy watermelon consumption here, the kitchen floor needs more attention to keep it from being sticky.  Add to the sticky juice the dust from all the dry weather and the kitchen floor looks kinda like a leopard.  

Post melon soak in the sun

I have a few trips planned in the next month or two and I am considering putting up a pen at Dave's for taco to stay in while we are gone.  Other than the dog, I don't mind closing down the house and being gone for a couple of weeks or so.  Barb says I have a 10 day rule and get cranky if i am gone more than that.  Actually I think it is about the limit on socks and underwear.   Oh well, whatever the cause, I am ready to get out and see some different places for a while before the snow sets in .



Political Rant!

Enough of this eye candy. I have to write a post now and then that lets me vent about things that bother me.
  • In the paper today, there was a story about a man that was killed in a traffic accident.  He wasn't wearing his seat belt and was thrown out of the car and killed when he was sideswiped.  His son in the back seat was also not wearing his seat belt and he too was thrown out and is seriously injured.  This is to al the men out there - Wear you seat belts stupid. Not wearing your seat belt is not some macho thing, it is just common sense.  Here is a 40 years old man that died because he couldn't take a few seconds to buckle up.  Wake up people......
  • I have said for years that the stock market is only doing well because the baby Boomers are throwing money at it like mad in preparation for retirement.  My question is who will buy all that stock when they do sell to get their money back?  Most of our children are just making ends meet and living from pay day to pay day.  They won't have the extra money to buy stock when it is their turn. maybe they wil use the inheritance from us (after taxes) to retire.
  • Did you hear the Democrats lie to you about the stock market crashing if the new Debt Cap bill wasn't passed?  We did and the stock market went in the trash anyway.  When are the people going to start calling BS when the Democratic leadership tells these lies that are to inflame and arouse us.  Remember the unemployment rate staying below 8% if the stimulus didn't pass?    I have a saying - how can you tell when a politician is telling lies?  When his lips are moving.  This applies equally to both sides of the aisle.
  • I read that one of the big banks in New York is going to start charging people to keep large amounts of money in their checking accounts.  Remember when you got paid for money in your account?  Now they are talking about charging for that privilege.  Right now the charge is only .03% per month but once they figure out that this is an additional revenue stream, they will all start.  
  • The headline in today's paper was where are we going to be able to put our money to help us live when the rest of the government stops paying like clockwork.  I hear people say Gold, Platinum, Diamonds.  The only problem is that when we really need the money, who will have any to cash out those investments.  Try to take a bar of gold to the store and try to buy anything.  Good Luck
  • What is really ground truth today?   Everyone says the economy will be OK in a couple of years with a growth rate of about 8%.   The problem is that the real growth rate is about 2%.  I read that if entitlements continue to grow at the current rate, it will take about 92% of the taxes to pay all the things people feel they are owed (Plus the interest on the National Debt)   The unemployment rate is about 9%.  Except they don't count the people that have dropped out of the system because they aren't eligible to get unemployment or find a job.  Makes you wonder if they count the people on food stamps and welfare?
  • The other day someone said that the current POTUS is as clueless as Jimmy Carter.  The biggest difference is Barry doesn't have a brother bubba or Billy drinking beer and drawing attention to the gene pool.  We also haven't had the President involved with a killer rabbit in the middle of a pond - yet.
I do want to give a shout out to my niece Jennifer who has spent a lot of time this summer involved in the lives of her nephews.   I have always been so proud of her and this is just another in a long line of things I love her for.  There is just no way she is 46.  That would mean that I'm.... Holy crap I'm 64.


Bashed Dreams

This morning, Barb was wearing her black stretch pants and her orange Kansas shirt.  She looks good and I commented that it wasn't Halloween. She said it was her bike riding attire.  I burst he bubble by pointing out that the sidewalks are now wet and getting wetter.  There is a light rain falling and it tends to make the goose poop on the trail at Lake Shawnee way too slick for bikes.  It really is not the fault of the geese.  People think they are doing the geese a favor by feeding them on the walkway.  Feed them in the grass, they eat everything else there.  When they congregate on the path, they tend to crap there and without fenders, it can be messy.  In slightly wet weather, it is like someone sprayed WD-40 on my wheels and I tend to fall down.

We have a few tomatoes inside but none in the garden

With a slightly cooler weather starting, it is my hope that the garden will again start producing the tomatoes and peppers again.  barb has a few plants she wants to put out in the garden growing inside and getting nursed to grow big and strong.  She said there wasn't a bloom on any of the plants during the two week heat wave.  At temperatures over 100 every day, the tender blossoms just don't make it to fruit. 

This is a "Gay Feather" or some kind of picknosatshia  

The pictures I am posting for the next couple of weeks are the one's shot by Barb and the girls.  Kendra and Katrina were here a while back and they all shot pictures.

 Katrina with camera.   
Kendra w/camera and flowers  

The house was filled with laughter during their short visit to rabbit run.  I am sure that they have been told to make a joyful noise and they do.