Great Weekend

At least 20 members of the family came over on Sunday and we had a great time.  Just about the time I needed to start the grilling on the deck, it was raining cats and dog with a little lightning thrown in.  I can cook in the cold, rain, heat or snow but I don't fool around when large amounts of electricity is looking for a 6'3" lightning rod.  I managed to get all cooked in time and a lot of it was consumed.  Barb's coconut cream pie won the Petty family traveling trophy.  The funny thing is she made it sugar free and o one noticed.

This morning I worked on the truck again for what should have been a 15 minute job and it took me most of 4 hours to get the spark plugs changed.  I won't go into the details but I will say thank god it will be another 50,000 miles before I change them.  

The weather here in the heartland is cloudy and the temperature hasn't hit 70 yet.  I was looking forward to a bike ride but perhaps tomorrow.  

I am going to spend the rest of the day just doing little.  Might even get to throw in a nap also.  



Truck Troubles

In case you didn't know, I am an old car kind of guy.  OK, I am an old guy and I like cars I can fix.  Day before yesterday, I went out to start the truck and it cranked hard but didn't hit a lick.  I started with the assumption that I flooded it first and cleaned the plugs one at a time.  I checked the gas line and then the voltage to the ignition.  So far so good.  I am going to invite Barb out and have her crank the engine while I look at the spark for one of the plugs.  I suspect a part in the ignition.  It doesn't have a coil, just one of those fancy distributors with some electrical works inside. 

Oh well, better get cranking


Later on tonight 
My 53 Chevy Pick-Up Truck has a late model Chevy 350 motor in it.   Along with the later model displacement, it has a High Efficiency Ignition (HEI) That is completely different from the systems I worked with as a kid.   This opened a whole new world of troubleshooting for me from where I grew up.  The big difference is the structure has a coil built in to the distributor cap instead or a separate beer can shaped coil.  There are no points to adjust, just an engine control module that does god only knows what.  I had a dead truck and no way to troubleshoot with the help of a computer so it was replace as you go.  With no spark, I started with the coil and the distributor cap.  No, that didn't fix the problem.  Next, there was the rotor and the engine control module.  Between each step, i would put the whole mess together and try to start it.  I can now take the entire system apart and put it back together in about 15 minutes.  Under neath the rotor, there is a set of rotating weights that advance the spark as the rpm increases.  These tiny parts have a spring that return the parts as the RPM decreases.  Those little springs are impossible to find if you drop one and wouldn't you know I dropped one.  Thank God for Ace hardware's assortment of springs.  The one that was the right tension was a little long.  I managed to cut it too the same size as the one that didn't jump off into the grass.  It looked like a home made spring and i duplicated the shape and length.  

The good news is that when I finished the last time, it started and seems to run like a champ.  I am not sure what tart of the almost $100 dollars worth of parts finally fixed the darn thing, but I'm not sure I really care so long as it runs and runs well. 



Gettin' Ready

We have invited the family over this weekend to celebrate the April Birthdays and I am really looking forward to the great time with the family.   It is also a good excuse to start the spring house cleaning, and well deserved too I might add.  Barb has been really busy doing her gardening thing and I have just been too lazy to work hard inside the house.  

The son of my best friend lives near Dallas and posted a picture of his daughter riding her new bicycle.  Barb and I have been riding our recumbents over at the lake and know fully well what the wind in our face puts a smile there.  We rode from the South end up to the dam this last week and it was clear that we were both not in bike shape.  Like ship shape but without the legs.   The first hill from the south is long and it just makes my knees hurt when I try to zip up the hill.   I was glad to see the picture of our newest bike rider and that she wears a helmet.  

I think it is funny that people watch the "Roasts" on the comedy channel and then make such a fuss over a couple of the same type of jokes from our Mayor.  I will point out that he was a lot cleaner than the Comedy Channel stuff.   It must have been a slow funny day as Jay Leno put the mayor in one of his segments.  How can you be funny today if the Political Correct Nazi's are out there reporting any attempt to tell a joke that might offend everyone.      

Lately there have been several attempts by the bloggers to play the job of the President down.   Many have reduced it to a figure head and a lot more like a celebrity position than the true merit of the job.    I feel the job of the President is to set the tone and be the cheerleader of our Nation.   He should have some leadership skills and be able to arbitrate failings between the parties.  I think it is important that we have the three parts of our Government and the executive branch should be where the direction for the future comes from.  My biggest disappointment in the Obama administration is that his "Change" has been lacking.  

Oh well, I guess it is about time to get cracking on the day.  Just a little more cleaning and we'll be ready for the people to come here and enjoy the hospitality and family.




I can figure out if my dyslexia is getting worse or my attitude about typing is flagging.   I look back over the Facebook posts and realize that when I sent a message my letters looked OK but now are reversed.  When I typed the title of this post, I wrote Carp.  Spell checker won't red line a word that is something else in its other form. 

The other day our Mayor told a joke about Dam, Mothers Against Dyslexia.  You know, that  joke is the kind of joke I resemble.  Like the Dyslexic Atheist that believed there was no dog.  We expect our comedians to be irreverent but our politicians not so much. 

I went over to my rental house and found that my tenant has a new dog.  She has climbed the wall by the front door and it looks like someone kicked the door in.  I am going to do some work there in a week or so and I guess I will have to remind them that they are responsible for the damage the dog does.  I am a little pissed off that they have jumped up and down on the bathroom floor in the last few weeks and it now needs some serious work.  The last time I was there it was mostly cosmetic but now the structure is seriously bad.  Probably would have needed work this year but now it is a lot more serious.  I will replace the bathtub and a major part of the floor.  Not sure what I will do to put down a new flooring yet.  I need to get into the wall behind the vanity so I will probably replace it with a newer one.  Oh well, we'll see what comes from the whole mess once I get it torn out.   I am going to rent a porta potty and they will shower at my other rental house.  The porta potty is as much for me as it is for them.  

Barbara and I have been working on the yard lately and it is clear that the more I get done, the more I want to do more.  There is a place by the front door that just cries out to have a retaining wall built.  I also need to move the wisteria that has been there for several years and never bloomed.   I also need to hire the nephew to do some mowing on a regular basis.  he can use the money and I can use the help.  

We are going to have the family over this weekend for a gathering.  It is to celebrate the April Birthdays.  This year is one of those years where a whole bunch of people hit birthdays that end in 5 or zero.  My mother would have been 90, my brother-in-law will be 75, a sister will be 70, I will be 65 and my brother will be 60.  I will cook burgers and brats and Barb will make (or buy pies)  My mother often told us that she would rather have a good pie for her birthday over cake.  I like a good cake  now and then but won't turn down a slice of a good pie.  

My mother, the mechanic

I hope the weather settles down some soon.  Yesterday we set a new record high of 97 and this morning it is about 55 and falling.  Our normal temperature swing is about 20 degrees and this seems more like Barstow California where a 50 degree swing is not unusual.  Will be in the 60's this weekend.  We will need to watch for Frost overnight Saturday.  Sweat to frost in a couple of days.  Sheesh.



My View on War

Being an old retired Army guy and veteran of the Vietnam conflict (I hate that term)  I feel that I have earned the right too comment on War and why we do it.

First of all, let me state clearly that it is the failure of the Governments to talk about what is important that brings them to throwing the lives of their youth into a place that kills a lot of them. I'll bet they would be a lot more careful if they had to go fight the war rather than the young men and women. It is hard to govern and a hell of a lot easier to throw men and women into the pit of war than to make things work right.  In my looking at history, I can't find many instances where peace and prosperity just broke out and all was well.  Mostly it was the change that war brought that made people realize that peace is a lot harder but a lot safer. (and I might add cheaper)

The troops that have been there call it Ass-Crackerstan!  or for most of recorded history, the most desolate place on earth has been the scene of battles.  How can we ever achieve peace in a place where people have to carry AK-47s to be safe?  How can we do what the English and the Soviets could not do?  How can we send three times their GDP into the country fighting a war that can't be won.   Oh sure, there are some guys that go there and are safe in rear areas but the average guy out in the countryside is just one Improved Explosive Device from a Medivac trip to Germany or home in a metal coffin.  

It may be clear to some of you that because you are safe the war is on someone else's shoulders.   It is for those young men and women out there that I think this is one war that is just more of the same.  I don't know who said it but "Doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome is lunacy." 

Bring our Soldiers, Airmen, CIA and DEA guys home and let the Afghanistan people work it all out.  We sure as hell can't fix what is so broken.


Advanced Education

Let me begin here with the fact that Barbara and I both finished a Degree post High School.  Barbara's first two years were in California where she had to pay little more than books to get her AA from Barstow Junior College.  She brags about the quality of her education and how much the low cost helped her get that far.  If you would meet her, it would be clear that she is a highly educated person.

I started at Wichita State University in 1965 but really didn't have a clear goal in my life and no Barbara to help me.  I goofed around the second semester and dropped out because I couldn't attend classes and play 10 point pitch in the Campus Activity Center. At least I couldn't drink beer there.   I found myself Drafted the next fall and my goal there was to use the GI bill to pay for my education.   When I first was drafted, I had a 24 month obligation and that would have paid for my education through the start of my senior year.  I decided that I would attend Officer Candidate School and that would add 9 months to my GI Bill.  By the time I finished my Military Obligation, they had upped the benefit to 36 Months and I went through my degree using the GI bill.  

When Barbara and I returned to Kansas after I came home from Vietnam, she too went to Wichita State with me for two years.  She completed her degree in Education and I finished my AA at Wichita State.  We drew a radius around every college in Kansas and Barbara applied to the school districts to get a job teaching elementary Education. She was hired by Leavenworth and I commuted back and forth to Kansas University.   If I had it to do all over again, I would try a lot harder to stay at Wichita State.  You could take any class anytime as they focused on all segments of the community. 

We delayed starting our family until we both had our degree and I had a full time job with the National Guard.  Barbara took a couple of years off when Dave was born and also completed her work on a Special Education degree through Kansas University.    We both finished our education without significant student loans. Barbara also finished her Masters Degree from KU.

I am not sure of the exact dollars, but I am pretty sure that over our lifetime, we by the end of our working years made at least $50,000 more per year because of our degrees.  

I advocate that everyone try to find a way to get an advanced education is something.  The world is full of things to do and jobs that will pay you almost as well as the jobs that require a degree.  The next time your furnace, car or any electronic item breaks look at the bill to fix it.  I'll bet the labor cost is listed there on the bill and those guys are worth every dime they cost. 



When and Where Will it Start

It is my hope that I am not the only one out there that feels we need to have a Mulligan on our National Budget?   It is my hope that it will happen before the rest of the world just call us Greece and tell us to go pound sand.   In my perfect world, the Congress would pass a budget that includes a percentage of the National Debt (Paid off not increased) and be within the amount of intake they get from our taxes paid.  Yes, boys and girls I will say it again - Out go must be equal to or less than income.

The only solution for this is for our Government to stop trying to fix all our problems with new legislation.  Then, we will need to trim down each budget area until we hit something that resembles equilibrium.  Just so you know, there must be some increases in our spending and let me share you where I think that needs to start.

First, Education or re-education of all the personnel we will downsize from the Military needs to start now and be ramped up quickly.  I am not talking about high priced college educations for everyone, some of the personnel need to be able to be plumbers, carpenters, brick layers, auto mechanics and electricians.  A good share of the budget will be needed by the VA to pay for all the young people that will need adjustment to a life where they make the majority of the daily decisions.

I also think there needs to be increased spending on programs that pay for the education of teachers.  I would include in that spending a way that the young men and women can work in a school as well as go to school.  They would be paid for their time helping as a para and a stipend to help them pay for the education would be included.

The negative I would require is that our Military would have to be combined in a way that a lot of the Military just wouldn't agree to.  I would have an Army with a reserve.  I would have an Air Force with a reserve and a Navy with a reserve.  The National Guard would be the reserve of the Army.  The Air Force Reserve would be the reserve for the Air Force and the navy would have the Naval reserves.  The Army would absorb the Marines and the Navy would absorb the Coast Guard.  Homeland defense and the Border patrol would be included in the Army and overlaps eliminated.  This would take about three years to sort out and absorb all the people in an orderly transition.

Instead of all the wrangling going on in Washington, they would have to stop and make a list of the biggest problems and fund the solutions only to the limit of the amount received.  That should keep them busy.

Starting as soon as I could make it happen, the Military we have overseas would be brought home and our focus would be on our problems.  The foreign aide would dry up and let the Arab world with all the money pay for the problems in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan or whatererstan. 


Earning It's Keep

I guess I should have known that Barbara would have the tractor earning its keep.  We are working on a retaining wall and I am busy moving rocks and dirt.  The kind of fun thing is to maneuver the tractor between the Ford, the trees and get the rocks close enough to where they are going to finally be.  I swear that my hands are busier than a teenager at a Drive-in Movie.  I may need to take up Yoga to get limber enough to watch in front and behind as I maneuver the beast.

Dave Ramsey is doing a piece about trivia in our lives that gets reported over and over.  He call it "Stupid Butt Stuff" that gets reported on Facebook, e-mails and reality TV.   Some people become so tied up with the daily trivia that we become enslaved by it.  He says the cure for the enslavement is to work on having real goals and working on important things not the unimportant.  He also points out that Scopes is the place to look up the stupid things before tying up the net with trivial things that are wrong.

On the other hand, many of us have goals and don't have a clue how to actualize them.  Starting on the biggest goal, you need to break that goal down  into smaller steps and then figure out what you can pay for this year and then the next.  That becomes you program and then you need to budget your money to make them happen.  The biggest mistake people make is to be over aggressive with their budget and lose focus on what you are doing.   Giving up is a whole lot easier than working hard.  

Barbara and I have been paid once a month for most of our life.  I am pretty sure that this helped us understand the value of spending less than we made.  I have watched her build up our "Emergency Fund" each month until she could start moving the extra funds from a checking account to our savings account.  I think we always talked about what we wanted (goals) and what we are spending our money on (budget).  

I am always reminded of the poster on the back of the bathroom wall Mom had in Arkansas. " Happiness is not getting what you want, but wanting what you have."  

My Mother in Eldorado, KS
Had she lived, Mom would have been 90 yesterday.  We ate a piece of pie in honor of her birthday.  




I have written about 2006 Blogs read by 52,804 hits.  I sure hope I get the hang of this stuff some day.


Thoughts for the Day

As you might tell by the above post, I am concerned that many people don't understand the concept of freedom.   There are many of you out there that believe the government can cure our Ills by limiting the freedom of the people we don't like or agree with.  Over and over, I hear people say that we need a law to shut down the Westborough Baptist Church so they don't picket at Military Funerals.  That is just so wrong on many levels.  First, they have the right to peacefully assemble, they have the right to free speech and the freedom of religion might be a stretch for me but for them, it is their way of showing what they believe.   

Start down the slippery slope of giving the government the right to start limiting our freedoms and the next thing the Government will come to your house the next time you voice your opinion about a politician.  I for one fought for the right to bear arms and shout that I am free to do what I can to bring change to our country.  I am fully aware that I must do the right things and will do my best to not do the wrong things, but whatever I chose, I understand your right to chose something different.  44 years of being married to the Master Gardener must be good for something.  

Have a great day.



This is a re-run of an old post:

I ran into a blog that had important quotes with proper names attached. Here is some of the stuff I have heard and I don't care who said it:

   A bird in the hand will probably bite you or poop on your fingers. Even if they are very costly and worth a lot of money at "Pet Land". Try to get one of the nasty little buggers to fetch a stick.
  He who dies with the most toys, dies! 

   A penny saved isn't worth very darn much. Talk about dollars and you might be on the right track.
  You are your own worst critic. The other guys just get under your skin!
   If the going is easy it probably is an ambush (Murphy's rules of Combat but who the hell was Murphy?)  
   Kids learn to read until about the end of the second grade. After that they read to learn. Reading is the most important thing a parent can do with their children. Make it fun and good and they will continue to read and learn. I can't imagine a house without reading material. A child ought to want to go to the Library as much as he/she wants to go to the DQ. (To tell the truth, our son wanted to do both about equally)

   Do you know how to get out and stay out of debt? Want the things you have rather than wanting the things you don't. If it is important enough to have something, save up until you can pay cash. Get out of debt and stay there. Most people don't appreciate having a budget and living within it. You aren't the US Government and can print money. It sure a hell isn't worth anything if you don't have any! 

   Why don't schools teach about money as important as it is to us?

    Everyone at least once in a lifetime should have a new car. That's it, only once. The cost of depreciation the first year can be as much as $5,000. Add the taxes ($1,000), insurance ($1000) and you can see why at the end of the first year you owe more than the car is worth. Ask yourself if a one year old car on the lot at $12,000 is as good as a new one at $19,000? Those first 20,000 miles are a costly bitch. (divide $9,000 by the 20,000 miles) It makes the cost per mile for that first year at .45 cents per mile without the cost of gas, oil or further depreciation. I estimate the cost of a new car at somewhere about $1.00 a mile. Like I said, everyone needs a new car once in a lifetime but after that you need transportation. 

    Why doesn't Super Chevy magazine care about the cost of gas and mileage? They talk about an engine that generates 455 horsepower but don't care that most of the hot rods get around 10 MPG. I want to get at least 25 MPG with my daily driver. I'll let the 57 stay stock at 13 MPG and just not drive it on a daily basis. HELP! 

    If you want to know what is going on in your schools, don't look at the budget, look at the expenditures. That's where the money really goes and is the important thing. A budget is at best a "guesstimate" of what they are going to spend it on.

    If you think the quality of our educational system is a risk, get off your butt and go there to see. Every parent needs to spend at least one day a year in the classes with their student. Yes, learning is inspiration, but it sure as hell is a lot of perspiration. Been there , done that! 

    You'll miss your mother and father when they are gone. It doesn't matter how close you were or how old you are. You'll miss them.

    Love, laugh and live. You get only one chance to do so. It is nice if you can have a few new things and enjoy them now and then but it is not near as much fun as living you life and live, love and laugh. 


Sunday Again?

I am torn between posting a nice chatty piece or getting serious.  Part of me wants to be Mean (as in Mean Uncle Denny -hence MUD) and part of me wants to be the kind of guy that makes little girls smile at my silliness.  In the picture below is my brother Rick who turns 60 today.  I don't have a clue who the little guy in the picture is.  I'm sure that Barb took this picture and he is an example of cuteness.  

MUD & Rick and a little KU Fan

Yesterday the Master Gardeners had a booth at the green Fair at the Library.  As a member of the Youth Education Committee for that organization, Barb was in charge.  In addition to her focus on Butterflies, they had a Fly Fishing pond.  Barb put her normal twist in it by having fishing poles with spiders on as the bait and they caught plastic flies.  It was neat to see the looks on the different kids.  Barb also managed to have some Monarchs in her display.  She had one large caterpillar that was doing what teenage cats do - Eat and Poop. and one that was in a chrysalis. (Thank god for spell checker I never would have gotten that one right) She didn't bring the Monarch egg she found late this week.  Normally we don't find eggs and Cats early in the season.  The Adults seem to be on their way north of here but this year with all the warm weather we had Milk Weed plants up in record number.  Some year I want to go to Mexico to see the over winter sight in the mountains North West of Mexico City.  Perhaps a trip to California will get it out of my system.  There seems to be a place in Florida but I'm not sure where.

OK, end of the chatty stuff.  On to some real important things - At least to me!  And, after all this is my blog.

On Friday, I grilled some steak and Chicken outside on the patio.  While I am out there, I am allowed to select the noise pollution of my choice playing as loud as I want.  Barb says that from the inside of the house it sounds like that noise Snoopy makes on the TV specials.  Wah, Wah, Yah Yah, Wah...  The President of Standard Oil was on one of the Talk radio Shows and made an interesting point.  He said that if the United States, Mexico and Canada all got together and developed all the oil fields they have there is more oil here than in all of the Arab States.  He says that there will someday need to be new product to replace oil but if we put it all together we could generate millions of new jobs and tell the Arabs to go pound sand in less than 10 years.  let them eat oil or some of that sand.  I have advocated for years that we need to have an American Common Market and perhaps Oil production is the capstone of that.  

We need to have a congress that is focused on trying to figure out what are the most pressing problems in our world and focused on finding solutions.  They are so segmented now that they don't have a clue what is the biggest problem let along designing a horse by a committee. (That looks like a camel)  The people in Washington seem to want to run around and solve all the problems of the people without supporting the system that got us here.   

One of the Talk radio people said that if we divided all the money in the USA and gave everyone an equal share, in 20 years the money will have flowed back to where it is today because of the attitude of the people that want to make money.  The bottom of the scale is filled with people that want to spend it and the entrepreneurs will figure out a way to sell them what they want.  The Government will grow out of control because the poor will want the Government to divide the money again and again.  47% of the people paid no income taxes last year.  As significant number of them also got an Earned Income refund for not making it.  Unless we all put our shoulders to the wheel (or the brake in government spending) there is no happy ending for us. 

Enough you say!  Bye



Photographic Memory or Over-Exposure

When I was younger, it seemed that I could remember the vivid details of what I did and where I went.  I had a saying that if I ever went somewhere, I could get back there again no sweat.  It was almost like I could run a video of the events in my head and see the details clearly.  I could also create short word pictures to remind me of the processes that made my life much easier.  There was one place on a very tough computation in the Field Artillery that you would cross the line, change the sign.  Now I can't remember the name of my friends when we meet.  Yes, I am fairly sure that a part of it is the amount of new things that bombard us today and part of it is the aging process.  There was a time that I would rather learn a new program for the computer than use the old one. Now I am thrilled when Turbo-Tax remembers my Social Security number and address. 

On our way back from Winfield to buy the Tractor, we drove through Eldorado,  KS.   Just to remind myself of how little fun I had there, I drove around a little to see if I could find the park.  It took me a little while to get there, and it has changed (after 55 years or so)  but I had a tough time finding where my Grandmother's house was.  I remember it being a big yard that I mowed with a rotary mower and there was a giant garden in the back.  When I drove by it now, it is a store and they had to tear the house down to have enough room in the front to have parking.  The garden area is almost gone and they didn't save the Mulberry tree that I loved as a kid.  I can remember sitting up in that tree and eating mulberries until I was almost too full to climb down. 

As a kid, I remember my Dad telling stories of his time in the Navy in WWII.  There were no combat stories told, just mostly adventures. His war was spent in Barber's Point, Honolulu, HI.  The sad part is that by the time I got old enough to have war stories of my own, I got too busy to busy to sit and talk with him about his adventures in the South Sea's.  By the time things started to slow down enough to have time to talk, Dad's memory was fading and then he was gone.  Over my lifetime, I could not just sit and watch golf or bowling on TV. I loved to play baseball but to sit and watch a game was just something I didn't do.  Dad could watch it by the hour.  I sat and watched poker on TV the other day like a big goof.  I guess time and the enormous amounts of knowledge  are finally catching up.

Barbara has been very good to me lately.  She broke down and let me buy a tractor.  Yes, I know part of it is all the projects she has planned for me but so far it has been worth it.  

Moving gravel and dodging trees.

 It is amazing to me that I could watch the front scoop and the Box blade on the back and not hit trees.  the first time I drove down the drive in the Ford, I grazed the side of the tree on the left side..  Crap, another tree I need to remove.   That is 10 tons of gravel or about $280.00 worth I am moving there. 

This morning I was watching TV and the program was about reptiles in Australia.  As long as he was catching lizards and talking about cane toads, I was OK.  He was very carelessly walking through high grass and talking about all the deadly snakes.  He even went so far as to find a "Death Adder" and then poke at it with what looked like a giant pair of tweezers.  I had to turn it off.  I guess my morbid curiosity does have some limits.   

Today the Master Gardeners have a booth at the green fair at the Library.  Barb has been working hard to get it all ready and it never ceases to amaze me how creative she is about educating children.  She has a Fly Fishing tank where the kids lower giant plastic spiders into a pool of flies.  get it?  Fly Fishing?  The spiders have magnets and the flies have paper clips glued on them.  If they catch a fly, they will win a bag of giant sunflower seeds to plant in their garden at home.   I will go over to transport her "garden in a wagon." She has an old radio flyer wagon with a bag of potting soil in it.  She has been dragging it in and out for a month or so.  It can come in when there is a threat of frost.  People that live in apartments could have one out on the balcony and grow herbs. 

Oh well, I hope you can stay with me on the new Blogger.  I had a tough time just finding this post this AM.




Is it really Friday?

Hello Boys and Girls.

Today is more like March than it was any day in March.  We missed out on the rain that was to blow through yesterday and wonder when it will rain here again.  I really need to finish the drip irrigation to each plant in the garden.   The grass is doing OK, I had to re-mow the front part of the yard to make it look OK.  I mowed it a few days ago and was not happy with the way it turned out.   I think the grass was a little too wet and long for it to cut evenly.  It looks fine now.

I have been having a ball working with my AGCO Allis tractor.  I read that it was made in Italy and while it isn't a Ferrari, it works great. It is a diesel and I had forgot how noisy they are.  It is like someone is banging on a garbage can with two hammers.    I had forgotten how much work it was to have two bucket levers, a manual transmission and steer between the trees.  It reminds me of the old saying, "Busier than a one legged man at a butt kicking contest."   I think every time I do something else with it I learn something new.  Yesterday I wondered why the oil pressure light didn't come on when the engine wasn't running and the key was turned on.  I took the six screws out of the dash and saw that even if the light was on. there was so much dirt on the bulbs that I couldn't have seen it.  A little cleaning made that OK for now.   I am about to master the controls and do not hit the trees much more than I care to.

Barb's Photo work of me on my Toy
If it ever warms up some today, I plan on going out and moving some bigger rocks out of the back yard and make the joint look a little better.  Barb has some plans for a retaining wall as soon as I get the driveways all done.  

Just for the record, I do not have a trailer for the tractor so I can't haul it  to your  house.   I am sure that I could stay busy all day every day if I did.  The one thing I forgot was how much work it is to disconnect and reconnect implements on the back.  I am going to get a mirror because in my old age I  can't just swivel around as easily as I once could.  

The other day, I picked up something in the yard and threw it.  It barely made it into the woods.  I am getting slower than an old man and throw like a first grader.  (I was going to say like a girl but I'm sure that Amanda and her mother, Janet, both can throw almost as good as I ever could)    I can work hard but slow and that is something new for me.  

Oh well, it is the kind of day to stay inside and read a good book.   



Sunflower Seeds and Bushy Tailed Rats

During the winter months, the Master Gardener and I feed the birds a combination of sunflower seeds and suet blocks.  We have a regular following of all sorts of birds at the seeds and woodpeckers at the suet blocks.  In the beginning, we had one of those graze at your own leisure feeders and found that the bushy tailed rats were getting fatter and fatter.  We bought one of those feeders that is "Squirrel Proof"  (OK, you can laugh at that one)  Mostly if meant that the squirrels probably worked as hard as the calories they get to ingest.  They finally found that if you climbed up on the feeder and jumped off of it, you could get a few seeds to fall out of the feeder and that is the way it went from then on.  Climb up, jump off, eat a few seeds and repeat.   

The problem with that story is that it is impossible to plant sunflower plants outside anywhere near the house.  They think the plants are their salad bar and the then dig up the seeds not germinated.  I built a pen to put the plants in but it is way out in the yard.  Oh well, Barb has lots of seeds to plant and  we will be blessed with a crop of good sunflower plants by fall.

I know we are the invaders of this place in the woods and try to be a nice neighbor to all the animals.  There are just a few things I just can't abide.  Outside animals and insects should stay outside.  I also object to the woodpeckers and squirrels eating the house.    Don't let anyone tell you that a squirrel won't eat asphalt shingles.  I had to have a ridge cap replaced when one chewed it off.  Leak city up there at the cost of about $400.00.  I probably would replace the problem today but I don't like to get up on roofs.  Especially the roof here where the ground is anywhere from 10 to 20 feet off the ground.  

Yesterday I took my tractor up to Dave's house and had a load of driveway rock brought in.  For the most part, the truck put it where we wanted it.  I need another load here for the new driveway round a bout and a load over at the rental property to level that drive out.  

Better get with the program.




Do You Like Who You Are?

Judging from all the self help books out there and the amount of money spent on them, a lot of you don't like who you are.  I will admit that I spent a lot of money to find ways to do a better job in my working days but I didn't spend a lot of time and money on the person I am.  I guess I believe in the Popeye Syndrome, "I Yam what I Yam."   It has taken me to as much and more than I ever thought possible so I will just settle with it.

This does remind me that like most of you, I have some flaws.  I think I learned from my father a bad way to deal with people and that is to somewhat overlook their feelings.  Like a lot of self assured people, I tend to say what I think and sometimes I think too much.  Sometimes success doesn't breed success, it breeds verbosity.  A part of me believes in justice not mercy.  Mostly that is at the Macro level and I don't see mercy until it is a personal thing between someone and me.  

One time, many years ago, I went to a middle manager "Make-over" course and a part of that was to ask several people to fill out an evaluation of me and send it to them.  Almost to a person, the results were pretty positive except for one.  It was pretty clear that whoever that was one of the people that got involved in a meeting engagement with the Colonel side of me.  Instead of the clarity the others said I was capable of, they looked at the bluntness and found it harsh. On the positive side, I was noted for getting the group of staff officers together to look at issues from all sides.  After the issues were all out there to look at, I would do my impression of a frog master.  I would issue the "jump" command and expected everyone to do what I said.  If a subject was in my opinion fully discussed and cussed, I would issue the edict, "Watch my Lips."  That was even a joke we all laughed at and I didn't have to use it very often.  It was on the cake at my change of command.

One reason for some of this introspection is the fact that at my last physical, the Doctor found some indicators that I was living a little too much of the good life and needed to exercise more and eat less.  Every spring, I do tend to do more and eat a little less, but sometimes I feel that when I am running in a race is just not the time to cut back on the fuel.  With diabetes running in my family and the associated heart disease, I am going to listen to good advice.  I am leaving the meal planning up to Barb who is a weight watcher follower and is doing well.  There are a few times I have gone off the reservation and had a fast food meal. I will fully admit that there are a couple of things I just crave from time to time.  Fried Chicken and a good hamburger both hit my mind from time to time.  That craving continues until it hits my belly and that's the problem.

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



Used Cars

In the past couple of weeks, my Facebook pages have been filled with people asking if anyone has a used car to sell.   I am afraid that most of us finally have arrived at the point where we are driving the miles out of our used cars rather than buying new or at at the least newer.   Look at your paper and see that the Auto ads that were a couple of pages not long ago are now less than a page.  I have been a long proponent of using a car for as long as it is feasible and buy used low mileage cars as much as possible.  The good news is that cars today are good for more miles than in the past.

Not many years ago, you needed to tune up your car about every 10,000 miles.  You would have to do a valve job about every 50,000 miles and at 100,000 miles you had to rebuild the engine.  Today the spark plugs last 50,000 miles.  heck, I can remember when I had my car lubed about every 1,000 miles and now some of the ball joints don't even have grease fittings.  They don't last longer, they seem to need replaced but not greased as often.  I replaced the tires on the Ford this last year and spend nearly $1,000 for a good set of Michelin tires.  As a kid I would buy tires worse than the one's I took off the Ford.  If you couldn't see steel cords back then, it was a good tire.

I think that most people somewhere in their life need to have a new or newer car that still has that new car smell and reliability.  It is the payment for that excess that bothers me.  Drive a new car off the lot today and they immediately lose three or four thousand dollars in depreciation.  Probably the best bargain out there here in the Heartland are the Program cars that are coming off the rental and lease fleet.  No, I didn't say you should lease a car, you should buy one that has been well used.  In the past I would say well cared for but I'm not sure that is the case today.

When I was a kid, I played baseball a lot and I don't remember my parents sitting in the stands to watch me play.  In fact, I rode my bike or walked there a lot.  I see postings about parents that go to weekend tournaments and stay there most of the day.  I guess I was just a normal boy in those days and the danger wasn't as bad as it is today.  

On the other hand, in m day, we did some pretty stupid things that kids today just don't do.  There was a cement mixing plant tower not far from our house.  You might think it was our playhouse as much as we climbed all over it.  heck, I even climbed up and inside the tower more than once.   The Beech parking lot was right behind our house and we would go and swim in the drainage ditch when it would rain.  All sorts of things were in that ditch including trash and chemicals from Beech.  Heck, there was even a sewer pond that if it rained hard enough ran into that water overflow.  A lot of that was back in the day before they had a Polio vaccine.

Oh well, I guess that  which does not kill us makes us stronger.



Race War?

All I heard when we got our first Afro American President was how much better thing were getting and how we could finally start to put a lot of the black white controversy to bed.  Now over the shooting of one black child in Florida, the Black Panthers are making all kinds of war talk.  There doesn't seem to be near the controversy about the fact that almost every weekend at least one black person is shot and killed here in Topeka by another black.  If the whites or the police were killing nearly as many black as they are, we would deserve a race war.  I would encourage the Black Panthers to work hard to find a way to inspire the black youth to find ways to be a success.  The days of everyone just getting job offer after job offer when they graduate is over.  That works for black and white graduates equally.  

The one thing I really fear is that we will really have a race war and we have all forgotten the period in our history where we played Cowboys and Indians.  I for one don't want to start having to be armed everywhere I go, but I am well enough armed to do so if needed.  

Lets all hope that the sane people prevail in this and we can find enough for everyone to do without the need to carry arms.  Lets arm the bears, not Bare Arms.


The Day After

All day yesterday, the weatherman predicted that the tornado indicator was at 10 on a scale of 1-10.  It was kind of like getting ready for a blind date and then being stood up.  A lot of worry but then nothing.  Most of the storms lined up West of here until they fizzled out about midnight.  the front moved to the east overnight and now as the day heats up the major storms are well to the east.  Our claim to fame in all of this was about 1/4 inch of rain.  We could have used more rain and less storm warnings.

This morning Barb and I talked about what to do today.  The great thing is that we both really don't have a better place to go and staying here in our nest is pretty much OK with both of us.  Yes, I know that is boring but when something is nice, why mess with it.  

I spent a little time out in the garden yesterday putting the grid of Barb's drip irrigation system together.  It just didn't seem that there was enough parts there and finally I went up in the garage attic and found the other half of last year's system.  Now Barb needs to decide where she wants to plant and we can run the finish ends to where the plants are.  I have enough of the small tubing (1/4") and I think enough of the ends that lets the water out slowly.  If you have a place where the line ran last year and don't want a line there this year, they make Goof Plugs to plug the old holes.  Sure hope I have enough of them.    

I have decided (Or Barb decided for me) that we need to improve the flow of our driveway.  I have had to cut down a couple of trees and dig the stump out of a couple I cut down earlier.   Damn rocks sure dull the heck out of a blade.  If I see a spark, I just know that I will need to get the sharpener out and work on the chain.  The new Poulan chain saw is the best motor and set up I have ever had.  In the past if the blade got loose, I would have to stop and use tools to tighten the blade back up.  Now they have a way to loosed a thumb screw and roll a knob and then tighten the thumb screw all by hand with no tools.  

Oh well, enough about life in paradise, on with the rest of the day.




Weather Wise

Having lived in Kansas for the majority of my life, I am a weather observer of the finest kind.  I had a paper route for a year in 1961 and spent most of that year outside twice a day watching the best and worst Kansas delivers. For most of the year, the wind blows from the north west or the south east.  Major storms blow in with the impact of warm moist air from the gulf and the cold air arrival as fronts from the north.  When those events meet over Kansas, we generally catch some severe weather.  

last night, the clouds stayed overhead and warm moist air is here waiting for a cold blast and the weather is predicted to be bad from Texas to Minnesota.  Generally we will start as the day warms up.  The clouds form major formations as they rise and lots of things go on inside those clouds.  The wort thing is when it is so cool that hail forms.  When the hail raises and falls within the clouds it adds layers of ice until they are to heavy to stay aloft.  We have had hail that looks like sleet up to hail that looks like softballs.  here we pay a premium for insurance due to the effects of hail.  

If the weather is truly two fronts trying to pass each other, they create a vortex like water flushing in a toilet.  Add a jet stream of 100 MPH the effect makes the wind run along the ground in circles.  On the Fujita scale, that effect varied from 1 to 5 with 5 being the strongest.  Houses are generally built to withstand winds up to 100 MPH in a straight line.  Blow those winds in a circular motion, and you wind up with rubble.  In 1983, we lived on the east side of Topeka and a small front was passing on a Friday night.  Typical humidity early, clouds building up and it started to rain. Great big rain drops fell first, a pretty strong wind and then hail.  I was watching out the garage door and I saw a flock of birds flying about 1/4 mile to the southwest.  Because of the rain, the tornado funnel was clear air and not full of the dark dirt of those spectacular funnels over farm land. I watched in amazement until I saw a house explode and realized the birds I thought I saw was debris from roofs, couches and yard art.  We all went into a downstairs bath room and it wasn't until the house moved that I realized my beer mug collection on the walls made that choice less than good. 

Debris started to slap the house and all of a sudden the wind just lifted the house off the foundation.  We went from a dark inside to outside in a flash.  The next thing I knew, I had the whole damn house hit me and push me down into a corner.  As the house settled back down, I shouted to Barb to see if she was OK.  She could not see me buried in the debris and i told her to get out and I would do my best to get out.  I could wiggle and push the wall up just enough to move forward a couple of inches.  An inch at a time I moved my way to the daylight until I could get out.  There was  a busted water pipe that was making it rain inside the house  and a gas pipe that sounded like a jet plane.  My biggest fear was that I would be trapped under the mess and a fire would start.  I kept lifting, pushing and got free.  

I guess what I am saying is that we watch the weather and aren't afraid to be fraidy cats in bad weather.  



Damn, Damn, Double Damn!

The other day I stopped at Sam's club to pick up a few things and saw a big old plastic jar of the Deluxe Planter's mixed nuts.  I love nuts and we have eaten them many times.  That night, I got the munchies (did I tell you about the diet?) and took a small hand full downstairs.  About 10 minutes after I ate the nuts, I felt prickly all over my face.  I could tell in a flash it was a cotton seed oil reaction.  I went up and checked the nuts.  Damned if they haven't started to process their nuts with cotton seed oil.  With all the good nut oils, you would think they could find something better than cotton seed oil.  I was in Sam's club yesterday and they have also used cotton seed oil on their cashews.  At least it wasn't the mixed nuts.  My daddy was allergic to nuts and cotton seed oil. I saw a can of mixed nuts on the aisle by the register and checked and danged if they too don't use cotton seed oil.  It is a conspiracy I tell you.

Got the Taxes done yesterday and sent off.  The bad news is we had to write a big check, the good news is we had the money to do so.  How am I?  Fine as Frog Hair.  How am I?  If I were any better vitamins would have to take me.  How am I?  If I were any better I would be two people.  Don't feel bad for me..

If you were to go outside right now, it would feel like the April it really is.  So far this spring we have been at least a month ahead in the average daily temperature.  Right now it is sprinkling and overcast.  It feels cooler than it really is.

In one of my business classes, we did a marketing plan and then simulations by the computer over a period of time and the goal was to be the company that made the most money in the end.  The business model my team put together was one that gave the consumer a product that used an additional product that was bought and regularly used.  I seem to think it was a new razor and we then sold the blades.  Needless to say, the initial period we made zilch but in the final period of the run we cleaned up.  I think the rain bird drip irrigation system is like that.  We got a kit pretty cheap and the parts each year to make it work for the new year are expensive   A little package of "Goof Plugs" or plugs to patch last year's holes are about $4.00 for a package of 20.  It was real easy to drop $20.00 on just parts to make the dang thing work.  Oh well...

Have a great day out there.



What Does it Take?

Today one of my nieces asked the question on Facebook - How Many States have you traveled in?  I brought up a map of the US and started my list.  I got to 46 states and the District of Columbia.  Then I made a list of the States I haven't visited.  I got 5.  Hum 46 +5 = 51.    I guess I will have to work on that list.  I have a terrible time making lists and then finding the duplication.   I have always been very creative and verbose but it is that precise element that seems to be lacking.  What does it take?

Yesterday I entered all of Dave's Tax information in Turbo Tax and it spit out the data in top speed.  The problem was that somewhere between the two forms, (Federal and State) something didn't work out right and it said they owed about $700 in State tax.  OK, back to the forms, Dennis,  It had to be one of those minor things that comes back to bite me.  I thought about it hard and then I realized that I had only entered a couple of things and when I looked at that data my error was obvious.  The final scorecard was they will get a $3.00 refund from the State - No, wait, the State won't refund anything less than $5.00.

I feel kind of bad.  My neighbor has mowed her yard four times and I haven't mowed my complete yard once.  I have made a half assed attempt to mow the front part but haven't got the paths yet.  Now the front needs mowed again.  Oh well, it is only grass and mowing is overrated.  

Barb is a Master Gardener and has been growing her plants for the garden early.  I can't remember how many times I have asked her if she needed anything when I went to town and she replied, "Potting soil."  I even put together a set of outside shelves so she could move the plants outside.  The last couple of nights, we have covered the shelves with a blanket so a stray frost doesn't get them.  She has a demonstration garden in a wagon that she rolls in and out depending on the temperature.  It is basically a bag of potting soil in a wagon with the plants in it.  It is kind of a cool idea.   It would work for people that want just a couple of plants and want an early start.  It is a demonstration for a Green Fair she is working on later on this month.

Oh well, I'd better get busy and finish these Taxes so I can get out and mow.



Mike Wallace is Dead!

I wonder -  Did Mike Wallace's take no prisoner's style of news on 60 minutes help fuel the run away problems on the news today?  There is a place for the news to find and report things that are wrong but there should be a place for some good things also.  I for one just turn off programs that are nothing but controversy.  I just can't stand the kind of program that brings a bunch of people together and they try to talk over each other.  Washington Week and the View are neither on my list to watch.  If a program has to have bouncers on the stage to quell the fights, click...

Yesterday I was watching a program where a lady financial adviser brought on a couple of former fund managers to tell us what's wrong with the economy.  It seems that one blamed the Dave Ramsey effect.  If we as consumers weren't trying to limit their debt things would get better faster.  The other guy said that the Government needs to borrow more money and thus increase the size of the GDP.  Barb would say these guys were making things up faster than I can.  The one funny thing said was that the Fed is like a bartender at an AA meeting.  No matter how much they cut the rate (or price) no one is drinking.  Barb wondered if the restrictive loan policy by the banks might have a lot more to do with the problems in the economy.  No matter what the banks do, they got and will continue to get a lot of blame when loans are made to people that can't pay the loans back.  I'll bet the bankers are more conservative than I am. Why not, they can make more money charging new fees than they can with the risk of bad loans.

We had a nice Easter dinner yesterday.  Our son and his wife (1/2 of da'Barbs) came over and they brought their friend Hillary and her dad.  We swapped a few war stories and tall tales and it was kind of nice to hear tall tales of the sea told.  He is an old Salt and served right on the heels of WWII.  He was a Naval reservist and activated for the Korean conflict.  We had been in several places in common.  I went to Treasure Island in the mid 70's but when I was there the Interstate between San Francisco and Oakland was completed.  He traveled out to treasure Island by boat when he was Stationed there.  We both shipped out of Long Beach but he was on the ship he was assigned to and I was on a troop transport headed for Vietnam.  It is always interesting to see that a lot of the interactions from time period to time period centers around controversy.  Some of my memories do but I also have a lot of stories that cause me to smile.  

The weather here in the heartland is a lot more like the normal April weather than it was last month.  Barb has several racks of plants on the deck that she has to go out and cover to keep the frost off.  It was about 40 this morning and I'm not sure if it got much cooler earlier.  When the temperature gets into the 30's there can be pockets of frost that will nip the leaves right off small plants.  Barb is working hard to keep that from happening.  I don't know if she has ever worked harder than she has this year.  

I'd better get upstairs and get to cleaning on the post holiday lunch mess.  


Hate Crime

Yesterday, Police arrested two men for driving around Tulsa and randomly shooting people.  Yep, that's the kind of crime I hate.  The news said they shot African Americans.  If they were in north Tulsa, who else would they have to shoot?  Last time I looked, north Tulsa was the home of a lot of black people and there weren't any white people out walking through that part of town. This morning the paper indicated that one of the two men had a father that was shot by a black man a couple of years ago so there may be more than is apparent on the surface. 

Lets boil this down to a couple of stupid guys doing a really stupid thing and shooting people.  You can call them racists, you can call the haters, in fact, you should call them murderers.  For that, Texas has installed an express line to the death penalty.  I wonder how long these two will be fed and housed by the State of Oklahoma. 

Yes, Denny has what he calls the Mad Dog Rule.  If you get caught doing something as bad as killing people, they should just take you out behind the jail and shoot you.  There is a guy in Arkansas that I would vote to give him this punishment. 

I am still taken back by the news coverage of the Trevon shooting.  They continue to show the picture of as 13 year old in the coverage and the kid was 15.  How about a more accurate depiction of the youth or letting the coverage die down a little.  We have a race war going on but it isn't an innocent white on black shooting, it is the crime going on in the cities that is people on people.  If there were as many black killed by whites as there are blacks killing blacks, there would be a howl heard by the entire world.   Somehow we have caused a lot of young kids to lose faith in the future and they think what they do today won't change anything.  

I have had my ears to the ground trying to figure out if the KU Basketball player T-Rob (Thomas Robinson) was going to go pro or not.  There is a news conference scheduled for today  at 11:30 to clarify.  They don't hold a news conference if they are going to stay.  I wish him well.  On the subject of KU Players, I read today that Danny Manning's son is planning to walk on at KU next year.  He is a 6'1" guard and will have to earn his playing time for a year or two.  I wonder why he didn't join his dad at Tulsa.  Oh well. 

I am off to the Doctor today to see what the hell the strange lump on my arm is all about.  I am hoping it is a fatty deposit but who knows.  I sure don't.  



Easter Doings

About three PM today we will have our son, our daughter-in-law and her friends over for lunch.  We will serve ham, garlic smashed potatoes, gravy, a green vegetable, deviled eggs and dessert is sliced strawberries over angel food cake.  Barb also is making some of her dinner rolls that I so love.    This year because of the diets, there is only one Easter Basket and we all have to share.  There are some new summer clothes to wear for each person.  

As soon as I close here, I will go up and do my best to clean the kitchen floor.  I helped make most of the mess so it it is only fair that I get to clean it.  Have you noticed that in the spring the floor gets wet and dirty a lot?  It is not quite as sticky as the candy and cookies made over the holidays but dirty none the less.  If time allows, I might even attack some of the windows so out guests can enjoy the beautiful view.  If not, they will appreciate it anyway.

Last night I watched the movie called the Garden of Stone  It is about the 3rd Infantry and their job of providing burial service in Arlington for service members that die and want to be buried there.  I think it is starting to get full and like most other Federal Cemeteries (Most Notably Fort Leavenworth) they are expanding their boundaries and/or restricting the criteria for burial there.  I know that the National cemetery just south of the VA in Leavenworth is not as fancy as Arlington, but it is beautiful in its nature of rolling hills and big old oak trees.  The movie reminded me that for a lot of reasons, the Government and then the people didn't understand the why's and wherefores of Vietnam.   About the time the Japanese left Indochina, all it would have taken was a little hand out to them and they would have been our friends.  Instead of supporting the Frogs (French) we could have had Ho Chi Min's gratitude if we had just helped them establish a Government that was for all not a corrupt few.  They could have been making tennis shoes for us in the 60's rather than 40 years later.   The bonus is we would have saved the lives of 58,000 service members killed in combat and another 50,000 in accidents.  Oh well, we always seem to learn too late.

Better run a dirty floor awaits.



Takin' a Day Off

This morning about 1/2 inch of rain fell here at rabbit Run and I decided that it might be a good day to just take the day off.  Yes, it is early and I might change my mind but for now, I'll just sit here and bang on the keys and then start delving deep into the Tax work.  I do need to feed Dave's info in and give him a worksheet so he can do his taxes.  We finally got the IRS to accept last year's taxes for him.  They had something screwed up in their data base and need to get Da' Barbs all figured out.  Between the Parks, Petty and now two Barb Petty's, they just had it screwed up.   They will probably get it right just in tome to give Dave the down payment on another used car.   Might be time for him to try one of them "Fereign" cars.   I  no longer care if my daddy rolls over in his grave.

Judging from all the green things growing here, Spring is pretty well sprung.   I think the tree pollen count is down a little and I don't seem to get headaches as bad.  I did notice that the car has kind of a green or yellow tint after the early morning dew the other day.    Not to mention one of the light sprinkles that came through just was full of dust.  I had to clean my windows to see and drive out of the driveway.

When is the United States going to grow up and get over all the Petty bickering?  There is a Burger King Advertisement for their new Chicken Wrap that has been labeled racist.  Lets see, a black woman singing about a tortilla filled with chicken and lettuce is racist?   How about Taco Bell commercials?  I love ribs, pork chops, watermelon, Spaghetti and meatballs,  Corned beef and cabbage and BBQ.  There is a whole bunch or other things like a Retired Army guy loving Navy bean soup but I'm sure the corn bread cancels that.  I have also been known to put Pinto Beans in my bean pot.  I thought that having a black President just might help bring all that crap to an end. 

This morning we had the Slaven guys over for breakfast and it is always good to see them and have them bring noise back into our lives.  They are back on their way to Dave and Barb's place to plant a magnolia for them.  It rained about one half of an inch and it is too wet to dig holes but if they want to get muddy, so be it.  I'm just staying here and hope they have fun.

OH Well, Things to do and miles to go.   (and perhaps a nap to take)



Workin' Outside

During the basketball season and winter, I don't get as much done outside as I would like.  The Doctor said that I had just set around on my duff too much and with the extra 10 lbs I gained, I also have my blood levels way off.  There is a magic new number the Physician's assistant called A1C and it indicated that I was way over the line and almost in that range towards diabetes.  Both my Dad and his Brother had it so I need to get in shape and start working that reading down.  I am working outside a lot more and just climbing up and down off the tractor is a work out.   At least the 50 degree weather this morning was combined with a southerly breeze rather than yesterday's north wind.  I sat in the lee of the house and put Barb's new shelves together.  

On my trip to the VA, they insisted that I get the new virus protection shot.  I guess there have been a lot of people that are having shingles and this is to protect me from that.  We'll see.

I am going to cut down a couple more trees today and see if I can make the driveway much better.  I want people to be able to circle in and drive out without backing between the trees.  There is no shortage of trees here so I'm not worried about too much sunlight. '

I know it is spring here because i had my first tic yesterday.  I am having one heck of a time getting the whole darned thing out.  Sure hope it was not one of those Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick fever ticks.  I guess by next week we'll know.

Better run.




I am looking for inspiration to get me ready for the November Nanowrimo  writing period.  I could easily put 50,000 words together if I copied the war stories but I would really like to find a new topic.  I have kind of flirted with the topic of the "7 Deadly Sins" and how I have given in to some of them in my life.   The problem is that there probably aren't 7 new words about that topic, only stories about lives lived in search of the sins. Notice that I didn't say avoidance of them.  What fun would that be?

Seems like this has been the month for our DirecTV to break.  Seems like the repairman has been here twice to fix or replace parts.  We did have a lightening strike last year and with a little moisture it is showing up now.   The guy showed me where the cable showed black marks in the connections.  The good news is that he has it all fixed for now.  

I have a new tractor, it is an AGCO Allis 4650.  It is an Italian made tractor and I am just learning how to make it all work.  The first toy I have for it is a Box Blade and it takes me about four trips up and down off the tractor to get it hooked up.  Barb and I both have one safety rule and that is I can't leave the driver's seat with the engine running.  Shut it off, climb down, adjust the blade, get back on, start the engine move the tractor, shut it off, climb down,  over and over until I get it adjusted.  It took me about 15 minutes to get it hooked up and as soon as I did, the rain started and I had to quit.  Walking out to get the paper this morning, I noticed that it needs to be adjusted to make it level when it is down.   This is all new stuff for me and it will take a while.   

And, no, I don't have a trailer so I can't bring it to your house to do work.  

See you later.



Help Ceasar Milano,

There is a basset hound that moved in up the street a couple of months ago or so.   She comes down to my yard a couple of times a day to see what new adventure I have going.  She will come down and bark at me but will never come over to let me pet her.    I have hardly ever met a dog that I couldn't make friends with.  Perhaps the Dog Whisperer could fix it.   Nah, that would just give me something else to do.

But you do have to admit she's cute.


Well, Looks like basketball is about over.

Here in Kansas we had a good run this year with Wichita State, Kansas State (Men and Women's) and Kansas (Men and Women's) all in the NCAA Basketball Championship.  Our local College, Washburn made the DIV II playoffs and were eliminated by Pittsburgh who lost in the elite 8.  Now that the Baylor Girls have ended the season, I will focus on other things for the rest of the year.  I have been known to watch a Pro Basketball game late in the evening but never baseball.  Hockey is a game where they should call the cops and the first time a guy hits someone with a stick or a fist should haul the offender off to jail.  I'll bet that would cut the fights right down.  I think parents should never let kids watch hockey. Kinda like MMA where it isn't on until late at night because of the violence and blood.  Did you read where some idiot did that "Bare Naked Choke" on his cousin and the cousin died?  Helped clean up the gene pool in that family.

We have had a run of hot weather here for the past week.  Today it will only be in the 70's and should be great for being out in the fresh air.   I do have some tax work to finish but that is either early or after a nap.  I would be out working the driveways over but I lost the key to my new tractor.  I have a new ignition switch en route and hope that UPS delivers it today.  Three screws and plug and chug wires and I'll be back up PDQ.  You can bet that my second stop will be the Hardware store to have a couple of copies made of that damned key.  You can bet that sometime next week I'll be doing something and find that old key right where I left it. 

This has been an interesting week in my horoscope.  It has been telling me that it is a good week for financial matters.  They don't know squat about how much I will owe the IRS of they wouldn't print such crap.  Yes, I know you don't feel sorry that I have the money to pay my taxes and probably am overpaid in retirement. Oh Boo Hoo for Mean Uncle Denny.  (Remember that's where MUD comes from)

Have I shared with you that I am married to a wonderful photographer?   Barb has an eye for things that I just walk by.  It does help that she has some great NIKON equipment, but you have to be able to think as well as shoot.  
Kansas Spring time sky
I was outside a lot this week and never really looked at how pretty the sky was.    I am a bad weather fan rather than a fair weather fan.  I start looking when the clouds are dark not pretty fluffy and white. 

Oh well, enough of this, on to bigger and better things.



Good Old Days?

In the early 60's, I worked in a Phillips 66 Gas Station in Wichita. Having grown up in an all white neighborhood on the east side of town, I had little contact or knowledge of blacks.  To be period correct, colored people.  At the station, there was a fellow from Cherry Point, one of those Carolinas and he was the first educated racist I ever met.  Most of the white trailer trash in my neighborhood called the blacks or colored, niggers.  Most of them didn't complete High School and worked in manual labor jobs.  The fellow I worked with had attended a couple of years of college and was in the Air Force.  I assume that other than he talked funny, he was fairly well educated.

For the purpose of this story, I will just call him Johnny (short for Johnny Reb). One of the first things I noticed was that if a car owned by coloreds would pull up on the drive, Johnny would find a way to not be the first one out to serve them.  Me, I knew that it all paid the same and I for the life of me didn't care who or what was driving the car.  Back in those days, we not only put gas in the tank, we cleaned the windows, checked the oil and asked the customer if they wanted me to vacuum the front floor.  Johnny would maybe clean the driver's window if the owner was colored but to raise the hood or vacuum would be a bridge too far for him. 

One day I asked him about his childhood back home.  he said that when he and his momma would walk down the street the black men would step off the sidewalk and tip their hats as they passed by.  He told me that once young black man didn't do that and his daddy knocked him off the sidewalk and said something about teaching that nigger a lesson.  That just didn't compute in my book.

In my perfect world, we raise our children all the same.  We encourage them to do well, work hard, get a good education and they will be a success.  I encourage you all to smile and greet everyone everyone with the same smile as you pass through the day.   It will surprise you how many people that kind of the people that formally would not look at you or smile will actually look up and smile back.  My greeting is "howdy" like in the old westerns and it just makes me smile. If they have a child, I always say how cute they are.  Never fails to get a smile back.

I am sure that my momma would want me to be the same with everyone.  Hope you will.



Is it Summer Yet?

The wife finally broke down and turned on the Air Conditioning this weekend.  It was about 90 degrees yesterday and with all the pollen in the air, we needed something cooler and run through the air filter on the AC. I do love to get out and work in the fresh air, but there is a time to take a day or two off now and then.   About the time I started watching the Girls NCAA Final four, my Direct TV just went on the fritz.  Afraid that my TV would not be there for the big game tonight, I called their service department.  I got a nice young lady that had a script to check and I wanted it fixed, not to go over the damned check list.  Yes, It is plugged in, yes, the cables are in place, yes, I reset it.  Finally now to the good stuff.  She ran me through the controls and on one obscure little menu there was the words Dual on the screen.  reset it to single and then do the set up.  Now it works.  I guess because it is a DVR one of the two cables is out and putting it on single tells it to use the one that is OK.  They will still come out and replace the connection on the dish.  For the record this is their second visit in less than 30 days.  We go for years with nothing wrong and then now twice.  OH well, I will be able to watch the game tonight on one of the two TV's.  Almost 100 inches of screen to watch.  

Today's horoscope for Barb said for her to not sweat the Petty things.  I tell her all the time to not pet the sweaty things.  I think she'll be safe for now.

I am about to go upstairs and call a dealer in Big Springs about his Box Blades for moving gravel.  If he can make me a good deal, I'll buy a used blade but if not, I'm headed out to Tractor Supply to buy one of theirs.  I am not as fond of the new stuff because the old stuff is just built heavier.  I plan on using the blade for a long time and don't have a lot of use for things that break down a lot.  

Speaking about things tractor related,  I measured the tractor and with the sun screen and the Roll Over Protection Bars, the darn thing is about 10 feet tall.  Just no way I could ever get than thing into the garage.  Does anyone have any good ideas on what to build?   I am thinking that Barb would like to have a combination building and green house out by the garden.  I am not sure what Barb's budget will allow, but I m pretty sure that if it includes the words green house, there might be more room for a building.  

Oh well, I'm not getting anything done just sitting here.   You can bet we'll be sitting home tonight about 8 PM to watch the Kentucky Wildcats play the Kansas Jay Hawks.