Another Day, Another Inch of Rain

This morning I woke up about 4:15 AM to a Thunderstorm that was filled with hail, lightening and rain. I went out to see Barb's new water gauge and it has almost an inch of new water in it.  The old one had a crack in the side and every rain was about 1/4 inch of moisture.  Wrong.  A trip to Wal-Mart fixed that.  Now if it would stop raining for a couple of days I might be able to get to finish the shed and do some mowing.  I have a finish mower for the Big Tractor but it makes big time tire marks when the ground is as soft as it is. 

I am thinking about going to the Art House Movie theater in Lawrence this afternoon and seeing MUD.  I think it is appropriate that MUD is going to see MUD to get away from working in the mud. I don't know why with 22 theaters in Topeka we can't get it to show here.  It is one of the highest rated movies in the area according to what I have read.  What is the deal with 3-D movies?  Didn't that technology give everyone enough headaches the last go round? 

Our neighbor brought her granddaughter over last night for a short visit.  The granddaughter is just at that age where she wants to talk but can't quite make it happen.  She did say dog once as cookie stood outside of our house and barked.  I think little kids are a great thing and we talk to all the kids we see.  I saw that Barbara was talking to a little boy yesterday at the Merc in Lawrence and I had been talking to him earlier.  She is getting to be a lot like me in that way.  She points out that a grandchild would cut into my nap time so don't ask for what you don't really want.

Yesterday Barbara and I had a talk about writing on our way to Lawrence.  She is convinced that my Niece Becky and I write in such similar styles that we should collaborate.  I don't know about Becky, but my style tends to be along the lines that whatever crosses my mind falls out through my fingertips.  I call t Faction in that it is generally a few facts as the skeleton with colorful prose to round out the picture.  If we wanted to study facts, we would take that Government history class in High school and all get A's.  I think they had the worst teacher at East High (1965) teaching Government and Kansas History.  Both were a requirement to graduate in Kansas and I passed them both.  The funny thing is I love history and hardly ever pass up watching a good story well told on the History channel. If it is a story told on the Military channel I probably have seen it. 

Oh well, I know there is a good book waiting for me to finish this.



Just a Note

While reading the blog of my niece Beck, I saw that she at one time was worried about what she wrote.  I offer her this advice.  After 2320 blogs all published and "In the Can." I think I can offer her a few words of advice.  Blogs are about the real things in life and not intended to be as riveting as a "Tale of Two Cities."  It doesn't have to start with a great title of end with a tragedy.   Start where you start, end when you want to and charge what the BlogSpot allows.  I have over 130,000 hits on my site and sure as heck don't worry about who reads my blog or what they learn or take away. 

I don't know why people like to read about the life of ordinary people but they seem to enjoy what we do.  Throw in a few pictures and they will come back.

Brag about your kids, dogs and things.  Life is to be enjoyed.  Love ya'.


I lost a day

Somewhere between Sunday and today it seems like I lost a day.  Normally it is really easy for me as I put my daily pills in one of those pill containers that tell me what day it is.  When I filled it this week, I put that days pills out on the counter and now I don't have a clue except the weather channel told me it was Thursday.  I guess I will just have to take their word for it.

I went up and read the paper and then checked the weather channel.  There is this big green rain cloud from Salina to Columbia and Tulsa to Omaha.  Right here in the middle is Tecumseh and we are getting the kind of light rain that will make up the shortages from last year.  Barb put in a drip irrigation system in her garden and so far hasn't needed it.  I think she may have to go out and hold an umbrella over the garden to keep those little plants from drowning.

Yesterday afternoon I was downstairs and there was a loud thump on the side of the house.  We went out to see what it was and there by the front door was a big old Hickory tree had fallen.  It did a number on the gutter but little other damage.  It was pretty rotten so it won't make good smoking wood for the grill.  The good news is there are a lot of other hickory trees out there that will fit the bill.  One of these days it will dry up some and I will be able to take my chain saw out and clear some of the paths from fallen trees.  Will also try to cut some hickory for my grillin' brother Dan in Kansas City. He borrowed some of the dry rub from a friend that competes in Cook offs and shared some with me.  It is just the right blend and with the hickory makes a killer pulled pork.

Speaking of pulled pork and grilling, We invited the kids over for Pork Chops yesterday and I about forgot.  The arrive here at 5:15 and at 4 PM I was reminded by Barb that I needed to get it in gear.  I had trouble getting the grill to light and get up to temp and I had to cook the chops lower and slower that usual.  It was a happy accident.  Those were the best and most juicy chops ever.  Throw in a side of potatoes and onions (Yes, the Vidalia onions are here) and it was all yummy.  Barb loves to make sides of fruits and I think she even made a fondue pot of chocolate.  For me, those big old red strawberries are just too good to coat with chocolate.  Not for the girls.  OK, I did have two of those pork chops.

We are hosting a family gathering in June and are having problems getting an accurate headcount.  The traditional Bieroaks (Cabbage rolls in dinner rolls) are so good but where doe we start and stop making them?  If there are 50 people coming, and that is a possibility, the count needs to be at least 100.  I know I can personally eat three or four without missing a beat.  I would be surprised if Barb even eats two.  We talked about some of the other family treats and the Macaroni and tomato dish came up.  I think my Grandmother used it to stretch meals.  It is basically macaroni with canned tomatoes and enough sugar and butter to make a light sauce.  It doesn't sound like much on the written page but we sure cleaned up a lot of them at Sunday dinner.  Throw in a lime Jell-O and pears and you have a treat.  I will probably get potato salad and baked beans at Sam's club to round it all out.  My mother would rather have pie than cake so in her honor we will have some of the best pies from Mrs. Smith's and Marie Calendars.  Lemon, chocolate and banana cream from Mrs. Smiths and fruit pies from Marie Calendars.  Barb's dad likes her razzleberry pie.  I love apple or peach. 

All this talk of food has me hungry so I'll call it a day here and move on to breakfast.



Is it Monday?, Nope Tuesday

I am not sure what my horoscope is trying to tell me today.  In one sentence it told me to be as amicable and pleasant as I can be.  Is that bad or good?  Only time will tell.  I will try to finish the trim on the shed outside by myself today so I won't have to wear a sign that says "Beware." 

I did get out a little yesterday afternoon and do some of the trim on the shed.  I did get the trim moved closer to the shed and it was only a little muddy there by the shed.  I think I managed to spend some of the time looking at how to finish the trim as much as put up new trim.  I do have a couple of fair ideas.  It really looks good so far and inside in spite of three inches of rain it stayed dry inside.  I tried to not track in mud so I worked mostly on the outside.  I will include pictures when I get it painted.  The trim and siding is primered from the lumber yard so it looks fairly good now. 

There are a lot of people out there in poor health and things could sure change in the next couple of years.  A lot of the older adults are in their late 80's and that doesn't bode well for bunches of years left.  I noticed over the Memorial Day televisions shows that a darned lot of the WWII Vets are no longer alive.  Korea Vets are thinning out and a bunch of my Vietnam friends are already gone.  I have given up drinking and smoking and Barb is trying to keep me active.  At least I can look dirty and sweaty enough to look like I am working hard.

We are having a family reunion tis next month and sure hope a lot of the family can get over.  My father's younger brother Warren and his wife Mattie Jean are going to do their best to get here.  I will say about all those that don't make it, "We will Miss 'em."  (Virginia Dene Lee Petty Schawo) 

Yesterday, my son Dave was over for Breakfast and worked on my computer a lot.  He knows what to do about Windows 8 and makes it work very simply.  I do hate that when he transferred in my pictures and documents from the lap top we were unable to bring the programs with them. There were a few things I had worked on that were lost or overwritten with the change but the changes he made far make this machine work the way I know how to write.  Something about the new computer wouldn't recognize the programs and that has something to do with the copy write on the programs.  I don't care but the computer does. 

It was so wet that the Raccoon was out looking for food

Well, I have stalled off enough so I'd better get busy and eat my bowl of breakfast food and get to work outside.




After taking most of yesterday off, it is raining today.  I guess I should have reversed the day off but we do need the rain.   I did get the shed roof finished and now all I need to do is to put on a little trim and paint.  Should have that all done by mid week without much of a sweat.

We had company for breakfast today.  Dave's in-laws are here for a visit and we live to see them and feed them a good breakfast.  It was all good and we had a great time visiting. 

As I look out the door downstairs, it appears that the rain has stopped and perhaps we will get a chance to dry off later on today. 

Dave was here for breakfast and he helped me transfer all my documents and pictures from the laptop to the new computer.  He also found the terabyte hard drive and I can use it to store my pictures.  I will try to set up a back up on it soon and that will be one more step in the computer swap process.  I am learning Windows 8 and so far it is  fairly straight forward when you know how and what you want to make it happen.  It is like anything new, it just takes a little time to get it all working.

Guess I'll make this a short note and move on smartly.



Taking the Morning Off

As I walked out to get the paper, I looked at the pile of trim left to put on the shed.  I have it cover up with black plastic and it makes me wonder what wonderful things are living under there.  My decision is if I want to start the trim work now that I have finished the roofing.  The sooner I get it finished the sooner I can really start some of the other projects.  It is my Mother's Day gift to Barb and I kind of would like to have it available for her to use before the 4th of July.  Most of the work left is trim and painting.  I have my mind set on having a young nephew paint it. 

This morning in the paper one of the staff writers wrote about his first turkey hunt in three years.  I enjoyed the story but have no real desire to shoot a turkey.  I enjoyed the merry band of male turkeys that came to visit my feed plot this spring.  I seldom saw them in full strut and showing of their spectacular plumage.  Perhaps next year I'll get one female decoy and see if I can elicit a grand display.  I am about finished for the year and I guess my next move is to take the batteries of my Trail Cam.  I can always look at the days and days of recorded pictures.

The paper today was pretty full of stories about Servicemen and their experiences.  Not much mention of the women that served.  I find that shortsighted but I do wonder if the fact that a lot of the servicewomen I know went on to focus their lives on their children instead of sitting around the VFW and finding ways to relive their glory.   That leads me to another thought.

WARNING - Some of the following may be offensive and you have my permission to move on if you are easily offended.

I don't get what it is about the young men and women that leads the guys to become predators and to harm or rape the very people they serve with.   I can imagine that the females set out to serve their branch of the service much the same way the men do.   In my case, I took an oath to my wife and there was just no way I would ever wanted to make a mistake and harm the very people I worked with.   Oh sure, I had desires and thoughts but I did not ever put them into action.  I for one would put it in writing to every commander that it must stop and I would knock their "dicks in the dirt" for anyone that forces a female soldier to perform any illegal act.   Immediate incarceration and dismissal if found guilty. 

I am proud to say that I know many fine soldiers of both sexes and am proud to have served with and commanded many.  One of my retired Warrant Officer fiends met me in Wal-Mart one day and told me he hadn't forgiven me for what I did to him.  I was at a loss to know what he was talking about until he gave me the rest of the story.  He had been in charge of a female employee that worked in another city.  She complained that he had sexually harassed her and was now trying to fire her because she didn't come across.  I brought in one of my young officers and told him to conduct an investigation and if my friend was guilty, I wanted him fired.  As it turned out, everyone said that there was no truth in the allegation and the woman was actually using the charge to cover up her incompetence and failure to do the job.  I had her fired and moved on.  I guess the someone told my friend what I said and it was not until we had our conversation did I even know he had heard what I said.  In our conversation, I pointed out that the Warrant Officer had not been fired and went on to a full career.  I was trying to set the tone for the people that worked for me and sometimes the law of Unintended Consequences (or Utterances) set in in this case.  At the time, I was very engrossed with a problem with my recruiters and their failure to maintain the high standards of the Service.  I am not sure he has forgiven me but he at least has both sides of the story.

One problem in all of this is that a lot of times relationships are consensual and I do have problems with that also.  There is no room for a relationship between superior and subordinate.  One wise old sage said "Don't put your peter in the payroll."   I also had little support for people that used the Army as an excuse. It is difficult enough for our families with all the time we put into our jobs without using that time loss to conduct an affair.  I know at least two officers that while they were on official business had affairs and fathered children,  The first guy didn't admit his fault and it worked the way back up the chain of command from the Political side of the house.  By the time the Adjutant general found out he had no choice but to fire the guy.  In fact this was really strike two so it was deserved.  The other guy was a fine young officer with a promising career that easily would have finished with him as a full Colonel.  He was stopped as a Major and only because he came in and fell on his sword and admitted it all early, he was allowed to complete his 20 years and retire.  In both of the cases, the sex was consensual and they did not use birth control to prevent a happy accident.

Oh well, I had better stop talking out of school about things that really don't convey my pride in the Service men and women I have known.  I also want to point out that there were many fine support people that made it all possible.  Their kind works and smiles made it all easier.  Salute to the Debbie's, Mary's, Dawns, Karen's and Rosanna's that made it all possible.   I wish I could remember all their names as clearly as I see their faces in my fading memories.  Happy Memorial Day.

COL, (Ret)


Been Busy

I am building a 10 X 12 tall shed in the yard and have been a little busy and then tired after a hard day's work.   I am sorry that I have not written much this past week.  I hope you will understand and keep looking in as I try to burn my candle at both ends and not fall off the roof as I do it.


Truth, Trust and the American Way

This morning I saw a few minutes of Donald Rumsfeld on one of the  Sunday Morning talk shows.  He was talking about the erosion of trust in leaders.  He said that truth leaves on horseback and returns on foot.  He was front and center in the Nixon Administration as Tricky Dick resigned and Ford became the President.  He said that the trust and the feeling that the Administration was capable of telling the truth was at an all time low.  He said that they worked very hard to bring key players together and try to find the truth before they let any news leak out.  

Today the mantra in Washington is, "What did they know and when did they know it."   Clearly there are some things that the President needs to know that are secrets but the advent of the at the moment news coverage makes that more difficult.  The gap between the very ends of our Political parties also makes it more difficult.  I heard Giraldo Rivera  say that when it came to his daughter, he was a social conservative and a fiscal liberal.  We keep saying that the United States is the best and strongest Country in the world and yet we all see that our National Debt keeps piling up and there seems to be no end in sight.

Will the down turn in our economy turn around just as the sequestration cuts kick in.  What will that do to the party of giant fiscal programs that were put in place to save us?   I think there will be a lot of discussion and cussin' over this in the coming years.   Makes me wonder what is the real truth if there is any.

How many of us were brought up in the absolute education system that demanded the rote regurgitation of facts as we were told?   The creative part of finding out what really happened was severely challenged in most of the class rooms I was in.  I hated "knowing" the facts and not understanding the causes.  

The other day, there was a program about cults in the USA.  The main point was that so many people came here to have religious freedom that it should not be a surprise that once here, a lot of cults were formed in that vacuum.  The first was the Pilgrims and their severe social system was just a form of tyranny that few of us could have stood.  The narrator went on to talk about the shakers, the Quakers and then the Mormons.  The multiple wife part of the equation was so adverse to the people that they were literally drummed out of town until they went so far west that not even the Indians could have lived on the edge of the Great Salt Lake.   Was that a big part of why Romney was not elected?   

There was one small part of Donald Rumsfeld's talk that I completely agree with.  He said that bad news does not sit and wait.  If you make a mistake, as soon as you can, get to your boss and tell him in complete detail what happened.  Simple errors can be made right with hard work and the trust of others.  Bad errors will get you fired is you lie to cover them up.  Multiple lies can get your boss fired and up the chain if duplicated.  

A good friend of mine said that he had a system in peace time and in wartime.  He would listen to the scouts as they tell their story of what they see.  The first time was almost always an excited utterance and not to be completely trusted.  It wasn't until that person had three or four accurate reports that he would listen and act on their information.  Even then, there would be mistakes but track records are the average and a pretty good way to judge. "The race doesn't always go to the fastest but that's a pretty good way to bet" 

I am not sure that we will ever regain complete trust in our Government.  I think we need to find our next President from the list of people that tell the truth, mostly the whole truth and as much of the truth as they can tell.  

Just because he has a good view doesn't mean he see's everything



Serious Thoughts

If you in a mood to be easily offended, stop reading here.  I am going to make some serious comments  that will probably inflame some passions and I'm going to make these comments with a serious demeanor and a straight face.

The headline in the Local Paper this AM was that the killer of four people in Franklin County's motive is unknown.    Over and over again I hear from people that they want to know what a person was thinking when he/she killed someone.  People, think about it.  If a person is logical and driven by the same things we all are, there is no killing.  If you think about it, you wouldn't kill.  We for the most part are social animals and think about our fellow man with compassion.  Sure, we might get mad at our little brother of a sister now and then but not to the point we forget they are a person.  If you lack the understanding of that basic tenant of life, you just kill, you don't think or have anything as complex as a motive.  Throw in a couple of beers, and that asocial person becomes a killer.  

I for one have long since given up any thought of finding out what makes guilty people think.  Capture them and put them away for as long as the law allows. I am thankful that the State of Arkansas has one person sitting on death row because I sure as hell wouldn't want some members of my family (me included) to shot him like a rabid dog.  In fact in my simple justice system he fits my Mad Dog Law.  We all know he raped and killed my niece, take him out behind the prison and shoot him.  The only motive I would have is justice, not some deep philosophical thoughts about mercy. 

Today I read the obituaries and there was only one in the paper today.  Some nice old guy, was born, married, raised kids, farmed, worked with the 4-H, fished and he died.  I'll bet he loved his life and if asked, doesn't regret anything.  That is pretty simple and a lot of the way I think about my life.  This week we lost a good friend of the family, Fred Clark.  I always tried to sit by him at the Thanksgiving dinner at the Craig's.  Fred was simply a hoot.  I'm sure that he had some complex parts about him but he also had a willingness to smile at the simple things and he was a,"Hail fellow well met."  He always made me feel like he was interested in everyone and people generally liked him.  He had pancreatic cancer and didn't last long once it was found.  He will be missed but not in a sad way for me.  I will always have a smile when I think about him.

On the other hand,  one of the nicest women I've ever met has stage IV Breast Cancer.  Statistically, she is a lot nearer to death than she is to having a long life.  I want her to know that her family will take all the lessons they learned from her and live their lives in good ways.  When my mother died, I grieved for a short while and applied the band-aid to that wound that my mother wold have wanted.  If someone could not make it to a family gathering, she would  simple say, "We'll miss you."  No big productions about scheduling, set a date and move on.  Someone would always think their schedule was more important that everyone else's schedule.   Life and death has no schedule, only the occurrence of each.  

One of my friends, also a Vietnam Veteran, said to me one day, "I don't understand the concept of suicide.  I do understand getting a gun and shooting the guy that made you feel that way."  I'm sure that in some ways he suffers from PTSD, but I think he has it about right.  He has spent most of his life recovering from the wounds he received from an AK-47 ,and I know he hurts every day of his life.   It was a mutual shooting and my friend did his best to shoot the enemy as he popped up out of a spider hole and shot him.  Back to my first thought, I don't think there was anything s deep as a motive, just a reaction to the events of the day. If you want motive, go write a book and include your own story line.  Just don't ask me to help you find it.



Oh Lord

Please don't let anyone tell you that building a 10 X 12 tall shed is easy or a one man job.  No matter how hard I work, I am going to need help for the roof structure.  I am not tall enough or strong enough to do it alone.  I am not sure I ever was that good.

The latest news on the Kansas State front is the question of if the State Wide Sales Tax should be let to expire or not.  There is all sorts of people saying that the sales tax is aimed at the poor people the most.  As I lookout there, about 50% of the poor are purchasing their food with a "Vision" card and I don't see how a little sales tax is hurting them.  

Kansas Capital Dome

There is a lot of people out there that think that the testing grounds for ideas is the States first.  If a State stumbles a little, there is no real damage done.  Well, except for California.  I wouldn't invest any money in their bonds at any interest amount. 

Speaking of interest, I got a piece of mail the other day that had a wonderful offer of .7% interest for $10,000 for 5 years.  That is not 7% but .7%  as in 0.7%.  Spend it, send it rolling along.

Last night about 4 AM I thought I heard something go thump outside the door.  I turned on the outside light and there was a pretty good size raccoon molesting the oriole feeder.  I guess he finally climbed up on it and broke the rod that holds it on the chain it hangs from.  The entire mess was on the ground this morning and it took a lot of epoxy to glue it together.  I moved it a little so the raccoon won't be able to reach  it  unless he does a forward dive off the porch.  There is just not enough epoxy to fix that.  The bad news is that now that it is back up there hasn't been an oriole here yet.  we'll see.

Better go get cleaned up.  



Mother's Day Part 2

I can't tell you just how bad posting Mother's picture screwed up the format in the previous post.  I thought it was just easier to start over with a new post.  Here it is.

The other love of my life is my partner of 45+ years Barbara.  

She is obviously not my mother but she is the mother of our son and that is good enough for me. 

 I know you are tired of seeing this picture but do you know how hard it is to get the photographer in a picture?  Personally I love this picture because you can see the smiles in her eyes.


Mother's Day

Most of us have many mixed emotions about our mothers.  Mom was the Law and Order in my life as well as the one person I could get a hug from no matter how she felt.  There you go, the story of my mother, "Love, Law and Order."   I have a lot of pictures of my mother in different stages of her life.  We managed to get most of Mom's pictures as well as those she got from her mother.

Mother in Eldorado


Getting Level

The only way to start off a project is to make sure you have a level place to start.  Then continue level from there.  I am having a small problem in going from corner to corner in a level manner.  I am going to start fresh this morning and make it so.

I am firmly convinced that the news outlets are just doing their best to make things controversial to get higher ratings.  Now that we have Jodi convicted, they are spending hours discussing life in prison or death.  I vote that she is guilty and it is up to the mercy of the court to decide where she goes.  'Nuff Said.  We should not have had a consulate in Benghazi so get over it.  Even if we did, what the hell was the ambassador doing there if there was a threat.  Play hard, but do it in a smart manner.  

On the local front, three people have been killed and their bodies discovered near Ottawa. The assumption is that the body of a small child just hasn't been discovered yet. We lived there for five years and I drove by the place on many occasions when I commanded the Artillery battalion there in Ottawa.  Don't have a clue what happened but it appears that a guy with a previous conviction for murder is the culprit.  This time I hope they get it right and he spend the rest of his time either behind the prison walls or on death row.  With the fact that we didn't execute Dennis Rader (BTK) the killer I don't have much hope the Justice system will step up and put this mad dog to death.  

What I want in the matter of gun control is linkage.  Show me a solution and link that to the problem and see if I don't accept your premise.  Don't shout at me because I am heartless over not accepting your solution until you fins a way that doesn't restrict me in a manner that is unconstitutional.  I am not the problem, I will continue to do what I do without being the problem.  Find a way to guarantee the people in California will be safe and leave me the hell alone.  Make a constitutional change and I will at least play along.  Otherwise, your congress spoke so leave me alone.

Has anyone else noticed that since sequestration has cut back on the spending we seem to be getting better.  It hasn't taken more spending, but less to start the ball rolling.  A;; along I have thought it was more attitudinal and not under the control of Government.  Now if the people out there can just find a way to continue to have faith in our economy we will continue to get better.  No, I won't even speculate what would have happened had we not spent the money.   I won't do that anymore than I will speculate how bad it was under the previous president.  If you look at the facts, the President is not the moving force, our congress is.  We keep re=electing that pack of Bozo's even with an 8% approval rating.  Oh yes, I know it is my congressmen and women that are the problem and yours are perfect.  I would throw them all out and start over.  It couldn't be worse.  

A week or so back, I mowed.  I went out to the mailbox yesterday and noticed that I need to mow again.  Bummer.  As I am outside working on the shed, I can hear lawn mowers all over the county cutting grass down to size.  Oh, the orioles are still here and enjoying the oranges, the juice and especially the grape jelly. I forgot to pick up a jar of jelly at the store yesterday so i might have to make a quick trip to fetch some.  Barb is about to leave to go to the master gardener's plant sale.  She doesn't write for the newsletter but does try to take pictures of the events for them.

Better go get on the straight and level.   I might even sneak out and go see the movie MUD.  The warning for the review was language and smoking.  Sounds like a great deal of my life in a caption.
Be careful what you feed out there.  Even weenie dogs will sniff your pan.



Garden Shed

This last week we were out and about and saw the 10X12 shed on sale at one of the local lumber yards.  It is normally about $1,900 and they had it on sale at $1,399. It was delivered yesterday and I have started it but have little more than the foundations completed.  I will do the floor kit sometime today after it dries up a little bit.  It has rained about 1/3 of an inch since it was brought on site and it is a little muddy.  I think by noon it will be OK.

Has there been nothing on the news new lately?  The Jodi Arias trial has been on a lot.  Who cares that they found her guilty.  Didn't she confess that she did it?  Then the Benghazi mess is hogging the left over news.  If I were the President and my Defense Director said something as stupid as "We didn't want to put more people in harm's way."  Guess who would get his pink slip.  The Special operators are the guys that come in guns blazing and fix problems.  The final piece of time has been taken up with the burial of the Boston Bomber.  If it was good enough for Bin Laden, why not just put rocks in his body bag and bury him at sea.  I for one really don't care.  After all, didn't even Lee Harvey Oswald have a grave?  

I would support background checks for gun sales if I had even the slightest thought that the Government wasn't trying got get us to register all gun owners.   Those legal gun owners have nothing to do with the high crime rate and having our names in a government data base will do nothing to curb crimes.   How about putting the names of people that can't buy guns on a computer data base?   Do the crime, get on the list.  That makes a hell of a lot more sense to me.  What the heck do I care about people that commit crimes?  Isn't there a registry for sex offenders?  

Every once in a while I will run into a post that is using some retired General as the authority on any number of topics.  Most of those guys had so much power that they thought they were the see all and end all of any discussion.  Wrong!   Give me the opinion of a guy that carried a tool box or at least knew what honest sweat was all about.  What ever you do, don't use the ideas of some celebrity or retired Military type to make a point.  You have every right to put your own ideas up there for us all to laugh at.  I am not sure if my comments are always right but I do hope I put a smile on a face or two now and then.  

Get out there and mow that grass.



Busy, Busy, Busy!

I woke up early yesterday and I could hear a big old red rock calling my name.  Hey MUD, I'm going to just lay here for another hundred years unless you find a way to move me.  The good news is that I have a great tractor with a front scoop and so far no rock has defeated me. (US?)   I use a big truck chain to help hold it in the bucket and put them in the front yard.  Yesterday's rock is just waiting for instructions from the Master Gardner.  I do move not pretty.

About the time I got the rock moved, the gravel arrived.  I got 18 tons of 3/4 inch rock and 18 tons of AB3. The driveway gravel was spread by the dump truck and I have about half of the 3/4 inch gravel placed where it is needed.  The even better news is that I can get out of bed this morning.  

I went over to the new Menard's after I moved the gravel and purchased a swing set for "My Little Friends" in Kansas City.  It was the last of last month's oil money and I know that Mom would be proud of such use.  I have a date with Capt Jenn on Sunday morning to put as much of the set together.  

About 7 PM, a fellow who had a tractor in the paper called.  He had a finish tow behind mower that belonged to a friend.  He didn't know if it was for sale and he had to call him.  It was for sale and he asked $400 for it.  It is a modified brush hog with wheels on all four corners so it won't scalp high places.  I got it home but it was too dark to hook it up last night.

It rained last night and I won't get to mow today.  The phone just rang and it was the other Lumber Yard calling to let me know he was en route to deliver Barb's shed.  Better cut this shorter and get with the program.

As busy as I was yesterday, I didn't get any oranges or grape jelly out to feed the Orioles.  I sure hope they ate the suet block and will hang around for today's feeding.  I guess I will see some time later on today.



Makin' The Most of It.

Looks like the weather is trying to change for the better and I for one am going to try to do the best I can for as long as I can.  I do tend to start early and need a nap but there is just so much a guy can do.  Yesterday I got rid of a couple of truck frames and an old pickup cab.  Today I expect to get a couple of dump truck loads of gravel and tomorrow I expect to have a garden shed kit delivered.   Sometime today I am going over to the new lumber yard in town and see if they have a swing set in stock.  There are a couple of little girls in Kansas City that they tell me are swingers, or enjoy going to the park to swing.  It gets harder to remember when you get old.

I saw on Facebook a story about a guy retiring after 31 years in the Military.  He spent all of his time at the retirement reception thanking all the people that made it possible.  I don't think people really understand what Military types have to give up to keep a career going.  This is especially true of those in the Guard and Reserves.  The old family saying was, "Don't get Buried or Married on Denny's Drill."  It didn't stop the rest of the people's schedule, it just meant that I would not be there.  In addition to all the hours I spent at work, one weekend a month (at a minimum) and two weeks every summer I would be somewhere doing my Military Thing.  For those of us in the Guard, we also had to pursue our Military Education.  Completing the Advance Course and Command and General Staff College was another job.  It was a promotion requirement and not a paid position.

With that said, I want to thank all of you out there that have made my retirement possible.  All that hard work and extra hours has resulted in compensation for the remainder of my life.  My Military Retirement makes it possible for us to live pretty darned nice.  Throw in a little Oil money left to us by Wilbur and Mom and little girls get a swing set now and then.  

Over the winter, I had my recumbent bike rebuilt and repainted and I just haven't had the opportunity to get it our on the bike trail.  I took it out once and it was only 50 with about a 25 MPH wind and all I did was ride across the Lake Shawnee dam.  Boo Hiss...

This morning as I went out to get the paper, I felt something hit my hair on the way out.  With the trees blooming, I though tit was just one of the leaf buds.  As I sat there reading the paper, I felt something on my neck and it was a tick.  Yes, with springtime comes the dreaded tick season.  I guess even if you stay on the driveway, they can jump out of trees and get you.  Barbara has a spraying station on the deck where she sprays down each time she goes out in the yard.  At 6 AM I just didn't think about it.  I don't know about you, but insect repellant kind of makes my skin burn and who loves the smell of chemicals strong enough to ward off Ticks.  Did I mention chiggers?  Here in the heartland we have a pesky little bug that loves to get underneath your socks or at your belt line and plum near drive you crazy with the itch.  

One time in Wyoming I was at one of the old forts and the local groups was performing Cavalry drills on the parade field.  Watching nearby was a family with a 13 year old girl.  You know the type, all legs and an attitude. She was wearing shorts and sitting in the grass. I told her that it was a really good way to get chiggers.  She said, "You cheeky yanks all pick on us kids."  (Yes I think she was British)  Oh well, sit there and get chiggers.  A Little later on, I went into the restroom in a nearby building.  The wall from the men's bathroom and women's was open at the top. I heard a familiar voice saying, "Mum, me bum itches."  All I could do was yell over the wall "Chiggers."

Oh well, things could be worse.  For now I am going to try to live my life as if it were a celebration and it is my party.  Well, I will try to include my book keeper and co-financier Barb.  




Route 66, 1967 Style

When I graduated from Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill in July 1967, I was on orders to Train up with an Artillery Battalion and Deploy to Vietnam in early 1968.   After a couple of weeks’ vacation at home in Wichita, I drove out to Fort Irwin, California.  I struck out early in a 1963 Volvo that was a great road car. I left on a Saturday to arrive near Barstow, California late Sunday night.  The drive started west out of Wichita on US Highway 54.  That just happens to be pretty much a truck route and the old asphalt roadbed had at least one inch ruts where the truck tires melted in, in the summer.

The beloved Volvo after Dad wrecked it. in 1968

I decided to take US 54 as it travels mostly west until you get out by Dodge City and then heads down towards Liberal. It then swoops southwest to Tucumcari New Mexico. By late July, the wheat harvest was complete and here isn’t a lot going on that time of the year.  Lots of trucks headed out to the packing plants near Liberal and a few tourists.  Most of the people headed west are going to Colorado up on the new I-70 so like I said lots of trucks. 

I looked at my maps and saw that the old US 66 and I-40 were on a parallel route and in some places Interstate had replaced the old “66”.  I decided that at Tucumcari, NM I would take as much of the old highway as possible.  I was on I-40 most of the way to Albuquerque and there I had to take the old highway through the south edge of the city.   I did spend the night somewhere there but looking back, I don’t have a clue where.  The next morning I started out early and because most of the way across the rest of the ways was desert, I bought one of those stupid water bags that hung on the front bumper. God did I look like a tourist.

Once I was west of Albuquerque, there was a lot of the old 66 to drive.  It was a funny red colored asphalt from the red rocks used to give the highway some durability.  It was also just a paved cow path in places and you could tell they just paved and repaved it in a lot of places without trying to improve the road bed.  Somewhere that landscape also tuned to desert with lots of foreign plants most of them with sticky places.  Another feature of the route was unlike Kansas there was scenery everywhere.  Being a boy from Kansas and having to look at the clouds to see much, all along the route was mountains that were multicolored reds and greens. 

I am not sure how I managed to see so much and stay on the road.  I guess I just multitasked the driving and viewing.  There were places where you could see the new I-40 being built and places where the old route went off in the valleys along the river and the new road stayed straight and was cut through empty places in a direct route.  I remember one stretch of brand new road on the Old 66 that had just been finished.  I thought to myself at the time that by next year that will be the nicest road to nowhere.

Not sure where, but pretty soon I started going through small towns even if the Interstate was there, they would kick you off and you had to drive through the places that were inhabited by only Indians.  Being a kid from the Heartland it was all new to me and I just had to gawk as I drove through those little wide spots in the road.  Gallup, Grants and more little towns were driven through along the way.  Lots of gas stations and “Trading Posts” were features at both ends of most towns.  Then I hit the edge of Arizona.

There were a couple of places that were kind of neat in Arizona but I don’t remember much from that trip.  What I do remember is just short of California I found a stranded traveler long side of the road.  When I pulled up, I saw a fairly new Chevy Station wagon with the hood up.  I noticed an Air Force Sticker on the bumper and figured that it was probably a young officer, like me going to a new assignment.  The first sound I heard was a baby crying.  It was late in the afternoon in July and hot as hell.  My Volvo had a little air conditioner but it kept me somewhat cool even if it did drip water inside the car from time to time.  The driver got out and told me that he could go about five miles and the car would overheat.  He was really worried about the baby being too hot and didn’t have a clue how to limp the car into needles.

My solution as to put his wife and the baby in my car and for him to just tough it out. He wasn’t too thrilled about that idea but when we put all the water from the bottom of my water cooler and bumper bag in his radiator there was still a lot of steam.  We put his wife in the front seat of my car where the air conditioner could blow on the baby and struck out for Needles.  The first breeze of cool air and that baby went to sleep. The only thing that probably saved his engine was the new “Check-in Station” they were building along the highway.  There was a lot of brick laying going on and someone had put three or four 55 gallon barrels of water there to make mortar. We not only filled his radiator with all it would hold, he had a 20 gallon cooler that was filled to the brim.  He wanted his wife to ride with him the short distance to the cut off to Needles and off we went.

At Needles, I waived him good bye and kept on trucking west.  Most of the route by then was interstate and called I-40 but there was one thing that really troubled me.  In Kansas the little 2 lane highways were set for 70 MPH and in the middle of nowhere the Interstates in California was only 65 MPH.  A lot of people drove faster but I also saw four of five Troopers with people pulled over and writing tickets.

It was evening when I got near Barstow California and I was one tired and sunburned guy.  I knew that I should just drive out to Fort Irwin but was just too tired to do that. I thought that the lights of Barstow made it look like a jewel and inviting.  I found a motel along the main drag and checked in.  The room had been left with the air conditioner turned off and the bank sign said 110 degrees at 10 PM.  I don’t have any idea how hot the room was but leaving the door open felt good until the cooler started to finally cool down the room. I took a shower and just laid on the sheets with the air blowing over my body.  Somewhere in the early AM the room finally good coo enough that I needed to pull a sheet up over me.

When I go up and ready to roll north to Fort Irwin, I drove the main drag through Barstow.  Was I ever wrong about it being a jewel.  If the Good lord was ever going to give the earth an enema, I knew where ground zero or the insertion point was going to be.  Somewhere later in my life I’ll tell you about the early days at Fort Irwin.

Pvt Petty In 1966


COL (Ret)

Family Sayings

My mother and father had cute sayings that fit many occasions.  I will try to replicate some of them here:

Mom- "You wait till your father gets home." I am pretty sure there is no further  explanation needed. "We'll miss you."  I had a lot of Military training, events and mostly drill that got in the way of weddings and funerals.  Life went on in spite of my being away.   "You have to go to sleep sometimes."  Kind of like the rattle on a snake, you never knew when but you had a pretty good idea that you were going to get it.   

Dad - "All Hands on deck"  You had better be up and att'em Pretty darned quick.  "We need to get out and blow the stink off." Not sure where this came from but it was the last step in preventing cabin fever.  "Don't make me stop this car."  Warning heard after my mother said "Glenn" in a whiny voice. Dad always told me I could make a living digging ditches, "But you won't like it."

Curly - "The only way to make the last of your life worthwhile is to save a good portion of everything you make."  We socked away as much as we could in retirement programs beyond any pensions.  Now if I could figure out a way to get that money back out of those funds without paying taxes.

Erma - "While you are up, would you fetch us both a beer." 

Dave - "I love you sugar whumpus"  Not sue of the spelling but they are Science Fiction fans. 

Barbara (Senior) - "I love you."  Always music to my ears.  45 years of that and I never tire of hearing it.

Barb (Jr.)  - "I don't care what you call me but don't call me Barbie."

MUD - I loved to work with a team to build a consensus.  But as every leader learns there is always a time to say "Frog" when it is time to jump.  I probably overused the term, "Watch my Lips" when issuing directives.  Based on the number of scars on my body, I am pretty sure that the old saying went, "I wonder what would happen if I do this." But not near enough or soon enough in my life.

 Mattie Jean - In a very loud and high pitched voice, "Jimmy."  He was my cousin that had a lot of broken bones.  He even scared me a lot of times. 

What in your life will be you remembered for saying? 



My World

From my computer desk, I can currently see three Baltimore Orioles, two woodpeckers, three squirrels, a turkey and lots of little birds flying in and out of the black oil sunflower seed feeder.  I am not sure that life can get much better than this.  Yes, I do have to do chores to make sure that everyone gets fed and I hate that my oranges are going to feed the orioles.  Looking down to the feed pan on the trail way south of the house, I can see that the turkey is headed up this way because last evenings feeding in the pan was eaten by the other turkeys and a raccoon. He will boldly strut his way up here and eat what the little birds have dropped or left on the ground.

Orange you glad they like oranges?

Where's the beef? Can't you see we're hungry out here?
As soon as I took the picture of the turkey, she saw me and headed out of the brush.  I think she was as surprised to see me as I was to see her as close as she was.  I am pretty sure it is a hen as I didn't see the beard hanging down the front of her.  The Males seem to come in a pack of three to five.  This one hen doesn't seem to have a flock to be with.

Since the Orioles showed up, we have had one visitor that just defies description.  It is a bird that has the same size and black like the orioles but the coloration is a real dark red or brown.  It is possible it is a female oriole but not sure.

Happy Cinco De Mayo to all my friends out there.  I hop you can fins a good meal to fill your bellies with good thoughts.



Flying Culvert

I am just a little over 6 feet two inches tall, and most of that length is above the waist.  Standing up, I don't stand out in a crowd but sitting down, I am taller than most people. This isn't normally a problem, but in some situations it is really a hassle.   This is a story about one of those hassles.

The National Guard had their Professional Training Center located just north of Little Rock,  Arkansas.  In fact they even call it North Little Rock.  It was the WWI mobilization site called Camp Robinson.  I have a picture of my Grandfather playing barber there as his unit trained up to go overseas.  You might think that Little Rock would be an easy place to get to but without flying to Dallas or Saint Louis you can't get there from Topeka. 

I was scheduled for a course down there and I called up Tub Shriner, the transportation manager for the Guard.  He told me that one of the airlines had a new flight directly into Little Rock and he wanted to book me on one of those flights to see what the arrangements would be.  I think the term is Guiney pig but if it were not for spell checker I for the life of me could have not spelled it right.

When I got to the Kansas City Airport, code MCI for Midcontinent International, I went down to the end where the commuter airlines were.  I found the ticket counter for whatever airlines it was and checked in.  This time they seemed to have a good staff of people and I saw what looked like a well dressed pilot sitting there.  When it was time to board, we all stood up and the Pilot got in line with the rest of us.  It seems that he was just dead heading for a flight and a passenger on this flight.

When we got out on the runway, the plane was setting there waiting and they were loading the baggage through a door on the tail.  We went in and got in our assigned seats. I looked at the Pilots and they both looked like they were teenagers.  I sat down and realized that I had to tip my head to the left at least 45 degrees.  The flight was a three hour flight and there was just no way I could sit like that for any length of time.  The Stewardess and I had a brief conversation and she said they were full.  She offered that when the flight got in the air, her seat directly in the middle of the plane in the back would be available and she would let me sit there while we were in the air.  Even then, My head was against the ceiling.  The plane was just a flying culvert.

When we were in the air, one of the passengers commented that he sure hoped that there was no repeat of the adventures from the week before.  He had been on a flight into Joplin and they hit a deer on the runway.  Killed both the deer and the propeller on the turbo prop.  The plane didn't crash and no one in the plane was injured but it did take most of the day for them to get a new plane into Joplin to continue the flight.  I said I didn't think we were going to land in Joplin and he said oh hell yes, and then Fayetteville enroute to  Little Rock.  The flight in to Fayetteville was one that we basically landed through a hole in the clouds.  It was clear in Joplin but almost completely overcast in Fayetteville.

Well long story short, Two take offs and landings later, we arrived in Little Rock.   What would have been a nice comfortable ride on a normal commercial plane had been a hard noisy ride in a flying culvert.  For the return trip home, I found out that our Adjutant General had been able to hitch a ride back to Topeka with the Adjutant General of Nebraska.  There was a lot of room in their bird and it cut at least an hour off the time it took to get home. 

So, the moral of this story is that things that are different aren't always better, just different. I did my best to not go to little Rock any more than I had to after that.  Unless it was more than a weekend trip, I drove.


You Couldn't Make This Stuff Up

Years ago, I was in a job the required I fly to distant places from Topeka, KS. Just so you will know, there is currently no airline serving the Kansas Capitol city.  Back then, there was one airline company that flew regularly out of Forbes Field and for the remainder of this story will be knows s Capitol Scareways.  

I have flown in serious airplanes and some not so serious.  I have taken on and off from small fields and the longest runway in Kansas.  In Vietnam, a bird dog would land on the perforated steel planking (PSP) runway behind our headquarters and take off in what was the shortest runway in Vietnam.  This is just to help you understand I am not a novice about flying and  not some fraidy cat.

On one particularly long trip, I flew back into KCI just about dark and was forced to take the red bus (a shuttle) to one of the furthest Terminals.  The Capital Scareways desk was located clear down in the end and when I got there, no one was near the desk.  I did have about 45 minutes so I just visited the can and found a seat.  About 20 minutes before the scheduled flight, a young kid showed up and turned on the lights over the desk.  I could tell there were about four or five other people that were getting kind of antsy.  We all got in line and gave the guy our bags.  He put them on a cart and about five minutes before take of time he put everything in an elevator and off he went.  One of the other passengers started to go down a set of stairs to the flight line.  When we all just followed, we wound up in a very deserted part of the air field and there sat an old stretch Cessna airplane.  I think the fact the young man was loading what looked like our bags in the plane made us all feel like it was where we were supposed to be.  There wasn't anyone or anything to tell us that but hey no big deal.  After all, I was a Colonel and pretty good at making command decisions.

When the bags were all stowed, the young man told us to get in the plane.  I was in the second row of seats behind the pilot station and wondered where the pilot was.  As we boarded the plane, the co-pilot seat was tipped forward to give us more room to enter. Well, the young man that had done all the work got in the seat in front of me and acted like he knew what he was doing.   My first sign that things were not up to standard was the fact that when he turned on the master power switch, only about half of the gauges on the dash were illuminated.  I swear he took a flashlight out of a brief case and used it to set the frequencies on the radio.  

We taxied out to the take off point and I was not too thrilled that we had at least a 10 mph cross wind. The pilot told the tower we were in position and got the litany of barometer reading, wind direction, speed and clearance to take off.  The pilot threw the power lever forward and off we went.  At what should have been fast enough to lift off the ground, he pulled back on the controls.  We lifted about three feet and went sideways about ten.  He put it back down on the runway and tried it again. Same result, up then sideways and back down.  The third time he tried it, we were about to start running off the runway because I could see the lights on the edge of the runway just under the side of the little plane. He sat it down again and I thought he would shut it down.  He realized the co-pilot seat was in the way of the control yoke on that side of the plane, he reached over and put the seat back into the upright position and took off  as if nothing had happened.  Jesus Christ on a crutch, I wondered what his preflight check list had said about that.  I am sure that had all the lights been on  he would have seen the problem and it would have never happened.

I was just resigned to try to keep my blood pressure in check when the door we had crawled in popped open.  The guy by that door was about to go crazy when the pilot calmly told him that it happens al the time and asked him to hold it shut the rest of the way to Topeka.  It wasn't going to blow off or anything, it was just annoying.  That guy white knuckled it all the way back to Topeka but it didn't pop open again.

When we got to Forbes field, there was no one there.  It was late Sunday night and the Pilot again had to park the plane, unload the bags and put them on a cart.  He didn't even put the bags on a carousel he just pushed the cart into the terminal.  I think we were all getting off in Topeka and there wasn't anyone to even start to complain to. 

I went out to my car and went home.  The next day I sent the same story to the FAAS and it wasn't long before there was again no air service in the Topeka terminal.  We returned to the days where we drove to the Kansas City Airport and got on real planes there.  Perhaps I will tell you about the flying culvert I flew to Little Rock, AR the next time.



Oh No, Another War Story

Once Upon a Time, if you don’t like this beginning for a short war story, tough Shiskies.  The other day I was at the VA for my annual visit and ran into a Vietnam Veteran that was even wearing a hat that said Vietnam Veteran and one of those T-Shirts that says MIA’s are gone but not forgotten.  I kind of expected him to act a little militant but I guess at the VA one’s attitude about serving isn’t worn on your sleeve.  Kind of like a gun fighter in the old west, there will always be someone that has had a worse experience than yours.  Most of us from that war are just starting to lose track of small things and we no longer worry that people will think we are “Making Stuff Up.”  After all, it is a war story isn’t it?  They are generally collections of places; faces and events told so many times that fact and fiction are so blended in to the storyteller’s craft that no one could ever decipher the reality form the fiction.

 The guy I ran in to and I talked about the tough side of war and somehow the subject of the smell of Vietnam came up.  In addition to having the war suck, Vietnam stank.  If you went in to any of the markets, the first smell was of a boat dock in the middle of summer.  It was a collection of minnows, fish guts and water pumped out of bilges that hung in the air.  You could see the piles of dried fish there in the market and people actually would come up and eat one of the dried smelly things to make sure they were fresh?  You can imagine that with a place that had a monsoon season, the smell of rotting is just a part of your day.  I’m sure that having about a half a million unwashed US soldiers there didn’t make it much better.

I told my new buddy that I had sent a roll of film home to the wife to have her develop.  She sent me one of the pictures back to me and wondered what the smoke was from?  It was the smoke of diesel as they burned the shitters each day.  One poor soldier had the latrine duty and his job was to burn the crap each day.  He said that on one trip to the rear area he somehow got hooked into being the NCOIC of one of those details.  He said it was kind of neat to have three or four guys and to go around to all the latrines on the big base camp.  The even gave him a ¾ ton truck to haul the gas cans.  He was free to go anywhere and he visited no only the PX but the nearby airbase that had an honest to god drive in with ice cream and hamburgers.  He said that most of the guys in and around the big base camps were on foot most of the time and having a vehicle was a blessing.

We talked a little about friends we knew that had gone back to Vietnam in just the past few years.  Many of them find the country changed and the landscape little different.  The people there are pretty much just trying to make a living and seemed pleased to meet new people much like the people here in the USA.  He did note that a lot of the old military bases are now just an overgrown area and the junk pickers didn’t leave much of value after we left.  Our buildings were for the most part just 2X4’s and tin and most of that got scavenged or salvaged and is gone.  When we were there, you saw a lot of small hooches in the villages near military bases with C-Ration boxes as the siding.  He said most of that got replaces with the tin off our old buildings.  He said there were a lot of Military museum but it gave our returning soldiers the willies to realize that the enemy depicted in the photographs were our guys. 

I would someday like to visit more of the world outside the USA but there are still quite a few places here in America I want to see.   Think that Yellowstone is on our schedule for this summer and there is still the Arches in Southwest Colorado on my list.  Oddly enough, Death Valley is also on my list but that is a winter trip for sure.  But, back to my war story, it is way too easy when making this stuff up to distract myself and get off topic.

My VA Buddy and I were in the same area near Pleiku, but with entirely different units. Pleiku was on the plains but near the mountains of the Central Highlands.  I was in an Artillery Group that provided support to whatever combat units were in the area.  He was in the 4th Infantry Division.  It was kind of neat to be able to go into a town and the 4th Division MP’s would just leave us alone.  One of the towns I would want to see is Kontum, along the river and about 50 miles north of Pleiku.  Before TET in 68, it had been a very pretty town and the old buildings were spectacular.  After TET there were many places where the tanks had shot through the walls and left cancer looking scars.  I wonder if they kept some of the holes as a kind of symbol of what war brought to their country.

All you have to do is to visit any of the VA’s in any major city to see the scars left on the faces of our young men and women.  I am blessed that I can write about my wartime experiences without being sucked back into the quicksand of war.  One of the young soldiers that I sent to Desert Storm came home with a blinding flash of the obvious, “Hey Colonel, you know that war is one damned good place to get your ass killed?”  Yep that about sums it up for me and for now the end.

COL, (Ret)


For some reason the hackers or Spammers have started sending me comments that are just ads for their services.  You are welcome to read the comments but be aware that I am not responsible for them in any way  The best I can do is just delete them.

Yesterday the weather here in the Heartland was terrible.  It started out as rain, then sleet, then snow and finally a combination of all three that was just wet and cold.  I spent the better part of three days working on the guttering and right in the middle of it all, I noted the guttering on the deck was overflowing.  It seems that the part that changes the water flow back to the house was plugged.  Right in the middle of the worst of it all I went out and repaired it.  The good news is that the fix worked and it didn't kill the electric Makita drill. 

The only good thing this week was the fact that a small group of Baltimore Orioles have been visiting and hey have added a real splash of color to the place.   While I was at the hardware store I picked up an Oriole feeder.  It has a place for half an orange, jelly and some kind of nectar like you would put in a hummingbird feeder.  So far they have really worked over the orange and ate all the jelly.   I bought one of those squeeze bottles of Welches grape jelly and they seem to love it.  I can't el that they have even tried the nectar.  (It is really sugar and water)

I would post pictures of the birds here but my Adobe Elements has crashed and I am no going to put the new program on until I am sure the Windows version I have on this computer works.  Oh well, they will be just as pretty later and I don't have a clue how long they will stick around.   Yesterday the turkeys came right up to the house looking for food.  I did sill some sunflower seeds by the feeder and they came up just as bold as you like and munched down.  They were a pretty sorry looking lot.  IT was mostly a bunch of males and I hear the hens but they don't come up to the feed pan or the house.  I hear them gobbling in the morning to gather up the flock but they stick to the woods.

Yesterday I read an old John Sanford book and it wasn't until I got to the very end that it even remotely seemed familiar.  There was a shoot out scene and I realized I had read it.  Oh well, it was a good way to stay out of the rain. 

Better get things rolling.