This the last day of September and boy has this summer rushed by.  After spending a couple of weeks on the road and three weeks working on the rental house, there just seems like there is no summer left.  Well dummy, it is fall and there is no summer left. 

Can anyone imagine how the KC Chiefs are undefeated at 4-0?  Add to that that K-State is only 2-2 and you have the scope of just how out of whack things are.  If Kansas wins their season opener in the Big XII I will know that things are completely screwed up.  OK, I have little hope that it will happen but who knows?

The other day, I was having trouble getting my printer/scanner to send scanned items to the computer.  As the last resort before I called on Dave to help, I unplugged the printer from the port on  the motherboard.  I plugged it in on the front of the computer and it works fine.  Not sure how that is, but I can't argue with the fact it works. 

Today I got a message that one of my schoolmates (Yes, from East High -1965) likes one of my posts on some site I don't remember signing up for.  I looked at what he liked, and it is the buffalo picture I have as my desktop background.  There are also some of the deer pictures I didn't send them on there also.  If they were important perhaps I might worry.  I don't even pretend I am any sort of an Anthony Weiner so there is no worry about pictures being totally inappropriate.  I remember the old saying that the best thing that cures nudity beyond the age of 50 is a full length mirror.  'Nuff Said.

Old Bull Buffalo sitting in the sun in Yellowstone

One thing I need to do today is to check the furnace filter.  I noticed there is a coat of dust on the Big Screen TV';s and the front of my computer.  That is generally a sign that the furnace filter needs changed.  Yes, it wouldn't hurt if I would do a little dusting also. 

Have I told you how much I hate getting old?  Yesterday we drove to Lawrence to do a little grocery shopping and two of the main reasons we went there I forgot.  I didn't get my list completed and just simply didn't remember them.  Barb uses powdered milk in her bread making and I like butter when I cook.  Zip, zilch, nada when we got home. 

Last night I made shrimp and cheesy grits.  The only thing I will do different next time is to make a little more of the spicy hot red sauce I have the shrimp in.  Perhaps if I sliced up some of those red cherry tomatoes Barb purchased at the farmer's market.  Those little red buggers are so sweet that I used them in a omelet the other day and they were just the right touch. 

I noticed that Barbara was printing a Birthday card on her computer.  I asked her why she is not just posting a cute picture on Facebook.  She said that Amy is her Birthday twin and she always sends a card.  Oops, I am glad she reminded me that her birthday is this week.  Now to see if there is something I can find to be worthy of her.  Perhaps I can work in a birthday cake or something when we have Angie and Dave and Barb over Tuesday evening.  Any time we can have Lucas and Isaac over it will be a party.  I have some steak and chicken that I will grill and then make fajitas out of.  Throw in some cool aid and the boys will party hardy.

Oh well, better get on my go outside clothes and move on with the day.



Cooler Weather

I would love the fall if it wasn't just prior to winter.  "Spring has sprung, summer's come hot as, well.  Fall has fell and winter's come, Cold as Hell."  This morning it is just cool enough to foretell the coming of winter.  I went out to fetch the paper in a t-shit and shorts.  Not near enough warmth.  I will put on a lot more clothes if I go back out anytime soon.

It must be official, the check for the down payment has cleared and the building permit has been approved.  Sometime in December there will be a 24X30 storage shed out there in the yard.  The only thing left on my checklist is to have the "Dig Safe" guy come out and mark the utility lines so we don't dig them up putting down the poles for the building.  Mark, the guy from Cleary Building will come out and with his level help me survey out the pad site.  I will take the tractor and level it out once it is marked.  I think I might have to bring my long ladder home and cut down one or two dead branches but that is no big deal.

Barb has a niece that sold her house a couple of years ago and bought an RV.  I read in a message that she has had about all the fun she can stand traveling around and she is going to get an apartment somewhere out there in California near a beach.  I keep trying to get Barb interested in traveling in an RV but I guess I built her too nice a house in a place that has all of what she wants.  I have to admit that a week of being on the road and I too want to be back home at Rabbit Run. 

The battery in Barb's car finally decided to crap out this week.  After 8 years I guess it should be replaced.  The good news is that it was no big deal.  I did take a pan of hot water and baking soda out to clean off any corrosion.  I shined up the connections with a piece of sandpaper and everything (Except the A/C and the turn signals) works OK.  I think I doubled the value of the car by putting in a new battery.  Had I filled up the gas tank it would have doubled the value for sure.

A couple of weeks back, I realized that my work shoes were worn out.  Both pairs had a hole in the side where I had sat down and worked on a project on the sidewalk.  I decided to get a new pair of shoes and let my two year old pair of SAS shoes become my work shoes.  I bought a new pair of New Balance leather shoes (With Velcro fasteners) for my new one's.  I realize how comfortable the old shoes are and even with a new coat of paint splatter will probably wear them a lot.  Barbara took the "chillins" shoe shopping yesterday and bought Dave a new pair of shoes so he had a pair that did not have paint splatter on them. 

First part of next week barb and I are going to run to Oklahoma to see what a scheduling conference looks like.  We are in a small legal battle and think we are going to have to drag the other party into court to get it settled to our satisfaction.  No big deal but it is like a splinter that we want removed.

Better get my show on the road.



Just for the Record

I had planned to take today off today no matter what the weather did.  The bonus is that we are getting some much needed rain this morning.  Barbara says that she loves it when her plants get to go to bed with their feet wet.  A little fall rain goes a long way in making the next season successful.  I really don't know but her training as a Master Gardner seems to make things a lot greener here at Rabbit Run.  We do know better than to go away for a couple of weeks just as the tomatoes are starting to get red.  Something ate all the cherry tomatoes and the rest just haven't produced really great tomatoes.  If I had to choose what to do, we can always buy great tomatoes at the farmer's market.

Last night the Barbershoppers had a dinner at one of the shelter houses.  It was a great dinner and then we sang several songs to the women, mostly our wives.  I sang Baritone for years and now I am returning to Bass where my voice seems to have settled.  There are a few places where they have added some things not in the original music and it does make it kind of hard to follow but the main parts I just follow along and help the ending chords.  They promise me that at the next meeting I will be given a book of the music and a practice CD.  I know there will also be a new set of clothes to purchase but that won't be a big deal.

Many of the people at the dinner last night are at the stage where they can travel and do what they want.  One lady is about to go to Hawaii and is excited.  I told her that we have been having Hawaii weather here  to help her get ready. 

In thinking about my summer, I think this has been one great year.  It started with a family reunion for the Eastern half of the Petty Family.  Then we went to Colorado for the western half of the Petty family.  It was Uncle Warren's 90th Birthday and that was more fun than a barrel of monkeys.  We then traveled to Idaho where Barbara's mother had her birthday and her Aunt Betty had her 90th Birthday party.  Barbara and I got to see many people we hadn't seen in ages.  Following that, we spent a week in Yellowstone with a great group of people.  If the Garmin could have found a way home that didn't include mountains, it would have been perfect.   

The county came out and inspected the septic system to make sure I am not building the new shed over the main or lateral lines.  The guy told Barbara that we need some kind of a pipe to mark the tank.  I guess they didn't see the pipe I put right over the clean out point.  I haven't looked to see if it is still there but I can't imagine why not.  We have had the system here at Rabbit Run for over 20 years and have had to pump it only once.  Even then, the guy said it was working great and doing what it should do.   The rain slowed down a little and I went out to see if I could find the marker pipe.  I couldn't so when it dries out I will try to trim the brush a little and find the pipe. 

Today is kind of a strange day for Kansas Football fans.  Both KU and K-State have a week end off. Perhaps it would have been a good time for them to have a game.  At least one of them would have had a win at the end of the game.  I like to tell people that one of my college teams is undefeated.  Well, Wichita State doesn't have a football program for what that counts.  As a lot of Basketball fans remember, they do have a fine round ball program.  Had KU not recruited Perry Ellis away from them, they might even be a championship team. 

Speaking of hype about basketball, if KU is half as good as the look on paper they will be in the finals this year.  They have three top prospects and a legitimate 7 footer.  Can't wait to see what the fall out is.  In the column of wishes I would love to see Danny Manning back here to coach the new big man.  They tell me that our 7 footer played midfield in soccer and has great foot work.  We'll see.

I guess I should close here and see if there is anything fun to do.




Yesterday, we painted the yellow rental house a different color.  For about 20 years it had been a horrible yellow color and now it looks more like a newer house in a nice neighborhood.  I had a misconception that we could tape the windows in short order and start painting. About 7 man hours later, we finally broke for lunch.  The actual spraying took about four hours and most of that was climbing up and down the ladder.  I hadn't remembered that each side of the house had a peak that went up about 12 feet.  I also didn't figure that extra in the amount of paint I needed.  I had to go fetch a couple of more gallons to finish.  But, it is done and it looks good. I want to warn you that the blue Scotch Painters tape will not hold up to a sprayer and latex paint.  The masking tape by Duck did and it was about half the price.  Thank god I only bought one roll of the blue crap as a test.  Perhaps inside where you are using roller and a brush it will work but it is inadequate if you are masking windows.

I had spent about two weeks getting the house ready to paint and about another week putting new siding on the north side of the house where time and weather had taken it's toll.  If I had it to do again, I probably would hire a couple of helpers and strip most of the old siding off.  Underneath the fake redwood is a solid clapboard house with siding that while it is ugly, it is pretty solid.  I found some rough redwood trim at Menard's Lumber and it sure took to the new paint well.  In fact it looks much better than the old stuff does.  Oh well, another lesson learned. 

While I was working on the rental house I noticed that one of the porch roofs was leaking.  I got up on the roof and found out that I am darned lucky that it hadn't leaked into the house.  There was even a tree growing in the hole on top.  I used a roll of heavy paper, a five gallon bucket of roofing tar and a five gallon of roof coating to seal it all down.  I will probably have it all replaced in a year or so.  Both of my rental houses need new roofs. 

Today was going to be a slow day I get to spend some time re-organizing the tools here and at the rental house.  When I finish here, I am going to first take Barbara's battery from the Buick to the car parts place and replace it.  I put the charger on it last night and after all night on the charger it was still dead.  New Battery time.  It will probably double the value of the car  but hey, Barb deserves a car that will start and run when she wants it to.  After all the work she did for me yesterday it is the least I can do.

I am concerned that the US Post office  about to go broke and go away.  Instead of trying to find new ways to attract customers, they are just cutting service and raising prices.  I predict that we will soon not have Saturday service. We will have 50 cent letters soon.  The good news is that it really won't hurt Barb and I, I just like to have new mail in the box from time to time. 

Oh well, I made it through a whole blog without excoriating the Republicans and the Democrats.  If those people can't figure out a way to keep the Government up and running, perhaps we need to throw all of them out.  A new crowd can't do any worse that what we have. 



Little Cool

It is a little cool this AM and should be really nice by this afternoon.  I have some painting to do and just a little scraping to get done first.  Oh well, it will get done when it gets done.

A few minutes ago the Today show had as a topic the birth of a celebrity's baby.  He was asked if he was going to witness the birth.  He said that he wasn't going to be there because it was a little like watching your meal be prepared in the kitchen when you go out to eat dinner.  Then they went on to say that many men are in the delivery room but they stay north of the equator.  The women on the panel laughed but one of the male announcers seriously said there are just some things a man shouldn't see. 

When Barbara was PG with Dave, I attended the class that was required by the hospital so I could be there.  As it turned out, Barbara was in labor way too early and the Doctor met me at the door of the delivery room and said he didn't want me in there.  I think they were afraid that the baby might not make it and he told me to go down the hall to the waiting room.  Thankfully, everything worked out and now 37 years later it is all good.

One of my Daughter-in-laws best friends, our 'nother daughter, Mel is in Lawrence this week.  The mother of one of her friends passed away and she is here for the funeral.  Mel's friend Gill, was like a brother to her and he and his family was there for her when she lost her brother. We had a nice dinner and a good time considering the sad thing that brought Mel to Kansas. 

We met her for dinner last night and I had a very unusual dinner at the Salty Iguana.  They had blackened shrimp tacos and a salad of cherry tomatoes.  The tomatoes were dressed with an olive oil and cilantro dressing that was the bomb.  There was also some feta cheese crumbles on them that added a salty goodness.  The tacos were filled with cabbage and shrimp that just was tasty.  All in all, it was a very good meal and not the usual rice and black beans I normally get along with a burrito or tacos.  It is very interesting because not very long ago the very thought of sea food in a taco was very foreign to me. 

Oh well, better get cracking and get some work done today.




I grew up in a musical family and sang in the school choir from the first grade through High School.  I thank my mother and Grandmother for the fun they put in singing and I guess I just carried on by making music. I also have a sister that was a music teacher and Carol set a great standard to follow. I sang with a Barbershop Chorus for a few years and got busy and just let it lapse.  This past week I met one of my mentors and a long time friend and he invited me to come to their open house last night.  I found they needed Bass voices and that is where I really love to sing.  I will probably continue going on Monday nights to sing and make a joyful noise.

My big projects for this fall is to finish the painting of the yellow rental house and get a storage shed for the tractor.  I am working on the painting and the shed is under contract.  I wonder what else I can work in this fall.  I am going up to the County office this AM with the application for the building permit.  I might even stop in and get the car tags for 2014.  We'll see.

I have a good friend that thinks the Republicans are trying to de-rail the whole US economy.  Last time I looked most of Republicans told their voters they would do everything they could to stop the Affordable Health Care Bill.  It will be the President that veto's the Debt Limit bill not the Republicans.  There is mixed feelings out there when people look at Washington's inability to manage spending at the current level.  Then we hear the President tell us that the bill won't put us deeper in debt?  If we don't need it, don't pass it.  If it isn't needed, why will it shut down the Government? 

There is a lot of conversation about the 2nd Amendment here in the US.  Then we see the Islamofacist  massacres of people world wide.  I don't know how you feel, but I sure don't want to travel outside of the USA right now.  Besides, there is a lot of things right here in the USA I haven't seen.  I have a hankering to visit some of the Civil War Battlefields on the east coast. 

Better get my act together and move on.  Be safe and careful.



Democratic Ideals

This morning I was watching "Face the Nation" when a Democrat from West Virginia was the first guest.   I was just blown away that I found myself listening to someone that made sense.  He blamed a lot of the problems on the fact that they don't have a clear stated set of values in Congress.  Without a road map of what they need to spend the money on, they just spend money.

He went on to say that the Democrats say we don't have a spending problem, we don't have enough revenue.  The Republicans say it is a spending problem and they want to fix it by stopping our spending.  Then he surprised the heck out of me when he said that in a lot of ways both are right.  He offered the following proposal.  We need to cut spending and increase revenue.  His plan would go on to have 70 cents of every new dollar go to pay off the National Debt and only 30 cents go to what he called the core values we should have.  He and I agree that no matter what happens in the short term, the large deficit will just create bigger problems down the road.  It is a lot like drawing cash advances from your credit cards while at a Casino.  Few people win when you gamble.  They don't build those Casinos from the winners.

I read in the paper that our local school district has a program that offers each student an I-pad.  They have also put together a $50 insurance program that guarantees that if the I-pad is damaged or lost, it will be replaced by the school rather than put that burden on the parents.  In the article, one of the science teachers being interviewed had he class taking a test with their I-pads.  The results were graded and tallied by the teacher's machine and available very quickly.  I do wish they had talked about the on-line help available from the automation. 

The weather here in the Heartland is near perfect right now.  It is nice to get out and putter around in the yard.  My grandmother Bessie would call it piddling around.  At her house there was only a rotary manual push lawn mower and she had two great big yards back to back.  I described a trip to Eldorado, Kansas as a lot of work with a great meal thrown in. 

I guess I am going to have to ask Dave to stop by and see what the hell I have done now.  I bought a new HP printer and it prints well but won't scan well.    It will copy a piece of paper as out put but don't try to send anything back to the computer.  Oh well, if anyone can figure it out, it will be Dave.

Better get moving and see if there is a better way to spend the morning.



Our New Shed

Yesterday I signed the contract for a new 24X30 storage shed.  I am using the Cleary Building Corp out of Ottawa, KS.  Their salesman Mark came here to sell me on the idea.  I showed him where we wanted it and Barb said OK.  It still hadn't hit him full force that he didn't need to sell as much as do the paperwork.    He gave me the information on how to get the permit and we went out to the Shawnee County Annex to get the layout of the house on the current plat. I tell you that Gloria Obregon is the nicest woman there and she truly made us feel welcome and that she was glad to help us.  Every once in a while I have to be reminded that living here in the Heartland is a treat because of people like Gloria.

Through out the years I was in the Guard, I met a lot of fine soldiers.  The 69th Brigade Headquarters had a fine soldiers serving there and Jana Harrison was amongst the best. To make a short story longer, SGM Harrison has been selected to go into the Hall of Fame for the Kansas National Guard Museum.  It is a fine honor to see all her good work rewarded with the recognition as being one of the best.

Speaking of smiles, our new renter sent us a note thanking us for renting the house to her.  In her note she said that they saw a Fox in the yard the other day and thought it was really neat.  About two weeks ago I was mowing there and saw a statue of a fox in the yard of the bigger house.  As I watch it, the statue ran away and then did I realize the Fox was real.  My first thought was that I wish Barb was there to capture it with her camera. 

The other night, Barbara took a picture of the Harvest moon.  It is the last full moon before the start of fall.  If you are her friend on Facebook, you saw that picture. She posted a picture of a humming bird the other day and she sure takes beautiful pictures.  If you really knew Barbara, you would say it is her inner beauty reflected on what and how she see's things.  I take a lot of photographs but nothing like how she does it.  It is a lot like how we shop.  I go buy the nearest thing that fits the bill and Barbara shops to buy the nicest thing at the best price.  I am sure that I am the most expensive thing she bought but I hope I have a good value for her.

I am going out to the Museum of the National Guard at Forbes Field today for lunch.  The WWII vets of the 35th Division are having their reunion in Manhattan and are coming over for a free lunch.  They helped put an addition on our Museum and we owe them a hearty thanks.  I met the 35th Division Association President the other day over at Lake Shawnee and he invited me to come have a hamburger with them.  I will take my apron and go over to see if I can help serve those that served us so well.  When I was looking for my apron, Barb asked me what I was looking for.  I told her I wanted to find my apron to help serve the old guys coming to the museum.  Barb said, "You are one of the old guys Hon." 

Did I ever tell you that one of the highlights of my Military Career was the Holiday meals?  In the Guard we would invite the families to attend and I loved serving pie to the people coming through the food line.  As an officer, I always felt it was my duty to serve the soldiers and their families as thanks for all their service during the rest of the year.  I think you all know how much I love to see smiles on the faces of the kids.  For some reason when I would put on my red apron and red hat the kids would always smile and most would thank me for the pie.  Oh well, I had better close here and see if I can find my apron.




Rainy Day

Yesterday I went over to the rentals and worked on scraping the paint and ivy off the yellow house.  About 1 PM I realized I was getting wet and decided to call it a day.  Today it is raining to start the day so I won't even go out to start.  This does bring up a dilemma. What the heck do you do on a rainy day?

Yes, there is always another post on the blog but what then?  Back in the bad old days, I would put on my rain gear and just do whatever I had scheduled.  Now days, most of us kick back and use this type of day as one of planning and thinking about tomorrow's adventures.  After Barb' second cuppa tea, she might be counted on to throw out some ideas. She is better left alone to read the newspaper and drink tea until at least 10AM.

I have talked to the design guy at Cleary Buildings in Ottawa, KS.  They are going to send me a proposal sometime today for a metal pole barn for the tractor.  I have asked for one with a 10X10 door on one end and a walk in.  They say they won't get to the erection until early December.  They have a local concrete contractor and may have that part done earlier.  I don't know what his schedule is so no promises there either.  I will probably put in a wood stove to heat up the Diesel tractor on really cold days.  Last year I had to push snow three different times.

The headlines this morning was all about the Shooting in the Navy Yard in Washington D.C..  They called it a tragedy in the headlines.  To me, that is the wrong word.  Perhaps it was to those directly involved but to me, it was a massacre of unarmed people by a lunatic.  This will be another call to stop our right to bear arms.  The laws state that in Washington, D.C. they can't carry weapons.  The law also says that a person convicted of a crime with a gun also can't buy weapons.  There is a law against carrying weapons on a Military Installation.  We can't enforce the laws in place now. How the heck do they think they can enforce more laws better. 

Better go eat breakfast.



Storm's a comin'

After dumping water on Colorado, the clouds and a cold front are headed this way starting today through Wednesday.  We can use an inch or so of water but can do without the hail and flooding. So far there are four confirmed dead but well over 150+ people missing.  My hope is that they will be found safe behind washed out roads. The last time the Big Thompson roared with water they found bodies of people east of I25. 

If the wind behind the front is not very fast, I will get a chance to burn the rest of the brush piles here at Rabbit Run.  I just kept piling it on one pile and it should be at least two or even three.  I do have a burn permit and hope I can keep it down to just the pile and not include the woods. 

Yesterday I got a call from my Aunt in Colorado.  During our trip out to Colorado She and I discussed the Bieroaks method I use and she called me to tell me that it had worked out well.   Barbara introduced me to the technique of using those frozen bread rolls as the wrapper for the filling.  We basically let the rolls thaw out, roll them out and fill them and then let them raise.  If you let them completely raise first, they will not do it again.  For those of you with old shoulders, try to get one of the younger kids to come over and do the rolling.  Lots of less wear and tear. 

Yesterday Dave and his wife, Barbara came over for supper.  They brought Barb's nephews Kyler and Austen.   It is always fun to see how much they have grown since their last visit.  Kyler is growing fast and if he is any thing like his dad will be a pretty big guy.  Austen is working at the local Ace Hardware and between girl friends.  He just got his class ring and it sure brings back a lot of memories.  In a short time, I will have been out of High School 50 years.  It took me 10 years to graduate from College so it will be 40 years soon.  Time flies when you are having fun.

Well KU fans, it just wasn't to be that KU would win a road game this weekend.  The announcer made a point that no member of the KU football team has ever won a road game in their time at KU. Rice might have been start but Rice played about as well as they could and their kicker did an outstanding job.  KU will have a rough road in the BIG XII if they expect to win many road games in this conference. 

Speaking of football, I love the new no huddle offense teams are using.  It speeds the game up and the scores are up a bunch.  I might even become a college football fan again.  Now if baseball can find a way to speed up the game.  For me, sitting in the stands and eating hotdogs just  doesn't do it.

Oh well, places to go and things to do.  You all be safe out there and keep your water wings handy.



Buildings to Store Toys

As I accumulate more big boy toys, I find that I have exceeded the storage space for what I already have.  When I got that "Much Needed" tractor last year, I found that I now need a storage garage for it and the little tractor and the mower.  I may even need an area with a roof to store some of the attachments. Such is the life of a guy with enough money to say I have every thing I need and most of what I want.  

I think the minimum I will need is a 24X30 garage but I do need a 10 foot door.  I have considered building a wooden garage but and leaning towards a pole barn type structure that I will put in a rock floor this year and move to concrete next year or so.  With the extra wood I have here at Rabbit run, I will probably put in a small wood stove area in one corner.  I have the stove and all the wood I need. In fact, I had to get a burn permit this week so I could get rid of some of the wood piles I have started.  One was a small pile for branches and the other has the 20-30 foot pine trees that have died of the blight that got most of them.  Those damn red cedar trees have not even had one die and most of the trees I bought about 20 years ago have gone brown.  I have cut some down and some have fallen down.  I need to take the chain saw out and cut the remainder down.

We have both of our rental houses rented and I need to go over today and give the new renter her set of keys.  I also need to remind her that early next week, she needs to have the utilities put in her name.  I am looking forward to meeting her daughter that is a middle school student at Shawnee Heights.  I have that house looking pretty darned good and I hope they like it there.  I am also painting the bigger house and have purchased a water blaster sprayer to help blow off some of the bad paint.  I will probably use it to clean the wooden siding here at Rabbit run next year.  The house has turned pretty brown and shows a lot of dirt and cobwebs. 

Oh well, I guess I had better get running and see if there is something better to do with my time.




I for one had to look at the calendar to realize it was Friday the 13th.  The title of this blog is one of those 20 dollar words for a 10 cent date.  Kind of like the time I went to the Optometrist and he said I had "Presbyopia."  I told him he was wrong - I ain't afraid of no Presbyterians.  (Good thing the spell checker is up and running this AM)

That reminds me of a story.  Once upon a time (I was told this story so I can't confirm it and it is not old enough to be a fairy tale)  a graduate student from K-State was working on the History of Wyoming and was told that the oldest bar in Wyoming was located in a town just north of Guernsey.
I am fairly sure that this bar was in a little town called Hartville.  When she got there, sure enough there is only one bar in town so she went in to find out about the bar.  The owner/bartender laughed when she told him the bar looked like it wasn't that old. 

The owner told her that it wasn't the building, but the actual bar she was leaning on.  Seems like it was brought over from England and it was older than the USA.  Not to be completely left without a good story, she then asked if there were any real cowboys she could interview.

The Bartender directed her to the end of the bar where a fellow was sitting and drinking his beer.  When asked if she could ask him some questions, he agreed that if she needed a good story, he was her man.  She asked about the roll of his cowboy hat? - "Well, the sun is pretty bright and you can't wear sunglasses and rope cattle so a hat was a good thing. The back if the hat keeps the water from running down the back of your slicker in a rain."   She asked him why his shirt pockets had snaps? "Well, when you are riding and ropin', the snaps keep your smokes or fixin's from getting lost."  She asked about his large belt buckle?  "Keeps you pants up and it is just another way of bragin' without saying much."   Finally she asked him about the fact he was wearing tennis shoes not boots?
"I wear them so people won't  think I am a God damned trucker!" 

Oh well, it was only 50 this morning so fall has fell.



Where did the weekend go?

We made a mad dash to Oklahoma to see a lawyer about a problem and seems like we lost the weekend and half of the week.  Someday I will get into the details of the problem that we need a lawyer for but only after it is all taken care of.

Got up early this morning and sat and read the paper.  The good news is that I didn't find my name on the police blotter or the Obit page.  The funny papers were funny and I didn't disagree with Ann Landers.  (or whatever her daughter is calling herself today)   Some lady made a sex tape with her ex and wondered why her 13 year old might be traumatized when he saw it.  Duh!  why on god's green earth would you make such a tape and then leave it on your phone.  If you are dumb enough to do that, why would you let your son play with your phone? 

The bad news in the paper was centered a lot about sports.  We were in Stillwater and the OSU program is under fire by Sports Illustrated.  After pouring 500 million into the facilities at OSU, people are wondering how money is flowing to the players?  Boone Pickens feels he has his money's worth.  Just think how many people would have jobs if that money had been funded into small businesses and education rather than sports.  That football player SUH from Nebraska was fined $100,000 for a deliberate low hit.  No big deal for someone that has made 55 million is the short time he has played.  I would suspend his young ass and that would hit his pocket a lot worse than any small fine. 

One way we can stop all this excess money in sports is to start following the money.  Players should be paid a small stipend for whomever they play for.  I can't imagine that $200 a week or even $100 a week would break any program and I damn sure know that KU could afford it.   Pro players should not make more than the President of the USA.  How can playing a game be worth multiple millions of dollars per year.   To me, it seems that the more the players are paid the more they act like spoiled brats and less like the rest of us.

My final point today is that I am tired or reading that people are still asking "why" things happen.  It is like tacking on the label "Hate Crime" to murder.  People that are raised in a loving home, given a good education and taught how to earn a living go through life like the rest of us.  Once one leg of that tri-pod is left out, they do things that defy rational thought.  I don't understand where we have gone wrong and have so many people that have lost that vision of a good life and that joy in living.  If you see someone do things that don't make sense, don't ask "why," ask what could we have done to keep the dream alive in that person? 

Flags and Pickups-  Life in the Heartland



Responding to a Blog

I am not sure how to respond to the fact I have a lot of people that peek in and read what I write and never leave a reply.  Yes, I have said that I write this for me and am not really so concerned with what others think so long as they visit.  I do look at the list of posts and see what has garnered a lot of replies.  For the most part, those replies are praise with the follow on for me to visit their site with addresses like getaloanfast, getitfree or some other clearly advertising label.  Those I skip...

I have been pretty busy this fall trying to get as much done as I can.  One major project was renting out the smaller of my two rentals.  That is done and now I need to focus of a storage shed for the tractor.  I am torn between building a stick built one or a prefab metal one.  The other side of that is what do I really want?  Do I just want a storage shed for the tractor or one that will accommodate the mower, a 57 Chevy and numerous items I have not thrown away (yet). 

Whatever I do, I think I will have to take into consideration that Barb has mentioned that she wants to move her garden next year.  She thinks there may be diseases in the soil that cause her plants to not do well.  With the tiller I have for the tractor, it should not be much of  problem moving the garden, just a matter of where can I fit it all in.  With 18 acres it should not be the biggest problem I face but one I must consider.

One minor problem I have is that my burn pile is reaching a size that might be hard to handle.  I can reach it with the hose but don't know if a garden hose can handle a big fire.  Oh well, I will pick a calm day and burn baby burn.  Speaking of burning problems, it appears that the neighbor to the south has finally put his field in hay bales instead of burning.  That will save me the worry of having a forest fire get the woods on fire. 

Yesterday evening, I was going to go out to see if I could solve the non oiling problem with the chain saw.  Seems like the bar gets dry and oil doesn't flow like it should.  Just as I started outside, I decided to get my keys and backtracked.  Right there in the yard I saw a deer and her two fawns.  She didn't seem surprised by my appearance at the window and stayed for a long time.  Barb got her camera and we both discovered the problem of the trees and focus.  The digital cameras will auto focus but sometimes don't make the best decisions.  if there is a tree closer than the deer, it will give me great detail of the bark.  With the manual camera I would just open up the picture and get a large depth of field.  The autofocus just picks the closest thing and not the whole scene.   I guess I will have to take the time to learn how to do it manually of accept less than perfect shots.  Here is what I saw:

Great tree shot, poor deer shot.
Better picture, the flower was a "Happy Accident"
Oh well, the boss just got up so I'd better go see what is the plan for today.



The Rest of the Sory

Yesterday I told you about the last days of a young Lieutenant in the Army at Fort Carson, Colorado. 

Here are a few of the follow on stories to that time.  Barb and I were both accepted at Wichita State that fall and we moved back to Wichita because of the in State Tuition there.  She was a Junior and I was a second semester Freshman on probation.  Thank god for the GI Bill to help us pay for school. 

Barb and I lived in an 8X38 foot trailer not far from where my parents lived on the east side of Wichita.  We really didn't need much as the rent and utilities weren't but about $50.00 a month. We had each other and I had a construction job to tie me over until lasses started.  Wrong!  I went to work and the first week of the work I fell sick as a dog and could not go to work.  Barb was working part time and my worst sessions of sick were when she was working.  It wasn't until she came home on a 100 degree day in July and found me under a pile of blankets that she finally knew how sick I was. 

I went to Wesley Medical Center and was there for three days.  During that time I was not sick one minute.  They told me they didn't have a clue what was wrong and sent me home.  The next day I was really sick again and Barb and my father took me to the VA Hospital.  I wish I could tell you about the first two or three day there but, I don't have any memory of that time.  I do remember on the third day or so, I woke up to the hematologist (Lady vampire) drawing blood from my arm.  I asked her if they had a clue what was wrong and she smiled and said - Malaria soldier.  She asked me if I wanted to have a look at the slides she had made of the malaria in all stages and I said sure. It was a relief to know what was making me sick even if I did worry about future illnesses.

That day, one of the VA Doctors came in and told me about a new treatment program they were starting and asked me if I wanted to be a member of the study.  He said that one of the young officers just back from Vietnam had both Malaria and Leukemia.  The chemo treatment they started for the leukemia seemed to clear up the malaria.  The wanted to try a reduced medication level as chemotherapy and see if it cleared up the malaria.  Sure, why not.  I didn't relish having reoccurrences of malaria for the rest of my life.  I had a friend who's father had malaria fro the Pacific and he had to spend a month or so in the hospital every year.

The next morning they started the treatment.  I felt like a young stud that morning and they gave me some big pills to swallow.  By about 10 AM I was so weak that I could not eat lunch.  I just laid there in bed and let that chemical come out of the pores in my body.  It wasn't until about suppertime that I could even sit up in bed.  I would eat supper, shower put on clean PJ's and sleep like a baby.   That went on for most of the next week or so.  Finally one day the lady Vampire told me that my blood work was clear of any of the malarial parasites and they stopped giving me any pills.  I was still there a couple of days later and asked when they were going to send me home.  No one had a good answer and they said they couldn't tell me. 

Thank god the WSU Registration started and I was released to go register.  I did not even ask if they wanted me back.  I wouldn't have gone back there for all the tea in China.  I will admit that the treatment they gave me cured me of Malaria and I have never had any further problems from it. 

I spent the next two years at WSU and then we moved to Leavenworth so Barb could teach school there.  I finished my degree at KU and moved on with the rest of my life.


Stupid is as Stupid Does

I was just channel surfing and there is a program that shows, "The 20 Most Shocking" events.  With the availability of cameras, why would anyone do anything stupid out in public?  There was a bunch of stupid kids at a kiddy park and used a motor bike to spin one of the little merry go rounds.  At 40 MPH the rider let go and how he did not break his neck is a miracle.

The thing that really worries me is the fact that in High School a friend of mine thought it was neat to use a cart ramp at a big box store to jump her motorcycle.  She went faster and faster until she clipped the edge of the building with her head.  It broke her neck and she had devastating head injuries.  She was DOA at the hospital.  I am sure that she did not foresee that turn of events.  I am sure that I did some stupid things as a kid but I do try to be a lot more careful now.

Once upon a time, I had a 1961 Mini Minor and drove it as fast as it would go a lot.  The good news is that it was a lot like a go cart and went faster around corners than it would go in a straight line.  One sunny day, I was about half  way to El Dorado, KS and grew tired of the main road.  I found a gravel road and shot off on an adventure.  After a mile or so at 45 MPH, I found myself headed to a train track.  I didn't slow down and when I went airborne, the heavier engine in the front end dropped the nose like a brick.  I slid that car on the front bumper several feet and luckily it then sat back down on the wheels.  Had it hit harder, or had the bumper dug in, I would have rolled that little sucker right there.  The car had already claimed one life and I was just short of number two.

I had a couple of friends that had pretty fast cars and we drove fast - a lot.  One day when we were driving out in the country, we saw, way too late, that the road was about to end in a T intersection.  My friend slid about the best he could and at the last minute saw an open gate into the field.  We cleared that gate and it took another 50 yards or so to get the car stopped.  The driver calmly drove back out of the gate and we went home.  I am not sure if anyone else had to change their underwear or not.

One trip to Lake Toronto in Eastern Kansas, we spent the weekend drinking beer and having a good time.  We started home about 5 PM on Sunday and I'm sure we didn't set any speed records, but I don't remember ever stopping anywhere.  I know we had to go through several towns and when we pulled up in the yard at home I asked if anyone else remembered stopping at any of the traffic lights on the way home?  No one could remember seeing any let along stopping at one. 

In Vietnam, I had less than two weeks left in country.  I was sitting in the bunker when an explosion hit the hillside.  The Chief of Firing Battery had been outside and he ran in shouting that we were under a recoilless rifle rocket attack.  I just slipped on my helmet and rushed outside.  I ran to the nearest gun and took charge.  We swung the gun towards the far hillside just as another rocket slammed into the ammo bunker ahead of us.  I aimed down the barrel and the chief of section had his men put a round in and then a max charge (7) in the breech.  We fired the first round about the time the third round impacted the parapet I was in.  There had been a pile of wooden small pallets that had held two rounds and it blew that pile away.  All of the shrapnel went out the back side of the parapet and we continued to fire back at that idiot that was shooting at us.  When the firing stopped, the entire parapet around us was blown down and every one of the 10 men in there with me we wounded in some way.  None fatally and I was not wounded at all. How that happened is just pure luck. 

Let this be a warning to everyone that stupid can get you killed.  be safe out there.



It Doesn't Make Sense to Me

A good friend posted a Facebook post that asked the burning question.  If there were no Boots on the ground, how did Pearl Harbor start the war with Japan?   My question is why would we want to kill the Syrians if all they did was kill Syrians?  How in god's Green Earth could helping the rebels (AKA the Hezbollah) be a good thing   How can John Kerry support this Civil War and be against the one we fought in Vietnam?   Can Jane Fonda be far behind? 

Seriously,  I think a goodly portion of us think it is all BS and do not support a strike there for any reason.  This morning, even Geraldo Rivers said he did not support any kind of a strike.  Must be really bad when he doesn't kiss Obama's ring. 

Better get moving or I'll just freeze in place. 



War Weary?

The world is facing a dilemma.  What should we do to respond to a Nation that uses chemical or nuclear weapons?  What is the role of the UN in such matters?  If the UN decides to respond, do we get involved?  Will the people of the USA support another involvement in a war in the middle east?

Will the mood of the people spill over into a Political/Military Decision?  After what John Kerry said about the Vietnam war, does his voice hurt or help the President?  Does the loss of life for any reason weigh out better or worse than any other?  I the term collateral damage just a code word for killing people?  How does it harm or build credibility in the world? 
All of these are what the President is facing today.  I contend that he is doing the right thing by seeking approval of congress.  If he gets his way, it will be a plus.  If he loses, it won't damage him personally.  After all, the congress of the United States is elected to represent the people in their State.  If we don't agree with a war action, is it any real skin off anyone's nose.  We also do not have recall elections here in America.

As for me, it is about as strange as anything I have ever seen to have John Jerry and Senator McClain on the same side of anything.  That's as strange as Jane Fonda playing Nancy Reagan in a movie.  No, not really.  I threw that in just to get the juices flowing.

One of the members of congress just asked what are the plans for a retaliatory strike?   What would be the outcome and what difference will it make in the Balance of power there in Syria.  What is the outcome "we" want and who is "We?"   What ever is done, we need to have the congress fully read in to the matter and the decision is clearly explained.  The last thing we need is  another Military action that is not understood, not explained and no way to end it in a credible manner.

One thing I do want to share is that I do believe that President Obama's position that whatever we do needs to be fully supported by Congress.



New War Story

This is really a post war story about the time I had left in the Army and after Vietnam.  During the time I had on leave upon return to the States from my year in Vietnam and the time I had to report in to Fort Carson, Colorado, I called the office in the Pentagon that managed the orders for Field Artillerymen.  I was kind of worried that after a year in the jungle, I might just freeze my tushy off at Fort Carson. (I did)  The guy was not at all interested in my personal problems and the only thing he had to offer was to go to Fort Polk and command  Basic Training Company.  At least at Fort Carson there was a chance I might stay in the Field Artillery.

So, the wife and I packed our stuff up and mover to Colorado.  Mostly it was load our clothes for the trip up and have the Government move our trailer to some place called Saint Elmo's court in Colorado Springs.   Sometime I will tell you about the snow storm we go caught in on our way to Wichita but not today.

When I arrived at Fort Carson, I reported to the Post headquarters.  There in the Adjutant's Office I was sent down to the Division  Arty Headquarters for a unit assignment.   There, some Captain said he had just the thing for me.  There was a National Guard Artillery Battalion from Kansas there and he was sure they could use me.  I had no clue who the hell the National Guard was at that time and in fact really didn't care what they had me doing for what was to be my last 140 days in the Army.

Finally after spending half a day being told where to go, I found my way to the Headquarters of the 2nd battalion, 130th Field Artillery.  It was a 105 unit that was in Direct Support of the 69th Infantry Brigade.  I met LTC Weinberg on his last day at Fort Carson.  He didn't act very interested in our interview until he read that I was from Kansas.  He turned very cordial at that point and welcomed me into the Battalion there at Fort Carson.

They put me in one of their Battalion Fire Support officer slots and almost immediately told me that I was going to command as an acting commander of a battery so the young Captain there could go on emergency leave for  a sick father.  There, I met for the first time the soldiers I had dreams about for the rest of the time in the  Army.  Most of the Soldiers there were from small towns scattered across the north east end of the State of Kansas.  They were for the most part older than the soldiers in the rest of Active Army and mostly you could depend on having your orders carried out.  When I got to the unit, the Unit Clerk, SSG Herrs, took me into the commander's office and gave me the straight skinny on what I needed to do for the next couple of weeks. 

Pretty much, the unit was on automatic pilot and mostly I had to sign the assumption of command order and then sign the daily "Morning Reports" for two weeks.  The unit was in the time it was too cold to train down range and the train field training started up for the Battery tests.  At that time, I was pretty sure that the biggest thing I wanted out of the Army was  me.   I did look over the paperwork in the commander's office and found out about some of the mundane things like the results of their last IG and reviewed the audit of the Morale and Welfare Fund.  I spent two weeks getting unpacked in Colorado Springs and getting the trailer winterized so I didn't wake up to frozen pipes each morning.

Just as soon as I returned to normal duty with the Headquarters, I was sent back over to DIVARTY for an assignment.  I was told that I would be on the Army Training Test team for the Division and we spent a week recomputing the safety firing diagrams for all the known firing points at Fort Carson.  Stick a pencil in my eye because it was the most boring job ever.  When we would finish one diagram, we would overlay it with the existing data and see if there were any errors.  While I did learn the location of all of Fort Carson, I didn't learn anything new.  At the end of the first week of mind numbing tasks, I was finally told what I would do for the next 120 days.  I was to be the Observation Post Umpire and make sure that the tests were fired on schedule and accurate.

Every Monday morning I would report to DIVARTY and check out my jeep.  I would meet the test team and we would drive out to the field where we would meet and greet the battery staff of the unit to be tested. I would then drive to one of the Observation Points (OPs) and watch as one of the Forward Observer teams would occupy and set up their observation post.  It was all old stuff to me and I didn't bust many chops if they weren't really as stealthy as they could be.  Mostly it was still so damned cold in the morning that the fact I had the only jeep that had a heater wasn't wasted on anyone.  (Especially me who had on every stitch of cold weather clothes I could get on) I would talk to the test team and as soon as they were ready, I would give a fire mission to the Forward Observer.  It was generally a target near the middle of the impact area and one that a lot of them had used many times.  I had a list of the targets and their location and had pin holes in my map that were accurate.  During my time as an OP umpire there were no failures and all rounds were landed in the impact area. 

The only thing that was really different about the days there were the faces on the Forward Observers.  One of them was one of the most squared away guys I had met in the Army.  He deployed his team into the OP in a very tactical manner on what had to be one of the worst days.  It was drizzling and that froze as sleet so they were soon wet and frosty.  I called the young Officer over and put him in my jeep to warm up and dry out.  I sent his team back to his jeep to do the same.  He was really happy that he was meeting someone that cared about him and his team.  He really understood the impact area at Fort Carson and did a great job.  I found out that he was a West Point Graduate and on orders to go to Vietnam the next fall.  He asked about a billion questions about what to expect and I tried to make the lessons real and not too tall. 

At the end of the time I had at Fort Carson, I was released from the Controller duty and though I would get to spend a few days leisurely checking out.  My first day back, I was told that I was going to be a Forward Observer for one of the batteries as a replacement for another officer who went home on emergency leave.  I went through the motions and reported to the OP we were assigned to.  I tactically occupied the position and low and behold the new controller was the young officer I had taken mercy on in the freezing weather.  He immediately called me over to his jeep and told me that I could do whatever I wanted and it didn't matter to him how I did it.  All he wanted was for me to show the missions when he called for them.  I knew the missions by heart and was able to give the firing battery 8 place coordinates that were accurate by survey.   In fact the pin holes in my map were put there with a protractor.  I knew what targets we would fire and in what order.  Other than I could have been back in the rear area out processing, it was one of the best days I had in the Army.  The weather had turned out warm and sunny and it was a treat for me to get to apply my knowledge to the job I was trained to do.

What I remember the most was that the next morning as I drove down the hill called little "Little Agony" it started to snow.  That had to be one of the last days in June as I processed out on the 3rd of July.  I remember thinking that I wouldn't want to live in Colorado if they gave me the whole damned place.  A couple of mornings later as I drove out of the gate at Fort Carson, I threw my fatigue hat our the window and swore that I would never wear green again. 

COL, Ret