Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tree Rings And Memories

One of the best things about getting older (and perhaps one of the worst as well) is the memories triggered by casual sights, sounds, scents and thoughts. So it is with the dead tree that now lies in my front lawn. It was the first white oak on the left as you looked at my house from the road. Like the other white oaks there, it added to the exterior ambiance of our “cabin” at the edge of the woods. I’ve stood often in its shade and listened to the sound of bird song and squirrel chatter. I will miss it. Its loss is compounded by knowing that I must part with two of its kin as well, since they insist on trying to thread limbs into my windows or under my roof shingles. At a younger age, I would have mounted my 20 foot extension ladder and kept the limbs in check. At my current age and weight, that doesn’t seem wise, so down they will go by winter’s end.

This tree was first was root-damaged, I imagine, when this place was partially timbered 40 years ago. A horrible drought about 25 years ago probably did it no favors. The forester at that time told me that trees would be dying for decades that were first weakened by that drought. During a couple cold, damp springs around five years ago, it suffered from anthracnose or some such thing from the new growth molding and mildewing away. Sawflies attacked two years running. Then, a couple summers ago, the place was timbered again. Sitting on the edge of the main log road as it does, I’m sure its roots were damaged once again.

I had made some effort to save the tree. I dosed it with small amounts of fertilizer and lime several times over the last few years, hoping to fortify it without over-stimulating it. I also had the dog use the area as her toilet for several months, hoping to give it a little “organic” fertilizer. Still, it started losing limbs near the top, epicormic sprouts appeared not on the trunk, but on the limbs, and this summer, beetles started drilling sawdust from the trunk, even though the remaining leaves were still green. Those leaves turned brown sometime in August. When I cut the tree down a couple weeks ago, the beetles had made it all the way to the heart of the 25 inch stump. I decided that there was no reason to contaminate any structure with infested lumber, so the tree is being made into firewood.

Forty years ago, our old sawmill still sat a few yards away, its shed a bit damaged by the equipment of a disreputable logger. The timber company who bought the timber had contracted him to extract any trees too big for our farm tractors to handle. I counted back the rings on the stump to learn that the tree was only about 10 inches diameter and 55 years old at the time. The now-open center of my lawn was inhabited by large chestnut oaks then. They had provided our little country log yard with shade and the squirrels with food for the 19 years or so that the sawmill was there. The big timber was taken out in the winter, though, and the contractor’s equipment damaged the big tree’s roots so badly that they began to decline. After I started my house in ’76 I had to cut one tree after another until the only trees remaining were those that been on the edge of the logyard. The white oak tree put on the extra 15 inches in the intervening years.

My wife asked if I couldn’t cut the big limbs reaching skyward first, so the mess wouldn’t look so ugly. Surprisingly, she accepted my explanation that doing so would put a lot a tripping-hazards on the ground, making my work less safe. I understand her concerns about appearances. Between rain, my being slightly under the weather and the fact that I am so miserably out-of-shape, the thing is only half worked up after two weeks. In my prime, I would have had the tree worked up, including the brush stacked, in probably five or six hours. Those days are long gone.

One face-cord of 20” wood is waiting to be sold, and I should have at least another. The stack reminds me of the days that we made most of our winter’s living selling firewood, and makes me wish that my own stove still had a good chimney. The tree-top points toward the location of the back of the old mill shed, to the right of the oak across the way in the photo. I’ll never forget the days I spent there sawing with my father—the rumble of the old ‘47 U-9 in my ears and the acrid scent of sawdust in my nostrils.

Then too, the rings on the stump remind me of time’s relentless march onward. I never thought, back then, that my life would turn out as it has. There have been many disappointments along the way, but many pleasures as well. Having no kids of my own was hurtful, but I never thought about inheriting the five grandkids I now have. Life is unsure these days, with all of the corruption and immorality running rampant, not just in our governments, but just as much in the people who elected them. Still, in a few years, I’ll be moving on to a better place where I’ll reconnect with some of the folks that I now miss. Even the little things like the pleasure of swinging an axe again, or listening to the flocks of migrating blackbirds in the air above me remind me that life isn’t all bad, and that God has blessed me richly. I guess it’s no wonder us old folks talk about the old days so much, we’ve had a lot of them. The rings on the stump tell me THAT much. © 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Sunday Morning Dream

First, a little background - I was raised in the Methodist Church but wasn’t saved until age 28 in a Baptist church. My wife was a young widow at that church when we met, and had been through some rather bad treatment there by jealous women. Still, she persevered and we attended there several years after we were married. It was actually a pushy, manipulative, pompous preacher that caused us to leave. We then joined another Baptist church and attended regularly for several years until the snowballing gossip started by another jealous female caused us to leave. My wife was so emotionally hurt that time that she swears she’ll never go to church again. Strangely, I think we’ve both grown closer to the Lord during the time we’ve been OUT of church. Personally, I’ve come to believe that church membership, by and of itself is sinful. No-one voted new members into “club membership,” or made them go through catechisms in the days of the apostles. Furthermore, after a lifetime of reading and studying the Bible, I’ve come to believe in the original Sabbath. I don’t say any of this to offend anyone or even to start a discussion of church doctrines, but to simply show where I stand.

That being said, I miss fellowshipping with fellow believers (and don’t quote the verse, I know it well). In fact, I sort of feel that the Lord is trying to nudge me in that direction. Of course, that means that I’ll have to meet, once again, on the wrong day of the week, since all Sabbath-meeters in my area are quasi-Christian cults, and the closest Seventh Day Baptist is an hour’s drive away.

So, as is the case anymore, I was sleeping late this Sunday. In my dreams, I was visiting “my mother’s church,” which really wasn’t the case, since she now goes to a church in town. I was actually visiting the little country church down the road from where I was raised, where my first knowledge of church, and God and Jesus was instilled in me. I was to meet my mother there, so we arrived separately and I went inside to find her. Though in reality the little church is the same size as when I went there (and is all but dead), in my dream, it was much remodeled and expanded. Once inside, it appeared ten times the size that it seemed on the outside. Gone was the remuddled look so often found in poor churches, instead it was made of massive logs and polished wood and gave the appearance of a cross between a cathedral and a huge ski lodge.

A room-sized set of steps led to an equally large foyer, but inside was no sanctuary, but a huge dining hall with a high ceiling and a trussed roof of huge beams. There was no concerted effort to greet me, yet everyone I passed greeted me warmly and knew me by name and my family connections. Strangely, I didn’t know a one of them. I kept taking a few steps up here and there as stairs presented themselves, trying to get a better overall view of the place, and eventually found myself literally walking the horizontal beams above the dining hall. Some folks saw me and smiled or nodded, but no-one seemed the least surprised to see me above their heads—almost as if such sights were common for them.

It was a beautiful place, with all the beauty of the wood and some huge stone fireplaces, one of which had a wide mantel that I ended up walking across as I sought my way back down to the floor level. No meal had yet been served, but most people were already seated and seemed to be patiently waiting, while chatting amongst themselves. People of all ages were there, but the teenagers seemed to be somewhat gathered together, as would be expected in most churches. I never did spot Mom, but as my feet touched the floor of the main level, I woke up.

So, once again, I find myself wondering, is there a message here (some things might indicate so), or is it all just another silly dream? Perhaps only time will tell, but as always at such times, I remember Acts 2:17. © 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Strange Dream

I was at the factory working on a “government project” when I realized that break was over and that I was late in getting back to my work station. Walking PAST my work station quite a ways, I sat down on a stack of pallets to put on my safety shoes. (Why would I have taken them off?) As I put on my shoes, with machinery humming and people working around me, I thought “This place was closed down eight years ago. Am I dreaming, or have I lost my mind?” The thought occurred that I could go outside and see if the place looked abandoned. (Why would the outside look abandoned if the INSIDE didn’t?) I decided to do just that, apparently ditching the idea of going to my work station. However, as I worked to get my shoes on, I woke up. My first waking thought was that I still had my own sanity, but the world around me had turned insane. It’s getting bad when you can’t escape even in your dreams. © 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Foot Adze (an article, an image and a link)


I'd told Ralph, over at Mindless Ramblings, that I'd try to get him a picture of what we call an adze in my neck of the woods. When I started looking on line for a tutorial on using an adze, I found mostly examples of demonstrations by people who didn't really know anything about them (eww, that sounds arrogant). Adzes were never intended to be swung in a forceful manner, but were used in a pecking-style stroke, with approximately the power of someone finish-dressing a stone. Some people spoke of putting multiple layers of burlap on their shins for protection, forgetting that you should NEVER swing a tool in such a way that it can glance into you, and that burlap would do NOTHING to stop a sharp edge.

That being said, adzes were designed to be held with two hands and swung UNDER the foot (thus the name "foot adze"), as opposed to the smaller "hand adze," which was for one-handed use. Even my hero, Eric Sloane, showed a shipwright's adze alongside a gutter adze and called them both gutter adzes. (This was a page AFTER one of his illustrations showing a man with a broad-axe apparently endeavoring to split his left knee.) Obviously, good information on the tool and its use is hard to come by.

The adze isn’t normally used for hewing, unless out of necessity, but for finishing. In order of use, it sometimes fills the space between the splitting or hewing of beams or planks, and smoothing them with a jack plane. Incidentally, those waves you see in old floor boards were NOT from hand scraping, like modern flooring companies pretend, but were left by the slightly convex cutting edge of a jack plane.

Below is a photo of an adze that I found online. The photo is a poor one, due to the man’s foot being too high in the front and apparently being turned to one side a bit far. In use, the blade stroke should end under the toes or ball of the foot. This does two things; it keeps the cut from turning into a split, and it allows the toe of the shoe to stop the travel of the HANDLE OR EYE of the adze, thus stopping the cut IF the stroke was a bit too powerful. The ball of the foot should be firmly on the beam. In days of yore, frontier men would sometimes place bets on who could split the sole of their shoe with an adze. Unfortunately, this didn’t usually occur until after a bout of heavy drinking, so a few fellows, who would have had no trouble performing the stunt when sober, ended up splitting their toes instead.

The link below the picture is the most accurate article that I could find on the use of an adze.© 2013


Monday, October 14, 2013

A Little Scouting, A Little Prepping

 I took the opportunity today to do a little scouting while the wife shopped. I found a place near where hundreds of people go every day that I can get poke plants and raspberry plants to transplant (or pick the usable parts in season). I also located another little pocket of cattails where I can reach the heads when they're in season. You want to pick cattail heads when they're still green and about the size of a slightly oversize pencil.

I used to carry my dad's old army blanket in the truck, but I loaned it to a neighbor who was in a wreck, and she moved without bringing it back. SO, I also snuck in a nearby store today and got a couple $3 space blankets for the truck and a pair of $3 Vietnamese by-pass shears for cutting the plant tops off roots that I want to transplant. As I've said before, prepping isn't always about widespread catastrophes; sometimes it's just about being a "Good Samaritan." My purchases are below.


Another Disappearing Item From The Old Days.

Thirty-five millimeter film came out way back in 1892, but I don't know when the handy little plastic containers were first used. I DO know that ever since I was a kid, outdoor magazines have advised them for use in storing small things that you didn't want to lose or get wet. When looking for something to put a tiny flash drive in the other day, I settled on this container and realized that it was the last one I had left. The camera that used it was given to the Salvation Army long ago, and I'd be surprised if they were even able to give it away. I think we may eventually rue the day that we let the technology of film developing die.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day Trip To Amish Country

Current finances wouldn’t let us make it an over-nighter to Ohio’s Amish country, like we’d first planned, but one day away is better than none. Even then, it cost twice what it did only a few short years ago. Every time we go, we notice the changes. Being a porch-sitter, I noticed that several businesses had done away with their porch benches and were using their porches for display of items for sale. I guess that’s good for the bottom line, but it certainly makes for a less gracious-feeling shopping experience. Since it was too hot for me and the dog to stay in the truck those porch benches were sorely missed. Businesses don’t understand that if papa ain’t got a place to sit, he’s less likely to haul momma there in the first place. One of our local stores has done the same thing, so I now encourage my wife to go elsewhere, and I’m sure I’m not the only cranky old geezer to do so.

Our haul was very light this trip; my wife spent $10 on something she wanted and I spent absolutely nothing, despite antique tools being my main weakness. I didn’t even get any of the cookies that I dearly love; they only come by the dozen, and I just couldn’t see that I needed that many. The wife saw a Chinese-made tree that she liked selling for $69.95 and realized that she could buy the same thing at Wally World for $19.95. I saw a few tools that I could literally have used, but they were priced at about triple what I felt they were worth. The few things that were priced fairly low were things that I didn’t need. The most tempting item was a nearly unused broad-axe (without a handle) of the Kent style. It was only $35, but my budget for this trip was only $20, and I’ve got a perfectly good American-style broad-axe in the basement.

The place keeps getting higher-priced and more commercial, the quality of goods and food alike keep declining, and the wife and I just can’t spend the hours on our feet that we once did (and the benches are disappearing). As much as we used to enjoy it, I’m not sure just how many more times we’ll feel the trip is worth the effort. Still, though we were glad to get home, we had a good day. © 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

Early October Porch Sitting

There are two places on our porch that are frequent parking places for my backside. The first one is the swing near the door on the end of the porch, where it wraps around the front corner and back along the north side of the house. The other is the edge of the porch near the center of the front of the house. The height there is a comfortable distance to the ground for my legs. The slope of the ground makes the north end a bit too short and the south end a bit too tall. Often, when I’m seated there, our little dog is laying at my feet. She would be largely an outside dog if she had the choice. She enjoys lying on the porch, but she likes the grass better.

The leaves aren’t turned here very much, yet. A touch of color can be seen on the tips of some branches, or the sunniest side of another. Some white oak leaves are simply turning brown and falling early. A few do that every year; I’m not sure why. The rest are still green and attached. There’s been a slight to moderate breeze for several days—“the winds of change” I guess you could call them. Other than the rustling of the leaves, things seem quieter in the outside world that they did a few weeks ago. My wife says the earth on this part of the globe is getting ready to go to sleep. She’s not far wrong, I guess.

My little dog lies there quietly, but her eyes, nose and ears are extremely busy, especially her nose. She sniffs, therefore she is. She finds the scents that come wafting to her on the breeze to be fascinating. To watch her sides, you’d think she was panting, but if you watch her nose, you notice that her mouth is closed and she’s pulling in short bursts of breathe. Try it and you’ll find that it works better for humans too, when you’re trying to sort or identify odors. All I smell is the scent of autumn, and I would have no idea how to describe it to someone who’s never experienced it. I’m sure SHE smells a whole lot more—perhaps even the horse that seemed to nicker from my back ridge when we were here yesterday. I assume the sound came from the farm of the neighbor behind me, though I’ve never heard horses there before.

Today, a couple nuthatches chatter as they look for bugs under the bark of nearby trees. I can tell that the dog hears them, but shows no interest. The clatter of black-birds in the distance grows louder, and they DO get her attention. She’s especially interested when they arrive at the tree closest the porch, after seeming to move from tree to tree. She gazes at the treetops with interest as they chatter and scold, looking for acorns or bugs. It’s been a lean year for the former; I don’t know about the latter. This flock, though noisy, is only a few dozen; I have seen flocks of hundreds, thousands, ten-of-thousands and probably even hundreds-of-thousands this time of year. I assume they’re beginning to gather for migration.

Four crows get a little rowdy across the road on the neighbor’s place. I think they’re the same pair and youngsters that I’ve been hearing (and now seeing) since spring. The search for food has an extra urgency this year. Spring rains kept the oaks from setting very many acorns this year, especially the white oaks. What few acorns are available are from the red oaks, more bitter, so less favored by wildlife. The little flock of Blue-jays that checked out the big white oak in the front yard seemed visibly upset that one of their favorite trees had nothing for them this year. A pair of wrens are sitting on my tractor now, carrying on as if it were nest-building time, but of course, it isn’t.

Amongst the brown oak leaves that lay on the ground before us are the still-green leaves of the small, misshapen linden in the side yard. I noticed that its leaves were beginning to fall the first morning after we had a 41 degree night. I guess you can tell it’s basically a southern tree; all you have to do is whisper the word “frost,” and its leaves are ready to give up the ghost. I need to cut it off this winter (along with the trees crowding it) and let it resprout, so it will be straight enough to resist wind-throw.

A couple evenings ago, about dark, we were sitting here in the swing and I heard what I thought were the neighbor’s cows. They sounded entirely too close to still be in their pasture. After listening a few minutes, though, I decided that wind direction and volume was making them sound that way. I recognized the sound of cows bawling for their calves, now probably being weaned in a nearby field or maybe even sold off already. Even animal mothers will wail for their lost babies. To those who’ve heard it and seen the frantic look in the eyes of those cattle, it’s a mournful sound.

My little dog eventually got up this evening and walked over to the door, to let me know that it was time to go inside. Her little bed and my wife awaited. © 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cleaning Out The Springs

Like many folks who’ve grown up in the country, I’m well acquainted with springs, wet-weather springs and seeps. When I was little, we had water from a 44 foot deep, hand-dug well, just a few feet from our hilltop home. My uncle had put a pump on it in the past, so we had running water. The old hot-water tank with its side-mounted heating-coil, with its always burning gas flame, sat in the bathroom. With no pressure relief valve that I was aware of, I always wondered if it was a ticking time-bomb, but it never exploded. We had good water—no salt or mineral taste—just cool, clear and refreshing. Eventually, that well silted in, through no fault of our own, and we had to start hauling water from my grandparent’s places.

The spring at my paternal grandparents was, surprisingly enough, 2/3’s of the way up the hill behind their house. At some point in the past, Granddad (or somebody) had built a small concrete catch-basin there that closed with a heavy wooden lid, covered with tin, and held down with a heavy piece of sandstone. It sealed as good as gravity could make a wood-to-concrete joint fit, but it wasn’t perfect. On rare occasions, a small crawdad would get it and make it his home for a while. You never knew about it unless you checked the spring, or the crawdad died. When the latter occurred, the water began to have an off taste and you knew it was PAST time to check the spring, and it was time for some elbow-grease and bleach. By God’s grace, no-one ever got sick from it.

There was a fine screen on the exit pipe for the water, which then gravity fed into a nearby brick cistern. The top of the cistern came up about a foot above ground, so there were no worries of a crawdad getting in. Like the spring, it was covered with a wood, tin and stone covering. From the cistern, the water was piped, by gravity, into the kitchen of my grandparent’s home and to the milk house. There was never any hot tap-water in their home, only a garden style spigot on a tall standpipe in the kitchen, with a small movable cabinet underneath that you could set a bucket atop. When Dad returned from WW II, he installed a hot water tank and a shower down in the milk house, and that was where they bathed from then on. The heater for it was a simple ring of flames beneath the tank. Miraculously, it never exploded either. It was in the milk house that we filled the jugs and lidded buckets with water to take home with us. Ironically, my grandparents and their five children had moved out of a larger house on the farm, because it didn’t have running water.

At my maternal grandparents place, about a mile up the road, the spring sat across the hollow and almost to the top of the hill. The water flowed from the base of a three-foot-tall rock face that had a huge oak tree sitting atop it. In the past, someone had bricked up the front of the exit hole and made a small concrete catch-basin for the water to accumulate slightly before it ran through a hardware cloth cover and into the pipe down the hill. The flow was heavy enough that no cistern was needed. It was piped into their house, both to the kitchen and the bathroom, though I remember the days before the bathroom. (Their old outhouse had been a two-holer which, as a kid, I thought was both novel and a little disturbing.) At the foot of the hill, a second pipe dumped its flow into a galvanized wash tub. Wild mint grew thickly around the tub, and the least bruising by hand, foot or bucket filled the air with scent. Drinking water could be had by simply putting your container under the end of the pipe. Wash water could be dipped from the tub. There was a stake beside the tub with an aluminum drinking cup hung upside down over the top. That’s where Granddad (and any other bold soul (not me)) often got a drink. Neighbors with no running water, and former country folks who couldn’t abide drinking city water, were allowed to come and fill their containers. Otherwise, the tub just over-flowed and the water ran into the run. I remember that spring had more trouble with crawdads than the one at my other grandparents, and needed cleaned out more often.

There were several springs on our farm, but since we lived on the hilltop, none were easily accessible from the house. They came in handy for the cattle though. Of nine springs, seven were in the pasture fields, though the one was set up for use at my grandparents. There were also a couple seeps where cattle could at least wet their “whistles,” if not fill their bellies. Being cattle, though, they’d just as soon walk through their water, and pee and poop in it as drink from it. Animals can be disgustingly like some people at times in their stupidity. As a result, about once a month, we’d have to make the rounds of the springs and shovel out a hole big enough to collect a useable amount of water. Sometimes, this involved scraping a little dam up in front of the flowing water to hold a little extra. The cattle seemed to enjoy the bigger pools then available, until they eventually trod the pool and any dam to pieces and were once again drinking from cow tracks. We could have fenced the springs and made a place where they had to stick their heads through to drink, but with all those springs, plus the runs in two hollows to drink from, it didn’t seem worth the time and money to do so. We still would have needed to check the springs every so often anyway. Dad DID finally develop the spring closest the house and put in a big 200 gallon concrete water trough. That became their favored “watering hole” then.

It’s funny the things we look back on with fondness. I don’t miss hauling water for washing, but I still haul water for drinking, even though it comes from the store. Like the people back then who left the country for life in town, I can’t abide city water, either. Plus, even after the cattle were long gone, and my father as well, I sometimes found myself walking the old pasture and checking the springs. It was deer tracks then that showed in the muddy edges, but I figured they needed a good drink, too. I’m sure they’d prefer it to city water, too. © 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

An Autumn Tonic

Since I sold my undependable weed-whacker, I’ve learned not to be so fussy about keeping the lawn trimmed. I’d been keeping a few areas near the house trimmed a bit with a good Austrian sickle that I bought in an antique store in Ohio Amish country last year. It had a slight coating of rust when I got it, but still had the original company sticker on the tanged and peened handle end. It was “new,” in other words, even though decades old.

The edges of the yard, however were too much for the sickle, and I kept putting off locating my father’s scythe that was hiding somewhere in the basement. This morning, though, the grass was still damp from last night’s rain and the day was cool, so it seemed like a good time to look up the scythe. It hadn’t been used for at least a couple years, and I’d forgotten the “discovery” of a stray piece of heavy wire during its last use. I tried to tighten the grips, but found them unwilling to turn on the bolt that holds them. I then removed the blade from the snath and took a wire brush to the tang of the blade and the metal holder on the snath. That’s when I noticed the patent date of 1921. That makes me wonder if it might have been my grandfather’s snath becoming my father’s, though it would have been covered by the patent until 1938. So, it COULD have lain in some warehouse long enough for my dad to have bought it. Who knows? It currently sports the second European-style blade that I remember him purchasing. Both were bought at a hardware store on court square by the name of Niswanders. It was one of the wonderful businesses ended by the utter stupidity of urban-renewal in my local town.

After remounting the blade, I used the same cheap aluminum oxide stone that Dad had purchased just before his passing, many years ago, to dress up the chipped edge. (We never learned to peen them, though I recently purchased the tools to do so.) I then began whetting the blade. It had been some time since I’d heard what I call the “song of the scythe” that comes from the rhythmic ringing of quickly sliding the stone down one side of the blade and then the other. It brought back a lot of memories of both him and me, working on the farm decades ago.

Today, I was only going to trim a low bank where a log road passes the edge of the yard. It was about 50 feet long by five feet wide, but the job involved mowing around two oak trees, a flower bed, three grape vines, an autumn olive, a couple volunteer blackberry plants and some horrible prickly brier that I suspect may be a noxious/invasive plant for my area (as I never saw any before this year). I want to identify it before I destroy it along with the autumn olive. The blackberries will be transplanted, while the grapes are where they’re supposed to be.

It only took a few minutes to whet the blade, do the trimming and rake the weeds and grass away. There wasn’t enough regularity to the trimming strokes to hear the “lesser” song of the rhythmic whispering of the blade slicing through the grass. While the tiny job caused me to breath harder than I have for a while, I felt great. I suppose it’s self-pity that causes me to say that I started to die the day I left the land to work in the factory, but it’s true. The blow to my soul has indirectly caused much of the deterioration of my body. Today, though, I got a good dose of tonic. I reconnected—with myself, with my past, with my father, and with a way of life and with generations of farmer ancestors unknown and long gone. I must take another dose of that tonic again soon! © 2013

Prepping Ain’t Just For Catastrophes

The water company is flushing the lines today, so our water is going on and off. I live on a ridge full of dry holes, so well-water isn’t an option. As a result, we drink bottled water and use city water for everything else. So, we have plenty of drinking water, but the commode won’t flush and we don’t dare shower, for fear we’ll lose pressure just after lathering up. Over an extended outage, I know all about hauling water, having done it for several years. Today, we just fill some containers when the pressure is up so we’ll have some water on hand when they’re at a hydrant letting ‘er rip. I REALLY SHOULD put in some rain barrels; it rained all last night. Growing up, I didn’t know very many people who DIDN’T have a rain barrel. Sometimes, prepping is about the little things. It’s just common sense. © 2013

I Miss My Knees!

We never think about getting old when we’re young. If we do think of it, we see ourselves in 20-year-old bodies, but with grey hair. My hair is pretty good shape, though my forehead is very slightly taller than it once was. My body is a different story. Most of my problems are my own fault; I was stocky, but muscular for many years, but now I’m a hopeless blubber-butt. The muscles now sag from too many years of non-work “work,” too.

I hurt one knee several years ago running from hornets. Great leaps through the woods, triple-axels and pirouettes are tough on an aging over-weight body. I don’t remember which knee it was now; they seem to hurt by turns, though the left one has learned a new trick recently. It feels like the knee-cap divides down the middle and tries to open like a sliding door. Not fun.

Old Arthur Rightus is no help; he keeps moving around over my body, sometimes claiming more than one home at a time. He’s especially annoying when he moves into my feet or knees, though. I can’t do some simple things anymore, like climb a ladder and clean the gutters, or easily carry something heavy up or down the stairs.

What bothers me the most, though, is the effect on my prayer life. I used to spend a lot of time on my knees before the Lord. I can’t do that these days without a lot of pain. If I try it, getting back on my feet is very painful and slow. I hate that, the Lord deserves better than someone sitting on their backside when they talk to Him. © 2013

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I have posted, lately, several "prophet-of-doom type links that many may compare to the paranoia of Chicken Little. Some folks consider ALL conspiracy theories to be nothing but paranoia. However, I have noticed that many of these theories are eventually proven true, although the lap-dog media downplays the information when the truth finally becomes apparent.

I've often said that probably about half the theories out there are bogus, or at least very flawed. But, remember that leaves the OTHER half. Even if THOSE theories are only partially true, THAT leaves the part that IS true. Think for a moment - if only 10% of the things we read and hear about impending troubles are correct, we are still in DEEP, DEEP trouble.

America has now raised up two generations that have been taught NOT to think, but BELIEVE everything the government and the news media tell them. Proof of that was the SECOND election of Obama. A complete idiot might have been fooled the first time, but only someone completely brain-dead could vote for that demon a SECOND time. Yet, most of his supporters would happily vote for him all over again. Reason, facts, truth and morals have all been thrown to the wind. I believe that it will now require an act of God (meaning YAHWEH, NOT Allah) to get rid of Satan's minion that currently holds the Oval Office.

Not everything predicted will come to pass. Some things may take much longer than predicted. While everything could fall apart next month, it could also be a few YEARS down the road. However, be assured that many people are working tirelessly to make those dire predictions become a reality. Plus, for each prediction proven false, I believe two worse ones will be proven true.

Does this mean that I have no faith in God? To the contrary, HE told us that these things would happen, He just didn't give us all the details. We have no sure safety in this life. The only safety that is available is the safety of your soul. I BEG you to accept Jesus as your savior, if you haven't already. You may not have much longer! © 2013

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Yard Sales And End Times

Did you guess that this post might be a tad on the negative side?
For those who are wondering, our yard sale yesterday was less than a stellar success. I spent $18 in supplies and took in $10. My wife made $29, but only by letting an obvious dealer rip her off. The dealer got what should have been at least $50 worth of stuff (at yard sale prices) for $15. However, it was late in the day and my wife had decided that we were NOT putting the stuff back in the house. When we refused to sell her EVERYTHING at such cut-rate prices, the dealer and her husband got a little miffed. They got even more so when they found that we were going to give any unsold items to the Salvation Army. The woman and her husband appeared to be welfare folks who dealt in used merchandise on the side. I figured that my tax dollars were probably already supporting them; I couldn’t see how I owed them any extra favors. Incidentally, their pick-up was so over-loaded with stuff they’d bought at other sales that they had trouble putting our stuff on the pile in such a way that it wouldn’t fall off.

We got very few people at all, and most of them were just lookers, including some who are neighbors and just wanted to snoop. In all honesty, that was sort of what we expected. We live in an area that is more economically depressed than some areas of the state, the economy is down all over anyway, we’re located five miles from town on a side road and we had the sale on a weekday (Friday). None of that did anything to exactly insure our success.
Afterwards we loaded up anything that we thought the Salvation Army could use and dropped it off. The handful of things that I decided to hang onto a little longer went into the basement, and a few oddball things went out by the road with a “free” sign on them. A few things have already disappeared from the free items. Anything that’s still there on trash day will, hopefully, be hauled away by the garbage-man.

The bottom line is, few folks around here have any money to spare. We’d noticed all year that yard sales weren’t drawing the crowds they used to draw. Cheap doesn’t help when you’re broke. Remember that scripture about in the latter days you wouldn’t be able to buy or sell? That may have applied only to the sign of the beast, but it’s getting almost that way now, around here anyway. I see circumstance after circumstance falling into line with what scripture predicted. He may not be either the beast or the antichrist, but I don’t think this country will ever get rid of Obama unless there’s a violent military coupe that does to him what other fine muslims do to put people to death.

I don’t know if the rapture will come in time to save us from the all-to-near fall of this once-godly nation or not, but if you’re not right with Jesus, RIGHT NOW would be the best time to do something about it! © 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Presale Thoughts

My wife and I are going to have a yard sale tomorrow; I hope it’s not a complete waste of time. We live five miles from town on a side road, so a lot of city folks may not want to come this far. The last one we had wasn’t worth the effort. We made a little money, but it was about 95 in the shade that day. That was about ten years ago, though, so we finally worked up nerve to try it again. My wife has a lot of T-shirts to sell, a few small appliances and some seasonal decorations. I’ve got some antique knick-knacks and a handful of low-quality tools (I NEVER part with the good ones). I guess we’ll know by dark tomorrow if the sale was a paying proposition.

I had to pay about $1.25 apiece for sale signs this time. That’s a lot higher than ten years ago! I was tempted to buy the sticks to put them on, but they wanted ANOTHER $1.25 apiece for THEM! Since I needed at least ten, and profit disappears in a hurry at that rate, I made my own. I sorted through my hatchet collection and found the most recently sharpened and pointed them up on a log in my back yard. I first just took little sissy cuts and wasn’t doing too well. Then, I reverted to my timbering past, held loosely to the end of the handle and did with one full-power stroke what had been taking a half-dozen. The cuts were even more accurate than when I was trying to be more “careful.” Apparently, I’m a wood-CHOPPER, not a wood-CARVER!

I DID finally get the sawmill base frame off the front porch, so my wife was happy for a few seconds. I wanted to do a little trimming around the yard, but I couldn’t find my scythe. Would you say that I need to organize my basement? That’s a small part of why I’m parting with a few things. I’m putting a little dining-room chair frame in the sale that was from the set that my paternal grandparents went to house-keeping with in 1909. I hate to part with it, but if I haven’t restrung it in the last 20 years, I probably won’t in the next 20 either.

On unrelated matters, I took a bar of Irish Spring soap, cut it in thirds and put the pieces in women’s ankle stockings and tied them in our two crepe myrtles and our pink dogwood. The scent will keep the bucks from rubbing their antlers on the bushes (trees?), but it does nothing to keep away the does. In fact, the last time I did that, they tried to EAT the soap, stocking and all!

My lonely potatoe plant refuses to die, so I’m keeping it protected from the deer, still. A guy in town is trying to give away some walnuts, but I don’t know if he sprays his lawn, so I guess I’ll pass. I’m waiting for the first frost now, so I can transplant some poke roots. I’m not wishing for it, though I guess it WOULD get rid of most of these pesky mosquitoes. I here choirs of crickets at night now. My favorite time of year is here, but DARN, it’s always too short!

Guess I’d best go spend a little quality time with the dog and the wife, since I have to hit the hay before long, so I can get up well before dawn tomorrow. That sort of thing is rough on a night-owl! © 2013