Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Indiana Governor Wimps Out !

I should have known better. I thought that, perhaps, the governor of Indiana had some backbone. But, NO! There he was on the six o’clock news, back-pedaling and sucking up to the sodomites and their supporters.

The bill that had passed there simply allowed people to refuse to provide services to those whose morals their religion did not support. In other words, they couldn’t be FORCED to deal with people against their will. That’s not a hard concept to grasp; it’s called FREEDOM! Like it or not, freedom automatically allows for a certain amount of discrimination

Several decades ago, however, in the name of improving things for blacks, this country came up with the idea that business people didn’t have the right to say “no.” They couldn’t refuse to serve food, provide service or rent apartments due to someone being black. In essence, they turned what should have been purely a moral issue into a legal one.

Over the years, women, Hispanics, gays and others have gathered under the banner that was originally for blacks, and demanded “fair and equal treatment.” Interestingly enough, it’s perfectly okay for any of those groups to discriminate against white males (or poor people, or unintelligent people, or unattractive people). If you think not, one evening of watching TV (including the commercials) will prove my point.

The bottom line is that discrimination SHOULD be legal. Folks should have some say in who rents their apartment, deals at their store, or hangs out at their restaurant. It’s THEIR place, paid for with THEIR money, and the taxes there are paid by THEM. But, it would be unlike any liberal, politician or otherwise, to give anyone but themselves a choice in anything.

Moral issues not causing life and death situations should be dealt with by the church, not forced down our throats by the government. So, we might ask where IS the church on this issue. The sad answer is that they’ve been back-peddling and sucking up for so many years that they wouldn’t know truth or freedom if you knocked them up alongside the head with it.

And so, we have people hollering for equality once again. Unfortunately, the only way people are ever truly equal, it seems, is when they are equally bad. © 2015

Back To Work!

It wasn't fun, but I survived it. Tomorrow will be better.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sick Day - Dern It!

I woke up this morning feeling sick at my stomach, barfed a couple times and had three rounds of the trots. I tried to tell myself that I could go to work, but common sense finally won out, so I called off. It's been several years since that happened.

I then went back to bed and slept until 2PM! When I got up, I haf three more rounds with the trots, then my wife and I took a jaunt to town to get her and the dog some lunch and a large Sprite for me. I had three crackers, two french fries and a few sips of Sprite for my lunch. You know a fat guy is sick when he eats like that!

I went back to bed at 5 and slept until 7. I then had half a stack of crackers and a few more sips of soft drink for my supper. I feel pretty good now, but I'm atill not very hungry. I suspect I just had something that didn't agree with my system, or I wouldn't be recovering so quickly. It really hurts to lose a day's work when I'm still playing cath-up from a lean, long winter, though. I'm sipping water now, to try and get rehydrated. I should be good to go in the morning.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

...come, Lord Jesus!

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Acts 1:9-11
...Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Revelation 22:20

Saturday, March 28, 2015

What You Don’t Know…

…might severely inconvenience you! The little woman came out of the Chinese Emporium the other day with a new type of snack amongst the more needed items. I saw why; besides the fact that it was something that she’d never seen before, it showed a couple delicious-looking chunks of caramel on the center of the bag. She loves caramel! I’m sure that she never even looked at what the bag said, or that it was terribly light to be holding anything that looked even remotely like what the bag indicated. In surprisingly large letters were the words “naturally and artificially flavored.” In slightly smaller letters was the information that the contents only held 130 calories per ounce. The words “light, crispy, crunchy” should have cued her in that the contents couldn’t look anything like the almost gooey-looking items shown on the bag. Still, she was surprised when she opened the bag and found only what looked like some kind of puffed cereal.

The stuff WAS light, crispy and crunchy, but it only tasted REMOTELY like caramel. Still, we were hungry after our shopping ordeal and ate heartily. Afterwards, I noticed a familiar sliminess to my lips. “These things have Olestra in them,” I commented. That meant nothing to my wife, until I reminded her of the products that came out a few years ago that gave everyone who ate them a case of the back-house two-step. She looked at the bag and said that it didn’t mention it on the front. (She has bad eyes and can’t read the fine print. When I got home, I read the fine print and found the term “high oleic sunflower oil.” Ah-ha!

Yes, the side effects eventually “came to pass!” We won’t be buying any more of them. © 2015

03-28-2015 – Riding Shotgun – Recent Road Trip

A week ago yesterday, seven of us hauled loads of oil-contaminated soil from a compressor station below Beverly, West Virginia, just below Elkins, to Amanda, Ohio, a few miles west of Lancaster. Going down, I started in fifth place. However, since I had to make a “pit-stop” along the way, I ended up in last place. When I got to the station at 8:30, the first two trucks were loaded and gone. Between a tiny little bucket on the track-hoe, and poor organization, it was 10:15 before I pulled out of their yard. Only the last few miles of the trip there were two-lane, so I was soon on four-lane again, with the cruise set at the speed limit, just as on the trip down.

The road between Elkins and Route 79 is a four-lane, with a speed limit of 65MPH. It’s good road, and the speed limit is okay, in and of itself. However, the road is somewhat mountainous by eastern standards, and it’s not a true interstate. While it’s basically a limited-access highway, many of the remaining intersections have stop lights, and are located at the bottom of long slopes. That makes it difficult to stop a loaded truck if the light changes when you’re at the wrong spot on the hill. When you then approach all intersections at a reduced rate of speed, for safety’s sake, it sort of does away with any gain from being able to drive faster. Incidentally, I tried to call my wife on the way back and learned that, with phones from the Chinese Emporium, and there is no usable signal between Elkins and somewhere near Route 79.

The speed on 79 is 70MPH, so I had to re-adjust the cruise. I did have to slow down for a couple of bends, so my truck wouldn’t be in danger of doing a roll-over. When I got to Route 50, I had to lower the cruise to 65. The road was designed when the legal national max was 55, so I had to slow it down for several bends along the way. When I crossed into Ohio, I had to lower it further, to 60MPH. Reaching Route 33 at Coolville, I had to lower it to 55, then raise it tom 60 later, if my memory serves me correctly. At Athens, I turned onto Route 33 and had to drop the cruise to 55. Nearing Nelsonville after a few miles, the road became like an interstate, with access ramps rather than regular intersections, so the speed went up to 70. I once again adjusted the cruise. Later, several miles before reaching my turn-off at Route 22, the highway reverted to regular-style intersections and the speed went down to 60MPH. I re-adjusted the cruise, even though the road there had a few stop lights, like the road between Elkins and Route 79 in West Virginia. At least there were no “mountains” to deal with in Ohio. When I reached 22, I turned west onto the two-lane and set the cruise on 55. It seemed like I’d spent the day playing with the cruise, but it allowed me to move my legs around some and not get so stiff. For those wondering, yes, my dump truck has an automatic transmission.

I like seeing the farms around Amanda, Ohio. It reminds me of when most of America, including West Virginia, was covered with farms. It was a different era that I find myself missing more all the time. One thing that I noticed there was that 150-year-old farm houses, many of them brick, are still being cared for and lived in, and are the center of active farms. Few things are more beautiful in my eyes than a nice farm, unless it might be a forested stretch of rolling or hilly land.

I got to the landfill at what would be three minutes too late, had I been making the run the following week, when the owners shorten the hours. Three o’clock seems rather early to close a landfill. The trip back to “the barn” was made in the same manner as the one up there—cruise set at the speed limit, brake when necessary. By the time I fueled up, put the truck to bed and did my paperwork, my day had stretched to 12 hours. While it’s interesting to make an occasional road trip, I’m glad it’s not a daily thing. It’s too hard on an old geezer like me, but it IS good on the paycheck!

Incidentally, I recently learned why the speed limit for trucks in Ohio was so low for many years. A long time back, the daughter of an Ohio governor was killed after being struck by a semi doing about 70MPH. The governor blamed his daughter's death on the trucker, rather than the fact that his daughter was drunk and was driving where and how she wasn't supposed to be. SO, he had the speed for trucks dropped as a sort of revenge on all truckers. That stupidity is finally being done away with, though I think raising the limit to 75 might be going a tad too far. © 2015

Friday, March 27, 2015

Using A Dump Truck Tailgate (w/pic)

Most of you will have no interest whatsoever in this article, but a few will. Others already know all this. This is for those few who don’t know, but are curious.

Obviously, a dump truck’s job is not to load itself, that’s the job of other machinery. A dump truck’s job is to haul a load and unload it. For that task, it has a bed that can be raised to a steep angle, and a tailgate that can be opened either partially or completely. The average tailgate is hinged at the top. I didn’t show that, since the owner’s name is painted on this one and I choose to protect his privacy. The finger-like projection that you see at the lower left-hand corner is one of the latches. It has a mate on the other lower corner which doesn’t show well from the angle of the photo. The bed tilt and the latch are controlled from the driver’s seat.

Click image to enlarge.

When arriving at the dump site, the tailgate is unlatched and the bed is raised, thus allowing the load to slide out the back of the bed. A variation occurs when the customer wants the load spread, such as stone on a driveway. At those times, both the rise of the bed and the opening of the tailgate are both controlled, and the truck moves along the dump route, rather than sitting in one spot. Some refer to this as “tailgating” the load. Take a good look at the photo below to understand how the tailgate is controlled.

When tailgating, the opening between the bed and the tailgate must be severely limited, or you’ll end up leaving most of the load in a big pile, instead of spread along the driveway. To accomplish that, the chains are taken from their “dump” position on the tailgate, as on the right, and are put into a slot on the truck bed, as on the left. The length of chain left hanging partly determines how thick the stone is spread, as does the speed of the truck while spreading. I’m not so slick at spreading, having only done it a few times, so I luck out and get about 99% dump deliveries. A couple of my coworkers are absolute artists at tailgating and are downright fun to watch. They can look at how far the buyer wants the load to go and get it pretty-much on the money.

I showed the tailgate clamps for those who may have seen them and wonder at their use. When NOT being used, they are swung outward, where they lock down out of the way of the tailgate, as on the left. IF you’re hauling large stone or concrete pieces that could shift during transit and slam against the tailgate, you use the clamps to keep the gate closed (as on the right), since a hard enough jar could, theoretically, pop the gate loose from the latches. That could result in losing product on the highway, thus creating a dangerous situation. We also use them when hauling salt, since it’s dry and might try vibrating through a loose tailgate, plus, winter potholes could possibly jar a latch open and cause you to lose some of your load. Obviously, the clamps must be put in the outward position when you get to your dumpsite. Over the years, not doing so has resulted in a few trucks balancing on their tailgates, while the drivers sat in their cabs looking skyward.

There are also tailgates that hinge on the side, as opposed to the top. So far, I’ve seen them used only when hauling waste material to landfills. There are also grain tailgates, with a small lift-gate in the center of the main gate to control the grain as it pours out into a hopper. I’m sure there are other specialty tailgates as well, but the style shown is the most common. So there you have it, if anyone even cares. If not, there you have it anyway! © 2015

Another Old Bridge (w/pic)

This bridge is on Route 16, south of Harrisville, West Virginia. It's not the picture I'd hoped for, but it was the best that I could get one-handed at 30MPH. You'll notice the "posts" every few feet. Between the posts are several narrow, arched "windows," giving the side of the bridge an appearance somewhat like a porch rail. Keep in mind that the posts and areas between are one single casting of concrete. You'll never find such artistic work on highways ever again. That bridge was probably made in the 1930's, when craftsmanship was still an honored tradition. Pity us. © 2015

Click image to enlarge.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Washburn General Store (w/pic)

Recently, I mentioned Washburn General Store and its porch sitters. There were four there today; the rest were across the road in the little park. Click image to enlarge

I had to over-brighten the photo a bit so you could see the folks sitting in the shade there on the right end. The photo is actually reversed, as it is a reflection in my truck mirror.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Concerned With Propriety (w/pic)

Click photo to enlarge.

I sometimes pass the house in the above photo as I make my deliveries in a neighboring county. It was a place where I delivered chicken feed to an elderly lady, back 36 years ago when I drove a truck route. At the time, there was an old barn, back behind where the garage now stands, where I had to carry the feed by hand, as the truck couldn't be driven very close to the building. One day, I noticed two big wasp nests just a few inches above the tops of the sacks as I sat them down. The residents seemed rather aggitated by my activety. I told the old lady, who got really concerned about me getting stung. I assured her that I hadn't been zapped yet, but that I was concerned about her. She said that she'd get her nephew to get rid of them. Sure enough, they were gone the next visit.

The little ell to the rear was the kitchen of the house at the time, and probably still is. I was in it a few times. The lady offered me fresh cookies when she baked, and also offered me sweet lemonade on especially hot days. I always accepted, more to give her a few moments company than my need of lemonade. Old people who live alone crave company; I grew up in a family of old folks, so I understand that.

One horrifically hot day, when she invited me in for lemonade, she was dressed in a full-length slip. She apologized and said she hoped that I wouldn't think her indecent, but that the heat was just about to get her until she took her dress off. I told her her that I didn't mind a bit, and had a much-loved great aunt who did the same thing in such weather. I told that, in fact, she even reminded me of that favorite aunt, both in appearance and personality. She was even the right age (in her 70's) She seemed put at ease by my comments. As always, I chatted a few minutes with her in front of her fan before continuing on my way.

I didn't tell her that one of her neighbor ladies half her age had just answered my knock on the door wearing a half-slip, a bra and a smile. I didn't stand and talk there, however! ;-) © 2015

An Empty Lord's House (w/pics)

The delivery that took me past the Washburn General Store the other day also took me by an unused old building with intact white paint. I thought, at first, that it might be an old school house, but the "lights" over the door seemed a bit fancy for such a building. I leaned, therefore, towards it being an old church building. (Click photos to enlarge.)

The matter was settled when I drove a few yards farther and could look back and see what occupied a spot about 150 yards above the old building beyond a wooded slope.

No doubt most of the folks lying there once worshipped in the little frame church at the bottom of the slope. Hopefully, all the folks lying there are now "living the good life." Unused churches always make me sad, because there's rarely a shortage of people around them, just a shortage of interest in the Lord. © 2015

May you have a blessed Sabbath!

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. Genesis 2:1-3

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exodus 20:8-11

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:17-19

More Signs Of Spring

This week, I got my first mosquito bite of the year, heard the first spring peepers, noticed the robins have left the woods to hop on the lawn, noticed that the geese are pairing up more, and saw that the Easter flowers (daffodils) are up and forming buds. I'm all for it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Plumbing Update

The plumbing problem is fixed. I sometimes wonder why the Lord puts me through such things, but this time, the answer was obvious: the situation put me in touch with a cousin that I hadn't seen for years. Thanks, Lord (And thank you to those who prayed for me. It was a real disheartening situation for a while).

It's A Country Thing !

Back when I was single (the first time), a city friend couldn't understand me waving at all the country folks we passed when we went to the mountains. He REALLY couldn't understand when they waved back, or actually waved first. "It's just a country thing," I told him. "City folks used to be like that, too, until they got too 'sophisticated.' Besides, you might need to use their phone someday, so be friendly." (That was before the days of cell phones.)

I was reminded of that yesterday, while making a delivery on the road that travels between Washburn, West Virginia, and Pullman. It was a beautiful sunny day and 75 degrees. A lot of folks were "porch sitting," enjoying the spring weather. Naturally, I waved at anyone I saw, and all but one or two waved back. As I passed the Washburn General Store (established sometime in the 1800's), I saw that a row of seven or eight old codgers were sitting on the store's full-width front porch. No doubt they, too, were enjoying the weather, one another's company and a good view of the passing traffic on the little country road. As my arm went up, so did the arm of every porch sitter. I wish I could have had a picture of it!

the very last old fellow then started pumping his arm, like he probably did as a kid for trains, trucks and river boats. What could I do? OF COURSE, I gave him a couple toots on the air horn! I could hear his friends laughing through my open window. It just goes to show, you should never outgrow friendliness, and you should never forget how to be a kid! © 2015

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Wooden Rake Details For Lady Locust (w/pics)

Click photo to enlarge.

The teeth of the rake are tapered octagons, and are about 4-3/4 inches long today; I suspect they were 5 inches originally. Despite the fact that you try not to let the teeth touch the ground during use, they invariably do part of the time. You'll notice that they appear rounded on the ends. They were originally flat, with the half away from the handle removed at 45 degrees. Also, you notice some variation in the thickness of the teeth. That may be due partly to being split out, rather than having been cut from boards. They average about 11/16 at the rake head and 7/16 at the tip. Taking wear and shrinkage into consideration, I suspect they were originally closer to 3/4 at the shoulder and 1/2 at the tip. I say "shoulder," because they are whittled into a half-inch dowel on the ends, which serves as a tenon to the half-inch holes serving as mortises in the head.

Surprisingly, the teeth are held in by friction alone. There appears to have been no effort to align the end-grain of the tenon in any particular way, as it varies from tenon to tenon when you look at the top of the head. You'll notice that there are ten teeth. The span is 24" from outside to outside of the end mortises, not the centers. That puts the teeth about 2-2/3 inches apart, but I imagine the builder walked them off with dividers, rather than measured them. The two end teeth tend to catch the most on the ground, in grass clumps and in vines, possibly explaining why they are a bit heavier than most of the rest. Also, to keep the ends of the rake head from splitting, either on its own, or from torque on the end teeth, two small nails go through the rake head between the end mortise and the end of the head. They are clinched over across the grain on the far side. I'm sure the holes were drilled.

Click photo to enlarge.

Here's a closer view of the way the handle is attached. The handle and head are both 1-1/8 inches deep, so their surfaces match. Both pieces appear to have been planed from sawn boards, rather than split out. The handle is one inch the other way, giving it a slight oval feel to its octagonal shape. A full-width tenon comes through the head's 1-1/16 thickness. The tenon is a half-inch thick and was originally wedged; however, somewhere along the way the wedge fell out. That leaves the head still held in place three ways. The friction of the mortise and tenon, the homemade iron joining plate (full width of the handle and about 5 inches long, held with one screw in the head and two in the handle) and the wire braces. The wire is about an eighth of an inch in diameter, so I suppose it's nine gauge, which is a common fencing wire. The braces are made from a single piece of wire, going through the handle and pressed against it for an inch or so, then angling out to where it contacts the head. There, also, it's pressed aginst the wood before going through the wood. A section of wire about 3/4 of an inch is clinched with the grain on the outside.

Click photos to enlarge.

Here are a couple more shots, just for good measure. The teeth were in a straighter row in their younger days. All are original, which is kind of miraculous, when you think about all the use this thing got. They're in better shape than I thought, but I may stiffen them by sinking a small diameter 2" screw in the mortise end of them. I'll also replace the wedge in the handle connection, give the whole rake a good cleaning and rub some linseed oild on it before I ever use it. With even that limited care, it may well outlive me, even if used moderately. © 2015

Friday, March 13, 2015

Dad’s Old Wooden Rake (w/pic)

I think I remember it when it was new. However, it might have merely been ALMOST new. In other words, it might be younger than me, or it might be older. All I know is that I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t around. We always called it “the BIG rake,” as opposed to a much smaller, commercially-made model. The big rake was 24 inches from outside tooth to outside tooth and had an eight foot handle. The boughten one was probably 18 inches wide with a six foot handle and was technically a grain rake.

The big one was what is called a “bull rake” by experts, but we weren’t experts, except at using it. It was the rake that we used when gathering up hay cut with the scythe, and when gleaning the cut hay from the corners of hayfields, where the sickle-bar mower on the Ford Golden Jubilee could reach, but the tractor rake that we pulled behind the Ferguson 40 couldn’t. Dad never believed in leaving good hay in the field just because the tractor couldn’t reach it.

It got to where I probably used the old rake more than Dad, since he usually ran the tractors while I cleaned around the field edges. Besides using it on the farm, I used it in combination with Dad’s scythe, doing work for a couple who lived next door. Once a year, they’d hire me to scythe off the half-acre or so between their driveway and the hard road and haul off what I’d cut. Between those times, they often had smaller mowing jobs for me. Of course there was always some trimming and raking to be done at my great aunt’s, next door, and at my own place when I got a little older.

Of course, Dad’s tools passed to me when he left this life. For about 25 years, the rake remained in the barn that had always been its home. Then, it came to my place when the farm changed hands. I have no storage here, so it spent a few years under a tarp with a bunch of other tools. The trouble is, the tool cache is out of sight of the house, and sometimes the tarp got blown off. The tools rusted a little and the wooden handles got weathered-looking.

While once again replacing the tarp with a new one recently, I brought the rake up to the house. As fate would have it, it began its life either directly across the road, in the workshop of an old gentleman who once lived there, or in the log cabin that he lived in just beyond the back of my place, where he’d lived earlier. The rake has sort of “come home” in a sense, I guess. Not sure if the rake is really solid enough to use, I first asked my wife if she wanted it for a decoration, but she wasn’t interested. Then, I thought of giving it to a neighbor, slightly younger than I, who knew both my father and the man who made it. Finally, since I still have Dad’s scythe, and use it on occasion, I decided to make any necessary repairs and keep the rake myself. I think the basic frame is solid, but a couple of the hand-whittled, tapered octagon teeth may need replaced. I can do that.

I may try to give it to the neighbor someday when I grow too old to use it. Until then, I can hang it from the basement ceiling to keep it out of the way. Like most of my old stuff, the memories it holds are only for me. © 2015

Click image to enlarge.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Primitive Woodworking At Wally World (w/pic)

In the picture below, you’ll see my hickory maul-to be after a recent trip to the Chinese Emporium. I’d been sent home from work after only three hours, because they just couldn’t get a load for several of us. I started to work on my maul with my hewing hatchet, but soon discovered that the slight back grind on it made it little different than a regular hatchet in use, and for this job, that made it too heavy. I guess that’s the danger of letting people make tools who have no hands-on knowledge of their use. It will take considerable grinding to right that wrong.

I’d just switched to my little Boy Scout axe, when my wife called from the door of the house that she’d like me to take her to town to pick up a few things. After putting the maul in the back of the truck, the dog on the back seat and helping my wife into the front, we headed off. The wife got out and headed inside and I wheeled the truck into the north lot and backed up against the curb of the outside edge.

At some point in the past, I learned that there are about a half-dozen parking places along the edge of the lot where the ground slopes up away from the curb at a fairly good angle. This allows me to put the tailgate down and sit with my feet comfortably on the ground. At such times, I normally have the Mighty Dachshund on a long leash and let her wander and sniff to her heart’s content on the sloped lawn. Today, after walking her a bit, and letting her water and fertilize the back lawn, I put her on a short leash and attached it to the gate-hanger. Then, I pulled out the maul-to-be, and my little axe, and went to work.

The handle was roughly square at that point (well, okay, more like a slightly out-of-square rectangle. First, I squared it up, trying to lessen any wandering of the handle in the process. I wasn’t splitting at this point, but scoring the high spots and then going back and “slicing” off the resulting chips. Then, I did the same to the corners. After truing up all eight faces as good as I could get them in a reasonable time, I repeated the process on the smaller remaining corners between the faces. Technically, that should make it 16-sided, but in reality, it was actually pretty-well rounded, especially considering that the grain was a little squirrelly.

At that point, I returned the maul and the hand-axe to the trunk. I picked up the pooch from where she’d been lying and soaking up the sun and put her on the back seat again. Climbing into the truck, I started it up and moved it around to near the door where I’d deposited the missus. Then, I lowered the visors, put on my shades, closed my eyes and thought I’d snooze a bit. Two minutes later, the little woman arrived with her purchases and we headed home. After getting my wife and the dog inside, I took the picture that you see below. The next hitch may involve a draw knife, a hand-plane, a spoke-shave, or some combination of said tools. Time will tell. © 2015

Click image to enlarge.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Signs Of Spring?

Just after sundown tonight, I saw my first little brown bat of the year. Then I heard a distant neighbor shooting in such a way as to make me think he was patterning his turkey gun. Finally, I heard what had to be a warbler in the hollow to the north of the house. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Good-Bye Diltiazem; Hello Herbal Tea!

I used to be on three blood pressure medicines. Then, my doctor divided one that was a combo, so Technically, I was on four.

Diltiazem used to be $10 for a three month supply. Then the manufacturer got greedy and doubled the price. Today, I went to pick up my latest supply and THAT price had doubled! I get really tired of companies thinking they have you right where they want you and can charge anything they want. I told the druggist that we all had to die of SOMETHING, so I was simply going to drop that medication and hope for the best. She was a little surprised, but understood my thinking

Actually, I didn't tell her the whole story. I recently read that a certain type of herbal tea has the same effect on many people, and can actually be substituted for that medication. SO, I went to the local health food store and bought a whole POUND of the stuff for HALF what they wanted for their dope. Now, I just hope that I'm one of the people that it works on! Time will tell. © 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

Feeding Hay (w/pics)

I’ve probably said all of this before, but I’m old and allowed to repeat myself. I won’t repeat the stuff about the heat and stickiness of baling, hauling and storing hay and the wonderful scents involved. With this foul weather, I’m thinking more about the feeding of it.

We always had the fattest cows in the neighborhood. That’s not always a good thing, since we had to give up A.I. and go back to the expense and bother of a bull. Cows are hard to time right for the procedure and fat cows are less likely to conceive. Still, Dad hated to see skinny cows, considering it a form of abuse to not feed them better. I tend to agree. I guess it should come as no surprise then that I always notice the condition of my neighbors’ cows. Some look pretty poor, fed once or twice a day with whatever the owners haul to them in the field. It seems the hay is sometimes cleaned up before the farmer makes it back to his house.

We had a nice barn to feed them in, with a concrete trough. We filled it up at daylight and again near sunset. If we discovered the trough empty through the day, we’d throw them a couple more bales. If the trough was completely empty either morning or evening, we figured we hadn’t given them enough and upped the number of bales we gave them. One of Dad’s favorite things in life was to watch his cattle wad in big mouthfuls of hay. There IS a certain peacefulness to the sight. We were very particular about when we cut and baled hay, so as to get the best-tasting hay we could get for them. As a result, they even thought that the old wild broom sedge we sometimes fed them was wonderful stuff. There were times, though, when we had some less than ideal hay that we needed to use, due to a low supply of better hay. A little salt water or molasses sprinkled over it and they acted like they were eating cotton candy!

A lot of people don’t seem to take as good of care of their stock these days. Two of my neighbor’s have skinny cows and one has fairly fat ones. Nothing would make me happier than to give the skinny ones an ample supply of good hay and watch them enjoy it. It’s not my place to interfere, though, and I couldn’t afford it anyway. However, I’ll always remember our cattle greedily eating the hay before them, and the look of pleasure on Dad’s face as he watched them. © 2015

Click images to enlarge.

Shot of our new barn in 1961. Note the gas tank on the left, the car axle that would later become a small log trailer, and the '47 Plymouth in the drive. Also, notice the elm tree to the left, and the last remaining corner of the old barn. If you look close, you'll see a couple cattle standing near the barn.

Here's the old barn that the new one replaced, circa 1954.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

If We Know HIS Name, Why Don’t We Use It?

I read long ago that the REAL name of God was YHWH (pronounced Yahweh), not Jehovah. As the son, we call him Jesus, yet his REAL name appears to be Yeshua (pronounced yeSHOOa by most scholars). The names Jehovah and Jesus supposedly came about during translation to Greek, linking both names to Zeus, the pagan Greek idea of God. That basically paganizes the holy name of God. As with many things, we can lay this mostly at the feet of the Catholic Church, yet the protestants willingly continue the tradition. More and more, I’m trying to use the names Yahweh and Yeshua. Still, a lifetime of usage makes it hard to change.

I’m reminded of the guy that I called “Bob” for years, only to eventually learn that his name was Bill. When I asked him why he didn’t correct me, he told me that he knew who I meant, so he didn’t worry about it. Perhaps the Lord will look at it the same way; but why should he have to? Below are three links on the subject. © 2015


We Didn't Need This ! (w/pic)


The neighbor says that she measured 12 inches on the ground. I have no reason to doubt her. I haven't heard a snow plow yet. I don't look for one on our rural road for a couple days; we don't have enough "important" people out this way to motivate them. Even the berms of the local four-lanes will be clear before they send one lonely plow across our road.

There's 200 feet of curved driveway between the truck and the unplowed road. I used to have a tractor to plow it with, but I had to sell it to live on while getting my CDL. Ten years ago, I could have shoveled it by hand, but no more. I could put on the chains, but I'd then have to fight my way to town on unplowed roads. I just hope that I can get to work Monday, if there IS work. There was none today and, I'm sure, there won't be any tomorrow.

The electric has blinked off several times, but has always come back on - so far. If it goes off, we have no heat, except the stove-top in the kitchen. The woodstove continues to sit, chimneyless, in the living room for looks, like my wife wants it. She's afraid that if I hook it up, I'll use it all the time (and I probably would). She wants to sell out and move to town, but after 32 years together, I know that she'd be just as unhappy there as here, so I don't see any gain.

I'm trying to think SPRING! © 2015

03-04-2015 – Riding Shotgun – Rain, Rain, Go Away

After delivering salt to Mill Creek yesterday, there wasn’t time for a second delivery, so I preloaded for today. At 6:50 this morning, I pulled out, headed for Glenville, West Virginia. Another driver and I travelled together down to Elizabeth on 14 and then took 5 over to Glenville. The road was full of standing water from the rain that had been coming down since yesterday evening, so we went a TINY bit slower than we might have otherwise. The rain, falling on the snow, still lying on the ground, created a certain amount of fog to mix with the falling rain. Driving under such conditions isn’t particularly enjoyable. The Little Kanawha was running near full bank on our way there. About halfway there, a couple more trucks caught up with us that had left just after we did. That told me who’d been driving the fastest. Our directions were a little better today, at least; the dump site was only a mile and-a-half farther from the stop light than stated, rather than ten miles like the other day.

Going back, we took 5 to Grantsville and then 16 to St. Mary’s and reloaded. Then, we headed the same way back to Glenville by way of Grantsville. Travelling the ridges was interesting. There was far more fog on the hills than there had been along the river. Between the fog and the rain, visibility was downright bad at times. I, and the guy I’ve been running with some lately, got started just after the other two, but they must have tried a shortcut, because we arrived at the DOH garage before they did without ever passing them. Once there, one of them pulled in as we were ready to leave, saying the other one broke down. I went ahead to the gas station down in town to use the restroom, while my “buddy” waited for the other guy to unload. I assumed they’d wait for me, but they didn’t. Apparently, the guy who’s been driving with me has no connection with me, particularly; he just doesn’t like to travel alone.

The guy had remarked that I’d been awfully quiet on the way up. I didn’t tell him that I was remembering all the times that my ex and I had traveled those roads. I was recalling the visits with her relatives, and her grandmother feeding us when we went up to clean the cemetery where the her father lay buried with his kin. We questioned relatives about her family history and were interested in the fact that they didn’t like to talk about the ancestor who was killed while serving as sheriff. Apparently, he was raiding a moonshiner’s still and got himself killed in the process. Local sympathies (even among his own relatives) seemed to favor the moonshiner! Many other memories from those days went through my head, too.

The strange truth is that we got along far better most of the time than I do with my current wife of 32 years, EXCEPT about money. She was completely obsessed with it, once working three jobs to make all the lovely green stuff that she could. I, on the other hand, was completely too unconcerned with the matter. As long as I made enough to cover my needs, I didn’t worry about it much. In fact, I felt that working an extra job, for most people, meant that they were refusing to live within their means. It also amounted to stealing a job that some other poor soul may have desperately needed. The truth is, I still feel that way, but I now realize how important money is if you want to lead a “normal” life. Ironically, my first decent job didn’t come until four months after our divorce was final.

Coming back to town, I chose to take Tanner road to Burnt House and in 47. I hadn’t stopped to think that maybe the Hughes River might be running heavier than thee Little Kanawha. It was. I got the driver’s side wheels wet three times and both sides once. The latter was when I drove through about 18-24 inches of muddy water for about 100 feet. I figured if the van in front of me could make it, my dump truck should handle it. It did. I spent a lot of the drive back to town talking to the Lord, asking Him not to let me get stranded for the night waiting for the water tom go down. He graciously granted my request.

When I got home, the rain was indeed going away (by turning to sleet), so I took the wife and the dog to town, got some gas, some groceries and some snacks. In the meanwhile, the sleet had changed to huge snowflakes. The road up our hill was just barely passable for my temporarily two-wheel-drive pickup by that time, but we got safely ensconced in our home before the lights started flickering. So far, they’ve only cut out twice and come back on. It’s a wet, line-breaking snow, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed and praying a little that our juice won’t go out while we’re house-bound. I hope you’re warm and safe tonight. © 2015

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Mixed Bag Of Blather

I forgot to mention something that struck me as hilarious that I saw along my route home Friday afternoon. Near the edge of one small town that I visit at least once a year, I passed a large Victorian home that had been added to in a big way many years ago (in an industrial sort of way). It’s now a bed and breakfast. I called my mom and she said that it was a hospital when she was a kid. As for me, I can vouch for the fact that for at least 40 years, it was a FUNERAL HOME! I have to wonder if they mention that fact to their guests.

For some reason, today, I got to wondering about the background of an old iron kettle I have. I remember Mom planting flowers in it every year out by the dinner bell post. (I have the bell, too.) Amazingly, it never rusted through or froze and cracked. So, I cabbaged it many years ago and it now sits in my basement, should I ever decide to make some lye soap or a REALLY big batch of stew. It turns out that it came from my dad’s side of the family, but she doesn’t know any more than that. That places it to at least my grandparents, but I don’t know if it was from earlier. It has a folding handle to go with it.

The Mighty Dachshund has long hair, but she’s still been shivering in the extreme cold when I take her outside to relieve her bowels. As a result, she’s decided to wait until spring to poop. When I take her out for anything more than just a quick drain, she sniffs the breeze, listens to any distant dog baying, looks for squirrels in the treetops, or does anything else to keep her mind off the subject that I keep encouraging her to consider. It’s not a complete success for her, though. Every two or three days, the pressure has to be relieved and she prances back into the house a colder, but much lighter dog.

Driving around back of the Chinese Emporium today to avoid traffic, I spotted a single Canada goose standing by the railroad tracks, turning his (her?) head and looking skyward. I had to wonder about the lone goose, since no other geese were anywhere in sight. Most of the geese are still in flocks, but I notice a few pairs starting to separate from the group. I’m sure they aren’t nesting in this horrible weather, though. The goose seemed to walk okay when it moved and I saw no ruffled wing to indicate injury, so hoping for the best, I drove on. Perhaps it’s lost its mate since last year or, maybe, it’s just waiting on its mate to return from a short excursion. I hope the latter.

For some reason though, as I looked at the lone goose, the sixth and seventh verses of the 102nd Psalm came to mind: “I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.” © 2015