Monday, July 16, 2018

Pollinators of the UK

From all the articles I've read and correspondence I've had over the years with European Beekeepers, I figured there would be hives everywhere.  However, I never saw a hive nor a honey bee in Belgium.  I didn't see much in England.  There are flowers everywhere.  The English are very proud of their gardening skills.  We were there in May when I can see a bee nearly anywhere I look in Oregon.

We were probably into our seventh day be fore I saw my first honey bee outside of a restaurant  accross from Bodnant Garden.  They were actually plentiful, but after that more honey bee dearth through Northern England.  We saw no bees in Bath, Wells, Glastonbury, Kensit, Stow, the Lake District, Conwy, or London... I didn't even see a bee in the Kensington Palace Garden.  I saw a lot of begging American gray squirrels, but not one honey bee.

I had to wait until I got to York for my next encounter and I didn't actually see any bees there, but I did see two back-yard hives at a home from the York Wall near York Minster. 

The photo above is one that I use in the class that I teach that illustrates that beekeeping can be a good project for city dwellers. That is the Tower Bridge in London in the background.

The next time I go over, I am going to seek out the bee community.

Conversation With A Young Britt

Bodnant Gardens
We visited  Bodnant Gardens on our way out of Wales.  It is a magnificent part of the National Trust with miles of trails through formal gardens, fields, forest, ponds, streams and pools.  

Zan, with camera in hand was constantly on the lookout for the right angle on nearly every plant for her floral series.  She was laying on some rocks working on some water lilies when a father arrived with his two children.  The son wanted to get closer to the pond to look for polliwogs and Zan was in the flower zone and I had to break her trance to let the children pass by.  Upon hearing my accent the father saw an opportunity for his children to speak with some real Americans.  She he introduced himself and his children as we introduced ourselves.  

We told them were we were from, Oregon and its geographical location and all about where we lived.  The daughter was shy and reserved, but the boy had a lot of questions about the animals that are native to where we lived.  I can imagine him envisioning the wild west wilderness when we told him about black bears, cougars and Roosevelt elk.  We told him of the sea lions, beavers and otters.  The father seemed delighted of what we were offering by way of conversation.  We told them that we have horses and honey bees at our house.

After we ran through all the animal stories we could think of, the lads attention opened up to another type of question.  He asked, "Have you ever met Elvis Presley?"  Seeing us as older Americans, I had to tell him that Elvis was more popular with my older sisters' generation.  He was disappointed, but I did mention some of the famous Americans I've met which he hadn't heard of, but who his father was keen to hear about.  

It was a fine time spent.  This was a good father trying by every means to enrich the intellect of his children.  As time went on I wondered about his fascination with Elvis.  Where did it come from?  I doubt that there are a lot 10 year old Americans who know or even care about Elvis.if they've heard of him.  Most Americans I know think of Elvis as a parody of himself.

Later on in the trip I noticed that a lot of smaller eateries and coffee shops in the UK play American 50's music in their establishments.  It happened in several places in Bath, York and London.  I think they just love the stuff.  Personally I would have preferred to hear British music from the 50's.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Food in the UK

When traveling to the UK you might expect the food to be gray and tasteless, but this is not the case.  Though most foods look like they've been baked or deep fried, don't let that put you off.  What should put you off is the lack of anything green on your plate other than a small container of mashed peas as pictured above.

In an earlier post I mentioned how hard it is to get ice in the UK.  That's nothing compared to getting a salad. The best you can hope for are root vegetables.  Now don't get me wrong; they do wonderful things with root vegetables, especially potatoes.  The famines have taken their potato skills to a whole other level that can't even be whispered at in Idaho.

My first hint of the dearth of greenery came on out third night in Bath.  We were too tired to go out to eat so I opted to go to a neighborhood small-time burger joint to get some burgers and shakes to go.  A lad about 18 years of age whas running the whole show.  He asked if I wanted salad with the burgers, and I said, "Yes Please! in hopes that if Zan didn't like the food she would still have a salad that would agree with her.

When I got back to our room and opened the bag I realized that his offer of salad really meant "Would you like a piece of lettuce on your burger?"

I believe in all the places we dined while over there a real salad was offered on only two menus.
Though I must say we had some excellent food while traveling complimented by the finest root vegetables.

Two notable common foods were also excellent.  Fish and chips is a staple.  Chips being what we call steak fries where nothing special, however the fish has a very light and airy tempura thing going on.  It puffs away from the fish making the meal look much larger than it actually is.

The other is the pastie, which is pronounced "Past-Tea" and not like the like the nipple covering in strip clubs.  This food was created for miners.  It is a round pastry dough that is filled with meat and vegetables and then folded over into a half circle and crimped at the seams.  Miners who worked in the tin mines would put a warm pastie in their pocket and work until lunch.  They removed the pastie and ate all but the crimped crust which is the handle of the pastie.  Tin miners often had arsenic on their hands that is present in tin mines.  They would hold the pastie  by the crumpled edge and eat all they could except where they touched it.  That crumpled edge would be thrown away.

The pastie I had was on the bland side, however making them with a nice sauce inside like B-B-Q sauce or teriyaki and adding some onions and garlic could turn this pastry into a craze that could challenge the American Hamburger...Seriously.  It's a complete meal.

One Thing The USA Does Right

Traveling to Europe was an enlightening thing.  All of those people that say the USA is Number 1 really haven't a clue of how far behind we actually are on many fronts.  However, I do have one thing in mind that where the USA is out in front of all the places I visited and that is the Americans With Disabilities Act, also known here as the ADA, not to be confused with the American Dental Association.

If you have a major mobility issue a trip to Europe needs to be carefully planned.  There are cobblestone streets everywhere in the UK. It is rare to find a shop without at least one step to overcome before entering.  Some train stations in Belgium have a lot of steps between platforms and the trains have steps. You need to call ahead for special accommodations which means the station will often reroute the train to a different platform and employ personnel to haul ramps or other equipment to assist the disabled passengers.

London is somewhat better.  The Tube Stations all have lifts (elevators), yet still there is the constant reminder to "Mind the Gap".  There is also room on the trains for wheelchairs park, though most people store luggage there.

We only stayed in thee hotels that had elevators, two of which had stairs to the main entrance.  Two porters would come out to physically hoist the wheelchair up the stairs.  No entrance ramps in sight. Though the B&Bs we stayed in were large enough to accommodate 30 people or more, they all had steps to enter and narrow stairs to each floor. 

I'm sure many places have ways to accommodate persons of diminished abilities and other places just can't.  For many the airport will be the last place with abundant accessibility.


Traffic vs. Trains

We drove up North on Friday, and as usual there was a traffic jam from Olympia to Kirkland, and I wondered how The United States lost its way.  Thousands of cars with relatively few passengers.  In Europe few would ever consider driving their cars very far out of town.  Trains are the normal mode of travel.  Generally everywhere you need to go is on a rail line.

Any time we asked about which train to catch, it seemed that everyone had apps on their phones that could adderss any question we had.  The trains were fast and comfortable.  They are the main part of the European infrastructure.

When you mention trains to an American they discount the entire rail process.  But few people I know have ridden on any sort of train in ages.  Yes, we could have taken a train to Seattle, but once there there were few other options to get where we wanted to go.  Portland has a great light rail system, so if you were coming to Portland your transportations needs could be easily met.

Why doesn't the US value the rails as part of its infrastructure?  Where is our money going instead?  What I see is that the US is supporting oil companies and is in too deep with it defense budget to even attempt to think sensibly like Europeans to lessen the burdens of its citizens.

Monday, June 25, 2018

If There's a Bustle in Your Hedgerow

Agriculture in Great Britain is long established and the farmers seem to not have fallen for all the gimmicks that the American farmers have fallen for over the years.  American farmers did away with hedgerows early in the last century to maximize their yields figuring that hedgerows were a waste of land.  This is what caused the Dust Bowl.  Without breaks in the fields all it took was some dry soil and wind storms to suck all the product soil off of their lands.

You don't see many fences in England and if you do see one it's more of a temporary thing, or something that bridges a gap between stone walls and hedgerows  Hedgerows and walls have safely keep things in or out for a very long time. They are the resting spots for the land and a place where beneficial animals and pollinating insects live.

The rule of thumb when judging how old a hedgerow is by counting the number of plant species in the row.  For each species you can safely add a hundred years to the row.  So if you find only two plants species, the row is two-hundred years old; six species would make it 600 years old, which isn't uncommon.

By the way, if there is a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed.  It just means that there are some critters making noise in there.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Icy Impressions

After World War II Americans came home with certain impressions of the Brits, and the Brits came away with certain impressions of the Yanks.  I suppose some of the stereo types remain and are reinforced by a lot of visitors.  I've heard the England is the land of big ears and bad teeth.  On the other hand they say that we are vulgar, noisy and have tomb stone teeth.  Seemingly, orthodontia is one of our big faults.  It is said that they only serve warm beer over there. This may be true in  a pub that is intended only for locals, but most venues cater to travelers whom are unaccustomed to the delicacies of the UK palate.

OK, I am American and I enjoy my hot beverages hot and my cold beverages cold.  There is no room in my short life for things that are tepid.  With this said, I like ice. My refrigerator has an ice dispenser of which we have already worn out one activation switch and I'll put money on this process being repeated again in the next few months.

Water is served in its tepid state.  The water there is very soft and tepid soft water will not quench ones thirst.  You just need to drink more and more of it and still end up thirst and disappointed.  I learned long ago that ice seems to harden water up a bit.  I don't know why, it just does.

In the UK you need to ask for ice, and then they may drop a cube or two into your glass.  Totally insufficient and rocking the chair towards passive aggressive behavior..  It was time to become the Ugly American.  Any time I asked for water with a meal I also ordered a separate pint glass of ice.  Sure I got some weird looks, but the end result always left me happy and quenched.

I admit I did unearth my inner Ugly American, but to my credit I didn't wear a baseball hat,khaki pants, jogging outfits, running shoes, anything with advertising, logos or images, or even a hoodie so I stayed under the radar only until I asked for ice with my water.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Hot Beverages in Europe

Amsterdam and Belgium had great coffee.  Though it was nearly always served in a small cup, the pot or decanter was always for refills.  They boldly provided cream for the coffee, not milk and they also provided sugar cubes with both raw and refined sugar.

My first experience with English coffee was bland at best and it got worse and finally I stopped drinking coffee after we got a to-go coffee where they poured the coffee grounds into the water and where you put your lips to drink was a screen that screened out the the grounds. It was awful coffee. Yes, there are Starbucks all over the UK, but I won't drink that formulaic crap.

Being one who never drinks free coffee and especially free hotel coffee no matter where I stay because it is always a disappointment. I have learned that it is pretty hard to screw up tea, except for the bags of tea that they put in your take-out Chinese food.  All I can think is that they are keeping the good stuff for themselves.

I started getting a pot of tea with every breakfast.  I even got a cuppa from a teashop that offered individual cups of any of the hundreds of verities they had in the shop.  I got Lapsang Souchung and had a joyful time drinking tea while waiting on the steps of York Minster for the doors to open so we could experience Evensong.

My life with tea was going along nicely until someone asked if I had tried the tea that was offered in the room of the hotel we were staying in.  This person was from England and he said it was the strongest tea he had ever had.  I tried it and it was a whole other level of tea.  It was the equivalent of comparing 2% beer with Everclear.  Since then I've procured 100 bags of this nectar. It is Taylor's Yorkshire Tea.  Holy crap, is it ever good.

I will leave you here as I sip, but I will share three of their commercials in the links below.
Enjoy!

Every Thing Stops forTea
Blessed are the Tea Makers
Tea Song

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Full English


One of the first mistakes that first-time visitors in the UK make is ordering the "Full English" for breakfast.  I saw people doing it all over. Eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beens, tomato, toast and black pudding. Oddly I never saw anyone eat their black pudding.

So allow me to give my impression item by item.  First the bacon which is a different cut than the bacon strips.Americans are used to.  Bacon in the UK is about the size of the palm of one's hand and it isn't cooked until it is crisp.  A little crispness would be welcome because as it is it's almost undercooked.

Baked beans have never struck me as a breakfast food.  Actually they have never struck me as a food that should accompany anything.

I'm not a fan of hot tomatoes except of course for tomato sauce.

The toast was always good.  Though I knew that most of the time it was a commercial bread, it was always a better quality than American commercial bread. A side note is that many places made their own croissants.  Those were always great.

You can't ever go wrong with eggs, however if have scrambled eggs you quickly find that they have found a way to take them in a terribly wrong direction.  They add something creamy to their scrambled eggs and the creamy texture ruins them.

The biggest disappointment were the sausages.  This was all due to the texture.  It wasn't meaty, but more like a bready texture.  The texture just wasn't right and the taste was bland in comparison to American, German or Polish sausages.

Finally the black pudding.  Perhaps because it is common knowledge that it is made from pigs blood, it is also called blood pudding.  The ingredients are: 4 cups fresh pig's blood, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 1/2 cups steel-cut pinhead) oatmeal, 2 cups finely diced pork fat (or beef suet), finely chopped,1 large yellow onion, finely chopped,1 cup milk,1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper,1 teaspoon ground allspice.

My only regret of my trip was that I never sampled the black pudding.  It actually may have been the highlight of breakfast in the UK.  Perhaps next time.

The most non-conflicted breakfasts I had were of juice, fruit a slice of bacon and maybe a fried egg.  Croissants were always a bonus to breakfasts.

Belgian breakfasts were much better.  You got a selection of cheeses, Bree and solid slices with prosciutto and salami.  Good coffee in small cups, freshly baked croissants,breads and cakes with home-made jams. 

Breakfast is an odd meal that usually centers around 10 to 15 items; all of which you can get tired of quickly.  However there is one item I could have for breakfast every morning and never tire of it.  Cold pizza.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thatching

There is a certain romantic idea of having a home with a thatched roof.  The idea of it alone should be enough to persuade you to look no further into that sort of nonsense.  However there are a number of homes with thatched roofs in the UK.  Not a large number of them, but certainly a number.

I saw my first thatched roof from the train from London to Bath.  I was interested at that point.  Having roofed and re-roofed my house and garage over the years and it seemed to me how odd it is to use composition shingles.  Sure they are easy to install, but they are a petroleum produce with a very limited life span.  I've since converted my home to a metal roof that will out-last me.

Most roofs in the UK are either tile or slate.  I saw absolutely no comp roofing.  The only hint of a comp roof that I saw was some rolled roofing on a shed, but ever all the other sheds I saw had tile or slate roofs.

The thatched roofs are special.  Local thatchers have fields dedicated to growing the thatch they will need for the year.  It is a special grass meant only for thatching and not for hay.

Each thatcher has a signature be-it a special ridge line pattern like in the image above, or they may put thatch animals on the ridge line such as foxes, chickens. ducks or owls.  some of those images are below as well as a photo of the thatching process.

Before the romantic idea of a thatched roof grabs too much of your heart, here are the issues.  After a roof is thatched one needs to run netting or chicken wire over the entire surface to prevent animals from nesting in it and also to prevent animals from picking away at it and taking the materials to their nests that are elsewhere.

Another issue is that thatched roofs only last about 20 years and once you have a thatched roof your home is automatically placed on a historic register and you cant replace your roof with any other material.  If that isn't enough trouble, insurance companies normally will not insure a house with a thatched roof, they are real fire hazards.

The images below will give you a good idea of what there is to see.







Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Solar Belgium


My first thoughts of Belgium were of how cool a country it is.  While taking a train to Brussels from Amsterdam one can't help but notice all the solar and wind generation happening there.  Giant wind turbines were everywhere.  It was impossible to not see at least one in every glance out the window. And they are large; seaming much larger that those I've seen in the US.

More impressive was that nearly every building has solar panels .I would say that only one out of a hundred homes did not have at least a few panels on the roof.

I get questions regarding the efficiency of the solar panels I have at my house.  I have only 14 panels, but I'm generating over 25KW per day.  Even on a rainy day I'm generating at least 10KW.  I can go out before the sun rises and I've already generated 500 to 800 watts.

Brussels is at a latitude of 50 as we in Astoria are 46.  It seems they have no problem pumping out the power.  Panels aren't just on newly constructed buildings, they are on all buildings.  Even the structures that Van gogh painted now are decked with solar panels.

Another cool thing is that everywhere you go in Belgium you will find an opportunity to recycle things.  There are recycle bins everywhere.  There are kiosks for recycling on city streets.  It is amazing.

So here I was happy, delighted, overjoyed, to be in a country that was like-minded to the life style I am accustomed to, but then our visit ended and we got on a high-speed train from Brussels that was to pass through France, then through the Chunnel to end at St. Pancras Station in London.  I watched the farms pass by at nearly 200 miles per hour.  Still nearly every structure has solar panels with giant wind turbines across the distant farm land.  Suddenly we entered France and there was nothing in the way of power generation.  All the houses and buildings within sight just had plane normal roofs.  No solar panels, no wind mills.  It was a new reality that saddened me.

I will write more on the solar and wind energy of England in the near future.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Dry Stack Stone Walls

While growing up in New Jersey I spent two years of my early life working on a farm.  One of the chores before planting was cultivating the fields which unearthed a lot of rocks which needed to be dealt with before we could plant.  My job in this endeavor was to ride the stone boat that was being dragged by the tractor.  As we came upon a rock I would hop off and pick up the stone or attempt to roll the stone onto the boat.  After the boat was full we'd go to the edge of the field and place the stones on the ever expanding stone wall that had been continually added to every spring for decades.

This said, I had an immediate appreciation for the stone walls in England and Wales.  The stones there were flatter and they acted as fences to keep animals, mostly sheep, in or out of the fields.  Some of the fences had been there for a thousand years or so.  Houses and barns were also built stone.  Very few structures were built of wood.  Even new construction is mostly comprised of stone.  Roofs were tiled or slate.  These homes were made to last for centuries and the will last.

I quickly realized that much of Europe is still living in the stone age, which is a good thing.  We are always looking to build with natural materials.  Stone homes keep the homes cool on warm days and keep the homes warm on cold days. Bricks and blocks are used as well. Stones are weather resistant and fire proof.  The tile or slate roofs last for generations.  Added to that there is a personality and a sense of permanence with stone structures.

Though stones in the ground are somewhat of an inconvenience to those who want to farm and garden.  Really large stones are a major undertaking.  I have been fortunate with all the digging I have done over the last 30 years in Oregon I have only come upon one stone and it was a rather small one, the size of a fist.  However I now have stone envy.  I'd love to build some dry stack stone walls at my place.  The possibilities are endless.

Here are two images of a 2,278 foot stone wall built by Andrew Goldsworthy in 1997-1998 at the Storm King Art Center that we visited three years ago in New Windsor, New York.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Monday, June 18, 2018

Nationalism


OK, I'm blogging again.  Why?  Because the laziness had to end sometime.  By laziness I mean that all of my recent creativity has only been my finding cleaver photos on Tumblr and posting them to Facebook; often without even a caption.  When I've been really creative I post things to Instagram, mostly without explanation or any photographic skill.

Historically this blog has consisted of observations and stories of things I've experienced that I personally find fascinating.  Well, I've recently three weeks in Europe.  This was my first venture across the pond. Things are so different there that my observations should be written down, not only for the dwindling readership here, but for the sake of my own memory.  I don't want to forget this stuff.

This is the first observation I'd like to share.  While traveling through Amsterdam, Belgium, quickly through France, and then two weeks in England and Wales I noticed that it is rare to see the flag of what ever country we were in.  You might see them on a government building like a post office, but flags are generally not seen anywhere.

I asked someone about it and they told me that flag waving is looked down upon as vulgar nationalism.  Basically he was inferring that the nationalism that is displayed in the United States is crude and vulgar.  All that pre-game National Anthem, standing with hand on the heart, flag waving BS that Americans do is distasteful.  We made our flag into a a crude spectacle, akin to big penis competition.  I have to agree.  When I drive by one of those over-sized flags, or when I drive by a house with a flag displayed I think to myself, "Hey Asshole, put your dick away!  This isn't a competition."

Monday, January 01, 2018

Death Pool 2018

I only got Bob Barker last year.  Here is this years list in no particular order.

Kirk Douglas
George Bush Sr
Sandy Kofax
Carol Channing
Billy Graham
Cloris Leachman
Angels Landsbury
Doris Day
June Lockhart
Bob Dole

Sunday, January 01, 2017


Death Pool 2017

Is there anyone left to die after 2016?  Which, by the way, no one on my list made it ever died.  Not even Glen F-ing Campbell.

OK, so we'll try this again:

Sean Connary
Judy Dench
Garrison Keilor
Pope Benedict XVI
Mikhail  Gorbachev
Henry Kissinger
Barbara Walters
Bob Barker
Bill Cosby
Stan Lee

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Facebook Sucks

It looks like I may be coming back here again.

To All my friends on Facebook.  This may be goodbye.  This site wants to shut down my account because of the name, Guy Whowritesthis.  I used this moniker because it was an extension of my blog, Astoria Rust.  Someone turned me in for not using my real name, probably because they were offended by one of my posts.  I've been shut down before with my Jaysus H Christ account.  Fun times.  I’ve had this problem with another account where they made me switch it to a non-personal account and it has no charm at all.  I can’t get to see or know any followers the way I can with a personal account.
If I am shut down in the next week I will start blogging again and you will find me at http://astoria-rust.blogspot.com  I am also considering a tumblr account.  Any other ideas out there will be welcomed.

So if I end up missing, please know that I enjoyed my time here with you and if you want more of what I have to offer it will take a little effort on your and my part.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

It Finally Happened

I've seen it coming on for years; probably since I was 45.  It wasn't just the aches and pains.  It wasn't the ever graying hair color.  It wasn't just the point when I'd see a lovely young lady and instead thinking I'd like to date her, I started thinking of how nice it would be to have a grand daughter like her.  It wasn't just any of those things.  It was all of them compiled and compounded.

When we go out for a meal we've started to realize that we are the oldest people in the room, though my wife looks considerably younger than me, I am the one who visibly skews the average age though I am her junior by a year.  Oddly, we are older but it is rare that the offer of a senior discount ever comes to the surface.  It must be asked for, and in my senior moments I always forget to ask until after it's too late.

So the title of this post is "It Finally Happened" and here is what happened causing this post.  A short while ago we were just about to ride our horses down the road when three young women drove by and stopped and turned around.  They were asking about horse boarding facilities in the area and we directed them to one just down the road from us.  We began our ride, and then we stopped by this boarding facility to see if anyone wanted to join us for a ride.  By the time we got there the three young women were leaving and we asked the owner of the facility if the three had a good visit.  The owner said,"Oh.it was you who referred them to me...They said that an elderly couple down the road had referred them."  It is now official, we have now been declared elderly.  I guess I deserve a nap...

Friday, February 26, 2016

A Different Kind Of Douche Bag, It's Regional

I know, I don't post very often these days.  It doesn't mean I'm dead or that I've totally given up.  Ideas for blogging come to me every day, but these days I just let them pass.  I was thinking of my March 2015 Sick Day post, the one about how I hate Toyotas because their drivers have no concept of the evils of driving up on you at a high rate of speed and tail gating.  Still to this day any bad driver I see coming up on me in the rear-view mirror is in a Toyota.

My point here is that this seems to be a regional malady.  I went back to New Jersey last October for my mother's 95th birthday.  More stories about the trip may come up in the future, but for now I want to talking about driving in the Garden State and in the Empire State.

Having lived here in Oregon for the last 27 years I had forgotten what toll roads were.  Actually I had forgotten how to get anywhere after all this time and I relied on the GPS for every move.  There are people there that refuse to ever take a toll road.  I gave in and let the GPS take me from point A to point B on the shortest route.  Though the toll roads have an Easy Pass system I paid cash at every toll.  There was one exit  from one highway that exited onto the Jersey Turnpike where I paid 60 cents to drive three hundred feet to the next exit off of the Turnpike.

We also drove on the Garden State Parkway which has toll boots set up every fifteen miles or so.  I think it is so cool that the only toll road in Oregon is the Bridge of the Gods in Hood River.  I think it is also very cool that once the Astoria Megler Bridge was paid off they removed the toll in Astoria.

But I digress... The point of this post is Douche Bag drivers. I found that the drivers in New York and New Jersey were oddly very courteous; even the Toyota drivers.  You don't see many casual pick-up trucks back there so there were no little trucks with big tires.  Those with pick-up trucks were contractors.  These are working trucks, not show trucks with untethered dogs and a half rack of Hams.  Those who drove Toyota cars were actually OK.  The Douche Bags of New Jersey drove Ford Mustangs.  When I lived there the Douche Bags drove Camaro IROC-Zs, but times have changed.  The new muscle-stangs bring out the beast in the drivers and these folks can easily stand proud with the Toyota drivers of the Pacific Northwest.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Sign of Spring

It was in the spring four years ago when someone dumped off two ginger tom kittens at our place.  One was pretty friendly and I named him Puff.  Puff would come to us and let us pet him.  His brother was skittish and he always hang in the background and scurry away when ever we approached.  We named him Creamcicle.  The two cats hung around for a month or so.  Having three cats at the time we didn't want to adopt more, but as they matured we wanted to capture them and have them neutered.  Oddly they both disappeared and weren't seen again as we attempted to trap them.  We would have kept them as outdoor cats.

The following year Puff returned in the spring.  He didn't miss a beat. It was as though he never left taking up residence on our steps; his favorite place to lay in the sunshine.  He would come to us and let us pet him.  He was still a tom so where ever he spent the last ten months it looked as though he was being fed will, but no one had him neutered.  We were curious as to where he lived, so we tied a string around him with a note asking his family to contact us so we would know he actually belonged to someone.  He hung around for another two weeks with his note still attached, but then he disappeared again like he had the previous year.  We thought this time he was dead.

Last year he appeared again in early spring.  Again it was as though he never left.  He took up residence on the steps again.  He was still a tom, but we noticed this time he was spraying, which is unacceptable.  He was also scratching himself quite a bit, so after a few days I got him some flea drops and got ready to capture him to get him neutered, but then Puff was gone, again.

This morning I let our cats out as I always do at around 4:30AM, and they are usually ready to come back in by 5:30, but they weren't standing by the door as usual.  No big deal; it wasn't raining so I figured they were both perambulating the parameter in the drier than normal conditions.  I saw the true reason they hadn't returned when I went out to feed the horses at 6:15.  Puff was back and our cats were hanging out with him hearing of his adventures last ten months.  Puff looked fat and I couldn't see if he was still intact, but I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to make a closer inspection before he disappears again until next spring.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Death Pool 2016


I only got one right last year, Mr Burt's Bees.
Here is this years list.

Dianna Ross
Pat Robertson
Chevy Chase
Dick Cavett
Joanie Mitchell
Bob Dole
Burt Reynolds
Glen Campbell
Charles Osgood
Doris Day