Monday, August 31, 2009

Who Do You Love?

How many people do you love? I’m talking about people outside of those who you are supposed to love like your spouse, children and other family members? I often hear people saying while speaking of others, “I love him or her”, but do they really?

I just took inventory on the people that I can honestly say that I love. These are people that would be welcome in just about any aspect of my life, unconditionally. There are six people on this list of mine and don’t ask if you are on the list. If you are on the list you already know it.

It’s a good idea to take a love inventory every once in a while. Not only does it give some perspective on something that is good in your life, but more than likely these people love you as well. That is golden knowing someone cares for you unconditionally as well.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New Again

Earlier this month I had trouble with my lawn tractor. It is a hefty little John Deere and I use it to haul choked logs down from the hill. I also have a sturdy dumping trailer that hooks up to it that can haul over 10 cubic feet of anything I put in it. My tractor is 21 years old now and I wonder how much longer it will last. It is a vital tool for the things I have to do around here.

Before building Super Max I took down all the chicken wire fencing and dug out one years accumulation of straw and chicken manure. I dug out and hauled away close to a cubic yard when the tractor would no longer start. I am no mechanic, but I was able to determine the battery had a full charge, so I load the tractor into the horse trailer for a trip to John Deere. I figured it was time for them to fix, service and weld some stuff that I was holding together with bolts.

Not knowing how much it would cost for the laundry list of items that needed attention, I wondered if I should just bite the bullet and buy a new machine. Fortunately the bill was under $300, but the biggest surprise was how well it worked when I got it back. The steering felt better than it had in years. The power was restored to where I could cut through things that used to choke the machine.

This machine runs as well as it did when I first got it. I mention this if you are thinking of trading in some equipment. Have it serviced first and maybe you will see you don’t need something new after all.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I was finishing my roofing project on Monday. It went well, but I felt a pain in my back when I was going to bed on Monday night. It wasn’t muscle pain, but rather skin pain. I looked at my back in the full-length mirror and I had a major sun burn on my lower back where my T-shirt rode up whenever I bent over. Sadly, I even had sun burn on my butt crack. Now that wasn’t pretty in the least.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Amber Summer Lawns

Growing up on the east coast, like most kids I had lawn cutting jobs all summer long. Back there we would have heat waves that would be broken by thunder storms. It rained there during the summer and the grass would grow.

Here in Oregon it is different. It usually stops raining on the 5th of July and doesn’t start again until October. This year we even had a dry spring. We had little rain in May and June. It was so dry that my honey crop suffered this year. Without moisture there is little nectar. My harvest this year is less than a quarter of my normal crop. Normally I’d have stacks of boxes of honey frames; this year only six boxes.

The thing about the dry summers here is that all our lawns look like straw by the time August comes around. On the good side is you don’t hear many lawn mowers at this time of year. The down side is the fear of a wild fire. I was visiting a friend in that lived in a development that was surrounded by a dry field. A little fire started by the road where I suspect someone tossed a cigarette. The breeze drove that fire down the field faster than a human could run. There was a house at the end of the field that exploded into flame when the flames got within 20 feet of it. I was amazed.

Soon we will be getting some showers that will ease tension around here, but I looking forward to the rains that will return color to the grass.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thing Of Others

It’s always kind of weird driving someone else’s car. I’m used to driving my truck, and I drive my wife’s car often enough that it doesn’t feel strange. I recently drove my wife and the horses over to ride at Delaura Beach. She is just getting used to driving the truck and trailer, but I could see a major problem developing if cars were parked in the turn-around areas.

Our friend who was going to ride with her met us there. The truck was pointed in the right direction for the drive home and rather than wait I drove our friend’s car home. She had one of those furry steering wheel covers and that was really disturbing. It reminded me of one of those furry toilet seat covers. I drove on without removing it.

On the other hand, my wife drove the horse trailer over to ride with another friend and she was having difficulty turning the trailer around at our friend’s farm so our friend offered to turn it around for her. When my wife drives she is so focused that she doesn’t hear anything that comes through on the speakers, but after turning the truck and trailer around, our friend hops out of the truck and asks, “What the hell are you listening to?”

I had left Eminem in the player and she got a full two minute dose of some interesting lyrics. My wife came home and reported to me this to me and suddenly I was a bit worried what our conservative friend had heard. I saw her on the camping trip and I asked if she wanted a copy of the CD; she didn’t.
I probed further to find out exactly what song was on the player at the time. She gave me some of the words and I was relieved. It was a mild tune. I was hoping it wasn’t the one where he said something about wanting to sleep with Christine Agulara even if she was his mother he wouldn’t use a rubber and then he’d have a son and a brother and deny it was his. That would have been over the top and I would have felt obliged to apologize.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'm A Night Owl, Baby

I enjoy sleeping with the windows open and lately I’ve been hearing an owl calling at about 3am. It has a unique call. I figured I’d miss hearing it when I went camping last weekend, but both nights at 3am I heard the call again. It is a sound I can’t get out of my head, so I spent some time today looking up the owls that live here in Oregon and listening to their calls.

I found it and oddly it is a Northern Spotted Owl. I say oddly because most of the old forests have been clear cut where I live, and even some acres of my property were thinned a few years ago and all the rest of the big trees blew down in the storm two years ago.

Spotted owls supposedly only live in old growth forest, but I guess since old growth is a rarity these days; the owls are possibly adapting to a new environment.

Here is the sound I’ve been hearing.
Spotted Owl

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Forgot

Just when you are ready to go and you start driving down the road the thought always flashes through your mind, “I wonder what I forgot this time.” True to form I had forgotten some things this year.

Long gone are the days when all I needed to remember was a carry-on and a boarding pass. If I forgot something I’d just buy it. Now we go camping with the horses and basically what you bring with you is everything that doesn’t have an electrical cord and everything from barn. When you forget something it is at least an hour drive to civilization to get what you need.

This year one meal was going to be canned chili, I forgot the can opener. Immediately after setting up camp I realized that the plastic coffee filter cone was still at home. I’m glad I remembered my knife. You can open a can with a knife. You can also get a paper cup and poke small holes in it and that makes a suitable container for coffee filters. Eventually a friend was able to share a filter holder with me.

It’s always good to help out others that forget things out there. There is a panic when you forget something that is similar to the panic when you were a kid and you got to school and realized you forgot your homework at home. It’s like the panic I feel when I realize I left my reading glasses at home. One person in camp forgot matches. Had she been the only one in camp she would have had to drive an hour back to town just to get some matches. A good community of campers means never having to go to town because someone always has extra stuff.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Miss Me?

If you’ve been reading here for a while you may know that I don’t get up early every morning, write a piece and up-load it here. I write these posts as they come to mind and I bank them. I like to keep at least a week ahead. Sometimes I’ve even had a months worth of posts lined up in the Q for posting. Sometimes I am hammering away at 9pm the night before.

I’ve also said in the past that I often write so I can get something out of my mind to make room for something new. Once it is posted the urgency of remembering something is lifted and I can move on.

One of the problems with having posts all lined up to go is that once I’ve written something I forget about it. Often people will ask me what my topic will be tomorrow, and I honestly don’t remember. When writing I try to anticipate what day I will be posting and if there is any significance. Today (real today, Sunday) I will be returning from three days of horse camping. I will be concerned with the comments I haven’t responded to over the last couple of days. I will have one email account filled with Free Cycle messages. I will have ten of so voice messages. I will smell like a camp fire and be wondering why I had to bring all the stuff that I now have to pack up, bring home and store until next time.

I will have just lived through three days of being with friends and finding inspiration for future blog posts. So, I apologize for not replying to your comments for the last few days. I’ll catch up, but first I’ll have to go back and see which articles I posted while I was gone.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Um, Like, Irregardless...

There are certain things that I hear in public speaking and casual conversation that drives me nuts. I can understand how someone gathering their thoughts and putting them into a phrase can occasionally pause and use an “Um” as a place holder or resistance to a dead air moment. However if every sentence is punctuated with “Um,” you may need speech therapy.

Next is the word “Like” which seems to be a phase that teens go through and somehow grow out of when they reach maturity. The over use of the word “Like” can sometimes sound like a Tourettes Syndrome tick

Finally, I can’t stand it when people make up words or redefine them to fit their purpose when speaking. There is a local fellow that gets interviewed on local radio show and never fails to slip in the word “Irregardless.” It’s like nails on a black board to me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

I see I referenced this post in the post I did on coffee shops earlier this week. I guess I shuffled my posts, but that's.

I’m a lazy bastard…maybe even a rat bastard to you coffee purists. I have a coffee pot that has a built in timer so all I need to do is pour in the water, set the coffee in the basket and hit a button and at 5 am it starts brewing.

I am usually awake before the coffee starts brewing but if I somehow sleep late, this is my alarm clock. I am amazed how quickly the smell of the brewing coffee wafts upstairs. It is a scent that only a super sleeper could possibly sleep through. The only time I ever sleep late is when I forget to set the timer.

I recall a time in my life where I didn't drink or even like coffee. I didn't start drinking it until I was in my late 20s. I remember my first cup. Some friends and I were dining at a vegetarian restaurant in Englewood, New Jersey. The waitress mistakenly brought me a cup of coffee with dessert. She was a sweet heart and I didn't complain or tell her she messed up, so I drank it. I got a caffeine buzz and I was hooked like it was crack.

This is something that tea drinkers never get; the full impact of waking up to an aroma such as coffee. Tea just doesn't fill a home with the warmth of a fragrance.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Amy wrote about making bread the other day and I was reminded of the Holy Grail of bread that I have been chasing ever since I started making bread.

As many of you know, when I was a lad I would go up to a lake in Canada every summer. The place where I lived was rustic. The family I stayed with had a small farm and nearly everything we ate was grown there, animals included.

Emma, the matriarch of the family did all the cooking and baking. She baked bread every day and I have yet to find a bread as good. All of my attempts at baking her bread always fail miserably. I even drove up to Canada once to ask her if I could watch her make bread. She did nothing out of the ordinary other than using potato water where the recipe called for water. There was nothing remarkable about the recipe at all.

Her bread had a sturdy crust all around, but the bread under the crust was the amazing part. It was very light in weight. The gluten was stretched to the maximum it could possibly be stretched. The walls of the bread bubbles were like dragon fly wings. One could nearly see through a slice and it’s cellophane like structure.

Nothing was uniform in this bread. The bubbles in bread are basically a product of yeast farts. The yeast consumes the sugar and then it releases gas. If you take normal slice of bread and count the bubbles or craters in a square inch you may be able to count hundreds, but a square inch of Emma’s bread would only have ten at the most. This bread was light and airy.

If any of you are bread experts out there and can guide a fellow, please pipe in and let me know what I can do to recapture this sort of bread.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Heat Stroke

I had so many things I wanted to work on this summer, but one project seems to be taking all my time. I’ll be writing about that soon, but I finally came to a point where I could switch projects for a couple of days. I am now putting a new roof on my shop, the tractor shed and one horse stall. They had that wiggly metal roofing on them since I built these structures.

The problem with this type of roofing is that in our humid climate it seems to get a lot of condensation that drips on all my tools. I constantly have to take steel wool to my table saw just to remove the rust. There is a bunch of other stuff I don’t like about it so I’m removing it and putting down plywood and rolled roofing.

The day that came available to start the project was the record breaking heat day, last Tuesday. I was able to pull half of the panels and fasten down the sheathing. I drank a lot of water every time I came down the ladder. After only five hours I found that I was getting dizzy. It isn’t a good idea to be dizzy while on a roof so I gathered my tools and came down.

I don’t do well in the heat, so I went to the porch where there is always a cool breeze. Though I was cooling down I felt sick and exhausted. I probably drank over a gallon of water before going to bed. I slept an hour later than normal.

Today I will continue and finish the other half. It should be cooler, and I plan to get an earlier start. Maybe I’ll even be able to get a layer of felt paper down.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Shop in the Morning

I was recently talking with someone about walking to school. Occasionally my mother would drive me to school, but most of the time I walked. She hated that I had to cross over rail road tracks on my way to grammar school. I would have had to walk an extra mile or so to go under a trestle, so I was just extra careful. She put up with that for years.

When I went to high school it was easier to walk into town and walk under the trestle. I also would meet up with my walking mate, Laura. We would meet at a small coffee/tobacco/candy/soda/magazine shop in my home town. Commuters would stop in and get a cup of “Regular” and a morning newspaper before catching their train to New York. We would get something to go as well.

Writing about the smell of coffee the other day reinforced this memory because when we walked in this shop we were enveloped with the smell of coffee, candy, magazine and newspaper print and tobacco. Those of you who have ever visited the former Chris’s News in Astoria know the scent that I’m talking about.

With candy now entombed in plastic wrapping, tobacco use on the decline, newspaper and magazines sales down and coffee dispensed from pump pots; the next generation may never know the scents of which I am writing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Corn Huskers

I have an issue the grocery store corn huskers. If you spend any time around the corn on the cob bin at your local grocer you will notice people opening and pealing back the husk to inspect the corn. They seem to pick only one of every four ears they husk. What the hell are you looking for, corn boars? Out of all the corn I have ever purchased I have yet to ever find an ear with a corn boar on it.

I did see them when I worked on a farm that had 20 acres of corn planted on it. There we would feel the end of the corn and then you tell if they were present or not. We felt the end of every ear through the husk, and if there was a lump or a valley we would open the ear to inspect.

You don’t have to strip the corn to inspect it. Simply feel the last two inches of the cob through the husk. You should be able to feel how developed the kernels are. If you need to have large kernels right up to the end you should be able to feel it unless you have neuropathy in your fingers. You should be able to feel where the developed kernels end and the immature kernels begin. If you feel a strange lump or a valley under the surface; there is probably a boar present. If you buy an ear with a bore on it, just cut off the damaged end and eat the corn as normal.

Please stop husking the corn in the store. It really isn’t cool.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Animal Identity

Living with other creatures in our environment makes it easy to reverse-anthropomorphize their characteristics onto other humans. I recently told someone she was a cougar. We laughed about it, but she asked what the male equivalent was and I said either a dirty old man or arrested development. Cougar sounds so much cooler.

There are other animals that get assigned to human traits. A bear is a fat hairy guy. A cow is a heavy woman with large breasts. A bull is a man that has little regard for obstacles. A wolf is a womanizer. A weasel is a profiteer or a gossip. A dog and a worm is a lowly human. A cat is a Jazz enthusiast. A bird is a cute young woman as is a chick. On the other hand a chicken is a fearful person. A hawk is someone that thinks war is the solution. A dove is the opposite of the hawk. A turkey is someone that gets it wrong. A pig is someone that is dirty or someone that makes sex dirty. A hog is a hoarder. Sheep are people that follow others mindlessly. Goats and mules are tough and stubborn. A mouse is a quiet person where a shrew is a tenacious single minded opponent. A rat is either a snitch or closely related to a weasel. Rat bastard on the other hand has too many definitions. A fish is a person living in a limited world that gulps for air. A beaver and a squirrel…well let’s not get into that because that is more anatomical, though anti-Semites back on the east coast did call the Hassidic Jews (males), squirrels. People involved in medical testing are called guinea pigs. Oafish or un-delicate people are called apes. A bee is an industrious person. Jelly fish are spineless people. A snake is someone that cannot be trusted. A Zebra is someone of mixed race and a gazelle is someone that is agile.

Some animals have escaped being added to the human characteristic food chain such as: hamsters, bison, starfish, wood chuck, otters and most insects. I’m sure we can find assignments for those creatures that have yet to assigned a human qualities.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

New Chicks

The new baby chicks arrived last week. There are 26 of them. Five of the following varieties: Barred Rock, Rhode Island Reds, Black Star, Buff Orpingtons, Silver Laced Wyandotte’s, and they threw in one exotic chicken as a bonus. I have no idea what the bonus chicken will be, but it does look different from the others.

We handle the chickens daily to get them used to people. This makes it easier to handle them when they are adults.

As for keeping them safe, all the vents in the coop have hardware cloth covering them. They are also living right now in a hardware cloth cage with water, food and a heat lamp.

After having them for a week now they can already fly up about a foot high. I am looking forward to a couple weeks from now when the chicks have their feathers and can go out and scratch and peck the ground and dine on table scraps.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Come On, Come On…

I’ve been good all year. I haven’t purchased or eaten bacon since the end of the tomato season last year. In an effort to keep bacon a seasonal delight and something to look forward to; I have a self imposed bacon restriction where I will only eat when the tomatoes are coming off my plants.

We started late this year, but the tomatoes caught up quickly in the green house. It was looking good a couple weeks ago so I bought some bacon in anticipation, but the tomatoes never seemed to ripen. My Beefsteak variety just sits on the vine, green. However there is a glimmer of hope. The cherry tomatoes are ripening at a rapid rate. So I broke down and made my first BLT with cherry tomatoes.

It was a perfect moment.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Good Bye, Les. Les is No More

Les Paul died yesterday at the age of 94. Les invented the electric guitar, multi-track recording and lots of electronic equipment. He also invented that thing that holds a harmonica while you play another instrument.

Les lived in my home town and I met hem several time and heard him play often. Here is one of my stories of Les that I wrote for this blog back in September, 2006.My Les Paul story

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rain Again

I’ve mentioned before that I moved here for the gloom. The dry weather of the summer does allow me to get some projects done that aren’t easy to accomplish when it is gloomy. This summer I am building Super Max, reroofing my shop and one horse stall. I’m building a new manure storage/composting shed.

The rain of the last couple of days has me working inside, but that’s OK. I feel less guilty when I take a nap when it is raining. Best of all I love having the window open when I go to sleep at night. The sound of the rain is perfect.

For you folks in the arid regions, this is what it sounds like.Rain Chior

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


After posting my cell phone smite post last week I realized the only time I use my cell phone would be about the same if I had to use a pay phone in the old days. Like a pay phone that is ringing I always answer it to find the call wasn’t for me.

Pay phones are becoming increasingly rare. One would see them everywhere years ago. For those of you too young to have ever seen one, they used to actually be glass booths. There were doors on them, but I suppose someone got trapped in one once so all the doors were removed. If they were indoors like in a hotel lobby they would often be elaborate wooden booths with fans and lights that would turn on when the door was closed.

Depending on where the booth was you could find a clean environment or ones that were littered with graffiti and smelled of urine. Phone books could often be found in them early in the life of the phone book, but after a couple months they were usually gone or missing many pages.

Phone boots were mostly used for emergencies or to get out of the rain. They were the communication tool of the impoverished. They were often the communication tools of the desperate and even more so if that was where you took all your incoming calls.

I can’t recall the last time I used a pay phone. It was probably before I was old enough to drive and I had to call home for a ride.

I grew up in a primitive time when it was hard to envision the eventual end of times for things such as phone booths. No matter how cool Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist radio was to us, we just didn’t see it as anything that was possible. This was a time long before microprocessors, before the dawn of the age of transistors. Back then if you turned on your radio or TV you had to wait for it to warm up before it would work. I miss the quality of entertainment that came through vacuum tube electronics, but I’m not sure I’d want to return to those times when if you had a problem with your set you’d take your vacuum tubes and test them at Woolworths and pay an exorbitant sum of money to replace one of them.

In conclusion, I’m glad we have cell phones, I just can’t understand using them to chat, but then I’m old school and I’m not a chatter.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What’s Your Pacifier?

I was recently somewhere where I saw an older gent walked around with a putter. I saw him several times over the course of a week and every time he had a putter in hand. There wasn’t a golf course within miles and he didn’t seem to have any golf balls with him. Every once in a while I’d see him practice a putt with an imaginary ball.

It was then that I realized that many people have an adult pacifier; a touchstone that reminds us of something other than our reality. For some it’s their phone or texting device. For some it is reminders of whatever hobby they are passionate about.

For many it is totally imaginary. Have you ever seen someone play a piano that wasn’t there? For some it is dance. It seems that practicing the movement is often enough to pacify some.

Yes, I have a pacifier as well. It’s more of a day dream and I’m not sharing.

Monday, August 10, 2009

When You Just Don't Know

I am so thankful for the Urban Dictionary
You all know that I am just this dopey blogger; kind of stuck in my old time ways and sometimes my naiveté gets the better of me.

I am reminded of the time when I was writing a post about Televisions so I went out on the Net to search for photos of TVs and I couldn’t understand why all these ugly women were showing up in my search criteria. Then it dawned on me, TVs = Transvestites.

One Thursday I was listening to Liam on KMUN and he played a song by Twink. It sounded cool so I went to Youtube to see if there were any videos by or about them, and all I see is gay men kissing and licking one another. WTF, I had no idea what a Twink was, so I immediately went to the Urban Dictionary to see what sort of culture had again flown over my head.

Thank you Urban Dictionary, you’ve saved me again.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Hermiston Melons

There is just something about them. They are better than any other regional melon I’ve had. It’s something worth waiting for. Talk about good will and generosity; in Hermiston, farm trucks roll down the street giving free melons to the people in town.

I know Hermiston melons have been available for weeks now and I’ve purchased four or five so far this year, but the time for melons will be drawing to a close soon. The time for fresh ears of corn will draw to a close soon, too. Artichokes will follow closely behind.

I write this post as a reminder to those of you that haven’t had a slice of melon yet this year that time is running out.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Horses Are for Guys, Too

After all these years of going to the Fair and events with my personal emphasis on horses, I find it odd that equestrian events are 99.9 percent populated by young women and girls. In all these years I can only recall one young man in these competitions. I wonder why that is?

I loved horses when I was a boy, though I didn’t have one of my own. Had I owned my own horse I would have loved competing in these events.

I guess in horse country the boys are more into rodeo events of getting bucked, kicked, dragged and stomped nearly to death after they spur, rope and otherwise abuse animals that are frightened and have yet to be trained. I suppose there are roping and cutting horses that are well trained and riders that have some equestrian skill sets, but generally boys avoid equestrian event that requires skill instead of brute force and the ability to recover from injuries.

The thing that makes it extremely odd for me is that most horse clinicians are men. If you go down the list on RFD-TV you will see Anderson, Lyons, Parrelli, Shrake and a dozen other men, and then you see only Julie Goodnight and Meredith Hodges as women trainers.

Guys, here’s a hint. Being able to teach people how to ride and how to manage their animals equals big money and a side benefit is you’ll always be able to find a date.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Cull

I was out working on “Super Max” yesterday when I heard two shots of a 22 hand gun. I knew what the sound meant. It came from my brother’s place. He had been putting it off and putting it off, but yesterday was the day to cull a three month old buck from his goat herd. I wandered over to his place to render any assistance I could.

Slaughtering an animal is a serious and somber occasion. It generates a lot of gravity for people that normally kill nothing larger than a rat.

Like me, he takes the animal that is to be culled far from the other animals. Death is swift and it’s the careful dressing that takes the time. We hung the goat from its back legs to let it bleed out from the slice across its neck. Once the blood finished dripping we let it down and restrung it by neck and horns and placed the offal bucket under to collect all of the innards as we gutted the kid.

We commented that more people would be vegetarians if they had to kill, bleed, gut, skin and butcher their own food.

Some of you may ask why this kid needed to be killed. Basically, it was because it was a buck. Most goat herds have only one make if one at all. Male goats (and sheep) when mature stink and can be very disruptive. They are worth a dime a dozen. My brother has dairy goats so his whole thing is milk production. You can’t milk a buck.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Cocktails Times Two

Cocktail Hour, Ahhhh,

My measurement and timing aren’t always good. First our blender holds more than it should and the crushed ice seems to take up more room than it actually does, so no matter how we try we can never make just one drink. So after my first drink the other evening I realized that there was another drink waiting and would be wasted if not consumed.

I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol and I was ready for a nap after my second drink, but I realized I still had chores to do; like put the horses away and there was one box of bees that need to be checked and manipulated. This is my problem colony; not that they are defensive and nasty, but rather they are raising brood where they shouldn’t be. So, I put on my protective gear and staggered out to the hives. I was clumsy and it was amazing I didn’t get stung to death over the way they were handled. When I was done I realized no one should ever take on that sort of task when drunk. Things could have gone terribly wrong. It was sobering.

From there I gave the horses hay and their food and rather than walk next to them I just opened the gate from their pasture and they walked down the driveway and went into their stalls without me leading them. That act could have been a disaster as well.

So for me, no more drinking before the chores are done.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Monsters From the Id

I was out having a cocktail on the deck the other evening and an industrious neighbor within ear shot was cleaning up whatever project they were working on. I could hear their shop-vac running freely and then race as though it had gulped up too much and then run freely again. It dawned on me that this sound was very much like when the Monster from the Id attacked the crew in the movie Forbidden Planet.
If you skip ahead in this clip to the 2:45 mark and watch it till the 3:45 you will hear exactly what I’m talking about.

Forbidden Planet Clip

I knew it wouldn’t be long before the Monsters from the Id moved into the neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Wild Ones

We were riding our horses in the hills over in Washington last week. It was a warm day where one wanted to stay out of the open as much as possible. There were a lot of cool wooded trails but every once in a while there would be an opening in the canopy where we would be swarmed by horse flies. Head back into the cool woods and the flies disappeared.

These open spots were also havens for wild blueberry bushes. We would stop and pick hand-fulls until we couldn’t stand the fly predation anymore and then we would dart back into the woods for relief.

Somehow the taste of those choice wile blueberries made the swarms all worth while. Even the horses got their share.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Fair Debriefing

As always, I get a little sad when the Fair is over, but I anticipate this and I go around the exhibit hall to really look things over and share empathy because I understand what sort of work goes into making or growing the things that are displayed. I learn things from the exhibit hall every year. This year a display of chicken predators hit home having lost all my chickens recently. It was a good display. I marvel at the quilts, especially those that have been hand quilted. There were very good photographs and drawings, and the foods looked great even without tasting one could just imagine how good they would be if one could taste them.

The staff and volunteers were always on the go in golf carts, Gators and tractors. The grounds were neat and clean. Special thanks go out to the folks with probably the most boring job, gate keeper at the vendor parking entrance.

This year there was free parking and many people I spoke with loved that and hope this would continue next year. It was a big bonus for the pockets of visitors.

By Friday the stress was becoming too much for the competitors. The kids were getting tired, cranky and some easily brought to tears. It is frustrating when something you've been training and practicing to do over the last year goes horribly wrong. Preparation for next year's fair begins today for many. Many contestants will lick their wounds and take a lesson from this years mistakes and move forward to improvement.

By far (in my eyes) the coolest thing was a good deed that involved the post I did on the Fair last week. Someone replied that they and their family would not be attending the Fair this year due to the economy. Fair Board Chairperson, Mike Scholerman wrote me and asked me to have this person contact him. He didn’t want a family that loves going to the fair every year to miss out. Mike gave them his own Fair Booster passes. That was a real stand-up thing to do, Mike. I appreciate it, as I’m sure the recipients of your kindness do as well.

This is the cool thing about the Fair and it’s Mikes leadership that seems to set the pace, but what we have is several days of the community giving to the community. If you enter an animal or an item in the fair you are giving. If you make or buy some Presbyterian pie you are giving. If you are a vendor or a volunteer you are giving. If you go there and share a smile with someone you are giving.

By the way, Mike also asks that if anyone has any comments, suggestions or complaints about the Fair, please bring them forward. You can send them to me and I will get them to him. He listens. That’s why there was free parking this year. Hopefully that paid for itself with increased attendance.

In closing, I enjoy the Fair more and more every year. I hope to be called into service again next year.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Recycled Buildings

When I look around my place I see a lot of things that I have made or built. It’s funny how many things I’ve been able to make with recycled material. All the glass in my greenhouse is from recycled windows or glass doors. Other things I’ve made came from recycled doors or wood. Some things were once book shelves and not have a life as something else.

This does not mean that I haven’t supported City Lumber over the last two decades; I’d say next to the feed store and the grocery store they get most of my money.

Our Darling Scion loving Tango sent me this web site, and for those of you that are into building things out of recycled material, you’ll find this site fun in concept.
Click Here

Saturday, August 01, 2009


Remember a while back when I said the only problem I see with American Hip Hop is that you can actually understand the words and they are rarely appropriate for mixed company. Now that problem has been eliminated by the group, “Movits.”

Movits is a bunch of toe-headed Swedes that have a unique hip-hop sound in their album,Äppelknyckarjazz. It is what you would get if you loaded Abba, Eminem, Django, Stan Goetz, Paolo Conte, The Flowbots, The Decemberists and Waldeck all into a bus and they melded together after a horrific crash.

They can usually be seen dressed in Tuxedoes and old style basketball sneakers and big Woody Allen glasses. Aside from this gimmick their music is really good and better yet, I can’t understand a word of it and unless you are a native Astorian you won’t understand it either.

Check out their Video!