Monday, February 28, 2011

There is a Tomorrow

See you at 4:00AM.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I'll Be Back

Sorry I haven't posted, but I'm taking care of some stuff, the usual stressful things: trucks, horses, travel, chickens, neighbor dogs, bees, obligations to others, not enough time, a class I'm scheduled to teach and other things I don't want to address.

I'll see you when I do.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More Hay

I got a load of hay today and I'm almost glad I don't have the capacity to store more than 35 bales. One reason is that if something happens where the hay gets wet it will mold and that can kill horses. Another reason is that I no longer have the strength I had just a few years ago and stacking hay higher then five rows high is a major chore.

Today I only got 30 bales. It is a short five step walk from the horse trailer to the hay room, but only after stacking fifteen bales I had to take a short break before finishing the job.

Fortunately we just sold one of our horses, so this hay should last me three months. We are hosting another horse, but her hay is brought in by her owner. I'm glad I'll be able to coast for a while and hope I'll have a little more stamina when the weather improves the next time I get hay.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Other than my brother I have only one other blood relative that lives here in Oregon. It is my father's youngest sister who is now 82 years of age. I have two living aunts and one living uncle. I haven't stayed in touch with any of them. I was always content with memories of family and I never felt the need to reconnect with them.

When my brother got his computer got in touch with our aunt in Oregon and she and one of her daughters came for a visit tonight. Though I am not all that social, I enjoyed seeing her and I learned a lot of things about other family members I never knew and I was reminded of many things I had forgotten.

I found it funny that the familial identity didn't register. Had I bumped into my aunt and cousin somewhere else I never would have suspected they were related. As I looked through some photos she brought I could see the familial resemblance in the photos of some other cousins. It seems that the family look is common and normally the men in my family resemble my nephew, Mark and the women in the family look like my sister. I can see the root of these facial features are tied to my grandmother. This woman had some powerful genetic material.

After three hours of conversation I was at my limit for socialization (long time readers will remember my limit is four hours) so I went home, but my aunt stayed at my brother's house for another couple hours. I promised I'd visit her and will make an effort to go to Eugene.

Oh, I forgot to take any photos.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Don't Touch That Dial

I keep hearing the phrase, "Pocket Dial" and I'm amazed the archaic word "Dial" is still in use. A dial is usually a round object. TVs no longer have them, few radios have them and phones haven't had them for quite some time now. I'm not even sure you can use pulse rather than tone to make a call.

It seems the only dials that are left are watch dials and sun dials. Can you remember the last time you dialed a phone or turned the dial on a TV. I'm sure there are people 39 years old and younger that have never turned one of these dials.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


The Golden Rule is that those with al the gold make all the rules. This rule eventually ends in revolution as is evident in the Middle East right now. People will allow the rich to get richer for so long unless there is some sort of trickle down benefit.

The American Revolution was based upon taxation without representation where the Crown reaped all the profits of the workers with taxes and tariffs. It all comes down to greed. Even in the oil rich nations where money seemingly flows like oil; not enough is flowing to the people that support or want to support the infrastructure.

Consider the US and how many people who have lost their jobs and their homes. The people that are left working are absorbing the work of others. Times were good just 10 years ago, but since then things have gotten bad. Some blame terrorism, some blame the bursting real estate bubble, but it basically comes down to greed. There was a lot of money out there and it didn’t just evaporate. The rich cashed in their chips and they are hanging onto their profits.

When I was growing up CEOs were taking salaries of a couple hundred thousand dollars a year. Now corporate competition makes salaries of millions of dollars a year the standard. Years ago profits went back into the company and now they go to pay executives. The more they make the less there is to build companies that hire more people.

Corporate America needs to set an example or there may very well be another revolution; not against the government but against the powers that hold the purse strings. Governments can hold off revolutions with their military, but corporations only have lawyers and accountants.

Friday, February 18, 2011

What The Hell Is Going On In Arkansas?

I've got this app called Latest Quakes and it shows where all the recent earth quakes have happened and what their magnitude was. Reviewing the last couple of days I was lead to pen the title above, "What the hell is going on in Arkansas?"

There are these two towns North of Little Rock, oddly one is named Guy, the other is called Greenbrier and they have been getting quaked for some time now. Just in the last 24 hours at the time I'm writing this there have been ten quakes.

Generally quakes under 2.9 magnitude aren't felt, however they still register and there have been over 500 quakes in the region since September.

Check out this site for some detail Arkansas Earthquake.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Who Were These People

When we say, "For Pete's Sake!" Who was Pete?

I want to know who Tom, Dick and Harry were.

Who was Hogan and why didn't he have his goat gelded? Sounds like a big solvable problem to me.

How about Kilroy? How did that guy get around? The Brits called him Chad and the Australian called him Foo, but he was every where like Santa.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Back in December I got a warning notice from gmail that one of my accounts registered some unusual activity from someone in China. Google suggest I change my password and I did. A couple months go by so I figured I'd switch back to my former password because I liked it better than the other one I was using. Sure enough the hackers got right back in with the old password and emailed everyone in my address book.

I got dozens of messages from the readers reporting the hack to me. I immediately went in and changed the password and I exported all the email addresses into a spread sheet and deleted them from gmail. Hopefully this will be the last of it. I'm sorry if you were on the list, but I'm doing what I can to keep it from ever happening again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The House is Alive With the Sound of Peeping

I've lost four chickens in the last year and that does have an impact on egg production, so I wanted to add some more chicks to the flock. I got six chicks last week. They are living in a special tub with food, water and a heat lamp to keep them warm. In about two weeks I'll move to an enclosure inside the chicken coop and eventually release them to the general population.

During the weasel disaster of a year ago I was raising several Americaunas. Only one survives so I gave her away to a friend and the last I heard she is still laying.

My rooster, Blue is an Amercauna. He's a handsome bird, and these baby chicks will prove to be a gorgeous. They actually have an eagle-ish look to them through most of their adolescence. The bonus is that they lay green eggs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Better Answer

Saint Valentines Day honors the patron saint of pedophilia, look it up, really. On this day I'm sure that many men will be taking their wives and girl friends out for dinner and will be faced with the question while dressing, "Do these pants make my butt look big?"

Here's the reality, as couples age women often get bigger butts and men get smaller butts. So you can lie and say no, or you can be honest which will make her self conscience and ruin her night, or you can be creative and say, "Your butt looks fine, but those pants seem too small. Good luck with which ever answer you choose.

And ladies, please stop asking that question. You know very well what your butts look like. Don't be picking fights with open ended questions. If we had an issue with your butt we would have brought it up in a time of our own temporary stupidity. You are fine, really. Now go out and have fun.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Half Full?

Some times I crack myself up.

I don't often reply to a lot of blog posts of others. The reason is I find it hard to add things to what people have already written. A good post usually says it all without my input, but sometimes I can't resist.

QuandleQueen recently had a post about looking at things as the glass being half full or half empty. Normally my comment would be that the glass was over-engineered.

The post was specifically about how one would react, positively or negatively to being at a scrapbooking convention.

I couldn't resist so I replied:

Had I found myself at a scrapbooking convention my story would have been written like this: After a momentary pause and realizing where I was, I said to myself, "So, it's come to this, has it?" Then I inserted the gun into my mouth...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Reason #508, Why I Want A Bobcat

For those of you that don't do Facebook, here's a cool video.
Wood Splitting

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bad Beer

I went out for a beer with some friends after a meeting last night. It's a new tradition for me which keeps me out past my bed time, but what the hay... Anyway we ended up at a local brew pub with a very creative menu. I love the names they come up with for their distinctive brews; each one exposing very different flavors. Having tasted a few I think what we need is a pub that names their products for what they really taste like.

The brewers are on a constant mission to experiment with new flavors and combination. The beer I had could have easily been named, Dirty Sock because it tasted like came from sweat and smelly gym socks. I couldn't finish my pint and I rinsed my mouth with mouthwash as soon as I got home. I could still taste it when I woke up this morning. Though I've had coffee and breakfast bubbles of this awful swill are still rising from my stomach.

So if there is a brew pub out there that is hiring a brew-namer, I'm your man. Here are some titles I can bring to the table for your worst tasting beers:

Scut Bucket Porter
Horse Piss Pilsner
Infected Gums Red Ale
Potato Chip Fart Light Ale
Dirty Diaper Draft
Nasty Discharge Lager
Bowl Winder Bock
Diesel Fume Stout
Pink Eye IPA
Astoria Rust Golden Ale

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Is Astoria The Coolest Small Town?

I was with a group of people the other night and some "cheer leader" reminded us that we all needed to vote often for Astoria to be elected the coolest small town is some magazine that no one ever reads. Immediately the majority of the people said "NEVER!"

Points were brought up (some by me) that this could over inflate real estate prices, they could feature the Safeway Hole, the abandoned storefronts, our fine transient population, lack of industry, the over abundance of minimum wage service jobs.

Do we really want "Budget Travelers" here? To me a budget traveler is someone with little or no money to spend and one who can live up to the local destiny, "Come on vacation, leave on probation." They can't be away from home long without access to a Walmart. Shoot, if they have an RV they can camp at Walmart when it comes to Warrenton. For those of you that think Warrenton, I mean Whoreinton is going to enforce their no camping code all a big box store has to do is flash some money and city council will roll over and spread their cheeks as always.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Disappearing Hens

Every evening when I coop the chickens I take careful count to make sure all are present. If one is missing I lock up them up and search for the missing one or ones. Sometimes they are stuck somewhere and other times they are hunkered down somewhere and reappear the next morning. However last month there was a missing RI Red one night and she didn't reappear the next morning or ever again. Last week a Barred Rock went missing and hasn't returned. Normally when they are killed by an animal there are feathers strewn about. Even a hawk or an eagle will leave some feathers behind.

I do suspect a neighbor's dog. The jerk has two Labradors that have never been contained. Time to heat up the bottom wire on the charger to disintegrate dog flesh.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Horses and Horse Owners Do the Dumbest Things

When I first saw this photo I was reminded of the day I saw a local cowboy pull into camp with all the windows open without the bars up on his horse trailer. Here were three horses all with their heads sticking out like dogs on a car ride. To make it worse he just traversed five miles of logging roads to get to camp. This road isn't very wide and it is shared with log trucks going in the opposite direction. There have been incidents of horses being decapitated when their owners let them hang their heads out of the trailer.

The photo above shows a horse that spooked with an open window. In this situation the trailer had to be cut away to free the horse. It takes a brave person to operate a saws-all around flailing hooves. I wouldn't want to do it even if the horse were sedated.

Monday, February 07, 2011

One Of These Eggs Isn't Like the Others Part II

If you recall last year I did a post on an enormous egg one of my hens produced. Normal eggs weigh in between 2 and 2 & 1/4 ounces. The massive egg I posted about weighed 3 & 1/4. Well here is an egg on the opposite end. It weighs 1/2 ounce.

Mind you all my hens are full sized hens with no bantams, or game hens in the mix. I've never seen a chicken egg this small before.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

How Inappropriate Are We Still

Though no one, or shall I say few ever wear fir these days you still have no problem finding snake skin, or lizard skin bags and foot wear. Leather is usually considered OK because cattle are raised to be eaten and their hides are a byproduct of the industry. The same goes for alligator, but I can’t see a farm for snake and lizards where they use 100% of the animal. However no one other than PETA seems to complain about the killing of these animals.

As for what we once called Beauty Pageants; they are now called Scholarship Pageants. Thought the though of pageants that objectify women disgusts rational people, burlesque and strip clubs are still going strong. There are classes in pole dancing at exercise clubs. I suppose objectification is OK if you can rationalize it.

If you really miss the muscle cars, fear not because they’ve been replaced with big trucks. Those who wouldn’t be caught dead in a muscle car somehow find it OK to drive trucks that have ladders to get into the cab. Their individual tires weigh more than the driver. Some are so loud with a combination of engine noise and the sound of their knobby tire treads slapping the pavement that they can give you the earthquake effect from over a mile away. It’s really strange to hear a truck bearing down the road and you listen and listen to it approaching and about five minutes later it passes your house. That is when you realize you first heard it approaching at 45 miles per hour for five minutes making it audible from at least 4 miles away.

So we really haven’t come a long way in the last 50 years, we’ve just adjusted our horizons and we are still on the same course.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

How Inappropriate Were We

It’s funny to see how people and things have changed over the years. When I was a kid there were things we accepted as normal which are now real inappropriate.

Fur was acceptable. Everyone’s mom had a mink coat, jacket or stole. Even weirder was when they left the heads and feet of the animals on the coats. That was even creepy for the 50s and 60s. Of the four mink farms I know of in the county I think only one remains and they export their furs to Russia. Used firs can now be purchased on line for around $150

The Miss America Pageant was a big deal when I was growing up though I always though it to be a bit corny. (Corny, now there’s a word you don’t hear very often any more) Miss America was broadcast live on network TV in prime time from Atlantic City every year. It had a big audience, but that faded a lot over the last thirty years with contract disputes with Bert Parks, they moved out of Atlantic City for a cheaper venue, then the networks dropped them and not the contest shows up on some obscure satellite channel that few people get.

Muscle Cars are pretty much gone as well. Some of them came from the factory with nearly as much horse power as a locomotive and used a tanker car load of fuel every week. Some would rumble a neighborhood like an earthquake as they drove up the street.

Tomorrow we see how rules are bent so people can still imbibe in the unacceptable and inappropriate somehow without feeling guilty.

Friday, February 04, 2011


A funny moment at dinner tonight, one of the women I was having dinner with is an anthropologist who spent a lot of time working in Turkey. She said that one hard thing to get used to over there was that is you stammered while speaking and used the term "um" you got everyone's attention because the word "um" in Turkish if the same as saying vagina but in a very vulgar way. So I said that it should be easy to over come the vulgar speech tick by training yourself to stammer using the word "pussy" instead of "um" while you are over there.

And by the way the photo above is of a Turkish poppy. Boy you have a dirty mind...

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Very Cool Video

Thanks Critter!Very cool video

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Hot Wire

Our Pal Moose, the absolute King of Electric Fence Practical Jokes sent me another story about about electric fences and I was reminded of one of my fence stories I don't think I've written about before.

When we first got horses we had this real thin plastic wire around our pasture. The charger we were using was called a wed burner; meaning if something came into contact with the wire it would burn it away to eliminate the short. We didn't have gates at that time, but we used the hot wires on hooks to close the animals in.

One evening we put the horses away and one of the gate wires landed on the ground. We forgot to turn the charger off. We went up the road to visit with some friends and later noticed a lot of smoke in the direction of our house. We returned home to find a large patch of our August dry lawn had burned. Luckily my brother and sister-in-law were around and they though I was having a cook out until they saw the flames from their house. They rushed over and put the fire out, which at that time of the year could have been disastrous had it spread any further.

Since then check my fence lines at least once a week. I use smaller chargers these days, but even they can start fires.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

That Time Of Year

This is the time of the year where I get a lot of phone calls and email from people who intend to start keeping honey bees. Many of them have some land and that it good, but it is those who live in town and have neighbors close by are the ones that concern me. Though most towns do not have regulations against honey bees they do have nuisance ordinances.

It’s not that honey bees are problematic. Most people can keep bees and the neighbors would never know. Stinging incidences mostly happen at the hive and within a few feet of it. The problem is when the bees swarm, which is the honey bees way of starting new colonies. In itself swarms are pretty safe. The bees have nothing to defend; they are just looking for a new home. I often collect clustered swarms without any protective gear.

Swarms come about when a colony produces a new queen. From egg to an adult queen is a span of only 16 days. Bees will often swarm a day or two before the new queen emerges. I inspect my hives every 10 days to look for signs of the hive creating a new queen. If the beekeeper doesn't know how to do this and isn't constantly up on it the hive "WILL" swarm. If the beekeeper isn't there to capture the swarm it may very well move into a nearby house. All you need is a small hole or gap in the siding or trim that is the size of a pencil and the bees will find it and start a new colony which may cost thousands of dollars to remove. Though I check my hives constantly I still had two major swarms last year that I was able to capture.

All beekeepers have swarms, even the professionals. Bees are very good about hiding their queen cells. The few people I have had in my classes that keep or have kept bees in town always have problems with swarms and with their neighbors freaking out. They will be hard pressed to find insurance to cover their liability. I have a farm policy that covers me for any problems with my livestock that isn't available in residential policies. If your neighbors really want to keep bees I'm sure they can find someone with property owners out in the country that would be happy to accommodate them.

In conclusion I don’t believe it is a good idea to keep honey bees if you live in town or in a neighborhood where others live near by. By doing so it may be more of a disservice beekeepers. In the last few year I’ve captured at least ten swarms in the city of Astoria and nearly as many in Seaside. I get a hero’s welcome when I remove the feared invader and I hope the colony came from some feral hive that’s been hunkered down in an old tree somewhere near by, but often I know it emitted from some back yard beekeeper who wasn’t paying attention.