Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Dark Side

I wonder how anyone can possibly stay focused. There are so many dimensions to everything, and I wonder how people can fixate on one thing never admitting to themselves that there is more than what meets the eye. I liken it to when people thought the world was flat. How could these people never wonder what was on the bottom of the flat earth? Did they think there was no other side?

Being contrary by nature I find great joy in exposing the dark side, or the light side of things that often go unobserved. It's always there and you can't really understand what you are looking at or interacting with until you view it in its entirety. So sunshine and lollipops and also be seen as a major cause of skin cancer and a possible cause of diabetes and dental decay. Yin and Yang are fixed together through eternity. You can't have one without the other.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Opinion Generator

It is said that even a broken clock is right twice a day. That is the way I look at the opinion pieces I've written over the years. Once in a while some of my opinions have hit the mark with different groups.

Anyway I have, or this blog has a Facebook account and a good cross section of the readers here have friended me there. I don't post many original things there, just junk I find on the net when I'm in the mood. I rarely ever check that Facebook page.

So the other day I get a notice that a new Facebook entity wants to friend me. It is an entity called Clatsop Voices. I accept the invitation suspecting who is behind it, just to see where it goes. A couple days later I notice the growing friend list has the distinct complexion of conservatism, so I post on their wall:

"Who or what entity generates or maintains this site?"

Their reply:

Clatsop Voices The purpose of this site is to give an opportunity to those who value the concept and mobilization of community, a forum of sharing information about improving the sense of community here, and all that brings. We will see what happens as it unfolds! It has no affiliation with any entity. Clatsop Voices looks forward to hearing what you think about community, thanks for posting!

The phrasing of that reply told me exactly who wrote it. They may want to unfriend me right now because I'm planning to have some fun with their wall in the near future. It's never a safe idea to think that I am conservative or progressive. It's not safe to try to convince me that by putting out a perception of an even playing field or sudden acceptance of objectivity is in the future of politics here. I see through it. The nature of politics is opposition. Always was and always will be. As the motives may seem altruistic on the surface they are sure to be political motives in reality. You can wear that sheepskin all you want, but that doesn't change the rage and the heart that beats beneath. Let it go...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Let It Go

It's been a while since I've done a political post, so bear with me. Last year the voters in our county decided to go in a complete opposite direction and replaced most conservatives in office with progressives. The sky was falling and some think it still is. Someone always thinks the sky is falling.

Last week the majority of the new County Commissioners decided to terminate all the people that served on the planning commission and make everyone reapply for their volunteer positions. This is a blatant way of cleaning out the appointees from the previous commissioners, and most people around here think that's bad, but I am starting to see some wisdom in it.

I've been blogging here for years about how over developed our little paradise is becoming and I think this present County Commission has the ability to stop all development dead in it's tracks and I hope they can. Whoreington is starting to look like Beaverton By the Sea.

I know some of the Commissioners read this blog, and the ones that don't have their flying monkeys read it to them, so here are some suggestions for you to consider as you attempt to put the breaks on development:

1. No more commercial buildings over 4000 square feet. The only buildings that need to be larger than that are schools, hospitals and agricultural buildings such as dairies. (That last one was for you, Dirk)
2. No houses may be built larger than 2500 square feet.
3. No company can build another building to move into until they have a buyer for their former building (eg. the old Costco Building).
4. Franchise companies wishing to move here must put up a bond with a 25 year commitment to serve our community and any buildings built must be occupied for 25 years. (Again the example is the old Costco building)
5. No new houses may be built until there is 100% occupancy of those homes presently available on the market.
6. Structures unoccupied for over one year must be torn down and the land must be restored to natural habitat.

So let's face it. Clatsop County is never going to be the economic powerhouse that others have imagined. It has been on the verge of being the next San Francisco since 1850 and it's time to give up that dream. Let's get smaller. Let's become unique. Let it go.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Where Are These Cats Coming From?

Yes, we have cats. They are indoor/outdoor cats depending upon what side of the door they are on at any particular moment. We had two, but with the passing of my Father-In-Law we accepted his pet into our home as well.

All our cats are neutered so there is nothing with sex pheromones going on and we never have food for them outside, but suddenly all the neighbor cats come visiting on a regular basis. There is a black and white one that shows up and looks in through the living room door window. Then there is a mackerel tabby that sits by the garage occasionally. Then all of a sudden this ginger cat has been hanging out. I have no idea where they are coming from or where they go when they leave here.

You'd think our cats would be territorial and run then off, but no, they hang out with them when they are outdoors. It's a good thing we don't have a pet door or there would be cat parties in here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


There is a piece of throw back equipment that came with the truck I recently bought, a CB radio. I finally turned it on yesterday. I adjusted the squelch to knock down the noise and I found that there was no on on locally. 40 channels and no chatter.

Occasionally I'd come across someone with a southern accent putting out an ionospheric skip signal with a couple thousand watt linear amplifier, but other than that there was no local chatter at all.

I thought back to the 70s after the FCC deregulated the Citizens Band, meaning they no longer charged $20 a year for a broadcast license and took little effort in patrolling it unless someone was really abusive or over-powered, supposedly; though I've never heard of anyone ever being busted by the FCC. It was said that if you were putting out enough power that your broadcasts could be heard several channels above and below the frequency you were broadcasting on, you'd find trouble. I nor none of my friends were ever confronted.

Back in the 70s, nearly one out of every ten houses sported a ground plane antenna. It is a rare site these days. I haven't seen one in years. Today the modern day CB radio is Twitter, Facebook, chat rooms and forums. Sadly these forms of communication lack the mystery and romance of the CB radio where there was always a voice coming out of the darkness. Though it may have been anonymous it was still distinct and individual. It was local and we were talking about local things with local people we may never meet. There was a bond there. I still recall conversations I had on the radio back then.

Occasionally I look at my site meter stats to see where people are from that are reading this blog. It seems that more and more readers are checking in regularly from all over the world, the Middle East and Asia in particular. I wonder if these people are expatriates looking for a glimpse of the home that they miss, or are they people looking for a voice in the darkness. Though they may not be considered local on an earthly scale, it is local on a universal scale.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Australia Does it Again

I hate it when three things converge to make one blog post when each could be an excellent post on it's own merit.

I wanted to do a post on how I love entertainment from Australia. Then I wanted to post about how I stumbled across this Australian musical comedian named Tim Minchin who is a master musician and lyricist. His Dark Side album is excellent.

However, the real heart of this post was inspired by a contemporary someone on Facebook that recently posted photos of a bar band. This bar band was not a bunch of young rockers. They were all apparently all over fifty and they looked pretty ridiculous with their rock hair and clothing. They were better suited for photos of them sleeping in lounge chairs in Boca Ratan. Maybe they were good, but they didn't look good.

I don't mean to be an ageist, but there is a lot to be said for age appropriate style. It's really pathetic seeing someone trying to be 30 years younger than they actually are, just as it is pathetic for someone who tries to make their children look like adults.

As for as old people playing rock, there is probably a reason you are still playing in bars and haven't made the big time. Here is a song by Tim Minchin that illustrates my point.

Rock and Roll Nerd

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mean Streak

My wife has a mean streak. Everyone here knows that I have a fantasy of one day owning a back hoe. I've talked about it for years. So I get an email from her with this link. Nice!

Back Hoe Dance

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When Does It Become Ridiculous?

I don't go out to eat all that often. Once or maybe twice a month. Years ago I'd eat one or two meals a day away from home, but with age I've become much more frugal.

I've eaten in places where I have no idea how they can actually survive on the prices they charge, yet others I wonder how they have gall to charge what they do. If the food is unique and crafted with imagination I have no problem with a premium price, but there are places that make ma ask how they justify what they charge.

Sometimes we all find our selves captive somewhere where you really need to get something. If you go to a Fair, theme park or an event where you are there all day you are pretty much captive. I was at a horse expo last weekend and I was shocked to see that bottled water and coffee was selling for $2.25. People were paying $3.50 for a single scoop ice cream cone. A large bag of kettle corn was going for $9 a bag. How can one justify this? I'd rather go without food for a day than be extorted.

I did part with five dollars for a hot dog and a cup of coffee, but I didn't feel good about it. Next year I'm packing my own lunch.

While I'm on this rant, there is a place I visit often for coffee. This place buys Costco muffins which cost about 60 cents each. The rap them in cellophane and sell them for $2.50 each and people actually buy them.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Future

We all have needs and wants, but when the wants outweigh the needs there is a problem. One needs to beware of good times because they can lull you into a sense of false security that the good times will always continue.

Gearhead was recently telling me about his neighbor that had a nice house and a good income and he was spending it as quickly as it was coming in on high ticket items. So his neighbor falls off his roof and becomes disabled. Suddenly he can no longer make his payments on his house. He ended up selling his home for much less than he owed on it.

Sometimes it takes something drastic to wake people up. I've been over-extended a couple of times in the past. It's scary as hell and fortunately we were able to climb out of debt each time without going under.

Have you ever asked yourself how long you can last if all of your sources of income came to an end one day? Considering how many people feel they will never be able to afford to retire it looks bleak for people that live from pay check to pay check.

Americans seem to be fiscal optimists. We always feel like things will get better or that we will one day have wind-fall. For some that is a crap shoot where there are more losers than winners.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I recently reacquainted myself with Skype and video conferencing. I've been involved with video conferencing for nearly 15 years now. I once worked with a grant that put videoconferencing equipment in schools. Back then we used Net Meeting, a great program that seems to have disappeared. Then I was involved with reflector sites that started at Cornell and became popular with White Pine software, and now that whole thing is dead as well.

I'm surprised that video conferencing and video phoning isn't more common place today. There are conferencing chat sites and one that randomly takes you from person to person, but these sites are not recommended unless you want to watch men pleasuring themselves.

However standing above them all is Skype. I just reestablished my account and I convinced a friend to do it as well. I saw she was on line a few minutes ago so I Skyped her. We chatted for a few moments. It was a good clear connection. To me with was more fun than an email and less formal than a phone call.

The only problem I'm having with Skype is that I'm having a hard time loading it onto my Android. Does anyone out there have any suggestion or tips on how to load Skype on Android V 2.2? I understand it is possible.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Horse Expo

We are going to a Horse Expo this weekend and we are taking along a younger friend who has never been to one before. She's been to rodeos and auctions before, but never to an Expo. She jokingly said something about maybe meeting a cowboy there and I had to laugh. A Horse Expo is probably the last place to meet a cowboy because the people that go to these are what we call "Menopause Horse Owners." They are mostly women that have raised their kids and the kids have grown and gone and they need something to mother so they get a horse and spend lavish amounts of money on them.

So sorry, no cowboys for her. Instead there will be a thousand aging women that are still throwing away any and all mail that comes from the AARP, unopened.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Compressed Hay

My friend who is keeping her horse here has a different food menu for her horse than I have for mine. My horse is fed Berkenfeld grass hay and Purina Strategy. He horse is on an alfalfa diet, so she brings bales over and I keep both horses on their own diets.

She first brought over a three string bale of alfalfa which probably weighted 120 pounds or so. When that was done we got an 90 pound two string bale and when that ran out she got a compressed bale. Somehow she was able to get it into the hay room unassisted. On first sight I wasn't impressed by the bale but when I tried to move it I was shocked. This two foot cube weighed about as much as your average refrigerator. I stood back as I cut the straps as I envisioned the bale exploding and blowing out one of the walls.

Compressed bales are a great storage space saver, but I don't think I'd want to deal with them on a regular basis unless I had a fork lift.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Headlight Blues

I wish auto manufacturers would go back to the old style headlights. My truck, like most other modern vehicles use a halogen bulb that you insert into the back side of the head lamp. This is fine with some cars, but my truck has a problem spot on the passenger side where you have to take apart the air cleaner and the intake area just to get at the back side of the lamp. They you can't actually see what you are doing and the bulb can only go in one way where it is supposed to snap in that the hold down ring is supposed to hold the bulb in place.

I thought I had burned the lamp out again but the bulb got loose and partially fell out. I can not get the bulb to snap back in nor can I get it to screw down in place so now I have one focused lamp and the other side is best described as a night light. I think I'm going to have to take it into the shop. I've worked on it for hours now and I can't get it. The drivers side can be replaced in 20 seconds, but not the other side.

It's always one thing or another when it comes to mechanical issues.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Sad Honor and Privilege

I don't think I have ever seen the words "Sad, Honor and Privilege" used in the same sentence before, but these are the only words I can use to describe an experience I had this weekend.

My father-in-law was a brilliant man who had been everywhere and done everything. He was a retired corporate photographer for Boeing who was present and actively taking photographs of all sorts of experimental situations such as contour helicopter flights while harnessed to the bottom of the helicopter. He was there to document nearly every experiment.

Aside from his professional life, he was a mountain climber. He was still skiing at age 80. He had great mechanical and engineering abilities. He repaired watches and clock. He rebuilt engines and boats and never feared jumping into any projects.

He collected all sorts of things, but the bulk of his collection were cameras and pocket watches.

He visited us often and took great interest in what ever we were doing, be it, raising chickens, bees or horses. He was fascinated by all of my wife's skills and equipment for processing wool into yarn. He was a big fan of cool tools.

I have fond memories of him enjoying a daily beer with chips and salsa on our back porch as we watched the activity from the bees hives and chickens out in the yard.

His health started failing in September. My wife went down to care for him five months ago. Things had taken a turn for the worse on Friday so I went down to help her out. I arrived late in the evening just in time to have a few words with him and assist him to get into bed. He slept through the night slept all day Saturday. We called his Hospice nurse to come to evaluate his condition. He had entered his final stage. She told us he could be with us for hours or days.

At about 8:50pm on Saturday evening, 24 hours after we helped him into his bed, his breathing changed. His eyes opened slightly as to take a final gaze of this world. One of his clocks chimed as he exhaled his final breath at 9PM.

I am fortunate to have known this remarkable man and I feel it was a sad honor and privilege to be there at his passing. It was his time at 87 years of age. He had lived a full life and I doubt he had any regrets. He did good.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Welcome Back

My wife will return home today. She's been away for the last five months caring for her father who passed away on Saturday. She has been able to come home for a week twice while her siblings gave her a break and I was able to go down to visit her a couple times, but she was there for the long haul.

Five months is a long time to be away from your normal life. It was like a deployment where you pack up a few necessary items and you live in a strange land and fight battles you wouldn't normally be involved in.

I'm sure after a couple weeks of decompressing she will be back to a normal life around here with her friends and the activities she loves. I signed her up for a class she loves to take at the college. She will get to know our new chickens, and tackle the jungle in our greenhouse. It's nice getting back to ones own bed and bathroom and the things you know.

As for me, I didn't go feral in her absence. I did slip back into certain single man traits. I will have to give up my single mans diet of pizza and Hawaii Bowl microwave dinners. I'll be eating more fruits and salads again. I'll have to DVR some of my TV shows and watch them while she's doing other things, but other than that our lives will finally return to normal.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I'll Be Back in a Couple of Days

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Honey Money

When ever I sell honey or creams and balms or teach a class, I try to keep the profits separate from our other sources of income. I try to hold some aside so I can invest it in supplies as needed, but in the end most of the money goes to pay bills. This year, however I've found myself in a strange spot. The bills are paid. Other than the mortgage, insurance and utility bills, we are all caught up.

This is the first year in a long time that I'm splurging and buying something for myself. I'm calling it my Sonic Year because I got a Sonic Care tooth brush. Whoa, I wish I had gotten one of those years ago. Simply amazing, and not at all like any other electric toothbrush I've ever used.

The next thing I splurged on is a Viewsonic seven inch Android tablet. Palm top computing has come so far since I had my first Palm Pilot. This thing does nearly everything a full sized computer will do, but there is a learning curve since it is an operating system that is new to me. It is WiFi, It has a video camera in the back and one on the front side for video conferencing. I can use it as a bluetooth phone, but won't. It has a functioning GPS system in it that links to Google maps. Most of the apps are free downloads. This thing is a gem

So there you have it. This was my splurge. The only other thing I want is a back hoe, but that will only cone is I save my honey money for the next ten years or so.

Friday, March 11, 2011

I Feel So Sorry

I don't feel sorry for the people that inflict things that look bad onto others, but I do feel sorry for the other family members that have to live with someone's poor decision. I feel sorry for kids that live in a bright pink house that everyone calls the Pepto-Bismol House. There is a point where you are painting your house and you realize your color choice was a bad idea. At this point I'd just quit and start over, but many people figured they paid for all that paint so they are going to use it.

This also goes for art. I recently saw an art installation where I immediately thought, "This piece shouldn't be indoors. In fact it should be buried outdoors somewhere or at least become a burial marker for the idiot that bought it in the first place.

There is another statement art project put together by a dear acquaintance. When I first saw it I was shocked that so much effort went into something that looks like shit. To them I suppose it is like hanging their kids drawings on the refrigerator, but this was way worse. The intended message is lost in it's visual unpleasantness. I feel bad for all those who will have to endure this eye sore for the weeks to come.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Going, Going, Gone...

When I think back to my childhood and adolescence there were certain stores that I'd go to. Many of these types of stores are now gone, or perhaps they've been replaced by more modern business plans. I'm talking about 5 and Dimes and drug stores with lunch counters, Automats, Slot-Car Tracks and others. However there seems to be a trend of shops closing that we are familiar with these days as well.

There are very few brick and mortar places to rent videos these days. Book stores are becoming fewer and even the big stores are having a hard time. Record stores are going down as well. Newspaper and magazine shops are going fast. Travel Agencies are archaic.

I and the technology available to me is part of the problem. It's been a while since I've rented a video I can't recall the last time I purchased a book in a book store. I cant recall the last CD I purchased? Now I get the music on line and load it into a pod and plug it into the stereo in my truck. I no longer subscribe to news papers and we get maybe three magazines. I haven't used a travel agent since airlines got 800 numbers for phone reservations.

On the horizon I can see the day coming soon when I will no longer write checks. Between online payments and PayPal there is really no need. I just received my first payment via PayPal recently. I didn't have to worry about the exchange rate and when it would arrive and it was a snap to transfer the money to my bank.

Though it is sad to see so many things change and I do feel bad for the local businesses I'm not supporting, but the few times I have had local bookstores order books for me, they went to Amazon.Com and it's just as easy for me to do that.

I recently broke a belt on my Craftsman planer, so I drove to Sears to see if I could get a new belt. They went on-line and ordered it and had it shipped to my house. I now wonder why I took the time to drive into town, and I won't make that mistake again.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Sometimes I Miss The Tracks

When I was five years old we moved to a house that had a railroad in its back yard. This railroad was something that permeated my very being and the memories are still with me today.

It was easy walking on the sidewalk, but there was a certain excitement about walking the tracks. I crossed the tracks every morning while walking to my grade school. I walked the tracks into town when I walked to High School every day after that. I'd walk north on the tracks after school to visit friends.

The difference when walking the tracks was I would see the back sides of houses and businesses which was far different than seeing the pretty sided that faced the street. Walking the tracks one can the rutty side of industries where they put things that they don't want people to see.

Another thing about being a kid with tracks in the back yard was we'd spend time digging holes in the bank which wasn't a clean activity. My mother would get so angry when we played in what she called the Railroad Soot. There was certainly soot along the tracks from all the years that railroad was host to coal fired steam locomotives. The coal fire bellowed out an exhaust that was as black as coal and these cinders in the smoke settled everywhere along the tracks. It was probably three feet thick on the bank. It was a really fine material that was fun to play in. After an hour or so we looked like coal miners. It's a wonder we never developed black lung.

Fifty rears later I still look at railroads with a certain love and passion. I hope that all the kids growing up near a railroad are appreciating them as I did. It was a different kind of magic that stays with you forever.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Drpression Generation

Most of us of the boomer generation came from parents born in the depression era. Our parents knew what it was like to live from hand to mouth. They knew what it was like to have little and the appreciated what they had. They knew hunger and desperation. After the depression ended they continued with the depression mindset and became a generation of savers and many of them amassed fortunes.

I was talking with Zoom-Zoom (formerly The Blue Mamba) today. We had both seen the segment on 60 Minutes last Sunday about the children who are currently living through our present depression. These are children who have parents that lost their jobs. Many are living in cars, or motels or with neighbors. It was very sad to see these good, very articulate kids who seem mature beyond their years living in these bleak conditions.

When the show was over I realized that one day these kids will come out of all of this like our parents and grand parents did with a new understanding of the economy. They will probably become great savers that will live within their means like many of those who lived through the Great Depression and survived.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Check Off Another Obligation

I have a grand sigh of relief when I fulfill an obligation. Somehow I am never troubled by short term obligations; meaning those that just come up. The troubling ones to me are things that I must do months in the future.

I have little anxiety in my life, but somehow I get anxious over future obligations. I taught a class on Saturday. I began planning this class back in October and I've taught this class at least thirty times in three states over the last ten years. It's always a good class with great students and excellent questions. I usually have repeat students that take the class every time I offer it.

Oddly my anxiety comes in the form of, what happens if I over sleep? I never do. What happens if I forget to bring something? I always forget something and it always works out. What happens if no one comes? I'll teach the class even if only one person shows up. I've had as few as three students and as many as 95.

It's all good. It always is, yet I feel relieved when it's over. Now I have only three long term obligations. One in July, September and November.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Books

One thing always leads to another. While I was looking for the Juana Molino video I posted yesterday I came across another Folktronica Indie Group, The Books. Though some of their other videos can grate on your nerves, their music strikes me as really interesting. I can vouch for their collection called Then Way Out. It is a great collection for someone with a short attention span, such as myself.

Their works are not what I would call straight-ahead compositions, but rather each piece is a collection of curiosities all rolled together like a display case in a novelty store.

The Books Video

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Finally, New Music I've fallen In Love With: Juana Molino

Juana Molino is an Argentine born comedian, actress and most of all electronic folk musician. She has the things that hooked me on first listen; a combination of electronica fused with minimalism, a sweet voice singing words in a language I don't understand. I'd rather listen to the sound of words than have to be sucked in by their cleverness or lack there of.
Check Out A Video of Her

Friday, March 04, 2011

Getting His Goat

The term "Getting One's Goat" is actually a horse term. Horses are animals that like companionship. Sometimes it is financially hard for people to have an extra horse as a companion animal for a primary horse. People learned long ago that a horse will be perfectly happy with a goat as a companion. Getting one's goat came about by people taking a companion goat away from a race horse on a night before a race. The horse would be so upset that it would lose the race.

With this in mind I had to deal with my horse losing his companion that we sent to auction. So my friend brought her one horse over as a companion while she took our other horse to auction in Pendelton. On her return we exchanged her horse with another of her horses. My horse quickly gets attached to new companions, but with the second companion exchange he got over it quickly. In the past if left alone he would be agitated and call for his companion for up to three days before the resignation and acceptance of loneliness set in.

These two are still trying to figure out who is who in the pecking order. He is a gelding and his companion is a mare and that sets up a whole different dynamic than two geldings. We let the two of them run together in an arena this weekend and they didn't seem to trigger any craziness in one another. The mare tested him on a few occasions and he didn't fall for it. They just ran and ran and seemed to get along just fine. Here's to the happy new couple.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

It Takes About a Year

It takes about a year to really get to know a new horse. The new horse you get can totally change it's disposition in a year. Last year we got a new horse that was really well trained. He was very smart and could do everything, but as time went on he became skittish with some situations and bossy in other situations. These are not good qualities for trail horses especially when something as minor as a bird flying across the trail will spook him into turning around and running.

Often he showed subtle signs before misbehaving and they were signs that were easily missed by those who are less than advanced intermediate riders. Often his goal seemed to be to dip his head and try to spin you off.

He was a smart horse and he would test anyone that rode him. If the riders skill level was up to his he wouldn't resist, but anything less, watch out.

The horse market is really bad for selling horses right now. There are a lot of horses for sale out there for prices that are not in line with any reality. Hay prices are high and the economy is bad. We opted to send this horse to auction with a trusted friend and trainer. She was able to demonstrate the horse's skills and she was able to be honest with potential buyers about his disposition.

As it ended up she was able to sell him. Sadly he went for a little less than a third of what we paid for him last year, but he did sell for more than most of the papered horses at auction.

It's hard to find the perfect horse. We've had some in the past that we set as a standard. I'm very pleased with my present horse. He goes anywhere I ask him to go. He gets pissy and impatient at times, but he'll walk into a trailer or through water or over a bridge without hesitation. We seem to have an understanding where he knows I won't ask him to do anything that is unsafe, and he won't do anything to harm me. That's pretty much all I ask.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Things We Do For Friends

I and a friend who is keeping her horse here promised to supply two horses to another friend that was doing a demonstration workshop in McMinnville on Saturday. I was a little hesitant with the road conditions since the cold and snow from previous days, but I heard 26 was all clear.

The decision was now if I'd use the half ton to haul all that weight over the pass. The good thing about the 1/2 ton was that the trailer break controller works and the tires on that truck are consider as traction devices. The other choice is the new truck which has less than traction device tires, a trailer break unit that isn't operational. On the info I had I went with the new truck.

Everything was fine all the way until we got to Quartz Creek and we were confronted with icy roads. There is something very disconcerting about feeling a horse trailer altering your position on the road. As we slowed to avoid the fate of other cars in the ditch, I shifted into 4 wheel drive and shifted out of overdrive. We crept with white knuckles through the ice and snow all the way from the Quartz Creek Bridge to the Vernonia Junction. When we were again on dry road my companion said she could use some whiskey.

The problem with a day trip such as this is knowing that you have to return home at the end of the day. No way were we going to take Hwy 26, and I wasn't too hot taking 47 to 30 or any of the other roads that cut through the hills between 26 and 30. There was evident snow covering all the hills. We opted to take Interstate 5 up to Longview and hope the predicted evening rain and snow would hold off until we were safely at home. The longer haul was fine and it started snowing on the final pass, Bradley Hill, but when we got to the top it starts snowing really hard. Within a mile we were back in white-knuckle mode and by the time we got to Knappa we were back in 4 wheel drive and scooting along in second gear until we got into the South Slope of Astoria where it appeared to be raining.

Though we arrived safely and put the horses away my neck and shoulders were a wreck, but a good night sleep remedied all. I will never drive horses in a trailer through snow again.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The New Truck

It isn't actually new. It's older than my present truck but it has fewer miles. Though my present truck has an eight cylinder engine it is still rated as a half ton and sometimes I felt like I was overworking it with the hauling I was doing. A friend was moving from her 3/4 ton truck to a one ton and she agreed to sell me her old truck. Not only did she agree, but she bought her new truck in September and held on to the 3/4 ton for me until this month when I could afford to pay for it. It doesn't have all the whiz-bang gizmos my old truck has, but it has been well maintained and is much more suitable for the towing that I do.

One of my first surprises was the size of the fuel tank. I have no idea how big it is, but I got the truck with a half tank of fuel and I added a hundred dollars more fuel to it and it still wasn't full.

Tomorrow I will post a story about my first harrowing adventure with the new truck.