Saturday, April 30, 2011

Big Frogs and Small Ponds

I saw the term, "Big Frog in a Small Pond" recently. This was a term my mother used often to describe locals in our town that were too big for their britches or for bullies. I understood the term the first time she said it to me when I was very young.

There is a lot of that big frog thing happening here in the County.

One of my father's associate was a big fish who dinned on big frogs, though you wouldn't know it by his demeanor. He was a quiet man who seemed to get things done without being boastful. He was smart enough to have others do his bidding for him ans he sat below the surface. His philosophy was, "If you don't have pull, you have to push."

To this day I find it interesting how both he and my mother had contempt for the big frogs from different angles. I don't have much more to say on this topic other than how I enjoy the imagery in my mind,

Friday, April 29, 2011

This Bud's For You

There are quite a few things that have been peculiar this year. It's been colder, rainier and windier than normal. It seems that is catching up with everything. One thing I could always count on was that the flowering cherry tree in my yard would be in full bloom on April 15th of every year. It is now two weeks later and the tree still looks like this. Not a flower on it.

It's pretty drastic when nature is held back for 1/24th of a year. Now don't get up on the soap box about global warming unless you have stopped using fossil fuels, and electricity all together. The climate is changing which is something we will all need to adapt to, or not. I'm just finding it all very interesting how the planet is reacting to conditions be they natural or man made. There is always an equalization taking place. Nature abhors a vacuum and nature will move things around seeking an equilibrium and we get to see it happen before our eyes.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I am finding that with every passing year, month, week and day I'm having less and less to say. I think it may be a good thing.

It's not that I don't have opinions on things brought before me, I do, but it's just that I have finally learned to temper my reactive nature. Maybe I'm trying to be more dignified. Maybe I've come to the realization that nothing I say will change anything, or make any difference in a hundred years.

I was recently engaged in a one sided conversation with someone recently and I was starting to feel like I was trapped in a coyote moment where I wanted to gnaw off a leg so I could escape. I was wishing that someone would call my cell or that someone would start a fire, but she went on and on.

It seems that some people get talkative when they get older. I've been to a few memorial services in the past few months where there were scheduled speakers, but eventually they opened the mic to allow anyone to comment. Two particularly verbose retirees were at these memorials. When each started talking the phrase, "Even freight trains come to a stop from time to time" ran through my head.

I am reminded of a thing that happened in one of the old Our Gang Comedy shows. There was an obese child whose mother hung a sign on him that said "Do Not Feed Me." I would like to get a sign for some people that says, "Do Not Give Me A Microphone." Or perhaps design a microphone that turns itself off after three minutes.

Here's an example

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Fire

The Great Storm of 2007 leveled a stand of trees between my house and a neighbors house. Since then we have a spot where we pile all our yard waste and scrap wood to be burned around a big snag of a stump. Every year we spend the day keeping watch over the fire.

I've been wanting to start this fire since December, but every weekend was either too wet or windy, but finally Saturday morning was perfect. I got the fire going shortly after 8am knowing the winds would kick up after 10am. Most of the bulk would be burned down by then and it was.

We made a little progress on burning the stump away. This stump is wet and dense and will take probably another ten years to burn. However the bulk of branches and old bee boxes are now a pile of ashes and we'll start working on the burn pile for next year.

One benefit other than the clean-up is that I now smell like I've been around a camp fire. It's making me look forward to going camping with the horses in the months to come. With every fire there is a renewal.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Queen Of The Sun Review

We went to see Queen of the Sun on Friday, and I have to say that it was a rather well done documentary. It was very close to what I teach when I do a class on honey bees. There were some parts that were very uncomfortably WoWo for me where those being interviewed anthropomorphized the bees beyond recognition. There was a shirtless yogi who brushed the bees with his mustache. When I saw this I realized his colonies were not wild bees at all and I'd love to see him come to my place and try that act with one hot wild colony I have.

It was refreshing to hear Michael Pollan's comments on agricultural monoculture and how our food supply is aiming recklessly towards self destruction and doom.

I often get questions about the disappearance of honey bees and people seem to have a sincere concern over it, though many people may not have a clue about the global implications if this trend continues.

The only turn-offs of this film for me is the graphic they used of a young woman dancing while covered in bees. It was the opening shot of the film and had no real relevance to the content other than people are pretty silly wasting bees time performing such stunts. The other turnoff was the name, Queen of the Sun which only significance was a song that was played as the credits rolled at the end of the film. Honey bee queens pretty much live their lives in the darkness of the hive. They only ever see the sun while on their mating flights early in their lives, when they eventually swarm when they get old or when a beekeeper exposes them to light on hive inspections. It seems the double punch of that name and the woman covered in bees was an attempt to draw the well intentioned WoWo crowd that doesn't know any better. But all in all these were minor annoyances with a documentary of this magnitude.

The film encourages people to do what they can to help save the bees and encourages people to become beekeepers. As I left the theater I had a snicker of concern over the flack I'm probably going to get next month with the publishing of my article on why people shouldn't become beekeepers.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Smell of a Meal

One of the joys of eating is the smell of the prepared food. This is often made better by coming from the outdoors into the smell of something that has been roasting in the oven. Even doing some early chores and coming into the smell of breakfast that you've already eaten can make one hungry all over again.

Sometimes food smells can even attack you outdoors. Sometimes it will be the waft of air coming from an exhaust fan, but more often it is someone near by doing some outdoor grilling.

The weirdest thing was that I once lived a couple miles from a factory that made dog biscuits and every once in a while the north wind would deliver the scent of baking. It actually smelled pretty good. It made you want to visit a bakery.

Sadly lunch doesn't usually have much of a smell because that meal is often made of cold sandwiches. However a really good lunch will be able to be smelled. Even cold, some meats and dressings can lure you in like a cooked meal, but there's nothing like heat to spread the smell in amazing ways.

It's amazing that people who have lost their sense of smell can ever enjoy a meal. The scent of food cooking is inspiring.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Dock

I've written several times about the lake in Canada where I used to summer in my youth. For some reason I've been thinking about the dock where we tied up the boat when we were finished being on the water for the day.

Every dock is different, but this one was in rather shallow water. They built it by placing several logs in the water on the sandy bottom and spanning planks across them and then running planks length-wise. The water was just deep enough to pull up to the dock. You couldn't have the motor down or it would drag on the bottom.

Once up to the dock there was no tie down hard ware on the dock. There were well worn two inch holes in various places in the planks where you could tie a rope through the hole to the gunnel to secure the boat.

This dock could host four boats. Any other boats that came around would have to be beached.

This dock was were we launched every morning and returned for meals. We would jump off this dock when we swam. We would clean fish on this dock and drop the guts right off the dock and watch the cray fish scramble and tuck into a good meal. Some times I would lie on the dock and watch the minnows swimming from under the dock out into the open. I'd watch the cray fish. I'd look into the shimmering of the pyrite in the sand and wondered if any of it was actually gold. There was so much to look at beneath the surface of the water I could spend hours there and come away feeling content.

I think I need to find a dock somewhere in clear water and I'll spend some time there and reconnect with my youth.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I Heard It Perfectly

Every family has their own jokes or traditions. These seem to develop from circumstances that can only occur in the family unit. While writing about the Forbidden Door yesterday I was reminded of another family joke or tradition.

My wife’s youngest son was always a serious/earnest type. When he was about eight years old he had some trouble communicating. Either that or I just had trouble understanding him. One day I was mowing the lawn and I caught him in the corner of my eye approaching me with a look of concern on his face. I stopped, turned off the mower and removed my ear protection. He looked me right in the eye and said, “bla mnm mnm mnnm, mnmn mnmn,… Ma Said!”

I ponder what he may have said, but summing it up by saying “Ma Said!” granted him instant permission. All I could say was,”Sure, if Ma said, it’s OK by me.” He walked away and I continued mowing the lawn. To this day I have no idea what he asked, but I guess it all worked out. I know the phrase “Ma Said” is the trump card in any situation and resistance is futile.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Forbidden Door

My house originally had two exterior doors. One, the main door opened to the living room and the other into a utility room. After building the second addition we now had a new entrance and the door to the living room was renamed, “The Forbidden Door” where no one was to enter. It made sense because we still had kids living at home and I’m sure the carpet would have been trashed in months had we not rerouted the traffic to the new door.

The funny thing is that we still call it the Forbidden Door and I still get a twinge of guilt when letting the cats in or out through that door, but not guilty enough that I’ll actually walk through the house to make them use the other door.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Queen of the Sun

If you cant get enough of bees by reading my posts, then come see the movie. Queen of the Sun will be showing here in Astoria on Friday April 22- 7:00 pm and Saturday April 23- 3:00 pm at the Columbian Theater

Queen of the Sun Trailer

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Green Trolls

I’m really getting sick of the disingenuous people with proclaimed their green intentions. I know in the past I changed my position on LNG because those opposed to it were still driving their fossil fueled billboards to every anti-LNG meeting there was while leaving their porch lights burning brightly through the night.

Recently Facebook opened a new facility in Prineville. All the greenies are coming out of the wood work complaining that the probably most energy efficient building ever built still uses some power from Pacific Powers coal fired plant. Unless the greenies are totally off the grid they should shut the fuck up.

Next, I was watching the PBS show ART-21 the other day. One of the featured artists was Robert Adams, a photographer who I think lacks any skills in printing or composition. (There is a reason they make filters for poly-contrast papers. Learn to use them with that gray carp you are printing.) He was going on and on about this clear cut and how ugly it was, yet he was totally unapologetic about all his wood working projects and all the paper he burns through while making is books and prints. Does he think the wood products come from a magical forest that never dies? He is using more than his share, so he should shut the fuck up as well.

Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Oh, The Irony

Dr Who will begin the new season on BBC America this weekend. This time the Doctor is in America. Any Dr. Who fans out there?

Monday, April 18, 2011


This is the last of the Faux Kinkades.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Sea Change

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Abby Lane

Friday, April 15, 2011

Phoning It In

I know I haven't been writing much lately. I haven't been doing anything all that exciting. I haven't been having any interesting conversations with anyone (that I can speak about). I haven't gone anywhere. I've pretty much been a weather related shut-in.

I keep a lot of pictures in reserve for uninspired occasions such as this. So please continuing bearing with me as share some of my favorites.

Today we start a Faux Kinkade illustration series. This being Tax Day, I find todays illustration appropriate.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In Case You Didn't Know

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let's Keep A Good Thing Going

Monday, April 11, 2011

Nothing Written

I didn't write anything for today so I will entertain you only with the photo above.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Can this be real?

Driver New Single-Seat Volkswagen
Comment: testing for reality. Please let it be!

You can go to Shanghai for a vacation, buy two or more of these cars, one for your wife and one for yourself, and one for each of your kids, have them shipped here, and still spend less money than if you bought a car in locally.

This is not a toy, not a concept car. It is a newly developed single seat car in highly aerodynamic tear-shape road-proven real car. It is ready to be launched as a single-seater for sale in Shanghai in 2010 for a mere RMB 4,000 (US$600)

Interested? Wait till you learn that it will cruise at 60-70 mph with an unbelievable 258 miles/gallon!!

Impressed? Totally, after you have read all the details below about the hi-tech and space-age material input into this car!!! It will be on sale next year!

• Better than Electric Car - 258 miles/gallon: IPO 2010 in Shanghai
• This is a single seated car.
• From conception to production: 3 years and the company is headquartered in Hamburg , Germany , Germany .
• Will be selling for 4000 yuan, equivalent to US$600.
• Gas tank capacity = 1.7 gallons
• Max speed = 74.6 Miles/hour
• Fuel efficiency = 258 miles/gallon
• Travel distance with a full tank = 404 mile(2+gallons).

Saturday, April 09, 2011


I know it may be hard to believe today, but in the early 60s the photo above was sexy and provocative. This was MIMI and she was featured in every edition of Mechanix Illustrated. No, her name wasn't really MIMI, but her name was derived from the initials of the magazine, MI.

MIMI wasn't just one person. There was a new MIMI every year. Her outfit was always like in the photo above, stripped bib overalls, high heels and a conductors' hat, which was later dropped (the hat, that is). MIMI would always be fiddling with a new featured gadget of the month.

I wonder if Adults were as fond of her image as 9 year old boys were at that time.

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Kill

I keep running across stupid photos such as the one above where some asshole hunter is posing with the corpse of an animal while wearing a shit eating grin. It seems that high powered weaponry and long range scopes has totally removed any negative emotion from the kill. I don't think they should be smiling. It wasn't like the hunter was ever in any danger and they are smiling because they faced death and came out victorious. No, they squatted in the brush and when they saw movement hundreds of feet away they pointed a metal stick in the direction and pulled a trigger.

I think that a segment of all hunter safety courses should be that the student has to spend one day working at a slaughter house. Animal killing of any sort should be a solemn event that calls for reverence and respect for the life that is taken. I've culled and have been present for culling of several animals and it is something that is pretty unpleasant. I always ask myself what gives me the right to do this sort of thing to another creature.

So if you are a hunter, please show some respect. Don't have photos taken with the animal you just killed, but if you have to have a photo at least wipe the shit eating grin off your face. You just ended a life.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Where To Go?

This winter has been hard on a lot of us here on the Oregon Coast this year. It’s been nothing but rain and wind since October. I always tell people I moved here for the gloom, but this winter was more that I ever bargained for. This was the first time we’ve actually considered moving somewhere a bit less gloomy.

Aside from me I’ve been hearing from others who are contemplating a move as well. We are mostly people with horses. One couple plans to move to Eastern Oregon in four years. Another person just wants out. I’ve been emailing another friend that has been sending me horse property listings from Kentucky and West Virginia, but if you’ve ever lived through a summer there this isn’t something that should ever be considered.

My wife would like to move somewhere in the Willamette Valley but not Eugene because of the way I pronounce the name of that town ( Ewe-Gene). I’d enjoy something more desolate like the Blue Mountains or Montana.

No matter where one wants to go there is always a draw-back and that is usually the climate. It’s either too wet, or cold, or hot, or humid. The only place I’ve ever been where the climate was perfect all year was the area of the Parker Ranch on the Big Island of Hawaii. One could move there, but then you’d have to contend with Rock Fever. When I first considered moving there 24 years ago, every one I talked with warned me of Rock Fever and how it has driven many people mad over the years. This is a condition where you realize you are living on a big volcanic rock in the middle of the Pacific and you’ll do anything to get away.

Anyway, a move is seriously being considered. Aside from the over-abundance of gloom, I will not miss the growth and sprawl of this area. I will not miss the local media, which I don’t miss now since I no longer read local publications or listen to local radio. Most of all I won’t miss local politics, past and present. They are all big frogs in a small pond, a very small pond. I wonder how they sleep at night.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Chicks Are Growing Up

The six new chicks are nearly two months old now. They lived in a cage inside the house for the first couple of weeks and then I moved the cage out to the coop for another couple of weeks. Eventually we go to the point where we let the adult chickens out for the day and let the chicks have run of the coop and the supermax. They were afraid of the adult hens, with good reason, so we put up a cabbage crate out in their yard. The slats at either end are large enough for them to get in but too small for a hen to chase after them.

Last week we let the chicks, who are half the size of the adults out in the fenced garden area to get them used to the world out side and finally this weekend we let them out into the whole world with the hens. The new chicks stayed to themselves and the adult chickens didn't even regard them. They are all getting along just fine.

It's nice getting to this point of integration. Wait until they get their next rude awakening of what it is that roosters do.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Baby, We Were Born To Run

The Oregon Coast isn't a good climate for horses, especially with the increasing rains we have had over the last few years here. Every year is windier and rainier. If you put a horse on a wet pasture the pasture will turn to mud in no time and the the horse can develop all sorts of foot ailments.

Our horses have stalls and a reasonable sized fenced in corral where they can go inside or out when ever they please. Unless it's raining really hard they will spend most of their time outside. To keep their hooves healthy I have rubber mats inside and out so they are never standing in mud. However since it is raining all the time they rarely get out on the pasture and the round pen is often too wet to let them run around. Fortunately we have a friend with an indoor arena who lets us bring the horses down and run them around from time to time.

It's really cool to let them in and remove their halters. They mosey around, sniff the ground, lie down and roll for a bit and then they are off to the races. They zoom around the arena, chasing one another, kicking up and running until they are exhausted. They seem to know that this arena time may be the only chance they will get to stretch out for another week or so.

Though drier weather is expected as we get closer to summer, I hope to be able to use the round pen to get them back into shape for summer riding. Hopefully we will be able to put in a covered arena someday where we can work on them daily.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Water Mirror

This is a photo of the lake in Canada where I used to spend my summers when I was growing up. I took this photo from either a blog or a flicker account of someone who lived at the lake. They are relatives of people I knew. I didn't use the photo because of them, I used it to illustrate the feeling of that particular lake. I couldn't find any photos that were equivalent.

What I want to write about is mirror-like water. Though the background is dark and the water is dark you can see how reflective the water is there. I recall having breakfast at the large dining table that looked out over the lake. The water was flat and smooth nearly every morning until the winds kicked up in mid morning.

The flatness of the water enhanced the random fish breaking the surface to eat an insect leaving concentric circles that eventually succumb to gravity before those waves ever made it to shore.

This was the lure. We could see where all the fish were jumping and we knew where we would begin our day. We'd walk down the hill to the dock and our large wooden boat. Pushing off I would always watch as our bow parted the water. Once in deep enough water the motor would be started, and we would assault the mirror like water. The wakes would emit and and hit the shore and sometimes bounce back and catch up with us later.

The breeze stayed with the lake nearly until sun down. After dinner we would go back out an wait for the water to still and we would fish until we could no longer see the color of anything, which was the same time you could see the stars of the dark Canadian night sky reflecting off the water.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The End

Get ready folks. For those of you who can't wait for the world to end in 2012 when the Mayan Calendar runs out you may have a closer opportunity for rapture. A fundamentalist Christian group, "We Can Know", has recently paid for a series of billboards in Florida, Indiana, Ohio and other places around the United States. These billboards state prominently that Jesus Christ will return on May 21st, 2011.

Religious groups often claim the end near and often tell us what year and date it's going to happen. Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons announced that Jesus would return within 56 years -- i.e. before 1891-FEB-15.

Usually after being wrong most groups pipe down and stop predicting, but not so with the Jehovah's Witnesses Watch Tower Society who have unsuccessfully predicted the world would end in the following years: 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975 and 1994.

But, who am I to criticize? I have the most unsuccessful death pool predictions here on this blog every year on January 1st, yet I'll probably do it again next year.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Music at Horse Events

If you spend any time at Equestrian Expos and Shows, or Rodeos you will eventually see an equestrian drill team. This is a group of horses and riders doing synchronized riding. It's pretty cool, but one thing that isn't cool is the music. Sooner or later you will hear this example accompanying the show.I hate this song.

A few years ago (2006) I wrote how the horse world is missing out on the best horse music possible Listen to the video below and tell me you wouldn't want to hear this at a horse show, Mon!
Real Horse Music

Friday, April 01, 2011

How Come?

If you, my dear readers ever wonder why I don't listen to KMUN, or why I don't shop at the Co-Op, or why I don't live in Brownsmead, or why I no longer go to County Commission meetings, or take a Yoga class...well, here's why. My Video Reason