Wondering about wild grapes

Friday, December 31, 2010

Wondering where the year went. . .

OK, where did the year go??? I didn’t get to do a lot of the things that I wanted to this past year. What!!, you say maybe I am getting old? Well, right, not sure if I would like the alternative. I have too many obligations that I need to take care of.

Only got to take one trip with the motorhome, other than just taking it in for inspection or driving it around to make sure everything still works. But the trip I did take was great, although it was not that far away, only a little over 650 miles one way, still in the State of Texas. We went to Terlingua and both my wife and I really enjoyed that area. The desert was in bloom in April and we also got to meet Billy-Bob and John Wells but just missed Ole Ben by less than an hour. Click here to see my blog about it. I want to go back again. Have to put that on my “want to do” list for 2011.

The other thing that stands out looking back over 2010 is that I had both my cataracts removed. Had a problem with the one, got inflamed and caused a lot of discomfort and additional medication, etc. It was well worth it and now I can see so much better, especially colors. An additional advantage is that I do not need to wear glasses while driving.

There were also a few sad things. My
wife’s mother passed away and I lost my best friend and secretary, Buttons.

Also, my Aunt, who is in her 90’s, fell and broke her hip. She had an operation that screwed the bones together. Not too long afterwards, the screws broke and now she needs a full hip replacement. Since she has a breathing problem, the doctors do not want to take the risk of the hip replacement surgery at this time. Will reconsider after the first of the year. We hope her all the best.

The only other major event or one that comes close to being major was that we got a new roof installed. After hurricane Ike and a couple of bad hail storms, it done went and bit the dust. Actually there was no dust, just leaks. Glad that got fixed.

Now, the most important thing (yea right) was that I started my world famous blog. Now don’t hurt yourselves doubled over laughing like that. Writing the blog gives an old man something to look forward to doing. I have had almost no paying work to do this year, but hoping next year will be . . . now wait a minute. I almost said that I wanted more work. Dang, it must be the first signs of dementia. . .

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Waking up to an owl.

I was reading some blogs this morning and Sixbears was talking about chimneys and chimney fires. That got me thinking back over all the wood burning methods that I have used to heat my homes and warm our hearts. Have had different fireplaces and wood burning stoves. The stoves are more efficient but the fireplaces are more aesthetic.

The last home I owned in Pennsylvania was a seven room ranch house with a huge living room with a huge fireplace made from native stone and a cast iron fire box as part of the heatolator. The living room was large, over 15 by 30 feet and the fireplace would take up to four foot long logs. I mostly burned Wild Cherry and Apple wood when available. Sometimes, had to supplement the wood pile with Oak. Wild Cherry was by far the best and safest wood to burn.

The hearth was about 18 inches above the floor, allowing room below and off to the side for the cold air heatolator vents. This gave the air flowing through the heatolator a longer contact path with the hot cast iron fire box. The stone chimney had three flues. The largest one for the fireplace and the other two smaller ones for the gas furnace and water heater that were in the basement. The top of the chimney had a stone slab across it, held up by six stones to allow the smoke and gas to escape, but prevented rain and snow from getting into the chimney.

One morning I was just starting to get dressed for work and my wife usually brought me in a glass of orange juice. She started in with it and I heard her scream and start running down the hall toward the bedroom. I opened the door just in time to get the glass of cold orange juice spilled all over me. All my wife could do was point to the living room. I ran out there with nothing on except my under pants, not knowing what the heck I was going to find. And there it was, an owl sitting on the back of the love seat. My wife had seen it flying around the room and it scared her half to death.

I walked slowly over to it, got it watching my one hand. I slowly moved the hand it was watching to the opposite side and then I grabbed it with the other hand. That was a mistake!! Within the few seconds it took me to throw it out the front door, it had my hand and arm bleeding pretty good.

I assumed what had happened was this. Fire was not quite out when we went to bed so left the flue opened. Furnace was running so it would put heat up the chimney and the owl probably sat up there to get warm and the gas fumes from the furnace or hot water tank got to it and it passed out and fell down the chimney. By then the fire was out, so it flew around the room looking for a way out when my wife spotted it.

Has anything like that ever happened to you?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wondering what to do today

A cool, damp morning here in Cut & Shoot. It was 56 degrees this morning before the sun came up, not too cold for the end of December. Suppose to get some rain but so far it has only sprinkled a little. We really need rain; some of the areas around Houston are a foot below normal rainfall. Now I wouldn’t want to put a damper on your end of the year celebrations, but I do hope it rains a lot. That would lower the chances of all the neighbors’ fire works from stating fires.

OK, let’s see. . . what is on the “to do” list for today? OH yeah, it is lotto day and the estimated pay out is about ten million. I think that would be enough to get me through until the end of the year (grin). I made (what I think is a very funny card) to send to my Aunt, so will have to go to the Post Office to mail it, and while out I will get my lotto tickets. Sorry Ben, unless you have the same numbers as mine, you will not win today.

While out and about, may just run to town. Always need something, or think we do. Middle of the week, maybe things have slowed down a little and the crowds have thinned out. Only thing I think I need is an adaptor for my hard-drive so that I can use it in the hard-drive reader I purchased the last time I was in town. Where is town, you may be asking? The closest one is Conroe. It is located at the intersection of I-45 and TX 105.

If I have time, I had started a painting a week or so ago and should get back to it so that I can get it finished. I made a couple of sketches of some of the old adobe ruins at Terlingua that I saw when I was there last Spring. The one is exact and also shows the ravine next to the buildings. The other sketch I took liberties with, drawing in some close mountains that were not actually there. I am painting the latter. If it turns out, maybe I will do the accurate one, and maybe not, depends.

Got to get everything done by 15:30 so that I can watch “The Virginian” TV show. It is on every day on the Western Channel and both my wife and I like that show. After that is “Cheyenne”, then “Have Gun – Will Travel”, and then “Gunsmoke”. Usually eat supper while watching Gunsmoke. We like the old westerns. Also watch Maverick, the Magnificent Seven, and sometimes even watch Gene Autry.

Ben brought back some memories yesterday when he talked about old TV shows. But I used to listen to shows on radio, like “Straight Arrow”, Sergeant Preston, etc. That was back when there was only a half hour of music on the radio. I bet not too many of you remember back that far.

You all have a good day now, you hear?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wondering about old New Year’s Eves

We are coming to an end of another calendar year, and many will celebrate and some will make resolutions and some, like me, will just try to go to bed early. Of course I have tried that the last few years and it didn’t work out too well. Why? You ask. You see, everybody and their cousins who live anywhere near here have truck loads of fireworks and guns of all kinds. It is like replaying the sound track of the bombing of Pearl Harbor at twice the normal speed. I keep thinking that maybe someday I may just shoot back, but then I realize that nobody would notice. (grin)

It does get me to remembering some wonderful New Year’s Eves that I have spent back when I was a kid. We used to go to my Uncle’s farm where a large percentage of the family got together to ring in the New Year. There was no alcohol to be found there, but there was something much more addicting.

Yes, the fellowship of kindred spirits is one, but I am talking about HOME MADE ICE CREAM. My one cousin and I had the job of collecting ice. Since we lived in a northern state and the end of the year came in the middle of winter that was usually not a problem. The easiest source was ice-cycles. No chopping required, just break them off and pile them on the porch. When that source ran out, we had to go down the hill to a spring and chop the ice off the top of the water. Snow was just not good enough, had to have ice. You know, we were making ice cream not snow cream. (grin)

My Grandma, Aunts, and Mom would mix up the heavenly tasting and addicting fluid the texture of good paint. It was loaded into the center metal canister, the apparatus with the wooden blades was inserted and it was placed on the pivot in a large wooden pail. Then the top cross-member was installed that held the crank and connected it to the blades inside the canister.

We kids were the ones that did most of the cranking. We cranked and cranked and cranked and about then we figured it wouldn’t be ready until next New Year’s Eve, but then it stated to get too hard for us to crank. The men took over for a short time, then disassembled the apparatus and removed the canister. Took the lid off and gently removed the blades. It was done! Yes, it was ice cream! Yes!! And the taste and texture, heavenly!!

Well, you get my point. I sure wish I had the recipes for that ice cream. I don’t even have an ice cream freezer (maker). And dang, I would have to go buy ice. Oh well, I will just have to have Blue Bell ice cream this year. And my favorite? It is Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Dang, I am starting to drool already. . .

Monday, December 27, 2010

Remembering Buttons

Let me start from the beginning. My wife found her when she was a puppy, weaned and for sell. My wife knew a fellow who was looking for a puppy of that type, a Peek-a-Poo. They are a cross between a Pekinese and a Poodle. So, she purchased her and brought her home. Since the fellow who wanted the dog was not available until the following Monday, we had to keep the puppy over the weekend. Those two days were enough for me and the puppy to bond. That bond would never be broken, not even after her death.

She was fed and had plenty of fresh water to drink. When she fussed, I took her out. For sleeping, a box was found, and with the proper padding was placed beside the bed on my side for her to sleep in. When we went to bed, I would lie on my stomach and dangled my arm down into the box so that I could touch her and make her feel safe. She would lick my hand and go to sleep. A couple of times that first night she became fussy and whined. I would get up and take her out. Then she was brought back in to her box and she would go right back to sleep. That whole weekend, she never once had an accident in the house. This was no ordinary puppy.

There was no way that she was going to leave me!!! Since my wife had not called the fellow yet to tell him she had a puppy for him, I convinced her to not call. No reason to, she is staying and was named Buttons.

She loved to be with me and she also loved riding in the pick-up. At that time we had a truck that had a bench seat and a pull down arm rest between the left and right side, wide enough so both people could use it. That became Buttons’ seat. She loved to sit there and look out as we drove down the highway. We had a long driveway that came back past a neighbor’s fence. Inside that fence were always two or three rat terriers. Buttons would just love to bark at them and get them to chase the truck back the driveway; a trick that she taught another dog, Muffin, who we got a few years later. And then she passed it on to our next dog, Chang Le. Gizzy, our youngest, was just never interested.

Buttons went on all our trips. She even stayed in motel rooms. When we got our first travel trailer, she took to RVing with a passion. She usually laid in my lap while going down the road. When we got the motor-home, she still liked to ride on my lap, but my wife would sit on the couch and sometimes Buttons would go back and lay beside her. She would not let me out of her sight. If I left, she would lay by the door and cry.

The one problem we had with her was grooming. She liked to run ahead of me when I would go on walks, and more than once she got herself into a mess involving plant parts that would get into her thick undercoat and stay there. She was so bad once that I couldn’t do anything with her, so took her to a groomer. When we went to pick her up, I didn’t recognize her at first, she had been shaved.

That was a traumatic experience for her and she didn’t act right until her hair grew back. Even after that, up until the end, she would uncontrollably shake if she heard any buzzing sound that reminded her of the clippers. It was nigh unto impossible to groom her or cut her nails. She wouldn’t even let me do it.

Buttons, even though she had her faults, was the best or tied for the best dog in the world and absolutely the best in my life. When I was a kid, my brindle colored boxer, Brinda, would hold second place.

This year, I noticed that she was slowing down. She could not hear very well, and I noticed cataracts forming on her eyes. She didn’t have the advantages that I did. I had hearing aids and had my cataracts removed. She also started sleeping most of the time.

I knew that she was really old. Eighteen years old is really old for a dog, even a small dog like Buttons. But the inevitable is still hard to take and accept. I wanted to put it off as long as possible.

She was still able to get up and down stairs, and would still bark at the Pig when it came around, so I figured she still had some time left in her. Then, she quit eating. She never gulped her food down like some dogs and sometimes she would not finish her meal. She only ate slowly and only what she wanted. Two of my Shih-Tzu’s would eat themselves to death if you put enough food down in front of them.

I knew it was bad, when she stopped eating, but she continued to drink water. From the time she stopped eating until the day she died, was exactly four weeks. I stayed by her side the whole time.

I used a syringe to make sure she got some nourishment. Wanted something that would give her energy and I figured that she would snap out of this, given enough time. I used cream of chicken soup, melted vanilla frozen yogurt, and things like that. I was going to give her baby food but the ones I found all say they had onion powder in them and that is not good for dogs.

She grew weaker and I had to carry her in and out when she wanted to “go out”. Then, she stopped drinking water on her own. So, I kept her hydrated by using the syringe. Sometimes she would want out, and when I carried her out, she would throw up the water. She got so weak, that I had to hold her up so she could go to the “bathroom”. But, no matter how bad off she got, she never went in the house. From the time she we got her as a just weaned puppy until the day she died, she never went in the house.

It was ten weeks ago from 8:30 pm last night that she passed away. I have been wanting to make a post about her, but have not been able to do it. It is still hard and I have tears in my eyes. I so loved that dog and she so loved me. There never was and never will be another Buttons.

Some pictures of Buttons.

My secretary:

Me and Buttons on a walk:

Buttons all prettied up:
Buttons and Little Bit with my wife at a motel on a trip before we had a RV:
My Mother, Me, and Buttons at the Assisted Living Home in Pennsylvania:
Buttons, my wife, and her mom:
Buttons with me:
Buttons on my wife’s chair:
Buttons on lawn chair:
And the last two pictures of Buttons taken just a couple of days before she passed away:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wondering how cold is it going to get.

Dang, it was down right chilly this morning and it is suppose to be cold tomorrow morning, also. It got down to 29 degrees by 07:00 this morning. So, I figured the best thing to do was go back to bed and hibernate until spring comes. Well, after a couple of hours or so, I figured it was safe to get up, it is now 40 degrees and the sun is shining brightly.

I admit I did go back and sleep for awhile, but got up to turn on the computer but my wife was watching the comedy channel and Jeff Foxworthy and his cohorts. I had seen it before, but just couldn’t tear myself away from those four comedians. Got enough laughs to get me through this day. Larry the Cable Guy always cracks me up, as do Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, and Ron White.

Some jokes to me are not funny at all, some are disgusting, some are amusing, and some are hilarious. Now, what makes the difference? I am not sure, but I know for sure that it is different in different people. My wife and I laugh at different jokes, but sometimes we laugh at the same ones. It would be interesting to study the reasons different people laugh at different things. Do you think that the reason is that we are different people? Dah.

Back to the weather. Is it just me or did the last part of this year seem to have a lot more cold spells than normal? We have had a lot more mornings when it has been down to freezing or lower than I can remember for a long time. Of course it warms up within a few hours, but even so, there have been a lot of cold mornings. Think it is this global warming thing???

The global warming people will eventually be right, you know. The sun is growing in size. Yep, it gets bigger every year. So, some day, it will scorch and burn up our home planet.

Now, how did I get from a cold morning to a burning earth? Guess I better stop writing or I may go off some where that I shouldn’t. (grin) Guess I should have titled this post: “just the ramblings of an old man.”

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Remembering some of my past Christmases

Just another day here, but it didn’t used to be like that. Back in the days when we had kids at home, now those were Christmases to remember. Also, the ones when we were kids ourselves. Do you know what I am talking about or are you not old enough yet?

I have boxes of pictures, but will not bore you with any today. I am just going to remember back and hope you do the same with me.

The one Christmas that stands out in my memory, and from what my late son told me, in their memories also. (We had two boys; one has since died in a vehicle accident and the other doesn’t seem to care about us.) This story took place on Christmas Eve back when the boys were fairly young, but starting to doubt the validity of Santa Claus.

We lived in Western Pennsylvania at that time and this particular Christmas season was blessed with about 8 inches of fresh snow that fell during the day on Christmas eve. Just perfect.

I have an antique set of old sleigh bells. They are all different sizes and mounted on a leather strap. The different sizes create the beautiful loud tones when the strap is shaken. These bells gave me the idea to do something special that the boys would always remember.

I waited until they were both in bed, but not very long, since I wanted them to still be awake. I bundled up and went outside. Under my carport there was an extension ladder. I dragged it around the house to where the kids two bedrooms were. Also, dragging the ladder made tracks that looked like they were made by a sleigh. I then used the ladder to get up on the roof, where I stomped around real hard and loud and at the same time just shook the heck out of those bells; and believe me, those real old bells were very, very loud. (The next day the neighbor said he thought that I had gone crazy and was out of my mind.)

It worked perfect, at least for the younger one. I believe the older just wondered what old Dad was doing stomping around on the roof, but admitted that he, too, enjoyed it at the time. And of course the next day the boys could go outside and see the tracks that Santa’s sleigh left in the snow. It was just oh so perfect!!!

Christmas was always a special and huge time of year to our families, with church, family, and friends. When I was a young boy, it was the most special time of year. At the time it gave me a special warm feeling and today when I remember back, it still gives me that warm feeling; the decorations and of course that very special tree. My Dad and I always tried to find that “just perfect” blue spruce to use as a Christmas tree and it always had all blue lights on it with millions (or so it seems) ornaments with electric trains and a village under it.

There were always those very special ornaments that were passed down through the generations that always had a special place on the tree. I am proud to say that I come from a family who had wonderful traditions and up until the last few years, we have tried to keep that tradition alive.

But most of all I hope that you all will have a very special and memorial Christmas day.

Merry Chistmas

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Lights

You have probably figured out that I live way back off the road. I can not see the road from my house and, of course, no one can see my house from the road. We don’t get any company and 99.9 percent of all our relatives and friends live in other states. I am probably more of a hermit than Hermit Jim is. By the way, I suggest you go to his blog today and see what he has dug up; a digital Christmas. Worth watching.

We are not hermits by choice, just sort of worked out that way. Anyway, because we get almost no company and our house can not be seen from the road, we do not put up any Christmas decorations.

Last night I was walking out to the road to retrieve my emptied garbage can sitting down at the end of my driveway, when I noticed all my neighbors’ decorations. Here is a picture taken a few hundred feet up my drive way from the road:

They also had blow-up figures and a blow-up merry-go-round that lit up and actually turned and played music. Sorry, but they can’t be seen in the picture. Quite a show for a country road.

I am not used to taking night time pictures, so forgive the blurriness. I must not have held the camera still enough, but you get the idea.

Merry Christmas to you all. . .

Thursday, December 23, 2010

An Old Humorous Letter

Back in the “old” days, people had a great sense of humor and showed it by sending humorous cards and letters to each other. I am lucky enough to have discovered some in my Mother’s things, packed away in boxes of photos and letters.

I think that I will talk about just one of them today, but this is a good one. It was sent from “Bill’s Place” with a population of five and the smallest post office in the U.S.A. This first picture is of the complete envelope and the second one is a close up of the “return address”.

The next two pictures are of the outside part of the folded card. The first picture shows the card opened up to show the front and back. The second picture shows what was written on the back rotated so you can read it; the part that a person would not see until after the card had been opened.

This next set of pictures is what was inside the card. The first one shows the opened card and the second one show the verse that was printed inside:

Can you imagine the shock you would get when you opened the card and that butterfly would fly out and up in the air? The sender of this card was probably giggling for days after he sent it just imagining what would happen when the intended recipient (my Dad) opened it.

What do you think, would it scare you?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wondering about Forks

Fist, an update on yesterday’s blog. The scratch marks and circle of stones have mostly disappeared due to me driving over them. I am leaning toward blaming the circle of stones on a cat, or pig, or a bird of some kind. The scrapes could have been from almost any animal large enough to make one that size. Of course we will not rule out something from outer space or super natural. . .

I will keep watch over that area and see if anything else weird happens. Will let you know.

Now, I was wondering about forks and how did they get their name. I have eaten with forks for many years and we have owned a few. Here is a picture of a couple of forks that we have owned and have used over the years:

The one on the right is what I call a normal fork, but the one on the left only has three tines. Does that make it a “Threek” instead of a “Fork”, since there are only three tines? Don’t know, but that is what I always called them.

Now look at pitch forks, hay forks, etc.; they can have from two to six or more tines, not the normal four. Maybe that is why the word we use to identify them is spelled fork instead of fourk.

OK, WikipediA states that: (The word ‘fork’ is derived from the Latin furca, meaning “pitchfork.”) So, I have learned something today. The word fork doesn’t relate to the word four, but to a Latin word. Guess I should have paid more attention to my Latin teacher in high school.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wondering what made it.

I try to get some exercise by going out and walking briskly around a loop in my driveway. I try to do it at least once a day. Sometimes my laziness wins out and I lay on the couch and watch TV instead (grin).

Anyway, the other day I noticed something had been messing with my driveway. It is very hard packed crushed concrete, so whatever did it must have had a good reason to put out the effort. The smaller the animal the more effort that has to be put forth.

After I walked, I got my camera and took a picture of the two most prominent marks. This first one shows just a scraping. To give you some perspective of size, I laid a dime down beside the scrape. It is circled in yellow to point it out.

About 6 or 8 feet from this scrape, there was an area where something at arranged large pieces of stone into a circle. You could spot it from a long distance; it stood out and got my attention. I also took a picture of that area, but the picture doesn’t do it justice. The next two pictures show the circle of rocks. The first one is a plain picture and I marked up the second one.

The yellow circle is around the dime and the blue circle is around the circle of stones.

OK, what did that? My gate was closed, so it probably was not a person. So that leaves animals.

I will list some possibilities and you choose which you believe did it. If you can’t find your choice on the list, feel free to tell me what is missing.

A) cat
B) Dog
C) Pig
D) Squirrel
E) Rat
F) Turtle
G) Lizard
H) Snake
I) Alligator
J) Coon
K) Possum
L) Crow
M) Owl
N) Hawk
O) Other birds
P) Strange or weird whirl-wind
Q) Supernatural event
R) Magnetic flux
S) Aliens from outer space
T) The Tooth Fairy
U) Other
V) Big Foot (suggested by Ben - see comments)

Thanks for your help. I know that among us, we can solve this mysterious event.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A High Flying Family

My wife comes from a high flying family. Yes, I literally mean a high flying family. Her Dad learned to fly when he was a teenager and actually took people for airplane rides at the local fair. To his parents’ surprise, that is where they discovered that he was pilot. That was back in the days when you really did fly by the seat of your pants. You had the rudder peddles, stick, and a compass, if you were lucky and it was working. Navigation was by land marks. Wind direction was noted by the way smoke was blowing. He told me he often landed in a farmer’s field to try and get some gasoline from them. They were always so excited to see an airplane that they would give him gas and conversation.

He had at one time or another almost every license that one could have. He was a civilian instructor during World War Two. He was the one that took the raw recruits for the Army Air Corps and taught them to fly. He said that most country kids were naturals because they were around machinery and drove tractors from an early age.

There is a memorial plaque at the end of the runway at the Butler County Airport in Nixon, Pennsylvania honoring him for his service.

He was quite a guy. In his lifetime he owned 28 different airplanes, 12 motorcycles, and put in a vineyard of European grape vines grafted to American root stalks and made some of the best wines and champagnes you ever tasted. In 1949 or 1950 he purchase land beside the airport and built a nice house. That way, he could taxi his plane over to the house and wash it, fiddle with it, or work on it. He taught his son to fly, and he soloed and got his license at age 14. The boy could fly before he could drive, and he was a good pilot.

Here is picture of my brother-in-law with a Cessna 180 parked in their driveway just outside the front door:

And another picture of him at the airport:

And my wife’s family getting ready for a trip:

And a closer view:

And a picture of one of his planes in the air above the house:

And a picture of the Tri-Pacer from the air:

And this is a picture of my Father-in law in his favorite position doing what he loved to do the best:

I was lucky enough to get lots of rides in many different aircraft, from twins like the Twin Comanche, the Aztec, and the Apache and single engine planes like the Cub, Colt, Cherokee, and many others.

My Father-in-law and brother-in-law did have one bad accident in a single engine when the motor froze up. With no power they knew they were going to go in for an emergency landing. Being that it was night time didn’t make matters any better. He tried to make a corn field but could not quite get there. Instead, he had to put it down in the woods. He picked out two trees and stuck the nose between them thus ripping off the wings and slowing the plane before it hit the ground. He walked out carrying his full grown son who was unconscious. Only spent one day in the hospital, but the plane didn’t fair so well.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wondering; what was your favorite vehicle?

Think back over the years and the many vehicles that you have owned. Now think about which one you enjoyed the most, and if you could have just one of your vehicles back, which one would it be and why?

That is an easy question for me, although I have had many vehicles that I loved and enjoyed. Of course you never forget your fist car. Mine was a 1955 DeSoto, two tone green and beige. It had been my Dad’s and I took it over when he bought another car. I didn’t turn 16 until early in 1959, so by the time I took it over it was about five years old and had over 150,000 miles on it. My dad was a salesman for H. J. Heinz Company. When I quit driving that car, it had over 200,000 miles on it. I parked it up in my Dad’s back yard and left it there for a couple of years. Even though it had been sitting that long, Dad hooked up a new battery to it and it started and ran long enough to get it out of the yard and down to the driveway where the junk man’s wrecker could get it.

Another of my favorites would be a 1965 Olds 88 convertible. It was white with a blue top and a 425 cubic inch engine. And of course the motorcycle that I had.

But by far, the most favorite was my 1957 Chevy Convertible. I acquired it a year or so before I got married. Paid $400.00 for it. Found out soon enough that the motor was shot. Found a fellow whose car was hit from behind and demolished. He had a souped up 283 Chevy engine in it that had a full race cam, solid lifters, domed pistons, shaved heads, and a huge carburetor. Sounded like a thrashing machine when it was just sitting there idling. Of course I bought it and put it in my “new” car. Now, not only did I have a flashy ’57 Chevy convertible, but a really fast one to boot. That engine would turn 8000 rpms at the drop of a hat. I usually shifted at 6800 rpms. Oh yeah, did I tell you it had a Hurst shifter on the floor?
OK, now I suppose you don’t believe me. It all sounds too good to be true, right? Well, I only found two pictures of it last night and I will gladly show them to you. This first picture is of me, before I was married, getting ready to go for a ride:

Didn’t I look cool? Dang, those where the good old days. I never felt better driving any other car than that one.

The summer before I got married, I took my Mother and she and I drove in my ’57 with the top down from Butler, Pennsylvania to Salem, Virginia to visit her brother and their family. She enjoyed it but got a little dehydrated in all that sun and wind. Had to stop at a restaurant and get her a couple glasses of ice tea and a light lunch. She enjoyed the rest of the trip much more.

Here is a picture of my Mother and my Aunt standing next to my Chevy:

I kept it until just before our first son was born. I had already purchases the 1965 Olds, so decided to sell the Chevy. I originally paid $400.00 for it, put over $2500.00 into it fixing it up, and finally sold it for $400.00. I sure wish that I had kept it. But back then, it was just another old car, yeah, right????!!!! I am still cussing my self out for selling it.

Now, what was your favorite vehicle and why?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Backyard, Stilts, Washing a car, & Some Trivia

I think I will start out with a bit of trivia and then end up with more trivia with the other stuff sandwiched in between.

Did you know that in the animal kingdom, we humans (no matter what some say, I am including myself in this group – no not animal but human) have unique lips; ones that are everted, or purse outward? Speaking of lips, did you know that two thirds of people turn their heads to the right when kissing? Bet you had to go kiss someone to see which way you turn your head. Most people learn from experience that you have to turn your head because your noses get in the way (grin).

When I was a boy, we had a large back yard that butted up to a deep woods; just perfect for a young boy. Here is a picture of me and my Mom relaxing in the back yard:

I had a pair of stilts that my Dad made for me. Here I am walking on them. I wish the picture showed how high they were:

And here is how a kid washes a Buick:

It was easier to do it in the rain, just add soap and rub.

Sorry about the quality of the pictures, they were falling apart. That is why I scanned them.

Changing the subject, I read an article the other day about “face blindness”. This has to be a terrible thing for any who may suffer from it. Face blindness is the inability to recognize peoples’ faces. Some people are born with it and some get it after a head injury. These people can not recognize the face of their children, wife, parents, friends, or famous people. How awful is that? I wonder who they see in a mirror.

Normal people can glimpse a face and remember it for years. I personally never forget a face, but I can’t remember someone’s name even minutes after being introduced.

You know, no matter how bad you feel, you don’t have to look too hard to find someone worse off.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wandering back to Trails End

I told you in a blog awhile back about a camp that my parents and relatives went to way before I was born. Now I would like to tell you about a camp that some of the same people had when I was around. It was called “Trails End” because it was at the end of a one lane road; more of lane than a road. It was located way down in the wooded section next to Bull Run on a piece of ground purchased from Mr. & Mrs. Alleo who owned the large farm. The road went through two gates. The cows and one real mean bull shared the part of the road with you.

That lane must have been about a mile long, but when my cousins and I were kids, it seemed like ten miles when we had to walk up to the farm to purchase eggs and milk when we all would spend a week of vacation there. We also thought that mean bull was hiding behind every tree.

Today, I am going to show some pictures that I believe are from the early 50’s. I will post another blog on when it was built with some earlier pictures (when I find them). Actually, had to do these first since they were falling apart.

This first picture is of the couple who owned the farm:

Cooking out side was always fun and the food seemed to taste so much better. This picture shows my Mom cooking while everyone was sitting around telling tall tales and trying to keep upwind of the smoke:

Then everyone would sit on the porch watching the towels dry and telling tall tales:

Of course after a short rest after lunch, we all had to go on a hike. My Mom is the one on the far left and I am the one on the far right. I was always in a hurry to get into the deep woods:

I will leave you with a picture of my Mom and her Mom (my Grandma) sitting on the porch and relaxing. Grandma is in the big wooden rocker. My Dad’s Buick is parked in the background:

Hope you enjoyed traveling back in time to a place that I dearly loved, and still do. Tell you what; I will show you some more recent pictures that I took back in the year 2000.

This first one is of my old dog Buttons and my cousin’s dog on the trail to the swinging bridge:

Me holding Buttons at the bridges old anchor:

A picture of where the bridge used to be:

And a picture of Big Coon Creek, over which the bridge was stretched:

In another blog someday, I will show you pictures of the bridge and our group playing in the water.

I must get back there some day soon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Winters of the past and more river ice.

Although the temperature was in the 70’s yesterday and at 08:00 this morning it was 60 degrees and will probably get back to into the 70’s before the cold front gets here, I am going to talk some about the cold.

I have had a few emails from readers who would like to see more pictures from the past. So, I would like to please them and show a few today.

This first picture is really old. It seems back then that they had photographs printed on post cards. They were professionally done with a glossy finish. Very nice, and I bet it cost a penny or two at least.

To give you a reference to how old this first picture is, I will be 68 this coming February and the Lady on the left is my Great Grandmother. The girl holding the umbrella next to my Great Grandma is my Grandmother. According to what someone had written on the back of the picture, it was taken in December of 1907; a hundred and three years ago.

I call this picture “Old Time Winter Fun”:

Let me go back to an old subject, river ice. Remember my blog posted on Dec. 5th titled “Wondering About a Strange Excuse”?

In that blog I showed pictures and told you of what the ice can do when it breaks up, goes out, and jams up. It moves houses and picks up bridges. The first three pictures below were taken from across the river from Phillipston and show what the river looks like when the ice breaks up and starts to move:
If it flows on down stream, it does not do any damage. But, when it piles up on the outside of a curve or jams up because of some obstruction, that is when it causes all the damage. This last picture is another one of the same house that I showed you in the old blog. As you can see, the actual problem here was that this house sat on the outside of a curve in the river and the ice piled up there and created a jam:
Now, go stand next to the heat and get that chill out of your bones from looking at all this ice and snow.

I always liked snow, but sometimes when I lived up north, we got too much too quick. Remind me sometime and I will tell you about the time my family and I woke up the day after Thanksgiving to find 42” of snow outside. Had to crawl out a window to get out since we could not open the doors against all that snow. Anyway, a story for another time. You all have a good day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wondering about old friends (a connection just now complete)

Let me start this story from way back when I was in high-school. There were two teachers that I respected and liked. The one was a hardened stern faced strict middle aged math teacher who later became principle. Mr. H (as I will call him) would have been well suited for that job. I got to see him again at a class reunion a couple of years ago.

I graduated back in 1961. Do you know that is one of the very few years that you can turn upside down and it will read the same? Let’s see, 1001, 1111, 1691, and 1961 are the only ones in the last 1000 years or so and the next one will not be until 6119. I am really going to be old when that arrives!!!

Got a little off the subject, sorry. OK, the other teacher that I liked (I will call him Mr. V) was fresh out of college. He taught science and math. He took a genuine interest in his and all the students. He even created a club to help students become amateur radio operator and get their licenses. He really cared about his students and went above and beyond “the call of duty” to make sure that they turned out well educated and good citizens.

I am proud to say that I am a friend of this great man and we communicate with each other, mostly by email these days. Well, to get to the point of this story, he read my blog that I posted on December 11th titled “Wandering back to East Brady

He saw the picture of me and Les, my old HAM buddy and friend. Way back in the days when CB radio was just getting its start, to find someone on the air was rare. OK, maybe you guys are not old enough to remember that far back. Anyway, my uncle and Les started communicating on the CB and became good friends. Les talked my uncle into getting his ham license, and he did.

It was through my uncle that I met Les and his wife and son. They lived close to where my other uncle had a camp and near the area that I like to go hunting. I used to stop and visit with them a lot and he and I also kept in touch with ham radio. In fact, when I moved to Texas, we had a weekly schedule and kept up with each other over the radio bands (usually 15 meters). Like I said in that other blog posting, I will do a blog on Les, but first I have to locate a picture of him and his antique tractors. Les is no longer with us; he is now a “silent key”.

OK, back to the subject. Mr. V saw that picture on my blog. Mr. V and Les were also good friends and he did not know that Les and I were, also. He sent me an email and let me know that we had the same good old friend and neither of us knew that the other was also a friend.

Now the circle is complete. It is just too bad we didn’t know at the time and could have all sat down and had a cup of coffee together. What a surprise.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wondering when it snowed last.

OK, I have been seeing all this snow on TV and pictures on blogs that I follow. That stuff is pretty and I always liked to be out in the woods when it snowed. Of course that was years and years ago and back when I lived in another state and probably a different “state” of mind, too.

I sure don’t think I could take that cold up north anymore. The worst of the winter time up there was really not the cold. It was the extremely short days and the highest percentage of which were so very dreary.

When I arrived at work up there at 08:00 it was still dark and had to use my headlights. When I got off at 17:00 (that is 5:00 pm) it was dark and again I had to use the headlights. During the work week, the only time I got to go out when it was light was at lunch time. If you let it, the darkness and the dreariness could be quite depressing.

But there were good times. I did love the snow and to be out in it in the daylight or at night. I also loved to hunt, and hunting gave me a good excuse to be out in the woods and hills when it had or was snowing. So you see, it wasn’t all that bad, but sometimes we remember only the bad part.

Hey, guess what? It has snowed here!! Believe it or not. The last time was December 11th, 2008. Now, there have probably been a few flakes now and then, but to have snow lay is unusual. This last snow of 2008 only stuck on the vegetation. It didn’t cover the ground, since the ground was probably too warm and melted most of it as soon as it hit. Here is a picture out my back door that shows the snow:

OK, now that I got everybody cooled off a bit, I think I will join Hermit Jim and have a cup of coffee.

By the way, did any of you see any meteors last night? I have to admit that I didn’t stay up to see the best of them, but when I took the dogs out before I went to bed, I did see a couple of bright ones. They had to be bright to see, since the moon was still up.

Speaking of the moon, the last couple of nights the moon and Jupiter have been in a race across the sky. The moon had been winning, but later last night it looked like Jupiter pulled ahead.

Isn’t this universe a marvelous place?