Wondering about wild grapes

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wondering about answering comments.

On my blog, I always try to answer any and all comments that are posted. I feel that if someone took the effort to comment about something I said, I should answer them, if, for nothing else, just to let them know I read their comment. I know a lot of you do that, also. The people who write a big percentage of the blogs that I follow do that, some others just answer now and then, and others never seem to answer. I do appreciate those of you who answer my comments on your blogs. I always go back and check if my comments have been answered. Sometimes I miss some. I apologize to those who I missed.

I feel a lot better today, but still not quite up to par. Of course par for me seems to be changing daily. Oh to be young and stupid again; but when I was young I didn’t think I was stupid!! Maybe I was the exception, right??? Yea, right. (grin) Last evening, my temperature had dropped to 101.2, so I started to feel somewhat better. I got a fair night’s sleep and now feel better than I have for the last 3 or 4 days. Things are looking up.

You all have a fine, healthy day today, you hear?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Wondering why I have no water.

First off, I wasn’t feeling up to par yesterday and last night I woke up around 01:30 shaking and shivering from a high fever. Dang, I haven’t been sick for years, what happened? Took two aspirins and went back to bed. Woke up this morning, still not feeling up to par and found out we didn’t have any water.

Went and looked at the well and the only thing I can think happened was the fire ants shorted out the pressure switch contacts and burned the pump motor out. Don’t know for sure but will dig out an old set of points and see if that works. I still can’t pump water; since I need to prime the well and I don’t have near enough water to do that. If I can get up enough energy to try out the old points, maybe (if they work) I will go buy a lot of those gallon water jugs.

Think I will go back out to the couch and lay down for awhile. Like I said, this is the first time in many years that I have been sick. This time doesn’t seem to be too bad yet, and hopefully it will go away quickly.

You all have a wonderful Memorial Day, you hear?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Think I got took.

As you all know, who read this simple blog, is that my wife and I go to the flea market on the weekends. This weekend was no different, except for one thing; I think I got took. Well maybe that is not good choice of words. Maybe I should explain.

I was walking along carrying a bag of some things my wife purchased. She stopped at this one table to look at things and I noticed a strange looking small telescope lying on top of a black nylon bag. I did not recognize it and had never seen one that looked like it. I picked it up and it was light weight. That was not a good sign, but since the tube was a lot shorter than any of my small scopes, I just sort of put it off as to the shortness of the tube. This also meant that it would be a “fast” scope with a low F number. I thought about and decided to pass on it. Since it was only $10.00, my wife said to go ahead and get it because the bag was worth almost that much. I figured that I could at least salvage something from the unit and for ten bucks, what the heck.

Last night I got the bag out and started to unpack it. It had a really weak tripod and to make matters worse, one leg was broke off. OK, so far junk. Had no way of mounting it, so could not tell if the optics work. This morning, I put a large diameter (low power) eyepiece in it and sat in my desk chair and cradled the telescope tube in my arms and braced my arms on the arm rests. Trying to hold it as still as possible, I then pointed it out of the window. To my pleasant surprise I saw green leaves from the trees along my driveway. Well, at least it works. The quality is not good, but after looking it up on the internet, I now know why. It is an Edu Science brand and that is what Toys-R-Us sells. I have not been in that store for decades and didn’t recognize the brand name. If I had, I would have not purchased it, not even for less money.

Oh well, maybe I can figure out what do with it or too it. Maybe I am spoiled, but I would think if some loving parent bought this unit for their children that the kids would not grow up to be astronomers, for sure. I believe, as far as astronomy is concerned, the first look into deep space for children (or anyone) should be a quality look. After they get hooked on the awesome beauty and grandeur of our universe, then they can use cheap equipment, if they so desire. Of course the opposite is usually the case; especially wanting better and better equipment. Gee, I am thinking it would be really nice to have my own space telescope, maybe like the Hubble Space Telescope. OK, since Ben said that there were no winners for the Texas Lottery, I guess I have to wait until next Wednesday. . .

You all keep on enjoying your holiday weekend, you hear?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wondering about outboard motors.

Don’t know why, but I just started to think about outboard motors and my memories of them. My first memory of a water craft was one that didn’t have a motor, it was a canoe. I believe I was in canoes before I could walk. Either my parents or I owned at least one canoe at all times. I am down to only one now, but haven’t used it for quite awhile.

Back to outboard motors; my Dad’s first one was purchased from my Uncle along with a small open boat. The motor was a 5 hp Mercury that had the gas tank built into the motor. Back in those days, the state of Pennsylvania licensed the motor, not the boat. The license plates looked like miniature automobile plates. There were two of them and they were stamped out of metal with raised and painted lettering or numbering. We mounted each one of them on a thin chain with clips on the end. Then, if we were renting or using another boat, we could just hang the plates over the side and clip the chain to something to hold them. I liked that idea and that little engine got lots of fishing hours put on it pushing the little wooden boat or a rented one.

I told you all in an older blog post that both pairs of my Grandparents lived in small towns on the Allegheny River. My Dad’s parents both passed away while I was still a small boy, but my Mothers parents lived until I grew up. I spent a lot of time on the river in front of their house. There were a lot of young people close to my age, mostly relatives and other locals. We spend a lot of time in motor boats fooling around and also water skiing.  Even got tossed out of boats running at full speed. Those boats, when I was a young teenager, didn’t have the horse power in the outboards that today’s boats do, except for some inboards that had V-8 engines. We kids didn’t have access to inboards.

The outboard motors of that period were almost all either Evinrude, Johnson, or Mercury. The Evinrudes and Johnsons were a maximum of 35 hp but you could get a Mercury as big as 40 hp. WOW!! When we spotted a 40 hp Mercury we were always impressed. We learned to ski behind small boats with small motors. The smallest that I ever skied behind was a Canadian cargo canoe with a 10 hp motor. It could not pull you up out of the water, so we gave it some slack to get started and then it pulled us off a dock. Once you are up and going, it doesn’t take much power to keep you up.

Then one day, relatives from out of state came in towing a new boat sporting a 50 hp Evinrude. We were all amazed. That thing was huge!! How the heck would that boat float with that big thing hanging on the back. Well it did and boy was it fast. Yea, I know, go ahead and laugh. You probably have two 200 hp motors on the back of your boat. Back a few years ago when I was doing a contract job on the east cost, I saw a boat with two 300 hp outboards on it. But, back in the “good ole days” we probably had a lot more fun than the we would have if we were growing up today.

You all have a good holiday weekend now, you hear?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wondering about a special vehicle.

There are a lot of different vehicles out there and a big percentage of them are special to someone. Some are special because they are stylish, some because they are fast, some because they are unique, some because they bring back memories, and some because they are (or were) mine. You can substitute your name for the last word in the last sentence.

For example, remember one of my old blogs where I should you pictures of my most favorite car that I had ever owned? Here is a picture of that car, a 1957 Chevy Convertible:
Now that was a great car, fast and sleek with great styling and a handsome driver (grin). OK, scratch the last part about the driver. I attended the yearly NHRA Top Fuel Drag Race at the Royal Purple Race Track just west of Baytown, TX a few weeks ago. I will not bore you with all the details of the race, since I did that in a blog last year, and, if you get me started, it would take you all day to read all that I would write about it. You want details, ask me in person or better yet, attend one. No other experience compares to it.

OK, while I was there I spotted a vehicle in the pits that I believe would just about be perfect for me and the three B’s. You know, us old farts: Me, Billy-Bob, Ben, and Barney. This vehicle has styling that brings back the memory of the 50’s, has seating enough for all of us, and doesn’t use much fuel. Take a look and see what you think:

Now the three B’s could get more use out of it than I would, since I don’t play golf and have no desire to do so. But I think it would be a great ride and I could use it to take the garbage down to the road. . .

You all have a fine day now, you hear?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wondering,"was that thunder I heard?" and other things.

My county had severe thunderstorm warnings posted last night. And they must have been right, because the lightning was bright and the thunder was loud. We even got some gusty winds, but, but , but, NO RAIN!!! It was so close I could taste it, well, maybe just smell it. Hey, I did see the lightning and hear the thunder. As loud as the thunder was, it had to have been within a couple of miles from here, all to my north.

You do know that it takes sound an average of almost four and three quarters (4.75) seconds to travel a mile. To make things simpler, just figure on 5 seconds per mile. When you see the flash, start counting 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, 1005, etc until you hear the crash of thunder. That will give you an estimate of how far away the lightning strike was. This is not accurate, but will give you a pretty good idea of how far away the storm is. Keep checking the time between flashes and sounds and you can also determine if the storm is moving toward you or away.

Yes, I know you are getting sick of me talking about not having any rain, especially when some of you are getting flooded. So, being a nice and a sensitive man, I will change the subject. Let me see, what should I wonder about now? ? ?

OK, how about this. Could they arrest someone for attempted murder if they failed at their own suicide? No, I am not thinking of suicide, especially not for me. I bet there is no loop-hole in the law to exclude attempted suicide from the charge of attempted murder. Anybody out there with a law background care to comment or answer my question?

Heck, there is a bushel full of laws out there where “Big Brother” tries to protect us from ourselves. Don’t get me started on that subject, you may not like what I have to say and it raises my blood pressure to very dangerous levels. It seems to me that just to prove that they did something, politicians just have to create stupid and obsessive laws to take care of their constituents, because they believe them to be too stupid to take care of themselves. Guess maybe they are, since they elected the people who make the laws.

Enough said, don’t want to ruin a beautiful bright day with clear blue skies.

You all have a nice day now, you hear?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wondering how many ounces are in a kilo, etc.

Have you ever had to go look up stuff in conversion tables? You know, like how many gallons are in a cubic foot, or how many ounces are in a kilogram, or how many millimeters are in an inch, or . . . . I think you know what I am talking about. In the type of work I do, I get into a lot of conversion ratios and formulae. Some of the conversion tables are easy to find and some you have to search for.

I thought that this morning, since there is so much disaster, death, pain, and suffering going on the last few days, that a little bit of humor might be in store to brighten up the day some. It just so happened that I got an email from a good friend and it listed some scientific conversions that I had never heard of and thought that you would like to read them. Some of them you have to think about to see the real connection between both sides of the equal sign.


Scientific Conversions

1. Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi

2. 2000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won ton

3. 1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microscope

4. Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1 bananosecond

5. Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 billigram

6. Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour = Knotfurlong

7. 16.5 feet in theTwilight Zone = 1 Rod Sterling

8. Half of a large intestine = 1 semicolon

9. 1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz

10. Basic unit of laryngitis = 1 hoarsepower

11. Shortest distance between two jokes = A straight line

12. 453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake

13. 1 million-million microphones = 1 megaphone

14. 2 million bicycles = 2 megacycles

15. 365.25 days = 1 unicycle

16. 2000 mockingbirds = 2 kilomockingbirds

17. 52 cards = 1 decacards

18. 1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 FigNewton

19. 1000 milliliters of wet socks = 1 literhosen

20. 1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche

21. 1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin

22. 10 rations = 1 decoration

23. 100 rations = 1 C-ration

24. 2 monograms = 1 diagram

25. 4 nickels = 2 paradigms

26. 2.4 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital = 1 IV League

27. 100 Senators = Not 1 decision

I especially like the last one, number 27.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Going to quit wishing for rain.

After seeing what happened to Joplin and other areas, I am going to quit wishing for rain. This drought we are having is much safer unless someone gets careless with fire. My heart aches for those people who were in the path of that storm.

It seems to me that the weather this year has been extreme. There has been no happy medium. It is either way too dry or flooding, no rain at all or tornadoes, hail, and heavy rains. It has been hotter in some areas and colder in others. One thing for sure, nothing ever stays the same.

It is so awesome, that the currents in the Pacific Ocean can affect the climate of nations. That little girl (El Nina) or that little boy (El Nino) sure can cause a lot of trouble. They seem to affect everything from jet stream location to the severity of heat and storms. It is a “snow ball rolling down the hill” affect. The different changes in the Pacific currents trigger the start of the snow ball’s journey. If other conditions are right, some strange and terrible weather can occur. On the other hand, with all the droughts, fires, floods, storms, etc., maybe God is trying to tell us something; a warning, maybe?

OK, enough on the weather. I got my rush job done on time. Didn’t hear anything back, so it must have been OK. I will not know for sure until the parts are burned out and welded together. Then it will be too late. I hate rush jobs, they don’t give you the time to double check things.

You all have a good day now, you hear? Stay safe if any bad weather is in your area. It is another nice day here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

No Post Today - Rush Job

Got an email last evening from my favorite customer requesting that I do a quick rush job for him.  So that is what I am doing.

Thanks for understanding and have a nice day.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wondering where everyone went.

Hey, where is everyone??? OK, my mind is in a daze, I actually slept in this morning. About 23:00 last nigh, two of three dogs wanted out of the bedroom and went to the other parts of the house. The third one doesn’t mind sleeping in, so I slept in, too. OK, now that I am awake, is there anyone left on earth after the “end” yesterday?

It just makes me sad that I missed the rapture and am left behind. Guess it is too late to "change my evil ways", right? Looks like I'm not the only one, so that confirms my suspicion that the whole world has gone to hell (grin). Well, since we are all still here, I guess we will all go back to our old routines.

Still no rain here. There has been rain close by but faded away before it got to us. This has got to be the worst drought that I have ever seen here. Its affects are not as bad as they could have been if it had started during the summer instead of the winter. Of course, if it continues for much longer, it will be really bad, especially for the farmers and ranchers. No grass means they must purchase hay from somewhere else. Of course, that somewhere else may be under water. Dang, draw a line through the center of Louisiana and to the west it is drought and to the right it is floods. No happy medium anywhere.

Maybe this “end of the world” doesn’t just happen in one day, but takes a little time (grin).

You all have a good day now, you hear?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wondering what the odds are on lighting strikes

My Dad knew a guy who had been hit by lighting multiple times, but if my memory serves me correctly, only once directly. This fellow was an oil field worker and during a storm he took shelter in a building that housed some valves from pipes that came in from different wells. Something was struck out in the field and came in on one of those pipes and blew him out through the wall of the building. He survived with minor injuries and minor burns.

The next time he was driving his pick-up down a wooded dirt road just as a storm was approaching but before the rain had arrived. The lightning struck a tree on the left side of the road bounced through the open windows in his truck and hit a tree on the right side of the road. It left him with fizzled hair and a stalled out truck. Now neither of these were direct hits.

My memory fails me about the direct hit he got. I do not know the details, but do know he had a long recovery period. The soles of his feet we blown partially off and he had bad burns on other parts of his body. I think that I would stay far away from that guy when a storm was on its way.

Now, what made me remember the above was a video clip that friends of mine sent to me via email. It was a video from a security camera that caught a fellow being hit with lightning two times with in a very short period of time. I will try and post this video clip at the end of my blog for you to see. If the guy hadn’t been wet from the rain, the current of lightning may have gone through him. Maybe the wet clothing saved this man’s life.

Now tell me, what are the odds of getting hit with lightning? The email I got said that in an eighty year life span the odds are one in 6250. OK what would be the odds of getting hit twice? Now imagine the odds of getting hit twice within minutes. But what would be the really unbelievable odds of all this happening and getting it on video, too? Wow.

Here is the clip:

Friday, May 20, 2011

A little fuel for the doomsday predictors

I know that someday doomsday will arrive, but I also believe that it will come “as a thief in the night”. It will probably come when least expected. But, there are people who are sure they know when this day will be upon us. These people use signs of the times, celestial signs, or what the voices in their heads are telling them. I for one believe it is getting close. Heck, that is a safe assumption, since every day that goes by brings it closer and closer, right?

One of the things that bring the predictors of eminent demise out of the shadows and into the news is alignment of celestial bodies. No, I don’t mean the chorus line in Los Vegas; I mean the alignment of planets. Am I missing something? I haven’t heard any thing about the end is here on the news or anywhere. There is something happening the first three weeks of this month that should have them yelling at the top of their lungs.

Since poor old Pluto was demoted form planet status, we are now left with eight planets. Subtract earth and we have seven planets sharing our Sun. In the news letter that Astronomy magazine sent to me by email, it said that six of these seven planets could be seen close to each other just before dawn the first three weeks of this month and that on the eleventh they were the closest together. (Of course only four could be seen without optical aid.)

Now, with all this going on I have not heard any frantic statements of the end. Maybe they were not lined up in just the right way? Or is it that planet alignments have been proven to do no harm in the past? And why should they? A bird flying overhead would have more of a gravitational affect on the earth than any alignment of the planets. The only bad thing is that you had to get up before the sun to see them. I can’t see anywhere near the horizon to the east because of all the tall trees so I just stayed in bed.

Well, tomorrow is the last day of the first three weeks and since the gathering of the planets was the tightest on the 11th, it is probably too late to get the best view. Well, I guess if doomsday isn’t coming today (but it might), I will go get a cup of coffee and maybe something to munch on.

You all have a good doomsday now, you hear?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wandering to the RV place.

Not too far from me, just south of Conroe, there is a RV Sales and Repair place. I have done business with them before and have been treated well. I made an appointment for early this morning to have a few things checked out on the RV. For one thing, the wiring that goes to my “Add-a-Brake” (here is a link to one:

http://www.shopwiki.com/Add~a~Brake-Portable-Supplemental-Braking-System )

 seems to be having a problem, or the sending unit, or something, because the Add-a-Brake is not receiving a signal. The Add-a-Brake unit works. I can operate it manually, so I figure it is in the wiring.

Got to get the garbage out.

Hey Ben, I like the truck that you purchased.

You all have a nice day, you hear?


An update.  Took some time but they traced it to the Add-a-Brake unit itself.  It works if you hit the test buttom but it will not work when it receives the signal sent from the motor-home when the brake pedal is pushed.  Now that means a layout of a lot of cash to replace it.  It is on order, now.

Still have some minor stuff to do, but it is road worthy here in Texas and elswhere when the new brake thing gets here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wondering about a couple of words.

OK, I have gone on and on before about the problems I (and others) have about the English language. I have a mathematical mind and want everything to follow set rules, but English has more exceptions than it has rules. I wrote a blog post in the past explaining that. Here is a link to that old post; you may enjoy reading it again:


Now, let us get back to today’s post. I have told you in the past that I love blue-grass music and especially gospel bluegrass. The other day I was listening to Ricky Skaggs and the Whites singing “Farther Away”. There is something about that song that is haunting and it seems to keep playing over and over in my head. So, I decided to go to the internet and print out the words, so that I could also sing it instead of just picking out the melody on the guitar. Of course, you guessed it; I did find it but also found that there seems to be different variations of the lyrics. They are close, so I guess I will pick the one I feel most comfortable with.

I just went a long way around just to complain about two words in the English language. The only difference I can see in these two words is one uses an “a” and the other uses “u” instead. The two words are farther and further. They mean the same thing. “Further” is older and my big old Webster’s New World College Dictionary says that “farther is more commonly used”. So why do we have two words that mean the same and are spelled almost the same, except for one letter?

I guess it is just another way of confusing me. It doesn’t take a whole lot to get me confused, especially in the use of the English language. My mind is not good with any language, even the only one that I know. Know? OK, I admit, I don’t know the whole English language, but only enough to get by on. Or is that buy??? Now, Ernest, you know why I have trouble with Morse code, it is just another language.

Even though my head is now spinning, I want you all have a nice day now, you hear?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wondering when the drought will break.

We should have had 18 inches or so of rain by now this year and we have only had about a quarter of an inch. And we didn’t have significant amounts of rain last fall. It is not a pretty sight at my place. It is still mostly green, but that can’t last for long.

I took a walk all around my place yesterday and it didn’t look good. The swamp/pond that when full takes up over 5 acres, is down to a couple of puddles, one with pig bones showing. We are having another beautiful day. That is the trouble; we have had way too many drop dead gorgeous days. Of course, a hurricane or tropical storm could reverse everything in one day. I would prefer a slower recovery. You know, one that consisted of a slow rain once every week with gorgeous days in between. Now, don’t you think that would be a good plan?

Went to Wal-Mart yesterday to get some supplies and I decided to get a back-up chip for my camera. I was having trouble finding one and the sales gal helped me out. She said that they were obsolete and it was good thing that I was buying one, because when these few were gone they would not be replaced. Guess my camera is older than I thought. It is doing a good job so now I have a spare chip. I did notice that the cost of it was double what the new chips are. Guess antiques are more expensive. Gee, I must be worth a lot.

You all have a great day now, you hear?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wondering what frightens us the most.

What frightens people the most? Well, I suppose that depends on your age. OK, I got lots of that; age that is, not fear. It is normal to be instantly frightened when something unexpected jumps out at you, but when you are real young, you expect monsters to be hiding behind curtains, closet doors, and shadows in the corners just waiting to pounce. Wasn’t that an exciting time to live through and if you are reading this, you did survive that period in your life.

The older we get changes what we fear. Some feared the first day of school. I didn’t. I was an only child and seeing all those kids my age, I couldn’t wait to get to school. As a pre-teen and early teen, our fears changed with our changing bodies and minds. The closer we got to legal driving age, the more we feared it would take for ever and ever to get that old. As teenagers, we feared that the person we loved would find us stupid and ugly. We feared the tests we didn’t study for. Oh what a wonderfully terrifying time of our lives! I, for one, wouldn’t mind going back to that period of my life.

Then after graduation; will it be college or a job? College just prolongs the job thing. Sometime along the way we get married and have a family. Then comes years of working until finally, retirement; a lot of fear along the way.

In my humble opinion, I believe that most fear comes from the unknown, the things that we can’t control. I suppose you would like to know what my fears are. OK, I will tell you. I fear the passing of the people, pets, and things I love. I fear the greed and hunger for power that some people and governments possess. I fear the possible loss of mental and physical abilities as I continue to age.

OK, I told my fears, what are your biggest fears?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wondering about age old questions.

I bet you have heard the old question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” I never really thought that was a very hard question. My answer to that question depends an exactly what the question asks. You see, it would have two opposite answers, depending on what kind of egg was in question.

If the egg in the question is to mean any type of egg, well then the answer is simple. The egg came first. But, if the egg in the question was meant to be a chicken egg, then the answer is also simple; the chicken.

Let me explain my reasoning. If it is any egg, then there were many animals that used eggs as a way to procreate way before there was a chicken. So eggs came way before chickens.

Now, if the question means chicken eggs; there has to be a chicken to lay a chicken egg. The chicken’s predecessor on the evolutionary tree somehow laid an egg that turned into a chicken. I don’t know what that pre-chicken bird was or what the father was, but it was at least one gene away of being a chicken. So the chicken came first before the chicken egg.

Any arguments, other opinions; let’s hear them.

Now for the next age old question: Why did the chicken cross the road???

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mimosa Trees

I have a lot of wild Mimosa trees growing on my place. They are a very beautiful and welcome sight when they bloom each year. They are blooming now and they are beautiful, except they are not quite as beautiful as they were last year. I, of course, am blaming it on the drought. One of my trees only has blooms on the top few branches and although the blooms are very pretty, they don’t seem to be quite as brilliant as they did last year.

Here is a picture that I took last Thursday:

And a closer look:

And even closer:

OK, now compare the same tree with one taken in the spring of 2009, doesn’t it look so much brighter?

If I would have taken a picture this year of the entire tree, you would see that the bottom half looks mostly dead. I sure hope it comes back. It died off a few years ago and came back, but it took awhile.

I did a painting back a year or so of one of my mimosa trees. Maybe I should do another one; they are a really nice subject for painting. Well, not this morning. Yep, you guessed it, am going to take my wife and go off to the flea market.

You all have a good day now, you hear?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wondering about a wild flowers life cycle.

Did you ever hear of a Coral Bean plant? I never have, and I always wondered what these beautiful plants with the red blooms were called. Today I searched the internet and found it. They grow up to 3 feet or more tall and the blooms start at the lowest buds and bloom upward. Here is a link to a lot of internet pictures:


Now, as I told you before, this year has been extra, extra dry and the wild flowers have had a hard time. Therefore, the plant I took pictures of is not in its prime health, but stressed by the drought. This plant usually lives out in open fields, but this one was beside my driveway next to brush and trees. I decided to take pictures over the life of this plant. It had two stalks coming up and this first picture shows it when it first started to bloom and seemed in less stressed:

This next picture is a few days later and shows both stalks blooming and standing straight up:

Another picture of the blooms a day or so later:

This is probably at its best:

After that, it faded and one stalk leaned over and it finally lay down on the ground.  After awhile seed pods developed and they do look like bean pods.  Maybe that is how it got its name, you know, bright red coral color and bean pod shaped seeds.  Here is a picture of the pods on the standing stalk:

And on the stalk that was laying down:

Since the drought was so severe, this plant stopped blooming way before most of its buds were ready and went to seed. The plant shut down early to make sure that seeds would be provided for next year. It must have known that the drought would kill it if it tried to complete its blooming cycle. You know, sometimes dumb plants can be smarter than us humans. Isn’t Nature wonderful?

You all have a good day now, you hear?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Sky is Falling

The sky is falling, the sky is falling!! OH, is that raindrops? Dang, I haven’t seen any of those this year, is that what they look like? Didn’t get much, around a tenth of an inch but they are predicting storms for later today. So far it has just been teasing us with a little sprinkle now and then, off and on, etc. I am not going to complain, we did get a preview of what a real rain shower would look like. Guess Mother Nature didn’t want to surprise with a lot of rain right off, so has decided to ease us into it.

The only trouble is, the weather man is predicting high winds and hail with the storm front we hope comes through here. Also, there is a chance of tornadoes. Hey, this is Texas, so there is always a chance of tornadoes. Anyway, I do hope we get a goodly amount of that strange wet stuff from the sky.

I hope to finish up my “paying” job today. So am going to get at it.

You all have a good day now, you hear?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Answers to Comments.

Since I am so busy on my paying job project, I have had little time for keeping up with the blogs. Before I get back to work this morning, I thought that I would answer yesterday’s comments on today’s blog.

Sixbears said. . . Location, location, location. I had frost on my foof yesterday. In northern NH, spring feels like your winter.

You sure have a point there, except this year it seems that everyone has been having crazy weather that is not normal. Yesterday tied or broke (depending on your location around here) the high temperature record for that date and today is suppose to do the same thing. And no rain this year, we normally would have had a couple of feet.

Ernest said. . . I agree with Sixbears. We had a long pleasant protracted spring time here on the west gulf coast of northern Florida.

You both are right, location (especially this year) either gave you normal weather, floods, tornadoes, or drought. Of course my cousin who lives near Ft. Myers tells me that his area is heaven on earth.

Ben in Texas said. . . Neat ole turtle. For a few years I had a red eared Box Turtle come up and lay eggs. Never saw any evidence of hatching, but it was neat. Haven’t seen her in a couple years.

Yep Ben, I have seen lots of turtles digging holes to lay eggs and have never seen any hatch. There are a lot of predators out there that will dig them up for breakfast.  Of course they could have hatched and returned to the swamp without me knowing about it.  I have found empty eggs, which are very soft.

Gypsy said. . . I like your observation about the turtle being an original RVer, with her house on her back.

Thanks Gypsy, there are a lot of other animals that fit that also fit that description, like snails, clams, etc. But the one that trades its “RV” in every so often is the Hermit Crab.

TROUBLEnTX said. . . AT my moms n dads house, in the back garden area, there was a turtle like urs, that crawled around that fence so long it had a trail made. No one had been back there, so hadn’t noticed it. We left the gate open.

Yep Trouble, some times a wire fence is flared in one direction and animals can get in but not out. Did you ever check and see if it found the open gate or maybe it got used to the staying on the path.

SciFiChick said. . . LOL@ “original RVrs” It seems that Texas (as usual) has gove from winter right into summer with a couple of weeks of spring tossed in just to let you know what you are missing!

SciFi, you are right. Around here, if you blink, you might miss a season, except for summer, that is (grin). Actually, we have had a very pleasant spring and a long one this year,. Just didn’t rain.

HemitJim said. . . Critters have a way of totally ignoring fences most of the time! Always seem to find a way in or out!

Well Jim, I actually lifted this ole gal up and placed her on the other side. She tried to keep on digging there but didn’t seem to like that location, so slowly wandered off. There have been a wide variety of sizes and kinds of animals inside the dogs’ fenced in yard. You are right, they sure do ignore fences!

I got to get back to work, so you all have a great day, you hear?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wondering, is it still Spring Time?

It was 96 degrees yesterday and it was 74 degrees this morning. It is suppose to be about the same today. The trees have been in full foliage for almost three months. It feels more like summer than spring. Mother Nature is trying to trick us into thinking it is mid summer. But, not all are fooled. Sunday, I looked out in the dogs’ fenced in back yard and saw a pond turtle digging a hole and preparing to lay eggs. Somehow, she must know that it is still spring time and a time for rebirth and new birth.

OK, how did she get in that fence? Our local wildlife seem quite adept at getting into the dogs’ yard. There always seems to be this one big old fat bunny rabbit that gets in there. When the dogs go out, it looks like she just runs through the fence. Except for one time when she (or he) got trapped in a corner when the dogs went out. It took it three attempts but it finally jumped over the three foot fence. I would have thought that impossible.

After closer inspection of where the rabbit seemed run through the fence, I found a spot in the fence where it had been stretched apart some. Not enough for the dogs to get through, but just enough for the rabbit. The departed pig probably made that defect in the fence, along with a lot of other ones.

OK, back to the turtle.  Here is picture of her:

I picked her up and put her on the outside of the fence. Looked later, and she was gone. They seem to travel a long way from the ponds. I have seen snapping turtles a long way from water. Guess they like to travel, too. And they are the original RVers; they have their house on their back.

Got to run, it seems that my customer’s customer liked my approval drawing. That means I have to go ahead and do the fabrication drawings.

You all have a good day now, you hear?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Short and Sweet This Morning

This is going to be a short blog, don’t know about the sweet part. That back window in my Jeep Liberty hopefully will be fixed today. You remember, the one I told you about in my Saturday’s blog. I have an appointment for the first thing this morning at the Jeep dealer and hope that it is a simple fix.

Got to run. I will let you know later how it worked out.
*** *** ***
OK, got back.  Glad I went in because I found out a few things.  Talked to a lady who had this same thing done 7 times to her 2007 Liberty.  And another lady who had it happen.  The check out lady said this was very common.  So, now I wonder why there was no recall if they know there is a problem?

Oh well, I am glad it is fixed and yes, Ben, I will do it myself next time.  I think that I will get me some real good suction cups and when I am towing the Liberty behind the motorhome, I will stick them at the bottom of the windows so if they want to fall down the suction cups will prevent that happening.  If they fall down into the door, I would have to pull the panel off to get it back up.  The suction cups would keep the situation from becoming critical, especially if it is raining.

You all have a nice day now, you hear?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wondering about “Doom’s Day”

First off, let me say that I did go back and add stuff to yesterdays blog, but I don’t think that is going to work for me, so will just go back to my old way of doing my blog. Thanks for your patients. Now, on with today’s blog.

Yep, I was reading an article about all the past asteroid hits that Earth has endured and couldn’t help but wonder about the next “Big One”. This article was in the magazine “Astronomy”, which I subscribe to. Now this article said that most all of the large asteroids out there have been located and the only chance, and a very, very slim chance of one hitting the Earth would be for one to come from the direction of the sun. Whew, I guess we are safe.

But wait a minute, comets still pose a threat. They come from far away to swing around our star (the Sun) and head back out “there”. New ones are discovered more often than old ones returning. They have a huge elliptical orbit that takes many years to complete. Comets’ trajectories can be erratic since the heat from the Sun warms the ice and it out-gasses, which can affect the path. So, if they determine one is a real threat and try to nudge it off course, they may just be nudging it on a collision course.

Astronomy magazine gave an example of what would happen if a 1.5 mile diameter comet impacted the earth. It set up a chart of the immediate aftermath at both 50 miles and 300 miles from the impact site. It is very interesting and scary.

The debris would arrive at the 50 mile site 2.2 minutes after impact and at the 300 mile site, 5.5 minutes. The depth of the debris on the ground at 50 miles would be 3.3 feet thick and at 300 miles just 0.19 inch deep. The air blast would arrive at 50 miles within 4.1 minutes at a speed of 1180 mph leaving nothing and at 300 miles, 77 mph winds would arrive in 24.4 minutes. It would be like a hurricane at 300 miles out. The thermal affect would be disastrous. At 50 miles trees and most all flammable things would ignite and at 300 miles, only leaves and paper would burn. This is not a pretty sight!

Most of the world would survive this event, at first. The dust and debris in the atmosphere and the destruction of the ozone layer would cause a long term climate change. Could people survive? Yes, but not all. It would depend on how humanity would react to this disaster. The fight to survive may turn into a fight between all who want to survive. Let us hope that we do not have to find out.

The good news? Yes there is, the chances of this happening is very, very slim. We are just one tiny little speck in this huge universe and we are a moving target. Let’s hope the comets are a bad shot.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Flea Market Day; Let’s Try Something New.

I think I will try something new today. I read Ben’s blog, An Older Texan Remembers, and he keeps updating his blog throughout the day and I think that I will try that. Let’s see how it goes today.

Since I had a bad night, I am a little late getting up. My male dog thinks one of the females is in heat. That can’t be, cause they have be “fixed”, but he hasn’t. This happens every time we have the dogs groomed. We are thinking that it may have something to do with the groomer squeezing the anal glands to clear them out. Or maybe he is just clutching at straws and hoping, hoping, hoping. . . Anyway, the female was the first to want out of the bedroom, so I obliged. It only took an hour or so for the male to decide he didn’t need to sleep as much as he wanted to be with her. This went on for a couple of hours until I finally let him out of the room. I then got a couple of hours of restful sleep and got up a little later than normal.

I am still working on the model for my customer. The minor details, like hardware, latches, gas springs, hinges, rivet-nuts, etc. take up more time than designing the whole rest of the model. Some vendors supply 3D solid electronic files of some of their products, but it just so happened that none of the ones I had to use on this project were available that way. I had to take the very few dimensions that were given and try to make my own models. It took some “by guess and by golly” to get a fair likeness. I will have to wait until the parts come in to get some of the mounting information.

OK, got to start getting ready to go to the flea market. Be back later.


OK, I'm back but it is a lot longer than I planned.  Things just were not coming together with my work and on weekends there is no one to verify anything.  Therefore, I will do it my way and if they want it changed again, so be it.  Also got a phone call from my cousin and we talked from 15:30 until after 17:00.

Had to have my eggs and boudin sausage for supper, now I feel better.

Yesterday I discovered my right rear side window was down about 8 inches when I was getting in to go to Wal-Mart.  Was wondering if someone had tried to break in but the electric motor just went bababababa when I hit the switch.  Why would that window go bad?  I have only put it up and down a couple of times at the most.  My drivers side window is the one that gets most of the action.  Oh well, got an appointment for Monday to get it looked at.  Always something.

Not too many at the flea market today, so I am sure my wife will want to go back tomorrow.

BTW, we had a plane crash at our local air port today.  The two occupants were killed and the crash in the woods started a fire when the plane exploded.  Quick response and cutting a path around about a square mile of land stopped the fire from getting out of control.  We still have not had any rain here this year.

Have a good evening.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Supplies and Work Today

Amazing, I got an email yesterday afternoon with enough information that I can now go ahead and finish up the model and make a proposal drawing.  Only trouble is we are out of supplies and have to run to Wally-World this morning.  Maybe I can get some of my work done before we head out.

I guess what I am trying to tell you is that this post is going to be cut short.

You all have a nice day now, you hear?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wondering if the economy is improving.

There I was, yesterday, sitting here working on a “paying” job and the phone rang. Holly Cow, it was my other customer who I hadn’t heard from for about a year. They have a new big project and wondered if I had the time to work on it. Time? I am retired, or at least I thought, and when you are retired you just can’t find time to work anything in, especially work – if you know what I mean. Well, I told them I would consider it if it didn’t interfere too much with some of the trips I had planned. Hey, don’t look down on me! I like to work now and then; it is actually quite enjoyable. It is like working out a puzzle, putting together electronic models and then details of all the parts. It is more fun than work, but when you have too much of it, it starts to feel like work. And you know that “work” is a bad four letter word.

Hay, maybe I can now afford more gasoline to put into the old motor-home and then be able to take more trips. Of course if I have time. Time, at my age, is more important than money. You youngens out there, just wait, you will see.

Speaking of work, I better get back at it. Called and talked to my customer before 07:00 this morning giving him a list of information that I need from him or his customer to complete the model. Once the model is done, the next step is to make a proposal drawing for my customer to send to his customer. (My customer owns a large fabrication shop) After approval, I will then do the fabrication drawings which include arrangements, assemblies, sub-assemblies, details, and BOM (Bill of Material).

You all have a nice day now, you hear?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Just to let you know.

I have been working a little on a new project, you know, a paying job.  Turned in a preliminary print of my model and they must have changed their minds.  They enlarged the thing, so I have to redo the model.  For some reason, I always seem to be a bit disappointed when my customer's customer changes their mind, but then I realize that I get paid by the hour.  That makes the slight disappointment a lot easier to live with (grin).

OK, nothing else today.  I have to get back to work and get something done to make everyone happy.

You all have a good day, you hear?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wondering about kissing bugs.

I have been around for a long time and I am not sure if I had ever seen a Kissing Bug before. That has changed, for sure. It seems that in the last few days they have been showing up around my place. A few days ago, I saw one on the outside of my screened in porch. I got my camera, went out the side door, came around the house, and tried to get a picture of it. It would have been a good picture because the sun was hitting it just right. When I approached it, it just flew off. I didn’t know that they were that skittish. It was only a day before that when I killed one outside.

Just a couple of days after that, I saw one on the inside of the screen. I got my camera and went out onto the porch, but this time I didn’t get close to it. I just used the telephoto feature on the camera to zoom in on it. The light was all wrong; it was shining from behind the bug. I knew this would not be a good picture but took it anyway. See for yourself:

I killed that one and another one on the next day. All of a sudden the number of these bugs that I have seen has ballooned from none to four and counting. Not sure if I want to see any more. Of course the trouble happens when they find you and you don’t see them. About 4 or 5 years ago, a woman who lived just up the road from us was bitten on the leg by one. It appeared that the bug bit her in multiple places. It was probably disturbed while feeding on her and had to bite multiple times. (The kissing bug [conenose beetle] injects an anesthetic along with the bite so the victim does not feel a thing.) This lady, along with complications from infections, was on crutches for a period of time.

I always heard and believed that they were only found in desert areas. My area of East Texas is lush and green with both hardwood and pine forests. At least it used to be and still is, but if we don’t get some rain soon, it will be a desert. Do you think the kissing bugs know something we don’t? (grin)

I know that the picture I took does not show the bug very well, but if anyone out there recognizes it as something different than a kissing bug or conenose beetle, please let me know.

Got to go, it is time to take the dogs to the groomer. You all have a nice day, you hear?

Monday, May 2, 2011

The end of the pig story.

I have written about and shown pictures of the huge wild sow that has made my land her land. Lately, she has been disappearing for days at a time. I would always mention to my wife that maybe something happened to the pig. My wife would always say that she would be back and sure enough, she always showed back up.

For a few days before we went to Huntsville State Park, the pig had not been around. When we got back, she still seemed to be missing. Well, the other day I took a walk around the property and as I was coming up to one of the deep parts of my swamp that still had some water in it, I noticed a large flock of buzzards standing around. I got out my camera and tried to sneak up no them to get a picture and off they all flew. Sort of sounded like a tornado. I did snap a couple of pictures but only one picture got only two birds and not all that clear.

About 10 or 15 more steps ahead I saw what they were after. Floating upside down in the pond was the big old sow; very dead. I took a picture, but will not post it here on this blog. I don’t want to make any of my readers sick. If you have to see it, I will go ahead and post it on the “UnitedOldFarts” blog. Here is a link: http://nited-old-farts.blogspot.com/2011/05/pig-is-dead-long-life-pig.html

I really enjoyed the races yesterday. My friend’s wife was a first timer at a Top Fuel event and she really did enjoy it. That pleased me. I enjoy bringing someone who really enjoys it and isn’t afraid to show it. A great time was had by all, even thought it was a long day. I left the house at 07:15 and didn’t get home until after 19:00. My wife was recording the TV broadcast of the race, which was on from 18:00 until 21:00, so I got to watch the last half of it on TV while I ate supper and relaxed a bit. Will watch the whole thing again as soon as I have the time.

You all have a good week now, you hear?