Wondering about wild grapes

Friday, August 31, 2012

Wondering about giving things up.

Have you ever seen an animal give up its freedom for a small treat?  Some dogs are like that.  My youngest one sure is.  She will get into a pen or cage with just the rattle of the Milk Bone box in anticipation of a small treat.  Since she was a late-comer to the family, and my wife at first gave her a lot of special attention (she was a rescue dog), the two older shih tzu dogs, especially the male, resented her arrival.  So, when we leave the house, the youngest one stays locked in her own little "house".  She knows when we are getting ready to go some where and dances around and runs into her "house" awaiting her small treat.  Some people are no different.  Some are very willing to give up their freedoms for a little treat.  I am not!!!  How about you?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wandering back in time to the Appalachians.

It is no secret that I was born and raised in Pennsylvania even though I have lived in Texas for the last 32 years and also feel at home here as I do when I go back and visit in Pennsylvania.  That isn't the subject of this blog, but rather a creek in the Appalachian Mountains named Mix Run.  You see, that is where a family named Mix lived and branched out from there.  Some I know and some you have heard of.  No?  Now, I bet you all have heard of Tom Mix, the cowboy movie star.  My Grandmother's sister (who lived next door to my Grandma) married Jack Mix, a full cousin to Tom and they both came from the same area.

For those of you who are not old enough to of heard of Tom Mix, let me tell you a little bit about him.  He was born in 1880 and after growing up there, he left his mountain home to supposedly travel around the world where he ended up as a bartender in Oklahoma.  While working there he was noticed by a guy who owned a "wild west" show because Tom looked so much like a cowboy.  The show made him a cowboy and with a little more work he became a champion rider and a rodeo star.  While he was in that show, some Hollywood movie people checked it out for possible actors and Tom Mix was an obvious choice.  He made hundreds of movies but the first few hundred only lasted fifteen to thirty minutes and were not much to speak of but taught him his trade.  He also wrote and directed many of these short films himself.  Because he could (from the wild west show) his movies emphasized action and exciting horsemanship, which he did himself and never used a double.

Back in the mid 1920's, he was the King of Cowboys and earned $20,000 a week which he spent most as soon as he made it.  His mansion, his cars, his clothes and his parties were almost as well known as his movies.  There was also a Tom Mix Wild West Circus, a Tom Mix radio show, and Tom Mix children's clothes and toys.  He left this world in 1940 when he died in a car crash while he was still an idol of millions.

I got most of this information (other than family stuff) from Bellerophon Books' "Cowboys" A Bellerophon Coloring Book which I found at a second hand store yesterday.  I thought you would enjoy a little cowboy story this morning and since it is true and I have a far off connection to it, I decided on this one.  I hope you enjoyed it and please have a rip snorten, high fallooten, bull riding, calf roping day now, you hear.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wondering about the Old Fool

The Old Fool hasn't posted a blog since August 6th and I am wondering about him, especially now since hurricane Isaac has hit his area hard.  The winds are not too bad but flooding is the number one problem in that area.  Maybe the Old Fool's home is a lot higher than New Orleans.  It would have to be, since New Orleans is below sea level.  Death valley is below sea level and it doesn't flood (grin) but there is no large city there and they don't even have any flood danger, just the opposite.  It kind of makes you wonder why they built a city below sea level right beside the sea.  Yes, I know it was a sea port and I suppose it would make a good one since you could park your boat at the front door.  That came to a stop when they built the levies.

We here in East Texas are on the "clean" side of the storm and will start to feel some hot north winds in awhile as Isaac moves inland.  The storms that worry me are the ones that hit directly or come in to our west.  If possible, you want to stay away from the "dirty" side of tropical storms.  It is nice to have an RV to escape in.  I have done that twice since I lived here.  The first time I went north which was a mistake and the second time I went west, which was the best.  Sometimes when they hit land, they take a different direction, but going west is the best bet to keeping on the clean side of the storms, except for those that come in on the west side.  Then you have to study the projected path of the storm to determine which way to go or to stay put.  It is like I tell my wife, why have both our home and the RV in danger when one can be moved.  Well, I hope to see a blog post by the Old Fool soon and you all have a good day and for those in the path of the storm, good luck and stay safe.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wondering, so this is progress?

We were coming back from a visit to another eye surgeon yesterday and were driving on a road that we used to use quite a bit when going to visit our son and his family except we turn off only part of the way to go to the eye doc.  I am talking about FM 1488.  We get on it where it begins at I-45 and turn off on 2978.  Back when we used to use it a lot (as I mentioned above) it was a beautiful drive.  FM 1488 was then a two lane road through the woods.  Now, however, it has turned into a five lane highway with many, many traffic lights and where there used to be beautiful forests there is now all kinds of business and retail stores.  Here is a picture I snapped coming home.  It was in the most scenic part I could find:

And there are still businesses in the picture.  You would think that this super wide highway would allow a quicker trip but not really.  There are just so many traffic lights that you just get started and you have to stop, over and over and over again.  I guess I don't like progress very much, but I will have to learn to live with it.  Some actually helps and I am sure that the extra width to the road was necessary, but it sure is a shame that the beauty disappears when "progress" comes along.  With all the hard surfaced roads and fewer trees, it is no wonder we are having global warming.  Or is it I just get "hot" over what I see (grin)?  Never the less, it is amazing just how fast "civilization" can take over.  Now, you have a great day today, you hear?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wondering about cleaning filters.

Filters are important.  They protect things and us, too,  There are all kinds and types of filters that are made for specific applications and for different media.  The hair in our noses is natures way of filtering the air we breathe.  The earth filters the water in my well.  Man has made many filters like air filters, oil filters, water filters, etc.  Nature is good at filtering otherwise our world would be more of a cesspool than it is already.  Filters in air conditioning and heating systems are important so that dust and dirt does not coat the heat transfer coils and lower their efficiency.  On the forced air system in my home, I have added a piece of window screen in front of the filter to catch the big stuff (like dog hair) which allows me to quickly clean it off a few times before the filter itself needs replaced.  This keeps the big stuff off the main filter so the it can do a better job for a longer period of time.

The other day I decided I should clean the intake filters for the air conditioners in the motor home.  There is no easy access to the two air conditioner units mounted on the roof, so it most important to keep clean filters in all the inlet duct vents.  There are eight sets of two (one intake and one outlet) vents but only the intake vents have filters.  They are mounted with four screws which I removed and pulled out the vents.  The filters came out the back, which I first vacuumed and then washed out and replaced.  Now the system should work better like it is supposed to.  I always keep the air conditioning on in the summer time but keep the thermostat set at about 78 degree.  In the winter I switch the roof units over to heat and lower the thermostat to around 60 degree, that way I don't have to use the forced air furnace and burn propane.  Oh, you know what I just remembered?  I forgot to clean the vent in the RV's bathroom.  Guess that will give me something to do (grin), as if I didn't have enough on my "to do" list.  Since my "to do" list is getting way to long, I just have to lay down on the couch, because reading it makes me just so tired. . .  Now you all have a great day and forget about your "to do" list and enjoy yourselves, you hear?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wondering about old cars and hot rods.

I just never get tired of seeing cars and trucks that are a little different than what you usually see going down the road now-a-days.  My wife and I took our usual trip down to the local flea market again yesterday and will go again later today.  As we were leaving we saw this car parked in the parking lot.  Just had to take a picture of it.  I hope you like it as much as I did:

I bet that is a blast to drive, not much weight and a big engine.  Kind of reminds me of my teenage years when they first started making hot-rods like these.  Do you remember the Walt Disney movie "The Shaggy Dog"?  It reminds of the car that was in that movie.

That movie hit the big screen back in 1959 when I turned 16 years old.  Maybe that is why I liked the hot rods.  But back then I was going on dates in a 1955 DeSoto.  Oh, I am not knocking that car, it was a good one.  After my Dad, a salesman for H.J. Heinz company, thought he had wore it out after a few hundred thousand miles let me have it.  It was not a hot rod but it had four wheels and would go down the road.  Never the less, I have good memories of "my first car".  OK, now you all have a great day and be careful going down the road, you hear?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wondering about the size of products.

Have you noticed that the size of things you buy anymore seem to be shrinking?  They can only raise the price so much or people will quit buying their products and find substitutes, so they slightly shrink the size or quantity that you receive.  For instance, go see if you can still buy a pound of coffee or sugar.  I am not sure about the sugar since we don't use it or purchase it, but I do know about the coffee and other things.  It is amazing that there are still 12 eggs in a dozen.  Even candy bars are getting smaller, but I can't attest to that either.  I guess we have a choice, either pay more or get less.  Something like this blog this morning, a lot shorter than you expected, right?  Have a good weekend now, you hear?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wondering about wrinkles.

Wrinkles, we all got them and in a lot of different places.  We were born with wrinkles, they didn't seem to bother us then.  A lot of them smoothed out as we grew up.  As we aged, a lot of those wrinkles started returning.  In middle age, women have kept the cosmetic industries flourishing and I am sure a few men have helped, also, by purchasing all that wrinkle cream, etc.  Wrinkles are a fact of life, if our skin didn't wrinkle it would crack.  Wrinkles are important and are needed in the proper places.  It is when they start showing up where they are not needed is when people start wanting to get rid of them.  I, for one, am proud of my wrinkles.  It took me dang near 70 years to get them just right (grin).

Yesterday, my wife had an appointment with an eye surgeon to check and see if her cataracts were ready for removal.  They were not, but the doctor discovered another problem.  She has developed a wrinkle on her retina.  This is not good.  Things look wavy to her, there is no such thing in her world as a straight line.  It really bothers her.  That was bad news but one good thing, she does not need surgery for her cataracts yet and the surgery to fix her retina wrinkle is quite complicated and dangerous; not recommended by her doctor.  He said that there are drops available that may help the situation, so we took his prescription to the drug store but they said that they wouldn't have it until the next day, that is today.  So another trip to town today is on the agenda.  We both hope and pray that they work.  She called her brother last night to tell him and we found out that he has the same thing.  Coincidence or hereditary?  We may never know.  The eye problems that she has been having is the major reason she doesn't like to ride in the motor-home.  Hope she can get the problem fixed without any major hassle.  Now you all wish her luck and have yourself a great Friday, you hear?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wondering what kind of worm it is.

I was walking past the table yesterday and spotted this big ugly worm trying to hide under some paper.  It was really a shock to see such a worm on the table that we eat off of, so hiding my fear, I gathered all my composure and strength and whopped it a good one with my bear hand.  Ouch!!  I think it stung me, then I saw its terrible stinging tail, or is it its head?  This is the most ugly and dangerous creepy critter that I ever saw.  Maybe I should get my gun!!  Na, that would make too much of mess and disturb my wife, who is always doing crafts of some kind; either painting, or crocheting, or weaving, or making things our of paper or other material.  She is quite the artist and is into many different things.

Then I realized that this "ugly worm" with the big stinger must be a tool for one of her projects, maybe a weaving project.  She has all kinds and sizes of looms, from quite large down to very small, and everything in between.  Now, don't tell her that I almost flattened one of her art project tools.  Actually, it hurt my hand more than I could hurt it.  Here is a picture so you can see how easily it is to confuse it with some creepy crawler:

So, what do you think?  What would you have done?  Of course being a big brave man like I am, I didn't bother to tell her I almost flattened one of her artistic tools; the prudent thing to do.  Now you all try to avoid all those weird looking critters out there and have yourself a great day, you hear?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wondering about the wild rabbits.

This morning after the dogs went out and came back in, I noticed our resident rabbit had a friend.  Since the "friend" was chasing our resident rabbit around, I figured that there just might be love in the air.  I went out on the deck with my trusty old camera to get a picture of the two rabbits chasing each other.  The resident rabbit just stopped, watched me a little while and started eating.  The visiting rabbit stayed hid in the brush.  Dang, I wanted to get a video of them running around, or even a still shot of them both in the yard, but do you think that they cooperated?  No they didn't.  The resident rabbit, as if to show off to the visitor, gracefully hopped between the gate and the fence post and went into the dog's yard.  It hopped around a bit then went out through the fence near the other rabbit as gracefully as a ballet dancer.  Then the race was on, except they ran off down through the woods and with them went my photo opportunity.  I guess they were going to breed like rabbits. . . Now you all have a great mid-week bog down, you hear?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wondering; Is it Christmas already?

I had a few errands to do in town yesterday and my wife decided to go along and shop at her favorite store while I did my running around.  So I dropped her off and went off and completed my errands.  I returned to the store and went in and located her.  Of course she was not done looking so I tagged along for awhile.  When we got to the northwest corner of the store, I thought that we had been fast forwarded in time to just before Christmas.  This whole corner was filled with Christmas stuff from top to bottom.  I just couldn't believe it.  Blinked a few times but it was still there.  Dang, I had to verify this with a picture so I reached in my pocket, pulled out my camera, and took three pictures.  Here is the first one:

That is my wife in the picture.  As you can see, the Christmas stuff seemed to go on and on.  I walked straight ahead to the end of the aisle and snapped another picture looking to the right:

Then I took another one looking on down the same direction I walked from the first picture but moved over at the end of the aisle and took the last picture looking down past the Christmas trees.

The Christmas tree was originally the Yule tree from a pagan religion and a King of ancient times decided to combine the Christian celebration with the pagan one and that is how the so called "Christmas Tree" was born.  I just think it is way too early to start displaying all the Christmas stuff.  But, it did seem to work.  It cooled things off a little.  Must have been a front come through last night because early this morning it was 68 degrees and is only suppose to get to the mid 90's today.  I can take that.  So "Merry Christmas" and have a great day now, you hear?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wondering about Helen Keller.

A week or two ago I bought a paper back book for fifty cents at the flea market.  It is "Helen Keller - The Story of My Life".  Just finished reading it last night.  When I was young, my Mother used to tell me about Miss Keller, the hardships she went through, and how she over came them to live a life of accomplishments and was an example to anyone with any kind of disability.  Of course, it helped to be born into an affluent family.  She was born on June 27, 1880 and raised on 640 acres near Tuscumbia, Alabama.  A childhood sickness accompanied by a high fever when she was about 18 months old left her both deaf and blind.  It would be hard enough to go through life blind or deaf, but it is unimaginable for someone to go through life both blind and deaf and make a difference in this world.  Helen Keller did.

I am not going to go into all those details here.  I am, however, going to tell you some of things that impressed me.  As a little girl, she liked to roam through nature.  She even used a canoe that was in a pond on the estate.  She went to hunting camps and one time at camp she and her companion went on too long of a hike and to get back home before dark, had to cross a long railroad trestle.  As luck would have it, they were halfway across when they heard an approaching train.  They just had time to crawl over the side and hang on for dear life until the train passed.  This blind and deaf girl didn't let her disabilities hold her back.  She went sailing, hiking, traveled a lot, loved to ride on trains, walk on beaches, talk to people, and attend plays.  She even attended college and wrote this book when she was in her second year at Radcliffe.  How did she do all these things and experience all these things.  Her constant companion, Ann Sullivan, would use a sort of sign language by pressing her fingers into the Helen's hand to tell her what was said or going on around her.  She would also feel someones lips and be able to understand what that person was saying.  Of course, her sense of taste, smell, and touch were so much more acute than normal people who had all their senses.  She learned braile and read as much as possible.  They had books punched in braile for her when in college.  It was fascinating to read her early life and how and what she learned and could and couldn't do in her own words.  If you ever come across this book, get it and read it.  Helen Keller was not only my Mother's hero but a lot of people's.  If you can see or hear or both, count your blessings and have a good start to this week, you hear?

 640-acre tract in historic Tuscumbia, Ivy Green

Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wondering about Love Bugs

I am wondering about Love Bugs; no, not the cute little Walt Disney Volkswagen in several of his movies (remember them?) but the ones that appear in this area (and a lot of the south coastal areas) this time of year.  They did not get their name because people just "love" to have them appear every year (and some times twice a year), but because they are usually seen flying around coupled together.  They look like two headed bugs.  Most people, if not all, do not like them.  They seem to be attracted to highways.  Some believe that it is the smell of the fumes or the asphalt that attracts them since they may think it smells like swamp gas.  Because of this attraction to highways, they are really disliked.  Hundreds get smashed on your windshield and the front of your vehicle, dry as hard as cement very quickly, and are very, very hard to wash off.  They have an odor that most of us finds offensive.  So, with all these traits, it is really hard to love Love Bugs!!

I have heard ever since I moved to this area about them and was warned that they could damage the paint.  That is not true, they do not damage the pain but I have heard of people trying to remove them have damaged the paint.  I have no idea how to prevent them from sticking to your vehicle.  Maybe you could cover it with grease, but then it would be hard to see out the windshield (grin).  Now there is one way to prevent this messy situation, is to only drive at night.  Can you imagine that Love Bugs don't go out at night?  Gee, I wonder what they do at night. . .  Now, you all have a lovely day today, you hear?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wandered in to get my prescription filled.

Yesterday we wandered in to Wal-Mart to pick up my blood pressure prescription and I noticed a funny looking thing on the windshield wiper blade.  See:

Here is a close up:

What was really strange about it was that hundreds of little spiders came out of it.  When I say little, I mean little!!  You could hardly see them.  Now, I have seen where spiders had formed a web ball and the baby spiders would come out of that, but never had I seen anything that looked lite this.  I should have stopped and collected it, but I didn't have a jar that I could put it in and my wife didn't want thousands of little spiders loose in the Jeep.  Have you ever seen such a strange looking thing?

OK, according to my wife, we just had to stop at Hobby Lobby since we would be going right past it.  Of course I did, have to listen to the navigator, right?  One of the sections she likes to check out is the yarn.  I was just looking around and you will not believe what I spotted:

And of course a close up to better see what is sitting there:

Now tell me, how did a rattle snake get in the yarn section?  Maybe some woman's husband got upset at her buying so much yarn and thought maybe this would slow her up.  Did it work?  Heck if I know.

Since we are on the subject of wild life (we are?) I decided to take a picture of the rabbit that teases the dogs all the time.  Here is a picture of it inside the dogs' yard:

Of course, this rabbit is a much more welcome intruder than what used to get into the dogs' yard:
This old wild pig just knocked the fence down or stuck her nose under it and pulled out the posts and all, stomped it down, and just walked over it to get in.

Well, it is off to the flea market day, so I better go get some nourishment so I can help my wife carry everything she lugs home (grin).  You all have a wonderful weekend, you hear?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Wondering about yesterday's sci-fi becoming today's reality.

It is amazing how many things that were science fiction just a few short years ago are now a reality!!  I also wonder if the sci-fi writers were really smart and could figure out what would lie ahead in the future, or if today's scientists and technicians were avid reader of science fiction and had the dream of making it come true, or if the development of technology just took that route on its own.  But to me, it is ironic how many things from some of the old sci-fi TV shows and movies have come to be a reality.  I have told you about a lot of them in the past, but today I would like to talk about the ion engines that powered space craft in the old movies, like Star Wars, Battle Star Galactica, and Star Trek.  Am I bringing back any memories?  This "ion engine" was fiction but today it is a reality.  In fact, the Dawn space craft is powered by one.  Dawn is on its way to visit a couple of asteroids, Vesta first and then Ceres.  But first, it will swing past mars for a gravitational boost.  It will travel 1.7 billion miles before reaching Vesta and 900 million more miles to reach Ceres.

This trip would be near impossible if using conventional fuel where a flammable fuel is combined with oxygen and burned and the exhaust pushes a craft through space.  A space craft with conventional rockets would have to be enormous just to carry the fuel needed, and thus, a lot more expensive and heavier to launch.  The ion engine solved this problem, although it was launched aboard a conventional rocket and then turned loose to go on its own.  It carries 937 pounds of Xenon gas on board as its fuel.  If it would have been powered by a conventional rocket, it would have needed to carry two and a half tons of rocket fuel.  Dawn's ion engine uses solar panels to obtain the energy to create electric fields that accelerate a beam of positive Xenon gas ions that shoot out the rear of the craft at 90,000 mph.  It is 10 times more efficient than regular fueled rocket engines.  It will take a long time to reach both of the largest known asteroids, but Dawn is up to the task with its Sci-Fi ion engines working just fine.  BTW, it was launched in September of 2007 and reached Vesta on July 2011 and sent back wonderful pictures.  It should reach Ceres by February 2015.  Aren't ion engines wonderful?  Now you all have a great day now, you hear?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wandering to a doctor's appointment.

It has been a year or two since I have been to the doctor's and so far I have been able to get them to renew my prescription for my blood pressure medications.  The last time they said they wouldn't do it and I told them that I only had one pill left so they did but insisted that they wouldn't again until I see the doctor.  So I got to take the garbage down to the road and then go see the doctor.  Much prefer the garbage.  As soon as it cools down some and I can get out and do a couple of miles of fast walking, I may be able to get off those pills.  Of course at my age, that may be impossible.  Maybe not if I can get back down to 160 pounds (I now weigh 178 pounds).  It seems that my blood pressure is directly proportional to my weight.

When I first let the dogs out, I saw our local rabbit just outside the fence chewing on the grass.  The dogs saw it but just starred a bit and went about their business.  So, since the rabbit was standing up on its rear legs to reach the top tender parts of some grass or weed or something, I went back in and got my camera for a great picture. When I came back out with the camera it was still there, but as soon as put the camera up to take a picture, it hopped off.  Just like me to find a camera shy rabbit.  Dang thing isn't afraid of me or the dogs, just the camera.  It would have been a cute picture.  Now, I got to run.  You all have a great day now, you hear?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wandered down to town in the RV

This is the month that the inspection sticker runs out on my motor-home and so that gave me an excuse to take it to town.  I just love to drive it.  You can look over cars and pick-ups and look truckers in the eye.  Another thing I love is the "Jake Brake" or engine brake.  It is amazing how well it works especially with a six speed transmission.  When in use, one only has to apply the brakes to come to a complete stop.  They say it makes a lot of noise and I know it does on trucks so it must also on my RV, but I can't hear it.  Since the engine is in the rear, I can't ever hear it either.  I know, next time I take it out, I will open my window (now that it is fixed and working - knock on wood) when I am planning to slow down and stop.

It passed inspection without any problem and back home I came.  That little outing exercised both the main engine and the generator (when it is this hot you want to run all the air conditioners).  I had no problems at all, even got it parked back where it was without any trouble.  Actually, it went easier than ever before.  The more you use something the more tricks you learn to make things work better. That is, if you don't get to the place where you think you know it all.  Now, you all have a great day today.  I hope our fellow blogger "Trouble" is feeling better today.  I always worry about bloggers who usually blog each day and then miss some.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wondering about one eyed John and other critters.

Yep, I went and did it.  Glad that is over with.  What, you may ask? The first damage to my new John Deere lawn tractor.  Heck, I didn't even know when it happened.  I cut up close to pine trees and let the tractor push the limbs out of the way, so I suppose one limb resisted way too much.  It wasn't until it started to get dark and I turned on the head lights that I noticed something different.  When I kicked up a lot of dust, I only saw one beam of light.  After finishing up, I always let it cool down some and then hose it off.  That is when I found a headlight missing:

After opening the hood, this is what I saw:

I got that repaired and while the hood was up I removed the protective screen covering the radiator and cleaned both it and the air cleaner.  Dust is a problem around here and it has a tendency to build up on radiators and air cleaners.  The air cleaner is inside the container with the two round knobs that you see in the bottom of the above picture.  I cleaned it, too.

That tarp that covers the mower seems to attract all sorts of things.  This is what was on it yesterday:

See the little yellow specks on its back?  My wife said that it must have been panning for gold and got some stuck on him.  If that is the case, I better follow that little guy around at night.

And then I noticed this bug on the screen on the back porch.  Not sure what it is, so will have to Google it.  Here is a couple of pictures that I snapped of it:

So you see, you don't need to go far to go on safari and observe the animal and insect kingdom.  Just a few minutes ago when I left the dogs outside, there was a big old rabbit sitting at the foot of the stairs munching on some grass.  Instantly the dogs spotted it and the race was on.  It only lasted until they reached the fence.  The fence stopped the dogs but not the rabbit.  This is a magic trick for sure on the rabbits part.  It was a BIG rabbit and the fence is wire mesh 2" x 4" openings and the fence didn't even slow the rabbit down.  It ran right through it like it wasn't there.  Unbelievable!!!  I have seen it do this many times and it never ceases to amaze me.  Now, you all take a look around you and see what critters you can see, you hear?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wondering about three things this morning.

My first wondering is about wandering around on the moon.  Did you ever really think what it would feel like to weigh only a fraction of your weight, or to see the earth set, or to witness the barren dust, or to look at the horizon?  The last part, looking at the horizon, was a surprise to me when I was reading an article in my Astronomy magazine.  It said that someone six feet six inches (a tall person) would see the horizon 1.6 miles away because of the small diameter of the moon.  If you are shorter than that, and most of us are, it would be a lot closer.  That is something I should have known but just never thought about.  Now we all know.

My second subject is an item that I purchased at the flea market.  I like firearms but I may just donate this to some of my not so friendly "friends". (grin)  I got a laugh out of it and of course I have seen these before but thought this would be a good addition to my collection.  Here is a picture:

My third wondering or wandering was to the blog of John Well at the Field Lab.  He posted a link of him playing with the orphan calf that he is raising.  Very cute.  Here is a link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdMwoLzPBEI 

Now I hope you learned something, laughed at something, and had an awe moment with my three different wonderings.  So have a great day now, you hear?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Wandering into a bug honeymoon?

Yesterday I was walking past a tarp that I covered my lawn tractor and lawn mower with and I spotted a stick bug.  I had to take a closer look because it looked a little different.  Well, it was different.  There were two of them and it looked like I had disturbed their honeymoon, although it didn't appear that I had disturbed them any.  I went into the house to retrieve my camera and figured when I got back out there that they would have been gone.  Luck was with me this time, they were still there and this is the first picture that I took:

I put a quarter down behind them to give you an idea of the sizes.  The female looked like a giant compared to the male:

So now you see just how small that male was, but he sure must have had some charm (or something).  I think that their shadows look neat in the above pictures.  Here is another picture that I took, trying to get one more from the side:

I went back into the house to put back the camera and when I came out again, they were gone.  I guess that they were tired of posing for these X-rated pictures (grin).  There are two different styles of stick bugs in my area.  The other ones look a lot more like a stick.  The ones shown above are fatter.  Must be a different species but have the same name.  In the bug world, the male is usually the smaller.  I guess they are made for only one reason and that they don't have to stick around and protect their mate from dangers.  I think that nature in all its aspects is beautiful.

Did any of you get to see the meteor shower last night?  It was way too hazy here last night and when I woke up around 06:00 this morning it was getting too light.  If any saw it, give me a report.  It was suppose to be a good one.  Now, you all have a beautiful day today, you hear?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Wondering how it missed us

Late yesterday afternoon a little after 17:00, I started to hear what sounded like a jet airliner but the sound was continuous.  I got a little curious and stepped outside.  It was almost constant thunder coming from north of us.  So I came back in and looked up the local radar on the internet.  Dang, it was really a bad line of severe thunderstorms with the radar showing those shades of purple which usually mean hail and heavy rains.  I switched from watching an old cowboy show on the western channel (Gunsmoke) to a local news program.  It didn't take long to learn that it was a severe storm and it had up to one and a half inch hail.  Now those can cause some damage.  The radar showed it stretched the whole way across the northern border of our county and it was heading south south west.  I figured there was no way that was going to miss us.  But guess what, we dodged that bullet.  It went to the west of us and all we got out of it was a light sprinkle that just dampened down things a little.  Hardly settled the dust.  Now don't get me wrong, I am sure not complaining.  I have had a few of that type of storm come through here and they caused lots of damage.  One took out my roof vents in  my last motor-home and I found large hail on the floor in it.  I put one in the freezer as a conversation piece for later but threw it out when I sold the RV.  I was afraid that the same thing may happen to my newer one.

Well, we lucked out and didn't get any damage but we also didn't get much rain.  Sure could use some.  I cut the grass the other day and got coated in dust and I don't mean just a thin layer.  Hosed both the lawn tractor and myself off.  Next time I think I will wear a mask to keep the dust out of my nose and lungs.  You all have a great day now, you hear?  It is the weekend.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Wondering about Obesity.

Are you fat?  We are all fat; that is, we all have fat.  It is a necessity.  I got fat, you got fat, everybody's got to have fat. . . sounds like an old song to me.  It is the proportion of fat to body weight or mass that tell whether you are slim and trim, over weight, or obese.  Even though obesity is a public health threat, most doctors still asses your weight by using a two hundred year old comparison called the "body mass index (BMI).    I went to a site: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/  and calculated my BMI.  I am 5'-11" and weigh 175 pounds and according to that web page, my BMI is 24.4.  The normal range is 18.5 to 24.9, which puts me at high normal.  Now, that is the first time anyone has called me normal!!  That may say I am normal but I feel much better and my blood pressure goes down to normal or near normal if my weight is between 155 and 160.  So there must be a flaw in this simple calculation, especially for me.

Some researches did a study and found out that it was flawed.  They studied 1400 people and compared their BMI to a fat percentage determined by X-ray scans.  The BMI was only correct between 25 and 30 percent of the time (25 percent for men and 30 percent for women).  Using the old methode, 26 percent of our population is obese but in reality 64 percent actually are obese!  When I read that I said, "dang, that can't be" and then I went to Wal-Mart and started observing the people and I only saw a couple that were not over weight and one was my wife.  According to my quick Wal-Mart study, 99 percent of the people are way to fat. . . OK, maybe 98 percent.  Some of the people I saw were so much over weight they could count for 3 to 4 obese persons all by themselves.  I knew a lot of people looked fat to me, but this puts things into perspective.  Dang, I am getting hungry, so guess I better quit writing this and go get some nourishment.  Now you all have a great day and I hope you can still enjoy your meals after reading this.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wondering about wandering the Appalachians

Way back along time ago when my wife and I were first married and I was still driving my 1957 Chevy Convertible, we drove down to Virginia to visit with my Uncle, Aunt, and cousins.  When we started back to Pennsylvania, I got a wild hair and decided it would be fun to take both the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive their full lengths.  That turned out to be a very, very long day, although a most beautiful one.  The road was two lanes and wound around a lot of turns and the the speed limits were set very low.  I think the fastest one was 35 mph.  Of course we had to pull off at a lot of scenic outlooks.

My wife is afraid of heights.  That is hard to imagine since her Dad owned airplanes and they flew places a lot and she was never bothered by being up in the air.  But, she said, she had a plane wrapped around her.  Anyway, I got her too close to the edge of a cliff to show her a beautiful scene and she just froze.  I learned my lesson, now she stays back quite a ways and I go stand on the edge and take pictures to show her later (grin).

I was never afraid of heights until I got old.  Back in my youth, I would walk pipelines over ravines, or walk out on tree limbs, etc.  Now, when I get close to the edge of something or even get up on the roof of the motor-home, I get this funny, queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Guess heights just make me hungry, right?  OK, you all have high time today and don't hit bottom, you hear? 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wondering about Brian May

No, I am not a Rock & Roll fan.  The last time I listened to that type of music on purpose was back in the 1950's, then it sounded more like most "country" music does today (grin).  The only song that I heard that I can link to Queen, Brian May's group, is "We Will Rock You".  The only reason I know that song was because of humorous movie I saw about a dysfunctional baseball team and that song was played in that movie.  Brian May was born in England in 1947 to not so rich parents.  When he was a teenager, he wanted an electric guitar but couldn't afford any he really wanted so his father made him one which he still uses today.  It was named "Big Red" because of the color of the wood used.  Brian had two main interests, music and astronomy, but a third and minor interest, stereoscopy (3D) imaging, would be a big help in his other interest, astronomy.  He was a bright student and was working on his PHD but dropped out when Queen got so popular it took up all his time.  It wasn't until years later that he returned to school and finished his PHD.

You are probably wondering how a guy who loves hill billy and classic country music ever heard about and know so much about a rock and roll star.  Well I will tell you.  A while back he started contributing articles to Astronomy (the magazine) and I have read some of his articles.  The September 2012 issue has a ten page article about May's life.  Very interesting.  BTW, he is also an advocate for animal rights.  Now you all have a rocking good Wednesday, you hear?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I am rushed this mroning.

I am rushed this morning.  Today is dog grooming day and their appointment is for this morning.  Also, I need to complete a card that needs sent out today.  My wife and I make cards.  Actually, my wife makes most of them and I write the rhymes.  If everyone was as rushed as I am this morning the guys would have to use the drive-thru window at the whore house (grin).  OK, I know I shouldn't have said that, but I thought it was funny.  You know, my sense of humor gets me in a lot of trouble.  Of course my wife says I can never get out of trouble.  Instead of being called Dizzy Dick I should be called Trouble.  What do you think TROUBLEnTX?    BTW, she is one of my followers and visa-versa. So, I am apologizing for my short and not so sweet blog post today, but wanted to let you know I am OK.  Now you all go and read some interesting blogs, like Hermit Jim's on toilet paper and have yourself a relaxing and nice day, you hear?

Monday, August 6, 2012

My congratulations to NASA

"Mars rover Curiosity safely lands on Mars" was this mornings headlines. I read all about this large rover a couple of months ago. It is the size of a compact car and has the ability to study all kinds of things. If it performs as designed, we will know more about Mars than ever before and if it lasts as long as the last rovers did we will get enough information to keep scientists busy studying the data for years. The hardest thing it had to do was land unharmed and it accomplished that with a very soft landing. I told you about this rover back on July 13th on my blog Wondering About Curiosity, so I will not go into any more detail here. I am sure the news is full of it now and we should be hearing a lot more about its discoveries very soon. At least I hope so. Congratulations America! I don't have anything more to say today, except that you all have a great day now, you hear?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wondering how to cool off.

I have to admit, the heat got to me yesterday morning when we were walking around at the flea market.  That made me feel poorly for quite awhile after we got home.  So, I got wondering how to cool off.  Well, I drank lots of cool water, turned on the ceiling fan, and stayed indoors to be in the AC.  It sure did take some time to get feeling better and didn't get the dogs' yard cut until almost sunset.  Anyway, I started to remember the times in the past when I was cool;  not cold, you hear, just cool.  Then I remember a trip I took in March a few years back when I had my class-C motor-home.  We had stopped in Gallup, N.M. to visit with my wife's cousin and then headed to Stanton, Arizona for the G.P.A.A. group outing to hunt for gold.  We exited I-40 at Holbrook, AZ and took 77, 377, and 260 to Payson where we picked up 87 to Phoenix.  Along the way we went over a chain of mountains and at the higher elevations there was still some snow.  So I thought that some of these old pictures may help to cool you all off a little.  This first one shows how deep the snow was in some spots.  We saw cabins buried where only the upper half of them could be seen.

The further down the mountain we went, the snow got less and less deep.

It was a beautiful drive and it was the first time we had seen snow for many, many years.

There, did that cool you off any?  Sure do hope so.  Now you all have a cool Sunday and take care of each other, you hear?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Wandering around my place, again.

I haven't walked around my place for awhile, so did so yesterday.  I didn't move very fast because of the high humidity and the heat but stayed in the shade as much as possible.  I like to see what all is growing or dying, blooming or fruiting, or anything that has changed.    There were a lot of wild flowers and the path was overgrown by all of Mother Natures quick growing vines, briers, weeds, etc.  I will have to cut the path and clip back all the limbs.  I also noticed that some more trees and limbs have come down.  Some, I understood like the ones that died during last years drought, but some (the living ones) I did not understand because we have not had a bad storm through here for awhile.  I guess we have had a few gusts of wind but nothing that seemed strong enough to bring trees down.

Like I said above,  there were a lot of wild flowers blooming.  My previous blogs have shown some of the wild flowers, but today's blog is going to show some that are a little different.  The first pictures are of wild flowers but the second set of pictures are of  the fruit left after the insignificant blooms have disappeared.  Nature sure can pull out all the stops to make something beautiful:

And a close up:

A picture of the fruiting plant:

And a close-up of this one, too:

These pretty purple berries must be poisonous, because nothing eats them, not even insects.  I was once told that deer eat them, but I have never seen signs of that on my place or anywhere where deer are abundant.

I hope you enjoyed coming along with me for my walk around.  I bet you did it sitting in a nice cool house or RV, right?  Now don't forget to take time to smell the roses or just take time to really look for beauty that Nature has placed all around you.  Please have a very nice day and I want to thank you all for visiting my blog.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wondering about nature's two sides.

Nature has many sides; stormy and calm, hot and cold, low and high, wet and dry, ugly and beautiful, etc.  I could spend hours talking about all the opposites it has thrown at us, but will not today. Yesterday (Thursday) Hermit Jim showed us one of the ugly things of nature in his blog.  If you didn't see it, go back and look at it now.  (You can click on the highlighted word "blog" at the end of the last sentence.)  That is some ugly dude he has pictured there.

Well, yesterday as I was carrying the garbage cans down to the road for garbage pick-up day, I saw some tiny specks of color.  Upon closer examination on the way back, I could see that they were pretty little flowers.  So Hermit, if you don't mind, I am going to offset the ugly creature you showed us with some flowers.

Today, Hermit Jim took us on a trip to 9-Hells.  It is a hellish place with all the steaming, muddy, crocodile infested, boiling, colored bodies of water all in one area.  I didn't see anything scary on my walk down to the road and back, just these tiny little purple flowers:

They are so intricate.  Kind of look like your hair when you first get up in the morning, except for the color.  Then again, maybe some of you have hair this color.  Now a days, who knows.  Why just the other day I was lucky and surprised to see a woman with natural colored hair (grin).  Well, I made that last part up. . .  Now, all you wonderful people out there in blog land, have yourself a nice day and try to stay out of 9-hells.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wondering about rednecks, flowers, and tent worms

Remember my blog about my Redneck Horn?  Well, last weekend when I was walking through the flea market I saw a lot of Rednecks, here is a picture of one of them:

I took a walk around my place the other day and saw that this year everything is growing, blooming, or fruiting.  I suppose a more normal year of rain right after a drought caused everything that survived the drought to try to become more proliferant.  A small patch of blooms:

After my walk around the place, I noticed that a tree right outside my backdoor and the dogs' yard was the only tree on the place infested with tent worms.

Sorry about the quality of the picture but I took it this morning and was looking east toward the rising sun, but you get the idea.  This is no special tree, just a Sweet Gum.  Got too many of those trees around here.  Of course if we didn't have those down in the south and the chestnut tree in the north, we couldn't show the youngens what a porcupine egg looks like, right?  OK, I got to try and finish up my paying job, so you all have a great day today and don't forget, if you enjoyed the full moon last night there will be another one this month, also.  They call that a blue moon.  You know the phrase, "once in a blue moon" don't you?  That is because it doesn't happen very often.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wondering about what is happening now.

Did you ever wonder what is happening right now; right at this very instant?  Well I have but I wonder about a lot of things and sometimes I just wander off (grin).  I am going to tell you that you will never no at the time what is going on at that time.  Did that make sense?  Sights and sounds take time to get to you and even your nerves take time to transfer a signal to your brain and in my case, my brain runs a little slower now than it used to.  Maybe I can give a couple of examples.  Let's start with sound.  We all know that sound waves travel a lot slower than light so when we see a flash of lightening we count the seconds between the flash and the sound of the thunder that the flash made.  That tells us approximately how far away the lightening strike was.  Since that information doesn't have to be exact I just count off to myself "one-thousand one, one-thousand two, one-thousand three, one-thousand four, etc, etc.  I divide the number that I get to when I hear the thunder by 5 and that gives me a rough estimate of how far away in miles the lightening strike was and comparing more strikes I can then figure out if the storm is coming closer or going away.

When we look up at the night sky, we see sights that used to be.  Astronomers have seen things that are millions and maybe even a billion light years away.  Talk about ancient history!!  That is the one extreme, the other is the closer stuff.  Since light travels pretty dang fast, the delay in what is happening a few feet from us until we realize what is going on a few feet from us is very short.  Except for some people, they can't seem to see what is going on right before their eyes.  Since it takes time to know what is going on right now, maybe I should hurry up and finish this blog post; I may already be dead. . . .(pause). . .  No, I would have known by now.  You all have a great day even if it is a little behind, you hear?