Sunday, December 31, 2006

The dogs did it again!

The dogs did it again By helping our daughters family enjoy their Christmas presents. It seems that Mikes family sent out some of their presents UPS and they sent them early, I might add. Mike Ellen and Sam live on a corner and the UPS driver delivered them to the back of the house instead of the front and put them on the back steps. He went through the gate to get to the steps. The gate is in the fence that keeps the dogs from running wild and they were in the garage sleeping at the time. They awoke and checked out the packages and went Wahoo! Inside of one of the packages was a case of World Famous, Bear Butte brand, Sturgis SD beef jerky . They ate it all making quick work of the packaging, as you might tell from the photos. Boo, the black Lab, probably ate the most because he had a powerful thirst that night when his masters came home (the jerky is a little bit salty). They took the dogs for walks but through the front door and never noticed the destruction out back. Don't stop reading yet as the devastation is not over yet. The dogs sleep in an upstairs, walk-in closet off of Sam's room. Randy sleeps on the floor and Boo inside a cage as he tends to wander a lot and besides he likes the security. Well, Boo's powerful thirst, alluded to earlier, transformed itself into an awful lot of Pee later on in the night. Boo's cage has a plastic bottom to it and he quickly filled it up, about 1" deep. That left no where for him to sleep so he just laid down in the cage. When Ellen got him out so he could go out, the next morning, she let him out of the cage and what is a Dog to do except shake himself and get the pee off of his coat. Shake all over the clothes in the closet and all over Ellen and all over downstairs as he headed for the door. The packaging has been transferred to our house [because someone is usually home] as we await the insurance inspector. Everyone should have a couple of big dogs in their house to help them keep a tidy house.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

They came back!

Our daughter, husband and grandson are out of their house and back with their two big Dogs Boo and Randy. I don't want to make it sound like they got evicted or anything but they had Asbestos Abaters at their house removing the nasty stuff from their old water boiler in preparation of receiving a new one. It was an old H.B.Smith coal boiler. A brief sidelight is in order at this juncture as HB Smith boilers were built here in Westfield and they were the top of the line, sold all over the world. If you have an old boiler it just might be and HB Smith. Recently the company was sold and the site is now a modern Supermarket. The Smith brothers owned the company in the 1850's and early 1900's and they and their respective families are buried in our cemetery, Pine Hill. One had a daughter who was the 1st child buried in this cemetery and we recently buried the last of the original family line, Edwin Smith who was in our church, a friend of ours and a member of our Board of Directors. Back to my story. Their particular boiler had been converted to gas but was highly inefficient. Their heating bill last year was $5,000. Time for a change so they have opted for a new, modern, high efficiency boiler. They left the house because of the asbestos removal being underway and their heat had been turned over for about 36 hours.

The two dogs would be much to much for our little Simon and Purrsey so we removed them to our office, next to the house and hoped they wouldn't rebel very much and cause very much damage. Boo and Randy arrived with a flourish and took over the house as they searched for the dog and cat. One of them even pooped in the dining room. At one point they started circling inside our house in a game of tag and my wife was standing at the kitchen counter as the two came charging by. They almost broke her in half at the knees. The next morning they exited as they had came, in a flourish. Most of the time they were here Boo cried because it was his first time away from home [except the night he spent in jail].

I let our dog and cat out from their temporary quarters and Simon rushed to the house to find all of the possible odors the two interlopers may have left. Purrsey treated it as a military mission and slunk all of the way to the house. Smelling, hiding, waiting. It had to take him 10 minutes to get over the threshold. It was a little traumatic for them but not nearly as much had we left them in the house to put up with the two monsters. It has been an interesting few hours.

Straighten up because I'm coming to visit for a few weeks!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Don't stand on the rope!

My dad thought it was time that my 19 year old butt needed some good education, in the woods, learning to be a man instead of a teenage drunk. I had spend the past year going to Forestry School at the University of Montana in Missoula and had managed to be on academic probation (0.4 on a 5 point system) as I had flunked everything except bowling 1 and 2. I was also on social probation because of drinking.That 1st day on the job on the sawmill woods crew would be a real lesson in life for me. The day before I had been at the McCullough Chain Saw store and bought a brand new, full brim, yellow, metal hard hat and I put 2 MSU stickers on the sides. The foreman picked me up the next morning at 4:30 AM because we had a one hour drive to the timber sale. Our chariot was an old International 4x4 with a crew cab. It was Air Force blue because my Dad had bought if at an auction from the Air Force. When he bought the truck it had 135,000 miles on it and our foreman Burt said they had just put another 100,000 miles on it since they had it. Other passengers were Bob who had worked in the woods for years and was our chief road builder meaning he operated the old (1942) Cat D-8 cable dozer or a logging truck. Bob had previously been a fireman at the Air Force base where he drove their Redox crash truck. Before that Bob had been in the Army in Korea. Interesting guy. Our other passenger was Tom and he was the Jammer operator. Tom had moved here from Oregon where he had spent most of his life in the woods and his son and I graduated from High School together the year before.He was some type of offbeat religion that didn't tolerate swearing and he evangelized once in the while. Tom also didn't change his trousers very often. His trousers were all wool and were very traditional lumberjack and they were full of pitch and grease. The crew joke was that when he took them off at night they just stood up by themselves. Tom wore a pair of corks which were high topped logging boots with steel pins on the bottom so he could walk on logs without falling off. Burt, the foreman, was another that had spent his life in the woods. Like Bob, Burt operated anything that needed to be operated or fixed. Burts daughter and I graduated from High School together. Burts face told a lot of painful stories as it was wrinkled and full of crags and pock marks and a whole bunch of small scars. Burts hands were the most powerful I had ever shook. Burt was the antithesis of a German woodsman. Burt, Mel and Bob (not the one I was riding with this day but Bob the mill foreman) had all been with my father since the first sawmill back in Galena. When Dad started that sawmill he offered all three of them equal partnerships in the mill. They all refused and wanted only to work for wages. They had all been togther in the CCC's (Civilian Conservation Corps). My father was as tough and rugged as these three were because when he and my Mom got married they moved to the Southern Black Hills for work. He built their first house out of logs. My mothers Brother-in-laws were in the logging and saw milling business in that area. He worked as a contractor for one of them cutting railroad ties. You did that with a double bitted axe to cut the trees down and a Broad axe with which you made the sides straight. They had to weigh 190# when wet. Tough life and I was now right in the middle of it. The expectations were high for me by my Father.

We pulled off the road on to one of our logging roads for a ways and then Burt stopped the truck and got out crawling into the back bed of the truck. There was an old brown and rusted job type box and he lifted up the cover and took something out. When he went by the truck I saw the words DANGER EXPLOSIVES on a large wooden box. My heart stopped but then I noticed that the box was all beat up and oil stained. I figured it was tools or something. Burt went up the road about 30 feet and turned a corner. Shortly Burt came back without the box and climbed back in. He lit a cigarette and took a small book out of his pocket and started to write. Suddenly the forest exploded and I think it was the loudest noise I had ever heard. Tom said, under his breath, "Fire in the hole". Burt hollard "everyone out and look for sticks". I shouted "what sticks" because I was all frazzled knowing I had been sitting about 6" from that dynamite and Burt explained that he had just blown up a box of last years dynamite that had sat in the tool box all winter and when it freezes and thaws out all winter it crystallizes and becomes a little touchy, a little bit unstable. So, you get rid of it and were looking for loose sticks that might have blown out and didn't explode. Didn't need any damn kids finding them now did we? After looking for 15 minutes or so we got back in the truck and head for the sale we were working. When we drove up we parked in front of a large log truck which was backed up to what looked like the ugliest crane I had ever seen. The driver was sitting on a pile of logs, reading the morning paper and had a cup of coffee in his hand. Burt introduced us and the driver got up as Burt extended his hand to help him up. His name was Paul and he was crippled and it looked to me like he had polio or something. I had seen a lot of that when I was a kid. Tom was in the cab trying to coax the old crane truck into some more life. Bob soon came by with the pickup battery and a set of battery cables and he and Tom finally got the Jammer started for one more day. The Jammer, was an old logging truck that had been retired from my fathers log hauling fleet and converted to a log loader or jammer. It had been an old GMC cab-over and now didn't have any doors or fenders and had been given the name Smokey. There was no room for a passenger as the seat and floor boards had been converted over to carrying spare parts and lots of tools. All were perched as if they wanted to fall out with any type of bump. On the back of the truck, just behind the cab, was mounted and old truck frame with pins so it could go up and down. On top of that was mounted a big spool of cable and this spool had a chain and sprocket on one end which was somehow hooked up to the power take off which was now running and singing as Tom oiled it. The frame had a couple of I beams welded to the end which was now up in the air reaching out over the top of the logging truck. The cable, from the spool below, ran through a chive or pulley on the end of the extended frame and terminated into some fittings that allowed for two other cables, each about 15 feet, to run through and each of these cables held a large metal hook assembly with a rope hooked up on the end. Up where the end of the frame was, a platform had been built complete with 2 long levers (a clutch and brake) and what appeared to be an accelerator pedal. As Tom climbed up to his perch Burt picked up a hook and hollarded at Steve (crippled truck driver) "grab your hook Steve looks like were ready". Burt started explaining to me the fine points of being a "Hooker" and how the system worked. 10 trucks a day were needed, in the mill every day, to keep it operating and that means that each of the 5 trucks would do one turn around and that would be 10 loads. If trucks broke down we would put our company trucks on the job until any backlogs were cleared up. What it meant for me was I was loading 10 trucks a day and I really needed to hustle. Burt loaded a couple of logs for me and I watched as he held the hook at the end of the log, as did the driver on the other end. Tom would release the brake, release the clutch and accelerate.Picture is of Ivans truck being pushed out of mud by Bob with our D-6 dozer As the cable went taught, the hooks were set in the log ends and Tom accelerated and the logs flew up over the stakes and onto the load where needed, guided by the hookers with their ropes. As the log reached its destination and the cable went slack, the hookers jerked on the hooks and took them over the stakes when Tom pushed the clutch in and the drum freewheeled allowing the men to guide their hooks to the next log. "Piece of cake" I said to Burt as he handed me the rope. "Don't stand on the rope" he answered and I silently said "Duh." The engine roared and my first log slipped effortlessly over the stakes. I tried to pull the rope out to fast and managed to turn the log on the truck bed. Tom jumped down onto the load, from his perch with a cant hook in hand and rolled the log into position. The next log went better and soon the truck was loaded. You really had to be quick because those logs flew over the stakes. They had to or we wouldn't ever get all of the trucks loaded. I quickly learned that when the driver hollars "CHAINS" you duck and get the Hell out of the way because about 30# of chains are actually following his voice and he came around and showed me how to help him get the chains so he could get the logs locked in (boomered) and get away as two more trucks were waiting in the background and time was money. It was an interesting job, slightly dangerous, and I liked all of the drivers even it they busted me because I was the bosses son. I was holding my own. The logs, which were in 10' to 16' lengths were decked along side the logging roads by skidders and thier teams of horses. We were always walking on top of those log decks and you always had to be aware of shifting logs and rattlesnakes as this was good rattlesnake country. Sometimes a log would come out of one of its hooks on the way up and you always needed to be ready to jump out of the way. Burt came back as we were loading our 5th truck and it would be time for lunch and I was starved. Mom had my lunch ready when I got up this morning and it contained 2 fried pork chops,two pieces of buttered bread, a tub of apple sauce and a nice sized piece of homemade apple pie for desert. I could hardly keep my mind off of my lunch, I was so hungry. We were loading the last few logs out of the deck and I was grateful to be walking on solid ground. I could feel Burts steely gaze as he watched me perform. Our last log was going up and Tom was accelerating very quickly to clear the stakes and I could feel myself lifting off of the ground, I lost my hold on the rope and was propelled backwards about 20' and upwards at a high rate of speed. I wound up at the rear of the, now removed, log deck smack dab in a small grove of aspin trees. My hard hat was gone and it felt like I lost all of my teeth. When I got my bearings I saw Burt leaning over the top of me with his hands on his knees. I didn't know what happened until I heard Burt say "I told you not to stand on the rope!"

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Jobs at the Sawmill - Part II

As I aged I got more and more different jobs. I graduated from rock picker and sticker boy to jobs that changed daily. My first serious construction job came when I was assigned to the concrete crew of the construction company building homes. My first job was to feed the cement mixer. Three gravel, two sand and one cement. We had a large mixer that someone else operated as my job was just to feed the mixer. I would fill it up and then watch it mix, while adding water, as the "barrow operators" stood in line with their beat up wheelbarrows waiting for another load. Once it was properly mixed, the operator would dispense a "to the top" load of concrete to each operator and they would head off to the foundation while maneuvering around on 2x10 wooden planks. At the foundation they would dump their loads and hustle back to the mixer. Our foreman Mel was on he knees at the foundation directing where to dump each barrow while leveling the concrete and smoothing it out. Two other men were helping place the concrete with flat shovels and other jobs, at the direction of Mel, such as cutting keys in the foundation or shoveling excess concrete away from the foundation boards so the wooden forms would not be locked into place. These two men had the best jobs as they got to stand and talk a lot. They smoked while they worked and joked a lot with Mel. I envied them and aspired to their jobs but I couldn't figure out how to get on that part of the crew. I had to settle on being the "Mixer Loader" until I could figure that out.

Shortly the foundation was done and we merely switched to another foundation that was just like that one only on the other side of the mixer. It seemed that our crew was being decimated by the flu which was exactly how I ended up as "Mixer Loader". As we switched sides, we took a short break, where I heard that 2 barrow operators were moving up to work with Mel as his 2 men went home sick. Another man was coming down from the Sawmill to work with us but that left us still one man short. So this is how you move up, I said to myself. Striking while the iron was hot I went up to Mel, as he drank his coffee. "Mel" I intoned with my best deep voice and my thumbs stuck into my belt, "I can handle that wheelbarrow, I mean barrow, you know and I would like to take a crack at it." Mel looked me up and down and just said "sure". When we were back up and running and the new guy was learning how to load the mixer, I stood on the plank, behind my barrow waiting for my 1st load of concrete. The guy ahead of me told me the in and outs to "Barrow Operation" this amounted to whatever you do, don't let the load get away as Mel doesn't like that to well. Keep your feet the same distance apart as your shoulders. "Plow, plop" and the first load of concrete hit my wheelbarrow and I almost lost it but for the guy behind me grabbing the side. As I headed for the foundation I could hardly keep the barrow full of shifting concrete stable but I plodded on. The concrete ran over the edges as it sloshed from side to side. Got my load dumped and headed back for more. I brought over three more loads and we were at the corner and shifting directions and that is when it happened. As I came back with the next load I was feeling about as cocky as a 15 year old could feel because after all this was my 5th load and there was nothing to it. As I lifted up on the handles to dump, I hit a rock on the plank and lost control. I tried to over react to catch the load but all I did was steer the entire load of wet concrete into Mel's lap. I looked down at Mel and his entire lap was covered and I couldn't even see his legs. He was holding his float in one hand and just looked at me shaking his head slowly. "I think a better place for you Dickson is back loading the mixer" he said as he stood up and cleaned himself as best as he could with his hands. I looked back, as I got to the mixer, and there was Mel standing while one of the guys rinsed him off with the full force of the hose. Every day Mel wore clean, starched, Khaki pants and shirt, a holdover from his days working as foreman on the CCC's and in the Army. Mel was as tough as they come and he just stood there, still staring at me and slowly shook his head as the ice cold water ran over him. Good thing it was hot out. The next day I was returned to the Sawmill crew and my job as being a tailer.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Losing weight the hard way

Now that I need to clean up my eating act a bit[lower cholesterol, eliminate salt, add fiber, loose 100 #'s] I have been paying a bit more attention to food. For instance, I have had a cheeseburger almost every day of my adult life and it is really not good for you. I have noticed that it is really tough to get a hamburger that is less than 1/2 lb. When did that happen? Everything used to be based on the good old quarter-pounder. If you bought premade burgers at the grocery store, they were all 1/4#ers. If you barbecued and had guests over they all got 1/4 burgers and a hot dog. We ate at a nice restaurant tonight and as I was perusing the menu I came to a section entitled "Lighter fare" theoretically for those of us that need to loose weight. This section had two hamburger entries on it and both were 1/2lb-ers. "LIGHTER FARE" you have to be kidding me!!! I chose a nice dinner salad. [good boy Ted]Friendlys restaurants, out this way, are nice places to go with the family for supper and ice cream. Their specials all have free ice cream and everything that sounds like a burger is 1/2 pound and up plus fries and no matter how hard you look you can't find a 1/4 hamburger. I think the only way you can get a 1/4# burger is to order a 1/2# burger and split it with your wife. McDonalds has really pushed this 1/4# thing with the double as published. It has a mere 730 calories with 40 grams of mouth watering fat and yes they do have a 1/4 pounder. Isn't it ironic that they are about the only ones that can provide you with a 1/4# hamburger but it is only half as good as the double. Need to get off this subject.

I have been on diet since my Dr. told me I had a heart attack about 3 weeks ago. I have gained 11 #s since I started. But I have turned into a 100% whole grain kinda guy. Since I have to lower my cholesterol [147] I gave up my morning egg. Actually I used to have 1 egg, on an English Muffin or toast with a slice of cheese and a small glass of juice. Now I have some kind of 100% whole wheat breakfast food and milk. I have sliced ham or turkey on bread [100% grain bread] for lunch and a normal supper. My big problem is all of the cookies/candies/cakes/pies that have been showing up because of the holidays. My daughter makes cookies by the bucketfuls and leaves them on our porch and if nothing is around I manage to devour 2 sleeves of 100% whole wheat crackers and cheese without breaking a sweat but I haven't seen a burger in three weeks. I even gave up beer and switched to a nice glass of red wine now and then? A friend of mine who has the same type of problem I do says he wife sends him out to graze on the front law about once a week.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Puppy playdate.

Thought I would never be uttering those words. I don't like the term when used referring to kids and absolutely never when referring to pets. We never took our daughter to a "playdate" and my wife and I never had a "playdate" when we were kids. It is this new generation of parents that have coined that phrase and now Websters will want to make a new word out of it, if they haven't already done it. I suppose it will be political incorrect should I say "Sam is over next door playing with Tim" but I will need to be saying Sam is having a "Playdate" with Tim????? What happens to me if I refuse to use the word "Playdate"? Do I get censured by Merriman-Webster or something. Do the word police come and get me?

Sorry but I went off on that word a little bit. We had a puppy playdate today because GG is bringing her dog Maggie over to live with us sometime after the 1st of the year, for a while while she heads to Arizona to visit some friends and family. This 1st picture is Maggie in all her Pug glory.

Next picture is our Simon with Maggie as the two "Explore" each other.

The third picture is Maggie getting to know Purrsey over at the shop. That is Purrsey's back and hair standing straight up. Purrsey is not very impressed. When he got back to the house he immediately went upstairs and hid. seems he isn't quite ready for another dog in his life. When Maggie got into the house she went right to the middle of the living room floor and pooped. Probably trying to establish herself as Alpha pet or something.
Dec 26th Mike, Ellen and Sam are moving over here for a day and night as the asbestos removers go to their house removing the stuff as they are getting a new furnace. They are bringing their two dogs, Boo and Randy, with them. Boo is a Black Lab and Randy a Golden Doodle. Both love to play rowdy and rough and destroy anything in their way. You might remember that Randy ate two pair of my glasses and a couple of bags of apples. This should be enough material for a posting or two.

I need to update this posting because when I went upstairs to change clothes I found that the damn cat had peed on our bed. Probably the cat was upset because the little Pug chased him upstairs that he relieved himself on our bed. Seems he's making a little bit of a play at being Alpha pet. He better find another way of doing that, mabey kicking some butt or something, otherwise he is going to be working on Alpha Pet out in the shop at night.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Working at my Dad's Sawmill

My father had a sawmill in the Black Hills of SD when I was growing up. The main mill was located in Sturgis and was by far the largest. When I left the mill in 1972, because he had sold it, we were sawing about 100,000 board feet per day plus a railroad car full of chips for making paper. What I first remember is the mill was fairly small probably sawing about 10 to 15,000 feet per day. I was about 12 when I got my first job at the sawmill. I wanted money and my two older brothers worked there so I could ride with them at 7. I could only work until noon but that was OK because by then I was bored to death and it was time to go swimming anyway. My first job was called stick and rock picker upper. I was impressed with the title and told everyone how important I was. All of our roads were dirt and gravel and I was responsible to make sure all of the rocks were picked up and also all of the sticks. The sticks were about 3' long and 3/4" X 1 1/2" and were placed between the layers of green lumber in the piles as the left the "green chain" which was where all of the rough boards (green and wet) came out of the sawmill. The fork lift picked them up and hauled them to the yard to stay (1 to 2 months) while they dried. As my Dad explained to me, the forks would drive over the roads and hit the rocks and the resulting lurching would cause some of the sticks to come out of the piles. As these sticks laid in the road, other vehicles such as cars, dump trucks and logging trucks would drive over these sticks and they would fly up and hit the break lines and break them. Without breaks a logging truck could crash and kill the driver. So you can see that I had a very important job and I worked very hard at it to keep the drivers from being killed. I think I made $1.50 per 1/2 day and that was good money being the minimum wage was only 75 cents [in 1955 you could still type out a cent sign (¢) on the typewriter without it being a big deal]. Before long I was wallowing in dough and the envy of all my friends. I made more money than my friends that were paperboys. Eventually I ran out of roads and to get sticks I just followed the fork lift around so I asked my Dad for a different job, for a while, so the sticks and rocks could build back up. I got in Dad's car [a 1955 green Ford with dual air horns on the right fender and a spotlight on the other fender] and we headed for a remote part of the sawmill yard. It was the area where they dumped the slabs from the sawmill. Slabs are the outer part of the log, containing the bark, which was waste. They were put in an old, yellow, State, snowplow type, Dump truck that Dad had purchased at auction and it had no brakes [ too many sticks] and the truck went up to this remote area and dumped the slabs. They had to be piled as they were running out of room. My new job. Not very important though as there were no lives in danger. Well I piled slabs for days and then one day it was very hot and there was no shade. My 12 year old mind figured it out and I took some of the slabs from the pile I was making and slid them about 1/2 way off. The sun was on the opposite side so it made an excellent shade break. I crawled underneath for my break and promptly went to sleep. I was awoke by my Dad kicking the bottom of my foot because it was lunch time. Boy was he mad and I couldn't come back to work for a couple of weeks which was OK by me. I had enough money in my pocket to get by and this allowed me to go to the pool in the mornings also. 12 years old, swimming in the morning and afternoon with enough money to spend at the snack bar. Life didn't get much better than that in 1955.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Get a Hobby!

When you have a heart attack, everyone is a Dr. It is amazing as to how many people have had similar problems or their spouse, brother/ sister have. All have given me the same advise. Slow down, take it easy, stop stressing over everything, loose weight, exercise and get a hobby. I have a lot of little hobbies but none that I have ever taken serious such as : photography; this blog; painting; building furniture; fly fishing; professional roller skating………just kidding. I looked over the list and decided I needed something really new. I went out and took a class on how to make wooden pens! Had a fun time doing it and we sent all of the pens we made over to Iraq. Nice. So I spent $150 on a used lathe, $200 on misc. materials and cleaned my shop up to make room. I’ve made one pen but I have now taught my daughter how to make pens and she is off and running with a whole list of people she is making wooden pens for and I taught my grandson how and he to has a list of all his teachers and so forth. [picture is my 9 yr old grandsons1st try] They are making pens for all of the South Dakota relatives as well. Ellen’s husband hasn’t shown an interest yet but he has turned in a list. My wife tried but she didn’t have her glasses and couldn’t see. [valid reason] but she says she wants to learn. Keep in mind that I only have one lathe. Also keep in mind that all of these parts cost. Apparently we are going to sell pens when the fairs roll around next fall to recoup my expenses. We missed all of the craft shows this year. Darn!

In the pen building trade, the hard part is getting everything ready to turn the pen blanks. The stock has to be sized and cut, holes drilled through the centers of the cut pieces, brass tubes glued inside the holes and then drilled out and squared for the lathe and then you can turn the lathe on which by the way is the fun part. I have made one pen so far but I have prepped a whole bunch of stock for the various turners I have now taught and I noticed that no one is professing to have a desire to help with that phase? When I finish this post I still have to go out and clean the shop.
I will have to admit that it was fun to teach everybody and watch them get turned on to the hobby but it kinda looks like my hobby is going to be doing prep work. Does that count?

Sam turning his first wooden pen.
Sam putting pen together

unable to post

I can't post because I can't find any editing tools such as inserting a picture. Anyone got any clues with this beta thing. figured it out... go to posts then F5? Don't know why but it works. everything returns

Friday, December 01, 2006

Another cat posting

Think I will start back out with a cat posting. I have got to do some reading to catch up on this super silent Diesel Sub the Chinese have developed because I am sure I will have something to say about that. I have also got some old bicycle stories , a story, with pictures, of my sister-in-law’s latest tattoo, a couple of cop stories and one or two submarine stories. I might even venture back to the 1950’s and see if I can remember times when I was 10 years old. Alas I get away from my Purrsey story.

The picture says it best as Simon is bracing for yet another attack from the cat. Purrsey managed to escape to the outside world, a couple of months ago and has become a part time resident there. Simon insists on following him until he gets too far away. Simon will bark at him if he goes where he shouldn’t. It has become a rather fun match to watch. They wrestle and run until Simon runs out of steam and lays down for a cat nap and sometimes the cat will lay with him. If the cat is still out at bedtime Simon will not settle down until the cat comes in. I have had to keep a ladder close because Purrsey can get up on things but just can’t get back down. The worst incident was going up a tree, probably because of the neighborhood dogs, and spending three days up there until we found him. He sure was hungry when he got down. The nice thing about his moving outside is that the world in now his litter box and the house smells a whole lot better.

The cat usually wants outside at 4 AM and I foolishly oblige him. I have found that the constant meow’s go away when you oblige him and those meows can drive you insane if you fail or move to slowly. You certainly can’t sleep through them and the only other solution available would be killing the cat and that would make the wife unhappy. Therefore I get up at 4 and let the cat out.
This morning I let the cat out at 4 and then the dog wanted out at 5. At 5:30 I was having coffee when I heard a rather loud commotion on our side porch. I opened the door and Purrsey flew in the door. I noticed Simon, all agitated and patrolling the driveway outside the porch, back and forth. Off in the distance I could see our local, gray, neighborhood Tom, swaggering slowly to the South and home. I am sure he had just delivered a dose of “Who’s top cat in the neighborhood” to Purrsey and Purrsey’s hero Simon broke up the action chasing the villain away. “Good boy Simon”! Purrsey has had his butt kicked a couple of times now. He’ll eventually learn.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I'm Back

I’m back! Took a little trip with “Self Pity” for a while and now that I have it all back in perspective I think I will write some more. To all of you who e-mailed me, during my trip, thank you very much. I appreciated your concern. I had a heart attack and a whole lot of tests and it knocked me for a loop. Not that the heart attack was bad or anything because I wasn’t even aware of it. A few weeks ago I had a Cardiac Catheterization and then that is when they found it. The damage from the heart attack and all of the blocked arteries at the bottom of my heart. Seems like the blocked arteries were bypassed by some new arteries that replaced them. Who would have thunk that would happen? The Doc’s got my blood pressure down and I have to lose weight, a lot of weight, [about 100 lbs] and I should live a while longer, a lot longer. Seems that my cholesterol is high also and I have some more buildup occurring and I have to get rid of it. Guess that is the part that is inherited
I wasn’t expecting all of this and I didn’t like the idea and I kept saying to myself that this has got to be someone else and not me. I guess this is where my realization of mortality kicked in for the second time in my life. The first time was when I was a cop, racing back and forth across South Dakota solving homicides and chasing Indian problems at a 140 mph. Something kicked in about dying because I hit a deer or blew a tire and never getting to know my family or my little girl. Today it is being around for my wife, our daughter and her family. Now I have to just figure out this diet thing. Tomorrow I have my first appointment with my Cardiologist and maybe he can shed some light on dieting and exercising. I”ll let you know.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Cat purrfect day

Purrsey thought he would define the words "Getting Comfortable". To top it all off, that is the dogs bed.

Wife went to 6 Flags today with the kids so I spent the day doing a couple of projects and then cleaning the house. Wife usually takes care of the cats litter box and I thought I would give her a break and do it. Spilled a full litter box on the living room carpet. Boy did that stink. When I went to fill the box I dropped the bag of clean litter because the bag slipped as I was filling the box and I have a bad bicep muscle from an injury and now I have a very bad bicep muscle. I then went and took a nap.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cat blog Monday

I can’t really find anything nice to blog about the cat but we still have him so here goes. The only reason we still have the cat is because when I tried to give him away my grandson threw a fit. He contributes almost nothing to the household except a lot of poop. He eats a lot and now poops a lot. In case you don’t remember Purrsey, the one and only time I have spent any effort to write about him was apparently we got him on May 5th, 06. another one was

. Wrote about him more than I thought. Now it gets interesting from the “I-think-im-in-trouble-now posting”. For those of you that do not remember that posting, did not ever see it in the 1st place or don’t care to go back and read it I will give you the following synopsis:

Purrsey finds plant on top of desk and knocks it to the floor

This is the spider plant Purrsey didn’t like resting on top of the roll-top desk

This is the spider plant after 1st Aid has been applied

Sometimes my wife’s plants fail to properly perform and they must be taught a lesson. If they upset her then they are placed in isolation for a while. Isolation is usually some far away place where they can be properly ignored. This is the spider plant, today, after being ignored for 5 months. Poor spider plant.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Haunted...Westfield's Cemetery?

"Westfield - Pine Hill Cemetery - Something haunts the back hill of this cemetery. During the day visitors have reported a mans voice in the woods, and the feeling of being watched. At night, the watchful feeling changes to one of absolute unreasonable terror. Even going on the public street that runs right beside the hill will cause this...even some people who live on that street have complained of feeling uneasy, as if something is watching out for that portion of the cemetery and will not tolerate ANYONE trespassing. A few reports of rocks being thrown at cars passing that area have also surfaced, but are rare."
I live in Westfield MA, last night around one, my friend and I were driving by the cemetery. We had both read this a few months prior, so we thought we'd check it out for ourselves. We walked in the opening to the far left side and made our way toward the back of the cemetery. About the third or fourth path you can take into the cemetery we took to look at this huge tombstone that caught our attention toward the center. Not five steps past that grave, my feet froze to the ground and a wave of utter uneasiness came over me. My heart jumped and I looked at my friend. He was looking back at me and said he felt cold and his arms were numb. We didn't stay long to investigate, we kind of felt like we were being shoved out extremely unwanted. both of us were numb but it was a beautiful night. this feeling stayed with us until we got off of the main road and into our car. When I opened the door I swear I saw someone walking along the fence but when I looked again it was gone.

This is a story I found on the shadow lands website Found it interesting but totally untrue as no one has ever told us about experiencing “unreasonable terror” while they visited and never a report about someone throwing rocks at cars. We have a couple of Wickens for friends and they has been very involved with the cemetery, including one who has worked for us on several occasions. They has passed on a few stories of their own. One of those stories surround an area in a corner called the steps that a ghost named Tom inhabits and he is very mischievous. Another tale surrounds a large monument that makes you feel better if you hug one of the pillars. We have found the remnants of séances being held in the cemetery such as ouija boards and candles. Probably just kids that have managed to scare themselves.

I have had a phone call from a lady who told me that her husband is buried in Pine Hill and there is a lady that is buried in a plot next to him and is trying to get into his grave. She wanted me to do something about it. I told her I would work on chasing her off?? Another phone call was from a lady whose husband was dead and buried in our cemetery and he is always coming back to her house. When he was alive they had a priest that lived with them but he died shortly after her husband. The priest also comes back to the house. Neither one of them talk to her but she knows they are there because she can hear them arguing. I told her I didn’t know what I could do but when she told me she was a Catholic I suggested she contact her priest and see about getting an exorcism of the house. I guess it solved her problems. I borrow the picture on the right from the following blog. Hope they don't mind.

The nature of the jobs is that I spend a lot of time in the cemetery after dark.[yuh- ha -ha –ha]. Locking gates after nightfall is the main reason[oh-we-yuh]. Halloween night we spend a couple of hours patrolling for vandals and sometimes there are incidents that need to be investigated such as: campfires; strange happenings reported by neighbors; lovers being located inside. It really isn’t very spooky except for the lights. We have a major street that goes by on one side and the lights go dancing off the stones. For years I noticed one stone, up high in the cemetery that was orange in color and only glowed about once a month or so. I was about ready to throw in the towel and admit that some things can’t be explained. That would be major for me as I absolutely do not believe in the occult. Finally I realized it only occurred during full moons. The moon had to be in the right position for me to see it and a big black stone that was slightly tilted backward was reflecting it. Whew!

The really scary thing that happens is when we have a couple of fox hunting at night and keeping track of each other by howling. Their howling sounds like two babies screaming and it unnerves the neighbors a bit.

The only thing that makes me nervous is watching out for Andrew Cunanan types that want to pop me for my pickup. Happy dreams!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ford vs Chrysler

Maurice and I both staggered a bit as we walked out the entrance to the old gold mine. It was summer and a beautiful night as the full moon was just now rising above the tops of the mountains. The mountains were the Black Hills of South Dakota and the year was 1961. We were not claim jumpers or robbers but just 2 drunk high school kids on a mission. We had just walked out the front door of The Inferno that was a 3.2 bar catering to high school and college kids and it was built inside of an old Gold mine. At that time South Dakota was a 3.2 state, which meant you only had to be 18 years of age to consume as much beer as you belly would hold so long as it was under 3.2% alcohol. Driving drunk was not a very big deal, in those days, because all that would happen, if the local cops caught you, was a trip to the station and they called your parents to come and get you. The punishment for your crime was up to your parents, as it was believed that home was where it belonged.[ It would take a few years before we learned that parents weren’t very good at providing discipline or preventing recidivism and that authority would soon change to the responsibility of the state.] I didn’t even know of any of my friends or associates that had really been arrested for DWI so as we prepared for our adventure we had absolutely no fear of the authorities. Our real fear should have been our fear of piling up the car because of our state of inebriation but I was 18 and Maurice was 19 and so we had no sense of mortality. Our hormones were raging as we walked across the gravel parking lot. We pushed and punched each other shouting out macho clichés as we tripped in the parking lot, falling on each other. I felt the knee of my levis rip as I slid on the rocks but I worked hard holding onto my Schlitz beer trying hard not to spill it. Maurice spilled his beer and cussing loudly he got up to go back into the bar to get another. I grabbed him and headed him back toward the car saying “No time for that now as they will leave, I’ll share mine with you”. I had no sense of the danger ahead as I slide into the plush, crushed, velvet and leather, seat of the brand new Chrysler Newport never once thinking of hooking up my seat belt even though I sat in the “Suicide Seat”. Death was just not a concern. We had to drive a few miles, first through Lead and then Deadwood and our adventure would start on the other side, by the “slag piles, on old US highway 14A. The race would be 11 miles to Sturgis and would culminate at the Milwaukee Railroad bridge underpass which had a 90 degree turn at the exit. The opponents were two wise assed flyboys from nearby Ellsworth Air Force base who had challenged us to the race after a heated discussion centering around the ability’s of their 1958 ford with a police interceptor engine and our Chrysler Newport. 14A was a two lane paved road with no shoulders, to speak of, following the edge of Bear Butte Creek. It was a great race track for the first 9 miles, with more twists and turns than a Grand Prix track and the final 2 miles exited next to a trailer court and was relatively straight, past the refinery to the underpass. If the race was close then the last ¼ mile would be great, right up to the 90 degree turn.

I shouted “GO” and we were off, tires smoking, pavement squealing and any coyotes within a hundred miles were looking for cover. We were headed for Sturgis trying to set a new record. Adrenalin pumps were operating at max. Maurice completely smoked them at the start and I couldn’t even see them behind us after 2 miles. This was going to be easy money. Apparently the drunken flyboy didn’t want to lose the $50 that was at stake, because that Ford came screaming around us at the next turn as he blazed around the curve sideways with that Fords carburetor wide open keeping him on the road. As we headed for the next curve, we were on the Fords taillights sliding together on the pavement around the next curve and I handed Maurice my beer. He took a big hit and handed it back to me. “I’ll stay on his ass until the turnout and then I’ll smoke him on the inside” Maurice hollered. The turnout was just a wide spot on the road up ahead that allowed you to park and fish or change a flat tire but it was also on the inside of the curve and it was gravel. Before the Chrysler got to the turnout I felt the 4-barrel kick and the sweet sensation as the torque shoved me back into my seat. “This what it’s all about”, I hollered and Maurice just smiled and quietly replied, “Ya”. I don’t have any idea how we missed the right taillight and I felt the fear as the right wheel left the pavement and hit the gravel. The rest of the wheels followed and before we hit the guardrail, as the turnout narrowed, we were around the boys in the Ford. The Newport fishtailed as it hit the pavement but Maurice kept his foot dedicated to the maneuver and we straightened out. I looked back and the big Ford was falling way back. Suddenly I saw the Fords headlights sit back down and they were gaining on us. I shouted at Maurice, “Here they come again” as we came into a big curve and Maurice was breaking but as we came out again we were side by side as our 4 barrel was sucking about as much ethyl as was possible. We held our own but only for a couple of seconds as the boys from Ellsworth shot ahead of us for good. Maurice put up a valiant fight but the Chrysler was just no match to the police interceptor engine. We tried to keep up with them but we couldn’t catch up. As we came out of the mouth of the canyon, by the trailer court, we were clipping a mere 120 and still no Ford but then we saw the dust. Apparently the flyboys had lost it on the straightaway. The dust was so thick that we had to slow to 20mph to get through it. The dust started at a small curve where they probably lost control. We pulled over to look for the car. We could follow the tracks as the car left the road, clipping an informational sign of some type and it was flattened. Ahead in the borrow pit we could see a rock, as large as a car, but somehow they didn’t hit it and instead kept going down and went between the rock and the fence at probably 120 plus MPH. The tracks reentered the highway ahead and we jumped into our car to follow. Just ahead was the underpass and we could see the taillights of the Ford on the other side. “He musta hit the wall,” Maurice said but when we got up to them the Ford was just stopped and the driver was getting out of the car. The car had bucket seats and the passenger was lying on top of the backseat and the front seat was broken in half. The right side of the car was as straight as could be from the impact with the sign and the passenger was hurt. We had them follow us out to the other end of town where we showed him the hospital. We gave him our $50 and congratulated him with his sick buddy in the back moaning a bit and trying to shout “Hooray”. “That’s the best race I’ve had in a long time” the flyboy shouted as he headed for the hospital. Maurice and I went over to Philtown and got a cup of coffee and something to eat. We ordered and ate our meals in silence until Maurice finally said “Stock engine my ass”. ”Those bastards took us and that was a setup”. I quietly replied “ you still have your car, neither of us were hurt and it only cost us $50 to learn that a Chrysler Newport will not take a 58 Ford with a police interceptor engine.” Maurice didn’t talk to me for a week after that.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


What’s a guy that is slowly going blind, or at least I feel I am, to do? My last attempt at being able to see was the purchase, on two different occasions, of real glasses following an exam by a Dr. I went to Wal-Mart for one pair and to JC Penny’s for the other. Both were bad as they didn’t really help that much. Before going to these stores I wore my glasses all of the time as I have trouble seeing things up close and things far away. They were so bad I couldn’t wear them except on special occasions, like when I wanted to see, because the prescriptions were bad. I’m a Carpenter so I need to see. I have noticed that I have been using my sense of touch much more. Three days ago I was officiating at a funeral in a local Funeral Home and found myself unable to read the scriptures I had chosen. When I rehearsed the readings I didn’t have much trouble but in the dimly lit funeral home, the pages turned to a blur. The 1st part of the service was from my own typewritten pages in 16pt type but the rest was from my Bible…..I looked up at my audience and they were wondering what the lull was for. At that moment the sun came out from behind the clouds, lighting up the entire room, and suddenly I could make out the tiny printing. [This was not a case of Divine Intervention] I used the pause as if I was creating a pregnant moment and boomed out the 1st line of the reading grabbing everyone’s attention and it worked out well. After the service, several people said to me “Wow you know how to get everyone’s attention”. Right then and there I decided to get glasses again, real glasses and not cheaters. I have cheaters but if I would have worn them I could have read all of the words easily but I would not have been able to recognize anyone in the audience. I could probably get by with those thin cheaters that you wear low on your nose and look over the top when I need to see things far away but I can’t stand looking over those glasses. I think I need real bifocals again.

My history with glasses hasn’t been very good. I bought my first pair of bifocals, quite a few years ago. When I got the glasses, they were no-line bifocals and I had to take them back because they were causing problems for me as I was walking steel beams 40’ off of the floor. They were swapped for bifocals with lines, which was much better. When ordering they suggested I get plastic lens as a safety feature. About 30 days later I brought them back all scratched up so they said “get glass lens in them, that won’t scratch”. “OK” I said.

I wore those glasses for a couple of years and was wearing my bifocals and driving my truck when I slammed into the rear end of a bus that was discharging a passenger. The back bumper of the bus had a scratch on it and I totaled my truck. My face hit the steering wheel, smashed my glasses and knocked me a little silly. I was really embarrassed about hitting the bus and just wanted everyone to go away so things could return to normal. As I waited for most of the city to respond to my accident, all but the DPW, one of my employees came upon my little situation and reached in and grabbed my radio. Marvin called the office and notified them of my accident. I was the project manager of an estate we were building for my boss up in the Berkshires. The 1st part of my trip up was on a nice straight road and that was where the accident occurred. The next part was up a very treacherous mountain road with drop offs of several hundred feet and few guard rails. This is where the office perceived I had wrecked. My boss understood the accident was on the mountain, the pickup was totaled, I was covered with blood and the firemen were probably using the jaws of life to extract me. He went directly to my house to get my wife, explain the situation to her and brought her to the emergency room. You can imagine her state of mind when she reached the hospital.

Well…….1st came the police cars, then an ambulance and then another ambulance and then two fire trucks. It seems that a bus accident elicits a special, automatic, response without waiting for a report from the first officer to arrive. They ripped the door off of my beautiful truck so they could get me out on a backboard all strapped in and with a neck collar. I was taken out sideways and noticed, as I went by; my coffee was still in the holder. I asked if someone could bring my coffee but they ignored me. As they carried me to the stretcher, I looked up and there were 2 Firemen, 2 EMT’s and 2 Police Officers hauling me away. Some of them I knew. It was at that moment I realized that they weren’t going away and things weren’t returning to normal. As they slide me into the ambulance I said “Bye Bye Truck”. By the time we got to the hospital I was a bloody mess as I had a bunch of facial cuts from the glasses and abrasions from banging on the steering wheel. My head hurt.

They cleaned me up, x-rayed me and said the only thing they could find wrong with me was a rather large gash over my eye that needed stitches and I was a bit silly. IT’S A MIRACLE! My wife announced that I was always a bit silly and went home. No she didn’t. A Policeman was waiting for me so he could have me sign the ticket for following to close, so obviously it was all my fault. My boss announced that “No emergency room hack was going to stitch up my face and immediately called up his friend that is the leading plastic surgeon in a couple of states. He came, they put me under, and sewed up my eye and associated cuts including a few on top of my head that needed a stitch or two. I am constantly running into things with my head so at anyone time I have small cuts in various stages of healing. When they released me, I asked for my glasses back and I was handed a manila envelope which contained about 100 pieces. The “Hack” told me that next time I should get plastic lens.

After the accident, I went to Wal-Mart, had my eyes examined and bought a pair of glasses. They looked OK but they really didn’t work very well and after a few years they were all scratched up so I threw them away. Next I went to JC Penny and had my eyes examined and bought another pair. They also looked nice and also didn’t work right so after a year or so I went back to Wal-Mart and had my eyes examined again and bought another pair. Now I had two working pair that kinda worked and I would switch back and fourth, then my daughter bought the Golden Doodle dog. At this point in my posting I went back to 2004 to reference you to the postings about Randy the Golden Doodle and how he ate these two working pair of glasses I had. The trouble was there were so many stories about “The Doodle” back then, I couldn’t decide what to pick so suffice it to be a photo of the ruined glasses. He chewed off the nose pieces and ear things so it hurts to wear them. Somehow he managed to scratch the lens bad but I still wear them but only at home. People would think I was whackey if they saw me wearing them. I have been going to go to the eye Drs. Since 2004???? Maybe I should go find a Lazer Eye surgeon and be done with it. That would be good for a couple of pages for the blog, I’m sure.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Blueberry Pie Recipe

Award-winning pie from Kosinski Farm Stand in Westfield, Massachusetts from Robyn Kosinski. She runs the farm stand and bakery, while her husband, Michael, tends to the farm, which his grandparents started more than 70 years ago.

Prep: 40 minutes plus cooling
Cook time: Bake 1 hour 25 minutes
Makes: 10 servings



· 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

· 1 tablespoon sugar

· Salt

· 3/4 cup vegetable shortening

· 1 large egg, lightly beaten

· 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

· 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water


· 1 cup sugar

· 1/4 cup cornstarch

· 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

· 6 cups blueberries, picked over

· 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


1. Prepare pastry: In bowl, mix flour, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. With pastry blender, cut in shortening until coarse crumbs form. Reserve 1 tablespoon beaten egg. Add vinegar to remaining egg; stir into flour mixture. Sprinkle in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly with fork, until dough just holds together. Shape dough into 2 disks. Wrap each in plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes.

2. Prepare filling: In bowl, stir sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Add blueberries; toss to coat.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with foil; place in oven on lowest rack while oven preheats.

4. On floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll 1 disk of dough into 12-inch round. Ease into 9-inch pie plate. Spoon filling into crust; sprinkle with lemon juice.

5. Roll remaining dough into 12-inch round. Cut several 1 1/2-inch slits for steam to escape; center over filling. Fold overhang under; pinch to seal. Brush with reserved egg.

6. Place pie plate on hot cookie sheet. Bake pie 1 hour and 25 minutes or until filling bubbles and crust is golden. Cool pie on wire rack.

Nutritional information for each serving: About 400 calories, 5 g protein, 60 g carbohydrate, 17 g total fat (4 g saturated), 3 g fiber, 21 mg cholesterol, 245 mg sodium.

This is the recipe I use and it appeared in the August issue of Good Housekeeping. We have bought a lot of her pies for Thanksgiving and other occasions and never once were we disappointed. We have a festival in town called The Taste of Westfield and Kosinski Farm Stand has a booth and they sell miniature Blueberry or Apple pies. I usually spend all of my allowed money at their booth. The apples and blueberries are all homegrown. It doesn’t get any better than this but this year they didn’t have a booth. We were really disappointed.

This brings up another subject, homegrown apples from all of out lovely local orchards. The season is just underway and there should be a blog posting in there somewhere. Maybe apple pies. Ya think?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sleep Test

Sleep Test

I have a primary care Physician but I have never met him even though he was my PCP for 20 years. During my last trip to my Dr.’s, who really isn’t a Dr. but a PA, I was informed that they were changing my PCP to my former PCP’s son but I don’t get to meet him unless it is really important? It’s OK with me because I have a new PA also. My last PA was good and I really liked him but I guess he wasn’t good enough because he went on vacation and didn’t come back. At least he didn’t come back to my Medical Clinic. Maybe he became a free agent and somebody else snapped him up. Sorry for the initials but that’s medical-speak and I want to sound official. My new PA and I were visiting, for some reason or other, about my sleeping habits. It came up that sometimes I had strange dreams that I was drowning or in a tunnel and it was collapsing on me. Not very often, mind you, but enough to alert my New PA and cause him to have tribulations about my sleeping. He proceeded to set me up for a “Sleep Study” at Mercy Hospital, over in Springfield [10 miles away]. We have a very nice hospital of our own, here in Westfield but a lot of the procedures and tests happen at Springfield hospitals. Our hospital, Nobel Hospital, has been recently purchased by Bay State Hospital in Springfield for some reason or other. The medical profession is not very straight forward, at least not out here it isn’t and it doesn’t even help that I am trying to explain this to you in Medical-speak. This is about as clear as my Dr.’s signature on a prescription, however I really wouldn’t know that for a fact because I have never met my Dr. I also have a Cardiologist and I have seen his signature and the generality holds true.

Enough trivia as I am telling you about my sleep test. I wouldn’t bother to relate this story but I couldn’t find anyone to tell me about sleep tests before I had mine the other night. Therefore I would generalize that very few people have to go through them and I figured you all should know. My test started at 9pm in the evening and ended in the morning at 6am. There were two windows registering people, when I arrived, and the other window had a man and his girlfriend registering and at the other window a very nice lady signed me up and gave me a whole pile of forms to sign. One of those forms was permission for the hospital to tell people I was in the hospital when someone called to inquire. For the life of me I could not understand the necessity of that form and inquired of such with my lovely register person. At about the same time, the other register person was asking her couple the same question and they declined to sign the form. My register person then said “Case in point as some people just don’t want people to know where they are” as she shrugged her shoulders.

I advanced next to a room upstairs and met Haley who told me “this is your bedroom”. I went to “My” bathroom and changed into my PJ’s [non medical-speak term], for the hookup. Haley then proceeded to wire me as she said “we monitor everything while you sleep”. I think she noticed the panic appearance I had taken on, and added “well almost everything”. This is a picture of a test dummy and I had more probes on me.

She put three different elastic bands around my chest. Some held equipment and some just probes. There had to be 20 probes on my head plus about 5 just on my chin area. All of the probes were held on by tape and the head probes were causing some consternation, as I know from past experience that tape and hair means goodbye hair and I have very little that I can spare. A double oxygen breathing type of thing was taped to my nose. Haley even put a probe on my foot. All of these probes were then plugged into a mini switch board about 6”x8”. It reminded me of the switchboard the old time telephone operators use to sit in front of, only a lot smaller.
For the record this is also not a picture of me but one stolen from the internet.

I half expected her to say “Number please”. I needed to take a pill, earlier, and I had a choice of about 4 different drinks. I chose water and she came back with a cup that looked like a Styrofoam soup cup filled with ice and water. Haley left to go into the control center and test my switchboard and I got a drink of water. That was a real challenge because it was so big but I had to hold the wires away from my mouth with one hand and hold the cup with the other. I wondered what would happen at 1am when I needed to get a drink from the cup? Might be interesting as I will be lying down also. When the wires were all tested out Haley left for the night but turned me over to Fletcher for the evening.

I got to watch TV for a while at bedtime and that relaxed me as the Red Sox were playing in Anaheim and were not losing yet. I fell asleep with ease and that surprised me. At 1, I had to call Fletcher because I had to pee and didn’t have a clue how that might be possible but Fletch came in and unplugged my switchboard and I was off and running. He also said the Sox were winning at the bottom of the sixth. Fell right back asleep and then the test was over and I found out the Sox won one. Fletcher was good removing the tape and it didn’t appear I lost very much hair.

I think this was the first time I have been to a hospital or even a Dr’s office that they have not hurt me somehow and everyone was nice to me. I would recommend this test to everyone. I have noticed that it is very hard to write a good posting when everything works out good. Before the test I was looking forward to the test because of the material it would provide me for a good posting. I got good material when I had my Nuclear Stress Test and when I had my Colonoscophy but not on this test. Just a nice test with some very qualified people. Yawhn!.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Blueberries are in!!!!!

Fresh, wild, Blueberries just hit the farm stands so I had to stop and pickup a few quarts. Blueberry pie tonight and maybe some of my Mother-in-law's recipie for Blueberry Buckel for tomorrow. Really a great pie. Just as fresh and as sweet as you can imagine. We have wildblueberries here in the cemetery but they needed a couple of more days. I'll take a look tomorrow. They are amongst the poison ivy which keeps people away. Have to watch out for the bears.

Cookie this one is for you to make up for the fresh corn photo.

I didn't make this story up.

This story is copied [scanned] from page 3 of Saturday News Vol.75 No.32 Westfield Ma 01085 August 5, 2006

Friday, August 04, 2006

A rose is a rose??

I have chosen to not try my tired brain trying to publish a trip back to whatever and merely pursue the trip I have been on for several days as in Bees and more bees. For your edification I select the topic of roses. Not just any rose but roses that turn different colors and roses of many colors appearing together on the same plant. I discovered this anomaly this morning in the garden by our back door. I quickly grabbed my camera and produced the picture you now see below. The roses are showing the strain of our 100 degree heat and high humidity. I planted the roses in this garden, weeded them and watered them but I never saw this. I knew that I had photographed this rose plant before and I retrieved that photo as you now observe posted below. Nice picture I might say myself.
Tonight, when my wife and I returned from supper, we checked the plant out and much to our surprise this is how it looked.

Beats me???

Thursday, August 03, 2006

and more bee stories

Rather than let the subject die, I will offer up one more posting on the general subject of BEE’S. Every afternoon I close and lock three of our 4 gates at about 5 PM. At dark I come on back at dark and close the remainder gate. Our “back gate” as it is referred to by the crew has, at times, been a source of problems because wasps tend to create mini-colonies in the horizontal supports. They seem to do this rather quickly, at least so my research on the subject tends to show. A queen leaves a nest and takes a few various wasps with her to form a new nest. Well that is exactly what took place today as I was shaking that same gate this morning taking the lock off but the wasps were not there. She picked a spot inches away from the padlock that locks this gate, sometime during the day. They didn’t bother me as I unlocked the padlock but instead got me as I removed the short cable it was attached to. One of the little buggers got me on the left outside, fleshy part of my left hand. When that happened I noticed I had four or more hovering around my head and I chose to withdraw and assess my options. There was only one option available and that was to kill the little bastards so I can retrieve my padlock and finished the job. I opened my bed box and retrieved my trusty can of bee and hornet killer but I found it to be empty. There didn’t seem to be an abundance of little critters around and perhaps, using my trusty baseball cap [a genuine Red Sox cap it is] as a wasp killer, I could attack and kill or run them off and finish locking the gate……Naaa. I went to the shop and got another can of spray and that was the end of the story.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

More Bee stories

My Son-in-law Michael [part timer for us} and Lou were weed whacking a couple of days ago and I drove up to drop Michael back off from a side trip. Lou had just picked up a sawhorse and moved it so he could chop of the weeds below it. As he sat it down and took a quick swipe with the weed trimmer, I noticed an, ever growing, plethora of bees congregating around him. Lou didn’t see the bees but quickly walked by me, in the pickup, when they attacked. Four of about 1000 had decided he needed to be punished. All four attacked at once stinging his upper body and inside his T shirt. He was hollering and ripping off his shirt and I looked back and noticed that Michael had walked into the saw horse area with complete abandonment. He did not realize there were thousands of bee’s swarming at his feet as he was too engrossed watching Lou tear off his shirt and holler. I yelled at Mike “Bees all around you, get out”. For once Michael listened to me and beat a hasty retreat and without getting stung. Why only 4 went after Lou and why none stung Michael we will never know. It was as if they knew that 4 could handle Lou without a problem and they knew that Michael was not a threat.

I could just see someone else come along and sit down on the sawhorse or something. I didn‘t want to leave it for chance and chose to eradicate the colony. I flipped the horse over with a broom handle, beat up the nest and stood back and sprayed the entire swarming mass with one of our powerful bee and wasp killers. The nest was about 6” wide and 8” long. Sometimes, when we find nests, we have to hire an exterminator to come in and eliminate the problem because the nests are so large. Our hardest ones to eliminate are those that dwell under the large stones or build their hives in the ground. We have to watch out for our guests.

When I first started into the construction business I had a 10 house subdivision going out in South Dakota. I had a job trailer there and we stored our extra materials along side in a fenced in area. I pulled up in my pickup just when one of my laborers, who was working on the fence, came crawling out from under the trailer. I got out and started walking toward the trailer just as he came running by me hollering “Run Bees!” Just as he went by, one of his attackers flew up my nose and got wedged. It was the left nostril, yes it was. At that point I figured out what was going on and fully realized that I was probably going to get stung in my left nostril, by a hornet, and that was probably going to really hurt. Well I took off running also, lest more hornets attack me, and as I ran I tried to blow that sucker out my nose. Hhnnh, hhnnh, hhnnh I went as I jumped over a pile of lumber and passed the worker that gave me the hornet problem in the first place. I felt like an idiot, hhnnh, hhnnh, and I was the boss but the damned hornet would not come out. Finally I recovered enough to think the problem out. I stopped, no sting but the hornet was still there, I put my right finger on the side of my nose and blew as hard as I ever had in my life. The hornet came out like a bullet and I didn’t get stung. The hornet was probably flying around wondering “What the hell was that all about?” What I did notice was most of my crew, now gathered round, some of them going hnnh, hnnh, and the other laughing hysterically.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Our Local corn is up!

All you need is a Weber grill, dozen ears of corn, your favorite chair and a good beer!

Our Local corn is up! This past week it has just started hitting the farm stands and today, my wife and I, went out and got some for supper. Beautiful, beautiful corn and we have been waiting about 11 months for it. Lots of farm stands and lots of fields of corn, all waiting for us. Tomatoes were out, cucumbers looked good, lots of onions, potatoes and celery. Life is good. The kids were coming over for supper so we bought a dozen ears and for the 1st time I did them on the grill, in the husks. I’ve done them on the grill but never in their husks.
  1. cut tassels off of the corn

  2. strip off the extra outside husks

  3. Soak corn for at least one hour

  4. On a 350 degree grill put corn down

  5. Turn every 10 minutes or so for 30 minute This is how the husks looked after 15 minutes

If they are steaming they are done and if not steaming open the end of one and take a look. Probably done. Set aside and cook remainder of meal. I did this one with cheeseburgers and hot dogs and it sure was an easy meal.Candy corn, just as juicy, tender and sweet as it gets!