Autumn

Autumn

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Top of the Morning

To you....

For two days I've been locked in a phone battle with bureaucrats. Hopefully the fight ends today. I've been engaged with this struggle for over a year and a half, and I'm bloody with crusty scars, all because of the Patriot Act.

Would you believe I haven't had a single cup of coffee this morning....

Stephen

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Query

Show of hands - when you post a comment to this humble blog, how many hit the subscribe button?

I've often lost sleep over the fact it sometimes has taken me days to respond to your kind comments, either way, your answers will help in my comfort, sleep patterns, and daily routine. If an extra cup of coffee is necessary, prior to bed, I will make every attempt possible to respond in a timely manner. 


Or not.

Thank you.

Stephen


Bits & Pieces

My hands shake, and my biceps are tight and sore. Even after a cold shower my scalp drips moisture like tiny warm streams. It's hot and humid here in Florida.

I've spent most of the day at yard work. While behind the mower I remember thinking each breath is sixty parts warm water with the flavor of mildewed river mud.

I should recover sometime next week.

*****

Yesterday my lovely wife approached and asked if I'd inflate the tires of her bicycle. Why, I asked. She doesn't ride.

She owns a Schwinn. A cruiser. Nice bike, blue. I purchased it as a gift for her birthday. Twenty-five years ago. When I wheeled the ride into our living room she jumped up and down, gave little squeals of delight and in the process I received nice warm kisses. Pushed out my chest in pride as if I'd planned her gift with great thought when in fact I'd just spun the 'ole wheel of chance.

She rode it, once. One time. Down the street, flipped around and back, climbed from the seat and said, "My butt hurts."

I parked the bike in my workshop and there it sat for years. We relocated to our present home and the Schwinn was hung from a hook in our garage. Dust settled and cobwebs formed.

Again, yesterday. "Please, Honey. Put some air in the tires. I want to ride."

Me, "Can't."

"Why not?"

"The tires are dry rotted and I'm sure the tubes won't hold air." She pouts. So, I sigh and we enter the garage and I take down the dusty relic (which wasn't easy) and with the help of my compressor fill the tires. They held. I had her bend and traced the dry rot, little lines of separation in the rubber.

We both own bicycles. I'm just as guilty as my wife when it comes to riding. Way back, years ago, I biked daily to work. I'd park my bike outside the back of the shop and pride myself on the exercise it gave. Until one fateful rainy morning when I hit a pothole and flew over the handlebars and broke my wrist and cut a fine deep hole in my forehead. I parked the bike with the excuse it was just too dangerous. She asked why I didn't sell it. Said, well, you know, maybe some day it'll come in handy when the zombies attack and I'll peddle us to safety. Yeah, right.


When she understood the damage time had inflicted upon her bike tires she said, "Well, then lets put new ones on it." I mentioned the cost and tired to tactfully suggest she'd probably not spend more than ten minutes on the road before she parked it, again, for another twenty five years.

She eased close and said, "Please." I loaded the bike in my truck.

At the local bicycle dealer, I roll the Schwinn inside and the young man at the counter came around and said, "Oh my God. A real Schwinn. Hey, Louie, come take a look at this old beauty."

I think they were all of ten years old. Sweet Wife beamed in their glory. Counter Guy says, "Hey, the paint is metal flake. Check this out, pre-buyout...made in Hungary. Hey, Dude, this is cool."

I stand back and watch the boys caress Sweet Wife's bike, and before long they've selected new rubber and tubes, lube the old girl and installed a new water bottle holder. Sweet Wife shops. She selects a new gel-padded seat cover and was just about to the clothing department before I pulled back the reins.  Cha-ching...stuffs expensive.

I paid the tab and we leave and I glance over and notice Sweet Wife is all smiles. I'm sure she dreamed of the July tour in France, riding high alongside the boys as they cross the finish line in Paris.

Back home. "Honey."

I have her Schwinn's kickstand in place as she mounts. "Yes?"

"Get your bike ready." Ah, man....

She takes the new rubber out for a test ride. I can hear her giggles from a block away. What the heck. I walk to a back bedroom of our house and gently roll my old Schwinn Black Phantom into the garage and fill her tires. She stills shines.

We had a nice ride. Kinda felt good. Tell 'ya what...those old boys over in France better get ready for next year...we're gonna kick their butts.


Above, Sweet Wife and her Schwinn...test ride.

*****

Recently a friend suggested I watch a series of movies, shows, titled 'Games of Thrones.' Well, should I?





Later,

Stephen













Friday, July 26, 2013

A Post

It's been a long, hard, and in general, awful day. Details are not important, but I now understand the true meaning of sorrow and hate.

And, I don't like it.

Stephen

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Little Bit

I recently found this video hidden away and forgotten on my Blackberry. I'd like to share it with you.

She loved to Hula Hoop. I miss her so very much...

 


I sure hope this works.

Stephen

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Thanks & Welcome

To my new friend and follower, West Tx at Heart. Tex, hope you don't mind if I call you Tex, as it's kinda cool, I promise to always answer any comments. If you have a blog, let me know.

Pull out chair, take a seat, and let's have a cup of coffee. You are now among friends.

Again, thank you and welcome to my little piece of the world.

Stephen

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Oh, Baby

Fresh shrimp lightly sauteed in butter with a touch of olive oil, garlic, Cajun spices, and of course, a bit of kosher salt and pepper.

I'll divide the pan between two large spinach salads. The house smells wonderful.

Ya'll come, heah....

Stephen 

Bits & Pieces

It's a new morning of gray cloudy skies pregnant with rain and the wind is gentle and warm. The storms will follow. This is the heartbeat of a Florida July. Mildew covers our scalps and grows between our toes and we replace our pets with frogs and tadpoles. They make great stew come October.

*****

An article in this morning's liberal rag said the Odyssey Project lifted sixty-one tons of silver ingots from the SS Gairsoppa. The ship was sank by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland in 1941. Each bar contains 1,994.8 ounces of .999.2 silver. If my math is correct, at today's spot price, each bar is worth approximately thirty-nine thousand, eight hundred ninety six dollars.The stash is valued at thirty-four million dollars.

I shall place an order for one bar. It'll look nice in my collection. That is, if the Brits will share.

(Yeah, right.)
*****

 Oops, time to punch the time clock.....

My boss is a butthole.

Later,

Stephen

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rain

Seems we are in for a rainy weekend, which I shall spend alone. SW has hit the road to spend some time with her mother. What to do....

Well, there is a gun show in town. I've a nice stack of books.

Do you suppose the combination of the two would hurt....

I'll let you know.

Stephen

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Old Man's Promise

The phone call came early this morning. 

"Stephen, you know Percy died."

"Yes, mam,  I'm very sorry."

"Well, he promised you this gun, and if it's okay with you, I'd like to drop it off today."

Percy had been a customer for well over twenty years. He wasn't the most likeable man in the world and as far as firearms, well, he didn't think much of them. Percy liked to fish and as an aside to his hobby crafted some of the finest handmade surf rods in Florida. When it came to reel repair he had the touch of a watchmaker. Yet if push came to shove his greatest passion was literature. Books, we  had in common. Thus, our friendship.

One day, years ago, he said, "When I cop a squat at the gates of heaven I want you to have my rifle." Percy had a way with words.

I'd never seen his rifle. Didn't give it a second thought. Until this morning.

I was busy when she parked and rang the doorbell. She asked if I'd walk outside and carry the bundle inside for her. She had it packed within two black trash bags. I removed it and found a beautiful Savage model 24 over and under chambered in .22/.410. The date code indicated she'd left the shop in 1960. Good 'ole Percy.

"He wanted you to have it. He made me promise to give this rifle to you."

"No, mam."

"But....."

 I smiled at her and gave her a rub on her shoulders. She's such a tiny little lady. "Tell 'ya what. Let's break out the Bluebook and check its value."

She didn't argue. I paid for Percy's gift.



Later, we spoke of Percy and his last days. I asked after her health and if the adjustment to a life without her husband had been difficult. She replied, "At first, yes. Now, well, I haven't the time to think about it. The garage needs to be cleaned and my goodness his junk is stacked knee deep. When I find them old bullets I'll bring them to you too."

I smiled and said thanks.

Then, she said,  "You know, he left that old pistol in his sock drawer. I don't know if its loaded or not. I took the awful thing and stuck it into a paper bag. When I get the time you want me to drive it over?"

Please, don't judge me.

I said, "Yes, mam, that would be just fine."

"I'm scared of guns, Stephen."

"Understandable, Mrs. Campbell."

She's such a sweet little lady....

*****

If you, dear reader, would like to learn more about this wonderful firearm, a highly collectable piece, visit, here.

Stephen







Thursday, July 18, 2013

Just a Note

Late this afternoon I received a text from SW. She asked if we'd please have dinner out as she'd missed lunch. I said fine.

We both chose BBQ.

We arrive and are escorted to a booth. She orders turkey. I ask for a rack of ribs. She eats her turkey with a big smile. My ribs, suck.

They were, without a doubt, the most awful ribs I've ever tried to eat. Mushy, foul tasting pieces of crap. I wouldn't throw 'em to a dog. I knew I should have ordered the baby backs. 

Me, all sad and stuff.

It's been a long day. At least there's a gunshow this weekend.

Stephen

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Good Evening

I've found dust is best eaten with a few grains of salt. Or better yet, made into soup. I've spent the last two days giving my shop a top to bottom deep clean. I even tried to enlist the help from a few customers. Most of the bums turned me down cold. I've been home for several hours and still taste the dirt and mold spores.

Behind the shop there is a new pile of discarded junk, piled black bags and exactly six cardboard boxes of old magazines and books, about fifteen metal coffee cans and a fairly good 1985 copy of Playboy, centerfold intact.

My office refrigerator has been defrosted (it took two hours in our heat) and now shines and smells great. I still need to dust my desk and computer but the toilet sparkles and gives the scent of high mountain pines. Sadly my office carpet, though deeply vacuumed, still holds spots. One rich dark stain, as a result of spilled coffee, I blame on Duke or Senior, since both are slobs of the highest order.

I tried but failed to remove magnet and tape held drawings and one class paper, gifts from Little Bit to me, from the side of my gun cabinet and frig....they will remain, besides they give my office a cluttered charm. Certain items are sacred.

High on a back shelf was discovered fifteen years of back calendars, sixteen coffee table books, and a long lost paper bag of framed art and photos, a twenty share stock certificate (Winn-Dixie, worthless) and six copies of First Edition magazine, and several different calibers of handgun ammunition now housed within a medicine bottle.

I really should hire undocumented help.

Then again hired help might chunk great treasures into the can and tick me off. Like the one artificial rose Little Bit gave me for Valentines Day, or my Vietnam stick-pin taken from one of my old hats which now graces the back door frame. A special broken thermometer, the string of fifty caliber ammo along the back wall, or any of the many research books stacked high on the green cabinet - all weighted by an unopened green can of gun grease. I just cannot take the chance.

So, I guess I'll keep the job, dust and all.


Stephen

Monday, July 15, 2013

I Have Nothing

Move on.

But not too far. I have a fine lineup of great bloggers on my sidebar. Please, visit and say hello. I'll be back tomorrow.

Oh, if anyone out there works in leather craft and has the ability to stitch together a Cheyenne knife sheath, please, contact me.

Thanks, and hey, be careful out there.

Stephen


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Supper

When I was child the late evening meal was supper. Dinner was what we ate at high noon. Either way, it's time for me to get to work on tonight's meal.

The stove awaits, see 'ya later.

Stephen

Sunday

As is my habit I walked into the kitchen this morning and built a pot of coffee. As the pot brewed my life's blood, I threw a couple of English muffins into the toaster, and then slipped on my comfortable old house shoes and walked outside to search for the morning paper.

It's a nice morning. Very damp after three inches of rain. I stood a moment and listened as the birds sang, no breeze. Warm. I eased down the driveway. No newspaper. Even the neighbors yards appear empty...so much for nicking their copy.

I suppose Zimmerman's verdict threw the printers for a late night loop. When my copy arrives, and it will, I have plans for the front page. I shall cut, paste and post it on the front window of my shop. Should prove interesting.

*****

She's on her way to church. Last evening she asked if, after church, we might take in a movie. I said, "Sure."

In fact, I hate theaters. Still it's what she wants. I'm sure as soon as we're settled some pack of democritters will whip out their cells and make the place unbearable. I've come close, several times, to fist fights in crowded dark movies over some boogers inability to keep his mouth shut. Then, one night, I indeed came out of my seat and reached and jerked one oily haired dude from his chair. I then explained, as nicely as possible, if he didn't remove himself from the room, exactly how I'd remove his teeth instead. Shamefully, back then, I wasn't a very nice person.

Sweet Wife wasn't happy with my loss of self-control. I apologized. She didn't accept. This was early in our marriage and I'm sure she had second thoughts about the man she'd married. She's since changed my outlook and patience.

Afterwards it was years before she again agreed to attend the theater with me. Nowadays we have Netflix. The service is convenient and my family room is quiet. I can actually follow the dialog, and I've had few problems with greasy foul mouthed critters. Even the cat is well behaved.

So, it seems this afternoon we'll check the listings and give it another try. Maybe I can convince her to attend the new zombie movie with that Hollywood fruitcake Brad Pitt.

Hey, just remembered...I'm now eligible for a senior citizen discount. Hope they serve good popcorn.

*****

1006, the newspaper flopped against my front door. Didn't even bother to ring my doorbell.

Bet the driver voted for Obama.

*****

Couple of days back a fella rang the shops bell and asked if I wanted to buy a shotgun. I though, one shouldn't be afraid to ask stupid questions, it's how we learn.

Anyway, as is their habit, he came inside with a bundle wrapped in bed sheets. As he removed the covers, "This here is a fine shotgun. High class." A black stock was revealed. "I'm telling 'ya man this here shotgun be worth nine hundred dollars."

Me, "Really."

"Yeah, man. this here is one fine shotgun. It'll shot bullets all day long, man. I bet you could ask more than nine hundred. All I wants is eight."





I laughed and took the firearm from his hands, slapped the bolt back and a shell ejected. Rolled across the floor. "Ah, man, I didn't know it had a bullet in it."

It was a Benelli Nova, pump, twelve gauge. Nothing special and to tell you the truth I don't really care for 'em.

"I'll give you two hundred. Period."

He took the cash and walked. I did give back his 'bullet.'

Then again, I'm considerate like that.

Stephen












Saturday, July 13, 2013

It's Yellow

Haven't the time to write but I wanted to share this picture, because, well -

It's yellow.

h/t, AmishStories

Stephen

Friday, July 12, 2013

My Old Friend

My old friend, a fine writer of all things survivalist related, has returned.  Please, take a stroll over the mountain and say hello.

Tell him Stephen sent you.

Self Sufficient Mountain Living.


Thanks.

Stephen

Unsettled Weather

Our local weather forecasters warn of unsettled weather for North Florida this weekend. Fine with me.

For the last couple of days I've stepped from my front door into warmth filled with birdsong and the scent of salt marsh. As I walk towards my truck squirrel cut pine cones litter our walkway and the cicadas sing at full roar - a gentle entry into an otherwise long hot day.

The storms will arrive, I'm sure, and I will ride out its winds and rain with a cup of coffee and a smug smile all tight and secure within the shell of this vintage building.

Elsewhere in Florida another storm is forecast. Many believe the Zimmerman case will slam shut and riots will place the period to his fifteen minutes of fame.

I doubt it.

Then again human nature is almost impossible to predict. There is the possibility critters will jump and howl and show their collective asses. Some are sure to bust a window or two. It's the truly black souled moon fleas one must always keep in mind.

This morning, in the truck, I took a few extra minutes and pulled my critter getter from its case. I swapped magazines and refreshed the fodder. She's ready for action, should opportunity present a target rich environment.

As I've said, I doubt the storm predictions. Still, I've taken a nice piece of 550 cord and made it ready to accept trophy ears. The line, once filled, should look nice against the background of my black shirt.

We're in for a stormy day, if the forecast is correct.

Should be fun.

Stephen
 


Thursday, July 11, 2013

What I Hate

You know what I hate?

Okay, I'll tell you. I hate the fact it's me and not you saddled with the job of balancing my accounts and writing these offending checks. My head hurts, my coffee is lukewarm and it's a beautiful warm morning - yet here I sit.

*****

By the way, today is the official 'switch out your carry piece day.'   (um, or what the heck ever you wish to refer to it day.) For the next quarter I shall pack a sweet little nickled Chief's Special. If you need me to explain why a member of the gun culture should swap his or her carry piece on occasion - well, never mind. Please burn your membership cards.

If you haven't as yet read my friend Duke's blog this week you should know he has written two great articles on the philosophy of concealed carry. Give 'em a read.

Now, run along and give your black polymer handgun a rest. Open the safe and remove a dusty queen and give her a place on your belt. As you rush about your day, reach back and give her a tug, present her to that faraway target on the office wall and say, pew, pew, pew.

She'll appreciate it.

Later.

Stephen


Monday, July 8, 2013

I Must Confess

If we owned a doghouse I'm fairly certain it would be my residence for the rest of this year. I hate to tell on myself, really I do, but to carry this guilt for the rest of the evening would, I'm sure, do great damage to my marriage. You see, she isn't aware I shot out one of her dining room windows.

Sigh.

Arrived home about 1600 this afternoon. Since Monday is my normal day off I thought I'd close the shop early. After all business was slow, and I had a couple of chores I wanted to tackle. Time on my hands, don't 'ya know.

My first order of business was to run a line check on our irrigation system. As each station cycled I followed along and observed each sprinkler carefully for trouble. Station four soaks our backyard.

Just as I took a step around the corner of our home I spotted movement under our deck. Two whopping sized armadillos. Two. I retreated for aggressive action.

A few moments later I'm back and armed with one of my little Rossi .22 pump rifles. Now, here I must pause and build a case for my defense.

Our home has a brick walkway laid on three sides of our yard. The bricks, though firmly bedded. are subject to movement by tree roots. Not all the bricks are even with the rest and it's very easy to catch the toe of your boot and stumble if you (me) aren't careful.

It's hot. I have copious amounts of stinging sweat in my eyes (which didn't help my vision) and my breathing was uneven from the quick dash inside. Pretending to be a woods wise Indian, I eased around the corner and spotted my nemesis - the hated saber toothed armadillos.

The suckers held tight to the underside of the deck. Target acquisition was difficult. I held my breath, took a bead on armadillo one and fired. The sucker flipped. I shucked the bolt to reload and the friggin rifle jammed.  Booger number two was about to make his escape. I quickly reached and released the magazine tube which takes pressure off the rounds, and then, slammed home the bolt.


Problem is as I worked to load a fresh round into the chamber, I like a damn fool, tried to step forward in order to gain a fresh sight picture on almost dead armadillo number two. Remember, hot, excited, killer instinct has kicked into high gear - I wanted blood.

My boot caught a fraction of an upturned brick, and like an amateur, (Oops, get ready.) my finger still caressed the trigger. I had not fully released my booger hook. On this particularly rifle if you hold the trigger back and slide the bolt home it will fire. Well, guess what.

I stepped, stumbled, and fired. Remember folks, muzzle awareness is very important to firearms safety. By the way I missed zombie armadillo two.

But, I shot a pretty round hole in our formal dining room window. Low, on the frame. Clean hit. I felt like a fool. (Go ahead, laugh.)

It's a tiny hole. Nice and clean. Glass fractured pretty as you please. It's amazing what a tiny .22 short will do to metal and glass. Never underestimate a .22's ability to kill game or its decorative effect on windows.


I held my head low and slowly walked back to the garage and into the house. Didn't even wipe my boots, just tracked inside to the dining room. I expected severe collateral damage. Her sheer curtains took a hit. I bent and carefully tracked the path of the bullet. As expected it shattered and two small pieces entered one leg of her (Lord help me.) antique china cabinet. I ran and grabbed a tube of that stuff that restores the color of wood and wiped away the evidence.

I quickly scheduled an appointment with a window repair service.

I truly hate armadillos.

There. It's done. I've confessed. Maybe I'll wait for the repair people before I tell her....it's possible she won't notice the damage.

Isn't it...possible.

Stephen 


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Silver Tease

Oh, kymber....


I know, I'm a bad boy.

Three ounces of pure beauty.

Stephen

Just for kymber

I need to rename this dish Belly Popper. Kymber, my dear, here's the finished product. My chicken and dumplings.

Above. I've just placed the dumplings into the pot. This picture doesn't give justice to the dishes deep golden richness.

Now, the finished dish.

If anyone can eat more than three of my dumplings and still walk they're superhuman.

Not a bad two hours work. Now, about that recipe....I'll think about it. First I need to take a long walk.

Stephen


I Promise

As soon as my body temperature returns to normal, and after I build a pot of chicken and dumplings, I'll write something of interest...or at least try with the good Lord's help.


The chicken dish should only take a couple of hours. I make mine from scratch.

I've been working in our yard all morning - felt good, other than the humidity and sweat soaked shirt. Still, it was nice to retake my domain from others, if you get my drift.

I'm also very ticked. For several hours last evening I tried in vain to replace the water hoses on our Maytag piece of crap washing machine. A job I've done with ease many times in my life. Seems these newer machines require the assistance of Maytag repairmen.

By the way, always and I mean, always replace those black rubber hoses with lifetime braided lines. Trust me on this....and, never purchase a Maytag. Pieces of junk.

Later.

Stephen


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Nice Old Pour

This beauty is for my friends Jamie and kymber.





Gotta love the old pour bars.

Stephen

Independence Day

Cut the melon, clean the grill and torch a few burgers, then ease off and fire a few rounds for God and Country.

And, take care out there.

Stephen

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

After Effects

We're home, and my mind is blank. Probably an after effect of vacation. I haven't experienced that much time away from my business in over a decade. Feels weird.

Give me a day or two to readjust my force field.

Until then,

Stephen