Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What PawPaw said

I agree.

Sally forth and read what PawPaw said.


Nothing for Nothing

Ever just sit to type and nothing appears on the screen? Guess it happens to all of us. I suffer from one of those mornings. As my good friend, MSgt B says, my muse shanked me.

It's Halloween and so I shall dutifully post a related picture, later. The weather here is perfect for the children; its cool and windy and the Spanish moss will wave and dance and give just the right atmosphere for the spooky candy snatchers adventures.

If I had a small male child in my household I'd dress the little tike in woodland camouflage, strap a belt and holster around his waste and give him a Ruger Mini-14 and a burlap bag. Throw a few strips of OD green and black greasepaint across his mug for effect and send him towards all the Liberal houses. But, I'm just mean that way.

Now, on the other hand, if I had a little sweet girl in my home we'd dress her quite differently. This from last year.

My goodness...seems like such a long time ago. I hope she has a wonderful time this evening.

Have wonderful and safe Halloween. 


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cool Business

Our weather has finally turned cool. Forty four degrees this morning and I love it. We experienced fairly high winds yesterday with the result of lost power - at least where I live.

So, I cooked dinner by lamp light.

Not the best picture in the world and I know it's hard to see the lamp due to the glare. The lamp is old, kerosene, and I've owned it for at least forty years. I think I own at least ten more of the old girls...wick lamps come in awful handy when the weather turns foul.

It pays to limit your dependence upon electrical power.

Business is good which limits my time on-line. Hopefully I'll find a few moments later this afternoon to write and post, but please understand when one is self-employed and the opportunity presents itself one must stuff as many dollars in the mattress as possible...after all, I've democritters to support.

Until then, please, take care out there.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Bits & Pieces

Our weather has turned cool. I awoke to temperatures in the upper forties - nice. It's about time.

I hope and pray all my good friends in the New England area and Canada ride out hurricane Sandy without so much as a scratch. I know my friend, Sixbears, is ready as I've just read his blog. His firewood and food preps are stacked deep. He has books to read and coffee for the long haul. Take heed.


I need to tackle some work in my yard today. I'd much prefer dinking around with my current restoration project but I'm afraid my neighbors might form a group and protest. Silly little boogers with their signs held high as they march up and down my street and yell, 'trim your hedges.' Which, in truth, is fine with me. It's their Birkenstock clad feet and bean sprout sticky breath I can't handle - it scares my cat.


From outside I can hear one particular set of windchimes dance and sing. I purchased the set years ago when I lived just outside Seattle. Over the years I've restrung them at least ten times. I have this thing about windchimes. 

When you hear their song you know the breeze is snappy and strong and the chimes bear out this fact. The notes evoke memories too, some good, others sad. Either way the chimes travel this life with you, always there, a portable notebook of wire and metal tube which await the wind.

My old chimes first rode the wind in California. They danced to the whims of the Santa Ana's, the breezes warm and strong, which carried the scent of desert and mountain air.

The clapper on the chimes is green plastic with the image of a seagull painted in silver.  The seagull began to fade after a couple of years under the steady California sun. I then lowered them for a ride to Washington State and returned them to the elements just outside my bedroom window. Our new home was located on a hillside just above the waters of Hammersley Inlet and the chimes had cooler and evergreen scented wind with which to keep a steady beat.

The windchimes survived long cold winters of snow and ice and then as the seasons turned, cool spring and summer rains. Throughout it all they danced and sang. Nights I'd drift to sleep as the music gently faded and formed dreams.

Then, things changed. Items were separated, divided. Boxes were packed. I asked for the old windchimes and it was agreed they'd travel with me. For a long time they missed the wind. Then one day, as I stood and watched the ocean surf surge and fade I felt alone. I stood there and realized the music of the wind lacked, something. Then I remembered. I located the box and found the old set of windchimes.

They liked the ocean wind. One day a lady came to visit. She was sweet and soft spoken and bespoke all that was good of the South.

She liked the music, too. In time she agreed to share our lives. 

Now, the old windchimes hang on the banks of a river and still mark the passage of time to notes of salt scented breezes.


Perhaps I shouldn't write with only one cup of coffee under my belt. Excuse me. I need to get to work.

Take care out there.




Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Irish in Me

Rises to the surface when we have stormy gray days. I'm in the mood for stew.

You'll need...

A few ingredients. Beef stew meat, mushrooms, potatoes, onions, fresh garlic, and carrots. I also include a few dried peppers.

Then, place one of the above on the stove.

After the Dutch oven is hot add some olive oil.  Once in a while I use bacon fat...but, olive oil is healthier, its not as tasty as the bacon grease but it makes my wife and doctor happy.

As the oil heats prep your onions, garlic and potatoes. We'll slice the mushrooms and include them last.

Flour your stew meat and place in the hot oil in batches. Do not crowd the beef. You want to brown it not steam it. I use two pounds of beef. Brown and remove.

As you remove the meat, season. I use 'Slap Ya Mama,' but any good Creole seasoning is fine. I also sprinkle it with a bit of Kosher salt.

When you've finished browning the meat throw in the onions and cook until translucent. Then the garlic. The natural juices of the onion will partially deglaze the pot. In effect we're making a rue.

Above, after the onions are to your liking slowly return the meat to the mixture, increase the heat and pour about one cup of good beef stock and stir. It will thicken. Careful with the stock. Add small amounts as you begin to build the stew.

First the potatoes, then carrots. I slice my mushrooms and add them after all other ingredients are in place. Season again. Now bring to a gentle boil...again, easy on the stock. You want it thick.

Above, as I waited for the stew to reach a boil I ran outside and clipped a couple of sprigs of rosemary. I like the flavor it gives the stew. Your taste may vary...

After the stew reaches a gentle boil reduce the heat and simmer for several hours.

Serve with a good loaf of French bread and your favorite beverage...nothing like a good stew on a cool windy and rainy day.



Friday, October 26, 2012

Too Busy

Just too busy to write. Maybe later. Gray and windy here. We await the storm which will give us nothing but more wind and light showers.

Until later. Please, take care out there.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hard Cider

It's been many years since I've had hard cider. As I passed the beer cooler this evening something made me reach and grab a sixpack of this -

Very refreshing. Went well with cheese. If you'll excuse me I think I'll have another.



Thought I'd make a change in my 'thanks and welcome' routine.

Please give a warm hello to two new followers and friends, Charlynegranny and A Simple Man. My friends, I promise to always answer your comments. It often takes me a few hours, even days on rare occasions, but answer I shall...always check back.

Again, thank you both and welcome. You are now among friends.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I find it hard to write when a new book arrives. I ordered Larry Correias' newest novel, 'Monster Hunter Legion,' weeks ago. It arrived yesterday. A nice signed limited edition. It even smells nice.

I ripped open the package and pulled the book out and sat it gently upon my desk and thought - 'what the heck, I'll write tomorrow and read today'. If you want to make God smile....

Anyhow, in between work and dealing with customers I read about six pages.

You know you want it.


When I flipped on the computer this morning I noticed a little window pop screamed at me that several updates (real important security updates) awaited my attention and it insisted I 'click here' and demanded I comply. So, I obeyed.

I sincerely wish I had the patience of my good friend, Rev. Paul, and the technical knowledge of my equally good friend, Borepatch. I hate to randomly download computer updates. I've had so many, shall we say. glitches afterwards it kinda worries me.

I dutifully selected those I felt important and ever so gently hit the fire control button and sat back and waited.

The wee boogers inside my computer whirred and hummed and then flashed, 'hit restart.' I again complied.

As my computer went about its mission I reached over to my old fashioned Rolodex and flipped the pages to the number of my computer repair guy - just in case. I then pulled my .45 and waited. I've always wanted to shoot a computer and I'd felt this morning I might just get lucky and have a shot.

Another window opened and green bars whizzed back and forth. Then, nada.

Not a single problem. Sigh. Holstered my weapon. 

Maybe next time.


Last evening, late, Sweet Wife turned to me and asked, "Are we still grandparents?" 

She was seated at the kitchen table. She had her business laptop open and papers stacked knee deep. I walked over and began to gently rub her shoulders. She lowered her head and did one of those moans as women tend to do under massage. Outside, on our deck, three raccoons took turns feeding from our cat's bowl.

"Well, are we?"

How was I to answer.

Me, "Yes, Honey, you'll always be a grandmother."

Her, "When?"

I answered, "Honey, I really don't know. We must be patient."

She turned, reached and took my hand and laid her cheek upon it. Her face was warm and wet and small shudders, spasms almost, ran through her body. I bent and kissed the top of her head and whispered, "Please, please, don't cry. Find a distraction, a hobby besides work, and hide your sorrow and try and forget. Please."

I worked my thumbs lower and applied pressure to her back. Small tears continued to roll down her face and my soul cried too.

Then, "Have you found your distraction? Have you forgotten our grandchildren?"  Anger, just under the surface.

"No, I'll never forget them. And, she is always on my mind. I can't walk through my life and not find a memory of her. She surrounds me. But, I function."

Silence. I waited. I listened as my old tide clock ticked and marked the hours until the next tide event. The raccoons continued to eat. She sniffed. 

"I'll never forget," she said.

 I gave her another kiss and as I walked away, said, "And neither will I."



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thanks & Welcome

It was a pleasant surprise when over the weekend I flipped on my laptop and found not one but two new friends and followers.

Thanks and welcome to my new friend, Old NFO, and also to my beautiful new friend and follower, Kitty Moore.

Many of you already know and read Old NFO. He writes the blog, Nobody Asked Me, a very witty and intelligently written blog. If you served in the Navy, he's your man. If you wore brown shoes while you served, you'll really like him, so please, run over and say hello.

 I was truly pleased to find the lovely and talented Kitty Moore had decided to hit my little blue button. She's a writer of exceptional talent. Kitty lives and works in London. Kitty Tells It As It Is, get it....please, click and read.

Again, thanks and welcome. You're both now among friends.

Oh, I've linked both of your great blogs to my blog list.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Just Listen

I wanted to share this piece with you, my friends. Its one of my favorites.



The Weekend In Pictures

Walked outside a few minutes ago to feed our cat and noticed one of my banana trees is about to give birth to a nice batch of baby bananas. Me, all smiles.

Our weather is, fair. Has been for a week or so; clear dry days with highs in the lower eighties. I can't wait until the weather improves. Beautiful weather, to me, would be a rainy windy day with a high of about forty-five.


As promised here are the pictures from our group workday. I'm sure many of you remember our retreat suffered from a very bad (historic) flood. The aftermath and clean-up has taken many months of hard work. Overall we have been very lucky. Many of the area residents lost the homes. We count our blessings.

All my friends arrived early and by the time I appeared (remember, I work for a living) had accomplished much. They had repositioned the outhouse and the old travel trailer adjacent to the Boar's Nest. We use the trailer for storage.  Senior sleeps in the outhouse. He's funny that way....

I was greeted by the younger crowd with their usual gang related hand signs. Class tells. Senior is the dude hiding his face. Kids...what can I say. We need them for the heavy lifting and comic relief.

Above, another shot of Senior hard at work on a bag of Mountain House.

Our 'shooting shed' was destroyed by the flood and needed to be rebuilt. After lunch we tackled the mess the flood left behind and after several hours of hard work we had the structure replaced. We'll complete the project next month. Above Duke hard at work. I've posted this picture of Duke for my lovely friend, kymber.

Above, Senior and Pirate Jim. If you're ever in a jam these are two guys you'd want in your foxhole.

As an aside we've decided to build a three gun range....should be fun.

We have a beautiful retreat.

Above, a very special young man. This is the son of my best friend, Pirate Jim. His name is Brandon and Brandon is special because he's closer to God than you and I. We're lucky to have him. He's a very hard worker and gives out hugs whenever or wherever they're needed. Brandon senses when a person is in need of support and without question walks over and 'hugs.' He always leaves me with a smile. In this picture he's inspecting the installation of one of the structures load bearing supports.  That 'log' took five grown men, and Senior, to place. Sucker was heavy.

Here we have ShooterSteve. He's shooting nails into a stud behind this old set of school lockers we've just placed. We use the cabinets for range storage such as targets, tape, sand bags and spare hearing protection. We had to dig them from beneath the old collapsed structure and as you can plainly see they've seen better days.   

That's it folks. It was a good day. Now, I need to get to work.

Take care.


Sunday, October 21, 2012


It's been a long day and I'm tired but I've a big smile on my face. Here's a couple of pictures that should explain my silence.

Above, my finished Coleman 425E. I completed this project about twenty minutes ago. Her tank is all tucked (nestled) in her bed of newspaper. After all the work I've put into her I'm not about to scratch the finish.

Here's proof she works. This is her secondary burner with a beautiful blue flame. I said a long prayer when I lit her as I had to completely rebuild her tank. This is the stove rescued from the flood.

Okay, enough.

I promise to answer all your kind comments tomorrow morning. All I want now is a nice hot shower, a cup of coffee then a nice long nights sleep.

I'll write a long post tomorrow, too. I've a few pictures from our groups work day out at our bug out location.

Until then, good night.


Friday, October 19, 2012

I Want

Some good meat loaf. I've had this craving since yesterday. I don't know why, but there it is, my weakness laid bare.

It's busy here today so this short post must suffice until after our group gathers tomorrow. We'll have a full day of work, and hopefully, a bit of fun.

Ah, ketchup too. I seldom use the condiment but meat loaf would not be the same without it.


Just received a call from Sweet Wife. She and Glock Mom have a girls day planned tomorrow. They're taking a long ride to a huge flea market. God bless anyone that gets between them and a deal. They both pack handguns....and know how to use them. Maybe, just maybe, Sweet Wife will find me a good deal on a Coleman.

Hey, gotta run.


Thursday, October 18, 2012


I stepped outside this morning to a nice stiff breeze off the river and turned to face it and loved the cool of it and how it pushed the scent of the marsh into my senses. It felt good, and mellow, which made me feel ripe with age, subdued.

The wind held steady and I noticed the tails of the Spanish Moss drifted east with the help of the westerly breeze as the palm fronds rattled. Rain is near.

The shell has cracked and I like it.

Last evening I worked late out in the garage, tinkering. I've repainted the gas tank of my current project three times. Never satisfied with the last result. It must be perfect. I'd allow the paint to dry then like a man obsessed apply fine steel wool to the finish and repeat.

Then, "Sweetheart, leave it alone. It's beautiful," she'd say.

I caught myself smiling, as did she.

She's perceptive, that way.


jambaloney, the grapefruit are almost in season. Standby.


Our group meets Saturday. It'll be nice to once again see all my friends. We've much to do, and clean

I just remembered the flood also took away my air mattress. It was one of those 'self-inflating' expensive suckers. Another item to replace. Perhaps, instead, I'll just make do with the cheap foam pad I used prior to the nice on my back air mattress. Man-up, if you will.

I expect to see both Senior, and Duke out there. And, I expect them to pack me a lunch and drink as I'll drive out straight  from work. Don't forget....

And, make sure it's hot.


My coffee awaits. Think I'll take a stroll around the building. I can hear the crows scream my name.

Take care,


Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I've just spent the last thirty-five minutes at my attorney's office. He's a well paid hack and half of his office lights don't work. He smells of cigarette smoke and appeared to be hung over. I was not pleased.

Unfortunately they're a part of our lives and we do need them. So I ask - why do I feel like I need a good shower.

(The visit wasn't anything serious, just standard everyday life stuff.)


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just Shoot Me

My mother-in-law just arrived, unannounced.

Which is bad enough but she has my sister-in-law in tow.

Shoot me now.

(In truth they're nice people, but don't tell anyone I said as such.)


Pardon Me

Please, if I've failed to express my appreciation or to say thank you and welcome to any follower, past or present, I'm truly sorry.

It was not intentional. If you will leave a comment with your name and/or blog I shall properly thank and welcome you.

I've noticed, on occasion, a new number will post but without an avatar or name. If this happens to you, please bring it to my attention. I will never intentionally ignore a new follower.


I Said It Was Addictive

Here's my next project. She's an old Sears, Roebuck and Company model 427. She was of course manufactured by Coleman.

This model is in Olive. Not sure why but Sears requested several color combinations. I've a blue and black model standing by on a shelf.

Above, as you can see the lower case is filled with rust. This is after I washed her down and cleaned out the old spider webs and roach eggs. She once belonged to my deceased father-in-law, and as you might well imagine, Sweet Wife has an emotional attachment to this piece.

Thought I'd give you a before picture. Notice the tank at the rear.

I'm almost finished with my current restoration. After I complete the gas tank and fire it I'll post a picture...just to make sure I bore you good folks to death.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Two Hundred, and One

What a nice surprise I found this morning when I flipped on the laptop. Two hundred followers. My new friend, Barlow Brownstone III, was kind enough to reach over and hit the blue button and become my two hundredth follower. Thank you so very much, Barlow. You've made my day.

Then, when I came inside for a break I find number two hundred and one, thank you, Bobbi. I promise you both I shall always answer all comments. It might take me a few hours, and as has happened of late, days, but rest assured I will make all attempts to answer.

Again, thanks and welcome, Barlow and Bobbi. You are now among friends.


Tinker, Tinker, Irish Man

I'm not sure of the gentleman's name. He was a fairly nice man and seemed to always have a twinkle in his eye. Each time we'd meet or cross paths he'd yell out, "Hey, tinker, tinker, Irish Man." I'd laugh, shake my head and move on. I haven't seen him in years.

To this day I still don't understand why he'd yell the phrase. A tinker was a craftsman, a tin smith. A trade traced as far back as the thirteenth century (recorded) or further. Others believe it refers to Irish Travelers. Either way I'm neither. I am Irish, but my forefathers were boat builders.

Anyhow, I've had the jingle stuck in mind all darn day. Since early this morning I've been in the garage dinking around. This past weekend Sweet Wife allowed me to purchase a set of shelves to help in my months long reorganization of the garage. As I went about the assembly of the shelves and my other chores, I'd mumble, 'Tinker, Tinker, Irish Man.' Over and over and over. The earworm from hell.

If I ever see that 'ole boy again I'm gonna whip his butt.


Thanks & Welcome

To my new friend and follower, Susan Williams. Susan I promise to always answer your comments. Bless your sweet heart for hitting that little blue button.

Now, I need one more follower to hit the magic two hundred mark....any takers.

Again, thanks and welcome, Susan. You are now among friends.

Let's take a walk together.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Day Of Rest

This morning after church I spent an hour or so building a large pot of chili. As I worked I glanced outside my kitchen window and watched a very wet squirrel run along our back fence on his way towards its hickory tree and nest. I chuckled and continued to work accompanied by the music of rain and wind.

It's this wind and rain that has me cooped inside and not able to work on my project...wet and paint are not compatible, which is fine. After all, its just a hobby - like this blog, which I'm sad to say seems to have lost its purpose.

Hence, the chili.

I've noticed chili has a subtle scent...and tends to build in intensity as it simmers. At first, after all the raw ingredients are composed and mingled together and you've thrown in a pinch of salt and a dash of your secret spices, the dishes tangy smell is light and holds close to itself and doesn't perfume the  whole of the kitchen.  But, after a few hours over low flame and while you're reading a novel or about the house at other chores you'll find yourself swimming with chili peppers and onions, like a walk down a wooded path bordered by jasmine, its inescapable.


While I composed in the kitchen Sweet Wife went about a few chores of her own. She bundled together a few items for the wash, dusted a ceiling fan, and changed our bed sheets; she went towards flannel saying it was time as it's October and since we both like flannel sheets I didn't argue. Besides, she believes she's the boss.

When she finished she came into our family room and began to watch a movie. A chick flick titled, 'Message in a Bottle.' A standard tear jerker. An hour or so later I walked in to find her fast asleep. She's lovely when she naps. Due to her back she naps while upright and the tilt of her head makes me wince in pain. As she sleeps I tiptoe.

I've shut down the movie and now its quiet with only the sound of the wind and the air conditioner, and of course, me tapping away on this keyboard. I like quiet Sundays. It reminds me of my childhood when we'd all gather on my parent's front porch for seasonal activities. Spring and early summer would find us shelling fresh peas or beans or shucking ears of corn. Deep summer, in the heat, we'd have the old hand cranked ice cream churn whirling away with my mother's homemade peach ice cream inside. Autumn was likely to find us plucking the feathers from game birds, mostly quail and duck, for the oven. Winter was citrus.

 Our home was surrounded by orange groves interspersed with the odd grapefruit and tangerine tree. Since I was forced labor during the winter, hired to fire the wood and oil pots during those rare winter freezes, I was allowed to pick as much citrus as I wanted and could use as long as I didn't waste the bounty. Nothing, and I mean nothing, went to waste. My mother loved fresh squeezed orange juice and it was my job to gather at least a bushel every Saturday afternoon for a Sunday front porch squeezing session.

I remember sticky sweet pulp and its acid favor and the way my mother's dress bunched between her legs and my brother's laughter when I'd chunk a wet glob of fruit in his direction. The taste and smell of the rind which I loved to nibble and the way the yellow jackets gathered for their share of the sugar loaded juice and the white enameled pan used for the gathering of the precious liquid. I remember how my mother carefully funneled the juice into her old gallon canning jars and how the next morning I'd steal into the kitchen and take the now ice cold blue bottles and carefully sip the most perfect nectar on God's green earth.

I remember how we'd spread the rind on newspaper and place it to dry under the hot sun and then gather it into feed sacks for cattle feed. I still remember those cold gray mornings as I lugged those same sacks to feed lots, the rind since fortified with molasses and other herbs, and how when the feed was thrown into the stalls it gave off the now intensified odor not unlike mahogany, dense and sweet and smoky.

If you've spent anytime at all on a country farm I'm sure you too can remember those early mornings with the tangy scent of wood smoke, those faint traces of some old farm wife hard at work at her woodstove baking fresh biscuits as the country ham sizzles in cast iron and she readies her coffee for the redeye gravy. I remember it. The far off slam of a screen door that travels so well in the cold air, the faint train whistle, the forlorn cry of geese as they pass over the creek on their way to a nearby now brown cornfield.

Remember, just after a shot at a covey of quail, the whiff of gun powder and the way the Hoppe's Number Nine never seems to wash off your gloves. How the frost killed grass crunched under your boots as you moved towards the fence line after the dogs. Lunch under a pine tree that consisted of those little cans of mystery meat and crackers and a thermos of coffee. The wonderful weight of birds tucked away into your vest and how you'd always stop and gather spent shells of red and green and yellow, now faded but still markers to long lost hunts of the past.

Remember the weight and soft feel of the stock of your favorite shotgun and now how badly you wished you hadn't sold it. How it climbed so smoothly to your shoulder and how gently the front bead came naturally to your eye and the rise of the covey, and then the sweet swing and shot, smooth and graceful because and as a result of your long lost youth.

I do.


There is little rhyme nor reason to my writing today. You must excuse me. I just write what pops into my mind. Guess I'm lost in melancholy.

I just remembered I have a pot on the stove and ran in to stir the mess. I believe I'll put a pot of coffee to boil. I haven't had a cup since before daylight. Each and every time I reach for my cup Sweet Wife bats it away. But, now she's deep into a nap. Please, don't tell on me.

I promise to make greater efforts in updating my blog. I can't believe I've gone so long without answering your nice comments. I truly don't understand what's wrong with me. I feel like a caged animal. The rains of today haven't helped, as a matter of fact it's set me back at least a week on my current restoration project. And, when I am able to paint and if I'm not pleased with the results, it might take me three more weeks....he hisses.

Please, take care out there.