Thursday, August 6, 2015

It's Only a Fire

The thirty-five year old boy ran down the outside stairs and banged on my shop door...."Hey, Stephen, help, help."

Needless to say yesterday wasn't a fun day. This building dates to 1949, it's solid construction of concrete block and timber and has withstood the test of time. Well, it had until this man-child moved in upstairs.

Above my shop are two apartments - a very large two bedroom, and a nice studio unit. The boy lives in the studio. He's thirty-five with the maturity of a sixteen year old child.

He continually pisses me off.

And, yesterday he damn near brought this building down with his reckless and slothful ways. He explained he'd crawled from his bed to find water under the closet door - the location of the hot water unit, he then heard 'weird sounds.' He smelled smoke. So, he went back to bed.

Him, "I thought it would clear up and go away..."

Really, he said those exact words.

As he dozed, the water heater went - snap, crackle, pop.

The last pop was the safety valve saving this boy's life. Its design worked very well. It also woke the kid. That's when he ran downstairs to fetch me. I asked was there a problem.

I swear to all that's holy he said, "It's only a fire." I ran upstairs to find a nice mess, and the thermostat on fire. Put it out. Flipped the breaker. Ran back downstairs and closed the water valve to his unit.

The small studio apartment, of course, was flooded. The Boy, "Man, this sure is a mess, who's gonna clean it?"

Certain gene pools should be issued expiration dates.



Tuesday, August 4, 2015


If you'd like a copy you better hurry,

as there are only two copies left.


Coffee Time

Yes, it's early but I want....this.

Can't you just taste it.

Barbara has hit this one out of the park.


In other news - I have nothing this morning. Three new toys arrived via snail mail early this morning and my new/old items need to be sorted and fondled.



Monday, August 3, 2015

Up Front

I still remember the first time I read Up Front by Bill Mauldin. I was about twelve. Maybe thirteen, not sure, but anyway, our house had this special closet. It was filled with my father's 'don't you dare touch it things,' and it smelled wonderful.

When I'd crack the door, even just a bit, there was the scent of leather, Hoppe's Number Nine, and wool blankets - but I loved best that deep sweet smell of dusty books.

His books were piled high against the far wall, wonderful books. Books bound in leather and cloth, and here and there were jumbled piles of paperbacks.

One day I slipped inside in search of old copies of Field & Stream. I wanted to research the fine art of bass fishing, and if not bass, at least learn the art of bluegills. Instead I came upon a copy of Bill Mauldin's wonderful book.

I still own my father's copy of Up Front. It's a first with the original dust jacket now torn and crumbled and it barely clings to the binding but that's fine - its mine. Or, should I say, my dad's.

Sorry, Dad.

Willie and Joe became my childhood friends. At such a tender age I truly didn't understand all Bill's jokes, nor the implied sadness. By the age of fifteen or so I'd read the book at least a dozen times.

Last night I found and read Up Front again for the first time in over forty years, and understood. War is hell. The horror forever occupies space within those deep recesses of our minds. This scar is seldom, if ever, allowed the light of day.

If you too have a copy dig it out dust it off and read it again.

We owe it to Willie and Joe.



My morning routine is simple, after I park my truck I unlock the shop door then run through my setup for the days business - which leaves the difficult task of trash. 

Every night of the year critters drive by and throw their damn empty beer bottles, fast food bags, used condoms, crumpled cigarette packs, spent shell casings (really) out their car windows onto my shop's lot. Which leaves me, plastic bag in hand, a ticked off sanitation worker.

After I've policed the grounds I normally drop the mess into two large trash containers, blue bins. Couple of weeks back I opened the lid and found a very nice old Vornado fan. It was a small unit, heavy with brass and aluminum with its original electrical cord, and at first glace seemed perfectly fine, but on closer inspection I found the fan bent just ever so slightly.

It was mine.

Back in the shop I flipped her over and wrote down the model number. Quick Google search dated the fan's manufacture date between 1955 and 1958.

I adjusted the fan blade, took a screwdriver to her six support screws, topped off her two oil wells with twenty weight and connected her to a bit of electrical juice. She hummed like the day she was born.

Someone had dropped her. The little Vornado fan now has a place in my family room. Isn't it amazing the treasure we find in unexpected places.



Sunday, August 2, 2015

Slow and Easy

We attended church today.

Notice I said, 'we.' She insisted, so I said, "Yes, Dear." For said attendance she gave me the afternoon off - no chores or shopping or yard work. Just a nice quiet peaceful Sunday. Yes, she treats me awful on occasion but then she turns on a dime and is sweet as honey...go figure.

 (Please don't tell her I said so, begging here.)

It was time to practice the slow and easy method of reloading. The weather weirdos insisted we prepare for a vast and awful flood so I thought it time to try my hand. Went out into the garage and gathered components - powder, bullets, primers, and of course, brass and case lube.

It was fun. Hey, did you know that resizing brass with a hammer will leave marks - deep hairy oh my good gawd scars on your wife's nice portable wooden table....well, it will.

Yes, the 'ole Lee Loader is slow, but its relaxing and as I've said, fun. Take your friggin time. I screwed the pooch on the first four me when you flair the case mouth, tap lightly.

Not sure why I'm wasting my time here but maybe, just maybe, some young fella out there will find this roll your own ammo enjoyable some rainy afternoon this winter.

Above is the end result, a nice finished piece of .38 Special. I used very old Hougdon HD38 so only loaded an even dozen. Four minutes per round, start to finish, at a careful pace, was my best time. I'm told experienced God like creatures can beat me by three minutes.

Soon I'll take the dozen rounds to the range and put 'em thru my Model 19 Smith and we'll see if the vintage Hougdon becomes a display tin.


I smell porkchops. She's also whipping out peanut butter brownies.

What a nice afternoon. Rain, not yet, but my boat is tied out back.



Saturday, August 1, 2015

Coffee Time

I can't bake worth a flip. Just being honest here. Which leaves me no other choice but to ask my Sweet Wife if she'll whip out a batch of these for me. In the meantime I'll be out back on the deck, when the rain eases off, shooting a mess of armadillos for tomorrows breakfast.

Y'all come, hear...

If you too would like to try this nice coffee treat the recipe is, here.



Storm Clouds

Business has been brisk, this morning. These notes are typed on the run....


This is the time of year when Floridians prepare for destructive storms - hurricanes and tropical depressions with all their heavy wind and rain.

Daybreak gave us a thick heavy layer of black dense clouds - hard rain is expected. August and September often kicks our butts. If a hurricane is birthed I pray the Good Lord smacks it aside and sends its evil winds elsewhere.


For the first time in many, many years I did not renew my subscription to Shotgun News. Today was accounts day here at my small business. Paid the important 'you gotta pay 'em' bills, and then turned to the less important maybe pieces, like for instance, American Handgunner magazine. I read Handgunner. On the other hand Shotgun News has become a slim rag of its former self. When last weeks issue arrived I simply flipped it on my reading table where it remains, ignored. Thus, I'll keep my money, unless they offer a huge discount on a two year subscription.

American Handgunner is here to stay. I read it cover to cover. Several days from now some young wet behind the ears kid will open an envelope marked as sent from River City Florida and extend my subscription...and, it'll be tax deductible.


Since I wrote the above two hours have slipped into history.

For two weeks now I've stepped outside the rear of the shop to look for the little raggedy kitten that lived in the weeds of the raised sewer bed.

When she first arrived I'd leave food and water on the back porch which was protected from the rain by an old aluminum awning. I'd return a few hours later to find the food gone. Before my nightly departure the pan was refilled, and of course the next morning I'd return to find it empty - so, either the kitten or the local raccoons had fed well during the night.

Took about three days for her to feel comfortable around me and not long afterwards she'd allow, give me permission, to scratch her ears. Within a week she decided she belonged in my office and would scoot pass me into the open door and land on my desk.

I named her Irish. I mean, come on, what did you expect....

She enjoyed face bumps. She was a cute little booger...

Sweet Wife says I'm just a big 'ole teddy-bear and a softy when it comes to creatures in need of care
...yeah, I guess so, can't help it.

One morning, a few days ago, I walked outside and Irish wasn't there....hasn't returned.

Kinda miss her.


Hey, time for work. Take care.



Friday, July 31, 2015

Gunny Nightmare

Gun lovers worst nightmare. It does prove the AK-47 is still the best rifle ever developed for warfare.


It's Coffee Time

And, I want a few of these.

Oh yes I do. If you too want a Frosted Maple Drop, the recipe can be found here.

That is all.


The Horror

My friend Patrice just posted, this.

If you read the post and don't 'walk' away shocked, well, it's best you move to Mexico, 'cause they have far fewer problems than us.

You good folks should stack the beans and bullets kinda high...


Please Stand By

Soon as I get a chance I'll tell 'ya about my trash the moment time doesn't allow.

Mailman is here...and now he's gone. We do not share friendly smiles. His fault.

I'm grumpy this morning. Need to jerk another cup of coffee.



Thursday, July 30, 2015


Love me some cobbler I do and I've used this method to whip out many peach cobblers but never pineapple and cherries.

So why not.

Recipe, here. And, don't forget to use an iron skillet.



Travis McGee

I'm in a posting mood so just deal with it....

This morning I stumbled upon a box filled with old paperbacks. Included was a complete set of John D. MacDonald's series of Travis McGee novels. I'm sure you remember them; each book had a color title, like The Turquoise Lament.

If you haven't as yet read them do yourself a favor and find a few at your local used book store, that is if you still have one in your town. Don't download them, find the paper copies and jerk yourself a cup of coffee and actually smell the ink.

MacDonald was a wonderful writer.

Trust me.


The Last One

My picture folder was stuffed with photos of Little Bit. Too full as a matter of fact, and I decided it was time to clean house. It hurt, but never the less the time had arrived for me to delete.

This will be the last I'll ever post.


Justin Wilson

I miss this 'Ole Boy.

Let's eat.


Ticked Off

Sorry, didn't post yesterday because it's been a mad house around here...excuse me as I wipe these tears from my eyes....

Kinda ticked off this morning. Late last night I found a nice website with a fine article on .38 Special wadcutters. Didn't have a chance to finish the piece so saved the page to my laptop's favorites list and went to bed. Came in this morning and jumped on my office computer, did a Google search, nada. Can't find it.

The website is similar to a blog written by a nice gentleman by the name of Mike...I think. Dumbass that I am I should have recorded the address. Oh well.

Gotta run, later.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Just A Ramble

Yesterday's weather surprised me. When I stepped outside I'd expected temps well over ninety degrees but instead found light eighties with a stiff breeze off the river (west) and within seconds realized my breath consisted of water vapor instead of air. Instant sweat.

In spite of it there was music; cicadas; always in late summer the little and very old bugs provide a background beat. A squirrel chattered above me. The little sucker was busy with his meal of pinecones which they cut this time of year to then drop on my lawn. Several redwinged black birds, deep in a cove off the river, sang their beautiful unique song and it brought forth intense memories of my youth. Summer....isn't for wussies, and I dislike it very much, but it has its moments.


My yard work took several hours, a gallon of water, two or three sessions of milk crate rest stops, and a couple of breaks just to dink around in my garage. On one of those water breaks I noticed a wood box I'd liberated from my elderly father's old gunshop.

For some odd reason the color didn't appeal to me. And the 'target loads' just didn't cut it. So I changed it. The lawn mower sat and cooled.

Better, nice shade of Coleman green. Lord knows the age of the box. Now it will hold spent ammo brass. When I slipped it into my truck it had a nice bundle of .45 casings. Treasure.


Ten minutes into the yard work my shirt was soaking wet. So, I stopped, again, and changed shirts and the bandana I'd tied around my head and took another break.  My butt took on the pattern of the milk crate. Boredom took hold so I stood and stepped over to my cluttered reloading bench and fondled another piece of history I'd rescued last Sunday.

This old Hot Pot was manufactured sometime way back when by a C. Palmer. It was found on my Dad's workbench next to a pile of lead. It really serves no purpose, I'll never use it, still I put it to a wire wheel and plugged her in and within a few minutes her element turned blood red. She'll melt lead for sure.


Finished the mower work and took the gas trimmer to the edges of the lawn. Found a fireant bed and played with them for a few minutes until I realized the trimmer string had slung the little demons all over my pant legs....I'm sure the Good Lord had a plan for the pint sized evil sonsabitches but I'll be damned if I can figure their purpose.

Took yet another break. Fixed the broken garage ceiling fan, moved a few items around and remembered another one of my 'finds.'

She's a very old Lyman Ideal lube and sizing press. Bit rusty but I think she'll dress out well indeed. The lube around the shell extractor is still pliable. Probably manufactured sometime in the late 1950's or 60's. Doubt I'll ever use it, still it's a part of my father's life and I'll never part with it.

While in the gunshop last Sunday I found another Lyman single stage press. It was firmly bolted to a long bench and I've plans to return and rescue it too.

Above is the little pile of lead I brought home...only about fifty or so pounds. He'd offered me a hundred pounds but I didn't want to appear greedy. Next time I'll take two hundred.

I did find three sets of dies, didn't need 'em, took them anyway as I wanted to clean and keep them as backups.

Most of the old gunshop has been cleared out, moved to his new homestead, but so much remains. The interior of the shop was heavy with heat which made it very difficult to work inside. Still, I packed out quite a bit of stuff.

We found several old bags of paper and cork shotgun wads, tons of various gauge shotgun hulls, and an old shotshell press I'd purchased back in the early seventies since dismantled and stored high on one of the shelves....why I left it I'll never know but it will come home. Sucker was expensive, then. Can't imagine what a new one would now cost.


I've a headache and need another cup of coffee...back in a second.

(Two hours and two customers later, I'm back.)

This blog sure eats my time....anyway, when I work I tend to daydream, write short stories, think about problems. My body switches to autopilot. I also, often, remember the past, my youth. Perhaps you too do the same.

When I dream or write or remember I most often wish I could stop and pull a notebook from my pocket and take pen to paper; capture those flitting sparkles of my mind...but alas it never proves out.

So many great diamonds lost to the weakness of my memory. I too often write when I take to my bed for a nights rest. There too I write short stories or the first few words of that great novel I'm sure will make the New York Times best seller list. Never happens. Daydreams usually cost me sleep, and  travels in the universe of my dreams are instead wasted under cotton sheets.


Afterwards, when the mower had been cleaned, the yard and drives and walkways blown clear of debris, I sat in the garage soaked to the skin in sweat and had sucked down most of a gallon of cold water - too darn tired to rise and walk inside to a cool shower.

She arrived home to find me in my sad state. She parked the car, said, "Are you okay?"

I smiled. "Yes, just lost in thought."

"I see the ceiling fan works."

"Nice of you to notice."

She walked over and placed her hand on my forehead, "You shouldn't work on ladders when you're alone, you might fall."

"No big deal. I always have my dreams to keep me company."



Monday, July 27, 2015


More tomorrow. I'm whupped. It has been a very long day.

It's time to relax...

Oh, she passed. Missed three questions. Told her she was slacking off and not to allow it again...

She popped me upside the head.


Into The Heat

Just finished a tasty toasted BLT and a cup of tea; breakfast of champions. Now I must dress and sally forth into the heat and humidity of North Florida and cut the darn grass, or bail hay depending on your view of my yard.

Sweet Wife takes her state insurance license exam today...she needs your prayers. I'm sure she'll be just fine, but hey, why take a chance.

Market looks to take a three digit drop is on the rise....hummmm....

Okay, I can't put this chore off any longer. If you're not busy drive on down and grab a mower. Need to blow off the roof and clean the gutters too. If you hear a loud thud - that will be me hitting the ground.



Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Ride In The Country

In just a few minutes my truck will point its nose towards the west for a ride into the countryside. My friend John asked to ride along and since company is nice we'll share the afternoon together. Between the two of us we'll pack enough heat to support the local National Guard.

We have plans to burn a bit of gunpowder, but only after a stop by my father's gunshop for a hundred or so pounds of lead ingots, a thousand small pistol primers and, if time allows, we dig thru his reloading equipment, most of it vintage, for archaic pieces of reloader history. I pray to find a nice old Lyman 310, or at least a few dies. I seem to remember a number of Lee Loader's high on a wall, if I find them my father will lose a few. Somewhere in his shop there is a nice old Star Press....too.


Late this afternoon, or evening, I shall answer all your nice comments...if I find a not so nice comment, still have time to correct your mistake.

Have a great day,


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Well, Just Slap My Face

You'll never believe what happened....go ahead, try.

My mother-in-law asked Sweet Wife to ask me for a link to a company that sells emergency preps, survival food. MIL stated she was worried about the condition of the world.

Well slap me silly....

Seven years I've tried to get my wife's family on board. Seven years. Goes to show even the elderly are able to learn new tricks.

Bless her.


Friday, July 24, 2015

The Dress Code

When I arrived there was but one space available at the far side of the parking lot, a convenient slot next to a dumpster. I stepped from my truck into the hundred degree furnace. The odors from the restaurant waste slapped me square in the face. Awful stuff.

My mission was to have a blood test, a doctor ordered waste of my time. I began the long walk to the far side of the tarmac. Halfway across the parking lot I stopped and composed myself, muttered, "Don't limp," and opened the door to the building. The waiting room was packed, stuffed full of democritters; the elderly, children, illegal immigrants, seniors in wheelchairs...all of 'em with a cell phone chattering ninety miles a minute.

I hate crowds.

I felt like a marshmallow in a chocolate factory.

All the seats had been taken. It was either stand or I could sit on the little magazine table. I chose the table. Screw 'em. It was a tight fit. A lady and her girl child held the place directly to my right. I removed my hat and placed it on my knee and began to read.

The room was hot and loud and a woman of twenty or so was deep into a loud conversation in Spanish and an older gentleman tapped a steady rhythm with his cane and my neighbor and her child spread out their snacks and began to shoulder the space between us which forced me shift close to the wall, and I was within seconds of walking the hell out. Yet, I held.

The little girl asked, "What kind of boots are 'dem? They sure are shiny."

Me, "They are called engineers boots."


"They're just old boots."

"Why they so shiny?"

"Because I shine them."

Her mother glanced over and told the child to not bother the man, gave me a 'look.' I scooted, some more.

I went back to my book - Private Battles, if you want to know. The child returned, stood and moved in front of me and touched the toe of my boots. "How you say you gots 'dem so shiny?" I closed the book and said, "Hard work." The mother reached and jerked the little girl back to her bag of potato chips.

My name was yelled. I stood and walked back and the woman took my information and agreed I was worthy of their time and soon I was seated on a stool. I read. Thirty minutes later a very large woman entered the room.

I'd removed my hat and placed it on my knee, as is my habit. The woman gave me papers to sign, placed a blue rubber band around my arm. Uncomfortable, to say the least. All the while she kept her eye on the hat. I could tell it bugged her. I liked that it bugged her. Made me smile, it did.

"Something wrong?"


"Are you uncomfortable?"

"Well, now that you mention it, why the hat?"

Me, big grin.

She readied the horse needle. "Make a fist."  I made a fist.

Me, "This hat bothers you, doesn't it."

"Yes, its awful. Its hate. It tells people you like to shoot people and that you own guns."

Oh, this was good. "Really. This hat sends a message does it."


She slapped the needle deep into my arm...missed. Tried a second time. Missed again. It hurt like hell.

Me, "Are you new to the art of phlebotomy?"

"Huh?" My arm didn't feel good, at all. She reversed course and slipped  the projectile in again...and again. I was ready to punch her.

"Hey, Mister Gunman, did you drink water before coming in here?"

"Yes. Want to try the other arm...this one is about fried."

She was a big woman. She'd voted for Obama, and I'm sure had been tenth in a class of ten. Her, "You shouldn't wear that hat in public. There is a dress code, you know."

The words kiss my ass almost slipped from my lips, and would have, but she still held that needle and the job wasn't completed.

What I did say was, "Lady, what I wear and where I wear it is none of your business. Furthermore you are as safe now as you've been all day."

No response

She finally hit a stream of blood. She finger thumped the first tube and reached for the second. I drew in a deep breath and waited as she slipped the next vile in place. "I take it you don't like firearms."

"No. They kill people."


If looks could kill.

Silence. I asked a second time, "How?"

"They just do."  I heard a child scream. We're down to the third sample of blood. My arm feels like its on fire. Me, "So, my handgun jumps from its holster and kills people, all on its own, does it."

"I don't want to talk about it. But don't you wear that hat in here again. You hear me, mister."

I couldn't help myself. I'd had enough...

I stood and walked to the door, turned and told her as nicely as possible...

"Kiss my ass."

Two weeks later my arm is still black and blue. 




I've finally answered all replies....thank you so much for your kindness and warm welcome back to the blog world.

I'm writing a longer piece for later publication. It'll take time, couple of hours at least. The door bell waits for no man.

In the meantime check your house for the above bond...I want it.

I'd also like to say thanks and welcome to all that have clicked the follow button...God bless.

Be back in a few...


Thursday, July 23, 2015


As soon as I find a few hours of silence I shall write, something. At the moment my life is far too busy.

I'll try and reply to all your kind comments, hopefully later this afternoon. For now, the key to the shop's front door must be released, my coffee needs attention, and there's a young cat that has appeared at my back door with food on her mind.

Sunday I shall drive towards my father's farm and gather in a hundred or so pounds of lead ingots for my bullet factory (sarcasm).  His gun shop has a back bench filled with prime chunks of shiny bars just waiting for the furnace pot, and I've a new Lee six cavity .358 mold just dying to be used. 

Should be fun.



Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday, with Rain

Another quick's been a very long day of thunder and rain and heat. There, did you see the lighting.... just finished dinner (a turkey roast) and I'm flat-footed tired.

My lovely wife begins college later this week. The school is across the river and many miles from our home - she asked if I'd help her scout the route. We did. The class room was located, and I flagged the way back to the parking lot.

Better safe than sorry.

Thinking about melting a bit of lead. I'd like to cast a few cheap bullets.

Now, let's hope I don't sweat in the melted lead.



Saturday, July 18, 2015

Know Your Limitations

It is written (somewhere) we should all know our limitations. Mine is auto mechanics. Place just about any firearm at my feet and I'll run it for you. Ask me to repair your car - not gonna happen.

Sure, I can change the oil and handle most of the basics but when it comes to the complicated stuff, like brake jobs, well it's best to leave it to the experts.

Several months back I happened upon a Youtube channel and found this fine young man. Here's a sample.

Eric works clean. He has a system and his videos are clear and simple enough for the average back yard mechanic to follow along, even a dummy such as myself.

Do yourself a favor - before you attempt that next brake job on your twenty year old Chevy run over and visit Eric, he'll probably save your life.


Saturday Ramble

The price of friggin shrimp has spiked - even the frozen stuff is nine bucks a pound. I want to cook. Something with rice and bell peppers and onions and celery all mixed with a wonderful light brown rue.

Guess I'll settle for chicken...

As you're well aware it's Saturday and I really haven't the time to write. Couple of crows have landed just outside my office window. They cuss me.

Hey, I really need to run...later, but first,

tell me, and be serious - Crow and Creole?


Friday, July 17, 2015

Hand Rolled Zombie Poppers

Let's try it Old School.

I use the vintage Lee Loader packed in the black box. If you are interested Ebay is your friend.


Good Morning Starshine

Writing, in general, is a pain in the ass. Unless, of course, time is on your side. And, silence.

I've just unlocked the front door of the shop. Soon, I hope, hoople-heads with full wallets will walk inside. I shall take their cash, smile and bid them a good day.

Perhaps later this afternoon time will become available and I'll write a piece worthy of your attention.

Until then,


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Stiff Fingers

Just for the record this is the first time Blogger has allowed me, yours truly, access to my blog. So there. I don't know. You tell me.

Guess I pissed it off.

My fingers are stiff and sore, the weather here is awful - awful as in hot and very humid, and it seems I need a refresher course on posting to Blogger. Baby steps, don't 'ya know. 

My new old stock Lee Loader arrived today. So excuse me as I step into the garage and hand roll a few rounds of .38 Special. I'm all into old school these days.

Missed you guys.