Today’s Goal

I decided to turn on water to the corn this morning, and found a stalk with corn fungus

I’m a bad procrastinator. Even worse, I don’t feel guilty when I put shit off.

One of my projects is building a compost barrel.

I saw a design on U tube, and I thought “hey! Even I could build that!”

Murphy’s 17th Law: Anything you try to do yourself will cost more and take longer than you thought…

‘Nuff said.

I found a 55 gallon water barrel on Ebay for $67 dollars: delivered. Hell that’s  good deal even if I used it for water.

Water Barrel 55 Gallon Storage Container Drum Emergency Essential Drinking Thick

So, now what. I have a vision. An X made of 2×4 for the frame. Drill a hole in barrel center, use a huge wooden dowel and suspend drum with dowel on X.

How long to make the legs, X. dunno, I’ll just eyeball it, since I am such a great carpenter. (first sign of overconfidence…bad. it’s too early to be so cocky)

OK, cut 4 2×4, then make 2 Xs with a lag bolt to hold them together…OK X, since you put the lag right in the center, there is not enough room to put two since the Xs now will pivot. OK, used the pneumatic impact wrench and tighten that sucker up until it pulls the washer into the wood. (how quickly X forgot that the impact wrench can snap the heads off the 5/16″ bolt heads easily. luckily for him, they did not snap off this time).

Next, find center of barrel; twice. Used a 2″ hole saw, and drilled hole. Dowel is 1 7/16″, and fits perfectly inside a 2″ PVC.

After some dancing, X manages to load barrel onto X supports. Yes, it’s rickety but gives him opportunity to attach braces on sides…what to do…use more 5/16″ lag bolts or 3″ deck screws? decisions, decisions.

Here is a picture of how far I got today before heading inside.


Here’s what’s happening here

weather, hey it’s Texas and it’s summer. Highs today in upper  nineties; tomorrow 101. Got beer?

X has let the cornfield go. He planted seven rows (me thinks), and paid the yard guy an extra fifty bucks to weed those. The rest of the 3000 ft cornfield is six foot tall weeds, brought in by trailerloads of uncomposted horse manure. Weed seeds are not killed by the digestive system in a horse. X’s own  ignorance caused this, and he’s ready to harvest the  24 corn plants, and move on.

In other garden news, X’s raised gardens are suffering as well.  The strawberries are doing the best as X has made an effort to keep it weed free. Alas, the same horseshit was used in the raised gardens as well, leaving a battle for the dominant weed in all but the strawberry garden. The plants are doing well, a little yellow here and there, and putting out lots of runners. No more blooms though. Next May/June.

X figured out something, much to his dismay about the strawberry garden: it will have to be maintained all year round. Better get some mulch X, as pulling weeds all year round is pure bullshit.

The cabbages got eaten by the cabbage worms. They look like varied colors of Swiss cheese.

It’s almost July and not a hint of a watermelon is planted; nor okra.

The peppers all are doing well; it turned out X has 15 plants in all, and most of them are serrano peppers. There are a couple of Yolo wonder peppers,   one banana pepper, and a cayenne pepper.

All onions are still ok, as are the carrots.

Now for the tomato report; X thinks there are 12 tomato plants. They are going crazy. Most of the crop are Best Boy plants, and they are well, huge.

No red tomatoes yet, but lots of green ones. I was really hoping the cherry tomatoes would come out. So far, one plant yields nothing…but green and blooms.

I woke up yesterday feeling very fatigued, weak, with a very stiff neck. My BP was 87/48 the first read, and 73/61 the second taken immediately after the first. Pulse rates were 119 and 111, respectively. I have no idea why.

I am on three high BP meds, and from time to time, my BP takes a dip overnight; nothing like yesterday though. Kind of ruined my morning. I ate some salty bread with bacon and seasoned eggs which brought it back up to 120/58 at noon.

The wife drove to Ft Worth to see her R/A specialist on Monday. She has had a bad cough since the 5th when she had her endoscopy and the other one. The doc gave her a Z pack, and she is off her Enbril for one dose. She actually talked to me last night without a single coughing spell.

Now she wants to have cataract surgery as she cannot see.

On her drive up she said she got lost because she could not read the signage..

One of our own, Angel is undergoing cataract surgery next week. You guys might wanna drop by and wish her well for that…

I had to do some work on the lawn mower again. I swear, the Mexican yard guy I have is one step above idiot.

The mower deck is a 42″ with two blades. One of the blade spindles lost three bolts, causing the spindle to pivot. This caused the blades to hit each other, not to mention the blade hitting the edge of the deck. He drove it  until the spindle literally fell off, and parked it without saying anything.

Remember last year when he parked it with a blown engine? He said nothing then either. It was my neighbor who mentioned he heard the  mower make a loud noise, then shut off suddenly. That cost me $500, and I paid him to help me put it back together.

I replaced both spindles and blades, as well as the deck belt to the tune of just over $100; parts from Ebay installed by yours truly. The only hard part is getting the deck off and on.

I had the yard guy cut down a mesquite tree that had grown up on the fence to the cornfield, and collapsed onto the fence.

He cut said tree down, and stacked the mesquite wood in the middle of the yard.

I bought two new tires for the mower and had them installed for around $60. The first time he gets on it, he mows around the stacked mesquite wood ( for those of you who don’t know, mesquite wood is great for smoking meats after it’s dry. It also has vicious thorns on it) and gets a flat tire.

The tire falls off the rim (tubeless) and he used my come-a-long to fix the tire (seat the bead) pretty much destroying my tire.

I have no fewer than 7 5 gallon gas cans that I usually let run out before filling. I used to keep all of them by the mower in the shed, but I suspected he was stealing gasoline. Have no proof, just seemed like the gas was disappearing too fast, so I locked it up.

The mower uses a gallon of gas in two hours…it just does. It’s a 17hp Briggs.

Bigger hassle for me as now I have to monitor the gas in the mower and keep it full. I also must watch the air filter and oil level (remember the blown engine from last year?)

I already caught him running it without the air filter, as it is in a sill air box, and had fallen off because it was so filled with dirt that it collapsed. I had to do another oil change after that. It was a brand new engine!

I have since caught him pulling the air filter off.

It uses a AIR FILTER FOR BRIGGS 796031 594201 591334 MIU13038 GY21435 MIU13963 797404 paper cartridge with a foam sleeve, which in my opinion, is the greatest idea since sliced bread. Remove the foam, rinse it with naptha, compressed air to dry, and then oil it lightly, slipping it back over the paper cartridge. It greatly increased the life of said filter.

I caught him with the filter removed, banging it on a post to knock off the dirt from the oil soaked sleeve…not gonna happen. Banging it on a post damages the wire mesh around the paper cartridge.

Maybe I’ll start paying him after the work is complete and deduct him for damages.

When he does mow, he drives the mower in first gear; one can walk faster than that. Besides, when he goes that slow, he drives in a giant cloud of dirt that he creates. No wonder the filter requires cleaning every week. I told him the other day not to use first gear any more, nor mow with the deck at its highest position. Why? I think he  goes slow to eat up  time, and cuts the grass so high that his work is never done.

X, you’re a suspicious bastid ain’t ya?

He’s illegal, and worked for my pop for over twenty years. He’s heading to immigration court next month and asked me to write a letter of recommendation.

I did so, praising him for his loyalty, and honesty, and the fact that he requires no supervision; which is an absolute lie.

I bought a brand new Echo weedeater with a saw blade attachment to cut down the Mexican Hat variety of wildflower as their stems are very thick and fibrous and the weedeater string won’t  cut them. I am afraid to let him use it.

I bought an Echo 16″ chainsaw last week; again, I hesitate to let him use it.

$50 a week I pay him. Two hours Tuesday, two hours Thursday.

X’s pride and joy, the Ranger, has developed an oil leak somewhere from the front of the engine.

X’s other pride and joy, his baby boy, swore his oath to the USAF yesterday. He’s on his way to Lackland AFB for BMT.

X needs to go to town to get gas, groceries, booze, and water.

X also needs to finish his compost bin, but feels he needs a sawzall to cut a hatch in the 55 gallon barrel, which means he will need a set of blades too. Should he get cordless or corded.

Oh yeah, X bought a 4000W generator from Sam’s Club Auction for $175; $30 shipping to his door. Not bad eh?

106.7 FM San Antonio

Yeah, I have made this self proclaimed Classic Rock radio station my pet peeve project.

I was listening yesterday…I really have no choice. There are no radio stations that meet my criteria, and this one comes closest. Central  Texas? Tons of country and western stations, and I never got into it. There is classic country, owned by the same station that plays boggus classic rock, but they too make up their own rules with Randy Travis played every hour.

Friday, I was listening and the jock announced that from now on, Fridays were “big hair” Fridays. I could not believe it as most of the music they play is Twisted Sister, Motley Crue, Poison, and the other big hair bands. I failed to see the distinction.

I must admit however, that these clowns really stepped up to the plate for Memorial Day weekend. They pulled stuff out of their butt that they had never played before, and have not played since. What the effin’ F?

I sent a  general email to any station clown who would read it, and hurt someone’s widdoe feelings, as they are not receptive to criticism or sarcasm.

One of my readers commented on an earlier post on subject same, that a local station where he lives plays Journey every hour….must be the same corp that owns both.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day is this weekend, Sunday the 18th to be exact.

This will be my first Father’s Day without my dad.

This will be the first year in my life that I will not have to make a phone call, find a funny to-the-point card, buy a gift, drive up and say hello for Father’s Day.

My father had a very simple philosophy: I’ll go out and earn a living, and you cook for me.

He was a three pound baby born in a rural farmhouse in 1928 North Dakota. He was the youngest of nine brothers and sisters. One of his brothers already was married and had a kid (dad’s nephew) when dad was born.

Six brothers and two sisters. His father married twice. After the first wife passed away, he married her sister. Devout Lutherans. No playing cards ever. The only card game I ever saw at any of my uncles was Rook. No reading the funnies on Sunday. My dad told me he used to sneak out, get the funnies, and read them secretly…Dad, you rebel you.

When he started school, he did not speak English; he spoke Norwegian. He attended a one room schoolhouse, then went into town for high school.

Big time for them was going into Fargo for a visit. Always get dressed up for that.

Big time Saturday nights were spent in neighbor’s barns where ale, wine, and ‘shine flowed.

Dad was drafted into the Marines in 1951, and became a Corporal, and a telephone specialist. He only spoke once of his adventures in Korea…it scared me to hear how close he was to getting killed.

He got out of the Marines in 1953, and went back to the farm. That was short lived, as after all the things he had seen, and places he’d been, he said he could no longer live on the farm, where time stood still.

He married mom in 1955, moved to Tombstone AZ where he worked for the Soil Conservation Service, and I came along in ’56. Soon, a brother in ’57, then move to OK in 1960.

My dad always worked. I got my ethic from him as I have worked since I was fifteen, until 2013. I think I have passed the work ethic to my boys as they have both been gainfully employed since they were old enough to work.

My dad hated summer vacation when we got out of school.

It gnawed at him, and made him angry at us. He was mad in the summertime. He did not like knowing that my brother and I would be sitting around the house doing nothing. Mom was a teacher, so she was home too, but the household chores were not enough to keep us busy all day every day, so dad would leave us a list of shit to to….every day.

It got to the point where we spent more time doing dad’s chores than helping mom, which opened up a huge can of worms as then it was competition as to whose chores were more important.

Some of the shit we had to do….

The number one chore that was absolute agony from start to finish was…trimming the hedge. The front sidewalk ran from the front door, straight through the yard to the street. It was lined on both sides by a hedge. I don’t know they particular variety, but it was  vicious. I was a spiny thing that bled milk when cut. We had to wear gloves to cut and handle it. Dad would drive stakes into the ground, and using string, indicate how much to take off the top and sides. The most dreaded of all. It was usually saved for punishment, and if we behaved, we had to trim it anyway.

The next chore, a close second, was trimming the grass from under the chain link fence. This was the day before weedeaters you know. Handheld  trimmers were the only way. Oh yeah, in the tip o’ Texas, the summers are deadly hot. We had to show progress every day or suffer the wrath of the Marine.

Another chore that never went away was keeping the weeds and grass from growing under the citrus trees. We had orange and grapefruit trees in back and they required trimming, as well as the ground under them. At least it was shady, but lots of bugs that liked oranges; and it smelled funny.

It got to the point where we did the damn chores without being told which really threw him a curve. He ran out of shit for us to do. It hung him up.

Not far away, was the local rental store, that also fixed small engines. My brother and I frequented the establishment as our mini-bike had a Tecumseh 4 hp engine that constantly broke down. More specifically, it required constant replacement of points and condenser. We got to know the owner quite well, and ended up buying a 5 hp Briggs, which was like a brand new mini-bike.

One morning, before dad left for work as we were not allowed to sleep late, he told me to “go down to the rental shop and sit on the wood block all day.”

WTF? Are you fucking kidding me man? Don’t you think the boss has a say in whether or not I sit in his shop all fucking day? I’m on fucking vacation man! Fuck that! I’ll run away from home before I do that shit man!

All these thoughts flashed through my head, but said nothing. I knew better. I liked my jaw where it was.

I did go to the rental shop one day, and asked for a job. The old man hired me, and I began my career fixing lawn mowers at $1.40 an hour.

My dad never asked me to trim the hedge, trim under the fence or citrus trees, or mow the yard again.

I never had planned on having children, yet I have two grown now.

I didn’t want my kids to be afraid of me like I was of my father when I was young.

Truthfully, I divorced their mother when they were 8 and 5. I could not live with their mother any more. I never liked taking orders, and she turned into the boss.

That left a rift in the family; some never got over it. I didn’t get to watch my kids grow up except a month in the summer, and every other Christmas. My own fault. I get a text on Father’s day, and maybe a gift card, but rarely a conversation initiated by one of them.

My youngest was hurt the most from the divorce, but he knows not how to express it. He’s just sad.

I am overjoyed that they are good boys/men; better than I was. That is our goal as parents is it not?


Today commemorates X’s 61st trip around the sun.

I would like to say that on the outside, I say “no big deal” or “it’s just another day”….it’s really not, is it?

When we were kids, time went by soooo slooow at times; especially when we got punished sitting on the porch, or “go to your room for one hour” seemed like a decade. We were all there.

We send our own kids to ‘time out’ and cannot figure out why they are constantly on the move while serving their sentence. Time passing.

I don’t know what the magic number was but each year now passes by now zipsbyinaninstant.⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒!

When I was a kid in the sixties, my gramma took care of me and my brothers for a few summers while my mom continued her education at OSU.

Gramma had her own rule about birthdays, and those rules stuck with us even today, the main one being that the birthday boy (got no sisters) did not have to do any chores on said birthday….and for some reason, there were always chores…you know, the tedious ones like take out the trash (always interrupted Captain Kangaroo), dust mop the floors (usually got a reward for that one), help with the dishes (’twas a daily chore and we never got out of that one ((‘ceptin’ birthday))), pick up our room (it took me thirty years to figure out that if I put my stuff in the dirty clothes, I wouldn’t trip over them on the floor), clean the bathroom, c’mon man, it’s summer. The ‘no chore day’ was eagerly anticipated, then ‘poof!’ it was gone for another year. Gramma was the only adult that enforced that one, and she was gone in the summer of  ’69. My dad did not agree with the no chore day….ever.

We learned the concept of “Golden Birthday”, being that the day of the month one’s birthday fell, was the “Golden Birthday”…mine is the 12th, so when I was twelve, that was my “Golden Birthday”.

For our Golden Birthday, we got nothing extra for it except to realize that it was the only one we would ever get.

As far as I don’t care any more about birthdays, it’s true, but for selfish reasons.

Who of us would admit that a birthday reminds us of how old we really are?

Lt Commander Data once said “I don’t understand human’s preoccupation with birthdays, a day they could not possible remember.”

So true. For many of us, our folks brought out the party supplies and gave us birthday parties until we were old enough to really know how to party. And that’s how it goes for many years.

“Hey X! Happy Birthday! Whatcha gonna do today?”

Are you kiddin?

For years the answer was something to the effect of “rolling some esmeraldas, grabbing some beers, and heading to the beach!”

Everything changes.

When I was a kid, we lived not far from the city swimming pool, and my brother and neighbor kids would gang up and head down in the summer afternoons, and for ten cents, spend several hours swimming.

When I turned twelve, it then went up to fifteen cents. A price I was happy to pay, glad to have reached such a milestone.

Then going to the theatre was different, as it went from a quarter to fifty cents, turning twelve. Hmmm, maybe this growing older ain’t such a good thing after all.

Then, we get responsible and get jobs that require our presence even on our birthdays. Some places I have worked allowed us to take off our birthday, but it had to be on our birthday…no substitutions or “I’ll tack it on to my Christmas vacation” nope.

Sometimes, one has to be careful about letting folks know when one’s birthday is at the office. One of my former bosses got a surprise stripper on his birthday. The lonely middle aged woman that did it, announced over the intercom to come to the front of store.

The stripper was ugly and old. I think we were all relieved when we realized she was not stripping past her too small bikini.

The boss kept a smile the whole time, but I knew that inside he was screaming.

In our family, we have always had two members with the same birthday. Myself and a cousin, who is now gone, and my brother and Uncle Doc who is now gone, but my other brother had a daughter with my brother’s birthday. Check around your family. You may be surprised at the statistics.

I don’t remember many of my birthdays. I remember my fiftieth; my brother gave me a fifty dollar bill.

I remember my fifth birthday. I cried until I got to go outside and shoot my bow and arrow. You remember, the  kind with the suction cups?

In ’95, for Father’s Day I was given my first son. Best Father’s Day gift ever.

The rest of my birthdays are just another day with cake and extra beers; maybe bourbon in the later years, and finally, scotch.

I stopped for a moment today and thought about what I do have: and suddenly, life ain’t so bad.