Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Year In Review

It was an excellent year for me to travel. I started the year off with the trip to Ireland. Beautiful country and people. Lots of history, good food and drink. I especially liked the southern part of the country with the rugged land and the small farms. I could see me living like that.

Made the trip to California shortly after that with the high mileage team from the high school - fun and educational both. Got to see the Golden Gate bridge and giant redwoods and get state #48 in the books.

Cuzzin Ricky and I went to Kansas to visit my brother and pick up the chickens. Lovely visit with he and his wife and the bonus stop in Knoxville, Iowa for the Sprint Car Hall of Fame and race (we also made the last Hoosier Hundred this year). I really need to get back out to Kansas again one of these days. Spend some time with "fam" and check out the big ball of twine.

Cuzzin Ricky and I also headed farther west on the Amtrak to Utah. Long ride to Salt Lake City but pleasant enough. Saw some beautiful scenery along the way and met some nice folks on the train. Promontory Point was worth the side trip as was Ogden with the museums in the old train station. Wendover and Ely were both well worth the trip - airplanes and trains, beautiful scenery and state #49. Only one left now is Hawaii.

Did the bi-plane ride this year just like the old barn-stormer days. That was fun. I don't know of any motorcyclist who doesn't like flying in small craft, though. Unfortunately, the B-17 I flew in a few years back crashed while I was out in Nevada killing several people. Certainly a tragedy but what a boring existence a risk free life would be.

Got the motorbike operational this year and started on the Rapido. Not a whole lot accomplished on the other internal combustion projects but got quite a bit done around the shack and this-n-that sort of things. As always I've got big plans for the upcoming year but I'm sure this time next year I'll only have accomplished about half of what I planned.

Didn't do much cycling this year. I did do the ruck march and a few 5K events. My resting pulse rate was slowly creeping up, so I'm addressing that and doing a bit more strength training. With the political and financial situations in this country being what they are, we all should try to be as prepared as possible for any scenario that comes along. With a government that's $23 trillion in debt, trying to disarm its citizens and remove the president by any means possible, I don't think it will end well. Or peacefully.

Changed jobs this year. I left the college after seven years and became a handy-man for a local company. I doubt I'll be working there too much longer. I turn 70 next September. As it stands now, that'll be it for me.

Kind of a slow year for reading. Twenty books was all. I spend a lot more time on the computer these days rather than reading. Sort of a mixed blessing, though. Even though I read a daily newspaper, I like to supplement that with info I gather from the internet. Of course there are also the time wasters like Facebook and Free Cell. 

Looking forward to 2020. Even though I'll be70 next year, I'm living pretty large for a semi-retired school teacher. I'm not rich but doing OK. For a middle class guy, doing OK is actually pretty damn good these days. Cuzzin Ricky and I are planning on some more traveling this upcoming year. East to Pennsylvania with a stop in Ohio to see my brother for sure, not sure where else. Definitely a few more races than this past year.  

Best wishes on the upcoming year to all of you. Here's to health and happiness on 2020.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Finishing The Year Strong

The weather has been unseasonably warm of late - no complaints from here. I decided to take advantage of the warm temps and do a couple little jobs in the woodshop yesterday since it's not heated. In the photo is a cover I made for the new propane tank. The regulator that goes into the tank is supposed to be protected from the elements, so this should do it. I just use a small plastic bucket to cover the one for the shop but it doesn't have the protective flanges around the valve like the new one does. I made up a quick hammer form and used a piece of aluminum sheet I had out in the barn. After the photo was taken I welded up the slits on the edges and planished it a bit so the finished product looks a little bit better than in the photo.

I bought the larger mallet in the photo a while back from Garrett Wade and used it on the project above. They have three sizes listed in their catalog. I was real happy with the big one so I ordered myself the middle sized one when I ordered a couple of Christmas presents. If they still have them next time I order something from them, I'll get the smallest size as well. Wooden mallets are just the ticket for hammering on both woodworking projects and aluminum panel work. I think I'll round one end of the smaller of the two for doing shot bag work. Should be a handy size.

The Missus got me a 6" x 6" individual day calendar for Christmas but it was a refill rather than a whole new thing so there was no stand or wall bracket. I made up a quickie stand to hold the sheets out of a 1x6 while I was in the woodshop. Nothing fancy but it'll do the trick.

After working in the woodshop I finished welding the hoop for the bike carrier out in the shop. The humidity was about 100% so I didn't try painting it. In fact, most every thing had a light coating of moisture on it. I'll plan on getting it painted sometime soon depending on the weather.

I repaired a bicycle wheel the other night down in the basement shop. A former student and boxer of mine needed the wheel repaired for his or someone in his family's bike. It's the same size as the one on my rail bike, so I swapped it out and got the broken spokes replaced and started truing the wheel. It's about 95% done. I'll grease the bearings, polish it up with some steel wool and then mount a new tire on it after giving it a final truing.

Supposed to be above freezing most of the upcoming week, so I should be able to get some more done in the shop. I'm going to Harbor Freight today to pick up a few things and hit a couple of other stops along the way. Hoping to still get out in the shop later though.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Almost There

Christmas present from Surly - I laughed out loud when I read it. The hell of it is, I'm relatively certain that's the actual number.

We had a lovely Christmas. I got some nice things and we spent time with the Surly and his clan. The weather was exceptionally warm as was yesterday - it got up to 64 by my reckoning. I did some outdoorsy things and put in a good half day in the shop, no jacket required.

The bike carrier is just about done. I need to drill four holes to fasten the hoop for the front wheel. I tacked the brackets in place to make sure the hoop was where I wanted it. After I drill the holes I'll grind off the tacks, finish weld the hoop and it should be ready for paint. I still need to make a couple of brackets to bolt on the ends for tie downs but those are just two pieces of angle. I would have finished it up yesterday but I had some work to do for my side hustle. I should be able to get the carrier finished up and painted over the weekend. I'd like to get it done before it gets cold again, plus, the to-do list is starting to grow.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Nollaig Shona dhuit

Merry Christmas in Gaelic from Shop Teacher Bob, shown above kissing the Blarney Stone. Lots of Blarney having been posted here over the years, seems only fitting. And here's wishing you Merry Christmas in the native languages of some of the countries I've been blessed to visit.

 In French: Joyeux Noel

Spanish: Feliz Navidad

Dutch: Vroolijk Kerstfeest

German: Frohe Weinacten

And because I've been to Italy twice, a pair of Buon Natales.

Best wishes for Christmas and many blessings in the upcoming New Year from Shop Teacher Bob. And as always, thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

New Light

One of the fluorescent light fixtures quit working in my shop. I swapped all of them out a few years ago and put in ones that took the T-8 bulbs and were supposed to be good for cold temperatures. When the one quit I tried replacing the bulbs but no go, just stopped working. I went to Menard's and was going to buy a replacement unit like I had but decided to try a LED fixture instead. The fluorescent fixture was $15.00 and came without bulbs, the LED was $35.00 ready to go. By the time I bought two new bulbs the price difference was less than $10.00 so I figured I'd give the LED a try. It's a nice bright white color - 4000K. It's supposed to put out as much light as the fluorescent I replaced. Actually seems a little brighter and its supposed to last a lot longer and use less juice.

I've got a couple of halogen lights in the shop as well. One over the lathe and one over the welding bench. I'm going to see about some type of similar LED for over the lathe. The current light is pretty close to my head and generates a lot of heat - nice in the winter, not so much in the summer. Also the color temperature is more yellow than the white given off by the LED, The older I get the more light I need to work comfortably, especially on fine detail stuff like what one encounters often times on lathe work.

Beautiful weather yesterday and forecast for the next few days. It got up to damn near 50 degrees with sunshine. The weatherman said Christmas is supposed to be warmer than Halloween and Thanksgiving Day for the first time in 65 years. That's OK by me. I took the Himalayan out for a spin after going to the gym yesterday. I wore my new helmet. Still a bit nippy for an open face helmet but I like the fit. It should be just the ticket for commuting this summer.

Going out for breakfast with Cuzzin Ricky this morning and walking 3-4 miles later today. I'm going to work on a few things out in the shop in between along with getting the final preparations taken care of for Christmas.

Saturday, December 21, 2019


From here
I received a notice from Social Security the other day. Looks like I'll be getting a raise come the new year - 1.6 percent. After notifying me of what the raise will be, they then detailed out what I'll be receiving on a monthly basis. After taking out for Medicare and insurance, federal taxes, the net take home is about 20% less than what I started with. Since the Fed took 12% of my earnings for 50 plus years right off the top and I had nothing to say about it, it would be nice if they just gave me my money back without paying taxes on what was a tax to begin with.

I would recommend those of you who are still working do a little retirement planning and keep in mind the number you're quoted from Social Security is not the number you'll be able to live off of. Also, if you take an early retirement,  not only will your payout be reduced, which would be expected, they won't allow you to make more than about $18,000 per year until you hit full retirement age without a reduction of your benefit.

With what's going on in Washington right now, might be a good time to consider Libertarian candidates in the future. They don't want to tax you to death or confiscate your guns. I just want my representatives to be fiscally responsible (a $23 T debt load is not responsible), keep us out of senseless wars and keep their hands out of my pocket. The more I see of politics lately, I don't think there is any way we'll be able to vote our way out of this, however. The country is just too far gone. I think my buddy is right. It's the end of the empire.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

TCM & I Remember

Turner Classic Movies has their TCM Remembers playing now like they do at the end of every year. I didn't realize "The Man With No Eyes" had passed away. Actually I never knew his name until I saw it on TCM Remembers. The photo above is, of course, from Cool Hand Luke, my favorite movie of all time. Morgan Woodward was in a ton of movies and television shows, mostly cowboy/western things, which makes it even more surprising that I didn't know his name since that's my favorite genre.

Another character actor who passed away this past year is Michael Pollard. That would be him on the left in the photo above, not to be confused with Robert Redford as if that would be possible. The photo is from a scene in Little Fauss and Big Halsy. The film was a 1970 release about motorcycle racers and sidecar racers at that. It's one of the things that got me amped up about sidecar racing. Its been a long time since I've seen the movie. I used to have it on VHS. It's about time I give it another screening. It'd be nice to view it on the new flat screen TV.

RIP gentlemen.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Gun Control

From Here
Thought this was pretty clever in light of what's transpired in Virginia lately with all the talk of gun confiscation, 2A sanctuary counties, etc. When the new millennium rolled around in 2000 there was some celebrating with fireworks and gun shots around here, including some automatic weapons fire. I can't see all the people in my county wanting to give up their firearms peacefully. Lots of hunters and gun enthusiasts and hardly a Democrat in the whole county. In fact many of the Republican county politicians run unopposed on the ballot.

Depending on how the impeachment/coup attempt works out, things are liable to get spicy. While I consider myself only slightly paranoid, you might want to make being prepared for all contingencies a priority for the upcoming new year. Forewarned is forearmed and all that.

I got my first seed catalog in the mail about two weeks ago. I'm going to try and do a little better with the garden this upcoming year. I didn't do anything at all last year except some tomatoes and peppers. Mostly because of the lousy weather rather than my own inertia but you'll have that. Maybe plant a couple more blueberry bushes and peach trees this spring. Since the Missus got sick she doesn't do any canning anymore but we've got everything needed to do so. I should have her talk me through the process and start preserving some of the harvest rather than letting a lot of the fruit go to waste next summer.

I've always got big plans in the winter and seem to fall a bit short in the spring and summer but I'm pretty sure I've got most of the essentials covered at least. Might fall a bit short of an Appalachian Guerilla or a Korean Rooftop Sniper but living the life of a subsistence farmer wouldn't be all that bad. Pretty good hobby in fact.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas Deliveries

Since we live out in the country and the Missus doesn't get out like she used to, we did the majority of our Christmas shopping online this year. I wanted a new helmet, so the Missus said order what I wanted and that would be her present to me. I normally wear a full face helmet but I wanted an open face for when I ride back and forth to work. It's only a few miles each way, so the odds are with me as far as being involved in an accident and since I've been riding for over 50 years I've long ago accepted the risk that comes with motorcycling.

The helmet is from Biltwell. It's their Bonanza model - DOT approved and right at a "C" note. The paint finish is flat titanium and I got the visor in the smoke gray color. The color on the helmet is a pretty close match to the trim color on the Himalayan. They included a catalog with the order that's pretty cool. If I live to be a 100, I hope to build myself a nice Sportster based bobber. Only about a dozen big projects ahead of that one, however.

In addition to the helmet coming this past week, we got two deliveries yesterday morning. Don't recall ever getting two Sunday deliveries before. One was from Amazon, the other from the Post Office. Amazing. Especially since the Amazon order was placed Saturday evening.

We had the grandsons over night Saturday so I didn't get out to the shop but I walked four miles with my running buddy yesterday. She's got big plans to compete in some body building contest so she's working out like a mad man. I'm about 90% in on the 50 mile challenge so I see a lot of walking in our futures. Snowed last night and it's going to be cold now until March. Don't know how much walking we'll do over the winter but I'm going to try and stay after it. It's nice to have a training partner to keep you honest. It's hard to stay motivated for something like this, especially at my age.

Have a good week. It's about time for me to start wrapping packages.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Plasma Cutter

New plasma cutter came yesterday. Looks like it has a different plug than my welder so I'll have to take care of that before I can test drive it. I think the new plug is also the same as on Surly's welder he bought. I put in a new outlet and he'll be able to bring his welder down and get some lessons on his machine so he can upgrade his TIG and stick skills.

Didn't get anything done in the shop yesterday but I got the dog to the groomer. The trip is a half hour each way so an hour up and back to drop him off and then an hour picking him back up again. Always blows a pretty big hole in the morning.

I wrote a letter of recommendation for one of my former students from the college which necessitated a trip to the post office. I also had a conversation with a counselor from the high school. One of my former students is looking to switch positions at his place of employment and is looking for some documentation of his welding experience. He graduated the year I had my heart attack, so I wasn't able to finish out the school year and write up the certificates. Since I didn't go back to work and it's been seven years, I wasn't sure what she would come up with, but she found his task list, bless her heart. This young man was also getting dual credit with the community college, so the next step will be to help him get a copy of his transcript. Shop teachers might not grade a lot of papers but we do a lot of work helping students become gainfully employed. It is after all vocational education.

Cut up a small tree that blew down a while back - a Lombardy Poplar that was already dead. I planted six of them and they all died when they got to about 7" in diameter. These were supposed to be the hot ticket item for a renewable source of firewood. Not so much - at least for me.

Shoveled out a bit of chicken poop and put new straw in the nesting boxes and on the floor of the coop.

All in all a pretty decent day. The weather was good for a bit of lumberjacking, running around and chores. Looks like it's going to be typical winter weather coming up next week. I'll see what I need for the electrical hookup for the plasma and make that a top priority next week along with the motorcycle carrier. The hardware for that job should be here Monday for whatever that's worth.

Friday the 13th today - be careful out there.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


Brother Johnny, posted by my sister-in-law on Facebook. Miss that knucklehead, especially with all the political stuff going on. It'd be nice to be able to hear his take on the impeachment proceedings and all the rest. It would surely be interesting - profane - but interesting.

He'd be old enough to retire now - be real nice if we could finally take that motorcycle ride together. It wasn't that we didn't have good times together. He just didn't get enough time. He did make pretty good use of the time he did have, I'll say that for him.

Happy birthday, Bro.

Brackets for the bike carrier with some primer on them. I got them painted black yesterday, made a couple of tubes to hold the taillights, welded and ground off the main frame. I ordered in some stainless hardware to fasten the ramp to the frame. Aluminum and steel together with electric current running through it can cause some issues. The stainless hardware from the Bolt Depot isn't much more than the zinc plated stuff from the hardware store, so why not go with the good stuff.

Pretty much finished my Christmas shopping yesterday as well. I still need a couple of stocking stuffers but no big deal on that. I also bought myself a plasma cutter. On sale with free shipping. It should be here in a couple of days.

I'm looking at buying a new bandsaw as well. Mine wasn't all that great to begin with but it's been handy. It'll work both in the horizontal and vertical positions. I usually use it in the vertical position and cut stock to length with my abrasive cut-off saw. It would be nice to have a dedicated vertical saw that I could put a narrower blade on so I could cut tighter radii. Plus, it would take up less floor space. Rather than get another horizontal bandsaw, maybe get an additional chop saw with a metal blade instead of an abrasive blade.

Something like this one would do it. Cheaper to operate than the abrasive blades and no sparks flying everywhere. I'll do some research while I save up my allowance.

Monday, December 9, 2019


I happened to look out the patio door yesterday morning just as a turkey walked by. I got up to take a look and there was a bunch of them grazing the yard and working their way out to the corn field. I've never eaten wild turkey - I have had a little in liquid form - and I don't know how much meat you would get from a decent size hen like those wandering my yard. The last time I cleaned a wild animal I had hunted was about 45 years ago. Not the most pleasant of tasks and since I rarely eat meat anymore, probably won't ever have to clean another one. If things go sideways in the future, I wouldn't rule it out, though. I doubt the turkeys will amble through the yard if I'm starving, though.

I worked on the motorcycle carrier yesterday. The weather was decent, so I wanted to get the rest of the pieces fit up. I've got all the brackets taken care of and the majority of the welding is done. I'm going to pick up some primer today and get the brackets painted so I can get the ones that bolt to the truck permanently installed. I still need to make a stop for the front wheel and get the lights taken care of but I can do that in the shop where it's warm, since the temps are supposed to drop later today.

I've got a bit of machine work to do as well as a blood test and other errands to take care of today. I'll see how long all that takes me. I'm hoping to get a bit more done on the carrier. I need to finish this up so I can get my bike to the shop for servicing. I suppose there's no real hurry now, seeing as it's winter.

I've still got some Christmas shopping to do. I'm going to try and get that finished up in the next few days. I've been making the to-do list as well as the Christmas list. Seems like it never gets any shorter but I'm pretty happy with what I've been getting done around the shack. Cuzzin Ricky said the sprint car schedule is out for next season. We didn't get to the races very often this year - need to make up for it next year. Maybe head east next year to catch a few races and do some train stuff.  

Friday, December 6, 2019

50 Mile Challenge

From the Art of Manliness:

“The physical vigor of our citizens is one of America’s most precious resources. If we waste and neglect this resource, if we allow it to dwindle and grow soft then we will destroy much of our ability to meet the great and vital challenges which confront our people. We will be unable to realize our full potential as a nation.

Throughout our history we have been challenged to armed conflict by nations which sought to destroy our independence or threatened our freedom. The young men of America have risen to those occasions, giving themselves freely to the rigors and hardships of warfare. But the stamina and strength which the defense of liberty requires are not the product of a few weeks’ basic training or a month’s conditioning. These only come from bodies which have been conditioned by a lifetime of participation in sports and interest in physical activity. Our struggles against aggressors throughout our history have been won on the playgrounds and corner lots and fields of America. Thus, in a very real and immediate sense, our growing softness, our increasing lack of physical fitness, is a menace to our security.

However, we do not, like the ancient Spartans, wish to train the bodies of our youths merely to make them more effective warriors. It is our profound hope and expectation that Americans will never again have to expend their strength in armed conflict. But physical fitness is as vital to the activities of peace as to those of war, especially when our success in those activities may well determine the future of freedom in the years to come. . .

For physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body; it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. The relationship between the soundness of the body and the activities of the mind is subtle and complex. Much is not yet understood. But we do know what the Greeks knew: that intelligence and skill can only function at the peak of their capacity when the body is healthy and strong; that hardy spirits and tough minds usually inhabit sound bodies.

In this sense, physical fitness is the basis of all the activities of our society. And if our bodies grow soft and inactive, if we fail to encourage physical development and prowess, we will undermine our capacity for thought, for work and for the use of those skills vital to an expanding and complex America. Thus the physical fitness of our citizens is a vital prerequisite to America’s realization of its full potential as a nation, and to the opportunity of each individual citizen to make full and fruitful use of his capacities . . .

. . . we can fully restore the physical soundness of our nation only if every American is willing to assume responsibility for his own fitness and the fitness of his children. We do not live in a regimented society where men are forced to live their lives in the interest of the state. We are, all of us, as free to direct the activities of our bodies as we are to pursue the objects of our thought. But if we are to retain this freedom, for ourselves and for generations yet to come, then we must also be willing to work for the physical toughness on which the courage and intelligence and skill of man so largely depend. All of us must consider our own responsibilities for the physical vigor of our children and of the young men and women of our community. We do not want our children to become a generation of spectators. Rather, we want each of them to be a participant in the vigorous life.”

President John F. Kennedy

If the president thought there was a real need for us to shape up in the early '60s, what would he think of us now? I'm thinking real seriously about doing the 50 mile challenge this spring. My running buddy said she's in. I'm going  to start exploring a venue and doing some timed walks to see what it would take to get in shape to do this. While looking around on the web I did see a JFK 50 mile walk in Ireland this spring. I'd love to go back there and there's no better way to see the country-side than by walking or cycling.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Medicare Supplement Sign-Up

It's the time of the year that old folks enroll or make changes to their Medicare supplement and drug coverage. I got a call from the agent who helped me get signed up originally and he said in light of the price of my drug coverage going up substantially, I should consider a change to a different plan and he gave me his recommendation. Additionally, he told me it would be a long wait time on the phone, I could sign up online, or I could meet with him and he'd walk me through it. I called the number, set the phone on speaker mode and prepared to wait. I got a person after about ten minutes who told me I could use the automated sign up or I could stay on the line and wait until a live agent was available - 30 minutes minimum. I decided to take a chance with the automated sign-up.

Everything was going fairly well since I had my Medicare card and the rest of the stuff I figured I'd need. After about ten minutes of this the automated voice guy says I can't help you and asked for my area code. When I typed in the three digits, the phone went blank and I'd wasted a good half hour for nothing. Rather than try again I went online and it was actually quite easy, only taking about five minutes. However, the one thing that stood out in my mind was the fact that you had to declare yourself male or female. With all the gender confusion these days, I wonder how long before the government allows you to pick other options or if all the insurance companies will just tell people if you want a policy, you only get two choices. By the time you qualify for Medicare, I would think you should have it figured out.

I will say that Medicare is one helluva bargain. Even with having to buy supplemental insurance and a drug plan, it's a lot cheaper than what most people are paying on the private market for coverage. After I left the high school I stayed on their plan. When Obama Care kicked in my premiums went up to $1,800 per month. With me being a cardiac patient and the Missus being diagnosed with cancer, no way I could change carriers. When I was able to sign up for Medicare it was a huge savings. Unfortunately, there are quite a few physicians and clinics that don't accept Medicare patients because the Gov sets the pay schedule for what they receive for their services and it's not much in most cases.

While all above the table wage earners pay into Medicare, it doesn't come close to meeting the actual costs, which is why when Elizabeth Warren proposes Medicare for all, it's just laughable. It'd be nice if the Democratic candidates would perhaps propose a solution to balancing the budget and paying down the national debt rather than promising more free stuff. Trump has already run it up the debt numbers, so you know he's not going to do it. Of course it's not up to the president to do these sorts of things, but rather, the legislative branch is supposed to take care of this. As if!

I did make it out to the shop after taking care of my Medicare stuff. Diddled with a couple of little things and then made a move on the motorcycle carrier. Got it shortened up to what I think will be the right height now. I'll get it back in the hitch and then load it up with about 500 pounds and see where it settles down at. With the additional brackets I'm planning I know it'll be strong enough. Just need to see how much it compresses the springs.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Marty Robbins & Metric Hardware

I bought a few books from Edward R. Hamilton Bookseller and I saw a Marty Robinson CD collection that contained all of his single releases from 1952 to 1960 and I couldn't resist. I've listened to three of the four CDs so far and there is quite a variety in styles of many of the songs. He does some rockabilly, Hawaiian, straight up rock and roll, and lots of the ballads he was probably best known for. I heard this one on my way home from work the other day with the proceeds of my paycheck jingling in my jeans. I don't have 160 acres or an old "hoss" but I am my own boss with the sky and the stars above me. Nice feel good little ditty.

The bolts I ordered came in. In addition to the metric bolts I ordered for the Sprint project, I got some 1/4" lock washers and nuts to resupply the inventory. I need to get back on the Rapido project and get that one finished up so it'll be ready to run come springtime and then I'll move the Sprint up front and go to work on that one. I need to finish the sheet metal roller and assemble the slant six also. It'd be nice to have the roller for the projects I've got on the back burner and the slant six would take up less room if all of the parts were inside the block rather than being spread around in boxes. I've been putting out some feelers to locate a transmission for that project. No luck so far but one of these days I'll start scouting the junkyards and come up with something.

I made the cover for the rack I made for the torch tips. Nothing fancy here, just a sheet metal box cover to keep the dust out of them. I put a spare hole in the rack when I made it and as soon as I put the cover on the rack it dawned on me I just made the perfect mouse domicile. A nice metal box with a 1" hole on the bottom for the mice to crawl in and out, make a nest and piss all over the torch tips. I stuck another tip in it to close the hole but I need to remember to check things once in a while to make sure nothing moves in there and takes up residence.

Things are going pretty good at the present. I've been making it a point to get out in the shop at least a couple of hours on the days I don't work. Been keeping up with the laundry, dishes and the household things, as well as working out a bit. I need to see about finding another 5K to keep the cardio up. The little bit of weight training I've been doing has helped also. I feel stronger but still no where near to where I was in my prime but if I can keep from losing any more muscle mass at my age, I'll be real happy with that.

Have a good week.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

5K Walk

I did the 5k race walk yesterday & finished as the 2nd place male walker. It was a pretty thin field of male walkers and I thought I had seen all of the ones in front of me. As it ends up, I would have needed binoculars to see the guy who finished first, he was so far out ahead. The female winner was the lady I figured would win it. I looked up her time later in the day and a few years back I would have been able to beat her easily. Now? Not so much. Her time was about three minutes per mile quicker than mine. However, I've put a few miles in this year but never got into the "silly race walking" mode. I think I could beat her if I trained in earnest. The guy who came in first? His time was about my best ever and I doubt I'll ever see that again.

My running buddy paced me and she wants to continue with the weekly run/walk for the boxers as long as the weather allows. I've been walking a minimum of three miles every week. I might be able to get my groove back on if I started adding some speed work every week. At this stage of my life I don't need to be a race walker certainly, but I do need a bit of incentive to keep in shape. I'm also still kicking around the idea of the 50 Mile Challenge for next year.

Friday, November 29, 2019

5K and Pie

I did a Thanksgiving Day 5K. I wouldn't call it a race, more like a leisurely stroll. I Walked with my running buddy's husband while she walked with her son. Not a bad day to be out. A little chilly but the 50 mph wind gusts that we had on Wednesday were gone at least.

When I went to check in they had no record of me registering for the event but they had me fill out another entry form and I was able to walk without having to pay. When I got home I checked my account and the check was never cashed. Also, the date on the check was a couple of days prior to the big fire there so I think my registration and check went up in flames. Since I didn't pay for the event I need to get them a check and see about a tee shirt, not that I need another shirt. Especially since I'm doing another 5K tomorrow. I'm going to try and actually do a little something in that one. I was the first male walker last year. I probably should have done at least a little "speedwork" if I was going to try and defend my title but my biggest concern this fall was the ruck march. Weatherman's talking some rain. Might just be put on a raincoat and slog through it.

We had a nice dinner at Surly's house for the holiday. The Missus baked pies, three of them actually, another type of pumpkin that didn't make the photo shoot. The run and dinner pretty well shot the day, besides I was still stuffed when I got home so I just relaxed rather than working on anything. Working today and the 5K on Saturday, so not much else on the agenda until Sunday.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Points Cover and Anniversaries

I finished up the points cover. As easy as it was to make it, I'm not sure why I waited so long. If I were to make another one I'd do a couple of things differently. The flat surfaces slope down at an eight degree angle. I was planning on ten degrees but the stock I was using was a piece of a weld coupon that had bevels on both the top and bottom of the piece with a narrow root face so I was limited to where I could grab it in the vise. I should have used another piece but it was almost the perfect size and I thought it would stick up out of the vise high enough to give me the ten degrees. Eight's not bad but ten would have been better. Also, I should have turned the OD to a larger size and then turned it to the finish diameter after I bored out the inside to eliminate the marks from the chuck. They're not too noticeable but I should have thought it through a bit more before starting the job.

I'm going to order some stainless button head screws for the cover and get some stainless socket heads to replace the case bolts while I'm ordering. One of these days I'll pull the cover all the way off the bike so I can see what else I need to do on this thing and then try to make a little more headway.

I was reading the latest Welding Journal the other night and came across a couple of interesting anniversaries. First of all it's the 100th anniversary of the American Welding Society and they've been promoting that all year but it's also the 100th anniversary of the hard hat. It was originally made to protect miners and was fabricated from steamed canvas, glue, leather and black paint by the Bullard  Company. It's also the 40th anniversary of Honda building motorcycles at their Marysville, Ohio plant, the first bike being the 250 Elsinore by the way.

On a totally unrelated point, I had a black squirrel in the backyard last evening. I saw a couple of them around town earlier this year for the first time, which surprised me. The Missus has some kin buried in Warsaw, Ind. and we always see black squirrels there when visiting the cemetery. The one in the backyard was a cute little thing but I'm sure it'll be just as destructive as the red and gray ones are if I leave a vehicle out where they can get at the wiring.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Once again, I've got so much to be thankful for - hope you all do too.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Points Cover

I machined the inside of the points cover yesterday. I still have to relieve a bit for the condenser and a wire. It would be nice if I had a rotary table for this but, alas, I have no such thing. I've needed one for several jobs over the years but never enough to shell out the cash. Likewise, I'd like to trade out the old South Bend lathe for a newer one that would thread metric and didn't have the wear on the ways but because the South Bend has babbit bearings on the headstock, the spindle hole is much larger than a new machine of similar capacity that has tapered roller bearings. I'll use the die grinder to relieve the two spots today and then give it a final sand and polish.

Monday, November 25, 2019


Went to my buddy's funeral Saturday morning. Rather light-hearted service as it should have been if you knew the guy. The service was on his 67th birthday but apparently his time just ran out. I was watching Hondo starring John Wayne the other day and during the movie the Indian chief gets killed. Geraldine Page asks about the chief dying, to which The Duke replies: "Everybody dies, it was just his turn". While 67 years on this earth is not a bad run, I still think that's cheating a guy out of a few deserved years to enjoy the fruits of his labor with his family and friends. However, I don't get to make the call.

Yesterday I took grave pillows to the cemetery for my mom and our neighbor's graves as I do annually. The neighbor passed away several years back and his wife has moved away. The old gal is about 95 now and doesn't get up this way too often, so the Missus procures the grave blankets and I deliver them as I will as long as I'm able. One of these days I'll have to pass the baton to Surly for both the Thanksgiving and Memorial Day tours when my time runs out.

While making the trip to the cemetery, I always go by the old "home-place" where I grew up. The old neighborhood doesn't look too different but all the neighbors have either moved away or passed on. Not too far from there are some new housing developments on what used to be decent farm land. Time marches on but I wouldn't call all of it progress.

The cemetery is close to Harbor Freight so I did a bit of shopping while I was out. Picked up a few tools for myself and some things for the grandsons for Christmas. The boys are getting old enough to have some tools of their own they can lose and abuse. I had a coupon for everything I was getting, so I made out well there. Came home, mowed the backyard and then walked three miles with some of the folks from the gym.

I started on the points cover for the Sprint/Aermacchi on Saturday after the funeral. I still need to machine the backside but it's looking pretty good so far. My original one is on the left and as you can tell from the photo has the holes at a right angle to the ribs rather than at an angle as the new one does. Plus, the ribs are different. The goal wasn't to duplicate the original but to put my own spin on it. I'm going to try to get the backside machined today. I'm curious as to how it's going to look on the bike.

I need to decide what I'm going to do about the rear wheel on the bike. Right now it's got a seriously rusty steel rim. The front wheel has a nice high ribbed aluminum rim that was one that was the original I put together for the race bike. I'd like to have a matching rear on it but a new rim and spokes is going to cost a pretty penny. The front's an 18" rather that a 19" that the SS model calls for but it'll probably stay on since it's in good shape with a decent brake and stainless spokes and I don't want to have to re-lace it with the time and expense that would involve. Other than the rear wheel, however, I should have most all the parts necessary to put this one back together again so I'm not looking at too much of a cash outlay. As long as I keep working, money won't be an issue, time on the other hand's a whole different story.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Rack 'Em Up

Working on a few of the piddly things that hopefully will make life easier as well as some light maintenance around the shack. This is a rack for the welding tips for my oxy-acetylene torch. I'm going to make a cover for the top of the rack to keep the dust out of the "innards". Probably something with a hinge for convenience sake.

I also decided to attempt a spiffy points cover for one of the Sprints. I bought one for my racer years back that was originally intended to go on a Triumph. I had to turn the OD to make it fit inside the timing cover and the fins weren't quite aligned horizontally as they should have been but it looked real racy on the bike. I've been kicking the idea around of making one literally for years. It'd be real nice if I had access to a CNC  mill but I think I can make something decent "old-school". The one on the racer was a casting but setting up a foundry is out of the question. I've also been collecting parts and working on this bike on and off for as long as I've been thinking about making the points cover. While the Rapido is the number one priority, it'd be nice to have two HDs put together this winter. I don't have too much left on it. I will have to move it up front into the heated section of the shop if I expect to get it finished, however.

Starting to get into a nice groove as far as getting things done goes. I don't have anything real pressing at the moment, so I just make sure I get a little something done everyday I'm not working and then buy parts with my paycheck. Not a bad system - at least until I quit the job.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Mr. U

I used to work with this knucklehead - one of the greatest guys on the planet. He passed away yesterday morning and is going to be buried on his 67th birthday. Life's a bitch sometimes.

Rest in peace my friend.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Mo' Things

I went south yesterday for a luncheon date with one of our boxers and a couple others. Our guy is leaving today for basic training and a couple of us wanted to have a little send off lunch date. After lunch I went past the remains from Sunday's fire. As you can see in the photos, it was still smoldering and they were already knocking down some of the remaining structure. It's certainly a heartbreaker for all those that are going to be affected but this was a relatively new structure and not one of the old buildings on the square. Small consolation for the city I guess.

Here's a couple of shots from the ruck march I did on the 9th. Not a huge crowd but an enthusiastic one. The photos were taken from the Facebook page of the group sponsoring the march.

I got an e-mail about a 53 mile something or other at the Inaugural 465 Challenge. As it's explained in the e-mail I received, you sign up before the first of the year and then you have two months to do something that adds up to 53 miles which is the distance around Indy if you stayed on I-465. That could be walking, cycling or jumping up and down in the basement. They did mention they don't want you to venture out on the Interstate on foot or bicycle. The whole deal is on the honor system. I don't know if I'll seriously consider doing this - it's a little expensive just to get some more swag I don't need. It would keep me moving during two of the worst months of winter. I am considering doing some more rucking or training for the 50 mile challenge, however. Obviously doing the 53 miles in three days and less than 20 hours would kill two birds and all that but I don't know that February would be the best time of the year to tackle it.

You had to know with all the Epstein memes out there that one from a welder would show up.

Monday, November 18, 2019


It's starting to look like it's about that time what with the impeachment proceedings and all of the "swamp critters" stepping on the constitution and ignoring the rule of law. It'll be an interesting year leading up to the next election. It'll be even more interesting if the stock market takes a tumble or some other event puts people in a panic. Time to make sure you're well supplied and have an action plan if you don't have things in place already.

I keep reading about more store closures and bankruptcies - Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy protection which surprised me but people aren't drinking milk like they used to as well as other market factors. I've been seeing a lot of for hire signs around here lately, however.

I just read about a restaurant chain that opened up a new store with no dining facilities. No cash sales and no dining area - pick it up yourself or have one of the delivery services bring it to you. Apparently, people staying home and eating carry-in is becoming much more common and it's not just fast food, either. I'll pick something up for the Missus on the days I work occasionally but I'd much prefer getting out of the house and having a sit-down meal rather than any of the fast food offerings we have locally.

I went to Valparaiso Saturday to pick up some things at Menards and Best Buy. I'm not sure why but there were lots of people out. What made it more surprising is the traffic circle/roundabout has all the traffic screwed up. The roundabout is supposed to be fully open and operational next week for "Black Friday" so I didn't expect to see a lot of people out who were just shopping. I can't figure out why at least a bit of the roundabout wasn't opened up so people could turn right after leaving Menards and get back to the highway to eliminate much of the back-up. Failing that, maybe some police directing traffic to speed things up. Apparently Indiana has decided that the answer to all traffic problems is to install a roundabout. They've been working on this one since last year. It's going to have to save a lot of time to make up for all the wasted time and fuel during the construction process.

We bought a new TV not too long ago and I wanted to get the DVD player connected to it which required some type of adaptor from the old style pin jacks to the new HDMI connection or whatever it's called. I was in for a bit of a shock when the adaptor and cable were going to cost about $70.00. I ended up buying a new DVD player and cable and got out of there for $45.00. The cost of all this new technology makes me wonder if it's even worth it when most of the shows I watch were filmed in black and white 60 years ago. We do get some new shows as a result of the new TV, though. I've been enjoying Hamish Macbeth. Decent entertainment and no commercials.

Big fire south of here yesterday at the county seat. About a dozen buildings destroyed from what was reported last evening. This is going to be a huge loss to the town. I'm heading down that way later today. I was supposed to see a new chiropractor who takes more of a whole body approach than just an alignment. However, since I'm on Medicare, no dice. Medicare's a real bargain but only if your doctor participates. If they don't, you can't even pay cash to get service.

The weatherman said every day but one this month has been below average and it's not looking good for the future either. I've been getting a few things done around the shack. I finish a couple jobs in the shop and I'm going to get back on the basement workshop both on the equipment and the two projects I've been working on. Maybe even get one of them done this winter.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

In Search of Chili, Part 3

I found a recipe called 3 Bean Chili in one of my vegan cookbooks. I wouldn't exactly call it chili but it's a damn fine vegetable soup that has a chili flavor. Pinto, kidney and black beans along with a red, yellow and orange pepper, diced tomatoes, corn, onion, garlic and seasonings. Easy enough to make - just sauté up the peppers and onion then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer it for 30 minutes. The can of tomatoes I had was only 10 ounces instead of 15 so I added in some salsa. Pretty tasty. I printed out the recipe so I'll have it handy. I can see me making this one again.

Thursday, November 14, 2019


I went to Fabtech the other day with my boss and his one son, one of my welding students. The show is a huge exposition of welding and fabricating tools, equipment and materials suppliers. Other than the Additive Manufacturing exhibits there wasn't much on display that was new to me. I did get a chance to see a friction welding machine at the Lincoln Electric display that was pretty cool. Most all of the welding machine manufacturers have new machines with all kinds of digital enhancements. However, for the most part they only enhance the machine and not the actual welding being done. SMAW, or stick welding, hasn't changed much since WWII. The new fancy inverter machines are more economical to run but you'd be hard pressed to put down a better bead with one of them than what an old hand can do with a decent motor generator.

There were a couple of battery powered machines I saw. I've used a Fronius battery powered stick welder but there was a battery powered MIG machine that looked pretty cool I'd like to try out. The young guy with us did try the virtual MIG welder at the Lincoln display. He's never done any MIG welding before, but did pretty well with it. He also tried out an actual MIG on stainless material at the ESAB booth along with running some 7018 on a Tee joint. He's been welding with those rods recently and put down a nice bead while the pressure was on to perform in front of a crowd.

I tried out the new plasma cutter from ESAB. It's supposed to be released January 15th. It comes in a small package but cuts like a large machine. I signed up to be notified when it becomes available. I was looking at buying the older model but I think this one will do everything and more I'll ever need at a price I can justify to myself.

I think the young guy had a good time and got a lot out of going. He was able to burn a "college day" from school and probably got a lot more out of this than going to any school, at least from this stage in his life. We welded a bit after work the night after attending the show and he seemed a bit more enthusiastic than normal even though he's normally pretty reserved.

We've had record setting cold around here lately - it's not like we don't get temperatures this cold most every winter but not this early in the season. It was nine degrees the other morning with a  daytime high of about twenty. The Missus ordered a ceramic heating element to keep the chickens warm and fortunately it arrived just before the cold weather. It must be helping. I gathered the eggs after working a ten hour day and none of the eggs were frozen. It's a small coop and I can tell the difference in temperature when I go inside. This should be all the girls need this winter along with the heated water to keep them comfortable.

It's supposed to warm up a bit this weekend and next week - still below average but above freezing at least. I'll try and muster up the courage to get out in the shop and get a few things done.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A Man's Got To Know His Limitations

I was thinking this the other day watching the guy struggling with his heavy pack during the ruck. Been a while since I've seen any of the Dirty Harry movies. Now that winter seems to be here, like it or not, I should pick a night, light a fire in the fireplace and do a Harry Callahan marathon.

Surly supplied me with a chili recipe that looks good, my running buddy, who's also a vegetarian, has a good recipe she said, and I found one in my one vegan cookbook that looks tasty. It calls for three types of beans and three colors of peppers. Looks really simple to make and I usually have all the ingredients on hand other than the different colored peppers. I'm going to give that a try next. I did make a chili pie last week. I picked up a link of jalapeno and cheese sausage from the little mom & pop grocery east of me to give it some zip. I cut it into fairly small chunks but should have taken it out of the casing and browned it like hamburger. The little grocery always has a good selection of meat. I was eye-balling the stuffed pork chops while I was there, in fact. Might have to break training, again, and get a couple of those.

I do want to get back on the program again, however. I've kept the weight down but I'm still eating a bit too much of the sweets. I enjoyed the ruck march and I'm thinking about doing some more of that and gradually adding some more weight to the pack. If I stay with it over the winter, I might be able to do some back packing come spring time if I can find someone willing to come along. The Missus doesn't mind me doing these things but with my medical history, she doesn't want me to go solo.

While training for the ruck march I was thinking about the 50 mile challenge from Teddy Roosevelt's day. I wrote about this a couple of years ago after seeing something about it at The Art of Manliness. If you follow the link there's a real good write-up about the history of the walk.

This was back in the sixties. Looks like the answer to the question is yes, definitely. With all that's happening in this country presently, I'm thinking we all should be taking our health and physical condition seriously. Actually, regardless of what may develop in the future, it's always a good idea to get a bit of exercise on a daily basis - don't want to be the guy who keels over while shoveling snow.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veteran's Day

Something a little different for Veterans Day. Never forget what many of them have gone through.

When I pulled into the fairgrounds the other day there was a gentleman there giving directions on where to go to sign up. He was wearing a hat with a sergeant's pin on it. I'm guessing he was about 50 years old. He was a black man and it's often times hard to tell their age. I'm also guessing he probably retired after 20 years in the service. Seemed like a nice guy: smiling, friendly, but I'll bet he's still one bad-ass.

Thanks Sarge, all the rest of you and your families for all you've given.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Ruck March

I did the 10 mile ruck with Surly yesterday. It was a bit chilly and breezy initially but turned out to be a beautiful day later. The temperature was right at freezing when I pulled into the parking lot which might have kept some people away. I don't know how well this event was advertised - I never would have known about it if it hadn't been for Surly. I think the only way he knew about it was because he knows the guy in charge. So there weren't a lot of people there but the local Marine recruiter "supplied" a nice size group that led the way which included a couple of flag bearers. There also was a couple of squad cars running interference for us through town until we hit the bike trail outside of town.

The Erie Lackawanna Trail is paved and runs through some decent scenery and has very nice facilities along the way. I used to run on part of it when it was still an active railroad way back when, my mother owned some property next to the rail line and my first house after getting married was just a short hop away, so I'm pretty familiar with the area. I rode my bike on most of the trail right after it opened but hadn't been on it for quite a few years. After hiking it yesterday, I'm thinking I should plan on getting out on it again in the future.

Both Surly and I were dressed appropriately and had trained adequately so we had a pretty enjoyable hike. He was toting about 30 pounds in his ruck. I filled mine with Styrofoam packing peanuts and a helium balloon. Actually it was about 18 pounds - plenty for an old man who has lost a bit of upper body strength. There was a young guy, maybe 35, former Marine, current law enforcement and martial arts guy who was humping an 80 lb. ruck. I'm guessing that was just about half his body weight. He struggled from the very beginning but kept after it until about mile nine and then had to bail out from under all that weight. Surly, myself and a few of Surly's friends hiked along with the guy to make sure he didn't fall out somewhere along the trail since he was the last man of the group. One of Surly's buddies carried the guy's pack for about the last mile - he was a big dude and wasn't wearing a pack, so him stepping up kept us moving. I mentioned to Surly as we were finishing the Haggard song above. The title says it all.

When we got back to the fairgrounds they had chili and hot dogs along with a whole bunch of doughnuts left over from the morning sign-up. They took a group photo, I had a bowl of chili and headed home.

My feet were a bit sore when I got home and I hobbled around the house later in the evening when my right ankle stiffened up but I'm doing fine this morning. The group from the boxing gym is doing their weekly run this afternoon, so I think I'll walk a couple of miles while they run to keep things loose.

And what's an event like this without a tee shirt? Not that I needed another tee shirt but this is the only ruck I've ever done so why not. Well run event, good cause, got some exercise and spent some quality time with Surly and some friends. Good day. Very thankful to still be able to get out and do things like this.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

In Search of Chili, Part Two

While searching for the perfect chili recipe to make, I stuck with the cowboy theme and perused the cookbook in the photo. Sure enough, several good chili recipes from out there in Marlboro Country. There is even a vegetarian chili recipe. However, I doubt that one is going to make the cut. While most of the chili I usually come across locally is made with ground beef, several recipes use some bacon in the recipe. I'm not a hard core vegetarian so a little meat wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, but I'd like to come up with a dish that doesn't rely on the meat to make it palatable. I'm a fan of beans, so chili con frijoles as opposed to chili con carne would work just fine for me. One of the problems I have is a lack of ability to read the list of ingredients in a recipe and know what it will taste like when done or why you would use canned whole tomatoes, chopped, when it would seem more logical to just use diced tomatoes from the start. The Missus is a whiz at all that sort of thing but I like to do all my household stuff in the mornings, she's strictly afternoons and evenings. I'll fumble my way to a decent bowl of chili before long. It's just the beginning of the winter after all.

The second batch of persimmon bread. I had enough persimmon puree left over after the first batch of bread to try making some persimmon cookies but since I had some more persimmons in the bucket, I went ahead and pureed the rest of them and made a couple more loaves of the bread. The first two loaves were a bit darker in color and a little prettier on top. I'm not sure what the difference was with the second batch but I had to bake them for about 12 minutes longer also. I used some brandy in the first batch and rum in the second - that might be it. I won't know how they taste until sometime this winter since I wrapped them up and put them in the freezer. I've been eating my way through one of the loaves from the first batch and it's damn good. I've still got one loaf of rhubarb bread in the freezer also, so I'm in good shape for the winter. I would like to try my hand at making fruitcake. The fruitcake from Gethsemani Farms is excellent - might be the Kentucky bourbon - or it might just be the angel the Monks at the Abbey have looking over their shoulders. You can order it along with their fudge and other items but it's a bit on the expensive side. Quality rarely comes cheap, though.

The weather was nice yesterday so I got out and put the cover on the AC unit, drained the garden hose and got it put away and fixed the lights on the old Allis. The old girl really needs to be rewired. I discussed that with my neighbor the mechanic but I never got around to ordering a new harness. It looked like I might be better off just replacing everything one wire at a time because the tractor has been fitted with an alternator rather than the original generator along with a few other mods. That'll be next year now. It started right up, the lights work and I ran it down the lane to charge the battery a bit. I still need to check all the fluids and put some air in one of the front tires but no biggie there. It'll be ready when the snow flies.

The lights for the motorcycle carrier arrived. I'm going to get back on that project so I can haul my bike to Indy for service. I'd like to get that done before too much longer. I won't be riding it until next season but I'd like to get it taken care of before the weather gets too bad.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

In Search of Chili

The Missus texted me the other day while I was at work and asked me to pick her up a chef's salad from the local restaurant on my way home from work. She ordered me up a bowl of chili at the same time. The chili was only about half the size I needed after working all day and it wasn't all that good - not bad but not great. I decided I should look for a decent chili recipe I could make for myself.

The Missus has an extensive collection of cookbooks - maybe 300 of them  - I figured I'd be able to find something to my liking. I went first to The All American Cowboy Cookbook by Ken Beck and Jim Clark figuring there would be no better place to start my search. Sure enough, lots of chili recipes. Most all the recipes in the book are from people in the entertainment business that have played cowboys, or cowgirls, as well as singers, ranch owners - there's even a recipe from Richard Petty.

The book has a lot of photos of all these greats and some bits of bio on many of them. I saw Will Rogers in the book and knowing he was probably the greatest trick roper of all time, decided to see what I could find. The video above is six minutes but gives you a real good idea as to his skill level. If you don't have time to watch the whole thing or aren't at all interested in trick roping, watch the very first few seconds. Good advice there.

The book had a blurb on Ben Johnson as well as his recipe for buttermilk biscuits. Even though I grew up watching the Lone Ranger and Roy Rogers, Ben Johnson is without a doubt my favorite movie cowboy. He wasn't just an actor, he was the real deal as a cowboy. The only person to win a World Champion Cowboy and an Academy Award. Pretty smart guy as well - left an estate estimated at $1,000,000.

No shortage of cowboy singers in the cookbook. Here's one of my favorites: This one's for you Pop!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Time Has Come Today

Woke up this morning after falling back asleep for a bit - clock said 7:07 so I got up only to remember the time change, so it was only 6:07. But this realization came after taking the antibiotic for the Lyme Disease - the one that says not to lie down for ten minutes after taking it on an empty stomach preventing me from just turning around and hot-footing it back to bed. As long as I was up I changed all the clocks, and of course, I grumbled about it the whole time like I always do. However, I now understand why we change the clocks back. The Missus told me last evening the Indiana Liquor Commission told the tavern owners they didn't have to quit serving at the first 2:00 o'clock. They could turn the clocks back and continue to serve until the second 2:00 o'clock. So apparently the whole idea of turning the clocks back in the fall is to allow one extra hour of serving time for the tavern owners once a year. Now it all makes sense. And it almost makes up for the time wasted changing every clock in the house and upsetting everyone's internal clocks. If they're bound and determined to change the time, how about making all of us in Indiana be on the same time? That would make a whole lot more sense to me.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Snow & Cold

The weatherman was right about the snow. We got a bit as you can see from this view looking out on the front yard. The Chicago television stations were all about the snow - some of the northern suburbs got about 6 inches. The temp last night was supposed to get down to about 24 degrees.

I picked all of the peppers figuring they weren't going to make it through the night. Always the optimist, however, I did cover them up again. I also picked persimmons. I got a bucket the same size as the one with the peppers full of nice persimmons so I can make a couple of loaves of bread. Like banana bread or rhubarb bread, persimmon bread is right tasty with a bit of butter and a hot cup of tea or coffee. There's still more persimmons on the tree but I picked all I could reach without getting out a ladder. I think the recipe calls for 2 cups of puree. Depending on how much I get out of my bucket's worth, I might pick a few more to make another couple of loaves to freeze.

While I was outside in the snow, I got the electric cord strung out to the chicken coop and plugged in the waterer. I usually put a light in there about the time of the winter solstice, unless it gets real cold before then. Chickens are pretty hardy creatures and usually do OK as long as they're out of the wind but the light plus the heated waterer makes a big difference in that small coop. The light also keeps the chickens laying during the days of short daylight.

I took a good look in the barn at the dirt piles and figured out it's a woodchuck/ground hog that's burrowed in. I found the other end of the burrow where he gets out of the barn along with what appears to be a maze of tunnels underneath a couple of pallets that I put down to keep some machinery parts off the floor. I haven't come up with a plan of action yet but like the Mounties, I always get my man.

I machined up some little parts for work and installed the brackets I made for the nail cabinet. I've actually got quite a bit of work to do for my employer. I came up with the solution for the bike carrier. It shouldn't be too tough to do, just a little ticked off with myself for the design failure. I ordered some taillights for the job. They are the small round ones that go into a piece of 1-1/2" tubing. With the lights protected inside a piece of tubing, they shouldn't get broken while loading the bike. I put a pair of these in the sidecar and was pretty happy with them. I'd rather not have someone rear end me because they couldn't see the truck taillights and smash the bike and the truck.

Looks like it's going to continue to have daytime temps in the thirties for a few days then warm back up to mid-forties. Yep, it's winter, like it or not.