Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

To all three four of you!

Sorry, but I have no profound thoughts, no resolutions and no 2005 top ten list to share, but I would like to say that I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable (and relatively sober) holiday. And make sure ya'll eat plenty of black-eyed peas and turnip greens tomorrow!

Hmmm, truth to tell, I don't know that I think much of that particular superstition... it's never made me rich, but then again I've stayed financially solvent all these years, so maybe there is something to it.

It would probably help if I would actually eat the peas (can't stand the vile things), I do eat the heck of the greens (provided they're cooked right, in a cast iron pot with lots of good artery-hardening fatback).

Anyhow,goodbye aught-five. Hello aught-six.

I just saved a fortune on my car insurance

Not really, but I did run unto a heckuva deal today. All the chicken litter (for fertilizer) I want for 35 bucks a spreader-truck load. One little bitty tiny problem. The fields where I need it the most are far and away too wet to get into with a spreader truck. I told him I'd take five or six loads anyway and have it put on my high ground. I'm hoping this will do my pastures some good come spring.

I swing back and forth on fertilizer, some years I go with nitrate from the co-op, some years I go with chicken litter and some years I don't put out any fertilzer. The topsoil around here is rarely more than a few inches deep unless you're in good bottomland, so I'm hoping a steady diet of litter this coming year in conjunction with a ton or so of lime/acre will help me build up my topsoil and get a better grade of weeds growing around here.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Backing up just a bit

to the old fart discussion, I went to my twenty year high school reunion a couple of months back. Now, I'll confess I had no intentions of going. This was the weekend after I came back from Sunbelt and I had planned on using that as an excuse. I didn't write about it because there was really nothing noteworthy about it (from my point of view, other folks thought it was a smashing success).

It was Saturday night and I had went to sleep on the couch when the phone woke me up. I'd guess it was around eight o'clock or thereabouts. It was my buddy Skinner, wanting to know why in the hell I wasn't at the reunion. I told I wasn't going, that I was pretty well worn out. He said okey dokey and hung up. Few minutes later phone rings again. This time it's one of my neighbors asking me about something else. By this time I'm wide awake so I decide to go to see some friends who're having a wiennie roast. They live a couple of blocks away from where the reunion was held, so somewhere along the line I decided to go after all.

Naturally it was nearly over when I got there and about half the folks were gone. Me being my normal anti-social self stood outside and talked... to the people I see all (some) of the time anyway. With three or four notable exceptions, those where the people I talked to the rest of the evening.

As to where I am going with this, I recently stumbled across a website that had photos from the reunion and in looking them over, I realized something right quickly.

I had no fricking idea who in the hell 95% of these people were.

Now, I'm not sure if this my memory, my lack of social graces (both in high school and now) or my hermit-like nature which tends to make me stay 'round the farm and not get out and see people (unless they're at the gunshop, the hardware store, the feed store, the tractor place, the barber shop or some other such place that I frequent).

I think it's normal to not remember everyone at a reunion, but out of the fifty or sixty people there, I could name less than twenty... and those were people that I see fairly often, so I am taking this as another sign of old-fartyness.

I need one like I need another hole in my head

but there are four of these monsters on ebay right now, one in Iowa and three in Texas... all for under 10k.

I don't know what I'd do with it if I had one , but it's for durn sure I'd be the only kid in the neighborhood with one.

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Note: Photo shamelessly stolen from one of the ebay listings.

Santy Claus was good to me, or Sweetie was. Not positive who is responsible. I got something useful for a change, a Dremel tool which more freaking attachments than you can shake a stick at. I have already used it to ream out an Enfield spike bayonet (that I've been working on off and on for seven years with a rat-tail file) to fit my Sharps. I am sure that I will be able to find many, many future projects that this thing will be handy for.

And to show what a romantic fellow I am, I bought Sweetie a floor jack to carry in her truck. Yes, yes I know. I am the king of romance.

I thought this would be a good present for a woman who thinks that a high-heeled shoe is the proper tool to hammer nails with. 'sides, she doesn't have the factory jack and I figured the next time I have to change one of her tires it would be helpful to actually have a working jack to use.

I finished reading Washington's Crossing. I highly recommend it. I learned a lot of things that I didn't know before and enjoyed it immensely. I'm not going to do a book report, partly because I'm lazy and partly because I don't want to spoil it for anyone.

I am halfway through Fraser's new book, Flashman on the March. I do wish he would hurry up and write the one about Sir Harry's experiences in the Civil War. I don't think that's very high on his agenda though. Fraser strikes me as a contrary old fart and I think too many Americans have bugged him about it.

I also recieved The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, The First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805 in the mail yesterday, which looks interesting. I think its going to be next on my agenda.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

This becoming an old fart stuff must be contagious, because both Big Daddy Possum and Little A have written grumpy old man posts this week.

I neglected to mention that my driving habits have changed, I now drive like a little old man now too.

Much to the fury of all the yuppies that live on my road, 35-45 is about as fast as I go anywhere other than the interstate. P*ss on 'em. They ain't going to get where they're going that much faster by driving 60 or 70 on my road as they would if they drove the speed limit (which is 45) and there is a lot less risk of them running over dogs, cats, cows or me on a tractor.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Jaegers Smaegers

It's all German to me.

I finally broke out of my reading funk last week. I am halfway finished with David Hackett Fischer's Washington's Crossing. It is one of the best Rev War books I've ever read. I have never really studied the revolution to any great extent, but from what I'm reading now, the tradition version of the battle of Trenton that we were taught in school is completely wrong.

From what Fischer has written, the fable of Washington surprising the hungover-from-a-Christmas debauchery Hessians is just that, a fable. The Hessians were, however, very worn down by constant raids across the river by the Pennsylvania Militia and had been in a high state of alert for several days because of this. There had been so many attacks that Rall (the Hessian commander) kept one of his three regiments under arms at all times, day and night, as well as constant patrols and heavily reinforced pickets all around the town.

Weather had more to do with Washington being able to surprise the Hessians than any after effects of a Christmas drinking party. A storm blew up the night of the crossing. It threw Washington's timetable completely out the window and made moving Knox's Artillery even more difficult, but it also helped to mask the movements of the approaching Continental army from the Hessians in Trenton.

Washington and his officers come out looking rather well, but luck played more of a role in the victory at Trenton than planning or strategy. Washington's battle plan started unraveling before he even marched his troops out of camp, but he carried through in spite of it.

I may do a better book report when I'm finished.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Old Spice

It has been a slow awakening, but I have recently came to a scary realization about myself.

I first saw the signs a couple of years ago, the first one being my attitude towards what passes for fashion amongst the teenage crowd. I surprised myself (and my bride) one day when the words "If that was my daughter, I'll be damned if I'd let her leave the house dressed like that." escaped from my lips. As soon as I said it I thought "What in the hell is wrong with me? I should be leering at girls dressed like that!" Maybe I was subconsciously trying to convey to my darling bride that I only have eyes for her? At any rate, the fact I made such a statement began to weigh on my mind.

Especially when I realized that I meant it.

Another thing that got me to thinking is my choice of wardrobe. I normally wear a tie at work, sort of business casual... except on the weekends, when I dress like Junior Samples in bib overalls and ballcap. There was a time I wouldn't be caught dead in bib overalls. Ballcaps? Those are for sodbusters. When I wore a hat, it was a J.B. Stetson. Boots? Gone are the Justins and Tony Lamas with roach-killer toes and riding heels. They've been replaced by low heeled ropers. Much more comfortable y'know.

All of this was disturbing to me, to say the least. The nagging feeling that something has changed has been with me for a while, but it finally hit me when I started buying Old Spice for my aftershave. At first I thought it was just me being frugal (read: cheap bastard) because everybody knows Old Spice is like $4.99 a quart whereas Chaps and Polo and all that other smelly crap is $14.99 a tablespoon.

But that wasn't it.

I have become an old fart.

And y'know what? It doesn't bother me at all. I'm ready to buy a fedora to wear with my liberty's and start carrying a pocketwatch and spend my free time hanging out at the cow sale with all the other old farts. I'm ready to embrace my inner old fart and become the Southern version of Walter Matthau in Grumpy Old Men .

"Hey! You damn kids turn off that loud music and get the hell outta my yard!"

Saturday, December 17, 2005

In case you thought I was joking

about the kudzu...

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This is what it looked like after we'd cleaned enough off to check the tires.

Our little expedition turned out to be what is a typical event (or adventure) for me. In not-so-nice words, it was a Mongolian cluster-f*ck.

I should have known we were off to a bad start when TC had me pull the JD off with his little 165 Ferguson... See, the generator is bad and won't charge the batteries... and since it's been cold they won't hold a charge long.

We got over there, got it hooked to the 3020 (I had thought about taking the Ferguson, but I had a blown radiator hose that I just fixed this morning, so I was a bit leery of taking off down the road with it until I'm sure I've got the damn thing fixed) and dragged it out. That's when we saw that, although the tires were still up, they were very low once they had the full weight of the harrow on them. Yes, I have a portable air-compressor and yes I was too lazy to load it into the truck. I took two cans of fix-a-flat-crap instead. That, naturally, didn't work worth a sh%t.

Anyway, about this time the generator locked up on the 3020. The fan belt was still turning (although it was giving us a lovely burnt-rubber stench to put up with), so TC decided to chance it and head for home. I do not think he was very enthused with the idea of leaving little John over yonder whilst we went hunting parts to fix it with.

We started out, made it out to the main road without being shot at (or having someone call the law) and took off back up the road, TC with the tractor and me following in my truck with the flashers on.

It was along about this time I noticed the burning-rubber stench had subsided. Unbeknownst to me, the fan belt broke about the time TC got to road and he did not want to park the thing right there in a strangers front yard, so he kept on going.

We made it about halfway back when he stopped in the middle of the road and shut the tractor down, which is when I discovered the belt had broken. He stopped on the top of a hill, so that he could roll little John off when it cooled down, which was a good idea in theory, but in practice didn't work so good, because the cylinder that raises and lowers the transport wheels started leaking down.

Luckily, like a good boy scout, I came prepared. We pulled the hydraulic cylinder and used my handy-dandy high-lift farm jack to raise the disc enough to put on a hand-crank doo-lolly that is made to take the place of a cylinder on seldom-adjusted implements. I'd bought that thing four years ago and never used it before. It was one of those I-may-need-this-someday purchases. It came in handy today.

Since we still had a ways to go, I talked TC into pulling down the road just a little ways to a wide driveway that went back to some chicken houses until we could figure out what to do. We talked about trying to find one of those "pieced" belts that are in sections that you can take apart and just run it betwixt the fan and waterpump, bypassing the locked up generator.

Problem with that was, the parts stores (at least the ones who would actually have said belt) were closed. We went to TC's shop to gather tools and other assorted paraphernalia to take the thing apart to put a dead generator that wasn't locked up on it to get it home when TC remembered that he had one of those sectional belts on his old Gleaner combine.

Pulled it off, went back down to where we'd left the tractor, spent several minutes cursing while trying to install it, only to have to pull it back off again because it was too loose. Rinse and repeat while suffering numerous cuts and abrasions.

We then hooked little John up to my truck, pulled him off and headed for home. All in all, our "hour-at-most" project took about three hours, which seems to be typical for one of my excursions.

After we got back and got everything unhooked, we were standing at the end of the driveway talking when who should we see come driving up the road towards us but the dumbass who borrowed it and never returned it. I asked TC if he was going to tell the idiot that he'd went and got and he said "No, I'm going to ask the sonofabitch when he's going to go get it, just to watch him squirm."

Too bad, he kept on driving. Never even looked over towards us.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Repo Man

Tomorrow should be an interesting day. I am going with TC to do a little repo job, not anything sexy like a car, not even something mundane like a truck.

We're off to repo an offset disc harrow.

This is a rather boring story, but it is sufficently strange that I feel the need to chronicle the event.

TC loaned this thing to a guy down the road about five years ago and he never brought it back. He had carried it over to some leased bottomland about 8 or 10 miles away and never bothered to bring it home. TC wasn't real concerned about it at first, mainly because at the time he wasn't needing it.

Time passed and the "loanee" professed busyness whenever TC would mention it. A couple of years went by and it pretty much slipped TC's mind. When he did happen to think of it, four years had gone by and he figured it was gone... The "loanee" has some associates who are a little on the shady side and TC figured that one of them had came and got the thing.

Last weekend, I talked TC into riding over to look for it. We got there and drove way the hell back in the woods and lo and behold, there it sat in the edge of the field. I almost drove right past it because it was completely overgrown with kudzu. Which I suspect, is the only reason it was still there. In the spring or summer, you'd never be able to find the damn thing.

Amazingly enough, the tires are still up, so we are going over with a tractor, a hydraulic cylinder and a couple of chains tomorrow to drag the thing home. The only possible issue is with the landowner. We haven't talked to him (or her) yet, but I think the reason the disc was left over there is because dumbass (the "loanee") never paid his lease for the year he planted soybeans over there. I figure he was ashamed or afraid to go back after the disc is the reason he never brought it back.

The lesson to be learned here is "don't loan anything to this idiot."

I loaned him a cultipacker several years ago to "use next week and I'll bring it back." Took me six months to get it back. I decided then and there not to loan him anything else.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I have been remiss in updating the bogroll, if anyone has changed sites or anything of that nature, let me know. I've not done much blog reading lately either.

A third hand joke, of sorts

Heard this yesterday, fellow that told me swears the story is true, but I tend to think it may actually be one of those stories that we normally call a Redneck Fairy Tale. Y'know, the stories that usually begin with "Ya'll ain't gonna believe this sh$t!"

Fellow over at the Gunshop yesterday was talking about some of his yankee kin being in town. They decided to go get a cup of coffee late one night. The only place open was the Waffle House. As they were driving over, he told his yankee cousin (who was of course, ignorant of the customs of the country) the old joke "What has six legs and three teeth?" The answer being "Night shift waitresses at the Waffle House."

The cousin laughed and thought no more of it. They got there, sat down, waitress came to take their order... two teeth. 'nother waitress came around to fill their coffee cups... no teeth. When they got ready to leave and went to the register the waitress who took their money had... one tooth.

The yankee cousin looks over and says "I thought you were just telling me a joke, but I can see now that you've been here before."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Possumblog Thursday Three

I haven't done this in a while, so I thought I would try it today.

If all jobs paid the same and education and training were not an issue,

1) What job would you most want to have?
I think I'd like to try teaching history, maybe at a middle school or junior high level. Other than that, I like farming, but it don't pay the bills.

2) What job would you wish on your least favorite politician? Big Fat Teddy K- Semen collector on an Angus farm or bat guano shoveler. Wait, he already has that job.

3) Where would each of the jobs above be located? I'm happy where I am. There are very few other places in the country I've seen where I'd care to live.

Rob is out of the Hospital and back to posting again.