Do you all remember when they came out with the Ford Pinto? It didn't seem to take long before you started to see them everywhere. Two of my best friends had Pintos. Ed had a red pinto when we were in high school. In all the time I ever rode with him around town, I don't think I ever saw him put that thing in fourth gear. And a Pinto is not a babe magnet. I don't care what you did to it, at least it wasn't one for Ed. We would cruise around the neighborhood, listen to the eight track, smoke cigarettes, and just goof around. And, of course, I had to mess with Ed every now and then.
We went cruising one Saturday night. As we headed into downtown Denver, we had to stop at just about every stop light. At one light, Ed pulled to a stop, put the Pinto into first, and was looking around and talking as we always did. As he was looking out the driver's window, I very gently reached over and pulled the Pinto out of gear -- just moved it to neutral. We kept talking. When the light turned green, Ed gave it the gas. I mean, he rev-ed it up like a race car. And we just sat there. The look on his face was one of puzzlement and shock. He thought he had blown the clutch. When he figured out what was up, he about came unglued and he called me a few names. I did this to him every several blocks. When he seemed about ready to make me walk home, I switched it up some. I would then instead pull the parking brake when he would stop at a light. It drove him crazy. But he did laugh about it when he told our other friends later. After that, we ended up taking my '70 Chevelle to cruise around. Besides, it was more of a babe magnet. There was only once that I remember Ed picking up this sweet thing while cruising around. She had run out of gas and Ed was taking her to a filling station. Ed got rid of his little Pinto not long after high school. I had gotten rid of the Chevelle by then. Ed bought a Jeep Cherokee, and I had a Chevy Blazer. We would romp around the hills near our homes. Our friend Marc bought a bright lime-green Pinto wagon. We had loads of fun with him and his "green weenie," as we called it sometimes, since it aggravated him to no end. One night while we were all hanging out at the Denny's restaurant with nothing to do, we somehow came up with this cat and mouse game with our cars. We would drive around this BIG field out behind the King Soopers store. We would drive around with no lights on and sneak up on one another from behind, and then blast the car in front of us with our headlights. It was loads of fun. Then we changed it up a bit. We had to drive up behind one another, get out, sneak over, and take the other persons gas cap. Once you did that, you then blasted them with your head lights. We did this weekly for several months. Then one night Ed took Marc's gas cap from his Pinto while we were at Denny's. 'Course, Marc noticed it when he went to go home. I didn't know that Ed had taken it. Marc just knew it was one of us. Well, Marc took off for home pretty pissed at Ed and I. Once Marc was gone, Ed showed me the gas cap. He said he had a neat idea. We left my Blazer at Denny's and used Ed's car, as we cruised the neighborhood looking for other Pintos. We finally found one; it was black. Ed jumped out and "borrowed" the gas cap. We went to Marc's and put the black cap on his bright green Pinto then went back to Denny's. The next day, we met up to go to Marc's. Marc was still miffed about his gas cap. Again Ed swore he had not touched it and I did the same. We left Marc's and met in the parking lot of Denny's. Ed was laughing like a little girl. All of a sudden, Marc came flying into the parking lot, screaming something about our moms that we couldn't quite make out. Marc threw the black gas cap at us and drove on out of the parking lot. We spent the next couple of weeks gathering different colored gas caps from Pintos, and putting them on Marc's Pinto. He had quite the large selection to choose from, color-wise. He gave up on getting his gas cap back and bought a locking gas cap. Ed and I managed to return a lot of the gas caps. A lot of them we just left on the roofs of their Pintos. Seems that they had also bought locking gas caps. We had a lot of fun times over the years. Marc's Pinto was the one used when we went Big Wheeling at Red Rocks Park.
“Today expect something good to happen to you no matter what occurred yesterday. Realize the past no longer holds you captive. It can only continue to hurt you if you hold on to it. Let the past go. A simply abundant world awaits. (January 11)” ― Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy
Have you ever bought something on the cheap and had it last you for years and years? I bought a tent from my best friend Marc, back in the day, after high school. He had been in the Boy Scouts years before we were in high school. Anyway, he had this bright orange two-man tent that was held up by fiberglass poles. It was faded here and there, and had one or two little holes from being too close to the campfire at one time or another. It was well used, and we had used it a few times on fishing trips up on the Gore Range. He was getting rid of it. He wanted 20 dollars for it. I knew that he had paid 40 dollars for it brand new, and that it was well over 15 years old. We talked, we haggled, I walked away. Then we haggled and talked some more. I finally talked him into selling it to me for 10 dollars. I took my "new" tent home, put it up in the backyard at my grandmother's house. I bought a can of water-proofing and sprayed the bejeezus out of it, let it set for three days, and had to take it down so I could mow grandmother's yard. That weekend, I packed up and went fishing. Things were great, until I went to put up the tent. I forgot the poles. Now, I've camped many a time and slept under the stars in all kinds of weather because I didn't have a tent or tarp. But, this time I had a perfectly good tent but no poles. So, I made do and got the tent set up anyway. Just as I was putting the last pole up from a old dead aspen tree, I heard a truck coming down the road. Guess what? It was Marc. He had stopped by my grandmother's house and found out that I had headed up to do some fishing for the weekend. Grandmother had found these fiberglass poles laying up against the garage and wondered if Marc knew what they were for. Marc laughed and told her they were for my tent and that without them I would be hard pressed to get the tent up. Well, Marc went home and got his sleeping bag and fishing pole and drove all the way up to where I was camped. I had the tent up with no fiber glass poles, but old aspen limbs. We spent the weekend fishing, laughing at how the tent looked with aspen branches. There were nights around the fire, and we were talking, smoking, looking at the stars, and listening to the night sounds of the forest. When we crawled into the tent to sleep, I thanked Marc for letting me buy his tent. I used that tent for many a year. Just the summer before last, I gave the tent to a kid down the street. It was hard to give it away, with all the memories I had of using it all of those years. It was a tad more bleached out; the only part of the tent that was still bright orange was the floor. The same holes were still there. I never patched them. The kid had just joined the Boy Scouts and needed a tent. He was excited, and his dad came by and thanked me. They were a bit short on money, but he wanted his son to make the camping trip. I'm sure that Marc was smiling down on me from heaven as the boy walked away with his "new" tent. I think with the memories I have, and the smile on that kid's face, it was the best 10 dollars I ever spent.
"The trouble with life isn't that there is no answer, it's that there are so many answers." --Ruth Benedict, American anthropologist "Never let the fear of striking out get in your way." --Babe Ruth, American baseball player
Hope every one had a great Christmas. And everyone got what they wanted from old Saint Nick. Hope that your traveling to see family and friends was not too stressful and that you were all able to get your homes decorated. Now, we can get ready to pack it all up, put everything away and get ready for the new year. Things went really well for us this Christmas. We had certain people, former family members, that we did not hear a peep from. A few family members sent a few pictures. There were plenty of munchies to go around and my belly is more round than before. Santa sent me a leather punch. So, now I can just punch extra holes in my belts, instead of buying new ones. I also got a new pair of expand-o pants. The elastic has worn out of the other pair from last year. And the wife found me some underwear that fits pretty good. I can get these up high enough to cover my belly button, and a large portion of the old Isle of Belly. (I'm still looking for one of those little plastic palm trees from those little turtle pools we had as kids.) So, with the new undies, I can quit going commando. Oh, and the wife got some good stuff also. One of the things she got was some of those Yankee do-dah smelly air freshener candles, some frilly do-dads, and some other foo-fa-rahs. A few gift cards for Bed Bath and Beyawn. (I yawn everytime we go there.) I mean, how much stuff do you need for a bathroom? Well, it was nice anyway. It's been cold, and we have snow on the ground. In fact, we forgot to empty the wading pool in the back yard and it is frozen solid. I watched a squirrel loose its balance the other day. He slid across that pool so fast that he lost his nuts, (get your mind out of the gutter!) that he was carrying to bury next to the pool. Yeah, I really like Christmas. The food, eggnog, Christmas trees, all the lights. People standing in line six days before that new I-phone comes out. Family, friends, and -- did I mention -- the food? Plus! All them Christmas specials on TV. AND. The real reason for Christmas? All those many years ago a baby was born: Jesus. Kathi and I hope that all of you had a very MERRY CHRISTMAS.
"New Year's Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change." --Sarah Ban Breathnach, Author
We were "caroled" last night. A group of young people came by, rang the doorbell, then sang 3 carols for us. They gave us homemade cookies, and a candy cane with this legend attached. (We think they were from Colorado Christian University, which is just down the street about 1/2 mile from us.) It was a really nice surprise. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Long ago there were two villages in a far-off land. One was in a valley, and one was on a mountain top. The people in the mountain village wanted to give each person in the valley a Christmas gift. So the mountain townspeople formed a committee to think of something special. Money was limited, and each gift had to be of equal value to each person. After much time and discussion a decision was finally reached. The town's candy maker, an elderly gentleman who had loved Jesus for many years, came up with the idea -- the candy cane. Now, you may be thinking, what is so special about a candy cane -- and how can it ever be tied in with the real meaning of Christmas? Well, here is how and why. . . 1. The candy cane is in the shape of a shepherd's staff. Jesus is our Shepherd, and we are His flock. A sheep follows his own shepherd, knows his voice, trusts him and knows that he is totally safe with him. The sheep will follow no other shepherd than their own. In the same way, if we belong to Jesus, we are to follow only Him. (John 10:11; Psalm 23:1; Isaiah 40:11) 2. Turned over, the candy cane is a "J," the first letter of Jesus' name. (Luke 1:31) It is made of hard candy to remind us that Christ is the rock of our salvation. 3. The wide red stripes on the candy cane represent the blood Jesus shed on the cross for each one of us so that we can have eternal life through Him. He restores us and cleans us with His shed blood -- the only thing that can wash away our sin. (Luke 22:20) 4. The white stripes on the candy cane represent Jesus' virgin birth and His pure, sinless life. He is the only human being ever who never committed a single sin, even though He was tempted just as we are. (1 Peter 2:22) 5. The narrow red stripes on a candy cane represent Jesus' stripes, or scars, which He got when He was arrested and whipped. The Bible says we are healed (of sin) because He took those wounds. (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24) 6. The flavoring in the candy cane is peppermint, which is similar to hyssop. Hyssop is of the mint family and was used in Old Testament times for purification and sacrifice. (John 19:29; Psalm 51:7) 7. When we break our candy cane, it reminds us that Jesus' body was broken for us. When we have communion, it is a reminder of what He did for us. (1 Corinthians 11:24) 8. AND, if we share our candy cane and give some to someone else because we love that person, we are sharing the love of Jesus. (1 John 4:7,8) God gave Himself to us when He sent Jesus to earth to save us. He loves us so much that He wants us to spend eternity with Him. We are assured of that when we accept Jesus into our hearts as our Savior. (John 1:12; John 3: 3,16)
Have you heard of Wreaths Across America? It is an event carried out in part by coordinating wreath laying ceremonies on a specified Saturday each December at veteran's cemeteries in all 50 states. In 2014 it was last Saturday. Here is Jim's nephew Grant's marker. Jim's son Bryan and Bryan's mom attended the ceremony and Bryan was allowed to place the wreath on his cousin's site. Bryan and his mom decorated by adding the soldier.
Grant was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010. We are raising money to buy coffee for deployed troops as a way to honor them and let them know they are not forgotten by those of us at home.
Our group fundraiser ends at the end of the month, but there is still time to contribute and buy some coffee for our deployed troops. We set a goal of $6,000 earlier in the year, and we are about $1,200 now. I do not see how we can meet the original goal by year's end, but we are pleased to have already provided coffees for around 600 deployed troops so far. I have a friend who will match any donation made this month, so your money will go twice as far. You can use the link on the right side of the page to make your contribution. We send the funds as they come in so that there is no delay. That also means that you can get coffees to troops in time for Christmas. We usually receive a note in return saying where the coffee was provided and a note from the recipient. Usually the notes just say "thank you" or "thanks", but sometimes they write a little more in which they say how much they appreciate being thought of by those of us at home. After the fundraiser is over I'll give you a summary of where some of the coffees went. Thank you for helping if you can.
For those who prep, how about a Christmas list? I'm sure that there are some items that friends or family would get you. How about another one or two multi-tools? One for your bug out bag, one for your vehicle, and the one that you carry. How about some extra bow strings and maybe some extra bands for that sling shot? You can always use some extra pellets for that air gun and extra ammo for your shooters. Maybe some extra arrows are in order, also. How about an extra first aid kit or two? Even if they are just the basic kind. That's better than not having any at all. Maybe ask for a extra roll or two of duct tape. Ask for some more fishing line, hooks, and bobbers. Or, maybe a extra water filter or two. Food stuffs are always welcome. A jar of honey, home canned food stuff that maybe you might be a bit short on. Know someone who makes jerky? Ask for some for Christmas. There are all kinds of things that you could possibly need or know someone who needs something for their preps. Maybe a pocket knife or belt knife. (I like knives. You can never have too many.) Get a Christmas stocking and fill it with some items that they can use. Sometimes we forget the simplest things that come in handy that could save a life. If you're good with your hands, maybe make someone a fire starting kit. How about a book or two on survival, plants, shelters, and whatever else you can think of? Me? I'm asking for a Batman-type of utility belt. I have so much in my pockets that I always look like I've pooped my pants.
I've got about three pounds of stuff that I just have to have with me and carry every day. It's bad enough that about every fourth step I have to hike up my pants. So, think about some of the things that you need and ask. You never know what old Santa might bring you this Christmas. Hmm, maybe some helium undershorts might help. HEY, SANTA!
What do Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and George Washington all have in common, besides being presidents? As adults they all played and collected marbles.
Hmm, maybe we should have all the members of our government of today put their marbles away and quit the hon-yockin' around. I wonder who would win the biggest share of the marbles? So, anyway, NOW YOU KNOW!
"The gardening season officially begins on January 1st, and ends on December 31." --Marie Huston
We got our first seed catalog in the mail on Friday -- Baker Creek Heirloom Seed. We usually get our Burpee catalog the day after Christmas. It is not too soon to think about what you want to grow in the coming year. It's a good way to spend a couple of hours in your warm house in December. Thanks for stopping by.
I am going to school to finally finish my bachelor's degree. I go to American Public University. American Military University is the same school, but for military people. We share classes, so several of my classmates are veterans or are currently on active duty. Today I started a new class and this story was written about one of my classmates. If you like dogs or if you like Marines -- or both! -- you'll want to read it. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2012/10/18/warriors-and-their-dogs-a-lasting-bond/1642547/
After I read it, I donated a coffee in his honor. You can, too. Our group fundraiser has less than a month to go. Please consider even a $2 donation? It is appreciated. http://youcaring.com/coffeefortroops
The "cup of joe for a Joe" fundraiser has just about a month left. We are nowhere near the goal amount, but if you can spare $2 and a couple minutes, please consider buying a coffee for a service person who won't be able to be home for Thanksgiving with his or her family this year. Thank you.
Thanksgiving is two days away. As we rush around to get things ready for that great meal, we should stop, take a deep breath, and think of things that we should be thankful for. Like the roof over your head. Things that we just kind of take for granted. Family: do you have family out of state or family you don't really talk to because of some situation? Even if you don't call or talk to them, maybe offer up a prayer for them. We all have things to be thankful for. We just don't express it. Maybe send a card or make that phone call. Send them good thoughts and put them in your prayers. Let's all just take a few minutes to count our blessings and the blessings of others, and for others. Be heartfelt in our thanks for what we have, whether it is health, wealth, job, love, family, friends, or whatever, let us be joyous and humble and ever so thankful. Here is wishing everyone a great Thanksgiving. And try not to overdo on the turkey and stuffing. As always, save a little extra room for that pumpkin pie.
So, to carry on with talking about turkeys this week: Did you know that besides Tom turkeys making a gobbling sound they can make more than 30 vocal sounds? A gobble can be heard a mile away, and these are recognized by other male turkeys. The female turkey is not as vocal. They make a clicking noise. Also, you can tell the difference between a female from the male by their color. The female's head is grayish blue, and her feathers are a dull brown, with a few feathers on her head and neck for camouflage. The male has red, bronze, and gold feathers and a cluster of feathers on his chest -- maybe that's turkey chest hair! The males had bright red featherless heads and a beard. Also, the feathers are longer than the female turkeys have. Another way to determine male from female is to check out their poo. The female poo is in the shape of the letter J. The male poo is spiral shaped. (I had to tell you just in case you wanted to know.) So, NOW YOU KNOW a little bit more about yummy wild turkeys!
Here are some more things about wild turkeys that you may not have known about. The brightly colored fleshy bumps on a turkey's head and throat are called caruncles. And that wrinkly flap of skin that hangs over a turkey's beak is called a snood. They turn bright red when the turkey is scared or ticked off.
The wrinkly thing of skin under the turkey's chin is called a wattle, and it also turns red on the male when it is mating season. The male turkey is known as a "Tom" and also as a "gobbler," and that's because of the sound they make when the females are around. The females are called "hens," and baby turkeys are called "chicks" or "poults." 'Course, it does not matter what you call them. They are yummy, fried or baked or smoked. I once had a fresh turkey egg for breakfast. But that is another post for another time. So, NOW YOU KNOW more about turkeys.
Here is some other things about turkeys, that you may not know.
During the mating season, the male fluffs out his feathers, and fans out his tail feathers. He then drags his wings when he walks. This is called strutting. When the female (hen) goes to lay her eggs, she will lay about 12 eggs at the rate of 1 a day. And she will do this in under two weeks. The eggs incubate for about 28 days before hatching. A lot of us serve turkey every Thanksgiving. But did you know that it's unlikely that the Pilgrims ate turkey at their first Thanksgiving feast (1621)? It was a three day celebration. There were around 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims. The written accounts of the menu mention "fowl," which probably was duck or grouse. Turkey was not listed. So, I threw in a little history also. But, NOW YOU KNOW!
Thanksgiving is coming up pretty soon. I thought that I would do some "DID YOU KNOW?" posts on turkeys. According to the USDA, close to 250 million turkeys are raised in the U.S. annually. About 45 million turkeys will be cooked in America for Thanksgiving. That's a lot of birds! So, NOW YOU KNOW.
I spent all of Thursday at a friend's house. He asked me a few days before if I could come over and help him go through some dirt that he got off of a old placer claim. The dirt came off of his family land. It was at one time a "working" placer claim. So, I loaded up our truck and drove over to his place. I brought along screens of several different mesh sizes, various gold pans, snuffer bottles, a wash tub to pan in, a blue bowl for running concentrates through to get the gold, and several other things for prospecting. When I got to his place, he was outside waiting for me with a BIG smile on his face. I figured he had maybe one 5-gallon bucket of dirt to go through and that we would be able to use the screens and classify it down to some concentrates. I could show him how to pan and get some color. Nope; he had six buckets of dirt. We set things up, added some water to the wash tub, added a little Jet Dry to the water to break the surface tension of the water. (Some times gold flakes will float if they are real fine.) We took a empty bucket and placed a screen on it, shoveled some dirt in it, and shook it until there was nothing but stones about the size of your little fingernail or bigger in the screen. We managed to get one bucket done and took a break for a bite of lunch. Later, after lunch, I showed him another screen with smaller mesh, and had him sift a couple of shovelfuls of dirt through it. It took him some time to get through it. We then had some dirt that we could pan. It took about 20 minutes to show him and go through one pan. There was no gold. The next pan, we had about three little flakes of color, about the size of a gnat's butt. (If you have ever seen a gnat's butt, you have better sight than Superman.) I mean they were tiny. And then it happened. He got bit by the gold bug. He had gold fever just from three itty bitty flakes. When I left to come home, he was setting outside with the screen I loaned him, sifting like a mad man. I wonder how many buckets of dirt he will go through before his wife hollers that she is going to lock him out of the house if he doesn't stop and come in and go to bed. I doubt that he will do any more panning until I can get back over to his place and show him how to run the blue bowl for the gold recovery of the fine gold. It was a good day spent with friends, with lots of talk and laughter. To be able to show someone new some of the ropes to becoming a weekend prospector was great. He also started talking about metal detecting. I just might have created a prospecting monster.
It's about time for some ghost stories or weird events. How about some of you out there in blog land. Write some goose-bumpy stories. And I will do the same. I know a few. Some are true, and some are just stories to make you check under your bed before you retire for the night or before you go to check on that noise in the basement. Let me know if you believe in ghosts and things that go bump in the night.
Did you know that in 1928 Kellogg's brought out a new cereal? It was Rice Krispies. In 1939, two ladies created Rice Krispies Marshmallow Treats. They came up with the recipe as part of a fundraiser for the Campfire Girls. Then in the 1930's, Kellogg's introduced Snap! Crackle! And Pop! as mascots for Rice Krispies.
So, now that you know, make some Rice Krispie treats for yourself and family and FEED YOUR FACE.
Just for fun, I went and looked at some new vehicles the other day. What a let down. They sure don't make them like they used to. It used to be that if you needed to buy a new car or truck, you were able to pick out what you wanted. You can still pick what color you want, but that is about all you can do. Used to be that you could pick what options you wanted. Things like if you wanted cloth or vinyl seats, mats or carpet. You could also pick what color interior you wanted. Did you want it with AC or without? Power windows, or crank windows? What size motor did you want, V6 or V8? You could have it with or without power steering, standard transmission or automatic. With today's vehicles you can pick what color you want, but you can't pick the options you want. All of the vehicles I looked at had black or dark gray interiors. They all have cameras for when you back up. They have sound systems, that I would have loved to have when I was a kid. Butt warmer seats, heated side mirrors, head lights that follow the curve of the road, GPS, and all kinds of other crap that I don't want or need. They even have vehicles that park themselves. I mean, are we to the point that we can't turn our heads to look to see how we park or to back out of the driveway? So what if your butt gets cold while you drive! It helps keep you more alert when driving. And why do you need a idiot light to tell you that one of your tires is low on air? Can't you see when one of them is low? Used to be that you would walk around your car and take note if a tire was low or if you had a light out. They don't even make them like they used to. Plastic and fiber glass -- that's what you get. Give me a vehicle made of good old Detroit steel. Something that has some heft to it instead of this stuff that's like riding in a aluminum beer can When I'm ready to get a new vehicle, it would be nice to tell them what options I want. I don't need all of this other crap. It's just more stuff to go wrong or break. And, you sure as hell can't fix anything on them yourself anymore. The days of the shade tree mechanic are dead and gone, unless you're lucky enough to have a old clunker that you can tinker with. Yep, them new wheels, if you buy one, are pretty expensive. Now, for the price of a new car, you could make a down payment on a house or pay off some of your kids' college. I want to be different than others. Why drive something like everyone else has? Bring back options for your ride!
I woke up Tuesday morning with goose pimples. Nice and cloudy, with temps in the 60's. A breeze all day long and some rain. Some of the trees around town are starting to change color. We should have our first frost Thursday night, which means that our grapes should sweeten up. We are hoping to get to the grapes before the magpies and other birds take them all. I have noticed that some of the bunnies running around are putting on some weight. So, I guess I better get the snow blower ready and the snow shovels out of storage. I found my snow boots, and they are in good shape. They say this winter is going to be colder and more wet than last year. Maybe I will get a chance to use my new parka that I bought a couple years ago; past winters have not been cold enough for me to use it. Maybe this winter will be it. It is also about time to get out our home cooked soups and stew recipes. Fall makes for some good eating weather. That reminds me! I need to get a bigger belt. I seem to always start to pack on those winter pounds before the first snow. Plus, I need some new long johns. I seem to blow the butt out of them every couple of years. (Maybe it's from all the beans I eat in winter.) It seems like I never see long johns on sale any where. Time to also dust off the hot chocolate mugs. Nothing like a good old mug of hot chocolate while you toast your tootsies in front of a nice fire. A hot tub is nice also, but I don't do hot tubs any more. Last hot tub that Kathi and I were in, my snorkel melted. When I got out of the hot tub, I was so wrinkled that I looked like one of them Char-pay dogs. Not a pretty sight. Yep, a little taste of fall, can make you want to have summer come back.
Everybody has friends. Friends come and go. Sometimes we make a friend, and then that friend moves, but we always remember that friend. Some of us have friends that we spent a lot of time with as we grew up. Then there are the friends who have passed. Never forgotten. They will be remembered for all of our lives. We have friends who we may only get to see at a school reunion. Or a friend who calls and says that they are passing through town, and would like to see you for an hour or two. We have friends who are like a brother or sister. Some of us have friends we consider as part of our families. Some friends, we would do whatever we could for them. Other friends, maybe we can only stand to be around them for a short period of time. When a friend passes we all kind of go back in time and remember the good times and the fun times. We remember the get-togethers as we grew up. My memories have been stirred and the passing of a good friend has me remembering about the years of folk dancing. Me, stumbling and fumbling to learn the steps the first couple of times. I did it just so I could meet some of the girls who were in the group, not knowing that I would come to like folk dancing. I dated one of those girls all through high school, and got to meet the other girls. I came to know them all really well. Plus, folk dancing was a great way to spend a Saturday night. It didn't cost a lot. At some point, I started to feel a real close bond with everyone in "our" little group. As time passed, they were more like family -- brothers and sisters. As far as I'm concerned, they still are family. Even though we are scattered around the country, all any of them needs to do is call and I'll be there. My friend will be missed by many. She will be remembered by many. Her suffering and pain are at a end. And, our suffering and pain will also end at some point. She is now dancing with, and for, our Lord, and with other family and friends. I'll always remember my first dance exhibition at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, all those years ago. I'll miss her smile, and the little sparkle in her eyes. I'll miss the chance to dance one more time with her in the park.
Here are some interesting things that you may not have known. Handgun target shooters spend the most days shooting every year. And target shooting, over all, generates $1.8 billion in federal taxes, and $1.6 billion in local and state taxes annually. That's $3.4 billion in tax revenue. Plus, about half of the target shooters introduce someone new to shooting sports every year. I think that that is really cool. So, now you know.
(Source: National Shooting Sports Foundation/Southwick Associates)
There is a street not far from our house where we have seen wild plums growing. We drove there a couple weeks ago and saw the plums, but they were not ripe yet. We drove there today and some were ripe -- and a lot were missing, so we are not the only ones who look there. Jim picked some ripe ones and we brought them home to make wild-plum jelly. It's so good and so pretty.
First, just clean the plums by rinsing them in a colander. Then measure out about 5 or 6 pounds and put them in a large pan with a cup of water. Bring them to a boil, then let them simmer for 20 or 30 minutes. After that, put them in a jelly bag over a bowl and let them cool and drip. You'll want 4 cups of juice. To make the jelly, prepare your jars and lids. (If you don't already know how to do that, http://www.freshpreserving.com/tools/faqs is a good reference). Put 4 cups of juice and 6-1/2 cups of sugar in a large pan. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of butter to keep the foaming down. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in a pouch of liquid pectin, then bring the mixture back to a rolling boil and boil one minute while stirring constantly. Take the pan off the heat. Ladle the jelly into the prepared jars, filling to 1/4" of the top. Wipe the jar tops and the threaded rims with a clean, wet cloth (I usually just use a wet sturdy paper towel). Put the lid and bands on; finger tighten. Process in a steam canner or water bath canner for 5 minutes at regular altitude. We are at about 5,480, so we process this at 15 minutes instead. Then use a jar lifter to remove the jars, and place them on a folded towel on your countertop to cool. They will seal as they cool as long as you don't mess with them. I love the pinging sound of the jars sealing. When our dog Nugget was still living, he'd let me know when he heard the jars pinging, j-u-s-t in case I didn't hear it myself. He was an excellent kitchen helper. So, go pick some wild plums, make some wild plum jelly, grab a biscuit and FEED YOUR FACE!
If you would like to attract some bees to your gardens,try planting some purple, blue, and yellow flowers. And, also be careful of pesticides, as they can be poisonous to bees. At least that's what I was told by my aunt, and she got it from my great grandmother. So, now you know.
As most of you know, I walk around a lake not to far from home. I have found that I really like taking these walks early in the morning. There are times I remember to take a camera, and times I forget the camera. Well, I should have had the camera with me this time. As I made my way to the far side of the lake, I heard what sounded like a couple of dogs fighting. As I rounded the bend to a point that I could see more of the trail, I saw some movement in the tall grass by the water's edge. As I got just a bit closer, I could see two little red foxes having a tug a war with a BIG carp. Their Mama was lying in the grass watching and drying out her fur. I don't know if she went in after the carp and caught it, or if it was dead and just floating a few feet from shore. But those two little ones were sure raising cane, and tugging and pulling. The carp had to be at least five pounds. Those two little ones growled and pulled, and went around and around, each one trying to take the whole fish for themself. Mama, just lay there watching. Other people who walk around the lake were also watching. Some who had their dogs with them walked on, and others with dogs stood and watched. There was one dog though who looked and acted like he wanted to join in with the little ones. He wasn't much older than six months or so. He had the longest legs and the biggest ears I have ever seen on a pup. His owner was nice and kept him at a distance. We all watched the little ones still tugging on the carp. All of a sudden, one of them lost his bite on that old fish and his brother or sister fell backwards, and fish and little fox both went right into the lake. Well, the one who lost his grip on the fish rushed right down and kind of belly flopped into the water and the tug o' war went on. I guess Mama, by this time, decided that there were too many people around. She waded into the lake with her little ones and grabbed the carp in the middle, with the little ones still clinging on. She shook that old carp and the pups lost their hold. They rolled around a bit. Mama kinda growled and started off with fish in mouth, the little ones bringing up the rear. Everyone just stayed where they were, and Mama and little ones disappeared into the heavy brush and cat tails along the water's edge. I never would have seen them if they hadn't made such a ruckus. It was fun to see. I guess I'll start paying more attention to the critters that inhabit the park instead of just walking and passing on by. And I'll have to figure out a way to not forget the camera.
Jim's grandmother (whom we all called "Granny" except when she could hear us) made refrigerator pickles. I'm not a sweet pickle fan, but I do like these pickles, which are in a sweet brine. Jim and his grandfather, Pappy, used to eat them right out of the jar 'cause they liked them so much. Jim made this batch last week, and we ate some last night with our dinner. They were good, but they get better and better as they brine. Here is the recipe: Granny's Refrigerator Pickles 6 cups sliced pickling cucumbers 1 cup thinly sliced onions 1 cup sliced red and green peppers 1 cup white vinegar 2 cups white sugar 2 tablespoons salt 1 tablespoon celery seed Mix well in a large bowl. Spoon into two clean quart jars with lids. Refrigerate. Ready to try in about four days. Will keep for 3 or 4 months in the refrigerator. Jim added a tablespoon of Jack Daniel's whiskey to each jar before he put them into the refrigerator. They are SO good. So, while you still have access to the summer's bounty, make a batch of refrigerator pickles and FEED YOUR FACE!
A lot of us are pack rats. We keep stuff and never get rid of stuff. We collect more stuff as the years go by. I still have my Hot Wheels cars and the beginner's set of track. It's somewhere in our garage. I can remember my sister and I smacking each other with sections of the orange track as we chased each other through the house when we were kids. Ya know, them things HURT when you get hit with them! I also still have a few toy guns that fire caps. Remember taking a whole roll of them and setting on the sidewalk with a rock and hitting or scraping the caps to get them to go off? I also still have my skateboard from a Christmas long ago. I gave my sister my Ken doll years ago. When I got him as a gift, it was not to long before they came out with ACTION FIGURES! G.I. Joe, Captain Action, and others. Me and my friends went bonkers over them. I ended up with five or six of each one. Of course, I found and still have several of my stuffed animals from when I was still in diapers. I might hang on to those for when I'm in the old folks home and back to wearing diapers! I also found several of the plastic eggs that Silly Putty came in. One of them still had the putty from about four of them eggs. If you dropped it, it might break your toe. I"ve found numerous little green soldiers, tanks, jeeps and such. As I got older, the stuff changed. In my teens, I had black light posters. I still have them. I'm afraid to try to unroll them. I have all of my albums. You know -- the good stuff: Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, The Who, Santana, Deep Purple, Foghat, Led Zepplin, and many more. 'Course some are just a little warped. I also still have a few 8-track tapes and the 8-track player for them. I found several car keys from cars I have had over the years, which I wish I still owned. I've have LOTS of camping stuff. I need to get out a few of my tents to see if they are still usable. At last count, I think there are at least five or more mess kits. I have enough fishing poles to open up a store. Stringers? I've got a bunch, but they are all tangled up. And that's not counting the poles and stringers and all the tackle boxes and such from my Dad. Yep. He was a pack rat, too. I don't know why, I've even still got some clothes from back in the day. Now, why in the world would I need a leisure suit? And those damn platform boots. I got them for doing DISCO!! And I hated disco. . . still do to this day. But the young lady I was chasing back then was into Disco and Barry Manilow. When she decided that we needed to take up Roller Disco, I had to put my foot down without falling in those platform boots. She wanted matching everything for Roller Disco. The shorts she picked out were so tight on me that my voice went up several octaves and I could not sit down in them without being cut in two. They were so tight that if I farted, the sound would come out of the waist band instead of one of the leg holes. They were so tight, that after an hour of wearing them, my legs were swollen so big that I would have to be cut out of them to get them off. Yep, fond memories come with some of the stuff we gather in our life times. Other things though? I started to have nightmares about the Disco shorts. Maybe it's time to let some of this stuff go. Anybody need a pair of size 8 platform Disco boots?
“Every bride is beautiful. It’s like newborn babies or puppies. They can’t help it.” --Emme Rollins, Author I was busy giving away the bride while I was away for a week. She is my beautiful niece Victoria.
We went out the other night for a bite to eat. We were seated in a booth by the window. We ordered our drinks. We were looking at the menus when we heard it. . . a mom, dad, and two little boys about four and five years of age. They were seated several booths away. Mom and dad had their noses buried in their phones, texting. The kids were jumping up and down in the booth. One or the other parent would holler at the boys to quit, never taking their eyes off of their phones. This went on for the whole time that we were there. The boys never quit and the parents never noticed. These "parents," when their food arrived, never sat their phones down. The kids were still jumping around and being loud and messing in the food. Every now and then, the mom or dad would shovel some food into their mouths, and holler at the kids again, never setting the phones down. I saw at least one couple seated near them get up and ask to be seated some place else. The two little boys threw food at each other and onto the floor. They boys had somehow managed to eat some of their meals, though with the biggest part of it on their faces and in their hair. The "parents" were still texting on their phones. The dad got up and went into the men's room, still texting. He stayed for more than 20 minutes. The mom keep on with her phone also, and kept hollering at the kids to set down and eat. When the dad came out of the bathroom, he went right on by his wife and kids, and out the door to the parking lot, with the phone stuck to his ear and talking a mile a minute. I noticed that when he left he had a chunk of lettuce on the back of his shirt and a little hand print of ketchup above the lettuce. His wife and two kids sat there, mom still texting, for at least another 20 minutes or so. You could tell that others around us were a bit miffed about the whole thing. I'm sure that a lot of them did not really enjoy their meals. The waitress was not given a tip when the family left. The booth that they sat at looked like a bomb had gone off. There was food everywhere -- on the floor, under the booth, on the booth, on the table, on the edges of the table -- everywhere. We finished up our meal, left a tip, paid our bill, and left. I feel sorry for the waitress and the busser who have to clean up after these people. We wondered what that family's home looks like. I know that I was not the best behaved kid around. But we were never allowed to act like that when we went out. Our parents laid down the law. They paid attention to us, there were no distractions back then, like phones now. It would be nice to be able to go out for a meal and not have to put up with stuff like this. Maybe a place that has a soundproof room for families with kids who can't or won't behave. Or rules about not texting while eating! (Hint, hint for one of my friends.) Maybe earplugs should be handed out with each meal. Or restaurants can change their hours of operation. Like, adults only from 7pm till 11pm. Families with kids could go from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Or, just close down all of the restaurants and make it mandatory that everyone eats at home. Obummer could use his phone and pen and make it law in his favorite way -- executive action. And the Mrs. could tell us what nutritious foods we should eat. Just think how much money we could all save if we didn't go out to eat. And I bet our hearing would be better also. I know my waistline could use a little less in the meantime.
The ghosts of the forest have been coming home for quite a few years now. Their packs are spreading. And, if you are lucky and in the right area, you may get a glimpse of one or two of them. As they run silently through the pine needles, and trees. (Wolf photo by http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/category/wolf-delisting-lawsuit/) A lot of people do not want them back. And then there are those who say it is time. Time to bring back a part of America that has been absent for too many years. I've heard coyotes howl in the night on many a hunting or fishing trip. I've heard them on my way back from a long day in the saddle. It's a sound that, after you have heard it enough times, it kind of makes you feel kinda lonesome somehow. But when you hear a wolf howl, it's like you not only hear it, but you feel it, also. Once you hear that ghostly howl, you will always know the difference between the howl of a coyote and the howl of a wolf. It seems that when a wolf howls, the forest goes quiet. Even the sound of your campfire goes quiet also. Is the ghost of the forest here to stay? Or will we again try to make him disappear as we have so many other types of animals in this world. The last wild one I ever saw was in Canada, so many years ago. A fleeting glance as it drifted through the trees. It glanced my way just briefly, without breaking stride. Its eyes. . . its eyes had the look of a hunter. Free and confident.