Monday, March 31, 2008
Anyhow, these folks got together pretty frequent and through chance, they heard that I was playing mandolin. Then needed a mandolin player. I needed playing time. Ta Da! They've listened to their share of sour notes that I've squeaked out of my mando, but we're doing pretty good.
Now, the guitar player, Ronnie calls Sally last week with this message. "Sal, tell Jace we've got a paying gig." Ronnie has been a professional since his late teens, so he knows what the heck a "paying gig" is.
Sally calls me on my cell.
Sal: Jace, Ronnie just called, he says you guys have got a paying gig.
Me: No kidding? What's the story?
Sal: I don't know, that's all he said other than it's gonna be at the Royal Theatre in Macon.
Me: For real?
Sal: According to Ronnie, yup.
Now the Royal is a local movie theatre that has been converted for the local theatre group to perform in several times each year. It has an attached restaurant/supper club area for a couple of black tie affairs and such each year as well. So... this is sounding pretty cool.
I get to play music
I get an audience.
I get paid.
So we go to play last night and I'm all curious so I ask what's up. Well... lol It turns out that 2 of our members have decided that the community would like to have a little coffee house style music night once or twice a month and they're starting up on a shoe string budget.
This redefines the term "Paying gig".
Martina (our singer) looks at me and said... "admission is gonna be $3 bucks" I said, that seems real cheap. She says "Well we're gonna have coffee and deserts and stuff that'll be on top of that" Me, "Ahhh" Martina then says "We'll all pay admission as well. We need the money to get started."
I sat there, everyone smiling at me with stupid grins. "For real? I gotta pay AND play?" In unison it was a room of grinning, nodding heads.
I really REALLY love playing. :-)
Sal and I went out today, I got a new hat just for the show. A good "look" is important in the music business you know. lol
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Now talk about poor product labeling. I'm thinking that most people are staring at this about the same time of the day that I am and probably don't even bother to read it... but I'm not made that way. I'm the kind of guy that notices things and I was born to stop and poke things with a stick.
The first thing that came to mind was the implication that "Vegetarian Fed Hens" means that somewhere in North America there is a colony of meat eating chickens that are eating vegetarians at random. That right there is material for a good horror movie.
*Start deep, raspy, and ominous "movie guy voice"*
"First the dog is missing.... then Grandpa... *scary cello starts* and the people of Smalltown send out a search party. *brief flashing of bloody chickens running past the camera* But... no one.... no one returns from THIS party. *Psycho shower scene music* REET REET REET REET REET! *Grandpa turning to his grandson* "I TOLD YOU NOT TO TEASE THE CHICKENS, BOY!" *screen goes to black and a scream in the background fades away* "
Now is that a ghastly thought or what?
Okay next that came to mind is, "Are these chickens fed only by people that are Vegetarians?" And if that's the case, why should that matter to someone like me, or you or Aunt Edna? And what the heck is a vegetarian doing feeding chickens anyhow? Doesn't that seem to go against a vegetarian lifestyle. (Like I even know anyone that is a vegetarian here in Meatville, Missouri.)
And finally, along the same lines... IF the egg place is trying to market these eggs to vegetarians... doesn't even that sorta go against the grain of that whole mindset? (Again, I wouldn't know a vegetarian from silly putty.)
My final thought on this.
I think Sal thinks I'm a little troubled.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I own and manage a woodworking forum of about 1000 members, one of those members is Dick Grage. All of those guys and gals know about him and his ministry already, but you don't. Dick is retired, lives in Arizona with his bride... and Dick makes toys.
LOTS of toys.
I've seen him say more than once that when he retired he'd never do woodworking for money, it's his hobby, his enjoyment, his past time. He makes the type of toys that are timeless and more or less indestructible to young hands. I asked Dick this morning if he had any idea how many toys he'd made and it made me laugh... he actually had kept records over the years, and friends....... it's mind boggling. Here's his numbers.
Cars = 4,036
Cradles = 92
Trucks = 134
Graders = 57
Tractors = 101
Toy boxes = 40
Play kitchen sets = 11
Crosses = 132
Amazing eh? I tried to locate some of his pictures but most have expired from his picture hosting place, but here's a couple.
A batch of doll cradles he, with some help from his wife, finished up and all lined up drying.
And when he hit the "4000" mark on cars, he made a special one out of Zebra wood... just for himself.
All of this is done out of his own pocket, in his own time, and then he takes them to churches and preschools and day care centers and he gives them away to eager teachers and others.... by the box fulls.
And how much does he charge for all this?
Dick Grage, you're a good man.
I want to add to this just a bit. One of the guys on the woodworking forum had saved some pictures of Dick's cars that he's made, in process and finished. Here's a few of those. Again... the amount of time that he put's into this.... wow.
Thanks for the pictures Dan.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I think my very first animal assault was brought on by a first attack by me. I was about 8 and I had a fishing dip net. My grandma had a big, longhaired, grey pussycat that she loved like all get out. In my yet undeveloped 8 year old mind I rationalized that catching that pussycat in the dip net would be a great idea. Good Lord in heaven! Up until then it was the worst idea I ever had. When I caught the cat it started flipping around like it had springs on it's feet and it was dodging rattlesnakes. In the span of 2 seconds it had itself so wound up in that dip net, it seemed hopeless. I had a timeframe to get that cat out too. That time frame was indeterminable but definate... it would be the amount of time it took my Grandma to hear the cat and walk out the front door and see what I had done, and then probably an early death for an 8 year old that up until then was an angel as pure as the driven snow in his Grandma's eyes.
I fought that cat like trying to stave off a bull elephant attack with nothing more than a limp willow switch to fight it with. I drug the whole mess around the corner of the house, out of view of the front window and set into my task. The dip net was actually my Dad's, so it had to be preserved as well. I have no idea how many times that cat bit me and clawed me and generally poked holes in me, but if I had immediately drank a glass of water it woulda spewed outta me like Daffy Duck after Elmer Fudd shoots him.
My grandma never found out. The cat ran from me everytime it saw me from then on. I was fine with that relationship.
Deer hunting once I shot a nice buck, walked over to it and laid my rifle down and the "dead" deer kicked me so hard in the shin I thought my leg was broke. I limped around for a week had to explain about 1200 times that I was attacked by a dead deer. That'll make you the Great White Hunter among your pals.
I cornered a ground hog under a house once and he actually charged me getting mere inches from latching onto my lower lip and removing it from my face... AND I had a gun to defend myself with! I did the most rapid reverse crab crawl outta that crawlspace that you ever seen. Groundhog gnashing those huge yellow teeth in front of my face. I left my gun under there. I lost all the hide off my elbows. I scraped the skin offa my spine as I bumped floor joists coming out.
Killer groundhogs. They exist. I've seen 'em.
I hate bats. Little tiny, half mouse with fangs, half Dracula winged thing from hell. Out in the yard at night, I don't mind 'em. They're eating mosquitoes and minding their own business, but up close and personal... man they give me the heebie jeebies like nobodies business.
I went down in an old celler once and opened the frost door and a bat fell offa the top of the door and fluttered against my chest for 3 or 4 seconds whilst I beat myself half to death and most likely soiled myself. He got away... I did too. Gaaah! I got the willies just thinking of that one.
I grabbed a wild turkey once that was stuck in a fence. I fought that battle for maybe 1/2 of a second, got winged in the face, fell backwards down the ditch bank and cut my arm on something that the turkey pulled out of his boot. I will never ever grab another turkey in the wild that is not suffering heavily from death.
I was in an old barn of ours one night and a raccoon fell out of the ceiling of the loft and landed on my head. I KNOW I soiled myself on that one. Holy cow. I fell down over something in the dark trying to get away from whatever creature it was that was attacking me. Panic is always funny later on.
And I started this to tell y'all 'bout a cow that "rubbed" me this morning... eh well. Another time. :-)
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Calving has been going real good up til yesterday. All that horrible weather, all that cold, all that mud... and we get a sunny 65 degree day and it's the one that turns into a bucket of turds spilled in the middle of your living room. Yesterday was one of 'em. Holy mackerel.
Death number 1. A first calf heifer gets upside down in a small depression in the ground while giving birth and dies. This happens pretty fast, you need to find them within about 30 minutes of them getting upside down or it's all over. A cow is a belching, farting machine. She's gotta let it go continually to keep from blowing up bigger than an August roadkill. During the birthing of a calf, there is no farting, just not enough room for it to come on past, so it's all belching... and actually there's none of that that takes place "on purpose" through the action of what an animal with a rumen does, but some slips past. So the cow by chance rolls into a small depression, her center of gravity is all thrown out of kilter with a 70-80 pound baby coming down the alley, and she can't right herself. So in the span of a few minutes she starts to gas up, ballooning grotesquely out of proportion, her inflated stomach pushes all her innards up into her lungs, compressing them.... until she just suffocates.
Death number 2. This heifer's calf. When the cow gasses up her brain stops the contractions, self regulating what oxygen she's able to suck up with her diminished lung capacity. Survival mode. The calf is already in the birth canal or part way out and needs to get on out to suck that first breath of air that it cannot while still halfway in the cow.
Death number 3. An older cow gave birth on the edge of a ditch bank. Cows do this quite a bit, it reduces the directions that a predator can come in and snag the calf or attack the cow. She only has 180 degrees that she has to watch instead of 360. It appeared that this calf just tumbled off into the ditch that had about 2 foot of water in it, drew a breath and drowned.
Death number 4. Another heifer's calf. We don't really know what happened to this one. It came fine, it's mother was in good shape, she cleaned it up and all appeared well with it. Next time my uncle saw it about 2 hours later... it was dead. I felt it's ribs and bones thinking that maybe she had stepped on it, but it seemed to be all intact. Just one of those deals.
That was yesterday. How much of a loss you ask? The calves bring about $600 at sale time each. The heifer was a very nicely proportioned with a nice bloodline with a lot of potential for a long life of calving. She'd be somewhere in the $1200-$1500 range on a good day. A little over $3000 loss.
The good news, no death today!!
Here, this video of mine goes well with this, I've got the blues...
Monday, March 24, 2008
Anyway, Dad was feeling a little funky today and didn't want to make the 140 mile round trip to take Bill back to his place, so I drove him and my Mom down there this afternoon. Mom was on her best behavior, so that was cool. I bought ice cream at Sonic on the way home and became her hero for the day. Dad though...lol Dad likes to give instructions.
A for instance, and this is a classic. Dad will come down to the farm shop while I'm say... changing motor oil in a tractor or dozer or whatever. The concrete kills him anymore so he'll stand around for a little while then pulls up a chair beside where I'm working and give me step by step procedure doing something that I've done most like a few hundred times.
It kills my son when he hears it. Everything will be announced from the size of wrench that I need for the oil plug to where the new filter is (which is "filther" in Norm/Dad) stored in the shop, how much oil I'm gonna need, don't forget to note the hour meter reading and date, don't forget to prime the oil filters (filthers lol) don't over tighten the filters (filthers) and on and on. I really don't mind. I know he'd be doing it if he could stand to be on his feet much, and I always get a laugh from something he comes up with, so it's all cool if he wants to do that.
But I also like to tease and get maximum mileage from the "instructions" that he doles out. :-)
Today I've got my brother in the front seat of Dad's Lincoln beside me, and Miss Daisy in the backseat getting ready to give instructions of her own. Dad is standing beside the car in the garage and he suddenly pulls my door open.
Dad: "Jace, don't forget to get Bill's suitcase out of the trunk when you get down there"
Me: (playing dumb) What suitcase?
Dad: You know what suitcase... the only suitcase in the dang trunk.
Me: Ohhhh that suitcase.
Dad: Don't mess up my settings on my seat and stuff.
Me: *pushing and poking every seat adjustment button at once*
Dad: You damned honyock. What's wrong with you?
Dad: The last time you drove my car you messed up all the heat and air stuff too. It's all programmed the way I like it. Just move the temperature button and leave everything else alone.
Me: *turning to Bill* Hey Bill, see all these buttons all over the dash? Just poke any of 'em that you want. We'll figure out what happens later... okay?
Dad: Bill, don't do what Jace says... he's just causing trouble.
And then Dad closes the door. I start to creep back out of the garage and I'll be danged if he didn't grab the door handle again and open my door!
Dad: Jace, drive careful.
Me: *maniacal laugh*
Dad: Shirley, fasten your seat belt back there.
Miss Daisy: Yes dear *heavy sarcasm*
Dad closes my door. I lock all 4 doors. I then step on the brakes and load her up a bit with the accelerator, with it in reverse.... and do a little reverse tire squealing outta the garage and out the driveway. Dad just standing there in the middle of the garage, mouth moving and lots of hand motions.
Miss Daisy: *laughing* Jace you oughta be ashamed.
Me: I am mom.
Bill: OH BOY!! HERE WE GO!
It was fun.
Another thing, my Dad has a gas mileage fetish. He ALWAYS checks his mileage every single time he fills up with gas. Years ago he had bought a new Chevy pickup that was just horrible on gas... A real stinker. The poor guy was pissed off every time he filled it up, so..... everytime I drove it without him, I made a point of stopping and putting in a gallon of gas. Maybe 2, but absolutely no more. This went on for months. He couldn't figure out how come he'd have these fits of greatly improved gas mileage out of the clear blue and everytime he'd mention it, I'd have to just stare at the floor while he discussed it with himself outloud.
I eventually confessed when he started talking about spending a bunch of money to get it fixed once and for all. If I remember he just looked at me and shook his head.
I get my entertainment where I can find it.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Sal and I ran into town today and must have been the full moon or something, but the body count was exceedingly high. So much in fact that we could have worked in 30 or 40 sessions of "Roadkill, The Game" in the 10 minute trip. On a chance I did a Wikipedia search for "roadkill". Solid gold, Eugene. I found out that someone (obviously Roadkill, The Game enthusiasts) had done some statistic compilation and the number that particularly snagged my attention...
Opossums - 19 million.
That's 19 million annually, nationwide, of one of the ugliest, nastiest, smelliest, thick headed creatures to ever walk the centerline and not make it on their own free will to the other side of the road.
That right there is a whole lotta possum. Gah!
Anyhow, on our way home we came upon some choice roadkill... a possum. Just your regular run of the mill, overgrown road rat, but arranged by chance in a pose that made Sal and I simultaneously cackle. I think I actually shot a load of the root beer I was sippin' on, out my nose.
To be honest, we both looked at one another and said "Picture!" I turned around and went back, Sally bailed out to risk death to snap some pics of this Pogo wannabe. I have no idea how to caption this, but Sal seemed to think he looked like he was trying to trip the next car that came by.
Thank God I married a woman with a warped sense of humor, huh?
Oh and a little sidetrip, while doing the Wikipedia search for Roadkill, lol I came across this guy... A professional wrestler known as "Roadkill, The Angry Amish Warrior". :-) Go get 'em Mose!
Friday, March 21, 2008
Along those same lines, you can't drive a tractor in a cow herd when the mud's butt deep to a tall pony. It's just a little greasy out in the pasture right now and there ain't nothing much more unpleasant than calving in the mud. It's tough on the calves, tough on the cows and tough on the Jace. :-) And mud stresses mechanical things too. Things break and it's usually no fun fixing 'em.
Add into this that a dark cloud of doomed mechanical breakage, looms drearily over my Uncle's head wherever he goes. Things just "happen", and we all kind of just accept that that's the way it is. He doesn't break them on purpose, that's for certain. It's not Karma, it's not fate, it's just the way it is, pure and simple.
A part on the tractor had broken where the 3 point hooks up to it. A large heavy duty piece of cast iron... that you don't see people break... ever. He broke it. I took it off the greasy old TOD (tractor of doom) this morning and washed the grease off of it, and my son did a primo welding job on it, better than new. I got it bolted back on this afternoon and everything seems to be all hunky dunk with it now.
We've got a Kawasaki Mule (here's what a Mule is) ours has a hard top and had a windshield... "had". The windshield was a huge expanse of plexiglass that covered the whole front end and made it real bearable to ride around in the thing in bad weather while checking the cows and doing chores, without tearing up the soft pasture like a larger vehicle would. I get to the farm a couple mornings ago and roll up the garage door where we keep the Mule and get in it and notice immediately that the windshield... is not. I sorta reach out to touch it with my hand... but it's gone for real.
My Uncle steps in behind me...
Me: What happened? (pretending to touch the un-windshield)
Uncle: It broke.
Uncle: Yeah it just broke... it's over there. (pointing to the right of the Mule)
I look over thinking that it might have just busted in half or a corner broke off or something, cause it IS plexiglass. The thing is busted into little 12" chunks. Nothing bigger than 12" is left.
Me: *staring in disbelief*
Uncle: Not much left huh?
Me: Guess we don't have to look thru that scratched up thing anymore do we?
Uncle: Yup, that's the good part.
There's always a bright side.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
When people around here would start to complain about how horrible their day/week/month had been, they'd actually get interupted with "Let me tell you about Jace and his bad cow day." No one could hold a candle to it and stick to the truth. At the time I owned a gunshop and I had a number of people that came and asked to hear the story. That's the only reason they were there. It had reached near epic proportions in this farming community.
I've always been able to sort out what bit of humor I could find in any situation. Now sometimes it took a few days, but I found it, and when you've got a lot of cows, friend... you need humor.
Now before I go further I need to let you know how much I love my cows. They are treated wonderful, they get plenty to eat, I don't allow cattle prods to be used on our farm, the whole gamut. I love my cows, so please don't jump to conclusions here. This is true farm life and death. Real farm life.
This all took place in March of 1994 BS (before Sally). I was running about 140 head of brood cows and calving season was in full swing and it had already been a tough one. I also had the flu. Not just any flu, but the kind where you retch about every third step you take and you wanna die flu. I had got up early this particular morning to go check the cows and hoping that everything was just fine and dandy so I could go back to the house and go to bed. Nothing was fine. Nothing was dandy. I wouldn't see the bed for quite some time.
I got to the pasture where the cows were and a young, second calf cow had toppled over into a deep ditch while trying to have a calf, landed in a stupid position... and gave up. Just laying there like you'd shook her out of a Yahtzee cup. The only safe way to pull a cow around without injuring her is with a loose rope halter around her head and there was no way I could get her up out there without turning her around first. This cow probably weighed 900 to 1000 pounds or so. I went up to my friend James' place and enlisted him to help me wrestle the ol' girl around. We pulled her up out of there with my truck, pulled the calf out of her which was stillborn.... and she promptly prolapsed her uterus... and she appears to be paralyzed in her back hips from the whole ordeal.
I stood there looking at the cow, looking at James, looking at the cow, looking at James. Vomit. I call my Vet. John my vet comes and cleans her uterus up and puts it back inside her, and throws three stitches across her vagina to hold it in place until everything gets back to normal for her.
While the vet is there I tell him I've got a calf that has the scours (diarrhea)and I can't get it dried up. John looks at the calf and says he'll take it back to the clinic with him and get him on an IV to replenish his fluids and he'll probably be alright.
I'm feeling pretty rough with the flu, the paralyzed cow can't get up. I hook her up to a hip hoist and raise her up and pour several gallons of warm water on her rear end trying to get things working again for her.... THEN, I go over the hill and see an older red cow that has double prolapsed. This means that she has insides sticking outside of both her rectum and vagina.
I call the vet. "Sorry he's out, call back at 1" Okay. I call the vet back but now through some miracle from God... has healed herself. Prolapses are fairly common on older cows in the third period of gestation. It just happens. Double prolapses, on the other hand, are a rare treat. *sigh* The vet says "don't worry 'bout the red cow, how's the one that's paralyzed?" We discuss her at some length and he says just keep raising her up with the hip hoist and doing the warm water thing and she "might" come around, but don't hold your breath.
Then the vet says, "oh, by the way... your calf with scours died this morning. I always feel better when I can throw some money at 'em before they keel over.
So... things are pretty damned tough at the Weber farm right now. I get in my old green chore truck and go back to check on the paraplegic cow.
Here is where things really start to snowball.
She has arranged herself onto her back, feet in the air. To any of you that have dealt with cows you know this as "So long, I gotta go die now" pose. I put her back on her stomach, get her legs all tucked under her natural like to keep blood flowing to 'em, feed and water her. She wants none of it. I go back in a couple of hours and she's on her back once again reaching for cow heaven and the Pearly Gates. I put her back on her stomach just because I'm starting to just be robot farmer.
Now it starts to rain. Just a spring shower, nothing bad. I go back up to the pasture at dark and check the cows and make the decision to put her down and end her misery, 'cause she's not gonna recover. I take her body to the woods where we bury stuff.
Feeling lower than whale crap, I head to the house. I'll get up in the morning and it'll be a new day and life will be wonderful with bluebirds and puppies and apple pie for every meal.
Tomorrow comes and... You know how you say sometimes "things couldn't get worse"? They just got worse. The cow that had the elusive bobbing double prolapse? Something went horribly wrong for her in the few hours since I'd seen her last. She is dead. She is dead as dead can be. She is mortified with death. She's unhealable dead. She has chosen to fall to her death laying on the Amoco pipeline right of way that crosses my farm.
I'm beside myself, I've had about all I can take. I check the rest of the herd, go home, change clothes and go to town for the rest of the day. No reason. Just to leave the farm for a few hours.
I get back home and it's almost dark, it's rained about 5 inches today, it's beyond muddy, it's a total mess and I need to drag the red cow to the burial place in the woods. I hook her body to the back of the green truck and head off with her, tearing ruts in my pristine pasture, adding insult to injury. I get her to the woods, launch the truck thru the trees, unhook the chain, back up a bit.... and I'm stuck. I mean I'm really freakin' stuck.
I'm 3/4 of a mile from a road, it's pouring rain, I don't have a raincoat and I want to be anyone else on earth. Hell, I'd have been Rosie O'Donell right then if I could've. Thinking I've got nothing to lose, I give the old green truck pure, unadulterated, kick it in the seat of the pants... hell. I sock it down into low range, U-joints rattling, jumping up and down, I got rooster tails of mud coming off all 4 wheels 20 or 30 feet in the air... and it's not moving.
I get out of the truck to survey what exactly has happened. It's not really down in the mud that bad... like just a few inches. What the heck is going on? I walk around to the back of the truck. I look down and see the back end of the red cows dead carcass sticking out from under the back of the green truck.
I get down in the mud and look.
I have no idea or explanation how it has happened, but the cow carcass is tangled up under the truck in such a fashion there is no way on God's green earth that I'm gonna get her outta there at this point. So I walk back to the front of the truck, rain coming down even harder now... and I notice a little wisp of smoke coming up between the fender and the hood of the truck.
I think to myself "Now that's odd" and I raise the hood of the truck to see what's what.
For a tiny split second of time, when I first raise the hood, I see a little fist sized ball of flame on the engine. When the oxygen from the outside air hit that little ball of flame... I have a blazing inferno.
The whole engine is now on fire.
I run to the door and grab my cattle grip and my rifle and throw them out into the woods and pull on a pair of insulated leather work gloves. I go back to the fire and try to pat the thing out. Gloves on fire. Throw the gloves off. Go into a panic spin where I nearly get dizzy enough to fall over. Go to the bed of the truck and look for anything on earth to fight fire with. 2 5 gallon buckets, each standing up with about 5 inches of rain and ground corn in 'em. I go back to the front and DRIBBLE that measly amount of water on the engine fire and somehow get it put out with the end of the second bucket of rain water/corn.
I get back in the truck and just sorta reflect on my life up to this point. I'm a pretty decent guy, not done too much that was real wrong... I dunno. *sigh*
I walk the 3/4 mile in pouring rain, sinking several inches with every step, with just a sweatshirt, jeans and some boots. I get home, take a shower and sleep on the couch.
Morning comes and I go to my friend James' house again.
Me: "James, my truck is really stuck and I need you to come pull me out"
James: "Where you at?"
Me: "South end of the Roberts place... out in the woods"
James: Good Lord man, what in heavens name are you doing out in the woods with your truck after a rain like that?"
So.... I tell James the story. His wife Sandy is a somewhat overweight gal with lots of jiggly parts on her. She's pulled a chair up and is dabbin' at her eyes with a Kleenex. Laughing, jiggling.
I tell them my truck is stuck in the woods, on top of a dead cow, and then it burned up... in a rainstorm.
We get the truck out, the rest of the calving season was pretty much uneventful, profitable and happy. For about a month I couldn't walk into the feed store, the lumber yard, or anywhere without all conversation stopping and then getting stares of pity.
My friend Steve calls one evening and tells me he was talking to a guy and this fellow was telling him his woes. Steve said he stopped him and says "Let me tell you about a guy with real problems" The guy looks him in the eye and says "You gonna tell me about Jace?"
Legends rise and legends fall. I'll take mundane any day.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
So with the randomness of this post, here's some pics from a couple days ago with that whole weird snowstorm thing.
And some babies... We've got close to 50 so far, had 3 just this morning.
And the bridle faced cow. This is one of the cows in the banner at the top here at Sawdust and Cowpies. The ol' girl has been around the place for years, I raised her myself from a kitten. Just by chance she's marked up so that it looks like she's wearing a bridle all the time.
Let's see.. what else? Oh Oh... went over to my buddy Gary's house to pick up some parts that he wanted welded up. Gary had the flu. The bad flu. He came tottering outside while I was rummaging around in his workshop getting the parts. As sick as he was, I couldn't look at him without laughing. The baggy grey sweat pants, the untied work boots... the most pathetic look on his face possible. I said "Hey, I need to get my camera, stay right there and don't get well for a couple minutes" He said "the last time I let you take my picture you sold copies of 'em." I said, "I know. Hold still."
And the other day I was looking at the radar map trying to see if it was gonna rain or snow and this weird radar screen came up. I dunno what the heck was wrong with it but... it looks like the mother ship just blew Kansas City to smithereenies. KABLOOIE!
And finally I ran across this GIF of Monica's ex boyfriend's wife photoshopped into the Ace Ventura dance along with her co-horts. The whole thing just kills me but... Oh hell... I don't know, I laughed outloud. I'm easily entertained.
I think it's about time to relate the story of my "Very Bad Cow Day". Hopefully I'll get that one out tomorrow... it's a near novel. :-)
Eh well, have a good one and remember, it's better to step in it than to be it.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Over the years she's been hung with the green cards and green presents and shamrocks and leprechauns etc etc, just because her day is the 17th of March. Needless to say, it got old a few decades ago. Don't get me wrong... she takes it like a man, smiles politely, shrugs her shoulders, says please and thank you, and moves on with her birthday. Whatta gal.
I know theres' a lotta quilter gals that are consistent readers of my blog, so I just wanna kinda flaunt Sal's artistic gift and talent this birthday. I'll probably get "the look" when she sees it, but I couldn't be prouder if I had a blue ribbon pig than I am of my lovely bride.
I'm a big analogy fan.
Sal does "normal" quilting like most of you do, but one thing she tackles that most don't... is Christian banners. These things are huge. 4 or 5 feet wide by 6 to 8 feet tall. She makes her own patterns and designs them all herself. It absolutely boggles my mind when I see her making her patterns and laying them all out. All of the colors on her banners are fabric, the only thing painted is a little bit of airbrush work I've done on a couple of them for her. Often times she does her own background muslin... using dyes and sea salt to get the colors of a stormy sky or a morning sunrise to start with as her base. And then, after she's all done... it's quilted and bound.
A worship banner using the profiles of 3 boys, all brothers, that have since moved away but will always be at the church. She posed them, took a shot and went from there.
A new beginnings banner...
An Eagle banner that she made in honor of Michael, a local fallen soldier in Iraq and close friend of our family. This hung in one of the local banks for quite some time last year. She has since gifted it away. This was the second of these that she made, but this one was much larger than the first. Each feather, star, etc. is a separate piece of fabric... I counted this one up and I can't remember now, but hundreds of pieces to it.
A praise banner that was done from an amalgamation of these two pics of these girls at the church.
This one just floors me with the artistry and vision that she has... and again, that's all fabric, just different patterns and colors.
And finally, just a couple of silly photobooth pics that we did when we were dating several years ago.... because they always make me smile.
Happy Birthday sweetie, I'm glad you finally gave up and just married me. :-)
Friday, March 14, 2008
Another Youtube of my friends and myself doing a little jamming on a Sunday evening. I really don't remember how we evolved this Tennessee Ernie Ford classic into a cross between it and Stray Cat Strut, but it sounds kinda cool. lol
If y'all get sick of the videos... just take a picture of yourself and how sick you are and I'll post that instead. :-)
Thursday, March 13, 2008
The Sawmill Girls were always a treat to encounter. These girls were hardworking, blue collar, manual labor types... and just a little more than a tad, "rough around the edges". Don't get me wrong, they were always as sweet as could be, but if you'd have met them anywhere else, you mighta been just a little afraid of 'em. :-)
They came and went over the years, with a couple that stuck with the job for a long long time. They changed the operation around quite a bit, moved the girls over to the barrel stave (what they make wine and whiskey barrels out of) buildings and they're not over in the finished lumber building anymore at all.
The 2 that hung on for years were a pair. Flirt? Oh my goodness... not a shy bone in their bodies. Now before you think "Good Lord, the man is married". Sally went up there with me a few times and let's just say she never felt threatened by the girls.
When I've told people about them in the past I usually described them as "the bigger one and the smaller one" 'cause that just worked best. The smaller one, "Ruth" was a pistol. Nary a tooth in her head for a looong time until she went and got herself some genuine store bought teeth. Made all the difference in the way she looked, but I was always a little distracted by the fact that that menthol cigarette was somehow glued to her bottom lip and it just kinda bounced around all willy nilly like while she talked to me. Made it real hard to focus on anything else that was going on.
The girls job, when not tending to lumber customers was gluing up and pinning barrel heads, and I was always taken back a little by the fact that they always had a book on cassette playing while they worked... and not the kind of book you'd generally stereotype them with, real heady stuff sometimes. Just noticed that over time... that's all.
The larger one, "Jamie" was even more of a pistol that Ruth. Jamie had more piercings than you could shake a stick at. Take all the things outta those holes, put her outside on a windy day and you coulda played that girl like a flute. Seriously, I have no clue how many holes that girl had in her... that I could see. A couple of pretty harsh tats that you could see in warmer weather when shirts were a little skimpier. Always a pack of Marlboro reds rolled up in her shirt sleeve and most importantly.... perfume. Lots of it. A WHOLE lot of it. She had to have freshened up her aroma a few times during the day because these girls did some very hard work in a very hot place. I usually told her she smelled nice and that was like the ultimate compliment that she got evidently. Usually got me a better deal or the offer of one of her smokes. :-)
When it came time to load up the lumber I'd bought, there wasn't any slacking on their part... hell they'd carry 4 1"x10"x10' white oak planks at a time, when I was toting 2. I think even the little one coulda kicked my butt.
Our son Jake came home from a refinery job out in Denver once with several bags of insulated leather gloves. Every day that he walked on the job the saftey officer was there handing out a new pair of gloves, safety glasses and a wad of ear plugs. (big oil has bottomless pockets incase you'd forgotten what you're paying at the pump right now lol) Anyway, lots of these gloves didn't even get worn and he just threw em in his truck at the end of the day... some guys just tossed 'em in the garbage, but man these were $15 work gloves. I took a batch of 'em up to the mill one day to the girls and Lord have mercy! You'd have thought that I'd just unloaded the latest Beverly Hills fashions and said "FREE!"
Gotta love a gal that's pleased with new leather gloves.
Anyhow, now it's just Jim up there. I like him and all and we always have a nice visit and he treats me real good and gives me some deals if I buy a bunch.... but he don't smell like perfume and ain't got any piercings.... that I can see.
I sure miss those gals.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Sal and I had to run down to Columbia today, I had a doctor's appointment. Got that taken care of and my back is definitely doing better. Made the obligatory stop at Harbor Freight to look over the cheap Chinese imported crap and sniff the fumes of the store. Rubber tires embalmed in mothballs and dosed with fresh paint. That's the best description of the store that I can come up with. One of the few places on earth where you can find nose hair trimmers next to the 1/2" pneumatic impact wrenches which is next to the "deluxe" wheelchair, which is next to 48 dozen different sets of the same screwdrivers packaged differently, which is right next to the plastic pig that gives a laughable electronic "oink" when you walk by it.
A true treasure trove of stuff that is all best left at the store. I bought sanding sponges today. :-)
We picked up a new 8'x10' area rug for our newly redone living room at another store, at lunch at "The Trough" and came home.
I love good magazines... not much of a book reader, but I'm a magazine reading fool. Picked up a new one today off the stand that looks promising, called "Range". Apparently all about the new American cowboy in America's outback. I mostly bought it for the cover picture which is just awesome. A young western couple in work clothing holding their baby. We'll see how it picks or pans.
Here's a link to Range's website, and the cover of this month's mag is up in the top right hand side... kinda smallish picture.
As long as I'm on the magazine topic, Sally gifted me with a subscription to "Woodwork" magazine. I've bought this a few times off the newstand, real hard one to find around here, but worth the look. Woodwork deals mostly with more advanced type woodworking and leans heavily on the artsy fartsy side of things... which I like a lot. I've dropped all my woodworking mag subscriptions except of Fine Woodworking and Woodwork. Woodwork is in first place for me.
And here's a link to Woodwork magazine.
Calving is progressing nicely... so far we've only lost one baby and I've lost count of how many we've got now. Got a real nice shot of one of our heifers with a still wet 20 minute old baby, getting his first taste of his momma's milk.
And a shot of Psycho Cow's (named years ago because of an unfortunate incident lol) baby who seems to have perfected the term "symmetrical". Ain't she a cutie?
Our ringer of a singer, Martina co-wrote this song. Kind of a slowish start, but turns out alright in the end. This is only our second time through it, be kind. lol
Monday, March 10, 2008
This little report is about a rocking chair. In particular, this rocking chair.
The lady (Dianna) that brought in this dainty little thing was originally from our neighborhood, since moved away and had come back for a weekend visit with her mother (Frankie Mae) who lived down the road from us, and unfortunately has since passed away. She was a treasure and a half. Anyway I got the story about how many generations it had been handed down and it was so special to her and I assured her that it would be returned to her in fit condition to be handed down for many more generations in her family.
Now looking at the picture, it's a little tough. Lots of square nails driven into it and wire tying chair parts together, the normal "make do" type of repairs that I see a lot of. But the killer was someone over the years had tried to weave a new seat for it out of binder twine... and had done a pretty poor job of it. It originally had a woven cane seat. Not to toot my own horn, but I seem to be able to sort the roses from the rat turds when I see a piece of furniture in the rough... and this one was a definite "rose". To this day I don't think I've worked on a rocker that was so dainty, so light... it weighed just a few pounds. It was so ornate with all the spindles and beads and the turned "beehive" side spindles, I WANTED to work on this chair for Dianna.
And I did.
An unbelievable amount of work went into it. "Disrepairing" the crude repairs that had been handed out to it over the years, replacing broken pieces to make them look like they'd always been there, a new woven seat went into it, a complete reglueing from top to bottom and finally, the finish. It looked awesome. Of all the furniture I've worked on, this silly little rocker still stands out in my mind.
So it now has "life" once again. Dianna came and was moved to tears when she saw it, she was in love with her families small legacy. She just said over and over "It's beautiful Jace". That's part of my payment. When they cry, I know I've done my best.
Now then... let's get a little more in depth with this tale of this chair.
Not to be rude or crude or anything else, but Dianna is a large girl. Too large to fit into this delicate little chair, it obviously was going to be the centerpiece of a corner of her living room and that was it. Anyway, I put the chair in Dianna's car and she left to go to her Mother's house to show it off.
30 minutes go by, my phone rings. It's Frankie Mae. Now Frankie had a pretty severe Missouri drawl. One syllable words always became 2 syllable and often times 3.
Frankie Mae: "Ja-ace?"
Me: "Hi Frankie, what's going on? Did you see the chair yet?"
F M: "Ye-es, it's just beeeutiful."
Me: "Dianna seemed real happy with it too"
F M: "Oh ye-es, she was just thrilled to pieces, but Ja-ace, she had an accident."
Now as if on cue... waaaaay back in the background from Frankie Mae's end of the phone I hear the mournful wail of Dianna.
Phone background: "Ohhhh noooooooooo ahhhhh"
Me: "What happened? Is that Dianna? Is she alright Frankie?"
F M: "She's a little skinned up Ja-ace, but she'll be juuust fine."
Me: "Skinned up?"
F M: "Dianna was carrying the chair into the house so I could look at it and Ja-ace... she tripped on a cra-ack in the dumb old sidewalk and fell on the chair."
Phone background: "Ohhhhh nooooooooo waaaaaaaa waaaaaaaa" Frankie Mae paused while Dianna finished her mourning before starting to speak again.
F M: "Her chair needs a little fixing Ja-ace"
Now in my mind I had Dianna pictured, her frame and stature, tripping and falling on the most delicate little maple and pine rocker on earth... and I had pictured nothing but a small box of broken chair, smashed to smithereenies. No longer a chair. Never to be a chair again.
Me: "Uh... how bad is it?"
F M: "There's some pieces busted clean offa it."
Phone Background: (with new fuel) "AAAAIIIIIIIIII NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OHH MYYY GOD AAAAAHHHHHHH"
We both waited for Dianna to take a breath and I told her I'd be right over to pick it up and see what we could do. And I left.
I've never seen such a pitiful sight as what I saw when I walked into that kitchen. A skinned up Dianna and an even more skinned up rocker. Dianna just sitting there with a box of tissues in her lap and washcloths on her knees. I looked it over and it did look much worse than it really was. I assured her that it was gonna be just like it was and she seemed to be a little better.
I hauled it back to the shop, did some massaging to it and a little gluing and she came by the next morning and I loaded it back in her car again. I've done several pieces for the family since that one.
How did it look all finished? Like this. It lives. :-)
Sunday, March 9, 2008
I used to revel in being in the middle of a cow fracas and was quick enough to dodge most hooves and heads. Nowdays, I prefer standing on a gate as to being in the middle of 50 head of 1000 pound cows in a barn corral. Things hurt me more the older I get, and what's worse, I heal slower.
When Sal and I started dating and I showed her my cows, she was more than a little intimidated by the size of 'em... never having been close to a cow in her life. She'd had sheep and such, but cows were a whole new game for her. I tried to reassure her that it was pretty safe being in the close proximity of a cow if you learned to think like a cow and understand her body language.
You can imagine the look and reaction that a gentleman receives when he encourages his date that it's best if she thinks like a cow.
Next stop is the florist to fix that.
Anyhow, I've got a couple of pictures to help illustrate a couple of cow poses that best demonstrate some cow body language. In this first picture you see a brand new baby calf, about 30 minutes old, mostly licked clean by his momma and doing the stumbly, hop walk getting his earth legs.
Okay, now look carefully at the tilt of the momma cow's ears. See how she's holding her head up high? See how she has positioned herself so that she's kind of hovering over her new baby? Okay, here's what this bit of cow body language means in human terms.
"Mr. farmer Carhart wearin' man... one step closer and I'm gonna dole out an ass kicking that's gonna make you wanna gladly go home to be with the Lord 'cause you're gonna linger on the edge of life for a week or two first."
There's a slight variation of this body language that doesn't give you that 2 week lingering. You just die.
The next pose that you'll generally see is this one, immediately following the last pose.
Even the common layman, or city person can identify this bit of cow body language. To verbalize what the cow is saying in this pose...
"That's right, you better run, round boy. HA! I laugh at your puniness!"
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Eh well and C'est la vie, cousin.
A few of you have already heard this story, but it just seemed like a great time to wheel it out again because... well just because. The whole hospital thing and all that with my folks and sometimes a little levity goes a helluva long way in life.
Alright, my folks (Dad is 80 and blast to be around and my Mom is... is "interesting" lol) decided to each go have a colonoscopy done on the same day and naturally needed chauffeuring to the hospital and back home, and seeing to it that all questions were answered and asked and etc. etc... so it was "I" that got this task. First of all I couldn't believe that they both wanted this done at the same time, and knew that it'd be, at the very least an interesting day, and most probably would generate at least one good story. With proper mental preparation... I lovingly performed my sonly task, and hauled my folks in to a duo of colon scopes.
To give you the cutting edge feel for this story you gotta know a bit about my Dad. Dad is 80 but his mind is about 40... sharp as a tack and a hoot to hang out with now that I've grown up and realized just how smart Pop is. But my Dad's one thing that he's stumbled with his whole life is his inability to get the proper word out for the thing he's describing. Either that or he so horribly mangles a word that you just gotta make a good guess what the heck he's talking 'bout and go with your gut feeling. I call it "Dad Breaking Out In Norm", after the comedian Norm Crosby who made a comedy career outta torturing the english language. Best of all, he's a good sport with me being reduced to tears at some of his Normisms, usually laughing along with me... but sometimes falling to his standby response to me "Oh you damn honyock..." No, I do not know precisely what a honyock is, other than my Dad decided that "I" was one at times from about 14 years old to present day.
Okay so Mom and Dad are getting their things done and I take off and eat a late breakfast at a restaurant, 'cause I know when they get done, they're gonna be starved to death and THE ONLY place they'll eat is Ponderosa... and Ponderosa makes me sick. Really. So, I go back to the hospital and they've just wheeled Mom out and she's totally incoherent and not much entertainment at all for me, but then... THEN they wheel Dad out and he's always a riot when he's 'bout half lit on any kinds of meds. We've witnessed him wrestling little monkeys with hammers, among other things, while coming out of morphine induced, post surgery stupor.
So I'm in the little recovery area with Dad (Mom is 1 curtain away) and I ask him if he had fun and all the usual stuff like that... and I get the "you damn honyock" response And I ask him if they found anything cool while they were looking around in there and he says (Normism number one coming) "Yeah... they found 3 Pollocks"
Now see, most people would be quite alarmed that a doctor had found 3 saltwater fish in their parents lower innards during an exam... not me. After wiping my tears with the 3rd Kleenex I said "I think you mean Polyps, Dad, but if it WAS Pollocks...that's cool too" I got another "Honyock" and my folks came around, we gathered up their paperwork and we left, yes, for Ponderosa.
We get to Ponderosa and I tell 'em that I already ate and I'm gonna run across the highway to the Tractor Supply store and shop a little bit, and I'll be back in about 45 minutes to pick them up. So I do, and I get back to Ponderosa and they're about done eating, and I'm sitting with 'em and visiting. Now the place is absolutely packed, I think every table is filled 'cause it's right at noon, and a couple stops by the table that are friends with my folks and chat a little bit. The man asks my folks what they're doing in town today and my Dad (Normism number two coming up and quite possibly the ULTIMATE Normism) says.... "Shirley and I both had Colostomies done this morning"
Folks, let me tell you something. There is NOTHING... NOTHING that can quiet a busy restaurant quite so efficiently as my Dad, or probably anyone for that matter, announcing loudly that he and his wife both had a colostomy done that morning and thru the miracle of modern science... there they were at noon sitting in a restaurant eating buffett food like crazy.
I sit there staring at an imaginary spot on the table top for quite awhile, trying to scrape it away with my thumbnail, and I say to Dad "Colonoscopy". But he doesn't hear me and I glance sideways a little to see just how much concern the neighboring restraunteurs are showing at the news... and as near as I can tell... concern is not what they are showing.
Eh well... I loaded 'em back in the car and took 'em back home and all is well with the world.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
There he goes...
The guy got to this point here and just stopped. We stood and watched him for a few minutes and finally Gary hollared and asked if he was okay... and he started up some more.
And finally he makes it. At this point we're both kinda worried that the guy was just gonna lockup up there and not be able to come down. Poor guy was obviously outside his comfort zone. He just stood up there for a real long time, just kinda watching the world go by.
In the end there was some kind of electrical interference of some sort and they had to bring all their stuff down. Friday another climber is coming out with all new electronics. I was bored to tears watching this poor schmuck, I dunno if I'll make it for the Friday climb.
The calf crop is progressing nicely with not too many problems this year. The cold snap from a few weeks ago was pretty tough on the calves ears that were unfortunate enough to be born on those 3 days. Took the tips of them right off and gives 'em kind of a clip eared schnauzer look... if schnauzers looked like calves.
And there's always the genetic throwback. We've got some Simmental lineage in our brood cows and every once inawhile you get one of these little chocolate colored rigs. They don't sell quite as well because of their color, but they're kinda cute.
A nice little puddle of babies.
And finally a little guy with attitude on his face.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Maybe it's an acquired taste, I dunno, but doing a search turns up gobs of hits for peanut butter and bacon food items. Like a regular old peanut butter and bacon sandwich. Another website has several recipes for peanut butter/bacon stuff, including (lol) Peanut butter bacon rollups. And finally a recipe for a peanut butter bacon mixture from none other than Jif Peanut Butter. Anyhow, I'm not the only one that likes this combination. On the other hand, you can probably find a recipe online for vanilla/pickle/onion ice cream, so....
When I was a lad, 40 some odd (heavy on the odd) years ago, I swear I remember a product that was peanut butter with bacon already in it... kinda like that goober jelly spread stuff. Like a lot of things that happened when you were little, things sometimes become "fact" and maybe that's what happened with this. Hell I dunno, but it sure seems real.
I've done all sorts of Google searches on this, almost to the point of obsession trying to find mention of this stuff somewhere on the wide wide world of the internets and there ain't a trace of it.
Any of y'all ever remember seeing or eating this stuff 40 some odd (heavy on the odd) years ago?
And just outta nowhere, and nothing to do with bacon OR peanut butter, a pic that Sal snapped of the back of a local dairy truck a few months ago. Just made us smile.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Just experimenting here a bit with putting youtubes up on my blog. This is a little video that we did with the group of friends that I play with. The gal doing the vocals, Martina... talent running out of her ears. Her mom, on the upright bass is actually trained in classical opera and has a pretty amazing voice. The harp player... that's Louis, our doctor. Very gifted with that thing, loves the blues. The guitar player, Ronnie has been involved with a number of bands over the years and is a whole lotta fun to play with. And Bradon... LOL the kid with the walkon sippy cup/harmonica performance... absolutely kills me. The mandolin is fairly new for me being a long time guitar player, been playing it for a few months now. Anyway, this song is getting some looks on Youtube now and I'm a youtubaholic. Thought I'd see how this works with the blog. That is all, carry on. :-)
Saturday, March 1, 2008
At one point in my career as a boy I belonged to 4-H. I didn't really fit that mold too well, but some of my friends were in it at the time and it seemed like a good thing and for my parents, it kept me outta trouble.... usually, when I was participating in some 4-H'edly type of activity.
My big 4-H project was to raise a steer, fatten him up, make him purty, keep records of his feed and rate of gain and finally show him in a show ring for all the world to see what I'd done. Now I know that there's 1000's of kids that do this and seem to love doing it, but friends... there's just not a whole lot of entertainment value in poking the feed to a calf and watching him get fat. It'll bore you to smithereenies if you get to dwelling on it much.
Now don't get me wrong... man I was good at making a calf fat. That sonofagun put on weight faster than Liz Taylor between husbands. Filled out like August roadkill, man. I washed him and combed him and talked to him, played the radio for him, led him around like a 1000 pound puppy dog and gave him a name. Sue. The Johnny Cash song "A Boy Named Sue" was popular at the time and I thought I was pretty cool naming him that and not dorky at all.
On a whim one day, in serious moment of "watching the animal get fat" boredom, I decided that Ol' Sue needed to be rode. Now I'm not talking Bullrider type of riding, I'm talking 'bout getting up on the back of Sue and riding him around like a goldanged horse.
And so I did.
Albeit there were a few wild rides, as much as Sue liked me and all, he didn't take to having a passenger too much. But I was persistent and he was patient and pretty soon I was riding him all over creation. In retrospect it was probably anti-productive giving him all that extra exercise when the main objective with this whole project was making him fatter. But it sure was entertaining!
Anyway, the day finally came when it was time to show Sue in the showring at the local county fair and I was ready beyond belief. I'd dressed up like a cow shower person should and had Sue all primped and primed, right down to shoe polish on his hooves... 'cause to a livestock judge that's evidently a normal thing. I led him into the showring and the judges were all walking around us and making me turn him around and walk him past them and they were looking at things that I didn't even know what.
Everyone seemed real satisfied with what they'd seen and they said I could leave the showring so... I just hopped right on Sue's back, gave him a "giddyup" and rode that sonofagun right outta the showring, across the fairgrounds and into the barn there.
Yes I did.
A calf show is one of the most boring things on the face of the earth to stand and watch and I felt like I was just taking this thing on up to the next level in entertainment value. I don't think that there was a single person there that day that had ever seen a kid hop on the back of his show calf and ride off into the sunset on him. I got a blue ribbon but always felt like I got slighted some... shoulda got to go to the state fair with him.