Monday, September 22, 2008

A Castrating We Go... A Castrating We Go... Hi Ho The Dairy Oh...

No... no... no.... it was calf working day today. Last set of vaccinations for the calves, castrating for the bull calves, doctoring a few old cows with ailments and dodging one particularly belligerent old rip not once but 3 times, over the course of the day.

I deal with a lot of sarcasm from my vet's assistant. We've known each other since waaaay back and he continually brings up the time that (according to him) I tried to throw him off a gate he had climbed up to escape a psycho killer cow with murder in her soul. The fact of the matter is, this happened so many years ago it's like a moot point... BUT... as he had climbed the only climbable thing in the near proximity of Charlie Manson's cow... and I had doubled back around this cow with my hand on her forehead so many times I was starting to get winded and dizzy, I had grabbed the end of the gate that Jason was standing on top of and hung on to him so he wouldn't be thrown to his death, as I swung the gate. I got around the gate, hung on to Jason as C.M's cow plowed the gate about 3 or 4 times.

I swear... save someone's life and you live with "Let me tell you 'bout the time Jace tried to throw me to killer cow."


Anyway the psycho cow of today had made a halfhearted charge at me... but enough of an attempt on my well being that I was keeping an eye on her in the sorting pen I was in. Then she made a real honest to gosh good run, I flung my self up a gate and she tagged me a bit on my feet. I'd pretty much lost interest in sharing space with her and was trying to figure out how the hell to just get her on down the chute and out to the "sell pen" without bloodshed. Meanwhile the alleyway to the vet's chute had grown empty of calves to work on while I was thinking this whole mess out and the cow just stood and throwed dirt. Jason, the vet's assistant started chanting "Anytime Jace. We sure could use some calves to work on! Could you pick up the pace a bit?"


We exhanged salutes and I swung a gate, the killer cow stepped through it, I got in the alley way as human bait... she gave it a pretty good effort, I sidestepped, shut a gate... and out she went. Ha! I win! Totally intact of all my human parts in fairly pristine condition too!

She'll be well on her way to McDonaldland, appearing in a Happy Meal... possibly near you, this time next week.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Camping In A Tent Days Are Over. Finis!

Actually, I haven't camped in a tent since I was about 17 or so. I'm 50 now. A whole lotta water has went under the bridge since then and I've fell in it a few times, nearly drowned a couple of those times. I cemented the fact forever in concrete this past weekend. I will no more, forever, sleep in a tent.

I ain't made that way these days.

I've got this cute little tent. Pretty nifty actually, and a dream to set up and take down compared to the old tarp material job I had as a kid. Heck I can carry my tent a mandolin, a guitar, my duffle bag and a 12 pack of beer all at once. My old tent was like dragging dead bodies around. Smelled nearly as bad too, which brings me to another part of this camping experience.

I'd set up my tent kinda in behind of this ominous looking POS cube van. Now keep in mind I still felt pretty crummy from my sickness and my sense of smell wasn't too keen.... but something stunk. Not like a feedlot or poop type of stink... more like a zombie delicatessen. I'm talking serious amounts of P.U. My friend Ronnie comes walking by...

Me: You smell anything wrong?

Ronnie: *sniffing* No... I don't think so. Like what?

Me: Like a dead body.

Ronnie: *sniffing* No.. maybe a little bit.

I'm just walking around trying to figure this one out and finally kinda pinpoint it. Mary Beth and Louis show up and they're looking at my tent.

Mary Beth: Does it stink back here or is it just me?

Me: It stinks.

Mary Beth: What is that?

Me: Rotten meat.

Mary Beth: Well where the heck is it coming from?

Me: *Just looking at the creepy cube van*

Mary Beth: *shivvers*

Me: I'm moving my tent. Gah!

So I did and the smell was better over in Louis' neighborhood where he was pitching his tent. I then pulled out my brand new air mattress that Sal and I had got for the coming up week of a houseful of people here... and the brand new pump that I'd got at Wal Mart on my way thru to the music festival.

The hand operated pump wouldn't hook to the mattress, of course so I sat in my chair and drank beer while I whittle on plastic parts with my knife until they fit... sorta. I held it in the mattress hole while Louis and Ronnie took turns stroking the pump... that made the most vulgar, overtly sexual noise, in an otherwise calm and docile camp ground. Of course me encouraging them loudly with "FASTER, HARDER, OH YEAH BABY! THAT'S ITTTT!" caused Mary Beth to go hide in the camper, and pretend that she didn't know us, until we were done with our adolescent antics.

When it was done, this damned mattress was like 1/4 as tall as my stupid tent. It's like the high rise air mattress. Here let me show you my hacienda for the weekend.

Top that monstrosity off with the heaviest dew I've ever seen in my life... coughing my fool head off all night long, getting cold because I was damp... and the new mattress stretching out during the night so it wasn't tight anymore... and being on a slight slant...

It was like trying to sleep on top of a fat woman on a rainy precipice... desperately hanging on for dear life all night long.

I slept like what seemed to be 20 seconds all night long. Having gone to bed pretty well sloshed as well from having a good time you know, I woke up in a near emergency state to go pee at 6 AM and nearly tore the front of the tent off, had my shoes on the wrong feet and fell off the front end of the fat woman onto the dew soaked grass, as I exited my ever so humble abode with the grace of a tap dancing walrus.

Lord, I am done camping. I mean it. I ain't made that way no more. I slept like a baby in my own bed last night. Thank you Sally for not waking me up while I snored. I love you with all my heart and will never forsake you for an air mattress ever again. I was crazy.

We had fun though in spite of a horrible bed. Got some excellent stories. Had one real magical night of music... at one point about 10 or 11 musicians were in our jam session. Some of them VERY gifted individuals that were a pure joy to play with.

I didn't get many pictures, I was too busy having fun, but here's a couple. The first is our regular gang of Louis, Mary Beth, Ronnie and a fellow on the right named Ron that was an excellent guitar player and had a great song that we're stealing... "White Freightliner Blues" by Townes Van Zandt .

And as I was getting in the car to leave, some ol' boy that seemed to have had a stroke, but was still making music, stopped by with his percussion stick. Go gettum tiger!

A great weekend all in all, but the Super 8 is getting my money next time! :-)


Friday, September 19, 2008

Welding Helmet "Art"

So I'm getting ready to take off for the weekend to a music festival up in Bloomfield Iowa... gonna camp out and all that jazz and play music til my fingers bleed. Anyway, I didn't want y'all to get hung here all weekend with nothing to read 'cept junk about my testicles... unless of course you like that sort of thing. By all means, read away and wince to your hearts content. :-)

So if you're a regular reader you know that our son is an independent welder. What that means is he works at oil refinery shutdowns for maintenance welding repairs and nuke plant shutdowns when they shut down a reactor to refuel, he does welding on things that.... need welded. Most jobs last from 4 weeks to 3 months and he spends most of his time on the road somewhere, from as far as you can go in all 4 directions in this country. He loves the work, he makes more money than I'll ever make and he's getting this all outta his system before he settles down. The weeks that he takes off from work, he lands here at home and that's cool. We hardly know he's here... 'cause usually he's gone being entertained at something. lol

Anyhow, these guys that do this for a living and wear a welding hood for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week take a lotta pride in their "hoods". The guys that do lots of close quarter welding get that burned up on the front side thing going on, kinda like a badge. Lotsa stickers telling where they've been, what jobs they've worked on and regular ol' smartass stickers. It really is kinda interesting looking at these guys helmets, shows a lot of their personality.

Here are 2 of Jake's hoods. These guys wouldn't dream of using an electronic self darkening helmet. Weld in on for 10 or more hours and you're gonna have a case of sore eyes... it's just the facts. Old school stuff.

The first one is his main helmet...

Click any of the pics for a larger view.

The second helmet is his backup and has a larger lens on it with a little more overhead protection.

Now see there? You didn't even know there was such a thing as welding helmet art did you? Eh, maybe "art" is too loose of a term.

And a picture of Stella, just 'cause she was sitting there looking cute and stuff.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

All Wooled Up

Okay, I'm gonna survive the bug that's infested me. I feel quite a bit better today, spent the day in the shop, just a LOT of coughing and snot and sneezes. Kinda not too peppy, but it beats the crap outta yesterday.

Feeling like that is kinda reminiscent of when cow gets the better of me and wools me up a bit. I've lost count how many times I've had my butt kicked (sometimes literally) but a few stand out.

Several years ago I was ear tagging a new born calf out in the pasture and it's mom wasn't real pleased with my presence and even less pleased that I was touching her baby. Now the safest place on earth (usually lol) in this situation, is to have the calf between you and the mama. They just won't step over their baby to kill you...


I was busy, taking too long putting the tag in and the mom is standing there with her head down about 2 foot from me, shaking it and doing the warbelly moo and slinging slobbers all over creation, and pawing at the ground. I really wasn't paying much attention, I'd seen this act 1000 times... it wasn't an act this time. I went from "everything was lovely and happy" to "BLAMMMO what the????" She gave me a head butt, to MY head which rolled me over on my back, THEN she stepped over her calf and straddled my chest with her front feet and proceeded to spew 33 gallon of cow slobber on my face and give me a few good smacks to the head.

I did a long slow butt crawl backwards from between her legs, threw my cap at her baby and when she looked at it I hopped up, got on the Honda atv and rode away.

Man she conked me a good one.

Probably the most disastrous thrashing I got, happened about 3 years ago. We had the cattle in the barn and the vet was there and we were running calves thru the vets chute doing things that you gotta do to calves. Everything was going real cool, I was in a small pen with about 10 400 pound calves, pushing them one at a time into the vets chute. I was just standing there with a gate in front of me when all of a sudden... my life and testicles flashed before my eyes.

Somehow, through some odd circumstance, a calf had kicked and had perfectly shot it's hoof through a slat in the gate and squared me right in the hoolie hoo's. I folded and hit the barnfloor like a sack of nuts... so to speak.

Everyone in the barn stopped and my vet came back to where I was and said "I cannot believe I just saw that happen." To which I replied "REEETTTTTCHHHHH".

Someone got the calves outta the pen that I was laying in and somehow I didn't get stomped on or kicked in the head... and I just laid there for a time. I finally got up and stumbled over to a quiet corner of the barn and sat on a bucket for awhile and finally worked up the courage to drop trou and see if Huey and Louie had vacated the premise permanently. They hadn't but the whole area of my... area... took on a very cool color of bluish yellow for several days.

People that were there that day still talk 'bout that one.

Wowsers... I just had a flashback. Time for an adult beverage...


Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I dunno what the heck I've picked up but I feel crummy. Hopefully it's just a short lived viral something or another and by this time tomorrow I'll be 100 percent and spouting clever and witty utterances.

I keep meaning to post about our weekend and upload a couple of videos... but alas not tonite. Instead I'm just gonna link in what seems to be a favorite blog post, just going on the number of hits it gets and it's more than appropriate this evening.

From February of this year, I give you.....

Ode To The Flu


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mental Note #24497

Mental note #24497 : Do not drink the special homemade wine at dinner before being expected to play music.

I find it helps to remember rules like this if I write them down.

The band played at an intimate little dinner party last night that was thrown at our friends place and we got fed in high fashion along with the dinner guests. What a feast! I lost count of how many courses came to the table and all of it prepared by Jeanne... absolutely amazing authentic Italian cuisine. Desserts... my Lord. Incredible stuff.

Plenty of wine flowed throughout the meal but then............ the thing that nearly ruined me, and a few others (lol). Jeanne brings a glass milk bottle with saran wrap over the top with a beautiful amber liquid in it. "Cousin (somebody, I can't remember lol)homemade wine." I'm always a bit cautious with homemade wine, so when I sipped this stuff, man oh man, it was like liquid candy.

Very shortly I was talking 'bout pig nuts at the dinner table.

And then it was time to play. I was in the hallway trying to tune my guitar, I think I worked at it like 10 minutes. Ronnie was just smiling at me (he doesn't drink), Sally tottered over and asked if I needed help. "Yeah, but not like you think."

In the end we had a total blast with great friends and awesome food. Everyone laughed until our faces hurt. The dinner guests had a great time while we played and I think we sounded pretty good... but then... everyone else had the homemade wine too. lol

That stuff had to be like 100 proof. Good Heavens...

Playing electric stuff tonite with our other band, The Boots and Black Tie Band at at a brand new social event in Macon. The Fork and Cork Festival Lotsa music and food and wine and fun at this blowout. They're shutting down all of downtown with a couple of music stages set up and lots of beer/wine gardens and food stands along with local artists having their stuff displayed in 2 different galleries.

Yes, Sally is one of those artists. I'm so proud of her. She'll have some of her banners on display, we hung them yesterday and they look just incredible.

So It's raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock right now, I know they've got a lot of tents set up and the stages will be covered, I hope it doesn't dampen the spirit of the festival too much.

Have a great weekend and stay safe with what Ike is dealing out... looks like a heller this time.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

It Only Hurts When I Smile

Couple of days ago I was visiting on the phone with my friend Brent and Sal comes in the room... "You talking to Brent?" Me "Yeah". There goes the phone... So she's chatting away with him and he's had a pretty serious accident a few weeks ago and Sally breaks out into an abbreviated version of "I live with MR. ACCIDENT". I'm sure much to Brent's delight. He likes stuff like that.

And it's true. I dunno, I don't think of myself as clumsy, but man... I sure seem to spend a lot of time banged up and bleeding. But the truly pitiful part of this accidental travesty that I've been saddled with... my family loves it.

When they all get together it just goes from one story to another "You remember when he fell out of the truck?" "You remember when he got beat up by the weedwhacker?" Etc etc and on and on.

And they laugh.

My accidents evidently are pure comic gold. I'm too busy fighting for my life to stop and think about what I must look like, but from the audience reaction here... I oughta be getting paid for it.

Several years ago I went down the basement steps in a very unorganized fashion. Oh I've done that before AND since, but this one is the story that gets told over and over and over and over and.....

This particular trip (hehe.. trip) started at the very tippy top stair. It ended 2 hours later when I finally quit falling down the damned stairs. Lordy.

I honestly can't tell you all the positions that I was in on the way down, but there was a lot of bumping and rolling and somersaults and it all stopped with my head on the concrete floor of the basement and my butt on the second from the bottom step and my legs and feet pointing up the stairs... kinda like a Picasso painting. All willy nilly like but still fastened all together... both eyeballs on the same side of my nose.

Upstairs in the living room were my beloved bride, my wonderful daughter, and my ever so concerned and loving son. I remember it being very still and quiet up stairs while I lay in the basement slowly dying of a ruptured horseangle.

Finally I hear footsteps above me, the basement door slowly opens letting a beam of heavens light shine down on my broken and battered body.

Sally: *long silence* ..... Honey?

Me: Ghuuuu

Sally: Honey? *that noise you make when you hold back a laugh but it sounds like you're blowing your nose*

Me: Arnnnnn

Sally: Sweetheart? *long pause* Are you okay?

Upstairs Nicky and Jake must have something hilarious on the TV 'cause they both started laughing. Loudly.

Sally: Is that your head on the floor down there?

Me: I think I must be bleeding somewhere 'cause it hurts like I should be bleeding.

Sally: Can you wiggle your legs honey?

Me: I need a glass of water.

Jake: *popping his 13 year old head thru the doorway beside his mom* Hey Buddy! *laughter*

Me: This sucks. I've got to finish falling down the stairs before I can even get up.

And I kinda roll around and bump down a couple more stairs and finally get into a position where I can pull myself up.

Jake: *announcing to his sister on the couch, 'cause her mom told her not to come and look 'cause she's laughing too hard* HE'S STANDING UP!

I make my way up the stairs, everyone goes and sits on the couch, hands in their laps... like THAT'S normal. I fall into my recliner and just sit and do my impersonation of a bruised turd. A long silence falls over the living room with everyone just staring at the floor with a glassy look in their eyes. Finally Sally says. "You shoulda heard it from up here." "It was "ohhhh nooooo" and then BUMP BUMP "*&*^*%" BUMP AHHHHHHHIEEEEE BUMP &$#%$$#* BUMP &*(&%$# AAAAHHHHHHH(*&%% BUMP BUMP BUMP .... and then silence."

Eh, I didn't break anything, I've got a knack to just let it go and take the fall after all my experience with it. I hardly ever get more than bruises and a little blood once in awhile. lol And it ended up being a family favorite story. Oh well...

I'll tell you sometime 'bout getting wiped offa the lawnmower by the mailbox.


Monday, September 8, 2008

A Fun Gig

Couple of weekends ago we played a deal down at the Columbia Farmer's Market. I think we were all a little apprehensive, not knowing what to really expect as none of us had ever been to this thing before. As it turned out, we had a blast. A real fun place to play with a little of a carnival/flea market type of atmosphere. Lot's of Earth Mother types and "retired hippies" :-) and just regular folks as well. The gal that runs the show had told me on the phone that the vendors usually "tip" the musicians with food. Oh my God. When we got all done we walked around on the other side of Ronnie's truck to start packing up and there was a small mountain of food. Everything that you can imagine. LOL It was real nice of the vendors and I think we all made good use of the tips.

Some pics from the shindig.

Martina beltin' one out with all her might.

Had a nice milling about crowd the whole deal... some folks found chairs, some sat on the ground.

Some pretty lady in an awesome outfit.

I dunno what the hell these things are but I bet they're about as fun in the mud as being pelted with rocks by an angry mob.

Some little guy giving us the universal sign for "YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!" by showing us his belly.

Dancin' broke out amongst the shoppers...

And this picture right here that Sally got... this is one of my all time favorite shots. This little gal was absolutely enthralled with the music and hung out in her spot for a lonnng time. :-)


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dirty Little Pillow

I just want to relate a story that happened about a week and a half ago. It's one of those stories that really doesn't connect to anything, but in the big picture it connects to everyone of us that has an inanimate object that weaves into our lives, for whatever reason, and becomes part of us. Many times in private, sometimes in public.

I've seen guys wear the same cap for years... too attached to it to get rid of the thing, and pretty soon you can describe the guy to someone "You know him. He wears the red Budweiser hat." and everyone nods, knowing exactly who that guy is.

Sometimes it's a car that we can't bear to part with. It costs us money in repairs and isn't efficient on gas, but it carried all your kids when they were little, your oldest took it to college, the front fender is caved in from a parking lot mishap... but still you drive it because it's part of you.


Sal and I were in a restaurant with 4 friends of ours, 3 of which were a mother and 2 of her daughters. MB, M, and H. At some point in time conversation had fell very briefly to what one of us said we wanted for Christmas and H. said... "I just want my pillow."

Conversation stopped. At first I thought what an odd thing and then I looked at H. and her eyes were welling up with tears... and I knew there was a story.

I lost a little bit of the detail to this story as to what the exact origin of this pillow was, but the gist of it is, it was part of something else that was a gift for H. when she was just a little girl. The pillow became a part of her, a piece of her childhood that she could cling to and hold and smell and bury her face in and have complete and total comfort.

It was a very small pillow, maybe a dolls pillow.... I don't know for sure that part. H. kept the pillow at home and when she was there, it was there. Her mom said that she wouldn't let her wash it, it would loose it's smell... probably a smell that was a potpourri of all things that are "home". Our sense of smell is amazing, able to pick out differences in odors is incredible. I can understand the smell. I love to walk by Sally when she's sitting in the office and give her a peck and sniff her hair and I'm immediately taken back to when we were dating and the first time we met. I love that smell.

Sometimes when H. would go to school she would put the little pillow in the refrigerator so when she got home she could pull it out and lay her head on it and feel it's coolness and probably calmed racing thoughts of the day.

When she was still small the pillow went missing for a time and MB found it down in the guts of the couch where it had slid off to. Thinking that H. had gotten over it and maybe it was time to put away this piece of her childhood, she put it up in a closet.

Christmas came that year and everyone opened their gifts and it was all over with and MB noticed that H. was just sitting quietly with a "look" on her face. Her mom asked her if something was wrong and H. said... (this caused me to tear up) "I really thought that Santa would bring my little pillow back to me for Christmas..."

MB just went to the closet and got it and gave it to her. It gripped the family so immensly, this dirty little pillow... it became the focal point of Christmas morning.

Years and years went by, the little pillow staying with H. wherever she went. H. is now a mom herself on her own and less than a year ago... the pillow went missing again. Hardly more than a dirty little rag now, but still imbedded firmly in not only the heart of H. but everyone in the family. While they told Sally and I the stories about the pillow, I think everyone teared up at some point during the tellings and H. had to excuse herself.

The whole thing seemed silly at first, but it touched me so much, a day hasn't gone by since that evening that I haven't thought of it and thought of H. sitting across the table from me with tears in her eyes.

If you happen to read this H., thanks for telling it to us. You're awesome.

I really do hope that Santa brings it back to her this Christmas. I really do.