In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog: scratchingforchange.blogspot.com

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

jescordwaineratgmail.com

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

High Level Stupidity

Supposedly, those worried about Covid are vaccinated to prevent them becoming ill from the virus. That, and those that have supposedly had the disease won't get it again....but...those that had the disease are still becoming ill from a supposed new variant. That, and in supposed areas of high disease rates, everyone is now being recommended to wear a mask. To make things worse, people that refuse to be injected with what any rational scientist would call an experimental medication, are now being vilified, or are being forced to take the injection to keep their job. It's really amazing, but what is more amazing is the high level of stupidity being exposed by the entire response to Covid. 

Meanwhile, for those paying attention, all other illnesses are becoming more scarce, although there is no rational explanation for the lowered rates. Logic says the only reason for this is a misdiagnosis, a falsification of death reports, financial gain for those that figured out how to game the system for some quick cash, or all of the above.

I think logical thinking took the last train out,  and dumbassery will certainly take over.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Don't Look There For the Solution

It's glaringly apparent the last Presidential election was corrupted by illegal methods. It's just as apparent that the current President wasn't elected as prescribed by law, and shouldn't be in office. That, according to those that like to obfuscate with B.S., is an event that is not described in the Constitution, and we should spend billions litigating, while the current madness continues. 

What should be done? Ignore the fact the Constitution doesn't have a remedy for this unique situation, and do what is right. Kick the scumbags out of office, prosecute those involved with the chicanery of corrupting the last election, and hang all necessary traitors as soon as possible. It's an easy solution, and the majority of the good people in the country agree. Today is a good day to start the process.  

So, who will be President? That's another easy solution. Trump won legally, and all B.S. litigation won't change that fact. 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Wondering

 I wonder how scientists allowed their profession to become the way it now is perceived. Instead of respecting the effort to provide accurate data, people are becoming skeptical to the point that is unhealthy. That, and to make things worse, too many people are not willing to do even a little research to determine what's reported has actual science to back up claims. Anthropogenic climate change is one glaring example of this. Those skeptical have good reason for their belief, and those unwilling to weed through the information embrace the cult with enthusiasm.

Time will tell how this all works out, but with the current Covid hysteria, things appear to becoming worse.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Bankruptcies to Come

 I've watched cities, both big and small, spend beyond their means for decades. Most are suffering from their foolishness, and the results terrible. Infrastructure fails, crime increases, taxes increase, the inept hire their inept families in created positions, and the schools are high dollar failed efforts to teach children that have horribly ignorant parents. 

Can they go bankrupt? Sure, and I doubt the final results are contemplated by those affected. Funds are allocated by a judge, and the creditors with the most money involved can vote for a plan that substantially reduces the amount owed, but allows some recovery of their lost revenue. Bond holders, that loaned money, when there was not enough available to pay for the rainbow bubbly, have a large amount of money involved, and will get their money. Those that supply city basic necessities also will receive their money. Pensioners? They may find they're last in line, since their payment has always only been a promise on an underfunded account. 

Regardless of the smoke and mirrors involved, bankruptcies are Federal litigation, and citizens of cities involved may find they're just collateral damage, since they are ultimately responsible for their city officials. Their ignorance becomes their sentence, and the financial punishment is severe. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

What Always Happens Next

 Some Cubans - and there are many - are protesting the treatment from their government. Their Communist leaders, who live a life of luxury on their backs, can't allow the protest, so they will use terror, murder, torture, and long confinement to punish those that dare to not allow them to forever keep their slaves. It always happens, and the world will watch in silence. The world watched in silence as the same people were starved, denied medical care, and subjugated to tyranny.

Cleaning the Coils

 About a month ago, when we had some really hot days, I noticed my AC was running more than it should. That concerned me, so I took a look at my condenser unit outside. The coils needed cleaning, so I did, and was rewarded with a more efficient unit, and the knowledge I did something that would extend the life of my air conditioner. 

The evaporator coils inside needed some cleaning, but what surprised me was the amount of pollen the filters didn't catch, and had adhered to the coils. Some of the spray cleaner available from the box stores handled the cleaning. With how accessible the coils are, I only had to spray on the cleaner, turn the AC back on, and allow the cleaner to perform its magic on its own. As the coils condensated, the cleaner, and grime, were rinsed into the drain pan. 

 Since then, I've cleaned both of my sister-in-law's units, which probably will help on their electric bills. The coils were surprisingly dirty, and over time, would have shortened the life of their units, which should last decades, if properly maintained. 

So, why am I writing this post? It's to make people aware of how a one hour job can lead to years of more use for an air conditioner. I never knew this, until my years of neglect on a unit lead to an early demise, and an expensive replacement. The task is simple, and the good cleansers are available at any HVAC wholesale store. Even if you pay a technician, the cost is a small percentage of the price of a new AC system.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

TV Stuff

I can, and will, be up at different times of the night. The regular shows end, and the television hucksters abound. They smile, expound the wonderfulness of their products, and hope you will share their enthusiasm. Some of the wares are crap.

There's an airless painter that will paint a wall in hours. How do I know this? By watching the  commercial. I'm sure many won't recognize how abysmally slow the painter is, unless they've picked up a brush during their life. When you take in account the weight of the machine, someone that doesn't want to spend a decade painting their house will go buy a roller frame, some rollers, and a pan. 

Another fine product is a small circular saw that can cut up to 1/2 inch material....if you have the rest of your life to cut. Not only is it slow, it's terribly expensive for how little it can do. I'm sure there are a few thousand of these things sitting on a shelf, or sitting on a table at a yard sale. Anyone that want's to get something accomplished would have abandoned what is basically a toy a long time ago. 

My favorite is the air brush for putting on makeup. The results are spectacular, but I wonder how long the results would last in our 70% humidity. I can imagine the embarrassment when the powder starts running, and the user is out on a date.

Exercise machines make me scratch my head. They're expensive, and usually end up cluttering a room. Everyone I know that has one stopped using the machine after only a short period of time. Many can be found at garage sales, and and observation of the seller tells me that weren't really that serious about getting into shape.

There are other things: special cooking devices, air fryers, pasta machines....the list goes on. All have free shipping, if you're one of the first fifty people to make a purchase. Considering how this part of the deal is always available, I wonder if they'll ever sell their first fifty. Operators are waiting for your call...and probably bored.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Class Action

Trump is lead representative in class action suits against some tech giants. The reaction is across the board, including those clamoring to become part of the suits, and those discounting the suits as a waste of time. It's interesting, but may be a tremendous lesson in civics. 

Discovery will take time, but considering the years of censorship, Trump has a treasure trove of evidence that shows the censorship, which is legal by constitutional standards, unless the censorship can directly be shown as collusion between government officials and the tech giants. Then there's not only civil penalties, there are criminal penalties for using the color of law, or public position, to deny constitutional rights. The discovery might be more than enlightening, and if the evidence is indefensible, the smoke and mirrors of the defendants will only be more support of the suits. 

Trump has an advantage, since he filed suit in Florida, which isn't a bastion of liberal judges like in Washington D.C., and New York. Not only are the judges more conservative, the jurors are too. The path of appeals is also to his advantage. The Fifth Circuit is the federal appeals court, and it's far from liberal. with the path to the Supreme Court to his advantage, and compelling evidence to support his suits, the tech giants might find the civil penalties are more than severe. 

When you add the fact the tech giants are totally dependent on those that use their services, a large amount of people stopping to use their services will add to the financial burden of defending what could become a destructive law suit. That, and if the suit is lost, those that supported them over the years might find a financial bonus. 

This will be interesting to watch. From my perspective, the effort to silence Trump over the years proved an effort to prevent information from being available for a thoughtful vote. That's not healthy for a good society, and those involved with the subterfuge should be exposed, and punished. 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Bad Concrete

 Reports are surfacing of damaged concrete in the columns holding up the condo in Miami. This explains much, and makes me wonder. 

I worked for years in the concrete construction industry. The work consisted of every aspect of concrete, including the rehabilitation, and demolition of concrete exposed to salt water. The reports state the concrete was spalling, and reinforcement was exposed. 

Concrete is a brittle, and dangerous construction material without reinforcement. Where the reinforcement rod can displace a load, without the "rebar", a crack can lead to the complete failure of the concrete. The failure can be as little as a chipped edge, or as severe as a structural column failing. Both damages are preventable, but the most critical step is in the initial construction. The rebar needs to be far enough into the concrete to be removed from the exposure of the elements. Normally, this is one and one half inch, but in extreme environments, it's increased to three inches. 

The spalls in the reports indicate only one thing: The rebar was exposed to moisture and started rusting, Eventually the rust became so severe, the swelling of the rust caused the concrete to spall away from the reinforcement, and the exposed rebar lost structural integrity without the concrete for stiffening.. With structural components, this is a sign of a possible catastrophic failure, and a wise engineer will inform the owner of the necessity of removing enough of the concrete in a small area to determine the structural capability of the rebar. If there is enough deterioration, the load rating of the structure is lowered to accommodate the reduced strength. This is good for bridges, but with a tall building, the structure itself is the major load, and a sufficient reduction in the concrete strength requires removing occupants until the building can be rehabilitated (probably too expensive) or demolished. 

There are multiple ways to repair concrete, but only two basic methods:

One method is to remove the spalled concrete, clean the rebar with only surface rust, and applying a coat of repair grout. This method is costly, since the removal requires small chipping guns, abrasive cleaning, and preparation of the good substrate for new cementitious material. That, and the expensive methods to gain access to the damaged concrete. Some areas might be at ground level, but others may require scaffolding, or barges. The repair grouts are expensive, and can cost over a thousand dollars a cubic yard.  

The other method, which is required for severely damaged concrete, requires removing the damaged concrete, removing and replacing the damaged rebar, and placing a fiberglass jacket around the concrete. The oversized jacket is then filled with either a high strength grout, special designed concrete, or and epoxy that has a sand filler. Usually, the jacket remains in place. If there is no clearance to allow this construction, false work has to be placed, the damaged structural component is removed, and a new concrete structure is placed. Retrofitting in this environment is a nightmare, and has an unreasonable cost. With the expensive materials added, such repairs are usually only performed on exposed concrete structures, such as a dock.

There are variations of both types of repairs, and combinations of both. The best construction methods prevent the corrosion by the application of coatings on the concrete. The coatings, which some only allow moisture and block salt, let the concrete "breathe". The elastomeric coating doesn't allow salt to penetrate the barrier, while allowing the moisture to transfer through the membrane. The best coatings are flexible, and don't crack with the movement of the concrete. All add costs, and are avoided, unless absolutely required.

The report of exposed rebar, and spalling concrete would have concerned me, if I was asked my opinion. Without being able to determine the extent of the damage, and the fact people were living above this damaged column, if I was asked for my suggestions, I doubt they would have acted on my suggestion, and evacuated the building, since the lost revenue would have been astounding. 

So, how did the building get to this level of disrepair without someone raising a red flag? That's the big question, since the failure led to multiple fatalities. Was the city informed? Were those informed aware of the danger, and if so, why didn't they act to prevent this disaster? 

If I had to guess, there were a lot of people crossing their fingers, and hoping for the best. The owner would hope they could keep on collecting revenue, and eventually sell the property. The city officials would hope their head turning would allow them to retire in the future, and the engineering firm would hope their inaction, or sloppy inspection, would never come to light. My experience tells me this is probably what happened, since that's what usually does happen. 

I have to add to this post to add information that is now becoming available. 

According to newest news reports, the HOA was informed of the damages, and the property owners have dragged their feet, due to the tremendous costs involved. The wait, and further analysis of dangerous conditions, allowed the damage to reach the point of failure. 

One report said that a remediation contractor refused to repair some damage after preliminary work exposed structural members corroded beyond repair. I can understand their concern, since the change requires a detailed new engineering analysis,  a new bid, and the consent of the owners for the work. Such things usually take months, if not years, and the slow monster of the city has to approve everything. 

What I don't understand is how the building was allowed to be occupied after the contractor pulled off the job. At that point, the danger was not theorized, and became apparent. Failing to act, or hiding the information, is unconscionable. 


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Politics as Usual

 The projections of the next Federal election abound. The contenders, possible outcomes, polarizing, opinions, and posturing fill the "news" with straw poll numbers. Of course, the experts weigh in, and all forget one thing: the last election was filled with fraud. So, unless this changes, those that count the votes will decide; not the citizens. 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Projects

 I've had some projects over the last few weeks. The weed trimmer was one. That, and building a small fence around the rose bed to keep the ducks from tearing up the roots to build a nest. The day before yesterday was one I'd never done, which proved to be enlightening. 

My wife, and I, decided our porch needed something more than a box fan for keeping a breeze. We decided on a ceiling fan, which required some research. The one important thing, which turned out to be the final determination, was having a junction box rated for a ceiling fan. After removing some items, I found a stamp on the box stating the box was indeed rated for a ceiling fan weight. So, the project was on.

The fan came with everything, except the two screw to hold the fan bracket on the junction box. The existing screws were too long, so I had to go to the hardware store for shorter screws, which were too short. My wife made a trip, while I sorted out the parts, and waited to install the hanger bracket.

The bracket was fairly easy, except on a ladder,  with a small workspace, made it tedious. Even more tedious was placing the fan motor, and connecting the wires. One good thing was the amount of wire included. Cutting it just long enough to place the motor on the top of the ladder, while I connected the wires allowed an easy connection, and the base allowed storage for all the excess wire. 

The fan brackets were only had two screws, and the snap on plastic fans allowed placing the brackets without the blades. Completing the entire project took about an hour, but my inexperience, and studying time, stretched it to two hours. That was plenty long enough, since it was 95 on the porch, and the heat was catching up with me. 

The difference is notable. A moving breeze allows any cooler exterior air to balance out the hot air on the porch. It's still hot, but when the sun is low, or set, the cool air allows time to sit on the porch. That's when relatives will come to visit, and we can enjoy the evening with something to drink.


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Dice Have Been Thrown

 Lack of trust causes many things, but one of the worst is the final result of the original dishonesty. No matter if those dishonest turn away from their dishonesty, trust will never be returned. That's where we are. Enough fraud is presented about the last election to demand accountability, yet those content with the outcome are convinced there's no reason to not trust those involved; regardless of how absurd their argument has become. They don't realize they've chosen sides, and the outcome won't have any "oh gosh" moments. The trust is gone, dishonesty is rampant, and tens of millions are seething with anger that can't be removed with words. The die is cast. 

Monday, June 14, 2021

This Won't Go Well

 Biden is supposed to meet with Putin. So, what can happen, when a former ruthless KGB official, with military training, meets an elderly, demented, lifetime politician without any legislative history, except raising taxes on the elderly? I think anyone that has some ability for rational thinking knows this won't go well for Biden, or the United States. Maybe we can convince them to drop Biden off somewhere in Europe instead of bringing him back.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Today's Thoughts

Much of what is written below is easily found on the internet with search engines. I didn't post links because I'm lazy this morning.

 Biden is attending the G-7 summit, which is euphemistic for the big poker game. Cards are played, faces are examined, and the pot is basically all the money in the world, although the players want you to believe it's not. Backers will be watching; shady characters that don't want the public to know how much they're influencing the players. Fun will be had by all, and Biden will find showing his cards is not a good way to win. That, and if we're lucky, he doesn't go all in with a pair of deuces.

Crime is up in large cities. Regardless of how the problem is spun, the basic problem is people without, want what they didn't earn, and really don't feel bad about killing someone in the process. Of course, the police are part of this problem, since they don't want to work in these large cities. I wouldn't either. Crime pays, law enforcement becomes the plaything of politicians, and honest officers realize Mayberry is a much nicer place to work.

Someone will pay 28 million dollars to take a trip in space with Jeff Bezos. I think this person is flat out nuts. Jeff Bezos? Couldn't they pick someone else?

Lumber prices are out of sight. That, and home prices are grossly inflated. What can go wrong with this?

The audit continues in Arizona. The results will be interesting, if not outright entertaining. I have some popcorn, and recommend staying armed.

A lobster diver was swallowed by a humpback whale. Most find this hard believe. I feel the same. 

The Southern Baptists are disagreeing on their future. For that matter, most all denominations are doing the same. This makes me wonder, since the rule book is concise, and the rules are basic. Maybe they should read the rules. The penalties are harsh for not doing so.

The Covid fiasco continues, with a huge push to get everyone an injection of a serum made in a hurry, without long term testing, for an illness with results far below what any rational scientist would call a pandemic, and there is no legal recourse for anyone that is harmed. If this doesn't fit the description of insanity, then nothing does.

Congress is in full swing. As usual, there is enough posturing to cause nausea. The media drools over the progress, believes some great thing is happening, and ignores the fact the only arguments are about spending more money; not how to spend less. 

Texas is proposing to build it's own border wall. I think it's a good idea, but shouldn't stop at Mexico. Ignorant Yankees are sure screwing up the local economy, and I'm suspicious of the motives of some. I'd sleep better knowing they have to jump through hoops to come to Texas.

It's hot around here. Too hot for this early. Usually, that means an extra hot Gulf of Mexico, which means a larger chance of some kind of tropical system. What happens is to be seen, but I'm doing everything I can to avoid staying in it. 




Thursday, June 10, 2021

Failure in the Making?

 It's obvious the current administration isn't qualified to run the United States. Biden has mental problems, and Harris is as the epitome of EEO madness over the last five decades. Neither is actually in charge, and those running the country are running it like having someone drive blindfolded, while a person gives instruction from the back seat. Something has to change, and what will it be?

Personally, I see Harris taken out of the picture first. She's a cackling imbecile, and continuing to let her stay in her position will lead to disaster for the puppeteers. How this happens remains to be seen, but she's too much of a liability. 

Biden can keep his low profile, and the media will continue to cover his constant inabilities. They'll push paper in front of him, he'll sign the papers without any real understanding of what he's signing, and the cringe worthy moments of public appearances will be avoided, or downplayed by the media. 

The ultimate goal, in my opinion, is to continue allowing the Chinese to run the show, and allow the deep state to manipulate the government; including the military. That's well in play, and over time, they will continue to allow us to "rent", while they continue to buoy their economy with our money. Over time, they'll destroy the Constitution, and eventually have unbridled control.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

All Of The Ingredients

 It's 80 degrees this morning, the humidity is 94%, and there is no dew. According to the weather folks, the chance of rain is 20%. Otherwise, it's going to be a brutal day; if I want to work in the yard. I might, but I'll work really slow, and drink plenty of liquids. 

If we get a shower, it will be one of those brief, heavy showers, with plenty of lightning, and gusty wind. 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

There You Are

 I wrote about my annual property tax assessment in this post. I received a letter, and some of the assessor's "evidence" a few weeks later. The letter - the reaction after I protested my assessment - had the date, and time, for my hearing. That happened last week.

The hearing was by telephone, so I was rewarded with the noises of shuffling, multiple voices, and the fading of voices, when the speaker turned away from the microphone. Of course I couldn't see them. That guarantees no recognition if we happen to bump into each other at the grocery store. 

It was a brief hearing, with explanations, and how the evidence they provided indicates that the property in the photos is their reason for the assessment value. I countered that the real estate market is inflated, and the prices are not an actual value, and even if I wanted to sell my home, I don't think I could receive the appraised value. Also, I stated it sure looks like the state, and the county, are giving themselves a 10% raise on my fixed income. They countered with they are mandated to appraise at a high percentage of the market value. They used the word "they", so I asked who "they" is. Who is they? The state of Texas. 

I told them I call such things extortion. I don't think they liked that, but there is no better description. The crime family needs more money, they demand you pay, or they break your leg, which with public entities, they do worse. They take your home, and if you don't leave, they throw your possessions to the curb, and threaten to send a bill, and a trash truck, if you don't move it.

So, there you are. If you don't quite understand how a civilized society can reach such levels of depravity, you now have an example. The overlords speak, the minions cower, and the citizens are tyrannized. 

The hearing ended with a motion to end the hearing, and the assurance I would have a written determination shortly. I have a feeling they didn't reduce the assessment. What's worse is that I have no hope there will be one. Public entities have no integrity, and those we elect are only bagmen for those with enough money to buy politicians. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

The Old Line Trimmer.

 I have a Stihl FS74 line trimmer. Made in the early 90's, it was a commercial grade trimmer, and much better than the "throwaway" trimmers I bought before. It's been a good machine, and basically trouble free, until late last summer.

After a few minutes of running, it would die. If I let it sit for a short period of time, it would start again, run for a few minutes and die again. It sufficed for being late in the season, and I knew I would need to find the problem.

Three weeks ago, I removed the tank, changed the fuel lines, and the filter. It started right up, ran for a few minutes and died. To make things worse, gas was dripping from the carburetor. Knowing I either had to rebuild the carburetor, or replace it, I did some web searching for what I needed. 

I found a new carburetor, with gaskets, filter, fuel line, primer bulb, and a spark plug for about 20 dollars. I was hesitant to buy online, but thought if it wasn't right, the twenty wouldn't be a big loss. I spent the same amount on the new filter, and fuel line from the Stihl dealer. 

The kit came in, I installed the carburetor, primed it, and held my breath. A few pulls and it started, but died, when I tried to speed up the engine. A little adjustment of the jets, and a long afternoon of trimming showed the problems were fixed, and maybe...I can get another thirty years out of the machine. I'll have to cross my finger, because they quit manufacturing it a long, long time ago, and some parts might not be available in the future.  

Friday, June 4, 2021

Never Ending War

 I don't like fire ants. They have a purpose, but not in my yard. They build mounds, and give me a target.

There are two basic types of insecticides for fire ants. One type is placed on the mound, some require watering after application, and the mound is supposed to die within a short period of time. I found it works, but only for a short period of time, unless rain is immanent. The poison is extremely toxic to the ants, and sometimes doesn't kill the queen. The ants will migrate, and a new mound will be formed. 

The other is a bait. Instead of placing it on the mound, it's scattered around the mound, and best if the mound is not disturbed. The ants will forage in the morning, and evening, bring the bait into the mound, and eventually all are killed; including the queen. This one I like, since the final result is complete eradication of the colony. It takes day, but the ants are eventually terminated.

At the start of this season, I had around a dozen fairly large mounds in the yard. With a little effort, I only will find an occasional small mound. Usually this happens after a rain event, and I think the ants are from somewhere else. Large mounds can have swarms of ants leaving, and they can fly a substantial distance. 

For those that don't know fire ants, they have a stinger like a wasp, which they use to kill anything they perceive as an attacker. Stand on a mound, and within seconds, hundreds of stinging ants will swarm up your leg, and start stinging. The stings leave painful pustules that can become infected. That, and some are allergic to the venom, which can lead to anaphylactic shock. Enough of the venom, and even the strongest can succumb. We had a local motel find a guest swarming with ants, and the report said they are what killed the man.

After years of watching fire ants, I realized our highway system was instrumental in their spread. The highway is full of dead insects, trash with food,  and road kill. The mowed edges, abundance of food, and unimpeded spread are a perfect environment for the ants. Over time, they've now reached any parts of the U.S. where the ground doesn't freeze to a depth that kills the ants. 

Thursday, June 3, 2021

The Narrative Goat

 In order to continue the narrative that the Wuhan Virus is really, really dangerous, Fauci will be sacrificed to continue the effort to remove liberty from citizens. It's a standard ploy, and what's sad is how many people will follow the narrative, be stupid with their programmed reaction, and thousands of petty tyrants won't be tarred and feathered for their collusion in the madness. A less polite society would have ended this crap months ago, and some people would be wondering why their punishment is so harsh, and praying we don't vote keel-hauling back in as the accepted form of punishment for such things.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Dynasties of Deceit

 Politics suck. So do the "dynasties" that have corrupted the United States for a long, long time. We've had Roosevelts, Kennedys, Bushes, and their chosen few to allow liberty to be slowly shuffled out the door. Regardless of how the Presidency is supposed to be a separate power, history shows the rest of the powers in government are either minions, or integral parts of the effort to make the nation one that answers to the whims of a ruling class. 

Bleh!

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Peanut Hoarders and Thieves

 We usually have  at least one pair of red belly woodpeckers every year. They rob the feeder for food, fly away, and over time, they will bring their hatchlings to the feeder for food. Eventually, they chase the young ones away, and the cycle starts again next year. 

We had an occasional redheaded woodpecker last year. The eventually brought their two youngsters for food, chased them away when they were ready, and they disappeared. 

About a month ago, a redheaded woodpecker decided the feeder was in his territory and would chase away the other woodpeckers. As we watched, we realized he would take peanuts, go to the power pole, and push them into crevasses in the wood. The amount was amazing, and if I had to guess, there were over two dozen to be seen. 

The day before yesterday, when the redheaded woodpecker was away, the red belly male robbed his peanuts from the pole. He succeeded in taking them all during the day, and the redheaded woodpecker could only chase it away, when he discovered the trespasser in its territory. 

Yesterday, the redheaded woodpecker started its hoarding again. There aren't any peanuts to be seen in the crevasses this morning, although I watched it place them during the day. I have the feeling the effort is fruitless, and it's labor will be in vain.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Spring and What Is Probably Normal

 It's rained for the last five days. Some have only had a brief shower. Others were torrential downpours that left some areas reeling from as much as 18 inches in  a few hours. I've seen times like this in the past, so only the true climate cult members can blame it on weed whackers and lawnmowers. 

We've only had about 8 inches, but that's been spread out over days. It keeps us from flooding, but those that live where outfalls are located are experiencing the rise of water that cuts off roads and floods homes. Our road can flood, but so far it's not impassable. 

According to the weather wizards, we have a few more days of rain, with a chance of heavy rainfall in isolated areas. That can mean little, or for those already flooded, their efforts to clean up the mess may be futile. I feel for them, but many are on their fourth flood. According to news reports, many will call this the last straw and try to sell their home, after they have repaired the damage.

So, it's been an exceptional, but not completely abnormal, Spring. Even a month ago I was wondering if we would have a drought. We've had those too: Dry Springs, with hot, dry Summers. The damage can be as great, since the undergrowth in the woods becomes tinder for unaccompanied fires. The result can lead to thousands of acres, and homes, reduced to ash.

Summer is close, and for the first time in almost fifty years, my work won't demand I suffer in the heat. That's going to be a new experience. I'm looking forward to having the option of staying indoors during the worst of the oppressive heat. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Accepting Incompetence

 In my view, much of the failure of all aspects of government is accepting incompetence. Failures are often awarded with promotions. In government entities, lawyers run policy, and policy dictates way too many hurdles to terminate the employment of a problem employee. It's much easier to promote such employees and end the problem. 

I've watched local larger communities slowly sliding into blight over the last four decades. Money is squandered through unreasonable salaries; pensions are destined for bankruptcy, and the caliber of employee doesn't match the pay. To make things worse, too many of those that failed in the private sector thrive in the public sector. 

How does this end? More urban blight, unwillingness for businesses to be created, the fleeing of those concerned with their children, and the unacceptable condition of increasing crime. People don't like to see their money wasted, and larger cities are exceptional at wasting the limited resources of taxes. 

As the infrastructure deteriorates, the businesses close, the population of taxpayers decreases, and incompetence becomes rampant, many cities become wastelands filled with those that can't leave, or thrive in the criminal underground society. It's unhealthy, and ultimately leads to large cancerous areas surrounded by younger communities filled with those that only work in the city because that's were their job is. With time, and more jobs not requiring commuting, the cancer eventually completely destroys what at one time was a city with proud citizens willing to be proactive.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Honesty

 I think we've thrown honesty away. Nobody trusts anyone, and it's a well founded lack of trust. The best of contracts can lead to bankrupting litigation. The lying of those in politics leaves only the most ignorant believing there's honor in the decisions of politicians. Public officials lie to cover their incompetence. Scientists lie to promote their theories. The list goes on forever, and it makes me wonder why we've reached a point where the glue of a healthy society is not being demanded any longer. 

Will this end? I wonder, since it's easy to accept ignorance. Ignorance allows unfounded opinion, and the ability to deny that too much of our society is wallowing in distrust. It's a type of anarchy, since the prey is easy pickings and the predators are allowed to hunt with little interference. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Annual Attempt To Steal

 The property tax appraisals are out. As usual, they've found more value, where none is to be found. This year is a 10% increase in value, which to those challenged by math, means 10 more dollars of taxes per hundred of valuation. For those still limping from the Covid government takeover, this can mean their taxes, with insurance, are more than their mortgage. 

I contested my value. Whether this goes anywhere will be seen. I do know I'm not the only one that is doing this, and the anger may mean some of those government workers will a trip to the grocery store is far from pleasant. They deserve it. A less polite society would be opening tar barrels and plucking chickens.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Hot Water

John Kerry is in hot water. Regardless of whether it's true he provided leaks to Iran, the perception of the Middle East is that he did. If I have to guess, Israel will not allow him in, the allies of Israel will find allowing him to visit will be perceived as a direct threat to Israel, and Kerry will either have to resign, or be fired. Even the Biden Administration isn't so dense to not realize the implications of what is considered a direct threat to national security. 

How this is handled will be interesting, but if I was Kerry, I'd be looking over my shoulder. Mossad is nothing to play with, and brutal with protecting Israel. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

When an AG Needs To Prosecute

 Minnesota has specific jury tampering law. Maxine Waters broke this law, the AG of Minnesota is obligated by oath to prosecute those that break this laws, and if they don't, they too are breaking the law. 

Will this happen? Probably not. That's the big problem, and if the officials hired to prevent such thuggery don't do so, the citizens will eventually either leave, or take the law into their hands. Peaceful citizens will put up with a lot, but not forever. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

I've Been Busy....By Not Being Busy

 I guess I have a little writer's block. The news is so full of absurdities, it almost hurts my head to think anyone would consider any of the major news outlets seriously, and the politicians they promote as anything but criminals needing to be prosecuted before they're shot. That, and the Supreme Court has fallen into bad ways. Too many of the justices are traitors, and their opinions would make Lenin feel like a proud parent. 

Still, I've been somewhat busy. We went on a short trip before Easter to the areas Northeast of the Fascist Austin. That was a needed respite from everything, and reconfirmed by opinion the capitol needs to have a moat around it, with armed guards to prevent the loonies from escaping. The capitol may suck, but the fine folks that surround it are the best examples of how friendly, and good, the people of Texas usually are. 

The weather here has been dry. I doubt we've had an inch of rain in the last month, and any spare moisture that was in the ground was sucked up by all the blooming flora. The weather may be dry, but the fine, pleasant days are a wonderful tradeoff. A lot of work around the surrounding family acreage was unhampered by boggy ground, or nasty days of rain. With most of the efforts in the morning, the cool air made work pleasant. 

That's all I have for now. I might have more later, but don't count on it. I'm finding it easier to deal with the traitors by not thinking too much about them. I think many are like me, and the push to convert us is making the resistance only stronger. Masks are now laughed at in my neck of the woods, and demands for the death vaccine are refused vehemently. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Where's the Integrity?

 According to this news report, Hunter Biden committed criminal fraud on an official document to purchase a handgun. Also, the Secret Service attempted to circumvent state laws to hide the action. Otherwise, breaking the law to hide the illegal activities of the son of Biden. 

Where's the integrity with this supposed elite section of law enforcement? My guess? It retired, quit, or is not chosen because criminals don't like honesty or honor to uphold the law. It stinks, but that's our federal government. Crooks hiring crooks and ignoring the law. It's organized crime that shouldn't remain unpunished. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

If It Quacks Like a Duck

 The shooter in Colorado is a Muslim, with a social media account that was deleted. What we'll learn about him will be censored by those that don't quite understand censorship only makes people more suspicious, more angry, and unwilling to believe the narrative they're pushing. 

If I had to guess, the shooter was practicing the violence his religion preaches as acceptable. 

Why Aren't They Working?

At one time, we had comedians. With a natural ability to make people laugh, they could turn obvious absurdities into moments of intense laughter. This would reduce politicians, pundits, and other self-important buffoons to what they are: common people that need to have humility. They need to get back to work and show the humor in having a doddering old President, and a Vice-President that climbed to the top by sucking golf-balls through garden hoses. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

If You Weren't Already Upset...

...think of how Biden appears after Putin calls him out.   Biden has shown the world he's not smart enough to show what a cowardly bully he is, when he can draw a crowd to his rantings. In a more perfect society, he would be keeping his running mate company while they await trial for treason.

I have to add how a weak, feeble Biden only gives all enemies more economic power.  Putin knows this, hopes Biden continues the downhill slide of the U.S. economy, and laughs all the way to the bank.


Thursday, March 18, 2021

Laying the Blame Where it Belongs

 The news is stating Cuomo forced the nursing homes to take Covid patients, and the result was deadly. Added to the stories is how the directors of these facilities were horrified of the action. So who is to blame for this event?

The blame lies with those that run the nursing homes. They could have said no, refused the patients, and fought New York in court. Instead they rolled over, and allowed helpless people to die from their lack of courage. 

Equally to blame is the media. With such a terrible event unfolding, they could have spent hours condemning the actions, and saved the lives of elderly people that were removed from contact with their families. They turned their back, while the elderly suffered from the criminal actions of a public entity. 

Cuomo needs to be punished. So do the directors, the media editors, and those in the homes that allowed the carnage. This is no different than the horrors committed by the Communists, Nazis, and Muslims that kill indiscriminately to advance a goal of tyranny. Blaming others for turning your back on murder is as horrific as the act of murder.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Untangling a Mess

It appears a judge in Georgia has ruled 30,000 votes should be audited for authenticity.  That may reveal a different candidate won the election. Also, a judge in Michigan ruled the Secretary of State broke election laws with and absentee ballot executive order.  As time goes by, more of these rulings may show the last national election left some supposed winners in office. That leads to me thinking: "What will they do to correct this illegal problem?"

What can they do? Will the election be nullified? Will those that were illegal elected kicked out of office?  The proper action is that all activities, or laws, accomplished during their time in office should be suspended and nullified. Time will tell, but this will be something they can't sweep under the rug. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Lack of Leadership

 It appears the military has lost their leaders. Nobody has the cojones to tell the pogues to pound sand and stay out of the way. You can see this lack of leadership with the current banter between Tucker Carlson and those that supposedly represent the brass. How this turns out will be seen, but in the past, someone would be busted back to a low enlisted rate, and find their future in the military shorter than they expected.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Lack of Attention

 It appears most of the country is aware of the lack of reporting, corrupt politics, and lawlessness. In some countries, it might make everyone just accept these things, but this is the United States, and even entire states are preparing to tell the rogue feds to shove it. That's good, because the U.S. is a nation of individuals, and laws that prevent the privileged from special favors, or powers. Where some think this is a divided nation, it's not. There's a strong will to correct the problems, and continue the great experiment unknown in the past. 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Second Budding

 Before the deep freeze, trees were starting to bud, and it appeared Spring had arrived. The low temperatures, far below freezing, destroyed the buds, and some trees seem slow to recover. That, and the tropical palms, such as the Sego Palm, appear to be gone. Time will tell, but the date palms seem unaffected. 

Last year, my wife, and I, stored our bird feeders, since the Muscovy ducks found they could dump the feeders. That really disappointed my wife, since she loves the wild birds more than I do. We never wanted the ducks. A sister-in-law brought them to place them in the pond, and they bred a dozen more of what I consider pests. Instead of staying in the pond, they wandered and became a nuisance.

The Muscovy ducks left, except for one, and the one doesn't seem interested in the bird feeder. This allowed us to fill them again, and watch the birds arrive. I've been surprised. 

The Cedar Waxwings have arrived in dozens. I was ignorant of what they eat, but my wife discovered they flocked to the small terracotta feeder we keep full of sugar water for bees. They emptied it in a few hours, and my research found they can strip trees of berries during their migration back to the cooler climate of the northern states. 

I bought some blueberries, and some raisins, my wife but up a flat feeder, and I filled it to see if the birds would accept my offering. They did, and their voracious appetites emptied the feeder in less than an hour. So, realizing they could bankrupt me in days, I only half fill the feeder twice a day. This, I think, will force them to forage for insects, wild berries, and help fatten them up for their trip north. Heaven knows what they've been eating, because even insects are scarce at this point. The lack of them led to our bluebirds leaving, or their demise. 

So, the trees are budding again, the drab browns are being replaced by the brilliant greens of early Spring, and the temperature is increasing every day.  It's been more than nice, and the long range forecast has no freezing temperatures in store. Things are good, and I am blessed.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

I Doubt They're Thinking

 At one time, the Democratic Party supposedly represented those that work. Trade unions looked to them to grease their palms with special considerations, and the same unions funneled money back into the party. The workers were in the dark, or refused to buck the system that kept them working with good wages. 

Now, the Democratic Party abandoned those they supposedly represented. To increase the injury, the unions that supposedly represented their craftsmen still funnel money to the Democrats, and the Democrats show their appreciation by destroying the jobs that pay the union craftsmen. Of course, the unions have had little regard to those that pay the dues, but now the money will dry up, and those that they betrayed will become even more angry.

Logic dictates you don't destroy the fields that feed you, but the analogy fits this situation. What do the Democrats hope to gain? Have the public sector, and teacher's union, reached a point where they will fill the gap of the lost trade union money? Do the Democrats feel they can control their destiny by sheer will, and those that allow their existence will simply fall into lockstep? 

That last election, as far as I'm concerned, was not legitimate. Too much evidence points to corruption, and the corrupt officials that preside are hiding their collusion in the process. If they had nothing to hide, they would have welcomed a review of the ballots, but they didn't. That only means dishonesty, and dishonesty in voting is a crime that should be punished by up to capital punishment. The results of an illegal election can lead to the death of some, so the punishment should be just as severe. 

Everything with current politics, and current officials, only points to a criminal enterprise that makes the Mafia look like children playing on the playground. It's unconscionable to allow this continue, and the best thing at this time is for the courts to refuse to allow the stonewalling of officials, and the severe punishments allowed by law to punish those that destroy records, or refuse to be audited. Will this happen? Maybe, but if this doesn't change, those that become desperate will not be destroyed without resistance.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Electric Bill

 I live on the East side of Texas, so my electric supplier is not part of ERCOT. Still, with the severe cold, I was wondering about my bill. I was relieved to see it only went up seventeen dollars higher than last month, which was average for this time of the year. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Texans Can Blame The Feds

 The biggest problem with the loss of electricity in Texas during the big freeze was the EPA.  Texas asked to increase the energy output, but was refused. Otherwise, with the increased energy of running under full capacity, the lack of electricity would have been lessened, if not eliminated. To add insult to injury, after the failure of the feds to alleviate a foreseen problem, they compounded the problem by refusing to help Texas by declaring the result as a disaster. 

I don't know how many feel, but I consider this an act of war. The Biden administration is intentionally damaging Texas, and the Governor should tell them to pound sand, while closing off some pipeline going north. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

I'm Unwilling...

 ... to be a laboratory animal. Give it a year, or two, and the knowledge of whether this Covid thing is really something to worry about, and I might be willing to be vaccinated. Until then, leave me alone, and realize, if you're vaccinated, what do you have to worry about?

Saturday, February 20, 2021

I Don't Believe This

 This story is circulating around the internet, and since it's the "news", people are believing it. It looks good to the liberals that want the government to take over everything, and reports something that most people that practice critical thinking would ignore. 

There's no way any utility would, or could, allow fuel prices to increase in a short period of time to that level. Even if it was possible, most would know they couldn't collect on bills that high, cut off the electricity, and go to the news with how they were getting screwed by their suppliers. 

I think the story is BS, and I'm irritated it was even published without anyone doing some research.

A Passing Thought

 I'm suspicious of a vaccine that is supposed to keep me from getting a virus made in a laboratory. Why? If they can engineer a virus that preys on old folks, they can easily engineer a  vaccine that completes the task of getting rid of those they consider a burden.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Almost to the End

 It's 26 outside. Tonight, it's supposed to be 28, and be the last night of freezing temperatures for awhile. That's good, and the thaw is supposed to ease to the north over the next few days.  I think everyone has had enough of this very unusual weather, and can now focus on the clowns that were instrumental in the power generation fubar over the last few days.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Imbeciles

 I'm a little amazed that my generation is becoming reviled by many that can't find their butts with both hands. "Boomer" has become a word to denigrate, instead of an honor to those that fought in Viet Nam, endured the crappy politicians called President, years of pork barrel politics, and were instrumental in building what those that insult us so ignorantly take for granted. Most only wanted to eventually retire, and hoped their children would have a better way. They've been honest citizens for decades, reached retirement age, and now are being told the Social Security they paid for decades is an entitlement.

I call them imbeciles, but like my friend's term better: "Fleshy headed mutants". Years of mediocracy, nanny state demands, the unsustainable belief that rights include free money, no discipline, and believing the lies from the media, have turned way too many young folks into lackeys for those wanting to destroy the United States. To make things worse, their laziness has manifested into glee for the misfortune of others, and an appetite for destruction.

My advice to younger folks is that they need to step up to the plate. Understand the government is run by the unqualified, the media constantly lies, the Constitution is not a living document, and mediocrity only leads to the inability to flourish. That inability leads to being unable to survive. When that point is reached, and they start loading them into the rail cars, they'll happily believe the lies, as they travel to the camps to starve.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

When Are They Going to Pull the Switch?

 Harris is fielding Biden's important phone calls with world leaders. Why this is going on is strictly a guess, but my guess is Biden would sound like he was senile, and they know they couldn't hide that from the world media. 

When are they going to pull the switch? Only and imbecile ignored this during the election, and anyone that hasn't quite figured it out, will soon have their cartoons interrupted. A real media would never had let Biden get in office, but we don't have a real media, and the rest of the world laughs at our idiocy.

Ongoing But Better...For Now

 At 11:00 last night, the electricity went out. The supplier started at having it on at 5:30 am. As time went on, the time moved to 11:00 am this morning. That didn't happen. 

At 1:00 this afternoon, after waiting way too long, I uncovered the generator, pulled out some extension cords, and started heating part of the house with a space heater. I was kicking myself in the ass for waiting so long, since the house had reached 46 degrees, and it was just barely above freezing outside. I could have avoided some misery, if I hadn't had so much faith in the power coming on sooner. 

The power did come back on at about 2:00 pm. It blipped after a few minutes, and shut down again. After about 15 minutes, the power came back on, and has remained on for over 2 hours. The house is warming, no pipes froze, the hot water heater is full of hot water, and a hot shower is soon to be undertaken.

Tonight, the forecast is for a temperature of about 28 degrees, and freezing rain. Hopefully the power stays on, and I can get some sleep. The last three days allowed only cat naps, and it's starting to catch up with me.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Energy, and Stupidity

 Deep down here in Texas, one of the largest refineries can't stay running, due to the cold. Controls don't work, processes are affected, and the safety of all involved becomes an issue. Refineries are dangerous critters, and some problems lead to disaster. 

All refining operations will suffer over the next few days. Freezing weather leads to problems that don't go away, until the temperature rises - which it will. The workers will be faced with starting units again, and that itself is a dangerous operation. Pipes get cold, contract, might crack, or a flange may start leaking. With the high temperature of hydrocarbons being processed, all that's needed to start a fire is the atmosphere. Little leaks can turn into huge fires, and those on site have to take care of the problems as they occur. 

I read the wind farms are having problems. If I had to guess, the turbines down near the Texas coast weren't designed for the cold, and the result is gear box, and other lubrication problems. That guarantees a reduction in power capacity, and the overall effect is a strain on generating facilities that use hydrocarbons to create steam. Otherwise, the "green" energy isn't working, and I'm sure the tree-huggers are all complaining about the cold. They probably don't understand the heavy synthetic fibers they wear are the result of the oil they think is evil. They'll be busy complaining on social media, which they access through their computing devices made out of plastics, which are made from oil.

Another thing: Local electric generating plants anticipate a lightened load during the winter. This leads to maintenance, and a loss in capacity during the winter. With this outbreak, regardless of demand, there just isn't enough electricity to satisfy this demand. Roving blackouts are being used to prevent complete large losses of electricity, and many are finding long periods of time without electricity. 

The stupidity is soon to arise. Someone will demand a solution, politicians will form committees, and huge amounts of money will be spent talking about problems that can't be solved by those in power only because of "diversity". In the end, nothing will change, and taxes will go up to pay for the bureaucrats hired to "solve" the problem.

I'm Not Used To This

 It's around 20 degrees, and there's about an inch of snow on the ground. We're still having a few flurries, but the weather wizards said it should be over about thirty minutes ago. 

When I was five, we had a similar event. Temperatures reached single digits, snow stayed piled for days, and we had all the fun kids can have, even if we didn't understand the water pipe in the attic was frozen, and in the future, the ceiling would fall in. 

They're calling this a once in a lifetime event. Since I'm on the second one, that either means this is unique, or I've lived longer than they thought.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

It Begins

The temperature finally reached freezing about two hours ago. The light rain left a thin coat of ice, and the heavier precipitation is arriving. So far, it looks like we'll see more snow than freezing rain. That's a relief. The light snow will not influence the power grid.

The Path Not Taken

 It's not surprising the Senate voted to not have witnesses, and decided to have a vote. The outcome was the usual outcome with all the Marxists voting to convict, and the others to not. It shows the majority of those wanting to convict knew that witnesses, and presented evidence, would show not only culpability in sedition, but some acts a rational jury would find as treason. They knew their precious media couldn't hide their actions, and when in aggregate, their actions could only be considered criminal conspiracy. 

It's business as usual in the capitol, but business is looking bad for those that pursued wealth, instead of representing their constituents. Regardless of what the alphabet networks report, there's more outlets of information, and they're digging into the rot we call national politics, and even states are starting to question the authority so long abused. With states deciding they will exercise their power, the federal government is faced with the fact it only has two decisions, and the decision to flex its muscles will only result in failure. Otherwise, the next two years will be a feckless clown circus. All the mandates will end up in court, and the path to the Supreme Court takes years to travel.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Thinking About the Cold Weather

 I've worked in all types of weather. Some of the work was heavy labor in different conditions, but none were as brutal as that in cold weather. I don't think we're really designed for it, and the worst of fatigue I ever experienced was after working a long day in cold weather. Summer can be exhausting, but the cold takes more, and the constant cold takes much more to endure. 

I'm glad I don't have to spend long days in the cold any longer. Truthfully, I don't think I have the stamina any more. 


The Weather We Rarely Receive

 It's in the mid thirties tonight. That is as far as it will fall, and tomorrow is forecast to stay in the upper thirties to low forties. This is the harbinger of what's to come over the next three days, which is rare for this far south. 

Tomorrow night, if the forecast holds true, will be in the low thirties, somewhere around freezing, and there's a fair chance of some freezing rain. That will lead to a rain free Sunday, but continued clouds and temperatures in the thirties. Sunday night is when the rare weather will begin. 

Sunday night is forecast to be in the twenties, with increasing chances of precipitation. Monday is forecast to be slightly below freezing, with a seventy percent chance of freezing precipitation. What type of precipitation? Weather folks thing most will be freezing rain, and by evening some snow flurries. That's what causes the biggest problems. 

We have lots of live oak trees, which are evergreen. That, and pine trees that grow large canopies over time. Both will have limbs that strain with the accumulated weight, and some of the local electrical providers don't trim their trees enough to prevent these trees from sagging into the wires. 

The last time this happened was in the late nineties. The result was disastrous for many, since the amount of repairs was way beyond the capabilities of the utility companies. To add insult to injury, the large swath of freezing weather caused damage that didn't allow for other companies to assist. Power took a long time to restore, and with me, it took a week. The first days were the worst, since my all-electric home didn't have any heat source but a small space heater run by a small generator. The well was down, and my biggest concern was for warmth. Until the temperature rose above freezing, there really wasn't any hope for water anyway. I did manage a spit-bath with water heated on a colander over a candle. After days without running water, I'd had enough. 

One good thing about this current episode is the foresight by my local electric co-op. Last summer, they spent huge amounts of money clearing their lines, cutting the right of way to the ground, and insuring trees that sag won't influence the power supply. That was good, since the large supplier where I used to live has obviously not been as diligent. Even with the damage from the last hurricane, problems still exist, and I can see where there will be many people without power on Monday night. With temperatures in the low teens some will find life very uncomfortable. After that, there's the possibility of more freezing rain later in the week. Regardless of the work force size, the line workers will be working in miserable conditions, and their efforts slowed by the cold. 

The is rare, and from what I've read, it weather will be extra cold for a large part of the country. I'm blessed, since it will be a short event. Others are already facing what is forecast for me, and have more days of this brutal cold.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The Paint Mare (Posted Again)

Politics, and the sorry crap abounding, is not good for healthy thoughts. Sooner, or later, you have to shift gears, think of how everyone has something unique about their life, and contemplate how good can still be found. 

I wrote the following years ago. Enjoy

                                                                ***

Lead gray skies hung over the small pasture lined with almost bare oak trees. The few brown leaves would be gone after the cold front that was soon to arrive.  

 Preston opened the door of the small barn and quickly stepped in to start his morning work of cleaning the stall and making sure it was ready for the approaching snow.

The small paint mare greeted him with a snort and pawed the ground as he opened the gates to let her into the pasture.

“Go run, girl. It won’t take me long and I’ll have you some feed when you get back.”

The mare trotted from the stall and was soon out running in the pasture that surrounded the small frame house. The pasture, enclosed by a wood fence, was surrounded by open land, which held the cattle of local ranchers that leased the land.

Preston gave up the cattle business a few years before. He’d made good money on the sale of his cattle, but realized his decision was the long wait for his eventual demise. Every day made the decision weigh more heavily. His life had become a memory and his only chore was to take care of the paint mare that was now running through the pasture.

As he worked, he remembered the day he bought her. It was at a livestock auction five years ago, when the mare was put up for auction before the cattle sale started. Poor, and with a limp, the bids started at fifty dollars. The slaughter buyers raised the bid to eighty dollars when Preston placed his own:

“I bid a hundred dollars.”

The auction was quiet for a few moments. The auctioneer made a half effort to raise the bid, but was unsuccessful.

“Sold for one hundred dollars to buyer number seven.”

Some of the buyers smirked; the others just shook their heads. Preston remembered the faces of the buyers, but he remembered the mare more. Scared, panicked and at the last crossroad, she was destined for the slaughter house, or salvation. Preston gave her salvation and still wondered what prompted him to make the decision.

He remembered when he brought her home. He’d placed her in the holding pen and slowly approached. Quietly shushing the mare and finally grabbing her halter, he petted her neck and finally looked at her teeth. She was only seven. Tying her to a gate post, he continued with his examination.

“Let’s have a look at that leg, girl.”

When he touched her leg, the mare raised her hoof, so Preston cradled her lower leg between his legs and started examining the bottom of her hoof.

“Well, I’ll be damned.” A broken bottle was stuck in her frog. Preston, now angry, wondered how this escaped the original owner. His anger soon turned to disgust. He’d seen many things during his life that shook his faith in people. This was one he placed at the top.

Preston walked to his barn, found his Kopertox, large pliers, and quickly returned to start his task of removing the glass.

“Steady girl. We don’t want a rodeo.”

Preston grabbed the glass and pulled hard. The mare never flinched.

“This should make it better.”

Preston placed a hefty dose of the Kopertox on the hoof and then examined the other three hoofs. Within a minute, he’d seen enough.

“I’ll trim your hooves tomorrow girl. You’ve had enough for today.”

Within days, he brought her to the vet to have her teeth floated, vaccinations and wormed. Over the next few months the mare put on weight, her shine returned and was soon running in the small pasture by the house. With the bottle removed from her hoof, she never limped again.

Preston wondered how she ended at the auction. He knew most of the sellers and buyers, but never found out who brought the mare he now called Petey. Her one black eye reminded him of the dog on the Little Rascals, so he didn’t care if the name didn’t match her gender.

Removing the last of the soiled shavings he placed new shavings in the stall, filled her water bowl and placed a scoop of feed in her food bowl. The sound of the food hitting the bowl brought the mare within seconds. As she ate, he watched and gently scratched her neck. All she needed was some hay.

“Good morning, Dad.”

Turning, Preston found his daughter, Janet, who appeared at the door. She was in for a visit, although they never seemed to last very long. She lived in New York City, was divorced and her daughter was in upstate New York at college.  

“I see you decided to finally get out of bed.”

“I’m not used to this early morning stuff. I work evenings and late into the night.”

Preston didn’t reply. He didn’t want to ruin the moment, although he never understood her decision to live in New York City and pursue acting as a career.

“You really like that horse.”

Preston thought about the comment and replied: “We’re the best of friends. I talk, she listens and we never argue.”

Janet let the comment pass. She knew the remark was a reaction to her relationship with her father. They had many disagreements, which led to her decision to move far away and pursue and acting career in New York after college. She never had an acting career, but she did become involved with the business end of Broadway. While her name was never in lights, she knew how much the lights cost and who to pay.

“Snow’s coming”

Preston only nodded. He was feeling the change in his joints and the pain was a constant reminder of his age.

“Do you need some help?”

Preston replied: “Her brush is in the cabinet. After I clean her hoofs, you can give her a good brushing.”

Janet retrieved the brush and watched as her father cleaned Petey’s feet. He was gentle and constantly comforted the horse as he worked.

“Our last performance was last week.”

Preston kept working and ignored the comment. He didn’t know what to say, although it seemed as though it was confirmation he would soon be alone again.

Preston asked: “When are you going back?”

“I need to talk to you about that.”

Preston felt a sadness he hadn’t felt since the last visit. Janet spent a week, had a telephone call and was gone. The “long” visit only lasted a week and it was two years until she returned.

“Things have changed, Dad.”

Preston didn’t respond and waited for Janet to continue.

“Broadway isn’t doing as well as it should.”

Preston nodded his head and looked at his daughter: “You’re good at your work. Only a fool wouldn’t keep you working, or hire you within a minute.”

Suddenly embarrassed, Janet realized her father hadn’t complimented her in years His words had pride and admiration, which he hadn’t shown in a long time.

Preston continued: “As much as I didn’t like your decisions, I never felt you’d be anything but the best at whatever you choose.”

Tears filled Janet’s eyes. She needed to continue, but found she couldn’t find the words.

“Be careful around her belly. She’s a little ticklish and she might jump.”

Janet started brushing the mare, while Preston went to the hay barn for more hay.
When he returned, he found Janet absentmindedly scratching the mare’s neck and staring across the pasture.

“Are you okay?”

“Not really.”

“Do you want to talk?”

Janet waited a few seconds before responding: “I’ve been thinking about a lot of things.”

Preston waited, while Janet gathered her thoughts.

“I used to feel sure about life. Every play was a new challenge and the future was bright.”

“So what’s changed?”

“Business isn’t good and my theater is really struggling. There’s rumors that if things aren’t better after the next production, the doors may close.”

Preston waited without speaking.

“I’ve even thought of coming home; if you would let me.”

Preston put his hand on her shoulder and replied: “Baby, you don’t have to ask to come home.”

Janet waited a moment, turned and found her father had tears in his eyes. She quickly hugged him and laid her head on his shoulder.

Preston was first to speak after a few long moments: “We need to hurry if we’re going to beat the weather.”

Continuing to brush Petey, Janet spoke: “I don’t know what I’d do if I came home.”

“You used to be pretty good with horses; a natural, as far as I was concerned.”

Janet replied: “I guess I was. I even had friends asking for my advice on training.”

“There you go; you can train horses.”

“It’s been a lot of years and I don’t know if I still can.”

“Well, you have Petey to help you. I doubt she’d mind having more attention. We could buy a few colts for a start”

“I don’t have that kind of money. It will cost a fortune to just move.”

Preston continued filling the hay bin for a few minutes before he replied: “I have the money and I’m willing to be partners with you, but with one condition.”

Janet waited for the “condition” she knew she couldn’t accept.”

“You have to keep the books and handle the hiring of helpers.”

Janet realized she was at a crossroad in her life. If she accepted the offer, she knew her life would change forever. New York City would become a memory; she would never return to Broadway.

A little fearful, Janet asked her father: “Can I think about this awhile?”

Preston laughed: “Of course you can, although I think I might have just found me a new business partner.”

Janet smiled, hugged his neck and replied: “Thanks, Dad.”

“You know we’d need more stalls.”

Preston smiled.

“That, and more pasture.”

“The leases come up in a month. I can change the boundaries.”

Janet placed the brush back in the cabinet and walked to the stall door.

“It’s snowing, Dad.”

“Sure enough, it is.”

“Should we close the stall door?”

“Nope; she’ll be fine until this evening.”

“C’mon old man, I’ll make you some breakfast.”

Preston smiled and memories flooded his thoughts. He remembered the summer before Janet’s last year in high school. She’d set up the barrels and was preparing for the 4-H rodeo. Knowing she was worrying too much, he’d made a bet he could beat her time – on her horse.

“That’s a sucker bet.” She replied “And you’re the sucker.”

She beat him, but only by a few seconds.

After the race, she’d commented: “Not bad for an old man.” After that “old man” became a term of endearment.

She won barrels at the rodeo. He remembered the moment and the pride he felt. Janet was on top of the world, until that winter, when her mother died from pneumonia. The loss left a gap between them that never seemed to close. At that time, neither could be consoled and neither could find a way to tell the other how they felt.

As he thought, Preston realized he was still feeling guilt. He just knew he could have done more, yet time made him realize there was nothing either could do.

Janet noticed the sadness on her father’s face.

“Are you okay, Dad?”

For a moment, Preston didn’t hear her. He was still wrapped in the past; and sadness.

“Just thinking of days gone by. They seem like yesterday.”

Suddenly apprehensive, Janet commented: “You know you can change your mind.”

Preston walked for a moment before he spoke: “I never felt I did enough. Your mother was so special, fought as hard as she could, but it wasn’t enough.”

Janet walked in silence, with the events of the past suddenly appearing once again.

“I felt as though I neglected her and took her for granted. She was always there for me and I realized when she needed me most, there was nothing I could do.”

Janet grabbed her father’s shoulder, turned him and said:” You never neglected her.”

Her eyes flooding with tears, she continued:”If anyone neglected Mom, it was me. She gave me so much, only asked little in return and was always there when I needed her.”

Not knowing what to say, Preston only hugged his daughter for a few moments.

Neither knew what to say, but they both had just admitted they felt guilty for something that was never their fault. Both realized the years of dealing with their own spare baggage had left neither with the ability to help each other.

Hooking her arm around her father’s, Janet led him towards the house.

“C’mon Dad; we have some business to discuss.”

“I thought you wanted to think about this.”

Janet smiled and replied: “I did.”

As they approached the house, the heavy flakes increased; graying the distant hills into obscurity. The wind was increasing and the storm would soon place drifts against the house. By morning, the brown trunks and branches of the trees would stand in stark contrast to the solid white of the snow covered fields and gray skies. Winter was arriving as the paint mare pranced through the falling snow.