Sunday, July 21, 2024


This is my first pond yacht build. I have shared photos in past posts. The model is finished. Here are some of the highlights of the build, a short version and video at the end.

POND YACHTS - how to build and sail them  by M. de Lesseps. An excellent book on free-sailing model boats. I used this book as a main source for this 20" model build. "OFFhand" is an older term used to describe these pond yachts and simply means hand-made.

H/T to Tippecanoe Boats. The owner took time to visit with me over the phone, answering questions and helping me order the "T-15 Racing Sloop".  Kick-started this new hobby. The model was 100% quality. Thank you!!

- Material: 1"x 6" western red cedar boards. Easy wood to work with and other choices of wood are slim to none here.

- Keel. Drew up a cardboard design, cut it out and had a local welding shop cut out two from thin, mild steel. Expensive. But simplified the keel need and weight requirements. Table saw cut groove in bottom of hull before any shaping. All glueing of wood and this keel was done using (West System 2-part epoxy) (Gflex). I used this glue building my wooden fishing boat.

- Hull was coated with 50% spar varnish and 50% mineral spirits for float tests.

- Used picture hanging materials to help with rigging. Made pond yacht bowsies from old plastic credit cards and popsicle sticks. Worked great.

- Booms and mast made from strips of cedar ripped to 1/2" x 1/2". Hand-sanded the square shape into octagonal shape.

- Small parts and pieces found at various local hardware stores. What I could not find, I tried making from what was in the shop or by re-purposing other materials. 

- Sails are from dacron/fabric glue purchased at Wmart. Patterns made from card stock and transferred to the fabric. My wife was helpful in showing me how to make and glue the hems. Grommets are 3/16", purchased online. Sail making and working with cloth, in any fashion, was a first for me. Several test sails were made for practice and learning.

- Mast placement was computed from reviewing dozens and dozens of photos of old pond yachts. The center of the main sail always appeared to be in close proximity to the center of the keel and the mast located close to the leading edge of the keel. I made that my rule in the final rigging of this model.

- The overall design and build is representative of much time reading and looking at how "oldtimers" built/rigged their models. 

I hope to find a small lake and dock from which I can set this model free (but tethered) to see if it does sail. Regardless, the model is wonderful art sitting on my computer desk. And yes, model number two is in the planning stage.

 YouTube video of pond yacht build



Interesting times huh?  I think I have taken to becoming a spectator and enjoying the myriad of events unfolding daily. To get lost any deeper serves no purpose. Constantly shaking my head is starting to hurt my neck.

Appreciate the visit this week. Family, friends and time together. Laughter is good.

Sunday, July 14, 2024


It appears that all I have is jibber jabber this week. Having problems with simple downloading of photos and will get that checked out this coming week. Feels like more and more entities want to get involved/between me and simple blogging content. Do not know.

Hurricane Beryl tracked within 5 miles of us and evaporated into a low front and rainstorm when it arrived. It was a rainstorm with some 20 mph winds. We were happy for that given we had anticipated damage/power outages associated with being in the path of the eye of that storm.


The times we are living in takes me back this morning to November 1963 with news that President Kennedy had just been shot. I was walking down an outdoor corridor at our local junior college when I heard the news. There was noticeably much activity of students hurriedly moving out of classrooms and going to the parking lot. Not panic, but movements with purpose. 

I checked into my next class only to find out that the campus had just been closed and we were being told to go home. Our president had been shot, but in my "American Graffiti" world, I felt that "all would be well." I believed that the president had been wounded and details would follow. 

I started my old 1956 Chev and turned on the news. "Assassinated." Radio reports from very solemn reporters immediately brought to life the severity of the event. 

Turning down the winding hill to our college, I can still remember that feeling that something was terribly wrong that was a defining moment. It was a growing up moment for me that I did not understand.

We headed to our homes for the comfort and safety of family. It was the only news event for several weeks as the story unfolded and President Kennedy's funeral and family emotions played in front of the American people. I think many of us, were very naive in the ways of the political world. I know I was. For years. That moment came up again yesterday with the assassination attempt on Donald Trump. 

But this weekend, I am much older. Somewhat better informed and opinionated in an unfolding clown world. President Biden is a challenged leader of this country. I can see this in live news events that play out on the world stage. Commentary from either side of the political spectrum spews, but it is what my eyes and ears tell me that sticks. 

Yesterday live news coverage shows Donald Trump being shot on the side of his head and bending down to minimize himself as a target. The secret service in on him with in a few moments and there is also audio of this interaction with them. I believe that what I saw unfold on live television was a real event of an attempt to assassinate Trump. I will stay with this until proven otherwise. 

It will take time now for the news outlets to feast on each other in their attempt to report "truths" or do everything they can to minimize or turn what we have all seen into being something other that what it is/was. 

And this morning, the talking heads are picking sides and you can find information from the truth to political jibber jabber. My bet is that you too may have already had interactions with family/friends regarding live coverage of Biden's recent press conference and yesterday's attempt on Trump's life.

The photographs of Trump's fist in the air, bleeding from his head shot wound, the American Flag flying above his position and covered with secret service agents, will life on forever and become an iconic photograph that will never go away. Long diatribes will be instantly erased using that photograph.

So today we read and learn, work on Sunday chores and outside chores being  completed before 10AM. Gonna be hot today.


Sitting on the emergency room bed last night, reading my name and age on a wall-hung computer screen caused me to shake my head. For several reasons. Seeing my name and age as 79 years old struck home. Where in the hell did all of these years go. Where? 

I had mistakenly taken an an extra Eloquis blood thinner tablet last night, realized it too late and told my wife to take me to the local emergency room as a precautionary trip.  As I could not find anyone to talk to for good advice, the emergency room was the best choice.

Short version was that taking one extra blood thinner pill would not upset my system and that I should simply forego the morning pill. I would be just fine. But do not make these kinds of mistake again.

I guess I am getting forgetful and do not want to accept the fact. Mistaking pills is a clue and I am aware enough and along with my wife's help, have instituted a fail safe morning and evening document regime starting today. Take pill, check off of list with pen and paper. An hour later should I wonder, go see if the box is checked the pill is gone. Of course, the bride will be there help, reminding and reinforcing. We are a good team. This will become a habit and when our daily schedule is interrupted, this procedure should still work just fine.

As a side note worthy of mentioning. While visiting with the doctor last night, we mentioned to him that I had had a saddle pulmonary embolism (a life-threatening condition characterized by a large blood clot that lodges at the bifurcation of the pulmonary artery, obstructing blood flow to both lungs) a few months back and he, like all of the other doctors looked at me and said that I was lucky to be alive. 

My wife explained how the emergency room there and doctor on call that night was instrumental in saving my life. We had to wait 12 hours for a room to open up at the cardiac hospital before being transported there. 

Last night, the doctor told us that it is common now for local emergency rooms to keep patients several days before being able to transport them to a hospital. He said that this is not just Texas, but a growing problem all across the Untied States. "There are not enough hospital beds".


In keeping with this blogs encouraging of self-sufficiency and planning for down times, living and practicing healthy behaviors will pay off. Being able to get help from medical facilities may not be as available as they have been in the past.


Middle of July, 2024. What ever is coming, is still coming. I do not know what but do not fret over knowing exactly what that will be. My gut tells me though to be the best I can be, take all this **** seriously, and tie up loose ends. 

Thanks for the visit this week.


Wednesday, July 3, 2024



The tall grass in an adjacent field is ready for cutting (shredding). A large parcel of land and our neighbor has made many passes with his tractor and shredder over this past week. Daybreak working and back at dusk working as temperatures in east Texas now are triple digits nearly everyday. Most folks who have outdoor work/chores to do adjust to an early daylight morning, late evening work schedule. Those who can do, for sure. 



In a clown world gone wild, there are still folks who can build and perform to the highest standards an industry demands. Enjoy.


THE SILENT GENERATION   born between 1928 and 1945

+ hard work, loyalty and thriftiness

+ often repair an item before replacing it

show respect to others

+ unlikely to give up when challenges arise

rebound in ways that reflect growth and learning

+ strong work ethic

+ analog-first experiences

made great personal sacrifices

+ fought for their principles early in life

completely or mostly retired now

+ "the builder generation"

 I was born in that era and raised by the folks of the Greatest Generation. Proud of it!

The list above the shovel photo is well representative of my generation. 

The shovel above is one my everyday tools. To this day I have guilt pangs of not maintaining these tools like my grandparents and my folks did. I cleaned, sharpened and oiled this shovel for the photo. Shame on me. It is the best looking yard tool hanging on my tool wall. 

After use, grandparents/parents mandated to clean, wash, sharpen if needed, oil and put away. Never set aside a dirty tool. Tools like these were costly to purchase and with a little care would last a lifetime. Broken handles were replaced from cured branches stacked in the barn. Axe handles and the like, too. Dependable tools meant jobs getting completed. A sharp shovel with a smooth handle works much easier than a dirty, rusty shovel. Spend a few hours using a shovel in daily life routines and that becomes proof positive.

Work ethic:

To this day I remember my mother talking to me when I went for my first job interview at 15 years old. She told me that I was to never sit down or stand around waiting for someone to come to me and find me a job/task. If I found myself with time on my hands, I was to pick up a broom and sweep. Stay busy. There were always little jobs to be done and to be working on. 

That is exactly what I did on the first day when I was hired to work at a Richfield gas station. 

There is great satisfaction and accomplishments putting in a hard day's work. To this day!!!



Finished the pond yacht build earlier this week. A post dedicated to this project later this month. This project has been a great distraction and good for the head. Learned new things every step along the way. 



Made it through June. I was expecting "an event" last month but now the chatter seems to be pointing to the month of September. Big shake up in the presidency now and how all of this is going to shake out is anyone's guess, at best. 

Independence day tomorrow. A chunk of meat goes on the pellet grill at midnight and we will be taking part in good eats that come with this holiday tomorrow. Two hundred and forty eight years since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. 

A hundred degrees here tomorrow. I will spend the day in flip flops, swim trunks, an old junk t-shirt and enjoy one cold beer as a treat.We are planning a relaxing day.

Have a wonderful 4th, enjoy family and friends, grill something. 

Appreciate the visit.




Sunday, June 23, 2024


 Simple Song of Freedom (1969-1971), Bobby Darin

The words and music speaks as loud today as it did nearly 30 years ago. I have listened to this song over the years, but it rings louder these days than ever before.


 Heat .gif  

Updated hourly. Might be worth putting the link on a home screen and be able to pull up a real time heat map this summer of the USA.


 First cutting of hay, 2024

Another year, another season for getting in winter hay. Rain has set back the first cuttings this year. A nearby field above is descriptive of the local landscapes along back roads of the Piney Woods. I am told that the next cutting produces a better quality bail of hay. Less weeds! Most likely only two hay harvests this season.



Mast and boom coming together on the 20" pond yacht build.

First prototype sail attempt below. Using Dacron and gluing the hems. First attempt better than I had anticipated. Three sixteenths grommets install easily. Look good and are functional. 

Working with any kind of cloth is new to me. Terminology along with methods of folding/gluing to achieve a sail that replicates the fitted pattern. Photos next post should show a mainsail fitted to the mast and boom.



We are entering into the 3 months of HOT in Texas. Temperatures approaching triple digits this past week and I expect that we should hit that by the 4th of July. 

It is what it is. We learned how to cope and endure winter snow and ice storms while living in NH. Now we continue our education of how to best to get through the long hot days of Texas.

We started this week by getting outside by 07:00 and completing yard work and plant watering NLT 09:00. Getting back outside in the evenings after 7:30 PM will be another option. Sun will be down and plenty of shade to work in. 

Radiation Burn 

A difficult read, writer experience shared. I find him hard to read, but in this instance, regardless of if I like what he says or not, there is good information on taking care of burns. And I think he is correct, I am not seeing anyone talking of things like this. Lots of finger pointing and OMG OMG. Give some thought of having to take care of burns in the times ahead and not having the meds on hand. So, food for thought and solutions actionable. 

Appreciate your visit. 


Sunday, June 16, 2024


Late posting:

Oklahoma spawned a large storm and sent it south though us Tuesday morning. Lots of flooding rain for hours and around 0200 killed the power for 10K folks in the neighborhood. I figured the power would be out for 12 hours plus, but the boys who work with electricity had us back on at 0800. First world problem though for us was that coffee is always ready at 0400. Like clock work!!

The old school days percolator was pulled from the back of the kitchen cabinet, filled with 8 cups of water and 4 scoops of coffee. Set on the outside cooking burner and watched over. I cannot remember the last decade I used this tool. 

Of course, I was raised in a household where the morning coffee was made this way. Dad had his stove top percolater routine down like we do, setting the timer on our electric pot. But a percolating pot has to be watched. How long to let it "cook" determines the quality (or not) of the morning coffee. In a perfect world, somewhere around 7 minutes on a low heat boil (perk). 

The coffee bubbles to the top, drains back down through the basket over and over till the coffee is done. "Done" is all up to the person making the coffee. I test poured a few times into a white cup to determine the coffee "doneness" by how it poured, color, thickness and gut level feeling. 

I thought that I had let the coffee perk too long. Looked too deep in color.  But come to find out this was the perfect cup of coffee and far out performed my electric timer skill set. 

A small spoon of 100% cocoa powder was mixed well with some hot black coffee. One sweetener. Stirred and stirred. Then more black coffee and a good shot of cream and stirred and stirred. 

Too hot to tell at first. Too hot to even sip. Patience. After a few minutes, I learned the true meaning of "robust." And it was just that. Had body. It was exactly what a cup of coffee should be. Second cup w/o chocolate and it too was robust with deep flavor. 

My wife was skeptical. A dead dark morning with only flash lights to start the day. I told her when she got up that I had made old school coffee and for her go ahead and make her cup of coffee that same way she always made it. I could hear the hesitation in her voice and I think she was giving in to my opinion that it was a great cup of morning coffee. 

If you camp, hike or play with cooking anything outside, you know how to use a percolator coffee pot heated over an open flame or using outdoor cook station. But if the only coffee you make comes from an electric switch flipped coffee maker on the kitchen counter, you may consider learning how to use a percolator coffee pot. Add a new skill set to your bucket of tools.



....  forecast for the week ahead.............and of this morning, 6/16/24, I am back to try to get back on posting schedule. So, yep the warmth is upon us here in east Texas and you will be hearing about the Texas heat again in the weeks ahead. "It's a thang!!!"


Old Friend

The first CRKT knife I ever purchased. Found at a secondhand store in NH. I have been a fan ever since. Used, abused and am most impressed with the sharp edge these knives hold. A few minutes on a stone and good to go. I have abused the shaprening procedure on this knife and it still is foregiving in the sharpening process. EOTW knife for sure.



Last weekend was a whole chicken pellet grilling weekend. Grill cleaned and fired up. Chicken prepped. I had been looking forward to this cook. I so enjoy weekend grilling.

The bride held the kitchen door open for me and I moved to the grill in the carport. Opened the grill lid and grabbed the chicken and it just happened. Chicken slipped towards me, pan tilted and down my leg the chicken went leaving a seasoning mess from my knee to my foot. It came to rest next to a tool box and  on the cement carport floor. 

I was verbally upset and it is a very good thing we live blocks away from neighbors. And there it sat, mostly void of any seasoning at all of that was on my clothes. All my work and prepping sitting still on the cement garage floor. There is no 5 second rule here. The checken was lost. For so many reasons. 

My wife knew I was upset,  what to do?

Not giving in to the run-away chicken, I set off for the market, picked up chicken pieces, seasoned them and on the grill they went. An hour lost but dinner would still be on time. Besides, grilling chicken pieces was on my bucket list of meats to grill some weekend ahead. 

Come to find out, smoking/cooking/grilling checken pieces works wonderfully, no flavor lost and soooooooooo much easier than a whole or half chicken cook. Lessons learned.



Nine AM, Earl Campbell Kielbasa and a small chuck roast on the grill. Kielbasa for lunch and the chuck roast was a test. I have read good things about smoking beef chuck roasts. 

Finished the chuck roast at noon and put on a small prime rib for dinner. The chuck roast was covered in foil and went in the kitchen oven to finish the cook. The roast will be tested later this week. 

The wood pellet grill is one of the best grills, if not the best grill, I have ever owned. The photo of the prime rib speaks for intself. Each time I grill, I get a little bit better. 

Hey, no prime rib on the car port cement floor!! 



Harbor Freight, a hundred bucks. I have been shopping for a few months, but have not been able to make a decision on a small drill press. Finally decided on this one and am happy with the tool. Added a larger and heavier base and a larger table to drill on. A few more hacks in the works, but for now have a small portable drill press for drill pressing jobs. I do like the small LED  adjustable light. 

What Bears Do

Neighbor friend in New Hampshire sent this photo from outside her kitchen window this morning. She watched the bear come through the fence and get onto the bird feeder. 

No matter how hard I tried, I could never bear-proof our bird feeders while we lived there. The harder I worked to protect the feeder, the worse the damage from a determined bear. The bear always won.



First rigging attempt for visual reference only. Will this work? Can I get the lines tight enough? How do I do that? Need to learn how to make Bowsies? Questioning mast mounting method. Need backstay? Probably!

I think I need to clean off my work bench and re-group. More research. Get away from it for a day or two.



The past few weeks have been storms, power outages and now the onset of Texas heat. Temperatures in the 90s now. Maybe some rain Monday and Tuesday. But triple digits are on their way.

I am numb these days with the challenging times we live in. Nuclear war porn, Putin this, Zelensky that, clown world and maybe one of our aircraft carriers on the run due to damage from an attack. Not really sure as who/what can you believe anymore? If real news is shared publicly, it is suspect. It is a story one day and disappears the next.

Draft coming for 18-26 year olds. How is thing going to play out? A story worth keeping up to date on. If Vietnam tore this nation apart, what will this draft do? 

In the meantime. One day at a time. Family and friends do not talk of these things. Maybe that is best. And with most all of my posts these days, I know that I just do not know.

Thanks for the visit this week. I will try to get back on the Sunday posting schedule. 

Make this coming week a good week!




Tuesday, June 4, 2024



Storm after storm after storm. Rain on top of rain. Power outages accompany some of these storms often enough to where we have become well-trained for short or long term outages. 

Because my sleep patterns and midnight trips to the storm shelter are interrupting daily routines for the past month or so, I found my wife sitting on the edge of the bed this morning at 6 AM. Quietly talking to me with her hand on my side. Waking me. Time for my morning pill. She worries about these kinds of things. 

She tugs me softly into waking. Sits quietly by my side as I wake into the new day. "There is a big storm over Oklahoma this morning," she says. I reply that we are not going to Oklahoma then. She agreed. And the awakening begins.

She has been up at 4 AM, our regular morning get up time. I have slept in 2 hours past that and feel somewhat guilty that two hours of the day have already passed me by. But I can feel the extra sleep/rest and that it was a good choice for my body over mind this morning. 

And I/we do not feel special in this Texas seasons rain and storm patterns. The nation, Pacific North West, central states, New England and the South. Thousands of folks enduring some storm/severe storm drama. Regardless, it is wearing on all in varying degrees. I should not complain!


Might as well finish some others worries for this week too. I internalize most all this now. From Theburningplatform


20" Pond Yacht mast mount

Center of balance and center of pressure points marked with green tape. Adjustable mast mount finally built and installed. Final float test shows the boat a little stern heavy, but not enough for me to worry about. Also lists to port a bit but I do not care. Now, that is engineering problem-solving at its best, huh?

Finding small parts and pieces and some inability to make decisions have slowed down progress.

Did I mention that it is again pouring down rain outside. I digress!



As a younger man, I thought people 79 year-olds were old. Old man. Old woman. Now, having arrived here, I see that 98 years old is an old person. Maybe birthdays are just numbers. But I do know that the older I get, the older I get. I can look back and often do, but there is no going back.

My wife just came in and asked if I have my phone near by. "Take a look at what is coming."

A stationary front sits just south of us and to the north.......

Have a great week and I appreciate your visit.

Sunday, May 26, 2024


20" Pond yacht sail boat first float test.

Keel epoxied in place and hull coated with thinned varnish for this test. Keel also painted with rust preventive paint. Two coats.

Top photo, float seems fine. The bottom photo has deck pinned in place, but I will go with a 3/4" western red cedar deck. Lighter in weight, also.

The bottom of the bow is shaped up and I am not sure if the bow needs some weight or if it is fine. I hate to add weight I cannot remove if I am wrong.

Generally speaking, I am happy. 

The model floats higher in the water than I had expected. Surprised at the buoyancy.



We have been in east Texas for 4 years and I cannot remember seeing yucca plants in bloom. We happened on these mid-week on an off-road excursion. 

The fields, full of these blooming plants were gorgeous and I doubt that the photos captures the grandeur and lush abundance of these indigenous plants.



Yep, that time of the season again.


Behind in posting. 

We were sent to the storm shelter last twice last week. "Tornado warning near our location, get to shelter immediately."

Takes us about a minute to move from the house to the shelter. Nasty, hard pelleting rain and a rotational radar touch down in Scroggins. Then, about an hour later, another radar rotational touchdown indicated in Purley. I looked at power outages around Scroggins and, sure enough, over a thousand outages so something happened there.

We find this wearing. Tornados are not taken lightly for obvious reasons. Stress levels are higher and at the end of our day, even more so. When I am tired, I am not a nice person. The good news is that I recognize this now and try a little harder to mitigate my pissy attitude towards things with which I do not want to deal. 

Today a 105 degree heat index. Not even June yet. High humidity along with temperatures in the low 90s drains my energy in moments. I am again reminded of all of this as this new summer season approaches.

Adjustments to long hot summer setting in. Morning passing thunderstorm just now changed lawn mowing plans and other yard chores.

Is this what it takes to sit myself down and get this post posted?


This past week: 

A good check up for her and I from the dentist's office and a good eye exam for me to boot. Our local optometrist has literally saved the deterioration of my eyesight. OTC eye health vitamins, prescription eye drops, Vitamin D with K2, lots of water every day with electrolytes and a diet full of fresh vegetables, fruits and low carb meals.  

Short version, the benefits of a healthy diet are paying off in the reports I am getting from eye scans and blood work. Numbers are improving dramatically and I am feeling much better over all. 

My optometrist and local doctors both have given me thumbs' up for following their advice and acting on the new regimen. Both say that not many patients listen to their advice for bettering personal health. But damn near dying from a saddle block embolism is a motivator. 

My optometrist offered this narrative review on Vitamin K. Not many health care professionals go out of their way to inform patients of the "whys" of taking health supplements. My eye health has stabilized and improved because of this doctors personal care and professionalism.

Side story.

An older gentleman walked into the optometrists office the day of my appointment  and of course my wife chats him up. He said he was 92 years old and tripped over tongue of the trailer attached to his lawn mower the previous night at 9 PM. Fell on the cement and hit his head/right eye and looked a little bruised. Wanted to get a check up "from the doc." He admitted that he would no longer be mowing his lawn at dusk.


Pond yacht update.

Western red cedar top deck glued on model pond yacht and stained. First coat of varnish on the top deck, but the humidity prevents further finish work for awhile.

Mast, rigging and sail making in the month of June. Progress here as of this posting.

Appreciate your visit. Have a wonderful week.