Sunday, December 31, 2017



Visited with a good friend a few days ago who awoke to leaking pipes on Christmas Eve and worked that problem through Christmas Day. And once again, winter has arrived like a semi-truck at full throttle on a downhill run.

We are prepared for the most part. The cold, though, has a way creeping in through windows, nooks, crannies and on bedsheets turned back awaiting evening's arrival and the shoulders are "enjoying" an increase in overall discomfort as a seasonal side-dish. 

Winter is here. 

Our Golden has these mornings dialed in. 

Snow fall fractures.

Wood stove is at peak heat and struggles to help keep the warm home. Bedrooms, office doors closed and drapes hang over doors to the outside to help heat loss.  Appears not to be a passing fancy of Mother Winter but a trend lasting well into January. 


-5 Degrees Sun Rise


Drone landed under the Christmas tree last weekend. It has had it first flight and all works well but this pilot has alot to learn. 

Expect drone photos, videos and general drone talk this coming year. 



I am trying to avoid much thinking and worrying about the year ahead. 

Probably more alien stories, as if no one ever suspected or knew about any of this since the days of cave paintings and carvings. Nor have there ever been hundreds of thousands of reports and photos from hundreds of thousands people over the history of the world. Then there is the government telling me/us there is nothing here of interest, etc.

There are some accounts of F4 Phantom pilots encountering alien craft while on missions over Vietnam and North Vietnam. One might give a sighting from a pilot or fighter pilot some credence. 

There are believers and there are non-believers. I am a believer. To think we are the only intelligent beings (that is a stretch, huh?) in a universe beyond our imaginations seems short-sighted and closed-minded. But that is me. Might we all memorize "Klaatu barada nikto" just in case. 

Talk of war.

For years here, a theme in our lives has been concern for a day in the future when all hell breaks loose. There are enough tipping points floating around in the world that one shot in the dark might just might be enough to pull the wrong stick from a very tall Jenga stack. 

My last net headline visit over the past weeks is "war breaking out in the next 12 weeks." Maybe sooner, maybe it is longer, but generals putting a real time period on world war possibility gives me serious pause. This will be the front and center elephant in my home this coming year. For years past, these prophecies have been well into the future, ie., years away. To see it now being talked of being weeks away is bothersome at best.

Add the boat-loads of distractions and misdirections on the screens to cloud any long-range vision or plan.  

Not going to go crazy, flail hands in the air and run circles looking for a safe place. But plan to stick to the plan that is - in theory here - a point for blogging. Sharing any thoughts on an after with you (and prepping) is helpful for me to vent some, think out loud, continue to act accordingly and live a life. The more of us that are better prepared means that more of us are better prepared.

I believe that 2018 can be wonderful year of all around growth. As I look forward to this I will continue the tendency to turn around and look over my shoulder. 



Publishing later this morning. Fingers are cold and it takes a few hours for this room to come to comfort. Small fan pulling warmth of the hallway and electric heater on under the table. Coffee cup number two.

New Year's Eve tonight. The wife and I have lobster for New Year's Eve every year. OK, two lobsters. That makes four lobsters. We may watch some of the world festivities in passing on TV. We are looking forward to episode 7 of season 7 Game of Thrones. Most likely bedtime will be "tenish" and we will read tomorrow morning last years New Year's Eve major headlines. The new year will begin quietly for us.

I've been seeking words of wisdom encompassing a year past and old man guidelines to share with all in the new year. Sometimes, trying too hard produces less than loosening the reigns and going with the normal flow. I yield to the normal flow.

I appreciate your visits. The technology these days opens doors that I never ever dreamed of and writing of things that are read by folks around the world, on a daily basis, is beyond my ability to fully grasp. My seventh-grade teacher told me that if I did not learn to write using cursive (instead of printing), I would be a failure in life. I did not believe her then and continued to go against the grain of cursive writing. Printing won out. I was stubborn. 

Communicating like this now is a normal flow in today's world. I will go with that into the new year. 

In keeping: enjoy, laugh, be close, open to learning the new, heads up, look over your shoulders often and continued working on self-sufficiency. 

Happy New Year World.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


"So, don't fly drones in freezing rain. The props gathered ice....lost its aerodynamic proprieties. Could stay flying. No damage, landed in snowy field. Propellers were covered in ice."

"Gotta test those limits."

Son is 37 and has been testing limits all of his life. Puts smiles on his face and in return, time with him is always an adventure. 

He has had his drone for months now and when he gives me a flight lesson, I take it easy and work a comfortable learning curve. I am totally hooked on this. But when he gets bored with me flying, he takes over and in seconds zooms out of sight. Makes me nervous, but I am learning. I have old habits to break and new ways of thinking to acquire. I am just not going to get there like the youngster.  

This is a photo from a trip he took this last week with his fiancee. Ugly weather day with every weather prediction but warmth and sun. 

I just know he was laughing as he picked the drone up out of the icy snow with props iced over. We will not be flying in ice rain conditions. 

Days before Christmas:

Birds disappearing into the snowy limbs and winter nesting.

Birds are out in droves at the two main feeders. Squirrels who dare to romp through the heavy snow, too, but not many. Like the little fellow pictured here, none appear undernourished. 

Dressing for snow removal is like dressing for battle-
Spiral ham from brother-in-law and scrambled eggs-
Wood stove throttle at 450 degrees-
Home nooks and corners cool to cold-
Homemade Christmas gift completed-
Nearly a dozen reports of cars on their roofs-

Tax cuts-

Not a perfect world but I/we feel real hope this season-
Good friends, very good friends-
Many many many folks saying “Merry Christmas”, smiling, happy-
857 blog hits in one day last week-
-1, -8, -9, -1, 2, -2, -6, -4, 0 & 5 degrees coming-
Stockings stuffed, cookies delivered, egg nog, tree trimmed-
Afternoon hot chocolate and good conversations-

Prayers said and prayers answered-
16 five gallons of sand and salt on the driveway-
Bunny, big cat(s), deer, moose tracks, nighttime crisscrossings-
We all know what we are getting for Christmas, for the most part-

White Christmas 2017

Around eight inches of freshly fallen Christmas day snow. Storm came through quickly and left the same way. I had it all removed by noon and Christmas dinner and opening presents hooked up on time with son and his fiancee. 

It was their first Christmas decorating their house and setting the Christmas meal. We were all like kids. Christmas music in the back ground, fresh cut and decorated tree with our presents at the base. Dinner was typical with more side dishes than were necessary but a part of setting any holiday meal for family. 

Stocking stuffer presents first then all the socks, calendars and toys. Not over the top by any means, but long moments together watching each other open presents. Giggles, OMGs and the present that put tears in my son's eyes. We knew it would and we all teared up. A homemade box from dad with a three generation hand me down family heirloom. A brass plaque telling the linage set the stage for what was inside. It was grand. Son said he knew that many old family members hands had held his gift. He was right.


Late post and will blame it on weather and the holiday. 

With Christmas behind us and a few days to re-group before the new year, I am thankful for a million things this past year. Your visits here from time to time is one of those things. 

God Bless and heads up heading into the new year.

Sunday, December 17, 2017


Predictions from the weather folk was 3-6 inches. We received over ten. The northern stretches of the state piled up 17 inches. Light powder which always makes for good photos just about anywhere I point the camera. 

Of course, the whole east coast was blanketed in snow several weeks ago and lots of OMG OMG snow stories. The stories are the same, just a different year. Folks are coming together and so forth. It is apparent to me now, that none of us ever came together in years past, for any reason. 

The little birds were out in droves as heavy snow fall covered a lot of their grazing area. In this sunrise photo, they were up and at it early. I cleared this feeder the night prior and topped it off for them that morning. The other feeders were empty so a town run for more suet and feeder blocks was in order. 

And these little fellows have no fear in this kind of weather. I was shooting snow over this spot for quite awhile during snow removal and they would move off and on the feeding like it was a no-never-mind. 

There is something very heartwarming to see birds hitting the feeders like fish hit a hook. They are just making a living like the rest of us and I believe appreciative of the winter help.

Drone photo of the first snow fall and a swollen creek running through it. Typical terrain and snow cover in middle New Hampshire this time of year.


Rescuing a Bunny

One dingleberry has to jump to the forefront of media to call this racism.  Just another reason why I think it is too late for all of us. The CA wild fires are tearing people lives up. Hell of a holiday season for thousands and thousands. But there has always been unsung heroes in all of the chaos this world has endured and the guy that rescued this little bunny is the heart of who we really are. The racist author of the story: NOT.

Watch the video. I think that little bunny overcame his fear of man and trusted his life to him. This video should be shared with every person we know. When you share this video with youngsters, tell them that this is really who we are.


Take time to scroll down and look at the 69 picture photo gallery. Compelling! 

Fast forward to 50 seconds and enjoy the show. 


My bet is that this service will soon be available in the USA. A little imagination and this too will become one of those "who let the Genie out of the box?" social malfunctions. 


A feel-good video.

A great window into technology and people helping people. I am amazed that this works. I am also refreshed at this young man and folks just like him who use and push current technology capabilities. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year I say!


Stocking Stuffer Idea

Nebo Cryket  $25-$30

I have suggested (tools) here in past posts and only to the purpose for sharing something that works for me.This little flashlight is priced right and well serves me nightly and as a flashlight to have in my truck. 

Three settings. Bright spotlight, floodlight and red light. The head turns 90 degrees and the base has a magnet hold. Fits easy into my hand, pocket and on/off switch easier than the button being on the back end of a flashlight. Spot light is strong enough for all around use and would serve well as an in-your-face light at night for a deterrent.

Photos above do not do justice to the power of this little light due to early morning light and the camera flash. 

There are other flashlights for similar pricing to choose from. Some that can drill a deep hole into the back woods. But for all around "everynight" and emergency use, this little flash light deserves a spot in anyone's flashlight rack. You will wish you ordered two!


Son and fiancee are having us over for the very first time on Christmas Day for dinner. I have this big laughing going on inside of me as they are asking questions about this and questions about that and I hear some pause in their chatting indicative of "the worry" of having parents officially over for a holiday meal and gathering. Little do they know they have opened the proverbial door for the future now as this responsibility is officially passed on to them this year; forever!! 

Next year we will be asking; "What time is Thanksgiving dinner?"...or "Christmas Eve or Christmas Day at your place."  I get all warm and fuzzy at just the thoughts. 

Christmas spirit this week a must. Say it with me now, "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year." 

As always, I appreciate your visit this week. Days will be longer next time we meet.

Sunday, December 10, 2017


I get a kick out of the little chipmunks who freeze in place when I walk up to the feeders. A good defense mechanism if there is some cover. Movement will always give away stealth. I can usually get fairly close, but did put the telephoto lens on for this shot. Jowls full and gone in a flash as I got to close. There must be hundreds of little caches around the out back here for the work of these critters prepping for winter. 



The mall died here a few years ago and will never again be the shopping experience it once was. A few shops leaving at first, then the shut down of the food court quickly followed by the remainder of most of the other shops. 

This past week, there were no Christmas decorations and just half as many center isle kiosks as last year. As irony would have it, the only kiosk we wanted to visit was not open because the worker did not show up for work.

The stores that are still open for business cannot over come the sadness of closed spaces and the coldness of a sinking ship. 

A few older folks were walking the isles for exercise and other sitting around visiting.  I think there is still a small coffee shop open in the back corner.

I walked in silence, snapped a couple photos and tried to envision the times when it was wall to wall people bustling in the comings and goings of the holiday season.

No escaping changing times. 

Weightless...with music by First Aid Kit.

The best six minutes of your day. Full screen and sound up. Enjoy



Well, it is the season and cookie makings are every where here. In some places stacked upon each other. Our place mats are barely available for some cinnamon toast and coffee in the morning. Lunch and dinner fend for themselves as more cookies are in the queue in the days ahead. 

Chocolate chip, peanut butter, hermits, Russian tea cakes and another new addition this season, oatmeal raisin. My wife has bagged up four gifts of cookies for me to start off the deliveries on our list today. Local folk with whom we see often and who have all endeared themselves to us in various ways during the course of each year will get a bag of cookies before Christmas. Handing over cookies always brings a smile and most know that when we walk in the door this time of the year, the reason why. 

We touch base, always laugh and smile, hand over cookies and all wish each other all the good things in life this time of the year. It is good for the heart, the giving of gifts and the sharing of homemade cookies. 



Thursday out driving and hoping to catch the sun at one of the inlets or harbors on Lake Sunapee. These two photos were taken just as the sun is setting over the inlet at Georges Mills. Top photo looking south from the dock landing and the bottom photo is looking east out of the inlet that opens into the larger lake.

I knew the moment I pulled into the small parking lot that I had just a few minutes to get the shot as the sun was quickly setting. With any photo adventure, all is needed is one good photograph to make the time and efforts worth it all. A few minutes later I did a panorama photo using my cell phone, but by then the drama of the setting sun and lake reflections were gone. 

The horizontal lines in the water, bottom photo, upper center left, are a couple ducks that thought it time to go swimming not realizing they were going to have impact on my perfect moment. Actually, they were more than welcome as wonderful moments for photography do not come that often. Wildlife always adds to the outdoors.  



The elephant in the room, for me these days, is the ever-looming and selling of war and end of times. False flags, imploding/exploding and the omniscient blonds selling themselves as hard as they sell three-day old news. The hatred of one half of America for the other half is like nothing I have ever seen nor felt before. And as much as I would like to believe that all of this societal upheaval is limited to "The Beltway" and large left cities, I can feel it oozing from corners and crevasses of our local government, towns and cities. 

Maybe this photo from American Digest, December 8, 2017 is over the top. But the photo is one of many from SoCal fires where over 200k folks have had to evacuate. After photos show complete destruction from raging wind and fire. The "meme-ing" of this photo regarding our entry into the new year is at least worthy of thought.  

Does the photo tell a story? I think to some degree. If so much in media, print and photography these days foretells times ahead, then might we just continue to shore up or lives as best we can? I am not advocating running crazy in circles with hands waving over head yelling "the sky is falling, the sky is falling." I am though thinking out-loud here that continuing a path of self-sufficiency and preparedness still needs to be on our heads up displays during this Christmas and New Years season. 



Four inches maybe; powder and beautiful. Dog and cat made their first season prints at daybreak this morning. Single digit temperatures in a few days and the game is on. 

Thanks again for the visit this week and go bake some cookies.

Sunday, December 3, 2017


Sugar Shack that has seen better days. Folks made maple syrup here a time ago.

An old barn, nestled next to one of our local roads, that has all but collapsed.
Maybe the history for the owner is more important than a complete tear down and renewal?



I picked up the camera this past week, hopped in the truck and took off to find something of interest close by. Often is not necessary to look very far for things worthy to photograph or write about. Our backyards are full of life and sharing / story telling that just might feed the restlessness inside of me. Readers may also enjoy some change here. Hell, there may even be a point at the end of these blogs to boot. 

I found the lower photo above over a month ago. Happened on a local "townie" we met years ago but our paths had not crossed in quite awhile. I was out driving back roads when I came across her and her dog working in the yard. We chatted while and her dog seemed nervous at someone new on the dirt road near their home. I told her I was out looking for things to photograph. As I was leaving, the bottom photo (above) passed by my driver's door. I did not get out because of her dog's discomfort with my presence but the old building grabbed me. I have a big fondness for photo stories like these. 

Our paths crossed again last weekend at the dump and we chatted. She said I could come by anytime and photograph all I wanted. She also mentioned that there was an old sugar shack further down the narrowing country road. "You might like that to photograph" she said.

How right she was. The sugar shack above was textbook perfect for some history and local color through photography. I love the photo.



Her was out with the girls teaching classes yesterday which left me home alone and to my own devices. I had the kitchen to myself and a plan. Chex Mix, which I can over dose on, but have never made. Check.

Peanut butter cookies which we both love, but never take the time to make. How hard can it be? Check.

A whole bucket of pre-mixed chocolate chip cookies from a local chain store cooler. No reason to ever have to mix these at home any more. Check.

Dutch oven-braised beef spare ribs in a red wine sauce. Pioneer Woman recipe. Ree Drummond is my favorite chef.  For dinner tonight. Check.

BUT it is peanut butter cookies I want to talk about. 

I tried three different recipes under the delusion that peanut butter was peanut butter and the thinking that most all recipes were similar in content and all would yield a wonderful cookie. 

Son's finance says that she always uses Crisco in making PB cookies because the cookies taste so much better. I agree, now and have a hint of memory of others saying that Crisco in some baking is better than butter. 

Peanut butter is not peanut butter. I believe that some brands are better than others, or maybe the jar that has been sitting on the storage shelf for a year has lost it flavor on the bedpost overnight. 

In the photo above, which is the best peanut butter cookie? And you would be right!

Here is the recipe I found in a fogged overlay from the net. Some sites want you to become a member of their "family" before they will share anything. Silly folks. 

1/2 cup of Crisco
3/4 cup of Jiff peanut butter (creamy)
1 1/4 cup of light brown sugar packed
3 tablespoons of milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla ( I used some gifted vanilla from down south)
1 large egg
1 3/4 cup of flour. I will use a little less next time; maybe 1 1/2 cup.
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda

I mixed all dry ingredients hand-stirred them; then all ingredients into a mixer for about a minute or two. Let it cool overnight in the fridge because it was the end of the day and I was tired of cooking. 

First cup of coffee this morning, third recipe and 40 cookies later, this is the cookie we were looking for.

And just now before posting, I pulled down Mom's hand-me-down Betty Crocker Cook Book and found what I was looking for on page 206. It appears that Betty Crocker is the heart and soul of most all internet peanut butter cookie recipes. The reason to use less flour from the recipe above is that in the olden days,  flour was sifted onto a sheet of wax paper and then added per recipe requirements. Flour packed into measuring cups directly from the flour bin tends to be more that what it is; ie., a cup of bin flour is more than a cup of sifted flour. 

Regardless, we have our cookie recipe now that works and will tweak it some in the cookie making season ahead.

I think all any of us really need is a couple old hand me down cook books that have history smudges on some of the pages. The good old days are called the good old days for a reason.   



"...don't know if we can blame the dogs in this case."

Third time a dog has discharged a gun in that area? Seriously?

If ya gotta tell a hunter to "safe" his/her gun, then might that hunter seriously re-think hunting as a sport. Maybe golf, dominoes or a yo-yo. 



..and snow is officially forecast for next weekend. Her will start her cookie baking for family and friends after breakfast this morning. The wood stove finds the dog on the hearth behind it and the cat is still in her heated bed in the garage. 

Seek the spirit early this season. The shortest day of the year is on a close horizon and we head into spring before we are really even ready for winter.

Here in middle New England, we have three months to do, like it or not. But that the days will be getting longer by one to two minutes per day heading into the new year adds up. 

Thanks for the visit this week and go make some cookies!! 


Sunday, November 26, 2017


No, this is not enough whipping cream. It is a start and as the pumpkin becomes visible in the pie eating thereof, more whipping cream is applied. Most likely not appropriate when in company and that is why I do not eat holiday PP when shared visiting or with visitors. 

Gravy is applied in like fashion. In my world, it is whipping cream and pie or gravy with meat and potatoes. Showing a photo of last weeks meat loaf and mashed potatoes only turns out to show a plate of gravy with bumps in it. 

But know that there is a lot of satisfaction in those moments and a smile just for me.


A quiet Thanksgiving here on the hill. We opted for ham and special potatoes. Thanksgiving dinner was a month ago while brother-in-law and wife were here visiting. Son and fiancee also stayed home this Thanksgiving having just come down with flu symptoms. We delivered dinner to them. 

Her and I watched a few old movies and generally puttered around the house, keeping the fire going. The late afternoon was completed with an hour nap in my man chair. 

Any watching of football now, like in days past, is long gone. Habits changed and more so as the NFL doubles down. There are so many other things to be doing and thinking about. Who knew?


We have never ventured out on this day of the year. We did though give some serious consideration earlier in the week, only to have that thought dashed while out shopping on the day before Thanksgiving. It was already a mad house on the road in a few of the bigger chain stores. We found ourselves holding our breaths and behaving like we were in a dodge ball encounter. Her took a number to look at a few specialty items and found she was number 53 in line to be waited on.

Back on our quiet north freeway to home, we exhaled and collectively sighed "no way."


Baby was watching us do some last of the season yard work yesterday. She spent some of her birthday in one of her favorite spots, keeping an eye on all that we are doing. Ball close by and her world was is in order. 



Have a wonderful week and thanks again for visiting.


Sunday, November 19, 2017


Yep, kitchen table a mess. 

Just emerging from a bout with this season's flu. First morning in a week where I think I will live. The wife brought it home from Texas two weeks ago (we think) and was the first to go down with a raw sore throat and loss of voice for three days straight. This flu hit her much harder than it hit me. Just as she was coming out and able move about, I went down and she was taking care of me. We were fortunate that one of us was well enough to help the other. All in all, we have both been out of the loop going on 18 days.

There are a few good lessons. HONEY saved the day for us. The sore throat that starts this season's flu mess is not to be taken lightly. For all the home flu and cold remedies available for review on the net, HONEY worked best from the get-go. For her, it helped her be able to swallow when she could not for a day or two due to raw throat and swallowing was next to impossible. I heated up some honey and started her with dips and sips off a spoon. It worked. Soothed her throat allowing for more fluid intakes and right into warm tea and honey. We lived on tea and honey for several days. Once her throat improved, other liquids and solids followed. Cold vanilla milkshakes from the local drive-through and sips of ice water also helped at the onset of her bout. Our doctor said that having popsicles in the freezer are also helpful to soothing sore throats.

I started on Emergen-C which works for me as preventative and helps boost my immune system. Hell, I do not really know, but it has been 10 years since I have been this sick and attribute those non-sick years to "pre-loading" my system with the vitamins in that product. I was also better rested and prepared going into this flu than the wife was. Regardless, the flu this season schooled us on how bad it can be.

If you have not had the flu or cold this season, then I will advise to prepare  now.

*Put in a few pounds of good honey from a local farmers market.  It cost more but makes a difference. Also put some in for the After.

*Do you home work on other OTC products. Chloraseptic spray helps numb the throat. 

*Nyquil and Dayquil products. Very helpful these past two weeks. 

*Zicam. Review this product. We heard about it after it was too late but will add to our list for next time around. Some folks we have talked to swear by it.

*Magic Mouthwash EQU was prescribed by our doctor and has to be compounded. Your corner pharmacy will not have the stuff to make this, but the pharmacies at the large, all-purpose chains can. It is pink, has a short shelf life and helped. We could have done all of this w/o this prescription, but in the middle of both of us battling this flu, we would go through the trouble to get it again. Nasty tasting but quiets a raw throat instantly and for awhile.  If you can get this from your doctor ahead of time to have on had this flu season might be worth your time. Tastes as nasty as it looks.

*Cough drops and zinc lozenges helped keep a quiet throat. Do your homework on zinc lozenges ie., when not to use. 

*Old home remedies: Any of the old home remedies handed down through the family over the years is worth noting and having on hand. Also, the net is filled with great ideas for sore throats and flu-helping advice. 

*Comfort foods. For us it was homemade chicken soups, oatmeal, white rice with butter and sugar, scrambled eggs, sugar cinnamon toast and constant hot/warm tea with honey. We went through a pound of honey this bout.

*Vicks Vabo-Rub. Yep, works as well as it did 70 years ago as a young child. Good coating on the chest, covered in a warming cloth and then a hot water bottle set on top and t-shirt pulled over to hold in place. Helps break up congestion.  

Saturday morning now as I write and we have both come out of this flu and in kitchen cleanup mode.  Re-storing meds in our "Box O Flu" and putting back on the medicine shelf. 


Big travel week and Black Friday ahead. Time of the seasons to be around more folks than we normally are. The chances of someone in your family picking up something and bringing it home is worth betting on. If you are prepared for the nasty sore throat that comes with this season's flu, you will be way ahead of the game. If you are traveling this week, take it with you.

Talk to a pharmacist about any OTC cold and flu remedies and seek their advice. They see it all and most likely can give some insight that may be helpful.

Do not ignore the onset of the cold or flu this season.

This was part of our flu experience and it may or may not apply to you and yours. Bottom line is do your homework and be prepared to take care of yourself and your family. Products mentioned are ones we have tried. Any over the counter products / home remedies you choose to use need to be researched, run through your doctor's advice as any/all may apply to your situation.


Enjoy the up-coming holiday week, family and friends. The Thanksgiving Holiday is long steeped in history of people taking time to gather for blessing of the harvest. For us, it is always a time of the season for good food, gathering of friends, family and giving thanks to the times of our lives. I wish you all the best this Thanksgiving, 2017.
I appreciate your visit this week.

Friday, November 10, 2017


To The Dump!
Television is rarely on here anymore. Not out of the question that it may soon come to pass as the cassette recorder and cassette tapes. Other technology options at hand and available at my whim. Most what I see or hear turns my stomach and the wishing and wanting of good media reporting skills and the news of the day presented w/o bias or colors of larger agendas, is not going to happen. 

I feel as though I am in the quicksand of finally pulling the plug and outing the TV screen. It is only habit and the constant hope that someone will call bulls**t on media false reporting that still brings the TV to on. 

Like the wanting of the old days of watching NFL games. That too is over. Takes three weeks to make or break a habit.

Read any of the "Other Places" shown at the left of this page here. I run these daily along with other stories drilled down from them. I skim mostly. But at the end of morning coffee and reading, I spend a few minutes of pondering before breakfast and an official start to the day. 

I have come to a daily solution of clearing the tables here with one swoop of my hands and arms. Nothing on it less a little dust and a few crumbs from the cookie jar. Each day I make a choice what to put on our/my table.

A.  Protect/love myself, my wife and family. It is up to me. 
B.  Be cognizant of war and being able to survive. 
C.  Prepare to help others as that may evolve.
D.  Continue close friendships and those social interactions. Build on this. 
E.  Find some humor and make it up if I have to.
F.  Love my dog and get us both out of the house daily. 
G.  Cook good meals for nutrition and comfort. Get to chores not yet done!
H.  Help others and continue to teach.
I.   Pray daily and often. 
J.  Live the life I have been given.
Clearing the table is helpful.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day." Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
HILL 875 November 1967
It has been 50 years now, nearly to the day. 

Early November, 1967. We were sent to Dak To where heavy fighting was being reported. We were sent to help provide air gun/rocket fire support for our boys fighting on the ground. Flight school obliged me to a four-year tour of duty instead of the 2 year duty for those who were drafted and I had maybe three weeks left of my one year obligation to fly in-country Vietnam.

C-130s flew in and out of Dak To and it was like watching a textbook video of the type of flying these pilots flew daily. They would land quickly, disembark  passengers and cargo with engines at half-idle. Close the doors and back to the runway for a high-angle takeoff. Meanwhile, the airfield was being mortared daily and nightly from the ridge lines in the background. 

Several mortar rounds dropped on this particular day and were used for bracketing. Shooting a mortar, watching where it landed; adjust and then fire another round, etc. I watched a C130 take a direct hit in the fuselage between the two wings. Everyone got out of this plane to my understanding. That part of the airfield had been mortared and bracketed earlier that day.

We were running low on fuel and were forced to land to refuel at the time all of this was happening. I took this photo from the left seat while we waited our turn at the fuel dump. Maybe the longest time in my life for holding my breath.

We were sent on a round-robin missions flying in support of our boys fighting for hill #875. We were fired at constantly by triangulated 50 caliber machine guns embedded in the surrounding hillsides as we made our gun runs.  We brought everything we had to this fight and could not make a difference. Notice all the 500 pound bomb drops near this fight and those, too, seemingly ineffective.

I can remember as clearly this day this moment. A Medivac was landing to evacuate some of the wounded and (as told to us then over the radio) the Medivac took a hit from an RPG and was shot down on top of the troops who were dug in. The radio traffic between our boys on the ground was horrific with calls for help and the accompanying background noise of gun fire. An inbound Medivac was called off due to heavy enemy fire.

At this particular moment, we had expended all of our rockets and were finishing up M-60 machine gun fire around the hill. Our relief team was a few minutes out. We finished up and returned to base to re-arm and re-load.

The feeling of helplessness in those moments of flying to help those boys haunts me still. The only time in that year of combat flying where we seemingly could not make a difference. All the air support for those boys was not enough during the height of the battle at this moment in time.

It was nearing day break the next morning as I walked to the berms where our helicopters were parked for a pre-flight check. A dirt road/path led the way. A mortar round exploded next to the fence near my location and I hit a small ditch near the path, hands covering my head. I lay there listening, heart pounding. 

I heard the thump of the next round fired and waited for the impact. Again, close to the outside of our perimeter. Again, repeat. I figured out it was friendly fire from our mortars. They would fire from one side of the perimeter to the other side of the perimeter using high angle trajectory with the round exploding just outside a safe distance from our troops.  Any enemy sneaking up on the outskirts of our base could be easily hit using high angle mortar fire.

I stood up, dusted myself off and like a fool, looked behind me to see if anyone was watching how foolish I was. Being on the end of incoming mortar rounds, day after day brings with it new survival behaviors. It was instinctual and nothing to be ashamed of. But I felt embarrassed and a fool at that moment.

Fifty-caliber tracer rounds look like large trucks lumbering up into the sky. The nastiest flight environment I was in during that year of combat flying. We sat on top of our chest protectors to protect ourselves from rounds coming up to the higher altitudes we were flying. 

Pre-flight inspection that morning and prior to another day of round robin support flights, found that we had been hit by a couple of those 50 caliber rounds through our rotor blades the day earlier. Those hits grounded our helicopter till a new set of blades could be brought in and installed. My finger fit easily through those holes.

This was a turning point moment for me. 

My days were short now and it appeared that I just might make it back home after surviving a year of flying more than 800 combat missions in the Vietnam War. 

With just a few days left, I walked into the operations tent and asked our Captain in charge if it would be possible to finish my tour of duty flying re-supply runs between Dak To and Pleiku. After a few minutes he said he would assign me to that duty, shook my hand and said that I had done a good job during my tour of duty. (Something to that affect). In all honesty, I did not expect that. 

That was one of my life lessons in that we rarely get what we do not ask for. It was for the asking that I spent my final flying days training new incoming pilots and running parts, pieces and people on flights we called "milk runs." 

I arrived home in time for Thanksgiving that year and in time to attend the annual football game between rival towns and high schools. One minute flying Army helicopters in combat seven days a week to the next day back home sitting with friends on Thanksgiving day watching a foot ball game. 

I was the only child and that homecoming with my parents still leaves a lump in my throat. I had joined the Army two years earlier having just turned 20 years old. 

I survived that year I believe with over-watch from above. I can find no other reason, especially the older I get.

A full account of that battle

(My mother told me many years later, stories of folks, friends and local townies that shunned them because their son was serving in combat in a controversial war in Vietnam) My parents paid a high price, too, in time of war. I never knew that and probably best they never told me sooner.

A side story- To be home again that first night and to crawl back into my home bed was strange yet very protective. No words. 

Early the next morning, our kitchen telephone rang. An old friend was calling me. The telephone brought me out of bed with bed room door opened and at the ready. To this day, a phone ringing out of the blue puts a momentary knot in my stomach; even 50 years later. 

I had been awakened so many times that year from a dead sleep that required my crew be airborne in less than 15 minutes and en-route to a fire fight. On my first morning home, that telephone call, inside my home, again brought me out of a dead sleep and standing in the kitchen ready for coordinates and contact information. Had to explain that to my folks.)

And if I may! Another story.

Put yourself in my fathers shoes at this moment in his life. His only son flying combat in Vietnam.

Dad was working Swing Shift in a local mill and was on his way to work nearing 4 pm one weekday afternoon. He heads to work turns on the AM radio and hears: "Warrant Officer "my name" while flying combat missions in Vietnam." The radio station moves on to the next story. 

What went through my dads head for the next few minutes must have been one of the most terrible times of his life. 

He pulls over to the side of the street and stops the car. Runs up the stairs of a strangers home and knocks on the door. He asks for help saying that he just heard his son's name regrading something that had happened to him in Vietnam. He knew not what that was. The strangers helped him and called the radio station asking what that story was about. 

I was alive and well and had just been awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross). 



Shake the hand of a veteran this week. Walk over to him or her and say thanks for your service. You will feel wonderful and make someone else also feel wonderful and appreciated. In-fact do it much more often than just around Veteran's Day.

I appreciate your visit this week.