Sunday, April 29, 2018


Dregs of winter, winter snows final days and barring any unforeseen event, the weather worm has turned in New England. 

This past weekend was heaven. Bright sunshine and warmth. Small snow patches hang on in the shade. The snow melts and leaves in its passing moisture for life to grow. A gift in the end from all the discomfort it can cause while it owns the season. All things should go and give back in passing as snow does. 



A close friend, along with a few fellows of similar interest, were again weekending in the woods. They enjoy the hike in and finding a place to set up camp. Some land navigation was taught and practiced. Water is never carried in on these outings as finding and purifying water for the needs of two days is part of working skill sets. 

I check form halfway across the state on the HAM radio via a common repeater they can "hit" from deep in the woods and I can "hit" from the home base station. Practice for each of us just making contact. 

These are younger folks by my measure. I would so enjoy these outings, but those days have passed. I am happy they still let this old man play in their games.

They listened to Ruffed Grouse Drumming and howling coyotes through most of the night. Another skill set, learning to cope with during night time in the woods. 

Fisher cats roam often past our house in and their scream in the middle of the night sounds like an old lady screaming for her life. It will bring you straight up and out of bed the first time a near by fisher cat screams. Add some coyotes and drumming grouse and me thinks out-dooring at night will take some getting use to.

An example of overnight accommodations among the first chores after arriving. Much more fun in the set-up when perfect spring weather is at hand. 

How to escape and evade a tracker.



A quick early morning flight and a little late for the moment the morning sun breaks the horizon. More important for me is getting the drone back in the air and gone from the point of take off. Photo taken at max altitude and away from my location. Only reference is the lap top screen. Very hard for my learning curve to take off out of sight and sound and trust the drone and computer screen. Most rewarding is following the path "home" and descending straight down to the take off point. The buzzing of the rotor blades sets me at ease and around 100' or so visual pick up means a successful outing. Visual at 400' almost impossible. The drone actually disappears in the sky and at best, flight movement might pick up its location. Even then, blink and it is gone.  


Practicing what son has taught me has made all the difference. He will take off and be gone and out of sight in a heart beat. He trusts the whole experience and has easily adapted and learned. A few more times flying away out of sight, from my take off location, ought to improve my self confidence.



A series of videos of one young man completely framing a home alone. Being young and loving the work you do is refreshing. I admire this guy.



I doubt that anyone looks at me and thinks or says that I do not look nor behave old. Most days I have the grandpa walk and grunt too many "ohhhs and awghhhs" from the simplest of comings and goings. My mind still says run, go, jump, bend, stay up late, twist and turn. The body parts are much more stubborn than in previous years and these days win out over the wants of the mind.  

I laugh out loud when I see a younger person bend to the ground with ease, crawl around on their hands and knees, move effortlessly through a moment or pick up and deliver a heavy object from one place to another. They give it no thought. I never did because it would always be that way. Being old and slow was for other people, old people. 

My wife and son often look at me and say "stand up." So I straighten up, shake out the cob webs and walk taller. I think some of the old man walking now has become habit, a bad habit. Much of a day progresses according to the quality of a nights sleep. There are days I feel like I am 60 again and then days I think I am 90+. A crap shoot.

smile when I wonder where and when the years have gone.



I miss teaching the high school-aged kids. They were always a hoot and I enjoyed their company. Even the meatheads. The meatheads were most often my favorite. No fear of life in the open and talking of all things in general. They kept me on my toes and I learned as much from them as I hoped they learned from me. There were no snow flakes in the olden days of my teaching career.

I had the opportunity last weekend to co-teach a small ROTC Cadre some basic hand gun safety and skill sets. Each instructor had three cadets in age from 18 to 27. First time ever, teaching a group of folks basic handgun skills, where we ran out of ammunition. Over 3000 rounds and they could have done 6000 had we brought the ammo.

All but one had some experience with a small caliber hand gun or rifle. One had never held nor shot a pistol before. Experience has taught me/us that the folks who come to learning to shoot with little or no back ground, quite often shine the brightest in his/her learning curve and exhibit personal pleasure in the whole experience. 

They all took to the safety lessons basic shooting skill sets quickly and easily. We were able to fine-tune some of their techniques improving their consistency on paper. Young hands and fingers quickly acquired basic repeatable skill sets at loading, making ready, shooting, making/demonstrating their pistol safe and working in "hot" and "cold" range conditions.  

As much fun as it was for me to see their improvements with the course of instruction, the interactions with these youngsters warmed the cockles of my heart. 

For the record, all is not lost on the youth of this country. They show respect, can carry on a conversation, take instruction, have/demonstrate humor, can take and give a joke and will be as serious as a heart attack if called upon. 



Big week past of NK and SK peace talks. Will be historic in our life time if this is, at face value, what is actually taking place. Photo ops, quick blurbs in the news and everyone has an opinion. But you know too that these days are wrought with head fakes and misdirection's. I want all of this to be true and for the good those nations and for the good of world relations/interactions. But to see KJU go from raving mad lunatic to back-slapping pals with old enemies gives me pause. Maybe he was presented with a "come to Jesus moment" that he was able to understand and act on.  Historically though, a breaking story is not what it was two weeks after it broke. Pesky facts and all of that. 

As a side note, I find the gall of some of these news outlets, that give me just two sentences, a photo and then ask me to subscribe for the rest of the story as I do research. I ask the computer screen, using jargon not shareable here and ending in "seriously." I explain to the computer screen that I do not have to join or give up personal information to get any story today. All I have to do is scroll down or query differently to find more options (11,600,000 for example). So screw!! I digress.


Home made zucchini relish today followed with a hot water bath. Maybe dozen jars or so. We have been out for 6 months. Hot dogs and hamburgers have not been all they can be. We are talking of more canning this season rather than working larger gardens. Zucchini are currently the cheapest they will be all season. 

I want to grow more flowers this summer. Is this some kind of sign?

Crowds? Check! Heads up? Check! Bug Out Bags Updated? Checking!

Appreciate your visit? Check! 

Sunday, April 22, 2018


I seethe at most things California but make one exception this time of the year and that is bulk purchase of California Naval Oranges. They are a meal in and of themselves and bleed the best sweet juice with every bite. They are what an orange should be in my opinion. Peel easily and segments part off with a little juice mess because of their ripeness. Impossible to eat without a hand rinse afterwards. 

I usually eat an orange in private because I slurp, drip and make ummmmm, yummm noises that are most annoying. The first orange of the season is always eaten along side the Dodge in the parking lot. Tailgate down, orange peels tossed in the bed. No little fingers in the air. A half bottle of water to wash up. Doubt me not. No one enjoys this first spring orange like I do. 

These are the oranges I use to make Honey Orange Mead. A gallon batch calls for a cup or so of fresh orange juice or a whole orange segmented into the gallon jug. I add a little more. Three pounds of honey is called for and I add a few more ounces as I prefer the sweeter smoothness over a harder alcohol flavor. Takes a year before the final racking and shelving. Full disclosure, I do dabble in it earlier if the batch flavor cooks on early. 



Nope, not going to take a photo. It is the same old story. Nothing new to add but the wife has had her fill. I know I have, but she is "winky" on the edge and I need to talk her down, especially in the morning when the house is cold and we are wrapped in layers looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. There is no one to complain to because no one wants to hear it. Even the die-hard winter people have had their fill.

Her headed to Concord in the midst of this winter mess last weekend. She was gone for 20 minutes and then appeared coming through the kitchen door. Said the roads got increasingly worse after she got on the highway headed south. It was the black SUV, several hundred feet off the freeway, overturned and on fire that set her looping home on back roads. 

I do feel sorry for the cat. She has wintered fine in her heated cat house in the garage. Fed well and even enjoyed warm days in the house. But her head and heart are outside. The thrill of the hunt skills somewhat diminished and she has been teased this past month with a few warm days and nights. She has quit using the cat litter box in the garage. Her way of forcing better spring weather and a middle cat claw to winter. She will head outside now with fresh snow on the ground to do her business and then scurry back in to her warm hut. If cats scowl, then her looks this morning at the ground cover mimic my wife's. Her need to be outside at will, roaming her kingdom, is long over due. I give her kitty loves and tell her of better weather to come. But this week was still wintering in her cat house. Promises, promises!

The little birds are back, having been noticeably gone due to exposed spring grounds. Mother Nature providing. But this morning the little ones were hitting feeder leftovers and scratching the ground nearby. Their chirps are songs I very much enjoy. I topped off the feeder knowing they will be here for a few days till the ground is again clear. 


Strong women in the news. Who knew?

I vaguely remember the story of Jessica Buchanan, but have never seen this interview with her. Powerful. 

This story speaks volumes as to who we are. We the country and we the people. God, Country, Family, Flag and doing the right thing....well, we do not hear about much of this do we? I will guess, though, if you watched this it may have stirred places inside of you that most likely have not been touched in awhile.   

Tammie Jo Shults was the pilot of the 737 that lost the port engine at 32,000' this past week. One of the first women to fly Navy Fighter Aircraft and she performed as trained and representative of her military career and experiences. She is being called a hero and she is. But know it was all in a day's work for her, her crew and Air Traffic Control. 


From American Digest. A customer who has had it. Well written and most likely experiences we can all identify with from time to time.  


Winter is coming           Part two         Part three

Articles from The Burning Platform this past week. Longer reads and may be of interest.


Nearing ten thousand hits soon. A milestone for me but not in the world of blogging where folks get this kind of traffic in several hours or daily. And know that this is nothing I am looking for. Having fun blogging every week would turn into a responsibility and work and change the dynamics beyond my interest. So I am most comfortable with the stats from this little corner of the world. More so appreciative of visitors over the past several years. 

I admit I struggle not to keep stirring the same pot week after week. The major theme is the After and how it will affect all of us. What can we do now, what should we be doing now and are we? Keeping that in the forefront is important without going down the rabbit hole or running naked in the woods. 

When I started blogging, the After seemed years away. Projections and prophecies from others highlighting bad things coming were just that. Something not good is coming so get ready but still a ways off. 

Back then, if you were making any kind of plans to take care of yourself in an After, it put you outside of the borders of what was considered a norm. Today, governments and folks are talking about it and giving advice. Countries have failed miserably from Liberal policies, corruption and greed. We can find such activities, behaviors belief systems today in our own back yard politics as well in the major belt ways. 

States are failing and more people are voting with their feet, taking their skill sets, income and ability to work to different parts of the country that is more appreciative of individual rights and freedoms. This is action as a last ditch effort for individuals and families to survive and thrive. It is always best to get while the getting is good. The day may very well come when the want to leave may mean leaving everything behind to include the bank account. The randomness of law making has no restraints to keep or take freedoms and monies from hard working law abiding citizens. 

The idea to respect, help and protect peoples in some states will not hunt. The people are seen in a much lesser position from having God given rights and the protection afforded every citizen of this country by the Constitution. The people are dirt, deplorable, unwashed and defined by the color of their skin, age and sexual orientation beyond man and woman. 

BUT, today we can still say "hell no"! Today we have choices. What was available yesterday is still available today. State borders are open. Commerce is open. The internet still is available for communications between peoples and nations. We can purchase guns, ammunition and enjoy the shooting sports. We can get meds over the counter for better health, pain management and treating minor scrapes, cuts and wounds.  We can choose where and from whom to purchase needed goods or goods of personal interest. We are free to educate ourselves to any extent. We can save money or get into debt over our heads. We are still a free people in most aspect of living. We are still free to think for ourselves. 


A new week is ahead. Yes, keep your heads up. Watch your paths and help just one person this week, even if it is simply holding the door open for them to pass. "Thank you and you are welcome."



A nice way to end a blog.

Monday, April 16, 2018


Luxury bunker, survival condos, $$several million each depending, survive your basic apocalypse, outdoor simulated views, enough food for 5 years and the lists go on and on. Money and horsepower can unlock (or lock) many a life door.

After reading articles like these, I find myself thinking. “how can all of this wonderment go wrong?”

Putting myself in the place of being able to dump a few millions in middle earth, would I? Seems like everything is provided for me and mine. Sound familiar? Even security provided although many folks going to compounds like these will be packing. More like carrying and there is a difference.

An initial concern for me with these expensive compounds is living with others who are not handling the after well. To think that all the woes of our current society will not be at work underground dwellings during tough down times is fantasy at best.

If I had that kind of money and was of the mind to work on the after safe location(s) I would opt for my own helicopter and several out of the way places to stay. Further north, small, equipped with basics and among like minded folks.

Keep it simple as possible with mobility a key factor. No plan is perfect nor a cure all for catastrophes. Any plan “A” very well may turn into “B-C”  from the get go. The helicopter will need a bunker though.

I suppose in all honesty, I should admit that I probably would not be someone others would want to be stuck with underground. Very low BS levels and old man stuck in his ways stuff. Besides:

"Don't hang on
Nothing lasts forever, but the earth and sky
It's there always
And all your money won't another minute buy
Dust, all we are is dust in the wind
Life's too short brothers and sisters
Dust, all we are is dust in the wind"

Ironic that this song is sung by Kansas


This is/was a trigger event for us. Not a trigger event that sets us running with Henny-Penny and Cocky-locky. It is though a major world event dabbling in war, rhetoric and nations pushing buttons. It also has set the media on fire and every Tom, Dick and Harry spewing passionate opinions on every agenda under the sun. Worthy of note is watching how the media covers global pressures like this. 

Trigger events for us sets us to a higher level of having our ducks in a row. Gas tanks are topped off, bug out bags and go bags updated. Heating oil will be topped off. Vehicle gas tanks will never go below half. 

What each of us have control over is our little corner of the world. Goods and services are still available. 

Pay close attentions to local, state and national events. Seek other news sources. Beyond that, continue life as lived.

Do you have a code word that sets members of your family to action? Is that important or not? 

Her, I, son and very close friends have such a word and it is never ever used for a test or in jest. Nor does it cause panic. The word sets all of us on set(s) of tasks, coms and gathering. The bombing of Syria was not an event that set this off.


Never too late to learn to tie new knots!


Put your cell phones away when you are out and about. Heads up.

Have a good week and thanks for the visit this week.

Sunday, April 8, 2018


A friend and neighbor has started his spring and summer projects. A fresh order of fresh split oak already delivered and he is itching to get project #1, a wood shed, framed and finished. 

We laid out basics Friday just as a small snow storm set in. Site chosen, rough 10' x 16' rectangle laid out and squared. The orange tape gives a good visual reference of location, alignment to property and buildings and size. 

Research from the web is done and a basic design has been chosen. Now to draw up and add specific dimensions. Pier blocks and initial framing materials will be picked up soon. When the ground thaws, official construction will begin. 

This has been their first winter in their new home and they have a good barometer now of wanted/needed wood for a New England winter. Will keep posting progress as the shed is built.


Home Depot Ad Photo
Ryobi 18-Volt Hybrid Transfer Pump
Ryobi has come out with a 12V battery operated water pump and I picked one up a month ago. I gave it to son to set up. 

We both got to testing it this past week and found that it worked as expected with a good water flow. We each have a good assortment of other Ryobi tools and battery packs. The addition of the water pump to our collection(s) was in order. 

Suffice it to say, the pump is worth the money but I have yet to see an exact use in the after. Maybe moving stored water from large containers to smaller. Also for emptying larger storage barrels quicker than siphoning. Basic moving of water from point A to point B. Not sure yet of max distance nor how high it will adequately pump.   

The only negative I have noticed is how loud the pump is when it is running. A very high pitched noise. Annoying but not a reason to forego purchase. In the after, the high pitched noise would be an issue. 

Other reviews available on the titled link above. 


Fifteen degrees outside and a foot of snow on the ground. The way to winter in!



If you do not already have a few multi-tools and small screwdriver sets, then put these on your shopping list. Multi tools are great for little fixes and one for EDC (every day carry) is helpful as is a small pocket knife. Screwdrivers in all sizes.  Two is one and one is none better said as too many is one and anything less is none. They get used, set down, forgotten and lost easily. 

You do not have to have top of the line and picking up multiples of often used screw drivers at garage sales or discount stores is money well spent. The little set above saved the morning replacing batteries in the small inside/outside home temperature displays this morning. 

Not having the right tool for the right job can be as frustrating from fixing a pair of glasses as it is changing a flat tire.

Multi-tools are great gifts for no reason at all. And NO, it does not have to be the expensive multi tool of all multi tools. Mid-price range and fits comfortably in a pocket. Be careful though, they can become like shoes. I have a very hard time passing up a good display of pocket knives and multi tools. 



Grandfather has long ago passed on. I have written about him from the very first blog and go to him and grandma often for stories and memories. I do not think he would be upset if I use this photo of him from 1961. 

It must have been taken at Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter. Charles was in his cleaned-up clothes, indicative of an official family gathering. I am also guessing this is after the large family meal. 

A quick glance shows an older man asleep. Dead drop off the end of the world asleep. A full tummy with a small glass of wine gone and my bet is grandpa dropped off like this in a heartbeat. 

This photo of him is about as peaceful as life can get. 

A normal day for him and grandma were two 8-hour work days in one. Week after week. It was rare when we could get them both together for a day's outing or gathering. The animals and work on a small farm never took holidays nor rested. First eight-hour day started at daybreak, the second eight-hour day started after lunch and maybe an hour's nap like the picture above. 

I cannot remember the name of his dog, but it was HIS dog. I think shepards are one of the best dogs in the world, especially when they are running and moving across a field. Grandpa's dog was no exception.  

The dog was always close at his heels. Not a dog that took to others and a dog we all gave a wide birth to. The dog wanted it that way. We could be in the vicinity of any outdoor activity with out worry or issue. But the dog preferred its own space with in those activities. 

One of my fondest memories is feeding the dog while we visited on the weekends. After late afternoon dinners, grandma would have me deliver the dog's dinner out the back door. Her instructions were to just open the door, deliver the dinner on the cement steps and then come back into the house. She would scoop up leftover scraps from the dinner table and then top off the dogs dish with a large scoop of farm lard from a gallon can under the sink. The dog was always there waiting as it was his only meal of the day. Probably a good thing if nutrition value was an issue. But it was not. It was a farm meal made from all natural ingredients. Probably a heart stopper, but the dog above does not look fat nor undernourished by any stretch of the imagination. 

Those were the days!!


Snow all but gone. Temperatures still a little brisk at night but next 10 day forecast has temperatures touching 50 degrees. Winter tried one last snow dump this past week, but Spring took care of the that over night.

Thanks for the visit, heads up, looking out and about this week. Thanks for the visit.

Sunday, April 1, 2018


Chives coming to life in the frozen soil with the help from a day of full sun.
Proof of Spring

Easter posting.

Random thinking. 

Should I prioritize meeting my every Sunday posting or should I forego this posting because I am out of ommmph? Keeping my schedule this week wins. 

Having said this, let me forewarn you that this will be a quickie read for you. No depth of great thinking and no opinions on worldly things. Well, I am disappointed that the Chinese Space Station is late falling. I have been hoping for a whooshing sound overhead with indestructible debris falling for me to explore. But then, every agency and their brothers would be combing every inch of this town and who needs that. 

Maybe it is the change of the season. This time of the year we call this change "the mud season." Melting snow, sand and wet slippery ground dominates much of the landscape. Not too cold outside but any warmth from the sun is still a tease. Temperatures still require a warming fire in the mornings and later afternoon. Bundled up clothes still necessary. Maybe one layer less, but layers still. 

Easter is quiet here this morning. Business as usual. A lily to her and a chocolate bunny in a basket with assorted chocolates to me. I love you cards with Happy Easter.

Her is making chocolate cupcake late birthday treats for son today. His work prevented an official cake on the official day. An Easter roast goes in the oven soon and will be the center piece at son and fiancee's home for joint Easter/Birthday get together. 

Dog barks more often now to go out. Her sight is failing noticeably now, hearing no longer what it use to be. She just stands in one spot outside till one of us brushes up along side her for a walk. She still has a bounce in her step and finds some puppy bouncing from getting quickly excited. Those golden retriever ears still print out immediate needs, wants and happiness. She is a good old girl.

The snowblower was officially power washed, dried and taken off the tractor yesterday. The tool box was replaced inside the three point hitch. I have gotten better at pushing and nudging the blower back in its storage nook using the bucket and side pushing a little at a time. An official sign of winter gone. Then of course I hear reports of snow coming and I laugh out loud and shake my head.  I really do not care what winter may try to throw at us now. It will come and go, but I am finished with any snow removal, just finished!

I think I am lost in the doldrums of season change. I cannot land on one blogging idea to write about.  I believe I have covered inch of this ground for seasonal photography. Same with little life stories that come through out the year here. To continue is to seriously keep repeating myself. 

I am going to work on this.


Gathering with friends last weekend brought with it everyone's favorite snacks or home-cooked dishes. One of the gal's brought Cowboy Chili and the recipe is below. This chili has a slight sweetness to it, is thick and can be eaten with a fork. No loss of flavor in the trying to bring heat to the chili recipe. 

All of the ingredients can be found for long-term storage and this recipe will well feed a larger family at meal time. Add some home made bread and there will be leftovers for the next day. Can be cooked in an open fire place or on top of a wood stove. 

1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
1 lb. bacon. Cut into 1" long flats and fried.
1 large can of Bush's Brown Sugar Beans (don't drain)
2 regular cans of butter beans (drained)
2 regular cans of canelli beans (drained)
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of catsup
1/2 cup of Sweet Bay Rays bbq sauce
1/4 cup of mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbl spoon chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 medium onion

Brown bacon and remove. Brown ground beef in same pan with onion and drain.
In a large pot add beef and all beans and remaining ingredients. Bring to simmer for 30 minutes. Transfer to crock pot for at least one hour. One very good quick meal to take to gatherings of friends on the weekend. 


Part of weekly posting is checking this blogs stats. I am surprised all the reader  hits over the several years of stories and thoughts I write about. I am appreciative of your time to check in here. 

Put the cell phone away today and visit with friends. 

Have a good week. Get some sunshine on your face. It feels wonderful.