Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dirt Will Never Hurt You!

I remember when the only washing we got was the evening before Sunday church. By that time the skinny black snakes had grown around your neck. You know, the ones from sweating and playing in the dirt.

Remember when to wash behind your ears was more important than washing under your arms. I never did understand why.

By the end of the week, the rust around your ankles was so thick you had to soak your feet in a pan of water first. But, but, but, only after the water was used to "cleanse" more delicate portions of your sister's and your own skin.  You know, Mother only heated ONE teakettle of hot water for everybody to share, including her.

Those were the days before the word GERMS was invented. Lord, Lord, the word "calories" came even later.

It did my soul good to watch my two grandsons having a smashing good time peeling the sticky pine bark from logs of a green pine that we cleared to get the power to the cabin. If you ever got a bit of pine rosin on your hands, or stuck to your windshield, you know how sticky the stuff is. These kids peeled that bark off and enjoyed the slippery and pungent sap. (I don't know if their clothes ever got clean again)

Well, out in the woods there is no warm water and soap. To tamp down the stickiness, in order for them eat a sandwich, they simply rubbed a little red mud on their hands. Papa's solution. Dirt is clean!

Works for them!  Works for me!  Did they die yet? Not likely.

A little dirt is good for the digestion process. It helps grind the food. Just ask a chicken.

Mystery Blossom

For most of its life, this little flower looks like grass in the flower patch. Then, all of a sudden, almost hidden by the taller plants, it sports these pretty blossoms. It does not last too long and does not always bloom. At least not while I'm watching.

One person told me it is a Jerusalem Star. What do you think it is called?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Land of The Free?

Are you being eyed?   --Feel like you're going to be jumped?

Do you remember before "They" kept track of your phone calls?

Do you remember before "They" kept track of what you bought in the store?

Do you remember before "They" followed you around by your GPS in the car?

Do you remember before "They" could see your buying habits by your charge card?

Do you remember before "They" knew who you voted for?

Do you remember before "They" made your every wart on your butt available on Google?

Well, that was when we as Americans were FREE! When the "They" REPRESENTED you.

When you saved your money, eagerly waiting to pay for your wish in cash.
When you knew who your neighbor was and didn't mind sharing a bowl of pintos, chopped onions and cornbread with.

My, my. The days when you could look into a man's eye and saw his soul.

Lord God, don't forsake America!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Do You Ever Stand Out in a Crowd?

Are you aiming to stand out in a crowd?

What do you want to show off?

Or, do you sometimes feel you want to hide and can't?

 . . . 'em are not eggs from Kroger.  Auch! A little okra for supper would have helped.

Looking at the bright side, most often there is a pleasant ending to odd situations.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Carol's Daylilies

Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will He clothe you. Oh you of little faith!  
                                                                                               NIV Luke 12:27-28

Monday, July 25, 2011

Papa, What Did Henry Do?

For years now, my grandchildren knowing I can spin a story, have been asking about Henry. Henry is a stuffed doll, about 30 inches high, who has been relegated to stand in the corner. He is hiding his face in shame, ball cap backward on his head, bibbed overalls with bandana or slingshot sticking from its pocket.

Ain't he pitiful?
I've been challenged often when grandchildren enter the house and ask "Papa what did Henry do?" On the spot I have to come up with some yarn that makes them giggle. I have written several little rhymes about the fellow and his sidestepping escapades. Here is one I'm going to share now. Let me know if you want to hear some more.


Papa, what did Henry do?
Oh, . . . he’s a fellow just like you!
He is a doll you should know,
A puppet that will never grow.
Stuffed with rags––he has no face;
Standing in a corner is his place. 
Papa, tell, what did Henry do?
Well, . . . I hope it wasn’t you!
He made a mess he could not hide,
With puffed-up chest he showed his pride.
He used ketchup like some finger-paint,
Enough on the floor to make you faint.
Papa, Papa, is Henry in big time trouble
Squeezing that tempting ketchup bottle?
Yes! . . . Henry needs a talking to––
So listen up . . . make sure it isn’t you!
If the bottle you’re allowed to squeeze,
Hold it tight and do not sneeze,
Or you’ll have ketchup to your knees.
Papa, did Henry heed your warning––
To be a good boy in the morning?
No! . . . sticky red on hands and chin,
Showed to all where he has been.
He was shooting ketchup with each squirt; 
The same as slinging gobs of sticky dirt,
Up and down his yellow shirt.
Papa, will little Henry ever learn––
So your loving favor he will earn?
Is he on the way of getting hurt?
Why can’t he play with plain old dirt?
Does he dream all night of ketchup,
Then hunts the bottle when he wakes up?
Does he love to wallow in a mess?
Papa, . . . is our Henry kinda hopeless?
Papa, I’m still worried, what did Henry do?
Are now his doings good and true?
Good and true . . . I cannot say,
With ketchup he still likes to play.
The lessons he has not forgotten,
The little boy is spoiled just rotten.
Now he lays in bed on clean white cotton,
Dipping fries in ketchup from his bellybutton!
Papa, you know Henry does confess
Every time he makes a mess.
Standing in the corner he is so sweet,
With worn boots on rag-stuffed feet.
Hiding his face in deep confession,
Being sorry for his wild transgression.
You wouldn’t punish him––you love him so!
Just like me and sister this we know.
Thank you Papa. . .   Look no face!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Below the green, the water is clear!

We've strange green seeds floating on top of the pond. It is not pollen. It is the size and feel of cornmeal, uniform in size. It never has appeared before in the ten years we've had the pond.

The bad part is, with this stuff on top, some scum is forming. Now, with this latest heatwave 95+, anything will grow like crazy.

One good cannon ball jump into the pond does temporarily clear it away. The water is crystal clear to five feet below the top. The grandchildren having a whooping good time.

Sixteen Beissers partook of pizza, fruit, cupcakes, donuts and ice cream in the sweltering 95+ heat.

Only FX 4 and Jacob were missing. They were climbing a 14,000 ft mountain in Colorado in below freezing temperature. Something isn't right here?

Bailing the paddle boat. Getting ready to paddle off into the shady and quiet side of the pond.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


My wife and I came within a keystroke of being scammed out of a good chunk of money.

This is how it started: We received an email from a friend of ours stating she was stranded in England. She had been robbed of her passbook, credit cards and photo IDs. She had bills to pay and a ticket to fly home. She even gave an address where she stayed. Western Union would be the best way.

Calling WU we found out one needs a photo ID to claim the money. We went to bed for the night. Next morning the answer from the friend (scammers) was that the embassy had issued a temporary ID.

My wife had a constant bad feeling about the thing. We weren't able to answer the initial email for five or more hours. This had her thinking that surely one of her many friends had responded before we did.

So, we called our friend, just seconds before we pushed the button. She, herself, answered her phone. "I'm not in England, I'm at home having a cup of coffee!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Nine-hundred Pound Monster

Oops, I meant "The nine-hundred gram monster".

Check out the claws and teeth!
How would you like that little bugger get mad at you? Just think, those cute little toenails grabbing your ears and those clean vegetarian teeth clamped on your nose. . . .

The reason I got him/her, I attached part of an ear of corn as bait to the trap in a way the little monster could not steal it without getting himself in a pickle.

Yesterday, I saw one of his cousins sitting on top of the deck railing enjoying the apple bait that was in the trap. That makes it twice now, those little thieves made off with the bait without setting off the trap. I can just see them working in teams, one holding the tray that holds the bait steady, the cousin, shoulder to shoulder, delicately reaching with one manicured paw lifting the apple. I can almost hear them laughing! Who is the fool?

I think the groundhog has these fellows hired. Maybe he is writing a book as well.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Groundhog Where Are You?

I'm ready for you!

I got one of my traps back. Whoever brought it back was chicken to face his father. He simply placed the trap where a could see it, then left. As with lots of my other equipment I had accumulated over the years, the trap had walked off and became a part of one of my three son's domain.

After fiddling with the mechanism, which was totally out of whack, I baited the trap. One half of a Gala apple, face up, so he, the groundhog could get a good whiff of it, was ready to kiss his lips.

Remember, the culprit ate all my tomatoes we had growing in pots on the back deck.

Great happenings!! The flaps were down. A sure sign of a catch. Yes it was, . . . but only a scared squirrel. I opened one end of the trap to let it loose. You never saw a critter haul rump and tail as fast as that little bugger. He was out of there! The whole half of the apple gone. (may as well have a feast while incarcerated). The only residue left, was a handful of smart pills.

I downsized. I only put in a fourth of an apple as bait, ready again to catch the big one. But no, shucks, . . . another squirrel!

With a fourth of an apple left, I set the trap a third time. At the crack of dawn the flaps of the trap were down once more. When I walked toward the trap there was no frantic clamor as it was with the previously caught squirrels. I grinned! . . . Got you fat boy! . . . Oh no! A 'possum!

Again the apple was consumed, but the frightened, sharp-toothed fellow crouched in the corner of the trap. I held open one end of the trap and sweet-talked to the critter to persuade him to make an uneventful exit. No such doing! He didn't get the hint! He hung on to the trap for dear life. I picked the trap up to shake him loose. No way! His claws were cramped around the mesh of the cage.

Notice the four tight grips
What do I do now? Can you swim brother?  . . . I picked up the garden hose, set the nozzle on jet, standing back about four feet, I let him have it. That did the trick. Again nothing but rump and skinny tail as he zipped off the deck.

Again, before I could squat down to reset the trap, I had to clean up the residue. No smart pills this time. Good thing I had the hose set on "Jet".

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!!!

The above was the header on my email sent to my three sons. As an aging father (over 50) often finds out, all practical tools and equipment, accumulated over a man's entire life, is fair game to the taking by the sons.

My twenty foot extension ladder has left twenty years ago. My ten foot ladder also gone. My stepladder, walked off, but was replaced with a new one, after my vociferous howls, as a Christmas present mind you.

I had a 22 with a scope, gone. Trailers, bush-hogs, plows, post hole diggers, post driver, sledge hammer, tools big and small. And yes, my trap. After the trap walked off, I bought a new one. Guess what? It is gone as well!

Hear ye, hear ye!! I need my trap. Either one! The old one or the new one. A groundhog has found my beautiful and succulent potted tomato, on the back deck, mind you! The scoundrel ate the green leaves, all big and small tomatoes, and the blossoms. What is going on. We had plenty of rain. Why this need for liquid? Liquid in my green tomatoes!

The first evidence of critter attack was when they ate my wife's decorative sweet potato vines. Then the marauder tried just one tomato. Then he moved and devastated the petunias. (notice photo). Just a note here; the next time you're in a fancy restaurant, and your salad or entree is decorated with a cute blossom, Eat the thing!! Then and there!! How else can you spite that belly-draging gluten who stole your mater's.

Why me Lord? What have I ever done, to deserve even one. . . . Blessing . . . Groundhog?

I'll take it all though. Happy to be a father.

By the way, I got my old trap back. Now all I need is my 22 back.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Face only a Mamma can Love

Our pooch, who is seventeen years old, is beginning to have some health issues.

"Regularity", S's proud statement, (S=short for Sebastien) is always followed with a head to tail shake, and a proud trot back to the house. "Another good one," he would say.

The other night, when I asked him to perform, just prior to a night's rest, he could not deliver. Poor "S" strained and hunched over and over again trying to give birth to his "Regularity". The next morning he valiantly hunched up and tried some more. No results. We thought it was constipation, however, blood ran down his leg indicating otherwise.

At the vet, he weighed a hefty 14.4 pounds. The same he has weighed for more than a dozen years. The Doc made him walk and concluded he was in pretty good for an old dog. . .  So far so good.

When the KY jelly and the latex glove came out, I knew, a few explicits from Mr "S" will soon fill the examination room.

Being held by the assistant, the only thing we could see was his pitiful face. To our surprise, we only heard an initial short whine when the intrusion was initiated. While the doctor's finger invaded and probed, all "S" did was stand still. He dare not move, not when on the hook like that. His eyes, seemingly twice the size as normal, did the only moving. Round and round they went, bulging, looking for sympathy.

The verdict: a ruptured anal gland and severe swelling in his rectal canal due to an infection. After three days of antibiotics, and pain pills. He seems back to old self, . . . loaded.

A follow-up doctor visit is tomorrow.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

One Tiny Mamma

Other than a humming bird, this has to be the smallest bird I've seen. Not only did I see it, I watched it work itself to death trying to feed and protect her brood.

You can see it, little bug in mouth, about to enter her hidden stash of young'ns.

The nest was cleverly hidden between the two red folding chairs, leaning against the rail. She found a crack on one end and crawled toward the middle of the stacked chairs, until it got too tight to turn around. I would not have known the bunch was there, for her and her mate carrying on every time my wife and I walked near. We could not count how many of the little peep-squeeks there were, because the beaks were bigger than their bodies.

Three days before their leaving of the nest we counted six of them. The place obviously got a little crowded. The little mamma still hangs around, all nervous with no more little ones to feed. He who cares for the sparrow, how much more will He take care of you?

Log Cabin Love

Our joy, a home away from home.
On seventy two acres in Floyd County, Virginia.
Elevation 2800 feet above sea level.

We fell in love with the land about three years ago. It has in the middle of it a 100 years old two story house. The windows are long gone, but the thick tin roof is in fair condition. That is a good thing, because it has preserved the random width American chestnut flooring downstairs, and the wide heart pine floors in the secondary bedrooms upstairs. The wall and ceiling paneling is also chestnut, although thinner than the flooring. The fireplace mantles and stair banisters are long gone, stolen perhaps.

Check out the old house.

Wall paneling removed, the floor was next

The paneling upstairs was papered with the local newspaper.  This shows the date of March 19, 1929.

We had the new cabin built as close to the one acre pond as possible, and stocked the pond with bluegills and crappies. The deck is close enough to fish from it.

Early morning, time to pray

The chestnut wood, salvaged from the old house, was used to benefit and also save a ton of money, with the new cabin. I reused the flooring and the wall paneling to make our kitchen cabinets. I also made nightstands, end tables and a four by eight foot dining table. (now famous because of a previous post "Termites in new furniture").

The large chestnut table that harbored a few termites, now gone. To where I do not know.
The above projects are more from the quarry of chestnut. 
Chestnut kitchen cabinets, worm holes and all. Pretty? you make the call.
Sample of random width chestnut (on top), and pine floor. both from the old house.
One hundred years ago, the worm holes in the wormy chestnut was not desirable. As I found out by dismantling the chestnut paneling, the wormy boards were used on the wall upstairs; the children's rooms, I suppose. The worm free boards proudly covered the walls in the parlor, dining room and main hallway.

This was the front parlor before I removed every board of it. The vertical design is alternating chestnut and walnut.
The walnut has evolved into napkin trays and tissue boxes. Much darker wood than one sees today.
The rock chimneys were stacked with lime and clay mud. Amazing they still are in tact. A root cellar, enclosed also with mud stacked flat rocks was on the lower corner of the house. The wide board shelves are still down there. I may use the nonsupporting flat rock to build a retaining wall one day, when I have nothing else to do and the Lord keeps me going.

Looking down into the root cellar, only accessible from the outside.
Much more paneling, some fluted, could be removed. One room with wide clear chestnut walls has been covered with sheetrock. The exterior poplar clapboard siding is in fair shape.