Saturday, June 30, 2012

Who Is Your God?

I know we had some real extreme weather lately. Temperatures soared into the high nineties and even climbed over a 100 to really make a statement.

Then the Lord sent one of His alerting small puffs toward Virginia. His wind slammed into our area at hurricane force and caused numerous power outages. Then the heat returned the following day.

Now ASSUMING that the weatherman is always correct about the temperature, and that the Appalachian Power Company's men are overwhelmed way into next week, and assuming that folks would wilt without air conditioning, the fathers of our church cancelled services for the upcoming Sunday. (A similar call was made several years ago when the weatherman called for a foot of snow for the weekend, but lo and behold, we only got a flurry.)

I guarantee you, there was not one ballgame called because of the heat. How come folks don't wilt sitting out in the sun watching a ballgame?

Our church has a roof on making shade. It has windows allowing a breeze to blow through. The church has a basement where it is always cooler with a hundred chairs for ready use. We also have a pavilion with open sides all around. All these blessings are given to us by the Lord so we could have church at anytime.

So church was called. But who called the folks. Most of the people's home phone did not work because of the outage. Not many reveal their cell phones. So who'll lead the folks in the worship of the Lord who came to church not having heard of the closing?

I say church should never be closed because of weather related reasons. If one person comes to worship, he or she should find the doors open.

Years ago, at our church, I helped Miss Jenny Vanderhugel, 86 years old, up the ice-covered front steps. She came to worship. Ice or no ice. I'm glad the doors were open.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Male Baldness

I know I'm one of the guys when I walk into a bank or other office, the folks there dim the lights because of the extra glare coming from my bald head.

We balding men seem to get most of the flack from fellows with hair like Dick Clark. We shrug those remarks off because deep down we know that hair is a water plant. It is most prolific on containers of stagnant swamp water.

We also know that our obviously expanding brain has but limited room to grow. When endowed with this extra capacity, little tentacles of swamp hair are soon replaced with hair-free skin. The sun's radiance activates the additional brain power that otherwise would be obstructed by useless hair.

I'm not surprised by men shaving their head; anything to be perceived as wise is the desire of such men.

Before I realized the God given gift of this additional and exalted wisdom, I had a mindset to fool the public by growing a comb-over. It took years to achieve the right length.

The trouble was, I had to walk backward to church because of the prevailing wind. To walk forward, like all other folks, caused my comb-over to stand erect. Not only did it feel like I had raised a sail on my head, but when it fluttered I wished it was the American flag and not a bunch of hair soaked with "A little dab will do you."

When that experiment wore off, I considered a toupee. I had prepared myself for the need of frequent shampooing. But the thought of the thing falling off every time I tied my shoes had me thinking. To glue the thing to my skull with denture paste didn't do much for my macho ego. Finally the notion to cover the growing wisdom and masculinity soon left.

As I grew older, I was sorry I had never before read the ancient documents which provided answers to solving the "hair or no hair" dilemma. Had I known in my late twenties to let my eyebrows grow, I would have been all set by now at age seventy-two. I could have sported a convertible top by now. An instant option to have the top up, or have it down.

Take heed young man, plan now for the option. Who knows, there may still be a traveling circus around when you get to be seventy-two for you to rake in a few extra coins.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice Blooms


Just a few of dozens of Carol's blossoms.



Monday, June 18, 2012

Catalytic Combustion

I wrote a post on methane gas not long ago. Suggesting to trap methane and use as fuel in vehicles or even hot water heaters.

Canisters of natural gas are in use now. If the government would get out of the way, we'd have a much cleaner fuel to burn in our cars.

Human inventiveness is endless, especially when the going gets tough.

Inventors have tackled unburned smoke in wood stoves by recirculating the smoke. We have one of these stoves. It is amazing how the unburned smoke ignites the second time around. Sometimes the extra combustion raises the lid on the stove.

This theory was discovered long ago and put to use in the early 1940s when fuel for motor vehicles was nonexistent. How does one run a truck or bus then?

You build a vehicle that has a wood stove on board.

I've seen cars modified with their trunk lid removed and a stove place in the trunk.

As kid in the mid 40s, I had an opportunity to see a traveling colony of Lilliputians coming through our nearest train station, about 5 miles away. All us kids got a ride. I remember the man firing up a truck using the smoke from a pot bellied stove in the back. He stoked the fire, ran to the front of the truck and cranked the handle. Over and over he stoked and cranked. Finally the truck coughed and started to idle. We were on our way. See this story and many more in my book

What I didn't know until recently, is that Germany actually built buses with wood stoves built in. Check out the picture and the caption below.

Try the caption below.

Here is my translation:

A motor craft vehicle during the times when motor fuel, (diesel and gasoline) was not available. -- Generated wood gas was used as combustable fuel during the war and early years following. -- Stove to generate wood gas on board. -- Vehicle built in 1941.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pond Fishing

Franz's symbol of wisdom
It don't get any better. Fresh air, quiet, and your fishin hat pulled down till the ears stick out.

A steady breeze keeps causing the johnboat to drift into the weed bank. Billy Joe, the fellow working the oars, gets tired of having to quit fishing and row back to the middle of the pond. He drops the anchor, a concrete filled coffee can. 

“That’ll get’er,” he said to Odell. “Don’t like my fishin bothered.”
“Yup,” said Odell.
Spinner baits whisked through the air, and reals hummed. For hours the two enjoyed the quiet, the breeze, the swallows fetching dancing bugs over the water. 
“Odell,” said Billy Joe.
“Yup,” Odell responded.
“I’ve got some pondering to do,” said Billy Joe.
“Yea I do.” Billy Joe shifted on his seat. “Ida May don’t say much.”
“Hum,” said Odell.
“Never did.”
“Yup never did,” Odell agreed.
“Been married nigh a dozen years now,” said Billy Joe, as he removed a treble hook from his latest catch.
“Nice one.”
The sun hid behind streaked clouds, ready to give up the day. A couple of bullfrogs started to contest for dominance in their claimed cove.
Going back to pondering, Billy Joe went on. “Yup, . . .  Ida May, you know, she don’t say much.”
“I know.”
“Hadn’t said word to me in eight months,” Billy Joe volunteered.
“Ah, hum, eight months,” said Odell.
“Yup, not a word,” said Billy Joe. He switched to a top water lure, gave it a whirl and watched it plop at the edge of the weed bank.
“Thinkin about divorce,” said Billy Joe.
“Why?” asked Odell.
“Well, you know . . . Don’t talk,” mumbled Billy Joe.
“Don't talk. . . So?” said Odell.
“Well, what's your take?” said Billy Joe.
“You know, a woman like Ida May is hard to find," said Odell, settling the matter.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Paper Snippets Art

Paper patches
Recently a friend of mine posted an artist's amazing work on Facebook. The artist used snippets and patches cut from newspapers and magazines to create his unique motifs. One of which is below.
I showed some of our grandchildren this ingenious and frugal way to create a masterpiece.
I threw the old Sunday paper and a couple of magazines on the table, along with four glue sticks, and challenged the kids to create.
The instructions were to start with the eyes then let their creative juices flow. It is amazing to me how their minds worked differently.
God made no snowflakes alike. Everyone that has ever come down out of the sky was different. As also He made us. All special. 

How to keep children busy, and away from the everlasting, dominating digital world, should be a priority for all parents and grandparents.

The challenge is shown above. A portrait created with printed paper snippets.

Start with the eyes. above is by a seven year old. Below is by a ten year old. Cut, whack, glue, get'er done was the zeal. You notice the patches getting bigger the further they got away from the eyes.

Some kids are the contrary'ns. instead of building from the eyes, they encased the eyes. this twelve year old showed the joy in her life and in doing the project.

And then there is the fastidious fourteen year old. She spent hours during several art sessions, plugging away at the design she had envisioned. Hundreds of patches, some with intriguing subject, created her shapes. Instead of creating a face, she gave a tree a dominating and comander-like power.

A close-up here shows the patient and thoughtful blend of matching tones. The snippets did not get bigger as her design spread out. Her strength is in the perseverance in achieving a goal.

Parents, . . . a fifty cents glue stick and old magazines can teach patience, attention span, as well as show you the strength of each child and their different personalities.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Mayonaise Pancakes

Give this post a chance. Don't look like the lama.

To say my mother was frugal is an understatement. Granted during the hard times after WWII she had to be. There was no other choice. Every crumb was eaten. We didn't have a fridge. So, to test whether something was too far gone to eat, you simply smelled it, or looked at it to see if it started to grow fuzz.

Even after we came to this country in 1955, she continued to "re-issue" various leftovers. She would create whole new meals. Most of them having no gourmet title, but were simply called hash.

Mother also saved the grease. Every drop of frying lard wound up in a crock that had its permanent spot on the back of the stove. It didn't matter if chicken was fried or fish. She also poured the bacon grease in that crock.

To make a cake, most recipes call for either butter or lard, or other shortening. To mother grease is grease. She made a walnut/raisin cake using the abundant stash in the crock. To say the least, the cake tasted like bacon.

Now my theory.

I always thought the "sell by date" stamped on everything is a marketing ploy. For instance, how can buttermilk get out of date when it takes sharp cheddar cheese two years to get good? Duh . . . the cheese stars with buttermilk curds!

The same thing with blue cheese salad dressing. Even tin cans have a date on them. Remember, milk was good until it smelled blinky? Someone didn't have to tell us.

Well, the mayonaise in our fridge was over half full, but two months "out of date." It didn't smell bad. It had no mold. Therefore good to eat.

I wanted pancakes for breakfast. My wife said, "We have no milk or buttermilk in the house."
"Oh but we have mayonaise!" I said.
"I'm not eating any of them," she said. "Not if you're thinking of using that outdated stuff."

Into the bowl went: one egg, 1/2 cup of mayo, 1 1/2 cups of self rising flour, a pinch of salt, a dash of vanilla extract, a flat teaspoon of baking powder, a spoon of sugar, a teaspoon of "fiber", and fresh black coffee to get the proper consistency.

I tell you what. I could not tell the difference from any other pancakes I ever made before. Maple syrup over them . . . yum, yum!

I often think of hungry people rummaging on rubbish heaps, looking for morsels to eat. I see children with hollow eyes and swollen bellies. I know it is a sin to waste food. I'm determined to consume what the Lord has provided before it becomes waste.