New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Urban 'omstead or Growing our greens

You cannot use the term "Urban Homestead" these days as some good folks in California copyrighted the words. I am not even going to mention their name as I so admired them before. I would like to copyright the word Fuckhead and get a royalty every time it is used. If I would have to pay I would run out of money the first day.
This bucket of Mustard has kept us in all the mustard we eat throughout the winter. I figure we have had about 10 meals from it. That is all the mustard one needs in a 3 to 4 month period. All I need anyway. It will keep you regular. This a good example of what you can grow even if you live on the top floor of an apartment building.
The remains of last fall and winters bucket garden in the background. Never mind the oil container. It is upside down to drain the last drop for the chainsaw.

My bride the petite ex-truck driver (SWMBO {she who must be obeyed}) brought the barrels home one day this winter. She bought them off some hog farmer who scavenges the garbage bins for his hogs. He buys them by the truck load and passes them on to her at cost.
Cutting these barrels in a kilt brought some upkilt surprises

The plan is to do what minimal farming I am going to do in them. They had some kind of food grade chemical in them. We do not seem to do well growing veggies in the ground here. The fruit trees are coming along but they are a long way from bearing fruit. We may never see it. All the berries including one blackberry that we thought had died are growing like stink. It went under ground and came up this year several feet away. It is being coaxed back to the fence. We are going to have two blackberry patches. Mmm cobbler. The asparagus has not started to come up yet but we ate out of the patch all last summer.
One of these will raise all the mustard I want plus enough to share with a old crippled up cajun friend. He eats more of it than I. I am going to try spinach again. If I can get it to work then one of the barrel halves will be enough. I am the only one that eats it. I love the stuff and have since birth. I especially like it mixed with mustard but spinach has a subtle flavor I really like. Thanks to Popeye who introduced me to this about 65 years ago as I recall.

The hog farmer cuts his barrels length wise and starts plants in them but that limits the depth and I want room for roots as I intend to raise stuff to maturity. We have two sizes 30 gallon and 55 gallon. The 55 gallon are shown here.

One of the 30 gallon ones is going for two fir trees that I think we killed but there are new signs of green so we will see.

I have squash in one and if it produces it will keep us in all the squash we eat. So far I have started tomatoes, basil, squash, potatoes, spinach and jalapeǹos. All but the potatoes are in pots so I can cover when it freezes again. We are being softened up for a sucker punch.

So far I haven't spent any money. I have only used what I have on hand and the seed is seed I saved. I know I said I was not going to screw with gardening again but as you already know I am of weak and questionable character.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Useful Art or Now you can stop calling everything on a bicycle a thingy

This is for my Bikey friends

I do not know where I got this but I found it on my desktop. There are credits on the image.
Probably put it there when I was drunk or stoned. There is not a thing on here that I did not already know but I still cannot stop looking at it just the same.
I do wish they had put Fender, Rack and basket though.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Clothespins,

Clothespins and other free clamps. The other clamps were on the ends of those cheap pants hangers that breed in peoples closets. Cut them off with cutters and they are excellent clamps for as long as the cheap plastic last.

Clothespins get used up around here and some faster than others. The good ones last for years. The cheap Chinaland ones from the bargain store are undersized, have inferior springs and come apart at the slightest provocation.
Need a wedge for a rattling window

or a screen that will not stay closed? Use half a clothespin.

Need a bigger wedge for a shaky shelf? Use the whole clothespin.

Then there are the bags that need help staying closed. Sometime between my youth and now the material these bags are made of became made of memory stuff. They cannot be wadded up, twisted up or folded closed and stay the way. They instantly try to go back to the original shape. They ought to make cars out of this stuff. Twist ties are a pain in the ass and I take them off and put them in a safe place in case I someday will need them (they are good for bundling wires behind the computer). I do not buy the clamps that are sold to close potato chip bags as they are a solution for a problem I do not have. I have clothespins although those other clamps work better.

I even have used clothespins to hang clothes (in the Navy we used lengths of cotton cord) on the rare occasion that it was not raining, the air had more air in it than dirt and/or the wind was not blowing a gale. We also have a birdshit problem.

While I'm at it I might as well discuss plastic bags (ziplocs and such). Why buy plastic bags when your cereal and your bread comes in them. If you think they are contaminated because they had food in them then you have a problem I cannot address so you might as well not read any further. These cereal bags keep the chips, cookies and cheese in the fridge better than any plastic bag. The bags your vegetables come in are designed to pass gas (pardon the expression) so they do not keep anything very well. The bags the veggies come in from California also are made to pass a certain amount of different gases so the the 14 day old produce you are buying can be sold to you as fresh. I drove a produce truck and believe me they ain't fresh.
I do not use plastic bags much. Mostly I use left over glass jars that I emptied the product from myself.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Cats or Cute little critters that turn your life completely upside down.

Look who has come to live with us. Temporary names are Panda and Runt. I say temporary as I seldom get to name any of the various species of animals that come and go. It is probably because the names are imaginative and sometimes X rated.

Our last cats deserted us but cats are fickle and do as they please.
They are relegated to the dungeon for the first few days until they get the litter box and food dish idea. They get handled a lot to get them use to that. They have been here less than 24 hours and seem to be figuring it out.

SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) says she wanted them for the mice but our mice are rats and are bigger than these guys. They might make one meal for the rats. I have probably had more than a hundred cats in my lifetime. SWMBO and I have had less than a dozen. Cats seem to come and go. None can live up to the high standards of Bilbo Baggins who went to the great litter box in the sky many years ago.

I imagine there will be more said about this matter. Some of it may even be printable.

Now I have to get them started on these noisy birds.

They think it is spring.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Teeth and how to Foolishly Lose them Part two

Imagine this as part of my smile.

Part one is here if you are interested in the background of this tale.

Last night I made my self a little snack for my evening meal. A lovely lean two ounce hamburger on a small sourdough roll. On taking the fist bite I heard a thump at my feet that sounded a little strange. I looked but saw nothing so I took another bite only something was wrong. There was nothing to bite with. Oh well, I moved the burger more to the side of my mouth and made a mental note to look for my teeth later. After a few more bites drooling crumbs onto my shirt I decided I really needed those teeth now so I looked. Of course the floor was dark and I could see nothing but no problem. I bit myself on the bottom of my foot and there they were.

When you lose teeth you have to learn to eat all over again. Sandwiches are off the menu for now and I guess corn on the cob is out of the question and I do not care much about apples unless they are pie. I cannot live without tacos however so I have to get this fixed. I still have fifteen molars left and some of those are opposing. Only ten can be counted as usable as five is the number of spots where I can still mash stuff. As long as I still have two opposing I figure I am still in good shape.

The best part of this is nothing hurts. I just have to remember to break my cookies into pieces when I get the munchies.

More to follow on this subject as soon as I track down that other old fool, my dentist Keeth Lane . He is even older than I am and about as independent. He is pretty crazy but then who am I to talk. I do not think he is doing it for the money anymore. A ride in his chair is a fun ride even if it is a dentist chair. The thrills come with remarks like uh oh, now what have I done and hold on, this won't hurt much.

I should mention that he is also a pilot (what dentist is not) so he also has the "Jesus Christ Syndrome". You know the walk on water stuff. He is an all around good guy and I enjoy bullshitting with him. Now if I could just talk him into discount rates. Not likely to happen.

Oh wow! I just discovered I can clench my teeth and stick out my tongue at the same time.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Fix It or How negligence gives you plenty to do

Back in early January we had a squall move through with the usual gale force winds. SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) informed me of the impending doom which I apparently ignored. The above is the result. This event went into the file of dumbass things I did not do that I will be reminded of until the end of time.

That is OK. I needed one more thing to fix.This is a First Up canopy which when I last checked was $79.00 plus tax, license and dealer prep at Walmart and it is the second that I have bought. That works out to about 86 cents a square foot for shade and rain cover. With the side walls it is 120 cents per square foot. Pretty cheap coverage for four years. It goes up and comes down in minutes. I will be purchasing another.

You can see the first one in the background in the upper right hand corner of the picture. I bought the old one in 2007 and it went camping that year. It was put up in the yard and has been up continuously since with the exception of when Hurricane Gustav came through. We paid attention to the weather that time and took it down.In keeping with the philosophy of fix it until there is nothing left of the original I interchanged a few parts.

The top is the weak link on these things. It is pretty light weight and a couple of years is about all the sun it can take. It is also structural. Much like the cable around a Yurt it stiffens the frame when under tension. There was enough of the top remaining on the old one to make it fly so it damaged the frame too. Even though the design has been cheapened somewhat it is well engineered and the parts are interchangeable. From the two came one.

This is with the legs at the lowest setting. It goes up to about 7 feet. If I had lowered it to this height and staked it down it would never have flown. If I had been so lax on the boat I would be residing with Davy Jones now. Like an old friend once told me "Good seamanship does not happen by accident" -Bill Amberg-.

I started to paint the white to match the black but decided that I liked the Frankenstein look. There are some rips in the top and I will try to patch those mainly because SWMBO says it cannot be done. Either she will get another "I told you so" or I will prove her wrong. I seldom prove her wrong. Now where is my duct tape?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Old Fools Journal: That Fateful Day The Adventure Started.

Well another year has rolled around since that fateful day 27 years ago when SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) and I threw our lot in together. I don't believe I can say it any better than I did in this post in 2010.

We celebrate the day we ran off together not the day we actually got married. The getting married part was the least important thing and was only to include the government in our arrangement. Getting married at best is a three way with the government. At worst it is a four way with the government and whatever church you wish to include. After six or so years of getting to know each other, crossing an ocean and going native I decided that there were advantages for her if we were married. She practically had to be dragged before the Justice of the Peace. I am sure she has been momentarily sorry from time to time just as I have but as it is for me it is probably fleeting. She seems to still like me I think because she still kisses me on the lips in public.

You are right Steven. I don't buy Valentine cards. I make them instead. I value hand made more than store bought and I hope others do as well. Everything that is handmade has a little of the person that makes it in its makeup. I have never discarded a handmade card I received and I enjoy looking at them over and over remembering those that made them.

I do buy candy for our anniversary (Valentine) but then I buy candy as a gift for no reason once in a while. Today I am shopping for a specific kind that I just happen to know she likes.
I do not think Hallmark is going to try to recruit me.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Old Fools Journal: What Has Happened To The Time? or Time flies when you are getting old.

From the drivers seat looking into my rolling cave.
Clutter - what clutter? It looks perfect to me.

Three years ago on this date I started this journal. An explanation of that event is found below in a re-posting of the original post. Other than correcting spelling errors it is as the original. Three years and 396 post later I can not think of a better way to say it.

Another Old Fools Journal
These scribblings are for and from my journal. I have always written but always to a journal or to someone and not for public consumption. I viewed a movie the other night that affected me profoundly. It was "The Bucket List" and although I found that I had already crossed off most of the things on their bucket list there where still some things that were in my grasp. Fly the space shuttle was out but write publicly was still possible. I became aware recently that a number of people in the Bike Forum's that I have come to respect have blogs so there you go and here I am.

I have notice that there are many old fools but I did not expect to find so many with blogs. The thing about old fools is that they usually know it and accept it and go on. Fools on the other hand seldom know it with out having psychological problems. It is a shock to discover that one is a fool. It is best to become aware of it on your on and be brought to that awareness by someone you love. Someone you are not ashamed to be a fool for. Someone who will not hold it against you.

I posted this in the Bike Forums last April:
"04-18-2007- It's a shock to anyone to suddenly come to the realization that they are a fool. If you are young it can be devastating but it is quickly over when you realize that it must be a mistake (denial) and that you are really OK. The most vulnerable are men in or near the midlife crisis. If they can hang on to denial they are OK but if the reality embeds itself as the stone truth then defeat is surely the result. This may be true for women as well but I don't know as I have never been one. Since men and women are more alike than they are different I suspect it applies to both. The best that can happen is to coast through the weakness of youth and middle age on denial or abject ignorance. No one escapes being a fool but denial is a defense mechanism that allows us to coast through the vulnerable periods. In my early sixty's the veil was lifted from my eyes and I could see the light but I could not understand what I saw. Fortunately I have a mentor in the form of a granddaughter that allows me to see that being a fool is not so bad and in fact can be quite pleasant.

Eight years later I am still working on it. Examining a lifetime of foolishness in eight years is nearly a full time job and at times it becomes exhausting and has to be shelved for a while. There are times when it is so overwhelming that it makes you cry but so far the cumulative result is very positive. Thus I can take the title of Old Fool and be proud of it. I am much more selective of what I am a fool for now but I am still a fool. When someone calls me an old fool I can only say yep and the only thing that changes is I'm getting older."

There will be post about bicycles, grandchildren, the unfairness of it all, world domination and gardening which I am just getting into with my bride which I have been with 24 years tomorrow.


These three years have gone by quickly. My Princesses are 12 soon to be 50 and I am still happily their fool. I am also the fool of several other ladies from my past and present. I make no excuses or apologies for that either. As I am a volunteer I do not feel oppressed.

With the start of these musings I also started another kind of writing. I started writing down everything I eat. I am still doing that as well and because of the awareness of what I put into my mouth I put less. I have slowly but surly lost 33 pounds and I seem to still be loosing. It is ounces at a time but that is OK as I want to lose it as slowly as I gained it. I love to cook and to eat so I suspect that I will have to write down what I eat for the rest of my life in order to prevent myself from eating the world.

I knew I had something to say but I did not know it would be so much.

It's not even 10:00 AM and it is already 50 degrees F. It is supposed to be in the mid 60's today and in the 70's as the week progresses. I have much to do. Now I am going outside and see if it is still there..

Friday, February 11, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Dreams or Life in Another Time

As I said in a prior post I dream a lot. That post can be found here. Actually I don't dream anymore than anyone else but I remember many of mine. I have read that is caused by the dream overlapping into that gray area between sleep and wake. I don't know what that is called but I like it.

Sometimes I don't remember the story but just the people or the place. Sometimes I only remember that it was a whole story with a beginning, middle and end and was resolved before I woke up. I know it was finished because I invariably have that feeling of completion after such a dream. I can also tell when things are not resolved. I complain about a bad nights sleep after such a dream.

I have reoccurring dreams. Sometimes it is the people sometimes it is the place and sometimes it is both. The sketch at the top of this post is one of those places. I have been seeing this door in my dreams for thirty or forty years and it is always recognizable. That is as close as I can get to what I see except for the bike rack. I added that just because I could.

The building is old and I get the impression that it is in an old town in Scotland or Ireland but since I do not remember people or anything surrounding it I do not know for sure. It could be in the New England states somewhere. If you see it let me know.This is a more accurate depiction of my dream. It always seems to be dark and foggy. I also associate the smell of the sea and distant fog horns with it. It is a place of refuge. I only remember going inside once but I may have entered many times without remembering. It was dark and cobwebby. There were books stacked everywhere and things, lots of exotic things. Indian headdresses, Egyptian statues, a skull, world globes and oriental art work are everywhere. There are old jars with stuff in them and strange markings on them. There was a bird I had never seen in a cage. There was a cat* on the counter that watched every move I made. The closest I have seen like it is the book store in the beginning of "The Neverending Story". It is not the same but when I saw that movie and saw the book store I had that strange feeling of having been there before.

I dream in color but this reoccurring place always seems to be in shades of gray with the exception of what I remember of the inside. That was in color.

Maybe it is just too many drugs and too much alcohol over the years. Maybe I am just wired that way. Whatever it is I like it. When I go to sleep I never know where I am going. Sometimes I go on an adventure. I have had fantastic flights in my dreams. Sometimes I meet and visit with old lovers and lovers I have never met. Sometimes I go to a comfortable place like the bookstore. Sometimes I go home which is pretty much the same place.

*I just realized the the cat is a cat that owned me in another life by the name of Bilbo Baggins. An exceptional entity the like of which will never come again. Picture enclosed.
My Buddy
Yeah sure. Bilbo jumped ship in Redondo Beach, California. Twice. Cats are so fickle. Picture was taken in 1975.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Lest We Forget

Lest we forget how we came to be. A reminder from a child.

Words from a child to clear the palette of my mind.

While cutting big pieces of wood into little pieces of wood for my stove this last Sunday I had the feeling that I was being watched. It turned out to be this monument to socialism that watches silently from across the street. It just stands there waiting for it's chance to perform. It will dance for anyone that needs it. Socialism is that economic and political theory advocating public or common ownership and cooperative management that so many these days profess to hate except when their house is on fire.

Years ago when I was a boy (34 or so) and lived on the mountain there was a rock that watched me. It was part of the mountain and very old. It was also very quite. It had been there a long time. I discovered it watching me when I was cutting up a really old really big white oak for firewood that had been downed by Father Time. Even after the oak was stacked away for the winter I would go back to contemplate that rock. I talked to it and wanted it to answer back but of course it never did. It lived on such a vastly slower time scale that I must have appeared as blur or maybe to it I moved so fast that I was invisible. It is still there I am sure as it is a part of the mountain but although I have moved on toward the end of my time and now have a head of gray hair only the very tiniest unmeasurable sliver of a nanosecond has passed for it.

There are no rocks here except for those imported and they soon pass into the mud on their journey toward the center of the earth. So now I contemplate Mr Plug and sometimes talk to him as I did Rock the elder. He does not talk back because even though he is much younger than the rock time passes at about the same speed for him. I have accused him of being an alien from the stars but name calling does not phase him. He may be young but unlike humans he knows it is best to keep his mouth shut.

Time? I don't do time. -Man- (Chong)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Happy New Year or The fireworks stand in China town are making money today.

Today being Chinese New Year I thought I would have a cup of tea, eat a fortune cookie (yes I happen to have one) and have a glass (bottle) of wine but then I do that everyday to celebrate something. Today February 3, 2011 is the first day of the Chinese new year - Year of the Rabbit. The formal name is XinMao. The Chinese calendar dates back to 2600BC and is the oldest known calender.

Who cares you say. Well since China comprises more than 15 percent of the world population not to mention the millions of Chinese scattered around the world I would say it would do well to pay attention to what they do. From where you sit you can reach out and touch something made in China that is unless you are sitting naked in the desert but even then you are breathing the air they exhale.

There are approximately enough babies
born in China each year to repopulate New York state. There are more cigarette smokers in China than there are people in the USA. I read that at the rate of growth currently in China of the use of oil by 2020 there will be a need for 3 Saudi Arabia's. Don't ask me to verify this Google it yourself. This is just stuff I read on the internetwebpipestubes which by the way are frozen in many areas. I don't much care.

Meanwhile the high
temperature has been 36 degrees F at the Casa Del Sol in sunny southeast Louisiana with a north wind giving us a windchill of 18 degrees F. Needless to say I have not been out riding my bike. I'm not bathing much either. I don't do cold well.

Mostly I have stayed bundled up in flannel and wool. Knee socks and shoes are part of the uniform of the day and the night as well. Except for the shoes. I take them off to go to bed.

It is suppose to be 35 degrees F tonight but it is already 34 so I guess that is busted. It supposed to be like this through Monday at least. That sucks. I have enough wood for tonight so tomorrow I have to hustle some more somewhere or start busting up the furniture. I am very aware these days of how nice it is not to be homeless although if I was I would be southbound seriously.
This a reminder that spring will come and the blue jays will be as belligerent as ever.

Oh yeah
the chicken scratches at the beginning of this post is Chinese for rabbit or so they say. There are more than 40,000 of these and I have not memorized one yet. I have read that their forth graders know at least 2000 and many can speak English or French. Why French?

When I was there 50 years ago there was a four year old that was handling the cash box and making change. Understood my American language too. We are doomed.

Blogger is being cranky about formating tonight and I am tired of dealing with it.