Monday, July 31, 2017

First of the Month

Lots of errands to run today.  Credit Union, Costco, grocery, leather store.  Nothing really fun for sure.  Spending money and time is about all it adds up to.

The garden is having some problems.  The heat, as I mentioned before has reduced production considerably.  Bugs are taking their toll on the remainder and now some sort of white substance has started appearing on a couple of the plants.  I will jerk out the plants that have the white stuff.  They were pretty much done anyway.  And speaking of heat, yesterday was the hottest day we have had so far.  I don't know the temperature officially, but my reading was 5* higher than any other I have had this Summer.  I had 101 when it is usually 95-96 on my patio.  I could feel it was hotter than we have had also.  We just limit any outdoor activity during those times.

Happy Trails

Friday, July 28, 2017


Been a pretty busy day today.  Went and got my truck inspected and the oil changed then headed back into town to try and get that piece of glass I needed to replace the one I broke with the lawnmower. Yes, they had it ready to go and I got it installed and we are good to go.  Then I finished up the last wallet of three I have been working on.  A full day and it is just early afternoon.  

I woke up around 5 AM this morning and I had various aches and pains.  Not all that unusual except there was a new sharp pain in my hip joint.  I could hardly walk but made it to the Motrin and downed several of those.  I managed to get back to sleep after a bit and slept much later than normal. I guess I was making up for a fitful night of not sleeping well.  No idea what brought this new ache on, but I did without my usual exercise this morning just to give a little rest.  Maybe it is a touch of sciatica based on what I think I know.  

Tonight we head over to some friends house to say goodbye to a family that is relocating to another city.  Looking forward to the gathering but not the reason.  I can't talk much about what this family has been through and we shared their troubles and helped where we could.  This is a new a much more prosperous venture for them and I am optimistic.  The oldest son has just graduated high school and will be joining the Army shortly.  He could do worse by a long shot.  I think it gives him opportunities he wouldn't have had otherwise.  I hope I can keep my composure tonight.

Happy Trails

Thursday, July 27, 2017


I took in another movie.  That puts me at my annual limit of 2.  Actually I had no plans to go and then
Son #1 called and wanted to go see 'Dunkirk' and wanted me to go.  He knows my tastes and he probably knew his wife would prefer something else.  

This was a very different movie.  From what I know about Dunkirk and the time frame it seemed to be very realistic.  Not to mention I watched an interview with a 98 year old survivor of Dunkirk as he came out of the movie.  He was a very eloquent gentleman and was in grasp of all his faculties.  He got very emotional at one point while relating his thoughts.  He said it brought back so many memories of that time and it was very realistic.  So there you go.  

How was it different?  First off there were no major stars.  So there were no prima donna acting bits.
Also, how the story was told was different than most anything I have seen.  Each section of the story was told in real time and then they would tie back into each other.  Hard to explain but I don't think I have ever seen it done quite like that.  You had to pay attention.  It was pretty intense as you can probably imagine.  Not as bloody as you might expect either.  I give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

The Grandkids were here for a night and that was enjoyable.  It got us out of our rut for a bit.  

A few other errands were attempted.  Yes, attempted and failed.  I went into town to get a piece of glass cut for the window that was broken.  They couldn't cut it since their tech was out.  They would call me the next day when they have it cut.  Didn't happen so I will have to wait until Friday.  Three days and two trips for a piece of glass.  While I was out at the movie I decided to stop for an inspection for my truck.  Again, no dice.  Their computer was down, until further notice.  So I will head into town again Friday and get the glass and an inspection along with an oil change.  I hope, fingers crossed.  

Happy Trails

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Out of Africa

The Sahara Desert has come to this part of Texas.  The skies are hazy with the dust that has travelled thousands of miles across the Atlantic.  It has played havoc with sinuses in these parts.  Fortunately I am not suffering from the onslaught of dust.  Not sure how long this is supposed to last.  This isn't anything new.  It happens most years.  It just seems a little heavier than most.  So we are assailed with the dust of Africa in July and the smoke from fires in Mexico in June.  Although this past June I didn't notice the usual haze and smell we get with the smoke.  It is much more bothersome than the dust as far as I'm concerned.  

I am still working on still busy with a few leather projects, mostly wallets the wife wanted for her inventory.  Of course wallets are the least enjoyable thing I do with leather.  But she is able to sell them so I comply somewhat grudgingly.  I also delivered the last leatherman scabbard, he was more than pleased.  I'm just glad to have things like that to do that can make others happy.  I also found a couple holster kits I forgot I had.  I think I will just keep those on hand for special orders.

I had to cut the grass in the back this morning.  It was getting out of hand.  But that is by design mostly.  I let the grass grow much longer than normal in this heat.  It helps it survive a little better.  
The shorter cuts tend to burn up this time of year, especially in the areas exposed to direct sunlight most of the day.  It also saves on water, and we are on increased restrictions just recently.  The yard for the most part is in pretty good shape considering the time of year it is.  I also hit something unseen in the tall grass.  I will be replacing a window now.

I think my garden is just about done though.  Stink bugs have invaded and they seem to affect the ripening process.  From what I understand they sting the tomato (I didn't know they had stingers) and the spot that happens refuses to ripen.  The tomato will eventually rot before ripening.  I will probably be jerking them out in the next week or so.  I will try to get the last few green ones off when they ripen.  I won't plant any Fall tomatoes this year.  I will let it go dormant and cover it to kill off the bermuda I can't seem to stop from growing in there.

Happy Trails

Monday, July 24, 2017

Human Trafficking

Yes, this is the big news down in Libtardville.  In case you haven't gotten the news about it, here is a link to the latest news.  Human Trafficking.  This isn't the first time this has happened here and most likely won't be the last despite the outrage shown by the local politicos.  If you will note in the article, the poor souls are called 'immigrants.'  That is the typical name used for anyone that comes over the border by the local news.  I am not passing judgement on those that died in the back of that truck.  I know there have been comments that blame the victims for their demise.  I haven't read the comments but I have seen some news that they have been made and it doesn't surprise me.  I cannot fathom the type of heart that would do that sort of thing during tragedy.  But it happens, all too frequently.  I think it is a very sad situation, those folks didn't ask to die in the back of an abandoned truck. 
Regardless of the reason they came here, wishing bad things on them is just abhorrent.  It's akin to laughing at those that have been less fortunate or have experienced a tragedy.  I have seen it with my own eyes.  It's not any different than those kids that filmed the drowning man and laughed about him dying and not trying to help or get help.  My mind cannot grasp that type of behaviour.  A special place in Hell awaits them.  I am guessing that the families of some of the victims will never know what happened to their loved one.  

What makes the coyotes (those that bring them across for a fee) leave these people in a locked trailer in 100* heat?  You got your $'s, what do you gain by leaving them to die?  It makes absolutely no sense.  Just unlock it and leave.

Don't get me wrong.  Things are really bad along our Southern border in regard to illegals entering along with the drug cartel situation.  It is much worse than we ever hear about.  It's part of the liberal approach to news.  They won't report anything that is against their liberal agenda.  Reporting the truth is a thing of the distant past.  No one really knows how bad things are due to this mindset.  Once they realize their mistake, it will be much too late if it isn't already.  

Quite a few people from this area used to frequent the border area, going across for a mini vacation and shopping.  It doesn't happen near as much as it did and for some, it has ceased completely.  Even those that had business on the other side refuse to go anymore.  It is just too dangerous for those that don't look like a local.  It's not just skin color.  You can tell by the dress and manner of speech, even if you speak the language fluently.  Just like you can tell when you are talking to someone not local to your area and from another State.  They definitely sound different.  If it is bad enough for us to stop going for fun, just think how bad it is for those that live there all the time.  Yes, the locals bear some of the blame for that.  But this has been a corrupt society from nearly the very beginning.  It is near impossible to change something like that within a lifetime.  Something that is expected and accepted as the 'way things are.'

OK, I don't know how I got here.  I think I'll shut up.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

More Leather

I delivered the latest Leatherman tool scabbard last night.  Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of it.
Maybe just as well, I don't think it was some of my best work.  These scabbards seemed to be more difficult to make than most other things I have of similar size.  I think it mostly is I didn't have any pattern to base my cuts on.  So I had to do it as I went.  Consequently there were some details that didn't work as easily as you might think.  Thus I had more issues with how it turned out than I would have prefered.  If I had had more leather I would have made another one with fewer errors.  The Fire Fighter I made them for was very happy with how they turned out.  He was more than pleased when I gifted him the last one since it will be the one he wears at his job.  It was just a small thank you for what he does in his line of work on the rescue squad and being a Marine veteran of Iraq.  I truly admire this young man.

I bit the bullet and ordered a side of leather today.  It should last me a good while with as little as we are selling now.  But it is good to have on hand and will give me something to do when I get too bored and keep my hand in it.  I do notice my skills have slipped a little since I haven't worked with leather much lately.  I have a few ideas for some things that the wife may be able to sell at the resort. 
I will be looking for patterns for various things I have in mind while I am waiting on the leather to get here.  Since the summer is coming to a close and a huge fall off in the time the wife will spend plying her trade at the resort, this isn't the best time to have ordered leather and have new ideas.  It's what I get for procrastinating.

I have a cousin I rarely ever see that lives a good distance from me.  He is about my age.  He fell off a ladder.  I don't know many of the details but apparently he was using a chainsaw while on the ladder.
I am assuming he was trimming some trees.  The chainsaw hit his head and injured his skull and brain.  He isn't doing too well.  I am trying to keep up through the book of faces so information is only sporadic.  So if you can spare a good thought or prayer it is appreciated.

We made a trip down to my parents and took the DNA test for my Dad.  Mine and his will go in the mail today.  We had lunch with them and visited a while.  Then we had to hit the road early to try and beat the hellish traffic we have to go through to get home.  We still hit jams even though rush hour was still  hours away.  They live all the way across Libtardville from where we live.  It gets harder and harder to travel over there and back.  Consequently we don't make as many trips as we should.  I dread having to make an emergency trip some day and having to do it during rush hour.  It's best not to think about it.

OK, time to get back to some minor leather work, thanks for stopping by.

Happy Trails.

Monday, July 17, 2017


I am trying to finish up that leatherman scabbard today.  I received my order for some wallet kits this weekend so that will keep me busy most of this week.  I am on the verge of ordering a side of leather. The wife has been pushing me to do this for a few weeks, but I just don't want to spend the money.  I probably will bite the bullet some time this week and just order it.  It will last me a good while.  Even though things have been a bit slow with leather work, I wouldn't have the excuse to turn down work then.

I bought the wife a Kindle Fire during the Amazon Prime days.  It was on sale extremely cheap.  She has already used it some.  This is for a decidedly non-techie person.  Even if she doesn't use it much we aren't out much money and she may just use it once it a while.

I also ordered an Ancestry DNA kit for myself and one for my Dad.  These were on sale also, much cheaper than I have ever seen them.  Hopefully we can get an idea of our lineage.  I dabble with genealogy some and have hit several brick walls.  The most perplexing is my Dad's true Grandfather. The one we get our surname from.  We have little to no information on who the real one is.  It was kept hush hush in those days.  We will head over to my parents house on Wednesday and take the DNA kit for my Dad.  Not sure how this will work out.  Have been reading about DNA and elderly folks having trouble producing enough saliva and the test being invalid.  Plus, they send you a link for your results instead of a paper copy.  This will work OK for me, but not so sure it will be copacetic with my Dad.  I will have to navigate that for him and that hasn't always worked out well. Hopefully I can access it and be able to print it out for him.  However there is so much detail about types of chromosomes etc., that I know I won't even know how to decipher most of it.  I know it will be tough for him also.  We shall see what this reveals.  

It appears that Son #2 is on the road to matrimony.  Just when I had resolved for myself that it may never happen.  He is extremely happy and we are very happy for him.  This is all happening very quickly so it is a bit to wrap our heads around at this point.  I have to keep asking the wife to repeat things we have been told in order to keep it straight in my head.  She lives two and a half states away so we know only what he tells us.  It has been more than we expected coming from someone that is so private.  We met her once over a meal in a restaurant.  First impression is very good.  My Granddaughter met her also and made her thoughts known in no uncertain terms.  She wants more cousins to play with since it is only her and her brother on our side.  She has quite a few on her Mom's side.  Oh, and she said this to his intended.  She is normally very shy and reserved but got out of her shell where this was concerned.  It didn't scare the young lady one bit and she apparently thought it was cute.  

The tomatoes are still producing but have decidedly slowed down and there are only green ones waiting to ripen, no more new fruit/blossoms due to the heat.  If they survive the brutal month of August them we should see some blooms return around mid September.  We about sick of tomatoes at this point and have been giving more away than we are eating.  

Happy Trails

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Major Frustration

Yup, and I wasn't at all polite,  I am usually very polite and calm when I deal with people that are trying to do their jobs and will tolerate quite a bit of delay, slowness, things just going wrong for the person etc.  That all came to an end today.  

I have been having some trouble calling my parents.  We use nothing but wireless, no land line at our house.  Every call into town was long distance so wireless replaced that.  Yesterday I kept getting an error message when I called.  Then tried with the wife's phone and got through.  The issue was immediately forgotten.  I tried to call again today and same issue.  Tried with the wife's phone, no dice.  My wireless carrier verified my phone was working fine and that they couldn't connect to my parents phone either.  They use AT&T so I placed a call to AT&T to have them check if there is trouble on their end.  Simple, right?  Not even close.  40+ minutes and at least 11 separate connections and 2 continents (Mujiber and Hajigirl), I finally get someone that can at least speak to me in a language and accent I can understand back on US soil.  Yet they still wanted me to set up an appointment for a technician to show at their house that might or might not cost them $$.  Seriously? I just wanted to report trouble.  No, I don't have their account number.  No, I don't know their account password.  No, I don't know their favorite restaurant.  No, I don't know a 4 digit number that they commonly use.  How could I know their account details?  Just call their phone and see if you connect!  Check and see if you cut off service, they may have forgot to pay their bill!  Sheesh. Apparently you can't do any of that without those details.

There is much much more to this than what I mentioned and lots of aggravation and finally raising my voice more than I have ever to anyone that is a working person.  Some would call it yelling and much of it was repeating myself.  By the time I got off the phone I was in no mood to be very civil, to anyone.  I was even a little snappish with the wife and she didn't deserve that.

It appears that if you have AT&T Uverse like they do, if the modem has a problem, your phone will too.  It isn't the old land line, it is through the internet is how I understand it.  They tried rebooting on their end and it didn't work.  It will take a manual reboot of the modem and another gadget attached to the modem, it's not a router.  My wife finally got my parents on their cell phone, which is nearly a miracle itself, while I was getting worked up.  

We are going to have to get them to leave their cell phones on 24/7 jus in case of something like this.
Since they are reaching their 90's we need to be able to check on them and they need to be able to call out, which they couldn't do.  They thought the problem was on the other end.  Not turning the phone off goes completely against their nature.  They turn thing off every time they walk away from it i.e. the computer, even if they are returning shortly.  I think you can see how important it is for them to be able to get help at their ages.  Oh and they are fine, thankfully, but I still haven't gotten the message to them I wanted to in the first place.  No, they don't text either.

Happy Trails

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bits and Pieces

A lot of random things today.  Sorry nothing exciting.  The 'Rib' and I went out for a matinee movie yesterday and later that evening went to have a steak.  This was part of a delayed anniversary celebration for us.  She had to work on the actual day and our plans were to celebrate the next day.  
That also got postponed as our #2 Son wanted us to meet his lady friend.  The movie was fun and the steaks were great.  It turns out that a delayed celebration is just as good as on the real date.

The garden is still going great.  Still a lot of green tomatoes on the vine.  However it has gotten too hot for any new fruit to set and it has been for awhile.  I am also trying to stay on top of keeping the grass in my yard from turning into crispy critters.  So the water bill will be very high this month.  It usually is from June thru September unless we get timely rain.

I ordered a DNA test kit today.  It is something I have been curious about since various companies have been offering them to the general public.  The price was always too high.  However, the prices have dropped over the years as they develop them more and they also become more complex and accurate.  From what I have been reading, you almost have to have a genetics degree to make any real sense of them, at least for me.  But hopefully I can grasp some of the rudiments.  It will be interesting to see if the family legends of where we came from match up.  I am especially curious about possible Cherokee DNA.  However from what I have read, a majority of Americans that claim Native American DNA claim it is Cherokee for some reason.  I don't think this test determines tribe at all, just Native American DNA.  I don't think they have gotten that far along in development and have a data base large enough to draw from.  I was going to get one for my Dad too but the price deal would only allow me one.  

The wife is off to the resort to earn her keep.  Just kidding.  I am here alone and am trying to get motivated to start another leather scabbard for a leatherman tool.  I got some feedback from the other one I delivered and will make some considerable adjustments.  He is a Firefighter and wears this one at work and the things he has asked for will be for his specific job/equipment.  I hope to do him justice on this one.  He loved the other one and was wearing it when I saw him.  Great guy, for a Marine.  Just kidding, I hold all Marines, former or current with high respect.

Happy Trails

Friday, July 7, 2017


I went to see the doctor Thursday morning.  FNP actually as all I do is go there for blood test results to see if my cancer has returned.  (I don't know why they can't just call me with the results instead of having me come in and pay a 40$ copay.....oh wait.)  For some reason I had a nagging feeling about this trip, not fear or real worry, just a little trepidation that the news would be bad.  There was no reason for that at all other than I have constant lower back pain and that is one of the symptoms of have prostate cancer that has spread.  Let me tell you, if it has gone that far, it is too late.  It goes straight to the bones and there is no cure for bone cancer.  Oh and the results were all good.  Two and a half years out from the surgery and I have a lot to be thankful for.  And yes there was some relief at the news.

A couple posts back I mentioned my Son (#2) was taking a rare vacation to Arizona of all places during the Summer.  It wasn't really a vacation (yet it was a much needed break from work).  He went to visit a young lady.  When he came back he brought her with him to meet us.  Hasn't known her long but it's pretty serious.  We both like her a lot, not that it really matters what we think.  It is all so surprising to us and they seem to be a really good match.  No, he won't get advice from us about slowing down with our history.  If we did that, we would be huge hypocrites.  I got engaged to my wife after knowing her for all of three months.  The wife told her friends after meeting me, we weren't even on a date but at a party, she was going to marry me.  She was a high school senior and wasn't very worldly at all, pretty naive you could say.  They are both smarter and much older than we were so they don't need advice from us.  We just are going to enjoy the ride.

Happy Trails

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

July 4th

This is not your usual Independence Day post.  In 2005 the wife and I celebrated our 30th anniversary in Washington DC.  We thought it would be a fun way to celebrate by visiting the capitol and hitting the Mall that evening and watching the spectacular fireworks.  While we were in the area I couldn't pass the opportunity to go up to Gettysburg.  It had been on my bucket list.  It is something I anticipated and built up in my mind more than I should have.  Every time I visit a War Between the States battlefield I make it a point to visit the Texas monuments if Texans fought there.  Since this anniversary of the battle was this week I will post a few photos I took while there.  No it won't be politically correct, so if that may offend you, too bad.   Consider yourself warned.

This is what I try do at every Texas Monument.  Posting the Colors.

Then a few other significant areas around the battlefield.

From Little Round Top

Little Round Top

Ole Pete (Gen. Longstreet) at the form up area at Pickett's Charge

And I restaged the fake dead sniper photo that is very famous.  Too bad I didn't bring my living history gear.  But they may have frowned on my bringing my 1853 Enfield.

And on July 4th we visited Arlington to pay respects to a dear friend

No disrespect was intended by posting the Battle Flag.  He was a hard core Rebel and asked that his coffin be draped with the Battle Flag.  A true Patriot and Army through and through.  He wanted to be called Colonel and we did.

And Finally Marse Lee's Home-Arlington House.

It was a memorable trip.

Happy Independence Day.

Monday, July 3, 2017


The squirrel hit again.  We had some rain and I think it dispersed the soap too much so I will spread some more today.  We also had another visitor that Buster got after.  A young Armadillo was rooting around the shrubs in back.  I have to say this was a young Armadillo and was really nice looking, until Buster got hold of his shell as he went under the fence.  No, he didn't get hurt.  He was half way under when Buster got hold of the back of his shell.  He wasn't going to be able to pull him out though.  I have tried to pull several out of a hole by their tale just as they were going in. Never did get one even pulling with all my weight.  Those guys are made to dig in the dirt and they have very powerful legs/claws/paws made for digging.  So Buster had no chance.  He got away although with some marks on his perfect shell.  Hope he has learned to stay away sp Buster doesn't get lucky and get him by the head.  No, I am positive that is not what got into the garden.  

The Texas Hill Country has a lot of Armadillos.  But for some reason where we live I have seen almost none in the 30 years we have been here.  So seeing this young one was a complete surprise.  
This is just a stock photo, I didn't get one of our visitor.  He walked right by me not worried at all. They don't see very well and aren't very fast.  I should have just grabbed him a put him over the fence.

I finished a leather scabbard for a Leatherman tool.  The guy that ordered it wants a second. However I want him to try this one out for a few days to see if I need to modify it any.  The tool fits in there really tight and will only be tighter when on the belt.  It is based on a knife scabbard I made for the same person.  

It's different from what I would have normally done.  I would have put a loop on the back for the belt instead of this style.  It made it a bit more difficult to fit it correctly but I like this style more.  It will be more stable for such a tight fit since there is no keeper flap on this one.  

Happy Trails