Thursday, June 22, 2017


I hate 'em.  There were none of those furry tailed tree rats when we moved out here.  There were a few of those black squirrels we call Rock Squirrels.  I assume they came out here as we became less rural and more suburban.  How? I don't know but they seem to follow the expansion of folks that have moved out here over the last 15 or so years.  

My grandmother and grandfather loved those things.  They would even feed them by hand.  Their back yard was a sanctuary for squirrels and birds of every sort.  They had at least 3 feeders they filled everyday.  As a child I thought it was pretty cool to feed them by hand.  Now, not so much.  They are now a hated pest.  I won't go into detail about all the problems that come with having squirrels around.  But they have now crossed a line, my garden line.  I have never had any issues with any pests the 3 years I have been growing this current garden.  This year is different.  I have lost as many tomatoes as I have picked.  First it was the tomato blossom rot ( that has been corrected).  There have been loss to bugs of some sort, which is to be expected.  The loss to bugs has been more significant this year than the last two.  Not sure why that is.  I have taken a few steps to try to decrease that loss. 

I had noticed several large tomatoes had unusual marks on them that didn't seem to be bugs.  I think it looked like something tried to take a bite out of them and stopped about the time the teeth broke the skin.  We have had rabbits in the past but I haven't seen any in about a year.  It was a daily/nightly routine for me to let Buster out to chase one or two rabbits almost every day.  I think the feral cats have wiped them out.  Oh, Buster never caught any, they are just too fast.  After a while he would just chase them half heartedly.  They got to where they knew it and wouldn't even leave the yard.  Worthless dog lol.  Oh, and I have a 3 foot chicken wire fence that seems to have worked keeping them out of the garden.

I have found several big red tomatoes that have been eaten almost completely by something with teeth.  I have reached in the pick a nice looking tomato only to find more than half of it gone and a mess in my hand.  It has to be those squirrels.  I guess it could be a possum or coons but I would think they would eat more.  

So I am trying a new trick the wife found googling.  Irish Spring soap.  Grated up and spread around the garden.  They say the squirrels hate the smell.  It's cheap enough and allows me to remain organic.
We shall see.

Happy Trails

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Getting a Bit Warm

Yes it is.  The weather service recorded the first 100* day recently.  This isn't unusual at all, but the humidity has been pretty high along with it.  That same day I recorded just 94*.  I don't usually have that much of a difference in temps.  Maybe we had a bit more cloud cover.  There isn't a cloud in the sky today, despite the humidity.  My device is showing 61% humidity but I could have bet it was much higher.

It gets oppressive when it's like this.  It really makes the exercise I try to do much harder.  Today it felt like I hadn't done any before, I was struggling toward the end.  I think it's the humidity mostly.  I can't get enough oxygen while I exercise.  I don't know, I am too far removed from the science classes of my youth.

Father's Day was quiet.  The Son #1 had been trying to get me to come their direction and go to lunch etc. but I just wasn't motivated enough to drive that far and fight the crowds at a restaurant.  They get much to busy for my comfort level on these type holidays.  I decided I to just stop at Whataburger on the way home from church and then go home.  Son #1 and his family showed up later and it was nice.
I called my Dad and told him Happy Father's Day, he was a bit disappointed we weren't coming.  I promised him we would come Monday, and we did.  Bought him lunch at Denny's, a place I never would have chosen but he likes it.  Son #2 was a no show, just a text.  He chose that day to spend with my Dad.  

Kim starts working 3 days a week at the resort today.  Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. 
Things have been strange on that front so was have no idea how successful it will be.  Have made a few leather bracelets for her and this Biker Wallet:

This has been keeping me busy for the last week.  I have another I will start on this week, plus a few other bracelets she wants.  Hopefully some of this will sell.

This work schedule the wife will be working pretty much hinders any fun things.  yes she has days off but those are spent restocking her wares and making new items.  It's just as as well, it gets too hot to do outdoor activities plus the fact there are lots more people in places we like to be alone at.  Yes, I am a getting more and more curmudgeonly. 

Happy Trails

Thursday, June 15, 2017

PSA Controversy

I have read some discussions recently in regard to having a PSA test done.  I didn't pay much attention to them but was aware and know how it saved my life.  I have an older cousin whose doctor refuses to do a PSA test even though he has offered to pay for it out of his own pocket.  The doctor just blows him off with: "even if you had prostate cancer, you most likely would die of something else before it would kill you."  He doesn't seem to care that if the cancer spreads it can be very painful existence and is incurable. Prostate cancer, when it spreads, spreads to your bones.  There is no cure for bone cancer.  The insurance companies are behind a lot of this.  It's about money.

Today I read this article on Yahoo news:  Why I won't Get Checked For PSA.  While some valid arguments are made, I think a major issue has been left out or ignored.  My doctor and myself believe it is good to have a baseline of your PSA established.  With regular monitoring of your PSA levels it can be determined when there is a change significant enough to investigate further.  This may include a biopsy.  

My primary care physician had established this baseline and I was getting checked every 6 months as part of my diabetes check up.  I was sent to the Urologist for another issue and he noticed the levels were heading upward.  At the first visit, the first thing out of his mouth was 'you have a 20% chance of having prostate cancer, do you want a biopsy?  I was shocked to say the least.  I told him I had to rely on his judgement since this was all new and I didn't know what to make of it.  He said he thought it was 'overkill.'  So I opted out.  But by the second time I visited him, My numbers were up again and the chances were increasingly indicating possible cancer.  I argued and asked questions to no avail and submitted to a biopsy.  I was assured my chances of having cancer were very low.  As most of you know I was found to have prostate cancer and it was mid range aggressive.  There is a scale they use called the Gleason Scale,it ranges from 6-8.  I was a 7 which doesn't look too bad but 6 of every 12 samples had cancer and not just a little, but a significant amount.  To cut this short I opted for surgery, I wanted that crap out of me after hearing the options.  The surgeon told me they would find more cancer than the biopsy indicated, it was almost always the case.  

I know I made the right choice even with the permanent after effects that I have.  While very annoying at times and even frustrating, I believe it is a much better existence than having the alternative. waiting and wondering if my cancer is a growing and getting worse and eventually killing me in agony.  It's how my mind works anyway.  I prefer as much peace of mind as I can get.  Oh, one other thing, if you have prostate cancer and they leave it in, you will get regular biopsies to check on it's progress.  The biopsy is as bad or worse than the surgery in my opinion, there is nothing easy about it.

I still urge you or you loved ones to get this test done regularly.  If you don't trust your doctor, find a new one.  A good friend's father just passed away 2 weeks ago from this disease.  It wasn't pretty and much of the last few years of his life was spent in agony.  That's not living.

I have a regular follow up coming next week.  I have very little to no trepidation about the results. But there is a chance it could return since it was an aggressive form of cancer.  Even though they believe it was totally encapsulated there is always a chance.  This will be 2.5 years after my surgery and this will continue out to 10 years.  That is pretty easy compared to the alternative.

Have a frank discussion with your doctor, get informed.  You're health is more in your hands these days than ever before due to all the new insurance rules.  It's in your hands now. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

GrandKids and VBS

The Grandkids are here for 4 days and will be heading to VBS everyone of those days with Kim for several hours.  That gives me some time to do a few things around here.  Monday and Tuesday were taken up with yard work, some leather work and various other things.  I paid the price of the yard work last night, didn't take enough Ibuprofen and slept fitfully.  I will need a nap, but that's not likely with the Grandkids here.  This will be a long week it appears.  I can see that Kim is already tired.  She spends a lot of time and energy entertaining the kids.  I caught her dozing on the couch several times and then when the kids went to bed she was asleep on the couch early LOL.  There will be little time for her to rest as she has to head to the resort Saturday.  I was hoping the next week would be less hectic, but Kim starts going to the resort to work 3 days a week until the end of August.  That puts a damper on fun day trips etc. but the work is needed and generates a little to help us with a few fun things occasionally.  So we wait until Fall to start any day trips, it's much cooler then usually.

I tried out my new walking sprinkler yesterday.  How nice it is to not have to run out and move the sprinkler every so often all day long.  No, I don't just set it and forget it.  Those things can come untracked and head off to who knows where or hit some unstable ground and lean sideways and dig a big hole in the ground.  So I set myself an alarm for every hour or so and check from the window to make sure it hasn't misbehaved.

I bought myself a dash cam.  I have been watching videos on the tube of you that have been made with dash cams.  There is some crazy stuff that happens.  It's just a curiosity to me.  It was cheap enough that I felt comfortable spending the cash.  The wife said that is my Father's Day gift.  We do that all the time, either we don't gift or let the other get something they wanted themselves.  We are really lazy about shopping for gifts as we get older.  It works for us.

Happy Trails

Saturday, June 10, 2017


While I was out doing my daily exercise I noticed a group of Whitetails headed toward me from down the street.  They were walking along the edge of the road.  As they got closer to me they started heading off the road in a manner that would take them directly into my yard.  I had to interrupt my exercise to let them pass.

At least 10, all Bucks with velvet antlers.  The Bucks are grouped up this time of year as are the Does.  However, it is a bit unusual to see this many Bucks together at one time, they are usually only in groups of 2-3. 

Once they passed they headed right back to the edge of the road.  They are always fun to watch, but they are also a PITB.  They eat everything, including so called 'deer proof' plants.  Although they do leave the Purple Sage (Ceniza).  It's the only thing so far.  They also poop and pee as they please.  At certain times of the year, mostly Fall, there is enough to have a distinct odor.  We have way more deer than the habitat can support and there is no predation so the population gets bigger and bigger.  The tree huggers that have moved out here love the deer, to death.  They even feed them corn to get them to come closer.  I have seen them being fed by hand.  This is not good.  They lose their natural fear. The deer get no nutritional value from corn, but they love it.  It's actually more like candy to them. Tastes great but is not good for you.  It's hard to get them to stop this nonsense even when it is pointed out to them they are doing more harm than good.  They are usually the first to gripe about their precious flowers getting decimated by them.  It is not unusual for there to be as many as 15-20 deer gathered in my yard, mostly in the fall.  In the summer you can see where several have bedded down for the night, the grass is laid flat.  They seem to use the same spot over and over it gets so beat down.

While they are beautiful animals and fun to watch, I see them as a ready food source if TSHTF.

Happy Trails

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Busy Again

Things have picked up around here it seems.  I have a few leather projects going and got so busy with them I forgot to even take photos of them.  I try to do that with everything I make.  I just want to be able to refer back to a piece either for ideas or to help me remember exactly what I have done.  A couple of inside the waistband holsters, some leather bracelets that Kim wanted to add to her inventory and a couple of 'Biker' wallets.  The wallets are something new for me so I am doing them from a kit the first time, plus I am basically out of all useable leather for anything like that.

The holsters were done because a friend needed one for his new Kimber 1911 short barrel with a crimson trace laser.  That is a nice pistol.  So that precipitated a trip to the leather store and bought a few of the other things I mentioned.  I never get out of there for less than a 100$ and sometimes much more.  But it keeps me out of trouble for the most part.

We have both been working on getting things ready for the upcoming (next week) VBS at our church.
Kim is much busier than I am in that regard.  We also needed to do some major grocery shopping so that took up much of one day since we go to 2 stores at the first of the month.  Costco and the local grocer.  We had to stock up some extra since the Grandkids will be here all next week also along with their attendance at VBS.  So next week will be pretty busy too.

I was hoping to get away for a day trip somewhere either today or Friday since we will be tied up most of next week.  I have been stuck here for far too long and need to get out before I go nuts.  But it doesn't look like that is going to happen either.  The rib just informed me that she has more work to do Thursday to get ready for VBS that will take most of the day.  Friday is not looking so good either now.

Maybe I will sneak down to the little lake in our area and get my fly rod out and see what I can do.  
Who am I kidding?  There are no shade trees at that lake and I ain't gonna work at it that hard.

Happy Trails

Monday, June 5, 2017


I found this and was glad to see someone in GB speaking out...language warning

Get a clue