Snow Pony

Last year GM began running commercials on TV for it’s redesigned Buick line.  I thought, man, that’s the quickest way to kill your new cars, because they’re so ugly.  They all have this gaping big grill in front that looks to me like a chrome mouth.  They ran these commercials where one person would say, “Look at that Buick,” and another would say, “That’s not a Buick, and blah, blah, blah.  The purpose of these commercials was two-fold.  First, they wanted to build-up the recognition factor, “Yup, that’s one of the god awful ugly Buicks.”  And second, by showing the damn thing over and over and over again, they figured that eventually you’d accept the new design as the norm, and not hate it so much anymore.  I have to admit, its kind of working.  When I see them now on the street I know they’re Buicks, and they’re starting to grow on me.

I’ve noticed a similar phenomenon with respect to Janet Yellen, head of the Federal Reserve.  When she first was being considered for the job, I thought, wow, thank god she’s smart.  But now after quite a few months, when I see her photo in the paper, I find myself thinking.  Has she had “work” done?  She’s looking kind of cute!  I’m pretty sure this is how I convinced a woman way better looking than me (The Princess), to marry me.  I just managed to hang in there long enough that she lost her sense of good taste!

As early as February 8,  I saw some of the daffodils blooming as I rode my bike by the old log cabin.  I thought, ahhh, Spring is just around the corner.  Well, it’s been a long time getting around that corner.  A big snow storm (well, big for us) went through here Thursday morning which left about 6 inches of heavy snow behind.  I thought it would be fun to get the Pony out in the snow, so I headed out to Gene’s yesterday.  The Pony hadn’t even been started in over a month, and it had been sitting through some dang cold weather, some nights in single digits.  Heck, it was so cold that Gene’s well pump froze.  But the Pony was up to the task and started on the first touch of the starter button.  For about an hour, I had a good time crunching through the snow and on out on Gene’s roads.  Gene was kind enough to snap a few photos, so here’s a little slideshow:  view here.  By the way, the slideshow looks best when viewed on the “wide screen” option.

Did you notice there was some “white stuff” on my face too?  That’s really helped keep my face warm on some of my cold winter bike (and Pony) rides.  The weather is due to warm up tomorrow, so I’ll take a bike ride out to check on those daffies.  Keep the faith everyone, and thanks for reading.

Bug Stories, They Just Got a Little Messier

The depths of winter, another Groundhog Day passes, and shadow or no shadow in North Carolina here, we’d just as soon skin the little devil and barbeque him than wait to see whether he was right or wrong.  With the cold, there’s less biking and more time to sit toasty by the fire and read.  In my continuing effort to bring you the best reading experience possible, I’m exposing myself (don’t let this sentence end here) to some of America’s great writers (jeez, even ending it here doesn’t sound good).  Right now I’m rereading Hemingway’s short stories.  My goodness, how did everyone not see his eventual suicide coming.  His stuff can be so dark and depressing, that I’ve stopped reading it in bed at night, for fear I’ll have nightmare’s.  With apologies, here’s me trying to write like Hemingway.

The heat waves made Old Ten Highway squirm as Jewel peered down the road ahead.  She’d been walking east, and the late morning heat continued to build.  Covered head to toe from her broad, floppy, sweat-stained canvas hat to her woolen socks worn thin at the heels and black, leather garden shoes, you’d think she was suffering, but she’d dressed like this, walked like this, in fact lived like this for so long that whatever she felt, it did not register in any particularly distinctive way.  

At an even pace she walked the berm and passed things she’d stopped seeing long ago:  not the swamp with it’s dead, deformed trees protruding from black, oily, stagnant water, nor the blue flowers of the chicory plants along the road, not even the dilapidated frame house with it’s roof stove in, it’s door broken and askew and dark window openings bordered with shards of jagged glass.  Without turning her head she would again walk by what was home to her decades ago.

As she approached the intersection with New Hope Church Road something did finally get her attention.  A man, stood across the road next to a bicycle.  It was difficult looking into the sun to make out much more than that, but something made her stop, add her hand to her brim for shade and stare intently.  She could now see that the man was young, not really, but much younger than her.  The two stood appraising one another for some time before the man spoke.  “Are you all right, mam?  Do you need some help?  I’ve got a cell phone if you’d like me to call someone.”

Jewel heard the man speaking, but couldn’t make sense of the words.  She didn’t want to admit to her confusion, but felt she should respond.  So she just spoke right out, across the road in a thin scratchy voice she did not use often,  “When I was a child, my parents died in a small plane crash in Africa.”

So, if your first feeling after reading that was “huh?” and then you said to yourself, well, that was kind of a bummer, then I’d say that I “nailed it.”  Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you on that low note.  We’ve got other ground to cover.

In the past I’ve written about chiggers, ticks, even bed bugs, but now it’s time to notch it up.  A couple of weeks back, the Princess and I had been upstairs watching TV, and while she stayed to watch a bit more, I went down to the kitchen.  After turning on the light, I was amazed, I mean absolutely stunned to see a roach on the kitchen counter race for cover under a plate.  I was so caught by surprise for a couple of reasons.  First, since we moved to the “South” and bought our place here I have from the outset and continuously had one or another pest control firm make regular visits.  Then too, we are so fastidious with our cleaning that when our son comes to visit, he makes fun of us for it.  And although I’ve seen dead roaches in the attic and down in the garage, to see one so alive and full of himself running around on my “sacred” counter top, it at once made me crazy and really mad too.

Shaking, I went over to the counter, moved the plate, and the little beggar shot right under the lip of it again.  OK, I looked around, saw a pad of paper and set a plan of action.  The next time I went to the plate, instead of just moving it I’d pick it up with my left hand and with my right I’d slap down the pad of paper and it would be lights out, Roach Boy.  I executed the plan perfectly and still shaking picked-up the pad to reveal the squashed and gooey carcass of my nemesis.  I’m not sure why, but I guess every hunter wants a souvenir, but before scraping the mess off the counter I got the iPad and took a photo. (1)

The next morning I was on the phone to “Anti-Pesto” so early that I think I woke them up.  I probably sounded pretty excited, and most definitely, not pleased, and the guy that answered said, “Don’t worry, mam (I get that a lot), we’ll get Ryan out there today and there will be no charge.”  Ryan truly is good.  He’d been out before, but we had not seen him for a while.  I could see him kind of “casing the joint” as he came down the hallway toward the kitchen, and I explained to him what I’d seen.  When he asked if I could describe the “varmint,” with great pleasure I hauled out the iPad and displayed the photo.

With no hesitation, he said, “I thought so, that there is one of your good cockroachs.  That’s an outside cockroach that has somehow gotten in, because he was cold and hungry.  What you don’t want, he looked into the living room, is a cockroach the color of that chair over there,” and he pointed to a blond, wood chair that stood over by the fire place.  “You get one of those in here, and he’ll call all his relatives, all his “aunties,” (he pronounced it ‘ahnties’) and they’ll just move right in and take over.”  I’m telling you I was mighty relieved, but he said I had some work to do.  He said that that guy had probably come up around some plumbing or electrical pipes and pointed out areas where I needed to caulk in order to keep out other unwanted visitors.

By that evening I’d been to the hardware store, got the caulk and filled the gaps.  I feel better now, but with a new, more realistic view on the subject.  I’m relating all this, I guess admitting to it, to hopefully make you all feel a little better.  Roaches are one of the great unspeakables.  No one wants to admit they’ve got ‘em, but I know that if I’ve got em, most of you do too.  What would be amazing, is if you didn’t have them.  Roaches I find out have been around for 300 million years!   You can freeze them, radiate them, you can even cut their heads off…they just keep on going.  Well, with their heads off they can only keep going for two days, but come on! (2)  For all intents and purposes, they own this place, and we’re just living in their world and at their mercy.

Moving on.  One day last week while The Princess and I were driving over to the mall she said, “We don’t think much anymore do we?”  I don’t remember why she said that, but I had to agree with her, and we both laughed.  I said, “You know most times you can get away with that, but there are times when it can lead to unfortunate consequences.”  When we got home after half a day at the mall, we found we’d left the garage door open and the house unlocked and just wide open to the whole world.  And that very morning the police had caught a guy with a stolen dirt bike in the neighborhood.  We used up one of our free passes that day I’ll tell ya.

There’s no Pony news this week, as the Pony is in hibernation until the weather breaks.  I’m kind of rooting for at least one decent snow fall this winter, so I can see how he runs in the snow.  No luck so far, but I suppose…be careful what you wish for.  Thanks for reading.
(1)  This photo is so disgusting that I have chosen not to include it.  For those wishing to see it anyway, send an email and I’ll send the image.  I don’t recommend it.
(2)  This information, according to Wikipedia and various other internet sources, so, you know, “grain of salt.”


Happy New Year, BANG!

Happy New Year!

The Pony turns 63 this year, and the new year finds him well.  I’ve been going out to Gene’s every couple of weeks here during the winter just to run him up and down the road a bit (the Pony, not Gene).  I can do about a 5-mile loop of Gene’s entire development and stay on quiet roads in the woods.  Gene told me that at a neighborhood holiday party the Pony and I were the subject of some conversation, thankfully positive.  Seems the loud, bright red Pony doesn’t fly easily under the neighborhood radar.  Thursday I was out driving around, and I noticed out of the corner of my eye a car following.  I was careful to signal my turn onto Gene’s street, and as I looped around the cul-de-sac the car pulled up opposite me.  The driver, a woman, rolled down the window, and I thought, uh oh, someone’s going to give me some hell, but she smiled and said, “That’s so cute!” and we passed a few pleasantries over the Pony’s tapockiting engine.  She then drove off, and with the Pony blushing (is that possible for a red tractor) we pulled on up into the garage.

I’m looking for a draw bar (what you’d attach a hitch to) for the back of the Pony, so he can tow stuff.  I thought since I really have no implements, at least I ought to rig him up so that he can do that.  I’ve made a lot of calls and sent out some emails.  So far I’ve only found one, but the guy that has it thinks its made of gold and wants $250 for it.  Even the Pony, who’s Canadian, but acts Scotch, thinks that’s too much.  So, we’ll keep looking, no rush.

I had an interesting dream about the Pony the other night, and this is not “made-up.”  In the dream I go into the garage, and after turning on the lights, am amazed to see that Gene has put side panels on the Pony.  As found in the woods, the Pony never had side panels.  On closer examination I see that Gene has actually fabricated the panels himself out of multiple pieces of steel and then put a truly professional looking Pony-red paint job on them.  That’s really all I remember about the dream, other than to say that my over-riding emotion was that I was kind of pissed-off that Gene had done such a great job on the paint, when I thought I was “hot-shot” painter.  Don’t let my little snit hold you back though, Gene.  Feel free to make that dream come true!

Enough about the Pony.  Sometimes I get the feeling I just can’t catch a break, and you know, I was really optimistic about the new year.  But so far, here’s how it’s going.  The Princess and I were out driving somewhere, and a stinking (literally) VW Rabbit diesel was in front of us.  It just absolutely galls me to have to drive in the trail of someone else’s stink.  As we drove, it seemed that every turn we wanted to take, this guy turned the same way.  I started belly-aching, and that naturally led to The Princess getting on me about the belly-aching, and then of course I got out of joint telling her that, well, I can say whatever I want, so you know, “shut up.”  Things were getting pretty testy.  So in the icy silence that followed we came up to an intersection, and I said that whichever way this guy went, I was going the other way.  Fine, he went straight, and I turned.  A few blocks further on, I was sitting at a tee intersection and now, to get where I want to go I have to turn right.  I’m waiting for the traffic to clear through and what’s the last car by?  Yup, that damn stinkin’ Rabbit.

That’s nothing.  The first week of the new year I backed the Camry into the garage door, that’s right, the garage door, not the garage:  BANG!  What the…?  I’m not sure how this happened, but I think perhaps I pushed the button on the clicker a second time even though the door was already open, so I caught the door as it was coming down.  Here’s a picture of the custom work I did on the Camry’s trunk lid.


Anyway, I’ve got no excuse, but it gets one thinking, what else is going to happen this year?  It’s barely started!  Another little downside to this; I suppose I’m going to lose my neat “I’D RATHER BE DRIVING MY TRACTOR” bumper sticker when the damage is fixed.

Our son, Andy, visited over the holidays, traveling for the first time with his new iPhone.  So, when we took a walk up the hill past Frosty, I said, “Hey, let’s get a selfie with Frosty.”  So I leave you with this cute photo, and my wish that your year goes better than mine has started.


Keep your eyes open for a Pony draw bar (not a gold one) and thanks for reading.

The Pony Speaks Out on Torture

Happy Holidays everyone from The Princess, the Pony and me.  Can you believe it, it’s been 5 Christmases now since Andy and I first spotted the Pony back in the woods.  To celebrate the holiday this year I decided to surprise the Pony by having his distributor rebuilt.  In fact, since day-one of my ownership, the distributor has never worked.  Gene and I just kept a battery charger handy and whenever I wanted to start the engine, I’d call Gene the night before and ask him to put the cables on the battery first thing in the morning.

Just before Thanksgiving I took the generator out to Alamance Starter and Alternator, a shop in Burlington, NC (you may recall the town, also the home of Paul’s Donuts…how convenient!).  A couple of weeks later they called and I picked-up a virtually new generator, mostly new guts, then sand-blasted and repainted, truly a Doc Fullofit job.  Here are some photos.

The shot of the gauges was taken while the engine was running.  The interesting thing is that now, not only does amp-meter show that the battery is charging, but for the first time the oil pressure gauge is working, and wonder of wonders, it reads that the Pony is NORMAL!  When has the Pony EVER been normal?  Added to the C-O-M as a result of the rebuild:  $117, I thought not so bad, especially considering the side benefits of two trips to that donut shop and two fill-ups of the Camry’s tank at cheaper Burlington gas prices.

Before I gave the Pony his Christmas generator, he had been in quite a “lather” over the recent revelations concerning the U.S. use of torture.  First, he wanted it made clear that he speaks from the unique position having endured torture.  Twenty years of solitary confinement (in the woods) followed by over four years of abuse by an amateur mechanic certainly qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment and qualifies him to speak with authority on the subject.

Second, he wanted me to help him get a new Nobel Prize category started for Best Euphemism of the Year.  He feels hands down the award should go to the phrase “enhanced interrogation technique” and that I should receive it, because I performed it so effectively on him.

Third, he said the CIA doesn’t know beans about torture.  He claimed that if you really want results all you need to do is put the subject in line at Trader Joe’s for say 12 hours, all the while playing Burl Ives “Holly Jolly Christmas” over the PA system.  You’ll get the poor devil to spill everything from his devious little brain in return for stopping this torture…I mean, enhanced interrogation.  I have to agree with the Pony on that one.  A week ago I had the misfortune of hearing that tune before leaving on “the morning 40,” and I absolutely could not get it out of my brain for the entire 3-hour ride.  Even if I consciously tried to substitute other songs, it would creep right back.  I know, you’ll say that “Little Drummer Boy” is a far worse Christmas song, and the Pony and I agree, but for some reason it doesn’t have the ability to drive you nuts for hours like old Burl’s tune does.

Today, after the morning 40 and on a gorgeous 60 degree day, The Princess and I took a walk up the hill for our 2014 Christmas pictures.


IMG_0815aAnd in keeping with the theme of this post, I’ll leave you with this musical treat:  click here.  You can click out of the ad that pops up first.

Have a wonderful holiday season, and thanks for reading.







November, 2014

Sorry for the long lapse between posts, but then you’re probably getting used to that by now.  Seems after doing this for over 4 years, there’s less to say, and more things to distract…like the Annual Tractor and Train Show down in Carthage, NC.  Holy Cow!  We made the hour-long drive down there last weekend at the insistence of George, a good friend who does tractor “pulling.”  The show is this funky, surprising mixture of old tractors, relics and country activities into which one is “dumped” with very little explanation or direction, a kind of Wizard of OZ experience.  It’s what happens when a guy just starts collecting what he loves and gets carried away.  There are entire buildings crammed to their ceilings with everything imaginable:  children’s pedal toys, steel-wheeled tractors, rubber-wheeled tractors, steam farm tractors, antique trucks, antique cars, one-lungers (hit and miss single cylinder engines).  Rooms full of toy trains, old Christmas stuff, dolls, etc.

Once a year for a three day weekend, the acreage that contains all these buildings is opened to the public.  This event gets little or no promotion, and maddeningly there are few signs helping one find the place.  But the “pull” of the place is akin to the phrase from the movie Field of Dreams…”If you build it, they will come.”  Added to the stuff I’ve already mentioned there’s a scale model steam train constantly circling, belching smoke, its whistle blasting and giving rides.  There’s a Stanley Steamer automobile you can get a ride in.  There are multiple steam farm tractors tapockita pocking around.  My dad would have been thrilled with the steam tractor-powered sawmill sawing up pine logs.  Oh man, the smell of the pine was wonderful.  I could have just stood there smelling that all afternoon.

Then off in the “back 40″ they’re doing tractor pulling.  This is hard to describe in few sentences, but I’ll try.  First, all the tractors are pre-1960 and separated for competition purposes by weight class.  There’s a long, dirt track over which each tractor then attempts to see how far it can pull a motorized vehicle that gradually shifts more and more weight over the sled (a big plate that rides directly on the track surface) as the tractor moves down the track.  The tractor that gets the furthest down the track wins.  On this day my friend George took second place, one of his best placings of the year.

IMG_0707 - Version 2He looks pretty happy doesn’t he.  How about this photo of a Massey Harris pedal tractor.

IMG_0692 - Version 2And here’s just a brief video of the steam sawmill in operation (video).

Moving on, just a bit of Pony news.  I finished rebuilding the steering box.  So far anyway, no leaks.  There’s still a lot of “slop” in the steering, but I’m afraid without replacing major internal parts, that’s just not going to get any better.  I added $10 to the C-O-M to cover the cost of a new oil seal.  In order to test the steering, I took the Pony out for a spin, and this is a photo taken on that nice fall day in Gene’s drive.


Road Trip Report
In between the last post and this’n, The Princess and I also made an “art trip” to NYC and Philly.  Of course, it was lots of fun, and we enjoyed several days with Andy.  My apologies to anyone reading this in the Philly area for not warning you of our visit.  We just had so little time, and had so much to cover after not visiting in eight years, that we hogged all the time for ourselves.  Next time I promise some forewarning.  Highlights included Halloween in NYC, visits to MOMA, the Met and the New Museum of contemporary art.  In Philly we visited the new Barnes Museum and The Philadelphia Museum of Art.  In Philly we found some things had changed, but others mercifully had not (including some of our favorite restaurants), so in this case anyway, I’d say “you can go back.”  Here is a little batch of snapshots that capture some favorite moments from the trip.

There’s much to appreciate this Thanksgiving, so I leave you with this.

For family and friends
For life and health
For all the fun
And a Pony that runs
I agree with the old Clark bar commercial,
“What more could a little boy want!”

The Princess and I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

Bed Time Story

Jumping right into Pony news, here is a little montage of photos showing the Pony’s new bed from start to finish.

To make the bed I glued up some nice thick, oak stair treads, sanded and then finished it with three coats of glossy spar urethane.  I’m telling you, the finish on that little bed is as good as it looks.  As a matter of fact, it’s so good that I’m going to have to put something on it that’s non-slip, so that when I climb up into the seat I don’t slip.  That big, red cross-piece under the bed is the piece I had sand-blasted, and which fell out of the tree when I was priming it.  It came out all right after all.

Speaking of painting, ages ago I believe I showed you a photo of the Pony’s headlights and crowed about the fact that after 25 years in the woods, one of them actually worked.  Well, I started digging into the issue of why the other one didn’t work just this week.  Gene found that current was getting to the bulb, but that it wasn’t grounded.  I had painted everything up so well that the headlight couldn’t find ground through all that paint.  Apparently you can do a job too well!  On Sunday I sanded off paint on all the contact surfaces between the headlight and the Pony’s chassis, and “voila,” the Pony is back to 20-20 vision.  Here are a couple of photos taken Sunday afternoon.

Pretty spooky, eh?

The Pony and I had visitors last weekend.  Fellow Pony owners and loyal readers of the blog, Jackie and John, came out to Gene’s to take a look at the Pony.  They live about 20 miles from Gene’s and amazingly, they own the same year Pony as mine, a 1952.  We had fun talking about the traumas we’ve suffered while restoring our Pony’s.  It made both of us feel good when John noted that his Pony leaks in all the same places mine does.  Kind of funny isn’t it that either one of us looking at our own Pony’s leaks, well that’s bad.  But as soon as we found out that both Pony’s took a leak the same way, why that was comforting to us.  Here’s a picture of John and me, taken by Jackie.

IMG_20141004_122055Do you notice that kind of bitter-sweet smile John has.  That comes from having gone through all the trials of a Pony restoration and yet coming out a winner.  Here’s a photo Jackie sent me of John’s restoration job.

DSCF0687 - Version 2

I gave him some ribbing about forgetting the yellow paint, but he really has done a beautiful job.

Some miscellany.  You know the old “The dog ate my homework” excuse?  Well, there is now a similar one if you’ve been slacking-off on your Fitbit steps.  Recently The Princess noted that son Andy wasn’t getting in his steps.  On her page that tracks how friends are doing it said something like, “This person if off the grid.”  When she asked Andy what was up he said yeah, “The cat hid my Fitbit.”  He claims that he left it on his desk and it disappeared for about a week until he found it on the floor underneath something (where it had been dragged by Junior, one of his two cats.  Right!  But then again that Junior is something else.  Take a look at this YouTube video of Junior playing piano.

I’ll leave you with this.

If your old red tractor has a leak or two,
That makes you uneasy, or a little blue,
Just look at another
and you’ll soon discover.
That they’re all like that, so it’s cool!

The Princess, the Pony and I wish you all a happy and spooky Halloween.  Thanks for reading.

On The Road Again

With most of the painting done, I thought it time to see if the Pony still ran.  So, about a week ago we put a fresh charge on the battery, I pulled out the choke and hit the starter button.  What a gooood Pony; he started right up.  After letting him warm-up a bit, I took him out for a short spin and for a photo session.  The photo below is courtesy of Lynne.  You know, check that, maybe this would be a good time for “before and after shots,” so the first two images you’ll see are from four years ago, and the second one is Lynne’s.

"Before" snow scene

Promo Pic


I’m now working on a small “bed” for the area under and behind the seat.  I’ve got that built, out of one-inch glued up oak planks, and I’m now putting red paint on the hefty piece of steel that supports its back edge.  How hefty?  Well, I’ll tell a little story on myself.  Actually, just to back up for a sec, first I had to get the piece sand-blasted.  So, I chucked the thing in the trunk and told The Princess that I was going to see a man about a mule.  If you didn’t read the much earlier post about going to get the Pony’s hood and grill sand-blasted, then this is new to you, but the guy who does the sand blasting also raises mules.  He lives 25 mi from here near the little crossroads town of Silk Hope.  Oral history has it that the town was once the center of a 19th century attempt at starting a local silk industry, but no physical evidence of that effort remains.

The drop off in Silk Hope went fine, and I even drove an extra 5 mi over to Siler City to have some welding done.  Boy, only in Siler City can you stop for directions at the corner of Second St. and Second Ave.  Then too, only in that little burg will the business at that corner be Clapp Brothers Tractor and the place you’re looking for just down the street, Cockman Welding, earthy!  Of course, the directions I had initially did not even mention the street, because I was simply told (over the phone) “go ‘under’ the traffic signal past Clapp’s and turn left, go down a ways, cross the railroad tracks and you’ll see the old Dinette World.  Go behind Dinette World, and that’s where it is.”  Oy!

After carefully driving around a couple “making out” in a pick-up truck, there it was, hand painted on the old brick wall, Cockman Welding.  I’m thinking you’ve got to be a real man to live up to that name, and naturally, be able to weld too.  Sure enough after about 15 minutes and $10 he’d welded up my Pony starter crank that I’d put together with plumbing pipe bought at the Home Despot.  Here’s a photo of the Cockman at work on my starter crank.

Cocksman, version 2

I’ll get you a photo of the crank, but first, it was intimated to me strongly by The Princess, that in her opinion, the Pony would be disappointed if the crank wasn’t all painted up nice and pretty.  Sheesh, now even the Pony has an advocate.

I guess that’s the end of the digression, so back to how I learned how heavy that metal support piece was.  I took the piece down to my al fresco paint booth (the woods) and with my hangers made of, well, hangers I hooked the piece to a tree limb.  I’d been spraying for maybe a minute when the whole damn limb, including my partially painted piece broke loose from the tree and landed in the crap on the ground.  Argh, and don’t worry, I did not even swear…much!

I’d been wanting to get in and out of the woods fast, because this is the spot where in the past, those pesky chiggers have gotten at me, so this setback was doubly annoying.  I picked the piece up, rehung it from a new limb, brushed off all the yuck with a stiff brush from the garage, and in not too long managed to finish the job.  I was thinking though, as I marched back to the garage, that this little incident was absolutely “par for the course,” as respects just about every thing I’ve had to do for the Pony’s restoration.  On the plus side, it’s been a week or so now since this incident, and I think I’m safe in saying that some how the chiggers missed their shot at me this time.

One of the little towns I stop in one my “morning 40’s” is Hillsborough.  It’s about 15 miles straight north of here, but when I ride the bike there I do a loop and role in there a bit after the mid-point of my 40 mi. ride.  The reason I mention this is that last weekend the Wall Street Journal did an article about the town, specifically how it is “the most literary town in America.”  I was skeptical, but they ticked-off a pretty lengthy list of well known authors that live in and around the town.  I love the town for the co-op where I can buy the best cinnamon role and sticky buns on the planet, and refuel for the second half of the ride.  Also, for a small town it has marvelous restaurants, even a shop with homemade chocolate, gelato and espresso.  Also, even though Amtrak doesn’t stop here, it blows by at 60 mph, and its fun to climb up the hill, watch and feel the blast as it roars by.  But as respects the towns literary status it occurred to me that of course, on those days when I am there, the author of now (with this post) exactly 200 posts of That Idiotic Tractor, it probably does cinch it that Hillsborough is the most literary town anywhere!

Finally, if you visit the website’s homepage, you’ll note that the Cost-O-Meter has its first bump in quite a few months.  The increase is $65 ($40 for the oak, $15 sandblasting and $10 welding).

Well, there’s more painting to do, and more chiggers and ticks to tempt, so I’d better get back to work.  Thanks for reading.