Signs

We were in the middle of a prolonged heat wave, with high temperatures each day ranging between 95 and 102.  In order to beat the heat, I was out the door at a little after 6:00 am that Sunday on one of my thrice weekly, 40-mile bike rides.  Not one car had passed me in over 5 miles, and I was about to crest Collins Mountain, which isn’t really much of a mountain, but being as it’s the highest ground for some miles around they named it that and at some point plunked three gigantic antennae among the loblollies.

Due to the lack of traffic, I was just pumping hard, and not really tuned in to what was going on around me.  So I was startled a bit when out of the corner of my eye I saw a large bird fly up on the right side of the road.  Probably 99 times out of 100 that bird will be a buzzard that’d been scared off of a carcass of some sort, but I could see that this bird wasn’t black as it crossed in front of me and landed on a low branch of a small tree.  After it lit in the tree, I saw that it was quite a large owl, and that there, sitting on other branches were two more owls, probably a family, as owls are fiercely territorial.  Just as sure as I was that I’d never seen three owls in one tree before and never would again, I was equally sure at that moment that what I’d seen was some sort of a “sign.”

Fast forward now a few days.  Again, I’m out early, this time heading in the other direction, north.  I was on Dairyland Road just a quarter mile from the dairy store when I saw something that at first looked like a dead cat in the middle of the road.  As I got closer though the undeniable smell of skunk hit me.  I quickly came up on the body and amazingly, it turned out to be an albino skunk!  Now surely that has to be a sign.

The thing about signs like these is that you don’t know what they portend.  Making it worse you don’t even know the time frame.  So all you’ve really got is a notion that something pretty special (could be bad, could be good) is going to happen sometime, probably sooner (but not necessarily) rather than later.  Essentially, you’ve got nothin’, but still…those were signs.

Actually, I take back part of what I said there.  I do know one thing that will happen for sure because of those signs.  I’m going to lose the three dollars (two more than usual) that I spent on (I mean invested in) lottery tickets this weekend.  Crap!

Speaking of signs, I was walking on campus last week, and as I passed by The Ackland Museum (UNC’s art museum) I saw a big banner plastered across the front of the building.  Here’s a photo.

Version 2

Holy cow, I thought, those are my initials.  Someone there must have read my last post and recognized my prodigious talent as an artist.  Here’s the photo of my art work from the last post.

Version 2

I got pretty excited thinking, my god, they’re mounting an exhibition of my tractor-related art.  Then I read the fine print and saw that their BRB simply means “Be Right Back.”  You know, not in my 68 years have I seen BRB used in that manner.  I’m guessing this new usage was driven by the pervasive need for brevity that today’s social media demands.  So, bottom line, the internet has co-opted my initials, and I don’t get my one-man show.  Double crap.

I guess one good thing has been confirmed.  I’m clairvoyant.  I just confirmed by checking the internet that I accurately predicted my loss of three dollars this weekend.  Woo hooooo!

And to sign off now in addition to thanking you for reading, I’ll add BRB.

CREMATION…$875!

That was the banner I saw in three-foot tall letters along the “main drag” in Sarasota, FL last week.  Jeez, what do they do, just throw you on a bonfire out back?  Put another log on the fire, honey!  Kind of wondering too, suppose I’m not happy with my “el cheapo” cremation?  What is my recourse?

Other Florida observations.  It’s hotter in Chapel Hill than it is in Sarasota, but they got us beat hands down on humidity, rain and not surprisingly, the attendant mosquitoes.  Holy cow, while sitting outside at Starbucks I think I donated more blood than I did the week before at the American Red Cross.  One came at me that was already red with someone else’s blood.  That really scared me, you know, as in “sharing a needle.”  I just got done telling the Red Cross that I didn’t do that!  Yuck!

You can get a giant frozen yogurt outside the Sarasota Costco for just $1.35.  But if your mother gets chocolate and doesn’t like hers, she won’t hesitate to dig her spoon into yours, which was delicious vanilla and slathered with strawberry sauce.  I was the only child there not smiling.

Speaking of children, my mom and I went to see the movie Cinderella during my visit.  Kate Blanchett, Paul Giamatti and others did fine acting jobs.  But at some point while we were sitting there my mom popped out with, “You know, everyone else is here with children.”  Of course, I had to remind her that, hey, she too was there with her child.

Staying with the family theme, I don’t think in all the years I’ve been doing this blog I’ve ever burdened you with a cat picture.  Either you’re a cat hater, or a cat lover, so apologies to those in the former category.  Our son (Andrew) sent a nice photo of his cats last weekend; here it is:

FullSizeRender

That’s Junior under the umbrella and Buddy acting like Junior’s shadow, in the back.  Now staying with the animal photos theme, here are some lovely shots of a Pony.

IMG_1208That’s the new draw bar all finished and attached.  Also, of course, my new (vintage) road hazard triangle.  Newer farm equipment signs aren’t yellow and red, so I was pleased to find this older one on eBay that maintains the Pony’s yellow and red paint scheme.  Also you may note in this photo that a seat cushion has been added.  Here’s a shot of that from the front.

IMG_1211 (1)

Pretty cool.  Those two items set the ol’ Cost-O-Meter back a few clams, and I’m trying to figure out if I actually added them or not.  Cost altogether though was less than $100.  And now, if you hadn’t already figured out that I’ve gone “round the bend” with this Pony stuff, check out these next couple of photos.

Version 2 Version 2

Yup, that’s some tractor-related art hanging in my new gallery (the garage), and the corresponding “reader card.”  The Princess helped me with the reader card.   Tours of the gallery are available by appointment only.

Did you know the forecast for Chapel Hill today calls for a high temperature of 102?  So, as a tribute to that, here’s this:

A Hundred and Two

It’s a hundred and two,
And everyone’s down east,
but me and you.
Let’s just lie here in bed
on our best fine linen,

and just think about it,
instead of actually sinin’.

Stay cooooool everyone and thanks for reading.

The Homecoming, Part 2

There’s been a lot going on since the Pony came home to Primrose Lane.  The new draw bar arrived; it’s been sand blasted, primed and even had a first shot of Pony red paint.  Before going to work on it, I did a test fit on the tractor, and it fits perfectly.  The trip down to Siler City and Jeff, the sand blaster went smoothly.  I dropped the parts off one day and picked them up the next.  Jeff’s mules were there, but he wasn’t.  Over the phone he just said to leave the $35 inside a cinder block next to his work shop.  Amazing what you can get done without even seeing a guy.  Here’s a little montage of draw bar progress photos.

There was one other item I had Jeff sand blast.  When I first found the Pony back in the woods, in its little glove box there were a few miscellaneous items, all corroded, the most notable of which was an old hatchet head.  After Jeff sand blasted the head, I took it into Fitch’s, our local lumber yard/hardware and bought a new, hickory handle for it.  While I was checking out, I showed the boys behind the counter the old hatchet head and told them the story behind it, even showed ’em the photo of the Pony on my phone.  Just thinking out loud I said that I should probably get the head sharpened, and one of them said, “Ya got a guy?”  It took me a second, but translated that meant, Do you have a person that can do that for you?   I said that I didn’t, and with that he flipped open a folder of business cards and wrote down the name and address of Sig Unger, who’s a CEO, that’s right, “Chief Edge officer!”

I just love all the little side adventures the Pony has led me out on, and meeting a CEO back in the woods, just outside of Carrboro was just another.  I followed the directions given me at Fitch’s and found Sig’s place.  As I climbed out of the car, I spotted an old, tarnished quarter in the gravel driveway and considered that a lucky sign.  The place was closed-up “tight as a drum,” and no one answered my knock, but when I got back to the car, the house door opened and there was Sig.  He was congenial, took the head, asked when I needed it and we agreed he’d have it ready at the same time the next day.  I said how much cash should I have with me, and without thinking much, he said “five dollars.”  When I returned the next day, Sig handed me the head and said, “Be careful,” and when I ran my finger over the edge, I could see why.  By golly, I think I could shave with that edge.  As I was leaving, Sig asked if I had one of his cards, and I said, no, so he popped back in the house and grabbed one for me.  Wow, the business card of a CEO!

Over the next couple of days I sanded and refinished the store-bought handle to “Boehmke standards,” and attached the sand-blasted, sharpened head it.  Here are a few of photos of that little project.  Don’t forget, you can click the images to make them bigger.

Now The Princess says that I can’t keep the hatchet in plain sight out in the garage; it’s just too dangerous a weapon to leave lying around.  Actually, if I can find a way, I’m thinking of mounting it somewhere on the Pony.  The two came to me together, so I kind of feel they should stay together.

Well, I’ve kept you waiting long enough.  I know you’re saying, really? For what?  Just about everyone I know has asked me at some point during the Pony’s five-year restoration, “What will you do with it when it’s finished?”  I’ve put everyone off just saying that I wasn’t even going to think about that until I got to that point.  For all of you and I guess even for me, the slide show that follows is at least a start toward answering that question.  The photos that make up the show were taken during the block party that our little town home community had last weekend.   Enjoy the show. 

Ever since first hearing Lyle Lovett sing that song I knew it had to be a part of my Pony’s story.  Have a great Memorial Day weekend and thanks for watching.

The Homecoming

I volunteered at a local farm last weekend during the 40-farm Piedmont Farm Tour.  I had planned on taking the Pony out to the farm and then bringing it over to our place afterwards, but it was cold and rainy the entire day I was out there, so the Pony never made that trip.  I spent an afternoon on the farm guiding people around, making sure they saw all that the farm had to offer, fielding questions and for some time, manning the gate to the “pet the animals” pen.  Every time someone went in or out, the dang goats would try to get out of the pen.  Both kinds of kids were very cute and and it was a fun day.  I’ve shared the next picture with some of you already, but for those who missed it, what follows is a shot of a dozen green eggs I got at the farm.

Version 2

These eggs come from a breed of chicken called an Americana.  Instead of serving them with Dr. Seuss’s ham, we had them with “blue” berry pancakes, a colorful and delicious meal.

When the rain cleared out, I started looking for a day when I could hire a “tilt-back” and have the Pony hauled from Gene’s back to our house for a while.  We’ve got a block party coming up, and I thought folks would get a kick out of seeing the Pony in a relatively complete state.  I called Gary Talbert, the same driver who helped me get the Pony out of the woods almost five years ago.  When we talked and I explained who I was, he still remembered clearly our struggle to wrangle the Pony out of the deep woods that day in the summer of 2010.  Well, this trip went a lot easier, and within the space of an hour, the Pony had made the five mile trip to my house and was ensconced in his new “stall.”

Since Gary handled both the move out of the woods and this move home, I thought it would be appropriate to make a little slide show of both trips.  Gene took the recent photos at his house, and Cindy took the ones at our end.

You probably didn’t notice it, but when Gary tightened down the Pony to the bed of the truck he did it by putting belts around the wheels.  He said he usually reserves that technique for Porshes and other high-end autos, but out of respect for my fine paint job, the Pony got the “high-end” treatment too.

The fit in our garage was a lot better than I had thought.  I had prepared by moving things around a bit, but now as you see, I’ve just got what son Andy calls “your standard one car, one Pony garage.”  The Pony felt a little out of sorts being in his new environment, but as soon as I turned on The Classical Music Station (that Gene always had playing in his garage) the old boy calmed right down.

I’ve prepared the neighbors around here by sending out an email warning them that they will be seeing a new vehicle in the neighborhood.  I sure wouldn’t want our newly rejuvenated Community Watch group to call the police on us!

In other Pony news, its been a long struggle, but the long-sought-after draw bar is on it’s way to me via UPS as I type this.  I feel justified in using that word, struggle, because of the many emails, phone calls, tractor forum posts and some stupid decision making that have been involved over the months.  One of those decisions involved buying a totally useless Allis Chalmers draw bar which doesn’t even fit the Pony.  The lesson learned?  Don’t believe anything anyone says on Ebay.  By the way, I’m not putting that $100 in the Cost-O-Meter, as I optimistically expect to resell it to some AC lover.  I’ll keep you all posted on the restoration of the draw bar, which will begin with a trip out to Siler City to visit the “messing with mules” sandblaster guy…always a fun trip.

I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to thank my good friends, Gene and Lynne for being so sweet to the Pony and me for all these years.  You folks are just great!  And don’t worry, the Pony already misses the hills and woods out at Wolf’s Pond, so I’m sure he’ll want to get back out there.

And finally, I got the sad news yesterday that The Idiotic Brother’s cat, Cruzy, has passed on to “kitty heaven.”  This is for you Cruzy.

The best kind of cat is the one that picks you,
It can push all your buttons with a mew.
Was it  just the soft fur,
Or maybe the purr?
Oh so many years shared, but too few.

Thanks for waiting so long for this post and for reading it too.
Happy Mothers Day, Mom, and to all the other moms out there.


Risk Management

When I was about to graduate from college, with that valuable English degree, I went over to the NIU Placement Office to see if anyone was hiring.  There were a couple of companies recruiting on-campus for something called Insurance Underwriter.  I went to the library, read a couple of articles about what an underwriter is and does and then figured, well, even though this sounds pretty lame, I’ll probably get drafted (into the Vietnam War) soon anyway, so why not get one of these jobs that actually pay money (a princely $7000 a year) in the meantime?  The trouble with that thinking was that the year I lost my student deferment, was the first year of the lottery draft, my birth date came up 351 out of 365, so I was pretty much stuck in that job unless I quit.

I did find out during those three years that the thing insurance people do best is drink.  How fortuitous that the closest bar was just across the parking lot, and The Princess and I had an apartment two blocks away.  Tough duty, that daily trek to work, then to the bar and back home again, only to do it again, and again, and again.  Sounds a a bit like the movie, Groundhog Day.

I could’ve stayed in underwriting for my entire life, but the drinking, man, that was getting monotonous, and just a bit dangerous.  So after three years I quit, and went back to school for an MBA.  It was a tough period of detox, those grad school years.  I have no recollection of it myself, but The Princess alleges that at one party, I was found out in the back yard, on all fours barking at the host’s dog…I guess you could say, “howling at the moon.”  After two years and with my MBA in hand, I was once again fishing around for a job.

This time I got a call to come for an interview at a fancy pharmaceutical company for a job in a department called Risk Management.  Once again I read a couple of articles, found the description of the work not too distasteful, took the job and found after just a short time that working in Risk Management was a lot like working for an insurer, but with one notable exception.  Now someone else paid for the drinks…uh oh.  I remember one day in particular on that first risk management job, I had taken the train into the “loop” for some meetings.  An insurance broker or insurer bought lunch, and of course, drinks.  I know that somehow I made it onto on the train, because when it got to the end of the line, well past my stop, the conductor woke me up to tell me that I had to get off the train.

By now you’re asking yourself, “What’s he telling us all this for?”  Well, the incident I’m about to describe has nothing to do with drinking, but a lot to do with what a hot-shot risk manager I think I am.  For the second month in a row, March contained a “Friday the 13th.”  I thought, you know, this might be a good time to practice what us risk managers call, “risk avoidance.”  I’ll just stay close to home and keep myself busy with stuff around the house, thereby avoiding all of those nasty things that could go wrong.  So I spent most of the day giving the Camry a spring cleaning, including a nice, shiny wax job.  The day came to a quiet close, and I congratulated myself at once again avoiding some horrible triskaidekish fate.(1)

The following Monday I was back to my normal routine.  Twice a week I get up at 5:15 am and arrive at Starbucks just after their doors open at 6:00.  I picked-up a Brucio (a four-shot Grande Americano) as usual and drove on to the site of my volunteering gig.  Everything was going smoothly, and I arrived in the parking lot right on time.  I had some stuff in the backseat that I needed to take into the building, so before I opened the back door I put the Brucio on the roof.  It was as I was leaning into the backseat that I felt something hit me in the head.  The amount of time it takes to realize that your day is about to turn horribly shitty can sometimes be measured in seconds, but in this case it was just a fraction of a second.  What started as just a few drops of hot Brucio on my head and shoulders became an explosion as the the cup hit the door sill, the lid popped off and hot coffee splashed inside and outside the car and of course on me.  Argh!

It was still pitch dark out, so the true extent of the vehicle disaster wasn’t obvious until hours later.  But in the restroom, as I tried to make myself presentable enough to continue with my job, my analysis of the accident (more classic risk management) had already begun.  I quickly came to the conclusion that the event that precipitated my current troubles was Friday the 13th!  If I hadn’t stayed home that day, I wouldn’t have waxed the car.  If I hadn’t waxed the car, the roof of the car would not have been so slippery, and the Brucio would have stayed where it belonged rather than ending up on the Bruci.

But wanting to make some sense of this all, I wondered, is there a lesson here?  I’ve given this a lot of thought.  A good answer might be that sometimes one gets into more trouble hiding from risk than embracing it.  You know, don’t let fear hold you back.  Another lesson could be, and I firmly believe this one, never ever put anything on the roof of your car.  But probably the root cause of all my trouble was, as usual, The Princess.  Why?  It’s really pretty obvious; she didn’t warn me that on Friday the 13th, to wax the car…well its a “slippery slope!”

Thanks for reading.

(1) Triskaidekaphobia:  fear of the number 13.

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.”