Monthly Archives: November 2013

Two Turkeys

That one lone photo of the Pony’s new pivot pin in the last post seemed a pretty meager offering.  Always wanting to give my readers plenty of “art,” I’m just sending along this quick post to make sure you had a good visual of some turkey as you go into Thanksgiving.  We were taking a late afternoon walk yesterday, and with the sun getting low in the sky The Princess caught this photo of two turkeys.

two turkeys 1a

Both will be stuffed on Thanksgiving, I’ll just be stuffed a little later than my friend here.
Happy Thanksgiving…again.

A Thanksgiving Message from Dog

I don’t want to cheat Thanksgiving, but It’s been the Christmas season for about a month now on QVC.  Every day an ever larger portion of their “shows” promote things for the holidays.  A few weeks ago I happened to catch a segment that featured Christmas Trees by Bethlehem Lights.  In a studio with winter scenes outside its windows, a company rep and a QVC rep extolled the virtues of the Bethlehem trees.  A few  things intrigued me so much that I later replayed the segment for the Princess.  First, the trees looked incredibly real.  Second, there was a cute young gal who on cue, seemingly easily put the trees together over and over again.  Third, and most importantly, when each tree segment plugged into the last, the lights from that segment would automatically pop on, no separate messing with lights.

All of this appealed to me, as I’d really been struggling with our 9 footer for the last three or four years.  It is not exaggerating to say that I’d spend hours each year getting the tree down from the attic, setting it up and trying (to no avail) to get all of its lights to go.  And a friend who once saw all the tree sections up in my attic, wrapped in black “lawn and leaf” bags looked at them worriedly and asked, “You keepin’ bodies up here?”  The issue with the lights though, was the worst.  Every year I’d plug the wires in, trying every way conceivable, yet at least one strand would never come on.  I finally solved that problem by going out and buying a separate strand, stringing it in where the dead strand was and running a separate extension cord up the tree.  All of that and then the daunting task of lugging bulky, heavy “body bags,” I mean tree sections, up and down two flights to the attic had me looking longingly at those easy to handle, easy to operate, twinkling Bethlehem beauties.

But I wasn’t going to be dumb and pay the exorbitant QVC price, no sir.  I’d find one on-line somewhere else at a fraction of the price, which I did.  And with a click of the “Enter” button on the keyboard my $375 Christmas tree was winging its way to me from Bethlehem.  Well no.  Several days later the UPS man knocked on our garage door and tore back to his truck so fast that when I opened the door all that was left was the smell of diesel fumes.  I found out why when I tried to lift the box.  Talk about heavy, no wonder he didn’t want carry it up the stairs to our front door.  I bulldogged the stupid thing up the flight of stairs to our living room, put it down and gazed at its awesome “yellowness.”  Yeah, a really sick looking yellow box, that came my way from a warehouse somewhere, but first from a container, on a giant container ship not from Bethlehem, neither the one in Pennsylvania, or even the one in Jordan, nope, in big bold letters the box said THAILAND!

Well, I don’t know what I expected, but a Thai Christmas tree wouldn’t have been high on my list of guesses.  With a little thought though, I was able to conjure up a vision.  Vast forests on lush Thai hillsides covered with plastic Christmas trees waiting to be cut by Thai lumber jacks and sent to America.  Right…way to kill my Christmas mood.  With the weight of the box still in my mind, I pulled the tree sections from the box.  They were NOT light.  I now understand the depths of my underestimation of female capabilities.  That young gal easily slapping those trees together must have been training for that for months.  I’ll bet that under that holiday sweater biceps bulged as she easily hefted each piece of the tree.  When she leaves the studio each day, she probably heads to her job as bouncer at a local bar.  Yeah, I was QVC’d alright.

In spite of this experience, I’m currently lusting after some spiral sliced hams they were pushing.  What could go wrong?  Oh no…they’re not from Pigs in Thailand?  Wouldn’t that be great!  Cue-up the Babes in Toyland Music.

Pony News
Sorry to say, but just in time for Thanksgiving the Pony has gone “off his feed.”  Yup, just about the time I finished up installing the fenders the engine started acting funny.  We thought it was a timing thing, or something ignition related anyway, but we’ve now ruled that out.  Next step is to check the compression and see what we have there.  I’m guessing a valve lifter has gone out of adjustment.

But it doesn’t stop there.  While running the engine I felt some water drops hit my face, what the &##$!  Turns out the radiator is now leaking too.  Then, as I was crawling around underneath I noticed that the pivot pin that connects the front axle to the frame and allows the axle to pivot on uneven ground was trying to work its way out.  The pivot pin is a simple but crucial piece of the tractor, as resting on it is about half a ton (the whole front end of the Pony).  I had some luck here though.  After doing a brief Google search I was able to come up with a used replacement pin, now already in my possession.  Here’s a photo of what the Cost-O-Meter bought for $10, plus shipping.

Pivot Pin

That’s a decent amount of original Pony red paint on there.  Pretty cool.  I’ll keep you posted on this “pivotal” issue and others in the weeks ahead.

I ought to finish I guess with a little thought for Thanksgiving.  Up at the corner and on the walking route that The Princess and I regularly follow, a nearby apartment complex has had a guy dressed in a dog costume waiving at the cars as they go by and advertising the apartment complex.  He’s been doing this since summer, and I really felt for him in that hot costume in the summer heat.  But the guy apparently has staying power, and after all these months he’s still out there cheerfully waiving as the cars go by. 

Last week while we were walking past, the dog was having a conversation with a rather shabbily dressed guy on the sidewalk.  I just happened to hear him say, “Well, you’ve got to of known some hard times to be able to appreciate the good ones when they come along.”  I thought man, even for that guy in the dog suit, there’s someone worse off than him, and he’s able to dispense some dog philosophy to help buck him up.  This Thanksgiving, may we all appreciate what we have…woof!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all and THANKS for reading.

Parallel Play

It’s been a while, but even so, when I sat down at the computer to write I looked for ways to put off the real work:
*Shredded some junk mail.  Top three pieces of crap regularly received:  1.  credit card apps, 2.  solicitations to buy Medicare supplement health insurance, and 3.  letters begging for donations from not-for-profits.  It strikes me as ironic that in return for once giving an outfit some money, they forever bug you for more.
*Dusted and tidied up the desk.
*Checked the blog stats.  Noticed a direct correlation between posts written and number of views.  As amazing as it may sound, it turns out that if I don’t write, people don’t read.
*Flipped the calendar page to November and added up the dots.  There are 119 to date, so at 40 miles for each “morning 40” that’s 4760 miles on the bike so far this year.
*Got hungry after all that and went down stairs for a bowl of cereal.
*Stared out the window for a while.  Noticed that when it’s very still and a light breeze causes the leaves to fall, you can actually hear them clattering to the ground through the trees.

Old Business
Remember that PSA I made recently about Paul’s Pastries?  I for one took that announcement to heart.  What started as trips to Burlington (25 mi away) to go to Tractor Supply (with  side trip to Paul’s) has now turned into trips to Paul’s, and to hell with Tractor Supply.  By golly those donuts are good.  Overheard while eating my (first) donut was the following.  Two guys standing at the counter and one guy said to the other, “See them double, chocolate chunk cookies there?  Oh Lord, those things’ll put a major hurt on ya!”  I may have to pick up a half-dozen of those next time.  By the way, I justify these new “donut runs” to Burlington by filling the tank with gas over there, where gas is generally cheaper.  Recently the price gap has narrowed though, so I’m going to have to start throwing some 5 gallon gas cans in the trunk.  Or, I guess to keep the per donut price down I could just eat more donuts, hmmmm.

New Business
Halloween has come and gone.  As I walked by the pile of pumpkins in front of the grocery store I had an idea.  I bought one, The Princess was kind enough to do the art work on it, and then I carved it.  Smells are such a memory trigger, but as I cut into that pumpkin and pulled the top off, boy, the smell of Halloween’s past seeped out.  My best costume was worn to the Halloween party at the Lutheran school when I was in fourth grade.  I painted a cardboard box silver, covered it with all kinds of junk, cut arm holes in it and went as a robot.  It got to be a long evening though as everybody and his cousin kept banging on the outside of the box with me inside peering through little eye holes.  In later years it wasn’t so much about costumes as hijinks, and well, let’s just say thank goodness the statute of limitations has run on that stuff.  Anyway, here are a couple of shots of this year’s pumpkin.

Moving on.  How many of you are Facebook members, or members of Linked In?  The Princess, Andy and I were talking about these “social media” sites earlier this week.  Bottom line, we couldn’t really explain the point of them.  I mean, we know what they are, but the question is, why should we care?  Facebook is a way of sharing personal information with people, and LinkedIn is for sharing occupational information with others in the working world.  One problem with these “services,” using that term lightly, is that to find anything out about anyone else, you have to join, and tell something about yourself.  I’m from Minnesota, and I can tell you, Minnesotans aren’t very “sharing” people.  I’ll bet, that the lowest percentage, by state, of people participating in these services is Minnesota’s.  Minnesotan’s are cold, both literally and figuratively.  We’re not outgoing, we’ll shake hands, but we’re not big on hugging.  In spite of all this, as more and more emails piled up in my inbox saying that so and so wanted to “link-up” with me, I thought what the hell, I’ll join-up and see what this is all about.

Well, it’s crazy.  It’s like a e-chain letter.  Once you’re in, the problem grows geometrically.  I’m getting more and more emails about people who know people I know, people who know those people, and people who know those…well you get the picture.  Where’s it all end?  I’ll tell you where.  I’ve seen a couple of news articles recently where some person, after getting his or her “15 minutes of infamy,” exits this world, or is thrown in “the pokey,” and for lack of any other information, the news reporter goes to the person’s Facebook or LinkedIn profile and that, at least for a while, is that person.  Great, so after the police subdue me in Krispie Kreme, because I went crazy after some guy cut in front of me in line (could happen), the news item will say that “his LinkedIn profile described him as writer and editor of something called That Idiotic Tractor.”  Hmmm, might be good for my readership stats.

Pony News
The fenders are done.  I’d like to do a slide show, but lately these haven’t been working for my email customers, so I’ll do some thumbnails.  Be sure to click on them if you want to see larger images.

Thanks to Lynne for that last shot.  That mirror finish (see third to last photo) results from taking the painted finish through wet sanding with 400, 600, 1500 and 2000 grit sand paper, then rubbing compound, and finally carnuba wax.  I didn’t have much upper body development before all that rubbing, but you oughta see me now!  Many thanks go to Jim for his great body work.  He gave me great surfaces to work with.

Today Gene and I were working in the garage.  He was over on one side working on his own project, and I was doing some finish work on a back wheel when Lynne stepped into the garage.  To appreciate this I have to remind you that Lynne is an education professional.  Anyway, she looked at the two of us, each busy in our own little worlds, and she said, “Oh, isn’t this cute, “parallel play.”  I said, “Well, that may be, but it’s really just two old guys farting around.”

Have a great week everyone.  Thanks for reading.