Monthly Archives: October 2015

Lost and Found, Raining Squirrels and Sexy Tractor Parts

It’s apple pie season, and I’ve baked 3 (possibly 4) pies so far.  I keep searching for the perfect apple or apples.  After the baking, I slice the entire pie up into single-serving pieces, keep two out for The Princess and me and then freeze the rest in individual containers.  Last night I wanted pie, so I dug into the freezer and pulled out a piece.  What a wonderful surprise to discover on opening the container that it contained a piece of strawberry-rhubarb pie from several months back.  Just 30 seconds in the microwave and the sweet smell of summer was right in front of me.  That’s probably my favorite pie, and to find that prodigal piece at this late date…mmmm….welcome home baby!

We’re in that thin slice of the calendar here in North Carolina when one can walk outside and not worry about either heat stroke or frostbite.  So The Princess and I were out walking yesterday afternoon, huffing and puffing up the big hill on our way up to take our pictures with the latest holiday “blow-up” at the apartment complex.  It was on our way back down the hill that we became aware of something going on in the trees just to our left.  The branches of the loblolly thrashed around and then amazingly, two squirrels locked together fell from the tree and hit the ground with a “thump.”  The impact with the ground separated them, and they ran off in opposite directions.  We were stunned, first that it had happened at all, then that they had survived the fall from a pretty significant height, and finally that we had gotten to witness it.  I’m sitting here right now just kind of thrilled that I lived long enough to see raining squirrels.  My life is complete.

Pony News
A number of things are being worked on.  First, I’m trying to get a decent finish on those new side panels, but I’m having trouble with the application.  I started with the inside of the panels, so at least I’m experimenting on the side that is less important.  Here’s a photo of one of the panels.

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Now, maybe it’s just me, but when I look at that I see a curvaceous female form. But I don’t know, it’s possible I just need to cut back on the testosterone a bit.

While I wait for coats of paint to dry, I’m dropping the two oil pans that lubricate the back axle.  I never did that during the initial restoration, I just siphoned out as much of the old gear oil/water as I could (which was not near everything) and added new gear oil.  By the way, siphoning ancient gear oil is not easy, but that was the only way to get the stuff out at the time, since the drain/filler plug is up the side of the pan, not on the bottom.  Never could understand that one.  Jeez, you should of smelled that years-old mixture in there…enough to make you want to hurl.  Here’s a photo of of one of the pans after removal.

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Note that lovely black gear oil in the drip bowl.  Yuck!  You’ll note too, that the gasket is torn up, but that was another reason for dropping the pans, so I could replace those.  This last shot is of the inside bottom of the pan after dumping out most of that oil.

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Man, I haven’t seen gold flakes like that in a pan since the trip I made years ago to look for gold up in the Sierra Mountains of California.(1)  Honestly, I didn’t see that many of them then either.  What you’re actually looking at, through the remaining oil in the pan, are flakes of of the steel gears that have ground off over the last 60 years.  I’m pretty sure though, that there’s enough steel left on those gears for another 60 years.

To wrap up, here are a couple of photos from that trip up the hill I mentioned earlier.

Version 2 Version 2

Happy Halloween everyone and thanks for reading.

(1) Those old posts (2011) on the hunt for gold in the Sierras can be found at the links that follow:

A Message From the NPA (National Pony Association)

Here’s something so weird that I have to lead with it.  I was driving home from my volunteer gig this week and saw a TV (turkey vulture) eating something in the middle of the road.  Although I try not to breathe as I pass road kill, I do like to see what those varmints are eating.  Usually it’ll be squirrel, rabbit, possum, deer or some such critter.  This time though as I drove by (and I’m telling you, that TV did not budge as he ate) I noticed he was eating some indistinguishable contents inside a plastic container.  I thought, man this is how species evolve.  Next thing you know he’ll be popping that thing in the microwave.

It’s funny, a lot the years when I was a teenager have just turned into a muddle.  I guess it takes stand-out events to help tell one year from another from this distance.  But there were things about being 16 that fix that year in my mind quite distinctly.  For one thing, my folks gave me a rifle for my birthday.  That gun was an “over-under,” a gun with two barrels, a 22 caliber above and a 410 below.  I had absolutely no skill at shooting the thing, and all the memories I have are of hunting, shooting and missing.  I tried to shoot squirrels, and I’m sure they were laughing as they ran out into the street and got hit by cars.  Serves them right.  I went rabbit hunting with college friends and remember shooting a creek and actually seeing the water fly up as the rabbit scampered away.  Skeet shooting? Clay pigeons only broke because they hit the ground.  The gun hasn’t been fired since, even though I’ve been dragging it from one home to another for the last 50 years.

I also remember taking the test for my driver’s license and failing.  I know exactly why too.  I made a left hand turn onto a four lane road and turned into the far lane instead of the inside lane.  I suppose the benefit of flunking me for that is that it cemented that rule in my mind forever. 

I did pass the test a few weeks later, and it’s funny but I can remember like it was yesterday the first evening when my folks let me take the car out solo.  Windows of the car rolled down, a cool dark evening, the absolutely marvelous sense of freedom.  Each year, if The Princess and I are lucky, we watch young blue birds make their first flight from the bird house attached to our deck.  They’ve spent weeks in a hot, smelly house in tight quarters with siblings, fighting for their share of a limited food supply.  I think they must feel, on that first flight, something like I felt that evening when I was 16.

Later in my 16th year that car, a black, 1960 Buick convertible (about a block long) would figure in a number of typical teenage rights of passage, including eventually wrecking it.

And that rifle I got back on my 16th birthday appears in the commercial message below, for which I beg your tolerance.

The NPA (National Pony Association) wants you to know that your right to a Pony is God-given and absolute.  No government, state or other agency can deny you that right.  Even if you want to use your Pony for illegal or immoral purposes, no one can stop you from obtaining one.  No background checks.  As a matter of fact, even if you’re dumb as a stone, previously convicted of a crime, or loony tunes, no problem, you can be a Pony owner.  And get this, you don’t even need a driver’s license to drive one on the road.  Pretty cool, huh?

And what organization do you have to thank for protecting this right, you got it, the NPA.  Don’t let anyone fool you.  Your right to buy, own and drive a Pony is always under threat.  Protect your right and send all of the extra money you have to the NPA, in care of  We’ll make sure your hard-earned dollars are spent and are reflected in the blog’s Guinea Pig-O-Meter.

Remember, Ponies don’t kill people, but restoring one can bleed a person to death!

Now, here’s a brief message brought to you buy the NPA and Dean Martin.

Dean and I thank you for reading, watching and listening.

Too Fast for Me

I’m telling you, if my brain was just a tad better than it is, I could be rich.  I don’t mean, a few-million-dollars-rich, I mean filthy, stinking rich, or FSR.(1)  Actually, all of you dear TIT readers could have been FSR as well, if you and I had just thought a little bit about an incident I reported to you in January.  I’m just going to do a “copy-paste” from that blog post right here.

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 T-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.”

Once again, your idiotic author was on to something, but his synapses didn’t close properly, or maybe they closed too soon, whatever, had I reported this incident to the federal government (as a whistle-blower) INSTEAD OF TO YOU PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T THINK IT THROUGH EITHER, right now I could be the most FSR blogger on the planet.  Oh well….

Next topic.  Want proof that the world is moving too fast, well, at least too fast for your idiotic author?  I went to the ATM at the bank branch.  We seldom need cash, with almost everything going on the credit cards, but every now and then, we need a little cash.  Even then, I save up reimbursement checks from the dental insurer, and cash those (gives you an idea about our dental issues), but still, sometimes I run out of barista tip money.  Anyway, I did my “thing” at the ATM, and the receipt and cash popped out.  I pulled the receipt from the slot, folded it up and stuck it in my wallet.  I then looked down at the slot where the cash was sitting just in time to see it being sucked back into the machine.


I couldn’t believe it, what to do?  I went into the branch, and I’ll admit I was not pleasant, but my demeanor had nothing to do with the standard bank branch line, namely that they couldn’t do anything about it.  I was told to call the bank’s toll-free 800 phone number and initiate a “fraud claim.”  I just wanted to scream!  I called the number and went through the motions, but what a pain in the ass.  And it was three days before an off-setting credit popped into our account.  Funny isn’t it, how that machine took the cash back so fast, but the bank gave it back REAL slow.

The side panels arrived, and The Princess was good enough to take a few photos for me.  Here’s one of them that shows where the panels will fit on the Pony.


It was shortly after this photo was taken that I called the official Pony hauler to the blog, Gary Talbert, and made arrangements to have him transport the old boy back out to Gene’s.  There’s some fairly heavy-duty work I want to do out there that can only be done where I have access to Gene’s jacks and tools.  The move went without a hitch on a beautiful early October day.

After the Pony was tucked into his spot in the garage it was time for a “honey shot.”

red tractor 007

Lynne took that photo of their beautiful grand-daughter, Sarah.  They get them into tractor seat early down here folks!

On the subject of photos, here’s one I took just this week.

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I’d made a bowl of cereal with fruit on it, and I guess I was so hungry that I didn’t notice this renegade blueberry had hopped out of the bowl.  When I came back into the kitchen with my empty bowl, I saw it and thought, wow, that’s a little piece of art.  So there it is friends, another piece for the Bruce Museum.

Thanks for reading.

1.  I redefined “filthy stinking rich” this morning after reading an article in the Wall Street Journal.  New definition:  A person is filthy stinking rich if he or she can afford to pay $750 for a one-hour, combination psychic reading and massage at a hotel spa.  I guess that could also be the new definition for PDS (pretty damn stupid).