Category Archives: Uncategorized

What Happened to Bruce?

My apologies.  It’s not that there hasn’t been a lot going on, but more a case of writer’s block and laziness.  But I do owe you all an update and just a couple more posts before, yes, I’ll wrap this blog up for good.  We’re closing in on six years since, with the help of my friend, Gene, we first pulled the Pony out of the woods and began the job of restoring him.  Many of you have followed the story from the beginning and a good portion of you have asked me, “What will you do with it when you’re done?”  I always shrugged off those questions, because for years it was all  about just getting the Pony restored.  So my answer was always, “I’ll worry about that when the time comes.”

After Christmas, the longer the Pony sat out in the garage like a big, shiny red, Christmas ornament, it became obvious to me that the time had finally come.  At the same time, The Princess and I had come to a decision.  We decided that it was time to end the Carolina chapter of our lives and move back north to Philly, a town which we came to love during our years there.  The move will bring us closer to our son, Andy, and put a lot of things literally right at our doorstep which will be handy as we move into our 70’s.  These decisions made some months ago, got me started mulling, what would the Pony’s new chapter look like?

For years I’ve ridden my bike past a place called Learning Outside at the Triangle Land Conservancy’s (TLC) Irvin Learning Farm just 3 miles down Jones Ferry Road from here.  I had never looked into what they were all about, but with the Pony in mind, I wondered if he might be a useful addition to its operations there.  I went on line and learned that they run outdoor learning programs for children (emphasizing programs for underprivileged kids), they have a preschool program, they’ve got goats and chickens, so…why not a Pony!
I wrote them a letter offering to donate the Pony, and long story short, I heard back from them that they would be thrilled to have the Pony and use him to do chores around the farm and for hay rides, etc.  I met with Wendy Banning from Learning Outside and also with Walt and Kyle from TLC.

Then about a week ago, under a rock on our front stoop I found the change-of-ownership documents that Wendy had left for me while The Princess and I were away from the house.  Talk about “full circle.”  Some of you may recall that back in 2010 after waiting for months, I found a letter from the land owner (where the Pony had been resting) wherein he turned ownership over to me!  How appropriate too, that the Pony will be playing out his later years only 3 miles from where I found him in the woods.

Yesterday Walt and Kyle came back with a trailer to haul the Pony out to the farm.  Here are a few photos The Princess was kind enough to take of the load-up and send-off.

Don’t forget, you can click on any of these if you want to see a larger image.

Just before this action took place, I’d been at a going away party for me at Cardiac Rehab, my volunteer gig for the last seven years.  It is bittersweet to celebrate friendship and be saying goodby at the same time.  Then the Pony leaving, well, that was the same kind of thing.  I know he’ll be happy at his new farm, but I felt wistful as I saw him go down the road for the last time.  I texted Andy the events of the day and told him that after the Pony was gone, I went straight into the house, took a shower, and poured an oversized shot of 21-year-old Scotch.  Good luck Pony, Im sure you’ll make lots of new friends.

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Stay tuned.  I’m going to do one last post which will include a retrospective slide show capturing the entire Pony restoration.  Until then, thanks for reading!

Christmas, 2016

Nice going Pony.  You’ve wheedled your way into another blog post.  We were in the Walmart a few weeks ago, and I saw plastic wreaths for $2.49, so picked one up (not charged to the C.O.M.) to decorate the Pony’s grill.  Then I added a gold bow that kind-of matches the wheels, and voila, Christmas Pony!

Version 2So this is your 2016 holiday card from The Princess, the Pony and me.  May peace, health and joy be yours during the holidays and throughout 2017.  Thanks for reading.

The Chump is Stumped!

Sorry, that headline truly belongs to the “Car Talk” guys, but your Idiotic Author is stumped, and this is a cry for help.

To bring you up to speed, the radiator installation was successful.  I rolled the Pony out into the drive, fired it up and it ran (without leaking anywhere) for 20 minutes.  The engine then stalled, and I have not been able to get it started since.

The engine will go brrumm, but not stay running.  As one of my experts has said, it sounds like it’s “starving for gas.”  I felt that way too, so I took the carb apart, blew air through all the jets, checked that the float was set to spec, and put it back together.  Also cleaned out the sediment bowl and blew air through the fuel line.  These steps had absolutely zero positive result on the engine starting.

I’ve taken a short YouTube video demonstrating the problem, so that you can see and hear what it does when I hit the starter.  Here’s that video:

Engine start demo

I’m truly bummed and want desperately to get the old Pony going again before son, Andy, arrives for his Christmas visit.  Please comment to the blog with any suggestions.  The person or persons that come(s) up with the solution will be declared official “Horse Whisperer” to the blog and receive a jar of my home-made strawberry jam.

As I thank you in advance for your help, I am also reminded that Happy Thanksgiving wishes to you all are appropriate.  So, from the Pony, Cyndy and me to all of you,
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 

Rigged Election in North Carolina?

The Princess and I were so excited to get out and vote, you know, actually do something about this election, and at least get our part of it over with, that we showed up at Carrboro Town Hall on the first day of early voting.  Being the first day, there was quite a crowd, with the line actually snaking out the front door and into the parking lot.  We didn’t mind the long line, but I was somewhat taken aback when I noticed a few spots ahead of us in line, a rather large dog.  I thought “ok,” maybe Trump is on to something when he whines about voter fraud.  It could really happen here too, because the courts struck down our voter I.D. law.  I rested a bit easier when I saw the dog lift his leg to pee…and noticed it was his right leg, so certainly one of Trump’s voters.  Half an hour later though, as we were walking back to the car I saw the same dog walk to the right of a street lamp and lift his left leg.  Hmmm, I’ll bet he’s independent, but regardless, we gotta tighten up the voting process!

Enough silliness, I mean it, enough!  Let’s talk about the Pony.  Two things occurred recently that caused me to finally take some action and replace the Pony’s radiator.  First, the Pony had a rather serious overheating episode, leaking during operation and even ruining some paint.  Second, Cousin Bill declared that any future expenditures would not be charged against the Cost-O-Meter (it’s closed), but would be considered maintenance.  So I jumped in and spent the $300 for a new (Chinese) radiator.  Yeah, the parenthetical part there bothers me, but really, that’s the only option for a replacement.  Here’s a photo.

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Chinese Radiator

It’s far from perfect, paint drips here and there, and a bit of rust too, but we won’t know the most important thing, does it leak? until later.  But I’m going to miss the pretty little brass plaque on the old radiator that said, “Made in Toronto, Canada.”

There are two brackets that attach to the radiator’s sides that allow it to be fastened down to the tractor and provide a surface for the grill to be attached.  Removing those brackets from the old radiator  was not easy, actually had to go out to Gene’s and get his help.  But finally, between the two of us, we were able to remove them.  I then did a “Boehmke” on them, you know, “the full deal,” that’s sanding, priming, painting and waxing.  Since I’ve been working out of my own garage, I did the painting down in the trees where the “chiggers” have gotten me in the past.  Those pesky buggers must have gotten tired of waiting for me, because they weren’t there this time.  Thank God!  Here’s a shot of those radiator brackets after the final coat of paint.

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I then went to the hardware store and picked-up some new nuts and bolts, since I had to hacksaw thru one of the old boltsI then headed off to the hardware store for some new, well, hardware.  So, the next two shots show the new radiator with brackets attached, sitting on the tractor for a “test fit.”

Later, yesterday actually, I put sealer on the radiator hoses, screwed down the hose clamps and attached the the radiator brackets to the tractor.  So far, so good!  Don’t forget, if you want to see a larger version of either photo, just click on it.

Finally, I wanted to share a couple of truly frightening images with you.  Monday and Wednesday mornings I do some volunteer work, using the term, work, loosely.  On Halloween some of the staff and volunteers like to dress appropriately, OK, inappropriately really.  Lucky for you folks, today is Halloween, so I thought I’d share a couple of photos of yours truly in costume.  WARNING:  The images you are about to view could be upsetting…drink a beer first!  And I wouldn’t click on these if I were you.

Happy Halloween, and thanks for reading.

In Memoriam, Carol L Boehmke, 9/2/23-9/11/16

My Mom, Carol, passed away a week ago at the age of 93.  I did not want to let this go unremarked upon even in such a silly rag as this blog.  Mom lived in Sarasota, Florida and enjoyed going to Siesta Key beach with family (often my son) to have a glass of wine while watching the sun set.  So after the memorial service on Friday at son Andy’s suggestion, The Princess, Andy, the Idiotic Brother and I went out to the beach to honor her memory, and raise a toast to her just as the sun was setting.  Andy took the photo below.

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Carol’s Memorial Sunset

Andy took a lot of photos that evening, but I chose this one because of the symbolism in it.  The three sea gulls at the top representing my two brothers and I soaring forward while my mom’s sun is setting.

Following is the last line of the eulogy I gave at Mom’s memorial service:  “Thank you, Mom, for giving me life, and for showing me through your life, how to live mine.”

September 18, 2016

What Was He Up To?

First things first.  After not counting the cost of the starter rebuild, but adding in the cost of hardware purchased for the new side panel attachment system, note that the C-O-M now stands at a rather retail sounding $3995.  Whew, I believe that’s it, the final cost of the Pony restoration.  It brings to mind a conversation Gene and I had in the early days of the Pony work.  Trying to get an idea of how committed I was to the project, Gene asked how much I was willing to spend on the job.  I threw out the number $1500, thinking that was a number I could live with and certainly enough to get the job done.  Gene and I hadn’t known each other that long at the time, but I remember the doubtful look on his face, and could imagine the likely thought behind it…what a dreamer!

Since we’ve been talking about the Pony’s C-O-M, you might also find it interesting that the blog is now 6-years-old, in which time I’ve written (using that term loosely) 234 posts.  I got a coupon recently from Staples, so I had them print-off every post since the beginning, almost 1000 pages!  I know, I know, you’re thinking what a waste of paper, but I thought, you know some day I might “weed” through it all and see if there’s any lawn left when I’m done.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

But with the Pony restoration complete, what’s ahead for That Idiotic Tractor.  Man, I don’t know, but I paid the annual fee to keep my website for another year, so I’ll fill up this space with something, believe me, at least into 2017.

Stuff like this.  And to head off complaints like, “There he goes, talking about his ass again,” I’m just going to say that recently I was diagnosed with “pudendal nerve entrapment.”  If you’re brave enough you can google that condition.  Suffice to say, that when you’ve spent over 100,000 miles on a bike seat, there are going to be issues “down under, and I don’t mean in Australia.”  Then at the same time that that medical issue has been going on, I came up with another small medical problem.  A month ago a red thing showed up on the lower eye lid of my left eye along with some puffiness under the eye.  A pretty firm practice of mine is what I call “the three week rule.”  I ignore any medical condition for three weeks before going to the doctor.  Generally stuff just goes away on its own in that time frame, but if it doesn’t, then the rule requires getting into the doctor pronto.

So still no big deal, at least in the most recent case.  Just as you probably already have, my crack medical team diagnosed a sty in my eye.  Not very exciting, but the new technique for treating it was curious.  They said to boil an egg, wrap it in a dry wash cloth and hold it against my eye for half an hour. What? Why not wait for a full moon too, for crying out loud.  And do this five times a day.  Well, the “pudendal thing” requires sitting with an ice pack in my crotch for 20 minutes after bike rides.  So why not as they say, kill two birds (or medical conditions) with one stone.

I shove one of those blue ice packs from the freezer inside a pair of bike shorts (clean ones) and then hold a hot egg to my eye.  As I was doing this I thought, man if I had a heart attack and died while doing this, what would the coroner’s line be in my episode of CSI?  “Well, he’s got an ice pack in his crotch and a hot, hard boiled egg in his eye.  It’s obvious he’s had a heart attack, and we’re looking for the villainous doctors that egged him on.”

Thanks for six years of reading and Happy Labor Day.

 

 

Video Games (Addendum)

I have been made aware by some of my subscribers that they were unable to view the video that was embedded in the last post.  To view that video here’s the site:  https://youtu.be/8vxWsnk0kXU

Sorry for the confusion.