the donkeys again got into the garden plot…..this time one of the little stinkers grazed some of my eastern gamma grass plants that I have started from seed….some of them even were pulled out of the cups….red solo type cups….what was amazing is the volume of the roots….the bottoms of the cups were a mass of roots and the soil for the most part was tightly bound. I put them all back and watered them well and I think they are going to be okay…..when I plant them next month I will try to remember to take some photos….only a couple of weeks away now……my ones i dug up from root shoots from my older plant and transplanted to five gallon buckets have grown like thunder and I will have to put them in the ground somewhere as well…..one of them even bloomed this summer….i have four of these in buckets and 42 in cups
Friday, August 12, 2022 .
Today I had to wait until after lunch to get any mowing done….grass was wet….so I let the flerd into the yard to work on grass…they really do help but it is not nice and even…..did a lot today but nothing major….cut back the grapes and the blackberries and mowed around them with the push mower…..the grass in the old garden patch was simply more than poor hop sing could handle….so i had to take loose a panel to gt the riding mower in there to finish mowing….gonna let the rest of the yard go til Monday…..my neice is playing in a tennis tournament in ashland sunday, so I am going to go and watch her..these are the USTA mid atlantic regionals..never seen her play and she is supposed to be pretty good…she has been to national tournaments….she and her husband have both been instructors
Saturday, August 13, 2022
made a forAy into ashland this morning…..needed some new shoes so I went to walmart to see what they had….bought some bedroom shoes and some rubber slip ons. When I got back I bush hogged the upper tank field and let the horses into the old barn area and opened big bull 1 for them….on the way back out i found where the lightening strike a couple of days ago happened…..there was a tall pine fifty or sixty feeet behind the house and on the back side it had a lightening scar from top to ground.
Sunday, August 14, 2022
got up early and went to ashland to watch Jennifer play….she is part of a team but she was playing singles and won her first match….she had about a two hour layoff and then played another match….i did not stay for the second match I came home and took a two hour nap
WELL I HAD TO GET UP AT 5:30 TO FEED THE STOCK AND GET A BATH AND DRIVE THE HOUR TO THE HOSPITAL….BUT I GOT IT DONE….THOSE MRI MACHINES ARE NOISY…AND THEY HAD ME STRAPPED DOWN LIKE HANNIBL LECHTER…BUT I AM FINISHED AND BACK HOME….THIS MORNING i POURED OUT AN INCH OF RAIN FROM YESTERDAYS RAINS…COOLER AND OVERCAST HERE AT HOME…..STOPPED AT TACO BELL TO TRY A BREAKFAST BOX AND AT TEN MINUTES TO NINE THERE WERE STILL NOT OPEN…..WHY SPEND MONEY ADVERTISING A BREAKFAST BOX IF YOU DO NOT OPEN TIL DARNED NEAR LUNCHTIME…. DONT SEE HOW THEY CAN POSSIBLY WIN THE RESTAURANT WARS…..it is now a little after 6 pm and it is storming again….Today has pretty much been a do little day…sitting on the porch enjoying the cooler weather and watchng it rain
POURED OUT ONLY A TENTH OF AN INCH OF RAIN THIS MORNING FROM BOTH GAUGES…..I SWEAR I THOUGHT IT RAINED MORE THAN THAT SINCE EVERYTHING IS SOAKED SOPPING WET…BOTH ARE UNOBSTRUCTED AND BOTH.WHAT IS INTERESTING IS THE GAUGES ARE ABOUT FIFTEEN FEET APART….AND BOTH ARE ABOUT CHEST HEIGHT…ONE HAD JUST OVER A TENTH AND THE OTHER HAD UNDER A TENTH….TOO WET TO WORK ON CUTTING GRASS THIS MORNING SO I DECIDED TO TAKE A WALK…..WALKED 3.57 MILES ON THE PERIMETER LOOP AT POOR FARM PARK….THAT PUT ME OVER THE THREE BIG HILLS AT THE NW CORNER…..THEY ABOUT KICKED MY BUTT….HOME NOW AND GRASS HAS DRIED SOME, SO BACK TO MOWING……MOWED GRASS MOST OF THE AFTERNOON WITH THE RIDING MOWER….PLAN IS TO DO SOME TRIMMING WITH THE PUSH MOWER TOMOROW…ALSO HAVE A GRAZING PADDOCK TO BUSH HOG
WELL IT HAS BEEN AT LEAST 24 HOURS SINCE IT RAINED….SUN IS OUT AND IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE WARM TODAY…..
SUNDAY MORNING DAWNED A BIT GRAY AND OVERCAST AND IT LOOKS LIKE IT COULD RAIN ANYTIME BUT IT HAS NOT RAINED….GOT SOME TRIMMING DONE IN INTERMITTENT LIGHT SHOWERS…..THEN ABOUT 1 PM IT STARTED TO SURE ENOUGH RAIN….I GOT PRETTY DAMP BEFORE I GOT IN THE HOUSE….LET THE HORSES GRAZE THE OLD BARN SITE….THE GOATS SAID IT WAS RAINING TOO MUCH AND THEY STAYED IN THE STABLE..THE PURPOSE IS TO GET THEM TO TRIM THE WEEDS AROUND THE JUNK THAT IS STILL SITTING THERE WHERE i CANNOT MOW…THE DONKEYS ARE WORKING ON IT NOW…I DID SPEND A FEW MINUTES IN THE TRAILER AND DID A FEW MINOR LEATHER REPAIRS…NEED TO GET ME A NEW HOLE PUNCH….ONE i HAVE BROKE IN MY HAND…..RAINED MOST OF THE AFTERNOON….THERE WAS A BREAK ABOUT 4:30 WHICH ALLOWED ME TO FEED THE STOCK AND THERE WAS ABOUT 6/10 OF AN INCH IN BOTH RAIN GAUGES…ACCORDING TO WEATHER BUG RADAR THERE IS ANOTHER BAND OF RAIN APROCACHING FROM THE WEST
WELL THE SECOND BAND OF RAIN APPARENTLY MISSED US….I POURED OUT THE 6/10 OF AN INCH FROM BOTH GAUGES THIS MORNING….DAY IS GRAY AND STICKY BUT FORECAST CALLS FOR CLEARING WITH THE EVER PRESENT CHANCE OF SHOWERS….I AM GOING TO TRY TO GET A WALK IN AND THEN GOING TO THE FEED STORE……HAD A NICE WALK At PFP….3.54 MILES….THREE LOOPS AROUND THE TWO TRACKS…THEN TO WENDYS FOR LUNCH AND THE FEED STORE…HOME TO UNLOAD FEED…..GOT ME A NEW LEATHER PUNCH
DAY DAWNED NICELY…BUT IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE ANOTHER HOT ONE….bush hog and broadcast front 8…..stock to front 9…trim mowing….talked wth Zack about water heater…..hot and sunny but not as bad as weather terrorist predicted….did some domestic chores…..JUST MOWED THE GARDEN PLOT A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO BUT IT NEEDED MOWING AGAIN…..CHOKED POOR HOP SING OUT THREE TIMES….RIGHT AFTER WE DID THE CHORES IN THE EVENING WE HAD ANOTHER RAIN STORM ROLL THRU….ANOTHER FOUR TENTHS OF AN INCH OF RAIN….NOW THE SUN IS BACK OUT
THIS HAS BEEN A DAY….SPENT THE MORNING TRYING TO GET A WAY TO DRAIN THE HOT WATER TANK….FINALLY GOT A DRAIN RIGGED AND THEN THE TANK STILL WOULD NOT DRAIN……WHOLE HOUSE CUT THE PUMP OFF AND DRAINED THE WHEN THE PLUMBING CREW CAME THEY HORSED THE OLD TANK OUT FULL OF WATER….THEN INSTALLING THE NEW TANK WAS A PIECE OF CAKE….CAUGHT AND HALTERED ALL THE EQUINES THIS MORNING BECAUSE I THOUGHT THIS WAS FARRIER DAY…..REALIZED AT 10;30 THAT i WAS A DAY AHEAD OF MYSELF…..NOT DUE UNTIL TOMORROW…..DID CLEAN UP THE FENCES IN FRONT PADDOCK 9….THEY HAVE ONE MORE DAY IN THAT PADDOCK…..FINISHED MOWING THE GARDEN PLOT AGAIN…..WITH ALLL THIS RAIN EVERY FOUR OR FIVE DAYS……FRIDAY WILL BE THE MAIN YARD AGAIN….WARM TODAY …IN THE LOW 90S …..JUST REALIZED THAT i HAVE NOT YET BLOCKED THE DRAIN HOLE i CUT…..MUST G DO THAT TO KEEP MY LEGLESS FRIENDS OUTSIDE.
AWOKE THIS MORNING WITH MY RIGHT FOOT AND ANKLE FEELING LIKE I HAD BUSTED THEM…..CANNOT RECALL ANY INJURY AT ALL….i CAN WALK BUT WITH A DECIDED LIMP…..HAVE NOT DONE MUCH….BUSH HOG AND BROADCAST FRONT FIELD 9…..SPRAYED HERBICIDE ALONG JACKS FENCE ALONG FRONT FIELD 9…BY THEN MY FOOT WAS HURTING ENOUGH THAT i DECIDED TO RIDE TO ASHLAND TO PICK UP MY PRESCRIPTIONS AND HAVE A WENDYS BIG BAG LUNCH….APACHE GOT THE CHICKEN TENDERS…..NOW WE ARE JUST VEGGING UNDER FANS…ALSO GOT A PLATE TO BLOCK THE SNAKE HOLE i CREATED IN THE DOOR YESTERDAY WHILE TRYING TO DRAIN THE HOT WATER HEATER…..FINLAAAY GOT THE HOLE TEMPORARILY PLUGGD AND HAVE A PLUG DESIGENED FOR THE JOB…..DIDN’T DO ANYTHING THIS AFTERNOON IN AN EFFORT TO REST MY FOOT
WOKE UP THIS MORNING AND MY FOOT WAS STRAANGELY BETTER…..STILL NOT 100 PERCENT BUT AT LEAST IT IS NOT THROBBING WITH EVERY STEP AND THREATENING TO GIVE WAY UNDER ME…..GRAY AND GLOOMY DAY SO FAR THIS MORNING BUT A LITTLE COOLER THAN IT HAS BEEN…..WENT TO BEAVERDAM AND GOT SOME GAS FOR THE MOWER AND DIESEL FOR THE TRACTOR….MOVED THE HORSES TO LOWER TANK PADDOCK….HAD A QUARTER INCH OF RAIN IN THE GAUGES THIS MORNING…..DONT KNOW WHEN IT RAINED….NEARLY LUNCH TIME AND GRASS STILL WET….NEED TO START CUTTING GRASS AGAIN…JUST FINISHED TWO DAYS AGO….FOOT HAS HELD UP WELL TODAY…..NOW 7 PM….BEEN HEARING THUNDER SINCE 4PM….WEATHER BUG SHOWED US IN MIDDLE OF A BIG RAIN CIRCLE ABOUT AN HOUR AGO IT STARTED TO RAIN AND RAINED HARD ENOUGHT TO BLOCK THE DIRECT TV SIGNAL…STILL RAINING MEDIUM NOW….GOT TO HAVE MRI ON MY HEAD TOMORROW TO SEE IF WE CAN FIND CAUSES OF MY BALANCE ISSUES….
not yet gone outside this morning…it is some cooler but still sticky humid…..ended up spending a good part of yesterday scheduling tests for my balance….did not awaken this morning until 7:15…..I think I am learning how to do this retirement thing….poured out another tenth of an inch from overnight….then while i wass feeding the mule it started to rain again and has been raining for over two hours now…scattered passing shower my big old butt….looks like an all day rain to me…stuck in here doing laundry and other domestic chores….was thinking about going to one of the parks and taking a walk….but not in the rain….been too hot the last three or four days….temp is finally tolerable and it is steady raining….at least it is good for the pastures….but I will have to start mowing lawn again when it stops raining….have not finished from last week yet….rained for several hours and we had another three tenths….then Luke came and filled tims nitrogen tank….sun came out so after lunch I went to Poor Farm Park to walk…got a little more than a half mile from the car and it started to rain again….made it back to a pavillion and had to wait out a 15 minute rain delay…after it stopped I thought it was not done rainingso figuring that while I was close I went to walmart for some milk and hot dogs for APACHE….while I was in there another storm rolled thru and rain on the walmart roof was deafening..I had to wait at the door for the rain to slack up enough to get to my automobile……home now and it won’t rain again until I stick my nose out the door again…
BEEN ANOTHER WARM DAY…..WAS RAINING AGAIN WHEN I WOKE UP BUT SOON STOPPED…..MOVED A BRANCH OFF THE ELECTRIC FENCE IN THE BACK YARD AND STILL DID NOT HAVE ANY FENCE….GOT MY METER AND STARTED WORKING…FOUND A DEAD PINE ON THE FENCE…..GOT THE BIG SAW STARTED AND FREED THE FENCE…..THEN REPAIRED THE CORNER OF THE FENCE…..STILLL HAVE SOME SERIOUS SHORTS BUT HAVE ENOUGH FENCE TO KEEP THE CRITTEERS IN…WENT TO MONTPELIER AND GOT SOME BARLEY SEED AND BUSH HOGGED AND BROADCAST FRONT PADDOCK 7…..OPENED FRONT 8 FOR THE STOCK….TAKING AN OPPOERTUNITY RIGHT NOW TO COOL OF IN FRONT OF A FAN….
BRIGHT AND SUNNY THIS MORNING…WEATHER TERRORIST ARE PREDICTING ANOTHER DAY OF SUN INDUCED DEATH…HOT AT THE END OF JULY…..WHO WOULD HAVE SUSPECTED IT….ME…I AM SPENDING THE MORNING DOING DOMESTIC CHORES AND ALTERNATELY SITTING IN FRONT OF THE FAN….LATER i WILL START CUTTING GRASS AGAIN….STILL TOO WET THIS MORNING…..DECIDED TO GO TO THE RED HORSE TRAINING CTR MONTHLY BARN SOCIAL SO THAT TRUMPED CUTTING GRASS….ENJOYABLE LOW KEY AFFAIR AND A GOOD POT LUCK MEAL THAT i DID NOT HAVE TO COOK
WELL SOMEHOW THIS THING HAS DECIDED I AM NOT SUPPPSED TO ENTER ANYTHING TODAY….TWICE NOW I HAVE MADE SIGNIFICANT ENTRIES ABOUT TODAY AND IT HAS DELETED THEM……i CUT GRASS MOST OF THE MORNING AND GOT ALL OF THE RIDING MOWER AREAS DONE…..WAS ABOUT TO START TRIMMING WITH HOP SING WHEN i HEARD THUNDER…..THEN IT STARTED RAINING AND SUDDENLY IT WAS POURING….i GOT STUCK IN THE TRAILER AND WAITED OUT THE DOWN POUR THERE….DURIGN A BREAK i CAME TO THE HOUSE AND IT IS POURING AGAIN OUTSIDE….MY TWO RAIN GAUGES BOTH HAD NEARLY A HALF INCH IN THEM FROM THE FIRST SHOWER……I POURED THEM OUT AND WOULD BE WILLING TO BET THAT THEY HAVE NEARLY THAT MUCH AGAIN NOW….WAS GOING TO TRY TO RIDE AT LAKE ANNA TOMORROW BUT NOT SURE i CAN GET TO THE TRAILER TO HOOK IT UP NOW….DID BUSH HOG AND BROADCAST FRONT 7 AND LET THE STOCK INTO FRONT 8
TODAY HAS BEEN SPENT IN THE LAKE ANNA OFFICE OF DR CONDI…..WE RODE ABOUT SIX OR SIX AND A HALF MILES, MOSTLY ON THE LAKE SIDE AND WE DID ALSO DO THE SHORT LOOP ON THE NORTH SIDE….EXCELLENT TIME AND BEAUTIFUL WEATHER AND LITTLE OR NO BUGS AND GOOD COMPANY…THIS THERAPHY SESSION CERTAINLY DID ME A WORLD OF GOOD…..i ALMOST FEEL HUMAN AGAIN…..DR CONDI IS AN EXCELLENT THERAPIST. THE PARK WAS PRETTY BUSY TODAY….LOTS OF WATER CRAFT…LOTS OF TRAFFIC LAKE BOUND….ONLY SAW ABOUT TWO HIKERS AND WHEN WE STARTED OUR RIDE THERE WAS ONLY A COUPLE OF HORSE TRAILERS IN THE LOT BUT WHEN WE CAME BACK THERE WERE QUITE A FEW..WE DID SEE A COUPLE OF OTHER RIDERS HEADING OUT WHEN WE WERE HEADING IN. TRAILS WERE SLICK WITH QUITE A FEW BLOCKAGES OF DOWNED TREES BUT WE FOUND WORK AROUNDS FOR ALL OF THEM….ALL IN ALL A WELL SPENT DAY….i GOT BACK IN THE HOUSE AT 2:11 IN THE AFTERNOON….SO ENTHUSIASTIC THAT i LEFT THE TRAILER HOOKED UP…
today was warmer thaN yesterday….it was 98 at one time here today….but it was not unbearable….this morning I painted the back side of the panels I started painting yesterday…..then hop sing and I did a little trimming until one of his front wheels fell off…..just needs a new lock nut…I remember when I was a little kid my cousin, David, and I cut my grandmothers grass……with an old reel type push mower….it took both of us to push it….now that was hot work….she also rigged up some rope harness so that we could pull the cultivator thru her half a acre of garden…..but that was generally easier than pushing that reel mower….went to Dominoes this afternoon and got pizzas for a couple of days meals….they had a sale of some sort so I got two….they have improved greatly since the last time I got one…..I even called them back and complimented them on the pizza quality today……had sausage and green pepper today….the other one is pepperoni and black olives…..
7/24/22 had typed nearly a paragraph and this dad gum computer just deleted i all…..try again….last night on the idiot box Dennys played a commercial about a breakfast summer slam special several times…..decided I wanted to try it…..was worth the trip….I have long thought they made as good a pancake as anyone in the business…they were veeery good and the hashbrowns, fried eggs, bacon and sausage were icing on the cake…..from there I went to ace and got some locknuts for hop sings wheels….gonna go out in few minutes and fix em and go back to cutting grass. I did put in a good sized load of sweaty stink work clothes and they are in the dryer now…need to do some cleaning in this dirty old house….naw….I would rather stand in the blazing sun outside. the day ended with a rusing thunderstorm and the electric blinking off….after the storm passed thru, we had a half inch of rain in no more than ten minutes….i rode the local roads trying to find where the damage was but did not see it even though there was loads of debris on the roads…power came back on at about 8:05….found out this morning that the busted wires were about six miles from here toward beaverdam proper
7/25/22 a do little day….mostly watched tee vee…
7/26/22 not yet gone outside this morning…it is some cooler but still sticky humid…..ended up spending a good part of yesterday scheduling tests for my balance….did not awaken this morning until 7:15…..I think I am learning how to do this retirement thing….poured out another tenth of an inch from overnight….then while i wass feeding the mule it started to rain again and has been raining for over two hours now…scattered passing shower my big old butt….looks like an all day rain to me…stuck in here doing laundry and other domestic chores….was thinking about going to one of the parks and taking a walk….but not in the rain….been too hot the last three or four days….temp is finally tolerable and it is steady raining….at least it is good for the pastures….but I will have to start mowing lawn again when it stops raining….have not finished from last week yet….rained for several hours and we had another three tenths….then Luke came and filled tims nitrogen tank….sun came out so after lunch I went to Poor Farm Park to walk…got a little more than a half mile from the car and it started to rain again….made it back to a pavillion and had to wait out a 15 minute rain delay…after it stopped I thought it was not done rainingso figuring that while I was close I went to walmart for some milk and hot dogs for APACHE….while I was in there another storm rolled thru and rain on the walmart roof was deafening..I had to wait at the door for the rain to slack up enough to get to my automobile……home now and it won’t rain again until I stick my nose out the door again…
Baby Jim Photo courtesy of The Old Cowboy Archives
I just opened my blog and realized that I have yet to move into 2022 even though I wrote about it not starting in an auspicious manner.
Todays edition is more appropriately dated, as I sit here waiting for the next great snowmageddon event. As they say every day on our local channel 12…….its a first alert weather day. We are forecast to get from 3 to 78 inches of a mixture of rain sleet and snow and power will be out for millions for days.
Fear sells in todays news.
First some good news……
I mentioned in my last blog that I was looking for a replacement tractor. One of my friends read the blog and texted me about a tractor for sale. I went and looked at it yesterday and agreed with the owner on a price late yesterday afternoon. We will consummate the deal in the coming week.
It was cold here this morning…..17 degrees outside at 6:00 am….not the coldest day of the year so far as we have been as low as 10 degrees already this year….I am ready for summer, but I guess I have to slog thru the rest of the winter to get there. As another old friend use to say every year……”February can be a B___h”. One of the memorable snow storms I recall was the first week in March. It was back in the late seventies and I had about a hundred first calf heifers scheduled to start calving the first week in March.
We had about two feet of snow and I don’t remember how many calves we lost in that storm…..there were some that I did not know had been born at all until the snow melted and I found tiny carcasses. We did not have enough barn to house all of them…..but I had about 40 heifers in a barn….these were ones I had due dates on and real heavy springers. I would go over at night and check on these.
One night I went over and eased in the door. The barn did not have lights so I carried a big old fashioned battery lantern….the kind where the lantern just bolted onto the battery. This was an old type barn with a livestock area at ground level and a pretty good hay loft above. The interior of the ground level had support posts about eight inches square spaced every ten or twelve feet to carry the load above .
I stood just inside the door shining my light to see what was happening. There were a couple of new mothers tending their calves. On the far end of the barn was a heifer with the newest calf…I eased around the barn checking to see if there were any others. I was about mid way thru the barn when I saw another charbray angus heifer was trying to claim the calf of the new mama…..this gal was in the early stages of her own labor. I decided to try to separate them a bit so she could concentrate on her own business.
As I approached she spied me and decided that she must protect the babies and she charged me with malice on her mind. I ran…trying to avoid calves and other new mamas. Then the misfortune got me….at a dead run I connected with one of the support poles. I have no idea what happened after that…..I woke up about an hour later with a nearly dead lantern providing a faint glow…I had a good sized goose egg on my head….this dispelled my Daddies position that I was the hardest headed he had ever seen. The evil heifer was mothering her own calf and when I began to stir she resumed growling at me. But she did not charge again. I crawled to the door and managed to crawl through it and into the snow.
That March reaffirmed my commitment to fall calving….all you had to worry about in the fall is hurricanes.
Baby Jim Photo courtesy of The Old Cowboy Archives
I had a phone call yesterday from an old friend. We attended college together back in the late sixties and the early seventies.
We attended together our freshman and sophomore years. Then I ran out of money and went to work for my uncle Sam for a couple of years. God was looking out for me and even though I volunteered for OCS and Airborne and Ranger School, I ended up fighting the war at Fort Carson Colorado….but that is all fodder for other stories.
When I went back to college I managed to cram a four year course of instruction into eight short years. I enrolled and managed to get a third year taken care of but again had to drop out and get a job to support the expected addition to the family. That took a couple of years. when I finally got back to finish my degree, a mutual friend told me that my friend was back as well.
Turns out he had done some time with uncle Sam as well and had survived the bungle in the jungle. We were both married and living in Roanoke and we commuted to Tech together quite often. This was during the gas shortage of the early seventies.
After graduation I again lost track of my friend for several years as I was cowboying in Ohio and Virginia and he was a chemical engineer travelling the united states.
Somehow we reconnected a few years ago….I don’t even remember how….but we tried to maintain at least an electronic connection.
Some of you are aware that I used to write a little and published a blog for a good while. This is a habit that has eluded me pretty much the last couple of years.
My friend called me mostly to see if I was still extant because he had not heard from me for so long…..lots of excuses for this but none that justified leaving old friends in the lurch.
jogs my memory that I never had a lot of friends…..mostly because my friends wives almost unanimously thought I was a bad influence. Heck even my first wife ended up with that opinion.
A little rough around the edges and while not a tall man, I could be a little tough to deal with….and for many years, what I thought had a way of falling out of my mouth, which always managed to upset others.
In my later years I softened somewhat….to the point that Marie used to get mad at me because she thought I let people take advantage of me. Little did she realize that I was merely trying to control my worsening temper and stay out of jail. I had become like my dad….a strong man with a hot temper….except he was mostly quiet and I was loud.
But I digress immensely……I have been fortunate to have some good friends in my life. Like some who call just to see if I am still breathing. Then we ended up talking for an hour and seven minutes.
Got to thinking about how I communicate and what I could do better…..in recent years I have used social media more and more….for a while I was a regular on a couple of cattle boards….have not visited one in about a year and a half now…..I have hundreds of facebook friends many of which I have never met….
I decided to go back to my roots and communicate in a longer form which suits me better….going back to the blog format and will let people know of the post with short notices.
So far 2022 has not been much of an improvement on 2021. Started January with a barn fire where I lost the barn and the tractor and a substantial amount of tools and equipment.
Thank god there were no animal injuries…..I only had a couple of cows left and my sons Jessee and Matt came and got them the afternoon of the fire as I had no feed or any way to feed them….so for the first time since 1986 there is not a bovine in residence at Pipe Dream Farm…..I do miss them and every time I step out the door I still look for the cows. Now I have begun to say to myself as I glance around…”dumbass ….they are not here…”
The equines are still present and tolerating me.
Still in cleanup mode at the site of the fire….but the snowstorm last week created a slight delay. the 1 to 3 inches predicted turned in to 10 to 12 inches of heavy wet snow and the power went out everywhere about 9:30 am last week and lasted about five days here….some people were out for ten days…..it was the biggest damage since hurricane Isabell in 2003
I was not too worried…I had a generator…..dual fuel and would run on gasoline or propane….lost all my gas cans in the fire….learned the lesson that propane will freeze up in cold weather….the generator will run about an hour and a half and then it freezes up and the generator quits.
Trying to find a replacement for the old tractor….went all the way to Staunton this morning to look at one….still negotiating a few issues.
A neighbor brought me a skid steer loader to feed the horses round bales.
Still have not figured out what I want to do about the barn….I need storage space for feed and hay and the tractor…but without the cows I do not need as much barn…..got to finish cleaning up the debris from the old barn….I have already sent off a 40 cubic yard dumpster of scrap metal and am in the process of filling a 30 yard one now. slow work because I have to sort wood debris from the metal debris which means deconstruction of everything.
As i sit here on the eve of the day of completion of my 73rd trip around the sun, I wax somewhat philosophical. It is hard to believe that tomorrow is the 34th anniversary of my 39th birthday.
It will be followed on Sunday by my grandsons 18th birthday. Happy Birthday Fisher.
I was contacted earlier in the week by my former boss and she invited me to join her and my previous coworkers and the new folks for lunch this afternoon. It was great to see them all and to catch up on everyone’s adventures and challenges. We had a nice lunch as well.
This has been the most unusual year of my life. I thought 2020 was unusual….2021 seems to have said hold my beer and I will show you unusual.
For those who may not know….I finally retired with the change of calendars in January. I had some significant leave time and so I actually stopped working on December 8th of 2020.
Right on cue on the 21st of January I had my heart attack….Dr. Rohatgi did a catheterization procedure and opened the blockage and put in a stent and pulled me through….bad news is he found three more blockages and had to go in a few weeks later and put in a couple of more stents.
On follow up testing he found signs that my right aorta had problems and sent me to a vascular surgeon who in March cut my throat and removed the blockage…..He said he could not explain why I had not had a stroke. The vascular surgery cut a few nerves and so a lot of mornings I wake up feeling like I have been in a fight. It is finally starting to ease up some.
But I survived that as well and on further followup with Dr. Rohatgi said my heart was normal. That is in large part due to my new pass time….walking….I now endeavor to walk at least three miles every other day. It has also helped me lose some weight…..but fear not I still tip the scales at about 11 stone….that is British for 220 lbs. But now my pants are all too big for me and I look like a clown with a poor makeup job…..
I figured while I was on the downhill slide that I better ride all I could while I was still able….
Naw that has not worked out so well either…..All spring it was so rainy that most parks stayed closed and would not allow riding. When it stopped raining it got so blamed hot that neither Dr. Condi nor i wanted to venture out. So instead of riding twice a week we managed to get out about once a month. Here lately we have done a little better. But lately I discovered that The Coggins on the equines had expired and had to have them retested. Results came back today and we are legal again to be out in public.
And viola……it is mid October…. Inflation is sky rocketing…. Energy prices are doubled so far this year…..We wrapped up a twenty year war by surrendering and giving the enemy 89 billion dollars worth of equipment……the economy is crashing……the border is being overrun by people not subject to the covid mandates or anything else…..the government is into mandating every aspect of our lives….covid is the gift that keeps on giving…..shortages of everything are on the horizon…..you can see the ships sitting in the harbors…..jobs everywhere and no one wants to work…and why should they because the government is paying them not to work….not sure I want to work because i don’t think I can afford the taxes any more….they taxed me a lot of dollars on social security last year and I had to dig deep to pay it because there was no withholding….…….no one speaks english anymore as they rely on profanity and double talk….most fast food is now drive thru where there are no menu boards except at the order point so people wait in line to sit at the order point and say uuuhhh….
The Covid seems to have installed mass insanity as a side effect.
I don’t know why I am still here while so many that I have known and cared about are no longer here. There must be a purpose….There must be something I have got to do. But apparently I have not gotten it done yet…
I wish I had a clue
I think often about my mortality…
I have had my final arrangements made ever since losing Marie.
I am more careful now in my daily life
I think often of what becomes of my animals if I suddenly disappear. This worries me…
I wish I had a clue.
I hope to be able to keep riding. It is what is keeping me sane…If I am….
TODAY was a walking day. So I decided that I would go back to Washington Lacy Park and go back to the new trails I found a few days ago. This time I took a bag full of hand tools and some flagging tape. I did not walk but 2.97 miles but had a decent workout with carrying and using the tools.
My ambition was to mark and do a little trail work on the two new to me trails. ……. this we accomplished.
I was pleased to notice that several folks have ridden these trails since my original post. There were numerous hoof prints and other signs of equestrian activity along the trails
below is an aerial photo of one of the trails marked. This trail is actually a branch off of an existing trail that seems to be used significantly. I did not walk the existing trail today so it does not show up on the GPS generated route. I have attempted to draw in the existing trail in yellow….the location is not exact. The trail I worked on and marked with pink ribbons is indicated in red. It is not quite as disjointed as it looks on the photo….I did a good bit of walking back and forth in an effort to make sure the pink ribbons were visible from both directions. Both of these woodland paths run from the powerline to one of the crush and run roads that run across the southern portion of the park. the entrance to both is where the tire and bicycle tube hang in the tree near the powerline….there are also pink ribbons there as well. a little ways in the new pink ribbon trail branches off from the old trail…..
the net result is now there are three possible loops in this area.
farther south is the road that only needs a little bit of work to create a nice loop. There is a section of six or eight pine trees down and I need to get my chain saw and equipment back there to open the circuit. I can open it in an hour or so if I can get the equipment back there. either side is rideable now but those trees and some swamp prevent a circuit until altered…..this trail is marked with white flagging tape…..one side is right down the power line and the other is thru the woods.
Had a wonderful ride today with my therapist, Dr. Condi.
We rode at Washington Lacy Park and surrounds. We covered 10.55 miles. That was because it was dry enough to ride along the powerline which is alongside the park.. When it is wet season it is normally too wet to ride much of the power line. In fact the entire south side of the park can be very damp and muddy. But right now it is dry and rideable. We rode most of the park trails and we rode the powerline south as far as the swampy area along side route 54 .
But we did find an easy way to create a loop adjoining the power line to the new path we found when walking earlier in the week. In fact the loop exists….but mother nature has pretty well blocked it with some down pine trees. I can probably open the trail in an hour or so if I can figure a way to get my chain saw and fuel and supplies back to the area needing work. the short section needing work is marked by a green dot on the map below. some of the trees are about a foot in diameter so without a chain saw it would take a while to make the cuts needed.
then we made our way back to the parking lot and happened upon a couple of ladies fixing to ride. We chatted briefly and then Dr. Condi and I embarked upon riding the north side of the park. We soon found ourselves on the power line again and rode it all the way out to Taylorsville road. The power company or the gas company or the hunt club had bush hogged some paths on the far north side and we rode those as well….never saw a soul until almost back to the park when we saw the ladies again. Dr. Condi and I then rode the loops in the north side of the park and then back to the parking lot. The ladies were back in the parking lot when we got there. Other than them we only encountered one hiker with a dog and Condi spotted him long before I did.
Got to brag on my little horse. She was an absolute joy to ride all day. Dr. Condi is not a young horse. But she did not have a lot of miles on her before coming to us. She had spent some time as a brood mare and I have seen one of her daughters as a grown horse and if I were wealthy she would be living at Pipe Dream Farm and would have come here with her mother. Condi also spent considerable time as a pasture ornament. the lady who had her for three or four years before me, took sick shortly after buying Condi and never rode her much. She sold Condi back to Jim Blanks and my friend Stewart coerced me into buying her . I told her today that she was some of the best money I ever spent. She is high on my list of all time favorite horses…..and I have had opportunities in my life to ride some really good ones.
Dr. Condi is by no means a deadhead….in fact when she first came here she could be a handful. But she is kind and gentle and really smart and now that we are riding again she is getting better with every ride. Today she was learning how to behave when I was clipping branches along the trail…I had never done that before with Condi and after the first one fell on her neck she learned to accept it as part of the job. We are working on side passing to get closer to the brush while clipping. A clumsy old man can only lean and reach so far.
today was our second ride with the center fire rigging. I am starting to like it….after ten miles no sign of any galling or irritation on the horse. one thing I have already noticed is that the saddle definitely stays on the horse better. I noticed it the last time we rode that when I dismounted the saddle did not slip at all. While I am not as big as I used to be….i still tip the scales above 220. All that weight in the left stirrup usually makes a saddle slip a little. today when I dismounted twice, I intentionally let my weight hang on the saddle for a bit and it did not slip
Below is a map image from the gps of todays ride. On the north side of the powerline there are a couple of pretty steep hills. but they do not show up on the aerial maps. In one place today Dr. Condi had to step up a five or six foot bank. she saw that the trail went over it and I think I heard her say “hang on old man….I got this…”