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Which way did he go? Where has he been? Where is he headed? So many questions . . ..

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Richard Weeks – Making this world a better place is a DIY project:…

This extends far beyond the campground.  To paraphrase Mother Teresa:  Do what you can, with what you have, right where you are at — instead of expecting government, the church, a billionaire, or anyone else to fix things.

Where DID 2016 Go??

Here I sit, New Year’s Eve 2016, pondering the past year.

Seems to have just passed with a *Whoosh!*

Didn’t really take a vacation.

Took a few long weekends, took some time when Brother Bob came up from Nevada, and some more when Daughter Jen came out from Kansas, but that’s about it.

A couple family members crossed over.  I don’t deal with that situation at all well, so I’m going to pull a “Forrest Gump” and say “And, that’s all I’ve got to say about that.” 

Got all the materials for the Puddle Duck Racers, but didn’t get any progress made on them.  Want to get them done while the boys are still at home.   Also want to try my hand at an Open Goose, which is the 12′ version. Something that me & the boys can throw on the truck and go lake fishing from.

Got just about two more years to work before I can retire at full benefit. Don’t know what I’m going to do from that point.  Probably get a part-time job to fill out the retirement until I can draw Social Security 4/5 years down the road.  Would like to work with other vets, or other seniors, or something.

Dug out some beef short ribs and have them braising on the stove to make stew from.  Boys think they smell pretty good.  Better take a break and go add the rest of the veg . . .

Happy New Year to all!

 

 

How do You Deal With Death?

It’s a question that I’ve asked myself most of my life.  I’m the youngest son of a youngest son of a youngest son.  So, I was kind of born into a life where Death visits frequently.  Compounding the situation is that the generations tend to get spread out in my family.  My parents were in their 40s when I was born.  My oldest brother took a day off work to come and got Mom & I from the hospital, because my Dad had been hurt in an accident at work and couldn’t drive.

There’s nineteen years between my oldest brother, Lee, and me.  Conversely, there’s 26 27 years between my oldest son’s birthday and his youngest brother’s. (Thanks for the math assistance Jen! =:) )

I never met either of my grandmothers, and only have fleeting memories of my grandfathers.  When my grandfathers passed, there were a few years of respite.  Then, I started losing uncles & aunts.  I’ve also lost cousins and nephews & a niece.

You’d think – by now – that losing people I love would be old-hat, right?  Nope. Not even close.  I’m considered by most to be a big & fairly burly guy, and, I’m still fit enough to drag myself up a steep hiking trail with a 50 lb. pack on my back (Granted: I take more rest breaks than I did at 45.), but I still have tears running down my face at funerals, and my family has learned to not let me try to speak at them.  People tend to think you’ve extended the wake when you’re sobbing into a microphone.

I’m a Christian, so I know that I will see them all again.  Yet, I’m totally unmanned when it comes to dealing with the death of people I care about.

John-O accompanied me to the memorial for an old friend and mentor this past weekend, and he asked me how you deal with the death of someone close to you?  I had to be honest and tell him I never have figured that out . . .

 

History Repeats Itself

Especially for those who refuse to learn from it . . .

RollaKS04141935-Duster-FDRPresidentialLibrary

Dust storm approaches Rolla, KS – April 14, 1935 – Photo courtesy of the FDR Presidential Library Collection.

Hubris

I just finished watching a show about the American Dust Bowl Years titled “Black Blizzard” on History Channel.  It was a pretty good analysis of the disastrous Dust Bowl years in the Great Plains, as well as the government policies and programs that lead up to them.  “Plant more wheat!  Eat more bread!,”  “Breadbasket to the World!,” etc.

For anyone unfamiliar with that portion of our history, I highly recommend the 2-hour documentary.   Right at the end though, there is a bit of irony:  The narrator says “Others need to learn from our experiences, as today we are seeing giant dust storms in Western China and Sub-equatorial Africa.”  To give them their due, they do cut back to a pair of Dust Bowl survivors from Oklahoma and Texas who warn that we are experiencing years as hot & dry in the High Plains now as they were in the years leading up to the Dust Bowl.  One says that the only reason we are not seeing dust storms like they had in the 1930s is because they are pumping water out of the Ogllala aquifer at unprecedented rates to irrigate crops and pastures.   He warns: “When the water runs out – and it will – we’re going to be in trouble.”

But, there is more to the story than that.

I remember my oldest son & daughter’s great grandfather telling me in 1980 that we were heading back to the Dust Bowl just as fast as farmers could rip out shelter belts, fill in water retention ponds and runoff waterways, and flatten contour terraces.  The culprit?  High wheat prices and new large-scale machinery that let one man farm more acres of land.   We were pheasant hunting in Northern Kansas, and he showed me a one-lane county road that ran between two large wheat fields:  “See that road?  Five years ago, it was two lanes wide with a ditch on either side.  You can’t drive on it for a week after a rain, now.  If the county doesn’t stop these guys, it will be gone in a couple years.”

Yet, it’s the people in China and Africa that need  to learn from our mistakes?

AbandonedFarmCimarronStripOK1940

Abandoned Farm, Cimarron County, Oklahoma, 1937  –  US Library of Congress Prints & Photographs On-line Collection

8 World War II Survival Lessons We Must Never Forget

Spotted this at Paleotool’s Weblog, and decided to re-post it myself, as this is a good reminder for those of us who have strayed far from our roots. My parents worked for the Army Coast Watch during WWII.  My Mom and my Aunt were both observers, while Dad was one of the drivers.  Mom always planted a full acre of garden and had both chickens and pigs.  We ran a grade “B” dairy with thirteen cows, and Dad fished in the Summer.  Yeah, they put in long hours, yet — they always seemed to have time for us boys.  We grew up either playing in their shadows as they worked, or learning to work right alongside them.  I wish I had the chance to do the same with my kids today . . .

 

Source: 8 World War II Survival Lessons We Must Never Forget

How to take your Mora Classic N.1 to the next bushcraft level

Mattia over at Wild Tuscany Survival did a great little article on modifying the standard Mora knife for bushcraft use. I love these knives, because they are tough, will take & hold a razor edge, and you can buy about ten of them for what you would pay for a single copy of one of the knives being marketed for “survival” or “bush craft.”  Heck, you can buy four of the Mora Military knives for what one K-Bar will set you back — without any of the commemorative engraving.  Go ahead and buy a couple.  You’ll want one in each vehicle and a spare in your pack – along with a ferrite rod and other survival basics. These are the everyday belt knives in Sweden and a kissing cousin to the famous Finnish Puuku that was so feared by the Russian and German invaders.  These may not be as “sexy” as a K-Bar or a Ramboesque “survival” knife, but they get the job done and you won’t have to hock your firstborn to get one.

Wild Tuscany Bushcraft

how_to_upgrade_mora_classic_1

The knife

Mora knives (the brand name is Morakniv®) are actually a must-have for any true bushcraft lovers: these knives are simple, practical with excellent cutting properties at very inexpensive prices.
Recently Morakniv® has also developed a new line of knives with great attention to the bushcraft world, if you are interested go to this page http://www.moraofsweden.se/products/adventure.
But two of the most popular bushcraft knives of Mora of Sweden are the oldest Mora models: the Mora Classic Number 1 and 2.
If your haven’t in your equipment one these knives, i must say… buy it! 

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No, I Didn’t Drop off the Face of the Planet Again

I’m into week #3 of a nasty virus we have going around up here.  Thought it was my allergies going all Juramentado on me, but when I hit day 3 and nothing was putting a dent in it, I took myself off to the clinic.  Nope, not allergies, “just a really nasty virus that’s making the rounds.”   Spent the next six days flat on my back, popping Aleve, Mucinex and snorting Flonase.  Finally got well enough to come back to work last Monday.  Walked into a big project that allows me to be stashed away in a basement equipment room for the next couple weeks.  Thank God!  I don’t mind sharing, but I think my co-workers will gladly take a pass on this one.

Now, if me and my beautiful lady wife can just shake it.   The boys have managed to dodge the bullet on this one. (Thank you, Lord!)

I hate being sick in the Summer!  Especially when the weather is being uncharacteristically beautiful (Even if it is a touch hot.) for the Great North Wet.

WOW! Has it really been almost TWO years?

  • Wow!

Oh, I already said that, huh?

Let’s see . . . What has changed?

Didn’t make it up to the Island last year.

The Honda was stolen.

Never did get my project truck on the road.

Junked it when I bought an actual running truck from my next door neighbor.

I’m still ADD.

I’m pushing sixty and trying to hold onto my job.  (My wife and children appear to prefer living indoors and eating regular.)

I’m finally getting rolling on getting back into woodworking.

  • I have a workbench
    • I can actually get to it.
    • But, it does need to be cleaned off before I can do anything productive.

Life just keeps on rolling.

I hope to update this with much more regularity.

A Real Hacker Can Hack ANYTHING

Spotted this over at Wired: 

Hold the Sun Tea: Our Favorite Mason-Jar Hacks

I should note that the last hack on the list will get you in trouble with the law in many jurisdictions.  (Voter initiatives aside, Cannabis Sativa a.k.a. Marijuana, is still illegal under U.S. federal law.)  But, I felt that the other hacks were good enough to make the article interesting.

New Blog Launched!

Started a technology blog: Tekky’s Corner at http://tekkycorner.wordpress.com/

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