Sunday, July 31, 2016


I don't suppose there is ever a convenient time for something to break.  
The case in point, the trip lever on our toilet in the master bath decided to give up the ghost about supper time yesterday evening. The rod broke off just inside the tank at the base of the handle.
I could have dropped everything and headed for the hardware store right then, but I didn't - I have the lid off and have been pulling the chain by hand for the past fourteen hours.  
That works, and the water in the tank is clean, so it's not like sticking your hand in the bowl, but there is something about it that just feels nasty.
So - - - I'm headed out to get a replacement right after breakfast.

Saturday, July 30, 2016


Captain Midnight’s secret code of the day
Is an invitation to come out and play
You’ll find me using your decoder ring
That came in that package of Ovaltine
If your mom didn’t throw it away

Friday, July 29, 2016

New Post

When I prepare each day's blog entry, I click on a box that says "New Post."  Well, today's new post is about a new post.
Since we moved to the Boggy Thicket, our mailbox has sat atop a pipe - actually a  galvanized fence post - that was set in concrete.  After forty years, it is time to replace it. 
It is breaking off at ground level - still standing, but very wobbly - likely to go at any time. I almost expect opening the mailbox door to pull it over.
I purchased a replacement (and a new mailbox) yesterday at Home Depot.  This time, I'm going for a treated wood post.
My project for today is to get it installed.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The First

Democrats and media have backed off from claims that Hillary Clinton is the first female candidate for president, and are now saying the first from a major political party.  Sometimes the truth can be so inconvenient....

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

January 2017

The cartoon below sums up my feelings about the presidential race:
 I do not like the candidate from either major party, and consider the Libertarians, etc. to be irrelevant - they have no chance of garnering enough votes to matter.
I may be grasping at straws here, but I do have hope for our country.  
I consider both Clinton and Trump to be totally without morals, and willing to do anything to get their way.  The one glimmer of hope I have is that history has proved that the most truly decent man elected to the office in the past century, Jimmy Carter, was also the worst president.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Rain-Free Zone

This summer is shaping up to be almost like Déjà vu all over again, as this post from last year illustrates.
The old Boggy Thicket is drying out, we are running sprinklers almost every day, and what rain there has been is missing us completely.  Yesterday saw heavy rains - thundershowers with rates of two or more inches per hour - to our northwest, southwest and southeast, but we only got a few drops.
There's a 60% chance of rain again today, but I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, July 25, 2016


I posted the following poem here yesterday:
I have to admit, I hate when my spouse
Decides to thoroughly clean the house
But I grab rags, and vacuum and mops
Jump right in - pull out all the stops
Does that make me a man or a mouse?

I also posted it on Addicted to Limericks, a group I founded on Facebook.
Almost immediately, George Smith, a retired newspaper publisher, replied with:
I, like Bob, hate when my spouse
Decides to thoroughly clean the house
I run and hide in a place she can't find

Out in deer blind or down in a mine,
And I don't care if that makes me a louse

Housework is something I abhor
I scrub and scrub till
I can't take no more
Beer and Twinkies are what I crave
I won't be no house-bound slave
Now if I could just figure out why she's sore

Honeybunch, can't you see
A domestic goddess I don't want to be
Where's the TV clicker?
Can't you be any quicker?
And now tell me why you're leaving me

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Tomorrow is the day that the guy from our new insurance carrier is coming to take photos of our house, and we have been cleaning non-stop since Thursday.  
It does make some sense - after all, his pictures will be a permanent record of how well we keep house - still...

I have to admit, I hate when my spouse
Decides to thoroughly clean the house
But I grab rags, and vacuum and mops
Jump right in - pull out all the stops
Does that make me a man or a mouse?

Saturday, July 23, 2016


I saw this ad this morning in an article about inappropriate ads from the 1940s and 50s that would never fly today.  I suppose that's true, but it did bring back a memory.
Dr. Stackhouse, the doctor that delivered me, was the same doctor that removed my tonsils when I was five.  As we were leaving the hospital, he advised my mother to give me a glass of Seven-Up several times a day to help combat nausea. 
She told him that I really preferred Coca Cola, and asked if that would be OK.
He replied, "Yeah, Coke will work just as well, but I own stock in Seven-Up."

Friday, July 22, 2016


On her walk this morning, Honey found a set of keys lying in the middle of the road.  There's an ignition key for a Honda, and what looks like a house key.
There must be a good story in there somewhere.  How do you lose your keys on a lonely road in the middle of the night?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Spring Cleaning in July

Our house is NOT dirty!  
We keep things looking pretty nice.
But ----
Someone from our new insurance carrier is coming Monday to take pictures of our house.
So ----
Honey has us cleaning things the photographer will never see in a million years.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Forty-seven years ago today, just before 10:00 p.m. central time,  Neil Armstrong became the first earthling to set foot on the moon.  Everybody in America (and much of the rest of the world) was glued to their TV sets to watch the event unfold.
For kids born in the 70s and later, it is no big deal - for them, we've always been able to go to the moon - but for those who witnessed it, it is something we'll never forget.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Getting Started - the Final Chapter (I hope)

Finally got the old tractor running yesterday, and so far, it looks good.  
I was losing prime and it would run out of fuel.
Finally, I pulled the fuel lines at the injectors and cranked the engine until all three lines were consistently feeding pure diesel.  When I reconnected the lines, it started right up and I let it run for half an hour.  No hiccups, it ran fine.
The real test comes in a couple minutes.  As soon as I click "Post" I'm going out to use the old tractor to actually do some work.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Symbolism vs. Substance

Sometimes we can all get overwhelmed by events.  
We feel that we have to do something, but are at a loss to know what to do.  It hurts to acknowledge that nothing we can do personally is likely to make the least bit of difference.
The killings of police officers in Dallas recently, and the killing of three more in Baton Rouge yesterday, provides the latest example.  A Facebook friend has started a group urging everyone to wear blue on Mondays as a way of honoring police officers - telling them that "we have your back."  I support the idea, even though I know that it is unlikely to save the life of even one peace officer.  After all, no pink ribbon has ever cured a single breast cancer patient.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Making A Change

It was almost a year ago - Catch 22 - AAA - that I wrote about how much we could save if we changed insurance carriers.  Well, it looks like we are finally doing it.
Hard to believe, almost too good to be true, but we can get the same coverage - truck, 5th wheel and home - from AAA for less than State Farm has been charging us for just the house.  
That "almost too good to be true" part has Honey worried.  She was added to her parent's State Farm insurance when she got her driver's license over 50 years ago.  Making a change after all this time has her really nervous.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

More Adventures In Getting Started

Well, my new starter for the old tractor did finally arrive - a day late, but it came - and I got it installed yesterday.  

I also replaced the old fuel filters.  FYI - the filters, which are two dollars apiece on line, cost twenty one dollars each at O'Reilly Auto Parts.

Anyway, I thought I was done, but the old tractor only ran for about 15 or 20 minutes, then shut down again.  I've still got an obstruction in the fuel line somewhere, I just haven't pinpointed the cause.

Installing that starter proved to be, quite literally, a pain in the ass!

At my age, I'm used to having new aches anytime I do anything outside of my usual routine, and I had to hold the starter in place in a very awkward position with one hand while I  started the bolts with the other.  I knew I would be feeling that today, but I expected to feel it in my arms and chest. I do, but by far the most noticeable pain is in a totally unexpected area.

I installed the starter from a sort of kneeling position, sitting back on my heels, and this morning my poor old butt feels like someone was kicking me the entire time.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Persistance Pays Off

I'm sure I mentioned before that Honey asked for a card table last Christmas.  The purpose was to have a surface for putting together jigsaw puzzles, and it has brought her hours of frustration and a lot of joy.  Her first attempt was a 1000 piece puzzle, and she has put together several 500 piece puzzles since then.
Back in April, she asked me to get her a new puzzle while I was at the store.  I figured if 1000 pieces was good, 2000 ought to be great, right?  Maybe not so much - first off, I had to cut a piece of plywood for her to work on - the darn thing was bigger than the top of the card table.  
She also explained to me several times that the relationship of the number of pieces to overall difficulty is more exponential than linear.  I have promised to never buy another 2000 piece puzzle again.
This week, her months of effort paid off - the puzzle is finally complete!  It actually took her a little over two months to complete since we were gone for the entire month of May.  She was cussing it when we left but missing it while we were on the road.
You can see two gaps where pieces are missing.  We know our dachshund, Tinker, ate the one on the left, and suspect that she got them both.  Tink has always eaten paper - paper towels, maps, invoices, etc.  Apparently puzzle pieces are a special treat, and in spite of dire threats, she figures any that happen to hit the floor are fair game.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Wrong Side of the Street

When we first moved to the Boggy Thicket, 40 plus years ago, I stopped by the Post Office in Huffman to ask about an address.  We knew we were going to be living on Conners Road, but had no idea what street number to use.  
"Just pick a number." they said, "We'll find you."
The local utility company was no help at all, and the number on our utility pole ran to about ten digits, too big to be convenient.  Using it as an address might actually have required bigger envelopes.
So, like several others in our neighborhood, we decided to use the tract number from our property survey.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.
The only problem was that we owned tract 109.  
We didn't think of it at the time, but traditionally streets are numbered going out from a central location like a Post Office or City Hall, with even numbers on the right and odd numbers on the left side of the street.  That worked fine for our neighbors - the address across the street is 117, and our next-door neighbor's address is 90.  
Our address puts an odd number on the even side of the street.
Even so, it has been our address for over 40 years with very few problems.  Over the years, FedEx has occasionally delivered our packages to neighbors across the road, but generally everything has worked out OK.
 I was waiting for a delivery (the starter for my tractor) yesterday, and when it hadn't arrived by four thirty, I contacted UPS.  Tracking software showed an attempted delivery but no such address.  
What the heck do they mean, no such address!  
It's been our address for over 40 years! 
Our name and the number are on our mailbox, for Pete's sake!
It took a while to actually talk to a real person, and she had to contact the local UPS depot and have them call me back, but they are supposed to try to deliver it again today.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Getting Started Again

The new starter for my old tractor is due to arrive via UPS some time today.  Before it does, I need to make a run to the auto parts store for a pair of fuel filters - the Ford 2000 uses two of them.
Hopefully, by this time tomorrow I'll have the old girl up and running again.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


I got up early yesterday, and while Honey took her morning walk, I mowed the yard.  By the time she returned, I had completed everything you can see from the street.  The only part I hadn't mowed was a bit outside the fence in the back yard.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that, even though I wear a lumbar support belt when I mow, I managed to screw up my lower back.  
I didn't realize I had until later in the afternoon when I took the dogs for their annual visit to the vet. I could barely lift their carrier out of the truck, and I had difficulty standing totally erect.  I was walking around like an old man.
The vet declared the dogs to be in good shape for their age, and we made it home without incident.  
A few gyrations on the floor and I was able to get my back to pop. It felt much better, but I moved very carefully all evening.  A few ibuprofen at bedtime, and I'm in good shape this morning - only a tiny bit of residual ache.
That sets the stage for the dilemma.  
That last patch of grass needs mowing, but I'm not ready to do it today.  I'm not sure whether I'm displaying common sense, excess caution or laziness, but the yard is going to have to wait. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016


After the Dallas shootings this past Thursday, Channel 11 in Houston staged a “town hall meeting” to discuss the current unrest.  The panel featured local law-enforcement officials (retired), a sociology professor, the local head of the NAACP, and a few others; and was moderated by Deborah Duncan, a local TV personality.  It may not be germane to this post, but for those unfamiliar with Houston TV, Duncan is black, is married to a white man, and they have a mixed-race son.

I was about to decide that watching this meeting was a total waste of time – each panelist was politely pushing his own agenda, or simply repeating platitudes – when Duncan made a point that stopped me in my tracks.

She pointed out that, since the beginnings of humanity, people have banded together in tribes in order to survive, and this tribalism is so inbred as to be part of our DNA.  Nobody, not even the sociology teacher, picked up on her remark, and the meeting continued as if it had never been said.

I think she nailed the problem on the head. 

Whatever you may think about us all sharing a common ancestor – whether you get your opinion from religion or science – our innate tribal instinct causes even the least prejudiced among us to notice differences among those we meet and to have feelings, based on those perceived differences that range from mild discomfort to outright distrust. 

The “Us vs. Them” mentality being hard-wired into our psyche explains wars, genocide, prejudice, and just about every other evil known to man.  It doesn’t offer a solution – it may even hint that no solution is possible – but it does go a long way toward defining the problem.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

My Blog - Most Viewed Story

Was looking over the stats for my blog this morning, and found something interesting.  Actually, I would say it is downright surprising.  
I have several favorite entries from over the years - posts I consider to be my best - but none of them made the top ten most viewed.  The most viewed post of all time on the Boggy Thicket has been THIS ONE.  
I thought it was OK, enjoyed reading it again, but I can't tell you why it got so many more views than anything else I've written.

Friday, July 8, 2016


Two black men, one in Louisiana and one in Minnesota, were shot and killed by police officers earlier this week, and Black Lives Matter protests popped up all over the country. This morning we woke to find that the demonstration in Dallas led to eleven policemen being shot.  Five are dead and three more are listed as being in critical condition.  None of them had ever shot another human being in the line of duty.
There are, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, 900,000 sworn police officers in the United States. The Washington Post, about the only one keeping track, reports that there were 990 people shot dead by police in 2015.  That means that only about .01% of peace officers were involved in shootings - justified or otherwise. 
Of those, police were responding to an attack in progress in 770 cases. 93 of the victims were unarmed and 34 were brandishing some sort of toy weapon. The Post does not differentiate between those actively involved in felonies and those who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, but we have to assume that most of those killings were justified.
Of those killed by cops, 948 were men -  494 were white, 258 black and 172 Hispanic.  That does mean that blacks were killed at a higher rate based on their percentage of the population, but it is also a fact that blacks commit more crime per capita than their white counterparts.  
It is worth noting that there were 123 police officers killed in the line of duty in 2015.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

How Politics Went Insane

I came across this article this morning.  
It is long and involved, but it is VERY good.  
You owe it to yourself to read it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Devil's Choice

A Devils' Choice is usually an either/or.
It implies you can't have all of what you want,
and it suggests you're "damned if you do
and damned if you don't."
This year, American voters are facing a "Devil's Choice."  
Hillary Clinton embodies all that is wrong with the Democratic Party, and Donald Trump, while he represents a reaction to all that is wrong with Republicans, may actually embody most of what is wrong with the country as a whole.
I wish that I could offer a viable alternative, but there doesn't seem to be one.  All I can say is buckle up, the next four years are going to be a very rough ride.

Sunday, July 3, 2016


On the news this morning, there was a picture of remains on the shore of Loch Ness:

Speculation was that Nessie, the famous Loch Ness Monster, had finally been found.  It turned out to be a prop for a movie.
It did inspire a poem....

Look there, on the shores of Loch Ness
What is that disgusting mess?
Did Nessie crawl ashore to die?
Can it be true, or is it a lie?
Even legends die sometime I guess

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Getting Started Part 2

If you read yesterday's blog, and guessed (like I did) that I would be ordering a new starter drive you would be wrong.
I pulled the starter, got it on the workbench, and took it apart.  When it came time to remove the old drive, I found that it was totally frozen to the shaft.  
I tried every tool in my shop, and could not break it loose. After several hours I admitted defeat and ordered a complete new starter assembly.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Getting Started

We have a couple of spots in our yard that are just an inch or two lower than the surrounding area.  These areas tend to hold water, and stay too wet to mow for a week or more after a heavy rain, so I got a two 14 yard loads of dirt delivered last week.  
Then I borrowed our neighbor, Shane Simpson's tractor - a small Mahindra with a front loader - and was able to spread those two loads (including moving about a third of one load to the other side of the house) in less than two hours.  That's a great little tractor - I was really impressed.
The idea was to get the dirt placed about where I wanted it, then do the fine spreading and smoothing with my tractor, but my old Ford had other ideas.  
First it stalled. 
I suspect clogged fuel filters, but can't say for sure, because once it died, I couldn't get it started again.  The starter motor turns, but it doesn't engage the flywheel.  
Even on an old tractor, the odds of two totally unrelated failures occurring at once have to be phenomenal, but I guess I'm just lucky that way.
I've removed the starter, and the problem appears to be the starter Bendix, or what is now called the starter drive.  It looks something like this:
A rebuilt starter costs about $170, but I've found the replacement drive at www.yesterdaystractors for less than $20. Guess which one I'm going to buy.