Tag Archives: country life

Being the luckiest man on the planet has a down side

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

Those who read here, I assume, predominantly wish they could be me.  Most likely you think living the life I’m blessed with is all smooth sailing.  Figure all I have to do is remember to be grateful for the flat tires and 47 different ways to cook potatoes, 98 raman recipes, and clean the burrs out of the cat hair.

Sometimes I even think that’s true.  But the fact is, even the flood of blessings I enjoy in life become a trap.  Complacency slips in through the cracks and sometimes I forget to look for all the reasons those rough spots are actually a gift the Universe gives me, sometimes only as a reminder.

As an example, there’s a dragon lady in the courthouse in Timewarpsville who’s in charge anytime someone wants to try licensing or registering a trailer or motor vehicle.  I’ve found, if a person wants to get it done in fewer than three 100 mile round-trips he’d best find a time when she’s out to lunch and the other lady’s the one doing the business.

In the name of just doing her job that dragon lady can find more tees that need a 50 mile drive to cross and eyes that need dotting next trip any the average person who hasn’t experienced being Adolph Hitler could imagine.

But that’s okay.  That’s actually the Universe reminding me again I’m the luckiest man because, you see, I don’t have to be her.  Hells bells, I rarely even have to deal with her.  Don’t have to live in the same town, don’t have to have her for a relative, barely have to acknowledge such people are alive on this sphere and are part of the human species.

Sometimes I forget.  But that’s just the downside of being me.  Complacency.

Old Jules

“The men who write upon these walls,” mystery solved

The part about rolling it in little balls had scientists tearing their hair out.  Putting periscopes under the partitions trying to catch someone doing it.

The part about rolling it in little balls had scientists tearing their hair out. Putting periscopes under the partitions trying to catch someone doing it.

If they'd looked at the floor they could have solved it decades earlier.

If they’d looked at the floor they could have solved it decades earlier.

Hi readers.  Scientists have finally solved one of the most puzzling mysteries of the 20th Century.  The poem beginning, “The men who write upon these walls,” found on the stall partitions in Mens’ rooms was a phenomenon more pervasive than the “Kilroy was here” riddle of the WWII era.

Now they can finally settle down to studying why the magnetic poles of earth wander around from hell to breakfast.

Old Jules

The abomination of cross-species sex

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

The cats were a mite disturbed when they heard me talking on the phone to someone describing mule jacks and how human beings go about arranging mules.   A jackass has feelings

Hydrox:  That’s disgusting!  Don’t they have laws to keep people from doing those kinds of things?

Me:  Um.  No.

Niaid:  Yuk!  Tricking some poor donkey into screwing a horse?  And that isn’t against the law?

Me:  I don’t think you’re seeing the big picture here.  They want mules.  Not much use for a donkey, but mules can be handy.  They’re not doing it for fun, nor just as some kind of perverted turn-on.

Tabby:  Yeah, you SAY that.  But I’ll bet there are guys up in the hayloft watching and kicking off their jollies.  It doesn’t make sense any other way.

Me:  No no no.  You aren’t getting what I’m saying.  Those people aren’t interested in the erotic side of donkey/horse intercourse.  They’re after persuading the male donkey, the jackass, to get the lady horse pregnant.  Nobody’s filming it to put on a website for the gratification of deranged people.

Hydrox:  Do they do that with CATs?  Are people out there making cats think they’re dogs and making them YUK do THAT? [Shudder]

Me:  Hmmm. Well, probably if they are it’s only in the sanctity of a science lab somewhere.  No harm intended.  Just science guys scrambling things, throwing things into test tubes to see what happens.

Niaid:  That is absolutely incredible.  What is wrong with you humans?  Do you suppose the humane society people know that’s going on?

Me:  Maybe.  Some of them.  As a rule humane society people are fairly single minded, though.  Don’t pay a lot of attention to what’s going on around them if it doesn’t involve arguing over which way of killing things is best.

Hydrox:  I swear, every day I live I get a new surprise about human beings.  You creatures are so wrapped up in yourselves you can’t see your own noses.

Me:  Yeah, that’s mostly true I guess.  But at least it’s only human beings on the porn websites I’d imagine.  At least people aren’t getting their jollies off about the donkeys and mares.  And there IS a field called animal husbandry, so I suppose some decent people at least force the jackass to marry the mare to make it less objectionable.  Animal preachers to do weddings, perform marriages and whatnot.  Keep it from being so perverted.

Old Jules

Turnbuckles – The Final Solution

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

carrier and box 1

A guy over in Rock Springs built this platform to fit into the hitch receiver out of scrap iron for me.  Another guy threw in the junk toolbox and bolted it into the platform.  Cost for the whole shooting match was too insignificant to believe.

And once I had it I could carry an el cheapo 2.5 ton floor jack to ease my concerns about future blowouts.  But carrying that floor jack home in there showed me the hitch receiver doesn’t have the moxie to keep the thing straight and level.  By the time I got home it was listing a few inches on the side the floor jack was riding.

carrier and box 2

I studied on it for a day trying to think of every possible solution.  I had a set of tiedown turnbuckles and clamps from a roof rack carrier I knew someday I’d find a use for.

carrier and box 3

Voila!

carrier and box 4a

Ran cables across the top of the bumper and attached them to the RV frame.  Pulled that mama back up level with the bumper slicker than greased owl-scat.

One of the nice things about this thing is that I can trailer it, along with other containers when I want to pull a trailer, leave the trailer behind and put this into the hitch receiver when I want to slum and go spartan.

And always have a floor jack along to do the heavy lifting.

Old Jules

The basic idea’s sound enough

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by.

shaker drywasher

Most of you probably won’t find this of interest, but possibly Eddie and Keith might.  Keith saw earlier efforts directed to a similar end back during the early 1990s, and I described something similar to Eddie last December.

The idea here’s to have a portable enough contraption to be light and easy to manage through some walking distance, fast enough in the assembly, unstable enough to allow a lot of shaking.  The whirlygig on the weedwhopper needs to be out of balance enough to provide the vibration.  But the bearing will be side loaded, so it might self destruct before enough use to justify it.

The next frame will be an aluminum golf-caddy on wheels, which is capable of being as unstable as the chair frames.  That would also allow it to be rolled instead of carried where it’s to be used.

There’s going to have to be a grizzly up ahead of the platform/table, which might cause too much weight for this method to allow enough shaking of the table/riffles to do the job.  Might also need a counter-balance at the bottom to keep an angle on the table, which will also need to be tested.

I don’t know how much adjusting will be needed on the table to keep things moving, but slowly enough so’s it doesn’t move too fast.  Also don’t know how much classifying would be needed ahead of the thing, how large the material could be for it to work.

You can see the two front legs on the frame are off the ground.  That’s so it can be rocked forward, both to provide instability, and to allow adjustment of the table angle.  Naturally it has to have a bottom surface on the riffle/table.

But the whole thing as the huge advantage, provided it works, of not throwing up a mile-high cloud of dust.  I doubt it will move as much material as a store-bought portable drywasher, but it lacks a lot of the disadvantages, and it is an inexpensive alternative.

Might be worth trying, anyway.

Old Jules

Teetering on the brink of a Christian Era here

Hi readers.

Whoopteeedoo!  Something finally worked as planned.

Escape route 2.51 storage

It’s been troubling my mind for some while, that huge storage box I couldn’t access because the ladder was wokkyjaw damaged, one leg at the top swinging loose, kinks and bends, supports pulled through the RV skin.  Not one thing about it caused a man to wish to climb it.

RV ladder repair 5

I worked most of the day crossing my fingers and knocking on wood as I went.  Cut about three inches out of the section toward the top, slid an undersized piece of tubing inside and spliced it together. 

RV ladder repair 3

That allowed the end that’s supposed to  connect on the roof to come down enough to touch, anyway.  There was a piece of rusted 1/8 inch steel rod, threaded, sticking out of the roof.  Supposed to go inside the ladder connected somehow, I reckons.

RV ladder repair 4

Couldn’t think of any meaningful way to replace it, so I whittled down a piece of broom handle to fit inside the tubing, drilled a 1/16th inch hole lengthwise through it and gorilla-glued the hell out of it.

RV ladder repair 6

Couldn’t think of much anything to do with the tools at hand about that kink, so I just hose-clamped a step on top of it.

RV ladder repair storage2

Now that I can get to it, that box is going to carry a sleeping bag, coleman stove, small tent, pick and shovel, gold pans and classifier, backpack and a number of other essentials I’d been gnashing my teeth wondering how to carry along.

Life wasn’t bad yesterday, but it’s better today.

Old Jules

Hermits, misers and short-term memory

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Last night I found myself with my two wallets out, the one where I keep $100s and $50s, counting them carefully, and the one where I keep $20s, $10s, $5s and $1s, adding them all up.  [I keep them in two different wallets so's I can't accidentally hand a store clerk a large bill thinking it's a small one, can't lose the big bill wallet and hit rock bottom between two breaths].

After carefully counting it all out, got the map, the calculator, re-figured the gas mileage averages per gallon I’ve been getting on the RV, the distances between places I might drive to, and the cost in fuel if nothing else goes wrong.

After I’d figured and re-figured all that a few times I went in to the cabin and began unloading boxes of books I’d packed to carry into town to donate to thrift stores, opening each one and fanning the pages.  Just to make sure.  [A few weeks ago I'd found a $100 in one I must have stashed in there sometime when I had an extra and wanted to put it aside for a rainy day.]

Found a couple of books I want to read again before disposing of them, but not one $100 bill.  So I went around looking at things and other hidey holes where I might have stashed bills so’s I wouldn’t spend them, then forgot.  Checking the pockets of blue jeans, coats and jackets, taking the lids off button jars and pill bottles looking inside, moving the buttons pills etc, in case I’d shoved a bill down inside out of sight.

Got me thinking how damned sick this whole money thing is.  I remembered for the first time in 40-50 years a book, My Brother’s Keeper, I read as a youngster and was impressed enough to have it stamped on my memory.  About some old guy must have been a lot like me.  And remembering all the fictional misers stereotyped in books I’ve read over the decades.

Guys who died and people disposing of their belongings coming across pillows, mattresses, loose floor boards, with gobs of money.  While the guy half-starved.  Hell, maybe they forgot they had it.

Got me wondering if maybe I’ve got a stash around here full of $100s and ain’t remembering I’ve got it. 

Maybe it’s time I went out into the meadow and dug some holes, crawled down underneath the cabin to check out the floor joists, the piers and beams for money I hid.  I doubt I’d have done that, though.  After the packrats shredded all my retirement money I had hidden under a floor joist in the Y2K cabin, I like to think I learned a lesson.

So where the hell DID I put all the money I must have stashed around here over the past few years and forgot?

Sicksicksick. 

Old Jules

Afterthought: It’s no damned wonder so many people who are actually rich are so preoccupied with getting richer.  They’re probably forgotting they’re already rich.  Or can’t remember where their money is.

1965 Time Machine – The Cat-People Vote

Hydrox:  Don’t even think about this Edgewood, New Dawn crap. 

Me:  What?  You cat-people don’t like the mountains?

Hydrox:  We cat-people don’t like anachronisms.  We don’t trust them.  They let their dogs run loose.  They lie around smoking dope waiting for the uniforms to show up and confiscate everything, haul everyone off to the slammer.

Me:  We’re talking about the EAST mountains, Hydrox.  If they’re paying off the right people it doesn’t matter what they’re doing out there.  Besides, they’re looking for people willing to work.

Hydrox:  Yeah, but work doing what?  Breaking Ephedrin caps out of packages?  Stirring up the mix to dissolve it?  Watching the acetone mist boil over the sides?  Watching the crystal iodine vapor turn your whiskers purple?

Me:  No, Hydrox.  You’ve got it all wrong.  These people are into sweetness and light.  Harmonizing with nature.  Working to build a new world.  A community.

Hydrox:  I’m betting pit bulls checking the fenceline and a National Guard Armory in the barn.

Me:  I don’t know how you got so cynical. 

Hydrox:  I was living with you 2002, 2003, 2004.  So was Niaid.  Those East Mountainers made an impression old cats aren’t likely to forget.

Me:  You’re too suspicious.    Free place to park the RV, mountains, pinons and pines.  Idealistic young people.

Hydrox:  If your good sense about the rest didn’t raise your hackles enough to tell you it’s a snakepit, the idealistic young people ought to do the job.

Me:  Hmmmm.  Yeah, idealistic young people’s where you make your strongest point.  Actually they probably do have a meth lab out there.   Or will have.  How the hell could they not? 

Hydrox:  Pit bulls running around loose looking for a free lunch. 

Me:  So you’re thinking Gila?  Mimbres? 

Hydrox:  I’m thinking anywhere but the East Mountains.  Mosquero if it comes to it.  Albuquerque’s a nice place to visit.  Wouldn’t mind seeing Amy again, see how those two Chinese girls she adopted are growing up.  But you’re too old and we cats are too old to be getting involved with East Mountain people.

Me:  I hate to see you generalizing, stereotyping. 

Hydrox:  I hate to see you not using that big brain you’re stuck with.  Hell, if it weren’t for us cats you’d probably be living under a bridge.

Me:  [Sigh] I’ve got you, babe. 

Old Jules

Learning debts incurred Universe-wise

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I’ve been asking a lot of questions lately, learning a lot, some of which might be false, but I learned it anyway. Now that I’ve blown out enough tires on two different RVs to satisfy my curiosity I’m willing to try to apply some of it. Even though it robs my macho because of not knowing it before when I knew all manner of things.

First off, there’s the thing about tires. They ain’t as good as they used to be. Old guy behind the counter at the tire store and I conversed about it a while when we shared mutual memories of having bought junkyard tires and run them until they were down to the threads. Lots of them, and neither of us remembered much in the way of blowouts.

But now the DOT mandates they date those tires. And as a consequence, he opines they blow just about when the DOT predicted they would. The DOT gave the tire industry a leg up against criticism by providing them an “I told you so!” escape and they made great engineering use of it. Supposition, but possumly true.

Secondly, another old guy pointed out all the tires I’ve blown were right-rear dooleys. Beginning with inside ones. He opined that what I’m doing is running with that right rear wheel too near the pavement edge, maybe off it, forcing the inside-rear tire to carry all the weight. Which makes a hell of a lot of sense.

I’d been mulling over the fact every blowout I’ve had happened on highway RR479 north bound and wondering at the coincidence. It’s a fairly good Texas Ranch Road with a lot of hills and curves. Might just be I’ve been letting it drift, one wheel off the pavement instead of hugging the centerline.

Thirdly, I’ve also satisfied my curiosity about whether I’m interested in arm-wrestling lug nuts put on with impact drivers. Even with a 5 foot cheater, even with a T-bar after they’re loose, I was having to take breaks between lugs. And after I put them back on and tightened them, I’d stop a few miles down the road to check, they’d always be loose enough to require a little more tight with the bar. Half-dozen times between here and Kerrville. If an impact tool’s able to take care of just that problem of reality and confidence, it’s worth the price of admission.

[Debating with myself here, can't recall whether 4th is spelled, Fourth, or Forth - what-the-hell]

Next: Careful examination of the half-inch drive corded hammer-drill suggests it might function as an impact tool, but it’s going to need a half-inch adapter between the drill-chuck and male socket whatchallit. If it works it’s going to be a lot cheaper than an off the shelf impact tool, and it doesn’t have a battery to go kerplunk.

Next: That trim above the right-rear wheel well [see pic] was destroyed when the tire blew. No way that piece of trim is going to jump out of the Universe at me to be replaced, so I’m going to have to find a way to innovate. Not entirely for aesthetics, but some places are pickypickypicky wanting to see pics of the rig before they’ll consider a person who wants to clean up their trash, mow their grass, listen to complaints of RV owners. In exchange for a pad with hookups, etc.

Last, I’ve been troubled because my ALT gauge doesn’t tell me squat about whether the alternator’s working or not. Couldn’t figure why. A guy on one of the vintage RV groups answered my question about it by telling me he had the same problem. Bought a cheap digital gadget plugs into the lighter socket. I got one yesterday and hot diggety damn. Yes, HOT diggety damn! You heard me right.

But I’ve digressed. The crux of it all is that, after having been provided all this new stuff to learn, I have to live long enough to use it, damn me if I don’t. Got myself a karmic debt on my Credit Card with an obligation I might carry spang into my next lifetime if I kick before using it.

So now, instead of just having to live long enough to pay back Keith and Rich for the lifesaving loans to get the RVs, instead of just having to outlive the damned cats, I’ve got to spend the remainder of my life changing blown tires and unscrewing pesky lug nuts.

Sheeze.

Old Jules

Tequila sunrise

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Old Ms. Niaid managed to off Brother Rattler without any consequences evidently, so she’s going to have to find something else to flesh out her life experience, I reckons. Her long hair’s growing back from the sheep shearing when the hot weather hit, and it’s filling up with beggar’s lice and grass burrs, which might serve to fend off whatever’s around here dangerous to aging bachelorette felines.

Ms. Tabby, on the other hand, has a nose and front-of-her-face of the usual Tabby-summertime variety. Can’t keep her nose out of cactus, or out of the business of something capable of adding color and romance to an otherwise nondescript Tabby face. I’m thinking when we get out of here she might turn out to be a regular-looking cat.

I decided yesterday I’m going to add mothballs to that storage building to get those rattlers out where they can enjoy life instead of bickering and snarling inside that dark storage building. Can’t tell when someone’s going to want something else out of there and the anxiety level trying to find it ain’t worth not stepping on a snake some night going from the RV to the cabin to check my email.

Today I’m going to nurse the Escape Route V 2.51 into Kerrville on three tires on back and have the two blown ones replace with respectable 10 ply exceptions to the rule. Provided the spare on the ground right-rear doesn’t decide to blow the plan. I’ll try to take back roads and get the roadwork done early before the pavement gets too hot.

Keith emailed me a while back he’s planning to be in New Mexico late August or September, and I’m going to tentatively plan on getting out to visit while he’s in the area. Hopefully by then everything will be settled out here and I’ll be able to think of out-there as home for a while.

Maybe get me a nice little piece of ocean-side ground on the east, or west coast of New Mexico, once all the damned ice goes away and raises sea-level to a reasonable altitude. 4000′ mean sea level might be about right. Maybe the cats and I will open a little bait shop on the west coast near where Arizona used to be. Or maybe rig a surfboard and hang ten mornings after we pray the sun up.

I figure the west coast will probably be less jam packed with Arizonians than the east coast will be with Texans because those Texans already all go to New Mexico deliberately to ski and gamble at Ruidoso and Angel Fire. Arizonians and Californians never go to New Mexico deliberately unless they’re just going through it to get somewhere else.

By the time they wake up and discover they’re living in a salt-water swimming hole I’ll have things nailed down on all the corners, wave to them as they swim to shore, or ride in on their bass boats. Sell them some bait, maybe.

Big plans for the future here.

Old Jules