Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Good Omen

Our son is getting married this weekend! Big time for the 'ol family. We drive 5 hours to St. Louis and spend a 4-day weekend there. Just seems like yesterday we were changing his diapers. Wilma needed a new purse for the occasion. Once I saw it, I knew I needed to sketch it. She's got good taste. She found it after a long shopping period and it was desperate for a while. This one is a little larger than she wanted but it will be more useful for other times, too. It worked out great. Hope the wedding goes the same way. I'm not worried about the marriage. Our son picked a really fine young woman to marry. Looking forward to getting to know her better.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stop Growing!

This is one funky year. Usually about one month is cool and wet. Not this year. I'm just in a daze . . . month after month . . . seems like every night it's either raining or I'm mowing. I do love mowing, but enough is enough. As my meters indicate, this really isn't a big thing in the scheme of things, but it's still frustrating. It's cutting into other things to do. I had this sketch pretty much done before I thought of the Zombie angle. The last time I mowed (gee, it was two nights ago because it rained last night) I felt like I was in a daze and just going through the motions and I thought . . . Zombie!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Brake Job

I had a chance to expand my mechanical skills last week. As typical, it started as an afternoon job and expanded into a week-long ordeal. Just my luck. But it was enjoyable. I like jobs like this that are physical as well as technical.

The shape of the torque plate (the bracket that hold the caliper and disc pads, the foundation of the whole brake system) struck me. A rather slim yet hefty cast iron 3-D casting of precision and strength. The rough finish was tactile. The color varied slightly by varied aging processes. Then I think of the energy it takes to produce such a part. Energy to mine the iron ore, energy to smelt, energy to heat to 2730 degrees F to create liquid metal to cast. Then energy to mill, drill and tap. And this is just one of thousands of parts on a car . . . one car in our mini-fleet of a typical American family. We really ARE a country of energy hogs. And it's like dieting. It's easy to figure out it's time to loose a few pounds (OK, like 25 pounds) but yet another to do anything about it. I like my cars.

...100... This is my one hundredth post! I'm putting this in smaller font. Don't want to distract from the REAL post here. It sounds like I'm bragging, and I guess I am. But it means something to me to have sketched and journaled and posted one hundred times. That means this just isn't another fad with me. I get distracted sometimes by a flaming interest of the day. Looks like I'm in a routine here and this is now part of my lifestyle. I like that. And this made one LONG post of 351 words (I used Microsoft Word to count because I was curious). But it’s my little kingdom and I can do that. I am grateful to all those who have visited my blog over the last 1.4 years and hope some will always find it interesting to stop by. I’ll always be checking out your sites, too.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Some Days Are Diamonds

The critters have been active lately. The rat came over to me from the field being baled and just looked at me from about three feet away. The tree I was cleaning up was close to the property line and the baling in progress. I stared back. I think he wanted to file a complaint. Not my land being baled! More drama in our Tiger Pit (basement egress window, see Tiger Pit tag for other journal entries). This particular vole wasn't as wild as the previous one and I easily removed him with my scoop-lift-throw technique. They're so darned cute with their stubby little tail. After he landed, he started moving rapidly toward me. Keep in mind I'm in the Tiger Pit, with my eyes about a foot above ground. Here comes the vole, right at me! I'm at eye level with him and he's looking bigger and bigger. Then he jumps toward the rim of the Tiger Pit. I'm feeling pretty trapped and start to wave him off when I finally see that his burrow is along the edge of the Pit. He had me going there. If it was the deer mouse I would have put up a white surrender flag.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Loss of a Loner

We had some spooky wind earlier this month. It made the house moan for only the second time in the 12 years we've been here. When it was done, I walked around the yard to see what the damage was. Our big trash bin was moved half way around the house. A two wheel dolly was slid across the driveway apron. The attic access panel in the garage ceiling was sucked into the attic. That was about it. . . I thought. Then I looked further from the house and saw we lost our original singular tree on the land. We've planted plenty of trees from day one, but this was the only original tree we had. It was never 'beautiful' but it had a royalty sense about it because it's been here so long, all by itself. So this weekend I'll be using the chainsaw to cut up what I can for firewood and haul the rest to the burn pile, and the land will begin it's next chapter without its lone sentinel.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cabbage Convert

More garden produce sketching. We had some good looking cabbage this year. A little cabbage goes a long ways, so a couple heads is enough. Wilma cooks up a big batch of bierocks and freezes them for quick meals. Can't beat them! Once in a great while I'll find a restaurant that gets close to their quality, but not often. This is a dish I got introduced to when I married her. Glad I did . . . both.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pepper Harvest

So far this summer I've had two batches of these chili peppers, a.k.a. Anehiem or banana pepper. It's not my German heritage that got me into these things. I guess I've adopted them. It's not universal for the household, either. Wilma can tolerate them in small doses. That's meant preserving them in small portions so I can play with them for Saturday lunches, etc. My favorite is to make a smothering sauce to serve over burritos we buy as fund raisers for school kids around here. For as good as these peppers are I have yet to run across another person who grows them and processes them. Can't figure it out.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Felony Banjo

Ok, maybe not a felony, but it's my blog and I can sensationalize for the fun of it. At a family camp-out I was jamming with a family friend into the Quiet Time, entertaining our families. Ooo . . . criminals! We violated the Rules and Regulations of a federally owned campground. That's breaking a federal rule. A rule is almost a law, so this was almost a felony. What bugs me is that I tolerated loud boom boxes all day and that was legal. We play live music and we're shut down. Oh well. We'll be at it again at our next holiday camp-out.

Bigger Than Its Size

These things are never planned and never hit at a good time. Our hard disk drive failed. We had time enough to get our files backed up. We're back up and on-line now. From an engineering perspective these drives are a modern wonder. From a customers perspective, they are a real pain to replace, and the mass marketers of PCs aren't set up for good customer support. It's a long boring story of what it took to swap out drives. Most of us have been through it. The worst part was loading the drivers. The origin driver CD wasn't current enough. The Dell on-line driver download utility doesn't work (their words). Bla..bla..bla. I learned a lot but lost a lot of blogging time. I'm back in the saddle now, though.