The Squirrel Guard Needs a Revision

Let the battle begin!

Two years ago, I tore down a bird feeder which had provided endless entertainment for me and the family. I was preparing to put the house up for sale, and the ratty looking weather beaten platform feeder leaned five degrees northward. I didn’t think prospective buyers would be impressed. Since then I have changed course and am not selling the house or moving anytime soon.

I have breakfast every morning at the window watching the yard, and I realized that I miss seeing the birds. In fact, the yard was conspicuously quiet of birds and squirrels. It was time to build a new feeder. What a great way to break in my newly remodeled workshop with a simple wood working project. I didn’t have a plan, but I did have a pile of grey scrap wood that was in my way, so the feeder began to take shape.

The last feeder was never painted, I rationalized that birds would be deterred from newly painted wood and left it au-naturale. This time, I had some left over paint and decided to give the bird cafeteria a fresh new look. In a few days I had completed the job, but no longer had a post to support it. It too, had been scrapped. Again, I scrounged the wood pile next to the house to find something. At first I thought a piece of PVC pipe could do the trick, but decided it was too flexible to support the heavy cafe. Aha! I spotted a twisted two by eight about seven feet long. It had such a severe twist in it that I never used it for any other job. I pulled it out and set up on the patio to rip it right down the middle to make two pieces of equal cross section. I glued and screwed them together to make a 4 x4 post. A birdie in my brain told me that burying a wooden post into dirt causes the wood to rot, and the post will go the way of many fence posts. More scrounging uncovered a sheet of aluminum. It became a simple matter to clad the end of the post with aluminum to slow decay. Finally, I painted the post and moved on to the final step.

Time was running out, and if I delayed digging a hole for the post any longer the ground would freeze and the feeder wouldn’t open for business until late spring. Two days later I finally found my post hole digger and began digging. The first twelve inches through top soil went quickly, the next ten inches was through clay and took thirty minutes of digging to accomplish, but the post went in, and I was worn out and happy. Cafe de Bird was ready. I poured a cup of bird seed onto the floor and made a bet with my wife that it would take twenty-four hours for the birds to find it. Naturally, I lost, they were pecking at seed within two hours of opening. Side by side with the birds was a young squirrel. I delayed adding a squirrel guard until I saw a need for one. Well, the need happened almost immediately.

More scrounging through my various piles of junk around the house uncovered a section of sheet metal used to form a stove pipe. It became a simple matter to cut it down to size and install it around the post. The theory of the pipe is that the diameter is too large and slippery for a squirrel to grasp and they slide off. It works. I used one on the previous feeder. I made a bet with myself that it would be a few days before a squirrel would beat this guard. I lost again. It took ten minutes for the little rodents to run up the post under the sheet metal tube. At least I made him squirm a little while he made it through. The next step is to add another deterrent inside the pipe. Would you like to bet with me about how long it will be before the creatures learn they can make a super-squirrel leap up to the cafe?

An Old Farmer’s Advice:

Cut from an anonymous donor on Facebook

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight, and bull-strong.

* Keep skunks, bankers and lawyers at a distance.

* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

* Words that soak into your ears are whispered…not yelled.

* Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight.

* Forgive your enemies, it messes up their heads.

* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

* It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.

* You cannot unsay a cruel word.

* Every path has a few puddles.

* When you wallow with pigs expect to get dirty.

* The best sermons are lived not preached.

* Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.

* Don’t judge folks by their relatives.

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

* Live a good and honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.

* Don’t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t botherin’ you none.

* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

* If you find yourself in a hole the first thing to do is to stop diggin’.

* Sometimes you get and sometimes you get got.

* The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with watches you from the mirror every mornin’.

* Always drink upstream from the herd.

* Good judgment comes from experience and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

* Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.

* If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.

* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

*Leave the rest to God.

Rambling Man Annoying and Creepy

When I was very young I enjoyed listening to the stories of my grandfather. He and his farm buddies often sat under the big willow tree sipping beer and spinning yarns. Most of the time they spoke in Hungarian and I could only decipher words they used most often and generously within their conversation. It was many years later that I learned that these words were obscenities, and curses.

Now it is my turn. I am the old guy who loves to spin yarns except not-one of my kids or grand kids listen. Instead I write the stories and post them onto WordPress to an invisible audience. I’ll never know if the stories I post made a difference in someone else’s life. What I do know is that writing stories about life experiences makes a difference in my life. It is cathartic to spill my heart into the computer chip of my laptop. What does happen sometimes is that I slip up and reveal too many clues of my personal life and a friend will write or call me to ask what I meant.

Slowly my writing has evolved from the third person style of reporting facts to that of the narrative which I hope means I show rather than tell the story. For years I was stuck in the style of report writing which is stiff and boring as hell, but is the style of my profession. At first, I couldn’t even recognize what showing meant. At least now, when I read I can tell when an author is showing, and I really can’t tell when he is telling. Does that make sense? No? Me either.

When I read fiction today, I am mesmerized by the amount of a page an author will devote to psychoanalyzing the character’s thoughts and feelings. I tend to spend time on physical traits rather than inner thoughts. Perhaps if I read another couple hundred books and write another thousand posts I will begin to develop characters that a reader will love.

I’m traveling now, but when I return to my home base I will visit the library to select some new reading. Our library is staffed heavily by women. Nothing wrong with women here. What they often do is select and feature books that are authored by women. Again, nothing wrong with women authors, but I tend to like male authors better. There is much more action and gore in a man authored book than in one written by a woman. That, of course, is only my personal observation and opinion. I have read many fictional tales written by women and have loved them. Many take place in the summer on a beach in a remote area away from people. Most I have read are loaded with love and the emotions stimulated by love. I have nothing against love, but I tend to lean toward action and intrigue. If an author includes love with action and intrigue I will eagerly read the work.

WTF! Suddenly the bottom half of my screen has turned black. Has that ever happened to you? The only way to see what I am writing is to change the background color to white, or to make the text color white on a black background. If this is a WordPress improvement I suggest they pull their head from their ass and shit-can this feature immediately.

I suspect this happened because I am typing on a laptop and inadvertently dragged my thumb across the touch pad while at the same moment I brushed over a magic key which then turned on some super secret feature invented by WordPress to make more money. I’m sorry, but I can’t continue this way. It is super annoying and creepy.

Grief Made Me Do It

The Great Last Time Around Tour

One of the things I have done recently that I consider to be productive is to come up with an idea that would take my mind away from grief. This one is fabulous in my mind and my friends get excited for me when I talk about it. I sat at my desk one day and began to think about all my friends and relatives that live outside of the Socialist-Democrat bastion of the mid-west. I started a list. I finally ran out of gas at twenty-four. I’m sure there are more, but I would have to change the rules to include a wider span of friendship and relations. What if I were to visit all of these people on one big trip around the United States? I am also hankering to see some of my favorite sites again, like Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Glacier NP, Redwoods, Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and of course Crazy Horse Mountain. The last time I saw Crazy Horse it was just a scratch on the side of a mountain in the Black Hills. If I remember right, the original sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski was still alive in the seventies when I was there, blasting this mountain-sculpt by himself. As I continued to envision the trip it expanded more and more, and the miles began to add up. Hell, I might even have an excuse to buy a new car for this idea.

The next step I took involved Google Maps. I could plan the trip from person to person and city to city in a way that didn’t waste too many miles. I lost faith in Google Maps when I ran out of space to enter more cities at about Phoenix. Hell, so much for all this wonderful technology that can only go so far. I’m sure if I were still eighteen, I would have figured out how to make it all work. As it was I just started a new map and charted the second half of the trip on a second map. After looking at the route on the two maps I realized I missed a huge part of the country by skipping the northwest and northern states. That’s when I decided I wanted to see the Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier again. Another idea came back to me. As long as I’m driving all around the USA why not visit the four corners. I been to two of them(Key West and Washington) but I missed the point in Maine and the one south of San Diego. The problem with the four points route is that I would miss the entire center of the country. Missing so much started me to thinking of revising the whole idea to one where I visit every state, including Alaska and Hawaii. I don’t have friends in every state but I could fix that by making some.

As I write this I am reminded that Peggy and I traveled extensively in Canada. We took several driving trips. She wouldn’t fly nor take a boat so I said okay we’ll drive. It took three separate trips but we made it from Quebec city to Vancouver. I loved those trips and I wouldn’t mind exploring all the Provinces by car. One of my work acquaintances, Myles Murphy, migrated to the USA from Labrador which is still somewhat primitive compared to New York or Chicago. He often told me some funny stories about his relatives whom he visited yearly. He drove and then boarded a ferry. One of his stories involved his mother. It seems she got into his suitcase out of curiosity and found a grooming mirror. She picked it up and held it to her face. She saw the image of a woman, and said to herself,  “look at the ugly old woman he is carrying on with.”

The bottom line here is that the trip I routed on Google maps involves driving for 130 hours over 8500 miles. Since I am only physically able to drive five hundred miles a day or eight hours which ever comes first that amounts to seventeen days. If I spend a minimum of three days at each location that would add another 75 days. The whole trip would last three months provided I live through it.

Least of all I had to name this venture. I call it “The Great Last Time Around Tour.”

. . . and I still haven’t touched Alaska or Hawaii.

Wisdom Shared

I love when friends send me stuff. The wisdom being passed around on the internet is amazing. All we have to do is separate the facts from the fiction and we are safe.

“SIX LITTLE STORIES” –

 

{1} Once all villagers decided to  pray for rain  On the day of prayer all the people gathered, but only one boy came with an umbrella.

That’s FAITH.

 

{2}  When you throw babies in the air, they laugh because they know you will catch them.

That’s TRUST.

 

{3}  Every night we go to bed without any assurance of being alive the next morning, but still we set the alarms to wake up.

That’s HOPE.

 

{4}  We plan big things for tomorrow in spite of zero knowledge of the future.

That’s CONFIDENCE

 

{5}  We see the world suffering, but still we get married and have children.

That’s LOVE.

 

 {6}  On an old man’s shirt was written a sentence ‘I am not 80 years old; I am sweet 16 with 64 years of experience.’

That’s ATTITUDE.

 

Have a happy day and live your life like the six stories.

When I was a child, I thought nap time was punishment. Now it’s like a mini-vacation.

 

“GOOD FRIENDS ARE THE RARE JEWELS OF LIFE. DIFFICULT TO FIND AND IMPOSSIBLE TO REPLACE!