Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Photobombed by a Goat?

I was photographing my wife, grandson, and dog... and I get photobombed by a goat. 

He's an Oberhasli, if you're into goats, but from my experience, goats of all types are jerks.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Battle of Wits

Know what stinks? When your animals are smarter than you are.

Look, I've accepted the fact that all of my female dogs are smarter than me. Only Chevy, my male pitbull, is also as dumb as a bag of hammers.

The goats are here eating weeds. It has been a battle to keep them out of the garage where they love to go to eat cardboard, garbage, andplastic flowers.

I put up a fence, which works well, but I need a gate that the dogs can go in and out of, but that the goats can't. So first I made a swinging gate. Penelope the puppy escape artist figured out in seconds how to swing it open to come and go, shortly thereafter followed by our pointer, Olivia. Perfect. Goats are too stupid to figure out a swinging gate.

Wrong. Amos the Goat watched the dogs with great interest, and within a couple of days was coming and going. Great. Just great.

Plan B. Raise the gate up and fix it so it doesn't swing. The dogs can crawl under the gate, but the goats are too tall. Perfect.

Wrong. See photo. Our goats must do the limbo when we're not home.

In the battle of wits, I'm coming in last.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Ticket

I got a $180 ticket yesterday for having a beer.

Pamela and I often go to various places in the Ocala National Forest. There are many springs, and yesterday we went to Mill Dam which is a lovely picnic spot with a small sandy beach on a small lake. Like all places in the Ocala National Forest, it has signs saying "No alcohol".

Well, me being an old fart pirate and all, I read that to mean "Don't get drunk 'n shit". Certainly it doesn't apply to the adults who go there. Simply keep it out of sight, don't get drunk, loud, and rowdy. That sign is meant for kids who would have keggers there otherwise, not retired old men.


Pamela and I are on the little beach. It is hot, as it is everyday in Florida. After swimming, I go to our little cooler, pull out a beer and slide it into its coozy. I sit in my beach chair, and PQ says to cover it. Here comes the cops, two of them. I stick my hat over it.

"Sir, is that a beer?" says the lady cop.

Me, being me, say "It is a ginger ale." Hey, it could be. I haven't even opened it yet.

"Can I see it?"

I take the cold beverage and hold it up.

"Slide it out of the coozy please."

"You only packed ginger ale, right honey?" I say to Pam. I slide it out. It is a beer. "It is a miracle!" No smiles from the lady officer. The man officer chuckled.

"Sir, I'm going to need you to put that cooler in your car and show me your drivers license."

Uh oh. Seriously?

Long story short, they gave me a ticket. Oh, they were nice about it, and I wasn't a jerk about it either. I joked around with them.

"Did you see the signs?" they said.

"Sure. But I thought it was intended to keep rowdy drunk kids from partying, not an old man from having a beer on a steamy hot Florida afternoon."

So they handed me a ticket. $150, plus a $30 processing fee. WTF is a processing fee? It sounds like bullshit to me. I pay $30 for the honor of them taking my money?

But the cops were indeed nice about it and not jerks. After they handed me the ticket, I said "I feel like I should thank you, but I can't thank you for giving me a ticket. But you were nice about it, so thank you for being nice about it."

I really thought I could joke my way out of that one. Nope.

So from now on, I'm going to do what everyone else does and put my beer in a Slurpy cup from the Kangaroo.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Striped Bass: Morone saxatilis

We took another trip to Silver Glen springs yesterday.   It was a nice day, although thunder clouds moved in late in the afternoon.  But that's Florida weather.

This squirrel was interested in our boiled peanuts and pretzels.

Check out the blue of this water...

which was no doubt the reason to make such colorful floaties.

Kids love this place!

Snorkel the springs!

The striped bass love the constant 72 degree water coming out of the springs.  They don't do well over 75 degrees.

The small boils in the forest is closed to the public...

but if no one is watching, I guess...

He's baack.

Caught a fish!

Caught an unguarded picnic table!

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Cue Stick Lathe

Yep.  I'm really reaching here.  This has nothing to do with life in Bleecker, and most certainly not much to do with even living in Florida.

I shoot a lot of pool.  I love to shoot, but it is also physical therapy for my bum right arm.  I wear weights on my right hand when I shoot now, to try to rebuild some muscle.

My friends Russell and Star have a little boy named Trenton.  He's five or six.  He challenged me to a game of 8 ball.  I had run all of my balls and Trenton, barely able to pick up a cue stick and even hit a ball, had all seven of his left.  Well, he buried the 8 ball, and trying a fancy bank shot to sink my eight, I scratched instead.

"Trenton, you beat me." said I.

Trenton looked at me with a blank stare.

"Trenton, you beat me.  You won!"

His eyes grew big... then he got all excited and grinned from ear to ear.  Russell told me the next day that it was all he could talk about all night.

I have a pool table in the garage.  I also have a bunch of old cue sticks.  One was cut short to use on the side of the table close to a garage wall (I've since moved the table).  I decided to refinish this short stick and give it to Trenton.

I sanded all of the old finish off this stick and stained it.  The bottom part I put on more stain to make it darker.  Where the light stain and the dark stain met on the shaft needed to have a band of black paint to mask the joint.   I needed a lathe, along with black paint and a brush to make a smooth finsih.  I don't have a lathe here.  What to do?

My dad was a master of improvisation.  I think some of that rubbed of on me.  I used a battery powered drill, two small dumb bells, a fishing boat anchor which was cement in a coffee can, a clamp on vise, and a nail.

My cue stick lathe on the garage pool table.

Two dumb bells, the fishing anchor, and the clamp on vise.

Nail inserted into a hole in the cue stick.

The drill end. 

The joint that was to recieve the black paint.

The black paint.

It came out OK.  I'll post a pic of the finished product in a day or two.

Hey, we retired guys have the time to mess around with little projects like this.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Adult Eastern Lubber Grasshopper (Romalea microptera (Beauvois))

The Adult Eastern Lubber Grasshopper (Romalea microptera (Beauvois)) is an extremely large grasshopper found in the south.  It is called a lubber (as in land lubber) because it cannot fly and is extremely clumsy, climbing over obstacles with great difficulty.  Still, it can do a lot of damage to Florida's citrus crops.

It may be clumsy and awkward, and it may do damage to crops, but it is beautiful.