Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why would anyone have children?

I have three daughters and eleven grandkids… Ahhh! (runs screaming from the room)

Im not bragging, I only tell you this so you’ll feel sorry for me… as you should!

My daughters are all grown up now and each has become wonderful and independent wives, mothers and rulers of their own roost.
Like you, I take the credit when they seem to have inherited something great, and like you I deny I was even there when it suits me.
My oldest two are identical twins, and as different as two people can be. I well remember when they were born, we really only knew which was which at the nappy changes as they had different birth marks…birth marks only their husbands see these days.
My youngest is still full of fire and still very hard to get along with (like her mother :-) given a few years she will be fine, I'm nearly sure….and what a crop of grandkids, as genetically different as nature could have made them.
I guess this means that I’m no longer required genetically, I’ve done my job of reproducing and my girls are doing theirs.
Should I scamper off a cliff somewhere like an outsize Lemming, or pack my swag and go on holidays?*

* I favor the holiday..


Friday, September 23, 2011

Bad dog… Bad Dog!

It’s been a couple of months now since my old dog Stan died of heart failure, kind of strange since I wasn’t real sure he had a heart.
He was given to me 14 years ago by a friend who had a pure breed Kelpie bitch, his father, it was claimed was another pure Kelpie, it turned out that his father was in fact able to jump a 5 foot iron fence and that is all that is known of him.
Stan was your average nondescript medium black dog with tan bits here and there, his claims to fame would be that he could bite a tennis ball in half at will (he really could) and that he shed like a Buffalo. The winter coat would melt off him 2 inches thick and if you rubbed him vigorously it would fill the air like a hairy black cloud.
Even as a puppy he could chew a misplaced shoe in half before you realized it was missing and his favorite game was ‘Pull the washing off the line…and kill it.’ He cost me thousands of dollars in wrecked clothing before I gave up and fenced off the clothes line.
I should say right here that he was foremost a guard dog, though his idea of guarding was something that seemed to vary somewhat. I watched one day as a neighborhood cat jumped the fence and headed to his food bowl just a couple of feet from where he was laying in the sunshine. At first I thought the cat may have made a big mistake… but he didn’t even look up as the cat helped itself to his dinner then wandered across the yard to jump the fence into the next yard. Speechless!
I saw him another day with Sparrows perched on his sleeping carcass as they to helped themselves to his dry biscuits, hopping about and breaking up their spoils with not a care in the world. It occurred to me then that he got way less of his food than the rest of the hangers on.
People however got the wrath of his aggression and it’s been many years since I’ve trusted him to be around kids,* his ferocious bark and hackles up stance left no one in any doubt that they should stay well clear of him. A brave friend assured me it was all bluff and he proceeded to prove it by walking straight up to him with an outstretched hand to pat him… he was bitten on the hand and face.
With me though he was always the playful puppy he once was and despite his zillion drawbacks I still got along with him very well, he only bit me a few times… accidentally (so he claimed) while playing, but even that was enough to draw blood and hurt like hell.

His worst problem was his mastery of the yard, here was I thinking it was my yard…but I was wrong. Everything that came into his yard had to be pee’d on immediately, and frequently, and if he wanted (and he did want) to crap right in the middle of the path.. who was going to stop him?
He turned the once beautiful garden beds into wallowing pits and chewed trees off to the base, in fact it became a real battle between us to see who could win. Over a few years I planted well over 100 trees and shrubs, I currently have just 36 survivors. (nearly half of which are in the front yard where he couldn’t get at them) His ingenuity knew no bounds, he chewed, he dug and when I caged the trees he pee’d through the mesh until they shriveled and died.
Imagine my yard then, with high mesh fencing around the trees and vegetable garden, around the washing line and compost bins**. With urine stains all along the sheds, the fence and on my park bench, large holes dug here and there, strategically placed to catch you unawares and turn an ankle.
It’s been a couple of months now and the plants have never been more lush and green, the bottom 2 feet of every tree is now growing again and I’m on the lookout for another guard dog…a small guard dog…one I can master.

* Only this week my grand kids have explored my yard for the first time ever..
**He didn’t care much for his dog food but when it came to compost he would eat his fill then come to you for a cuddle…just him and his breath of death.

I am reminded of the first rule of dog training.
Rule one: You must be smarter than the dog.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

iPod People.

Ever wonder about those people you see about the place with the white cords hanging from their ears?
Nodding their heads in time to some unheard tune, smiling that weird way they do when they see you looking at them.
It may be easy to mistake them for some poor Tourette Syndrome sufferer, but don’t be fooled by their apparently harmless game of musical charades. They’re watching you!
They're watching you and what you do…because they're people watchers!
They observe your gestures and take notes for later… later when they add you as yet another victim of their blog!
..and what makes you think that they're not listening to you as well, you cant hear their music; and just because they bob theirs heads as if to some tune does not mean they actually are…for all you know your discreet conversation is being monitored to be later twisted into a very interesting blog subject.
Or maybe they just wear the earphones to stop people talking to them…it works! (oops! I’ve said too much)
So next time you're close to someone with the little white cords hanging from their ears and you think it’s safe to say what you're actually thinking…you better think again.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Iron Knob... I always wanted to say that !

Around here we have lots of Iron Ore. (How Much? I hear you asking)
Well, mountains of it…literally! Thousands of train loads of Iron Ore have already been blasted, railed, melted and smeltered into Steel, with the majority still in the ground. We have roads and paths covered with the stuff. It is so abundant here that it actually is used as a road and track covering with great outcrops of the ore jutting out here and there around this part of the state testifying to the abundance. Compass’s don’t work properly here because of the highly magnetic ores and the very first white people to explore the area noticed that immediately. Of course only the high grade ores are used for steel making, the rest is simply piled up next to the mines or used to cover paths or driveways.
There has always been this story told here that I’ve always wondered about… That our Iron Ore was so concentrated that you could actually weld it..
Wouldn’t that be so cool! To weld a rock?
Recently I had the opportunity to scavenge some high grade ore from the nearby nearly ghost town of Iron Knob…I actually had to bend down and pick it up from the iron ore path I was walking on. (So don’t say I wouldn’t go to great lengths for a good story)
A few days later I was welding and remembered the ore, I set it in a vice, connected the high amperage earth lead to the rock and turned the welder up to where I thought it should be. (Strangely there are no settings in the handbook for the welding of high grade ores)
I put my welders mask on and prepared for the enlightenment, I gently pulled the trigger and watched as the wire wound forward until it touched the rock… nothing!

So after a life time of believing this simple truth it turns out to be complete bullshit, a fable that could have been easily disproved, but I guess no one ever tried.
Strange is it not, that we often consider things to be gospel truth simply because no one ever double checks to make sure?