Sunday, April 1, 2007
I went out and mowed along the road yesterday, and did more mowing this afternoon. The weather was beautiful both days, and the forecast calls for more of the same tomorrow.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
This afternoon I had fun with the tractor, pulling stumps. The procedure is to wrap a chain around the stump, hook the other end around the drawbar, put the tractor in low, and yank the stump out of the ground. If you hit a stubborn one that doesn't want to come out, as soon as the wheels start to spin you back up a bit and yank again. Stumps of an inch or less come out easily. Some that are a couple of inches in diameter take two or three pulls. This method sure beats work. I was going to use the WC, but found leaking manifold gaskets that I need to replace, so I used the B instead.
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Today I got new manifold gaskets for the WC. When I pulled the manifold off, I found a hole in the backside. I'll have to find a replacement or fix the hole. I'd like to use the bigger tractor for pulling stumps, but the B works OK for most of them. Only a few are wider than two inches. I managed to get about a dozen more yanked out this afternoon.
Friday, April 6, 2007
After spending all of yesterday afternoon on various errands, today I went to the garden for more land clearing. A couple of hours out there at 34º with the wind blowing was quite enough, thank you, so I was glad to get inside and get a fire going in the kitchen stove. It was a good night for a favorite meal: two tamales buried in chili beans, covered with grated cheese, topped with jalapeño slices and chopped onions. Mighty tasty.
Saturday, April 7, 2007
Here was a nice discovery at the local Wal-Mart: all nine symphonies for $9.96. I've waxed verbose before, about Beethoven being The Best. His greatest expressions of that exalted status are the symphonies. Here they come on five discs, in a metal case, with a little booklet about Beethoven's life. The Fifth and the Ninth, I suppose, are generally regarded as the greatest, but all of them offer wonderful listening. In many ways, the Sixth is the most beautiful of all. With over five hours of the best music ever written, this collection is an excellent bargain.
By noon the temperature was up to 28º, so I went out to cut trees and pull stumps. By 2 PM the temperature was up to 35º and I had to switch from winter overalls to a jacket.
Sunday, April, 8, 2007
It was another afternoon of tree and brush removal. At this rate another couple of weeks should have the ground ready for gardening.
Monday, April 9, 2007
Another day, another session of brush clearing. Specifically, today I finally removed branches that were broken down by the big ice storm five years ago.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Jefferson's birthday started with snow on the ground. Yesterday was rainy all day, and early this morning the rain turned to snow. It was only an inch or so in this part of the state, and it was gone by the end of the day. The precipitation for both days added up to 3.2". Most of my free time this week was spent on more brush clearing, and there's still plenty more to do.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Here's more canned music from Wal-Mart. This is less distinguished stuff than the Beethoven and Mozart sold in the same format, but these three disks in a metal case for about $10 are still not a bad deal. As the cover suggests, this is a package of 36 popular tunes from the war years, performed by a BBC band. These are all instrumental renditions of hits from Basie, Goodman, Ellington, Miller, Shaw, the Dorseys, and others. These are well-done performances, as one would expect from the BBC, but they are arrangements different from the original hits. One of the best features of this package is the ten page booklet which gives a brief history of the big band era and the background that led up to it. Listeners who want to get a better taste of what made these songs hits in the first place should seek out the original recordings. Even after more than sixty years, they're easily available with a brief internet search.
After a week of unusually cold weather for early April, the temperature rose above 40º today, and in the afternoon the sun broke through, so I spent the afternoon in the garden sawing up all the cut-down small trees for next winter's firewood. This evening I went to see "Grindhouse". This is really a double feature of pictures by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, plus "previews" for a couple of imaginary movies that look like they'd be as much fun as the two real ones. This program is rated R for language, violence, and gore. The Rodriguez film is a classic "living dead" horror flick with rivers of spewing blood and guts. The make-up and special effects folks get a real workout, and Rodriguez puts their work to use for a very funny and entertaining film. The Tarantino half of the program is a revenge/car-chase adventure with lots of action, in which an evil Kurt Russell chases three girls in a 1970 Charger and comes to a bad end. Together, the two films make an entertaining and very rare double feature in these days of less movie for more money. Of course, I still feel cheated when I go to a movie and there's no cartoon.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
After a trip to the gas station to fill up the truck and a couple of cans, I spent another enjoyable afternoon in the garden pulling stumps.
Monday, April 16, 2007
After work I spent part of the afternoon at the dentist's office, so I didn't get much work done. Just took down the storm windows and put up the screens on the front and back doors, and pulled a few more stumps. Tomorrow is another day.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
But it's a rainy day. So instead of working in the garden I used the time for some house cleaning.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
It was a great afternoon for pulling stumps. I took on a couple that were bigger than the others I've pulled. One was 31/2" across. It took many pulls in different directions to get it out, but eventually I got it. The size you can pull depends partly on the kind of stump. Oaks, with their large central tap roots, are especially tough. Another week or so should have the garden ready for tilling and planting.
Friday, April 20, 2007
A couple more afternoons of garden clearing. I cut down the biggest tree that was in the way, and started turning it into firewood for next winter.
Saturday, April 22, 2007
For somebody buying his first disk of Hank Williams songs, this is the one to get. Williams songs have been performed and recorded by hundreds of other singers, but these are the the original Willams recordings that made these songs hits. These simple arrrangements put the full spotlight on the quality material. Hank Williams is so famous as a composer that most people don't realize that some of the songs he recorded were written by others. Those songs, Lovesick Blues, Window Shopping, Half As Much, and Take These Chains From My Heart, are included here along with the sixteen Williams compositions. The songs that always come to mind at the mention of Hanks Williams are here: Your Cheatin' Heart; I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry; Cold, Cold Heart; Honky Tonkin'; Jambalaya; Hey Good Lookin', and others. If you want the straight original recordings of these grest songs, look for this Mercury disk.
Today I finished cutting up the biggest tree I've removed from the garden, and stacked the wood. By the time the job was done, the clutch on the chainsaw was slipping so badly that I went to town and ordered a new one. While I'm waiting for the new clutch, I'll do some more stump pulling and other garden work, and get started on dismantling my trip plow for restoration.
Tonight I went to see "Disturbia". When you see the preview, comparisons to "Rear Window" and "The Window" are obvious. I was ready to dismiss it as another lame ripoff of a classic until I read some positive reviews and decided to give it a try. I find myself in agreement with the reviewers I read. From the start, you know where things are headed. But good direction by D. J. Caruso and excellent performances by Shia LeBeouf, Aaron Yoo, and Sarah Roemer keep things moving and interesting. David Morse's very effective combination of softspoken charm and creepiness provides the necessary menace to support plenty of suspense.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Not much of note this week. When weather permitted, I continued the garden clearing project. On a couple of rainy afternoons I did a little housekeeping.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
They're back. Los Tigres have a new CD, and as usual, it contains several good songs performed well. An added bonus is the insert containing the lyrics of all the songs. This is helpful for listeners trying to improve their Spanish.
What a bummer! I went sixty-five years without any broken bones, but now I have to spend a couple of months being Mr. One Arm. I was starting a tractor when it kicked back. I guessed from the bend in my right arm, just above the wrist, that it was broken. X-rays at the emergency room confirmed the break, and the emergency room doctor put a splint on it and told me to see my doctor on Monday.
With the afternoon wasted, I went to try out a new eating place near Newkirk. The food was good, but I thought it was a bit skimpy for the price.
After dinner I went to see "Amazing Grace" at the Poncan Theater in Ponca City, an old movie palace from the silent era. This was one of those well-crafted English films that puts you into a bygone historical era. In this case, the story is of William Wilberforce, who entered Parliament as a young man and spent decades campaigning to end the slave trade in Britain and its empire. Good direction by Michael Apted makes it a successful historical drama. Except for Albert Finney as John Newton, most of the cast was new to me. I was impressed by their excellence. There were fine performances all around.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
This one-handed typing is kind of slow, but even with two hands I'm no ball of fire. I mowed today, and found it wasn't as difficult as I expected. It was a little surprising to find that mowing with the tractor was easier than with the ZTR riding mower. The only challenging part of using the tractor was climbing on and off.