Sunday, July 1, 2007
The good news is that the rain stopped long enough for me to lay out plastic sheeting on the leaky roof and spread boards on the plastic to keep it down. The bad news is that by the time I figured out where leaks were, there was some water damage to the ceiling in the northwest room upstairs. So whenever the rainy season finally ends, my summer project will be rebuilding the upstairs roof.
After the leaks were covered, I took a camera and went to get some pictures of the flooding brought by all the recent rain. I got a page of pictures showing the JUNE FLOOD. While I'm dealing with pictures, I'll put a couple here from a week and a half ago. Phillip Bruce, who farms my west field, had tried to combine wheat. As you can see in the pictures, the ground was too soft and he had to give it up. The wheat bas so bad, due to the Easter freeze and subsequent too much rain, that in some places it was hard to distinguish between standing wheat and stubble. In fact, when I saw one of the neighbors Friday, he thought the whole field had been combined. Actually, after a few more days of rain, those ruts became little lakes and the wheat looks even worse. Most years the wheat crop almost pays the property taxes. This year I'll be lucky if my share is more than 43¢.
Monday, July 2, 2007
I shot an hour or so this afternoon fetching Andy from the vet's. He's been going three-legged for a couple of days with a big, swollen rear driver's side foot. When it started oozing in a couple of places it was time for him to see the doc. He gets to take a daily antibiotic and a twice-daily pain killer.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
This afternoon's project was getting the B ready to mow tomorrow. I adjusted the mower height and replaced bolts missing from one of the casters. After all the recent rain, the grass is knee-high in some places. I'll probably spend most of the Glorious Fourth on mowing and yard work.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
And that's what I did. Most of the morning I pulled weeds in the back yard and the garden, then spent the afternoon mowing. I had to take time out for some tractor repair. Suddenly the steering went funny, and I found that the steering arm was cracked and bent. I had to take it off, grind out the crack, weld it up, and pound the arm out nearly straight. In the process I centered the steering, and found that now it steers better than it did before the arm bent.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
This afternoon I mowed some more. A lot of the grass was more than knee high, so I put the mower at maximum height. I'll give the grass a couple more days to dry out, then I'll go over it with the mower height lower.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Born on Christmas Day in 1980, Ryan Shaw has the soul sound of somebody who arrived decades earlier. Performing Motown and earlier soul hits with enthusiasm and conviction, and with a fine voice, Shaw seems to channel Ben E. King, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett and other greats of the sixties. In addition to the nine covers of past hits, this disk includes three songs (We Got Love, Nobody, and Over & Done) written by Shaw alone or in collaboration with others, and the new songs capture the classic sound of the Motown era. Anybody who enjoys this kind of music had better grab this disk while it's available. Given the trash currently popular, and the current state of radio where it will go unplayed, "This Is Ryan Shaw" is not likely to be available for long.
I spent a big chunk of Saturday pulling weeds behind the house, and cutting little trees and dosing the stumps with Tordon to kill them. I filled the back of the pickup with a pile about cab high.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Uh-oh, trouble. I was mowing this afternoon when the tractor died. When I cranked it to restart, I got no start, but puffs of white smoke and gurgling sounds. Not good signs. I spent most of the afternoon at an auction, but didn't buy a thing. There were too many people willing to spend too much.
Monday, July 9, 2007
After work I drove to Ponca City to pick up some mower parts that finally arrived. With the tractor out of action, the little Dixon will have to do all the mowing for awhile.
After fetching mower parts, I went to the hospital for a physical therapy session. The wrist flexibility is improving, and my grip is slowly getting stronger, but it sure is slow going.
More rain! It started in the afternoon and went on all evening. By the time it quit the total was another 2.78". The ground is so wet that it takes a long time for the puddles to soak in now.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
This afternoon I had a neighbor steer the tractor while I shoved it inside with the truck. Later this week I may have time to start trying to find out what's wrong with it. I spent a toasty hour on the roof, adding another roll of plastic sheeting and rearranging what was already there, trying to eliminate leaks until the weather dries out long enough for me to rebuild the roof. I'm hoping the monsoon season will be over by the middle of August.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
After another physical therapy session at the hospital, I installed the new caster fork on the mower, then put the charger on the battery so I can do a little mowing tomorrow if weather permits.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
This afternoon I had one more physical therapy session before I go to see the doc on Monday. When I got home I put six bars of ivory soap out in the garden. That's supposed to keep deer away from the tomatoes. We'll see. This evening I went to the municipal band concert in Wilson Park. One of the pieces they played was a march written by W.D. McAllister in 1941. He directed the band for several decades in the first half of the last century.
Friday, July 13, 2007
I've been traveling by VW since Tuesday. The Buick is in the shop for some repairs and maintenance, and the guys are so swamped they haven't got to it yet. This afternoon's after work activity was a little mowing with the Dixon. I got the new caster fork installed Wednesday afternoon, then put a charger on the battery for a couple of days, and even went a whole day without rain. I expect to spend more time mowing, with the tractor out of action, so that will probably be a big part of my weekend.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Seventeen-year-old Ella Fitzgerald was going to dance in a talent show at Harlem's Apollo Theater, but decided to sing instead. That led to a job singing with Chick Webb's band. Soon A-Tiscket A-Tasket was a big hit, and Ella Fitzgerald was on her way to becoming a national treasure. Over several decades she recorded most of the great American songs, with incomparable style and class. This $5.88 bargain disk contains her first big hit and a nice selection of songs that make a nice introduction to Fitzgerald for those born too late to be familiar with her. Familiar great songs like How Hight the Moon, That Old Black Magic, Lover Come Back, A Fine Romance, and Moonlight in Vermont have never been better sung, and the Fitzgerald magic makes the lesser ones like We Can't Go On This Way just as easy to take. A quintet of special treats are duets with Louis Armstrong on A Foggy Day, Cheek To Cheek, A Fine Romance, Can't We Be Friends, and Moonlight In Vermont. On the last track, Basin Street Blues, where you might expect to hear Pops again, Ella gives you a surprise instead. Some of these tracks were obviously recorded in the days of the 78 rpm record, but the sound quality ranges from good to excellent.
As anticipated, it was a day for yard work. After about two and a half hours of pulling weeds, I started up the mower and harvested a lot of grass.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Today was another mowing day. I finished up the areas I didn't get to yesterday. After a trip to town for groceries, I decided to dig into the defunct Model B and see if I could figure out what was ailing it. Fortunately, it didn't take long to find the problem. Getting no spark, I took the cover off the magneto and found that parts of a couple of teeth were broken off the rotor, and it had slipped out of time. I found that there was enough of the broken teeth left to keep the rotor from slipping any more, so I reset it to the proper position. I put the cover back on the magneto, hit the starter button, and the tractor started right up and ran fine. As long a the tractor runs OK, I'll use it to mow while I shop for a new rotor.
Monday, July 16, 2007
This afternoon I went to the doctor for what turned out to be his last examination of the broken arm. The wrist is still a little stiff and sore, but continues to improve with exercise. I did find out that Monday is not a good day for an appointment. I was in that place for over two hours. I'm glad I remembered to take something to read.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
With the B running again, I mowed along the road today. I was reminded of a quote from the late broadcaster Earl Nightingale: People who throw trash ARE trash. I believe this is an immutable law of the Universe. If anybody finds this news upsetting, it's not my problem. I suggest he complain to the Universe.
Wednesday, July 18
This afternoon's project was another session of weed pulling in the back yard. I've done quite a lot, but there are still some areas that need clearing.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Today I started work on the old backyard swing. It was made by my uncle, Lester Parker. He died in 1958, so it's at least fifty years old. I don't remember when I first became aware of it, but it's probably more like sixty years plus. A few years ago the boards became rotten, then last year a tree fell down and squashed the frame. About five or six years ago I bought new oak boards and started sanding them, but got busy with other things and never finished. So today I got the boards out of the barn and took them over to the shop where I'm going to work on the thing, then got busy removing bolts and old boards.
Friday, July 20, 2007
On the way home I bought sander belts. I finished the coarse sanding on two of the seven new boards. After the coarse sanding is all done, I'll go over the boards with a finer grit before staining and varnishing. Removing the last two old boards from the seat and getting all the rusted bolts out used up the rest of the afternoon.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
The title, If I Could Be With You, hints at the great songs in the widely eclectic range of material Marcus Roberts covers in this disk. The pianist's musical sophistication is expressed with invention that doesn't get in the way of the listener's enjoyment. His impressive skill is obvious without rendering the melodies unrecognizable. Those melodies include Just a Closer Walk With Thee, Maple Leaf Rag, Embraceable You, Moonlight In Vermont, What Is This Thing Called Love, and Mood Indigo. In addition to the songs by Ellington, Gershwin, Cole Porter, James P. Johnson, and Thelonius Monk, seven of the twenty compositions are by Marcus Roberts himself. Here is a lot of good listening from one of the most versatile and enjoyable musicians on the scene today.
As anticipated, I did a lot of sanding on new boards for the old bench swing. I'll go over them one more time with a finer grit, then start staining and finishing. I thought I was going to sand blast the metal parts, but found so much moisture in the equipment, from all the recent high humidity, that I couldn't get any sand out of it. I'll have to try again tomorrow if time permits.
I went to see "Hairspray" this evening. I was pleasantly surprised to find it very entertaining. From the opening number by movie novice Nicole Blonsky, it's a high-energy romp with plenty of heart, with a lot of good performances by a great cast. One reviewer commented that when you see Edna you know it's John Travolta, but you soon forget that he (she?) was ever a man. The songs capture the sound and feel of 1962, and they're delivered with plenty of talent in major and not-so-major roles. Zac Efron does a good job in the teen heartthrob role, Elijah Kelley will remind many of a young Sammy Davis, Queen Latifah is her usual talented and commanding presence, Christopher Walken is funny and sympathetic as heroine Tracy's father, Michelle Pfeiffer is nicely villainous, and young Taylor Parks stands out in her relatively minor role of Little Inez. One viewing is enough for most movies, but I wouldn't mind seeing this one again.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Did a little weed pulling, then sanded those boards one more time with a finer grit. I tried the sandblasting again, and found the sand still too wet. I took the valve off the bottom of the blaster. Maybe if I leave both ends open it will dry out enough to be usable.
Monday, July 23, 2007
I took advantage of a cool afternoon, about 80º, to pull more weeds. But the high humidity made it a pretty sweaty affair, so an hour was more than enough.