Saturday, December 22, 2012

#136. or, Ho Ho Holy crap, this is a long post!

  I think that I'm finished putting up the Christmas lights in my yard. I could actually put more stuff up, we have more stuff, but there has to be a point where you just say, screw it, this is good enough, I've got other shit to take care of! The 22nd of December seems like a good day to make that call.

  I've been working on putting up our lights for some time now. I think that I've probably talked about doing it on at least a couple of occasions. And you probably have an image in your head right now, of Clark Griswald's house, covered in 20 000, imported, Italian twinkle bulbs. The truth is, it's not quite that grand. I like having lights in the yard and on the house. This year though, because we still have some puppies about, we've had to avoid putting things on the ground near the house.

  Cause puppies like to chew on stuff. Puppies chewing on stuff that plugs into electricity, isn't such a good idea.

  Also, if I were to actually put some of this stuff away, BEFORE July, I probably wouldn't have to spend as much time fixing things, as I do putting them up. And, a bit more care at putting the lights away, would avoid messes like this:

The warm glow of Christmas lights just before they melt through the kitchen floor

  So, this is the post where I try to take you back in time, (again) in an attempt to re-live some of the Christmases, of your childhood. If you read THIS POST, I had whipped out my magical Sears Wish Book, from 1974 and asked what you had wanted from it when you were a kid. The thing that grabbed you by the scruff of your polyester shirt, as you flipped through the pages with sticky little fingers from the death grip on your candy cane,  while you stole away to your private hiding spot to see what wonderful treasures the pages held for you.  The thing you circled 18 times in red felt pen, that was at the top of your list to Santa Claus, and made you take out the garbage that one time, without even being asked, just to bump your name, a line or two higher on the "nice" list.

  Let me reach into my magic sack, and see what I can find. (I know that sound dirty, but it's not! Get your mind out of the gutter.)

  It seems that the GI Joe's were pretty popular back in the day, One Day I'll Be That Guy, Queen Holly,  and Wily Guy all talked about wanting one of them along with his Kung Fu Grip!


   And a special add on for Wily Guy, who remembered having the GI Joe jeep:

From the Desert Patrol Set  $15.99
 For Shirley, who had the Barbie car that she had to share with her sister. It might not be the same as the one you had, but it's the only car that I could find that wasn't the motor home or the beach bus.

That's one good lookin' Ken in that car with Barbie!
Kianwi, was pretty adamant that I didn't forget her Baby Crissy doll. Here's 6 of them!

I believe the specific one she wanted was 3rd from the left. $4.99
 My friend CLR, thought she had dreamed about getting some skates.

The girls beginners skates were $10.99
  Stephen, The Chubby Chaterbox, said that in 1974, he was newly married and most likely didn't even check out the toy section. I figured, a newly married couple might be looking in a different section of the Wish Book.

The sexiest lingerie I could find, $11.98 

  So that was all of the items that I could find from the Wish Book. There were a few others who asked about items that I had to do a bit of searching for.

  Like Debra, who asked about the Brother typewriter she got as she went off to university.

hopefully that's close?
  And Heather, who is far too young to have been looking in the 1974 Wish Book, asked about Cabbage Patch dolls.



  Bryan, who lives in England, (I think?) was wondering about the Johnny Seven. I had never even heard of this before and had to google it. Once I found out what it was, I wished I had one when I was a kid!



 Michael said that he didn't have the GI Joe, but it did remind him of The 6 Million Dollar Man action figure that he had as a kid.


  Daniel, who grew up in the Soviet Union, suggested, that as a child, he probably was interested in things like books and microscopes.


 Youngman Brown, remembered having a Power Wheels. It seems that there are hundreds of Power Wheels vehicles. The ones that stick mostly in my brain are the jeep ones. That's the one I found.


 And finally, Shockgrubz and I got into a bit of a discussion about a green power wheels. Eventually, I think we narrowed it down to being The Green Machine. The pimped out version of a Big Wheels.

I remember wanting one of these, but had no concrete to drive it on.

  So that's my list. I hope that I didn't leave anybody out. Although I may have, this post became far more labor intensive than I had thought it would be. If you didn't get on, I apologize. I had a lot of fun remembering all of these things. I hope that you were able to remember some simpler times as well.

  This will most likely be my last post until after Christmas, I wish you all the best and hope the holidays are everything that you imagine them to be. Here's a Canadian version of a holiday classic for you to enjoy.





This week, I'll be joining up with the other Dudes at Dude Write, with this post. I encourage you to pop over and read what the guys bring to the table. You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

#135. or, I'd like to give you some schwag

 So, here's an interesting little tid bit. Today's post, or, more accurately, today's date (December 19th), marks the completion of my first year of attempting to be a blogger. I can't begin to tell you how much I wish I had one of those New Years Eve, noise maker things, that unroll like the tongue of a lizard in the jungle, rolling it out to snag a passing bug.

 Cause I'd blow that noise maker right now to signify fanfare and exuberance. That, and we'd all get to wear silly hats.

  WOO HOO, will have to suffice.

  I think it's been a pretty interesting year for me here. It's been quite a learning curve from the day that I pushed that publish button, on my very first post until now. In fact, there are still certain things that I'd like to be able to add, that I'm not quite sure how to, just yet. That will come, I hope.

 I'm little bit disappointed that this is only my 135th post. Truthfully, when I began, I had intended to be somewhere between 200 and 300 posts right now. But the fact that I'm still here almost every week, at least once, isn't too bad, I guess?

  When I started this, I never really expected to have too many followers. Other than, of course, my relatives and the few people that I chatted with over on facebook. Now, I have 61 wonderful people who are listed as my followers and have had around 23000 views on my blog. I suspect that that's middle of the road numbers, but that's OK. I'm a middle of the road sort of guy.

  So, are there any crappy things about doing this? A couple, that I can think of. It's been really difficult to give some of the other bloggers, that have been so supportive of me, the time they deserve in having me return the favor of commenting back on their posts. I read a lot of blogs. Sometimes I need to think about them for a while before I comment. Once in a while, I just forget to go back to leave a comment. That's something I wish I could do better.

  Also, I've been getting A LOT of spam comments the last month. It always excites me when I get a notification of a comment that somebody has left. When I go to check to see what's there, and it's somebody   leaving an add for something, it's rather annoying. I don't know how to fix that, other than to turn the stupid CAPTCHA back on but I don't really want to do that.

  I would like to think that my writing has improved a bit over the last year. I still spell like shit, but have developed a phenomenal friendship with the spell checker. It makes me look much smarter than I actually am. I have also bought my domain name, and would like to switch my blog over onto that in the new year. If you were to google, Ken-inatractor.com right now, you get a picture of a boat, or some such nonsense. I'd like to get something there that's at least relevant to this site.

  Now, without all of you, I'd most likely still be here, but I wouldn't be having nearly as much fun. So here's the good part. I want to give you something. I would like to give EVERYBODY something, but I don't know how to do that. Also, I can't afford that. So, until I'm able to become a billionaire, playboy philanthropist, through my imaginary job as a male underwear model, only one person will win something.

  This something :

........because, how can you look bad in a John Deere hoodie!

  From today, until January 1st, I'll keep track of all of the comments I get on my posts, and from the comments on posts that I link to facebook. Of those names, I'll draw the name of one person, who can decide which hoodie that they would like, and I'll mail it to them. Simple as that. I hope you win.

  In other exciting news, the fine fellows over at Dude Write have seen fit to award my last post with a Chairman's Choice Award. High praise indeed!



  And finally, if you're at all interested in burning off that gallon of gravy and egg nog that you plan on consuming this Christmas, don't forget to go to my blogger 5K page tab, on the bottom of my header picture. You can leave a comment there and my friend Kianwi and I would love to add your name to the list.

  Honestly, it's the end of December already and I've only been to the track one time. There's no need to feel intimidated about this. We're all friends here, and we don't judge.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

#134. or, Back in Time

  I love Christmas, really.....I do. But for some reason, I just can't seem to get a handle on the spirit of the season. There's just so much going on and I can't slow down enough to appreciate everything that's going on.  The days are flying by as we get nearer and nearer to Christmas, and I'm still trying to get my yard decorated . I think, tonight, we're finally putting up our tree. I hope that puts a little festivity in my soul. But I think that 6 or 8 glasses of rum and eggnog might kick start my festive mood as well.

  One of my favorite holiday traditions has always been the Sears Wish book.  I mentioned this before, but even now, I still look through the toy section. Even though, I don't think that I have actually gotten a toy out of that book in, well, a very long time.

  Anyways, do you remember when I made a mention of having a collection of 30 year old TV Guides? I hope you do, Because it was only my last post. I took a bit ribbing for that (thanks Kianwi). BUT, something else that I have is a Sears Christmas Wish book from 1974.



  I like to look at it when the season rolls around, When I'm all hustled and at whits end, trying to get everything done, It has the magical ability to transport me back to when I was a kid in polyester pants, flipping through the pages, making a list of things that any 6 year old kid would be envious of. Back when it was me who was tucked under the covers at night, dreaming of Santa Claus and his flying reindeer.

  And what was at the top of the list for 6 year old Ken-inatractor, long before there were any thoughts of cows and combines? When Ken- the astronaut, still filled my imagination. Or, Ken- the spy, had me writing notes in invisible ink of lemon juice that held the plans for saving the world from some evil genius.

  The item that topped the list was this:

The one in the middle, item #10. Paratrooper set- $7.99

  So what else was available from the Sears Wish Book in 1974?

Maybe a boys, crested hockey jersey, also $7.99 (yes, that's my thumb.)

  Or, maybe you were into GI Joe? But not just any GI Joe, a talking GI Joe, with the KUNG FU GRIP! There was a whole page dedicated to him. And oddly enough, he costed $7.99 as well. You could however, pick up any of his Kung Fu lackeys for $4.99. Quite the bargain for all of that Kung Fu awesomness.



   When I took these pictures, it hadn't really occurred to me that everything was going to price in at $7.99. What was expensive in 1974?


 How about this "Yellow Gold color" solid state, quartz wrist watch!  Yours for only $195! What do you get with this watch for the incredible value of $195? Um....well, it doesn't have a calculator. It doesn't have a stopwatch. The add doesn't even mention if it has the date and month. It does however, say that this, Yellow Gold color watch, is the "biggest step forward in time keeping since the invention of the sundial". So, all of that, and it's accurate to within 5 seconds a month.

   Apparently, in 1974, 5 lost seconds or so a month wasn't all that important. Maybe that's not such a bad thing?

 Anyways, if you were around in 1974, or even have an interest in something historical from around then, ask me about it in a comment. Did you get something, or want something as a kid from the Sears Wish Book, way back when, and want to slip back into a simpler time?  I'll try put them together in a post with pictures, around Christmas and help you to remember what it was like to be a kid again,

  ..................... in your polyester pants.



This week, I'll be joining up with the other Dudes at Dude Write, with this post. I encourage you to pop over and read what the guys bring to the table. You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK



Friday, December 07, 2012

#133. or, There's a leak in my bed

  Currently, we are in the midst of renovating our bedroom. Nothing quite as extensive as blowing a wall out and actually changing the physical configuration of the room. But still, the floor is down to the plywood and we're replacing all of the trims and the window. So, in terms of sleeping facilities, my wife and I are somewhat........transient.

  Before we could start this renovation, we had to go through some of our stuff and, well.....weed things out. Now, we've been together for over 20 wonderful years. And fortunately, when we moved in together, the woman I love, came with household things. Like everything necessary to function from day to day. The only thing of value that I brought along was my official framed, 1989, Batman movie poster. Which she did grudgingly let me hang on our living room wall for a little while, or at least until she found something less man-cave-ish to replace it with. Now, my poster lives in the basement with our stinky children.

  Anyways, we had to cull some of our belongings. It's gotten a little easier to do that as I get older, but I still catch her rolling her eyes when I get, perhaps overly defensive, at her suggestion of throwing out my 30 year old, TV Guide collection and my zip-lock bag, full of broken wrist watch pieces. Some things are just sacred to a man. Plus, I may need that stuff some day?

  Now, because I'm always thinking about my wife, (besides the every 7 seconds thing) I wanted her to have the semblance of an actual bedroom while ours was in transition. So, I took it upon myself to transform our basement work room into the new, temporary, master bedroom. I use the term workroom, rather loosely, because while that's what we intended it to be, it's probably better described as the hell hole where we throw everything that we think we should keep, yet never use. It's the room that we keep the door closed on.

  So, I cleaned the workroom/hell hole out, and my son hauled away a whole trailer load of junk. It took me 3 days but I turned that space into a cozy area for us. I brought down a dresser for her, hung temporary closet rods, and set up our BYOB. (bring your own bed) This might come as a shock you, but sleeping on a bed, that folds up into a space slightly larger that a backpack, is not quite as luxurious as it sounds. It has a collapsible framework and an air mattress that slips into an attached sleeve. Really, it's not so bad, except I think it must have a slow leak. Over the few days we've been using it, I noticed that while we lay in it together, everything is fine. But when one person would get out, all of the air would fill the void left by that person, and whoever was left in bed, would drop down onto the framework. And because I suffer from the inability to jump out of bed, bright eye'd and bushy tailed, I would try to find the most comfortable position left available, by contorting my body to avoid all the high spots on the framework. Also, if whoever had gotten up, say to use the can or something, returned and flopped into bed, the person who had stayed, would be shot off the mattress, a few inches into the air. Which was fun, until my wife got mad at me for repeatedly getting in and out of bed to bounce her into the air and made me stop.

  One other thing that I overlooked, was making our bedroom right next to the furnace room. Actually, I had thought that one layer of drywall would sufficiently muffle the sounds of 2 furnaces rumbling away. I had failed to consider that while the layer of drywall was there, (which has no sound muffling qualities whatsoever, just in case your wondering)   all of the duct work runs directly into the workroom/hell hole/cozy bedroom. You would be correct if you were to assume that two tin boxes running the length of a room amplify sound, like to 100 times louder than if we had actually slept right on top of the furnaces. It's like trying to sleep in the engine test facility of a DC10 hanger.

  But we're getting used to it. I have to re-inflate the bed every other day to keep it firm, but that's not such a big deal. And while it's still noisy as hell, we seem to be getting used to the constant rumble of the furnaces. I've also noticed that there's something oddly comforting about laying in bed and actually being able to reach out in the dark and touch some of my power tools.

   ......................although I'm not sure that my wife appreciates that perk quite as much as I do?



This week, I'll be joining up with the other Dudes at Dude Write, with this post. I encourage you to pop over and read what the guys bring to the table. You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK



Thursday, December 06, 2012

#132. or, The K&K Virtual 5K

So, here we go.

  I don't know about you, but I seem to make better progress toward an end, if I have a goal to work toward. Now that things are beginning to slow up a bit for me, I would like to get back into the habit of running when I'm able. It's been something that I've done at the track, at the local arena, for the last few winters. It's been in the back of my mind for, like....almost forever it seems. It's just been hard to get motivated to drive into town in the evening to do it.

  My friend Kianwi, over at Simply She Goes, and I have come up with this cockamamie plan to do a virtual marathon. Just to be clear on this, a virtual marathon is NOT sitting on the couch, in front of the TV with a controller, directing an avatar around some course. I suppose it could be, but that's not what we had in mind. The plan is to actually compete with each other and do this 5K marathon together, at the same time, 3000 km apart.  In 3 months from now, on or about Saturday, March 2nd, we will hold our very first virtual marathon.  The sweet part is, we want you to join us in this adventure.

  Over the next week or so, we'll be putting up pages on our blogs to link back to all of the posts that relate to our run. Anybody who has an interest in joining up with us, is welcome to let us know in a comment or drop either of us an email. Kianwi at, kianwir@gmail.com or me at, info@ken-inatractor.com. We will be creating a list of anybody who joins up, and posting that on our pages as well. The list will be shared between us and will be visible on both sites.

  This is going to be a pretty casual affair. I mean, our goal will be to do as well as we both can in this, but we won't be posting weekly or anything early on. As we get closer to the date and things start to come together, we'll share the information we come up with, to let you know how things are shaping up. If anybody who wants to participate, wishes to do a post about this, we would be more than happy to link back to that post on our pages and you'll most likely get mentioned in one of the posts.

  The cool thing about this, is that conceivably, there could be a whole whack of us doing this in different parts of the world, without having never actually met each other, but still competing toward the same thing. So the more people the better. And if you can't run, then ride a bike, or just walk your dog, or get through the 5K anyway you can.

  We would like to let you know how we're doing at this, so the plan is to tweet about our progress and I'll likely comment about it on my facebook page too. We want to create a twitter hashtag that anyone can use, to comment on the progress in training that you have as well. It's probably going to be #KKRun so you can start watching for that to start popping up shortly.

  Hopefully, some of you will consider joining us. I think it's going to be a fun thing and if we can make ourselves better over the course of it, we all win.

 Now you need to head over to Kianwi's companion post and get her take on all of this.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

#131. or, Week 8, Get-away give-away answers.

Over the last 8 weeks, I've been following along and answering questions as often as I've been able, over at Carrie's, Hammock in the Honeysuckle site. Last Sunday, she asked her last question, well, 2 questions to be more exact. Tomorrow, she will draw from the entries of everyone who linked up with her, by answering her questions.

  The 2 questions she posed last week were:

  1. If you could be locked in somewhere overnight, where would it be, and what would you do? Would you be by yourself, or with someone, and if so, who?

  2.  Many of us have one moment or decision that, if we could go back, we would choose differently. If you could go back and get a do over, what would you do?

  To answer the 2nd question first, I think that I would like to go back and spend more time with my older boys when they were younger and in the lower grades in school.

  When my family was young, I was working pretty hard. I used to think that that was the important thing that I had to do to provide for my family. I pretty much missed all of the events that happened in school and the field trips that went on while my oldest son was in school. I was always the guy who couldn't quite find the time to make it to the assembly,  because there was one more important thing going on, that needed to get done first.

  After my father passed away, I realized that I was misguided in that thinking. I tried to be more involved in what my kids were doing and made the time to be there. I got my bus driver's licence so I could drive on field trips, and followed my boys to basketball trips and all of the school activities that I could manage.

  My two oldest boys are done school now, my youngest son is in grade 7. This is the first year that there isn't any Christmas concerts to go to and if there are any field trips, most likely, I won't be asked to drive the bus. I'm finding that I'm missing that. Especially this time of year. I kind of enjoyed watching the class programs that the little kids put on for the holidays. I wish that I could have been there more often to watch my older boys do their presentations.

  If I had a do over, I wish I could go back and give those little kids the attention that they deserved when they were smaller. Because before you know it, they're not little kids anymore, and if you blinked, you just might have missed some of the most magical times ever.

 So, for the first question, If you could be locked in somewhere overnight, where would it be, and what would you do? Would you be by yourself, or with someone, and if so, who?

  On Carrie's post, she talked about spending the night in one of those grand bookstores, surrounded by books of every nature. At first, I thought that sounded pretty good. I love to read. My problem is, that I'm a notoriously slow reader. I just like to take my time. If I didn't quite understand a paragraph, I'll go back and reread it just to be clear. I might spend 4 months reading a book. My favorite time to read is in bed just before falling asleep, and more often than not, I'll wake up with the book on my chest. So, maybe the bookstore isn't the best plan for me?

  Then I thought, I might like to be locked in a Victoria's Secret store with my wife. OH, the time I could have, watching her try all of those frilly things on! But, I'm no spring chicken anymore. I'm almost 45. With all of that visual stimulation, I'd be attacking my wife with all of the determination of an 18 year old, but these days, anything much more than a half hour, is a marathon. Then of course, I'd need a nap, and probably wouldn't wake up until the morning. So that might not be the best plan either?

  Maybe, I might like to spend some uninterrupted time exploring the The Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I've always loved rockets and space and the idea of suiting up travelling into orbit and looking back on the Earth.  I think they would have some pretty amazing things to look at. I might sit in a simulator and imagine that I'm circling the moon. Just look things over and get familiarized, just in case, one day, they need some middle-aged farmer to go into space to save the world.

  You better believe that I'd rock that intense, slow-motion walk.



    ................although, actually leaving the ground and throwing up might not be so cool?


  Anyways, that's my answers. Whether I win or not, doesn't really matter. I've got to connect with a bunch of fun people over the course of The Great Get-Away Give-Away Contest. That's the important thing here. I've made some new friends. And, I got to link back to Carrie's site multiple times, which is good too. She's a pretty awesome blogger, and I would encourage you just to stop over and take a look at her site and what she has to say. I'm quite certain that you'll want to stop back again.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

#130. or, Bulls in a Pen

  It's relatively cold here today. -13 degrees Celsius  but the wind chill is making it feel like it's in the mid,  -20's. (-25 Celsius is about -4 Fahrenheit.) There's also a heavy snowfall warning, that we may get close to a foot of snow. So, it's safe to assume, that we are in fact, in the grips of winter now.

  It's been pretty much a given, that this was coming. While a lot of people spent the remaining bit of warmth we had, stringing up Christmas lights, I've been racing around the last week, trying to get some last minute things done, before it got too cold to work effectively outdoors without my mittens on.

  I was trying to prepare a pen to wean my calves into. The problem was, that when our barn burned, it shorted out the power line, to that pens watering bowl. (you can read about that here) The overhead line had to be replaced. Without this, the waterer was just a block of ice, and useless. I needed this pen, because I have a double fence that can separates the calves from the cows in that pen, and it stops the cows from breaking into the calf pen.

  Ideally, it would have been a lot easier to replace the power line in the comfortable warmth of the summer. But in a grand feat of procrastination, I left repairing the overhead line until it was cold enough outside for it to be a particularly miserable job. A job, that required me to pull up to each power pole with the bucket of my tractor raised as far in the air as it would reach, then climb a ladder into that bucket, and then climb a second ladder, fastened in the bucket, just to reach where the line attached to the pole. I also used this method to repair a bunch of yard lights that were not working properly.

  It was a bit pain, because besides only being able to work at the top of the pole for a few minutes before my fingers froze to the point that they stopped working properly, it was also freaking high! Usually, by the time I lost feeling in my thumbs, and fingers, my legs had started to vibrate on their own accord, because they had lost faith in my one good arm,  to actually grab something and save my life, in the unfortunate event that I fell.

  But I got everything going and the watering bowl thawed, and I weaned my calves. I also separated the bulls from the cows. Usually, I leave the bulls with the cows, but that's not the best plan. They tend to bother the cows a bit. That's because bulls generally think of only two things. Sex and fighting. Sometimes it's fighting and sex, but usually, it's sex and fighting. That's why it's difficult to keep bulls penned up. Putting a bunch of bulls in a pen is more a suggestion of containment, than actual confinement. Inevitably, they will start to think about sex, break out in a fight, and  tear out a section of the corral.

  When one bull, weighing a ton and a quarter, catches another ton and a quarter bull broadside, and starts pushing him in the direction of the fence, the fence usually loses. This happened one time when I was helping a neighbour sort cattle. One bull T-boned another and were headed in my direction. I climbed the closest fence and when I ran out of planks, leaped into the air. I remember looking down as the bulls passed below me and the fence blew up into splinters.

  In my mind, this is what I looked like when I hit the ground.



  Most likely, what it actually looked like, was this.


  Anyways, I have the bulls in a pen. Apparently, there's one other thing that bulls think about, and it's keeping 15 inches of ball sack from freezing, when it's -25 degrees below zero, with the wind chill, outside. But it's only a matter of time before they start thinking about sex. Sex and fighting. I'll be surprised if the fences hold until Christmas.



This week, I'll be joining up with the other Dudes at Dude Write, with this post. I encourage you to pop over and read what the guys bring to the table. You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK

Saturday, November 17, 2012

#129. or, How many sleeps is it?

 Today I bought a candy cane..............

  My very good, bloggy friend Carrie, over at Hammock in the Honeysuckle, is still taking answers for her contest to win fame and riches beyond your wildest imagination. Well, maybe not quite that , but she's still giving away a trip. A freaking trip! So, because I just happen to love going on freaking trips, I'm answering her question again for another chance to win.

  This weeks question is this:

 How do you feel about the holidays this time of year, particularly the ever-melding of ThanksChristgivmasing that is continually being 'pushed' more and more each year?

  OK now, you need to know she asks these questions each Sunday. Last Sunday was November 11th. Remembrance Day. Last Sunday was all about remembering those who gave their lives so we could have the freedoms that we live with now. That's pretty important I think. I'm not particularly fond of having Christmas overlap with Remembrance Day, or Halloween for that matter. Or, getting the Sears Christmas wish book in August or whenever we picked it up and having to hide it in the closet until the season is, ........is...... well, more Christmasy.

  So, I'm a Canadian. I'm not really sure how or why it happened this way, but unlike my American cousins south of the border, we had our Thanksgiving holiday way back in the beginning of October. I'm not going to take the time to google this, but I'd like to think that some time, eons ago, some of my Canadian forefathers,which would have technically been British forefathers at that time, were sitting around freezing their Christmas balls off, mid-November, thinking that if we had Thanksgiving a month and a half earlier, we could enjoy it in relative autumny warmth. And when the middle of November rolled around, we could  move on to  more Christmas season type things, like trying to avoid frostbite while stringing our Christmas lights. Or, if this Thanksgiving time warp thing happened well before the advent of electricity and holiday lighting, you could spend the time doing important things, like gathering win-ter  fu-ooo--el!

  Remembrance day was 6 days ago. I wasn't ready to start thinking about Christmas just then. But that was in fact 6 whole days ago. I've been taking note of the Christmas displays in the store windows. There's a flicker of holiday spirit starting to grow inside of me now. I'm starting to think about untangling my mile of extension cords, and about starting to drag out my yard decorations. For the first time in my life we have a bag of chestnuts. I'm going  to eat holiday chestnuts! I hope they're not gross? It's time to dust off that wish book and start looking through the toy section. (yes, that's still the first section I go to every year.) And I need to check the liquor cabinet to make sure we have spiced rum to put in the eggnog.

  I had to run to town to pick some stuff up today, and by the check-out till, there was a pail of candy canes. The traditional ones with the green stripe in them. Today I bought a candy cane.......

   ............in fact, I bought four of them. And on the way home, I found the, all Christmas music, station on the radio and as luck would have it, White Christmas came on. Me and Bing belted out that sucker like it was nobody's business.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

#128. or, Glitter and Shit.

 I've never, over the course of my life, been one to gather up a plethora of awards. (See how I just slid 'plethora' in there to make me look smarter? I'm so good at doing that, that sometimes, I even fool myself.)
Anyways, I've never won many things in my life. I'm sort of the poster boy of the dreaded Participation Ribbon. Unless you count the 1st place I got in the "Design a Bookmark" contest the library held when I was in grade 3. Actually, you have to count that because I do. It's the only thing on my mantel. Well, that's not exactly true. It WAS the only thing on my mantle, before I began this blog about a year ago. Now I have a bunch of bloggy awards that I am extremely proud of. So many, in fact, that I created a page specifically to honour the awards that other bloggers have given me, and to have one place where you can go (mostly that I can go) and just look at all of my glitter and shit.

  Then, I promptly dropped the ball and ended up overlooking a couple awards, didn't follow through on the rules of receiving a few of them and failed to pass them on to other worthy bloggers. So now, I'm at the point were I can't go back and say thanks and whip up a big, all-well-to-do about those awards without coming across as complete fool. So, if you gave me an award, and I didn't follow the rules or acknowledge you for passing it to me, I'm sorry. I'm going to try to go back and redo my awards page and it will probably show up there, and I do appreciate it. I just got lazy for a bit. I'm trying to fix that.

  BUT:

Reanna, over at Rock The Single Life, has decided that I am still worthy of an award, regardless of my laziness. I like Reanna, she's a bit of a, CRANK THE VOLUME TO 10 AND BREAK THAT BITCH RIGHT THE HELL OFF! sort of blogger. She has no qualms about telling it like it is and if you get offended by that, that's your fault. Aside from the skateboarding, she sort of reminds me of a couple farmers that I know. She could slide right in with the boys in the coffee shop and not miss a beat with the conversation that, can at times get a bit blue when the boys aren't on their best behavior.

 She gave me this:



As is generally the case, there's a few questions to answer in order to claim this award. Coming from Reanna, she's mixed things up a little and of the 10 questions she was asked, I only need to answer 3 of them. So here's that:

1. Batman or Superman?
  I'm a Batman fan. Always have been. Mostly because he's just an ordinary guy who does extraordinary things. I could be the Batman, except I'm not very athletic.....and poor.....and I don't live over a cave. But still, who knows. Also, about Superman, I like the fact that his "blend in with the people" disguise is a pair of glasses.  I could do that and write a blog in a secret identity. Ken-inatractor-withglasseson. That way I could say whatever I wanted, and I'd probably swear a bit more while I did it. But you wouldn't know it was me........cause I'd be, like all secret and shit!

2. What musical artist do you absolutely hate?
  It didn't start out this way, but I have a growing hatred for Taylor Swift. They keep marketing her as this pure, innocent little song bird, yet she continually writes these songs about obvious, past lovers, and how miserable they all made her. She is/was (I'm not sure?) dating this young high school, Kennedy kid, buys a house right beside his parents, to be near him, and you know that this is all going to end badly, and the poor kid is going to end up as her song fodder. I think that's borderline stalker. She's the common denominator in all her failed romances and needs to stop making millions of dollars and fame off of the kiss and tell stories about all her guys. OH! And another thing, Shame on the Canadian Country Music Awards for inventing a fricken award to give her, just to get her to attend, so that all those pre-teen little girls who are looking up to this woman as a fricken roll model will tune in and watch! BAH!
 ................well, that went south in a hurry.
Also, I will neither confirm or deny that I actually watched a whole awards show.

3. You're forever trapped on a deserted island. For some contrived reason you get to pick two people and an animal to live with you there. Who are they?

I would pick my wife, and my dog Tuke. And Steve Buscemi.
My wife for all of the obvious reasons, and my dog because it always looks so relaxing walking along the beach, casually playing fetch with your dog.
Steve Buscemi because, while he is a brilliant actor, he isn't really the most pleasant fellow to look at. I figure if I'm stranded on an island without all of the amenities of home, it's not going to be too long before I begin to resemble Tom Hanks in the movie, Cast Away. However, even as a skinny, strangely haired and bearded, deserted island Tom Hanks, I'm still going to be a solid 7 1/2 compared to Steve Buscemi.

4. Favourite word/phrase/insightful quote? (I know I said 3, but I liked this one too, so there!)

I found this a month or two back and I keep thinking about it:

Whether or not you write well, write bravely

I've been seriously considering getting this tattooed on me somewhere, possibly my arm. Is that a bad idea?

 The last item that Reanna had asked, which was outside of the question list, was that if we could pick another name for our self, what would it be and why?

 You may not be aware of this, but my last name isn't really -inatractor. It's a name that I chose for myself, well......because to tell you the truth, I thought it was cool. Plus it sort of went with the direction that I wanted my blog to lean toward. I ended up changing my twitter name to that as well to make things easier. Originally, before I had any followers at all, and and that egg was still my profile picture, I was JDtraktorman. Yesh! I know, it really sucks. I had to use the "k" because there was actually somebody else named JDtractorman. JDtraktorman sounded a lot like a Soviet block superhero in green tights. I'm pretty happy none of you know about that awful name, that I just about was.


So, one last thing, I received this award from Kevin at Who Would Have Thought, way, way back in August and it's one of those awards that I never properly displayed.


I'm going to give this award to Reanna, because I think that she ROCKS BALLS too. The best part is that the only thing you have to do for this award is go to the site Rockin' Moma (a site that I've secretly been stalking since I received the award myself) and link your blog in the Rockin' Blogger Award section. Simple as that.

So take that Reanna! And thanks so much for the award!  :)


Saturday, November 10, 2012

#127. or, The CFR

  My wife and I went to the Canadian Finals Rodeo on Thursday. It's not something that we go to every year. Although there was a time, it was an event that we marked on our calendar and made a point of going to see.

  In fact, the last 3 times that we've gone, it's been as guests of the bank or, my John Deere dealership. Thursday, we were invited to a whole supper, with complimentary drinks and then attended the rodeo slightly buzzed on extra spicy Caesars. And then during the performance, our sections in the stadium were mentioned and it did, in fact, feel a little bit good to be part of that group.

   I know if you do the math and add up all of the money that was spent at these places, I paid for the tickets to these things many times over, but it's not really about that. I appreciate the gesture. Tractor dealerships are  pretty big these days and the same name can be found in a lot of towns, covering a fair chunk of the Province.  While we were at supper, I looked about and estimated there to be between 250-300 guests. Some of those were John Deere employees and the number of farmers that I recognized as my neighbours, was really quite small. I know that our area has many, many more farmers than I saw there, so I was pretty happy to be on the list. I'm certainly not going to be like the idiot who decided it was a good idea to wear his Case tractor hat to the John Deere function. It's going to be a while before he gets invited back. I wore my John Deere jacket, that cost me 3 tractors to get.

  I own a cowboy hat, and I own cowboy boots. I wore neither to this event. Partly because of the weather. We are coming off the grip of a winter storm here and the driving is frankly, THE SHITS! I chose footwear, that if I had too, I could walk, or keep from getting the black foot, and loosing my toes if I had to dig my wife's car out of the ditch. Cowboy boots have relatively no grip on them whatsoever, and while it probably would have increased my awesome quotient to actually show up at the Canadian Finals Rodeo in cowboy boots, doing the arms flailing, legs going in all directions windmill, as I eventually land on my ass on the ice, played a big part in my decision.

  Also, I'm not really a cowboy. I'm a farmer. Cowboys and farmers have a bit of difference in my mind. We try to achieve an end, that falls in the same general area but I think we get to that point by different means. I always picture a cowboy sitting out on a hill somewhere, on top of a horse, rolling a smoke from tobacco out of a leather pouch while he surveys his herd of cattle. I don't really like horses all that much. They scare me a bit. I check my cows with an ATV or preferably, the pick-up truck. Cowboys are rugged and tough and get a thrill out of leaping off the back of a horse at full gallop and wrestling a calf to the ground by hand, or catching it on the end of a rope in a combination of riding skill and hand-eye coordination that I can't quite achieve. I get queasy trying to play my kids video game. The only success that I've ever had with a rope is by herding the calf that I want into sequentially smaller and smaller pens, until the area that the calf and I are in are so small, that I can actually put the rope over the head of the calf, because he has no other option, as we're only 8 inches apart. Of course, I then throw the calf down in a flourish that would, in my mind at least, rival any champion cowboy.

  I also don't really have a cowboy name. I think that I might have an accountant's name. Or maybe the name of a toll booth operator. If you're going to be a rodeo participant, as a rule, you have a bitchn' awesome name. Here's a few out of the program from Thursday night line-up. Ty, there's a few Ty's in the rodeo. Or Tanner and Garret. One fellow was named Steele. I imagine if you're named Steele, you shave with a wood rasp. I saw a Zane, and a few Dusty's and a barrel racer name Trula. There was a fellow named Trygve. Trygve? If  your mom and dad call you Trygve, you wear cowboy boots even if it is 20 below zero, and if you slip on the ice and someone snickers, you just east them. Bones and all.

  The name that caught my attention though, was K's. I've been thinking of the wonderful foresight in giving your kid a name with a built in apostrophe "s" on the end. It lets you lay claim to anything that you put after it.  Like K's straight razor, or K's leather wrapped toe-nail clipper. Although, I would imagine a cowboy named K's probably doesn't own a toe-nail clipper. He most likely just has a pack of rabid wolves, chew them from his toes.

  ...........I sort of wish that my parents had though to add an apostrophe "s" to the back of my name. As in Ken's comfortable footwear, or Ken's recliner. Or, considering the weather, Ken's battery operated socks.


I am submitting this post to Dude write this week. It's where guy bloggers come together to submit posts, that get voted on from Sunday to Tuesday evening to see whose was most popular. I encourage you to pop over and take a look at them and maybe come back and vote on your favourites. 
You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK





Sunday, November 04, 2012

#126. or, The great get-away give-away guest post

126 posts ago, I would have never suspected that I would have made the friends that I've made while I've been here, blogging and sharing my thoughts with you. It's truly amazing to me at how you can make a connection with somebody that you've never actually met, in a completely different part of the world.

  I've mentioned before, (like, just last post!) that Carrie, whose blog is, Hammock in The Honeysuckle is one of those people for me. We just connected and share views on quite a few levels.

  Now, she's asked me to be a guest host on her blog. So while you're reading this, This same post will be up on her site as part of her Sunday offering on her Great Get-Away Give-Away contest. That blows my mind, that see would want my ramblings on her site, as I know it will be a step down in writing quality for her readers, but nonetheless, if your reading this from Hammock in the Honeysuckle, today you have me. I'll do my best. And I just want to thank Carrie for inviting me to be her guest blogger.

  So, as part of the great giveaway contest, it falls on me to ask this weeks question. I pose to you this:

Have you ever been on a trip or vacation that while things appeared to be going badly, something happened that changed your mind, from worst trip ever to, meh....this wasn't so bad?

  OK,  so this question was inspired by a picture that Carrie posted in an earlier question post of hers. It's from a story she told about how they made the best of a family vacation that started out poorly but they were able to turn it into something much better.

You can read her story  here


    Our family had that vacation a while back now. The kids were still small enough that we all travelled together. Like, all in the same vehicle travelling together. We had finally worked up enough funds and time to head for the west coast. It was a driving vacation and we had a small holiday trailer, that we had owned for a few years at that time. It was our very first holiday trailer and it was used, but it was still in pretty good shape and we were pretty proud of it. My wife was particularly pleased with the fact that it had a bathroom. That meant, no middle of the night excursions to find the outhouse. Because outhouses can be bit off putting even in the light of day, middle of the night outhouse darkness made her shudder. Also, the only carpeted area in our trailer was the bathroom. (you need to remember this, it comes back around later.)

  The first part of the holiday was actually not so bad. The trip to the ocean was going to take a few days and aside from 5 of us crammed into a truck that wasn't the most comfortable in riding style, it wasn't so bad. Little son was still in a booster seat strapped between the 2 older boys in the back seat. Which, while did make it even more cramped, it also had the added benefit of keeping the 2 older boys separated and from actually having to touch each other.

  So we were all excited to be going to the ocean. The very first time that our children would be seeing it. And to be fair, we were having quite a bit of fun on our way to the ocean. But the ocean was going to be the BIG THING. We were all looking forward to it.

  As we travelled, we saw and did cool things. We got to Vancouver and drove right through to the ferry to cross onto the island, despite my apprehension to big city driving. Our goal was to drive as far west as we possibly could. And as we got closer to our destination it began to rain, as is often the case on the "wet" coast. And in turn, a foul odor began to permeate our humble little abode.  The closer we got, the wetter everything we owned got, and the stinkier our trailer got.

  We had driven pretty hard to get there with the intention of spending a few days camping in the area. We found a campsite and strung up a makeshift clothes-line under our awning to try to dry out some of our clothes. But it seemed that anything that hung outside just took on more moisture, plus that foul smell was becoming unbearable. It was getting hard to be inside, which is where everyone wanted to be to get out of the rain and sleeping was constantly interrupted by the phantom stink we couldn't seem to find.

  Until it dawned on us! My wife and I were laying in bed and it dawned on us. The fricken bathroom carpet was the source of smell. Our little old , used, trailer, with the carpeted bathroom, the same carpet that had had at least a few years of our sons, plus who knows how many others, dribbling pee onto it. That mixed with the constant dampness of the climate we were in, was a terribly horrible blend. I got up in the middle of the night and ripped it right out of the floor and tossed it out into the rain. But then, I had to spend the next hour or so pulling all the staples that had been holding the carpet in, out of the floor.

  But we had enough and decided to get the heck out of there to try to salvage what was left of our vacation. We headed back across the island, the plan was, we'd cross the ferry and take the kids into Stanley Park in Vancouver. Except there was some construction and I missed the parking area turn-off and ended up being the only dumb farmer, with a truck and trailer, trying to navigate downtown Vancouver. Turning around was NOT an option. I white knuckled it and didn't stop until we reached Chilliwack.

  Having felt that we had short changed the boys out of Stanley Park, we were driving along and near Chilliwack, we passed a water slide, made a spur of the moment decision, and pulled right in. And we took the boys water sliding. And it was glorious. It was still slightly overcast, but warm and we practically had the place to ourselves. We had a grand time with no lines and any slide at out immediate disposal.

  That was 7 years ago. Sometimes, when we talk about the holidays that we've been on, our boys will talk about that water slide. Of all that they saw that trip, the ocean for the first time, the ferry trip, the fresh oysters that we BBQ'd. Of all those things, the thing they always come back to from that trip is the water slide. The water slide that we stopped at almost by accident. The water slide that we probably would have driven right passed if we hadn't been at whits end and just need a break.

  Sometimes it's the little things that are the biggest things of all. We haven't been back to that area since. Not   for any reason other that it's just too far out of the way. The kids used to ask to go back but I knew, it would never be quite the place that we all needed, just to get all unwound, the one stinky time.



  Now, there's only one thing left to do. Pop over to Carries site and answer this question and link yourself to her blog with the linky thing-a ma-bob she's going to add at her site. You just might win a trip, and who knows? Something magical just might happen on vacation to you if you, if you win her trip.


Friday, November 02, 2012

#125. or, let's dig up past traumatic experiences

My good friend Carrie, Over at Hammock in the Honeysuckle, is currently running this completely wonderful contest where she's giving away a trip.  YES! That's not a typo, she's giving away a freakin trip! Why, you may ask, would someone give away a trip when they are up to their eyeballs in stress and work (that's her) and could honestly use the time away themselves? Because quite possibly, she's the most awesome person, like....EVER! That's why!

  So how do you get in on this contest? Do you have to donate a kidney? Do you have to subject yourself to excruciating pain like the unfortunate zipping incident that I don't really want to talk about? No, all that's required is to answer a question. One answer is one entry. Each week there's a new question and each answer is a another time your name goes into the pot. Simple as that.

  This weeks question is:

 Have you had a funny or embarrassing moment happen where you thought to yourself, "If only someone caught that on camera, I'd win the $10 000 prize"? What is your cash prize-worthy moment?

 I have notoriously sleepy eyes. Also a bad haircut, but for this story, I only want to focus on the sleepy eyes.
Ever since I was a kid, I've been conscious of the fact that, more often than not, photos of me look like I've been on a 3 day bender. OK, not like since forever. When I was really little everything was fine.


 And even in about grade 4, things were still pretty good. In fact, I think that's also about the same time I peaked at my maximum cuteness. It's been all downhill from there.



  In grade 5, I knew that in photo's, my eye's were looking sleepy. I practiced in the mirror with various expressions so I didn't look like I was about to fall asleep. In fact, I still do that just in case I find myself in a photo op. I new what I had to do to give my best 1970's, Vinnie Bobberino look, in my polyester shirt. Except when it came time to put all my practice into play,  I blew right past Vinnie Bobberino, right into Marty Feldman.



 If you're in grade 5, that's a pretty tough picture to live down. When you're 44 years old, that's a pretty tough picture to live down. I had to dig it out of the back of the closet and blow the dust off it just to scan it. But of course now, it's all over the internet for the rest of my fricken life just in case somebody decides to google an image of me.

  For the last 35 years or so, at least there was a small piece of happiness inside of me knowing that there were 20 some other kids in that class who could dig out that picture on cold winter nights, huddled by the fire, keeping warm, laughing at the picture of the fool with the googly eyes. Maybe you can do that too.





Wednesday, October 31, 2012

#124. or, One over par.

You haven't been getting all that many posts from me lately. As much as I'd like to be writing, it's just been really hard the last little while.

  Luckily for me, the Pish Posh 8 Week Challenge has brought me back here almost every week for the last 2 months.

  If you read my last post, which was only a few days back, you're aware that I didn't really do all that well on this challenge. I didn't achieve my weight goal, didn't exercise or get to the track anywhere near as much as I had planned on. At first glance, it seems, that I may have failed miserably in this go round of the challenge. The same challenge, that I had done so well on, the first time around.

  It might seem, that maybe, for all intents and purposes,  I was just there.

  But......maybe that's just it? I was there. I know that every time I made a decision on what I was looking at to eat, the challenge was in the back of my mind. At the end of every stress filled day, when I'd get in and think to myself, "Good Lord, I could use a beer right now!", the thought of being in this challenge was there. When all that I wanted to do was melt into the couch and watch the mind numbing crap that seems to pass for TV these days, there was this germ in my head that I could walk or stretch or anything really, to try to make my tired body better than it is. Because I was there.

  I didn't reach my goal. Whether it was time, or stress, or lack of motivation, or a combination of all of them, I didn't reach my goal. Yet, the goal remains. I haven't given up, or thrown in the towel. The goal stands. Be better. I can't say for certain, but I'm pretty sure, if I didn't have that tiny Pish Posh, sitting on my shoulder these last 8 weeks, I wouldn't be flush. That I'd be digging out of a hole, trying to get back to where I started  to be a better me. I think that's good.

  There's some really inspiring people involved in this challenge. People that I'm proud to call my friends. New and old. Brett, who posted every day through the last 8 weeks. That was pretty incredible. Peach, whose working on hand stand push ups! (and I'm certain could snap me like a twig!) Carrie, who's dealing with all kinds of shit. Literally! Reanna, trying to quit smoking, Michelle, with no power cause she's dealing with a fricken hurricane. Pansies & Sunflowers, whose also dealing with the hurricane but also, juggling life as a single parent while trying to be healthy at the same time. Jules, who wants to drink less coffee. (but for the life of me I can't even begin to fathom that.) The anonymus DSLikesit, who made excellent progress to healthier living and his weight loss goals. Or Kianwi, who had her 5K marathon goal cut short because she has to wear a Franken-boot to fix her wonky foot.And to anybody I missed, you all inspire me to be better.

 (Just a side note, Kianwi and I are currently in the planning stages of some type of virtual Blogger 5k marathon sometime this winter. I'll give you more info on that and how you can be a part of it as we figure things out.)

  And to Pish Posh herself, who has a plate so full of crappy life right now, that I'd just like to give her a big hug and tell her that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, even if she can't quite see it just yet. She looked after us like a mother hen, sitting out in the rain, dealing with life, while we all took a little bit of refuge under her protective wings. She's truly one of a kind.

  So it's over. The Pish Posh 8 week Challenge is done. But not really. There's still work to be done. I've got a ways to go to be where I want to be. And whether or not we can come here to link up every week and share our stories and struggles, I need to keep moving, and Pish Poshing my ass off if I have any hope whatsoever in meeting those goals.

So I will. And I'll be better.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

#123. or, Par

  I'm having some trouble trying to stay on track in regards to doing the things that I need to do to get healthier. I've been trying to work toward some goals in this round of the Pish Posh 8 week Challenge, but honestly, I'm not doing all that well.

 It's not like I set myself up for failure with unachievable goals. I mean, just now, I looked back at the post that I started this whole thing with, and I was shooting for 7 pounds. Yet, I'm about the same weight that I was when I started.

  Par.   (pär)   An equality of status, level, or value; equal footing:

  It hasn't really been the peachy-ist 8 weeks that I've ever had. I've been running through them (figuratively, not literally.) with long hours, little sleep at times, and the majority of my meals eaten out of a lunch box while I drove a tractor or a combine.

  That being said, I've been reading the posts of the others in the challenge and there isn't anybody who doesn't have a struggle of some type going on. That's pretty much why we're here. To try fix something.  Do something better. Be a better person.  Did I do that? I don't know? I feel the same. Maybe a little more tired. I was able to squeeze going to the track once. Once in the last 8 weeks. But when I was there, I did a little better than I thought I would. So that's good.

  But like everyone else in the challenge, I'm aware of what I need to do. The goals are still there. Hopefully, I can get caught up with things, get back into a schedule where I can take the time to make a better lunch, perhaps eat a few more vegetables. Or maybe get to the track 2 or 3 times in a week.

 The goals are still there. It isn't my plan to stop trying when the challenge ends. I've still got targets for Christmas, and the end of January. Targets that I intend to achieve.

  But for now.....I'm par. If this was golf, that would be pretty good.





  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

#122. or, I forgot to tell you I'm finished

  This morning marked one week since I've finished my combining. There's still plenty to do around here as the ground freezes and the the winter makes it's eminent arrival. But getting that done was certainly a relief. I've mentioned before that while it's probably one of my favourite jobs that I do, it's almost certainly the most favourite job that I like to see get finished.

  September was a remarkable month for combining. It seems that there is a shift of sorts happening because as a rule, October has historically been the the month that most of the harvesting took place around here. As it was, October turned out to be rather terrible in that regard this year. Whatever you didn't get done in September, had to be stolen from the field this October.

  I cannot BEGIN to tell you the idiocy in trying to replace ones combine, the week prior to starting the harvest. I don't know whet the hell I was thinking. While the wheels started to turn on the combines of all my neighbours, I waited while they tried to find, then make the combine that I had bought ready to use. Then I had some breakdowns and just the whole process of shaking the bugs out of the thing and learning how to run this newer combine lost me the better part of a week. That's an extremely valuable week when it's time to harvest. But I thought it would be OK, because we'd have a good stretch in October and all would be well.

  October was the shits!

  I waited and waited to get back into the field. There was other jobs to do so it was busy, but what I really wanted was to be done with the harvest. It rained and drizzled and was miserable. Then, it began to look promising. And two weeks ago now, I started that big green beasty up and got back into the field. The first night, there was heavenly breeze and the conditions were extremely combiney. I was able to go until 5:30 in the morning. That whole week I didn't shut down before 1:00 in the morning.

 But there were darkling shadows on the horizon. On Friday, it was supposed to snow. And turn cold. And that would be the end of it. Whatever didn't get combined would have to be left to be done in the spring. And that would suck! Like REALLY SUCK!

  Friday morning, I had one field left to go, the clock was ticking. The fricken weather app on my phone said I had until noon before the rain would start, that would in turn become snow. So I fricken combined like I had never combined before.

  I need to stop here and say that we also had hay out that needed to be baled. The help of some great neighbours, one who baled that  hay, and one who had come earlier in the week with a combine and gave me a day, was the only reason that I was in the position of being able to be on the last field on the last possible day to combine for the year. I couldn't have done it without them. Thanks guys!

  So.....I was combining like a bat out of hell, my son had gotten off work and spelled off our neighbour that had been baling. And for some unknown reason, the weather gods smiled on me. The rain held off. He finished the hay and showed up to bale the straw that was left behind as I combined. And somewhere around 11:30 PM, I finished. I would have liked to do some sort of freaky victory dance (because every time I dance, the result is freaky) but there was still 70 acres of straw that needed baling. And the snow was coming. And this was the last day. So I sent my son home with the combine, jumped into the baler tractor, and baled straw like I had never baled straw before! Until 7:30 in the fricken morning!

  And as I finished off the last 4 or 5 rows, the snow slowly started to fall from the sky and I knew the all of those long hours and the time, and the fatigue, had been worth it because in a few hours, the ground would be a blanket of white. I went home and crawled into bed.

  Except it didn't snow. Whatever fell as I finished off and drove home was all there was. It's been a week now and still no snow. Oh, it's been snowing. There's snow in the south, there's snow in the north, but no snow at home. I could have taken my time and finished the harvest at my leisure. Because these days, it takes me far longer to recover from a week of  late nights than it did, even say, 5 years ago. When I look in the mirror, I look a little worse for wear. Tired, grizzled, and all leather faced. I can't help but wonder if there's some statistic, like how smoking each cigarette takes however many minutes off of the span of your life. How many years does each harvest takes off your life when it's all said and done?

  But there's still plenty to do. It looks like we might not be able to finish getting everything cultivated unless we get some more warm days. There's manure to haul out, cows to bring home, fences to mend, bales to haul, equipment to repair, grain to market, calves to sell, it just goes on and on. I'm happy to be done combining though.

  .............One other thing. When I said I combined like I had never combined before, I actually meant since last year. It seems to be the same thing every season.




Sunday, October 14, 2012

#121. or, Do you have something on your cheek?

  Our Little son has a tendency to talk a bit of smack.

  He has flair for the dramatic, and quite the imagination, both of which I have no idea whatsoever, whose genes that came from. My suspicions, however, lean a bit more toward the parent who spends a good deal of time in a tractor......I'm not mentioning any names though.

  Really, the blame doesn't land entirely on his shoulders. He's spent his whole life watching his two older brothers fight like cats and dogs. It only stands to reason that some of the wonderfully, intellectual insults, hurled between two teenage boys, were going to be absorbed into his brain through osmosis. And trust me, he was like a sponge! He soaked up everything. I hope that his brothers realize the monster that they've created here, and I'm certain that they do, because for the most part, his inappropriate jabs are directed at the two of them.

  So, his mouth tends to get him into a bit of trouble now and then. Occasionally, my wife or myself will  have to tell him to tone it down a bit. Sometimes though, we leave him to suffer the consequences of his actions after he's pushed one too many buttons on one of his brothers.

  Oldest son will generally just ask him to stop. But if Little son continues to poke at him with a stick, he'll get growled at, and that seems to usually be enough to calm the playing field. Hostilities don't usually escalate between those two. It's sort of like a banana republic threatening a super power nation. You would be foolish to test their resolve.

  The dynamic with Middle son is a little different. Little son will push until Middle son snaps and does something like jamming one of his dirty work boot socks into Little son's mouth to try shut him up. A couple weeks ago, he hauled Little son outside and tossed into the pool. Being early fall, it was well past the time to take the pool down for the year and the water was pretty cool. He looked like a drowned cat standing at the door wanting to get back in, but we made him take off all of his wet clothes outside before he was allowed in.

  Yesterday at breakfast, the topic of Little son's swirly came up. Now, in case you've been living under a rock since say....the 50's, a swirly is when somebody larger than you holds your head, upside down in the toilet and flushes it. Usually to punish you for some ill deed, but sometimes just because you had to wear tape on your glasses or had the hem of your pants half way between your ankles and knees. Really, I think the advent of the flush toilet facilitated the swirly, because having to manually rotate your victim while his head was in the crapper, must have been a colossal pain in the ass.

  Anyways, I had been unaware of any swirly's handed out in our house.

  A couple weeks back, it was discovered that we had a bastard mouse take up residence in our basement. That event, expedited the complete clean-up of the basement where the two older boys live. It also required a team effort between all the boys and my wife to get the job done. A lot of things came out and went to the dump. Anything useful that we didn't need any more got sent to donations.

  My wife explained that, Little son was being his usual self, and being a bit of a pain in the ass while the clean up was going on. Eventually, the two older boys decided that enough was enough and hauled Little son upstairs to the toilet where I do my business and give him a swirly. For some reason that made it worse, but I'm not really so sure why? As she was telling me about this, Little son sat across the table looking rather annoyed, yet sheepish that this event took place. Apparently, he took a 30 minute shower afterwards just in case there was any spackle stuck to the side of his head. I hope he learned a bit of humility.

   Later, I was talking to my wife about this, and asked her what she had been doing while the swirly was being applied. It seems, Little son is very wirey and it took both of his brothers to hold him in place to keep him from escaping...........

    ...................somebody had to flush the toilet!





   I am submitting this post to Dude write this week. It's where guy bloggers come together to submit posts, that get voted on from Sunday to Tuesday evening to see whose was most popular. I encourage you to pop over and take a look at them and maybe come back and vote on your favourites. 
You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK!




Friday, October 12, 2012

#120. or, Where would you go?

So my friend Carrie, over at Hammock in The Honeysuckle, is having this incredible give-away contest. She's giving away a trip! A freaking TRIP for goodness sakes! Why on earth would she go and do something like that you might be wondering? Actually, the answer is pretty simple.......cause she's AWESOME that way.

 To get in on her Great-Get-Away-Give-Away contest, all you have to do is answer a question. One question, each week, until December. So I plan to do that, because frankly, I'm a pretty big fan of trips. Especially trips that I don't have to pay for.

 Did I already mention how awesome she is?

 So this weeks question is:

  Name the top five places that you would like to visit but have never been.

 1. Bora Bora. I would love to go to Bora Bora and stay in one of those grass huts on stilts, thingys on the ocean. I think that would be an incredible experience.


And of course I had to choose the picture I found that included a hammock!


  2. Any place in Europe that has stone castles.
  3. I'd like to go to Hawaii and see the Pearl Harbour exhibit.
  4. To the East coast of Canada and visit the maritimes.
  5. This might seem odd but I'd like to visit Mongolia. There's a lot of history there and it would be interesting to visit the people that nearly conquered the world.

  This isn't a list that can be closed with just five choices. I mean, there's so many places that I'd like to visit that I couldn't include. San Francisco, New Orleans, The Alamo in Texas. I'd like to go to Cuba and tour cigar factories. I'd like to see the Panama Canal. Maybe Egypt, or Africa on a safari?  But all in all, there's nothing more relaxing for me in the world than a mile of beach and the ocean lapping at my feet.

  Someplace else that interests me is Australia. But like Rachel, over at Turtle Tracks, whose afraid of the giant spiders, it seems like a pretty dangerous place. It's almost like everything God created that can kill you got put on a list and at the end of the day they didn't know where to send them all so they packaged the whole works up and sent them to Australia. I'm not certain that I'm rugged enough for Australia?

  So, you feel like going on a trip? A trip that's, for the most part, completely paid for? Then get your butt over to see my friend Carrie, the hammock whisperer. All you need to do is answer a question. Easy peasy.

  ............Of course, you'll want to hang around and visit a bit with her. Like I said earlier, she's just cool that way.