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Just a reminder that I'm doing all of my Politics and National Defense blogging at Old War Dogs from now on. Please don't forget to stop by there when you're done here.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Who is that strange man?

I understand Kari's Christmas gift to Ian was laughing at him, the first time she's ever laughed at anybody or any thing. I was staying out of the way to let Ryan's mom spend some time with the kids so I didn't know about it till later.

I'll try to post more pictures here later. For now just enjoy these two and check out for more if you're so inclined.

Posted by Bill Faith on December 27, 2008 at 01:35 AM in Karina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Busy Baby

My hearing being what it is I can't swear to it personally but I guess those things she's kicking make a chiming noise when you jar them. She seems to like them, anyway.

Posted by Bill Faith on December 24, 2008 at 01:29 PM in Karina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

She likes me!

Of course you can't grow up in Heather's house without learning to love animals early:

I don't know why it's taking so long for me to recover from the drive down and get busy doing a better job of getting to know my granddaughter and posting more pictures of her. I'll have more up as soon as I can manage.

Posted by Bill Faith on December 23, 2008 at 08:57 PM in Karina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Thursday, 18 December 2008

I may be moving

Resolved: I will get a damned sight more respect from those around me in 2009 than I have in 2008, whether that happens in Lawrenceville or some place with a more pleasant climate.

My youngest nephew's parents have until I get back from Texas to convince him the king did not die and leave him in charge. If they prove unable to accomplish that task, I'll move somewhere where the adults are in charge.

I realize getting by around here without the contributions I've been making to the family budget could be challenging. It might require, for instance, selling a computer and some video game systems and some associated games and accessories, followed by some other more extreme cost-cutting measures. It might even prove easier to simply teach my nephew some manners.

In particular:

  • When someone is between me and some place I need to be I wait till they move, possibly after asking them to do so. I will receive that same respect. The next person who decides to just shove me aside may very well find himself dumped unceremoniously on his ass.
  • My mother will be addressed at all times in a respectful tone of voice. She's old, and some times forgetful. She is not stupid. I will be accorded the same respect.
  • My nephew will address me as "Uncle Bill" or some other term connoting the respect due an elder family member. I am not his good buddy "Bill."

This list may grow as I have more time to think about all the ways Cordell has been disrespectful over the past few months.

Posted by Bill Faith on December 18, 2008 at 11:15 PM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

I think I'm gonna re-route my trip,

I wonder if anybody'd think I flipped,
if I went on down to Ft Worth,
via Tennessee.

It's colder'n a witch's out there, with no real let-up in sight. The predicted high the day I leave for Ft Worth is 33, with a low that night of 13. That being the case, the sensible thing for me to do is to get several miles south of here as quickly as possible, then turn west. Even what I've called "the southern route" in the past involves traveling west to I-57 before I start making significant progress south. Another factor is that I really prefer "the northern route" (St Louis, Tulsa) to "the southern route" (Cairo, W. Memphis, Little Rock, Texarkana) because the drive down through Missouri and Oklahoma is so scenic. It's been roughly 40 years since I made the drive from here to Nashville but as I recall there's some pretty scenery along Hwy 41 headed that way too. I'll watch the national weather map pretty close the last couple of days before I leave but I'm thinking right now what makes sense is to drive south from here and pick up I-40 at Nashville, then follow I-40 from there to Little Rock and I-30 from there to Ft Worth. If things look bad enough, I might even take I-65 from Nashville on down to Birmingham and take I-20 from there to Ft Worth. That would add some miles but it's the limiting case of "head south then west." Note to self: Yahoo says it's 818 miles to Ft Worth via Cairo, 908 via Nashville, and 1076 via Birmingham. Even if I do go through Cairo, I'll probably go east to Vincennes and catch 41 down to I-64, which adds 30 miles to the shortest possible distance but saves a lot of frustration and doesn't add any where near 30 minutes. That makes the Nashville route only about an hour longer than the Cairo route. As anxious as I am to get to Ft Worth, I still think I'll probably do that anyway just to see some pretty scenery I haven't seen for a while. If I don't do it going down, I'll definitely do it coming home.

Posted by Bill Faith on December 16, 2008 at 12:02 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Sunday, 14 December 2008

A week from now I'll be on my way to Texas

Barring any unforeseen disasters I should be well away from Lawrenceville a week from right now. Depending on whether I go through St. Louis and Tulsa or Memphis and Little Rock, I might even be well out of Illinois. I'm past anxious to meet my new granddaughter but it really doesn't make sense to start any sooner than that. I hope the weather cooperates so I can take the northern route down; it's prettier and I'd rather drive past St Louis on a Sunday afternoon than Little Rock on a Monday morning. Right now says the weather here will be nice for driving next week but I'm not sure they really know that far out. If it looks like there's any serious chance of hitting snow and ice going down through the Ozarks I'll opt for the southern route instead.

Coming back I think I may take the southern route to do some truck stop/tourist trap shopping and just see some different country than I have for a while. If I do that I think it makes sense to leave Ft Worth fairly late in the day on Sunday and plan to spend two nights on the road home. That way I get most of Sunday to visit with my daughter and her family and drive through Dallas on Sunday night when the traffic shouldn't be too awful. Depending on the weather and traffic and how tired I am I might end up getting home on Monday night but if I don't it's not a big deal; I can vegetate in front of a computer just as well in a motel room as I can at home.

I'm having way to much fun with this "make some CDs to listen to on the road" notion. I went to the Kohl's in Vincennes and bought one of these last week and invested several hours the last few days copying old LPs and 45s to CDs, then ripping the CDs to my hard drive so I can arrange the songs the way I want to on CDs to listen too on the road. I could have bought something less expensive just to get from vinyl to my hard drive but my sister thinks the thing will look nice in the front room where everyone can enjoy it; we didn't have any good way to have music in there till I bought it.

Posted by Bill Faith on December 14, 2008 at 04:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Monday, 08 December 2008

Antsy Grandpa

It's almost two weeks till I'll be leaving for Texas but I'm already thinking of everything I do in terms of "getting ready for my trip." I even shaved my beard Friday night to make a better first impression on my granddaughter; I usually don't shave from the time it starts getting cold in the fall till it starts warming up in the spring but I guess she's worth making an exception for. I also fought the crowds at Wal-Mart this afternoon long enough to buy some more jeans and shirts so I don't need to ask my daughter to do laundry for me while I'm down there.

I don't know if I was really doing something wrong last spring or if there's something not right about the CD player in the Malibu. In either case, I ended up convinced I didn't know how to make music CDs to listen to in the car. I tried a different approach today and ended up with CDs that work fine in the G6, whatever that proves. Now I can listen to music I like all the way to Texas and back without having to hunt around for radio stations within range. Now that I know I can I'll probably spend quite a bit of time between now and when I leave copying a lot of my cassette library to CDs. says we're fast running out of good days to do anything outside. It's supposed to be clear and in the mid-40s today, around 50 tomorrow with rain almost certain, then either cold or rainy for the next 8 days. I guess I need to get the guys to finish up anything that requires working outside today, then maybe we can finish cleaning up the garage tomorrow. After that whatever's left that still needs done may have to wait till spring. That's not going to leave the garage as neat and tidy as I'd hoped but at least it will be reasonably clean for the first time in years and that seems to be the most important thing to Mom.

Posted by Bill Faith on December 8, 2008 at 01:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Friday, 05 December 2008

I th-th-hink m-m-my b-b-brass m-m-monkey's d-d-dead (Updated 12/6)

I don't know what our high for the day turned out to be but as of 11 AM was predicting 28 degrees, which didn't contribute to getting a lot done outside. Both Brians (Jr. and Sr.) decided it was too cold to work, on top of Kyle having some sort of stomach bug. Todd took some lumber we didn't end up needing back to Bridgeport for me, then we spent a couple of hours working in the garage. The place still needs a lot of work but you can already tell a difference. We're gradually clearing out a bunch of clutter that had no reason being left where it was to begin with and trying to force what's left into some semblance of order. Mom told me last night that she realized the repairs I'd had made to the house and garage were probably more important in the long run but just seeing the garage clean and tidy would mean more to her than anything else I'd done. Guess that means we finish what we've started. It's supposed to be 38 tomorrow, 31 Sunday, then at least in the upper 30s for the next 8 days after that. That should be plenty of time to wrap up everything I have on the agenda till spring. Next spring we need to paint the garage, which is three different colors right now, and after it cools off some next fall we'll probably paint the barn. That will take care of everything I know of right now that needs done around here but I'll probably get bored eventually and think of something else.

*** 12/6

I guess that monkey's still breathin' but he's definitely singin' soprano. I woke up to about an inch of snow on the ground, which melted before I got energetic enough to go out with a camera. There were patches of snow on top of the ice on the lake well into the afternoon but I didn't get the urge to venture out far enough to take pictures. According to the thermometer it got about 10 degrees warmer today than it did yesterday but it was windy enough to feel just as bad or worse out. Kyle and Brian spent a couple of hours helping me clean out the garage before they froze out; Todd was busy 4-wheeling with his girl friend and Brian Sr. is out of action for an indeterminate length of time due to a back injury. The high tomorrow's supposed to be 30 and we aren't even going to try to work. Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be warmer but it's supposed to rain Tuesday then get cold again Wednesday. Mom's already said enough about how nice what we've done so far looks that we will end up finishing the job but I'm beginning to wonder how long it's going to take.

Posted by Bill Faith on December 5, 2008 at 08:40 PM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Sunday, 30 November 2008

The most beautiful baby girl the world has seen in 33 years

The camera I sent Heather last month was worth every penny I paid for it and then some. More awesomeness here.

I really am going to wait till the 21st to head for Texas but it just got a whole lot harder.

Posted by Bill Faith on November 30, 2008 at 07:13 PM in Karina | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0)

The birds ...

... have definitely discovered that bird feeder I put up.

So far all we've seen out there are sparrows and one sparrow-sized bird I don't know what is. I've seen a male cardinal on a tree a little farther from the house but so far he doesn't seem to know the feeder's there.

Posted by Bill Faith on November 30, 2008 at 01:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Friday, 28 November 2008

Something for my grandson Ian in Texas. Listen to it here as you read along.

Leroy The Redneck Reindeer
As performed by Joe Diffie
Written by Joe Diffie, Steve Pippin, and Stacey Slate

Well you've all heard the story
About Rudolph and his nose
But I'll tell you a Christmas tale
That never has been told
Well you may think you've heard it all
But you ain't heard nothin' yet
About that crazy Christmas
That the North Pole can't forget

Rudolph was under the weather
And had to call in sick
So he got on the horn
To his cousin Leroy
Who lived out in the sticks
He said "Santa's really counting on me
And I hate to pass the buck"
Leroy said "Hey I'm on my way"
And he jumped in his pick-up truck

When Leroy got to the North Pole
All the reindeer snickered and laughed
They never seen a deer in overalls
And a John Deer tractor hat
Well Santa stepped in
And said "Just calm down
'cause we all got a job to do
Like it or not Leroy's in charge
And he's gonna be leadin' you"

And it was Leroy The Redneck Reindeer
Hooked to the front of the sleigh
Delivering toys to all the good ol' boys
And girls along the way
He's just a down home party animal
Two Steppin' all across the sky
He mixed jingle bells with the rebel yell
And made history that night

Before that night was over
Leroy had changed there tune
He had 'em scootin' a hoof
On every roof
By the light of a neon moon
Santa wrapped his bag with the Dixie flag
He as having the time of his life
You could here him call
"Merry Christmas Y'all
And all of y'all a goodnight"

And it was Leroy The Redneck Reindeer
Hooked to the front of the sleigh
Delivering toys to all the good ol' boys
And girls along the way
He's just a down home party animal
Two Steppin' all across the sky
He mixed jingle bells with the rebel yell
And made history that night

He mixed Jingle Bells with the rebel yell
And made history that night

Learn more about Joe Diffie at his web site.

Posted by Bill Faith on November 28, 2008 at 11:39 PM in Christmas | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Visitors at The Circle F

Well, not "at the Circle F," exactly. More like "near the Circle F." Anyway I stood on Circle F property and took their pictures.


A bunch of em.

I guess they were here for a while yesterday but I missed them. Today they spent most of the day here. I'm sure they'll move on as the weather gets worse but having them there takes a little, not much but a little, of the sting out of all the noise and dust we put up with while that lake was being created.

Except for some painting I think we're within about a day of having the garage repairs done. We might have gotten done today if the lumber yard in Bridgeport hadn't been closed; Lowe's doesn't carry siding the same size as Dad used and we're only replacing what needs replaced, not tearing it all off and starting over. After we're done with the repair job I'm going to have the guys help me clean out a bunch of clutter and try to make some semblance of order out of what's left. I know the mess out there bothers Mom even more than it does me and I'm past tired of looking at it.

Posted by Bill Faith on November 28, 2008 at 10:41 PM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Monday, 24 November 2008

Thinking hard about a trip toTexas (Updated)

I've been arguing with myself ever since Heather called Saturday afternoon about when it makes sense for me to head to Ft Worth for a few days. A big part of me wants to throw some things in the car and head that way immediately but I think the practical side of me's going to win out. I haven't been able to spend nearly as much time as I would have liked down there for the last several years. Now that my Social Security's finally come through that's going to change but I don't want Ian to think it changed suddenly because he has a baby sister now. He hasn't shown any signs of being jealous of the baby yet and I intend to do everything in my power to make sure he understands I love him just as much as I do her. We've been saying since last summer that I'd come to Texas "for Christmas" and I think it's better to stick with that plan than for him to think I just came to see Kari.

Heather, I'm thinking right now maybe I should get there late in the day on the 22nd and leave before too late in the day on the 28th. That would give me time to recover from the drive down before Christmas and a couple of days to watch Ian enjoy his new toys after Christmas, and would get me off the road before New Years Eve, even if the roads get bad and I need an extra day to get home. Obviously if we need to plan on different days to schedule around when other people who aren't retired have time to be there we can do that too. Let me know what you think.

*** 11/28/08

Heather called last night to wish me a happy Thanksgiving. She agrees with my reasoning about when it makes sense for me to come down so unless that's the only time one of her cousins can get off or something I'll be headed that way on the 21st.

Still more no pictures. She said last night she'd try to get some posted on her blog this afternoon but apparently something came up.

Posted by Bill Faith on November 24, 2008 at 12:26 AM in Ian, Karina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Sunday, 23 November 2008

It's a girl! (Multiple updates, bumped)

I'm going to redate this as needed to keep it near the top of the site for a while. It was originally posted at 12:44 PM on the 21st.

Ian called a few minutes ago to tell me he has a baby sister. Mother and daughter are fine. More when I know more.


Karina Faith Brinkley, 6 lbs, 15+ oz. Heather isn't answering her cell phone yet and apparently Ryan's number has changed and I still have his old one.  More as I learn more.


Karina Faith Brinkley was born Friday, November 21, 2008 at 11:06 am, weighing in at 7 lbs. even and measuring 19". Feast your eyes on the most beautiful baby girl in the world:

*** 11/22

Heather called (finally). She says Kari has her eyebrows, Ryan's eyes, and her nose, mouth and chin. She hasn't discussed it with her doctor yet but the nurse thinks her diabetes was just due to her pregnancy; her blood sugar is back to normal now. Mother and child will be leaving the hospital tomorrow (11/23). 

Apparently Kari has already started the process of training her daddy to cater to her every whim. Heather says when Kari turns her head to try to look a certain direction Ryan turns so she's facing that way, and if he doesn't she starts crying. Of course I don't have any personal experience with spoiled baby girls and well trained daddy's.

I asked Heather what I should get Kari for Christmas and she said I didn't need to get her anything since I already bought her a bassinet and baby monitor and she's too little to understand about Christmas anyway. On the other hand, I think Ian might notice if I don't buy her anything so I guess I'd better have something for her anyway. I already have a little pink mouse for her but I have two things for Ian so I need to buy something else to go with it. Heather says she's done what buying she did through her Amazon Registry so anything it says there she still needs she really still does.

I'm not sure yet when I'm headed for Texas. Heather says I can come any time I want to but we've been saying Christmas for long enough I guess I'm sort of locked into the idea of seeing Ian open his presents and it's probably better to give everyone a chance to get used to being a family before I add to the confusion.

Posted by Bill Faith on November 23, 2008 at 01:28 AM in Karina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Stayin' busy at The Circle F

Busier than I'd really prefer, actually. I'm not sorry I decided to have Todd and the gang fix up the garage, just tired. After seeing how rotten some of the lumber holding it up was I know it really wouldn't have been a whole lot longer till part of it collapsed. Before we started tearing things apart I thought all we needed to do was replace some rotten trim and siding here and there to humor my sister. I didn't realize how much of the rotten trim and siding was hiding rotten 2x4s and 2x6s. I also thought all we needed to do was replace one pane of glass in a window that turned out to need replaced in its entirety, and plane a little off the bottom of a door that turned out to be beyond help.

I think we have all the rotten structural pieces replaced now and really are down to just replacing some trim and some siding. We also need to replace the storm widow on the west end of the kitchen -- All it needs is one glass insert replaced but no one around here sells just the inserts any more.

Things should start moving a little quicker from here out if the weather holds, which the seem to think it will long enough we should be able to get everything done. Brian woke up sick today so Todd brought his (and Brian's) dad, Brian Sr. with him instead. The guy definitely knows what he's doing and doesn't have a lazy bone in his body. Today (To me it's still Saturday.) it was just him and Todd but when Brian gets well and Kyle gets back from spending the weekend at his sister's I'll keep all four of them working whenever they want to, Todd and a helper working in one area, Brian Sr. and a helper somewhere else. As Todd pointed out when I brought the subject up, when I have three people here I typically end up, at any given moment, with two working and one watching, simply because most of what's being done only takes two people.

Tomorrow we're going to make a Lowe's run, then with a little luck get the rest of the trim and siding on the garage done. Monday will be storm window day first, then on to other things. As a minimum we need to paint the trim around the doors and windows, since it's all untreated lumber, and I guess I'll have the whole garage painted so everything's the same color. I've also decided to put a layer of Celotex on the outside of the wall between the kitchen and garage, with a layer of particle board over that; it won't take too many years for the reduction in heat flow through that wall to pay for the job. The kitchen has always been hard to keep warm in the winter and maybe this year it won't be quite so chilly in there.

Time for me to get some sleep so I'm at least half way awake when the guys get here tomorrow.

Posted by Bill Faith on November 23, 2008 at 01:15 AM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Baby news, some other things

Today's major news: Heather checked into the hospital about 4 hours ago and they're going to induce labor tomorrow morning. By this time tomorrow night I'll have a granddaughter!

In other news, winter's officially here:

You have to look close, but those are snowflakes. It quit snowing shortly after I took the picture, then snowed enough again later to cover the roof of my car, the hood of Daddy's truck etc. btw, that barn is the one Daddy built in the mid-60s and no one took care of after he got too sick to; there's now one about a month old about 50 feet east of it. For you city kids, that round thing with the hole in it is a hay bale. It didn't come with a hole in it; Sunshine just decided to eat the inside first and work his way out.

It's more than a little pathetic, and it makes me more than a little angry, how little it takes to make Mom happy these days. Little things, like clean walls in the kitchen, a bird feeder just far enough from the kitchen window so the birds don't scatter when we walk in there, a door that opens and shuts right on the back of the garage so we can keep the big doors closed to shut out the wind, new siding on the garage and new studs in some of the walls so they don't collapse, the fact that I ordered new storm windows for the kitchen and promised to put up miniblinds on the inside of the kitchen window sometime soon, things like that.  I know part of the repairs that got put off around here the last few years were put off for lack of funds, but how much does it cost to wash walls? You can buy a pretty nice bird feeder for under $10.00, which leaves me personally with no excuse for not putting one up way before now.

We ended up taking today off from the garage-repair project. First Todd called to say we'd be getting a late start because he had to go to court, then it started snowing, with rain visible on the radar not too far from here. I guess we're working tomorrow, with a predicted high of 36. Kyle and Brian were planning to take the day off -- it's supposed to be warmer Saturday -- but Todd wants to work if he can get anyone to help him. I guess I'll get up and around tomorrow planning on working and hope he can find some help. I guess we're to the point now where, except for putting the rest of the siding on the parts of the garage where there isn't any right now, we could put everything else off till spring, but there are still several things that need to be done inside the garage eventually and I'd like to go ahead and get them done rather than risk Todd finding a "real" job by spring and leaving me with no one available I trust to finish things up right. Kyle and Brian are good kids but when it comes to carpentry work Todd's definitely the brains of the outfit; he's the one I decided I trusted enough to start tearing the garage apart and put it back together right to begin with.

Posted by Bill Faith on November 20, 2008 at 10:45 PM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Sunday, 16 November 2008

A good weekend to spend inside

... which I did, for the most part. It rained too far into the day yesterday to do anything on the garage-repair project, then Todd called this morning to say he wasn't feeling well. With some luck we'll get back to work tomorrow.

I did get out and around enough yesterday to buy and hang a nicer bird feeder out by the kitchen. The local sparrow colony liked the old one just fine but we're hoping the bigger one will attract Cardinals and maybe Blue Jays. So far all I've seen on the new one is sparrows but maybe with time.

I guess with the woods gone we're going to hang some miniblinds in the kitchen and on the door to the west porch. Aside from blocking a lot of wind that woods provided us with a lot of shade and privacy. Hanging blinds is something that can be done in bad weather so the garage project has priority till it's done.

If you haven't been reading my daughter's blog now's a good time to start. If she hasn't gone into labor on her own by next Friday morning the doctor's going to give her a shot to get things started. I guess she's going to make me wait till some time around Christmas to head south to meet my new granddaughter; we haven't agreed on exact dates yet.

Posted by Bill Faith on November 16, 2008 at 06:24 PM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Not a bad day in spite of the weather (Updated 11/12)

We have hay, and apparently a reliable source lined up for the winter. My first clue was when I saw Sunshine go prancing past my window like he'd just spotted his best friend in the whole world out by the barn. When I got outside to see what was happening Tom was about halfway down the drive headed this way; I'm not even sure he'd turned off the highway yet when Sunshine spotted the hay on the back of his truck.

It rained off and on all day, which meant we couldn't get anything done on the garage repair project, so I kept the guys busy doing things that could be done today. While Scotty and Kyle were washing walls in the kitchen Todd and Brian put a hydraulic closer on the back storm door and replaced the cracked plexiglass pane in the back door, both of which should make the kitchen a lot less drafty, then I had them start on the walls in the hall bath. I'll keep people working on the garage as weather permits and stay after the walls when it's too wet to work outside.

Todd and I went to Bridgeport yesterday and bought a new back door for the garage. From a dollars and cents (heating bills) standpoint it would make more sense to put in between the garage and the kitchen and move the kitchen door to the back of the garage but Mom and Vick neither one think the kitchen would look right with a different door. At least this year we'll be able to close the back garage door all the way so the wind doesn't blow through the garage so bad.

Why does watching people work wear me out like it does? Time for my nap.

*** 11/12

Another rainy, gloomy day, but we made the most of it. Mom's thrilled with the way the kitchen looks and we now have smoke alarms in the kitchen, front room, and all three bedrooms; something else she's been worrying about. If the people are right we'll work on the garage tomorrow, take Friday off due to rain, then  have good weather for the next several days, by which time the garage project should be finished.

I wish I'd realized sooner how much those dirty kitchen walls were bothering Mom. She's been mentioning them now and then for months, and almost daily the last few weeks. I think if Vicki hadn't fallen off Sunshine back in August she'd probably have washed the part she could reach right after school started, after which I think we could have gotten Scotty to do the rest of the job. I'd suggested several times that I could get Kyle and Brian to do the job but it took till three days ago for Mom to agree to having me do that. So now we have clean walls, a new plexiglass pane in the back door, and a storm door that closes itself and I don't think Mom could be much more pleased if I'd bought her a whole new house.

I think Mom will also really appreciate having the repairs done that the guys are making on the garage, although Vicki was the one that wanted them done the most. I guess my excuse for putting those off as long as I did was not knowing who I could get to do them, on top of not realizing till we started tearing things apart how much the repairs needed done. Chad supposedly knows enough about carpentry work that he and Brad could have done the job but after the disappearing act they pulled on me right after Memorial Day I'm not sorry I didn't have them start on it. Todd has turned out to be a godsend. Until I needed someone to haul lumber so we could build a barn I didn't even realize Brian had a brother and after we got started on the job it became pretty obvious that Todd really did have carpentry experience. Even at that it took me a few days after the barn was done to think of having him fix the garage. At least I thought of it eventually. When I first discussed the job with him I thought we just needed to replace some trim and a little bit of siding but when we started pulling that off we found rotten studs behind it. Vicki may have really been right that we were in danger of the garage actually collapsing if we'd waited too much longer to have repairs made.

After the garage repairs are done I need to do some checking, or have the guys do some checking, into replacing some broken and missing storm window panes, or entire window assemblies in a couple of cases. I know it would bring our heating bills down some if some of our windows kept heat in better, I just don't know whether I can afford to have them fixed up. Neither Lowe's nor Home Depot list storm windows on their web sites so I can't even get a ballpark feel for how much money I'm talking about. I guess what I should probably do is go to the lumber yard in Bridgeport (Leggitt's, where Todd took me to buy a replacement door and a replacement window for the garage) Friday and see what they do or don't have.

Posted by Bill Faith on November 11, 2008 at 08:14 PM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Sunday, 09 November 2008

Ready for winter, I hope

Tonight I find out whether that freeze-proof hydrant I bought for out by the barn lot really works as advertised; says it will get down to 25 before morning.

Matt (my brother in law) crawled under the edge of the house this afternoon and wrapped heat tape and insulation around the water lines under the hall bath. They've frozen a couple of times every winter for the last few years but money was tight enough we just had to live with the situation, not to mention the fact we tore the insulation off of some of them last summer looking for the best spot to tie in the line for the hydrant. He also put some insulating board ("blue board") over the opening to that area for the first time there's been any there in years so maybe he won't have to crawl in there with a hair dryer when we have a serious cold snap like he has in the past.

The guys took the day off except for a couple of Lowe's runs. First they went after some material for the garage-repair project, then when they got here we sent them back after the blue board; nothing like planning ahead but I didn't know Matt wanted anything and he didn't know they were going there before they came here today. I got out and around long enough to buy some things at Ace and Wal-Mart but other than that and taking Sunshine some munchies I sat on my butt inside all day.

I need to have the guys help me take the air conditioner out of my window sometime soon but it can wait till the garage project's finished. We also have a Martin house to put up when we get around to it.

I've seen birds eating from the new bird feeder a couple of times but both times they've left as soon as they've realized there was anyone in the kitchen. Anyhow they know it's there.

Posted by Bill Faith on November 9, 2008 at 10:48 PM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Saturday, 08 November 2008

A milestone at The Circle F

Sunshine went in the barn on his own! One time a few days ago he followed me into the barn in hopes I had food in my pocket, and he goes in without hesitation when we take him his corn and sweet feed, but today was the first time anyone's seen him go in with no one in there or headed that way. Brian and I were out by the picnic tables trying to figure out how to mount a Martin house to a pole that wasn't designed for it and I looked over toward the barn lot just in time to see Sunshine stroll in to the barn just like it was the most natural thing in the world. He didn't stay long and I suspect he may have just been checking to make sure his feed bucket was really still empty but it's a start. Maybe he'll eventually catch on that it doesn't rain in there and it's warmer in there than out in the open on windy days.

Between the cooler weather and the time change the guys have only been putting in about four hours a day on the garage project (replacing some rotten lumber in the walls) but things are going more quickly than I was afraid they might. They're going to Lowe's after more material tomorrow morning, then if the weather's as bad as the forecast says it may be I think that may be all that happens tomorrow. The predicted high tomorrow's only 44, with wind to go with it, then it's supposed to get up into the 50's Monday and even up into the 60s later in the week. I've told them I'll leave the choice up to them but it would suit me just fine to spend the day inside.

Posted by Bill Faith on November 8, 2008 at 11:48 PM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Thursday, 06 November 2008

No rest for the weary

Not that I have any excuse to be tired, other than the fact watching people work wears me out. Today I didn't even do that, just a brief conversation with Todd and a little bit of shopping. Rain is a good excuse for just spending a day inside.

I guess I'm going to trust Todd to know what he's doing and have him and Brian and Kyle do some repair work on the garage. I'm not sure if there were termites involved at some point back the line or if the lumber just rotted but the the support joists on either side of both doors and some in the walls need replaced.

I guess I'm also going to have the guys get rid of a bunch of trash for me that accumulated in a pile out by the woods over the years because there wasn't money available to have it hauled off. With the woods gone it sticks out like a sore thumb and it needs to go somewhere.

Brian and Todd, and Kyle if he makes it back from his sister's in time, are supposed to be here at noon tomorrow to put up Mom's Martin house and get started figuring out exactly what needs done to the garage. I'll have them put my lawn chair in a convenient location so I can get tired watching them work as usual.

Posted by Bill Faith on November 6, 2008 at 09:57 PM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Wednesday, 05 November 2008

Saying goodbye to Summer

If the people are right today was the last really nice day this year for being out and about. We observed the occasion by spending some time out back letting Sunshine graze some grass he doesn't normally have access to. Normally that area is reserved for weenie roasts, etc but the main pasture's getting pretty picked over. We supposedly have hay on the way but there was apparently some confusion about who was supposed to bale whose field and it isn't here yet. (Personal to my daughter: I talked to your Mom and she says that at least for now there's no danger of having to sell Champ over the hay situation. There's plenty to go around, it just took some doing to figure out how to get some of it down here.)

At least till the guy who owns that area behind us actually finds buyers for some of the lots he hopes to sell off we're going to have a nice view back that way, even if we did get real tired of the noise for a while.

Would you believe I actually made it down to the edge of the lake, up the hill to that fence row on the right, and back to the house under my own power? I owe that horse big time. On my last VA visit my weight was just under 200 lbs and my blood pressure was well down into the healthy range. At the rate I was going last summer, before Sunshine needed a new home, I'd have probably been up to around 270 lbs by now and barely capable of waddling around the house.

With the barn done, the hydrant hooked up and hay lined up I guess The Circle F is ready for winter. Now it's time to get on with some other things I didn't consider as urgent. Come to find out when I finally got around to asking, Mom was missing having a bird feeder where it can be seen out the kitchen window and a Martin house out in the pasture (Sunshine ran into the pole the old one was on and it hit the ground in pieces).  So, as of this afternoon we have a bird feeder again -- Maybe the birds will realize it's there soon -- and I have a Martin house in the trunk of my car waiting for Kyle and Brian to help me put it up. I guess we're going to put it out near the old barn where the pole won't cause Sunshine any more problems. If I can get Todd involved and the weather cooperates I also want to get some repairs done on the garage before winter. For now Kyle's out of town for a few days and things are on hold till he gets back.

Posted by Bill Faith on November 5, 2008 at 11:45 PM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Friday, 31 October 2008

Almost done at The Circle F

Finally, eleven days after my sister started making phone calls for me we got plumbers out here this afternoon to hook up the freeze-proof hydrant out by the corner of the barn lot. No more carrying water in buckets when the faucet in the garage freezes like it does a few times every winter. Just walk out to the back of the back yard, hook a short hose to the hydrant, fill Sunshine's water tub, turn the hydrant off, unhook the hose and drain it, and that's it.

Kyle and Bryan put a primer coat on the barn roof yesterday then came back today and put a coat of white semi-gloss over it. Up till yesterday I was thinking about painting the whole barn before the weather gets mean but the gent at Ace says paint won't stick to treated lumber till it's had a year to age and dry out. By that time I may be so used to how the barn looks without paint on the walls that I decide we don't need to do anything. The walls are made of the same 1x6 lumber as we used for rails on the wood fence around the pasture and I don't think there's probably any reason to paint them at all except just to make the barn prettier.

Posted by Bill Faith on October 31, 2008 at 10:59 PM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Monday, 27 October 2008

Ever see a better looking young man?

My favorite grandson, Ian. When his little sister's born next month she'll be my favorite granddaughter.

Posted by Bill Faith on October 27, 2008 at 11:34 PM in Ian | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Slow Sunday at The Circle F

My nephew Scotty brought his friend Nicole and her son Jack out for a while this afternoon. They can hang out around here anytime they want as far as this old dog's concerned. (That's a hint, boy.) Cadby Cat agrees:

Somebody finally found a use for that little table under the fort:

Can't be up on those high places without a safety line:

Of course swings are lots of fun too:

Posted by Bill Faith on October 26, 2008 at 10:26 PM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Saturday, 25 October 2008

I guess winter is coming

I don't know why the trees in our yard aren't doing anything yet; I thought sure my favorite Red Maple would be changing by now. The tree in the picture is about 100 yds. north of the house. says it's going to start freezing at night about Monday night; I hope that doesn't mean a bunch of our trees go straight to brown without getting pretty first. I guess we'll know soon.

Posted by Bill Faith on October 25, 2008 at 10:20 PM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Friday, 24 October 2008

I think the barn's gonna work out OK

I had my doubts for a couple of days but I think maybe the rain last night and this morning helped. When I was out there yesterday the place smelled like sawdust and new wood . Today not so much.

Before today, the only two times Sunshine had been in the barn he had to be bribed with munchies (corn and sweet feed mix), hesitated at the door even knowing there was food inside, then backed out the way he came as soon as he was done eating. Comparing his length with his head down to eat to the front-to-back depth of the barn left me thinking maybe the barn needed to be a little bigger in that dimension, lengthwise, or both.

I sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee this morning and decided maybe it wouldn't be too tough to tear one end out of the barn and move it 4' farther from the other end. (Moving the front or back wall would be a major undertaking, basically amounting to tearing the whole barn down and starting over.) When I went out later to refresh my memory about how we'd done some things Sunshine convinced me there wasn't a problem after all. When he saw me headed toward the barn he came galloping up across the field, apparently assuming I was bringing him his daily munchies. After he realized I didn't have anything with me we stood and visited for a little bit, then he followed me into the barn with no hesitation of any sort at the door. We visited in the barn for a while longer (farther into the barn than he'd ever been before) then he followed me out the back door; now he knows it's possible to walk through the barn instead of just going in long enough to eat and backing up to get out the way he came. At that point I decided he'd earned his daily treat, came up to the house to get a coffee can full of munchies, and headed back to the barn. Again he didn't take any coaxing to walk right in. I squatted against the wall at the other end of the barn while he ate, then when he was done he came over to see me. I rubbed his neck and talked to him a while longer, then when I went out the back door he did a U-turn inside the barn (the first proof I'd had that he could) and went out the front door.

Conclusion: The barn's big enough, but I'm still not certain he'll take advantage of it for anything but eating. Maybe if we keep feeding him there he'll eventually come to think of it as a nice place to be, maybe he won't, but I've done all I can.

I wanted to get the water line to the freeze-proof hydrant hooked up before our first freeze but that's looking like it's not gonna happen. I knew we were gonna be calling in close anyway due to not having money for a plumber till the first of this month and my sister not feeling well for a few days. Then we lost three more days waiting for a guy to call back, only to find out he was just ready to leave town for about three weeks to go meet his new granddaughter. (The nerve of that guy! Packing up and going on vacation just because he has a granddaughter he hasn't met!) It sounds like we have someone else lined up but it's going to be Monday at best before we can get the work done and it's supposed to freeze Monday night. If I have to live with a few more days of having to disconnect hose at nigh and reconnect them to water the horse the next day I can but we definitely need the hydrant hooked up before it starts being very cold out during the day.

I think maybe when we get the hydrant hooked up I'll finally be done working outside except for taking Sunshine his daily munchies and keeping him watered when it gets cold enough no one else wants to.

Posted by Bill Faith on October 24, 2008 at 05:02 PM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Warning: Formatting problems ahead Fixed, I think.

(Written 2008.10.13, postdated. Details below the jump. --- Updated 2008.10.23)

Continue reading "Warning: Formatting problems ahead Fixed, I think."

Posted by Bill Faith on October 23, 2008 at 01:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Look, ma! It's a barn!

Watching people work wears me out. Think I'll take tomorrow off.


btw, I guess the machine I bought at Rent One last January is up and running at Brian's and the one my sister bought there about 3 weeks ago is now in Scotty's room. I think when everyone thought the one I bought last January was messed up the problem was a bad USB port, which since the mouse was attached to it caused the computer to not respond to mouse movements. I gave Brian an adapter I had lying around so he can plug a USB mouse into the PS/2 mouse port on the computer, which may have been all we needed to do when we thought the thing was acting up. Brian's a good kid and he and Scotty have been good friends just about forever so I don't feel too bad about the situation.

Posted by Bill Faith on October 22, 2008 at 07:14 PM in Around our place | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Baby Registry

I guess I'll mention in case anyone's interested who didn't get Heather's email that she's established a Baby Registry at

Did I mention my little girl's getting ready to have a little girl for me to help spoil rotten?

Posted by Bill Faith on October 21, 2008 at 11:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)