Too Hot to Take a Walk but not Too Hot to Mow the Grass…

DSC_3831Every time I leave the house and drive past the area that the County owns outside of my fence, I think to myself that I really need to get after it and mow it down. I haven’t mowed at all this year mainly due to the fact that just as the grass started to grow this past Spring, Google had a crew come in to install the fiber cable directly in the area outside of my fence. At the time I thought it was great and was looking forward to a very fast internet but sad to say, they are not hooking up in my area yet but that is a whole separate story.

This gave me a much welcomed excuse to not even get close to the grass and totally ignore it even after they had finished, I kept ignoring the fact that the remaining grass that they had not run over with their heavy equipment was now two feet high especially with all of the recent rain we have had. I know just what I was thinking preferring to hike rather than mow the grass and maybe I was just being a little bit lazy. OK, I just hate to mow…

The mower in the garage

The mower in the garage, stupid thing…

In my defense, I have a mower and it sits in my garage most of the time. The reason for this is that when I had it out in one of the sheds with a cover over it, the rats built a nest in the motor and chewed all of the electrical lines which I was able to replace myself.

The only place I get to use the mower is, you guessed it, the side of the house alongside the road. I bought it several years ago when most of the backyard was a sort of lawn. I jokingly referred to it as a lawn but in truth, the grass didn’t grow very well under the trees, which incidentally, is why I built five ponds. I used the mower as a tractor pulling a cart when I built the ponds. I hauled rocks and gravel and even used it to tow several rail ties that I used at the bottom of the fence. I used the mower  a couple of times to cut the grass last year and that was after spending a couple of hundred dollars on it to get it to run properly. It sat in my garage all winter and I started it up a couple of times and it seemed to be OK. So, when I thought I would bite the bullet and mow the grass, I backed my car out so that I could get the mower out. I couldn’t even get the mower to turn over so I jerked the battery out and took it to the Parts store to get it tested which it did just fine. They put it on a quick charge and I took it home, put it back in and tried it again. Success, it fired up and ran like a charm for all of one minute and then it died. That is how it has been acting every time I have tried it since. There is obviously a blockage in the carburetor  as I have checked the lines and gas flows where it should. I can’t for the life of me figure how to get into the carburetor to clean it out and so now, the mower is just sitting there. I think the manufacturers have built it so that DIY fellows like myself can’t do our own repairs.

The old self driving mower

The old self driving mower

Not to be outdone by one stupid mower, I have two more. One is as old as the hills and is a self driving hand mower. I must have had it 30 years and yet it starts every time and usually on the first pull. I hit a rock with it years ago and bent the crankshaft  causing the mower to vibrate pretty badly but it still runs. I got it out of the shed, gassed it up and sure enough, it fired right up. I took it out to the street and started to mow and it died after about ten minutes. It would not start again so I took it back to the shed and got out my final mower which is actually a string mower on wheels. It too usually starts on the second or third pull and it fired up and continued to run. I changed out the plastic cutting strings which I cut to length off a big roll of the stuff and took it outside and started cutting the grass.

String Mower

String Mower

It worked just fine and I spent a busy two hours chopping down the grass. To say that I was mowing brings visions of the mower putt-putting along in neat straight lines cutting the grass to a couple of inches high and leaving a nice lawn effect. I have to tell you, that is not the case with a string mower. It does a great job of cutting down whatever is in the way including any flowers and small trees that might be foolish enough to wave their pretty heads and leaving everything in one disorganized chaos of cut grass laying in every which direction. I would need a hay baler if I had any thoughts of picking it up or clearing it away. Regular mowers can usually give a much better mulching effect because they will cut the grass several times as they pass over it. Definitely not the case with a string mower.  Cut it down once and push on.

The strings on the drum

The strings on the drum

Not only that, the mower is not self driven. All the motor does is to turn the head that the string is attached to and me and my poor body and arms and legs provided the traction. By now of course, this being Texas, the temperature had now reached the ninety degree mark and the sweat just poured off me. I have to explain that even on the riding mower and wearing shorts, the poison ivy of which there is quite a bit growing in this area tended to float around a bit after it was cut and did a number on me. This time, I dressed for it and had on blue jeans and a long sleeved shirt. No wonder I was hot and sweaty.  The going was not very even and I was fighting the terrain and getting jerked around all over the bloody place. This is why I hate mowing.

And then there is the string itself. The “string” is made of plastic and is probably .155 inch thick. You have to cut it off to length and follow the directions to thread it through the holders a special way. When it breaks, which it invariably does, you have to take out whatever is left and place a new piece in. I bet I replaced at least ten strings today because the grass was so long and  did I mention the rocks that the construction crew had not bothered to clean up? I either ran into them and had to jerk the mower around them or the “string” whacked one of the rocks causing it to break.

I finally got it all done and about the only thing that you can see is that the grass has been cut. It doesn’t look pretty but the weather forecast has some rain in it and knowing Mother Nature, it won’t be long before we have to do it again,  maybe next year I will have the mower repaired…In the meantime, a long soak in the hot tub to relieve my aching muscles.

Now should I bite the bullet and get the damn mower fixed? I swear it is a vicious circle, get it fixed, it stands all winter in the garage, spring comes, try to start it up and back to the repair shop….
Maybe I will wait until next Spring for the mower.




boy_writing_with_tongue_out-300x270When I sit and try to think
of words to write to pass the time
it is pretty clear to me
that words don’t come that easily.

I need something to focus on
before the words will finally come
and sitting and waiting here in line
is not a very productive time.

People rushing in and out
all with something on their mind
trying to do what they need to do
to justify how they spend their time.

Sitting here as I patiently wait
wondering what will be the fate
what will they find is wrong with the car
hoping it is nothing bizarre.

Or not cost a fortune
or break the bank
those sort of problems
I can do without.

All I can do is sit and wait
as they determine the car’s fate
hoping not to spend all day
wasting time in this way.

Turned out to be a simple fix
did not require any special work
no parts to buy or to replace
just a mechanic with egg on his face.

He had forgotten to torque the nuts
after checking the brakes and measuring the wear
nothing dangerous or cynical here
a simple slip up I do fear.

They sent me merrily along my way
come back and see us another day
were the parting words from the friendly guy
who had helped me as he waved goodbye.


Passing in the Street.

Neighbors Talking

How sweet it is this life we live
with things that happen from day to day
how many friends could we make
as we pass each other along the way
what tales we can tell as we pass the time
we are blessed with riches so sublime
the ability to think and reason too
and figure out what we need to do
to make our lives a better place
as we interact with the human race
love for each other as we share the wealth
of passions and feelings, sickness and health
to look out for your neighbor, the guy next door
that is what being a neighbor is for
if times are hard we should share the love
not trying to keep it all to ourselves
a pleasant smile a quick hello
“How are things today” you want to know
and even though it doesn’t seem much
what you have done adds the personal touch
as people who normally pass in the street
without as much as a glance or a greet
all feel better when you take the time
to look in their eyes and give them a smile
and to tell them in your own personal way
“Hello” and then, “Oh, by the way,
please have yourself a wonderful day”.


Thanks for Sharing

100_0229I lost another fish today but this one didn’t catch me by surprise. She had been moping around for several days and not moving much. She would not eat any of the food that I put in the pond which was very unusual as she being one of the biggest fish, was always at the head of the food line.

I decided to treat the pond with Broad Spectrum Disease Treatment in the hope of a kill or cure. Unfortunately, it was the latter although I have no idea if the treatment hastened her death. She was a very big fish, measuring 30 inches from nose to tail with an 8 inch girth and weighed in at 12 pounds. Life does not go on forever and even in these Koi that are reputed to live as long as 100 years or more (in perfect conditions) mine lasted 26 years which is no mean feat.

Fish, to me,  are not like dogs or cats and I have no special affinity for any of them. I have only one fish out of the 40-50 large Koi that has a name and that is only because she is the biggest fish in all of the ponds. Her name is “Big Bertha”. Not very original but aptly fitting for such a large fish. The responsibility of having such a big fish is a bit overwhelming as other than keeping the water and the pond in good condition, I have very little control of her environment.

This fish is now food for the buzzards and coons that haunt the woods behind my house. The cycle of Nature goes on.




Summer Time

DSC_1647As in, change the clocks one hour either forward or back
depending on the time of year
Spring forward and Fall back is how we remember
it takes a while to get used to the changes
not necessarily that sleeping and waking up are out of sync
which of course they are
but that for several months, I have gotten into a routine
now I have to change it
and in seven months will have to change it back

During World War 2, the clocks were changed twice
instead of one hour, it would be two
and it would still be daylight at 10:00 pm at night
that was in England during the “dark times” of war
changing the clocks didn’t help
they were still very “dark times”.

I read somewhere
that some states in the USA do not go along with it
They keep the clocks the same
throughout the year and the states around them
have to conform to their time
if they cross the borders.

I have an automatic self setting alarm clock
that cannot keep the time
it insists on being sixteen minutes off
and out of sync
with the rest of the world
I have tried to reset it
to no avail.

Thank Goodness, I am retired
unless I have to be somewhere
time is immaterial to me
I only look at the clock
to see if it is time to watch my favorite team
Manchester United, play soccer, on TV
for ninety minutes.

Now that I am old but not yet feeble
time is slipping away
where before, I was always reasonably sure
there would be another day
now, not so much
and eventually, it will be my time
and no longer will I care
about changing the clocks.


The Uncooperative Weather

Rainy Day fog

Rainy and Foggy Day

I wonder why it is that my mood and my energy level are both affected by the weather. When I wake up and the sun is shining, I am fired up and ready to do something, anything and preferably, outdoors.

When it is a dull, miserable, rainy and cloudy day like it is this morning, I am sorely tempted just to stay in bed with the covers over my head snuggled up next to my two Dachshunds who just love it if I have one of those lazy days. For them, it’s a way to spend quality time with me albeit that they will spend it sleeping and will only move when they get hungry. Then I know that it is time to get up and get the day moving regardless of how gloomy the day may be.

I am such an outdoorsy person that I find that I am a little lost with myself if I can’t get out and do something either in the garden or around the ponds or take a hike at one of the local parks. Sure, I can spend time in front of the computer and write in my blog or mess around with some of the many pictures that I have taken but this is secondary to my first love, the great outdoors. If I could spend my time over again, I would become a Biologist or Naturalist or even work at the State or County Parks as a Park Ranger. Instead, I did the next best thing and spent many years in the Construction and Pipeline Industry both of which gave me my share of spending time outdoors both living and working.

Alas, as I can’t live my life over again, as much as I would like to as long as I could make a few changes, I settle for gardening, tending my ponds and hiking the local parks. Staying indoors because the weather’s not cooperating only frustrates me.

Come on sun, show yourself. Cheer me up….please.


A Beautiful Sunny Day.

The Spirit.



One of these days before I get too old
I think a story should be told
of all of the things I have seen and done
and places I’ve been and the race I have run
of all of the wonderful things on this earth
the places, the people, good times and bad
the moments when losses have made me sad
of people and pets all a part of life
they come and they go each special to me
replaced by new as the old passes on
and all that is left is a memory, a song
to relate to each in a special way
will our paths cross again in some future day
who knows what happens when life has gone
we know the body does not march on
but does our spirit each our very own
continue to live in some special place
mixing with others like those we have known
in our life before here on this earth
when our spirit has a more physical form
and flesh and bone is always the norm
how will we know which spirit is which
with no features to recognize no face to view
and what form will the spirit take
the breeze in the trees the wind on my face
but wait, no face will be mine to feel
no eyes to see, no hands to touch
just a spirit stirring the trees
drifting along with the breeze.