Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Houston for the Holidays

 We left Harris Beach and Oregon for Tucson December 1st. arriving home on 12/03. The first travel day was short, less than 300 miles mostly because once past Clear Lake, CA there wasn't a good overnight spot in a reasonable distance. The second day was over 500 miles with a RON in a rest area just past Mohave, CA on Hwy 58. Third day while long was easy with all but ninety or so miles good Freeway and smooth road. 

It was interesting how much the desert can grow in 6 months. We only had 20 days to get ready for leaving again, most of which was spent cutting trees and brush back. What a PITA. 

I did a little woodworking, if you can call it that. Some friends (Fred and Pattie) are staying in our driveway and wanted a tchotchke shelf for the back of their RV.

 Tchotchke shelf in place:


We have been gone from Houston for about 18 years and I know a lot can happen over that time frame but even so I'm blown away by the change every time we return. The first is just the shear distances covered, as an example: from city center to where the Grand Parkway crosses I-10 is close to 30 miles. If I remember correctly the circumference of a circle is defined as 2XPiXR. Anyway roughly the length of the the Parkway is somewhere close to 150 miles or with no traffic about 3 hours to drive around. The other is the amount of money there, as the saying goes everything is bigger in Texas.

One last thing: the last time we were in Houston the boy child came down with Covid, this time the son in law has Covid. Last time with no vaccine it ran us back home to Tucson thru a Winter storm. This time with both of us fully vaccinated we will stay for the full time planned. 

See you on down the road,


Saturday, September 25, 2021

Booster Jab

 MsBubba and I got our third  (booster) jab Friday. I have just a little soreness at the shot location. MsBubba is another story. Like her second shot only more so this one is kicking her butt. That's the bad news, the good is it will be over soon and in a couple of weeks we will be even better protected.

Short public service announcement: Get the fucking shot. It will not only save your life but could save many others. Get the fucking shot.

Next week we leave Cape Lookout and head South to Humbug Mountain State Park for October.

See you guys on down the road,


Friday, August 20, 2021

Sweet Maggie Dog RIP 08/18/2021

Monday morning we could tell Maggie felt well enough to go to the beach. Once on the beach, as we walked to her favorite place, she played in the water like a puppy. Her favorite place is where the beach butts against Cape Lookout and forms deep tide pools to swim in, dig for rocks, and retrieve sticks. Which she did until her tongue was hanging out. Tuesday night she started going downhill. Here is a photo of Maggie in one of her "safe" spots Tuesday evening:

  You can just make out her gray nose in the hollowed trunk of the tree. The tree is next to the fire pit where we usually have our evening drinks. By Wednesday Morning we knew it was time and called the Vet. At the Vet's she lived up to her name to the very end.

We will miss you sweet girl, the best dog ever.


Tuesday, August 17, 2021


 I did a couple of short Afghanistan tours flying a Learjet for the UN and returned several times in the GIV when Evergreen had business there. I was on Bagram Airbase one time when we used the GIV to look at a penetration type approach to be used by our cargo 747's. 

The UN tours were early in our involvement in Afghanistan and it was reasonably safe for expats.  We could go out to eat and shop in the markets with little danger. In fact one of our pilots married a women he met there.

We lived in a house off the airport with guards and had a driver to go back and forth to the airport. The last time I talked to one of the pilots on the Afghanistan contract all the UN expats had been moved into a large dorm like compound near the airport that they never left except to go to the airport. 

This is a photo of the cook and the station manager:

    Before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan the station manager spent over a year in prison because he didn't have a proper beard. The cook, according to the station manager, fought against the Russians and was a very proficient killer.  I'm sure both are in danger now for no reason other than they worked with a U.S. company.

My bedroom was behind the door the station manager is standing in front of. My last night in Kabul was extremely cold. I was scheduled to fly out on the UN Lear to Dubai then on Lufthansa to Portland and the Truckshop to McMinnville. I forget how many time zones I crossed but it was a bunch. Anyway I had every blanket I could find on the bed and was still cold when about midnight I heard a whoosh boom just out side the wall followed but the rapid tat tat tat of small arms fire. The sounds of a firefight moved around the compound until almost daylight. Needless to say there wasn't anyway I was going to miss the morning flight out.


Sunday, August 15, 2021


Fat, dumb, happy, and illegal as hell. Headed to Central America in a LearJet 25D at FL450 and not a O2 mask in sight. Click it to big it and you might be able to see MsBubba in the back. The happiest times of my aviation life were with a LRJET 25 strapped to my ass. I loved that airplane, if you thought it, the Lear did it and did it immediately. No more, no less, what a beautifully flying machine. On top of that it had enough power to peel your foreskin on takeoff. If flown correctly, the thrust levers went forward two times. First time was on takeoff with power reduction to stay under the speed limit once airborne. The second time was setting climb power once clear of the airport. Reaching FL410 you started reducing thrust to stay under MMO and from then on the trust levers would be moving back. First big reduction was leaving altitude for landing. You reduced thrust to hold a 500'/minute rate of cabin descent until reaching around FL300, at that point the thrust levers could go to flight idle and if you did it correctly (mostly only possible if flying "Life Flight") never to go forward until the wheels were on the ground. Even better you knew when you lit the fires in three hours you would be standing in front of a FBO's urinal taking a leak. That airplane was a soulmate.
A few years older at the Kabul War Museum with a MIG (I believe 17) in the background. Afghanistan has handed a lot of folks their ass and a good bit of their left behind military equipment is in the museum.

 A must do when in Sturgis. Not much to say other than I was there for the 69th Sturgis Motorcycle Week.

That's it for today, see you on down the road,


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Photos For Safe Keeping

More photos recovered from PhotoBucket. The blog is a good place for safe keeping.

Isam, our driver in Khartoum, Sudan:

Isam was not as bad as most of the Sudan drivers with saying "yes, yes I know" and then driving all over the city showing that "no, no they didn't know". Khartoum traffic was total chaos with a mix of trucks, buses, pickups, cars, a few scooters, camels,  donkeys with and without carts, and folks on rugs having afternoon tea in the middle of the road, it was wild. BTW, roads were just kinda a general path going in the direction you wanted to go. 

Cell phone store in Khartoum:

This was typical of most areas of Khartoum once out of the city center.  Our Khartoum flat was in the same area as the bin Laden family compound.

Buying cell phones and sim cards:

From left to right, Isam, the station manager, my F.O. John, salesman, and Frank the mechanic.

John and Frank in the lobby of the main expat hotel in Khartoum:

After I left the pilot that replaced me and John were busted for smuggling booze from Kenya into The Sudan. It worked pretty good for awhile with over a $1000 USD profit per Nairobi trip.


Tuesday, August 10, 2021

More From PhotoBucket

Posting miscellaneous photos from PhotoBucket. 

Finial approach for landing EIOB in Sub-Saharan Africa (North Sudan) 

The street where I lived in Kubul, Afghanistan. This is one of the better neighborhoods. The fighting in Afghanistan has been going on for so long there is not a wall or building that is not scarred or pockmarked by ordinance.

Even in war zones folks still live life, sometimes guarded by a guy with an AK47. Our helpers flying a kite in the back garden of our house in Kabul.

Last for the day, UD back in Tucson sawing a dovetail:

That's all for today, see you guys on down the road.


Sunday, August 08, 2021


 Several years ago Photobucket changed their terms of service and slapped a "Photobucket" logo across the stored photos unless you paid a fee to download your photos. I figured my stored photos were lost as I refused to pay the fee. I don't know what changed but recently Photobucket is allowing the photos to be downloaded without the logo.

I've downloaded many of the stored photos. It is still a slight problem because of the extension, Gimp does not recognize the file as a photo but at least I can view the photo and even publish them. Over the next few days I will post some of the recovered photos.

Maggie in Rocky Point, Mexico asking for anybody to play her game:

Another of Mags and the Ugly Dude:

One more motorcycle photo, the bridge over the Salt River:



Thursday, July 29, 2021

Sawmill Creek and Stuff

 Is Sawmill Creek woodworking site dying? While I do not spend a lot of time checking on it every time I do there are very few folks logged in, lately around 50 or so. Of course I check infrequently and it may be the times I do check but that's not a lot of traffic.

In any Eden there is usually a serpent. Good management will take care of the problem before the apple is eaten. Makes you proud to be associated with the system.

The girl child, hubby, and first grandchild have joined us for several days before they head back to Houston. MsBubba is in heaven.

I've been looking at older 40' ForeTravel motorhomes. If we do end up doing this Guest Hosting gig full or near full time I expect we will step up from 34' to 40'.

We had a Park Host spaghetti pot luck dinner last night, what a great group of folks to work with. One of the problems with getting old is over time losing social life. Jobs end, friends die, move on, and change. John Prine wrote a song (I believe called "Hello in There") about getting older that brings tears almost every time I hear it.  The Host Family is from many walks and places and changes often but is very tight and often visit other parks and of course return from year to year.

See you on down the road,


Saturday, July 24, 2021

The Street Where I Live

 This year's Cape Lookout gig is one week shy of half over. Time flies.

Today is cold, gray, and windy. Here is a photo of the street where I've lived for the past two months:


On a normal July day the road would be full of kids on almost everything with wheels. It is amazing to watch kids as young as two pushing scooters, skateboards, and bicycles down the road. One group has an electric "jeep" that I've seen carrying seven and most had bicycle helmets on.

With retirement I no longer wish to afford the $50+ US dollars a month that Adobe charges for the "Creative Cloud". Instead I'm using Gimp instead of Photoshop and Light Room. I've used Photoshop almost from the first of the digital age and know it, Gimp not so much. If the page or photos load too slowly let me know so I can dig around in Gimp and fix the problem.


Friday, July 23, 2021

One of The Joys of RV Living

 For some reason my black water system has been plugging up every two or three dumps. Not sure the reason. Our routine hasn't changed, the TP is RV approved but it could be different, the brand changes often. Other than that not a clue. But whatever it has been a PITA.

One of the things I will try is dumping a little earlier at a little more than half a tank so I can run back wash water a little longer. In other words I'm lost as to a fix.

In a week we will be half thru the Cape Lookout gig, it sure goes fast. Humbug Mountain the month of October then November and December up near Coos Bay. We are booked to return to Cape Lookout next year. We are not sure about January to May, maybe Tucson or Texas.

See y'all on down the road,


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

A Good History Of Texas

 I'm reading Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth. If you have any interest in the history of Texas it is a great read. As I have posted before my family was in Texas before Texas was Texas and BTW it wasn't that long ago. The book is an example of CRT and makes the case that preserving slavery was the driving force behind Texas leaving Mexico and and becoming an independent nation for 10 years before joining the States as a slave State. Of interest to me as I've always been proud of my family history of civil rights work is were the early Maverick family slave holders. I have doubts as they were ranchers in the San Antonio area and the slave holders were mostly cotton farmers on the coastal bottom land of Central and East Texas. But I did grow up on the family West Texas cotton farm.

Last night we walked to the beach shortly after Sunset. The Sun was still lighting the scattered clouds and a New Moon was setting with Venus just below the Moon to the right, breath taking beauty.


Sunday, July 11, 2021

Camp Host Site

 This is our Host Site at Cape Lookout:

It is a very short walk to the beach from our site. Once on the beach Cape Lookout is to the left and it is a half mile or so walk to the base of the Cape. When the tide is out there are deep pools along the base of the Cape. The pools are Sweet Maggie Dog's favorite place to swim and dive for rocks.

To the rear of the coach is a fire ring with enough room for two couples and Maggie Dog to enjoy the fire with drinks and telling stories, some may even have an element of truth.

Living in the coach is like living in a small one bedroom apartment. It has everything needed,. About the only thing I miss is no dishwasher but even that is no biggie. One of us has to wash dishes several times a day to keep the mess down.

The current motorhome is 34', if we end up doing this full time or near full time I expect we will go to a 40 footer. It is not needed but the extra space (and a dishwasher) would be nice.

See y'all on down the road,


Friday, July 09, 2021

RV Life

 For the first time MsBubba said "it may be time to sell the Tucson house". The nomad life ain't too bad if you can stay in State Parks for a month or more at a time. 

One of the things I'm figuring out is packing for a trip with multiple stops and short stays is different from the needs when there are few moves and long stays in one place. Kitchen needs are one of the big differences. With short stays, sandwiches and a bag of chips works but with longer stays more kitchen gadgets are needed to stave off food boredom. BTW, we had great fish and chips for lunch cooked on the new from Amazon outdoor propane burner. Desert was a homemade mincemeat pie, mincemeat also from Amazon.

That is one of the advantages of longer stays and Amazon, Amazon can catch up with you and most of the things you didn't pack can be had in a day or two. For now we can store excess "stuff" under a 10' EZ-Up, next year or later this year we could need a second one for use as a shop.

The one thing Amazon can't fix is not bringing the workbench. Oh well, next year or after a pass thru Tucson whichever happens first.

See you'll on down the road,


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Wow, Just Wow

 Heat in Canada, can you believe 118F.

By shear luck we are parked in one of the few places in the West were the Temps are livable. We were originally booked to spend the month of June in Rouge River State Park just outside Medford, Oregon where it was well over 100F over the weekend. I'm not sure how hot the weekend was here but it was very comfortable both day and night. Just over the front range a totally different story.

Over the weekend Cape Lookout State Park had to close the day use area before noon and only let in new folks as others left. Many Oregon homes do not have AC and the only good options are to head for the coast or a hotel. 

It may be time to sell the Tucson house while we can.


Saturday, June 26, 2021

Maggie and Cape Meares

 While Portland, Oregon is forecast to be over 100F over the next few days, on the coast not too far West the WX is cool and close to perfect. Here is a photo of the coast to the North side of Cape Meares from close to the Lighthouse.

Maggie loves it here with daily walks on the beach. Her favorite activity is retrieving rocks from tide pools. 


She is showing her age, this my be her last rodeo.  Where before she could retrieve 10 lb rocks now about the heaviest is 4 or 5 lbs. Whatever she is having a great time and we are enjoying her joy. 

MsBubba and I got a kick out of a "heat advisory" for Pacific City when the forecast high for the day is 77F.


Saturday, June 19, 2021

Happy Juneteenth

 It is finally here. Although I've advocated for a Juneteenth holiday for years I never thought I would live to see it happen. Oh happy day!

I was first aware of Juneteenth because back in the 50's My Dad's shop handyman always had June 19th off. When I asked about it I was told Juneteenth was a Negro holiday. I didn't think too much about it at the time but once in college I learned Juneteenth celebrated General Granger freeing the Texas slaves a couple of years after the end of the Civil War.

In a just world June 19th would be on a level with July 4th because like July 4th celebrates our freedom from British rule, Juneteenth celebrates our freedom from the rule of slavery, of our nation taking the first step towards living up to "The Declaration of Independence".

Happy Juneteenth everyone,


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Camp Host Gig

I'm not sure how other states approach volunteer Camp Hosts but with Oregon it is a pretty formal process with background checks and lots of online learning. Once on the job each State Campground sets the job as needed for that Campground.

Our current assignment is Park Maintenance and cleaning Yurts after use. I have a nice "Zero Radius" mower to ride and the Yurt cleaning is about 15 minutes per. We usually spend 3 to 4 hours a day piddling at both jobs. One thing stands out, about  95% of the campers leave the camp sites and Yurts as found, the other 5% or so not so much.

One of the major reasons I did not bring the workbench this time was the time needed for Camp Host duties, it was a smart move. The Host duties take just enough time to care for boredom but not enough to be a problem and the social life among the Hosts is very nice.

For folks of a certain age (retired) it is a great deal. First, you get a prime campsite with full hookups for the duration of your hosting duties plus free sites while in-route. One of the big problems with RV'ing is both the cost and availability of parking places. Last Summer we had to move sites every second or third day and a few times every day even while remaining in the same campground. While changing sites in a motorhome is easy compared to other RV's it is still a PITA.

Bottom line there is a chance we may become "full timers" and as one of the hosts put it "follow 60F to 70F WX around the States", camp hosting where we can. If you enjoy social life and do not want the solitude of Boondocking, Camp Hosting can be a cheaper way to full time RV living. 

See you guys on down the road,


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Cape Lookout, Oregon

 When we first started planing the Summer trip, our plan was to Camp Host for a month in five different Oregon State Parks. That changed once in the Cape Lookout State Park. The Park Ranger offered us four months Camp Hosting in the same camp site.  A beautiful place with cool WX even mid Summer, no diesel fuel to get to a new camp and no breaking and re-setting up camp for four months. Yes was a no brainer.

The view of Cape Lookout from one of the cabins:

We are in what is known as "June Gloom", drizzling rain most days for at least a few hours but instead of the Tucson 100F+ temps we have temps in the mid 60's. 
We have been offered a Camp Host position and accepted a return for four month starting June 2022. 
This retirement thing ain't all bad :-).



Sunday, May 30, 2021


 Back in my old stomping grounds. There are still two days before we need to be in Cape Lookout State Park so last night was spent parked in the Evergreen Air and Space Museum's parking lot. The Museum's parking lot is a great place to almost boon dock. Last night we had Grilled Salmon, rice and a nice salad on the tarmac next to the RV.

 Evergreen was a love/hate job, I loved the work, hated the company. The flying was the most interesting of any job I had but the company was the worse managed of any company I worked for or even knew of. I flew both the GIV and several different LearJets for the company headquarters. You never knew where or even which part of the world you would be in next, many times the destination decisions were made at the last minute before takeoff or even while airborne. Dale Smith (RIP) was one of the last of the old school aviation pioneers. Dale was a brilliant innovator but a total asshole to work for, the old saying at Evergreen was "you were fired the day you were hired, You just didn't know the date yet".

If you have any interest in aviation you owe yourself a visit to the Evergreen Air and Space Museum if for no other reason than the 747 water park slide and a chance to climb over the Spruce Goose. 

While the trip up is long and slow, this time we came a different way. Up through the Nevada desert instead of either Hwy 99 or I-5 thru California's central valley and nearly 700 miles of some of the worst roads in the States. We did 500 miles the first day and spent the night in a rest area north of Vegas. The second night was after another 400 miles of mostly desert in a Susanville, CA Walmart parking lot. As bad as that sounds, it was one of the better places to spend a night. 

After The Susanville Walmart we made it to southern Oregon and spent a couple of nights in a commercial RV park next to Fish Lake, mostly so we could "dump" the black water tanks and use shore power. 

Tomorrow starts a two month assignment as Camp Hosts in Cape Lookout, Should be interesting.

Friday, May 14, 2021

On The Road Soon

There will be little or no woodworking content for the next five months. We leave for Oregon on the 24th or 25th and if things go as planned will not return to Tucson until the second week of November. Because of the length of the trip I have limited room to haul tools and workbenches so that part of the packing is still to be decided.

Over the five months in Oregon we will stay in four Oregon State Parks and Campgrounds. Two of the Parks are inland on either a river or a lake and two are on the coast. 

It should be interesting, I hope MsBubba and I do not kill the other after five months of living in a motorhome. It could be touch and go.


Monday, May 03, 2021

Saguaro Flower

 I was up and having morning coffee in time to catch some of the Saguaro blooms.

 Our Summer road trip is fast approaching, We will leave Tucson maybe as early as the last of May and will be on the road until the first of November, if plans do not change. My dilemma is do I take a bench, shave horse, or both. Then next depending on bench, shave horse or both and how much room is in the tool box or boxes and which tools can I not live without. Anyway there will be a lot of "yes but" going on over the next couple of weeks. Of course one answer could be to say "the hell with it" and buy a guitar so I can become a Rock Star. 


Sunday, May 02, 2021

Saguaro in Bloom

 Saguaro cactus only grow in the Sonoran Desert. Our house is on the edge of the Saguaro National Park, West, so there are lots of Saguaros cactus in our neighborhood. We only have one on our lot but in any direction you look out over the gully, it is covered with Saguaro's. This is the time of year when the desert cactus bloom and set fruit. It is also feast time for all the critters as well as the indigenous folks that lived in the desert. Early American Use of Saguaro cactus

Anyway, a lot of BS just so I can show a photo of our Saguaro cactus blooms on one of the arms, each arm will have a like ring:

The buds open at night to the early part of the day revealing the white flower with a yellow pollen ring on the inside. Once the flower opens it is feat time for the birds and bees. I forget to add the Bats which share the range of the Saguaro. 

The SIL wants me to make four box like things for him and he gave me the wood to use. There is no problem with making the box like objects but the wood is some of the softest Ceder I've ever tried to use.  You look at it hard and it tears out. I keep telling myself it is not furniture, just four small box like "things".


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Home from Houston

MsBubba hates to go anywhere by car or truck that is more than a couple of hours, so she flew to Houston a few days before Sweet Maggie Dog and I drove down in the truck and will fly back on the 20th. It is not a bad trip, close to my maximum for one day, about 16 or so hours if you are not pushing hard and pushing hard is difficult when traveling with either MsBubba or a dog. It is strange, on a motorcycle 24 hours or more is a piece of cake but in a nice A/C truck with no wind or noise and 15 hours kicks your butt. Go figure.

It was good to see the two peanuts that are no longer peanuts, damn they grow fast. Sweet Maggie Dog got to swim in the Gulf, I tried to deplete the boy child's liquor stock, which is impossible as his day job is selling wholesale liquor, but is fun to try. I also did most of my usual Texas food hunts, not as many as I wished but still enough to hold till the next trip.

The one downer and it had nothing to do with the trip, both the boy child who has only had one of the two shots and Abby have tested positive for Covid 19. Abby was exposed by her day care. Even though I've had both shots I will quarantine for the next 6 days.

I did bring a wood working project home, The son-in-law just installed four metal beams to hold a roof over the back patio and wants four small wooden "boxes" to cover the mounts. He had the wood and showed me his tools, I bought the wood home where there is at least a chance to project will work. BTW, he did have a chisel, a block plane of some sort, and a plastic handled backsaw for working wood. He does a good job with metal but needs help with wood.   

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Last Line Tomorrow

 Monday @ 2100 MST I start my last three day line. Thursday morning I finish the paperwork shortly after 0230 and "That's All Folks". 

It has been a long, strange, but wonderful journey starting in 1958 with my first flight lesson in a Cessna 120. The flying part ending with flying a Lear 35 from Abu Dhabi to McMinnville OR in 2007. After that flight I drank the kool-aid, donned the gray pants, white shirt, red tie, blue Blazer, and strapped a Flight Simulator to my butt expecting to only work a couple more years.  Damn that couple of years ended up taking 14. 

Was not a bad life for a dumb old West Texas farm boy, I got to see the world, most of the time at Flight Level 410 or above and M .80. Someone paid me to stay in the some of the world's best hotels, eat in world class restaurants and paid for my whisky. Of course there were a few hotels and meals at the other end as well.

I even met MsBubba in the back of my airplane, from the first time I saw her with her mop of curly blond hair I thought "That's the one for me". Then I chased her until she caught me.

More after I finish Thursday morning,


Sunday, March 14, 2021

A Pie For Pi Day

 As per the title, I made a Chess pie for Pi Day. You do not see Chess pies that often in the store or bakery but like Mince Meat it is one of my favorites. 

Maggie update, she is resting most of the time but seems comfortable with doggie smiles and tail wags. How long she lasts is unknown but as long as she is isn't in pain we will be there with chin rubs and treats.

The boy child, wife, and grand kid #2 will show up late tomorrow for most of the week. This will be the first we have seen each other in over a year. I'm really looking forward to some time with Abby. 

MsBubba got her second shot Monday and it kicked her butt, she is just recovering and now functional.


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Maggie Update

 First the good news, Maggie is OK. 

We spent the night tending her, at no time could she do more than a slight lift of her head. Anytime she tried to stand up she would fall into a loose pile of bones. By mid morning she did not appear to be better and we made an appointment with the Vet fully expecting to put her down. While waiting to go to the Vet we were visited by a neighborhood friend who sat with and petted Maggie for close to an hour. After her visit I walked with her to the street and we talked for 5 or 10 minutes. When I went back into the house Maggie was standing with her tail wagging, wanting a treat as if nothing had happened.

We went to the Vet anyway and she said Maggie had cluster seizures, with no need for meds at this time. She may or may not have more and if she has more there may be a need for meds to help.

It is good to have my shop dog back, thanks everyone for your concern.


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Sweet Maggie Dog

 Sweet Maggie Dog is a rescue Chocolate Lab who joined our family a few months after our other rescue Yellow Lab, Sam the Wonder Dog. Last year at an age of around 14 or 15 years we had to put Sam down, I still tear up when I think of Sam. Maggie is 13 years old and suddenly, over night has become unable to stand and walk. I expect we will take her to the Vet either today or tomorrow if she does not improve during the day.  

Maggie comes by her name naturally, everyone who has met her almost without exception will comment that she is the sweetest dog they have known. This will be the first time in over eleven years we have been without a dog in our life, as much as I have missed Sam I expect we will miss Maggie even more.  

 We will miss you my wonderful friend and shop dog.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Eating My Words

 With a side of beans and a little BBQ sauce they are not too bad.

As anyone who has read this blog knows I've been a pretty strong advocate of free hand sharpening mostly because of speed and the ability to sharpen all your tools with little of the monkey motion required by many sharpening jigs. 

Lately I've been playing with the Tormek and the results are really good. The big difference was after watching one of Tormek's instruction videos I took another look at the Tormek's leather stropping wheel and I realized with using the leather wheel to buff after grinding on the standard wheel followed by polishing with the Japanese water wheel I ended up with a Unicorn profile and not just a Unicorn profile but a damn sharp one.

The process still has the problem of not being usable on 100% of my tools but it gets close and some of the tools like shavespoke cutters (using the small knife jig) work much better on the Tormek than freehand. The new "77" jig puts a beautiful smooth camber on plane cutters and is very controllable with as little or much as you want. The biggest group that does not work with the Tormek are the Japanese chisels and with those I really like the look of the bevel finished on JNATS and a flat bevel anyway. So it isn't a deal breaker.

If the cutter isn't in bad shape, it is close to as fast as free hand and if using synthetic water stones I expect faster because there is no need for stone maintenance.  

Over the years I've had a love/hate, mostly hate, relationship with the Tormek and have come close to selling it many times. I'm glad I didn't. If you have a Tormek it is worth a go.


Sunday, February 28, 2021

Still Here

 This is the start of my last four weeks with FSI and I expect the last four weeks of full time employment. It has been busy but with little time for the shop, I hope that changes once March is in the rear view mirror.

Some of the things taking time are installing a WiFi booster and cell phone booster in the Motorhome. I figured both would be pretty simple, an afternoon project with plenty of time for a whisky or two. As with most projects it hasn't gone as planned, lots of butt scratching and I'm still not sure either are working correctly. 

I still haven't found time to put the greenhouse together but the other time killer is getting the spring/summer grow started from seeds. Like Guy Clark said: "There are only two things money can't buy, true love and homegrown tomatoes".

Shop things are mostly cleaning, repairing things for MsBubba, and getting all our knifes sharp. 

It is time to hang up the monkey suit and move on to the next stage of life. I've lived a charmed life and have enjoyed each stage as it happened. I expect the same from this final stage.


Sunday, February 07, 2021

Plow Planes

 Bob over at The Valley Woodworker posted a good write up on plow planes. As I replied to his post I have a major plow plane jones. Here are some of my plows:

From the other side:

From left to right:

1. Unknown Maker

2. Auburn

3. Auburn

4. Sandusky, my favorite user

5. Edward Carter Troy, NY, used almost as often as the Sandusky

6. Unknown Maker, good user

7. W. Greenslade Bristol, good user

There are several more stuck around the shop but most of 'em need work so they are good dust collectors.

BTW, click 'em to big 'em.


Tuesday, February 02, 2021


For the last couple of weeks I've worked in the shop almost every day but mostly doing house keeping and sharpening of tools and kitchen knifes. The Tormek is worth the note just for sharpening knifes, it does a great job, very easy and quick. I've also found by using the small knife jig it works a treat on shavespoke cutters. I have a low speed grinder with a CBN wheel and while the Tormek is slower than the grinder by the time you stop to cool the cutter several times the time to shaped is about the same or even faster with no danger of overheat.  In spite of my love/hate for the Tormek it is a keeper.

The woodworking has been making kitchen tools, I'm lucky MsBubba's favorite wooden tool is a very simple spatula (bottom row of the photo).

 There is a ton of work to do on the Motorhome to be ready for the Oregon trip, while it is several months away I can see a last minute rush in my future. There are also the decisions on what tools to take, which to leave, and finding room to fit the final kit. It is good the month of May is all PTO, the only question is do I work in June if called.




Friday, January 29, 2021

CoVid 19

 I received my first CoVid19 shot today, the second will be on Feb. 22nd. It is a relief, now MsBubba needs hers.

My last day to work will be March 31st. The month of April will be covered with PTO pay and official retirement day is May first. 

My program is the Old Farts club of the Tucson Center and has been very stable for the last ten years. Not so this year, most of the OF are retiring within a few months of each other. In some ways it is good because it will bring in new blood, folks that have actually flown an airplane in the last year or two and know how the current system works. The bad is a lot of knowledge is walking out the door almost at once.


Sunday, January 24, 2021


I do not rust hunt often because truth be told I have too many tools and little need for others. That said I've become a fan of folding draw knifes and would like to add one to the stable. eBay had a Jennings 10" folding drawknife with a high bid of $22 USD and just a few hours to go that looked ok, not great but ok with not much pitting and the handles looked usable. I bid $25 USD and forgot about it, I just received a email from eBay that I missed out because the drawknife went for $122.50 USD. That's howling at the moon crazy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

12:01 EST

 I know the colon doesn't belong in the time stamp but it does make it easier to recognize as time notation.

At 1201 EST/1001 MST MsBubba and I toasted the new President with champagne, followed by burning of Sage to ward off the evil spirits left behind by Trump. An hour or so later we had a champagne and Eggs Benedict lunch. I can't remember a better vacation day.

The long national nightmare has ended and it is time for the RWNJ/racist assholes to crawl back under the rocks where Trump found them. I know it will take time, it took 50 years of Nixon's Southern strategy to produce its logical outcome of Trump. I hope it doesn't take another 50 years to recover. 


Back to the shop: 

I've come close to selling the Tormek so many times but have always backed off when it came time for the nut cutting. I'm glad I did. Lately I've been playing with it and the "unicorn" profile and the results are very good. The funny part is if you follow the Tormek instructions for sharpening cutters you have a "unicorn" profiled cutter. Being male, "I don't need no stinking instructions", it didn't dawn on me that was the case until several weeks ago while bored I watched a Tormek video.


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Two OF's In The Shop

 Having a whisky with a friend in the shop. Nothing like two Old Farts trying to remember what day it is while enjoying a whisky.

A photo of the "sharpening wall". It is a work in progress but when finished will have all the sharpening tools in one place including the saw vise.

I've started using the Tormek on the kitchen knifes and shavespoke cutters, it really works a treat on both. I've gone back and forth between stone wheels, CBN, and Diamond wheels. While slower, the original stone wheel is the best all around option. As posted earlier, the leather buffing wheel with compound seems to give a "better" Unicorn edge than the soft cotton wheel on the grinder. I'm still playing with it but really like the results so far.


Everyone Needs a Shop Critter

 Sweet Maggie Dog is a good shop dog. The machines do not bother her, the only downside is she is usually asleep in the one spot you need to stand and maybe MsBubba blaming me for the wood chips in the house


I've been playing with the Tormek buffing wheel to see if it will give a "Unicorn" effect. The first uses have been promising, much more so than the soft cotton wheel on the grinder. This has caused some moving of sharpening "stuff". I now have a sharpening "wall" not just a sharpening bench.


Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Whew, Dodged a Bullet

Ran the table, whatever you want to call it. Maybe we can start the return to being who we claim to be and the vermin will craw back under their rocks. I know it will not happen overnight but let us at least start the process. It is not OK for fat fucks wearing a red cap and a "Fuck Your Feelings" t-shirt to ride handicapped scooters down the aisles of Costco. Just one of the things I hope to never see again.


Sunday, January 03, 2021

First Use of The Shavehorse

 I made a simple spoon this morning using the horse and the bench. MsBubba likes mostly flat one like this which is OK with me they are much easier to make.

I burned a big hunk of Walnut a couple of days ago with out thinking that it would have made a dozen or so spoon blanks. Of course when I pointed out we were burning over $30 USDs of Walnut MsBubba had a cow. I just had flat head syndrome.


Saturday, January 02, 2021

Shavehorse Finished

 Other than maybe a little Tung oil the shavehorse is finished and works a treat. I may need to remake the swing arm after some use, it works fine but I do not trust the Honey Locust to not split out and I had rather make a new one in the shop vs. on the road. 

The finished shavehorse:

 Rear view:

Ralph asked for photos of the metal rod (pivot pin). At the time it was straight and long because I had not sized it or shaped it.  A close up of the pivot pin:

If you do chairs, spindles, spoons, or just like to turn bigger hunks of wood into smaller hunks a shavehouse is a good tool to have. If I had been working with a better wood instead of trying to rid the wood pile of future firewood it would have been an easy, quick build and most important it will break down and store in a corner with the portable Moravian workbench.

One last thought, I've used twin swing arms and now this dumb head, first impression is the dumb head is a better system.

Friday, January 01, 2021

Close to Finished

 All the parts are made and more or less fitted, still lots of clean up to go but I had to give it a go as is. While the dumbhead is not attached and pegged to the swing arm it holds tenaciously. Once cleaned up this sucker will be a very good shavehorse.