The Dog's Pajamas

We've always had a battle with our Brat, SparkyBear. It took us seven years to figure out his game plan. Although we put in a dog door so that the 'boys' could go outside any time they needed to, "somebody" always left a puddle on the floor during the night. We scolded, we rolled up newspapers and spanked, we threatened, we consulted the vets, the doggie books...we tried everything, and MarkyBear was getting pretty darned angry about it. I waved paper towels in front of both of their noses to try to shame them, but neither bought into it. MarkyBear always acted insulted and sulked after the daily confrontations. FINALLY we watched what was going on with these dogs.
MarkyBear is the "little" warrior. He'll take on anybody who he deems as posing as a threat to his family; he's faithful and loyal to his "pack". Not man nor beast dare tread on his turf uninvited. I've seen him chase off dogs five times his size! BIG dogs. He's constantly patroling his 'beat'. He still wears a limp even years after his confrontation with a squirrel, when he got a 'war injury' because his hip went out chasing the darned thing. But his heart will carry him farther than his legs will. He will run like a shot way out onto the far side of the yard after somebody before he realizes "Owww", usually after all the barking is done and the business at hand has been taken care of, then he heroically hobbles back to the house to see if his "Mom" has a pat on the head for him for a job well done. Day or night he's on the job. Many times in the middle of the night, even if he's sound asleep and he hears anything, whoosh, he's outa the dog door with his "Semper Fido" attitude. Whoever or whatever's out there better looooook out, cuz he will bite!
On the other hand, Cappy calls SparkyBear our little ambassador; he loves everybody. He'd happily go off with anybody. I don't know how many cars he's jumped into when people have stopped by to visit. He's been in the UPS truck on several occasions trying to 'talk' the guy into taking him for a ride. The dog just loves people. But animals...not so much. One time he barked at a dog who was way up the street. The dog came running, the closer he got, the bigger he was and chased him right into the dog door. Scared the heck outa him, and musta 'traumatized' him, because now he waits in the house to see 'what' MarkyBear is barking about before he'll venture out. He 'waits' on top of the back of Cappy's chair. So...Finally, I noticed that he won't go out the dog door at night. He'll stick his head out and kinda look around, but then decides he doesn't have to 'go'. Mystery solved. Cappy told me to go buy a pair of sweatpants and cut the legs to make 'pajamas' for SparkyBear. I read somewhere dogs learn quickly not to pee in their pj's because it gets cold. And it's true. He did it a couple of times then decided in that little doggie brain of his that's it's better to 'hold' it. Now before we go to bed, I turn on the outside light for him and let him out the front door. He goes right on out and takes care of business, then I call him and tell him to come get his pajamas on. We spoil our dogs rotten, but you know that by now. I sing him this silly song as I get him dressed for bed, "Get your pajamas on, you dirdee little Amazon, duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-DUT AND..!!!" to which Cappy always says, "You're weird". Yeah, I know.
If that's not bad enough, we cook for our dogs. We COOK for our DOGS. It all started last year with that Chinese dog food poisoning. When we got over the scare, we put them back on regular dog food. About that time their skin rashes and infections came back, which we had been fighting tooth and nail. The vet put them on special dog food, some kind of hypo-allergenic stuff and charged us ...holt onto your hat...$93 for a twenty pound bag. I don't think so. We took them back to their original vet who lives way farther away, but she knows these guys really well. When I mentioned the high price of dog food we were charged, she resignedly nodded her head and said, "Yeahhhhh, that's what they are charging now; it's terrible. A lot of people are cooking for their dogs". Really??
Full time?? So we went back to cooking up big batches of what she told us to cook , making sure they are having a balanced diet, and vitamins. Boy! Their coats got all healthy and more importantly, so did their skin. We actually have fun cooking for them and freezing up big batches. You also must know that Cappy and I love to cook in general, anyhow, so this is just another 'adventure'. The other day while Cappy was working on that muscadine jelly project, I decided the dogs needed something harder to chew on for their teeth, so I found a recipe for dog bones. Since SparkyBear is always interested and watching everything we are up to, he was already in the chair, which Cappy had brought into the house for just that purpose; he wanted his dawg to have a comfortable chair to sit in while he 'helped' us, so I let him "help" me make his and MarkyBear's "cookies". I let him lick the spatula (which went into the dishwasher later in the STERILIZE mode).

Yes, they're spoiled and we're both a little weird about our little family. We were all excited for a few weeks, tho, thinking we had somehow accumulated a family of kittens. They had come at the right time and had done a marvelous job of erradicating some mice and a couple of rats who thought they could just move in. Cappy had always told me that we were never going to have a cat..."No cats in the house!!!" He didn't have to tell me twice. But he told me thousands of times over the last 8 years. "NO CATS EVER!! And I mean it!" Our dogs, Bichons, are notorious for loving cats. One used to come visit SparkyBear everyday when he was about one years old. She'd rub against him and roll around and play with him cuffing gently at him. He loved her. We called her Chatterly. Chat, being French for Cat, and she being our dog's Lady Cat friend. But she 'up' and disappeared. One day she was rubbing up against Cappy's leg while he sat on the porch swing secretly smiling fondly at her and the next day she was gone.
Now as to the new batch of kittens and their mother, I was excited and so, of course was SparkyBear, and I was aware that even Cappy seemed happy and excited about it, too. They were making themselves at home behind our shed, where the dog's battery collars wouldn't let them go. So they had a safe haven. Cappy told me to feed them a can of salmon every other day so that they'd stay around, but still hunt mice for a living. MarkyBear sat at rapt attention the whole time for hours every day, barking merrily at them (not the whole time). They knew he couldn't get to them, so they seemed content. The dog in the back yard adjacent to ours wasn't allowed to bark at them. He wears a collar that keeps him from barking. Maybe MarkyBear's barking bothered those people, I don't know. Cappy and I kept making MarkyBear "give it a break" and come back into the house. Cappy told me that there were two black kittens and he named them "Midnight" and "Jet". The little grey one he named "Smokey", the orange one he named, "Satsuma" and the multi-colored mother cat, all black and grey and orange splotches he named "Barbie-Q". We were all thrilled and excited. I planned on letting them get to know us, then one by one, bring the dogs out to meet them, which would take some time. Cappy said that sounded like a good idea. The little gray one let me stroke his head one time and Barbie-Q came and laid down by the food pan and 'talked' to me, but I didn't try to pet her. I didn't want to rush things. They had been there under our shed and in the thicket of our "Blues garden" since their birth. Brett, our young neighbor who mowed our lawn told Cappy about them weeks and weeks ago. Barbie-Q had chosen to raise her family in our yard under our shed. They lived here.
The next day MarkyBear sat there most of the day watching around the shed for them. I took salmon out and called, "Kitty-kitty" as usual, but nobody came out to eat. Smokey was usually the first one out. Cappy and I kept going out to check all day, too. Nothing. Nobody was home. Oh noooo. Not again. Cappy said somebody must have set one of those 'friendly traps' and taken them all away. How mean. I'm still tempted to call the animal shelter and ask if anyone has turned them in, and if so, tell them, "Those are OUR cats!!!" But honestly, I don't think that's what they did with them. It costs a lot of money to take even one animal to a shelter. We learned from our experience with Raliegh-Raliegh, our Katrina rescue dog. (you can search our blog to see how very, very nicely that turned out)
So, we are 'cat-less' again. Maybe for the better. I was already starting to wonder how I'd manage a family of kittens and their mother during this hurricane season if we had to evacuate.
Well, I see that the dogs are ready for bed. Actually, MarkyBear has already gone to bed in the dark bedroom, one ear left on high-alert, no doubt. SparkyBear is still 'hanging' with me, with his pajamas on, the dirdee little Amazon, but he's having a hard time keeping his eyes open. Guess I'll go get mine on and join them. G'Nite Yalllll :-)


Why Dad Always Said, "OHHHhhh, You KIDS!!! You're Enough to Make a Preacher Swear." (>:-(

In an earlier post titled, "Them's the Brakes" I reminisced about the cars that my Dad and Grandma had. It brought back some memories for my brother as well. He wrote his memories about Dad's old dark green Packard, and here's what follows...but wait; before I do that, here's a old photo of my brother, who is Dan or "Sam" to the rest of the world, but to me he's Butch. Alongside him is Bev, our aunt. We are all about the same age. My poor Dad and Grandma tried riding herd on us and Butch's band of "hooligan" buddies. Grandma especially despised my brother's best buddy Smitty, whom she considered to be 'weasily' and called him "Smithy!", and always with disgust. I'll just give you one reason why.
As young teenagers, my brother and Smitty had gotten into some kind of mischief, so Grandma banned Smitty from coming to the house or having anything to do with my brother. Whenever he called the house, Grandma would slam the phone on him and say through gnashed teeth, "Oh, that was that Smithy!!" She thought she had the problem taken care of. One cold winter's night, with a houseful of Holiday guests and family, everyone was sitting around the family's antique round table in the dining room, which was covered with Grandma's fancy white crochet'd tablecloth, laden with a wonderful bounty, and everyone was making merry. The lights from the dining room shown out through the many windows onto the big white snow drifts which had blown in close to the house, like a big, soft, thick blanket. Grandma was in her glory with her children, grandchildren and loved ones all around her. She was having a wonderful time.
...but unbeknownst to her, out in the dark, on the far side of the house, 'weasily' Smitty, shinnied himself up onto the porch roof, then quietly eased his way along 'til he came to Bev and my bedroom window, tried it, but couldn't get in, then came to Grandma's window...and God was merciful to Smitty that night because he couldn't get into her window, either. So now he was up on the roof...how to actually get in?? My brother's window was on the other side of the house with the big tall, slanty roof in between. Maybe it was because Smitty was wiry, that Grandma had gotten the mistaken notion that he was (forever emblazoned into her brain), "weasily". Well, he easily hoisted himself up onto the roof and his footing was as sure as ever. So very stealthy he was. He decided that the best way to access my brother's room was to lie down on his stomach, lean over the edge of the house and tap on my brother's window to get his attention, for my brother to sneak downstairs and they'd be off...or some such quickly hatched plan. But first up there in the icy-cold darkness, he needed to get Butch's attention.
Downstairs in the warm dining room, along with the rest of the family, my brother sat eating a piece of Grandma's most luscious cherry pie, and laughing at the usual jokes with the rest of us. Giggling, Grandma reached over and delicately picked up one of her buttery flakey homemade biscuits from a platter that was overrunning with them, and took a big mouthful of the yummy thing, when suddenly we heard upstairs over our heads a tremendous thudding, and a shreiking, wailing sound then something lit up as it passed by the windows. In the brief second it took for the thing to whoosh past from the top of the window, we could all see 'somebody' upside down, facing us, spread-eagle, eyes bugged to 'un-human' proportions and mouth horribly agape. Whoever it was landed headfirst in the deep snow drift, so that all that could be seen of them was their artic boots sticking up out of the snow. Grandma pointed and shrieked, "That's Smitheeeee!!!" spraying the table and everyone with biscuit crumbs. By the time she'd gotten to her broom to chase him off, as everyone gawked out the window, he had slithered outta the snowbank and was nowhere to be found.
So there you have it; just one reason why Grandma hated "ol' Smithee".
And now to my brother's story, in which you will see the wiley "Smitheee" is still to be found helping to make mischief. This story apparently took place while Dad and Grandma were away visiting or leaving the house just long enough to go get groceries, but...just long enough.
My brother writes:
Dad had finally given me the keys to the old Packard. He told me there might be enough gas in it to get it to a gas station, which made absolutely no sense to me. I had no drivers license and the car didn't have any license plates or registration. How was I supposed to get gas??? Anyway, I figured it should have enough gas in her for a couple of laps up and down the road to see how much juice she had left in her, 'cause Dad never drove her over 45, or at the most 50.
Of course, Bev begged me to be the first to drive it, so I told her she could...but only once!
It seems as though we started picking up people with every lap we took up or down the road. At first it was only Smitty, Ted White who sat in the back and me up front in the passenger seat with Bev driving. At the top of the hill at East State Street by the bridge, we picked up Lory Shumway, who just happened to be walking along toward the public swimming pool, which was just on the other side of the bridge. He spotted us, put a smirk on his face and stuck out his thumb, saying he needed to hitch a ride to the swimming pool. Well, the poor fool didn't realize the ride he was in for! Just moments earlier, he had been just walking along in flipflops, with no shirt, and was wearing his swimsuit on his head. I scooched over next to Bev and let Lory in beside me in the front seat.
We all got to joking around, urging Bev to make the ol' girl go faster! Bev said that she was pretty darned good at shifting a column shifter because Grandpa Ludwig, her Dad, used to let her sit on his lap while he drove, and left her shift the gears...so she claimed. (Grandpa had passed when we were still little kids...Peg and Bev were 9 years old at the time.)
Well...we made our first lap (with everybody in the car) in good shape, with Bev managing to actually shift from first gear to third gear after winding it all the way to 45 mph in first. Did I mention that the muffler fell off just below the family sign shop about halfway between it and Clarkies "house" at the end of our short road?
On the second 'lap' up the road, Bev found second gear and laid a 'patch' in front of the old hide house, managed to hit third gear on the flat ground just before the steep rise up at (busy) East State Street, where she slammed on the brakes, throwing Smitty and Ted White up over the front seat, into Lory and me, then falling again into their respective places in the back seat. We were laughing so hard our ribs hurt, but Lory was begging to be released right there; however Bev had other plans. She jammed the ol' gal into reverse and did a reverse "U-ee" out onto the levee, then put 'er in second, stalling her, when you (me..."Pegody")came running out waving both your arms, yelling that you wanted a ride, too. (I do NOT remember doing this, but will go along for the ride, sez Pegody;-) Before Lory could escape, Bev stopped and you crammed in, in the back beside Smitty and Ted, then off we went!
This time Bev hit all three gears inside of 6 seconds and we got good air as we launched over the small hill in the road between our house and our sign shop, landing well beyond it, with sparks flying from underneath. Bev got the swerving thing back under control just in time to avoid hitting the huge trees and bushes that hid Clarkies "house" as we slid up his driveway and came to a screeching halt right at the foot of his house. After the dust settled, we sat looking face-to-face with three ladies of the evening and Clarkie, who were lounging on the front porch, taking in the air. They sat there emotionless, blinking and staring at us, until Bev somehow got the Packard into reverse again, accidentally honking the horn in the process, which brought everyone on the porch to their feet.
We left in a cloud of dust in reverse...all of us howling with laughter, then Bev swung the old girl in another quick "U-ee" at the turn around below the sign shop.
For lap number three, Lory Shumway was hanging halfway out of the passenger side window yelling and waving his arms, bawling and blathering for help, when we started to take the small hill in front of our house again, bottomed out, and showered sparks everywhere. About 50 yards up the road I think I accidentally bumped Bev's arm which caused her to temporarily lose control of the steering wheel. The Packard swerved suddenly to the right and slightly off the road, exposing Lory's face, neck, shoulders, arms and chest to a full array of angry blackberry shrubbery, for perhaps a good 30 feet. He immediately pulled himself back into the car, screaming from pain and indignancy, so Bev stopped long enough to let him out. He staggered around, pulling blackberry prickers out of his hair, snatched his swimsuit out of one of the thickets, then tried stomping up the black tarred road, in his flipflops, which about half the time his heels hit in the shoes and half the time they landed on the road.
Spinning the car back around, we left him to his misery as we tore back off down the road again.
Our last and final lap ended with us speeding back up the street at a good 50 miles an hour! Just as we were about to reach the sidewalk where we had picked up Lory, at the main street up there, a black teenager suddenly walked into our path, but she was turned away, looking back at the strange sight of Lory, whom she had just passed along the way who stomping his way home, instead of going swimming. We were going 50 mph!!! Too late!!! Bev hit the brakes hard and we skidded right to within 2 inches of the poor girl, who was frozen in her steps, her eyes as big as tennis balls, and so were ours!
We all caught our breath as Bev backed the Packard back down the levee, where the car finally died...out of gas. It was the old girl's last gasp. We pushed her back down into the driveway, just before a police squad car cruised down our East Avenue, only to find a bunch of teenagers sitting innocently on our front porch swinging on the porch swing. The End.

But it's not the end. Thank God that part of the story ended peacefully enough, tho'. Not long after that, we all grew up. And here's a picture of my brother to prove it. More will follow about this, at some point. A respected ex-Marine with purple hearts...who woulda thunk that? Dad and Mom and Grandma were all proud of him, and so am I.


Muscadine Jelly

We have told yall a number of times that we live in a small town in the country full of nice country people. Here's proof: I was sitting drinking coffee the other morning when a good friend of mine, Todd called and asked me if I wanted to ride over and help him butcher a goat and sample some of his homemade brews. Well, I sharpened my fillet knife, jumped in "Tinkerbail" and fired her up. Having not been started for a month, she was cold-natured and required some warm-up time, cursing and choking. By the time I got to Todd's house he was already finished up with his butcherin' and cleaning up. We visited over washing up and I sampled a couple of his homemade beers from the infamous "kegerator" where he has like, 8 pony kegs in an ole chest-type cooler for tasting purposes. The whole thing looks like a science experiment gone wrong with tubes going everywhere, but they all wired up to compressed air and when ya fish out a "spicket", beer comes out. Anyways I digress. After sampling his wares and visiting with his family, I left with a bucket full of muscadines picked that morning here's how we made them into jelly.

For those of you unfamiliar with muscadines, they are a wild grape that grows all along the Gulf Coast and are wonderful for jelly, wine , pie, anything ya do with grapes. Here is what wikapedia says:

The first thing ya gotta do is extract the juice from the grapes. This is accomplished by barely covering the grapes with water in a large pot, bringing it to a slow boil, and boiling the grapes for an hour or so, stirring occasionally, 'til the skins are soft and all the grapes 'pop'. This process smells amazing! Once the flesh and skins are soft, we let them cool over night, then strain them through cheese cloth, squeezing out all the delicious juice. once we had the juice prepared, we followed this simple recipe:

Muscadine Grape Jelly

4 cups grape juice

4 cups suger

1 box sure jell

Place the juice and the sugar into a pot and bring it to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes, stirring almost constantly. Add the Sure Jell, boil for 5 minutes then reduce heat to 215 degrees (use a candy thermometer). Skim off the foam with a metal spoon if necessary,(it was).

We always have our jelly jars in a 220 degree oven hot, and on standby, and our jar lids on the stove in a warm water bath(200F)

Once everything is ready it's just poor seal and wait for that glorious sound (the "tinks").

This makes a wonderful soft jelly, easily spread over a biscuit or toast. It is also wonderful with peanut butter. Peggy uses it to make a sweet and sour sauce that is out of this world. As a suggestion, make small batches at first and see how ya like it. It's tart and ya may want it sweeter. If ya like ya jelly firmer try the pink box Sure Jell. Either way it is truly wonderful. Here is a lil slideshow of the process. Happy jelly making:


Our Brenda

Brenda was a sweet, dear young lady. She came to us when she was 17 years old, still very innocent and childlike, although she had, had a very difficult child-
hood. Her parents were unable to take care of her or her siblings, so they were sent to live with foster parents, where life was horrible. Some people, no matter how cruel, tho' they can squash a child's self-esteem, break their spirit, but they can never take Hope away from the human heart.
Brenda was like a soft little sparrow, whose 'wings' had been broken when she was a little very little girl. Despite that, she always had Hope and Joy. Brenda was one of very few people who lacked guile. She always had an open smile and a warm hug for everybody. I don't remember ever seeing her truly angry.
We met her Christmas Eve, when my daughter brought her home to spend the holidays with us. I only learned she was coming after the stores were closed, so had nothing of much substance to give her, nontheless I found a few knick-nacks or "something"...anything to wrap and put them under the tree. She had never had a happy Christmas, and as I recall, not many gifts. As I was in the kitchen cooking, somebody had mentioned, much to my embarrassment that there were gifts for all of us under the tree. Brenda's eyes widened and she breathed, "Noooo...even for me???" I admitted that, yes, there were a few things under there, but, I stammered that I was sorry that they weren't all that great. The next thing I knew all the 'kids' were in the living room giggling. When I went to see, there was Brenda down on her hands and knees, under the tree with nothing but her butt sticking out. She was like a little kid excitedly looking through all the BIG, fancy gifts, looking for hers...just so she could look at the wrapping. I wish I could have given her the world.
I don't remember what the gifts were, but the next morning when she opened them, she "Oooooh'd and Ahhhh'd" as tho' they were diamonds, and eyes sparkling and still clutching the presents, came to each of us and gave
us a big, lonnnnnng hug, kissed us and thanked us over and over.
The only dreams she ever had was to have 'babies' and to be happily married. She had all that for a little while; the desire of her heart. We rejoiced with her when she got married, and when she had each of her two boys, Christopher and Tim. We'll never forget how dearly she loved her babies and tenderly cared for them.
Although she was a beautiful girl, her jaw was always off to one side, and she began having headaches. (She was taking classes to be a CNA, where she could care for others as well.) Such a warm, nurturing spirit she had.
Her doctor discovered that, apparently her jaw had been broken when she was a child, but had never been tended to, so it had healed off-center, but now that she was grown, the nerves were being pinched, giving her "TMJ". Surgery was scheduled, whereby her jaw would be rebroken, and wired shut for about a month to heal.
Being well-organized, she had gotten a lot of powdered shakes, etc. to make things easier, to get her life back on track, taking care of her babies and husband. Her new and wonderful life.
But the Brenda we knew, who went into surgery that day never came back to us. During the surgery, when the surgeons rebroke her jaw, she awoke, remembering how it had originally gotten broken. The person responsible should be sitting in jail for a very, very long time, but time had let Brenda 'forget'...to 'hide' it from her, so that she could get on with life, so the truth was never brought out and thus, the criminal who hurt her walks free.
Immediately after surgery, her mouth wired shut, she was in high panick mode, with no way to let anyone know what was going on inside her. She had dyslexia, so she couldn't write it to explain. All the doctors knew to do was to keep her sedated. And that has been the way it's been since. Whenever Brenda tried
getting off the strong medication, the memories became real and raw again, and for whatever reasons, she never got real help; I guess it was easier to keep her sedated full time, rather than what would have allowed her to regain her real life. She went through terrible times, and although she couldn't help it, they all suffered. When they took her babies away, it totally broke her heart. I tried comforting her by telling her that, not to worry; when they got grown up, they'd come back home to be with her. Of course that didn't help her empty arms and aching heart.
Despite the pain Brenda carried, she never forgot to love. She never ceased to smile and hug. Although she had very little money, she scrimped and saved
every penny to be able to buy her 'babies' gifts. Although she had nothing left to buy gifts for others, and not that we wanted her to, she insisted. No matter
if she had tried to make us something, or if it was a knick-nack purchased at a dollar store, as she proudly handed it to me, her eyes would be beaming with pride as though it were worth a million dollars.
And they were. I still have them, and they are among the most precious things I own.
Not long after meeting Brenda, I was privileged to pray with her and lead her to The Lord. Then I took her shopping to get her a new birthstone necklace. An aquamarine stone. I told her she needed it because she had a new birthday, since she was 'born again' in March. Since her mother had passed away, I told her that I was her spiritual "Mom". In the store she kept saying it over and over, "Mom...mom...mom"
From that day she has called me "Mom". If I could be there today, I would. My love, my thoughts, my heart and my prayers are there.
Brenda's wings may have been broken when she was a child, but now she's being healed and sheltered under the Wings of her most beloved Savior. She is happy and free of the things that hindered and hurt her in this life.
And can't you just see her face as she sees the things that
the Lord has there for her??

Obituary. Brenda Lee Nielsen passed away suddenly Tuesday morning (Aug. 11, 2009) at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.Brenda was born on May 31, 1969, in Rochester, to the late Russell and Margaret Trumble. She is survived by her two sons, Christopher, and Timothy; fianc Kirk Hopkins; brothers, Russell (Jennifer) Miles and Chris Nielsen; and several nieces and nephews.There will be no calling hours. Family and friends are invited to a Celebration of Life at 2 p.m. Monday at the Church of the Living Waters, 30 Main St., Le Roy. Interment will be made privately at Stafford Rural Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the church. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.leroyfuneralhome.com. Arrangements were completed by Cameron Brady & Steuber Funeral Home.


A Rainy Cruise on the Mississippi River

Folks just don't understand why in the world I would want to spend one of my days off, riding a sight-seeing boat on the River, especially one that I passed several times while at work. It's hard to explain, but here's the short version:
Too often in life we become complacent. It's far too easy to take the beauty of our surroundings for granted and I guess it's human nature to just adjust and go on with our busy lives and forget to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Well, that's against my basic philosophy, and the best way to be reminded about how lucky I am to have the opportunity to prowl the waterways of Louisiana at work, is to do it with folks who don't often have the chance. I love going on the River or back in the swamps with folks who don't get to see it like I do. It reminds me how blessed I truly am. Anyways, that's how I found myself on a rainy Wednesday, following family and friends around as we had lunch, took a cruise on the NATCHEZ, then topped it off with cocktails at Pat O'brian's.


Manitowoc Crane Gone Bad

When things slow down in the oil fields of South Louisiana the construction yards have learned to stay busy. When things are "booming", the construction yards stay busy fabricating the structures that are used in the industry. In times like now, when it's slow, the yards still have plenty of work salvaging derelict structures and recycling the massive framing beams and pipes that will be rebuilt into new structures when needed. The cranes, like the one pictured in the first picture, stay busy loading the new structures onto barges that will go out to an off shore location, or they will unload old salvagable barnacle encrusted frameworks from the same barges. The business is like a revolving door, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the older construction guys don't see some of the structures that they had built come back again. Anyways, here's what happens when one of the big cranes tries to bite off more than it can chew.... or lift. OOOOOOOOOPPPS!!!



While sitting on the Mississippi River just south of New Orleans waiting my turn to take my boat into the locks, I looked up and my heart leaped to my throat. I couldn't believe my luck! I grabbed my camera and with tears of joy and pride, took these pictures of the NEW YORK as she idled by. Built of steel from the ruins of the World Trade Center, by a good Louisiana ship yard. The ship is an amazing symbol of the ties that bind us as a nation. I hope you enjoy the pictures. Here is a link to more information about the ship: http://www.ussnewyork.com/ussny_about.html
I stood outside the wheelhouse, hat held over my heart and waved as she passed. May God protect those who serve on her decks.