Wednesday, February 27, 2013


As I wrap up the utility trailer tire and wheel project, I start to gather up stuff for my next chore. Here is a peek.


We have used 55 gallon barrels for water transport and storage in the past. They are tough enough and hold up well, but, they were a bit hard to clean and sanitize. The bung was handy for the placement of a hose bib, but small, and access to the interior difficult. Here was our solution.


A large top opening and a water faucet. The 12 volt water pump is laid out near the faucet. Here is a closer look at the top and the pump.


The finished project will let us do extended stays at primitive campsites on the lake. We will be able to haul and transfer fresh water and when we carry the blueboy , we can carry black water to the dump station where we get water. Lake, we gotter’ on our minds !

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Don’t you guy’s just love it when you can justify the purchase of a new man toy, then put it to work in multiple projects ? Or better yet, combine more than one man toy and get a project knocked out right away ? Yeh, me too ! Here is the wrap up photo of the upgrading of the utility trailer wheels and tires.


Some might remember a few years ago when I added a 12 volt impact wrench to our tool kit. Then a couple of months ago I replaced our old and failing jumper pack. Here I combine the two to make a handy wheel change kit. The jumper pack also charges cell phones and powers other electronics via it’s USB port.


Man toys, ain’t they cool !

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Oh, yeah ! We done gone and done it ! Years ago we bought a small utility trailer to haul stuff to the lake, ect.. It needed tires and a few other things. This week we looked the trailer over carefully as a part of getting ready to go to the lake in a few weeks. And, it needs tires again ! Wow, has it been that long ? So, yeah, you know what comes next, it was time to retire. Here is a look at the tires, the old and the new.


The wheel is rusted out around the valve stem.


The old tires were on 8” wheels and the bearings ran pretty warm at highway speeds. The new tires are on 12” wheels which really should help with the bearing temperatures, as well as the handling, out on the highway. The old wheels were rusting out and keeping the flats fixed was beginning to be a pain. Only one out of the three would consistently hold air. Yep, it was just time to retire the utility trailer !Here is a look at the un-finished project.



You might note that the trailer sits quite a bit higher now, and, I think that’s a good thing !

Sunday, February 17, 2013


This Sunday was a nice day for a visit with friends  that are camped out over at the Big Fir campground on Lake Ouachita. When we arrived, Rick was cutting firewood for their neat wood stove in their “schoolie”, or school bus camper. Here is a look at their great campsite.


Our conversation during our visit covered a lot of ground, everything from it being down to 20* last night to the likelyhood of the Bream spawn being early this year. We were comfortable in a tee shirt at 64*, while there.  We concluded that every sign that we could think of told us that everything else seemed to be arriving about a month early this year ! Here is a look at their camp from down by the water.


Rick and Jo like to stay hooked up to their trailer this early in the year, just incase of a rapid lake rise or severe weather. Sounds like a good idea to me, since it is almost spring time and those kind of things are likely then. There was a Bass tournament going on and we could see several boats zooming back in for the hourly weigh in, so, they were catching something that was big enough to give them hope of prize money.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


As we worked in Betty’s Niece’s Gift Shop, we began to figure out early on, that it was a very, very, busy place on Valentine’s day ! Autumn  had called to say that her usual delivery crew was going to be short handed, and she could use some help. We thought, “how cool that could be !” 100_3542

A sound like unto a prehistoric bird of prey, tore through the air, on a regular interval, as latex and mylar balloon’s were filled with hydrogen, tied, and then released to rest suspended in mid air, against the ceiling.

The constant ringing of the telephone as orders came in, and the counter staff making notes and completing transaction’s, added to the cascade of sound that filled the room. Every available space was taken up with flowers, arrangements and keepsake’s.


We filled balloon’s, cut ribbon’s and loaded car’s, to make delivery’s, and for awhile, it looked as if we weren’t making any progress. The Ladies that had been assembling the order’s had covered us up !


Load after load of Valentine surprises went out the door to School’s, places of work and homes. It was somewhat of a relief to get away from the noise and activity of the  shop, to go make delivery’s. Then there was the coolest part of all,


Enjoying a smile with the receiver’s of the  gift’s at each stop.

So, how was our Valentine’s day, you might ask ? Wonderful, absolutely wonderful ! We got to share many Valentine’s day’s all around the area !

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Put the boat in the lake and just went “muttin” around, running sonar to take a look at underwater terrain structure’s and to relocate some old brush piles while checking out what  fish are hanging out on them.100_3532

The sign’s and the sign posts had all been repainted and were looking good. Went to Twin Creeks and to Big Fir on Lake Ouachita.


It was one of those “bonus” days that we enjoy so much and I was in a tee shirt all day, with no jacket.


The water temperature was 51*, the wind was almost non existent, the sun was bright and the lake surface was smooth. It was the perfect day to make the first trip to the lake and make sure that the boat performed well under full load.

I looked slowly and carefully in likely places for signs of early Bream nesting activity. I found no signs this early.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Before we put the boat out on the water for the first time each pre-Spring jug fishing season, we like to service the engine and lower unit. It might seem like overkill to some, but we feel that it is a investment in the future of the boat. Here is a look at the “stuff” we use.


The four quarts of oil aren’t all motor oil. The three on the left are 10-30 weight, and the oil filter is in front of them. Laying by the oil filter is the water hose hook up for cooling water. Sure, even though the boat is fairly new, we will test run it before leaving out to the lake.


Here is a closer look at the gear lube and pump to fill the lower unit. This little plastic pump is $15, so put it back for next year’s servicing !

When we put the boat in the shed for the months that we are out on the road , we carefully measured and put marine sta-bil in the gas tank , to insure a clean start this fishing season.


Yes sir-ree ! She fired right up and broke over into a smooth four cycle idle that is characteristic of the 60 HP Mercury engines.

LAKE, we got it on our minds !

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


At the old home place, our barn was a big, old and weathered two story structure. The top story stored the hay that we fed to livestock. A lot of hay. I never did see any square bales of hay up there. The years that we farmed there, we always cut and raked the hay with horse teams, stacking and moving hay with pitch forks. One of my jobs was to fork hay down into the stall hay mows down below when it was feeding and milking time.

Alma M8

In this photo Great Gran Ma is feeding the chickens from the hem of her apron.

The barn was the site of a lot of work. It is where we dressed out beef, pork and put up lots of chickens. Though we had quite a few goats, I don’t ever remember dressing one out. They were used to clear land and were traded for other staples as needed. Most of these evolutions involved the neighbors, where labor was traded for meat or other staples.

We had several large cast iron wash pots that we used to scald chickens, pork and other things. Even the feathers weren’t wasted, they were usually saved, to use in the making of feather tick mattresses.

For me those were busy days of hauling water and keeping the fires going under the wash pots.

Yes, the barn was a hub of activity for us, but there were also so many good times with family, friends and neighbors. Those giant Percheron horses were so majestic, and usually ever so calm, but, they got pretty excited when a kid slips out of the hay mow onto their back ! I only tried that once  .  .  .  .  .  . .he, he, once was enough !

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Although Rural Electrification was in progress, it hadn’t reached us yet. We still used kerosene lamps and a console battery radio. The neighbors would walk 3/4 of a mile using carbide headlamps to listen to “The Grand Ole’ Opry” on that battery powered radio. Here is the way the old home place looked when we got back home from Hawaii.

Alma My4

Another view with Great Gran Ma.

Alma My2

It wasn’t long before I was roaming the woods, getting the refresher course on things that they didn’t have in Hawaii, things like, stinging nettles, copperheads and poison ivy !

Alma My7

Note that I hadn’t been back home long enough, when this photo was taken,  to shuck them shoes, yet.

Alma M21

I thought that it was pretty cool to have a CHRISTmas tree in the back yard ! That didn’t happen in Hawaii.

Alma M16

It didn’t take long, when warmer weather arrived, to get rid of them shoes, shirt and remember the sublime taste of fresh watermelon !

Hawaii had been pretty exotic alright, but being back home in Arkansas was paradise !