A friend of mine sent the above photo to me the other day as he was driving through the old neighborhood in Dallas. The arrow is pointing to my old balcony of my 2/2 apartment near upper Greenville Ave and Walnut Hill. The complex used to be called Sterling Point. This was the first place I lived after leaving UNT in Denton, TX. I got a job at the Dr. Pepper Corporation and the plan was for a friend of mine to move in with me and for us to save our money to move to California. The rent was $650 a month, but my friend never moved in with me and his room stayed completely empty the year and half I lived here. Luckily, I was making enough at Dr. Pepper to afford the entire rent and never really minded that he didn’t move in. He did get a job at the movie theater around the corner from the apartment and stayed with me from time to time, but that was it. The friend who sent me this recent photo lived in the apartment complex next door so it was good to have a friend within walking distance. I have lots of stories from this time in my life.
I remember being really proud of this apartment and that I could afford to live here and hold down a steady job making good money. I also had a cat named Ash while I lived here. Honestly, I had a great future with Dr Pepper, but I eventually felt a bit suffocated and stunted by the corporate atmosphere. I saved up a few thousand dollars and bought a ticket to Paris, France and ended up bouncing around Europe for about 8 months. I stand behind that decision, but I often wonder what would have happened if I’d simply stayed with Dr. Pepper. One of the reasons that I decided to leave was that Dr. Pepper was moving it’s head office to Plano, TX and my apartment complex was raising the rent to $750. This apartment was literally 2 blocks away from Dr. Pepper at the time and them moving to Plano would have made it a half hour drive, at least. I was driving an old Hyundai Excel that was on it’s last legs. I knew that if I wanted to keep my job I’d have to invest in a new car. There was no way that car would have delivered me back and forth to work in Plano. I guess it just all made sense.
I moved out on a cold November day a month before my 21st birthday. I think being able to make it my own at the age of 19 gave me the confidence to start exploring more. I decided that this life thing may not be so damn hard after all. I gave my cat to my friend in the apartment complex next door and I abandoned my Hyundai at a gas station on Walnut Hill. I left the keys in the ignition and walked off. This photo is the first of I’ve seen of that apartment since I left that day, 17 years ago.
I woke up early on Saturday and was out in the shop when around 7:30 in the morning my wife comes out and says, “Come look at all the birds that have invaded the pond!” I said, “Those are just doves, they do that every morning.” She said, “No these are different. There are hundreds of these yellow birds in every tree around the pond. My mother says they’re waxwing cedars.” Sure enough that’s what they were and there were literally hundreds of them. It was quite an amazing sight as they bathed in the waterfall and skittishly bound from limb to limb. I tried to take some photos, but once they saw me through the window they got scared. These birds usually hang out in southern Canada. Unfortunately, this is the best shot I got of them:
There used to be a snake that lived behind this large stone. A stone that someone, long before me, put at the edge of the house. It’s too heavy to lift out of the dirt so I just left it. The snake would pop out and I would shoot at it. I probably shot at it 3 or 4 times and tried countless other times, waiting there with a .22 full of snake shot, but I never got it. I used to see its snake tracks to and fro in the sand. Little side swirls that gave proof of it travels.
Not anymore. Its been months. I haven’t seen the snake in months. I haven’t seen its tracks in months.
I guess it must have moved on. Probably realizing that certain spot wasn’t the best spot to live after all.
I guess that’s what happened to that part of me.
About two weeks ago I started working on a knife with a handle made of reconstituted stone. You probably don’t know what reconstituted stone is all about, but I’m going to give you a quick lesson on it. It’s basically ground up stone mixed with cement, resin, epoxy and various color pigments. The end result is a fucking beautiful thing. It dances and changes colors in the sunlight. The stuff is relatively new to man and there’s not a lot of information on it unless you look into the counter top manufacturers who started using it a few years before knife makers got their hands on it.
Anyhow, I built a man a big 14 inch knife out of some of the shit and broke out into a serious allergic reaction. It took me awhile to trace it back and I thought it was from some Australian Iron Wood I was working with, but… Basically, it ate all the skin off my arms, stomach, feet and after 13 days of that shit got into my face and puffed my face up so bad I had to go to the doctor. The doctor said, “I don’t know how you’ve been tolerating it this long, but here’s some steroids.” So he gave me some steroids and said he’d like me to make him a knife. Said he had a custom kitchen knife made when he was young and wanted another. Paid for my fucking doctor visit.
So here’s the deal. This shit literally ate the top layer skin off my fingers, wrists arms, up to my elbow, then created a scab hole in my belly button and all around my stomach, ate the skin off my dick and then fucked up my arm pits so bad I can’t wear deodorant and then ate the skin off my ankles, feet and between my toes. I was totally fine with all of this until one day I woke up and my wife said, “Travis, you’re face is all swollen up. You look terrible. I’m going to call the doctor.” So she did and I went.
I started taking this medicine and it dried up my face so bad I can hardly see. I’m taking 4 huge pills of steroids every day to get over this terrible infection. My eyes are so sensitive that if a ceiling fan is on it hurts because the wind is chapping my face more and more.
Most people would cry and whine and lay in bed. Fuck that. I’ve literally had some fucking leper shit, skin peeling off me for almost two weeks and am up working even now. Godamn midnight on Valentine’s Day.
It feels like I have terrible sunburn on my face and ants are stinging me on that sunburn and there’s a bright light in my face constantly. What the fuck are you looking at? I’m a godamn leper with the skin peeling off my face everywhere and I can’t breathe right at all because I been making knives.
There’s some godamn poor kids out there that ain’t ever heard the sweet sound of a dollar hitting the window of an ice cream truck ordering up a spider man bubble gum with gummy bear center and you’re wanting to complain about some obama taking away your assault weapons to kill the rich honkeys. Fuck all you honkeys. I can’t even breath right because I been drinking crown royal and smoking marlboro golds and working outside 14 hours a day out back near my kale garden, where the koi vanish and the weeping willow weep tears of joy and the pecan trees feed dog sized squirrels when I can.
I don’t mean to get mean, but everything changes when your skin starts to fall off your entire body. I gotta lotta rage built up in me in right now because of all the pain I’ve been tolerating. I’m looking at this screen right now and it’s literally blurry with cayenne pepper waterfalls on my godamn face. Fire ants been stinging my skin for 2 godamn weeks and you don’t hear me complaining about it until I need something to write about. I grilled chicken last night half blind in the dark with a lantern motherfucker.
Day bacon is when you cook an entire pack of bacon and use it for every meal of the day or maybe just walk in the kitchen now and again and snack on some bacon or give a nibble to the dog.
I can’t believe you never heard of “day bacon”.
Anyhow, I put another 3 tablespoons into yesterday’s coffee filter and brew it. I just keep adding to it until its about to overflow or mold grows.
I go out to the garage and start grinding. Grinding on knives with the radio blaring and my dog right there just watching for squirrels.
I turn up the radio because it’s on 93.7 Austin Rock and that ZZ Top song is on where they say they’re “just looking for some touch”.
I know what “touch” is. I used to do “touch”.
The sun rises and I hear all the finches chipping and doing whatever in the trees. Sometimes they tell me their feeder is out of food so I dump another mason jar of food in.
My family wakes up so I turn on the TV to see what the weather is going to be like.
If it’s rain then I get the barrels ready.
If it’s over 70 then I don’t wear my boots.
If it’s over 70 then I get the lemonade-tea ready. The AP’s, the Argyle Peaknuckles, the Alfred Poontangs, the Augustus Pearlinsons, the Abigale Passons, the Aston Peacemakers, the Arnie Peadmonts, the fucking juice.
Now I have to take care of the baby so I start singing or making faces. My wife always dresses my baby in full clothing from head to toe. I always take all my baby’s clothes off. It’s too much of a hassle with all that shit on. He doesn’t need any thing on except a diaper.
The song goes,
Itsy bitsy spider
eaten by a dragon
out came the honkeys
to work a 40 hour week
crappie fish and flounder
Tribe Called Quest
auto body repair shop
snapping turtle high school
how i wonder what you are
And that seems to work.
Then I take a Benadryl for my terrible hive condition.
I use lots of weird materials and chemicals out in the shop so it probably came from that. Maybe from a weird brussel sprout recipe I had at a fancy restaurant recently.
Anyhow, I stay busy you know.
Looking at stuff online. IMing some friends. Checking out my profile. Getting some traffic in my social media and doing some SEO and dropping tweet bombs.
Then it gets dark real early and my baby gets cranky.
I check eBay and update my bid on a Depression Era Emerald Green Glass Cut Butter Dish. I’m winning at this very moment with a $1.27 bid.
I go up in the loft and check my mouse traps. I’ve had mouse traps up there, set up for 9 months now but haven’t caught a mouse. The trap springs once every 3 months but I’ve yet to win. I keep trying and rub some Cortazone 10 on my hives and put in a good tape.
Then I take some deer meat out of the freezer and thaw it out.
Yesterday I took a bunch of deer meat up to the Police Station. I took my baby with me. Those pigs sure were happy to see my baby and all that deer meat. Those godamn cops hanging out at the Farmer’s Market all the time with their fat fingers like Jimmy Dean Pre-Cooked Maple Flavor Sausages sitting up in the Sunset Valley trailer.
When it gets late and I’m out in my shop I start the sharpening process, which takes a certain mood and a certain groove and I go and grab a real cold potato from the fridge.
My family is long asleep as it’s probably around midnite or 2am. I don’t need as much sleep as them.
I break out my iPad and continue reading the 4000 page book I’ve been reading forever and a day. The lonesome dove story. Or I just read a How To book or Texas Monthly.
Then I go to sleep and wake up around 3AM.
Sometimes I get up. Sometimes I don’t.
When I do. I go out to the garage and check on the epoxy.
Many a day I’ve found myself sitting around thinking about a delicious cheeseburger. It’s because I’m a godamn American and we like a good cheeseburger. I don’t care if they’re terrible for me, I know that, but I don’t eat cheeseburgers every day either. I guess I have a cheeseburger once every 3 weeks or so. 3 weeks is about the time when I sit there and think, “I sure would like a cheeseburger for lunch today.” And then I have to decide where to purchase said cheeseburger. I run down the list from best to worst in my mind and depending on how much effort and money I’d like to put forth a decision is made. I’m going to go ahead and put that list on my blog so I can remember it. Mind you, this is a list of the best and worst cheeseburgers in Austin, TX and may not reflect your particular location.
The best godamn cheeseburger in all of Austin, TX is made by HopDoddy. Quality ingredients, hand ground beef keeps this place consistently turning out a great burger cooked a perfect medium rare. The fries are good too. They only make burgers and fries. That’s it. They do a damn good job of it. No one in Austin makes a better burger.
The Roaring Fork
The Roaring Fork makes something they call, “The Big Ass Burger” and it’s pretty damn big. It’s pretty damn expensive too coming in at $14 although it does come with fries. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone eat a whole one because they offer half the Big Ass Burger for $10 and that’s enough for most people. This burger comes topped with a poblano pepper, pepper smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and the usual veggies. Not quite as good as HopDoddy’s and coming in at a higher price make this one second in my book.
Hut’s makes a fine cheeseburger at the great price of $7. Every Wednesday they do 2 for 1 as well. I’ve had most every burger they sell and my favorite is the Ritchie Valens Burger. It comes with guacamole, shredded cheddar and jalapenos. Damn fine burger in a super cool atmosphere. Burger rank #3, atmosphere rank #1.
Back in the 70′s a married couple name Dan and Fran owned a few hamburger joints in Austin and they were called, “Dan’s Hamburgers”. Dan and Fran got a divorce and soon some of them were changed to “Fran’s Hamburgers”. Personally, I’m a Dan’s man. Dan has 4 locations around Austin. I like the one on S. Congress as this was where a lot of scenes from the Friday Night Lights series was filmed. They also make a damn fine burger. This is also the only one in the BEST section that’ll load you up with a double meat cheeseburger for $5.64. Damn fine price.
I have to add an Honorable Mention to this section. I almost forget about:
When’s the last time you went to a FuddRucker’s? They make a tasty, tasty cheeseburger. Never frozen, juicy, fat burgers with little stations so you can add your own mayo, letuce, pickles, etc. I love a FuddRucker’s burger when I remember this place exists.
Now we get into the chain type burgers. The places that make a good cheeseburger, but have multiple locations across Texas or the US.
P. Terry’s is more of an Austin chain, but more and more are popping up daily and they are on the chain list because they taste like a chain burger. A good quality chain burger made from all-natural angus beef – vegetarian fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free. Sounds good right? It is. It’s good and comes in at the top of the GOOD Burger list.
Another Austin and surrounding area chain that does a customer right when it comes to a cheeseburger. This place is always spotlessly clean and simple to get in and out of. They sell nothing but hamburgers in 1/4th or 1/2 pound sizes. Doesn’t get any easier and I’ve never had a bad burger from this place.
5 Guys is a national chain that started in the 80′s somewhere in Washington D.C., but they make a damn good burger. Big, juicy burgers that don’t taste like a chain burger because nothing is ever frozen. They don’t even have freezers in their stores. I never mind picking up a burger from 5 Guys.
Culver’s Butter Burgers
Culver’s also started in the 1980′s, but they started somewhere in Wisconsin. These are also very delicious because I think just about everything on the burger is cooked in butter. You can cook a cow turd in butter and it would probably taste good. Luckily, Culver’s uses mid-west beef that’s never frozen. See the theme here? Don’t freeze the shit out of the meat and you’ll have a better burger. Cook that burger in butter and you’re really on to something if you don’t kill your customers off with instant heart attacks.
And that’s it. That’s where it stops for me, but I’m going to continue because I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I don’t have to get a fast food cheeseburger from time to time. It happens due to time restrictions, laziness (AKA convenience) and whatever else. So here are the best of the worst burgers:
A Whataburger cheeseburger is miles above it’s competition in the best of the worst category. Started in the 50′s in Corpus Christi in those weird A-frame buildings by one man. I mean the name of the place literally makes you say, “What a burger!” Fucking genius. Now with hundreds of locations across the US these soy based, gluten fueled burgers come in at around 1000 calories each. Absolutely terrible for you, freshly thawed gut bombs are pretty godamn good. If I have to get a chain burger I’ll drive a few extra miles to find a Whataburger w/ a side of onion rings.
At least they try to be healthy and it’s kind of sweet that Dave named it after his daughter. Dave seemed like some weird grandpa who loved grilling too much. Wendy’s was actually one of the first to offer healthy alternatives to french fries like sliced apples, small salads and actually put salad bars in their stores. Their motto is “Quality is our Recipe”. This is much different than places like McDonald’s who change their motto every other week to hide their actual motto of, “Oh fuck it. Come get some fucking taste of death at McDonald’s.” I’ll eat a Wendy’s burger, but only if I have to.
This is like a pig slop burger. I don’t know where this place originates. California I think and there are a few in Texas, but I’ve only eaten here 2 or 3 times. And what the fuck is up with the name? Doesn’t even make any sense. Carl’s Jr. what? Are you really trying to say, “Carl Jr.”? Like there was a Carl Sr.? Or is it supposed to be something like, “Carl Jr.’s Hamburgers”? I don’t know about this place. I think they actually try to advertise their burger as completely dripping in grease and Carl Sauce or something. It’s just the same as the burgers below though.
Look at this fucking photo a friend of mine sent me when I told him I was going to write a blog entry about cheeseburgers. That’s a REAL photo of a REAL burger that Evan bought at Burger King a month or so ago. Fucking disgusting. Click on the photo. I dare you.
Jack In the Box
Terrible food made of terrible ingredients. I’ve never eaten here and felt good about my decision afterwards. A friend of mine is an ER doctor in Austin and he says Jack in the Box is second on the list of people who come in for food poisoning. #1? Taco Bell. Yeah, I know… no surprise there.
It gets no worse than McDonald’s. I don’t eat at McDonald’s, my child won’t eat at McDonald’s because every time I drive by a McDonald’s I’m going to tell him, “See those golden arches? That’s where the devil keeps the dead people he kills at night.” I don’t consider this a place that actually serves food and I’m not sure why it’s still in business. I can’t remember the last time I had a burger here. Had to have been a decade ago. This is pretty much a shit patty, between two slices of shit. I do remember the fries being damn good though. I also remember dropping a fry between my seats then cleaning out my car several months later and that fry looking the EXACT same as when I dropped it only it got hard. Like if you were trapped in your car after going off a bridge and water was filling up fast and you were looking around for something to cut through the seat belt and / or windshield and you happened to pick up a long lost McDonald’s french fry it wouldn’t be a problem. You could cut through that shit no problem with that french fry and then live a few days off the fry and then get diarrhea and die.
That’s it. That’s all I got. Now go get yourself a fat, juicy cheeseburger.
Below is a photo of the trailer house I left 2 days after I graduated high school. There wasn’t anything wrong with the place and I didn’t have any trouble at home, but I was ready to be on my own. I packed up my things and drove to Denton. I planned to stay with a friend of mine for a few days before I moved into the dorm. Anyhow, my brother was in the area and decided to drive down our old street and snap this shot of the trailer we used to live in on 240 W. Acres. I’m surprised it’s still there.
Waking up at 3:45 in the morning is never fun, but that’s what I did this week to go deer hunting. I came back with a 72 pound whitetail. It weighed in around 40 pounds at the processor and will be home in time to serve it for Christmas dinner. Once home, I spent some time with the boy child to give mama a break.
I had lunch with James Robertson today to talk about his book, The Legend Of The Duck Commander: THE LIFE & TIMES OF PHIL ROBERTSON. I read the book and in the back it said James lived in Elgin, Texas. I wrote him an email and we met while he was in Austin. We had a great conversation and James shared lots of great stories from his life and Phil’s who is his younger brother. I plan on doing a book review and include some of the interview style questions I asked while having lunch.
This week he’s started to become much more aware. Aware in that he’s noticed the mobiles hanging from his various crib devices in every room of the house. I’ve noticed that we have dog beds and baby beds in every room of the house. Tonight he seemed to become aware that we were watching him. He would look directly into the camera. I carried this around while searing blackbuck antelope backstrap on the grill. Here’s a photo of him in a photo:
I don’t know many people who don’t like the band Alabama. I think everyone probably knows a few lyrics to at least one Alabama song. I mean, if you came up to me and said, “Alabama Sucks!” I would probably pretend like I was going to fight you and cut you down verbally. I would say something like, “That’s because you work in the backroom at Bealls.” Or whatever it might be.
Anyhow, Dirk and I sang a cover of an Alabama song a long time ago. I don’t think it’s our best take, but it was a helluva good time:
Even longer ago. I think two houses ago I convinced my wife to sing some lyrics I wrote down to a song. The song really never had a name but I guess it’s called, “Can of Milk”. I think this was during the experimenting with effects and garageband phase:
My son was born on Halloween under a hunter’s moon. A nurse dressed as the devil caught him from the womb. He carved SLAYER into her arm with his fingernail after she took his prints and right before she fainted.
My son woke up the next day, made us scrambled eggs w/ back bacon and kicked the neighbor kid’s ass after he successfully infiltrated his tree house with water balloons filled with dog piss and castor oil.
My son went with us to the Dollar Store, got a job there and made damn sure everything cost a fucking dollar as advertised. Then he doused it with kerosene and set it on fire by tossing a lit silver dollar he ignited with his dick into the building.
My son put 15 live doves in a Mexican pinata, kicked the pinata open with a steel toed, leprechaun skin boot, and killed every dove with a crossbow as they tried to fly off.
My son don’t give a fuck about you. Or your dog. Or your dog’s mom. He’s going through his speed metal phase and I’m right there fueling that shit.
My son outran me, late last night, even though people in my hometown still remember me for my speed and a few of my track records still stand. Afterwards, he called me a pussy and burned my box of medals and plaques.
My son killed Davy Crockett when he was only 3. He killed Davy’s son the next day after he made us scrambled eggs. Scrambled eggs with cheese on top.
My son was awarded the national honor of adding a star to the American flag because of his sweet tea recipe. And also because he’s good at darts and nuclear astrology.
My son built a bonfire outback from dried giraffe bones and actual clippings from Frederick Douglass’ beard early one evening because he said the grackles were cold. They were. Grackles soon gathered around the fire and he played them some Skynryd by keeping time on an old oak log.
My son don’t wear shoes when he goes and checks on his storage lockers full of Kentucky gold and pirate swords.
My son don’t text, face chat, face book, face time, face text, skype, instant message, instant face time or do sign language. Ain’t time for all that. Just go find him on his land out in west Texas where there’s nothing but dust and spent shotgun shells. And cows. Lonely cattle.
My son snuck in and shaved off Tom Selleck’s mustache with a weed eater.
My son goes duck hunting with a stick, a rock and shard of mirror. Anything else provides too much of an advantage to make it challenging.
My son don’t know I’m writing this and he don’t care. He’s asleep on a pillow made of monkey skin with a pistol full of 410 shells under his animal blanket. His dreams smell like Krisna’s blood.
My son got a yellow jacket behind one eye and a wasp behind the other. He sits on a mountain with a mouthful of pennies just studying the sherpa.
My son didn’t go to kindergarten, he bought one with a flatbed loaded with car wash tokens and Indian topaz. He’s not 1/8th, 1/16th, 1/32nd Native American and doesn’t claim to be. He’s 100% white and all are welcome. Except those that are looking for their car wash tokens back.
My son eats, shits and sleeps at the same time. I’ve seen him do it with my own eyes several times now.
My son made Def Leppard’s one armed drummer eat an entire bag of mulch after beating him in an arm wrestling competition.
My son can catch perch, by hand, from a hammock, faster than Hank Williams Jr. That’s for damn sure.
My son is asleep, safe, healthy and fortunate. Today he turned 7 days old.
Naturally we combine, my dear son.
I’ve made a lot of chili in my day and I’ve done many different versions, but this is the one I like the most. This recipe is my own in that I’ve taken parts from several different recipes to form this one and some of the parts of this are totally unique. Although I rarely do it exactly the same because I always experiment with different peppers and types of meat. Anyhow, I’m going to share the basic recipe here in case anyone has a hankering to make some chili this winter. I’m going to list the bags first. I feel the secret to a great chili are the spices and appropriately applying the spices throughout the cooking process in order to preserve the taste and not water them out like you would if you dumped everything in at the start of the cooking process. Also, I realize a true chili does not contain beans, but I like beans in my chili so this is how I make it.
3 TBS Chili Powder
1 TSP Garlic Powder
2 TSP Onion Powder
1/2 TSP Black Pepper
1/2 TSP Salt
1/2 TSPCayenne Pepper
3 TBS Chili Powder
1 TBS Cumin
2 TSP Garlic Powder
1/4 TSP Black Pepper
1/2 TSP Oregano Flakes or Powder
Step 1: Brown 1 – 1.5 lbs of chili grind in the same pot you are going to cook the chili. You may also add thick chunks of steak at this time. I’ve done it both ways and both work out.
Step 2: Once brown add 1 can of beer and 1 can of beef broth.
Step 3: Add HALF of bag #1 and cook COVERED for 45 minutes. Uncover and cook 10 minutes.
Step 4: Add other half of Bag #1. Add 3 fresh tomatoes, diced (or 1 large can of diced tomatoes) AND 1 can of kidney beans. Juice and all. Cook UNCOVERED for 30 minutes.
Step 5: Add 1 diced hot pepper. At least jalapeno hot, but it’s up to you on how hot you’d like it. Add entirety of Bag #2. Taste and add salt to taste.
Step 6: Cook covered or uncovered depending on your preference of chili thickness for 45 more minutes.
Top with cheese, serve with crackers or cornbread. Better the next day.
It’s time for pears in the front yard. I’ve been waiting all year for this.
Today I was reminded that when I take a look around the house I can see lots of animals. Wild ones for the most part. It can also happen all at once like a quarterback sack. Deer, snakes, fox, coyotes, hawks and cranes can all show up in one day. Most are way too quick to get a photo of, but I got of 2 them. The story for today though is that there is a coyote in the neighborhood that has been killing chickens.
Everyday around 6pm or so I go outside and feed the koi and turtles. The turtles are mostly red eared sliders and they’ve gotten used to me. In fact one turtle in particular has grown so accustomed to the daily ritual he actually waits for me on a rock. The neighbor kid has named this turtle “Crazy Chris”. So on most days Crazy Chris is waiting for me on a rock and I come outside he gets as excited as a turtle can get and meets me half way from the door to the pond. Here is where I take one pellet of food and lay it on the ground. Crazy Chris picks it up in his mouth and makes a circle back to the pond and jumps in with the pellet in his mouth. It’s very amusing.
The amount of turtles we have in our pond at any given time continues to vary. I’m not sure how this fluctuation occurs, but I recently discovered a clue. When we moved into this house a year ago we had 2 turtles. Then we had 4, then 5, the 6, then 4 and then 5 for the longest time. I have no idea where they come from or where they go, but I recently realized that the number of turtles changes after a heavy rain. Last weekend we had a heavy rain and afterwards a new turtle showed up. While all of the turtles have been Red Eared Sliders this one is not. It’s skin is black and after looking it up it most resembles a Wood Turtle. This guy has taken to our pond very easily and has jumped in the 6pm feeding ritual flawlessly. He’s not as used to me as the other are, but it’s only been a few days since he’s arrived.
6 turtles. That’s the most we’ve had. We must be doing something right in the turtle department, but I’m not sure how many more we’re gonna be able to host. I mean… I have no idea about anything having to do with turtles. I just feed them and look at them and obviously take a photo of them now and again.
I went hunting on opening day this year and the hunt was below average. We saw lots of birds, but they were flying too high. So after getting up at 3:30am and driving to China Springs, TX and watching dove fly high overhead I decided to pack it up around 9 am. To me, he best part of hunting is being outside, in the middle of no where early in the morning. I take photos during the down times. Here’s a few from my latest trip.
Back from New York where I work 12 hour days as long as I’m there. I did get one night free and had dinner at a great German place w/ Justin. Always good to see that guy. Trying to get back to Austin was a hassle. It was storming at JFK so we sat on the runway for 3 hours after a 2 hour delay. So a 4 hour flight ended up taking nearly 10 hours. I have terrible luck with flights. Anyhow, I got home and did my follow ups, reports, calls, etc. and got back to knife making and the 20 other things waiting on me to do around the house. I’m starting to get used to my new sander, but obviously I’m not used to it’s power. Today I received my first puncture wound, in the stomach, when a knife flew off the belt and struck me in the stomach and I started bleeding. I knew something like this was going to happen so I ordered a leather apron a few days ago, but it hasn’t come in yet.
When I returned home two fresh bars of steel were waiting on me. A bar of 440c Stainless and another bar of 1095 so after work today, I went to work and profiled blades 5,6,7 and 8. I also got blades 3 and 4 ready to ship to the heat treat guy. This wasn’t as easy as it sounds because you have to oil quench 1095 steel and only 1 guy in La Port, Texas name Bearclaw Oates does that type of work. So I called him yesterday to let him know I was sending some blades his way. Here are some photos from this week’s progress.
After my trip to the beach where I was hauling around bait, sandy and wet dogs and people it smelled a bit. Then the last straw was when we left some food from a restaurant in the car for a couple hours. So I got me a vent scent called ISLAND BREEZE: 20% More Breeze, but it’s way too godamn strong. Way too strong. I was driving around today and I started getting dizzy a little and then I got a headache. I have an old ceiling fan in the back of my truck and it rattles around when I drive and I started zoning out and visualizing the ceiling fan turning around in the back of my truck like helicopter blades and my truck lifting up and going off into space and then dropping me down to the island where the breeze is nice and overpowering. I think this is like a tiny bath salt high. I had to take the vent scent down because I started feeling high and couldn’t stand the vent scent anymore. I made a drawing of it in case you need an illustration.
Sometimes you are in a grocery store just pushing your cart down the aisle, surprised by the price of good vanilla and then you exit the aisle when a guy is walking by and you almost hit him with your cart on accident and he says, “Excuse you!” and you reply instantly, “Fuck you!” and the guy just keeps walking and a black lady next to you says, “Good one honkey!”
Sometimes someone will rip you off on eBay for $10 over a Steve Largent shirt and there’s really nothing you can do about it.
Sometimes you’re driving down to New Braunfels to study with a Master Knifesmith and you get a blow out and show up filthy with a spare on your truck.
Sometimes you get in a fork lift wreck and hurt your neck so bad you never drive a fork lift again.
Sometimes you think that you’re not giving enough back to the world and then you realize you just filled up the bird feeder and go about your business.
Sometimes your business takes you to New York way too godamn much and you feel like a dick for feeling like you have to go to New York too much.
Sometimes you’re out chopping down dead bushes at the rent house and your old neighbor comes out and tries to sell you pills. When you refuse he says he’ll finish the job of cutting down bushes and hauling them off for $20 and you accept. You might call him later that night to see if the job was completed and he’ll say, “Hell yeah, now I’m drunk as shit on that $20 you gave me!” The next day you don’t have to fill the bird feeder. As much.
Sometimes you feel like you put it all out there just a bit too much and you wonder how being a sales person has affected your personal relationships. But then you remind yourself that, “Hey, buddy… that’s who you are. Deal with it.”
Sometimes you wake up at up 6am and water the gardens, fix the screen door, mulch the trees, plant two new trees, create some content for a friend’s website, work a full day, pick up the Henry Golden Boy .22 you won at the auction, weed, go to the P.O. Box, the cleaners, clean the pool, run a mile with the dog, install a new ceiling fan, write and record a quick song, work on a knife, file the important mail, ready 10 poems for H&H, half-glimpse the olmpics and then sit up late, past 2am, at night trying to remember what you actually accomplished.
Sometimes you see someone in a grocery store and you don’t want them to notice you at all so they won’t try to talk to you and you make a game of it. A spy type game, but you aren’t doing good because she keeps popping up on every aisle and you stop shopping early leaving many things on your list uncrossed just to get out of the store and avoid the person. Someone you used to know ruins your entire grocery store trip.
Sometimes you have dreams about your unborn son.
Sometimes you think it’s a good idea to teach yourself how to play the mrdanga, but then your wife reminds you your hobby is “hobbies”.
Sometimes… just sometimes.
I did an experiment with my tomato plants this year and realized that you need to let them grow wild to have a really nice yield. I used traditional tomato cages in both gardens and trimmed the tops of the tomatoes in one and didn’t trim the tomatoes at all in the other. In the ones I trimmed I’m no longer getting tomatoes, but in with the ones I let grow wild I’m getting many. The ones I let grow wild have over taken their cages and are mostly leaned over on the ground growing tomatoes every which way. This is mostly due to the poor quality construction of the thin wired tomato cages you get at any local hardware store. Therefore I call for innovation in design of the traditional tomato cage. I ask for substantial tomato cages be welded from rebar in the shape I’ve outlined below and have them constructed at least 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide at the top. This way you’ll be able to have plentiful tomatoes for many months while letting them grow as nature intended.
Someone build it and sell them for $20 a piece as lifetime tomato cages. You’d probably need support structure on the front and back, but you get the idea. This would need to be welded. This would be the Yeti Cooler of the tomato cage world. You’d never need to buy another one.
I took a new job for a company in NY and now I work exclusively from home. Actually, the company is based in Argentina, we just have an office in NY. I’ve learned a lot about Argentina lately. Anyhow, I know somewhere, at some point in time a guy looked up and realized he’s passing out soap and lotion samples from a kiosk in the mall. It might be a Monday, but he looks down and wonders, “How the fuck did I get here?” That’s what happened to me a few weeks ago. For those that aren’t in my line of business I work in a very complicated realm of display and email advertising. It’s a niche knowledge and language and companies pay big bucks for those who speak it. I tried to get out of it twice now, but couldn’t. At this point people look at my resume and think, “I have no idea what the fuck this guy has been doing for the last 5 years. What does CPM mean? Next.”
Today I decided to mow the acre around our house. Except I accidentally ran over the volleyball net while sidetracked by an Otis Redding song. This fucked up everything and I had to lift the entire riding lawnmower on it’s side and cut the net away. Gas started pouring out of the engine of course. I tried to untangle it quickly, but that wasn’t happening. I pulled a muscle in my back while holding the lawnmower up with one hand and cutting the net off with the other. I cut the net off and now it’s fucked up and can’t be used for volleyball or badminton. I cut the net off with a homemade knife.
I started mowing again and the front right tire of the mower went flat. I aired it back up only to see air shooting from the sidewall. I went and got a new one, greased the axle and started mowing again. I know you’ve probably seen it before, but I took a photo of the old lawnmower tire taking a nap in the hammock for this entry. This is what old tires do when they go flat and get to retire.
When I mow, grackles follow behind me and eat the bugs that were hiding in the tall grass.
Then I saw my neighbor out feeding his chickens. He hardly ever wears a shirt. I don’t hardly wear a shirt when I’m out in the yard. I went over and asked him about his chickens.
“Doing fine.” he said.
I gave him a huge sack of yellow pear tomatoes, jalapenos, banana peppers, red bell peppers, jamaican mushroom peppers, thai peppers, pablano and basil. Also, I gave him back his tupperware that he gave me full of homemade salsa.
I also thought it was weird that two men were talking over a fence, both not wearing a shirt.
8 inch paring knife made of Crown Bolt steel with a Jade Ghost G10 handle. Bottom pin is black linen and top pin is stainless steel. Still unable to get mirror finish using low quality steel.