Stuck, Stick, Stuck

The dynamic duo never disappoint when it comes to heavy equipment.  We just took delivery of a 5000 series Deere tractor with a nice front end loader and within an hour I got “the call.”  She’s not stuck, she’s STUCK.  It took a real professional to accomplish this; someone gifted in the art of forward and reverse.   I don’t get my undies in a bunch anymore.  It is just another day on a farm blessed with two skilled technicians, Adam and Bryce.  When they are not busy destroying things, they are playing in the sandbox with their elephant masks on.

It was the mud’s fault–slicker than dog sh*t

As this year’s farm season winds down to a crawl, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the glory days of summer.

“Lets drive around with our masks on!

“Events” this year include a backhoe with a splinter shoved up its grill, the 8WD JD 9300 articulating tractor–an unstoppable tractor–stopped so bad that it took two more big tractors and a cruise ship tow line to get it out, a ruptured muffler that got a hillbilly fix job, a Blue Ox with blown rubber, shattered glass on a red jeep, and the best:  using the spray rig with 60′ booms to launch a little bass boat–stuck only because SOMEONE forgot the rig was loaded hundreds of gallons of water.  She went straight down to Davy Jones’  locker.  Brilliant.

Morning Wood

Then there was the day the Freightliner missed a step and fell into a ditch.  Good times.

These days I wake up happy simply because we haven’t been a featured story on “I Survived.” 



The trusty yellow fixer upper.

Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.

True Grit

1st Birthday Bear

When we brought her home from the hospital, our sons took one look at her blanket and said, “Pink Stinks.”  Surviving a home with built-in older brothers, one of whom wanted to name her “Hotdog,” has put a fair amount of grit in Jennifer, our youngest and only daughter.    These boys have tortured her dolls simply to spark a reaction.  They have smothered her in “the dutch oven” and are guilty of too much monkey-in-the-middle.    I drew the line when at the tender age of four, they had filled a water bucket up in the front yard and told her she was old enough to learn how to “breathe under water.”

My Stinky-Winkie is 24 years old as of this writing.   Her brothers are 30 and 28.   She grew up with Michael Jackson’s Thriller album, Power Rangers, and Leo DiCaprio.  Each October she morphed into a princess, a butterfly, a witch, or a superhero.  She danced.  She brought me hand picked flowers.  She loves traditions and decorating the Christmas tree.   The years have clicked past so fast and now, when I look at her, I see the most amazing woman…a culmination of life experience and education infused with kindness, common sense, and wit.

Daddy’s Baby Girl

She is a mother now.  My grand-doggie is about 5 lbs., has dark chocolate eyes, and a long tail that is almost as long as it’s body.  Our “Hotdog” is Lola; a red mini-dachshund, and she loves her momma.

Lola Bear

Jennifer and I share a knowing, a commonality, a connection that I know will pass to the next generation.   This is what makes daughters so SO special.  The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.  She is my finest hour; my hope.  When I look at her, I see my perfect self in the most selfless way.

A turning point:    I’ll never forget the time we went shopping because I needed an outfit.  Jennifer was all of 15.  A black and white polka dot dress caught my attention so I picked it up.   In pure SWAT-team mode, she grabbed my arm, and urgently demanded,  “Put that back, Mom, right now.  That’s for old people.  I’m trying to save you.”   Surprised and mildly offended, I argued on behalf of my selection.  My case wasn’t complete before an obviously geriatric grey haired lady, supported by a cane, appeared from the fitting rooms, wearing “my” outfit.   Jennifer shot me a victory look and had the grace to not say another word.  We still laugh about it.

When the kids were little, I was so smart.  They would ask me something and I could give a satisfactory answer or at least get by.  They bought it.  Every time.  When they started questioning me, the backup standard was, “Because I said so.”    That response was golden for a long time.  These days they see my games and call me out or google everything.   Even my best explanations are suspect until verified.   I was gifted in the answer department until the damn Internet came along.

One day Jennifer will find all this out and I will sit on the sidelines, watching and smiling inside.



1st Day of Kindergarten

Our World Traveler




Time to Cancel His Show

 Time to cancel his show. 

Obama is a character; a shell game in the flesh, a puppet.  He acts for the audience and will say anything to get what he wants.  Remember transparency promises? 

He is coddled by the media and embraced by all that is fake in Hollywood.  He performs well in a controlled environment.   He is a man without without substance and this was painfully demonstrated during the first presidential debate on October 3, 2012:  The Rocky Mountain Smack Down.

Finally, the world got to see the insecure, smug Barry Obama as Romney chipped away at his facade.   For the first time in years, BO was on his own up against a business professional with no one telling him what to say via teleprompter, and having to attempt to defend an abysmal record over the past four years.  Obama is a narcissistic neophyte who does not have the experience or competence to hang with the big boys.  The emperor wore no clothes.


 Deep down, Michelle knew it.  

Both wives were seated

before the debate began and Mrs. Obama looked concerned, worried, and fearful. 

Did anyone else pick up on that?  After the debate, the mainstream media looked like someone had just died.  Then Al Gore gets on and comes up with the high altitude excuse for BO’s poor performance.  Really?  Rubio had it right when he said that Obama’s ideas aren’t any better at sea level.

During the debate, Barry couldn’t look the American people in the eye because deep down, he knows he is a fraud and it was humiliating for him to have to answer questions–coming from someone other than David Letterman –because he was exposed.  The president got it all wrong, likely because the fog in which he and his senior advisers are allowed to live had declared the election over weeks ago.  This led Obama to underestimate his opponent and overestimate his own position.   Earlier in the week President Obama told interviewers that his debate preparations were “a drag” because his advisers were making him do his “homework.”  If he didn’t have time to meet with global leaders, he certainly didn’t have time to do any homework either.

Obama made a grave error in believing his own hype during the last month of the campaign. Obama can never get back the moment in which he, by underestimating his opponent and overestimating himself, allowed Romney to become a plausible alternative.





Funny Papers

…some gems from facebook that tickle my funny bone.


Two Moon Walks, One Hero

Michael Jackson’s death received more notoriety than Neil Armstrong’s death.  Both are famous for moon walks.

Am I the only person who thinks this is tragic?  The person on the street knows more about Hollywood, music videos, and what Kim Kardashian wore on the red carpet than the achievements of this modern day “Lewis and Clark.”  This man risked his life on the greatest adventure in the history of mankind and he did it relying on NASA computers antiquated by today’s standards.

Modern Day Pioneer

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has died aged 82. The former US astronaut, who will go down in history as the most famous pioneer of space exploration, passed away as the result of heart complications following surgery.

As commander of the Apollo 11 mission, he became the first person to set foot on the moon, on 20 July 1969, fulfilling the longheld dream of the United States to get there before the Soviet Union. His first words as he stepped on to the surface – “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” – instantly became one of the most recognizable phrases ever uttered.

Armstrong had a determined effort to live a quiet, private life after his astronaut days.  There is a Neil Armstrong Museum in  Ohio (that I happened to visit earlier this year.)  When he passed, there was relatively little tape on hand to roll from interviews reminiscing about his experiences, reunions with old astronauts or public appearances because he didn’t seek personal fame.  Fame found him and he handled it with grace.  He didn’t go on the Letterman show.  He was a true American hero who did his job better than anyone else, led a quiet life, and never exploited his adventure for personal gain.  There was the moon walk, and not much else.

 The magnitude of his achievements transcend
the moonwalk of Michael Jackson. 


Neil Armstrong walked the walk.  His life exemplified dignity, bravery, and patriotism.   There will be a full moon tonight and tonight I will be looking up at Neil Armstrong, remembering the past and hoping our nation gets some perspective.


Wrestling a “Johnson”

Always kiss a fish on the lips!

An 11 pound walleye is tough.  A 6 lb. smallmouth bass is tougher.  Wrestling an 18 lb. Great Lakes salmon is as easy as reeling in a wide open, 15 horse Johnson outboard engine…it isn’t coming in until it is out of gas. 

Learning that you are not the fisherman you THINK you are is hard to accept.  Knowing that a rod has been in my hand every summer since my second birthday made this realization painful.  Salmon fishing kicked the living snot out of my “living country strong” …er, motto.  Come to think of it, have you ever heard a Chuck Norris fact involving salmon?  I didn’t think so.

The day started out well before dawn when the only sound on the water was the mystical clinking and clanging of gently rocking buoys strategically anchored throughout Grand Traverse Bay to mark a channel or navigational hazard.  Cutting through the water at night, depending only on radar and your captain’s skill, is like riding a roller coaster with no hands and no lights on.  A thrilling free fall.

Big water air smells fishy-fresh and fills your head.  Twin tsunami waves originate, rise up, and roll away from the port and starboard sides of the vessel as the bow cuts the water in half.  If the moon is full, a hint of white boat wake sparks at the stern.  Getting up at 4 a.m. is easy when this is the reward. 

With 25 miles to the nearest fuel dock my son, my Captain, started to wince and the thought crossed my mind that he was puckered up and trying not to crap his pants.  He was consterpating real hard, focused, and having a catasterstroke, flipping switches on the console in a last ditch effort to milk the engines.  When he couldn’t hide it any longer, he confessed.  We were running on fumes.  A smirk slipped out as I was thinking that my adventure just got bigger when fire shot out of his eyes and burned a hole in me that said, “Knock it off Lieutenant Dan.”

Trimming tabs, finding the RPM sweet spot, and getting every ounce of juice out of his twin Merc 225 Verado engines was Captain Adam’s only focus at this point.  He’s my man in the foxhole and, somehow, he pulled it out when the gauges gave up.

After three days of good weather, steady fish, and hitting the hay by 7 p.m. in my Hen House, it was time to pack it all up and head home.  Adam is staying up north to tournament fish so we said our goodbyes and I rolled out of Traverse City.  Merging on U.S. 10 in mid-Michigan, I saw another Airstream to my left, just behind.  I settled into the right lane and slowed down to wave and let them pass.  Imagine my DELIGHT when ANOTHER  16′ DWR (Design Within Reach) Bambi EXACTLY LIKE MINE pulled up, port side (we are land yachts, after all).  Airstream only made 66 of these units and here we were:   two of them rolling 70 mph, side by side.  The only difference was that mine was loaded with a ginormous cooler of iced salmon and lake trout!

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