Severn Lake, Ontario by float plane 2014

Ten fishermen + 4.5 days + Severn Lake = 1,805 walleyes.

 

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Home improvement projects and other tortures

By Steve Moseley

Just when you think she’s done … she’s not.

The transition of the corner occupied by No. 16 Fairview Drive has been remarkable. Everyone says so. But has it been enough? She says no.

And so we continue to nibble at a grand plan which, best I can figure, has no end.

Next to confront the aged Lonesome Steve and Good Wife Norma are: (1) the necessity of moving a utility shed that is screwed tight to a 2×4 base of son Jarrod’s creation, and (2) excavating (for drainage) and then covering the walkway between the new retaining wall and the garage on the east end of the property.

And so it was I found myself at Overland Sand and Gravel on Thursday, obtaining as much pea gravel as my wee Ranger pickup could carry.

First a channel must be dug so the occasional downpour that drains from neighboring yards will find its way to the street instead of into the new garage. Next, she says, we’ll cover the narrow walkway in a fabric barrier that, she says, will discourage weeds and, one supposes, help run off … well … run off.

Next comes what I’m sure we’ll come to laugh and call Fun With Pea Gravel as we cleverly hide the drainage trench by leveling the gravel off across the entire top.

Then we’ll be done. Right?

Wrong. Then, she says, we’ll grunt and grub some big slabs of flagstone on top of the pea gravel to make a dandy walkway.

And all that’s the easy part. Moving that hulking shed will have to be done by hand since there’s inadequate space to get a Kiewit and Sons crane in there to do the job properly. Guess whose ‘hands’ will be involved in that deal.

Then will we be done? Logic and common sense suggest we will. Past experience with GWN suggests we won’t.

Worst of all is that I’m disqualified from serious whining by the fact she usually ends up doing as much digging and loading and dumping and lugging as I do. Usually more. Often significantly more.

Will that be the case again with this phase of The Project from H-E-Double-Toothpicks? One can only hope.

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Forty-four years you say? Wow!

If you’re reading this on Saturday, June 28 our anniversary was yesterday. If you’re reading some other day please adjust accordingly.

Yes, boys and girls, it is possible for the same two people to remain married for 44 years with neither killing the other. I didn’t say easy, I said possible.

Norma Garling of Genoa, Nebraska (Oriole Class of ’68) became Good Wife Norma on June 27, 1970.

The site was Augustana Lutheran Church in Genoa. The atmosphere was festive. The temperature was in excess of 100 degrees. Air-conditioning for that church was still years away. The groom was nervous which, combined with the heat, had him sweating like a Louisiana roofer at high noon in August.

Not only did we get through that day despite our youth, the ceremony actually ‘took’ for 44 years, defying all predictions to the contrary at the time.

In four decades-plus we managed to raise two sons and a daughter of whom we couldn’t be more proud.

Six grandkids have absolutely been the frosting on the cake for GWN and me. Two in Lincoln and two in Kearney are close enough we can be there for lots of their events and activities, plus the even better times when we just hang out at their homes or ours.

In 1970 we could not have predicted what lay ahead in our marriage, but I think we’d both say it has gone well so far.

Oh sure, it would have been great to win a gazillion-dollar lottery, but first one of us would have had to buy a ticket and we’re not really into that.

So I suppose we’ll just be happy with our non-monetary assets: a comfortable house in a friendly town, good health (typing with one hand and knocking on wood with the other right now), the fact my mother is still able to do things with us at age 90 (like join us for our anniversary steak dinner last night, which she did) and of course for my beloved ’91 MR2.

Add the warm and wonderful family dynamic to all that and you get some great times now that we’re much closer to the end of our journey together than when we set off 44 years ago on that sweltering June 27.

Reflecting on the cusp of birthday No. 65 I easily recall many dumb things I’ve done with my life and, yes, an occasional smart one, too.

The absolute dumbest is easy … choosing to smoke for 35 years.

The smartest thing I did in life is an even easier call. It was when, by some miracle, I convinced her to say “I do” on a late June day in 1970.

I still don’t know how I pulled that one off, but thank God I did. GWN is the best thing that ever happened to me. Period.

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Man of the West mired in corn stubble

By Steve Moseley Managing Editor

The problem turns out to be … no grass

A nice woman I chatted with while photographing the high school state finals rodeo caused a light bulb to flicker in my head about what I find missing in this neck of the woods. The lady’s daughter is a competitor, but Mom is the one who is interesting for the fact she grew up on a historic cattle ranch way out there in the hills, a day’s ride on a good horse from Valentine. Now she lives near Norfolk, but the working ranch mindset is clearly still there.

Click here!

Nothing against Norfolk, she said, “But I miss my grass.”

Ah-ha. There it is for me, too. Though I’ll never be of any use at all on a ranch and that goes treble for any kind of ‘working’ ranch, I nonetheless take much greater personal comfort from rolling hills of grass than from corn stubble as far as the eye can see.

Why would I, an utterly oblivious town kid, covet the ranch lifestyle? No idea, but I do.

Of guns, grandsons and partnerships

Grandson Dominic lives in the countryside along a creek west of Lincoln and will be 10 years old next month. High time for a .22 rifle which is a goal he and I are working toward together. A single shot, bolt action .22 is about as safe as any gun I can think of to get a kid started plinking and perhaps hunting one day.

The short version is Dom and Grandpa are finishing restoration of just such a rifle that’s been around for years. Dom finished sanding the stock and brushed on walnut stain, immediately transforming the wood into a nice red hue … not too light and definitely not too dark. I said we could let it dry and put on another coat, but he declined. Liked it just the way it was.

Next he applied the first coat of Birchwood Casey Tru Oil finish exactly as it should be done, by dipping one’s bare fingers into a dish of the sticky stuff, then rubbing it into the grain of the wood oh-so gently and smoothly, being careful to avoid dreaded runs.

At that point Dom had to go home, so in the week since I speeded up the timeline to completion by putting on four more coats, being careful to rub the previous coat down with super, extra, ultra-fine steel wool then wipe with a tack cloth.

Dom also worked on the barrel and bolt assembly, learning while he rubbed and scrubbed about things like solvent and rust specks and the importance of maintaining a thin coating of oil on metal parts at all times.

He’s coming to York for golf camp next week and will be here from Sunday through at least Wednesday. Don’t bet against him smearing the last couple coats on it and getting to fire off a few shots before he takes his old/new again gun home.

The downside of home remodeling revealed

Those of you familiar with where Good Wife Norma and I live, or who have blundered into past columns about our ongoing project(s), know we stretched a single-attached garage into a three-holer, pulled down the 1950s cedar siding and replaced it with steel. GWN’s new landscaping is coming along remarkably well considering it’s been shredded by hail at least twice, though it seems more like three or four times.

All this was wonderful until one day an ominous envelope appeared in the new mailbox on the new post surrounded by one of the new flower gardens. The envelope was, not unpredictably, notice of a new valuation for tax assessment purposes.

Suffice to say the valuation increase in three years – a mere eye blink of time in the world of real estate – was within a couple steak dinners and a bottle of so-so merlot from being half (yes 50 percent) of the total price we paid for the place those three short years ago.

Assessor Ann Charlton trotted out actual sales of similar houses in three comparable subdivisions. I’m very glad Ann knows her business so well and it’s only fair that she knows it so well in my case, too, I suppose.

The biggest deal, she said, is that three-car garage. Folks covet those I guess and, frankly, I would demand a whole lot of legal tender for mine. But still one wonders; how much is all that garage worth.

Ann and her staff had the answer for that one, too. It’s ‘worth’ at least $450 more in taxes for us to pay.

What had Ann smiling and me smiling back is we both know the answer to this most pivotal question: Would Steve Moseley forfeit the taj magarage, never mind all the other improvements at 16 Fairview, for 450 smackers a year?

No way friends … not a chance.

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State High School Finals Rodeo ‘In Action!’

Some shots from this year’s state finals rodeo at Hastings. If it looks like some of what these kids are doing is crazy that’s because it is.

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Father’s (Yawn) Day … and other trivial holidays

It’s this weekend, friends and detractors. Father’s Day is what I’m talkin’ ‘bout.

Frankly, I don’t claim to know where to rank this holiday, but clearly it’s a heavy hitter compared to Flip a Coin Day on June 1 or Repeat Day (I said Repeat Day!) that captures the nation’s attention each and every June 3. Of course everyone knows about June 4, National Hug Your Cat Day as well as Blame Someone Else Day which falls on the first Friday-the-13th of the year … but then you already knew that and even if you didn’t it’s not my fault.

Father’s Day trumps all those without breaking sweat, as it dang well should.

Dad’s special day also holds up well against the likes of Compliment your Mirror Day (July 3) and I Forgot Day on July 2 (by definition I guess this is the holiday you be sure to go ahead and not remember).

Teddy Bear Picnic Day and a lesser known event, my birthday, share July 10. Who doesn’t race around frantically, looking for a bovine to buss every July 15 in honor of Cow Appreciation Day?

I’m sure you, like Good Wife Norma and me, embrace National Nude Day on July 14 which also happens to be her birthday. Coincidence? Harrumph! We were born at night, but not last night.

Those of you out there with eyes of two different colors may claim your celebratory due July 12. Just three days later one of my favorite foods, tapioca pudding, has its national holiday. The most popular flavors are vanilla and chocolate. Please make mine vanilla.

(Isn’t it wonderful what a lazy person can dredge up on Google to avoid having to engage in, like, intelligent thought and stuff for a column?)

At least for me, holiday pressure gains blessed relief on the first Saturday in August (National Mustard Day) and also Aug. 3 (National Watermelon Day). Nothing against mustard and watermelon … except I find both to be foul tasting and gross. I’d sooner be slimed by a Komodo Dragon than have watermelon juice dripping off my elbows.

Be sure to make a note on your calendar that Work Like a Dog Day comes Aug. 5, however if our pod of wiener dogs is the standard by which dog work is measured we can all roll onto our backs and sleep away that entire day.

Father’s Day doesn’t hold up so well against more hefty holidays like Thanksgiving and Independence Day. We all know it crumbles to dust, as it should, when religion is added to the mix for Easter and Christmas.

There can be no doubt the only real apples-to-apples comparison with Father’s Day is its gender opposite.

So how does Dad’s Day hold up against Mother’s Day on the Holiday Relevance Meter?

If you truly don’t know the answer to that question the rest of us will ask you to stand for a round of applause the next time your special holiday, Appreciate a Dumbass Day, rolls around.

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