The Model Garage: Prep is Everything

Tyler and I have been making steadier progress on our two Volkswagen Beetle projects lately. I took both chassis/floorpans and ten wheels to a local sandblaster, and we’ve been working on priming and painting them all.

The primer grey pan in front is for my 1962 sunroof Beetle, and the bare metal pan in back is Tyler’s ’63.

I’ve also finished painting my widened wheels in Volkswagen L87 Perl Weiss (Pearl White), which is the color my car will be when done.

I Don’ Know Nothin’ ‘Bout Birthin’ No Baby!

Been a while since posting any updates… life’s been very full! The hay field is coming in fairly well, but where did all that buttonweed come from? I realize now I should have seeded much heavier than I did, but I was basing my rate on the last time I reseeded the field, and wasn’t thinking that I had the oats in a separate bin on the grain drill then, and was effectively seeding at twice the rate I did this time. Hopefully the weeds will get choked out after it gets cut a few times.

The more interesting update to most folks will be the little surprise that greeted me when I did the animal chores this morning:

The cow’s name is Judy (named before we got her), and when I went out later this morning, our miniature horse, Spirit (who I call Sparky, as that seems to fit his disposition better) was butting and nipping the calf. Sparky quickly got penned up, and the calf was thus named Punch (as in Punch and Judy).

There should be a couple of litters of kittens joining the crew any day now. Things are really hopping!

UPDATE: Really good to see Punch taking milk – a calf’s stomach is designed by God to be fairly porous right after birth so the antibodies in the colostrum can propagate throughout the body faster. It’s really important that the calf take milk within the first 12-24 hours for that reason.

Planting Day

      No Comments on Planting Day

About ten of our fifteen acres is in crops each year, and last fall’s harvest was field corn. I had an epic plowing session with the 8N and a two-bottom plow, and then left the field “rough” over the winter to “mellow down,” which just means the freeze/thaw cycle breaks down and loosens the dirt, leaving it soft as butter in the spring.

A few weeks ago, I borrowed my “real farmer” friend’s big John Deere tractor and field cultivator, which made quick work of leveling out the furrows left by the plowing.


Several passes were made, then a few more using a spike-tooth harrow to get everything really smoothed out and level.

Continue reading

John Harper’s End

      No Comments on John Harper’s End

John Harper was called to pastor the Moody Church in the early 1900s. He went down with the Titanic. And W.B. Riley related the death of Harper in this way:

“We have the history of John Harper’s end, for survivors brought to harbor in safety told it to us. When the Titanic was struck by the iceberg that drove in her sides and sent the ship to the bottom, John Harper was leaning against the railing, pleading with a young man to come to Christ.

Four years after the Titanic went down, a young Scotsman rose in a meeting in Hamilton, Canada, and said, ‘I am a survivor of the Titanic. When I was drifting alone on a piece of wood that awful night, the tide brought Mr. John Harper of Glasgow on a piece of wreckage near me. He said to me, ‘Man, are you saved?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I’m not.’ He replied, ‘Believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and you’ll be saved.’ And the waves bore him away, but strange to say, brought him back a little later, and again he said, ‘Are you saved now?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I can’t honestly say that I am.’ He said again, ‘Believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.’ And shortly after, he went down beneath the water. And there alone in the night, and with two miles of water under me, I believed, and I am John Harper’s last convert.'”

User Hostile Software Design

      No Comments on User Hostile Software Design

Back when I purchased my 2000 Volkswagen New Beetle (Y2K Bug), as I’ve done with every car I’ve owned, I purchased a shop manual. Only this time, I decided to go “high tech” and got a CD-ROM version.

Big mistake.

The software on the CD-ROM has a byzantine security setup to prevent illegal copying of the content, and it hasn’t been updated in years. If the least little thing changes with your PC setup, it has to be reactivated.

As I recently upgraded to Windows 7 64bit*, you guessed it – my software stopped working again. It literally took 24 man hours to get the software working again, most of that because I had to download and install what Microsoft optimistically calls “XP Mode,” which enables you to run older programs in Windows 7.

After installing XP Mode (which involves basically creating a virtual PC in Windows 7 and then installing XP on that just like you would on a new PC), you then have to endure updating XP with all the security updates. The first pass identified about 100 patches.

You download and run those, then run the updater again, and it finds another 40 or so.

Rinse, lather, repeat, until it finally doesn’t find any more to update. There were close to 200 by the time I finished…

Glad I use a Mac.

*I run Windows 7 using VMWare Fusion, which is a virtual environment that simulates PC hardware as a software program on my Mac. It runs just as fast as it would on real hardware, and if I get a virus (thankfully never have), I just delete the hard drive file and start over from a backup.

The Screwtape Letters

      No Comments on The Screwtape Letters

But flippancy is the best of all. In the first place it is very economical. Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny. Among flippant people the Joke is always assumed to have been made. No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it. If prolonged, the habit of Flippancy builds up around a man the finest armour-plating against the Enemy that I know, and it is quite free from the dangers inherent in the other sources of laughter. It is a thousand miles away from joy; it deadens, instead of sharpening, the intellect; and it excites no affection between those who practice it…