TRIP BACK IN TIME

Tuesday I got done late with my last horse. Just rounding a turn in the road here was a 1959 Chevy Apache Fleetside sitting in a guy’s front yard staring me in the face. I just had to back up and take a picture. As I backed up, here the guy was looking over his yard fence. I yelled out, “Great looking Chevy”. He started out the yard gate so I parked, got out, we shook hands and started to talk. He gave me the low down on how he acquired it and told me about a get together of American car owners in the area. Of course I had to tell him my Dad owned a Chevy Apache, which we used on the farm, and how I learned to drive in it. I then went to talk about my first car – 1969 Chevy Camaro. Finally I had to go, so we shook hand and off I went. Now my drive home was a trip back in memory lane.
It was metallic purple with black interior. When I got finished I had rebuilt the top end with a 4 barrel carb, new headers, high lift cam, you know, all the goodies needed to get some more horses under the hood. I only had a 283, but I got as much power as I could get from it. Bought a set of deep dish slotted steel wheels (chrome finish), L60’s for the rear, 70’s for the front. Air ride shocks all around. Inside I decked it out with a brand new Craig eight track power play, with Pioneer speakers, two almost filling the back deck. I was real proud of this car. Also I had my CB radio mounted under the dash, my handle was “Purple Pirate”.
My best friend Dan had a ’68 Malibu. We soon learned girls took money away from the things we “needed”, plus it was much more fun “cruising “ down town Boise without gals, also a lot cheaper! One weekend I would drive my car, Dan would buy the food and drinks. The next weekend he would drive his car and I would buy. Great deal and was a fantastic time.
It was the ‘70s. The movie “Happy Days” had played and the TV series of the same name was still playing. Down town Boise was the place to be on a warm summer Saturday evening. There were two, main one-way streets at that time. Both streets would be lined with people, teenagers, young adults to watch the cars cruise the streets. Every once in a while a couple would line up and drag from stop light to stop light. I never remember any trouble, everyone was there for a good time. It was a fantastic time to grow up, have a great car and enjoy a good summer weekend.
It was usually after midnight when Dan and I would head home. On the way many times we’d stop at the Hong Kong in Nampa. One time we ordered a meal for “4”. The waitress didn’t want to order it for us, but we said we’d pay the rate for 4. She looked at us kind of strange, especially when Dan ordered extra portions of hot mustard for the pork & seeds. Later on as we sat back, after finishing a Chinese meal for “4”, the waitress came and shook her head in disbelief.
Yes, those were the care free days of our youth. Later on after Dan moved back, south of Portland, Oregon, I made a trip out after rebuilding my engine. I got it tuned up on the way out. I told Dan to find a good, straight road with no traffic, I wanted to see how fast she would go. The speedometer went to 140mph and I pegged it, so I figured it was fast enough.
I turned into my drive way, looking up I can see my dog Gabby came out to greet me as usual – back to reality. Slowing driving my VW Transporter up to the parking spot I collected my computer, phone, work calendar, opened the door and was greeted by a good looking dog. We gave our greeting and headed for the house. Yep, I’m back to reality, but it is sure great to have those memories in my head and get something to trigger them every once in a while, just so I don’t forget them.

WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE

I was taking a break this morning and got to thinking, (dangerous sometimes). Anyway got to looking back in time, thinking about what Denmark was like when I first arrived and what it is like today. A few thoughts of when I was a kid got thrown in as well.
The first obvious thing was the road in front my house. I went from living in the back country of Idaho to having a road (Nyvej) right in front of my house. When I arrived in December 1992, there wasn’t much traffic. The every once in a while car, the tractor and an occasional delivery truck, with the garbage thrown in the mix. Most country roads here in Denmark are not very wide. In order for two cars to safely pass, both must pullover to the extreme right, driving on the shoulder of the road. With that in mind, now think about the large trucks. Today Nyvej is like a freeway. Certain times of the day you don’t want to be walking or riding a bike, the traffic is unbelievable, sometime into all hours of the night.
It was very different when I first moved here, most stores were completely closed on Sundays, and only open half days on Saturday. Then about once a month was “Long Saturday” where the stores were open a few hours longer, it was something, not today. I thought this was a really great thing, giving people Sundays free, and not working long on Saturdays – gone today. Now it is all about the money. Most all stores are open seven days a week, and many are even open on holidays, just like in the States. I was disappointed to see this happen, Denmark falling to the ways of the west, and I really don’t think it is so great.
When I first moved here, the little village of Lintrup had a small grocery store, a mechanic/handyman shop. You could also mail letters and such at the store. Just outside of town was a blacksmith shop – all of this is gone today. Like many places in the States, the stores and shops in the bigger towns have taken over. There has been effects in the towns as well. In the town of Rødding there used to be a baker – it has opened and closed a number of times and now is currently closed. There was a full time butcher shop, no longer as it was. Post office long since gone, you now go to the local “OK” tank station to mail a letter or pick up a package. The local camera store is gone along with the local electric appliance shop. One of the two grocery stores is gone. As I drive around my shoeing area many of the small “Mom & Pop” stores are gone. Bakers are gone. I used to have my “usual” places I would stop to get something to drink, a snack to eat, gone. Many of the local bakers where I would stop to get fresh make morning bread, pick up a sandwich, or an afternoon snack are gone – they have been replaced with many of the gas stations which now have an oven to bake frozen, ready to cook rolls, pastries and such, and they taste like it. Many places over cook stuff, they really don’t care about the quality. Thank goodness for a local tank station near me. They get all their rolls, bread and such from a “real” baker and it tastes like it. There was a time when they got it from another place, but they went back to the baker – Thank God. I feel sorry the people have settled for second best and not supporting their local bakers and butchers, so much quality has been lost.
On the bright side, I can now find a cup of coffee first thing in the morning if I want. When I first moved here you couldn’t find a cup of coffee at 0600 if your life depended on it. Now I really don’t care. I got a thermo cup and fill it before leaving the house and many of my customers have coffee for me during the day.
I can understand many of the changes. Postal services have been cut to almost nothing because of the internet, e-mail and over-night express services. Train stations in many towns are just empty building now because most purchase tickets online, or “swipe” their card at the local machine to purchase a ticket. There was a time when you could purchase a ticket on the train, no more, you get a fine today if you get on the train without a ticket.
When I first moved here I relied on our home phone for my business, now I almost never get a call on it. Only during the weekends when I have my mobile phone set to switch to the house because I don’t answer my business phone on the weekends. The mobile phone is great, lets me instantly contact a customer letting them know of any schedule changes or them letting me know of a problem and sometimes getting a same day fix. Worst part is so many people can’t set their phone down for any time. Many times I have a customer holding a horse and still trying to message someone or talk to them. I will stop, look at them. I tell them when I am working on their horse, their phone is in the pocket. I am not talking on a phone, they are not using their phones. Mobile phones today are a necessary evil. Yet too many people, kids today are forgetting how to look someone in the eye and talk to them. They are lost if they can’t check their “status” every minute or so.
One thing I am glad for, glad I am old enough to remember how easy life was before mobile phones, knowing how to ride a bike without “fancy riding clothes”, knowing if I fell over I might get a skinned knee. Remember when a “soda pop” was something special, not many a day. Three channels on the TV and it went off at midnight, with the last thing showing was the American flag and National Anthem. The list can go on and I know many of you out there will remember as well, but like the old saying goes, “That’s water under the Bridge”.

JOHN’S TV

I thought I needed to explain “TV” to some people. The first year, 2007 I was in Portugal, my friend stated his fireplace was his TV, so thus while there it is standard practice to refer to his fireplace(in the kitchen) as the TV. There are many benefits to this type of TV which the normal person will never know or experience. Thus I hope to open the eyes of many and expand your minds just a bit. So from now on when referring to TV, it is the fireplace.
First one up in the morning turns on the TV. The water pot is set on to make coffee or tea while the morning chores are done. When we are ready so is the water, no wasted time. We sit back enjoying that first cup of the day staring straight ahead into the screen.
Now let me ask you, how many you have a TV you can make your coffee on? It also provides warmth and you can get rid of your trash paper in it. Sure you need to get up once in a while to feed it, but you also got to get up to take a piss, get a drink, something to eat no matter what type of TV you are watching.
Last night for example, I cooked some great pork chops on the TV. Just before, John set the pot of taters on to boil. While we were eating had a pot of water getting warm to wash dishes. How many of you have such versatile TV?
Also we have no commercials, no ads and we don’t have to worry where the remote is, if the remote batteries go dead or if the power goes out! Yes we do have sound effects, depending on the type of wood we use in the TV depends on the noises. Really dry pine produces the old Snap, Crackle, and Pop. Eucalyptus, if not completely dry will sizzle and hiss, you can also see the water boiling out the ends. Oak lasts a long time as does chestnut. Last night we cooked chops over wet grapevine, what a fantastic flavor. See our TV is great, not like yours, which you can only turn on and off, and besides so much of the programming today is crap (oh yea, we can burn that in ours as well)
John’s TV is never out of date. It never needs a software upgrade. Yea, I guess we could get a bigger model but that is not necessary for full effect or enjoyment. We can dry clothes on our TV and even flick cigar ashes in our3s (just try that with yours).
I bet there is a lot of you who pay big money to visit a shrink! We don’t need one. Usually a couple evening with our TV and we got the problems of the world solved. Yes for this step it does good to have “qualified” friends present like, Jack, Jim, or Johnny. As of lately Jack has been present at most of our therapy sessions. Our TV somehow seems to make their presents a little more smooth. You need to give this a try sometime.
Yep, tonight after the dishes are done, we’ll turn out the lights, stoke up the TV, invite Jack for a visit and just vegetate. I’ll look over at John and ask him, “I wonder what all the common folk are doing tonight?”

STATE OF MIND

Inserting the key into the lock silently I thanked John for leaving it. The rusty gate hinge gave its familiar drawn out squeaky greeting as I entered the “Consulate” as it is known to all of us who visit John since his move to Portugal in 2006. I have only missed one year coming to this, my place of retreat, cleansing of my soul, my mind, what I call my sanctuary.
I work hard all year long, dealing with each problem as it arises(both home and work), hopefully in a matter which will let people (and the wife) know I really care about the situation I am currently in and trying to resolve. Like everyone I need my vacation to just get away to forget the worries and care of life , to regenerate that spark inside so I can continue one more year. I didn’t get that last year and by the middle of this summer I could feel I had over extended and just needed to get away. John had informed me he would not be home upon my arrival, so had arranged for a friend Dave to pick me up. As I approached the inner double door, I noticed the wood stack on the left was gone, about time I thought, thinking back to how many years ago John and I had cut and stacked it there. Going through the door I looked to the right and smiled, yes the forge and bellows. What a magnificent pair they are. I have spend many relaxing hours with this pair as I reached over and gently patted the top of his anvil. Looking to the left the Danish Ensign still hangs on the front of his ceiling high cabinets. Even though the sun is shining it is very dark in here and I instantly know why, looking up as I enter the open inter court area I see a year’s growth of grape vines still doing their job of providing shade. I’ve never been here in the heat of the summer, but I understand how important these vines are to the Consulate for shade and keeping it cool. The upper deck had two sides covered, the inner court where I am is topped and the open front side is also covered with vines. John has trained them up the back wall of the area as well. There are two sources for these vines, one being in a dirt spot next to the south wall, these vines are the ones covering the inner courtyard. The other source comes from the kitchen! When John moved in this old grape vine was growing in a dirt patch on the back wall, so he provided it a place to continue to grow and built his kitchen around it. He has an opening for it to go outside, and had trained it to the top deck, patio, northwest wall. Yes they give lots of grapes and most people here in Portugal press their own wine. John doesn’t he just wants the shade, so the grapes go to the neighbors, who in return give him some of the “fruit of the vine” later on.
Just before I turn to my left, approaching the rock stair case leading to the upper room, I gaze upon the large stone slab covering the ground to my right. Affixed to the kitchen wall are two headstones, one for Jessica and the other for Conan. Jessica was John’s bulldog who moved from Denmark to Portugal with John. She was very special and I can’t tell you how much he loved this little girl. I could see the effect on John the year I came down after she died, very noticeable. He swore he’d never get another one, yet the following year I was introduced to Conan, he was a special guy as well (also English Bulldog). Now they are gone, he just has a cat. Much easier for John to take care of, but just not the same.
At the top of the staircase Istep on the stone surface leading to the room. I set my day pack down and open the door and am greeted with the slight rush of warm air as I enter. Looking to my right the shutters are open letting the warm fall sun in. I can smell the room had been closed for some time, so I set my gear down at the foot of the bed, go over and allow some of the great fresh fall air in. As I open the window I breathe deeply, put my hands on the window sill and look out over the view – mountains. The one thing Denmark doesn’t have I really miss. These aren’t Idaho mountains, but they fill the void.
After stowing my gear I head back down to the kitchen. I might add John’s kitchen is special. It is a completely separate room from the rest of the house. The first year I was here, it was a three sided room, completely open facing the south. Along the back wall from left to right is the fridge, gas stove and cabinet. Assorted cast iron skillets and pots hand from hooks on the roof beams. Above the stove coming out of the rock wall is his grape vine’s main trunk heading out its own little special window. Before I arrived the second year, John had a wooden wall built for the kitchen. This is special as it is panels hinged together so they could open and fold back against the rock structure. When fully closed a door is incorporated in this very ingenious design so if he wanted he could leave it open, then in the winter rainy months it can be closed up, snug as a bug in a rug.
I did the first natural thing when entering a kitchen, I opened the fridge, low and behold the lower shelf was full of beer bottles. He knows I enjoy nice cool one, so he had a few chilling for me. I reach in and grabbed one. As these are not twist off, I looked over the table and found the church key hanging in its proper place, with a quick movement the top was off. As John wasn’t home, there was only one place to go – the top deck, so I headed out side, back the way I entered. After closing the squeaky gate and a few steps up the street, I turned to my right, climbing the rock stairs. Oh, a new gate at the top. Going through it I turned immediately to my right, opened another new gate and stepped up onto the deck. Looking around I spied an old canvas deck chair folded up laying on the table. Sitting my beer down I proceeded to erect this canvas wonder and placed it in the sun. Ah, yea as I sat down. Propping my feet up on the railing I gazed out over the Portuguese landscape. Way down I can hear some vehicles on the road. I can hear a couple motorcycles on some mountain dirt road. I look up and see a few birds flying. I got my warm vest on as there is a slight breeze blowing . To my left I see the Idaho State flag is flying in honor of my arrival. To my right the Danish flag is flying as should be for the “Southern Danish Consulate”. I secure my beer from the table and take a long draw, afterwards just resting it on my waste between both hands I close my eyes and feel the warm sun on my face. Yes – vacation, I can now relax.

GOLF AND HUNTING

I finally figured out why I like golf so much – it is so much like hunting you wouldn’t believe it!
Who else gets up early before daylight to get to their favorite spot? This morning I had a tee time for 0800, so I got to the golf course about an hour early to warm up, it was blacker than all get out. Pulling in I was thinking I’d be the only one there, yet there was already a vehicle parked. After parking I got out walked to the club house to get my score card and used the latrine, coming out I noticed another vehicle was parked as well and now two guy were walking up with their golf carts in tow. I figured they had the tee time ahead of me, wrong, they were 30 minutes ahead of me, litterly the crack of dawn. It was at that moment I realized hunting was the same as golf. Yep, early, first thing in the morning is the best time to start a game of golf, just like hunting, ya got to get there early,
In both skill with the weapons is essential whether it be a rifle or a club. The object of both is to make the precise shot on the animal or getting your ball in the hole. Making a clean shot is imperative, like getting the ball in the hole in the least number of strokes possible. Completing this mission of each is enthralled with similar tasks. Let’s look at golf from a hunter’s prospective.
Your game (objective) is a few hundred meters in front of you – the hole. You have spotted the flag or know where it is by the map you have studied – it is now time for the stock. In hunting you study the terrain and lay out a route to your prey. In golf it is the same before you tee off, hoping to get the ball going in the right direction, planning where you want to place your ball and then begin the tracking (hitting the ball) process. Sometimes you hit your ball a little off to one side or the other, getting into the rough (long grass), maybe into a hedge row, trees or whatever – here’s where the trailing and tracking skills come in. You know about where the ball landed, so now you look for clues, trails in the grass, marks on the ground, patches of white sticking out. With great hunter tracking skills you find the once thought lost ball thus saving yourself penalty strokes, or you have re-acquired your game, the hole. The stalk to your game is treacherous, filled with obstacles, sand traps, water, ditches, trees, all designed and put in your way to make you fail. I the golfer am pitting my skills against the course as I did the animal in the hunt.
As I am slowly planning my approach to the hole (the game), I am assessing which club I must use, how hard I must hit it, which direction according to wind, slope of the ground, is it dry or wet. Even with the best planed hit of the ball, everything can go wrong, I can fail to rotate my body, watch the ball, slightly move my body up or down causing me to dig too deep in the ground or hitting the top of the ball. This is like sighting the rifle: relax, breath, aim and squeeze the trigger – even doing all those right, did I judge the wind and angle correctly? Did I judge the movement of the animal correctly according to the loaded ammunition I am using?
I make my final assault on the green, I’ve judged the wind, correct direction, power of my stroke for the golf club selected and plop the ball goes on the green, but the hunt isn’t over. Even in the final moments of the hunt the elk can smell you, see you, sense you, and even through no fault of your own rely in his natural survival senses bolt back into the brush leaving you high and dry – thus the green is the final survival skill of the hole: what is the slope, is it wet or dry, has it just been cut and rolled, is it fast or slow, all these things the hole is using against me to insure I don’t get my ball sunk under the prescribed number of hits. But like the hunter if I have judged everything correctly, had good shots throughout the course, read the elements correctly I will achieve my goal – the hole under the prescribed number of strokes.
And you know the best part? After a round of golf I can sit down and have a beer, but of course after a hunt I did have meat for the freezer – which I must say, I don’t think a golf ball tastes good.

2017 IN REVIEW

Well we’re just about ready to sweep this year out the door. I don’t know about you, but for me it has gone so fast, maybe because I have kept busy.
January I made a trip to the States for a few days. I arrived right in the middle of a fantastic snow storm, so helped my brother shovel over three feet of snow off his roof, but what are brothers for? I was just glad I had to chance to help and there was no damage to his house. Afterwards I traveled to Ohio, attending the International Hoof Care Summit. This is a yearly event with so much information it is really hard to pass up.
February wasn’t so good. We lost our old dog, Shelia. She had been having health problems for a while, but it was finally her time. It was especially hard on Jette as they had bonded so well. Coco took it in stride. She had a little hard time getting over it, but then all of a sudden she “grew up”, out of the kid stage and took over as “chief of the watch”. We have watched it times before when the older one passes on, then the younger one grows up fast. It is really amazing to watch the change. Coco spent the next while by herself with us. I don’t think she missed Shelia as much as I have seen others before, but it was good for her to have the time by herself to really find her own way. Jette, this time really looked around and found a good pup to replace Shelia, so we got Gabby.
It was a real tough time for Coco to accept Gabby. We had to be on high alert all the time because the few first days Coco wanted to attach her. I had to divide the front yard giving each a side so we didn’t have to keep any one of them on a leash all the time. Finally after about 5 days or so, Coco came around and it was good. When we got Coco, Shelia was older, so Coco really didn’t get the “puppy” play. Now at 4yrs old, Coco was in hog heaven. She loved to play with Gabby and it was amazing to see how she changed a 180 degrees. Many times Coco would be laying on her back with Gabby astraddle in “attack” mode, run and chase around. Coco soon turned into a good “baby sitter” giving both of them good exercise. Evening were pretty quite as Gabby’s off switch was hit.
It was a good thing spring was over and summer came because our heating unit was worn out and needed replaced. This was the first big project of the year. I had to pull our old heater out, plus the water tank as it also had been patch a few time over the past years. Jette found a different heating unit and water tank on the internet. After getting them home it took me about a month to get the old one out, new heater and water tank installed, plumbed and insulated. It burns straw, heating water which is pumped into the house for heat. Lot cheaper than the oil furnace we have in the basement. We do keep it in back up and do use it in the summer time.
So it was end of July when the heater was fixed then Jette’s manure wagon needed rebuilt. I knew it was going to need a new floor and sides, but I soon discovered the side rails were rotten as well. So getting the cutting torch, they were taken off and had to hit the scrap yard to find what I needed. New sides rails welded in place, floor plates welded in place, new sides build and installed. By the end of the project I knew there was another problem – my knees were shot.
It was so painful getting on my knees to weld the floor on, but it had to be done. Even with knee pads and pain killers it was still a struggle. I had been having problems earlier in the year, but I knew the heating system need replaced and the wagon needed rebuilt, they came first. Now time for taking care of myself. Here in Denmark it has been a long drawn out process to get my knees looked at. I just have to laugh every time I see on Facebook how people post, “We need to be like Denmark”. In July I made my first doctor appointment about my knees. I have found out the problem – cartilage is gone, they are worn out. As of this writing the Danish doctors will not replace my knee, even though the surgeon at one hospital who did the arthroscopic surgery on my right knee said nothing would help but a replacement, to which my own doctor agreed. Even when the first surgeon said there was nothing to do, the next surgeon said he wanted to wait another 4-5 months to see if the surgery helped. My own doc was shocked as was I. After starting this I have learned and was also shocked as to how many people here in Denmark have their own private health insurance, or it is provided by their work place! I had a couple customers tell me if I had private insurance I would have had the operation by now and back to work. So much for the quality health care, I guess it is good – when you can get it. Come on over Bernie, give it a shot!
This year it has rained, rained, and rained. Jette said she had never seen so much rain – ever! So our basement flooded because a drain in our yard was plugged, so it needed dug up and cleaned out. Oh, yea, I am on crutched because two days before I had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee. Jette was able to get a mini backhoe and we started digging. I stood and watched. Finally getting deep enough we got to the old concrete pipe which was in 50cm sections. I got down in and pulled out the first section – it was full of roots. Guess what is directly over the line – a big chestnut tree which we had to stop and cut down and get the stump out. So with each section we took out we found roots, about 12 meters worth! So in between rain, with Jette on the backhoe and me in the ditch we got it out, replaced and thankful no more water in the basement.
. During the three weeks I couldn’t work I was graced with fantastic guys who helped cover my customers and keep horses done. I can never say thanks enough to these other farriers who took time to help me out. With my knees shot, I have had to cut back on my work, so I got rid of one of my largest customers with deep regret. I just can’t stand and do so many horses at one time. This getting old is for the birds!!
Thank God real winter has started. Today it was a few degrees below freezing with snow on the ground – great no much. I have no idea how long this will last, but am enjoying it.
I guess the biggest thing for me this year is I started playing pasture pool – yea golf. Never thought I would enjoy it but it is great. Can’t hardly wait for spring to get back on the course. Now during the winter I am really enjoying making some knives.
I hope this find you all closing out your year with grace and looking forward to the New Year. May God be with you and your loved ones and truly bless you all. See you all later, guess we’ll see what 2018 has in store!!

THE ROAST BEEF SANDWICH

The other day I went into a bakery and to get a sandwich for lunch. Asking the lady, she listed the different ones for the day. Choosing a roast beef sandwich I was looking forward to my break.
After parking, getting myself situated for a relaxing lunch, I opened my sandwich – it was thick. Best part about going to a bakery is they make their own bread and it is fresh. So looking in I found a substantial stack of lettuce. Next was a nice layer of tomatoes, next came a layer of red pepper, followed by some onion. It took some digging but I finally found the roast beef.
I examined my nice thick slice of roast beef and wondered just how thick it really was, so I got out, and recovered a ruler from the back which is in centimeters. Holding the edge firmly between my thumb and forefinger, and after putting on my reading glasses I was amazed at the measurement, it was so much more than what I judged it to be. Just goes to show you how your eyes can deceive you. I figured this goes for many things in life. My slice of roast beef measured a whole 1.5 millimeters thick! I judged it was only 1 millimeter thick. Just goes to show you just how wrong a person can be. As I was holding my extra thick slice of roast beef I noticed I could see the sun shining through it. Wow, a guy could make a window out of this stuff I thought, but then it probably need to be the 1 millimeter thick slice instead of the extra thick 1.5 I had. One thing I have always wondered – do they have competitions for just how thin meat can be sliced? If they do, I wonder what a winning slice would be. I am guessing the person who sliced my piece would never get a first place by giving such an extra thick slice.
As I began to re-assemble my sandwich I realized I forgot to order it with no mayo. Here in Denmark I have learned to order it with no mayo because they have the idea “more is better” so usually I receive a sandwich with enough mayo for at least 3 or 4 sandwiches. The other thing I really miss about sandwiches here is no dill pickles. Yea they got their form of pickles, but they are not the same as the dills I was raised with. Much of the time here you get fresh sliced cucumbers, which I do like – they are crispy and taste good.
Anyway as I got my sandwich back together and started to munch down on it. I knew there was roast beef in it because I had physically seen it, but somehow I couldn’t taste it. Suddenly I got a brilliant idea: the next time I go there and order a sandwich I think I will order a lettuce, tomato, onion, pepper sandwich, maybe I will get to taste more meat!

CHOICES AND LIFE

This morning I was watching National Geographic channel. They have a program called “Brain Games”. In this program they talk a lot about how our brain works and how we think it works – very interesting show. It got me to thinking about the choices I’ve made in life.
The other day I stopped to get a cup of coffee. When I went to pay for it, I noticed some rolls, I could buy one for a price, but I could buy 3 for another price. Well I only wanted two, so told the guy I wanted two. He then said I could get 3 for a better price. I looked at him and said I only want 2. After watching a couple episodes of “Brain Games” I’ve begun to wonder how merchants use our brains to influence us in how we buy things.
When we make a decision is it a snap decision or do we put some thought into it? According to the show, our brain tries to made logical decisions for us when we made snap choice. I don’t understand it all, but I do see the reasoning behind it. When we made a snap choice we then go into the mode of justifying the choice – better price, better deal, we need it, so on and so forth. After a period of time from making a snap choice, do you ever look at the choice and wonder was it the right choice? I have. I wonder, many times if we took a little more time to weigh out our options would we make the choices we do?
I see this with advertising as well. I’ve seen adds about borrowing money, you can get a quick loan approved within minutes, but did you get a chance to read all the fine print posted along with the add – of course not. They make the print small enough and it goes fast enough most normal people have no chance to read it and then some poor sucker gets one of these loans and gets stuck!
I am also a believer in God and if we ask He will help guide us in the choices we make. I am not saying He makes the choices for us, but I wonder if He gives us the little more logic to look at a situation and determine how to tackle the problem, buy the object, do the job? We are creatures of free will and choice. If I said I have made all the right choices in life you all would know I am a liar and blow this off. Of course I have made bad choices. But by making the bad choices I have learned the effects and also learned how to look at a situation much better. I wonder if this is the way God had helped guide me, by expanding my brain, giving me a little more reasoning and deduction of a situation. In my life’s experience I don’t ever remember important choices being done fast, it took some pondering and weighing out what I thought would be the results of my choices.
What is amazing is to look back over time and see how a choice has affects one’s life. I made the choice to become a guide for and outfitter in the Salmon River Wilderness Area in Idaho. It wasn’t a quick choice, I had a horseback ride to think it over, that along with some advice I’d received from an old guy. Putting the two together I made my choice and never been sorry about it.
Looking back over my life there’s been many forks in my road of life and thus far I can say the choices have been pretty good. Yea, I had those learning times where I know not to make choices like those again, but over all things have turned out pretty good.
If I can give you a piece of advice it would be: Keep in touch with God and ask His guidance, He won’t solve all your problems, but He will give you the choices to choose from, let you see things more clearly, it is up to you to make the right choice. If you don’t believe, well take that extra time to think about things. Just remember there are a lot of people out there who want to separate you from your money, influence you to do things, make things, or buy things that will advance their cause no matter the effects it has on you!

LEARNING TO LEARN

I just returned from a great learning experience at the International Hoof Care Summit. The long plane ride home has given me time to reflect about what I had learned and how I thought things could have been better.
I have been shoeing horses for many years, so by this time in my career it is not all the big things which I take in, but it is a multitude of small things, how other farriers do things differently, approaching problems in a different way. Many of us spend our working days alone with horses – other people are around, but not other farriers. Once in a while we might run into another farrier but for me this is seldom, so the chance to interact with other farriers has been a blessing.
The International Hoof Care Summit is a well planned event which has been running now for many years. This year was the third time I have attended. I knew I wanted to go as the learning experience is there. Having the schedule of events sent early gave me a chance to scan the subjects to be covered and choose the classes I wanted to attend. The worst part is you can’t attend them all!
First you have to understand this event is for both farriers and veterinarians. One of the speakers was a very well respected British farrier Simon Curtis who is very high and respected the world over for his work. His presentation was over three days and covered a very interesting subject, but it was also invaded with massive amounts of scientific data – for this kid I hate scientific data. Just give me the end result and the things I need to know and I’m out the door – good to go. I have always been more comfortable when farriers like Danvers Child, Mike Wildenstein, Grant Moon or the such are talking because they don’t use all the scientific BS, they talk at the level us “common” farriers really understand. Great, but are we just standing in our still water pond with no moving water?
You know what – vets were there as well and I can imagine most of them were very interested in all the data, how facts were found and the research behind the subjects. I remember looking around a bit and there were also other farriers who were interested (I guessed) as they ask questions about the data and findings. Yes I was able to wade my way through it, and many times it was only later after I was thinking about the subject the light bulb finally went on in my head. When that happened I finally understood – I’ve learned something!
Afterward on the plane ride home I got to thinking. We as farriers work with vets. Yes they understand our “language” and most of the vets I work with we have no problems. But also the other thing I got to thinking about is: Should I as a farrier bend a bit and try to understand some of the language vets use more than we do – OF COURSE! We farriers are part of a team, owner, vet and farrier. If I as a farrier don’t try to understand some of the language vets use then I am failing on my part to understand the whole picture. Applying this to the Hoof Summit I just attended, would I change any of the presentation? At first I thought yes, they need to keep it simple for us farriers, but now my answer is no, I have learned and expanded my mind into more the realm of the vet. No, I do not or will never consider myself as knowledgeable as a vet, but should I block my learning and not try to understand more their side? By attending events such as this one I have really been in the learning process. I attend things that are a “little” above my level and force myself to understand. The best part is while at the Summit and attending one of these more technical seminars, many times I am sitting next to a farrier who might understand so I can lean over and ask a question and not feel stupid if I don’t understand. After the lecture I can either ask the speaker who I’ve found is very patient with us less knowledgeable ones or talk to a farrier who gets it and get a good explanation. This is the learning process. If we fail to enter realm which we don’t fully understand then we will never expand our minds and learning capabilities are not fully use. Right after the Summit I thought there were some changes I would make, but now – nope, I want to expand my mind.

THANKSGIVING

Here in Denmark there is no Thanksgiving Day, but there is a lot to be thankful for. I was driving home from my day’s work shoeing horses and kind of down in spirits because today was Thanksgiving Day. I thought back to the last time I really celebrated it and wow, has it been a while back!
Last time I really did Thanksgiving was 1992, at my brother’s place. I’d got up early that morning because I was use to it. I was a little surprised when I got down stairs, no one was in the kitchen, no turkey getting started. Soon Larry came down and I ask why Sue wasn’t getting it done to which he replied she was sick with the flu. So why aren’t you doing it I ask? Well he really didn’t know where to start. I ask what time dinner was planned, with his reply I stated it would be a little later. Sue had the bread dried for dressing so I got started making the dressing, then giving the old bird a good rub down with a few spices. Soon he was stuffed and in the cooker, with extra stuffing made for the large crew, Sue’s family. I ask what else I needed to do. Sue was doing the main course; others were bringing pie, salads and such, so I got to work making my pot of coffee! After my coffee break, spuds got peeled and in the pot to cook. I prepared the neck and such, in a pan to boil so they could be used for gravy. After a while the kitchen was starting to acquire the correct smell. After a period of time Sue’s family started arrive. Learning Sue was sick, they were all ready to pitch in and help. I was thankful for all the help to finish the meal. It was a Thanksgiving to remember.
Yes I got a lot to be thankful for. I got so many Brothers – in- Arms who’ve come home in a pine box: I’m still here. I’ve got many who’ve lost limbs, carry the scares of war for the rest of their lives: all I’ve lost is a few marbles (so the shrink says). I get up every morning feeling the aches and pains of my past life; thankful to feel the pain because that means I am alive!
I’ve got a great place to live, it’s not big, but if it was bigger there would be a lot more work to do. I’m thankful Jette doesn’t have to go out to work every day, she keeps the place running and in order. We have worked hard to get what we got and I am thankful for all we have, mostly warm, dry place to sleep every night and good food to eat.
I am thankful for my family. This year I had some cousins drop in for a visit – was fantastic and loved every minute of it. I am thankful for my brother’s kids whom I have visited many times and enjoy. I am thankful for my friends, few they are, the best. I don’t have to name them, they know who they are. Those who’ve stood beside me through thick and thin. Everyone who have given me moral support in the times of my life when I really needed them.
I guess for me, now a day, Thanksgiving Day is a good time for me to reflect back over the past year, remembering all the things I am truly thankful for. I am glad so many of my family and friends are with their loved ones enjoying their Thanksgiving Day dinner. As you all sit around the table today enjoying a great dinner, each other’s company, please stop and reflect over your past year and remember all the things you are truly thankful for and Thank the Lord for all the blessings He has gives us all. Actually today turned out to be a REALLY GOOD THANKSGIVING DAY!