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October, 2007 | Scuff Productions

Marrakesh Restaurant

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out,General Home Life,humor by mark Friday October 26, 2007

Tonight we join Emilio & Elena (The Italians) and Freddie & Inge (The Austrians) in a fond goodbye as Freddie/Inge leave next week for home just ahead of Inge’s due date for their first baby. Where should we meet? Inge’s choice: A Morrocan restaurant called **Marrakesh** where there are no chairs. You sit on pillows and likely eat with your hands. The catch? Belly Dancing on weekend evenings.

Hm. Is there such a thing as Karaoke belly dancing? Should I consider performing? Should Rodger? Maybe only Inge at 7 months along can show us belly dancing, eh? Well I think a report will be due sometime Saturday on this event! We’re looking forward to it, and wish you were here to join us.

Fix it yourself! Save Money!

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Friday October 26, 2007

In My day (whew, old person talk!)……………………
We grew up in that 1950’s cow town where the word “repairman” almost didn’t exist. Well it didn’t exist in our family. My Dad fixed everything (as most Dad’s did in those kind of small-money towns). No, he didn’t teach US to fix ’em, HE fixed ’em. Knives weren’t sharpend with a fancy nice blade from Brookstone, but on an electric stone out in the garage that threw sparks everywhere. And they looked like they were sharpened that way. I only remember ONE power mower because it was repaired and repaired until I left for college.

SO I learned nothing about how to do these things, and before moving up here, we called repairmen when things went wrong. A turning point came though when we paid a repairman to fix the dryer who came over, took off the back, replaced the broken belt, collected his $120. and left all in about 10 minutes. So began to rethink this….and began to try to think about repairing things if it looked possible.

When we bought this place with the huge lawn, I bargained with the owner for his used lawn tractor. He claimed it was new (in 1996) so we paid him somewhere around $500 extra to leave it with us. That old Craftsman tractor has done alright. I paid Sears once in 10 years to come out, repair, tune, new blade, etc., and that cost us $250! What?

SO. The next time, I bought the tune up kit for $40, new blades for $22 and a battery for $60 and fixed it without that high labor cost. I did that again in 2005. By then, it had developed a tiny slow oil leak on the from deep within somewhere.

This tractor is always used every year up to about December 1 because soon after we got it, we bought a bagging attachment for another $250 to pick up the millions of leaves that are with us by late fall. The mower would mulch and bag them and I always spread them around the yard where needed for a great winter mulch. With all the moisture here, by 2007, the undercarriage on this mower is about rusted through…..the oil leak shows black smears on the engine side, the brakes about shot, the engine wasn’t running as smooth as it ought to.

So. On Tuesday, as I prepared to mow and BAG leaves, the engine just died on me. Dead! Finito! On Wednesday, I bought a new battery, new gas filter, new oil filter, spark plug and new blades then came home to apply them. By the time all of it was down I had a sore back, but sat down to crank up the engine feeling good! Turned the key and nothing happened except a spark sound.

So. On Thursday, the Sears Repairman dropped by 0830 hours and for a hefty $94 diagnostic fee pronounced the mower engine dead on arrival and NO repair option short of a replacement as an option.
Let’s see…NOW I’ve spent $120 for parts put on a dead mower and paid another $94 to find we would have to buy a new engine for this piece of rust not worth $100 on Craig’s List. So much for me getting Dad’s ghostly approval for learning to fix things myself, eh?

By 1030, we showed up at the new Sears Scratch-&-Dent Outlet Store way out on the East side near Gresham. Among the 10-12 big tractor mowers was ONE model that was the very same as ours except updated, more powerful, a better engine, and 12 years newer. It had obviously been used once or twice with a scratch or two (what mower won’t be scratched after you use it ONCE?) but was half the cost of mowers at the “real” Sears store. Done. Bought. Signed up for delivery.

By 3:00 we were home saying we didn’t want to WAIT a week for the damn mower, that it was going to be dry for the next few days and WE had a few million leaves to pick up. We drove that faithful old Toyota out there and by 4:40, we’re on the return trip during rush hour, but home by 5:30 with a new machine.

We got the brackets on the back to put the bagger on, added gas, road tested the machine, and it’s now waiting to do it’s work today after the morning warms up a bit.

So what lesson did I learn?

Republicans drive me crazy

Bloged in Bush,Political,Religion by mark Wednesday October 24, 2007

Mis Condie Rice

In speaking to the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday, while smiling about “Don’t worry, we’ll fix the tiny issue or murderous mercenary thugs killing people all over the world in our name,” i.e., Blackwater, Dyncorp, and dozens of others, SHE ALSO SAID THIS:

Iran is a major obstacle to the U.S. vision of a Middle East in which nations will “trade more, invest more, talk more and work more constructively to solve problems,

DUH. Shall we name all of the OTHER foreign nations who will be a major obstacle to our invasion of Iran? Let’s begin with some biggies: its neighbor RUSSIA. CHINA. EVERY Arab Nation. ALL of Europe. It’s a LUDICROUS statement to be making. And those congressional representatives of ours listening to her growl and bark quietly then do nothing.

I get SO MAD hearing this continued Neocon line hammering away about new attacks in yet ANOTHER foreign state over the control of mideast oil.

These puppets of industry, all sharing the same WEALTH being stolen from what is now the poor from around the world, have NO comprehension of being human. We’re living now in nothing more than the SHADOW of a representative democracy. Should Hillary Clinton be elected tomorrow, things would continue just the same.

**If that we’re the only thing happening that angers me, it would be okay. I must go and prepare some calming Cocoa and be Thrilled once again that Ms. ROWLING has brought Dumbledore OUT of the Closet.strong> For MILLIONS of worldwide fans, that will bring a new way to think that Gay people can be fantastic AND Fabulous!

Blog Move Complete

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Tuesday October 23, 2007

Well, I’ve learned a lot in the last few days. I didn’t think I could MOVE a blog, but ended up with a little encouragement from Peter M and a few calls to the web hosting service, I got things over to our domain. THEN I had to cleanup the little off points like renaming, updating folders, etc.

1) Upgrade Word Press to latest version and re-tweak everything to get into shape.
2) Begin polishing up a web entry page.
3) Maybe by then Rodger will move his blog over to our place.

Ah. NOW. Onto the REAL chores. WE HAVE INDIAN SUMMER FINALLY! ! ! ! ! That last bit of cool but dry fall weather we NEED to get prepped for winter and THIS fall we really needed it to get our wood moved.

Yesterday was that day, and I’ve moved almost ALL of it (pic later) !! Today? Get parts for tuning up the riding mower and getting it running again (battery died)….so I can get leaves picked up with that machine and spread ’em on garden spaces.

No rest. I was just proud I got the blog and pics all completed.

Cousin Nancy SAVES an American Goldfinch! !

Bloged in birding,Nature,Pacific Northwest by mark Sunday October 21, 2007

My dear cousin Nancy in Lake Oswego, who recently lost husband Warden, has been very busy of late. She returned to teaching full time now, and has been keeping herself busy otherwise.

In the last few years, she and Warden developed a serious birdwatching interest, and she’s kept that up. Her home’s an interesting design in that there’s an interior outdoor atrium surrounded by the house with atrium windows on all sides. She put up bird feeders in the atrium, and birds slowly came into this secure area to feed. Just for a few weeks recently, the changing sun angles created a mirror like visual when birds left the feeders, and she’s had the occasional **boink** on the glass when one hits, falls, and almost always recovers. She found moving the screens a bit took care of the problem. Nancy has been a lifelong lover of all things in nature and she would always want to rescue any living thing she saw in need (JUST LIKE our other Lake Oswego friend, Nancy G who taught us EVERYTHING we KNOW about birds).

SO. One little goldfinch hit the glass, fell, but couldn’t fly. She worried…..dropped a bit of food near him, and hoped he’d be gone by morning. No luck. He was still there next morning. Since then, this bird began to realize she wasn’t going to hurt it. She put out a little cup-nest that was covered by a box at night and kept food near him:

He took to returning to this little nest anytime he wanted simply to rest and continue to recuperate:
Nancy began to hold out her hand, and he began to hop ONTO her hand and stay there to walk around a bit:
He came to be called “Orville”…………and just 2-3 days ago was placed on a bush in the atrium to see if he could fly:
**he couldn’t very well, but let’s let Nancy’s own note finish this sweet story:

***The name, by the way, was chosen to honor Orville Wright, who also had difficulties learning to fly.
Perched on my finger, he hopped onto the feeder, then up to the next level, higher and higher until he took flight. He landed on the roof, but I checked in occasionally and he did not come back to the atrium. Like a mother, I am somewhat anxious about him/her? and definitely miss him. It was a fun little episode. I am looking forward to working through this grief (which, in spite of my optimism and general happiness, I do recognize as grief) and spending more time with nature — some Audubon field trips, etc.***

Nancy allowed me to post this story, I don’t know who wouldn’t WANT to hear a tiny little success story like this one!

Why We MUST Restore Our Environment

Bloged in birding,Nature,Pacific Northwest,Scuff Boys by mark Friday October 19, 2007

My environment day post begins with three philosophical paragraphs on our planets current situation. If THAT’s too boring, go to Paragraph 4 to see HOW I see myself as a living thing on this planet, and my philosophy about it…. They are more fun.
= = = = = = =


This little Earth.
A beautiful, but not particularly extraordinary realm of the massive universe we chanced to have been born on, into a body whose consciousness allows you awareness of your surroundings, at a time in little Earths life stage, that our species has used its brain to bring fantabulous technical comforts is suffocating. It can and will be giving stronger clues about its condition over the next century, but in the meantime, the Human arrogance of those who make the rules, leave us moving toward future calamity for most of little Earth’s inhabitants.

Little Earth spent billions of years in its little 3rd planet lucky landing Solar System spot sparking life, adjusting to what life has done to it, and nature – life luckily rewarding little Earth with unbelievable homes here for trillions of things, a plethora of rich life all around us in the skies all the way to the deepest parts of the oceans.

Now. That being said, I have always humbly felt my place in this scheme of things. I am a mere passerby, not born or inclined to move even near the powerful humans inviting future havoc. I support what I can that can slow, halt, or reverse, this course, but my little blip of a lifetime here will NOT be wasted in mourning about what I cannot control.


Now. THAT being said, I am SO in LOVE with my life on this little EARTH, I can’t possibly put into words the rich joy I feel in living somewhat in tune with how and when I came to be here. I am not in tune with the vegan crowd, am not in tune with the sierra club or any huge organization wanting time and money.

I AM in tune with my little speck of land on this little Earth that I hope I’m lovingly giving nourishment to:
How’s that? All things we put on or into the ground of our little acre are the basic organic things we can find, i.e., manure, sand, wood chips, composted soil, fall leaves, grass cuttings, lime, gypsum, more manure. There is NOTHING wasted here that grew here. Garden plants, upon their mission completion, are recycled. Most things I do IN the house use as basic elements as vinegar…….etc

The thrill of watching a garden explode in midsummer gives ME as much feeling of life in my soul as ANY magic thrilling music or theater piece could give.
All these other silly tiny thrills give me MORE life in my body than any human manufactured thrill ride I could find, and that’s always:
= = = =

The thrill of eating sliced, salted tomatoes for about 8-9 weeks in late summer every day gives ME a thrill.

The thrill of watching deer eating remains of the garden or munching apples about November while I watch from a window makes my heart beat faster.

Matching wits with clever raccoons some evenings over just “who” I think should be getting my sunflower seeds at night (MY mind says the flying squirrels should) has sometimes given me conflicts to resolve, but that thrill of life being ALL around me can’t be matched by anything artificial.
Luckily having flying squirrel families (they live in groups) visit our feeders for the last 8 years sometimes 4 – 5 in number, and sometimes trusting us enough to approach within 4-5 feet, takes my breath away. THESE little guys only visit at night.

The thrill of growing a flower “cutting” garden during short summer’s visit. Just the very idea that anytime for four months out of a year, I DO go an literally slice off stems of a plant that are blooming in any imaginable color and variety is a richness I smile warmly with.
The thrill of some flower blooms period! Look into the detail of these specimens. Can YOU create or offer me something more heart stopping than this?
The thrill, after years of replacing the top of our clay soil with nothing but what little Earth intended, seeing the rewards: little garter snakes moving among your plants seeking the very insects WE don’t like. Garter Snakes are our friends. Seeing the first few ladybugs on your vegetables in the garden reporting for duty! Those tiny ladybugs intending ONLY to help you get the most out of your gardening input.

The thrill over seeing a first Rufous Hummingbird appear at your window to feed on a thing so simple as sugar water! This first arrival is probably not going to stay for the short season, but is probably just passing through on its way to Alaska! From Mexico? Are you kidding? This tiny bird, wings moving hundreds of times a second, just stopped in for a sugar kick before moving to Alaska? This whole life cycle of a Rufous Hummingbird puts me at awe EVERY spring when I see the first ones come through.
babyhummerAbove, a newly fledged baby hummer explores his new world just out our back door.

Then comes the songbird arrivals! Each week a few more arrive to feed and begin nest building.

By Late May, the forest around our acre sounds like a Broadway Music Production in the mornings, EVERY morning. Thousands of songbirds, grosbeaks, Evening & Black Headed, Goldfinches, Finches – both House & Purple, Northern Flickers, the quiet Mourning Doves, the American Robins, and hopefully, later the Western Tanagers ALL give your heart a thrill when they’re serenading for mates, for summer, for arrival at a forest spot they feel is home for a season. You can’t be thrilled about that?
The opposite happens in the fall. ALL of our songbirds leave, our faithful little brown natives stay and fight for survival. It MUST be tough. The little Oregon Junco for example raises 3 broods per summer. Perhaps being a bird with nests on the ground has a disadvantage. Still, when you find them nested in the middle or your lawn, you place a tomato cage around that spot until you KNOW all the young have fledged and are on their own. That’s not a thrill to babysit this spot for 3-4 weeks? We DO wait the arrivals of the winter birds from Alaska….Varied Thrushes, the Northern Flicker, Snow Geese & Tundra Swans are fabulous animals to watch.

Seeing Elk Hoofprints on the wildwood trail perhapsthe morning after they moved through isn’t a thrill? As you move along that trail and see the gobbled plants they select to eat….you can almost feel what it would be like to move along with these giants.

There is NO thrill like meeting wildlife in your path occasionally and stopping instantly motionless. You just might learn something if you’re lucky enough that they stay and begin to munch again.

There’s even a thrill in watching the domesticated dog, MAC, stalking a mole mound when its active hoping if he times it right, the pounce will produce the demon invader of his territory. That’s not a thrill ?

What is more healing for your soul than to simply standing in the yard, being quiet and listening to little Earth. In early spring or fall, great throngs of birds fly over in vast migrations calling among each other as they move.
**above are the Snow Geese. BIG flocks of them winter over from ALASKA….down on Sauvie Island.

On some summer nights, as the Elk move down in the forest, they begin bugling! What a thrilling sound. On a more humorous note, when racoons mate, you’d swear some animals being ripped to shreds….their NOT peaceful about it.
And I’ve gone on long enough. If I have NOT gotten the point across, that if you want quality in your human life, you’d better get ON BOARD about helping restore our endangered environment.
. . . . . . . . . . .. ah. it’s just beginning to rain out there, dropping quietly on golden fall Catalpa Leaves. What a sight!
or summer……………………………it’s all fantastic:

Handicapped? Where’s my Parkin’ Sticker?

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Friday October 19, 2007

In a split second we do dumb things don’t we? Sometimes it’s a something we’ve encountered hundreds of times in our little life. Yesterday afternoon, I was in a hurry, the biggest precursor to accidents in human history, eh?

Ok, I wanted lunch out of the way quick…not only had the showers quit so I could rake or move wood:

… and we are having to move our web page. WE KNEW we wanted to for some time, but we’re waiting to get our domain name set up….so all that was just spouting open yesterday as well.

OKAY.. on wirh it, I grabbed the can opener for a bite of canned chili with a spot of sharp cheese? I got the lid off, and w/o thinking try to fold it in half. That finger pressure delivered a nice slice across 2 fingers instantly:
What an idiot! I’ll spare the details, but afternoon plans changed. I DID get it wrapped, and bleeding stopped so I waited until Rodger got home who aided in properly getting it covered and cleaned. Whew!
So NOW, I type with stronger sympathy than EVER, (and I have a lot) for returning injured soldiers.

Oh well. I got out of moving wood in the damp, and instead will begin to learn about making an entry page to the new Scuff Production web site where, soon, maybe we can all band together as a team and save the earth!

The shed devoured all our daylight hours sat & sun, but is now ready for inspection, tools, and wood. Rodgers idea of attaching the corrugated sheeting turned out to be a good one, and the steps were gathered just from stuff laying around the place:

And my normal “other” passing thoughts this morning? We live in a rain forest. If you’re a poor little tree branch that never sees sun, it’s likely you look like this all your life:

WHY THIS picture of a big ole’ gray sky through these massive maples?
Like I said yesterday, sometimes you gotta just look, be silent and listen. Just beyond that low cloud cover, there are literally HUNDREDS of Canadian Geese honking like it’s rush hour in California! I suppose it IS for them as they begin moving south for winter. It’s a spectacular fabulous experience for me every time.

a little on Idaho culture …how the Larry Craig’s come to be

Bloged in Gay,Political,Religion by mark Friday October 19, 2007

I assume most folks are either already so disgusted by ultra-right-wing Senator Larry Craig’s morals, ethics, religious views vs. his conduct, they’re either tired of hearing about him, or confused.

MAY I just “expose” you to a little more about that Idaho conservative culture he’s from. It’s highly Mormon. It’s very conservative Morally (anti-gay rights, or gay anything). So wouldn’t YOU stay in the closet if you had all that power?

To help anyone who’se never been to Idaho, or more specifically, S.E. Idaho, I wanted to point out ANOTHER story in S.E.Mormon Idaho, Idaho Falls, about the boy scouts & their Mormon leaders. Dozens of boys (as many as Boston’s Catholic scandal), MANY scout leaders and the things the conservative Mormon town leaders did to keep the story sealed up. They offered NO help to boys who told the truth, i.e., behaved like good Mormon Cultists: (The Monkey story: See no evil, hear no evil).

IF this interests you, and it’s interesting, here’s a link to the PBS STORY about it…..I know you’ll see the connection to Craig. There are videos on the story as well:

****PBS EXPOSE: In a Small Town *****

Little Earth and a Blog Page Moving

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Monday October 15, 2007

Ah. Mark’s web ramblings have found a new home, and we’re ready to begin anew. We’re on our own Domain now, and should be able to upgrade our WordPress to the latest version soon.

In the meantime, here’s a happy guy, eh?


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