Our ownership experience with 2017 Troy Bilt Horse Hydro

Working on it… again

Allow me to begin this post with a letter-

Dear Troy-Bilt,

Since it appears that it’s becoming popular for companies and businesses to sue people who leave less than stellar reviews, be aware that:

1. This represents my experience with Troy-Bilt products.

2. This is my opinion.

3. I have a Right to Freedom of Speech and that includes my opinions and conveying my experiences with goods and services.


A VERY Dissatisfied Customer

Now, I won’t tell you not to buy Troy-Bilt mowers, but I will tell you that we never intend to buy another one! If someone gave us a brand new Troy Bilt, I’d sell it. Immediately.

We view our purchase and ownership of this 2017 Troy-Bilt Horse Hydro as one of those “lessons learned the hard way”.  We bought this thing at Lowes on April 16, 2017.

Things I would tell myself if I could go back in time to the morning of April 16, 2017:

Get used to conversations like this:

Neighbor/mower repair shop/repair forums:  What kind of mower did you get?

You: A Troy Bilt Horse riding mower!

Neighbor/mower repair shop/repair forums: “Oh.”

You’re going to find yourself wishing there were Lemon Laws for riding mowers like there are for vehicles.

This thing throws belts like a spoiled toddler throws tantrums- FREQUENTLY!

Be ready to stop what you’re doing and reseat the belt at anytime. Many times. Order a few new belts, they get torn up when the mower slings them off the pulleys. Carry the appropriate size wrench at all times to remove the pulley covers so you can reseat the belt,

Or… enjoy the peaceful walk all the way back to the house to get the wrench, then all the way back to the mower to fix it… again. But hey, take that opportunity while you’re at the house to grab a beer and continue trying to convince yourself that you don’t actually regret this purchase.

Go ahead and order a few extra spindles now so you don’t get caught without one when they let go without warning. In fact, get at least three of them… now. You checked everything else to keep the belt on the pulleys so when that belt starts jumping off, get ready for a new spindle! It’s like a friendly appointment reminder from a cruel dentist.

Remember, this is a modern mower, not like those old reliable ones you mowed with as a kid. Those mowers could pull a full size pickup truck uphill on a gravel driveway. This one? Might not be able to pull itself uphill on a gravel driveway.

And yes, even though you’re going to maintain it well, clean it constantly, and take good care of it, this new mower need its safe space, and it’s really only going to work when it’s “in the mood”, and that’s just not going to happen very often. It’s the mower’s schedule that matters, not yours. If you try to mow when the weather permits, or even worse… when your schedule permits; this thing is going to get ugly with you. It will stop working, but it will almost always wait until you are trying to mow the part that’s furthest away from the house. It likes to see you walk.

Yeah, while you’re at it, get a few replacement blade sets. When those spindles fail and the shaft falls straight out the bottom, driving the spinning blades into the ground at full speed… it ain’t good for the blade, or your day, but my oh my what a pretty design it leaves in the yard. Never mind those bits of blade hurtling out from under the mower at Mach 1 or the bucking shimmy of the cutting deck as you consider trying to wrap your legs around the back of your head to avoid injury.

Think of those “headlights” as more of a decoration than a functional part of the mower. Much like the motorcycle noises you made as a kid on your bike made you go feel like you were going faster, these “headlights” seem to only be there to make the mower look better- they’re going to both fail toward the end of the first day you use it. They will not work again.

That cutting deck is only “level” under certain circumstances.

Like, on totally smooth, absolutely level ground, and then only for the first use. After that, no matter what adjustments you make, it will never be level again. But you’ll get used to those funky scalloped looking stripes across your property. It makes you unique!

Speaking of the cutting deck, grab a few rattle cans of black spray paint. The rust neutralizing kind. Yeah, you take care of your stuff, but it’s not going to matter, that deck is going to rust no matter how clean you keep it!

That shrieking sound from the transmission is normal. Yes, it didn’t sound that bad until the third or fourth time you used it and yes, it’s so loud it almost drowns out the blades. The warranty people are going to tell you it’s normal. They’re also going to get snippy when you call about the constant failures by asking, and I’m gonna quote here so you won’t be shocked when they say it…

“How do we know you didn’t break (insert name of problem component) on purpose?”

The idler pulley is going to fail. Spectacularly. That’s simply this mower’s way. It’s really got that drama queen vibe going. When it fails, you will actually be mowing the furthest point away from your house. And you’ll have to push this sucker ’cause it’s ain’t moving No Mo!

You’re going to have to take allot of this thing apart just to get to the head of the bolt for that pulley. Instead of using a carriage bolt, or even spot welding the head of the regular bolt, they just popped it in there with no visible means of preventing it from spinning in place.

Tell yourself again that you really don’t regret this purchase as you lay under it for the umpteenth time; sweating, cursing, and offering promises to The Lord if He’d just let you get that nut off so you can replace the pulley. The pulley that sliced the drive belt almost in half on it’s way out. Sort of a Thelma & Louise going over the cliff together moment- that pulley and belt had been through allot, and were leaving together!

Don’t think of the weird transmission fan that has a huge cup in the middle as a design flaw, think of it as an unintended feature that has no drain holes, collects dust and dirt which in turn absorbs moisture, and severely rusts the nut and bolt that are the ONLY means of power transferring from the engine to the exuberantly loud hydrostatic transmission. Now you get to use several heavy doses of that penetrating lubricant that’s been sitting on the shelf feeling ignored. And whiskey. Several heavy doses of whiskey.

The mower parts section of Amazon is going to be far too familiar to you.

Far too familiar!

Yeah, it says “HORSE” on the side, but before long you’ll feel that it should say “POLITICIAN” ’cause allot of promises are implied, but allot of letdown follows. Your neighbors aren’t laughing AT you, they’re laughing WITH you; even though you’re not laughing.

Remember, no matter how desperately you want to, you must NOT push this thing into a ditch and set it on fire.

Easter Sunday 2020



Every year since we bought the Undisclosed Location, I have been able to relax nude at the pond on Easter Sunday. This year, powerful storms are moving through the area. Torrential rains have flooded many low lying areas around us. With the rain, wind, and cold temperatures, it didn’t look like I would be able to continue the tradition. But then-
The rain stopped.
The wind stopped.
The clouds moved away.
The sun shone brightly down.
The air warmed.
It was if the Lord gave me yet another gift, on this the day we celebrate the greatest gift of all time!

Today isn’t about bunnies. It’s not about eggs, jellybeans, baskets, or pastel colors.

Today is about the Lord Jesus Christ, and his resurrection from the grave after having lived a perfect and sinless life in which he earned no punishment, but then became the greatest sacrifice of all time to pay the penalty for OUR sins. He didn’t have any sin to pay for, he never committed even a single one. This perfect man, the Word of God made flesh, shed his precious blood to ransom us from death and hell. The Word stipulates that without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sin. He took upon His blameless self the weight of ALL of OUR sins and suffered the punishment WE deserve.

One of the last things He ever spoke while he was suffering on the cross was “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” It was in that moment when the Father poured every sin out upon his own Son. It was in that moment that this perfect and blameless man became guilty of every sin that ever had been or would be committed. It was at that moment that the Father turned His face away from his own Son who had become sin, for the Father is Holy, and will not look upon sin.

He Died For You.

Today, we celebrate His victory over death and the grave. Today we celebrate that He is seated even now at the right hand of the Father (a position of favor and power) constantly interceding on our behalf.

He did this because He loves you. Yes… YOU.

Rejoice in His love. Praise and thank Him. Seek Him.

May God Bless You.


Fear and Panic


Those photographs were taken at a local major chain grocery store on the evening of 03-13-2020. The chain in question is one of the biggest in the USA, and this location is one of their premiere stores. Well taken care of, and not very old at all.

By now, photos like these are common on the internet and the news. Take a good look at them. If all you see are empty shelves, you aren’t looking at the whole picture. Sure, there are the obvious things such as the emptiness of the shelves, how each one of those vertical black stripes are separated by four linear feet of space, how many shelves there are, the products that are missing, etc. However there is allot more information in those photographs that many people miss.

Information that we have seen time and time again such as how unprepared and panicky people are. We’ve seen these images before. With the SARS scare, H1N1, Swine Flu, and more. We see similar sights on a local level when a snowstorm is predicted, whenever any potentially major event presents itself such as hurricanes, spreading illnesses, etc. It seems that each time that some potential doom hovers on the horizon, people are filled with fear and panic buy the stores clean.

Why? Because they are not prepared. They forget the lessons they should have learned when these circumstances last presented themselves. They forget the anxiety, the stress they experienced the last time they had to get to the store and buy weeks worth of food and household supplies. They forget the fear that gripped them as they stood looking at empty shelves where medicine should have been; medicine they needed to buy but couldn’t. They forget that this whole country runs on “just in time” replenishment and so any spike in buying results in empty shelves. Once people see empty spots on store shelves, it increases the panic and they start buying out the “second” options. Then those spots empty out, which further feeds the panic until people are buying whatever is left; stuff that is never a part of their regular diet, but they will buy every unit of it anyway!

Once the threat has passed and everything returns to normal, they lapse back into complacency and allow themselves and their households to slide back into a position of unpreparedness requiring another session of panic buying whenever the next threat presents itself.

Consider the items that are sold out- medicines that treat flu symptoms, bath tissue, paper towel, antibacterial cleaning supplies, and food- particularly food that has a long and stable shelf life such as rice, dried beans, pasta and canned foods.

My family was not panic buying. We weren’t worried about that. We paid attention to our grandparents who almost always had weeks and months worth of food in their homes. We remembered how others panicked when the aforementioned viruses or snowstorms were looming on the horizon. Sure, we go to the store regularly- for things such as fresh fruits and vegetables, milk and dairy products, specialty items, and to simply top off our supplies. However, we typically have enough long term food on hand to eat well for quite a while. Thus, I wasn’t at the store filled with anxiety and desperately trying to get my hands on as much as I could. I was there for a package of sliced cheddar cheese, some eggs, and maybe a gallon of milk. We weren’t filled with fear and panic because we were already prepared for the most part. The shortages resulting from interruptions in manufacturing, distribution, and stock levels are things we’ve seen before and decided to hedge against. I knew COVID-19 had the potential to be rather bad.

How did I see how bad COVID-19 could be? I did it by paying attention to reality, and dismissing the propaganda early on. When this issue first came to light, I read reports stating that the mortality rate was approximately 3%. Okay, so then why was China quarantining entire cities with populations of millions of people over a virus that had a significantly LOWER mortality rate than the annual flu?

I didn’t see how big COVID-19 was going to get, just how bad it could. The “experts” didn’t see it either, they usually don’t. But I do know a little about people, and I saw how bad COVID-19 and how bad public perception could become; thus I took preemptive action.

I checked our stocks of food, household supplies, and over the counter medicines. I immediately topped of the medicines first, then brought everything else up to the normal levels. Within a few weeks, we saw the beginnings of the panic as the talking heads started arguing about it and people started buying. The first shortages we noticed were OTC medications and supplements. Especially stuff to treat flu symptoms and support immune health. Next came long term storable foods- the rice, beans, and canned stuff. Next was the paper products, and now it’s almost everything.

LEARN FROM THIS– when something like this arrives, that shiny stuff many spend their money on suddenly doesn’t matter anymore, does it? Now it’s a desperate rush to secure the things in life that DO matter- the 3 B’s; Bandages, Beans, and Bullets. Yes, common calibers of ammunition are also sold out in many places and prices are soaring!

Once this has passed, sit down and examine YOUR pantry, YOUR medicine cabinet, and if applicable, Your ammunition stock levels. Instead of eating out a few times, devote those funds to establishing and maintaining stock levels of the very things that disappear so quickly when disaster looms. Look at how much of each type of item your family goes through on a weekly and monthly basis and start stock up to those levels. You don’t have to do it all at once, simply buy a few extra “reserve” items each time you go to the store. Once you achieve your goal levels, maintain them and USE them. Practice FIFO- First In = First Out to maintain stock that is in date and useable. Every Autumn, we pick up cold and flu remedies BEFORE cold season and flu season arrive. That stuff usually has a shelf life of at LEAST a year. Then, if illness hits, not only do we not have to worry about potentially competing with so many other sick people for limited stocks of medicine, we also don’t have to leave the house when we feel like crud in the first place.

You can choose to panic with the herd every time some boogeyman pops up on the horizon, or you can choose to be confident and secure like a good shepherd of your household. Which one do you want to be?, and what are you teaching your children who learn more by example than you realize?

Guest Post with permission

I have a Christian nudism group on MeWe. One of the Administrators posted the following and gave me permission to share it here…DSCN0432-LOGO

View on nudism from Fr Mark Montebello  Quoting, ‘ I was immediately reminded of an image I meditate upon quite often. It is that of the death of St Francis. When he felt that the last moments of his life had arrived, he requested from the friends who surrounded him to take off all his cloths and place him on the bare ground. And that’s how St Francis, that great man, gave up his soul.  Of course, I was also reminded of that famous passage in 2 Samuel 6:20-22 which says: “David returned to bless his own house: and Michol the daughter of Saul coming out to meet David, said: ‘How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself before the handmaids of his servants, and was naked, as if one of the buffoons should be naked.’ And David said to Michol: ‘Before the Lord, who chose me rather than thy father, and than all his house, and commanded me to be ruler over the people of the Lord in Israel, I will both play and make myself meaner than I have done: and I will be little in my own eyes: and with the handmaid of whom thou speakest, I shall appear more glorious.”  Perhaps, in this context, John Paul II’s reflection in Love and Responsibility (1981) might be worth noting: “The human body can remain naked and uncovered and preserve intact its splendour and its beauty … Nakedness as such is not to be equated with physical shamelessness … Immodesty is present only when nakedness plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person … The human body is not in itself shameful … Shamelessness (just like shame and modesty) is a function of the interior of a person.”  In conformity with the teachings of the Catholic Church, I submit that nudity can be considered in itself and in relation. In itself, it cannot be morally wrong, for it is said that “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2: 25). Shame is indicative of sin, as written: the Lord God called to the man (Adam), “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (Genesis 3: 9-11).  In relation, nudity can be a sin if undergone for lustful reasons. Thus, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2521, states: “Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate centre of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity. “  Now, I understand that the practice of nudism conforms to what has been said of nudity in itself. Nevertheless, as in all other matters, it can also be liable to sin if it is in conformity to what has been said in relation to lust.  Thus, to directly answer your question of what my opinion is on the matter, I state that nudism, defined as the practice of going nude, especially in places that allow sexually mixed groups, in the belief that such practice benefits physical, mental and/or spiritual health, and considering what has been said above, is not morally wrong’ unquote (personal communication).  In conclusion, I feel that according to the church, true naturists are not committing any immoral acts if they go to a naturist beach. Some individuals who are not truly naturists may go to a naturist area for lustful purposes such as perversion however this may occur on normal beaches and other areas too.  Naturally this opinion can be debated with many different interpretations of the Bible; however, history suggests that nudity at specific areas was fully or partially accepted through thousands of years. If in later years there was an ‘error of judgement’ then we do not have to continue in wrong beliefs. While the Bible condemns promiscuity and lust (as acts of mankind) it does not condemn the nude body (God’s creation). Pope John Paul II is to be commended for his open minded views on modesty and not criticized. It is highly likely that Jesus Christ Himself undressed completely in some specific public areas as this was the culture at that time and He was also human. The naked human body is God’s creation and in the right circumstances it is a reflection of God Himself.  Acknowledgment  The author gives special thanks to Rev. Dr Mark F. Montebello O.P., Ph.D., MSc., Ph.Lic., S.Th.B. & L for his esteemed opinion on the subject.  Suggested Reading  Catholicism and Nudism – What does the Catholic Church Think? ( Naturist Fellowship (http://cnfellowship.wordpress.com/)  Fig Leaf Forum (http://figleafforum.com/)  Karol Wojtyla (later Pope John Paul II), Love and Responsibility, trans. H. T. Willetts (New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 1981).  My Experience With Jesus Christ (http://ezinearticles.com/?My-Experience-With-Jesus-Christ&id=1217272)  Nudity and Christianity, Cunningham, J, 2006 (http://www.jimccunningham.com/contents.htm)

Palindrome Day and God Blessed me and saved my life!



God has Blessed me, and saved my life!

I do not go to the doctor often. In fact, I tend to avoid going. It is only when an injury, illness, etc., starts to cause real concern that I will go. I’ll put up with some pain, discomfort, etc. and let my body do its job. Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 2:21-25 tell us that by His stripes, we were healed. I can testify that I have literally received healing from God for something doctors had been unable to take care of for years.

It turns out that some issues that I recently experienced and thought were unrelated were all symptoms/results of the same primary issue.

Lately, I have had less and less gumption. It felt like my “get up and go” had got up and went… without me. I wasn’t tired as in wanting to sleep, I simply didn’t have any energy. I was about to make a dentist appointment (which historically have NOT gone well for me) but put that off until I felt better.

First it was a sort of general feeling of malaise which slowly got worse. I figured I wasn’t getting enough sleep, or my sleep wasn’t of a good enough quality to fully recharge my body. I didn’t get online much, barely got anything done around the house, etc. I just “didn’t feel like it”.

Then, weird little sores started cropping up. I had no explanation for them. They didn’t seem to be bug bites, I had not suffered any injuries. When they first started appearing, they were itchy. They quickly became painful and looked like they were perhaps ingrown hairs. It would be odd indeed for me to suddenly experience numerous ingrown hairs in so many different places on my body. They developed what looked like a pustule with a little black dot in the middle. They were literally small boils. One showed up on my upper lip in my mustache which caused my lip to swell alarmingly and hurt, a couple on my abdomen, several on my scrotum, one on the base of my penile shaft, one in my groin, several on my upper inside left thigh, a couple on my right leg above and below my knee, etc. They didn’t all show up at once. Because of that, and because of how they appeared to be spreading, I wondered (as did a few people I discussed it with) if I was having an allergic reaction to something.

Then I apparently suffered a spider bite on the outside of my left thigh. Over a space of 2 or 3 days, it became very painful, and BIG! The surrounding underlying tissue got firmer and hotter than it should have been.

Then… I noticed a little bit of “fuzziness” in my cognitive abilities. Thinking and focus took a little more, well, work. Sometimes I would have to think for a second to remember a password. Situational awareness suffered.

Because the spider bite (which I thought could be a spider bite but wasn’t sure) suddenly ramped up in pain level to the point where it was simply throbbing with pain all the time and constantly waking me up, combined with all the weird little sores that appeared to be “spreading”, the Holy Spirit worked through my wife and a friend, and within me to convince me it was time to go to the doctor.

Had to be a “walk in” as this all came to a head over the weekend so I couldn’t make an appointment. I waited about 2 hours and then the nurse called me back for the height/weight/BP/temperature thing. When she asked why I was seeing the doctor and I told her all of this, she immediately said that it sounded like I had a staph infection.

I was taken to an exam room and when the doctor came in, I partially disrobed and showed him the big bite on my left thigh which he diagnosed as a brown recluse bite but said there was no need to worry because it wasn’t bad. Then I told him everything else. I disrobed and showed him all the little boils, and he immediately said that I had a systemic staph infection. When I added that I was starting to experience a little fuzziness around the edges of my cognitive abilities, he replied with “We’re going to give you an injection TODAY. It is a very strong antibiotic. I’m also going to write a prescription for a very strong oral antibiotic.” He repeatedly asked me if I was allergic to any antibiotic.

He also told me that when staph infections become systemic, they literally “suck the life out of you”.

The nurse came in with a syringe that looked like it could have been the water tank from a super soaker with a needle sticking out the end of it. It was FULL. I believe this was the largest non-intravenous injection I’ve ever received. I absolutely despise needles and injections, but God was merciful as it barely hurt. She warned that it was going to hurt but I almost did not feel the needle at all, and even though the medication was supposed to feel hot and cause pain, it was just a very mild warmth with almost no real discomfort. I didn’t even have injection site pain later on. Praise God! They made me wait for an additional ten minutes after the injection to make sure I wasn’t having an adverse reaction to it. Must have been powerful stuff indeed.

By the time I got home, the swelling in my lip was almost completely gone. Before this, I could not smile, had to talk carefully, and almost could not eat or drink as anything contacting my upper lip or causing it to move or flex resulted in a nasty, strong shot of pain.

After? I could smile, eat, and even lightly press on my lip without discomfort. My chest felt better (didn’t realize it had felt bad!). The active throbbing of the spider bite disappeared! It’s still fairly tender and does NOT like to be poked, but it is vastly better than it was.

Yes, God blessed me. This infection was systemic. It was effecting my whole body. It had reached the point where it was manifesting seemingly unrelated symptoms all over my body both inside and on the surface. I shudder to imagine how much worse it could have gotten, especially if I had gone ahead and made that dentist appointment. God is Good, every day, all day long!

It’s been a minute… hasn’t it?

Wow, it has been a little while since I’ve added anything here.

My apologies!

There has been much to do, much getting done, and more on the way thus social media dropped a little further down the priority list. We had a few severe storms, power outages, tornadoes (which thankfully God spared us from) a broken water pipe, and a few other issues in the last several months.

However, we’ve also been blessed. We are healthy, together, well fed, and still very much in Love with each other! The tornadoes that caused death and so much horrible damage formed near our home but moved away from us before getting strong enough to cause that damage. The poor folks a few miles away bore the brunt of it, losing loved ones, homes, vehicles, and power.

Christmas day dawned overcast and warm. So warm that I was able to head back to the pond and relax naturally for a while, feeding the fish and enjoying our own little private resort. It was wonderful to be able to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior in natural solitude.

This winter has been thankfully very mild temperature wise, but it has also been very wet. I haven’t been able to get back on the property and get the stuff done I need to do before it warms back up yet.

We hope everyone has a blessed and happy 2020, that you are all healthy, safe, and prosperousChristmasDay2019-Copyrighted-IMG_7367.

More to come as soon as I have the time 😀 !

Birthday suit on your Birthday


Our Heavenly Father blessed us with beautiful weather around my birthday.

This time of year, one has to seize upon the warm days whenever they appear as it is usually too cool for comfortable outdoor nudism, and we usually get more rainfall with the cooler weather. The day before, the day of, and the day after my birthday were all warm and sunny with light and refreshing breezes. I spent those three afternoons relaxing at the Undisclosed Location pond and actually ended up with a light tan instead of a sunburn! Birthday suit on my birthday 😉

Try out your birthday suit on your birthday!

Mysterious Socks

Mystery socks-Copyrighted

Had a bit of a mystery at the Undisclosed Location a recently…

The weather was perfect for relaxing nude at the pond and I was prepping the house and dogs so I could go back there for a little while when I received a text message from one of my neighbor’s sons asking if he could go to the pond to fish.

We allow those neighbors the enjoyment of going to the pond, fishing, and hunting on our land but we have one rule: Each and every time that any of them wants to be on our land they must contact us first and get permission. They know that we go nude back there, and we shoot/hunt back there, thus they need to clear it with us before hand.

For a while, there was a problem as they kept forgetting to check with us first and would just go back there, especially the younger of his twin sons, who had walked back on me nude before and had just the previous weekend ridden his horse back to our pond without getting permission from his dad or from us, once again arriving when I was nude and almost when my wife was nude as well. She had just put her clothes back on when we heard a horse galloping hard towards us. Of course, this resulted in his dad and I having a talk… again. Their house is very close to the part of the property line where our pond road is, so when I drive my Jeep back to the pond, I am passing within 15 yards of their house. The Jeep isn’t exactly a stealthy vehicle off road either. It does tend to make allot of noise. So it was frustrating that not only was he failing to contact us, but also that I figured surely they could hear the Jeep as I drove it past their house on my way to the pond. Looks like sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.

Since this particular son had been diligent about checking with us first after the horse incident, I decided to tell him it was okay for him to go fishing instead of heading to the pond myself. I did tell him that I would be at the pond later, as I had not checked it since we had gotten our first rain in over a month and wanted to see the water level. I busied myself with some other chores around the house.

A while later I had finished up the additional chores and enough time had passed for him to enjoy having the pond to himself, so I headed back to check it out.

As I got to the end of the pond road, I noticed a bright white object laying in the grass on the south side of the pond. I parked the Jeep in the usual spot and walked over to investigate. It turned out to be a pair of socks. My neighbor’s son was nowhere to be seen. I texted his dad asking if he’d been to the pond yet, but didn’t get a response. I started checking the area and saw footprints in the mud, going into the water. I failed to see the one footprint coming back out of the water until later.

We have no idea what debris may be in the pond from the previous owners (we’re STILL cleaning up junk and trash) and there are fish hooks, several breeds of turtles, decent sized fish, etc. in there, thus his sons have never expressed any desire to swim in it. After thoroughly checking the area, all I had found were the socks and the footprints. All of this took about 20 minutes and I still had not heard back from his dad.

By now, I’m wondering what is going on. A pair of socks laying in the grass, footprints going into the water, and no neighbor to be seen. It was like one of those grade school mystery stories. That end of the pond is the shallow end and there was obviously nothing in the water, so I took a photo of the socks, and of the footprints, and walked back to the Jeep to unpack and set up.

Normally when I drive the Jeep back there, I start setting up as soon as I park. We leave a few folding camp chairs and lounge chairs in the back that have to be set up, the cooler needs to be set next to the chairs, camera readied, etc. Then we’ll undress and relax. I had just finished setting up the chairs and had taken my shirt off when I heard someone on the pond road start running towards me. This was alarming as I can usually hear a person walking down our pond road long before they reach the point where this person seemed to suddenly appear and started running. About two seconds later my neighbor’s younger son came into view and stopped.

“Forgot my socks!” he exclaimed. Since I thankfully still had my cargo shorts on, I chatted with him for a moment. It seems that a fishing lure I had given him had become snagged relatively close to shore and he was not willing to lose it. In all fairness, it’s a really good lure. The fish usually hit it hard right after it hits the water. He had waded in to the pond and retrieved it, forgetting to pick his socks up when he headed back to their house. Mystery solved – LOL

He had caught 4 decent sized fish that day and released them all back into the pond.

After he headed home I spent the afternoon relaxing, feeding the fish and turtles, soaking myself in the heat of the day, and enjoying the gentle breeze.

Autumn?What’s that again?


The seasons don’t normally change around here the way most people from other parts of the country would expect. We typically have 4 seasons, but they’re not Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. We usually get:
Hot + dry
Hot + wet
Cold + dry
Cold + wet
We also usually do not have gentle transitions between them. For example, although last week we had high temperatures in the 90’s, today’s high temperature is 61. This weekend is supposed to be in the 70’s. We usually don’t get a typical autumn with a gentle slide from summer to winter. We’ll have a few warm spells throughout the winter with temps in the high 60’s to low 70’s, but we’ll also have cold spells, the worst of which is usually in January with highs in the 30’s, 20’s, or even the teens. That is usually followed by a heat wave in February with the temperature soaring up into the 60’s, 70’s, or even the 80’s! I’ve gone deer hunting nude (except for my boots and safety vest) and I’ve gone deer hunting wearing two pairs of long underwear, two pairs of thick socks, several long sleeve shirts, hoodie, heavy coat, hat, and gloves, and sat shivering!
Perhaps it’s just wishful, nostalgic thinking; or perhaps it’s because I lived in a different part of the country for much of my youth, but I seem to recall more of those steady and gentle changes between the seasons… especially the fall.
My wife took this photo of me on 10-13-19. The high was in the low 60’s. As the sun set behind the trees on the pond ridge, it cooled off so quickly that within the span of about 30 minutes I went from nude, to wearing a hoodie, to getting completely dressed, to us packing up and going back to the house. This Saturday is my birthday, and the weather prediction is for mostly sunny with high temperatures in the mid 70’s. I’m looking forward to getting some natural time at the pond in my birthday suit.
Usually, winter and summer seem to strive with each other with each one gaining and losing as temperatures bounce from hot to cold and back again until summer finally gives up for a while. This year, winter seems to have run in and slapped summer… hard.