Friday, March 29, 2013


Alligator teeth

Nice to look at until the

Gnarly jaw snaps shut

On a recent trip to Florida, we went out into the Everglades and saw many of these monsters.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Matters of the Heart

Haiku My Heart
March 15, 2013

We meet here on Fridays and share our lives along with our souls. See more of Haiku My Heart at Rebecca's recur mi corazon.

Willingness to live

Taking life’s chances in stride

It does my heart good

By last count, the tally of motorcycles on the list that follows this post, I have owned over my lifetime. There are sixteen bikes listed. A few of these I had stabled in one garage or another together and owned more than one at a time, but most were just stand alone bikes, that is, I owned one motorcycle and rode it.

I had that first one in 1970 when I lived with my folks in Westchester, IL. I bought it right after I got out of the army when I got home from Vietnam. I was riding to work the first day I had it and I slid down on a shady stretch of slick dew covered pavement when the car traveling in front of me hit their brakes hard in an attempt to avoid hitting a family of ducks that were crossing the road. I was an inexperienced rider and although I don’t remember the details, I was probably following too closely and/or riding too fast.

No one was hurt, not even the ducks. The jacket I was wearing, an olive drab green army field jacket, took a black asphalt stripe from the wrist to the elbow on my left arm and to this day, I have had trouble with that left shoulder. I reinjured that arm twice more in non automobile accidents over the years when I crashed snowmobiles, once hitting a log and another time hitting a large chuck of ice. Both of these motosport mishaps took place in the 1990’s. Oh yeah, there was also the time I rolled a Polaris ATV when I drove sideways on a steep hillside.

That last bike, the 2011 Triumph Bonneville, is what I was riding when an oncoming car came over the double yellow lines and forced me to the ditch last September on a quiet rural Wisconsin highway. That bike was a total loss from damage sustained in the wreck and I have not owned a motorcycle since that day, September 16, 2012.
The morning after my accident, September 17, 2012

That is, until last month. I briefly had money down on a new 2012 Triumph Bonneville, but decided not to follow through with the purchase and asked the dealer to refund my deposit. In fact, I had thought about not every buying another motorcycle and giving up riding bikes completely as I took into account the fact that I have severe heart matters that compromise my overall health.

November 11, 2012,  a little more than two months after the accident

I ended up thinking that I want to live until I die, not just be alive, and that getting out in the fresh air on a motorcycle is something that I don’t think I’ll ever lose the desire to do no matter what physical condition I’m in. As long as I can still do it, safely, I will ride motorcycles. 

That “Safely” is a strong important word here. That means safely for myself, but more importantly, safely for others using the Nations highways and byways.

I had a friend tell me once, when I had an old Jeep that I rode up into the Black Range Mountains of New Mexico, that vehicles like that are “Death Traps”. He suggested a long time ago that it wasn’t safe to have such vehicles and ride them on or off road. I guess for that matter, with statistics showing almost 40,000 deaths on our highways every year, it is never totally “safe” to be in a vehicle of any kind. For that matter, no one is ever totally safe and no one gets out of here alive anyway!

I decided that 40,000 was a very small part of the 313 million people that live in the United States and that I would chance the odds.

Introducing the newest member of my stable, this 2009 Triumph Bonneville T-100.

I’m scheduled to drive down to New Mexico in early April with my pickup truck and bring it home. Hopefully, this time frame will have me riding as soon as the snow melts and the roads are dry.

The Haiku I penned this morning speaks to the idea that I will ride again and my heart soars thinking about it.


1970 Honda CB 350 Gold
1967 Yamaha MX360 Silver
1976 Honda 400 Four  Blue
1976 Honda 400 Four Red
1978 Honda CL450 Blue
1982 Yamaha SR 500 Black
1993 Harley Davidson Fat Boy Black Cherry
1986 Honda CB750 Four Brown
2004 Harley Davidson Sportster Silver
2004 Harley Davidson Dyna Glide Silver
2008 Triumph Tiger Orange
2008 Triumph Scrambler Orange
2010 BMW G650 GS Black
1973 Honda CL 350 Red
2005 Moto Guzzi Nevada Classic Black/Red
2011 Triumph Bonneville SE Orange

April 2013, Number 17
2009 Triumph Bonneville T-100 Green

Note: There has been an update to last week's Haiku My Heart with some explanation about my actions if care to wander back the the post below this one. Thanks.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Haiku

Haiku My Heart
March 8, 2013

See more at recuerda mi corazon

Seems to me, things could

Be, can’t you see the burning

In my heart and soul

First of all, I apologize for not getting around to all your blogs to read your haiku and see your artwork and photographs. I have been very busy. I promise to better in this area in the future.

In the meantime, I want to explain a little about the Haiku I posted here this past Friday. These are parts of words to a song I wrote some time ago. It is sung to a Reggae beat and has one verse. Here it is:

Seems To Me
Joe Spado

Seems to me, oh oh
My love is growin' stronger now

Seems to be, oh oh
A burnin' in my heart

Things could be,
Fine when we're together

Oh can't you see,
It hurts to be apart

That's right. A simple love song. I wrote it, but honestly, I didn't write it for someone or something that happened or was happening in my life either at the time I wrote it, or before or after.

I did see, by the comments that were left, that many of you wondered about what it might mean. And this wonderment reflected to yourselves and to me and my life. Conjecture was made, a rush of all sorts of feelings, for yourselves, for me, for someone you know. Even memories were stirred.

I must say, I didn't plan on such a response, so I won't take credit for some kind of experiment that I conducted. I was just so busy, and I wanted to participate in Haiku My Heart, so I tinkered with the words so they fit in the 5-7-5 Haiku format and let 'em fly.

But since the results came out the way they did, I will encourage you to take what you need and leave the rest.

Much Peace to all, and Thank you very much for coming here to see my offerings. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Snowshoe Melodies

Haiku My Heart
March 1, 2013

Haiku My Heart is a weekly meme done on Fridays. We gather through Rebecca's recuerda mi corazon blog and share stories, photos, art and poetry. We visit each other and make our day a little brighter. To see more and learn how you can participate,visit recuerda mi corazon

First pair made in 2013

Deep cotton hillsides
Walking on top of snowdrifts

A thing of beauty

This has been a busy year for me making snowshoes. Five pair in one season. Seeing as I am retired and I don’t advertise for business, that makes it an extremely busy year.

We haven’t had big snow. We still never got that massive snowstorm like we’ve seen out East earlier this Winter season or in Kansas City and other midwest regions recently, but it’s better than the complete lack of snow and cold weather like we've had over the past few years in the upper Midwest. Better for the badly needed moisture in the ground and better for getting out and using snowshoes.

Dark frame, light colored lacing

Bending white ash strips

Textile weaving knots and loops

Uncommon art work

Might it be a statement about the economy? People buying snowshoes? I don’t have any idea. I don’t get rich from making these, and I don’t judge my own prosperity wholly by selling an item or two now and then.

Wolf tracks, wood burned and the toe wrapped in color

Love to see them used

Word gets out by talking heads

And playing in snow

Back in the day when I lived at the Canadian border in extreme Northern Minnesota, the silent Winter sports of dogsledding, cross country skiing, ice fishing and snowshoeing would take up much of the long darkness of Winter. 

My four direction logo

A whole day was wasted getting up, getting dressed in layer upon layer of garments designed to ward off the cold, then, strapping the snowshoes to your boots and pulling a sled laden with ice fishing gear a couple of miles, over a land portage, and onto Duncan Lake. Imagining the life under the thick ice sheet of huge lake trout just waiting to grab the lure, dropping a baited line and sitting there, in the deafening silence, waiting for the phenomenon of a fish striking your hook.

Light frames, dark colored lacing

Why I’ve had times when the 8” diameter hole wasn’t wide enough for the girth of the fish and I’d have to chop out the hole with an iron steel chipper with one hand while holding onto the ice fishin’ stick with the other in order to get it out of the lake. And that’s no fish tail either!

Then there was that hot thermos of coffee, the metal cup/top cap heating your mittened hand. The crushed snack crackers from the parka pocket as I watched an Eagle soar overhead. Getting home, reversing the process of layered clothing, cleaning the fish and eating, thanking Creator for the bounty. Ahhhhh, what a lifestyle I have had the honor and pleasure of experiencing through the years.

The wolf tracks

Traverse across lakes

Cold and snow, a way of life

The frozen tundra

Nowadays, I do like to sit indoors on a cold Wintery day and weave the age old pattern for the webbing as it’s hard for me to breathe that frigid air. I love to think, plan and do the wood burning and see how the burnt carbon area glistens when the varnish is applied. I’ve got a language of my own as well. Loops, crossovers, hitch, half-hitch, turns, wraps. They are all part of the process.

Ironically, I was watching old reruns of TV’s longest running western show, Gunsmoke which blended into an episode of Rawhide while sitting at my table using the Colwood woodburning tool. They were showing branding of cattle on Rawhide. My mind went back to 1840, on the grassy plains of Northeastern New Mexico and I saw myself branding the snowshoes just like they throwed, roped and branded cattle. Who says the old ways are lost and forgotten? Maybe I was there in a former life and that’s how I know how to do it!

These will be fitted with bindings to secure the boots.

Twists, knots, loops on wood

Wrapping, lacing, thick varnish

Lasting a lifetime

Anyway, working on these and other projects has been keeping me busy this Winter. I guess as I think about the fact that today is the first of March and we change the clocks ahead for Daylight Savings Time in a week, I managed to exchanged travel to the Southwest for branding. Stay tuned for more finished folk art to show up here as Winter quickly wanes into Spring.