Sunday, July 31, 2016


Last evening as I drove down County Road 28, heading into the setting sun, I noticed an interesting airplane on the ramp at KIBM.

It's a North American T-28B Trojan, still dressed in the livery she wore in naval service with VT-27 at Corpus Christi.

She has a Lycoming-built R-1820-86 of 1,425 hp and appears to sport the shorter, C-model prop, though I could be mistaken.

The Trojan is owned by Lee Griffin of North Pole, Alaska. A former USAF maintenance officer, Lee appears to have quite a story.

I stopped and took a lot of pics last evening, then stopped and took more this morning, and finally returned to take even more as Lee and his pilot were saddling up for a flight to Rock Springs, Wyoming.

They're on their way to Sacramento after spending the week at Oshkosh.

They were obviously busy and had a long day of flying ahead so I only bothered them enough to say thanks for stopping at Kimball.

I could go on and on about what it felt like to see this aircraft on the ramp just across the county road from the ranch, but I won't. Not sure it would be anything other than gobbledygook to those who've never been on the ramp in the hot Florida sun watching fledgling Naval Aviators learning to master the mighty Trojan.

However you slice it, last evening and this morning were wonderful.

So, just the pics and some video. Vids first. You can click on the pics for larger.

Aviation isn't all rainbows and unicorns though. Just a couple of weeks ago the younger sister of this aircraft crashed up at Cold Lake. The owner and pilot, Bruce Evans, perished.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hail and farewell

No, I'm not going anywhere. At least not that I know of.

We had a thunderstorm last evening and it produced some interesting results.

The bulk of the storm went south of us. As it passed we got whacked by backside wind and hail.

The hail was pea-to-golfball sized, and driven by 60 mph winds. At the home place we only got a splash, but down at the south unit there was enough to color the ground.

Hail like this doesn't so much damage to grass or livestock, but it's pretty hard on small grain crops. A neighbor had most of his proso millet wiped out; looked like it had been professionally mowed.

As I was inspecting following the storm I came across a young black tailed jackrabbit that had taken a big hailstone in the squash.

It's all part of nature. Still, the empathetic part of me felt bad. Lost, alone, wounded, brain damaged, the young rabbit would surely be snapped up by a coyote. He didn't think of it that way of course, he was a rabbit.

I had a decision to make. Leave him be and let nature do her thing, or put him down.

Well, I did one of those things.

It's all a big, wonderful circle of life. The 0.82 inches of rain that came with the hail will reinvigorate the prairie and make lots more "free" food for my cattle and for everything else that lives on the ranch. But more than one rabbit died last evening, and no few birds and other creatures.

It's the way of the universe. An infinitesimally tiny pocket of life on a tiny world in a mundane galaxy. In the midst of life, death and rebirth.

And at the end of the rainbow, there's a tractor!