Don’t Discard The Old

The gray tractor is a Ford 8 N. It is a 1949 model we named Mustang Sally and it runs like new and the engine is so simple even I can understand some of its workings. The other is a 1959 Allis Chalmers D14 named  Mustang Ally with my grandson standing on the bush hog. Ford 8 N Tractor Mustang Sally

We used the Allis Chalmers to cut down briars, bushes and sapplings up to 3″ in diameter going uphill and it didn’t slow down one iota. It has a 4 speed dual axle transmission and the rear wheels expand outward to provide better balance when cutting on steep hills. The Ford was originally a 6 volt system and it had to be converted to a 12 volt system to get it to operate properly. It has only 4 gears forward and it goes faster in first gear than the Allis Chalmers making it a bit scarier when negotiating hills(which we have an abundance of here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains). While plowing through the high weeds you can’t see the ground and that doesn’t give you much time to react and bring the tractor to a stop.Allis Chalmers 1959 D14

We used these two tractors to clean up a guy’s 40 acre family homestead that was left vacant for years and was overgrown with weeds and bamboo. After we finished, the family brought out some old restored equipment and had an ol’ time southern Octoberfest with BBQ, fresh squeezed apple juice and fresh milled grits. I believe the gristing machine was from the 1920’s era. I’m not sure on the hand cranked apple juice machine. We had hay rides with our old 1949 Ford 8N tractor pulling the wagon.

The first picture below is of the corn grist mill  and the second is making apple cider.

Corn Gristing Machine IMG_20131026_130106_994 (2)


Apple Juice IMG_20131026_130021_784 (2)

Piney Woods Mississippi

Fred and Barney Our two cut Jacks
Fred and Barney
Our two cut Jacks

I snapped to when I heard the continual buzzing of the alarm on my phone. It was 3:00 a.m. December 6, 2013, one day after the 80th anniversary of the greatest day in American history, the end of prohibition. When I sat up, I felt like I had been celebrating every day since that glorious occasion. We were going to Piney Woods, Mississippi, just south of Jackson, to pick up a pair of burros; we were getting cut “Jacks”, gelded males. The Mustang and Wild Horse Rescue of Georgia was asked to participate in The Platero Project, a joint venture between the Humane Society of the United States, HSUS, and the Bureau of Land Management, (BLM). They would loan out a burro to a non-profit to be tamed and then the non-profit would find it a home. The HSUS would then donate money to the non-profit from money they received from The Platero Project grant. We were told not to get involved with burros because burros were stubborn and mean little buggers. But when we hear something like this, we take it as a challenge, plus we have a ¾ blooded Cherokee and an animal whisperer volunteering his services. He has tamed everything from mustang horses, a mama bear and two of her cubs, a squirrel, a fox and other critters as well as four daughters. The last I know from personal experience is not an easy task.

We took off at 4:00 a.m. with the temperature at 71degrees. At our first gas stop in Alabama, we knew this was going to be a great trip. We walked into the store and asked if they had any Krispy Crème Donuts. They didn’t, so we walked out with a bag of Ding Dongs and two Coca-Colas and a Snickers Peanut Butter candy bar, super-sized. This trip would be filled with junk food.

By the time we reached Birmingham, the temperature had dropped to 55 degrees and as we passed through Tuscaloosa, it was down to 50 degrees. When we entered Mississippi, it was a cold 47 degrees, the wind had started blowing and it was raining hard.

Four hundred and ten miles later we pulled off I 20 in Jackson Mississippi, the temperature was now a balmy 44 degrees with an estimated wind chill in the 30’s, raining with a heavy wind. As we  stopped at the end of the exit ramp, the trusty old Ford F150 pickup truck began to shudder and make a sound which sounded like a blown rod, whatever that is. Once I turn on the ignition, I am beyond my knowledge of the workings of a combustion engine.

We pulled to the side of Hwy 49 and “popped” the hood, and sure enough, we didn’t blow a rod, but we did blow a spark plug. We were lucky it could be fixed. The Cherokee God of Good Luck was with us as a NAPA Auto Parts store miraculously appeared on the horizon only 500 feet in front of us AND it had only one spark plug kit left that would fit the truck. We learned something else from the clerk while spending $70 for a little spark plug and a plastic casing; this is a common occurrence with a Ford F150.

Ten minutes later we closed the hood and we were heading south to Piney Woods. When we arrived the guard waved us through like royalty. Cary Frost, the BLM agent, was eagerly waiting for us and waved us over to the chute and we backed up our trailer. After brief introductions and a chat about mutual acquaintances, we found out Cary is a former rodeo guy from Toole Utah, where I had spent some time back in the early 2000’s. He was transferred from Nevada to Mississippi. The federal government is leasing the land from the Piney Woods School District. Piney Woods is a Charter High School and the BLM’s facility adjoins the school grounds to the north.

Cary locked down the panels of the chute to the sides of our trailer and brought the Jacks down the chute, closing off a section at a time until they were up next to the opening of the trailer with no place to go but forward. We had Cary cut off the rope holding the Jack’s identification numbers before we loaded them. After the proverbial boot in the “ass”, we had two new members of the Mustang and Wild Horse (and now Burro) Rescue of Georgia, Inc in our trailer. We signed the papers admitting we were in possession of government property and pulled out heading back to the Jack’s new home.

Everything went well until we got into Alabama when we were met with heavy rains and wind. Every time we have gone on a long rescue mission we have encountered miserable weather. Everything from a Tornado when we went to Owensboro KY to get a mustang we named Kentucky Rain, and Kansas and the Missouri Ozarks when we got our mustang, Shawnee, to a near Hurricane when we went to the Gulf Shores area of Alabama to retrieve a mustang mare, Aura, we had adopted out and who we found out had been abandoned in a field.

Due to the terrible driving conditions we had to cut back on our speed and didn’t arrive at the Jack’s new home until after 10:00 p.m. making for a very long day for two old mustangers and two young Jacks, all happy to have made it back safe and sound.


Women Cannot Tell Jokes

Max Fly Private I Artwork canstock0790836 

My wife warned me not to do this but I have to. I was up early, feeling good, no hangover, not angry at a soul, not even those dysfunctional morons in Washing D. C. I was sitting in front of the fireplace all alone enjoying the peace and solitude that comes to you when you have an opportunity to sit by yourself and let your mind go (this can be scary sometimes), when a thought crossed my mind and I just HAD to get it out.

I am currently working on another novel. It is the third in the Max Fly, Private I Series, where I introduce a young female private investigator who muscles in on Max’s territory. Not only is she young, smart, sexy and knock out gorgeous, all attributes that Max looks for in his ladies, but she is deadly as well.

As my mind tries to develop this character, I ask people if they know of any authors who have strong female characters that are not only strong, witty and independent, but still show a vulnerable side. Now, I am not a big fan of female authors who write detective fiction or nonfiction. I am very particular on who I read. I do like Tami Hoag, Patricia Cromwell, Deanne Stillman, and Ann Rule to name a few. In my humble opinion and that’s all that counts in this treatise, my opinion, I don’t think very many women writers can write well from a male’s point of view. The dialog just doesn’t sound right to me and I assume the opposite is true as well, men cannot write well from a female’s point of view. But hell, I am throwing caution to the wind and I am going full steam ahead with my idea anyway.

This female character I want is strong, sarcastic, funny and can banter with a man and come out on top and still be sexy and vulnerable, all necessary traits in a woman that piques Max’s interest. I had suggestions of authors to read from people that run the gamut from J.A. Jance to Nora Roberts. These are bestselling authors but they just don’t get it; especially for Max and I am sure they would have no desire to if asked.

Then while discussing this with my sister-in-law, she suggested  I read Janet Evanovich. She told me she laughs out loud while she reads her stuff. So I decided to try her and voila, I found the author I was looking for; in fact, she stole my character and pulled the rug out from under me. But I have become a big fan of hers and will soon be reading another adventure of her character Stephanie Plum and her African American cohort, Lulu.

So what does all of this have to do with women not being good joke tellers? Not much but the topic brought Evanovich to mind. Now to segway (this term has become more popular than the two-wheeled transportation device it was trademarked for), to my original thought.

Yesterday a friend posted a joke on FB that pokes fun at men being impetuous and reckless when it comes to something they want and how women will wait and ponder something before making a decision. Watch a woman and a man shopping in a mall. Most men will walk in see what they want, purchase it and go home. A woman will walk in spend all day looking around, go home and then decide that they want the first thing they saw and return to the mall only to find it is gone. Then they get angry and wish they had purchased it when they first saw it. So here is the joke that triggered all this gibberish. The second one is similar, but told by a man. After reading each one, you be the judge.

First is the case for women’s humor from.

When God created Adam and Eve, He said:

I only have two gifts: One is the art of peeing standing …

And then Adam stepped forward and shouted: ME!, ME!, ME!,

I would love it please … Lord, please, please! Look, it will make my life substantially easier.

Eve nodded, and said those things did not matter to her. Then God gave Adam the gift and he began to shout for joy. He ran through the Garden of Eden and used it to wet all the trees and

bushes, ran down the beach making drawings with his pee in the sand …

Well, he would not stop showing off. God and Eve watched the man crazy with happiness and Eve asked God: What is the other gift? ‘

God answered: Eve,….. a brain … and it is for you …!

I admit, that is “cute”. Now, here is a “guy’s” version of a joke.


God was finishing his creation of Adam and looking at him and said; “Adam, I am going to make you the most amazing mate who will clean and press your leaves and cook for you and care for you when you are sick and will be there at your beck and call for your every need and willing to fulfill all of your sexual desires.”

What will you call this mate,” Adam asks.

“We will call her woman,” God replies.

“Well, where is she?”Adam asks excitedly.

“Whoa, wait a minute. Something this great will cost you,” God says.

“What will it cost?”

“An arm and a leg,” God says.

Adam ponders this for a few minutes before asking, “What can I get for a rib?”

If you care to post your choice, I would appreciate it.



Max Fly, Private I and IED’s

Max Fly Private I Artwork canstock0790836

Max Fly, Private I, is currently on assignment at an undisclosed beach in Florida, assisting the Department of Defense in evaluating the mammary glands of female humanoids that are washing ashore on the beaches of the Florida coastline. There is a major concern about the potential of Implanted Explosive Devices, IED’s being placed in the breasts of Yankee women which, upon the slightest touch, will detonate and cause damage that will make the Boston Bombing pale in comparison. As Conway Twitty so aptly put it in his song about Max, he truly does have “the slow hands” and “the easy touch”, which are much needed for this dangerous mission.

Please pray for Max as he unselfishly places his life on the line once again to protect our country. True patriots like him are very hard to find and I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to watch Max Fly, Private I, an amazing person and great American, as he battles evil to ensure the safety for women and children throughout the world.


David V. Hesse, ESQ

Author, Professional Equivocator and Fire Painter



Bissell Is More Than A Floor Cleaner



Shawnee and Alexander


Being an unaccomplished horseman of sorts, I have been on what I would call some fairly long horseback rides when I dabbled in endurance riding. In fact, I have heard some of my cohorts and friends complain after being in the saddle for a mere 3 hours. Some of you who have never ridden a horse or who have only been on one a short time, aren’t aware of the stress on a rider’s body and the aches and pains you develop if you are not in good shape when you ride a considerable distance. So, if we complain after only a few hours, I wonder how guys like Frank Hopkins and Israel Bissell felt after their long rides. Some of you may have read my post awhile back on Frank Hopkins, of Hidalgo fame, who called the mustang horse the most significant animal in American History, and who was arguably the greatest horseman ever and winner of over 400 endurance rides ranging from 50 miles to over 3,000 miles, all on mustangs. These men spent a lot of time on the back of a horse. So, who is this Bissell character? Well, his first name is Israel and not much is known about him but he accomplished a truly heroic 345 mile ride when, as a twenty-three-year-old postal rider, he rode over four days and (I wasn’t going to include this because it is so small ) 6 hours, and I am going to say that his horse was a mustang as well since there is nobody around to refute that) This ride was from April 19, 1775, to April 23, 1775, between Boston and Philadelphia, telling people the war had begun. Maybe if he yelled the British are coming he may have gone down in our history books.

But  talk about being under appreciated, many historical documents listed his first name as Trail and a guy by the name of Paul Revere (this was before he met the rest of The Raiders) received all of the press and glory for his ride and yelling “The British are coming, the British are coming.” At least that is what I was told he said but I can’t confirm that.

What must have made  all this stardom Paul received all the more galling to Mr. Bissell, is that Mr. Revere’s ride was only 19 miles but at least Israel got a floor cleaner named after him? Heck, this is my story and I can tell it how I want.

Another Night of Poker With The Boys

Ray's Dish On The Quad

Last night Max Fly met with his poker buddies, Hap Schultz, Alan Dupont, Sam Galbraith, Ralph Mills and William “The Raja” Bennett, over at Tampa Ray Palermo’s estate to try out the prototype of Ray’s new Quad Cooker. The QUAD cooker is the first naturally fired home cooker that lets you achieve professional temperatures of 900˚F+ at an affordable price, and is outfitted with attachments for wok frying, oven baking, a reinvented grill top for grilling, and paella pan/flat-bottom griddle for paella. The Quad has a heavy-duty carbon steel grill grate that ensures that the metal temperature doesn’t drop when meat is placed on the grill. This helps heat travel from the meat surface to the interior, producing a juicy, tender center with a delicious caramelized crust. Another feature of this cooker is the autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) that forms the crucible, holding heat in and helping it to spread evenly over the cooking surface. We were all standing around the Quad and no heat was coming from it to add to the summer evening temperature. Tampa Ray just had to demonstrate how effective this material is by getting out his handy blow torch, which he carries with him everywhere. He torched a sample of AAC and had Sam place his hand on it while Ray was blasting it with the flame. Nada, nothing! The only thing Ray scorched was the hair on Sam’s arm. I have to add this had no effect on the taste of the food.

Well, the evening’s theme was Spanish (Ray’s lovely wife, Luchi, is of Italian/Spanish descent via Cuba. Rumor has it her grandfather was dodging the Spanish draft and had to leave northern Spain at the turn of the last century). The dish we had is one that has been passed down in her family for generations and boy is it good. The recipe is in the cookbook that is included in the sale price of the Quad Cooker.

I started the evening by drinking a shot of Miguel Torres 20 Hors D’Age. A Spanish Imperial Brandy, a gift from Captain Jim when he returned from his last trip to Mexico. I drank this at home before I left to go to Tampa Ray’s because I knew if I brought the bottle to this event, the “boys” would have finished it off before dinner was served (yes, I am unabashedly selfish). I actually prefer Miguel Torres 20 over my Courvoisier Cognac. It is very smooth.

Ray had the Tepena Rose (rose-ay) and Red Spanish Wine already decanted and the cooker fired up and was ready to start the demonstration when I arrived, fashionably late I might add (only Sam arrives later than I do, which isn’t fashionable). Spanish wines have gained a reputation for being some of the finest wines in the world and from what I tasted last night, I would say deservedly so.

First, Ray heated Olive Oil (what else) in the paella pan before adding the seasoning which I can’t divulge as I have been sworn to keep the secret (the answer is in the Quad Cookbook).

Next, he added cut up raw chicken which he stirred into the mixture of Olive Oil and seasonings before adding a box of chicken broth and peas. He brought this mixture, which now looked like a soup, to a slow boil and then added raw shrimp and pieces of a Spanish sausage. Being the novice in the crowd, I, Max Fly, asked Tampa Ray how he was going to get the food out of the pan with all that broth in it. Ray replied, “No worry Grasshopper, watch as I add the next ingredient.”

The next ingredient was white rice which absorbed the broth as it cooked. Finally, he stuck in fresh oysters in the shell, which added to the decorative appeal of the dish (see attached picture). Now, Max Fly usually doesn’t photograph the food he eats such as hot dogs and macaroni and cheese from a box, but this dish looked like something out of someone’s cookbook. Oh, that’s right; this dish is in the Quad Cooker’s cookbook. Did I mention that?

During the meal, tales were swapped back and forth, none better than Alan and Sam relating some horror stories of flying in Eastern Foods Corporate Jet around the United States back in the 70s and 80s. Some of these stories may be revealed in the upcoming Max Fly saga; the one about “a good pilot doesn’t need a gas gauge” was in Max Fly’s Ahead of The Game.

We found out that Max, Hap and Tampa Ray all have grandson’s turning five this coming September and October. We are planning on taking them all riding on a mustang a week from this coming Thursday. We are grooming another generation of male miscreants. I’m so proud.

After dinner, Ray brought out some chocolate brownies for us to enjoy that I refused, as I must maintain my figure for my next photo shoot which is soon to come.

Some of the younger guys had to leave early, while Tampa Ray, The Raja, and Max Fly retired to the patio to enjoy a Spanish cigar and some more wine and listen to The Raja discuss his upcoming trip to Germany.

Before Alan Dupont departed for the evening, he passed out coupons for a free Chick-Fil-A sandwich. Ah, the advantages of knowing a scion of the corporate world.

Oh, we never got around to playing poker – again.

Mustang Sally

Ford 8 N Tractor Mustang Sally

Well, here is the updated picture I promised of the 8 N Ford tractor, fondly named Mustang Sally. The mustang horses have now accepted her as part of the family so she needs a name as well and how apropos?

I don’t know where I would be, or where this tractor would be, if it weren’t for our mechanic. That guy must have been born with a tool-kit strapped to his hip.

After replacing the electric coil, the battery, the radiator cap, the spark plug wire, the flex hose and soaking the air filter in k-1 kerosene overnight, we got Mustang Sally running as smooth as a baby’s butt, kinda. The right front tire has a leak (replacements cost $100 each the big back tires $400 each), luckily we have an electric air pump that we keep plugged in near the tractor, and the cutting attachment throws rocks, sticks, clumps of manure and chopped up rodents onto the back of the driver. Captain Jim said he would appreciate it if we could put something on to stop it from throwing debris before he ends up with another hole in his head.

He was takin’ her for a spin this past Sunday afternoon and she quit on him going up the hill in the south pasture behind the barn. Of course, Jim didn’t come to me for assistance; he went directly to our mechanic who was patiently waiting for a tow truck to arrive to pick up one of our volunteer’s car. Her fiancé was being a nice guy filling her car up at the gas station; only he used the wrong pump and put diesel in the tank. That poor car was probably wondering what it did wrong to have him try to poison it. They were barely able to drive it to the ranch to work. Luckily our mechanic could fix it. He can fix anything (see 8 N Ford Tractor above). The tow truck loaded the car and took it to his house for repair.

Anyway, we had to jump the tractor from the truck while we took a screwdriver and started fiddling with the carburetor and Old Sally kicked over, running smoothly again,sounding like we just drove her off the showroom floor. The grass is so long the truck couldn’t get traction, so a few of the boys had to put their collective fat arses on my tailgate so we could make it out of the pasture.

Now if it ever stops raining we just might finish bush hogging the 27 acres before the first frost.

They Just Don’t Make ‘Em Like Us Anymore

Ford 8 N Tractor IMG_20130716_112847_684

Ford Mower Attachment IMG_20130716_112914_521

This is a picture of our “new” tractor. It is an 8 N Ford and was manufactured between 1949-1952, not sure exactly, but it is in my age group and it runs. That’s why I like it. Like me, it is so old, they don’t make replacement parts for us anymore but the engine is so simple that I just might be able to F.O.R.D (an old acronym for the car, truck and tractor manufacturer, “fix or repair daily”) by myself after a few lessons from our mechanic,  who actually grew up driving a similar tractor. “Green Acres is the place for me.”A better picture will be coming forthwith.

So far I learned that there is a routine you have to follow to start and shut down this beast which I found out the hard way by burning out the ignition coil on my first test drive. You are supposed to put the tractor in neutral, turn on the gas line, pull out the ignition button and then press the starter. If the engine is cold, then you have to pull out the choke. When you are finished mowing, you have to turn off the gas line and let the gas in the line burn out. The engine will stop when all the gas is out of the line, naturally. Then you are to push in the ignition button, which I failed to do thus burning out the ignition coil. As I mentioned, “they don’t make replacement parts for us anymore”, and we proved it. We went to every auto parts and tractor parts place within 50 miles of Talking Rock and got the same answer in every place, “what’s this”? A week later we called Mason Tractor in Cumming Georgia and they said they might have that part and they asked, “Does the tractor have a 6 volt or 12 volt battery”? What? So, I called our mechanic who knew this information off the top of his head. I relayed it to Mason Tractor and they said they had it. I told them not to sell it to anyone else. He said, “You’re kidding me, right? This is for a 1949 Ford tractor. We’re lucky the rats haven’t eaten it.”

We replaced the old with the new and cranked it up and… nothing. We had to tinker around with the connecting wire before we got it to stay on. The next time it fired up like the old tractor it is.

A couple of us kicked back and enjoyed a beer as we watched Captain Jim bounce around the back pasture on our new tractor. After an hour and Lord only knows how many gallons of gas, Captain Jim yelled to us to come over. We thought he was going to beg for a beer, but no, the mower attachment wouldn’t lift up. There was something wrong with the hydraulics.

We looked around scratching our heads before a volunteer pointed at a bolt on the floor behind the gear shift and finally said, “I think this is where the hydraulic fluid goes.” Sure enough, he was right. After looking into the hole and observing the gears, it was obvious there was no fluid left.

So, we jumped in his old Jeep Wrangler (Captain Jim couldn’t go because the back seat was removed and there was  room for only one passenger) and headed for Advance Auto Parts to get some hydraulic fluid. I had no idea how expensive that stuff is ($70). I was told  it should last us the rest of the year or for the life of the tractor, whichever came first. While we were there, we decided it might be a good idea to put an air filter in the Wrangler so we wouldn’t have to worry about the motor shutting down before we made it back to the barn.

By the time we returned( with a 12 pack of Bud Lime Light or Bud Light Lime) Captain Jim had done a day’s work which included moving the round pen around allowing the horses to come out of the back pasture and eat some of the fresh sweet clover around the front of the barn.

We filled the reservoir with the hydraulic fluid and Captain Jim climbed into the saddle to finish his mowing while we resumed our consumption of beer. After a couple of passes, Captain Jim drove up to us and said the mower wasn’t lifting again. We put in a little more hydraulic fluid to ensure it was full. We were beginning to question  just how long this fluid we bought would last. If this tractor kept eating up hydraulics this quickly, we would have to “mortgage” the farm to finish bush hogging the 27 acres.

Captain Jim cranked up the engine again and the additional hydraulic fluid seemed to do the trick.

Ain’t she cherry? She actually looks worse in person.

Max Fly

Private Eye

Rooster Pot Pie

Last night I pulled my old iPod out of the wall socket and was listening to my tunes when I came across Rooster Pot Pie. Most of you never heard of this song but it’s worth doing the search to find it, if it can be found.

It was written and performed by a friend, Pam Jordan, who was once nominated for a Grammy Award for a song she wrote back when she didn’t have to dye her hair. Anyway, I had just returned from a vacation on St. John’s, VI, and I told Pam about this darn rooster that kept me awake every night for a week straight. We were renting this gorgeous villa, built into the side of a steep hill overlooking the main harbor on the island. The view we had out the back of the house was awe-inspiring. There was a pool with a waterfall all overlooking the harbor. On each side of the villa was jungle-like vegetation, thick and lush with no villa or human soul anywhere to be seen. It was secluded and very private. It was in this vegetation that this rooster was living, or by the middle of the week, hiding. I say hiding because we were unable to find him the whole week we were there. But every morning at 2:00 a.m. he would start crowing and he wouldn’t stop until after 6:00 a.m.

On the morning we left, we packed up our rented Jeep Wrangler and began to pull out of the driveway when we had to come to a stop as that damn rooster came strutting his stuff right in front of us; stopped and looked at us and scratched his foot on the ground and crowed before heading into the brush again. Oh, if could have gotten my hands on him we most definitely would have had Rooster Pot Pie!

Max Fly

Private Eye


Kill Me Deadly

When Charlie Nickels, a hard-boiled but clueless private dick, gets caught up in the Bengal Diamond Case in 1947 Hollywood, his client ends up in a wooden kimono, and he must navigate murder, mayhem, and the dame he’s falling for, until he comes face to face with the elusive killer. Written by  Bill Robens

This new movie is in the process of being made and I helped finance it. Well, I put up $5.00 when they went out asking for funds. Evidently many people donated a lot more than I did but at least I chipped in. I did this because I think Charlie Nichols, Private Dick, is a second cousin to Max Fly, Private I, and I am curious how he solves murders. Hopefully, he invites Max to help him in the sequel that I’m sure will follow.