New Nukes?

I listen to PBS in the mornings and this morning, I heard an entire show looking into the new nuclear power plants. Are we finally going to admit that nuke power has a strategic place in managing our chaotic climate? As noted in recent posts, I joined the US Navy nuclear machinist program in my teens!

I live in the most beautiful yet most filthy state in the US: Kentucky. The birds, trees, flowers, rivers, the entire state could be a natural haven. Except that for over a hundred years Kentucky has jabbed and stabbed nature with deep coal mines and worse, the open strip mines where gigantic monster bulldozers scrape entire forests and the wildlife away to get to that coal. This is all over the state, not just the eastern Appalachian part.

Where I live in western Ky between Owensboro and Bowling Green there were two strip mines that were much too close; I passed them going to college, the store. One in Hartford, one in Paradise. Remember the song? “Daddy, won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County, down by the Green River where Paradise lay? I’m sorry my son, you’re too late in asking; Mr. Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away.” – John Prine. He gets into gory details, too.

The nuke power we know was based on the US Navy Admiral Rickover’s new submarines that could stay out for months at a time without refueling, submarines that went under the Arctic ice cap. That was revolutionary for our military.

USS Nautilus, 1st Nuke Submarine

I got out and worked at San Onofre, the three-reactor site in San Luis Obispo, California. I worked in the reactor compartments, around the waste, doing repairs, I wrote in the newsletter, planned high radiation jobs. I got an award for my high rad work planning article in the Nuclear News, the industry magazine. I worked in on-site drills for nuke safety with four area hospital emergency rooms.

Waste was the biggest issue. Now the tech is ready to not only make a TMI event impossible but also not add to the hidden piles of high rad waste deep in the Rockies and elsewhere. In my Elise t’Hoot Galactic Adventure series, the colony planet of Tenembras would not have survived without the nuke plant that made the oxygen for them to breathe as the planet was populated with no live ecology. Dissidents were dumped there to die but the nuke plant was integral not only for O2 production but in getting galactic aide as well. Here’s a coffee cup I designed and had made at Zazzle back then:

My Keep-It-Hot Coffee Cup!

Nuke power was dangerous but I worked it anyway. The new tech is not. Let the new tech nuke power team up with the solar, wind, hydro and other accepted power sources that cannot provide the amount of energy the new nukes can. The new nukes need to be part of the future’s energy mix.

Hornets, Yikes!

Living out in a Kentucky forest in a log cabin is idyllic and close to Mother Nature. I hear a wide variety of birds, see skinks and lizards scampering across the front porch, watch for deer and ‘possums every time I drive to and from the Post Office or Grocery.

Alas, Mama Nature also features the ferocious HORNETS that can cause grievous hurt and even kill when they gang up. Were they out in the woods I would not bother them. They built a nest right above the back garage door to the outside. And they get into the garage.

Ferocious Indeed!

I use the garage to store the thousands of books I sell in the Old Lady Who? online ABE Books bookstore, I have the clothes racks and shelves for more items to sell since I got fired last Christmas; gotta pay insurance, taxes, internet, electricity and oh, food bills. I sit at the desk in there for hours at a time to put more books into inventory and suddenly hear that dreadful deep buzzing – another one got in. Stop everything!

Last night I decided to watch a DVD (Hidalgo) and lounged on the sofa. About when they were on the ship to the Middle East, I felt suddenly uneasy and leaned forward to look back. A hornet was two inches from climbing into my hair. I generally do all I can to save wildlife, but these guys have GOT TO GO!!!

In the Living Room!

A Milkweed Memory

Walking about the woodland Saturday, I some noticed milkweeds along the driveway ditch which Blog 047brought to mind a story. It’s a story that gives a little idea of what Dad was like.

Dad was sitting out with Mom and me in the side yard late one summer. He had a Falls City beer in hand and his green work uniform on; that’s all I ever saw him wear. I believe he left the matching green cap inside that hot day, but the Vitalis kept his hair neatly in place.

Finishing his Kool Mild, he looked over to me with a grin. “Hootenanny (yes, really), go in there and get a bag and bring it out, a big bag.”

I raced in, eager to participate in whatever he had planned. I reached behind the Warm Morning coal stove in the kitchen and selected a folded grocery sack. They were made from nice, heavy brown paper with a flat rectangular bottom and straight sides for those of you unfamiliar with the pre-plastic trash days. I ran back out and presented it to him with a conspiratorial grin.

He didn’t take it. “Go over across the road and fill that about half full with milkweed pods.”

I said, “They ain’t ripe yet!”

He said, “Just go get ’em.”

Blog 051I did as bade, harvesting the plump green pods with dexterous 9 year old fingers. We lived on a white gravel road, had a white gravel driveway that segued into our white gravel sitting area under a tall poplar tree. Inured to the sharp edges, I ran back, barefooted as always. You only wear shoes to church and school, right? Dying to see that he would do with them, I passed them over and stood waiting.

“Go put ’em in the car and bring me another beer.”

Oh dern it! Would I ever know what they were for?

Fast forward a couple months. We were all in the living room watching Hee-Haw. In a commercial break, he laughed and told Mom the rest of the tale. For it to make sense, you Cabin June 2015 076must know he stopped by Ron and Herm’s beer joint after work every day and came home in time for supper. We pick up the story after supper, TV time. Well, here it is:

“Remember I took that milkweed up with me a while back? I emptied the bag in the heat pipes when George wasn’t looking. They set in there all this time! I got there just in time today to see white snow flying all over the damned place! He was cussin’ and havin’ a fit and it was in his hair and everything!” He laughed and nearly spilled his beer, then added, “It looked like it was snowin’ up a storm!” He looked so satisfied.

I was so proud to have done my part! Then Buck Owens sang ‘The Race Is On” or something and the event became the past. Maybe sometime I’ll write about what I did with the ant-covered dead roof rat…


Potato Dictato

Potato Dictato

Mary Ellen Wall


I come into the living room with Jimmy’s dinner cause it was football on and his eyes was glued to it. I set the fried pork chop Dougand buttered taters on his lap and was sticking the fork, not the pointy end, into his hand when the TV went to commercials.

Stereo“What the hay are you doing? These potatoes are not fried, and I told you a hundred times I don’t want nothing but fried potatoes!”

Says I, “Them’s perfectly fine taters with fresh butter and green onions chopped all through ’em. Every little cube was cut the same size so as they’d boil even. You better eat all that if you know what’s good for you!”

He finished chewing up his first bite of the pork chop and swallered it. He dropped the rest back on the plate and made to pass it to me. When I didn’t take it, he put it on the pillow by the cat and Inky snagged the chop and was shoot-gone but he acted likeBarto short legs he didn’t see it. “Go on off with that and fix me some decent food.”

I turnt around and got the cable box, unplugged it and quicker then he could jump, I opened the window and throwed it out. His stupid beagle went straight for it while he watched and his jaw dropped to his knees.

I sidled around him, picked up his plate of cold taters, and headed for the kitchen. I announced, “You are a Tater Dictator!”

As I was dumping them in a pot to heat up so as to not waste ’em, he stomped out to the yard and retrieved that cable box. The cord was bare wires in places and I almost laughed but had no death wish.

He looked about to scream and cry at once like he does. “They were fourth and long with the two minute warning going off!”

He stared me down as I squared off with him, not willing to take any more crap from him. I do believe he well understood that.

He set the cable box on the kitchen table. “It is not ‘tater’, you ignorant hick. It is po-ta-to. Where are the keys. I’m going to Jerry Jay’s for a decent dinner.”

“Drunks don’t get keys no more. Walk. If you come back, sleep in the kennel ’cause that’s where your stuff’s gonna be.”

My Cabin!He come up real close so I had his whiskey breath in my face. I did not budge or flinch. He made an ugly face and stomped out. I smelt taters about to burn and in a flash realized I had turnt them on up high without paying attention. I turnt the burner off and shook the pot around to see if any really was burnt. Oh, Lordy, they smelt good! That butter got ’em golden and the first little chunk I picked out was crispy on one side and steaming buttery with the onion just right all through it.

I like fried taters as well as anybody. I just hate the same dang thing all the time; it gets old.