03 November, 2018

New Arrivals

Ahhh, my pipe collection has just magically grown by seven. I now have eleven pipes in the rotation. Too cool. I admit it. I've always thought corn cob pipes were something from the Beverly Hillbillys, or something like that.

What tipped me to purchasing these, was reading a news item a few months ago, about General Douglas MacArthur returning to the Philippines. The accompanying photo showed him with his trademark corn cob in his hand as he was wading ashore. There's no way one could accuse him of ever being like the Beverly Hillbillys.

As They Arrived in the Bag
 So, maybe it has something to do with the quality of the smoke. I've always heard they smoked cool and dry, two very desirable pipe qualities. Probably another large factor is the cost. They are extremely economical. Especially when you buy factory seconds by the bagful.

To be honest, I can't tell what makes these factory seconds. I've looked each of them over closely, and other than a large black 'X' on the bottom of the bowl of each pipe, they really seem to me to be first rate - as far as corn cobs go.

Missouri Meerschaum has been producing corn cobs by the hundreds of thousands every year since 1907.

No Glamorous Packing

And, these things are economical to purchase. A little less than $4.00USD each, makes them very attractive.

Even if these were prime, top of the line corn cobs, they still would come in at around $10.00 per pipe. It's hard to beat that price.

The hype is true, however. I picked the dark corn cob to try for my first 'cob smoke,' as it were.

I packed the bowl relatively loosely with Ashton's Smooth Sailing pipe tobacco. Smooth Sailing is an aromatic mixture that's a little nutty to the taste, with subtle flavors of maple, coconut, and dark chocolate.

A Satisfying Smoke
I smoked that bowl-full over a good part of the day, yesterday, between runs to town to take Dianna's new cell phone in to Technicell to be re-flashed. I don't know if it was something I did (or didn't), or some other problem.

We also had a dramatic and very loud thunder and lightning show pretty much the whole time we were in town. The poor doggies were terrified as we drove around.

I had to take Bella's pack in to Alek the tailor, to have a strap re-sewn, chewed through, I'm pretty sure, by Coco, our young pup. I also had to get a new case of Belikin and a case of Schweppes' soda water.

Almost killed Daisy. She was in the back seat of the truck, hiding from the lightning. I hit a bump or something that knocked over the case of Belikin, pretty much on top of her. She made it into the front seat in a flash  That made for a close-packed ride with the three girls and me all in the front seat of the truck. What'er ya gonna do?

It was nice to get back home, get the girls all settled down from the lightning and thunderstorm. I settled down to catch up on email and fired up the corn cob once again.

I was quite favorably impressed with the corn cob. It truly was a cool, dry smoke. Very nice.

28 October, 2018

A New Old Hobby

After a hiatus of around thirty years, well, maybe twenty-five, I've decided to take up smoking a pipe again. I decided I missed playing with all the accoutrements of pipe smoking, and the smell of the different tobaccos (and, man, are there a lot of high quality tobaccos on the market now).
Three of My New Tobaccos
The Other Three New Tobaccos
It's very hard to say just which is my favorite now. I'm leaning toward Bengal Slices, but then Three Nuns Green, or maybe Smooth Sailing. And, there's so many more on the market to choose from.

What is really cool, is so many of them are available in classic tins, which I just love. Although, I'm passing my tins to Dianna for her craft needs right now. I only have so many trinkets to store in tins.

As soon as I open a tobacco tin (they come vacuum sealed), and break the vacuum, to prevent the tobacco from drying out or molding, I transfer the tobacco to a Ball Mason canning jar for airtight, long-term storage

And, then you get into the pipes. Lordy, lordy, there is a whole universe of pipes out there. Everything from a Missouri Meerschaum corn cob pipe for $3.00 USD, to an artisan crafted briar pipe being sold new for well over $1,000.00 USD. Don't look for one of those in my collection. Sure, I'd love to have one, but that much money for a... Pipe? You gotta be shittin' me.

I know I showed you and talked about the tobaccos and pipes previously (, but that was before I had actually received my shipment of tobaccos, and hadn't been able to try out these wonderful pipes.

Butz-Choquin Dauphine Rhodesian
This pipe, the Butz-Choquin Dauphine Rhodesian, like all of these four pipes, came to me through Ebay. It's a gorgeous briar. Similar model Butz-Choquin pipes sell new for around $80.00USD. I won the auction for around $24.00. A little cleaning, polishing and such to rehab it, and it's once again, a delightful, cool smoking pipe. A bit heavy to leave unsupported in your mouth, but sitting on the pool deck, puffing away with a bowl full of Bengal Slices, wow! Very relaxing and satisfying.

Bruce Peters Bent Billiard
Bruce Peters pipes, are examples of 1950's smoking elegance. This model, sold when new for around $60.00USD. But back in the 50's, that was some real money. I paid $15.00 for it. It smokes, nice, but does require care to not draw too much and overheat the bowl.

Wally Frank Red Root Oom Paul
Wally Frank, Ltd. was one of America's oldest and most respected names in pipes and tobaccos in the early 1930’s. It's hard to say when this pipe was produced. It could have been a selection of Wally Frank's Pipe of the Month Club. Who knows? It's got a nice, deep bowl, and is very cool to smoke. Not bad for a $12.00USD bargain on Ebay.

Bando Full Bent Apple Briar
Bando, is, I think, a Danish pipe maker. This briar sells for around $30.00USD when new. I scored on Ebay for $10.00. Haven't smoked it yet. I have to go to the Post Office on Monday to pick it up. It was on the slow boat from New Jersey or somewhere.

Oom Paul Freehand Briar
By Nowakowski, Poland
Stanislaw Nowakowski is a Polish Pipe maker. In fact, when I won the auction for this pipe for $18.00USD, the pipe was shipped by mail from Poland, but not from him. I haven't smoked this one yet. It's an intimidating looking pipe with a wide bowl, that looks heavy, but is surprisingly light and very comfortable feeling in the hand. I might give it a try sometime today.

Here's some new pipes I've purchased, but not yet gotten my grubby little mits on them. the first is actually seven corncob pipes from Missouri Meerschaum Co. It's a pack of seven factory seconds. They might have blemishes in the finish, etc., but each is smokeable and in serviceable condition. For a little more than $26.00US, I get seven new pipes - for about $3.70 each, such a deal.

Missouri Meerschaum Seconds Sampler

The last one is a Falcon Pipes two-part pipe. The stem is metal with an acrylic bit, and the bowl simply screws onto the stem. There are several different shaped bowls available, so it can become more than one pipe. I'm curious to see how well it works in practice.
Falcon Pipes Two-Parter

Progress on Patio Palapa

After several days of forced inactivity because of rain or things being wet because of rain, and just generally waiting for them to dry out, the past two days have seen a lot of activity.

Short Recap - the Old Thatch
In short, our old patio palapa thatch had deteriorated past the point of no return. We liked the way the parking palapa now looked with its new zinc roof and felt that was the way to go with the patio palapa.

We also thought it would be a short (ha, ha) project. A couple of weeks and we would be benefiting from having a quiet little retreat to read, meditate, zone out, or whatever.

So, of course, it has become one of those projects that seems - no, does drag on interminably.

Framing Added
Getting Angles
Mahogany Varnish Going On

Once the framing had been completed Mario's boys, started varnishing all the remaining wood of the palapa, a striking mahogany red varnish. This activity went quickly and was able to be finished before the rains started up again.

At first, we thought that it might be a bit too red, but not only does it grow on you, but the color darkens a bit and seems like the right shade

Varnishing All the Lumber
Add caption
Making the Screen Frames

Just like with the pool enclosure, the frames by themselves, look massive. Of course, those get the same varnish treatment as the framing pieces.

Screen Room Doorway
Looking Up to the Center
A lot of Wood to Varnish

Screen Panel Trial Fitting

Like Stretching a Canvas

Applying Varnish

Getting Ready for Screen
Another Can of Varnish
Looking Substantial

Pouring More Varnish

Anchoring the Doorway

Screens Up!

It seemed as though the varnish and the screens were installed simultaneously. They actually wern't, but it was a close thing.

Then suddenly, the zinc was here and they began cutting angles so the pieces would fit on the roof. No other way around it, there was a fair amount of waste, but surprisingly, a lot of scrap pieces were able to be used.

Zinc Has Arrived
And the First Piece
Being Fitted

Make Sure It Fits

Leftover Pieces

Showing Gaposis

Daisy Checking Everything

Checking the Work

Stuffing Foam Gap-Tape

Then we had a momentary distraction. On the front of our house was this huge tarantua. She was about 5-inches, wing-tip to wing-tip. And, she had a bright red behind that didn't really show up all that well in the left photo, but is really bright in the right. After taking a couple of pictures, we left her up to her own devices. As long as she stayed outside, we'd get along fine. They're actually pretty docile creatures.

Momentary Distraction
Nice Red Behind

Filling In the Holes
Endher Filling Ridge Cap
Better Doorway Shot

Fabricating the Palapa Cap

Fastening the Cap

Magnetic Screen Door
Now, we're just waiting for the wood screen door. We got a magnetic screen door from, but we need to have the wood screen door installed to be able to fasten the magnetic door to the wood frame of the wood screen door.