March 2, 2018 Back Yard Report.

   Everyone in our area is talking about what a rough winter we had this year. Those of you who live up north in snow country, forgive us for "boo-hooing". 
     One year we were alarmed about the weather report. "Oh no!" we shouted to one of our Yankee 'kids', "We're going to get bad weather!" 
    They scoffed, "Oh what...is it gonna get cold?" 
   Well, yeah, considering the really bad weather, tons of snow and ice, etc. that they get each winter, 'cold' probably doesn't sound all that bad, since, too, their cold is way colder than our cold. But, yeah, for us, a hard winter is bad. Lots of citrus and other trees were killed or damaged in this year's rare hard freeze.  
      Take a very short walk around our yard with Peggy and me, in this video, and we'll show you what a bad winter can do to us.  But, as you can also see, hidden here and there, a promise of Spring rebirth.  
   Believe it or not, you upstate New York snow angels, March in south Louisiana has always been my favorite month, and now it's Peggy's as well. 
Today, we see on the news that northerners are getting a terrible beating with snow and wind...power outages...just awful. Well, hang in there; Spring is headed your way, too. Remember: just as you are getting comfortable in your hammocks with a nice cold glass of lemonade, know that we'll be down here griping about the heat burning up everything in our gardens, with the promise of Fall and Winter dangling like a carrot on a stick somewhere in time. I don't think you'll wanna see a video of that.  :-)


We Were Tired

  It's hard to explain how exhausting it is to wash off every single surface of every single item in the house of dead toxic mold after the work has been done to repair wood damage and mold killing. Even tho' the mold is dead, the residue left on everything still makes us ill while we are trying to clean it. If we were to hire this tedious job done, it would cost thousands and thousands of dollars. So, here we be, working in what seems to be slow motion, having to take frequent breaks. "We're getting there, we're getting there," we keep encouraging each other. 
   Meanwhile life goes on. Between bouts of scrubbing, laundry has to be done, meals have to be prepared. Not wanting to spend any extra energy, which I had pretty much already used up for the day, the other night I quickly put together tacos, flinging the shredded salad and black olives onto the tops of them, calling it done. Just fast food, kinda/sorta made by us. Last night I put a dozen or so chicken thighs in a long, clear Pyrex oven dish, seasoned them and popped them into the oven. After supper, after they were cooled down, I stuffed what was left into a ziplock baggie and put 'em into the fridge. 
  "Hmmm," I thought, and looking furtively around, I quietly put the long flat Pyrex dish down under the table flap of the kitchen island beside BeauxBear's food and water bowl. I thought enlisting the dog to help clean the dish of chicken skin and juices would save me time and energy, plus make BeauxBear happy. Even though it was going to be hand rinsed and sanitized in the dishwasher, what could it hurt, if Cappy didn't find out, semi-hidden under the island as it was?
  It was so well hidden, I forgot about it and it didn't make the dishwasher load. 
  When we woke up this morning, my poor, tired hubby discovered that the SUV tire I felt was "squishy" the night before, was now sitting in the driveway "flat as a pancake." Not again! This makes the third flat tire in the last six months. He found a nail sitting as pretty as you please, right in the middle of the top of the tread. 
  Letting out a huge sigh, he resignedly girded up his loins to take on the 'simple' task of getting it repaired. Since the shop where we take our vehicles is just up the street, he opted to just pump it up and drive it on up there, since it appeared to be a slow leak. 
   He went to the camper, moved things around in the "cellar" of the RV and hauled out the heavy many-faceted piece of equipment that our son, Dan had given us. He lugged it over around the SUV, carefully lowered the beast down onto the ground beside the flat and tried to attach the (Peggy's mechanical terms) thingy to the nozzle thingy to pump it up, but the end of the thingy broke off in his hand. Alright, so then he had to pick up the now useless monolith, which was in the way and where he put it, I don't know. 
  Letting out another long, slow cleansing breath, not to be undaunted...or is that daunted (?) he decided to get the smaller air pump out of the floor compartment of the SUV...it would take longer to inflate the tire, but at least he knew it worked. Opening the back gate of the SUV...staring at him were several heavy propane jugs sitting atop the floor compartment. Well, that just figgers, doesn't it? We plan on going camping soon to take a break from the wall scrubbing in the house, so, there were the propane bottles, ready and waiting ta go! Cappy hauled their butts out onto the driveway to get at the air pump in that floor compartment.
 At least he knew this was going to go well. Nothing broke off in his hand when he hooked it up; that was a good sign, he chuckled. He clicked it on and nothing happened. Well, that was not a good sign. Struggling to get up off the wet concrete (it had rained overnight of course), he half crawled into the front passenger side of the SUV and "messed" around with the connections, got out, got down and tried to coax his old friend air pump to inflate the tire. "Nah." Well, what in the very "hayo"??    Upon further investigation, he discovered the SUV battery was plum dead. Seriously...SERIOUSLY?
  So...he coaxed his beloved ol' Jeep, Tinker Bayl to come round and give the SUV a jump. At length, he had me go outside in my purple polka dot pajamas and turn the ignition and give it a little gas. I don't know what was going on between these two vehicles this morning, but they just didn't wanna play nice together. FINALLY, I got the SUV started, Cappy got the tire pumped up and headed up the street with it before something else happened to thwart his mission. 
  Meanwhile, I just had to go outside and get some fresh air. I pulled a few weeds and straightened up my "salad" garden, but even that exhausted me. It seems we aren't even sleeping well lately.
   I noticed Cappy pulled back into the driveway, mission accomplished. He headed into the house, looked almost like staggering with relief that that miserably rotten event was over. Home Sweet Home! 
  Just as I got to the back door, it whooshed open, scaring me. I saw Cappy's fist hanging onto it for dear life and I heard something "bonk!" behind the wall there.
  "You scared me!" I wailed, "What in the heck are you doing?"
   He stuck his head around the corner and said, "I just picked up a black olive off the floor." 
  I just looked at him.
  "I was coming out to tell you about the tire, but saw a black olive on the floor, so bent to pick it up, noticed that big Pyrex dish right there under my nose and wondered what in the heck it was doing there. I went to stand up and bashed my head under the table leaf part of the island and all kinds of noises on top of it sounded like it was going to come crashing down on top of me, so I stood up fast and lost my balance and fell back against the refrigerator, jiggling things inside it! I had the presence of mind to toss the black olive into the trash right there, then took a step to come outside, but my foot went right into the Pyrex dish and I went sailing across the floor out of control on one foot like I was sliding on ice right toward the back door! I was scared I was going to break the glass, so I grabbed the handle with my right hand, the dog's food table with the other, and that's when my head bonked on the door frame. I didn't mean to scare ya."
   He said while he was getting the tire fixed, he bought a couple of new hoses for the camper. So, besides getting "tired" we got "hosed". 
  And tomorrow is his 60th birthday. I'd ask, "I wonder what tomorrow will bring", but I'm afraid to ask.
(just one idea.)


Things You Can Do With Your Butt (says Cappy)

Often-time local grocers will run the Boston Butt pork roast on sale for less than a dollar a pound.
  Thankfully, our butcher will cut them up in several different cuts for free. Tonight for supper we took out a couple of the pork steaks that he cut up for us and cooked like pork chops. They came out amazing. That was just one of many ways to use this wonderful cut of bargain roast.
I love the way Peggy does pork chops. Here's how she does it. (She is embarrassed because she says it's too quick and easy for such compliments.) 

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put an empty pan or oven dish in the oven, letting it get hot and ready for the pork chops.
   -Get a frying pan hot, (not roaring hot) add a li'l of your choice of oil and let it heat. (again, not roaring hot, but hot.)
-Plop a pork steak down in it for about 30 seconds.
 Flip it and season it with salt, black pepper, granulated onion and granulated garlic.
-after 30 seconds put it in the pan in the oven, unseasoned side up, and quickly season the other side with the salt pepper, garlic and onion powders, then get that oven closed.
-Repeat with all the chops. (In this picture she parks them next to baking potatoes, which have been baking for about an hour and a half.  It's important to take the baked taters out when ya put the steaks in or else steam from the steaks will take the crunch outa the tater skin.)
-Either way, the pork steaks bake for 20 minutes in the pre-heated oven...just that fast.
When paired with a baked tater scooped out and covered with butter, salt and fresh black pepper they are so simple and fast and delicious. 
The next morning, I took one of the leftover pork steaks, warmed it up and plopped 3 fried eggs on it for a breakfast. Any old-fashioned diner would be proud to serve this!
Sprinkled with our own blend of Cajun seasoning, it truly was amazing!

This is the first of several posts about how to use ya butt; a wonderful economical versatile piece of pig that we love. Wee wee wee, all the way home plated!


Curling......Who knew?

   I'd like to start this post with the fact that I have always been a huge fan of the Olympics.  Summer or winter, I always try to watch as much as I can. Since I am home full time now, I have really been pouring myself into this year's winter Olympics. 
    I noticed for the first time some of the subtle idiosyncrasies of the different games.  For instance the biathlon, to win, ya hafta ski fast, but ski too fast, ya can't shoot good--it's a trade off.         Anyways, what I found very surprising is: here I sit, beer in hand and a bucket full of fried chicken while I'm waiting on a curling match as if it was a foot ball game. I even noticed that I've picked up some curling slang and find myself armchair "skipping". (the "skip" is the curling team's captain)  So here I am, sitting here, hollering at the TV and thoroughly enjoying watching curling even though  I don't fully understand.
  Whas with setting up all those corner guards, just to have 'em "peeled off"? Why not just go for the "house", then guard?Instead of peeling guards, why not go for the shot... "rock"? I mean, it's late in the 8th end and ya behind by 2 OFFENCE, OFFENCE!
   (Peggy here: I have no idea about what he's talking about.
All I know is: my bald-headed Cappy is sitting there happily engaged in watching curling, yelling, "Curlers rock the house!")   


God Bless Good Friends

  As mentioned earlier, we are in the process of cleaning and de-cluttering our home. This morning we got up and headed for St. Vincent DePaul, a Catholic charity thrift store, and then the  grocery store. When we got home we were surprised to see our good friend Sam, AKA "Bobec" who we also call "Smokin' Sam", my best friend in town, pulled up behind us in his truck.  
He gifted us with two packages of Cajun-style Andouille sausages, along with two packs of Cajun-style smoked sausage!
I begged him to let me pay for these amazing gifts, but he just said, "nah." We always trade and swap stuff back and forth, and both have several tools and such that by now, we're not sure which of us they belong to. 
 What a wonderful treat here in peak gumbo season! How could a chubby Cajun not like a guy who shows up with amazing smoked delicacies that he made with his own two hands and the sweat of his brow. In our opinion, his sausages and andouille, not to mention ANYthing the man makes, is THE best, hands down.


Bed, Bath and Batman... aka Bedlam

   Last year was a doozie,wasn't it. (There's no question mark there; it's a period, cuz I think I'm stating a fact.)  Seems like last year became a mad dash toward what we still hope to be better days, to "infinity and beyond". 
   We lost some family members to infinity and beyond, we gained some new family members to the here and now. God Bless and keep them all.
   Right now, I'm sitting here in our little camper, in our driveway, looking out at the sky, which is spitting snowflakes here in "Sunny South Louisiana", as Cappy is wont to call it. The wind rocking the camper is accompanying the feelings I'm having right now...kind of adrift. 
   We're waiting to hear how our five month old great-grandson is doing. He's in surgery. He was born weighing 1 lb. 2 oz., but with the miracles of today's hospitals, he now weighs over ten pounds, but his long stay in the natal unit has not been without difficulties. We were in Rochester, NY this past Fall, so I got to see him, but didn't get to hold him. Praying repair on his little body will go VERY well. Waiting to hear.
   Simultaneously waiting to hear about Melissa, our friend, who is also in surgery. Praying it will go VERY well. Waiting to hear.

   We are on hold. 
    Last year, we didn't have to wait around for anything; bad news seemed to have been a constant.  
    It was a terrible shock when Cappy's favorite cousin, Mark, lost his wife, Susan, while they were scuba diving on a tropical vacation. The family did have to wait quite a while for her to be sent home. It was such a difficult time for her loved ones. We learned that she had had an enlarged heart. Cappy said, "Of course she had a big heart, and it was made of gold." What an incredibly sweet woman and what an incredibly sad and shocking loss.

   While the family was in deep sorrow over Susan, our precious Aunt Gussie passed. Another wonderful Robin has flown Home. I hope she gets to meet my Grandma...I can only imagine the fun they would have together. They were both a hoot! 
   During all this, here at home we had a huge border collie puppy running amok, turning our life upside-down. She was sweet, to be sure, but she tore up our yard and gardens, ate the furniture inside the house, she ate the walls of the house, she cut her baby teeth on anything and everything, including her Bichon Frise brother, Beauxbear. Now, we did patiently wait for her to grow up and stop doing that. Sadly, it never happened. 

   While we were in New York State visiting for a couple of months visiting family, her personality changed as she turned one year old. She became dangerously vicious and sly. Our baby girl doggy!! Our scaredy-cat, Jolie`! Everybody loved her and tried to treat her so well, but she kept 'foaming and frothing' at the mouth, trying to attack them... it was heartbreaking.  One day she lunged at our four year old and eight year old granddaughters' beautiful little faces, missing the older one's sweet smile by one inch!
We were shaken to our core and immediately contacted professional help.
   We were told that a terrible situation with border collies is currently taking place, primarily because of careless breeders. When these puppies turn one year old, something happens... they are 'broken' little dogs and cannot be trained out of this vicious behavior. The border collie rescue in central New York State has what looks to be a Disney World for border collies. They retrain border collies and have tried for over ten years or more to train this trait out of over a thousand dogs, to no avail. The woman almost cried with us, loving border collies as she does, as she told us that we had to 'let Jolie` go' before she hurt someone, or we could lose everything we own...home, savings, everything, if she actually attacked s0meone. 
  It was with a broken heart that we contacted an independent veterinarian in our son Dan's town. We wanted another opinion. While they were very sympathetic to our plight, they confirmed what we had learned earlier. 
   We came home to Louisiana without our baby girl.
   Arriving home sweet home after two months away was wonderful...for two hours. Stepping in the front door, I noticed an odd smell; almost faintly sweet... but not. I crawled in bed for a much-needed nap, noting a dry cough as I fell asleep. When I climbed up out of bed, I could hardly walk. Everything hurt: my muscles, my joints, my lungs, my head.          Lonnnnnnng story, short. We have toxic mold in the house. We just had people in yesterday to do testing as to which kind, but just from looking around, they confirmed what my body already knows: I cannot go into the house until we get test results back to learn what needs to be done, and then, after the house gets "fixed". Who knows how long all of this will take.
   So, here I sit in the camper, waiting. The weather is terrible. The little camper heaters are trying to keep up, but my feet feel like ice cube trays. 
   I know this post probably reads like one of those dreaded family newsletters enclosed in Christmas cards. Despite Cappy and I not wanting to write about such negativity, still, we wanted to let yall know why our posts have been so far and few between.
  It hasn't been all bad news, tho'. Since the cheap, rickety mattress here in the camper has decided to get in the bad news game, and "sproing'd" its springs, introducing us to each and every one of them as we twist and turn, trying to get comfortable, we have a new one ordered from the local furniture store which is having a winter sale. Yes! (hope it fits)
Even with a tiny 18"x 18" shower stall in the camper, "PTA baths" and sweet neighbors insisting I go use their showers, and showers at campsites, I feel like I'm "stewing in my own juices". I'm laughing here. Just as I was adjusting to this type of bathing luxury, the water pump quit tonight. No water. (why am I laughing???)
   To preserve a modicum of sanity, I got a new laptop computer and, finally, a smart phone to keep me otherwise occupied, using my time wisely. I've been working on editing our book, working on the new book(s)...reading books and trying to figure out how to use this darned new phone. 
Cappy manages to spend time in the house without symptoms such as mine. I called him on my phone and whined that I'm cold and need an electric blanket. 
"Where you gonna get one?"
Smarty pants me, using my smart phone and the suggestions they put there for me, clicked away, and answered him, hoping he'd be impressed: "Bed, Bath and Beyond"...and send, but the Stooopid phone changed it to "Batman" instead of Beyond. So...my old-fashioned flip phone was stupid and now, my smart phone is stupid, too? 
   Well...I'm waiting. 

(Both the surgeries appear to have gone well, Thank You, Lord!)
    UPDATE: over $10,000.oo later and things are almost back to normal as far as our house's health issues.  So, we are back to our weekly blogging and sharing our world with yall as we recover from what has been a very trying time. We will keep yall posted.  Hopefully :-)


Merry Christmas 2017!!

We hope this card finds you safe, happy and most Blest this Christmas Season! 
   We have been away on an extended vacation up north and thus, not blogging, but we are home now and trying to get back to normal, (if normal was ever 'us'...wink).  We have a lot of what we call "blog fodder" and will be filling you in on more of the goings on in our little part of the world soon. Until then, please enjoy our warmest of Christmas wishes to you and yours.
We missed yall, too!



Our Take on the Tornado Cake

    As our readers, you know Peggy and I are foodies.  We love to cook, and actually met in a cooking chat room. Today we see hundreds of photos of what we call "food porn" posts on our Google and FaceBook timelines, and I hasten to add, we are guilty of contributing, as well. 
    Most of the main courses or side dishes leave us unimpressed, 'cause we both enjoy well-seasoned, spicy food. On rare occasions, we'll try a recipe, but then dr. it up with our own Cajun spice blend, etc. "turning it up a notch".  
   Desserts, however, are another thing. I always say, "I'm not a sweet person", meaning I can take or leave desserts, and for the most part I do leave 'em. But then...one day a dazzling, seductive array of photos came slowly gliding down my timeline that made me sit up straight in my chair and drool all over my keyboard. It had me...I was caught; it contained three of my four favorite dessert ingredients:coconut, pecans and pineapple. It urged, "try me, big boy, you won't be sorry." Although I knew instinctively that it was going to contribute to the delinquency of our waistlines, I emailed the slideshow to Peg.
   My loving wife was "all in" on da deal! Before she had a chance to change her mind, I ran to the store and brought back the supplies for our decadent tryst in the kitchen.

 Since Peggy, can't have wheat or gluten, we still managed to make it work. We substituted coconut flour, instead of regular flour and played with the recipe, 'til we were satisfied.  
Here is how we made it.
In a mixing bowl we added 2 cups of coconut flour.
To trick the coconut flour into acting like regular flour we had to add:
1 teaspoon of  xanthan gum, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a cup of milk.
(If you are going to use regular flour, omit the xanthan gum, milk and baking powder.)   Next came a teaspoon of baking soda.

Add 2 cups of sugar,
2 large eggs,
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract,

and a 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple, not drained.
Once we mixed that up good we poured it into a well buttered 9"x13" pan,
leveled it off, then

 stuck the cake into a preheated 350 degree oven for the 45 minutes that the recipe called for...but since we used coconut flour, it took a bit longer, checking with the toothpick test...it took about an hour.
While the cake baked, we made the icing ("frosting" for you Yankees, and Peggy.)

In a sauce pan we started with a 1/2 cup of butter 
To that we added 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla,

2/3 cup of evaporated milk,
and 1 cup of sugar (Domino, grown right in our neighborhood).

We brought these ingredients up to a boil, and when the cake was about ready to come out of the oven, we added 1 cup of chopped pecans and 1 cup of coconut flakes.
When the cake did come out of the oven, we poked holes in it with the handle of a wooden spoon.
Then we poured the frosting over it.
Which will bring us back to this!
This dang cake was truly amazingly delicious and easy, just as promised. And now we are of two minds, decadently satisfied and yet, having guilt pangs for letting it get in our pants...they are now tight(er). We just couldn't keep our hands off it! Oh, it is friendly alright, but definitely not diet friendly. But you know what? You really should try it. Now, if this wasn't decadent enough, I'm already thinking of a way to bring in my 4th favorite ingredient: chocolate! And I have to say, I really don't know why they call it 'tornado cake' 'cuz it hasn't flattened anything on us.

We Love hearing from our readers. It lets us know somebody out there reads about our ramblings and "adventures". If you don't feel like writing, if you at least click on one of the ads, it gives us a penny...although we aren't gonna get rich a penny at a time, each penny feels like a pat on the back from you, that is more encouraging than you know. And would you believe...when somebody does that, we BOTH...Cappy and Peggy, stop and pray for that person and thank and bless them for doing it.  You truly mean that much to us. 


A Sunday Spring BBQ 2017

  The weather this month has been wonderful, so we've been playing in the yard a lot. Sunday I figured it was high time to fire up my old pit and "Q" up some meat. I planned to go "low and slow" this time, so I set my ol' pit fire up in the wick method.
 I placed a split hickory log (bark removed) at the far left, against the wall by the air intake, then put unlit charcoal spread out by the log.
I lit my chimney using wadded up pieces of the charcoal bag to get the coal lit. I've owned several of these charcoal chimneys over the years, but I can't brag enough about the Weber chimney in da picture that Peggy got me for Christmas this last year. By far the easiest lighting, best drafting, quickest chimney I ever used and I highly recommend it.  
I poured the lit coals on top of the log, which got the log lit and smoking, and also the charcoal I had next to the log. This technique gives me a nice long-lasting fire that stays hot for five hours.
Next, I placed a piece of a brisket (I had gotten on sale) onto the pit. (It's just me and Peggy, so when I get a brisket on sale, I cut the thin end off for the pit and make three or more pot roasts out of the thick end for Sunday dinners.
To keep the brisket company I invited some pork strips to the party.
After a couple of hours of nice low, slow smoke I threw on a pack of cheap weenies for appetizer treats for us and da dawgs.
The brisket tail came out wonderful, tender and delicious.
Sorry...when I fixed ya a plate, I forgot the brisket but ya have pork, weenies corn on the cob, Peggy's wonderful coleslaw and when I wasn't looking, she piled a load of 'healthy' California blend on top. Hope ya enjoy it, cause Lord as my witness, I sure did.
Please remember clicking a add is like pennies from heaven to us and we pray for all who visit our sponsors on the way out. 
Thanks and may God bless you and yours. 


Peggy's BFF, Louise

  Readers of our blog have heard so much about our good friend, Smokin' Sam, but very little about his beautiful wife, Louise. Since people have asked about her, I think it's long overdue that I tell you who she is. She's the mother of three.


These are her two daughters, Kim and Alana and their daughters. In the photo on the right is their son, Stan and his wife, Kelly.


She's also the grandmother of five precious Grandchildren.


   Personally, I think Louise is an angel. She loves the Lord and has a heart for people. I've never heard her say one negative word about another person and she does not gossip. Now when does that ever happen? She's the nicest, sweetest woman I have ever met. Before I even met her, Sam told me, "She's sweet; you will love her." He was so right. She's funny, intelligent and talented, as well. She's helped me out of several jams and we have a lot of silly fun together. I call her my "Lucy/Ethel the-Brains-of-the-Outfit". It seems to often happen while out shopping. I search and search and can't find what I'm looking for, so I ask her to help. She looks at the shelf right in front of me and says, "Uh...here." Doh! Good thing she's patient and kind as well. Once I dragged her to western NY State by train during winter. She had always wanted to see Niagara Falls. I'd seen them all my life, having lived there until sixteen years ago. It was FREEZING the whole time she and I were there and snowed most every day. She wasn't used to walking in snow, and it was about three feet deep that year. She found herself unceremoniously plopped down in snow banks several times as she tried hard to negotiate unshoveled pathways. I told her, "As long as you're already down there, go ahead and make some snow angels", but she laughingly refused, so I accused her of making "angel butts" every time she got the chance. Well, she finally did get to see Niagara Falls...the top part of them, anyhow. The bottom three fourths was solid ice surrounded by dense fog. We got to hear them tho', behind the thick, misty fa├žade of white.
  She'd never experienced that kind of cold. It was misery just standing there.

(Not that she was thinking of this.)

Now, when I say she's talented, I mean she's very talented. She has artistic talents and can draw very well, but her favorite "media" is yarn, which she uses to crochet her works of art. I wish I had a photo of the cake she crochet'd, or the food, like fried eggs, she made for her grandchildren. I love the delicate, intricate Cross Bible bookmarkers she makes; and she made several of them, many multicolored. I use mine every single day and think of her when I do. 
I cannot knit or crochet, but I certainly know how to appreciate the talent that goes into making quality handcrafts. The only way I know how to show you what she's done is to put it in a video; so, enjoy, friends.