5.22.2017

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.
 
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Thanks and may God bless you and yours. 

5.09.2017

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.    video
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

5.05.2017

Our Puppy Jolie` Got Broken

    We finally got Jolie' to the vet. After two failed attempts to actually get her there, we began to fear she would go into her first heat before we could get her "fixed". I never understood why they refer to it as "fixing" pets. Since nothing is broken, why do they call it that? Well, anyhow, it's done; we got her "broken".
  The veterinarian instructions were the usual, "no running or jumping or playing".  

                                               Busted!
 That's no halo she's got on her head up there. As soon as we turned our back on her, what does she do? She somehow got herself way up on the back of my chair, her favorite perch. (I think she learned this from BeauxBear...this being a regular place for most bichons to sit. It was bad enough when the bichons sat there, and I guess it might have been okay for her to follow her brother's example when she was a little puppy, but now that she's a Lummox...sighhh, well, we just don't have the heart to tell her "No"...shrug...so sue us.)
 
Always on patrol, the dogs all like it up there because they can see out the front door window, the back door and most of our small home.   (for those who aren't squeamish, like Peggy, if you look close in the picture below, you can see her incision.)
Poor pup was none too happy and kinda moped around for the next day or two.
BeauxBear seemed a little worried about her, but I'm sure he was enjoying the lull in the terrorizing of him, which she does in her attempt to love him to pieces...and she DOES love him, but if you ask BeauxBear, I'm sure he'd call it "rough love".  She loves all her toys, too, but each one has been gnawed into almost unrecognizable submission. So, for a while there when she was medicated, she was nowhere as playfully rowdy as normal, but she was never too medicated to not keep an eye out the front door window in case the FED-UPS guys showed up.
It wasn't long, tho' before she perked up as she was healing nicely,
and her smile returned.
It was tough on all of us keeping her cooped up for the heavy thunderstorms followed by a very soggy pond-like yard. Not that she didn't have fun barreling into all of us with that neck cone on her head. We've all got crescent shaped black and blue marks on our legs. BeauxBear spent most of her recuperation growling, "Stay away from me with that...that 'thing'!" More than once she'd send him flying across the room. It was like the running of the bull-in-a-china-shop for him.
 
Finally today we let her run and play outside, so she's having a ball galloping around the yard woofing at neighbors. Tomorrow we get her stitches out  and then she can lose the dreaded collar but til' then our little "cone head" makes quite the racket in and out the doggy door but, awwww...look, she is back to her sweet self.

4.27.2017

It Was Da Pits

   While I was having my morning coffee and watching the weather news the other morning, I heard the weather person say that today might be the last day in the 70's for this Spring. The return of the southerly flow bringing the steamy heat was soon approaching.
   I told Peggy, "you won't have many days like this, you need to enjoy it" and persuaded her to come outside with me, which she did and pulled weeds, while I started the bbq pit and the fire pit.  I planned a lovely evening for us.  I cleaned out the ol' fire pit to get it ready.
Then I took a steel brush to Old Smokey's grill and got it ready.
While Peggy pulled weeds, Jolie' was on guard in one of her favorite lookout spots or she was up and about monitoring traffic and children in the neighborhood, or digging around in the yard. I took a few minutes to pick a batch of beans from our li'l sq. ft. garden. Just a really, really nice day.
   Once the fires were lit we settled down for a wonderful evening of "bbq-ing" and beer drinking (me...Peggy's pretty much a tee-totaller) and backyard fun. After the prep work it was time for the first beer. 
Below here is a video of some of the relaxing evening activities that you'd see if you were here with us. By the end of the video, tho', ya might just be glad you weren't :-D
We had a ball enjoying the evening and the bbq'd pork came out great. Coupled with some steamed veggies and a salad, it couldna been mo' betta.
We stayed out 'til after dark enjoying the fire and the surprising lack of bugs. Right when it was going great, I mentioned to Peggy it might be good to put another few logs on da fire. (She'd been sitting there with an ice cube, holding it on fire ant bites on her hand, which she'd gotten while weeding the garlic bed...she'd thought the dark on her hand was dirt, but too late, discovered it was angry fire ants.) Some time ago, I had made her a long fire-poker out of a long metal re-bar. Just so happens, as you can see in the video, I had another two 8 ft. tall re-bars temporarily leaning against the shed beside her fire-poker. As she grabbed for her trusty fire-poker, she accidentally knocked down one of the spare re-bars.
 "Oh no!" she wailed, "It landed right in my pretty four o'clocks!"
    Away she went to retrieve it and lean it back up, but her right foot landed in a hole...(a small pit that Jolie` had dug between the shed and firepit.) That threw her off-balance, causing her left foot to land on its ankle with a popping sound. Uh oh. Trying hard not to fall, she flung her other foot out of the hole, slamming her leg into a metal grating leaning up against the shed, which has sharp metal rods on its side which then embedded in her leg.  She made a quick grab for the shed to steady herself, but ended up grabbing the standing re-bar and her fire poker, twirling them around and almost falling down onto that dangerous metal grating with her body. Thinking quickly, she reached down and tossed it aside, letting the re-bar go wherever it would and still out of balance, she was stumbling and staggering around near the corner of the shed, and almost fell, but grabbed a heavy board that leaned against the side of the shed about waist high. Instead of giving her any stability, it fell along the shed, catapulting her forward faster, and away she went, arms outstretched and flailing, she awkwardly reeled headlong until she came to the lawn mower, grabbed its handle and dragged it along to the neighbor's tall wooden fence, which she gave a good body slam. Whump!
   When she realized she was still standing, despite a couple of trickles of blood running down her leg, she started laughing.

I hollered over, "I'd give that about a 9!"
 She started back, but stopped and started loudly "Ouching!!" Her sandals were back where the melee had started, having been lost in the fray, so now she was standing in a bed of grass that has sharp tiny, painful needles that we, who live in our area, call "Pee-cawnts."
  Well, after that performance, I asked her, "HOW in the WORRRRLD could you step in that hole!? You knew it was there! Even if I was drunk, I'd never do something so stupid!" 
   Well, I don't know why that made her angry, but she growled and limped off into the house, leaving me to sit and drink and sing off-key the rest of the night. I even had to go in the house to get my own beer.
   On the way back out, I tripped over one of Jolie`s toys in the dark on the patio and found myself running across the grass to keep my balance and ended up grabbing the trellis to keep myself upright. I noticed the fire was going down, so I headed over to the woodpile to restock the flames and stepped directly into Jolie`s hole and sprawled out flat on my face! Shhhhh...don't tell Peggy.
   Well, I got my wits about me, put wood on the fire and decided it was a beautiful night to lay in my hammock and look up at the stars. The first thing I noticed about them was that they looked and FELT very much like prickly grass and were right there in my face! Hold on a minute...I was laying under the hammock now. Whatna!? I grabbed a handful of the hammock's rope netting and pulled myself up, but once I got upright with my weight hanging onto it, it was swinging so wildly that it knocked my legs out from under me and dumped me right down into it. Not the most graceful way to get into a hammock, but there I was, hanging on for dear life, and once the crazy rocking settled itself, I got myself comfortable. So comfortable that later on, my own snoring woke me up.
Wow! What a nice evening it had been despite all the minor mishaps.
   Taking a deep refreshing breath of the delicious cool night air, I got up to toddle off to bed, tripped on one of Twitchy's roots and fell headlong alongside the darkened firepit. Letting out a deep sigh and shaking my head, annoyed again already, I reached out to pick myself up one more time, but I grabbed bricks that were still hot and burned my hand. "Sssss....don't tell Peggy."
       Well, I felt so bad about the whole thing that the next morning I did tell Peggy. I know I shouldn't feel this way, but while she was at the doctor with a swollen ankle that she couldn't walk on, I was still feelin' a little bit smug, cuz I had fallen in Jolie`s pit, too, and had been through a lot more than she had, but I was still in one piece.
Well...there went my peace. That air of victory didn't last long; the results were: a badly sprained ankle for Peggy and a week of staying off'n it, and I get to wait on her hand and foot. I told her again, "You won't have many days like this, you need to enjoy it." She smirked, "Oh I am...I am..." 
Now, Aint dat da pits?





4.21.2017

Pallet Whacking

   After a fun winter of backyard activities, our pile of firewood "went missing", got depleted. Since the driftwood along the Mississippi riverbank was not available 'cause of a rising river due to the usual Spring snowmelt up north, I moved to my Springtime wood source: the local feed and seed store around the corner from our house. They get lots of truckloads of inventory for their warehouses in the Spring, which generates a big pile of pallets that they don't want. 
   I do business with them and sometimes walk over just to say "Hi", or bring them some citrus. In return, I have access to their excess pallets. Peggy and I rounded up seventeen of their pallets and went to whacking them up into pieces.
I started whacking them up with a circular saw, which worked good, but got boring after a while so I whooped out my recip saw and went to town on them. See this little video (it's kinda hard to see the 'start arrow' in the middle of the picture)
   Peggy commented, while she was holding them steady for me to cut, that the noise was so loud, she started singing an old tv cowboy show song, "Pallet Din".
 After one afternoon's work, I had a pretty good pile of firewood.
Beaux the Brat enjoyed watching the work from the safety of the grape arbor. Instead of the chairs, he opted for the glass top table, (needs cleaning, Peg sez) for a better view.
Jolie' came over after I was finished to offer support and seemed to say, "Good job, Dad." ( 'at's my opinion, anyhow)
So, for the past few weeks we have really been enjoying our firepit as we play and work in the yard and Spring gardens.
After cutting the grass yesterday afternoon I was thrilled to see my sweet wife Peggy firing up da ol' firepit for me as I put the mower away.
We sat there enjoying the rest of the day; me and my dawgs and my wife. 



It's times like these that makes the effort worth it.  We sat long into the night With Lynyrd Skynyrd playing on my portable speaker, reveling in the Spring evening, with a nice cold beer or two to refresh my palate after refreshing my pallet pile.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

4.15.2017

The End of Lenten Penance 2017

  In a time honored family tradition, I gave up beer for Lent.  Well, it was a long, thirsty tradition, but this goofy video marks the end of Lent in our home.
I knew exactly what I was gonna say, how to say it and all Peggy had to do was video it, and not even have to edit this time. I hope ya smile and giggle with us and have a most joyous Easter day.
 
 
 

4.13.2017

It's a Wonder: We Carrot All!

   carrot,indecent,snowman   While perusing the computer this morning, I noticed a thread on the Square Foot Gardening Forum, celebrating "carrot planting season". ( http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/ )   I was surprised to see this because, for Peggy and me, carrots are a Winter crop.  If we planted carrots now they would burn up in our horrid summer heat. While the gardening folks on the forum were planting their carrots, we were harvesting out li'l 2x6 ft. patch of Winter carrots that we planted last Fall.
    Sadly, I forgot to take pictures of the harvesting washing, slicing
and bagging process, but Peggy remembered the camera as I carried them out to the freezer.

Jolie' was curious to see the haul we managed to get this year, despite her "help". When we first planted the garden, Jolie` had a ball jumping in it, digging in it, tearing it up, doing doggy 'martial arts' in it...'carrotee!" (sorry) we had to put a chicken wire fence around the garden. It obviously worked;  
we got seven fat quart bags of sliced carrots for the freezer. Our little 2 ft. by 6 ft. garden put out a "golden 7-carrot gem".  

2.12.2017

Hee-eeer's JOLIE`!!

We are proud to introduce to you, our family and friends, our new Border Collie puppy, Jolie`.  She came to us Oct. 27, 2016, two days before her 2 month birthday.
 This is the picture of Ms. Madison giving us Jolie` to bring home. Such a sweet little puppy and very nice lady.
   Peg drove on the way home while I petted and comforted the puppy. I'm sure, for her, it was a traumatic experience. The video that follows, is the very first time she set paw in our yard and met BeauxBear, da bratty Bichon Frise, her new brother.  

After this first meeting they quickly bonded and played a lot together. Beaux was delighted to have someone his own size to play with. Since she was still a baby, BeauxBear was kind of hard to keep up with so she had to take frequent breaks, and her nap times were also frequent. We did discover that she has a penchant for snooping around in the grass or wherever for things that smelled interesting to her. Beaux...not so much. He'd take a whiff of  whatever she was "snoofing" at, then run off to what interested him, which was running and running and running.
The new friends also enjoyed playing tug-of-war in the house. Here they can be seen torturing the "Possible Possum". It has been a true joy watching Jolie` grow and change and become part of our family. This is the most current video of her and some of her wacky "escapades". As you can see, she towers over her now Lilliputian-sized brother, who no doubt wonders, "How did this happen!???" Besides picking on him all the live-long day, who she thinks is her loveliest 'squeaky toy'...her "sheep!!", she also picks on all of us and LOVES getting into all KINDS of mischief!
Well, we can't wait to see how many other "creative" adventures await us with Jolie`, our crazy-nutzy girl. So much awful/funny stuff  that will "border" on insanity, we're thinkin'. Ah, but look at those eyes; aint she worth it??
 Yes she is...oh yes she izzzzz.
 
 

2.01.2017

Our Much-Requested Banana Nut Bread Recipe

 
 
 
 
 
   We've been growing bananas and pecans for several years and have come up with many ways to enjoy them. One of our most favorite ways is our banana nut bread, which we love to share with family and friends. It's wheat and gluten free, but TASTY despite that bad rap. Since so many people have asked us for the recipe, we thought we'd better (finally) get to it. Photos of the adventure follow, showing how easy it is. Hope you give it a try! 
  This is a pan full of our big plantain-like bananas, which are more "meaty" than regular bananas, but suit this bread just fine, too. We let them get dark, so they are sweeter.
Cappy peeled them. See how heavy they look.
  Next we mixed the butter with the (I use) honey, but you can use sugar, if you like.
Cappy whirred the bananas up in the food processor, but you can just mash them, if that's what you prefer to do.I added the eggs and beat them in with the flour and rest of the dry ingredients. (Notice I am wearing two different colored Crocs. I wonder if this is the shoe style for new puppy owners. I couldn't find the mate to either until Jolie unearthed the other ones from who knows where a couple of days later. As it was, the green Croc I could find was gnawed on prittee good, but still wearable...I'm learning to hide my shoes on her during the night.) The bananas got added to the batter, along with a good handful of chopped pecans, and "viola!" (:-p ...I always say that on "porpoise".) It was ready to go into the  pans that Cappy greased, doing a fine job at well-greasing them,too. We ended up with a nice batch of small banana nut breads, which we shared as Christmas gifts with our neighbors this year.
We'd encourage you to go on and give this recipe a try and let us know what you think. We are always curious.