My Old Homemade Backyard Firepit

  A few years ago I scrounged up some cinder blocks from one of our neighbors, and some rebar and angle iron that I scored from my good friend, Sam and used it to build our fire pit. Having the rustic ol' thing to go sit and relax around, especially when friends join, has given me much joy.
Over the years we've burned stacks of wood in it, and to be honest, if I'm in a hurry or just being lazy, I might just start it up with a pile of charcoal briquettes and some lighter fluid. 
Using that quick method, once I got a li'l pile of briquettes going, I throw on some wood and voila! have a blaze in no time.   Peggy, on the other hand, is a start-a-fire-from-scratch gal, gathering up dry bits of things, creating 'stages' of tinder and graduating to heavy wood: a pile of light dry leaves, then dry twigs, then larger twigs and branches and finally logs or hunks of wood 'strategically placed' according to her, then she lights it. I'm not that patient to wait for it to catch and spring to life.
  While I don't mind pokin' the fire once it gets lit, Peggy enjoys tending to it, adjusting the wood, bringing the un-burnt ends back into the coals and moving logs around so they get enough air; stuff like that. I let her do all that. I even made her a hook on the end of a long rebar that she likes to use.
   She picks at me for 'cheating' at lightin' fires, so I decided I'd show her that I could start a fire from scratch, too...and fast. So, here is a li'l video of what I did. 
  I am a lucky man indeed. This is just one of the many reasons Peggy and I make a great team; she loves fire poking and I prefer fire sittin', sippin' and, like the last line in the video says, she does make my rocking world go round. Ya might say, 'she lights my fire'.


My fishing Buddy

   Sometimes when Peg is busy or needs me to stay out of her hair for a bit so's she can concentrate on what she needs to do, I jump in TinkerBail , my old jeep...tinkerin' or bailin' her out, but she's pretty reliable now days.  I pull her outa the driveway and go ride somewhere to sit and enjoy the beautiful scenery we got around here or go find a bank and toss in a line to see if I can pull in a few catfish.  It's a wonderful way to just sit and relax with a good book, wilin' away a few hours enjoyin' the sights and sounds of beautiful South Louisiana. 
   I don't post about it very often, 'cause I aint a trophy fisherman or a fill-the-ice-chest kind of guy neither.  Usually it's just a few fish; enough for supper or for one of our friends or neighbors, and that's enough of a day of catchin' for me.
  Well, anyway, here's today's fish story:
   With today's traffic bein' what is it, what with unsafe drivers thinking they are playing one of their 'road rage' games along our highways, or who knows..drunk or 'high' or especially texting...driving distracted, anyhow, Peg and I never leave our driveway without first prayin' and askin' the Lord to come along with us and keep us safe, along with everybody else on the road. 
  So, today, I just didn't feel like fishing alone and was talking to the Lord like I usually do. Like the old song says, "What a Friend we have in Jesus".  Peg and I take that literal. I'm not ashamed to say that He truly is our Friend, and has pulled us out of a lot of messes and has also blest us beyond words.
  So today, I figured He was my fishin' buddy. I hoped He wouldn't mind if, just for today, I called him Buddy. After all, He used to hang out with fishermen and pulled some fancy fishin' tricks on 'em, too. 
   I knew rain was coming this afternoon so me and my Buddy
decided to head for the Mississippi River to a li'l sandy place I know of and sit under a tall shady tree and watch the ships pass by.  
  Well, right off the bat, my Buddy was pullin' my leg a little and was probably laughin' up His sleeve. I tied on a hook and pulled the line tight and "Yaw!" it snapped!  After a couple tries I decided that the wimpy string on the Yankee fishin' pole that I call "Mac" wasn't near stout enough for the River's current, so I stripped all the line off and put some 30# mono on the reel, tied on a hook and good chunk of lead. 
   I rared back and chunked it hard, but the "flimsy" rod shot that piece of lead way out into the River all the way to the end of the string I had just put on.  When I saw it go, I was wondering for a second there if I did, for sure, tie it. (yes, I did) 
  When I tried to reel it in a li'l closer, I quickly found the drag was so loose that I figured it couldn't be reeled in with all that  weight, without slipping.
  Finally, after screwing the drag all the way down, I was able to reel it in and gently lob it out to the right distance this time. All this rewinding and messing around took about an hour, 'cause while doing that, I was also busy pulling in, re-baiting empty hooks on one of my hand lines that kept falling victim to some small bait thieves. I think my 'silent Partner' was enjoying all the goings ons. They didn't have  the luxury of all this fancy equipment back in His old fishin' buddies' days. 
   Finally I got everything set up where I could sit, relax and enjoy mah-self, when of course, it started drizzling rain.
This is my folding chair sitting by the water.  My Buddy's pole, "Mac" is the one ya see leanin' on the ice chest.  I cut a stick for a hand line that's stuck in the sand there, too. 
  So, 'we' sat there in the warm rain enjoyin' the day, anyhow for about 45 minutes. All I had got so far was empty hooks. 
But it wasn't all bad; I love sitting there looking out across the wide river.
 Well, true to form my Buddy hadn't been fishing for 10 minutes when the pole bent. It was a nice little channel "cat".
Barely got him in the ice chest though, before it really started raining hard. I called Peg (my favorite weather gal) and she said I better pack up and come on home before the big part of the storm got to where I was, cuz she was looking at the radar map on her computer and said it was fixin' to  get really stormy.  
Man, I hated to have to pack up and head home because that meant that my fishin' Buddy's pole had skunked me. 
 The bad news being the trip was cut short and when I got home, Peg showed me the weather radar; would you believe...! The bright red indicating a really, really thunder and lightening showdown headed straight for where I had been sitting over at the river...split apart...part of the strong weather went just north and part went south. Even the weather guy pointed it out and had a good laugh about it, but he didn't know how it happened. Me, too, neither, but I have my suspicions.  
The good news is, tho', back at the house it had rained too much for me to cut the grass tomorrow, so I may just have to head back out to the riverbank again for another try.  Being out-fished by a danged Yankee fishin' pole named "Mac" that Nobody looked like they was holdin' onto,  really took da cake.
~~~The next day I went back to my spot and again sat in the rain enjoying the river.
I sometimes wonder if the crew of the ships at anchor across the river look at me over here fishing like I look back over at them.
It wasn't long until I dragged a nice 'channel cat' onto the beach.
And soon another one joined it in the ice chest.
Lightning began to flash just as I ran out of bait, so I headed on home.  
After the thunderstorm passed I took the fish outside and cleaned them.
 I will spare you the cleaning part in case ya squeamish, but they made a nice bag of fillets that I stashed in the freezer for future court bouillons or for when we do a nice fish fry.  Time will tell.
   At least I did twice as good as I did yesterday...I wonder how many I would come home with, sittin' out there at the River with a week's worth of readin', reelin' and relaxin'. Might be fun to try and find out.


Spring Babies

Spring has sprung in our yard and the yard is full of "babies".  We have baby asparagus:

(Along with full grown dollar weeds, Grrr.)
  Yes we have baby bananas:
We, for the first time, have baby brussel sprouts. We tried, but failed to get much from them, but we learned from the experience and are already planning to try again in the Fall.
The baby carrots are doing fine and should do well in our loose garden soil.
We also have baby grapes that we will fight the birds for and unfortunately, we usually lose.
Moving to our row of citrus trees, we were thrilled to see our small two year old kaffir lime tree flouring with tiny baby limes.  We usually pull the citrus off the first year to allow the tree to grow big enough to support the weight of the fruit. Since the tree is still rather small, we might end up doing the same thing; however we are excitedly leaving one of two of them to mature this year.

Our other citrus, including our Meyer "lemon monster", our exceedingly sweet and extra juicy Ruby Red grapefruit, the Naval orange and Louisiana sweet Satsuma trees are all doing great and are also filled with baby fruit.

(Lord, please say the same--->) We will again be able to share our wonderful citrus bounty with all our family friends and neighbors, as in past years. (Last year notwithstanding)
Elsewhere in the yard we also have baby sweet peas,
baby pomegranates,
and "Twitchy's" baby yum yums, which are a variety of nectarines.
Over by the fence where we planted blueberries last Fall, and they are trying hard to ripen their baby berries despite the birds, and 'who' we might suspect are squirrels, who have been upending the chicken wire "cages" that we hastily fashioned. We notice the biggest almost bluest baby berries have been stripped off the young bushes. Never fear, we are plotting and planning to build proper cages for them in the future. (Take that birds and/or squirrels!)
 In an effort to get a few paw paws this year, we wrapped the bloom-filled one of our two paw paw trees with bird netting.  This is another fruit that the birds get before they even get a chance to grow at all and ripen; they usually eat the dark baby flowers...completely.
Our wise old pecan tree, one of two that were planted by my father way back in the early 90's and our two new small pecan trees have no baby nuts, so far, but are all flowering nicely.  Hopefully, we can get a few nuts this fall when we go to war with the squirrels for them. Peg has already seen a big red squirrel perusing the limbs looking for food. All's I can say, is he'd better watch out or the shoe's gonna be on the other foot. 

Well, that covers most of the Spring time baby reports. It's always an exciting time for us as we await their growth. A last minute addition to this post is a joyous discovery I just made.  We now have baby figs or as we call them "figlets".

Speaking of Spring...I hope you don't mind if we "spring" this on ya (see below). It's not so much for our regular readers, and I hope they aren't offended at seeing this again, but we wanted to include the information below to any new readers, which helps and encourages us with the writing and posting of this, our blog.

 About our blog ads:
Every time I visit a blog or privately owned forum, on my way "out", I click on one of their ads; mostly things I am interested in, anyhow.
   When I do this, it adds a penny or two to that blogger's account. It's kind of like leaving a tip to let the blog writer know ya appreciate their posts. If I don't leave a comment, at least the ad click helps make the writer feel good.

  We know this because it makes our day when we get a comment or an "ad click" and we always always thank you here at home and ask God to Bless you for doing so. 


Plum Amazing! (Our 2016 Loquat Crop)

  This year turned out to be a bumper crop for our two Japanese aka Loquat plum trees!  The mild winter had them setting fruit earlier than usual and the fertilizer we give them every February spurred them on in their making and growing big, heavy fruit for us 'til their branches were sagging to the ground under all the weight of the plums.
They grew in clusters like grapes and ripened so fast that before I knew it, it was time to call my friend Mr. Tarzan to come get some for his wine making. 
 He makes wine with the loquat plums that he gathers, and that's his 'niche' in our "Country Boy Network".
Well, when I called him up, he came right over the next morning and he and I picked 'til our pickers were sore. We estimate that we got 120 lbs. of 'em loaded into the back of his pickup truck, and it didn't even seem to us, or the trees, that we had hardly made a dent in the harvest. Here's a short video that Peggy put together of me and Tarzan picking 'em.  
  I picked another 100 lbs of them, so Peggy sorted, washed, peeled and pitted, then froze them for a future jam making project. 
Anybody doubting our fertilizing technique just needs to look at this short little video and the Lemon Monster blog post, because, MAN! it sure does pay off! 
You will note that I avoided all the plum puns I coulda used and for me, this is strange cause I am a punny kinda guy. (Of course Peggy put plenty of plum puns on the video production part of this post.)  


Our Two Blogs

Well, while ya mighta not been lookin', some time ago, we started another blog dedicated just to our 'take' on foods.
  What a better name than "The Round Robin's Cajun Country Cooking Blog". (Take one look at us two Robins and you'll know why.)
The Round Robin blog doesn't consist of our yard, or our dawgs, or etc., but just offers our gluten-free Cajun recipes, and if we think about it when we are dining out, we'll add our opinions about the restaurants we enjoy.
 This is just a 'heads up' to let you know. Here's the link:

Another thing we wanted to find a way to tell you is this: (which we also posted on "The Round Robin blog")

                About our blog ads:
Every time I visit a blog or privately owned forum, on my way "out", I click on one of their ads; mostly things I am interested in, anyhow.
   When I do this, it adds a penny or two to that blogger's account. It's kind of like leaving a tip to let the blog writer know ya appreciate their posts. If I don't leave a comment, at least the ad click helps make the writer feel good.
  We know this because it makes our day when we get a comment or an "ad click" and we always always thank you here at home and ask God to Bless you for doing so. 


What's for Supper?

 It was just one of "those" days yesterday.  Torrential rain was coming down from morning 'til night, so Peggy occupied herself inside by catching up on sewing projects and such, so I said I'd cook supper. Pretty nice of me to say I would...but then I wondered: "what to cook?"
  So I stood there in front of the fridge with the door hanging open, just looking around in there, when I spied the pack of pork chops I'd already thawed out for the next day. I figured 'what the heck' I'll cook 'em now.
They were pretty chops I had scored on sale awhile back, so still not sure what I was really gonna do with them, I took 'em out, rinsed them off and plopped them on the cutting board, ("meat side" up to avoid getting lectured at again...I've learned...I've learned). 
    So, then, there they sat while I ruminated about what to do with 'em. I remembered that the last chops with this particular cut had come out a li'l dry and kinda tough on the bbq pit, so I decided I'd whack these ones into pieces and cook them in the ol' black iron pot to keep them tender.
First I trimmed off the fat and bones, then cut them up. I saved the trimmings and bones for doggy broth.
Peggy boils the scraps down then takes most of the fat off, leaving a broth that she puts on the dogs' dry food. They love the extra flavor and it's better than just chunking it all into the trash, since, heck, we paid good money for it.  
    In the old days, my Mama would fry a piece of that fat and use it to season her pot, but now we try to be a li'l healthier so we just use a spoon of veggie oil instead.
    Those of you who know me, pretty much know what's coming next: to the pork I added our own blend of Cajun spices, Crystal Hot Sauce and Lea and Perrin's Worcestershire sauce . This combination is what Peg calls the "usual suspects", all gluten free, of course.  
While the pork sizzled away in the black iron pot, it started smelling like "home" around here, so to complete the mood, I  'fired up da jukebox' with some good ol' Friday night music. Now we're talkin'!
Back at task, I rough cut a couple of big yellow onions.
As I was rakin' them into the pot, Peggy sashayed out into the kitchen, grabbed me around the waist and started swaying to the beat of the song that was playing.  Giving the pot a quick stir  and joinin' Peg in the middle of the kitchen, we slow danced while the wonderful Cajun smells and music swirled all around us. Now, that's what I'm talkin' about! 
 After a few songs, Peg went back to her sewing project and I went back to tending the pot.
    The pork and onions cooked down and began to brown, but I still hadn't decided what in I the heck was cooking.
    From this point, I could go in a lot of different directions, including to just let it cook down a li'l more and serve it over rice. Then, one of my favorite childhood dishes came to mind! I decided to make 'pork and beans'.  No, not what you normally think of, like the beans in a can in a red catsup sauce, but the old Cajun version of pork...and...beans.
    I ferreted a pound of dried great northern white beans out of the cupboard (no Cajun pantry should ever be without an assortment of dried beans) sorted and washed them, dumped them into the pot and covered them with water, turned the music up a li'l and opened me a beer, relieved that now I knew what I was cookin' for sure.
  The beans simmered for almost two hours while I cleaned up my cutting board and knife and such, checked on Peggy, piddled with my laptop in the kitchen, writing some more on our second book, "Space Freighter: Exigent, Oer", caught up on different forums and Face Book, and all the while enjoying the music, the whir of the sewing machine in the background and the aroma of memories long ago from my grandmother's kitchen wafting throughout the house. 
 Peg came by occasionally for a hug and a bit of barefoot kitchen cuddling and swaying some more to the music.
  A couple of hours later, I added some chopped bell pepper and green onions, then put on a pot of rice to cookin'.
The greens "cooked in" while the rice steamed. When everything was cooked, I turned off the stove; let the pots 'settle', while I relaxed with a beer or two before supper, then had Peg plate it up.
This is Cajun pork and beans, along with one of the coleslaws that Peg makes. I was probably about 12  years old before I discovered  that this wasn't what the rest of the world meant when they said, "pork and beans". If you give this "recipe" a try, I promise you you will never look at a can of pork and beans the same way again.
A lot of 'ingredients' went into turning one of "those" days into a wonderful meal. So...that's what was for supper!


Black-eyed Peas Jambalaya!

   Mama usta call it "Rio-fev". (roll the 'R' and accent the 'fev'.)  It was an old family recipe that has several different versions, but mainly, she'd use whatever kinda meat she had handy. 
   This morning we had four leftover chicken thighs in the fridge that Peg had grilled and smokey'd up outside on our faithful Old Smokey grill, while I mowed the lawn.   
   Alongside the smoky thighs hanging out in the fridge, I found half a breast of baked chicken, so, as long as none of them had anything better to do, I decided to do like my Mama did and cook up this ol'-fashioned dish for Peggy who was feeling a li'l under the weather. 
   I dragged out our big black iron pot and seasoned the bottom of it with three thick slices of bacon cut in small pieces.  Once they started sizzling, I threw in some rough chopped yellow onion and sprinkled on our own blend of Cajun Seasoning.  
  When the onions softened up nicely, I added a lb. of dried black eye peas (that I washed and sorted) and over-topped  everything in the pot with an inch of water, then brought it to a boil. I reduced the heat, put a lid on the pot and let it simmer for about an hour. 
  After an hour, the beans had swollen up and began to soften, so I added the leftover chicken. An added bonus was a clove of roasted garlic that I found which Peg had stuck in the cavity of the baked chicken when she had cooked it. Into the pot it went, as well.
  A half an hour later, I added some parsley fresh out of our garden, some of our green onions and bell peppers that we had harvested, cut up and froze earlier in the season, and let that all cook in, lid on. 
   After yet another half an hour, I sampled. (Cajun cookin' takes time...the ingredients have to 'get to know each other' and 'marry'.) 
    The beans were nice and soft, thoroughly cooked, so, from years of experience, I 'gauged' the pot by eye and decided I would need to fill my regular coffee cup about two times with my usual Mahatma long grain (uncooked) rice, so first I added three cups of water to the beans that already still had some juice in them. (Don't add the rice just yet.)
    I brought it all back again to a good rolling boil then added the two cups of rice and let it all simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes "at a good bubble", stirring every minute or so. While it was simmering away, I preheated the oven for 250 degrees.
   After about five minutes, I put the lid back on tightly and stuck it into the 250 degree oven and went about my business, letting it 'do its thing'.
  An Hour later I took it out the oven and fluffed it up. Viola! (if food be the music of love, play on!)

 I guess most folks around the country call this "Hoppin' John", and around New Orleans it's "Black-eyed Peas Jambalaya, but where I was born and raised, the Cajuns call it "Rio-fev".  One thing most everybody calls it, though, is 'delicious'. 
    I wrote this post as an example of how I cook with no recipe or ingredient list 'cause I just used whatever I found in the fridge. I didn't put any measurements for yall, 'cause I don't measure...like my Mama, I just add 'til it "looks right".  
    Since my 'sous chef' was under the weather, I did manage to write down the steps myself about what I was cooking during the whole process. 
  Most Cajun men love to cook, having had the dishes passed on down to them by their family. I learned how to cook at both my Dad and Mama's side, not to mention my grandparents, as well,  and now I  pass the dishes on to the next generation, or to anyone who wants to spend a little time leisurely tending to a pot of good Cajun cooking that has passed the taste test of time. 


...And Now THIS!

  Sometimes it seems like God is having more fun coming up with things in our yard, just to surprise us. Squash invasions. Kitty cat invasions. Doves roosting and raising their young'uns right outside our back door. Giant banana spiders in close proximity to the bird nest...spiders almost big enough to catch the wee baby doves (but not). Odd. Weird, quirky, but fun stuff. Always something.
  Peg took Master Gardeners classes, but none of those lessons prepared us for what tricks The "Master Gardener" holds up His sleeve. Maybe because, no matter what He's given us, we have always been truly grateful, so He keeps tossing odd things into the mix for us to enjoy. 
   Well, one of the things we learned from the Master Gardener's class is that when a tree is stressed, it goes into survival mode and tries hard to reproduce itself, usually in the form of leaves or blooms out of season. We've begun to nickname our Yum Yum tree, "Twitchy", after one of the more nervous characters in our book, "Space Freighter, First Dock: Neo-Eden". (...yes, we take any opportunity to advertise...forgive us) The poor tree has been tossed around in the winds, been frozen from harder than normal weather, its roots covered over again as it was leaned sideways again from sitting high in the soil, having been planted that way by us, knowing it also hates wet feet. Every other week, whether in the heat of Summer or dead Winter, there's high-strung Twitchy, holding out one or two spindly branches, waving about five or so bright pink flowers into the wind, that we know will never produce fruit...not in those weather conditions, or in the oncoming weeks, either. There have been years when about twenty fruit were fully ripe, but then the birds pounced on them, so we barely got a nibble of Twitchy's yummy Yum Yums. The poor thing seems like it's always stressed about something. But it is trying.
    All the trees and plants in the yard are 'in the same boat', tho'. Nobody else seemed to be complaining, but last Spring a strong thunderstorm blew through our yard just as our Satsuma orange trees were in full bloom. The bees never got a chance to pollinate the gorgeous white flowers, because the wind took off with almost every single petal, scattering them all over the neighborhood. It soon it became obvious that we would have very few, if any of these luscious little oranges come Fall.  
   That was sad, because they are the first oranges to ripen, are so easy to peel, (like a tangerine) and we love going out for a stroll in the yard and eating one or two as we go. What's kind of cute to us, is that often we'll see a few of the rinds along the road, where one of our neighbors, apparently out for a walk, had stopped to pick one and enjoyed it on the spot. That's fine with us because we always share them with the neighbors, anyhow. Often, they'll find a plastic bag of them hanging on their front door knob. Our satsumas are usually an overly abundant crop. 
    Because of the strange winter, too, this year, even our navel oranges suffered somewhat, prematurely rotting and falling to the ground before they were quite 'right'. The thunderstorm hadn't affected their flowers, since it has a later blooming season, but the extra dry weather, followed by extra wet, extra cold, then by extra warm bothered their production. The grapefruit and lemons, thank the Maker, both seemed to do quite well and as a result, we have a bumper crop of both this year.
   We consider ourselves truly blest because of this and in all the joy and juicy-ness of the grapefruits and lemons, we almost forgot about the Satsuma tree way out in the corner of the yard.  The other day on the way home from the store, as we were passing along the street, I noticed a hint of orange in the tree and was amazed to see around a dozen ripening fruit that had survived. This was very unusual, because, here it is March, but harvest time for Satsuma oranges is in the early Fall, months and months ago.  The tree should be in hibernation. What in the world's going on over there? I marched over and had a look. On closer inspection I was very surprised to see what the tree had been up to. It has faithfully given us fruit every year for well over a decade. It had definitely been stressed last Spring and by all accounts, should not been able to give us anything this year. We had given up on it, but fed it its 13-13-13 a few weeks ago. It apparently hadn't given up on us. Come wind or high water, it was going to give us something. Some THINGS is what it gave us, alright. 
It seemed as if the fruit had quit growing, but the skin kept going.  Looking for all the world like some mutant squashy orange mix breed, I was sort of concerned, but I picked them anyway. (see the short video:)
I shared a few with our neighbor and they looked at them kind of skeptically, but said they would try them.  They taste delicious and juicy, just like they always have.
      We thought we had some kind of mutant Satsuma on our hands.  We still think so. It's kind of confusing, but now more so, since Peg was wandering around Whole Foods and was aghast to find this: a whole display of them! And they call them "SUMO" oranges.  

So, our satsuma tree used all that stress, must be in the same way a body builder uses stress and built himself up into a SUMO orange tree. (take note, Twitchy) We wonder what this enterprising tree is going to produce next year. Regular or SUMO sized? Only The True Master Gardener knows, but either way, ORANGE you happy for us?


Giving our Yard...uh..."Fertilizer!"

  It's been so long ago that I don't remember where we learned about this job of feeding our fruit trees.  It was probably from the LSU Agriculture Department, or maybe from our County Agent, who we dragged over here one time to have a look at some stuff growing on the bark of one of our trees. (was nothing serious) Maybe we learned it from Peggy's Master Gardeners class years ago, or someplace else but, anyhow, for us, the "F" word in February stands for "fertilizer" and not what some Yankees may have to say about conditions in February.  
   So, here that month has rolled around again, and like every year, we put down 13-13-13 ("triple thirteen" they call it) in 1 lb. doses around all our fruit and nut producing trees.  Our yard is quite fertile, so trees like the Crepe Myrtles, Ligustrums and River Birches do fine, but we always give back to the fruit bearing trees 'cause we figure they work harder producing good things for us. 
     We are certain that the thirty few dollers we spend for 100 lbs. of fertilizer pays us back in fruits and tree health, not to mention the exercise of puttin' it in the ground...whew.  We put 1 lb. of fertilizer every 6 feet or so along the outer drip line of each tree. We were told that they should get one pound for each year old they are.  Some small bushes, like our newly acquired blueberry bushes only get 1 lb.  Some smaller trees get 2 or 4 lbs.   It takes 12 lbs. to go all the way around our big Japanese plum trees.  To be sure, the citrus trees all take up a good share, but still, even doing something nice for 'em, ya still gotta watch out for those sharp thorns!
    It is now, like we said, February, so much of the yard is still kind of asleep and in need of tending to and weeding, but this is the time we need to feed the trees; when they are dormant.
    Here is a very short video of the last hole, showing how we do it and how glad I was to be done with this month's major "F" chore.


Our Family Mardi Gras Party 2016

  We were supposed to be writing this Mardi Gras blog post from our camper, either over at Toledo Bend or Chico State Park, but our poor ol' dawg, MarkyBear, did not enjoy his Christmas camping adventure, causing us to pack up the next day @ 2 A.M. and head for home, and thus, has kept us from heading out camping again. We love the old guy and want him to be comfortable, so, we stayed home...for now, til' we can plan on how we can go about it.
   Since our plans were now defunct, and we hadn't been to Lafayette with the family for Mardi Gras for a few years, we gladly jumped at the chance to go catch up with family! For many years now our family meets in Lafayette on the Saturday before Mardi Gras to party and watch the Saturday Children's parades.  This tradition started years ago, and the reason originally was to watch the family kids marching down the street in the parades.  Well, those kids now have kids of their own and the tradition continues.
    Since it is still four days before 'real' Mardi Gras, it is easy for the family to get together even if they have other plans for "Fat Tuesday" (Mardi Gras).  
   We always meet in the same church parking lot and have a tailgate-style roadside wonderful get-together, visiting, eating, and catching up with family and friends.
 Two 55 gallon drum bbq pits stay hot for four or more hours, and the family pitmasters cook anything anyone brings along with them.
 This year there were several different styles of bacon wrapped snacks, burgers sausages, boudin, and pork done several different ways, including the pork steaks I had brought along, all doctored up with my special spices. (A couple of the pork steaks followed us back home and ended up in a Super Bowl Jambalaya the next day) There were all manner of snacks and 'sides', including dirty rice and such.  There must have been ten different flavors of King Cakes and believe me, I did manage to sample some of them!
 We had a great time and Peggy put together a nice video of the day. 
Peggy here; I was FREEZING that day. I had on my long, heavy black leather coat with a hood, jeans, gloves, heavy socks and thick hiking boots, and I still couldn't get warm. You'd think, being an ex-Yankee, from upstate New York, that I wouldn't have shamed myself in such a way. You'd think that these Southern folks would be the ones who couldn't tolerate the cold, but Noooooo....look at Emily...the young beauty on the right in the photo above...short sleeves!! Watch the short video and you'll see plenty of others in Short Sleeeves!!! There aren't many cold, COLD days down here in South Louisiana, but the ones we get...this cold...it's a wet cold, this COLD goes right through you, to the bone. (lower 50's and wind)
  Speaking of Emily; she is a one woman welcoming committee. She's the first one to run and give us a big welcoming huggg. So sweet and so very much appreciated.
  And another thing: I took most of the photos and videos. If you'll notice, they are all mostly taken from behind, around, or near the bbq pit...where it was somewhat warm. I didn't get as many up close photos of family and friends as we needed and I'm sorry for that. So many wonderful people, like Aunt Bonnie, Aunt Margaret, Cousin Kim, Cousin Bernie, Lynn and Chris, Cousin Jennifer, etc....I KNOW I'm missing names, too. We heard Brian Robin was around, but we didn't see him, either. I should have invaded the warmth of Uncle Maurice and Aunt Margaret's "Rock Star Bus", as Cappy calls it, sitting temptingly over there.
   It was a great day and we were glad that we got to go. We left earlier than we wanted to, or should have, but I had been up most of the night with our pore ol' dawg, MarkyBear, who was sick and...

 well...not the life of the party anymore, it seems, but we love the boy DEARLY and worried about him, so we wanted to get back home and check on him. (I wanted to get warm.)
  This video is short by our standards, but it gives the flavor of a small home town Family Friendly (not BIG TIME New Orleans, for sure) Mardi Gras.