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.


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.


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".  


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.


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.



We Just Found Out We're Fragrant Again!!

   Our first attempt at growing garlic last year in our 4'x4' garden box yielded 100 heads of garlic which we considered a success. We made a few mistakes, but still managed to learn a lot from them and decided it was worth the effort to give it another try.
Once we got everything ready to go, we decided that since the old garden box was falling apart and wasn't holding up as well as the newer "neighbor" boxes that were all freshly planted with our usual choice of veggies, we needed to retire this one and build a new bed for the garlic. 
You can see for yourself that the 15 year old box was rotting and pulling apart. We talked and thought and prayed and decided to build the new one 4'x6' to give ourselves more garlic, seeing how we are fast using up those 100 bulbs (yep, we do love our garlic). It's the same size as Peg's herb garden right next to it. 
It was pretty easy pulling away the old crumbling wood, and once we got the old box from around the bed it became obvious the soil had was in bad need of fresh soil, wouldn't ya say?
 Peg and I cut up the old boards with my recip  and stacked them to be honored later in the firepit as we enjoy the cooler Fall weather we've been waiting so long for.
Next, we set up the sawhorses and set to work building the new garlic bed. For this project we bought 2, 2"x12"x 12 foot long heavy oak boards.  
We cut one board in half to yield 2, 6' boards, then from another 12' board, we cut 2, 4'3" boards,  off for the 4'x6' box.
While we were at it, we also cut the wood for a 4'x4' box...but that's another project.
We put the box together, making sure it was going to be very sturdy; each corner has 3, 3" screws, and the tops of the corners all have a galvanized brace with 12, 1/14" screws and a bottom angle brace with 6 1/14"screws.  That all might be TMI for some of the readers, but people ask, if we don't tell 'em what we did. The heavy box can be rolled, or dragged, (your choice...I kinda did both) and moved, and will still firmly hold it's shape as can be seen in this picture and video.  video
Not the easiest of chores for a chubby ol' Cajun, but I rolled/dragged the box in place and laid it down then adjusted it a little. Peggy hadda shovel dirt from under the frame as I held it up one side at a time, but we finally got it in place. 
    Then we filled it with dirt from our compost pile, added some Miracle Grow Garden Soil that we found on sale and some peat moss.
   I drove nails all around the box in 1 foot increments and strung the box with nylon string to 'grid' the square foot sections. 24 square feet. This helps us place our plants and seeds more accurately. 
 Peggy and I planted 9 garlic toes per sq. foot in the whole bed. Yep, 216 garlic "piggies", she called 'em.  
Once the whole bed was planted, I said a prayer over it; a garden task complete. Now it was out of our hands.
It's been 2 weeks already and now look! many of the garlic plants reaching for the Fall sunshine. How about that.
I am very excited to say:  Here we grow again!


Cappy Lowers the Doom

   I'll tell you, it wasn't easy when Cappy was out on the boat and I had to learn to be the "man" of the house until he got back home to resume that role. I had to deal with mechanics who didn't care one whit that I had gone online and thoroughly researched the problem I was having with our SUV, and what part I thought they should repair.  
   "Uh yeah, (little lady) we'll take a look at it for ya," with exchanged looks and eye rolls at one another, they hoisted their britches and clipboard in hand, headed back into the dark recesses of the mechanic's garage where a sign boldly forbade any customers from entering. A couple of times, I happened to be right, much to their chagrin. They had one of the "gals" who worked in the office come and tell me so, and that they were going to replace that particular part...and when they did "voila!" it worked great. Still, it was always a daunting process, dealing with those guys.
  Plumbers coming to the house, same thing. I might investigate the problem, but it didn't always work; they always seemed to talk over my head, "Well, yeah, I'll have to get a double-whirrled purple slath-branger ratchet to finish the job...might cost you a li'l extra, but if yer wantin' the thing to work, an' all...we can fix it."

  Yeah, well, so "I" managed to get the job done, dealing with them.
  I don't even want to talk about electricians or A/C installers or yard workers, etc., etc., etcetera...sigh...it was rough. It got to the point that I'd rather let things hang,'til Cappy got off the boat, which was not always a pleasant "surprise" for him to come home to, when all he wanted to do was relax. So I'd muster up my courage to muddle through the doom and gloom and try it again, sometimes with success and sometimes, not.
  Well, now he's home for good and I'll tell ya, he has really lowered my stress level when it comes to home repairs, etc. Presently, we (he) is handling the bathroom plumbing situation, talking with people who know he means business...and we are planning a trip to Lowe's.
  AHA! Going to Lowe's now is a fun experience...not the dreaded groveling forages into the cavernous aisles I had to endure. With Cappy it's always a fun adventure.
   That reminds me of a couple of stories we had posted here on our blog about just this very thing. Enjoy!

                 But I Don't Wannnna Be a Cowboy
                                                    (originally posted 8/26/2006)
   Well, now that I've been feeling better, I've tried to get back on track with everything again. Since finishing the den, I've been camping out in the computer-"slash"-guest room, having torn the bedroom apart in preparation for 'de-constructing' and remodeling in a style totally different from Cappy's den, which I love, but want something more light in color and open in feeling, if not in fact. (We live in what Cappy refers to as a 'shoebox'.)
   One of the first things I had to do was purchase storage racks and baskets for the clothes in the closet, because the closet is the first thing on the list to be torn apart.
   Cappy and I usually go together when we shop at the big home improvement stores, but him being out on the boat, I put on my big girl overalls with a tape measure hung on my pocket, list in hand, and swaggered across the parking lot like John Wayne. Too bad there weren't swinging doors; I coulda barged into the place like I owned it, doors flapping behind me. I was gonna look those guys dead in the eye and let 'em know I mean business, not let them double-talk me about pneumatic explosive nail drivers or double hung stud finders....none of that stuff. I pretty much knew what I was looking for, all I hadda do was find it.
   I mosied to the back of the store and found what I needed, but dang if I didn't come up short and needed to ask for help.
   A tough-lookin' gal in a red 'get-up' said she could help, but then called a guy to come answer my questions.
   I steeled myself. I pushed back my shoulders, stuck out my chin and waited. Waited some more. Waited some more. Relaxing a little, I looked around wondering where everybody went...did all the mens dive behind the bar when I strode through those front door with a chip on my shoulder?
   Just when I was about to give up, some 'dandy' pranced down the aisle toward me, all smiles. (I think they hone their timing 'til they see the customer begin to wilt and are more vulnerable...then they pounce.) I've gotta say he was pretty witty and entertaining, but he couldn't answer my questions, so he called another dude on the phone to come help me. As he was flitting away, he turned back and said in a mock provocotive tone, "...Ya know...I could hang around here with you and wait til the other guy shows up?"
   I musta taken off my tough guy exterior when I wasn't looking. I clinked my spurs together, stiffened my spine again and said, "No, but thanks for offering."
   Just then a deep voice behind me said, "Well, I can hang    around with you and wait 'til the other guy gets here, too."

   I turned and saw an older man sitting on one of those motorized scooters, leaning back on one arm, his other arm extended over the steering wheel as though it were a hot red convertible, complete with a 'hubba-hubba' backseat.
   I smiled and was about to joke that his shirt had lost a few buttons, but then decided it might embarrass him. I told him the same thing I had told the 'dandy', "No, but thanks for offering."
   He drove on.
   While I was muttering to myself that I'd probably be waiting forever on this next store helper, a man looking to be in his 50's strode around the corner and jokingly asked me what it was I was looking for anyhow. (anyhow??) And this man had his pale green shirt unbuttoned almost halfway down his front, exposing his hairy grey chest like the guy on the scooter.....oh WAIT...it was the 'scooter guy'... walking around.
   He said, "I reallly will wait around with you 'til the guy shows up."
   Suddenly I got the feeling that this was his 'supermarket'...his 'bar'...and he was a 'lounge lizard', cruising the back aisles of the hardware section looking for gullible females.
   Well, by that time I was totally disarmed and disoriented. I humored him a few minutes with chit-chat about remodeling, etc., then high-tailed it outa there with the shelves and baskets I had already found, unanswered questions flying in the breeze behind me, quickly paid for my purchases and slinked back across the parking lot without what I'd really come for.
   Next time I'll up the ante; I'll go back as Arnold Schwarzenegger.

         And another post of how things are when Cappy lowers the doom (my stress level) at Lowes: click the link here and enjoy the fun...   http://cappyandpegody.blogspot.com/search?q=hummingbird+gumbo


The German Cajun Connection

(Brats and Kraut?)
   It's around  this time of year that almost every small town in our area is having some kind of German festival.  For whatever reason, it's not been widely known that German migrants also settled mostly along the Mississippi River and still has a strong influence on our culture. 
   As with other branches of our region's Cajun "family tree", besides the  French, Spanish, African,  Italian and Native American cuisines, German food has also impacted our life, as well. Their wonderful sausages and beer to name just two. 
   Some historians credit the Germans with the evolution of Boudin, one of our most treasured Cajun sausage-like, (but not sausage) "gotta haves".
       I have my own theory about this:  
   While the Germans most likely had a boudin-like sausage, it is unlikely they would have used rice as a cereal filler.  I have noticed over the years that the closer to the Mississippi River you travel, the less rice is used in the making of boudin. Here in our little river town the people who make boudin insist on using no rice in their boudin. To me, this suggests a German influence and lends credence to my theory. That and the fact that the local phone book has a ton of German names listed. Anyway, I digress and never intended this to be a history lesson...just my take on Cajun-German "fusion" food stuff.  

On to my main topic. At first glance, you might wonder what's Cappy doing with brats and kraut in his beloved ol' black iron pot? Well, this is my "Cajunized" version of brats and kraut.  It's just fresh spicy Cajun sausage with smothered cabbage.  
I let the sausages sizzle covered in the pot with a splash of oil for a few minutes.
I turned them over and pricked the skin with a fork to allow the juices to escape into the pot.
I put the lid on and while the sausage was simmering away in its own juices, I turned three onions
into long pieces,
I took the browned sausages out and put the onions in the pot, then added some of our own Cajun seasoning and let them cook, (covered )
while I whacked up half a head of cabbage that had been lurking around in the fridge for some time.
In went the cabbage with the onions, 
got all stirred up and covered again for a while, 'til it "simmered down".  I occasionally stirred it all around while it was on low heat, and after an hour or so, I put the sausages back in on top, stirred a bit more, then called it "done". 
   It was a wonderful hearty meal in honor of Fall approaching; my favorite time of year.
So thanks to the German influences that contributed richly to our culture! Instead of the traditional October Fest greeting, we wish you in true Cajun fashion, Happy Fall Yall!!!
  (Peg said she has some German in her heritage, too, and proved it by drizzling vinegar over this meal in her bowl, and was also her way of letting me know me the cabbage was not kraut and the sausage was not the boudin that I'd been talking about as far as cultural food influences. Hmm...I forgot about the Yankee influence here in my own house.)