Monday, May 31, 2021

Remember And Honor The Fallen

 It's Memorial Day, a day to remember all those who have fallen fighting for our freedom.  A moment of silence.

We can be ever so thankful that we haven't been in any wars the likes of World War I or II, or Korea or Vietnam.  Sadly, we are no longer the strong nation we used to be and so I pray we don't go there again.    

At any rate, those were my thoughts as I stared up into the sky yesterday while working on a little tan for the first time in years.  It's a good thing there were no drones flying overhead because they would have been shot down.

Squeezing into a five year old bathing suit is not a pretty picture.  At least those two helicopters that went by were too high to see anything.  Luckily I remembered the lounge chair was across the back forty up against the fence to keep the skunks at bay.  I drug it back to the grassy lawn and spent 30 minutes removing all the foxtails from my shoes.  

It's looks pretty awful, having laid on the ground for over a year.  This has to be the most sturdy, indestructible supposed-to-be-white plastic webbing on the planet.  It may have discolored, but it's as strong as ever, as evidenced by the fact that I did not fall through when I sat down.  I also covered it with a nice towel.

Of course being outside means play time for Cooper.  I hadn't been sitting one minute when he began barking.  The game is to roll the ball underneath the lounger so I have to twist and contort to reach it.  Then of course I have to throw the ball as far as possible, trying to wear him out running after it.  It never works.

If I try to ignore him, he barks, then does this ... sets it on the webbing and dares me to try and steal it.  What a card this kid is.

I actually spent the greater part of the day making this beautiful cherry crisp.  It's so easy ... just open a can of cherry pie filling.  On THIS occasion however, I made it ridiculously hard by deciding to use up all those cherries my neighbor gave me, rather than throw them away.  

Have you ever pitted cherries?  My first thought was to make a beeline for the big box of antiques in the garage.  Way back ... and I mean WAY BACK, Miss Patty and I used to collect such utensils to adorn the walls of our kitchens.  We had everything red and green, which was the colors of the wooden tools we coveted.  There was everything EXCEPT a cherry pitter.

And so I used my handy dandy knife to cut each and every one apart and dig the pit out with my fingernails.  Five cups of cut up cherries later, as you can imagine, I was a lovely shade of red.

It was worth every single second.  Of course I put way too much topping on it, but who doesn't like oats, brown sugar and butter?  I served it up in my best china!!  It's my red, white and blue tip of the hat on Memorial Day.

I missed one picture of the dinner prep yesterday.  This is the chicken chili.  I'll add a couple cups of water to the batch before cooking (it already has chicken bouillon in the mix).  Just to be sure I remember, I wrote the directions on each bag.  By the way, if in a hurry, these can all be cooked in an instant pot.

And so another skunk-free day goes by as I hit up Michaels and Joanns for my latest try to staunch the boredom.  CRAFTS!!  Not that I'm very crafty, but it's more fun (and less dangerous) than moving skunks!!

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Food Coma How To

 Aren't these just the prettiest colors ever?  I do love our Stars and Stripes.  I have an entire bucketload of quilt material like this that one day will magically sew itself together in time for the Fourth of July 2030.  It's actually weird to see any crazy year starting with 2021.  I got past Y2K with no problem, but the twenties have me weirded out, let alone the 2030's.

Anyway, here's what happened to all that food that you saw on my counter.  The total bill added up to $110.  Although I do prefer fresh ingredients, several of these recipes included canned beans (think white chili) and tomato sauce.  The plan was to get 30 meals ... that's $3.66 a meal.  Not too bad considering they all have meat in them.

Of course I didn't have the fancy dancy bag holders to keep my ziplocks upright, but I survived and didn't dump ANY on the floor.  There's a little prep involved, like crying for 30 minutes while you chop up all those onions.  My tip is to breathe through your mouth the entire time.  You will only taste onion for the next three hours.

I chopped up those huge chicken breasts into smaller pieces to make cooking easier and grabbed every bottle of spice I could find in the cupboard, then drained and rinsed every can of beans.  THAT was a pain, but a necessary one.  And away we go!!

Dump in can after can, scoop in tablespoons of Better Than Bouillon, tablespoons of spices and ..... WAIT!  I forgot the corn.  I cut kernels off four ears of fresh corn, cleaning up all those that jumped out of the bucket onto the floor.

Next up ... add the raw meat.  Yup that's right ... the RAW meat.  If I live after the first meal, I'll know you can add raw meat and not die.  Then I very carefully squeezed out all the air from the bags and sealed them tight.  A tender squishing makes them lay flatter in the freezer.  

Recipes included honey sesame chicken, vegetable beef soup, white chicken chili and turkey chili.  One small problem, the store didn't have any ground turkey ... so I went with ground pork.  That may be a mistake.

When done, I ended up with 38 meals ... meaning the cost is now down to $2.89 each.  Just WOW!  Now to see if it tastes good enough to eat.  Here's the honey sesame chicken.  The recipe said you could take it out of the freezer and pop it right in your slow cooker or instant pot.  

I took it out the night before to thaw a little.  I might even defrost it in the microwave a tad before cooking.  Instant pot, frozen is okay, but I cringed when I thought of that meat defrosting in the slow cooker all morning.

Here you go .... just dump it in, turn it on low 4-6 hrs and wait.  Yes this is supposed to have sesame seeds in it for more flavor, but my little Mexican store didn't have them.  I think I will survive without them.

The smell was WONDERFUL!!  I could feel the food coma coming on.  When I couldn't stand it any longer, I shredded the chicken while cooking up a pot of rice.  Lots of things go into my best china and don't taste that good.  THIS was delicious!!  

I'm thrilled that I spent so little for a meal.  Of course you can add garlic bread, a salad or whatever else you desire, but for me, this hit the spot.  Now to see if those other recipes I made will taste the same.  

In the meantime, I was given a huge bag of cherries.  I'm not a fan of eating cherries, but I do LOVE cherry pie or cherry crisp.  Let's see if I can enter a food coma by overeating dessert!!  I succeeded quite nicely.  I'll post those pictures tomorrow, because right now I'm waddling over to the couch.

In the meantime, I have spotted no skunks ... thank goodness ... but with the fence now complete, I'm back to patrolling the north forty for holes under the OTHER side.  The weather has been so fabulous, I may even drag one of those lounge chairs guarding the wall, back to the patio for some sun time.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Memorial Day Weekend

I remember when I LOVED three day weekends.  Not only did it mean I got three days off, but the next week was a short one.  That's not to say I didn't love my job.  All that accounting and math kept me busy.  Nowadays I think more about the reason for the holiday.  A lot of my high school senior friends went to Vietnam and never came back.  

I hope everyone remembers all our lost servicemen this weekend, and that you remind your children to tell your grandchildren about this holiday.  It's important to remember ALL the people who made this country the best place to live in the entire world.

With that said, I'm celebrating the completion of my fence.  FINALLY the hole is closed up.   Maybe there won't be any errant skunks running around the back forty, at least for a week or two.  In spite of their appearance, the boards are still in excellent shape.   

About the grass ... I know, it needs to be mowed, but the landscape and gardener people don't want their fancy mowers going off-road.  I'm thinking maybe a riding mower I can race around on doing donuts in the sand.  At least it would make weed mowing fun!!

My first errand of the day was the little red cart.  It looks nice, yes?  Here's my thoughts.  I can easily lift the top off my B & W hitch.  Not so easy is lifting it up to the pickup bed to put it back on.  The base is even heavier, and although I've lifted it in the past, I'm not so sure, now that I'm old.  

Maybe I could slide it off the tailgate onto a cart, then roll it around the garage.  Maybe even go for a spin down the driveway.  Harbor Freight had carts.  Though I know they come from China, it's fits my wallet, meaning it's cheap.  

Sadly, it comes in a box.  Okay, I'll put it together since it only costs $40.  THAT should have been the red flag waving wildly over the red cart.  The SECOND red flag waving in front of my eyes like a tornado was when I opened the box and ripped the cardboard in half with absolutely no effort whatsoever.  Gosh, they made cheap cardboard in China.
Okay ... and we're off ... except the directions are in Chinese and there was an extra washer not shown in the picture.  I tried to attach the first leg piece to the bottom tray.  That didn't go well since the holes did not line up even a little bit, as in there was no way that screw was going to work without drilling another hole.  

Not to be deterred ..... well actually I was.  I was so mad at the crappy workmanship that I threw it all back in the box and drove back to Harbor Freight for a refund.  I told the kid retrieving it from my truck to watch out for the cheap cardboard.  "Oh I KNOW about the cheap cardboard" he said, "I work here!"

And so my great idea dissolved into thin air.  Maybe Lowe's or Home Depot has carts ... I'll check them out.  

In the meantime, way back in the recesses of my mind I remembered when there was a store you could go to and prepare meals in bags to be frozen and later cooked for dinner.  I guess it wasn't their time because they went broke.  Or maybe it was a bad idea.  Anyway .........

This is what happens when you sit on the couch too long.  You think up these crazy ideas for healthy meal prep.  I'll let you know how it turned out tomorrow ....... BECAUSE

I just let the puppies out and I SMELL SKUNK!!!!!  It's time to patrol the property again!!

Friday, May 28, 2021

Let Them Eat CHICKEN!!

 Wandering the grocery store nowadays is an adventure in itself.  If you want to be shocked into silence, just walk down the meat aisle.  I will say that the cattle industry did NOT put on masks and hide in their house the last year.  Cowboys have been out and about every single day taking care of the herds that will eventually end up on your dinner table.

Unfortunately, someone has their finger in the pie.  Cattlemen are now getting around $1.20 a pound.  As a comparison, if we were lucky, we bought calves for 35 cents a pound, fed them all year, then sold them for 50 cents a pound to feed yards who fattened them up.  At the grocery store, you would pay $1.99 for that meat.  That's a 75% markup for processing.

This $8.69 a pound for tri-tip ... not even close to the best cut on the beef ... shows you what inflation can do to your wallet.  I guess I will be hearing "where's the beef" in this house.  Of course it could also be due to the long weekend coming up ... people barbecuing tri-tip and such.  

Instead, I bought $1.99 a pound chicken breasts, so big they look like they came off a turkey!  No worries, I'll just beat the devil out of it with a meat tenderizer!!

In the meantime, all that shopping for meat landed me right at Carl's Jr for another Chicken Wars taste test.  They have jumped on the bandwagon with a different animal ... the chicken and waffle sandwich.  Who could resist THAT?  Certainly not me!

So here it is ..... looks pretty yummy, right??  I couldn't wait to dive in.  I could smell that delicious syrup causing my mouth to water.

First off, the waffle is flat on the bottom, with only ridges on the top side.  That means it's not the least bit crunchy.  I was only half way through when I realized the syrup was a cursory quick dip on one edge only.  I searched the bag for a little container ... maybe they forgot to put it in?  Nope ... no syrup.  

Had an elusive cup of sugar been available, I would eat this every single meal of every single day.  It definitely passed the taste test for me, but then I'm a sugarholic.

The chicken was good, although saying it was breaded is a stretch.   There's just a tad bit of flour covering the outside with absolutely NO crunch.  No matter, I licked what little sticky syrup there was off my fingers with relish.  Pretty tasty.

At the same time as the waffle chicken, they are advertising a hand breaded chicken sandwich.  Might as well try BOTH since I'm already there in the 1,000 calorie range.  This one left a LOT to be desired.  The bun is way too big and way too soft.  Think gluey.  

As you can see, the "crispy" breading just isn't.  They did however get the mayo and pickles right.

Possibly if the piece of chicken was as large as the bun.     Nope ... this was a NO for me.  If you want crispy hand breaded chicken, go to Popeyes or KFC.  This is down the list maybe in the number 6 spot.

And there you have it, another Chicken Wars sandwich in the bag.  Or not, because I would only buy the chicken and waffle ... again and again.

To top off that fabulous meal I just ate (actually I only ate the chicken on the second sandwich), they asked if I wanted cake.  That's a silly question ... of COURSE I want cake!!  Now THIS I could eat every meal also!!  I ate half of it for dinner since I was still so full of chicken sandwiches.

It's Memorial Day Weekend ... time for some rest and relaxation, not that that is any different from any other day around here.  I'm becoming pretty good at couch exercising.  

My next food adventure comes from freezer meals.  It sure would be easier if I didn't have to actually think much about what to eat for dinner.  This may just be the answer I'm looking for and it's MUCH less expensive.  


Thursday, May 27, 2021

Screwdriver #28

 Like any good maintenance man, I have 27 screwdrivers in three different tool boxes, including one completely full kitchen drawer.  Honestly, I've no idea where they all came from.  Now I have 28, or 38 if you count each of the different heads that fit into this one.  I mean 11 in 1 screwdriver ... who knew?

I scrounged through the Home Depot aisle for 30 minutes before finding this one, the only one that had a square head inside the impenetrable packaging.  Even after one long cut on the right hand side, it took me 15 minutes to pry the little screwdriver head out using a pair of pliers.

There's four of them ... which I'm sure will get immediately lost as soon as they go in the drawer.  Maybe put them in the handle?  Nope ... it doesn't open, twist or turn at all.  I might as well throw them in the trash and glue the square head into the handle.

I went straight to the heart of the problem.  Somehow I need to get these covers off to check the batteries.  Seriously, how did they put this together?  The little red wire between the two boxes just goes through a hole in the side.  There's no way to lift the box off completely without removing the wires.

One by one I unscrewed the little white buggers hoping to gain access.   FINALLY!!!  It's loose!!!

Or NOT!  The top would barely lift up enough to get a picture, let alone check any water levels.  And HEY ... where's the little caps you lift up??  Can someone explain to me what this is?  I'm guessing, and it's a BIG guess, that it doesn't need water?  It's a sealed battery??

You mean I went through all this for NOTHING?  Is this a marine deep cycle battery?  Because that's what pops up when I google L20.  Does that mean no maintenance?  That would sure be a plus in my little world.

And so with that problem completely unresolved, I put away the 28th screwdriver and finished up this quilt binding just as my neighbor knocked on the door.

It seems some big time water polo team will be having their winning celebration one house over in our tiny little neighborhood with four parking spaces.  They have called to warn everyone they are expecting over 100 people.  Oh gee .. won't THAT be fun!  At least they gave us fair notice.  The last time there was a party, my mail box took a nap, flat on the ground.  Hopefully this time it remains upright.

Next up ... assembling the little red cart.  I'm back in the screwdriver drawer!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The Portrait

 We photographers love nothing more than setting up six tripods, yards and yards of material and big heavy flash boxes, not to mention all the wires, cables and huge heavy batteries to make them work in the soft boxes we put together to soften the same light.  Whew!

To be honest, that's not true at all.  In fact, it's so labor intensive that I sold and/or gave away all my portrait gear.  Okay, I kept a few pieces ... the tripods.  Setting up all that gear takes almost an hour, while the actual picture taking lasts less than five minutes.  Two minutes if you have a good model. 

That's why I called Cris instead of doing these portraits myself.  Add to the above the adjustments to the images, along with a website where people can see the proofs, and printing them out all takes money and time.  Now you know why photographers are so expensive.  It's not just having a camera.

And so ..... after all of that ..... here's my portrait for the wall in my fancy dancy tuxedo.  I can't complain, I would just prefer I looked 30 years younger!  Totally weird to see myself in a tux.

I was back at the Lodge last night to see a demo of the new Point of Sale system they are considering.  Now the waitresses won't be running back and forth to the kitchen so much ... our orders will go in instantly instead of thirty minutes later AND we can pay at the table instead of waiting for the gals to write up a ticket.  It's a win-win situation!!

It also keeps tabs on employee hours, products used ... I mean this thing could probably buy your lottery ticket for you and let you know if you won!  It does everything!!  Finally we are moving on up from manual to electronic.

I thought maybe I should do the same.  Happy Birthday to me!!  I skipped over that day previously, but decided I should move into the future with the latest and greatest Portrait Lighting.  Actually, these lights can be used for anything ... even outside night lighting.  

Look Ma .... no wires or big batteries.  This is all you need to light up your world.  Actually you only need ONE because there are two tops to the same light depending on how much light you need.  Attach a trigger to your camera and you can put this light anywhere.  Wireless stuff is amazing!!!  No more models tripping over extension cords!!
I added one soft box for good measure, just because sometimes you really do want to take photos of people.  You go to all the expense of buying the big flashy light thing, then you have to soften that light with what else ... a soft box.  

The good news is it folds up completely flat.  Well, it SHOULD, if I could only figure out how to twist it ... you know, like the sunscreen springy thingy for your car windshield?  I have the hardest time with those.

At any rate, it will be fun to play around with.  It's probably going to be difficult to get the skunks to pose and say cheese, but I'll give it a shot.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Thrill Is Gone!

It was definitely a good time hooking up again with my photographer friend Cris.  Back in the day of taking classes, we did everything possible to harass the instructor, with whom we became great friends.  That's one of the perks of being old.  It worked well in my college years too.

You see I didn't go to college until I was 50 years old.  Neither the opportunity nor the money appeared until I was already over the hill.  You can imagine going to classes with 20-somethings.  Surely I was smarter than THAT when I was that age.  Or maybe not.

The most interesting thing about it was how I learned to manipulate the instructors who were impossible to deal with.  I admit that's exactly what I did.  When you have men (in this case there were two) who are prejudiced against Americans (why are you even here) and spreading hate in the minds of kids, you do what you have to do ... and a tight short dress goes a long way.  

At any rate, in between all those accounting classes, I took photography.  That's where I met Cris, a guy with the best attitude on the planet.  He's enthusiastic about EVERYTHING!  A joy and inspiration to be around.  He's also the best body guard you can have when schlepping the back streets of San Francisco for that perfect weird picture of steam coming out of a manhole cover.

If there was a night shoot, Cris came along.  He's worked many jobs from nightclub bouncer to bail bondsman, in order to support his family and his passion of photography.

So when the Elks asked for a photographer for those portraits in the hallway upstairs, I called Cris.  I don't have copies yet, but the camera views were terrific.  Although I thought the thrill was gone regarding photography, he certainly encouraged me to get back at it.  

In the meantime, the thrill of the catch is also gone.  What a boring day it is now that there are no skunks running around the back yard.  I haven't even seen a kitty kitty.

To keep occupied, I decided to try that update on my Apple Watch.  I went through this last year, sitting down at the Elks for hours on end waiting for the upload.  The thrill of an Apple Watch has gone the way of skunks.  Updates take forever ... even longer than the phone ... and there's always six error messages.  

Most of the problem stems from my terrible internet connection.  All I have is a MiFi with one bar.  When I set the watch up this time, it said 16 hours remaining.  Really?  I finally set up before I went to bed, hoping it could connect overnight.   

This morning .... here's what I got along with a message about no internet connection.  I'm still waiting!!

In the meantime, here's something new for you!  If you are like me, I end up with three avocados in the fridge, all of which have chosen to ripen at the same time.  Two of them will turn black and rot before I can consume their deliciousness.

So here's what I did.  I scooped them out into a bowl, added just a touch of lime juice and salt, then smashed them up.  I used a cookie scoop to place them on parchment paper before FREEZING them.  Once hard, I put them in a zip-lok bag.  

Yes, one is missing because I had to see how the frozen ball thawed.  Guess what .... they are perfect!!  Fresh guacamole right from the freezer.  They didn't even turn black.  How cool is that???

So that's my tip of the day.  My second tip is don't buy an Apple Watch.  I'm still waiting for that update, WAY past the time the thrill of having a watch you can talk to has ended.  

Monday, May 24, 2021

More Help Required!

I'm happy to report there were NO critters wandering the hills and valleys of my back yard last night.  Maybe, just MAYBE, I have stayed the land rush for free diggings.  No doubt it's only temporary, so I'm not holding my breath.

I do have another problem however, that I'm sure my RV friends can help me with.  This is a picture of the two batteries in my rig.  I read you are supposed to check the water in them about once a month.  That part I completely forgot about until yesterday.

First off, what's up with all the covers and exhaust tubes?  For how many years have we all had batteries UNCOVERED in our vehicles WITHOUT all this nonsense?   I finally decided to tackle removing them for the check.

Here's my problem.  The screw has a square hole in the head.  That of course means not one of the 25 screwdrivers I have will work to remove the covers.  Take another close look.  The red and black wires between the two boxes keep the box on the right completely encased with no chance of removal.  So how do you check the water if you cannot remove the case?

I tried everything in my toolbox (I really do have lots of tools) and nothing worked.  I suppose today will be a trip to Harbor Freight to find one of those specialty screwdrivers.  

Here's my big question.  Can't I just throw all this stuff out?  Do I really need all this nonsense?  Truly, I'm not worried about the batteries exploding.  After a year or two, I'll replace them with AGM's anyway.  The less maintenance there is that I'm sure to forget to do, the better!!

Now I'm worried about the batteries running low on water.  In the meantime, I returned to the screen installation.  I grabbed some needle nose pliers and my 100 little zip ties and went to work.  After a little practice in cutting off said zip ties completely because somehow they didn't go around the wires, I finally got the three screens installed.  Woohoo!

The hardest part was cutting the screen to get that drain tube through.  Lucky for me I have five pair of side cutters left over from the ranch.  None of them are sharp after having cut dozens of barbed wire fence strands, but eventually they got the job done.  To be honest, I don't know why they don't COME with screens, because you know everyplace in the world has critters that are going to infest the back of the fridge.  Same goes for the hot water heater.  Goodness manufacturers .. just put a piece of screen over it!!

I spent the rest of the day at the Elks RV Park.  It's taken some time, but this has turned into a great facility.  The building is open on two sides, making it perfect for a Stag lunch.  Back in the old days, it was men only, although wives could accompany them occasionally.  The STAG steak lunch meant men only could attend.  

When women were finally allowed in, they kept the name Stag lunch for old times sake.  They try to tell you stag means "single", but in truth, it meant ONLY MEN.  Just a little history there.  By the way, when women were voted in, half the men left permanently.  Those that stayed are happy because now they don't do cleanup ... the women usually do it for them!!  It's a win-win.

The Sheriff cooked the steaks on a flat top grill (the best steaks we've had in ages by the way), and included delicious portuguese beans and cole slaw.  The beer was free all day too, so as you can imagine, we were packed with people.  

Once back home, I worked on the binding for this quilt, interrupted about 20 times to throw the ball for Cooper.  

Today's objective ... put together the little red cart from Harbor Freight that's going to hold my hitch so I don't have to lift it up from the floor.  We shall see how that goes.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

From Making Jerky To Fireball

It's been interesting, the last few days.  In between skunks, tuxedo pictures, garage cleaning and playing great white hunter on the property, I decided to smoke a chicken.  My thoughts went something like this:

I love smoked chicken breast.  I think I'll smoke a chicken.  Why smoke an ENTIRE chicken when you could do just the breast meat because it's the best?  It's on sale for $1.99 a pound.  Let's DO IT!!

Back in the days of cattle wrangling on the slopes of Sequoia National Park, we didn't carry much fresh meat.  Everything was dried or canned.  There wasn't any way we could get ice chests packed on the mules to keep things fresh.  Canned dried chipped beef was the usual meat of choice.

That was unless "Jack" decided to act up.  He was our pack mule for the food.  He was so cantankerous that he wasn't led with a rope ... Dad just let him roam loose.  He followed because he didn't want to be left alone.

Pluggy he was ... never wanting to keep up.  Once out of site, we would ride our horses off the trail and hide behind a big tree, then wait for him.  Pretty soon he would come running, head up, braying the entire way, scared that he lost sight of us!  Silly goose!!  

There were some sections he had to be led through, which ended up in disaster as he would smash into a tree here and there, creaking the bottles of beef (back then it came in thick glass bottles).  Eggs were always packed in plastic bags to salvage for scrambling because they rarely made it whole.

At any rate, one time we actually had real meat.  Instead of cooking it, Dad decided to make his usual beef jerky so it would last longer.  Our only refrigeration was the cold water in the creek, easily accessible by bears.  He cut the beef into strips and hung it on the barbed wire fence to dry, hoping the bears didn't catch a whiff!!  He smothered it in cayenne and black pepper to mask the smell.

Lucky for us, it survived the bears, but not the meat bees.  The next morning it was completely covered with the flying crawling critters.  We salvaged what we could and made cowboy gravy for the biscuits.  The pieces were much thinner than in the picture above.  You haven't eaten gourmet campfire until you've had dried beef gravy over hard tack biscuits.  

Little did I know when I started out with the chicken, I would end up with the same product.  Here's the thing ... you really need SKIN ON chicken.  After the first four hours, I stuck a thermometer in to check the temperature.   STILL not up to 165.  What the heck?

Sadly, I let it go another hour before finally taking it out.  I'm pretty sure this is the best chicken jerky I've ever made.  There's not one teeny tiny molecule of moisture left.  Oh it looks pretty, but is dry as a bone. My Dad would be proud if I was making jerky!!  I wasn't!!

An update on the fence!!  Woohoo!!  I haven't seen anyone working out there for the last week at least.  All of a sudden yesterday I noticed the hole wasn't quite as wide.  I would think I would have heard the hum of a drill bit or hammering of the nails.  Nothing.  I'll take a close up look today and see how it's going.  Hopefully this will stop the long parade of critters marking MY territory as THEIRS.

The photo shoot at the Elks Lodge went fine and I will report on it tomorrow.  In the meantime, meet Frank Paredes, a Veteran who survived Pearl Harbor.  He's 100 years old (almost 101) and going strong.  He only acquired the walker last year due to a fall.  

Frank's favorite food is Fireball.  He's an Apache Indian who as a kid, cared for the horses of the cavalry at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, south of my place.  He still participates in our Lodge Honor Guard at every funeral they attend.  He's pretty much a legend around here.

Happily there were no critters on the game camera yesterday.  Almost a letdown.  I'm happy to report however that my skunk catching skills are the talk of the town.  I got two calls yesterday to remove FOUR skunks.  I'm not sure that's my new calling .... maybe I'll just show them how and they can take it from there!!  There's no use pushing my luck!!

Saturday, May 22, 2021

More Crazy Critters

I really figured I would catch a lot more kitty kitties in my back yard with the skunk trap.  The favorite thing on a skunk's menu is cat food.  Many people around here feed the stray cats, thus the abundance of food favored by skunks.

I haven't seen this guy around in the daylight EVER.  He's the very first kitty I caught, whereupon he learned his lesson.  Never go near the trap!!  This is probably the fourth time I've seen him hanging around the area at night.  I do like these guys, since they are probably the reason I have no mice.  And I say that with a whisper so they too don't become another problem.

So one morning I go outside to find lots of bird you-know-what on the patio.  Where did THAT come from?  Of course I looked up to my roof, only to spot a big pile.  NOOOOOOO !!  Then I heard the telltale cooing which in English means I've got PIGEONS homesteading on my roof!!

 Good grief .... I've got enough vermin around here.  I really don't need pigeons setting up housekeeping.  This is a picture with NO birds.  Why?  Because I just threw ten tennis balls up on the roof to scare them off.  

Do you know how hard it is to throw a tennis ball?  Especially UP and LONG?  I rather prided myself on my baseball skills in years past, but alas, they have all disappeared.  I barely got up to the first vent.  How embarrassing.  I'm sure they were laughing at me.

I finally got them to fly away, but then had to get out my tallest ladder and retrieve three balls from the gutter.  I went out several times a day for three days and scared them off.  A couple of times as soon as they saw me, they flew away.  Well that worked well ... I haven't seen them now in two days.   I mean really, WHAT will show up next?????

Here's some of those old images.  I didn't wear your everyday fashions, I wore vintage clothing.  Do you have any idea just how hard it is to NOT smile for the camera?  Most of the clothing came from various antique stores ... when there was such a thing ... and many of the items came from my grandmother and HER mother.

The hardest part was getting IN to these outfits.  Ladies of old were very tiny, unlike me.  Everything is authentic, including my all time favorite hat.  Those two black pieces sticking up are the dried wings of a crow.  I know, pretty disgusting, but VERY fashionable!

Just for kicks, we threw in the red tights with the button up boots.  It was a lot of fun.  Sometimes I even walked the streets of the gold mining towns in this area, dressed to the nines.  I would do it again except there's no way I could fit into those teeny tiny clothes now.

This dress was handmade by my grandmother when she was a teenage Southern Debutante.  It's made from maroon velvet with silk lining.  The hat, also velvet, is covered in ostrich feathers.  The big black fan I'm holding (barely visible) is also made of feathers.  I imagine she was the belle of the ball!  Too bad she fell in love with a Damn Yankee and her family disowned her.  

And so it's time for a little more modeling.  I found one of my photographer friends to take portraits of the Lodge Officers for this year, of which I am one.  It will be a LOT of fun working with Big Cris again.  I've told him to use the photoshop liquify button and take off 20 pounds, as well as make me look 10 years younger!!!  It's a win-win!!

Friday, May 21, 2021

Finding Really Old Memories

You probably didn't know that I'm as old as dirt.  I certainly never thought that would happen in my life.  I always thought I would be long gone by now, but every year those birthdays just keep adding up.  Finding old memories that prove I really was skinny once, are priceless.

It was time to clean out at least part of the garage while the weather is still cool.  SO MUCH STUFF!!  At any rate, I could barely get my Jeep in the bay, so I finally got to it.  I have to admit a lot of boxes are full of Halloween stuff.  Actually, more Halloween than Christmas.  I could have a block party!!

There's weird stuff too, like the two foot wide blown glass light shade, probably close to 100 years old that hung where else, but in the attic of our 100 year old house.

In the far back corner is my Grandmother's cedar chest from long long ago.  I opened it carefully because somehow I remembered one hinge was broken.  Right on top was a collection of pictures that took me right down memory lane.

Meet Dillon's Showboy ... Showby for short.  He was one of my best all around horses.  We did everything from cutting cattle competitions to equitation (just riding around the ring) and my favorite .... trail horse class.  I could make the slightest move and put his feet anywhere I wanted.  On this day we got first place.  I miss this big guy!!

Back to cleaning, it took me an hour just to remove the boxes of junk.  Gosh darn they were heavy!!  Who filled these things up to the brim??  All the boxes had to be removed, as well as the wood shelves to make it easier to drag them across the garage with that horrible screeching noise.

Yes the hood is up on the Jeep because the batteries died a short and sweet death.  One day they worked, the next they didn't.  I charged it just enough to move it out.

Finally ... one shelf moved.  However, you can see that stuff pretty much just got moved from one side to the other.  Good grief Charlie Brown!!!   I mean what do you do?  It's all good stuff that I don't want to throw away, but there's no place to donate around here.  

Yard sale?  Yes ... big sigh ... but that's almost more trouble than it's worth.  Maybe I can talk Cyndae into coming down and helping!!

SUCCESS!!  Sort of anyway, as two big shelves and all the must-save stuff have been moved to the other side.  I can now actually get my truck in the first bay.  I admit, it's not very organized, but just what do you do with a witch's head in a huge glass ball and a 3' wide black widow spider??

Here's another interesting find.  I bet you didn't know I modeled clothing for a time.  This is my all time favorite hat which I still have.  I probably even have the shirt they gave me somewhere, though there's no way it still fits.  That's just the tip of the iceberg.  I'll post a few more funny pictures tomorrow.

Last night, dressed in my I-hate-this-color purple shirt and I-hate-these-even-more tan pants, I went to the Elks Lodge Cattlemen's Night dinner.  You can probably guess what was on the menu.  A huge New York steak cooked to perfection on the barbecue.  WAY more food than I could ever eat.  Amazingly, we had 200 people show up for dinner.  Just like the "old" days!!

In other non-eventful news, I resigned as Inner Guard.  Surprised?  Me too!!  I am now 2nd Year Trustee Elect.  It should be an interesting couple of months since I'm not really a "club" person, I'm a Bingo cashier-type gal.  The good news is there are no lines to memorize.  Yahoo!!

There was one surprise in my trap last night that I'll post tomorrow also.  And I can't believe I'm saying this, but even MORE visitors.