Tuesday, April 30, 2024


Mother Nature is at it again.  Wind, wind and more wind graced our presence yesterday, making it impossible to finish spraying the weeds in my corrals.  Apparently it also kept the landscape guy away, the one who was to replace the dead grass.  

And then I saw it.  Lights flashing at 5:00 am like there was a raid going on in the subdivision next door.  Beep beep beep told me the sad story.  They were pouring concrete on the empty lot directly behind me.  I will now be surrounded by houses.  I'm hoping it won't be two story, or I will have to get drapes and cover my big wall of windows that look directly at it.  For someone who was raised on a ranch a mile away from anyone, this is pretty traumatic.  We've already got TWO bad apples in the vicinity, and now the possibility of THREE.  

I'm not sure who could afford to build a house right now, since these are going for around $700,000.  This is part one .......

This is the rest of it with an additional 20' to the right, not even in the picture.  Compared to my house, this must be around 4,000 square feet.  It stretches from one property line to the other on a one acre lot.  How sad.  I love my house, I just hate the neighbors, and now I'm gun shy when it comes to looking ANYWHERE else.

Which by the way I have been doing every day.  Prescott $750,000, Cottonwood $600,000, Buckeye $600,000, Yuma ... cheaper, but who wants to live in Yuma!  Tucson $650,000.  Now is definitely not the time to be buying houses.

These cheered me up however.  Too bad they aren't in my yard, or in ANY yard around here!  Aren't they pretty?

By 9:00 I was out running the neighborhood for a little exercise.  Nancy has been too sedentary.  Being glued to the couch is not in my nature.  I mostly ran 2.5 miles, feeling pretty good the entire time, surprised that I can still do it.  It takes a mile to get your lungs working, but after that it isn't too bad.  I'm looking forward to being stiff as a board tomorrow morning!

Groceries were on the schedule also.  I'm just so shocked at the prices in the stores.  Who can afford to eat?  Each of those cans were $2.00-2.29.  That's 5 cans for $10.00.  Geeze you can't even afford to eat canned beans any more.  I only shopped sale items and did not get ANY meat.  Even the salads were $5.00 each.  There is $80 sitting there.  I guess I'm going back to the old ranch menu ... dried beans and potatoes.

SO ... let's make this day even better by trying to burn the house down.  Yes, it wasn't my best day.  Next up on the hello fresh menu (which price wise is about equal to hitting the grocery store) is crispy chicken and potatoes.  So what's that other stuff on the plate?  Fried corn.  I know ... who does that?  And then there was a package of cheddar cheese.  What the heck is that for?

My advice ... do NOT buy this one.  The corn is roasted in a frying pan, making it tough.  Two potatoes were rotten, so I called and got a $9.00 credit.  That was nice.  The chicken was an easy fry.  It was the gravy that killed it.  GARLIC gravy.  Anyone heard of that before?  That's because it's terrible.

So there I am, stirring the gravy, when some splashed on to the stove.  I grabbed a paper towel and began to wipe it up.  OOPS ... I got a little close to the flame and it caught fire.  FIRE!!!!!!!  Of course I blew on it to put it out, right?  It exploded in my hand.  Instead of dropping it in the gravy, which might have made it taste better, or on the fireproof stove, I dropped it on the floor and STOMPED on it!!!  

NOOOOO .... that broke it into TWO flaming pieces flying across the wood floor.  Good grief.  I picked up the two chunks still on fire and ran to the sink.  SAFE!!  No fire alarms were harmed in this incident and the floor survived without a scratch.  My fingers however, got a little scorched.  

I took a deep breath and went back to the gravy, whereupon I finally discovered where the cheddar cheese went.  On the GRAVY.  Really?  That's a new one on me.  I ate it ... most of it anyway, but definitely won't be ordering this again.  

That's when I noticed Jonathan was out of bird biscuits.  That's what two of the above cans were for.  Sweet potatoes for his biscuits.  Birds need orange things, which of course they don't exactly care for because it's good for them, so I sneak it into his food.  I'm sure that's why he has lived so long.  There was no fire involved here.

And so ended a long day of disappointment, smiles and screams ... the norm in my household.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Rewarded Traditions

 Good morning sunny California!  The weather could not be better.  At long last spring has arrived, which I'm sure will be followed by summer in just a few days.  50 degree nights are followed by 70 degree days. Woohoo!!!

I didn't get to appreciate any of it however, since I had an hour's drive out of town very early in the morning.  Over the years of being involved with the Elks Lodge, I've done my very best to NEVER attend any meetings other than our own.  So far I've succeeded 100%.

On this day however, I decided I should live up to tradition.  Have you ever seen any of those old pictures like this one from the 1880's?  In my mind, I always think of Alaska and the hardy miners gathering in groups like this to help each other survive.  In reality, it actually started in 1848 by 15 actors and entertainers as a social club for MEN only.  

In 1993, the Elks Lodges of Utah were faced with losing their liquor license if they did not allow women.  In 1995 all lodges were required to remove the word MALE from their membership requirements.  It caused quite a stir, with many men quitting the organization.  I can't blame them ... but in the end, our group has become bigger and better thanks to the gals who make up at least half our group.  At least that's what the remaining men say.

Traditions are a big thing at the Elks Lodge, and one is that of how the meetings are conducted.  As you can see, it requires tuxedos.  The different lodges in our area compete against each other to see who can win the prestigious Ritual Award.  This ritual is performed for every person who joins.  This happens to be my group, who for the second year in a row WON the Ritual Contest.

It's pretty prestigious since the entire ceremony (well over 30 minutes long) has to be spoken completely from memory with not a hesitation or mistake made.  These folks are elected at the end of March and have 30 days to learn their parts.  It's crazy hard!!

One of the reasons for this big meeting so early on a Sunday morning is to reward the different lodges for their hard work in several different categories.  They had me at donuts!!  I admit walking in the door and not knowing anyone was a little difficult for me, but soon my group arrived and my anxiety level dropped.

Even for this meeting (and every meeting) you have to dress up.  There's no slouching allowed.  Holding the trophy is our head dude (a retired fireman) and his second in command to the right, our newest County Supervisor.  I don't remember us winning since I joined in 2010.

Winner winner ... chicken dinner.  Our lodge came away big time winners.  It's really not about the trophies, it's about all the hard work it took to get here.  We were awarded for things like having the most new members in one year (over 200), giving out the most scholarships, an award for following protocol, and several other areas of good works.  

Each individual is also judged separately, and most of our guys came in first or second.  That's saying a lot considering how much they have to learn.  

It surprised me that some lodges only have 200 members.  We are by far the largest group in the central district.  Imagine ... little old Merced.

It was worth the long trip for the maple covered donut ... fresh from the bakery!!  Even the coffee was good!!!

The rest of the time was just a general meeting to remind everyone to send in reports.  It really wasn't the horribly boring thing it was made out to be.  I may even go to the NEXT one .... maybe!!

On the other hand, I discovered a bit of distressing news when I returned home.  It's okay, I'll survive, but it's why I was looking elsewhere for permanent lodging.   

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Seeing Red

Yes, BAD Nancy retracted those bad things she said about the politician and removed them from the blog.  If you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all.  He MIGHT have donated personally through different channels.  On the other hand, as everyone knows, California's politicians have turned a great state into a mess.  I dislike them one and all.

I'm off to another meeting, this time a "Clinic", whatever that is.  How could I say no when the first words were DONUTS WILL BE SERVED.

The worst part ... I have to be there by 9:30 am.  Who has a meeting at 9:30 am on a Sunday?

And so for your viewing pleasure, here's my blooming geraniums. 

Red seems to be a recurring theme.  No, I haven't planted the gazanias yet, but hope to get that done soon. In the meantime, I vegged out (still miserably full of food from the night before), looked up fire pits and housing in Yuma, followed by some boring sewing.

That's it folks ... I've got nothing, except my neighbor still has the last gardener, and guess what.  He did not show up Friday OR yesterday.  I'm thinking he's fired yet again!!

I'll let you know how the donuts were .............

Saturday, April 27, 2024


OKAY ... UPDATE.  I should not be speaking badly about our politicians, even if I don't like them.  My apologies.  Maybe they bid on something I didn't see ...... you know, like how they pass bills without us seeing or knowing.

Well that was one crazy day!   It started out quite nicely, especially in the light of not having to be anywhere or do anything.  Those are MY kind of days.  Sadly, it turned into THIS!  SQUIRREL!!!!

I was up at the normal hour.  Cyndae slept in until 9:45.  I don't know how anyone can do that.  Eventually she gathered all her stuff and headed out the door around noon.  With nothing on my to-do list for the moment, I decided I better get this Hello Fresh food cooked.  Somehow I got THREE dinners in the box.  That's more food than I can eat in a WEEK!

Here's the what-it-should-look-like picture.  

Yeah, I didn't follow the recipes.  Roasted potatoes are not my favorite, so I mashed them.  The broccoli that should have been roasted also, was not, AND I left off the lemon peel.  I have to admit, the pork chop was a nice one, but was covered in what they called Steakhouse seasoning.  Turns out it was dill.  Who puts DILL on a pork chop?

You know me though, I ate it.  This is a small salad plate, but it was more food than I should have eaten.  I was stuffed to the gills.  I definitely will NOT order this one again.  Actually, I don't think I ordered it at all ... it just showed up.

Since the sun was out, my plan was to lay out and read.  It started out great, but the cloud cover soon put the kibosh on that idea.

This is what concrete looks like when you put your phone down.  I knew you would be impressed.

Back in the house, I was lounging on the couch watching the rodeo happening about 60 miles away.  Being local made it more fun since many of the contestants were from my area.

That's when it happened.  SQUIRREL!!!  My phone rang.  All I could hear was really loud music.  Must be a spammer.  Nope ... it was my friends from the Elks Lodge who were attending yet another fundraiser for Boys and Girls Club.  "You have to get down here.  Our table has eight seats and no one showed up!!"

That's a NO-NO ... to have your lodge name posted on the table and not have anyone show up.  Big sigh ... I really did not want to go, but I quickly changed clothes, put on lots of foo-foo juice and ran out the door. It was at another building at the fairgrounds, so my Levis and boots were suitable.

Our table was front and center.  Fancy it was!!  One of only two with a GOLD tablecloth!  The balloons are your bidding sticks!!  For dinner ... like I really wanted dinner after eating that huge lunch ... was your choice of beef ribs, chicken or vegetarian.  Obviously I went for the ribs.  In an instant I was miserably full and I only ate half.  Let the program begin.

First off, I can't believe how completely RUDE people are at these fundraisers.  They never shut up so the rest of us can hear.  One sweet grandmother was trying to talk about how much Boys and Girls club had done for her three grandchildren.  She was ten feet away and I could hardly hear her.  I wanted to grab the microphone and tell people to SHUT UP!!  Even worse, three tables behind us just got up and left in the middle of her talking.  It was just SO disrespectful!! 

Finally, let the auction begin.  Gosh ... in years past this group had the best items ... things like a safari trip to Africa, a cruise to Mazatlan ... big ticket items.  This year there was a barbecue dinner for ten that went for $500, tickets to the Las Vegas Raiders went for $250 ... not much bidding going on.  

The desserts were auctioned off in between items, bringing in $300-500 each.  These two friends at my table couldn't believe how much they were selling for.  

So where the heck are the politicians ... Democrat Assemblyman Adam Gray, the mayor, two prior assemblymen, all the big wigs from the local area.  They are all here, why aren't they bidding??  This is Adam Grays table and they did not bid on one single item.    

And so the night ended as the auction items only garnered about $9,000.  I imagine they made money from selling the tables (minus the cost of decorations and food), but what a sad response from the politicians.  CASA made huge amounts from the Judges and Lawyers and even LOVE INC beat out this fundraiser.  

I have yet another event to attend tomorrow, so the rest of today I'll be LOUNGING!!

No worries about our table ... Nancy will be having a talk with those that didn't bother to show up or even call to let us know.

Friday, April 26, 2024

A Gray Day Turns BRIGHT!

 And we are back to RAIN!  Predictions of sunny days ahead didn't last long.  It was a little dark all day as clouds moved in for the duration.  The only way to cheer things up is for my friend Cyndae and I to go where?   SHOPPING!

I played spin the makeup bottles of colors from perfect (except I was running out) to dark brown like I lived in Hawaii, to bright peachy orange.  Perfect if it's Halloween, but not so good for every day.  These bottles are not cheap ... so we were off to Macys to find the exact right one.  No more guessing!!!

Interestingly enough, we met the nicest lady from Lithuania who wanted to move to Phoenix.  You just never know where you will meet fellow desert enthusiasts.  

While there, we noticed the clothing department seemed to be in much better shape than previously.  Who could resist just a quick peek.  Ninety minutes later we were finally walking out the door with new Levis.  You just can't beat that with a stick!!

Right next door is an Italian restaurant, Johnny Carino's.  If there is one near you, you might want to check it out.  Cyndae had a coupon for buy one meal, get one half off.  

We both ordered this amazing chicken scallopini.  Almost anything smothered in bacon, mushrooms and cream sauce would be good, right?  This was fabulous .. and a HUGE plate of food.  They also serve French bread with a garlic balsamic olive oil dipping sauce.  YUM YUM!!

Here's why you might want to find that coupon and check them out.  Our two lunches AND this special $5.99 chunk of lasagna (enough to feed two people) came to $21.00.  No kidding ... how can you not partake of THAT bargain!!  

Happy Day!!!  Now stuffed to the gills, we headed back home.  But wait ... is there a nursery around here anywhere Cyndae asked.  She needed something for a friends birthday.  We got a little lost, but I was finally able to pull into their parking lot.  

This is a BAD place for Nancy to go.  I'll take one of everything please.  The flowers ... the GREEN things ... the pretty colors!!!  I was in Heaven!

I showed great restraint however, by only picking up three big pots of what else .... gazanias.  I laughed when the salesgirl said these are really hard to kill.  You haven't met ME, have you!!  Since those others in my yard are doing so well, I thought more might be a good addition.  I'll get them planted today.

One more stop ... don't you just love it when a plan comes together?  Cyndae needed a birthday card, so we stopped off at the Dollar store.  I'm not enamored so much by the dollar store any more, since nothing is a dollar ... but I did pick up some needed office items that now cost $7.00 instead of the advertised $5.00.  It's still a bunch cheaper than anywhere else however, and it made up (just a little bit) for the crazy price of those Levis!!

And so we finally made it back home in one piece.  I swear, nothing makes a gray day better than good company on a shopping trip!!!  We had a blast!

Back home, we found Mr. Cooper sound asleep ... for all of two seconds.  It was play time!!

It's also time to check on my Macy's order.  Oh yeah ... no more looking like a MAN in the Elks tuxedo.  I ordered a nice black skirt for my meeting night ensemble, because you KNOW the rebel that I am.  It's rubbing off because I talked the other gal into doing the same.  

We greatly appreciate that the Elks Lodge (after many MANY years) allowed women to join in, but kept us in men's wear.  It's time to switch it up, mostly because it's SO much cooler in a skirt!!!  

And now .... I'm off to play horticulture specialist .........

Thursday, April 25, 2024

The Saga Continues

It was a slow day here as April begins to come to a close.  Wow ... that went fast!!  It was not the usual sunny day, but an overcast gray day filled with energy sapping cleanup work.  Company was coming.  My friend from Sacramento was on her way.

I had every intention of showing off the gazanias that I had grown from the small cuttings she deposited on my patio.  Boy they are blooming now!!  She didn't get to see anything, because by the time I showed her, it was 7:00 at night and they had all closed up and gone to sleep.  Who knew they did that?  Hopefully today I can show them off.

And so the saga of the gardeners continues like Groundhog Day.  Over and over again!  The last one named Luis was still running over sprinkler heads, cutting them off and never fixing them.  The neighbor's concrete is growing nicely.  He missed several weeks and never applied the weed formula to the lawn, resulting in more weeds than grass.  FIRED.  I had my bank send him a check.

Let's hire the guy who works across the street.  Their lawn is immaculate!!  Sure enough, Eduardo agreed, but for more money of course.  He edged, mowed and left.  It's okay, he promised to replace the broken sprinklers, adjust all of them, put on weed and feed and trim the overgrown hedges next week.  

Three weeks passed.  Each time, he spent 15 minutes at my house, 30 minutes at the house next door where I got him ANOTHER job, and THREE HOURS at the first guys house across the street.  He never did any of the things he said he would ... NOT ONE.  

He did such a bad job at the neighbors place that the husband called him up and gave him what for.  He came back and mowed their entire lawn TWICE (it's twice the size of mine) ... but STILL did nothing for my yard.  That's it Eduardo ... FIRED!!!  I sent him off into the sunset.  He had four weeks to do just one thing more than mow and go.  Just what is up with these guys???

No kidding ... this is getting absolutely ridiculous.  I'm now on to gardener number TEN.  This time I got a personal recommendation from a friend.  I would give her name, but I haven't asked yet.  Her brother does yard maintenance locally, and he is actually an adult.  I'm sure he has a better work ethic since he was raised on a farm nearby.  

He stopped by ... a VERY nice man ... whom I hired immediately.  He even fixed a sprinkler before he left.  He will start next week.  I just know my lawn maintenance woes are OVER!  Besides that, he said he would be more than happy to haul off to the dump, all the junk I've accumulated in the back yard.

To make it a little easier, I got the Weed Man to apply weed and feed to the entire front and back yards, you know, since he ruined a good section of my grass.  Then I found this picture.  Maybe I could get rid of one whole side of lawn (and sprinklers) by having their landscaper replace all that dead grass with something like this.  Not all the greenery, but the bricks and large gravel.  Less mowing, less water usage ... it just might work!

That's when I got the text message from Luis.  YOU SEND CHECK.  I did Luis ... three weeks ago.  I NO GET ... YOU SEND CHECK.  No Luis, I'm NOT sending you another check.  That went on for 30 minutes and he was getting pretty mad.  I'll check with the bank first.

Come to find out, I wasn't talking to Luis at all, but his BROTHER.  Where's Luis???  No answer.  Apparently he's either in jail or off to Mexico for a long vacation.  I called the bank and the money has been taken out.  Whether that means the check was cashed or not, I don't know.  It's one of those Bill Pay services.  Oh boy ... now I get to deal with them to find out if the check was actually cashed.  Oh the fun!!

And so the gardener saga continues as did the Days Of Our Lives.  Anyone remember that one??

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Full Moon ... It's A Full Moon

Here we are once again at the time of the full moon.  This is the PINK moon, so named by the Native Americans because it comes at a time of blooming flowers.  It doesn't look all that pink to me, but just wait, it certainly had the same effect.

The full moon is more well known in MY circles as the denizen of crazy people.  When the full moon comes out, there's craziness about.  This time it didn't dawn on me until it was too late.

Hmmmm maybe "I" am the crazy one!!  It was time to try and fix the sprinklers.  Every single one has had the top cut off either from their lawn mowers or weed eaters.  That makes them fill with dirt and not work. Time to try and fix the worst ones.

I got the first one dug and and replaced, but way too late, I discovered the little nozzle gizzy that makes the spray adjustable, was missing.  Big sigh!!  I went and got another one (different brand) and changed it out once again.  Of course I got soaking wet trying to adjust it to a 180 degree pattern.  I kept getting caught by the other two sprinklers that were close by.  SPLAT!!!  Right in the face!!!

One down, three to go.  I got the next one in, but it was watering the NEIGHBOR'S lawn, not mine.  At last I got it going the right direction, but I kept having to adjust the length of spray.  All of a sudden WHAP!!!!!  The little adjustment thingy went flying out the front halfway across the lawn.  

A gardener I am NOT!  Thirty minutes later I finally found it and luckily had another set screw.  I now have TWO working quite nicely.  I gave up.  I'll be off to the irrigation store today to purchase ten more.

Lunch was easy ... smoked pork tacos once again.  I have to fight Cooper over the pork.  Every time he sees that container come out, he starts barking.  Sadly, it's not for little puppies.  He gets a tiny taste from the very middle. 

AND I WAS OFF to Bingo ... after getting a text message from a mad gardener who didn't get the final check I sent him on April 6th.  That's a long story for tomorrow!

Here I sit ... the calm before the storm!  Had I remembered it was a full moon, I would have known it wasn't all me.  People can be weird about the numbers on the bingo packets they pick.  They have to have THE number in THE right spot on the card.  They will go through a stack of 300 looking for that number.

It takes us two hours minimum to get everyone through the line before Bingo begins.  Callers wait for no man, meaning I go as fast as I possibly can so everyone is at their table when the calling begins.

Everyone cooperates ..... except ONE.  Every single week she takes forever to pick her cards.  EVERY WEEK we wait, not only for the one pack, but for all the other EIGHT different types of games.  She doesn't seem to care one bit if she is holding up the line.  

When I finally had them rung up, she turned around and began talking to another lady.  I waited, but not long before (silly me) .... on a full moon night I said "excuse me", probably a little too loud.  BIG mistake.   She went ballistic and started yelling at me for saying something to her every time she comes through the line.  Yes, yes I do, because she makes everyone else WAIT for her to pick her cards.  It didn't go well ... she was still yelling when she walked away.  FULL MOON!!

Everything went great until time to go.  The infernal machine and I had a fist fight over $250.  I couldn't find it, nor was I in any mood to go looking half the night.  I blame it on the full moon.  Finally, on the way home, one of the Knights called me to say he had a payout of $500.  Payouts are $250 ... so THERE IT WAS, way too late to do anything about it.  BIG SIGH.  Infernal machine wins again!!

Finally back home, I looked up.  OH MAN ... there it is ... it's a FULL MOON.  No WONDER it was such a bad night!!  

That's when I heard the "musica" next door.  The big party continues on a Tuesday night.  Oh gosh ... I wonder if this is going to go on EVERY night!!  Apparently their visitor Monday night made an impression because I didn't hear ANY bombs going off, nor was the music so loud I had to sleep in the far reaches of my house.  YAY for small favors!!

There were of course a few cats outside fighting like crazy ... but I can deal with that ... even on a full moon night.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024


Never a dull moment around here as Mother Nature cools off just a tad bit yet again. You just have to have a sense of humor.  Mine is running pretty thin these days, but I'm trying hard to BUCK UP.

Lost hearing in my RIGHT eye too, but it came back this morning with a double dose of fake coffee.  I think it's the sugar rush. 

 I waited around for three hours ... SO very close to making that call to the Ag Department ... when the Weed Man guy finally showed up.  James was his name ... a nice young kid ... as we walked over to the lawn.  I watched his eyes bug out as he said OH.  

Yes I explained, it was not just a small drip.  It was a huge leak that dropped at least 15-20 gallons.  He was the one that could not respond to the kid doing my spraying because he was in Yosemite National Park on another job.  He thought the kid and I were exaggerating a bit.  No ... no we weren't.  

NO PROBLEM he said right off the bat.  We will fix ALL of it, all the way down to those very dark trees at the end of the fence.  I told him this was all sand and the chemicals had gone deep.  He said he would have his landscaper come and dig it all out real deep, haul in new sand and replace the entire area with new sod.  Okay then!  That was easy!  But time will tell.

I told him I felt so bad for the kid because he was kind of panicked and I hoped he didn't get fired.  Stuff happens!!  He thanked me for being so understanding about the whole thing and his landscaper will be here next Monday.  YAY!!  I can't remember the name of the chemical, but it is NOT glyphosate (roundup).  It's something else with a similar name.

Hey ... let's celebrate with some homemade pineapple upside down cake!  I have a big pan that makes huge cupcakes.  I placed a slice of pineapple in each hole, dropped in a little brown sugar and poured in white cake batter.  I think yellow cake mix might have been a little better.

After baking, I stuck the pan in the freezer.  When frozen, they came out pretty easily and I wrapped them in foil.

Time to try one out.  I dropped a little more brown sugar on the top because ... well you know my sweet tooth ... and popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds.  OH MY GOSH!  It was VERY good ... and I don't have to eat an entire cake in three days before it goes bad.

To help wear off the calories from eating THREE of them ... just kidding, I only ate one ... I went outside to try and fix the sprinklers.  Truly, they are easy to dig up and replace.  The problem comes from having two different manufacturers.  Nothing works the same when it comes to adjustments.  I'll have to explain that tomorrow however, because it's a long story.

Finally ... it was time to hit the hay.  Oh yeah ... a nice long sleep before Bingo!!  That's when I heard the noise ... HUGE EXPLOSIONS!  There's a party going on over my back fence.  I saw and heard the tents going up ... on a MONDAY night?  TENTS?  Who does THAT?  So I took Cooper and his blanket to the farthest room in my house.  It was 9:30 when the explosions began.

It was so bad that Cooper went ballistic ... which he NEVER does.  From the flashes coming through my bedroom windows at the far side of my house, it looked like they were in MY back yard.  It rattled the windows like never before.  I'm thinking they must be setting off flash bombs.  It made cars horns start honking all over the neighborhood.

I let it go the first time, thinking it was a one time thing.  The second time was even worse, longer and louder still.  I called 911.  I'm not putting up with this craziness.  I even told them exactly which house it was.  Turns out I was not the only caller.

The explosions continued so I called again.  For the second time, I gave them EXACT directions to the house.  Five minutes later the band stopped, so I knew they got a knock at the door.  I hope they got a big fine too.  The music started back up some time later, but it was very quiet for the rest of the night.  People are just so rude AND STUPID.  There are fields and fields of dry grass very close by here.

It's sad ... it used to be such a nice neighborhood ..........

I think I got to sleep around 11:30.  So much for being rested and awake for Bingo.  I'm hoping something like six cups of coffee will keep me awake long enough to finish the day on a high note.  

Monday, April 22, 2024

What's for Dinner?

 It was just another perfect weather day in sunny California.  The overnight temperature was a whopping 63 degrees.  I'm not sure I know how to handle this!  Today Mother Nature will ratchet it up to 84.  Lucky for me, no air conditioning will be required ... yet.  My house is so well insulated that it stays very cool inside.

The morning started off with a rousing load of laundry.  Not too early .... not too late .... but just right.  If you are using solar power, you have to watch the time.  I'm good between 9:00 in the morning and 4:00 in the afternoon.  Use much electricity after that and my rate triples.  

So far this entire year, I haven't paid for any electricity and I have a $785.00 CREDIT.  That's good because come June, I'm pretty sure the air conditioning will be running.  It was definitely worth the cash output to get solar on the house.  

At today's rates (which have gone up like crazy), I'll have it all paid for in three more years, and have not paid a dime to turn the lights on.  

The better to run my smoker and get results like this!!  About the black part ... that is the fat cap on top.  That is all scraped off and tossed in the trash.  There are some parts that are actually dark meat, called bark.  It's really quite tasty, but not my favorite part.  If it's too dark, I shave it off a bit.

So what's for breakfast??  Smoked pork of course!!  I just cut a few pieces off the side and dipped it in Sweet Baby Rays barbecue sauce.  It's not only MY favorite, but Cooper's.  He doesn't get much, and only from the middle.  No smoke or seasoning for him.

I procrastinated for quite some time by watching the Red Bluff Rodeo.  As much as I was determined to rest up a bit, every time I walked by the sink I looked down to see this.  As much as I love smoking, I hate the cleanup.  No kidding ... burned on grease and pig juice is the worst!

It's actually quite the workout.  I made a big mistake and left it in the black kitchen sink after spraying it with Dawn Power Spray.  That stuff took the shiny coat off the sink, leaving it rather gray.  I filled the sink with water and let it soak another couple of hours before tackling the goo.  Note to self:  clean it in the back porch WHITE sink next time.

So much scrubbing went on that it brought out my appetite.  What's for lunch?  Why smoked pork of course.  Tasty tacos went down rather quickly.  And then I smelled it.  SMOKE!!

Turns out it was ME.  You have to open the smoker a couple of times, which means smoke rolls out like a giant bonfire.  It gets in your clothes, in your hair and in your nose.  I guess there will be another load of laundry today.  What an exciting life, yes?

Jonathan and Cooper kept me company as I watched rodeo after rodeo.  After lunch, I even went outside to soak up some of that wonderful warm sun.  If I keep doing this, people won't think I'm a white ghost any more.

With the smoker finally cleaned up and ready for the next one, Jonathan decided to get into cleaning mode too.  Birds preen constantly ... cleaning out dander, just like kitties ... and any critters that might be lurking.  Luckily for him, there are no creatures to kill, but he does pull out different feathers at different times of year.  

Right now it's the fluffy white down feathers that you can find in every corner of the living room.  As you walk by, they go POOF and fly across the room.  

Other times of the year, it's his flight feathers.  He's also good at chewing the perches.  See the one above? That was the perch he chewed the end off, which landed him on the bottom of the cage.  I put in a new perch, and darned if he didn't start to chew THAT one too!  So now this one is wedged in the cage over the latest one to keep him from doing it again.  

Yes hardwood tree perches might solve the problem, but you have to be very careful about bringing anything in from outside.  Wild birds have lots of nasty things that will kill inside birds.  Been there, done that.  I had to give him shots for an entire year.  It was not fun and Jonathan was very lucky to have survived.

So what's for dinner??  Smoked pulled pork of course ... on a nice toasted bun with a pile of Cole slaw.  Yummy yum yum!!!  I have to admit, this brought back memories from the early 70's.  Anyone cook one of those CANNED hams?  

Back when money was tight, I used to heat up a canned ham, but it into pieces and put it through my old fashioned grinder.  I mixed in some barbecue sauce, put it on hamburger buns and wrapped them in foil.  Into the freezer they went.  

When dinner came around, you just heated it up in the newly invented 400 pound microwave ... the latest and greatest ... and dinner was served.  So what was YOUR favorite CHEAP go to???

When we got paid, we had fried pork chops, pork chop gravy and fried potatoes.  Nothing like a little grease to get you going.

Today the Weed Man guy is supposed to stop by.  Hopefully this morning, because this afternoon I'm calling the Ag Department as a backup.  I'll let you know what happens.  Maybe it was something that will have no affect other than a little dead grass.  My fingers are crossed.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

I'm Smoking Again!!

 I probably shouldn't speak too soon, but the weather in California has returned to its historical self.  At least for the time being.  It's a gorgeous 57 degrees this morning.  That must be why these gazanias (thanks Dave and Ed) are finally blooming.  I've never in my life grown anything that looked this amazing.  If I can find some more, I'm putting them in ALL my flower beds.

It wasn't exactly a relaxing morning since I had to get my act together WAY too early for me.  Oh I get up VERY early, but I rarely ever leave the house before 10:00.  

I have to admit that the current group of Elks Officers are volunteers extraordinaire.  These guys have their act together!!  I arrived at the perfect time to give them the microphone system, but late enough they had already convinced my friend Kathy to sell raffle tickets.  I still ended up being the cash register since they forgot to bring something to put the money in, but that was okay.  It's what I do!

Almost 200 folks showed up this time.  I think that's a record.  Probably because Mother Nature put on a gorgeous show of sunshine.  This is our RV park out in the country.  If anyone is passing through (Elks member or NOT), you won't be disappointed with the green surroundings and the QUIET.

A short walk from the RV parking area is this huge building full of picnic tables, that turns into a pickle ball court if no events are happening.  No kidding, some company donated the entire thing ... including rackets and balls for our use.  There's horseshoes and any number of other games to keep you occupied too.  If you have a group come in with you, you can even use the kitchen to cook (for a fee I think).  Truly, I wish I had their stove in MY kitchen.

THIS was the free dinner for members.  Talk about a HUGE steak!  That paper plate is as big as they come!  Garlic bread?  No one has ever served THAT around here!  They did forget the sodas for those of us who don't drink beer, so I called one of the officers who just happened to still be at the store.  By the way, all the beer you could drink was free also.  I brought the entire steak home.

The raffle caused me some minor problems.  Three guys left, leaving their tickets for me to watch.  One more left, but came back just in time.  I was watching bundles of tickets for numbers.  AND THEY WON!  Every time I pulled out a ticket, I had two more bundles to watch.  In the end, we all won one item.  

Finally back home late in the afternoon, it was time to start smoking again.  This is one of my favorite things to do.  These big pork butts take some time, so it all started at 6 pm.  The butt went in and the smoke started rolling.  

Four hours later ... I can't believe I stayed up that late ... I turned the smoker off and set the oven timer for nine hours.  At 4:30 this morning, I was out with thermometer in hand to see how long before it was done to 180 degree perfection.  

YIKES!!  It was already there!!  I expected a couple more hours of relaxation before I frantically sprayed it with apple juice and wrapped it up.  Okay, not exactly apple juice.  I forgot to get some, so I sacrificed one of my Pepsi's for the occasion.  Our construction crew (most of them born in Mexico who later became citizens - legally) always used Pepsi when cooking pork.

And THEN I remember this is a bone in.  They cook faster!  I think it's okay, but it will sit in a cooler for a couple of hours to soak up the juices.  

I'll break it open, cut it in half and freeze most of it.  Oh yeah ... I'll be chowing down on pulled pork sandwiches for dinner!  I can't wait.  Is your mouth watering??  By the way, I will cut off the too-dark bark.  Though it does taste really good, I doubt it's healthy for you ... all that smoke and all!!

I'm happy to be smoking again!!!