Friday, November 30, 2012

Winter Falls

A long week with the first hint of chill, I wanted something of winte having been denied so long that snow and frost. And I remembered all of a sudden this slow and gentle film and of how the last lines went...

It reflects those hours of holiday madness we all share in our own way - but of a more restrained variety. The drama was there but a person knew to hold it in...such manners long lost, now.

And the agenda for the evening - the entertainments - were kinder. But what could one do without the constant attention grabbing media of today? You were either talented or pretty or both. And, though Heinlein had his own opinion about the matter, poetry was a very important aspect to many cultures' celebrations. I think the Celts definitely won in that category of history. No one tells a tale as they do. No one holds a tale across generations as well as they do. Look to that last stanza and tell me it isn't as well-written a curse as any.

Donal Óg

by Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory
Translated from an anonymous eighth-century Irish poem


It is late last night the dog was speaking of you;
the snipe was speaking of you in her deep marsh.
It is you are the lonely bird through the woods;
and that you may be without a mate until you find me.

You promised me, and you said a lie to me,
that you would be before me where the sheep are flocked;
I gave a whistle and three hundred cries to you,
and I found nothing there but a bleating lamb.

You promised me a thing that was hard for you,
a ship of gold under a silver mast;
twelve towns with a market in all of them,
and a fine white court by the side of the sea.

You promised me a thing that is not possible,
that you would give me gloves of the skin of a fish;
that you would give me shoes of the skin of a bird;
and a suit of the dearest silk in Ireland.

When I go by myself to the Well of Loneliness,
I sit down and I go through my trouble;
when I see the world and do not see my boy,
he that has an amber shade in his hair.

It was on that Sunday I gave my love to you;
the Sunday that is last before Easter Sunday.
And myself on my knees reading the Passion;
and my two eyes giving love to you for ever.

My mother said to me not to be talking with you today,
or tomorrow, or on the Sunday;
it was a bad time she took for telling me that;
it was shutting the door after the house was robbed.

My heart is as black as the blackness of the sloe,
or as the black coal that is on the smith's forge;
or as the sole of a shoe left in white halls;
it was you that put that darkness over my life.

You have taken the east from me; you have taken the west from me;
you have taken what is before me and what is behind me;
you have taken the moon, you have taken the sun from me;
and my fear is great that you have taken God from me!

But their voice, ah - that is their added gift. Words and song...but I suppose that is what comes of so much trouble and travail. I believe I shall brush up again on what I once knew so intimately. Stories and song may be all we have to entertain one day to distract from our own travails.






Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Language We Share

Seems as though nearly every page I like has had something superb to offer of late... Ed's back which is a very good thing, indeed. I have a selfish sense of ownership about him and his product. His manner of writing strikes a chord within and it feels as though it is a conversation, not a recitation - if that makes sense. He has been on the FaceBook but it was like an amuse bouche...tasty but insufficient.

I stumbled upon a Netflix offering - a documentary on Pancho Barnes and her Happy Bottom Riding Club...most of us are familiar with the brief snippets in The Right Stuff - but she had an amazing life. And a terribly unfair loss. She lived. Period.

I have seen nothing of the world though I know many who have and I live vicariously through them...

Which makes this bit by our mistress of all things snippy and bright so pointedly spot-on. It is hard to look in the mirror some days - never mind the closet - and see the hint of the face that brought so many low...I was amazing, even at 35. But the wheel turns and it is my turn to let the others don the finery and hold sparkling conversations. Still, I sometimes come across that old pair of shoes or silk skirt and think about how I strode across lives. (But I didn't laugh half as much as I do now...)

Last night, this came to mind and it was so apt. Tired...

Monday, November 26, 2012

AAR

Ah, well...so much has gone on and gone passing by that I don't know the worth in the retelling. But I have Pandora spitting out one slow song after another (simply ask for Allison Krauss and let it take it from there) and the holiday fugue running internally.

I'd taken the week prior off from work - well, tried to - but wound up working about 5 hrs a day anyway. It's a small office and my cohort was dealing with a very full plate already. And, no - we don't do temps. The office mgr is an accountant. A sweet and good man but he clings to each dime. So what I'd hoped to make into a decompression and a kind of "get off the ledge before someone gets hurt" intervention turned into more of an irritating standard work week with long lunches.

And each day I tried to remember: I have a job. It's a good job. I get paid well. Many would carve my liver out for the salary.

But there was still a knee on the ledge...and an email waiting for me this morning sent Thurday afternoon about flights needed for tonight. Seriously? We've a service for that - all happy to help and make that sweet holiday overtime. But no...and you know I didn't crack open that bitch over the weekend after they screwed my vacation. So...it's Southwest for you, Sirrah!

~*~*~*~

Wednesday afternoon found me kicking out a large assortment of pies, sides, and snacks. It was almost 1a before I laid down my head but it was done. I contributed the turkey, too, but went with the amazing smoked version from these guys - they deliver to the door all ready to eat. (Not a bad option, either, for a shut-in.) In the morning we loaded up the truck and headed east.

As I prepared it all I could almost feel Mom at my elbow, pressing for more nutmeg in that pie, more cinnamon and butter in the other...it was her shining moment, that holiday. We were poor as hell when I was young and I do not know how she managed to afford it each year. (And I still recall the year - had to be `75 - when the basket waited at the back door, as if the rapid knock itself had dropped it on the stoop. I was just a punk kid who didn't understand the importance - just wanting to get down the street to where the other punks waited, crunching that ice blue snow under shoes not suited to the weather. But her quaking, her anger, and dashed tears caught me up. "It's a gift, Mom. You can't be mad for a gift..." and I suppose it made her think of the kids rather than her pride. But I do not think another year found her unprepared after...

Each year as I do what I can to meet her expectations, I remember that brief snippet of time as well as all the other turkeys she nursed to golden perfection. It is because of her that I can cook as well as I do.

~*~*~*~

We hurried eastward for the festivities there, then back again for in-town final feastings with friends. Their youngest girl treated us all to her new act - the etrier that we'd given her hanging from the tree limb. Her brother loaded up a song on his phone and the gentlemen all took out their Streamlights to give proper circus lighting and mood...

Her fine limbs curled around the rope, her feet flinging out as she swung in the air. She would hold a pose, spinning like the ballerina in a girl's jewelry box. Then up and up she would climb, her upper body strength simply dumbfounding as she arced her legs up and over, only her tiny hands keeping her on the line, slowly turning. It was 3 minutes or more and we were all transfixed at her serious expressions, a posing - a sober mien that was not quite right on the youthful face. We all stood and applauded with sincere appreciation and joy. A giving of thanks, indeed, for those small graces.

~*~*~*~

Each year a friend who manages a hunting lease of great size culls the deer there the day after Thanksgiving. A cooler, he says - just get me a cooler and we'll fill it. It could have held a body. It returned to us last night full to the brim with boned, skinned, cleaned meat. Over 150 lbs of it, all free. Last year, we worked long hours to trim, sort and package the generous gift. This year, we took it to the local processor who gave us the friend price. In a few days we will fetch home a welcome bounty. In exchange, bread and cakes and cookie dough will wend their way through our small town to their door. An inequal exchange, certainly. But it pleases him, I think, to know that we appreciate it so much.

~*~*~*~

Sarge's big boss will host a meet and greet soon and I've got to get ready for it. Wardrobe choices, hair color or no, cut it or no, and other such foolishness to ensure I represent well for him. I want Sarge to be proud to escort me...of course, that assumes nothing comes up when they run me. Yes, no one gets an audience unless their record is perused. And I've been good a very long time. But one never knows what skeletons will spin up when deep waters are disturbed, eh? Heh...

It was so nice to deliver his guys some dinner Thursday evening. I packed them a generous plenty of leftovers which were devoured quickly, a few guys staying over past their shift having heard of the incoming delivery. He has high expectations but ensures they have what they need. He is cultivating a deep respect in their hearts...


And that has been the last few days lived in a rush...no time for updates, messages, blogging or chatting. Just one thing after another so that tonight I am letting it all go in the hope that rest will come. Tomorrow will be a busy day - so much to do...and window ledges whistling all aloof-like..

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Apocalyptic Dog Food

So Six had mentioned doing some canning recently and I told him to remember the pups when doing so. He asked for a recap of the process so here it is.

We went to our local LDS Cannery (list of locales here - find them, appreciate them) and acquired about 10 boxes of empty #10 cans and lids for same. Remember that you have to buy cans, lids, and boxes so price them accordingly to avoid surprises. Bring cash or a checkbook in case yours doesn't take plastic. (That form should be fairly accurate for price of product but changes in the local market may find it slightly different - no matter, they are almost ALWAYS cheaper than other vendors.)

I didn't know what the ratio of dog food to can would be so I just went with this up front goal:
1 can per dog per week for 1 year's rations
That means 104 cans or about 17.5 boxes of cans - 6 cans per box.
I acquired (2) 42 lb bags of dog food. For this emergency stock I just went with Purina. More on that in a moment.

The 2 bags filled just under 5 boxes worth - one can shy of it, actually. I think that in the near future I will can the quality food we feed daily and include one of those per box as a kind of supplement to that lesser quality food. There is also space in the box between the cans to add in vacuum sealed sacks of whatever other supplement you might like to have. Do not forget to add in a can opener to every other box! I get these in bulk for just that purpose - tape one to a can in the box to ensure it stays put.

If you are canning any powdery stuff like flour or dry milk, it really helps to have the empty cans set  on a tray to catch the overflow - because you will overfill and that stuff gets everywhere.

OK! So what happens? Here's a pictorial with the secret squirrel pal and Sarge conveniently avoided.
Here you can see the tin cans - the edges are sharp as knives so have a care when unboxing and working with them. Having a kitchen island is handy for this - we have an old counter that we add to the top of ours to clamp the canning machine onto, and that provides a lot of space to work with.

It helps to have a person to fill cans, a person to seal them, and a person to label and box them. That person also keeps the supply of empty cans moving in. You can see the oxygen absorbers in the pic - keep them sealed up as best you can during the process. (Vacuum seal them when you are all done and have leftovers.) When you fill a can with whatever product, give it a good smack on the counter to settle the product and top it off - the less room at the top the better.


Here you can see them all filled up (I would have added a bit more but I was Labeling Buddy and my opinions were resoundingly mocked or ignored. Only when you've a good number of cans filled and ready do you open your O2 packets - add one to the top, add your lid and pass it to your Sealer Buddy and close up that O2 packet bag till you are ready with your next series of cans. (If you have a SEAL buddy, you'll have to bring a ball to play with when they aren't busy canning. Snicker...)

 
The machine is bloody heavy. You need a secure top to hold it and some C clamps to keep it in place - hence, the secondary table top to protect the island countertop. Here is the machine in question with an unsealed can on it - use your first can to ensure it is properly adjusted. There are directions on the net but when you lever up the base that holds the can, it should contact that spinning upper wheel soundly and firmly. Too tight, though, and you might not get it off again when sealed. (You have to very gently insert a shim or screwdriver to release that pressure...)

 There is a small flat wheel that you cannot see on the other side of the can - it is the "seamer" as this really is a can seaming machine. You lever the can upward to contact that spinning wheel which sets the whole can to spinning at a moderate speed. Now, you can see that small black button in that pic up there - you have to hold that in to start the spinning so most people will tape it down or find a way to clamp it to keep the upper wheel spinning continuously.

There is a lever that you press to the rear to apply that small wheel to the lip of the can for a few complete rotations and then pull the level forward for a few rotations to get the finished seam - you must do it both ways as it does a complete seam that way. And you have to do it in that order to get the proper seal. (Dear me, I hope I have that right...the canning machine will tell you!)


Behold! A proper seam - you cannot tell any difference from a major retailer's can when done right. If it has any kind of rippled or jagged seam, it likely did not seal well. Just ensure you open that can for use in short order - it isn't useless, just not completely airtight. And you WILL get one or two that way until you get the hang of it. You have to be firm but not aggressive in the process.


LABEL!! I cannot stress enough the need to label your cans when they come off the machine. This is very important when doing different things in one canning - like sugar, flour, oats...your LDS folks will have premade labels for those kinds of products. I have custom made labels for the other stuff we can but I still like a notation on the top lid for easy view when you open the box.


Now - one tip. If you are canning sugar, never ever add the oxygen absorber unless you'd like to have a giant sugar lick. Same goes for any fruit drink mix.

I guess that's about it! We did this before and opened a can of quality food that was a year old - it whooshed open so we knew it'd held out the air and it smelled as fresh as new. The dogs ate it fine and had no issues. With the lesser quality food I'd probably not push it longer than 6 months but I wanted to get an emergency store of food ASAP. We can always add more and/or better food later...

The nice thing about borrowing the canner is that you can put whatever you want in a tin can - ifyouknowwhatImeanandIthinkyoudo...

Even if your local LDS cannery won't loan them away from the cannery, do not let that stop you! Can on-site! They are very nice about it and happy to help if you will approach them with an open and friendly demeanor. They don't want to recruit - they want everyone PREPARED. But please respect their facility and hard work - know that they do the job for free and often have to PAY/tithe for the "blessing" to do so! When one has skin in the game, one tends to be more involved in its success. Too, some people staffing the locations are NOT the sharpest prepper's! Don't get mad if they don't know how to put up lima beans. Just appreciate the one-stop-shopping option and the fact that you don't have to pay $3k for the machine.

As an added note - the canning facility and bulk purchase location often adjoins the Bishops Pantry which is a kind of welfare store for church members so a kind smile to those "shopping" there is nice. They're hurting and getting a month's worth of food to survive on...

Now, get canning!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remember How I Said It Wouldn't Matter?

Get a gander at this and see just a sliver - this is a very sliver - of what was done to you and your acquiescing pragmatistic hiney. Sigh...

Okay, my hiney, too. But I be no prag, damn it! I am holding out for a full on ThanksButNoThanks response from the state. It could happen...er...maybe.

Allow me to note that my employer had looked into rep'ing a certain player in that field in Tally ages ago. We reviewed the client, the programs, and said, "Uh, yeah...no." Never quite understood the stand-down after substantial expense and investigation. I think I know now.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

No Election To Worry About

Because Valerie!

...Jarrett told (staff members) 'After we win this election, it’s our turn. Payback time.
Everyone not with us is against us and they better be ready because we don’t forget. The ones who helped us will be rewarded, the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve.
There is going to be hell to pay. Congress won’t be a problem for us this time. No election to worry about after this is over and we have two judges ready to go.'
She was talking directly to about three of them. Sr. staff. And she wasn’t trying to be quiet about it at all. And they were all listening and shaking their heads and smiling while she said it...

Look - I said a few times that you'd be lucky to be allowed to vote. And I was wrong. But the truth is that we all know the damned thing was corrupted top to bottom and that there was no one to take that assault to - the nightwatch has been paid off and well.

The only chance at avoiding utter ruination is an impeachment and to do that, well - the C-word. You know what that means.

So give me no chatter about "4 more years" - this was it. Now...get all the money you can and buy all the food you can. Then water. Then defense items. Do not let them starve you out.

An interesting factoid from Sarge's other employer - someone sold a total of over 17,000 Pmags in under 2 hours. The .223 derivation.

There is a reason I wanted to move to Texas - I firmly believe it is the only place that will be willing to tell El Hefe to take a hike. Assuming he makes it that far...Val won't be willing to remain the puppet master forever. And, say, has anyone heard from Cankles? Hmmm.

Stay strong, and if you haven't started stocking up, you are way behind the curve. Take that 401k money - they will very soon so leave them nothing - and use it to throw at the problem. If you need some advice on armaments or just the gear at a very good price, reach out. Our friend is happy to help.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

So I Almost Died Today...

Dramatic, no? True, though. Sarge had a pistol match this morning a few miles away but was going to be late. I'd spent much of the morning cleaning out the front garden and had cleaned up myself after. But then I was peckish...

We've been all about the pork belly - organic, lovely marbled flesh from a local rancher. Some scrambled eggs, some pork...what could be better? The cast iron sizzled nicely and batch # 1 was nearly done.

I moved the first slices off to the side to drain and loaded the rest of the slices in the skillet. Just one piece, I thought to myself. Just one - I was so hungry and it smelled so good. My teeth carved off half a slice and I chewed with a ravenous greed. But then something went very wrong.

It was a mere moment in time - the bacon seemed to divide, the fat holding both bits like the old Click Clack toy. One piece went down as it ought but I must have breathed at the wrong time because the other half slid into my wind pipe and lodged there. I can now say Thank God. In the moment, it was more like Oh God!

I had enough sense to turn off the stove - no need for a grease fire should I perish. And perish I might because there was little to no air getting past that damn grease plug. Stark terror as I bent over and hacked and hawked and tried even to barf to just get it out. I had to slow my fear in order to keep what air I had because it was very little, my heartbeat racing and stealing it all away.

Ranger was outside and I thought briefly that he could be out there for awhile, glad I'd filled the water bowl...I stumbled to the chair at the dining table, a final attempt before grabbing the cell phone and stumbling outside to get whatever help I could summon. I threw myself over the back of the chair, reaching for the porcine attacker with my fingers. A self-inflicted Hind Lick, a furious clawing...

Blessed air rushed in as the gobbet fell from my hands. I stood, the chair falling with a clatter, dizzy and nauseous and terrified all at once. How close it had been, I thought...a 911 call at least, a long ride to anywhere with gear to deal with it, and that assuming someone even saw me within the few golden moments.

It was quite the event...in the end I did consume some of the bacon brethren in revenge but it was with care and small, small bites. A kind of climbing back on the horse...but there is a rule, now. No bacon comsumption without company. Just because.

The consolation is that Sarge did well in the match. Wait...no. Really? Well, he thinks so. He just doesn't know how rich he almost got today. Now that's consolation.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

When Life Intervenes

A monstrous month it has been - full of troublesome times, busy work life (which is a good thing, I keep telling myself) and the usual canine concerns...Sarge's schedule has been hellish for us both - though surely worse for him. He hasn't worked a set week of nights yet, each week requiring some switch to days for meetings, training, or staff issues.

I've been storing away thoughts to annotate here but they always seem to fade away when the keys are beneath the fingers. I had a whole story about the Malamute baby's refusal to succumb to nail trimming and her preference for walking on the smooth concrete instead of the adjoining blacktop...lost now to the ages. (Stop with the "phew!" I can hear you.)

They are both quiet, now, having bellies filled with beef bones from the rancher at the farmers market in town. Blessed quiet from them while Tina Turner rocks on the Roku, and I play the 3-Gun widow all day. Speaking of which...the 2013 event will be amazing. Let's just say that Sarge has been working hard on the background doings and if it all comes together as planned it will be astounding. I admit that I am sometimes geeked out by the connections we have to the most incredible people. Well, that Sarge has - I am merely the remora swimming alongside for the leavings. But it is because he is a man of his word, a true gentleman, and a damned smart guy. People naturally want to be associated with him...

Me? Hell, this says it all.
I don't make friends like Sarge does. I just lure them in with cookies.

Meanwhile, I've hit nearly everyone's site while playing catchup and use Ed's lists for same because he really does have the best ones - but today's visit and the darkened format has me full of dread and fear. We all know how we generate these tenuous relationships - more than just habit, more than just acquaintances; any break in that cord of communion brings a sharp pain in the mind. Sick, yes, but I send thoughts to Aether and the Aesir to bring his Teutonic ass back to us in a fair shape.

Words swing round and round these days as people parse lies and innuendo to decide which lesser evil to swallow down whole. I have taken to my library (Audible, these days of commutes) to distract. And in one - Luttrell's Service - was a brief annecdote that I hadn't heard elsewhere and sent chills through me. He spoke of the wheel turning - the fiery ferris wheel of battle, of loss and of conquer...

I had a dream perhaps 20 years ago. A crowd hundreds deep surrounded a ferris wheel that blazed in darkness and from it hung people and from it they would burn or fling or hang...I looked beside me where an officer had appeared. "Why don't you stop it?!" I begged. His stoic tone answered simply, "The wheel must turn..." and I seemed to find a kind of peace in it - that in every age it had spun and through every age it would remain. We shall all have our time on it and time watching and time shepherding the confused surrounding it.

It was a deep reminder of years gone and a strange one in that I'd never heard it mentioned before. Yet there it was couched in tales of suffering and carrying on. What was there to do with that memory? Tucked away in that box again, behind that door in that shadowed corridor of the mind. "Move out," comes the command...and so we do, smartly.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rainy Drive

I had errands this morning as Sarge slept...more pork from our favorite rancher, and more supplies from the folks at the storehouse...I reached in the console for something to play and this was at hand. It was quite the echo from the past...and suitable to the rainy weather and drifting lane paint.

Home, it was more puttering, cookery, cleaning - the usual. But I kept smelling autumn in the air. We've no leaves falling here, no tremendous shades of fire for the eye. Still, there was something stirring.

A need to have things in order weighs on my mind. I've been dotting i's and crossing t's all around me as if that order might bring a similar order to the world. I cannot give it my attention, not what it might deserve. It turns, it falls, it fails. And it does not need my approval or notice. Rather, I work hard to Acquire...to Plan...to Learn.

Now, if only it also brought Sleep...

 

Friday, September 28, 2012

He Is From Moldoooova

This guy is a good pal of nearly every LEO in the area Sarge works at. His 7-11 is in the heart of the drunk college student district as well as the homeless hangout area. But he takes no crap from any of them. You can imagine the night shift brings out the very best in his clientele...

Go see his channel - he gets a check when you watch - so let's see if we can get him one for 2 digits this month.

It was a deadly dose of detergent...

What an accent...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Flights of Fancy and Their Trajectories

Sarge is back at work and I've laundry in a pile for folding so I cranked up this offering (skip to 1hr:10m) as I started all the drudgery.

I used to have a copy of that Rimsky-Korsakov piece when I was about 26 years old. I played it over and over, having not much else to entertain me at the time. I had books, a Walkman, and a pretty sad record player. But they sufficed. More than...

I had almost forgotten the piece - all of its many fragments - but it all came back in a rush of recognition. Yes, yes - that sweet, melancholy violin at the end..."once upon a time when we all lived in the forest"...tales and tales.

The dishwasher makes its energetic racket, started only after the end of that piece, a kind of false busy-ness because it works like a union member. Which is just enough to not be tossed to the street. The washing machine, bless its pricey courtesan-like ass, works like a champ. Unfortunately, it just means there is more folding coming my way when its friend releases the warm result of the efforts of my evening. This is what I do...this is the life, today. And the echoes of 20 years gone astounds me.

If you'd asked me, this would have been the last place I'd have thought I'd be. The first? An early grave. After all, I used to dance around it all tra la la...which seems fun until Death comes and looks at you. A more sedate mien seemed...reasonable...at the time. And so it has been to this day.

But I get touchy with all the pressure. Yes, yes - something else to clean. Yes, yes - another person who make 6 figures and cannot comprehend an Outlook meeting request. (Seriously, people - WTF?) This is my life. But I think it is time to edit it a bit. The compound bow needs to go to the shop to set that pull down to something closer to reasonable. And the video here ought to help tighten up a knowledge base that is lacking in detail. Too, I may be under the "first 200 orders" count and get the offered 10% discount off their Precision Rifle course. It may not seem like much against that grand total but their training is highly respected. I would not mind taking it one day.

Such things are all I have time to consider these days. Too much to do and not enough hours in the day...and not enough patience to see it all through, anyway. I knew things would be more difficult back when the music played in that small apartment. I knew the future wouldn't bring only easy days. But I did not expect all this...at least I've no children to squire through the days. What a terror that would be...how to combat the constant flood of whoredom and lying liars? Sad, yes, to have no one after to bear my eyes or his high cheekbones. But perhaps it was a gentler gift, that denial.

Remind me of that now and then, eh? Those gifts of wishes denied?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tight Socks, Sore Toes But Good Bacon

I don't know what I was thinking this morning as I put the hiking boots on over the woolen socks. I was a little distracted, admittedly, and yanked on me socks with a firm tug and then applied said boots.

After about 7 hours of standing, walking, lifting, pulling and otherwise moving a ton of hooey for a good friend. my feet were screaming at me. The fiberglass I had all over was also talking but I was able to shut it up with a nice wipe down now and then. Home, the shoes and socks came off and it was an insanely painful relief. I KNOW better. I should have stopped and fixed them early in the day. Alas, when I get my labor mojo on, I am all about the job. What can I say? I LOVE manual labor. I really do. There is nothing like actually FEELING as though you did something.

At any rate, I treated the irritated feet to a nice soaking as Sarge showered. Just so happens my ponytail was a terrible matted mess, too. Again, I knew better - I knew I'd be all up in the business of rat poop, dirt, dust, metal filings, and etc. I should have braided it all up. Lazy...

I blame all of that on a terrific breakfast at our favorite local TexMex. It's not special, it isn't "authentic", it just tastes good. Simple and good. And then back to the local farmer's market for one guy's divine bacon and steaks - and bones for the dogs. And some good eggs from another guy who seemed rather put off at our asking. Grumpy, indeed. Well, life sucks for most people these days...maybe he'd hoped to hold onto those last two dozen for himself...

Sarge was laughing as he looked at the clock, rationalizing being ready for bed at 9:30p. He has been running on about 4-5 hrs a night lately. Between his part time work, and the constant pinging of the work cell in the day, he hardly rests at all. Today was supposed to be a 2-gun shoot day but he just couldn't do it on 3 hours sleep so he opted to stay abed for a whole 5. If I can, I hope to get him a good 10 or 12 tonight. Which is why I am typing while waiting on the washer to finish getting the nasty crap off my clothes. Exhausted...but hard work helping good friends is always a good feeling, afterward. And I think more of the same is on deck for tomorrow...

I'd rather be with the guys in WV at the blogshoot. Maybe I can still get some shooting in tomorrow, though! If he gets enough sleep he might be all over that idea!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Solar Sale - Goal Zero

We have a few of the Goal Zero items and I have to admit they work pretty darn well. Sure, you might have to angle the panels a bit for optimal sun and plan ahead to allow them time to recharge but they are tough, sharply designed, and they do the job.

The company is also very responsive to your geeky electrical questions so don't be afraid to ask. (And they have been selling out rather often of late...)

Right now they have a few "kits" on a 20% off sale - sure, they are still a bit expensive but these days I am putting my falling dollars into tangible and useful items. So there.

Check it out if so inclined...

Not so relatedly, these boxes are sweet as can be and at a decent pricepoint. No, they don't have the inner drawers but you can probably use it to hold a lot of bandages and Neosporin. Or taters! If he still has some in a few weeks I may just have to snatch a few up.

(I also have an eye on these - just need to measure them out and ensure they fit handy items...)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Somnolence and Silence

The weekend started with rain and has continued with same since...a blessing, true - but a damp one that makes it harder to remain at work, chores to do, dogs to walk, and food of some kind to prepare. I remained abed until and unheard of 9am! The quiet symphony of soft rain a lullaby...


I wish for one of those long porches, set deep under the roofline, with a bed to nap on. I do love to sleep with the wind blowing over me. But the small porch is a tight confine and not suitable to that sort of dreaming.

Ranger came along on a brief drive today, his nose to the wind, his eyes blinking against the rain. The poor cotton field, half harvested, lay in a drenched mess and I wonder at the loss - will it recover in the sun, poof up even more? Or are those acres a loss? I felt a kind of sympathy - as any gardener might - at the thought of so much work and cost going to waste.

It put me in mind, too, of the local farmers market and the gentleman who sold me the steaks and rashers - pork belly it said. Not really a smoked bacon at all but more like tender strips of deliciously fatted loin...the cattle here are all heading to market to make whatever money can be had. Is he hardened now at the repetition of it? The flux of a market that is so much at the whim of weather and soil? Does he wonder at how he wound up at a small town farmers market with a half dozen other booths, hoping to make something like enough till next year? A part of me wanted to converse - see what good we might be able to do for each other in the hard days to come. But I let it go at spending my budget with him. More and more do I help the locals, buy near home rather than away.

The news...what to make of it? How to find the value in lives lost to a people that refuse enlightenment? That CHOOSE dark ages and the mores thereof? Oh, they'll embrace plumbing readily enough but the concept of freedom? You might as well argue with the dog.

I was furious over the constant updates, each new fire adding fuel to my own. So on 9/11 we don't harden every single middle east facility against just such a thing? We send too few defenders there and ensure their execution? It was never about some obscure video whose timing was so fucking wag the dog as to be laughable. And they release the maker with a tra la la and we don't know where he is. Yes, yes...I am sure you did. Some plastic surgery, a new name, and it is all done. The fires are set, the pressure to strike locally is enhanced, the lackluster response the signal needed and awaited...

Guess what your October surprise might be and stay away from any large gatherings - that my advice to you. I guess it's time to get that collapsible .223 for the vehicle. Any more magazines for my .45 and I won't be able to carry my purse. But I need to revisit the emergency kit - proper pants and belt, check the boots and socks...

I'd always said you'll be lucky to get to vote this time...I believe that more than ever. And a part of me no longer cares. They'll set something off somewhere and the cord of communion will be cut. Your life won't be worth a dime.

Here - a little preview. Just imagine, instead, that they all need to get out of town and are very hungry. Not drunk, not partying and happy and utterly not giving a shit about your private property - not just riled up. But truly a mob looking for any solution and you stumble upon it.

Well, it IS change, anyway. Hopeless, sure. But change...

Monday, September 10, 2012

NIAFPHFPPW Achieved

That would be "NATIONAL IRRITATE A FOOD PIC HATER FOOD PIC POSTING WEEK", friends, courtesy of the amazing Yabu and the hilarious Laura of The Flying Monkeys (like a saint, you know?)

Cracks me up that there is ever a controversy about these bloody damned blogs. It's a diary that you're putting out there for everyone. Someone is gonna be hating on your crush on David Cassidy and someone else is gonna piss you off with their assertion that STNG will totally last longer than the original.

No matter. It's all good. Like this here chicken and dumplings. We had the first cool weather last night so even if  it did get up to the 90's again I had the need for doughy goodness. It's blonde food - all palid and insipid. But it's damned good. Homemade? You bet your ass. Top to bottom. Let me tell you - get thee to these people for a smoked turkey. Get a honkin' big one. You're gonna use every inch of it. (I try to order one a month, cut it up, seal it up, and toss it in the freezer - strangely, the damned things never last long around here...) I held back the carcass for another soup and the picked over legs for this one. Mmmm! Smokey goodness...

There you have it - mommer's chicken and dumplings - smokin'. (And those people who make giant noodles and dunk `em and call `em dumplings? Evil. Evil deceivers.)

The Big Picture


...and My Favorite Girl
 

Another Day, Another Callous


Ah, yes - the morning sky that makes me wish I could paint. It hardly renders the carnelian in the shaded cloud, nor the rose-pink of the sun-lit portion. And never mind that impossible to express turquoise shade of blue melding into the darker tints of dawn. No matter - that was the sky that greeted me this morning as I sent Sarge off to an early day.

It was a productive weekend. I managed on Friday to be declared guilty of hate speech on a - wait for it - knitting site. The offensive post was removed by the owners - which I hold well within their right even though there IS NO SUCH THING AS HATE SPEECH YOU MORONIC CREATURES.

That done, I thought I'd might as well take out some of my frustration on the overgrown shrubberies in front of the house. The Texas Sage had gone from its declared "miniature" status to full-on mini-tree. (This after a rough shearing in the early spring...) And then the roses - old fashioned, they are covered in thorns and huge canes fought hard as I labored to find their base. Out with the old to allow the new, you see. New being the rather difficult digging out and moving to another part of the yard with a good trellis to hold them. But that is for another weekend.

Several bags full of clippings, I've another yard full of branches to break down and stuff so that shall be my luncheon. I haven't felt these muscles ache in a long time. And that was with the aid of Sarge. Much easier to point at the offending cane and have it dispatched without grunts and tears of rage. A mere closure of his hands brought the blade through. Bloody damned strong, he is. And allow me to note that the Duluth Trading gauntlet gloves were SUPERB. Very few thorns managed to break through the hide and considering it was two days of yanking and shoving, that was quite a feat.

It was the Saturday comraderie, though, that made the rough times easier. The semi-quarterly meeting of the Heinous Knitting Bitches was called to order - or disorder - and the good times rolled. The menfolk watched football as we cackled and hooted over one story and another. And a few more guests were brought to the dark side, knitting their first stitches as we surely terrified them with talk of Stashes. We refrained from the mention of Wollmeise - that siren song of sheeply gods, that Arthurian myth of yarn...the Unobtainium of fleece. That is a Higher Mystery for another day.

But it was a mini-vacation, really...a Really Good Day. Strange that they are so rare as to stand out that way...

I was reminded of one thing, though - I am never so happy as when performing such labors. I love the feel of heavy limbs after hard work - of seeing the evidence of your work in a neat row of bags, in the cleared and pretty brickwork...I was remembering my old garden full of roses and the pond and the gazebo with swing...of how I took that year off and blew through that 401k while I restored the garden and my sanity. It was surprising how inexpensive it was to live when all you wanted was a roof and some food. I don't think I paid more than $20k that year for that amazing sabbatical. Lord only knows what it would cost now, eh? Still...that work, that labor...it feels good. Very good, indeed.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Penzey's Fans - Rack `Em!

I love the Penzey's stuff and stocked up on lots of their smaller jars to test out some of their other offerings. With the pantry already full I decided to go for counter-top storage but didn't want a mess. I happened to be in Ikea and they had a couple Bekvam racks in the scratch and dent section. Not optimal but I figured I'd make it work. They're cheap as can be, after all.
I realized that the shelves would fit the smaller jars two-deep if I could ditch that crossbar. Off to the garage with one of them - just a little sawing action and it was no more. Then it was a matter of stacking them feet to feet - or I guess upright to upright - and there you have it. A dozen wee jars on the bottom and a good 8 large ones will fit on the top - more if you want to stagger them a little.

I am a firm believer in keeping flavors handy. I know that some things you want to keep in the shade/dark of a pantry for long term storage but this is not that sort of thing. (The vanilla beans? Damn skippy.)

As for their offerings - as I noted at Kit's, the shallot pepper is a constant go-to and the venison seasoning has been in heavy rotation as I try to clean out the freezer for another season. I love their Chili 3000, too. Superb flavor. And, lastly, the paprika - so unlike the homogenized crap in the stores, this is like you remember from mom's deviled eggs. Smokey and delicious. Oh! And the salad dressing mix - they have others - is amazing. It was Brigid first turned me on to them - you can imagine my happiness to find them right behind the Starbucks!

I know that some cookery sites and offerings are more flash than bang but not so with Penzey's. They love helping you find something to suit your needs. Give them a try - just be prepared to make more room on your counter...

No Dog In The Fight...

...but you have to admit this is damned funny.


That Ann - she slays me.

She is also one of the very very few actually putting in words (and action) the truth that we all know. I may not be her cuppa tea but she gets my serious nod of thanks - she has bigger balls than anyone in DC.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mah Authoritay!

Sigh...I find it damned sad when people put an opinion on a blog and then seem surprised and dismayed that others comment about it in ways that are not in full agreement.

If you want to stand up with your pennant in the breeze you're gonna take some pot shots. If you don't want to receive Incoming, the very least you can do is offer an opening salvo - No Dissent Desired! - which makes clear that you do not want conflict. I can respect that request with ease and aplomb. Look at Beck's old place (dusty, I know - damned FaceBook) - he doesn't CARE about your opinion and offers you no option to give it. I like that, too! Clean, concise, and you either stay or go - his consent for either not required.

Well, hell...maybe it really is time to just shrug this all off...I've been giving it strong consideration of late, Trooper's new role making it doubly important to avoid painting him with my wide non-conformist brush. Which reminds me...the FaceBook acct will likely close shortly. Pretty much done with that little data mining crap. I'll miss it - I'll admit it. But the whole circle-jerk nature of it - the connections it is making and socking away - just pisses me off. So, time to let that go, too.

Besides, there is a generous plenty of stuff to get done. Without all this distraction I might actually manage it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hanami


"Beauty and terror always exist in nature, but we forget the terror."

I watched an amazing documentary, "Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom", wherein the ephemeral nature of life, like the blossoms themselves, was annotated by the survivors.

My love for all things Japanesque runs deep. There is a compatibility - the privacy, the consideration, the love for small beauties and large...Seeing. Mockery is made of their penchant for photography but it is because they See things and want to hold them. How different from most Americans where an image is something to glance at and move on - the slash edit of a shallow mind.

And so these days feel just as brief - as if the calendar will shed pages like blossoms and hurtle us to the end. A power outage yesterday without cause instantly stirred me into wild thoughts and I had to remind myself that these days are easy ones - the hard work will come in time.

But the trees...perhaps a few more cherry trees could make a difference...even if only to soothe myself, and to a hard spring bring some light and hope. Self-rescue.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Getting the Big Head, Now, I Bet

Hell, I guess I'll have to change the name of the blog, too...

He made Sergeant.

Yep, he went in, kicked ass and, as the board told it, he hit a grand slam. So...it's off to the midnights for him and back to the navel gazing posts for me, I suppose.

Seriously - I couldn't be more proud. So very proud of the recognition of his hard work...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

3-Gun = 2-Gun = No Gun

Well, on Saturday I agreed to go with Trooper to the monthly 3-Gun match and shoot it with him this time - Happy Anniversary, darlin'! Nothing like some 100 degree range time and mild heat stroke to celebrate...I was able to shoot the shotgun targets (most of them) with pistol. I've little time with the shotgun and didn't want to risk any issues with it.

Trooper was RO'ing so it was hectic for him and the first test of the knee fix. There was little running on the courses and much more distance/accuracy than usual. (Perhaps this was kindness from Sheldon in deference to his surgery...) We were on the same team, though, and I was able to get guidance on the courses.

What I hadn't planned on was my Springfield Champion completely disappointing me in performance! I'd shot it recently without issue so having it malf one mag after another was unexpected. Tap, rack, pull over and over again. I don't think it was all from limp wristing it over and over! Haven't taken it apart yet but I was sorry I didn't bring the TRP. Damned sorry.

The day was long and the heat a real trial. But I kept pushing the fluids and did really well, generally, until the last stage when I realized I had too much water and not enough salts. I've always kept packets in the car but realized too late that the packets were in the car I sold. Too, I'd recently taken the foodstuffs out of my car bag to reorganize and refresh - looks like I didn't put it back, damn it. Thus, nada....

No matter - it was a great day, anyway, with only one person completely acting an idiot because he didn't like his DQ. Seems he was unclear that the DQ was a match - not a stage - violation. And he simply couldn't take it like a sportsman. Sadly, it seems he is a LEO. If that kind of aggressive, rude, and almost over the top behavior is exhibited under the mild stress of a practice match, Lord help the guy on a serious callout. Jeez...

I have to say - the guys were impressed at the number of easy headshots I made on one course, and the long distance rifle shots I made on the other. 250's, I think, and then moved to the next set - 325?? and hit one but timed out. Bloody red dot had turned off as I started the course and I had NO IDEA how to turn it on again. It isn't something I use a lot on our shorter range.

At any rate, I lasted longer than a few guys who left before finishing but I was unable to finish most stages, being slowed down by those malfs. I just don't know about future events - I am not competitive so there isn't a lot of incentive...but it was fun and nice to spend the day together!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Taking Care of Business

It's been busy, surgery, post-op recovery, and just dealing with the usual homelife issues. But the good news is that his surgery went very well, he has been on the knee since the day of the surgery, and has been bicycling 8 mls or so each day to start the recovery process. It keeps the knee in gentle motion, helps to move the air out of it from the surgery, and gives a general peace of mind when done as all exercise will. The washing machine died so it's off to the laundromat Sunday - at least it is modern with superb, huge machines - not like the olden days at all.

But it has kept me from most online reading and writing with a long series of blog clickings to recapture what I've missed. At least we managed to get some non-shooters on the range and trained in some initial knowledge. A mother and son, she is adamant that they do what they can while they can while she refuses to comprehend the fullest extent of the troubles to come - assumes she can take the usual route to fetch kith and kin home. The son was a terrific student and took to each new weapon with ease. I suspect we have opened Pandora's box with that one...

And now the Trooper is demanding (along with blasted Sheldon) that I run 3-gun matches with him. I am not that good, I keep saying. I am just proficient enough to pick it up, aim, and hit what I am aiming at in a general way. But rapid targeting, clearing, etc.? I don't know. But it seems I shall have no say in the matter. Perhaps they simply need more women on-deck. I am not entirely happy with the pressure to perform. I have no competitive gene in me. But perhaps that will aid in it - if I don't care the time it takes or the score it brings. No pressure on the line...

I am aching for some time away - a real vacation such as I haven't known in nearly a decade. As kids, our family never did so - there were no annual trips, no summer camps. So when I was finally on my own and had the means, I ensured I always had a small break in the year. Usually near my beloved Flatirons. It was my refilling of the well, so to speak, and I feel parched at the long lack of it...I keep saying - we have to do things while we still can. And this one thing will be the hardest of all, perhaps - the safe and free travel across long distances.

I look at all those maps people have been posting, full of their travels. I haven't crossed the rockies nor seen half of the states on this side of...nevermind overseas. A friends' 12 yo daughter has been to France, damn it, and I can't even get away for a week a few hundred miles away. Oh - this is Texas - it takes that to hit the border. Sigh...well, anyway, I need to let go all this hazard, and worry, and travail. I simply cannot stand it. But a part of me looks at the cost and says "you could have that gas in cans instead of burned across the state..." - and so I swallow that lump in my throat and dash away the tears before they hardly fall. Fuck it. Buy more food, more everything, and just fuck it.

It doesn't make me happy but it is the only truth I know in these lie-encrusted days. It leaves me sad, angry, and feeling like a chump. Everyone else gets to do what they want, it seems. And I have to fight that adolescent bullshit back with the chiding of maturity. Lots have it much, much worse. Suck it up, hit the webcams for relief and get the hell over it. But I'm gonna pout. I'm damned well gonna pout for awhile. As a book notes, "I'll light their bloody candle but they'll damned well hear about the dark.".


Sunday, July 01, 2012

Training Time: CMMG .22 Upper

We spent much of Saturday at the range, shooting nearly everything we had. But the important task at hand was zeroing in the CMMG upper. Acquired to aid in training, I had to admit it was FUN to shoot and everyone there really enjoyed it. Hell, it put a grin on the face of all the fancy pants operator types.

A brief look at it here...

CMMG 22 Upper Demo from LauraB on Vimeo.


I can't tell you how much fun it was to shoot THIS, loaned briefly...I've shot full auto twice before but only briefly. I think this was my absolute favorite. The MP5 just goes with such ease and without the climbing found in other rounds. I hit the small target with relative ease the first go, surprising myself.

And now...a pleasurable diversion during gun cleaning with Buckaroo Banzai. "Laugh-a while you can, monkey-boy." (You really have to just let go and enjoy the movie - it is NOT serious cinema.)

Sadly, the rest of the weekend plans were ended with a family member's ER visit for a broken foot. Ah, well - there was laundry to be washed and soup to be made, anyway.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tally-ho

It's a grey day, mentally, as so many pieces of the massive long con puzzle fall into place. I feel very much like a ghost flitting about the chaos, wishing I could shove the pieces away, saving what little might be saved by the gesture. Ineffectual, resigned.

I've taken to listening to Atlas Shrugged on Audible as a kind of self-medication. It has been particularly and addictively applied as the office full of pablum-lapping liberals hoot and cackle over their "win". The older gentlemen move with a kind of avoidance around their trolls as if to avoid a contagion. Weary - we are, all of us of a certain age and mind - weary unto death of the nonsense.

I'd once told a freely admitted socialist here that if the Obamacare tax went through that I'd have no choice but to leave my job and remove myself from that tax; that it was so abhorrent to me that it would be the last straw. But I look to our reserves and tell myself, hell, it matters not at all. It's all crashing down, anyway, and one might as well take the money, buy whatever we can, and pray it will be enough.

It is a terrible ennui that grips me. Nothing pleases, everything tasting of ashes...but as I toss another load of laundry in the dying washer I remind myself that the burden of that labor is still easy. I wash the dishes and remind myself that the endless spigot will dry and that the pudgy arms will grow solid with the hated weight of that life-giving element when it has to be toted to and fro.

I battle that surrender - I keep looking for things of value that we are shy of - what am I missing? Aluminum foil...matches...Gold Bond...all the things of blessed mercy that our days are chock full of...all those things that would be so dear if gone. I make mental notes and try to remedy the lacking here and there. Much as we are with the clearing of the Man Room, a tallying of what is there and what we need.

I listen to someone go on about tickets - some kind of insurance complaint - and want to stand above the cubicle and yell out that they are slaughtering the Republic for their damned vanity and to grow the fuck up already - but it is a foolish waste of time. They are decades from seeing their folly. If we make it that long.

No, instead, I must keep finding birds of a feather...maintain contacts and send out tendrils with deep care and hesitation so as to generate a kind of safety net. No man is an island and all that. But there is a hazard in it. One must do so with tremendous care and it takes rather a lot of time to vet anyone. And speaking of tendrils...

Facebook spat up a friend option to me - someone quite distinctly segregated from any of my online doings. Someone that it ought never to have linked...and I knew then that the system had won. The coordinates had been acquired, the 1's and 0's lined up in just the right way so that one could almost give a human sentiment to the code, hear a kind of snicker as the link pops up. Well, that's done, then, I told myself. Hell, it wasn't good for much, anyway, other than keeping a better track of friends than I am usually able. So it goes.

And the same applies to this space - his application is in and one needn't have too much on the net for discovery. I've worked hard to keep this very much about Me and My beliefs - not annotating each debate we have in which his opinion differs - as it does on a few points. But I can easily imagine an enemy making it into fine fodder. Particularly an enemy so fully teflon'd as to be able to deflect a case against him with photographic evidence....persona non grata we are, now, in certain parts of the county. Glad I am that he is off the road and no longer relying on their backup. Heaven help us when the idiot gets to be a Lieutenant.

Regardless, I see the enemy here and there - and I no longer feel quite as above the fray as I once did. There is a very squicky feeling when the arm stretches out and points at you, even if only briefly before gliding onward. I'd felt it once before when certain documents fell into my lap and calls had the constant clicking of careless carriers.

Maybe it is time to end all this online business and get straight to the work at hand. After all, being constrained in my language is tiresome. I won't be surprised to find more and more people dropping from the ephemeral presence. Work to be done, after all, and the pieces are being fitted together with ever-increasing pace as the final picture is discerned. In time, even the most obtuse individual will see it for what it is and think - eh, when did THAT happen? - and we'll just shake our heads in contempt.

Time to get to work...because I have seen the full picture. My early warning went off a while back and I see you. Tally-ho, you soul killing piece of shit. Tally-ho, motherfucker.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Quick Deal: Geigerrig Hydration Packs

Seems a good name - the differentiator being it is a pressurized system to permit spraying vs. sucking.
Handy with dogs, of course...sells an in-line filter for filling on the run and filtering for potable use...
Go here and fast as these deals don't last...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Not Gonna Work Through The Pain

Guess who is home till the decision to cut or brace is made? Yep. The big man went down hard on the knee and is now hobbling around. Just waiting for the MRI review to come through. And, hell, I can't read the things but this seemed pretty obvious...

Allow me to note he is NOT an easy patient. But at least I get to have him home. Er...well...yeah. We'll go with that.

Ever tried to get a Ranger to slow the hell down and chill out? Not gonna happen.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cue Storage Containers Acquired

Because we are such billiard fanatics...
A couple of these acquired...courtesy of the reminder by the Zed...one note, though: do NOT stick your snout down inside and give it a deep sniff. GAH! I think I've given myself some dread lung disease in about 10 years of incubation.

Very nice sealing cap, there was a definite pressure release on opening. I can imagine a number of things going in there but...they'll need to air out a bit first. NOT a good option for edibles, obviously.
There appear to be some left so I recommend snatching some up if you like them...

ALSO TOO - check out the medical chest here. Sorta kinda like the mondo one we got not long ago but a bit different. If you missed out on that previous option, this might make a nice replacement!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Non-Sweat Pants

Allow me to give a referral to the best pair of Texas Summer pants ever. I am a fan of the hemp/linen fabric for its cool feel as well as its strength hemp fabric is very tough, indeed. It can be hard to find good quality fabric options so I went to Etsy on the hunt.

This pair may seem pricey but bear in mind that they are custom fitted. And the fabric is amazingly soft - not all "new" hemp fabrics are - sometimes it has to be broken in. These are already perfect. If you are outside in the heat a lot and would like to keep the sun off of your legs (or arms! she makes a lot of things!) give it a try!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's Shelf Bacon!

Guess what I made this weekend!!
Yep, it's bacon - for the shelf. I'd been reading about it and bought the hefty All American pressure cooker. Note that you cannot can meat with a hot water canning process - only the pressure canner. I bought inexpensive, thick bacon, and decided it was time to give it a try.

I worked from this recipe and had initially tried her recommended masking paper but found it was much too thin and tore into pieces when trying to get the rolled bacon in the jar. I would have preferred to use a plain brown parchment paper but only had the white on hand. It worked well, holding up just fine.

I cooked it at 10 lbs pressure for 90 mins. It took rather longer to prep than I expected. But in the end it was a really satisfying bit of work.

You can see the rendered fat in the bottom of the jar. I think it will prove a delicious addition to any future bean making - when one has to live on beans and rice, the fat will be welcome, indeed. We opened a jar to see how it sealed and the vacuum was very strong.

It comes out a bit floppy and gelatinous - and rather flat - but it is cooked! If you had to, you could eat it. We cooked it in a pan (without the fat) and it rendered little fat. It was also a bit fragile when cooked. Someone else baked it in a pan and thought it was a better end product. But that didn't concern me - it would be lovely even as bacon bits to cheer up nasty dried eggs, boring potato pearls, or even folded into a lowly pone of cornbread.

You can pressure can all kinds of meats - they mention chicken here. (A video I saw noted to put a square of bullion in each jar, dry, to ensure rich flavor and color.) I will be keeping an eye on the sales, and perhaps even shelling out the fee for the big box store to buy large amounts of chicken breast inexpensively. Now, I think that having the dehydrated and/or freeze dried meats is a very good thing, indeed. The shelf life may be longer, it is lighter and easier to move, and once opened it can be held for later use. But I also dislike the idea of relying on it - if one cannot get water or boil it to be safe, you just have chicken flavored bits. I like the idea of having the option of eating something right out of a jar if necessary. Too, if the power goes out, that chest freezer won't stay cold forever.

Besides - it's BACON! Whenever you want! The initial outlay for the canner was intimidating but it is the best reviewed and I wanted to ensure I only bought it once as they say. I'm looking forward to getting some things out of the freezer (like 3 deer's worth of meat) and onto the shelf.

Gear Up

Well, a few things have crossed my path recently... This is a pretty darn good deal if you have the cash - some of the best gear made at a reasonable price. If the hip belt doesn't fit, you can sell it and buy one that does from the manufacturer so don't let that stop you. Then this guy notes some good sales, too! (And do review his book lists - good options there to add to your library...)The Swiss canteens were sold to us but noted a later delivery date so there will be a delay. These things were slick - yes, ordered a few of those, too. If you don't have the gentleman on your blog review list, you ought to. He always has the best gear tips, early. Thanks, Z, for the above!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

In The Mood...

It was a terrific day...and a long drive home with the magical tunes of old...sit back with your drink of choice and let this wash over you. Thanks to my father who gave me my gift of art appreciation...
Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald - Summertime by kamatrikero

Saturday, June 09, 2012

I Am The Sea

Put on your headphones or best speakers and crank it up.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

He Does A Better Job At It - D Day Remembrance

As usual this gentleman does it right the first time. No need to try and do a better job.

I bear in mind Trooper's grandpa who likely saw much of the terrain. And took time to smell the roses.


G'bless them all, all those brave young men...

Red Light - or Blue or Green...

I had mentioned getting a few fobs from this guy. I was admittedly concerned since it was an overseas purchase but he has sold so many that I felt fairly confident and today was rewarded with the arrival of the little fobs.

A rather slick little case, it protects the tube - though you can get them without the case for less - and provides a bit of security for the fob. In the light, it is subtle and unnoticed. In the dark, it is a soft glow - enough to let you find a switch, keys, weapon, toggle, whatever - but not quite enough to give itself away to all and sundry. Forgive the pix - my camera is ancient...



I can imagine any number of instances in which one might be blacked out and happy to have that slight glow to find whatever you need. I went with red just because of the whole night vision thing but it comes in a number of shades.

A very interesting product, well made and sent registered mail to ensure it gets to you. Very pleased!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Carrickfergus - A Memorial Of Sorts

The sun was setting over the sorghum with a gentle breeze tickling my nape and it brought to mind a sad day so long ago as I rocked in a beloved swing with a similar sentiment rolling through my thoughts - when I was "rarely sober"...

For all the young men lost, and the women and families that mourn that loss...(and, yes, the women, too - now that they also fall in those ragged lines...)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Spoilment Seems Unseemly...

It feels a bit wrong to talk about all the recent acquisitions on a solemn holiday weekend such as we have coming up. But I am so pleased that I cannot help but want to share it...yes, with you few - you lucky few...

I finally have a PC that is worthy of this century. I have Made Do with 1990 versions of things - and the office laptop - for long enough. When Woot had the HP Pavilion G7 on sale - and the geeks kindly offered several reasonable reviews - I pulled the trigger on it. Now, I am NOT a fan of HP, generally. However, if this thing gives me a few years of service, I shall consider it fair. We have a corporate deal with Dell but I simply couldn't get the site to give me a good deal without add-ons and hooey I don't need. After all, this isn't a gaming machine.

The screen is huge. HUGE. AND it has a 10-key keyboard which may seem dumb in terms of keyboard terrain but when one has to enter data it is a boon. Speedy, very fast to load, and it gave me zero headaches in terms of finding the wireless. Quite happy!

I also got these but that is not of interest to most.

And one of these.
And - uh - some of these.
Okay, fine. yes. And this, too.

So a lot of girly stuff, a lot of comfy stuff, and a lot of useful stuff.

Have I mentioned the TRP? Heh...goodness, I cannot wait to put her on tomorrow. Macha's the name...she rooms with Morrigan. In his new safe.

*Cackle!*

Okay - seriously - the safe we had needed to be upgraded and after our good friend lost so much recently, we decided to just take care of it while we could. A friend recommended this brand so they went together and picked it up.

So there you have it. Oh - wait. Yeah. A couple of these, too. But seriously. That's IT.

Now, time to make a bit of snackage. Texas Caviar anyone?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Sale! Tactical Distributors

Well, these guys always have something interesting (such as the slick Jetboil/Bag kit I rec'd recently) and they are having a Memorial Day sale so you might find something you can't live without.

Ends Monday at midnight...some caveats re: no clearance items, etc. so read the fine print.
Dunno if their VIP10 code works with the sale but might be worth a try! Happy hunting!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bicycling Accoutrement

I cannot bike but I know many do - they have a bunch of interesting items!

Here, a bunch of bike-related items. Love the cute bags...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Quiet Time

Trooper is away for a few days so I've taken advantage of the time to move the furniture around a bit and clean what hasn't been accessible. We bought a few things recently - a sofa upgrade (which the dogs do not appreciate) - so it was time to make a few adjustments.

It is strange to have the house to myself, knowing he won't be home tonight, that the guard duty will be all my own. I am out of the habit. And glad to have two furry underlings to aid in the task. Of course, it also means I have all the dogcare to do. Poor Kota was just wilting in the sun, her black fur baking so that she ran to the shade of the tree covered ditch and started digging a hole to lie in.

I have ordered this jacket for her (REI had it on sale) and hope it will permit her a bit more time outside in the summer. I am not a fan of walking at night which is the only time the heat breaks. Too, the light color might also reflect some of that heat for her. I had considered a reflective fly sheet for miniature ponies - and if that jacket won't fit, I may well get one just to see if it helps.

The morning will find us up early, I think, and taking a quick hike through the neighborhood to avoid the school buses and to give me some peace for work after...and maybe even a quick try of Trooper's newest acquisition. Supposedly 15 minutes alone will whip a person into shape. I'm game!

But right now...I'm just wishing he'd be coming through the door, cooler in hand, and tired feet. Reckon the dogs feel the same way...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Kit and Vittles

I have always liked the Kirkpatrick Leather offerings, especially their Texas Strong Side holster which is my most frequent carry option. Well, with the new TRP, I needed a new holster. I figured I'd might as well get a belt with it and added a double mag carrier - been needing one.

I ordered it all in black because it goes with everything, of course. Well, it would have been a 10 week wait for that holster in black but I could get the whole kit in their luscious "brown" immediately per the kind rep who called me. (She also discussed the need to add a belt size when adding both the holster and the double mag as it takes up a fair amount of room and she was spot-on.) I'll be darned if that box wasn't on my porch in 24 hrs.

Wow...what a difference a quality belt makes! So comfy and secure...well, let me just show you what it looks like...




Really very nice indeed. If you need a nice piece of leather at a very reasonable price I hope you will consider them. They also make amazing "western" stuff, of course.

Vittles....well, this gentleman had mentioned a while back about Augason Farms being a provider of food products and I was in the market to stock up. I'd priced Food Insurance and Shelf Reliance but both had their pros and cons...one had ridiculous shipping, I recall that. Anyway, Augason had a VERY nice shipping price for the amount I was buying and their products were the same as the rest, really. (I was going for freeze dried meat and veg - pricier but I think a better end result.)

The FedEx guy didn't know what to think as he offloaded one box after another. The extra large one containing a nicely priced 55 gal water barrel kit with pipe/pump thing was a stumper, I'm sure. We are pretty well set, generally, but water was definitely a missing link - and with the drought in the area the last few years I like having the option of a nice supply. I am fond of flushing as well as drinking...

At any rate, they had the best prices, the best shipping rate, and some interesting items (like cornmeal) that others did not have. If you want it overnight, you may not get it - they told me it can take 7 days to get it sent. But I was in no hurry. Now, I just have to haul it in here and ensure the order is complete.

Oh dear -  Trooper just got home from a very long day at a multi-gun event and is rather perturbed. I think a blueberry bar with ice cream might just soothe the savage beasty.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Good People - Team Red, White, and Blue

These folks are very active all around the nation and esp the Central TX branch. Give `em some love, check out the volunteer opportunities and be sure to refer them to any veteran you know that is having issues getting back in gear.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Good Price on Jetboil and Bag Combo...

Go here and consider this compact option. It's not the biggest Jetboil but it is, I think, the perfect size for every bag...one for everybody! The fact that it offers a coffee press is just a big ol' Win.

I bit expensive for my tastes, generally, but I loved the fact that it was all I needed in one bag. Done and done.
http://www.extremeoutfitters.us/tacticalassaultsystemsjetboiltacticalkit.aspx

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gear Review: Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag - Drawing From

I was able to spend the evening testing out the draw from my beloved new acquisition...with my other new acquisition, the TRP.

I'd been using the bag daily for the dog walks since I received it and really enjoyed having the ability to carry the keys, cell phone, spare mag and the Springfield Champion with ease. The weight is distributed so well that you hardly feel it. The mesh backing ensures it is nearly sweatproof from standard athletic activities.

I may see if can tuck a small Camelbak in the front just to refresh the pups mid-walk. I have seen them dock it to a Camelbak MULE so that will become my summer go-to soon - they get mighty thirsty on longer walks in the heat.

I am very fortunate to have HIGHLY trained individuals to aid me in the practice. I haven't done any chest draw work before but was reminded it was a similar pivot as the waist draw. As they'd taught me before, from the waist you draw to the pit - an pivot of the strong hand's wrist straight up and out so that one can shoot instantly. Then press outward and the weak hand merges as the eyes remain on the threat, bringing the front sight into view. "Front sight, PRESSSS"

So once I was reminded of it, they watched my drafted method and noted the "rowing" motion on extraction to get it free and up in view. I knew it was wrong, instinctively, but wasn't certain where to go from there. Back to the basics!! Weak hand pulls the pouch open as the strong hand reaches in and gets good grip, high up on the beaver tail for secure extraction, index perfection demanded for safety, and grip to enable shooting one-handed...strongly.

Then the pit maneuver - pull it out and pit the strong wrist so that one just pivots it out, and has it strongly gripped and already able to shoot. At the same time, that weak hand is now ignoring the pouch entirely. We are done with it - if anything gets in the way, it won't be in a moment so ignore that bag. Punching out, again, the basics - out and merging with weak hand as eyes remain on threat until the front sight is in view.
"Front sight...pressss..."

Over and over, I had to keep reminding myself to ignore the bag - my weak hand wanted to press it back to my chest/get it out of my way or support the flopping from the weight of the addt'l items, or reach to the pit to assist in the punching outward. No, no - we are done with the bag - ignore it, now and shoot! That took time. And I admit I had to practice that draw and pivot quite a few times to stop the "rowing" motion. But then it was a full length 1911 and not the one I carry daily. It took a few extra inches to clear the bag. I feel confident I can more easily clear the bag with the Champion length...

I have a lot of practice still to do to make it a smooth action and fill the muscle memory. But it was terrific to be able to have it hashed out by pros. Himself was, of course, one of them but one takes direction much better from others than spouses, no? Less personal that way. Regardless, it was the same method.They both move and shoot like bloody twins. Brothers of different mothers...to see them in action is a delight and a terrible thing at once.

At any rate, I give the bag two big thumbs up. Huge. The gentlemen loved it, too. Perfect product, very well made. I am SOLD. (And I suspect a few will be hitting stockings at Christmas, too...) If you need a concealed carry option or simply a way to carry while backpacking, this is the gear for you. Worth the price.

Rebuttal From Himself

I have been asked to clarify my statement of "Mossberg Miculek thang" to reflect the actual ulta mega coolness it presents. So allow me to note the following rebuttal.

"Chained Blue Lightning (CBL) is a Mossberg 930 Jerry Miculek Pro series - 12 gauge, 22 inch barrel, 9 shot, tubular magazine fed and gas operated, shoulder fired and semi-automatic shotgun."

It shoots like a fracking dream, I must admit. SO easy to aim...though I suppose rather heavy when fully loaded. Regardless, I can see how my passing mention was insufficient.