Monday, June 23, 2008

Garden Yummies

Please ignore the mess - the important part is the veggies on the paper plate/towels and the pickles behind them.

ALL from our garden.

Pickles, of course, are because cucumbers almost always overproduce. Using my Great-grandmother's recipe, I canned up TEN QUARTS of dill pickles (traded one quart for some fresh tomatoes and peppers from my friend Bud; he spent more money and planted more-mature seedlings than I did, and I WANT tomatoes! Mine are still green). The fried plate is okra, potatoes, and squash, diced and dredged in a mix of cornmeal and flour, fried in oil with a super-diced onion and garlic.

Okra, potatoes, squash, and onion all came from the garden Lisa and I have been working on.


Now, I am by NO means a vegetarian - If God didn't want us to eat animals, He shouldn't have made them taste so good.

But that was an AWESOME dinner, even with no meat at all. And all the better, that almost all of it was home-grown.

Still have a week or so before the pickles should be good to try; I'm looking forward to seeing how they taste :)

This is from a few nights ago. Tonight we had some fried green tomatoes, and they were good too. (I prefer ice-cold ripe tomatoes, sliced with a little salt). I accidentally knocked a green tomato off the vine yesterday, and told Lisa to pick some green ones today to make FGTs. She'd been craving them... yummy, just not my preferred prep for tomatoes :)

Green beans, sweet corn, and cantaloupe soon; okra, squash, and cucumbers still coming in like gangbusters. I'm about to call done on lettuce, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes, and get things ready to put purple-hulled peas in their place for this fall.

Also going to greatly increase the size of the garden. Stay tuned!

More good stuff later.... Tomatoes are plentiful and ripening,

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Friday, June 13, 2008

This Week, One Year

Been a pretty busy year. Good time to reflect.

A year ago this week, Lisa was going into the hospital for a C-section. Alex was born 11 June 2007.

As Lisa was in recovery from surgery, my oldest and bestest friend Dave was bringing his wife, H, into the same hospital. She was going into labor with THEIR first child.

I was best man at Dave and H's wedding.... it was a ton of work, and some of the most satisfying work I've ever done. The host gave me a challenge coin that I carry to this day; I'm not fully dressed without it. The host was impressed enough with the job I did making sure the wedding and reception came off ok, and his home wasn't trashed, that I now have a challenge coin that says "Skip Quant - Pete Pace's Platoon Sergeant 1968-1970". Anybody paying attention will notice that Peter Pace was the first Marine Corp General to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - Skip Quant was his platoon sergeant when Lieutenant Pace was a fresh-faced young officer in Vietnam. I'm damn proud of that challenge coin.

I'm also damn proud that I was Dave's best man, and damn proud that Dave agreed to be my best man, not once, but twice. Yeah, he's smarter than me; he got it right the first go-round, it took me two times to find the right woman.

But this is about what happened a year ago this week, not about our respective weddings.

A year ago this week, doc cut Lisa open and pulled out a wonderfully healthy baby boy - Alex.

A day later, H delivered her first child to her and Dave, a wonderfully healthy baby girl, A - except she was jaundiced.

Lisa had to stay in the hospital to recover from the gut-cut. Baby A had to stay in the hospital to get light treatments for jaundice - but Mommy was fine, so the hospital kicked Dave and H. out.

I don't think I've ever seen my oldest and best friend so upset as when he and H. were being discharged and told to go home, but they couldn't take their baby girl with them.

Now I'm gonna get a little bit preachy, but this is important. IF YOU WANT TO HAVE GOOD FRIENDS, YOU MUST BE A GOOD FRIEND. Often that means you have to sacrifice for your friends.

I am absolutely blessed with the best friends any man could ask for... and while I'm not perfect, I think that is because I choose good people to be friends with, and I do my damndest to be good friends to them.

A year ago this week, the hospital discharged H as healthy, but kept baby A because of her jaundice. Lisa was still a patient, recovering from the gut-cut.

I told Dave, "They let someone sleep in here with Lisa - that's supposed to be me, but it doesn't have to be. Let's go home, let Mommy H stay in here with Lisa, and that way Mommy can stay with baby A, and us Daddies can come back tomorrow."

Dave hated being away from his wife and daughter; I hated being away from my wife and son. But we did it, and let both Mommies be with both kids, and everything turned out ok.

That was a year ago, this week.

This year, Alex had his birthday party last Saturday. HUGE party, lots of people, WONDERFUL time :)

Dave and H's daughter A has her first birthday party tomorrow (Saturday) - it should be a great time as well.

Slightly rough start, and slightly rough year - Dave and I have been so busy, we've barely spoken over the last 12 months. But we have the kind of friendship that can survive that, especially now that our time is focused on our next generation. Tomorrow is a pool party; lots of splashing and toys and 1-year-olds getting adults completely soaked.

Ought to be a lot of fun :)

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Been so excited about this, I guess I forgot to post...

I'll be able to go to Boomershoot '09!!!

Been reading about it, and wishing I could go, for several years now... but it's always fallen too close to my 1 May anniversary for me to do it. For '09, it ends on 26 April, which gives me plenty of time to drive back home!


I'm really looking forward to this. I have a rifle (Tikka T3 Lite) and ammo (Black Hills Gold .308) that are good for 1/2 Minute of Angle in combination... so it'll be strictly up to me to do the job.

I'll be driving up and camping, and trying to line up friends who I'd like to have some long-range precision shooting experience... this is gonna be FUN!!!

Only one thing could keep me home... and that's if Lisa is pregnant and on bedrest again. I may have to monitor my zipper between now and then...


Tools, Argh!

Found out today my harmonic balancer puller has some screwed-up threads. Not sure how that happened, but it stopped me short on turning the Blazer's engine into a bunch of small parts.

Almost simultaneously, Friend Tommy called, and asked to borrow a tool I have to finish doing brakes on his daughter's new (to her) car.

And offered to help me on the Blazer tomorrow until *I* got tired - which should be around 11pm - midnight.

Sounds like a good trade to me :) I'll get the tools and parts I need tomorrow afternoon, then Tommy and I should be able to finish up fixing the timing chain tomorrow night.

And when we finished the brakes on the Daughter's car, we enjoyed a few beers, cigars, and good long talk... something we haven't been able to do in WAY too long.

All in all, a good evening :)

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Ups and Downs...

We shelled quite a few peas tonight, Lisa and I... enough for several meals.

Not as many as I wanted, but still a decent amount.

Blazer's still broke... based on the available evidence, Uncle Alex agrees that the most likely scenario is that it jumped time. That's my next project - and it may delay further blogging for a while.

Alex is for-real walking. Not very well, but he's doing it. I think I'm about to have my hands more full than I ever have yet. Why don't babies learn to use the toilet before they learn to walk? That would really even out the workload.

Ahh well... life goes on. Some good, some bad... but that's what keeps it interesting, right?

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