Sunday, July 31, 2011

But You Must Act Now!

Inspired by Lynnafred’s enthusiasm in incorporating sausage into a non-traditional meal, the other night I opted to experiment with boneless-skinless chicken breasts, breakfast link sausage, and muenster cheese sprinkled with grated parmesan and baked as an entrĂ©e for the night’s supper.

While I’m no chef by any means, I knew from experience that the chicken would need to be pounded down before it could be rolled around my inspired choice of ingredients. For some reason, though, our store-bought meat tenderizer was nowhere to be found. Who knows – I use it so infrequently it might have been sold in one of Kim’s yard-sales. But since I was pumped to make this meal, my shop provided me with something which accomplished my goal.

This particular 2X4 cutoff, left over from the front porch project, did an unusually good job of flitterizing the chicken despite not having the “teeth“ my missing meat tenderizer had.

The family subsequently agreed, during the course of the meal, that the chicken had the perfect thickness/consistency for the effort. They also uniformly agreed that this was a meal they never wanted to have again. Win some, lose some – I liked it. But I like cafeteria food too.

A day or two later, the well-balanced block of wood was still in the kitchen when the need to pulverize some ice to make an ice-bath to calibrate two temperature sensing devices presented itself. I have never had such an easy time making big ice cubes smaller.

Then it struck me – you may have noticed in the opening picture that this particular piece of wood came from either Winchester or Douglas county Oregon. If you’ve ever seen the Amish working hard at producing miracle space heaters on TV, then you might have an appreciation for why this board worked so well at what I needed it to do.

I have a small supply of Winchester or Douglas county Oregon lumber left over. Quantities are limited. I would like to GIVE anyone who asks a short length of this miracle, multi-purpose, kitchen device. Simply pay $19.95 shipping & handing, and IT’S YOURS FREE!

But if you act NOW, I will include TWO perfectly sized blocks of Amish-associated wood for FREE (just pay S&H on the second board). Call within the next two hours – Operators are standing by.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Gardener I am Not

This year's garden is a bust unless you are a Munchkin.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Airstream’s Half-Family Trip

When the possibility of Kim & Jared spending two weeks in Birmingham came up, we decided the best plan was for me to tow the Airstream down to a campground close to where they would be spending most of their time. As plans were being finalized, Kim’s mom accepted an invitation to join them there for however long she wanted to stay.

The three of them are now close to half-way through their visit, and Daniel & I are planning to motor down tomorrow so we can be a family again for a short time. We're all looking forward to seeing each other.

In the meantime, Daniel is being introduced to what "baching it" entails

When the Cat’s Away, the Mice Will Clean

For some reason, he thought the dancing girls were going to clean house for us...


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Candlestick Maker

Three wicks in a tub,
And how do you think they got there?

Most everyone familiar with a campground setting appreciates the ability of citronella candles to limit the number of bugs & gnats buzzing about the site. We’re no different, and always have a variety of citronella-based products on hand at every outing.

A few camping trips ago, the workhorses of our citronella arsenal, two triple-wick Cutter-brand candles, suspiciously quit burning at about the same time. Reading the label (which apparently I was supposed to remove before use) the manufacturer claimed “burns up to 40 hours”. While there is little doubt these candles each have at least 40 hours of burn-time, both still had plenty of wax, and this annoyed me because I’m used to replacing candles only when there is little or no wax left to burn.

Wondering if the wicks had been damaged somehow, several dollops of wax were removed from each candle to expose more wick. No joy –neither candle would keep a flame on any of the wicks. We ended up pulling out several smaller candles to fend off bugs during the trip’s remainder.

These big candles are not all that expensive. But since there was so much wax left in both, I hated to just toss them & buy new ones. So Kim bought us a bag of new wicks a few days after returning home, and Tom’s CandleWerks was established at the grill’s side burner.

After gently warming the wax, the remains of the old wicks were picked out with pliers. Comparing the old & new wicks, it was immediately clear why the candles had stopped burning – the original wicks had a metal collar to keep the wick from burning past a certain point. These candles had been designed to burn up to 40 hours and no more.

If I was a business man, I would applaud the Company for a novel way of forcing unsuspecting consumers to replace nondurable goods before the good is truly depleted. But in this case, I am a consumer, and my general thought is “bastards!”

The re-wicked candles worked beautifully during the next camping trip.

Even though the only candles I burn are on the campground, the relative easiness of the task, and the 80 wicks left over from the effort, inspired me investigate candle making as yet another hobby. It was a short investigation – It’s considerably cheaper to buy pre-made candles than to make them from scratch.

Just as well; I already do enough things the hard way.