Category: cooking/baking

Mon. Nov. 28, 2022 – home and working the list

Cool and damp, but probably no precip.   Lovely day yesterday at the BOL.  Sun came out and dried up all the rain, and the itsy  bit-sy ……….

Anyway, enough of the silliness.   No one called me on my “insert clever remark” joke?  I’ll take it as  you guys hoping to spare my feelings for a dumb mistake, and not a failed joke.  (I don’t actually have a template for posts, despite the familiar (some might say ‘well worn’) shape.)*

There, you see?   It was a kindness, not a bad joke.   The power of an author knows no bounds.

Anyway, enough of this silliness.   I did get stuff done to advance the ‘livability’ of the BOL.   Still plenty to do, but the master bath has made progress, and  the master bedroom.  Having a Christmas tree up makes it more homey than you’d think.

Now to really get to stacking up there.   I’ve got piles (stacks!) of stuff to take up.   The difficulty will be in deciding where the balance should be between the amount of stuff here and the amount of stuff there.   That will be a temporary issue if everything holds together long enough for me to get to parity….

So stack some stuff at your place.  Then stack some more at wherever you’ll end up if things go sideways.  You won’t regret it.



*and here I would have dropped the close parenthesis and made a ‘failed to compile’ joke for the programmers in the audience.

Sat. Nov. 26, 2022 – gettin’ stuff done

Cool and damp, but maybe not raining today.  That would be nice.  It stayed damp and misty all day yesterday.

So I only did a little bit outdoors.  I did break two more slabs of concrete from the front walk and move them to the pile of free concrete rubble.   Don’t know for sure, but I think some of the pile might have gone away.

Spent some time chatting with a neighbor 2 houses down, who I don’t see often.   And chatted for a bit with my fisherman friend.  I even got a few minutes to practice fishing between little jobs.   But mostly I was scraping ceilings.    [that should be enough sentence fragments for a while… maybe I’ll do a run-on for balance]

My wife found the telescope last night as we were putting away the movie night stuff, unfortunately it’s been cloudy so I didn’t reveal it to her on purpose, since there was nothing to see, but she was surprised.  “Now THAT’S a big telescope!”  Maybe we’ll get a break tonight and it will clear up.    It would be nice to at least look through it this weekend.

There were a few more boats on the lake yesterday and the level is up, so they could use the community launch ramp next door.  Otherwise I might not have noticed.  I expected more people to come up for the holiday weekend, but it’s anything but “busy”.   I’m happy enough with that, we weren’t looking for a busy lake or a lot of people.   So far none of the holidays have been particularly busy that I could see.   Maybe on the other side of the lake the experience was different.  In any case, I’m pleased.

Turkey and leftovers were tasty.   Today D2 declared it was the best turkey every, although she prefers the “normal” way I make ribs.   Hooray for that.  Now to learn about smoking as a preservation technique and not just for flavor.

Maybe I’ll try salting some pork too.  Hmm.  Always good to learn new skills.  Most of my chat with my fisherman friend was about making sausage.  Time to start stacking up some more skills…

And in case those skills don’t work out, stack some more food.  It’s pretty cheap now, and will likely be very dear later.




Fri. Nov. 25, 2022 – it’s Black Friday y’all, time for a retail brawl…

Cool and wet again today.   At least to start. It rained here most of yesterday, going from storm to drizzle to storm to steady rain, back to misty drizzle throughout the day.  I’m hoping that it will dry out a bit later.

My smoked turkey was a success.   It was done earlier than expected, so we ate earlier.   I thought I’d be short on wood for the smoke but I had plenty.   Shredded pecan stump works great.   It’s been a few years so I am happy it went well, and I will do more smoking soon.   The stuff will stay up here and  I should be able to do little jobs while watching the fire.  Both the turkey and the pork ribs had beautiful ruby red flesh, a good half inch deep or deeper and tasted great.

I didn’t get much else done, but I did get some (very) small things off the list.   And importantly, my wife proved we can do a big meal from scratch up here despite the work zone conditions and very small oven.

And hey, we found a  couple of things we haven’t brought up yet, like a small food processor, or an immersion blender.  Or honey.   If we’re gonna keep making cornbread, we WILL need honey.

Today I’m hoping to get back in the groove and make some real progress on the master bath.   We’ll see what happens.

And the next trip up, I’ve got to move a bunch of stuff.

Everyone  should be stacking whatever they can.


(you can probably do without the ‘free’ big screen tv…)




Thurs. Nov. 24, 2022 – Thanksgiving Day (US)

Thanksgiving Day.   I wish you all a wonderful and fulfilling day.

I’m thankful for the time we have.  Time to spend with friends and family, time to prep for what is surely coming.   I’m thankful for the good times that created the resources I’m using to get ready.

I’m thankful for family to share the burdens and the love.

I’m thankful for friends, here and in meatspace.   I’m thankful for the companionship and camaraderie I find here, as well as the help with a wide range of issues.

I’m thankful for the continued support of Barbara and Rick.

I’m thankful for the trust Bob showed me when he first asked me to contribute here.

And I’m thankful for everyone who comes here as a reader or commentor, regularly, or just occasionally.   You all make it what it is.

Enjoy the day.

Save me some pie!


Sun. Nov. 20, 2022 – 11202022 – just didn’t happen

Cold and wet.   Low 40s to start, and if it keeps raining, to continue as well.   It was 42F when I went to bed.  Rained all day Saturday.

And partly because of the rain, I never really got anything done.   I got things started, but not finished.   I’m definitely not ready to head to the lake for a week, especially with a big meal in the middle.

Wife got home ok, said Vegas was about like always, and crashed out.   I ended up puttering around the house without much forward movement.   I spent a lot of time cooking, between pancake breakfast for the kids and the double meatloaf dinner.

I did take a look at the garden.   Watermelon vine is still there, still has flowers, but no fruit showing.  The lime tree in a pot that I thought was frozen has leaves on it.   The grape vine grew about 8ft, and still has leaves.  The herb garden is finishing out with the basil budding, and the rest either disappeared, or just small plants.  It’s enough to make me buy another couple flats of canned veg…

Plans.  Hah.   No plans for you!

We’ll see how today shapes up.  There isn’t a burning need to get to the lake today, and I’ve got stuff to do in town on Monday.   I may just plan to go up then, and let my wife have a quiet day at home.  Plans.  Hah.

There is comfort in plenty.  Stack some plenty.


Tues. Sept. 27, 2022 – 4 years ago today…

…friend of the blog and prolific commentor OFD,   Dave Hardy, went to his reward.  Church-y language, because he believed in the power of The Church, as it was, and should be.   I hope he’s watching with a bowl of pretzels and a bottle of Moxie.   And if it turns out to be more than a spectator sport, we could all use a little help buddy… Prayers for those he left behind.    Raise a glass to Absent Friends.


Cooler but warming later here in Houston.

Didn’t get a lot done yesterday.  Did get some stuff sorted and put away.   Cut the grass.   Broke down and vac sealed the remaining meat from the shopping run (just the vac sealed pork tenderloin.)    Got three nice roasts out of it, and decided not to do any chops.   Cooked one roast for dinner with collard greens from the garden as a side.   Collards are on their second or possibly third year, and still produce.   Had a loaf of the shelf stable sourdough bread too, since I was already running the oven.

Felt kinda ‘off’ all day.   Too much sun on Sunday maybe.

Today I’ve got stuff to do.  Pickups, drop offs, and moving stuff around.   I need to do some more tax paperwork, and some office work too.  There is always something more to do.

Like stacking all the things, you need to do more of that.



(have I mentioned that D2 is taking up the trombone? And that beginning trombone sounds like moose in heat?  LOUDLY in heat.)

Tues. Aug. 16, 2022 – and away we go!

Hot, humid, chance of rain… and all that noise.   It was a bit cooler yesterday than it has been, so maybe summer is winding down.  On the other hand, it was still 82F at midnight.

Got the kids off to school, kinda.   Turns out the bus drives by, then picks up some other kids, and returns to pick up mine.  As it was 20 minutes late when it passed the first time,  we didn’t wait.   Kids had a good first day.

I did some auction stuff then went shopping.   Dropped a bunch of money at Lowes on plumbing stuff for the BOL, then hit up Costco.   Dropped a bunch of money there, but got a bunch of meat too.  Freezers are full again, until I move more to the lake.

Today I’ve got auction pickups, home and rent house maintenance, and some other errands to run, but first D1 needs to have her braces checked.   That takes up most of the morning, by the time I’m back home. Oh well. Poor planning to schedule the appointment during the school week, when we could have done it last week, but we are getting near the end of her treatment.  ‘Bout time to get D2 started.

One of the auction items I picked up last week was a solar inverter.   Solar for the BOL is moving up the list.  I just have to figure out how all the pieces work together, and find the time to assemble what I have.   Seems like it should be more straightforward than most people online make it out to be.   Hmm.  Lotta things like that.


The other thing I have to do is some auction listings.   I’ve got some high value stuff just sitting here, getting older, without being listed.   Keeping up with listings is probably the hardest part of reselling, but there isn’t any “selling” without listing.   Seems like there is always something more important to do though.

Dinner yesterday was all from stores.   Sesame chicken “simmering sauce” from HEB, costco chicken from cans, and instant rice.   Came together pretty quickly and tasted good.  Every bit got eaten, and my wife said she’d eat it again…  Starting with the packaged food cuts prep time considerably, reduces cook time dramatically, and makes it easier.  All of those are good things in a disaster, or just when you can’t be bothered to cook from complete scratch.   All of the elements of the meal store for a long time too.

Bulk ingredients are great, and are an integral part of any long term plan, but consider some meals that use less time and energy for the times when you are short of both.

Then stack it up!


Sat. Jun. 11, 2022 – I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream…

Hot, and humid, because Texas!  Well, EAST Texas anyway.   Cooler here than Houston, and probably more breeze.

Made it safely to the BOL last night despite the late start.  Everything in the back of the truck was still there when I arrived.   No one ever died because they put on an extra strap…

Among my pickups yesterday were two big solar panels.  They had been dropped and damaged during shipping, so I got them for $5.   The glass is shattered, but I’m hoping to salvage some or all of the cells, and the diode or MMTP on the back.   First and very cursory glance says I may just be out $5.  It’ll be interesting to put them in the sun and see what or if they put anything out.  That project is going to have to wait though.

All the normal stuff needs doing up here, and we need to make more progress on livability.   The garden needs some attention for sure.

Maybe I’ll taste the nut grass, and if I like it, I’ll just grow a garden of nut grass….    Probably easier that way too.   It’s a bit funny that the local electric co-op magazine has an article in it this month about local foraging.   They specifically cite grocery shortages and rising costs as reasons people took up foraging, and for more people to start.

Every account of prolonged conflict I’ve read had people eating grass.  I’d like to do better than that.  I intend to do better than that.  But if you need a little extra, NOW is the time to figure out the wild groceries around you, while there is still 911 and medical care 😉

There are lots of references available, and I don’t know one from the other, but if it interests you, there is probably a local expert to help you learn.   Just remember, if it was better or more efficient for feeding people, we wouldn’t be farming, and in a long term event, even the grass is eaten to the ground before too long.  Don’t count on living off the land——–

Stack up all the things!



Fri. Apr. 29, 2022 – Lots of catching up today

Clear and pleasant again, with some clouds.   It sure was nice yesterday, with only an intermittent threat of rain from some cloudiness, and a bit of humidity later in the day.

Finished up my shade tree mechanic LARPing.  Got the Ranger running, and picked up a replacement wiper for the rear window of my Expedition.    I c’nae believe how hard it was to find the correct wiper, or why Ford went with a completely different attachment means for that one wiper.  AdvanceAutoParts, and Autozone had me running around, but O’Reilly had the parts I needed.  I’ll check with them first next time.  I bought a second wiper as a spare and it was the last one they had.  More reinforcement for the idea that if you think you might need it, you better stack it.

I also shipped my ebay sale and couple of other things I’ve been putting off for no good reason.

D1 had a play at school last night and tonight, so we went to see that.   Every kid was miked, ever mic was too loud.  I know I’ve got hearing issues, but I couldn’t get but one word in 10.   Daughter is following in the wife and my footsteps with her work backstage.  Mixed feelings about that.  It was a great learning experience, and it put us both where we are now, but times change, and I’m not sure I’d want to be working in the industry now.

I suppose that is true for most parents.

Today I’ve got a couple of pickups, and some driving to do.  Then I’ll have more sorting and stacking at my storage unit.   Wife and D1 are headed to GS camp for the weekend after the curtain comes down on the show tonight.   D2 and I are home alone.   Might just load up the truck and head to the lake after swim practice Saturday.  There’s plenty to do up there, if I get bored with all the stuff that needs doing here…

WRT site issues here, please keep reporting them, but bear with us as Rick tries to sort it out.

And for pete’s sake, stack some food.  Don’t forget fats.  Peanut oil stores well, and can be used in place of butter in most cooking.  Lard in sealed plastic buckets should last a long time too.   With the decrease in sunflower oil exports from Ukraine, people will have to buy other oils, which will put pressure on them as well.   Get some, even if you don’t use much now.  It’s relatively cheap, stores for a long time, and is an important prep.  Salt and vinegar too, in mass quantities, mainly for food preservation, and a few jars of ‘pickling spice’ wouldn’t be a bad idea.

FWIW I like multiple smaller containers, rather than one big one.   It lasts longer if you don’t have a giant container open, you can more easily share a smaller container, and if one is spoiled the rest will still be ok.  To me, multiples are better, even if the unit cost is higher.  The most expensive prep is one you have to throw out without using.    Had a rat (might have been the possum) gnaw a bottle of peanut oil this week, made a mess on the shelf.   That was just one liter damaged, not the whole supply.  I could have used what was left in the bottle for frying I suppose if desperate, or as lamp oil, but I just tossed it and replaced it.   That might not always be an option.  So….

Stack something.


Thur. Apr. 28, 2022 – so we’re a quarter of the way through the year…

Clear and nice for the next two days according to the national forecast.   We’ll see what our local microclimate actually does, but it certainly was nice yesterday.

Too bad I spent most of the afternoon literally pretending to be a shade tree mechanic.   And laying on my back in the shade under a filthy truck.   The result of a few hours spent is ruling out the alternator and the starter/solenoid.  Most of that time was driving from store to store to get the parts checked.    My next possibility is the corroded cable at the battery clamp.  I found a 2 volt drop in the first inch  of the cable.   The weird thing is that the problem appeared suddenly.  Damage from corrosion is usually a slow and gradual problem.  JEP said “it’s almost always the cable” and he may have been right in this case too.

I spent the morning getting dinner ready (crock pot pot roast) and packing the bulk meat I bought.  Should have done it sooner, but it was still fine.   Did I mention that Costco has standing rib pork loin roasts for less than $2/pound?  I forgot that it was Easter time, and that they carried my favorite pork cut at Easter.  Cut up as pork chops, or cooked as a roast, you can’t  beat the flavor.  The pot roast is a family favorite, and couldn’t be easier.  Just add whatever sturdy veg you have in the fridge, I used turnips, carrots, potatoes, and onion, the meat (seared in cast iron first) and the Betty Crocker pot roast slow cooker seasoning packet.  6-8 hours later, add a fresh baked (shelf stable) loaf of sourdough bread to the table, and you have a feast.   Stew in the slow cooker is pretty much the same, except the meat is cubed first, and I use the “beef stew” packet…

Plan for today is more exploration and hopefully a resolution to my truck issue.  I need the truck  to do about 80% of the stuff on my list.  If I get it fixed, I’ve got all the other stuff that didn’t get done this week stacked up.   If I don’t, that stuff will slip even more.

I guess I better get moving.

And btw, the head of Goya foods is warning about famine too.

It’s real and it’s coming.   Stack it up.


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