Category: cooking/baking

Sun. June 4, 2023 – oh, I’m a lumberjack and I’m ok, I … wait, what?

Likely to be hot and humid today with about a 60% chance of rain.   It was humid as a sauna yesterday, both in Houston and here at the BOL.  My shirt was soaked, and my shorts were wet from the waistband to the hem.

After loading up the truck, I headed to my pickup.   Got a very nice grill for $40.   Really nice.  Basically the same as my grill at home but with a lot less wear, and the upgrade to built in lights.  The auctioneer, and judging by his comment while we loaded it, the seller, both seemed to be upset it went so cheap.  Wife cooked dinner on it last night and it worked perfectly.   Very happy.

I surveyed the downed tree, decided I would get my mower back together and cut the grass first, then tackle the tree since the tree guy is coming (eventually) and he can take care of any parts I don’t do.   That worked well.

When I did get to the tree, my chainsaw was cutting like butter.  Limbed the whole thing, stacked the small and crooked stuff in the burn pile, and cut what I could for firewood.   There is still about 16ft of trunk I’ll leave for the tree guy, and the standing part.   I might try to just leave the part that is still standing.  The pole saw (mini chainsaw on a stick) attachment for the string trimmer engine worked great too.   It make getting the high limbs easy, and made cutting the low ones that were holding the trunk in place a lot safer to cut, being 10ft away in case it rotated.

Even though it fell next to my garden, the potatoes survived.   One mound is thriving, the other 3 are surviving.   Berry bushes are not.   Peach tree still has green fruit growing, so the animals haven’t stripped it yet.   I hope we get some fruit from it this year.

Had a nice fire on the dock after playing games with wife and D2.   We played the LoTR version of Monopoly, and Rummicub.   Then I went down and watched the (not very) distant lightning.  Radio was pretty good, New Zealand had a segment produced by the BBC World service about religion and politics in the US that was interesting for the 45 minutes I caught.   No Cuban stations, and the ham bands were quiet with just the built in antenna.   Just before coming in, I caught about 20 minutes of the Worldwide Country Music show and heard some old school country, and some gospel.   Nice change of pace for me.

I’m hoping we don’t get rain today.  Don’t have a lot of time today before we need to head home.   I can’t stay an extra day as we have a swim meet and I have to get back out to my client’s to re-pull the cable.   Even a short time up here, mostly spent doing hard work, was nice.

Don’t forget to stack up some good times.   They will be real important if TSHTF.


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Sun. May 28, 2023 – work happened, but more is in order…

68F and a bit chilly early, but warming quickly once the sun does it’s thing.  Yesterday got pretty warm, well into the 90s in the sunlight.  High 80s in the shade.  Very gentle breeze.

Perfect weather for a burn pile.   It rained recently so there wasn’t much risk of fire spreading, and little to no wind meant I could finally burn some of the root balls we dug up to get the septic in place.    I also had a lot of small branches after I cut down 2  small dead ornamental trees.  The freeze killed them  and they weren’t coming back.   The third small tree went on the HOA lot burn pile for later.   It had to come out to provide access to the patio.

Readers who have been following along can infer that my replacement chainsaw parts came in and worked.   The chinese bar and chain fit, and cut very well.  I also finished up with the string trimmer, and blew the debris clear with an attachment for the trimmer’s power unit.   I’ve got a pole saw attachment too, but I didn’t need to use it yet.  I really like swapping attachments for the unit.   Don’t know if the Craftsman branded engine will hold up, but it’s running great so far, and very handy.   I’ve got a blower, pole saw, string trimmer (two actually) and mini rototiller.

The potatoes I planted are growing, but the berry bushes don’t seem to be.    The rest of the garden looked like a lawn with all the nut grass.   Since it’s so late, I might just cover the whole plot with black plastic sheet, and try to kill the nutgrass for next season.   Haven’t decided yet.  I did cut it to the soil with the string trimmer.  So far the deer seem to have left the potatoes alone.   They didn’t even eat the loose potatoes I threw in the yard.   Maybe I’ll plant a whole lotta potatoes next time.   I dug up some of the wild onions from the lot next door.  I will see what I can do with them today.

And I’ll be doing more stuff from the list throughout the day.   I feel like I got a lot done, gotta take the meds and keep pushing.   It may not be the big stuff, but it all still needs doing.

So I’ll keep stacking up chores.   And knocking them down, if only a bit at a time.

Stack it up!


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Tues. May 23, 2023 – 052323 – sorta cool… out of the office today

Slightly cooler but sure to get hot later.  Mainly because I’m going to need to work in the attic.   National forecast has us in the clear so that sun will heat everything up.  It stayed cool in the shade yesterday but it was moist and hot in the sunlight, even with a light overcast.

I did one pickup, mostly home goods, but included 2 kindle paperwhites.   D1 cracked her screen a while ago.  I made her pay half for the replacement kindle.   I think I spent $30 each so it wasn’t a hardship, but bad decisions shouldn’t be rewarded.  Got a UV flashlight too.   Should come in handy.  It was $3, so I expect it to be less than pro level.

Went by the bins since I was in that part of town, didn’t find much of interest.   Some days it’s like that.   Nice pair of like new Vans,  if they fit D2 and she likes them, that will have made the stop worth while.  Spent some time at my storage unit going through stuff and sorting for the eventual auction. That’s where the late afternoon sun was beating down on me, even through the overcast.   Came home soaked in sweat.

Dinner was boxed Beef Stroganoff, one of the cheesy hamburger helper style meals.   Beef was in the freezer for over a year, in a vac bag.   Box meal was on the shelf for a year past its best by.   Milk was UHT shelf stable opened last week.   All was good.  No leftovers.(and I use 1 1/3 pounds of meat, instead of just a pound.)   Eat what you store, store what you eat.


Did some searching through surveillance video.   Fish is there at dusk on Saturday but never seen again.   That night a big tabby cat does come sniffing around, but walks off.   The rain started soon after that, and went on for 12 hours, so I don’t have great video, and I can’t see any time when the pond was disturbed at all.   Can’t figure out what got Mr Fish, but he’s gone daddy gone and has been for a week.   That’s kinda the worst part, that we didn’t notice for a few days and didn’t investigate for a few more (we feed him daily.)  I just figured he was hiding in the deep end.  So much for my situational awareness.


Today I’m headed to my client’s house to do the rest of the install.   The NVR came in, and I can get the rest of what I need on my way.   That’ll be later in the morning though.   I should still be able to waste time on the internet with my friends.  You know, get the day started right.

And then I should be able to  invoice and stack up the result.  ‘Cuz sometimes the best stacks are greenbacks.


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Mon. May 8, 2023 – another week closer to the end of the school year…

Cool and damp.  Got some rain yesterday, expect we’ll get a bit more today.   Wasn’t hot, but wasn’t cool either.   I have tried a bunch of things to get my weather station reporting again, but nothing seems to work.   I’ve tried changing the outdoor unit 2x, and I have two different indoor units showing different things.   A third couldn’t find the outdoor unit either.   Something is interfering with the signal is all I can think.  Probably a cheap USB charger, but I can’t correlate the malfunction with any particular changes.  I’ll have to go on a hunt, so that’s farther down the list for now.

Did some sorting and cleaning up for the return of my bride…   got some of it done.   Pack is once again united.   Girl Scouts had a nice weekend.  I got some minor stuff done.   Rain put a damper on any outdoor stuff for me.  On the other hand, I didn’t have to do any more sprinkler work.

Today I’ve got a couple of pickups I can do, and a couple of things that are weather dependent.   We’ll see what we can get to.  I’ve got a bunch of stuff to go through for my  non-prepping hobby quarterly swapmeet/sale next weekend.  Don’t know if any of it will sell, but won’t find out unless I try.

Might have purchased some needful things in an auction.   I won, but this auctioneer will often pass items that don’t bring enough money.   Since I’m a bottom feeder, and need to get stuff cheap, I might not actually get it at my low bid.  They passed on a bunch of other stuff.   People waited too long to empty their safes and prices have come back down.  No one is buying Del-ton for what they had listed as a starting bid, but consignors haven’t realized that apparently.  I’m actually surprised any of my bids held up, let alone three.   I’ll have to find some cash somewhere if they DON’T pass on my bids.   Winning at a low price hasn’t been an issue for me for some time.  I feel a bit like Commander Zero this week.

There are always opportunities during times of trouble for the person with preparations and resources.   Keep your eyes open, there are bargains out there.

And you want to add to your stacks.


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Fri. Apr. 28, 2023 – stubbornly elusive…

Cool and damp.   Still some chance of rain though.   Yesterday’s rain didn’t last long, but it dripped most of  the morning.    It was fairly dry by evening.   It got a lot cooler too as the day progressed.  So I’m hoping for cool and clear, not too wet.

I did what I needed to do yesterday, after the rain stopped.   Hit up Costco for gas (saved $6 on a tank)  and food (spent a bunch, didn’t even stock up.)  Store looked ok.   I didn’t walk the aisles, but things were on sale, and most of the usual items seemed to be there.   I was there to buy a couple of bottles of wine, and the lamb for dinner.   Lamb was not on sale.

Got home, cooked, ate, celebrated.   Fell asleep.

Today I’ve got two pickups, in the same area but far south.  The items were very cheap, but we’ll see if they were cheap enough.   Then I’ve got to get loaded up, and head to the BOL.   Wife will be carting the kids and their friends.   It would be good if I could front run them a little bit and have the lights on when they arrive.

It would also be nice if it was dry and warm all weekend.   The weather liars have mixed ideas about that.  I can hope.

This week was about stacking up good times.   Back to the grind next week.   But for now, party on Wayne!  Party on Garth!


(but do keep stacking good stuff too)

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Tues. Apr. 4, 2023 – 404 for the year…

Warmer, and damp, but I’m still just Oggg and Thoggg, since I haven’t dragged out the ladder and replaced the batteries in the outdoor part of the weather station… National map says we could get rain or worse, lots of rain.  The yard could use it, but I have stuff to pick up.

Spent most of the day doing auction and computer stuff.   Also some cleaning the house, and it was haircut day.   I’ve been cutting my hair since tyrant codependency started and I’m ok at it.   It does save me $20 every 3 weeks.  When times get tough, people cut back on haircuts, either going somewhere cheaper, or lengthening the time between cuts.  I”ve been doing mine for convenience at this point, but the savings add up.   I do miss chatting with my barber, and getting a read on the world from his point of view.

Today should be more of the same.   Housecleaning (wife will return on Wednesday), auction stuff (hopefully a dropoff),  and maybe a pickup…  All while staying close enough and aware enough to pick up the kids from theater rehearsal after school.  It’s not a huge burden, but it does break up my day.

Dinner last night had both kids asking to learn to cook, and specifically to make the side dish.   I thought that was a huge score on  my part.    And it’s easy.   Fresh asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces (with diagonal ends if you want to be fancy).   Some thin sliced red onion for color and taste (not a lot, about 1:10 proportion).   Saute’ the onion and asparagus in a tablespoon or two of bacon fat until ‘blanched’ ie. darker green but still a bit crunchy, with the onions softening, or even caramelizing.   Add a couple of drops of vietnamese fish sauce and a few dashes of soy sauce.   Toss the mix to coat with flavor.   Saute’ briefly to thicken the sauce.  Turn off heat and let settle to soften the  spears a bit more.  Takes about 10 minutes total, including prep.  It is a little bit sweet, mostly salty, with good savory taste (umami).  Spear chunks should still have a little crunch, onion should be transparent and soft.   It’s a tasty colorful side, with a good smell and nice mouthfeel.

Anyway both kids liked it enough to want to learn to cook it.

It went well with frozen costco panko breaded shrimp from the oven, and a microwave tray of jasmine rice.  Not a bad meal to pull together in 1/2 an hour.  Call it “asian fusion”.

Dinner was followed by a long and frank discussion of racism especially as the kids see it every day.  They are getting tired of being punching bags for being white.   Did I mention that our district is about 85% non-white?  Or that D1 dyed her blond hair black for this school year?  I tried to give them advice about walking the tightrope- using facts, staying calm so the other guy looks bad, and using the language of the oppressed to flip the script.  I’m dismayed that neither could tell me approximately when the Civil War ended, or how many years the slaves have been free without a LOT of prompting.  D2 knew a bunch about lincoln the usurper and how he didn’t actually “free the slaves” at first, anyway, so that was nice.   It’s a tough world these kids are living in, and going to get tougher.

Stack some knowledge and techniques to use against those that would demonize and other us.  Stack some food too.


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Tues. Mar. 21, 2023 – another morning appointment…

Cold, still, but less so.   Should clear up for the next few days.   Never cleared completely yesterday.   Never warmed up much either.

Spent the morning taking D2 to the Orthodontist.   And today I have to take D1.   They are at different points in their treatment, and the office does one type of visit per day, so there wasn’t a way to get them both in on the same day.  I guess it’s what being the stay at home dad means, taking kids to appointments.

Spent the afternoon on auction stuff.   Got a few sprinkles of rain.  Nothing that stuck though.

Made a box meal for dinner and used the canned costco chicken.  I do that all the time.  You get shredded chicken instead of chunks, which alters the meal somewhat, but it still tastes great.   This time I used a “Tasty” Chicken Tikka Masala kit.   Subbed minute rice for the included rice as I didn’t want to wait.   It was really tasty!  Wife said she’d eat that again, so I went looking.   It’s not at HEB anymore.  Neither does the corporate website list it (or any food for that matter, only recipe books).  Searching amazon or the web for “tasty chicken tikka masala kit” is painful.   Folks, if you are going to start a company making food, don’t pick a name that is a common adjective for food.   You get the search results you’d expect for a generic keyword search.

In any case, no more of the product is available, that I can find.    One of the disadvantages of stacking and then not eating for a while is that the product might not be available to restock.

I have  a lot of ‘box meals’ that use hamburger, and a lot that I can sub in canned chicken.   Very convenient, and store well past their best by date.    There are also a lot of quick side dishes that could be fortified with canned meat or sausage to make a main meal.   Anything to save time, or effort, is a good thing in a disaster, and also in a normal busy life.

Commander Zero noted that his local store has Auguson Farms FD and dehydrated food on sale.   That led me to look at some on the ‘zon and since it was on sale, I bought some more.  FDs aren’t my primary stored food, but they do make a good long term storage solution.   Just don’t expect to get the number of servings on the can.  I treat the Auguson Farms FDs as a supplement to other food, not as complete meals.

Today I’ve got more auction stuff to sort and bin, and maybe deliver, after I get D1 back to school.  I might do some pickups today too.   I’m supposed to be meeting a friend, and I don’t know how long we’ll spend doing what he needs to do, so I might not get much done besides that.   But you know, meatspace baby!

Get out in the world this week.  Call up an old friend.   Stack up some good times as well as good stuff.


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Thur. Feb. 2, 2023 – 02022023 – she’s so fine, there’s no tellin’ where the money went…

Cold again. And wet.   But, you know, winter.   Because it’s cold in winter, even in the South.   It did get into the 40s or 50s yesterday, but stayed wet and dreary.  Today is likely to be the same.   I feel your pain if your power is still out and hope you are doing ok.

Spent all of yesterday at home.   Had some issue with my main PC and needed to get that sorted.   Of course, to even get access to it meant moving and dealing with stuff that’s been piling up here for a long time.   Got it out, cleaned, installed a new second hard drive for media storage, and back in service.   Still don’t have all the cr@p back in my office or off to wherever it will live until next time.

Cleaning and moving stuff spilled over to the foyer, living room, kitchen, and bedroom.   Attic too.

Time to add some of the waiting projects to the ‘catch as catch can’ pile and list and get moving on some of the stuff.

I did a quick run through the grocery store yesterday.   Eggs are ~$4/dozen for large white eggs.   Prime sirloin steak was on sale, 5.59/pound.   I bought the last two trays.   We eat a lot of sirloin steak, mainly because I can get it for just a little bit more than the cost of decent hamburger.  Vac sealer, and freezer make that possible.   Living better for less.

Today I’ll be wrapping some more of that up.  Also trying to do a couple of pickups and maybe make a couple of calls trying to sell some freezers…

I’m sure there will be something that comes up to thwart my cunning plans.  There always is.  But we still slog onward…  oh woe is me.   😉

Stack stuff.   But not just junk.  Good stuff.


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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.

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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.




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