Sunday, April 14, 2024


For the want of pulled pork

 Nine pounds pork butt, thirteen-hour cook on pellet grill.

Eight hours into the cook, roast @145 degrees F. Wrapped in foil for remainder of cook.



Roast done to 200 degrees F internal and "rested" for an hour and a half. Falls apart.

Dinner 1, 2 & 3 repeats.

All of the above was the next "cook" on my list using new pellet grill. Started at midnight.

Salt and pepper only just before putting inside the grill. First 3 hours at 220 degrees F, next 7 hours at 250 degrees F and then finished at 300  degrees F to get to the 200 degree F internal temperature by dinner time. I think this is called "pushing the cook." There was no loss to the finished quality.

Her and I agree that this is by far the best pulled pork we have ever eaten. And it is not me, the cook. It is SLOW COOK TIME, TEMPERATURE PROBE INFORMATION AND THE PELLET GRILL. 

I spent considerable time reading articles and watching videos from other backyard home/family cooks and then simply gave this a try. What we found amazing is the flavor, that the pork is moist and that the bark is full of flavor and adds to the overall meal. The pork needs nothing and is stand alone on any plate. Warmed up as good as off the grill. For some reason though, maybe habit, BBQ sauce always finds it way to the plate.






I mentioned awhile back that I raked to the bottom of a leaf pile out back and planted the remainder of my seed potatoes in the rich dirt of rotted leaves. Covered them up with 6"- 8" of leaves and "gave them to God." Kinda!

I remember as a youngster going to corners of mom's garden and digging beautiful potatoes from under grass and leaf piles. What did I have to lose from trying that here?

Low and behold, potatoes are taking off like gangbusters. Truth will be in the digging. Baby red potatoes with butter, salt and pepper. That's the dream.


Three and a half inches of rain this past week. Thunder, lightening and the pitter-patter of rain for hours. Dark grey days. Outside surroundings, all a lush green. 

Ditches on both sides of the roads, fields and ponds are shedding what they cannot hold.



The price of roses are going to go up. Oops.  Rationing water for nine million people. Producer of flowers/roses and coffee. 

COFFEE. Now this story has my attention. Second largest producer of coffee in the world. Ouch. The price of coffee is already through the roof. This is not going to help. What to do? What to do? We drink 6 lbs. a month.

Not so long ago, our red can of coffee (last summer) was $8 a can. Then the price went to $11 and then to $14 and now it is unavailable. However, a single can of the same coffee on Amazon is available for $23. Think investment and barter. Shop different brands while still at lower prices.


Originally found on The Daily Time Waster.

A good take on an old song, I thought.


Just released on Prime.

Graphic, violent, comedic, great story telling, excellent sound track, visually gripping, some of my favorite actors and some new ones. We completed the 8 episode series last night. Love it or hate it! 


The NET. More now like car wreck after car wreck after car wreck. Lot of folks throwing words, memes and videos in the air. I find a few to quickly look at as they arc. 

Looking here, looking there, down the road and turning to look behind me. The smallest of things are indistinguishable from potential catastrophic things.

What ever is building and coming, is coming this year.  Soon, I think. Sooner than later. "Biggly."

In the mean time, I looked this past week at day turning to night turning back to day, water in ditches, potatoes growing under leaves, fields, overflowing ponds and to the woman who puts her arms around me, pulls tightly and kisses me on the cheek. Says softly, "I love you." 

God is offering me good days and I know it.

Shopping yesterday in one of the larger nearby cities. Big nationwide store. The gal checking us out mentioned that currently at "her" store average shopping cart purchases are $335. And, $394 for 10 bags, young family with three little kids from another local friend this morning.

And to you. I appreciate your time and visit. Share with a friend this day.


Tuesday, April 9, 2024



From SV Airspeed: "Good Morning, Puerto Rico. We sailed all night and look at what we woke up to."



Completed the T-15 model sail boat this past weekend. A new hobby. This model proved to be a good entry point for learning about free-sailing pond sail boats. Highly recommend this model kit for anyone interested in a new hobby. Great for parents and kids to build and play with.

Used painter's tape to protect bottom of hull from excess epoxy overrun when installing keel. 

Squaring keel as epoxy glue set up.

Drawing water line with make shift jig. Sliding the pencil holder along the table top makes a perfect water line. Pencil can be adjusted to obtain desired water line mark.

 Taping water line for bottom hull painting. 


Hull complete on makeshift stand. Top deck stained red mahogany and varnished.

The process in play on recently built hobby table. Proof that no workshop or work table is ever big enough.

A very nice model now sits on my computer room work table. Satisfaction from little things in life.

POND YACHTS a book on building and sailing.

I picked up one of these books a few months ago and found the book to be a very good cornerstone for learning this new hobby. A little pricey, but shopping may turn up a bargain price.

I plan to build a couple from "scratch" boats using western red cedar next. I will be using the above book as a guide. Lots to learn.


Behind on posting. Hey, I have excuses.

Eclipse yesterday with some video to edit next this morning. Her and I watched from the quiet of our carport. A full four minutes of darkness. A wonderful experience and the first for both of us. Doubt that we would ever drive hours or fly across country for those four minutes, though.

Have a wonderful week. 




Monday, April 1, 2024


Rained all day last Monday which is a perfect excuse to make soup. You have seen this before and my bet is you will see it again. 

Hamburger soup tossed together in a few minutes. Stock is 1/3 chicken broth, 1/3 beef broth and 1/3 water. Ground chuck left in larger chunks and fried/drained. One can diced tomatoes, one can drained string beans, 1/2 white onion and other vegetables from the bin in the fridge. A pinch of red pepper flakes (easy). Recently dehydrated squash. Pepper, Italian seasoning and a good dribble of olive oil. Simmer an hour.

In days of old, before elder year's diet mandates, bread and butter dunked in the broth normal. This is a kitchen sink kind of soup and one, in my opinion, should be tried, perfected and practiced often. Don't even consider lean hamburger. Ground chuck only. 

Guests would destroy a pot of this with a loaf of warm bread. 











Just me and her for Easter dinner this year.

A first for both of us is cutting into a locally smoked fresh ham. Not as salty and a tenderness much different than the basic off-the-shelf grocery store ham. 

A local service group sold tickets a few months ago and she ordered two, one for us and one for neighbor. Hams picked up Saturday morning and we agreed that these were the best best hams we have ever eaten.

Two hundred and eighty five hams locally smoked by a couple dozen men and 12  large smokers (not pellet-fired) on trailers parked in the front yard of the group's lodge. Shop locally.

Ordering these hams again next year is already on the calendar. 


Cat and Canna Lilly

The cat can still wiggle into her favorite napping spot on the garden wheelbarrow. 



Bridge collapse was the major story this past week.  Interesting take. Regardless, this fix will take many men of high competency to repair and get everything moving again. Time will tell.

Day one April this morning. First quarter of 2024 in the books. It seems to me that these past three months have passed in the blink of an eye. Keep on keeping on.


Monday, March 25, 2024



I found this boneless prime rib buried in the back lower corner of the freezer last week. Had forgotten about it months ago. Why not try it on the new pellet grill?

Salt, pepper and garlic cloves pushed into the top layer. First hour at 230°F, second hour at 250°F and finished at 300°F. Pulled it at 127°F internal temperature and carved at 130°F. Three and a half hours in total.

Rare and perfect for my wife. She will eat raw hamburger while patting out patties. When she says she prefers her beef rare, I know to deliver it "not done" according to my liking of medium rare. 

A success yes! But will try to sear the next one for that crisp bark and the first half inch underneath medium well.




Last year, we hired a lawn crew to help us with yard work. My wife was recovering from hip replacement and not having to worry about the extra outside summer work was a big help for me.

This year, we are doing it ourselves. Usually takes two days. The outside yard work gets us out of the house and provides plenty of exercise. Plus, we get to take our time working the yard and garden area at our leisure and the opportunity to fine-tune little things. Then, there are the moments sitting in our chairs inside the car port surveying the results of our labor.

We stopped into a larger town Home Depot this past week only to find all of the weedeaters and similar items behind locked barred cabinets. All that used to be out for the looking and inspecting, is now only available with help from an employee. 

We learned that theft is on the rise to such a degree that the only way stores can control this uptick in theft is by putting items behind locked cages. And, the new weedeater we chose was taken to the check outdesk, not left in our basket as we shopped for other items.

Seeing this first hand puts a stamp of reality on the times we are living in.



The color on this blooming canna lilly caught my eye, but trying to bring that to life here in a photo is not working. Some work in photo-editing, but the clarity and pop of the red flower is lost. And it looks different on my laptop screen compared to the other larger computer screen I use. 

While adjusting the red, I have lost the greens and then thought I best quit. And the resolutions between the two different computer screen presentations?

These blooming flowers are magnificent. Moving on.




A neighbor gal who is my wife's best friend came over Saturday morning to help plant our front gate entrance flower container. 

I parked the side-by-side inside the fence and watched these two gals get lost in the artistic world of flower arranging. And they were lost. 

"Petunias, purple fountain grass, creeping jenny, and a yellow flower they liked because it was pretty." 

The small plants were set in place, re-set and arranged countless times. I would listen to them visiting and watched the depth to which they were taken in their artistic world. Very serious, visiting and laughing. No other world existed in this timespan.

When they found the exact arrangement combination, my wife was given the duty of filling in between the flowers with small scoops of dirt. Her friend would adjust each scoop, tucking and filling with loving care. Their visiting never ceased. 

I was sent to mix more dirt for the second container. 

When completed, they both walked to the road in front of the gate, hands on hips, heads tilting and visualizing the flowers in their growth weeks and months from now. A matter of fact remark was made that any of the flowers can easily be replaced if that individual does not live up to expectations. Heads turned often to their masterpieces as they picked up tools and set the job site to completion.

I thought that guys do the same things when working on projects. Our conversations are much different but our head turning and observing a final "build or repair" is similar. We will also pull a couple chairs and quietly look at our work. Also impossible for us to keep heads turning towards our "master piece" as we clean up our tools and mess made. 

Men and women get lost in such things and it is good!



 "11 degrees and 25 mph wind." Mother nature decided to add 17" of snow a few days later.



Over this past month, I have been spending more time grazing headlines and little to no time reading content. It is all the same. Even the most outrageous seems to glance off any caring or depth of concern I have. Am I numb? 

I turn to You Tube shorts and even there go so fast that I can cover dozens of posts in a few minutes. Many of the same people doing the same thing for content. Out of a hundred sites pulled up, I stay with two or three through the full quick video. I give each video a full second to grab my attention before I click on. 

How hard some of these folks work day after day to churn out content!   

I am willing to accept the fact that "it is me." I am the problem. Because I do not get all of this is not the fault of the places I visit. I think there is a message here. 

Appreciate your visit this week. Easter coming next weekend. Plan some time with family and other folks you care about. 

Sunday, March 17, 2024


First cup of morning chocolate coffee is the same cup of coffee brought to me every morning. A routine. My wife does this for me out of love, caring and habit. The moment also is accompanied by jibber jabber of the day ahead and her morning weather report from just having gone outside to feed the cats. Quite often, I comment that the coffee is supreme. Just supreme! She says that it is the same first cup of coffee that she brings me every morning.

I sit, two hands around that cup. Sipping. Another, then another. Trying to extend that first cup through first thoughts of how the day ahead may play out.

After a few minutes she returns to me from her computer with a hand outstretched for my empty cup. She completes the full circle around the kitchen again with a second cup of regular coffee for both of us and we enter phase two of our pre-sunrise mornings, scouring the web. 



Two linemen hang on spurs repairing and restoring power on the backroads of NH this past week. Son has been in the business now for over 20 years. He is very good at what he does, loves the work and is leading this particular crew on this particular day on this particular offroad repair. 

He shared this quick photo with the comment, "thank god for young linemen." He has spent many a day hanging from hooks on poles on cold mornings "getting it done." 

Quite a few years ago, he sent me a text of him throwing a switch on an outage repair while hanging on a set of spurs.  The small neighborhood of homes came to life and the folks outside watching the crew work cheered.  He commented to the fact that all of the hard work and long hours comes with moments of pure joy of accomplishment. This was during one of the big storms up in the northeast. The folks watching these guys work in the evening dark delivered hot coffee and snacks to the fellows as the long night evolved.

And yes, he has also sent texts of folks who yell and complain under similar outage circumstances. 

I smiled to myself knowing how much that simple comment means accompanying this photo. The boy has a birthday coming up. A year older. And the electricity turns back on.

Yep, proud father.


It is amazing to me how much shrinkage happens taking the moisture out in the dehydrating of fresh vegetables. Judging efforts from appearances is a mistake though, as dehydrated squash mixed into soups/stews take back on the moisture of the meal being cooked. They return to almost their original size and flavor.

The upside of taking the time to do this is all of these squash can be easily stored in a large air-tight container in a pantry cabinet. It takes 10 hours to dehydrate a batch like this.

Four-plus dozen squash/zucchini in a jar!!


First solar eclipse in my lifetime where the full event will take place over our front yard. We are not sure yet if it just be my wife and me or if we will gather with neighbors. Hope weather co-operates.

We drove through Pittsburg, TX this past week and found the lamp posts sporting posters to visit their town during the eclipse. Other towns and local farms are offering opportunities for folks to come visit and find a spot to park to watch the full eclipse.

Local news bulletin from February 24th.   Not sure how crazy local areas may get, but best to settle in for the day. 

Texas Officials Warn.....

Interactive map.

I plan to GoPro the event, but not the sun eclipse itself. I am curious as to how a local landmark may look a half-hour before till a half-hour after. 

Will distant chickens start up? How will our cats act? Other sounds that may come and go from light to dark to light. Regardless, this is the one for me/us in our lifetimes and it has landed smack dab in our laps.



Found this on the net. Had leftover parts and pieces in the fridge and put this meal together and then into the oven. It was very good. Next time, I am going to add more seasoning for deeper flavor. Baked for 20 minutes.

I let the dish set for 20 minutes giving time for it to cool and allow some of the juice to re-absorb. Quick, easy and full of flavor. Quick leftover hot meal from the microwave is a plus also. So happens the flavors improved noticeably the next day. In a perfect world, I would make this the day ahead to include baking and serve it the next day, warmed up. 
My wife is always a grounded critic of things I cook.  She is not and never has been a casserole person. I am. 
But when she test tasted this casserole, she commented over and over how much she liked it. She cautioned me not to change a thing in the making when I repeat it.
.............I want to steam several Sam's hot dogs, cut them into bite-size pieces and make this again with those hot dogs. Each cheesy bite with a hotdog chunk. Junk food at its best



We happened on this potted plant last week and could not resist bringing it for the 2024 wheelbarrow display. My wife walked directly to this plant and loaded it on a cart. 



My bet this rockbed at low tide is somewhere along Hoods Canal in Washington State. I am also guessing we are collecting steamer clams.
Appreciate the visit this week.

Sunday, March 10, 2024



The test whole chicken on the new pellet grill just rocked. Best I have ever cooked. I did put more time into the whole project which is part of the fun of outdoor grilling. My wife said that this may be one of the best chicken dinners she has ever had. Game on!!

Having a temperature probe is cheating but there is no going back ever again. No guess work on the done-ness of the chicken. Again, followed Mad Backyard YouTube video demo as a guideline.

Used mesquite packets from the local grocery store with a full TBL spoon of fajita mix. Just because that is what I had and by luck alone worked perfectly. Just under 3 hours cooking and 30 minutes resting. Meat full of juice. Butchered the carving of the whole chicken even though I had a big cutting board and proper cutlery. If I can learn this skill, future whole chickens can be shared with guests.  There is much to be said in presentation.




A few years ago, my wife started calling the above cat "your cat." She thought that I might start acting nicer to the cats if I was given some ownership. Her cat, my cat. Her cat is loving and cuddly. My cat meows often and is standoffish unless she wants something. Food, attention or a quick tickle between the ears. Both cats come when we whistle. I tried that once and now it is a "thang." 

My cat can drop off the edge of the earth on the warm cement floor of the car port. I get it. My wife will often drape a blanket over me when I melt into my chair after lunch. It is like turning out the lights for an hour. 

My cat? 



Passing thunderstorms and showers this past week. Garden soaked with this good Texas rain. Green pepper plants and cherry tomatoes will go in prepped, medium-sized pots today.



Lunch at The Bull Pen Grill and Cantina in Mt. Vernon, Texas a week ago delivered this option for me. Right on the money. What I expect from any lunch offering. Presentation spot on and stuffed full of meat all the way to the bottom of the bowl. Flavor above expectations. Check FB for more information. And stop in for lunch if you are passing through. Good eats, reasonably priced.


Tried planting carrot seeds one at a time this season. Took some time and patience. Sprinkling seeds and then thinning does not work for me. 

My grandmother's carrots were neatly spaced and in rows. Pulling long carrots from the ground and rinsing under the garden faucet was easy and natural. Her gardens gave the impression of "easy to do." I should have asked her a lot of questions with her in my early years. 

I found excellent compost under a long row of leaves at the edge of the back yard. Scraping the inch of soil under a few leaves revealed the perfect black mixture of composted mulch. I filled a small garden trailer full and refilled my compost bin. 

Opening the lid of the compost bin later in the week to access a few shovelfuls for refreshing planting bins found a half dozen wasps flying out. These are the wasps with red bodies . These are the nasty ones. We give them a wide birth. I sprayed the lid with some bug spray to deter them from nesting inside this summer.  I will continue this battle till I win, whatever it takes. I just hope survivors do not carry memories of me being the home wrecker.




A milestone I suppose. Have been averaging 8K hits a week and I still find this all amazing that an old man wishing to share some life history and stories, on a weekly basis, finds a minuscule audience from corners all over the world. 

State of the union address from the president this past week. I missed it. 

I cannot miss, though, the doubling/tripling of our groceries over this past year. Two ribeye steaks for $50. And as troubling, the quality of those steaks are well below the "good stuff." Gristle and a few strings of meat in cellophane wrapped fat. The only choice I go with now is "hell no." Pork, chicken, and fish. 

Actually, changing butchers and shopping at out of the way smaller markets is proving to offer higher quality options at lower prices.

My wife found "on sale" and fresh quality zucchini and yellow squash this past week. She did not hesitate to load up, remarking "get out the dehydrator."

Nine trays full this morning and they will be done around dinner time. Batch two tomorrow. These store well for a few years in airtight containers and come back to life in soups and stews. We have been out for a few months and it is time to take advantage of this process/availability/price.

Enough, huh? Appreciate the visit this week.


Sunday, March 3, 2024



Warm winds are blowing in east Texas. Temperatures testing the mid-80's for a couple days and all of this has brought on a need for me to get my hands in good dirt and put seeds in raised gardens and pots. Two new rose bushes are exploding and projects are yelling at me to get with the getting.

Sitting in our two lawn chairs mid-afternoon looking south at deer and horses grazing and running the fields across the road is more important, though. Call it lazy. To-do projects are not going anywhere.

My wife's cat jumps into her arms and settles in for a long haul. The cat turns her head to her chest trying to get as close as she can. Her claws knead the hollow armrest of my wife and life in cat world is on high. To the right, onions are happy, red potatoes with eyes pointing up are in the dirt and an old potting/growing bench awaits my energy to move it to a better sun/shadow position for this season. Last summer's sun and heat cooked most everything I planted in the current location. We'll see. Gonna try carrots again this year.

Neighbor has onions, potatoes in the ground and is planning lettuce, radishes and spinach. I told him that I will help him eat all he can plant and he commented that he would add a few extra rows. We do enjoy driving into the fields, pulling fresh veggies and eating radishes right out of the land with only a dusting off of dirt. Rinsing fresh lettuce and spinach, shaking off the water and filling a salad bowl for dinner is icing on any meal.

The side by side is in the shop for oil, filters, greasing and a general check up for this coming year. It is my most favorite tool for the yard and visiting folks down the road.

Being outside mowing the lawn and cleaning winter away is getting in the way of sitting on the computer posting. Not complaining, just "splaining." 

Local cattle being turned into new fields to graze. The green grass is coming on but not yet able to sustain herds so bales of hay are still added for a few more weeks.


A good friend in NH has collected a dozen or so gallons of maple sap and after a lot of boiling, produced the above homemade maple syrup. I cannot tell how thick this is but makes my mouth water for a plate of pancakes or french toast dipped in NH maple syrup. I would have invited myself over - which is "tacky" I know - but he would have said yes and I would not have over-indulged.

Backyard homemade stove for cooking the collected maple sap.


His homemade solar-powered chicken coop is now up and running. We talked of having backyard chickens (he and I) for a few years. His plans have finally taken shape.

and this just in 

NH maple syrup batch#2 this weekend.

Proof of what guys do. We build, cook, make, fix and then sit back and watch. Most guys can sit for hours just looking at an accomplishment. Is there a beer in his hands? Go with your gut on this one.



Lunch out last week at BIG SMITH'S in Sulpher Springs. They have a Facebook page but I cannot find a website to link-share here. Regardless, the food is BBQ at its best. But the onion rings are why we go. 

Four of us could not eat this serving. Looks like we can when they arrive at the table, but we cannot w/o over-dosing and becoming overly full. Waitress said that folks new to the restaurant want to put in an order for two but that she advises against that. Besides, this is a starter with brisket, sausage and sides to follow. 

Peanuts in shells on the table and are to be enjoyed waiting for your meal. Throw the spent shells on the floor. Yep!! Do not scoop shells in your hands/napkins and put on a plate to keep things tidy. 

If you ever are close to or are passing through Sulpher Springs, Texas, stop in for wonderful BBQ the way you would expect it to be in Texas.


Along with the warm weather of late, a new pellet grill/smoker followed me home after lunch at Big Smith's. I had found the one I wanted that fit my wants. 

After burn-out, seasoning and a first quick try with a few kielbasa, a 6 pound whole chicken is seasoned and on the roast, as I write. All of this is new to me and everything in the whole process comes with a learning curve. I figured a chicken would be a good first test for learning. I think the worst I can do is over cook it.

I have watched many you-tube videos and done much research on the net asking questions about using a pellet smoker/grill. The technology is surprising.  I have warned my wife that I expect some failures and mistakes in the summer grilling season ahead. A back-up Caesar salad is already in the fridge for her dinner tonight in case this chicken is DOA on arrival. 

I have found videos from MAD BACKYARD  to be on point and helpful. Gets me grilling without a lot falderal.

But damn this is fun.



I have even missed web-browsing the order of worldly events these past couple weeks. Surprising, I am no worse for wear. 

Appreciate the visit and will update this first pellet grill/BBQ chicken dinner next post.