Sunday, June 27, 2021


I have been trying to find/make a good chili seasoning for years. But I have no idea how to make a basic mix to build on. I also do not want to have make a dozen batches of chili to get there. 

Then I realized that I did not have to reinvent the wheel. Why not buy different chili mixes and mix them all together? Each mix brings a special flavor of chili seasonings. Someone else has done some work at designing that particular chili flavor. 

Mixing 8 different chili packets from different stores/manufactures ought to yield a good basic mix. BINGO!!!!

I avoided hot or alarm chili mixes. Used original/basic or mild mixes. Packets differed from 1 pound up to 4 pounds of hamburger for that individual packet mix

Colors of the mixes ranged from black to varying shades of red/brown.

Final color of YMATA mix of 8 packets is rich brownish red. Filled a small empty wide mouth pickle jar to the rim. 


Basic recipe;

1 lb. 80/20 ground chuck drained. Seasoned with salt, pepper, adobo, can cooker seasoning, splash soy sauce. A shake or two each.

1 medium green pepper diced. 

½ large onion diced.

1 can diced tomatoes and juice.

1 sm can tomato paste plus two cans of water.

1 heaping soup spoon full of YMATA chili seasoning folded into the above. 

Simmered in a dutch oven for an hour. Slow folding a couple times. No tasting. 

Then first bowl!! 

Had the chili look. The chili smell/flavor plus just a little flavor heat that dissipates in a few seconds after each bite. Addictive. 

The bride warned me NOW not to change anything. Then she added the look!

But what if........? 

And herein lies one of the up sides of all of this. Future pots of chili can be easily tweaked.

This spice mix serves as an excellent starter to "a perfect chili" or very good for repeatable, stand alone, quick, and wonderful tasting chili. Guest worthy. Ready in a couple hours. Take to a pot luck without hours of cooking.

Try the idea. Document each packet you purchase and set away. Purchase 2 packets each so you can repeat the exact mix.

Mix all in a glass bowl and spoon into a small wide mouth jar with a good lid. 

Find a simple chili recipe you like and use your new seasoning. It will be a wonderful surprise.  Put your name on the chili seasoning jar. Old family secret recipe handed down from.... and all of that. 

The last bowl the next day had mellowed. The flavor heat was less noticeable and the overall flavor was a little softer. Basic chili flavor retained. 

I want that same heat flavor though the next day. What to do? Next batch will be tweaked.

Follow up at posting time.

Batch #2 

Fried meat in bacon grease and left hamburger in larger pieces.

Added chili seasoning to the drained meat and stirred.

Added a little jar garlic.

Added a drained can of black beans.

Improved yes.



Remember when you were a young child and were told not to do that and you did it anyway.

As a teenager you were told countless times not to do that and did most of all of that. You were told often you that "you have to learn the hard-way."

In your 20's peers suggested to each other you should not do that. But you and your friends were doing that more often than not.

In your 30's there was some agreement that you should not to do that , yet doing that often won out.

In your 40's you knew not to do that. But knowing better sometimes lost to doing that.

In your 50's you quit doing that because of the mental and physical recovery time from having done that.

In your 60's you were the one with wisdom and experience telling others not to do that.

In your 70's you were not doing that because you could not remember what it was that you were not suppose to do.

In your 80's you have flashbacks of doing that.

In your 90's your smirk says, "those were the days my friend; those were the days!" 



Warm off the vine

Stem cut out

Salt and pepper and the first bite 

Flavor a long time waiting and messy 

Repeat until fresh tomato is gone

Paper towel clean up necessary

Tomato sandwiches on fresh bread, mayo with salt and pepper. May need paper towel here too.

Homemade salsa a must

Fresh tomato delivery to neighbors 



Received permission from neighbor down the road to harvest some of her bamboo. 

Apparently just one of these stalks laying down on the ground is enough to start seedlings. Also invasive. 

Seeing these shoots tucked inside the woods was a new experience here for me. Grow very tall. 

I plan to use the small bunch next year for garden framing. Light weight and very strong. The small end will serve as stakes to hold up plants as they grow.


Canna lily

Explosive blooming and color for the summer.


60 year old ammo

Two boxes .357 pistol cartridges from a weekend garage sale. For the condition and historical perspective. See the original price of $9.75. Fellow doing the garage sale brought them out and said he had just found these two boxes of ammo. All in very good condition for age.

Ryobi disk/belt sander and other assorted tools. Great deal(s) on tools I need.


SARS-Cov-2  From The Burning Platform.

A good read from apparent research. Time well spent me thinks.


Happens every year to me. Just when I am adjusting to the summer months, the days start getting shorter. I start to feel closer to winter. Not the case as there are plenty of long and hot days ahead. But it seems like the start of a down hill slide into fall and winter..

Cat house has been job 1 these past 2 weeks. Most all of my time planning, getting materials and building what will become outdated and of no use by the end of summer. But the kittens need room to run, play and grow up safely. 

Stray male cats not fixed roam these back roads and homes. The ones we have seen have adapted well to the seasons, are plump and serve some function for small rodent control. 

Hot humid weather has the ruled this past week. High humidity sunrise to sunset limits outdoor chores getting done. The higher heat w/o humidity is doable but the humidity does me in within minutes.


A fine way to complete this weeks post. Thank you for the visit.

VIDEO 1 from Knuckledraggin My Life Away

VIDEO 6 from Knuckledraggin My Life Away

Sunday, June 20, 2021


Wheeled the new kittens outside last Sunday morning. Their first look at their new outdoor world. Youth is magnificent in close observation. 

When her and I were close by, the kittens attended to us 360 degrees. No movements or motions were missed. Pre-hunting attention me thinks.

When we sat down in our chairs next to the cage, they talked to us. Low voice, little meows. Kitten "wows" in their own words. Questions I bet, too? 

They took to their flat spots to rest with eyes in and out of cat sleep. Forecasted to be 94 degrees that day so best to get our worldly looks in early morning. 

Over a hundred degrees several days later into the week and the little girls where wheeled into the air-conditioned laundry room till bed time.

 This is cool



Not your father's San Francisco today. 

I always have turned up the sound when this song played(s). I would have loved driving the coastline to California and to San Francisco when this song came out in the late 60's. But tours of duty in Vietnam/Germany/Vietnam got in the way. 

Protests looked much different then. .............


WINDBORNE have time to listen to this.



The two lemon trees that I thought were dead and gone after the winter and problems with bugs and other disease are strong and killing it on this season's lemon crop. 



Happened to be back at the dairy farm during feeding time this past week. 



Neighbor to the east offered up a few fresh farm eggs as he cannot eat them all. Will return his container with fresh veggies. 



Her discovered this nest near the peak of our home. I showed the photo to the gal at the local feed supply store and she said that it was: "daddy long legs having sex." I replied that they did not have my permission and she said that, "they do not ask."

When I called home to tell her that we have daddy long leg nests, she whispered back, "kill them all!"


Busy week. Garden coming on with tomatoes, string beans, peas, green peppers and need for maintenance. 

Cats outgrowing their cage so several full days of building a larger new cat house. 

Heat and humidity kicking my ass and attitude.

BTW. Today is the longest day of the year.  

Have a wonderful week and thanks for the visit.

Sunday, June 13, 2021


Monarch Butterfly visiting her garden.

Cows for sale. 

All sizes, colors and breeds. Some sold by the pound, moms with calves, all urged through the circular gate, bid on, sold and moved out. Quick, efficient. Prices range from $300 to $1500 each. Most around $1000 if I understood the auctioneer correctly.

Cattlemen sit in raised arena chairs watching and bidding. A unique sight of cowboy hats, blue jeans and boots. You could cut the atmosphere with a knife of this is serious business walking into that sale barn. 

Maybe 700 sold this day I accompanied our neighbor to this auction. No beef shortage, but all on the hoof. Where this slows down, beef to the consumer, is in the processing. The waiting period to get a cow slaughtered is slowed down due to high demand and not enough facilities. Slaughter costs are high.

There are daily/weekly auctions in our little corner of the world. Given the size of Texas and beef being a major industry, there are hundreds of auctions like this daily. 

My grandfather butchered twice a year.  He and my father would head to the barn and two hours later a cleaned, skinned carcass hung from the barn rafters. A "river running through it" took care of the debris. The meat fed the family and was barter for other goods and services. 

The entire cow was food. All of it. Some of what grandma put on the table was devoured by my grandfather and farm hands like candy. Delicacies. 

I am still not man enough today to partake in some of those cow parts. No hair, teeth, tongue, brains or eyeballs for me. 



The worst Harley Davidson riding day in our life time!!

The road from Little Big Horn to Sturgis.

My wife pulled this flower and holding it, showed how hard the wind was blowing.
We had just finished a 30 mile stretch of mud soaked highway. Slip sliding the whole way. Had we dropped the bike, there was no way in hell we could have picked it up and started moving again. Eighteen wheelers ahead of us; eighteen wheelers behind us. This woman had her arms around my waist the whole time, just loose enough to allow me to breath. 

Somewhere mid USA en-route NH to Seattle.

Trying to stay ahead of hurricane Dennis July 2005 aftermath.

On the deck crop dusting. Sixteen year-old kid flying.

A-10 in formation with refueling tanker over middle NH

Plugged in

In the days of old when civilians could ride in military air craft while mission training. Only pilots wore masks.



"and just like that," weather changed from too much rain to none at all. Replaced by high temperatures and humidity. Walking outside is walking into a wall. 

Now, what needs doing and attending to must be done before 10 AM or at late sunset. Garden-full watering just after breakfast and both the tomatoes and squash start stressing at 3 PM. Another half-gallon of water each bucket and they perk up instantly. Green peppers stress daily, those that are in the direct sun. More water does not help. Those planted with some shade do not stress. Both producing. Everything producing. 

Was going to share more photos but my glasses and the camera fog up instantly going outside. 


I agreed she could and meant it. We have been talking. Trying to head off cat problems. Need outside house and protection? Said ok to growing up a month in the shop. Air conditioning and fans.

That afternoon found us doing the back alley kitten transfer of free 8 week old kittens. Her got to choose two out of the five. 

"Aren't they cute?" Her is happy. 

Cats appear to be user friendly. Like the human touch, but quickly learned to cry for the sudden change in their life. Remember last post I said she wanted killer cats. 

The killer cats we had up north wanted nothing to do with us. Ever!! They did kill and lived many a year. We all learned to co-exist at best. But these little kittens want and love the human touch. 

The next morning, you would think these kittens had been beaten all night or subjected to mental cat torturer. Screaming meows and of course they had turned their cage into a mess. Their claws are out to hold on to everything, but they do not scratch us. The claws go in and it is paw pad on our hands and arms. Never before have I seen a small cat parkour sideways across the side of a wire cat cage.  

Cleaned and fixed the cage with another shelf to crawl on. Different feeding dish and so forth. No names yet. But, "Aren't they cute?"

Later in the week her named them Thelma and Louise. Maybe fitting. 

Took them to the Vet Friday. Shots, clean bills of health and all the screaming is normal. I wanted to name Louise "Karen" but my wife did the look and said no way. I laughed (to myself). 

Week wears on. Cat house on the way from Amazon. 


From The Burning Platform blog. A wonderful and thoughtful read. You will enjoy.

A very good follow-up read from Vox Popoli blog.

From the Organic Prepper blog site. A long time blog I have been reading. A good read when they come for you. Her response is one of the reasons I enjoy her site.


We have all heard this said before, one time or another. There is truth in this old idiom.

Quite often while I was growing up I would hear someone say, "that is the final straw." Consequences soon to follow. 

As I read my daily blog lists, once early in the morning and then again skimming at night, I have been wondering what is it going to be? Or will there ever be that final straw? Will we go on to ad infinitum in this C19 and political turmoil into a final abyss? 

My gut tells me that there will be a final straw. It will be clear to most all folks that enough is enough and that a single defining event will force start a turnaround. 

The turnaround will not go gently into the night nor be self-repairing. Whatever happens will be clear to everyone that the event will happen to all of us sooner rather than later. 

If we do not stand because of the event, we will never stand. Sobering. The turnaround will last months, maybe years and that does not bode well for the American consumption and need for immediate/constant gratification. The wanting to move on. Head in the sand and all of that. 

Pull any headline today and bring it up in conversation ten years ago. How would folks around react? "Never happen!" - "That is crazy talk." Fuel for conversation would fizzle out of the sheer impossibility of such actions, behaviors or political positions. Probably too far-fetched for a good movie unless it was a comedy. 

A lot can happen in ten years, huh? 

As always, thanks for the visit this week. Heads up. Add to your stores this week.


Sunday, June 6, 2021


Muggy afternoon cure.

Baby Butternut 

Tomatoes getting closer

First pea pod. Sweet wonderful flavor off the vine.

Eight jars of pickled string beans and nine jars of zucchini relish. More work than we had remembered. Food processor for the next batch of relish. 

Young head of cabbage. Half to coleslaw and half to vegetable soup.

Pan-fried in olive oil. Garlic, onion, green pepper, yellow squash. Splash of chicken broth. Sprinkle of can cooker seasoning. Fry and simmer under lid. Turning a few times. Wonderful side dish for any meal.

Second planting of string beans sprouting June 1. Green peppers struggling. Another week of too much rain in the forecast. Temperatures warm and muggy.


Official Flag Raising

Early evening, mid-week. She held and raised our flag as I guided into the custom flag pole holder on our gate post. A big moment for us and a moment we have talked of for a year now. Because part of all of this past year is a homecoming for her, she opted that we fly the Texas flag at our driveway entrance. 

Seems fitting given the times we live in and our final life move to Texas. We spent the next hour in our porch rocking chairs soaking up the moment. We agreed that there have many more grand discovers and wonderful accomplishments than there have been setbacks. 

The flag is our official setting of final roots. It will always be one of the views we awaken to each day and a final days view at sunset. It will send us off doing daily chores and it will welcome us home. 

Small things can be huge.



There were no external entertainments growing up other than what we kids made up. Outside is where parents sent us. 

Raining? I was shoved inside an over-sized raincoat, maybe boots. All rain did was create more of a mess for mom when I returned. I was lucky in that mom never really minded the mess, as long as I took it all off in the garage.

A sandbox was a joy to behold. Dad did not make one for me because there was no way to ever be clean enough to come back in the house. Sand on a daily basis will find its way into every nook and cranny. Between bed sheets! But friends and neighbors who had a sand box worked.

The sandbox was a world into itself. There was always a small plastic shovel or two, outside toy trucks, tractors and assorted construction materials. Worlds could be built given enough time. Kids played and did not want to be interrupted. Parents could visit with out being interrupted. Win win.

There were summer times mom had me strip down to my shorts, throw my clothes in a pile next to the washing machine and then stand outside on the deck to be hosed off. Building worlds was messy. I never ever minded being hosed off. Maybe a little cold, but it was the only path available that led to a bath and fresh clothes, only to continue with the rest of the day.

These early years led to me spending a good portion of my life building things. Problem solving to this day. Building worlds in sandboxes required thinking, making up solutions, failing, leveling the sand and starting again.

Bigger walls, different blocks for a structure, finding any small object that could become what ever I named it. Problem solved from what was on hand. Lots of prototyping in those early days. 

Failure was part of the process that offered up creative thinking. Picking up my head and looking for something out of the ordinary to fix a problem. If it was not in the sand box, was the fix in the near by woods, flower beds or near by work shed? A few of “the dads, uncles and grandfathers” sheds proved to be gold mines that helped me solve many a problem in the sandbox. Quite often I learned that a trip through one of these sheds/shops before entering the sandbox would offer up worlds built from materials I never knew existed.

As I grew outside the sand box, spending time in others sheds and work shops was time spent learning, touching, picking up putting down, and marveling at machinery beyond my ability to manipulate. But the brain stored millions of images, that to this day, archived solutions for problem solving.

More than anything, those sandboxes built a curiosity inside of me that is still alive and well.

Just recently, one of tomato plants bent over 180 degrees with the top to down touching the ground. The others were leaning nearing collapse. My mind raced for what to do. Quick fix! Strong fix! Easy fix! I would lose my whole crop in one more strong thunder storm wind.

I hopped into the side by side and headed to our neighbors. He has serious workshops and many a “thing” laying around from years of working the East Texas lands. I told him my problem, needed to stake up tomatoes and it needed to be simple, strong and work for the remainder of the season.

We drove off to a near by field, found steel fence posts (T posts) that, once pounded into the Texas dirt, would be very strong. He threw in a tool for pounding stakes in the ground. I said thanks and headed home. An hour later, both tomato beds were staked and supported around the beds. Bamboo, zip ties and garden string completing the structures.  

Another upside, her did not have to hose me off coming back into the house.



These past few weeks have been full of new discoveries of the area we moved to.

Dairy farm and raw milk products. Drinkable flavored cultured yogurt. Swiss, paneer, mozzarella cheese; farm fresh eggs, home made bread-large loaf. Chocolate milk (from raw milk).

Never been a real fan of chocolate milk. And, it has been a “million years” since I have had a glass, but this past week, opted for a small container of their ice cold chocolate milk. Damn!! Now that was chocolate milk at its very best. 

Dairy farm also finds itself with kittens from time to time. Barn kittens. Wild kittens. We are on a list now for two sisters. Her is very excited. She wants “pet” cats again roaming this land now and managing the snakes and other assorted varmints. Just bought the cage. Apparently we are getting cats.

Found a new restaurant that specializes in blooming onions.

Found another new restaurant that specializes in chicken and dumplings. Absolutely kills it!!

Saw a road sign advertising the world's best Ruben sandwich not too far north of here. Love Rubens and will report back on this.

Growing grass in the Texas mud and dirt. Every time rain is forecast now, her and I are throwing grass seed. And it is working. Mud/dirt holes filling in with new grass. Our efforts are being rewarded.

Second planting of veggies. Texas offers longer growing seasons to the point of continued planting several weeks apart allowing longer harvests.

Back to canning fresh veggies, relish and pesto. Dehydrating yellow squash and zucchini. Practice for longer term storage of these veggies. Has worked in the past and will try to improve on the process.

Canning more beef. Shortage and inflation is real. Prices up yes!!


76 YEARS...

...completed this past week. Starting year 77. As much as I have learned so far in this life, this aging experience brings with it unforeseen challenges. I think I/we are doing OK, but sometimes we both wonder and mutter to ourselves (out loud). But never in the times of my life have I so enjoyed each/every day.

Every minute and the simplicity of the wonders of the world around me. Aches and pains can be lived with. I missed these hours and days in my youth.

I believe much in life has already been written. That God answers prayers and has looked over me since I was born. We are now surrounded by many outspoken folk who also believe and live closer to Him. Not crazies nor fringe. Just down home folks from every walk of life, every color and as polite as can be. Will protect what they built with their lives and give you the shirt off their back without hesitation. Hard days work are the norm as is sunrise and sunset. 

We are giddy young kids these past several weeks who feel that we get to live out our last stories here. 



and the dollar in trouble. These are on-going stories, headlines and side bars I see daily now. No good news about tomorrows. World-wide. Talk of aliens being real may soon become a distraction. As if we need more things to fear and to distract us. 

I have said many times here that I believe in other beings. How can a universe beyond imagination not be filled with life? Cave drawings from the beginning of time to so many reported sightings. 

Do I worry? Nope, not about aliens. 

But we have all gone through shortages due to C19. Being prepared has been a cornerstone in this blog. More important now than ever. 

We are modifying our purchasing behaviors. We are avoiding big chains as much as possible. We continue to search for local businesses to support. Shopping weekend markets is supporting local growers.

I urge visitors here to consider this as we may all again find ourselves in more down times ahead. God forbid we have to ever stand in line for hours just to survive from day to day. Long term planning/action for you and yours is a solution. 

From The Daily Time Waster Blog Found video below on this blog site just before posting this morning. 

RED WHITE BLUEPRINT  Take the time to watch and listen. And to keep an eye on how all of this is going.


Thanks for your weekly visit. Keep your heads up and have a blessed week.