Archive for the ‘spring’ Tag

06-05-2016 Journal – Miscellaneous Trivia!   Leave a comment

th

I think it’s time for more trivia. I’m actually getting tired of talking about gardens and gardening. I need a break and I’m sure you do as well. They’ll be a lot more of that information coming your way this summer so there’s no need for more today.

These factoids will cover a number of categories but I’m sure you’ll find as interesting as I did.  Let’s get started.

  • Half of British women own more than thirty pairs of shoes.
  • In the US, half of children ages 4-6 have played video games, and a 25%  say thy do so regularly.
  • The most expensive age of your life is thirty-four.
  • Ten percent of people are left-handed and twenty percent are left-footed.
  • In the US, the lifetime cost to parents for rearing one middle class child is $1.43 million.

thXHQG3IA7

  • In any conversation lasting ten minutes or longer, 20% of adults will lie.
  • There are a half million semiautomatic machine guns in Swiss homes.
  • Women are estimated to buy 80% of everything that is sold.
  • By late 2006, only 35% of Americans had sent a text message, compared to almost 100% of Brits.
  • Women in almost every culture speak in deeper voices than Japanese women. American women’s voices are lower than Japanese, Swedish women’s lower than American, and Dutch women women’s lower than Swedish.

thVEZTC9G0

  • One third of all houses in Ireland were built in the last two decades.
  • The average American two-car garage is 25% bigger than the average Tokyo home.
  • In 2007 YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet did in 2000.
  • Spammers typically need to send one million emails to get just fifteen positive responses.
  • The total computing power of NASA at the time of the Sputnik launch in 1957 was far less than that available in a typical smart phone in use today.

thOS0F164D

I guess that will do it for today. I never stop searching for this kind of off-the-wall information and you can be sure more facts will keep coming your way on a regular basis in the future.

GET OUTSIDE AND ENJOY YOUR DAY

Advertisements

06-03-2016 Journal – More Garden Time!   Leave a comment

Now that the weather has taken a warmer turn I can really start enjoying my Spring and Summer. I love digging in the dirt but even that gets a little old after a few weeks. We been having warm nights and even warmer days and the plants in the garden are really taking off.  I’m even amazed at how fast the plants seem to grow here in Maine at this time of the year. I think the plants know they can’t waste any time in this short Maine growing season.

Here are a few photos I took over the last couple of days at plants that were only inches tall ten days ago. Granted I planted seedlings and not just seeds but even with that being said the amount of growth has been amazing.

DSC_0002

‘These chives began blooming in May.’

DSC_0003

Look at this oregano plant. Ten days ago it was an inch high and now it’s growing out of control.  I’ll have more oregano than I’ll know what to do with when I’m ready to make my first batch of pasta sauce.

DSC_0004

I’m also seeing some really healthy growth with the pepper plants. I planted more hot peppers this year than ever before and from the initial start it looks like it’s going to be a great summer for them. Currently I have seven types of hot peppers planted. There are Jalapeños, Ghost’s, Cayenne’s, Serrano’s, Kung Pow’s, Anaheim’s, and even a few Thai chilies. I certainly look forward to using a mixture of those peppers in the preparation of my chili and a few batches of salsa later in the summer. To be sure they’ll be plenty of heat to go around. 

This rhubarb plant broke through the ground in mid-May and it’s now over five feet high and going strong.  More rhubarb jam and pies are in my immediate future.

DSC_0006

The last one I can show you may be the biggest hit of the year for the neighborhood.  This catnip plant barely survived the winter but in three weeks it’s grown to be almost two and half feet tall.  The neighborhood cats haven’t discovered it yet but OMG when they do the fun will really begin.

DSC_0009

If all of these plants keep growing at this rate it will a gardening year to remember.  Lots of sunshine, water, and TLC make all of the difference.  Now back to the deck for a delicious hot pepper margarita, chips, and salsa. 

LIFE IS GOOD

06-01-2016 Journal – A Shopping Safari!   1 comment

safari

‘Honey, I think we  missed the turn to Home Goods.’

Well, it’s the first of June and I suppose this could be considered my first real Summer day. Unfortunately for me it’s not starting very well. Last night I was advised by my better-half that we’d be spending her day-off on another of her infamous shopping safaris.  Those shopping trips are bearable in the winter when you just want to get out of the house but not so much in Summer when it’s sunny and warm and you can hear the beach calling your name.

I can’t believe in all honesty that I’ll enjoy a day of driving from store to store and waiting in the car. Most of the stores she visits hold no interest for me and I’m truly honored to be permitted to sit in her car and wait for her.  I feel a lot like the natives on many of the early Tarzan movies. The great white hunter is strolling along carrying his rifle and a flask of brandy. I’m the last guy in line carrying the 300 pound backpack and silently cursing under my breath. 

She packs a purse and a credit card while I usually bring my favorite safari equipment. It consists of my cell phone so I can call for help if necessary, my Kindle to keep me from screaming out of boredom, and this IPad so I can write my posts for the blog about how used and abused I feel.

This is is some sort of weird ass-backward  payback for my taking her out to dinner last night. We visited a restaurant called Running of the Mill. It’s a nineteenth century textile mill that has been slowly converted into hundreds of condos, a restaurant, business offices, and an interior mall which is still in the planning stages. It’s directly adjacent to the Saco River and the nearby harbor. It’s very nice.

DSC_0005

DSC_0003
We had our meal on the terrace and enjoyed the sunshine and the warm breeze. The better-half ordered a slab of haddock as long as her arm and I enjoyed a huge club sandwich and fries. 

IMG_2106

It was a really relaxing evening and we thoroughly enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. Why she’s paying me back with this shopping foray today is beyond me.  She probably thinks she’s doing a favor.

Right now I’m sitting in a Lowe’s parking lot while she spends an hour doing work schedules for her employees.  Little does she know that in mere moments I’ll be reclining this seat back and catching a well deserved nap.

AT LEAST SHE LEFT THE WINDOW CRACKED

05-30-2016 Journal – Sake & Memorial Day!   2 comments

I found myself awake much too early this morning for some unknown reason. I usually like to get moving around 7am but this morning I was awake at 4:45am and wondering why.  Yesterday was a nothing-special day and I had no pressing personal issues  preying on my mind . . . so why? I’ll probably never know but it sure is irritating.

Yesterday was a rainy and overcast day which kept me indoors most of the day.  I decided to get back to my home brewing tasks and to bottle my batch of Sake that’s been needing my attention for more than a week.

DSC_0031

I checked the bottles to be sure that fermentation had truly stopped. Once many years ago I bottled a batch of wine a little too early and was awakened in the middle of the night by exploding bottles.  I can’t have that happen again . . .  what a mess! Wine making isn’t as complicated as most people think but it does require a reasonable amount of common sense.  The minute you forget that fact you’re in trouble.  I began the  siphoning process which takes no time at all and everything went smoothly. 

DSC_0002

I decided against using the standard wine corks with this batch. These screw caps work just as well and require much less work for me.  It also makes reusing the bottles much easier and I won’t need to exhaust my limited supply of good wine corks.

DSC_0001

I was pleased with the overall look and clarity of the Sake and was able to fill twelve half bottles and seven additional full size bottles. More than enough to last me for quite some time.

DSC_0005

I was also able to save and store a pint and one half of the Sake yeast which will allow me to make numerous batches in the future and save me money at the same time.  It’s all about the yeast!

After the bottling was completed the better-half cooked up a delicious chicken and veggie stir-fry dinner. I cracked open our first bottle of the Sake, warmed it properly, and we toasted the great meal and the Memorial Day holiday. 

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY

THANK A VET FOR THEIR SERVICE

SHOW THE FLAG

(And maybe drink some Sake too.)

05-28-2016 Journal – Salsa, Salsa, Salsa!   Leave a comment

Now that the garden has been planted I have extra time on my hands for other things. I noticed a few days ago that we seem to be running out of our homemade salsa.  We both love salsa so much and eat on average a quart every two weeks or so. My better-half insists on putting it on and in everything she eats so running out is not an option.  I’ve had a newly developed recipe that I’ve been waiting to make and this is the week to do it.  This recipe is called ‘Six Pepper Bean Salsa’. 

It even sounds hot and trust me it really is.  I’ve gathered together jalapeños, habaneros, Serrano’s, Thai chili, black pepper, and finally Ghost peppers. Add black beans and chili beans and a host of other ingredients and there you have it.  I even managed to harvest some early chives from my garden as well. During the summer months we always try to have at least one item from the garden in every meal.  So let’s get started.

DSC_0021

‘Slice & Dice with rubber gloves.’

DSC_0022

I usually wear very think rubber gloves when messing with hot peppers. I tried the normal latex gloves but they weren’t getting the job done.  Thick rubber from then on assures me of no more burning body parts. Then I gather the necessary jars, lids, and pots and boil them thoroughly.

DSC_0016

DSC_0018

Everything must be boiled to keep things as sanitary as possible. That’ll keep contaminated jars from becoming a problem later on.  Next I begin the cooking process and the adding of a little heat.

DSC_0024

DSC_0026

‘Dried habanero and chili peppers.’

Finally the salsa is ready for canning. I know canning seems complicated but it really isn’t.  The process is simple and easily managed. The more often you do it the easier it becomes.

DSC_0027

And here’s the finished product.  Thirteen quarts of really delicious salsa that is also hot enough to get anyone’s attention.

DSC_0029

EASY PEASY

05-26-2016 Journal–Miscellaneous Updates!   Leave a comment

As summer looms in my future I’ve been attempting to close out some existing projects to make room for what’s to come.  My infusion of hot peppers in tequila has finally ended with the hot peppers almost bleached white as you can see. I took a small sample and gave it a taste test and was very very hot.  I can’t wait to give it a try in a my first attempt at a Hot Pepper Margarita. I think it will be fine for me and my better-half but I doubt if most people will be able to handle the heat. We’ll see very soon.

DSC_0038

‘The Tequila sucks the color and heat from them.’

My second project has been the Sake that’s almost ready for bottling. Within the next few days I’ll begin the bottling process and finally be done with it. It’s taken a little longer than usual due to it’s refusal to clear.  It’s looking good now and it also has passed my first taste test.

DSC_0031

DSC_0034

‘Nice and clear.’

DSC_0032
Today I’ll be making my second visit to the Saco Police Department. I’m trying to renew my permit allowing me to carry a concealed weapon for another four years.  I’ve held permits in multiple states in the past but I have to say the state of Maine isn’t quite as difficult as some others.  My reapplication was only ten pages long and in comparison to some states it’s rather short. I’ve finished the forms, obtained a new and handsome picture of myself, and a check to the city, of course, for $20.00. By far the cheapest fee I’ve ever paid for this constitutional privilege.

th

CAN’T LET THE BUREAUCRATIC MINUTIA GET ME DOWN

05-24-2016 Journal–More Pain & Novocain!   2 comments

th
I’ve been writing so much lately about gardening and gardens, today it’s all about something else entirely. There aren’t many things in life that I truly detest but dentistry and visits to the dentist lead the list.

Since the age of 13 I’ve spent a large portion of my life in dentists offices thanks to my late, great BFF who knocked most of my front teeth out during a sandlot football game. That was back in the day when no one had mouthpieces and if you took a shot to the chops there were serious consequences. Ever since then it’s been one thing after another with my teeth. For more than 50 years I’ve had a series of plastic and metal bridges of one sort or another thanks to an one carelessly thrown elbow.

th2
Just recently my dentist of 14 years decided to divorce his wife, leave town, get remarried, and retire. He was courteous enough to send out forms to all of his patients which released our records to the new dentist we’d be using. Being a good little boy that I am I filled out all the release forms as directed and sent them back, waiting patiently for them to arrive at the new dentist’s office. They never arrived. I attempted to make telephone contact but his former telephone number was no longer working, the office was no longer open, and that SOB had moved away and left no forwarding address. Thanks a lot doc.

So today I’m making my second visit to my new dentist and I have to start all over again because my records are no longer available. Lucky me. A week or so ago I went in for my initial consultation with my new dentist and had to fill out more paperwork than I care to tell you about along with some teeth cleaning, teeth scanning, and x-raying. A second visit was scheduled where I would get up close and personnel with the new dentist where he could explain to me all of my future options to regain my pearly smile. That visit is today.

th44RNH64Z
I’m really not looking forward to being filled with Novocain and to have three teeth rebuilt and then to pay my portion of the reconstruction of $250 out-of-pocket. Then I’ll have to sit through a 45 minute consultation where my new dentist will explain to me just how screwed up my mouth and teeth are and how much it’s going to cost for new bridgework and additional repairs.  I can already feel his hand reaching into my back pocket in an attempt to remove all the money from my wallet.

So I’m just walking out the door now to begin my day of fun. If I had all of the money I’ve spent on dentistry over my lifetime I could probably buy the state of Maine and put a fence around it. I’m stopping for now but I’ll return in a few hours to complete this post.

th3

Time passes . . . . .

It’s now three hours later and I’ve returned home.  The left side of my face remain somewhat numb while allows to to droll at any given moment.  I’ve been drilled and poked and then drilled some more. As I was escorted to the door I was permitted to pay a couple of hundred dollars out-of-pocket and then given more options for my next visit. Option #1 will cost over-and-above the insurance coverage . . $600.00.  Option #2 cha-chings up to $1500.00.

I JUST CAN’T WAIT !!!

05-22-2016 Journal – Spring Has Sprung . . Finally!   Leave a comment

I was beginning to wonder if Spring would ever arrive but as always it has. Finally the fear of frost has passed and we can start getting serious about gardening.  Todays posting will be a few miscellaneous items about the garden and other things.  Our day today has already been planned and as soon as I leave this computer I’ll be back playing in the dirt once again.

My first item concerns something I mentioned in a recent post about my new favorite drink, the Hot Pepper Margarita.  I collected all of the ingredients needed to get things rolling and here it is. This photo was taken after two days of the peppers soaking in tequila.

DSC_0018

I can already seen the peppers losing their colors as the tequila bleaches them and it won’t be long before it will be ready for use. One more week and then I’ll strain the tequila and put it back into it’s bottles. Then the fun can begin.

I began planting in earnest this week with zucchinis, cucumbers, onions, kohlrabi’s, and eggplant.   Later today I’ll finish up with tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, Serrano peppers, Thai peppers, and Kung Pao peppers.  Now that the nights are warming up the peppers should flourish.

DSC_0005

DSC_0006

I began my night time skunk patrol this week.  He made his first stinky visit a few days ago and has been digging up the ground in and around the garden already.  The fence will keep him out of the larger frames but if he insists on causing problem in the unprotected frames he’ll be risking his stinky and smelly life.  My new rifle has been cleaned and oiled and is ready for action.  “Go ahead sucker . . . make my day.”

Here’s an update wide angle photo of the garden as it begins to grow. 

DSC_0016

THANK GOD IT’S FINALLY SPRING

05-20-2016 Journal – Hot Stuff!   Leave a comment

th

Before I get started today I need to make a declaration. I LOVE HOT PEPPERS!  It’s my opinion that almost everything is improved if you can make it hotter.  I make a lot of salsa’s and chili’s and have upwards of six really excellent recipes using an assortment of hot peppers.  I grow some of my own when possible and I’ll buy from almost any source when certain peppers aren’t available locally. 

I received some bad news a few days ago concerning an ex-loved one who passed away.  I was feeling a little blue after receiving the news. My better-half suggested we go out for dinner and where better than a Mexican restaurant to look for therapy.  We’ve been visiting this restaurant for years and we knew the food would be excellent. Not only could I people watch for a while but I could also eat all of the  smoking hot food I could handle.  A proper atmosphere to rid myself of the blues.

thC1EXCMB8

I’ve told you all of these boring facts about myself so you’ll understand the rest of this story.  As we waited for our food to arrive a new bartender appeared and began chatting with everyone.  He and I got into a friendly discussion about our love of hot food  when he surprised me.  He pulled a large jar from under the bar that was filled with tequila. Floating in the the tequila was an assortment of hot peppers, habanero’s, Serrano’s, and jalapeño’s.  The tequila had been soaking up all of that lovely flavor and hotness for a week. He dared me to try his latest creation, the “Hot Pepper Margarita”.  I couldn’t refuse and look like a coward so I took a long pull on the straw after salting my tongue and lips.

thCEN291D0

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “taking ones breath away”. That’s exactly what that margarita did.  It was a little sweet and hot enough to make me gasp. It was freaking delicious.  Little did I know that I was first customer dumb enough to try it.  I was so dumb in fact I tried it again and again.  My head was sweating, my mouth was burning, and I was in heaven.

Now you know why I have this mother-of-all hangovers this morning.  I stumbled into the kitchen last night around 3:00am badly in need of a glass or two of cold water.  The water was so cooling and delicious but tasted strangely familiar . . . just like jalapeños. I’m now on my third cup of coffee as I sit here writing this and it too tastes just like jalapeños.

thQSHZ0AST

Don’t get me wrong . . . I’m not complaining in the least.  I can’t wait to get back on my feet and do it all over again . . . in a week or two.

I’m going out later  today to make a few purchases of my own.  Two bottles of tequila, habanero peppers, Serrano peppers, and a few jalapeño peppers. I’ll be making my own hot pepper infusion to serve a perfect  Hot Pepper Margarita to any of our summer visitors.

PASS THE ADVIL PLEASE.

05-18-2016 Journal– 2016 Political Rant #2!   Leave a comment

th7PE29XXS

I awoke this morning and once again my body is achy and sore. We had such a beautiful day yesterday that I once again over-did the yard work and totally exhausted myself. I should know better by now but the warm weather and sunshine just kind of sweep me away and make me stupid.

Today will be one of my favorite kind of days which means I probably won’t do much of anything. I may run a few errands and work on some design sketches but nothing too serious. It’s going to be warm again which translates to some quality time for me and the cat to lounge around on the deck and listen to music or to just to read a good book (and yes, my cat can read).

th8GDRW22P
I spent some time this morning on the Net trying to keep up with the political situation as it develops but it took no more than just a few minutes for that the bore me to death. I haven’t decided on any specific candidate but I have eliminated a few. I’ve had my fill of the collection of political families who’ve been dominating the scene for far too long. I think the country and the people deserve some fresh faces in the political arena which means no more Bushes and no more Clintons. Let’s just let them fade into history like the Kennedys. Enough is enough. 

I’m still on the fence about Trump but I’m leaning his way for a number of reasons. His fresh and sometimes outrageous outlook on the country’s situation agrees with my own on a lot of points. If you read this blog you already know how much I hate political correctness and what it’s done to this nation. We need to break away in a new direction and I think Trump can supply that. Will he be perfect? I seriously doubt it. Will you be better off with Bernie, I think not . . . he an effing socialist. He’s willing to turn this country into a sad imitation of what Europe has become. That would be a very dangerous direction for the country to take . . . even more worrisome than Trump to be sure.

thHYKKB1OJ

I’ll be catching up later on the news of the day from the Net because listening to the television and radio media is not worth my time. They’re more interested in forwarding their political agendas rather than reporting the truth factually. The way in which they’ve been manipulated by the Obama administration is shameful and harmful to the nation. It’s the job of the press to point out inconsistencies in how an administration governs and  to investigate illegalities as they occur. In my opinion one of the worst things that ever happened in this country in recent decades was the purchase of the media by large business corporations. That was the beginning of the end for truth in media and the beginning of using the media by those corporations to forward their political agendas.

This country was established with the media as a watchdog for the citizenry to monitor and report on the politicians both good and bad. That has long since disappeared. When one part of our well oiled democratic machine ceases to work properly the entire machine suffers and eventually ceases to work at all. Welcome to the 21st-century here in America.

thYFPKXNXV
Well, I’m off to the deck with the cat and my Kindle for an hour of relaxation before I begin running my errands. That should be just enough time to get this short discussion about politics out of my head completely and to rebury my head in the proverbial sand.  I can’t continuously think about politics or I would go insane. A good suspicion of politicians, politics, and government  is what is badly needed to keep this country running properly.

I’M DOING MY PART – ARE YOU?