Monday, January 19, 2015

I Said I Wouldn't

But I did

Peer pressure is something else. I was going to work on the house this weekend because the weather was going to be nice, but I didn't. I didn't want to cook chili because I had too much to do, but I did.
Our Chili Family are among some of the best folks I have ever met and when they asked us to cook with them near Waco I didn't want to let them down and miss all the fun and decided to go.
I am glad I did, but I feel guilty about it. I should have worked, but I did have a great time.  



 Jessie (the oldest daughter) came to cook with us so how could I say no.
Saturday we had 54 cooks and I only got simi finals while Candy (the wife) made final table.
With the caliber of cooks there I thought that was pretty good.










Saturday night some of the girls had a onsie party.
It was cold and we roughed it in tents, but hey were warm.






Sunday was a different story. We had 39 cooks and I took 2nd and Candy won 6th.
Would I do it again, probably not but it was fun.









Now I have to spend every evening working on the house to catch up on the work I missed because this weekend we will be cooking in College Station. Hope to see some of yall there.

I'm out,
Jerry
  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Nothing To Say, Except......

Because you now I'm all about that chili, 'bout that chili, 'bout that chili, no beans,
All about that chili, 'bout that chili, 'bout that chili, no beans,
All about that chili, 'bout that chili 'bout that chili, no beans 
You know it's pretty clear, I ain't no world champion,
But I can cook it cook it, like I'm suppose to do.
Cause I got that mmmm, mmmm, that all the judges chase,
And all the right spices in all the right places.
Yea my momma she told me to not cook it too light,
She said judges like a little more heat to keep them up at night.
You know I won't be no half assed, mediocre chili cook,
So if that's what your into then go ahead and read the rule book.
Because you now I'm all about that chili, 'bout that chili, 'bout that chili, no beans,
All about that chili, 'bout that chili, 'bout that chili, no beans,
All about that chili, 'bout that chili, 'bout that chili, no beans
I'm bringing chili back,
Go ahead and tell them BBQ cooks.... that.
No, I'm just playing I know you like the fat.
But I'm here to tell you every cup full of my chili is perfect from bottom to the top.

(I think that was the most stupid and waste of time thing I have ever done right there. For some reason I cannot get "All about that base" out of my head)

I hope everyone had a great holiday season. I had such big plans to move forward on the little house but it just did not happen.
Rains, cold and the big case of "Not Want To" hindered every move I really wanted to make. I did try though. I went out and looked around a few times. I stood there, thought of what I wanted to do, picked up a hammer, put the hammer down and casually walked back to the camper. That's just the way it was. I can tell you though, I am motivated. Wintering in the camper is not fun, it's cold.

What we did do, is cook chili everywhere.


 We brought in the New Years in Wichita Falls with a bunch of friends and the oldest daughter Jessie (photo bombing us).
It's a hard place to cook and I think I talked about it in my last post, but you have to be somebody to walk there, well I walked with 9th place.  Not great, but at least it was a point,
We don't plan to cook there again not for any reason except that they only like one kind of chili and ours is not that kind. They want it so hot it burns a hole through your throat.
Great group of people though.







 Then we drove to Meridian down in the Hill Country and decided to stay for the two day cook off
Saturday I got 11th and we don't know what Candy did but it wasn't top 10. Sunday I got 17th and Candy got 18th. After tasting the winning chilies I knew they didn't like ours there either. They wanted it bland with no heat. I tried to make a crappy chili on Sunday, but it was too good for that place I guess.
We had a great time seeing some folks we have not seen in a long while. The band was good and the conversations were better. I would probably do this one again just to see my South Texas friends.

 Last Saturday we cooked in Plano. I don't guess they liked my chili there either. I got 11th again and Candy got 4th.
It was cold and we had to set up all the sides on our EZ Up and put the heater on high just to keep from shaking.
Nothing really exciting here and we will probably take this one off the calender for next year.

The wife looks great doesn't she? She is down 24 pounds now and still going. Way to go! 








With all this bad luck on the chili trail I had to get away from it because it will just drive you nuts trying to figure it out. I got some friends together and we went to a little cigar bar in Denton named Frogs. So, we sat out on the patio, by the fire, had a beer and toked on those big cigars like we were the Mac Daddy's.

Nothing too exciting. I am sure when it warms up a little I will be back full time on the house. The 24th we will be in College Station cooking at the Harley Davidson store off of HWY 6,. Come on out if you are down that way, because you know it's all about that chili, 'bout that chili, 'bout that chili, no beans.  (LOL)

See ya,
Jerry




Monday, December 29, 2014

Taking It Easy

I sure hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and I hope you all have a Happy New Year.
We sure did, I can tell you I am blessed more than I should be.

I had five days off and I was looking so forward in getting a lot accomplished on the house. In the end I didn't get much done and for most of those days I just took it easy. It seemed I was in slow motion and couldn't get into it, I blame it on the weather. For four of those five days it was cold, rainy and windy. That kinda puts you in a blaa mood.

I managed to get the front steps on the porch built and 3/4 of the house roughed in with electric. I was hoping to have the electric and plumbing done by the first of the year but that's not going to happen. I ran into some problems, caused by me of course, but they are still problems. You see, I don't build houses everyday and hindsight is 20/20. The plumbing and electrical was always in the back of my mind, but I kept putting off thinking about them and saying to myself "it will all work out." I am sure it will all work out in the end, but I have made it a lot harder on myself now because I didn't stop and take the time to think every aspect through at least a dozen times. Shuda Woulda Coulda kinda of deal.

Saturday we took a break from the Camper and decided to cook some chili. We were right on the edge of East Texas in a little town called Lake Tawakoni.
Here's the problem with being 10th and 11th in the world, plus having a daughter that is always in the top 10 when we cook. When we walk in, we hear folks saying they don't even need to cook now that the Fords are here. And I just nod my head and say, "That's right"
Jessie took 7th, I got 5th and Candy won 2nd.
What can you say, the Fords were in the house that day.

We plan to do a New Years Eve night time cook off on the 31st up in Wichita Falls. We have cooked there before and had our butts handed to us. They say if you place there, you are somebody. I won't jinks myself and say you are talking to somebody, yet.
I wasn't too happy with 5th in LT, but I will be very happy with 5th in WF.


Please be safe out there this New Years Eve. You know what they say, this is a holiday for the novice drinkers. I am a professional and plan to stay off the roads.


See ya next year,
Jerry   

Monday, December 22, 2014

Two Men And A Baby

Okay, two old men and a young lady to be correct.
And we got it done.
 All weekend it was misting rain, cold and windy. Candy was using the wood scraps to keep the fire going so we could warm our hands and get feeling back in our feet. Jessie grabbed the nail gun, dad was the board man and I was ground support.  
 A steady supply of Coffee and Hot Chocolate for the women folk.

I would rather have one Jessie helping me then five men. This girl is a beast. I just wish she would get off the phone and come over here to hold this board. I think my look says it all in this picture.



Mud was everywhere. Each time we walked we got taller. Before long we had six inches added to our height and our feet weighed forty pounds. Any normal time I would have just said to heck with it be done for the day but I needed to get this done.









 The stairs are all boxed in now. I still need to put up a support to stabilize them. They are a little too bouncy for me.  And I also still need to put up the railing around the top and down the stairs, but that is at a later time.
This week I will trim out and seal everything on the front and this weekend I plan to start on the Electric. Fun, Fun  

I am very proud of the small work force I had this weekend and amount of work we got accomplished. With extending the bottom porch out another 6 feet, building the whole top deck, the small landing for the stairs and the stairs themselves, I guess in all it took the three of us 11 hours to complete. Not bad for two old men and a young lady.



If I don't see ya again, have a marry Christmas

Jerry

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

In The Dry

For the last two weeks we have been doing what we could on the house. The one problem is, the little house just keeps growing.

 In the beginning it was going to be a simple 500 square foot little, tiny house. Now we are up to about 896 if you include the lofts and the second story.
Two weekends ago me and my dad climbed up on a chilly, windy Saturday morning and shingled the roof. It didn't take us near as long as I thought and I had to call off the help that was coming over later in the day. Pretty impressive for a couple of old men.
Last weekend I was under some pressure. I had to get it in the dry due to the storms coming in on Sunday. High winds would have ripped the roof right off if I could not get the siding up. As you can see, there is nothing out here to stop the wind and a storm with sixty mph winds would have done major damage. So during the week we installed the windows in the front and back, trimmed the shingles and prepped everything for the siding on Saturday. In the end we got it done.
Sunday the rains didn't come in till later so in the morning I started on the second floor porch. This has also grown bigger than planned. Now it will run the full length of the building and overhang to the right three feet. You can see the beginning of it in the picture. A staircase will be down the side of the building and wrap back around to the front.  Go big or go home right? Excessive, maybe but in the end I want to be in a place I can enjoy.

That's all I got for now.
Jerry

Monday, December 1, 2014

Building Party

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, I know we sure did.

The weather was great, a little windy but other than that the temps were right on. Thursday was the traditional Thanksgiving we always have. I am not selling it short by no means, it was just the norm.
Friday was spent prepping for the building party Saturday.

About ten family members showed up to help with the build. A few more had to work but got there as soon as they could.
 Kylee (the youngest) took off work to be our "Runner" to run into town as needed. Jessie (the oldest pictured here) drove up from College Station to lend a hand. This was not her first rodeo and she jumped right up there and took charge with the framing crew while me and my dad stayed on the ground being the cut men.
 The nephews showed up after noon and did the decking, the wife was the our "refreshment" and food girl while mom sat on the porch and supervised.
 We ended up with about twenty folks stopping by throughout the day to lend a hand.
Some stayed late and we brought out the music and fire pit to finish the day off.
 
I can't thank everyone enough who came out and helped or stopped by for moral support. We got a lot of work done in one day.




Sunday was spent cleaning up and securing everything for the storms this week and relaxing a little.

Next weekend I will be putting shingles on the roof and putting in some windows.

 Other than that, not much happening here,
Jerry

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Little More

We have been working on the Tiny house off and on as the weather cooperates. It has been cold or rainy this past week so work on the house was slow.

The center section is almost done. The bottom floor is all framed up and ready for the siding.
This weekend we are having a building party and should have the rafters and walls up on the second floor. Then the next weekend we should have it in the dry, I hope.

The second floor was an afterthought. I decided to build it for more room. 
Let me try and explain the picture. The part I am standing on is over the bathroom and will be Candy's sewing room. The other smaller part is over the closet and will be her sitting/reading room where she will be able to walk out on the widow's walk and watch the sun come up. The small walkway in the middle connects the two. The hole on the right will have stares/ladder so she can get up there from the hallway. The hole on the left is just that, a hole. When you walk down the hall into the bedroom, these two holes will be open all the way to the roof to give it a bigger look. I will add hand made metal railing just to be safe.   

I still have a long way to go on the house and it doesn't help I do something like this and get the wife her Christmas Ranger a little early. We spent most of Sunday out riding the trails around the lake. It will come in handy, I am sure. 






Have a great Thanksgiving,
Jerry

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Low Budget Operation

Even though we are making progress on the tiny house, this low budget operation is taking too long. For every board we nail up I can see two more needed which means more time and more money.
The floor is done and the walls are going up. After I get all the studs in, then it's time for the ceiling joists, then the top floor decking and then the roof rafters.
I normally have everything drawn out and designed but this is a design build, one board at a time kinda thing.

Just as I feared, the weather has turned and I really need to get this in the dry before winter. I can't let all this raw wood sit through too many rain and snow storms or it will ruin. But with just me and my dad doing the work, the wife as the gopher, and the occasional family hand here and there, plus add in the limited funds, the short days and cooking chili, it's going to be tough.
I can't work on it tonight due to a freeze coming. I need to spend the evening making sure the trailer can get through it okay, but for the rest of the week I plan to do a little every night.

Speaking of cooking chili, last weekend we cooked in Irving TX and being ranked 11th in the world I guess I grew a chip on my shoulder. I went in there thinking I was something and I had this one in the bank. There was no way I could not win this cook off. Ha, I got close to last place, didn't even make it off the first round. Talk about knocking me down a rung or two.
 But look who came all the way up from Texas A&M to cook with mom and dad. Jessie surprised us Friday night and decided to make the four hour drive for us to see her pretty face and to spend the day cooking with us.
So in the end it did not matter to much that my chili sucked last weekend, I had Jessie there.
  
This Saturday we will be in Denton. Maybe this time I will go in there with a different attitude.


I will let you know what happens,
Jerry

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We Made It Back

I would not call sleeping in a tent for five days in the middle of the South Texas desert a vacation, but it was close enough.

Candy and I traveled the eleven hours to the World Championship CASI Chili Cook Off in Terlingua Texas. It is one of the most hostile places on earth, but is has it's own kind of beautiful as well.
 
It was an honor to be there. We struggled for the past two years to get good enough to have the privilege to enter through these gates.
 I know of some really great chili cooks that have been cooking for over thirty years that would love to walk across that stage. From what they say, only the worlds best elite chili cooks ever get called up there. I have not paid my dues long enough to earn it and I knew that.

We left on Tuesday and arrived at the ranch noon on Wednesday. Thursday we drove around Big Bend National Park and saw some really great sights. On Friday we cooked Wings, Beans and Salsa and did not place in any one.
Saturday was the big day for chili. This is what we all came here to do. I knew being first time cooks Candy and I did not have a chance. Fifteen ex world champs were here and many, many cooks I have never been able to beat over the past years. They only call the first twenty spots.
 Well how about that, I placed 11th and Candy won 10th in the world championship. I never would have ever imagined we would have walked across that stage.
They say we were tied for 10th and they had to do a taste off. They also said we were the first husband and wife team to ever do this. We won so many things and with her being in the top ten, she gets extra perks for the year.
One of them is, Candy is automatically qualified to cook there again next year. Me, I still have to chase points to be invited back.  

I really didn't plan to return next year being my only goal was to be invited and to cook with such great folks, but now I have to.  The shock of it all did not wear off for several hours. Neither Candy nor I can remember walking across the stage, everything was a blur.

Do you know how long we have wanted chairs, real chili chairs? Now we both have the chairs everyone wants and cooks for all year long.

This weekend we will be cooking in Irving then next weekend we will be in Denton.

Thanks to everyone for sticking with us and supporting Candy and I through the chili year. We raised a lot of money for charity, had a great time and met a lot of great people. If you are wanting to get involved either by cooking or sponsoring our team just let me know.
Thanks again,

I got a lot more to tell, Later
Jerry

Monday, October 20, 2014

Phase 1, Part 1 - It's A Start

We decided not to cook this weekend and work on the house. I am glad I did because next weekend we will be spending it getting ready to travel to the World Championship Chili Cookoff for a week.














We got the floor between the buildings framed in and along with that I decided to frame in the front porch, that way it's all tied together. At $5.00 a piece, I only had enough in the budget for 1/2 of the deck boards for the porch.
The next part is three weekends away. Then I will put the plywood down for the floor and finish the front porch and maybe start on the walls.  

Like I said, it's a start.
Jerry

Monday, October 13, 2014

Time To Get Busy

We finally got our buildings moved in and set in place.
 The one on the left (12X24)was my wood shop and the other one (10X16) was my garden shed. Now the one on the left will be my kitchen and living room and the one on the right will be my bedroom. The space in between (10X16) will be the bathroom, pantry and will have a loft for the craft/sewing room.

The first step is to build the middle section. It's hard to do with all the chili cooking but I think this is a little more important at the moment. After I get back for the World Championship at the end of the month I intend to get this done quickly.




This weekend the Chili Trail was up and down. Saturday I got 6th place and Candy got 13th. Sunday Candy got 7th place and I got 11th. I do not like two day cookoffs and will probably wont do them again. It's just to exhausting and it takes up your whole weekend. Other than that the weather was perfect and I could not ask for a better cooking partner.

Today marks another milestone. My oldest daughter Jessie turned 22 years old. She called me this
morning talking about how old she feels and believe me I understand. I think she is taking not being 21 anymore a little hard, for me it 30. I tried hanging on to my twenties as long as I could, but in the end no matter how hard I tried, time marched on.
So here's to you old maid, Happy birthday, we love you and keep living the dream.
Here is some old man advise from me just for you on your birthday Jessie, "You will never achieve greatness if you ask for permission first"
Go get'em sweetheart.Whoop!
 


 It's been a while since I posted a picture of my little Grand baby. She is four months old now and just as happy and loving as a baby can be.
You know it's funny, how it does not matter how big, bad and mean you think you are, when your granddaughter smiles and laughs at you, you turn into a big ol' softy.




That's it for now,
Jerry

Monday, October 6, 2014

It's A Chili Thing, You Wouldn't Understand

The weather could not have been any better.
Saturday morning it was 43 degrees, the windows of the camper were open, the fan on high. She was cold, I was in heaven.

This is chili weather, nobody argued that. The first weekend of the new chili year and it was our
cookoff. Candy and I have been preparing, promoting and working this cookoff for a year now. I have traveled to many cookoffs talking this one up in hopes of a huge blowout.
At one point I had commitments from about forty cooks. I would travel out of my way to their cookoffs with the agreement they come cook at mine. As the week progressed the cooks started dropping off. One excuse after another was told to me. After a while they started repeating themselves.
We had just enough cooks to make it official, fifteen. We only raised $240.00 for the charity. To say I am a little bitter and disappointed is an understatement. It would have cost me way less money and time if I would have just handed the charity the money out of my pocket and went on with my business.
The major problem was, there were twenty two cookoffs within a four hour area and from what I read they all just had fifteen or so cooks. At least all the charities got funded a little.
Candy ended up with 2nd place, Jessie came all the way up from college station to take 4th and I came in at 5th. Not a bad way to start off the chili year.

So here is the question?
Why is it that nobody wants to do this? I mean it's hard to find new chili cooks. I have not found any hobby as enjoyable as doing this. Is it just that easy to dump a bucket of ice water on your head and write out a twenty dollar check?  Send it, forget it, look what I did on Face Book everybody kind of thing?
Is it a time thing because if I can find the time I know anyone can. Is it the fear of failure and you don't want to know how your chili really measures up? Or is it a simple money issue where twenty bucks to enter a cookoff is too much to give to charity?
These are the questions I will never get an answer to. I invite all my friends on Face Book to come out and cook with me almost every time. I seldom get a response and very few likes, but I will post a movie about a guy falling down and get 300 likes, several reposts and several comments. It's really funny when the folks that tell me they don't have the money will post later that night how much they spent at the bar.

Maybe it's just a small select group of people trying to do good by cooking chili and it's not anybody else's thing. All because I enjoy the crap out of it doesn't mean anyone else has to right? But then, does anyone even have a "thing" anymore or are we so wrapped up in our own little worlds and our small circle of friends that we really don't care what's outside of the box?  

I got more to tell, Later
Jerry