Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving two weeks ago. It was a roller coaster here. Let me explain.

  Wednesday night, day before Thanksgiving, around 11:00PM I awoke to my wife saying the house was on fire and we needed to go.
Okay first thought, if someone tell you the house is on fire you automatically assume, the house was on fire.
My cousin was living at the Mini Farm and as it turned out, it was on fire. So we spent the rest of the night until morning watching the Mini Farm burn. The fire started in the garage of the house just to the South and spread to my house. We live so far away from county services they could not get there in time to keep it from spreading.  
All that work, all that time wasted and all the memories, all gone now.
This picture is of what is left of the Bath House.

My cousin is displaced and staying in a hotel until the insurance figures out what they are going to do. It is a total loss so now we just have to go through the steps and wait on them.
So that's what Thanksgiving is about right? Giving thanks that no one was hurt, that all the animals are safe and the sun still came up that morning.  A major inconvenience more than anything.

There was nothing else any of us could do so we just went on with the weekend as planned.
Thanksgiving dinner was amazing as always. The family gathered and we all did what we would have normally would.

Friday I even took my oldest grand baby fishing with her new pole.  
She caught her first fish and when we dragged it up out of the water, she didn't want anything to do with it. As you can tell she didn't even want to take a picture with it.
As the day progressed and more fish were caught she warmed up to the idea and actually started petting them before we threw them back saying, "bye, bye fishy."











So here we sit, two weeks later and still waiting in the insurance. I sure am glad I am not in a tent somewhere.

See ya,
Jerry


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Another One In The Books


 Another World Chili Championship is in the books.

 Another World Chili Championship is in the books. For two out of three years we both placed. Believe me when I say it humbles me to be able to do such an extraordinary feat. There are chili cooks that have cooked for thirty years and never walked across the stage.  

We cook with the best chili cooks in the world. Our camp is made up of some of the best folks you could ever want to spend your time and hobby with. I have made some very strong and lasting friendships with some of these people. One I call my baby boy (the big guy in the hat, standing next to me, glasses and beard way in the middle back), and one I call my second wife (front row, three from the right). Candy (second from left, front row) and her call each other sister wives and it really turns some folks heads when they say that in public. 
I think this is why I keep cooking and just simply complain about it. Deep down I want to spend time with these guys. It's fun, exhausting, expensive and a really good time. I only have one life and I refuse to look back and say, "I should have had more fun."
 Plus, you really have to like the people if you can spend eleven days in the desert and not kill each other.

Candy won 4th place on the Tuesday "warm up" cook off out of 190 cooks. I only made semi-finals. On Friday, she won 2nd in beans and a nice little check to go with it paying for our fuel there and back. I did nothing in beans and we both did not win anything in Salsa.
On Saturday Candy was part of a small show team that won 3rd place, but the whole reason why we were there is for the Championship on Saturday. 332 cooks and Candy got 24th and I got 21st. That made us finalist and we won the chairs, plaques, champagne and was treated like royalty.
Due to the travel requirements, I never want to win the whole thing so being a finalist two out of three years is good enough for me. I'm batting 750    


The rest of the time was spent being in the desert. We went to a little town in Mexico where we had to leave our truck in the US, take a row boat over and ride a donkey the mile or so into town. I was able to check off my bucket list, wear a poncho and sombrero in Mexico while taking a shot of tequila. 

Throughout the eleven days we did everything else I had not previously done the other two times we were there. We visited the natural Hot Springs on the Rio Grand, visited the cliff drawings from civilizations long past and many more little things that while we were already in the desert, we might as well.
Jessie (My oldest girl) and her man child Billy came in on Thursday morning giving us a full day to show them the things they did not get to see last year.  

It ended up being a great vacation with great friends. It's a lot of work though. Every day you have a list of chores to do around camp just to be able to live. If I had to pick or even had a choice in the matter, I would pick an easier place to vacation next year.

Until next time,
Jerry or Yerry as they call me South of the border.     

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fishing, Hunting, Family and Chili

Get you a cup of Joe, sit down and read a while, this one is going to be long one. A lot has happen in the past few months. Life just keeps getting bigger and better.


I know I have stopped blogging for a while and the main reason is, I just don't have much to say. I figured I can only say so much about cooking chili and even that is boring if you are not a chili cook. It seems like chili is all I have done for the past three years. I have all but given up everything I used to enjoy just to cook a bowl of red. As much as I have tried to decrease the amount of competitions we go to it still feels like every weekend we were gone somewhere doing our chili thing. I know it was getting old reading about the same thing every week so I just quit writing about it. But, if y'all want to hear about it then I will write about it.
I do miss blogging and getting my aggression out. If anyone reads it or not is was a way of therapy for me you might say. I can also tell over the past few months my writing skills have regressed back to about a fifth grade level again. Not that it was anything worth a crap in the first place.

So, here is what's been going on. Fishing, Hunting, Family and Chili. If I'm not cooking a bowl of red in some small town somewhere, I am Fishing or Hunting or at least trying to.

Hunting;
Bird season was kinda a bust even though we had a great time for a couple of weeks. The birds were just not there. My hopes are that these cold fronts we are having will push down some of those big Kansas dove and I can get in a few more shots before the season closes. I bought a new over and under that has not even been good and broke in yet, now that is a shame.
Everything is in it's place for deer season. I bought a cross bow because it's archery only in the county I live in and I'm really not that good with a normal bow. Plus, the cross bow is a lot cheaper than a deer lease somewhere.   

Fishing;
Fishing has been restricted to local ponds mostly. The catfish are just now coming back in the creeks but they are still hard to get to. The freakish high waters this summer has made a thick growth of high weeds all through the bottoms and it's hard to navigate. Even though, I would still like to get in a little more fishing before winter sets.       

Chili;
The chili trail is still going. Our new year started the first of October and the plans are made on the number of cook offs we plan to attend. It's about half of what we have been doing because we don't plan to go to the World Championship next year.  This year we are planning to hit some in New Mexico, Virgin Islands and a few more big ones here and there.
Candy unsuccessfully ran for the board of directors in our organization (CASI) a month or so ago down in Austin. She loves the organization and what they stand for so much she was willing to offer her time and skill set to help it even more. I guess it was not her time yet. After her defeat we have decided to take a step back from the political side of the chili world for a couple of years and try to get back to the reason we started cooking in the first place which is Chili, Charity and Fun. Politics ends up ruining everything good and unfortunately it's no different if you get that heavily involved in anything, even in a charitable organization.   
Candy won Missouri State in chili and I won it in Beans a couple of months ago. Other than that, we have not cooked in any major cook off for a while. It's just been small locals here and there.
Terlingua (World Championship) is next week and we are just starting to load the truck. This is the 50th year anniversary for CASI so it's going to be a big one. We leave this Friday for another week long adventure in the desert.

Last, but most important.
Family;
Last week our family grew. Grand baby number two (Emily) was born.
Candy and I have taken to the grand parenting thing pretty well. After my kids all grew up I really missed the sounds of running little feet through the house. The noise of kids laughing and playing were all gone and only quiet and emptiness hung in the air. Boredom took over and I think that is why we started doing the chili thing so much.
Sitting still will drive me insane with the creeping thoughts of regrets and life decisions that might not have went as planned slowly drift in. Shoulda-Woulda-Couldas are a killer and it's better to have my mind active. Can I change all that crap no, but try telling my hard head that.
Grand baby one (Rebecca) is now two and a half. She is at that age where she is talking in short sentences and starting to ask questions. I think my favorite age is around eight, but they will get there too fast as it is. I plan to cherish every moment with these two.



Other than that, life goes on.
See ya in a couple of weeks,
Jerry

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Fishing Is The Cure All

This is a special time of year. It's the time when the fish are spawning, the trees are leafing out, the grass is greening up and the wildlife is waking up from the winter slumber. And, it's the time of year to get sick. 

I was in Johnson City, Texas for the Men's State Chili Championship a couple of weekends ago. Upon returning I have felt like a truck has run me over. It has gone from my throat to my chest to my head and now starting back to my throat again. It doesn't help I am out fishing in the rain and even going back to the creek at night breathing in that fine, country, cool air.
I look at it this way, I can either lay around in the house, bored and hacking up a lung or I can sit by the creek doing something I love. I choose the creek.
 I was recently introduced to a new part of the creek I have never been to. This is a very remote area that has only seen a handful of humans. In a way it's almost prehistoric, untouched you might say. When I am down there I clearly know I am not at the top of the food chain anymore.
Darkness falls quicker in this remote place leaving it hard to find the small, unused trail back out. Plus, it is very easy to get turned around due to the same seen at every bend of the creek.You have to remember your markers and try to get out before it gets too dark.
It's quiet, dead quiet almost in a eerie kind of way. 
If I ever wanted to find a place to escape where nobody would ever find me, this is the place.       
 Back out in the open air I was also shown a place tucked back in the corner of the property where the water is so clear you can see the fish chasing after the minnows. This little pond is a paradise for bass and fishermen to really get to know each other. The tall grass on it's banks make a cloud like bed to lay back on and just relax.   

Although I was sick, there was something about sitting on the banks of these two spots that made it all better. The fresh air, the calmness, the quietness and of course the occasional fish on the other end of the line.  It was only until the ride home did I remember I was still sick proving the fact, fishing is a cure all.

Candy is headed to Seguin Texas this weekend to defend her title as the Texas Ladies State Chili Champion so wish her luck. The chances of winning back to back are against her and she is very nervous about it. Even if she don't, she will always be a champion in my eyes.  
Me and my weekend plans, I will have the house to myself and I might just stay home and relax in my easy chair all weekend, hahaha whatever, you know where I will be.


I will let you know how it turns out and oh, I will also let you know how Candy did.
See Ya,
Jerry

Monday, March 28, 2016

No Winter

And here I was all worried about another hard winter.
It never snowed, it never iced up and we were not stuck in the house for days on end.
All that has happen the last two or three years and I was not looking forward to another one. This year, yea it was cold a couple of days and we even had a month where we ran the heaters at night, but other than that, summer time is among us now.

Yes I have been busy. Not so much on the house or anything productive so to speak, but busy nevertheless.
For my birthday in February I bought a nice little 1967 Mobile Scout camper trailer. Candy and I have been talking about getting an small old camper to fix up and redo. So she found this one on Facebook and we went and picked it up the next day.


 The problem is, I didn't really want another project and I didn't want a camper where I had to just about redo the inside from the floor up. The previous owner covered up the rot with more paneling. Kinda like using a band aid for a broke arm, it's just not going to do any good. Even though I knew better, I still bought it.
So now it sits just like all my other projects, half finished with no end in sight.





 The camper and all the other projects really suffer when I go out and get a new fly fishing set up. Ever since the fishing trip last year I have been wanting to go back.
I justified this purchase by telling myself it will be cheaper in the long run because now I do not need to rent the equipment and just use my own.

There is just something about fly fishing that got me hooked the first time I did it. I don't know if it was the challenge of it all or if it was just the peace and quiet, being one with the nature. Whatever it is, I am hooked.





In the mean time I have still been taking my little boat down to the creek with my Zebco 33s and finding my own peace and quite only a 1/4 mile from the house.



I hope everyone had a good Easter weekend.

See ya,
Jerry  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Herding Cats

Herding cats would have been easier than having the family come over to paint the house last Sunday.

Everyone showed up Saturday night and sat around the fire, lied to each other and drank a little beer. I blew up air beds and opened the camper to find room for everyone to sleep. Having a tiny house does have it's disadvantages at times. My buddy even had to sleep on the couch.

It was windy, really windy and almost too cold to do anything but we did.
After a big breakfast we braved the wind to get the house painted. I fired up the smoker and put on two racks of ribs and about thirty pounds of chicken. Potato salad and baked beans were our sides. At noon when the temp was above 50, everyone went to work. My buddy manned the smoker while I played "Runner Boy" for the painters.
What, there's a hog in the trap! I looked up and everyone was gone. It was time for a hog killing. After that we got back to work.
We got the front all painted, but it was getting too late to start on the back. I will do that this weekend. There is a lot less to cut in back there so it should not take as long and if it's not windy then I will get to try out my new sprayer that is still in the box. 
Then it's on to the railing across the top.  

Last night I got the main power ran for the house. No more of this turning one thing off before turning another on kinda deal. I have the power to run it all now. 
Plus I need to spend a day cleaning up after the disaster left behind from the weekend. 

 I guess that's all I got for now, A big thanks to all that came out to help.

See ya,
Jerry

Friday, January 22, 2016

Small Window

I might have a small window this weekend to get a little painting done on the tiny house.

I have been planning this for the last three weekends, but the weather "made" me go cook chili instead. The same for this weekend as well. All the plans were made earlier in the week for Saturday. The help was all lined out and all the materials bought only to be postponed due to the temperature not being above 50 all day.
I should have known this would happen. I should have painted as soon as I could back in the summer instead of waiting till winter to try and paint. It's my fault and only my fault.
This is what happens when you get detracted and do other things instead of finishing what you started first.
The small window I am talking about is Sunday. The high will be 65 degrees, but the wind will be blowing too hard to spray. If I can reschedule and find enough help, then we can go "old school" and all use brushes and rollers to get it done or at least a major part of it done.

The cost for free help could add up if I am not careful. 
Lets see, three cases of beer at $65.00, two racks of ribs and chicken quarters at $35.00 and all the sides at about another $40.00. Add in other drinks and snacks for the kids and wives at about $30.00 or so. So the total for free help will be somewhere around $170.00
This may sound like I am complaining, but I am not. To have someone come out and do the work would cost 10 times that amount so I think I am getting off on the cheap, plus I get to see everyone and do some cooking during all this.
Now, I just need to get on the phone and let the family know there is free beer, free food and free paint brushes available on Sunday.

Oh, I promised a picture of the trim on the porch posts I did not like so here it is.


I am not going to trim the posts at all now and just paint them. I think it made them look like a poodle's leg or something. 
   



I will let you know how the weekend turned out,

Jerry

Friday, January 15, 2016

I Just Didn't Like It

Being they have upped the chances of rain even more for this weekend, painting the tiny house is defiantly out of the question, plus my help decided to go out of town.

I bought the materials to trim out the 4X6 posts on the front porch so at least that could be done when the weather permitted me to paint. A couple of days ago I cut all the boards and trimmed out one post to see what it would look like. Now here's the deal, I should have only cut enough wood to trim out just one post to see if I liked it or not instead of cutting everything. I just don't like it. I would have taken a picture to show you but I don't like it enough to even do that. I left the post trimmed thinking it would grow on me, but no. So now I have forty four pieces of wood cut to fit around the tops and bottoms of every post on the porch and I don't want to put them on. I even asked the wife what she thought and she didn't like it either. There is nothing else I can use all these angled cut pieces of wood for except the fire pit.
Now that all the tools are put away and with the rain is coming in, all that is left to do is cook chili.
So now the plans have changed. I will be going to Shreveport LA this weekend to cook chili. I don't want to do that either, but it beats sitting around the house kicking myself in the butt for wasting all that wood. I can do that when I get back.  

Maybe there is still hope for the weekend if I can find a good Cajun Restaurant and get me some real Jambalaya, AIEEE!!!!!!

See ya next week,
Jerry  

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Check Another One Off The List

It's kinda funny on how you have a place pictured in your mind and a burning desire to do a particular thing, but once you see it and do it, it's very disappointing. Lets take for instance Mt. Rushmore. I have been told the pictures really do it justice and once you see it, it's like, "really, is that it?"
You have such high expectations for something, but it seems to fall short once you see it.

I have a Texas Bucket list as well as a regular Bucket list. The only difference between the two is the Texas one has to do only with Texas things and being a native Texan I would like to do as many of those as possible.
One item on the Texas Bucket List list is the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo. I have seen pictures of it and talked to folks that have visited. They all say it's a must do, but it's only ten cars buried in the dirt. So this last weekend I had the opportunity to go to Amarillo for the first time and participate in the Tri-State Chili Cook Off Championship, by the way I got third place and automatically qualified for the world championship. While there I made the trip North a couple of miles to mark another item off the list. We pulled over on the side of the road, looked across the field and all I could say is, really? They were right, it's only ten cars buried halfway in the dirt. How this made the list I will never know. I guess it's just one of those things kinda like looking at the world's largest ball of wire.

   

 We did take a can of paint because that's what you are suppose to do when you go and painted our names on the cars.
We travel and cook with our good friends and chili family K and D because going all over the place by yourselves is just boring. My dumb butt shaved my face and head only to be in one of the coldest places in Texas that weekend.
New Years weekend we traveled to San Antonio, cooked chili, did great and walked the river walk in the rain. We just can't catch a break on the weather while traveling and cooking chili.

I have every intention of staying home this weekend and just sending the wife to cook in Shreveport LA. I bought the stuff to paint the tiny house. Now they are calling for rain Saturday night and that just spoils my weekend plans. I still my stay home and do some more trim work on the porch if I cannot get it all done during the week. I am really tired of going, going, going at the moment.    

Other than that, not much is going on. It's too cold and nasty for anything else.

Jerry

Monday, December 21, 2015

No More Room

This weekend the wind was high and even though the temperature was pleasant enough to work, the brisk Southern breeze made it too much to get much outside work done. So we worked inside the house.

 We have plum run out of room. It's not hard to do when living in a tiny house. Never enough cabinet space and never enough counter tops. So the next best thing to use is the walls.
We got the cast iron off the floor and mounted them to the wall for easy access. Candy also got her kitchen herbs planted in some really nice antique tins she picked up at a garage sale on put on the shelf above the window.
Notice the little lights on the stove, yes they work. It takes a medium base bulb you cannot find anymore unless you special order them. We ended up finding some old large Christmas lights in a box and taking the red off.   



The little homemade, horseshoe Christmas tree has been decorated and put under the loft stairs. The little tree is not too big and fits just right, plus it goes with the country look we have. 
 Speaking of the bedroom loft. This was the place planned for overnight stays when one of the girls came by. It fits a twin size blow up mattress perfectly. Well, plans have changed a little because the grand baby took it over as her play room.
Now there is no way we will be able to move all the toys and blow up the air bed. So I guess the camper will remain the guest house.  

I also built Candy a small cabinet that sits next to the stove out of some old barn wood. Now she has a place to store the baking dishes, mixer and cookie sheets.

We got more boxes out from storage and filled the kitchen cabinets and drawers to max capacity. There is no more room for anything and we still have many more boxes to go. I see a garage sale in the future.

Thanks,
Jerry


Monday, December 14, 2015

Where's The Fish

After this weekend the official total rainfall here in North Texas is 59.5 inches. I am sure we have had more than that up here where I live, but "officially" I don't have a clue.
The creeks are up out of their banks making my Crappie holes un-fishable. This is about the time of year I live on the creek banks jigging for Crappie. As it is now I would have to walk back at least a mile through thick swamp brush to get to the fish and I don't think I am going to do that.  I like fishing, but I don't like it that well.

So instead I worked on the house. This weekend I got the Ladder built and installed for the bedroom loft, plus ran and hooked up the power to the kitchen island. I also got the shelves finished in the upstairs craft room and started unpacking boxes of books and chili trophies to fill them.

Right off the bat Saturday morning my dad and I finished installing the new stove and making sure everything works with no leaks. The stove weighs 400 pounds and was a chore trying to get it in place, they just don't make them like that anymore, but it fits and looks like it belongs there.
 Modern cookware just did not seem right on this old girl so we pulled out and polished up the cast iron and put some to use.   

Candy was so happy to finally be able to cook inside.
(It's funny to write that down because it makes us sound like hillbillies or something, "look maw, running water").

Okay side note, funny story. You know I finally got the kitchen sink in the house right? Well everyone that comes over walks to the sink and turns it on just to see if it works. One of my nephews after checking it even laughed and said, "Oh wow! you got running water in here."
A friend of mine was looking around the sink and asked if I ran the garden hose through the floor or came in through the wall. I told him, "hu no, it's actually plumbed in with hot water and everything, just like real people have." 
I just thought it was kinda funny and had to share it.

Anyway back to the post, she was so happy in fact she made me up some fried chicken and vegetables. Then to top it all off, she even baked me some cookies and served them with a big glass of milk.
If I would have only known that I would be treated like this, I might have spoiled her and got her a stove a long time ago.


These chickens came from the farm, processed last weekend. We had some new comers (city folks) show up and wanted to help out just to see how it's done. Processing your own meat is something everyone needs to know how to do if it's chickens, fish, pork or beef and I don't mind teaching others and I sure don't mind the help. 

We would have had forty more to do at the end of next month, but selling them was a better option.

This week I plan to focus on where the fish are at, trimming out the porch, getting all the kitchen stuff out of storage and maybe even building the little cabinet next to the stove.

So until then,
Hillbilly Jerry

Friday, December 11, 2015

It's Alive

I sent the wife to go and look at that stove I was talking about in the last post and when I got home it was in the back of the truck.

It ends up being a 1941 Chambers, Model B. I also found out there is a cult like following on the internet with Chambers Stoves. I think I am one of those folks now. This stove is amazing. I never thought I would ever be this excited about a cook stove.





We got her unloaded and started going though it.
The old girl does need a little repair, like the oven burner brackets need to be remade, but other than that she is cherry.
All the controls and air vents were frozen, but with a little PB Blaster and care, they were working like new.


We hooked it up, put the lighter to it and she fired right up with the most beautiful blue flame. Just like it was the first time off the show room floor

I don't plan on repainting or restoring it. Every drag mark across the top has it's own story and I feel like taking those away will remove it's history.

I do need to find a decal set somehow, somewhere so I can remember where all the knobs go.  

And the best thing about it, I can work on it.




Later,
Jerry