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

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Quick Two Weeks

Wow! It has been two weeks and I haven't posted one thing. It sure went by quick.

Here is a quick recap of what we have been up to.

We made the trip to College Station for my oldest daughter Jessie's Ring Ceremony.
She got the Gold!!!!
When the girls were Senors in High School they all wanted a big High School Ring. We all know the High School Class ring is just for High School so I bought all them a cheap Walmart Class Ring. You really couldn't tell the difference between it and one of those high dollar rings everyone else was wearing. I told each of them when they graduate from college I will buy the real deal because it will stay with them for the rest of their lives. So Jessie was the first to call my bluff on it and I had to dig deep, but she has got the gold now, it's the real deal. I am so happy I was able to do it and I was even more proud when I slid it on her hand. I was going to write a long sappy post about her and that ring, but it would not do justice to the way I feel. My girls are the best thing my wife and I have and will ever do. Graduation is set for August.

It was my honor to perform the wedding ceremony for my Nephew and his now wife last weekend. After three attempts, with the wedding being pushed back for one reason or another, they finally tied the knot.
I think I was more nervous than they were because I did not have the time to prepare. I wrote the ceremony on Monday and did not have the time to go over it until the day of.
Just so happens I had my Chili Hat in the truck and my Nephew said he wanted me to wear it, so I did.
Everything went off without a hitch. I am happy for them and wish them the best of luck. 

Other than that, last week we made several hand crafted decorations for a friend of mines soon to be grand son's baby shower. We made cup cake holders out of real trees and some other little wood crafts. We also made some trophies for an upcoming chili cook off in two weeks out of horse shoes. I don't know why I don't have pictures of any of it.

And this week we are getting ready for the new chili year by holding our own Chili Cook Off this weekend so preparations for that are underway as we speak.
I need all the support I can get on this so if anyone is around Gainesville TX and would like to cook, we would like for you and need for you to be there. Come on, you know you want to.


Really, other than that it's just the same old boring routine looking for something else to do.

See ya at the cook off,
Jerry

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Going Out In Style

Last weekend we did a two day cook off in the little town of St. Jo
This was our last cook off of the Chili year and what a way to finish.

Our year runs from October 1st to September 30th. In that year you can cook at as many cook offs as you want, its all for charity and points. The only way to get invited to the World Championship is to get the points of your required state within that year. In my case Texas is 12 points. You get these points by placing. 1st place is 4 points, 2nd place is 3 points and 3rd place is 2 points. 4th through 10th gets 1 point. Some folks get their points right off the bat and not cook again all year. Me and Candy got ours a few months back but continued to cook because after all, it is for charity. I ended up with 24 points and Candy had 20.

Saturday I thought I had the winning Chili but I didn't even walk, I just made final table. Candy on the other hand walked up and received her 5th place trophy. I actually got a little frustrated for some reason.
Sunday, our last cook off of the year, me and Candy took it home. I won 1st place and she won 2nd.
We also won 2nd in show. Now that's how you finish a chili year right there.

Three weekends from now we start all over again. This time we only have about 18 cook offs scheduled and not the 30 we did this year.

While in St. Jo a fellow Modern Day Redneck reader came by and talked. We shared some good information and made plans to follow up with one another.
It is always good to meet fellow bloggers and people who have the same mentality as you do. You can learn from one another. In this case he is a lot more advanced in the solar configurations than I am so I am looking forward in getting some ideas on how he is did his house. 
To you my new friend, thanks for coming out and it was a pleasure to meet you.

This weekend I will be in College Station for my daughter's ring ceremony. She said it is almost as big as graduating. I can't wait.

Talk to ya later,
Jerry

Friday, September 12, 2014

It's About Time

Finally, I think summer is over.
Three days ago it was 101 degrees and today it's only going to be a high of 73. Also a little rain came in with the cold front so it's twice as good.

Tonight we are loading up for a weekend of Chili cooking in St Jo Texas. This will be our third year to go and the first time for a two day. We will be staying in the truck tent because it's too much trouble to break down the camper. If we were not living it, then we would take it.
I have never had any luck at this cook off. The wife has made top 10 two times but not me, not even in beans. Then again, this will be the first time I have cooked this recipe up there so we will see.
A big group of folks will be staying for day two and I know this will be too much fun.

Tiny House update.
After much deliberation and redesign, we decided to make it a little bigger, two feet wider to be exact. By doing this it will cut down on the crap pieces of lumber by utilizing the complete board and give us 32 more square feet. I think this will put us out of the "Tiny House" category and into the "Small House" one.
They say (and I don't know who they are) a tiny house is anything under 500 square feet.  We are now up to 560 square feet.
We also had to make our house pad a little bigger for it to set on. That meant bringing in more dirt and building the pad up. We will still need more dirt hauled in later to even out the edges and make it where it's a gentle slop up to the house and not a step up.
There has even been talk about adding a widow's walk to the middle section, but I don't know about that yet.
The buildings should be moved in next week so we can get them in place and get started. I can't wait to get out of the camper.


See ya next week with a picture of my first place trophy,
Jerry