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

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

That Was A Close One

 I smell hair burning....

 
This last week I was able to get the trim stained and installed in the living room/kitchen area, plus build the railing and get it in place for the bedroom/play area loft.
Waiting for stain to dry is like watching grass grow. Before long you get tired of waiting and just cut and fit leaving stain all over you, your tools and whatever else it touches. 
Waiting is not a strong trait I have.
I still have the loft ladder, the island counter top, the hide away bar stools and the small cabinet next to the stove to do and then I will be done with the inside until spring when I will do the floors.
 So last weekend I had one of those friend of a friend deals where I switched out a stove for a lady and she was going to give me her old one. Sounds like a great deal right?
Well, in all fairness it was. I didn't know this one did not have a pilot light and took the top off. The top is not suppose to come off and when I put it back on I guess I, unknowingly, broke a gas line. After cleaning it, switching it over to LP and putting it in the house, all the burners fired up except one. Me and the wife sat there, looking at it hearing it clicking away and wondering why this one burner would not light. Just then it exploded sending a fire ball through us and into the room.
With the smell of burning hair hanging heavily in the room, we checked ourselves to make sure we still had eyebrows and I still had my beard.
I took the top back off and in doing so I broke three more gas lines and then said to hell with it. It's going in the trash. I am sure I could fix it by using flexible line in place of the small ridged feeder lines, but I didn't like the design anyway, it's just not me and now I am scared of it. I couldn't get the oven to work as well so my mind is made up.  
    
I found this little stove just down the road yesterday so I think I might stop back by and pick it up today.
To justify the extra expense, this is the look we were originally going for. This time I will put it in the shop, clean it, make sure everything is safe and fire it up before putting it in the house. No electronics, no switching it over, nothing but fire and cooking. 






I have to get the porches and house painted before the heavy winter so that will be what I do next. I need to build the railing around the upstairs porch and the accent lighting and the trim and the.........
The list keeps going and going. I don't think I will ever be done.

Until next time,
Jerry

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Long Weekend

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving.

This was a long and rainy weekend. We broke the all time record on the wettest year here in North Texas. With over ten inches in the past four days, it would be an understatement to say most outdoor activities was a challenge.

We did however get some work done.

Wednesday afternoon right before the rains hit, my dad, my the oldest girl Jessie and myself were able to get the tin installed underneath the front porch. Now we can at least stand outside in the rain and not get wet. I still have to trim around the posts, but that can
wait for another day. 










I finally got the sink installed and functional in the kitchen. The one thing Candy asked for this winter was to be able to do the dishes in the house, off the front porch and out of the cold. I figured I could at least do that for her. Plus, frozen water on dishes just don't do well.

And we also got the carpet in the bedroom loft installed. All I have left as far as the house is the trim and floors in the kitchen/living section. Then it will be time to start on the outdoor Kitchen/Eating area.

It's Sunday and all is quiet now. All the family has left and the Thanksgiving left overs are all gone.
Tomorrow it's back to the grind and everything will be back to the normal day to day activities of life. It's kinda sad in a way but I guess it's the way it has to be.

We will see what I can get done this week.
Have a safe one.

Jerry

Friday, November 20, 2015

Progress

I was able to get back to work on the tiny house this week and I can tell you one thing, I was right.

I told Candy we should not move into the house until it was complete because if we did, it would never get done. Being in the camper gave me an incentive to get the house done as quick as I could, but being completely sick of the cold camper living we decided to move into the unfinished house.

All summer I have had to look at an incomplete living and kitchen area. When you walked in the front door the first thing you notice is the insulation hanging from the ceiling, no kitchen cabinets, no trim and unfinished floors.
To top it all off, after living in it for several months we have accumulated more and more stuff making it hard to work around unless I remove everything.

For example, someone was throwing away a perfectly good wine rack.
This thing is huge and we have no place for it, but we got it. You have to walk around it when you come in the door.
Now Candy has plenty of space to store her wine with room to spare.
I have plans for it down the road by putting in our spa area, but for the time being it's huge and in the way.








Working around wine rack, recliners, refrigerator, TV and a pantry I was still able to get the tin ceiling on this week in the living/kitchen area without loosing too much of my religion. 
The rain made it where I had a couple of short days at work leaving me a little time to get this done. So with help from my dad, we gotter done. Now all that is left is the trim.

I bought enough tin to do the underside of the front porch so we can sit out in the rain and not get wet and I plan on doing that this weekend. I also plan to pick up the kitchen sink base today and get all that started.
I am still undecided on if I want to make the counter tops myself or just buy them and cut to fit so I will check prices while I am at the big box store today.
I have a stove/oven picked out, but I need to make a special cabinet for that to sit on because it's a tiny one.

Other than that, I got suckered into cooking chili Saturday morning in Dallas, then it's off to my brothers to plan the Thanksgiving menu. I think we are going nontraditional this year and doing a Fajita Bar with all the fixens instead of the same old turkey dinner we do every year. Sounds fun.

I will post pictures of the progress.

Later,
Jerry

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Back To Work

I had a good year, Chili year that is but now it's over. I took a year off of everything and did nothing but chili cook, at least it seems like it.

The first week of November I spent my one week of vacation in the Terlingua desert, in a tent and even though some would say we don't "real" camp and what we do is Glamping, it was still hard living for 10 days. Hats off to the folks that live down there full time.  

Even though we were at the World Championship Chili Cook Off I still tried to make it a vacation by
checking some items off the old bucket list.
We pulled the Ranger down just to do some 4-wheeling and go places not many folks have ever seen. We spent a day cutting our own trail about six miles back to nowhere and the sights were breathtaking. We stopped and had a packed lunch on top of a small bluff overlooking the desert valley. Talk about isolation, where we went man has only seen from the air.
It's hard to think there is so much beauty in such a dry and desolate place.

We spent a day doing something I have really been wanted to do, Zip Line. I have always been too heavy and over the weight limits, but after loosing seventy pounds, it was time.
It was hard to let go of the money just to ride some cables across the desert floor but in the end it was worth it. The longest was 2000 feet and over 350 feet off the ground and I did it backwards.
If you ever find yourself in the small quiet town of Lajitas, stop by and give your trip a memory you will never forget. The guides were friendly, professional and made me feel safe and I'm even scared of heights so if I can do it anybody can. 
http://lajitasgolfresort.com/default.aspx?pg=zipline   

The Day OF The Dead was a different thing all into its self. I have never seen anything like it and really didn't understand it, but it was something to see.
The ghost town of Terlingua puts on a celebration for the dead every November 2nd. Everyone who has family in the 111 year old graveyard dresses up to remember, honor and have supper with their departed loved ones. They spend the evening decorating their graves and telling stories about the ones who are buried there. At this time, the families bring their children to the graves and introduces them to the past family members. 
Nightfall brings a huge bonfire, music, more food and dance. Each gravy gets a candle in remembrance and when they are all burning, the old graveyard has a haunting glow that will make you feel like the spirits are really there with you.   
Like I said, it was something to see and experience, but it's not my culture.

Each person in our camp was assigned meals. Of course I did mine the only way I knew how, Dutch Oven Cooking. My dad made this tripod before we left and I put it to good use for one Supper and two Breakfasts.
We had Pulled Pork Tacos with Spanish Rice and Re-fried Beans for our supper and a Dutch Oven Burrito Breakfast one morning and Cinnamon Rolls the next.
I gained seven pounds just by eating all the good food everyone made in camp. Each morning and night was filled with food, food and even more food. If you went hungry it was your fault.   


Chili Time
The weather was hot during the day and cold at night except for the one day we had to cook. The Saturday's strong winds and low 50's made it a hard day to cook the championship chili.
300 cooks from across the world got busy cooking their famous chili recipe, but only one would take home the prize.
And it was not me or Candy. The guy who won it is from a little town called Point Texas.
I also cooked Wings on Friday but did not do any good there either.

I guess I'm getting "high kept" or something. On our way back Sunday I stopped off at a hotel to have a real shower and shave, change into something without dust on it and eat something not off of a paper plate. Oh, and did I mention I made sure the hotel had a hot tub. We utilized every amenity that place had to offer. I felt like a cave man or something.

This year I do not plan to cook chili as much. Candy still is and plans to go back to Terlingua next year, but I think I am about done with it. It has turned into more of a job than a hobby. Cooking over 50 times a year does that to you I guess. I need to spend this year finishing the house, doing a little hunting, spend my free time fishing and doing the things I really want to do or should I say, get back to doing the things I really enjoy.   
I will always be a member of CASI because I believe in what they do for the hundreds of charities across the world and I will always cook a few times a year to support them, but I feel the 50+ times a year is over for me.
I have met my goals in the Chili World by Winning some cookoffs and walking across the main stage at the World Championship. I am honored every time I sit in my Red Chair that only a few people have won.
The folks I have met and the life long friendships/brotherhoods I have developed are priceless. I am so blessed to have spent so much time with some of these people and created so many memories with them. To those folks, hats off, much respect and I will see you on the chili trail, but not as much.
So here's the deal.........

I started work back on the tiny house this week and I have more to share with you. I am back now and focused so stay around a little longer to see what I have in store.

See Ya,
Jerry    

Friday, October 16, 2015

Still Sitting

It has been a while, that is for sure. It's been almost two months. I think that is the longest I have ever gone without posting, almost like Facebook.

To catch you up to speed, September was filled with heat. So much so that all we did was chili cook almost every weekend. And when we were not doing that, we relaxed.
We spend the evenings with the Grand Baby whenever we can and do a lot of front porch sitting late in the evenings. 

Work has been very demanding and when I get home I am spent mentally and physically. I guess my age is starting to show through. It's getting harder and harder to keep so much on my mind. I have to let some things go to make room for others and unfortunately it has been the blog this last two months.

October started a new chili year and we put on our own cookoff the first weekend.  I don't plan to cook as often this year as last for several reasons, but the main one is I am just tired.  Last year we cooked over fifty times and even though Candy will probably do the same this year, I am not. I love chili cooking, but I love a lot more things just as well.

Last week Jessie turned 23. It's hard to believe I have a child that old. She is still in College Station working, but I think she may be coming home in January. What she is doing there is not what she went all those years to school and made all those sacrifices for. Candy and I are hoping she will come home and start her career up here a little closer to us.
Jessie is putting on her first chili cook off on the 24th in Pilot Point. I am sure she will not make that mistake again. It's a lot of work and with the politics involved here, it's a pain.  

I have now lost 73 pounds and Candy about 60. With all the kids gone and being on the run most of the time, who needs to eat. Cooking is over rated and expensive anyway right? We can go out a few times a week, share a salad and a water and get out of there for under seven bucks. The rest of the times we just snack on fruit and veggies.

We are gearing up for our second trip to the World Championship Chili Cookoff in Terlingua at the end of the month. We will be staying for ten days, in a tent, in the desert. Now water, no plumbing, no nothing.
Now, you may think that is living rough but remember, I am a prepper so we will have hot showers every night in our shower tent, a toilet in another tent and a sleeping tent bigger than most third world homes with furnishings. I will be doing all Dutch Oven Cooking and living like a wild man. I am really not looking forward to it to be honest. Way too much work.

Other than that, the tiny home is still tiny and unfinished. The outdoor kitchen is still not completed and everything else has taken a back burner to chili. Maybe when it cools down some I will feel like working on it again. Just yesterday it was 96 degrees, this is crazy.

I promise, I will try and post more often.
Until then,
Jerry