Monday, April 7, 2014

Just Life

First off I want to congratulate my oldest daughter Jessie for winning 2nd place at the chili cookoff we were at this weekend.











Yes, the student has now become the teacher. I only got 7th place with my chili and my beans only made 4th. Candy's chili got 13th and out of the group we were cooking with, only one other placed. It was a tough group we were cooking against but I think we made a great showing. 




Saturday night I took some of the family and met the rest of them at the yearly Crawl Fish Boil a guy we know has every year. About three thousand folks showed up and like always, the food was amazing. It took a while, but I did get full.












We had a huge storm blow through Thursday night that caused a lot of damage. We spent Friday afternoon fixing all that and then it rained all day Sunday. We sure needed the rain and it was a good one. A lot of runoff came from it and should fill the lake up at least 6" or so.

I have one more picture I want to show. This just came to me today from my middle daughter Hannah.

  This is the face of my grand baby, Rebecca. I cannot wait to pinch those little chubby cheeks. Only 1 1/2 more months to go.
This is truly amazing, I am blessed 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Chasing My Tail

At the begging of the winter I do as we all do and winterize everything outside.

Among all the other things I did to get ready for the freezing months, it also includes draining all the irrigation lines and draining the bathhouse. No matter how hard I try, there are still a busted pipe or two when I pressure up the lines again in the spring. Last year I had to replace my solar water pump and fixed two broke lines out in the gardens and one in the chicken pen.  
This years broken pipes are unbelievable. I drained everything, ran my pump dry and blew out all the lines. I thought I was set. I turned on the big rainwater tanks and right off the bat the pipe was busted just outside the valve. Fixed that one, crossed my fingers and turned the pump on. Right outside the pump box another one, fixed that one. At least the pump was still good. Then two more right before the pipe enters the bathhouse, so I fixed fixed those. I ran the pump and watched as water started pouring out of the bathhouse, fixed that one as well. Finally, the pump pressured up and I thought I was in the clear then, "Pop", blew another line, fix that one to.
After all that the bathhouse is up and running again. I took my first shower of the spring in it two nights ago. I sure have missed those showers. It's natural, refreshing and best of all, free.

I have not even pressured up the gardens yet, I am almost afraid to do so. 

This last couple of weeks have been really busy. I have some more stuff to tell ya but I don't want to sit and bore you with too long a post. plus it will give me something to say later.

See ya then,
Jerry

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Turn Out The Lights.....

The party's over. They say all good things must end.
I don't know the rest of the song but it is fitting for the occasion.

Due to the weather, we ended up moving the whole thing over to my Dad's barn. It took three days to set up and all day Sunday to break down. Needless to say, we are tired.




 I could not have asked for a better turn out for Kylee. Somewhere between 60 and 70 people showed up with about 30 calling and cancelling. The weather had a lot to do with it.
Good people, good food and good fun.
 The band played Old Southern Rock and Old Country for most of the night. I can't thank these folks enough for coming out and doing what they did for her.
 We served smoked wild whole hog we caught a month or so back with several side dished cooked in dutch ovens and many others were cooked and refrigerated until eating time. We also had so many appetizers that I can't even remember what all they were. The stuffed peppers were the biggest. Folks were eating them right off the grill. 
 You can tell in this picture I am tired. My Dad started cooking around 6:00 AM and I finally got started around 7:30 AM

I finally called it a night close to midnight. Here it is Tuesday and I am still trying to recover.

This was my last big party I ever plan to host. Next month is the middle girls baby shower and all we are planning is finger foods and about 20 people. The women folk will stay inside and do whatever they do when the men folk that are dragged along will sit outside with me, around the fire, drinking a cold one. Now that sounds like fun.

Until next time,
Jerry

Friday, March 21, 2014

18 At Last

Tomorrow is my youngest girl Kylee's 18th birthday party.

This has been in the works for 18 years, to have the last one of our daughters become an adult. Candy and I are done raising kids.
That does not mean we are done being parents, it just means we have raised three great daughters the best we could and now it is up the them with little guidance from us. We are now in the advisory role you might say.

Kylee and I bonded early in life. She was my baby girl and always followed me around doing whatever I did. Her and her momma hardly saw eye to eye because Kylee knew all she had to do was bat her eyes at me and I would melt. I tried to always have Candy's back like a good husband and stand behind her decisions, but Kylee knew in the end I would have hers as well so she played it like that. I guess after being such a hard ass with the other two girls I wanted to try and be the good parent with this one. 
The thing about Kylee is, she can always make your bad day into a good one. She is someone who you want to be around because she is always trying to make you laugh and when she sees you need it, she will force you to hug her. There are days I don't want to be in a good mood, but she makes me. She is the sunshine in any room she goes into.

I have really enjoyed watching her grow up over the years even though it happen way too fast. It always does. It has been such a blessing to be her daddy, that part will never change. I only hope that one day when I am long gone she will be able to reach back in her memory and think of me and smile.

I love you Kylee and happy birthday. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Cow Town Chili

Yesterday was a blast.
I cooked with my wife Candy and oldest daughter Jessie while the middle girl and some other family members came by for support.
Hannah is getting so big and I felt my grand daughter move for the first time yesterday. The grand baby thing is still a little weird to me, but I'm growing on the idea. I have finally come up with what I want to be called, Gpop. I know it sounds a little gangster, but what the hell.

There were seven of us all cooking together from our Pod. A Pod is a group of chili cooks inside the CASI (Chili Appreciation Society International) organization. There are Pods all over the US. All you have to do is find one near you by going to casichili.net and get involved and start cooking. You don't have to be a member of anything to cook chili, but it's better that you are, even if it's for support.

This cookoff was a big one, 133 cooks in all. Some came all the way from Illinois. I did the best out of our Pod by getting 21st and making final table. They called down to 22nd place so I just made it. That's not as good as I wanted but it is saying something. There were about ten ex-world champions cooking and they didn't make final table.
We could have cooked again today but the weather did not hold out. By turn in time yesterday it was raining cats and dogs. The winds picked up and it became just stupid to be out there. About 55 cooks stayed the night and are cooking today in 40 MPH winds, not me my friends. I am sitting here in the house fat, dry and happy.

Y'all have a great week.

Jerry 

Friday, March 14, 2014

I Have Fought Tougher

I got my butt kicked this last week, it put me down for seven days. I have fought tougher, but I can't
remember when. His name is, "The Flu"
Back in October I got my shot just for that reason, but a different type of flu found me out, type B.
It has been 15 years since I last called into work from being sick, now it's only been three days.
I was so careful though. It makes me wonder if all the things I was doing to keep from getting sick was worth it. 

Being I feel better and now back to work I plan to do some chili cooking this weekend at Cabela's in Ft. Worth. If anyone is around that way and wants to stop by, just look us up. Last year there were 160 cooks. This one is a good one to come out and get your feet wet if you ever wanted to cook.


Trying to knock the cobwebs out,

Jerry
 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Another Round Of Ice

This weekend cooking chili in Oklahoma was kinda nice. It was my birthday weekend and it was good to get away, even if it was for only a day and a half.

The thing about cooking competitively in Oklahoma is that I am from Texas. Everyone knows the rivalry between the two states and yes, it goes all the way down to chili cooking. There were four of us from Texas and twenty four of them. I have seen worse odds, but I can't remember when.
The chili was cooked and turned in and when they started calling the top ten, the first three were Okies. There were cheers and laughter, chest bumps and high fives, taunts and whistling all from that side of the room. Our side was quite, we only had four, talk about segregation, but we sat patiently. One guy even hollered across the room, "TAKE THAT TEXAS." I just gave him a thumbs up and waited.
Sixth place, Texas. Fourth place, Texas. First place show, Texas. First place chili, TEXAS.

There was no need to gloat, no need to hoot and holler, no need to jump up and run around the room with the Texas flag. We all knew this was going to happen. In the end I thanked them all for Oklahoma sucking so bad because if not, Texas would fall into the Gulf.  

We were planning on staying another night, but an ice storm was coming in. Last time we were away we got stuck out in West Texas and almost didn't make it back because of such a storm. Now if I was to be stranded somewhere in an ice storm, I sure don't want it to be Oklahoma so we headed back Saturday night.

The storm did come through and I was sure glad we made the decision to go back home early. All day
Sunday and Monday we were iced in with nothing to do. The wife got bored and made up another four dozen tamales. It's an all day process and I watched her from the couch. My only job was to keep the fire going and I did that well. If they gave a medal for the person who kept the fire going the best, I would have won first place.
She did a great job and now we have enough tamales to last a long time.



It's back to work today and now I am a year older, a little slower, a little dumber and a lot more fatter than I was only a year ago.    

See y'all down the road,
Jerry

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Back to Chili

This weekend is back to chili cooking. We took a couple of three weeks off due to the cookoffs were so far away. Plus I was getting behind on some chores at the house. Well, nothing has change, I am still behind on my chores and the cookoff we are going to is three hours away, about an hour outside of my regular limit. But, we need the points so we have to.We will be cooking in Edmond OK this weekend.
Two weekends ago Jessie, my oldest, did her first chili cookoff by herself. She made us proud by making final table with her chili. If she keeps it up she will qualify before we do.

We are right in the middle a hectic time of the year. On top of the getting the gardens in and getting ready for spring with the animals, we have my youngest girls 18th birthday party we are getting geared up to do. This party will be one of the biggest we have had in a long time. Putting together all the Older Teen Games, Old West Cooking and Live Music we are planning is almost too much to bare. Add in her Graduation party just a couple of months later and throw in a Baby shower for the middle girl in April and then you have yourself one busy and expensive next few months.
"Why have the parties then," you ask? Well, you only turn 18 once and being this is our last daughter to turn 18, it has to be a big one. You only Graduate from High School once and being this will be our last child to graduate and we gave the other two a party then we have to do that with her as well. And you only have your first baby once so every woman deserves a baby shower. We will give the other two girls a baby shower when that time comes as well.
It just so happens they all fall in a three month span.    

Back to work,
Jerry 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Tamale Party

Everyone in my family and group of friends love to cook. When we cook we have a party. We have a party for any reason we can think of. Sounds fun? Well it is.

This weekend all the women folk in the family and their friends got together over at my mom's house
for a tamale party. They made them with beef, wild hog, chicken, rabbit and duck. If you have never had a rabbit or duck tamale then son you are missing out.
It was really neat to see all of the them working together just like old times for the greater good of feeding the men.
(Oh I'm sure I will catch some flack over that one)
I think all together they made over 200. 

I managed to slip in just for a second, but soon figured out this old rooster did not fit in with all them hens so out to the shop I went.

Earlier that morning I picked up my dad and we went to the metal yard. I wanted to take off a load of scrap I would never use and wanted to spend some time spittin, liein an cussin with all the men folk. The money I did get for my junk just switched hands right back to them after scrounging around and finding a load of junk to take back home.
With the women still hard at it in the house, me and dad stayed in the shop and started building.
With some of the junk brought back for the metal yard we ended up making this cowboy cooker. The top grate swings out of the way to put your coals in and it also slides up and down to control your heat.
I made it for my height so it stands about 43 inches high. That way when I am grilling the steaks, I don't have to bend over.

Yes, it does look like a giant Margarita glass, thanks for noticing. Top heavy you say, that is why there are holes in the plow disk on the bottom to drive bent rebar through to fasten it to the ground.

Functional, piratical and a great addition to my outdoor kitchen, plus it was made from scrap metal and free.

See Ya,
Jerry     


Monday, February 10, 2014

One Of Those Weekends

The Chili Cookoff we had planned this weekend canceled. I wasn't too disappointed through. We have been cooking a lot this past month and needed the break anyway.
So I spent all weekend cooking at the house.

It was cold, wet and windy all weekend. I did spend a little time in the shop, but changed my mind after a few short minutes. With the cold, I just couldn't get motivated enough to do anything constructive.

I like cooking almost as much as I like eating. When I cook I like to try things I have not done and taste things I have never tasted.
Don't get me wrong, I would be happy living on brisket and potato salad for the rest of my life, but sometimes I want to try things outside the box.

Take Pasta Primavera for instance. I would have never though I would love this dish. All those flavors were amazing. For the meat I made a Peppercorn Crusted Beef Tenderloin to go with the pasta and a Olive Cheese Bread for a side. Some family and friends came over Saturday night to help eat all the food and afterwards play some cards.

I don't like blue cheese all that much, but Sunday night I took a blue cheese and onion cream and spooned it over Grilled Sirloin Steaks, it was out of this world. Add in Twice Baked Potatoes and Butter Garlic Bread, you have yourself a meal suited for a king. For desert I made Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes served with Vanilla Ice scream, (nothing but sin right there)

And if you were wondering, yes I did my own dishes and cleaned up. I didn't just leave it for the ol lady to take of.

We won't be cooking chili again for a couple of weeks. If the weather would straighten up I might get some things done around the house.

See ya next time,
Jerry

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I Don't Want One

It's kinda funny the things you hear in the office.

I have been at me new job a total of four months now. I spend about three hours a day in the office before heading out to the field. Most of the time my head is down and I am concentrating, focused and working on this or that. I am never the social butterfly or partake in the water cooler gossip and I really cannot tell you the names of all the folks sitting only a few feet away. I am the new guy so I am expected to do just what I am doing and when the time comes, they may let me into their little click.

So every morning I have to hear all the events of everyone telling whoever will listen about their lives, social status, political views and even religion. Most of the time I just keep my head down and try to tune them out while I do my reports. Just by overhearing them I can tell I would be the odd ball out with the way I live and the way I think. You see, most of the people I work with are really far Left and they think everyone should live the way they do, hence, the reason why I keep my mouth shut. All I would need to do to start a feeding frenzy is to say something against their views.

This morning caught me off guard and I had to give one of secretaries my best "are you stupid look." She saw and recognized it right away then quickly shut up and turned around. I didn't even need to say anything.

One guy asked her if her and her husband have ever been hunting.

"No, I would never do that! Plus, we don't even own a gun, we don't believe in them." she said in a matter of fact tone of voice.

I stopped what I was doing to listen to the rest of the conversation.      

She continued, "Why do I need a gun? I'm not a violent person. That means I would have to go out and shoot somebody if I had one."

That's when my head sprung up and that look of ,"Really, how stupid are you" came across my face.

Is this what they really believe? Then it all makes since now. They want to ban guns because if they had one then they would go out and shoot someone. After all, it's the guns fault, they would have no control over it.

Really?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Hell Of A Ride

This weekends Chili Cooking travels was one for story books. The wife wanted an adventure and she sure got one.

We left Friday at noon and drove the 7 1/2 drive to Rankin TX. I have never been that far West before and now I can say I have.
Remember a couple of posts back where I talked about the Texan bucket list? Well there a couple that need to be added. One is to watch the sun rise over the West Texas plains, it was breath taking. The other is to drive in a West Texas blizzard. You have not lived until you drive I20 in the ice.

 A bunch of us from North Texas took the drive to cook at the Regional cookoff. Even my daughter Jessie and her boy drove all the way from College Station to cook with us again. It was one of the largest and best cookoffs I have been to. 
 Our team ended up winning 3rd in show. Mine and the boy's chili made it to semifinals and only one in our group made it to final table ending with 16th place. Jessie won the traveling trophy for driving the furthest.

Then Saturday night the storm blew in. It dumped ice from there all the way home. The 7 1/2 hour drive turned into almost 10. At one point I20 heading East was shut down and we were stuck right in the middle of all that mess with no way to escape. Rumors were that we were going to be there for a day or so. This sucked but it was no step for a stepper, or should I say Prepper. I just wanted to get home but, I had the necessary provisions for about three days. But before that I am sure panic would have set in and I would have locked it in 4 wheel and took off across the pasture never to be seen again.
This was the first time I have ever been in this predicament. It's amazing what goes through your head. Automatically my mind went into survival mode. I surveyed my surroundings, inventoried my food and water, plus ran through everything I had on hand in the truck I could use. It was 24 degrees so warmth was the top priority. I calculated how much fuel I had left and then figured out run times for the heater. Even though I was almost full, I did not want to get below 1/4 tank for when we did start moving or if I needed to do an emergency escape. We had blankets, heaters, stoves and everything else we packed for the weekend cookoff. My only fear was I did not have enough ammo to fend off all the folks that were around us who were not prepared. I figured on day two while I was on the tailgate grilling hamburgers, I am sure I would have been mugged for my meat.
After everything was carefully planned out we started moving. Ha, maybe I overreacted. We only sat for two hours and here I was thinking were there for the long haul. Thank God we were moving because that would have been rough.

Here is another lesson I learned this weekend. Once we started moving and got to the next town and filled up with fuel just in case it happen again, we ran across a stranded motorist. She had been in a wreck and didn't have anything, I mean anything except a little girl she was holding and trying to keep warm. The store would not let her in because she also had her dog with her. She didn't want to stay in the vehicle because it was in the road and she did not want to get hit from someone else sliding out of control. The tow truck was three hours away due to all the wrecks and she was squatted down crying uncontrollably just trying to stay warm. Me, the dog would have stayed in the truck and I would have been in the store, but in that situation I am sure she was not thinking.
Money would not have helped her, I couldn't take her anywhere because she was waiting on the tow truck, all I could do was keep her warm. It was 24 degrees with a wind chill of 7. Her crying and holding that baby pulled at my heart so without another thought me and Candy wrapped her in our blankets, asked for God to look over her and went on our way.
You can say what you want about helping someone in a survival situation where it's you or them and you have to give up your life saving provisions. Even though in your mind you are thinking they should have prepared for the worse but, when you see the face of a baby girl shivering and cold, I can bet you would have done the same. 
We are iced in at the house now, the fireplace is blazing and I am warm. I only hope that lady and her baby girl is alright. I guess I could have unloaded the truck right there in the parking lot and had her get in and we could have waited with her.           

The wife wanted a story and an adventure, she sure got one. The next time she says that I think I am going to stay home.

Later,
Jerry