Thursday, August 29, 2013

Weekend Rumbles

First off I wanted to say thank you to Sandy over at Oklahomatransient for pulling my name out of a hat and sending me a great wilderness survival book and another little something just because. I don't win things very often and this put a smile on my face for a while.
As always, when I get sent something from another blogger or a reader, I always send something special back. Sandy, it's hot in my shop so you may have to wait until it cools off a little before I can get out there and make you something, but it will get done. I will email you when it's on the way.

I am off work Monday but the temps for the three day weekend are going to be above 100. That will make chili cooking right at nasty. I almost don't want to do it just because of the heat.
That means packing fans and extra water, more ice and more coolers.
The one good thing about it all is that I need a bigger inverter to run the big fans other than the one I have. The little 200w in the truck will only run small things so I need a 700w to run the fans and spice grinder. I also have a small fish pond pump and I could hook up some misters if need be.
The turn in time for the chili is at 12:30 so at least we won't be out there in the extreme heat cooking.
I will be taking my laptop for the two day event and will post pictures if anyone is interested. I know most are not and that's okay, it's not for everyone.

So there you have it, no homesteading ideas, no finished projects, no survival training or anything of the sorts. Just me and chili. It will be that way for awhile.

See ya Saturday,

Monday, August 26, 2013

One Week Away

Just one more week until we are back on the circuit cooking chili every weekend.

I have been excited about the new season, the new equipment and the new recipes we will be using. Also this year I will be entering the bean category and serving up my own special Texas style beans. My chili may suck, but my beans are going to take me places.  

It's going to be hot and I don't like cooking in the heat, but I have to do it for the points. This weekend we will be cooking in Durant at the Oklahoma State Championship. This is really not the place to try out new recipes and equipment but you got to do it somewhere. It you are around that part of the Oklahoma this weekend drop me an email and I will tell you where we will be. Get there in time and you can be a judge. I look forward in see you there.

The anniversary weekend went as planned. The Murder Mystery Dinner was a blast. I didn't know we would actually be a part of the play, this was right up my ally. I am really not a people person but put into that situation where I was put on the spot to come up with an answer in front of a crowd, it was fun. I didn't know I needed to make up who I was. So on the fly I was Wayne Walton, out on parole. I was with my prison wife Candy, an ex-stripper. 
The neat thing was, you did not know who the actors were. They would talk to you while you mingled just like they were part of the crowd.  It wasn't till they were shot or shot someone did you know they were part of it.
Well, now I can say "Been there, Done that"   

 I also wanted to welcome to the new members of MDR. Thank you for hitting the button. If you need anything just let me know. This is a rowdy bunch so please don't get scared.

And that's it. Another long, back breaking, hot week is ahead of me at the Job.
See ya in the funny pages,

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Anniversary Murder Weekend

This weekend is my 23rd Wedding Anniversary with the wife and it's going to be a fun one.

All the years past I planned what we did for that special day. Some years are well planned out surprises and then some years all it is a "plan as we go" kinda night. Either way it always ends up a special time and a wonderful night.
It seams every year I wanted to outdo what we did the year before. The question, "How am I going to top this next year?" always ran through my head at the end of the night. 
I remember when we were just starting out so many years ago and being dirt floor poor, all I could do for our day was have a picnic down by the lake. We would lay on a blanket in the moonlight and watch planes fly over, day dreaming about where they came from or where they were going. We would tell ourselves that one day we would be on one of those planes and going wherever it took us. Those nights we would lay there, holding hands, telling each other our dreams and making plans for the rest of our lives.  
Those were good times and they have gone by so fast.

This year is different though. Being I have been working so much, I have not had the chance to plan anything so I left it up to her this year. After all, I have planned 22 of them already. It is my turn to be wined and dined and not worry about anything.

So she booked us for a nice little dinner at a Murder Mystery.
I ain't ever done anything like this before so this is outside the box for me.
You go into this dinning room and mingle. Then, someone dies. Then they feed you while you participate in an active investigation of the murder. It's kinda like the old game of Clue, but you are actually in the game. It was the butler, in the dinning room, with the pipe.
I read the reviews and it seems like a fun thing to do. It's different I give her that.
I just wonder what she is going to do next year to top this.

Have a great weekend.
See ya on Monday,

Friday, August 23, 2013

Rocking The Man Purse

What classifies a Man Purse?

The last time I was in a military surplus store I was drawn to a small handbag. Kinda like the one pictured here.
It was smaller than the Get Home backpack I keep in the work truck and had many places to put my Everyday Carry items. The price was $24.00 and I liked it.
I picked it up on the pretense to buy and continued to walk around with the little satchel while I shopped.

The more I walked with it and thought of all the things I would put in it, the more uncomfortable I became. I planned to put my wallet, my knife, sunglasses, some band aids, a little bit of paracord, fingernail clippers and so on. Then it came to me, I was buying myself a  purse. 
I have seen men with purses before and actually laughed out loud, while pointing. I probably shouldn't have pointed but it was funny. They call them men who like frilly things like that a Metrosexual. They still like women, I think, but they like to be pampered and have pretty toe nails, and purses.

All that came to mind and I set the handbag down.

"Are you not going to get your purse?" The wife asked, loudly, in the surplus store, while men were listening.
"What, noooooooo, what are you talking about?" I said back in the deepest voice I could muster. All the while giving her the "shut up" look. (Yea, you know the look)

It wasn't like I was going to sling it on my shoulder and prance around Macy's with it. All I wanted it for was to carry all the everyday crap that fill my pants pockets. And I am secure enough in my manhood to have a man purse. I guess it would be like having a moped. Sure they are fun to ride, but you never want your friends seeing you riding one.



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Money Saving Test

This money saving test ended up costing me $130.00
I just wanted to know and when I saw it, I could not believe it.

I found out when the local electric company reads the meter. In June, the day they came by, I stopped using the solar clothes dryer (clothes line) and only used our energy star rated electric dryer.
I took the downtime to move the line to a better location that is more assessable and easier to use. Plus I doubled the capacity of line so we could hang more clothes at one time.

I kept the temperature in the house the same and we did everything as we would normally do except use the
clothes line. During a normal month, I would say we use the line about 75 percent of the time.
One month later in July, and on the day the meter reader was due, we started using the clothes line again and stopped using the electric dryer. We tried to use the line at about 90 percent of the time during this test.    Without adding in the weather getting hotter in July and the A/C running longer hours than June, the bill was still $130 dollars cheaper.

So there you go, simplicity at it's best. I know most of y'all already hang your clothes out, but while you are out there sweating and wondering if it's all worth it, I would say that it is. If that was done year around it is a savings of over $1500.00 a year. 
Now, if I could only get the wife to start using the hand powered washing machine more.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Short But Sweet

Another weekend has come and gone, if you want to call it a weekend that is.
Last week I ended up working about seventy hours over six days. That only left one day, Sunday to get everything done that I had planned for the weekend. That's not much time when the "To Do" list keeps growing.

First off I didn't want to waste any daylight so I was up and ready at the crack of dawn.

I grabbed a fresh cup of Mesquite Coffee and sat on the back patio watching the Mini Farm come awake. This was the best part of the day so far. A cold front moved through a couple of days ago and it was a cool 67 degrees. A heavy dew was on the grass and the newly formed spider webs sparkled in the new day. It was quiet, it was relaxing.
So many plans, so little time.

A new Competition Chili Cooking season is right around the corner and I needed to make some improvements to the way we were doing things. I got rid of the old wind break and stove we used last year and bought two new single burners and made a new wind block. This one has more room and will block the wind better. Plus, It fits great on the tailgate of the truck making it where we don't have to pack and haul around so much equipment every time we go and cook. No, it's not going to make my Chili taste any better but at least when I cook now, it will be easier.

What did I do with the old wind break you ask? With some modification and the wife telling us how to do it, me and the oldest girl turned it into a dog bed for the wife's new puppy.
The name is pronounced Basil. I don't know why it has a Y in it but it does.
The stuff I do to make the wife smile?????

Here is a picture of the youngest girls "Wee" garden. She is really proud of it and i think it looks great.
I just thought I would share.

I know it doesn't sound like much was done on my one day off, but add in mowing and all the other chores and it was a full day. 

We ended the day with some friends and family coming over, grilling and eating outside. 
On the menu was Mushroom Swiss burgers. 
Finger licking good right there.    

I also wanted to say thank you to the newest folks for hitting the button and becoming part of the MDR family. If y'all need anything just let me know.  

Until next time, 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Who Needs Folgers

We spent the week harvesting, drying and grinding Mesquite Beans. We now have enough coffee and tea to last another year.

 Mesquite trees are abundant in Texas and just as the Native Americans and the first settlers did, we do as well.
It does take some getting use to, but it is all natural and has no chemical additives. You can make all kinds of stuff with these. I want to try some Mesquite Muffins one day just to see how it would turn out.

 Yup, I could not find the plunger so I was using a mag light to push the beans in the grinder. Don't laugh, It worked.

There you go, the first cup of Mesquite Bean Coffee of the year.
It's even better if you add a shot of whiskey.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Back to Basics

If I was ever envious of how someone else lives, it would have been this weekend and while I was at the Homestead Heritage Village.

If I had it my way, this would be the place where I lived or at the very least, be a part of. There is only one bad thing that came out this and I will tell you at the end of the post.

The village is a complete self sustainable community. Everyone has skills and jobs that helps the community exist. Everything from a potters house that houses the kiln and all the things to make the community's own pots and dishes to the the grain mill where a working water wheel and grind stone ground the flour and corn mill for the bakers house which in turn baked the breads for the community.

The water wheel powered four grinders and one stone. It is off a belt and pulley system inside the barn and I got to walk all around it and see the mechanics of it all. I have seen these before but never working.

 The water for the community gardens and for the livestock comes from a rain water catchment system that gets pumped to a small water tower. When there is no rain it is pumped from a well by a windmill.

 The sheep are sheared and the yarn is made from a spindle. Then in the craft house they make all the community's blankets and clothes on these looms.
 There is also a butchers house with a smoke room for the community's meat.

Up the road is a cheese factory and an underground cheese cellar. We got to sample some of it and it was amazing.

The blacksmith shop is fantastic along with the wood shop that makes all the furniture.

The good thing about it, they believe in A/C
If I lived closer I would love to attend some of the classes they offer. I think I am pretty knowledgeable when it comes to living like this because I try and do most of it everyday, but these people are way beyond my expertise on this lifestyle.

Some of you readers up North are use to seeing this way of living from the Amish. Here in Texas we don't have things like this and this is the first time I have ever seen anything like it up close.

Here is the bad I got from this visit.
My project list just tripled.
If you are ever around Waco Texas, you need to stop by this place.

It was good to see HB and get to meet her family and friends and to remember a great friend. I wished it was for better reasons though. She didn't put me to work like I was wanting but I understood. I'm not any good at just sitting around, but I did. I do expect to make some weekend trips back down to help her out when she needs it if she will let me. It's the only way I can help, I'm not to good with words when it comes to things like this so just let me know what needs to be done and I will do it.

I'm gone,

Friday, August 9, 2013

Weekend Travels

I am looking forward to getting away this weekend.
I wished I was doing it for better reasons though. It will be good to see HB again and I hope she puts me to work for the short time I am there.

Like I always do, I have some friends staying at the house for security purposes when I am gone. I just don't like being away and leaving the house empty. Way too many people know my schedule and me posting it on here and the wife checking in on Facebook everywhere we go doesn't help matters much either. Social media is a thief's dream. So my friends will be there to take care of the animals and any wrong doings someone may want to do. 

Even though this weekend will be in remembrance of a good friend I do plan to stop by a little place I have been trying to catch open for a couple of years now.   is a working farm living like the Amish. I don't know how they do it in the Texas heat but they do. This place is located on the way and I wanted to take a quick tour tomorrow morning.
If it was anyplace but Texas I might ask for an application to live there, but there is no way I could do without A/C now. If I never had it then I wouldn't miss it , but I have and I would.

Y'all have a good weekend and I will talk to ya on Monday,

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Another Use For Zucchini

Everyone knows how it is when you garden. If you're having a good year then you are overrun with fresh produce and either giving it away or just throwing it in the compost pile.
You have already canned and dried everything you need for the next year and probably even tried a few new ways to preserve here and there. In the end, sometimes you waste more than what you use.
This goes with Tomatoes, Squash, Eggplant and even Zucchini.
You can only eat so much Zucchini bread and dried Zucchini is not that appealing once brought back to live. Pickled Zucchini is not any good and canned Zucchini just is not the same. Frozen Zucchini is okay as long as it's used in combination with something else. Fresh grilled Zucchini is fine as long as it's done right.
As you can tell, I'm really not a big Zucchini fan, until now. My mom showed me this way of cooking it and I will never go back to real pasta again.

All I did was peal the Zucchini and cut it to the length I wanted the pasta to be, then ran it through the mandolin to make spaghetti strings. I stopped it when it got to the seeds. What you have left is the seed core of the Zucchini you can feed to the chickens.
Then I blanched it for a couple of minutes and then vacuum sealed enough for two portions in each package then put them in the freezer. Three large Zucchinis made six meals for two people.
All I had to do to eat it was heat up the homemade spaghetti sauce, throw in some of our own cooked grass fed hamburger meat and cook the Zucchini pasta in the sauce to the softness I wanted it. I like mine a little crunchy so just heating it up was enough.
Sprinkled some cheese on top and serve with garlic or buttered bread.
You can also make it with zesty Italian or pesto sauce.
I think the next time I cook this I want to use Alfredo sauce with chicken and mushrooms. 

Anyway, if you have not tried this I can tell you it's good.
This is just another way to eat Zucchini.

Next I want to try Crusted Stuffed Eggplant. Just like Stuffed Cabbage but with Eggplant.
Holy crap, now I'm hungry again.


Monday, August 5, 2013

In Memory Of

It was hotter than the hinges of Hades this weekend and the only work that was done, was in the wee morning hours and late evening.
We were able to get all the mowing finished and even few more small things knocked off the list. But as far as big projects, none was even given serious thought.

Being the A/C was running full blast and the house was still warm we decided not to heat it anymore by
cooking so we waited till around 8:00 PM to take everything outside to cook.   
We don't like eating that late, but it was worth it, food always tastes better when it's cooked and eaten outdoors.
Some folks only do it when they have company and throw a party, but it is our way of life three to four times a week.
Y'all can keep your fancy dinning rooms, I will take eating with the bugs any day.
 Our special guest Saturday night was this little fellow pictured here, he even said grace for us.

Before I go I wanted to say this. We lost a good one this weekend. A long time friend and blogger passed away and there won't be another like him. Long time readers remember HossBoss and Yeoldfurt and I know he would be mad at me saying anything about it, but I am.
They don't make folks like these anymore and he was a true friend. I am so blessed to have had the privilege to spend time with him and call him a friend, I thought the world of this guy.
They were one of the first ones to start following MDR and before long a friendship started and if that was the only thing this blog produced than it was worth it.
We will be making the trip to be with Hossboss and honor his memory this Saturday and it wouldn't matter how far I had to drive, I would be there. This kind of friendship is so hard to find. I am at a loss of words and can only piece together thoughts here so forgive me.
In our talks and emails we would always end them with, "If you need anything, I'm only four hours away."
I won't be able to say that anymore and I dearly wished I could have talked with him one more time before he left.
I know he would be embarrassed about me saying all this so I will end it with this,
See ya on the flip side my good friend, and be assured if HossBoss needs anything, I'm only four hours away.