Monday, September 30, 2013

Can't Get Any Wetter

What we thought was going to be a relaxing birthday weekend for the wife turned out to be just the opposite.

We made it to the resort Friday night and was looking forward to a free and fun filled weekend. Saturday morning after breakfast I hit the golf course, the wife and oldest girl went for their spa day.
Now, if you did not read my last post then I will will quickly recap. This was a free weekend full of free food and fun at a classy resort about thirty minutes from here. The only catch is I had to spend about forty five minutes listening to them trying to sell me a share.

I don't get to golf as much as I want. I wished I could do it every weekend but it gets a little pricy for me.
Plus, I never get the chance to play on a course like this one. Most of the times it's a low budget public course that is not taken care of. So I was really excited to have this opportunity.
I was put with a couple of guys because I was alone. I was really glad they played at my level because I really didn't want to look like more of a fool out there than I usually do.  

As luck would have it, at hole #6 it started a downpour.  It rained and it rained and it rained. I was soaked, my clubs were soaked, I already started getting swamp butt and by hole #9 I was ready to call it done. As my ball dropped in the cup and the rain poured off my hat down my back, I told the guys I had enough. The older of the two looked at me and said, "Why you quitting, you can't get any wetter."
He made a good argument there and I decided to man up, push through and finish the back 9. The rain stopped as we were putting on 18, go figure. I just had to laugh.

I had enough time to head back, shower and change then pick the girls up from the spa. They smelled good and their skin had a glow. Even though I was a new member of the soggy bottom boys, as long as they had a good time was enough for me.

We met the salesman and I was all ready to break his little heart when he did some reverse psychology stuff on me and through me off guard. He started off by saying, "It does not make me a difference if you buy or not. As a matter of fact, I don't care if you do or don't. You probably won't but, I still need to go through this anyway." 
This made me want to do it even more now, just to show him. I started asking questions and the wife started stomping my foot. I left feeling good and with a sore foot, I didn't buy nor did he care. I'm glad the wife was there though.

We could have stayed that night for free as well but we ended up getting bored and going home. Now, who goes to a resort like that and gets bored? Well, I guess we do, it's just not our lifestyle.

The oldest girl left back to college Sunday morning. Forty five minutes later the phone rang and I saw the panic in my wife's eyes. Without knowing what was going on, I automatically grabbed the keys and started heading for the truck, she was right behind me. A lady ran a red light and t-boned her car.
The daughter has some bumps and bruises and the car had to be towed off. We are so thankful she didn't get hurt. It was the best birthday present the wife could ask for. 

That's all I got for now. I did get a little project knocked out yesterday. I will post about it next time.
Until then and sorry for the rushed post,


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Living Like A King

Being cheap is not always bad. There is a way to get away for a weekend vacation to a fancy resort and spend next to nothing.
Take this weekend for instance, being that we are not cooking anywhere and with the serious problems that came up here at the mini farm, we were going to spend all weekend sitting around the house.
On top of that, it's the wife's birthday weekend and we had nothing planned.

This is coming off of last week where we had to make the decision to sell all the animals and start saving as much money as possible just hoping to be able to come up with $4500 by March. All the little things like cooking chili and starting to finally enjoying life a little has caught up to us.
I let my belt loose just a little and my pants fell down. It's alright though, we will make it.

I was really wanting to do something for the wife this weekend, but under the circumstances I could not justify it, then I remembered an email I got earlier in the week.
There is this resort not far from here, about 30 minutes, and they wanted us to come up for the weekend, so I called them and asked for the details. Yea, we will have to sit through a 45 minutes presentation on their vacation package they want us to buy, but what we get in return is worth it.
For me, a free round of golf on their championship course including cart. For the wife, a day at the spa including massages and relaxation room. Plus four meals free, free 2 night stay in the villa, A forty dollar gift card to use at the resort and they are throwing in another room and spa package for the oldest girl because she had already planned on coming up for the weekend. All this for about an hour of my time. I went on their website and priced it all out, I will be getting around $1500 worth of fun for that one hour. Not bad.

Alright, I know what you all are thinking and it's okay. I do these kinda deals often so I know what they are doing and I know the scams behind it. This kinda thing is how I got all the tickets for the five of us to get into Disney Word one year. Saved me big bucks for and hour of my time. Over the years I have stayed in some really nice places and received some really nice gifts by taking vacation tours. It is one way to vacation like a King on a Squires budget. I always tell them up front on the phone that I am not interested and cannot afford it and they don't care. They just want me there so they can try to prove me wrong.

As most of you long time readers know, I can sell a ice to an Eskimo and I am always bartering and looking for deals. Does taking the wife on her birthday weekend to a resort where she will be papered like a Queen for free make me cheap? Well sure it does and I'm okay with that. I get to play golf, the wife and the daughter get to spend a day at the spa, all for one hour of my time. I have done worse for less, life is good. 

See ya down the road,
MDR, the cheapskate      

Monday, September 23, 2013

Prepping Is Not Enough

I just wrote a big long post here about some problems that came up over the weekend. It was a "Woe is Me" post with a lot of kicking, screaming, cussing, spitting, head banging, doom and gloom kinda post. I spent three paragraphs complaining about this and that, about Murphy, Karma and Bad luck. One step forward and three steps back was repeated at least three times. In my eyes the issue that came up was more than I can bare at the moment and I just needed to vent.
I proof read the lengthy post and hovered the little arrow over the publish button. I watched the blinking line at the end of the last word written, waiting for my next command. Then I hit the backspace button and didn't let up until there was noting left except a blank screen.
I was not suppose to write all that. This is what I was suppose to write.

Everyone on here has problems, we all struggle one way or another. What I think is big may be little in someone else's eyes. The issue that came up for me this weekend is just that, very small. I thought it was big, but I was mistaken.
If you don't know her or read her blog mysticmud is going through some tough times. The problems she is going through just break my heart and make mine look so small. You have to go and read about it to get the full effect. Project Finn is a website she has set up just in case you feel led to help. If you can't then please send your thoughts her way and to her family. 
I promise you, after you read her story your problems will feel just as small as mine are.

Thank you,

The Deck Was Stacked

This weekend we cooked in St. Joe Texas.
This sleepy town is only 1.1 square miles with under a thousand folks living there. Nice little quiet place stuck on HW82 heading West resting right on the edge of the Red River Valley.
The DQ is the only place open where you can get a cup of coffee early in the morning. When the door opens banging against the cow bell, a hush falls on the crowd. All the old timers drinking coffee turn and look to see who you are and if they know you. While paused at the door and with every eye on me, I checked my fly to make sure it was up.  

We had a great time this weekend. The weather could not have been better. 2 1/4 inches of rain fell and the green has already started coming back. The smell of fall is in the air and along with all the animals, our step has a little more kick in it. I hid my shivers and goose bumps as I mocked the wife because she was wearing a jacket. Just last week were were still in the upper 90s. This morning, a cool 58.

Something magical was going to happen at the cook off, I could feel it. I couldn't wait to get there, get set
up and start cooking. Once there we started to realize the deck was stacked against us.
In this little town, a long way from nowhere, there was;
The current World Champion, three past World Champions, the Louisiana State Champion, The Intercontinental/Canadian Champion, The Mexico Champion and about seven of the top ten in the USA.  I should have just turned around and went home, but I looked at it this way, If I'm going to get beat, I wanted to be beat by the best.

We even got to meet a fellow blogger. My new friend over at Your Crazy Uncle Bubba drove up to meet us and have a good time. He and his wife got to judge the winning table of chili and see what all that was about. It's always good to meet like minded folks and even though we have never met, it was almost like we already known one another.
As most of you already know, put a couple of beers in me and I start talking. I normally don't say much and most of the time a little stand offish. I just wondered what went through my new friend's mind when after our introductions I said, "I thought you were younger than you are." Yea that's probably not the best way to start off a new friendship and the wife is right, she can't take me anywhere. But he laughed it off and we moved on.
Anyway, super nice folks and being we live close I hope to see them again, maybe have them come out to the Mini Farm for some BBQ. I can cook it better then chili any day. (So I keep telling myself)

The cook off results,
My beans made the top ten again and my chili didn't. Out of 35 cooks and 20 of those being champions of some sort or another, I got beat by the best. I say the best because the wife was right up there with them. She got 8th place among the best in the world and I am really proud of her. 
Girlfriend is holding her own (and she wasn't even going to cook either)

That's all I got for now, I got some bad news to share next post, Doom and Gloom kinda crap.
Don't forget to stop by my buddy's blog on the way out.

See ya,

Friday, September 20, 2013

Best of Both Worlds

Mark my words, I will never again complain about the rain. Last night it set in and it will be gone tonight. Even though it may be short, it will leave about 2" of the precious liquid behind. At this point I would settle for anything.
Another reason it's a good day is because the high temp for the day is only going to be 76 and the low will be 66. It can't get any better than that.

Even with the rain today the weekend plans are all still a go. We will be cooking in St. Joe this weekend and this cook off should be a good one.
We need all the support we can get so if you decide you need something to do Saturday come on out, drink a beer with me and taste my chili.

See ya down the road,

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Homemade Forge

I stopped by my Dad's place this week and he wanted to show me a project he just finished.

 Something that will come in really handy,
 he built a homemade forge.
This small forge was built from scraped materials. The only cost was the connection fittings for the propane bottle.

The heat bricks and insulation made it where the outside does not heat up even though the inside is a bright orange. 

Scrap lawn mower blades, files and rake springs get heated up and hammered out into whatever his imagination can muster.
At the moment he is making some really nice looking knives.

He has the metal shop and I have the wood shop. It is a great combination for getting things built.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Chili and Beans

We drove along way to cook beans and chili this weekend. As a matter of fact it was the furthest we have
driven to due such a thing. A two and a half hour drive to have your butt kicked is not what I had in mind.
We don't even take much with us anymore. Last year we loaded two trucks with props and attention getters and quickly found out it was just too much to set up and break down. Now we take just the bare minimum to cook with.
  People were cooking outside and inside. We chose to cook out because of the cloud cover and lower temps. I didn't break a sweat until 2:00 and that's great.
Our beans made the top ten and our chili made the top twenty. I was hoping for the top five in both but that's just how it goes. In the end the trophies are great if you make, but the reason why we do it is for the charities and the chili cooking family we have grown to love.

Next weekend we are cooking in St. Joe Texas. I would like to say we have a good chance there but you just never know. Maybe one day I will dial it in and walk a lot more.

I had jury duty today so I am off work. I don't mind it too much, at least it's something different and I get a whole $10.00 for my troubles.

Talk to ya in a day or two,

Friday, September 13, 2013

Here It Comes

It's just right there, I can almost see it. YES, It's a cold front!!!
This weekend the temps will only be in the mid 90's. Get the jacket folks, it's going to be a cold one.
Plus, they are saying we have about a 20% chance of light scattered showers. In the big picture, that means my place will have a 0.001% chance of getting a few drops. Fingers are crossed that we are in that very small percent range.
Why do they even tease us?

Play time again this weekend. We will be cooking in Wichita Fall Texas tomorrow. It will also be the first time we will enter our beans for competition., fingers crossed on that too.
I would say to come on out and visit with us, but I don't know anyone who lives out there. It is a 2 1/2 hour drive from where I live and I wouldn't make that drive just to sit around and drink beer and eat chili unless I was cooking. Well...... I have done worse for less.
So if you are bored tomorrow grab your Coleman camp stove, your best recipe and come on out and lets see what you got. As it is right now we will be the only folks who we know, all the rest will have shifty eyes.

Be safe,

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I have been researching a new way to feed my animals during these summer droughts and winter months when I am usually buying hay or feed, I found Fodder.

Fodder is a hydroponic grown feed that is rich in nutrients and proteins. It is a barley, oat or wheat seed germinated, grown and harvested in 7 to 8 days. It grows in tubs on a shelf and when harvested can be rolled up, cut and given to the chickens, goats and rabbits. 
The system I am designing will have a large tub of feed ready to harvest every day. 
For a this system the initial set up cost is a little high, but the finished product is worth it. Estimated cost to feed my animals is 0.17 cents a day. 
Go figure, I learn something new every day.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Worst Yet

I guess that if this keeps up, we will end up a desert in a couple of years.

It may not be the hottest on record or even the driest but by the looks of it, it's just as bad.
I have lost some chicks in some of these cracks and a goat got stuck in one. We try and not go out at night now due to the fact we might break a leg or worse yet, fall into one of our cracks and not make it back never to be seen again. It's dry to say the least. The other problem with these cracks are when it does start raining, they turn into sink holes. I have one in the pasture from last year that is big enough to drive a truck in.
I am out of water in my storage tanks, the well is running low and pumps air if ran for any period of time. We my friends, are in trouble here.
With over 100 degree weather for a while now and no rain or water, the gardens have all but dried up, the animals are suffering and we are not able to do anything much outside. I have already had some rabbits die due to heat stroke even though they are in the shade and have frozen water bottles in their cage.
Years past I have always welcomed September for it's rain and cooler temps but so far this year it has proved me wrong.

This weekend plans are to keep everything alive. Just as it has been for the last two months. We do have a couple of gatherings to attend but other than that, no projects, no interesting things to write about, just survival.

Keep cool,

Monday, September 2, 2013

Middle Of The Road Club

Even with all the new cooking equipment and new recipes with all new chili powders, me and the wife are still hanging around the middle of the road on or chili.

Saturday there were 75 cooks at the Oklahoma State Championship and I came in at 27th. That's better than half and better then a couple of world champions that were there, but still not good enough for me.
On Sunday there were 35 cooks and we didn't even make final table. The winner on Saturday didn't make final table Sunday either, it's frustrating that way.
I have even cooked and turned in two exact same pots of chili before and got two completely different results. It just don't make any sense.  
I have to just keep reminding myself it's for charity and it's about having a good time and not about the prize.
The wife had fun and I had fun because she had fun. It's good to get out and be around good folks doing good things for a good cause.

You can see in the far left bottom of the picture, on the table, that is my new inverter. It ran our spice grinder and big fan all weekend. Folks were coming by, pointing and saying "We need to do that". That's what happens when you bring a prepper to a chili cook off.
I plan on making a portable power pack with a solar panel to recharge the battery so I can have power where ever I am at. I know they sell them but I want to make one.

Next, we will be in Wichita Falls Texas trying it again.

Enjoy your day,