Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Peppers and Beans


Although the dreaded blight ate all of my tomato harvest, it didn't spread to the peppers! Unfortunately, while I was staying away from the garden so as not to spread the blight, the insects and other critters made no such promise. So about half of the pepper crop was munched on by slugs, borers and other pests.

No worries though, I still got enough peppers for some serious pepper jelly. Take a look.

Purple Beauties did great, but they took the main hit from the pests. I lost about two thirds of those.

The reds are mostly Buran (the normal looking red ones) and Chervena Chushka (the tongue looking ones). The Jalapenos did great again, of course. And I did get some good Anchos and even a couple Hot Portugals (the skinny red ones).

The upshot is I'll have at least a good 30-40 jars of pepper jelly in a few days.

The beans went pretty good too!

This picture is from just after the first harvest. The Boyo and I picked a bunch more tonight, so we've got a little over twice as much as this picture shows. Dad's Climbing Pinto's and Cherokee Trail of Tears did the best, but that isn't surprising. There's still a ton of beans left out there, but we're expecting a frost tonight, so I wanted to get as many as I could before that. If it doesn't frost over too bad, we'll be able to get even more beans in the next few days.

Fortunately we are located in a little bowl of a valley, and even when the rest of the town gets frost, it takes a pretty thick layer to get to my garden!
Keep your fingers crossed for a warm-ish night!
More Later

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Like Brother, Like Brother

I was just reading my brother's wife's blog over here. Amazing similarities between the thought process of we two siblings! Not that the apple (or nut, as the case may be) falls far from the tree.

I remember fondly the conversations with my father about making access to The Island easier. It started off with a simple dock at the landing, but by the end of the conversation we had discussed helipads, chair lifts like at Disney or Adventureland, and even a glass tunnel through the lake with a moving sidewalk.

My dad and brother and I are dreamers, no doubt about it. Always with ideas and plans. Most of them never happening, but every once and awhile one takes hold and gets done. River trip, gardens in the yard, retaining walls. And you should see the playground my bro built in his basement under the guise of physical therapy for his son! PT should ALWAYS look that fun! I am very hesitant to visit because I know that the Boyo will be demanding a playground of his own in our basement!

With the exception of the sunflower stalks and the balloon races (which we don't have here) I totally agree with all of Jason's ideas. In fact, I've mentioned all of those to the Wife at some point in our married life. Except instead of a recycling chute, I devised (but have yet to install) a kitchen composter that grinds the material, mixes it with a little water and shoots it to a main composter outside for processing. Other than that... Rooftop gardening, check. Lap pool and goats, check. Did I mention yet our retaining wall?

I love seeing such similarities in my brother and I. He's one of my best friends, and I wish we lived closer together. (Although proximity might make a difference in project accomplishment, which might just put our wives over the edge!)

So, a toast to my brother and his witty, enduring wife. May your sons grow to be the best of you both!

Now... JP, about that pontoon boat...

More Later

Friday, September 18, 2009

Right Place at the Right Time

Never has going to work been so enjoyable! It isn't that I don't like my job, because I really do. But yesterday the helicopter from Mayo visited our little hospital for a PR tour. This included rides for all of the local bigwigs - Sheriff, Police Chief, College President, Hospital officials, board members, etc. There were only nine slots available for the rides. I got some great shots of it coming in.


The second group of riders was supposed to include our ED Chief Doc, but he couldn't make it. I had a brief glimmer of hope for a hop, but one of the other medics had never flown on a helo, and since I had been carried by Army choppers before, I graciously stood enviously aside. One of the passengers on his flight was the Sheriff, who had to get to the courthouse, and so their hop was cut short by a few minutes.

As we stood around chatting with the crew I said to the pilot half jokingly that if he wanted to finish the last few minutes of that flight, I'd be happy to accompany him up.

Well, it turns out that by cutting the flight short, they decided that there was enough time before the last group flew to take a few more people up! There just happened to be three willing riders standing right there next to the helo, so we got to go flying! It was myself, another medic, and the PR gal who had coordinated the whole event. I was really glad she got a seat, since she had helped all the bigwigs get their rides and she had never flown before in any aircraft. The other medic and I gave her the front seat. After all it was a first experience flying, and I'm a firm believer in making a first flight something as wonderful as possible.

So off we went for a quick tour of the area, and a demonstration of Mayo One's capabilities. Cruising over the local airport runway at 25 feet and 140 MPH for example. Then a demonstration of flying back down the runway forward, sideways both ways, and backwards for a little bit. I was seated in the port side rear seat, backwards facing, so flying backwards was pretty cool!

As we were returning to the landing pad at the hospital, the pilot asked if we had time to go and get more fuel for the last hop and the trip home. Not one of the three of us minded the extra air time, so we headed back to the airport and fueled up. After that, the pilot demonstrated the climb rate of the helo, going about 1500 feet in less than a minute. Then we headed back down to the hospital and landed.

It took the rest of the day to get the smiles from our faces. Our little group of worker ants got the longest ride, and for that I was well pleased. After all, the PR gal had set the whole thing up, and the other medics and I have loaded lots of people into the back of that helo in our jobs. So it was fun to be able to ride without anyone being sick or injured!

We three were in the right place at the right time, it is true. But had we not asked to go flying, it probably would not have happened. Important Lesson - write this down. It never hurts to ask!

I also realized that it has been far too long since I've flown. I need to find a way to get back into the sky. Hmm. Thoughts?

More Later

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Black Death...

...has hit my tomatos!

I'm pretty sure it's actually called blight, and is caused by a fungus that likes to grow during cooler, wetter seasons, such as the one we just had. It has decimated my tomatos, as seen here. It makes the leaves and stem die out and the tomatoes rot quickly. Grr.

I've stopped going into my garden at all (hence the weeds) to try to stop the spread of the fungus to my peppers. I will need to head in to harvest peppers and beans in the next week or two. Then I'll chop out the blighty tomatos, and burn them down in the washout area near my house. The tomatillos seem to be immune to the disease, so I'll at least get some tomatillo salsa from those. But no good tomatos.

It would have been such a nice, big harvest too.

But at least the beans are doing well! The peppers might be ok too. So there may be some pepper jelly and bean soup for the winter!

More Later

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Feel Much Better

I finished a knife today. My lovely wife knows me well, and gave me the morning while the Boyo was at school to go play in the shop. Perked me right up!

This one is for one of the Docs at work. He was looking at this knife...

And said it would be perfect if only the brass were stainless steel and the wood were a little darker. Well, after some shopping and building, this is what I came up with...

I am very pleased with the results. The guard and pommel are made from the same 440-C stainless steel that the blade is made of. It's going to be a very hard working knife. I'm hoping the doc hates the thing and insists I keep it. 'Cause I'd be happy to!

I've got a lot of work out there to keep me busy. Now I've got to find the time!

More Later

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy German No Day!

And the last day of true childhood for the Boyo. That's right, he goes off to kindergarten tomorrow. I can't believe how fast it has gone. He was just a little peanut cuddled in my arms not too long ago.

Time is fickle, really. Goes too fast for the fun stuff, too slow for the sorrow. Much has happened here the past few days. Much to reflect on and ponder. I'm feeling a bit booful tonight. That's all I want to say about that.

Here's to happier times.

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

What a Day!

Perhaps today should have been my birthday.

It started with sleeping in, provided by my wonderful wife. Then after a quick milk run, I got a couple hours to play in the shop.

Then, thanks to the beauty of Time Trader, the Wife had set up a lesson for us to learn how to make CHEESE! Not just any cheese either, but fresh mozzarella! And for those of you who've been there (and you know who you are) it tastes a lot like the good old buffala from Bella Roma! Our Caprese is now entirely home grown and made. And it tastes SO good!
We mixed and cooked,

then separated,

then squeezed and stretched.

Then ATE! (No cheese left for a picture)
We are quite excited to try more cheeses. Maybe some string cheese, Ricotta cheese, maybe even some cheddar!

Then I made a run to the Cities to pick up a Red Tail Hawk that was ready for release. It had been hit by a car and shot, but managed to make a remarkable recovery! I took it back to the area it was found, met the nice folks who found it, and opened his box. He gave me a fierce look, and startled everybody by leaping from the box and literally flying off into the sunset.

The Kiddos are now happily asleep, the Wife and I are watching some M*A*S*H, and it's a beautiful, warm late summer evening. A really nice day.
All told, great fun was had by all!
More Later

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Nom, Nom, Nom

The backyard fun continues!

Tonight we all went to our little campsite and had hot dogs and brats cooked over the fire, followed by s'mores for dessert! We even hauled Sweet Pea's high chair up so she would have a place to sit. This was the Boyo's very first time ever cooking over an open fire, and he did a grand job once he learned that the fire was the source of the cooking. Until then, he had tried roasting his hot dog over dirt, his chair, the bucket of supplies and Mommy, all without luck.

Once again a good time was had by all!

More Later