Saturday, July 26, 2014

Cornish Game Hens

I must admit, I love Cornish Game Hens (young chickens). While regular chicken is OK if fixed right, Cornish Game Hens just taste so much better.

It's going to get to 95 degrees today, so my plan of grilling a game hen today is canceled.
I take a game hen, split it in half, microwave it for around 8 minutes. Then throw it on a hot grill.

Note I don't do anything to them other than microwave it. Some foods can be great without adding anything. Too many people over do it on some foods. Some foods simple works best.

Game Hens fall into that category.

I nuke them because it can be hard to get them fully cooked directly on the grill, this assures they get done.

Of course game hens can be stuffed, glazed, etc. I sometimes do that, but just nuked and grilled is often plenty good enough. One bird is enough for my wife and myself. Though sometimes I do two for a late night snack. Cold Game Hen, awesome.

So my grilling plan is shot for today, I will throw it in a crock pot. When done remove the meat from the bone, throw some egg noodles in the broth. I've never done it this way, but it should turn out OK.

Love those Cornish Game Hens.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Living in the sticks II


Had a good weekend. Drank some PBR, enjoyed a Hickory smoked pizza that frankly was awesome as my wife will atest.

So my take on living in the sticks. You can keep your cities and your burbs. How people can live like that is beyond me. I've been to some cities I like, such as Helsinki and Stuttgart. Settle was nice back in the day as was SF. Wouldn't go there these days.

Living in the sticks is different. Out here you better have your act together. I drive through the hills and see a lot of broken dreams. People who start buildings they never complete. Vacant properties abound.

You have be able to do for yourself out here. If you can't, no one else will do it for you. Many people have no idea what is involved in buying vacant land and getting it setup. They see cheap land, buy it without taking into account all that is necessary to make it livable. I am fine with off grid if that's what you want. Personally I got electric and like it that way.

While solar power is doable you fore go certain amenities. Fine if that is what you want. Personally I like the modern conveniences. My microwave is used everyday.

These days you can have it all. 30 years ago  you didn't have Dish TV and Dish Internet. You might have had electric, but TV or radio was via antenna.

Personally my wife and I like TV, something to watch in the evenings. I am well aware that some people say there isn't anything worth watching on the boob tube. Frankly that's THEIR opinion and not mine. At night I like to veg out. The day is for getting things done, the night is for kicking back. TV is my wife and myself's way of kicking back. So [Raspberry sound] to those that don't like it.

So I am going to enjoy it while I can. Screw what other people think anyway, no percentage in wasting time worrying about what others think.

If the grid goes down permanently, after the electric dream jones's pass, I'll go back to the old ways. The campfire at night, re-reading the books I got, board games, playing cards, etc. But I have no intention of depriving myself for some BS concept that others believe in. We all know what opinions are like...

Out here if something needs fixed, you fix it. If a tree falls across your road, you move it, cut it up or drive around it. You don't wait for someone to come and do it for you. You just do what needs doing.
Out here you are close to nature. You are aware of things that "city" folks don't know anything about. You don't flip over rocks or logs without some caution. A person died from a copperhead bite last week here in MO. It happens. Snakes hide under things. Stick your hand under a rock or log, expect to get a snake bite.  You have to be careful out here, the nearest hospital is 40 miles away.

Yellow jacket, wasp, hornet stings are common. Been stung countless times. Brown recluse and black widow bites are not uncommon. You have to be aware and do things right out here. I am always using my cane to tap on things I intend to move.Move stuff with a rake, just in case.

It's like gun safety, if you got to think about it, then you ain't country ready. It has to be a no brainer.

I see plants all over I know that are edible. Mushrooms too. I been dining off my garden for a months now.

You think about what you need in town. You keep stocked up on things. Our nearest town is 12 miles away. So you don't just go running into town if you need ketchup, because you buy stuff like that and keep plenty in the pantry. It's just the way you do things out here. Those that don't, don't last long out here.

If you get snowed in, you don't sweat it. You got all the food and basics on hand anyway, if you are doing it right that is. Of course there are fools out here that don't.

 I make a couple trips into town a month, stock up. Make a list, buy what is needed. Often buy just a little extra. That's what you got to do out here in the sticks. This ain't city living.

Electric goes out, we fire up the LED lanterns. Fire up the Coleman lantern or stove to cook on if need be. Keep a rechargeable hand held spotlight charged and on hand. If the electric don't come back on, I take my solar battery charger or hook up my 60 W solar panel.Or hook the inverter to one of fully charged batteries I keep around just in case.

Grid down I go back to campfire cooking. Got a grate, tripod, cast iron skillets, dutch oven. No problem. Sleeping bags rated to Zero degrees with wool blankets to boot. Which have been tested I might add when the power went out 2 years ago.Snug as bugs in a rug we where.

The point I am trying to make is we are ready for just about anything. Out here you got it together or move back to the city or burbs where you belong. It's that simple.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Living in the sticks


I've lived out here in the sticks for over 4 years now (not my first time living in the sticks, just here). What I enjoy is the quality of life. The weather has been cool and I've been out clearing the jungle outside my door.

So today I will relax some.

The plan for today is to grill a pizza on the Weber, drink some PBR. I often grill pizza, why this amazes some people is beyond me, but some people don't think you can. I harvested some bell peppers, banana peppers yesterday. The basil, oregano, and rosemary comes right out of my herb garden. Fresh herbs is the best way to go.

I make the dough in my bread maker. Make the sauce (I cheat and use tomato sauce). Throw the herbs in a pan, some extra virgin olive oil, some minced garlic I get cheap at the local Mennonite store. Make the sauce. I got a pizza pan I put the dough on, put the sauce on, the cheese, pepperoni, peppers.

Fire up the Weber let the coals get just right (I only do charcoal, wouldn't own a propane grill myself unless it was to heat up sauces or something like that), put the pizza pan on the grate. Put some wet hickory chips on the coals, cover and hickory smoke that sucker. Hickory smoked pizza is awesome. If you've never had it, you don't know what you been missing.

Of course it's PBR time, I drink a few during the cooking process of course. Smoke a cigar. Might start a campfire tonight sit out under the stars. Might have to run down to the guy who sells real moonshine (he's licensed to sell it) about 12 miles from here. Missouri has some interesting liquor laws for those who don't know and the gun laws suit me just fine (though I am against ALL gun laws, I can live with Missouri's laws). Two of the reasons I retired here. Life is good here in the sticks.


                                                          My ever present entourage


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Used

As I said in my last post, I am hoping to put a up a small cabin before the end of the year. Rather it happens or not depends on how certain things go. I will still be on a tight budget. But planning is keeping me busy and is satisfying work on my part.

I know how to build a cabin. My old man did a lot of carpenter work when I was a kid and guess who his helper was.  You guessed it, yours truely. So I know how to build a cabin. So I know every aspect of building a cabin from scratch.

 But since I am not able to build a cabin from scratch by myself (physical limitations), I will buy a shell. Shells are unfinished cabins for anyone who doesn't know already.

This for me is the best option. So that's my plan. Now since my budget is tight, I am planning to do two things many people don't think of. Salvage companies tear down buildings, salvaging the useable materials.

My old man built cabins using salvage places all the time. Doors, windows, sinks, counters, etc can sometimes be had from a building salvage yard for far far less than new. Not everything, but enough for someone on a tight budget to save big bucks. Some stuff is best to buy new, but if you can get it used and save money, why not.

Wood can be re-purposed as well as with many other components. Saving big bucks. Just takes some effort. I've got some great furniture at thrift stores, refinished them and shocked people. They couldn't believe I paid next to nothing for the piece. Thanks to wood shop in high school (do they still have shop classes these days)'

The second is used furniture and appliance stores. You can save thousands by buying used. A new refrigerator will set you back anywhere from $550 on up (new). You can buy a used for refrigerator for $175 buck (sometimes less, sometimes more). Big savings. Same applies to all types of things.

A little shopping around can save you thousands of dollars. Thrift stores, used furniture and appliance stores, salvage yards, carpet remnant stores, the list goes on. I have one used furniture and appliance store that has what I need. I would save thousands on the stuff I need. There are others around I can buy from when the time comes.

Clearly a cabin in the woods benefits from a rustic, lived in look. My plan is to finish it off over a few years. No big rush.

My old man's one cabin we spent time in, the interior was stud walls for some time. A counter made of 2x4's and plywood was the kitchen (used a Coleman stove to cook on). The old man made a bathroom (installed a toilet with the bare stud walls). So I am comfortable in an unfinished shell. Over time I will do this and that according to my physical ability.

So to anyone considering building their own cabin or buying a shell, consider using salvage and/or used furniture/appliance stores to your benefit and budget.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Dream Cabin


I have been working on my dream cabin plan. If things go as planned, I may be able to have a cabin shell constructed before years end. I am a planner. But a plan that can't be implemented is merely a dream. Life takes twists and turns. So I can't say for certain my dream will become a reality, but I work at it anyway.

So I have been doing some prep work. Laying out a floor plan. Planning what needs to be done and in what order. Been slowly clearing out the site I want to put it on. Being crippled up, I find if I do just a little bit each day, I get the job done.

 I have X amount I can do at one time, but stretched over weeks, the job gets done. I am not making excuses, age tears a body down. If you are young you won't likely understand, us old folks know all too well. Just saying. What I could do in one day now takes a week, but the bottom line is it gets done. You adapt or you don't. Me, I adapted and adjusted to my physical limitations.

I have always enjoyed clearing underbrush by hand. To me there is something very satisfying in doing it by hand. I start in a small area and take my hand swung weed whacker to that area. The soft stuff cuts easy. I then grab my old pole saw for the tougher stuff. The toughest stuff I use my electric chain saw on. Small trees come down fast with a bow saw. Bigger trees fall fast to the chainsaw.

This last week I've cleared a nice little area. It will take me another week to finish, but slow and steady wins the race. I've always wanted a small cabin in the woods.

I research many aspects of putting it all together. I find ways and things to incorporate.

I am eyeballing a wood stove. With rising energy cost, winter heat is likely to become too costly. The stove I am eyeballing is an Englander (1200 sq foot model). Also I love the design, clean, efficient, practical. The price is very reasonable and the reviews good. This is a small stove but efficient. Don't need a bon fire to heat a small place.

I tend to like it cooler inside than most. But this will help. Propane cost shot up this last winter. Electric heat will rise (I won't go into why, but we all know the answer - Or should). So this is a consideration of great import.

In designing such a project, there are countless considerations. Electric (I am hardly anti-off grid), but smoke em if you got em. While it's available, I'll use it. My power pole is 100' from the site.  Long runs get expensive.

Many people who want to buy cheap(er) land fail to understand the cost of getting electric. That is why the land is often cheap, perfect for off grid though. It can cost thousands to get electric hooked up. Water wells can cost $5,000 to $7,000 to drill more or less. It ain't cheap. A smart planner "sees" all these issues and adjusts their plans accordingly.

I could go on, but it takes careful planning to get what you want. Below is the floor plan I am playing with.

Can't say it's finalized, but getting there.


So that's what I am up to right now in real life. Trying to make my life long dream a reality...

Friday, July 11, 2014

D.T.A is my S.O.P

Don't Trust Anybody is my Standard Operating Procedure. Or D.T.A.I.M.S.O.P. I remember having friends. Some where good, many not so good. Out on the street you learn DTA real fast. People will latch onto you, act like your friends then stab you in the back.

This is a cautionary tale and not a lament. As an O.G nothing surprises me anymore, jaded to the core. When I meet someone new, I tend to give them the benefit of assuming they are OK. I of course evaluate them, see if they are running a scam, etc, etc. But in general until they TRY to stab me in the back, I tend assume they won't. That doesn't mean I am 100% open or don't apply some good old D.T.A to them, but I don't let them in right away either.

You can't hustle a hustler. You can't con a con man. All or which I have over the years learned all about. When I see someone trying to hustle me, I hustle them right back. Same goes with a con job. Personally I prefer not to have to go there, but sometimes you got to put people in their place.

The world has become a cold place. Too many people see other people as tools for their own self interest. We ALL have self interest. But some people USE other people to their own advantage as if you are their chattel. Weed these people out first, be done with them.

Sometime you get fooled. In time your middle finger flies up to some people because they cross over the line. The line being the line that we all have. The line of what is totally unacceptable.

In the end sometimes you have to go serious asshole on them. I see it  as I am the end result of all the assholes I've had to deal with over the year. I've become a world class asshole thanks to the assholes I've had to deal with. So I don't loose any sleep when I am put in a position to have to go asshole on someone. It's called having survived.

Now, this is something I am sure someone will take out of context, twist, warp and pervert. But I don't piss on people's legs and say look it's raining either. In this day and age a little  D.T.A.I.M.S.O.P might be useful in surviving to old age...



Monday, July 7, 2014

OPBS

I decided to only blog when I have something to say. So I am going to dust off an old topic that is near and dear to my heart. OPBS (Other Peoples Bull Shit).

I look back over the years and realize for the most part, most of my problems weren't caused by me. I take responsibility for my own screw ups, but way to many problems I've dealt with in life is directly due to OPBS.

Currently my wife and I have been helping out someone who lives in our area. They had a flat in the dead of winter. It was COLD. So I wasn't going to let them freeze. So I help them out. A few months latter thier vehicle was repossessed.

So knowing what it's like out here, I didn't object to my wife taking them to a few places. But the occasional ride turned into an almost daily occurrence. No good turn goes unpunished.
I don't mind helping people out, but there is a fine line between helping someone out and being taken advantage of. Plain and simple.

I tried to help out this new neighbor that moved next to me back here. The POS called the Sheriff on me and accused me of threatening people with a gun and all kinds of things I didn't do. Why, because I complained to the land company about his cutting down excessive amounts of trees in violation of his land contract.

I was concerned he was going to clear cut his property, destroying my SHADE. Frankly I'd had it with his sticking nose in my business and making smart mouth comments. Frankly I had been fed up with this creep for sometime. So when I complained to the land company, to get even he calls the Sheriff on me. He could stick his foul nose in my business, but when I return the favor, he calls the Sheriff.

Stupid city people who move to a red neck paradise like where I live, got no idea how to behave. [Dualing Banjos playing in the background]. I've lived here for years and never had a problem with anybody around here before this piece of filth showed up and started causing trouble. Comes to MY HOME and starts shit.
As most people know who are up on what's going on in this country, I am lucky the SWAT team didn't show up and shoot me and my wife. Because this asshole called the sheriff and accused me of something I didn't do.

This is OPBS, before this dimwit shows up, I got along with everybody back here. Life was good.

Now, when the Sheriff's Deputies showed up, he asked me if I owned a gun. I said yes and is there a law against it ? No, he said. I talked with him and another deputy for about 20 minutes. They explained how the POS had made me out be a monster and they (the POS neighbor) where concerned for thier safety. The dupty being a local boy understood how it operates back in these hills. So he saw my side.

We (the Deputies and I) had a good conversation, shook hands and they left. They clearly (based on their occurrence report) saw things my way. But it could have turned out much different given what is going on in this country. False accusations can be fatal (I am state fact, not exaggeration).

This guy accused me of pointing guns at people, venting my anger by shooting an AR15 in the woods (I don't even own an AR15 as any long time reader of my blogs know), shooting Armadillos and placing them on his property line. I am old and crippled. How the hell was supposed to do something like that !?!?! He finds a dead Armadillo on his property and automatically I shot it and placed it on his property line !?!?!?!
Sick MoFo.

How am I going to go hunt Armadillos at night and throw them on his property line ? As if I would do something as stupid as that. Consider how ABSURD that statement is !!!! Along with a slew of other completely absurd statements.

The filthy OUTSIDER comes to MY HOME and starts this kind of shit !?!?!?

OPBS. I hate that piece of human garbage. Comes to MY HOME and starts that kind of shit. How would you feel about something like that ? Do you see the problem here ?

Three weeks after that POS shows up, two of my dogs go missing. I have no proof he took them, but dogs that had been with us for over a year suddenly go missing 3 weeks after this human garbage shows up ????
Coincidence ???

The one dog was worthless, but the other would only come to you if you fed him. Which I know those Aholes where doing. The wife and I went to town, came back and haven't seen either dog since. My old dog I've had to keep chained up. Why, OPBS.

Ok, I am venting here. But I am sure many of you understand that you don't do that kind of shit. Calling the law and making up a bunch of BS lies is a line you don't cross. Yet this outsider, liberal, city POS did do it.
The world is full of people that can't keep their nose out other peoples business. The source on most problems is OPBS.