Friday, November 27, 2015

Our Cup Runneth Over

As it turned out, Honey was feeling better yesterday, but I was feeling worse.  The decision to stay home for Thanksgiving seemed more than justified.

Since we had not planned on being home, our holiday feast was not exactly typical, but it was close.  Instead of a turkey, we had a spatchcocked chicken. 

If you’re not familiar with the term, Spatchcock is a word from 18th century Ireland that describes a way of cooking poultry, and you may have been doing it already without knowing what to call it – it involves removing the backbone and laying the bird flat on a grill before placing it in the oven. 


In addition to the chicken, we made a big pan of dressing and some giblet gravy, and Honey made the broccoli rice she had intended to make for Cheryl. We ate around three o'clock, and had way too much food for two people. 

Then just after dark, as we were trying to decide whether to go for leftovers or ice cream, the door bell rang.  Knowing that we had been under the weather, the Graffs, our next-door neighbors, had brought over dinner.  The plates included ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, devilled eggs and more, and there was another plate with slices of pumpkin and pecan pie.

If you’re hungry, feel free to stop by.  We have enough leftovers to feed an army.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015


That is Jean Ferris’s painting of the first thanksgiving. 

Normally, we would be on our way to Bertram and Liberty Hill for the day, but we have both been a little under the weather and decided to stay home this year.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Place Holder


I just don’t feel like writing anything today, so if you were breathlessly waiting for today’s blog post, here it is.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Our house has one water inlet (from the well) and three outlets – one to the septic tank, one from the kitchen to a grease trap with its own field lines, and one that is just a pipe that drains the washing machine out into the woods.  It is a system that has served us well for almost forty years.

Over that time, I have had to use a roto-rooter on the septic field lines once or twice, and have had to empty the grease trap several times, but until this weekend the washing machine drain had never been a problem.  I was washing my sheets this weekend when the drain decided not to drain anymore and soapy water filled the utility room and most of the kitchen.  I caught it  while the machine was still about half full, but a gallon of water can go a long way.

After mopping up the mess, I tried using water pressure to open the drain, and thought that it worked.  The rest of the wash water drained without incident, but then, when the rinse cycle ended, it flooded again.

At that point, I went out and dug up the end of the pipe, then ran a water hose up the pipe from that end.  Kneeling in the mud with my arm shoulder deep in freezing water and shoving a water hose up the pipe ain’t fun.  Okay, it wasn’t freezing, but 36° is close enough! 

I think it’s okay now, but I’m going to work on it some more this afternoon to be sure.

Monday, November 23, 2015


Our hummingbird feeders are in storage for the next few months, and this is one problem we have never experienced.

hbirdfeederWe have had raccoons, and honeybees, and a couple of birds other than hummers, but never a horse.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Thanksgiving is coming up this Thursday, and will bring with it the usual arguments about the best way to prepare the turkey – roasted or fried, corn bread vs. white bread stuffing, etc.

A contributor on an internet forum I follow posted this bird that he prepared for a Thanksgiving party on the beach.  A few well-placed pieces of aluminum foil before the bird went in the oven resulted in:

florida turkey

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Troubleshooting 101

Whether you’re talking about the family car, a washing machine, or a widget, if you want to fix it, you first have to pinpoint what is wrong. 

That means you have to be able to recognize and eliminate what it is doing right.

At one point in my career, I wrote and taught a basic, generic troubleshooting class.  It was designed for copier repair technicians, but I wrote it without any references to copy machines. 

I taught that you have to understand what the machine is supposed to accomplish, and to be able to break the process into a sequence of individual steps.  Then, you have to be able to identify the step where the process went awry.  Once you’re there, finding the source of the anomaly is usually easy – seldom more complicated than choosing between two components.

If you can do that, you can fix anything.