Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


One heck of a shindig.

Over the weekend, my wife and I went to a Masquerade Party being held as a fundraiser for one of the local performing arts groups.  The theme of the party was 'An Evening in Rivendell', and the dress code called for either Elven/Hobbit costume, or formal dress.  I decided that I would split the difference, and give the Full Dress Kilt look a try.

The kilt, shoes and hose were mine, and I originally had thought I was going to be able to wear my tux jacket...but, man...I always forget how high my kilt fits.  Instead, I had to go on the internet and rent a Prince Charlie jacket and vest.  How cool of a world do we live in that I can go on the internet to Atlanta Kilts, and within a week have what I need in the mail? It wasn't cheap, but I think it was worth it. 

Of course, I already had the best accessory in the world at the house with me.

It was a nice night.  All the local arts groups put on performances, and there was beer and wine and munchies.  And pretty girls in pretty dresses.  As I expected, the masks didn't last all evening.



Got the bug.

I tend to do my canning in clumps...and right now, we are at that time of year when produce is cheaply available, AND it is finally starting to cool down enough in the house that it doesn't feel suicidal to steam up the kitchen(although, people at spas would pay good money for the kind of pore cleaning vinegar facial I gave myself this weekend.

First, I made a larger batch of candied jalapenos...5 pints and then three left over jars of Dragon Juice, vs. the 6 half-pints I made the first time.

After that, I had to finish doing something with carrots that came out of the garden, so I chopped up some zucchini, and peppers and cauliflower, and made up a batch of Jardinière...9 pints.  That's where the vinegar facial came in. 

I'm sure I will find something to can over the upcoming four day weekend...maybe I'll have the kitchen cleaned before I start again.


Close my eyes and count to 10.

Because of my involvement and interests in the local performing arts community(and my upbringing in the Seattle Suburbs), a fairly large percentage of my friends on facebook have different, more traditionally liberal political leanings then I do.

This morning, when I jumped into facebook, this was the first post I saw.

Because it's early, and I haven't given up on fighting loosing battle with people who are already set in their belief's, I responded.

'Wrong...it was over when the Bill of Rights(including the 2nd Amendment) was ratified on December 15, 1791.'

I'm looking forward to a day at work with my phone reminding me how bad of an idea it was to try to express my own opinion.


Oh my...these are going to be worth the work.

While I had plenty of home grown tomatoes, carrots and tomatillos for my canning and sauce making needs this weekend, I had to pick up some jalapeno's for heat.  Cash and Carry had a 5 pound bag, so, yeah...I had some leftover jalapenos to do something with.  I'm not the biggest 'Bring on the heat!' guy, so, I thought this candied jalapeno recipe looked interesting. 

On paper, the liquid to sugar ratio looks daunting.  I made a 150% batch, meaning I needed 3 cups of cider vinegar, and NINE cups of sugar.

I didn't expect how much the volume of the jalapeno's would be reduced by cooking them.  I thought I was going to have a huge amount...but after the softened and shrunk a bit, I only ended up with 6 half-pints of peppers.

The good news is that I followed the hint that was included in the recipe, and I canned up another 3 half-pints of the left over Dragon Juice Syrup.  It is supposed to be the bomb as a glaze on chicken, beef, or pork.

I tried a pepper or two that didn't fit in the jars, as well as licking the spoon I had been using to stir everything. 

I think both these peppers and the syrup are going to be really, really, really good. 


Didn't see that coming.

The other day, we emptied all the carrots out of one of 4 X 4 garden beds, and ended up with about 10 pounds of carrots.  I didn't feel like just canning up 'carrots' so I took a look at the Ball Book of Canning and decided to do some End of Garden Pickles, and some Carrot Pepper Salsa.

The carrot pepper salsa is a little misnamed.  It's sweeter, and from tasting it prior to canning, it's more of a relish than a salsa.  It will go good on burgers and dogs. 

The End of Garden pickles, I made as an alternative to the giardiniera I made a few years ago.  I'm thinking I should have just stuck with the giardiniera.  It never dawned on me that the brown sugar you add to the cider vinegar would make it look like the vegetables are in a beef broth instead of a nice pickling brine.  I'm afraid it might be a case where you end up eating with your eyes, and now matter how good they might come out tasting, they are going to look kind of creepy.

We'll find out in a few weeks, I guess. 


Let's Do the Timewarp Again!

It wasn't intentional, I swear.  I didn't mean to stop blogging for like two months. 

As Roland Deschain would say, 'I Cry Your Pardon'. 

I knew things were going to be getting busy while my wife and kids were out of town...just not as busy as they really got.  Plus...trying to think about the real world...it just has been tough to get too worked up about anything.  It's easier not to think about Donald Trump too much. 

Heck...it's not just my blog I've been ignoring...I don't think I have read anything on my sidebar for 6 weeks.  At least. 

But hey...I'm back.  Recipes, garden updates, hunting season rapidly approaching...and the 2016 Presidential Campaign. 

At least the recipes should be worthwhile. 

For now...you are going to have to entertain yourself with this picture from the Rocky Horror Show.  The makeup was interesting...but it was worth it. 



So Alone.

Well, I'm all alone for a while.  Yesterday my wife and kids got in the care and headed east...WAY east.  With family spread all the way from Virginia to Boston, she/I decided that rather than try to fly her and the kids east, and then plan rental cars and trains to get from family group to family group, she would just drive.  Our kids are pretty good in the car, and she was actually more excited to drive than she would have been to fly. 

I am terrified. I am terrified of the things that happen to mothers and their cute daughters in Hollywood Movies when they are at isolated rest stops, or staying at the Motel 6 outside of Spearfish South Dakota. 

My wife isn't worried about those things. She is focused on the positives of the cross-country trip, and the opportunities it presents to visit friends, and continue the home schooling process through the summer. 

She already had a chance to do both of those things.  The first day of the trip was a short one...just over 6 hours to stay with some friends in Missoula, Mt.  These are friends that used to live in the Tri-Cities, and we used to do a science co-op with, and so they decided to continue the science theme. When my family rolled into their house yesterday, our friend Jen pulled out a few Mail Order Frog Dissection kits that she had ordered for the kids.

That is a 100% real smile on my daughters face.

I am going to miss them a lot over the next month...at one point I told my wife it would be cool if she was back by the 4th of July since I have a 4-Day weekend...but, I have since changed my story.  As the list of things she wants to stop and see grows I told her not to worry about time.  She is never going to get another chance to do this with the kids...I would rather she comes home a few days later than planned instead of having her come home on time, and then have her talk about things she wished she had been able to see.