Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pinto Pony

Sydney, our neighbors' grand daughter came riding up on her horse today and asked if she could put her horses in our pasture.  Most pastures in the area are in poor shape and ours is beginning to recover from the drought.  I told her to bring 'em on up.  She walked this pinto colt up to the gate so our great grand daughter Gracen could see and pet him.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Quote of the Day

People everywhere enjoy believing things that they know are not true. It spares them the ordeal of thinking for themselves and taking responsibility for what they know.

--Brooks Atkinson

What I'm Reading Now

This book, a garage sale find, is a compilation of Andy Rooney's essays, most of which appeared in his weekly segment of the TV show, 60 Minutes.  The book was published in 1989 so the pieces are dated, but Mr. Rooney's humor is timeless  and that made the book a very entertaining read for me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Quote of the Day

"It's funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools - friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty - and said 'do the best you can with these, they will have to do'. And mostly, against all odds, they do. "

--Anne Lamott

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Marley's Soccer Game

Last night we went to Marley's soccer game. These three ragamuffins were so busy with their shenanigans that I got carried away taking their pictures and failed to get a photo of Marley. It's important to take her picture often these days because she is growing so fast.  My apologies, Marley.  Next game you with be the featured star.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Too old to ride the range

That came from an old joke: "Get off the stove, Grandpa, you're too old to ride the range.".  I thought about that joke yesterday when we had a range incident at our house.  Dorothy was cleaning the stove and in her zeal to rub off every speck of dirt she inadvertently pushed the self-cleaning button. (Actually, there's no buttons on the control panel just touch pads, so it's easy to accidentally set off an assortment of functions.) When the stove goes into the self-cleaning mode the oven door automatically locks.  She canceled the self-cleaning but the door remained locked.  I got out the owner's manual and found out that after the self-cleaning cycle finishes a timer unlocks the door after a reasonable cool down time. I told Dorothy that the door will probably unlock by itself in a few minutes, but she insisted that the door be unlocked immediately. Did she have a pie ready to go into the oven? No. Did she have a last minute order for a birthday cake and it had to go in there without delay? No. So, I tried a few things like unplugging the unit and giving it a minute or two to reset.  To no avail.  So I got the flash light and a screw driver.

I shined the light through those vents just above the door handle and could see the latch. Using a small screw driver I unlocked the latch and opened the door.  As soon as I let go of the latch it returned to the locked position. I kept the door open and the latch unlocked by itself within a moment.  I suspect it would have unlocked automatically had I done nothing. The important thing is that Dorothy wanted something done and I did it. As my role model Red Green says, "If the women don't find you handsome, the should at least find you handy".

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Smoking Wings

Today I decided to smoke some chicken wings.  I like to try new things so I did an experiment.  I took the bag of wings and divided them into two piles. The first pile I coated with a dry rub containing brown sugar, paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder and just a pinch of cayenne.  The second pile I did nothing. The two piles were place on two separate racks and put into the smoker and cooked at 250 degrees. I added garlic powder to the water pan and used apple wood chips for smoke. After one hour I removed the plain wings and set them aside on the kitchen counter. Then I basted the dry rubbed wings with barbecue sauce, wrapped them in foil and returned them to the smoker for another hour until they reached 180 degrees. I timed this operation so that both groups of wings would be ready at the same time.  In one bowl I mixed buttermilk, beaten eggs, and Tony Chachere's creole seasoning. In another I mixed flour, a little corn meal, oregano, more creole seasoning.  Then I dipped the wings into the buttermilk mixture, then into the flour mixture and then into a cast iron skillet of hot oil and let them fry for about 4 minutes, turning them over at the half-way point. Dorothy baked some potatoes and opened a jar of home grown green beans.

I think the apple smoked fried chicken may become a family favorite.

Friday, September 07, 2012

What I'm Reading Now

I usually write these reviews myself, but the dust jacket blurb was so good I'm going to quote it directly:

In Bad Religion, How We Became a Nation of Heretics, Ross Douthat "offers a masterful and hard-hitting account of how American Christianity has gone off the rails--and why it threatens to take American society with it.
     Writing for an era dominated by recession, gridlock, and fears of American decline, Douthat exposes the spiritual roots of the nation's political and economic crises.  He argues that America's problem isn't too much religion, as a growing chorus of atheists have argued; nor is it an intolerant secularism, as many on the Christian right believe.  Rather, it's bad religion: the slow-motion collapse of traditional faith and the rise of a variety of pseudo-Christianities that stroke our egos, indulge our follies, and encourage our worst impulses.
     The faiths speak from many pulpits--conservative and liberal, political and pop cultural, traditionally religious and fashionably "spiritual"--and many of their preachers claim a Christian warrant.  But they are increasingly offering distortions of traditional Christianity--not the real thing.  Christianity's place in American life has increasingly been taken over, not by atheism, Douthat argues, but by heresy: debased versions of Christian faith that breed hubris, greed, and self-absorption.
     In a story that moves from the 1950's to the age of Obama, he brilliantly charts institutional Christianity's decline from a vigorous, mainstream, and bipartisan faith--which acted as a "vital center' and the moral force behind the civil rights movement--through the culture wars of the 1960's and 1970's to the polarizing debates of the present day.  Ranging from Glenn Beck to Barack Obama, Eat Pray Love to Joel Osteen, and Oprah Winfrey to The Da Vinci Code, Douthat explores how the prosperity gospel's mantra of "pray and grow rich," a cult of self-esteem the reduces God to a life coach, and the warring political religions of left and right have crippled the country's ability to confront our most pressing challenges and accelerated American decline.
     His urgent call for a revival of traditional Christianity is sure to generate controversy, and it will be vital reading for all those concerned about the imperiled American future".

Quote of the Day

In the contemporary United States, a host of factors--from the salience of issues like abortion to the anti-Christian biases of our largely left-wing intelligentsia--ensure that many orthodox Christians feel more comfortable affiliating with the Republican Party than with the Democrats.  But this comfort should not blind Christians to the GOP's flaws.  Instead, they should be the Republican Party's most vocal internal critics, constantly looking for places where the right-wing party line deserves correction, and constantly aware that Rush Limbaugh's take on tax policy and Donald Rumsfeld's view on water boarding are not inscribed in the New Testament.  Similarly, those Christian for whom the Democratic Party still seems to provide a more natural home should make it their business to speak out loudly against the way that liberalism can provide a warrant for libertinism.  And Christian activists who work outside the party system--from pro-life groups to antipoverty crusaders--should wear their outsider status as a badge of honor, rather than thinking of themselves as team players for one faction or another.

--Ross Douthat, Bad Religion, How we Became a Nation of Heretics

Thursday, September 06, 2012

What I'm Reading Now

A Joyful Noise by Janet Gillespie is a memoir of family relationships and family vacations. Although it  describes a different place and time than most of us are used to, it is a timeless story. Ms. Gillespie gives us an account of her years growing up from summer to summer at their family vacation home near Westport, Massachusetts.  I laughed out loud throughout the book as I read about the adventures she and her family had sailing, bird watching, hiking, and dealing with the beach crowd that flocked to the area each summer. I think you will like this book.