Sunday, September 25, 2011

25 Sep Update

Well fall has finally started showing itself in the form of leaves starting to turn various colors. We dont have pictures of that yet because it is just starting but we plan to show the glorious Ozarks color display soon.

Its been a week of small projects and successes in my recovery and life is pretty good right now but I wanted to share something that I encourage everyone to be aware of. I have become very attuned to neurological issues since I have had my own spinal surgery and still suffer from some neurological damage in that I get dizzy when first getting up in the morning and when bending over...and I mean dizzy to the point where my vision starts to go and I almost keel over. My issue is probably related to the damage to my spine and specifically my neck and its either orthostatic hypotension or Menieres disease and not uncommon for those over 50. Its not too serious and you learn to adapt but my good friend Bonnie also brought me awareness to an organization called the International Essential Tremor Foundation ( and I urge everyone to take a look at the website and at least become aware of this progressive disease. I think most of us probably know someone who has ET but we dont know much about it and that site has some very good information.

So one of the small projects that I have been contemplating is replacing the rubber feet on our portable generator. We have a generator thats capable of powering the heat/AC and the freezer and refer and a few outlets in the event we have a power outage (which happens frequently here) but its not one of the high end generators and the rubber feet didnt last long. The rubber feet actually help stabilize the generator while its running and keep it quieter so it was no small issue we could just ignore...but being a scrounger and tinkerer I found a great solution to fix the problem as you will see below. I also want to appologize (sort of) for more food pictures but we are in the fall "lets cook a lot" mode and we have been enjoying the results of our efforts.

The rubber footings for the generator (shown here on top of the fuel tank after the tore in half) were so cheap you could tear them in half with your hands. We find that so many things are just made disposable but that if you take a little time to replace cheap nuts and bolts, retorque fasteners, and get creative you can modify some of this equipment to work fairly well.

Having lived in Alaska for so long and being a hocky fan the first thing that came to mind was a hocky puck..the devil is in the details though and we at first had a hard time finding hocky pucks in Missouri. But while waiting for my surgery and walking through a big sports store in Springfield we found exactly what I was looking for. First I drilled a center hole to be able to insert the bolt through the bottom into the leg frame....

Then counter sunk a bigger hole for the washer so that the bolt would be flush or slightly indented from the bottom of the puck...

And the finished product, the wider stance of the puck actually helps stabilize the generator and provides some additional vibration dampening.

So what happens when you leave a small vent hole open in the barn cat feed bucket?

Barn mice decide to have a snack. Obviously the barn cats arent doing their job and these guys, though kind of cute, went to mice heaven.

From dispatching mice to cooking...what a segue. Anyway, we took a whole chicken and cut it into the standard 8 pieces and browned them in bacon fat.

then browned some onions, carrots, and garlic...

Added some red wine, chicken stock, a little sherry (I used some Port instead), salt, pepper and some fresh Thyme from the garden and slow cook for a couple hours.

Braise some fresh Leeks from our garden...

Add some black beans with crumbled goat cheese and Holly's home made rolls and poof....a great meal of Coq Au Vin (Chicken in Wine).

And I couldnt let this little masterpiece we had the other night go without recognition. Slow barbequed beef baby back ribs (got a good smoke ring on it without drying it up) using Gates original BBQ sauce. When we lived in Kansas City so many years ago Gates was the place to go for BBQ and they now market their own sauce, at least we can get it here in the Mid West. Spicy and the best flavor imaginable.

And now for some garden pictures from today. Holly experimented with Fennel and its really come on strong now that the weather has moderated. Its very slow growing but its one of my favorites and we will plant a lot more next year (same thing with Leeks, we under planted that particular Allium).

These three are still kind of small but growing well. Horn worms like them though so you have to be vigilant, every evening we go out with the garden scissors and snip those little buggers in half, miss a day and they can defoliate the entire plant in short order. Lots of chemicals work to control it if you want to ingest that garbage.

Our first year Asparagas came on so well we will probably be able to harvest in the spring instead of waiting another year.

And Holly and Judy have various seed starts in the greenhouse for the fall garden including the raddishes and lettuce starts seen here...

And some tomatoes and broccoli. We have carrots, beets, spinach and cauliflower in the ground and its all looking good.

Next week we do some caulking, wood cutting, touch up painting, wood splitting, cut and shock the corn stalks, and start plowing and disking for winter wheat.

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