Monday, February 28, 2011

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: 2/28/2011

"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."
-- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Drizzly, Chilly Days

How many of you like drizzly, chilly days? Not a lot of rain, just kind of a drizzle, sometimes more like a mist. When it's kind of cold out, but not too cold to make it freeze. The kind of day to set in front of a fire, sip on a hot mug of something. My choice is usually hot Dr. Pepper, sometimes with a little rum and a twist of lemon. Kick back with a good book and read all day. Or bundle up and go outside for a walk, THEN come home and do the fire place thing.

Then there are people like me who like to be up in the mountains on those kind of days. It's like having the mountain all to yourself; well, you and all the animals. When you walk, it is so still and you can walk the trails and see things that you have not seen before.

Like a mama deer and her fawn, lying curled up together against the rain. Or to see a rabbit under a tree with a fox not too far away setting under another tree, and they can both see each other, but neither moves. How about watching low hanging clouds drifting over the mountains.

Or seeing and hearing a big flock of ducks come off the water of a lake or pond. Or hearing the bugle of an elk. And the sound of a campfire! The warmth on your face and the cold on your back that makes you turn your backside to the fire.

How about the sound the rain makes when it hits the ground, or when it hits aspen leave? Watching a herd of elk feeding then lounging in a meadow. I love to listent to thunder roll across the mountains.

These are just some of the things that I like on days like this. How about you?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NEAT IDEAS: Used Film Canisters

Here is a neat idea that I got from a buddy of mine. He is a camera nut. He will take like 200 photos, get them developed, and maybe keep 10 pictures out of the 200. The rest he files away in a box.

Anyway. Take your used little film canisters, clean them with soap and water, then take them and poke some holes in the lids. You now have salt and pepper shakers to toss in with your lunch or for when you go backpacking, camping, or what ever outdoor thing you do.

Also, you can take one of them without the holes and load it up with wooden matches. I know I have posted about the matches before, but in never hurts to give out the info again. You could load one up with some of your homemade fire starter. Or roll up some fishing line and throw in some hooks. Or make up a little sewing kit to put in your film can and toss it in with your luggage for road trips.

If you have extra meds to take with you on a trip, instead of carrying some of those big pill bottles, put some white tape on your little can, take a sharpie, and mark it with the type of medicine in your canister.

Think about what else they might come in handy for. Like maybe to carry a few extra earrings or something. (I hate when I lose mine!)

So don't toss them all out. See if you can come up with some new ideas for them.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

FEED YOUR FACE: Penguin hors d'oeuvres

Jim's dad is having surgery today, so I'm posting in Jim's place. I'll try to not chase too many of you off.

Last time I got my haircut, I was explaining to my stylist my theory that if I got a giraffe-print purse, I would look taller! She asked if I collect giraffe stuff (I don't) and I asked if she had an animal she liked really well. She said she didn't really, but that she was currently thinking penguins were cute.

Then, this benefit for one of the stylists at the salon came up, and I thought we could make hors d'oeuvre penguins!

For 50 to 60 penguins you will need:
3 cans jumbo pitted black olives
1 can small pitted black olives
a container of whipped cream cheese or Rondelé cheese
a couple of carrots
pimento strips
tall, frilly toothpicks to hold them together

First, we peeled the carrots, and let the cream cheese sit out just a little to soften. We drained the olives. We (I) forgot to buy pimento strips. Oops. That's okay -- the weather was nice, so our penguins didn't need scarves anyway.

Jim filled our decorator set with the cream cheese. If you don't have one of those spiffy devices, don't stress; it's okay -- just use a baggie with a small hole cut out of the corner, or a pastry bag if you have one. If you go that route, use the long, pointier tip, 'cause you'll be inserting that into the olive hole. (Sorry if it sounds nasty when I say it.)

I sliced the carrots into little coin-pieces. Don't make them too thin 'cause these will become the penguin feet. Make them a little thick so the penguins stand up. There is nothing sadder than a downed penguin, ya know.

Then take the slices and cut a little notch out of them. That will form the V for the feet, and the little notch becomes a beak.

Then take the jumbo olives and make a slice down each one, from the pit-hole to the other end. This is what becomes the penguin body.

Then take your decorator/pastry bag/baggie, and pipe some of the cheese into the hole. It's even better if you overfill it a little, because then it makes the white chest of the penguin. Jim is an under-filler, so our penguins barely had any tummies. Maybe Jim is over-compensating, not wanting those penguins to have Isles of Belly.

Then, insert a beak into a small olive. Put the bigger end in first so the pointy end points out the front. I took a picture of that part, but it is blurry. Pretend it's in focus, okay?

Then, place the body (big olive filled with cheese) on the feet, and place the small olive with the beak on top of the body, then insert a long frilly toothpick into the whole thing from the top to hold it all together. This is also why you want the feet a little thick -- so the toothpick has something to grab in to.

Now you have a little penguin! If you remembered to buy pimentos, you could wrap one around the penguin's neck and it would look quite jaunty! I've always wanted to use the words "quite jaunty" in a sentence. (Be sure to use the British pronunciation when you say that.)

Here's a picture of what they looked like all together when they were finished. Kinda looks like a little choir, huh?

Anyway, they are cute as well as tasty.

To finish, as Jim would say, make some horse ovaries, eat 'em up, and FEED YOUR FACE!

(Horse ovaries = hors d'oeuvres in Jim-speak.)

Monday, February 21, 2011

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: 2/21/2011

"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."
-- Winston Churchhill ( 1874 - 1965 )

Friday, February 18, 2011


Save that jar of pickle juice. Buy a cucumber or two, slice 'em up, and pack them in your jar of pickle juice. Then put it back in your fridge. Wait about 4 days and you will have pickles. Or you could put in a few boiled eggs and have pickled eggs in about a week or so.

Or, maybe try putting 3 pieces of charcoal briquettes in your fridge and some in your freezer to absorb unwanted smells.
After about a month, put them back in the bag for burning in your grill. Use the untreated kind that do not have fuel on them for easy lighting. If they are the ones with fuel on them, they tend to make a worse smell than what you started with!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

DID YOU KNOW? Buckhorn Exchange

I'm sure that you all have heard of Buffalo Bill and the Sioux chief Sitting Bull. Have you ever heard of a gentleman by the name of Shorty Scout? His real name was Henry H. Zietz.

Henry was only 10 years old when he met Col. William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody in 1875. Within two years, Henry was a full fledged member of Buffalo Bill's Scouts. During the years that Henry rode with Buffalo Bill, Chief Sitting Bull dubbed Henry "Shorty Scout" because of his diminutive stature. He became a lifelong friend to Sitting Bull.

Zietz opened up a saloon in Denver called "The Buckhorn Exchange." The doors first opened in 1893 and it has the liquor license number one in the state of Colorado.

So, if you're ever out this way you need to stop by the Buckhorn and have a bite to eat. Good food. lots of history, and lots to look at. They serve all kinds of game meat that you can pick from and, of course, lots of other things to eat.

So, now you know!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


OMG! Kathi and I went out last night to a self defense class that lasted an hour. Yours truly lasted all of 20 minutes out of that hour. Talk about being out of shape, even though round is a shape! Man, oh man, think way back to when you were a kid and you had PE class in grade school. Remember any of the stuff you did?

Last night we did jumping jacks for about 10 minutes. I started out strong then decided to slow down some. I didn't want to show off in front of everybody. So after like 10 jumping jacks my legs were screaming, "What in the heck are you doing?! Are you crazy! Set your butt down and just watch these crazy people." Well, I made it through the jumping jacks, then they wanted us to go right into squats. Now, how often do you "squat" during the day? I don't, I bend a lot. It is easier to bend than squat. When I squat it requires a chair, sofa, wall, or even someone else to help me get back up. When we were kids we used to squat all the time.

After doing squats, they had us run across this skinny room. We had so many people in the class that they had us on two opposite sides of the room. When he said go, we ran at each other, having to dodge each other. Then, after about 5 minutes of that we had to run backwards. So there were about 20 people in this room, and everyone is running backwards and you have to dodge people coming from the other direction. I was doing good. My legs were screaming at me to quit and go set down. But I hung in and was tripped by someone. I did a backward somersault that would have made my grade school PE teacher proud: I came up on my feet. Then they had us do some stretching, then we moved into defense moves.

When they started that I had to go set down. After about a 3 minute break I was up and knee kicking the crap out of this big pad that someone had to hold. It felt pretty good. Man, I was a machine! I kicked with my left knee, I kicked with my right knee. My legs were telling me that they were going to quit and go home, if Kathi will take them. Man, this was just a beginning intro class for self defense. I had to go and set out the rest of the class.

For awhile, I just sat and sweated and sweated. Then I got a little light headed so I stepped outside. I didn't toss my cookies, I just sort of felt a little bit queasy. So I sat with Kathi and watched the rest of the class from the sidelines. No one belittled me or made comments about me setting the rest of the class out.

Krav Maga is a form of martial art like no other I have been in. Krav Maga is a form of Israeli self defense. The moves are a lot easier to do and the training is more intense than other forms such as Kung Fu or Karate. But besides teaching this they also have fitness classes. They have what is called a crossfit program. Crossfit is the principal strength and conditioning program. It will get you in shape for Krav Maga, or just get you in the best shape ever, and it is for everyone. They also have a kids program.

So, as we watched them doing knee kicks and such I just happened to notice that Kathi had this little smile on her face. Guess what? As soon as the class was over, Kathi had jumped up and ran over to talk to one of the instructors. I was busy, trying to get out of the chair I had been setting in. My legs had left the building! As I managed to get to my feet one of the guys in the class came over and asked if I was doing okay. I told him I was fine, as I held onto the back of the chair in front of me. He was nice and said that I had good form on my knee kicks. I thanked him and asked him how long he had been at this. He and his wife have been at it for like 6 months. He looked good, so did his wife. His wife was out there kicking butt with some of the bigger guys in the class and she didn't give any ground to these guys.

But joking aside, I think that for a self defense type of class, women ought to check it out. Or maybe, if it is too intense, check out some other form of martial arts. We all ought to know how to protect ourselves. Even if you only learn a few moves that could one day save your life. I think that Kathi and I might be checking out their crossfit program in the near future. It is time for the Isle of Belly to disappear! Kathi got all of her questions answered by the instructor. I went to ask a few of my own, and when I asked him a question, Kathi said she had the skinny on it. I tried another question and Kathi said she had the info for it also.

So, we will see where this leads. Kathi could be the next bad a** Krav Maga kid. Me, I'm going to have a long talk with my legs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: 2/14/2011

"A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle."
--Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


OK , I missed my post for Wednesday and I'm up late doing this one for Thursday. I have a good excuse for Wednesday: I was out shoveling snow for the biggest part of the day. It seemed that the more I shoveled, the more snow there was. It has been way too cold to set out in the garage and try to figure out what's wrong with my snowblower . So, I am getting a good workout at the end of the shovel.

As of today, all of the snow is off of the walks and both driveways (one of which is very long). Now, if it will just warm up enough to melt it all before the next batch of snow! My legs hurt, my hands are swollen, and I am a little down in the back. But you know what? It kind of felt good to be out and flinging snow. We will see how I am on Thursday.

Maybe I won't use the snowblower for the rest of the winter. Shoveling snow is pretty good exercise as long as you do not get crazy about it and do it all at one time. Space it out. Work at it for 20 minutes or so then go in and warm up a bit, then go out and hit it again for another 20 minutes or so . It may take you all day, as it did me. But you should be able to get it done. Just don't go overboard and hurt yourself, or freeze your lungs or toes or fingers or something.

And who gives a rip if it takes more than a day to get the job done. You're getting some of that good old vitamin D if the sun is out. It gives you a chance to see if any critters have been in your yard. Look and see what kind of tracks you can find. Then look them up on your computer and see who all has been around your home. Kids tracks and your pets do not count.

I found fox, coyote, rabbit, and magpie prints. The fox tracks went up our big driveway then over the fence. The coyote tracks went across the edge of our front yard. The rabbit tracks followed our back side walk around the garage. And the magpie tracks were around our trash cans. They also left a feather or two.

Maybe you don't shovel your walk or driveway. Maybe you have someone do it for you. But at least take a minute or two and step outside. Take a breath or two of winter air and look around at the beauty of all that white stuff on the ground. It's mother nature at her winter best. Or worst if that's how you look at it. It is a time of renewal for the year. And all the seeds will soon be poking their little heads up as plants.

And Spring will be here soon, I hope .

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Do you like snow? For me, sometimes yes and sometimes no. Right now I dislike snow. Enough is enough. I am ready for spring and summer. Bring on the sun and heat! Get out the wading pool! Nugget will just have to share his.

I wore out one shovel last winter and I am working on a new shovel this year. My snow blower, blew; I think it does not want to leave the warmth of the garage, along with my 4-wheeler.

Other times, I like snow. Like when I do not have to shovel. Or if I am up in the mountains. Then I like it a lot. Like, when you are by yourself and it is getting dark, and you can hear the snow hit the ground because it is so quiet out. You can almost feel the snow drift along on a breeze and it sparkles in the last light of day. Then you turn your face up to the sky, see the first stars start to shine, and feel and see the flakes as they touch your face. It is like magic. You take a deep breath of the cold air and it makes you feel alive, and the snowy world around you seems to come alive.

The sound of your voice seems extra loud in the quiet. You can see a pure blanket of white, undisturbed. As the moon comes out, everything around you seems to get even brighter than before. The sparkles of the snow now seem to dance before your eyes. And, in the distance, you hear a lone coyote give its call, and you wait to see if there is an answer.

There is none. You then make your way back to your fire, brush off the snow from the log that you were setting on, and put some more wood on the fire and pour yourself another cup of hot coffee. It seems to smell even better, too. You wrap yourself a little more tightly in your blanket, which has the faint smell of campfire about it. You feel as if you are seeing and smelling things for the first time ever. As the snow keeps coming down, it seems that your senses are clearer, as is your sight.

As you warm yourself by the fire, you start to nod off. After banking the fire, you crawl into your tent and into your sleeping bag. It is so quiet you can hear the snowflakes swish against the sides of your tent. They seem to make a kind of tune. You snuggle down in your bag and you fall asleep to the song of a snowy winter night in the Rockies of Colorado.

That's when I really love snow.

Monday, February 7, 2011


"I couldn't wait for success , so I went ahead with out it ."
-- Jonathan Winters, American comedian and author

Friday, February 4, 2011


Sorry that this post is a little late. I try to get them up eariler than this. We bowled last night and took 3 games. YAY, TEAM!

Kathi brought along a HUGE box of cupcakes that we shared with everybody on our leauge. (The reason for the cupcakes was my birthday!)

Yep, I hit the big 55. No big deal, just another day. I spent it shovaling snow. Today, I'm taking my aunt to doctor appointments all day, so I'll have lots of driving time. It at least gives a chance to talk and reminisce about things from the past. I'll post a little more later on.

So everyone stay warm, eat lots of chili, drink lots of hot chocolate, and snuggle with your dog or a loved one in a nice warm blanket.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

FEED YOUR FACE: Dutch Oven Cherry Cobbler

Okay, everyone get out your bibs, your spoons, and the ice cream: we're doing dutch oven cherry cobbler! (No drooling, please)

First off, you need your dutch oven. If you don't have a dutch oven, just use a baking/casserole dish. Maybe you could do it in a 9x9 or 9x13 pan, depending on how thick you want it.
The dutch oven I've got is a little big for making this cobbler for two people, so it's going to be a little on the thin side. Use something smaller than I did, if possible.

The ingredients you'll need are two cans of fruit pie filling. This one is cherry, but you can use any fruit filling that you like. You can add more cans of the pie filling if you want a bigger or thicker cobbler. Then you need one cake mix, any flavor, but I usually use white or yellow cake mix. Also, a stick of butter, and some brown sugar.

Take some heavy-duty aluminum foil and line the dutch oven (we do that so the acid from the fruit does not react or pit our cast iron or take away the cure on it). Makes clean up easier, too. But if you are using a baking pan, you don't need to use the foil lining.

Open up the cans of pie filling and dump them in.
Then open the box of cake mix and dump the whole box on top and spread it around. It doesn't have to be perfect, just dump it in and spread it out.
Use 1/2 cup to a cup of brown sugar, and just spread or sprinkle on top of the cake mix.

Take the stick of butter and cut it into chunks -- as many or as few as you want. It'll melt around. Put the chunks on top as evenly as you can.
Put the lid on and it's ready to go into the oven. (No lid needed if you're using a baking dish.)
Stick it in the preheated oven (350 degrees) and let it bake until the butter melts and turns the top golden brown. The time depends on what pan you use and your altitude. We put a baking sheet under ours to catch any drips.

If you are out camping, this is a great dessert after a long day tromping through the woods. First time I made it, there were three of us guys on a hunting trip. We put it all in the dutch oven, placed it in our firepit, and covered it up with coals on top and surrounding the bottom. Then we just walked away. After about 45 minutes we could smell the cobbler, and since we had finished dinner we decided it was time for dessert.

We pulled it out of the fire, blew the coals off the top so we didn't get any in the cobbler, and proceeded to dish up three big bowls of blueberry cobbler. After finishing a bowl each, we just looked at each other and smiled, threw our bowls on the ground, and took our spoons and the three of us stood around the dutch oven and -- we were chow hounds -- stood there and fed our faces, talking and laughing and having a real good time. We were all eating fast 'cause we were afraid somebody would get more than the other, so it got a little messy. Before we knew it, we had finished off that whole dutch oven cobbler in one setting.

We were full. Not miserable, but definitely full. We talked for more than two hours about how good that cobbler was. Then we wished we'd saved some for the next day. See you if you can save some for the next day!

So, cook it up, eat it up, and enjoy. Feed your face with delicious cobbler!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Holy Bermuda shorts! It's cold here in Denver.

We have had ice on the roads and it is going to be like 8 below on Monday night. So Mister Chicken and I decided that it was time for some HOT chocolate.

Kathi wanted them little jawbreaker marshmallows in her brew. I opted to just mix chocolate milk, and some 2% milk, and WHAM- O, BAM- O -- we had our hot chocolate. If I would have thought of it sooner, I would have built a fire in the fireplace, but I had a one track mind and wanted that hot chocolate.

Mister Chicken agreed with me, after being out with Mister Snowman, that hot chocolate is just what the doctor ordered. It was so cold that Nugget would not go out and do his business in the backyard unless one of us went out with him. Maybe he was afraid that he might get stuck to the fence and he might need help. So nothing like going out in sub zero weather wearing your sweats and a heavy parka along with your mukluks.

Man, it was so cold that I had icicles hanging from my beard in about 3 minutes. Sorry I do not have a picture of that. Maybe sometime tomorrow. Tuesday it is only going to be a balmy 1 degree all day. So crank up the heat. Snuggle in a BIG blanket. The rest of the country east of Denver: bring in the dogs. It looks like it will be at least a 3 or 4 dog night!