Thursday, November 28, 2013

Clear skies and set to start the bird on it's journey!

To the Weber Kettle! First stop for Tom T. Turkey as he moves towards the dining extravaganza to be held not later than 1700.

The temps are in the 60's and we await Phil and the Mom unit who should be here in the next half hour.  

It was a bit nippy out last night, temps dropped to the 30's. No problem for me because I had about 24 pounds of Siamese cats on me and they provide intense warmth.

Here is the view out in the backyard;

Beautiful day to cook turkey on the grill in the Southern sunshine!

Secret Santa dropped off some stuff on the billiards table. Useful items for playing some new games in the neighborhood, iffen' some of our friends from down the street want to come by and play. (I have been hearing about some sucker punch game being played which is apparently fun for all the family!)

lf to r
1951 model of something that is 32 and special. In the light she looks like a spring chicken!
1969 model of three oh eight goodness, oh my! Why, one could almost reach out and peacefully touch someone!
1965 She's but twenty two, repeats over and over.
1979 year of a twenty two that's younger yet repetitive.

These goodies will supplement the others in our safe, which is fun and nice!

Have a great Thanksgiving and definitely have fun in a safe and sane manner!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The holidays are here.

All preparations for T-Day are finished, and there will be Michigan people occupying the Serenghetti Lounge for the next few days/weeks. There will probably be no need for the central heating system since the weather is merely in the upper 6o's, a veritable warm spell for those folks used to Traverse City style temperatures.

All foods have been gathered and there shall be plenty for everyone tomorrow, well, for that matter for today.    After we visit the Lodge (BPOE!), we will swarm back to the hut for smoked Boston Butt and potable beverages. This will be the start of a month of conspicuous consumption, oh yes.

Just got word from Barco's sister boat in the Pensacola area, Blue Heron. Mr. T's Haircut reports wind caused a dock line to part and the vessel then struck something which left a serious mark requiring repairs. Bad luck, I hate when that happens.

Sometimes you can think you have everything set and safe but nature has the final word concerning your preparations. I don't laugh at nature because we have been in a similar position, the First Barco was sunk by another boat which had not been properly secured. This can happen anytime and to anyone the net result from that other boat was three vessels sunk and two damaged. The owner had $100,000 in liability coverage, which naturally was not enough. The first Barco was insured for $160,000. Never mind what the Meridian '46 was worth… The insurance companies called the incident, "An act of God". We got our check, so I'm good.

As for the Barco Crew and those who live close by,  we are looking forward to the Thanksgiving feast tomorrow. I'm thankful that the Spousal Unit and I are in great health and we look forward to good things happening in the near future. We hope everything goes well for all our readers and their family units, too! Good Health to all!

I will be back over the next day or so, stand by for action!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Back again to Friday!

Every day seems to be a Friday, at least when I come back to this site to whine about what ever be ailin' me.

No ailments to be reported. Everyone is happy in our little parcel of paradise.

The skies have been cloudy, so no sighting of the comets for me. Maybe tomorrow?  We have the Spousal Unit's Dad with us for the next few weeks and this means socializing and good foods. We need to keep up appearances and keep the outside world thinking that we are civilized around these parts.

I will make a beer and wine run to the Five Points section of town, six bottles of New Zealand Pinot Noir for the upcoming holiday along with a keg of Fuller's London Pride for our other guests to enjoy while dining on the usual. Speaking of usual, I bought a 15 pound turkey at Publix for fifty-nine cents a lb, making our bird a big $9.00 in costs! I would buy more but we just don't have room in the freezer. There can't be any hungry people in the US, food is too darn cheap! You could feed a family every week with turkeys and pork at these great prices.

We will do the club tonight with the routine stay onboard Barco afterwards, and it will be a nice evening on the water!

Have a great Friday and stay safe out there, ok?

Barco Out.

Appropriate JJW tune;

Monday, November 18, 2013

Comets on the horizon

There are a two comets visiting the Sun this week, visible to the East if you have a view of the lower horizon, about 0500. This is one of those lucky deals where NASA has a space probe in position to get some high quality images and analysis of dust spewing forth from the ice balls. I enjoy seeing a comet whenever I can because they represent long lost building blocks from the origins of our Solar System. Chunks of matter from deep space that return to the Sun, sometimes to pass and continue their journey back to the Oort Cloud from where they usually originated and others to actually impact our Sun. The last clear comet I was able to see clearly was the Hale-Bopp of 1997, which was viewable in the Western sky.

Today, the sky is cloudy so I will try again over the next viewing window which will reoccur before dawn every morning.

Before we had mass communication and electronics, astronomers watched the heavens for mystical portents or messages from above concerning the current events of the day. Comets were considered particularly important because people thought that a speedy message was being sent from the gods to us hooman beans about the screw-ups of our Rulers and the behavior of the people in general.

So... We have two comets (that were only recently discovered!) stopping by Mercury, where NASA just happens to have a space probe orbiting? Makes one say,  "Hmmm."

Cool NASA image from the Hubble Space Telescope.


The weekend was pleasantly boring other than a lucky discovery of a small shop across the river which sells bulk Indian spices. We are now in possession of a fragrant collection of  those spices the likes of which only the very wealthy could have possibly held two hundred years ago. I'm talking about literal pounds of garam masala, turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, star anise and so forth. The Spousal Unit has had to transfer all spices into their own three drawer storage cabinets which has now opened up space on the counter-by-the-stove. What a mess! And we were able to gather such goodies without having to contract with a shipowner or spice caravan. 'Murica!

This week we have guests coming in from Michigan so the Barco home will be a-bustlin' with activity. A keg of Fuller's London Pride is inbound for our kegerator and the gathering of good food(s) begins in earnest for the Thanksgiving celebration.

Have a nice week and keep your eyes in the skies! May the visiting comets bring good luck to you readers and to us here in Florgia.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Another very nice day

Friday is a day we cut a lot of slack with, giving it a bit more credit than it really deserves. It seems nicer if only because we know we can sleep in later tomorrow, or not depending on what our plans may be. Which is nice.

Everyday is a Saturday for me. Sorry.

As always, I mount up expeditions into the unknown… In the past couple of weeks, I have tried to begin a journey into sourdough baking beginning with starter and other recipes.

I love the bread that is primarily thought of as the San Francisco treat. Who hasn't dreamed of keeping a pot of starter hidden in the dark places of the kitchen,  ready for a fast mix-up into a tasty loaf of sourdough bread? Just reading stories of Old California, the Forty-niners (Not the Football Team) living in a small shack, panning for gold by day, while some character going by the name of "Cookie" or "Old Sourdough" bakes up warm sour bread to take the chill out of the prospector's bones. Sounds good, right?

Using the trusty internet, I googled starter and found this site. I followed closely, the directions therein and made starter in an old Ball jar that had originally been used by the Spousal Unit's Grandmother. The jar is green, for goodness sakes, so you know this is gonna be authentic! With all the great foods processed in this jar over the past 75 years, I'm hoping the Grandmother's  legacy will bear continued goodness for our benefit. (Thanks, Viola Miller!)

This is the starter after a couple weeks of feeding and nurturing. The color is more of a light tan which the camera misses.

The first afternoon, the starter grew like a jarred monster, doubling its size in a couple hours. I had to pour out half just to keep it contained in the quart jar! I placed the excess starter in a bowl and kept feeding both as planned. (Feeding consists of 1/3 cups of warm water, flour and a large pinch of sugar for fuel) Ten days later I made two loaves of sourdough recipe bread using the bowl starter first. The bread came out cake-like and just generally sucked, so I fed them both to the birds.  My style of cooking always requires me to plan for tossing the first anything I make. For example; the First Pancake shall always be tossed in the trash. It's the rules… So shall it be with bread.

The Real starter which lives today in a green antique jar!

Yesterday, I felt that the time was right to really try out the recipe. The starter culture has had a couple of weeks to sour up and I was planning on rib-eye steak for our evening meal. Fresh bread would be a nice garnish and the added benefit would be that She Who Will Be Obeyed would think I was an all-around good fella for going the extra hundred feet to make her happy.

Following the recipe, I used the big electric mixer to combine 1.5 cups of sourdough starter, yeast, warm milk (105 degrees F!) and five cups of flour into a ball of dough which I kneaded for the prescribed ten minutes. I then let dough rise in the oven with light on for warmth. About 1700, I placed two loaves into 350 degrees of convection powered heat. Thirty minutes later, two golden colored loaves of bread were ready, just as She Herself walked in.

"Smells great in here!" was her hello. (ah yes!) "What's for my dining delight this evening?"

"Grilled steak," said I. Would you like a glass of Pinot Noir?"

She likes me! ;)

After dinner, the bread looked like this.
The bread was actually bread-like! It is a very pleasant tasting bread especially with softened butter. Unfortunately, it is not sourdough, darn it. But we will take the good deal because fresh bread is always a tasty treat, even if it tastes of warm yeast. Yum!

The Sourdough starter has a name now, since it is a living thing in our kitchen; 

Seymour. (Feed me, Seymour!) 

Like a child, we have great hopes for it but today it disappoints. Maybe next time, hmm?

The weather has cooled and short pants have been replaced by long. The temps are still in the 70's in the afternoon, but there is a chill at night.

Here is a depiction of our cats which hangs in the living room;

I love this bit of art! So real...

We have three of Them, whom we serve. But the watercolor shows six. Three seems like six when you are trying to sleep at night. The Cats are in full winter mode right now,  which means they reside mostly on the bed in a pile trying to keep warm on a couple of clean towels.

So, back to Friday; I like Fridays, even if it is a day like others. I will be cleaning the hut this morning and we will  do the club thing, later.

Have a nice day and weekend! 

I have been cleaning about the hut and had the Tube of Ewe going. Here is the coolest video with Jerry Jeff and his buddy from 23 years ago;

 Great back story to the song. Please to continue with your fine day!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Feelin' bettah!

Sorry for staying away. The various chemicals and antihistamine related pharmaceutical concoctions have made me unreliable in not-the-normal way. I choose to be predictably unreliable because it pleases me. But when I am necessarily connected to boxes of serial kleenex, I tend to just layabout and moan. The Cats like this and pile up on me because they think they are helping. They tire easily, yah-know, and welcome me into the sleeping area as if I was a bigger cat needing rest. Ahh, but I am the cat who constantly sniffles, coughs and uses mass quantities of tree products to stanch the flow of nasty fluids. Yuck!

That's me. Complicated. Boring. Snotty.

While recuperating from my code, I did spend a few mornings bubbling in our concrete tub (with flowing hot waters!) which is adjacent to the cement pond. The neat effect was seeing the new algaecide (Al-Jazeera?, Naw…) that our Pool Professional is using. The chemical FOAMS when agitated! So I scooped out the foam and settled in to the curative hot waters and enjoyed nature. I noticed blue jays, finches, mockingbirds and lovely red/less red cardinals, flitting about searching for food around the seedless bird feeders… er. Get up out of water, go inside, get birdseed, load feeders! SLACKER!!!

Guilt is a powerful emotion which makes us move forward to be better. I really hate letting birds down.
Note to self; Be sure to buy a few extra turkeys at the Commissary and drop them off at the local Church… Really.

A few weeks back, I was visiting at the NAS Jax docks with a couple friends who enjoy sailing. We got on the subject of Richard Henry Dana's classic, "Two Years Before the Mast". My friend who is recently retired from the Coast Guard, (A Naval Architect who is a former Nuke!) Bill had never read this particular book either as part of his years of formal study or for reading fun. So I took it upon myself to order a copy from Amazon  intending to make it a gift. The book came in the mail yesterday and I decided that I will have to retain this particular book… It is a first edition from 1941 with color plates. The interesting thing about this book is that it has never been handled! The sales flyer from 1941 was still present and there are no marks or signs of handling anywhere. I think someone received this book seventy years back, left it in the box, put it on a shelf and forgot about it. Sorry Bill, I will get you another one. A nicer one, for sure… ;) It will be here before you leave on your sailing voyage!

First act for today: Watch this... The takeaway quote is …"He turns ON the wipers!"

Translation of conversation (Provided at the You Tube site…) "Following conversation ensues after crash: Guy#1: "Oh, we float! Guy#2: Where we go? Guy#1: I don't know, maybe to the shore. Guy#2: Don't steer the wheel, it's useless."

Just like life, right? The Russian people are such deep philosophers, naturally.

In our rebel-like quest to flip the world a big digital bird, we shall dine at the Napa Valley Wine celebration event tonight at the Club.  Enjoyment will occur in the knowing that there are many who cannot find such happiness. On the flip side of my smuggishness; I'll bet folks like Prince Charles get sick and effin' tired of dining big everyday. My joy comes from doing it every few weeks. This because I don't have to stand up to give a speech toasting my hosts and congratulating the local mandarins who completed some important Public Utility Project, either.

Yes, I'm a jerk, too. Just in my own simpleton way. (But feeling very self impotent!

Naturally, after dining we shall reside temporarily on the Barco for dessert. Not sure what the weather will be like this weekend, too lazy to look it up online. Sometimes, it's better to be pleasantly surprised than to be disappointed by our own weak expectations. To be a bit clearer, (like my sinuses!Thankewevarymuch) let it rain or shine.

Please enjoy the day, whatever it brings!

Monday, November 4, 2013

I haz a code...

Since last week, I have been afflicted with a very tenacious version of this season's portable gift which is giving me something to do. I should own kleenex stock.

This means no real updates since last Wednesday. Be back soon!