Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Girl and her Drone- Plus Other Cool Gifts

Now Who is this gift for?
The tag says it is for Taylor, but do you think Pops has designs on it?
You have three guesses and the first two don't count.
Heck, Yes!!

It started out to be an inexpensive grocery store offering
for a pretty cool double bladed helicopter with a LED 
light, which we got for her cousin.  But then Pops said,
Let's go to the Hobby Shop!!
Uh oh.

 I went over to look at the "girl stuff" and when I came back
it was like the Geek convention.  Here they were talking
copters, gear, flight paths, ranges, etc.

Ummm, this is a kid's toy
(A Big Kid's toy from what I am seeing)

It doesn't look like any helicopter I've ever seen.
That's because it's a Quad Copter, or in other words
A Drone.

This one did not come with a camera but can be retro fitted.
It works on a  2.4 Ghz, a frequency Tom is licensed for
through his ham radio license, which means he can ramp
up power, better transmitters, etc.  Google has been 
talking about experimenting using these for repeaters
rather than towers, amazing!  These are similar to
what Amazon intends to use for package delivery.

 He is going to set up obstacle courses and landing targets
 once she gets good at it.  Pops seems to be practicing 
a lot, even when Taylor is not here!
He must be breaking it in for her.
That's it.

We got some other really cool gifts this year .

The cats got me a travel acrylic paint set.

 I also got some drawing pencils to go with it.

In  addition to a pocket knift and thumb guard for whittling.

I have no idea if I will be good at this but
thought it would be fun to try, especially
as we spend a lot of time sitting around the fire
or on the covered porch in the summer.
There are directions for making tiny animals
as well as other handy things.

Our neighbor gave us a Mushroom Mini Farm!
She had tried one of her own and it grew right out of
the box.  The photos were amazing, so pretty!
I'm looking forward to starting it.

Santa brought Pops an old time game,
he's always been fond of these things-
you know- how to unhook the horse shoes or
entwined nails or the peg games for tic tac toe.

Becky (my daughter) and Taylor (granddaughter)

Christmas Eve next door at my mother in law's house.
My daughter working as bartender.

Neighbors came to visit.

My brother/sister in law's mantle with the 
required opossum among the stockings (???)

Kids by the fire

Mom was not here, the first time in years and years.
She is still recovering from her months in the hospital, 
feeling much better and getting around the house 
unassisted now.  She spent the holiday with friends
 back in Arkansas. We gave her a Google Nexus so she
has her email and Facebook right by her chair and
can keep up with messages and photos of the family 
and friends.   It also has Google Hangouts which is
similar to Skype but easier. We'll teach her to use that
and we can video chat.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

No Problem, I've Got Nine Others

It is so comforting to get a call at work from my husband
 and his first words are 
Look Up Mercy Clinic- find the closest one!

No problem, I've just about cut off my finger and need
stitches, he tells me.
Go to the fire station, it's only 3 miles away, 
not 20 like the Urgent Care, I say.
No, just look up the address and hurry, he says,
since the blood is dripping all over.
Oh, and I hope I don't pass out.


As many of you know, he is woodworking and has been 
a carpenter for over 30 years so he's used to 
tools.  There's always a chance of injury and for
the most part his have been not too, too serious.
Until now.

He was making a bowl out of some of the wood 
from our property .  We have lots of hard maple and 
white oak plus sycamore and cedar.
Now I won't explain this right, but from what I gather,
the blade got jammed as he was cutting around something
 and kicked everything sideways, pulling his hand with it.

It sliced down his finger following the nail and
then a little sideways, cutting through the bone and
crushing it.  He had the sense to wrap it
properly and clean out whatever wood was left in it
before going to the doctor, a little CERT training
 kicked in.  The Doctor was pleased as it was 
the best thing to do if you can stand to
watch your finger split in half!

The bad thing is that it took 25 shots to try and
numb the pain.  He is one of the very few people 
that are unresponsive to the "caine" drugs such
as Novocaine and Lidocaine.  It makes sense
because the oral surgeon could never numb him
either.  The people who are likely to have this also
have joint connectivity issues or ADD (/ADHD),
both of which I suspect exist in my husband.
So, his hand was on fire for most of the day and night
but he is feeling better today.  It still hurts but
not the red hot pain of yesterday.

  It is causing some other problems such as 
showering (keeping it dry), buttoning and raising
and lowering the foot of his recliner.  I won't even
talk about the bathroom!

He's getting by and hopefully this will be healed
enough for him to work after the holidays. 
The good news is that we may have used his deductible
already and this one will be on the house!
Probably not though, it always has a way of costing money.
 I swear I am going to wrap him in boat bumpers and 
bubble wrap, plop a helmet on his head and give him
chainmail gloves.  He already has the steel toe boots.

I guess he'll finish that bowl after the stitches are
removed and the metal splint is off.  I can hardly 
wait to see what this one looks like!  

He'll never be able to be a hand model again!
(unless it's the Before photos)  

Here are some of the pens he has been selling, 
the bolt action ones seem to be the best sellers
especially to hunters and anyone wanting a novelty pen.

Friday, December 26, 2014

RIP Spot

I lost Spot on December 23.

It wasn't unusual for him to disappear for a day,
to tangle with any strays that might wander into
the yard, or go seeking trouble on his own.
So it didn't really surprise us when he limped home
the evening of the 22nd.  There was no visible signs of 
trauma, no blood, no broken bones or yelping when I 
picked him up.  We determined he may have twisted 
something and would be fine in a day or two.

I made  him a little bed out of my old sweaters piled 
into a box.  He walked in, got comfortable and
purred as I sat petting him.  
The next morning he wasn't in the box so we 
figured he was feeling much better and went out
for his normal stroll around the property.

It wasn't until I returned home on Tuesday evening
that I found him lifeless under the porch.
I took a flashlight and checked him out carefully,
still nothing to say what happened.
Now we figured he may have gotten into something
poisonous or caught a mouse that had been poisoned. 
We will never know.

I had to bury him Christmas Eve morning.
We live on a rocky ridge with little to no deep dirt
so I wrapped him in one of my old sweaters,
closed up his box and took him up to the
garden when Lizzie cat is buried. 
Tom gathered stones and brought a couple
of loads up with the tractor and we built a mound
of rock heavy enough so the animals can't disturb it. 

He was our only male, one of many strays that
stayed on with us.  I would say he was my cat
but really, I was his person and he knew he  had
dibs on my lap  as we sat around the fire or 
under the cover of the front porch.

It wasn't the Christmas gift I was looking forward to
but at least he didn't wander off as
some of the past strays have,  where I call
for them for days upon days.

He was a good cat and I'll really miss him.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Butterscotch Amaretto Cookies

Today is my neighbor's annual cookie exchange.
 I know this is coming up 12 months in advance,
but do I plan what I will bring?
Do I prebake?

So at the last minute- 
and I mean the Last Minute, we were driving to the store,
I came up with butterscotch amaretto cookies.
 To make the selection more attractive (hopefully)
I decided to package them in red wire baskets
lined with white tissue.  The cookies are wrapped
in cling wrap to keep them bundled and a little
tissue bunched up behind them to keep them upright.

I added dollar store items:
a scraper/spreader and a red and white scoop
that can be used for flour, grain, cat food, etc.
 Then I sprinkled the top with butterscotch candies
as well as strawberry filled hard candy.


  2 1/4 C flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
 2 sticks of butter (1 cup) softened
  3/4 C brown sugar - packed
3/4 C granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs - large
2 C butterscotch chips
(nuts optional)

Oven temperature 375 degrees F
Makes about 4-5 dozen cookies depending on size.

Set aside in a small bowl:
Flour, baking soda and salt

In a large bowl or with a mixer:
Beat the butter, sugars and almond extract until creamy
Add the eggs separately and continue to beat the batter.

Add the flour mixture a little at a time until well mixed.
Add in the butterscotch chips
Add nuts if desired  

I  place parchment paper onto insulated cookie sheets 
to make removal easier.  I drop about a tablespoon of dough 
into three or four rows until I have a dozen or 16 on a sheet.

Bake around 9 minutes, a minute or two more if needed.
 I slide mine from the sheets onto cooling racks 
(still on the parchment paper)
 so I can quickly reuse my pans with new parchment 
as I bake additional batches. 

These are sweet, very sweet.
If you prefer something a little less sweet 
try using white chocolate and dried cranberry
or other combinations of chips.

We made six dozen of the same cookies 
but there were nine people attending
which means you don't all get the same cookies.
To select your cookies, you take a number.
In this case I was #1 (Go Kathy!)
We line up and the first person (me) goes first around
the table and takes a batch of their choice.
Then #2, #3, etc. until we have made the rounds
and all the cookie batches were accounted for.

My selections were sugar cookies, gooey butter, spritz, 
another type of sugar cookies, double chocolate chip and
the coveted pineapple roll ups that the hostess made.
These are amazing and I have no idea how she makes them.

We also had time to mingle and have the appetizers, 
dips and sweets the hostess provided on top
of hot buttered rum or wine for those that preferred 
that to soda or water.  I stuck with water and a little
orange soda; however, I might have tried the hot
buttered rum if it had been a Saturday night.

Taylor is off school so she stayed with us and
attended the party, playing with the kids,
while my husband kept company with one of the husbands 
  up at the fire he made to burn off some of the brush.

We're all home now and I am skipping dinner,
  I had plenty of appetizers to tide me over
probably for days to come!

It it up for work tomorrow,
I'll be one of the very few there this week
since I have used all my days (and then some)
but it will be only Monday/Tuesday
and then we are off on Wednesday and Thursday
but back to work on Friday.

The tree is up and now all I have to do
if find the stockings and wrap some gifts.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Diagnosis

I have had a strange malady.
I thought I was the ONLY ONE,
and it was too embarrassing to discuss.
So I scoured the internet until one day
I found my diagnosis!

I have 

  Yes, that's right. Internet Elbow.
It starts out mysteriously, and you blame it on
everything but the actual cause.
It affects primarily office workers that are either
shorter or taller than average and who also
are using corner cubicles where their chair
is not the same height as the work surface
and there is no keyboard tray.

  When you are in this situation, you tend to 
lean into your desk, bracing yourself with one
or the other elbow, normally the non-mouse elbow.
Over the course of time you wear holes into your sleeves,
ruining your sweater, shirt or jacket!

The cure is to have proper posture and
position your chair so the padded arms are
at work surface height.  For those that are short,
as am I, you may need to prop your feet up to reach the  ground.

 Once you have your elbows off the work surface,
assuming it does not make your back or neck hurt,
your problem will be solved.

But what to do with the holes in your clothing?
 I am going to try to darn and patch.
This hole is pretty big - I stretched the sleeve over
a light bulb so you can see the hole.  It's a knit 
fabric, sort of a heavier T-shirt weight so the hole
looks larger than it is.  I may need to patch with either
  a good grade felt or suede to save the jacket. 
 I'll just tell them it's the new fashion!
I assume I can do this by fusing the material to the jacket
and providing a foundation fabric on the inside of the sleeve.

 I really thought I was the only one with this problem
but  when I mentioned it at lunch, everyone else started
telling me how they are wearing holes in their sleeves too.
        They had no idea what was causing it but now that we
know what we are dealing with, we can conquer this.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WORD VERIFICATION? When Did This Happen?

I tried to comment on my own  blog and
it is asking me to complete the 
Prove You Are Not A Robot  box.

I DO NOT have word verification on.
Comment moderation is ON, so I approve them first.

Where did this come from?

Santa and the Harley 2014

Flash forward to 2014 and Taylor is still visiting Santa
and being all photogenic on a Harley trike.  

She did a little shopping while we were waiting.

Trying to determine which one was the perfect gift
for Santa to bring a 10 year old!

Uncle Dan and Cousin Gabe had a few things in mind too.

The orange tree is still there, standing by the 
gift table where you can find almost anything Harley
from glasses to slippers.  And the purses,
don't forget the purses!

 Metal signs from vintage to modern.

Santa gave her a green apple flavored candy cane and 
promises of gifts to arrive since she had been so good.

We  signed up for the quilt raffle that is is this weekend
after the bake sale  so  we'll see what the future brings.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Santa Rides A Harley (Again)

This is a repeat post of our December 2007 visit
to Santa during a horrible ice storm so our 
three year old granddaughter, Taylor, would
not miss telling him what she wanted for Christmas.

It was a day of discovery both for a young girl
and also for an old grandma.  

Santa Rides a Harley

Sleet and snow blanketed our area unexpectedly December 2007 on a most important day, at least for three year old Taylor, our granddaughter.  It was the day she was supposed to see Santa and tell him what a fine girl she had been all year.   We were going to the mall which was at least thirty miles from our home and twenty of those are over curvy, hilly, two lane, no shoulder roads where roll-overs are the norm.  The fortunate ones don’t land upside down in the many small creeks. 

How was I going to break the news that we just couldn’t make it?  She truly is a fine girl.  One of the most well behaved children, kind and sharing.   I don’t say this simply because she is my grandchild, it was a concentrated effort of all parties involved to set limits, examples and actually provide discipline rather than have a kiddie free-for-all that is so common these days.  Then it hit us-

Our local paper advertised Santa’s arrival at the nearby Harley dealership.  It is located at the cross section of Hwy 44 and 50 just outside of UnionMO.  It stands by itself, very rural and of course has motorcycles in the parking lot.   I have passed by it several times and there have been some pretty strange looking people there.  I was a bit nervous; I had watched movies where Hell’s Angels terrorized towns.  They rode Harleys.   There were tatted up, leather capped, long hair bearded men - also women in tall boots donned in pure black leather with more than a hint of silver studding.  We could get there, but would we get back?

It was only eight miles away, we could make it.  We all jumped into the 4WD truck and headed to the dealership.   I asked my husband to wait in the truck with Taylor while I checked out the store, just in case we had to hightail it out of there.   No, I’m not the brave one, I just can’t reach the truck pedals to make the fast getaway.  He thinks I am ridiculous, a West County princess, but gives in to my request. 

I gingerly approached the door, entered the building and what to my wandering eyes did appear . . . . . ?  Sitting atop a beautiful, shiny motorcycle was a wonderfully jolly, white haired, bearded Santa donned in Santa red and white from tip to almost toe-the required black boots as the finishing touch.  The pretty lady elves in elfin garb, their pointy caps all green and red, ushered the little children to Santa, snapping photos of each- compliments of the dealership.   Little play areas were set up among the aisles where awaiting tots could build with blocks, play with tiny cars or hug stuffed bears. 

The store had been transformed into a winter wonderland with homemade decorations of candy canes and packages high up on the walls.  Display areas were filled with stuffed animals, an unusual selection with anteaters, opossums, skunks, chipmunks and squirrels, all at very reasonable prices.  There were Christmas trees- the traditional green bushy variety. There was also a very special orange and black tree covered in Harley ornaments, all very pretty and quality made.  Across the store was the bake sale with freshly made cookies, fudge and candies which rivaled any PTO selection I have seen.  All proceeds would go to charity, just one of their many charitable events throughout the year. 

I ran back to the truck to get Taylor.  She couldn’t miss this, and I couldn’t pass up this photo op!  Now this is our annual Christmas event.   She loves that Santa and you can tell how much he loves the kids.  He takes his time with them, no rushing.  He has an actual conversation with them, and also with the parents. Then he pulls everyone in for a group photo.   I’m no longer uneasy around the long haired, bearded, leather capped and tatted up patrons, in fact, I would really love to have one of their leather tooled black purses complete with the silver studding  but they are way above my price point!    I make certain to purchase several items from their bake sale and Taylor always gets her pick of unusual stuffed animals, my favorite being the opossum.

So the magic of Christmas didn’t stop at a child’s wonder but also transformed the preconceived ideas of a grandma.  Peace on earth and goodwill to all.  Merry Christmas.   

Monday, December 1, 2014

Turkey Carcass: Stock and Pulled Turkey

 What happens when you get iced in on a ridge top?
For me, I can log into work and continue to do my job from home.  
My husband made great use of time by using the boiled down 
the turkey carcass (last night) and today pressure canned enough 
turkey stock to keep us cooking for the rest of the year.

Not only did we get 10 quarts of stock but boiled down
enough of the dark meat to make four pounds of turkey
which we vacuum sealed for the freezer.  
It will be great for pot pies, sandwiches,
stews or just about anything else you would make from turkey.

 My daughter won a 25 lb turkey at the church meat shoot
so we had it for Thanksgiving and divided up the white meat
among three households.  No one wanted the dark meat,
which is my husband's favorite.  I'm not that fond of it on the bone
but this turns out more like a pulled turkey so it's all tender.

The ice was quite a surprise.  The forecast called for it to go South
but something caused it to turn leaving a coating of ice and 
freezing rain on the area roadways.  Normally there is some
pre treatment but even the highway department was caught 
off guard.  Our subdivision was out of salt, they are not even
stocked at the farm supply stores yet  so there was no going down 
in my car.  A tractor trailer rollover shut the highway down earlier
(on my route of course) so I decided it was a work from home day !

All is melted now and we have found a salt supply for the next time.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Pulled Pork and Thanksgiving Turkey

If you're going to cook, you may as well go all out!
We found the pork buts on sale and decided to smoke
and pull them while the weather was still on our side.
That meant smoking the butts while getting ready
 for Thanksgiving dinner at our house.  Fortunately,
my husband was off work and could tend to it, he
is the better cook anyway!

He smoked them for twelve hours outside, 
off the direct heat.  By bedtime he brought them
in and cooked another ten hours in the oven at
225 degrees.  I could smell them cooking all
night and even had a dream about being in
a restaurant!

By morning they were so tender that
they just fell apart.

We are going to package them in pound
portions in vacuum sealed bags so we have
plenty for the season.  It is so convenient
to be able to grab already cooked meat from
the freezer and make BBQ pork,
pork quesadillas or a pulled pork sandwich.

Additionally, he prepped many of the side
dishes for Thanksgiving:  Paula Seen sweet potato
recipe cooked in bourbon, heavily saged dressing, 
plus cream sauce for spinach.  I made
the green bean casserole and rolls before dinner.
We had pies for dessert and Volpi 
Sopressa salami with a cheese ball to snack
on while dinner was being prepared.
We have our meal in the evening but folks arrive 
around 2 PM or so leaving a lot of time
to visit around the breakfast bar while we
are putting things in the oven.

I used our own sage and rosemary
on the turkey which was about
25 pounds!  My daughter won it
from the church meat shoot!  We will
divide it up so everyone has some to take home.

My husband chose the wine, both reds,
which is not typically my choice but I 
loved the Fantini.  It may have been why
I neglected to open the jellied cranberry!!

Yes, the kind in the can.
The kind that has rings from the can molded into it,
which is what you used to use to measure slices.
It's our favorite!

I hope your holiday was wonderful.