Monday, March 28


“And for tonight’s dessert, a real treat,” Karla said.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Strawberry,” she responded.
“You mean, ‘strawberries’?” I asked.
“No, strawberry. Look.” She pushed the bowl toward me and there in the middle yet touching all the edges, was a single humongous berry.

“Where’d you get these?” I asked, incredulous.
“Where else?” Karla said, knowing I would figure out what she meant by her cryptic response. Costco.

Speaking of Costco and Humongous, we’re going to try their potatoes. They look like Russets, but they’re not. I think if I were in charge of giving them a name, I’d probably call them Melons. Truly, those potatoes are gigantic.

Wait until it’s watermelon season. Costco will probably feature melons the size of donkeys. Too bad they won’t have legs like donkeys. That’d be handy in getting them out of the store to your ca— I mean, truck.

Wednesday, March 16

Two hundred and thirty-eight spuds. You sure that’s enough?

Karla had four big kettles going all at once for about four hours and churned out a whole mess of potatoes for the salad she’s making for a wedding feast this coming weekend.

 A dozen-dozen eggs, two gallons of mayonnaise, a gallon of dill pickles, three kinds of onions, eight big bunches of celery and who knows how much chopping of everything and stirring it into a great big mass. Then poof! Potato salad for a couple of hundred people magically emerges.

Piece of cake.

Monday, March 14

I'm still here....

I just got a comment from longtime reader, avis, telling me that I am missed. My first reaction to being missed is "It's better than being HIT!" So much for corny humor.

My naturopath doctor, who only deals in natural remedies, has helped me get rid of the mini-seizures that plagued me on a daily basis for at least a couple of years—sometimes twice-daily. That malady was more of a nuisance than a scary threat, but still....

The new house is still consuming almost all my waking hours, and recently I have been making and putting in window frames. We spent a ton of bucks on the windows themselves since they're made with real wood, not composite or some other painted atrocity. So their frames are being made with Douglas Fir, a beautiful clear lumber that we get to pick out piece by piece at White Pine Lumber in Fresno, one of those old businesses that operates as they used to in the long-ago days of personal service and excellent products. It is such a pleasure to deal with them.

Today Karla is in Fresno buying the ingredients for a batch of potato salad. Batch is hardly the word. It's for over 200 people. A friend of the ranch is getting married, and she's putting on a really big show. There are musical productions and more. Guests are invited to stay overnight, so Karla was wondering if she should make enough salad for two days. So far my only part of this affair is to plug in our other refrigerator to store the finished salad.

The ranch is buying another vehicle. It's a diesel-powered  Mercedez-Benz Sprinter van that seats five and has the whole back end sealed off, insulated, and refrigerated. It can be plugged in the day before we gather all the foodstuffs so it'll be much easier to stay legal than our previous methods  of keeping things cool on their way to the ranch (lots of dry ice and picnic coolers).

I must go now. I have another nineteen windows to finish framing.

Monday, January 25

HOLY COW! I’m seventy-five!

I know, I know—it’s inevitable if you don’t die early. In fact, I personally know several people who have achieved this ancient-ness. But when it actually happens, well it’s kinda surprising.

I have always been young. Been that way ever since I was a baby. Bio testing of my body shows that I am at least 15 years younger than I am
supposed to be. But even that is  retirement age. So why am I still vigorous enough to use a chainsaw, then stack the wood, then unstack it when it’s dry and split it to smithereens with an axe-like splitter? Or dig maybe 50 feet (15 meters) of ditch to divert rainwater off the dirt road. Took a whole hour. Without breaking a sweat, by the way.

There are advantages to aging. Medicare pays for my seeing a naturopath doctor on a regular basis to try and get a handle on the occasional mini-seizures I keep having. Nothing serious, but very annoying. I lose a whole 30 seconds out of my day whenever they happen. Oh wait—yesterday I got a letter saying that Medicare no longer applies; I will now have to pay $120 per visit. Oh, well. So much for Medicare.

My formerly staggering IQ seems to be diminishing. The fact that I
blew away the Stanford-Binet record in my high school, got the highest score ever (100%) on the Armed Forces Qualification Test when I joined the Navy (only one other person did that), nearly aced the SAT when I started college (which I didn’t complete, by the way), and got the only perfect score ever on the test given to everyone who applies for a job at any American Association of Advertising Agencies member—need I go on? I used to be one smart dude and it kinda hurts to have all that slipping away.

Oh by the way—just a few years ago I found out that when I was nineteen years old and one of two guys who hosted a Saturday night TV show on Channel 47 in Fresno, it was the highest-rated locally-produced show in Central California. I didn't know this at the time because if the boss had told me, I might have asked to be paid extra for it (I started working at the station in the production department when I was seventeen and starting college). My partner on the show was 22 years old and got paid a bottle of Jack Daniels bourbon before each show, which he sampled liberally, being susceptible to stage fright. Things were different in 1960 as you can see.

Oh well. As long as I remember to brush my teeth before going to bed I’ll probably be just fine. Oh wait—I just had a tooth removed (#9, the big one right up there in front) because it just flat died. It broke off at the gum line while being extracted, so surgery was required to dig out the root. Right now there are still a couple of stitches sticking out of my gum; the other three or so broke off yesterday and this morning (they’re organic and self-removing). Medicare didn't cover that, either.

I haven’t been regular in keeping the blog going, mainly because when I think of a good idea to write about, I'm away from the computer. When I get to the computer, I have forgotten most of what I wanted to say. It’s annoying because sometimes I come up with very good ideas to write about. Maybe I should carry a notepad. But I’d probably forget to have a pencil with me. Or keep it sharp even if I did.

Oh well. Happy birthday to me anyway.

Thursday, December 24

Homemade apple corer—it works!

Karla was preparing the stuffing for cored apples when she discovered that our corer was not to be found. Tom to the rescue—we’ll use a hole saw instead!

I boiled the saw first to get rid of the lurking crud inside, cooled it off, then used pliers to poke it into the first apple. Success! But the core remained in the apple.


Not to worry. Use a wide flat butter knife blade that gets poked down the center of the cored part and twist it as if loosening a screw.


The core pops loose at its bottom and comes out with ease. 

Then the hole gets stuffed with things (including brown sugar! which we almost never eat!), and the apples are arranged in a baking dish ready for the oven.

Sunday, December 20

You HAVE been warned!

That seems to be the message on the power cord of our fake Christmas tree. There are—count ‘em—NINE labels, each with a dire message regarding your personal safety if you ignore any of the warnings. One of them says: This is an electric product—not a toy! Whoa. I’ll try not to play with it or put it in my mouth. Or take a shower with its cord around my neck and plugged in to a thousand-volt circuit.
Hm-m-m—neither of those activities is listed on any of the labels. I smell the potential of a lawsuit here....

Thursday, December 3

Digging a big hole when you have plenty of time

Karla is standing in a hole made by a pine tree (most likely) several decades ago. Starting as a mere nut, the tree grew really tall, then died and fell to the ground, its roots pulling up a whole lot of dirt and making a really big hole.

As time went on, the tree's body slowly disappeared except for a very few pieces and a mound of composted wood and soil. Nice stuff for planting.

So the next time you need a big hole and have a few centuries to wait for it to be dug, plant a pine nut.