January 13, 2015

Central Indiana Blogger Shoot-n-meet-n-greet

Any bloggers in the central Indiana area want to do a meet-up/range day/shoot-n-meet-n-greet?

I'm not sure where, exactly.  I live up near Muncie.  I know Tam and Brigid are in the Indy area.

Who else is around?  Who has access to a range that would be suitable?

January 9, 2015

And the Hit Just Keep On Coming

Middle of last August, we noticed that the house at Casa d' JB wasn't quite as cool as one might expect with central air conditioning running.  Went to the vent, felt what would best be described as room temperature air coming out.  A quick inspection of the central air unit showed ice on the pipe that goes into the house.  That indicates a coolant leak, which is usually due to a leak in the core.  Being a 15 year old unit, it cannot be repaired, only replaced.

That will cost us a couple grand.

Spawn the Younger is getting treated by the orthodontist, with braces, a palate expander, and some pretty high-tech head-gear.

That's costing us a couple grand.

Wife.gov needed new tires and a brake job on her car, so we took it into the shop for necessary repairs and upkeep.

That set us back a grand.

And now, last night on the way home from work, I stopped at the package store for a six pack of beer and a pack of smokes (I know.)  It's been cold the past few days in East Central Indiana, with wind chills in the negative ten range, but Jeepers has been a reliable trooper, I just put a new battery in last winter, new spark plugs and a fuel system cleaning a month ago, and an oil change two weeks ago.  Paid for my purchase, went outside to head for the homestead, and the Jeep failed to start.  It cranked once, then wouldn't crank again.  Turn the key off, wait a few, tried again, same result.  Thinking it was a dead battery, perhaps, I was fortunate enough that another patron had a big ol' GMC 2500 Sierra truck with dual batteries and lots of power.  Offered him five bucks for a jump start (he refused the money, offered the jump start anyway -- there ARE good people in the world), but no dice.

So I had it towed to the shop, where it will be inspected and probably set me back another grand or more.

I'm selling a kidney, if anyone is in the market.

*sigh*

December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Regardless of how you celebrate, or if you don't at all, I wish you a Merry Christmas from everyone at Casa d' JB.

May you have love, peace, and happiness in your heart, a warm home, a loving dog, and a family at hand.

Thanks for being there.

Best,
JB

December 18, 2014

Solo

None are quite so alone as they who feel isolated in a room of people.

-- JB

November 12, 2014

Veteran Records

Anyone have suggestions on how I can find out more about my Grandfather's military service record?  About all I have is his full name and the month/day of his birth.

He died when I was in high school, and I know he was in the Army during WWII, but that's really all I know.  I've got no other connection to him.  My biological father died two years ago, and we hadn't spoken in 20 years.  Gramma died not long after Gramps did, and that's that.  I have no other connections to use to find out more.

Any suggestions?

Thanks, all.

October 29, 2014

Bachelor Cooking

Having a chat with a co-worker today and got talking about food.  I mentioned that I had a heap of good barbecue for lunch, and he got all excited:

"Oh, I love barbecue, and wish I could make it.  You always make really interesting sounding food, JB..."

I guess.  I mean, yes, I think the food that I make is tasty, but it's not hard nor is there any real secret to cooking good food even if you're a bachelor.  While I make dinner for four now, it wasn't long ago that I made dinner for... well, just me.

The trick, I think, is having a slow cooker, a.k.a. Crock Pot.  With it, and some basic stuff, you can make a lot of decent food.  Then add in a few dozen resealable plastic tubs (tupperware, basically) and space in the freezer...

Barbecue Shredded Pork:


My Texas pals will cringe at this, but you can make a modestly fair heap of pulled pork in the crock pot.  Get a decent sized pork shoulder roast (as big as will fit the crock pot) and put it in there.  Add a bit of water, perhaps an inch, to the pot.  If you wish, work in some dry barbecue rub on the meat.  Put the whole thing, crock pot and all, into the fridge* and go to bed.  Next morning, just before you leave for the office, put it in the heater, lid on, and turn the heat to low.  8 hours later, you'll come home from work.  Get the pork out and into a cake pan, drain the water/juice (or save it to make beans... see below), chop up the meat, and return to the crock pot.  Add a bottle of sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's is really solid, IMHO) and crank to HIGH.  Warm through, serve on bread or buns.

Roast and Veggies:

This is one of the all-time favorites at Casa d' JB.  A beef roast, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper and onion powder and garlic and whatever else you like.  Into the crock.  Add some baby carrots, some green beans, and some potatoes cut into fourths.  Pour a can of Cream of Mushroom soup on it, and add a splash of red wine.  Low heat, 7 hours.  Remove the solids, add a bit of flour to thicken the liquid for gravy.

Beans: 


Get a pound or two of kidney or pinto beans (I like pintos), rinse and drain, then put into a container filled with water and cover.  Let soak overnight.  Drain, rinse, and into the crock they go.  Add water (or, if you have it, that broth from the barbecue you made above) and some diced onion, chopped bacon, and a fair measure of garlic.  Low heat, 8 hours or so until beans are tender.  Drain whatever liquid remains, then load up with castup, barbecue sauce, mustard, etc.  Whatever suits your fancy.

Ham and Bean Soup:

If you are fortunate enough, the end of a spiral cut ham will work great.  Otherwise, use hocks and cubed ham, or leftover riblets, or whatever pork source you have.  It really makes no difference.  Get the meat in the crock, add onion and celery and a bay leaf and some water.  Low heat for a LONG time... maybe 8 or 9 hours.  Put this on the night before, then go to bed.  In the morning, remove the bones and bay leaf.  Add a pound or two of Great Northern Beans that have been soaking in cold water for 24 hours, return to the heat, and let it go another 8 hours.  Serve with cornbread.

All of these will make a fair quantity of food that you can store in your plastic tubs in the freezer.  When you get a hankerin', pull out one of them and let thaw.  But the key here is that they all use the slow cooker.  That item is indispensable for a working single person.

*Putting the crock into the fridge cools the ceramic, making it take a while to heat up... Thus buying you more cooking time.  Without that step, cooking time can be reduced by an hour or more.  I put it into the fridge because I leave the house at 7:30a and don't return until 6:00p-ish.  Without that step, my food would be done long before I get home, and overcooked before I got home.

October 27, 2014

Oh, deer

Put my first ever whitetail on the ground yesterday.

I was a bit late getting to the hunting grounds, and was walking in as the sun was creeping up. Thinking I was gonna be wasting my time, I still cocked the crossbow and set a bolt, and stalked real quiet like into the woods... based on the advice given to me on the FaceCrackBookSpace by MattG from Better and Better.

I was about 20 yards from my tree stand when two deer spooked and took off. They'd been eating the acorns from the oak that was near where I'd set my stand. Had I been out earlier like I should have, I'd have been sitting in that stand with a 15 yard shot. Instead, I spooked two of 'em.

I stood there, quietly cursing myself, and thought "This day is a bust..."

Then one of them was foolish enough to turn back and stood about 25 yards from me.

I thanked my lucky stars, slowly raised the crossbow, and thumbed off the safety. He looked in my direction, but either didn't see me or didn't think he should be afraid of me. I was moving at a glacial pace, and hoping he didn't take off.

Walked over to my crossbow bolt and noticed it was well covered in blood. A good sign, for sure. Took me a couple minutes to settle down my adrenaline rush, but I finally calmed down enough to call the wife:

"Grmpfh-snksh..... hello?"

"Hi, babe."

"Honey? Is everything alright? I thought you went hunting?"

"I did. Gonna need you to make room in the freezer..."

She said that's one of the best wake-up calls ever. I'll take that.

Anyway, found the blood trail, started following it, and discovered that deer dropped about 20 yards away. The arrow went straight through his chest cavity. That was as good of a shot as I could want. A quiet "Thank you for providing for my family" and I started dragging him out of the thick brush.

Everything below the diaphragm was intact, and when I got into the chest, I found that his lungs were pretty much non-existent... Nothing there but shredded tissue. A quick, ethical kill, which matters more to me than anything else.

I took him to the house for a quick photo at the wife's insistence, then a drive to Farmland Locker, a local processor for carving. I suppose at some point I'll figure out how to carve a deer myself, but at the moment I don't have the time or equipment to do it properly. Should be getting my meat this week.

I sent a bolt from a standing position, it went straight through the deer, out the other side, and I managed to have the presence of mind to watch which way he ran. At least until he got into some thick brush I couldn't see through. But I had a general sense.

A small button buck, perhaps 120-130 pounds on the hoof. No trophy deer for sure, but I don't care... It'll make good eating. I managed to field dress him without much fuss, thanks in no small part to my frequent watching of "How To" videos on You Tube.

I'm pretty stoked about it.



October 6, 2014

Hell of a spot

I say what's on my mind and I end up pissing off folks.

Keep my mouth shut and people get pissed because I'm not speaking my mind.

Hell of a spot. Especially at home. 

September 21, 2014

They Call Them "Elections"

The news media is all up in a kerfluffle about some dude -- who might be dangerous -- getting past all the security and scrutiny and making into the front door of the White House.

Haven't they noticed this very thing happens every 4 years or so?

September 17, 2014

Nothing to See Here

No time to write.  And even if I did, I'm having trouble with the words putting into sentences thing.

Maybe another day I'll have something.  Maybe not.