Sunday, June 24, 2012

Down Time

Like the title says, R.~N~R. or better explained as Rest~And~Relaxation. I had so much that I wanted to accomplish this weekend, while I was off of work. Like working in the yard ~ filling in some more of the wholes that the dogs keep digging, mowing some, trimming some trees and bushes of the dead branches and some that are just in the way. Also wanted to work on this weeks blog posting. Am still trying to dig out my new burn pit as well, but to no avail this weekend.

Then it started with this weeks work being more hectic, than I remember this time last year being. My work is as a dishwasher, in a fairly busy restaurant, just off of Interstate 75 and State Road 200 in Ocala, Florida. It turns out that part of the reason that we were so busy, was because people were leaving low laying areas of Tampa Bay to our South West. As the fourth named system of the hurricane season was building in the Gulf of Mexico and heading our way. It's name is Debby, currently a strong tropical storm, that has been drenching south Florida for a week now. Where I live just North East of Ocala is a small town called Anthony.

As I write this the sun must have just set as it is dark out now, on Sunday 2012/6/24. Looking at my electronic rain gauge and seeing that 3.44 inches of rain has fallen today with no let up in sight. It has been a steady and heavy drizzle for the last 12hrs now. This is the kind of soaking that we need, as we have been in a drought for far to long now.

So yes, being tired from the paying job and while trying to stay dry. I took the whole weekend off. To enjoy some down time for myself. Oh, just so that everyone knows, this posting was one of those freight train hitting type of postings.

So my friends,
Next week it is back to the grind ...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Summer Treats

Many have asked me, how do I come up with ideas each week for my blog postings. Well sometimes an idea will hit early in the week, giving me time to work on it all week long. Allowing for a smooth and easy to read posting. Other times it can be like a being hit by a freight train out of the blue, and entirely off of the cuff so to speak. Those tend to just flow out of me at the last minute, just in time for my deadline. Now the deadline that I've set for myself, is to be posted by Monday at 9pm EST of each week. That was my chosen deadline when I had Mondays off. Currently I work on Mondays, so now I'm trying to post by Sundays ~ Time will tell how long before my posting day will shift again. As to how the ideas come to me, I still do not know.

OK, let's get to the meat of this posting. It is June in the northern hemisphere, That means late Spring into early Summer. The days are getting longer and hotter. People are camping and hiking and biking and generally enjoying the outdoors a whole lot more. Now unless you have a summer kitchen (not many do anymore), then the kitchen in your house or apartment is really hot and sticky if you do much cooking. So Dad gets to barbecue a whole lot more. Here is a quick reference for summer kitchens, generally they are screened in gazebos with weather louvers that an be closed against the rain. Also they are usually located under a big shade tree. We had one back on the farm, not far from our garden. That way it could also be used as our harvest kitchen.

Well so much for a short and quick introduction. Ah well, I do like to talk. At any rate with temperatures rising, I thought that you all might enjoy some more of the recipes that I like in the summer time heat. Let's start with Crepes, shall we. Endless filling combinations inside of these paper thin pancakes, can make for a hearty breakfast or a light lunch or a satisfying evening meal, along with delectable desert possibilities. So here is your basic crepe shell batter:
Basic Crepe Batter
          1 cup all purpose flour
          2 eggs
          1/2 cup milk
          1/2 cup water
          1/4 teaspoon salt
          2 tablespoon butter - melted
          1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
          1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)
          1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
          1/8 teaspoon ground clove (optional)
 ~ In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs and flour. Gradually adding the milk and water, then add in the salt and butter and any flavorings, beat until smooth.
 ~ Heat a small griddle or skillet over medium high heat, while melting a tablespoon of butter in the skillet. Swirl it around to coat the hot surface, then pour off the excess and reserve. Now ladle about a 1/4 cup of the batter into the hot buttered skillet, tilt and gently swirl the batter in a circular motion until the crepe starts to set. 
 ~ Cook until bottom is light brown (1 - 2 minutes). Loosen with spatula and flip, cook other side about 1 minute. Turn out onto a warm plate and cover with cheese cloth. Now cook off the rest of your batter the same way, stacking each with cheese cloth for ease of use later. You should get about a dozen crepes. If you google crepe fillings and I think that you will be surprised by the number of response listings. The number that I got was 219,000 response hits. Now it's your turn, so have some fun.

Now for some really fun ones. That can be made up at home for snacks or trail energy boosts or maybe made by fire light when camping, instead of s'mores :
Peanut Butter Balls
          1/2 cup peanut butter - creamy
          1/2 cup honey
          1/2 cup crushed nuts - personally I use cashew halves and pieces ground in a blender
          3/4 cup wheat germ
          1/2 cup powdered milk
 ~ Mix all of the ingredients together in a large pot or bowl. Now pull out golf ball sized globs and roll into balls, then roll them in sprinkles packing them on. NOTE if these are made with kids around, when the last ball is fully coated ... then there may be no more left for you to nibble on. Better make a double batch. Enjoy.
Trail Mix Goop
          1/2 cup granola
          1/2 cup powdered milk
          1/4 cup brown sugar
          1/4 cup raisins
          1/2 cup finely chopped tropical trail mix
          1/2 cup chopped nuts - personally I use cashew halves and pieces ground in a blender
          1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
          cooked white rice - well drained
 ~ Mix granola, milk, sugar, raisins, nuts, trail mix and peanut butter in a large pot. Slowly add a handful of well drained cooked rice to stiffen the dough - if still loose add more rice. Roll into golf ball sized balls, then coat with shredded coconut and shaved sweet bakers chocolate (white or dark). 
* If you want any of these ~ guard them well. Great for cycle touring. Enjoy.
Sweet Potato Tag-a-longs
 ~ Wash a number of sweet potatoes, some people peel them, I do not. Cut into strips of 1/2 inch thick, about an inch wide and 3 to 4 inches long, basically steak fries. Shallow fry these in a large skillet with 4 tablespoons each of olive oil (extra virgin) and butter. Toss the sweet potato steak fries in the combined hot oils to coat them, then fry them about 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Potatoes should be crispy outside and tender inside. Sprinkle with sweet potato seasoning (below). When cool place in double zip lock bags, great for a cycle touring light lunch. Enjoy.
Sweet Potato Tag-a-long Seasoning
          2 tablespoon brown sugar
          1 tablespoon Cinnamon
          1 teaspoon nutmeg
          1 teaspoon ground ginger
          1/2 teaspoon ground clove
          2 tablespoon salt
          1/4 teaspoon black pepper
 ~ Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk. Then put in a shaker jar with a screw on lid. It is ready to use. NOTE - a few grains of uncooked white rice will maintain a dry mix - dry.
 * This is my seasoning mix, remember that recipes are not written in stone - to accommodate personal taste.
Almost Peanut Butter Cups
          1/4 cup butter
          3/4 creamy peanut butter
          1/2 pound powdered sugar
          3/4 cup ground Oreo cookies
          1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
 ~ Melt butter in a pot, mix in creamy peanut butter, sugar and ground Oreo cookies. Press into bottoms of a cupcake tin. Now melt chocolate chips and pour over the crust. Chill until firm ~ if you can wait that long.
Peanut Brittle (Cashew Brittle)
          1/4 cup butter
          1 1/2 cup sugar
          1/4 teaspoon salt
          2 cups dry roasted peanuts - personally I prefer dry roasted cashews
 ~ Melt the butter in a pot, dissolve the sugar in the butter. Stirring constantly because this mixture likes to burn. I like to use a whisk for this reason. You can tell when the mixture is ready by splattering the whisk over cold water, if little balls of candy form it's done. At this point stir in the peanuts (cashews). Cool immediately by placing the mixture in but not under cold water. What I like to do is to pour the mixture into a walled cookie sheet, then set in a larger walled cookie sheet that has cool running under and around the smaller pan. When cooled, dry the cookie sheet with your brittle in it and put it in the fridge for at least one hour. After which time remove your brittle and smack the flat of the cookie sheet on a hard surface, to break up your brittle. Enjoy.

There you go my friends, half a dozen recipes to tantalize and tickle your taste buds. You all should have noticed that if the recipe called for butter, I wrote butter. You can use margarine if you like, but butter tastes better and is better for you. So no matter what you do in the great outdoors, eat healthy, be smart about your surroundings at all times and stay safe my friends.

Oh No, Mister Bear This Is My Berry Patch,
AHHH ... !!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Sorry everyone but this weeks post is not ready, I'll finish it up and post it this coming Sunday.

She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed had a list longer than Santa's wish-n-want list this past weekend. Also the heat and humidity did not help. I felt as though I have been burning the candle at more than two ends, so when the sun set my eye lids did as well.

I should be back to normal by this weekend ... I hope.
Till then my friends ...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ending Human Drudgery ...

I had an idea for this post, so out of curiosity I googled "pedal powered machines". I was floored ~ 1,820,000 result hits. Looking through some of the sites on the first page, I kept seeing references to treadle power. So I googled "treadle powered machines". This really blew me away, now remember that treadle power predates pedal power. But there were only 248,000 result hits, and both pedal and treadle powered machines came about thanks to the industrial revolution. Also both are descended from winches and capstans. For those of you who are not into nautical terminology, a popular style of capstan is what draws in an anchor on ancient ships, and wind sailing ships of old. It is still in use today on modern ships to draw up, or "to weigh the anchor" as the saying goes.

Now what makes the treadle and pedal so revolutionary in terms of human powered machines, is that they allowed people to do more. You see pedals or foot cranks had a higher work ratio over hand cranks, treadles, and capstans because of compact versatility. Also the power of human legs could be harnessed, while allowing the hands to do other things. Ah yes, an early expression of multi-tasking.

In other posts I have referenced that the cycle came about in the late 1800's, well this time I have found a closer date. No one knows for sure (that I am aware of) just when the first cycle was invented exactly, but the time frame reference that I now keep finding is in the 1870's. To me that means that for some 10 - 15 years earlier, some inventors were possibly tinkering with ideas. All of the early cycles were direct drive. Later cycles starting using rope or leather thongs or crude chains to transfer power. Also some early versions had a large gear or wheel at the pedals, with a smaller gear or wheel powering the object being moved or rotated. Sometimes the object being rotated was a large fly wheel, to aide in powering what ever the machine was used for. In essence the inventors were borrowing from steam engine technology to aide in human powered machines. There you have it folks, some history into pedal powered machines.

Now let me get into the reason for my current curiosity into types of pedal powered machines.  Is a you tube video created by: Chris Turitzin, Jaireh Teccarro, Jennifer Chen and Nathen Lee ~ about their idea for the "Innovate Or Die contest". They used a bicycle to make ice cream, while pedaling around for a while. I also knew of other uses for a bicycle, so I went looking around the web to see what else I could find. Thinking that maybe my findings would make for an interesting post, here on my blog that is basically on a similar subject. Granted I do tend to wander into other subjects along the way, but I always do return to my root subject matter in a post or two.

OK, here we go in no particular order: a miller/thrasher; several versions of clothes washers were found; a blade sharpener; a blender; a meat grinder; several trike styles of a taxi or rickshaw; a rope or chain water lifter; a water pump; a nut sheller; a coffee or grain grinder; with the use of a winch and pedals to plow a field or garden; using a trike as a tractor to disk, drag, hoe, and plant food; wood and metal cutting saws; a pedal powered log splitter ~ that powers a hydraulic jack to push a log into a set splitting wedge; early sewing machines - before the popular treadle sewing machines; pedal powered cranes for heavy lifting; pedal powering of a generator or dynamo to charge up batteries; powering devices like laptops; powering a shaker that aides in the making of concrete tiling for roofs; shelling corn; grinding meal or flour; found several versions of ice cream makers; lawn mowing ~ mainly the old reel type of mower, however I did find one version where three push type power mowers were combined with a trike for a very interesting type of pedal powered riding mower; a water transport and filtration unit called an "aquaduck"; found several versions of a bladed snowplow ~ am wondering how long before someone comes up with a pedal powered snow thrower; also found a pedal powered drill press; a lathe; a grinder; a sander; tool sharpeners; boring and drilling and cutting machines; also a pedal powered scroll saw. All of these and more were designed for use in homes and workshops that have or had no power sources from in our past. However in currently developing countries around the world of today, I don't see why all of these ideas and more can not be used by everyone. As we all are trying to save some of our hard earned coins. Even in the modern world, where it seems that the working poor is the fastest growing class of people.  and  Are two interesting web sites to wander around on. So my friends, the information is out there on the web. Just do like I do, go for a stroll in cyber space. Also you tube is a lot of fun to get lost on. Wandering and wondering while doodling on the web is not only fun, but it can also be rewarding and educational along the way.

Remember this my friends;
When we stop learning or growing or doing,
We are pushing up the flowers ...