Monthly Archives: September 2008

Thanks to Hector & Elsa, Springfield Al and Incline Mike

I stopped by Hector and Elsa’s to confirm it’s ok to filch, er, harvest, their pomegranates this year and managed to catch them just as they were backing out of their driveway.

What’s the first thing Hector says to me? “Hold on, I have something for you.”

He pulled back in his driveway, walked up to the front of his garage and brought me 3 cases of brand new jars he’d gotten on sale from BigLots. When I offered to pay for them, he said, “If you pay me for them, I can’t accept any jelly or goodies.”

Since that’s a line I’ve used, myself, over the years, what could I say, except, “Thanks very much.”

And after posting my request for assistance last week, Springfield Al and Incline Mike both offered to help with harvesting and pressing of the pomegranates… something we’ll begin doing later this week.

And speaking of pomegranates, Joanne and I harvested our tree this weekend… not nearly as many in years past, but enough to make a case or two. Hector and Elsa’s tree is full, though not as full as years past, either. We (all) attribute the lower production to the heavy storms that blew through in the Spring when the blossoms were in full bloom. But, it is what it is so we’ll make whatever we can and distribute accordingly.

And speaking of making goodies, this past week Joanne made ~5 cases of fig and 2 (or 3?) of pear / apple fruitney… it’s uh-mazingly decadent and will go very well on toast, waffles, as “chutney” with pork / other select meats and even over vanilla cream… 1 spoonful is like eating an apple / pear pie – raisins (2 kinds), apples, pears, cinamon, almonds, walnuts, a touch of brown sugar and… voila, die, Jenny Craig diet!

(sugar / diet watchers note: Joanne began to experiment with low sugar pectin last year and the results were so good that she only makes low sugar goodies these days… much, much better flavor and for sugar watchers.)

Until next time, thanks for visiting, be well and don’t forget to write when you get work.

hal

McCain Replaces Palin with Startled Deer

McCain Replaces Palin with Startled Deer

With less than a week to go before the crucial vice-presidential debate, GOP presidential nominee John McCain announced today that he was replacing his running mate, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, with a startled deer.

According to campaign insiders, the decision to select a hoofed mammal to replace Gov. Palin evolved after Sen. McCain watched his running mate’s performance in a series of interviews with CBS’s Katie Couric.

“Good Lord, a startled deer could do better than that,” Sen. McCain reportedly said, prompting his aides to draw up a shortlist of startled deer.

The Arizona senator supposedly brushed aside concerns that a startled deer would wilt under the pressure of a televised debate, telling aides, “At least a goddamn deer won’t go on about Alaska being close to Russia.”

The McCain campaign said today that Sen. McCain’s new running mate, Bucky the Red Deer, would not be made available to the press prior to the debate.

“Bucky is very much a work in progress,” said McCain campaign manager Rick Davis. “Right now we’re working on keeping him from bolting off the stage.”

Bucky’s opponent in the upcoming debate, Delaware senator Joseph Biden, appeared today to be trying to manage expectations for the high-stakes face-off with his four-legged rival.

“Bucky the Red Deer is articulate, bright and clean,” Sen. Biden said. “That’s storybook, man.”

Elsewhere, former “American Idol” star Clay Aiken revealed that he was gay in an exclusive interview with Duh magazine.

Andy Borowitz is a comedian and writer whose work appears in The New Yorker and The New York Times, and at his award-winning humor site, BorowitzReport.com. He hosts “Countdown to the Election, with special guests Joy Behar (The View) and Jeffrey Toobin (CNN, bestselling author of “The Nine”) at the 92nd Street Y in NYC on October 22 at 8 PM. Student tickets half-price. For tickets go to 92y.org.

Corbin motorcycle saddles are legendary

In the world of motorcycles – regardless of the type… crotch rocket, cruiser or tourer – Mike Corbin Saddles are known as the best there is. Period, over and out.

When Owen was visiting us last week, he mentioned that he loved the bike but the stock saddle wasn’t unlike riding a skateboard on your backside… one tank of gas and his a** was hurting. He said he’d been in contact with Corbin (Had I ever heard of them? Yup. And I know the Easter Bunny and Santa, too 😉 but had yet to receive the samples they swore they would send to him time and again.So I said, “You know they’re ~1 hour from here, why not drive in like I did with my ST100 (sport tourer / slight crotch rocket) and they’ll carve you a custom saddle while you wait.”

Owen called them to confirm they still did that and the next morning was off bright ‘n’ early to Corbin’s in Hollister… Woo Hoo, it’s gonna be great!

Turns out the Corbin folks are just as open and easy to deal with now as they were 15 years ago when they made my custom saddle… good for them! After riding back home on Sunday, Owen reports the Corbin saddle is great – nice to know some really good things don’t change, isn’t it?

Enjoy some of the pics Owen shot on his visit and factory tour.


Corbin Factory, Hollister, California.

A few saddle molds ready to be put in to action.

Owen’s materials are selected and basic design laid out for saddle craftspeople to begin creating his new saddle.

Starting to put things together…

Completed saddle materials – Note nice custom design / stitching work – done @ no extra charge.


Saddle materials laid out over saddle frame and ready for install…


Saddle craftsman fitting saddle to frame.

Finished and ready to ride off in to the sunset.

Nice ride, Owe!

Coming back to life…

A week home and I’m feelin’ pretty good, thanks for asking.

Visited the surgeon on Tuesday and had the staples removed… now my gut looks like either railroad tracks winding their way through the mountains or Frankenstein’s neck / head area – your call.

All systems are normal and I’m groovin’ along pretty well, though there seems to be a conspiracy by the Doc and Joanne to keep me from using my Dyson
I know Incline Mike is feeling my pain on this one 🙂

Miscellaneous updates:

Figs are ripening at a prodigious rate… Joanne’s been processing by the bucket lately and made 3 cases of jam on Monday night. She harvested the Pears while I was in the hospital and will use some of them in various jams / fruitneys over the next few days.

Last night I put ~20 pears to two gallons of 80 Proof Vodka and tucked them away – those will be ready for syrup (by my standards) in the Spring. Come holiday season this year, if you’re local you’ll likely see a variety pack of liqueurs… I’ve got ~7-8 gallons in syrup that will be ready to go – I need some cupboard space back.

Request for your assistance:
As a result of my surgery / recovery, I am unable to climb the pomegranate trees I usually harvest. I have a work around (long harvesting pole) but I’m not sure how using it will impact me… if you’re reading this and have some time to lend a hand, I’d appreciate your backing me up for a few hours so we can get the juice to make your goodies. No juice, no goodies.

We’ve got a handful of Quinces (our first harvest after 3 years of growing the tree) and will likely make jelly from those. Lots of tomatoes and lettuce coming in now but, alas, as noted earlier – no honey from our lazy bees.

All of the an-gi-muls are doing well: Dee loves the carpeted areas of the kitchen but still struggles with footing on non-carpeted areas… likely we’ll carpet the remaining areas for Dee’s sake. Pan seems to be completely recovered from her surgeries, gaining weight and returning to normal. Knothead and Penny remain unchanged.

I’ll post some new photos in a few moments. Until then, as always, thanks for visiting, be well and write when you get work.
hal

Owen and Chrissy go motorcycle camping…

Owen’s been having lots of fun with his big-boy bike – Honda 919 (It’s tres cool!) and not long ago he installed Givi removable hard cases to give him some sport-touring storage.

Soon thereafter, he and Chrissy headed out for a multi-day camping trip in the Santa Barbara area… Lake Margarita, iirc. (Turns out the lake doesn’t allow humans to swim in it. I’m sure that makes sense to someone on some level… I’m just not sure who or what level, exactly.)

Here are just a few of the pics Owe and Chrissy shot while they were away:

Local tide pool scene with Anemones and mussels (looks like dinner to me 😉


Hey, the scenery’s getting better!


Get a room, you two!


Oh, they got a room.

Their home away from home for a few days. Interesting note – to me, anyway – This tent is a ringer for the tent Owen and I used during our motorcycle camping trip back in ’86. Two-person, light blue, set-up in ~2 minutes.


Two-person tent that has room for local critters, that is…

I dunno… he looks a little freaky to me – perhaps just a sugar-high since he isn’t much of a sugar guy these days.


Good thing she’s an actress, cause otherwise I’m thinkin’, “Looks a little scary to me.” Just acting, right, Chrissy? 😉

Head ’em up, move ’em out! (Where’s the hot tub he surely must have in there somewhere?)


Shamu rides again!


Nice sunset to ride off in to….

Home

Back home, doing fine and resting.

Thanks to everyone for your visits, phone calls and emails while I was in the hospital… each was very much appreciated.

And to Joanne, thank you, luv, for your constant attention and care. I can only begin to imagine how challenging it’s been to manage everything you’ve been taking care of while I was away… probably not unlike the album cover from Innuendo (working in a bit of Queen whenever I can 😉


Thanks again to each of you for your care and support.

Bring back the bakery truck!

The other day I was reading something in the paper about the Beach Boys

and that got me thinking about growing up in Southern California back in the 50’s and early-mid 60’s.

It was a pretty exciting time, in part, I think, because practically everything around us was new. New houses in the new suburbs, new bright’n’shiny cars on the just-paved new roads, new schools and a little electronic thingamabob called TV that my sister, Chris, and I watched Dick Clark & American Bandstand (in black and white, thank you very much) play the latest form of music called Rock and Roll every afternoon at 4PM.

And while I enjoyed all of those things – have you ever smelled a ’57 Chevy, brand new, sitting in the dealers showroom? I have and it still sticks in my mind, 50 years later –


probably my very best, all time favorite thing about growing up in Los Angeles in the 50’s was the bakery truck that rolled through our neighborhood every morning about 10 AM.

Now, I can’t actually remember the last time I was in a donut shop… or even a regular bakery for that matter, but my nose and brain remember the smells as if it was just yesterday:

You push open the big glass door and hear the bell on the handle tinkle just a bit and then it hits you: Fresh and hot dough baking in the oven, egg whites being beaten over in one mixer in the corner, creme filling with just a hint of sugar and vanilla trickled in being blended in the other mixer. In the center of the room was a big, stainless steel table covered in paper where they laid out the just-baked goodies to fill them with creme, lace them with chocolate or strawberry covering or sprinkle them with sugar.

Man, bakeries had to be the best thing going – ever!

Until this guy (Helms bakery) rolled in to town – I mean, how cool is that – the bakery comes right to you?!

Unlike ice cream trucks, I don’t remember the bakery truck having a “sound” associated with it. But somehow we knew when it was going to be there… probably a lot like we know when the newspaper or mail is delivered… we just know.

Anybody who knows me as an adult can probably guess that I was the guy to beat getting to the back of the truck when they pulled up… if I had a nickel or dime, I was going to get first choice on whatever the driver brought.

And when he came around to the back and opened that puppy up, it was like… Thank you, Jesus, I am saved. He’d slide out the rack and let me take a lap around whatever he had that was hot and fresh, but he and I both knew where I was heading:

Cream Puff, please. I’ve got a dime today, may I have two, please?

Man, it was pure heaven... and it came in the back of a motor vehicle. I can’t say for sure, but I’m betting on the days I got two cream puffs, only one made it past the curb on the way back to the house. (We’re talking a 50′ straight path, btw)

So there you have it – let’s bring back the bakery truck! (I’ve got my dimes ready 🙂

Worker Bees my butt!

I ambled out to check on the honey super at the top of the Nicest Bee Hive On The Planet yesterday and was disappointed to find the colony hasn’t created one iota of comb in the honey super. Not one tiny cell. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

I’ve checked with Incline Mike (knowledgable bee-guy, twice removed) who said, “Dang, I don’t know why they haven’t made anything.” Good thing I called him, huh? 🙂 My take is they’re still building up the brood / nursery hives (very full of comb / honey / larvae) and they’ll winter on what they’ve made so far and kick it in to high gear next Spring.

Yeah, that’s the ticket… Worker bees my ass.

I’ll bee offline for a few days, so see you when I see you next.