Friday, March 30, 2012

Volunteer dog day

Tomorrow is a huge ASPCA mega match-a-thon event across town. I'm going to run the pet tag engraving machine so each pet that gets adopted has a shiny new tag. The local shelter asked me to get involved so I'm going to be engraving my butt off.
I can't stand to see pets without collars and tags, even cats, if a pet is found it's hard to return it to the owner if there isn't any information. In my area most pets that are lost are never found, and that bring me to another can't stand: animals off lease. I know that fluffy and midgy are good little dogs and always obey and never get into trouble.... until they see the bunny and you never see them again. I know that lucky and marvin are big dogs and they are friendly but they still get in the way of other people that are hiking, biking or running or have other dogs on a leash.

I keep my boys on leash for many reasons. The biggest is they don't always listen AND they are animals. Those who have served in the sand box can attest to the pack mentality of the friendly little puppies that frenzy up when they get excited. Chewing on bodies of other animals and people, they do what it takes to survive.

So I am giving a full day to making sure animals have tags. I even have 2 boxes of collars to hand out that work donated. The wont fit cats (well some people have fat cats and will score), but it will make me feel better that I am giving an animal a good start.
I'm going to get some good runs in, easy and slow, I really strained my left quad so I'm blowing my goal mileage for the month but I don't want to make it worse. There is a gun show I might hit up and I have some mason jar dry canning to get done. Busy Saturday.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A better way?

Last night the discussion at home was all about the storage of preps. Perhaps it was the 34 #10 cans that showed up. I keep adding shelving, it's obvious that we will run out of room eventually. We were thinking of a better way to keep things organized but just can't come up with one. I've looked on all sorts of blogs and websites, but I don't like what I see.
I want to see what I have, that's why I have label stickies on my buckets, that's why I don't keep items in boxes. Boxes also attract spiders and I just got rid of all the spiders (well from what I can see) after a 2 year battle. I don't want cardboard boxes stacked up with magic marker on the side, I want to actually see everything at a glance.
Can rotation systems take up more room than wire rack shelving and they are a lot pricier so those are out of the equation. Building my own shelving or rotating systems won't solve the problem. I just need more room or I should stop getting supplies.

It's a good problem to have. We will put up another shelf on Sunday and do some organizing. This year a lot of the small bottles of water will be used on trips, and replaced with larger jugs. The cases of bottles take up more room, so this will really help free up an entire rack, we just need to be patient.
Green grass and a dead cow. My yard is a wonderland.

I think my close neighbor is a prepper, they were out front as I grabbed a box from my car and they asked me if it was a box of goodies. I told them it was some bulk food since I cook and bake so much, it's cheaper to order it online. They said it's a good idea, especially if we get hit with an EMP. I responded that I didn't think that would happen, it's just the prices of food at the grocery store are a lot higher than I can get online.
Closet preppers perhaps?
A can of pineapple chunks at the grocery store had the sale price of $1.59, last year I paid $1 for the ones I have. I love pineapple chunks (in natural juice), it's super food for my joints. The cost of eating healthy is high.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Power tool weekend

Good equipment is a must or I'll just use hand tools. I don't like cheap power tools that don't work well when you need them.
I also don't like to let people borrow my tools, like my chainsaw... yes, the one I needed to use yesterday that had no bar oil, no oil, and obviously bad gas put in it. See what happens when you do someone a favor.
I didn't know the gas was bad until I added all the oil and went down the street to cut some tree's from the in-laws yard. I didn't bring fresh fuel with me as one tank was going to be more than sufficient, and of course I screwed myself. After 15 minutes of trying to get it to stay running for more than 30 seconds I broke out the hand tools and tore some stuff up. Father in-law wanted the stumps out so I cut the tree's high, cut the main root and yanked it out with one of the off roading rigs. I'm not digging that crap up by hand, not in this Colorado clay.

I somehow hurt my left hip flexor so I took the day off from running and went to the movies. Hunger games was ok, I didn't know anything about it but the preview looked great a few weeks ago. The place was packed and loud, I missed half of what was being said. Slow start, fast finish and for 24 people fighting to the death it wasn't violent nor gory enough for me. Let's at least be realistic.
That won't make my garden grow, but Luke likes it.

Buying this was like donating a kidney but I love it.
I'm all out of cookies.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

First sunburn of the year!

I'm not in the best shape of my life. It's pretty close, my endurance is better than ever but my stomach refuses to go away and I like cookies. When it's so nice out, I just work in the yard sans shirt (not like those crazy people up north who naked garden) and as expected I got a mild sunburn, the first of many. I get them when I run an if I use sunblock I will always rub my eyes at some point and regret they ever invented the stuff.

I am taking care of my house and dogs, and another house with 3 dogs, AND another house with 2 dogs. This last house is a 30 minute drive each way so it's almost a non stop doing stuff for other people day. I'm living in 90 minute increments the past week but I still managed to get some things done.

I got my new garden box built using my old deck railing wood that I took down last fall. I hate tossing out perfectly good old wood and I knew I wanted a new garden box this year. I think most people call them raised garden beds or something, but it's a damn box. 100 inches long, 68.5 wide, in a great spot for sun 80% of the day. Tomorrow I will get it loaded up with soil and ready for the plants to go in. I have 5 large ceramic pots that I will load with soil as well, I love tomatoes and nothing is better than having your own.

I finally took some time to clean my Jeep all up and get it ready for summer trail rides. I love my Discovery, it's very comfortable, but being able to crawl over huge boulders with the Jeep has it's advantages (or at least lets me have a hell of a good time). We have 5 vehicles plus a pop up camper and a double axle car hauling trailer. I have to make my rounds often to start everything and check fluids and keep the batteries topped off, especially in the winter when most of the things don't move much at all. This time of year is when everything is fine tuned, we are doing our first camping trip in 2 weeks so we can send a few hundred carbine rounds down range in the mountains. Practice makes perfect.

Bread is in the oven, brownies are cooling and I think we are heading out for sushi. Heck, I even did the dishes already. I was going to get some more things sealed up, my O2 absorbers came in today, but I don't have any plans tomorrow so it shall wait.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Great headlines today, again.

Some chick gets flour dumped over her head.
Senators call for a hearing on NFL bounties.
Obama says his son would look like someone that got killed.
Pink slime.

I'm not really the over sensitive type, but I am relieved to know that the economy is back to 5 year ago levels, the foreclosure epidemic is over, employment is at a 10 year high and there are no starving kids in America.

I shall keep doing my normal things. It's not an election it's an auction and I can't influence such things. I will work on the garden this weekend and get some nice running done. Nothing better to take your mind off things like gardening and getting 'lost' in the woods. Other things from the last few days at home:

Red and Green peppers, #10 style and really full.

Closer view of peppers before they plump up with water.

Storage meal: canned chicken, mixed peppers, cranberries and mayo.
 I also made some more chicken breasts, using the dried peppers as a coating, cooked with olive oil in a skillet on low heat.
Costco trip!

Costco was fun last night, it was empty and the free sample congestion wasn't to be found. The maple syrup was still on sale so I grabbed 3 more, another bag of choco chips to jar seal, margarita mix and more paper towels, etc. I got some blue machine too, I can drink a large Costco sized each day so I try to keep one in the fridge.
I picked up a pack of caned chicken (8 pack) and it was actually wrapped wrong and was a 16 pack (the one in the left of the picture). I wanted 3 packs so I grabbed another normal pack. I was wondering if they would charge me for 2 or for 3, the large pack only had one barcode. The cashier told me I got a good deal, 16 for the price of 8, and I said it was probably not wrapped correctly from the factory. The lady checking receipts at the door was suspicious until I let her know I mentioned it was probably wrapped wrong. Error in my favor that I mentioned twice, I'll take it and it saved me about $12.

I unloaded my cart and went back in looking for more package mistakes in the chicken but couldn't find any. Can't say I didn't try. I've been busy this month getting more food storage and had to order oxygen absorbers again, they don't seem to go very far when I get busy storing stuff away. I'm going to have to put up another rack, I am once again completely out of room. It's a good feeling to have.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

5 hours of sleep is awesome!

I really feel like a new person, it's amazing. I knew if I was worn down enough, and if I wore the little house sitting puppies down, we could all get some sleep. It was so wonderful I tried to sleep more but of course the little puppies had to go outside and then bomb around the house chasing each other. I had a great run last night, the longest in a month and the biggest headwinds of the year. It was funny to look at my pace and see it go from 10:45 to 14:30 with just the wind changing. I do feel great today, too bad I have to drive to Denver in a few minutes.
Sunday, checking out snow levels on higher elevation running areas.

I gave up on me and took care of the Bichon Frise's (I can't call the poodles, people get mad), even got the knots out with the comb, I'm not used to that with bigger dogs.
They don't have any food in the house, I opened about 10 cupboards and didn't find much. I know they just moved in, I'm used to overflowing storage and kitchens and I'm really used to being able to eat breakfast.

That reminded me of a conversation some people in my new office at work had yesterday (yes, this is a true conversation):
Guy 1: hey I found a program for Jared and Allen (one is my Mormon neighbor, the other is a semi prepper), it's called doomsday bunkers. they can live in a plastic house with a flamethrower in it.
Guy 2: have you seen the prepper one, bunch of freaks, who would want to live like that or at all if society collapsed
Guy 1: really, I could last a little while I have a gun and a few bullets but nothing is going to happen in the US the government wont let it
Guy 3: ya living underground eating old food in jars seems nasty, what are people thinking?
Me: You know nuclear fallout shelters seemed silly until the Cuban missile crisis


Leave it to me to bust bubbles about the practicality of anything, given the proper situation. I hope nothing happens, ever, but the what if's are really too big to ignore. These are the same people who eat out for every meal, spend $45 on sushi every couple of days, and seem clueless to anything not in an MSN headline. It's people like this that make me glad I don't freely talk about being a 'prepper', and reminds me to get some more ammo this weekend.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I just want some sleep

Rock likes to lay really close in bed with his head, paws, or upper body draped across my legs. Some people think this is awesome/cute, but my legs always hurt from running. If they don't hurt then I don't think I'm working the muscle enough. Heavy pit head on sore legs.
My other dog Luke likes to go outside at 2:30 in the morning and 6:15 or so.
Ultra violent dreams (not all of them PTSD related).
Light sleeper.

Now I'm house sitting so I was excited to get some sleep, normally when I'm in a strange bed I sleep well, I know most people are not like that but I can really get some good rack time in a hotel or random house bed/floor.

Sitting a house with 3 small dogs, 2 of them under 6 months old.
The outside lights (all 50 of them or so highlighting the trees, bushes, dirt, etc.) are on timers so it's super bright even at midnight with the curtains closed.
Little tiny paws on hardwood while the dogs look for mom and dad.
Lot's of glass doors without curtains that are just begging to get kicked in (am I paranoid or what).
The worst was the damn ice maker.
It's real big and what I would call a fancy house with drawer freezer and fridges (2 of each) and a large cabinet style ice maker. It would drop ice 6 inches into the bucket, 40 feet away, and wake me up. They just moved into this house and the fence isn't up to snuff for the small dogs so they have to go outside on leashes at 4am when it's bathroom time.
I also was worried about not getting up in time to get ready so I could go to the old house and let the painters in so they can get that finished and sold.

The ice maker kept me up all night, no one uses that much damn ice. At least if I want an ice bath this week after a long hard run I know where to get the ice (then it will drop ice every 5 minutes).

I'm not asking much, the hollow sunken eye zombie face look isn't my best. The other half is starting to compare me to The Walking Dead.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fall of the Irish.

Looking classy in a 5 star resort, hand on the jacket so the ccw doesn't show.
I had a dozen people planning to attend a spur of the moment BBQ and fundraiser for a local organization. It was only 4 people to start, but I can't help myself I like to have parties with friends and neighbors. Only 9 showed up, and that's good since I only had 12 hamburgers.
Off we rolled to the fundraiser, 1/2 mile walk that seemed more of a stagger for some on the way back. We passed by a neighbors house who bailed on both BBQ and fundraiser, so we threw all of plastic hats and cheap Irish beads into the yard. A few hours later we got a text saying thanks for the beads, wait until you see the security camera footage... What a great neighborhood I live in, filled with good quality preppers and gun freaks.
I was the only sober person Saturday night and I had more fun than anyone.

Sunday we rolled up into the hills with 5 vehicles for some mud running and shooting. The 35 mph wind and hours of shoveling snow and winching kept us from getting the new carbine out as we never made it to our shooting spot. We passed about 25 shooting areas, most with 30ish trees shot down and trash all over. I don't know what kind of person does this, if you shoot 100 shotgun rounds, pick up your empties, pick up your targets, pick up you stove... yes, a stove 25 miles in the woods. I want to go up and pick all the trash up, but I do know it's a useless project so I'm just waiting for the area to be cabled off and closed to shooting. Some of my favorite running rails are there, and the entrance to all of them are shooting areas now. This will make for some interesting times in a few months when people are trying to run and bike.

On the way back home I drove around a corner and 6 people were blasting away 10 feet from the road, into rocks with AK's. I jammed on the brakes and just let it rip, I couldn't contain myself. Morons shooting basically over a road into rocks put my life at risk, really had enough. I used key phrases like 'the Ranger is 1/2 mile up the road giving out tickets for shooting within 100 feet of a roadway, it's $400 a person and he will make you clean up all this trash.' I didn't have my jacket on and they were eyeballing my .45 and then they eyeballed my 5 backup people carefully positioned behind open doors and behind fenders. They packed their shit up and left, what a waste of good high altitude oxygen.

I'm all about having fun, but it has to be responsible fun. Everyone we saw in the mountains seemed to be drunk still from crappy green beer and horrible cabbage. At least the walking dead season finale was filled with exploding zombie heads!
So cheers to the holiday that is always over celebrated, four wheeling and guns. I'm a total redneck.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The sweet smell of dirt

Ultra running (or my attempts at becoming an ultra runner) is always an exciting experience for me. The days I want to have an awesome time or experience end up being the worst runs ever and it's the reverse when I want to have a relaxing run. As I start adding mileage and going on different routes where I'll need my GPS, I'll stop and grab some fun pic's to share.

Last night was a perfect example, I was sore and everything hurt. Running every day with higher mileage takes it's toll really fast as your body tries to adjust. I feel guilty if I don't run and it really eats at me. So I ran and told myself to take it easy with a nice slow pace and for the first few miles it was awesome. My pace was 11:30-12:15 per mile into a 10-15mph headwind the whole time, I was able to check out all of the scenery and people, the places I run are awesome but I often don't look around much (or it's the sweet taste of dirt and blood as I tumble around).

I'm slow, I don't mind so much since I'm endurance not speed. When I hit the trail portion of the run I dug in, hard and was bombing down, screeching around and leaning hard on the ups. The high school cross country team came up the trail and made me look like a fat old guy (like they always do), but it's just more motivation. New record time by 30 seconds, I wonder what I could have done if I hadn't been screwing around for the first few miles or if I didn't have the headwind. I'm hydrating correctly, getting enough food (and the right kinds) into my system and enjoying the longer daylight span.

The smell from the trail is awesome, pine and dirt and decaying vegetation. It's only better after it stops raining, then I get to splash in puddles and get covered in mud.

In other news we got a 2nd Colt Carbine last night and some more ammo. Going to let it rip on Sunday up in the hills, raining death down on some paper and plastic targets!

Monday, March 12, 2012

I need a chocolate tree

The start of the great weather was moving in, so I went for an early morning run on Saturday. 29 degrees and wet from the rain/snow the night before. I had my best timed and feeling run of the year, finally the weeks of struggling have paid off and I feel like a runner again.
I raked a couple of bags of leaves and dead grass out of the lawn and did some general cleaning of stuff so I can get my garden boxes ready. I still haven't narrowed down what I'm going to plant, but have a list that I keep changing. Don't have the room for seed starting, so a lot will determine what is available from the nurseries. If I had to I can make room and start seeds, but I don't have to right now and I like having a dining room table.
We did some work in the kitchen Saturday night, now when I cook I have all of the counter available. Picked up a rolling prep table at Costco so I have most of my baking and prepping gear on the lower shelf, freeing up all kinds of space. I also did some food storage preps, the food saver is working great for jars:
Blurry but that's 140oz. of chocolate chips good for many years.
Sunday came on like a bull, I was up early changing the time on the 1 clock we have in the house. I don't like a lot of clocks, when I am home it's my time. We got the dogs cleaned, Rock was so dirty he looked brown instead of white , made a run to Sears and picked up a few pairs of mechanic gloves that were on sale. I blast through about 5 pair of them a year, so when they are on sale they go into storage.
Sportsmans Warehouse was packed, 45 minute wait for help and 45 minute wait for background check, so we opted to wait on another carbine purchase. Replenished the ammo we shot 2 weeks ago so it wasn't a wasted trip. Found that Walmart has a Sig just like my colt carbine for $941 instead of $1050, think we will opt for that instead to save a little money. We can also pick it up outside of the city limits and save 3.5% tax as a bonus.

Since my run on Saturday was so awesome I decided to coast on my Sunday run, figuring I would finish the course in 1:02:30. My best time on this one was 57:39 and I thought I was going to throw up when I did that time, adding 5 minutes would be more of a relaxing run. I should have known better, whenever I say relaxing run I usually push it hard. No change as I started out strong and tried to relax on the gravel road portion. Once I hit the trail I left everything I had in the woods, finished with a blistering time of 55:07 and only took a few seconds to compose myself at the end and didn't feel nauseated.
When I got home I watered the yard, this has always been my after run therapy to keep me moving instead of just sitting down so my joints don't freeze up. Watching the sprinkler go back and forth is exciting, honest. It's too early for the water barrels to thaw but I gave them the once over, they should be ready this weekend.

Dinner with the neighbors and that was the end of a nice productive weekend. The new kitchen setup worked amazing as I made spaghetti and blackberry upside down cake without having to move from one spot. My neighbor is thinking of getting a different job, things are very tight for him and his family. The new job would be 4 weeks way, 2 weeks home but triple the money he is making now, I told him do whatever it takes, we will help take care of everyone. I made sure they knew if they needed anything to speak up, 4 kids and his wife is a full time mom, I hope all works out good for him no matter the decision he makes on employment.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pot roast, traditional

A pot roast is not for the oven, it's not for a crock pot (is this really cooking anyhow?) it's for a pot on a wood stove or in my case the regular stove.

I had a 4 pound roast that I was making in the traditional New Hampshire style with a lot of veggies and very little seasoning or spice. Season to taste when it's on the plate, otherwise you don't know what the food really tastes like. Growing up there was little spice used in cooking, apparently that's the traditional way in my family, bland is easier.
The roast was in the dutch oven on low heat and I started to prepare the veggies. Crap, I had no veggies, how could I have possibly overlooked that part. I had onions, but unless I broke into freeze dried I didn't have the veggies I wanted. If I took some time off to run to the store I wouldn't have had dinner until 10pm (I wasn't going to leave the stove on), so I made a phone call and someone picked them up for me on the way home (how sweet, thanks for working 11 hours and coming home with veggies). I'm so busy lately that I am overlooking a lot of the things I would do automatically. It's not a bad thing, the real important things are getting done and I do have plenty of foo.

The roast was awesome and the veggies were perfect. Dinner was at 9pm so I turned on the DVR to watch doomsday preppers. Somehow the title was correct but it recorded Alaska State Troopers instead, what  a drag. Instead we watched a show about Oxycontin abuse and how easy it is to get thousands of pills in Florida (in fact it made me a little light headed watching the addicts using), then we watched a show about the violence in Mexico with the drug cartels. I didn't make any cookies or cake, but I had so much roast (about 1.5 pounds) I could barely move. I was still full this morning.

4 pound roast with 1 cup of water in the dutch over. Low heat for a slow cook with the lid on for 2 hours, add veggies cut into large chunks and cook for 1 more hour. If you want spices add less than you normally would, the long slow cook process will really bring the flavor of them out.
You can use the same cooking time to make New Hampshire maple baked beans in the oven if you desire but make sure you use real maple syrup, not that cheap imitation crap.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hostage on my own couch

I was trapped. My legs were being held down and I was stuck in the corner of the couch. I couldn't move left, the arm of the couch was there. The position I had sat down in, with my legs stretched out, wasn't the smartest as I had no leverage. I was being pushed from the right, with my legs still trapped, against the couch arm. All I wanted was my sandwich and to watch some recorded TV but they had other plans.

Looking at the picture reminds me to put the ironing board away when I am done using it. All I could do was laugh at how pathetic I was against the will of 2 dogs. After dividing the loot (bologna sandwich) in half they let me go (to make another sandwich that I ate in the kitchen standing up). Hug your spouse, kids, pets. Unconditional love both directions.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The grand fish fry

The rainbow trout was awesome. My run got cut short in a whiteout blizzard and hurricane force winds, so I had some extra energy for dinner. Someone didn't want to eat when I did so I had a bologna sandwich and then made dinner.
I should have made about 10, the 1 that each of us had didn't help my hunger out so I had a lot of rice on my plate. The bones came out in one swoop but I still was chewing carefully and of course, 1 bone slipped and got jammed in my teeth. It was like surgery trying to get it out but the grand fish fry was awesome, much better than some boring salmon on the grill.
I'm already looking forward to being able to catch some nice brookies soon.

Mother in-law was kind enough to make a cranberry orange bread, I went into barter mode and traded chocolate cake for a few slices. I was tired of the cake anyhow, it's not bad for me since I made it myself but when you are the only person eating the entire cake, it get's boring fast.

Speaking of food, everything I wanted to cook for dinner this weekend got shot down. Someone at home doesn't like soups and stews that much. Chicken noodle soup, beef stew, lentils and whatever, chili, etc.... all shot down. Chocolate silk pie on a coconut graham cracker crust.. shot down. Chocolate cake.... well just 1 piece. This coming from the same person who can eat 3 chocolate bars in one sitting. I'm going to settle on New England Pot Roast and veggies, with New Hampshire style maple baked beans. Not sure what to make for the end, perhaps just simple peanut butter cookie brownies.

Eat it or cook for yourself, easy!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kick butt, take trout

I had a craving for fish yesterday. It started as I was running around the reservoirs after work, one of them is almost empty so they can replace the liner. Not sure if there are any fish in there, but I still started craving some trout so off to the store I went. I picked up 2 nice rainbow trout, about $2.50 each and then I grabbed a bag of frozen fish filets.
I'm a simple guy (I think), and a 9x13 pan of scalloped potatoes with 10 frozen fish filets on top @425 degrees for 25 minutes can feed me for 4 meals/2 days. If you use a larger pan you have to double the potatoes (4 boxes instead of 2, unless you make yours from scratch like me, then it's about 5 large Idaho potatoes instead of 3) or else it will cook too fast and dry out.

I'm not a big fisherman, I have so many hobbies that I really don't need another. I grew up fishing, I can fish still, and I have the gear. I probably fish 2 times a year, all of the great fishing spots have awesome rock climbing right next to them so I pull granite instead of fishing line. I love fish, just don't make the time to catch them so the grocery store works wonders. I like grilled salmon, but for trout I like a milk and egg wet dip and then a light cornmeal "batter" cooked on the stove in a frying pan with an oil/butter mixture.
After getting up in the morning and working out, working all day, going home and running for 90+ minutes, going to the pool for a cool down... well I'm exhausted. The trout is in the fridge for tonight. I'm moving my pool time to 8pm so I will have a couple of hours after my run to cook and relax.
If only I had a recipe for homemade pot stickers....

If you are in the market for some freeze dried food, Shelf Reliance has some 6 packs on sale, all #10 cans. You have to buy it from a sales rep or from Costco (online only). If you want to pick it up from a rep I can get you information for one if you don't know any. I'm not affiliated with this in any form, just passing information along. I picked up 1 of each package and will split it with the in-laws. I also ordered more peaches, they keep sacking my supply.

Cheese 6 Pack: Catalog ID: 25347
Sale Price: $154.65 ($207 normal price)
2 Cheddar Cheese (FD)
2 Monterey Jack Cheese (FD)
1 Mozzarella Cheese (FD)
1 Colby Cheese (FD)

Chicken and Beef 6 Pack: Catalog ID: 25421
Sale Price: $144.60 ($223 normal price)
3 Chopped Chicken (FD)
3 Ground Beef (FD)