Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sweaty palms, or did I just watch American Blackout...

First off, some pictures from our front yard:

This picture was on the way to work, I've been looking at this tree several times a day and decided to snag a photo. If I'm motivated I'll get my good camera and get on it later, for now it's just iPhone quality from the window:

I recorded American Blackout last night, I actually really enjoyed it. It made me think I don't have enough, know enough, do enough, etc. There were a lot of unrealistic scenarios, but for the most part I thought they did a great job. The elevator jump, the penthouse invasion, the home fire, etc. were my favorites as far as being realistic (and in the penthouse case, perhaps deserving?)
The bugged out family in Colorado was good, until they didn't do anything about the useless daughters boyfriend giving away food.... but then I also realized they weren't armed and were doing night patrols and that entire scenario just caved. When the end of the movie came and it was the 'hostage' situation, we both agreed that there would have been a lot of dead people and the neighbor would probably die in his sleep that night.

Being part of a group has it's benefits as long as everyone is willing to help. Last night we loaned our flatbed car hauling trailer to a group member so he didn't have to rent a U-Haul trailer. He was very thankful, but we told him it's what we do as group-mates. If you are part of a group and aren't willing to help when times are good, I'm not going to be able to rely on you under stressful situations.

We are adding 2 families to our group, and my 'squad' this weekend. I'm responsible to keep everyone informed with group activities, meetings, events, etc. These additions give our squad the following: 14 children from infant to teenagers and 19 adults. Most of the male adults have military training, police undercover training, and a handful are currently active duty special forces. We also have a massage therapist, medic, administrators, construction people, homemakers, etc. It's a well rounded team and getting better each day.
Most of the doctors are on the other team (3 of them) but we feel comfortable as-is.

Here I was thinking my life was often dull and boring.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The fall colors, without a camera

Sometimes we just enjoy the colors and scenery and don't care to take pictures. Perhaps the magic is lost when you start running around shooting photo's and trying to get that perfect shot.

This year the colors are amazing, reminding me of the fall colors back in NH. The usual one shade of gold Colorado fall leaves are vibrant gold, yellow, red and combinations. The cool nights, warm days and the weeks of monsoon rains really made this fall one to remember. It's almost November and the colors are still powerful. 1/2 the leaves have fallen but the other half remind us to really take the time and enjoy what nature is doing, the small things we tend to take for granted and in this case just rake and put in trash bags.

I did steal these from a new website, enjoy:

This past weekend was lazy time, some college football and some ATV riding. We decided to spend some money on a good leaf blower and even got the backpack version. I'm tired of extension cords, crappy old blowers that leak gas, etc. Leaf blowing is fun and I was envious of the neighbor kid using it in the yard on Saturday. We made a couple of large piles that will be added to as the rest fall down.

A zen moment was watering the grass... yes, at the end of October in Colorado. Once I was done I just admired how great the grass looked, the wet leaves in a few spots and of course the backhoe tracks in a couple of spots from the sewer pipe repair. Way to ruin a moment.

We are having our monthly prepper group meeting this weekend. Basic first aid is the subject and with 3 doctors and 2 medics I'm hoping we will learn a lot. I'd be pleased to stick people for IV practice but it's hard to find a willing candidate. Instead I'll make some bread, pumpkin pies and some cookies.

Fall is for bulking up!

Monday, October 21, 2013


I haven't had a UFC fight night in a while and I felt out of touch with a few people so the invites went out. We had the house in order but since I'm the only one not working on Saturday, it was up to me to get the food together.
Spaghetti is easy, the sauce gets cooked and simmers for hours, the noodles get cooked as people who up. I've tried other food but it tends to be a lot more work. We were down to 1 loaf of bread so I got the over warmed up and it was sort of a whirlwind of cooking.
This was an attempt at apple crumb pie, but a lower carb version (if there can be such a thing with apple pie). I think it took more time to clean up than it did to get it ready. While this was being made the bread was in the oven.
While the new loaf was cooling I made a ham sandwich and got the hot pads out for the pie. This sort of baking madness is nice with double ovens, I wouldn't enjoy going back to a single.

Ham sandwich done and the pie's are done. They turned out good, but I cut the apple slices too thick so they didn't cook down much. I have one slice left, everyone enjoyed it I guess.

Now it was time to make something new. I've always wanted to make some fancy dinner rolls but they take forever. I made a double batch so the process goes like this:
Mix, knead, rise, flatten, cut, shape, rise, butter, cook.
Almost 3 hours later the process was over and I ate 4 of them while they were still hot.
You can see I've already snagged one from that picture. I think they were the best rolls I've ever had and they were worth the effort. Just in case anyone wants to made them, here you go:
1 t yeast (regular)
1/2 C warm water
1/2 C milk
1 egg
2 T vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons sugar
3 C flour (to start, I ended up over 4 cups in order to get the dough to be the right consistency)
butter (for the top to brown)
Mix, let rise for an hour. Flatten out and cut (it's easier then pulling chunks out), form round-ish shapes and put in pan (I used parchment paper so it would be easy to manage). Let rise another hour and then butter the tops, bake for 15 minutes @ 375 or until they are as brown as you would like.

The fights were good, everyone had fun and we ended up with 14 people hanging out in our small house. I slept well and on Sunday we finally got the dining room table empty of tomatoes and made our last batch of salsa. I made this batch hotter by using jalapenos and serrano peppers.

I actually had the thought of doing something like salsa as a small side business, but then I realized how much work it would be for very little money. Not hard work, just very time consuming. Next time I'm at costco I'll price everything out but even at $5 a jar it wouldn't be much profit, unless I'm missing something.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Are all Libra's angry?

Someone at work is all about astrological signs and always tells me I'm the perfect Libra. Calm and cool until the boiling point is reached and then it's like a nuclear bomb went off.

Welcome to Monday is what I call it, especially when it's Monday.

The sewer line was replaced, the hole ended up being 7 feet deep, 6 feet wide and 4 feet across. I'm not a stranger to hard work but there are some things you leave to the professionals. When they were done, they casually said, "well we didn't mess up the yard too bad.".
I didn't say anything, I was in the house, I was pissed off (in traditional Libra fashion I guess) and couldn't think straight. We take a lot of pride that we have a beautiful property, and made sure the repair crew would use plywood on the grass. Didn't happen, they just drove across it and turned when they felt like. Lazy, 100% lazy. They could have made one turn 3 feet further and it would have been off the grass.
I drove M1's and BFV's, I know how tracked vehicles work. The worst part, the damage can't be repaired until next year, the grass is already in winter mode. The sewer line repair work was great, but my ass is chapped.

Driving back to work, I turned left at a light and here is a bicycle blowing the light on the other side. I'm positive I had a green arrow, nobody honked at me or crashed into me and there was plenty of other traffic. Jamming on my brakes, I looked at the guy and called him a dick, and he heard it since my window was down. A flow of words came out of his mouth but I just drove away down the street where I hit another light. What do I see a few minutes laster? This same guy on the sidewalk (yup, not on the street where it's legal but of course on the sidewalk) either filming me or taking a picture. Yawn.
I had the right of way, didn't hit him or make him dump his bike. He ran a red light and then rode his bike on the sidewalk. To me this is typical behavior from bicyclists in Colorado Springs.

Maybe it's just me and my Libra-ness.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A little fun at Starbucks

I'm one of those people, those gun nuts who just have to make a point and open carry in Starbucks, but this weekend I found a petition on the counter while waiting in line. I grabbed the pen and made a funny:
We went back on Sunday and it was still there, they didn't get many signatures I guess. They had 2 clipboards, I only altered the one... serve the people.. HA!

The yard is winter ready, the garden is removed and the compost pile is large. Today the ditch is being done for the sewer line repair, old clay lines shift and crack, allowing roots to get in and cause backups. This was a project that we didn't want to take on by hand, 6 feet down in Colorado clay... I'll grab photo's if it's still being worked on later this afternoon. This will also add a clean out access on the exterior as a bonus.

Not being a large fan of stewed type tomatoes, we are making more salsa. I think we can make another batch (usually 8 jars) and then we will be done.
This was a hot batch, I tossed in a little extra kick.
Ready to cover and boil.
Almost ready to get loaded into the storage area.
The news this morning told me I missed nothing this weekend. A rush at Walmart on EBT purchases (did you know some places let you take cash back with an EBT card?), political BS on the debt/budget that we all know will be fixed at the last minute (one can only hope it doesn't and we get a little reset), another homicide in town, 4 stabbings and a few armed robberies.

The mountains got some snow further West, enough to derail our plans to go out and check the foliage. We got so much done at home that we now have this coming weekend open. We are house and dog sitting for 2 weeks, so we can't go very far but will make an effort to at least get out and go shooting.

Here is a view of the mountains from the airport this morning. Colorado Springs seems small when looking at pictures, it's just spread out a lot. Time to visit some blogs.

Friday, October 11, 2013

41, 18, 500

Not random numbers from a stale fortune cookie.

We found some 9mm on the cheap and have 500 rounds headed this way, email coupon took 5% off so it was about 27 cents a round. Not pre-panic pricing but still good. It's easy  to shoot a few hundred at the range and I'm hoping to get out shooting next weekend. All sorts of people I know want to go shooting or want to learn how to shoot. None of them have purchased ammunition, perhaps they can say bang. Really loud.

I've run out of new books to read so I hit up Amazon for a few. It's fall (with a fast winter approaching), sometimes it's nice to curl up in front of the stove, hug a dog, and read.

I turned 41 this week and gave myself a really hard workout as a gift. Olympic style lifting is taxing on your entire body, my central nervous system is fried today after 4 bad ass days in a row. While it's not a competition, I look around at people my age and they usually look older and aren't in any kind of condition at all. I've been hitting the gym for a little more than a year and it's paid off. My running isn't what it used to be but it's hard to get that perfect balance. My resting heart rate is still low, my blood pressure is great, I feel good 95% of the time. I'm going to give 42 a run for it's money.

Tonight is a night off from the gym, it's our 18th Anniversary and we are going to dinner. Nothing fancy just some blue crab claws and salmon. We debated cooking and decided it's nice to let someone else do the dishes once in a while.

Not bad for a kid from the woods in New Hampshire.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Goodbye garden, hellow winter. Prepper expo.

The garden is dead, long live the garden!
We had a hard freeze warning, the first one of the season, so we decided to just let it happen. If you only have a few plants it's easy to protect them, but a larger garden requires a ton of work that might get you a week or two of growing. In our case it would have gotten 1 more week, more hard freezes coming this weekend. All of that covering, water placing, light bulb hanging, etc.... pass.

Part of me was sad to see it all dead and ugly looking, part of me was glad it's over. We picked everything that was big enough to be tasty and useful:
This was Friday evening, Rock doesn't like tomatoes. He's not a fruit and veggie kind of dog, Luke is the vegan hound, good thing he can't see all this stuff.

After making a decision to not save the garden, and then to pick it, all of this stuff needs to get used and not go to waste. I gave the lower right box to the neighbors, and the rest is ours. What to do with green tomatoes? Salsa!!!

It tasted spicy but we didn't have any chips, so we will buy some and try it out. I'm thinking the next batch will be one jalapeno pepper less. This recipe is: 15 green tomatoes (can use red too), 4 red peppers (no seeds), 4 jalapenos (with seeds), 2 sweet white onions, handful of cilantro, cumin, cayenne pepper, Italian type seasoning; simmer for 40 minutes, process in hot water bath for 20.

We got up early Saturday for a trip to Denver for a visit to the Self Reliance expo. This years expo was pretty big, all kinds of vendors and people. We met A. American and got some autographed copies of Going Home and Surviving Home, met Jeff the berkey guy and also met Jack Spirko from the Survival Podcast. I wanted to know what a Berkey seller would say about the black vs. ceramic filters and he said black (perfect, it's all we have anyhow). Jack was really nice, we listen to his podcasts all the time, and rarely does an episode go buy that we don't learn something. It's important for us to say thanks, and many times the volume of emails a person receives means it gets skipped over, in person is always better. The new books have already been passed to other preppers to read.
We picked up 2 of the berkey sport filtration water bottles and just had a good time in general checking out all of the cool, useless, or too expensive products.

Good times in Colorado. Hoping to get up in the hills for some fall foliage pictures this weekend. If I come across a road closed/park closed sign, it's going in the bushes.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Potato fail!

Anyone up for some baby potatoes? I failed on the adding more soil, miserably, so my potato harvest didn't give me 2 handfuls. Perhaps it's age setting in but I completely forgot to add more soil once the potato plants started getting tall. Since the new potatoes grow on top of the starters, they require more soil to be added... oops. I'll use these in a stew this weekend, I'm just glad I don't have to rely on the garden right now, mistakes like this could make us hungry.

I did make some cookies that turned out pretty awesome:
2C Oatmeal flour
1/3 C Sugar
1/2 C Protein powder (you choice on flavor, I use vanilla)
1T vanilla
6T coconut oil
1 Egg
Hand full of choco chips

More or less. These cookies don't spread out so you can put a lot of them on a sheet. I made balls and smooshed them down a little on the cookie sheet. They are better than regular choco chip cookies (healthier) and they tasted good enough to pass the co-worker test.

New toy. I always wanted an SBR, Sig m400, the length is perfect, the $20 is for comparison.