Archive for the 'gotta have it' Category

What’s For Dinner?

Smoked Brisket Dinner

I fired up a 2 pound beef brisket in the smoker this morning. I used a recipe I found on line for preparing the meat and the dry rub. Six hours later we had this wonderful dinner consisting of smoked brisket slices, The Better Half’s awesome potato salad and some baked beans. Clickable image.

This is the first attempt at smoking a brisket. I am pleased at the way it turned out, especially the smoky bark and the moist, tender meat.

I originally bought a four pound brisket and cut it in half so we could freeze half of it for another time. The half portion was more than enough for the two of us.

What’s for Lunch?

Meatball Sandwich

When you’re retired and budget your time to try and enjoy life, sometimes working in the kitchen can be a chore to The Better Half. Now, don’t get me wrong; she enjoys preparing meals, particularly during the weekends when we have a main afternoon dinner on both Saturday and Sunday. On the weekdays, however, a quick salad or sandwich, or some weekend leftovers fill the eating requirement.

Today she prepared Meatball Sandwiches. Since Thursday is our regular grocery shopping day, she put a couple of hoagie sandwich rolls in the cart while we were shopping. When at home later, she broke out some previously frozen meatballs that were extras made at the same time for a weekend dish featuring meatballs and pasta (or something). Add a little cheese, some homemade (also previously leftover) marinara sauce and - voilá - meatball sandwiches! These were tasty. Clickable image.

Double Picatinny Rail

double clamp

During my daily reading of the RSS feeds, I ran across this from Say Uncle in his Gun Pr0n item: a double picatinny rail suitable for mounting firearms on firearms. This link to The Firearms Blog has the linked article.

I liked the way this picture looked. I have no reason to get something like this, but the whole picture invoked a NEED in me. The drum magazine, the Glock pistol, the rifle and all the other gadgetry appealed to me very much. Unfortunately, Santa can’t afford one of these rigs as shown, let alone two, since The Better Half would want in on the deal too.

RepeaterBook App

RepeaterBook AppHaving purchased a new VHF/UHF Triband Radio, I was looking for current repeater information on-line so I could program the little beast with proper frequency, offset and CTCSS tone information for repeaters that would be germane to where I am and where I expect to be.

I found a feature on CHIRP, the software programming utility, which imports complete data from an entity called RepeaterBook. You specify the state, county and frequency band and it will import the programming information directly into the CHIRP client area where it can be uploaded to your radio.

I thought that was pretty neat, so I went on-line looking for RepeaterBook. Lo and behold, there was an Android app available that detects your location and downloads a list of area repeaters within a specified range. I downloaded and installed it on my smartphone.

Clickable image - RepeaterBook screenshot of the four most distant repeaters within a 50 mile radius of home. Here is also a screenshot of a typical detail listing.

The application gives me the information I need to quickly program my little radio (using a memory crutch from the user’s forum) when in the field. The application even goes a step further in that it has Bluetooth capability to instantly program some of the Bluetooth compatible rigs out there (which I am beginning to think I need).

Technology Upgrade

Samsung Galaxy Oontz Speakerphone

We have been procrastinating upgrading from our outdated “flip phones” to the current technology for a while now, since everything was “working” and didn’t need to be “fixed.” Well, earlier this week, I went to the local wireless outlet and switched my flip phone for a new Samsung Galaxy smart phone. I have had it several days now, and I am pleased with it, although I am still on the steep part of the learning curve.

The Better Half kept her flip phone until she sees some value in jumping onto the steep learning curve herself. We even considered a tablet device for her instead of a phone which she seldom uses. We shall see how she likes my smartphone before proceeding. She currently uses a Kindle but only for downloading and reading e-books.

The other gadget pictured in the (clickable) image on the right above, is the diminutive Oontz Curve Bluetooth Speakerphone. It offers a hands-free option for the smartphone and sounds as good as any speakerphone I ever used in the office before retirement. It is quite small: 2 ½” height and 3″ diameter. I am impressed with the dynamic range of the audio and reports from those called say the little Oontz microphone has as good a range as they have heard.

I have “paired” the Bluetooth function in the phone with my Garmin GPS, The Oontz Speakerphone and the phone function in my F-150 Ford pickup for hands-free calling in the Motorhome, the office and in the truck. I almost regret not having done this a couple of years back.

RV Barn Update

Similar RV Barn

We’re one step closer to getting our RV barn in the works. We got a message from the Surveyor telling us that our “legal property description” is likely to be completed this week. The next step will be to take the current deeds and the new description to the town planner for approval. After that, the work can be started while we’re getting the local title company to draw up the new deed for the combined parcels.

I found the barn above doing an image search on “RV Garage.” The structure in the picture is close to what we have in mind, being a ‘territorial’ or ‘Santa Fe’ style building. Picture no windows and a larger building width (30×40 feet) with dual porch lights on the front. We have already contacted the contractor who built our house and the ball is in his court for providing us with an estimate.

The RV Barn Project

Proposed Parcel MergerThe Better Half and I have been talking about putting our second parcel across the road to some useful purpose. After some discussion, we came to decide that an RV Barn would be a useful addition to our estate after having dismissed a dog run, a swimming pool and assorted other notions.

The barn would provide shelter for the motorhome and would have to have resources such as electrical power, water and a sewer connection. It would also allow us to store some of the seldom-used clutter in our attached garage.

(Clickable) Image: Proposed definition for the combined parcels

The only problem with this notion is that the primary structure built on the south parcel would have to be a residence per town ordinance. The solution is to annex the south parcel to our other parcel which already has the residence built. I contacted the town planner and started the ball rolling on the “lot line adjustment” that must be approved prior to anything else. This entails the following steps:

  • provide proof of ownership
  • provide a legal survey with proposed property description
  • provide the town’s fee for the service
  • await town approval before proceeding
  • arrange for the title company to issue a new property deed

We have the first bullet above covered with deeds of ownership for both parcels. The second bullet is the survey and legal definition of the proposed new parcel. We contacted a surveyor and provided him with the proposal information and we are waiting for his review and will have them perform the survey and legal definition after that.

That’s where the project currently stands. We will post more on the RV Barn Project as progress is made.

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