Archive for the 'outdoor stuff' Category

Moon Shadow

Moon Shadow

I found this image on Spaceweather.com of the moon’s shadow falling on where the Better Half and I watched the total solar eclipse. The text indicated that this was taken from a balloon at 130,000 feet above the Earth.

We still can’t get over how spectacular the eclipse was to see it at near the centerline. Totality lasted almost two and a half minutes and the eerie darkness falling on Casper, WY where we watched was equally astonishing.

The next total eclipse seen in the US won’t be until 2024 and, if we’re in good health, we may try to find totality again. If the Good Lord keeps us feeling this good into our octogenarian years, then it just might happen.

July Fourth Festivities

What’s for Dinner?

Despite the 109° patio temperature this afternoon, we ventured outdoors to grill up some beef tenderloin steaks and roasted/grilled corn on the cob. The Better Half prepared “crashed” potatoes (microwave baked Yukon taters smashed with butter, sour cream and shredded cheese) to go with the meal.

We are about five miles away from the park where fireworks are scheduled to be launched at around 9PM, but we can see some of the higher rockets from the courtyard out front. This will be under a waxing Gibbous moon and the summer triangle with the Milky Way beyond. The night sky is usually spectacular to see out here, fireworks or not.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

 

Smokin’ Sunday

Electric SmokerWhen the summer weather here gets above 110° as it has for the last ten days or so, The Better Half would rather not prepare food in the oven and heat up the kitchen. Alternates for oven cooking, in our case, include Crock Pot, Steamer (out in the patio), Electric Smoker and the BBQ Grill, none of which result in heating the kitchen up.

The latter item above, the BBQ grill, is also somewhat undesirable in this weather since one has to tend to it while being out in the heat, although we have been known to “tough it out.”

(Clickable) Image: Our Masterbuilt Electric Smoker

Yesterday, we opted for the crock pot with TBH preparing a tasty Tex-Mex Casserole dish. Today (starting last night, actually), we employed the electric smoker. Late last night, I put a pork loin into the smoker and cooked it on low with smoke overnight. This morning, I put a 2 pound beef brisket in the smoker and cooked it along with the pork with smoke all day at 250°.

This is actually the first time I have used the smoker for preparation of two different meals simultaneously. Today, we enjoyed smoked brisket with baked beans and potato salad. During the coming week, we will be having pulled pork sandwiches using shredded smoked pork loin.

Heatwave Brings out the Bugs

Bark Scorpion

One of the dogs started to go after a bark scorpion on the patio this afternoon. Luckily, we were able to restrain her while I eliminated the little beastie with a size 10W stomp.

After we finished walking the dogs, I set about to spray the perimeter of the patio and all of the entrances to the house and garage with a commercially available insect spray. We generally call our town exterminator roughly when the monsoons start for the spray service, but the heat is here earlier this season and the bugs are out already. Since I killed one scorpion, The Better Half would feel better if I were to lay down some spray, so I did.

You can see by the patio temperature inset in the image that the heat would be a bit abusive for more than light outdoor activity, so I sprayed the minimum of the essential areas and got back inside where the thermostat keeps us at a “cool” 82°.

National Team Roping

Team Roping

This is the first year that The Better Half and I have made an effort to go out to the Rancho Rio rodeo grounds and witness some of this week’s final National Team Roping championship ropers do their thing. We have been talking about doing this for a long time, but being basically reclusive in our retirement, we have been sitting it out. Today, however, on a whim, we decided to head out to the arena by the Hassayampa and check it out.

TBH took the (clickable) image above of a roping team just at the point where they both had ropes on the steer and were about to take him down. As I recall, this team had a eight second or so time which was pretty good although there were better times later in the session.

We were there for about an hour or so and besides the action in the arena, there were commercial booths, horses, dogs and cattle everywhere and about several hundred horse and livestock trailers plus motorhomes, trucks, cars and sand rail ORVs. AND it was a beautiful spring day with the high temperature under mostly blue skies at about 80 degrees. Today was most enjoyable.

Signs of Spring

Turkey Vulture

The Better Half took this (clickable) photo of a low-flying turkey buzzard in August of 2015. These birds migrate south for the winter, but lately we have been seeing a few of them circling in the skies over town. Undoubtedly a sign of an early spring.

We also see buds on our plum and lemon trees. The Opuntia Cacti in the area have started showing signs of new paddles and flower buds.

I read somewhere that these early springs can be attributed to El Niño conditions in the oceans. Of course, all the whacko enviro-fascists will blame me, and others like me, for driving my Earth-f*cker RV and polluting their tiny leftist notions of the planet.

Meanwhile, the buzzards are back, gracefully circling overhead, patiently waiting for something to die.

What’s for Dinner?

Grilling with Probe Dinner is Served

A few weeks ago, our local butcher concession in the supermarket had a sale on whole beef tenderloins. I bought a smallish one for far less money than one would usually expect to pay. After bringing it home, I carved it into steaks and roasts, one of which was a small Chateaubriand. We stored the meat in our garage freezer.

We grilled the Chateaubriand outdoors today using a temperature probe to get the desired “doneness” of medium rare. The Better Half prepared the sides of mashed potatoes with gravy and a medley of snow peas and carrots. It was quite a delicious meal, even if we do say so ourselves.

There is still quite a bit of beef left in the freezer for future use. We have been known to use tenderloin cuts for such dishes as Beef Stroganoff, Philly Cheese-steak Sandwiches, Burritos and so forth. All good.

As a bonus, here is how to prepare Tofu:

  1. Unwrap the product
  2. Throw it into the garbage being careful to properly recycle the wrapper
  3. Grill up a couple of Beef Steaks
  4. Enjoy!

You’re welcome.

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