Pizza for Dinner

When you have a bone-in ham, and have slaughtered a fresh pineapple, that means Hawaiian pizza.  I have a really good, reliable basic recipe for pizza dough.  Typically, it takes ~3 hours to rise in winter, after kneading.  Today was so warm that within an hour and a half, I had to stick it in the fridge before it became Jabba the Hutt.  I’m not going to get used to this summer weather.  It’s still February!  We’ve had years in which it seemed like March came in like a lion, and lasted into late May.

At least, I can run around outside in jeans and a t-shirt, today, and content myself with flipping through the garden porn catalogs from Burpee, Park Seed, Jung, and Gurney.

Tractor Pull Contests

These never get old.  I love watching them.  Here’s one.

I was rather impressed with a couple of the Johnny Poppers, one of the Aliss-Chalmers, and a few Farmalls.  What I was not impressed with was how many of the contestants got their front wheels off the ground, and lost traction because of it.  The guy driving the orange Moline, and a few contestants later, the Farmall driver both got it done.  Some of these drivers just want to gear up too fast; the objective is to pull the load over the finish line in the best time.  Gearing up too soon just makes you lose traction, and time.

Our ancient ’60s Case might be able to do that, but there’s no way our smaller Kubotas could.

One thing I love so much about watching these tractor pulls is that I’ve gotten very good at identifying the make at a glance, and can probably ID the model year to within five.

A guy up the road about four miles from us has what we call a “tractor graveyard” on his farm.  Most of those could be rehabbed, but Freddy, who owns them, is pushing 90, so he can’t do it himself.  Freddy still flies his Piper, though, and keeps it in great condition in his Quonset hut.

WTF? How Weird was That?

So, my laptop’s battery died, and I was getting messages every 7-8 minutes about how I needed to shut down my computer and replace the battery NAOW or DIE!  It’s a computer that can run on AC just fine, thank you very much, so excuse me if I ignored the urgency.  Anyway, I went into system settings info to make sure I had the right model number of my computer to order a new battery for it, and used task manager to turn off the annoying alerts.

The battery arrived yesterday, and cost me a whopping $26, delivered.  That’s pretty cheap, actually.  Didn’t feel like swapping out the old one at the time, so I did it today.  I’m used to taking apart tower/desktop models, but not laptops.  This was a new adventure for me.  However, there are YouTube videos for everything, including repairing the engine on our old ’62 Case tractor.  Finding one for this battery swap was no different.  Man, was it easy!

Then the fun began.  I had to reboot twice, because Microsoft thought it hadn’t fully beamed out my latest OS update.  After that, some of my settings were screwed up, so I had to fix those.  Annoying, yes, but not a big deal.

Can you imagine if my mom had to deal with that?  She called me three times on Friday, and twice yesterday about some freaky email she got.  Bottom line was she needed to change her password, because someone else got into her account, and was using it, but hadn’t changed her password to lock her out.  She screams “I’m 87 years old.  I shouldn’t have to deal with this!”  Well, I couldn’t talk her through changing her password over the phone, so she went to the “iPad Club”meeting at her retirement community, at which a “nice young man” fixed it for her.

She was so freaked out that she couldn’t even remember what she wanted me to buy for her the next time we visit, but she finally calmed down.  Her password has been changed.  There’s no way she could operate a screwdriver to change a computer battery.  She can’t change a lightbulb by herself, even if it’s at face height.

The Greenbrier

It’s a bit of a splurge on a vacation, but a six hour drive beats the crap out of alternatives.  As long as we show up looking no worse than we did at the Boulderado, or the Sagamore, we should be okay.  Our reservtions are confirmed.  My other half is up for this.  Go there once, enjoy it, etc.

Finally Got Switched

No, I don’t mean getting whacked with a willow switch.

My former insurance agent gave me a whole song and dance about why my homeowner’s and auto insurance suddenly cost so damn much.  The last time I got a ticket was in the early ’80s, and that was a payoff to the county mounty who wrote it.

I’ve never made a claim.  Traded in my former car after 10 years, with not even a dent on it from a falling black walnut, for close to blue book, which is pretty good for a trade-in.  No accidents, no tickets, nothing.

I fired my former insurance agent.  I’m not a pain in the ass.  I spoke with him maybe once a year, and was always polite.  He is a certified jackass.  “This is your only policy option, so sign here.”  No, thanks.  I “womansplained” to him why his “mansplaining” was inadequate — politely, of course.

Found a new insurance company to cover both auto and home for approximately 1/4 of my previous premiums, with roughly the same coverage for what matters.  Plus, my new agent is in my town, maybe a couple of miles away, not some jerk from another state, 60+ miles away, who can only pull up the county records for it, and look at the pics on Zillow.  Getting my homeowner info is as much child’s play as pulling up my driving record.  Technically, I can afford to rebuild from scratch if this entire place, plus the outbuilings burned to the ground, w/o insurance.  House, personal property, and loss of use, are about right, at current market value, for the farm.  The car insurance cost is right on the mark, given my driving record.

G’mornin’ India

All I was trying to do was swap out an old analog STB for an an ancient CRT TV for an HD one for a new TV, and send back the old black box.  I finally got connected with a woman in India.  No problem understanding her accent, but it was like pulling teeth to get what I wanted.  In the end, she knocked
$10 off the shipping charges for the new silver one.  There was no fucking way I was going to drive into Philly pick it up in person.  It’s Philly.  You don’t do that.  Not by yourself, anyway.  The closest I will go to Philly is Harbor Freight, which has some really nifty stuff.

The upshot is that I will get an HD STB, but it’s up to me to mail back my old box to Verizon, at my cost.
I got snippy with the woman about that, then apologized to her.  She was following her script, but she did knock $10 off the shipping cost.

So, I went through all that to do what I initially tried to do online.

I never thought getting a new TV, and retiring one of the old ones would be so difficult.  Holy guacamole, Batman!


Phase 2 Home Brew

I’m ready to move on from small batches to larger batches of home brew.  I’ve had the kegerator for a while.  It came with a dual pressure gauge CO2 tank, but my local beer distributor said something about a two week waiting period to fill it, so I haven’t bothered.  They have prefilled ones I can use, but I have to put a deposit on them, just like I would on a prefilled keg.  When I do that, I can at least hook up the brew to one of the taps.  I’d rather have them fill my own 5 lb. tank for $11 or $12, and not have to plunk down the deposit.

Mostly, I’ve just used the kegerator as a fridge for bottled beer.  It’s time to up the game.  Brewing small batches, and bottling them, is useful for bringing them outside in warmer weather.  But, when I brew a 5 gal. batch, it really is easier to keg it in the corny than bottle two-plus cases.  I have a really old bottle capper, probably from the ’30s, and a source for bulk unused, uncrimped caps for about three cents apiece, which is reasonable for a home brewer.

The funniest thing about the corny keg is that when I first got it, used, in really good shape, for a very reasonable price, it still smelled like cola inside.  Yuck!  Well, it has to be cleaned and disinfected between each use, anyway. Continue reading

Eagles or Vikings?

Eagles or Vikings?  I don’t have a dog in this race; I’m a Giants fan.  I don’t hate the Eagles the way I do the Broad St. Bullies, but during the regular season, I’ll only root for them if they’re not playing the Giants.  The Giants sucked the wind right out of the clouds this season, almost as badly as the Browns, so I have to pick another team to root for, post-season.

Half my family still lives in MN; it’s the Vikings for them.  My other half is as ambivalent as I am.  Neither of us cared enough to watch the games during the regular season.  But, if there is some “Hail Mary” play that wins the game, the way the Vikings beat the Saints, we don’t want to miss it.

We have the tortilla chips.  All I need to do now to prepare for the game is make the quacamole and queso, just in case it’s a close game instead of a blowout.  If it goes into overtime, we can break into our tin of leftover peppermint bark that I made for Christmas.  Our home brew APA is still fermenting, so, for brewskis, we’ll have to go with Yuengs or Oskars.

G’day, Saturday

It’s positively balmy outside, sunny, with little snow left on the ground.  A flannel shirt, with no sweater or jacket is sufficient — it must be in the 40s.  Ben started giving me his “what’s that?” bark, so I looked around to see what got his attention.  An older model Porsche was snaking its way down our driveway.

My other half was out chopping wood, in his grungiest old clothes reserved for that, and general barn duty.  The Porsche driver saw him first, and drove down to the barn and wood pile shed.  He stepped out of the car, wearing a pristine Untuckit shirt.  Those are unmistakable because of the length and shape of their hemlines.  No way was this guy not lost.

He knew he was at the wrong farm, and was looking for directions to one which is now a B&B.  He was only about a mile and a half from his destination.  Giving him directions was easy.  What astonished me most was that he didn’t have a GPS.  A car that old wouldn’t have had one built in, with a dashboard display.  Still, I would have expected him to have, say, a Garmin, that he could plug into a cigarette lighter/12 volt plug, or a cell phone that could be used as one.  Sure, a GPS can be a little off, telling you where to turn, but not by a mile and a half, so it was obvious he didn’t have one.

Luxury cars (and sports cars) are very common around here, but nobody from this area drives somethng as impractical as a Porsche.

We’ve had people turn in here before, not knowing they were lost, asking where they should park for our pick-your-own strawberries.  It happens, although their first clue should be that there is no sign out by the road advertising it.

No harm, no foul.  Still, it was an interesting way to start a weekend.