The Bad Finger Excuse

Good News! George made it thru the heart procedure just fine. He spent one night in the hospital and was home the next day. The trick now is him to be inactive for a few weeks to avoid damaging the leads again. A tough task for him.

Sorry for the lack of posts. I had an industrial accident at the construction site that messed up a finger that made keyboarding difficult. I banged it hard enough to cause the finger to swell (big time) and the nail to turn black in about an hour. I toughed it out the day it happened but ended up in the emergency room the next morning. They X-ray’d it – no breaks- and burned a hole in the nail to relieve the pressure. That was kind of spectacular when blood spurted about 6”. The pain mostly went away with the pressure relief but the bandage messed up my dexterity.

Christmas went fine. All the grandkids came home for extended stays and we got to see them several times – here at the lake and in Lake Mary. Lot’s of gifts – too many to list for the most part. One in particular I’ll describe later in the post. A season highlight turned out to be a remote controlled bass boat that Tom bought at Bass Pro Shops on Black Friday. It’s a battery powered Bass Tracker model about 18” long and with a control range of 80’. It comes with a connector to attach fishing gear (provided). We attached a small jig and aimed it where I was pretty sure a school of small spec’s inhabited. We all wondered aloud what would happen if a large bass decided to bite instead of the intended panfish target. Not to worry. Spec’s immediately grabbed it and the tussles began. One broke off but we ended up landing 7. It was a hoot watching the boat get dragged around and luckily all were really small. Not a doubt in my mind that a decent size fish, anything over a half a pound, could pull the whole thing out of range of the controller and it would require a poke boat rescue. One fish did manage to get the rig wrapped around a lily pad and required a rescue.

The interesting gift we received was something called Blue Apron. That’s a service that sends pre-packaged meals at the ingredient level to be cooked by the recipient. It’s very gourmet so includes the spices and things that you wouldn’t normally find in a home kitchen. The only thing they assume you have is salt, pepper, and olive oil. Our package included 3 complete meals, a fish based dinner, steak based, and chicken based. Personally I had my doubts that the creations would be something I’d like but I was willing to give it a try. The box arrived and was very nicely packaged in an insulated bag with enough ice to keep it cold/frozen as required. We tried the fish meal first since that was the one I felt most marginal about. It had ingredients such as fresh spinach, freekeh, parsley, cod, a lemon, a garlic bulb and parchment paper. The recipe sheet entitled the dish “Cod en Papillote with Freekeh and Spinach. The ingredients were enough for 2 servings and it was really enough for us. The recipe card is a plastic 8 1/2” x 11” sheet with pictures of each step so it’s very easy to do it right. There’s also a nutrition fact sheet that gives the nutritional details. It took us about 45 minutes to put it all together and cook it. I was really, really surprised how good it was. I’m not wild about cod, cooked spinach, and had never heard of freekeh so my expectations were low. The steak meal is next on the agenda.

We finished the meal about 6PM and Nancy was rinsing the dishes when the water stopped without warning. It was almost dark but I hoofed it up to the well/pump to see if there was anything obvious. It had to happen on a Friday evening. I pressed a reset button on the pump but that did nothing. I then removed the lid covering the contacts. There, laying across the contacts was a lizard. I removed the body and carefully exercised the contacts with a stick – it’s a 220V circuit. It sparked and the pump came to life. Success. About 2 hours later Nancy was filling the bath tub when I heard the distress yell that the water had stopped again. I knew all I had done was eliminate the lizard body and not really cleaned the contacts and had hoped that would be enough to survive until daylight. So I went back up, removed the contact case, and very carefully cleaned the contacts with an emory board – never did throw the breaker so it was hot all the while and occasionally threw off a spark. Nonetheless, when I put it all back together it worked like a world champ. I went out this morning to check it in the daylight and it looked pretty good.

Possible news – Chris might be transferring to Atlanta as District Manager. A slot opens up there in a week or so and he’s probably tossing his hat in the ring. That would be great for us. It’s certainly not a done deal but we’ve got our fingers crossed.

Winter’s not so bad – if you’re here

I can’t imagine any nicer weather for this time of year. Upper 70’s to low 80’s during the day; low to mid 60’s overnight. The garden is loving every minute of it. Even the fish have resumed biting albeit only the small ones.
We created a mixed green pizza last night. The greens included regular spinach, the dark green savoy type, New Zealand spinach, the gift that just keeps giving, and Swiss Chard. In about two weeks, the mix will be expanded to include kale. Since we will have 5 different varieties of Kale, the pizza opportunities are unlimited. My Ninja green smoothies likewise consume the whole gamut of greens.

Made a nice trade the other day. A friend of ours butchered a hog and converted it all into sausage so we did a turnip greens for sausage transaction. The beef for greens connection is broken since Nancy’s quilt buddy that raised cattle got out of the business. The shrimp connection likewise went away when her bridge buddy retired (from playing bridge).
I took Nancy to Palm Coast to play bridge this past week and spent my time checking out the beach recovery and fishing in a local brackish creek. The place we stay is finished. The berm extends from the lawn out about 6’ and then sloping down to the beach about 10’ below. The stairway is done so it’s totally useable. The fish shed is not going to be rebuilt which I’ll miss but understand why. I visited several of the neighbors and they have pretty much completed all the berm restoration.

I frequently mention my next door neighbor George and that he has chronic heart issues and a pace maker. He had one installed about 3 years ago but it’s running out of juice and has to be replaced. You would think it would be fairly routine but the procedure is actually projected to take 10 hours and the doc told them that he has only a 50/50 chance of waking up. His case is not average because about 50 years ago he had radiation treatments to cure cancer and that caused extensive tissue damage and scarring which makes removing and replacing the pacemaker leads much more hazardous. I work with him almost every day at his grandson’s house or around the property. Between us we always have a project going on. I noticed a few weeks ago that he was slowing down. The last time this happened they cranked up the voltage on the pacemaker but with the low battery, there’s no chance of repeating that. Fingers crossed.

I really had reservations about Trump but I couldn’t be more pleased with his cabinet selections. It seems that their policy positions totally overlap mine. Time will tell!

Post Thanksgiving update

We had a great Thanksgiving at Joey’s – and then a follow-up “thanksgiving dinner” at Tom’s on the following Sunday. The weather was perfect so he hosted the event in his back yard under a large canopy. I think there were 20 people there, a mix of friends and family. Everybody brought something so it was a real eclectic mix of food – all delicious. We brought the big bird and Nancy made a vegetable dish, and the gravy; I made fresh cranberry sauce. Mark smoked a ham and made carrot cakes – one high test and one gluten free. Got a good look at the new boat which is actually floatable at this point. The work is all inside now and could be launched in the next year or so depending on time available to actually do the work. At Tom’s there was a “big reveal” of the remodeling they’ve been doing for the past several months. It looks so much bigger now and really modern. If it’s electronically possible, it’s there.

Perfect garden weather. If we can get another month without a freeze, the garden output should be awesome. One of the surprises this season is the New Zealand spinach which self seeded from last year’s planting. You may recall I planted that based on claims of heat tolerance and it did live through the summer but it really wasn’t all that good on the table. Too tough. It eventually died off or I pulled it out but it started popping up all over the garden toward the end of September. It was so persistent that I decided to designate half a row to it and transplanted seedlings as they appeared randomly throughout the garden. What a great decision that was. It’s now thriving better than it ever did last year and nice and tender – a staple in my green smoothies. I fell for the “handles heat” description which means “heat” as Maine growers know it. For us it’s a great fall crop and probably early spring but for sure, not a summer crop.

Aside from the spinach, I’ve got a bundle of seedlings that just germinated in he past week – kohlrabi and broccoli – that will be left alone for a couple of weeks to grow a second set of leaves and then moved to a row still growing sweet potatoes. So I’m going to end up with a full row, 16’ to 20’ of cabbage, another of cauliflower, another of kale and another of broccoli; shorter 15’ rows of collards, kohlrabi, swiss chard and lettuce, one of each, plus miscellaneous plantings of carrots, radishes, beets and onions – approaching full capacity. Oh yeah, almost forgot the beans – a row of sugar snaps, a row of shell peas and a row of green beans. To put that in perspective, I pick more than enough green beans for a meal every single day – and that’s an 8’ row. There’s a short row, 4’, of turnips and one of rutabagas. Based on past history not sure how those will turn out but they are sure putting out beautiful foliage. I picked a bag full of the turnip greens for one of Nancy’s quilting buddies and she said they were delicious.

I’m ok with Trump talking to the president of Taiwan; I’m ok with Trump talking to Putin; But Al Gore???? Not OK.