Friday, December 31, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
We sent the Turkey home with Matt a few days ago to avoid it getting chilled in transport. I will make the Cherry Cream Pudding in the morning. I'm not really sure what else will be there, but Matt knows how to feed a crowd and I think they have already started cooking. Ask me how hard wife and I fought to have this at our house.
Part of the entertainment will be the movie "How to Train Your Dragon". I have made a point of watching it here first. I love our grandchildren, but they are not capable of watching a movie in a manner that will allow anyone else to keep track of what is on the screen.
After that Helene and I will return home for our own gift exchange, attended by Bear Dog and the Cats. Everyone has their special Christmas Movie, ours is Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.
The evening will finish up with Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas Live by candle light. Bear will be in my lap (still thinks he's a puppy) while Helene will be buried under Cats. Both will expect their fair share of what snacks we might have intended for our selves.
Santa still drops little things for us to find in the morning. Do I believe it's Santa? Yes I do.
In the words of Helene's father, "If you don't believe, you don't find any presents!"
Sunday, December 19, 2010
A young boy survived the crash, but that was almost a cruel joke. He died the next day of injuries. I pray his passing was easy.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I know winter. I was born in Dumas, up in the Texas panhandle. There are two windmills and a barbed wire fence between us and the North Pole. Hell, for me, would be standing in a long line in a blizzard. When friends told me it didn't snow in Houston I went home and started packing.
We are now one hundred and eighty plus miles north of Houston and I am horrified to say we have snow that stays on the ground over night here. It has happened twice in ten years, but it's worth it to live in the country.
I have been suffering (loudly) with over night lows in the twenties the last couple of weeks. The above photograph is of Don's thermoneter in Wisconsin. He is bragging!
There's really no place like home.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
So, Calvert is a town without law? Not quite.
The theory is that the Robinson County Sheriff's department and Constables are going to take up the slack, in all that spair time they have? They are estimating a responce time of 15 minutes due to distance. Too bad betting it Texas is against the law, I would take some of that action. This will be an instresting social experiment to watch from a distance.
Truth be told, problems with the Calvert PD are nothing new. Without going into the sort of details that would come back to haunt me, they have "parted ways" with a number of excellent officers over the years because they were doing the job they were hired to do.
Make of it what you will.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
These were one of the aircraft Mrs. Florence Watson used to deliver for the Ferry Command as a WASP. She told me many of the planes came from the factory in Russian markings and with instruments marked in Russian. A mechanic would get up on the wing while the ferry pilots settled in and mark the instruments with a grease pencil to show the safe operating ranges.
From the Bell Factory they would take the planes to an airfield in Montana built near the Canadian Border. For reasons I have never understood the Russians were not allowed to take possession of the planes in the United States. Furthermore, the ferry pilots could not fly the planes into Canada. The planes could not be taxied across the border (which was clearly marked) into Canada. They could not even be towed with a tractor or gas powered tug. Tow bars were attached and the planes were hauled into Canada with horses or oxen. If any of my readers know the reasoning for this I would be grateful if you would clue me in.
Mrs. Watson told me often getting the planes from the Bell Factory to Russia was an ‘all girl operation’. A large number of the Russian ferry pilots who took the planes after they had been towed into Canada were women.
It seems that there was no middle ground when it came to pilots feelings toward the P-39’s. Chuck Yeager speaks fondly of them in his autobiography. My friend, Mrs. Watson, does not have pleasant memories. Love them or hate them, it’s nice to know a few survived.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
With or without the permit if a person flashes their firearm, accidently or otherwise, there is hell to pay - at least in Texas. My position has always been, if I'm going to carry a weapon it will be something I can actually defend myself with. I mean, if not - why bother.
As some of you will know from an earlier post, the Smith & Wesson Model 10 here was a constant companion for years. My early training was on revolvers and still consider them a good choice for folks who are not experienced shooters. These are simple to use and reliable as the day is long. I know of one case of one binding or jamming, and I think that was due to some really nasty range reloads. The .38 special cartridge is large enough to do the job.
On the other hand we have this wonderful little Colt 1908 in .25 caliber. These are historic, well made and just as cute as they grow them. In my humble opinion, for self defense it's completely useless. Blazing Saddles fans will remember the line "bullets make Mongo angry." Bullets from this would make Pee Wee Herman angry.
That's not to say they were never carried for self defense. They were small and light and women loved them. Sometimes the just pointing a gun, any gun, is enough. These things are really loud indoors. Feel free to bet your life on something like this, but I won't. This is the gun you throw at people.
Again, folks who have followed me for a while, know I am in love with the Colt 1911 .45 Automatic. It is my personal choice for a carry weapon. The 1911 is reliable and hard hitting. It isn't a small weapon by any means, but being a 'full sized American' I don't have any trouble concealing it.
One of the attractions of the 1911 is that they aren't real expensive. They aren't the only choice for the budget minded. I throw no rocks at folks who need to save money but do your homework.
The picture below is a 1911 with a Cz. 52. The Czech pistol is an excellent military sidearm. The cartridge is hard hitting and they are fairly reliable.
The thing to know is that the 1911 has three safeties built into the weapon. I suppose it's possible the Colt will discharge when dropped, but I have never heard of it. I know for a fact that the Cz 52 will. I wrote about it back in February. Follow the link below to see the results.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I loved Halloween and Trick-or-Treating. Dressing up in costumes and collecting candy! Can it get any better than that?
Next came Thanksgiving. The gathering of the family, and the feast that followed seemed to get better every year. We would start the day gathered around the TV to watch the Macys Thanksgiving Day parade. The meal was a late lunch. As much as I loved the Thanksgiving meal, I always saved room for desert. Thanksgiving and Christmas were the only two time of the year my Mom and Grandmother would make Cherry Cream Pie.
This was not your standard Cherry Cream Pie. The Cherries are suspended in a sweet cream filling. It isn’t cooked; the cream solution is set up in a chemical reaction. It was one of Mom’s favorites when she was a little girl. If memory serves me correctly Ma Moo got the instructions off a can of Eagle Brand Condensed Milk in the 1930’s. Sadly, neither of them are available to call and ask anymore.
I’m not a Pie guy, but I learned how to make this one for myself while I was in Junior High. Like Mom and Ma Moo (my Grandmother’s nick name) I make it between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why? If I made it any more often I would weigh 1,000 pounds. When folks would ask me about it I would refer them to the Eagle Brand people. I can’t always recall everything off the top of my head. Recently I got a call asking me, “Did your pie have cream cheese in it?”
A quick check of the web site confirmed they had “improved” my favorite childhood desert. I hate to suggest people that make such wonderful products are stupid, but what were they thinking?
To serve Humanity and preserve Cherry Cream Pie I am listing the original instructions. You will need;
1 can of Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
1 can of water packed Tart Pitted Cherries
¼ cup of Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon of Vanilla
1/8 teaspoon of Almond Extract
Combine the Eagle Brand Condensed Milk, Lemon Juice, Vanilla and Almond Extract in a mixing bowl. Drain the cherries and add them to the contents of the mixing bowl, then pour the mixture into a chilled pie shell. I still lick the bowl.
To be fair, I also make changes. First, I serve the Cherry Cream as a pudding. After a couple of hours pie shells get soggy, and I hate that. Second, I always make a double batch. A single batch isn’t enough to go around our family gatherings.