I know my blogging tends to be in the lower end of the volume scale.  The basic reason is that I blog for fun when the rest of life is caught up to such a degree that I can, or I just have sore feet like tonight and am giving them a rest.  We have three felines and that means a lot of litter, food and water supply.  Two automatic feeders now have positions in the house, so all I need to do is fill the hoppers once a week or so.  The water was an issue as it was on the bathroom floor where we walked and keeping it filled required a bit of attention.  The dogs had an automated bowl outside and I thought that might be a good idea for inside as well.  As ideas go, this one had babies and we are now sporting a set of “L” shaped shelves in the corner above the toilet with the lower shelf being the cat access area.  On the short shelf towards the window, there is a second shelf with a square hole cut and a downspout mounted.  This means that the hopper is removed from the serving bowl.  The cats can no longer steal from the machine before the next feeding.  The water bowl was a good idea, but as good ideas go, there were unplanned problems.  Being water, and plumbing, we had leaks.  I tried to tighten the fittings, I changed fittings, I reset fittings, I cut off the tubing and reset it twice and there was still a leak.  This evening, I tried to reset the tubing again.  This involved cutting off the end, putting plumbers seal on the plastic barb and reassembling the unit.  I put some toilet paper under it to detect leaks and after about an hour, there was water there.  I haven’t determined the offending location yet.  Oh well.  Plumbing.  I prefer electric – done by myself.  There usually are fewer problems that way.

Anyways, while going back and forth with the plumbing issue, spouseinbox started on the food for supper.  We had a spaghetti squash which I cut and put in the microwave one half at a time for 10 minutes each section.  This was done in a microwave pan with an inch of water and covered with plastic wrap.  Spouseinbox used some of our tomato sauce canned last year and mixed up a spaghetti sauce for the squash.  Once done in the microwave, I took a fork to each half and made noodles for each plate.  One squash fed three of us until our meters pegged.  The remainder of the sauce was mixed with more ground beef and onion and some cauliflower which was buzzed in a food processor to make it a substitute for rice.  This was mixed in the meat and sauce mixture and then stuffed into green peppers which had been boiled for about 3 minutes, then cooled.  That only used about half of the mixture, so I took the remainder of a box of large pasta shells and cooked and stuffed them as well.

We had more meat available, so spouseinbox took a can of salsa canned last year, and mixed that into another pound of meat.  After the mixture cooled, I took some and rolled it into corn tortillas to make enchiladas.  These three dishes were placed in the freezer for later use.

While I am sitting here typing, spouseinbox went into the bathroom to examine the piece of toilet paper placed under the plumbing job.  It’s wet.  We’re not done yet.  Yuk.  I so prefer electric.

Two types of the lettuce were from the garden, cut off the plants and rinsed in the sink.  I cut the leaves into pieces and divided into salad bowls.  While cutting up carrots, Spouseinbox noted the two caterpillars crawling in the sink.  I’m hoping there is not any extra protein remaining in the bowls…

I told this one at work yesterday and decided to share it here.  I don’t remember if I presented it before, so if you’ve heard it, read it again or just go have a nice day.

Grandpa was an ace a games.  He taught me to play chess, checkers, and dominoes.  I would go whining to mom about losing and she would ask if I had got a king (in checkers) and when I confirmed, say, “be glad.”  Grandpa was one who I never beat.  Not even once.  He would give me tips on how to play and keep wining anyways.  Long before I was even a thought, grandpa and grandma would play games.  He won against her as well.  She was a praying woman.  She took her losing to God and asked that just once could she win a game.  The next time they played, and I don’t know which game it was, every hand went her way.  She actually beat him.  Honesty was also a virtue and grandma admitted to grandpa that she had prayed about playing and wanting to win.  The next time they sat down for a game, grandpa stopped her and asked, “now am I playing against you, or am I playing against God?”

Using nature to assist in one’s comfort and enjoyment is quite a nice idea.  After all, that makes the enjoyment natural.  No one can fuss about the effect as it’s nature too.  I don’t like mosquitoes.  There are other bugs which just bug us.  I have sprayed to keep down the numbers and still have issues.  A discussion of Purple Martins took place at work.  These amazing birds fly between our fair land and Brazil.  If one can attract a Purple Martin, there is a hungry animal who likes to eat flying insects.  There are a few needs of the bird for attraction though.  They are prey for owls and a couple of other birds so like to stay in a high house with nothing around it.  Their house also needs to be removed at the end of the season so that the sparrows won’t try to take up residence.  That means the house has to be high and accessible.  We already have the food supply, so just need to attract the birds.  An acceptable house was obtained from a local farm store and that left the pole.  After negotiation with spouseinbox, we decided to place a pole which would also function as an additional support for the fence as a rough storm blew down that section of fence a few years back and we had to replace.  The height measurement was recommended to be between 10 and 20 feet tall.  The fence was 6 foot and the normal footer was two.  That meant having to dig a hole 4 foot deep to allow a longer pole to be placed and still be accessible when lowered.  small hole

It doesn’t look so from this perspective, but this hole was 4 feet deep.  It was an interesting dig as well considering the caliche.   The fence pole is a 10 foot pole, normally for an 8 foot fence.  We’re using it for support as well as the ability to place a 10 foot pole inside to obtain the required height.  The next question was how to get the internal pole up to position and return it as well.  We added a pulley to the bottom of the internal pole with garage door cable connecting from the top of the fence pole, around the internal pulley and out an external pulley.

Note the notch in the pole for insertion of the pulley frame.  The top part of the pulley was removed and then a hole was drilled through the entire unit with the bottom part threaded to allow the screw to be secured through everything.  The top external pulley was removed from its store mount and given a new mount on the pole.  This one was actually a 2″ piece cut off the pole and then split in half.  Each half was bent to location for the pulley and then drilled and pop riveted into place.  We took a fence cap and drilled a hole the size of the internal pipe and sanded until it fit.  This stabilized the pipe immensely.  We then ran up the pipe, selected a location at an appropriate distance and put a screw to hold the cable and hence the elevation of the bird house.  Once placed, there was a little twist in the wind, so per siblinginbox, I may place a pin to hold the pipes without relying on just the cable, but that is a future project.  At least it is in place now.  We have potential for Purple Martins and hopefully fewer bugs this summer.   assembled pole

Update: I published, looked at the site and then realized the photo editor removed the color when I resized to make pictures smaller for the web site.  I tried to get a smaller one with color and it wouldn’t, so here is the color photo, full size.


I have woken up this morning a little on the sore side.  Nothing out of the ordinary, mind you.  After all, we had quite a day yesterday.  Between the two of us: ran through laundry including stripping and remaking the bed, made breakfast, remade the bed, put 10 pounds of chicken in oven to slow cook,  go to ladies’ meeting at church, shop for Valentine’s items, finish digging holes for base of water tank, cut reinforcing bar and then pour concrete, go to kidinbox’s house to see their progress on pulling the tub and digging out the sewer line (our plan is to finish pulling out the tub today), marinate chicken legs (another set) in balsamic vinegarette dressing for the grill, make pasta salad to go with the chicken, cook on the grill, remove chicken from the baked quarters until it was just meat, place back on pan with a general spice application and place back in the 200 degree oven for 2 more hours then divide up into three meal-sized bags, look up pruning on the web in anticipation of working on the 4 fruit trees.  I have a wonder occasionally how people have time to watch TV.  Oh, I just remembered – ran through the general number on taxes and printed out the forms from IRS website to see how much the leaches are taking out of us this year.  It wasn’t as much as last year, so yea.  In other words, they already sucked out of our checks and this bill is smaller.  That’s how my day went yesterday.

We have had a pleasant family day at mi casa.  The crew will descend on us tomorrow.  We are anticipating 8 here.  That said, the gifts are still under the tree.  Now that I’m an adult, it’s no longer torture to wait a bit longer to open the gifts.  I’m not worried about the arrival of Santa and am no longer trying to set up trip wire cameras or other means to catch parents in the act.  Granted, that was fun, and I was rewarded not by a picture, but by a yell of dad who hit the trip wire and verbalized the experience.  Anyways, that’s a small snippet of the day here.

I have also been working on a new project: Jesus and Mary.  This will be another musical comprising the interactions between Jesus and three different Marys.  The first is his mother, the second is the sister of Martha and Lazarus, the third is Mary Magdalen who was present at the cross and later at the tomb.  In doing this project, I have been looking carefully at the scriptures and also comparing maps and culture.  That said, there are quite a few traditions around the birth of Christ which I have had to question.  1.) the presence of Joseph.  Is there any mention of Joseph at the manger?  Culturally speaking, the man was not to touch his wife from a certain time during labor until a week later.  The women would gather and talk the mother through her birth.  The other women would provide support, back rubs, etc until the birth occurred.  After everything was done, the man would be allowed to see, but not touch his wife.  2.) the stable.  Again, the scripture says how there was no room in the inn/house (depending upon translation) and they went to the stable.  Considering the laws about child birth, it is reasonable to see that there was no private location for Mary to have birth except a place like the stable away from everyone there for the census.  By the way, the census was for counting the population, verifying their lineage and taxing them.  The persons would swear to their names, their parents’ names, note any particular bodily characteristic and get charged a tax.  3.) the house was mentioned later during the time with the wise men.

Let’s take a moment with the wise men.  They saw a star and followed the sign to Jerusalem.  I read some commentary that noted a prophecy in Judges where Baalam was asked to curse Israel and blessed instead.  In Numbers 24:17 it says that a star will rise in Jacob.  Some of the reading I found surmised that the wise men looked at the old prophecies and discovered the reference to the star and went to Israel to see the leader prophesied.  What’s really interesting about that is that it is a really reasonable observation as to the ability of the wise men to recognize Israel, but where it departs from tradition is that Balak who was hiring Balaam to curse was a leader in Moab.  That is a country just to the east of the Jordan river, or about 4 -5 days journey from Bethlehem.  In other words, it’s possible these were distant relatives of the Israelites, not travelers from Iran or China.

Now that I have researched this, I had to make a decision how much to place in the musical.  I chose to have Mary and Joseph directed towards the stable and then cut to the shepherds.  I’ll leave alone the details of the birth, how much pain was experienced and who was present.  Another by the way, I was dispelling any notion of a pain-free birth until a Catholic pointed at Isaiah 66:8.  I will leave it there for you to ponder.

What I have put together for the shepherds is a combination of song and scripture with two parts in mind as there are only going to be spouseinbox and myself doing the presentation.  Here it goes:


Today is the actual election day.  The electors will perform their much anticipated task demonstrating the wisdom of the founders in balancing power of the large vs small population states.  Whenever I hear the popular vote meme, it’s interesting how few to none of the times the philosophy of the electoral college is discussed.  Rhode Island, for example is the smallest state and didn’t want to be steam-rolled in any national election due to its size.  After all, any tiny state would have little to no authority in a system where the total votes of democracy rule.  In the practical sense, the small states could be ignored while the populated stated are courted in a  total democracy.  Look at New York in a county fashion to see this in practice.  There are enough voters in a small few counties on the East of New York to effectively null the votes of the remainder of the state.  Hillary won the state in the early 2000’s in the NYC and Albany, and ignored the rest of the state.  There were enough votes in NYC to all her to ignore the remainder of the state.  The electoral college prevents that kind of election from happening nationally.  The small states get a proportionally higher involvement compared to the larger states.  Our founder’s wisdom is shown again.

China has removed one of our unmanned subs from the ocean.  It will eventually be returned to us – in pieces after everything has been thoroughly scanned.  I have read on the implications in the area and technology theft possible and thoughts on the same.  There is a politically viable angle as well.  This move allows China to do two things at once – slap Zero in the face and test the metal of Donald Trump.  Slapping Zero is too easy.  He is a Marxist/muslim who hates this country and is happy to cooperate with United States defamation wherever it is initiated.  This was signaled by his bowing incidents on the initial apology tour of the world at the start of his pathetic eight years.  This has been repeated more times than I wish to remember as well.  That said, it may be more to test the reaction of President-elect Trump than anything else.  I remember the election of Ronald Reagan and the release of the hostages on that very night.  They were only released because they understood that Carter was a wimp and Reagan would kick them back to (pick your destination).  China knows Trump as the businessman/investor who has done business there for decades.  Now they have to deal with him from a military/national standpoint and need a reference point as to how he will react to their aggressiveness in the area.  Under Zero, they have expanded bases to the south and claimed formerly sea under either international waters or under claim by other nations.  Will Trump cause a problem?  is probably a good question for them to ask.  This incident may be providing the answer.

I played cook over the weekend.  We had visitors for whom I made doughnuts.  There was a can of raspberry filling available in the pantry, so I decided to utilize some and make filled doughnuts.  The result was rather tasty, though a bit large.  I will have to make smaller doughnuts next time.  There was quite an amount remaining from the can of filling, so I looked up a recipe for filled cookies and found a simple one consisting of 2 egg yokes, 12/ cup sugar, 3/4 cup butter and 1 3/4 cup flour.  I forget if there was a dash of salt.  Anyways, blend the first three, slowly add the flour, and place in the refrigerator until small balls can be formed.  Depress the center of the ball and bake at 375 degrees for 12 -15 minutes.  Place a dot of the fruit in the depression and they are done.  It has been tasty.  I still have a few left, and granted, it is tempting to grab one when walking by – it’s not too much, they are small…

Next Page »