Maya received a guitar from my mother for Christmas. This is her first attempt at holding it. Apparently she has not watched enough rock music being played.
Susan is out of town this entire past week. Seemed like a good reason to throw a clothes folding party.
New seat bag for the Moonlander. Revelate Ermine. Smaller, lighter and more simple than my big one. I hope to leave it on the bike and use it all year unless I need the bigger volume of my Viscacha.
The girls have done great at helping out around the house while Susan is away. Maya found out that her hat can function as a disco ball.
She has a lot of homework.
We did a night walk with Mazy and played boot hockey with a rock on Bluff Creek.
Mazy is a creative relaxer.
Maya decided yesterday that she wanted to have some glasses as a fashion item. She used her own money and bought them in the Eden Prairie mall at Claires. She is aware that they are gigantic but said she wanted them to be like a female character she likes from the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
I am very proud of my girls. This morning they told me to stay out of the kitchen and made breakfast by themselves. And Maya is still wearing the glasses.
Made up a recipe for chicken feet that I am happy with.
Found some good looking chicken feet at the Lakewinds co op and started the cook by cutting their nails.
I have had chicken feet a few times before and they always kind of grossed me out. I suspected the soggy texture they had was to blame for my inability to appreciate them. I have a personal food rule however and that is that if over a million people in the world like some food item there is no reason why I shouldn't find a way to appreciate it.
I also got to use a knife I recently purchased from an old Hmong guy who makes them at one of the Hmong malls in St. Paul. I love how he made it out of repurposed materials. All about function rather than form.
Pressure cooked them for 30 minutes.
After the pressure cook I put three different sauces on them. A hoisin sauce, a Zatarains Blackened seasoning and butter sauce and a sauce I made up with what is in the pic (honey, Sriracha, fish sauce and sesame oil). This last one was the best by far. I put a little off of equal parts of each ingredient with a little more hot sauce and a little less fish sauce.
Mazy our dog enjoyed the process of me rubbing the three sauces on the pressure cooked feet.
Onto my large egg cooked direct at about 450 until browned up a bit. Then onto the plate. The texture was much more to my liking. Crispy parts mixed with soft connective tissue, collagen and fatty parts all in a tasty sauce. I really enjoyed these chicken feet and will definitely be making them again.
Christmas with the in-laws on Sanibel Island this year. I feel very lucky to have such great in-laws. This Year Vicky made a book for me out of pic's from this blog. I felt a little bad about not posting for so long after getting it but also inspired to post some more. Knowing that even a couple people value pics and words is all the motivation I need to keep throwing stuff up.
I am a little to sucky to feel comfortable golfing with the big kids (Mike and John) so Vic and I went out and had a great time. We decided to keep score off of our puts only to help with par.
Uncle Mike did a great job teaching the girls tennis but Maya found in the end that being the ball girl was much more rewarding. The clay courts are definitely my favorite surface to play on.
Out on Tarpon Bay in Ding Darling sanctuary we had some dolphin visitors. This one had his dorsal fin shortened some how.
Took a trip inside our Sanibel trip to Clearwater (Miami area) and drove over this cool bridge in St. Petersburg? The destination was an animal rescue facility that has the dolphins from the movie Dolphin Tale
Maya helping collect plankton to look at on a combo wild dolphin tour/research boat.
Winter the dolphin needs a new tail every 6 months. Here is one of the earlier ones.
Ella is sweet. There is also an Alligator in the pic.
58mm Chris King espresso tamper is my first Chris King product.
We had a nice sunset out back of the house a few days ago.
Picture day last week. Night before Ella and Maya wanted a pic with my old school pics.
I did two boils this year and could have done a bunch more. I got about one and two thirds gallon total. Second boil yield was a gallon from about 25 gallons of sap. Took it to 218F. 25 gallons took a little over one full tank of propane.
I do the majority of the evaporating on the front porch with the turkey frying burner but finish up inside.
Trees were bursting with sap.
Getting sap out of the woods is hard when the sap is really flowing.
I have been needing to frame and reframe a bunch of Artcrank posters for two years. Felt great to get it done.
Bike commuter legs was my first Artcrank poster from year one or two of the event? I don't really remember. After hours of framing posters this was my last one. I broke the glass just as I was finishing up. Grrrr. Ace Hardware cut a new piece only after the old guy working there said that he was not able to measure and cut the glass with the metric numbers I took in. I suggested we get one of the tape measures on the wall to help. He wants the metric system to go away since "no one wants them pushing it down our throats."
A few pre framed versions of the posters. They are not the best quality pics because my original intent for them was to use my fancy phone stylus to write the dimensions of the posters on each pic. I did it but then found that over the last two years I actually had collected all the frames I needed for the project.
I have been wanting to make a grouping of the Paul Bunyan posters and the bike commuter legs.
I have been needing a new down comforter and found a great solution. Get one from my favorite sleeping bag company, Western Mountaineering. My reasoning is this. It is made with great quality down (850+ fill), it is beautifully made in a relatively small company, it uses ultralight materials, it is a very generous size and is priced cheaper than similar sized and filled comforters. You can get a down comforter that is just fine at Ikea for half the price. I used one like that happily for about 8 years. I like this one way more. Other details include that it is grey on the other side, doesn't look so shiny in person and can be used with a duvet.
I got some Salsa Woodchipper 2 bars, Knard 700x41 tires and suddenly my El Mariachi is a Salsa Fargo/gravel/adventure bike.
Ride is great on the road and the Knards roll faster than I thought. I am excited to see how it does on gravel. Tektros disc compatible road brake levers gotten for $24. Ultra thin Xpedo spry platform pedals are very light, very thin and relatively cheap. Time will tell if they can handle my weight...I mean power.
This Burundi was really nice. Not super complex but very smooth viscous mouth feel like a melted chocolate bar. I kind of over roasted the Brazil but it is more complex with a bite on the front end. Good first thing in the AM coffee.
In case you miss pics of it here is my RK roasting drum. The bbq grill is used for roasting only and the rotisserie is custom made to handle the weight of up to 4lbs of coffee. It spins about one time a second rather than every 20 seconds like a normal rotisserie motor.
Ella helping with moral support while I roast.
Still looking for a new insulation material for my grill cozy. The box works ok. I mostly need wind blocking and then just a little insulation. I have looked into auto firewall material, wood stove insulation, fireplace insulation, hot water heater and welding blankets and other things all over the internet. I found a couple of industrial products that are very expensive and likely not worth the gamble. If any of you see an insulating material that can handle about 800F let me know.
Maya likes to help with the dog poop.
Maya is cute and loves pickled herring (in the red bowl).
It is really hard to get close to a turkey for a pic. I think this guy likes the little bit of open grass in our yard. Every time he hears or sees me move in the house he flys down to the farthest part of the woods a couple hundred yards away. Beautiful to watch.