Monday, December 28, 2009

The Old and the (Relatively) New!

Okay,... Riddle Me This,... What's better than owning a single Full Sized Jeep?

Owning Two!

Below is our 1989 Grand Wagoneer. We picked it up last year from the Carolinas.

To improve on things though,... my wife gave me the '91 Final Edition Grand Wagoneer below this year for Christmas (that's her sitting behind the wheel), a couple of months ago before the snow hit us)!

The best thing about the '91 though is that in addition to being the fifth one we have owned, it was also the third one, and I've been kicking myself for the last couple of years for selling it!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Evelyn Gibson's Bread & Butter Pickles

Growing up one of the true signs of the coming autumn was Mom putting up pickles. And not just any pickle - Bread and Butter Pickles! I remember helping, running cukes through the slicer and watching all of the prep work. All for the tastiest pickle that God ever put on this planet.

Evelyn Gibson's Bread & Butter Pickles

1 Gal. Thin Sliced Cukes
8-10 White Onions, Sliced Thin
1 Green Pepper, Sliced in Thin Strips
1 Red Pepper, Sliced in Thin Strips
1/2 Cup Salt
5 Cups Sugar
5 Cups Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Mustard Seed
2 teaspoons Celery Seed
1-1/2 teaspoons Tumeric

Mix Cukes, Onion, Peppers and Salt in large container. Cover over with Ice and let stand for three hours.

Drain ice/water.
Mix remainining ingredients and pour over cuke mixture. Heat to a boil
Place in hot, sterilized canning jars. Seal at once.

Makes 8 pints.


Thursday, July 30, 2009


Being read is not important. Committing the words to paper, the ideas - that is what is important.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Morning

Raindrops on the fir trees
Unseen birds calling from the brush
A lone violin repeats phrases
Shafts of sun light fall from the clouds

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lest We Forget

One of my favorite movies of all time is John Wayne's She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. In this movie there is a scene where Captain Biddle (Wayne) is retiring from the Cavalry. His troopers are assembled for review. After review, they present him with a present - a gold pocket watch with the inscription Lest We Forget.

I remember in elementary school, the early grades in East Burke, making the annual pilgrimage to the Woodmont cemetery in East Burke. We'd walk in single file from the school to the cemetery, cross country at first, from the school, through the field behind a couple of houses and then up the side of Vermont Route 114 a mile to the cemetery. There we would find a number of monuments marked by the seventh and eighth graders with small pieces of yarn taped to the top.

We would each in turn solemnly be escorted to one of these graves, the final resting place of veterans from the War Between the States, and the wars that followed, to place a small American Flag in remembrance and honor.

I vividly remember this. I remember how we were taught, by our teachers, by our families, to honor the sacrifices that were made. I remember the solemnity of our actions.

I wonder if students are still taught these things. I wonder if they still make these treks to render honors. I wonder if this is still as important as once it was.

I recently happened to stop by Woodmont. While quietly walking amongst the stones, in search of some that I had honored many years ago, I noted that only a few had tattered remnants of banners from the past.

Concerned, all I could do was to honor these heroes myself. Quietly I continued my walk, murmering a heartfelt thanks at each veterans grave I passed. And as I walked I wondered if perhaps my generation has not done its duty to pass on this reverence. I know that I have done my part. But I wonder of others, those who were not children of the Greatest Generation. What would they pass on to thiers? Failing to pass on this committment would be unexcusable. For to do so would be to let these sacrifices be forgotten. And then the dead would slowly fade away.
Lest we forget.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Closet Foodie

A little while ago, on Facebook, my friend Mary Beth posted a comment to one of my posts. Simply put "Did you ever notice that your posts have a lot to do with food?".

Now that I think about it she has a very valid point. My first post of that day on Facebook involved coffee, pancakes and bacon with regards to their restorative powers. The post she was commenting on had to do with my recent making of some cole slaw to go with that nights fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy.

I'll admit to late night excursions on the net to peruse food porn browsing through a number of foodie blog regulars as well as whatever else I happen to stumble across.

And more and more I find myself in the kitchen cooking not as much for the purpose of feeding the brood as for the relaxing effect it has on me.

I like food. I like preparing food. I like watching others prepare and talk about food. I find entertainment in food. I don't mind eating food either.

This could be a trend.

Since Mary Beth's comment, I've made a number of other food related posts. In response I've had other friends comment on my (could it be?) obsession.

I do follow a couple of foodie blogs from Florida and the West Coast on a very regular basis. I don't ever see myself getting to the point where I start blogging exclusively about food though. Maybe just the ocassional comment or observation. Or maybe I'll just stick with teasing my friends with what has been on my plate or in my cup.

But where will it lead to?

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Computers and technology put bread on the table in this household. Thanks to Al Gore they permeate society and have become a part of the basic fabric of our existance.

While I use technology on a day to day basis I find that wherever possible I try to avoid being dependant upon it. Where I can get away with a low tech or no tech solution to a problem that is the path that I prefer to take.

Each and every day I spend hours in front of a computer for work. I send and recieve emails, research using the WEB, publish reports, all in all producing thousands of words of 'work'.

However, to be creative I need to have a pencil in hand. There is something about having a simple wooden pencil in hand and some good toothy paper that just gets my creative juices flowing. I can be abstract with a pencil. I can easily jot down ideas. I can express myself and solve problems.

Pens just don't work the same way for me. I've tried them all; felt tips, ball points, roller points, gels, to no avail. I just cannot express myself in the same way using a pen as I can a pencil.

What is it about pencils that works for me? A pencil is comfortable to the touch. I currently prefer natural finish pencils (Pepermate American Naturals). Pencils invoke a calm, I suppose from the sweet smell of the wood. They invite a leisurly pace to the creative process by forcing you to periodically pause to sharpen and refine the point. Even the sound of a pencil is soothing - the gentle rasp of the graphite against the paper.

And so I find myself coming in a full technological circle. I find that as a programmer I often start the process of planning and designing an application with a pencil in hand. My favorite prototyping tool involves a large wall, post it notes and a pencil. In the development process I will always have several legal pads at hand to record the trivia needed for the development process. Here are my to do lists, my lists of changes to be made, my action items.

And so I find myself heavily reliant on the low tech to complete the high tech. I guess that if the high tech cannot be avoided it should at least be made enjoyable and satisfying which a lowly pencil enables for me.