Thursday, December 14, 2017

El B's Double Victory Chili

"El Borak ain't got no chili" -- No one ever.
A recipe for the Coyote:

You'll need:
  • 2 lbs of 85/15 ground beef.  
  • 2 15oz cans of Bush's hot chili beans.
  • 2 cans of Rotel chili fixins
  • 1 small (6oz?) can of tomato paste
  • 1 15oz can of tomato sauce
  • 10-15 oz of diced tomatoes
  • Arizona Cowboy or similar jalapeno sauce
  • Tabasco Chipotle pepper sauce
  • Other peppers or tomatoes as desired

1. Brown up the ground beef and throw everything in the crock pot on low

2. Add Beans, fixins, sauce, paste. If you like bigger tomato chunks, add the chunks here but not the water from the can. Home-canned tomatoes are fine, but I don't like fresh ones here (personal preference).

3. Add 1/2 TBSP of Jalapeno sauce and 1/2 TBSP Chipotle sauce.

4. Now, since I was shooting for the spiciest chili trophy, I took a dozen dehydrated tabasco peppers from the garden and diced* them up, but you can use whatever you like. Put them in a little bowl and cover them with water, microwave until it boils, then add the water (not the peppers) slowly, stirring and tasting. The idea here is NOT to burn your tongue off (Spicy <> hot), but to get noticeable heat with the deep, smoky flavor of the other two sauces.

5. Cook it for 3 hours on low, then refrigerate overnight.

6. Next morning, bring it back up to temp (crock pot on high).

7. Profit!

* more like 'crunched', but you get the idea.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Shredded leaves vs shredded paper

Just settled in for a long winter's nap.
So anyway, one of my lovely neighbors* popped by with a present for me the other day: three refrigerator-sized boxes packed full of shredded oak leaves.  There's probably 600 pounds total, sitting in a pile in my field next to the new raised beds.  Now that the rain has stopped, and before everything freezes again, I figured I would pack about 100 gallons of that into a few of the older raised beds.  So I pulled the shredded paper out of this bed and piled in about 3" of leaves.  I might as well give an explanation why I swapped them out...

There's probably nothing better for your raised bed than shredded leaves left to rot on top of it over the winter.  In fact, I won't even bother to fertilize any of the beds that I so treat - no compost, certainly no chemicals - even though I plan to plant heavy-feeding sweet corn in this bed next year. A few inches of leaves rotted into the soil provide everything you'll need, even after doing the yeoman's work of smothering everything that tries to sprout from that bed in the next 5 months. It is, IMO, the best thing you can do for a raised bed.  You just have to have enough leaves.**

That said, you'll notice that there are three 2'x2' beds behind this 4'x8' one, and they don't look like they've received the same courtesy.  That's because they haven't, and may not at all this winter. The bed on the top left has no cover at all. It's got spinach growing in it, and obviously will not flourish if I pile a bunch of shredded leaves on it.  The one on the right has shredded paper that is nearly rotted in.  There's no sense in removing that.  But the one in the center has a brand new crop of shredded paper just added, and the reason for that is that it's got a bunch of 6" garlic plants growing out of it.

Shredded paper is not nearly as good for your soil as leaves. While keeping the soil protected like leaves do, it really provides no nutrients. Your soil needs far more added than this sterile cap can provide. 

But there's one thing it's great for: keeping its form.  When I have 15 little garlic shoots growing, I can pack around them with wet, shredded paper and be certain that the paper, once dried, will hold that exact form until I rip it out. Rain doesn't faze it, wind doesn't move it. The garlic will die back over winter, but when it pops out in the spring there will be a little hole in the bed's cap in exactly the right place.  Leaves will give you no such courtesy.

Once I pull the garlic, about July 1, I'll add a couple inches of compost before I plant again, probably from these very leaves. After all, in addition to my new 600 pounds of leaves, I have all the leaves that I would normally rake and rot.  And the ladies are not terribly happy about that....

* Well, not next-door type neighbor. More like next-town-over. Hi, Dorothy and Marvin. Love you guys.
** Obviously, the more beds you have, the harder it becomes to give them all the treatment. Thus my casting about for other people's yard waste. Preferably delivered.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The political stuff

Don't look now...
New York Times has a change of heart. Or at least calculation:
Yet despite the right’s evident bad faith, I agree with Hayes. In this #MeToo moment, when we’re reassessing decades of male misbehavior and turning open secrets into exposes, we should look clearly at the credible evidence that Juanita Broaddrick told the truth when she accused Clinton of raping her. But revisiting* the Clinton scandals in light of today’s politics is complicated as well as painful...
"I Believe Juanita".
Interesting times, to say the least.

The Times just threw Bill Clinton under the bus. DNC/CNN cheater Donna Brazile recently provided the same services for Hillary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. There are two ways to read this. Either the Democrats know the Clintons are finished and so no longer fear them, or they know the Clintons are going up the river and are trying to distance themselves. Maybe it's both.  I think we can be certain from the public manner in which the Clintons have been shivved by their former supporter-enablers, Hillary will not be the Dem' nominee in 2020.

Conservatives screaming "Fire Jeff" because our current AG has not chained the Clintons up yet are hilarious. It's coming from him in good time or it's not coming at all. My suspicion is that the aforementioned distancing is a result of NYT being privy to leaks they have not shared with you. "In light of today's politics" means that The Narrative is still in play and there are plenty of things they are not telling you. Sessions has never really respected the Narrative, so much. Nor does he respect the loud impatience of anons on Twitter.

Does anyone still read National Review?

Once you accept "trans" as a thing instead of a mental illness, you have no argument against a white guy who identifies as a Filipino woman. Set yourself against reality, even to save the feelings of the insane, and you're riding that poppy path to the end.

Nancy Pelosi is utterly insane.  The longer she remains Minority Leader, the better.

That signs saying "It's OK to be White" triggered college administrators across the fruited plain says plenty about the current state of higher education. But it's #NotAllColleges -- we have exactly zero of that crap here.** It's really only prevalent on campuses large enough and liberal enough that one can assemble a critical mass of mentally ill - both in the faculty and the student body - to raise a ruckus.

I'm really enjoying watching Hollywood self-immolate.

The entire Middle East is about to go to war.  Won't that be nice?

Obvious hit is obvious. Now I want Roy Moore to win, not because I agree with him***, not even because it matters in any real sense, but because he lays bare all the pretensions of the GOP's Respectable Class. Jeb Bush popped his head out this morning to say that Moore was unfit because he gropes young women. David Cop-a-Feel could not be reached for comment.

* This is "revisiting" in the "we studiously ignored them the first time" sense.
** We also have a reassuring dearth of clown hair and ear gauges.
*** I never saw statues of the 10 Commandments as a hill worth fighting on, much less dying on (2Cor 3:6-8).

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The chiggers die tonight

Picked the last peppers and any remaining tomatoes bigger than my hand.  The late squash/zuc/pumpkin planting yielded 2 zucchini, 1 grenade-sized squash, and a pumpkin the size of a doll's head that Mr. Charisma broke off from the stem before it could really amount to anything. Not winning, but I'll take it.

If your pumpkins were as sparse as mine, you'll be able to buy up enough grocery store pumpkins on November 1st to make pies and cakes for all of 2018 at about a dollar each. Never look a gift pumpkin in the mouth.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Winter Garden

So anyway, in preparation for the next month of cool temps, I've planted radishes, spinach, lettuce, some cilantro, and other good stuff that can take a little frost with cover.

Digging Dog decided that the planting would not be complete without a cow femur right in the middle of it.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Punching down

Horns. How do they work?

It's probably not kind to make fun of cows for being stupid. But cows are exceptionally stupid.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Harvest and hanging

The Rose of Alabama
So anyway, it was 38 degrees this morning: time to wrap this garden up for the year.  Not a great year, to be sure.  If I had to live the winter off of its bounty I would not have to worry about shedding those extra pounds. But this is why we make our mistakes while there's still time to learn from them.

Mistake #1: Don't plant what you don't want to eat. I planted all kinds of peppers* this year, mostly in an effort to see what grew best here. Unfortunately, the one that grew best is not one that I like to eat: banana peppers. Also, that accidental deer corn is pretty harsh. The chickens enjoy both, so there is that...

Mistake #2: Shade trees make shade. A few years ago we planted some oaks south of the back raised beds, and for years they broke up the sun just enough to avoid scorch. They are now so large that I either need to remove them or move the beds. I'm moving the beds.

Mistake #3: Container planting gets expensive. Unlike dirt, which you get to re-use every year, potting mix is a once-or-twice (at most) product that then needs to be added to the garden or composted. There was an enormous difference in the results of my "first year" and "second year" containers. However, buying potting mix in October is one way to reduce the costs substantially.

Mistake #4: If you plant your squash-type plants late summer in an effort to avoid squash bugs, they will likely fall prey to powdery mildew.

Mistake #5: Don't plant grape vines on the shady side of the post you want them to ascend, even if it's much more convenient to do so.

Still, it was a pretty good year for potatoes and tomatoes and a great year for cukes, garlic, raspberries, and herbs of all sorts. Of the tobacco plants I kept, I got a few pounds of leaves for hanging in the barn, though I have enough seeds left that I didn't bother to save any.

Next year's plans are already on the move. On the back yard cinder block beds I am expanding from six 12'x4' beds to four 25'x4' beds and moving everything to the field south of the house. I'm going to try planting horseradish as an annual instead of just letting it go wild. I'm going to plant only Roma tomatoes next year, as those seem to be the best for salsa and sauces. Finally, the die sales have provided enough fiscal overage that I might get to put in a small greenhouse. The problem there is that I'll have to water much more frequently, for which I'll likely need a second well first. My hundred-year-old, hand-dug cistern is reliable, but I don't like to push it too hard.

Oh, the woes of  prole self-sufficiency.

* Well, not ALL kinds.  I didn't grow jalapenos, but I will need to next year, as my current supply will run low this winter.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Goodbye, Boy Scouts

To be replaced with the
Teen Vogue gossip badge
It was only a matter of time:
NEW YORK (AP) — In its latest momentous policy shift, the Boy Scouts of America will admit girls into the Cub Scouts starting next year and establish a new program for older girls based on the Boy Scout curriculum that enables them to aspire to the coveted Eagle Scout rank.
Why must girls be allowed into the Boy Scouts?  Isn't there a Girl Scouts for them?  These are the obvious questions. The answers are more complicated.

Some background, first. I'm an Eagle Scout, as are both of my younger brothers and several of my closest friends. I was in Order of the Arrow, was SPL of the best troop in Lake Superior Council, attended the 81 National Scout Jamboree, hiked at Philmont, and taught the guides at Okpik a thing or five about wilderness survival. Scouting was one of the most formative experiences of my life, and I am still close to most the eight guys that made up our Senior Patrol in the early 80s. But I did not encourage my sons to become scouts. The reason is that even 10 years ago, scouting was obviously not what is was when I was a scout. Scouting was ill then. Now it is dying.

Now, the answers to why girls must be allowed into the Boy Scouts, which are two:

1) Boys are not allowed to have anything that's exclusively theirs. Girls have girl scouts as a 'safe space', but excluding girls from Boy Scouts is deemed oppressive and sexist and all sorts of other bad names by those dedicated to destroying masculinity.  As a scout, the most valuable lessons I learned, like teamwork and leadership and how to give* a good snuggie would have been impossible amidst the sexual tension resulting from the presence of girls. This is why under SocJus rules**, girls must be introduced.  It's not about fairness to girls as much as it is about denying boys a place to be boys.

2) The scouts are a dying organization.  Membership in the Boy Scouts topped out in 1972 and has been falling since. BSA has a payroll full of 'professionals' to meet, and those on the payroll are perfectly willing to change the organization (or rather, expand the customer base) to keep the paychecks flowing. Remember, the primary objective of every organization, whether the scouts or a business or a union or a civil rights organization, is to remain in business.

Of course, there are a couple of arguments made by the kinds of people who think this is a great idea but are not willing to cop to the real answers.

The first is that the girls will be in a separate organization. Yeah, that will last 2 seconds, as 'separate but equal' is never a winning strategy and demands twice as many leaders, twice as much overhead.  Dying organizations don't have extra leadership waiting on the bench so troops will be de-facto combined almost immediately.

But the second argument is the one that guarantees the death of the BSA within a decade: the Girl Scouts suck. It's true. The boy scouts have been about camping and the girl scouts are about fashion and fame. Why is that? Because it's what attracts your average teen girl. To attract and keep girls, who are generally not interested in sleeping outside in an igloo or using a map and compass to find a "lost" lake, Boy Scout programs will immediately begin to include the kinds of activities that girls like. In a decade, the Boy Scouts will have a new name and no boys.

Do I lament the death of the Boy Scouts? Not really. It's not the name of the organization but the experiences that are of import. And there are other organizations that can provide those experiences to boys. I just hope that the next Boy Scouts can figure out a way to eliminate 'professional' leaders and keep the SJWs far away, or they will die in turn.

* and receive, a lesson learned first.
** SocJus rules also demand the admittance of gay scouts and scoutmasters***, then 'trans' scouts. It was only a matter of time once the sexual disorientation dike was breached.
*** Now there's a great idea: gay guys camping with teen boys.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Coming apart

It's obvious from the divergent reactions to last night's shooting, on top of the year-long-triggering that has become our new public discourse, that the nation is coming apart. To be sure, there's plenty of noise amplification due to social media, but it is amplifying opinions that are less fringe than they were 10 years ago and did not really exist 20 years ago. We no longer have a shared narrative to guide us forward together, so we will go forward apart.

I suspect that the lunacy, the nastiness, and the rage are going to get worse -- far worse -- before they get better, mostly because I don't think they're going to get better for a century. Civilizational collapse tends to be that way. And make no mistake, that's what we are staring down.

The first lesson a larval systems analyst is taught when diagnosing a problem is to ask, "What's changed?" If the code ran fine yesterday and it's broken today, then something new has been introduced. Find that thing and you'll likely find the problem.

The Second Amendment has been around since 1791. Americans have always had guns, lots of guns, even before we were Americans. That hasn't changed, ergo that is not the problem.

But individuals using them on innocents for maximum effect is new. So what has changed? Lots and lots of things, and they are woven into the fabric of our current culture. It's not gay marriage or broken families or diversity*, but the underlying problem with all of them. We are collectively living for today and nothing else. No past, no future, no God, no vision. Nothing but appetite.

In our quest to grasp the trendy, we have torn down the fences that prior generations erected. And we have done so just because they were there, and without asking them or even ourselves why they were erected. We build ugly buildings filled with ugly art. We pipe ugliness into our homes via satellite with a monthly subscription. Half of us are on antidepressants. We eulogize the pornographers of our youth but our kids don't know what sex they are.

It is no wonder we are going mad, in little groups, in big groups, and individually. "Senseless" shootings, if indeed that's what this is, are evidence that the sweat of our collective insanity is starting to flow through some of the weaker pores. But this will not cool the body. It will inflame the body.

Now, I'm not saying any of this to criticize America or the West - there is simply no need for that.  I'm saying that this is the position in which we today find ourselves. We can howl and moan and vote** about it, but I suspect that it's not going to make much difference in any macro sense. This road goes somewhere very bad, and drag your heels all you want, there are millions of your neighbors slavering like huskies and dragging our collective sleigh at top speed.  They want to go there.

The shootings are going to get worse. The crime is going to get worse. The violence is going to get worse. And then it's going to get organized. And then it's going to get nasty.  We may not get all the way there in my lifetime, and I am certainly aware of the dangers of  extrapolating current trends into an unknown future. But the trajectory looks that way and the trend has plenty of support to continue, from people, institutions, even inertia.

This mad carousel may go on for a while, maybe a long while. Or it may not***. When it stops, you'd better be where you want to be, surrounded by the people you want near you. Teach your kids, support your church, love your neighbor, get to know your sheriff. And as much as possible, physically stay the hell out of the way.

Something wicked this way comes.

* by which is meant a generation raised to identify themselves primarily by hues, genitals, or sexual disorientations. By which is also meant establishing hostile microcultures, like Roman settlements without the order, throughout the nation.
** While voting matters, I fully suspect that significant change will be imposed from outside the current constitutional order. Nature abhors a vacuum.
*** much of that depends on the dollar, and how many we will print before the futility of something-for-nothing becomes too obvious to ignore.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Thoughts on the NFL protest

Kneeling is historically a symbol of submission.
You might have noticed from my lack of NFL posting the past few years that the league and its goings on do not really capture my interest.  Still, this weekend will probably mark a significant battle in the culture war, all things considered.

So some thoughts, in no particular order:

1. I don't care if the NFL implodes.  Once an organization gives itself over to SJW virtue signalling, there is nothing left but to watch its inevitable seppuku. What starts with pink shoes always ends in full-blown moonbattery. Screw them.

2. The players have a constitutional right to kneel.  However, as employees who represent a company* and have signed a contract that requires they stand for the anthem, things are a little more complicated than that. The people pay you to perform, not complain.

3. It's interesting to watch the left/right trade arguments this week:
Left, last week: Get anyone who attended the UTR protest fired!
Left, this week: Muh free speech!
Right, this week: Those players who knelt should be fired!
Right last week: Muh free speech!

4. Trump knew exactly what he was doing and purposely exacerbated the situation.  What was allegedly a protest against police brutality suddenly became about Trump, and therefore partisan, and therefore unserious. And Trump is suddenly the defender of all things American.

5. Lots of red pills handed out this weekend.  The NFL's primary audience is precisely those kinds of guys who are going to react viscerally to the symbolism of kneeling players. the protesters choose the anthem because they knew viewers would not ignore it.  I doubt they thought about the reaction they would thereby unleash.

6. In the end, this 'protest' is simply a bunch of bitchy millionaires virtue-signalling and will serve only to inoculate normal Americans against SJW posturing. The longer it goes on, and the more damage it does to the NFL brand, the better. Here's to hoping it takes down ESPN as well.

* they are wearing the company's *uniform* for pete's sake.