Friday, November 27, 2015

Random thankful thoughts (NOW WITH UPDATE!)

Wonder weather

The season of easy living officially checked out yesterday. The high temperature peaked at 21 degrees, just moments after the clock declared a new day, then fell steadily throughout the remainder of Thanksgiving. It didn't fall far, though, the low was 14.

As the sun began to illuminate the heavens, dawn's early light revealed a gray-toned world and lightly falling snow. Low-hanging overnight clouds had wept a constant light mist of super cooled water droplets, and now trees and grasses and signs and lines and everything else was crusted with a light rime.

This was the first real cold and snow of the season, and the first one is always a pain. Everything is harder in the cold and snow. In the season of easy living the thought is the action. It takes, comparatively, nothing to get up, get dressed and get to work. In winter, though, it takes, thought, attention and energy just to get dressed.

First come the heavy socks, then the long-handled winter drawers in their modern Under Armour iteration. Next come wick-lined winter cargo pants and a tee shirt. Danner Pronghorn insulated boots go on. The Shield gets inspected and cycled, then snaps into the N8-squared IWB holster. Next comes the heavy overshirt, followed by a hooded sweatshirt, followed by my working vest. After checking the pockets for spare mags, flashlight, camera, spare batteries, syringes, needles and antibiotic, cell phone, nippers and spare gloves, I can finally waddle out the door and get to work.

It's a far cry from lightly skipping out of bed and immediately charging into the day.

The cold and snow also means a more detailed vehicle pre-flight. In the summer I scarcely check the oil, but in the cold and snow I check everything. In summer a broken down pickup can mean a multi-mile lark of a pleasant hike, in winter it can mean misery and mortality.

So on the first day of the season of not so easy living, I feel like I'm already tired when I get to work.

It's more of a mind thing than anything else. Getting dressed and checking the pickup isn't really taxing, but it does add steps, and it's a change in routine, so I bitch and moan and whine a bit. Within a few days I've adjusted, the whining wanes, and I give it no more thought.

Once I got out there, the weather was amazingly beautiful. Cold and snow and chopping ice is something other than fun, but there's just something magnificent and delightful about close horizons, softly falling snow, and well conditioned cattle doing what cattle do.

Holiday dinner

Thursday was, of course, Thanksgiving, so before I could even venture out to do food-on-the-table work, I had to do some food-on-the-table work. If you get my drift.

The plan was for a quiet and subdued Thanksgiving meal. Brothers and Sister and their families would not be present for the festivities, having other plans in other parts of the state. One brother and family would make an overnight stop at the ranch on Wednesday, then head for the wilds of Colorado's Redneck Riviera to dine with inlaws.

The official EJE Thanksgiving Dinner would have, then, only three at the table, Mom, Dad, and I.

Somehow I'd managed to convince Mom to let me take care of the meal, so at the crack of 4 a.m. I was up and preparing sage dressing for the crock pot.

Aromatics bubbling in butter
I'd decided to go whole hog and prepare a large meal. With food so cheap it's actually more expensive to cook small, and it's more finicky, too. None of the leftovers would go to waste, either. The other thought I'd had regarding a large vs. small meal was the possibility that Traveling Bro and his entourage might get weathered in at the ranch, which is in fact what happened.

Which was nice, because 10 at the Thanksgiving table is much more better than three at the table. It just is.
Bird on the platter
Spinach artichoke casserole
Corn Pudding

There were more dishes, of course, which I failed to photograph. Mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, bread and rolls, relish tray, candied yams, beverages, pies, etc. It was quite a spread, and turned out to be almost not quite enough!

I don't care who ya are, that's funny right there. I'm glad no one was videotaping me!

Another day

And now it's Friday morning. Another dawn, another day to be thankful for.

It's Black Friday, as the media call it, screeching in indignation and forgetting completely to be thankful for anything, looking down on people who they believe in their tiny little media hearts to be less than human, the real Americans who live real lives and suit up and show up each and every day.

Not that I feel strongly about the self-serving, small-minded, lemming media, you understand.

They do provide another reason to be thankful, though. In addition to weather and food and family and football and fun, I'm thankful to be an American, thankful that I'll never be one of those cold and timid souls.

And off to tilt at frozen stock tanks with my trusty war ax.

It was about a draw...

Between me and the frozen water that is. Ran over something and had a blowout, which required swapping the spare on of course.

At any rate, a few more pics. Beautiful morning, cold and still. Beautiful test of skills and competence with the blowout. We expect to do well on these tests.

Recently harvested corn, stalks trapping snow for next year
Golden late November morning sunshine

Monk soaking up all the morning sun he can find
Sun behind snow-filled clouds
Wabbit twacks!
Rime ice
And more rime ice
Cows never graze on slopes. Never! Just ask the NRCS experten.
All better. Kinda.
More wabbit twacks across the glittering new snow
There he is


  1. The stark beauty of winter.

    Nothing like a home full of family for the Thanksgiving feast.

    You are truly blessed my friend!

    1. It can get pretty out here at times. And the family was a delight.

      Blessed I am!

  2. Corn Pudding! Triple Yum! I shall be having my Thanksgiving on Saturday, having to work the rest of the week. I have not had a Saturday off since June of last year. Since I am a bachelor, I am not going to bother with a turkey, but will make a turkey roll instead. But since the one I bought is a dark meat one, that is just fine with me, as I prefer dark meat.

    Back in the 1980's, a man named John Louis Anderson wrote a book about being Scandinavian in the Upper Midwest, Scandinavian Humor, and Other Myths. One of the things he wrote about was the pot luck suppers held in the Fellowship Halls of the Lutheran churches, held by the ladies of the Congregation, the Lutheran Ladies, if you will. He listed about a dozen hot dishes, and was kind enough to give a definition of ot dish, as I am told that outside of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, they are called casseroles, for some reason. He did not give any recipies, as everyone knows what tuna noodle surprise is, for example. Alas, becuse of his reticense, I know not what goes into Turkey Lurkey Hoo Hah! So I had to develop it myself.

    It is a well known phenomenon, that turkey tastes better the second day. So one starts with a thick layer of mashed potatoes on the plate, add a layer of chopped turkey, a layer of stuffing, and one of corn pudding. Cover with lots of gravy, and nuke it 'til it glows! Zounds, but that is good! Since I am starting with a turkey roll, I shall have no problem in producing a Turkey Lurkey Hoo Hah! on Saturday night. Washed down with cranberry juice, and milk, it will be a splendid meal on a crisp November Saturday night.

    Did you have a flat, or an actual blow out? I have had flats, but only one actual blow out, so far in my life. When I had my full sized Chevy 4X4 pickup, man was I prepared for that sort of thing. Under the topper, among the other stuff, was a 2 ton floor jack, a 25 ton hydraulic bottle jack, a gas generator, tools, and a bag with an electric impact wrench, and sockets. I even had a 700 degree heat gun, in case the lug nuts needed help, or, on a bitter night, the hydraulics were jelled. Power tools make everything easier. I woulld stop for people broken down, and have them on their way in 10 minutes. I have a story about doing that that makes me smile, 18 years after it happened, if you would care to hear it, in which I was accused of being an angel.

    I am glad you had a superb Thanksgiving, and eagarly anticipate the Rant you promied us Wednesday. Unless a Turkey Dinner has mellowed you out!

  3. Hard to beat corn pudding. I had a look at the scandanavian humor book and put it on my amazon queue. Looks like a good one.

    I'm not sure what happened to the tire, or as my english friends would say, tyre. Most likely I scuffed/cut the sidewall and then it blew out. Glad it didn't happen at highway speeds.

    Hope you enjoy your feast today.

    I plan to work on the rant today, as long as I can avoid unexpected ranch duties.

  4. I am fairly sure that the hot dish is in that book, he used to be on Wisconsin Public Radio, s I may have heard it from him there. You will enjoy the book.

  5. Happy ever after Thanksgiving!