Talk About A Bigshot!

The Lieutenant briefed the team and put me in charge. HooYAH! The job entailed performing a solidification of a submarine’s radioactive filtration resin while at sea. It seems the shore solidifiers could not keep up with the drums and drums of the radioactive resin such that warehouses were filling with them and the resins were partially caking up to make pouring it into the solidification drum would be very tough.

They set up the area at the lowest HP deck, worried about a spill?  The method included having the dented resin drum on a holder rack that could tilt it up so it could pour into the new drum that had a stir bar in it. As the resin stirred, concrete powder would be sifted in via a PCV pipe with a steel bar twisted like a screw to move it in evenly.

The first trial! We checked all the parts twice and then once more. Commence! The resin poured in well. The concrete did not. Then the pipe broke, the steel had knotted up. The photo is the actual steel screw that was removed, decontaminated and painted black. Ahhh, the Dixon Auger Eaters!

The Auger Eaters Plaque!
A Closer Look at the Inscription

We soon worked it out, got it done with a metal pipe at a better feed angle, did a few more, reported it and went about our business. About a month later I was called to the Captain’s office with officers all about the place watching.

As I stood at attention, the Captain stood to tell me to expect a ceremony in the morning at 1000 hours. I needed to get a clean and spiffy dress uniform ready as I would be present. Dismissed.

Yikes, where had my bravery run off to? A ceremony? Why tell only me and not everybody? Quit worrying and get the danged uniform ready and the shoes shined! While I busily buffed, the word did come over for all to hear.

The entire crew not on duty stood on the main deck in various formations to suit the equipment that could not be moved. All the officers certainly appeared clean and spiffy. I went to line up with my department. The Master Chief pointed forward and walked me to the center area where two older crewmen stood. They said nothing as a helicopter landed at the pier and an entourage boarded the ship. The Captain greeted them and they all arranged themselves in from of us.

The Entourage Chariot

One guy was called up for 30 years of service or some such, I admit to being more than a bit nervous. The Captain congratulated him and shook his hand. The other guy, the same. Then the Captain stepped back and the visitor fellow with tons of decorations on his uniform took the spot. He called my name. I forced myself not to shame the entire crew! I strode up and saluted perfectly. He saluted back. Being thin and tall, I didn’t mind standing at attention as long as I didn’t lock my knees.

I don’t recall all he said. His talk included hard work, ingenuity, teamwork, professionalism, saving the Navy millions of dollars and such. The solidification process we altered, tested and reported was transmitted across the Navy! His aide approached with a small box. He opened it a removed a medal suspended from a colorfully striped ribbon. Loudly he stated that I had earned the Navy Achievement Medal and the whole ship should be proud of me. Then he whispered, “I can’t reach into your shirt to pin it on. Here, you do it.” I did. The crew and visitors saluted me and I returned the honor. Without collapsing. I smiled at the Secretary of the Navy and got back in line with the 30 year guys. Lesson: I can stand up to anything!

Heartfelt thanks to all the veterans who have serve this wonderful United States of America. None of us are perfect, but when we need to, we shine! That includes many in my family, including my Sailor father who served on a minesweeper he called the Ellie Mae during the Korean Conflict and my Sailor uncle who served at Pearl Harbor and went on leave the day before the Japanese attack that started the Pacific’s WWII.

And, I can’t help it …

Hooray for the US Navy! Anchors aweigh!

Diego Garcia, BIOT

After folly and fun in Australia, we yet had one more destination: Diego García, British Indian Ocean Territory, the most southern isle of the Chagos Archipelago off India’s southern tip, quite near the equator. We went to that horseshoe shaped coral atoll as it is strategically close to the Middle East; we were to service the ships. No storms, sunshine and glistening beaches, so all good? How about being stuck there for two solid months!

When we arrived, they had no dock could handle a ship our size. We set up a small boat to ferry those wanting to go ashore there and back, the last one back being at 1900 hours. Naturally I had to go see all I could! That’s when I found that half the coral atoll was off-limits as there one lived a community of natives that were chased off – an empty town. The Brits made the rules here and we had to follow them.

Our job there gave us new duties. We repaired subs that pulled up as well as ships, in fact many more ships than boats. Their reactor compartments were much larger and not a compacted as on a sub. Lots more room one them for sure. When I was not on duty, I checked out everything where I had been allowed. For example, watching a gigantic supply plane land on a thin strip of the island and needed special aid in stopping before running into the water!

I got the attention of a Brit officer who asked lots of questions about how I got to be where I was and didn’t I find it broiling hot here and all in between. A couple days later when I could return, I went to the beach seeking the Great White Sharks that were supposed to be thick as fleas here. That Brit walked up and I asked him why I saw none. Because I searched the inside of the atoll, they swarmed the perimeter! He offered to take me over to the north eastern side to enjoy the most pristine beach anywhere, sharks and tunes as he had Roxy Music to play, a new album I hadn’t heard!

As soon as I agreed, I smacked myself for running off to a remote location with a stranger, so far nobody could hear me scream. As we got in his Rover and headed out, told him about the karate lessons I’d been taking on the ship, a yellow belt achieved! We soon passed through part of the abandoned town and it felt haunted. In only about 20 or 30 minutes we arrived at the gorgeous white sand beach and he pulled out a basket with sandwiches in it. I’d forgotten about lunch! We did spot shark fins and distant sailboats and little crabs.

He put on the new Roxy Music album called Flesh and Blood which I bought as soon as I returned to the US. He told me about where he hailed from and then I had my turn at it. He said we had horse racing in common and laughed. The last song played and he put on something else. The name of that group slips my mind because soon after he pointed to the horizon and sternly said, “We must hurry back. That storm will be on us in no time at all!

We packed up all and when we got into the Rover, we turned to see the storm much closer. He gunned the engine, roaring up the barely visible path. In a few minutes, it began raining hammer-hard, the sky darkening ominously. A vicious stroke of lightening zapped a tree directly in front of us. We jumped, it fell, he rammed into it. He went out to check on damage and frowned; the front axle had broken. He strode over to the trees and chopped two long, sturdy sticks off. He handed me one. Had I heard of Coconut Crabs? Yes, they could crack a person’s skull open. They’re three feet side, weigh about 9 pounds, the largest crustations on the planet!

Soon those humungous tangerine-colored giant crabs gathered onto the path, blocking our way. We kept swinging those rods, knocking/shoving them right and left as fast as we could. It seemed we were taking a shortcut, however my big concern (other than the killer crabs) remained: I had to make that last ferry run or be in dire trouble. Soaked and worn to shreds, we made it to a heavily fenced and barbed wired facility bristling with antennae he called a weather station midway where a fellow was just about to leave. They spoke together a bit, then he gave us a ride all the way to the ferry boat that had held off leaving, hoping I’d be back. The driver left with the Brit quickly without speaking a word to me or even looking my way.

The Brit got in trouble for violating security regulations, I did not; my secret clearance maybe? I’ll always be thankful we could work together to not fall prey to those monster crabs! Since those days, Diego García has become an even more important base for the US, with new ship facilities, another airstrip and even submarine facilities plus who know what. Strategic place it is! I think I’ll play some Roxy Music…

TOMORROW: Talk About a BIGSHOT!

The Storm That Nearly Sank Us!

We went from Hawaii to Olongapo Phillipines and then headed to Sydney, Australia and everyone looked forward to that and made grand plans. This is until we felt the ship rocking in all directions more and more. Then the jarring, nauseating slamming. Some guys puked across the floor which made others feel sicker too.

Battle-ready ships have a sharp keel to stay steady when aiming their weapons. A repair ship has a rounded hull to be able to carry more tools and supplies, thus the sickening WHAMs. I forced a hatch open to see what the storm at sea looked like. Fascinating! I clutched the rail as the winds were very strong and got soaked quickly as I edged aft. The waves spewed like horizontal waterfalls and splashed wickedly each time was were lifted up a giant swell and then drop like tons of bricks after it passed.

I loved it! What an adventure! Looking to the portside I was worse turbulence, red skies and lots of lightening. I made it to the starboard. I nearly swooned at the glorious sunshine and neon affects off into the distance. A swell of inky, angry se then reared so high I could not see over or past it. I went to my knees and grabbed the rai as hard as I could. It crashed into the ship and tilted it sideways. Then I us running into one at least as huge, going to hit the prow yet coming from the starboard. The ship nearly turned sideways; I kept my grip as my body flew out behind me. As it leveled back, I forced my legs back under me so they would not slam onto the deck. It worked, seconds before the weird slam.

WOW! DOUBLE WOW! Still, it seemed a smart time to go back inside. Right inside the hatch stood the gedunk machine; now I knew why they’d bolted it to the bulkhead! I got a Zagnut bar and made my way carefully down a couple decks where most of the guys had gathered. When they saw me with a candy bar, I bet at least 50 of them puked on each other.  I walked on, trying to keep balanced. How exhilarating! In the morning we discovered the storm had busted a rusted part of the hull through and we were sinking.

I roamed the ship as the crew patched the hole with sharpshooters around to repel the sharks. I thought of when the multistate hoard of tornadoes hit my hometown of Louisville Kentucky when I was yet in my early teens. I stood on the front concrete step of our rickety house and watched the tornado wrecking part of the Fairgrounds and whizzing further across the terrain with debris being flung all around. I noted one beginning to form very nearby, a sharp pointy, twisting tip and went into the front yard for a better view, entranced and nearly disappointed when the yellow, clouded sky took it back into its bosom. All that time, the radio blasted warnings and Mama screamed at me to crawl under the kitchen table with my bawling little sisters.

The proximity of that near tornado busted the balloon-diaphragm of my syrup bottle barometer I made for upcoming science fair. Lesson? I naturally do not fear even excess danger as anything but true excitement. By the way, I won that science fair.

TOMORROW: Diego García, BIOT

Certain Worthwhile Skills On Mars

Being angry on a crowded spaceship would be fatal. Ethan maintained a placid posture and kept his monitored heart rate and body temperature midline. He thought about how his life of writing, home brewing and riding his bike miles and miles each day among the green parks and byways was usurped by corporate New Yorkers. Options: Work on the massive sea wall for the East Coasters or help settle the American sector on Mars. Not everyone got the option for Mars, so all could have been worse.

How’s this for a journal entry: There is no sci-fi looking dome you can see leafy trees and happy folks inside while riding their personal dune buggy outside. Instead, our new home is a series of weird steel-like huge multi-story warehouses that were interconnected for services and transit but able to be cut out of the system easily if damaged, too bad for inhabitants. Arranged in an immense circle to simplify the connections to each neighbor and the central hub, the scene reminded him of a fallen Ferris wheel as seen from a couple miles up. On arrival, I was assigned to Building 8.

The Building 8 Administrator had requested him specifically, worrisome that. Turns out Colonel Bredagnian had difficulty wording his dispatches and announcements right. Being a ‘count my blessings’ person, I made subtle changes in his documents, nothing to show he had assistance. Actually his missive weren’t that bad. After a month, I learned the real reason he requested me. His list:

  • Interview technicians, scientists and others to create textbooks
  • Create a library of all available books, documents and the textbooks
  • Write Mars-based children’s stories, upbeat and fun
  • Get the skilled folks to work on things together
  • Teach writing in the Hub school, get other teachers going
  • Learn to use the available materials to make new items

He said the buildings had the ambience of a prison, and that absolutely had to change. Such change was not generally an Army specialty. Perhaps I actually could make some inroads!

This really invigorated me, to think I would be in on the ground level creating an education system, my part of it anyway. The stories would be a real service to the kids, they needed real help in their formative years. I’d done some teaching in St. Louis and enjoyed it. Making new items? Well, I’d worry about that later. If everyone had done as I did and loaded their laptops with eBooks, I should be able to accumulate a fine library in no time!

There were already several shared book and manual sites and most were easily incorporated into a site-side free library. A couple graphic designers made the library look really cool and a couple geeks worked out the borrow or whatever part. One of the people I interviewed for textbooks was a children’s book illustrator! How serendipitous! She’s very sharp witted and nice looking too. She said she needs paints or markers as the markers she brought with her have dried up. Perhaps I get to make a new item!

There was one older scientist who knew about pigments, glory! This chemist determined a way to make pigments a new way. I’ve got Dr. Chu and Jenny working together to see what works and what might with a tweak. This could be big, paints and dyes could brighten up everything! If Earth won’t send us anything but the barest basics and weapons we’ll make our own!

As I thought hard about proposing to Jenny, I noted how much weight I’d gained. The gravity is less so it wasn’t so apparent but the feeling of being out of shape had been bothering me. Bike riding! I know several folks who can help me but tires are a problem and sharing with the other few thousand folks here is too. One helpful thing, a track was made in the circle for the utility connections between buildings; it was for the train or at least a trolley Earth kept promising us. Right.

Now we keep bike stations at every Building and folks are crazy about them! They’ve put bushes and flowers all around the track, what a grand change! I found my wife loves to ride but didn’t want to talk about what she couldn’t have. Ha! There’s a couple medical doctors who’ve requested a stationary bike. No problem!  An Engineer I’m working with whipped a stand up that can be used with any bike! I’ll just cycle right on over to Building 4 and let them try the stand out! Then get Lucas to make a hundred more! We’re definitely keeping the miners busy.

Jenny is due any day. We have only about 50 names picked out. One of the groups I’ve been meeting with about innovations wanted to celebrate.  I told them about the musical instruments being made. They kept insisting on something else. That’s when I found out they have somehow acquired yeast.  You don’t have to use hops to brew something good. We have more apples than we need here…Wow!

Long Legged, Geeky Girl

“What are you all red-eyed about?”

“High waters. All I got is high waters.”

“Prissy girls.” Mama went back to her crossword puzzle and I stomped back to my room to take off those durn blue jeans that showed my ankles as soon as possible. Tossing my book bag and shedding my shame, the treasure spread across my bed stole my attention.

My Bookmobile treasure: Pollinators. Geology and the Inland Sea, The Science of Fire. Storm Dynamics. With a fluffed pillow at my back and my giraffe legs stretched out before me, I reached for the nearest tome. The 8th grade science fair was only 27 days away. Hmmm, weather instruments.

I had a jelly jar in my hand wondering what to use as a membrane when I saw the fancy syrup bottle with the plastic handle and spout in the trash. The jelly jar went back to Mama’s canning supplies. The smaller opening would mean the little balloon would fit lots easier and still be big enough for a pointer. A needle would poke the balloon. Dootdootdoot…what the hoot? Epiphany! A toothpick! Glue, where’s the glue?

The two poster boards were a breeze to do. One had a wild tornado in the center with a spotted cow and a couple trees in it. Labels and arrows artfully drawn noted the details. The other had a description of my EXPERIMENT. The harder part turned out to be affixing the index card to the narrow bottle neck. Scissors! Tape! Where’s the durn tape?

I added another reading from the weather report; the toothpick had a great range against the card which gave me pretty good room to record the data. The weather guys said a band of storms were on the way. Great! I might get a few data points in the low ranges right before the science fair!

Me, the biggest idiot in the room. The guy to the left of me had put an Apollo capsule model together. On the right, the guy with a hamster in a cage kept trying to make the critter run in the wheel. Across from me the guy had a printed, full color diorama of the Grand Canyon. Several boys had volcanoes. Except for me they were all boys.

Seeing the strange high school teachers quizzing the Apollo fellow reminded me of a warthog, me, realizing lions approached. Could I still run Where were the exits?” I blinked at hearing someone knock on the table and there they stood, directly in front of me. Holy bovines.

“Miss, please explain why you brought this mess here.”

Mess? By golly, warthogs had tusks. “Sirs, Ma’am, I made this barometer from ordinary items and calibrated the device using the National Weather Association certified reports that are televised each evening.” Here I pointed at the data on the card. “There are 23 data points taken before last Tuesday. On that day, the barometric pressure got so low, the balloon busted. This mess is the evidence that my barometer worked.” I did not add that the sight of that balloon getting sucked into that bottle and popping will amaze me to the end of my days, all the while Mama clutched my little sisters under the kitchen table and screamed at me to join them.

Well, 1st place won me $50. The April 3, 1974 swarm of ravaging tornadoes allowed me to proceed directly to the Woolco Department Store where I purchased a brand new Brother sewing machine. I figured out how to use it. From then through now, I choose the material for my clothes, I select the patterns and alter as needed. And my pants have always been the right length.

Tiana, Searching for Something Good

Tiana bent over low to peer under the orange pick-up truck, aha! She skittered away fast when the fat bearded guy walked up, slung his groceries in the back and yanked the driver’s door open. She kept a keen eye on anyone coming and going in the parking lot as the noisy thing finally left. The she went over and picked up the can of Cherry Pie Filling where he’d been, no dents or nothing.

Safely in her backpack, she patrolled the IGA lot for more dropped goodies, more stuff not recovered from busted bags, dropped money (seldom). Too bad they took away the Salvation Army donation box that used to be on the far corner of the lot, too bad. She wore a nice warm coat from there until she had to give it to her little sister.  They had a church pretty close but she was afraid they’d chase her away like the church on the other side of the lot did. They’d called her ‘filth’.

‘Sheesh, one good thing all morning.’ Her thoughts darted between vigilance and wondering if her mother’s asshole boyfriend was gone yet. He was mean and evil and she hoped her puppy he killed would haunt him. She loved her pup, but put him under the seat of his car anyway because Star Baby would really haunt him with stink pretty soon.

The sound of a busting grocery bag arrested her attention. She raced over to the elderly lady and picked up everything that fell for her. Yes she honestly did, everything. The lady did not want the jar of bread and butter pickles with the crack down the side. Tiana did, and thanked her for it. She went over to the ditch to get a spare bag out of her backpack. She tied the bag tight with the jar securely inside. She had a pickle jar saved at home to transfer the pickles into. Win!

The old lady hadn’t driven away. Why not? She went over to check on her. The driver door was open.

“Hi there, young lady.”

“Hi, I thought maybe something was wrong cuz’ you didn’t leave. Are you okay?”

“I was thinking about you, child. Why you out here scroungin’ like this?”

Just as Tiana started feeling self-conscious, she noticed the woman had a Salvation Army jacket across the passenger seat. “I gotta be gone while Mama’s boyfriend is there, he’s very mean.”

“Mean to you, your Mama or both y’all?”

“Both, and he killed my puppy too.”

“Why does your Mama let him in?”

“I promised I’d never ever tell.”

“He sells her dope so she has no money for groceries or clothes or anything else.”

Tiana said nothing but nodded slowly.

“We can help you child. I got this here food to supplement an open picnic we’re having today. You are welcome to be there. You know where our church is? Good. Be there early and put some shoes on if you can. Okay?”

Tiana felt a bright light of love shining into her heart! “Yes ma’am! Can I bring my little sister?”

Flyin’ Low

He bought a one way ticket

On and airplane made of snow

Flyin’ low

Dyin’ slow

Out Of Rehab. Again. Pong opened the trunk to get his duffle of a thousand patches out. He’d sold his house and most everything in it for his addiction to Happy Herry. His and Lili’s house, with little Po. Yeah, little Po had lived with his brother for a few years, since the rehab before last. Now he’d live here at Pete’s too, or under a bridge with the other cracked up vets. They’d flown him to Laos while the new love of his life went on to Saigon. Oh Lili.

Pong realized he stared at Lili’s patch from Afghanistan, the official one from the Hagibi Hospital where she worked putting people’s faces back together. She used to work there as she’d stayed in after he was discharged.  She’d sent Po to him with a note saying they were a real family now, with this little boy. He yanked on the duffle strap and dragged it to his brother’s front door.

“I got the tea straight from Singapore. Great isn’t it” Pete grinned and topped off Pong’s mug.

The kitchen table was supposed to be a cozy, comforting family place to ease anxieties. Crap. “Yeah, great.” Pete had set him up in the rec room, too much room. Pong had nearly collapsed to see a new drawing table, paints, markers and a stack of poster boards. Not anymore, no more cutesy art, not without Lili. He walked outside the room and leaned against the wall in the hallway.

Po burst into the front door singing out “I’m home!” The kid stopped cold when he saw Pong. “Hi Pong.”

Jeez, the kid had grown! “Hey sport. What did you learn in school today?” God forbid if the kid wanted a hug – that was Lili’s  job.

In a much subdued tone, Po said, “I have to do a report on a pet. But I don’t have a pet.”

The kid stood as if in the choir, in church.  At least the single time Pong had attended church. He’d seen the boy trail up to stand on the stage with a dozen other kids and belt out some hymn. He remembered the grand days where he and Pete had belted out harmonies at some of the big shows. Jimi Hendrix got top billing but there were instant venues all throughout the milling crowds. He’d met Lili at the Pixly Farm show, where it rained the whole time. They let her sleep in their tent.

Pong jerked. “What?”

Pete patiently said, “I told Po that we could go to the Dog Pound and get a pet.”

Pong saw Po’s eyes dart from his nominal daddy to his own mug of tea. He’d had missed the kid sitting down. Annoyed, he blurted, “You could make up a pet.”

Po took a deep breath. “I read that the Dog Pound mostly kills the big dogs and the black cats.” His eyes lifted toward Pete. “If you don’t want a big dog maybe we could get a black kitten.”

The hope in the boy’s plea would have broken Pong’s heart if the still had one. But he gazed at Pete. Apparently, he’d lost his adopted son as well as his wife, each gone quite a while before he ever knew it for certain. He sipped his tea and remembered how he and Lili talked about getting a dog right before her unit sent her over to Afghanistan.

A jacket thrust into his face made him jump. Automatically standing to put his jacket on, he asked, “Where to?”

“You stay in outer space most of the time, dude. The Dog Pound. That’s what we’ve been jawing about, right? They close at five so we’d best be movin’ along.”

In the back seat Pong vividly recalled his favorite poster, ‘Movin’ Along!’, the one he’d got prints made of, the one that had people coming up to get their copies autographed. The cool air in his face and opened door clued him they’d arrived.

At the counter Po explained that they needed to see the process from the end to the beginning. The woman in charge frowned, saying the public was not allowed in the euthanasia area. Struggling to pay attention, Pong asked, “Can we see Death Row?”

The woman screwed her mouth up for another access denial, but Pete saved the day by asking, “He’s troubled. Can we visit the pets that have been here the longest?”

Pete stopped at the Cat Room that was indeed populated with a preponderance of black kitties. Pong went on to the last chance Dog Room, Po at his heels. Huh. He glanced back again, not a hallucination.

The dog room felt so weird, almost electrically frizzy. Maybe because there were now a hundred eyes on him? A neon rainbow sprang from Po to a shaggy auburn Irish Setter-like mutt. Pong blinked and it disappeared yet the affect remained. The mutt looked intently his way. Pong thought about how long he’d tried to draw somebody making the “Tck-Tck” sound you make with one side of your face pulled back, like when you wanted a dog to come. He’d messed up too many poster boards trying, no luck. Luck? Really? He shook his head hard to keep in this time and space.

He stretched one side of his lips back and “Tck-Tck” erupted. The mutt bounded up and over until his paws on each shoulder nearly bowled him over.  Once he caught his breath, he knew this was HIS dog. Or maybe his and Po’s? ” Hey son, what you want to name this giant hairy creature?”

His son’s face lit bright. “Angel.”

“Down, Angel”. The dog sat obediently, tail wagging like a windshield wiper.  He remembered that leaving Pixly Farm he had to get new wiper blades before they got to the interstate. Angel brought his attention back to the here and now. He saw Po lean forward to check out Daddy’s demeanor. Pong flung his arms out. That hug felt better than he ever thought one could.

Stupid or Cupid?

The 60’s style flamboyance made his ‘Save a Pet’ posters a big hit, in the restaurants, in vet’s offices, grocery stores, lots of places. One of Pete’s cats, couldn’t tell Stupid from Cupid, had knocked over a bottle of black ink, stepped in it and walked across the top left corner of Pong’ s first effort. Now they all had black cat paw prints stamped there, like the seal of approval.

He shook his head and turned away from the framed posters on the wall. “Lemonade. I came in to get lemonade. He took a Minute Maid out of the freezer and stirred it with water. He heard Po shouting something and laughing. He walked to the screen door and watched Po try to toss the tennis ball again except the dog sat on this hind legs right in front of the boy, begging. Pong opened the door and aimed for his lounge chair. Po ran over and took the lemonade from him just a second before Angel knocked him over, licking his face and arms until he felt like a slobber doll. That Angel could wear a guy out! That Angel was a blessing.

The Delight in a Cup of TEA!

I used to drink 3 or 4 cups of strong black coffee over day. Then my work environment started getting rough and anxiety loomed. That much caffeine became a hazard. Thus, I went tea-crazy!

You can see a bit of the painting I did to hang over this shelf (there’s another shelf below with a teapot and stufff…). Below is the whole thing.

The lighting was not optimum, the green is actually uniformly applied.

And I’m not selfish with my tea, oh no! I have a few cups on hand to share with…should an army drop by!

A section of the shelf…

Someone Say CHICKEN?

I’ve always liked chicken cooked a dozen ways, I made a little fenced in chicken coop when the cabin was finished and always had fresh brown eggs, and worked at a chicken processing place for a decade!

My chicken fetish lasted for several years. It’s over now, but I can’t bear to get rid of any of this stuff.

Some aren’t in the kitchen…

“Chicken Run”, a movie favorite!
I Painted Several Stick-Chicken Scenes

And there are a few items collects overseas, a wooden rolling chicken the egg turns around inside I made, ceramics, even a chicken tea cup. No, I’m not obsessed. Am I?

A couple feet of the 10 foot array on the ledge between the 1st and 2nd floor

Go, Go Yogurt!

This year with more time, I restarted making my own yogurt. Golly, I’d missed it, and was delighted to get that first batch made. Since then, when there’s only one jar left I scoop a glob aside to make the new batch before gobbling the contents.

Fresh, Whole Milk is a MUST!

To start the fermentation I needed some new culture, the stuff I had in the freezer had been there WAY too long. The easiest way is to just add a glop of one from the store. They used to make the ‘fruit on the top’ kind so getting down to the plain yogurt was easy. To compensate, I used strawberry flavor as I put a spoonful of strawberry preserves in the finished jars anyway.

To begin, heat up half a gallon of fresh milk, 185 degrees F. I let mine set at that temp for 30 minutes because I like it thick. The let it cook to 115 degrees F and mix that reserved spoonful into it. Then put it in the clean jars to ferment!

Oh, the yummy-ness! Add a dab of of any preserves or such you like and enjoy something that’s actually GOOD for you at that afternoon snack time!