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Smoking (meat)….bleg?

Posted September 30, 2014 By Ruth

Ok, so at my (husband’s) nephew’s birthday party this summer they had a cousin (ok, technically my husband’s sister’s husband’s cousin’s husband) smoke a pork butt for pulled pork as well as do up some chicken in his smoker.

I wasn’t entirely thrilled.  About the only smoked meat I like is bacon, and pretty much the only pork I eat is bacon, so I settled on a small piece of chicken, and planned to eat alot of cake (hardship that that is).

But dang that pulled pork smelled good.  So I ended up going back to grab some, I figured eating a bite or two would fix that problem.  And then I went back a 2nd time and loaded up my plate….

And then I tracked down the (husband’s sister’s husband’s cousin’s husband) cousin who made it and demanded the recipe for his pulled pork.  He was kind enough to email it to me.

So yah, next step was a smoker.  Picked up a seriously cheap electric smoker off craigslist ($40, but it wasn’t exactly a high end unit to begin with), made a couple of the recommended modifications to the unit that made sense to me (like, putting in a proper thermometer instead of the “cool, ideal, hot” one it had).  I figure its easy enough to upgrade to a better unit later if we actually end up using it.

The guy added in a half bag of hickory chunks when we picked it up.  So I should be good for a couple runs of smoking meat before having to find more wood.

When I make our grocery run Thursday or Friday I’m going to pick up the various ingredients I need.  Hopefully this weekend I’ll be giving this a try. 

I know there’s folks out there who smoke meat on a regular basis.  So tell me what I need to know before I go and do this for real…..

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Small rant

Posted September 29, 2014 By Ruth

So I end up in a bit of an argument about raw feeding (of household pets) and the nutritional content there-of.  So I start pulling up links to studies or official data to back up my side of the argument.  Not an abnormal day, except that the argument has to do with the calcium content in raw bone, specifically chicken bone, and I’ve found that data to be much harder to come by, so my links are sparse but they get my point across.

Then someone new sticks his nose in and insists that the actual calcium content in bone is 6times higher than the number I quoted.

So I asked where he got his numbers from.

“Don’t have a reference at the moment, but I’m sure of my numbers.”

Thats nice, where’d you get your numbers from…..

New guy quotes a paragraph without giving any reference to where it came from.  And then adds that he doesn’t think that adding raw bone to a dog’s diet counts as a calcium supplement.

The very definition of “supplement” means to “add something extra”, maybe you don’t WANT to consider it a calcium supplement, but if your numbers are right then it definitely IS a calcium supplement.  Oh, and where are you quoting from??

Quote’s from the University Of Cambridge and its not a supplement because I say its not a supplement!!!

No publication name, or author name, or anything else to ID where the quote came from (which, the more I read, the less I think it says what he thinks it does).  Arguments like this remind me of why I need to spend less time online…..

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Making money off of blogging……

Posted September 17, 2014 By Ruth

I started this blog with zero intention to make money off of it.  And I still have zero interest in putting the work that would be required into making this an real money maker.  I did briefly toy around with Google Ads, but the money there was essentially zero and not worth the (very) minimal effort required (in the space of a year I earned $0.05).

WAY back, I did a post on a DIY version of a commercial product.  And that post has worked its way into the first page of search results (infact, depending on the search words its the FIRST result right under the company page), on every search engine I’ve tried, when people search for the name brand product.  And its one of my biggest search engine hits, in the last two weeks it netted me 218 hits, more than twice the number of hits on my main page.  Which made me a little concerned when I realized it, some companies can be very sticky about how their name is used, and I keep expecting (somewhere in the back of my brain) to be contacted by the company in question and asked to either rename the post or remove it all-together. 

Well, I finally got contacted by the company in question (well, I think I have, I haven’t tried calling them yet to confirm its a legit contact, I want to have a better idea of what to do before I do that).  And instead of being peeved about my post they’re offering me membership in their associates program, with the offer to make a commission of up to 20% of of each sale that comes in via the link on my blog.  Apparently people who decide that the DIY version isn’t for them (or who try it and can’t get it to work), then proceed to follow the link in the post to the brand name company, enough for them to notice.  A check of my exiting links shows that 48 out clicks in the last four months went to the company page.  The only out link with more hits is the link to the DIY instructions….

I have no idea as to the terms of the associates program, the information on the company site is basically identical to what I got in the email.  I have zero intention of pushing this product any harder than I already am.  Which, in case you haven’t noticed, is essentially not at all.  I’d be willing to modify the original post to include the associate links (and a disclaimer stating that I am an associate), and MAYBE a discrete link on the side-bar.  But I know one peeve of mine is when a blogger joins such a program and then pushes it with every post and big ads……But I also have to admit that the idea of pulling in enough to cover the costs of the blog itself (hosting fees mostly) would be nice……

The final choice is of course mine, but its not like I have a million people who read this blog either, So!  Thoughts, opinions, random barely connected thoughts?

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New Spam blocker

Posted September 15, 2014 By Ruth

I’m once again trying a new spam blocker, again, it shouldn’t affect you all, except that there is no longer a captcha for you to fill out.  But if you notice that your comment isn’t going through please email me and let me know!

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Updates

Posted September 9, 2014 By Ruth

Well, I’m alive, and awake.  Day 4 on the new allergy med and I think I might be getting used to it, I’m not feeling QUITE as bad as I did over the weekend.

The lily plants my aunt sent me have started blooming:

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They’re from the family “crocosmia” though there’s virtually no way to tell which variety they are.  We’re borderline too cold for them here, but if they’ll survive (cross fingers) they’re prolific and loved by bees and hummingbirds.

After a comparatively cool summer Mother Nature decided we needed at least a COUPLE hot days, and so last weekend we hit 90, both Friday and Saturday.  My only gripe was that I had to uncover the garden lest it scorch.  Course, we’re back to cool-ish weather, with lows potentially descending into the mid to low 40’s in the next week.  So I had to re-cover the garden with the frost blankets.

The onions are, again, a bust.  A couple good sized ones, the rest are tiny.  Obviously I’m doing something wrong.  Anyone ever tried planting onion seeds in the fall at the same time as garlic?  Answers online are mixed…..

The white watermelon is trying to produce more fruit.  If the buds take I’ll cover it and see if we can keep it warm enough to produce a decent melon or two……

The hot peppers and the tomatoes are loving the heat from the frost blankets though.  Ripening has kicked into full swing.  I’ve made 3 1/2 pint jars of pickled jalapenos, and 12 1/2 pint jars of jalapeno jelly (with either a single Hot Wax pepper or a single habanero pepper depending on the batch), plus filled a gallon freezer bag with large chopped hot peppers, and started a 2nd bag.  Those peppers are in the freezer, and once the harvest is done I’ll toss them all in the dehydrator and then grind them into powder for Husband to use for seasoning through out the winter.

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Ears….docs….meds….ugh

Posted September 6, 2014 By Ruth

For the last week and a half now I’ve been having some odd issues with my ears.  It started with some itching inside the canal, and some very mild “popping” sensation (as if I was transitioning up and down a mountain side).  It was random, in-consistent, and I mostly ignored it.

Monday night and into Tuesday morning, every time I swallowed my right ear would suddenly pop very painfully.  ALL NIGHT. 

Called my doctor’s office Tuesday morning and told them I thought I might have an ear infection, when could they fit me in? 

*sigh* a few years ago now the office (which includes a fairly large number of doctors of all kinds of specialties) was bought out by one of the hospitals in the area, and ever since they’ve been making slow changes.  A large number of which are mandated by law, so its not all the hospital’s fault.  But its resulted in more and more doctors and nurses leaving the practice.

Its finally hit a critical point.  I know its back to school time, which means lots of kids into the doctors for that last “before school” thing, and that “first week of school cold” and what not.  But calling Tuesday morning to try to get in with a possible ear infection, and the earliest they could fit me in was Friday morning.

I was frustrated, but before I could decide it was bad enough to hit the urgent care the problems with my right ear mostly faded and it went back to the inconsistent itching and mild popping.  So I dealt with it till Friday.

I will say they got me in on time.  My ears showed no signs of infection, and no wax build up (which I don’t normally have issues with but I’d thought might be the possible other cause).  After some discussion she said that she thought it was likely a side effect of my environmental allergies.  Its not a normal side effect for me, but it is for some people, and we’ve had an odd enough weather year that things could be different this year.

So, a new (prescription) allergy med, and some (non-antibotic) ear drops to help relieve the discomfort.  If it continues after a week on the new drug, or if I continue to have more of the really bad painfull popping I’m to call for another appointment, at which point they’ll likely refer me to an Ears, Nose, Throat specialist.

The new med is Xyzal, generic name levocetirizine.  It has all the standard warnings about “may cause drowsiness”, and don’t operate machinery till you know how it affects you and what not, and then in big huge letters it says:

TAKE IN THE EVENING

So yes, its going to cause drowsiness…..oh goody.

Took my first dose at 7pm last night (Friday night).

Its now almost 8pm Saturday, and I’m FINALLY coming out of the drug haze.  As long as I kept moving today I didn’t feel to bad, but as soon as I stopped for any reason my body tried to crash.

I’m off to go take my 2nd dose.  If you don’t hear from me this week its because I slept through it all……I can’t decide if I’m hoping this fixes my ears (cause I don’t want to deal with the doctor and drug runaround thats going to happen if it doesn’t), or if I’m hoping it doesn’t work so that I can stop taking it!

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The things I do….

Posted September 1, 2014 By Ruth

….in order to get ripe produce out of the garden!

 

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I’d been considering buying frost blankets anyway, to supplement the little plastic hoops I was using as frost protection.  The hoops didn’t work well with the jalapenos anyway and wouldn’t have worked at all with the tomatoes.  So I broke down and bought some.  I covered the hot peppers, including the jalapenos and habaneros, the tomatoes, and the sugar baby watermelon and the cantaloupe.   And after 4 days on the garden I have seen a jump in the number of jalapenos turning red.  Not sure its helping with anything else yet. 

I will say, the delayed ripening did result in some very large jalapenos!

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Missed a photo

Posted August 23, 2014 By Ruth

Cause I was once again without my camera, even though I know better.  Though to be fair, I don’t think I’d have gotten a picture anyway….

Yesterday evening, about 7:40pm-ish, we were outside with the dogs in the new run.  We don’t normally spend alot of time outside at dusk, the mosquitoes alone are enough to usually keep us inside.  But yesterday the wind was high enough, and the air cool enough that it was quite nice outside.  The dogs were enjoying it….

…..till Apollo suddenly roared and bolted for the back fence….I grabbed a double handfull of ruff, just in case he decided to try to go over the fence, and tried to get a look at what he was upset about.  Biiiig coyote, trotting across our back line, and our neighbor’s back line.  He stopped and froze when Apollo went off, but quickly realized that the dog wasn’t actually coming for him and just went on his way.  Not sure if it was the same fellow we saw last year or not.  I had a roaring pissed off Tibetan Mastiff demanding that the coyote keep moving and so I didn’t get the best of looks…….

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Now thats a carrot

Posted August 23, 2014 By Ruth

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Despite its size I don’t think it was quite ready to go, its supposed to be a spicy flavored variety and it was only spicy around the top inch or so.  None of the rest are that large yet anyway so I’ll leave them in the ground for a while longer to see if that makes a difference.

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No sympathy

Posted August 21, 2014 By Ruth

I’m to lazy to dig out all the news articles, if you really want to read them doing a search for “elbridge dog shooting” will get you most of them.

On May 31st an Elbridge woman shot her neighbor’s dog when the dog went after her cat.

Police declined to charge her with animal cruelty from the get go, charging her instead with firing a gun within town limits.

A couple days ago they dismissed those charges, stating that the law was aimed at reckless firearm discharge, and that people were still allowed to fire a gun in defense of self and property.

Of course, the dog owner is having a cow.  Upset that there won’t be justice for her dog.  Her grandkid is devastated.

Took a bit of digging, but I was able to confirm that Elbridge does indeed have a leash law.  Unlike alot of such they do make allowances for a dog to be under voice control of the owner.  However every single news article makes it clear that the dog was NOT under voice control at the time of the incident.

According to the above linked article the dog has multiple counts, confirmed by court records, of acting aggressively against the neighbors.  AND there have been multiple reports of the dog running loose and out of control.

While I have some sympathy for the grandkids, I have zero sympathy for the dog owner.  She repeatedly allowed her dog to run loose, despite repeated incidents of aggression by the dog and despite local leash laws.  If she had just taken the basic steps of containing and controlling her dog after the first incident this wouldn’t have happened.  Its not that hard, it just takes a little more effort on the part of the owner.  A dog who has a history of acting aggressive and is still allowed to run loose is not going to survive long, that is plain and simple fact.

Having said all that, I have to note, that the easiest way to ensure that your cat isn’t attacked by a local dog is to not allow your cat to run loose….

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