Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A wonderful Christmas day!

Location, at Home, CA

We had a wonderful Christmas day yesterday!

Our niece Chelsea invited us to her house to spend the day. Clyda and I supply the BBQ'ed turkey and a ham and they supply the remainder of the meal. Her husband Steve does the cooking and a really great job it is.

I cooked the turkey on Christmas eve about mid-day. I keep an old Weber BBQ kettle around just for that. Here are some photos of the process.

 I light the charcoal with an electric starter. No fumes from starter fluid that way.

I put my charcoal in groups of five briquets, ready to add five to a side every 30 minutes.

Aluminum pan ready to put under the bird with 1/2 inch of water in it to add moisture and catch those all important drippings for gravy.

Rosemary ready to be add to the grill when I add charcoal. It adds flavor to the smoke.

I use a rack to hold the turkey up-right. No real need for the chains for a smaller bird. The pan is only used to carry the bird to the grill.

I add a quartered onion to the cavity and some sprigs of rosemary.

I baste the outside with a mixture of chopped rosemary, olive oil, and pepper.

Briquets are ready and I have added 5 new briquets to each side.
Five more will be added to each side every 30 minutes. I do this by sliding the lid sideways and dropping the briquets through the hole provided in the grill. The lid is never removed to retain the heat during cooking.

Turkey is on the rack over the drip pan ready to cook. It will cook for 11-13 minutes per lb.
In this case a 13 lb turkey will cook for 3 hours and reach an internal temperature measured in the thigh with a thermometer of 170 degrees.

Three hours later. Perfectly done! The gravy is to die for!

I am limited to a 12-13 pound turkey by the size of the BBQ. I don't want the turkey to touch the lid. I have been doing turkeys to perfection this way for years.

I also have a lot of rosemary as I have two hedges built from the Tuscan Blue variety. It comes in handy at Thanksgiving or Christmas time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Baby, its cold!

Location, at Home, CA

Dang! It’s cold outside!

It really was cold when I walked at 7 AM this morning. There was very little frost because of the low humidity but I did notice a pickup truck with some leftover rain water in the bed with a skim of ice on the water.

As I got to the back stretch of my walk I heard the wind machines in the lemon and orange orchards running. It sounds like a squadron of helicopters being warmed up for a flight.

Even with the low temps, we can’t complain too much. We have no snow and the temps do moderate during the day. It is warm in the sun but very cool in the shade. Usually these cold spells dissipate after a few days and we go back to our normal temperatures with lows in the 40’s and highs in the 60’s.

I think the majority of the Christmas shopping is done around here except for last minute things. Clyda is making tamales tomorrow and has the pork filing cooking in a slow cooker, the prepared masa ready, and the corn husks ready to soak. She has a steamer with a basket in it to do the proper cooking which takes an hour.

Along with the good comes some bad as in, the wash machine has issues with the spin cycle, the dryer timer won’t go all the way to off by itself. The buzzer sounds when the cloths are dry but the drum keeps turning. I tried to start the lawn mower this afternoon (a job Craig usually does) but no go. It is just plain wore out I guess. I foresee some cash out lays in the New Year.

We had some legal work done today and one of the requirements was a networth statement. Doing one forces you to take a hard look at what your assets are and what they are worth. It can be a real eye opener.

I have been slowly looking at what needs to go in the RV for my upcoming trip after the New Year. As I think of things I put them in and mark them off on a check sheet I keep. Without that check sheet I would be lost. 

I really need to wash the rig but it is too cold to do an adequate job at this time. Maybe next week. Ha-ha. I looked into having it done while in Las Vegas but the mobile units there want $125 and up to do the job. Besides, I doubt if the RV park will allow it.

 The stockings are hung by the chimney with care!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Updating the blog.

Location, at Home, CA

I am way behind in my blogging as usual lately.

We spent a long weekend in Walnut Creek with Cindy and Gary over Thanksgiving. They invite us every year and we are grateful for that.

The ladies shopped on “Black Friday” while the guys watched football. On Saturday we drove to Oakland and took the ferry to Fisherman’s Wharf where we took a boat tour of the bay which included passing under both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oakland Bay Bridge. The weather was perfect for a boat ride.

Cindy, Gary, Clyda, and I on boat tour of San Francisco Bay.
Under the Golden Gate Bridge.
Crowds on Pier 39

On Sunday we drove to Napa and sampled champagne at Mumm Cellars and walked around St Helena. Again the weather was perfect. We drove home on Monday without all the traffic hassles of a holiday weekend to contend with.

Champagne tasting at Mumm Cellars.

We made a quick trip to Houston over the weekend of December 1st to celebrate our anniversary with the grandkids. They weren’t able to be here for our actual celebration in October and we felt it was important that they celebrate with us.

We all went to dinner on Saturday evening which turned out to be just great. We were so pleased to have Matthew and Ivy, Tim and Diane, and Bill and Marilyn (Diane’s parents) all enjoy the great meal. We felt it was important for Matthew and Ivy to celebrate with two sets of grandparents who have both celebrated 50 years of marriage.

After dinner with family in Houston.

Both our flights going and coming from Houston were fine. Both were on regional jets but not uncomfortable. We did have a few hours wait in Los Angeles on the way home but spent the time reading and people watching.

We spent a day with our niece Chelsea and the twins. I can’t call them babies anymore as they will be 2 years old in a few days and are perpetual moving bodies. A couple of hours chasing them and we are wore out.

Braedon and his apple.

I am starting to get things together for our upcoming trip in January. The trailer badly needs a good washing. Maybe tomorrow I can start on that.

I’m afraid that Christmas this year will be mostly an on-line thing. Easier to do than real shopping anyway.