That seems a tad off

Earlier this month, while perusing the weather looking at the forecast, the current conditions output was a bit of a shocker. I’m certain we would have noticed this if had in fact been the case.

Generally speaking, we don’t see wind speeds like that unless we’re seeing a hurricane come through, and I’ve have expected the house to lift off and that evil bitch from the Wizard of Oz go biking by. But there wasn’t, and it didn’t, and she wasn’t. A run of the mill typo to inject some humor into an otherwise round of cursing about freezing weather. Said cursing will be worse tomorrow, as we are expecting the first hard freeze of the season, with lows about 29, and windchills a few degrees under that, followed by another night or two of at freezing temps. This means the plastic most definitely needs to go up, preferably a couple of hours before sunset at the horrid time of around 5:30 PM. In case you’ve not noticed as yet, I’m a bigger fan of summer and long, sunny days than I am of winter. I guess I’m just a sunshine kind of person.

Our city of perpetual construction

It isn’t often that something like this happens, and I’d wager it is even less likely that anyone will ever see it in person. On this particular day, we were headed into town for yet another one of my followups after the lung surgery – I do believe it was this visit that the doctor told me I could drive myself again, as it happens – and on the way, in the other direction, there was a backup as far as the eye could see. Thanks to modern technology and the inevitable “always there” it brings, we were able to find out that the backup was due to a pilot of a small private plane making an emergency landing just off the interstate in the opposite direction.

Now, to anyone who has ever visited this city, or even had the opportunity to drive through it, it’s well known that some portion of the road system is under construction here, somewhere. In this case, one of those areas was this precise portion of the system, stretching several miles, where the pilot of the plane not only managed to avoid power lines on his way down, but miss the traffic stuffed into two lanes, the barricades on the sides of the road, the construction equipment and personnnel scattered about, and the large fence that would have taken it into the Publix warehousing area. Instead, he took out a few branches of some trees and a temporary fence surrounding some construction materials (but not the materials themselves, it seems) and came to a stop without anyone injured. According to one person who did see it, the pilot managed to come down initially on the road, then bounce back up over at least one car on the way to the far, grassy side. Remarkable, really.

By the time we’d finished with more poking and prodding at the doctor, the backup was gone, but the cleanup continued, with reps from the NTSB coming up from Orlando, and crews deciding the plane had to be sawed into pieces in order to get it out. This is what I managed to capture on the way past the wreck area.

They’d already removed the damaged wing and the tail section, and loaded the plane onto a trailer, ready to be hauled out. Less than a day after this happened, it was hard to tell anything had actually happened, except for the missing piece of fencing that had been up around the construction material. Less than a week later, it was impossible to say, unless you’d seen it, where exactly the plane had come down.

As it turns out, the plane had been recently bought and was being flown in for maintenance – but had not been flown in quite some time, nor had it had maintenance in quite some time. One of the engines failed, and on the pilot’s attempt to return to the local airport, the other engine failed as well, leading to the emergency landing.

It occurred to me this evening, after having a bit of a crash landing myself – sudden dizziness and an immediate need to land myself on my rear on the kitchen floor, leaning up against the cabinets – that I’m probably in need of some maintenance myself. I couldn’t recall what I’d eaten today, which is not terribly surprising, given that as much as I cook, I can’t eat much of what I do cook. I’m guessing that I hadn’t had enough to eat, since I feel better now that I’ve a bit of food and some watered down orange juice (so as not to turn my mouth into a fiery pit due to the acid) in me. I just don’t eat as much as I used to, after being on tube feeding for nine months, and I am not, in general, all that hungry in any case throughout the day. Much like the plane, I suppose it’s time for an overhaul of sorts, with greater attention to the fuel I’m giving myself.In the same manner, I suspect that almost anyone could find some portion of their life that needs a bit of a tuneup.

To kick off, I have some garbanzos soaking in some plain water. Tomorrow, I’ll boil them with the hambone I saved from Thanksgiving dinner, add some spices, toss in some potatoes, onions, and ham from that aforementioned bone to make some spanish bean soup. On the side: freshly made italian bread, with a side experiment of trying to break it into four smaller loaves instead of two large loaves, and freezing two of four: one after the first rise when the loaf is shaped, and one after the loaf is proofed. Then we’ll be able to see which one fares better in the oven after it’s been thawed. The other two, of course, will be baked until golden, brown, and delicious, then slathered with butter and eaten with good soup as we head for several consecutive nights of hard freeze weather.

Squeaking through

Is there anything better than a nice cup of hot chocolate (with marshmallows, and lots of them) for breakfast? I think not.

The forecasts were all a bit slippery for the overnight, but they all agreed on one thing: it would be near or at freezing inland here. And so it was freezing, right at 32 this morning between 4AM and 5 AM somewhere. Having made the executive decision last night after many hours at the NOC doing various things that dragging out the heavy plastic when everything sailed through the last (unexpected) light freeze was not happening, I am once again pleasantly surprised to see – from the comfortable distance of the kitchen windows – that nothing appears to have been torched by frost. That is one of the benefits to our peculiar weather: no rain, and humidity under 40% does not lend itself to coating the plants in an icy sheen that will eventually cause their cells to burst when the sun hits them. We’ve been lucky, but we’re looking at a few days in the middle of the week for more of the same, so I suppose it is time to rig the covered wagons for ease of shuttering for the evenings.

Today: work, work, work, both in and out. The snow pea variety we have out currently (Oregon Sugar Pod) cares not about either 80 degree heat or 32 degree freezes. One of the trellises needs to be reworked so the peas have somewhere to climb, but every single frame has flowers, and we should be harvesting the first of the peas, whole pod, in the next week or so, with those reserved for shelling in about two. Yes, I know, you don’t usually grow snow peas to shell, but various people – including my mother – have decided they love those peas even better than the usual shelling peas I’ve grown, so who am I to argue?


I had originally started this post on November 1, thinking the end of hurricane season for us would be a good jumping off point to begin posting once more, and specifically, to begin ruminating about fall. Then two things came to mind: first, that the next day was election day, and I needed to post network traffic warnings (because of all the sites we host that would be posting/following various things) and take care of some things before the next day, to make sure all the pieces were in place for appropriate monitoring. Second, that it’s hard to think “fall” when it’s still in the mid-80s and there are various medical appointments that are weighing on your mind.

So I stopped, saved it as a draft, and thought I would pick it up again post-election, and when I might be in a better frame of mind. But I didn’t, and tonight I deleted it since it seemed rather pointless to pick up a draft of five sentences when anyone who knows me knows that five sentences takes about a minute flat for me to recreate in a new post. I do ted to be verbose.

I’ve been a blog slacker of late, for reasons I don’t quite know, although I am by nature a quiet, private person, something that drives (or drove) certain people nuts. As it happens, I now firmly believe this is also something holding back my writing, because although I’ve have ideas bouncing around in my skull for 20 years, I’ve yet to put any of them to paper, so to speak, as this may have the result of showing something within myself and as a bonus, it may also well and truly suck and not live up to what are likely impossibly high standards I usually set, even though I know at the same time I am perfectly capable of crafting good writing. Quite the dilemma.

As usual, I digress. Fall is indeed upon us, such as it is here, and this month we’ve had several nights where we’ve dipped into freezing temperatures. Not many, naturally, as this is the south, and fall here means mid-70s in the day and 40s-50s in the evenings. The freezes are here and there, scattered like so many leaves giving up and spiraling to the ground. Tomorrow night, and again in the latter part of this week, we’re expecting more freezing overnight, which means it’s time to drag out the plastic and make covered wagons to protect the tomatoes, peppers, and other things that are a bit fragile from the weather in hopes that we can baby them through and get a harvest out.

There is more to come, and I’ll be backtracking a bit to pick up the pieces of my tales that I have missed by not taking a break from work.

Thanksgiving 2010 at Lazy Dog Ranch

Thanksgiving 2010 at Lazy Dog Ranch. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Very large image, I know – I’m too lazy to do anything about it.

Dinner: two 14 pound turkeys, one on the smoker, one roasted. One 18 pound ham, glazed and delicious. Cranberry-apple compote. Stuffing. Sweet potato souffle (sweet potatoes from our garden, with marshmallows, of course). Corn, green beans, mashed potatoes. Gravy. Roasted vegetables (sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, squash, zucchini, onions, mushrooms). Apple-raisin salad. Rolls (not pictured – I made two batches of dinner rolls and a batch of buns as well for the inevitable leftover sandwiches). Deserts, including various cookies, breads, a cherry pie, and an apple pie, and there’s still some cherry-chocolate-almond ice cream I made hanging around in the freezer).

We had originally planned for a small gathering – half a dozen people, tops. We wound up with 15. I’m officially popped out here, and the incision from the lung surgery is actually burning something fierce, like all the nerves along that area have been lit by a forestry team setting a backfire.