Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Starting Seeds Indoors

The New Ferns
The New Flowers 
Today, Kathleen got tired of seeing all the bare dirt in the garden   so she went to the garden center and bought a bunch of flowers.   Now, where once had been tomatoes, and basil, and
radishes, and   beets there are splashes of color.  And in one place that is shady,   except for three hours a day, she planted ferns.

 I am trying something new.  Usually, I plant seeds directly in the   ground or transplant seedlings purchased from a nursery.  But   today I planted seed indoors.  12 little pots are planted with Beni   Kodima watermelon seeds, 12 little pots are planted with Sierra   Gold cantaloupe seeds, and 12 little pots planted with Solly   Beiler cucumbers. My goal is to have all of these plants in the ground in early February and begin harvesting in late March.  If even 1/2 of the seeds germinate, grow, and produce fruit I will be very happy.  

The melons I am growing for the neighborhood kids but the cucumbers are for me.  Kathleen bought me a T-Fal canner some time ago but I rarely have enough cucumbers at one time to haul it down from it's shelf and put it to work.  It is my hope to have bushels of cucumbers to pickle next summer.  

Anselm has been talking to a Navy Recruiter.  Because of Covid-19 shut downs has not had any luck getting in to the sheet metal or pipe-fitter apprenticeship programs.  His plan had been to become a reservist and train to be a SeaBee.  But since talking to the recruiter the plan might be changing.  They are dangling dive school (for underwater welding) if he goes active instead of reserve.  And yesterday he took the ASVAB and scored very high, so now the recruiter wants him to train to be a nuclear reactor operator.  It is an important job but it doesn't translate in to the civilian career he says he wants.  Well, he's an adult now so he can do what he wants.


Monday, November 16, 2020

St. Matthew's Day

Last night was much fun.  The boys were here.  Kathleen's kids were here.  We did the Christmas wreath service, ate the cioppino (I used rosemary and thyme from thegarden, and bay leaves from a , and then I gave everyone little presents to kick off the fast.  Yes, I gave each person a can of smoked oysters.

Today, my name day, I worked out in the garden.  I transplanted all the basil plants from around the garden to one of the planter boxes that is kind of shady.  We've tried growing onions, carrots, parsnips, poppies, tomatoes, beans, and cucumbers in that box but it just doesn't get enough light.  The only thing that ever does well there are pumpkin vines, and that is because the vines grow into the sunlight. I have read that basil does well in shade.  I am hopeful.

I shot another squirrel in the garden.  I've lost track of how many I've killed since I started shooting them in the spring.  They started eating the garlic bulbs a couple of days ago.  I have never heard of squirrels eating garlic, especially when there are lettuce and cabbage plants nearby.  Very strange.

Today's harvest was small but, hey, it's November so I'm not complaining.



Sunday, November 15, 2020

First day of the Nativity Fast

Basil, Kathleen's youngest son, and I went to church this morning but the church was full (Wuhan restrictions) so we didn't stay.  We stopped at Noah's Bagel's o te way home.   had my first bagel in a couple of years.  WOW!  It was good.  It was poppy seed with peanut butter.  Then I went to the grocery store to buy the ingredients for Grandfather's Cioppino.  They are all sitting on the table waiting for me to get started but I took a few minutes to go out to the garden to cut some rosemary and redwood to make an Advent wreath.  Starting tonight we'll light one candle and do the readings each Sunday and Christmas Eve, then it will be Christmas.


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Hunting, Fishing, the Garden, and Getting Ready for Advent

Kathleen, Basil, and I went camping last Saturday morning.  We fished (caught nothing) and hunted (shot nothing) at San Luis Reservoir.  It was the first cold night of the winter, getting down to 33F.  While we were there we went by the San Juaqin National Cemetery and the Korean War Memorial.  I wanted to do that because Basil ha heard people say the U.S. is a colonial power that only takes from the world.  I wanted him about my Uncle Fred who fought in Korea, and to see the graves of some of the 33,686 American's who died to save a tiny insignificant county from the gaping maw of Communism. On the way home Sunday afternoon we stopped as Casa de Fruta and had deli sandwiches for supper. 

Yesterday Kathleen and I team taught her American History class.  We were dealing with the Modernist/Fundamentalist conflict in American Protestantism.  In one hour we dealt with Hegel, Marx, Wellhausen, Allbright, Fosdick, Bryan, Darwin, Franklin, Washington, Coolidge, the Mayflower Compact, James Brookes and the Niagara Bible Conference, the split between Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, the Lyman Brothers, the 5-Fundamentals, and much more besides.  It was a lot of fun.  I hope she lets me team teach with her again.  She said her students really enjoyed it.  They were texting questions to her late into the night.

Last night Kathleen and I drove over to the San Antonio Valley.  We were looking for a wildlife preserve where I could shoot turkey and pigs we never fond it.  It appears that the maps were inaccurate.  What we did see were lots of small cattle ranches, a nut orchard, 2 white tale deer (I don't have a deer tag), and 3 amazingly beautiful tule elk bulls. (I don't have an elk tag).

Today at dawn, after finishing morning prayers I went out to the garden.  I saw no squirrels to shoot.  That's a good thing.  Maybe, I've reduced the population enough that they won't be a horrible pest in the spring and summer. There were no raccoons in the live trap.  (There was a juvenile opossum in the trap yesterday.  I set it free.  They don't hurt the garden.)  While I was out there I counted twenty-one ducks (they were flying too high for me to make out what kind of duck.  My guess is mallard, since we have more of that than anything else.), a ruby throated hummingbird, a seagull (Not sure what kind.  It was flying too high.), a pigeon, two crows, a red tailed hawk, five Canada geese, three goldfinches, a red breasted nuthatch, two mourning doves, and some kind of flycatcher.

Right now we have growing cucumbers, green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, onions, garlic, broccoli, kale, radishes, sugar snap peas, acorn squash, bell peppers (IT TAKES THEM FOREVER TO MAtURE!!!!), lots and lots of beets, eggplant, spinach, broccoli, green cabbage, five kinds of basil, thyme, parsley, rosemary, oregano, Brussels sprouts, and, of course, the two lemon trees and three grape vines.  (We are thinking of planting two apple trees.)

Well, it' almost 10 o'clock in the morning.  I should, I guess, eat breakfast.  After that. I'll sart getting ready for the start of Advent on Sunday.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Work last night

Last night at work I did something pretty neat. You might have heard that there is a national ammunition shortage. (It happens before every election but this year is worse because of covid.) What you might not know is that the shortage isn't just modern cartridges but extends to reloading supplies (e.g. primers, gunpowder, and empty casings) and black powder/muzzle loader supplies. Well, last night a couple came in looking for .50 & .36 cal bullets (not cartridges. just the lead.) and black powder. And we didn't have any. So I showed them how to make black powder and where to go to get the ingredients, and, using a pocket knife and pliers, disassemble .50 BMG rifle cartridges and 000 shotgun shells (000=.36 caliber) so they can use the lead therefrom in their guns. The end result: They bought all the .50 BMG and all the 000 buckshot we had on the shelves, and the customer has a new hobby.
I think I should get paid extra for that.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Pumpkin and Pistol

 Sunday night the boys came over and we ate a Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good.  Rather my version of it, which is better.  I use croutons made from day old baguette buttered and dusted with powdered sage and thyme, and I use 1/4 pound of bacon, cubes of beef, and slices of bratwurst all fried in bacon grease. And I use more cheese and cream, too.  Oh, and many 12-15 cloves of garlic sliced in half and fried in bacon grease, too.  It's a dish that can be changed many ways and still be amazing.

After the dinner we watched John Wayne in Henry Ford's 1939 film, Stagecoach.  I wanted to take them to see it at the Stanford Theater in Palo Alto this year but, because of COVID, the theater is closed.  I took Anselm there to see the movie when he was 5 but he didn't remember it.  He remembered the theater but not the movie.

Yesterday, Kathleen and I worked in the garden.  I think I like the winter garden as much as the summer garden.

Last night I completely disassembled and rebuilt my pistol.  It was the first time I had done it since I bought in 1994.  It was long over due and much needed as the gun would not cycle nor would the magazines eject properly.  I replaced the recoil spring, lubricated the firing pin, cleaned the carbon build up off of every surface (It was carbon on the grip screws that was hindering the magazines.), and greased it up.  Now, it's as good as the day I bought it.  I've very happy about that.  Hmmmm.  Maybe I should become a gunsmith.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Vegetables and Shotgun Maintenance

I had a nice day.  This morning Kathleen and I picked up some seedlings from Valley Verde: cabbage, lettuce, parsley, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and Brussels' sprouts.  We transplanted them in one of the beds where the kale seeds I planted never germinated. (I don't know why the never germinated.  The seeds in the other bed are doing well.  It is a mystery.)  We also pulled out the last tomato vine and the last three zucchini vines.  We won't taste those again until next summer.  Right now, in addition to the seedlings we got today, we have pumpkin, acorn squash, melon, spaghetti squash, cucumbers, bell peppers, eggplant, and Thai chilis growing. 

The last time I went shooting with Kathleen my shotgun malfunctioned.  I went, today, to the hardware store, bought a special screwdriver, and took the whole thing apart, I mean the whole thing.  I had already cleaned it and blasted it with a powerful solvent a couple of days ago so it was clean, but it still wasn't working.  Therefore, today, I did EXTREME maintenance on it; probably, the first time since the old side-by-side was made in 1944.  It works perfectly now.  I heartily recommend Birchwood Casey's "Gun Scrubber" solvent. (It's so good you can't ship it into California without a license.) and Hoppe's #9 Black Gun Grease



My whole shooting life, since I was a 17 year old private in the Army I have only used Break Free CLP on my guns but this job needed something a more powerful. I will still use Break Free CLP for regular cleaning and lubricating but it's nice to know there are other products available when my regular product isn't enough.

A note about this shotgun:  Long ago I used to share this Blog with Jeff Miller.  This gun and two others were his dad's guns.  When Jeff's dad I bought the guns from his widow.  I have one and each of my brothers has one.  When my dad died and I inherited his library I gave many of the books to St. Katherine College but the most important of them I gave to Jeff Miller.  He has our dad's books.  We have his dad's guns.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Kale, Beets, and the Priesthood.

The weather is still warm so I planted some more beet seeds and kale seeds in the ground.  If everything goes well they should be ready to harvest in mid-December.  I've never planted anything so late before.

I saw this on the website of the OCA today.  It is a fairly desperate presentation of a very soon to occur priest shortage.  I predicted this shortage more than 10 years ago, when the bishops decided to require the completion of a three year M.Div. program before ordination.  That means a total of seven years of school, the first four of which have nothing to do with the priesthood, are required with no guarantee of ordination.   

Let's look at a 18 year old right out of high school and living in Fresno, California.  He works full-time as a painter, and lives at home with his parents.  Amazingly, he gets all his classes and graduates from Fresno State University with a degree in business in 4 years.  According to Fresno State's website, that student will wind up paying $80,000 for that degree.  Then he quits his job goes to St. Vladimir's Seminary in New York, where the lives in the dorms for three years (or nine months out of those years.  The other three months he has to find somewhere else to live.) That will cost him another $66,000.  But unlike Fresno State where he was able to just go to class and ignore the whole "campus life" thing in order to hold down a job, the seminary is really big on "campus life" and keeping the seminarians busy with mandatory extra curricular activities.  So this imaginary man can not hold down a job while attending seminary.  

But hey! After $146,000 dollars he now has a M.Div. degree (With that money he could have bought a house in Fresno.) and a three year interruption in his work history, and because he is too young to be ordained (He must be thirty according to Canon 14 of the Quinisext Council) he can't get a job as a parish priest.

But there is a better way to do it:  He's been an acolyte since he was 5, so by the time he is 14 he should be able to be a reader.  So Make Him A Reader!  And during his high school years he attends all the services and meets with the priest, together with all the other young men in the parish to study the Bible and learn the jobs of subdeacon and deacon.  And while serving in his parish as deacon he continues studying with his priest.  And by the time he is thirty, he might be ready to be a priest.  And look at this:  He didn't have to put his life on hold, leave his job, leave his parish, move across the country, and spend $66,000 on a seminary degree.  And the church gets hundreds new deacons, and priests every year. 


Saturday, October 10, 2020

The summer is over

I finished up my work for the U.S. Census Bureau this week.  It was a good way to finish up the summer.  Most of my work was here in San Jose but they sent be to Reno for a little over a week and to Stockton for five days ending Tuesday of this week.  While I was on the Stockton trip they named me to the permanent travel team, and I thought my next trip was going to be Wyoming and Montana where I would finish up the census on Oct 31.  But then, the very next day, Wednesday of this week they shut down all our operations.  Well, it was fun while it lasted.  Now, I'll look for something else.  I still am working part time at Bass Pro Shops but that is only a few hours a week because of Covid. (The health department only lets us serve 2 customers per hour at the gun counter and two customers per hour at the ammo counter.)

A lot has happened in the garden.  About 2 weeks ago we took delivery of a truck-load of horse manure and covered all the beds with it.  Then we planted beets, garlic, kale, and radishes.  Everything except the garlic has sprouted.  I don't know if I mentioned it or not in earlier posts but we made an 8 foot tall tube out of cattle panel, set it in a trash can full of our compost, and planted a bunch up stuff in it last spring.  All the vines climbed to the top and have produced spaghetti squash, butternut squash, cucumbers, melons, and last and getting ripe right now, a pumpkin 6 feet up in the air.  We planted some beit alpha cucumber seeds a few weeks ago and harvested the first one yesterday.  We have a volunteer acorn squash in a 2' pot.  We had filled the pot with our compost but, I guess, our compost doesn't get hot enough to kill all the seeds.  But that's okay.  There are six acorn squash on the vine.  And we still have four potted zucchini vines from the spring that are producing.  Not as much as in June but each still produces one or two per week.  The star of the garden right now is the eggplant bush.  We have given away a lot of eggplant to neighbors and there are 8 or 9 on the bush getting big and ripe right now.  Today, I mailed a bunch of our Thai dragon peppers to my brother in Modesto. 

A couple of weeks ago, Kathleen and I visited Fort Bragg, a little coastal town in northern California.  We rode the Skunk Train, ate at some amazing restaurants (Silver's and the North Coast Brewing Company), watched seals playing in the harbor, and stayed at the Anchor Lodge.  Almost everything in town was closed because of Covid, but the Silvers and  North Coast had outside and socially distanced seating.  

Oh!  We found out that there is a small preschool that visits the garden a couple of times a week.  The teachers talk about the different plants, the compost bin, take measurements, etc.  They also sampled some of our millions of sungold tomatoes when they were still growing.  When we found out they were visiting the garden Kathleen gave them cucumbers.
 
I made 6 fruitcakes today.  Well, they are still in the oven so, to be more accurate, I'm still making them.  Basil Wenceslas is coming over tomorrow and together we'll make six more.

Friday, September 18, 2020

A Christmas List

 Kathleen has been watching me gather Christmas presents for other people and store them under the bed for the last few weeks.  Almost every day I was in Reno she would call me and tell me another package had arrived and I would say, "Don't open it.  Just put it under the bed."  And she has watched as the pantry filled up with dried fruit in anticipation of making the Christmas Fruit Cakes.   Well, yesterday she asked me to write a Christmas list for me.  So, in no particular order here it is.  

1.  A trip to Seattle and back on The Coast Starlight.

2. A subscription to First Things Magazine.

3. A stay in the Old Faithful Inn.

4.  A Fiskars garden trowel.

5.  Baking paper.

6.  A 20th century table lighter and ashtray set.

7.  A copy of These Truths We Hold.

8. A SW/LW/AM/FM/WB radio by C. Crane or Eton that has an antenna port so I can run an antenna up to the roof, and can use AC or DC power or DC only with an adapter.  A transmitter would be cool too but that might be too expensive.

9. A box of MREs.

10. A subscription to Ancient History Magazine.

11.  The Lamp.

12.  An icon of the New Martyrs of Libya.

13. An Icon of St. Basil the Fool-for-Christ.

14. Any book by Fr. Dimitru Staniloae

15. A meatloaf pan.

16.  Russel pull-on boots for hunting.








Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Last trip to Truckee/Donner/Reno for 2020 and an Eagle Scout.

Kathleen and I went to Reno last Friday night.  I promptly got altitude sickness and was no good most of Saturday.  I had never experienced that before, and I hope I never do again.  It was misery but I started feeling better late on Saturday.  In the afternoon we went shooting at Reno Guns and Range then out to dinner at Wilde River Grill.  I had meatloaf.  Kathleen had braised beef spareribs.   On Sunday morning we stopped at St Anthony Church to pray before going up to Donner Lake to get the boat.  We had to get the boat because the berth I rented back in June was only until September 20.  So, we strapped it to the roof of the car and drove it home.  Now it is in Kathleen's garage.  I'm going to have to do something about that.

When we left San Jose on Friday night it was horrible smokey and still very hot.  Reno was the same.  While we were gone something must have happened because when we got home the air quality was much improved and the temperature was much lower.  It is almost like a normal September.  I'm starting to plan for Thanksgiving.

Covid is still messing with my life.  One of my goals every year is to be in church for all the Great Feasts.  I have never achieved this goal.  I was off to a good start with Nativity of the Theotokos but due to restrictions put in place because of Covid none of the parishes in the in the San Jose area had services open to the public.  So, maybe, next year.

Exactly a week ago tonight, Anselm Samuel (AKA the Little Boy) attended his last Boy Scout Troop meeting.  Technically, he hasn't been a Boy Scout since the spring when he turned 18 but Covid messed stuff up and there were no more troop meetings from before he turned 18 until last Wednesday.  And at that meeting, he was given the emblems of the Eagle Scout rank.  He did it.   Fewer than 5% of the boys who start out as Cub Scouts attain the rank of Eagle Scout.  He started in 2008.  It's been a long 12 years.  I  am super proud of him. 

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Darkess at Noon, Working in the Garden.

I didn't have work for the Census Bureau today and I'm on leave from Bass Pro Shops until Sep  17 so I took advantage of this time to work in the garden,  I took all the tomato vines out of one bed (So, yes, we are having fried green tomatoes at supper tonight.), chopped them up and threw them in the compost pile.  Then I dug up the whole bed to loosen up the soil and and mix straw into it.  About 6 inches down it was very compacted so it really needed to be broken up; and the straw should help with water retention.  Then I transplanted six basil plants from various places in the garden to the north 1/5 of the bed.   In the remaining part of the bed I transplanted onions we started in a 2'x1' pot back in March.   There were hundreds of them in the pot, all totally root bound.  I separated them transplanted the biggest 40, gave some to the Indian woman who showed me how to grow garlic a couple of years ago, and some to the HOA's landscaper to take home and put in his garden.  What was left over went in the compost pile.

There was ash from the fires on the ground this morning.  On cars and on the balcony, too.  One of the fires, a small one was about 1/4 mile from my house but San Jose Fire Department extinguished it in just a few hours.   The smoke is so thick today that I had to turn on the lights in the house and the street lights (they come on automatically when it gets dark outside.) came on about 11 a.m.  The sky is dark orange and even the hummingbirds are confused.  They are acting like it is end-of-day feeding time.  The nice thing about today is that it is cooler than it has been in a week.  



Monday, September 07, 2020

The Garden and How I Cook Eggplant.

Today we lost three red kuri squash vines and all the beet seedlings  to the heat.  I tried picking cherry tomatoes but many of them fell apart in my hand, cooked on the vine.  This heat is brutal.

Gretchen asked me to post an eggplant recipe.  Because eggplant is new to me and I do not understand its properties very well this is all I do:  Slice them thin (1/8 inch - 1/4 inch),  sprinkle with salt pepper, and garlic powder, then lay them in a pan of very hot olive oil.  I fry them about a minute on each side, or until dark brown.  Its simple but it tastes good.

Home Again.

The time is just a few minutes after midnight on Monday.  It has been such a crazy couple of days.  On Saturday I woke up in my hotel in Reno, and drove to Incline Village where I had been assigned about 70 difficult cases.  After reviewing the case histories and seeing what I was facing I didn't really expect to close more than ten at the most.  But by 4 o'clock p.m. I had closed more than 20.  So I decided to head back to Reno and not work any overtime because my two youngest sons were on their way to Reno to spend a couple of days with me.  In the hour it took me to get back to the hotel my boss's boss had been fired and we had been ordered back to California.  So, I called my sons and told then to do a U-Turn and go home.  And when I got to the hotel I packed up my stuff, checked out of the hotel, and started for home. 

When I got to Verdi I stopped to buy gasoline, check the oil, and check the air pressure in my tires.  And that is when I noticed that I didn't have my key to the house.  I had lost it.  That shouldn't have been a problem because Kathleen would be home and would be able to let me in.  But she wasn't home.  She was at Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo County.  So I had to drive to Pismo Beach to get a key to the house.  So, after driving from Reno to Incline Village, working all day, and then driving back to Reno I had to drive another 440 miles to to Pismo Beach.   Oh, I did do something really fun on the drive from Reno to Pismo Beach.  When I got to the summit of Donner Pass I put the car in neutral and coasted down the hill.  I descended 5,000 feet over 49 miles and didn't touch the accelerator from Donner Pass to Applegate.  At Applegate the road started to flatten out and my speed dropped below 40mph so I gave it the gas and sped down I-80 west  to I-5 south to Hwy 41 west to Hwy 101south.  I passed by Shandon where my two oldest sons lived with their mother about 25 years ago.  I drove past the ranch where my oldest son died 10 years ago. And I drove through Atascadero where 30 years ago my first wife chose her drug dealer over me.  (I was inexperienced and naive and did not recognize what was happening.) 

Except for Pismo Beach, where I took my two oldest sons to spend an Independence Day with my parents and my Uncle Fred and Aunt Nettie,  SLO County is not a happy place for me.  Bitter memories of my own failures, her betrayals, and my sons' suffering.  It was 1:55 a.m. on Sunday morning when I arrived at Kathleen's hotel room.  

We woke up about 9 on Sunday morning and I took Kathleen and her kids to breakfast at The Sand Castle.  Then I drove home. On the way home, (Hwy 101 the whole way.) I stopped at my oldest son's grave in Paso Robles and prayed for him.  Someone had put a little American flag on his grave.  Standing there at his grave I suddenly started sobbing and the strength went out of me and I almost fell.  I had to leave.  The pain was too great.  A decade later it has not faded.  

When I got home the thermometer in the garden said 105 degrees.  The garden was completely wilted.  We lost two squash plants and a lot of fruit.  

I don't have to work Monday.  I'll just work in the garden and try to stay cool.




Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Nevada

 I’ve been living in a hotel in Reno for the last 8 days while working for the U.S. Census Bureau.  I’ve been driving all around Washoe County and have fallen in love with it.  It is beautiful.  

Kathleen came over the mountains to be with me for a few days.  We went to the shooting range a few times.  She is getting good with the six-shooter I bought her.  

Today I wennt to church at St Anthony Orthodox Church.  The priest there is the brother of the priest who use to be the deacon in Saratoga.  It was the first time I’ve seen a priest since March.  Wuhan virus, insurance companies, Governor Newsom, and cowardly bishops: Damn them all.

The Census Bureau asked me to stay in Reno for another week.  It ought to be fun and worth quite a bit of money.






Sunday, August 23, 2020

Doing nothing on the taxpayer's dime.

I was supposed to be out, going door to door, counting people for the United States today, but two hours ago the computers failed and I have nothing to do but, as my boss texted me, "Stand by for further instructions."   So, I am standing by. 

While standing by I went out to the garden with Kathleen and picked some cucumbers and tomatoes.  I am amazed by the graffiti aubergines.  They are very pretty, having purple and white stripes.  The larger ones are 10-12 inches long and 4-5 inches in diameter.  This is our first time to grow them and we are not sure when to pick them.  I turned the compost and buried a dead opossum in the middle of the pile.  I did a little Christmas shopping on eBay and Amazon.  I looked at the news about the fires raging all over California. I looked at the Apple Farm website as a possible getaway for Kathleen and I in October.   I've been there a couple of times, the first time in 2010, but have never actually spent the night in one of their cottages. 

Update:   They fixed the problem.  Off to work I go!

2nd update:  I'm home from work now.  The census is so much fun.  I love getting to meet all my neighbors. East San Jose is a pretty rough place.  Some people would call it a slum.  But the criminal element gets all the attention to the detriment of the reputation of the neighborhood.  I meet lots of really nice people.  Most of them go to church at Our Lady of Guadalupe, the biggest Catholic Church in the neighborhood, or to Five Wounds, the totally gorgeous Portuguese church.    Most of the rest go to one of the various Pentecostal churches in the neighborhood, such as La Puerta Abierta or the "Oneness" East Valley Pentecostal Church, or to one of the several small baptist churches. I don't ask everyone where they go to church (its not one of the census questions) but it there is a Cross above the door or araound the neck of the person wha answers the door I always ask, "Hey, you're a Christian!  So am I! Where do you go to church?"

I wanted to mention that my son Anselm is taking Kathleen's course on economics.  It is a course she and I designed together and is, I think, pretty amazing.  He is not officially enrolled because he is officially a high school graduate, but because he never took an economics course he wanted to take one.  If were not for the wuhan virus he wouldn't be able to take her course, but because of covid she is teaching all her class online, which means my son can take the class.  His nameday was a couple of days ago so I bought him three of the textbooks for the class:  The Law by Bastiat, The Road to Serfdom by Hayek, and Economics in One Lesson by Hazlitt. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Work for money, work for love

Yesterday I finished all the training for the Census Bureau.  Now I'm just waiting for my boss to call me and tell me when I can go out and start counting people.  I'm pretty excited about it.  It's fun to do a job mandated by the Constitution.

I'm still working part time at Bass Pro Shops.  It is only part time because of Wuhan restrictions.  The health department only lets us serve two customers per hour at the gun counter, and only two customers per hour at the ammo counter; not that we have any ammo.  For example, there is a nationwide shortage of all the most popular kinds.  We've been out of buckshot since March.

My instructor from last semester's waste water management class sent me an email and asked me to apply for a job in his department.  He is the director of public works for a small city here in the Bay Area.  I  submitted my application late last night but wont hear anything until October.  Governments have very slow hiring processes.  This brings to three the number of waste water management departments I've applied to since I finished the training.

Also yesterday, I helped Kathleen with her classes.  I wrote the first assignment for her history class (it has to do with identifying values that motivate people to make the decisions we call history) and gave her the readings and assignments for the first six weeks of her economics class.  Plato, Aristotle, Bastiat, Marx (He's been in the grave for 140 years but he is still killing people.), Smith, Hazlitt for the first six weeks.  In the second 6 weeks, I think, she is going to do Hayek, Friedman, and Keynes.

Today I began growing bacteria for the garden.  Yes, we are composting but I think the nutrients we have been putting into the soil are not getting into the plants because the bacteria are getting killed by the heat.  (Hot soil is a hazzard of growing in raised beds.) So now I am growing bacteria and in a few days I will pour it all over the garden.  Then I'll cover the ground with a good mat of straw to keep the soil from getting too hot.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Demons

 

Archangel Michael Defeating Lucifer
I don't think I have ever mentioned this event on this blog but I was listening to an interview Kevin Allen (Memory Eternal!) did of a priest who specializes in exorcism and I remembered this this strange event.  In 1997 I was at Crown Books on El Camino Real   in Sunnyvale California.  (Me encanta ser Californio!)   I used to be a voracious reader and would pick up any book to see what it was about.  (I am more discriminating now.)  I was at a Crown Books store one night and the tile of a book caught my eye:  A Course In Miracles.  Well, I was a Christian. and I believed in miracles. So I picked it up off the shelf and opened it.  Then a strange thing happened.  The letters on the page rearranged themselves into a bull's head.  And the bull spoke to me.   "We are not for you" is what it said.  I knew it was a demon.  I closed the book and set it back on the shelf.  I was afraid and began to weep.  I almost vomited right there in the bookstore.  Now, many years later,  I understand that the demon must have been afraid of me or, more likely, the Holy Spirit in me.   Now, if such a thing were to happen I would just ask the archangel Michael for help and throw some holy water.

Guns and Ammo

 It was a good night at work.  One of my coworkers and I talked an Air Force officer out of buying a Remington 700 PCR chambered for .308 Winchester and into a Ruger Precision Rifle chambered for .338 Lapua.  Then we convinced him to buy a Vortex Viper HSLR scope.   The company really ought to pay us commission.  But maybe not, for last week I talked a fearful  apartment-dwelling man out of buying a very expensive and very powerful hand gun (He would have shot through the walls and killed his neighbors!) and into buying a can of pepper spray instead.  It all depends on what I think is best for the customer.


Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Making Do

Today is the Forefeast of the  Transfiguration.  In normal years Orthodox Christians take grapes to church to be blessed but we can't go to church this year.  I don't know how to bless grapes but I picked some off of one of our vines,  put them by the icons, and sang the Troparion and Kontokion of the feast when I did Sixth Hour.  The grapes are pinot noir and are not ripe yet because of shade from nearby trees and clouds in the sky.  I'll leave them there until tomorrow, the actual feast day.  Then, I guess, I'll feed them to the goldfinches.

In other news I shot another squirrel in the garden this morning and harvested enough cucumbers to make two more jars of pickles.

I started with the census bureau yesterday.  It's just a couple of hours of training each day until next week.  I'm happy for an opportunity to earn money.

Monday, August 03, 2020

Saint Basil's Day (The other Basil)

Today is the feast of St. Basil of Moscow, the patron or my youngest son.  So, while praying the ninth hour today we got to sing the Troparion for St. Basil of Moscow.

Most of the beets, kale, and pumpkins - all the pumpkins, actually- we transplanted two weeks ago were destroyed by squirrels.  But we are still getting 5 or six big tomatoes, a dozen little cherry tomatoes, and three or four zucchini every day. (The squirrels, even though I shoot them, get more of the zucchini than we do.)  I've put up six quarts of pickles.  I really wanted more pickles but there have been very few bees in the garden this summer, so thought there have been many flowers there have not been many cucumbers.  I don't know what to think of that.  The carrots did not do well.  But the bell peppers are doing amazing.  The pumpkins we planted back in February were harvested and all but one given away.  I started more cantaloupe and pumpkin 2 weeks ago on the back balcony.  Tomorrow I'll transplant then into the garden. The turnips and radishes did really well but I'm really the only person in the house who likes them, so I won't plant any more, I think.

A word about the tomatoes:  The Cherokee purples did not do well.  We only got three or four off each vine.  The real star among the tomatoes this year is the Lemon Boy vine.  It is prolific and is the best tasting tomato I have ever had.  We might plant three or four of them next spring.

I ordered some short growing season watermelon seeds from Baker Creek.  They should be here in a couple of days.  I'll sew them directly into the ground and hope to harvest them in early October.

Kathleen and I have been doing a lot of fun stuff this summer.  We go shooting at Coyote Sporting Clays pretty often.  And, of course there are all the trips to Tahoe/Truckee/Reno.  (Basil and I went last Sunday and Monday.  He had a great time on the boat.)

Something kind of neat happened at dinner tonight.  Kathleen and I were talking about the reading list (Bastiat, Smith, Friedman etc.) for the economics class she teaches when Anselm, who graduated from high school two years early so did not take the economics course high school seniors take, asked Kathleen if he can take her class.  And since she, like all teachers in the county, is teaching online he can take it.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

A trip to Reno, an Eagle Scout, and a Fountain in the Garden.

Kathleen and I just got back from spending two nights in Reno

We drove there on I-80.  I've spent so much time on that road this summer I am starting to memorize all the business along the way.  We stopped in Auburn to eat at Ikeda's. All we bought there was water and coffee because I can't eat their food. (It is difficult.  I used to enjoy shopping for groceries but now I just feel resentment when I go shopping.) But we used their outdoor tables and ate some cold roast pork and cheese.  I also bought some  of their peach jam for Basil Wenceslas, who was minding the garden and the dog while we were gone.

We arrived Monday afternoon and went to our new favorite shooting range, where we practiced with the Swedish Mauser (the most accurate rifle I've ever fired) and the Star Model S.  We fired about 200 rounds and got some really good groups.  Kathleen has decided that because she likes revolvers more than semi-autos and because of the price difference between .380 ACP ammo and .22 LR ammo she wants to get a Heritage Rough Rider.

For dinner we ate at Mel's.  I went off my diet and had a Reuben sandwich.  Other than Max's in San Francisco, it is the best I've had.  Yes, I felt the pang of no martini with my reuben.  But something really wonderful happened during dinner:  Anselm Samuel called me to say he had passed his board of review and was officially an Eagle Scout, something we have been working toward since the autumn of 2008.  Yes, I cried at the table.

We had a room at the Sands Regency.  And it was a great price; much lower than the rate I paid at the Inn at Truckee were we stayed last week.  It was a nice room with a great view of the Sierras to the west.

We woke up early Tuesday morning and drove to Donner lake to go fishing.  We trolled the lake for three hours but caught nothing.  After stowing the boat we stopped at Cabela's in Verdi where we bought matching shooting vests.  I was going to buy ammo for the guns so we could go shooting again but since the wuhan there has been a shortage of ammo in America,  and Cabela's was out of almost everything but bird shot and .22.  They had no .380 or 6.5mm Swedish.  So, we drove to Mark Fore and Strike.  They had the Swedish but, wow, crazy high price.  I'm used to paying between $25 and $27 for a box of 20 bullets but this was $34 for a box of 20.  I really need to start reloading my bullet casings.  It doesn't look that hard.

The afternoon was about doing nothing.  Kathleen went to the pool to lounge.  I stayed in the air-conditioned room and read.  For dinner Kathleen picked the Wild River Grille.  I had the meat loaf.  Kathleen had the rainbow trout.  It was good food.  That night I played blackjack in the Casino.  I stayed within budget and it took me almost 3 hours to lose $50.   I think that is, probably, enough gambling to last the rest of my life.  Kathleen played a slot machine and won $16 on one spin.

On the way home we listened to a book by Sir Roger Scruton: How to be a Conservative.  It was very enjoyable.  One thing he said very much rang true.  He was discussing Edmund Burke and conservatism being based in  love for family, truth, beauty, and goodness, when he said something along the lines of this:  Those who disrespect their ancestors also hate their descendants.  And I thought, wow, that really sums up the American leftists.

When we got home this afternoon we found the stem on the garden faucet broken.  I turned off the water at the main and began fixing it.  Then I broke the pipe and, to the joy of the neighborhood kids, sent a fountain of water 30 feet into the air.   It seems I had turned off the wrong valve.   Thankfully, one of my neighbors is a landscaper and helped me find the right valve, told be what parts to buy at the hardware store, and then fixed the pipe.  We paid him with tomatoes from the garden.

It is good to be home.

 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Boating and shooting but barely working

Kathleen spent the whole month of June and the first week of July in a rented house at Donner Lake.  I wasn't working because of the Wuhan so I spent the first week of June up there too.  Basil (son #4) and Kathleen's kids went, too.  As hard as we tried, whether fishing from the boat or the shore, we caught no fish.  We could see them in the water but they did not bite any of the bait or lures we tried.
Anselm (son #3) stayed at Kathleen's house while I was gone and took care of the garden.
Interestingly, Athanasia, Basil's mother went up to Donner Lake and spent several nights with Basil, Kathleen, and her kids.  They all had fun swimming and Athanasia did crafts with the kids.  Basil chased off a bear and her cubs that were raiding the trash can.

Anselm and I drove up there for two days in the last week of June.  We didn't catch any fish but we visited my favorite antique store in Reno, where he bought a really nice 100 year old pipe wrench.  Kathleen came home on July 6.

Why did I come back to San Jose after only being there for the first week of June?  Because I was expecting to start work for the Census Bureau.  But it was delayed again.  The start date has been repeatedly delayed because of the Wuhan.  They just told me today that my new start date is August 1.  Thankfully, I did go back to work at Bass Pro Shops in mid June but because of restrictions on how many customers we can serve I am only getting 15 hours per week.  At least, I am getting unemployment insurance.

So, what have I been doing during this time of plague?  Reading and gardening, mainly.

Books I've read since Santa Clara County shut down for this disease:

Gospel of Matthew
The Psalms
Nehemiah
Revelation
Joshua
Farewell to Arms by Hemingway
The Night Manager by LeCarre
The #1 Ladies Detective Agency by McCall-Smith  (I first rad this book 15 years ago.  It is still wonderful.)
The Constant Gardener by LeCarre
The Way of Kings by Sanderson  (A present from my son Basil.)
Operation of Wastewater Treatment Plants (Vol. I) by Kerri and Dendy
The Decadent Society: How we Became Victims of Our Own Success by Douthat
Tears of the Giraffe by McCall-Smith 
Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization by Kriwaczek
The Secret Pilgrim by LeCarre
Euthyphro by Plato  (Every Christian in America, or any pluralistic society should read this book.  It is the best argument ever made against the idea that everyones ideas about morality are equal.)
The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway

Last week, since some of the restrictions have been lifted Kathleen and I went to Coyote Valley Sporting Clays were were both had our first experience shooting clay pigeons.  It was much fun.  We are planning on going duck hunting in Don Edwards in September, then turkey and pig hunting at Cache Creek in October.  Today I gave Kathleen a Mossberg Silver Reserve II so she won't have to use my shotgun but will have one of her very own.

Today  is Wednesday.  Kathleen and I just got back from another two days at Donner Lake.  This time we stayed at The Inn at Truckee.  The main purpose of the trip was to install and test the new outriggers on the canoe.  WOW!  They are amazing.   Even in 30mph winds the boat was steady.  Kathleen was even able to stand to cast.  We still didn't catch any fish.

The garden is producing a lot.  Squirrels are eating a lot before I pick it.  So far we killed two rabbits and six squirrels to protect the garden.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Flowers and a Trip to Donner Lake

I took the fish off the hook for Kathleen.
  Tuesday, two days ago now, early in the morning and with the boat strapped to the roof of the Subaru, Kathleen and I set off on a trip to Donner Lake.  We took the dog with us, and though he was mostly calm in the boat I think he prefers the land.  Kathleen caught a trout.

A really nice thing happened: We found a berth on the lake and it only cost $250 from now through mid-September.  Very happy about that.  Kathleen and her kids are spending a month there this summer and I was worried about her lifting the boat on to the roof of the car every day to go from her rental house to the lake but now that is not a problem.  I'm very happy about that. So, we left the boat on the lake and drove home at the end of the day.  Little did we know that CalTrans was repaving I-80 from Truckee to Auburn.  So we had to take a 30 mile detour through Tahoe National Forest at 25mph.  As we approached the Bay Area I thought we could take a short cut through the Caldecott Tunnel (my first time since the 4th bore oppened in 2013) but soon discovered that I-880 through Oakland was reduced from 7 southbound lanes to 1 southbound lane, and I-280 and U.S. 101 were both backed up due to road work. We did not get home until one o'clock on Wednesday morning.  But, still, it was a fun day.
Flowers on the Sweet Millions vine


Today we didn't do much.  Worked in the garden, watched some lectures from Hillsdale College, prayed the troparion and kontokian for Ascension and that's about all.  It was too hot to cook so we just had sliced vegetables (including tomatoes, radishes, and cucumbers from our garden) and cheese (Point Reyes Blue and Laura Chenel fresh goat cheese) for supper.

I talk about the tomatoes and other food crops in the garden but I think I like the flowers as much as the vegetables.  Here are pictures of some of the flowers in our garden.




Sunday, May 24, 2020

Streaming Vespers and New Seedlings

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Saratoga is live streaming a;; the services, even tea time with the priest is streaming.  I watched vespers twice last night but did not watch the DL this morning.  It's kind of fun.  I send the checks and they keep streaming.  It's like Netflix but better.

We lost one of the Cherokee purple plants today  I think we over pruned it.  But that's okay because yesterday we visited something called The Finca in downtown San Jose.  It is a non-profit that runs a program called ValleyVerde.  They gave me some seedlings and then I bought a whole bunch more.  They let Kathleen and I just walk through their greenhouses picking out whatever we wanted.  We came home with seedlings for Clemson okra, zucchini (unknown variety), thai chilis, and the following varieties of tomatoes:  San Marzano, Amish Paste, Tasmanian Chocolate Dwarf, and Indigo Cherry Drop, We also brought home cinnamon basil, Greek yevani basil, holy tulsi basil.

The poppies have germinated and the plants are thick but no flowers yet.  All the bulbs have put up beautiful plants but, so far, only the echinacea is blooming.  All the different kinds of sunflowers are putting up big stalks but there are no blossoms.  The zinnias and the marigolds still haven't germinated.  I am beginning to think, because it is almost June, that they are not going to.

I shot another squirrel in the garden yesterday.  The nematodes seem to have done their job on the grubs.  I over fertilized the radishes with nitrogen so the leafs are huge and green but the roots are tiny.  Of the hundreds radishes I planned to harvest this week only about 20 were worth keeping.  They tasted good though.  The female pumpkin flowers came out this morning, about a week after the appearance of the males, so I went out and fertilized them by hand.  I tried to be delicate.  I hope I didn't damage anything.

Friday, May 22, 2020

We Bought a Boat

Kathleen and I bought a 15 foot boat three days ago.  It was a bit of an adventure.  We drove to the Bass Pro Shop in Manteca to buy it but when we got there it had already been sold.  It was the last one they had in stock.  From there we drove to Sacramento to buy one Kathleen found on Craigslist.  When we go there we saw that it was not water worthy.  So we decided to head home without a boat.  As we were passing by Davis, Kathleen, using Craigslist again, found one in Stockton.  We pulled off the freeway in Davis so the dog could take a little walk. (It was my first time in Davis since 2011.  It was full of memories for me.)  After the dog did what it needed to do we drove to Stockton (Like all the towns in California's central valley it has a beautiful downtown area that is neglected as the suburban tract house developments expand n to the surrounding farmland.  It is very sad.) and bought the boat.  Then we had to strap it to the top of the Subaru.  Driving it over the Altamont Pass was a little scary; boats on car roofs are kind of like big sails. We got home just before midnight.

Yesterday I went and bought a 55 lb thrust Minn Kota trolling motor, battery charger, and marine battery.  Also, yesterday (but she is still working on it today) Kathleen has been trying to get it registered and pay all the taxes.  It is a headache because officially, the boat never entered California.  She has found records of it leaving  Canada but not entering California.  And the state offices are closed because of the Wuhan Bat Virus.

In other news...

Today was a day of repairs in the garden.  I had to rip out a row of radishes an throw them in the compost pile.  They should have been ready to pick last week but too much N in the soil caused big beautiful plants above the ground but at the expense of developing big yummy roots.  Thankfully it isn't even June yet so I can still plant something else.  Kathleen took out some volunteer potatoes that came up among the tomatoes.  We compost potato scraps from the kitchen so, it seems, the compost isn't getting hot enough.  Now I'm a little bit worried about other seeds that might be surviving the composting process.  I'll have to figure out what to do about that. The harvest today was a handful of small radishes, 3 zucchini, and a yellow straight-necked squash. And the boys came over last night and we played Risk!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Seed Companies I like

Yesterday was Mid-Pentecost, the halfway point between Pascha and Pentecost.  I didn't know this until a few days ago (I'm always learning new things about our Faith.), but Mid-Pentecost is the day the Orthodox Church blesses fields and gardens.  So, I sent a message to my priest and asked him for a big jar of holy water (The archbishop won't let him do any services during the Wuhan.) so I could bless the garden myself.  He left the jar and a cross outside the church for me to pick up.  Then Kathleen and I went in to the garden where we said the prayers.  Then she sang the Paschal troparion while I splashed holy water all over the place.

I buy some plants already sprouted at local nurseries but I also do some planting of seeds.  I get really good service from the following companies.

I love Wild Boar Farms for their crazy beautiful tomatoes.  Very fast delivery.

Victory Seeds is my go to for carrots, turnips, herbs, tobacco, and beets.  They also have cool stickers you can buy.

I get flower seeds and paste tomatoes from Fruition Seeds.  They include a handy planting guide with your order for free.

Oh, two days ago I shot the rabbit that was laying waste to our garden. It ruined eight zucchini and all the verbena in one day. 
The rabbit is dead.
The First Radish

Yesterday after the garden blessing we harvested the first radish from the garden.  It's red globe variety, but we have several other varieties growing, too.

Oh, I should also mention two other companies I like very much.  The first is Gardeners Supply Company.  I very much like their stackable tomato towers.  The other company is Arbico Organics.  They are my go to for ladybugs and nematodes. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Back on Zero Carbs

Pascha was strange this year.  No services.  Still,  I decorated eggs, made a big dinner, and  the boys brought over paskha and  kulich, 

After bright week I went back on my zero carb diet.  I had gained probably 10 or 15 pounds since Christmas.   It's not very easy.   I call it zero carb really that is impossible unless one only eats meat and butter.  Nevertheless, I can get close to it by only eating meat, bell peppers, cucumbers and cabbage.  I can get my carb content down to 1% of total calories.  My goal is to lose 5 pounds per week until I am below 200 pounds. 

The garden is doing pretty well.  Because of not having any work due to the over-reaction to the bat virus I have lots of time to work in the garden.  Because I have so much time it has grown since my last update.  Currently we have:

Food Plants
Cherokee purple tomatoes: 6 vines
Sungold tomatoes: 7 vines (rom seeds)
Celebrity tomatoes: 2 vines
Early girl tomatoes: 1 vine
Beef steak tomatoes: 1 vine
Bonnie Original tomatoes: 4 vines
Black cherry tomatoes: 1 vine
Sweet Millions tomatoes: 1 vine (We've already harvested some of these.)
Pickling cucumbers: 4 vines (from seeds)
Eating cucumbers: 5 vines (from seeds)
Bell peppers: 4 plants
Straight necked squash: 1 vine (from seeds)
Black Beauty zucchini: 3 vines
Golden Zebra zucchini: 3 vines
Spaghetti squash: 1 vine
Cantaloupe: 10 vines (from seeds)
Pumpkin: 2 vines (seeds saved from last years garden)
Green onions: dozens and dozens in a 18" x 10" box.  I harvest them by cutting off the tops and letting them re-grow.
Grapes:  3 vines (Too early for grapes but we ate some of the leaves in a salad a couple of days ago.)
Hundreds of radishes, beets, carrots, and turnips of many varieties planted among the tomatoes and bell peppers.
Dozens of lemon basil plants, sweet basil plants, licorice basil plants, and red basil plants planted around the tomatoes.
Lemons: two trees (One is old enough to produce fruit this year).
Rosemary (planted three years ago.)
Oregano (new this year)
Thyme (Planted two years ago)

Flowers (hundreds and hundreds located all over the garden)
5 varieties of sunflowers
Zinnia
Poppy
Daffodil
Echinacea
Black Eyed Susan
Candytuft
Wallflower
Lupine
Verbena
Bee Balm
Gladiola
Iris
Crocus
Calendula
Smap Dragons
Allium
Assorted California wildflowers

I used to dream about disappearing into the wilderness and starting a farm.  It looks like I've achieved the farm without leaving Silicon Valley. I even have a farmer's tan!

I broke the Bat Disease lockdown rules a couple of times.  Kathleen and I went to Nevada for a night. I bought .380 ACP ammo and pipe tobacco while we were there.  She and Basil and I went fishing at Stevens Creek Reservoir during Bright Week. We didn't catch anything.  Last week we drove up to Donner Lake to fish.  It was beautiful.  Snow on all around us and the lake was like a mirror.  But, again, we caught no fish.









 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday

Lazarus Saturday I made a big dinner.  The menu was 4 kinds of caviar (I ordered it from Marky's.  They always provide good service.), humous with celery, green onions, and carrots for dipping, kalamata olives, a three-been salad, a beet salad, pita, baklava from Greece, rose, mint and lemon  loukoumi from occupied Constantinople, and halva with nuts from Lebanon.  We prayed the troparion before eating and read a sermon on the resurrection of Lazarus while eating. 

On Palm Sunday I fried three big wild tilapia and a whole big bag full of okra.  Basil made hushpuppies.  Again before the eating we prayed the troparion.  It was the first time I had fried a fish since 1989 when I lived in Tennessee with my first wife.  Wow.  That seems like so long ago.

After dinner on Saturday we watched the first half of the BBC The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.  We watched the second half on Sunday night.

Today is Holy Monday.  I watched a recording of last nights Bridegroom Matins service while I cleaned the guns.  (I know. I know.  I should have done it days ago.  I've been busy taking naps.)  I think I'll go work in the garden now.  I'm thinking about planting radishes and beets around the tomatoes.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Things I'm doing during the pesitlence.

Today is Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt.  All I've done today is make a quiche (eggs, heavy cream, shredded gruyere, sauteed mushroom & onions in a pie crust), and restock the first aid kit.  Because we want to avoid going to the ER for anything during this Bat Disease plague we want to be able to treat as much as possible at home.  I still need to get sutures and inflatable splints but I have everything else I might need..   

It has been raining heavily, even some hail, since about sunset last night.  This is not the expected weather for April, and I'm a little bit worried about the garden.  The forecasters say to expect weather like this through tomorrow.  

Kathleen is still teaching remotely.  I've been grading some of her students work for the past three days.

I'm still kind of hobbled by that foot injury.  Trying not to walk or stand too much.

I still need to clean the guns after going shooting with Anselm a few days ago.   But first I'll take a nap.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

A Little Shooting

Yesterday, Anselm Samuel and I loaded all the guns into the car and drove over the Pacheco Pass to go to the Panoche Hills near Mercy Hot Springs.  It was weird.  Almost no one is on the road.  When we got to the BLM land we set up a some targets on one side of a canyon and shot at them from the other side; about 150 yards.  He's a pretty good shot.  He wasn't prepared for the kick from the Mauser and shotgun and got bruised up pretty bad. 

From the tops of the hills we could see clear across the San Juaquin Valley to the snow-topped Sierra Nevada.  While we were there I got an alert on my phone saying they were going to close the county because of the disease.  I was a little bit worried about getting home but there were no roadblocks at the county line yet.  So, now I am at home, I guess for a month.  But that's okay.  I seem to have injured my left foot pretty seriously yesterday (sprained or broken.  I don't know.) and am not able to walk.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Rice, the Chinese Bat Disease, and the Garden

Last night I made three different rice dishes for Kathleen and her kids.  Her kids are constantly complaining about the lack of meat in the dinners since the start of Lent and they sat down to the table saying they weren't going to like it.  Oh, they were so wrong!  They loved it.  Dish one was a very spicy dish flavored with onions, cayenne pepper, garlic, casltlevetrano olives, shallots, basil, fresno chiles, and tomatoes.  The second dish was a Persian dish flavored with almonds, ginger, cumin, and anise.  And for desert I made rice pudding topped with my homemade caramel.  That last made me especially happy for Kathleen was amazed that I know how to make caramel.  I keep thinking I've shown her all my tricks but then I do something that surprises her.  I hope I can keep it up.  The kids ate everything I cooked and asked for more.

The National Guard converted the Santa Clara Convention Center into a hospital for CBD patients.  A woman just three blocks from where my sons lived died.

Squirrels ate all the rubdeckia bulbs and all but one of the echinecea bulbs Basil planted.  I do not like squirrels.

Now the boys and I are going to visit my parents' grave to pray for them.