Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year


The morning after I hope you are not feeling as bad as he looks.

So, go celebrate, be careful, have a designated driver, or take a taxi.

Thank you to all my readers, family, friends, blogger friends, and all you folk who just stop by to take a look. You are all appreciated.

I wish for you all, an outstanding New Year

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cool stuff and thought for the day


Thought for the day:
One of the life's mysteries is how a two pound box of candy can make a person gain five pounds.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A wonderful Christmas story

This is what a country Christmas is all about...


"Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.

It was Christmas Eve. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.

After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.

Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight." I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what.

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn't happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said. "Here, help me." The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards on.

After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood - the wood I'd spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. "Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?"

"You been by the Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I'd been by, but so what?

Yeah," I said, "Why?"

"I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They're out of wood, Matt."

That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.

"What's in the little sack?" I asked.

"Shoes, they're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a little candy."

We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn't have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn't have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?"

"Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?"

Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

"We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children - sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn't come out.

"We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said. He turned to me and said, "Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up."

I wasn't the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak. My heart swelled within me and a joy that I'd never known before filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us."

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.


Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell." I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.

Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, May the Lord bless you; I know for certain that He will."

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand."

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children.

For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cool stuff and thought for the day

Thought for the day:
The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cool stuff and thought for the day


Thought for the day:
A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness. - John Keats

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Cool stuff and thought for the day

Thought for the day:
A well-spent day brings happy sleep. - Leonardo da Vinci

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Christmas trees are decorated.

This year we have two trees The one below, and a smaller one which holds mostly vintage decorations. I still have boxes of decorations downstairs, but it definitely would be overkill if I put them all on the tree. I suppose you could say I am a little obsessed with decorations. *grin*





Turn on your sound and you can hear a little of some of the music I like to listen to while relaxing and sipping a glass of wine, while watching the tree slowly turn showing all the decorations.

video

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Cool stuff and thought for the day

Thought for the day:
Why do croutons come in airtight packages? Aren't they just stale bread to begin with?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

She's back, but will the Turkey Lady live to see another day

Thanksgiving blessings to one and all

As a Kiwi living in USA, I sure do enjoy the tradition of Thanksgiving. Not only all the delicious food, but a time to stop and really consider what we are thankful for. I am thankful for many, many things and will reflect upon them today as I go about fixing a traditional dinner for my honey and I.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers, family and friends.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cool stuff and thought for the day

Thought for the day:
Life is an endless struggle full of frustrations and challenges, but eventually you find a hair stylist you like.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thank you for thinking about us

We really appreciate the food on this cold day.

So many yummy seeds to choose from.

Just love this suet.

My toes are cold!

Friday, November 19, 2010

TGIF


Whew! thank goodness the weekend is nearly here. I have had a long busy week at work and am still not feeling up to par, so a couple of days rest will be nice.

The forecast is for rather cold temperatures coming up, so we have to be prepared. Have to put insulators over the outside faucets, make sure any plants which can't take the cold are protected, and bring in some firewood so I can sit by the fire and read
.

I may get a few things for Thanksgiving prepared as I will be working right up 'till the day before, and I hate rushing about on the day, trying to get it all done. Kinda' takes some of the fun out of Thanksgiving when you are too tired to enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cool stuff and Thought for the day


Thought for the day:
Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric. Bertrand Russell

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cool stuff and Thought for the day


Thought for the day:
If it's true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the others here for?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Asian chicken noodle soup















1 tsp. vegetable oil
3 tsp. grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, grated
3 T soy sauce
1 tsp. granulated sugar
4 cups chicken stock
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 heads baby bok choy, thinly sliced, green and stalks separated
1 cup cooked chicken meat, shredded
dash of rice wine vinegar
4 eggs
1/2lb angel hair pasta, cooked rinsed and tossed with sesame oil
sliced scallion and red pepper flakes for garnish

1. Heat oil in a medium soup pot. add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add soy sauce, sugar, chicken stock, sesame oil and bok choy stalks.Simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken and bok choy greens. Simmer until chicken is heated through and bok choy is bright green.
2. bring a wide shallow pan of water to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer. Add a dash of rice wine vinegar. Crack one egg at a time into a small dish and gently slide each one into the simmering water. Gently poach until whites are done and yolks are still runny. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a plate.
3. Divide noodles between 4 bowls, creating a nest like pile in the center of each bowl. Ladle the soup into the bowls, and top with a poached egg. Garnish with chopped scallions and red pepper flakes.

I made just half of the recipe for myself, poached the egg until the yolk was a little firmer, as that is the way I like my eggs, and enjoyed the soup for my dinner. I will have the other half for tomorrow's lunch, minus the egg. It's not that I don't like the egg, it is just that I watch how many I consume in a week. Besides, the soup is just as tasty without an egg on top.
I really enjoyed the second bowl of soup for my dinner last night, as I am feeling somewhat puny with this viral infection I have, and have lost my appetite. The red pepper flakes kicks the dish up a notch making it very tasty.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Ruger in Prescott Arizona

On Thursday during our stay in Prescott AZ we were very fortunate to be able to tour the Ruger factory where some very nice firearms are being manufactured. Just a little information about the facility: it is located adjacent to the Prescott Airport and does not conduct tours for visitors, but at out annual Gun Blogger Rendezvous, we happened to mention to Lori Petoske, marketing support coordinator for the company, that we would be in Prescott in October, where their manufacturing facility was located, and how much we would like to be able to visit and look around. Lori spoke to the right people, and voila! we were able to take the tour.

There was a fairly stiff breeze blowing, but I did manage to get a photo of the flags on the front of the building before the wind whipped them into a crumpled mass.

This bronze sculpture of a cowboy sits in front of the Prescott, Arizona manufacturing facility of Sturm Ruger.

The inscription on the plaque at the base of the statue reads,

“An Honest Days Work”
by Fred Fellows.

In the vast reaches of the American West
the work ethic still exists.
The man who makes his living on horses
that are bound to buck, earns his pay.
A good hand is loyal to his outfit, meets a challenge,
and takes pride in an honest days work.


The factory is huge, this is just a very small area of the facility.

This gentleman very kindly allowed me to take his picture. As you can guess, our visit was just before Halloween and he was celebrating in his own way, by wearing this very stylish witch's hat *grin*
Something I noticed as we walked by the workers, is the pride they take in their work. A couple of the guys were only too happy to show us the parts they were working on, and I could clearly see the pride shining in their eyes. I think Mr Ruger, (since passed away) who bought the cowboy sculpture to grace the area in front of his facility, felt the cowboy creed and work ethic of
A good hand is loyal to his outfit, meets a challenge, and takes pride in an honest days work. is just as important today as it was yesteryear.

As we were guided around the factory by Jim Elliott, Plant manager, he explained how the system of manufacturing parts was undergoing a revamp. Formerly a particular part, say for instance, the barrel of a gun, starting out as a solid piece of metal, went to the first machine, where it was worked on, placed in a wire basket then sat around until it went on to the next machine. Now the whole way of manufacturing a specific part has been, and is still undergoing re-organization of the machines so they are all in lines. This means the barrel, which starts out as a solid piece of metal, goes to the first lathe/milling machine goes through the first process, then is passed to a worker on the next machine, and so on down the line, until the finished product comes off the end of the line. This is a very efficient use of floor space, and means there are no baskets of parts sitting around all over the facility for days, waiting to go to the next stage to be worked on.

This was the next to last place we visited. This is where every weapon which is now fully assembled, is put through it's paces. About five rounds are shot through every gun so as to find any possible problems in it's performance, and if one is discovered then there are baskets of new parts to be installed before the problem gun is once again tested. The final action before the weapon is sent on, is one more round is fired, the casing placed in a small envelope which is put with the gun, so the buyer of that particular weapon knows it has been thoroughly tested.
From here the tested weapons go right next door, where they are boxed and made ready for distribution.

This was a very interesting tour of the Ruger plant, and I am sure you, the women readers of Keewee's Corner, are asking "what on earth do you find interesting about a factory which manufactures guns?" Well, my answer is this, as far back as I remember, I have always been fascinated by what makes things tick, so to speak. Watching the lathe and milling machines performing their very accurate machining, then seeing the end result, was very interesting, and of course, being a pistol shooter, it was great to see what goes in to making a gun.

My thanks goes to Lori Petoske, who helped to make the tour happen, and to Jim Elliott, plant manager, who took time from his busy schedule, to show us around and explain how the facility functions.

HERE is Mr C's blogpost on our visit to Ruger

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Back from our mini vacation to AZ

We arrived in Prescott Arizona, late in the day on Wednesday October 27th, to a sky tinted rosy by the setting sun. It was starting to cool off from the 70 degree day we had been enjoying while driving from Phoenix where we flew into and picked out, yes that is right, we had three SUV's to choose from at the vehicle rental agency. We chose a nice silver grey Jeep, which was fairly comfortable, considering it was a 4 wheel drive vehicle, also designed for off road driving.

I loved the beautiful blue sky which greeted us every day. during our five day stay.

After checking into our room at the Best Western Prescottonian, we decided to eat dinner at the on premises, Mexican restaurant, Casa Bonita. When we stepped inside the door, we were greeted with a profusion of gorgeous bright colors. The back of all the chairs had been hand carved and painted in a riot of color. I can imagine what a delight this would have been to a young child, knowing how much they love the brightness of primary colors.





This wall mural was on the wall right above the booth we sat at.
It was difficult to choose from the extensive menu, but I finally settled on chicken fajitas. When the meal arrived my eyes nearly popped out of my head. First came a plate with all the fixin's including a small ramekin with delicious savory beans, and then arrived the plate of sizzling chicken, onion and bell peppers, and the warm fajitas. Oh my! how was I going to eat all that. I did not even manage to chow my way through half of it. I had them box up the rest, and took it back to place in the refrigerator in our room. Sadly the leftovers were tossed out, as every morning we ate a very hearty breakfast at the free buffet which was included in our room rate, then we used to eat out on they way back to the motel after a days outing. Sheesh! my jeans are tight, must of shrunk in the wash or something *chuckle*

Cool stuff, and Thought for the day


Thought for the day:
People only see what they are prepared to see.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Some R&R before winter settles in

We arrived in Prescott Arizona yesterday afternoon. We are here to shoot in the Arizona State Steel Challenge on Saturday. Today we ran out to the range to check it over, and learned that a small 5 stage match was going to be held, so we came back to town to buy some ammo to shoot the match. It was a fun match and afterwards we came back to town, ate rather well at A Golden Corral buffet and we are now resting in our motel. Neither of us slept well last night so we are tired.
Tomorrow we have a tour of the Ruger factory, then plan to do a little sightseeing in the afternoon. I want to got to the Gateway mall where I worked a number of years ago. I know at least two of my friends still work there so it would be nice to see them again. I will have photos and a report after we get home on Monday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cool Stuff, and thought for the day


Thought for the day:
Only by going too far can one possibly find out how far one can go.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

I have driven across the top of the Hover Dam in Colorado on journeys to and from Arizona a few times, and I must say it was a rather um! interesting drive. The road is very narrow with some rather tight curves to navigate, especially if a semi-truck, large RV or some other vehicle was coming from the opposite direction.
Although the view is stunning, what you could see of it while trying to keep your eyes on the road ahead, you can now bypass the view from the top of the Hoover dam, by driving an alternative route across the newly constructed Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.
The Federal Highway Administration, in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), officially opened the new segment of US 93, formally known as the Hoover Dam Bypass. Traffic began flowing on Tuesday night, October 19, 2010. Click HERE for more interesting information.

The new Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge Spans the Colorado river's Black canyon, with the Hoover dam with it's narrow winding road leading up to, across and over the other side just 1500 feet away.

What an amazing feat of engineering construction, and a beautiful work of art to boot.

Most arch bridges are cast elsewhere, but this one was built here, 900 feet above the river.

The cost of the project was $240 million, took five years to construct by about 1500 workers.

An absolutely fabulous sight.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pictures of the day

Sunday morning we were up at 5:30am to get ready to catch the ferry from Clinton across to the mainland. As there was only one ferry running, the other had been pulled from service due to mechanical difficulties, we thought we would check out the terminal webcam to see just how bad the backup was. The backup was not as bad as we thought so we made sure we were on the dock to catch the 7:30 ferry.
With fog horns blaring now and again, and the fog swirling damp and thick around us, we slowly made the crossing. As we approached the dock at Mukilteo, the sun was beginning to break through the fog just beyond the trees, painting the scene with some wonderful ethereal effects.



To read about the rest of our day click HERE