Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It's not ALL about our travels!

Though today seems like it might be!  I've spent quite a lot of time selecting photos to load to Flickr to share with the family and resizing them in the process.  It takes time but hopefully is worth it.  However, there are other things going on at the old homestead. 

For example, we had a special visitor last night at the bird feeder.
The doves are typically here late in the afternoon.  The bunny isn't usually here!  While we were in Ireland the weeds grew quite a bit in our yard and I'm hoping that Mr. Bunny is eating some of them.  Well, when he isn't filling up on birdseed. 

This morning I was all energetic; I've no excuse.  Sorry.  But I made breakfast of toasted cheese sandwiches with prosciutto and a bit of mustard.  Pretty good if I do say so!  The butter was just from the fridge so the browning was kind of spotty but it didn't bother me a bit.

Then I got started dealing with some pieces of pork sirloin that we bought a couple days ago.  We got this long plastic tube with about five pieces of pork sirloin in it.  Each was somewhere between one and two pounds (something under a KG).  I froze some but two were headed for the smoker.  I used a rub of salt, brown sugar, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. 

I smoked it for three hours using a combination of apple wood and hickory chips.  Then we brought them in and put them covered in a pan in a 225F oven for another four hours. 
We had to try a bit from the one on the right; it's pretty tasty.  Two forks pull the meat apart nicely so I'm thinking it is done.  Now the trick is not to dive in right away but let them rest.  That's the hard part!

That's all the news for today.  Have a good one!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Still recovering!

It's been a week since we returned from Ireland and we are still recovering.  It took us between three and four days on each end of the trip to get to feeling normal again.  That's longer than when we were younger but acceptable I guess. 

We got home to some nice cool weather; about the same as in Ireland as a matter of fact!  Then twice last week it actually rained.  Yep, we get rain here once in a while.  The rain was much harder than any we experienced in Ireland!  There we had light misty rain; this was a regular thunderstorm complete with lightning.  Happily it didn't cause any mud slides. 

I've been going through some of the approximately 600 photos we took during our three week trip.  That's not as bad as the number we took when visiting China last year but it's still daunting.  Our trip started and ended in Dublin.  We wanted to see as much coastline as we could so we traveled in a clockwise direction around to Galway where we drove across the country to return to Dublin.  Originally we wanted to continue up to Northern Ireland but we just ran out of time.  Here is a map roughly showing our route in blue with towns where we stayed underlined in yellow.  A couple of the towns were way too small to be on the map so I just left a yellow line there to indicate the approximate position of the town.

I'm going to add photos is pretty much a random order; there are just so many!  After landing at Dublin airport north of town we took the ring road around town and headed south for Wicklow.  Why there?  No reason; it was just the first largish town in the direction we wanted to go.  We needed to find a place for the night before falling asleep in the car.  Then next day was when we first saw the coastline we'd been looking for.  It was kind of cool and rainy but not bad.

There are a few photos that I'll toss in that typify Ireland for us.  Here is one showing the lovely green countryside and the nearness of the sea.

I don't often think of the ties that bind our two countries but they are certainly there.  We stopped at a hotel/pub/restaurant in the town of Kinsale ssouth of Cork on the seacoast.  As we were leaving I noticed this memorial they created for firefighters lost on 9-11.  There must be some local tie but I found it rather touching to find this in just an ordinary hotel.

I'll end with something traditional:  kissing the Blarney Stone.  We both had to do it.  It was way up in this old tower.  I didn't like those steps and they didn't like me but I got up them anyway.  So now I'm an official silver-tongued devil.
The guy is there to be sure no fat Americans get stuck in the hole!  As my wife says it sure would have been easier to do this when I was 45 rather than 65.  I'll be sharing more photos as I get them resized.  Take care.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Yep, we've been off having fun again.  This time it was visiting Ireland. 

My wife and I both have relatives who left Ireland for the  U.S.  We thought we might get to check up on them but it just didn't happen.  It's along story but basically we just ran out of time.  Here's the 5 cent version of what DID happen. 

We left Las Vegas on March 31 and landed in Dublin on April 1; yep, April Fool's Day.  Happily no one pulled much of a prank on us so we started our journey.  We were going clockwise around the island so headed south to Wicklow.  We had a couple ideas about the trip.  First, it's been 15 years since we visited Europe so we wanted an easy entry into the different cultures we might find.  Ireland is somewhat unique but at least the people mostly understand English as we American's speak it!  We also wanted to slow down our rate of travel.  We thought that limiting ourselves to an island 300 miles long would do the trick.  Well, things don't always work out the way you'd like!

The last 15 years have brought about a lot of changes; like now you have wifi on the bus whereas 15 years ago it was cutting edge technology.  Cell phones have become almost a part of us; not having one makes you one of the invisible people.  Almost every hotel asked for our cell phone number in case they needed to contact us.  Uhh, where did they think we were staying?  But, of course, we weren't always in the room!  Hmmm, guess I'm just out of touch.  Also I can't be contacted!  It was an odd feeling and I must admit rather uncomfortable a lot of the time.

Of course driving on the left has it's own set of problems.  The manual shift wasn't one of them though I have never had a six speed to shift before.  It worked just great.  The first car did have a minor problem:  use the passenger side window and you can never get it back up!  Well, at least the AA (Automobile Assn.) guy could help me get it up!  The rental place, Enterprise, traded in our small car for a much larger one but at least this one worked. 

My wife's screams were probably heard the length and breadth of the country; apparently I got kind of close to things on the left hand side of the car.  Didn't hit anything though and I have the rental receipt to prove it!  The roads varied from absolutely fantastic motorways (M4 and M6) to tiny little roads barely wide enough for our car.  We did have to back up a couple of times and other's backed up for us a couple of times.  There were also many one lane bridges where someone waited for the other.  Interesting stuff.  We left Ireland on the 21st; on a very long flight to JFK then to Vegas.  I'm tired just writing about it!

I'll post a few photos in a few days.  Right now I'm just trying to catch up on my sleep and not do it while driving around in town.  Take care!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Life goes on

We were actually quite prepared for losing the cat.  He was old, not a world's record, but old enough and was remarkably thin.  He was clearly slowing down too sleeping more and more.  So it was his time.  We can all only hope to go so gracefully.

I did manage to find a pork butt to smoke.  No, I'm still way too slow to remember to take photos so you'll have to take my word for it that it was quite good.  The butt is actually the front shoulder of the pig (as if that mattered).  The one I had was sold in a saline solution, 4% if I recall, so I didn't think brining would do much for it.  I simply made up a rub of salt, various peppers, onion and garlic powder and tossed it into the smoker.  Smoked it for about three hours then wrapped it up and gave it another four hours in the oven.  It turned out really good.  Next time I'll try a more sophisticated rub but otherwise leave well enough alone.

We are dreaming up another trip but I'll leave that until later.  Sorry about the short post but life intrudes even upon the internet.  Have a good one.