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dill pickles

Had a request for my dill pickles recipe. From a real foody like Jeff I am flattered. I’ve poured over old blog entries but only documented my variations on bread and butter pickles. Probably won’t do pickles this year with Sarah in St Louis and myself busy. I hope to primer the kitchen and dining room today instead. I also haven’t blogged for a while. Plan to get more on that a bit and still hope to bring the old blog public again. I found a bunch of links to spam sites on an old post so I need to go over the thing from bottom to top and put on a good edit and re-read and make sure there is nothing to damaging there. Next month. Things have at least settled down a bit where I get some down time. I’m getting lazy and responsive, frittering away any time I don’t have constant demands.

For dills though do as follows: Bring to a boil 8 1/2 cups water, 2 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup canning salt. Put the equivalent of 7 quarts of jars mouth down in an inch of water and bring to a boil. Boil your your lids and rings in a separate pan. Boil all of them for at least 5 minutes. Stuff your jaw with cut up cukes, 2-4 garlic bulbs depending on size and a sprig of fresh dill (cosmos  leaves work as an adequate substitute) and cherry leaves, asian basil and grape leaves are acceptable variants. Garlic and dill is the old school way. Stuff as much cukes as you can to make your brine last. Pour the brine up to 1/2 an inch of the lid. Put on hot lids and rings and sit on the counter top down for a day. Let them sit a month before eating to get up to flavor perhaps 6 weeks. Crisp pickles come in two ways. Pickle them the day or the day after they are picked or you can lime them. If you buy a pack of pickling lime directions are on the container. It changes the flavor a bit but even elderly cukes come out nice and crisp. Fresh is best.

Categories: cooking, diy, friends

Vermin Supreme

January 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Had the great pleasure to meet New Hampshire presidential candidate Mr. Vermin Supreme back in 1995, I believe. He was as big a character then as now but had not yet taken to wearing a boot on his head or identifying himself as a “friendly fascist”. He was still a vocal proponent of a mandatory tooth brushing law and was carrying around a giant brush at the time. He was pretty funny and supporting himself largely by being a subject in pharmaceutical testing. I feel for his mom having to live on his kidney. My favorite Vermin line from some flyers he gave me was: “They say we cannot have both guns and butter. I say if we have the guns, we can take the butter.”

Waiting for the Sunday Paper

December 18, 2011 Leave a comment

I don’t like to blog this early on a Sunday morning. I like to drink coffee and read the newspaper, cover to cover, less the adds and sports. But no paper. I see Mary across the street looking under all the cars and wandering around the front yard. Its tough for the newspapers in this brave new world we’re creating. The newspaper continues to shrink, both in content and type size, while the price continues to climb.

I have more compassion for my ever changing cast of newspaper delivery folks. They seem on average to last about 6 weeks, some a little more, some a lot less. Its a tough gig, piece work pay, hard wear and tear on the vehicle, tough hours, especially on the weekends and your paid as independent contractor so no taxes taken out and that wicked 11% Self Employment tax coming next April. Probably good none of them make it. Its mostly black folks here in Columbia. I’ve had 2 clients land this job or helping their girlfriends do this job because the Tribune won’t let Felons deliver the newspaper.

Its a mean old world I tell people, almost every day. Most people don’t know, they think they’re losers and fuck ups and young ones don’t know that it used to be different. If you stay on track you mostly catch some traction and move forward. Unless your on the sex offender registry and live in a tent in the woods. Then you do the right thing just to keep death at bay and stave off the inevitable physical decline as best you can until some random tragedy closes this chapter.

I am bitter without a newspaper, my little church of knowing what happened yesterday. That’s where they put the good stuff too, the funnies in color, the gardening column, the travelogues, and high art biopics that my brother found amusing for redneck Missouri.

My legs are a little sore. Did some serious damage on the strawberry patch. Last years month of super hot hit them hard and the zoysa grass is quick to fill the gap. Its hard to pull those long roots all intertwined with the surviving berries. But I keep plugging away and putting in the super cheap off season tulip bulbs I bought. Its not helping me get other things done with Christmas coming but its getting more off season every day so it too has its time pressures. It’ll be worth it in the Spring.

Made Split Pea Dal for Erica and Jamie’s Solstice party. It was fun. Make a dish that looks like baby poop if you want a lot of leftovers to take home. I also took some green tomato chutney in a santa cup. Glad I did because Erica gave me one of her Skin Grin All Purpose Herbal Salve. Gave me a tour of her garden with keyhole beds and discussed her experience with chickens (layers doing nicely, eating chickens were more trouble in that stretch of heat I mentioned). It was fun making the scene and hanging out around the fire. I have a reputation as a sort of recluse (“an Indian who stays close to the fort”, Jamie said.) So people made a big deal of my showing up.

Also Kevin is starting to move out so with just Fido around, he’s running around with his Santa doll now, pretty cute. I think he’s watching for the paper as well. I’m probably projecting though. I helped him with a load yesterday and promised to help him today but I have a lot on my agenda. This being social thing takes time. Sarah and I are doing a little Christmas shopping and hope to catch Christina in the Christmas Chorale this afternoon. I also pledged to go to the off leash areas by Cosmo park with Michael and Olive. I am hoping Olive will teach Fido to stay closer when we’re on the trails.

Hold that thought. I’m drinking some medium-light Ethiopian this morning. Pretty yummy. Whoops there’s the paper. TTFN faithful reader.

Categories: cooking, diy, dogs, gardening, politics

Poetry Archive #2 (Johnny Watson poems)

October 18, 2008 Leave a comment

John E. Watson is a larger than life character. He is an artist and craftsman and lovingly hapless. I’ve written 2 songs about Johnny and i found the rough draft of one of them, Hey Mister Painter Man,¬† in the large sketch book. I’d forgotten all about it and dredged it back up out of memory. I sang it for an associate who was tunelessly singing Hey Mister Tambourine Man, and he said he’d like to write some music for it. Chicken Fried Johnny i recorded with Milk Carton but we never did anything with the recording. Johnny claims the song is insulting but he listens to it. I never got a copy but our studio guy Nick Ridgio burned him one. How is that for fair? I started it when i went to see Johnny and he had gotten a nasty gash on his finger. He was going to sew it up himself because he didn’t have insurance and had preceded to drink a bottle of whiskey in preperation, which like a lot of projects, was as far as he got.

Hey Mister Painter Man

How ’bout a pretty picture

One that’ll make me smile

And maybe then I’ll forget her

Maybe you have loved before

Then you may know

Love brings the greatest joys

But leaves the lowest lows

So how ’bout it Mr. Painter Man

Can you fix my soul

Paint a picture to fill me up

Where love has left a hole

Maybe you have loved before

Then you may know

A place where i can heal my heart

I am ready to go.

#######

Chicken Fried Johnny

I put a suture in my finger

Cuz i didn’t have the money

For the plastic surgeon’s fee

To come and take a look at me

But i keep searchin’

Looking for the reason

Why most folks struggle to survive

But others got six cars to drive

But i like my chicken fried boy

I like my chicken fried

If i can’t have steak and champaign

I’ll settle for a chicken wing

I like my chicken fried boy

I like my chicken fried

With no fat to remind me

This was a living thing

Well I saved up a bit of money

And since i don’t have a honey

I’m gonna buy myself a forty ounce beer

It sure beats shedding a tear

And i’m gonna get me some bugler to smoke

And maybe a little toke

Of some cheap-ass mexican weed

That’s mostly just stems and seeds

But i like my chicken fried boy

I like my chicken fried

Categories: diy, friends, poetry