Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

Epic Road Trip #11: Jimez Mountains

For full disclosure I have left the Jimez and moved on to Chaco Canyon, one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. I’m on a back country hike and I’ve settled in some shade under an overhang/shallow cave and I am going to wait out some of the heat.

At the end of my last post I was camping in the Santa Fe National Forest trying to hike this elusive Civil War Trail. I ultimately found it and it was closed on a Saturday. I have never known a trail to keep banker’s hours or worked so hard to do something I wasn’t that excited about. Google maps took me to another trail which was not open for the public and I drove to the Jimez a day easier then I’d planned.

You have to pass through Los Alamos which was weird having a military checkpoint but I ended up spending enough time in the area it just became life. They have great dispersed camping in the greater Bandelier National Monument.

I spent a day at Bandelier proper which is very cool. Long house ruins and cliff dwellings. Lots of tourists but I’ve been isolated enough to find them all charming.

I took a long drive to the second site. It had a nice unimproved trail and there were cliff dwellings and some petroglyphs. It was an interesting climb up the Mesa and didn’t see too many people.

I did enjoy the prairie dogs and saw some elk. There is a stand of old growth Ponderosa pine but it’s a manicured stand and didn’t feel like a forest. I climbed one of the hills and there were a lot of wildflowers especially wild irises which I’ve seen a lot of on this trip.

I went back to camp and the next morning I went to Valles Caldera at my friend Rodger’s suggestion. It’s a beautiful valley surrounded by the hills of the long extinct volcano that formed it. It’s a fairly new National Park (2015) and feels more like a cattle ranch (which it still is by statute, when there’s not a drought) then a National Park.

I hiked a short nature trail and drove down to Los Alamos for a vegetable rice bowl which was cheap and excellent (Tiger Bowl). I did the Los Alamos walking tour and learned about life during the making of the first Atomic bomb. There are a few original buildings, some settler stuff and some ancestral Pueblo ruins; all right downtown.

I meditated at the Unitarian church and grabbed a Gatorade out of their Gaia Box. It was raining so I went to Starbucks and enjoyed a coffee and some WiFi and it was well worth three dollars and a poor nights sleep.

It was still raining a bit and their was a nice rainbow which I took as God’s promise he wouldn’t destroy us with atomic bombs. I picked up a quart of oil and made the clerk go look at the rainbow. She was glad she did.

After another night at my usual spot I drove down through Santa Fe and south to La Cinguella Petroglyphs. It’s on BLM land and it’s pre-columbian and a huge collection. I scrambled over the rocks awestruck for 5 hours before I was done in and didn’t see them all.

I got some great Guatemalan food down the road. A steak with a chili sauce and all the fixings. Then I went to REI and got a new pair of Chacos. My old pair were hanging together by a thread as I’d had them for more then a decade of hard wear. Coincidentally I broke the new pair in at Chaco Canyon. Having some tread is amazing.

Speaking of those Chacos. I’ve forgotten how unpleasant the afternoon heat is and I’m getting stuff setting here so I will get back to the adventure and catch you up later. I’ll have to climb a bluff to get a signal tomorrow so maybe I’ll have time to catch the narrative up to the present before then.

I got hot and tired at Chaco and got a hotel room. Going to Aztek today and camping in Bizi badlands tonight.

11 weeks

January 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Coming to terms that I need to be doing campaign stuff every day, though Trevor recommended keeping a day of rest and that seems like good advice. I don’t want to feel pressured by expectations of what a candidate ought to do. I feel like what makes me a good candidate is who I am as a person so changing that more then is necessary seems foolish.  The transition music on Christian television is ear shattering. Reminds to surf the other 3 channels and see what’s on. Caught some great Bob Newhart show earlier, it was a nice change from campaign filing requirements. Seems relatively straightforward. I have a lead on an experienced treasurer who has done some campaigns. Also have a lead on someone to handle media stuff and I have a draft of some literature I’m thinking about:

My name is Michael Trapp and I am asking you to join your neighbors in making Columbia’s Ward 2 and Columbia a safer, more vibrant community by electing me to City Council. As your city council representative I will advocate for Livable Streets, Good Governance, and a Future Focus to create a city that is a better place for our children and their children after. As someone who lives and works in Columbia’s Second Ward I am passionate to make our neighborhoods stronger. As a substance abuse counselor at Phoenix Programs, and a former case manager at Columbia’s domestic violence shelter I have insight into the lives of struggling people. If we create city services that are accessible and meaningful for the least amongst us we will have a city that works for all of us.

Livable Streets. With livable streets comes a greater opportunity for outside activity. This  puts more eyes on the street and contributes to public safety and neighborliness. We all benefit from safe sidewalks. Those with modest means need good sidewalks and bicycle paths even more.  Sidewalks improve traffic safety by moving pedestrians off busy roads. Bicycle routes and paths tell drivers and riders where to be on the street for smooth traffic flow.  Livable streets promote a culture of snow and ice removal. They foster cultural opportunities and neighborhood events to decrease isolation. I support greater use of school crossing guards to monitor on-street parking regulations thus ensuring safety near our schools.

Good Governance: I bring common sense decision-making in the best interest of the City and the ward. I am a good istener so Second Ward voters can expect excellent constituent service. Maintaining fiscal responsibility and solid reserves. Passing laws in a deliberate and proactive manner. Avoiding costly boondoggles like Garagezilla.

Future Focus: We will be judged by the city we pass on to our children. Measures of our success will be how we considered future constraints as seen in our transportation planning, school and utility siting and other intensive infrastructure. Decisions should be made with a future focus and a cautious respect of the enormous power of bad decisions that look good in the short term. Protecting our community’s health and safety should always be our highest priority. Maintain what we like about Columbia but position our city to continue to grow into the future.


Mark your calendar for April 3.

Choose Mike Trapp for Second Ward City Council

Paid for by Corporate America. Dick Cheney, Treasurer*

*for purpose of satire only, the internet is still free

Yesterday looked over the budget. Looks complex how projects get put forward there’s a process. Only 3% of the city budget on sidewalks. Not a lot of projects in the Second Ward from a cursory glance. I was asked by the Tribune reporter about getting up to speed and I downplayed that but I know a lot of what I don’t know now and I have a much healthier respect for the learning curve. Ultimately its about applying values and people are stepping forward to help me. Which is good asking for help is not a strength. I have a healthy maybe overhealthy tendency towards self reliance.

I am thankful for unasked for support. Kahlil Gibran says, at least how I remember it “To give when asked is good, to give without being asked, out of knowledge is better”. I am a little nervous. Did get my mind off of it and walked Fido to the park. Mentioned my candidacy to one person not to another. I don’t want to campaign all the time or be on the make, even for votes. Fido got some good play with Robin and Miley which is awesome because their people are on the same schedule. Its staying light out later, that’s going to be nice. The stress of work has become a bit of a sanctuary. It is terribly engaging and demands you to be present almost all the time. Its amazing how things change with perspective.

I want to end with a story. A counselor was asked why the state spent so much money on prisons and so little on treatment in a group of struggling folk. The counselor said “The whole premise of the question is flawed. Your assuming that the state acts under reason and common sense. I have never seen any evidence of that. How things work is that older people vote more then younger people so the electorate skews old. Those folks, your grandparents, aunt, uncles, what have you are pandered too by politicians who promise to make them safe with tough talk about criminals.

They don’t mean you, your well meaning but scared relatives. They think they are these “Criminals” out there, not you who just fell in with the wrong crowd or made a couple bad decisions. Politicians don’t want to look soft on crime and they sell you out. You can’t even vote them out because we have created this permanent group of second class citizens called felons. But things are getting better. The state can no longer afford to just lock people out, there’s not enough money and alternatives are going to have to be looked at. Hopefully one day the Department of Corrections will not be the largest mental health provider in the state.” We can respond to people’s legitimate concerns about personal safety without sacrificing our children to penal serfdom.

‘live it like it might be your last’

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Only about 3 hours left here in 2011. I’ve been puttering, listening to some music, hanging out with the dogs. I am having people over tomorrow to usher in the New Year and don’t mind having a quiet night at home. My dad always preached that, not to be going out with all the drunks on the road. I hadn’t been listening to much music but two weeks with a dog and no TV my taste for it came back. Its been a real joy listening to some alt country I didn’t know I had, the Bottle Rockets ‘Songs for Sahm’ a really great album, and Larry Norman’s ‘Something New Under the Son’ which is highly singable and I know it well and “Its today that counts, live it like it might be your last”. Been my watchwords tonight.

Made me change my plans from going to bed early to better deal with a big today tomorrow but not if it might be my last. Better to ring in the New Year with the dogs. Drink some Chai with Baileys and listen to Garcia and Grisman. Its made me realize I’m at peace. I wouldn’t call anyone or try to shake something up, there’s not really thing I have left unsaid. Puttering listening to some familiar tunes putting a little buzz on, in PJs and house shoes, fat and grateful. “If you go down to the woods today, you’d better go in disguise, for every bear there ever was…. Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic”.

I have a pork roast thawing on the counter and black eyed peas soaking for my lucky dishes themed dinner party. Cleaned out the garden bed that’s not a raised bed and if its not to windy I will have the fire there. I have a metal container and will get my first hearty guest to help carry the picnic table down to the vegetable garden area. With the bench and my lawn chairs should be fine, I’m not expecting the masses. Unless you come and bring a few friends. (I’ve got enough grub and goodies come on by).

The Amaryllis I got on discount late is blooming right on time. Christmas is overrated. I like a New Years Day gathering because its pretty well over and its the easiest time to show off the Christmas finery at least once. It seems silly to go through the trouble and expense of a tree and such and not have anyone see it. Not that I’m getting all fancy or anything. To much clutter and unfinished projects for that but the tree is still pretty.Monday I’ll break it down perhaps, although with Jeff and Becky coming over the following weekend if its still sucking water may let it go another week.

I do rather like it. I guess plotting the fate of the Christmas Tree isn’t in keeping with living like it might be your last. I do like to think of it with popcorn and cranberries in the back yard for its next phase.

I am seriously considering a run for city council. I read in the paper no one is running yet and its 5 days until intentions need to be made to get on the ballot. I think its only 50 signatures to get on I need to look into it. The newspaper called my Ward “apathetic”. I am offended. I am not apathetic even I haven’t been to a city council meeting or done a lot of lobbying. I considered contacting my current Council member Jason Thornhill about getting a sidewalk on my block. With the treatment center up the street and just generally people walking there’s a lot of foot traffic and speedy cars on a steep hill. But then I learned he wasn’t running for re-election so I thought he wouldn’t really care what I wanted on his way out. But I vote, read the paper every day, talk to my neighbors (I know almost everyone on the block), walk the neighborhoods and keep an eye on things, work in the neighborhood, pick up beer cans, whiskey bottles and such. My neighbors garden, belong to CSAs or shop at the Farmer’s Market like I do. We recycle and say ‘Hi’ to each other. Apathetic my ass.

It would mean being busier. Having other commitments. But I think there’s a stipend and my life is dull enough I could afford an outside project and what an opportunity. Might get a chance to do some good as well. I floated the idea on Facebook and won some offers of help and support. I’ve kind of swore off politics but it was the campaigning, the only telling the parts of the truth that help you, the focus on the political win at the expense of greater questions about Truth and Equity that bugged me. The campaign would be short and if I run unopposed perhaps I can just tell the truth and talk to my neighbors like it is sort of supposed to be. Then it just becomes a question of governance which seems a little less problematic.

My other potential life complicating project is going solar. Kevin has offered me a deal on panels, they are already in my garage and he’s pledged some assistance and a payment plan. Hard to say no even though I don’t use much electricity. It seems like such the right thing to do and very cool. What a 2012 it would be if I could pull those things off, plus a little home improvement a bit more self improvement. Getting closer to the life I would like to live, ‘live it like it might be your last’.


up late before the eclipse

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Watching some Lord of the Rings and writing some poetry. Another exciting Friday night here at Leslie Lane. Not sure why I’m a little melancholy after a really great day. I had a four day week and had rather an enjoyable day off. Put some decorations on the tree, cleaned a little house, made some bacon and eggs. I listened to a CD of Brenda doing her recovery story and it was really touching, I am so proud of her. I called her and we were both getting ready for the noon meeting. I took a formerly homeless gent i know who will only go if i take him and he likes to collect the coins. funny thing to do on a day off but it didn’t feel like work. saw some other folks i know, heartfelt but anonymous.

In the afternoon I went shopping which I am not much wont to do, but make exceptions from time to time especially this time of year. I bought some crampons for walking on the ice. not going to let a missouri winter keep me from my appointed rounds and I can’t keep going down hard each winter and expect not to get hurt some day.

We had our first dusting of snow but now its warming up a bit, cold tonight though. I have clothes on the line. After shopping went to a happy hour at a chain restaurant with a group celebrating a soon to be ex-coworker’s new job. It was fun and we shared going crazy stories and there were a surprising few for those who cared to share.

Besides the crampons I got some more winterizing stuff, door thresholds for the storm doors. Dad would be proud, tackling a project on my own. Probably on Sunday. I also got a programmable thermostat. Sorry Fido, you don’t need it warm in here while I’m at work and we could make it nippier when we’re under the down comforter. Another record year for green house gas emissions. That’s gotta change and that won’t happen if we don’t. As they say in recovery, if you keep doing what your doing, you keep getting what your getting.

I also got extension cords and now the tree has a cheery glow with a string of 100 white led lights. I’ll put a string of little lights on the ficus tomorrow, and maybe I’ll put a bulb on the kaffir lime tree, might look a little Charlie Brown. Speaking of which my co-worker Jane is going to play Charlie Brown Christmas for her Christmas-Eve ed group which I did last year to good effect. There’s some admirable characters and it allowed a nice approach to the difficult topic of Christmas. Some people don’t care, its just another day in treatment, while others are broken up over the ones they’re not with or the ones who are gone. I brought gifts which helped, people like presents, most of them would have got nothing.

It was fun working last year, coming home to spend the afternoon with Dad. Knew I had it lucky too. I guess that’s why I’m melancholy. Fido likes the tree, he pulls on the lower branches and drinks out of the basin. But its not the same.

Here’s the poem, only you faithful reader who will read 545 words of my banal Friday get to see the new stuff:

A Song of Earnest Regret

If I could have remembered Eowyn

where would i be now?  where would we be?

i am where I need to be

i guess, it at least feels right

but so much else is gone

all of the mighthavebeens

i don’t even know  if I miss them

except for now, when I do

oh Eowyn would I know your face?

did I know?

the damp of the spring rain

no not the first

held no comfort no solace even

but a bone chilling weariness

that like malaria

when its run its course

and your better again

to where being crippled up with sick

is a faint memory

only to come again

with no sure knowledge it will pass

but yes Sam there’s light up there

beauty that no shadow can touch

still the journey for some involves struggle

and sometimes it’s just a little too hard

too open your eyes to beauty


Free Mumia

December 8, 2011 1 comment

It seems like there has been an inordinate amount of good news in the paper today. Driving is down 6 months in a row, as Baby Boomers stopped driving their kids around is the biggest factor. Desegregation is rolling along as more black folks move to the suburbs. Asians and Latinos open the door moving in creating space for black folks in white neighborhoods. (Whites don’t move into black neighborhoods except in isolated cases of gentrification. Boo whites.)

The biggest piece of good news was that Mumia Abu Jamal was taken off of death row. I knew it yesterday, because even though I’m pretty attached to paper newspapers (anything worth doing is worth doing like in the 19th century) I appreciate what my brother said when his buddy asked “what’s that?” when he tossed me the paper in its tight plastic sack. “That’s a newspaper. Its what people read before there was an internet. It tells  you what happened yesterday.”

So yesterday Mumia Abu Jamal was taken off death row. I have heard some of his stuff and read one of his books. I worked a short quotation of his into a wedding I did in Canada on “the primordial forest”. I went to Philadelphia and protested many years ago. This has been going on so long. There is good evidence his trial was fraudulent and the circumstances are murky. Even if he shot the cop he’s been in the joint a long time and has done much good. It was a racially charged time and there was a lot of weirdness around the whole thing. I was moved largely by my gut which has always told me he’s a good man.

I also wrote  poem about his situation. Its pretty dated but I am putting everything up and archiving it and its probably worth sharing. I take a light, almost tongue in cheek approach as I was poking fun at my strident to the point of humorless activist friends who have as little room for dissenting thought as the mainstream they rail against. I love them nonetheless and largely root ’em on. The biggest thing about the piece is its dated. This might be my last chance to share it with any kind of relevance. I always thought it was a tight little piece and I like the ending a lot. Almost feel like I squandered it on a piece so set in a particular time.

He’s as innocent as OJ

And Clinton, well of course

So why’s he on death row

And not on the golf course,

Looking for the real killers

And the guys who killed Vince Foster?

Why aren’t there black tie dinners

With key note speaker Kevin Costner?

He’s as cool as the dolphins

As exotic as Tibet,

And they say there might be riots

But they haven’t started yet,

And so they will try to kill him

In the name of God

Because if you spare the child

Then you spoil the rod.

2 haiku about Old Style

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Its definitely turned cold today, the biggest change is people are complaining about it. I try to embrace the weather and prefer to think of it as brisk. Its easier to do when the sun is shining but the skies were gray and overcast, and its breezy as well. Glad I have got things pretty winterized. I put in mostly new windows except I kept my big picture window with regular windows on each side. They were the only trim not painted over and everything on them still worked. I don’t want to live in a house tight as a drum. I want a little air flow otherwise I’d have to test for radon or leave a window cracked to let that stuff seep out. Seemed easier to keep my pretty window. This year I put in these guards that are like foam tubes that fit into a 2 pocket sock one on each side. They were supposed to slide with the door but did not work as expected.

Last year I added weather tight storm doors but they have a little gap at the bottom which somewhat defeats the point. I was supposed to put the kind of weather stripping that connects to the ground but I forgot that part when I asked John to do it when he was crashing here and doing projects. He got weather stripping but the doors aren’t really built for the stripping to be attached to. I’ve added the floor kind to the list but even without it, the house is pretty tight now. I grew up in a drafty house in Michigan and later when Dad had built a more modern house we did a couple of winters without LP gas for a time and lived with just a fireplace so I know enough to be thankful for a snug little house and adequate heat.

I keep it chill 65 degrees which is fine if you have a sweater or your doing something. I have a down comforter (a dollar at Salvation Army, but of course I had to shell out $45 for the cover on clearance at a big box store) and am snug and warm at night. I also have on my list a programmable thermostat. I’ve forgotten it once but I think I can save some heat when I’m gone and maybe even drop the night temp and justify splurging on a 72 for the hour when I first get out of bed. That would be a luxury.

All of this seasonal talk is just prelude to a couple of my early haiku, back before I felt obligated to make them seasonal. Can’t say I find the art form at all compelling any more, but I used to like them before I could write poetry. The rigidity of the form allowed me to express my creativity in a way that formlessness did not. I tend to tell stories and write about ideas which are not really great with haiku either. They feel to me now like they should evoke mood, place, and image.

I wrote these hanging out with Sarah and Eric maybe others hanging out on the Washu campus. We were drinking Old Style, a local favorite at the time and I don’t remember exactly how it came to writing haiku about beer but these are the two I remember:

Trapp’d in a tin can

Fermented hops and barley

I will free the Old Style


Old Style is a cage

Set to ensnare the drunkard

I think I’ll drink more



Categories: environment, friends, poetry

Standard Bronze Wins the Gold

November 26, 2011 Leave a comment

I can’t write anything about Thanksgiving without beginning with gratitude. Working in the field of addiction treatment I see first hand the power of that emotion, those thoughts and actions, allowing acceptance of present day realities as a platform for a better life. I saw a meme going around happiness doesn’t make you grateful, gratitude makes you happy. There’s a lot of truth there.

Nonetheless Thanksgiving takes it on the chin as a celebration of colonial imperialism and a day devoted to gluttony and excess. I was chatting with an individual of Native American extraction who asked about my holiday plans and after sharing them I asked after his. He said he wasn’t making a big of it because it didn’t have positive associations for him as the whole thing turned out. I couldn’t do anything but apologize. Another friend rails against Thanksgiving like its an abhorrent thing and his angst ridden pseudo-suffering seems more like an excuse to judge. I could do nothing but ignore it.

For me, a fan of both family and community and cooking good food, its a day to be celebrated without limits. I am a fan of what I call “the good life”, living well but in harmony. I wanted to make a feast but without promoting things that I find abhorrent. And with the able assistance of my housemate Kevin we cooked the shit out of this Thanksgiving with local sustainably raised stuff and put out a feast we could be proud of.

You may recall the cooking began last week when I made chicken stock out of the bits and pieces of my roasting chicken I had made the open up room in the freezer. I also got my shopping done but only because Kevin made a couple of trips to the store so I could add a few things.

Tuesday I picked up my bird. I had ordered an heirloom turkey at the Root Cellar a couple weeks back and learned they would do first come first serve at 10:00 but I had already booked a 2 hour 9:30. I wanted a big one under the mistaken notion that females are bigger and you get more white meat. Actually when I looked up the particular on the Standard Bronze I ended up with I learned males are bigger which makes a lot of sense when I think of it.

Regardless, my friend Gretchen had agreed to pick it up for me at 10:00 and I drove to her place on my lunch hour. Helpfully, Fresh Air was replaying a segment from 1987, I think, with a food chemist on how to roast a turkey. She said brine it overnight with a cup of salt, 2 cups for giant turkeys and more if you use Kosher salt. This is of course for fresh birds only. Corporate birds are pre-brined of course amongst other things in their little plastic shells.

The show had just gone on to touch on the trickiness of getting the thighs & legs up to 155 degrees without overcooking the breast when I got to Gretchens. I considered hearing her out but I was on my lunch hour and still had hopes of getting lunch. Apparently Terri Gross is pretty attached to this segment so maybe I’ll catch it next year but I made a note of the phenomenon and got my bird.

I had to give Gretchen more money because it was a mammoth thing at 21 #s and at $7.50 a pound it was a chunk of change. A considerable chunk of change. But for good reason. Turkey farming is tricky being willful birds prone to total die offs for more then a couple reasons. Bobtail Whites, the 99.9% turkey of choice is sedate and unnaturally big breasted to the point of not being able to bread without a turkey baster anymore. They can fly and get into more mischief and you factor in inputs and risk and no externalized costs (corporate turkeys pollute the water, eat commercial corn with all of its issues, and are charnal houses of horror that diminish the souls of everyone who devours them) and they are appropriately priced.

To live in a world of small family farms we have to pay more. Right now Americans only spend 7% or so of their income on food. Cheap food is expensive to the planet, the farmer, and our communities. Europe spends around 10% and I think in the Philippines they pay 40%, some countries are higher. Regardless of all that it was cool enough to leave the turkey in the car until after work when I threw it in the fridge.

Wednesday morning I pulled the Rouge Vif D’Etampes Pumpkin(AKA Cinderella pumpkin)  off the front porch, washed it good, cut it in half, scooped out the guts and baked on a cookie sheet with some water and pumpkin spices (just to scent the house). I roasted the seeds (greased cookie sheet with olive oil, sprinkle with Bob’s Steak Seasoning [corporate seasoned sugar/salt Dad bought]) which were not numerous but big and juicy and they came out good.

I cooked the pumpkin until it was soft, could’ve been softer, peeled and mashed and beat. I had promised Kevin I would blend it when I offered to prep the pumpkin vs using the canned variety but I was already overwhelmed by the pumpkin mess I had so far for a before work morning, even on my late day. {I just made a second pot of coffee for this cold and rainy Saturday morning, its a medium roast South Seas coffee I roasted last weekend, oh so delicious, and the 2nd press pot is such a luxury.}

Wednesday night I brined the turkey. I did it in the bag and added a cup of salt (1/2 canning salt, all I had), water and all the ice in the freezer (and they laughed when I threw the rest of the bag in the freezer at my last Summer party). After thinking about it and the pasture raised turkey being a little tough last year I added another 3/4 cup iodized salt (all that I had). The radio lady said it could be crusted on, you just got to rinse it good.

I put the bag in a bucket and the bucket in the basement/garage (I am blessed with a split level new readers). Then I realized I didn’t really know how to cook a turkey. Up until this year my method was to say “Hey Mom” or later “Hey Dad, how do you cook a turkey again?” This is why grief is intrinsically a year long commitment. You never really know what someone means to you until they’re not there and you have to experience the loss.

With my mom it was pickles. Thinking of the seasons it must have been 6 or 7 months after she died, I know I wasn’t thinking of it every day anymore, when Amee, my wife at the time, was talking to her mom about her making pickles. It hit me like a thunderclap, I would never again eat my mom’s pickles and I just started crying.

But thank God now orphans have the internet and Whole Paycheck, though lacking any other parental quality reminded me of the particulars of roasting a turkey. I see why they hold the 1 spot on Google as it was easy to find, well organized and comprehensive. They recommended less salt in the brine but I was undaunted because you don’t make a lot of money selling salt but you do selling “healthier” food. (You always have to factor in the economic angle of who is providing your information). They did mention you are supposed to pull out the squishy things which I had forgotten to do and pulled them and the sizable neck out of Tom’s yahoo.

I think we do our birds at 350 1/4 hour per pound and Whole Paycheck said 325-375 so I felt good about that. On the breast up or down debate they split the difference with an hour of down and flip it so you get the best of both worlds, juicier breast and crisped up skin. Cover it with foil but uncover for an hour, which Kevin suggested half the time covered, half uncovered, under the theory you can always cover it back up if it gets done to quick as I had been bouncing my research off him as he wrapped up his first day of solid cooking.

Thursday I got going on the turkey around 7:30. I pulled it out of the ice water and rinsed it good and gave it an hour to get rid of the chill before going into the oven which both Kevin and Whole Paycheck recommended. It took me near that amount of time to deal with it. I carefully went over the pretty thick skin and pulled out feather pieces. Bronzes are notorious for this I later read and this turkey lived up to it. Knowing it was intrinsic to the breed made me feel better. After laying out a ton of money I was kind of expecting perfection.

I also rubbed the bird with olive oil and stuffed with a quartered orange (Kevin’s idea) that had been hanging in the fridge for a while, left over fresh herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme) Kevin had bought for the dressing with some marjoram and oregano from the garden. I also shoved in a few pieces of celery, heavy on the leafy part and a few whole cloves of garlic.

I added a pint of seasoned chicken stock and 1/2 bottle of an Italian white wine. I didn’t pre-heat the oven on consideration of the letting the turkey get to room temp made me think a gradual rise in temp was better. I folded in my turkey and wrapped in foil on the bottom rack because that’s the only way it would fit. Got her going at 8:30 as planned.

I made stock out of the neck, organs & folds of skin from the neck end and the ass end and I threw in the ass as well. I added marjoram and oregano and mace and set that to simmer for 4 hours.

Kevin helped me flip the bird and yest that pun was used which was a little tricky but wooden spoons up both ends did the job. 1/2 hour later and a 1/2 hour later I basted again. At its weight I was anticipating a 5 1/4 hour cook time with checking it a 1/2 hour early recommended by Whole Paycheck I pulled the foil off. Before then Kevin had made wing tip booties to keep them from getting over done.

The breast got nice and bronzed early so we put a piece of foil over that. We checked the temp in the crook of the thigh and we got 155 at 12:30 and pulled it out to rest until carving.

The dark meat was strong tasting, almost gamy and was hard to carve. The white meat was incredibly delicious. Juicy and intensely flavorful, I couldn’t have been more pleased. There was a layer of subcutaneous fat and the thin was thick so it wasn’t particularly edible but you shouldn’t be eating that stuff anyway. There was some integument I’ve been cutting out and tossing to Fido as well but I suspect that’s the cost of doing business with having birds that walk around and lead a life.

Reviews were very positive, it was a fine looking bird and people liked it. It was part of an excellent meal with a great assemblage of interesting people and was a pretty nice Thanksgiving. In addition to the turkey I also did mashed potatoes; red new potatoes with the skins on mashed with butter, whole milk and sour cream and sprinkled with minced wild onions (the fall crop is in, if you get them early they are like a more pungent chive, much better in my opinion).

Kevin did an array of from the basics with foody flair and put over 16 hours in the kitchen in two days. The guests brought some wonderful items as well leading to a colorful array of delectable morsels. Kevin paired the meal with a Stone Hill (out of Hermann MO) Norton that was excellent, dry and flavorful. We probably were easily pushing 90% local for the spread and it tasted like it.

I would like to tell you about the party and I may but I’ve been writing this post for days and my coffees getting drunk and I am wanting to get about my day three of a a four day weekend. A trip to the store, some house cleaning while I have momentum and its getting to be Christmas tree time, perhaps tomorrow.

November 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Watching True Lies and realizing I don’t really like any of the characters and I am having a lot of tro0uble caring what happens to them. It is not uninteresting though, zany characters in preposterous situations, like an Elmore Leonard story. Its scratched, second one in a row Netflix. I might join the masses and cancel. I think I’m going to dump cable as well. Go to broadcast TV, I think its been a week since I’ve had it on. I’m going to wait for a week or two, when I will have a guest(s).

“What’d we learn Palmer?” “I don’t know”. that about sums it up. After rating 500 movies Netflix doesn’t have a clue what I really like. I’m going to have to start doing a little research before I get movies. Watching some True Grit now, the old one still has charm, liked the new one a fair bit as well.

Today got rolling pretty early and cleaned house in further preparation for the formal giving of thanks. The fridge was way over do and Kevin pitched in on the bathrooms so the place is now pretty tidy, although there is always still more to do. Kevin and I hit the market and i had a list and bought mass quantities. [“I would not put a thief in my mouth to steal my brains”, when asked if she wanted whiskey, nice line.]

At the market I stopped by the Legacy Beef place. Figuring the market before Thanksgiving everyone is having a good day but him. We talked cooking cube steaks and he had me tell his wife how i made my swiss steak. They had the buy one get 2nd half off so I got that and decided to stock up on ground round since Brenda was coming and it was slow day for him so he sold me hotdogs at $6.25 for 2 pounds and threw in a couple beef sticks. All in all pretty sweet, might start buying in quantity less often if its going to save me money.

I also told them I’d stuck up for them with someone saying Veganism was the solution to the envioronmental problems. I told them I would put the carbon footprint of my local pasture raised beef against processed vegan food from California. There isn’t a solution, there are lots of solutions. They liked that which started a general conversation of OWS and one was with the “they don’t have a message or specific demands”. I said if the experts can’t fix it we can’t expect a bunch of hippies but economic justice was definitely the theme. How about putting some people in jail, fixing the regulations that allowed it to happen, getting rich people to pay some taxes.

I got more new red potatoes, onions, butternut squash, brats, eggs. The egg boy had his give aways, this year a pen with a pull out two year calendar. I gave him a tip when I went to the credit union I had gotten some crisp new 2 dollar bills and some dollar coins so i gave him a bill and one for his brother. God its been 5 years I’ve been buying their eggs, watching them grow up.

Had Guy and Gretchen over for coffee. Guy is my realtor so he was curious to see what I’d done with the house. Didn’t get after me for not doing anything with my floors yet. Liked the window I had put in, thanks again Eric, and I gave him credit for the wooden picket fence as Dad was trying to talk me into going with the vinyl fake stuff.

I showed them the coffee roasting set up and roasted a batch and made a pot of the medium roast Guat which was better then the light, a pretty good coffee. Tomorrow I’ll try the Honduran, I am hoping it gets better as well, none of them were great as a light roast in this batch. Gretchen is also interested in the Odd Fellows and agreed to pick up my turkey for me on Tuesday.

After a little rest I couldn’t really gear up and decided I would do a nap. I have a fairly productive day planned for Sunday with a project and an elaborate dinner. I cut up my roasting chicken, its huge. I saved the neck and back and innards and such and am going to make stock to cook the turkey in and maybe Kevin needs some for the dressing.

I am brining the chicken now in salt, sugar and apple cider vinegar and water. Tomorrow I will paprikash it up plus i think i need paprika so i will try to get my Thanksgiving grocery shopping in as well as finally complete the horse manure project. There’s some cleaning tasks I wouldn’t mind doing but that’s already a pretty full day. Its a short week but a chock full one.

Maybe I’ll try to start winding down and get some sleep before I get back in it tomorrow.


Categories: cooking, environment, politics

birthday float

August 14, 2011 1 comment

john and i had a long night but the birthday moonlit float of the gasconade went splendidly. Its a beautiful drive from Columbia to the Linn area where we put in. trevor had suggested the gasconade with a put in at where it crosses highway 50 at the 219. We decided, wisely in hindsight, to use it as our take out, correctly surmising that we would need an extremely clear land mark for a pull out to have any chance of seeing it. We drove around quite a bit following roads and driveways trying to find a nonexistent river access point.

We ended up just parking the truck on highway 50 near the take out area after scouting around on foot. We realized it would be a haul pulling out the boat so for day floats it would make an easier launch point then take out point.

We then drove to Linn at the 203 and easily found the boat ramp. we packed up the boat and got on the water at dusk. there were a couple of boats but we didn’t pass any as we set off. the nice part of a night float is it thins out the boats with engines. caught a little of the sunset and the moon was up nice and it soon settled in to as dark as it was going to get. you could probably have read a large print book by the light of the moon.

The river was strange not knowing what’s ahead until its upon you. shallow at times and a fair number of trees and other obstructions coming up out of nowhere. the gasconade is braided through there and it would be hard to tell shadows from islands. mostly the current could guide you until it took you under a low hanging tree. some of the rocky bluffs would look like channels and even though it was mostly a calm and gentle float there was a hint of excitement on occasion when obstacles appeared out of nowhere.

we left the dogs at home but regretted not bringing one or two as it was fairly easy. we used the outriggers which was a good move though we never needed them. there was one area where going around an island we were in a narrow and swift channel with a maze of downed trees to navigate through that the outriggers barely cleared. john broke out the light and i paddled us through. our short boat with a big keel makes it very maneuverable and that was probably the highlight of the trip.

It was peaceful, though we passed two parties and a few people camped on gravel bars. there were fireworks, occasional sounds of the city, some car noise on occasion but a lot of peace and some pretty bluffs. not a lot of wildlife to be seen but we scared up a big heron and the swallows or whatever insect eating birds would buzz us on occasion. Big splashes from the suspected asian carp rounded out our interaction with wildlife. bugs were thin.

the perseids were light but i got a couple of flashes, nothing worth wishing on. john saw a nice one but declined to wish being a rational sort. we were quiet some and talked some and it was peaceful. i definitely want to do it again and want to see the gasconade by daylight.

this is my 5th float of the year, with one more planned and likely at least one more, so not a bad year for floating considering the swollen nature of the big muddy. thanks to john for the lovely sandwiches and working out the logistics. many thanks for all the b-day wishes, i am blessed.

got in after 4:00 but feel pretty good. got some bean soup on the stove with sarah’s easter ham bone, market white potatoes, onions, yellow pepper & a hot pepper with rosemary, oregano, lots of garlic, time & a little sage from the garden. also started my day with my first egg and tomato sandwich of the year. got a nice heirloom tomato and very yummy. put a little fresh dill & fresh ground pepper in my market eggs. hope to lime some more pickles, watch the Tiges catch up to the Orioles (down 3-1 in the 4th) and may mow the backyard. laundry of course.

thanks again faithful reader and continue to make comments. if you’re ambitious register and make them on wordpress so they last. facebook has its charms but it is transitory, your comments do not have to be.

hot & wet

the heat continues here in the show me state. there is a heat advisory until friday at 7:00 pm. we were lucky the last couple of years so i am trying to bear it with good grace. no, that’s not strong enough. i am trying to enjoy it for what it is. been just running the air 24/7. we keep it on 79 here on leslie lane and with lows close to that and humidity there’s no real point. usually i like to let the dogs come and go in the morning at least, but this am i tried it for about 2 minutes and a bitter hot wind was flowing in so i closed her back up.

did spend a little time outside this morning. watered everything in the back. used city water because i didn’t want to fritter away the shade hooking up the hose to the water barrels. i want to do it in the morning because the water can get hot. trevor just got a wooden barrel for his house. i want to upgrade when these go to pot.

friday we went on a bit of a float trip. drove out to overton bottoms with jared and met up with eric and a buddy of his and trevor and a buddy of his although didn’t end up seeing them much. fido came along had a real good time. ended up smelling like a swamp. dove off the canoe twice and did some swimming. we canoed down but couldn’t get through to the river. canoeing through the woods is a rare experience.

yesterday canned pickles with sarah, went to the market and drank coffee with harry. saw the pitiful state of memorial hill and weeded it while the grill got going. roasted a local chicken over a can of ginger ale with some garlic thrown in. smoked it up with apple wood and fresh sage & brined it in balsamic, sugar and salt. roasted some sweet corn & polished off the cabbage/pasta salad.

for our outdoor adventure john and the dogs and i hiked up bear creek. went right the creek bed which gives it more of an outdoor feel dropping out of the sounds of the city and the dogs could be off leash some. fido got confident and started to wander so i leashed him up.

made for a long day so i went to bed early and slept late. had a long involved dream again largely work related. a client from the agency shot me in the shoulder with an electrical gun. hurt like hell but i was stoic about it and told him not to worry about it that i had bated him. i had said “go ahead and shoot me” or something of the sort, new it was the wrong thing to say at the time but dreams. the overall feeling was a stunned bemusement so that appears to be progress. usually my overall feeling is being overwhelmed or annoyed/frustrated. haven’t had a panic work nightmare for many years and several jobs.

this morning made french toast with black bear bakery wheat bread. i had sliced thick as it was crumbly and let air out but the slices were to thick and the batter didn’t seep all the way in so it was a little on the hardy side. french toast is not supposed to taste like its good for you. had a nice flavor though i fresh grated vanilla bean, nutmeg, cinnamon stick & star anise into the batter.

mowed the front lawn before it got unbearably hot. drinking my second round of coffee before gearing up for the next project. i’m going to make some zucchini soup i got out of the tribune. maybe i’ll be early enough on it to serve it with supper. going to do something with the left over chicken probably throw in my annie’s mac & cheese with some grape tomatoes and fried cabbage (if the moths left me any. my cabbage has been almost a total loss. handpicking was inadequate for the task so i am looking for a more aggressive organic solution or i may have to look at poisons or give up on home grown cabbage).