Thursday, May 28, 2009

After cleaning the block again today with TSP, I finally got around to painting it. Only one major catastrophe occurred. While painting the bottom of the oil pan, I had the gun tipped over too far and the lid fell off. Orange paint went everywhere including the garage floor, my shoe, and my leg. Later I discovered some on my elbow as well.

The block looks good so far. It appears dry but I have resisted touching it. Tomorrow I will check it out and decide whether to apply another coat.

I used Eastwood engine paint, the high temperature ceramic stuff, in the factory orange color. It's looking pretty good so far.
This One Goes to Eleven

Yesterday was Jordan's Birthday. The big eleven. He missed the last day of school as we had previously made plans before they scheduled the makeup day.

I started his day with a couple of plate size pancakes smoothered in buter and syrup. His grandmother took him (and his seester) to lunch and a movie and then last night we had pizza and a chocolate chip cookie cake with chocolate icing. He got several cards in the mail and has requested a trip to Wal-Mart and Best Buy in order to acquire some new stuff. Perhaps we will make a run to Wally-World tomorrow.

He seems to be settling into eleven just fine. Only four mores years until he gets a drivers permit. Amazing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sipsey Adventure

J' and I went hiking in the Sipsey Wilderness this morning. We hiked a trail I am fairly familiar with as I have camped on it 4 times. J' let me blaze the trail on the way in so I would be the web catcher. We evaluated many campsites for future trips.

The Sipsey River was higher than I have ever seen it but still fairly low compared to the obvious water marks. I intended for us to cross at a fork in the river but alas the water was too deep today.

The color was off in most of the pictures I took today. It seems someone was playing with the camera recently and changed several settings including a color filter which caused an interesting effect on several shots.

In the first photo you see us at the trail head ready to begin our 2.5 hour hike. Looks like someone has been eating too many biscuits. The second photo is J' in the (very wet) cave, about to disappear around a corner. The squeeze through the cave seems to be getting tighter every year. Or perhaps someone has been eating too many biscuits.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Garden Update

The garden is rapidly progressing towards various stages of completion.

Squint and you can see two tommys.

For reasons I can't determine, the next two photos are being rotated 90 degrees. If I compensate for the rotation, it does not rotate them, yet they are still off due to the compensation. After fighting with the issue for a few minutes I decided the easiest way to fix the problem is for you the viewer to tilt your head sideways while viewing the next to pictures.

Look: two squash

And some cabbage and broccoli

You can straighten your head back now.

Today I prepped the GMC's engine for painting. I had already removed the water pump, fuel pump, alternator, dizzy, etc. I spent a few hours cleaning up the block and taping off the holes. I was about ready to paint when I decided to call it a day. Let's call this practicing a little patience rather than simply procrastinating.

I was ready to paint but knew I should probably clean/degrease the block one more time before painting. By putting off painting one day, I didn't rush the final block cleaning. I expect the final result will be much better because I didn't rush to get the engine painted.

Learning patience is so difficult, especially when you want it now!
Biscuits and Egg Rolls

When I was in high school, I worked at the golden arches for a couple years. During this time I worked a lot of weekend mornings making biscuits. No telling how many thousand biscuits I have made in my life.

Recently I decided I wanted to make some really good homemade biscuits. I have been hit by this desire before but have never found a recipe I really liked. Having recently eaten at Cracker Barrel I decided I would look up their recipe on the Internet. Their biscuits are usually pretty decent. After doing a little bit of reading online, I eventually decided the recipe I would try this time would be the one on the Lilly White bag of self rising flour: 2 cups of flour, 3/4 cup butter milk, and 1/4 cup Crisco. Simplicity. Some would say that using self rising flour is cheating. I would say to them, "don't ask me for a biscuit."

After making biscuits four days in a row, I would say I can now make a pretty decent homemade biscuit. I would eventually like to find a good recipe that does not use shortening. Perhaps I shouldn't mess with a good thing though. I still wish I had the recipe Mrs. Tice used.

What's next? I would like to learn to make a mean egg roll before the cabbage in the garden is ready. Anyone have a recipe they would like to recommend?

For the record, I like mustard and bacon on my biscuits. Mmmm.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I am working towards repainting the GMC's engine block. Currently it is black. It will be Chevrolet Hugger Orange when I am done. Before stripping down the engine for the paint job, I decided to turn it over. It hasn't been cranked in quite a while. How many years has it been? After charging the battery, I sprayed a little starter fluid in the carb, hooked the ignition wire to the battery and tapped the starter wire on the (+) battery post. The engine turned over and a few cylinders fired off. Sweet! Oh yeah, and flames came shooting out of the exhaust manifold.

Wouldn't this look nice in my driveway!

I have been obsessively checking the garden each day. Sometimes two or three times a day. On Friday I discovered I finally had a small tomatoes and squash. On Saturday the count was up to 6 tomatoes and 4 squash. Oh, joy.

I was glad to see the tomatoes coming in. My neighbor had announced a week before that he already had some golf ball sized tomatoes, but he had set his plants out two weeks ahead of me.

I am watching the okra closely as well. It seems too early for okra but I think I have spotted a few tiny pods. Maybe.
Alabama Jubilee

Yesterday J and I went to a car show at Alabama Jubilee in Decatur. The jubilee is an annual hot air balloon rally. Also included is the car show, a antique tractor show, and some other stuff that currently holds no interest for me. This event falls on the weekend Memorial day each year.

J agreed to the car show under a single condition. He wanted to take pictures of the cars. No problem. He did a great job with the camera and we came home with lots of good pictures.

While at the show, I saw a 1968 Corvette convertible, triple black, which was for sale. The price was reasonable as well. I have been thinking about it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

On Friday someone asked me "When do you graduate?". After thinking for a second, I said "Today I think". Turns out I was right.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

It has been raining like crazy here for the last few days. Besides a couple of tornado watches today, we are also under a flood watch or three. So you know what that means, right? I definitely don't need to bother watering the garden this week.

The plants are all progressing nicely. I planted some more corn and okra about 10 or 12 days ago. The conditions must have been good because the plants started peeking through after only 8 days. I have even seen a couple of blooms on the tomato plants but I don't expect I will be seeing one any time soon.

I put up a chicken wire fence around the garden the same day I put the first plant/seed in the ground. Good call as I have now seen three rabbits in the back yard, or perhaps one rabbit three times.

What day is it anyway?

Monday, May 04, 2009

The shop has become a complete mess. There are so many partially finished projects and so little time. (Hopefully I will find time to move all the projects forward during the S.O.R.) I spent some time out there the last couple of days trying to do a little bit of organization and clean up. After many hours of effort, there are no visible signs of progress. Woo hoo!

Perhaps I should just focus on the truck. Surely putting a pickup back together will create some free space, unless an assembled truck somehow takes up more space than a disassembled truck. Not likely.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Kruse Automobile auction was in Huntsville this weekend. I attended along with a couple of my neighbors. It was definitely a buyer's market.

There were several cars there I wanted to see drive across the block. Unfortunately there were a bunch of cars I had no interest in seeing go across first. We lost interest and went home long before the good stuff started to move.

Next year, instead of arriving an hour before the auction starts, I will arrive two hours after the auction starts. This will still allow me to see all the cars but I can miss the 'junk' that gets auctioned before the cars start moving. Hopefully I will miss most of the five to ten year old SUVs and Cadillac that they started with as well. Who wants to see that? Not me. I was there to see the muscle cars and older.