I ask "How fast does it go?" and he said "Fast enough". On further questioning I found that it went 6 knots. "One hundred and forty four nautical miles in a day" he said "during which time I sleep, read and eat. I also do repairs and keep watch. In 21 days I can be more than 3000 N miles from here". I had never thought of it that way. Breathing in and out, sleeping, reading and just living and letting the wind take me away. I fell for it and went sailing. -Tom Swaim-

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Apologizing to a Tomato

I bought a couple of tomatoes last week that were still as hard as baseballs and put them up on the refrigerator to get a little riper. I didn't expect them to smell or taste like tomatoes and I told them so. I said aloud "you phony piece of shit red things haven't got a chance of ever having any smell or taste of a real tomato. I only bought you to give a little color to my tacos so don't go thinking you are going to rise to greatness".

So yesterday morning I needed a "pork fat fix" and decided to have some fried out spam tacos with the tortillas fried in butter. For those of you with heart ailments you might not ought to be reading this. Just reading it will send your cholesterol into orbit and cause arteries to close.

So I fried out the spam and drained it, fried the tortillas de maiz and took down one of those red imitation tomatoes. I figured that at least it would make my taco pretty and add to the taste by offsetting the saltiness of the spam. Having the old age ailment of loss of smell makes it rough but sometimes it kicks in and I get a treat. I sliced into that tomato and sniffed and I could almost smell a tomato. Then I stuck my nose right in it and took a bite. What a surprise. I got a burst of tomato flavor that shook me right to my toes. So there I was apologizing to a tomato out loud for saying such disparaging things and for profiling. Just because it looked like the crappy grocery store tomatoes I'm used to doesn't mean it was automatically one. Then I ate it. Delicious. One in a thousand.

Damn, it's been cold.
And don't you people from up north start in on me. I know cold when I feel it and it doesn't make much difference to me whither it's 40 above freezing or 40 below I'm miserable just the same. My poor bride SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) suffers more than I. She has some nice round parts and she is nice to touch but she just doesn't have any insulation at all. My fall tomatoes didn't make it even under cover. No cost to me as I had everything including seed I had saved. A few days ago they looked so good and now it's over.
This basil doesn't look to good either. With temperatures dropping to 27*F (-3*C) and staying down there for over four hours just doesn't do these southern plants any good. Growing your own food is too expensive anyway.

It was warm when I got up this morning 67*F (19*C) so I thought to go for a bike ride. I've made some adjustments and additions to my Schwinn and haven't had a day warm enough for me to ride. After checking the weather I decided I'd better replenish my wood pile instead. So a couple of hours on the wood pile had to be done.

It got up to 74*F(23*C before I finished so that is the second time that wood has warmed me. The third time will be in the stove. We are expecting lows in the upper twenties the next two nights.

This Radio Flyer I picked out of the trash 5 years ago has been doing this a lot lately. My new stove has a voracious appetite. You can see the new Poulan electric chain saw on top of the pile. I finally admitted that I can't really safely handle the gas Homelite now. I don't know why but I don't seem to be as strong or tough as I used to be.

That old Homelite has been around a long time. It belonged to my dad and is probably about twenty years old. It has never failed to start until lately and probably only needs a spark plug. Even at it's best it requires upper body strength that I don't seem to have. I'll get it running again then pickle it. Can't ever tell when I might need it (after hurricane).

I have a bucksaw and can use it but the new electric saw is my concession to old age. It's cheap enough that I can afford to buy one a year but I don't think I'll have to. I put it to work on some really hard oak and it chewed it right up.

The new wood burning heater showed up on my electric bill comparing last year and this year same billing period. A very noticeable saving and that's with a longer period this year and a slight increase in rates. Not bad for burning what was laying around going to rot.
These things are so expensive that they don't even put a price tag on them and are shocked if you ask. I understand they cost as much as an automobile. The only people I see riding them are old people and fat hairy old guys. These were not the bikes of my dreams when I was a young man and riding. Just one more thing I don't need now. I'm sure someone will get one for Christmas. Along with cars they are being pushed for Xmas corporate Americas big holiday. Ho ho ho buy more shit, make more debt in the name of the baby Jesus.

Not being a Christian or any other organized mythical religion we don't celebrate Christmas. We do however celebrate winter solstice and gift giving on Christmas day. We generally call it Santa Clause day but really we know it as Christmas, myth or not and we decorate just like anyone else. We celebrate Spring at Easter. Our holidays are older than the Christian ones. Except for me dancing naked around a fire at winter solstice we are nearly normal.

I just haven't got the spirit this year. I thought yesterday I'd go out into the world and see if it would rub off on me but it only made it worse. I met a lot of surly, depressed folks. I didn't find any yuletide joy going around and I got tired of smiling at granite faces.

I thought maybe I'd find some inspiration on the boob toob but to no avail. All I found there was more of the clown show our so call leaders (American and world wide) seemed bent on performing. I am embarrassed for them since they seem to not be. It's no wonder I seldom turn it on.

Then this young lady Wartime Housewife turn me on to this;

I can't say it put me in the "spirit of the season" but it made me feel good watching everyday people with a passion making other everyday people feel good. Their reward? It makes them feel good.
I love Flash Mobs.
They certainly made me feel good. Now I have one slice of that tomato left and I'm going to eat it.


Barney (The Old Fat Man) said...

After I got my first electric chainsaw, the gas models were sold. If you seem to need more power than an electric gives you, it is probable your chain needs sharpening anyway. My electric took apart 30" diameter oak trees with no problem at all.

Ben in Texas said...

Hey!!! Another good informative post as usual.
About your heating the house. Add some humidity!! put a metal pan on top of your stove, the added moisture will do wonders. For me here, I have an electric humidifier that helps a bunch. Don't do much in the summer but sure helps in the winter for sure.
My fireplace is blocked off since it was useless for adding any real heat to the house. Now I got a Lasko electric that does a great job of keeping my day time area nice and toasty.

limom said...

Man, I'm going to have me a Spam and tomato sandwich right now!
Okay not really.
Maybe later.

rlove2bike said...

Another very interesting read. The sandwich sounded good and I too like round parts. Whether or not anybody agrees on the meaning of Christmas, it sounds like we agree on what Christmas has become. Greed, greed and more Greed!! Oh by the way, you and I will split ways here, as it may be that way for you, but not for me...I do not think +40 equals -40. lol ;-)

Oldfool said...

I have experienced -35F in shirt sleeves fortunately for a very short time and even at that I was becoming incapable of taking care of business. It is not equal. At + 40 you are uncomfortable for a long time before you die at -40 not so much. My point is we can survive both but we are not comfortable with either and since we haven't been tested we don't know how long before giving up would take affect. My bride before me I'm sure. We are not suited for cold climates.

Steven Cain said...

I won't say nothin' about the cold... although I'm only north of you, not a Northerner and haven't been in 'real' cold in ages.

You and that Spam.

You had every right to cuss that 'matter... they probably pumped it full of somethin' toxic to make it smell and taste.

Thanks for the mob!

RANTWICK said...

Hey Man, I just want to send a little good vibe your way. Love, if you and yours want. The Internet and all its stupidness cannot defeat some simple good will. I offer you mine.

Steve A said...

Spam has given Spam a bad name. Well, an even worse name.

Gwen Buchanan said...

oh that's funny.. I was just saying how much warmer it was today.. didn't need the heat on yet, the temp was -5C... but really I don't know how or why we continue to live in the cold.. even on our hot summer days that we can't wait to return, the temp usually only gets to 23C.
I liked winter when I was a kid with no pressures of daily life and I could just go off and jump in the snowdrifts on the sides of the hill and go in over my head.. and dig snow caves and lie in them and look at the blue light coming in thru the snow.. we'd stay there all day.. then when we got cold, really cold, we would all lie there and imagine we were on a sunny beach with the sun bearing down on us , if we concentrated, we really would begin to warm up..funny what the mind does... I found out later that we were probably beginning to get frostbite.

I would never of thought that Louisiana would get temps. like what you are getting.. I thought it was warm there all the time... yes we have tried to have gardens but it is so much work and weather dependent ..sometimes good, sometimes bad.. our greenhouse (made of recycled windows) is the only spot we can grow tomatoes and basil here on the Fundy coast(known for its cold waters) and have a sure crop.. summer has too much fog, not enough heat.. winter usually has more sun, lower in the sky and magnified by the water. we actually get a lot of passive solar, go figure.. and that is one thing John absolutely detests... gardening..it's a 4 letter word to him... well full fledged gardening.. a small patch is ok.. that is definitely my job...

Christmas ...not something I'm keen on at all... I am fighting with myself whether I even put lights up.. at least they are cheery.. and I like that... maybe a couple strings.

rlove2bike said...

Yeah, I know what you mean. For me, age and cold weather are directly related, the older I get the less I like cold weather. When we went to the MN State Fair a couple years ago, they had peices of Spam cubed to make deep fried Spam Curds. Of course we tried them and...I liked them, but some that were with us didn't care for them.

Chandra said...

I like your sentiments about not buying up more stuff and blaming it on JC. At our home, we are following don't buy more in the name of JC.

Have a Happy Holiday Season, Richard!

Peace :)

Lord Wellbourne said...

That'll teach you for dissing a tomatoe!! No doubt it was the result of reverse psychology. Sorry you're having so much cold...gotta be hard on the bones when you're not used to it. I celebrate Solstice and mom celebrates Christmas. It's very festive around here despite the gray, cold, dreariness. Have a happy Solstice and remember....fire is unpredictable--dance around it not OVER it.

Gunnar Berg said...

SPAM. I live 20 minutes from the home of Spam and THE SPAM MUSEUM. I haven't eaten any in maybe 50 years. It actually looks appetizing in your photo.