Comments from my life, family, and projects I enjoy.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter Ramblings











This I believe has been our best Christmas ever. I just feel happy and at peace with my situation. We had a bit of snow today, which is very unusual for SC and certainly unusual for December, as we usually only see frozen precipitation in late January, early February. Becky and I took a walk down by the river to enjoy the fresh fallen snow and took a few snapshots. While running some errands I spotted some pigeons on a wire looking terribly cold and miserable. Once we got home from our errands, we decided that some homemade chicken noodle soup would go well with the cold weather. We use a recipe from Consumers Reports that is just wonderful. I like some tortilla chips with mine. We both put away 2 bowls we were so hungry. I took a few moments to check on my little garlic patch and was glad to see they are doing just fine under their blanket of snow. As you can see, I planted both some softneck and hardneck varieties. I had some free time yesterday and was able to move my smaller radial arm saw to the base I built and bolt it down. Now I need to build some drawers for the base to gain some much needed storage.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Perfect Saturday With My Sweetie




















Today was a perfect day with my wonderful wife Becky. I slept in till about 9:00 and then had a wonderful home cooked breakfast. We then spent about an hour just walking along a section of Old State Road taking some pictures of the wildflowers, weeds, and grasses as they get in their last hurray of the season before winter. Most people would never bother taking the time to look closely at these plants, as, after all, they are just weeds, but I find there is something beautiful in their coloration as the seasons change. The wild ageratum and goldenrod were covered with butterflies, bee, wasp, and other insects. The grasses have all set their seed and some are quite spectacular with their red, burnt orange and brown seeds glistening in the morning sun. After a relaxed lunch at the house, we then went to the Congaree Bluegrass festival at the municipal park. This is always a nice show, and this year was no exception. I particularly enjoyed watching the young children running and playing. I strongly suspect that many of our children do not get enough unsupervised outdoor time to run wild and just be kids. Later that evening we went for a walk at the river, where I got in a good run. Until next time, here are some pics for your enjoyment.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Some Well Needed Exercise

I have been feeling a bit lethargic and have missed my daily run/walk for the last several days due to some evening thundershowers. This evening I just couldn't stand it anymore, so we went down to the riverwalk and got in a vigorous walk/run. We had to cut it a little short this time, but we mixed it up with a lot of short, fast sprints that were very invigorating. I'm looking forward to a shower and an early night to bed. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

PawPaws, Work, and a Riding Mower




During our periodic walk/runs down by the river, we have noticed a little patch of pawpaws growing along the path. I brought one home recently and gave it a try. The meat is very sweet like a banana. A little research on wikipedia reveals that the pawpaw is North America's only native tropical and the meat of the fruit contains a lot of protein. Pawpaws can be substituted in most any recipe that calls for bananas.  

I currently have some temporary work and it is nice to have a little income. Even if it's not my idea of the perfect job, I am still learning some things and will come away from this as a positive experience. 

On to another topic, I recently rescued a push mower from someone's trash and found that all it needed was a clean air filter and an oil change. The machine is only 2 years old and runs like a top. I think I will keep it. I parked it beside my 25 year old Homelight mower that still works fine. I have also been gifted an old Craftsman riding mower. It is a 2003 model with a 17.5HP Briggs & Stratton. The Exhaust lobe was wiped off the cam due to a lack of lubrication. Parts are on order and I will soon have it back together.

In the woodshop, I have reassembled my little Dewalt MBF with the higher HP frame 236 motor that I salvaged from an old model 7770. I have been carefully performing an alignment and will soon be back to using that wonderful machine.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Nature's Canvas




It is that time of year when the sycamore trees are in their growth cycle and are shedding their outer bark. Afternoon thunderstorms also help peel away the bark and blow it about. The big blotches of bark are very flexible when moist and almost feel leather-like in one's hand. The patterns and shapes are really quite pleasant to observe, and I have often thought they would make an interesting canvas for a nature painting by anyone with more artistic ability than my own.

During our walk/run this morning, we spotted a copperhead along the trail below the CSX trestle. He darted for cover before I could get a good picture, but if you look carefully you can see the orange side of it's head.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Accidental Garlic Farmer



A few years ago we noticed some garlic plants growing adjacent to our garden. I don't know how they got there, maybe the previous owners had planted them. These were a hard-neck variety, so I don't think these were accidentally planted by someone throwing out some cloves from the grocery store. Anyway, I think it was 3 plants total, so I dug them up and the bulbs were HUGE! Not knowing anything about growing or harvesting garlic, I managed to dry the plants and we started using the cloves in the kitchen. That fall I had some cloves left over, so I planted them out in the garden and they thrived. The next spring. I had plenty of wonderful hard-neck plants to harvest. I have been hooked on growing garlic ever since. This past fall I planted some soft-neck cloves from the grocery store along with my usual hard-neck variety. They also thrived. I have already harvested most of my little crop, but it is the best harvest ever from my little plot. Becky helped me braid the leaves; well, she braided all of them, and they are hanging in the shed to dry. I found a really nice book on the subject in the library and have been thoroughly enjoying it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happenings....






Things have been rather busy here at Softly Scrambled. Becky and I have both decided to take charge of our health and wellness, and that means changing our diets and making exercise a priority. We have been walking/running, twice a day down at the River-walk. Later this week we plan on working in the Abs of Steel workout to give us some variety. On Monday I fixed us a nice low-fat Chicken Pineapple stir-fry that we served over a small portion of rice. It was really easy and only took about 20 minutes to make.
Whenever we go to the river, We always like to take a camera with us because we never know what we will see while we are out. I got some shots of some kids swimming, jumping off the old locks. It looks like a lot of fun even if it is a bit dangerous.
Flea season is once again upon us, and our old fat tomcat was starting to suffer, so Becky gave him a flea bath this afternoon. It may take Tesla a couple of days before he can forgive us. I believe his only comment on the matter was, "how rude".
My garlic that was planted last fall is near maturity and I went ahead and pulled several of the soft neck variety to dry as we are almost out of last years crop. This year I have both hard neck and soft neck varieties and am very pleased with how they have grown. I also put out some watermelon seeds on the lower side of the lot. I have never had much luck with melons, but I keep trying anyway.
On the employment front, I did not get the job I interviewed for in Orangeburg. I am still applying like crazy and things are starting to pick up. I have a phone interview tomorrow and another one on Friday. Both are with solid companies.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One of those really wonderfull mornings.











I got an early start on the day this morning. Breakfast was shrimp and grits with scrambled eggs and black coffee. Mmmm, thanks Becky. I went outside and decided to walk the yard. The garlic and onions in the garden are looking good and will soon be ready to harvest. Our roses are in bloom and everything around us has leafed out and is growing like crazy. I could not resist snapping some picture of all the plants in bloom and things of beauty. We don't keep our plantings cut back and shaped like many of our neighbors. I'm sure the garden club will never award us yard of the month and the neighborhood association probably has my name on a hit list, but what the hell, I like things to look natural and a little shabby. Besides, it provides lots of cover and habitat for birds and I like that. Every neighborhood has one and in mine, I'm him. In a few more weeks, once everything has stopped blooming, we will trim things up a bit, mainly to keep the plants healthy and to avoid some of the larger plantings from shading the smaller stuff. Enjoy the pictures.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Nature All Around Us

I am constantly amazed with the diversity of wildlife that can be found practically underfoot in urban and suburban areas. This evening while returning from our walk at the Cayce River-walk, we could hear some little voices off in the brush between the walkway and the railroad siding. Kit-wau! Kit-wau! As we got closer to the sound a gray fox darted out into the middle of the walk and then turned around darting back into the brush. We found ourselves between her and her kits. After a moment of indecision, we quickly walked past where her kits were crying, while looking back to watch for her to cross. Of course the mother fox was too clever to reveal the location of her den and she walked another 25 feet or so further down the path keeping a wary eye on us before disappearing into the brush. Within a second or two of her disappearing into the brush, her kits quited and we knew mother fox was back with her young. I returned home feeling just a little more at peace after a reminder that nature continues to take it's course and mothers continue to nurture their young. Wikepedia has a nice article on the Gray fox here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_fox

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Trash Pickings

Today while driving to the riverwalk for some well deserved recreation I spotted one of those cheap pedestal fans out by the road for trash pick-up. These are the el-cheapo type that are frequently offered by the discount retailers. I grabbed it up and took it home. Typical of these cheap Chinese fans, the motor bearings are a simple sleeve bearing. I don't even think they are bronze. Of course the rotor would barely turn. I pulled the little motor apart, chucked the rotor in my drill press and polished the shaft where the bearings ride. I then lubed the shaft with some light oil and put everything back together. Works like a champ and even came with a remote.
video

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pollen Pollen Pollen!



It is pollen season here in South Carolina, and I think this is the worst year in recent memory. The pollen from the pines is so thick it creates a yellow/green haze in the air that settles on everything and gets everywhere. I'm looking forward to some rain to get some relief. Here is a picture of my pollen coated car.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Wet Furry Beaver Pics






Before anyone gets all upset; Yes this is still a family friendly blog. This afternoon we went to check out a site near the house where some beavers have set up residence. I was quite surprised to see them in this location. There is a busy rail line on one side of their little pond, and a bustling residential neighborhood on the other side. Just beyond the rail line is a cold roll steel mill and a busy highway overpass is above. I parked the car and we took a little stroll up the tracks to have a look. Much to my delight I got a good look at two of the residents. One was quite curious and swam right up to us to check us out. It's really amazing the amount of wildlife that is right under our noses if we just slow down to take a look.

We then went for a stroll at the river walk. Everything is starting to green up and bloom. The wisteria is in bloom and the air is heavy with it's sweet scent. Tomorrow we plan on getting an early start on some garden chores. Perhaps I will post some pics from that project if we are not too tired.

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About Me

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Midlands of South Carolina, United States
Husband, Father, Quality Engineer, Electronics Professional, and tinkerer. Facinated by old technology and well made old tools. Old iron is good.