Happy Birthday to Me

Another year in the books! I swear they keep getting longer. I guess at least they keep coming. I had a good time of it this year. Seems like I’ve just kind of let the last few slip by unnoticed, but I had an actual party this year! Granted, the guests didn’t actually know it was a birthday party, but I did so that’s what is important. I had a good time of it. Fired up the smoker and threw on some meat, and we hung out playing games and enjoying the nice weather all afternoon.

So that was Saturday, then Sunday we got up and drove to Napa for a Dwight Yoakam concert. Neither of us have ever seen him, so we were pretty excited. I would give the show 2 thumbs up. Donette wasn’t a fan of the rather “subdued” venue, but I sure was. Dwight is 67 years old, and the majority of the crowd was at least 110; There was no need to be getting all stirred up. Plus, it was at the Meritage Hotel (ooohhhh, fancy,) which just isn’t the place for getting all crazy. All in all, great show!

The Garden Has Begun

Wow, the weather went from freezing rain and snow last weekend to blazing sun and 80’s this weekend. Now that is a wild swing. We broke out our farmer’s almanac and determined last weekend was the last cold weather this year and got started on the garden. We already had it mostly cleaned up, so it was just a matter of putting the plants in the ground and putting the drip lines in place. I tried to reuse the lines from last year, and I think it was mostly successful. Got a few leaks I need to fix, but hopefully it lasts the season. I imagine next year I’ll be running all new ones. I keep saying I’m going to bury pvc from the well house over there, so I don’t have to drag a garden hose across the yard, but that project hasn’t quite happened yet. Kind of missed my window, should have done that when it was rainy and cool. We also planted everything from seed this year instead of spending $5 a pop on plants, so we’ll see if that works out.

Other than that project, the weekend was rather mundane. Saturday, I ran the weed eater all day, which effectively put me on the couch all evening. There is quite a bit more to do, but my back is going to have to recover for a few days. I really hope that is the last time for the summer, but last year it needed a third round. Then on Sunday, we traveled out to Lotus and checked out a little shopping fair. It made for a great drive in the convertible if nothing else. Then we wrapped up the day (and weekend) with dinner at our favorite taco spot. I made the mistake of ordering their “bbq special,” which was a 1/2 rack of ribs and potato salad. Predictably, this was a mistake. When you go to a taco place, you always want to order… Well, tacos. I would say “lesson learned,” but I keep making similar errors when going out to eat, so probably not.

Food and Crummy Weather

Boo on that weekend. As predicted, it stormed the better part of my free days. Went from 70 and sunny on Friday to rain all day Saturday and most of Sunday. Saturday it even dumped snow for a while. IT’S MAY!! STOP SNOWING!! I guess that’s why they say not to plant your garden until Mother’s Day up here. Luckily, we heeded that advice this year.

Given the horrible weather, we stayed cooped up in the house for the most part. We did go out Thursday, but that’s not the weekend. Worth a mention, all the same. I made a bet with a buddy on the Super Bowl game, with the winner getting dinner at Amore Mio. I’d call it my favorite place to eat here locally. If you happened to catch the Food Network special on Placerville, it was on there. Pretty fantastic food, we’ve loved it every time we’ve been. I was a little worried we were in for a letdown, because it was very crowded and we had a table of 6, but the owner took good care of us. Another awesome dinner, and having my friend pick up the tab was a welcome bonus. They should have won on the show, or at least been picked over the BBQ place. (That ‘que is… not good.)

Saturday the rain started, and did not let up all day. Well, except when it was snowing I guess. I spent my afternoon working on a paella dish I’ve been wanting to make. Not the fancy-schmancy paella with all the seafood, just simple chicken paella. This is more the style in Valencia, Spain, which I am much more familiar with. OK, actually I’m just far too “thrifty” to pay for all that shellfish, nor was I about to go out in the weather to find it. It came out pretty well, even Donette was a fan. (She doesn’t always approve of my odd recipe experiments.) It’s on the keeper list.

Sunday, the project of the day was ribs. I saw one of my BBQ idols do ribs slathered in birria sauce the other day, and decided to give that one a shot. Added bonus, ribs were on sale at the butcher shop, so that made up my mind. I was able to fire up the Traeger under the cover of the patio, and stayed mostly dry. Between making the sauce and smoking the ribs, that project managed to keep me occupied the better part of the day. I was quite happy with the end result, I’d make them again. Donette inferred she would just as soon have regular ol’ smoked ribs, but I thought they were great. One thing we both agreed on, the slab of ribs from the butcher shop were fantastic. Even on sale they weren’t exactly cheap, so I was glad they didn’t turn out terrible.

Motivation is Low(er)

I just can’t seem to get fired up these days. Actually “fired up” is a long way off; Heck, I’d settle for “mildly interested.” Oh well. I spent the last few weekends out in the RV at a nearby park, just to mix up the scenery, so that was fun. The river is still way too cold and fast to swim or raft or really anything, but still kind of a good time. Mostly I just walked laps around the campground and cooked. Could be worse. Did a little mountain biking too. I haven’t ridden that thing in over a year, so it was good to back on some dirt. I found a really easy trail just a few miles from the campground, and it was pretty much perfect for me. Crashing just hurts too much anymore, I prefer to just pedal along. Had to dodge a few hikers and horses, but for the most part it was a nice, quiet ride. That will stay on my list of “things to do” next time I get out there.

Ugh, This Weather…

Wow, the weather out here has been just a bit erratic. (If you would like to provide me with a detailed theory as to why that is… Don’t.) Sheesh, I feel like I’m back in the midwest! Sunny and warm for a few days, then a snow storm, then rain, then hot. All in the span of a week. They have a “false Spring” joke out here, but this seems a little extreme. It’s April!! Oh, the injustice of it all.

That was a rather quiet weekend. Can’t go on Float Trip every weekend, I guess. My entire weekend entertainment was centered around cooking a few corned beefs left over from St Patricks day. In what will surely be documented as one of the most comprehensive pastrami studies in history, I smoked one from Costco, and one from my favorite local butcher shop. The excitement just never stops at my house. I definitely preferred the flavor of the one from Kings, although the Costco entry was a bit more tender. I can hardly wait until next year when I add one from Snake River Farms to the mix. Anyway, something came up Sunday, (geez my memory is bad,) and we didn’t get around to making pastrami sandwiches. That had to wait until Monday, which then pushed back publication of my update a few days while the scores were tallied. (I made up a few of those details.)