Monday, June 1, 2009

Home Made Bean Bones

Other posts you might want to check out:

OK! I Surrender!
Dogs Really Do Love Cats
Lazy Livin' Like a Dog
Beef Vs Chicken

A Little History on Meat Storage.

Before refrigeration, one of the nicest things about Pork and Beans or Baked Beans is that the ingredients could be stored with little or no refrigeration. The beans and sugar could be stored dry in tins and and the salted pork could be stored in a wooden barrel.

Salt cures and smoking were the earliest forms of meat storage methods known. There is documentation of salt curing that dates as far back as the ancient Greeks. As for smoking, the Native Americans were known for hanging meat in the top of their tee-pees utilizing the smoke from the fire below to preserve it.

Other methods came popular later on. When canning of foods appeared, the canning of meat became a popular storage method. Even pork could be canned without salt curing it. Another method for storing pork in the homesteading days was the use of small crocks and lard. The pork was cooked and placed in the small crocks. Then the crocks were filled with hot lard covering the cooked pork. The hot lard killed any bacteria, yeast, or mildew that contaminated the meat and sealed it from further contamination with the air. The crocks were covered with wax paper and a lid to protect their contents further from exposure and, of course, vermin. The crocks also had to be stored in a cool place such as a cellar or else they didn't keep. One of the advantages of this method was the ease of resealing if all the meat in the crock wasn't used in one meal. The lard was reheated. The remaining meat shoved back down into the crock and recovered with the hot lard. The wax paper and lid were replaced and the crock was once again sealed.

My Grandparents used one or more of the methods above for meat storage. My mothers parents also used a method similar to today's freezer storage. In the winter months of the year, they wrapped their meat cuts with a wrapping paper and stored them outside in a wooden box. The wrapping paper protected the meat from the cold or freezer burn and the box kept it safe from the cats and the dog and the other carnivorous varmints that roamed the prairie. This was a cleaner alternative to hanging meat out in the cold winter air on the side of the barn or shed. The barn hanging was a method used mostly by bachelor men and was usually ended by their newly wed wives. (It's true! One of my grandfathers used to hang meat on the side of the barn in the winter until he married Grandma. She promptly put a stop to it.) (As a further note for safety, I don't recommend the barn hanging method due to the health risks involved.)

My dads parents hung salted pork in a shed during the cooler months of the year. They suspended it from a wire or rope high enough off the floor to keep the varmints from reaching it should any get into the shed. However, their neighbor had a St. Bernard that could get the shed door open and reach the meat inside. He was usually about over the hill on his way home packing a chunk of meat in his jaws before anyone noticed him.

Now, refrigeration makes meat storage a breeze. Oh, the old methods have not entirely been abandoned. I know of people who still can meat. Also salt cure and smoking are still used in meat processing today but mostly for flavor instead of preservation.

My Recipe for Bean Bones. (What You'll Need.)

What are Bean Bones? You may call them ham hocks or pork neck bones or ham bones. The bean bones I refer to are a combination of the three cuts mentioned above and more. Bean bones (see picture below) are fist sized bone cuts with enough meat on them to give them some food value. If you intend to try the following recipe, you may want to start with just 2 to four pounds of meat. Also, you don't necessarily need to use pork bones. Pork cut into two to three inch squares or even pork chops may be used. It's up to you. One thing you should remember is the smaller your cuts, the less time they need to salt cure, and the larger your cuts the more time.

Example of Meat cuts In the recipe and method below, I use Morton's Tender Quick Home Meat Cure. (It's not a good idea to substitute another brand of home meat cure for this recipe. You'll need to follow their meat curing recommendations printed on the back of their container if you do.) The nice thing about Morton's Tender Quick (shown below) is it's all ready to use for dry rub or brine curing. There is no need to add any thing other except water for the brine curing. Morton's Tender Quick can be acquired from most grocery stores. If yours doesn't carry it, you can purchase it on line Here.

You'll need a smoker. I use Little Chief smokers. They are small and economical and electric. If you don't have a smoker, you can purchase a Little Chief smoker Here for around $100.00 USD or if you have a friend that owns one and will let you use it, that works too. I don't recommend going all out and buying a big refrigerator style smoker or building a smoke house if you're just experimenting with home curing and smoking. A little smoker like

Fist sized bean bones ready for the salt brine above and
a two pound bag of Morton Tender Quick (right).

the Little Chief smokers are excellent for small time home curing when you're only smoking a few pounds of meat such as what we are doing here. Refrigerator sized smokers or smoke houses are for the home food processor who intends to smoke a hundred or pounds of meat or more.

Last but not least, you'll need wood chips or sawdust for your smoker and not just any chips or sawdust either. Most of your smoking wood comes from hardwoods such as hickory, cherry, apple, ash, alder, apple, mesquite, or sugar maple. Do not use evergreen woods such as pine, cedar, or fir. The smoke from evergreen woods contains oils and resins that leave a bad taste in your meat and may be somewhat toxic. Do not use wood that has been oiled or painted for the same reason. It's best to buy your wood chips or sawdust that has been processed especially for use in a smoker. You can find smoker wood chips or sawdust at your local grocery
or hardware stores. Or you can buy it on line Here.

Summary of what you need for my recipe:

1. 2 to 4 pounds of pork bones, chunks, chops, or steaks. (or less)
2. A two pound bag of Morton's Tender Quick.
3. A small smoker. (Mine are Little Chief smokers.)
4. Smoker wood chips or sawdust.

The Curing Process.

You will need to experiment with the process in order to get the flavor of the meat to your liking. I recommend that you log the process in a note book for future reference. You'll need to log the amount of Tender Quick cure you use in the recipe, the time you allowed the meat to cure, and how it tasted after you cooked it. If it's too salty and it's cured all the way through, you'll need to reduce the amount of cure used in your recipe the next time or maybe reduce the cure time. If it is not cured all the way through you'll need to increase the curing time. How do you know if it's cured all the way through? The meat will be red all the way through after cooking. If the center is brown, it's not cured all the way through. It may take you two or more tries to get it right.

Thaw Your Meat

First, if your meat is frozen, you need to thaw it out. The meat must be thoroughly thawed before curing. Use safe thawing methods. Pork should not be left out of refrigeration for more than a day. I don't recommend that you set it out to thaw it. It is best to take it out of the freezer a couple of days before curing and place it in a pan in your fridge to thaw it out.

Dry Rub

You need to decide what type of curing method you are going to use. Are you going to use the dry rub method or the brine cure method? If you have pork chops or steaks, I find the dry rub method is the best to use. Now on the back of the Tender Quick package, it says to use one Tablespoon of Tender Quick cure per pound of meat. I find that quite salty for my taste. I use One table spoon per two pounds of meat.

Weigh your meat to determine how much Tender Quick you need to use. ( Example: One pound of meat = half a Table spoon of Tender Quick. Two pounds of meat = one Table spoon Tender Quick. Three pounds of meat = one and a half Table spoons of Tender Quick etc...)

Lay your meat out on a clean sheet of wax paper or freezer paper on the counter or a table. With a Table spoon, measure out half the amount of Tender Quick cure needed and sprinkle it on one side of the meat evenly. (Try to get the cure on the meat and not on the paper.) With your hand (you can put on a clean plastic glove if you wish), rub the cure into the meat. Turn the pieces over after you have finished rubbing the cure in. Next, measure out the next half of Tender Quick cure and repeat the process. The idea is to get the cure spread out evenly and rubbed into both sides of the meat. Now place all of your meat in a clean plastic bag and seal it (Press the air out of the bag before sealing). Place the bag in a pan and place it in your fridge.

The Tender Quick recipe requires 4-8 hours of cure time for the dry rub curing process. Once again, I find this to long for my taste. I find that 2-4 hours, especially for cuts as thin as pork chops or pork steaks, is long enough. When the cure time is up, take your meat out of the fridge, remove it from the plastic bag, and rinse it off. It is now ready for smoking. If you can't smoke it right away, place it in a covered container and put it back in the fridge until you can. Try to get it smoked within the next couple of days. Don't wait too long to smoke it.

Brine Cure

The Brine cure is a mix of water and Tender Quick. Your meat is submerged in the brine and allowed to soak for a period of time for the curing process. I find the Brine cure works best for the bones and the chunks. Now the Tender Quick recipe call for one cup of Tender Quick dissolved into four cups of water. Yikes! That is a lot of Tender Quick. I dissolve one cup into eight cups of water.

Find a container, preferably stainless steel, glass, or plastic (I use a large roaster or large bowl), that fits in your fridge and will hold all the meat to be cured. The container will need to be large enough so that you can completely submerge the meat in the brine. Use two containers if you have to. Place your meat into the container. Next mix up a batch of brine in another bowl. Pour it into the container with the meat. Does it cover the meat? No? Mix up another batch. Continue to do so until the meat is covered. Now you will find the meat will float in the brine so it will be impossible to fully cover the meat. What I do to remedy this is sprinkle a little Tender Quick on the exposed portions of the meat or half way through the cure process, I will
turn the top chunks over so their exposed portions are turned down into the brine.
With the meat in the brine, Place the container in your fridge to cure.

Meat in the brine. Note there is a little not completely covered by the brine.

Curing time according to Tender Quick is 24 hours. I cure for twelve hours. That seems to do for me. Chunk meat larger than two inch cubes may need a few hours more but 2 inch cubes and bones usually cure through in twelve hours.

When the Curing time is up, take the meat out of the brine and rinse it off. It's ready for smoking. Once again, if you can't smoke it right away, place it in a covered container in the fridge until you can.

Log Your Recipe

Now is the time to log your recipe. Record the amount of cure you used and record the time you allowed the meat to cure. Leave space for future notes. You'll want to log if the meat was cured through and how it tasted in the future after you cook and eat it.

The Smoking Process.

Here are a few things you should know about smokers. Where there is smoke there is fire. You'll want to use your smoker outside on a concrete slab or a bare patch of ground. Have an extinguisher handy and a large bucket half filled with water. Why half full? This is where you'll place your wood ash during and after smoking your meat. The weather should not be very windy. Wind can carry sparks from you wood chip pan into dry grass or other flammable substances. If your smoker catches fire, it will most likely be a grease fire. If so, don't use water to put it out. You'll have to smother like you would a kitchen grease fire or use a fire extinguisher. Also kill the power to the smoker if its electric. Don't touch the cord if it's been melted by the fire or a short. You'll have to kill the power from your breaker box. You may also want to kill the power before attempting to extinguish the fire. If you are using your smoker for the first time, read the manual that came with it before using.

Note: The instructions below are for a Little Chief or similar smoker.

Get your smoker ready for use. Set it up on a non flammable surface. Fill a large bucket have full of water to dowse the ash in and set in a handy spot near the smoker. Choose a flavor of wood chips or sawdust, hickory, cherry, mesquite, and have them handy. Take the rack out of the smoker. Wash and dry it if you wish. Place your meat on the rack. Don't stack the meat pieces on each other. Place them so that there is a little space between them. You want the smoke to completely surround the pieces ( See pictures below). Place the rack and meat in the smoker and close the lid on the smoker. Remove the pan from the bottom of the smoker if you haven't already. Fill it with wood chips or sawdust and set it on the burner in the bottom of the smoker. You may now plug your smoker in and turn it on.

I use hickory sawdust in my Little Chief smokers because once it gets going, a pan full will last as long as I want the meat to be smoked. It takes about 30 minutes to get started smoking and then it will smoke for about 45 to 60 minutes. Plenty of smoking time for small cuts of meat. With the chips, I usually have to charge the pan every 20 to 30 minutes. To do this, remove the pan from the bottom of the smoker, hold it over the water in the bucket use a screw driver or something similar to remove as much of the dead ash from the pan. You want to leave any wood that is still smoldering in the pan if you can. This will help keep a steady smoke going in the smoker. Refill the pan again with fresh chips covering the still smoldering chips that were left in the pan and return the pan to the burner inside the smoker. Keep a steady smoke going for 60 or more minutes. Keep in mind that smoking time begins when smoke begins seeping out of the cracks of the smoker.

When the time is up and you are done smoking, unplug the smoker and remove the pan. Dump the pan out into the bucket of water. Remove your meat and and put it away in your refrigerator if you plan to use it right away or wrap it in freezer paper and place it in your freezer if you don't.

Now that I have salted pork, what am I going to use it for? Ah, stay tuned in the future for recipes of dishes that utilize bean bones or salted pork.

My two little smokers are set up and ready to fill with the salted pork. Notice that they are both top loading smokers. The little door on the bottom is for removing the pan to maintain the wood chips for the smoldering fire.

The meat is placed on the wracks. Note that the pieces are placed so they are not touching each other so the smoke can surround each individual piece.

This is the pan filled with hickory saw dust.

The burner is in the bottom of the smoker. This is where the pan will sit. The heat from the burner will ignite the sawdust and keep it smoldering through the smoking process.

The pan is set on the burner.

The meat is on the wracks inside. The pans are charged with hickory sawdust and placed on the burners. You can see the handles poking out through the slotted doors on the bottom of the smokers above. The smokers are ready to go and plugged in.

Now We're Smokin'. Now I'll just let the sawdust burn up in side the smokers. That takes about an hour. That's enough smoking for these cuts. When it's all done, I'll take the meat and wrap it in freezer paper and freeze it until I use it. What am I going to use it for? Stay tuned for recipes that use bean bones.

Click Here to check out Hughzebeez Food Processing astore.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Eragon, The Inheritance Series by Christopher Paolini

Christopher Paolini's "Eragon" is about a poor farm boy named Eragon who, while out hunting for game, has a dragon egg mysteriously and magically appear in front of him. Thinking it's a type of stone with possibly some value, he takes it home with him.

An orphan, Eragon lives with his uncle, Garrow, and cousin Roran. Roran eventually leaves to find work in order to provide for his future plans to marry the butcher's daughter,Katrina, leaving Garrow and Eragon to tend their little farm alone.

When Eragon's stone hatches into a dragon, he finds himself in a world of magic and that he has now become a member of the once legendary and annihilated dragon riders. That is when all heck breaks loose. The dragon riders had all been hunted down and destroyed by a former and powerful rider named, Galbatorix. After their fall he named himself king and supreme ruler of Alagaesia. Galbatorix sends his henchmen to capture Eragon and his dragon, Saphira. Garrow is murdered and Eragon has to flee Carvahall with Saphira to avoid capture. Soon Eragon and Saphira find themselves traveling all over Alagaesia dodging the empire while hunting the mysterious Ra'Zac, the murderers of his uncle Garrow.

Meanwhile, Roran returns home to find his home destroyed, his father murdered, and Carvahall under siege. He rallies the towns people to take up arms, dig in, and fight. Eventually, Katrina is kidnapped by the Ra'Zac and Roran and the people of Carvahall have to flee for their lives.

Eragon and Saphira hook up with an army of rebels and freedom fighters which is a mix of dwarfs and humans called the Varden. With the help of the Varden and his new found friends, Murtagh, and the elven princess, Arya, Eragon and Saphira defeat Galbatorix's army and Eragon slays the evil and powerful shade, Durza, Galbatorix's right hand man.

The adventure continues in "Eldest", the second book in the series. Eragon travels with Arya to the realm of the elves to learn the ways of the dragon riders. There he encounters many internal conflicts including the elves nonacceptance of him as a rider, his love for Arya which she does not accept or return, and the crippling pain of his wound which he received from his battle with Durza.

Meanwhile, his cousin Roran is in a battle against the empire of his own. After fleeing Carvahall, he and Carvahall's survivors work their way south on a ship. They meet many obstacles while avoiding capture by the empire. Eventually Eragon and Roran reunite in another battle with the Varden against the armies of the empire. It's during this battle that Eragon and Saphira discover that another egg has hatched and a new rider has emerged. Only the new rider, a lost and thought dead friend of Eragon's, is under the control of Galbatorix. It is also during this battle, Eragon begins to learn the disturbing secrets of his family and their past.

The third book "Brisingr" reveals the secrets of Eragon's family. Also it reveals a secret of the dragons that may be the undoing of Galbatorix.

Does Roran rescue his love, Katrina, from the evil clutches of the Ra'Zac? Will Eragon ever win Arya's love? Brisingr brings more battles and conflicts as Eragon learns more and more about his family and their disturbing secrets. Meanwhile his cousin, Roran, takes the name "Stronghammer" and begins rising in the ranks of the Varden.

What does the name of the book "Brisingr" mean? Ah, you must read and find out. And the adventure does not end here. There is another book in the making.

For all of those who watched the movie, "Eragon", I agree. It was an excellent action/adventure fantasy movie. But the written story is much better in my opinion. The movie leaves out a lot of the story and actually takes on a plot of it's own. Don't get me wrong. I still sit down and watch "Eragon" time and again. But I recommend you read the series. You won't be disappointed.

Click her to Check out The Christopher Paolini shelf in Hughzebeez Books.

Check out Hughzebeez Books.

Other Book Reviews by Hughze:

Terry Brooks Landover Series.

Have a Great Memorial Day Weekend!

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Montana Snipe Hunt

Another Fictional Yarn told by Hughze.

"The Montana snipe is a dangerous creature about the size of a house cat that hunts only at night. You never want to come in contact with one in the dark because they'll rip you to shreds. That's why you should always carry a flashlight at night when you're out walking around. The light paralyzes them so they can't react. That's when you grab 'em by the tail and throw 'em in a cloth bag." Warren Bates was barreling down a county road with his Ford Mustang in the middle of the night with his best friend Billy Sheetz in the passenger seat and the new kid in town, Ryan Hildarman, in the back seat. It was Friday night and he and Billy had spent the whole past week, during school, convincing Ryan that they were professionals at the art of 'snipe hunting', and had finally convinced him to join them in one of there weekend safaris into the wild rolling plains of eastern Montana to capture a vicious and deadly Montana snipe.

"If they're such a dangerous animal, why don't you just shoot 'em?" Ryan asked leaning between the front seats of the 'Stang so Warren and Billy could hear.

Both Warren and Billy cringed. "Ooo! You never want to shoot a snipe. That makes him real mad and he'll snap out of his paralysis and then he'll get away."

"Not before he takes a good look at who shot him," Warren added. "Then he'll hunt that person down until he finds his house. Then he'll wait 'til everyone goes to bed and rip 'em all apart while they're sleeping. Just out of revenge. Nope it's best just to put him in a bag and take him to the vet. He'll put him to sleep. "

"Besides. It's funner this way. You can turn on the dome light and we'll dump him out on the console here between me and Warren and we can pet him all the way back to town."

Ryan sat back in his seat still not sure about this hunt he had been seduced into attending. But Warren was the most popular guy in school. If he hadn't taken Ryan on this hunt, he'd be cruising town in his Mustang with half the cheer leading squad. Every girl in the whole high school wants to cruise town in Warren's 'Stang. Ryan was hoping this hunt would make him more popular than just being the 'new kid'.

"Here we are," Warren said as he slowed down and turned off into a pasture out in the middle of nowhere. "There's lots of snipes out here. It shouldn't take long to find one. You have your spot light Billy?"

"Right here. Where's your cigarette lighter?"

"Right there. Just put the lighter in the ash tray and plug your light in."

Billy rolled down his window and held the light out above the roof of the car and plugged it into the lighter socket. A bright beam flared out into the night air.

"Hey! Watch it Billy!" Warren said. "Keep it below the horizon. We don't need the law out here thinking we're poaching or rustling cattle. People can see that beam for miles."

"Well excuuuse me." Billy began slowly panning the beam back and forth over the country side some distance from the car.

"What are you doing?'' Ryan asked.

"Looking for snipes" Warren said as he navigated the car through the pasture. They were moving quite slow. "You see, when we find one with the spot light, Billy and I will hold the light on it while you jump out and put it in the bag."

"OK! I see. So you use the spot light to paralyze it, right?"

"Yup. Then you just grab it by the tail and...."

"Oh crap!" Billy said. He started fiddling with the plug in the lighter socket.

Ryan noticed the beam of the light kept blinking on and off. "What's Wrong?"

"I thought you fixed that thing," Warren scolded Billy. "That almost got us killed in the last hunt."

"I did fix it. It must be the lighter socket."

"It's not the lighter socket. This car is state of the art."

"It's a 'Stang. What do you expect." The beam suddenly quit blinking and came to life once more. "There! All I had to do is give it a twist and...."

"Hey! HEY!" Billy and Ryan both started at Warren's outburst.


"There!" Warren had stopped the car. "Go back about twenty feet." Billy panned the light back. "There! Stop! Hold it right there on those clumps of grass.... See It?"

Ryan squinted. "I don't see anything."

"Behind the clumps. See it?"


"Billy! You see it?"

"Yeah! I see it. Second clump to the right. Straight on in the middle of the beam."

Ryan moved so he could get a better view. "I still can't see it."

"You will when you get out there. Just stay in the beam." Billy pointed. "You see them tall clumps of grass?"


"He's behind those. Just don't shadow 'em and you'll be fine."

Ryan thought for a second. "OK. Let me out."

"Go out Warren's door. I have to hold the light."

Warren opened his door, got out, and pulled his seat forward so Ryan could get out. "You have the bag?"

"Right here." Ryan started to sneak around the back of the car but turned back, "Is the light going to keep working? What if it starts to quit again?"

"We'll have the head lights of the car on. If the light quits, just run until your in the beam of the headlights. And Ryan, if the light quits, don't hesitate, run for your life to get into the beam of the headlights. OK?"

Ryan stared at Warren with fear. "I don't know Warren. Maybe..."

"You'll be alright. Just grab it's tail and put it in the bag. Besides, come Monday, you'll have a snipe hunting tale to tell Elly and she'll be so impressed she'll want to go to the Homecoming dance with you. I guarantee it."

Ryan looked down at the bag. His hand was shaking. The night was cool but he felt hot from the fear that gripped his bones. But the thought of being a hero in the eyes of the girl of his dreams drove him onward. He crept around the car toward the grass illuminated by Billy's spot light.

The two friends tried to stifle their smirks and snickers as they watched Ryan slowly and carefully move closer and closer to the end of the beam where the legendary snipe ,paralyzed by the light, awaited capture. They waited until Ryan bent to look in the grass which supposedly concealed the fearsome creature and Billy pulled the plug on the spot light.

"AAAAHHHH! Run Ryan!" Warren yelled. "Get in the light. Hurry before it rips you to shreds!"

Billy was yelling too. "OH NO! I can't get the light back on! Get in the light! Quick! Get in the light!"

They carried on for some time but when Ryan didn't appear in the headlights of the Mustang, "Ryan....."?

"Turn the light on Billy... AAAHH!" Warren jumped when Ryan's hand slapped him on the shoulder and pushed him aside.

A pale and shocked Ryan crawled through the door into the back seat of the 'Stang.

"You OK Ryan?... It's just a joke," Billy said but Ryan didn't seem to notice. "Ryan?..." Warren climbed back into the car and stared at Ryan. "Let's just head back to town Warren. Maybe he'll come out of it."

Warren turned the car around and drove toward the road and then stopped again when Ryan started laughing hysterically in the back seat. "You OK Ryan?"

"I got him."

"Huh?" both Billy and Warren stared at the half insane Ryan.

Ryan reached up and turned the dome light on. He grinned from ear to ear and his eyes as big as saucers. "I got him. I saw his tail sticking up out of the grass and I grabbed it just before the light went out. I could feel him start squirming so I quick, like stuffed him in the bag just like you said..... By Golly....." He laughed again.

"You got... him ?"

Ryan pulled the bag up into view, turned it over, and dumped it's contents out on the console. The two boys watched in horror at the little all black and fury creature that rolled out into view. Well... all black except for the white stripe that followed it's back from it's head to the tip of it's tail.

Time seemed to stand still as man and beast regarded one another. At least until, satisfied that all parties guilty of this evil and unnecessary assault upon his person were present and accounted for, the... (snipe) began bathing them in a natural aroma like none you'd ever find in any perfume or aromatherapy shops. Billy escaped out the open window on his side. Warren threw open his door and rolled out onto the ground. Ryan, unable to escape, grabbed the... (snipe's) tail and threw him out the open door. He landed on Warren and rolled onto the ground beside him. Thankful that Warren had broken his fall, he rewarded the gracious young man with another dose of spray. Then, for good measure, hosed down the side of the car and it's rear tire before disappearing into the night. The drive back to town was a quiet one.

It was well into the middle of the next week before the boys smelled good enough to return to school. News had spread rapidly of the mighty hunters and their capture of a ferocious snipe. Ryan Hildarman was popular over night. In fact, Elly asked him to the Homecoming dance the first day he returned. He soon found that he had given many a victims of the 'Warren Bates and Billy Sheetz snipe prank' a last laugh.

Warren never did get the smell entirely out of his car. As a result, the only person he could get to cruise town with him in his Mustang was Billy. Of course you know the old saying, "Birds of a feather...", but in this case, "only skunks run together."

© 2009 all rights reserved by Kyle V. Huseby

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quote of the day #3.

You know that children are growing up when they start asking questions that have answers. -
John J. Plomp

Here are the Five top questions your teenagers ask that have answers:

#5. Do I have to go to school?

#4. Can I go out tonight?

Can I have some money to buy a car?

#2. Can I borrow the car?


#1. Will you do my homework for me?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Nontraditional Easter Dinner

Taters and Gravy: prepared, tasted, and eaten by Hughze.
"And I'm still alive."

I had planned to go to my folk's for Easter this year but as things turned out, I ended up staying home for Easter. With no ham or turkey or any of the traditional Easter foods in stock, I decided to have an old favorite of mine, Taters and Gravy. It's quite simple to prepare and does not take long. (About an hour or so.)

First you need to decide what kind of Taters you're having and get them started. For this recipe, I'm going with mashed potatoes but you can make fried potatoes. You can make baked potatoes. You can even just boil your potatoes if you want to. Do you like french fries or tater tots? You have whatever peels your potato.

I peeled and cut up a pot full of potatoes. I put water in the pot with the potatoes until it was about 2/3 full and began heating them at about medium high.

When boiling potatoes, you'll need to turn the heat down as the water begins to boil; otherwise, your water will boil up and out of the pot. Also it's a good idea to stir them once and awhile to keep the bottom potatoes from burning.

After starting the potatoes you'll need to start the hamburger. I took the hamburger strait out of the freezer and placed it in a ten inch frying pan (Ten inch is small. An eleven or twelve inch pan is better.) with 1/2 an inch of water and about a half cup of sliced up onion. I also seasoned it with my favorite seasoning to what I felt was about right for me. Here again you can use what ever peels your potato with the onion and seasoning. I just sprinkled it on as you can see in the pictures below.

Now you let the meat and onion fry at about medium heat, stirring it and breaking up the burger every so often until the meat is done.

Now some people like to drain the juices off of their meat after it's cooked and some don't. Once again it's up to you but if you do drain the juice off, you need to replace it again with water. Remember, you are making a gravy here. You don't want it too thick. That also goes if you evaporate all your water off during cooking. You need to replace that water. You want about enough water in the pan to be 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch deep. (By the way, watch your potatoes. Remember, they are cooking during this time as well.)

The meat's done. You have your 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch of water in the bottom of your pan. It's time to add the rest of the ingredients.

Add a ten to eleven ounce can of cream of mushroom soup (empty the whole can) to the meat. Drain (drain the juice in the can before adding it to the meat) and add the vegetable of your choice to the meat. I chose corn. You can use peas, beans, carrots, or even a mix if you like. Then add 1/2 to one cup of milk (This depends on how much fluid you have in the pan. You don't want it to run over). Mix it all together and slice Velveeta cheese and place it on top as it is in the picture below. Cover the entire mix with cheese.

Then place the lid on your pan and place it on the oven at medium low to medium heat again and let it cook until the cheese is good and melted. It will probably come to a light boil before it's done. Once again watch your heat so you don't begin to burn it on the bottom. When the cheese is melted, turn off the heat and mix the cheese into the gravy. Your gravy is ready. (See ingredients listed at the very end.)

I boiled the potatoes until they were quite soft and added a quarter of butter, 1/2 to one cup of milk, and seasoned to my taste while I mashed them and finally......


So now that I've worked up an appetite, I'll wish you all a Happy Easter and I'll sit down to enjoy my dinner except.....

Somebody took my chair!

Happy Easter Everyone!

Taters and Gravy


1 to 1 1/2 pounds of hamburger (thawed or frozen)

1- tsp of your favorite meat seasoning. (salt and pepper works too)

1- 10.5 or 11 oz. can of cream of mushroom soup.

1- 14 to15 oz can of vegetables. (can be corn, beans, peas, carrots, or mixed)

1/4 to 1/2 a cup of an onion chopped or sliced up

Water and Milk.

(You can boil 'em, mash 'em, bake 'em, or fry 'em. You can use french fries or even tater tots if you like.)

The truth about this gravy recipe is it can also be eaten by itself without potatoes if you like.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Quote of the Day #2!

Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.
- Henry David Thoreau.

Yup! This is very true. Every New Year's Eve I make new rules on how I will conduct my behavior throughout the following year and then... I break them.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cowboys That Joust !

A fictional yarn told by Hughze.

Years ago, before I changed careers, I worked as a hired hand on a large ranch. There was no shortage of work from day to day and, as I was the only hired hand, it was not uncommon for the larger tasks to carry on into the next day or more. It was no problem for me. I had grown up on a farm and ranch not far from there so the work was no mystery to me.

The day of which I am going to relate to you started like all the others except John, my boss, and his wife, Ida, were preparing to go to town for the entire day. John came to me with the 'to do' list, "Well," he said, "You know the chores. You'll have to run feed to the wracks being as I'm not going to be here. There's a couple of the pickup trucks that need an oil change and lube. There's a couple of planks been knocked off the corrals below the barn. If you'll put those back on. And, if you have time today, there's a little black Angus bull in the creek that I've been trying to corral for the last couple of days. Why don't you see if you can get him in."

"He's not wanting to come in I take it?" I said.

"Nah. He goes for awhile until he gets tired and then he sticks his head in a bush and won't move."

"I see. Well, maybe I'll have a look at him later today."

It was late fall. The grass was brown and the days were getting cooler. It was time for the ranchers to bring in their bulls to pasture them separate from the cows. All of John's bulls, save one, were in their winter pasture.

I hurried through the morning chores, feeding, checking water, and juggling animals around from pen to pen. The wracks went fast. (The wracks are a fence designed to allow animals to poke their heads through to reach feed that has been put out for them on the other side.) I puttered around the rest of the day fixing this and maintaining that until mid afternoon. It was time to go see what this little black bull's problem was.

First I needed a reliable steed. I walked past Buddy Boy's pen. He was a bay gelding which seemed like he was asleep all of the time, even when saddled. Next was the stud, Big Red. He seems like he never sleeps. Whats worse, his feet never seem to touch the ground from the time you first saddle him to the time the saddle comes off. Then there was the sorrel mare, Sally. Too slow. Jackson, the blue roan. Too young and green. Finally as I approached the end of the alley, a choir of angles began to sing. Light began to glow from the last pen. I found him right where I left him the last time I rode him. I threw open the gate and beheld the beauty of his red skin and black frame. His name was clearly branded on his hip, Honda XL 250. He was saddled and ready to go.

I grabbed a stock whip from the barn, jumped on, kicked the starter, and the engine roared to life. I made one stop to prop open the front gate of the corrals before I took off down the road to the creek to find the elusive bull.

John's property consisted of thirty square miles of bad lands. It was miles of land lined with deep gouges cut into the earth from millions of years of erosion. Above these cuts were grassy plateaus. The bottoms were littered with patches of trees and bushes. Clearings, that consisted of grass and sage brush, stretched from tree patch to tree patch. The cattle had cut trails into these clearings that weaved to and fro amongst the sage. It was one of these trails that Honda and I followed up the creek.

I had traveled at least two miles up the main creek bed after leaving the road before I spotted him. He stood alone amongst the sage brush watching me as I approached. I circled him a couple of times, feeling somewhat like a bee circling a large black rock. I just hoped that the rock didn't decide to, all of the sudden, swat the bee. Eventually, I positioned him between me and the corrals and charged, revving Honda's motor and cracking the stock whip. He surprisingly started moving in the direction I wanted. This was turning out to be easier than I had anticipated. Too easy.

I backed off a ways to give him some air. He seemed want to follow a trail that wound through the creek toward the road. I was content in letting him do so as long as it headed in the right direction. All was well for about a mile and then it started. He veered off the trail and headed for a thicket of trees and brush. I gave Honda's throttle a twist to try and head him off. It was no use. He plunged into the brush ahead of me. All I could do was follow, shouting and cursing and cracking my whip.

I swear that cattle have a secret bovine library somewhere and even more, I am certain that, in that library, there is a book entitled "How to Aggravate Cowboys and Drive Them to Insanity". I am also quite certain this little black Angus bull either read it or worse, wrote it. He led me through some of the thickest brush he could find, slapping me with tree branches every chance he could get. This went on for what seemed like miles to me. We went from one patch of trees and brush to the next until finally, the trees ended and before us lay open pasture all the way to the corral gate--open pasture except for one large, lone choke cherry bush, John's favorite choke cherry bush. The bull headed strait for it and crawled into it until all that I could see was his rear end.. There he stopped, refusing to move again.

I shouted curses, revved Honda's engine, cracked my whip. That didn't work. He just stood there. I could swear I heard him snickering. I grabbed his tail and pulled. Nothing! He didn't even try to kick me. I could see I was going to have to settle this problem the cowboy way.

Honda stood tethered a short distance away. He could tell that his cowboy meant business by the way his spurs clinked as he walked and then the way he rolled up his sleeves before he entered the Chokecherry Saloon. Honda knew that only riffraff hung out in that establishment and there was sure to be a fight. His suspicions were confirmed when less than a couple of seconds later there was a resounding, "Splat!", and his cowboy came flying out one of the windows.

Well, obviously the cowboy way wasn't going to work either. Defeat crept into my very bones as I realized that there was nothing I could do except give up. But then I noticed a dead branch on the ground not to far away. It was about eight feet long. I suddenly had an idea and an evil grin stretched across my face. I grabbed the branch, hopped on Honda, and backed off some fifty to one hundred paces so I had a direct path in line with the bull.

The crowd cheered as the flag man stepped up to the rail. He checked the White Knight astride his mighty steed, Honda. The White Knight nodded. Then the flag man checked the challenger, the Dark Knight of Choke Cherry. The Dark Knight nodded. Both knights ready, he raised the flag and dropped it. The crowd roared. Honda, reared and charged. The White Knight leveled his lance studying his advancing adversary for a target. He picked the Dark Knight's large black shield and aimed his lance. He spurred Honda for speed. The distance between the knights closed..."CRASH!"

Conditions had been perfect that day so that sound traveled for miles and echoed throughout the canyons. The neighbors had stopped what they were doing to listen. Even today they still tell stories of the ruckus they heard. Some speak of battle cries composed of words they, until that day, never knew existed. Words they refused to repeat. Some say they saw a cloud of dust explode into the atmosphere and rise above the horizon. Some even say they thought they saw branches twirling amidst the dust as it reached for the sky. But all agree that they had never heard a more fiercer battle between man and beast on the Yellowstone, Missouri divide.

John and Ida returned home that evening finding the little black bull laying in the corrals, chewing his cud like cattle do when they are relaxed and resting. There was no debris on the road for them to swerve around as I had taken the time to remove it on my way home for the day. I never told John how I was able to get the bull to finally decide to come to the corrals and he never asked. At least not until late the next spring when he went down to see the progress of the choke cherries on his favorite bush in the creek. "Where the heck is my choke cherry bush?" he yelled as he roared into the yard on his motorcycle.

I could not tell a lie, "Heh! I don't know Boss. Must of washed down the creek in the flood during the spring thaw!"

© 2009 Kyle V. Huseby

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The 'G' Grade Point Average and Speech Class


by Hughze.

I remember back in high school when my classmates and I were sitting at our desk in English class just minding our own business when the teacher, Mr. Z we'll call him because it always seems like English teacher names begin with Z (Zemple, Zimmerman, Zorkman, Zoundsalot, any way....), dropped the ever annoying bomb of English bombs in our laps, "Five minute speech on anything. Due Friday of this week."

"AAAh maaan! Come on Mr. Z. That's four days from now. We'll never make it in time."

"If you'll all quit your whining, you have forty minutes to figure out what your topic is going to be."

"Can it be sports?"

"I suppose. As long as it's not a play- for- play on some game you enjoyed."

"Anything we like?"

"Yup. Anything."

So for the next forty minutes we spent doing what we did best. We hit the books. We researched. Most of us had our topic inside of ten minutes. Right?

Come on people! We're talking about a room full of high school kids. Sharon and Denise were passing notes back and forth. Roger, Wilt, and Lisa were staring out the window. Most teachers weren't aware of it, but Joey had a stealth method of sleeping while appearing to be busy. The rest of us stared at ceiling tiles and watched for traffic in the hallway and when we weren't doing that, we doodled in our notebooks. Only the Chosen (you know... the ones with high grade point averages) were working on what they had been assigned to do.

The rest of the week Mr. Z grilled us on our introductions, body, and endings of our speeches. We learned how we wood conduct ourselves at the podium. Eye contact with your audience was important. Finally, when we were done, ask if there were any questions. RESEARCH! PLANNING! REHEARSAL! The the last half of the lesson was spent researching and planning by ourselves for our speeches.

It was during this time I discovered many things. I discovered that Lisa would maybe be an excellent date for Prom. I planned on how I would go about asking her and rehearsed it in my mind over and over many times. Joey had improved on his stealth sleeping. He now can sleep with his eyes open. There are just as many Ford pickup trucks in the school parking lot across the street as there are Chevy's. Both out number the Dodge by three to one. And I have decided that Jason has a tumor somewhere in his nasal passage because he is constantly preforming surgery with his finger in an attempt to remove it.

Finally the fateful day came. Friday. Did I have a topic?..... I was working on it. I knew I had time. Mr. Z's tack of order would be alphabetically. I was positioned somewhere alphabetically in the middle of the class. George got to go first. His speech ended at exactly five minutes. Thank goodness for that. It was quite boring. There were no questions after. No one wanted to prolong the pain.

Deidre, one of the Chosen, was next. Her father was a dentist so I pretty well guessed what her topic was going to be. She was a little more long winded than George. There were no questions for her either. We were in high school for heaven's sake. We knew all we wanted to know about oral hygiene; however, I was surprised to learn that there were these neat little brushes available to clean the plaque off your teeth and tongue. I made a note of it and swore to myself that I would give it a try before approaching Lisa about the prom.

Time wore on. Speeches came and went one after the other. I was breaking out in a sweat. My topic? ... Nada. Soon somebody shook Joey awake. I began to panic. I knew I would be next. I hoped Joey would carry on until the end of class, but Joey's speech lasted for exactly five minutes. I had to stall for time somehow. I had no idea what it was about but I raised my hand anyway.

"Ah! Finally! Someone has courage to ask questions!" Mr. Z bellowed from the back of the room. "Joey?"

Joey was giving me the 'You're so dead after school' look when he pointed at me called my name.
That's when I realized..... I didn't have a dog gone thing to ask him. "Um. Ah. Let's see. I forgot what I was going to ask."

"No questions then Mr. Hughze?" Mr. Z asked.

"Um. Oh. I guess not."

"Well alright then.... You're next"

Though I tried to make it so, the trip from my desk to the front of the class was no eternity. My topic?.... Zilch! Or at least until half way to the front of the class. Thank goodness for Johnny Baxter and his constant errands during school hours. (Or as the teachers referred to his errands 'Just plain hooky'.) I heard his engine as he revved it up while he drove off down the street. That's when I had it. Engines! I would tell them everything I knew about engines. My stride quickened. I stepped before the class with confidence. Somewhere in my brain was five minutes worth of knowledge that I was going to share with them. I just had to extract it.

The introduction came easy. The topic?.... Automobile engines. The rest was a miracle. It just poured out of my brain and rolled off my tongue. One minute, two minutes, I unlocked vaults of knowledge in the darkest corners of my brain and emptied them . Three minutes, four, I reached into garbage cans and looked under the rugs of my mind for any useful, discarded knowledge and then: Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Five minutes! But.... I wasn't finished yet. I saw the expressions of my classmates change from indifference to awe as I educated them. Soon, seven minutes rolled by. The expressions of awe increased. Nine minutes. Brows raised higher. Ten minutes. Finished. Even Mr. Z was slack jawed as much my classmates as they all stared at me in disbelief. I felt above everyone else. Today I would become one of the Chosen. I would raise amongst their ranks. Heck! I will be their King. I was going to receive an A, no, an A+, an A++ for my efforts. Or even better yet, I was going to receive the highest grade of all, a 'G' for Genius.

Then Deidre slowly raised her hand. I felt honored. A Chosen one found my speech worthy of questioning. "Yes! Deidre!" I said as I pointed at her.

"Ummm....... Doesn't McDonald's make the Big Mac burger instead of Burger King?"

"Yes! You are correct! Sorry! Thank you for bringing that mistake to my attention." A small error but easily corrected.

"Aaaand..... what does that have to do with engines anyway?"

Blast! My ambitions are being undermined. I had to think quickly. "McDonald's has a drive through. It takes a automobile with an engine to use it. Next question please? Anyone else?"

Jack's hand shot up. Another Chosen one. "Yes, Jack!"

"Diesels don't have spark plugs do they?"

"Next question please?"

Then Lisa, my future Prom queen, my savior, raised her hand. Some how I just knew she raised her hand to save me from the critics of the Chosen. "Yes Lisa."

"I thought Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon and didn't they have the lunar rover to drive around up there instead of a Ford Bronco?"

The devastation was unbearable. Lisa, the girl of my dreams, reveals herself as a Chosen spy. The shame of it all. I could take no more. "No more questions", I said and hurried back to my desk.

I did not receive my 'A' or 'A+'. And as far as my 'G', I learned the hard way that day that the grading system unfortunately ends at 'F'. Mr. Z spoke with me briefly after class. He said it wasn't a total failure. He thought it was quite funny. He said, "Maybe you should try your hand at writing humor Mr. Hughze."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Saving on Heating Costs!

Saving on the heating bill.....

The Redneck way!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Do you like to read Terry Brooks?

Now You Can Listen!
A book review on Terry Brooks' "Landover" series.

I was in my early thirties when I picked up the "Magic Kingdom for Sale, Sold" . It seemed like a book written for teenagers but I didn't care. I had just just finished reading all I had of Brooks' "Shannara" series and The "Heritage of Shannara series". I was hungry for more Terry Brooks. The "Landover" series was all I had available to me at the time.

Continued Below:

Terry Brooks' "Magic Kingdom for Sale, Sold"

Book one of the Landover

Ben Holiday is a lawyer who has lost his wife, hates his job, and is ready for a big change. He is your basic man with a mid life crisis. He stumbles upon an ad advertising a Magic Kingdom for sale and checks it out. He finds, like most ads that sound too good to be true, there is a scam; however, the kingdom is real.

Down loadable Audio book. $24.99 US 6 hours (Abridged)

After reading the Shannara books, the Landover books seemed like second class or a compromise between 'that will do' and 'the best'. But I started reading and became intrigued with Ben Holiday and his misfit crew.

Holiday is a lawyer who has lost his wife. He hates his job and has found himself in a midlife crisis. He finds an ad in a catalog that advertises a magic kingdom for sale. He checks it out and finds out that, like all ads that sound too good to be true, there is a scam. He also finds, believe it or not, that the kingdom is real.

Soon I was finished with "Magic Kingdom for Sale, Sold" and picked up the second book, "The Black Unicorn". I found it as exciting as the first.

Continued below:

Terry Brooks' "The Black Unicorn".

Book two of the Landover series.

Ben Holiday finds himself in a pickle when Meeks, the evil wizard that Ben bought the kingdom from, returns to Landover and casts a spell to switch appearances with Ben. Ben finds himself in a position where nobody knows who he is except his powerful enemies. Outcast and no friends to help him, not even Willow, who has set out to find the mysterious black unicorn, what was he to do?

Down loadable Audio. $24.99 US 6 hours (Abridged)

In the "Black Unicorn", Holiday makes a quick trip back to the real world to check on an old friend. He returns to Landover, unknown to Holiday, with Meeks, the evil wizard from which he purchased the kingdom. Meeks casts a spell to switch appearances and places with Holiday. Holiday now finds himself without friends, and no one recognizes him except his enemies. He is outcast with no one to help him, not even Willow who has left on a quest to find the mysterious black unicorn, what is Holiday to do?

The whole series, as odd as it's characters seemed, was quite imaginative and fascinating. I read one after another right up to the last, "Witches Brew". If there are any more after, I have not yet heard of their existence.

I think fantasy lovers, teens and old, will enjoy this series. Those who have maybe already read it can now enjoy it in audio which can be downloaded to your computer and burned to CD (if you desire). I see now that there is a Genesis of Shannara series that I haven't read yet. I'll have to check it out.

Book 3: Wizard at Large

Book 4: The Tangle Box

Book 5: Witches' Brew

Click here to check out Terry Brooks Landover shelf at Hughzebeez Books.

Also Check out the rest of Hughzebeez Books.

Friday, February 27, 2009

What If?

What if house flies had military weapons?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stray Cats Aren't So Bad

Written by Hughze February 22, 2009.

I stood by my back door watching the horde of cats that had accumulated (thanks to friends and two large litters of kittens) around my small rural home in the sticks of eastern Montana. I had just fed them there daily ration of cat chow and filled their water tray. Normally, when I lived in town, I never would of kept so many cats but out here in the country the mice would overrun the house and the out buildings over a short time. Just one or two cats would not be able to keep the armies of rodents in check. As I watched from inside the door, the cat I had been waiting to see appeared. A white cat with gray ears and tail and one splotch of gray in the middle of his back about the size of a man's fist, he made his way up from the small barn and past the the patch of grass where I used to keep a garden. He worked his way through the dining cats to the dish where a tabby was eating and began taking in his fill for the day. He was a stray.

I had noticed him a couple of weeks ago when he appeared during feeding. "Great! Another cat to feed. That's all I need," I said. After all, ten cats on five acres with a house, a barn, and one little garden shed was more than enough to keep the mice busy not to mention the feed to keep them from straying to the neighbors in search of sustenance was a little hard on the bank account already. I didn't need another mouth to feed. I called the local animal control unit.

"We'll be right out," said a woman named Sammy. She was right. Less than a half hour later, a SUV and a pickup truck pulled into my drive. Four men and a woman emerged from the outfits carrying nets, cages, and tranquilizer guns.

The foremost on my mind as I stepped out to greet them was, "How much is this going to cost me?"

After all the formalities, the men being John, Paul, George, Mike, and the lady being, of course, Sammy, I asked, "Why so many of you for one cat?"

"Just in case things go bad and we have to chase him down", John, who seemed to be the leader, said.

Next came the secondary formalities. The showing of the weapons. The men gave long winded descriptions of the tranquilizer guns, their munitions, and their effects. All I could see was queer looking air guns that shoot colorful darts instead of B.B.'s.

Finally the hunt was on. I directed them to the napping cats spread out in groups of two or more near my back door where I had fed them that morning. Luck was with us. He had curled up with a couple of other cats and they were enjoying a little sun not to far away from the house. John carefully snuck into a position where he could get a clear shot, aimed and fired.

To this day I'm not sure exactly what happened. Maybe it was the noise the dart gun made. Maybe it was that all the sudden, the tabby that jumped, woke from a bad dream; but she jumped right in the trajectory of the dart meant for the white and gray tom that slept beside her. She gave a short howl that alerted all the other cats.

Remember those war movies where there was this nice green battlefield and on one side of the field you had the army dressed in silk shirts covered with chain mail and polished steel shields. On the other side of the field there was the furry barbarian army with wooden shields and spears screaming the battle cry, "Weet goot yoot mit der SPOOooon!" Well, this is what happened next. The furry, barbarian cats jumped and scattered while volleys of colorful arrows rained down amongst them. Their fearless leader, the large albino with the gray shield slung across his back, drew the fire of the enemy archers and took to the tall weeds down by the barn. I suspect this is what John meant 'In case things go bad.' The chase was on.

The six of us hurried to surround the patch of weeds, cutting off all avenues of escape. "I'll see if I can shake him out", Sammy said and entered the weed patch. She had taken no more than two steps when somewhere in the middle of the patch, the weeds started moving and thrashing violently. What ever was causing the movement was heading in Mike and Paul's direction.

Now I remember my hunter safety days back when I was eleven or twelve years old. I can distinctly remember the rule that specifically states 'Be sure of your target and of the beyond'. Mike and Paul both raised their tranquilizer guns and fired into the evil onslaught of moving weeds racing in their direction. Both darts hit something that yipped. It wasn't the type of yip you'd hear from a cat. I remembered just then that Spike, my Irish setter, was out here somewhere.

I couldn't understand why Spike had wanted out so badly just before I fed the cats; however, when Paul, Mike, and Sammy returned from the weeds with not only the sleeping Spike, but my neighbors golden retriever, the sleeping Fluffy, as well, I knew the reason why. Dad had always told me, when I was young, "Always pull your weeds before they get too big. You'll have less trouble." I thought he had meant they're easier to pull when they're smaller.

By this time it appeared the stray cat had eluded us. As we reminisced the events of the day and carried the tranquilized dogs back toward the house. I was starting to feel relief that it was over. It was George who cried out "Look! Over There!" Everyone looked in the direction he pointed. Sure enough. There he was, watching us from underneath my Ford Explorer.

He licked his jowls just then as if though he were a child sticking out his tongue and saying, "Blah, blab, blab, Blah, Blah."

I began to say, "Just a minute guys. Wait until he's clear of my......" It was to late.

The barbarian fearless leader taunted the archers of the evading enemy, making faces whilst dodging the onslaught of arrows that whistled past him, embedding themselves into the soft, black boulders that surrounded him. When he felt his work was done and his point was well made, with his gray shield slung across his back, he galloped off into the west even though, at that moment, the sun shown brightly in the east.

So here I am, two weeks later, looking out the window of the back door. I have accepted the new addition to my ever growing horde. I figure feeding him is not so bad after all. I have named him Wallace after the Scottish hero, William Wallace. You know, as in the movie "BraveHeart." I figured it was a fitting name for a fearless leader.

I walked through the house to the living room window and admired the shiny new tires on my Explorer, compliments of the local animal control unit. It usually takes me about two years to wear down a set of new tires. I can't help pondering if Wallace will hang around at least for that long. Maybe I can get him to help me obtain another set of free, new tires.

Yipping and thrashing noises caught my attention. I turned to find Spike asleep on the rug in the middle of the living room floor. He was yipping and thrashing in his sleep as if though he was dreaming about the events that took place in the weeds down by the barn. As for Fluffy, as soon as the effects of the tranquilizers wore off, I returned her to her more than frantic owner up the road. He told me that he was getting ready to take her to be in the company of a registered, champion golden retriever male when she disappeared. He was very happy when I had returned her. There was still time to take her. Hmmm! It might be interesting to see what his batch of registered, champion golden retriever puppies look like.

Diet and Exercise At the Same Time

I just read in my e-mail today that celery and apples have negative calories. It takes more calories to eat these foods than they have to begin with.

So! All you people who like to eat out there (including myself). Let's get out the celery and the apples. Celery in one hand and an apple in the other.

OK! Ready..... EXERCISE

three...chew...three... four

Switch Hands


Ooof! I'm out of breath. Let's see what's on TV.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tired of Your Plain old Pancakes?

Here are some recipes to liven up the taste buds for all you pancake lovers out there.

First; We have to start with the basic Pancake recipe.
(Warning: Makes lots n lots of pancakes.)

2 cups flour
2 eggs
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1- 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups milk

You toss all the dry ingredients and the eggs (less the shells) into a mixing bowl. Mix 'em all together. You then mix in one cup of milk. Then mix in the second cup of milk about a third at a time. (This helps to prevent lumps in the batter.) You set your griddle or oven burner (if you intend to use a frying pan) to medium heat. Grease the griddle or pan and dribble the batter into a puddle about a size that suits you onto the hot surface. Let it brown and then flip over to the other side and and let that side brown. When it's done, flip it onto a plate and voila.

Note that I have added some home made Choke Cherry syrup to liven it up a little.

"Yup! Looks like a plain ol' pancake with home made Choke Cherry syrup on it."

OK! So what if we take a small to medium sized banana,

Mash it up,

Then mix it into the basic pancake batter. Fry it up as before and voila! Banana Pancake.

"Yup! Looks like a plain ol' pancake with a banana in it."

You can do this with any kind of fruit you want. Just chop, mash, or grind the fruit up before you add it to the basic batter.

Now! Starting with the basic recipe again, what if we add a half cup of oatmeal and a Table spoon of cinnamon (or less depending on how much you like cinnamon) to the dry ingredients before adding the milk? You fry this up as before and AH HA! Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes!

You may have to add a little more milk because of the extra dry ingredients. But Here is something more to consider. What if you added apple pie filling to your Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes? You now have a Cinnamon, Apple, Oatmeal Pancake. Yummy.

"Sure looks like one too!"

There you are. Some ideas for all you pancake lovers to enjoy.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Book review - - "The Desert of Wheat" Audio book read by Jim Gough

I like audio books. Especially the unabridged audio books. They make excellent travel companions. Also they work well for entertainment while working around the home. Unlike the television, audio books don't keep you tied to one spot. You can listen to them while moving around the house.

I recently listened to Zane Grey's "The Desert of Wheat" Published by Blackstone Audio Inc. Narrated by Jim Gough (pronounced goff). Mr. Gough does an excellent job narrating the story. His western drawl and narrative ability helps keep the listener intrigued in the exciting and the slow parts of the book.

"Slow parts?" you ask. Yes, slow parts. Anyone who has read Zane Grey is well aware of his tendency to persist on detail. Not just scenery but inner conflicts and knowledge. For example, Mr. Grey spent almost an entire chapter of "The Desert of Wheat" lecturing on the wheat disease smut, it's affects on wheat, and the the breeds that do and do not have resistance to it.

Don't get me wrong. "The Desert of Wheat" is an excellent story set back in the early nineteen hundreds during the first World War. The stories protagonist Kurt Dorn is faced with plenty of conflicts, his hate for his German heritage, his father's stubbornness, IWW (yes IWW is correct) vandals that are intent on destroying his crop, and staying home to be with the woman he loves versus going to war to kill Germans and his heritage. It has the three major types of conflicts making an excellent story. There is lots of action and adventure in this book as well as lots of detail. I enjoyed it very much. I think all western fiction lovers will also.

The audio book I listened too was purchased and downloaded from the Internet. This is a excellent way to purchase audio books. The books are cheaper because there is no driving to the store and they are downloaded to your computer. You then have the option of burning them to audio Cd's or just listening to them on your computer. Some audio books are sold in an MP3 format so you can load them onto your iPods or MP players. These downloads are encoded also. This means you will have to enter a user ID and password in order to play them for the first time on your computer. Usually after the first time, you do not have to enter your ID or password again. The encoding is basically to help prevent pirating.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Introducing Laugh with Hughzebeez


My intention of 'Laugh with Hughzebeez' is to deliver good clean humor and entertainment to who ever wishes to follow or read this blog. I hope to include images, jokes, and stories of different styles and sizes, and not just funny stories. Eventually, as I become a little more experienced with blogging, I intend to add some videos. Also, as I like to read and watch TV, I intend to give a few book and movie reviews. I am sure as time passes, I will and hope to find other fun and interesting ways to entertain my readers.

So welcome to my blog. I hope you will enjoy it and follow it. If you do enjoy it, I hope that you will tell your friends about it so that they can enjoy it as well. Thank you.

Quote for the day: 'No guts, No glory!' -- This applies to anything you do especially humor. Remember, when that new joke is nagging at the back of your mind, tell it to your wife, tell it to your boss, and tell all your friends so that when you find yourself all alone, homeless, and without a job, you'll at least have your sense of humor.