Last Of The Red-Hot Mamas

Last Scotch Bonnets Before The Freeze
It’s been several years since the mercury has dropped down to 20 degrees around here. After predicting for days that we’d have some cold weather but nothing nearly so severe, the weather service boys suddenly said wait a minute, you’re all going to freeze your asses off for the next two nights.

That sort of talk keeps the tropical gardener busy, in an irate sort of way.

First, I had to crawl under the house to set some shop lights up near washing machine and kitchen sink pipes most likely to freeze otherwise. I used to have some old Christmas lights under there, set up just for such a task, but it’s been so long since we had this hard a freeze that the old lights are tattered, frayed and useless. So, temporary shop lights. Check. (A few strategically placed light bulbs, you see, will generate enough heat that you don’t think much about permanently insulating the yards and yards of pipes weaving around under the house as if it belonged to Rube Goldberg.)

The shed out back is packed tight with plumeria already, so all I had to do was make sure extension cords were strung to a heater I keep out there. Check. That just left the job of hauling the more-sensitive hibiscus plants inside, where the Christmas tree was. Oh, wait, the Christmas tree still was there, so first I took that down, then hauled the plants in. Check.

All done. But wait, there were still some red and orange balls of hotness growing on the ends of the scotch bonnet chili plants in the garden. Can you ever have too many hot peppers? Not really. So I picked those bad boys and took a picture of them sitting on the cutting board, then fussed with it on the computer box to make it look artsy. Check.

But wait, we never harvested the last of the Meyer lemons out front. By the time I remembered the lemons, the north wind had moved in, temperatures had dropped from 60 to the mid-30s and a nice, cold drizzle had begun. There were more lemons than I remembered. After picking and dragging two large bagfuls into the house, my hands were freezing, so I left a couple dozen on the tree. Check. Then, yesterday, I grated the peel from 15 or so very large lemons, giving me about a year’s worth for various future cooking projects, and froze several pint jars of lemon juice for future lemonade. I still had more than 100 lemons, plus a couple dozen from an earlier harvesting. Lemons up the wazoo. Check.

So last night, to make sure the pipes didn’t freeze, I ran a hot load of towels through the washing machine just before I went to bed. Check. I woke up with my spider sense tingling around 4:30 a.m., noted that it was nearing 20 outside, tried to run the same load through the washer a second time just for fun and – nothing. No hot water came through the pipes, meaning they were starting to freeze. I have spent time under the house during a similarly cold pre-dawn morning, with an extension cord and a hair dryer, thawing pipes. It sucked, as you may imagine, and I was not keen for a replay. Luckily this time, I prayed to the appropriate Deity, turned the washing machine temperature to “warm,” waited a minute, then turned it to “hot” again. Hot water began flowing. Check.

Even if in a relatively cold way, life is good.

Posted in Uncategorized

Du Jour

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There was a tempermental character in the old Seinfeld TV series they called the Soup Nazi, who made the most incredibly delicious soups in New York City, but forced his customers to follow numerous specific behavioral rules while in line or ordering food. If you broke a rule, the Soup Nazi was likely to say: “No soup for you for one year! Next!”

I was reminded of that character while passing this former Little Rock sushi dive the other day. Ask to use the bathroom? No California rolls for you.

I wonder why it went out of business.

Posted in Business, Food, Photography

My Grandfatherization

I traveled to Little Rock, Ark., over the weekend for the special privilege of meeting my first grandchild, a beautiful girl named Eller Elizabeth. Here she is:

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With all of its trials and tribulations, it nonetheless amazes me how good life sometimes can be.

Posted in Family

Majority Rule

I didn’t like Hillary Clinton as a candidate for president. Among other things, I felt that she and the national leaders in control of the Democratic Party considered her as practically entitled to be their nominee because it was her royal turn.

I voted for her anyway, though, because I didn’t think Donald Trump was at all qualified to be president, for a thousand reasons. Not the least of which involves the fact that my youngest son is Hispanic and Trump practically painted a target on the backs of Hispanic Americans almost from the day he announced his candidacy.

But now it’s President Trump, and he won decisively. It would be easy to give myself over to despair and blame and even anger, as I see some among the press punditry already are doing. But that’s not the American way, and I hope the Democrats and other independents will resist the temptation.

For the first time that I can remember, the national Republican elite lost control of the party to their rank-and-file, and in the process they won control of the presidency, the Senate and the Supreme Court, and retained control of the House. The national Democratic elite fought off a game attempt by their rank-and-file to take control of that party, and in maintaining elite control, the Democrats managed to lose every branch of government. Could it be there’s a lesson to be learned there somewhere?

So now the Republicans will have to end their strategy of working to defeat every idea the Democrats have. Now the Republicans are actually going to have the ability to come up with ideas of their own and pass them into law. And it will be up to President Trump and the rank-and-file who elected him to watch closely and make sure congressional Republicans’ ideas involve more than exempting wealthy donors from taxes.

For at least a time, I am setting aside my doubts and cynicism in order to allow Donald Trump the chance to prove me wrong and operate to the best of his ability for all Americans. After listening to his acceptance speech, I believe this is possible. To the extent that the United States has succeeded as a nation, this success is due in large part to the acceptance of the concept of majority rule, and the peaceful transition of power.

In the spirit of working to heal partisan wounds and give the guy a chance, I took the small step of removing my previous blog post, in which I expressed disdain for Mr. Trump. It’s not much, but it’s a sincere gesture. Regardless of the fact that congressional Republicans did just the opposite to our current president for the past eight years, I am wishing the coming President Trump achieves great things in office, on behalf of all of us.

Lord knows it won’t be easy.

Posted in Uncategorized