I am an Egghead. I cook on a Big Green Egg. I own six. A Big Green Egg is a kamado style ceramic smoker/grill that can trace its roots back 3,000 years to China and Japan. They burn natural lump charcoal and can slow cook at temperatures below 200° for many hours (20 to 24 is not unusual) or medium temps for those dishes that are typically cooked in a regular gas or electric oven, or 750 to 900° for meats that require searing heat like steaks. I also do a little woodworking.
Once again we found ourselves in New Orleans for Christmas, visiting Judy's sister Joyce, and husband Allen. And once again we had a wonderful time, ate way too much food and thoroughly enjoyed the visit until we left for home early Wednesday morning.
We also celebrated Joyce's son, David's, birthday. It was special because he turned 40. And made even more special because he is obviously very happily in love with his new bride, Rhonda.
We'll be flying the Texas Flag high in the wind
tonight for the man who made the Chicken Ranch famous around the world.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Larry L. King, a writer and playwright whose
magazine article about a campaign to close down a popular bordello became the
hit Tony Award-nominated musical, "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," and a
movie starring Burt Reynolds, died Thursday. He was 83.
No, ours is
not the original Chicken Ranch, but we aren't that far from where the magical
transition to manhood took place for three or four generations of eager Texas
It was both famous and infamous, and apparently a lot of fun
offering what comes naturally, at a price, of course. Or if you didn't have any
cash, perhaps a couple of chickens.
Given the whimsical nature of our
little piece of Texas, and the fun atmosphere in and around the Big Green Eggs
in The Chicken Coop, it just seemed the perfect name for us too.
some of y'all thought we raised chickens here LOL.
Goodbye Mr. King, you
did well and created two legends in the process.
Spring "Staff Flying At
Half Flag" Chicken
Spring Texas USA
PS On December 24th there was yet another sad announcement that Charles Durning also passed away.
Here he is with Burt Reynolds in 1982's 'Best Little
Whore House in Texas'
Durning gave a singin’-and-dancin’ turn as a
look-the-other-way Lone Star State governor that earned him his first Oscar
nomination, part of which was for his giddy and memorable performance of “The
Sidestep” as he wriggles his Houston-sized body and duets with a 10-gallon hat
the way Astaire twirled Rogers.
If you're like every other
dieter on this planet, you've suffered through many frustrating days, weeks and
months, perhaps even years of self-torture only to discover that every diet you
tried was either expensive, very difficult to follow, or unsuccessful. Perhaps
all three. To make matters worse, any pounds that you did manage to lose
quickly came back within a few days after you thought you had lost them forever.
The reason for all your troubles
is that the word "pound" or "pounds" is set as the benchmark for all diets to
achieve. I've addressed that and more in my web site:
An Egghead friend of ours from Fort Meyers, Florida is a
photographer. He's very good at it.
We've never met but he has shared some of his photos with us
on the Green Eggers Forum. We all Oooo and Aaaa at his skill and thank
him for sharing with us, but I have come to the conclusion that his photos are
so good that they should be seen by others outside our small group. So I
downloaded the images he posted this year and compiled them into a video which
I uploaded to YouTube as an 'unlisted' video. Then I sent the link
to him. It was a total surprise. He loved it and asked me to change
it to "public" on YouTube so that everyone can see what he sees
through his camera lens.
It was a fun project and I was
happy to do it because he takes some really cool photos that should be seen
beyond our small Forum.
Update: only one week after creating the Once in a Blue Moon - The Movie, it has received 500 views and is growing quickly as viewers pass on the site to others. The power of the Internet is absolutely amazing.
One more day 'til Thanksgiving. And like every year, we've got two refrigerators crammed to the limit. Same with the pantry and just about every cubbyhole in the house. No, it's not just for us two, it's for two more: Joyce and Allen will be here tomorrow and lay over until Saturday or Sunday before heading back to Metairie.
Yes, we'll be cooking a turkey. 18 pounder and a bunch of side dishes that amplifies the turkey flavor a lot. I guess the turkey also amplifies the side dishes too. Anyway, it will be good for sure.
I'll return here and add some photos later. Right now I'm obligated to make sure the rum is still good.
We had company yesterday, Jim and Julie Roberts from Alexandria, VA. They were in town visiting relatives before heading to San Antonio to visit more relatives. Judy is a cousin of Jim's and they wanted to stop by the Chicken Ranch for a quick visit.
We had some pulled pork and slaw on Hawaiian rolls for them to snack on. The day was absolutely beautiful so we did it picnic style.
I didn't get seated before the auto timer went off but it's still the best photo.
Jim and I enjoy our conversations about a lot of topics. I wish we could have had more time but eventually we would have had to talk about politics and that may have charged the atmosphere. Even so, he is a logical thinker and is able to clearly see both sides of an issue without resorting to fisticuffs or gunplay. In Texas, that's important...
Knee replacement surgery is a piece a' cake for some and not for others. I fit into the 'not for others' category. Mine still hurts like a SOB at times and is quite annoying when I try to sleep. But it seems to be getting better very slowly each day. At least I can do most normal activities again.
According to the surgeon, I'm coming along great. Well, that's a relief. I thought I was going to die of old age before I got well.
Meanwhile, the burning/tingling pain in my lower legs and feet is getting worse. I saw the back surgeon who fixed my back two years ago and he ordered a nerve test done. I'll know the results soon. The doctor who performed the test traced the problem to L5/S1 in my lower back, probably from a pinched nerve. It could be that a simple steroid shot will fix it.
I'm off the Ambien sleeping pills as of a few days ago, so sleep is not coming easy. The pills are a prescription only narcotic and have some dangerous side effects, including of all things "burning/tingling sensation in lower legs and feet." But they did allow me to sleep soundly, often for six or more hours straight. They also prevented me from having dreams. I loved that... but the pills can blow out a kidney over time. That's why my doctor reluctantly prescribed them in the first place and has since discontinued the prescription. I'm okay with it.
At least I'm alive, mostly well, up and about and doing things. Some people would give anything to be able to do that.
Once again we had a wonderful time at the Plano Outlaw Eggfest in Plano, Texas, this time on November 3rd.
Of course, a few of us met up at Twin Peaks on Friday for lunch and eye candy. The girls like it too.
And Friday night we had a little Meet & Greet at the American Legion Hall.
Then Saturday morning about 40 of us fired up the Eggs and fed well over a hundred 'tasters' who stopped by throughout the day. The food was good so everyone was satisfied that they came. A few even won some nice door prizes, including three Big Green Eggs.
We saw some old friends and met some new ones. One couple lives here in Spring, less than a mile from us. Ricky and Dee Cobb. They are Eggheads but this was the first Eggfest they attended. They had a great time and will be attending the Salado Eggfest in March.
Of course there was an After Party at the hotel. We cooked some more food and drank a lot of liquid while rooting for LSU to beat Alabama. No, LSU lost in the last few seconds.
We headed home early the next morning and had pretty much everything back in place by the afternoon.
It has now been 79 days since my knee replacement surgery. I'm fine, still a little stiffness and restricted range of motion but not enough to worry about. I figure it will take about six months to get back to normal, maybe longer. It really doesn't matter how long at this point because I can pretty much do what I want to do.
We will be taking our first long-drive in a couple of weeks for the Plano Eggfest in Plano, Texas. Two weeks ago I probably would have had a problem sitting for that long but I'm thinking it shouldn't be a problem by November 2nd when we leave.
Meanwhile, I have little moments where the knee will suddenly become painful. It happens mostly when I first go to bed. But that's why I take a couple of Tylenol and an Ambian to help me get to sleep. Maybe in a few more weeks I'll be able to discontinue both drugs. As Martha would say, "That would be a good thing."
It has now been 40 days since my knee replacement surgery. And I'm still having problems with pain and swelling.
They tried all the well known, high-octane pain meds but none of them worked as expected. No pain relief at all but all of the negative side effects worked, including a couple of scares that almost resulted in a 911 call. One even had me hallucinating. That was enough to make me stop taking anything but Tylenol. And even Tylenol isn't working well. It just takes the pain level down from an 8 to maybe a 6 or 7. It doesn't help at all on days when I have physical therapy.
So here I sit with my swollen knee and foot, in about a level 6 pain, all the while wishing this little adventure would be over. But, like they say, it could be worse.
Tomorrow starts a new week of therapy and they are not giving me any mercy. They want me back to normal as bad as I do but they don't have to suffer the rest of the day, all night and into the next day from an hour of flexing, bending and other forms of torture.
At least I can still wear my "Temporarily out of Service" shirt.
Meanwhile, we've had visitors. Our long time friend Wanda from Jacksonville came to spend a few days the week before the Labor Day weekend. She's a lot of fun and we really enjoyed her visit.
The following weekend, Joyce and Allen flew in from New Orleans to celebrate Allen's and Judy's birthdays. New Orleans had just experienced Hurricane Isaac and getting away for a few days seemed like a good idea. We had a great time and everyone except me pitched in to do some of the little jobs that I haven't been able to do. As it turned out, remodeling the guest bath wasn't such a little job after all. Allen changed out the light fixture and sink faucet.
My Sweetie also had another birthday but she worked to make sure everyone, especially me, was well fed and comfortable. She's a Saint, for sure.
Finally, life is getting back to half way normal. I even cooked a pizza in the Coop yesterday.
I now have a new right knee. And it hurts like a SOB. Just like last time. Surgery was non-eventful and I woke up in my room at TOP's Surgery Center with tubes and hoses and drip-bags everywhere. I wasn't hurting then but all the good stuff wore off and I was reduced to only the prescribed pain meds. They weren't working very well. Still aren't. And they make me feel strange.
The Doctor let me come home Saturday morning. Meanwhile, I have to perform a lot of therapy here and at KSF's Therapy Center starting tomorrow. The staff knows me well from two years ago when I was having some major problems with anemia, and inflammation in my leg. The doctor gave me almost two units of the blood I donated before surgery but it didn't help much. Plus, the hydrocodone pain meds were simply not working to relieve my pain. I was in a real mess and got behind on my therapy at the most critical period. It took almost a year before I could start seeing some improvement. I sure don't want that to happen this time so they prescribed percoset this time.
Here's some pictures...
Yeah, I threw the one with the zipper in myself. Gotta have some humor in everything we do or it just isn't worth doing.
Oh, and I learned today that replacement knees don't hold up forever. Twenty years is about tops. I'm not sure I want to do it again. For one thing, it's even more complicated, and the success rate is much lower. I may just have to squeak when I wear these out.
Over the weekend we drove to San Antonio to visit with some long-time friends and fellow Eggheads for a small gathering at Casa de Ranger, the fitting name for Lawn Ranger's home and outdoor kitchen. Although it was quite warm and the air filled with smoke from multiple Big Green Eggs going full blast, it was a most enjoyable two days.
In as much as the people's names won't mean that much to anyone except Eggheads who already know who they are, I just decided to create a little video of the event.
Two years ago when I had my left knee replaced with an artificial one, my doctor said it's just a matter of time before I will need the right one replaced.
Well, that time will be August 1st, hopefully real early in the morning.
I've already done much of the paperwork and lab tests, started taking iron supplement pills and donated my first unit of blood. I donate the second one next week. And a few days before surgery i have to have another blood test and start injecting a form of blood thinner into my stomach.
Meanwhile, I've been trying to get done what will need doing for the next couple of months. Nothing serious because we pretty much keep everything up to snuff around here. But we did want to do some landscaping of our front entrance. And as usual, we picked the hottest, most humid days of the year to do it. But it sure looks better than before. It has been raining lot lately. We're not complaining, for sure.
While on our way to Hiawassee, Georgia, we stopped in Memphis to tour Graceland. It was exactly what we expected and a lot that we didn't expect. Elvis fan or not it's worth the trip.
We didn't take our camera in, although we quickly learned that we could have so long as we didn't take flash photos. So we used our iPhone. A big difference in quality but the photos still came out pretty good.
Judy assembled this video entirely by herself. I think she did a really good job.
After leaving Athens, Texas, Judy and I made our way to Hiawassee, Georgia for the Georgia Mountain Eggfest.
Here's the morning view from our hotel balcony. Nice huh...
We arrived on Wednesday and left for home Sunday morning, driving 600 miles to New Orleans with only two stops. (It was all downhill). We wanted to say hi to Judy's sister, Joyce and husband, Allen, who had just returned from an Italian vacation. We were all tired so we went on to our hotel and left them to get some sleep before having to return to work.
We spent a few hours putting together a video of the Georgia Mountain Eggfest. Here's the link.
Judy and I attended the second annual Athens Eggfest in Athens, Texas. It was on Mother's Day.
As expected, we saw a lot of old friends and met some new ones, not to mention eating a lot of really nice food that was cooked on the Big Green Eggs.
It is hard to describe what an eggfest really is so I usually take a lot of photos, borrow photos from others and add some music to a video I post on YouTube for all the world to see. Here's the link to this year's Athens Eggfest 2012 - The Movie.
We left Athens driving to Hiawassee, Georgia for the North Georgia Eggfest. Since we had a few days to get there we stopped to visit friends, Richard and Charlotte, in Lewisville, Arkansas, then stopped in Memphis to visit Elvis (he wasn't home), then spent the night in Huntsville, Alabama before driving some serious mountain roads on into Hiawassee on Wednesday. I should be posting something about that part of the trip later.
The Mini Big Green Egg is just one of four that we have in our outdoor kitchen, The Chicken Coop. We call her Maggie Mini and she is a real trooper when it comes to quick meals. Since returning from the Salado Eggfest we have kept her pretty busy.
Here are some Shrimp Kisses that were very easy and very tasty.
And a pizza
Even some 'Chicken' biscuits
And some shrimp
And some Kashi Heart Healthy cereal
Of course, we did the usual hamburgers and hotdogs too. It's a fun little cooker.
We're home and 'almost' recovered from one really fun-filled weekend in Salado. It could not have been nicer. The weather was great, the crowd was large and the food was delicious. Lots of men in kilts, including me.
Anyway, here's the movie I put together with photos taken and shared by everyone.
The next Eggfest is in Austin in late April. We may drive over for the day and not cook because the one in Athens, Texas is soon after that and we will likely be cooking there. Plus, we leave from Athens headed to Lewisville, Arkansas to visit some friends, then on to Memphis to speak to Elvis, then to the North Georgia Eggfest. By then our travel budget will be shot and we will still have two more Eggfests to go: Texarkana and Plano.
We're about 90% packed but not quite loaded for the first Eggfest of the season. This one is in Salado, Texas and starts tomorrow. Here's the link to the site if you're interested: http://saladoeggheadgathering.blogspot.com/
The weather promises to be good but up until two days ago there was a 30% chance of thunder storms. Not good for an outdoor event.
Because this Eggfest is on St. Patrick's Day, there will be lots of Irish Green. And a few of us with Scots blood will be wearing kilts. Since I'm Scotch/Irish I'll be wearing both: Bottom Half - Scotch and Top Half Irish. Here's me in a test run of my outfit.
Cute ain't I? Wait 'til you see me with all my accessories on.
Just like all Eggfest, Judy and I will be cooking on the Big Green Egg and serving to other Eggheads, Egghead Want-to-be's and people who are just curious about what the heck we're doing. With 40 cooks cooking an average of 2.5 recipes with about 50 bite-size servings each there will be about 5,000 snacks served.
No, we're not trying to make money or feed the crowd, we just want to introduce them to some of the stuff we can and often do cook on the Egg. For many of the 'tasters' it gets them to thinking and before long some of them actually purchase an Egg of their own.
A few of us will have arrived from as far away as Old Mexico, Canada, New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Louisiana. Most are from Texas. We usually start our party early with a Friday night Meet & Greet. Yes, we do a lot of meeting and greeting, especially greeting. Then after the Eggfest itself on Saturday, we meet up again for an After Party. In other words, we will be doing a lot of partying come Friday and Saturday.
I usually take a lot of photos and video and make them into a YouTube video. It should be pretty interesting. Stay tuned.
When Hurricane Ike came through a few years back it did a number on our stained glass weathervane on the Coop.
Up 'til now it has either been too cold or too hot or too wet or too windy or I was too lazy to do anything about it.
But food cooked in the Coop just doesn't taste as good when you know something is amiss.
So I loaded up on strong caffeinated coffee this morning and took on the task of replacing the old weathervane with a new brass one Spring Hen gave me for Christmas.
Knowing I could possibly break some flagstone if I should fall I thought it through and made me a type of chicken ladder to get from the bottom of the roof to the top. I included a hook on the upper end to keep it from sliding and installed some speed bumps to slow my slide should I fall.
Then I had to climb up with a sack of tools to remove the old and see what I needed to install the new one.
After a few trips back and forth, I finally got 'er done and survived for another day. Here's some photos.
We won't know for a bit if the food tastes better but the rum and coke I'm drinking tastes wonderful. I'm thinking the second and third one's will too.
I should point out that No Flagstone Was Injured During This Event...
Judy and I drove to New Orleans to attend the wedding of our nephew, David Ranlett, to Rhonda Ramos. The night wedding took place in the small town of Mandeville which is across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. There was a great turnout of family and friends in spite of a Saints playoff game that night just a few miles away. It was a nice wedding.
Here they are as Husband and Wife.
We returned home Sunday to await the LSU/Alabama BCS Championship Game also being played in New Orleans.
That being said, we did nothing and went nowhere to ring out the old and in the new. Well, we did watch the ball drop in NY on TV but three minutes later I was asleep and remained that way until 6:00 AM.
Meanwhile, I ended the year in a doctor's office. Yep! My 'good' knee is really acting up and causing some serious pain. It may also be causing some back pain that literally puts me down. The only way I can get relief is to lie flat on the floor for fifteen or twenty minutes. Of course, the back pain and knee pain could be totally separate from each other.
The doctor was concerned that I may have a blood clot in my right leg so he made immediate arrangements for me to get a 'doppler scan.' I won't know officially until tomorrow or Tuesday but unofficially, it's not a clot. Otherwise I would have been kept at the hospital for treatment.
The first treatment option will likely be a cortisone injection in my knee. He's thinking that by taking away the knee pain I will walk normal again which, in turn, will reduce the back pain. If not, we can tackle the back to see what's causing it.
Anyway, it would appear that I'll be seeing doctors during 2012, just like 2011, 2010, etc.