Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Chicken Coop's Progress

These photos were taken around Thanksgiving. I still have to build some cabinets for my two Big Green Eggs.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

EggtoberFest - Atlanta 2006

We finally made it to EggtoberFest in Atlanta. What a nice way to enhance a great hobby. We saw lots of old friends from the Texas and Oklahoma Eggfests and met a lot of folks we only knew by their Big Green Egg Handle and their posts on the Big Green Egg Forum. But we also met some people who just got into "Egging" and haven't really spent much time on the Forum.

Then there's the food... WOW! So much and so wonderfully good. Judy and I didn't cook but there were over 200 Eggs set up for that purpose and at least 175 cooking on them (some were cooking on two or more Eggs).

We had a great time for sure and will likely be back. If you want to see some photos click here:

WessB combined a lot of his own photos with others to give you a taste of how great it was. Enjoy...

Monday, September 25, 2006

My "Chicken Coop" Outdoor Kitchen

I've been busy these past few months and neglected my Blog site. Shame on me.

Let me start by saying that a few months ago a Big Green Egger friend's house burned down because of a spark that came from his Big Green Egg (in the driveway, no less) and flew into his garage where it ignited something. Within minutes his house was on fire. Fortunately, no one was physically injured but I'm sure there will be emotional scars the rest of their lives.

So, with that incident fresh in my Sweetie's mind, I got instructions to move my Big Green Egg Cooking Center off the deck and away from the house. It took a while to figure out where and how but we finally decided that about ten feet from the house would be fine. That would permit a certain amount of convenience and a comfortable amount of security. And we would build it with the tools and skills I had rather than pay someone else to do it.

For the past four months I have been researching, planning, digging, cutting, nailing, gluing, and everything else necessary to build our version of an outdoor kitchen. We call it our "Chicken Coop." Here are a few of the construction photos up 'til 9-23-06.

As soon as I finish putting on the roof I will start on the cabinets and countertops. We already found a small refrigerator on sale and scooped it up. It sure comes in handy for cold drinks on hot days.

It's a slow process made slower by the fact that it was well into the upper 90° to 105° range much of the time. Plus, I've been somewhat lame due to a sciatica nerve problem in my hip and leg. And combine that with being 80 pounds overweight, blind in one eye and 65 years old and you get a very slow worker. But it is slowly coming along and everything seems to be working properly.

More pictures will follow as I complete the last remaining tasks. I hope you like it.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me..

I suppose when one reaches 65 years of age it is a milestone worth celebrating. And celebrating I did. My Sweetie and number one fan arranged for a few of us to meet at our favorite restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana on Saturday, May 6th. Actually, I share birthdays (May 8th) with my sister-in-law Joyce Schuyler (10 yrs younger) from Metairie, Louisiana, so Lafayette was a good half way point for us to get together. An added incentive is that the restaurant is operated by a friend of ours who wanted in on the action, Chef Wil Menard. He made sure that everything was perfect and that it would be a memorable experience. That it was.

Invitations were only sent to family members and two special friends I've known all my life: Emmilee Green and Carol Caprito. Emmilee and husband Joe live in Harrisonburg where we grew up. Carol and husband JT live just south of Lafayette in Franklin, Louisiana. Our friends and neighbors Pam & Tom Morris joined us and Tom did the driving when I tapped into the rum barrel. I'm pretty sure all had a good time.

Joyce and her husband Allen, asked their friends Liz and "Rat" to come help us celebrate. They came and from what I could tell, thoroughly enjoyed themselves too.

It was a good time, good food, good drink, good companions and good memories. Here are some favorite photos...

Allen and Joyce...

All smiles

Emmilee, Me and Carol

Just like old times

Tom, Pam, Rat and Liz

Thoughts of balloons...

Emmilee, Carol, Joe and JT

The start of a wave...

Leroy & Wil

We'll fatten you up some more Leroy...

Chef John Folse autograph

The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine

Leroy holding official Chitlin Party Shirt

Chitlin eater next year...

My Sweetie and Me

Making life worthwhile every single day...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Turning 65

Where did all the time go? It seems that just yesterday I was in my 50's and only months ago I was in my 30's. All of a sudden I'm retired, on Social Security and Medicare, a member of AARP, and suffer from arthritis. Somewhere along the line I mellowed and realize I'm probably not going to change the world.

Time," it seems, is relative. To what extent I don't know, except that by human standards, there is a beginning and an end. We're born and we die. And until humans invented the clock and calendar, the length of the period in between didn't matter very much. You simply woke up and tried to survive the day. If you did survive, you did the same thing the next day, and the next. If you were lucky you could do this about 10,000 times before you died. I've now done it 23,725 times and I'm still going pretty strong. Or, if I measured my life in hours and minutes and seconds as many humans do, then I have lived 569,400 hours. Or 34,164,000 minutes. Or 2,049,840,000 seconds. A lot of them were wasted in so many ways.

You know that age-old question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Well, I'm now "grown up" and I still don't know what I want to be. I suppose I could answer by saying "rich" or "famous" or "handsome" or "smart" but I think the point of the question is more toward what profession I would have enjoyed as an adult. But all things interest me, none so much that I would want to do it day in and day out for thousands of hours or millions of minutes or billions of seconds. So the hidden answer to that ageless question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" turns out to be, for me at least, "happy." Looking back, I think I have achieved it without ever knowing that it was my ultimate goal.

Friday, March 17, 2006

St. Patricks Day

Top o' th' morn' to ya.

Today is St. Patricks Day, a day when everybody is Irish. (Just what we need is one more excuse to party and drink with abandon.)

At first I thought about smoking a brisket on the Big "Green" Egg but changed my mind. Instead, I think I will make some IBT's (Irish Buffalo Turds). Oh so what if they look and taste like ABT's (Atomic Buffalo Turds)!!! They will be cooked and consummed on St. Patricks Day. For the Irish, that's close enough.

Friday, February 17, 2006

A New Phase of Life

In previous posts I mentioned that I was "semi-retired." That was true then but not now. As of December 31st I notified my customers that I was closing the business and planned to enjoy my retirement. So, officially, I am RETIRED.

It's interesting how I pay no attention to clocks or calendars anymore, well perhaps to make sure I'm at my doctor's appointment on time. Other than that, I don't care if it's Friday or Tuesday or Saturday or 8:00 AM or 1:00 PM. If the weather is nice, and it has been all winter, I may do something outside. If it's raining I have a cup of tea and maybe read a book, or take a nap. If I feel like doing something productive, I do it but on my own terms and my own pace. No pressure.

I think I have easily transitioned myself into the role of "Retiree" and I like it.

The downside of all this is the lack of funds to do everything I would like to do. For example, I really would like to have a custom built paver stone patio and outdoor kitchen. Some of it I might be able to do myself but with a bum knee and some kind of painful foot problem, it won't be done anytime soon. But I've got lots of time.

So here I sit, casually planning my day. The only thing that "Must" be done is feed the fish. Then I think I will do my exercises and maybe have a second cup of coffee. Life is tough on days like this... And I love it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hot Air Ballooning

When I was looking up the Sailing photos I happened on some other fond memories. My sweetie gave me a hot air balloon ride one year for my birthday. So cool! Only she would think of something like that.

We lived in Jacksonville, Florida at the time and since we were not into boating anymore, or golfing or fishing there was not much else left to do.

We met up at dawn at Jacksonville University in the Arlington section of Jacksonville. There were three balloons being set up for us and two other couples. We were in the yellow one.

It was interesting to see how the burners blasted hot air into the balloons and gradually they became upright. That's when we boarded and the pilot shot the juice to it. Man, the heat it gave off and the noise was something else, but we started lifting up, up, up, more heat (schuuuuuuu) and up, above the trees and climbing. We were on our way and totally at the mercy of the wind.

We went up about four hundred feet before the pilot decided to change directions. Yep! Total surprise to me that he could control the direction of a balloon. He dropped down about a hundred feet and instead of heading south we were now moving east. Then he took it up a bit and we were headed south again.

It wasn't long before we realized that we would be going directly over our neighborhood. He took it down some and we saw our house only a couple of hundred feet below us. We could hear our dog, Punkin, barking at the sounds of the balloon and we called to her. It was so cool.

Then we went up again and moved once more toward the south. We could see the other balloons going up and down and east and west as they did their own thing. Finally we were near Baymeadows Country Club and the pilot said we would be landing there.

We landed on a fairway that was still wet from the morning dew. We helped deflate the balloon and load it into the chase vehicle then we had our customary glass of champaigne, an old French custom dating back a century or more.

We decided to mosey over to Judy's Mom's apartment a couple of blocks away and surprise her. It was funny seeing the look on her face so early in the morning, especially when she learned that we "floated" in to see her.

It was certainly one of the highlights of our lives and will never be forgotten. Here are a few of the photos we took. We also took some 8 mm movies but they didn't turn out so good.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


A friend of mine just got a sailboat. I'm really happy for him. He's been wanting one for as long as I've known him. He had this one built special and he can't wait to put it in the water. The only problem is that it's still Winter up where he lives. Cute huh?

Well, his excitement got me to thinking back to when we lived in Miami back in 1976. We thought we would enjoy sailing in Biscayne Bay and perhaps on down the Keys, even to Key West. Never having owned a sailboat and not knowing the first thing about sailing, we took the Coast Guard Class on Sailing. bought a 23' Aquarius and became instant sailors.

It's funny how excited we were about this new adventure and every weekend we looked forward to getting the boat in the water and sailing off into the unknown (unknown because we didn't know much about our new found hobby). Meanwhile, we would clean and wax and practice setting up the mast and taking it down, stowing cargo and anything else we could think of.

We finally got it in the water and our practice paid off. We were sailing. And there were those proud moments when it all came together. Just the two of us or with our friends, sailing, sailing and loving every minute of it.

Even though my Sweetie and Number One Deck Hand probably wondered if we would survive, she seemed to have enjoyed it too.

It was fun but we soon came to realize that we were probably out of our league and we sold the boat. Looking back, I wish we had kept it. At least the adventure could have continued and we just might be real sailors by now.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Fredericksburg Bash

Fredericksburg... A night to remember.

One of the best things about owning a Big Green Egg is hanging out with others who own Big Green Eggs. It is a sight to see whenever there are two or more Eggheads and two or more Big Green Eggs. Such was the case last Tuesday, January 17th, in Fredericksburg Texas where a few friends of Mike "Lawn Ranger" Schweitzer from San Antonio got together to demo Big Green Eggs for the annual University Landscape Managers Conference.

When Mike asked if there were any Eggheads who wanted to volunteer to load their BGE's and drive to Fredericksburg to cook for 140 very hungry guys and gals, hands went up all over the Country. Eventually, a few had to back out for various reasons but we know they were there in spirit. Those who were able to come included Molly Shark, Sandbagger, One Shot One Kill, Mr. Popsicle and wife, GrillMeister, and Spring Chicken and Spring Hen, all from Texas, and SSN686 and wife all the way from Brandon, Florida. All experienced Eggers.

It also gave me an opportunity to show off my new small Big Green Egg and the transporter/cooking center I made special for the occasion.

Spring Chicken's Traveling Cooking Center

We lit our Eggs about 4:00 PM and cooked as hard as we could go until almost midnight for some obviously very hungry folks while a genuine German Ummpaaa Band played on. We also answered questions about the Big Green Egg and what makes it so special as a cooking tool. I think we created a lot of fans and possibly some future Big Green Egg owners.

Sandbagger and GrillMeister

Our assortment of food included ABT's, Beef Kabobs, Smoked Sausage on Pretzel Sticks, Chicken Teryaki on a Skewer, two or three kinds of shrimp, Wok Scallops, Pork Tenderloin, Rum Soaked Fruit Kabobs, Honey Maple Salmon and Pork Medallions.

Beef Kabobs

In addition, the night was just right for enjoying plenty of liquid refreshment. After abstaining for over two weeks a rum and coke tasted really good. So did six or seven others and I got a little "under the weather" so to speak. But I had fun.

Still Going After Six Hours

I can't wait until May when it's time for the 2006 Texas Eggfest in Austin. We've reserved a 26' camper trailer this time and will tow it from here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

New Big Green Egg

My Sweetie gave me a new Big Green Egg (small) for Christmas and it just came in today. By the afternoon I had it assembled and ready for cooking dinner. Here it is sitting on next to my large Big Green Egg.

I've been wanting a small BGE so we can take it with us sometimes. The large is much too heavy for easy transport although many Eggheads do it. The small is perfect because it only weighs 65 pounds.

Here it is sitting on the Spring Chicken Small Egg Transporter/Cooking Center. Notice the legs and feet.

Here it is serving as a transporter. Notice the cork padding under the Egg and felt band around the Egghole.

It came in just in time for us to take it to Fredericksburg, Texas next Tuesday for a demo for a group of landscapers. A fellow Egghead and friend is hosting the event and wanted the group to sample some of the food cooked on Big Green Eggs. There will be other Eggheads there to feed the 140+ crowd during their meet and greet party.

Now I will have to redesign my BGE Cooking Center to accommodate both of my Eggs.