Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE On The Road Again -- Estivate or Vagabate: Reprise

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

Greetings Virtual Travellers:

  Estivate or Vagabate: Reprise

I've decided on a little of both. CyB invited me to share their huge space in the hills north of Pie Town New Mexico, boondocking in a strict sense: Bring your own solar power. Even the well pumps only when the sun shines. So I will sit here for a while and see what there is to see. Except for the little bit of vagabation, just for effect. The getting here, and return to Tonopah, will be a part of that however there will also be some small short excursion to visit a few friends and perhaps run a Summer Camp on Wheels. More about that later, if it happens.

Leftover from Last Letter:

Speaking of mountains... I miss the mountains of New England, especially for the tall trees and sense of closeness and safety. The occasional great view through a slot in the trees is always a reward. The mountains hereabouts, in the southwest desert, are all open, above timber line right from the trailhead; one becomes inured to the great view--partly cos too often all one can see is the yellow-brown smudge of smog from places like Phoenix--and instead seeks comfort in the shelter behind a cactus or a creosote bush on a steep slope or sheer edge.

Despite that feeling of discontent I had a great hike on Saddle Mountain last week. A sort of present to my Self to take the time to do it again, to look for the new cache at the summit, to explore a new trail cleared by some old geezer renegade trail maker. I like what I remember from my old trail better and now will have to climb again that way just to be sure and to see if there is some route to make a loop of the two ways. But it may already be getting too hot. Such a hike would have to start at first light--before breky even unless one got up awfully early.

Already too late for that today and I've not had breky yet. Besides, I'm out of beer and other comestibles; today will be a shopping day.
Steven Building a House with Lego.

Happy Big Wind Day

Seems like only yesterday I was writing last year about The Big Blow. This week at Casa Blanca I am constructing a small garden house. Sort of like putting together Lego Blocks. The walls are up; today we might get the roof started. Alternating with that project, I'm digging a hole in the side of the bus to install a window in the head so as to better display one of my early stained glass windows: Human Contemplating the Cosmic Muffin.

Here is another quiz. Probly many of you have seen it already in one SPAM mail or another.

Of late there has been some trading of recipes for strange concoctions of comestible delight. Here is another recipe... more like a storey about a recipe:

Recipe for my World Famous Peanut Butter Soup.The Wall Before Digging Commenced.

When I make peanut butter soup I generally just make it. I sort of look around and feel how many peanut butter persons there are and then I find an accommodating kettle. Sometimes I guess wrong; like the dinner party a few months back where I had more soup left over than what I started with. Sometimes I try new ideas for ingredients as I go along although I am not too good at covering up bad ideas I bask well in the stock when it responds flavourably.

If I were making peanut butter soup for the three of us, and Freddie too I suppose, I would want to start with a ten inch cast iron skillet or an ei8ht inch iron pot. None of them fancy hightech stone lined flimsy things nor aluminium either. And the skillet must have a tight fitting cover too. I also prefer gas for surface cooking. And wooden spoons for stirring.

Then I want to saute in olive oil one chopped medium onion, about this <--------------------------> big and two or three crushed cloves of garlic. But before the onion is clear add a healthy dollop of butter (that's R E A L butter, I will not be responsible and you cannot use my name in association with this soup if you use any of those sickly spreads) and two or three times as much peanut butter, crunchy or smooth. Crunchy is better, I think. I have been experimenting with adding additional crushed peanuts as well.

Now we lower the heat and cook until all the grease melts and blends. Then add a little flour. One cook explained to me that you should use as much flour as you did butter. I hadn't been doing that but it is an area to experiment with. The flour is important to bind the grease with the yet to come liquids. You don't want any free grease floating about the soup. When the flour is all taken up by the grease then you add milk. Verrrry slowly, stirring all the while with the wooden spoon, you add the milk a little bit at a time. You can also add water and or chicken broth in addition to or in place of the milk to bend the flavour one way or the other and modify the rich creamyness.
Through the Inside, The Frame of an Original Window.
It is important to keep the whole mess moving while it is thick so as not to scorch it. Nothing is worse than burnt peanut butter soup. Once you have adequate liquid to make the thickness and volume required to satisfy your desire and your guests you add a few twists of fresh ground black pepper and simmer, just barely, for ten minutes.

Serve in warm bowls garnished with three roasted peanuts (still in their shells) floating on top. Crackers may be provided with a thick grape preserve (like Welches Grapelade) as a condiment.

What I strive for is to have the onion and the crunchy peanuts chopped to about the same size and the onion not cooked too much so your tongue has a hard time telling them apart from the peanuts. Generally speaking this is a thick rich creamy soup and about a cup is enough to start a dinner. It is not to be confused with the peanut sauce typical of Thai cooking.

48f here this Friday the 13th morning.Pounding Nails on the LaST Roof.

Cold enough to light the oven and bake a long overdue banana bread. And have some nice oatmeal with chopped dates for breky. Max wind here yesterday was 37mph however some folks in Surprise were talking about 70. That's no surprise to me, they always drive too fast. Today we'll have a lot of cleaning up after to do and then get on with putting up the roof on the LaST building.

Would you like me to mail you a slice of banana bread? Needless to say it would then be male'd banana bread even without its nuts, eh? Perhaps it would be better if I only send along the recipe.

Oatmeal and Gout

For some reason or other today I looked up oatmeal and gout and came up with some interesting pages and contradictions of treatments. This one was especially good with their comment: "Having sex prevents men from getting gout. It seems that increased sexual activity reduces uric acid levels in fertile men." Somewhere else I read a similar statement regarding the incidence of prostate cancer. Man it just wears me out trying to stay healthy. (I didn't know men could be fertile but in my dictionary: Fertile: 5c capable of ... or of causing fertilization.)

New Window in The Head.Cold Front Out Back

Coming around again. Dawn temperature has been down to as low as 47f a few times this past week. Every day warms to 75-85 and then cools quickly at sunset. Too early for migration plans to take off.

The new window in the head--Human Contemplating the Cosmic Muffin-- is simply glorious! It gives a whole new perspective to standing at the funnel and causes a crick in one's neck when sitting on the throne. I'm so much satisfied with it that despite all the frustration and hidden expense I am getting excited all over again about cutting in a new window above the galley sink.

On other fronts, yesterday was a shopping day for more than only internet browsers. Comestibles of all sorts as well. Gran Mariner set me back forty dollars for 750ml! Oh well. I cannot remember when it was my last one, now with only a few sips remaining, was purchased nor what I paid for it, but you can be sure I am going to sip this one verrry slowly. See if I can make it last even longer.

Feast Day of Saint GeorgeSt.George as a Boy & His Pet Dragon.

Celebrate Saint George's Day--Take a Dragon to Lunch!

                 |  @___oo
       /\  /\   / (__,,,,|   * * * *  Gardyloo  
  /\  ) /^\) ^\/ _)
 <  > )   /^\/   _)
  ||  )   _ /  / _)
  | \ )/\/ ||  | )_)              Celebrate Saint George's Day
   \_____  |(,,) )__)                      23rd April
          /    \)___)\
      ___(      )___) )___
         _(_______;;; __;;;

  Here at The Cat Drag'd Inn we made short work of Saint George. Hero of his time tho he was, slaying dragons to rescue fair maidens and all that. I'd rather have a dragon any day--fiery breath, long tails, and a ride you wouldn't believe! So we ate Saint George this time instead of dragon.  Roasted just so in a sauce of tomato, basil, garlic, onion, and tarragon, with candied baby carrots on the side. YUM! A gorge on George never was so tasty.

This week I am plumbing a new structure and rewiring an old house that dates from before grounded outlets. The mains are a 60a service. Have to shop for parts at antique stores.

that was friday that just went by...

At least I think it was. I won't know for sure until tomorrow. Bailey's with my morning coffee is a Sunday ritual; that's how I'll know for sure.

Shopping In A Construction Zone

The paint is not dry on the white lines in the carpark and there is still all manner of construction around. The traffic control lights are not yet functional but the new Lowe's next to last year's new Frye's at Watson Road opened a day or so ago. Gas is struggling to stay under three dollars, Diesel is the least expensive at ten cents below regular. Fuel prices and the daily temperatures are in some kind of a race towards Summer. My insider at FEMA reports that the current goal of Homeland Security is to control population movement by pricing fuel out of reach of the lower and middle classes. Four dollars a gallon by this Summer.

Cinco de Mayo Eve

Oso con Migo took the first shower in the newly completed LaST Building. He's not had a bath or a shower in all his twenty-some years of estivating-ruminating-hibernating so this was a first at the LaST. Now he's all washed up. After getting all wet and nearly wrung out he took a ride in the "Ten Gee Centrifuge". He said of that: It was a dizzying experience; at least I won't have to be hung out to dry.

Commercial Worth Watching

I think so anyhow.  This squib probly will not be shown on your local TV channel.

And I'm all out of beer and ice cream again. I have simply GOT to get dressed and go shopping. At least the lump in Sara(h)'s tail seems to be gone. That is one bright spot in this litany of woe.

Eye Test for The Clothes Minded...

This went around the internet as "Eye Test for Those Over 40. If You See Sheep..." And did you? That photo was taken in Australia and the original along with several others of the artists work can be found at the  i-20 gallery and Hales Gallery.

The artists homepage is here in case you'd like to sign up to participate in a shoot.

Q: What time is it?

A: This gets a little complicated, so hang on.
* The state of Arizona does not switch to Daylight Savings Time in summer.
* Within the state of Arizona, the Navajo Reservation does switch to Daylight Savings Time.
* Within the Navajo Reservation lies the Hopi Reservation. The Hopis do not switch to Daylight Savings Time.
* The state of Utah does switch to Daylight Savings Time.
* Exception: Dangling Rope Marina, which is in Utah, does not switch to Daylight Savings Time. They run on Arizona time.
Simple, huh?
Vulture Peak GeoCache

1st of June - Summer Camp Begins

 I've relocated to the side of a hill called Wind Horse, located somewhere along a line between Pie Town and Grants New Mexico at about 7,500'MSL on the Continental Divide. We actually had a sprinkle of rain a few moments ago but not enough to float a kayak. Cleaning up after Several Stupid Mistakes along the Way will keep me busy and away from the estivation I was so much looking forward to. Along the road from Tonopah to here I visited: Vulture Peak [GC54F], Pecos Pete in Prescott, Watson Lake [GC10WGJ], the Kaibab National Forest [GC8CE$ & GCXXX], Laura [not a cache, just for dinner & scrabble], Standin' On The Corner In Winslow AridZona [GC64F7], and managed to find Diesel for less than three dollars a gallon. One of the stupid mistakes was that of over-filling the main tank AND leaving the auxiliary tank transfer switch on. The result of that was about six gallons of precious Diesel from the auxtank went into the already too full main tank and subsequently into a puddle on the tarmac. Aside from that the trip was a lot of fun despite being alone again, naturally:
Watson Lake kayaking
My hike to the summit of Vulture Peak was a special event. Over dressed and over packed it seemed as I started out however by the time I was out of site of the carpark I was getting down to basics.

Lunch with Pecos Pete in Prescott and a few hours kayaking on Watson Lake took up another two days. The water level of the lake is down nine feet from what I recall of my last visit a year or so ago. Some of that is seasonal variation, some of it is questionable water management. Nice water but not fit for swimming. Pinnacles of weathered granite jut up out of the water making a maze of channels and islets to play amongst. There is also a bike trail nee railroad bed and a campground so it is a nice place to spend a few days away from the desert. On one island there was a geocache. Good thing I was there early enough in the morning to make a go of it.

Days and days went by as The Cat Drag'd slowly along through Williams to Winslow and beyond. Geocaches took up much of the driving time; some were short walks through the woods others were right along the road. Drive-thru's as it were--Grab&Go... Dinner with Laura. Laundry at Flying-J and a chance to catch up on mail. Over all it was a nice slow drive. The fifteen miles of washboard north of Pie Town going into Wind Horse was especially slow: walking speed over much of it.

Have you visited any of the chat room churches where you can animate your avatar to stand and kneel and pray? If you are still there when the collection plate comes around it will make a deduction from your credit card.

Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.

Love, ajo

front page trailerI do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. --Sir Isaac Newton

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Copyright © 2007, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.