Thursday, October 27, 2011

Western Cooking

Sometimes I cook outside on a round grill grate set up on rocks over an open fire. It's not exactly an ideal setup because it's difficult to get the grate set at just the right height above the coals, and fire always burns unevenly, which can give you a steak that is half medium rare and half well-done.

So I was impressed (and jealous) when I saw this adjustable cooking tripod my neighbor built.  Check this baby out: it has a hanging grate with a chain and a pulley to set it at just the right height.  And if the coals burn unevenly, you can put a light spin on the grate to make it rotate back and forth for even cooking.

These are my neighbors Jay and Judy.  They live in the Phoenix area most of the year, but Judy owns a place about half a mile from my cabin, and they come up as often as they can get away.  About a year ago, Judy stumbled across my blog and sent me an e-mail, and early last summer, Mari and I went over to meet them. We've all since become good friends. 

Jay is the genius behind the cooking tripod.  He owns and runs a machine shop, where he designed and machined the top piece and then attached the legs, the pulley and the grate.

The flames were still a bit high for cooking, but Jay put on some corn so I could get a few pics while there was still enough light.

They had planned to wrap the corn in foil, but I threw off the timing with the pictures.  The corn still turned out very well, moist and perfectly cooked.  Now I want one of these tripods.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thoughts of Autumn

A frosty 20° this morning.  
 I'm not quite ready for winter yet, though I am looking forward to going skiing.  The snow usually settles in for the long haul after the first week of November.  Before that, we have to survive the onslaught of the general hunting season, which starts this weekend and lasts until Nov 27.

Here are a few pics of the fall colors on the East Fork Road.

 I'm taking this one for a metaphor of my life in Montana—I can't see where it's headed, but the beauty and rightness of it all keeps me traveling this road.

One of these days, when I get all my work done early, I'll go out and get some better fall color photos.  Make that one of these days before hunting season starts on Saturday.

Monday, October 10, 2011


This was inspired by Jotsalot's suggestions that I do posts about a day in the life and my writing space.  I'm combining these into one post because, until I finish my draft, they need to be the same thing.

I usually work inside in my recliner with my computer on my lap.  It's comfortable, and the bookshelves are nearby.  On warm days I sometimes go outside and work by the river.  I've been doing this more lately in an attempt to enjoy every last minute of nice weather, which is quickly slipping away.  (These pics are from early last week.)

 "This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long." Shakespeare Sonnet 71.  

Any interruption by another person can end a day’s creativity (which is why I unplug my phone when I remember to), but occasional visitations from wildlife like these dippers add to the setting and the feeling of immersion in nature.  

"I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief." Wendell Berry.

This golden-mantled ground squirrel crept under my chair.  I didn’t notice it until it darted forward under my feet and into the grass.  I don’t think it noticed me until the return trip, when I moved so it wouldn’t mistake my leg for something to be climbed.  It scampered back into the grass and gave me this look.

When I face the river, the sun tends to shine right on the computer screen.  Over the course of a day it chases me around the yard as I have to move to find a shady spot where I can see what I'm doing.

"Again I hear these waters, rolling from their mountain-springs with a soft inland murmur."  Wordsworth, Tintern Abbey.

A steller’s jay stops for a drink and to see if I have anything worth stealing.

Then a gray jay.

Then fall arrives with wind and the threat of rain to drive me back inside.

"Sometimes you begin to push; you want to hurry the sun, have the hours expand, because clouds come."  William Stafford, The Hay-cutters.

Inside I work in my chair with a more restricted view.  (These pics are from a later day, when it was cool and rainy.)

"Can you hear me that when it rains and shines, it’s just a state of mind?"  Lennon-McCartney

I don't see any wildlife in here, but sometimes the clouds do interesting things.

As the sun goes south over the next two and half months it will creep to the right and into this view.  On the shortest days of the year it will rise at the lowest point on the ridge, almost in the center of the pic below.  And though the sun is dim on the short days of winter, it is strong enough to make working in front of this window impossible.  I'll have to pull the blinds and feel like I'm in box, but it only lasts a few hours each day.

"But so much patience as a blade of grass grows by, contented through the heat and cold." Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Patience Taught By Nature.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Random Thoughts From Sula

  • I’ll never be able to bring myself to use “apatosaurus” instead of “brontosaurus.” It’s not like I say brontosaurus all that often, but still . . .
  • When someone asks you what you think about something, it’s usually a prelude to them telling you at great length what they think about it. And they've given it a lot of thought.
  • There is widespread confusion about the difference between forego (to go before) and forgo (to do without).
  • I think it’s pretentious to use “office” as a verb, as in “We office downtown, across from the plaza.”
  • Careful how you say that: Djibouti is in the Horn of Africa.