Sunday, October 30, 2016

Crosley Field Redux

 I've had only one brush with Crosley Field - the real, original Crosley Field - and that was in 1966 when I attended a Beatles concert there. That field is long gone but Tom was telling me that a Crosley Field Red-Creation was constructed in Blue Ash, Ohio ... so yesterday we went to see it.

 Re-constructed in 1988, the "new" Crosley Field is located on Grooms Road. It's part of the Blue Ash Sports Center.

 My first impression was that is wasn't as big as the original Crosley Field but I can't find anything which notes its scale. Maybe I simply remember Crosley Field being larger? Certainly some of the expansive bleachers at the original ball field are not here and that alone would make it seem smaller.

 The scoreboard and some of the seats are from the original park.

 A new story about where various items from the original field are located was published here.

 This plaque is fixed to one of the original ticket booths from the original Crosley Field.

 Of course for most Crosley Field was the home of the Cincinnati Reds from 1884 to 1970 It was called Redland Filed before 1970). But for me, it was home to the Beatles, if only or half an hour.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Watermelon that Could

 Back on Memorial Day weekend, Tom and I cooked out. He brought a fresh watermelon that we sliced and ate on the edge of the porch, spitting seeds into the grass. That's late in the season (05/28) to be planting melons but I kept a few of the seeds, planted them in the garden and marked them with a small flag.

 On July 2, this is what I found  ...

 The melon Tom brought was certainly low in seeds and I expected it was some sort of hybrid where the seeds wouldn't sprout, and if they did, who knew what they'd turn into to. But by the first of July there was not only a vine, but the first melon set.

 I took a picture of the leaves to make sure we had a watermelon and not something strange. Yep, looks like a watermelon.

 On July 8, the tiny melon was already expanding and showing a few green stripes.

 By July 13 - my birthday - things were really changing. I was watering the garden regularly

 By 9/7 I saw another small melon beginning.

 The original melon, by 9/25, was about a foot long.

 On October 4, I found a second large melon as the leaves began to fade.

 The first melon to set was quite large and appeared ready-to-eat on 10/4. But, was it?

 Yesterday (10/22) Tom and I picked the three melons. This is the original. It felt solid and ready for the plate.

 Tom has a unique cutting device that slices a whole watermelon at one time. You have to cut each end off so the melon sits flat and then you push the cutter down through it. We took it to the sink to make the initial end cuts. As Tom carried the melon outside to use the cutting device, the melon split. I suppose it was due to water pressure from the recent rains (we had 1.88" late last week).
 Most importantly, we could see that the melon was ripe.

 And here it is after the cutter dropped down through it. Each slice is thin enough to hold and eat. But we cut the melon from the rind and placed the slices in a container for easy storage.

 Here's the result. Beautiful, sweet red flesh ... perfectly ripe. It took less than three months to go from seed to this. We've been lucky that there has been no frost and the melon has been able to stay in the garden this late in the season. I've covered the vine with a sheet twice but neither time did we have frost.

We'll have to try this again.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Obergefell Speaks on Landmark Case

 Yesterday (10/15) Tom and I attended an "author talk" by Jim Obergefell at the 2016 Books by the Banks event at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati.

 The talk was moderated by John Faherty, Executive Director of The Mercantile Library.

John Faherty (l) and Jim Obergefell

Obergefell was instrumental in making same sex marriage legal in the United states. The case - Obergefell v. Hodges - concluded that "the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples". See the Wikipedia entry by clicking here.

The case was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 25, 2015.

Tom bought Obergefell's book (Love Wins) and had it signed when it was first released. Obergefell also met with readers at a table at Books by the Banks.

 The hour long talk allowed for questions from the audience.

Jim Obergefell

 While at the event Tom met with illustrator/author Loren Long, too.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Another Tree Clean-Up Day

 We keep losing trees. First the ashes due to the Emerald Ash Borer (click here for the most recent professional tree removal) and now the pines. I'm not sure what's happening to the pines. Is it simply climate or have they outlived their usual life? Many approach thirty years old.

In any case, they are dying. On September 26 Mom and I came home from the library to find a pine laying down in the yard (our neighbor tells us it was down earlier that morning). It was a windy day and we had gusts from a cold front passing through.

September 26 

September 26 

 Tom helped on October 1. He removed the branches of the fallen pine while I hauled the debris to the garden for burning.

 We had quite a fire. Luckily it had rained earlier that day (and, in fact, the day before and the day after) so the fire stayed contained within the garden area. In fact, only the straw under the fire burnt.

 Then, on October 8, Bob stopped by and cut not only the trunk of the tree still laying in the yard, but another pine which stood nearby and was dead.

 Bob makes short order of the fallen pine. How efficient a chain saw is.

 He even takes the stump out nearly even with the ground.

 Then he takes down the standing pine, long dead.

 Part-way through he changes the blade.

 It's a fairly quick process ... if you know what you're doing. And Bob does.

 Later the same day, Tom and I carry all the logs to our woodpile and all the branches to a burn pile in the garden. It goes up in flames quickly and produces such a searing heat that the hairs on my arm are singed off, else curled and white. I know I was getting too close a time or two.
 As the weather has been dry and the day fairly windy, we had to watch the fire carefully and keep a hose and other tools handy. The straw that covered the garden burnt a little too well so I hosed it down and prevented further loss.

 I walked back outside at sunset (about 7 pm) and took this shot to the west. It's a new view for us, That open area in the middle was the home of both ashes and both pines. I now have four bur oaks planted in that area and in several decades I suppose it will again be obscured.

 When I went to bed I looked out at the garden and saw one bright orange spot where the fire still smoldered. This morning the stack of ashes is reduced to almost a level white spot.

 And so Pinehaven becomes less wooded with every year.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Pineapple/Coconut/Pecan Cake

 They're calling it a "Do Nothing Cake" but that's hardly true. It seems to me there's about as many steps in making this cake as any other. Worse, "Do Nothing Cake" doesn't give any idea what the cake actually is. So I'm christening mine a Pineapple/Coconut/Pecan Cake since those are the primary ingredients.

 This cake appears on so many websites - some without coconut - that it hardly seems a copyrighted recipe at this point. So I'll list the ingredients and make a few notes.

Pineapple/Coconut/Pecan Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1  teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-20 ounce can crushed pineapple (with juice)

1 stick margarine (1/2 cup)
1 cup sugar
1-5 ounce can evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded coconut

1. Mix cake ingredients; pour into 13 x 9" greased baking pan; bake at 350° for 40 minutes until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean
2. Heat butter, sugar and evaporated milk in a saucepan for frosting
3. Boil several minutes - Careful: it can foam and boil over!
4. Remove from heat and add coconut and pecans
5. Remove cake and poke holes for frosting to run into cake
6. Pour frosting over cake; spread out evenly with a spoon.

 ... and here's what it looks like in progress:

Dry cake ingredients mixed 

Cake batter poured into a pan, ready for baking 

Making the frosting, sans coconut and pecans 

The cake's just out of the oven 

Poking holes (I used a caramel apple stick) 

The finished cake, frosting in place

 Pretty easy and pretty delicious but hardly "do nothing".

Monday, October 3, 2016

Henhouse Gets New Window

 Back in July, I happened to see that a window on the henhouse had fallen out. The place is old and some of the wood is rotten. Though we still call it the henhouse, it's more accurately a potting shed at this point, I also contains the leftover bricks from when this house was given a veneer back in the 1960's.

 Here's what I saw on July 11 ...

 The window frame had collapsed and both panes of glass were lying on the ground.

 Later that same day I found a piece of Bakelite in the barn and covered the gaping hole. I also painted it white to match the henhouse. Mom said she didn't like the looks of it and could I find a replacement window?

 I wasn't in a hurry. Where was I going to find another old window? But on August 8 I went into the henhouse and measured the opening. This is the interior view I sent Tom. He gets into stores that I never frequent and felt sure he could find something,

 Also, for comparison, I walked to the north side of the henhouse and took this picture of the other existing window. Bob and I framed this one up in the early years when we actually kept chickens here.

 Tom found a window and delivered it several weeks ago. It was slightly too wide, though the height was close to perfect. Yesterday (October 2) I decided to tackle the job.

 First I removed the cover board and had access to this gaping hole. I measured the internal frame and cut a little off the window Tom supplied (that's it lying inside the frame on the stacks of house bricks). It turned out to be not quite as bad a project as I had figured.

 Here is the window first slipped into place. It required a little trimming to fit properly and a little shimming to level. But it fit into the opening and I think it looks good.
 There's lots of rotten boards on the henhouse (evidence the bottom left of the window) but I suppose I have bought time with this repair.

 From a distance here's how the henhouse looks after installing the window.

 And here's how it looks after trimming it with a redwood frame. I initially planned to paint the redwood white but everyone likes the contrast better. So, for now, project done.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Hunan House Buffet (again)

 Yesterday was Tom's choice for lunch and he picked "that Chinese buffet in Miamisburg". I had first suggested the Golden Corral but he said he'd rather go somewhere else. Tom has had Mediterranean fare twice in the past week so he seems to be on a foreign-food roll.

 Of course I enjoyed the Hunan House Buffet when we were there before so I was happy to go again. Their $6.75 all-you-can-eat buffet really can't be beat. The selection is truly remarkable.

 I piled my plate with veggie favorites. They keep plain white rice hot in an electric cooker at the rear of the buffet area and I had a generous helping of that, I also scooped a selection of hot vegetables (broccoli, corn, carrots, mushrooms, water chestnuts and celery) and a few vegetable rolls. Their egg rolls - sadly -all contained meat.

 I went back and had a second helping of the same thing,

 The desserts are incredible: tiny cakes, bananas with a sweet red sauce, puddings, Jello, ice cream and a variety of tiny cakes. On my second trip I took a slice of tiramisu, a cake with a strong coating of coffee. Delicious!

 Tom came up for air long enough for me to shoot this picture. I wasn't sure he was breathing.

 And myself, taking a short break.
 Here's my fortune cookie.

 The Hunan House Buffet is located at the Miamisburg Plaza Shopping Center. Click here for more information. Highly  recommended.