Sunday, December 14, 2008

An old fashioned range supper.


I hope that if you haven't, you will take the time to read the post that follows this one -"Home for the Holidays". Here's hoping that all of you are enjoying this special time of year. Love - Brigid

GLAZED HAM DINNER - For Christmas - or just some of your favorite people.

Like my Mom, I enjoy cooking meals for friends and family. I especially enjoy digging out her old cookbooks, and those of my grandma, like the Settlement Cookbook (where instructions to cook the chicken dinner, start with actually catching and killing the chicken). The great length and detail to which these meals were crafted then was mind boggling.


But if a loved one stops by while in the area, I can still put one together. No one ever "taught" me to cook. I just watched.


It starts with a 5 pound smoked, bone-in, ham, covered with a thin layer of orange sauce. The meat thermometer is vital (this one here just in briefly for a photo op) for all large cuts of meat. It was my Mom's and is probably 40 years old. Wrapped in foil it's going to cook at a low temperature (300 for about 2 and a half hours).

To accompany the meat, fresh green beans, and homemade cornbread stuffing baked in a casserole, full of sage and caramelized onions and yeast rolls. And of course garlic mashed potatoes. While the potatoes are cooking I'll check the temperature of the ham and baste it with more orange sauce.

Then time to smash - roasted Yukon golds, roasted garlic, caramelized onions and some sour cream and parsley. OK. . where's the smasher?


The bun warmer is identical to the one we had when I was a kid that I found at Vermont Country Store. The rolls are baked earlier in the day, then heated gently in the bun warmer.


Everything is ready.

The table is set. The wine is poured.


I think Mom and Grandma would approve.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Letter to my Representative


I'm increasingly appalled by where the dollars in the 700 billion dollar bailout appear to be going. This is my best recollection of what I said in a letter to my state representatives in Congress. Not sure if it was heard then. I certainly hope, with the auto bailout vote looming, that lots of people have written of their displeasure.

Dear____________:

I ask, as a responsible homeowner, that you do not follow in the footsteps of Democratic senators and endorse additional bailout of the sub prime mess with tax dollars. As I write this, you are being asked to support using part of the seven hundred billion dollar federal bailout, which so far appears to be in excess of the entire cost of World War II (adjusted for inflation), to subsidize poor business decisions, deliberate risk taking and greed. Subsidize it with MY tax dollars.

The proposal to, among other things, bail out people in foreclosure, many of whom were sub prime borrowers, may seem humane on the surface, but it's wrong. And those begging for the bailout are saying we should do it for reasons like this:

KEITH ERNST(D) - Senior Policy Adviser - Center for Responsible Lending : "These are families who, in many instances, this house is their primary asset. It’s how they’re holding their wealth. It’s their nest egg for retirement. And those homes are a just tremendous jeopardy right now, and largely this is because of the shoddy underwriting that’s taken place in the sub prime market in recent years and these so-called mortgage resets, where a borrower’s interest rate could go from 8% to as high as 12% just two years into their mortgage. And this results in a payment increase of 30% to 40% on their mortgage."

You don't need a degree in economics to see the lunacy in this statement. He goes on to state that "1.4 million of these threatened sub prime homes are the owner's FIRST home purchase". Then he stated we should bail them out as it's their "primary asset". Most of those people bought those new homes with NO down payment. With no down payment and no principal being paid, they have no assets. They are paying the equivalent of rent for a home in which they have no equity. Even if the home is refinanced through this plan, it would be, in most markets, worth tens of thousands of dollars less than they owe on it. For a house to be a "primary asset", don't you have to have equity in it, or a reasonable chance to build some? The sentiment is humane, but the reasoning is flawed.

Certainly one would wish to help people who bought wisely, now in foreclosure due to their jobs being lost. But I ask that do not use my tax dollars to bail out greed and avarice, either in housing markets or banking and other industries that perpetuated their own situation with their own avowed practices.

Let's give an example.
For this I quote higher incomes, ones that some elected officials term "rich", if one is single. They are used for example only, $100,00 being easy to do the math on. Yet, cut the income quoted and home prices purchased in half, or by two-thirds, and the example remains true.

A person with an income of $100,000, whom I will call Brenda Doe, bought a smaller, older 3 bedroom, two bath home, priced at much less than the areas average house cost of $200,000. She put more than 15% down and financed the remainder at an interest rate of 6.4 percent with her good credit, with a fixed rate loan. Her monthly payment, including escrow for property tax and insurance, is around $1500 a month. That is about 30 percent of her take home pay after retirement contributions, leaving enough for repairs, food, transportation, small emergencies and student loans. This is her first home, bought after saving for years while living in a small apartment.

Then there is Mary Doe, who is older, single with no children, and has an income of $100,000 as well. Mary went from her rental condo that she could afford, and opted for an opulent, five bedroom, four bath, 3,500 square foot, $400,000 McMansion in the same geographic area as Brenda Doe. Mary put just 5% down and financed the rest with a 2/28 ARM. This loan allowed her to pay a low (for her less than great credit score, she admitted) interest rate during the two year introductory period. After that, the full amount of the loan would be recalculated over the remaining 28 years with a new rate.

Her initial low interest, first two year rate of 7%, with a property tax of 1.25 percent and a PMI of .5, resulted in house payment of $3244. That's almost 60% of her take home pay. But Mary hoped (I prefer the word gambled) that the market would boom along with her home value, that she indeed she would get the promotion and raise that had been hinted at, or even that she'd get married and have someone to share the expense in that two years.
Of course, that adjustable rate mortgage "adjusted" (hence the name) in two years and also had a balloon payment attached,wherein when the remainder of the loan is due after the introductory period in one lump sum.

Mary planned on refinancing at this point, but that didn't quite work out. By living in a house she couldn't afford on one income and using her credit cards to buy necessary items, with the house debt on the books as well, her credit score diminished greatly. Mary was still single and her promotion never came through as her company cut back and even laid off some folks. With that, and other market factors, financing wasn't an option. At the end of the two years, her interest rate jumped to 11% and her monthly interest payment to $4392 and she went into foreclosure. Homes in Brenda Doe's neighborhood are selling, slowly, and at a loss for the owner. But they are selling, as they are still in reach for people coming into the area with equity to get financing. Homes in Mary's neighborhood are sitting vacant in large numbers.

Luckily for Mary, the government, with your vote as our elected official, is proposing stepping in and providing billions of taxpayer dollars to restructure her loan, such as getting her lender to reduce her interest rate to 3% for five years, deferred payment on $100,000 of the balance and extending the length of the loan to 40 years, all with the help of one of the new, government-backed rescue programs which will help her and protect some of the losses of the predatory lenders. That will reduce her monthly mortgage bill. with taxes. to $1,511, about what Brenda Doe is still paying for an older, much, much smaller home in the same area.

Mary will essentially be able to hang on to her palatial home with the help of Brenda's and others tax dollars. As important as some of you may say that it is to the larger economy, it's hard to argue that it's fair, or even smart.

Yes, some borrowers were taken advantage of by predator lenders; good people trying to get ahead and provide for their families. Some bought homes they could afford and then lost jobs or had divorce, death, or serious illness of a family member enter their life. For those individuals, I would wish that there was some help. Extending unemployment benefits is one step. Bringing back tech and manufacturing jobs shipped overseas would also make more of a difference than giving an out of work stockbroker or IT specialist a shovel and pointing him or her at a road that needs repair.

I have been unemployed, more than once, due to corporate bankruptcy. I've been there and I had to sell my house or downsize and rent a smaller place. But I never expected the government to bail me out. Nor do I wish the government to bail anyone else out with our money. Yes . . . . ours . For it's not the government's money, it's ours, the American taxpayers. It should not go to bail out poor decision making, gambling on the market or greed. Publilius Syrun, a Roman author of 1st century, BC said it better than I -"Poverty wants much; but avarice, everything
.
No one bailed out those who bought tech stock in the late 90's. No one bailed out the gambler who took the money he needed for next months bills and went to Vegas and promptly lost it. People take risks with their money. Some turn a tidy profit, many more lose their shirts. Bailing them out to the tune of billions of dollars of taxpayer money is not the answer.

The best way to have market based corrections to our housing market is to allow those who made poor decisions on either end to take their losses and let the market recover, thus sending a message to corporate America. A message that says "get greedy or provide less than competitive services, and we will NOT bail you out". The housing bubble was bad. My home has lost a great deal of value, and thus the equity I worked so hard to save for, is gone. But one sure way to ensure bubble after bubble, be it real estate, insurance, cars, or other industry, is to institutionalize what someone at the Wall Street Journal wisely called "the one way bet".

It's not just about the economy. It's about greed. It's about living beyond our means, both as individuals and as a nation. This living beyond our means has been made possible by borrowing money we don't have, reducing current and future generations disposable incomes to heal something that has no immediate monetary band-aid. Heal it with resultant millions that will be unaccounted for, ending up in the personal pockets of those people who structured the problem in the first place.

Taking needed disposable income from working tax-paying American is simply throwing hard earned money at the very people and companies who should get as little as possible, thus structurally incorporating moral hazard to the long term economic debacle.

I'm not an economist. I'm not versed in banking or financing or real estate. What I AM is a taxpayer, who worked inordinately hard in school and life to get what little I possess, both in assets and earning power. I gained it through competitive hard work and honesty. As a taxpayer, the only economic stimulus that I would ask of you to uphold, as my elected representative, is to let the economy remain one of conscientious capitalism.

Sincerely,
Dr. BD.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Meme that wouldn't die. . . . . .

The batphone has rung so for tonight, a short post that I hope will make at least one or two of you smile. . . .

The meme going around. 100 things I've done. Those in bold, are it.

1. Started your own blog.

2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band. (clarinet)
4. Visited Hawaii. (Not vacation, work trip.)
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland. (The old original one.)
8. Climbed a mountain. (well ,technical hike more than climb, Mt. Hood, much younger with better knees.)
9. Held a praying mantis. (What are you, nuts?. . the females eat entire cars and their boyfriends after mating.)
10. Sang a solo. (People will pay me not to.)
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris. (Not for a holiday, a quick stop and go while going elsewhere.)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. (Does making brownies count as "art"?)
15. Adopted a child. (No, but was the birth mother of one.)
16. Had food poisoning. (All airport food tastes like chicken.)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.

18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train. (it's on the "bucket list")
21. Had a pillow fight. ( I'm the only girl in the family, think pillow massacre.)
22. Hitch hiked. (Not smart. . I know.)
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. (I was sick of meetings, that counts.)
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb. (They ARE tasty, though.)
26. Gone skinny dipping. (Is that like chunky dunking?)
27. Run a Marathon. (I did ride my bike 50 miles to raise money for diabetes once.)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run. (But I caught a fly ball at an Texas League game once.)
32. Been on a cruise. (Ugh - no thanks.)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. (Scotland, I love it there.)
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. (My needs are simple, friends, food, a fire, a dog, my guns and books)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke. (Only once and it involved bourbon. I was in south Florida -the song I chose was Willy Nelson's "blue eyes crying in the rain", but I sang it as "blue hairs driving in my lane", or so I'm told.)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance. (Got life flighted once.)
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing. (With my Dad.)
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. (Snorkeling yes, and it was grand.)
52. Kissed in the rain.

53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater. (My Dad took us once when I was really little.)
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia. (Tonight's dinner menu - horse and cream!)
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason. (There is ALWAYS a reason for flowers, it's just not always apparent,)
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma. (I'm O negative, the universal donor, they like me to show up, I've been known to take bribes of extra Oreos to show up as I do not like needles in me,)
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check. (I was 17 but most of Congress has, what's one more,)
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar. (Ewwwww - bait!)
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square. (Not without my concealed carry I won't,)
74. Toured the Everglades. (It would have been more fun if I'd got to drive the airboat.)
75. Been fired from a job. (I was 18, it involved wearing an elf costume, Santa and the mall, don't ask,)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London. (Saw the guards, didn't have the patience for the change,)
77. Broken a bone. (Arm twice, rib, nose and fingers.)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car. (Jeep years ago.)
83. Walked in Jerusalem. (No, I'm all for history but I prefer outdoor cafes without exploding things on the menu.)
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible. (Most of it, but not all.)
86. Visited the White House. (Got invited to the last two inaugurations but wimped out because I'd have to get all dressed up - doubt I'll see an invite to this one.)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. (Thanksgiving 2000, 19 pound jake.)
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life. (Not directly.)
90. Sat on a jury. (Got called once but given my job, I was disqualified.)
91. Met someone famous. (Wasn't impressed.)
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person. (It's wedged between these two giant buildings, sort of sad to look at.)
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake. (Remember The Far Side "Slug Family Disasters!")
97. Been involved in a law suit. (Only as a witness for one side - I do that a lot.)
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee. (African or European?)
100. Read an entire book in one day. (Usually Robert Parker, they're one day books but I enjoy them.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Maple Bacon Gravy



Serves three to four: (pictured over mashed potatoes and peppered tenderloin)

You will need:
milk
maple syrup
7 large pieces of bacon
chicken broth
Penzey's Mitchell Street Seasoning or Old Bay
crushed red pepper
olive oil (may not be required)
Parsley for garnish (optional)

For ease of assembly:

In one coffee mug place 1/4 cup chicken broth

In a second coffee mug place 1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon milk as well as  1 Tablespoon plus 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup. (note 1 and 1/2 tsp is 1/2 Tablespoon)

In a third coffee mug place 1 Tablespoon plus 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed well with 1/4 cup milk, 1/8 teaspoon Penzey's Mitchell Street Steak Seasoning (Old Bay is a close equivalent of spicy and savory) a pinch of crushed red pepper, and a small dash of salt and pepper.

Fry up about 7 pieces of Amish or thick cut bacon. (The Amish bacon, if you can find it, is generally less fatty, and fries up in thicker, bigger pieces).

Remove bacon to a paper towel to drain, and roughly chop into small pieces, set aside..

In your fry pan, pour off all but 3 tablespoons of bacon grease (if you can't eyeball it, pour off to measure but leave the browned bits in the pan).

If you have less than 3 Tablespoons of bacon drippings, add olive oil to bring it up to that amount.

Add chicken broth to the 3 T. of hot bacon drippings/oil in pan, lowering heat slightly so it doesn't spatter and whisk to deglaze the pan, stirring up the little brown bacon bits. Add the cup of milk/maple syrup mixture from the second coffee mug , whisking frequently over medium heat , just until it comes to a boil.  Reduce heat just slightly to maintain a simmer, and SLOWLY stream in the cornstarch/milk/spice mixture, whisking constantly, and continue to whisk as it bubbles at a simmer for about 7-8 minutes, until thickened. Add another Tablespoon of milk if you wish thinner gravy,

 Add bacon in, stirring to heat bacon and then SERVE IMMEDIATELY. 

Great on chops, tenderloin, chicken, waffles, biscuits.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

COLD PLAY

The sky wore a veil of gold and gray
Cold Play - Prospeckt's March

I missed shooting yesterday. In the morning, my favorite range was closed, but fighting a headache I was OK with that. In the afternoon Tam and Roberta X and I went to an indoor range, but feeling even punkier, I only shot a few rounds and eventually went home, not being good company and just not feeling well.

Today, after some medicine and a long sleep I woke feeling myself. . and cold!


SNOW. Even the birds are in hiding or gone south.

Soon the streets are quiet again, everyone home from early church services, a quick stop for coffee. Except one lone truck now headed off down a small road into the woods. The landscape is bleak.
Only a couple of other hardy souls are out, and a few more soon to arrive. Range Officers - come rain, come snow, volunteers all, they await.

The survival equipment is wrestled from her cold bag.

and in the cold and the wet. . . that first single shot rings out.


Cold Schmold. It's RANGE TIME!!!!!

Nanook Brigid of the North may have been one of the first to arrive but the others are only minutes behind.

Even the landscape is starting to look a little warmer.

A Range Report on the newest addition will post tomorrow afternoon!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

THE ECONOMICS OF QUALITY

The range was closed today, so off for a gun store crawl with friends. Hopefully in the next day or two, range time and a report on the new Bersa 380. One of the reasons this gun was selected was it provides a good quality gun, in a good concealed size for my form, at a very reasonable price.

Much of what one looks for in preparing meals for a group.

We start with leftover ham. A couple cups of it. Add a few inexpensive ingredients and you've got Home on the Range Rustler Russets. (also known in various forms as church supper potatoes in many, many cookbooks).

It's beyond simple, Take a 2 pound bag of hash brown potatoes. Stir in two cups of cheese of choice (I used a smoky cheddar) two cups of chopped veggies sauteed in butter until they are caramelized (all that butter they are cooked in goes in there too), a cup of sour cream, salt and pepper, a dash of garlic powder and a can of creamed soup.
Stir it up and put in a 13 x 9 pan. This will easily feed 6-8 hungry people. Top with a generous cup of crushed corn flakes which were mixed with two tablespoons of melted butter. The buttery corn flakes add a really nice little crunch to the top.

Bake at 350 for an hour while you plan the next day's activities.
Time to eat!

If you shop wisely you can make this dish for about $1.50 per serving. An economical little treat. Just like my Bersa. The economics of Concealed Carry - you don't have to spend a fortune to have quality self defense.

Hey, after Thanksgiving dinner, eggnog pancakes and this, I think someone shrunk my gun belt !

Monday, November 24, 2008

HOMEMADE LASAGNA AND FRIENDS - REASONS FOR COOKING

"Nanny Ogg quite liked cooking, provided there were other people around to do things like chop up the vegetables and wash the dishes afterwards."
-- Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad
Always fun to have friends over for dinner. Especially Home on the Range Lasagna dinner.

There were the typical type of discussions -recent favorite reads, why it's hard to find classic Heinlein in used bookstores and why the 147gr JHPs with a 9 mm are just better for killing bowling pins when it's about 12 degrees out. Then after a cold beer and some appetizers, the conversation wandered into the differences between Star Trek's, for one guest who had not watched a a lot of them. After going through Deep Space Nine, etc, we continued on our own, including a "southern version" of Next Generation with "John Luke Pickin" and it went from downhill from there. I about dropped the lasagna laughing when the verbal picture was painted of "John Luke" uttering the command to "sic the hound dogs on the Ferengi's!" All around, a evening of wit and fun and spark.

Barkley of course, had to join in, getting a head rub while listening to Turk demonstrate bowling pins exploding in the cold, while I looked on from the kitchen that's off the big family room. Lasagna's not that hard to make, but most people use bottled pasta sauce to which some hamburger has been added. Not at the Range, if only for the people that are like family to me. It makes a world of difference over that bottled sauce. A few ingredients, and only a few minutes to assemble before simmering. Ground sirloin, spicy hot breakfast sausage cooked up with roasted garlic, Brigid's blend of secret herbs and spices (OK, not secret - recipe will be posted shortly), some stewed tomatoes and a hour or two on low, low heat.

Layer it up with thick pieces of sliced fresh Mozzarella (not the shredded stuff) on top of another layer of two kinds of cheese whisked with eggs and fresh parley. Top with the homemade meat mixture.
Another layer of noodles cheese and finally sauce and some Parmesan. This baby weighed about 20 pounds. Enough to feed the whole posse and have leftovers. It's ready for the oven. I bought one of those huge disposable pans, as I wanted to make A LOT.

Now put it in the oven for 30 minutes while the topping on the garlic bread gets a quick broil and the last of the Portabella mushroom turnovers with cream cheese pastry appetizers are scarfed down.Hey - where did they all go? Those darn Ferengi !

Barkley tries the Vulcan Mind Meld on Tam, to no avail. He did however, get plenty of attention and a biscuit or two while everyone helped clean up, making for a perfect evening for all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Forget Black Friday - it's Ammo day.

November 19 is National Ammo Day.

It is a nationwide BUYcott of ammunition. You buy ammunition. 100 Rounds a person.

The goal of National Ammo Day is to empty the ammunition from the shelves of your local gun store, sporting goods, or hardware store and put that ammunition in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Make your support of the Second Amendment known--by expressing your support of our Constitutional Rights with your dollars!

Myself - I don't buy at wal-mart. Yes, the white box stuff is cheap there, but their support of gun rights is less than stellar. So I buy from my local FFL. Yes it costs a bit more, but it's money in good hands. Hands, that if I needed them, would help me in my support of gun rights. Heck, if I was a few miles away at the local grocery and I called these folks with "my battery's dead on my truck - help!" they'd be there. For I've found one thing. The people I've met shooting and buying gun supplies around these counties, the great law enforcement and civilian shooters who volunteer at Eagle Creek, at Marion County Fish and Game, Mr. and Mrs. Cheek, who own Plainfield Shooting supplies, are by and large, just good people. People I know would will be there with me, for me. Unlike those that just make promises, in hopes of getting themselves, or their candidates, elected.

So supporting my local gun store and my local range is important. Besides, though I don't plan on getting married again, if I did, I'd probably register at Brownell's. Some things are just important.

There are an estimated 75 MILLION gun owners in the United States of America. If each gun owner or Second Amendment supporter buys 100 rounds of ammunition, that’s 7.5 BILLION rounds in the hands of responsible law-abiding folks.

Yay for our side.

Monday, November 17, 2008

WHEN WHAT YOU WEAR MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE..

Did you ever notice on Star Trek that when the search team went to a planet to explore there was always one of the party in a Red Shirt? And he NEVER came back. Usually it was Ensign Ricky.

What you wear can have more impact than you think. Especially in a holster. And especially for women, as we tend to (1) wear clingier clothes and (2) be built different, both (1) and (2) I've yet to hear complaints about.

There's good holsters and bad holsters out there. My old friend The Captain had a recent post about a gun carrying device you probably don't want to add to your Christmas wish list. Most of us end up with the 'big box 'o holsters' that most shooters acquire over the years. Trying one, then another, searching for the perfect rig.

For my Sigs, I love my Blackhawk holster, thought it's not built for a particularly small frame (which I don't have at 5' 8"). Another paddle type that carries outside the pant and belt like my Blackhawk SERPA is the Fobus 1911 Style C-21 paddle holster. Fabricated from formed plastic with bits of metal here and there, this holster is to artistic design what plastic forks are to fine dining. But it is durable, and functional. It has no external snap, strap, or latch, relying on a molded plastic impression snapping into the trigger guard for retention of the weapon. It's going to work best with a wide stiff belt which may not be the first choice for some shooters. This might work to secure a DA automatic with hammer down or on this 1911 Colt with grip and frame safeties, but I'd pass on it for the S & W M + P which is striker fired. For certain weapons, despite its sort of batman utility belt design, I think some shooters would like this. Women too, as it holds the pistol outside the pants, but under the belt. A longer pistol may be uncomfortable for a woman who had pronounced hips, but with a shorter auto it will fit nicely. It's not bulky at all, which is a nice feature.

The one that I like for this weapon is the Galco JAK slide holster. The Galco JAK carries the pistol under the belt. Very minimal but retention is good and extremely comfortable. It pulls in tight, so it's very concealable as well. I could wear it all day and not really think it's there. For all day comfort in the field, I do NOT want the Victoria's Secret push up holster, that rides, chafes and gives me a rash. Sure I might wear that holster in the privacy of my own home for someone else, but it's NOT going to be part of the daily wardrobe.

For my female readers - there are a lot of holsters for women that are designed to appeal to the designer in you, NOT the shooter. I don't need embroidery, fancy lines or froo froo, I want a holster that allows for comfort in conceal AND quick draw. I want one with good looks AND functionality and one of those is the Delfatti holster - SLP/F - designed to be worn forward of the strong side hip with a muzzle forward rake. The holster has an extended and slimmed down wing to the rear of the weapon. The rear belt loop is formed by a tongue of leather that wraps around the belt and secures to the outside of the wing. Doing it this way reduces the leather bulk at the belt attachment so as to reduce the chance of discomfort at the top of the hip. There is a second tunnel loop behind the weapon. Most women find the holster comfortable, concealable, and fast. It works best with shorter barreled pistols.

Frankly, I think it's flat out pretty, with just a little detail but not so thick that it binds, and that's the most girly statement you will EVER get out of me.(http://www.delfatti.com/)

Some of the holsters I like cost more than $100. You don't have to pay that much but don’t cut corners on a holster. A good holster makes the carry much more comfortable and with comfort comes safety. A good holster will allow you to carry a heavier gun with less discomfort and greater concealment.

Face it, I'm never going to be some tiny, little delicate thing. I'm 3/4 Scot-Irish, 1/4 Norwegian. I'm tall and curvy with a defined waist. I'm not one of those gals you have to shake the sheets out in the morning to find and I usually carry a very large caliber, even concealed, so I admire any holster that cares more about a commitment to a product that will fit our form than trendy style.
One of the better Leathersmiths, located in Pennsylvania, C. Rusty Sherrick ( http://www.c-rusty.com/) did the homework on the needs of female gun owners before introducing his line of women's goods and it's obvious that a great deal of time and care went into their making. They look nice, but more effort went into improving them to fit better and sit more comfortably on the hip then whether they're "stylish".

Designs I'm NOT fond of are are the “small of the back” and ankle holsters. The “small of the back” holster has some problems. The draw is difficult and therefore dicey. There is a danger of sweeping the muzzle of the gun in directions you don’t intend to cover. This is an easy holster to disarm. Someone can come up behind you and grab the pistol, and from where it is on your back, it's going to be hard if you aren't trained in tactical to stop them from taking it. Lastly, should you fall on your back, the small of the back holster is a steel bar across your spine that could accentuate the impact of hitting the ground. If you're small boned to begin with this is NOT a good place to be as the injury could make you an easier target. The leg holster is only really valid as a backup option and it’s not really great as a backup. The ankle holster is great concealment, but unless you are a professional or one of the Amazing Walendas the draw is so problematic that it is almost useless.

Male or female - shop around, and ask other shooters. A holster is as important a purchase as what it carries. I'm not an expert but I've learned enough to know what I like. And I'm also smart enough NOT to wear the red shirt.

I have no intention of ever ending up as Ensign Ricky. Expendible I'm not.

Sour Cream Enchiladas



Creamy, with a hint of smoky heat and lots of cheese and VERY easy to make.  The typical recipe for these calls for chicken but they were really good with ground sirloin cooked up with a bunch of caramalized onion. It made 8 enchiladas, enough for dinner and to freeze for Partner to have some "bachelor dinners" on the nights I'm away.
1 pound ground beef or venison
1/2 large onion

1 and 1/4 cup sour cream (I used "light")
1 and 1/4 cup green salsa (I used Trader Joe's).
1 jalapeno pepper seeded and finely chopped
generous pinch of ancho chili powder (about 1/8th tsp).

1 and 1/2 cups Mexican blend cheese (jack and cheddar).
8 small flour tortillas.
crushed red pepper (to taste)

Cook onion until soft, adding in ground beef and cooking through, Drain.

In a  bowl mix sour cream, salsa, and finely chopped jalapeno with the ancho chili powder.  Set aside. one cup of it. Spread a couple tablespoons of the remaining sour cream mixture into the bottom of your cooking pan(s).

To remaining sour cream mixture in the bowl - add 1/2 cup of the cheese and stir  it all into the meat mixture.

Place about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture in each tortilla and roll up. Top all of the enchiladas with the set aside cup of sauce and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.  Sprinkle with a small bit of crushed red pepper (optional) top with foil and bake at 350 F. for 25 - 30 minutes, until heated through the the cheese is melted.

You can leave out the peppers if cooking for children or wimps but the green salsa/sour cream is a very good flavor combination



Cornflake Coated Pork Chops





Cornflake Coated Pork Chops

In a shallow pan whisk two eggs with a couple of tablespoons of milk.

In a food processor or heavy duty blender place:

5 cups corn flakes
2 teaspoons lemon pepper
Six shakes of a small jar of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon Penzey's Roasted Garlic powder (or your favorite brand)
Dash of salt

Pulse until you've got a mixture of fairly fine crumbs (not dust) with some bigger flakes mixed in.

Dip 3-4 thick cut bone-in cut pork chops in egg mixture and coat with crumbs. (Use 4-6 if you're using thin cut chops.)

Bake in 350 F. oven for 30 minutes for thin cut and up to 50 minutes for thick cut.  Use a thermometer to check internal temperature. I cook to 150 F, then let them rest about 8-10 minutes while the potatoes were whipped up. These were thick cut, bone in, and took 47 minutes.

On serving, cut a lemon in half and squeeze over pork chops (just a few drops on each for flavor, otherwise it will be soggy.)

Serve with lemon wedges, garlic mashed potatoes and vegetable.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I THINK I'LL JUST WAIT IN THE SAFETY OF THE JEEP

On the road this morning. At least so far, my day is going better than his did. . . .

SITE: 59mls South of Churchill Manitoba
AIRCRAFT & REGN: C206 Reg: -----
CIRCUMSTANCES: Amphib a/c bounced its emerg landing on water, landed upright on tundra & was immed surrounded by polar bears.
DEATH & INJURY: not reported
PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS: Polar bearing seizure.

"Polar Bearing Seizure" - ha.

I hate to break it to a certain someone with the initial A.G., but polar bears aren't dying out in droves up there due to global warming. In this particular neck of the woods there are hundreds of them. They're like rats. But rats with big, big, big teeth. Big white furry rats that are one of the few animals that actively hunt man. Not what I'd want peeking at me through the window of my transportation.

I think that would be a good day to be like Marlin Perkins on
Wild Kingdom and just "wait in the safety of the jeep while Jim wrestles the giant Polar Bear " Yes, if you were a little kid in the mid 60's through the early 80's, you know what I'm talking about. Go here. Watch some excerpts of Jim wrestling the "giant Anaconda". A little nostalgia to start your day.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Home on the Range November Highlights

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I'll be blogging a lot on the road in November. I'm doing a class for the Academy and then have a few short hops here and there to testify and do some follow up work on some old cases. The posts will be posting, thanks to my own little laptop.