Sunday, December 29, 2013


Wow!  Another year is basically over.  It’s amazing just how slow they go by and how quickly they end.  I spend each year planning things I never do, and doing things I never planned.  That’s not to say that everything I planned to do didn’t get done, nor did I finish all the things I never planned to do in the first place.  However, I did fail to finish much of what I planned to do, and I did actually finish much I really had no desire to do.
There are really only a few big things I plan to do each year.  The Annual Wild Game Feed is one, Santa Claus is another, and go fishing is not last on the list.  This past year I managed to do two out of three.  I didn’t make it out to the water to fish, and this is really sad since I live across the street from the beach.
I didn’t plan to get ill this year, but I did a good job of it, and even after eight months of this affliction, I’m still not finished with the project.  While I’m not well, I am functional, and I keep on keeping on.  I did make it to the Annual Wild Game Feed this year, I did work for a few weeks as Santa Claus, including some television time, and I did earn a certification as a Master Food Preserver.  So I guess this was a successful year in completing things I planned to do.
I’m just getting my feet wet as a master food preserver.  My early life on the farm gave me a curiosity about how things work, and food preservation was one of those things.  For years I’ve canned and pickled unique items just because I liked them, and no one was producing them commercially.  Now I’m starting to teach others how to do it.  Such fun.
The path to the certification required learning about food safety and the techniques to ensure a safe finished product.  The more I think about the methods we used on the farm to preserve our harvest, the more I realize how lucky we were not to have succumbed to botulism.
This year I planned to clean out my garage.  Oops.  I wanted to finish another novel.  Oh, well.  I had hopes of losing another 50 pounds.  I gained 10. 
Not all is lost, and nothing here can be considered a failure.  There is always next year.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Air Freshener

Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time in many different atmospheres.  By atmosphere I’m talking about the scent(s) in the air.  It could be good, interesting, or a nose pincher.  Growing up in Texas there was the atmosphere of the barnyard, and it was completely different from the atmosphere of the stockyard.  The atmosphere of the slaughterhouse where I worked part time as a teenager was similar to the atmosphere at the bait house where I stopped before going fishing.  The atmosphere in the cities where I worked was the complete opposite of the atmosphere high in the mountains where I hunted.  And there is nothing quite like the atmosphere in a barbeque joint.
There are smells that are so neutral no one notices.  Some are a light scent (good or bad), and some are quite strong (good or bad), but not everyone perceives these scents the same way.  For instance, I like the smell of good strong cheese, but I’ve discovered it is not allowed in my home.  There is nothing like the smell of a possum roast; however, as much as my wife agrees with me on this, she doesn’t seem the think it is a good smell.  On the other hand, I can’t walk through the beauty section of a department store without gagging.  How these fragrances are supposed to be pleasing to men is beyond my understanding.
The waiting room at my doctor’s office uses a plug-in air freshener that literally makes my eyes burn and activates my asthma.  A popular import store reeks of burned dung.  They say it is incense.  I took my car to be washed and the air freshener they used was called ‘new car.’  I thought it smelled more like something rotting in the back of my refrigerator.
I’ve been thinking about the fragrances I would like surrounding me.  How about barbeque?  Or fried chicken?  Pizza anyone?  I miss the smell of real Tex-Mex, so this would be a good one for me.  Recently I was in a winery and the smell of fermentation was fantastic.  Speaking of fermentation, how about a beer fragrance?  Or a whiskey fragrance?  Make mine a single malt scotch.  What about fresh baked bread? Each year I attend the Wild Game Feed in Irvine, California, and I get to smell roasting pig, grilled game birds, chili, deep fried frog legs, buffalo ribs over wood smoke, and a few other things.  Each one would make a great fragrance.
I’m serious about this.  I recently heard of air freshener called ‘fart.’  If they can put this stuff into a container, why can’t they capture the smell of a good cigar?  I would buy that in a heartbeat.  In fact, I believe I could put it to good use the next time I walk into a department store and have to pass through the beauty section to get to the sporting goods area.