Monday, October 18, 2021

Home Repairs—Garbage Disposal Edition

I had to replace my garbage disposal, and I wasn’t happy about it.  But who would be happy about replacing a garbage disposal other than a plumber?  At a visitation fee of $250 plus $450 per hour, I'd be happy; however, I am not a plumber, and I wouldn’t know how to invoice myself anyway.

The trouble first started when it suddenly stopped running.  I had been hand washing some dishes, and I thought I would run the disposal a few moments to clean out the stuff that had collected in it after draining the sink.  I turned on the water, and then I turned on the disposal.  The disposal started and suddenly stopped.  I turned the disposal off for a minute or so, and then turned it back on.  It ran perfectly.  Okay.  Problem solved.  Or so I thought. 

The next morning I went into the kitchen to make breakfast, and there was water everywhere.  A small search located the crack in the side of the disposal causing drainage every time the sink was utilized.  Oh, the joy!

Every hardware store in the area was out of the replacement for this disposal, and I didn’t want to re-plumb under the sink any more than I had to.  Fortunately I could order the replacement on line, and for just $72.50 additional, I could have it the next day.  Well, it was still cheaper than the quote from the plumber.

The instructions were simple.  The first line said, ‘Do not try this at home!’  The second line said, ‘Do not use in or near water!'  I never read the third line.

I gathered my tools and crawled under the sink to remove the old disposal.  A couple of screws, a bolt or two, and a smashed finger later, the old unit was out and headed for the trash bin.  Now to replace it with the identical new one.  Did I say ‘identical?’  Every thing was the same.  Every fitting, every wire, every bracket, every thing.  Why didn’t it fit?

Gravity was the reason the old disposal was easy to remove.  Now I had to work against gravity to install the new one.  I’m not really certain just how much the disposal weights, but my estimate is about 75 pounds.  Plus or minus.  Mostly plus.  I was on my left side holding the new disposal in place with my left arm, and attempting to replace screws and bolts with my right hand.  Four and one-half hours later it was in place.  One problem--I forgot to install the electrical cord.  Thirty minutes later the disposal was uninstalled.

After a day off to recover, I wired in the electrical cord to the unit, and just 5 hours later it was working.  No sparks, no leaks.  It really worked.  Now I understand the first instruction, ‘Do not try this at home!’

Saturday, September 18, 2021

2021 Wild Game Feed

After two long, long years of waiting, the brief flash of excitement we call the Annual Wild Game Feed is over for 2021.  Now we wait some more.  It’s sort of like waiting for a comet to appear once every two- or three-hundred years.  But at least it does come back.

This has been a difficult time for everyone; however, the extra year of preparation for the Feed really paid off.  The members were able to procure a larger park for the gathering, and that alone was a big achievement.  Simply speaking, the Feed outgrew the Lake View Park a few years ago.  And as usual, the members were able to find ways to improve perfection.  Wow!  I often think to myself, “It can’t get any better.”  Then it does.

Thank you.  Everyone, whether guest or member who participated in the 2021 Feed, has contributed to the aid of many worthy charities.  With all the fun and excitement surrounding us at the Feed, it is easy to forget that many organizations depend upon donations from groups, such as the Annual Wild Game Feed, for their survival.  Thank you for helping out.

Well, now we wait some more, and we know the next Feed will be even better. 

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Friday, August 13, 2021

Wild Game Feed Irvine Lake 2021

Just five weeks to go.  The 53rd Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake is rapidly approaching.  Well, “rapidly” isn’t quite the correct word to use here; however, five weeks is barely enough time to gather everything together and pack my car seven or eight times. 

If you are anything like me, you find it difficult to wait for the Feed to arrive.  I start pouring over my checklist to make certain I have everything I need to bring.  Cigars, chair, beer mug, sunscreen, etc.  And then I start packing and unpacking my car to double-check how I am going to get it all there (and back again).  My wife just doesn’t get it, even though she has seen me perform this ritual for well over twenty years.  But if you have ever been there, I know you understand.

The Feed is unlike any party I’ve ever attended.  All the beer one desires, all the food you can consume, more friends that you know what to do with, games, prizes, and all the beer one desires.  The only down side is that it will be over before you are ready for it to be over.  Personally speaking, I have never been ready for it to be over.  I even wear the attendance band on my wrist a few extra days—just in case.

It has been an eternity since the last Feed.  Two years of waiting, waiting.  The cancellation of the 52nd Feed was almost more than I could bear.  But it appears the 53rd Feed is going to happen, and I plan on enjoying every possible second of it. 

See You at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Friday, July 9, 2021

Irvine Lake 2021 Wild Game Feed

Okay Guys!  Just 10 weeks until the 53rd Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake.  September 17, 2021.  The 3rd Friday in September.  I hope you bought your ticket.

As of today it has been 94 weeks since the 51st Feed.  The 52nd Feed got eaten by the 2020 pandemic restrictions, and honestly, it could happen again, although I’m staying on the positive side of this.  I am more than ready.  It has been too long since the last gathering of men who enjoy eating (stuffing ourselves stupid), drinking (staying sober with all you can drink beer), and visiting old friends (some older than others).  I really miss this.

For well over 20 years I’ve been participating in this annual gathering, and I’ve watched it grow from roughly 500 guys to about 1,200 guys.  For a number of reasons the cap has been set at 1,200 for several years, and I don’t have a clue as to if or when this may change.  But realistically, I already find it a bit difficult to visit with everyone.  It may be I will need to go on a 2-year rotation in order to visit everyone.  We’ll see.

This annual (normally) gathering of men is quite unique.  It doesn't matter who or what you are, at the Feed everyone is equal and a friend.  No one is better than anyone else, with the one possible exception of the guy pouring the beer.  That guy is king.  The beer keeps on flowing.  And the food doesn't end either.  The appetizers are more than even I can consume.  Then there is dinner.  Wow.  I don't recall ever hearing of anyone who went home hungry. 

Once again there will be some unbelievable prize drawings (including a 1953 5-window Chevy Pickup Truck "restored as original," flat screen TV’s, a champion Labrador puppy, custom firearms, etc.), so bring along a few extra dollars to buy in.  Cigars will be available for purchase, as well as some souvenir items.  Other entertainments and events will be available, as well as an all new Sportsman’s Challenge.

This year the Feed will be held in a different location (Oak Canyon Park), although it is still at Irvine Lake.  It’s very easy to find since it is just down the road from the old location (Lake View Park).  If you have been before, just go to the old location and follow the signs to the new one.  If this is your first time, just south east of the fishing entrance to Irvine Lake on E. Santiago Canyon Rd. is a turn lane into Haul Road.  Signs will be posted.  Just follow the signs.  Real easy.

Meanwhile, I need to start packing the car and getting ready.  After all, it’s only 10 weeks away.

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

53rd Annual Wild Game Feed

Well, it’s on.  It has been a long wait since the 51st Annual Wild Game Feed in September, 2019.  A looong wait.  But the wait is drawing to a close.  Finally.  It will be held on Friday, September 17, 2021 at Irvine Lake.  There is one change this year in the location.  Instead of being at Lake View Park where it has been located for many years, the Feed will be held at Oak Canyon Park.  It’s just a little bit farther along the same road the old location is on.  Follow the signs and you will not have any problems.

 Ticket order forms have been sent out and are arriving right now.  Send it back as quickly as you can.  The tickets will sell out Fast!!

 See you at the Feed!

 Meat and Beer!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Size Doesn’t Matter

This morning I saw a duck flying at about 30 feet above my front yard as it made its way to the southeast.  As it flew over the top of a neighbor’s house I thought it must be going to the regional park just a few miles away in the direction it was going.  There is a small lake there and duck regularly stop there on their travels, and many make it a permanent home.  Seeing this duck brought to mind one of my earliest duck hunts.

A friend of mine was a duck hunter.  He lived to hunt (and eat) duck.  His home was almost a shrine to the duck.  And his garage was filled front to back and top to bottom with stuff to make his duck hunting “easier.”  Plus he had a dedicated trailer just to haul it around, and when he arrived where he wanted to hunt, he had many choices he could make based on—well, actually, I don’t know what.

Donald (yes, his name really was Donald) had a number of duck blinds in every camo pattern and color he could buy or make.  There were two canoes, a jon boat, and something he called a punt.  He had decoys in abundance in at least half a dozen duck types.  Some decoys were made for floating in water, and some were for setting out in a field.  Some were small, some were large, and some were gigantic.

One evening I joined him on one of his hunts.  I arrived at his home about 9pm, transferred my meager hunting things to his truck, loaded up the two retrievers, and we set out for a lake about 120 miles away.  I was full of questions and he was empty of answers.  “What kind of duck are we hunting?”  “I don’t know."  “How do you know there will be any ducks there?"  "It's duck season."  “Are we hunting from a boat or on land?"  "Maybe." 

We eventually arrived at the lake and found the gate to the property one of his friends owned.  By the time we found the spot where Donald thought was the right place to park, it was almost 3am.  My first thought was, "Finally we can get some sleep.”  His first thought was, "We’re running late.  Let’s get set up.”

Donald (not Don) started opening up doors on his trailer and pulling bags out onto the ground. I stood there peering into the darkness wondering where the lake was hiding.  He had me drag several bags over to a place about eighty yards from the truck and empty them onto the ground.  They were filled with decoys.  Mostly mallards, but many different sizes and shapes.  Then he dragged over two very big bags.  He said they were our blinds.

While I scattered the decoys over the field, Donald set up the blinds.  I had never seen anything like them.  They were basically two large metal cloth covered frames with cutouts for openings.  The coverings were painted to look like two humongous ducks, Each one standing about 7 feet tall.

By now it was getting light enough to see my surroundings.  The lake was about 40 yards away to the southeast, the field appeared to be full of ducks (the decoys), and in the middle of the ducks were two massive ducks that appeared to belong on a carousel ride.  I questioned Donald about whether or not the real ducks would be fooled, but he just looked at me as though I was dumber than the ducks.

Well we climbed inside the two giant ducks along with our shotguns, stools for sitting, dogs for fetching, blankets for staying warm, and thermoses of coffee for staying awake.  As it was getting lighter, the birds were beginning to fly by.  Soon many had landed around us to feed among the decoys.  The two sumo-ducks did not warrant so much as a sideways glance. 

As the sun made its appearance Donald and I were able to pop out of the top of our blinds to bring down the incoming birds.  The noise from the shotguns caused some feeding disturbances, but the ducks on the ground stayed around feeding.  When the dogs exited to fetch the downed birds, the live ones just moved aside and kept on eating.  This repeated until we had our limits.  However, the moment we exited the duck-shaped blinds, the feeding birds left in a mass scramble to get into the air and as far away from us as they could get.

By 10am we had the trailer and truck loaded for the return trip.  As Donald picked the two bags of ducks he noticed my bag was heavier than his.  At first he thought I had harvested an extra bird, but upon emptying the bags and recounting for himself, he realized the difference was simply I had brought down a couple of very large birds. 

On the drive home Donald complained more than once about how much larger my ducks were.  Finally, in order to change the subject a bit, I asked why the two giant duck-shaped blinds worked so well.

The reply was simple.  “When it comes to ducks, size doesn't matter."

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Three-Fourths or One-Half?

Yesterday marked the mid-point in my calendar year.  The third Friday in September is the end of my year, therefore, the third Friday of March is the halfway point.  Each year the Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake occurs the third Friday in September; however, 2020 was an exception.  The Covid-19 pandemic destroyed many gatherings including the Annual Wild Game Feed.  Simple math puts us at the three-quarter mark of a two-year calendar.  I hope everyone is getting their vaccinations and wearing masks so the Feed can happen in 2021.  If not, then we are just now at the halfway point of a three-year calendar.

I’ve been hoping to hear something from the administration of the Feed’s membership.  Something.  Anything.  But with little to base a prediction on, I guess they are waiting until the last minute to make a decision whether or not to move forward with the plans for the 2021 Feed.  Still ‘better safe than sorry.’

Everyone stay safe, get vaccinated, wear a mask, avoid other people, etc., so we can get rid of this pandemic virus and have our Feed this year.

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Biggie—Year Ten—FaceTime Dog

What a year, huh?  Biggie had just returned home to his mom after nearly a year of living with my wife and me when the quarantines arrived due to the pandemic.   His mom finally found a real job, so he went home to be with her.  Literally the next morning the announcements of quarantine hit us like a lightening bolt.  Since that time we have seen him only four or five times.  Once when I had to deliver something to his mom, and several times when his mom had to go out of town for a few days for her job. 

This social separation from my part-time dog is difficult for me, so the best thing I can do is call his mom for some FaceTime with Biggie.  (Biggie doesn't have his own phone yet.)  Somehow it’s just not the same as being with him, and honestly, I don’t think he really understands it.  When I talk to him, he seems more interested is sleeping, or some toy, or just sniffing of something.  Once I thought he barked for me, but then I realized the mail was being delivered to his home.  Oh, well.

Biggie is now fourteen years old, and in a few months he will add another year.  He has slowed down a little, and he is missing a few teeth, but he is in good health overall.  Last year, just before the virus reared its ugly head, Biggie developed a growth in his left ear.  At first I thought the growth was just a skin tag, but in just a few weeks it was larger than a marble.  The first vet he visited to said he would need to remove the entire ear in order to biopsy the growth.  NO!  The second vet took one look and said no problem.  This is an easy removal and Biggie should be perfectly fine in a few days.  Out patient surgery.  No hospital time.  And a couple of thousand dollars less than that first vet.  I really don’t think Biggie even realized the surgery took place.  He was a happy dog before the surgery, and he was a happy dog afterwards.  Then he went home to his mom.  Very happy dog.

As I was writing the above paragraphs I got a call from Biggie’s mom.  She is going out of town for a week.  Could I pick him up tonight?  Before we ended the phone call, I was in the car and on my way. 

Biggie is now home with me.  Yea!  I’m a happy dog, uh, guy right now.  Just as I walked in the door to my home, Biggie’s mom called to FaceTime with MY dog, and Biggie responded to her voice for a moment.  Only a moment.  He then ran into the kitchen and woofed at the cabinet where I store his treats.  Yes, he has his priorities.  Snacks are more important than anything else, and I agree.

Now FaceTime with Biggie has a new meaning, or at least for a few days.  This is the real thing.  His face and my face with no phone in between.  I’m a happy, uh, guy.

Friday, January 1, 2021


Last night I stayed up past midnight.  I don’t believe I’ve done that in fifteen years or more, but it was necessary.  I needed to know 2020 was Gone.  Done.  Over With.  History.  And for the first time in a long time, I didn’t mind the fireworks.  I figured the persons setting off the noise bombs were also celebrating the death of 2020.  I completely agree.

Now it’s time to look forward through foggy glasses due to the masks and envision a world where we can once again enjoy the Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake.  Last year a lot of charities missed out on donations from this organizations at a time when they needed it most.  They need the Feed as much as we do.  The Feed is still over nine months away, so there is time for vaccinations and ‘herd immunity’ to free us from the clutches of Covid-19 and the pandemic we are currently experiencing. 

To all the guys out there planning on joining me this year at the Feed wear those masks.  Stay isolated.  Get your vaccine shot.  Do your part to end this misery so we can return to our annual feast.  I know we can do this.  We can climb out of this hole and return to, at least to a degree, some freedom to gather for our annual meat eating, beer drinking party.  We already had to miss one year.  Let's not make it two in a row.

September 17, 2021

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!