Time Change Day Will Take All Day, But Maybe Not Again

Having a weird attachment for Time Pieces, clocks, watches, computers, and loud ticky things that are starting to get on my nerves takes days to find them all.

Twice a year we set our clocks forward or backwards – Spring Ahead, Fall back.

Tomorrow is the official day, but I generally start well before the time change day because over the years I have been given, bought, collected a bunch of clocks.

Like forty-leven-and-a-half of them.

Since I tend to fix anything of my own that breaks, they all work.  Or maybe not.  There’s one or two with a broken mainspring somewhere.

That and there’s this one clock I have on a wall above my right shoulder that annoys the daylights out of me.  It ticks loud enough to be heard in the bedroom at night and it’s in the dining room.  It also has a weird quirk that if it stops, you can’t set the correct time since it will drift to about 20 minutes slow. or more.  Then you remove the pendulum and let it run in super-fast mode until it “catches up”.

Now you know what I am doing this weekend.  Setting clocks.  Each time I use one.


However, finally, someone is going to do what I have been saying all these years.

Set It And Forget It.

I personally don’t care if it is Daylight Savings Time.

I personally don’t care if it is Standard Time.

Just stop setting the clocks forward or backwards.

Set it and forget it!

They are considering that here for Florida.  If the law passes, I will cheer.  Why?  It will be Daylight Savings Time all year until someone gets annoyed and repeals the law.

It could as easily be Standard Time for me, I simply don’t care.   I just don’t want to set that damn wall clock.

It will annoy the rest of the country for the three or so months that we drift out of sync from the rest of the Eastern Time Zone, but everyone outside of Florida thinks we’re weird anyway.

From what I see, we might be.  We have iguanas that shred our plants, alerts because pythons are seen eating cats, and sharks in the tidal water about 5 miles from the intracoastal from time to time.

Yep, it’s a weird state, but abolishing Daylight Savings Time is a step in the right direction.

So if you will excuse me, that nail that sticks up the highest is about to get hit with a sledge hammer.

Yes, I have my wall clock to remove a pendulum from.


Crumpets and a Simplified Recipe

 If you write, everyone has their complaints and comments.

If you write about anything that has measurements, and are writing from one of the three Non-Metric countries, you will get some crank somewhere complaining about “You Should Use Metric”.

First, shut up.  You are being pointlessly rude.  Blog writers have no control over the government.  I wish we did.

Second in this case, this recipe is easier using Imperial Measurements.  “For Round Numbers.”

Actually, that’s not completely true, this recipe boils down to a bunch of ratios.  And of course the ratios are forgiving and flexible.  Since the local conditions may effect how much fluids your recipe will “take up”, you may add a little more or a little less the next time you try this.  For us, today, in a dehydrated house in Florida’s Dry Season, 14 to 10 was fine.  If you think that someone in a farmhouse in the 1700s used 2% milk instead of raw whole milk you just may need to relax a bit.

Crumpets.  The first time it was written down, that we know of, the recipe appeared in a cookbook in 1769.  Metric was not invented, and cooking was simpler back then.  No refrigeration, “critters” were in the house, measuring was a “guess”, and so on.

You have so much of this, you add double that amount to it and a spoonful of a third ingredient, and you are done.  Cook until it looks right.

That’s this recipe.

As for why the US does not use Metric?  We do, legally.  All “our” measurements are defined in Metric anyway.

The reason was that back when the French offered us an Official Kilogram the first time in the very early days of the Republic, the Official Kilogram was stolen by Pirates, and by the time we could get another one, it was deemed too late to get everyone to switch.

Seriously.  Pirates.  They must have thought that the ship was carrying Spanish Gold Doubloons and they got a Kilogram.  Probably made of brass.  Yarrrr!


Another case of the French helping out the United States that the people should realize here just how good a friend they have been throughout our history.


Thank you, France.


This recipe is all about Ratios. It also comes in two parts.  The yeast mixture, and the ratio of Flour to Fluid.




  • Yeast and Salt – 1 Teaspoon.  I used a common one to measure.
  • Sugar – 2 Teaspoons.  Literally right out of the drawer.


  • Flour 10 parts
  • Water 7 parts
  • Milk 7 parts.

Now to codify this a bit to a proper recipe:


  • Yeast – 1 Teaspoon or about 5 Ml
  • Salt – 1 Teaspoon or about 5 Ml
  • Sugar – 2 Teaspoons or about 10 Ml


  • Flour – 10 ounces or about 283 Grams
  • Water – 7 ounces or about 198 Grams
  • Milk – 7 ounces or about 198 Grams


  • Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl except the Flour.
  • Whisk the Flour into the mixture slowly until you have a smooth loose batter.
  • Cover the batter with a towel and allow to double in size and there are bubbles forming.


  • Preheat your griddle to about 350F/175C.
  • Generously grease the griddle with butter or oil if you prefer.
  • If your griddle begins to smoke, reduce temperature.
  • Generously grease the Crumpet Rings, if you use them, with butter and place on griddle to warm.
  • Add batter to the middle of the Crumpet rings until they are filled side to side but do not overfill vertically.  About half way up the Crumpet ring for a Crumpet.  Thicker Crumpets won’t bubble as well but will produce a slice-able English Muffin.
  • Cook Crumpets until they begin to bubble, then wait until the tops are rubbery and perhaps dry to the touch.
  • Remove each Crumpet from their ring gently, and flip it to the uncooked side.
  • Cook until they begin to brown.

Sunny Anderson Was Right, Low and Slow is the Way To Go when roasting Pork

The recipe is simple.

The night before, marinade.

I used a half of a bottle of store bought Barbecue Sauce to 2 1/2 pounds (1 KG or so) of Pork Loin that was thawed.  Lets call that about a pint or a half liter of sauce.  Pick one you like, we won’t judge.

Place all that in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and allow to sit overnight.

The next morning, or about 5 hours before the meal, pour your marinaded pork into a baking pan, uncovered, and make sure the marinade gets into the pan with your pork.

Slide in oven and cook at 250F/120C for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours per pound.

Cook until tender, however I cooked to 175F/80C internally and got THE BEST PORK I EVER HAD.

So that back story.  There’s always a backstory.  And if you’re looking for a recipe, you probably don’t care, huh?

You see, Dad cooked Pork Chops when I was a child.  I could have used them to resole some work boots.

Shake and Bake coated, Dry and Hard, horrendous.

But that was normal back then.  You HAD to cook pork well.  There were parasites back then.  The rule was cook it well, and hope for the best.

Or so I remember from the bad old “analog” days back when dates started with a 19.  You know, when I was a kid, everything was black and white, and my pet was a house sized Triceratops named Trixie?

According to popular theory (word of mouth, maybe a lot of crap),  Pork wasn’t a very clean food.  I suspect that someone in the back woods somewhere got sick and it became A Thing that you had to do.

Since then, The Pork Industry cleaned up its act.  So much so that the USDA has lowered the temperature that you cook pork to from 165F/75C to 140F/60C with a 3 minute resting time.

There are supposed to be no more parasites in USDA inspected Pork than there are in Beef, and that is at 1/3 to 1/4 the cost.

If cooked right, Pork Loin is tender and mild flavored.

So I have been thinking that I should get some of that pork loin out of the freezer and try again.  While I was planning this meal, I heard that bubbly TV Personality, Sunny Anderson say “Low and Slow! Low and Slow is the way to go!” over and over and over in my head.

I had tried making this recipe in a crock pot, and it was much better than Dad’s Pork, but it could be better.

I wonder should I try Low and Slow in the oven?  Can I Do it?

I started researching recipes.  Some cooked low at 225F, some as high as 300F.  I settled on 250F because it seemed to be what the majority of the web pages cooked at.

That was the Low.  The Slow makes sense.  The longer amount of time the meat takes to get “done” the more likely that the muscle fibers will break down.

That’s what we call “tender”.

Since there was a lot of marinade and a lot of humidity in the environment, and the lower temperature, I did not expect it to dry out.

Barbecue?  I have a lot of recipes for this, but I wanted just to make it easy so I used a commerically prepared sauce I liked.  I do have a couple different recipes on this blog for



and Chinese Barbecue

But I wanted quick and simple and I wanted something that I couldn’t mess up by adding too much of something in it.

I dumped that half bottle in the bag, sealed it the night before, and cooked in a slow oven starting at breakfast.

Yes, 6:45 on a Sunday Morning, I was making Lunch.

The alarm went off on the electronic thermometer around 10:30 when the internal temp hit 165F.

But it stayed there for the next hour.

I was watching that temperature closely because I was basting this meat in Barbecue sauce from the pan every 30 minutes to an hour.

When it hit 175F, it was just before 12 Noon.

I poked that meat with a steak knife.

The knife went into that meat like it was butter.  Plunged right into it.  The last time I saw something like that, I was in a beautiful Polynesian restaurant and paying $26 for a Pork Tenderloin dinner that was perfectly and artfully made.

Mine was Pork Loin, a lesser cut, and this was as good as that meal.

I was able to hand slice that meat down into “Cold Cut Thin” slices.

The proof was in the tasting, this was awesome.  So good that Rack the SuperDog (TM) was hovering around asking for some.

Rack liked it too!

So Sunny Anderson, you were right, Low and Slow!

The Sandwich I made from that meat the next day was just as good.  I had a winner of a recipe.

Here it is, story and all, I saved it for my family, myself, and you all.

I am thinking this “process” should work on Beef Brisket as well, but that’s a task to research for later.


Peanut and Banana Sandwich by Squirrel

To quote a wise man from San Juan, Costa Rica:

We live in the tropics.  If you drop a seed on the ground, it will grow.

I noticed that here years ago when I moved in.  People have plants dripping with plants dripping with more plants.

If you don’t want a giant mess in your yard, if you’re looking for something a bit groomed, don’t blink.  That “clean” look takes a lot of work here in Florida.

I could go a while before weeding my backyard in Philadelphia.  The soil was somewhat fertile, but things took their time to grow.  Sun angle up there is 14 degrees lower at any given moment than it is here so it will be proportionally less effective, proportionally less bright.

I have a yard inspection every morning, on a clear morning, at 7:30.  I have to inspect the irrigation systems, clear out the palm fronds, remove any debris that falls from the trees into the pools, and basically police the perimeters of the yard.

I have help with me.  Mr Dog, my one and only Dingus, Rack the SuperDog (TM)  will follow me around the yard, and go into places that my own nearly two meter height will not fit.

I found out that he will answer to Dingus because when someone does something a bit wrong, a bit silly, and a bit dumb, I have a habit of calling them a Dingus for doing it.

I am not exactly sure that it is even officially a Word according to the O.E.D., or Webster, or anyone else, but I use it.



So much so that my Dog adopted it as one of his names.   He figured out that he is Mr Dog early on, so why should I be surprised?

Stepping outside, we hear chattering and rustling in the Utility Easement behind the property.  It is, predictably, very thick with plantings, even though Rack goes back there for relaxation.  Yes, we shall call it Relaxation.  As in Rest Stop at mile marker 108.

I see something grey flash in my right eye and go on about my own business.  Spray the Milkweed for Aphids.  Wiggle the drip-feed water bubblers to clear them from any debris inside that blocks the flow.  Inspecting the pots in the backyard is a daily occurrence.

I get to the banana tree that I have been babying and think “What on earth is going on back there” when I spot that the tree had been planted itself.


There was a peanut.  Wedged deeply enough that it would have to be removed or else I’d have a Peanut and Banana sandwich there about chest height.

Then I woke up.  I realized what was going on.  The chattering got more insistent, so I walked to the corner of the yard.  Deep Jungle, or what passes for it here in Florida.

I had Squirrels.  Arguing.  Loudly.  For dominance.  Who knew?  I thought they were a peaceful species.

Squirrels arguing was like a pillow fight with Marshmallows.  Nobody really was going to get hurt but they were really going at it full blast.  It looked like a Cartoon.

I threw that errant peanut into the corner hoping the squirrels would break it up and move on, but it wasn’t enough.  I was within a yard of them as they’re running up and down the telephone pole and the palms and the bamboo back there.

Realizing that I am taller than my banana tree without the peanut, I had to back up.  They were running on the outside of the plants back there instead of back in the brush, and I was concerned that they’d mistake my own self for a tree.

Luckily I was dressed in Blue, not Green.  Squirrels are not terribly smart.

Shrugging, I thought to get involved.   I clapped my hands loudly.

They stopped for a second.  Then I got cursed out in whatever Rodential Squirrelish Language that they use here that I am not aware of.

Back to it they went.  Running up and down the pole when one of them, the smaller of the two, ran back to the other side of the yard, up my banana tree, looked around then ran off into the distance.

Argument was over.  It was now about time for the drip-feed irrigation to stop for the day.  Today’s Squirrel War had ended.  Who knows who was victorious, whether it was about a Peanut and Banana Sandwich, or whether anyone really cared.

Peace was once again supreme in my strange little yard full of constrained banana trees, Bonsai, and cultivated plants.  Rack got to my side, leaned into my right leg, and looked up.

“Yes, boy, it’s time to go inside.  Coffee is calling.”


Rack Can’t Help Fix A Cellphone, or Can He?

I’m that guy. I can repair a piece of electronics down to “the board level” and replace the components that are on it.

Lets be fair, some of the components are beyond me, smaller than a grain of sand. But the larger things are possible.

If I go out and buy a piece of electronics, I look into how repairable it is. I’ve replaced volume controls on a transistor radio, and the USB port on an external hard drive case.

I guess I was lucky that time, everything was spaced out just so.

Some of that can take a small forever to fix too, but I will give it all a try.

Once the warranty is up, I’m going to at least look inside the case of something.

In this case, it was much more involved. “It” was my HTC One M9 Cellphone. “It” was also rated “Very Difficult” to work on by www.ifixit.com and that was fair.

You see these days, you find things sealed up, glued together and made so that you the owner never have a chance of putting a knob back on something. Specifically I am thinking of anything that comes out of Apple these days.

It’s also why I don’t use Apple laptops. I’ve had to replace bits on my own Thinkpads, Dell, and HP computers. There’s a limit with those too, but I demand the ability to easily replace the hard drive and the memory.

Try that on a Mac. I’ll wait.

Didn’t think so!

I waited for the house to be empty. Had to. Humans being social, they demand attention. Since the replacement of the battery on iFixIt was rated “Very Difficult” and at 30 minutes, I knew that I would probably have to take double the time to put a new battery in the phone.

It took a half hour alone to find the tools to do the job, and I have the tools. We keep them here specifically to do this sort of thing.

Started the whole mess at about 10:30. It would give me time to get it done, shower before lunch, and do it in a leisurely manner.


That first half hour of very carefully taking off the plastic fascia, and a few very strange screws had me stressed.

Then the wet nose happened.

Rack was checking in. He padded across the tile floor in the quiet house without my knowing. I had a tickle at my elbow and looked over at the familiar black and white face.

Then I glanced at the clock. 11:30. I frittered away an hour getting tools, and a plastic sliver off the top of my phone.

Oh and two “T5” Torx screws from the top of the thing. I wasn’t completely lost.

Basically I was taking it slow. It’s a beautiful piece of hardware, but it’s ridiculously difficult to work with.  In comparison, my older Samsung Galaxy S4 snaps open with a plastic cover in the back I can run a fingernail under.  The battery is user replaceable as well as my SIM and my memory chip.  Done in seconds.

I took the rest of the time to Noon to get the entire case open and splayed out in front of me.

Sighing, I got up and let Rack out for a walk in the back yard, and to make my lunch.

Lunch, Shower, and back at it in about a half hour.

The disassembly of the phone is a fourteen step process.

Remove screws.

Remove antenna wires.

Remove ribbon cables held in by ZIF connectors.

Lift motherboard.

Remove battery.

It was about 3 in the afternoon before I had the thing disassembled and reassembled.

Each half hour I had a wet nose looking in on me. I guess that I was worried, Rack probably smelled it. He’d come in, look in on me, sit down, make me clear my head.

I’m glad he did. Oh he can’t handle a screwdriver or a soldering iron. He doesn’t have opposable thumbs. But he did serve a very good purpose.

He made me pause and look around. These pieces are so small that in some cases I used another cell phone to take a picture, zoom in, and look at it.

As a result Rack stopped me from having total vision failure from eye strain induced by bad design and teeny tiny itsy bitsy electronic parts.

Well, great! Time for a Smoke Test. You know, press the magic button and see if it comes on?

Oddly enough I had bumped it trying to seal the back and the phone came on before it was snapped in place.

Camera did not work. Flashlight did not work.

Rack came back. I paid attention to him. Set that phone down. I couldn’t see the monitor without

being right on top of the thing now.

When Rack left, I pried it all apart and re-seated all the connections.

Success! I could tighten those screws down and begin to charge the battery.

That half hour repair took me six hours.

Including lunch and a shower and letting Rack out when he needed it.

I think I needed that pause more than he did but I’m not letting him know that.

Trust In Dog, They Know.

That’s a mantra here. There’s a certain something that having a Herding Dog around the house will enhance. They learn. More importantly, they learn YOU. They also know when you need a distraction.

It’s not a weirdly bark at anything that moves thing. He actually knows when there’s too much going on, time to take a break.

There’s that wet nose.

Postie coming by and you’re involved in something? “Moof.” Rack says. Pay attention. Go get the mail, there’s a wee little box in there as long as some circulars and a J. Peterman catalog.

Like I said, Trust In Dog, They Know.

Now the Parrot? He’s shady. Needs to be watched over. He’s got his eye on the woodwork in this house…


Growing Ginger in Containers or How We Stumbled Upon A Thing

I say Stumbled Upon because like a lot of my ideas, it was due to a rapid fire exchange of ideas with a good friend of mine up in the Atlanta suburbs, Craig.

Picture from https://en.wikipedia.com/wiki/ginger

You see Craig and I have been exchanging ideas on what to plant for a while.  The Climate there is about the same as I had in Philadelphia, Zone 7a or 7b depending on whether you live on the East or West of Philly.

When I lived there, I would fill my back deck with dozens of pots that would all march their way indoors by Halloween or whenever the first cold snap into the mid 30s would happen.

That would be a low of 2 or 3 C for the Fahrenheit Impaired.

Apparently with Ginger, you don’t have to be so concerned.  The plants will die back in colder areas and Zone 8 should be fine – that’s 10F or about -7C.  Colder than that and it’s a container plant.

I had mentioned that we were given a pot of Variegated Ginger and wondered if it was the same “stuff” that I use when I stir fry chicken.  He said No, but you can grow that stuff from the stores.

We banged it back and forth and the method we put together was this.

  • First, get yourself a piece of ginger with a lot of “fingers” on it.
  • Select a finger about the length and size of the first joint of your thumb to the length of your thumb.
  • Wash all the pieces you wish to plant in Dish Soap thoroughly.
  • Don’t bruise the skin while washing the pieces.
  • No, you didn’t wash it enough, repeat the wash another two or three times.
  • Plant in well drained soil, or a pot, and wait.
  • Water periodically and hope that the Squirrels don’t put peanuts in the pot.

The reason why I mention those damn Squirrels is my neighbors feed them raw peanuts.  They grab the peanuts and bury them in my pots.  I have peanuts growing in about a quarter of the pots I have out back.

It is the same thing with me, I guess.  I’m the kind of guy that throws pieces of tomato or fruit that is past its prime in the garden and watches to see if it grows.  Win-win, if it doesn’t I get fertilizer for this beach sand we call soil here.

I had actually forgotten that I put those thumbs in the ground in my front garden because when I walked out there one afternoon, I noticed that two ginger plants were mixed in with all the other confusion that I have out front.

I dug them up and then put into a pot, minus the peanut plants, so I could watch over them.

Ginger does not seem to mind being crowded in a pot, so you can plant it and grow it “Up North”.

Now, if you live in a zone that is on the edge, like my sister does in Zone 7b Cherry Hill, NJ, you may be able to “get away with it” in the ground.  Find a south facing wall of your house.  Plant close to the foundation because the sun hitting your walls will warm the soil just a few degrees, and it may be just enough.

Here, 8 miles south of the freezing temp lines, I don’t have to worry at all.  But as always, your mileage may vary.

Why would you bother?

My friend Craig got further along than I did with this.  Of course you can go to your favorite market and buy ginger root, that’s not the point.  The point is that the flavor of absolutely fresh Ginger Root is much more complex than some that has been shipped, treated with anti-growing chemicals, and sitting in the store waiting for you to use it.  Any natural product will taste different depending on where it grows.  In fact, certain plantings in certain fields in certain farms will yield different results.

Oh and the green parts of the plant?  You won’t find those in stores, but Ginger Greens and Stems are edible as well.  They can be tough, so you may limit that to tea or used in soups or stirfry but it’s worth a shot.  You may find a new favorite. Chop fine until you realize your own way of using them.  You will have a lot since the plant grows waist high.

That is called the “Terroir” by the French and is used to describe the effect of the environment on the grapes that go into the wine.  Similar effects happen with Coffee where one specific estate on one specific mountain will taste different than the adjacent field because there’s just a tiny difference in the amount of water or sunlight or …

Well you get the idea. 

So give it a shot, the worst thing that could happen is that you get a “pretty plant” and a great story to tell the nosy neighbors.


Cooler Weather, Potatoes, and A Weird Dog Walk

Roasted Potatoes Picture from Wikimedia.com

I am not expecting any more hurricanes this season.

No, it’s not like Granny saying her “Rheumatiz” is firing up and predicting the weather.

It’s more like the pool is cooling, the house is cooling, and the windows are open.

There are just some things you don’t want to do when the weather is hot.  Roasting a chicken or some potatoes, or both is one of them.

Of course I know some people who would say that they would never want to do that, for various reasons.  But if the temps are in the mid 90s and will be for two months, you tend to hold off doing that sort of thing.

It’s that “Who Needs More Heat” mindset.

But this week has been what passes for cool here.  High in the 70s and warming to the low 80s.

Blistering hot for anyone living in the northern latitudes.  For us here in Sunny Florida, it’s perfect weather to roast those root vegetables.

No, it’s not a recipe, but since you asked.  Scrub the potatoes well, score the flesh, rub with a little olive oil and perhaps salt or pepper or both.  Wrap in foil.  Toss in the oven at 450F for an hour.  Should be close enough.

Larger potatoes take an extra 15 minutes to 30.  Test with a fork.

That’s how I have been heating the house.  Or at least I did when what passes for cold here arrived.

Yeah, cold.  Get out the survival gear, it’s 56!

Someone who is Farenheit Impaired would wonder what on Earth I am talking about.  Then do the conversion and wonder why I am complaining about a 15 C Day.

Here, when that happens, we’re all in black, and sunning ourselves on a rock.  Yes, Florida turns you into a big lizard.  We get cranky and dress for sub freezing temps when things are merely “cool” to the rest of the world.

Tropical countries would agree.

So when we go to the market later this week, I will look long and hard at that Roasting Chicken, and debate getting more potatoes to “Heat the House”.

Wandering around town, I noticed that the people aren’t the only ones noticing.

Rack the SuperDog (TM) also has more energy.  The walks are getting crazy long.
Having a smart dog means that they aren’t just a lump of cute.  You see, my boy learned the neighborhood.  He knows its bounds.  He knows where to go and where not to go.

I got up that morning and said “Lets go, Show me walk”.

Bad idea.

I was cold and cranky.  It was two hours to sunrise.  I just wanted to get back inside.

We went out, and got walking.  He did his business quickly.  Now normally a lazy middle aged dog coupled to a cranky and tired man means a short walk.

Nope.  We got out a half mile from home.  He turned back toward the house.  When we got to the turn to the house he stopped, looked up at me, smiled, and did a 90 degree turn wrenching my arm out of my socket.

I bent down, picked up my detatched arm, slid it back inside the leather jacket that would have been unnecessary had we lived in a more normal climate, and attached it into position.

Turbines whirred, lights flashed, pilot noises happened with servo noises and beeps.  My arm was reattached with a metallic click.  Handy to have a way to take a trip into the future.

“Rack!  Wait up!”  I plodded after him.

We walked another half mile out.  Usually at this point he is ready to go home.

Or so I thought.

We got to walk back to the house, but when we got there, he spun up his robotic space-legs, and pulled me through a warp in Space-Time past the welcoming abode.

“Boy, are we going for more?”

He looked back at me, smiled again, and I shrugged as we passed into another dimension.

Or maybe not.

Total walk was a three mile long one.  Five Kilometers.

He is a herding dog after all.

But that’s the thing.  Take advantage of the day, whether it is blistering hot, or frigid cold, or what ever you call it.

There will be fresh potatoes waiting for you when you’re back.