Feeding the Active Writer: Leftover Pork Gravy

Oops.  I got wrapped up in a story I was writing yesterday and forgot to post.  In any case, today is another simple, easy, low-carb recipe.

One thing I do from time to time is season and roast a pork loin.  I then cut off slices over the course of a week or so to have as breakfast or what have you.  After a while, depending on how often I carve pieces off, the the remainder dries out and is not good.  Rather than let it go to waste, I wrap it in foil and toss it in the deep freezer.  Then, from time to time, I’ll dig out some of these leftover pieces and do something with them.  This is one of those things.

The result of this recipe is a kind of pulled-pork gravy that can be served over the vegetable of your choice.  It’s low carb and actually rather low fat.  Still, the result is tasty.

Ingredients:

  • Enough pork pieces to approximately fill a 5 quart slow cooker–irregularly piled in so there’s plenty of air space between the pieces
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 3 Tbsp Xantham gum powder
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar.
  • 96 oz (3 32 oz boxes) beef broth

Note, I don’t use a lot of seasoning in the recipe itself.  The meat was seasoned originally so the pieces bring those flavors with them.

Put the meat in the slow cooker.  Sprinkle the onion, thyme, and Xantham gum over it.  Pour in the vinegar and beef broth.  Ideally, the liquid should come to just about a half inch under the rim of the crock without the meat overtopping the rim.  You can adjust the amount and arrangement of the meat as needed.

Cook on low for about 6 hours.  Open and stir to break up the pieces of meat.  Ensure that any large pieces that don’t break up are immersed in the liquid.

Cover and cook on low an additional 4-6 hours.

Uncover and stir again, breaking up any remaining big chunks.  If they don’t break up from stirring, remove and pull apart using two forks then return to the pot.

Stir once more and serve over the vegetable or noodles of your choice.

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Range Trip

Took my daughter to the range today.  It had been a while.

For various reasons, I wasn’t up to the hour-long drive to a free outdoor range over at Wilbur Wright Fish and Wildlife Area.  Free is good, but sometimes…

There’s an indoor range not too far from where I live.  Relatively decent and, unlike some places I’ve been (that I never too my daughter to, thank the gods) I’ve never felt unsafe there. The range serves distances up to 50 ft (that’s feet, not yards).  It’s meant for handguns so 50′ is fine for most practice–and if I need longer, well, there’s always one of the outdoor ranges like Wilbur Right (free!) or Atterbury Fish and Wildlife area (that one costs money, although it’s admittedly a much nicer range).  The price at the indoor range isn’t bad.

If there’s a downside, it’s that you often have to spend time waiting for one of the clerks in the store (it’s also a gun store) to get free and come check you in.

Since Athena and I both mainly shoot .22LR rifles, we’re fine at even an indoor range.  Today, however, I left the rifles at home. (No, I did not forget them.  This was a deliberate choice.) I wanted to run my CZ75B (in 9X19 mm).  Athena was a bit reluctant to shoot handgun–almost all her previous shooting (after initial familiarization) was with rifle and she’s really good–as I have mentioned here and there:  in a zombie apocalypse, I load her for (and take care of close in threats).  Still, she was willing.  This store is the only place I’ve seen her favorite targets and I thought we could buy a few extra (at a buck each) for the next time we go out to Wilbur Wright.

While there, we got one of their rental guns in .22LR for her to try.  I ran the CZ75.

No, I’m not going to show target pictures, because, frankly, I’m embarrassed by them.  I’ve been shooting rifle almost exclusively and, well, the lack of practice with the handgun shows.  When I first started, my shots were mostly falling to the left and down.  Later in the session, the group started clustering around my point of aim.  Probably anticipating recoil at first, and clearing that up as I focused more on proper trigger squeeze so the actual shot was more of a surprise.  Practice.  Need more practice.

Athena’s groups were far larger than when she’s shooting rifle.  This, too, is no great surprise.  Still, easily getting “minute of bad guy” at 25 feet, a good “self defense” distance.

Despite Athena’s initial reluctance, she enjoyed herself.

In summary, a good time was had by all.

The Range was Indy Gun Bunker.

Two Hundred Twenty Years Ago Today.

On July 7, 1798, the United States Congress annulled the Treaty of Alliance we had signed with France during the American Revolution, leading to the undeclared “Quasi-War” with France.

This came as a result of the XYZ affair.  In July 1797, three Diplomats from the US:  Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, John Marshall (who would later become the fourth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court), and Elbridge Gerry traveled to France to negotiate problems that threatened to lead to war between the US and France.  Among these problems were the French seizure of neutral vessels that traded with Great Britain, with whom they were then at war.  Great Britain had likewise been neutral ships trading with France but the US had worked out an accommodation with Great Britain via the Jay Treaty.

When they attempted to seek these negotiations the French Foreign Minister Talleyrand demanded bribes and a loan before formal negotiations could begin.  While this was common practice in Continental European diplomacy to the Americans it was highly offensive.  Despite nearly a year of attempts to meet for official negotiations Pinckney and Marshall left France in the Spring of 1798 without ever engaging in any formal negotiations.  Gerry, hoping to avoid all-out war as Talleyrand had threatened to declare war if he left, remained until someone with more authority could replace him.  It was not until later in 1798 that Talleyrand sent representatives to the Hague to open negotiations with Williams Van Murray, allowing Gerry to return home in October of 1798

Documents released by the Adams administration, in which the names of French Diplomats Hottinguer, Bellamy, and Hauteval were replaced by the letters “X”, “Y”, and “Z” respectively, leading to the name “The XYZ affair” being attached to the incident caused outrage in the US.  Federalists used the incident as an excuse to build up the US’s military. (Never let a good crisis go to waste.) Considerable anger was directed at Jeffersonian Democratic Republicans for their pro-French stance and Gerry (still at that time in France) although himself non-partisan, was attacked as having significant responsibility for the commission’s failure.

The upshot of this outrage was that Congress annulled our Treaty of Alliance with France on June 7, 1798.  This began the “Quasi-war”.  Neither the United States nor France declared war on each other but for a period of two years they fought naval engagements attacking each others shipping  in the West Indies.  The nascent US Navy along with 365 privateers (privately owned vessels armed and authorized via “Letters of Marque and Reprisal” to fight our nation’s enemies) fared surprisingly well against the French.

The success of the US and Royal Navies (the Royal Navy was also operating against the French in that area although not in any joint capacity with the United States), along with the more conciliatory position of First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte, severely reduced the activity of the French forces in the West Indies.  The Convention of 1800, on September 30 of that year, ended the Quasi-war.

 

Right to protest: A blast from the past

People are at it again, claiming that some “right to protest” lets them do whatever they want, assault others, destroy property, harass, intimidate, whatever.  So long as they do it as “protest” (at least “protest” of which they approve–let someone else claim the same in retaliation and watch the screams) it’s acceptable behavior and should be free of consequences.  I’ve written on this subject before.


A black man is shot while assaulting a police officer.  People riot.

“Right to protest” people say.

Another is killed while resisting arrest over a tobacco tax violation.  People start blocking traffic and more riots.

“Right to protest” people say.

A man that many people do not like is elected President.  People riot, block traffic, assault supporters of that President.

“Right to protest” people say.

A gay conservative seeks to speak at a college campus.

More riots getting the college to rescind the invitation to speak.

“Right to protest” people say.

Well, here’s the problem:

There. is. no. right. to. protest.

I know, this is a surprise to many people, but it’s true.  There are a number of rights we have, but none of them are “to protest”.  They can be used for protest but simply “protesting” does not exist as a right separate from these other rights.  The closest to a right to protest is the right to petition government for redress of grievance.  You can tell government what you think it’s doing wrong and ask it to do something to fix the problem.

Instead of a right to protest you have rights to Free Speech, Free Press, and Peaceable Assembly.  You can use these rights to protest.  You can use them to say you think everything is fine. You can use them to say you think Rutabagas are better than Strawberries. (Weird, but “De gustibus non est disputandum.”)

You do not have the right to destroy (let alone steal) private or public property even if you call it protest.

You do not have the right to hinder people going about their lawful business even if you call it protest.

You most certainly do not have the right to assault people even if you call it protest.

“Protest” is not license for criminal behavior, not matter how strongly you feel about the thing your protesting.

Now, some people will bring up the idea of “civil disobedience”, of Gandhi’s “Salt March”, of Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus, of the Boston Tea Party.

But note the important factor in each of those, and other examples.  In each, the law they were breaking was one they themselves considered unjust.  The Sons of Liberty did not go burning their neighbors’ fields because they considered the tea tax, imposed on the colonies without the colonies having any representation in the taxing body (British Parliament) was unfair.  Their disobedience to the law was directed specifically to the taxed tea with an absolute minimum of other damage–indeed when they broke a lock on one of the ships to get access to the tea they later replaced it.

Similar with Gandhi’s Salt March.  It was considered unjust that the Indian people were forbidden from making their own salt, from the ocean waters on their own coast, without having a tax imposed by the British.  So they marched to the sea to make salt.

And Rosa Parks.  The law requiring certain citizens to move to the back of the bus in favor of others was unjust.  So she simply refused to move to the back.

The Boston Tea Partiers did dress up like Native Tribes in their protest but that fooled nobody.   Membership in the Sons of Liberty was pretty much an open secret.  And they were invoking either the British government backing down or retribution on their heads–either of which would underscore the unjustness, as they saw it, of the law they were violating in protest.

Gandhi’s marchers also knew they were subject to that law and that enforcement of it would highlight how unjust, as they saw it, it was.

Rosa Parks knew she was subject to arrest.  And she was arrested.

This is civil disobedience, direct and deliberate violation of unjust laws.  It can be a very courageous act since it invokes punishment for the violation specifically to show how unjust the law is.  And if you’re wrong about people rising in outrage against the law you believed was unjust, you still end up facing the punishment.

See the difference between that and seeking anonymity in a crowd, wearing masks, and breaking laws that have nothing to do with whatever the subject of the protest might be?  Such violation of the law does not show anything to be unjust.  It merely shows that the “protesters” are rabble, seeking only their own gain rather than serving any true cause whatever rhetoric they might spout.

The best such “protesters” can hope for is a general breakdown of rule of law in which chaos a few strong individuals might benefit at the cost of loss and blood for the masses.  At worst you get a government crackdown which does nothing to rally people to your side because your actions demonstrate that you deserve that crackdown.  In between are various levels of misery for various people that do nothing to further your high-sounding ideals.

Perhaps you hope for that breakdown of rule of law and, in the chaos to follow, you will come to the fore and take power.  However, consider, in such cases the people who start that kind of revolution rarely if ever are the ones in charge at the end.  The “idealists” who start the revolution are the first up against the wall, even if their side wins and the people seeking no more than their own personal power and wealth become the ones to rule.

Wither your high-sounding ideals then?

A Snippet

From a work in progress.  Dani Herzeg is a Dhampyre, and also secretly a vampire hunter.  Badly injured in a fight with two vampires that was caught on video, she is recovering while secretly working with police detective sergeant James Ware to find and eliminate the vampires.  Unfortunately, the prosecutor is holding her gun as “evidence” despite the fact that her actions in the fight were ruled self-defense and since she is outside of her State of residence she can neither buy a new gun or have one of her others shipped to her, not legally.  Her boss, Matei, had been remarkably unhelpful in providing support.


The alarm on my phone woke me at six the next morning.  When I closed the alarm I saw that I had two texts.  The first was from Matei.  A simple, “I have considered your problem.” The next was from Ware.

“Something has come up.  I’ll meet you at ten thirty.”

I frowned at the phone.  I supposed that he had other cases to work.

Since I had no particular hurry I took a long, leisurely shower.  Freshly scrubbed, I luxuriated in delighted in kicking the scrubs aside. First clean underwear.  A heavenly treat since I’d first woken in the hospital bed.  I quickly dressed in a blue-gray skirt and a sky-blue tank top before seating myself in my wheelchair and heading down to breakfast.  Same restaurant as the previous night.  Coffee and pastries, the other option without leaving the hotel, would be no more satisfying at breakfast than they would have at dinner.

After eating I lingered over coffee while scanning through the news on my phone.  The hospital massacre had made national news.  The media were calling it a terrorist attack although nobody had claimed responsibility for it.

Terrorism, though, meant Homeland Security would be all over it, making it even harder to do my job.

I switched to local news.  Buried deep in one article was that Detective Sergeant James Ware, Indianapolis Police Department, was heading the investigation.  Ware?  Not Homeland?

I shook my head.  Matei had been busy.  If he’d been using his power, his influence, to keep the Feds out of my way then maybe prying my gun loose from the prosecutor was a lesser issue after all.

Dammit, I hated it when he was right.

The light on the room phone was blinking when I returned, indicating I had a message.  I read the little menu next to the phone before picking it up and dialing the indicated number.

“Front Desk.”

“This is Dani Herzeg.” I gave him my room number. “You have a message?”

“A package was just delivered for you by FedEx, Ms. Herzeg.”

“A package?  Does it say from whom?”

“The return address says McIntire Investigations.”

I pinched the bridge of my nose and shook my head.  Matei, I thought. What have you done?  If you’ve sent me a gun, quite illegally, what exactly am I supposed to do with it?

“Okay, give me a minute and I’ll be…”

“No need to come down, Ms. Herzeg.  I’ll have somebody bring it to you.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“Our pleasure.”

I hung up.  I sat wondering how I was supposed to ensure that Ware never learned I had an illegal gun.

Someone knocked at my door.

“Just a minute,” I shouted.

I hobbled over to the door on crutches and peered through the peephole.  A young man stood outside the door wearing a maintenance uniform.  I engaged the swing arm security lock and cracked open the door

“Yes?”

“Package, ma’am.”

He held a package in his arms, a cubical box about twelve inches on a side.  The label was on the upper surface and I could not read it from that angle.

I chided myself for being paranoid.  The truth was, despite my injuries, no lone human was a threat.  I closed the door to disengage the lock then opened it.

“Come in.”

He started to hand me the box then saw my crutches and stepped inside.

“Where should I put it, ma’am?”

I pointed. “The table is fine.”

He set the package down then backed away.

“Do you have a knife?” I asked.

“Ma’am?”

“A knife,” I said. “The box is taped shut.  I don’t have one.”

“Oh, yes ma’am.” He unclipped a small folding knife from his belt and flicked it open.  With three deft swipes he cut the tape holding the top of the box closed.

“Thank you,” I said. “I don’t have any cash until I get to an ATM, but maybe I’ll catch you next time.”

“That’s all right, ma’am.”

He backed out the door, closing it before I could hobble over.

I looked at the box.  It was too big for a gun.  I opened the top flaps.  Styrofoam liner inside.

A folded piece of paper sat on top of the styrofoam.  I opened it and read.

“Dani, I cannot get your gun for you.  You will simply have to resolve that problem on your own.  But I need you at one hundred percent.  Matei.”

I swore. “Matei, you bastard.”

I opened the foam inner box.  Fog spilled out of it.  An object wrapped in bubble-wrap filled the upper portion of the inner box.  I removed it, exposing the dry ice that filled the bottom portion of the box.

I set the box aside.  I had to do something with it soon but it could wait.  I picked up the wrapped parcel and looked at it.  Taped closed.  That figured, I thought.  And the young man with the knife was already gone.

Tearing at the package with teeth and fingers eventually got it open.  Inside, I saw dark, maroon red.  A plastic pint bag of blood.  Vampire blood.

Vampires could heal their physical injuries by drinking blood.  That’s one thing the stories got right.  Most blood does nothing for a Dhampyre except taste nasty.  There was, however, one exception.  Vampire blood.  Matei had sent me a pint of his own blood to speed the healing of my injuries.

I looked at the clock.  Nine.  I had enough time before Ware arrived.  I hated this.  I really hated this.  But Matei was right.  I needed to be fit if I was going to find and kill these vampires.

I stood on my crutches, holding the bag pinched by one corner between my left hand and the handle of the crutch.  I went to the bathroom.  I did not want to have to explain any spilled blood on the carpet.  I could clean the tile in the bathroom if I had to.

The tub, I thought.  The handicapped seat.  I disrobed.  I climbed into the tub and set the crutches aside.  I held the bag in front of me for a moment, steeling myself.  I gripped the fitting to which a transfusion tube would normally be attached with my teeth.  I pulled.

The plastic tore just behind the fitting.  A few spoonfulls of blood squirted out of the bottle, hitting me in the cheek, falling on my thigh, and spilling onto the bottom of the tub.  I wrapped my lips around the torn opening and sucked, squeezing the bag to flood my mouth with blood.  I swallowed.  Again.

Pain flared through my body.  My ankle flamed.  My right hand and side felt like iron spikes were being driven into them.  Then I convulsed as the rest of the pain hit.  I clamped my jaw on the scream that tried to force its way out of my throat turning it into a strangled grunt.

As my body writhed, I fell off the seat and into the floor of the tub, where I lay twisting, convulsing, as vampire blood burned its way through my body.

I came to myself an eternity of agony later.  I had slid down into the bottom of the tub.  I sat up and pulled myself up onto the seat.  Aside from the hollow in my belly, I was pain free for the first time since the vampire’s charge had shoved me off the roof.

I picked up the plastic bottle and dropped it into the bathroom trash can.  I’d have to dispose of it properly later.  Spatters of blood dotted my body. more spatters marked the interior of the tub.  I’d managed to get about half the pint in me and not spilled.

I stood and gingerly put weight on my left foot.  No pain.  I tensed my hand inside the cast on the right.  Again, no pain.  The blood treatment had worked.

I turned on the shower spray.  Before stepping out of the tub and maybe tracking blood elsewhere, I needed to wash off.  A quick shower later, blood washed off my body out of the tub, I stepped out and checked my phone.  Just after ten.  Ware would be here soon.

I punched in his number.  He answered on the second ring.

“Detective Sergeant Ware.”

“It’s Herzeg.” I held up my left hand in its cast to look at it. “When you come to get me, could you bring a set of tin snips or other heavy shears?”

“What?  Why?”

“You’ll see.”

It would be good to walk without the cast any more.

On this July 4

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


Independence Day, on every July 4th, we celebrate this document and the war we fought to throw off tyrannical rule and establish our own government to preserve the Liberty of the people.  In addition to remembering what has gone before it also serves as a reminder to those in power:  there’s plenty of room on the calendar for another holiday should the people of the US decide this point has been reached again: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Lawns

Back when I was in High School–this would have been the late 70’s.  The school had this big production where a professional acting couple came to our school and gave a performance of a dramatization of the story of Adam and Eve.  Looking back, I’m kind of surprised even then that it was permitted given its religious nature since they pulled the entire student body into the gym/auditorium for this.  Now, I’m not going to go into the religious aspect but there was a part, somewhat after the expulsion from Eden where Eve comes to Adam and reminds him that they are supposed to be different from all the other animals, special.

Adam, warily, says “yes.”

Eve says “but the grass around our home is the same as the grass the animals live in.  Don’t you think it should be different?  Special?”

Adam says, even even more warily, “And how should our grass be different?”

Eve: “Shorter!”

And thus, for a second time, Eve damned the human race.

I live in a home with a homeowners’ association (I know.  I know!  But the option wasn’t “home with a homeowner’s assosiation” vs. “home without.” It was “home with a homeowners’ association” vs. “continuing to rent an appartment.” “Homeowners’ association” is still an improvement over “landlord”.) and if I don’t keep it mowed they make a fuss.

Lately, we’ve had a lot of rain here.  Every time it looks like the yard might have dried enough that I could mow another line of rain clouds would roll through and soak it all down again.  And while for some reason the grass has been growing rather slower than usual (perhaps it’s been too wet?) it still got uncomfortably tall and I’ve just been waiting for the nastygrams.

Well, finally, we got a break in the weather and I was able to mow.  (I’m setting this to post a few days after this writing–so I’ll have posts going up during LibertyCon.)

My lawn mower has three different ways of operating.  It can be set as a mulching mower, it can throw the clippings into a bag, or it can be set to throw the clippings to the side.  Usually, I use it mulching as that requires the least work and fuss.  However, as tall as the grass had gotten “mulching” is simply shorthand for “constantly clogging, stalling, and needing to be cleared and restarted).  The bag isn’t much of an improvement because if the grass is even a little damp, it sticks together and clogs the opening to the bag and we’re back to “mulching”.

However, I’ve found the side-throwing attachment works great when the grass has gotten taller.  You just need to make sure your pattern going through the lawn is such that the side it throws to is where you’ve already mowed.

This may seem simple to many people but the mowers I used growing up were all side throwing mowers.  I didn’t have these other options.  And for a long, long time I was in rental properties and didn’t have to worry about lawns.

So that’s the story of hour our grass is special, different from the other animals.

It’s shorter.