President Elect Donald J Trump -Billionaire

November 14, 2016

I won’t  lie.  I  had a major meltdown.  A yuuuge meltdown.  The most tremendous meltdown at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday when the election was called for Trump as Wisconsin pushed his electoral vote total over 270.  I was flummoxed.

I decided to put some time between the result and any in depth thoughts.  I went out for a bike ride on the 9th, and disappeared for the weekend to Morningwood to split logs and get away from the noise machine.

I split and stacked about 2 chords of red oak from two trees that were knocked down when a tornado passed overhead in August. After splitting the logs I had to load a wheelbarrow a dozen times with 80 lbs of logs and push it 150 feet up a steep hill to the wood piles.  It was a hell of a workout.

I don’t think anyone but the most partisan or most naive actually thought Trump was going to win the election.  By the campaigns’ own admission, their internal data had them losing the election.  Since then, so much analysis by so many people who got things so wrong has gone out over the airwaves and into the print and online media.  It’s wide ranging and as varied in reason as there are pundits doing the analysis.  For what it’s worth – my two cents:

The Dems made a mistake just giving HRC her “turn”.  The only challenger she had for the nomination was a Democratic Socialist leaning Independent who had to join the D party to run against her.  He energized a movement of young progressives but ultimately, the D party was backing HRC and was shown to be anything but an impartial player in giving her the nod.  I truly believe that for all her core competencies and knowledge of how to actually BE president, she was an awful candidate at campaigning FOR president.  She has poor political instincts, isn’t spontaneous and able to react on her feet and get away from rehearsed lines.  The D party should have seen from the force of Bernie’s campaign that this was a disruption election.  The recovery since 2008 has been unevenly distributed and Bernie was able to voice that.  HRC never saw it or experienced it and thus was unconvincing in her acknowledgement of it. The Dems also greatly underestimated the  degree of Clinton fatigue both in R and D voters.  In a year where people were hungry for change, the D’s ran the ultimate in status quo.

The  16 GOP candidates who lost to Trump made a mistake in assuming that their base voters give a flying fuck for Free Trade, low taxes and social issues and typical GOP doctrine.  They’re just as pissed at the party establishment at Dem voters are.  Trump saw that anger and exploited it.  While the 16 losers were arguing over the nuances of party doctrine and which was the more principled conservative Trump was tapping into the base voter’s anger by spouting nonsense. Trumps campaign rhetoric was basically a long monologue on all the shit those people who listen to Ingraham, Limbaugh and Hannity hear every day. Ban the Muslims, hate on Obama, Clinton is the enemy and Mexicans are taking your jobs. The country is going to hell and it’s not your fault.If your life sucks it’s Washington’s fault and the elite media is enabling the destruction.

I don’t think Trump believes half of the shit he said on the campaign trail.  He’s an exploiter and he saw a chance to win by breaking convention,  running  against the establishment and playing the role of demagogue.  He played it convincingly.  Now – I do believe he’s a narcissistic cad with a sense of entitlement whose only interest is in himself and his ego.  But, he’s also not an ideologue. Something I’ll get to later.

If I hear the term “Blue collar non college white” coming from the mouth of someone who’s spent their entire life and career in D.C. and New York I’m gonna puke.  Andrea Mitchell has no more understanding what motivates these people than I do of quantum physics.  As I drove around Morningwood all summer and this fall traveled to South Dakota to hunt pheasant, driving through rural IL, WI, MN and SD the Trump/Pence signs were thick.  They were everywhere in ways I’ve never seen for Romney or McCain before him.  This is what made me nervous before the numbers began pouring in on election  night.  The fact that Trump – despite his awful language, plain disregard for the truth, clear lack of knowledge on most issues, ugly demeanor and unconventional, disorganized campaign got rural America on the hook and never lost them.  Rural America is tired of being the butt of jokes.  They’re tired of all the government initiatives benefiting the  urban areas while the industries they drew jobs from – manufacturing, mining, milling, timber, agriculture either disappeared or were moved.The cities got tech incubators and highways and bridges.  Rural America got CAFO’s and fracking projects that stunk up the air and ruined their drinking water.  And if some jobs stayed, the wages haven’t gone up in 10 years. You can only tell someone they’re something they’re not (ignorant, racist, hateful) for so long before they say, you know what?  Fuck you!  Rural  America didn’t turn out for Trump the way they did because they’re fearful bigots. They turned out because they’re tired of being ignored.

Now – you do get the Rubes flying confederate flags up in  Central Wisconsin but with few exceptions, the people I interact with are decent, honest, work hard and want the same things for themselves and their families that everyone wants.  Opportunity and a sense of community.  When you see your opportunities diminished and your sense of community being marginalized, well, you’re gonna want to lash out at the status quo  with the only power you have and that’s the vote. Voting for  Trump over Clinton  was the  ultimate Fuck You to everything they hear Hannity tell them is “elite”.

Trump won’t build a border wall.  He won’t ban Muslims.  He won’t change the vetting process for immigrants coming into the country.  He won’t assign a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton.  If he did, he’d be eligible for impeachment.  Look it up. That’s one of the articles Nixon was impeached on. Abuse of executive power. Trump won’t replace Obamacare.  He’s quickly realizing that if you keep those with pre existing conditions eligible for coverage then you must include an individual mandate to keep the pool of insureds from sinking into  adverse selection, and if you have an individual mandate, you must subsidize the ability of people to pay premiums.  His statement of allowing cross border competition for insurance companies to sell across state lines shows a profound lack of understanding about how health insurance works in the United States.  It’s all about provider networks which by necessity are local not national.  The only way to fix Obamacare is to adopt a single payer universal system and raise taxes to pay for it.  Otherwise congress will just simply repeal the entire ACA and we’ll revert back to where we were in 2008 and before. That  option  won’t have any political will behind it.

Trump will also have a very difficult time avoiding ethics scrutiny with his business holdings. Let’s see if Jason Chavetz is as keen to hold hearings with the House Ethics and Oversight committee as he vowed to be with the Clinton Foundation had HRC won.

Trump  won’t tear up  the Iran nuclear deal

Trump  won’t successfully renegotiate NAFTA.

He’s already twice made very kind, magnanimous public statements about both Obama and Clinton.  This change coupled with the quick about face on some of his biggest and loudest stump speech highlights probably won’t anger his voters. Maybe it will.

bannon

Despite the national freak  out by those of my political stripe, Steve Bannon isn’t a racist White Nationalist.  It’s worse – He’s a deeply cynical Greed Head.  He made a lot of money owning a movie studio  and being an investment banker.In  other words, selling air to anyone he could game. He stepped into Breitbart and ran it to make money.  He didn’t write the fake news pieces but he did recognize the number of clicks that came in when those fake news pieces were published.  He made a shit tonne of money. Bannon is shrewd and agnostic when it comes to making money.  He’ll make it clean if he must and he’ll make it by exploiting Rubes if he must.  He doesn’t care, just so long as he makes money. I  suspect this is why he and Trump get along.  I  like  that he (Bannon) seems  to  be a non ideological pragmatist willing to blow up institutions and conventional wisdom.  Remember,  institutional conventional wisdom with bi  partisan backing gave us the  Iraq War and the 2008 financial crisis.  The experts got it wrong in both those cases.  Maybe an outsider who is a deeply cynical nihilist will be a good thing.  The only thing that truly bothers me about him is that his complexion reminds me of every career drunk I’ve ever seen – liver spots,baggy grey eyes, sallow inflamed skin riddled with broken capillaries. It takes one  to  know one and this guy is a fucking drunk who will go on late night rampages with a bottle of wine and half a bottle of vodka.  That’s what is scary about him – not that he made lots of money drawing Rubes to his web site.

Trump will roll back regulations on the Financial Industry, Banks and Environmental Protections.  In  the  short term Financial stocks are gonna love it. But  I’d start to short the financial industry about 2 years after Dodd-Frank is repealed.  I just hope it doesn’t blow the  world economy up again.

I think Trump will either be a one term president or will resign before the end of his  term because he’s overwhelmed with the job.In the short  week  after the election, he’s made public appearances with the President and on 60 minutes and the more he speaks the more it is clear that he doesn’t really know what the fuck he’s gotten himself into. He’s clueless. His chief talents are self promotion and marketing.  He lacks the intellectual curiosity necessary for a president to grasp complex situations.

The thing that I  find truly frightening and I hope the animosity of Bannon for Paul Ryan will be a brake against is the House going  completely nuts. The R’s have all three branches of government for the first time since 1928 (Great depression followed shortly) and 2003-2007 (Great recession shortly followed).  Hang on to your hats kids.

So – things are seldom as  good as you think they are or as bad as you think they’ll be.  I’ll count on that.

A Working Theory

October 11, 2016
I believe I have an explanation for Trump clearly going full on nuclear with the Clinton hate, anti GOP establishment, conspiracy theory spouting, BENGHAZI!!!, email, LOCK HER UP! scorched earth campaign strategy and crazy Twitter rampages which stoke up his 30% following but it is clearly alienating the middle of the road he needs to win.
He doesn’t intend to win. He doesn’t want to win. He’s gone full on scorched earth because he intends to start up a media company with his campaign CEO Steve Bannon (Breitbart) and pro temp advisor Roger Ailes (FOX) when this is all said and done.
He’ll continue to take advantage of his ardent base of halfwit Rubes  selling anger but no solutions. I  suppose Sean Hannity and Rudy Giuliani will have a prominent role to play  at the media company as well.
His business is based solely upon his “brand” – TRUMP. And he realizes that being able to continue to sell that brand for hotels, resorts, casinos, clothing, etc. has little if no future value after this campaign has revealed him to be a cad and a con man.
All he has left to sell is anger.
Stay tuned.

Creamy Mushroom Soup

September 28, 2016
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Just a few of the wonderful edibles I’ve harvested at #morningwood

The rainy fall weather has produced a bumper crop of wild mushrooms at #morningwood this year.  The past couple of years, I’d find a handful of small puffballs, maybe see a stray parasol, no boletes at all.  This year it’s been crazy.  More than I can harvest, puffballs in 25 mushroom clusters, Fairy Rings of parasols and for the first time, delicious boletes so abundant I’m only able to harvest half of them.  TLK even found a pair of giant puffballs, which I’ve never seen up there.

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TLK found some giant puffballs, compared to the size we normally find. Inside they look just like Angel Food cake

So, needing a great way to use the abundance before they go bad – wild mushrooms have less than half the shelf life of cultivated ‘shrooms it seems – I decided to make a big batch of creamy mushroom soup.

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This recipe will yield 8-10 servings.  Scale the recipe as needed if you have fewer mouths to feed.

Ingredients:

1 stick (8 tablespoons) of unsalted butter

2 1/2 medium white onions chopped medium coarse

1.5 lb wild mushrooms coarsely chopped. Obviously if  you can’t find wild or not you’re not confident with foraging for edible mushrooms use some flavorful cultivated ‘shrooms such as Oyster, Crimini, Hen of the Woods etc

2T finely chopped fresh dill

4T hot paprika

2T Maggi seasoning or Worcestershire sauce if you can’t find Maggi

4 cups chicken broth

1  cup 2% milk

1 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup all  purpose  flour

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup chopped de stemmed  kale

1T sweet Dijon mustard

Black pepper to taste

Process:

In a large stock pot melt butter over medium heat. Saute onions in melted butter for 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook them down for 7 minutes.  Stir in flour, dill, paprika, Maggi, mustard and lemon juice until the flour roux evenly coats the mushrooms.  Add chicken stock, milk, evaporated milk, cream and bring up to a slow simmer for 20  minutes.

Add sour cream and stir until melted.  Stir in kale and allow to simmer for 15 minutes further being careful not to scald the soup or allow it to boil.

Serve in a deep bowl with a garnish of chopped scallions and a sprinkle of paprika.

Enjoy!

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Autumnal Things

September 26, 2016

September.  I think it’s 2nd on my list of favorite behind October.  Labor Day, the passing from summer to fall, football, the end of baseball regular season, crisp, clear evenings, warm low humidity days.  Yeah, September is good.

With the purchase of #morningwood, September has come to mean a few new things to me.  Mushrooms and new fall chores.

 

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#driftwood is done for the season

This is a new one.  Time to get the boat out of the water.  Leaving a boat lift and dock in a frozen lake is a bad thing.  The ice flow will twist and mangle aluminum over the course of the winter.  So, beginning in late September, early October the residents around the lake begin the ritual of lining up the boat trailers at the launch by the dam on the West end of the lake to pull the boats out for the winter.  Prep for winter storage involves cleaning  film of algae off the hulls or pontoons, cleaning the vinyl, shampooing the carpets, filling the gas tank and adding StaBil and draining the oil.  TLK is working on finding a storage facility.  Next weekend we’ll disassemble the dock and pull it out of the water.  At some point the dock and pier company will come by with what amounts to a barge with a winch on it to pull the lift out and set it on the front part of our property.  That happens in early October typically so the incentive to get the boat off the lift exists due to the fact that if they can’t take our lift out when they come to the lake to do their other contracts, we pay a $100 up charge.

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TLK caught the final regular season Cubs home game of 2016

I got home from #morningwood in the mid afternoon and about 5:45 TLK and I headed over to Wrigley for the final regular season game.  The Cubs have had a magical season and it continued last night.  Cubs fans have fallen in love with David Ross in the short time he’s been with the team.  He’s basically a part time catcher, brought along in the John Lester trade as Lester’s personal catcher.  He announced that this would be his final season at age 38.  Last night we Cub fans enjoyed some truly a chill inducing, tear jerking moments with Rossy.  His first at bat, the crowd erupted in a long, spontaneous standing O as Rossy was announced.  He had to back away from the plate, and acknowledge the crowd with a doff of his batting helmet.  His next at bat, again – crowd gives him a thunderous ovation and he knocked a dong deep into the left centerfield bleachers to give the good guys a 1-0 lead over arch rival STL Cardinals. The crowd was berzerkers and Rossy had to come out of the dugout for a curtain call.  During the 7th, Joe Maddon walked out to the bump for a convo with the infield.  Rossy walked out to the hill and Maddon give him a hug and an official Final Walk off the field as replacement catcher Wilson Contreras came on.  Each of the infielders on the mound also gave him an embrace as the crowd stood once again for a long, long standing O.  Once again, a curtain call.  It was a classy way to acknowledge him, rather than just replacing him between innings. You could see Rossy moved to tears in the dugout afterward.  It was such a privilege to be there. The Cubs went on to win 3-1 for win # 99 of the season.

Life is all about making memories.  Last night was a good one.

Finally – Mushrooms

I’ve become a forager.  The first spring we had #morningwood, we discovered a cache of morels on our lot.  Later that year in August, we found a lot of tiny puffball mushrooms.  I began doing a lot  of study on identifying edible mushrooms common to Central Wisconsin  in specific and North America in general and this year with the wet weather the wild mushrooms have gone completely wild.  I’ve made Pasta Carbonara con fungi, Creamy mushroom soup, Omelettes, Fritatas, Sutee’d as a side dish with green beans…all from ‘shrooms on our lot and the neighbor’s abandoned lot.  Click  on the photos for description and a closer look.

 

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This is a Russula rosea.  Sauteed in butter and garlic it will taste bitter and give you the shits.  But it won’t kill you or make the colors in your world vivid and melty.  Best just to stomp on them if you find any.

Next time I’ll post the Creamy Mushroom Soup and Wild Mushroom Carbonara recipes

Shake Shack

September 19, 2016

I’m exhausted.

I spent the weekend at Morningwood with TLK installing cedar shake siding on  the gable exposures.  So, now we have a Shake Shack

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That’s about 400 trips up and down a 6′ step ladder.  You’d think a guy with my fitness and stamina would be able to spend a weekend using a pneumatic nail gun to nail up extremely light weight pieces of cedar to a wall without feeling like I used to the morning after a football game back in High School.  My shoulders are tight, my triceps are sore, my quads and calves are screaming and I feel physically drained.  Seriously, I can barely walk.

The East side of the house took roughly 5 hours with me cutting and  nailing and TLK picking out the pieces so that each course up the wall staggered in such a way to avoid siding joints lining up with a joint below it.

We got up early on Saturday so after 6 hours of sleep  and arrived at Morningwood about 10:00.  I got the drain pipes under the kitchen sink done after maybe 6 trips back and forth into Adams (15 mile round trip) because I couldn’t seem to buy the right parts or if the right parts, the wrong sizes. Plumbing clearly is not my thing but the final result looks pro.

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This doesn’t look all  that complicated but it’s all geometry, calculus and spatial reasoning, only one  of which  I truly fluent with. That along with knowing the difference between 1.5″ inside diameter and 1.5″ outside diameter, thin wall or thick wall PVC.  Christalmighty it’s a job too small to hire a plumber to do but after the time and aggravation, it makes me think maybe $200  would have been worth it.  So,  now we have after 2 years (when we last had a kitchen sink toward  the  end of the demo) a fully functioning kitchen sink and counter tops instead of plywood!  It made TLK very, very happy to wash dishes in a real full size sink rather than the tiny basin in the bathroom vanity.

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After getting the plumbing finished and fixing the tiny leak from an improperly set gasket, we hit the siding with full force and after 5 hours, the day ended with me dropping the siding  nailer from the ladder which landed in such a way that the air hose ruptured at the coupling.  End of day one. I made dinner of brats and brussels sprouts with wild mushrooms from the property and TLK made mac n cheeze and we watched college football till about 11:00.

Sunday I got up around 7:30, which is an early rise time at Morningwood unless it’s for fishing.  I went back into Adams to get an air hose at the Ace Hardware store. It went exactly like this:

Druber walks into store looking bewildered.

Clerk:  Can I help you find anything?

Druber:  Yes.  I’m looking for hose.  Compressor hose.  Hose for a compressor for air tools.  Pneumatic..

Clerk points to aisle end cap display, next to which I’m standing.

Clerk: We have several different options right there next to you.

Druber:  Jeez I clearly need more sleep or more coffee.

Back at Morningwood we got the tools set up and the boxes of shingles out and finished up the angle cuts on the East side and moved to the North side of the house.  By 4:30 working mostly alone, I had it nearly completed.  TLK was blowing leaves and debris and filling the rather sizable firewood box emptying an entire rack of seasoned firewood in the process.  The Old Bats who owned Morningwood prior to us built a really nifty storage system into the  chimney structure for firewood, with an exterior door for loading and doors that open on the inside next to the fireplace for access to the wood.  It holds enough to get through a good portion of the  winter with a fire going every night we’re up there.

Anyhoo.  Got done with what I  had the energy  to do. I’d worked straight through without eating all day.  It happens – I get preoccupied.  I was wiped out as was TLK from the filthy grungy work she had done.  She said “do you really want  to drive home  tonight or do you just want  to stay up here again and leave tomorrow morning early?”  I’d been thinking the same thing.  I said “Baby, you just saved us from dying by me falling asleep at the wheel”.  We had dinner at the Inn of the Pines because I was too tired to cook.

We sat and watched football in exhausted silence scarfing down our meal while an old drunk Wisconinite held court at the  other end of the  bar for the  other 3 patrons at Inn of the Pines, droning on incoherently stopping only to laugh at his own stories. It was a perfect ending to a productive weekend.

I have about 2 hours of work left on  the shingles, then my  part of the exterior work is complete.  All that remains is for stone guy to come and install the stone around the foundation and the  lake facing side of the house.  It definitely feels good to have the exterior completed before winter.

Did I mention that I’m exhausted?

 

Cubs Win!

September 16, 2016

w

I’ve been a Cubs fan for a very long time.  I  first began following the Cubs in 1973.  Growing  up  in  Champaign, IL with 3 broadcast stations and PBS available on our black and white TV I didn’t have much in the way of options.  The local NBC affiliate, channel 15 picked up most of the WGN feeds of Cubs home games back in then.  Of course Wrigley field didn’t have lighting until August of 1988 (a game that was rained out by a fierce thunderstorm adding to the Wrigley lore). I’d hustle home from school and watch the Cubs of Santo, Kessinger, Beckert and Peppitone around the horn, Cardinale, Monday and Billy Williams in the outfield and Hundley behind the plate with hopefully Fergie Jenkins on the bump tossing fire at the opposing batters high and tight.

I  had to look this one  up, never being much of a stats guy but that team finished 3.5 games below .500 with a record of 77-84. Back then, this was considered a very good season for the Cubs. My favorite player was Randy Hundley the catcher and whenever it was an option for as long as I played baseball into my mid 20’s I wore number 9 and became a fairly decent catcher along the way.

Over all those years, the Cubs have made it to the playoffs exactly 7 times and to the NLCS 3 of those times.  Since moving to Chicago from Champaign, I’ve upped my game attendance from a couple of home games and maybe an away series to about 30 home games per season.  Beginning in 2010 I’ve sat through miserable spring weather and records of 75-87, 71-91, the glory years of 2012 and 2013 61-101, 66-96 narrowly avoiding back to back 100 loss seasons then the dramatic uptick of 2014 73-89 and the playoff season of 2015 at 97-65. This year the team has won 93 games  with 16 games left to play.

I was fortunate enough to be at the playoff game in 2015 where the Cubs, behind Kyle Schwarber’s massive home run that settled on top the  the newly erected right field scoreboard, won the  series over their arch rival Cardinals.  I was also at the final game where the  Mets completed their NLCS sweep at Wrigley.

I was at the game last night with my conservative (something that I don’t hold  against him) buddy Curt Hartig.  I don’t hold his conservatism against him because he’s for the most  part intellectually honest about it and doesn’t indulge in conspiracy theories and half truths about body doubles and secret Muslims.  Although, I did bust his chops for citing the Gateway Pundit on Facebook once.  I digress…The Cubs lost to  the Brewers but since the  Cardinals lost out in San Francisco, the Cubs clinched the NL Central.  We have high hopes in Cubby land.

The team has the best record in baseball.  Will have  home field advantage throughout the NL playoffs.  I’d expect the tough competition to come from Washington as they’re playing some hot  ball right now but have potentially lost arguably their best pitcher Stephen Strasburg.

Anyway – when the playoffs start, toss out the regular season  records  because  it  all comes down to which  team is playing with a hot hand at the time.  Hopefully it will be the boys in blue and after 43 years  of being a fan,  I will finally be able to fly my W in  November.

The exterior work.

September 12, 2016

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Working on  the exterior of #morningwood has been a better experience than I thought it would be.  Originally I lacked the confidence to do the  work myself so I asked the contractor who framed up the interior and installed the windows as well as doing the base exterior work of 2×2 furring, 1 1/2 foam insulation under OSB then the tyvek wrap for a bid.  He’s super busy building big homes up there so our project would be very small and late season.  He never did get back to me with a price.  As work  progressed on the interior and I continued accumulating an  Ultimate Set of Tools my confidence in doing the exterior work grew and I decided to take it on.  The week before installation I back primed and applied the first coat on the siding and with a great assist  from my friend Neil Thomas and his wife Ellette who stayed with us over Labor Day weekend I got almost all of the siding up.

Going for a mid century modern look on a lake cottage that was formerly a square concrete block structure seemed a bit far fetched, but with the low shallow pitched roof, it just made sense to try and get that look for #morningwood.  As I ride my bike around the north shore suburbs of Chicago, particularly in Morton Grove, Glenview and Glencoe I see a lot of mcm homes.  The thing that jumps out is the use of multiple materials, and asymmetry.  I  see vertical and horizontal siding with brick or stone or both.  I see finishing on one corner of a home or gable that isn’t duplicated on other corners or similar areas of the home.  For example this home in Glenview:

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I decided to go with T1-11 which is a really durable plywood siding with grooves cut on 4″, 6″, 8″ or 12″ center for the vertical  siding above where the stone will go up to  the soffit and gable level.  Above the 6″ on center T1-11 I wanted to go  with a horizontal cedar lap siding stained with a contrasting color or the same color as the T1-11 but with semi transparent vs solid color stain.  Kathy wanted to go with cedar shake siding with a clear finish.

I don’t really see any smaller mcm homes with shakes so initially I was against the idea but looking around on Houzz and other sites I started seeing some homes with that look. I began to warm to the idea and finally decided that we’ll go with the shakes.   Those will be delivered this week.  In the mean time, I’m going back up to #morningwood tomorrow to do a second coat of stain and to paint the corner trim and windows before the stone is installed.

colors

I have a pretty good eye for color.  Always have.  When I had my painting company I used to mix and match my own paint colors and could find color chips that could match fabric or upholstery or whatever by memory.  Anyway – when it came to picking the color for the  siding, I knew what I was looking for and I knew I wanted to use Benjamin Moore Arborcoat stain.

I went to the local JC Licht, which is a huge dealer for Benny Moor and found a color based on the sample that was exactly what I was looking for.  On the chart above, it’s the 6th chip from the left on the bottom row.  Color name – not that it’s important – is Dakota Shadow.  Nice, grayish mossy green that will blend organically with the surroundings of #morningwood.  Well, when I applied the stain it went on like Green Bay Packer Green!  I mean, trim the place in yellow and paint a big G on the sides.  Seriously?  How could I be that far off?

Needing  to do a second coat anyway, I didn’t panic about picking the wrong color but did have to endure all  of Kathy’s comments about her “Christmas Cottage” etc.  We found a correct color at Home Depot, but I hate Behr stains, so I had the color matched at JC Licht today and it came out perfectly and ironically very similar to the color on the Dakota Shadow stain chip that I’d originally selected.  Ah well.

Maybe next time I’ll back track a bit and get some info up about the place as it was when we first saw it and made the decision (got tricked  by our  friend) to buy the dump on  a frozen  lake.

 

 

Firing up the Blog Again

September 9, 2016

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Doing my best impersonation of Captain Obvious, let me state for the record that it’s been a long time since I wrote on the Druber Blog.  Should I just let a sleeping do lie, or jump back in?  Now that I’ve officially retired the (Feed)Zone over at Truesport, I figure this would be a good outlet to spout off and catch up and share food porn and recipes.

Observation:  With Facebook and Twitter, the urge to keep the blog active died away.  Posting to FB and Twitter requires so much less effort both in terms of time and creativity.  In 10 seconds or less, I can get a point across, express an opinion, post a food photo or whatever.  That’s become, I think; a poor substitute for actually sitting down to think and write.  I’ll try to do this better and more regularly.  So, if you’d like to follow, be my guest.

What’s happened in the past 3 years?

  • Experienced and recovered from a ruptured disc in my lower back that forced some significant life changes
  • TLK and I bought a dump on a frozen lake in Central Wisconsin that we’ve gut rehabbed.  Nearly finished with the major stuff.
  • We bought a boat for the few months the lake isn’t frozen
  • Done some pheasant hunting with Ti$za
  • My offspring has produced offspring and I now have two wonderful Granddaughters, Lutterbelle Gussie Mae and Screech
  • The Cubs got good at baseball

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The dump on a frozen lake.  More details soon.  Before, during and after stories to tell.

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Glass block window on the master BR wall.

This is where the exterior of the dump is now.  T1-11 siding and Tyvek.  Above the siding I’ll install cedar shakes.  Below the siding and on the corner, as well as the lake facing side will be ledgestone.  We decided we didn’t like the hunter green so much so the second coat of stain will be a mossier gray green.  The shakes will just be clear coated.The corner trims and window trims will be the same color as the soffit and fascia. Glad to get this done before another winter.  Last winter is was just the Tyvek which got us through okay.

As I write, it’s raining up at the dump.  BTW, we’ve named the dump #morningwood. Every place up here has a name.  The Cottage Up North, Ma’s on the Lake, Labrador Retreat, The Fishin’ Shack etc.  So, when I refer to #morningwood going forward you’ll know to what I’m referring.  Anyway – no work, no riding happening today so voila – the Druber Blog is reborn.

Stay tuned.

 

Blue Cheese and Buttermilk Cream of Broccoli Soup

October 27, 2013

This isn’t your Grandma’s (or Campbell’s for that matter) Cream of Broccoli Soup.  Seasoned with a touch of Cardamom seed, Black Peppercorn and wonderful Stilton Cheese, it’s perfect for the cooling fall weather

1 medium Vidalia Onion coarsely chopped

3 cloves of garlic minced

6 stalks of celery chopped

2 lb Broccoli Florets

2 Knorr Chicken bullion cubes

12 black peppercorns

6 Cardamom pods smashed and seeds removed

6 T butter

2 cups Buttermilk

5 T all purpose flour

1 1/4 cups shredded Stilton or other blue cheese

7 cups boiling water

In a large stock pot melt 3T butter.  Add in onions, garlic and celery.  Sweat this down until the onions are cooked and add the broccoli florets, cardamom seeds, peppercorns and crumbled bullion cubes.  Reduce heat to low and cover the pot while you make a bechamel.  Go back to the pot periodically and give it a stir to make sure all the veggies are coated with flavor of the butter and spices.

BECHAMEL

Melt 3 T butter in a 1 qt pot.

Add 5 T all purpose flour to melted butter and stir constantly until you have a rue that is thick and golden in color.

Add 2 cups hot buttermilk (heated to just shy of boiling)

Stir until the sauce begins to thicken and reduce heat to low simmer and cover.

BACK TO THE SOUP

Bring your 7 cups water to a boil and pour into large stock pot over the broccoli mixture.  Reduce heat to medium and allow this to cook at a low boil until the broccoli is cooked soft.

Return the bechamel to low heat and stir in the blue cheese.  Stir this thoroughly until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.  Remove from heat and cover.

Use a stick blender  to blend the broccoli mix until smooth.  Gradually stir in the blue cheese sauce into the blended broccoli and allow this to cook for 20 more minutes on very low heat with the cover on, returning to stir 4-5 times.

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Give it a taste and add salt or pepper to taste, though I find the 2 bullion cubes and salty blue cheese give it all the salt it needs.  Float some croutons on top and enjoy!

 

Spicy Tuna Tartare

August 13, 2013

As with most things food related, eating really, really good stuff isn’t time consuming or complicated.  It’s simply a matter of combining great, fresh ingredients in just the right proportion with flavor profiles that match.  Take this tuna tartare for example.  It’s really just a play on ceviche but cured for less time in whatever acid brine medium you choose.  The most time consuming thing about this recipe is probably just sourcing AAA shashimi grade tuna, followed by the knife work necessary to keep the flavor of each bite consistent with the next throughout the dish.  OK – this serves two.

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What you’re need

1 Jalapeno pepper

1 nub of fresh ginger root

Fresh Cilantro

1 fresh lemon

1 fresh lime

1 Cucumber

1 White Onion

8 oz shashimi grade Ahi or Yellow Fin tuna

soy sauce, pepper oil, salt, pepper, habanero based hot sauce, plain yogurt, olive oil or chili infused olive oil

Process:

Slice 3 .5cm slices of cucumber and hollow out each disc by removing the seeds.  

Very finely mince 2T white onion (you’ll almost want to make a paste of this) and combine with 4T of yogurt and fill the cucumber discs with the seasoned yogurt and lightly salt.  Refrigerate the cucumbers while you prepare the rest.

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Next, very finely mince 4t. fresh ginger, 1T fresh jalapeno from which seeds and pith have been removed and 1T fresh cilantro

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Next:  Cut some beautiful, clean, odorless shashimi grade tuna into .5cm cubes.  Be patient, cut with the grain of the muscle as cutting across the grain will mash the tuna somewhat and leave you with some sinew that just won’t be right.

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In a glass or stainless steel bowl, toss and thoroughly mix the tuna cubes with the ginger, jalapeno and cilantro and a couple of dashes of hot sauce. DO NOT use a smoky, red  sauce such as Cholula or Valentina.  As wonderful as those are, the smokey flavor will overpower the delicate flavors of the tuna.  Look for a yellow or orange, habanero based sauce, preferable with a ginger component.  Look for a Caribbean style hot sauce such as Grace or Howler Monkey brands which are pretty commonly available.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate this for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, juice one lemon and add to the tuna.  Thoroughly combine making sure the lemon juice hits all the tuna and put back in the ‘fridge for 20 more minutes. 

To plate over the cucumbers, use a 3″ spring mold, pack it and carefully lift the mold to keep the round shape. If you don’t have a spring mold, you can pack a 1/2 cup measuring cup with the tuna and carefully turn out the tartare over the cucumbers. Finish the plating by either zesting some fresh  lime peel or if you have the tool, cutting some mini lime twists over the top of the tartare and drizzling with a really nice peppery olive oil such as made from coratina olives or a chili infused olive oil.

Use your imagination for sides.  Baby greens, arugula, pico de gaillo (which is what I did with some cooked millet added) toasted bread will all work.

This dish gives you a delicate yet spicy tartare that will warm your lips but not burn.  Over the cool cucumber and seasoned yogurt, the heat from the ginger and jalapeno will be perfectly balanced.