Archive for Holidays

Summer Solstice And Fathers’ Day June 20, 2021

Father’s Day GrillingIn 2021, Father’s Day will be celebrated on Sunday, June 20. This happens to be the same day as the summer solstice (June 20 at 11:32 P.M. Eastern Time), which makes it the perfect time to kick-off the summer season with grilling a couple of steaks. We’re in the middle of a heat-wave but we’re prepared to go outdoors and cook over the grill by virtue of having plenty of water and perhaps an adult beverage or two.

Image: Ready at the Outdoor Grill - Click on the image to enlarge.

The local sunrise for today is at 5:20 AM and the sunset will take place at 7:45 PM. The longest day at our latitude is 14 Hours and 25 Minutes. The forecast temperature at grilling time is 112° F. As I said before, we’re prepared - the summer heat is one of the reasons we moved here.

The menu today is for Beef; tenderloin steaks for today and a tri-tip roast for later in the week. The side dishes are baked beans and potato salad, both of the KETO variety, i.e. low-carb soy beans and cauliflower instead of potatoes in the salad - both taste the same as the high carb dishes they replace.

Finally, today we salute all the Dads out there and wish them a good day. We also salute our Dads again as we did last year.

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Memorial Day 2021

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Damsel and I took a spring vacation, probably back in 1986 or so, to the Washington D.C. area to see the sights in the area. A visit to Arlington National Cemetery was one of the major items on our list of things to do. We saw the Iwo Jima Memorial, JFK’s Eternal Flame, scores of important historical items and also a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

We were at the Tomb when the ceremony for changing the guard took place. It was one of those things that sent chills through your body what with the precision movements made by the Army Soldiers as they relieved the current guard with his replacement.

As for the contents of the Tomb, there are the remains of three unknowns; one from WW1, another from WW2 and a third from the Korean Conflict. These days, with DNA testing, there are almost no “unknown” personnel, so no more are expected to be interred at the Tomb.

On this Memorial Day, we remember all of those who never came home from the conflicts in our history. May GOD rest their souls and may they not have died in vain for the liberty and freedom we cherish. Amen.

Enjoy the holiday, but remember them.

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Beltane - A Celtic Cross Quarter

beltane3.jpgThis 5th of May, 2021, Damsel and I have decided to skip the traditional “Cinco de Mayo” and celebrate “Beltane” instead. The Cross-Quarter day (midway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice) of Beltane, an ancient Celtic day of importance, occurs on May 5th this year according to the “Grand Octal Clock” which can be seen at the Archaeoastronomy.com website.

So, to celebrate the Celtic First Day of the Summer Season, we will be preparing a traditional Irish dinner of Corned Beef and Cabbage along with some boiled vegetables. I know, we just had that on March 17th for St. Patrick’s Day, but we like to have this meal more than once a year.

I discussed our Irish Ancestry in a post on St. Patrick’s Day last year. I also have English, Welsh, Scottish and some other mixed Northern European heritage along with a couple of Italians and one Choctaw great6th grandmother. Doing the math, that Indian ancestor qualifies me for Native American heritage benefits four times greater than Senator Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren. Of course, I wouldn’t do that - I’m not a Democrat.

So, since neither Damsel nor I have any Hispanic Genealogy, we will probably be more inclined to celebrate Beltane than Cinco de Mayo in the future on May the 5th. That being said, we will still, of course, indulge in Tex/Mex Cuisine from time to time.

Happy (Insert Your Preferred 3/5 Celebration Here) to you!

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Emmanuel - God Is With Us

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The first chapter of Matthew, in the New Testament, describes the lineage from Abraham, down through King David and eventually through forty-two generations in all from Abraham to Joseph, the Husband of Mary, Mother of Jesus. Thus, because of a decree from the Roman Emperor to the citizens of Judea, Mary and Joseph were destined to go to the City of David, in Bethlehem, where the Christ Child was born.

Later, also in the first chapter of Matthew, comes the annunciation of the Angel of the Lord as delivered to Joseph in a Dream:

. . . behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

The prophetic scripture referred to in the last sentences is from Isiah 7:14 in the Old Testament.

In these days of muted activity during these unusual times and circumstances, we remind you that the Spirit of God is still as strong as ever and through that Spirit, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope for joy in the new year of 2021. We pray for you to stay well, to be strong and to be prepared for whatever eventualities that may be in store for us in these bizarre and interesting times to come. May God Bless Us All.

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Thanksgiving Day 2020

Smoked Turkey BreastDamsel and I wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. We plan to celebrate with a feast consisting of Smoked Turkey Breast with Gravy, Cornbread Dressing, Cranberry Sauce, Brussels Sprouts, Green Bean Casserole and Pumpkin Parfait Dessert. A feast indeed.

Image: Smoked and Sliced Turkey Breast. Click on the image to enlarge.

The image is from our 2018 Thanksgiving Dinner. We expect the same results today.

Since we are both on low carbohydrate and low-sodium diets, the dishes mentioned above are prepared using reduced salt and Keto® friendly ingredients. The turkey breasts are commercially-available such as Jennie-O™ or Butterball™ brands. They come frozen in a pop-in-the-oven plastic bag. We open the bag and discard the accompanying gravy packet. We rinse off all the coatings on the breast and soak in clear water to remove the brine. After applying our own poultry seasonings, we pop it into the smoker and set it to cook slowly over the next few hours.

As I write this, I can smell the smoker doing its thing out on the patio just behind the office where I sit. We are looking forward to today’s feasting. We will be thanking the Lord and asking Him to bless the feast, our country and all those celebrating this day of thanks. We wish all of you a festive and Happy Thanksgiving Day!

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Veterans Day 2020

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Armistice was declared for the conflict of World War One on November 11, 1918. That day became celebrated as Armistice Day to commemorate WW1 Vets (Bless ‘em All). Since that time, Armistice Day has evolved into Veterans Day to commemorate all American Veterans who have served in times of peace and war. Today is no exception and we resolve to honor those whose service has been given to our country.

Our family has a number of veterans in our lineage, some alive and some passed on. I did some genealogy work recently and discovered a number of ancestors who served. Several ancestors showed service in the Revolutionary War. Some were in the US Civil War (on both sides) and a few in the Spanish American War. My Grand Dad, Leonard, was in the Navy just after that war.

Damsel’s Dad, Bill, served in the US Navy (Aviation) assigned to Patrol Squadron 26 as a crew member on the PB4 Privateer Aircraft with missions around the Mediterranean after WW2.

My Dad, Jack, was aboard the USS Brooklyn during WW2, sometimes in the African theater of operations and also in the Northern Mediterranean supporting Allied forces in Europe.

What is now the senior generation of veterans in our family consists of me. I was in Naval Aviation and served in the capacity of Radio Operator Crewman and Avionics Line Troubleshooter at the Naval Missile Center, Point Mugu, CA. Our mission was to provide airborne targets for the Pacific Missile Range. Those were some fun and interesting times not to mention somewhat risky working around whirling propellers and jet engine intakes and flying aboard some pretty vintage military aircraft. Think Lockheed P2V, Sikorsky SH34, Grumman S2F and various other Convair, Martin, Douglas and Lockheed Airplanes in support of RangeOps.

My two late brothers were also in the Navy; my older brother became an officer under a program where he got a college education at Purdue University in exchange for a career assignment as an Officer. My younger brother, like me, was in for a limited time and served as an Aviation Equipment Technician at NAS Miramar, near San Diego.

Both of my older brother’s kids were in the US Air Force; the older daughter became a linguistic translator for covert operations during the cold war, and his younger son worked as an air traffic controller who, incidentally, went on to make a career as ATC working for the FAA (and still does).

We’re proud of all our family, past and present, who served. We are equally proud of all service men and women that have served, are serving and will serve in the future. May God bless them now and forever, Amen.

For Veterans Day, Damsel and I are going to celebrate here at home with a special dinner planned. We hope you have a happy and safe Veteran’s Day as well.

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Happy 4th of July!

Town Flags

Happy Independence Day from the little flag-waving town of Wickenburg, AZ!

Our local American Legion Post religiously plants flags all over town on every holiday as seen in the background image above. That image was taken (credit Damsel) along the main part of Wickenburg Way (a.k.a. US 60) in the old historical part of town. I added the greeting with a graphics utility I use from time to time.

To celebrate the holiday, Damsel prepared Star Spangled Chili for dinner yesterday. The dish included a medium-hot chili base with lean ground beef, sliced Hebrew National kosher franks and chopped beef tenderloin chunks garnished with avocado, sour cream and an olive. It was pretty awesome.

The beef tenderloin chunks were leftover meat from a whole tenderloin I butchered myself. Once you separate the “chain” and the “wing” from the main tenderloin, I set those aside to be chopped into the aforementioned chunks.

I cut the rest of the main tenderloin into steaks, a couple of small roasts (Chateaubriand) and tenderloin medallions or small steaks. There is a bit of fat and silver skin that goes to waste, but most of the meat gets used in some form or another. Considering that butcher shop tenderloin steaks (Filet Mignon) are upwards of $20 per pound, butchering our own saves us a considerable amount of cash.

There are a couple of pretty good videos on You Tube (here and here) that guide you through the process of butchering a whole beef tenderloin.

In the meantime, despite all the COVID-19 and BLM/ANTIFA chaos, we’re having a nice holiday weekend here in our little piece of the good old USA and hope that everyone else will be able to enjoy it like we are doing. Happy Birthday America - may she keep on going strong!

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