#365RRR – 365 Days to Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle.

This is my 365 day journey to Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle. #365RRR I made a Facebook post and was planning to make all of my updates there, but the logistics of moving stuff out the door requires a bit more organization. I will update this post regularly to catalogue what is going out the door and the status. I will link this to Facebook on a regular basis so folks know what is available. Anything I indicate Free to a good home, is indeed free. We accept cash donations that will be given to Carmichael Outreach to support all of the wonderful things they do.

EDIT: Items that do not get snapped up within a week or two of posting will be boxed up for a charity yard sale in the Spring.

DAY-001 (November 1, 2017) – Bamboo Door Curtain
Free to a good home
Still here

DAY-002 (November 2, 2017) – Computer Manuals and CDs
The manuals and paperwork were recycled. The CDs unfortunately were garbage.
Gone

DAY-003 (November 3, 2017) – Sony HDR-HC3 Camcorder
Free to a good home
Still here

DAY-004 (November 4, 2017) – 5 Binders to store / carry CDs / DVDs

Free to a good home
Still here

DAY-005 (November 5, 2017) – Brand new medium MEC performance jacket 
Free to a good home
Gone

DAY-006 (November 6, 2017) – Bora Bora Boardgame with promo tiles & drawstring bags
For sale (Will post on SaskGames / Varage Sale / Kijiji)
Still here

DAY-007 (November 7, 2017) – 18 Volume hardcover set – Military History of WWII
Free to a good home
Still here

DAY-008 (November 8, 2017) – Web of Power Boardgame with Expansions
For sale (Will post on SaskGames / Varage Sale / Kijiji)
Still here

DAY-009 (November 9, 2017) – Large Computer Books: MS Excel, Outlook, & FrontPage
Free to a good home
Still here

DAY-010 (November 10, 2017) – Tigris and Euphrates Boardgame
For sale (Will post on SaskGames / Varage Sale / Kijiji)
Still here

DAY-011 (November 11, 2017) – 12 Volume softcover set – Illustrated History of War
For sale
Still here

DAY-012 (November 12 2017) – Pret-a-Porter Boardgame
For sale (Will post on SaskGames / Varage Sale / Kijij)
Still here

Cooking this turkey will make your neck redder

As promised, here are the instructions for making an outdoor turkey cooker and for added benefit, how to use it. 🙂

The outdoor Turkey Cooker is a radiant heat oven that you use to cook a turkey. It is heated with charcoal briquettes.

MAKING THE COMPONENTS FOR THE COOKER

Materials you will need are as follows:
You will need a fairly good sized roll of aluminum foil. The wider the roll; the better. You will also need three 8 foot long poles. We used 2″ x 2″ purchased at Home Depot. A six foot length of small link chain is going to be needed to suspend your turkey. A stainless steel hook for holding your turkey while it is suspended in the oven. Additionally, you will need to have four rebar poles, or reasonable substitutes and they should be about 40″ in length. The hardest part of the construction will be the four mesh (chicken wire) cylinders that will be used to house the burning charcoal briquettes. For these you will need to measure and cut the mesh then fold the remaining tabs to the other side to give it stability as a cylinder. Also, in the picture below, see the wire fasteners that will be used to slide the cylinders over the rebar posts.  You will also need to aluminum trays. One for starting your briquettes, and another to use as a drip tray for your turkey. You will also need a coil of wire that you can use to give the walls of your tinfoil oven some stability.

You will need two large bags of charcoal briquettes and some tongs for transferring them from the fire tray to the cooking cylinders.

Stainless Steel Turkey Hook

Stainless Steel Turkey Hook

40" Rebar Post (Need 4 of These)

40″ Rebar Post (Need 4 of These)

40" Rebar Post (Need 4 of These)

40″ Rebar Post (Need 4 of These)

2' Long Mesh Cylinder (4" Diameter)

2′ Long Mesh Cylinder (4″ Diameter)

2' Long Mesh Cylinder (4" Diameter)

2′ Long Mesh Cylinder (4″ Diameter)

2' Long Mesh Cylinder (4" Diameter)

2′ Long Mesh Cylinder (4″ Diameter)

You will need a Big roll of tinfoil

You will need a Big roll of tinfoil

BRINE THE TURKEY

To get an uber awesome flavour for your turkey, we recommend letting it have a long bath in a brine. Once you go brine, you never go back. Here is “Joe’s Turkey Brine Recipe”

  • 1 gallon low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 gallon apple cider
  • 1/2 gallon apple juice
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons poultry seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon rubbed dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves

In a large stock pot over medium heat, pour in the vegetable broth, apple cider, apple juice, and water; stir in kosher salt, poultry seasoning, onion powder, black pepper, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until all salt has dissolved, and boil for 30 minutes to extract flavors from herbs. Remove from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature before using as a turkey brine; allow brined turkey to marinate overnight.

Info for this Brine is from:
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Joes-Turkey-Brine/Detail.aspx

GAME DAY – ASSEMBLE COOKER AND ROAST THE BEAST

Assemble your turkey cooker. First you will need a patch of ground where you will be cooking the beast. The four rebar posts will be 34″ apart from each other. Make sure you pound them deep enough into the ground to give your oven stability. As the briquettes burn down in the cylinders, the ground underneath will get scorched. The last time we did this we used small chunks of drywall on the bottom to provide a heat buffer. Once the posts are secured at the appropriate distance, you can slide on the mesh cylinders and make sure them are secured to the posts. Now, layer the bottom of your radiant oven with tinfoil. Always keep the shiny side facing inward as it will be more efficient for radiating the heat towards your turkey

At this point you are ready to take your roll of tinfoil and construct the walls of your oven. Start at the bottom and keep circling the oven to create the four walls. We suggest a couple of layers of tinfoil to make sure the walls are stable and more resistance to the wind. Once you have wrapped the outside to create four walls that are the full height of your cylinders, you should use the wire to add some additional stability. Again, circle the walls of the oven on the outside with the wire to give the walls a bit more strength and resilience to the wind.

Now the oven is built. Set your trip tray in the bottom and we will now focus on setting up the tripod. The three 8′ poles should be secured at the top to make a solid tripod that can easily and safely suspend a 25lb turkey. Once the tripod is set u, you can attach the chain that will suspend the bird and you are close to being ready to cook the beast.

At this point I should mention that it is important to start the briquettes early to give them a chance to start burning. We use a separate aluminum tray for this. If you have a firepit handy, that would be an efficient way to start them. Once the briquettes start burning, you can transfer them to the four cooking cylinders. Transfer them evenly to the cooking cylinders so the heat will be even to the bird.

One Corner of the Cooker

One Corner of the Cooker

Assembling the Oven

Assembling the Oven

A look at the inside of the oven

A look at the inside of the oven

Bird is suspended a few inches above drip pan. Coals are burning.

Bird is suspended a few inches above drip pan. Coals are burning.

Tray that we use to start the Briquettes Burning. We refill this constantly as we transfer them to the cylinders.

Tray that we use to start the Briquettes Burning. We refill this constantly as we transfer them to the cylinders.

Checking in on the temperature of the Turkey. Notice the chunk of drywall at the base to buffer the lawn from burning.

Checking in on the temperature of the Turkey. Notice the chunk of drywall at the base to buffer the lawn from burning.

Another view showing the tripod and chain.

Another view showing the tripod and chain.

Done like Dinner.

Done like Dinner.

Tada. Time to open up another bottle of wine.

Tada. Time to open up another bottle of wine.

Put the turkey on the turkey hook and suspend it in the radiant oven. Adjust the chain length / tripod to make sure the turkey is centered and a few inches above the drip pan.

Now. it is a matter of making sure the cylinders are filled as they burn down. Remember to have a staging tray to pre-ignite the briquettes. That will make things smoother and quicker. Also, you will have to tap the rebar posts / cylinders to shake loose ash to the bottom and allow the briquettes to drop into the cylinder. by keeping the cylinders free of ash and constantly full of briquettes, you will generate more heat and cook the bird quicker. At some point you made need a long stick or pole to brush some of the fallen ash away from the bottom of each cylinder so it does not block the heat from the burning briquettes.

Note: We cooked what we believe to be about a 25lb in exactly 3.5hrs the last time we did this. That is a great cook rate and the turkey was incredibly tasty.

One last thing, it is important to have two bottles of white wine chilled. One to open with your meal and the other to drink while cooking.

Enjoy!

This is why I like to donate to science, technology, and research

Every one in awhile, you see a documentary that renews your faith in humanity. With the learning channel now showing the likes of Honey Boo Boo and other reality TV shows, it is important to find a source of inspiration for our future. Dr. Nick Laslowicz is doing some cutting edge research and these types of videos offer a great counterpoint to our morally bankrupt reality TV infatuation these days. Watch this and tell me that this is not a genius of our time. Viva La Science!

Gratitude – Day 29 (MS Excel)

 

I know, this sounds goofy, but today I am focusing my gratitude on a computer program. No, I am not reaching for content and I am not copping out. I have been developing my skills in MS Excel for some years now. With my reduced work hours the last few years, I have had more time to think about ways to use Excel better. It is not always about using fancy functions, sometimes it is about how you construct the whole solution. This past few weeks have been very fruitful. A lot of my ruminations of the past are yielding results now. I am working on a spreadsheet “report card” solution for our Agriculture Division. The report card idea had humble beginnings four years ago but it never found a home in the compnay so it slid into the background and into obscurity. A few months ago, someone picked up the torch again on this idea. I got involved immediately and started to put some of my Excel research to use and I am very pleased with where the projects is headed.

Other projects and areas are surfacing as well. I now use Excel for our Formula De League tracking and it is so much easier than previous methods. I think I will also convert the Wings of War League reporting to Excel. Another project on my plate is to build a process booklet for project management along with proper templates and instructions for their use. I am migrating more and more templates to Excel with this new understanding of the tool. It is a rewarding time to be an MS Office geek I think. 🙂

Why do I give a computer productivity program a spot in my spotlight of gratitude? The answer is straightforward; there is beauty in simplicity. Many companies go out and buy massive toolsets for jundres of thousands of dollars. They require significant hardware infrastructure and need specialized trained personnel to install, manage, and use the tools. Along comes this simple little tool with great capabilities just waiting to be explored and used. When it comes to Information Technology, I am a fan of simple is better. I like David & Goliath stories where a simple tool, used elegantly renders a more expensive cumbersome tool redundant.

I know, I am still a geek for being excited about an MS Office product. This very blog entry means I no longer have street cred with I/T people the world over. They are the ones attached to their sophisticated database applications, their cube analytics, and their bloated I/T budgets. They should eschew obfuscation. Today, I am thankful for the opportunity to find simple elegant solutions in interesting ways. MS Excel, Word, & Outlook are all examples of tools with a lot to offer; it is fun to play with the tools and learn some new tricks.

Easy as pie, (Pie graph that is)

I’m a firm believer that in the theory that people only do their best at things they truly enjoy. It is difficult to excel at something you don’t enjoy. ~ Jack Nicklaus

Paintball Fun / (Why I walk like an old man for a few days after)

If you see this, it is too late. Yeppers. I still play Paintball. Started in 1989 and it still holds a fun attraction for me. In some ways, Paintball is one of the first activities Kathy & I started doing together. How romantic. “Hey dear, let’s go into the woods and shoot people”. :)I just played again this past Sunday and I am so impressed with the group of people that we played with. Everyone was a great sport and was out there to have fun. It generally only takes one person that takes life way too serious to taint an activity, but that person was thankfully nowhere to be seen. I guess I am really aware of the kind of people I hang around with. I am really grateful that the people I associate with have a genuine sense of fun, adventure, and good nature. That is no small beans folks. I cannot tell you how many times I have read an article, a forum posting, a blog, etc. where people would give a limb to have a social circle like this. Just awesome.

We had 18 people running around the woods in two teams. Great turnout. Great people. Great fun. We showed up at 11:30am and did not leave the field until around 5:00pm. That is a full day of action packed adrenaline fun. Kathy and Teri came out as well so that made the day even more enjoyable from my perspective.

I had a relatively good day on the field; I handed out a fair share of welts and received a good share too. Boy am I sore. Not from being hit by paintballs, from using muscles that do not get a good workout very often. Running, crouching, diving, sprinting, crawling, jumping, twisting, and anything else that ends in “ing” that you might pay some sadistic personal trainer to have you do.

So that is the price I pay. I will now walk like I pooped my pants for a few days because my quads and other nether region muscles scream at me everytime I take a step. Ahhh. These are the things that let me know I am alive.

To everyone I shot on Sunday; thanks. To everyone that shot me on Sunday; thanks. To everyone laughing at the way I walk right now; bite me. 🙂

Thankful Thursday – Geocaching

Geocahing LogoAnother installment of Thankful Things. Geocaching. Many people have told me that my interests are rather eclectic and border on the downright bizarre. Fair enough, but these activities are kind of cool. Take Geocaching for instance. Hide ‘n’ Seek on the planet earth, the cool factor is pretty high.

In case you are not familiar with geocaching, check out the web site www.geocaching.com as it is at teh core of the activity. You get a whole bunch of coordinates for caches, load them into your GPS and you are ready for some adventuring. I have been doing this, off and on for 4 years. I found my first Geocache with a friend from Grande Prairie in Regina on June 20, 2004. Since then, I have found approximately 190 caches in various places: Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Tennessee, Scotland.

Quite often the cache will take you to a great little spot you have often driven by, but never taken the time to visit. Lots of discovery occurs that is quite collateral to the activity of geocaching. It is a wonderful, wholesome family activity. Young ones are thrilled with the thought of a treasure hunt.

The ingenious nature of some of the cache hides is quite an allure as well. I marvel at the creativity of some people. A few of the caches are a real challenge to locate. There are ratings for the terrain and the difficulty for each cache. Something for everyone.

I chose this to be thankful for as I am re-discovering the sport. I ran into a technical mishap with my PDA last fall and got busy and never got around to addressing the issue. I use a Palm Pilot to load all of the cache descriptions and hints so I can go completely paperless when I go geocaching. I recently loaded CacheMate on my Palm Pilot and it is a wonderful piece of software that lets me cache without taking notes off of the website or printing of the cache pages. Once I started back up, I notices that there is a great proliferation of caches in Saskatchewan. There are 196 withina 25 mile radius of my house. Quite incredible. Some of them are very challenging, so I know I have my work cut out for me.

If you are looking for a reason to get off the couch, give this activity a try. All you need is a GPS. Better yet, join me for an evening of caching, the activity is fun and easier with a few more eyes….

Making the Most of Winter

Here are some pics from our excursions…

Kathy Braving The Cold

Fred & Kathy

Catch My Drift

The Trail

This winter has seen some very cold temperatures; one is almost tempted to stay inside and seek refuge by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate. We have been on our snow shoes about a half dozen times this year. Three of those were longer trips where we explored local golf courses. The golf courses are great places to snow shoe. No one else is on them. Day usually involves making a batch of hot chocolate, filling the thermos bottles, grabbing a hardy breakfast and striking out to explore the wintery scape. Fred Mountjoy has joined Kathy & I for two of these jaunts, always an enjoyable outing. Our last trek was to Long Creek at Avonlea. The bluffs and terrain made for a great day of snowshoeing.

We spent a while treking down the creek and noticed some water just under the snow. We figured it was likely a thin layer of melt from the previous days warm temperatures. The weather was cold enough that we were not concerned about breaking through the ice at all…

…right!

Fred and Kathy made their way to shore and started to beat through the brush. Being that I was looking for an easier path I decided to walk along the shore. I proclaimed that “This is the easy and safe path” and proceeded to punctuate my sentence by breaking through the ice. Shit! The irony was very funny indeed and luckily only one foot went through as I still had a lot of weight on the shoreline. The day was particularily cold with a biting wind so I was a bit worried about my foot chilling.

Good ol’ wool socks to the rescue. Even though my foot was wet, my foot was warm. I was thankful also that I added a bit of Amaretto Liqueur to the hot chocolate that morning.

With snow shoeing and road hockey, I am learning to enjoy winter all over again. The right apparel, good friends, and an ocassional shot of amaretto… …and winter can be a wonderland. 🙂