Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving Gone Awry

We had such a good time having an outdoor Thanksgiving at TowerCamp last year that we wanted to do it again – sort of. The whole process sounded a lot easier if we did it in our backyard. Granted we can't target practice and I can't blow anything up with a rifleand some Shockwave but we wouldn't have to deal with scary neighbors, weather or an hours drive.

So we made a BB gun range, a knife throwing target and a paper turkey to blow up with an “improved” M90, gathered fire wood for the fire pot, invited my parents, his Mom and Uncle, as well as Ivy and her Dad.

The Island King wanted to replicate last year's turkey in a can

and he added two beer can chickens to be cooked on the grill.

Island Girl and Ivy went on a baking binge the day before so we ended up with five pies and 3 cakes – which made for a very impressive dessert table.

Well, it would have looked impressive if we'd actually set it up but that never really happened.

Last year's turkey was a little on the done side so this year the Island King used a bigger can and less charcoal. He put the chickens on the grill a while later but the main focus was on the big bird.

Everyone hung around the backyard and enjoyed being together while we waited for the bird to cook.

I had a buffet table set up but didn't want to put the food out until the birds were ready.
Because this whole event was to be spent outside, the dining room table and kitchen were more of a staging area – meaning there was stuff everywhere.

People started getting hungry, I put everything in the oven to warm and when the timer went off, he pulled the turkey out of the can and I started getting things ready to go outside.

Until my Dad came in and told me to hold off on that. There might be a problem.

The Island King brought the turkey in and shows me the thermometer sticking out of the turkey's thigh.

73 degrees.

Hmmm. I love sushi but have a real problem with raw poultry and this bird is a lot closer to raw than cooked.

The oven was full so he took the turkey out to the grill, moved the not quite ready chickens to the side and added more charcoal. This 21 pound turkey is going to take a lot longer to cook than expected.

Folks were hungry, the appetizers were gone and after a while I noticed that the Island King and I were the only ones in the back yard.

I walked inside to find everyone holding plates full of dessert. I was told that everyone was starving so they dove into the only food that was out.

I was really embarrassed but I can't tell you how happy people were. Who really has room for dessert on Thanksgiving? And isn't dessert the best part of any meal? People were happy.

I turned the oven off and we feasted on blackberry pie, apple pie, chocolate pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, pound cake, apple cake and carrot cake.

It was not a bad experience.

Meanwhile, the Island King is doing everything he can to get the turkey to cook.

The turkey wasn't cooking any faster but the chickens were done pretty quick so I turned the oven back on, reheated the food – again and cut the chickens up.

By this time everyone was pretty full from dessert but they did manage to eat a little of everything with the chicken. Which was delicious by the way.

The sides were all a little dry from heating and reheating so many times but at that point the meal was more ceremony than anything.

Except that our timing was seriously off which meant it was getting dark out, it was cold and the wind had picked up which would have made eating outside unpleasant.

Plan B – make a plate and find somewhere to sit.

The afternoon ended and everyone headed home, full and happy about the order the meal progressed.

Later that evening we were sitting around the fire when I asked the Island King where he put the turkey.

He jumped up and ran towards the grill to retrieve the turkey that he'd forgotten. At this point I was sure the turkey had gone from raw to a charcoal briquette but he opened the grill to find a golden brown, perfectly done turkey.

Thankfully, the charcoal must have gone out right about the time the turkey finished cooking.

It was just about then that we realized we hadn't blown up our little turkey.

It was dark and at that point I was warm and comfortable next to the fire so we'll have to blow that turkey another day.

I considered the whole event a chaotic mess but everyone there talked about how much fun they had and how they especially enjoyed having dessert first.

Maybe we'll start a new tradition.

The big draw back is that I now have a 22 pound turkey that we'll be eating for a long time.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chicago - Day 1

The Youngest Island Boy is in Chicago with my parents for a family wedding and I am having so much fun listening to his travel reports.

His first day in Chicago started with a trip to the Willis Tower. He said they have serious security there and of course as they were walking into the building he set off the alarm.

He got pulled aside and had to empty his pockets before they learned it was the steel toe in his boots that set off the alarm.

After they got through what he described as “airport type security” he got to go to the top and stand on the glass ledge.

Obviously he didn't inherit his mother's fear of heights.

After visiting the Tower they were off to the Museum of Contemporary Art. He said he saw a lot of really cool things but that the most interesting thing was when the bag he was carrying got too close to a painting, setting off an alarm.

A loud alarm which brought people running to see what he was up too. He said they were very nice, explained the alarm system and then had to move on the another alarm that went off in a different room.

They hailed a cab at some point which he thought was really cool until he realized the driver was a maniac. He's decided that Chicago is filled with crazy driving, horn blowing, taxi cabs and that he doesn't need to ride in another one.

He tells me that the salt on the sidewalks is purple and wants to know what's up with that.

I told him to look it up because I have no idea either.

They watched some ice skaters and when I asked if he went skating he said “Mom, that just would have been embarrassing – this little Florida boy trying to ice skate.”

The day continued and they found themselves in a hot dog joint named Big Al's. While in Big Al's he says the chair he was sitting in “went flying out from underneath” him and across the room, where it broke into several pieces.

He's not sure how that happened but it did and according to my Mom it was quite embarrassing.

According to the Youngest it wasn't as embarrassing as when she fell in the middle of Michigan Ave and it took him and my Dad “10 minutes to get her back on her feet again.”

Luckily she wasn't hurt but they're now debating who's incident drew more attention.

The grand finale of the day was him watching the news. Our local news is pretty boring (thank God) so he's never seen anything like the local news he saw last night and he sent me a bunch of texts updating me to what was happening.

Listening to him recant his adventures is so much fun. He's really enjoying the experience and soaking up everything new.

I can't wait to hear what happens next.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Trouble at Tower Camp

Things started getting weird at Tower Camp at the end of the season last year and this year they've only gotten worse.

The camp was robbed and then one morning a week later, the Island King and the boys got in the truck to go into town and after they left I started washing the breakfast dishes.

I got a strange feeling and right about then Buddy the Beagle threw his body up against mine, shaking and growling a low, ugly kind of growl.

I looked up and standing right at the edge of the woods was a man staring at me.

I grabbed my shotgun (which is always close at hand up there) and the man turned around and took off running. And when I say running I mean running. He didn't get on the trail but plowed out through the forest as fast as he could.

The dog kept growling and I stood there watching the man run away, totally freaked out. He'd not come up the road, he didn't look like a hunter or a hiker and why did he run from me?

If I stumbled across someone's camp in the woods I would explain my presence, not run away.

Unless I was up to no good.

I believe he was out in the woods somewhere, heard the truck leave and didn't expect to find me still at the camp.

It wasn't long after that we learned that there is a big problem with lean-to meth labs popping up in that area of the Forest.

Great. Methed up, camp robbing, woods walkers.

Summer came along and we closed up camp and hoped things would be better this season.

It cooled off enough to leave the beach so the Island King and the Oldest Island Boy went up for the weekend while I was in Rome. The land Tower Camp is on is an outparcel of the Forest and the other half of the parcel is owned by a little old couple who have a small goat farm.

So one night the Island King calls to tell me that the old man who lived on the farm has died and his son has returned from parts North to take care of his mother and the farm.

“He's an interesting guy” the Island King tells me.
He came through the woods wearing surfer shorts, no shirt and no shoes and according to the Island King he was odd but very nice.

Two days later I hitched a ride home from Rome with the Librarian and since they were still at TC they met us at the Interstate and we went back to camp.

It wasn't long before Moe showed up and even though the Island King had described him to me
I wasn't fully prepared for Moe.

He seems like a really nice guy but as the saying goes “he ain't from 'round here.”
Which is odd because he was raised on the farm next door.

Flash ahead two weekends and the Island King and Saul Overman are up there again.

Which is when they met Moe's twin brother who shall be called Joe.

They'd been shooting clays when a County deputy pulled in. A deputy who was shocked to learn that our camp even existed.

Maybe that's why we're such an easy target for the woods walkers.

He'd been called because someone heard them shooting and saw them killing a deer out of season.


The deputy saw what was going on and explained that when he got to the entrance of the road leading into the woods by camp he'd encountered a man with a rifle who was blocking the road with his truck and waving his gun around.

According to the deputy the man heard shots and even though he didn't see anything he “just knew” someone was deer hunting out of season and that he intended to do a citizen's arrest when whoever it was came out of the woods.

The deputy said the man was very confrontational and didn't want to put his gun down.

Oh and the man happened to be Moe's twin brother.

The deputy told the Island King that they knew all about “those guys” and that Moe had to be Baker Acted (72 hour crazy person hold) the night before.

Moe and Joe come into town every once in a while and the cops spend a lot of time at the farm when they do.

Good grief. Woods walkers, camp robbers and now a crazy twin.

The Island King was hopping mad so he was getting in his truck to go talk to Joe when Joe came rolling in.

Joe looks nothing like Moe but according to the Island King he made Moe seem sane.

Joe starts apologizing and says he was sure someone had been killing deer because when he was out getting one that morning he'd heard gunshots.

So, it's ok for him to hunt out of season but he goes all citizen's arrest when someone else does it?

He apologized again, proclaimed that the Island King was his new best friend and off he went.

He came back alone the next day and after Saul left he told the Island King (out of nowhere) that his nipples were pierced and he yanked up his shirt to show him.

The Island King is standing there with his mouth hanging open, wondering where in the hell that came from when Joe says that he has 13 rings pierced in his penis.

He goes to unbutton his pants and the Island King told him that he didn't need to see that and to keep his pants zipped.

The next statement out of Joe's mouth was that he enjoyed having sex with cows.

The Island King started backing up while Joe talked about the likeness between a woman and a cow.

He also mentioned that he's “done a few chickens too” but they aren't as good as cows – and it kills the chicken.


The Island King is frantically packing up his tent so he can get the hell out of there and Joe tells him that he likes to walk through the woods at night and that he's so quiet no one can hear him.

Holy crap!

The Island King managed to get packed and out of there in record time but before he left he learned that Joe is planning on spending some time there through the holidays.

The Island Girl wanted to go target shooting the other day but the Island King was working so he couldn't go and at this point I refuse to go up there without him.

I have no desire to talk to a pierced up, animal molesting, crazy man – especially not alone in the woods.

I'm really upset about this whole thing. We own 8 beautiful acres in the middle of the woods but we're now surrounded by meth labs, woods walkers, camp robbers and not one but two crazy men.

We don't know what to do right now but hopefully the crazy brothers will leave and the cops will get rid of the meth labs.

Until then, no Tower Camp for me.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Supper's Ready - Sort Of

Having me for a mom has taught my kids that dinner isn't ready until the smoke detector goes off but it's always funny when a new kid is around at dinner time.

We cooked chicken on the grill last night and I put some broccoli in a steamer on the stove. I turned the stove on and then told myself at least 10 times not to forget about it.

About half an hour later I was sitting outside talking to the Island King while he grilled when the smoke detector went off.

My kids showed up thinking supper was ready but the boy hanging out with the Oldest Island Boy did what any normal person does when the smoke detector goes off and headed outside.

He was quite surprised to find out that the smoke, the smoke detector going off and the horrible burnt smell is a normal occurrence around here.

The broccoli was toast and my best pot is now burnt

Because this is not a new thing, the Island King has a sander just for sanding my pots.

This happened to a small pot a few nights ago

I put them on his workbench and he'll sand the burnt off and return them to the kitchen.

This is why it's important to have good quality pots and pans – just can't sand the burnt off the cheap ones as easily.

The Oldest's friend asked how we would know the house was really on fire if we disregard the smoke detector and I told him we're still working on that.

In the mean time – I handed him a knife and told him to scrape the burnt parts off of his garlic bread and that there would be no broccoli tonight.

Because that's how we do dinner here at Burnt Eddy's!