On the Yellow Brick Road

Glory of God this morning

This time of year I love to ride my bicycle to get my morning exercise.  One of the better things Topeka did was build a bike and walking trail along the Shunganunga Creek.  I ride the trail because it is a beautiful ride along the creek and because it is safe.

As I saddled onto my bike at 6:00 am the sun was still below the horizon and the air was cool and crisp.  When I got to the trail, I could let my guard down (no cars to worry about ) and let my mind wander and enjoy the sensations of the ride.  This morning there was fog along part of the trail and the parks.  The fog enveloped the trail at one point.  I had been on the trail enough to know I was safe along this section because it was straight and usually clear.

At that moment I realized my life right now is alot like being enveloped in a fog.  I really have no idea where I am going to end up.  I also know I have been in this place before.  A place where the only thing I can trust is that God will carry me through because God has carried me through foggy places before.

I could feel the smile spread across my face as I pressed on in my ride.  About a mile down from where the fog broke I saw a fawn on the trail.  As I got closer the fawn's mother appeared and they raced just ahead of me.  I was clipping along at 14 mph, my normal cruising speed on flat ground, and I watched the deer running in front of me.  They ran off the trail and disappeared into the brush.

And then I remember the beginning of Psalm 42
1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
      so my soul pants for you, O God.

2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
      When can I go and meet with God?

3 My tears have been my food
      day and night,
      while men say to me all day long,
      "Where is your God?"
And I know I can 'drink deeply' upon God's love and mercy.  Every day God gives me "more than I deserve".  And if you read the Psalm the author writes of enemies.  My enemies are doubt, depression,  and fear of lossing things.

Along the trail there are a couple of hairpin turns.  I came upon on of them and saw two foxes.  I have seen a singular fox on occassion but I have never seen two at the same time.  Someone's little dog was investigating the two foxes.  When the foxes saw me they ran back across the trail and into the woods.  I think the dog owes me because the dog wanted to play but I think the foxes were thinking breakfast.

As I got to the place where I turn around to head back home I remembered the verse "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of God has no place to lay his head."  And I again realized how much my fear over the loss of things is holding me back in my walk with God. 

So today I am left with many things to ponder.  The one thing I know is I saw some of God's glory today.  God's glory was in the very air, fog, deer, foxes and the very moments.


Deal with big outdoor projects

As anyone who knows me well knows I am not a big landscape and gardening guy.  I try to minimize what I have to do with the yard so it looks ok.  I can live with the fact that my yard will not be in Lawn & Garden magazines.

Over the last two years of trimming trees, bushes & cutting down a dead tree we have accumulated a large pile of dead organic material.  There was a spot in out backyard behind a tree and out of sight that was a great place to pile it up.  Well that was true until I had to trim some large branches from the fruitless pear trees in the front yard.  This is how they looked at the beginning of the summer

By the middle of August many of the branches were very low and walkers were having some issues with them.  So I gave the trees a good trimming.

The resulting pile in the backyard of all the trimming from the last two years looked like this


and made into the resulting pile (because I might need a place to put the wood chips)

This did not include the large branches that would need to be chain sawed.  I had already chain sawed up a bunch of large branches when I trimmed the pear trees & the dead tree.  The resulting pile of wood from the above operation came to this pile

I basically had three choices with the other pile.  Borrow a truck and haul it to the county mulching operation.  Cut the branches into 4' sections and bundle them up for garbage collection . Or I could rent a chipper and turn the pile into wood chips for my own mulching needs.

I choose the last one.  This isn't an actual picture of the one I rented but it gives you the idea
Wood chipper
I learned a number of important things about wood chippers.  First of all they are really loud.  I should have put my 'concert ear plugs in my ear'.  Second
it is hard work feeding a chipper and clearing the wood chips out from underneath.  And lastly they are really heavy.

The resulting pile of wood chips that we can use for mulch looks like this

It only took seven hours to do all that work.   Oh well it was a better way to spend a beautiful day On the Yellow Brick Road than sitting in front of a computer for seven hours.  Something actually got done.

They taste good!

So after catching all those fish in Canada we had to eat them as well.  So Trudy came up with what to marinade them in and I fired up the grill.  This was
Here is a picture of the 'final product' (actually the last two pieces of the four pieces we cooked).

It's raining!

Well I don't know about the rest of you folks but I usually do all my outside chores on Saturday.  Well we are having a nice soaking rain today.  And since I finished my inside chores yesterday I have a whole Sat. with nothing scheduled.

The downside of all of this is I won't be able to do one of my favorite things on a Sat.  Cook up some BBQ.  And someone sent me a link to the BBQ Song.  After watching that video and listening to the song I am sooo hungry for BBQ

When we lived in Minnesota I got the nickname, 2nd Famous Dave's BBQ.  I couldn't be Famous Dave's BBQ because there already is one of those.  Anyway I got that nickname because I learned how to turn ribs into delicious BBQ ribs.   There are three important things for great ribs.  One is the rub.  I use a rub which is based on a "Memphis Rub".  It has paprika, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and a few other spices.  Make sure to put the rub on the night before and let the rib's just absorb the flavor. 

The second thing is slow cook the ribs.  I have a grill which uses indirect heat.  The 'pan' between the flame and the 'grill top' can also hold water.  I usually fill it with water.  This keeps the temperature down and provides mosture during the cooking process.  With babyback ribs it takes about 2 or 3 hours to cook them.  The 1/2 of the time I just let them cook, flipping them over every 30 minutes or so and watching the water levels.  The second half of the time I put BBQ sauce on the ribs and continue to flip them over every 30 minutes or so.  I use the same process for country style ribs, they just take 4 or 5 hours to cook.

The third thing you need is to make sure to give the ribs the right vibe.  What do I mean by vibe?  Well in my opinion the right vibe happens when you have some great blues music playing while the ribs are soaking up the dry rub and cooking.

Personal favorites for me are B. B. King, Albert King, Muddy Waters, or John Lee Hooker.

Topeka Blues Society just formed

When I first got here I use to hear people say "Topeka is boring."  "There isn't anything to do here." 

I quickly found out both of those statements were not true.  I found Uncle Bo's before I even moved here.  Well the people who run
Uncle Bo's have helped to setup the Topeka Blues Society.  

I plan on joining ASAP and getting involved.