Wednesday, May 30

Big Green Egg

Author's Note to original post added on 6/1.

Well, I finally got my Big Green Egg. I have always been a gas grill man. Charcoal was too much work. But now I am a statistic. I was just reading that a lot of people are getting charcoal grills as a second grill to their gas grill. I still plan on using my gas grill, but a lot of time will be spent experimenting with my Big Green Egg. The BGE is a kamado-style ceramic cooker. Here is Parker guarding the BGE. He knows yummy food will come out of it.

It uses hardwood lump charcoal so there is very little ash to clean up. And with their great heat retention, you can smoke a brisket for 20-30 hours without having to lift the cover and add additional fuel. I’m looking forward to some real barbecuing. The verb, not the noun. I have in my sights, a brisket, a pork butt/shoulder, smoked duck, and a smoked turkey to start. I have already cooked some Tri-tip, chicken thighs, kielbasa and chicken wings on it. I need more practice with the temperature regulation, but the results were quite respectable. At least all the kids thought so

Author's Note: Who is that climbing out of my grill? He says when I do a beer-butt chicken, I should use Foster's. That's Australian for beeyuh!

Tuesday, May 29

Honeysuckle Blooms

Trying to get pictures of the kids with the blooming honeysuckle turned out to be a little harder than I thought.

Stella, go stand next to the honeysuckle so daddy can get a cute picture for his blog. Um, is this far enough daddy?

That’s much better. Good girl Stella. But daddy, it’s hot out here in the sun.

Look daddy, I’m smelling the honeysuckle. You gettin’ a picture of this?

Stella finally decides to go stand next to the honeysuckle for a full body shot.

Next is Lucas. You ready Lucas? Alright, go stand next to the honeysuckle so daddy can get a cute pic of you. Um, OK. Is this close enough?

How’s this daddy? Is this my good side?

Jaime, would you like to go stand next to the honeysuckle for a cute picture? Ok, daddy. I’m ready for my shot. But the honeysuckle is at the other end of the yard. But I look so cute here. You’re right Jaime. I’ll just take this shot.

Monday, May 21

VAGA carwash

This is our second annual VAGA carwash at the Culpeper Super Wal-Mart. We raised a good amount of money last year (which Wal-Mart matches), so we gave it another shot this year. Some of the original forecasts called for overcast and possible showers. EEK! But the weather was sunny all day. Lucas has the red bum to prove it. We ended up raising more than we did last year. Woohoo!

We were standing at the main entry from the road with signs for VAGA, a carwash sign, and a greyhound (Lucas) to entice people to get their cars washed.

We had Stella and Jaime working the other entrance. Jaime is wearing her donation jacket. People are much more willing to stick money in the donation jacket than give money to a human who just happens to be holding a greyhound. I only got pictures of my kids working the strip for money. Within a couple of hours of our arrival, we had up to a dozen greys at that point, but I was busy in the back lot washing cars.

We washed quite a few cars. But this was probably the coolest. Ahh, fond memories of the ice cream van. My kids are so used to hearing the one that goes through our neighborhood, they don’t even bother to roo anymore. Our ice cream van still plays Christmas music.

Stella was so tired when we got back that she couldn’t even hold up her head. Working the streets for money is a tiring business.

Sunday, May 20

Rose Leaves & Party at Trina's

Rose left us to go to her new daddy and brother. Gus, the yellow lab, was quite happy she was back. Jaime will miss her. Neither Stella nor Lucas truly plays with Jaime the way Rose did. I’m sure we’ll be organizing some playdates for the two.

Jaime in her attempt to always be touching decided to do a ‘mind-meld’ with Stella.

You can read more about Trina’s party at her blog. Here are just a few pics.

Throw the stuffie already. We can’t chase it until you throw it!

The greys love just running around the yard.

Parker is looking out from the deck wondering if it’s safe to play with the big dogs.

Blue, Booyah, and Jaime. Is this some kind of black dog conspiracy?

Wednesday, May 9

Hunting for Warthog

Rose spent the past weekend with her new dad and brother. He is on a business trip this week, so we are watching her until he gets back. She loves her new brother Gus. Sounds like he’s as playful and energetic as she is. She has figured out that if she is done playing before he’s done, all she has to do is run to the other side of the yard. Being a labrador, he’s not built for the chase. She has adjusted to homelife very well. She just loves to play, eat and sleep. And she has not growled once since she’s been back. What a turnaround. We built a special bed for Rose. It consists of a double-stacked dog bed cushioned with two pillows and two comforters. That sounds pretty comfy.

Rose is just a bundle of energy. Being a two year old, she has energy to burn. She joined Lucas as he was doing laps in the yard.

It’s all fun and games until you throw a warthog in the mix. Then it’s Game On!

Lucas gets the warthog. But that doesn’t mean the others have given up. Especially Rose. Looks like she is still going in for the kill.

Rose manages to grab a bit of it.

Lucas says, No, No! It’s mine! Mine!

The hazards of photographing the greys. They get so caught up in playing. They just about knocked me over. Eek!

Rose managed to get the warthog away. She is a very determined girl. Chase On!

After the big hunt, Lucas needed to cool off! So he decided to help us water the plants.