Friday, June 15, 2007

Am I Reigning or Raining and Where's the Parade?

Because of changes in my mother's medical condition, Social Services has requalified us for respite care on Monday and Thursday afternoons.   It's a real luxury for us to be able to go somewhere together for a change even if it's just running errands and grocery shopping.   Lisa wants a rose trellis and the flimsy, crummy prefabbed trellis they sell at the lumber company is really overpriced so we decided to build our own.   On our last respite care day we took my old pickup truck to town, because it's the only thing we've got with room to haul building materials.   After we got to town the lower radiator hose developed a leak but we were only a few blocks from the shop which maintains our vehicles and we drove straight there.   The mechanic wasn't interested in working on it until it had cooled off a little so we made a half-hour hike to the nearest fast food place and soaked up the air conditioning for an hour before walking back and picking up the truck.   Because of the lost time we weren't able to finish all of our shopping but that just gives us something to do on our next respite care day.   That night I slow cooked a medium sized brisket in the oven overnight in a covered roaster.   The next day I let the cooked brisket cool for a couple of hours before removing it from the roaster and placing it in an aluminum foil basket in order to reheat it on the grill (allowing it to stay nice and tender while picking up some smoke flavor) but I found I didn't have any Mesquite wood left.   Mesquite wood makes the worlds best BBQ, no true Texan would dream of using anything else in the grill but there are affluent Texans who simply purchase Mesquite charcoal.   I'm not so affluent but every vacant lot in the neighborhood has Mesquite trees on it and most of those trees have dead limbs on them which is where I get firewood for the grill, by breaking off the dead limbs.   Mesquite is a particularly tough hardwood and a dead limb that's around 2 inches in diameter which hasn't aged enough to be suitable for BBQ cannot be broken, by me at least, and that's how I determine whether or not a dead limb is suitable for firewood.   I look for dead limbs that are around 2 inches in diameter and, when I find one, I give it a good yank; if it breaks cleanly it's firewood; if it doesn't I move on.   When I gather firewood I always get more than I need and the extra gets saved for next time.   Anyway, my firewood pile was empty, I was in a hurry and all the Mesquite trees in our immediate neighborhood are pretty well picked over but there was one 5 inch dead limb, about three feet long (I broke off the rest of it a couple of years ago) in a tree right across the street which I figured ought to be aged enough I could break it off.   I found a piece of rope, tied myself a lariet, walked across the street and was able to rope the limb right out on the end, where I'd have maximum leverage, on the first throw. I thought "Hot dog, I'm on a roll!", pulled the lariet tight and yanked down as hard as I could; it barely even moved.   It wasn't going to break off, nosir.   I left the rope hanging while I walked back across the street to get my bow saw and a lightweight six-foot aluminum step ladder.   I set up the ladder, climbed up and as I placed my saw for the first cut something shifted under one of the back legs and the other back leg totally caved in, bringing down the ladder, and me with it.   As I fell, I tossed the bow saw aside, knowing I didn't want to land on those wicked sharp teeth, and tried to squirm into a position that would miss the ladder but I didn't have much success.   I was able to roll as I hit the ground but my left leg and foot both hit the ladder hard enough to be well bruised.   Nothing was broken but it hurt like the dickens.   I limped back across the street, grumbling and cursing, and got my much sturdier 8 foot alluminum step ladder.   This time there were no surprises, I sawed a little over half-way through the limb, climbed down, moved the ladder, gave the rope a strong yank and down it came.  About an hour later we had Mesquite smoked beef brisket with brown and wild rice, Portabella mushroom gravy and green beans for supper and all was well with the world.

That was several days ago; by now, my foot's ok but my leg is still awfully tender.