One thing about Missouri’s weather is it predictably unpredictable.
In the last month or so, we’ve gone from weeks of drought, torrential rains that flooded communities like Marble Hill (rain was falling at the rate of better than four inches an hour at my house, and about a week of the heat index above three digits, not counting the decimal point.
The Night of the Big Rain didn’t bring promised (dreaded) winds and hail, but the lightning was almost continuous.
That brought to mind Mark Twain’s comment, “Thunder is good, thunder is impressive, but it is lightning that does the work.”
Not only hot, it’s humid
You can see from the condensation on my basement window when I started up the stairs to go to bed that there’s a lot of moisture in the air
When the heat index was 106 (116 if you believe the local TV station), I elected to replace a dusk to dawn porch light that had decided to stay on all the time.
The whole process took about an hour, at which point you could ring sweat out of my cap, shirt, suspenders and underwear. I had other projects on my list, but I may put them on hold until the one week in November before temps drop below zero,
When I was wandering around the freezer section in Schnucks the other night looking for something new to fix, I saw a frozen package of smelt that screamed that it was fresh caught and had a fresh taste.
I walked on.
On my next pass, I stopped a couple on the other side of the freezer case and asked if they had ever had smelt. The man said he had. He looked at the woman who was with him, and she nodded her head in the affirmative.
I should have asked if they had ever had it twice.
I solicited advice
Wife Lila penned a query: “Publix has a special cooler for fish bait and the like. Are you sure you stopped at the right cooler?!?”
Foodie Jan Norris posted the question to her hive, which came back with some recipes.
I followed one that told me to run cold water over the frozen fish just long enough to get the ice crystals off them, then roll them in a flour / salt / pepper concoction.
Didn’t want to risk it all at once
I put a quarter of the quarter of the smelt I had extracted from the package into my air fryer basket.
(I didn’t want to take a chance on getting the whole batch wrong.)
I set the temp and timer
I followed the directions to set the time and temp for 390 degrees and 10 minutes.
When I opened the pot, the fishies weren’t as crispy as I had hoped, so I gave them another four minutes.
I polished off that batch without being impressed.
I raised the temp to 400 and increased the time to 14 minutes for Batch Two. It was better, but I’d have been better off to have thrown them on my Blackstone griddle sans breading.
(Actually, I’d have been better off to have fed them to Phoebe the Bleeping Cat.)
The In-Laws get a gift
I called sister-in-law Marty. “I understand you’re going camping and fishing this weekend. I’m going to gift you something that might be an experiment, or it might be bait for Don.”
I presented them with a vacuum-sealed bag of what looked all the world like a bunch of headless minnows.
For the record, the fish lived up to their name: they smelt up my kitchen. They had a long lifespan, too. I had them for breakfast, and am still belching them 12 hours later.
I went to bed uncharacteristically early Friday night, which caused me to wake up around 5:15 a.m. I went into the kitchen for something to drink and decided to watch a little TV.
I hadn’t been there long when the kitchen went dark. That can happen if I try to use two high-wattage appliances at the same time, but nothing big was running.
The blackout was followed by a few encouraging flashes, then total darkness. The whole block was dark. The radar was clear and it wasn’t storming. (It reminded me of the blackout during Y2K.) Scanner traffic said that power was out around the Mt. Auburn neighborhoods, too.
I have little dollar flashlights hanging strategically in every room in the house, so I had enough light to wander back to the bedroom where I grabbed Mother’s old faithful bedside flashlight.
I bought it for her 25 or more years ago, and she always kept it next to her bed. She loved it because of its bright yellow color, but also because the shape made it easy to grab and to carry. It had an easily pushed button that would project a beam straight ahead, or at your feet.
We debated burying it with her, but figured she’d be mad that we wasted such a useful gizmo. I inherited it with the house.
Held off on the generator
I bought a Champion tri-fuel generator last year, but didn’t get around to extending the natural gas line and electrical hookup until AFTER I lost power for 16 hours and 38 minutes in the winter.
I gave some thought to hooking it up, but the house was cool enough for sleeping, and I decided it would be easier to do it after it was light, if the power hadn’t been restored by then.
As it turned out, that was a good decision because things started coming back to life at 6:06 a.m..
So, the generator is patiently waiting. Its battery is trickle-charged, and it’s wearing its GenTent cover ready to spring into action.
Ready in Florida
I bought a little 3000-watt generator after Hurricane Hugo, and didn’t use it until a series of storms rolled over Florida ten years later, starting in 2004.
I gifted the small unit to Son Matt, and bought a larger one that I adapted to run off propane and natural gas. It sleeps in our backyard shed, along with hurricane panels, tarps, sleeping bags and other storm supplies.
Generator’s only good if you can keep it
There’s a story that may or may not be apocryphal about a guy who parked his generator right outside his bedroom window so he could make sure it was still there.
In the middle of the night, he could hear it humming away, but his room was getting hot. He went out to find a thief had substituted a running lawnmower for his generator.
There are some stories that should be true, even if they aren’t.
Here’s how we secure the Florida power supply. A thief could still make off with it, but he’d have to have the right tools and a degree of determination.
(If he leaves a lawnmower, I hope it’s one of equal value.)
THIS was a surprise
The region was under a severe thunderstorm warning a big chuck of the July 1 afternoon. It blew through fast with some gusty winds and rumbles of thunder, but only about .03 inches of much-needed rain.
I heard scanner reports of trees down and power outages, but I thought we had escaped any excitement on Kingsway.
I went out to pick up a limb that had fallen off a maple tree several days ago, and was surprised to see this splintered walnut tree. It’s leaning against another tree, and isn’t in a place where it would damage anything except a concrete birdbath.