Category Archives: Gadgets
The new grill is getting a workout. I’m slowly learning the ins and outs of cooking on this thing. The larger items are easier because the lower temps give you plenty of time, and the indirect heat is not going to suddenly flare up and burn everything to a crisp. This style of grill has its drawbacks for smoking – biggest is the bother that arises when you need to replenish the wood chips. Good thing is that you needn’t do that very often, one refill and you will have plenty of smoke flavor. A remote temperature probe is highly recommended. They make them now that are wifi and bluetooth enabled and I am gadget freak enough that they call to me over the Amazon mind beam. This pork shoulder spent the day in there. It had a dry rub, and whole cloves of garlic inserted into slits cut into the meat.I left it to cool overnight in a foil pan and then broke it down into baggie sized lots for the freezer and fridge.The sauce is another one of those make it up as you go things that make cooking fun. I put the roast into a pan for the last few hours and added apple juice concentrate, a splash of dark soy, some black vinegar, a half cup of red wine vinegar, and a squeeze of bbq sauce from a bottle. As I was breaking the roast down this morning I reduced the remaining sauce and juices by half after adding several cloves of crushed and minced garlic. Delicious!
I haven’t done much cooking lately, or much of anything, really. I noticed this photo in the screen saver on my main computer just a few minutes ago. I have the screen saver set to “slide show” and pointed it at the folder on my NAS (network attached storage) where I keep copies of all my photos. A quick search for “sliders” found it in a set of pictures from August of 2012. I really like the Synology storage device I have, and recommend them highly.
I’m loving my new smart phone. Not so much for the phone function or texting as for the “always there” camera. The Galaxy S4 has a dandy, a 13 megapixel job with modes and features that I may never use. It has one that I definitely like – a voice command to tell it to take the picture. It recognizes several words as triggers: shoot and smile work and a few others. I took this of one of the new-ish cherry trees from atop my mower yesterday.Mrs J has taken charge of walking Katie. Kate handles the leash well, even when it’s me on the other end. Katie is recovering from her surgery – St Francis offers spaying as a part of their adoption service but this was delayed in her case by her flight and subsequent outdoor adventures.The patio container garden is doing well. The tomatoes are at that stage where they are all promise and healthy and green with scads of yellow blossoms.Most of the herbs for the kitchen are arrayed on this bench and they are growing fast. I pinched the first flower buds from the basil yesterday. Swallowtail caterpillars have invaded the curly parsley (just behind the purple basil) but have so far left the flat leaf parsley alone.We have a better selection of peppers this year: Jalapenos again, and habaneros, new this year are cayennes, Anaheims, and some small, multi-colored sweet peppers. There are a few blossoms on these but they do best in the heat of the summer.Here’s Homer from early this morning. He and Toby have a mouse cornered under the end table. I have the S4 camera set on auto everything and noticed a brief flash from the LED assist for focusing but the auto focus needs better light to do good work.This was a few moments later. I got up to see how the flash was going to work where it was really too dark to see. I don’t think the camera will ever be as good as a dedicated DSLR, but it will do much better than my Nikons when they are not to hand and this one is.
This gives me a good excuse to mention my new smartphone. It has a pretty decent camera and all the latest bells and whistles. This photo is from the S4. I was hoping Verizon would announce they would offer the HTC One last week at their expo but no such luck. I “settled” for the Galaxy S4 and I am liking it a lot. It’s my first smart phone so I can’t really compare it but it has gotten a lot of good press. Built by Samsung, the same folks who made my TV, so it has some nice features for showing photos on the big TV screen straight out of the camera via Wifi over my home network. I think the maker of the set isn’t as important as the capabilities of the set itself. There is an industry standard called DLNA that is in play here and the TV and the S4 are both compliant.
Katie is merging into daily doggie life here. She is still a bit jumpy with me but Mrs J’s campaign to endear herself to Kate is paying huge dividends. Katie actually will join her on the couch – she still wants to bail when I go to sit with her. The cats are not as wary of her, nor she of them. She seems very smart and is picking up commands and hand signs well.Here’s another view of the sausage and pepper sub I built yesterday. Kroger sells bone in chicken thighs in a nice “value pack” tray fairly cheap. I didn’t make note but there are around 10 pieces in there for 6 or 7 dollars. I’ve been cooking them all at once on the grill when I have it going for whatever else, wrapping them in foil for later quick meals. The sausages came in a similar pack of ten, I cooked all of those as well.I’ve mentioned this before, we keep a trail camera active overlooking the spot where Mrs J spreads the corn and other seeds. The camera has infra-red LEDs to add illumination at night, and the camera itself has a light sensor that switches the mode from daylight color to night time IR. Often there is a transition period in the evening and in the morning when there is enough ambient light that the entire scene is lit well enough to see to the far edges of the frame. The resulting photos have what I would term “drama”.Speaking of game cameras, we placed another one looking at the tomato garden this year, hoping to identify the culprits that destroyed some newly planted seedlings. We’ve seen rabbits and raccoons, deer and stray cats, but none of them have again bothered the steadily growing plants. It struck me as a fun project to save one photo a day from this camera to a new folder on a hard drive so daily progress can be noted. I have about ten frames saved so far. If I can figure out how I will make a movie out of the batch when I get enough of them.