Thursday, August 27, 2015

Taking The Weekend Off

At the Races
With severe storms, high winds, and colder weather scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday of last week I decided to go up with my friend Kevin Sonsalla and Lory to BIR (Brainerd International Raceway) on Friday instead of picking up my boat at Frankie's. The GPS board in the Motorguide needed replacing so I dropped it off on Monday but they still had some stuff to do and it wasn't going to be fully done so it worked out well.  The NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) has their annual race week at BIR and all the big boys are there for this national event.  Although there are many classes of drag racers, the stars of the show were the Top Fuel Dragsters and the Funny Cars.  Kevin always get's tickets to the events as he has his contacts with Don Schumacher Racing so we get right in and have special hospitality passes to DSR's area's which is pretty cool.  The races are amazing as both the Top Fuel's and Funny Car's cross the finish lines in under 4 seconds, often at speeds over 320 miles per hour. That's damn fast when you consider they start from a dead stop and race to the 1000 foot mark, which is less than 1/5th of a mile.  They moved the finish line back from a 1/4 mile when the speeds started getting unsafe.  It seems like they have caught up to those old times again.  One interesting thing we saw was 2 Funny Cars that had lined up and both crossed the finish line in under 4.0 seconds.  The track announcer stated that this was only the 3rd time in NHRA history that both cars lined up broke the 4 second mark.  Even more interesting was the next 2 drivers that lined up and they also broke the 4 second mark...2 in a row.  The sound is deafening as you can feel the speed as they go by.  It's quite interesting for sure and with the cool weather coming in, things were bound to get faster, which they did!  Sunday's high was only around 60 degrees F and with the cloud cover the track was insanely fast.  Checking the results on Sunday night 4 NHRA speed and time records were broke including a 3.68 ET for top fuel, the fastest time ever recorded at 332.75 mph in Top Fuel, a 329.58 mph fastest Funny Car time ever, and a record setting 3.664 ET but could not be verified via NHRA rules.  When we were there the announcer gave a update on one run, at 660 feet the Funny Car had accelerated from a dead stop to 288 mph in less than 3 seconds while covering the last 340 feet in another second. Uffda!!!

It's really getting to be garden time and although the corn and pickles are done, the tomatoes, peppers, carrots, squash, raspberries, onions, are in full harvest mode. This is the first year that I have raised grapes and with the help of Lory we actually got a few this year. They are pretty flavorful, have seeds in them, and are probably pretty useless for wine but it's sure cool to see them hanging on the vines.  I have to take care of them this winter, making sure the roots get covered an protected from a hard cold January.  That should be pretty easy as I have lot's of leaves and a good system to pick them up with.   My carrots are really doing well this year.  Usually I dread planting them then having to thin them out to assure they have room to grow then I never do. This year I bought the coated seeds, they are about the size of a BB and really easy to plant. Not crowding allows then to grow nice and big so everyone is amazed at my carrots this year.  I love carrots and eat them raw right out of the garden.  My dad always said they were good for your eyes and to this day I still have 20/15 vision, not bad for an old guy!  Somewhere I read that you can also cover any carrots left in the garden with leaves such that the ground doesn't freeze and you can harvest them all winter long, I don't really know about that but it might be worth a try.  As well the tomatoes are really
Nice Looking Carrots 
starting to ripen.  I've canned tomatoes in the past however it seems like all they do is sit in the jars for years until they rot, I clean out the jars and repeat the process.  Well a few years ago I decided that the tomatoes are best use to make salsa and quite honestly I seem to be getting better at it every year.  I hate soupy salsa's preferring the thicker, cling to your chip type and have perfected my process.  There are a couple of secrets and I know many simple don't want to take the time but first is after peeling the tomatoes I squeeze out the juice then put them in a pot to boil it down.  The second secret is towards the end add a large can of tomato paste, it's like adding cornstarch to gravy. Anyway the batch I made the other day was excellent with a lot of garlic, lime juice for increasing the acidity, and 6 different peppers from the garden.  I also have about 6 different varieties of tomatoes, most of them heirloom type as I think they have considerably more flavor.  One of the other items in the garden that are huge this year are the potatoes.  I dug one hill up the other day and I swear it yielded 5 pounds of huge tubers.  I like to leave them in the ground and use them as needed because they stay fresher that way.  I might have to take some to Canada with me next month.  I hear that potatoes have to be in a commercial bag that they come in from the store, that wouldn't be hard to do, we'll see.

Picking up the boat before the weekend as I just got my snaps for the new replaceable carpet and can get them installed.  The new GPS board on the Motorguide needs calibrating so there's a great excuse to get out on the water this weekend.  It's easy to do just press a couple of buttons and drive in circles, something I do very well.  Countdown to Lac Seul is now 3 weeks away, I'm getting excited!

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