It’s been quite a productive weekend so far!
With sunshine and temperatures in the 60s, Tara’s been busy in the garden. First, she built a row cover for her raised beds. This is to protect them from the cold. We’ve probably seen our last freezing temperature of the season, but they’re forecasting lows in the mid-30s later this week. Be that as it may, it was time to get her plants in the ground. Clearly, they were taking up valuable table space.
Naturally, Sydney had to check things out.
She gave her approval (and fortunately didn’t use the beds as a litter box), so we were golden. Tara was finally able to get all her tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, snap peas, pumpkins, tomatillos, and probably half a dozen other things I’m forgetting into the dirt. She also assembled ladder trellises and a two-stage compost bin using lumber and chicken wire. In case you hadn’t guessed, Tara is quite the gardener. My participation is limited to consuming what comes out of the garden.
Our next order of business was selling the S.S. No Name.
You might recall that Tara’s dad generously gave us a boat back in 2020. You might not be aware that we took the boat out only one time. While it was a nice gesture on my FIL’s part, we quickly learned that kayaks are more our speed. Boats are great fun, but they’re expensive and difficult to store, and when you live on a hill, it’s very tricky to attach them to your hitch. We offered to give Randy the boat back, but he told us to go ahead and sell it and to use the money to “party.”
My dad-in-law’s a pretty cool guy.
We’ve had the boat in an RV storage lot since October. I finally decided to put it up for sale on Thursday, and literally within minutes of posting it to Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, I had people interested. At least a dozen. One guy was even willing to drive all the way down from Billings, Montana — and that’s a five-hour trip each way. Suffice it to say, I was beginning to think we’d underpriced the boat. I debated inviting everybody interested to come out and take a look, envisioning a bidding war…but that just seemed like too much hassle. So, I basically reached out to people in the order they contacted me.
We met the first guy Saturday morning at 8 a.m. He was wishy-washy, tried to lowball us, and wanted to take the boat home for a few days. He ended up passing. Guy #2 met us there a few hours later. Looked the boat over for a few minutes, said we’d have no trouble selling it, but ultimately passed. At this point my confidence in selling the boat quickly started to wane, but the third time proved to be the charm. Guy #3 arrived mid-afternoon and was gung-ho from the start. Pulled out a wad of hundreds and paid us $5,000 in cash. Holy cow. He was quite the character, too, constantly cracking jokes and regaling us with stories. He even hugged us after completing the transaction. A little odd perhaps, but he took our boat and we took his money, so that’s all that matters. As tempting as it is to use that money to “party,” as Randy suggested, it’s going into savings instead.
Now, I’m a complete novice when it comes to smoking meat, so I was a little nervous getting started. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos before plunging in. Got my lump charcoal going in the chimney starter, assembled the grill, filled the water pan, put a nice pork shoulder roast on (I figured that would be a pretty forgiving cut of meat, and cheaper than a brisket in case things don’t work out), and by 8:45 a.m. dinner was cooking.
Smoking is an all-day process. The trick is to constantly adjust the vents so you maintain a temperature of 225-250º, occasionally adding more charcoal, wood, and water. There isn’t a lot to do, per se, other than sit around the backyard and keep an eye on things.
Music? Check. Books and magazines? Check. Bloody Mary? Check.
Hey, it’s dirty work, but somebody’s gotta do it.
The roast should be done sometime between 4:30 and 8:00. I have no idea what to expect, this being my virgin smoking experience and all, but I promise you this: once it’s done, you can bet your ass I’ll be ringing that dinner bell.