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BACON

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/we-tried-8-methods-of-cooking-bacon-and-found-an-absolute-winner

I share with you this wonderful article on Bacon. I’m sure the men, or most of them anyway, are fans of this nourishing food. “Here Piggy, piggy, piggy.”

The Best Method for Making Bacon

Cast iron or in the oven? Microwave or air fryer?

The Kitchn

  • Ann Taylor Pittman

k_Photo_Series_2019-11-skills-battle-bacon_bacon-method-lead.jpg

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell; Design: Kitchn

People often joke that bacon makes everything better. I tend to agree. I use it a lot as a flavoring agent in recipes — a slice or two to infuse a pot of dried beans with porky richness, for example. But on #treatyoself days, I’ll cook up a mess of bacon as a more substantial component to a dish, or as a standalone food. This is the bacon to pile onto burgers or BLTs, or to enjoy alongside pancakes or waffles, dragging the strips through syrup or runny egg yolks. 

Yet I’ve never had a consistent, go-to method for cooking that bacon. I’ve cooked it in a skillet and in the oven, and I’ve resorted to the microwave when I was in a hurry. I’ve read about air fryer and sous vide methods I’d like to try, as well as other hacks for easier cleanup or better texture. 

To find which method or methods work best, I tested eight that are touted by trusted website sources and compared the results side-by-side. My house smelled amazing, by the way, and my sons and husband were delighted to help me taste test.

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell; Design: Kitchn

A Few Notes About Methodology

Tests: I tried each method twice — once with regular-cut bacon and once with thick-cut. For each method, I tested the number of bacon slices that fit into the cooking vessel (skillet, sheet pan, air fryer basket, etc.) and made note of that in my description. 

Bacon: I used widely distributed grocery-store brands. For regular-cut bacon, I went with Oscar Mayer Naturally Hardwood Smoked Bacon. And for thick-cut, I chose Wright Hickory Smoked Bacon

Time: The time listed is the cooking time; any preheating time is noted separately. I did not list cleanup time.  

Ratings: I rated each cooking method on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing perfection. Texture, cook time, ease of preparation, cleanup, and appearance all factor into the ratings. 

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Water in Skillet

Total Time: 15 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 16 minutes (thick-cut bacon)

About This Method: This technique, touted by Cook’s Illustrated, instructs you to arrange bacon in a cold skillet and add just enough water to cover. You cook over high heat until the water boils, lower the heat to medium until the water evaporates, and then cook over medium-low heat until the bacon is done.

The theory here is that the water “keeps the initial cooking temperature low and gentle, so the meat retains its moisture and stays tender.” The site doesn’t specify what type of skillet to use, so I went with stainless steel, which is shown in the accompanying photo. There are no instructions to flip the bacon as it cooks, but I did (once the water evaporated) to make sure both sides were crisped.

Results

The bacon stuck to the pan, and it cooked inconsistently, with crispier parts and chewier parts on each slice. I had noticeable shrinkage with the regular-cut bacon (but not so much with thick-cut). The thick-cut bacon also curled up a good bit, while the regular-cut stayed flat, and there was more popping and sputtering than I’d noticed with other stovetop methods. Cleanup was a bit of a hassle because after the water cooked off, the skillet was covered with a sticky film that just adhered more firmly to the pan as the bacon finished cooking. I had to soak and scrub the skillet to get it clean. 

My Takeaway: The texture wasn’t superior to that of bacon cooked using some of the other methods. Cleanup took longer and required more elbow grease, too, which is a serious buzzkill.

Bottom Line: Best to skip this method.

Rating: 5/10

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Microwave

Total Time: 4 to 4 1/2 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 minutes (thick-cut bacon)

About This Method: Although countless sources give instructions for this cooking method, I went with those in Food Network’s bacon roundup, as they seem both straightforward and authoritative. Here, bacon gets sandwiched between a double layer of paper towels on a microwave-safe plate and cooks on high for four to six minutes. I was able to comfortably fit four slices on the plate without overlapping slices. 

Results

It took me a few tries to get the timing right: The bacon easily went from a bit underdone to burned in a few seconds. You’ll likely need to check on the slices, remove ones as they’re done, and continue to cook the rest in short bursts. The bacon was very flat and appeared to be uniformly cooked. The regular-cut bacon was brittle and tasted a bit burned. Thick-cut slices fared better, yielding lovely crispy-fatty pockets — when I finally got the timing right. Cleanup was a breeze: I simply tossed the paper towels and loaded the plate into my dishwasher. Even though there were no splatters in my microwave, I still gave it a spray and rub-down because the walls had a light oily film on them. 

My Takeaway: I wouldn’t use this method again on regular-cut bacon. I could see this method being useful if you only need to cook a few slices of thick-cut bacon, and you need to cook them fast — but I like to save my bacon drippings for later use, and with this method the paper towels soak them all up. You’ll need to check the bacon for doneness about a minute or two before the indicated cook time, and then cook in increments of 10 to 15 seconds until you get the right texture. Basically, although this method is the fastest, it requires some finesse.

Bottom line: OK for thick-cut bacon, if you’re in a hurry and don’t want the drippings.

Rating: 6/10

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Nonstick Skillet

Total Time: 10 minutes (regular- and thick-cut bacon)

About This Method: I used the instructions from Food52’s roundup of bacon cooking methods. I arranged bacon slices in a cold nonstick pan and cooked on medium heat, flipping the slices occasionally as needed. 

Results

The bacon curled up a little as it cooked, and it ended up with some charred spots and some fatty-chewy spots. These textural differences were apparent by looking at the bacon. There were a few splatters on the stovetop, but cleanup of the pan itself was easy; I was able to scrape every last bit of the rendered fat into a container for later use

My Takeaway: This method seemed okay for cooking a small amount of bacon, but the inconsistent cooking was not ideal. I love having some tasty seared bits on my bacon, but some of the slices ended up charred in places and were unpleasantly burned-tasting. 

Bottom Line: It’s an okay stovetop method with easy cleanup.

Rating: 6/10

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Baking on a Rack with Paper Towels Underneath

Total Time: 24 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 29 minutes (thick-cut bacon); + 10 minutes oven preheating time

About This Method: I was intrigued by this tip, given in a tweet by Alton Brown: Filling in the blanks of his brief explanation, I lined a rimmed baking sheet with layers of paper towels, arranged a wire rack over the paper towels, placed bacon slices on the rack, and baked at 400°F till the bacon was done to my liking. 

Results

The bacon stayed the meatiest with this oven-rack method, with the least amount of shrinkage. To see what difference the paper towels made, I cooked one batch of regular-cut and one batch of thick-cut bacon over paper towels and one batch of each with no paper towels. The paper towels definitely helped with cleanup, but didn’t eliminate it entirely; the unlined pan gathered lots of grease and some splotchy scorched spots that I had to scrub off. But even with the towels, the rack had to be scrubbed, and that was, frankly, time-consuming.

I know what some of you are thinking — and no, the paper towels don’t catch fire or smoke at 400°F. They do soak up the hot rendered bacon fat, basically eliminating any chance that you’ll burn yourself with hot grease. Of course, if you value bacon drippings like I do, this method isn’t ideal.

My Takeaway: This technique is great for cooking a large amount of bacon; you could do two pans at once (that is, if you have enough pans and wire racks). I liked how baking the bacon on a rack makes it easy to control the end product: I cooked one batch until it was crispy and one batch until it was meaty-chewy, with a Canadian bacon–like texture. And okay, I admit that I might be a baby (or maybe even a bit lazy), but I really hated scrubbing baked-on bacon bits off a wire rack. I tried washing it in the dishwasher, but some stuck-on bits remained, and I had to get out my brush and scrub anyway. 

Bottom line: This is a good technique for cooking a large volume of meaty bacon with easy cleanup of the pan — but be prepared to scrub the rack.

Rating: 7/10

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Air Fryer

Total Time: 8 minutes (regular- and thick-cut bacon)

About This Method: I was intrigued by the idea of cooking bacon in the countertop appliance of the moment and combined the instructions given by PopSugar and the blog A Pinch of Healthy: I arranged the bacon slices in the basket of my air fryer and cooked at 400°F, pausing to shake the basket occasionally, until the bacon was crispy, which for me was 8 minutes. 

Results

I tumbled them by shaking the basket every few minutes — so they curled up a good bit as they cooked. Thick-cut bacon slices had a crisp exterior and chewy-fatty interior, and regular-cut slices were pretty uniformly crispy throughout. I made sure to pour out drippings from the outer pan after the first batch, before I cooked another batch, to help prevent smoking. On subsequent batches, I did still get a little smoke and the faint smell of burning plastic — but these things did not affect the taste or texture of the bacon. To clean up, I scraped the drippings into a container for later use and washed the basket and the outer pan by hand. 

My Takeaway: This method works well if a few things fall into play: You only need a few slices of bacon (depending on the size of your air fryer), you don’t care if the bacon curls up or doesn’t sit flat (especially in a smaller air fryer, you’ll likely have to fold the bacon to get it in), and you don’t mind pulling out your air fryer (or even keep it on your counter). 

Bottom Line: If you’re an air fryer devotee, go for it.

Rating: 7/10

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Sous Vide

Total Time: 12 hours sous vide + about 2 1/2 minutes searing time (regular- and thick-cut bacon)

About This Method: OK, this one is admittedly a little outside the norm. But, hey, if you have a sous vide circulator, why not give it a try? The method was gushed over by J. Kenji López-Alt at Serious Eats for yielding bacon with a crispy exterior and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness within. You simply place a full package of bacon, in the store packaging, inside a large container with enough water to cover it, and cook with the circulator at 147°F for 8 to 24 hours. I settled on 12 hours with a Breville Joule circulator and, although López-Alt stresses that this is only worth doing with thick-cut bacon, I tested with regular-cut, too, for consistency. After the low, long cooking, you open the package, pull off individual slices, and sear in a skillet on one side then just briefly touch them to the pan on the other side so the bacon doesn’t look raw. 

Results

López-Alt was not wrong: This technique is wasted on regular-cut bacon, which just doesn’t have enough substance to showcase the tenderizing effect of sous vide cooking. With the thick-cut bacon, however, I ended up with slices that had a thin, crispy, shellacked-like layer on the outside and a juicy-fatty interior. The bacon was, indeed, buttery tender and uniformly flat, with little shrinkage.

My Takeaway: This is obviously not your everyday bacon, or even your Sunday bacon. If, however, you want to wow some breakfast guests — and you have an immersion circulator — the results are noteworthy and worth the effort. Plus, López-Alt notes you can do the sous vide part way ahead of time and hold the bacon in the fridge for a few days or even freeze for a couple of months. Shortly before you’re ready to serve, just sear the bacon (thawed if it was frozen) briefly to finish it.  

Bottom Line: It’s worth a try if you have the equipment, and will result in incredible textures (crisp, fatty, meltingly tender).

Rating: 8/10

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Cast Iron Skillet

Total Time: 8 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 11 minutes (thick-cut bacon)

About This Method: Many sites tout this old-school method for cooking bacon. I went with the directions in Serious Eats’ roundup of bacon methods, where you place strips in a cold cast iron skillet and cook over moderate heat, flipping the bacon occasionally until it’s done to your liking. 

Results

The regular-cut slices curled up a good bit, but the thick-cut ones remained overall pretty flat. With both cuts of bacon, I got slices that were crunchy and seared in places and chewier-fattier (with a crispy crust) in other places, probably because the ends wanted to curl up and cook without making full contact with the pan. The well-seasoned pan meant the bacon didn’t stick, and cleanup was moderate. I had to wipe away spatters on the stovetop, and I scraped the drippings into a bowl for storage and rinsed and wiped dry the skillet.

My Takeaway: I truly love this kind of bacon. It’s nostalgic; it’s good grandpa bacon. There’s something about the amount of sear and fat and chew that you end up with that’s just delicious. And, perhaps I’m imagining this, but even though you’re only cooking over medium heat, I believe there’s almost an equivalent of wok hei here, where the bacon picks up character and flavor from the pan itself. It’s a good method for cooking up a few slices (up to maybe six in a large pan), that allows you to hang onto those flavorful drippings.

Bottom Line: This is great for folks who want to cook a small amount of bacon and value crispy and chewy in each slice.

Rating: 8/10

Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Method: Baking on Parchment Paper

Total Time: 18 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 24 minutes (thick-cut bacon) + 10 minutes oven preheating time

About This Method: Martha Stewart’s technique promises a “spatter-free” way to get “perfectly crispy bacon.” You simply line one or two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, arrange the bacon on top, and bake at 400°F until it is crisped to your liking. When the bacon is done, you transfer it to a paper towel–lined plate or platter to drain.

Results

Because the bacon sits in its own rendered fat as it bakes, it cooks more quickly than if you cooked it on a rack. The fatty parts also get wonderfully crispy (if you like that), because they’re basically fried. If you prefer your bacon chewier, you can simply cook it a few minutes less to achieve that effect.

Both regular- and thick-cut slices cooked evenly and completely flat, without any need to flip them as they cooked. One cleanup tip: Make sure to cut a large-enough sheet of parchment paper so that there is overhang on all sides. Then fold the excess up so that the drippings don’t seep through any cracks. I tried this (it’s not shown in the photo) and when the bacon came out of the pan, I let the drippings cool slightly, lifted up the parchment, and directed the drippings into a container for storage. I threw away the parchment and inspected the pan — there was not a trace of grease. It went back in the cabinet without even a rinse.

My Takeaway: I loved the texture and appearance of this bacon, and that it cooks hands-free with no babysitting. I also loved that this method works for a few slices or up to 20, and that, if you use the overhang trick, cleanup is just so incredibly easy.  

Bottom Line: Effortless cleanup (that allows you to save drippings), pretty slices, and easy control of the crispiness or chewiness of the bacon. This method has it all.

Rating: 10/10 The Kitchn

More from The Kitchn

This post originally appeared on The Kitchn and was published November 27, 2019. This article is republished here with permission.

My First Trip

My parents separated early in my life, I was two to three years old at the time. Japan, Germany and Italy came between those two young marrieds. My mother would have a small apartment over my maternal great-grandparents home in New Jersey not far from Philadelphia. My maternal grandparents would live but a block away. I was loved, dotted upon and for accounts and purposes, spoiled. My grandparents would always cart me along with them on any trip or outing.

I’m not sure which was my first trip, in the summer summer or winter,. I will write on both, these were trips with my maternal Grandmother and Grandfather. That would be Harry and Emma Wittman from Audubon, NJ. A trip to New York City prior to November 5th 1951 comes to mind. So, perhaps eight years old. I know prior to that date as the NJ turnpike was not open to Exit 10 from the Delaware Memorial Bridge as yet. We got on our bus in Camden, NJ and traveled old route 130 and crossed into NYC via the Lincoln Tunnel onto W. 36th st. I remember as a youngster, I would often hold my breath in a Tunnel.

EBay Photo

We would stay in the Victoria Hotel, 160 Central Park South. It is now a Landmark, Marriott house. We would make this trip several times, always staying in the Victoria. It was quite nice back in the day and continues to remain so.

This particular trip was during cold weather and obviously close to Christmas. I know this as we went to Radio City Music Hall and saw their Christmas production. I  shall forever remember the Rockettes. 

We also saw some ice skating, it was so long ago I remember not where. Here is a little history on Ice Skating in NYC, should you be interested.

I remember walking about the city, going into Gimbels department store and being awestruck on the toy floor. I remember the elevator and the operator, announcing the floors. Being an effective elevator operator required many skills. Manual elevators were often controlled by a large lever. The elevator operator had to regulate the elevator’s speed, which typically required a good sense of timing to consistently stop the elevator level with each floor. In addition to their training in operation and safety, department stores later combined the role of operator with greeter and tour guide, announcing product departments, floor by floor, and occasionally mentioning special offers. I would always get a special gift on one of these trips. I remember also getting jostled a bit as the operator lined up the lift so as one would not trip exiting.

On the same trip, 6 months prior or 6 months later, warmer weather, anyway, we would have a boat trip. That trip would either be the Circle line around Manhattan or a trip from the Battery out to the Statue of Liberty. I got to do both back in the day.

The Circle Line Trip was a cruise all the way around Manhattan Island on a guided boat tour that takes in every angle of New York City’s iconic waterfront. Traveling by boat means unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty—ideal for snapping memorable photographs. With live narration throughout the cruise, learn about the Big Apple while passing all five of New York’s boroughs.

The trip out to the statute of Liberty was special also.  Visits to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island are musts in the Big Apple. On this guided tour, you get boarding on the ferry from Manhattan to visit the two important historical sites. Visit the grounds of Liberty Island and go inside the Statue of Liberty Museum. Then hop the ferry to Ellis Island and learn about the millions of people who arrived here between 1892 and 1954 in hope of living the American dream.

The highlight of my first trip was the ability to spit out of the window and to watch it travel down however many floors we were up. I also remember hanging out the window to see if I hit anyone down below. My leaning out the window and my grandmother going bezerk is still implanted in my head today. Three steps up a ladder with my vertigo is a high climb today. 

We would take several trips to NYC prior to age 13, the age my grandfather died. Those trips were always special. Oh to be able to recall such details. Now, to what do I attribute that gift?

Warm your stomach with some chicken soup (a share.)

Where it all began.

With his permission, I share with you a recent piece from Stewart Perkins.

When I read his blog I immediately thought of Mary Agnes, my wife of fifty seven years come this November and our beginning. I also thought of her and our fifth great grandchild Alana, soon to be six months old. As a side note, grandchild Rachael is due to bring into this world Great # 6 later this month.

In the beginning, that would be late spring of 1964, our first date took place in New Jersey, just across the Tacony/Palmyra bridge from N/E Philadelphia. That bridge would cross the famous Delaware river George Washington once crossed. After attending a movie with another couple, we stopped at a diner for a bite to eat and headed north on Rt. 130 towards Willingboro where the other couple’s parents resided. As we headed north we came upon a cemetary in Cinniminson New Jersey. The entryway was well lit and beutiful aeration fountain was spraying water in the air. I can still to this day shut my eyes and visualize that entryway.

We would pull in, park, and begin a leisurely walk about the grounds. I can still hear ducks quacking and the spray of the aerated water hitting the pond. At some point we found ourselves behind a hedge and with her permission, yes I asked permission, we kissed. “Botta Bing, Botta Boom,” bells, whistles, fireworks. We were a match! Eighteen months later the four of us would elope and marry in Fall River, Massachusetts. (That’s a story for another day.) A young Marine, a Sailor, and two recent grads from Nursing school would take one Giant Step in our young lives. Just as a side note, we played Pinochle on our wedding night.

Cemeteries have always held a special meaning to us over the years. Several years back on a trip to the Canadian Mari tines we must have stopped in a least a dozen and commemorated each with a kiss, “EH.”

When weather permits and the wife is doing child care for Alana she pushes the stroller into a close-by cemetery and tells Alana, this is where it all began. It was also fitting that the first date was on a weekend’s liberty from Marine Barracks, 8’th & I, Washington, DC. During my three years in D.C. I would quite often find myself at funerals in Arlington National Cemetery, including that of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

To so many, a cemetery signifies closure. To me and mine, it was a beginning. To Dan, the Sailor who began that journey with us, “May you rest in peace.”

Much thanks to Stewart Perkins for allowing me to share his Chicken Soup for the soul.

theRooster

I Can See Clearly Now

So, January 30 was my last post here on WordPress. I surely am not getting my $$$$ worth. Had some vision issues for a bit, which have been corrected with surgery two weeks ago. Well, mostly corrected, I still have a way to go, but much improved. Enough said on that subject.

To most of you whom I follow, I have tried to acknowledge your posts, for the most part anyway. If I’ve missed you, please forgive me.

Getty Images Photo

This world of ours has flipped a bit upside down of late. Let us not blame the Russian people, there is enough hate out there already.

This past weekend I got to marry my nephew to his new bride.

Congratulations Joseph and Ashton as you start your journey together.

Come June I’ll get to perform another wedding. This time it will be in Rhode Island and my brother Richard will marry the love of his life, Tina. Joseph and Ashton were married in Lewes, DE. I’ve also done ceremonies in Maryland and Connecticut. Things like this keep an old man out of trouble. So far all have been relatives, I can’t even make a buck on these events, You just can’t charge family.

For those who remember Aunt Barb, well she treated the wedding party to a grand meal of one’s choice at Baywood Golf Course. The Mrs. and I have eaten there on numerous occasions and have never been disappointed. Thanks, Aunt Barb! If you’re ever near the Delaware Beaches, it’s a great dining experience.

I leave you for this day, and feel good a blog is out. To all of you who know of the Rooster, Hello Again!

Don’t forget to check on the elderly.

Smells from the kitchen/during a Blizzard

Blizzard Statement

Weather Channel Video

I look upon the counter and what do I see, three homemade baked items are facing me. Oh, and I must say, they turned out deliciously on this winter’s day..

The wife’s been in a baking mood, and It’s brought about some delicious food. Perhaps it’s the cold and frequent snow, I do not know. Something for sure has inspired her to kneading some dough.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany: Shirer,  William L., Rosenbaum, Ron: 9781451651683: Amazon.com: Books
Some History inside

Between things in the oven baking away, up to her office she would often stray, to work on a quilt this cold winter’s day. Quilts are her passion while listening to books, right now the “Third Reich” is into what she looks.

Easy Southern Cornbread Without Buttermilk (Skillet Recipe ...
Corn Bread

The buzzer goes off in the kitchen, it’s a break from her time to sew. Corn Bread and muffins have risen from the dough. A Blue berry Lemon Bread with a glaze brings sparkles to this writer’s eye. It’s something new she just wants to try.

Outside on the ground, some gathering snow, along with the flavors of the rising dough. The temperature falls close to the teens, but who really cares when you live with a baking queen.

Between the baking and sewing of a quilt, the aroma of a pot of hamburger soup wafts through the air. The carrots and potatoes get a gentle stir whenever one passes by the pot.

Quote the Rooster, “Ever more,” sweet bread that is, and not from the store.

Sweet Potato Bread | Luci's Morsels
Chicken tracks in the snow...a clear sign that the flock ...

Don’t forget to check on the Elderly

Suggestions of what to read (from my daughter.)

My daughter Kathryn shares with me often a reading list of worthy books. Her most recent list consisted of seven books to read. Here are two I thought worthy of a share. Shares were permitted in the article and here are all seven should you care to be interested.

I shall also share with you another Blog site.  This Blogger does a great job of book revues. We,my wife, daughter, and the Rooster, constantly cackle back and forth as to who these Bloggers I refer to are. Are they friends or acquaintances? Sometimes I even say my Blogging Buddy. So now, just what constitutes a Friend, Acquaintance or Buddy in the Blogging World?  Should you have any thoughts in this area please feel free to comment.

Here goes the two I selected from Kathryn’s list of seven but first, here are two Santa brought me this year. They were:

1:    “The Secret World of Weather”

2:     “The Judge’s List”

My Two of Seven Pics from Kathryn were:

1: “Deep Country” is Neil Ansell’s account of five years spent alone in a hillside cottage in Wales.

‘I lived alone in this cottage for five years, summer and winter, with no transport, no phone. This is the story of those five years, where I lived and how I lived. It is the story of what it means to live in a place so remote that you may not see another soul for weeks on end. And it is the story of the hidden places that I came to call my own, and the wild creatures that became my society.’

Neil Ansell immerses himself in the rugged British landscape, exploring nature’s unspoilt wilderness and man’s relationship with it. Deep Country is a celebration of rural life and the perfect read for fans of Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks, Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk orJames Rebanks’ A Shepherd’s Life.

‘A beautiful, translucent portrayal of mid-Wales’ Jay Griffiths

‘Touching. Through Ansell’s charming and thoroughly detailed stories of run-ins with red kites, curlews, sparrowhawks, jays and ravens, we see him lose himself . . . in the rhythms and rituals of life in the British wilderness’ Financial Times

‘Remarkable, fascinating’ Time Out

‘A gem of a book, an extraordinary tale. Ansell’s rich prose will transport you to a real life Narnian world that CS Lewis would have envied. Find your deepest, most-comfortable armchair and get away from it all’ Countryfile

Neil Ansell spent five years living on a remote hillside in Wales, and wrote his first book, Deep Country, about the experience. Since that time, he has become an award-winning television journalist with the BBC. He has travelled in over fifty countries and has written for the Guardian, the New Statesman and the Big Issue.


2: “This, Becoming Free” by Michael Gungor

Ben Palmer, Associate Editor, News Division

I absolutely love memoirs, and this is one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read. Michael Gungor was a worship leader at a large church and a Grammy-nominated Christian musician who eventually left his faith entirely and embarked on a journey to really figure out what he believed. In the process, Gungor learned to let go of the stories that were defining who he was, working his way through various belief systems, including atheism and mysticism.

While Gungor’s story on its own is fascinating, what makes this such a great memoir is how different it is from other memoirs. Personally, I would’ve been happy with just his story of losing almost everything he knew to find who he is. But on top of that, Gungor adds in poems, artwork, musings on spirituality and philosophy, a little bit of everything, all in what amounts to a fairly quick read.

If you enjoy spirituality or dabble in the world of mysticism or philosophy or just like to talk about whatever is going on here in this world where a whole bunch of embodied awareness are floating around on a rock spinning in infinity, “This: Becoming Free” is a book you’ll love.

Thank you https://www.advisory.com/Daily-Briefing.  for allowing an amateur like myself to share this in the Blogging World

Looking Back

Unsplash.com

I’ve heard, as I’m sure many out there have heard also, Never look Back, only forward. Well I’m here to tell you there is a lot to look back on that brings us all joy. That bodes well in these times where our going forward is stymied much of the time by the current Pandemic that affects us all in one way or another. So my friends I’m just going to share some remembrances with you.

Just last week for instance I get a text from the Mrs., “stop at Food Lion and get me some Heavy Cream.” Fortunately this is a frequent request and I know right where to look for it, as well as what I’m looking for. However the Heavy Cream is not really what I’m looking back at.

Store Images | Dollar Tree
Dollar Tree info

All of us, yes even you who have eyes on this blog have observed the following. You go to a mall, grocery store, or if your a miser like us a “Dollar Tree” from time to time. As you look for a parking place, way in the back this time of the year you see the following. Shopping carts are strewn everywhere. Many carts block parking spots, some are coming at you at 15 -20 MPH, blown by December winds. I could use some Expletive Deleateds here but I wont.

Shopping Cart Discarded shopping cart in a large parking lot. shopping cart parking lot stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

There are cart Parking Stations conveniently located throughout most parking lots. Who uses them and who does not? Do you ever wonder, or, are you a culprit? Has that new Ford Bronco you see with the the dent in it’s door experienced a wind blown cart you wonder. How about the cart in the middle of the lane you’re traveling in, do you have to get out and move it to get by? Are the carts in the collection stacked inside one-another? They do fit inside one-another you know.

How about this one. You observe a shopper take his or her cart, which they have just emptied and from twenty five yards away send it flying towards the storage area. “Long pass towards the end zone, OH! incomplete,” as it Rick-O-Shays off that Toyota Van. Had a beer with Rick just the other day at a pub in Kilkenny.

What you do with your cart says a lot about you. Check it out.

There are a host of posts on this question on TWITTER also.

So OK, there are most likely reasons of significant value as to why a person doesn’t take the cart back. Disabilities, sudden downpours, dog or child locked inside for an hour on 100 degree day and passed out, so many reasons, so little time.

As you shop these last few day prior to Christmas, take a moment and take the cart back.

Don’t forget to check on the elderly.

Merry Christmas to all from the Rooster and the Mrs.

A Wedding in August

Just yesterday we were in the Piano room at daughter Kathryn’s house. Gathered about listening to Christmas music from the family Steinway were Granddaughter Rachael and husband Drew, Granddaughter Abigail, and husband Antwain and their daughter, one month old Alana Bea, our great, #5. Kathryn and husband Jeff, Mary Agnes and the Rooster, dogs, Libby and Phoebe and lurking around the corner, Cat Friday, were there also.. I’ve since renamed the Piano room the gathering room. Must get a picture out some day soon.

Earlier in the day the local fire department was out in force escorting Santa Clause about town. Alana was given the opportunity to tell Santa what was on her wish list, apparently she slept though the event. Here’s Alana with mom and dad.

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Kathryn was playing Christmas music on the recently tuned piano. Several of us were enjoying a glass of wine, the atmosphere was festive and the setting was Grand. At one point Rachael turns to me and says, “Pop-Pop, I never got a shout out in a blog when I got married in August.” Yep, the Rooster had been remiss.

Well folks out there in reader land, Granddaughter Rachael was married to Andrew Rodgers on sixteen August of this year. The two young’ns had been dating for some time and the 16’th had been the anniversary of their first date. Rachael is an elementary school teacher, Drew served in the Navy Submarine Service for six years. He listened to Whales chatting while submerged at Davey Jones Locker Andrew still has his ups and downs, he now works for an elevator company.

A proud little tidbit concerning the wedding, yours truly served as the officiant for the ceremony and the event took place in our backyard with a flock of nine hens as witnesses. This was my third family wedding to have conducted and I have two more coming up next year. I’ll marry a nephew in February and my brother in June. These are proud moments all.

The Participants

L to R – The Rooster’s Mrs. Mary Agnes – Rachael the Bride – Sarah, Mother of the Bride
Andrew the Groom, Sarah, Rachael the Bride
Proud mothers, Michelle & Sarah
Don’t forget to check on the elderly.

So there you have it, Rachael is married, I’m off the Fecal Roster and one last thing. We found out recently that Rachael and Andrews family will increase in size in 2022. Congratulations to the two of you.

August is sliding right on by.

The last blog post by the Rooster was back on June 22, 2021. Where has this summer gone, I ask myself. I have kept abreast of the writings by others during these days; however, One blogger I’ve been following for some years, Mehrling’s Muse,(https://amehrling.com/about/) for whatever reason, I no longer get her notices. Perhaps her niece, a WordPress Techie, oops, Happyness Engineer, knows the reason behind that glitch. I do keep up with Anne’s husband, John, through E-Mail however. We have to keep that Train Ride going, right John. Oh, and Anne, I’m glad to hear the vision is good after the Cadillac Surgery, and you two are not flooded out.

From the Netherlands to America

Back about seven weeks ago, granddaughter Samantha and husband, Zed, transported their four children to Zeds parents. Sam made the trip alone. The kids would spend six weeks with Zed’s side of the family. 

Here is a rundown by Grandmom Elaine on their activities as posted on FaceBook and a few pictures.

Well that’s a wrap! The Wild West Grannie

Four grandkids for the summer.

– Seattle in a flash (space needle, Ferris wheel, fish market)

– Ranch adventure (horseback riding, dirt bikes, ATV, chores, water trough swimming, milkshakes, baseball, branding, birthday party, ditch wading, lawn mowing, treehouse climbing, a few bumps and bruises, fireworks, babies and Moosey) Thanks Cindy, Erik, Mylee, Scott, and the ranch crew for all the help.

– Burns adventures (yardwork, city pool, rodeo, church, parade, baby blessing)

– Road trip to Idaho (older “cousins”, swimming pools, RV sleeping, police car, Bear World, pizza and family) Thank you Sara, Rachel, DaeNell, Ben, Zach, Melina, Savannah, and all the others of the family there…so much appreciated help.

– On to Utah- (family time- more older “cousins”, baseball, dinosaurs, more good food, ducks, chickens, and solid sleep). Thank you Jessup and Amanda and family.

-then Colorado (water trampoline, watermelon and burgers, piano, run and run, feed chickens, sleep like the dead) Many thanks Bringhurst bunch!

– on to Missouri (quality cousin time, sleepovers, pizza, ice cream, Aunts and Uncles, swimming, jet ski and tubes, splash pad, baseball, trampoline, amusement park, Wonder of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium, rodeo, beef demo and the Oscar Meyer WeinerMobile, and 3 new babies) Thank you Uncle Dallen, Uncle Wes, Uncle Jeff, and the Aunts!

– fly to Detroit for next adventures with other grandparents. Good luck and have the best time Jeff and Kathy. We miss them already ! Amazing is all I can say Elaine, good job.

Off to DelMarVa

The kids hung out with “G” & Pappy, Sam’s parents on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for the next two weeks. The backyard pool got a whole lot of attention. Zoe, who didn’t like putting her head in the water on day one, was swimming under water by the end of the visit.

Trips to the beach at Ocean City and Assateague, the wild horses, no, not the kids, the ones at Chincoteague, VA were enjoyed. Great times with Libby and Ben, (Dogs,) Aunts, Uncles cousins, and friends. A special set aside day for a Barbecue and an invite for all friends and family to come and get reacquainted with the kids was great. Pappy had his usual array of Brats, Burgers, Dogs & Chicken on the grill. 

 The visit was too short, and before we knew it the kids, with pappy and G in tow, were off on their return to Europe via PHL to AMS. That’s Philadephia to Amsterdam for you non-flyers. Pappy & G would spend ten days across the pond; they would visit with friends Brian and Rose, travel the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and hang with Sam and Zed a bit. 

All four kids would start school, Zoe a first timer in Pre-K. Free at last, Free at last, at least for a few hours Monday – Friday for same and Zed to declare.

Zoe, the new Pre-K kid
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Top to bottom, Dx, Ana, Mia

Misc.

So my friends I’m back out here once more. Our chickens are producing eggs once again after a brief hiatus from the production business. My but they were slackers for about three weeks. We’ve gone back to layer crumbles with Fly Larve,a few Sun Flower seeds and a 1/2 cup of song bird feed and the protein boost seems to have done the trick.

Now you are up to date as of, let us say, to 8 August, 2021 anyway. A few more happenings in the journal, for the sake of being called a Rambler I’ll close for now. 

If you don’t have a Covid shot, I wish you’d get one. Take care of the elderly, and Semper Fi to all and God Bless the men and women in Blue.

The Rooster

Summer has Arrived

The days are getting longer. Yesterday, 06/22/21 it was 78F at 0500, today at the same time it was 56F, go figure. I checked the weather prediction map, NOAA’,s site, a prediction map showed all weather staying west of the Chesapeake Bay and generally speaking following a track North via I-95. Since we had a lunch date with Mary Agnes’ sister in-law at noon, outside dining was in order. On this day we would dine at Tall Tales Brewing Company in Parsonsburg, MD.

We met Barbara, entered, and were seated undercover on the fringe of outside. All the doors were open, and a delightful breeze was blowing. The windows are floor-to-ceiling fold back doors: ice tea, no sugar for me, A wine for my princess, and a Lager for Barb. We ordered Chicken Salads for the ladies and a Mahi Mahi Taco for me. Unfortunately, when our food arrived, so did the weather, in the form of Rain. Although we were fine as we were undercover, several other tables had to reposition back a bit.

All in all, it was an excellent get together, we caught up on the goings-on of both sides of the family. I call Barb’s side of the family, the Polish side. Barb is the Matriarch at this point in time for her side. She beats me in age by three months by the way. My wife, of Irish descent, is the Matriarch on her side of the family. So thus we have, the two sides as I identify them.

As far as weather predictions, they, NOAA in this case, blew it! Don’t you love the ten-day predictions you get from various WX sites or the five-day predictions? On this day, we couldn’t even get a 3-hour forecast that was worthy. So what the hell are they smoking in those weather shops?

Caroline Schweikert photo of Junes Strawberry Moon. This lady and her husband have been friends for over 30 years. She is a wonderful photographer and her work can be found on Facebook.
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Granddaughter, USAF, Samantha, just dropped these 4 off at SEATAC and flew back home to the Netherlands. The kids will be with Fraternal grandparents in Oregon for a while and then meet the Maternal grandparents in Detroit, visit the Greats in Bay City and then head to Maryland. In Maryland they will be stay with Pappy & G and also visit Greats there. Pappy & G will get the Wee Ones back to the Netherland prior to the start of school.
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Thanks for the great view of Seattle and beyond Samantha.

This is what I’ve come to call a Sami-izem: You know your kid learned to speak outside of the US when she says “Mom look at that! It’s like 10 meters tall!”

Life remains good on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. God is good, and thanks to him, so are we. Our chickens continue to give us eggs. Greggory Peck is in Talon Hill. ( Remember Boot Hill?) Our Garden is growing nicely and were using a lot of fresh Parsley at the moment.

Grandson Tommy, TP for short, makes a final gesture prior to exiting the car for his start of the Journey at the United States Air Force Academy.

So, for this day, these photos and my writing I bid you all Ah plue tahr

Be safe, if you haven’t already, get a flu shot and make sure you check on the elderly.