"There is no doubt that our nation's security and defeating terrorism trump all other priorities."

Arlen Specter

Monday, April 17, 2017

Regular Routine.


It's finally Spring here.  The dogwood trees are blossoming so there's some color in the forest.  Soon the flame lily will start coming up in the woods here and there.




There's something nice about every season here, but it may be that Spring is the best. It's cool , up into the mid seventies, and some days are low humidity, around 50%.  Before much longer, it will in the nineties and above temperature wise, and every  day the humidity will be in the 80 to 90% range. Those are tough days to get through.

We took our walk in the county park this morning.  Did the three mile loop, which is the easiest. You get the big hill out of the way at the start , and it's pretty flat from that point on.




Then we went to Walmart.  I don't go there often, but after Easter they put all the Easter candy on sale.  It's half price. So we buy a lot of chocolate and put it in the freezer. Then during the year, if we want some, we have it.

After that, to a small cafe I like for lunch.  Then on to Home Depot, where I bought another bundle of cedar shakes. These big storms coming through have been hard on the building roofs. I've had a lot of repair work to do.

That's $52.67 worth of cedar shakes in that picture.


My roofs date back to 1986.  When you put a bright new shake in to replace one that's old and weathered, it looks like a gold tooth.  Sticks out a mile. They fade over time but it does look odd. Looks like the roof is molting.


Here are some cartoons I enjoyed. Some of them are older but the truth of them remains intact.












  



Took five cats to the veterinary clinic in North Carolina on Friday to get them spayed. Turned out to be twice as expensive as they said it would be, because they added on a lot of things that I generally do myself, like flea treatment and ear mite treatments. I can do both of those for all the cats, for less than they charged for one. I told my wife, we disregarded the old truism that "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."  I still have four more cats to have spayed, but won't be going back to that place.





I have to use satellite television up here.  It's the only kind I can get because I'm so far out in the sticks and surrounded by mountains. No cable, no " over the air." The mountains make satellite TV just about your only option. I have had Dish Network and I have had Direct TV.


You can get the channels you want in one package from Dish Network. Problem is, the day after you do, they will drop one of the channels you really like. You try to go to that channel and you get a screen that says "AMC (or whoever) is trying to charge us too much for their programming. You should call them  and tell them to sell it to us cheaper.  While you are unable to receive AMC, you will receive the Filipino Underwater Basket Weaving Channel at no additional charge."

Then in a week or so, you get AMC back but you've already missed the one series you watch on television.  This goes on forever and ever.  You sign up for certain channels, but Dish can dump them and substitute something else at their whim. And they do.

Dish Network

Then there's Direct TV.  I have been going through all their machinations this past week. You cannot, to save your life, find a "package" that has all the Channels you want unless you buy the super expensive "Premium" package. Then you get 200 Channels.  150 of them are sales channels. The "Shark Vacuum Cleaner Channel", the "Viagra for a New Life Channel".  Three quarters of what you get is garbage.  BUT, if you want a cheaper package, you might get Fox News, but then you can't get The Weather Channel. Or your package costs $45.00 a month, has all the channels you want, EXCEPT the Science Channel. But you can't order it individually. You have to switch up to the next package, which costs $20.00 more a month, but if you do you lose the History Channel.  Basically, trying to deal with Direct TV is like being a walk on in "The Sting."



And then there's the fact that if it is raining hard, snowing, there are temperature inversions, thunder storms in the area, or any other weather phenomenon, you can forget about watching television.



I know a lot of people in rural areas just don't bother with TV.  But I like to watch it sometimes, particularly when the weather is bad and I can't get off the mountain. 


I know some folks will think I should get Roku, or Netflix, or something like that. But my internet comes over a twisted wire copper cable, circa 1950.  My internet is so slow I have to buffer a youtube video, watch a bit, buffer more, watch some more..... It won't handle fast speeds. I tried Deep Blue, the satellite internet system.  Very slow, doesn't work in bad weather, and after you use it some, they intentionally slow down your speed to low idle.




Well,  I could go work outside. Or I could read a book.  Or just do nothing.  It's after four in the afternoon, so the work day ended 4 hours ago for me.

Thought for the Day:




God Wills It!





From "The Battle of Berkeley, this last weekend."  The good guys won this one.

This is raw footage. The language is rough.



He'll prevail in the end, and we'll win. It will be our country again.

40 comments:

  1. You put chocolate in the freezer. You're for sure not a "gourmet". In France, Switzerland, Germany or Belgium people will faint hearing this.
    Jeanne

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    1. Jeanne, I'm not a gourmet, you're right there. I freeze cheese, chocolate, even bread.

      When I was a little boy, my grandma on my dad's side lived in a big old white frame house. It had been a boarding house in the 1920's and 1930's. She had a huge kitchen, and a pantry bigger than most peoples kitchens. Behind the pantry was another room with four big deep freezers. My dad's family had a really bad time in the Depression. My grandma never got over it, and was compulsive about food . She always canned way more than the family could eat. She also worked at the outdoor theater in town. When boxes of candy bars didn't get sold, the manager let her have them and she would put them in one of those freezers. Whenever I think of her I think of getting Zero Bars out of that big old freezer. I always ate them frozen, you had to gnaw on them but they lasted a long time.

      Even here in America, I'm afraid a lot of my friends look askance at my eating habits. I never eat "meals" unless I am going to town. Usually, we have a pot of stew, or chili, something like that in the crock pot and just eat when we get hungry.

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  2. Having worked for DirecTV for 7 years, I got spoiled! As employees, we got everything except the pay-per-view channels for free, along with NFL "Sunday Ticket". That meant nothing to me since I don't care for football.

    But I feel your pain about what's in (and NOT in) the various packages they sell. It's pure marketing, and all the cable and satellite providers have fought tooth-and-nail to prevent the "ala carte" programming we'd like to buy. While places like Fox and HBO charge the providers for their programming, the "Shark Vacuum Channel" and their ilk PAY DirecTV to carry the channel. The providers make a ton of money, and stuff their standard package full of these crap channels so they make more on the basic subscription.

    It's a high stakes game for the providers, trying to balance what people really want (and you can bet your bottom dollar they know *exactly* what you want!), and what they can force down your throat.

    Sorry about the weather problems....there's not much you can do about it with the standard equipment they give you. You can mount the LNB/Feed assembly on a larger dish, and that will give you a stronger signal more resistant to what's called "Rain Fade", but you need to find somebody that knows what they're doing in order to do that, and there just aint too many of us....

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    1. You have pretty well summed it up, Dr. J. I want some specific channels, and I just have to endure being loaded up with sales channels, and then having the satellite television company telling me how wonderful it is that I get "190" channels.

      They have it down to a fine art, always making sure one channel you really like isn't in "the package" and trying to make you buy the next highest. In this latest go around we lost the Weather Channel and the Science Channel, but got everything else we both like, and the price is still within our budget.

      I guess I should feel lucky to be able to make it work here at all. There's a mountain next to mine that just about blocks the path the satellite needs to be oriented to. If the crest of that mountain were a little higher I would be SOL.

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  3. Spot on about those package channels. All I really wanted was Fox news, but the rest of the channels were crap. So I went with Dish instead, I still get the 98% garbage (sales), and on occasion in the winter I have to go out there with a broom and a ladder to sweep the damn snow off the dish. But I guess having it keeps me from going stir crazy in the winter. I've also had the receiver go bad after 3 months. They wanted to charge me for that, but after a big stink with them them they replaced it for free. --Troy

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    1. I have the same problem in winter. The dish gets caked with snow, and I go out and clean it off periodically. When the signal starts fading, I go out and brush it off again.

      Both of the satellite companies try to bully you into buying the "maintenance package." You pay them twenty five dollars or so a month, and they come out and fix it if the system craps out. But I take the tack that they are renting me receiver, and if it goes out they can fix it . The way I handle it, is if I need a new receiver, and they try to make me pay for it, I will just switch to the other company. They send you a new one when they see they aren't going to win.

      I enjoy some of the programming on tv. Shows like "vikings" and "six" are fun. Then I like Fox News and One America News.

      I also like getting the four atlanta affiliates, because they keep me up to speed on the state. My wife likes Evine, QVC, and QVC 2. She can watch ladies fashions all day long, and sometimes does.

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    2. I would like very much to use that tactic with them as you do. Problem is, they have me over a barrel locked into a 2 year contract.

      I wish I could get the BBC channel for world news. I do like that river monsters show on discovery.-T

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    3. I didn't agree to any two year contract, but I think I will check with them and see if they think they have me on one. I have noticed they are not very conscientious about telling you all the facts when they are trying to keep you on their program.

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  4. Hello! I so enjoy reading your blog! I grew up on a farm with many wooded areas around us...great for "morel hunting" every spring. But I was wondering if you ever see any "Jack in the Pulpit" in your forest? I always thought that plant was so fascinating and strange when I would find one as a child out hunting morels. I would love a pic of a "Jack" on your blog, if you happen to find any on your walks in the forest. Thanks, Harry! 🙂

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    1. Lynney62, I asked my wife , as she's the botanist in the family. She says she has never seen a "Jack in the Pulpit"in our woods. I have a book on local plants, and I will look it up and see if we have it here. If we do, I'm sure it's on my property somewhere and I will see if I can find one for you.

      I'm interested in seeing one now.

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    2. Thanks, Harry! Will be watching..What am I saying? Of course I'll be watching...I check your blog everyday. :) :)

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    3. I appreciate that. A little positive feedback goes a long way.

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  5. Your internet is kind of like ours... a tin can and a string. There's fiber optic at the road but they won't bring it a mile to the house. I'm sure it goes to the house of the guy who owns the phone company at the end of the road, though. Some video streams okay - except Sundays. Everyone in town runs home from church and hits the internet pretty hard.

    Beautiful Spring pictures. Dogwood still napping around here but should soon start to bloom. The only plant blooming are the daffodils.

    And I do the same thing you do with the chocolate, Harry. I don't really like it frozen except for peanut butter cups. But summertime we have to keep it in the freezer or in the cellar because it would melt, or may get moldy. I don't think the quality of chocolate is what it once was.

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    1. I am lucky to even have a phone out here. Way back in the 1930's, this piece of land had a CCC camp on it. They ran a phone line out here, and that's why the telephone poles and line were out here when I moved here more than thirty years ago. So I have a land line, and my internet comes over the twisted copper pair line. There is fiber optic in the county, but this is the "poor" quadrant of the county, not many residents and of them, only a handful would be interested in internet. We won't see it in my life time unless some big wig has a financial interest in having it installed in our part of the county. Doubtful.

      We freeze chocolate, then when we want to eat it we just set it out on the counter and let it thaw. I never noticed any change in taste, but I was a smoker when I was a young man, and my taste buds are probably not up to speed. I don't know any other way to keep chocolate long term, as you say it gets that white scale on it if you try to just keep it in a cool, dry storage room.

      I'm sure there's less chocolate and more corn syrup, etc in chocolate today unless it is Cadbury or some high quality outfit like that.

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    2. the white scale is just chocolate fat, doesn't hurt anything.

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    3. That's good to know, Deb. I always thought it was some kind of mold.

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  6. A few years ago, I got so fed up with all the TV commercials I called the satellite TV and cancelled everything. Then we started going to the library and read tons of books. Then we got high speed broadband internet here and there was no turning back. I read all the news online now. Watch movies and TV series at night and if I wanted, could pay a little extra to watch History, or Science or anything else. Now we both are addicted to our Kindle Fires. If we did not have high speed internet, I would get a lot more done, lol. But I get where you are coming from, Harry. They have got you over a barrel for now, anyway. We eat like you do....Pots of stew or chili or whatever. Love my electric pressure cooker, too. Just got a Vitamix....Yowza!! Just ground some wheat into flour to bake bread. I remember the days when we just had rabbit ears for the TV and could only get one fuzzy channel. Then we got a real antenna and somebody would have to go out a physically turn the pole to get different channels. Usually one of the teens got that job. We would yell out the window when the channel came in pretty good. Those were the good old days, eh Harry? In those days we played an awful lot of cards or board games to pass the time.

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    1. If I could get high speed internet, I'd be ecstatic. I would get rid of the satellite deal right now.

      I remember rabbit ears, and I remember having to adjust the antenna on the roof manually. There were three stations, NBC, ABC and CBS. That was it. I remember party lines, too, where you had your own ring and everybody would eavesdrop on your conversations. My family played monopoly but it was only my parents and their good friends, the Freelands. The kids never really participated. They also played some game on a board where you flicked poker chips and tried to knock other people's poker chips off the board, but I don't remember what that was called.

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    2. Sounds like tiddlywinks. maybe. Yeah, kids were always outside and had to be dragged inside at dark. We read a lot of comic books then and kids would go around with their wagons to trade them. Good days.

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    3. I loved comic books. I liked "The Hammer" about a world war One German fighter pilot, then there was "Sgt.Rock". There was one about an American Indian P-51 pilot, and there was a comic book about two American Indians who got trapped in a "lost world" with dinosaurs after they went through a canyon and an earthquake collapsed the entrance. Comics then were ten cents a copy. My brothers and I used to go along the roads and pick up pop bottles, then trade them in at the store for a candy bar (five cents), a soda (ten cents) or a comic book (ten cents.) Those were the days, as Archie used to say.

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  7. Rain fade, is a real problem with D-TV. If a bad storm is near you, you are on your own! My gripe for the day!
    Freezing chocolate, you bet we do, and about anything else we can stuff in the freezer. Problem is we forget what is in there....advanced old age, and all of that!

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    1. That's ok. One day you will go to get something else and be delighted to find the candy you forgot. We do that with Omaha Steaks. My mom sends them to us, and we put them in the freezer but we don't cook that kind of thing a lot, then one day we find them in there and cook them up!

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  8. It will be weeks before real spring gets here. Snow in May is not unheard of.

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    1. The latest I can ever remember snow here is mid April, and that was a fluke. We get it in March fairly often. Things are nice here now. We are having pop up thunderstorms tonight, but that will happen all summer if this is a normal summer.

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  9. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)

    There's 'Rare Earth Minerals' in them their hills!

    I found out there maybe 'one half, to two thirds' of the worlds supply of 'Rare Earth Minerals' in North Korea. Now I know why they want NK so bad.

    https://sputniknews.com/asia/201601281033848060-north-korea-mineral-deposits-investment/

    And now this. North Korea suspends mineral exports to China.
    http://www.rfa.org/english/news/korea/mineral-03022017144846.html

    I agree that the pygmy in NK is 'nuttier than a fruitcake' and needs to go, but is it worth going to war over?
    Now Syrian Gas Attack may very be a 'set up' designed to get us into Syria.

    I wonder if Trump is really in charge or is the NSC, I.E. H.R. McMaster pulling the strings?
    We are in a state of constant war to fuel the war machine and the economy. I don't mean to sound like some kind of 'peacenik' but again. We are mirroring 'The last days of Rome' to closely.

    On another subject. The video footage from the April, 15th riots at Berkeley where a real hoot. The Antifa members hiding behind the dumpster and using it as a shield to get away from Trump supporters was fun to watch. I don't believe in striking women but when a 'leather jacket wearing woman' dressed in all black with a red bandana around her face (hiding her face) strikes a man three times he has the right to defend himself.
    The video's and meme's coming out of the latest Berkeley riots are epic.

    Its getting really hot and humid here and I am loving it. I love either coastal swamp's and mosquito's the size to Stuka's or dry and very hot deserts out in the middle of nowhere, where a man can set off a MOAB (21,000 lbs worth) in his backyard to get rid of fire ants.

    Little Known fact.

    The MOAB used in Afghanistan last week was manufactured in Texas. We use MOAB'S on fire ant mounds. Individual ant's get the Barrett .50 BMG Treatment. You know those insects in the 'Starship Trooper's Movie from back in the 90's. Those were Texas Fire Ant's and Roaches (actual size)
    No joke. I hear there's oil companies that are trying to get the giant fire ant's to dig for oil. 'Boy what will they think of next:)

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    1. I'm all for anything that gets rid of fire ants. They are demons from hell, like the Tiger Termite.

      Looks to me like the gloves are coming off. I exult when I see the Devil's Imps getting their asses handed to them by decent people. Makes me feel less frustrated and more hopeful.

      I agree with you in theory about the "Lady in Black." I have never, in all my life, hit a woman and I don't know if I could. She richly deserved it but I have qualms about the idea. It flies in the face of a life time's beliefs. I guess I will have to leave the battles to the younger guys.

      We aren't having humidity yet. Thank God. Once the humidity and heat clamp down on these mountains they steam and simmer.

      I hope the MOAB fell right on top of the ISIS crowd. They richly deserved it.

      Man, I wish I was down there on the coast. One of the fellow's whose blog I read daily has a new header. It's a wide, long stretch of beautiful beach, surf coming in,and not a S***ing D**k to be seen.

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  10. On the new shakes, if you dip them in used crankcase oil it will help blend them in so they don't stand out quite as much.

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    1. Won't that make them black? The weathered ones are a light gray color.

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    2. It darkens them a bit and then they will fade out like the rest of them as the oil washes off over time. But it keeps them from standing out too much while they are new.

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  11. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)

    If I was 20 years younger I probably would have made the march on April, 15th and joined in with the Trump crowd.
    I would have wore a full faced, motorcycle helmet. A thick leather jacket, leather gloves and biker boots. I would have just rode a bike there, gotten off and joined in.
    First brick thrown at me and its 'Game On' Its wise to wear proper attire to 'certain social event's and its real fun 'ramming bad people' while wearing a leather jacket and motorcycle helmet.
    Act like a 'Berzerker' with no thought to your own health and welfare and bad people will (and I mean will) run away from you.

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    1. I'm too old to battle hand to hand. I have to get my Harry Flashman books out, and find the one about Flashman and the Redskins. It has a passage where the Indians are swarming out of the village to attack Custer, and Flashman notes the old men are urging the young warriors on but making damn sure not to go near the fighting themselves. It's really funny the way he puts it.

      If I were going to something like happened in California this past weekend, I'd wear track shoes (so as to flee faster if things went bad), and a reversible Trump / Obama tee shirt in case the Ninja overran the good guys and I needed to blend in. :-)

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  12. Hey Harry,

    Like you, I hate walking into a Walmart store. I go when I absolutely have no choice. 1/2 price chocolate sounds like a great deal. Nothing wrong with freezing it for eating in the future. We even freeze our milk!!!

    It's been raining here as well......it's like walking in red mud here. We have to take our shoes and boots off before coming into the house. Were looking forward to drying out a little.

    Does your state offer veterinary clinics with discount prices to help? From time to time it's offered here through the state or certain organizations relating to animal rescues.

    Take care, and give your sweet wife a hug from your Okie friend.

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    1. Sandy, good to hear from you. We are having scattered thunderstorms every evening now. It used to be that way years ago, but it's been a long time since we had that kind of weather. It's good for the area, we need the "soaking rain."

      Our state doesn't do anything but make laws to benefit veterinarians. I used to buy rabies vaccine at the feed store and vacinate all our dogs and cats for under $20.00. But they made a law down in Atlanta that you can't do that anymore.

      We do have rabies clinics, there's one coming up in a couple of weeks. You got stand in a big long line at the fire station and pay $20.00 per animal for rabies vaccinations. We always go to those. If you go to a vet they charge you sixty bucks.

      Hope all is going well out there.

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  13. Beautiful views! Spring is lovely but all too short. Looks like you have a wonderful place to take your walks.

    Dan and I looked into cedar shakes a long while back but went a different route because of cost. I hadn't thought about the repair part, but at least you can still get them!

    Good idea about the chocolate. :)

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    1. We have a bunch of parks here. One has a little lake, one is out on the big lake, one is in town. It's a good place for retired people in a lot of ways.

      I would not use cedar shakes again if I could change that decision. Metal would have been a lot better, but back then it was only available in aluminum color.

      We don't eat a lot of chocolate, but we store a lot of it. You just never know when things will go "Venezuela" on you.

      Glad to hear from you, Leigh.

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  14. We have the same satellite/internet dilemma. So we just do without. The library gets most movies I'd want to see anyhow.

    Spring is also my favorite season. Do they have any spay clinics? They do them around here, and they are fairly cheap. If you follow local animal rescues, they will sometimes have flyers for programs. We neutered our dog through one of these, and it included a microchip for him. I think it was $35 total. They didn't make us do anything extra.

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    1. We have a lot of time on our hands now, and we like old movies, the news, the weather, and my wife likes fashion channels. So we don't spend a lot on it but we do keep the satellite up and running. As busy as you are with home, family and work I doubt you would get your money's worth out of satellite TV.

      We don't have spay clinics here regularly, but we do have them. Several years ago, a big knife company paid for all the spaying of dogs and cats at a local vet's office for two months,and we got five cats fixed then. But it's irregular and you have to really watch the paper like a hawk or you'll miss it when they do have one.

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  15. The dogwood trees are so pretty. We have blooms on things. My husband planted tomatoes too early. Tomato trees are growing downstairs - at least it seems like it. We can't get them in the ground until May 10th or so.

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    1. My wife loves dogwoods. We planted some pink one's here, out in the meadow, but that winter was harsh and they all died. My woods are full of dogwoods. My wife says she loves our jeep trail up from the dirt road at the foot of the mountain to the buildings. All along the way, there are those flame lily plants, and dogwoods. In Autumn it's all red and gold.

      Home grown tomatoes are the best. I really enjoyed the one's we grew last year, and hope to do much better this year. I pretty much eat them with salt, garlic and cheese. But you do a lot of cooking and I'll bet you use your homegrown tomatoes in that , too.

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