Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.
Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.
Here it is - we're coming-up on the end of March already and gardening is just around the corner. Last fall I left some of my vegetable remnants in the garden as green manure. Along with the weeds there were cabbage bottoms, broccoli and Brussels sprouts mainly. I figured the garden rubbish would fester over the winter and when spring arrived I would simply plow it under with the rototiller.
Get ahold of this. I have now attracted deer.
These two deer must have informed all the deer in the woods to check out my new raised garden with the festering cabbage stumps and tasty broccoli plants and Brussels sprouts stalks. When pulling into the driveway on Friday at dusk Jill startled me with - Holy crap! Look at that. I kid you not. There were more than twenty whitetail deer in my garden feasting at the frozen buffet. And when caught in the headlights of the truck they didn't freeze. No way. They vamoosed.
There are vast implications for this. On one hand I may have inadvertently trained the local deer herd to dine at will in my garden. On the other hand I may have stumbled upon a way to cull the deer herd. We'll see.
Speaking of wildlife - meet Claude.
Claude is my trophy bear mount. When I fetched him from the taxidermist and brought him home Sister got her dander-up. The blonde bomber gave the deceased menace the what-for for the better part of a day. Since then Claude has blended in with the decor. He watches over the dining room and kitchen.
Which seems appropriate. Especially since we've been eating a lot of bear lately. If you've never had bear sauerbraten you haven't been living right. I found the original Karl Ratzsch's sauerbraten recipe on the internet and made a couple bear roasts in the dutch oven - low and slow. Served with spaetzle and pickled red cabbage from the garden. Yum!
That wasn't the end of it for Sister. Her Highness had to ride home in the back of the truck with two entire boxes of smoked bear summer sausage - one regular and one garlic.
How'd you like to be a Labrador retriever with your crate between you and thirty-four pounds of forbidden fruit. Poor, poor Sister.
Speaking of which - how about that new Pope. Pope Francis. He's got a reputation for ministering to the poor. And uncommon humility. The guy even carries his own luggage and pays his own hotel bill.
I have always had an affinity for Saint Francis. And it isn't only because I have a couple of degrees from a Franciscan university. Francis is the patron saint of wild animals. So speaking as someone raised in the Roman Catholic tradition of the Christan faith I have vowed to get the Saint out of the garage.
This saint occupied a prominent spot in our back yard when I was growing up and he became part of my inheritance. I even built him a new and proper shrine. So in honor of the first Pope Francis - as soon as the frost is out of the ground I vow to get Francis and his shrine out of the garage and in the woods. With the wild creatures.
As long as I am on a roll about the poor here is an interesting factoid. AARP says that the percentage of Social Security recipients 65+ in Wisconsin that are living in poverty is 5.1%. For that same population the percentage of Wisconsinites who would be living in poverty if it were not for their Social Security benefits would rise to 42.6%. Holy crap.
Speaking of which - this is the future face of the Republican party.
The Future Face claims the former GOP has grown stale and moss-covered. And while I would like to see some serious discussion of Social Security and Medicare - you know - entitlement reform The Future Face recently performed a good old-fashioned filibuster on the subject of drones.
Yes. You read that correctly. Drones. Unmanned aircraft systems.
Now I don't know about you but I don't worry too much on a daily basis about sitting down to enjoy a steaming cuppa joe on the sidewalk of some Tosa café and having a drone circling overhead spying on me. But The Future Face gleefully feeds the conspiracy mills with fanciful imaginings of drones spying-upon and rubbing-out ordinary citizens. So according to The Future Face I should fear for my life. After-all a President run-amok might launch a Hellfire missile at me and KAFOOMPH! The hapless blogger, his cuppa joe and the entire café would be vaporized.
In the mean time the Democrats have gleefully seized upon this to talk instead about jobs. And the economy. And some more jobs. And entitlement reform. And on and on. No drones. No conspiratorial intrigue. Nary a shambling zombie.
Nevertheless the intrepid staff here at Gas Pains has been hard at work sleuthing. And I am in possession of a Top Secret photo taken by a secretive drone. It's classified so let's just keep this between us and not The Future Face and the rest of his shambling entourage.
Taken only a few days ago...
Gasp! The Eschweilers. And believe it or not there's nothing nefarious going on over at these stately, abandoned buildings. As a matter of fact the only thing going on is the Forest Exploration Center (FEC) has approved an option to lease them. My pal John Gee - Executive Director of the FEC - has this to say: This is an economically viable project that will inhabit the treasured Eschweiler Buildings and create a STEM school modeled after High Tech High in San Diego.
With close ties to the UWM College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and proximity to the Forest Exploration Center's 60-acre forest, the school's location will create the perfect environment for science and technology learning.
If you were to visit the Save The Eschweilers website you'll find a quote from yours truly. How cool is that? But here's the deal. Saving these old buildings for constructive reuse as a school is going to require more than a website, yard signs or righteous blogging.
This project is going to cost millions of dollars.
And this is the last, best chance to save the Eschweilers. Yup. The last.
What's in your wallet....