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Location: DownByTheRiver, Central Iowa, United States

Husband of the world's most wonderful wife, father of the world's four most brilliant children, grandfather to the world's eight most beautiful granddaughters and two handsomest grandsons

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Ignasecond

The River Rat Ranger tells the sad story of a second of ignorance, otherwise known as an "Ignasecond". I have gone wild using my new camping oven. Today, Mrs. RRR was due home at 1330 (1:30 p.m. to non-rangers). At 1300 I put the oven on the kitchen stove to warm up. As it heated, I used the oven to thaw some sausage patties and mixed up scrambled eggs. I mixed a cup of biscuit mix per my previous blog's recipe. At 1315 I tipped the sausage into the fry pan and greased the warm pie plate I was using for a baking pan. Into the pan went 4 large dollops of dough and into the oven. Then it was time to turn the sausages. I filled the teakettle and started the water boiling for Mrs. RRR's hot drink. The sausages were soon done. They went on a paper towel under the skillet lid and the egg mix went into the fry pan. I quick set the table. At 1325 the eggs were done. They went to one side of the pan and the sausages in with them to keep warm. At 1330 the steaming hot biscuits came out and went to the table. I poured Mrs. RRR's coffee and sat the eggs and sausages down as she drove up to the cabin.

We ate the biscuits with butter and fruit jam. Then I had frozen fruit for dessert. But as any diabetic will tell you... biscuits are high carb. My two hour post meal blood sugar was 186. Eye damage starts at 150. The little vessels in the back of the eye sugar cure like a smokehouse ham. So I needed the poor man's insulin... a long, brisk walk. As Iowa is in a mucky thawed out mess today, I drove down to the river to a state park with Bay Toe Ven, the Inside Dog. We're not to the ignasecond yet, but we're getting closer.

We took off on the paved trail along the river. Bay scrambled through the snow up a hill after squirrels, then slid back down. He trotted along sniffing happily. Other people were enjoying the unseasonable warmth also, bicyclists and joggers, not to mention fishermen. We walked all the way to the Big Dam. There is a door in the side that I always try the door on. Some day it will be open. Then back. Bay was getting pooped out at 40 minutes. He kept lagging behind. So I put his leash on and led him. But like the RRR, Bay is getting old. Long, brisk walks will soon be a thing of the past.

By the time we'd reached an hour on the trail and arrived back at the Green Hornet, he was ready to quit. I opened the hatch on the Hornet, pulled the keys out of the lock, held them in my hand with his leash and helped him hop in. I tossed the leash into the back of the car and slammed the hatch down. The Ignasecond occurred as I saw the keys flying into the seat with the leash through the hatch window as it latched shut.

There I stood. I thought about kicking a window in with rage. Instead I stood with my hands in my pockets staring and thinking long thoughts about the meaning of life and creeping senility.
"Did you lock yourself out?" a friendly voice asked. It was one of the joggers. He held out his cell phone. I called Mrs. RRR. She laughed at me. I deserved it.

So for the next 20 minutes I continued to walk around the parking lot till she arrived. In a moment I was back in the Green Hornet and headed home. On the way I stopped for the mail. A fund raising letter from the National Alzheimer's Association. They'd arrived just in time. And oh yes... my blood sugar? Down to 125 where it belongs.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ranger Biscuits

The River Rat Ranger tells of another aquisition and another recipe. Mrs. RRR and I were checking the clearance aisle at Sprawl Mart and I wandered back to sporting goods. I stopped, dumbfounded. There was a Coleman Campstove Oven on clearance at less than half price. My American readers know Coleman as the lantern company who makes heavy, clunky, but totally reliable camping gear. I once bought a Coleman backpacking stove that had sat for over 30 years untouched. I oiled the leather on the pump, filled the tank with fuel and it roared into instant life.
The Campstove Ovens are a special treat. They fold up to the size of an encyclopedia, then pop open to about a foot square. There is an oven rack inside and a thermostat on the door. They are designed to sit on the burner of a classic, green, Coleman Campstove. They also work on gas burners of conventional stoves and on wood burning cookstoves. One big advantage is that for a small amount of baking you don't have to heat up the whole oven and save significantly on gas usage. It should go without saying that I couldn't wait to try it out. I made River Rat Ranger Biscuits and they were a huge success. So I will give the recipe...
River Rat Ranger Biscuits
1 Cup flour (purists will want to use 1/2 C each whole wheat and white)
1 Tablespoon baking powder (Rumsford's non-aluminum, of course)
1/4 Teaspoon salt. (freshly ground sea salt naturally)
2 Teaspoons dark brown sugar (ok, so blackstrap mollasses or honey would be more politically correct)
As the oven preheats to about 400 degrees, mix just enough milk with the above ingredients to make a stiff dough. Don't stir too much, it "kills" the baking powder. Divide into about a half dozen dollops on a greased pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes till the "wave tops" are getting brown and the biscuits sound hollow when snapped with a finger nail. Remove, give thanks, break, butter and devour. A snack MUCH too good for a king.