3 weeks and no (or very slow and unreliable) internet

Yep, you read that right. For almost 3 weeks, I have gone without fast and reliable internet service in my house.

We had Viasat (satellite internet) for over a year. It was fast enough, and very reliable, until it just quit working for no apparent reason. So we called customer service and they sent a technician out a few days later. He was here for several hours, and checked out everything, but couldn’t fix it. So the company said they would send out a higher technician in a few days.

That day came, and that morning the customer service department called us to inform us that he would not be coming, and they didn’t have anyone else to replace him due to personnel problems (thank you, COVID-19).

So we cancelled that, and signed up for AT&T Wireless internet service. But, despite an apparently strong signal, our service remains terribly slow.

And it sure is frustrating. I can’t fill out job applications, can’t post anything about what I’ve been doing these past few weeks (I have several photos just sitting on my computer, waiting to be shared with the world).

This is also causing problems at home. I expressed my frustration to a family member, and he got very upset with me, accusing me of making excuses, lying to him, and trying to blame someone or something. I told him I’ve tried using the computers at my local library (and I really did), but I’ve found that many websites don’t function properly when using those computers. And when he accused me of being too lazy to try public wifi available at fast food restaurants, I had to remind him that most of the places that offer it are currently doing “drive thru only” service due to COVID-19.

I sure hope that this problem can be fixed soon. And I am glad that I’m not in school right now. I am sure that I can complete the homework assignments and quizzes using the library computers. But the exams would be a problem because they are proctored remotely and that requires a webcam, microphone, total silence, and a strong and stable internet connection.

Anyway, I will find a way to post more pictures and videos soon. Stay safe out there!

Clear night ahead

Tonight, the skies will be clear, and the weather will be comfortable. It’s time to bring out the telescope for the first time!

I’ve had this telescope for a few years now, but until last July, I lived in a very populated area with lots of light pollution. Then I moved out here, and saw that the clearest nights reveal so many stars that I would never see while living in a suburb. But I didn’t have time, then winter came (I hate going outside in winter), and when summer finally came it got very hot and stayed that way for weeks!

I will post pictures soon, if I am successful!

Little green tomatoes

A few days ago, I checked on my garden, and noticed that one of my tomato plants is finally growing some cherry tomatoes! I grew this plant from seed, and it seems to be developing slowly, but it is very healthy!

As for the other plants, I think the peas have died. I have only 2 carrots growing, and the strawberry plant is slowly bearing fruit. I may pull the peas out and put something else in their place, but I haven’t decided what.

This pandemic has me worrying about lots of things, and it won’t be going away anytime soon. But, seeing my veggie plants growing healthy and strong gives me some relief, because I know I can provide food for my family if the grocery stores close!

Yummy Taco Salad with Delicious Catalina Dressing

It’s finally finished, my first YouTube video! I recorded this over a month ago, and never had time to edit it. In this video, I make a taco salad with a delicious catalina dressing. Now, I should mention that I didn’t come up with this recipe, I got it from an app called Mealime and I just changed it a bit. To enjoy this yummy and satisfying healthy meal, you will need:

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • About 3/4 to 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce or salad mix
  • Tortilla chips
  • Tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • About 1/2 tsp salt
  • About 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

Step 1 – Mix spices for meat.

  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Step 2 – Cook meat and add spices.

  • 3/4 to 1 lb lean ground beef

Step 3 – Make dressing.

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Peel and mince garlic. In a small bowl, mix garlic with the other ingredients.

Step 4 – assemble salad and enjoy!

  • 1/2 head of romaine, or salad mix
  • Tortilla chips
  • Cooked meat
  • Shredded cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Dressing

Garden Update, June 23rd 2020

The strawberry plant is slowly growing and producing more strawberries. I got 5 berries from it yesterday, and they were delicious! But it’s not producing many berries all at once, so I will have to freeze some of them so I can collect enough to make ice cream and other recipes.

The peas have produced one peapod. Unfortunately, it looks like the peas won’t make it. The leaves are drying out, no matter how often I feed or water the plants.

But, the carrots appear to be doing well, and the largest tomato plant is starting to flower! Home-grown tomatoes are the best, and I will have some soon!

Fun in the yard with Sherlock

Last Tuesday, we had some fantastic weather, and I had some free time, so I decided to take Sherlock out to the yard for a photo session. These were all taken with my Canon 5D Mark IV, and Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. The settings were f/5.6, 200mm focal length, shutter speed 1/1000, and ISO 250. They were edited in Adobe Lightroom.

I was going to try to get some photos of him running with his favorite tennis ball, but I couldn’t find it, so I’ll try again next time. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy these photos of a wonderful dog enjoying some time in the sun!

Let the canning begin!

When all of this crap that’s been happening this year started a few months ago, I discovered that I really need to work on some survival skills. That includes growing and preserving my own food, just in case the economy collapses from the effects of COVID-19, and the grocery stores in town go out of business. I really don’t like the thought of not having enough food to feed myself and my family. So I decided to learn how to can food.

But, finding clear information on the internet was surprisingly difficult. Fortunately, while shopping with friends yesterday, I found this book pictured above. I’ve read some of it, and it really is helping me understand how to do this properly. Now, I need to get the right equipment, and enough produce from my garden to make the recipes included in the book.

Fresh strawberries arriving now!

Hello everybody!

I can’t believe it’s been over two weeks since my last post! It’s been a busy couple of weeks (I will post about that later).

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I wrote about the strawberries starting to grow in my garden. Well, today I checked on my garden, and the first one was ready, with several more on the way!

As for the rest of my little garden, the tomatoes are doing well, but the peas and carrots appear to be struggling. I gave them some organic plant food last week, but I don’t think it’s helping. I’ve also started composting a couple of months ago, and the decomposing process seems to be going slowly, but I am eager to see the results of my efforts.

I can’t wait to get more fresh strawberries and vegetables from my garden. I am thinking of making some strawberry ice cream with some of them, and I also need to start learning how to can fruits and vegetables.

First time kayaking

After working in the yard for a little while today, I decided to take my kayak to one of the three lakes near my home. It was my first time kayaking, and I hadn’t been able to go to the lakes in a long time.

The weather was great! It was sunny, with temperatures in the mid 70s, and a light breeze. I am looking forward to spending more time at the lake, with my kayak!

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