Saturday, December 15, 2012

December Pre-Store Prep.

As we prepare to put the scooters away for another year, we notice other things getting ready for winter. The bikes get filled with Sta-Bil and topped off with gas. I notice a flock of grackles farming on the lawn next door. The adults are arranged roughly in a circle with juveniles in the center and they are showing the "kids" how to turn over leaves which have been sitting in the sun and get to the juicy bugs hiding on the underside. Clever little buggers eh?

It's also time to make seasonal favorites like Scooterchick's incredibly hot sauce. To begin we start with a pile of peppers. There are jalapenos, poblanos, serranos, habaneros and anaheim peppers along with white peppers of unknown name. The next step involves chopping in food processor.

In order to prepare this dish, protection (Level 2) is required. In this case we see Scooterchick ready to do battle with the heat that is endemic to the procedure. Mask, gloves and eye protection are required. A strong exhaust fan is also a pre-requisite.

Here are the chopped peppers, seeds included simmering in a pan. Do not breathe the vapors.
The peppers are sauteed until soft in olive oil, with the exhaust fan on high, and the chef standing well back in case of incendiary splatters.

After the peppers have reached the right consistency the heat is turned off and fresh chopped garlic, around 6 cloves or so are stirred in, along with a tablespoon of buckwheat honey, some ground black cayenne, white pepper and salt are added.

The majority of the sauce is set into a jar capped and placed in the freezer to seal. The small ramekin has a few leftover tablespoons. I tried some as soon as it was cool. It felt as though someone had treated the interior of my mouth with a Bernzomatic torch, and the same someone had pulled the pin on a grenade, forced me to swallow it, then sat back with quiet satisfaction as my guts exploded.

LAVA LAVA LAVA.........!!!!!

When my mouth had subsided to guttering fits of flame, and my stomach no longer threatened to physically depart from my body in protest, it was time to deal with the bikes. First I took care of Miss Vicky, Scooterchick's mount and brought her home.  Oh yes, that Airhawk cushion is the bomb. Soooo comfortable compared to the stock saddle. Then it was time to take care of Maj. I thought perhaps a few quick pics would help. First I took a quick scoot past Dog Town. It's actually Elmer Thomas Park.
Elmer Thomas was an Oklahoma senator that passed away in Lawton in 1965.

I don't know what's so appealing about these little buggers but they are awfully cute.

Part of the park has a lake that is popular with fishermen. You can see the flag flying at half-mast in mourning for the children and adults senselessly killed in Newtown CT.

Here is a picture looking back towards Dog Town. You can see that the lake is pretty low at this time of year. All the leaves are off the trees now, except for the evergreens.

Okay, here we go again with the overpasses I can almost hear you say. I don't know what's so visually appealing about them, particularly when they are stacked, but I just get a weird thrill out of seeing them. photographing them and sharing them with you. Freaky....yes but cool freaky...not dangerous freaky.

Another picture from roughly the same spot, looking south. Notice the swoop of the pavement. The elegant way in which changes of direction are accomplished in excess of 50 m.p.h.

Here two overpasses swoop together to provide 4 lanes of north-south traffic. This sort of symmetry  and beauty is really engineering art.

Oh yeah, attention still must be paid even in the midst of this. Jersey barriers are ever waiting for the unwary, as these rubber marks attest. An unwary driver surely woke up to reality really fast when this happened. Probably had to pull over for a while to stop shaking as well.

The undersides of these overpasses also have their own special beauty. Soaring solid and permanent. To be out riding on the 15th of December...temps in the high 60's, exploring and seeing new things for the first time. I'm altogether good with that.

Nearby we find a water park, closed for the season. You can see numerous pergolas around the park. There is a very good reason for that. In the summer, nobody in Oklahoma lies around in the sun. If they aren't in the water, they are looking for shade. In the great North Wet, pretty well everyone tries to soak up whatever rays we get during the summer, and here everyone tries to get as little sun as possible. When the temperature is over 100F for months on time, sunstroke can strike quickly.

More pergolas, and the kiddie slide area. There is also a large wading pool for los ninos.

Riding back into town I noticed a statue and pulled over to investigate. This statue commemorates a group of Army cavalry servicemen that had been passed over for honor until local auto dealer Dan Mullins spearheaded a drive to commemorate their service. Finally a scant two years ago, this statue was unveiled. Mullins said many people deserve recognition for the installation and all Lawton - Fort Sill residents can be proud to honor these forgotten service members.

The statue itself is 9 feet tall and shows a soldier with his rifle and saddle getting ready to saddle up and head out on a campaign. It is very detailed and realistic.

On the plaza where the soldier stands, there are several ornamental plantings. The tree to the right is a type of chinese cypress that I have referred to as a heffalump tree ever since reading Winnie the Pooh and his adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood as a young child. I don't know I call it a heffalump tree, but a half a century later the name sticks. (Pay no attention to the gyrating air dancer in the background. He is most definitely not germane to our story.)

Here is a type of ornamental grass common to this area. They are waving softly in the breeze that's coming in from the South West. Very attractive.

Lawton also has some interesting older homes. This one looks like a hybrid. On first glance it resembles a classical craftsman style bungalow, typified by the wide porch to sit in the breeze and shade on a warm day, but it also sports an upper light story to bring daylight into the interior, which is a feature of the "prairie school" of architecture espoused by Frank Lloyd Wright.

This house has been converted into a law office. It's nice to see an older building preserved in such fine condition. It is evident that care has been taken.

So we bring another blog entry to a close. Thanks for riding along. Buenas tardes.

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