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Ham Radio License

I go way to long without posting these days...

Anyway I passed the test for both the technician class and general class and got my amateur radio license.  Right now my call sign is KG7JLI, however I hope to get a vanity call sign soon.  I picked out several and filed the paperwork with the FCC.  I bought a 2 meter / 70 cm radio - not a ton of traffic in my area, but some.  I am also working on my emergency go bag.  I should have that completed soon.

My parents are leaving on a mission in two weeks - that is exciting news for them.  March madness is once again here and I'm looking forward to watching lots of it.  I still haven't created my shadow box with all the stuff from my trip to the Final Four last year in Atlanta.  I need to get on that.


Summer is gone

I guess I haven't posted in a while.  Summer was good.  I planted some fruit trees, and had one peach and two cherries.  My onions grew very well this year and I have lots of them.  I have lots of carrots too.  They are good, but not as good as two years ago.  I tried beefstake tomatoes, but didn't get much of a crop.

I got a new calling in Church.  I was released as the stake clerk and called to server as Elders quorum president.


Another Season of Baseball

I guess I've kind of forgotten to post on by blog for a while.  Lots of things have transpired, but I probably won't cover them all.

My grandmother passed away a few weeks ago.  The funeral service was very good.  Afterward we went to the Sage Brush to buy candy to see if she really would roll over in her grave.

The basketball season is winding down.  I am headed to the final four in Atlanta this year.  I'll try to post about that after the trip.

I started flowers last month, and this weekend I will start some of my vegetables.  Its been cold enough that I don't feel like spring is coming, however baseball starts on Monday.

I am not real hopeful for the Cubs this year, but I will watch once again.  I still have the MLB.TV premium package is is awesome because I have access to every cubs game.  Now that I have 4G LTE service I can finally stream on my phone too.


Go Cubs Go


Uncle Steve's Lakes Mac and Cheese

For some reason I was rembering an experience I had when I was younger and camping with my dad and his brother Steven. We were backpacking and camping in the high Uintas in Utah in an area we refer to as "The Lakes". Uncle Steve was making macaroni and cheese, and I was excited and hungry. When we got the dinner however I found out he had used pepper jack cheese, and I didn't like it because it was to spicy. I was very dissapointed.

Flash forward a number of years and my food tastes have changed and I've come to really enjoy pepper jack cheese. I decided I should write a pepper jack mac and cheese recipe in honor of my uncle and that camping trip. I haven't made this yet, so some things may need adjustments in quantity, but here it is:

Uncle Steve's Lakes mac and Cheese

4 cups (16 oz) dry macaroni
2 cups (8 oz) Cheddar - shredded
2 cups (8 oz) Pepper Jack - shredded
4 strips Bacon
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk (warm)
1 egg (beaten)
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. white pepper
2 Tbsp. butter (melted)
½ cup grated Parmesan
½ cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350

Start by cooking the macaroni until al dente. While the macaroni is cooking fry 4 slices of bacon until crispy. Remove and crumble the bacon and set aside while reserving 2 Tbsp. bacon drippings. In a large saucepan sauté the garlic in the bacon drippings for one minute. Add in 2 Tbsp flour and whisk to combine. While whisking slowly pour in the 2 Cups warm milk; whisking to removing any lumps. Beat then temper in one egg. Add the salt and white pepper. Add the shredded cheese a little at a time while stirring until it is all added. Add the crumbled bacon to the sauce. Drain the macaroni then combine the cheese sauce and macaroni and place in a large baking dish. Combine ½ cup of grated parmesan and ½ cup of bread crumbs and melted butter then sprinkle the mixture over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.


Pumpkin Pie

It took over 4 months to make, but it tasted pretty good.  I made my first pumkin pie with a pumpkin I grew myself.  The pictures can be enjoyed in the photo gallery.



The Madness that is March

March is perhaps the greatest month for sports.  Spring training is underway, the NHL and NBA are finishing up the last months of their season, and college basketball is everywhere.  This last week there were exciting games on every night and almost every team in college basketball still had a chance, even if very small, to win a national championship.

After the selections on Sunday I have already filled out 10 tournament brackets.  I do a few version of a serious bracket, then several fun brackets.  For fun this year I did things like which place would I rather live, and used a random number generator along with a formula I made for the number range 1 through (10 + (Tourney Seed * 2)).    All day Thursday through Sunday I'll be checking scores, using lunch time to watch games, and checking on my brackets.  There isn't a more exciting time in sports, and I love the madness.

Wyoming didn't make the NIT this year.  I think loosing to Air Force at home may have really hurt our chances.  We are going to be playing in the CBI tournament and get at least one more home game.

I have started prepping things for my garden.  I have a new grow light and seed heating mat.  In a month or so I will start some seedlings with hopes of transplanting in June.  This year I am growing cherry tomatoes, carrots, peas, and pumpkins. I am also going to start some flowers from seeds I collect from last year.   I am trying to decide if I want to build another 8' x 4' Garden box to grow a few more things.  I really like the one i have that I made last year.  As the temperature warms I'll probably do it.


My Kindle Fire

I have been asked by several people to share my opinions about my new Kindle Fire so I decided to write my short review here so I can drive traffic to my blog.  I had an ipad that I occasionally used, but most of the time I found the ipad to big.  I didn't want to lug it around places, and even when watching tv to look up something I felt it was to big and would use my android phone just as much.  I went ahead and pre-ordered a Kindle Fire from Amazon.  I'm usually not an early adopter like that, but I really liked the size and the price.

The Kindle is the perfect size for me.  It is small enough to be highly portable, and large enough to be easy to read on, and consume other web content.  I watched an episode of Arrested development and it streamed just fine and was easily large enough for me.  Since I am an Amazon Prime member I really like having the free streaming available.  I also am a audible user, and the audible app works great too.  I uploaded all of my music onto my Amazon cloud drive and now I have over 15,000 songs I can stream to my kindle.  For the times when you don't have internet access the kindle will hold about 6GB of movies, music, apps, etc.  That is plenty to last me until I have wifi again.  It does take some planning, but that isn't a deal breaker for me.  The device feels really well built.  It is a little thick compared to some newer devices, but is was ok.  The battery life was fine too.  I used it for about three days before having to charge it again.  It charged very fast.

Instead of using the andriod marketplace the kindle uses amazon's android market.  There isn't as good of selection avialable, however if you can download the APK files you can manually install them on the kindle and they work fine.  I downloaded and installed LDSTools and Gospel Library that way since they are not in the amazon andriod market.

a few complaints ...  1. web speed on the kindle is pretty slow.  It streams movies and music fine, but loading a web page seems to take several extra seconds.  I don't know if it is the device or the built-in browser.  I'll try downloading an alternate browser and see if that makes any difference. 2. No hardware button for volume.  I'd prefer to easily turn the volume up or down via a hard button instead of having to go into the settings and adjusting it.

Overall I prefer my Kindle to my ipad especially considering the cost.  I have already given my iPad to a co-worker as I won't be needing it.  It might not be for everyone, but The size and cost are perfect for my needs.