Tuesday, September 30, 2008

EAGER TO RIDE MY NEW TRIKE

When I ordered my new trike from www.wizwheelz.com the trikes were out selling production capacity. I was told to expect delivery in a couple months but it actually came in about six weeks. I was so happy getting it early! Now, six weeks later, it is still in the box. Why? Frankly, I don't have the slightest idea of how to even shift the gears. I've never seen "tab" shifters--two no less. The last thing I want to do is to "experiment" with this beautiful trike. And, the rear rack was back ordered and has just come. My youngest son, Todd, lives about 400 miles south in Cincinnatti. He will be a whiz on my new wiz wheels but we haven't been able to work out our schedules. We get together next week. He has the mechanical ability to put on the rack, fenders, pedals, mirrors, head rest etc. He said the 2nd largest bike shop in the nation is nearby from which we can buy shoes and other gear needed for a cross country trike ride. He will install new lithium lighting from www.dinottelighting.com. Best of all, he will not only teach me to ride this new trike--getting the "terra trike grin"--but also make several rides with me during the week on various elevations and traffic conditions. He has even agreed to do a 17 mile ride and an overnight campout in a favorite camp site. That will let me try out some of my newly purchased, ultra light camping gear. When I ruptured a disc in my lower back a few years ago training to do this cross-country on a road bike, I gave my bike to a grandson-in-law along with new bike shirt, pants and helmet. My granddaughter informed me that her husband Mike had not used the clothing or helmet and she kindly returned it to me. I know I am silly but I've been wearing that helmet as I write this blog. Did I say I was eager? I've only got about six weeks of good weather to train for this ride and can't wait to get started.

May the "winds of life" always be at your back and the road down hill. God Bless!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

BAKING PIES

I thoroughly enjoy cooking. I learned to cook early in life, living by myself when I was in high school. I've always been the cook in my family and have had success passing this enjoyment on to all my children who are cooks in their own right.

I have an hour to write before I must stop to bake pies for dinner tonight. We are having as dinner guests Grandson Jon, his wife Bethany. I got "volunteered" to bake pies for dessert. Julie will fix tacos.

Julie started me to baking pies maybe 25 years ago. I still basically bake the pies as she taught me but I have followed the Walt Disney teaching and "plused them up". I once baked 25 pies in one day for a "Pie Social" at Julie's office for her 50th birthday. Another time, at the urging of friends, I baked pies for sale at Christmas time--that was a real mistake! I'm sure I lost money on the deal, along with a lot of pie plates. At bake sales my pies are always the first ones to sell because I have learned to make them beautiful. The "proof of the pudding" should be in the taste and I don't know that mine taste any better than others, but they do look better. My daughter, Kimberly, entertains a large number for Thanksgiving Dinner and I bake pies annually for that event. Today I will bake a peach and a pumpkin pie, the latter a favorite of my grandson Jon.

My pie crusts are so very flaky. What makes them that way is that I thoroughly chill the crisco before I make the crust, also I use icy water and a cool egg. Then I chill the balled crust before I roll it out between CUT RITE wax paper. I even use chilled water to wet my fingers as I flute the pies. When the pies come out of the oven the top crust will have raised a bit. Using my hands I softly press the crust flat with the result that the top crust becomes a layer of flakes.

There is a secret to cutting a crusty pie. Use a dull knife and the crust will just fall to pieces and look terrible. I have my own fluting. I make a flower of the top crust. Using a 3 pronged fork, I make a cross in the center of the pie. Then, using a thin, serated knife, constantly wetted in ice water, I cut a petal a half inch or so from the 4 points of the cross. Then, half way between the petals I cut four 2" slits across the pie. I then punch holes between the outer ends of the slits and the petals all around the pie. This make a pretty flower but it also makes a perfect way of cutting the pie. Using a thin, wet, serated knive cut the cooled, baked pie into 8 slices cutting through the slits and the petals. Perfect slices each and every time.

Before I flute the pie I brush the top crust with melted butter--real butter. I then "sprinkle it with love"(sugar). If you have young children present they love helping you "sprinkle the love". Keeping my hands wetted with ice water, I roll the edge of the top crust placed on the pie into a roll. Once I have a perfect rounded crust edge, I flute it. Have you ever noticed how the crust loses shape when it is baked? To get around that, using cold, wet hands make a deep--really deep--hole with your little finger poked between two fingers of the other hand. I then cover the pie crust with a pie ring before baking it. If you don't have a pie ring you can make one of foil as I did in the picture in this blog site.

Wow! Time flys when you are having fun. It is now 15 minutes past the time when I should be baking pies. I'll write my vinegar crust receipt and call it a blog. I'll describe my pie fillings in another blog.

Measure 3 Cups of flour, 1 tsp of salt in a bowl. I use a fork to blend in 1 1/4 cups of chilled crisco. I measure the crisco carefully using a special measure. To these dry ingriedents I add a mixture of a beat egg, 1 tblsp of apple vinegar, and 4 tblsp of chilled water--depending upon how dry the flour is the water may vary a wee bit. I devide the crusts into 3 balls each of which will make a pie crust. I put each ball into a plastic bag and refridgerate until I use it.

You will know that you have done it right when people not only eat the entire crust but use their fingers to pick up the flakes that remain on the plate.

Well........I've baked the pies. What an experience! Getting paid back for my immodest bragging about the beauty of my pies. Cooking in a strange kitchen has it's drawbacks. I only had one regular 9" pie plate and one deep dish pie plate. I baked the peach pie first but didn't have any food coloring. Peach pie is supposed to be yellow. It only takes 4 drops of yellow but 4 drops I didn't have. Oh, well. It could get worse, and did. When I started to mix up the pumpkin pie I didn't have any condensed milk or cloves. My granddaughter's husband, Mike, quickly went to a nearby gas-station-cum-country-store and got the milk. No cloves. While I awaited the milk I had mixed the spices into the pumpkin. The two eggs were placed at the back of the counter so as not to roll off. I added the milk, poured the mixture into the shell and put it into the oven. I then proceeded to wipe down the counter top and discovered the two eggs. Pumpkin pie without the eggs is not pumpkin pie. What to do? My wife suggested beating up the eggs and stirring it into the pie. I did just that. The pie raised alright. I don't know what it will taste like. When I stirred in the eggs I got pumpkin all over the crust. A beautiful pie it is not. Will my grandson mind? Not at all, if it tastes good. Anyone can be a cook when they have everthing they need with which to cook. Once in the north woods I made a rolling pin from a tree limb. Today I used the only rolling pin available. It was only 4 inches long. Try rolling out a pie crust with a 4" rolling pin sometime. Life is truly exciting!

Now, may your troubles be few, your blessings be more and may only happiness come through your door. God bless!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

WHO AM I?

I am Walsine Hudson Pierce. I believe myself to be the only "Walsine" in the world. My dad named me Walsine but lost the courage of his conviction and always called me Walter. My siblings called me Walt.

There once was another Walsine, my name sake, Walsine Stevens. He was my grandmother's teenage beau and she tried to influence my dad to name each of my older brothers by this unusal name. Dad named my oldest brother after his father and the next son after himself. He loved his mother beyond measure, however, and not only named me "Walsine" but also "Hudson" which was Grandma Pierce's maiden name.

How pleased she would be today could she but know that not only a grandson but that also a great, a great-great and a great-great-great grandson carry on her proud family name. Born in 1857, Grandma Pierce remembered the Civil War.

"Old Doc Yost" drove his horse and buggy up the muddy road alongside the railroad track in Point Pleasant, WV on a rainy, Tuesday afternoon on the 31st of March 1931 to deliver my Mother's fifth and last child. I remember both the great depression and World War II. It grieved me that I was too young to join in the fight alongside my two brothers in that war. When I was 16 and a senior in high school I lied about my age and joined the WV National Guard. As soon as I graduated from high school at the age of 17 I joined the Navy.

Although I served briefly as a Radioman on an aircraft carrier and a destroyer escort, most of my tour of duty was on a sea going tug, the USS Yuma ATF94.

I loved the Yuma--she was a real feeder! "Join the Navy and see the world". I sailed extensively throughout the Pacific, the Sea of Japan, the Phillipine Sea and the East and South China Seas on the Yuma. I was on the Yuma in the war zone when the Korean War started and Uncle Harry Truman "suggested" that I extend my enlistment for another year. I "agreed" to his "suggestion.

Later, after an operation for a broken wrist, I was assigned as part of a skelton crew to sail the USS Intrepid CV11 from San Francisco, CA, through the Panama Canal and up the east coast to Portsmouth, VA. I ended my enlistment sailing the Carribean and crossing the Atlantic for a good will tour of Europe on the USS Hemminger DE746. My DD214 states that I had served for 4 years, 9 months and 17 days. Go Navy!

After growing up in the Navy I got a two year degree in Accounting and Business Management from the Barberton School of Commerce and commenced what would become a life-long attendance of night school at the University of Akron. I became an Industrial Manager working for 27 years in a tire plant, my last 8 years as Manager of Tire Production.

In May of 1981 when Firestone closed 10 North American tire plants and Goodyear closed 11 my wife and I both lost our jobs. I took the opportunity to take a long vacation touring the United States, Canada and Mexico for three months in a travel trailer and then went to work as a stock broker for Merrill Lynch. After a contractual 2 years with Merrill I joined up with Prudential-Bache. I remained with Pru until I retired as a Vice President of Investments at the age of 60.

Along the way I have been married twice. My first wife died of breast cancer. I have now been married to Julie Ann for 27 years. I have two sons and a daughter and also a step son and daughter. All my children have graduate degrees and are professionals married to professionals. Between us Julie and I we have 18 grandchildren and are awaiting the arrival of our 6th great grandchild.

I am now 77 years of age. At 6 foot 2 inches and 230 pounds I am still a big, strong man in relatively good health. I still have my own hair and teeth although not as much of either as I once had. My hair is completely gray and my teeth are more crowns than otherwise.

In the 17 years of my retirement I have continued to travel throughout the world. I've backpacked at home and abroad and have hiked 600 miles of the Appalachian Trail. I've made many canoe expeditions to the north woods of North America with my brother Henry or my sons or grand son. I have lived alone in the Boundry Water Canoe Area Wilderness for a month at a time with only a dog for companionship.

I have sailed the great lakes and the rivers. I've caught my share of fish. I've trained dogs and competed in obedience trials in three states. I've taught dancing classes and call square dances. I play a banjo in a jug band. I cook for family and for small and large affairs. I love to cook and enjoy baking pies.

My wife and I are Christians and are active members of a small, country church--the Easton United Methodist Church--where we enjoy a wonderful Christian fellowship with a host of friends. I am a Certified Lay Speaker and speak at various community affairs where I tell stories, recite poetry and lead sing-alongs with the banjo.

My next big adventure, and the reason for this blog, will be to cross the country on the http://www.adventure%20cycling%20association/Southern Tier bicycle trail on a tricycle. I had planned to make this trip a few years ago but ruptured a disc in my lower back while training on a road bike. I can no longer ride an upright bike.

I've now bought a new recumbent trike from Terra Trike. I plan to leave San Diego, CA on February 1, 2009 and take about two months to get to Saint Augustine, FL and then on up the east coast to Myrtle Beach, SC. While I am on these long trips my wife joins me from time-to-time for a "honeymoon". She will fly to meet me in Phoenix, AZ where we have friends and then in mid April she will drive the van to Myrtle Beach for a brief vacation at the beach and then bring me home.

I am Walt Pierce and life is good!

Let the good times roll!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Beach House on the Outer Banks of NC

After a two day drive from Northeast Ohio to Salvo on the Outer Banks of North Carolina we arrived at the beautiful beach house to which my son, Mark and his wife, Mary Kay, invited my wife, Julie, and I to share for a week with his family and Marilyn Hawk, his mother-in-law. We made the two day trip in Mary Kay's van. My granddaughter, Jennifer, her husband, Mike, and my two great grandchildren, Sisley and Violet, will arrive today about noon. His son and daughter-in-law, Jon and Bethany, with their sons, Grayden and Cohen, are also near by with Bethany's parents.

The beach house is large with 5 bedrooms and separate servant's quarters. It is three stories high with an even higher "widow's walk". The latter is large with four sofas plus chairs. The 3rd story has a kitchen, dining room complete with a table for 10 and a sitting room with two couches and chairs fronting on a lovely fireplace, a game room overlooking the ocean and a bedroom in which Julie and I sleep.

The upcoming week promises to be a "hoot". Julie and I have spent the month of October in 18 of the last 20 years in a beach front condo in Myrtle Beach. We always entertained my three children and their children and/or friends for a week each. We entertained one or two couples of our friends for a week. So, we are old hands at having fun at the beach.

We always welcomed our family and friends to Myrtle Beach with a Taco Salad, Corn Chowder, and an apple pie. That will be our dinner tonight. I enjoy cooking and will make the chowder and bake the pie.

LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Blog is Born!

Life is good. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the bees are all making honey. So, what's new, different or exciting. Well, God is still in his heaven and real in my life, that's exciting! I am in the Outer Banks, NC on vacation with my wife, son and his family--that's different. What's new? Why, this blog is new. I am preparing for my newest adventure in life, a cross country bike trip, and I wanted to share that trip with family and friends as it evolves. My eldest son, Mark, has set me up with this blog site with which to accomplish that goal. My dear mother, bless her memory, said I would always be going to school. At the age of 77 I am still learning. We'll see how it works out but for now it promises to be a whole new aspect of life. Isn't that wonderful?