Category Archives: Shorty

Sneaky Snake Root Beer

This year for our family Thanksgiving I wanted to attempt to make root beer. I had Glenn Peterson’s recipe in hand and I also fruitlessly pursued another recipe, but I’m not really sure how different root beer recipes can get.

Glenn’s recipe was a little vague on a couple things, but it goes like this:

Recipe for homemade root beer (X 2 for 10 gal water cooler)
4 lbs. sugar
3 ½ gallon water
1 bottle Root beer extract
1 bottle Root beer flavor
4 lbs. dry ice.

Add 4 lbs. sugar to 3 ½ gal water. Stir until sugar dissolved. Add 1 bottle root beer extract and 1 bottle root beer flavor. Stir until mixed. Add 4 lbs. of dry ice ½ to 1 hour before serving. Use gloves when working with dry ice. Dry ice will cause the container to look like a witches’ caldron. Do not stir nor put a lid on container. When “steam” from the dry ice disappears, root beer is ready to drink.
This recipe was shared with Glenn while in the Army. He started sharing it with Pack 150, Madrid at the Blue & Gold Banquets/ Crossovers and Arrow of Lights Ceremony from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.

Glenn’s widow Tamara shared the recipe with me a couple years ago.

The one thing I didn’t know is how much is 1 bottle of root beer extract and how much is one bottle of root beer flavor. I compared it to other root beer recipes and determined Glenn’s recipe calls for a 2 oz bottle of each. I changed his recipe slightly. I used 1 4 oz bottle of Shank’s root beer extract.

Johnathan and Logan assisted in the making of my first batch of what I am calling Sneaky Snake Root Beer. Here are some pictures:


Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022
Logan is wearing some of my Mom’s old dish gloves.

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022
This is one of my favorite family pictures ever.

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

I decided on the name for my root beer on Saturday while cruising around Monroe County with Teresa. I was originally going to name it after Naima sorta and call it something like Gold Dog Root Beer, so I could put her mug on the bottles. However, I decided to name it after an old family memory. Maybe I was feeling nostalgic because Thanksgiving this year was obviously bittersweet at it was the first major holiday we’ve had without Mom. But I decided to base the name off the Tom T. Hall song “Sneaky Snake”.

When I was a kid and we would go down to my Dad’s darkroom, the music was mostly provided by his 8 track collection. My favorite of his 8 tracks was blue. It was Tom T. Hall’s Greatest Hits Volume II. I can’t swear that it was Volume II, but it was pretty close. My favorite song on this 8 track was “Sneaky Snake”. I still love that song, even though next to nobody outside of my family seems to appreciate its greatness.

The lyrics are:

Boys and girls take warning
If you go near the lake
Keep your eyes wide open
And look for sneaky snake
Now, maybe you won’t see him
And maybe you won’t hear
But he’ll sneak up behind you
And drink all your root beer

And then sneaky snake goes dancing
Wiggling and a-hissing
Sneaky snake goes dancing
A-giggling and a-kissing
I don’t like old sneaky snake
He laughs too much you see
When he goes wiggling through the grass
It tickles his underneath

Well sneaky snake drinks root beer
And he just makes me sick
When he is not dancing
He looks just like stick
Now he doesn’t have any arms or legs
You cannot see his ears
And while we are not looking
He’s stealing all of our beer

And then sneak snake goes dancing
Wiggling and a-hissing
Sneaky snake goes dancing
A-giggling and a-kissing
I don’t like old sneaky snake
He laughs too much you see
When he goes wiggling through the grass
It tickles his underneath

So this is what the label on the bottle should look like, or would look like if I could get it to print correctly:



I’m definitely not a graphic designer, but I do like the picture part. The picture of the snake is from about 10 years ago, when I found a snake in Shorty and Doris’ flower bed. I photoshopped it up a bit though.

I might not explain everything about this under normal circumstances, but my nearly professional labeler Elizabeth is concerned that people might think it is name after the “I’m a Snake” guy of YouTube fame. It definitely is not. So don’t even try thinking that!

I have a few bottles of Batch 001 left. I’ve earmarked a few for December Movie Night. And the rest, well they might go to Elizabeth’s progeny. They apparently are big fans of Sneaky Snake Root Beer!

I’m going to continue to experiment with the recipe. Try different brands of extract. Try Glenn’s original recipe. I want to try mixing in some vanilla at some point too. I definitely need to figure out a way to capture more carbonation. I’m not sure how to do that yet, but I have some theories. Batch 001 will be followed by Batch 002 and 003 and so on and so forth more hopefully.

My (Sad) Photo Contest History – 2

When we left off, I had just won 1st Place in Black and White and 3rd Place in Color at the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest, but had been completely rejected by the Iowa State Fair for the 4th year in a row.

Whatever I was selling, the judges were not buying. I was despondent, but not discouraged because I knew I had entered some great photos, but they were not what the judges were looking for that year.

2011 comes around. I decided to retire from the Boone County Fair Photo Contest and to start a new way of picking pictures for the Pufferbilly Days. I also had what was probably the peak of my photo contest career at the Iowa State Fair. I got all 4 pictures exhibited. This is extremely hard to do. Thousands of people enter the contest every year. Only 5 of us got all 4 pictures exhibited. You can do the math. It is a big deal.

These are the pictures that were exhibited:


2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - I Recommend Pleasant

2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon
2nd Place Class 25

2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Must Be Truth

2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Drenched in Loneliness
Honorable Mention Class 13

For the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest it was the second year of letting other people select my entrants. Dawn, Derrick, Jen, Scott, Russell, and Rebecca chose my entries. Dawn’s choice got 2nd Place in Black and White:


2011 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Radiant Beams
2nd Place – Black and White

I was pretty excited for 2012. I thought I had cracked the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Code, but there is no code. Some years the judge like you. Some years they don’t. In 2012, they like one of my pictures:


2012 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Truth Perception

That year, I decided to retire from the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest.

Then shortly after that, I decided to retire from Photo Contests altogether.

But in 2017, the itch came back. I decided to put on a Washington Wizards Jersey and come out of retirement. Hard. I decided to enter all 3 contests again. I got all Blue Ribbons at the Boone County Fair:


2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

I got one picture selected for display at the Iowa State Fair:


2017 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Little Apple

I had the following people select my entries for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest: Jim Robbins (yeah that is a long story), Micky, Michelle, Amber, Laura, and Dawn. However, none of the pictures earned a ribbon.

In 2018, my Boone County Fair entries were determined by popular vote:


2018 Boone County Fair
Red

2018 Boone County Fair
Purple

2018 Boone County Fair
Blue

2018 Boone County Fair
Blue

2018 Boone County Fair
Blue

I had two pictures selected for display at the Iowa State Fair:


2018 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Peep

2018 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Christmas Eve Morn

My Pufferbilly Days entries were also selected by popular vote that year:


2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - INRI
1st Place Photoshop

2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Freedom Flight
1st Place Photojournalism

2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Abandoned (Mill Creek)
3rd Place Hidden Treasures of Boone County

2019 would also be a successful year. I moved to having individuals select my Boone County Fair entrants. Shannon, Michelle, and Logan selected my entries.


2019 Boone County Fair
Purple

2019 Boone County Fair
Blue

2019 Boone County Fair
Red

2019 Boone County Fair
Blue

2019 Boone County Fair
Purple

I had one picture selected for exhibition at the Iowa State Fair and it earned a ribbon:


2019 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Entry - Green Little Vaulter
Honorable Mention Class 18

My Pufferbilly Day entries were once again selected by popular vote:


2019 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Hocks
1st Place Nature

2019 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Drops
1st Place Photoshop

In 2020 the pandemic hit and all photo contests were cancelled. Which was sad and I think it was avoidable because in a digital age, I think they could have found a way. For example the Iowa State Fair still held its Fine Arts competition.

Which brings us to 2021. I’m currently working on my next embarrassing failure at the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. However, I am not going to enter the Boone County Fair this year. There is a reason for this decision. A very good reason. However, I’m not going to share the reason until it becomes official or it falls through. Things seem to fall through quite often these days. No decision has been made on Pufferbilly Days yet, but Pufferbilly Days has been moved to early August this year. I’m not crazy about the decision, but I’ll give it a chance.

If you want to peruse all 153 Photo Contest entrants in this long weird journey, click on the link below:

Photo Contests

You can see them all from the out of focus to the award winners. The good, the bad, and the moldy jam equivalent.

2009-11-23

I need to start this post by wishing the happiest of birthdays to my bro Nate. Happy birthday Nate!


NATE - SYMPATHY

WEEK 198 - CANDID PORTRAIT - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT

06-22-09

Nate and Laura Engagement Pictures

Truth is, I just hope Nate gets a good nap on his birthday!

+++++++

The pictures in the folder 2009-11-23 are from a trip I made with the family to Kansas City to watch Alexis compete in a cheerleading competition.

If you niece and nephew are going to compete in a sport, they can do worse than cheerleading. The routines last maybe a couple minutes. The you can leave. It isn’t a several hour commitment. Which is key, because I love my nieces and nephews dearly. But I care nothing about other people’s nieces and nephews. I don’t want to spend hours watching them compete, just to get to watch my niece and/or nephew compete. I want to watch my niece compete. Then I want to go get some tasty barbecue.

What I’m getting at is this, never, under any circumstances, agree to go to a gymnastics meet. There are multiple events and 10,000 kids. The worst part, they all use the same music for the floor exercise. Trust me, you don’t want to hear the same 30 second clip of some horrible song 10,000 times in one day. It will make you psychotic. Just saying…


Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

One caveat though… cheerleading moms 100% live up to the stereotype.

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

Be Aggressive

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve Jill and her foot.

2009-08-15 & 2009-08-20 & 2009-08-21

The pictures in the folders 2009-08-15, 2009-08-20, and include pictures from an anniversary dinner for Shorty and Doris and pictures from that time I actually tilled up part of my backyard and planted a garden.


Anniversary

2009-08-20

2009-08-20

2009-08-20

2009-08-20

2009-08-20

2009-08-20

2009-08-20

2009-08-20

2009-08-20

2009-08-20

2009-08-20

2009-08-20

2009-08-20

The Car

The Car

The Car

The picture of Jill that is edited in a couple different ways is her with a car that she described as her mid-life crisis. But that can’t be the case. She was only like 30 when she bought that car.

This is the first time that these pictures have been published. Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will definitely involve the Iowa State Fair and Teresa and Ernie. But not in a way that is connected.

Tommy, Can You Hear Me?

Once gain, hitting up that sweet, sweet 2018 backlog. Back in September I went to see and ride Thomas the Tank with Bethany, Nora, and Bethany’s friend Harvey and her kids.

I frequently go down to the Boone Scenic Valley Railroad when Thomas is in town, but this was my first experience riding Thomas.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day:


Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

I’m not a parent, but I think that bringing kids over to see Thomas is a pretty good deal. While riding Thomas might be something of a rip-off, there is plenty of other things to do there for free. Riding Thomas also gets you a free ride on the trolley, so that makes it a little bit less of a rip-off.

Anyways, Nora loved it!

06-14-08

REMINDER

It is once again time for me (and by me, I mean you guys) to pick out my photos to enter in the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. Once again, I am going to leave it up to a popular vote.

The Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest allows you to enter up to 6 photos.

There are 4 Categories:

1. Nature
2. Photojournalism
3. Photoshop Enhanced
4. Hidden Treasures of Boone County.

I have selected 60 images for you to consider. To simplify things, I have split the 60 photos into 6 sets of 10. If you wish to exercise your enfranchisement, clicking on the link below will take you to Poll #1. Vote for one of those pictures and then move onto the next poll, until you have voted in all six polls.

The winner of EACH poll will be entered into the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest.

Click on the link below to start voting:

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Nominees

Voting will end at midnight, August 8.

+++++++

TRIGGER WARNING!!! TRIGGER WARNING!!! TRIGGER WARNING!!!

If your name is Micky and you are a purpose of a cowardly disposition, be warned, snakes lie ahead!

Normally I don’t like to warn people that there might be something they find scary or offensive ahead. However, I know Micky is particularly scared of snakes. So much so, that he brokered a deal with his wife that she handles any snakes that they come across along the path of their wedded bliss.

The hype about him being a great outdoorsman might be a little overhyped.

Now that little bit of unpleasantness is out of the way, the images that come from the folder 06-14-08 are mostly from Ames on the Half Shell. However, some involve a snake. Some involve the Ames Party Bus.

Here are the pictures:


06-14-08

06-14-08

06-14-08

06-14-08


06-14-08


06-14-08


06-14-08


06-14-08


06-14-08

06-14-08

06-14-08

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

The snake was in Shorty and Doris’ flowerbed. The band that was playing Ames on the Half Shell was Burnin’ Sensations. They are still together and still playing. I haven’t seen them in several years, but back in the day, they used to be a real fun band to watch play.

By adding these pictures to the Photography Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

Flowerbed Buddy

Burnin’ Sensations

There are more pictures from the Burnin’ Sensations that I didn’t include in this blog, but you can peruse them by clicking on the link below:

AMES THE HALF SHELL – 2008

Next week’s walk down memory lane will involve more Ames on the Half Shell, some Little League, and maybe, just maybe some tenderloining.

Boone County Fair Photo Contest Entry Selection Process

It is time to select my photos for the Boone County Fair Photo Contest and you get to help select the pictures that go.

I have placed 50 images in a SmugMug Photo Gallery. I would like you to go to that Photo Gallery and vote for up to 5 images in the gallery. You can also rate the images on a 5 star scale.

I will enter the 5 pictures with the most votes. The tie-breaker will be image with the highest star rating.

You will vote for an image by leaving a comment on the image you want to vote for.

Once you are at the gallery, look for something that looks like this:



The one caveat is that you need to have either a Facebook or a Google+ account to leave a comment.

Click on the link below to go to the gallery to vote:

BOONE COUNTY FAIR PHOTO CONTEST ENTRY SELECTION

The deadline to vote is next Tuesday at midnight.

Here are the nominees:


No. 1

No. 2

No. 3



No. 5

No. 6

No. 7

No. 8

No. 9

No. 10

No. 11

No. 12

No. 13

No. 14

No. 15

No. 16

No. 17

No. 18

No. 19

No. 20

No. 21

No. 22

No. 23

No. 24

No. 25

No. 26

No. 27

No. 28

No. 29

No. 30

No. 31

No. 32

No. 33

No. 34

No. 35

No. 36

No. 37

No. 38

No. 39

No. 40

No. 41

No. 42

No. 43

No. 44

No. 45

No. 46

No. 47

No. 48

No. 49

No. 50

Thanks for helping pick the Boone County Fair Photo Contest Entries!

Relationship Goals

I hope all of you had a marvelous Thanksgiving weekend! I had a particularly great Thanksgiving weekend myself.

On Thursday morning I got up and went down to the church (Boone First United Methodist represent!) to take photos of our annual Thanksgiving. This is the second year in a row I’ve photographed the event. From the initial looks, I’d say that we served more than double what we served the previous year.

After hanging with the church family, I went to my Mom’s house for my family Thanksgiving. As usual, it was great. As usual Mom’s cooking was on point. Teresa’s French Silk Pie was delicious as usual. We watched SING and Alexis put up the Christmas tree.

Friday I got up and did some G33 classified business, but it was lots of fun. Even though the cheating was even more rampant than usual.

At noon I went to the Wal-Mart and rang the bell for the Salvation Army. One of my favorite things to do every year. For the people watching aspect alone.

Friday night I went to Boxholm and had a supper prepared by Becca and Bethany. It was kind of a surreal experience because we had the meal in Shorty and Doris’ home. All their stuff is still there, but now their stuff is accented with Tim’s style. Which isn’t bad, but it is weird. However, Bethany and Becca rocked the meal. Turkey and duck?!? Insane!

Saturday morning Dae Hee and I hit the road for Manhattan to see Nate and Laura, plus watch the Iowa State Cyclones battle the Kansas State Wildcats in football. On the way down there we stopped at a Waffle House in St. Joe’s because we were hungry and I love me some Waffle House. However, the Waffle House experience was marred with tragedy. I was mistaken for an Iowa Hawkeye fan by a group of Nebraska fans. It took me awhile to figure out that they had mistaken me for such a low beast as a Hawkeye fan because I was blatantly dressed like a Cyclone fan. It just put a pall on the entire experience. I couldn’t even properly enjoy the road waffle that Waffle House generously gifted us.

The rest of the trip to Manhattan went without incident. Mostly Dae Hee sleeping and me explaining every song of HAMILTON to a sleeping Dae Hee.

We lunched at a place called Bourbon & Baker. It is a small plate restaurant and I would recommend it. I’d highly recommend their chicken and waffles and that isn’t just my love for waffles speaking. #wafflelife

After lunch Nate and Laura dropped us off at Vampire Stadium. Nate scored us great free seats from some old retired professor dude. We sat on the 40 yard line in actual seats. Other than them being in literally the smallest rows in the history of rows and being surrounded by Purple Kansans, it was a great experience. Until the 4th quarter. When all of a sudden it was as if the Vampire had called up Bill Self and asked to borrow his personal refs.

I’m not blaming the loss on the refs. Iowa State certainly aided Purple Kansas with horrible play calling, but I can say with 100% certainty, I’ve NEVER seen a time where the referees threw 3 flags on one team and picked them all up. Not in an entire season. Not in an entire game. Not in an entire half. Not in an entire quarter. Definitely not in a 5 minute period.

What particularly hurt is when Kansas State blatantly interfered with Iowa State’s all-world receiver Allen Lazard. The refs threw the flag, because it was pretty blatant. Then got together. Picked up the flag and then tried to pretend that they were decent human beings, which they obviously are not. If they make the correct call there, the game is over and Iowa State leaves Manhattan with a victory and all is right in the world.

But I think this tweet by Lazard really puts a comedic spin on the deal:


Relationship Goals

What made the loss almost worse is the fact that Purple Kansans are so incredibly nice. At least 15 of them came up to me or Dae Hee to thank us for coming to their stadium. To tell us that we have a great team. It was a great game. In my state of mind at the time, I almost would’ve preferred an obnoxious Hawkeye or Husker or Jayhawk fan.

I’m pissed. Don’t be nice to me.

After the wave of Purple Kansas Nice finally finished washing over us, Nate and Laura picked us up and Road Rage Laura took us to dinner at the Taphouse. Another Manhattan eatery I would recommend. Their Korean Wings are delicious. Their house brewed root beer was good, but not great. Very strangely they served it on ice. Must be a Purple Kansas thing.

Then the final twist of the knife came when I got a snap from somebody that was eating pizza from The Adobe. I’ve been badly hankering for some pizza from The Adobe for quite some time now. I guess that is my own fault for not just going myself.

After dinner I cashed in my chips and called it a night. I was physically and emotionally drained.

Nate got a text in the morning from Bethany that Nora was sick. We decided to skip breakfast and hit the road.

On the way out of town we stopped at Manhattan Hill. 8 AM. The only people there were Cyclone fans. It was universally agreed upon that we were all still pissed. We hopped in the car and headed home. That little Manhattan Hill therapy session definitely helped my mood a bit.

But I really brought you here to share some photos from church’s Thanksgiving meal:


The church server 521 meals on Thanksgiving! What an incredible blessing!