If you have followed me for very long online, or know me in real life, you know that I am a diehard WSU Cougar, GoCougs, and it should not come as a surprise that we have a housecoat named Butch.  For those that don’t know, the WSU mascot is Butch.

After my somewhat depressing blog post about Budro, I thought I would post something about one of our family members that is still with us.  Butch joined our family years ago, we got him from a then co-worker of my wife, and we were told that he was a Maine Coon Cat, and if that were actually the case, he is the smallest Maine Coon Cat that has ever lived, truth be told, Butch is small by almost any house cat standards.

Butch lived with 2 other cats that we had for a number of years, Romeo and Juliet, and the whole time we lived in Arizona I don’t think that Butch ever ventured outside, he was a 100% indoor cat.  After our move to Washington State in 2012, he immediately started venturing outside, and is now quite comfortable in the great outdoors.

While we were sitting outside the other day, Butch was out wandering around the yard and I grabbed this snapshot of him while he was doing his version of hunting.

Posted in LifeInGeneral

Goodbye Budro



I haven’t updated this blog in some time, and this isn’t really the blog post that I hoped would be the one to get back on track, intact, it is a blog post that I have been putting off, for about 3 weeks now.  3 weeks ago we had to say goodbye to long time family member, our poodle Budro.

Budro entered our lives in January 2000 and within minutes we were utterly attached to him.  Budro was a small dog that no one had ever told was small, anytime we were round other dogs, the big dogs were the only ones that he wanted to fun and play with, other small dogs were completely invisible to him.

Bust 005.jpg

Budro telling someone who is the boss

Budro was absolutely fearless, I think this was because he played and ran with bigger dogs all the time, when we got him we had a mature golden retriever named Outlaw, who I will have to blog about someday.  Budro was a very friendly dog, but he would also bark loudly at strangers until he got to know them.


Budro and Ursa

Budro lived a good 14 years, and while it was heartbreaking to make that trip to the vets office after he got sick, it was the right thing to do, and we were able to say goodbye to him in a peaceful way.

I can say that he will be missed, and there will never be another dog quite like him in our lives.

Posted in LifeInGeneral

Finally got some winter



Our back yard is a bit of a winter wonderland

I realize that a lot of people hate winter and everything that goes along with it.  I am just the opposite, winter is one of my favorite seasons and I love having a little snow, it makes the world look clean, at least for a little while.

I was getting a little concerned that we were not going to get any measurable snow winter, we have had a flurries so far, but nothing that you can actually measure, that is until Saturday night.  We ended up with just shy of 6″ of fresh snow.

It is raining today and the snow won’t be sticking around long, but that is one of the things I love able western Washington state, you get some snow, enjoy it for a day or so, and then it is gone, what more could you ask for?

Posted in LifeInGeneral

Mission Complete – the final UDS pellet smoker project update

Finished Product

The finished project, my homemade UDS pellet smoker

In my last blog post I reported that I was pretty much done with my UDS pellet smoker project but that I still had a few odds and ends to complete, those odds and end are done, and it is mission complete on this project.

The shot above is the finished product and she has already had her first cook.

Hinged Lid

Hinged lid on the UDS pellet smoker

This shot shows the lid I finally decided to use for this project.  If you search the BBQ forums for UDS smoker projects, you will see that the lid off of a 22.5″ Weber grill is a very popular choice, but since I don’t have one, I really didn’t want to spend $100+ to buy a Weber to just cannibalize some parts off of and then dispose of the rest.  There had been a few posts in these same forums from people who reported buying really cheap charcoal grills from places like Walmart and using those lids.  I stopped by my local Walmart store and found a $30 22.5″ grill that not only had a perfect lid for my project, it was hinged, which the Weber isn’t.  I did have to modify the hinges a little to get them to fit, but that was just drilling a couple holes so things lined up and the above shows the finished lid assembly, as well as some hooks that I hung on the smoker for things like tongs.

Smoke Generator

My Smoke Daddy cold smoke generator installed on the UDS pellet smoker

This last image shows my Smoke Daddy cold smoke generator installed on the UDS pellet smoker.  At first I wasn’t sure that I was going to install it on this smoker, but after my first cook, while it had a good smoke ring, I decided that I wanted to be able to have the ability to add additional smoke to the cook, and since this thing installs easily, I can move it between smokers as needed.

Well there it is, all done and ready to cook.  This was actually a fun project to do.  When it was all said and done, I have well under $500 into it, but I do have a lot of of hours invested.  A lot of that time though was researching the project and then designing it.  If I were to build another one, it would take about half the amount of time.  Thanks for following along with me on this project, now I just need to get my FJ40 back on the road. :-)

Posted in Projects Tagged |

Smoke Daddy Pellet Pro Hopper – a pellet UDS update

Yesterday marked the biggest accomplishment in this project, the delivery and installation of the Smoke Daddy Pellet Pro Hopper.

Pellet Hopper

Smoke Daddy Pellet Pro Hopper

I was almost as excited to unbox the pellet hopper after work last night as I am when I get a new Macbook Pro or a new Nikon camera.  I was really happy when 5:00pm rolled around and I was able to shut down the work computer and head out to the garage to work on the smoker again.

The hopper is actually a somewhat “generic” device as Smoke Daddy uses this same hopper in a number of different applications, but they do sell a retrofit kit that includes the needed hardware to mount it to a 55 gallon drum as well as a template to mark where to drill the needed holes and to cut out the section of the barrel to allow the burner to fit in the barrel.


Drill and cutout template attached to my 55 gallon drum

With the template on the barrel, all that was needed was to drill 4 holes and cut out the opening.  Both are very straight forward tasks but it did take a little time, and a lot of Dremel cutoff disks, the barrel’s steel was actually a bit harder than I expected and it really wore down the disks, butI had the needed holes and opening in short order.


All the needed holes and cuts to install the hopper

With all the drilling and cutting done, it was a simple matter of attaching the mounting brackets with the supplied hardware and then bolting the hopper to the mounting brackets.


Pellet Pro hopper attached to the 55 gallon drum

You will notice that there is a 3-ring binder under the corner of the pellet hopper.  The hopper is actually quite heavy and I was having an issue with it not balancing well with the somewhat light barrel.  I suspect that if I would have mounted the hopper over the wheel, which you can see in this picture, instead of between 2 wheels I wouldn’t have had this problem.  I can think of a couple ways to address this, one being adding some sort of “foot” to the hopper or to add some weight to the other side of the barrel, I will figure that out but in the meantime I will be using a little chunk of 2×4 to hold things straight. :-)

Once I had everything mounted up, it was time to give it a test firing so I loaded the hopper with pellets and plugged her in.  Smoke Daddy sends instructions on how to fire it for the first time, you are basically priming the pellet auger and honestly, which is very straight forward and before I knew it I had the internal barrel temperature up to 225 degrees.  Not shown in the picture above is a temperature sensor that you install into the barrel that regulates the hopper to maintain the temperature that you select.  It seems to do a great job of keeping things where they should be.

I still have a few odds and ends to finish up before she is ready for her first brisket or tri-tip.  I need to install a heat diffuser, you don’t want direct heat under the meat when you are cooking “low and slow” as well as coming up with some sort of a lid.  I picked up a cheap stainless steel pizza pan that should make the perfect diffuser and I am still looking for a 22.5″ domed Weber grill lid.  Regardless, I should be giving it a test run with a tri-tip on Friday or Saturday and possibly a full brisket for the big game on Sunday.

Posted in Projects Tagged |