What the Heck is Gochujang? Oh, You Eat It!

I love finding new ways to use old standard ingredients, and what could be more standard than chicken and rice? This dish is going to make you find new places to shop, try new ingredients, and discover new flavors. I know it looks like a lot of work sorting out the details, but I promise you two things; First, it’s not as complex as it looks at first glance. I made this today in about an hour. Second, whatever it takes, it’s worth it.

Gochujang Chicken & Rice
Gochujang Chicken & Rice
Gochujang Chicken w Shishito Peppers
With Shishito Peppers on Top



Please continue  and read the recipe. I think you will find it worth every minute.






Continue reading “What the Heck is Gochujang? Oh, You Eat It!”

An Exercise in Ethics in the Amazon Jungle

So many things that should be really simple take a little turn and thus complicate our lives in ways that then cost us resources, mental energy, and valuable time. Each, by themselves, may not amount to much, but in today’s complex, interconnected, busy world, they add up fast and raise the energy drain it takes to just stay even.

Of course, one could opt for getting off the grid entirely, or as close to that condition as possible, but the lure of technology and progress is one just too great for me to resist, so I accept, but as you can see, sometimes complain about its consequences.

Here is one such event….

Continue reading “An Exercise in Ethics in the Amazon Jungle”

Oh Deere!


The John Deere has found a new home in the garage of an old time farmer, who used all John Deere equipment on his farm for 50+ years. He recently retired, and needed a good reliable mower that would double as a fun activity for the grand kids (smart old man, eh?). So, since we had almost all of the grass that was left in the yard covered over with beautiful rustic pavers, the John Deere went on Craigslist, and sold in 20 minutes to the first person who called.

That made me have to bring the 43 year old Toro Whirlwind mower out of mothballs and restore it so I could mow that last remaining 16′ X 16′ patch of grass in the back yard. I bought that mower for my parents’ house back in New Jersey, when I was just a kid, and it came with them when they moved here in 1989 and has been in the shed ever since.

I tore it apart, ordered all of the rubber and fuel system parts from Briggs & Stratton directly, (one of the “O” rings was listed on their site for FIVE CENTS) and had it start on the second pull of the “Easy Spin” starter. It didn’t even need a blade sharpening as my dad used to keep it finely tuned all those years ago.

Toro Whirlwind
Toro Whirlwind


When I moved into this house 20+ years ago, the entire front yard was grass. About 6000 sq. ft. of deep thick Bermuda grass that, in the peak of the summer, needed mowing twice a week.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that my old push mower was going to need a major upgrade. I started looking in the local paper for a riding mower, and soon spotted an ad for a 1983 John Deere Model 111 Hydrostatic Garden Tractor with a twin blade mower deck. Just the ticket!

It was in very nice condition, well used, but pretty clean and it started right up and ran smoothly. When I asked the owner why he was selling it, he explained that for his rather large back yard, this little single cylinder, 11 horsepower engine just didn’t have enough power to deal with the tall grass and weeds. He intended for the money from the sale of the Deere to go to a twin cylinder Craftsman. Who was I to argue? I loaded it up and brought it home.

John Deere 111H
A Recent Picture of the 111H

Continue reading “Oh Deere!”

Perfection Improved

OK, I’m a real geek when it comes to having stuff work right. People who know me also know that I will pay extra money to get an item that does a job perfectly, something that is the epitome of its designed function. Like many of you, I hate stuff that just barely works, is the minimum that some designer or manufacturer could get away with, or is built so that it just lasts until the warranty runs out. The frustration of spending money for an item you “have to put up with,” is just too much for me.

So, although I promised myself that I wouldn’t start posting articles that make me look like I’m selling a particular item or brand, or that I am perceived as a shill for a particular company, I have found one line of products that I feel so positive about that I just have to detail it here. Let me tell you what happened…

Continue reading “Perfection Improved”

I’ve made my bed….

The other day I was washing my truck, I decided to do a really thorough job and pull the big rubber mat out of the bed and clean all the mung out from underneath. As I pulled it out, I noticed that it was somewhat “stiffer” than I remembered it being, and it was a little bit hard to peel out of the bed.

Immediately upon getting it removed, I saw what was going to turn into a BIG problem….. Continue reading “I’ve made my bed….”

Schooled by a Flasher

I got an interesting call for help this last week that turned out to be very educational and a little humbling. A friend of mine called with what sounded like a simple electrical problem on a 1951 (yes, older than I am) Chevrolet Pickup truck. He said that he had installed a retro-fit turn signal system on it, complete with a nice chromed turn signal switch that mounts to the steering column with a stainless steel hose clamp, and replacement sockets for the lights on all four corners of the car to accommodate the new 1157 double filament bulbs .

So far it sounded simple and straight forward. Further, he said the system utilizes a typical “old school” 3 terminal flasher, which was wired in series with the battery and the “new” turn signal switch. He described the problem in a few simple words; “If you run the turn signals with the engine off, they work perfectly. But, as soon as you start the engine, they stop blinking, and stay on continuously.”

Well, I have diagnosed and fixed electrical problems in Cadillacs and Corvettes with a dozen computers in them, and built wiring harnesses from scratch for burn jobs, so I really figured, “How hard could it be to fix a simple 3 wire flasher circuit on a ’51 Chevy?”   That’s when the fight started. Continue reading “Schooled by a Flasher”

I Was So Bright, They Called Me Sonny

I just updated this post with the details of the new Radio-Controlled remote that I added to this shed lighting project at the end of the post.

A long while ago, I had a shed built to house the usual collection of gardening tools, mower, and general yard and pool “stuff.” It sits about 30 or 40 feet from my electrical box, and a local electrician quoted me $1000 to run power out to it so I could have light in there at night. I solved the problem a different way, and for WAY less money.Solar Cell ClosUp1 Continue reading “I Was So Bright, They Called Me Sonny”

Hearty Dinner With a Bonus

Because some of you have asked for more food, here’s another recipe that  not only satisfies on a number of levels, but this big batch almost assures some leftovers that get even better when allowed to rest for a day or two. The Germans call that “Ziehen,” which translates to “draw,” as in drawing the flavor out of the ingredients. Also, it gets you to hunt for a fabulous spice blend, common in Morocco, that you will use again and again once you taste what it can do for a dish. So, continue reading for the recipe, and a bunch of additional information. Continue reading “Hearty Dinner With a Bonus”

OK, Let’s Make Lunch

For my first cooking post, I’m going a little out on a limb, considering the main ingredient. You see, it’s a food that doesn’t have a very favorable reputation among average diners. Most people I have talked to about it said that they were put off by the smell, and because of that, never tasted it. Well, this recipe mellows both the smell and the taste, elevating it to new heights on the palate.

Kimchi Soup Bowls 2

Click the link in the full article below for the full recipe.  Continue reading “OK, Let’s Make Lunch”

Old Schwinn Bikes – Updated 1/2017 – New Project Done


There is , to me, a certain satisfaction in making old things work like new again. Although I know a few people who have performed near miracles restoring old cars, that has proven to be way out of my league. But nearly anyone with patience, a little time, and a strong interest can relive a little of the past by restoring or refurbishing some of their old favorite bicycles from their past. Since I started my mechanical career working in a bicycle store, I decided to resurrect a few of the old Schwinns that had been in storage for many years.

This is sort of an introductory article about my Schwinn hobby, but since it was published, so many more interesting bikes and I have crossed paths. Hence, I have devoted an entire page to bicycles and their refurbishment and restoration. If you are interested in more depth, just click HERE!

Headshot_2Or, if you would like to finish reading this shorter article, click “Continue Reading” just below.

Continue reading “Old Schwinn Bikes – Updated 1/2017 – New Project Done”

P&Z Votes to Tighten RV Storage Rules in a 5 to 1 vote!

The long awaited vote on the re-write of City Zoning Code Section 31.04 was conducted at the October 11th, 2022 Planning & Zoning Commission hearing.

The Commissioners held a lively debate, solicited citizen input once again, and then voted 5 to 1 in favor of adopting the strictest language of the three options presented by staff by endorsing “Option 1”, which was also the Staff recommendation since the September meeting.

Continue reading “P&Z Votes to Tighten RV Storage Rules in a 5 to 1 vote!”

P&Z Debated the RV Parking Code Re-write and Tabled It Until October.

The city finally placed the code re-write debate and possible recommendation to Council on the agenda for the Planning & Zoning Commission on September 13th, 2022, at Litchfield Public Library at 7:00pm.

Due to some questions regarding the meaning of the word “partially” in Option 3, the Commission voted to continue the discussion at their next meeting to allow staff to more clearly define that option. It has always been my understanding that “partially screened” meant that the six-foot height of an adjacent screening wall or an equal height of dense vegetation would be sufficient to comply with the revised Code.

None -the-less, it was encouraging to see that in the announcement on the agenda, that the City Staff recommended to chose “Option 1”. Here is the text of the agenda item;


Staff Recommendation:
Staff recommendation at this time is to support option 1, strengthening the code language to enhance the originally intended protections from parking unscreened RVs and other equipment on residential properties. This draft language is as follows:

“Such items shall be completely screened from view of BY adjacent and nearby properties and the public rights-of-way and parks by a wall or fence not to exceed six feet in height AND/or dense landscaping, TO ENSURE THE EQUIPMENT IS COMPLETELY SCREENED FROM VIEW. DENSE LANDSCAPING IS NOT SUBJECT TO HEIGHT LIMITATIONS. EQUIPMENT that IS more than six feet in height shall be set back a minimum of two feet for every foot of height from any side or rear property line FROM NATURAL GRADE.”

This is good news for us, as it follows the Code interpretation of the earlier Board of Adjustment ruling on April 7th, and retains the strict interpretation that has served the City well since our incorporation.

We can only hope that the vociferous Special Interest Group that want’s to liberalize the Zoning Code for their own financial gain is defeated in its attempt to have the Commission rule in their favor and chose option 3 – allowing unrestricted RV, trailer and large vehicle storage in rear and side yards within The Park!

Proposed Text Amendments to City Code, Introduced July 12, 2022 to P&Z.

On the agenda for the July 2022 meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission are three (3) variations on the existing City code Section 31.04 that governs the storage of equipment (including travel trailers, RV’s, Boats, trucks, buses, etc. in side and rear yards of residential properties within the City.

The Planning & Zoning Commission agenda packet for this meeting which can be found HERE under “Past Meetings” of the P&Z Commission outlines the history of this proposal and the details of the three directions that the City wants P&Z to consider with input from the public as well as their internal debate. The section in question begins on Packet Page 12.

Below, I will reproduce some of the content and add my comments and concerns.

Continue reading “Proposed Text Amendments to City Code, Introduced July 12, 2022 to P&Z.”

Action on Proposed Parking Changes Postponed Another Month

The Litchfield Park Planning and Zoning Commission was expected to discuss the change in the RV Parking ordinance at yesterday’s meeting, but the item was not added to the agenda.

Apparently, the issue has now grown to include ALL the parking Codes within the City and City management decided to study it in more detail before making an recommendation to P&Z.

It is expected that they will have a recommendation for the Commission by next month’s scheduled meeting on July 12th.

If you have an interest in seeing that our community does not become a storage lot for all manner of trucks, buses, motor homes, storage trailers and campers, please keep following this situation closely and read my our lead story for information on who to contact. Click HERE.

Plan to attend the next meeting via Zoom or in person to see where they are headed with this. The meetings and agendas are posted 24-48 hours ahead of the meetings at http://litchfieldparkaz.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx

News & Updates About The Park and Possible Changes

Here is where I will list the latest headlines and links to articles regarding the City’s Planning and Zoning re-write of the RV storage ordinance as they develop. Stop by for the latest. If this is your first visit read the background article by clicking HERE!




The Vote Was 6 to 1, But The Opinion Of the Council Was Unanimous

3/16/2023 – At last night’s City Council meeting, the final re-write of Ordinance 31.04 governing the storage of RV’s, trailers, boats, busses, and other large vehicles in side and rear yards of properties within the walls of Old Litchfield Park was scheduled for a vote.

I am thrilled to report that after two years, two months, and 14 days since the subject was first brought to the attention of City Hall, the new language of the ordinance has been ratified and voted into law. The City Council voiced their unanimous support of the new wording that tightens the Code. The new language reads as follows:

Such items shall be completely screened from view of adjacent and nearby properties and the public rights-of-way and parks by a wall or fence not to exceed six feet in height AND/or dense landscaping, TO ENSURE THE EQUIPMENT IS COMPLETELY SCREENED FROM VIEW. DENSE LANDSCAPING IS NOT SUBJECT TO HEIGHT LIMITATIONS.

Although the actual vote was 6 to 1, the one “nay” was the Vice Mayor, who clearly stated that his objection was that he didn’t think the wording was strict enough, effectively passing the Ordinance unanimously.

The vote concurs with the Planning and Zoning Commission recommendation and that of City Staff, all of whom worked diligently to make the new wording a reality. This will keep Litchfield Park the unique and special community that makes it a shining jewel in the West Valley.

Older News:


At the October 11th, 2022 Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting, the long-awaited vote on the re-write of Zoning Code Section 31.04 found the Commissioners in favor of tightening large vehicle and equipment storage restrictions in side and rear yards of residential properties in “Old” Litchfield Park. —–> Read more by clicking HERE!

This Text Amendment will be going to the City Council next for a final vote.

At the September meeting, the matter was tabled and continued to the October meeting for Staff to clarify some wording, but Staff is on record supporting Option 1 – Restricting the storage of RV’s and large vehicles.

Unfortunately, those of us that want to see the existing code strengthened and enforced were under-represented at the meeting where I was the only one to speak out for Option 1. See more details by clicking HERE.

The Text Amendment was on the Planning & Zoning commission Agenda – on September 13, 2022! With the City only publishing the agenda about 24 hours in advance, it was difficult to muster much support at the meeting, but I spoke in favor of Option 1 and 4 people spoke in favor of Option 3. Due to questions regarding some wording of Option 3, the topic was tabled and continued to the next meeting on October 11th.

More details are HERE.

P&Z Meeting to Introduce Proposed Code Amendments – On July 12th the Planning And Zoning Commission meets in a study session to introduce three (3) variations of the existing City Code that governs the storage of “equipment” in side and rear yards of residential properties within the City.

Since the topic has been designated a “study session” no action can or will be taken on these three (3) proposals, but rather, open the subject to the formal process of future public hearings, debate, and the construction of the final form of an ordinance by the P&Z Commission to be brought to the City Council for ratification.

If you want to see the three proposals and background along with my commentary and analysis click HERE.

P&Z NEWS – The Planning and Zoning Commission met yesterday, June 14th, 2022, but did not put the Parking Code on the agenda. Now, they expect to hear the case at their July 12th meeting. For the details about why, as I know them, click HERE!