Of wind, ribs and October

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Gordon Wathy, left, holds a length of chain link fence in place while Ron Rush ties it in place Saturday morning at the off-leash dog park on Water Street in Chatham.
Gordon Wathy, left, holds a length of chain link fence in place while Ron Rush ties it in place Saturday morning at the off-leash dog park on Water Street in Chatham.

OK, remember that warm September we had? Well, the first weekend in October wiped out all of those memories.

Forget about getting much done around the yard.

Talk about a fresh weekend. And it started Friday. Despite the sunshine, that wind was certainly bitter, especially when you’re searching for an angle into a cornfield where you might be able to capture a photo of a plane that crash landed.

Chatham Mazda from Chatham Voice on Vimeo.

That was me on Friday, as the wind whipped in from the east. A fellow journalist had left his coat in his car. Yikes. Fortunately he was parked nearby.

Saturday delivered a chilly dark morning. Not exactly great weather for the kids running around Thamesgrove Conservation Area. Or for a guy trying to photograph them.

They were taking part in the annual cross-country meet for Chatham-Kent Catholic elementary school students. As for me, well, I was just trying to get some decent shots of them in action. But the bleak day really limited shooting.

And the wind was pushing everyone around a little bit, also hindering my attempt at having a steady hand.

The volunteers putting up fencing at the off-leash dog park Saturday were at least moving a little more slowly. Don’t get me wrong. These guys were quickly putting up 660 feet of fence. But compared to energetic kids, they were methodical. And in focus.

Speaking of focus, my Saturday afternoon attention was largely on our Big Green Egg, specifically for ribs. A friend was moving his personal office to his home on Sunday, and needed some food to fuel up his volunteer movers.

I grabbed eight racks of ribs, just seasoning four of them, while marinating the other four in some White Lightning barbecue sauce, as well as more seasoning.

By 11 a.m. Saturday, four racks of ribs were in the Egg, while the other four continued to marinate.

I’ve only cooked ribs a handful of times, and have had excellent success each of the previous times. We cook them over low indirect heat 2-2-1 – two hours in the rack, two hours individually wrapped in foil with a couple of ounces of apple juice in each foil pack, and one hour laid flat on the grill, but still on indirect heat.

Through it all, I have a pan of water/apple juice sitting below the ribs keeping everything moist and catching most of the drippings.

Since Pat needed the ribs late Sunday morning and this cook would entail 10 hours of smoking, I had to start Saturday and finish Sunday.

Unfortunately, it started raining Saturday soon after I got cooking. Not a big deal for most of the cooking, but a pain when I switched the ribs from rack to foil.

And talk about a way to kill outdoor yard work plans. At least the driveway weeds got scorched.

Sunday morning arrived warmer and brighter. I finished the two batches of ribs, and sat outdoors. No music, just the sound of water gurgling down into our pond.

Peaceful.

I read and took in the tranquility, basting the ribs (one batch) every 15 minutes.

I didn’t have so much as a taste of these ribs. Pat showed up to collect them, enjoying the fragrance in the backyard, and he had only a tiny sample before heading out.

It turns out that is all the taste he got, as his volunteers finished off every last rib!

I’m guessing that was a good sign.

As for Pat, well, I’ve still got three racks of ribs in the freezer. I think I can find a way to get him a bigger taste…

And as for more yard work, sorry, but Sundays are for rest, and football! One of our nephews popped by. He’s the Chicago Bears fan. They hosted my Oakland Raiders and sent them home as losers thanks to a last-second field goal.

We’ve got to shut down our pond this coming weekend. I know a brisket is going on the Egg this coming Saturday, so maybe that will be the day to get some outdoor stuff accomplished.

Mmm. Brisket.

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