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October 28, 2000
a year ago
two years ago
three years ago

Corn Maze Fun

Happy sigh. I woke up and roasted coffee outside, with Fezzik while John worked on email and Carl still slept. Added the extra minute and the beans turned out really nicely and I made coffee for everyone. Fresh roasted beans just smell so good. I was good and only had about six ounces of coffee and while I was sipping it I started toasting pecans, mashing a banana and making pancakes. I thought that with the three of us we'd need a few more than what John and I could eat, so I planned to make a few blueberry ones as well.

I went downstairs and woke Carl up to tell him he had time for a shower before the pancakes would be done, and then trundled back upstairs to do them. It was really fun to do it again, and John worked away at things until the last few pancakes, when I asked him to reheat some sausages he'd cooked for breakfast a while back. They were in the fridge and so he just nuked 'em until they were good and hot. The pancakes I put in a pot in the oven to make sure that they stayed warm while I made the rest. I even put a paper towel under the lid to be sure that the cakes themselves wouldn't get wet from their own steam condensation in the pot. Just as I was finishing the last of them, Carl came up from the basement and we all sat down to eat.

The pancakes were good. Tender and tasty and great with syrup and the sausages.

Happily satisfied, we all just sat down to watch John play some more. The weather report said that today would be rainy, but it wasn't really raining. Fezzik stayed inside for a little while and then meandered out into the almost sunshine. Eventually it got pretty obvious that it just wasn't going to rain, so we decided to go and do something instead of staying inside all day and watching John play.

Right near our house is something billed as 'The Largest Corn Maze in the Country!'. If you actually go to the web site, you can go to locations and touch on the Erie location in Colorado and actually see the maze from the air. It's pretty cool. There was a barn filled with people and lunch food, another filled with animals of various types, outside the second barn was a barn yard with various animals in it, including donkeys, piggies, and lambs. On the end of the barn yard was a young, shaggy Scottish Angus. It wasn't full grown and was just lying by the bars.

We got to the entrance of the maze, found out how many miles of maze were involved, and went back to the food barn. There we all got a hot cider against the chill, and I also got a bag of Fritos corn chips! It seemed right to eat corn chips in a maize maze. After we got all provisioned, then we went to the ticket booth, bought our tickets and started wandering in through the Elk's butt!

The open areas were pretty evident and we went around clockwise, through the mountains to the buffalo (and through its nose!) and then back around the bottom back towards the entrance. The corn wasn't all that high on the edges, but good and high in the centers of the fields. The drought of the summer had made it harder to grow tall around the edges, I think. It had grown, yielded crop and now it was dry and dead and brown. There were ears of the feed corn all over, and people had picked various ears and shucked the dried corn from the ears all along the pathway, so the pathways were strewn with hard, yellow kernels. It was very keen to stand somewhere in the maze and just listen to the wind rustling through as the whole field whispered all around us. There were good, high areas where you couldn't see over the walls and sometimes might hear a snatch of laughter, children yelling, or a parent directing.

In the shorter areas one could see just how many people were wandering about happily, and sometimes it was possible to just spot the next station and get to it quickly. There were stations scattered throughout the maze, where you could look at a map, get your ticket punched with that station's punch and see where it was that you were and where you'd been. I really liked that as a way to not be completely lost but still explore in all directions.

We wandered about happily, talking about corn minotaurs, if the corn would be harvested once people were through, as the closing date is tomorrow. It was also fun to think about what it would be like to run around the maze at night, with just a flashlight and it turns out that on Friday and Saturday nights they actually allow that! Not that we knew when we were there, but the site said so. It was a splendid walk, all together, and by the time we'd gotten all the way around, I was tired, a little sore, and all three of us had just finished our ciders. Perfect provisioning. The chill had left the air and there was almost sunshine everywhere. It was, at least, warm. I still had about half my bag of chips, and just saved them for later. On our way out, I saw the shaggy Angus with his horns hard up against the bars of his pen, so I reached in, gingerly, and scratched him behind his horn. John laughed as his ears went up, like Fezzik's and when I scratched him behind his huge ears, his eyes closed and his head lowered a bit, just like Fezzik. Just an order of magnitude bigger. I just stood there and scritched the giant creature for a while, and finally we went on.

We'd often seen a little BBQ place in Boulder that looked like a complete hole in the wall, one of the best places for BBQ, usually. Carl had asked me about it on Friday, and so we decided we'd go there and try it out. Daddy Bruce's BBQ was the name and I think that the name itself is what drew us. We got there around 2, to find that it was only open until 3. I tried the door that looked right, but someone was sitting right in the way of the door, so I wondered, aloud, if we needed to go in the other door. A black man was playing the piano and he laughed and said, "If you go that way, you'll end up in the kitchen! That's the entrance, girl."

So the diner scooted some more and we got in and got to order rib lunches and dinners that came with ribs, white bread, coleslaw, beans and a huge pile of napkins. I also got myself a root beer. The ribs were swimming in a deep red sauce, the beans were hot and tender, the coleslaw was cold and chunky, and the white bread perfect for cleaning ones fingers off as well as for eating. The ribs were a bit cold, but they were definitely and clearly slow smoked, with the pinkness that comes only from that kind of treatment. The sauce was spicy and smoky and good. It was just a bit too much for me to eat. John got the last of my ribs, but I managed the really yummy beans and coleslaw pretty well. My hands were a complete mess afterwards, though, so we hunted out the bathrooms, which turned out to be narrow little rooms under the tiny shop, down a very narrow, crooked staircase. It was a cool adventure just getting down there!

So we washed off and decided to just head home. Lots of Ape Escape later, I was having problems with the short focus stuff lasting much longer, so we all piled into Borax, with Fezzik and went first to Dairy Queen to get Fezzik an ice cream cone. Carl enjoyed watching Fezzik eat it in huge bites, and then the three of us went into Safeway to shop for our dinner. I thought filet mignon would be easy and quick, along with good mashed potatoes and some veggie. Amusingly enough, the filets only came in packages of two, so we got two of them with Carl saying, "Well, we can always give the extra one to Fezzik." When we came to the milk section I saw some chocolate milk quarts, and I really wanted one, so I got one along with the pints of half and half that we were getting for the pumpkin ice cream for Monday.

Monday is the Xilinx Halloween party and John and I had entered the dessert contest, and John really wanted to make pumpkin ice cream, so we got the stuff for that. I got the chocolate milk mostly on impulse, an impulse that made things really amusing when we got home. John was trying to pull the grocery bags out from under Fezzik's feet, as we'd put them all in back in the cargo compartment. When Fezzik felt his footing going out from under him, he sat down. The really funny thing is that he sat on the bag that had the chocolate milk in it. I heard this *pop* badooorp *SPLOOSH*, and then much swearing from John as the chocolate milk splashed most of his front.

I was laughing so hard I couldn't get out of the truck. Fezzik looked mildly confused. Luckily, the cloth grocery bag contained most of the spill and made most of it go outside the truck, only a small puddle of chocolate milk stayed in the truck. Even more lucky, the half and half cartons were in the same bag and Fezzik managed to miss the higher fat content and much harder cleanup. Carl was closing the gate when all this happened and only happened on my laughter and the aftermath. Eventually we got things cleaned up, Fezzik out of the truck and all the groceries hosed off and in the house.

I fired up the stove, got the potatoes on and when they were just about ready to mash, I got the iron skillet out and really, really hot and seared all four steaks on both sides and then finished them in the oven to a mostly medium rare. Some of the steaks were thicker than others, so they ended up more rare than medium, but the thinner ones were a mite more medium than rare. I should probably have just pulled the skinnier ones out sooner or something. But they were all pretty good, all in all, tender and tasty. While the potatoes were cooking, I simmered milk, buttermilk, and garlic together. Smashed garlic, actually. I got to use my brick and warned Carl and John of the noise before I started happily bashing away. Yay! Smashed garlic! Slow-cooked in the rather low-fat dairy, the garlic gave everything great taste, and when it was all worked into the potatoes, the mashed was redolent with garlic, so there wasn't much need for gravy.

Nuked veggies finished things off and we all sat down to happily eat. Fezzik did get the fourth steak. I chopped it up and put it in with his dinner and he enjoyed it greatly.

Dinner was pretty late, given that our BBQ lunch had been pretty late. So it wasn't until about 10 that Carl asked if we wanted to see The Black Cauldron, Disney's adaptation of the Lloyd Alexander classic. Kathy had said it was actually pretty good, and I'd loved the books, but it was pretty late to start an 80 minute movie. John saved the day by pointing out that we had an extra hour due to Daylight Savings going away tonight. So we decided to watch the movie.

It's actually a fairly interesting adaptation. It got a lot off the essential bits of the characters very right, but, of course, the plot was all different. Condensed and simplified and lots of the less cute characters cut out and most of the longer-term development either glossed or short-cut out. The plot was mildly weird compared to the books, but not that terribly far off in intent if not in execution. It really did make me want to read the books again, terribly, and I dreamed of them when I finally went to sleep. Good thing we're going to the Tattered Cover tomorrow.

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