Tochos…or notochos. That is the question.

I have noticed that several new blog-followers have been attracted by my entries about food. In the spirit of adventure, I dedicate this post to you, gentle readers.

Consider it a shakedown cruise to toughen your spirits.

As work winds down for another fiscal year,  the cafeteria at The Young Human Factory makes do with ingredients on hand. And whatever appeals to the collective tastebuds of developing hominids who have weird tastes.

They like Chicken Bowl and bags of Doritos filled with spiced hamburger, salsa casera, and cheese. They have been known to eat their boogers. (Thankfully, the latter have yet to appear on the menú del día.)


Behold the cuisine of the Young Humans and tremble!

So what the heck is that thing? I’m sure it has a name, like the Blob or the Thing You Eat Because It Smells Good.  The menu christens it “Totchos,” which is the eccentric child of Nacho and Tater Tot Dos-Cervezas.

The YHF version has four layers: a base of tater tots, seasoned beef, refríed beans (which spellcheck insists are “refereed beans” because it knows things), sour cream, and a garnish of cherry tomatoes.

“Did you eat that?” you may ask.

“Heck, yeah!” I may answer, using the lingo of the Middle School Mafia. I don’t think I will again, though.

Recommended Reading

The family history of Totchos.



Cheering on the Underdog… bird

I enjoy sitting on the front porch in the early evening. Reading relaxes me and sometimes interesting things happen in the street or the wooded lot.

Sunday I went inside for a moment and returned to a ruckus. Robins* chased a big tomcat across the lawn, past the street, and into the wooded lot. (And I finished the job, according to the neighbor.) It seems they had a vested interested in a noisy little intruder that had taken over the porch. Continue reading

Black Kitty The Neighbor-Cat

For almost three years, a black cat has been frequenting the neighbor’s property. At first I believed it belonged to him, but then I realized it and a battle-scarred tabby hunted vermin attracted by his squalor.

This spring, Black Kitty decided my back garden is the best place to spend mornings. It particularly likes the deck and the space between rhubarb and birdbath.


Black Kitty surveys the garden a little after five in the morning.

Kitty-spotting has become something of a morning ritual.  Its reaction is predictable and funny. The click of a door unlocking will perk its ears and set its eyes to “alert mode,” but it invariably never takes the shortest escape route.

It could easily hop the fence or slink into the shrubbery. Instead, it exits via the driveway.  This has meant passing by me, eyes wide with alarm, and looking back to see if I am chasing it.


Shed sentinel disappointed in the state of the lawn.

Black Kitty even stopped under the overgrown trees near my car and stared silently as I passed within inches of it. No, I have not attempted to touch the silly thing, just talked and meowed at it.  I don’t want a pet when a feline neighbor will do.

Cup o’ Joe

Tony Bologna came onto my reader feed with an oldie but goodie (or perhaps “goofy”) look at gas station coffee.

Since my decision to cut back on caffeine and dining out, I have fewer cups of java, but appreciate them more.My gas station coffee of choice is Speedway because it’s generally hot and fresh. For coffee franchises, Tim Hortons  (check out the international locations!) beats Starbucks every time.

Accidental Gazpacho


A strawberry scoop, erm, huller in the collapsible berry colander (with removable cap under the drainage holes).

There’s a cliché about girls going shopping and impulsively buying too-glamorous clothes. My friends are different; they convince me to buy kitchen gadgets.

Some of these have been delightful. (See above.) Others ended up breaking or being given away unused. Then there are those with a learning curve… Continue reading

Another evening of rain…

I managed to get about half the lawn mowed two evenings ago. Today the grass was still wet. And then this happened.


So much rain pouring, the eaves became a waterfall.

Luckily, it lightened up… oh, not really. Notice the moss darkening the cottage behind La Casa de Tontería.


Rain bounces off the neighboring cottage and looks like a mist.

I had planned to dig up the plants along the back this weekend, but I don’t relish working in mud.