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Merced, California: I can officially state it was warmer at home today than it was in Central California. Mother Nature is not cooperating with my running vacation! It literally rained buckets all night. I refused to run again this morning. DT ran on the bike path along the American River and reported, on his return, that I would have hated the path this morning. It was soggy. It was muddy. I would have needed to "ford" several times.

I stayed inside my cozy bus, shipping orders and drinking coffee. Hey, someone in this family needs to earn a living.

At ten o'clock the sun broke through the clouds. We hitched-up the Honda and headed south on Highway 99 to Merced - DT's boyhood home town. It started raining again and did not stop until nearly 3p. Three of the four brothers gathered tonight, along with three of the four grandchildren (only our own girl was missing). A family of four sons has produced four daughters... (and one boy horse).

This is our niece, Aleria. She is a junior in high school.

Here we have nieces Meghan (22) and Kira (6). Kira is Aleria's little sister.

Ginger is married to #1 brother, Billy, and is Meghan's mother.

When life gives you kumquats... Dave's Mom has a friend with a kumquat tree who delivered a large bag of the citrusy fruit. Tonight Mom made a casserole with chicken breasts, kumquats, pineapple and peppers - served over rice. It was delicious.

Here is the recipe:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup vinegar (Mom used red wine vinegar)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 (8 oz.) can pineapple chunks, with juice
8 or 9 sliced kumquats

Place chicken in casserole. Mix all remaining ingredients together and pour over chicken. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 90 minutes. Serve over rice.

NOTES: Mom cut each chicken breast in half. Brother Kent added a bit of freshly-grated ginger, which I found quite lovely. You may want to reduce the sugar a bit... it was a little sweet. Baking the kumquats for such a long time produces soft, chewy slices. Delicious.

Aleria & Isaac

Aleria's boyfriend, Isaac, needed three helpings to make sure the Chicken-Kumquat dish was good. Then he had a piece of chocolate cake.

Until my next update, I remain, your Merced correspondent.

RV Park:  
Castle Air Museum Family Camp (in Atwater, California). The only game in town. We always stay here. It actually used to a a parking lot - but the Air Museum added eight 50-amp full-hookup campsites. It floods during a rainstorm. No bath house. No wifi. We love it here. Dogs allowed off-leash. Very casual. Quiet.