Monday, January 2, 2017

First O 2017

Right before New Years I got into a big frenzy about getting up some firewood, seeing as how we're burning the stuff daily and the various stacks are definitely decreasing in volume. I'd scoped out a perfect red oak, situated within almost tossing distance of one of the stacks. It was going to get hung up by a maple to the south, so I cut the maple first, then the oak, and wonderfully they both fell right where I'd "aimed," and I had two trees on the ground to work on. These are not monsters let me assure you. In previous years I'd have had them both cut and split in an afternoon. But no longer. I feel exactly the same but after doing exactly the same things for a while a bunch of fresh aches and pains arrive. So the oak is cut into rounds, and I've split some of the bigger ones (such a nice feeling, to pop open a red oak round with one or two swings of the Fiskar, so different from last winter's damn-it-to-hell chestnut oak, which would take sometimes 20 minutes with axe, sledge, and wedges--plural!! sometimes just to get to the half stage). Next morning the kid was coming out for a delayed Christmas and I was making the vaunted Hicks family beef stew like my mom used to make, and we were working on getting the living room in some sitting room shape. I moved a box of books out to the truck--we have a plan to sell some of those books that are just decoration in the living room so's to have some space for other books. I used a dolly, but by the end of that my back was setting into a real back ache situation.

Now it's January 2, and the ache has moved to the other side of the ole back, and might be a bit better, and the box of books still sits on the front seat of the truck, and we've had two days of rain. I did burn a bit of the brand new oak, setting it close to the stove for a good while to dry it out some. Baptism. The days of football end today pretty much. The new year is exactly like what we left behind aside from the numbers. So here's a very good piece from the internet that should be saved and studied. You might even want to print it out--who knows, Trump could be right about putting things of value down on actual paper, although he's forgotten to mention the other part about stuff on paper that the high level practitioners of various forms of authoritarianism from the dark past always took advantage of: it burns.

Every fire I start is therefore a blow against history. I do my totalitarian part. I go down to the recycle center and pull random newspapers out of the newspaper bin, and bring them back home to start wood stove fires. Headlines vanish in the process. Heels Face 3rd NCAA Probe. McCrory Loses to Cooper. So it goes. Did I burn up the very last bit of evidence?

Here's the link. Print it out if you wish, your call. I won't be surprised if at some point this year it vanishes, but maybe that's just me.

While you're at it you could print out the vaunted mom's beef stew recipe.

1. cut up two pounds of surloin beef roast and brown in the stew pot
2. after browning, add a cup of water and start cooking
3. cut up 5 carrots, 5 celery sticks, 5 medium potatoes, 2 jalapenos, several roma tomatoes, add to pot
4. pour in one large can of diced tomatoes, rinse can with water, add that and more water till the stew is covered
5. add one cup of red wine, salt, black pepper
6. bring to a boil, then simmer for at least an hour and a half, until flavors are well blended

Heat source is optional. We use propane out here in the woods. If you have a big enough library, books would work.

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