Archive for the ‘Common sense’ Category

Eggs   10 comments

Okay, so I live in Alaska, where a people tend to be pretty individualistic. I have some friends with chickens and goats and one even has a cow. Cows and horses are hard in Alaska because of the cold weather, but this cow gives good milk.

I’ve never drank this cow’s milk pasteurized. That’s right. I drink raw milk occasionally and I’m still alive.I haven’t even got sick from it. And, I like raw milk so much that I have seriously considered buying a goat. A cow might be a little conspicuous on my town lot, but a nanny goat could be a pet and allowed to mow the lawn, which the neighbors would appreciate since Brad and I can get a little remiss in that area. We might even loan out the goat to mow other people’s lawns. It’s a neighborhood win-win.

Image result for image of farm-fresh eggsAnyway, the subject is actually eggs. According to my friend who — uh, exchanges these eggs for some green paper … the eggs she’s uh, giving me do not have to be refrigerated. I thought that was pretty weird when she said it to me the first time, so I asked “What do you mean! My egg carton says ‘keep refrigerated.'”

 

I was raised by a farm girl, so I know that eggs left out on the counter will not hatch a chicken, but I sort of thought they’d spoil. She explained to me that if eggs are “unwashed” they don’t need to be refrigerated.

So, I still thought that was weird, so I researched eggs. Yeah, I officially will research anything, I guess.

I learned that in the US, government regulation requires that eggs be washed before commercial sale. Okay, sounds good. You wouldn’t want to pick up any diseases from where that eggs been.

But then I learned that in Europe egg washing is forbidden by law. Now that’s weird. You’d think Europeans wouldn’t want to get sick any more than Americans do.

 

The FDA explains that they are only saving Americans from horrible diseases.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a regulation expected to prevent each year approximately 79,000 cases of foodborne illness and 30 deaths caused by consumption of eggs contaminated with the bacterium Salmonella Enteritidis.

The regulation requires preventive measures during the production of eggs in poultry houses and requires subsequent refrigeration during storage and transportation.

Egg-associated illness caused by Salmonella is a serious public health problem. Infected individuals may suffer mild to severe gastrointestinal illness, short term or chronic arthritis, or even death. Implementing the preventive measures would reduce the number of Salmonella Enteritidis infections from eggs by nearly 60 percent.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the regulators explain that the forbidding of egg washing is only saving people from horrible diseases:

In general, eggs should not be washed or cleaned because such practices can cause damage to the egg shell, which is an effective barrier to bacterial ingress with an array of antimicrobial properties. However, some practices, such as the treatment of eggs with ultra-violet rays, should not be interpreted as constituting a cleaning process. Moreover, Class A eggs should not be washed because of the potential damage to the physical barriers, such as the cuticle, which can occur during or after washing. Such damage may favour trans-shell contamination with bacteria and moisture loss and thereby increase the risk to consumers, particularly if subsequent drying and storage conditions are not optimal.

Who is right? According to a New York Times report, there is a case either way:

But — and here is the big piece of the puzzle — washing the eggs also cleans off a thin, protective cuticle devised by nature to protect bacteria from getting inside the egg in the first place. (The cuticle also helps keep moisture in the egg.) With the cuticle gone, it is essential — and, in the United States, the law — that eggs stay chilled from the moment they are washed until you are ready to cook them.Salmonella outbreaks are more prevalent in large operations where the chickens are kept in close quarters, often in cages stacked on top of one another. Some large-scale producers vaccinate their flocks, but not all. Thus, the one-size-fits-all washing regulation.

My egg entrepreneur friend dries the eggs with a rag, but she doesn’t wash them, so they don’t need to be refrigerated. I still refrigerate them because I’ve been brainwashed by a lifetime of government regulation and commercial practice, but this is something we should be thinking about.

Image result for image of raw milkJust like raw milk is only dangerous if cross contaminated by un-sterilized containers and yet has incredible health benefits that we Americans are missing out on, unwashed eggs are only dangerous if you lick raw chicken crap off the shell. My friend recommended that we give the individual eggs a quick bath before we crack them open. She doesn’t do this, but for the squeamish, it helps our mental health.

Government in its infinite bureaucracy always thinks it possesses knowledge of the one and only way to do something and it is so convinced of its wisdom that it is willing to impose its knowledge at the point of a gun. It’s pretty absurd that two governments completely disagree and imposed vastly different ways of going about “protecting” our health.

So, what if governments simply stopped making rules about egg washing? What if we let the market decide how best to handle that.

I can hear my liberal friends stuttering now — “B-b-but people will die!” Really? Why would an egg producer want to poison someone? It would destroy their business because when the news got out, people would stop buying eggs from them. Consumers want the tastiest, cheapest and safest eggs available and producers want to provide them at a profit. That sounds like a marriage made in heaven to me. Trust that I can figure out what is healthy for me or not. The first time I was presented with raw milk, I did a cost benefit analysis. My mother managed to drink raw milk her entire childhood and not die. My friend who owns goats grew up drinking raw goats milk and he’s still living. Didn’t seem all that dangerous to me. And, wow, raw milk … way better than that stuff they sell in the grocery store.

Same with my egg friend. Her family eats unrefrigerated, rag-dried eggs every day and, after nearly 20 years of this habit, they’re all still living. Her eggs are also better-tasting, but that might just be because they’re 3-4 days fresher than what I get at the grocery store. Come to think of it, Mom probably grew up eat unrefrigerated eggs since Granddad’s farm didn’t have electricity, although maybe they put those eggs in the spring house where the milk was chilled. My point is that many of the rules we have today didn’t exist in the 1930s and still don’t exist in other developed countries. Is it possible that they exist simply for the continuation of the administrative state?

 

Governance by Idiots   Leave a comment

Wow, I wrote this three years ago and it remains completely timely. Time for a reposting. Lela

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted February 14, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

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Giving Trump A Chance   Leave a comment

I didn’t vote for Trump … or Hillary. I couldn’t be stuck in the middle again, trying to choose between two idiots, neither of whom I figured was good for the country. I voted 3rd party. Some might think that was a wasted vote, but what it did for me was to release me from ownership of this election. I didn’t mourn that Hillary lost (I wouldn’t have anyway) and I don’t feel the need to voraciously protect Trump’s win. It was liberating … having no stake in the election results.

Trump puts freeze on new regulationsI have followed the transition with some trepidation as Trump has made some really stupid statements. But I’ve also watched with interest as he’s picked (some) advisors whose ideas I like.

So last night we sat down and listened to his inaugural address … twice, because the teenager wasn’t there the first time and we thought he should hear it too just to say he had. What did I think?

I applaud Trump for tossing out the inaugural address playbook. He didn’t promise to spend a certain impressive amount of money to create an impressive number of jobs, train workers, build bridges, etc. He kept it vague … which would be appropriate in a country that is $21 trillion in debt. Like a businessman (oh!), he perhaps recognized that he will need to figure out what there is to spend … and he will find out there’s nothing left. The treasury has been looted. We can’t afford the trillion dollars he proposes to spend on roads and bridges. We don’t have the money. The government steals about 2 1/2 trillion dollars from us and then spends a little over 3 trillion. It’s been doing that for a decade and a half now. They’ve done that for so long that we no longer have any wiggle room. I suspect Trump knows that, which is why he didn’t make specific promises.

I appreciated that he acknowledged that the people put him in office. If I believed that he was actually going to turn federal power back to the states and individuals it was always supposed to rest with, I’d be cheering with the crowds. But I don’t think the federal bureaucracy will let him do that … even if he is himself inclined to do it. For the record, I would love if the federal government devolved most of its usurped power back to the states because I can make an appointment to talk to our governor. I’m not exaggerating. It’s the beauty of living in a small-population state that we know our political leaders personally. Governor Walker isn’t the perfect governor, but he’s a whole lot more accessible than a faceless bureaucrat in Washington DC or the President of the United States. He knows what it is like to live here and our needs can be explained to him. The same doesn’t exist with that faceless bureaucrat in DC … or even one who has moved to Alaska from DC and holds themselves aloft from those who live here.

But I’ve been lied to by too many politicians to believe that this is going to happen.

I took issue with a few things Trump said. Don’t patronize me with paraphrasing the Bible. I know you don’t believe in it. Just stop!

Our military does not require rebuilding. We have the largest military in the world. We’re spread across hundred of countries. We spend $600 billion a year on the military. We don’t need to rebuild our “deteriorated” military. We may need to reassign them. We might want to start leaving countries and bringing troops home. We could do it gradually to give the ecnomy time to absorb the new workers. We could deploy some to the border and ports to defend our real needs.

I’ve been opposed to protectionism for a long time and I think Trump’s tariffs sound a lot like Smoot-Hawley, which deepened the Market Correction of 1929 into the Great Depression. If Trump wants to make America Great Again, get rid of the Jones Act so Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico can live affordably. Get rid of all regulations that have come into existence since 2006. Make the agencies involved rest of them justify their existence. All of them. Stop treating Americans like a mass of people like some amorphous organism that all want the same things. Start treating us like individuals and letting us make our own decisions. We are not a collective. Some of us don’t want to be.

So, I’m still willing to give Trump a chance, but he also still concerns me.

What worries me more is the protesters who tried to block access to the inaugural. When conservatives were disappointed that Barack Obama was elected president and immediately made it clear that he and the Democratic Congress had no intention of representing the 47% of the country that didn’t vote for him (which was AFTER the inauguration), the “tea party” gathered in parks and auditoriums to make their voices heard, but they didn’t throw rocks or punches or assault people.

What has happened to this country? We seem unable to listen to one another and treat each other with respect, disagreeing on ideas but respecting each other as humans. We assign lunacy or devilry to anyone we disagree with and that makes it impossible for us to hear one another.

If things keep going the way they are going now, secession will become more attractive even to the Big Government folks. That’s a good thing. Federalism was a worthy experiment, but it hasn’t worked out for small-population states, especially in the west. If Trump returns the power to the states, things might be better, but then the blue states will elect someone more to their liking and we’ll end up fighting to keep federalism. Wouldn’t it be better if we agreed to disagree and separated? We could still be friends, conduct trade, travel freely, work together for common concerns, but the concentrated blue zones would no longer be able to force the red zones to do it their way.

I don’t think Trump is going to do this, but I am looking at what we do beyond him. If we want “the people” to be in charge, we should consider that what is really needed is to stop trying to force our neighbors to do it our way. Actual federalism is one way to do that. Secession with cooperation is another way. It moves us in the right direction.

We need to stop expecting the guy in the Oval Office to save us. Let’s save ourselves. Trump drops hints that he believes that, but I don’t think he does. He thinks he’s our savior. I already have a Savior and I can make my own decisions..

How about you?. If the Donald got rid of taxation, regulation, monopolies, licensing, the EPA, downsized and domesticated the military, actually opened up free trade … could you handle it? Would you rejoice? Or would it scare the hell out of you?

A Thought for the Season   Leave a comment

It’s a basic point of fact that you don’t miss what you’ve never had. I don’t miss palm trees at Christmas because I’ve never experienced Christmas somewhere warm. My friend Sylvia is from Australia. She finds snow at Christmas a really odd concept that interferes with the picnic at the beach.

Image result for image of merry christmasSimilarly, because I was raised in Alaska before the Carter administration, by people who were born well before World War 2, I understand something of freedom where many folks … like my blue-bubble-dwelling sister-in-law (whom I love!) do not.

“I’m just about as free as I want to be,” Ana proclaims.

Here’s the problem. How can she really know what she’s missing if she’s never had experienced it before? The less free we are, the less we know what freedom feels like and and the less we understand how it shapes who we are. The more dependent on government we become, the less we crave independence. This is why it is important to find literature that takes us out of our present moment and introduces us to different ways of thinking.

We have to imagine a different ideal, or read an author who did it for us. I’m now reading a book that came out right at the end of the Gilded Age, just before the US adopted the permanent income tax and the Fed and became entangled in World War I. It is the last unclouded look at the mindset of what should be called the real “greatest generation.”

Orison Swett Marden (1850-1924) is the author of The Joys of Living. You can download an epub his book on this link.

I first bumped into his writing when researching the entrepreneurs of the Gilded Age. He turns out to be the great psychologist and sociologist of the generation that built the modern age in America. He was a physician, a hotel owner, and a fantastic thinker and writer. He was the editor of Success magazine, a hugely influential publication during the age when Americans adored their inventors and entrepreneurs.

I admire the time he lived in because it was built by unleashing of the capitalist spirit in the second half of the 19th century. It was the height of the age of laissez faire. Slavery was gone. Women gained authentic rights. Upward social mobility was a common expectation. Lives lengthened. Infant mortality fell dramatically.

In one generation, creative and motivated people could move from poor immigrant to wealthy benefactor of museums. The rich of yesterday became the middle class of today, even as tomorrow would mint the newly rich, and the process continued without end, each advance touching everyone throughout society with new products, new services, and new forms of communication and transportation. It all seemed to point to a future of peace and prosperity. Such inventions were celebrated in great public spectacles called World’s Fairs.

It was a time when incomes were not taxed — a major factor in why it could be accumulated to become powerful investment capital. Most schooling was private or community based. There was no professional licensure. There were no passports. There was not a single regulatory bureaucracy in Washington. There was no welfare state. No one had yet experienced a world war.

Orison Swett Marden was the public intellectual who made sense of it all. A serious journalist, a great thinker, and a wonderful writer, his outlook embodied the ebullient optimism of the Gilded Age. He studied the phenomenon of progress, trying to discern its causes. He located them in the hearts and minds of the men and women who made the difference. He devoted his life to chronicling their lives and the lives of those they touched with their creativity and generosity.

“The greatest conqueror of age is a cheerful, hopeful, loving spirit.”

The point was not to celebrate privilege, but rather to see the possibilities available to every person. Marden himself was like many of the first-generation rich of this period. He came from poverty and had faced family hardship as he worked his way out of difficulty to find promise and reward. He saw how the sacrifices made in youth turn to a bounty in middle age. He understood the cause and effect operation of the universe — hard work, dedication, determination, and dreams could remake one’s world and the world around them.

The greatest discovery of the time was not a technology, but a philosophy that understood the individual human mind was the most productive resource on the planet — more powerful than all natural resources or man-made machinery. The human mind was the real engine of progress and prosperity.

Previous generations believed they were trapped by fate, class, social position, or forces more powerful than themselves. The Gilded Age generation saw the truth that nothing could contain an idea whose time had come, so long as there were great men and women around who believed in it and acted upon it. This is why so many notable men of his time cited Marden as their inspiration:  Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and J.P. Morgan.

Marden’s recipe came with three ingredients: seeing, emulating, and acting. Nothing was impossible. No one was faced with circumstances that would invalidate them from doing something in life. The source of joy is around us, but we have to seek it, see it, embrace it, and expand upon it.

Daily discouragements and obstacles are unavoidable features of life. They exist in all times and places. You can never get rid of the enemies of your personal progress, but you can make the most of things as they are. We all blunder, make mistakes, and have plenty of reason to criticize ourselves, but that is very unproductive activity. You can’t accomplish anything for the future if you’re always looking over your shoulder to the past.

“Nothing is more foolish, nothing more wicked, than to drag the skeletons of the past, the hideous images, the foolish deeds, the unfortunate experiences of yesterday into today’s work to mar and spoil it.”

The right entrepreneurial spirit is to think of the past as dead and tomorrow as not yet born. The only time that really belongs to us is right now. By making the president the best we can one decision and action at a time, we can make a great future for ourselves. The art of living is the art of living in the temporary moment.

Marsden’s book was unapologetically designed to inspire, and it does this as few books I’ve ever read. It really amounts to spelling out a life philosophy, one that is deeply practical and actionable in every way on a daily basis. He stays away from the larger questions of who we are, how we got here and what we should seek as the purpose of life and focuses instead on the smaller questions that are more interesting and effective, the more mundane aspect of philosophy, like how we should approach each day in order to get the most out of life, no matter what are calling is.

Do everything with a sense of joy, a spirit of awe, and an ambition to drive forward the engines of progress.

I don’t think this book could be written today. We lack the social template that could produce it. People today are too vexed, burdened and distracted to see these things as Marden saw them. We are too often blind to the reality that he illuminates in these pages, but that doesn’t mean that it is not our reality too.

Nowhere does he talk of storming Washington, agitating for our rulers to overthrow themselves or sending institutions into upheaval. He doesn’t agitate for societal transformation and uplift. He speaks instead to the individual. He tells you what you can do in your time, right where you are, to bring happiness to your life. Social and political change is an effect. It comes only after we change ourselves.

His values: work, creativity, seeking out joy, feeling happiness, letting go of the past, living in the present, never regretting mistakes, never feeling fear, always being loyal, spreading good cheer, looking past obstacles, being kind to others, staying out of debt, keep life balanced between the need for money and the need for beauty, and never losing one’s ideals. This is the essence of the Marden world view.

“No one can be really happy or successful unless he is master of his moods.”

My whole experience suggests that personal inspiration is the ingredient lacking in the current generation of people who have come to love liberty. They have access to texts, knowledge, and theory as never before in human history. What they lack is a method for using what they know and the personal drive to do so.

People are too quick to blame outside forces for failure without realizing that outside forces conspiring against progress are part of the structure of all environments in all times and places. This book provides that missing element, that key to brush away despair and unlock the inner drive to make a difference.

 

Here are some choice passages –

“The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment; it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone.”

“The trouble with many people who lack imagination is that they have no utopia, no vision, and life is a hard, monotonous grind. Everyone should have a utopia and should live in it much of the time — a place where everything is ideal, and where everybody and everything is what they ought to be.”

“Man was made for growth — to realize poise of mind, peace, satisfaction. It is the object, the explanation, of his being. To have an ambition to grow larger and broader every day, to push the horizon of one’s ignorance a little further away, to become a little richer in knowledge, a little wiser, and more of a man — that is an ambition worthwhile.”

“Books make it possible for every person born into the world to begin where the previous generation left off.”

“Debt is one of the greatest sources of unhappiness, especially with young married people.

“One of man’s greatest passions is that of achievement, the passion for doing things, the ambition to accomplish.”

“No one can be really happy or successful unless he is master of his moods.”

“Do not flatter yourself that you can be really happy unless you are useful. Happiness and usefulness were born twins. To separate them is fatal.”

“Nothing else more effectually retards age than keeping in mind the bright, cheerful, optimistic, hopeful, buoyant picture of youth, in all its splendor, magnificence; the picture of the glories which belong to youth — youthful dreams, ideals, hopes, and all the qualities peculiar to young life.”

“The greatest conqueror of age is a cheerful, hopeful, loving spirit.”

A Truth about Obamacare Repeal   Leave a comment

The other night while I was unthawing my toes (Alaska, yo?), we watched an analysis on PBS News that basically made the very one-sided case that replacing Obamacare would lead to dogs mating with cats because almost all the people who enrolled in Medicaid due to the law would lose their health insurance.

Is that true? I had to go look it up. The worry is understandable, but it turns out to be mostly unjustified. Yeah, some people would lose their insurance coverage under Medicaid. Most would not, according to Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects to Obamacare.

Premium Subsidies, the Mandate, and Medicaid Expansion,” NBER Working Paper No. 22213,” is an April 2016 NBER study Gruber coauthored with Harvard’s Molly Frean and Benjamin D. Sommers. In it the authors showed Medicaid accounted for 60% of the increase in coverage due to Obamacare. Yeah, so much for that whole “paying your own way” message. These people are now on the welfare rolls and we’re all paying for their health care.

However, the authors also showed that 2/3 of that 60% were people already eligible for Medicaid before Obamacare began. These are people who won’t lose their coverage if Obamacare is repealed in its entirety.

Image result for image of the failure of medicaid expansionWhy was the number of people who were previously eligible but uncovered so high? If they were eligible, why weren’t they already receiving Medicaid? The authors don’t claim to know, but there are a few possible explanations.

It’s possible, maybe even probable, that these people didn’t know they were eligible for Medicaid until they were forced to sign up for Obamacare and then discovered they were eligible. For example, because it covers people up to 400% over the poverty level, families of four making $53,000 are eligible for Medicaid. I’m eligible for Medicaid, actually, and if I didn’t have employer-supported health insurance, an Obamacare Exchange worker would assign me to Medicaid … whether I like it or not.

Conversely, these eligible-but-previously-unenrolled-folks may have known they were eligible, but they didn’t bother with signing up for personal reasons that are as varied as the individuals under consideration. Among these reasons is the mandate effect. They knew they were eligible, but they didn’t want to enroll and only did so when it was required.

Believe it or not, there are still a lot of people who regard Medicaid as welfare and don’t want anything to do with welfare. To these Obamacare recipients, the program’s end will be a blessing. It will end the humiliation of being welfare recipients.

Most people newly covered by Medicaid expansion would remain eligible, but would now be free to choose whether to be covered or not. I know this shocks people who are convinced health insurance is something everyone needs, but there are many people who do not want it and would choose not to be covered simply because they don’t want to be.

Not having insurance does not mean you don’t have access to medical care. Before Obamacare, I knew lots of people who covered that deficiency with a catastrophic insurance plan and a savings account. Now, they’re broke paying premiums for health insurance they didn’t need or want and that they can’t afford to use because the premiums have eaten their savings. They actually have reduced medical care, even now that they have insurance.

By the way, Medicaid is HORRIBLE medical coverage. If you like waiting lists, limited medications, and having your personal life scrutinized by social workers … it’s a lovely system, but if you want actually medical care … not so much.

How do I know this? For 15 years, I was an administrator for a non-profit social work agency that was a Medicaid-recipient agency. I speak of what I know. No one who actually cares about their health should want to be in that system.

Posted December 17, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

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Staying Warm at -40   Leave a comment

I wrote this four years ago and just thought this would be a great re-post. Eve (sometimes called Bri) is now a gypsy bluegrass musician living out of a van. Kiernan (sometimes called Kyle) is now a high school senior who regularly wields that ax himself. Nora moved to Hawaii to spare her view of the blue tarps. We’ve built a wood shed. Brad and I are still collecting wood like demented woodchucks and trying to stay warm. Last winter was the winter without winter. It hardly snowed and it never got to -40. This year … well, we just got started.

 

It’s -40 degrees! The furnace keeps coming on every five minutes. It’s tropical in the bedrooms and freezing in the basement. Click – bang — hum. Hot air flows from the vent, representing up-to five gallons of home heating a day — at $4.01 a gallon delivered, or $3.69 a gallon if you go to the bulk fuel sellers with portable cans and haul it yourself.Yeah, this is living, baby! Alaskan living! Greatest life on the planet if you’re tough enough to handle it! But you gotta heat your home!

Image result for image of wood stove fireThere’s a huge stack of wood in my yard. Five cords, a winter’s wood supply, harvested from dead-standing in an old burn area, dragged out of the woods by hand, pulled in a beat-up old trailer behind our 20-year-old Jeep, neatly stacked, but sort of unattractive, covered in blue tarps to keep the snow off. My mother-in-law says “they” would never allow such a mess in the New England towns she’s lived in. Not sure who “they” are. Our neighbors don’t care. They have a full wood shed sided in blue tarps. My husband Brad has started buying brown and green tarps so they’ll blend better. That’s his New England upraising talking, trying to appease his mother Nora who thinks we’re abusing our neighbors. If you must have tarps, they should color-coordinate. Alaskan-raised as I am, I just care that they keep the wood dry.Thump-pause-thump-crack-pause-thump-crack-pause-thump-crack-pause — Brad is splitting wood at 40 below zero. It’s easier that way. The stove-length rounds just sort of shatter along linear lines when struck by a sharp ax. Our 14-year-old Kiernan is loading the wheel barrow with the split wood as it falls off the splitting round. In the light from the dog pen, I can see his cheeks glowing bright red. Our college-aged daughter, who still lives at home because rents are so high, comes around from the big wood pile, dragging the sled filled with birch rounds. She stops by the brush pile to collect an armload of kindling, burrowing under the green tarp. You’d never know there was a girl there. Eve is wrapped in Carhharts, gloves, a vaguely Russian looking hat, and Army combat boots she picked up at the consignment store.

Image result for image of stack of firewoodOrdinarily, I’d be out there helping, but someone has to make sure dinner doesn’t burn and Nora is gone to some senior thing. The furnace clicks off. I type a few more words. I can feel cold starting to press on the house. I need to put the noodles to boil, spin the salad, set the table. Then I join the conveyor belt to carry the wood from the garage into the basement.A quarter-hour has passed and I’m waiting for them to come to dinner. I can hear Brad and the kids working on the fire. The wood stove is in the basement, which means the cold presses down the chimney. You have to “break the bubble” to get the heat to draft, otherwise, it will fill the house with smoke. We only do this once a week when we clean the firebox and have to let the chimney go cold. It’s Kiernan’s turn to put the gas hiking stove in the outside clean out to establish a draft. He comes by me on his way to the back door. His nose is running, his cheeks are apple-red. Brad is reminding Eve of the order that must be followed in building a fire — newspapers crumpled, kindling sticks (mostly collected from our yard), split wood. We’ll throw a round on top after the fire is going nicely.

The furnace is on again. Once the fire is going, the furnace stays off — sometimes it doesn’t come on for days, but usually it’s what wakes me in the morning. It’s more effective than my alarm clock, which just says its time to go to work. The furnace is accompanied by the illusionary sound of coin money tinkling up the chimney — there goes a dollar, two, three …

Throw another log on the fire.

Source: Staying Warm at -40

Posted December 11, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

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Thought for Sunday   Leave a comment

“The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. it is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists.”
G.K. Chesterton, Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State

Posted July 31, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense, Uncategorized

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