Cold

This past week’s weather was largely below zero.  It was cold.  We have been burning through the firewood (duh) and are now half way through the stored supply.  For the previous eleven years, we never got half way through that even by the end of the season. The fire is on 24/7 these days.  And I am OK with that.  That is what it is for, after all.  And I like the uneven radiant heat woodstoves produce versus the ‘false’ mini-climate that central heating provides.  I like the bedroom colder, the living room warmer and the sense of being able to move from one temperature to another. So, it is good.

If there is a downside to this cold-spell it is that we don’t go out much.  Of course, we go to town when we need to, get the wood in every three days or so when the indoor pile runs down and I go out to start the genset now and then but, generally speaking, I have reversed completely the ratio of indoor to outdoor time as compared to even the spring and fall.

“So, what the hell do you do all day, Dave?”

Good question.  Usually, I laugh at that when people ask.  We are usually so busy.  They are wondering what a retired guy does on a remote island without a Starbucks to frequent. But I have answers.  Usually.  Not this time.   It is a fair question and the only honest answer is ‘very little of anything’.

I should be grinding out book #2 but the muse hasn’t hit me.  Don’t know where to go with that yet. We had guests for lunch Tuesday and that was a full afternoon of interesting give and take. I was going to pick up the ‘she-does-house-calls’ doctor (she is the best doctor I have ever experienced) on Wednesday but a heavy snowfall put postponement on that. We putz about on the computer.  We read.  We occasionally cook together.  The day goes by pleasantly enough.  But, make no mistake – we are in some kind of hibernation.  We are definitely at a slow idle.

Well, I am.  Sal is quilting, cooking, making arrangements behind my back for social events and the like (and then pretending that she consulted me).  She goes to book club, the quilting bee and does the odd day at the post office.  As she frequently points out, ‘a woman’s work is never done’.  It is interesting to note that the moment I point out that something is ‘woman’s work’, she won’t do it so that is a mystery there still to be explained.

The really nice thing is that we never argue.  Never bicker.  I enjoy her company and she mine.  People marvel at that but we seem to save common friction for construction matters.  We conflict when building but rarely on anything else. Well, sometimes when cooking but cooking is nano-construction, in my opinion.  Sal likes bland.  I like spicy.  The twain shall never meet.

“Dave, this is not blog-worthy!”

I know.  And that is the point, really.  We are not up to much that IS blog worthy these days.  Our usual winters involve going somewhere warm.  But every few years we stay home and things grind to a peaceful, rhythmic routine that is not uncommon out here.  And that IS part of an off-the-grid blog report.

Just a dull part.

38 thoughts on “Cold

  1. It’s cozy with a fire and time for a little of this and a little of that. Being in the comfort zone is delightful. A few days of that snowy weather feels so Canadian. Have you got a good stock of books at hand?

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    • Not enough. I have taken to Kindle. Have to – the library is dropping the ball. My scotch stocks are tumbling too (in tumblers, no less) and, well, it is a good thing we are on the back half of winter.

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      • Apparently the CC (cauliflower crisis) is of greater concern than many of your readers realize. Norm Farrell has pointed out that seniors with prudent budgetary skills who manage to set aside their 2016 OAS increase of $0.57 will be able to purchase a Cauliflower by Christmas (CxC). However, they must be Laila’s 6 dollar jobs because the $6.84 accumulated will not quite get one of my $8.00 gems.
        With the deflation prone loonie dropping like a stone there is talk of the ‘Collie’ becoming the new monetary standard. If, like the Loonie, it becomes worthless, at least you can eat it.

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      • It’s the damn Chinese! They keep going for the commodities!! First oil and coal. Now cauliflower. I say we fight back by cornering soy and bamboo shoots. If we must…last resort….we take all the bok choy from their cold dead hands! Whose with me?

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      • Sorry. This is ‘the Donald’. The above are my thoughts. Mine and Sarah Palin’s. We couldn’t figure out how to get past anonymous, if you know what I mean? Or spell cauliflower…..? But I say , ‘nuke ’em!’

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      • Cuz wrestlers, boxers & corn already took ‘ears’? A head of corn? Wouldn’t work.
        You got me Dave! 8 Loonies = 1 Caulie

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      • Twasn’t me. That’s Ross with the riddle. The answer…because by the time your ears are cauliflower, so is your head. They are both vegetables.

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      • Well, once again I am shedding my skin and coming out new. Although the last book was Will Ferguson’s Rawanda travels with Jean Paul. Excellent. I like Will F. But, prior to that I had been trying some of the other OTG writers to see what they sounded like. The last was Impossible Beyond This Point. Got good reviews. And, like mine, didn’t deserve them. Been also reading books on writing and they were bad, too. Some teacher going on and on about blah, blah, blah…..hard to stay with. Mind you, it was Elmore Leonard who said, “If it sounds like writing, I do it over again,”
        Typically I read Economics, History and another later one was on ‘What if?” It was a scientific answer book to crazy questions – like what if a guy went straight through the centre of the earth? – and then would follow a detailed account of every step of the way. But more and more I am becoming impatient with bad writing and so I am now finishing fewer books. Jared Diamond. Malcolm Gladwell, Naomi Klien. Bit of a Sinophile, too.

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  2. Your comment about bad writing resonates with me. Good writing can not be taught. Most books on writing if followed will kill the voice of the writer. It is hard to make the brain to page connection for most writers who are hampered by formulaic ideas on what constitutes good writing. Talking turkey connects with readers but the banal does not. Few good writers are objective enough to judge their own written output.

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    • For that, I have Sal. And I also have to confess to being impolitic; I judge other writers more and more critically now. And I judge myself as well. And so far, I am not happy with me either. I kinda like some colourful turns of phrase, some hit-the-point-exactly passages but, as far as book structure goes, I am drowning. I find it hard to look at the big picture while writing the little one. It’s a kinda dissonance for me that seems to first require drawing little pictures and then hoping a bigger story line emerges. It does not. Not for me. But Sal thinks she will find one and drag it out into the open kicking and screaming. I’d prefer a theme to work to. Our problem is that we each have different views of what the cohesive theme might be, even if the little pictures are already drawn. OUR LIFE OFF THE GRID was a humorous treatment by Sally’s decision. She cut and severed out that which was not amusing or tasteful. She made it ‘nice’. I am sure I could find a harsher, shorter, brutish book from the mass of pages written but I know that she is right in her assessment of the potential reader. So, we went funny. I could likely have even found a book on politics and philosophy from the remaining tailings but who wants that? And, clearly, judging from the critics, there was not enough how-to or advice given. Sadly, I don’t know enough for that audience but there is a hunger for it.
      Judging your own writing is difficult but easy. Difficult because of the lack of objectivity but easy in that something feels right or it doesn’t. I find it easy for me to write but I find it difficult for me to be sure that it appeals and sounds right to others. It flows. It stops. It awaits judgment. And then it proceeds. The hardest part is NOT getting feedback. That’s the killer for me. Can you imagine writing 5000 words, sending it out for critical comment and no one writing back? Where do you go from there?
      I may talk some turkey….we’ll see……….

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      • The challenge is finding a reader who knows how read. I try not to give advise to writers. My personal philosophy is that such advise tends to be not overly helpful. I would never mess with your writing because I am not you. Your writing is semi-autobiographical (sort of) and that infuses it with its life. Your writing is interesting…a quality often drained out of most blogs. Please do not go down the self-help, how to do it book route, leave that to Time-Life publications. They have cornered the market. Here is a list of the top 100 influential books. See they have been written. http://www.stellarlearning.co.uk/cms/images/downloads/life_changers_100_books.pdf.
        Really what you have been writing is the ‘World according to Dave’. and reader like it.

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      • Thank you for that list. I immediately scanned it for Scott Peck’s, The Road Less Traveled (one of my most influential books) and another of my favourites of his, People of the Lie. RLT was there. People of the Lie was important to me when doing social work. I have read many on that list. Not all. Not even the majority. Say, 20 or so. Getting to Yes is virtually the textbook to mediation. And visualization is a pretty common theme for many of them. The World According to Dave, eh? WAD? Hmmmm…..life as an accident waiting to happen? Life with Sally? Sweating the Small Stuff? Life is Too Short and What to Do About It! Who Said I Can’t?

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      • in todays blog you spoke of often going someplace warm in winter, how about some stories and sage advice in that area, what have you learned, what can you pass on.
        Some of us really enjoy our home life even in winter, but as they say ‘this is no dress rehearsal’ we always do a short two week pre xmas escape but I am thinking we should try six weeks at least.once

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      • Well, Aldo, I travel a bit differently than most people. Sal’s and my last trip was to El Salvador. Got in by way of a dugout and then chicken-bussed around. Then back to Guatemala. NOT resort vacationing. Mind you, we discovered we were a bit too old for that so our next trip will be more civilized. We aren’t backpackers anymore. Do you want the past trips or just a general suggestion. We will likely do Argentina next. But not a package. Well rough it and wing it and discover it. That is kina our style altjhomi have always wanted to motorhome through Northern Japan.

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    • I concur largely with ‘good writing cannot be taught’ my intuition about daves’ book it that it is original and authentic, the latter being a much overused word. The writing seems unique, as are the perspectives. So I agree that dave should stick with his own god given talent and forgo the’ how to’ write path. I can almost sense the digression in the blog writing when the ‘how to’ affect takes hold.
      As for the 100 list, not meaning to sound disputatious but I am highly dubious of the list with a minor number of exceptions.

      Forgive if this has been done , but on the economics subject if you have not yet, be certain to listen to or read Thomas pikettys’ Capital in the 21st. Should be required, perhaps abridged for all high school grads everywhere..
      Finally if I may ask, dave why do your posts come on the blog under other poster names beside jdc ?? It’s not always obvious to me that it is you, what can I learn here,?? thnx

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      • Aldo;

        I’m the first to agree by definition that the top list of any thing must be deficient. On economics check out Richard Denniss.

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      • LOL! “I can almost sense the digression in the blog writing when the ‘how to’ affect takes hold”. That’s hilarious! I confess all the time to NOT knowing how-to do anything but pour scotch and criticize the government but I had no idea that the writing suffered, too. Damn!
        Yeah, Piketty was great. I even wrote a review that he now uses on his webpage. “Should be required reading…”
        My computer is in one room. That room gets a bit chilly now and then. So, when that happens, I pick up the KOBO tablet and check e-mails from the living room. It is synced with the computer but comments as yet another anonymous-guy. If I am at the computer, my initials show up.
        As for the list, you and I might dispute the choice (Covey’s seven habits?) but I acknowledge that they had influence. But the list is a snapshot from the recent era. Drucker is not on it. Samuelson is not. Sun Tzu is not. And I think I saw Ayn Rand twice? Once was enough.

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      • “Confess to not knowing anything…” The ironic mask device is one of your most endearing trait!

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  3. COLD? I’m off to the HOT for a month. I expect you to have Chrispy and her dam straightened out when I return . I’m confident the market will straighten out the LNG folly. The economy? . On second thought, maybe I’ll stay south.
    Cheers!

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    • The economy is supposed to be managed by the ‘invisible hand’ of the markets. We are told to do nothing but wait for eventual fairness. ‘Course that invisible hand is really ‘remote controlled’ and sociopathic as well as unaware of a finite earth so I have no faith in it myself. I have more faith in your cauliflower recipe which also remains invisible. Strange to dismiss God for the same reason, don’t you think? He, bosun higgs, air, love…all ALSO invisible.
      Have a good time and give my regards to Carlos Slim. JDC

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  4. We went to Los Angeles to get some sun and ran into an El Nino could burst. A few days of sun and a bit of warmth in between, but can’t wait to get back home. For me getting away for a week is fine, two weeks is stretching it. Our woodshed is stocked with about a cord and just waiting to get burned. We found a nice log just before leaving, cut it up, and left it to dry out in our absence. All our wood from the lake has already by aged by floating up, down, back and forth for many years. The outside gets wet, but that dries fairly quickly even in the winter if it is stacked with lots of airspace in between. I use the differential heating to store my root crops in the downstairs guest room. I just hope the lack of heat during this cold snap didn’t let the potatoes and onions freeze.

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    • Glad you are on the way back. Whatever you do, do not praise God in the airport. No faster way to commit suicide than yelling Alahu Ahkbar when you meant to say Alaska Airlines. Common mistake.
      I used to need two months in an exotic country for it to register as a vacation but now it all seems to register like the rat race did. I may just stay home from now on…..well, AFTER Argentina……and, maybe Northern Japan.

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