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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Thursday Morning

So, where was I?  I was woken up this AM by a loud ka-LUNKing on the deck below the bedroom window.  But then, since neither of the dogs barked, I wondered if I had dreamed it?  Nope, a 30" chunk of heavy zinc gutter(ing) had fallen from the roof.  That piece never did get screwed on . . . I'll add it to the to-do list.

Last night was a rough one.  I've made the decision to try to not talk specifics of the divorce here on the blog, but suffice it to say that there was a good deal of crying involved.  Tom and I actually had a nice talk - one of those that reminds you how much you still care for the person . . . but that also makes you sad because you're no longer together.  He's going to come out on Saturday so that we can sort through some of the his/mine/ours stuff (material things), and I think the day will go better as a direct result of our talk last night.  That's my hope, anyway.  But, still, divorce is fairly awful.  I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.  (Unless your spouse is a big, steaming pile of stinky doo-doo, of course, and you hate him/her . . . which ain't the case here.)

Anyway . . . on to more mundane things.  I know I'm pushing the proverbial envelope with the new springtime header, but I couldn't resist.  When I climbed into bed last night (to try to blog but could NOT get a solid Internet connection to save my life), I noticed that it was down to 22 degrees!  Brrrrr!  But then this morning, when that falling gutter woke me?  2 degrees!  Two!  T-w-o!  Holy moley, Rocky!  No sense walking my sap line this morning, is there?!  I read a funny comment on Facebook this morning from a local who summed it up well:  "Could Mother Nature please hit menopause so we can have another hot flash?!"

Speaking of my sap line . . . (dang, I lost it . . . ummm . . . shoot! . . . uhhhh . . . uh . . . oh, got it!), I set the single burner electric element out on a table on the deck yesterday and, as soon as the sun was hitting the solar panels, fired that baby up to begin boiling my first big pot of sap.  I checked it throughout the remainder of the morning and into the afternoon.  Yup, it was heating . . . but slowly.  I figured it was taking so long because there was such a large amount of liquid.  More afternoon peeks revealed that it STILL wasn't boiling.  "Hmmm, it should DEFINITELY be hot by now!"  I know there's that whole "a watched pot never boils" thing goin' against me, but this was ridiculous!  By the end of the day, the pot had been on the element for somewhere 'round about 8 hours, I think.  And still no boiling.  What the . . . ?!

Drrrr . . . . ip!

Ah, yes, the "progress" that is safety measures on modern appliances.

I finally figured out (just guessing and adding 2 + 2 together) that the stupid heating element probably has a built-in shut off switch.  I.e., if it's been on for x amount of time, it shuts off.  Which would explain the water getting warm . . . but never getting hot enough to boil.  Doh!  Back to Square One.  Fortunately, the outside grill has a single burner on it, and so I'll use that.  I was going to attempt it last night once the wind died, but it never did.  And, I was hoping to be able to harness the "free" energy from the solar panels (using electricity), but now I'll have to use expensive LP.  Maybe by next year I'll have a fire pit planned out so I can do it the old-fashioned (and free!) way.  Anyone have an old 12 - 18" high ring of steel they wanna donate to the cause?  ;)  AND a grate wide enough to span said ring?

Since I mentioned the wind last night, here's a question for you.  We all know what Chinooks are (or 'Santa Ana's in different parts of the country), but is there a name for FREAKY winds?  You know the kind of wind I mean:  it blows strangely, and it just feels weird.  Spooky.  Like something's gonna happen.  Something not so good.  

When it picked up yesterday afternoon, I knew it was THAT wind.  And, normally, the winds die here at Swamp River Ridge at sunset.  Like clockwork.  But not so last night.  After going to bed, I just lay on my stomach watching the valley and the clouds scuttle across the moon and the trees whip back and forth.  And, call me crazy, but I do believe those winds tamper with people's brains . . . or our emotions . . . or something.  I think they affected moods last night, I really do!  Anyway, remind me what those are called, 'cause, just like the Chinooks, they are so specific unto themselves that they MUST have a name!  

P.S.  I added a new page in the above tabs:  'Favorite Prose'.


  1. I totally agree that the "winds" of last night effect your emotional stability... weird

  2. There is a name for those, but I can't remember it! Argh! There are some winds that people claim can drive you (temporarily) insane! Those winds are exciting and disturbing at the same time.
    My "word verification" word for this comment is "upenummu." Maybe that is what those winds should be called.

  3. Sorry you had a draining evening last night, each step is a step closer to finding the new normal, right? Hey, have you ever used an enamel tub out of a washing machine for a firepit? We used to use them in the desert in winter all the time because they built such a hot fire, but as an quick and free solution, get one and an old bbq grate over it and try that for boiling until you get the nice hanging kettle set up! Out in California, those tubs fetch high dollars (being super portable for RV's), but in your neck of the woods I bet you could get them free at the dump! Yes, those electric jobs have a safety cycle. I have a glass cooktop that I can't can on, so I bought one of those heavy duty electric ones, still won't boil my canner, so I have to can outside on hubby's propane turkey fryer/brewing burner! Oh, I could ramble tonight... better go get my chores done, storm coming tonight and my baby seedlings are still outside in flats! 2 Degrees??? ugh!

  4. Weslie,
    They are the winds of change.

  5. Hoping your Saturday goes as well as possible and you can feel a sense of peace wrapped around you like a cozy blanket. I know it's hard and I think it's wonderful that you are making every effort to do this amicably. Well done!!

  6. Hey W! I have a wood cook stove in my garage. I wonder if that would work? My grandparents use an old barrel stove with a flat top, so maybe the cook stove would work. If you'd like to give it a try sometime, we probably could.
    Will be keeping you in thought and prayer throughout Saturday. Love and hugs,

  7. Hey, all - thanks for the wonderful words of support. :)

    Erin, talk about things I never knew! I suppose that's such a well-known trick in the south-western part of the country, but I'd never heard of it! And, unfortunately, it wouldn't work in my case 'cause I need to keep the pots on top while still having side access to feed the fire . . . but I appreciated the suggestion!

    And, I'll address the "ill winds" in my next post . . . I've done some research!


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