just cause i'm in a musical mood...
you all enjoy your weekend!
After the jury selection process, the trial commenced…. This might be a hard read… it certainly was for us to hear..
The charges were thus…. that on the night of April 3, 2008, the defendant forcibly performed oral sex and vaginal penile penetration on the plaintiff in his apartment …. Who happened to be his 17 year old niece…. and that according to her testimony the defendant had been “inappropriately touching her” since she was 15 years old.
The defendant appeared to the stand in tears, barely able to speak…
This portion of the testimony did not last long, obviously… this woman was truly shaken by the trauma of what had happened in her life.
I shall not go into the details here…. But her and others testimony attested to the fact that she ended up at his apartment that night due to a number of misconveyed communications…..
Next Stage: Defendants Brothers….
All three of the defendant’s brothers testified that on the days in question he was with them for multiple days many miles away… describing in great detail who came by where and when, almost down to the minute. They have a large family and apparently an extraordinary memory for details, because all of the defendant’s brothers were able to recall in precise detail all of the events of the time in question and where the defendant was at those times.
Later the Victim’s father says on the stand this is all BS, defendant was in his (not father's.... defendant was apparently functional enough to own an apartment and drive a car) apartment the whole time when rape occurred
Other salient facts…..
Defendant never testified in his own defense
Victim did not report rape for four months after it occurred, and defendant disappeared for a considerable time after the reporting until he turned himself in to the authorities roughly 13 months ago - - admitting in confession to authorities that he was indeed at his apartment at the time, inherently negating all of his relative's testimonies as to his whereabouts at the time in question.
Defendant is illiterate with supposed mental illnesses and brothers supporting his defense at being at their locations far distant from the crime on the dates in question….
So it comes down to this……..
There is no physical evidence of any sort
One party is lying… another is not…
That’s all you have to go on….
Decide the outcome of this on multiple people’s lives, if you will….
you already know how we decided.... but there is more to tell that they could not tell us at the start of this trial which gives me that 3:00 a.m. pause of relief that we did not convict an innocent man.....
the stories the PA told us after the trial (and after the conviction, of course) about what he did to children in previous convictions that we were never told about in this trial are going to give me nightmares for the rest of my life....
He is facing 30 to life at this point....
And based upon what i have heard about child offenders in prison....
i just commended a man to death this week...
that is one big-ass pill to swallow....
btw, all these folks are interrelated
i am so thankful that i was raised in a "functional family"
there but for the grace of god go i....
if there really is a god...
or an i, if that even matters... : )
p.s. there may be a short epilogue on this post in the near future....
I did a good thing yesterday... recollections Part 1....
been quite a while, y'all... hope this posting finds you all healthy, happy, whole, and solvent... (:-D)
I helped put a very bad man in prison this week…
A number of weeks ago I received notification that I was to report for jury duty on 7-29. On two past occasions, many years ago, I had managed to weasel out of such obligations on valid grounds. Not so now. As of 7-21 I had been let go by GM and therefore had nothing better to do with my time except look for a new so-called job, which I was not (and still am not) currently in the mood to do. Better to go sit in a comfy chair and read a good book in an air-conditioned Courtroom surrounded by learned judges and attorneys impeccably groomed in horrendously expensive suits, and protected by imposing and dedicated police officers, all of which paid for by my hard-earned tax dollars, than sit at home staring at non-existent jobs at my computer screen.
So, on Wednesday, I donned my best suit and tie (which I had not worn since the passing of my fiancée Cora three years ago) and dutifully reported to jury duty promptly at 8:45 a.m. (laughingly, as it turns out, I was the sole potential juror to have chosen to dress so formally. Thanks, Mom and Dad... i know looking down or up or around, if you *can* even look, you would have been proud of me in my Sunday best whilst everyone else was in loafers and teeshirts).
As is my standard forte (in general, i.e. - - I had never done jury duty ever), I conducted copious research prior to arriving at the County Courthouse. By perusing such websites such as http://fija.org/ and the long history of jury nullification (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification) I was convinced I could successfully extricate myself from these civic duties and get back to the more important business of trying to motivate myself to find a new job. I was pretty certain that armed with this knowledge, plus the mere statistics of being in a large pool of potential jurors, of which only twelve would be ultimately chosen, odds were good I would be back home within a few hours to face my recent unemployment and computer screen of Internet job searches.
Such was not the case. I ended up among the chosen twelve (it’s thirteen, actually… the court keeps a spare on hand until the actual trial takes place in case some juror unexpectedly drops dead at the last minute). The nature of the crime at hand totally ruled out my anticipated out-of-duty plan. If this had been a case involving what are termed “consensual crimes” such as prostitution or drug usage, the Prosecuting Attorney (PA) would have kicked me off the jury in a moment after I mentioned the words “jury nullification”.
This offense was all about child molestation. No nullification for me there. I was now for the first time part of a “jury of my peers”. And peers they were…. I will never forget a one of them or that day in court… no more honorable or articulate people… and just regular peeps…. if I ever have had doubts or criticisms about our judicial system, or the inherent wisdom of my fellow citizens - - - they have now been most totally dissuaded…
we truly do live in one of the best countries in the world...
Part 2... the trial.... next...
MySpace joint buddhist poetry slamdown
we had a collaborative poetry writing session in the buddhist room of MySpace tonight... just thought i'd share...
it's not too bad, in my opinion....
For the day is old and gray, the night is on it's way and upon that severed construction laid my heart with a belly of loneliness and a desire for something different.
Different, as the hearts that share their tender ways, within the clouds that mask the holes inside.
Clouds born of my mind, shaped by doubt that there is, out there, anything different.
Now as they say, behold the lovers way, the tear it shines with each passing
beat, the beat that lingers and breathes it’s death until the touch of fingers can bear no more form from the urban melody that fosters my cry.
As their fingers intertwine they know their love will last until the end of time.
The violent yearning became my urgent need to kiss the flesh of my loves’ lips.
We drank in each other’s essence with parted lips to hold close each other's bodies, like sailing across the deep blue seas…
‘Darlin' i write your name...
I feel so grand...grand and feel dance as we swing and dance, until we become one.
Upon our souls drew the lines of time that knew not each other.
O timely sleep that left me yearning two lovers alone.
If only in my memory...
discovery for me and maybe for you
made a personal medical discovery yesterday which blew me away and may work for you... am interested if anyone tries it and to hear the results if you do...
mon. p.m.: at work, started feeling like something bad was trying to get a hold of me.
tue. a.m.: definitely starting to get a feel from something major beginning to whack me bad, called in sick.
tue. p.m.: sneezing my head off, sinuses congesting. starting to feel it move into my throat. growse at myself for almost having gotten through the workyear without a sick day. rest and go to bed.
wed. a.m.: scheduled vacation day (sister arriving later today to visit for Thanksgiving). no more sneezing, but going through a ream of Kleenex blowing my nose while doing some touch-up housecleaning for her arrival. throat feeling worse and lungs beginning to feel affected.
wed. p.m.: sister arrives with great quantities of food and a bottle of Glenlivets. warms hugs to beloved sister and two glasses to the bottle (maybe the scotch will kill the germs invading me?). coughing begins and increases. bed a few hours later.
thu. a.m.: i am a piece of canine excrement, coughing and hacking up phlegm and blowing my nose continuously. with ongoing decontaminations of myself, my sis and i prepare Thanksgiving dinner. oh, what faith, patience, and understanding she has!
thu. p.m.: eat fabulous dinner and don't feel well at all. it's like i have about 50% of my normal lung capacity. getting kinda worried about "pneumonia" and joked about it with my sister (i rarely get these kind of illnesses and so know little about them, and neither does she). decide to self-medicate with what i have in the kitchen. i have used herbal remedies in my life a while before, but haven't a need for many years, so was playing it by ear and memory (and nose and throat and lung); no time for consulting the library.
handful of fresh ginger, minced
stick or two of cinammon
teaspoon or two of cardamon pods
(mash the previous two ingredients in a mortar and pestel)
about a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
two or more whole red-hot chili peppers
boil above ingredients (covered! you don't want to lose the volatile organic compounds) in a quart or two of cold water for about 10-15 minutes. turn off heat and let mixture steep for another 10-15 minutes.
Using a strainer, drink 4 or 5 cups of this stuff, watch some Comedy Central, and go to bed. You'll probably get up in the middle of the night and cough a few times. Go pee and drink a little more lukewarm leftover tea and a couple cups of water. Go back to bed.
fri. a.m.: woke up with a full set of lungs. NO respiration depletion. NO coughing. Sinuses 90% clear. NO coughing. Amazing!
fri. p.m.: after taking a shower a bit of nose blowing and coughing, but that was just getting rid of the residuals. otherwise, feel as good as last weekend!
the severity of this would normally have had after-effects lasting at least another week, i am sure, without this home-remedy discovery. My current residuals are that i have needs to blow my nose or cough only once every 4 or 5 hours, and lessening. And i feel great!
Sorry if the graphic phlegmatic description bothered anyone... i just felt compelled to share this discovery. It might only work for me, but who knows...
also, btw (this might have something to do with the rapidity of the cure), earlier in the day thursday i ate two raw garlic cloves... again, who knows...
Water can be fatal.
I've always drank a lot of water every day. i'd always thought it was good for me. Until recently, that is...
When i got over five liters a day funny things started happening... disorientation, confusion, weird pains... the cure? i should probably drink more water, i thought, and did... was up to 6-7 liters per day and feeling worse and worse, so i drank more...
turns out i nearly killed myself from sodium depletion.
Water can kill you if you drink too much.
Have you been recently called a geek, a dork, a NERD? Do you want to be a nerd, geek, or dork? Well, this test is for you! This highly advanced 'test' will determine once and for all how nerdy you are. Upon completion, you will be given a score (out of 100) as to just how nerdy you are, plus a nifty little graphic and link that you can share with your friends (if you have any) so they can see how they measure up!
A possibly helpful note to LF homeowners...
So, i get done with Sunday chores and go to grab some ice out of the fridge for a beverage.... it is melting, as is everything else... the compressor is not running... my refrigerator has died, and has obviously been dead for a while... damn...
i cut the power to the device to avoid unforeseen catastrophies and transfer the contents of the fridgefreezer to my separate chest freezer, go buy some bags of ice for the fridge part, and inform my employers i will be dealing with domestic technological repairs tomorrow... one *must* have a refrigerator... and go to bed...
the next day i prepare for the experts' arrival (I can do a lot of household things, but repairing/refilling hvac systems is not among them) by readying the upper fridge part by emptying and doing deep cleaning. I decide to re-engage power briefly to the device so as to a have the interior lightbulb on and do a good job. Lo and behold....
Wonder of wonders...
My refrigerator compressor turns on.
I cancel the anticipated expensive service call.
The old babe has been turning on and off normally since monday, and everything appears nominal forty hours later...
if you have an old fridge and it gives signs of dying, don't give up...
...fucked up... every few weeks or so i pull up this video
and play it. Over and over. Like for a whole night. And i'll sit there bawling my eyes out the whole time. Yet i keep hitting the replay button and crying... I really want to know when this whole grief thing is gonna be over with... i don't know if i can take much more of this...
so i'm at a stoplight in my car waiting for the light to change. i watch two young punks walking along the street having just come from McDonalds. as they finish consuming their fries they just toss the empty boxes on the ground, first one, then the other.
witnessing this did not give me great hope for the future of this country...
a van comes down my driveway and parks in front of the house. a man gets out with a bottle of laundry detergent. he walks up to my front door, rings the bell, and i answer. i open the front door, take the bottle of detergent, and listen to his spiel. at some point my answer to his queries incite him to run back to the van to retrieve a box of some sort. i follow him to the van, detergent in hand. there are two other men in the van, one in a shirt and tie, the other in a tee shirt with piercings and tatoos who is smiling at me. i give the container of detergent to the man with the tie. the first man is running back to the house with his box and desperately wants to demonstrate his device to me inside my house. i tell him i already own a very expensive vacuum that works just fine and that he should go away but he clearly does not want to. After another five minutes of verbal sparring he returns to the van and they drive away, the man in the tie waving sportingly to me as they depart.....
what i wish i'd done (and will probably do in the future):
i come to the door with one of my impressive-looking (but shittily-made) samurai swords in hand and demand his identification, drivers license will do fine, thank you. He protests. I then walk to the van brandishing my sword and demand that the van inhabitants surrender their identification, as well. To my surprise, they do. I write down all their names and ID#s. I then ask for all their Social Security numbers. They do not comply and begin to leave.
I curse at them as they drive away, never to return....
...if you hadn't noticed, i detest being surprised by pushy door-to-door salesmen...
now, give me a good-old Jehova's Witness, i'll sit and drink tea all afternoon and discuss the state of my damned soul... but pushy salesmen in vans with questionable-looking characters in tow (apologies to those with piercings and tats - it was more the way he was looking at me, not the way he looked), sorry , you're not welcome...
i hope and kinda don't they come back...
..this is so unlike me... i can't believe how i've reacted to this intrusion...
a native american muskapoo poem for lfers to enjoy....
all the warm nights
sleep in moonlight
keep letting it
go into you
all your life
you will shine outward
in old age
the moon will think
Leyman's Chicken Breasts With Mustard and Tarragon
Just wanted to post this to my own journal...
Posted by leyman to Lagbnaft's journal on Feb 9, 2006 12:05pm
This was stolen and modified from a recipe i ran across a long time ago and have since lost... but i think mine is better than the original. It is my favorite way to cook chicken and never fails to please the guests, even your 85-year-old bigot uncle whom you love in spite of his prejudices and swears he'd never eat chicken prepared in such a way but yet eats up platefuls of it when put in front of him. A little bit time-consuming, but worth every moment. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t loved this dish. I make this at least once a month.
Boneless skinless chicken breasts
Onions or shallots
Dry white wine
Quantities are approximate. Go with your gut.
In a heavy skillet/pot with lid melt a gob of butter (1/4-1/3 stick approx.) with an equal amount of good olive oil to boiling. Use high heat.
Throw in a bunch of boneless skinned chicken breasts. Put the cover on the pot/skillet. The oil will be hot and fly out and burn you if you don't. The objective here is to sear the breasts hotly so they are lightly browned on both sides. Again, be careful of the hot oil.
After browned, remove to covered plate. Keep warm in oven if desired. I don't bother.
Reduce heat to skillet/pan. Add another tab of butter. Add some garlic and onions/shallots, both finely minced, not too heavy on the onion/shallots (to preference, though. Your call. Makes no huge difference if you like onions)). Saute to the point of browning.
When browned, add a can or two of chicken stock and a cup or two of chardonnay or other dry white wine. Return wine to refrigerator (you will need this later). The more stock and wine you use, the more sauce you will have (yum). Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a healthy simmer/light boil.
For the next 20-30 minutes you are going to stand there stirring this with a whisk or wooden spoon until the liquid reduces in volume. Make sure to get the nice little brown crispies off the bottom of the pan.
When you are nearing the point of reduction termination (next step), pour in the liquid underneath the chicken breasts you seared earlier.
Reduction termination, the most crucial moment in the preparation of this dish. Terminate too soon, your sauce will be runny; too late, it will be too thick. If you’ve never done a reduction before, you will find that after making this a couple of times (and you will) you will get the hang of when the moment is based on how thick you like the sauce. Remember: the termination point comes and goes quickly, do not leave the stove to go check the chatter on the Filter or you’ll miss it. Your final volume should be 1/3 to ¾ cup or thereabouts.
Okay, now whisk in a small or medium container of whipping cream into the sauce and blend (size of container is proportional to the amount of reduced liquid, and hence, amount of stock and wine you used in the first place. Getting the hang of this? : ).
Add tarragon. Crush it first to liberate the flavors if you have a mortar and pestle. If not, just toss it in and stir. Amount to taste. I like a lot.
Add Mustard. Not your normal American mustard, the Dijon variety. Regular or honey mustard, try it both ways in separate attempts and see what you like better. Either way, put in a good-sized gob or two or three sufficient to match the intensity of the tarragon and how mustardy you want it to be.
Add some white or ground black pepper to taste. You know how much you like.
Get everything nice and blended. Do not let it boil or things could separate. A gentle simmer with a few bubbles here and there is fine.
Return the seared chicken to the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken for a time to complete any inner cooking which remains to be done (which shouldn’t be much). Flip the breasts over and repeat. When chicken is back up to hot temperature it is ready to eat.
Serve chicken with basmati rice and steamed fresh or frozen peas. If you use canned peas the ghost of leyman’s Mother will come and haunt you.
Now have a couple of LFers over to your house. Remove Chardonnay from fridge and serve it and food to them and yourself. Enjoy!
Variations to this dish: BACON: not too much, you don’t want to overpower everything else. Make sure it is finely minced so it blends with the sauce. CAPERS: same here, capers have a strong flavor, don’t overdo. And my favorite, chopped MOREL MUSHROOMS make this dish to die for. Regular mushrooms are a no-no.
why does life have to suck so much sometimes??
a dear friend of mine at work has been diagnosed with lymphatic cancer...
i *cannot* stand the thought of another loss right now...
Just finished looking at Shiloh's recent post of a funeral for a Corporal Lundstrom, a Marine who was also a Native American who died three days before my Cora did, who was also a Native. It brought me to tears and prompted me to post this. Tomorrow morning will be one month since she passed.
My Cora did no grand or glorious duty in the Armed Services, so she will never be honored in that fashion. But she had such an enormous impact on the people around her, that i feel that i must share what she gave to the world with a wider audience than only those that were at her funeral. She did and will always present me with an outstanding template for how to live one's life. So i am going to share my farewell to her that i read at her funeral a few weeks back. Her outstanding spirit deserves a wider audience.
Before i copy and paste the text, a couple of things that i thought i should have related but didn't, but i think they add to her resiliency and power to transform the circumstances of her life. She was born in 1955 and spent the first ten years of her life in a one-room shack with a dirt floor and no indoor plumbing. She suffered numerous abuses throughout her childhood, replete with want and poverty. Numerous competing siblings, a non-existent mother, being turned out on the streets to fend for herself at the age of twelve, a 30 year long loveless and abusive marriage out of arrangement and obligation, the travails of her life amazed me. Other people would have escaped into drugs or alchohol early on. But she never smoked or drank or took drugs her entire life. She made the most of the hands that were dealt her, and she did well, although she tolerated infinitely more than i would have.
The lives that she touched were affirmed to me after the funeral. Before i climbed aboard the horse-drawn carriage, a number of the kids whose lives she'd touched came up to me to affirm to me that everything that i said that she had done for them was true. I saw it again in their eyes full of tears and the bright, alert, and concerned eyes of their children.
Cora's wake and funeral did not contain the pomp and circumstance of Corporal Lundstrom's, but the love and sorrow and pride and sense of loss was no less.
I hope that she and the Corporal have made acquaintances and are spending some quality time together before i go to rejoin her. She always needed good company.
My farewell, for what it's worth...
Cora: How to begin to say farewell to you, My Love? It is not only difficult, but nearly incomprehensible. In order to be able to finish, I will keep these public remarks brief; in private, I will have much more to say in the coming months and years.
First and foremost, My Dearest, I would like to remind you of I what I came to recognize as your greatest quality and achievement of your life. I feel it is important to do this because you quite often negatively compared yourself to me in terms of the world’s definition of success and achievement. You did it often enough that I feel I must remind you one last time. I had the masters’ degree, you the high school diploma. I had the long-term professional engineering career, while you were in and out of a variety of sometimes back-breaking manual-labor jobs. Early on in our relationship I would respond to your lament by reminding you of the four wonderful children you raised and the eleven incredible grandchildren they were bringing up into the world. But somehow I knew that there had to be more I could tell you. And there was.
It was on a typical lazy Sunday morning last spring, curled up in an afghan on the living room couch, when you told me that the home that you had created with your children had an open-door policy for any and all neighborhood children who felt it unsafe to go to their own abusive or uncaring homes. You told me that at one point you had 26 underprivileged children and young adults living under your roof, providing them a very-much-needed respite from the troubles of their own dysfunctional lives. Your daughter Venus recalled to me the other night you taking 20 kids out one Saturday morning to go roller skating. 20 KIDS. ROLLERSKATING. BY YOURSELF. You offered all of these kids, with an unending open heart and open door, a safe haven from their daily lives of neglect and showed them that a world of nurturing, caring, and love WAS possible to them. YOU did that, My Dear, and NO one else. YOU CHANGED LIVES.
Now, before you disagree with me, I must remind you that I met some of them last summer at that tattoo party at Mike and Janet’s (yes, I’m sorry once again for chickening out- - find a good needle artist for me up there with no pain involved and i’ll be good to go). Without an exception, these semi-adopted children of yours ALL told me how incredibly formative it was to know that a safe, secure, and loving refuge awaited them just a few houses or blocks away. And also without exception, I saw those kids-now-adults were raising their own thoughtful and caring children, and on and on for generations upon generations. KNOW that WE KNOW that we will never discount the achievements of your life - - you have positively impacted multitudes in ways that a typical human being could ever even hope for. My narrow little professional career cannot compare with what you have done. You have undeniably reached what I have always considered the greatest measure of having lived a successful life: that of leaving this world a better place than how you found it. You are not only my best friend and lover - - you are my hero.
On a more personal level, you have given me a multitude of gifts and memories that will live on in me forever, too many to even begin to recount here: the pleasure of regular mutual foot rubs; getting my nose out of my books and journals and learning again how to live life instead of just reading about it; taking long walks in the beautiful woods behind our house that we have lived in for the past year; you plowing me into the ground on the dance floor (I never once thought that after the age of forty I would ever “getta-low – getta-low – getta-low – getta-low”); spending the occasional 24-hour day in bed engaging in various above- and below-the sheet indulgences; the lovely sweaty satisfaction of creating a huge garden and putting up all the produce (our first and only in this life); all-night long scrabble tournaments in front of the fireplace (which I’m sure I don’t need to remind you YOU usually won); learning how to spice down my Indian and Thai cooking so that it’s edible by ordinary humans; teaching me how to fish (how incredulous you were that I’d been going up to the cottage all my life and hadn’t fished since childhood); visualizing a long, productive, and glorious future with someone you love and who loves you back equally; how incredibly fucking good an ear massage feels (pardon me dear, I know you also never swore); encouraging me to learn the art of deer-hunting with your brothers (I will never forget that first day when I showed myself off to you in full camoflauge with my bow at my side - something I never pictured myself dressed in - - you were beaming at me and my heart was bursting with pride - - sorry I never got that big buck this year); but most of all, My Dearest, you have given me a love the depth and breadth of which I had never known possible and will never know again, and I am an immeasurably better person for having you in my life for this brief, fleeting time. You have changed me forever.
It would be at this point where one would ordinarily talk of regret and sorrow for not having been given more time to cherish you, but these are negative emotions which I shall not have lessen all the positive things that I have just expressed for you, Cora. So let me just say my final farewells this way: Pick out our lovely new farm in heaven; set up the Scrabble Board; get the garden all tilled and ready with steaming compost; scout out where all the big buck rubs are; and I will return to you one day with a bed of seedlings in my left hand, my bow slung over my shoulder, and a shining wedding ring in the fingers of my right hand. Our lips shall meet once again and I will place that ring on your finger and we will pick up where we left off.
Farewell, My Love. Godspeed.
Wow... my first journal entry....
...i am so curious to see who reads it and if anyone comments on it... here goes...
Peak Oil, nothing, i am totally depleted!
Well, i finally ran out of oil this morning... Nothing. Nada. Empty tank.
I've known this day was coming for a few weeks, now, based on my back-of-the-envelope heat load calculations. I wasn't too far off in my estimate, either.
Woke up this morning and watched a bit of LINK TV (great segment on how disabled people deal with sexuality, check it out if you have LINK). Got me to thinking how godamned lucky i am that i have the use of all my limbs and organs, and how much i take that for granted. And how hard it will be for such folks to have to deal with PO. And it got me to thinking what a slug i've been for the past month since my fiancee passed away. Just going to work for too many self-imposed hours so as to minimize the time i have to deal with the emptiness of the house. Spending too much time there and on the Web, when i knew i should be doing other more important things. And how Cora would want me to be doing those things. Pondering my self-loathing at the end of the excellent show, i resolved that i was going to get up and clean the kitchen and do my laundry, both of which i had let slip in recent days.
So rising from bed i went to the thermostat to "crank-her-up". Without Cora in the house during the day, I'd been running my oil furnace intermittantly, just when i get home for a few hours to get it from 56F to 64-66 (it's been a mild winter here in mid-michigan, thank god), and then dial it down to 50 before bed. It's not too cold in the AM getting ready for work, and i leave it down when i'm gone for the day.
*Anyway*, i turn up the stat this AM, expecting to hear the relay click indicating electrons are flowing to the burner motor. Nothing.
Shit. I am out of fuel oil.
Some form of god/goddess is looking down on me today 'cause it's going to be in the upper 40s.
Now, i thought momentarily about picking up the phone and calling my oil supplier, but i decided to not do that for a number of reasons: 1) i already owe him $1000 for when he topped off my tank a few months ago, and i can't pay him right now 'cause of Cora's funeral expenses, plus i don't want to push my luck with him for future supplies. He is a cash-on-the-barrelhead kinda guy. But his prices are good for the area. 2) I need to get the wood furnace up and running anyway. I'd been using the kitchen fireplace all this season in conjunction with the oil furnace, and it worked well to keep the main part of the house warm once the oil got it up to temp, then i could turn the oil off and add a few logs to the fireplace to keep nominal temps. Someday soon (like, NOW) i am going to have to rely on this wood furnace to heat the whole place all the time. 3) Cora wants me to stop grieving and get off my ass and get to work.
So, i head to the polebarn and grab my chainsaw. Crap, which gas can was for the weedwhipper and which for the chainsaw? I am inherently disorganized (something which i know needs to change) but i thought i made a mark on the chainsaw can which i now cannot remember (i also have unmedicated ADHD, a certain PO liability) nor can i discern mark on can. I pick one can and add a bit to the saw, top off the bar oil, and head out to the woods to cut down and up dead red elms (my favorite firewood). I am successful at this for a time, then the saw stalls and will not restart. Shit, i am fouling the carb, i must have picked the 40:1 can. Asshole! - *why* didn't you mark those cans right?!!! Just to play it safe, i go back to the two cans, drain the one into the other, and head to the local store 10 miles away with the empty can to get the proper oil. Stupid, i know, but i have no heat and cannot risk having this saw not work. Fill up the can at the gas station. Back home and to the woods. Fill up the saw, she starts right up and runs like a gem. Yee-haw, i will not freeze tonight or tomorrow! Who needs oil, anyway?
The next two hours are heaven, felling dead trees and bucking them up. I am the master of my domain. I can survive Peak Oil. I have 15 acres of woods which will provide for me. I am doing things again and in control now!
OK, that's enough cutting, time to haul and split and stack. Head to my little garden tractor i bought along with this place last fall, complete with the handy-dandy utility cart perfect for hauling firewood on a fine day such as today. The trusty little steed needs to get started anyway, hadn't been up and running since October.
The damn thing won't start. The battery is dead. Cora had not turned the key all the way off the last time she used it this fall. For the next hour i attempt to start it with my aging charger but it will not go. In the meanwhile, the day is getting long, it is starting to drizzle/turning to rain, and not only do i have to move all this wood to my basement, but i need to split a lot of it first. And the house is not getting any warmer.
OK, i am now *so* glad that i bought one of those two-wheeled wheelbarrows last fall, they are so much more stable than the one-wheeled ones. The next two hours are spent alternately hauling loads of wood to the house with trying to restart the garden tractor, to no avail. I finish hauling without the help of my mechanical friend, abandon the battery charger, and grab my splitting maul.
Another three hours later, the wood is split and in the basement. I fill and fire up the wood furnace as the house is at a comfy 54F (not all that bad, actually, if you're just coming in from a full days worth of back-breaking woodcutting, which, incidentally, has now left your body in a pretty good state of pain).
Talk about "Planning For The Future"... or lack thereof... : ) Well, at least i planned enough to buy this little place with its woods and ample dead and downed firewood. I figure i've got enough of the D&D to last me the rest of the balance of this heating season, the next, and maybe a little for the next. In retrospect, I know i should have concentrated more on putting up the wood, but i was thinking more of saving it for the future in a couple of years. Was going to burn the oil while it was cheap and i had the $. Plus, we had an incredible first garden this year, which took a lot of time to deal with. Whatever financial difficulties i face this year, i have a freezer full of wonderful and tasty produce that Cora and i put up this fall. I will not go hungry.
Well, tomorrow i shall do more of the same and hopefully get my wood transport operational. Plus i shall commence to girdling (sp?) my wood for a couple of years from now. For those of you unfamiliar, girdling is the process whereby you make a shallow 1/2" or so cut around the girth of a tree that you are going to want to burn for heat. The cut prevents water from flowing to the leaves, thus killing the tree. The dead tree dries out for a couple of years and then you are ready to harvest for the stove.
Peak Oil came home to me today big-time, as an example of all the big and little things that are going to have to come together seamlessly if i am going to make this work. It all sounds so simple on paper to "heat with wood". The actual work involved in doing so is not to be discounted. I have known this fact for decades, having heated exclusively with wood before, but i kind of forgot about it in recent years with having the convenience of a furnace with thermostat. What an eye-opener.
Well, at least the house is at a comfy 68F (warmer than i ever let it get with the oil furnace, but that's the nature of wood heat). And the kitchen has been cleaned to a spotless state. Tomorrow is more woodcutting, interspersed with getting the laundry done. I shall also create a stupendous Thai meal for myself when it gets dark with veggies from the freezer.
I know that Cora is looking down at me from Heaven with a satisfied smile on her face.
Thank You, My Love, for getting me off my ass.