Archive - Jan 2005

January 14th

It isn't so bad if you dress right

I spent some time outside sawing wood. The stove continues to gobble it up. However, despite the double digit below temps, I felt pretty comfortable. I put on snowpants, a parka, and a Russian fur cap which I bought for brother Joe for Christmas, really wanting one myself. I kept pretty warm.

Sharpened the chain saw. A lot of the logs I am sawing up must be pretty dirty. They were shoved around quite a bit as we tried to get them out of the clearing. Our priority was not maintaining clean logs, but on getting that place cleared.


It was about -30 degrees when I went over to fire the wood stove at the house this morning. The MPR person called at 6:30 to tape an interview of sorts on burning wood. I wasn't too coherent. I suppose they will edit it if they use it--but in all likelihood they won't use it, which would be a relief.

My Ford Ranger has no block heater. Strange, since I bought it at a dealership up here. You'd think a block heater would be standard. However, at -30, it started right up. It can't be good for an engine to start in that kind of cold, but at least I was able to get moving.

January 13th

A cold front and a bold front

Since I am now heating two houses with wood and Dad is heating one, I am cutting wood each day. The wood boiler for the new house must eat an oak tree every three days. It is really gobbling up the cobs.

Mid-day, I got an email from an MPR reporter who somehow knew I heated with wood. He said they were wanting to find people up north who heat with wood to interview tomorrow morning for Morning Edition. I said I would be willing, although my credentials as a woodsman are hardly sterling.

How finished is finished?

I recently read of an architect who said he preferred the look of buildings when they were about half-finished. I see what he means. As every stage of construction is completed, something is lost, be it a view to the outside, or a view of the rafters, or the covering of the studs with dry wall.

I enjoy the rafters on old barns. There are nice rafters in the Industrial Building at the fairgrounds in Fertile.

I like the look of lumber. In fact, I prefer the look of lumber to that of finished, stained, painted wood. Lumber with pencil marks on it.

January 12th

More on Moss

Carpenter Jeff just reported that Paul Harvey said this noon that when President Bush heard about Randy Moss mooning the Packer fans, he immediately moved to have him appointed ambassador to France.

Swamp castle progress report

The house is moving along. I have spent a couple of hours the past couple of days grinding the big wood beams with a steel brush on a hand held grinder. If I do just a couple of sides per day, it will be done in no time.

More soffet work for Jeff and Dean today. We spent some time talking about the catwalk. The plan is taking shape. It will be suspended by cables, that much is now established. I will buy the cable in Fargo on Monday.

January 11th

Moss does it again

Ha. Randy Moss once again perturbed the stuffed shirts by pretending to moon Packer fans after a fourth quarter touchdown. Right away, the announcers and everybody else associated with the whole sordid production that is the NFL banded together to condemn Moss. Some suggested that he "needs counseling."

Yeah right. The NFL and FOX are shameless promoters of sex and violence and general tastelessness until somebody like Moss crosses an invisible line. Then they jump all over that person hoping that their indignance will give them some sort of moral standing.

January 10th

Return to the cold

The trip from Tucson home occupied the better part of a day. The flight from Minneapolis to Fargo was delayed a couple of hours by an emergency exit light which burnt out. As I left the plane, I said to the pilot--all that wait for an exit light, and we didn't even use it! He wasn't amused.

The woodpile I left behind to heat the new partially insulated house was down to about a half-a-dozen cobs of wood. I came home just in time. Between interruptions, my day was spent getting some wood together. I will saw again tomorrow, as we have quite a cold spell coming on.

January 8th

Visiting expatriates

The weather the past couple of days in Tucson has been cool, but at the same time, when compared to Minnesota weather, it has been beautiful. There have been more clouds than usual, but that has made for some spectacular sunsets. I will share pictures of a couple of them when I get to a faster connection.

January 6th

More pics

At the Desert Museum, the zoo animals were contained in cave and canyon-like structures which looked quite real. When we got off the well-beaten path a bit, we found out that the rocks weren't exactly natural.

Below, a view from Gate's Pass, west of Tucson city, but still within the city limits. To the west is a less-populated valley.