The last two days, intermittently, a Woodpecker has discovered a certain pleasure in drumming on our metal roof. This is now Saturday and I’m hoping that it’ll take the weekend off. It’s early, smoke is on the water, and I just poured my coffee.

Our little XM Radio has been busy this week as we listened to ‘theater-of-the-ludicrous’ taking place in Detroit City. Each ‘wanna-be’ for President working overtime to outdo the other emptying out their basket of freebies; and with twenty to contend with, that’s a lot of freebies.

“I am for doing good for the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good for the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Listening to the gang of twenty-plus they’ve come 180-degrees from a time long ago, when it was JFK who said; “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. Same party, but what a change. Whatever the current terminology is ‘Social-Democracy’ or just a plain vanilla form of Socialism; each is spiraling into Communism. And, when I read history books that system works really well.

This week I listened to the co-authors of a new book, ‘Socialism Sucks’, by Robert Lawson and Benjamin Powell being interviewed. Each is Professor of Economics (Department Head level) and what they did is tour the world testing beers in various local pubs throughout Socialist nations while they talked with the common folk living under those systems; all the while testing ‘product’ for quality, availability, variety, etc. Funny and insightful and definitely a need to order as soon as I head home.

André – a local acquaintance of mine (last year the two of us built the Horseshoe pits at our local Community Hall) had a rough winter. It’s hard to imagine for any of us city dwellers where something as simple but necessary as heat is a slight adjustment on a thermostat. And, for those really on the cutting edge it’s a mere verbal command or the system senses the preferred heat setting.

André requires that he splits, stacks, to burn 17 face cords of wood to accomplish the same in his four wood burning stoves.

André lives alone with two dogs in a two-story square house built in the 1800s and made out of field stone. The walls are this stone, plastered over, and the cold penetrates. Boy, does it penetrate. And, this was a rough winter, long and cold. Hence, he had to start using part of the wood supply designated for this coming winter (stuff needs to cure a season). Instead of using the normal 17 face-cords he ended up using 25! (a face cord is 8-feet long by 4-feet high and the length of the wood itself – usually about 16 inches)

He said that had he not gotten his two large dogs to sleep with him in his sleeping bag, he was certain that he would have frozen to death; this was after three continuous days of over -40 degree temperature!

Reflect on this as you grumble about ‘creature comforts’ this coming winter. And if the solar minimum is as predicted we might be in for a few more cold ones.

1661 – was the year. Samuel Pepys was newly appointed to be the Clerk of the English Navy inventory section (almost a directorship position in our day). He was also an ardent journalist, in fact he created shorthand to make certain that it was easy for him to record all that occurred day in and day out. And I am avidly reading all of it.

Hence, we have access to a fascinating look into the daily life of an Englishman during the reign of Charles II. His writings have many a ‘huh’ moment, as I stumbled on one little item after another. His position required that he attend any execution of a person of importance – hanging, beheading, or drawn-and-quartered; something he did not much care for. He fought with his neighbor who, to save some money, had his “night-soil” man not clean out his toilet box as frequently as required causing waste to ‘plop’ into Pepys’s upscale London residence (not good when entertaining). Or, that attending Theater was as good a place to ‘ogle’ the ladies as was church.

Drinking during theater performances was done heartily, and a good ‘bawdy’ play was the best; but it was very inopportune if at a critical point of the play he had to head outside “to take a piss’, thus missing the best part (also missed seeing the actual moment of the crowning of King Charles II at Whitehall due to a similar problem). Of interest was the fact that he did not much care for the works of Shakespeare. He writes glowing of an array of other bards, people who never made it into our popular literature.

Finis – This week I stepped outside to momentarily see a Great Blue Heron standing a mere 5-feet from our shoreline. These birds are very skittish, so seeing those six-foot wings unfold as it immediately took off was impressive.

While walking came by this Raven’s roost. These large birds began to follow me for some distance, all the while circling overhead. It began to worry me for a variety of reasons.

Yesterday Bob-the-Forester and I completed some new fire-pit seating by Bulent’s fire pit (seats were carved in previously). An over 20” diameter tree had cut down and the trunk was good and straight, so a seat was chain sawed into that section of the trunk. Yesterday we removed the bark, cut two sections to raise the ‘seat’ off the ground and positioned it – looks great, no?

Vai’s bronchitis proved to be Whooping Cough, for which she had been inoculated. Not fun to be saddled with a 100-day cough. Get better kiddo.

Derek and his band are ready to ‘Flamingo’ neighborhood homes for their annual fundraising. Serious (excess of $10,000) money is raised with this event – plus its fun!

At the dump somebody dropped off this small AM/FM CD vintage juke box replica. I took it with me. At Northern Comfort it took a little over an hour of ‘fiddling’, now, aside from looking brand new, it all works like a charm.

Marcia and I are taking a mini-vacation inside of our summer long vacation. Neither of us has ever been to Chapleau, about 200km north of us along the Mississagi River. By that point we’ll be deep inside the Boreal Forest with its very large Jack Pines. The ground will be flat and sandier rather than the rock formations of the Canadian Shield that we are used to. We’ll then head west to Wawa on the shores of Lake Superior. That area has hills much larger than anything in these parts and is supposed to be spectacular.

We’ll end up crossing back into the Soo Michigan where we’ll spend the night. Next day, a little shopping for foods we struggle to get here in the North Woods, pump some cheap gas, and then it’s back to Northern Comfort. Does sound like fun, doesn’t it?

Make it a magnificent week.

Tot ziens (yup, that’s Dutch)

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