Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wind, Snow

November 30, 2010
The wind has come rolling in, along with snow and cold, but as you can see, under the blue tarp and poised at the back door, we've got ammunition to defend ourselves from the winter onslaught.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Firing Up for Winter

First wood-stove firing, 2010
Winter has set in, which means it's time for the big old house to tap into the supplemental heater--the big heavy soapstone wood stove that helps fend off the big bills and the deep cold.  I've got my chimney clean, so we're ready for winter.

It's the Mansfield wood stove from Hearthstone, one of their hefty guns.  Here's its vital statistics:
  • Heats up to: 2,500 sq. ft.
  • Burn Time: Up to 10 hours
  • Heat Life: Up to 14 hours
  • Size: 80,000 BTUs
  • EPA Rating: 2.8 grams per hour
  • Efficiency: 77.4% Low Heating Value
  • Maximum Log Length: 21"
Read that right.  This baby will burn up to ten hours, no joke.  Jam it full, close the damper, go to bed, and there will be heat and coals waiting in the morning.  Throw on a few more logs and go again.  We're in our third year with this lump of coal, and as far as we're concerned, it's a diamond.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

English Department Summit

 We met this afternoon as an English Department, our first official meeting outside the University this semester.  We got work done on a wide variety of fronts, made plans for future work, and enjoyed food and drink, including soup, bread, pork pies, and cake.  A good meeting all around, with good folks and true. 

Chicken noodle, chili, and pumpkin soup.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Last of the Summer Tomatoes

Five roma tomatoes are all that's left
The wife put together a great batch of chili today using the last of our summer's tomatoes, some sauce, and other goodies.  It's a nice way to remember what good it is to have a garden.

Do It Yourself Debt Reduction

I just try to make sure my bill payments are smaller than my income and I'm putting away money for a rainy day and retirement.  But the NY Times gave me a chance today to take a shot at reducing the deficit.  Not easy.  Take a shot, and then go back to ranting.  Here.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

To Those Who Serve

Here's me as a soldier in Germany, 1976.
It's the day we celebrate our Veterans, no matter how they serve.  This year, I can't help wishing that we had a better sense of why we have young people in harm's way, with a stronger commitment to bring their danger to an end. 

Thanks, vets. 

Veteran From Deutschland

There's an old-timer that's come to live with me, not a veteran of the wars, but a long-term retiree that I think will enjoy some traveling time, maybe not soon, but eventually.  Welcome, Mr. Porsche.  He's number 914.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Deseran: "Fixated on the Beautiful Plates"

Jered's Pottery--Plates at Michael Mina's
Having made a visit to a new, hip Michael Mina restaurant in San Francisco, Sara Deresan raves about the porcelain tableware:
My favorite of all the plates were solid ones made of off-white porcelain made from California earth (no less) by Jered Nelson who has a studio in old gas station Berkeley. The ones the former South Dakota native did for Mina have a Heath simplicity to them. They also speak to the Japanese aesthetic Mina is trying to bring to the table. Nelson has also made plenty more for Mina, from cups to bowls.
Nelson's studio is open to the public on Saturday and Sundays from 12 to 6 pm. Also, mark your calendar for Nelson's holiday studio party from 11 am to 6 pm, Saturday, December 4. (2720 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley). 
Way to go, Jered.   Cool.  We like ours, too!

Time Lapse of the Runners in NYC

That's a lot of people!  

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Long Haul Through Five Boroughs

I love to see the elite runners clicking along at a bruising pace in the top marathons.  It's one thing to be back in the pack, high-fiving the kids standing on the curb with their hands outstretched.  It's another to be in the zone, your mind focused, pumping along like a well-tuned two-cylinder engine, racking up mile after mile.  So it's nice to sit for a few minutes on a Sunday afternoon and watch those well-tuned runners step lightly through New York, reeling in the rewards of their months of training.  Kudos to the Kenyan woman and the Ethiopian man who won (in his debut marathon), and a high-five to the American Shalane Flanagan, who followed Edna Kiplagat, to get second in her own debut.  Check out the photos in the NY Times.  

Update:  another cool NY Times photo collection of finishers just after they crossed the finish line.  99 portraits of tired runners.  

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Republicans Take Charge of South Dakota

Well, we'll see how South Dakota fares with a full slate of Republicans in charge, from the top down.  Who can stand in their way?  Maybe the GOP can put a plan in place to bring the budget to heel.  On the other hand, if things don't straighten out, there's still the Obama ogre to blame.  For Lake County, the lone Democrat success was Bobbi Janke for auditor.  Perhaps she's got a survival secret she can share.  In District 8, Dem. Mitch Fargen also fared well, now sharing duties with Rep. Patricia Stricherz.

On to the next phase of living large in SD! 

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

How I Voted--Just the Way I Like It

Reliable Voting Apparatus
I enjoy casting my ballot, seeing folks at the polling place, and watching for how it all turns out, even though I get a little anxious when things seem dicey.  But I look things over, make my best decisions, and make the marks that I hope will carry through to electing the folks who will do the best job.  Voting done, we watch and wait for the results.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Mun Rensch and His Threshing Machine

Mun Rensch's Threshing Machine, 1942
Here's a picture that I hadn't seen before, one of my grandfather's threshing machine and the tractor that ran it.  Note the long belt from the steel-wheeled tractor to the thresher, almost buried under the pile, the trailer standing by at the ready.  It's a process in motion, with the thresher spewing into the pile.