Tuesday, December 17, 2013

You shouldn't make a pot of coffee at six p.m. if you can't sleep nights anyway.

But then again, if you already know you are going to be awake, how can the coffee hurt?

I have been outside feeding all and sundry, and I'm thoroughly frozen.  It's good to be back in the house. I checked the propane gauge, as I do every single day, to track usage. We are burning a lot.  In a normal December, we have a good many days where we don't have to use the propane heater during daylight hours. But lately, it just doesn't get warm during the day and the nights are very cold.  Last night, according to the Weather Channel, our low was supposed to be 31.  In fact, when I went out on the porch at dawn, it was 19 degrees above zero.  Not their fault, though. They get all their numbers from our airfield, and I am very much higher in elevation than the town is.  That changes things dramatically.

I went to town today.  Our town is not very picturesque.  We have the red brick court house in the town square, like every small town in the South. But instead of tourist shops and restaurants, we have pawn shops and thrift stores. Down by the four lane road, there are motels and fast food joints, but no one ever tried to do anything for the old town. Most counties up here have made their old towns into tourist draws. Ours looks like 1936.  I saw a man there with a sign that said "looking for work."  I don't think he will have much luck.  Years ago there were old buildings from the 1890's around the town square, and it had some dignity if nothing else. But the county commissioner cut down all the big old trees there, and the old buildings were torn down and replaced by shabby commercial buildings.  The only really nice thing we have in the old town is our War Memorial. It's a  good one.  All marble, with the names of all the military people who served from the county.  When it comes to the War Between the States, there are close to 100 names of Confederate soldiers, and about six Union soldiers. I expect at least some of the six were "galvanized Yankees". Those were Confederate prisoners who were released from prison and sent West to protect settlers from the Indians while the regular army of the United States was busy attacking the South.  This was not considered being a turncoat because the federal government had already decided not to reassign regular troops to the West until the war was over, so it wasn't like these men were freeing up federal troops for use against the South.

My wife is sick again, so now her trip to visit the kids is in question.  My daughter wants her mom to come, but this is a very busy season for people in the restaurant business and she can't afford to get sick. So the two of them will have to decide if mom's visit is worth the risk. I wouldn't mind having my wife home for awhile, but I know how much she looks forward to visiting the kids.

I spent a good part of the afternoon up in the study. I have a big, plush easy chair there, and my satellite radio is set up next to it.  That's a great piece of gear.  You can listen to any music you like, any time you want, with no advertisements. It's crystal clear.  If you want to you can get news, weather, talk radio or whatever but mostly I just listen to smooth jazz.  The radio will run on AC power or batteries. If I'm using batteries, I use a headset. That lets the batteries have a much longer useful life since they are not powering the large speakers on the radio.

Technically, this is a man portable device but actually, because of the satellite antenna, it's not practical to haul it around. The antenna has to be oriented directly towards the satellite,  and have a clear shot. No trees, mountains, or any other obstruction.

For $16.00 a month you can't beat it.  Mine is a pretty old radio, I think it's probably six year or more. At some point I should get a new one but this one is fine for the time being.

We do have one FM station you can pick up. It's a good one, with lots of local news shows, and conservative talk radio. But that's it.  So the Sirius/XM radio gives me some variety, and I do listen to a lot of radio.

It's been a good day to stay inside and the temperature is dropping out there fast. I have one of those devices where you put the little transmitter outside, and the gauge inside the house gives you the outdoor and indoor humidity and temperature. Living up here is like living on the surface of Mars.  The whole system has to function or you are SOL.


  1. My Dad said once, conserving energy is a great idea, but I work inside and outside all day so when I am home I want to be warm. He kept the heat around 72 if I remember right. We had propane once at an old farm house. That house was so drafty we had to wear sweats and long john indoors all winter.

    Hope the Mrs feels better again soon.

    1. I've been looking at the numbers and right now, I am burning about four gallons a day for all purposes. That equates to roughly $10.68 a day for propane. I am also using $6.60 worth of electricity a day. So the monthly expenditure for energy in a 30 day month is approx $535.68. When you consider that only I live here most of the time, that's a lot. It is $80.35 a month more than the same time period last year, which gives some indication of just how much colder it has been. Also, both propane and electricity cost more this year. Not much I can do about it.

      I don't know if she is going to feel like driving 360 miles one way. I guess I'll know Saturday.