Monday, February 15, 2021
Friday, February 12, 2021
Thursday, February 11, 2021
We should probably invest in some throwaway coveralls and some N-95 masks before we start the ceiling removal part of the project. You know that when the ceiling paneling comes down it'll be accompanied by over 40 years of rodent droppings and squirrel souvenirs. I figure the squirrels in the ceiling were the original reason for the raccoons getting up there from the outside: those little red pine squirrels would be an attractive late winter snack to a trash panda. Then once the raccoons were in the ceiling, they decided to see what might be hiding beneath it.
Of course, we've been talking about doing something about the woodstove since the '90's. I have blogged in the past about the joys of using that stove, the one that inhales wood the same way winos suck down Gallo. It is a rather crude box stove made from plate steel. It was a used stove when we acquired it. I can't recall its history, but it's gone through a couple owners before us. We got it in the 1970s and it had flaws then. The door has never hung quite right so the draft is hard to control, and the grates got eaten through ages ago. It has a water tank on the side toward the wall, which would be a handy feature if it actually held water.
It is, in brief, a homemade box stove that would give any fire insurance agent heart failure. It is also the stove that was our primary source of heat for The Shoebox when we lived in it during one of the coldest winters on record, but that adventure has been documented elsewhere. And, yes, that is a brick on the front door. It's the draft control. Doesn't work real well when there's a half inch gap at the top of the door, but it's the thought that counts. On the other hand, when I fired it up the other day it got the Woman Cave from right above zero degrees Fahrenheit to almost 80 in less than an hour.
Turned out the size is just about perfect. It does have flaws, of course. Some of the mica in the door, the see-through one that lets you admire the fire, is missing, but mica is cheap. One of the pins for a door (it has two; one on the front and one on an end) is gone, but that's also a simple fix. And, yes, it's looking rather rusty but the S.O. has a sand blaster. When warmer weather approaches, he'll clean it up, we'll get some black stove paint, and the Woman Cave will acquire vaguely more style.
I had been a little worried about how the new stove would line up with the chimney, such as it is, but turns out the answer is No Problem.
This is how the stove should look cleaned up, except we don't have the nifty decorative top.
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Seems a little odd to be predicting possible additional weeks of winter when Real Winter still hasn't gotten here. There isn't much snow on the ground, the snowmobile trails are more dirt than snow, and the predicted high for the day is above freezing. Ski resorts are hurting because even with snow making equipment it's hard to keep the runs in decent shape. For snowmaking to work, you need below freezing temperatures on a consistent basis. Usually the U.P. can count on lake effect snow, but that hasn't been happening. It's even warm in Canada.
Monday, February 1, 2021
And then along came The Donald. The Donald had a very narrow message, one that coincidentally was neatly crafted to appeal to what might accurately described as the dumbest slice of the U.S. populace: poorly educated bigots. You lost your job because the corporation that employed you decided to outsource the work to a sweatshop in Vietnam? Well, it has to be the fault of undocumented aliens, the brown people picking strawberries on the other side of the country. Then through a combination of factors, like Hillary Clinton running one of the worst campaigns of all time and the historical artefact that is the electoral college, Trump managed to win despite losing the popular vote by quite a few million votes. It was clear in 2016 that the majority of Americans did not like Trump. His supporters are fervent but they're a distinct minority in the country as a whole.
It was even more clear last year that Trump's base was a minority. Although the Republicans managed to regain a few seats in the House of Representatives, they lost their majority in the Senate. Trump campaigned vigorously for the Georgia senate candidates, but instead of his support helping them, it had the opposite result.
And then there's the effect of The Donald refusing to concede that he lost the election. Instead he persists in talking about nonexistent fraud and encouraging the craziest, the least tightly wrapped of his followers to keep on believing bizarre conspiracy theories. Instead of disavowing the looniest of the MAGAts, he talks about what fine people they are. The truly delusional ones are thrilled and keep right on sending Trump money; the saner ones are bolting from the Party. Voters are changing their registrations from Republican to unaffiliated or worse (Democratic). Wealthy donors are backing away, corporations are saying nope, not going to finance a party that was okay with a riot in the Capitol. At this point the rational, smart thing to do would be to take advantage of the Democrat's impeachment effort and use it to defang The Donald. Find the man guilty and punish him by saying he can't ever hold an elected office again.
Instead what we see are leaders in the Republican Party still sucking up to Trump. Granted, some of the folks who still support Trump are billionaires who shovel tons of money to the GOP, but getting a ton of money from the Mercers isn't going to help much when the number of people willing to vote for Trump-endorsed candidates is shrinking. Instead of broadening the GOP's appeal, they're working hard at narrowing it.
Look at a map, dudes. The majority of the rural counties in the country might be red, but they're populated by cows. Cows don't vote. Every ten years when redistricting happens, the rural districts grow geographically bigger but yield less political power because there are fewer rural districts overall. There is a distinct limit on how many miracles even a hard-core Republic state legislature can pull off as urban populations expand and cow country loses people. Even a genius at gerrymandering can only do so much.
My S.O. likes to say he looks forward to the Republicans becoming the Whigs of the 21st century. At the rate at which they're working on self-destructing, he might get his wish. (For you non-history buffs, the Whigs were the party of William Henry Harrison, elected as 9th president of the United States in 1840, but then destroyed themselves in the 1850's by splintering into different factions.)