Thursday, January 21, 2021

Journal, Day 308: Back Online

31 this morning, felt colder. Some clear skies and sun today in between clouds, but no precipation. We've had little flurries here and there for days it seems. I like them.

The internet is all fixed! The repairman came as scheduled yesterday and found that not only did my dish have an issue, but the modem had got fried too. Apparently water got into the something-or-other on the satellite dish, and that shorted out the modem. So new modem, and all is well. Fortunately I pay monthly on my bill for any repair work or this would have been pricey.

I spent the morning yesterday in the kitchen, cooking and listening to the inauguration. I was surprised to find myself close to tears as I listened. It seems that for many of us, yesterday was the release of 4 years of stress. It was comforting to hear people speaking civilly, not crowing about themselves and not denigrating others. Now if only that can continue. We need an end to the hate and vitriol that has plagued us for the past 4 years. I have to admit, however, that I don't hold out hope that this will happen any time soon. There are too many angry people, and too many who have decided that maybe violence is the way to get what they want. So while yesterday was uplifting and hopeful, I still worry about what may come next. I don't think we've seen the last of the para-military groups.

I know people are as disappointed and unhappy as I was after the last election, and will be making that known. That's okay. That's normal. But let us all hope that it stays verbal, and not turn to violent action.

But enough of politics. I've been a little housebody lately, just cleaning and sorting and cooking. It's wonderful to have time for these simple things--even though they wear me out! Yesterday I made noodles again, a double batch so I'd have plenty to store away for later use. 



I'm trying to use as many eggs as I can since our hens are laying like crazy.  I've made quiche and deviled eggs too, and bread that calls for eggs in the recipe. Still, they do pile up so we give away quite a few.


This is honey oatmeal bread; another batch is rising as I write. I think it's our favorite. And below is the turkey broth I canned last Thursday. It is totally tasty. Can't wait to make soup with it.


My garden seeds arrived, and the new greenhouse is on the way. It seems incredible to be thinking about gardens already, but here we are. I'll be seeding lettuce and cabbages in less than a month. How the time does fly. Have you ordered seeds yet? 

Larry managed to unclog the septic line, thank goodness; now we wait to be sure that's all there was to the problem. A stinky job! I'n fortunate to have a man who tackles such things without complaint. Now he's found a leak in the drain from the sink, so that's on the list to be dealt with next.

I'm back to painting too, and have almost finished a little table and a small dresser with mirror. No photos as they're in the back room and I can't get a good picture there, but maybe tomorrow I'll be able to.

I was so glad to hear from my cousin Julie in England that Aunt Grace has had her first Covid vaccine. Aunt Grace is 99 1/2, and still in good health overall. I had hoped to be able to go to England this summer for her 100th birthday, but it may have to be a Zoom visit if the virus is still on the loose.

That's about the news that isn't, to quote Garrison Keillor. 


Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Covid Journal, Day 305: Internet Limbo and Road Trip

Cold and snowy. The same as it's been since Friday--flurries, occasional a little accumulation which melts off quickly, then more flurries or occasionally rain. Definitely inside weather. Temperatures in the low 30's during the day, and not much change at night.

Well. I often brag about my internet service and how good it is, and then wham, it goes down. For days. 

At first it was a network outage, but now it seems the problem is with our equipment and the tech can't be here til Wednesday. 

So this old dog is learning new tricks. I had eBay sales that needed to be shipped, but without my computer, how could I get to the printer to print them? There is, it seems, a way. Actually two ways.

First I found that I could buy the labels on my phone and download them. Then I could hook my phone to my laptop via USB, and eventually get the labels to download to the laptop and thus to the printer. It took a lot of time, and I could not find a way to adjust package weight if it needed to be done, so some had to ship as they were, a little over the weight I'd entered when I listed the items. I think the Post Office will bill me for the overage, but I hate having them have to do an extra step.

Then a Facebook eBay group with lots of younger people told me I could make a hotspot with my phone. I'd heard of this but was absolutely clueless how to do it. Much finagling this morning and this afternoon, a useless call to the ATandT store where I bought the phone, more finagling and finally it's working. Fingers crossed. 

Technology is amazing, and sometimes an amazing and total pain in the patooty.

And then there's the old tech--our septic system. Suddenly the toilet does not want to flush. Larry spent a few hours of quality time with the snake, with no luck. So now he's digging up the lid to the septic tank, and probably we'll have to get it pumped out. Guess where out little stimulus check is going? Down the toilet, literally. 

But despite all this hassle we have had some fun. I bid on another online auction and we picked up our stuff Saturday in the beautiful little town of Mount Hope, in southern WV. It was a squally day for travel, lots of white-out snow, then sun, then snow, etc, etc. But the roads were fine and it was nice to go to a town in this state we'd not yet visited. With my storytelling we have literally been all over the state and seen hundreds of little towns and communities so I was surprised to find we'd not been to this one.

A few pics from our trip:
On the way down, it was pretty snowy, but not much traffic.


It was a pleasure to see the Capitol dome finally cleared of scaffolding and tarps. Apparently it needed a lot of structural repair, which has taken a couple years to complete.


In the town of Mount Hope, there is evidence everywhere of a prosperous past, with many beautiful homes and businesses.


And this was the source of the prosperity: The New River Coal Company, which mined the regions rich seams of smokeless coal. Larry talked to one old miner in the town who said he always worked in coal seams that were 6 to 8 feet tall, a luxury to a coal miner. Often they had to crawl in seams as low as 24 inches.


We think these may have been company houses at one time, owned by the New River Company. The above photo is the building that must have been the company store, and is now a church.

This large, stunning building must have once been a hotel. I am not sure what its use is today; perhaps apartments. 





Sadly, this town, like many in Appalachia, is dying out. It looked like the downtown might have been on the verge of a new start, because there were several businesses that looked as if they'd opened recently, only to have to close because of the pandemic. The auction was the sellout of an antique store that was closing up shop, and most of Main Street was empty storefronts. So sad.

A few miles away, we saw a former stripmine site, or perhaps one if the new infamous mountaintop removal mines. Churches are everywhere in the coalfields, with good reason. It's a dangerous occupation.


And on the way home, several whiteouts made drivig interesting, but not dangerous as there was little traffic and people slowed down. These squalls would last maybe 10 miles, then it would be clear again.

And at home the next day, we had several beautiful snowfalls with the sun shining. A sparkly sight indeed.

Yesterday morning, we were covered again with a light snow cover. Today is more of the same. January weather for sure.



Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Covid Journal, Day 300: Home Front

25 and clear this morning, with a heavy frost.

I am listening to the impeachment debate as I work today. These politicians certainly like the sound of their own voices. The arguments will not, I think, sway anyone's opinion or vote. They are talking for the record, to be sure history has their name and what they thought and said, and to promote and protect their own careers. Cynical? Yes, I suppose I am. I think I have been more productive doing laundry and cleaning house today than these people have been with their long-winded speeches.

But enough. They will do what they will do, and I will continue to clean house and sort laundry and enjoy this bright but cold day.

Yesterday warmed up a little in the afternoon, and I finally got myself out there to plant the remaining spring bulbs. Why do I procrastinate like that?? Well, I know the answer to that: I don't like to be cold, and it hurts my knee to dig. Pushing down on the shovel, standing on uneven ground...am I whining? Anyway, the bulbs are planted and I hope they have time to establish themselves before Spring. I planted snow crocus, winter aconite, snowdrops, and a few others, all early bloomers that I have lacked in my gardens. I so want some Lenten lilies; maybe I can get some of those this year.

I cooked another turkey, and this time decided to can all of it except for 1/2 of the breast. 



It's handy to have canned meat in the cellar, ready to use in soups, casseroles, and the like. I can quickly fix a meal without having to thaw it out. I should have canned some of the deer meat but most years it seems to come at a time when I am so busy that I can't even think about taking the time to do it. And this year, we were out of jars too. I am happy to have this turkey meat done; now I am cooking a bone broth with the carcass and will can that as well.

Owl image from Wikipedia

While I was outside yesterday I heard a screech owl. I was so excited and surprised, because it has been a long time since we've had one around. Larry heard it too, a sweet, tremulous little voice from deep in the woods. I do hope he will stay around. 


According to the Book of Days, this was the date in 1752 that the British Parliament voted to change the start of the legal year from March 25 to January 1. And they "adjusted" the calendar by changing the day after September 3 to September 14. And just like that 11 days disappeared. Why the adjustment? This was the year that the old Julian Calendar was replaced by the calendar we now use, the Gregorian Calendar. Until this date, some countries used one calendar while others used the other, resulting in a great deal of confusion and "double-dating" on legal documents. Even now, scholars sometimes struggle with exactly what date an event might have occurred. The Gregorian calendar seems to be working pretty well, at least for the Western world, for the last 250+ years. But maybe one day someone will come up with a new system for counting time, and then where will we be? At least back in the 1700's they took a gradual approach to implementing the new calendar, so people had a little time to adjust. 

Would that we could make the next 7 days magically disappear from the political calendar so that this dark time in our history can be over and we can move on as a country.  But as my mother used to say, if wishes were horses we'd all be riding, so I'll just keep busy here, keep an ear on the news, and pray that this week will be peaceful and the inauguration uneventful. Keeping the home front on an even keel is about all any of us can do right now, so I will hope that all is calm wherever you and your family are.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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