We have oil heat as our primary heat and a wood stove for power outages and cozy heat. It’s a Tempwood stove, a “Down Drafter”, which is very controllable for heating & wood supply. It’s rather boxy in appearance and loads from the top, but it is built for efficiency.

Alongside the wood stove, we have a large popcorn can that serves as a wastebasket, allowing for disposal of mail you’d want to shred. We went looking for a metal wastebasket, and found only plastic ones. Back in yesteryear, the standard wastebasket was of metal to allow for the occasional dumping of an ashtray among papers that occasionally caught fire for some mysterious reason. That’s by way of explaining how & why I crushed the popcorn can.

When I got out of bed on January 21st, the first thing I did was to stir the glowing charcoals among the ashes remaining in the stove, and adding wood. The stove top was warm, but not warm enough to burn your hand. I’m not sure how I came to lose my sure-footed balance. Maybe it was by lifting the heavy stove lid back in place. And maybe it was compounded by my phobia against bracing myself on a potentially hot stove. Within two or three seconds it was all over but the cussing. I had fallen forward on the stove, rolled to my right, fallen to the floor in a siting position, and crushed the popcorn can.

I got bruises on my left cheek, two on my chest, one on my right hand, two on my left arm, one on each thigh, a wee puncture on the right hand and knee, and a soon-to-be swollen humongous lump on my right-hand backside. (That popcorn can got even sure enough!)

Nine well-distributed bruises in two or three seconds! Is that some kind of record?

Then I got up and was setting things to rights, and suddenly realized I was dripping plenty of blood and looking in the wrong places for the source. The big toe on the right foot had somehow gotten punctured in two places.

That suddenly got to be my top priority. I was downstairs with my bloody foot in a plastic pan when Clara came home from her morning walk. She’s good at handling my problems. Bandaged the foot, flooded the carpet stains with peroxide, and generally got things back to normal. (Keep some peroxide handy. It’s very good at removing blood stains!)

And we got to try out our new Pownal Clinic! My Doctor had a 3 PM cancellation and took me in, re-bandaged my foot and judged my popcorn can wound as a cracked rib, with instructions suitable for that. That pretty much occupied our day.

TIPS – Tomato Juice Doesn’t Microwave Well – It heats very unevenly. Places will boil violently while the rest of it stays cool. Even with 20-second microwave bursts, it can slop over.

Politics – I tend to switch between the Democrats and the Republicans in Presidential elections. I’m ashamed to say that I voted for Georgie Porgy in his first term and repented for his second term. Sadly, to no avail.
I suspect that Georgie Porgy was a victim of afluenza, having been shielded from a career that was definitely not auspicious.
Fortunately, President Obama came along to clear up the mess left by Georgie Porgy, in spite of all the flack he got from the Republican Side of things. I sincerely believe that history will recognize President Obama as a great president.
The Republicans, on the other hand, have emphasized the “Get Obama Objective”, threatened Government shutdowns if their pet projects, weren’t approved, and done everything but engaged in the negotiating skills that politics require!
Yes, “Obama Care” needs improvement, but why aren’t the republicans working on that? Because they want to kill it and leave a glaring need unmet!
Well, I’d rather have Hillary Clinton be our Presidential candidate, but I’d Vote for Bernie Sanders too. And I really believe that a Democratic landside is the wake-up call the Republican party needs!
TIPS – I’ve got my share of those how-to books written “For Dummies”. And I will never buy any more. They aren’t any better than other, more respectful, books written for average people.

Writing – Good golly gosh, is there ever such a busy time as Christmas time? In addition to the usual Christmas shopping, we have 8 family birthdays this month! And Clara and I each have about 40 Christmas cards to write! Mine, coming from a guy who claims to be a somewhat professional writer, are required (by me) to have something interesting to say. So time is in short supply!

Good news! e-books can be ordered almost instantaneously and at no shipping cost! And I happen to have 8 of my books to recommend:

The Green Flame (Amazon Only) – The true story of the dangerous Boron Fuel Project. It cost 8 lives. millions of dollars, and suddenly collapsed and was forgotten. Except for this book, which is still selling to an appreciative audience.

Thirsty (Amazon Only) – A humorous Western, set in a gold mining camp. It won a prize by the Western Writers of America, was reprinted in large print, and is still available (AS “Sundown In Thirsty”) as a recorded book by “Books In Motion”.

Books published By Xlibris Corp., Available on Amazon or B & N :

The Crossroads Time – A good read for a Teen-ager, wondering what it would be like to go West in the 1860s.

The Diamonds of Kronos – Planet Earth is attacked by a far more advanced civilization than our own. We don’t have Star Wars technology. How do we survive?

A Lifetime Nature Walk – Non-fiction. The many animals, fish, insects, plants, & trees I’ve met in nature. Things I was taught by a back-woods farm boy, my father.

Vermont Mosaic – Short fiction like you used to get in the “Saturday Evening Post”. A variety of reading for everyone.

Murder, Singular, & Plural – A great beginning for a brand-new Detective, who solves his crime and finds the girl of his dreams.

The Spruce Valley Miracle – Yes, Fiction. But is this something that we will have to confront for real some day? People who don’t die?

TIPS – You Wanna Be A Writer? – DO it! We had no Guidance Counselors back in 1946, when I had to decide between being a writer (Poorly paid.) and an Engineer (Well paid.). I chose Engineering and haven’t regretted it. Still, writers are people who can make a great difference in world affairs. Go for it!

Getting our own message out is what we’re doing wrong!

We should be stating our own message loud and clear! By radio, TV, and Internet!

Like why in the world should you agree to be a terrorist? What’s in it for you? What’s in it for that so-called “Mastermind”? What dictatorial regime is the “Mastermind” planning to ram down the throats of any surviving terrorists he’s recruiting?

How much skill does it take to be a terrorist? Damn little! You’re given an assault rifle and a vest full of explosives. You stalk an unsuspecting and unarmed group of people you don’t know. And you kill as many as you can, saints and sinners alike. Would your mother or father be proud of You? Wouldn’t they have more cause to be proud of you if you were a skilled carpenter, electrician, or plumber, who took pride in your work?

And how much more honorable would it be to learn as much as you can of the “Mastermind’s” plans and tell the police about them?

TIPS – Gift Pants – Be sure to tell any would-be gift givers to make sure the gift pants have a 7″ zipper (Not the 5 1/2″ zipper, unless you’re Female) and to have belt loops large enough to accept your favorite wide belt.

Writing – This year in Pownal, VT., was a stupendously productive year for Apples. Everybody knows that by now, but little-known is the stupendously productive year for Acorns & Walnuts. Any country boy in the 1940’s would have known that, and any Indian (At least up until 1800) would have known that. I’ve been in this location since 1976 and have never seen such a productive year as this one.

The three walnut trees I planted since 1976 have carpeted the ground below them with walnuts and made it risky to stand below them. MY brother and I, back in Pennsylvania in the 1940’s, would collect a sack full of walnuts, take them home, get our fingers stained by removing the husks, and crack them with hammer an anvil, to get at the nut; which is quite good. Kids today are too busy with their cell phones to do that. Any Indian would not have wasted food that way.

To plant a Walnut tree, you plant a walnut in the fall two or three inches deep in a wet place, such as under the eaves of the house, it will sprout vigorously in the spring. Its tap root will head for china, you must replant it soon and water it well. If you want to plant a small forest of walnut trees for their very valuable veneer (For your grandchildren presumably.), you should weed out those with branched trunks. Tall, straight trunks are best.

As for acorns, those big white oak acorns are reputed to be best. I’ve eaten a grand total of one with no ill effects, but even those, I would advise grinding up and water-soaking several times to drain off the Tannins. The Indians did that in a heavily forested patch of Oak trees in a section of Pownal, where I’ve found two grindstones I think they used. One of these is marble about 12 1/2 inches long and about 2 inches is diameter, the other is sandstone, about 10 inches long and about 4 inches wide X 3 inches thick. These are rough-surfaced and only their very unusual shape identifies them as Indian tools. These were the top grindstones, the lower grinding surface may have been wood or stone. I haven’t found those.

This is the sort of stuff I included in my ebook, “A Lifetime Nature Walk”, subtitled, “Always A Babe In The Woods”, available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

TIPS – Controlled Temperature In The Toilet Tank – I can’t recommend avoiding toilet tank condensation by piping hot water to the tank unless the toilet under consideration is infrequently used. I did pipe up one toilet with manual hot and cold water valves, and it wasn’t worth the trouble. As an original installation though, it may be worth while with a single temperature-controlled valve.

WRITING – I have a web site, DequasieBooks.com, which I haven’t updated for some 2 1/2 years. Part of the reason is that I’ve been updating it on a Windows 98 computer. Sort of out-dated isn’t it? Tell me about it.

The printer with my old ’98 died a couple of years ago, and they don’t make ’98-compatible printers anymore. Likewise, my old ’98 is beset with start-up problems, such that it sometimes requires 3 or 4 start-ups until a good one pops up. My one lucky break is that I can still down-load my HTML code to 3 12 inch floppy discs.

When I got my Windows 7 computer, it no longer came equipped with a slot for 3 1/2 floppy disks. Fortunately, there was an external drive for 3 1/2 floppies, which I got. And that’s when I discovered that there’s some sort of glitch to installing a web site on a Windows 7 computer. The book that “Should Have Come With The Computer” doesn’t reveal what that glitch is. Neither does the “Windows 7 For Dummies” book reveal the secret glitch. So, I finally have to ask for help from the lady who originally taught me HTML code and how to install it on my ’98 computer.

My, new, improved, web site, DequasieBooks.Com should appear in mid-October.

Tips – How Many Engineers Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb? – If it’s a rear turn signal on an ’03 Ford Taurus, it can’t be done. One gets the lining out of the way in the trunk, discovers that it requires removing 5 nuts that require a deep-socket wrench. Once that is done, it looks like that expensive piece of ruby-red plastic enclosing the failed bulb should come right off. A bit of prying with screwdrivers seems like it should work or shatter that expensive piece of ruby-red plastic, if that were the right way to do it. Okay, time to consult a friendly garage mechanic who had the special tool that pops the expensive ruby-red cover off. Only a Ford engineer would know to do that. Any other engineer would assume he’s doing something wrong.

September 5 was very normal up until 3 PM.  I had just finished shaving and was all set to take a 1-hour nap before church. That’s when I noticed that my hands were very cold and I was starting to shiver. It was a warm day, but I put a folded quilt over my hands  and kept it there for an hour. After a sleepless hour, I was still shivering and decided that God didn’t want me in church that day.

I got under two heavy Afghans, fell asleep, and woke up boiling hot. After cooling down in a chair, I realized I had no appetite and felt a bit queasy at the thought of food. Then I asked the wife  to drive me to the hospital. At the emergency room, I said I’d had a very bad day and they admitted me. (Maybe because I’m 85 and have a history of high blood pressure.)

Anyway, they ran all sorts of tests on me from 8 PM until 2 AM before turning me loose without finding anything wrong.   So I went home, feeling that I had wasted everybody’s time.

Then I got a call the next morning to come back to the hospital because a blood culture was showing bacteria in the bloodstream; a potentially serious or deadly thing. That’s when I sort of wished that the emergency room visit had been a waste of time.

Another blood test confirmed the  bacterial infection in the bloodstream  and  I spent 3 days getting an intravenous antibiotic four times per day. I felt perfectly all right. The hospital food was excellent, I was very well treated, and I even enjoyed a card game with my visitors one evening. Still, ingrate that I am, I had things I wanted to do in the outside world and I was turned loose on the 8 th  with a prescription for a follow-up antibiotic.

The medical mystery remains unresolved: How did the bacterial get into the bloodstream in the first place? Tentatively, it seems possible that an intestinal glitch too minor to bother me may have done the dirty work.  The unsung medical heroes at the Southern Vermont Medical Center have done it again; they saved a wretch like me who didn’t know he needed saving.

TIPS   –  Need  to swat a fly who can’t be swatted? –  A fly only needs 0.7 seconds to evade your hand. I once worked with delicate lab glassware where two fly-killing methods worked:

(1) Take a clear piece of adhesive tape, about a foot long. Hold it in both hands, center the fly in the middle, and bring the tape, adhesive side down, over the fly. He will watch your hands, but can’t see the tape. With luck or practice, he will get stuck to the tape.

(2) Take a rubber band, hook it over an index finger and use the other hand to stretch  the rubber band and take aim at the fly. With practice, you’ll get it most of the time.