Shortest day of the year was Beautiful!

There has been a warm breeze blowing and the temp. hit a high of 60 degrees F. at my house.  This day was a treat for getting firewood stacked and getting some of the firewood split into smaller chunks that can then be split into kindling.  The axe finally has a good cutting edge. The new hardwood stump makes splitting firewood much faster and easier compared to the first sharpening attempts I made on the axe when I bought it.   I have to work on the hatchet edge as I must have screwed up the angle of the blade edge during the last sharpening session.  The hatchet edge is not terrible for cutting kindling but it cut a lot better before the last sharpening session I did before cutting kindling a week or two ago.

Mom got another box of kindling last week so I’m staying ahead of our kindling needs this winter burning season.  Mom had a small problem with her wood stove chimney not working and her house filled with smoke!  No casualties and the worst that happen is Mom got some excitement, learned her smoke alarms need to be in a different location and she met some nice boys from the local fire department.  It looks like the so called “Chimney Sweep” did not clean the Baffles/secondary combustion area of her wood stove.  She got a recommendation for a new Chimney sweep and was very pleased with the quick service she got from this new company.  I’ll be using this company to clean my wood stove next year as I have not been pleased with my most recent chimney sweeps.  People get dead, homes get damaged from chimney fires and clogged chimneys!  I went through a chimney fire back as a child. No one was hurt but it made me very “anal retentive” about having the safest firewood stove possible.  I have the chimney swept every year.  I have two fire extinguishers in my house that are in exit ways from bedrooms to the exit doors.  You must have safety measures to prevent house fires and if the house fire happens, you are alerted and you can fight your way out of the burning house.  The more effort you put into ensuring BAD Things don’t happen often makes those BAD Things not happen!

I have cleared all wood from my Douglas Fir, walk/breeze way firewood storage area.  So far this winter I have not used a lot of fire wood even with helping Mom out with some kindling every couple of weeks.  January/early February  tend to be the coldest winter months and is when I used the most fire wood.  So far this winter has been relatively warm.  There is a lot of difference between 10 degrees F. being your low or your high temp. for the day!  So while we did get an early frost and snow.  This winter has been mild,  with temperatures in the 20’s and 30’s for highs this winter.  It seems that my planning for a Snowmeggedon event like 2016/2017 winter has paid off with no 18 inches + of snow for the last two years. City roads not plowed or watching cars literally buried in snow along the street.  It often seems if you are ready for the “worst”.  The worst doesn’t happen!  Then again if you are prepared for the worst, you already have a plan in place and it’s no longer the worst thing ever to happen to you.  This warm day was a gift and it will get a bit snowy and cold by Xmas.

I’m trying something new for Xmas dinner of a rack of pork loin/chops and roasted brussel sprouts/sweet potato veggie mix.  I can cook a good BBQ turkey, my Prime ribs seem to be good tasting to most people.  Why not try something different? I’m roasting a pork loin/chops this year.  We will see if it a good holiday meal.  I doubt it will be bad as my Rotisserie cooks meat well without over cooking it.  Roasting veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts in a toaster oven add a bit of crunch/texture and the high heat of the oven releases the vegetable’s sugars and flavors without the veggies getting mushy or over cooked via boiling in water.  Never pass up an opportunity to add flavor to food via a cooking method.  Also be careful not to over season your food.  Sometimes less is more especially with vegetables.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

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