Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Second Thaw

We know to expect it--the sloppy, sometimes dangerously icy, roads; the MUD, the rain and the fog....  But usually we only get it once per January!  This year we've had two January thaws: one in the first third of the month and now this one that started Sunday night.

We are thankful for the moisture, however it takes considerably more work to be thankful for the recurring freeze thaw cycles!  Most of us Michaganders would infinitely prefer to just keep the freeze part until it's ready to be permanently thawed.  Then there are those of us who would prefer that the temperatures stayed well above freezing all year; and again there are those of me who would prefer that from the middle of November until first of March the temperature averaged 5 or 10 degrees and came with 2 feet of snow! :-)  (I can hear it now--"Go North, young man, go NORTH!)  Although after the last couple of years with disappointing snowfall totals and much warmer than average temperatures, I've mentioned several times that we might just as well move South--then we'd at least miss half of the mud, and not be out much for cold and snow.   Someday I'm going to make it to northern Minnesota, or North Dakota or something to experience what real cold and snow are so I can share it with those complaining about 25 degrees :-)

The other night it did get cold enough for us to have some unusual Northern Lights!  We typically have northern lights every night (the city of Charlotte is a just a couple of miles to the Northeast!), but this was a little different.  The lights from the industrial complex were putting on a real show:

We're not sure what caused only lasted for maybe a couple of hours.  Perhaps the right combination of ice crystals in the atmosphere, or something like that?

Anyway it was a good night for picture taking because we got some nice shots of the house too!  So if you happened to come to PotterVilla this winter here's what you'd have seen: 

A few nights later we got a couple of interesting pictures of the moon....

How could a person look at the beauty of creation, or the people around them and not see the hand of God? As Paul said in the book of Romans: "For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." (emphasis mine)

For my part, as the song says: "I'm so glad, I'm a part of the family of God!"

There's another old hymn too part of which goes like this:

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.
--Worship The King; Robert Grant

Part of God's care for us lately has been in the stockpiling of wood for next year. Grandpa's farm has had the blight of the emerald ash borer for a couple of years and he is up to his ears in dead and dying ash trees. Back last week I was able to take three days and devote that time to getting the wood from Grampa's low ground while it was still frozen and solid. In that time we were able to cut and haul three loads of wood home (totaling about 9 1/2 face cords) and one load of logs to a friend with a sawmill. When things work that well and smoothly, I can feel God smiling on us! Now the big blocks are stacked up waiting to be split and re-stacked to dry a little before providing us with lovely heat next winter.

One day we started figuring how many times we had to handle the wood before it eventually made it to the ash pile out back...I think we got up to 15 or 16 before we quit--it was almost too discouraging to keep going! And of course some individual pieces would be handled more than that when you count in the ones that bounce out the other side of the trailer when thrown in and so on. The cost of "free" heat!

Have y'all ever heard the one about the fellow that was trying to figure out how much burning wood actually cost him? Well he started out with the chain saw, added in the cost of a pickup truck and trailer, a new back window for the pickup (the wood is supposed to stay in the back, not ride in the front seat, but some pieces seem to have a mind of their own!), gas to get to the woods and gas for the chain saw, new boots and 5 stitches in his left foot, the second new window, the repair bill for the chimney after the bottle rocket cleaning method went awry, the four sets of new trailer lights (broken from backing in to wood blocks or brush), yet another new back window....and he just about gave up cutting wood and went back to buying propane. But he just couldn't do it--because you see burning wood is free!

Until next time,