Aunt Clarice is very sharp. She asked about all our family and shared what news she had of other kinfolk. She's more up on who's doing what than I am. My sister Clare (her namesake) talks to her and visits her frequently; me, not so much. I rarely get over to Columbus, and when I do I'm always busy. But today was a kind of freebie, the tail-end of the Christmas season, and it was fun to play the dutiful nephew.
After returning Aunt C. to Just Friends, I hit the road for Fairfield (north of Cincinnati). I went shopping for boots at Bass Pro. I settled on a pair of Vasques ($149 -- ouch). I'm willing to pay what I have to to get the right boots, though, so I'm hoping these will last a good, long time. After that, it was heigh-ho, and off to Jungle Jim's, where I bought a couple jars of Vegemite for the Winter Rendezvous. It was pretty pricey, too (being imported from Australia and all), but I'll get reimbursed for it by the Council, so you do what you have to do, you know?
Zach R. met me at Jungle Jim's and we toodled down Dixie Highway to a Peruvian restaurant. I ordered (English version) Chicken and Rice with Cheesy Potatoes. I notice Peruvians really dig their starch. And then it was off to Wilderstead.
There was a nice layer of snow on everything when I got to the holler, but it wasn't too deep to drive in. I was planning on trying to plow the road today, to establish proof of concept; after all, that was what I bought the tractor for. But first, I had to get through a very cold night.
I built a fire and soon had the cabin nice and warm. I figured I'd have to get up 2-3 times during the night to stoke the fire, since even with the damper all but pinched shut, a large log and a full firebox only lasts about an hour and half to two hours in my little stove. It wasn't too much trouble, and it kept the heat up a bit in the cabin. Not that I was going to get cold in the night otherwise: I was sleeping in an old, down-filled Army surplus mummy bag, and it kept me so toasty that when I got up to stoke the fire I found I had been sweating. So I had to strip down a bit more inside the sleeping bag.
When morning came, I kicked up the fire, lit the space heater, and made coffee. After breakfast, I tried to start my tractor. No go. It would crank, but not fire. So the battery was good, but the diesel wouldn't heat enough to explode from compression. This is the problem with diesel engines. Back in the winter of '78, we bought an electric dipstick to insert in our Honda Civic's engine that helped it start in the morning; I'll bet there's some kind of similar product for diesel engines. As for something to plug it into, I've got a gas generator out in the holler. So, I'm not licked yet, but I'm beginning to wonder if spending what I did for my little Kubota was quite wise.
I walked about the holler this morning, taking pictures of the stunning wintry beauty. Here are some of the best to share with you. What a beautiful day.
Morning sun striking Akes Hill
See, amid the winter's snow
Cabin and environs
Morning sun over Woods Ridge