Timely and Timeless

Blog Post
Photo from the Window

This photograph was taken from the window of the shack where I live. Yes I do have glass windows, not oil cloth coverings, which shows you what lengths I go to in order to be modern.

The photo also serves as a reminder that if you are fleeing COVID-19, or you’re from California and you feel that your progressive philosophy needs a new home and fertile ground for expansion, you’re better off in Texas Hill Country where it’s not snowing. They’re talking about balmy spring weather in Hillsboro. The Arizona highlands are under cold, forbidding snow, and the people are armed and suspicious of strangers.

Way Back Machine

(left) Polish leader and “First Marshal of Poland” Józef Piłsudski with his dog called “Dog” in Warsaw, Poland, 1929. Marshal Piłsudski was one of the reasons that the Poles still used horse cavalry when the Germans invaded with tanks, but he cut a fine figure in times of peace with Dog at his side.

There are a lot of military officers who make fine REMF’s – both then and now, but you don’t want to put them (or their ideas) in harm’s way.

Coal Stoves

When I was a young man, we had a coal stove in the kitchen. We cooked on it and it heated the house (in the winter when it needed to be heated and summer when it didn’t). And the stove stayed hot. I remember that sometimes the pipe that disappeared into the wall far above the store turned cherry red. That’s when you knew that perhaps, you may have over fed the stove. The house was adobe, so fireproof walls – the chimney poked out the side, clear of any wood beam.
My children (all girls), raised far from such things, never experienced that. For them, you simply twisted the knob on the Wolf stove and the gas lighted to cook something. You didn’t have to move the pot over the top of the stove to find the ‘sweet spot’, the right cooking temperature. 
Truth in Advertising?
You be the judge
The same could be said for those sweat pants that advertise “juicy”. 
Old School

44 thoughts on “Timely and Timeless

  1. I like the old school photo about airbags. I personally refer to the middle pedal in a car as "the coward pedal"

  2. Thank God there still are places like yours where a stranger can be welcomed with a rifle without that being wrong.

  3. I’m curious as to why you had a coal stove, you aren’t THAT old. Hell, I grew up in Oklahoma and, even there, we had this pipe coming into the house with natural gas. It wasn’t a Wolf stove but there was a knob that created fire.

  4. I too drive an older truck with no airbags, I will die like a real man. Swallows, juicy? my experience is that if they have to advertise it they don't.

  5. I recall visiting elderly relatives back in the early 60s who, in spite of living in town, had no indoor plumbing. If you had to go, there was the little building out back and if you needed water, pump away. Their stove was similar to your though I don't recall what fueled it, wood or coal. It was a relic from another time.

  6. When I was ten years old, I was living with my grandparents and they left Southern California and we moved into an old ranch house on the Colorado-Utah border. The house was adobe, had been built in the 1880's and had a coal stove. My grandfather renovated the old place, which had not been renovated previously.

    There is more to the story than that. My grandfather had been working for North American Aviation on the Apollo program. He and my grandmother wanted a change. I got a horse, the family got a Jersey cow for milk, and there was land (and more horses, up to about 11) and chores, and so forth.

    But we had a coal stove, and the restroom was an old WPA privy out back. In time we had indoor plumbing, but my grandmother used an old ringer washer until she died, thirty years later at the age of 96. That's only part of the story, but it does explain the stove.

  7. I think that your experience is sagely. I've owned trucks without airbags. My 48 Willys doesn't have them at present. And I don't miss them – but may end up dying like a real man.

  8. I responded to BANDMEETING above with the back story. Life doesn't revolve around modern conveniences unless you want it to. Though the cold leaching out from the pit toilet in the dead of winter was fierce. Sitting down required an act of bravery – but necessary bravery, if you get my drift.

  9. I'd never thought of it that way — but it makes perfect sense. And in California, don't they flock around San Juan Capistrano? People make pilgrimages to that city and your comment clears up why they'd do that.

  10. Or just a plank that you swing your rump over. Countless previous seatings have worn the plank smooth – no splinters remaining. Yes, I've used those. Not for some time, but the memory lingers.

    Ours had a wooden platform (that you can call a box), completely open to the basement, with a genuine hinged wood seat at the top.

  11. I grew up as a young lad on our ranch in the California gold rush country. We had an Ashley half-wood half electric in the kitchen. We used the wood half in the winter when the power went out during storms. House heat was from a wood stove in the dinning room. The house was two story, and the metal chimney pipes were flanged through the second floor and roof. This provided some heat for the second floor, but cherry red was a definite no-no.

    When the power went out, we broke out the coal oil lamps and candles. The pace of life slowed down. It always struck me when the power came back on. Suddenly the lights and TV come on, the refrigerator motor spins up, and it felt like somebody had just flipped the switch to life's treadmill.

    Side note: I see they found a dead whistle blower along side the road. I attended Plymouth Elementary School in the early 60's. Times have changed there somewhat.

  12. P. S. There was little if any smell during winter because the contents were frozen by sub-zero temperatures. The summer was moderated by lye and then a small layer of cedar chips occasionally, but it didn't disguise much.

  13. RHT447, here at the White Wolf Mine, I have a propane generator for when the power drops off and the grid seems distant. High-on-the-hawg. But yes, I remember days such as those of your youth. We had coal oil lamps and I still have them in a box in the garage. They are made of that thick glass with more fragile glass chimneys. Not too much wick or they'll smoke. They worked better than you'd think, much better than a candle.

    I slept upstairs, where there was no heat, in a USMC war surplus mummy sleeping bag. I'd put my clothes in the foot of the sleeping back so that they wouldn't be stiff with cold when I woke up and I'd dress inside of the sleeping bag.

    Times have changed.

  14. My father was one quarter Sioux Indian…born and raised in South Dakota. Years ago we went back to do a little Antelope hunting. Not real challenging with all the animals back there. We had a few days to do some sightseeing, so he took me to the Standing Rock Reservation to show me the house where he was born. The house had collapsed on itself. On the other hand, the outhouse was in perfect condition! They don't build em like that anymore!

  15. Those old WPA outhouses, built by people during the depression as 'shovel ready jobs' were considered to be the Cadillac of privys and were solidly built, made in America.

  16. "They're talking about balmy spring weather in Hillsboro."

    Which state is that Hillsboro in? We have one here in Oregon, but I don't think that's the one to which you refer.

    The scene outside your window is quite nice. We have oil lamps in our house as it is not unknown for electricity to vanish suddenly. Hasn't happened in a while now ( except for one brief period recently ), but one never knows when that might happen. My philosophy has long been: better to have and not need, then need and not have.

    As you have not posted any updates thus far today, I take it that conditions in the PRC are mostly unchanged from your last update.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

  17. Hillsboro, TX, home of LSP. The snark was aimed in his direction.

    There are problems with the situation that the world finds itself in regarding COVID-19. DAN, who comments on this blog may have greater insight than I do.

    (1) When you recover from a COVID-19 infection, does the virus leave your body or does it remain dormant (as Chicken Pox does)? If it is dormant, what causes it to reactivate?

    (2) If it reactivates, the person infected may not show symptoms for a month, while being infectious as the disease incubates.

    (3) People in Hubei, China found that this happened to people who "recovered" and when the virus again became obviously active, they suffered organ failure. Now this is just word on the street from Hubei. We don't know the facts or the details.

    It's a big old mess, and the stock market is taking a pounding here at home.

  18. P.S.: I am also a flashlight junky. I usually have at least two in the pockets of the clothes I am wearing. I am most fond of the pocket flashlights available on the market these days. Mag-Lites are also good.


  19. I encountered a semi-modern solution in the Philippines. Mind you, I also encountered holes in the floor that you squatted over. But one enterprising family had an ancient porcelain toilet mounted over it. You did your business and then sluiced it with a bucket of water. That isolated the worst of the stink, at least.

  20. "…the stock market is taking a pounding…"

    If one has the money to invest, this is the time to buy carefully researched stocks. The market will recover ( or if it doesn't, then don't worry, money will be worthless ) and then one will be much better off financially.


  21. bandmeeting: There are neighbors of mine today who heat their homes with wood stoves. Wood, not coal, because Oregon.

    P.S.: I deleted previous comment because I mis-spelled bandmeeting's name and I had posted the comment before I saw that mistake.

    P.P.S.: I did it a second time, albeit in a different place. I seem to be having a hard time with such a simple thing.


  22. That'd never work anywhere it got cold enough to freeze the water in the trap, though. Even high in Cordillera Central of Luzon (5-6,000' above sea level) a light dusting of snow that immediately melted was a once in a lifetime event.

  23. You can misspell my name, I won’t be offended. I’ve got a friend here in Prescott, AZ that uses wood for heat. Cooking on a wood or coal stove though would take some practice.

  24. bandmeeting: Thank you for writing that you wouldn't be offended; however, I am offended ( at myself ) that I had such a problem with that simple task.


  25. I thought my brother and I were the last to grow up with a "path room" out back and we heated with a wood stove (50 years ago). When I got to the Air Force I was the "latrine queen" probably because the TI sensed I was overwhelmed with indoor plumbing.
    Idaho Bob

  26. This is a great post but something's missing, perhaps a typo. The deadly and highly infectious coronavirus doesn't last long in cold weather, it freezes and dies. And that's why smart people are moving to the Arizona Highlands, because it's safe unlike Hillsboro, TX, where it's warm.

  27. PAUL and BANDMEETING. I use wood as an alternate heat source, but frankly, I just eat the cost of propane mostly because I'm lazy.

  28. The Arizona heat is dry. Once the dry heat comes, it's like the surface of the sun out on the desert – like a sterilizing autoclave. But the mountains are different. Welcoming, pleasant weather.

  29. But, “ cold, forbidding snow, and the people are armed and suspicious of strangers.” sounds much more poetic. I think that girls ( obviously it might NOT be a girl, since I can’t see any other part, which would then make the slogan very ewww) t-shirt should read, “ Do my boobs look big in this?”

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