A Work in Progress

Posted: November 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

As you know, we recently bought a new electric piano, and it has the function to record what you play on it digitally. We wanted to give an example of the piano playing, and we were already practicing the Dvorak Slavonic Dances, Opus 72, number 1. It’s a pretty hard piece, but we did our best and finally got a decent recording (we left out the middle section).

It’s certainly not perfect; it’s still a work in progress, but this recording is what we’ve done so far. The piece for some reason seems harder to play on an electric piano than a real one. And my final excuse is that I am a trumpet player, not a pianist :)

Anyway, we like our electric piano because we can practice in our bedroom with the volume down and not bother a soul. It was definitely a good buy for our family!



Most of you have probably heard about the EPA’s desire to make all wood-burning stoves obsolete. They would like to use a variety of methods to accomplish their goal. These you can read about for yourself.

Here, in our neighborhood, we have some older people who make extensive use of their wood stoves during the cold weather.

Unfortunately, some of them think it is cold when it is 60ºF outside, and so they have a “fire” burning – more like simmering. When you go out to take a walk or to ride your bike, you can begin to understand why some people with, for instance, asthma, complain about the use of wood-stoves.

It smells horrible (if you’ve never smelled the results of a wood-stove on simmer, you probably don’t know what I mean) and even for a person without a breathing issue, it can make it difficult to breath if you’re exerting.

We have a wood-stove, and to prevent massive amounts of smoke contaminating the outside air, we burn it hot. We burn dry, seasoned wood which does not smoke and we only burn it when it is below 40ºF. We have an EPA approved catalytic wood stove from Vermont Castings. And we really like our wood stove; it saves a lot of money since we don’t have to run the heat pump. We would also like to be able to continue using it for heat, so we want people to try to not gain the attention of the dreaded EPA.

Burn your stoves hot. Get a good stove, and for the love of pie, burn dry and seasoned wood! Hopefully if everyone does this, all of us can continue keeping ourselves warm in the wintertime the way we want to – by burning wood.

Fancy New Food!

Posted: November 24, 2015 in Articles

The title expresses excitement. In reality, it’s rather sarcastic.

But I think there’s good reason. You see, a restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey, called Elements, is serving food which I imagine is supposed to be fancy. They use very unique ingredients (some of which I’ve never heard of), and their “seasonally driven menu” is different every day.

The pictures I have seen look… uh, well, original! It looks like they use a lot of flowers, which I’ve never been a fan of, but I can understand it. But then I also saw a dogwood branch in one dish. That was not very interesting to me.

I’m just wondering why we can’t keep normal food. I think if you try to be aware enough of what you’re eating and try to make it nutritious, there’s no reason to eat like this. I can’t imagine it tastes that much better, and personally, I might feel a bit stupid eating at Elements.

I also think that only the very wealthy/privileged can eat menus such as the ones found at Elements. A four-course menu costs $79.00. I’m glad we aren’t wealthy if you have to eat stuff like this! I’d rather just go into the woods and eat for free.

Source: http://www.philly.com/philly/food/20151122_LaBan_review_Elements_Princeton.html

The New United States?

Posted: November 22, 2015 in Articles

We wrote about the email we received last week from our church about some suspicious activity, as you may know. It told us that all doors would be locked during the service except for the front door and that there would be police presence from now on.

Today, we went to the Bible study before worship, but when we got to the sanctuary to attend the service, the pastor announced that the service would be canceled. The FBI told them to have everyone leave and that no further activities (small groups and youth group) would take place today.

Apparently, the church was broken into last night and nothing was taken, but the FBI was worried about what may have been left at the church because of the person who caused concern in the first place. So the FBI was going to do a thorough search of the buildings. We just prayed, the pastor blessed us, and we left.

Later this afternoon, we got an email saying that the FBI had completed their search, along with their bomb-sniffing dogs, and they had given the all-clear.

That’s good, but it all really stinks doesn’t it.

Yesterday we received three dwarf pear trees and three dwarf plum trees, and today we planted them all. This means that in about three years, we’ll hopefully be harvesting lots of pears and plums! We got these fruit trees from a company called the Stark Bro’s. I think it’s a pretty well-known company, and we have purchased a lot of our fruit trees and berries from them and have been very satisfied.

We did ruin part of our “football field” in the backyard, but I guess we’ll be moving on soon and we like having food produced by us rather than a lot of grass. And anyway, there’s plenty of grass in our front yard. So our backyard is becoming a series of gardens and an orchard.

Update on Jim-Bob, otherwise known as Broody: feathers are coming in fast. Here’s an updated picture of him with little brown tufts at the ends of his spines as well as three of our new trees.

Our next project is to prune all of our existing fruit trees: 6 apple trees, 6 peach trees, and 2 Asian pear trees. We let them go for a few years and will pay for it shortly :)