Sunday, October 17, 2021

The missing hymns

For years, the Lewis family attended a church near our old home. We loved the pastor, the congregants, the music, the worship. The church later had something of a shakeup after the pastor retired, and we found a new church in which to worship.

For years after leaving that church, two hymns stayed with me, but – frustratingly – I could not remember what they were called or even much of the tunes. They teased the edge of my mind and wouldn't leave me alone. I haven't heard them played or sung in any of the churches we've attended since.

This weekend I got serious about tracking down these missing hymns. "The first one had a boat," I said to Don. "I remember it was in 6/8 time. It was originally written in Spanish and we sang a translation." Beyond that, I couldn't remember anything else.

So, feeling I had nothing to lose, I typed "hymn 6/8 time boat" into a search engine and started scanning the results. After five minutes..."Got it!"

The song (in English) is titled "Lord, You Have Come to the Seashore." I sampled two dozen YouTube versions and found the one I liked best, sung by two talented young women with a simple accompaniment. This is a hymn, I feel, not as suited for mighty choirs or professional vocalists. Instead, it's a humble hymn for humble worship.

Here are the lyrics:

Lord, you have come to the seashore,
neither searching for the rich nor the wise,
desiring only that I should follow.

O, Lord, with your eyes set upon me,
gently smiling, you have spoken my name;
all I longed for I have found by the water,
at your side, I will seek other shores.

Lord, see my goods, my possessions;
in my boat you find no power, no wealth.
Will you accept, then, my nets and labour?

O, Lord, with your eyes set upon me,
gently smiling, you have spoken my name;
all I longed for I have found by the water,
at your side, I will seek other shores.

Lord, take my hands and direct them.
Help me spend myself in seeking the lost,
returning love for the love you gave me.

O, Lord, with your eyes set upon me,
gently smiling, you have spoken my name;
all I longed for I have found by the water,
at your side, I will seek other shores.

Lord, as I drift on the waters,
be the resting place of my restless heart,
my life’s companion, my friend and refuge.

O, Lord, with your eyes set upon me,
gently smiling, you have spoken my name;
all I longed for I have found by the water,
at your side, I will seek other shores.

After some searching, I found the other hymn I liked. This one is called "I Was There to Hear your Borning Cry" and it covers life stages.

Here are the lyrics:

I was there to hear your borning cry,
I'll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold.

I was there when you were but a child,
with a faith to suit you well;
I'll be there in case you wander off
to find where demons dwell.

When you heard the wonder of the Word
I was there to cheer you on;
You were raised to praise the living God,
to whom you now belong.

If you find someone to share your time
and you join your hearts as one,
I'll be there to make your verses rhyme
from dusk 'till rising sun.

In the middle ages of your life,
not too old, no longer young,
I'll be there to guide you through the night,
complete what I've begun.

When the evening gently closes in,
and you shut your weary eyes,
I'll be there as I have always been
with just one more surprise.

I was there to hear your borning cry,
I'll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold.

Now the missing hymns are missing no longer.

Friday, October 15, 2021

A handly little device

For years and years and years, I've hung our laundry to dry. In our last house, Don made me a hanging clothes rack I used extensively.

Later he modified the rack and moved it to another location, where it was just as handy.

Sadly, we left the clothes rack behind when we sold our house last year. It was custom-built for the sloped upstairs of the house, and since we had no idea what the configuration of our new home would be at the time, we left it behind. I've missed it ever since.

However with just the two of us, I'm doing a lot less laundry. Don built me a clothesline in the yard for warmer weather.

But as fall progresses, I'm back to using my two standing racks indoors, which handle our laundry just fine. When the laundry is dry, I collapse the racks and store them away until needed again.

But the trouble with standing racks is the issue of hanging Don's shirts. On our old rack, I hung shirts from the edge of the rack.

But standing racks don't lend themselves to this option.

So my brilliant husband whipped me out a shirt rack in half an hour.

To make it, he harvested a dowel from an old easel he made for the girls when they were younger. The dowel has a swiveling insert at each end so it won't slide out of the hole in the standing leg.

The unit can be disassembled, so I can put it away when it's not needed. Genius!

So here's the laundry system (at least during cooler months) here in our new home.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Rest in peace

We just saw on SurvivalBlog that the mother of James Rawles has passed away.

May she rest in peace. Please pray for her family.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

A trip to the city

I went into the city this week. It was the first time in several months I'd gone further than our local stores. My friend in Maine asked me to keep her abreast of what I saw. "Let me know how well stocked your big city stores are," she wrote. "Our stores are looking really sad."

Rather to my surprise, things were fairly well stocked everywhere I went. I had my camera and was prepared to take pix of all the bare shelves, but hardly saw any. Granted I didn't go through every aisle of every store, but nonetheless things seemed decent. 

My city shopping trips entail three major stops: Winco, Costco, and Chef's Store (a restaurant supply store). I was limited to one bundle of toilet paper at Costco, but I already knew that going in.

At Winco, as I was counting out exact change for my groceries, the cashier was grateful for the coins I gave her. She said they get a limited number of coins delivered each day and that's it, so they're always running low. I asked about other supply-chain issues, and she confirmed they're having trouble ordering lots of their regular stock and are having to get creative with substitutes. Still, all the shelves looked full.

I did notice that the First Street brand of cheese I normally get at Chef's Store was not available. Instead, it was an off-brand I'd never heard of. Still, there was plenty of it, and it tastes fine.

Also at Chef's Store, a sign on the produce cooler door put a limit on some items (this was mostly directed at restaurants, which buy large quantities of stuff).

The exception to these well-stocked shelves was fresh veggies. My plan was to get 10 bags of broccoli and dehydrate most of it, but all I could find at Chef's Store was four bags. I bought all four of them.

Then at Costco, the produce section was conspicuously empty. It was quite a sight to see the room so bare. I'm glad I got those four bags of broccoli since Costco didn't have any at all.

I also indulged in some late birthday presents for Don: a new pair of headphones (his are shot), and some warm winter gloves.

I know shortages are getting worse. I felt like saluting every trucker I saw, knowing how critical they are to the supply chain. According to Breitbart, "Data from a supply tracking company shows that 18 percent of beverages, 15 percent of frozen foods, 16 percent of snacks, 15 percent of candy and 18 percent of bakery items were out of stock at stores during the week ending on October 3, according to IRI."

That's why I was so pleased to find almost everything on my list.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Installing the wood cookstove

This is a long post, so pour yourself a cup of tea and follow us as Don installs the wood cookstove.

If you recall, we fell in love with our Baker's Choice wood cookstove when we installed it in our old home in December 2015.

We loved this stove so much, in fact, that we knew we wanted an identical model in our new home. Then almost exactly two years ago – October 2019 – I received an email from Glenda Lehman Ervin, Director of Marketing at Lehman's in Ohio, as follows: "If you want the Baker’s Choice or Pioneer Princess, I would order soon.  Last I heard we had 18 on back order (they are Amish made and the vendor can’t keep up)."

We immediately placed an order for the stove (not through Lehman's, but through Obadiah's, the same Montana distributor we used before). We were told there would be a wait, but to our delight we received the stove within two weeks. This actually presented a quandary, because we were just about to leave our old home and move into a rental, and had no idea where we would end up moving. The buyers of our old home very kindly allowed us to store the stove in the barn for a few months.

After we moved in to our new home, we transported the stove here and it's been sitting in the barn ever since.

Last winter, we discovered the vulnerabilities inherent in electric heat. Our new home had both a pellet stove and central heating – neither of which work, obviously, during power outages. And power outages, we also learned, are a fairly common thing around here. Last winter we had a couple instances of scrambling to stay warm. It's not a position we wanted to repeat this winter.

Now that winter is looming, getting the wood cookstove installed was a top priority. This turned into a rather leisurely two-month process.

The first thing to do was remove the pellet stove. It works perfectly, and as it turns out, some neighbors wanted it, so it worked out.

We removed the stove on August 9. That was the start of our cookstove installation journey.

Here's the platform base. It's too small to use for the cookstove, so we took it out.

After this, Don cut a hole in the roof and installed the pipe, making sure everything was up to code.

Good ol' triple-walled pipe.

He wrapped hardware cloth around the cap as both a spark arrester, and a means of keeping birds from flying down the pipe.

Pipe all done! (Except later we added an extra piece of triple-wall pipe to make the chimney higher.)

After this, he built a pad. First came a layer of OSB, then a layer of cement board...

...then he tiled it.

You can see the layers of the pad here.

Then he edged the pad with metal trim.

He used a cutting wheel to nick the trim and bend it to shape.

Next came the stove backing. Behind a shed in our yard, the previous owners had left some sheets of galvanized metal behind.

We dragged them out and cleaned them up.

Then Don cut the pieces to size...

...and pop-riveted them together to make a heat-shield backing for the stove.

To properly mount this backing, he used wall-shield spacers which keeps the heat shield away from the wall.

Here's the heat shield, in place.

Then at long last it was time to bring the stove from the barn to the house.

We rested the stove momentarily on the elevated deck, with the platform cart nearby (lower right side of the photo). The stove was bolted to a pallet, and we had to get it off.

We strapped it to the tractor tines using ratchet straps.

Because the metal is so sharp, we padded the edges with rags.

A little heave-ho, and we got it onto the platform cart.

After that, it was a cinch to roll it into the house.

We were able to look the stove over more carefully, now that it was unwrapped. We were pleased to see some significant improvements in its workmanship from just a few years ago. Notably, the back-wall firebricks were now behind a layer of metal. These were too easy to break whenever anyone slammed logs into the firebox, so having a metal shield was a wise idea. The firebricks also seem to be of better quality.

Here are all the accouterments that came with the stove.

In the upper right, you'll see the silver-colored oval-to-round (seven-inch oval to eight-inch round) adapter. That's the other improvement. It's an odd size and hard to find. We had to cobble pipes together with our last stove, and it was a bear. Having this single piece now included with the stove was an enormous help.

The next step was to move the stove from the platform cart to the pad. It was far too heavy for just Don and I to lift, so we enlisted the aid of some neighbors. To make things easier, we inserted metal poles for lifting. Thanks to the neighbors' help, moving the stove took literally five seconds.

We settled the stove on a blanket so we could more easily tweak and slide it to line up with the pipe. When it was in the right spot, I was able to lift one side of the stove while Don slid the blanket out, and we repeated it on the other side.

Here the stove is assembled (sides and back in place, knobs inserted, etc.). All that remains is to connect the pipes.

We temporarily taped a plumb bob to the upper pipe to make sure the stove was precisely lined up.

It didn't take Don long to fit everything together.

Here it is, in all its fresh shining glory, ready to use!

But here's the thing: we couldn't use it. Not yet. Though the weather was getting chillier, it was also very dry. Believe me, despite having a spark arrester on the pipe cap, we didn't want to take any risks.

The dry conditions are also why we didn't do something else: light a fire in the stove while it was still outside to let the stove paint out-gas. We knew (from experience) the first couple hours of having a fire in the stove would mean horrific fumes from the new paint, which meant we had to open the house until the fumes subsided. Such is life.

But a couple days later, we had rain -- and it was time to light the stove! We started by putting the parrot and her cage in the bathroom, and closing the door. This protected her against both the fumes and the cold air.

The outside temps were in the 40s, but we opened up every door and window to the raw weather.

We turned on every fan, both floor fans...

...and ceiling fans.

Thus prepared, Don ceremonially lit the fire.

It was every bit as wonderful as our last stove. It out-gassed a bit less than we thought it would (possibly because it had been sitting in a barn for a year), but it did give off enough fumes for a couple hours that we toughed it out with all the windows and doors open, and fans on.

Darcy, confused by the temperature anomaly, coped by staying outside on the deck, a martyred look on his face.

But then we were able to shut up the house and luxuriate in the warmth of the stove.

Praise God, we have wood heat again!