By , January 2, 2012

Here it is, a brand new year. My impulse is to try to write something profound and inspirational about it. Perhaps I should assess the past year on the homestead or something like that.

Frankly, I’d rather skip it. We’ve been listening to the radio a lot lately, and about all we’ve heard are reassessments and attempts to be profound and inspirational. There comes a time when you can either keep quiet, or merely add to the problem.

Of course, one of the most common topics right out of the gate, and no doubt destined to continue well into 2013 is the so called end of the Mayan calendar, supposedly set for December 21 this year.

For once, I don’t feel pedantic, so I won’t go into the topic, even to bring up the three reasons why I feel it’s a lot of empty hype.

Still, on our New Years Day, we were completely socked in by driving snow. Outside, it looked like the rest of the world had disappeared, leaving just us . . . and the cat.

I would have taken a photo of it for you, but it would have been very dull. Instead, here’s the reference photo I took of the wood pile. We’ve been taking them periodically through the winter so we can look back on our firewood usage.

Zeiger homestead wood pile, New Years Day, 2012

(Photo: Mark Zeiger.)

And happy birthday to my “little” sister, Beth!

4 Responses to “2012”

  1. Judy says:

    Happy New Year, Mark. Wow! Your wood pile is stacked so neat! But then again, I know you probably need to pack as much wood into a small space as possible. I found your blog during 2011 and zoom in now and then. I was in Alaska in September, cruising and then a week staying in various lodges. I read several books pre-trip and post-trip about your great state. Having been raised on a farm in Iowa, I understand the four seasons. However, now living 20 miles south of San Francisco for the past 40 years, the nearest snow is 4 hours away in Lake Tahoe/Reno. I would love to hear more about your home library: Is it all used books? Paperbacks? Vintage books? And, do your books pick up the smoke odor and/or dry out or retain moisture? I love the actual “book” if you know what I mean. Was your daughter home for the holidays?

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Judy,

    Thank you for saying our wood pile is stacked neatly! I took this photo after I cleaned up the avalanche I set off by pulling out one key piece the night before!

    I know how you fee, living in Californial. When I first moved Michelle to Alaska (returning home myself) we came from Fresno. You can imagine what a shock that was!

    As you may know, I’ve started a series in the blog about our “homestead reference library” that covers some our “essential” titles. I haven’t spent much energy on that lately, and need to get back to it (as today’s rather lackluster post might indicate, I could use that inspiration . . . ). At the far end of it, I might get around to the more recreational side of our bookshelves. In the meantime, though, We have a mix of everything: brand new hardbacks (almost exclusively gifts) paperbacks, and a few vintage. Most of our books are secondhand, as I try really hard not to buy books other than the ones I feel we really need, like the reference books (and “try” means, like I “try” not to eat ice cream!). We favor paperbacks simply for the space factor, although when there’s a title I must own forever, I try to find a good quality hardcover edition. That’s a list I try to trim to the absolute bare minimum.

    As I mentioned in the series’s “qualifying statement,” we get enough vintage books that it’s difficult for others who want a copy to track down some of the titles.

    Mostly, though, the books that are vintage are that way because they’re favorites I will not relinquish under any circumstances, hauling them from home to home since I left home for college. A few are inherited from my grandparents.

    Our books don’t absorb smoke. Even though we’ve had periodic woodstove problems, the cabin itself does not smell of smoke (at least to us–perhaps we should get a second opinion?). The cabin’s very dry, so we don’t have moisture problems with the books, unless we spill on them, which has happened, unfortunately. When we browse secondhand books, we’re always careful to sniff them. I’ve passed up far too many “must have” titles because the copy has been too musty to risk taking home.

    What worries us is that we have a lot of silverfish, which, in other places we’ve lived, have damaged our books. Here, they don’t seem to bother them! We’ll find them in our books now and then, but there has been no sign of chewing. I assume they wander inside, but go outside for their main nourishment. Or. perhaps they’re a different “breed.” Hope it stays that way!

    I envy you your September cruise to Alaska. I really feel that September is one of our finest months, at least in Southeast Alaska. I hope you find an opportunity to return soon!



  3. Judy says:

    Mark: Would you want to share with us “Lower 48” bloggers what the residents of Nome would have been dealing with if the tanker had not finally arrived with the fuel supply… assuming the off-loading of fuel went as planned today? How far do you live from Nome? How isolated is that village/town? I thought the Iditorod race begins there? And, other than wood, what kind of fuel do you use (for cooking, heating, etc.)?

  4. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Judy,

    I don’t normally comment on current events, but I started answering your question, and it turned into a very long reply, probably a two-part post! Check here tomorrow for my response part 1.


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