Preparedness Corner
January 1, 2002
By Paul Vircsik

Hi Neighbors,

Ahh, December on the ranch, snow falling, wood burning in the fire place, getting up at 4 a.m. to reload the wood stove and freezing my rear end off going outside to get more wood because pine burns so fast. Clean fresh air and nice people even in the winter. We had a great time saw some friends we hadn’t seen in a while. You who live on the ranch are indeed lucky. We also discovered what happens when it is 25 outside and 75 inside. Does anyone know where we can buy those pretty window sill thingies that absorb moisture formed by condensation? I also have to purchase a small metal trashcan for the fire place ashes. I have seen too many house fires from ashes, thought to be cold the next day, tossed into a plastic trash can in the garage. Later that day those ashes now toasty warm in their trash covered blanket re-ignite and the new fire not discovered until the whole garage is going. I’m not going down that road.

The un-high light of the trip was driving over Gallup’s black ice on the way home. You have not lived until you see the snow blow across asphalt like ball bearings and then watch the vehicle in front of you, for no reason at all, go sideways and head for the borrow ditch. That will make you reach for the 4-wheel drive switch in a hurry. “Coast, coast, no brake, release the death grip on the steering wheel, wipe the sweat off the brow even though its 17 degrees outside, and un-pucker the factor”. Why doesn’t the new car manual have this chapter in it?

After arriving home, I remembered an old method to light a fire while investigating a fire in a laundry room. Lint. Better than paper and lighter to pack if camping. However, lint accumulation under a dryer can sometimes lead to fires where you don’t want them. Ever open the door at the bottom of your gas dryer and watch the flame production? Wow and when you think that it isn’t in a protected environment. All those little dust bunnies adding up over time and with a little draft of wind to move them around just right… when that burner kicks in the first time… well you get the picture. Brrrr, standing outside warming yourself over a burned up laundry room is just not the same as a fireplace. Try some to light your next fire. It lights easier and burns long enough to catch the kindling. Collect it from under the dryer first. That way you won’t have two fires burning at the same time and I will have a place to dry my gloves and coat when I come to visit.

Happy new Year.

See you all soon,

Meet the author: Read about Paul Vircsik's background