Friday, February 29, 2008 5 comments

FAR Future, Episode 24: Interlude

With this post, I’ll be going dim again for a while. Work followed me home this weekend. I should have the next episode up on schedule, which means “some time late next week.”



Sunday, May 5, 2013
Interlude


It has been pretty quiet lately at FAR Manor. I wouldn’t say the calm before the storm — I hope not, anyway — but who knows these days?

The chicken houses are winding down; after they haul this bunch away (11 days, and yes I’m counting), that’s The End. We’ll use the litter for the pastures as needed; we won’t tear the houses down right away (although I have a couple of crowbars just itching to get at it) but we’ll be selling the equipment in the market bulletin… if there are any takers. Chicken ranching just isn’t what it used to be, if it ever was; the fuel required for a factory operation is killing the industry (and good riddance). Poultry companies are actually making more money selling birds to backyard operations now. A thousand homes with backyard flocks produce as much chicken as a single chicken house, give or take, and they can also provide eggs. The margins are better for the companies, they don’t have to worry about fuel subsidies, and a loose dog means more business.

The in-laws have been taking it easy for a while; Mrs. Fetched has been managing the day-to-day operations of the farm for — well, since before I started blogging, and that’s been a while. Her mom has been helping some of the county subdivisions with their community gardens; she did organic gardening before there was any other kind, so she just had to reach a little farther back in her storehouse of memories. (Did I ever mention that she helped dig a well by hand when she was a teenager? ’Tis true.) A lot of her generation, the ones left, are finding themselves quite popular these days — they remember what it’s like to live without electricity, running water, and all the other stuff we’ve taken for granted all our own lives. Even the folks with Alzheimer’s seem to do OK; researchers found out a long time ago that recreating the environment of their prime years helps them cope, and that’s pretty easy to do these days. Some of them think it’s the 1930s, and (minus Jim Crow) it could well be.

Anyway, as poultry farming has decentralized back into backyard operations, beef is becoming a luxury item. Prices are way up — some people are saying it’s going to get to the point where selling two or three cows a year could pay all the farm-related expenses (diesel fuel, taxes, feed) before too much longer. We’ve contracted to sell whatever peppers and herbs (mostly oregano) we grow to local outfits these days. Good thing… sales have dropped off at work quite a bit, what with households “consolidating,” so I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be gainfully employed. If I can survive as a gentleman farmer, especially after taking the mortgage moratorium, I don’t have a problem with that. Some of the old-timers have gone back to making moonshine, especially since it’s not as illegal as it used to be. Now I know why the Indians called it “firewater.” Whoosh.

Daughter Dearest will be done teaching classes in a couple weeks, just a few days after the chickens are gone, in fact. We’ve already opened up her old room for her, so she’ll be all set. I’m looking forward to having her around again… but I think I mentioned that.

Can you believe it’s almost summer already? We’ll be going back to rolling blackouts any day now. :-P They’ve been running PSAs almost non-stop on radio and TV, encouraging people to minimize A/C usage as the weather warms up. Those voltage sensors the power company passes out are an interesting experiment: when they get plugged in, they set a random voltage to watch for and cut off the A/C for an hour when the incoming voltage goes below that — it might be enough to stop the blackouts, or at least reduce their duration. Mrs. Fetched and I have been talking about moving our bed onto the screen porch, where we can take advantage of cooler air through the night. If we’re really careful how we use what the solar panels give us (the windmill is mostly useless from May to September), we can run the ceiling fan on low all night. I’ll probably put it on a timer, though, to cut off after a couple of hours. The vented skylight in DD’s room should help her quite a bit, as long as we leave windows and the doors to the upstairs open.

So things have been quiet for a little while. But if The Prophet is right, not for long: “The day is soon coming, Jerusalem, when your enemies of old will gather together and say, ‘We have thrown off the yoke of our king; now let us oppress the people of the city, as we did before. For we have not forgotten the old times, nor our enmity toward the people of Jerusalem.’ And when the Lord closes the heavens once again, and the land will be parched, there will be wars and rumors of wars, until He takes pity on the people and opens the heavens anew.”

Oh great. More drought.

continued…

Monday, February 25, 2008 10 comments

Bumper Cars, or (Tell Me Why) I Don’t Like Mondays

When I first moved to Planet Georgia in March 1983, my first thought upon entering metro Atlanta was, “don’t these people know what traffic cops are?” In college, I watched The Dukes of Hazzard for entertainment… not realizing that people really do drive like that here.

So this morning, me and a few dozen close personal friends (none of whom I’ve met, but anyway) are all cruising down the freeway, when traffic starts knotting up. That’s not unusual. Flip the car out of gear, cover the brake, and erode the generous cushion I’ve given the car ahead of me. About the time I’d used my cushion, the cars ahead started speeding up and the cushion opened up again. I got it in gear, but I must have seen something sub-consciously that made me cautious. I accelerated, but slowly, and let the cushion build up again.

When things start getting thick like that, I try to watch as far ahead as I can — looking through windows, around, over, whatever it takes to get a read on what’s happening. I saw some brake lights again, and got ready: plenty of room in the median (I was in the left lane, passing a transfer truck) and the guy behind me was close but not drafting. This kind of scenario presents itself probably once a week, and usually amounts to nothing.

But our lucky lotto number came up this morning. Brake lights came on several cars ahead, then the guy in front of me hit his brakes hard (judging from the way his back end came up). I put one eye on him and one on the rear-view mirror, hit the brakes, and got ready to dive into the median if necessary. As the situation in front of me started sorting itself out, I saw several cars behind me weave toward the median, then saw a big cloud of steam and all hell broke loose. Two cars went into the median, and a bronze Explorer came up beside me on the right: BACKWARDS, nose to nose with the transfer truck. I bellowed a prayer, moved left, and gassed it — and God saw fit to cut me a break, because I was clear a second later. It really looked like one of those replays from a NASCAR in-car camera; one where the cars going every which way but somehow the driver in the middle of it all manages to get through it unscathed.

About a hundred yards up the road, I pulled into the median and ran back to check on the others who weren’t so lucky. There were four vehicles involved; all the drivers were on their phones or chatting amongst each other. One guy was surveying the tangled mess that was once the front end of his car, shaking his head, and making his phone call. Nobody was hurt at all, thank God, and a guy in scrubs came running across the median from the northbound side to make sure. I offered several of them an “anything I can do?” and got a chorus of “no thanks,” so I figured I should just get back to it. But I’ve smelled the radiator fluid from the smashed-up car, on and off, all day.

I really wanted to be retired by now. :-P

Sunday, February 24, 2008 11 comments

A Quiet Improvement

Oh grey water, keep on flowin’
Planet Georgia moon, won’t you keep on shinin’ on me…


As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve had some issues with the septic system (we’ve had to have it pumped a couple times since then). A few months ago, it occurred to me that if we could divert the non-toilet drains into an irrigation system, we could take a lot of non-essential load off the septic system and, if not solving the problem entirely, at least put off replacing the field lines. My father-in-law and I put in the field lines at our old place; it wasn’t too difficult but he no longer has a backhoe — so it’ll be a multi-thousand dollar fix now.

Since the in-laws have a handyman living & working on the farm at the moment, Mrs. Fetched’s mom decided to jump into the project with both feet… or at least toss the handyman into it. It was the work of a morning for him to punch a hole in the foundation, run a 2-inch pipe through it, and divert the kitchen and laundry room drains. I consider the job half-done — ideally, I’d like to divert everything but the toilets — but this may be all we can do practically.

This project may have also decided for me where I’ll locate the forest garden. I like the idea of using water twice, especially if we’re going to have more drought… which doesn’t seem likely at the moment, but you never can tell. I also like the idea that being less wasteful could save us some money (like with the fireplace insert). There’s still a little more work to do once I’ve figured out where the water will go, a bit of ditch-digging and pipe-laying… nothing I haven’t done before.

Friday, February 22, 2008 3 comments

Weekend Cinema

A blah ending to a crappy week… but hey, blah is an improvement, right? Things are getting better going into the weekend! We hope.

I always get a chuckle out of this video, even if I don’t understand the lyrics. The only question I have is, are those Mao jackets or Meow jackets?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 9 comments

Lunar Eclipse [UPDATED]

Lunar eclipse (~40%)Of course it would be a cloudy night,
with a lunar eclipse happening tonight!

This was the best I could do. I had better (less) cloud cover earlier, but all I had then was my cellphone and that didn't work so good.


UPDATE: About an hour and a half later, just past totality, it cleared up and I got another shot that I didn't have to fight the clouds for.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 8 comments

FAR Future, Episode 23: The Prophet

I’ve been debating about whether to include this episode, or just work it in sideways. But if I don’t post something, who knows how long before I’ll get the next one done? Sometimes, you just have to go with what you got.



Friday, April 19, 2013
The Prophet


There is a prophet in Atlanta. Or so they say.

He surfaced (is that the word?) early this year, standing and preaching on street corners like so many more before him. But some people have made a pastime of capturing his sermons with cellphone cameras, and there’s a website dedicated to gathering and collating those pieces of video. It makes for some interesting watching.

Fortunately for The Prophet’s “chroniclers,” he tends to preach the same sermon for several days, then change only parts of it. That gives them a chance to piece together most of an entire sermon. They still haven’t caught the beginning of any of them, though, so the site has to go on eyewitness reports to provide complete transcripts.

In the videos, The Prophet is a black guy, maybe 5-foot-9, and looks bulky (although that could be the coat). He has a buzz cut, a ratty trench coat, and of course he carries a Bible. He has a big knot on the right side of his forehead, like someone clubbed him a good one. In the videos, he refuses cash donations (which sent my respect for him up about six notches) but blesses anyone who leaves food or bottled water. He has a refrain when people put food or water bottles in a cardboard box at his feet: “Those who leave so much as a glass of water for the servants of God will not lose their reward.”

The mainstream preachers aren’t exactly thrilled with the attention he’s getting. The kahuna at the big Baptist church down in Atlanta gets this sour look on his face every time a TV reporter asks him about the Prophet, but he says mostly neutral stuff like “preaching The Lord’s word and doing His work is always honorable.” But there’s a big contrast that he can’t paper over, and the TV reporters don’t overlook it — the wealthier churches have set up soup kitchens where you have to go — when people give food to The Prophet, he takes it to where it’s needed. (People have followed him a few times.)

He was recently giving a 21st Century Beatitudes (cut & pasted from the site):

“Blessed are those, who open their homes to neighbors and sojourners in Jerusalem, for the Lord shall open the gates of heaven to them.” (He refers to Atlanta as Jerusalem, according to the site.)

“Blessed are those, who bring firewood to the cold, for they shall be warm in heaven.

“Blessed are those, who bring food to the hungry, for they shall feast in heaven.

“Blessed are those, who look after their neighbors, for the Lord in heaven shall look after them.

“Blessed are those, who continue to work and pay their debts, yet all debts will be erased. Their faithfulness is written in the Book of Life.

“Blessed are those, who make peace with their enemies, for they shall live without fear.

“But woe unto those who hide away from the stranger at their door! for the Lord shall shut the gates of Heaven against them!

“Woe unto those who hoard their fuel, for the fires of Hell will be bitter cold to them!

“Woe unto those who withhold their food from the hungry, for Hell shall not feed them!

“Woe unto those who say, 'I have earned my ease, let my neighbors look after themselves,' for the Lord will surely turn His back on such!

“Woe unto those who say, 'Why should I pay my debt, even though I can?' for the Lord will surely blot out the names of the faithless from the Book of Life!

“Woe unto those who take up arms against their enemies, for ever shall they live in fear of their lives!”

There are some videos of people coming to his cardboard box altar for salvation and baptism. He opens a bottle of water and baptizes them on the spot. :-) Some of them look like they're dressed pretty well, so I guess the Prophet is reaching more than just the poor in town.

Heavy stuff. I'll transcribe more if something jumps out at me.

continued…

Saturday, February 16, 2008 4 comments

Weekend Cinema

When you don’t have much time,
When you got you no money,
You want that Weekend Cinema
To bring you something funny!

Archive.org is a treasure trove of old stuff. Some of it you have to see to believe.

Some of you may be old enough to have seen this in school; I think they stopped showing it shortly before my time. Or maybe I blocked the memory. In any case, it’s worth looking at — first for the laugh, and then the sobering “what if” that is Duck and Cover. (10 minutes)

They have smaller versions for dialup users, although it still runs into some heft (like 10MB worth). Try one of the "64kB" links to the left if you need it.

Friday, February 15, 2008 15 comments

TB01 (Maybe this one will last)

Mrs. Fetched is getting better now. [cue SFX: stadium cheer] She wasn’t quite up to prom dress shopping with Daughter Dearest as planned, but she did get out of the house with DD to pay some bills and the like. Seeing that her world of the previous 48 hours was the living room, hallway, and our bedroom (mostly the living room), this is a big improvement.

But that’s not what I’m here to tell you about. I’m here to tell you about The Boy.

The Boy, as always, was gone all last weekend. But come Monday, he didn’t show up in the evening as usual — with or without Snippet. He swung by late Wednesday evening, when I would have been at choir practice except that I was looking after Mrs. Fetched.

“I got an apartment with [two other guys],” he told me. “I’m just here to get some clothes and stuff.”

[cue SFX: stadium cheer with The Wave] TB01!

It was pretty cold that particular night, and I found his heavier jacket for him and made sure he took it along. He also picked up a loaf of bread (not a problem) and some CDs (ditto). I didn’t think to ask him if he’d found a job, and he didn’t volunteer the information. He had said last week that one of his friends’ grandparents were going to pony up for an apartment, so he may have been straight with us. If so, they could be on the hook just for food & utilities. I hope they know (or learn) how to cook. This time of year, it would be ridiculously easy to cook: buy a crock pot, dump meat & veggies in it in the morning, come in & eat it for supper. I never could get him & M.A.E. to stand still long enough to show them how to eat cheap & healthy; maybe if he comes by and complains about groceries, he’ll be willing to listen.

I really hope this works out for him. Taking care of himself will teach him responsibility more effectively than we ever could.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 11 comments

Mrs. Fetched is Sick

Mrs. Fetched decided this morning that she had me take her to the doctor about whatever it is she has.

He isn’t sure!

It’s not the flu, and it’s not strep throat. Probably a bacterial thing, but who knows? A couple of prescriptions and she’s actually getting some rest for a change. I just wish she was healthy and getting some rest.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 3 comments

Forgot what I was gong to write about

I had something kind of knocked together in my head yesterday that I wanted to put here, but then I forgot to post it last night and it’s completely gone this morning.

Oh well. I need to go rebuild the fire in the insert. Mrs. Fetched has the flu, I think, and she’s not in any condition to go out and gather firewood.

Saturday, February 09, 2008 8 comments

Weekend Cinema

“WTF?” — FARfetched

“That’s just WEIRD.” — Daughter Dearest

So some guy who calls himself “Buffalax” took a music video from India and added subtitles consisting of English that sort of sounds like what they’re singing.

So grab some popcorn, but put down the drinks for this one… and maybe you’ll figure out who put the goat in there.

Friday, February 08, 2008 10 comments

FAR Future, Episode 22: Why Are We Still Here?

A brief interlude as part of the story. I’m about ready to start the next cycle.



Sunday, April 7, 2013
Why Are We Still Here?


It’s a nice spring afternoon out here today. I’m sitting out front with the laptop. Stuff is growing, the sun is shining, the windmill is turning slowly… I’m not exactly feeling gloomy, but I’m not nearly as sunny as this day has turned out to be. I guess the word is “introspective.”

The right-wing spins one way or another these days, like an old Chevy stuck in the mud, looking for traction wherever they can find it so they can get back in the race. They end up slinging mud everywhere, spinning their wheels, and sliding around. Their talking points still work with the most delusional among us, but not even their old crazy base is safe territory anymore. The opinion polls that came out after the bill to kill heating assistance last winter, for example, showed a 3-point drop in support for the goplets.

Even the most un-evolved knuckledraggers seem to have accepted that “they” just can’t pump more oil now, or enough more to make a difference. Therefore, rationing makes sense — nobody gets all the gas they want, but everyone gets some and there’s a way to get more if needed (on the exchange). They accept not driving the SUV unless they need the cargo capacity, and that their beloved NASCAR is changing their format to reward the most fuel-efficient vehicles. They’ve even (on the whole) accepted climate change and the need to address it, although many believe that declining fossil fuel usage will do the heavy lifting.

So it’s been a rough couple of years for the Spewers of Spin. The latest attempt to gain a little traction goes, as Shotgun Sam put it yesterday: “We’re interconnected, more than we’ve ever been in history. Push on one thing, and you create a ripple of push one way, and a ripple of pull the other. And this so-called ‘peak oil’ is, if you believe the liberal liars, is a mighty big push. They tell us that oil is the lifeblood of our economy, and we have to do all these Big Brother type things — rationing, h– [I think he barely managed to catch himself before saying heating assistance, which would have turned off his listeners big-time] mortgage relief for people who weren’t responsible enough to live within their means, tax hikes, draconian regulations on our automakers, all that. It’s killing jobs, it’s killing your jobs, and if we’d just let the free market handle things, we’d be fine.”

Predictably, this didn’t exactly resonate with the listeners. You can’t train people over the years to not think very hard about what they’re hearing, then hit them with something that complex. All the callers were nit-picking about whether the free market would have supplied enough gasoline for everyone, or why it was so bad to keep people in their houses, and completely missed the first point about how everything is interconnected.

Sam’s was a classical tactic: start with the truth, say “therefore,” and then tell a pack of lies that have little or nothing to do with the first part of the statement. Yes, this is a highly interconnected world — and yes, dwindling oil supplies gave it one hell of a push. But every time I hear the word “interconnected,” I think back to the good ol’ days of the Y2K wars. Among those who were paying attention, there was a pretty solid rift between “doomers” (Y2K is going to kill us all) and “pollies” (Polyanna, maybe a few disruptions but nothing earth-shattering). It would have been easy — but facile — to put right-wingers on the doomer side and lefties on the polly side. As it turned out, there was some weighting in that direction, but you could find plenty of people representing the entire political spectrum on both sides. I met CPR after I came over to the polly side, and he was a bulldog & a major Bush-league supporter. I participated in the endless flame wars, and watched and listened to arguments on both sides, and finally identified the dividing line:

Y2K doomers considered interconnections to be a weakness.
Y2K pollies considered it to be a strength.

Of course, it turned out the pollies were right — a domino falling was caught and supported by its neighbor, rather than knocking that neighbor into the next domino. But we’re not dealing with a fixable bug in a computer’s date programming, we’re dealing with something much deeper and more far-reaching. Fuel shortages have knocked over a bunch of dominoes. Fortunately, there’s still enough resilience in the system to keep things (mostly) upright — most people really didn’t feel a direct pinch until we had to give up almost a fourth of the fuel we used to consume back in Y2K days.

What’s falling, is falling slowly — small comfort to those who froze to death last winter, or died of less direct causes — but it’s up to all of us to make sure those people didn’t die in vain. Go look up that “Coming Together” article that ran on Time’s website last month — unemployed people went around to check on their neighbors, offering to “share the fire,” or brought chunks of a dismantled house to people who couldn’t get firewood for whatever reason. Some lives were saved, probably thousands more than what the media wrote about. Others pooled their grocery money, sent one or two cars to get groceries for the entire neighborhood, and made sure everyone had food. From what I’ve seen and heard, the bonds forged in winter’s cold furnace aren’t being broken now that spring is here — in what’s left of the 'burbs, they’re starting community gardens.

That’s a huge difference nowadays: people are getting to know their neighbors and make sure they’re OK, then work together for something — anything — instead of whining about someone painting their house the wrong color or having too big an antenna on their rooftop. When energy was so plentiful that anyone could drive their own car, nobody needed anyone else and the far-right was able to exploit our selfish streak to their own ends. But now, people know they have to depend on each other to get by… and selfishness has gone out of style. Way out.

One of the major chains down in Atlanta has started a “neighborhood pickup” program — the neighborhood picks an abandoned house and leaves it intact. People pool their grocery lists, and the store delivers to the pickup house. Then everyone walks in, pays the driver, and collects their food. It’s proving to be wildly popular, and the other chains are trying to get in on the action too. (How many people live within walking distance of a supermarket?) A lot of large developments are encouraging dwellers to park their cars near the road and leave the interior streets to bicycle and foot traffic now. You don’t have to convince the kids that it’s a good idea, and the parents are slowly coming along. One of the stories in that Time article talked about some kids who realized a particular geezer wasn’t chasing them off the sidewalk; they told the parents, who ran over to find the guy fighting for his life with the flu. He lived, and the kids were heroes. Doesn’t mean the geezer is any nicer to them, though. :-)

So in the long run, I still have a lot of hope. That doesn’t mean I don’t expect major trouble ahead, or that I’ll get through it personally, but things will be OK in the future for our descendants. Speaking of which, Daughter Dearest wants to “vacation” with us this summer after school’s out. It’ll be nice to see her here again.

continued…

Another fire

Remnants of fireThis is pretty much all that’s left of the house just down and across from FAR Manor. It seems the old guy was cooking in the kitchen and something got away from him. His grandson came in and got him out, so nobody was hurt. But the house… well, you can see it. There’s not much left even to clean up.

Daughter Dearest said she heard the car (one of which you can see through the trees) blow up.

I’m not sure where the former residents went. They put up a “caretaker” trailer (going behind the zoning board’s back), but the grandfather is in a wheelchair.

Thursday, February 07, 2008 No comments

General stuff

I hadn’t been doing a very good job of updating this week. A couple nights I felt like reading instead of getting on the computer.

We’re starting to get the hang of the fireplace insert. It’s still a little smokier than we’d like when opening it up to feed it, but it’s getting better. Mrs. Fetched likes how it projects the heat into the room; the fireplace would get the mantle hot above it. When it’s really going, running the blower can about cook us out of the living room. Of course, we’re in the Dr. Jekyll phase of winter on Planet Georgia right now; it’s barely getting to freezing at night (if that) and the grass is greening up quickly.

The Boy asked to borrow the car the other day to look for a job. We had some serious misgivings, but he did his usual song and dance and Mrs. Fetched told him to be back so she could take the car to the chicken house. Of course, he showed up around 11:30 that night… with Snippet in tow. I gave them the choice of going to bed right away (because I had to get up the next morning) or I’d take her home right then and there. After he stalled as long as he could, he found somewhere else to stay. It’ll be interesting if he even bothers to ask to borrow the car again.

We were supposed to have performance reviews this week, then the boss got sick. They do a yank-and-rank system at work, much like Microsoft, which basically means the employees get the crumbs of the “raise pool” after the management eats its fill, and your raise depends more on the performance of your boss in what they call the “peer review” than your own performance (and since the boss went into those reviews sick, I can guess how that’s going to go). I tacked a sticky note to the corner of my monitor with my motto of the moment: Pretend It Matters.

Amazingly, I'm not feeling all that stressed. Off to write a piece of flash fiction and do some reading. The latest Asimov’s came in the mail yesterday, hooray!

Oops, I almost forgot. While you’re waiting for the next installment of FAR Future, go check out Yooper’s Trails. He’s putting up his own story — a bit darker than mine, but anyone who wants to write should be encouraged, right?

Saturday, February 02, 2008 19 comments

Inserting an Insert, The Grand Finale

Cleaning outThe big day arrived at last. We wanted to make it as easy as possible, so we had moved stuff out of the way, including removing the door between the kitchen and living room.

We scooped out the ash as much as possible, and pulled out the grate (which got cleaned off and will be used as a wood rack).


Finishing upIt occurred to me to brush down the sides and top of the fireplace. This yielded a rather large quantity of black soot, more than I’d expected, but I just pulled the cover off the ash hole and swept it all in there. Then I vacuumed in the corners.


Doors removedAt this point, Mrs. Fetched and Daughter Dearest headed off to an extended “check us out” weekend at a nearby college. I stayed on target and tackled the glass doors. It turned out to be held on by two clamps inside the fireplace; loosen two bolts and the whole thing came right out. I sat it outside to scrub the soot off the glass and get it out of the way.

Of course, with the doors out of the way, I was clear to get more soot and ash out of the fireplace. This I did, and followed it up with one more vacuum run to get it all cleaned up.


Rolling it inGeorge’s son Roland showed up first. We chatted, waiting for George… and waiting… and waiting. Finally, Roland figured he was looking for the drill that Roland already had, and took off to look for him. I remembered that I needed hardware, and took the opportunity to scare up some screws. I also measured the door into the living room (29-1/2") and then the insert — and learned that the only way we’d get through was to tilt it on its back and bring it in sideways. Sometimes, delays are a good thing.

Roland showed up with his dad in tow, and the festoovities began. They tipped the insert up onto the dolly, while I scared up a piece of plywood so we wouldn’t have to carry it up the steps. I had to grab from the top and pull, while they pushed from the bottom, but it came in fairly easily.

At the fireplaceWe had laid down blankets and throw rugs in the living room to make sure the floor would be OK. It rolled right into place.

Push!George and Roland managed to pick the insert up without damaging themselves and pushed it into place. George wasn’t sure there would be enough front-to-back clearance to get the insert all the way in, and was telling me about some workarounds they could do if necessary. But they ended up having to pull it back out a little bit — there was plenty of clearance.

CompletedWith the insert in position, they attached the trim panel and centered it up. We tossed a couple pieces of paper and a small cardboard box in side and Roland lit it. The smoke went straight up the chimney, just like it was supposed to. George was concerned that some of the smoke might make its way to the front and seep out through the mortar joints in the brick, but that wasn’t a problem.

And that concludes the latest improvement at FAR Manor, minus any little details that might come up. George suggested that if we get smoke out the mortar joints, there’s some stuff at Home Despot to seal that up. It’s a fairly nice day right now, so I’ll light it up this evening and try it out.

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