Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Calendar

Happy New Year!

This morning I took down the Christmas tree.  It came down in several stages over the course of a couple hours.  First the ornaments were extricated and packed away - this year's tree was not heavily decorated so that didn't take long - along with a dedicated extension cord and one modest string of lights.  Having all that stuff together will make the next decorating much easier.

Then the tree was dismantled.  Since it was a live tree, this required a rose pruner and the wood stove.  I am forever amazed to see Christmas trees at the curb waiting for disposal by the city.  If you have anything resembling a woodburning fireplace - and I would guess a majority of the homes around me do - break the tree up and burn it.  You spent money for that tree, wring every penny of value out of it.  Let it heat your home.

At this moment the trunk sections are finally in the firebox.  Burning up the branches is a tricky business, the needles flare up so bright and hot that you have to stuff in a load, light them and slap the door shut.  Then wait until the inferno dies down so you can safely stuff in another load.  You can't push more branches full of needles in atop a going fire, the resulting flareup will singe all the hair off your arms.  And maybe your eyebrows.

This process started at about 9:00 this morning, and only just now have I finally put the last piece of tree into the firebox at 11:30.  The house is pleasantly warm as a direct result and nothing is going to the landfill.  Christmas cardboard goes in, a fair amount of other household litter, all manner of stuff that isn't high in chemical additives goes in.

One thing that doesn't go in is the old calendar.  I sometimes save them with some starry-eyed notion that I'll use those pretty pictures for something.  That never happens but the idea was there.  The paper wouldn't be good for burning in any case; clay coated shiny papers don't burn well at all.

This year is unique.  I'm not especially keen to ditch the old calendar because I don't have a new one to replace it.  I usually put up something with vintage tractors and there has been precious little to be found along those lines this year.  None of the old tractor calendars I've seen really grabbed me.

I'll just have to keep looking.  I'm not married to the tractor calendar, I can branch out.  We've had castles, Victorian houses, Kliban cats, but generally I keep coming back to the rough-and-ready, function-is-form directness of old tractors.

Well.  Of this much I can be pretty sure: now that the new year is actually underway, calendars should be on sale.

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