The Monday 300-lb. Stove

Jack and I bought some forested land, and began hunting a good deal on a wood stove. When a brand-new one popped up on marketplace super-cheap, the nice man we bought it from loaded it into our truck with his brother. They slid a cheap piece of plywood under it to keep the legs from digging the carpet.

There it lay for the next three weeks, feet toward the steering wheel, aimlessly humming a tune to itself as it waited… and waited… and waited….

We tried friends, family, neighbors. Everybody was busy. It’s a hard time of life and a hard time of year. Plus, we really hate to be those sweet-but-annoying elderly neighbors who need help every twenty minutes.

But when my opportunity to pick up a full load of donations for a community project coincided with the stove still taking up 2/3 of the trunk, Jack and I did some math and hatched a plan.

We gathered every quilt, duvet, and rug in the house, including a sheep fleece headed to some community work of its own next week. We added three tarps, drove to the property, and piled the soft stuff as high as the bumper of the car, fleece below a tarp to avoid the barnyard smell. Positioning the car’s bumper right at the edge of the softy pile, we wiggled the stove out moving each corner of the plywood a couple of inches at a time, left right, left right, until the inevitable was about to happen. When the stove tilted, I held it in place while Jack raced to the driver’s seat and pulled the car forward a foot.

Thing came down like gentle snow.

We rocked it onto its feet, covered it with tarps, kissed each other soundly, and piled the soft stuff back into the car so I can wrap it around the furniture and other donations going to the community project.

Neither of us went to the hospital. We didn’t hurt the stove. We are still married we didn’t swear once.

Next up: how do the elderly couple get the stove up four steps into the house? Good question. We’ll figure it out. Or hold a barbecue and invite strong friends.

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Filed under home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch

The Monday Book: WICKED PLANTS by Amy Stewart

I enjoyed this way more than my friends enjoyed watching me read it. Made them nervous for some reason.

Scare your friends!

The book is a catalogue of plants, categorized in a fairly random order that makes for great reading. Each plant or family of plants has descriptions and short stories about how people found out they were poisonous and/or what they did once they found out.

Not all the plants are deadly. At the small tabs at the top of the page one finds categorizations of dangerous, illegal, invasive, and intoxicating, among others.

My personal favorite was probably Jimson Weed, which grows around here. Apparently when the colonists first arrived and didn’t have good enough sense to ask the indigenous people what was good to eat, they ate Jimson Weed leaves, plus roots pounded into flour. This gives you one very interesting high before it either kills you or renders you incoherent for a few days.

So once they figured out which leaves they should not eat, well, knowledge like that should not go to waste when the next invaders show up… yep. Colonists fed Jimson Stew to the British soldiers housed in their homes. Poor sods went crazy more than went lights out, though. Perhaps the colonists were merciful, or maybe they couldn’t find enough to finish them off. But the soldiers were recalled for medical reasons.

Many other stories are included. This is not a narrative book, but a series of short stories wrapped in information. Also, I had no idea how many wicked weeds grow in desert climates. It’s true that everything out there is trying to kill you.

Highly recommended – and if you want to scare people, leave it on your kitchen table when you have friends over.

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Filed under book reviews, crafting, folklore and ethnography, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch, what's on your bedside table