Tag Archives: polar vortex

An Offer Phil Can’t Refuse

elderDear Punxsutawney Phil,

That does it. I am a fan of fuzzy animals with big brown eyes, but you’ve pushed my last button. Six more weeks of THIS???!!! No. Have you enjoyed living all-expenses paid in your government-protected burrow, buddy boy? Like those meals 364 days a year?

All we needed was one day, Chuckster. One lousy day when you cooperated with us, and you could’ve gone back to your peaceful existence on the state tab. Traitor. You think just because YOU have a fur coat, nothing else matters? Didja cut some deal with the marauding polar bears and their vortexes? Ha! We’re cold, ya little whistlepig weasel, and we’re tired of feeling that way.

And like those Celtic God-princes of old, Prince Phil, we’re tired of you. Yeah, they lived high on the (ground)hog most of their lives, but when the weather went South and the crops failed, you know what happened to them, doncha, Punxy? All those stone slabs lying around the peat bogs….*cue Godfather theme*

I understand there’s a lawyer in Ohio seeking the death penalty against you for “Weather Crimes.” In Wisconsin, a ranger took your forecasting cousin Jimmy into protective custody. And I see some enterprising young man has t-shirts for sale that say “Kill Phil.”Jimmy Me, I think it’s time to convert Punxsutawney to Mulligatawny, and start over next year:

1 whistle pig
2 onions, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
Pepper Cloves

Clean woodchuck; remove glands; cut into serving pieces. Soak overnight in a solution of equal parts of water and vinegar with addition of one sliced onion and a little salt. Drain, wash, and wipe. Parboil 20 minutes, drain, and cover with fresh boiling water. Add one sliced onion, celery, a few cloves, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tender; thicken gravy with flour. (pitch.com)

Say good night, Groundhog.


Filed under animal rescue, blue funks, folklore and ethnography, humor, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA

♪ Ponies in Sweaters ♪ and Sheep with bright Fleeces ♪

Jack’s weekly guest blog (the ponies below are Shetlands in Fair Isle sweaters, promoting Scottish tourism. Jack suggests we all go there now, because it’s warmer.)

shetlands in sweatersAs I write this, the temperature outside is zero degrees F. That’s thirty two degrees below freezing for us Europeans! Our heat pump is going flat out and just managing to hold 68 degrees in the bookstore. On days like this we don’t expect many customers. Everyone is huddled inside, the local schools and colleges closed because of the ice rinks that used to be roads.

Wendy and I have moved our center of today’s operations upstairs to the Second Story Cafe where it’s just a bit warmer (two degrees, to be precise). She is writing in the guest room and I am running the bookstore from a cafe table.

Locals tell us that the last few weeks are the coldest they can remember for a long time and I believe it. Even for a weathered Scotsman like me, this is freakishly cold.

Winters in Scotland…. ah, I thought I’d left them behind. I often tell folk that summers here are considerably warmer, but winters are much the same. This is not what I’m used to. Also, these really cold spells seem worse because the summers are so hot to me, creating more of a contrast. Then, too, the bookstore is in a big old house with drafty windows and doors. In Scotland, I believe the houses were better equipped to handle cold weather.

On the other hand, I may have just worn more appropriate clothing! Americans don’t work so much with wool as we do back on the Isles. And of course, your sheep aren’t as cute, either.sheep

Amidst the polar vortex onslaught, this place still manages to be an oasis (or perhaps an arctic camp) for some of our hardier customers. Our excellent chef Kelley has slept in the guest room these past two nights, to be sure of opening for hot breakfasts, and people are showing up, cold, wet and hungry for these and her bowls of warming lunch soups. Even our defiantly outdoor cat Beulah has given in and taken up residence (also in the guest room, fighting for bed space with Kelley) until things improve.

So we wait, hopefully and patiently, for the promised return more normal temperatures by the end of the weekend, and–less hopefully–for our January power bill. But I do think about grabbing Wendy and making a trip to Scotland soon, just to warm up. It might prove cheaper than heating the bookstore.


Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, blue funks, bookstore management, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA