Saturday, January 5, 2008

Winter and All It's Fury

Pine Mountain

It is a week into the new year and winter has decided to show it's wild side. A winter storm is visiting Pine Mountain. It has been here a day and already there is 3 feet or almost a meter of new snow. The wind is gusting to 60 mph (97 kph) and has blown the snow into 6 ft (1.8) meter drifts. At times you can not even see 3 feet (1 meter) in front of you. This is what we call a whiteout. I stay in the house as much as possible. A person would not last long in this storm no matter how well they were dressed for it. I only go out to check on the animals in the barn and to feed them. I am glad the barn is close to the house. Even so I look like a snowman when I enter the house from outdoors. The house is warm and there is a crackling fire burning in the fireplace. The wind howls around the outside corners of the house but does not come in our well insulated dwelling. I take off my coat, hat, gloves, and boots in the kitchen. Now I am ready to try a new sample coffee from Tonight I am trying Puerto Rican Yauco.

Puerto Rico

The rich cocoa like flavor soon has me dreaming of the tropical island of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a rectangular shaped island that has been a United States territory since 1898. It has 580 kilometers/360 miles of white sand coastline. Puerto Rico is surrounded by deep ocean trenches. To the west is the Mona Passage. It is 75 miles/121 kilometers wide and 3300 feet/1000 meters deep. On the north is the Puerto Rican trench 28,000 feet/ 8500 meters deep. To the south is the Venezuelan basin 16,400 feet/5000 meters deep. The island is 60 % mountains with the major mountain chain running east and west along the length of the rectangular shaped island. The island has beaches, rain forest, rivers, and caves. There are some 240 species of trees 50 species of fern and 20 varieties of orchids that grow there. The northern part of the island is made of what is called karst. It is volcanic in nature and has been weathered by sun, wind, and rain forming limestone cliffs, haystack hills, and subterranean caves. There are no natural lakes but there are 15 artificial lakes created by damming up rivers. Four million people live there and they are a mixture of Spanish, French, Irish, Scottish, German, African, and Indian. My coffee is all gone now and I return from my musings about the island of Puerto Rico.If you are interested in finding out more about Puerto Rico, go to

Pine Mountain Evening

The fire in the fireplace has burned down and the house is getting cold so I put some more wood on the fire and curl up in my recliner by the fire with the latest issue of Discover magazine. The winter storm will eventually leave and then I will begin to dig out from all the snow. Everyone stay safe and warm from this storm and I will see you next week with another story from Pine Mountain.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year's on Pine Mountain

Pine Mountain

Well it is that time of year again. The year 2007 is almost history and the year 2008 is about to begin. 2007 was a year when housing stopped rising in value and started dropping in value. It was a year when people who bought too much house for their income wish they hadn't. It was a year when major banks that thought they held bags of gold with all the mortgages they held found that they were holding bags of sand instead. The mess quickly left the borders of the United States and is now spreading around the globe.
Here on Pine Mountain it is a simpler place. It is a place where people can relax and forget about the worlds troubles. The last day of 2007 begins.

Barn Chores

It is just getting daylight as I go to the barn. The air is crisp and the snow crunches under your feet. The temperature is 15 degrees Farenheit or - 9 Celcius for those of you on that temperature scale. I milk our cow and feed the chickens and the horse. I bring the milk and eggs back to the house.


Breakfast is started. First is the coffee. For Christmas I received a sampler pack of coffees from around the world. It was from a company called Coffee Fool. They have 114 different kinds of coffee. The company believes that the best coffee is fresh coffee so they get their coffee to their customers by mail usually in 2 days of the time it was roasted. They have five distribution points in the United States. They are in Texas, Minnesota, Nevada, Washington, and Florida. You can find them on the Internet at I am going to see if I can try them all. If I try one a week it should take about 2 years to get through them all. This morning I am trying Hawaiian Kona. The minute it begins to brew the aromatic smell fills the kitchen and soon the whole house. It reminds me of the time I went to the islands. I think of sun and sand and warm ocean water. Time to come back to Pine Mountain. I finish making breakfast. We have scrambled eggs and toast, oatmeal and orange juice, and to wash it all down that warm Hawaiian Kona coffee. I enjoy this coffee it is definitely much better than what I am used to drinking around here. Well I have 113 other flavors of coffee to try. I never knew there was that many types of coffee. I am sure there are some I will like a lot and others not so much.


Breakfast is over and I have work to do. I go out to the barn and hook the hay wagon, that I have converted into a firewood wagon by putting plywood around it, behind my four wheel drive ford truck. I load the wagon full of firewood from the large pile that I cut last year and head down the mountain to the ski lodge that has ordered it. My wagon holds a whole cord of wood. I unload the wood at the lodge and they pay me $100 for it.

Barn work

I go back up the mountain to my place and spend the rest of the day cleaning out the horse and cow stalls and putting fresh straw down. A neighbor stops by with a broken tongue on his trailer that he pulls behind his snowmobile. I weld it back together for him and he pays me $20.
The short winter day is soon over. I head back to the house. I am hungry. All that I had for lunch was a hamburger at the lodge when I finished unloading the firewood. Soon dinner is ready.


There is mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey and stuffing, green beans and apple sauce. We have that great Hawaiian Kona coffee to wash it all down.
Evening is here. I sit in my easy chair by the fireplace and listen to the wood crackle as it burns. The relatives start calling and wishing us Happy New Year. Each is in a different time zone so we can follow the progression of the new year as the world slowly spins. Finally it is my turn. I have have small bottle of champagne and I offer a toast to the new year as the clock strikes midnight. I stay up a little longer reading a magazine then I head for bed. It is New Year's day already. Tomorrow when the sun comes up I will do the chores and start the new year. Happy New Year everyone.