Marsha and humble September 30, 2007




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Below is a rough outline of the rants from The humble Farmer radio show week of September 30, 2012




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Rants September 30, 2012

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1. One day I said, ďOctober first, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, my birthday, Valentineís DayÖĒ And my wife said, ďAre you talking to yourself?Ē ďOf course. No one else listens.Ē

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2. Because I could never afford to have children, Iím constantly amazed by the short-sighted and off-hand manner in which parents treat their little ones. They talk to children as if they were children. If I had a child I would employ linguistic constructs conducive to the childís social development and economic advancement. I once read that an anxious hostess who scalded a five-year-old Aldous Huxley with tea enquired as to his condition. He reportedly replied, ďMadam, the pain has somewhat abated.Ē Wouldnít even a below average child quickly absorb the language employed by his parents? Another thing I donít understand is the games children are encouraged to play. My wife is teaching a grandchild to play cribbage. Wouldnít thinking grandparents teach the child to count cards so she would be able to support them in their old age?

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3. We read that the most common location for manual air bleeder valves on hot water heating systems is usually at the higher end of a section of heating baseboard. Iíve been having a wicked struggle to bleed one zone in my hot water heating system, because the plumber put one section over a door. It goes along the floor, goes up seven feet, across the door, and down on the other side and there is no bleeder valve at the top. The only way I can see how I could clear the air trapped in that line over the door would be to hook what is called a powerful pony pump onto the line and then blow it out. Have you ever seen a heating system that goes up 7 feet over a door without a bleed at the top? Should I cut the pipe, lower it 3 inches from the ceiling to make room for a bleeder valve and put one in? You know about these things. The question defies Google. Iím The humble Farmer at gmail dot com.

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4. When I brought in the last of the cucumbers, for the first time in my life, I helped Marsha make pickles. I don't think she'd ever made pickles before, either. There are many recipes online for Bread and Butter Pickles and most are the same. But one thing they didn't tell us was at what point in the process to snap down the lids on the jars. You've heard me talk about this before. If people followed their own written directions for any operation they would usually fail because they usually leave out two or three crucial steps that they figure everyone takes for granted. Also, any fool can past online directions for making pickles and only if you already know how to make pickles can you tell who knows and who doesn't. Some say to cook them ahead of time. Marsha says in her recipe they donít. For over 40 years I've kept 200 or more canning jars --- quarts and pints and perhaps even two quarters. When I was single I dreamed of finding a wife who would love to have a garden and show me how to put stuff to eat all winter into those old blue jars in the cellar. But I married a Type-A who works 18 hours a day and buys her food at Walmart, Shaw's and Hannaford's --- depending on who has the buy-one-get-two-free sales. And it was only the other day that she saw dozens of cucumbers on the back lawn that I couldnít sell or give away on the Chrome Farmstand and said, ďIím going to make pickles.Ē Yes, she freezes our blueberries and squash and makes gobs of applesauce to freeze, but putting stuff into old blue bottles so you can see it on the shelf in the cellar is different. When Marsha bought all the stuff that goes into making pickles, she couldnít find any jar rubbers. So I asked my brother, who puts up two or three hundred quarts of assorted foods every fall, and he gave me two packages and told me I could buy them at Warren True Value Hardware. I went over there and bought all the jar rubbers they had. They are made in Canada. While I was there I got a new chain for my chainsaw and a new file to sharpen the old one. And a two-dollar hydrometer so I can test the anti-freeze in my solar radiant heated cellar. And a package of #13 hearing aid batteries because I havenít had time to send away to the VA for some free ones. Luckily, Marshaís buddy DD came over at the critical moment and showed us how to do the things that were not explained in the online directions --- which says a lot of good things about YouTube directions for anything because you can actually see what they do as they talk about it. I canít believe how many of those wire racks Iíve had and probably thrown away. --- Those things into which you stack the canning jars to cook in the kettle of boiling water. We had to lift them out of the hot water one at a time. Iím all geared up now to put every plant that grows into a canning jar next year. When I was a kid there was always a cellar full of food in jars because people didnít trot to the store twice a week to load up on groceries. And even then the village store was within walking distance for a 6-year-old kid. I buy my seeds in Maine. Where do you get yours?

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5. I donít know how many pair of reading glasses I lost last summer. When I bend over to pick rhubarb, they fall out of my pocket when Iím not looking and are not seen again until the lawnmower runs over them in the fall. Today I happen to be wearing a shirt with a fold-over tab of cloth and a button on the pocket. The glasses couldnít fall out. Which made me think that all I have to do is put a safety pin on my shirt pocket when I get up in the morning. I pass this along to you as a public service because even though I might not get another 40 years of value out of this glasses saving information, I hope that you might.

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6. Do you know anything about radiant heat? I just got my furnace in shape for the winter and because it was a cloudy day I thought Iíd test it out and see how it worked on the solar radiant heated floor in my cellar. You understand that I can heat my cellar floor with rays from the sun, or, during a cloudy stretch, by turning various valves I can also heat my cellar floor with the hot liquid in my boiler. Well. I made the mistake of leaving it on for an hour or so. Wow. It doesn't take much to do the job and I bet the heat will hang in there for three days. The temperature in my cellar room went from 69 or so to 77 in around a couple of hours. It got too hot, so Iím going to have to learn how to control it. You get a headache working in 78 degree heat. You might remember that the other day I mentioned that my feet didn't get warm on the concrete floor. But because the temperature of the hot liquid going in from the furnace is much higher than from the solar heated panel outside, the concrete floor beneath my feet got very warm. The liquid even comes out of the three 100-foot runs almost as hot as when it went in, so there is not that much effort or expense to bring the liquid back up to about boiling. Although I don't plan to do it, there might not be that much cost to heat this slab with oil heat. Anyone who doesn't put the little pex pipes into their floors when building a new place --- or an extension or a garage --- even though they might not hook them up for a few years --- is missing a big money saving trick. Besides generating a pleasant environment in which to work. Education is certainly the key and I enjoy my solar toys so much that Iím going to keep telling you about them and suggesting that you talk with me or other people who have them. Isnít it too bad that almost the entire economic and political and social systems in the country are against solar radiant heat.

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7. One day I spent 11 hours trying to take the water out of my heating system and putting anti-freeze back into my heating system. Iím never going to do it again, because next year my hot water solar panels will be operating on a system of their very own. There is a trick to purging the air from pipes and I bought a $68 pump before I finally figured out what it was. I plan to post the process on line with pictures so that others with a low IQ will not have to waste all day figuring it out as I did.

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8. My buddy Doc Reed sent me a book by Mike Royko. Royko was the best newspaper columnist that Iíve ever read. The 1986 stories are dated, as arenít we all, in that he compares being not allowed to smoke in a restaurant with not being allowed to talk in a restaurant. In 1986 he wrote about telephones that you carry about with you and said heíd never have one. Mike Royko wrote things that, if read on the radio, would have shut him down within weeks --- religion, politics, the little things that we all do and say and think about. His column was carried in 525 newspapers. Mike Royko wrote one of the best columns I have ever read in a newspaper. It was about the only man who survived a war. He walked from NYC to the west coast seeing nothing. When He got to LA he finally met a human being. Probably the only two people in the world who survived a horrendous war that wiped out the rest of humanity. And when they met, what do you suppose the first question was. "Who won the World Series?"

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9. There was an unkind comment about Lewiston, Maine in the paper that was so unkind that I have to repeat it for you now. Some person wrote in, ďI've been to Lewiston plenty of timesÖ. I think they should welcome any culture they can get their hands on!!!.Ē

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10. Hereís a letter from radio friend Tim. Unlike some radio friends who have hung in there with your buddy humble for 30 or so years, Tim is a relatively new member to the club. But he has distinguished himself and caused me to look forward to his emails because he writes things like this. Tim says: "I attended eight schools in six states between preschool and the end of high school. Some were public, some were private. They varied considerably in standards and their application. One thing I can say for private schools: you get beaten up by a better class of person."

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11. Thank you for listening. I love to hear from you. Iím The humble Farmer at gmail dot com and if your email doesnít get through to me I canít understand why because a sprinkling of spam does get through to me. I do answer all emails so if you donít hear back, I didnít get it. You donít need to write a letter like this one I got from Brad, although letters like this are what keep me going. Brad, who has asked me to send him my newsletter, the weekly Whine and Snivel, says, ďKeep sending me emails. You are one of my life-lines to anything sane. Every time I read one of your emails, I pretend that I'm hearing it on the radio, just like the old days. humble farmer, doctor demento, and larry glick....The holy trinity of radio gods when all three could be heard on a tiny transistor radio from my home in Mass. You are a part of my formal education that I received when I was young. Your lessons were the best that I received despite having paid "nothing" for them Ö . Professor farmer, thanks. Every night you made a broadcast, I was listening and missed very few lessons. Your "humble" Servant, brad

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12. From time to time one has guests with whom a thrifty host immediately bonds and one was here at our home last week. An out of state friend showed up with her brother and it is of him that I speak. Marsha put out three different kinds of cake and he sampled each one, thoroughly licking and sucking on his delicious fingers after each bite and leaving his napkin untouched so we can use it again.

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Robert Karl Skoglund
785 River Road
St. George, ME 04860
(207) 226-7442
thehumblefarmer@gmail.com
www.TheHumbleFarmer.com

© 2012 Robert Karl Skoglund