Friday, November 29, 2013


Earlier this year, I read Cliff Dowdey's "Lee's Last Campaign" which detailed Robert E. Lee's maneuvers from Wilderness to Petersburg in 1864.

One of the main problems the Confederacy and definitely Lee struggled with was the concept of troop concentration, that is, bringing all one's troops together into a single, formidable fighting force.

Had Lee been able to do that when he so desired, perhaps things would have been different for the Confederacy. Who really knows? I have, however, been thinking about how his struggle could be related to far wider implications in the struggles of every day life.

Maybe that's extreme-sounding. The truth is it's easy to be overwhelmed by the ever-present and sometimes seemingly ever-expanding to do-list. Even simple things begin to look like relatively tall orders and nothing gets done. A scattershot approach, where a little bit of this and a little bit of that are accomplished, doesn't get one too far.

But when you marshall all your resources to take on a singular task and go after it relentlessly until the mission is accomplished, suddenly there's the feeling of real progress and the juggernaut of domination marches on.

I bring this up as a personal reminder to myself that it is always better to do one thing well than to do 90 things at once half-ass. Sometimes that is not an option, but it is no way to live when it is. In our modern world, it is so easy to go all ADHD and try to do everything, or become distracted while doing one thing so you can handle another. Slowing down and putting one foot in front of the other with one project in mind at a time is what actually gets you somewhere.

Other stuff--even tantalizing new projects--can typically wait.

At least that's what my fortune cookie said.

Over & Out,


Sunday, November 10, 2013

A sweet Fall as Falls go...

It's not my XJ...not yet, but this
pic pretty much captures my sentiments this Fall.

This has been the most spectacular Fall in the Northern Shenandoah that I can remember. Maybe because it began in August. The last 3 or 4 summers here we baked in August with unrelenting 100 degree days. This time around August was unseasonably cool and pleasant.

The temperate weather--cool sunny days--has lasted until today (11/10/13). Clare wanted more beach time and for the summer not to end. Me, I've hit my full Fall stride. It's two point 5 weeks before Turkey Day, and it's still amazing outdoors.

The leaves held onto the trees for a good two weeks of awesome and then some. Our sugar maples near the road usually turn late in the peak and this year has been no exception. At present, the last few leaves are flying off the trees as the locals tune their hunting rifles, and our winter view of the Massanutten Mountain has returned. I can't say I am complaining.

On the inside of the homestead, construction and in some cases destruction continues, more of the former than the latter though at this point.

There can come a time (at least for me) I think when you own a house and then fully buy-in to it. I think I am at full buy-in. Before I could have left if the right opportunity presented itself. Now I'd be hard pressed to do so.

It's definitely because of the structural changes and the new look and feel of the home. The massive beam in the kitchen, new cabinetry and other upgrades are really beginning to coalesce and work for us, I think. There is more done than not and I am juiced by it.

One major improvement that's made a serious difference is the 10ft transition strip between floors where the old wall used to be. We previously experienced a serious draft from the crawl space there, but after emptying two cans of spray-in insulation all along the space and covering it up with some beautiful heart pine, the temperature in the house is far more stable. If the fire in the woodstove winds down, the house doesn't instantly become an ice box and you can feel the winter breeze outta no where.

Don't get me wrong. There's still a draft, but a much, much smaller one. I can burn far less wood and stay much more comfortable. The new open design seems to be working as planned when it comes to heat and I have to run away from the kitchen at some point because I am breaking a sweat in a t-shirt. Clare, on the other hand, finds this the perfect inside weather. That's ok. A warm wife is usually a happy wife, and that's what I am all about.

Anyway, I am in a seasonably festive mood this year. The holy days ahead do not seem burdensome and progress on the house is more rapid than not. The more wood I see on the walls, the better. A definite win.

Hope all is well in your endeavors. Take names.

Over and Out,