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A Nice, Safe, Toasty Warm Fire
By Tim Reid
ell, it's that time of year now: the dog days of winter. Just this morning I saw a rabbit pushing a squirrel around trying to get it started! These are the days when it is so nice to sit in front of a fire. Funny thing about wood, unlike any other fuel, it keeps you warm three times: once when you cut it, once when you split it, and once when you burn it.

The thoughts of black flies and mosquitoes dissipate in your head when you take firewood and feed the wood stove. There are a few small but vital rules that one has to follow when burning wood. Seventy-five percent of fires at this time of year are caused by improper burning of wood. When the temperature drops below -20 wood stoves are packed to their very limit. It is important to keep your stove pipes clean and thereby reduce the likelihood of a chimney fire. Burning dry well-seasoned wood reduces creosote build-up. Keeping a CO2 fire extinguisher handy is advisable. I prefer these to a chemical extinguisher. If you've ever had to clean up a mess after a chemical extinguisher you will know why. Following these few simple guidelines, you and your spouse will have many enjoyable evenings by a nice, safe, toasty warm fire.

If, for some reason, you have to buy your firewood, ask questions. Is the price quoted for a face cord or a bush cord? A face cord measures 2 feet by 2 feet by 4 feet. A bush cord is 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet. A big difference in cost! Ask what the ratio of hard wood and soft wood is. If there is more than 20 percent soft wood, bitch about the price! Burning wood like oak, maple, ash or hickory gives you the very best dollar value and BTU efficiency.

Peace is not the absence of conflict from life, but the ability to cope with it
Quote of the week
Unknown author
Q & A

This week's questions come from Lance in Eganville and Mark in Maple Leaf

Dear Tim:

I have a flock of Chinese temple geese. Although I don't have the problem, the gander beats on my lover, giving him bruises and purple nurpels. Now he refuses to go to the hen house to collect the eggs. What do I do about this, as he is a good gander?

Dear Lance:

I doubt your lover would agree. As far as geese go you have the meanest there are. They were specifically bred to watch Chinese temples. And still do to this day. They are extremely territorial and your breed of geese are known as the pitbulls of the geese family. No way, no how, will this change.

If the gander doesn't like your lover, you have two choices: you can have your lover serve you a big meal of cold shoulder, hot tongue, and more than likely you will get cut off for dessert - or - you can have your lover serve you roast goose with a nice grapefruit glaze. Which meal would you find more appetizing?

Dear Tim:

My problem is with the neighbour's dog. It comes here to kill my chickens and fights with my dog. My neighbour denies that his dog ever leaves his yard and that his dog would ever kill chicken. What do I do?

Dear Mark:

If there is a topic that sets my blood to boil it is people that cannot / will not control their dogs. The rural code says: you can insult a man's spouse you can yell at his children but never screw around with his dog! I had the exact same thing happen to me. This particular dog was responsible for killing 25 leghorn pullets.

The only thing to do if "buddy" is in denial is to take pictures. Armed with these pictures and a bill for the dead chickens, confront buddy with a warning that the next time it happens the dog will be shot on sight. If buddy is the decent sort, he will pay the bill. If not, he cannot say it wasn't his dog. You are well within your legal rights to shoot it dead the next time it attacks your chickens. You are well within your rights to shoot any animal posing a threat to your livestock or poultry.

You gave buddy a warning. It was not necessary but neighbourly. Now it's his turn.

Helpful Hint:

This week's helpful hint is for those who have hardwood floors. If you have an annoying squeak, clean the cracks around the area carefully and apply liberal amounts of baby powder. This will get rid of the squeak.

Tim Reid is Ex- Canadian Navy and lives with his spouse on a small mixed farm in Hastings County.  He may be contacted at or by letter mail at RR2 Gilmour, Ontario, Canada.  KOL 1W0.