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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Decade!















































New year, new snow! As I write this, the Pocahontas RR is chugging by the Elkhorn Inn- again! It's been a fab few days for railfans since New Year's, with almost non-stop trains and pushers going by! It's also been Wicked Cold here lately- at the moment it's a "brisk" 16 degrees in the mountains of southern West Virginia! Every time I run out on our porch to snap a few train pix, my fingers freeze, nose runs, and eyes tear- yes, it really is THAT cold! Dan & I rang out the old decade at the New Ramsey School club in Bluefield, WV, after a(nother) really fine sushi-saki fest at Kimono in Princeton, WV, and had a very nice time saying goodbye-and-good-riddance to the old year, while hoping/praying for a wonderful (safe, healthy, prosperous, joyful) new one...

Dan spent all day yesterday tweaking our three lines of plumbing, after McDowell Co. PSD inexplicably let the water pressure drop again (and, of course, denied doing so, as is their want) and our pipes almost froze (actually one did freeze...). Fortunately (miraculously), Dan was able to "tweak" everything, and we have water- and HOT water, at that! Living out here "in the country" makes you truly appreciate so-called "basic" things things like running water- and running HOT water- and the people who can make it run & make it hot! As I've written before, I have a Totally Useless set of skills for living in Rural America, & in 7 years they haven't gotten any better: basically what I can do is write and illustrate. So if the pipes freeze or the boiler's little insides stop boiling, I can... uh... write a press release on it & draw a picture. Swell. That and 10 cents won't even get you a cup of coffee out here if there's no power to run the freakin' Mr. Coffee! Dan, however, can not only un-freeze/repair/replace pipes, he can repair/replace the doohicky in the boiler so it lives to boil another day, rewire the countless electric things that forever need rewiring, and (daily) tweak the gazillion thingamajiggies in all our watchamacallits to make them all work again. I am ever in awe of his 1,000,001 technical skills- for we are talking a skill-set WAY beyond the "handy-andy" level and profoundly in the serious realm of professional electrical engineering, industrial plumbing, vehicle mechanics, and architectural restoration. And the truth is that if you Don't have those skills you really have No Business living out here in the boonies! For there seriously isn't anyone to call out here if the doohickey stops working in the whatchamacallit!

On a happy note, I started off the New Year with a fabulous contest win: a gorgeous (and extremely practical) sterling silver wine collar from Aspinal of London from the Seattle, WA food and wine critic, Ronald Holden, of the Seattle Global Gourmet Examiner and Cornichon.org Please click the links to read my winning poem, essentially Ode To A Wine Collar, and to check out his articles, as he gave the Elkhorn Inn a wonderful plug, and included links to our Facebook "fan" page and this blog! I am truly delighted by this win as this wine collar is something we will truly use- no more wine dribbles on the tablecloths of the Elkhorn Inn! :-) And if we're ever lucky enough to get out to Seattle for a "foodie-winey" trip, Ronald Holden is definitely our "go-to guy"!

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