Thursday Jots: 22 Jan 09

Winter: From your friends at Wordsprint

✸ Firewood Needed for Next Year! We need a local source for 2-3 cords of high-BTU firewood that will be adequately dry by next fall-winter, either cut to 14-16″ lengths and split (dumped up at the top of the drive would be nice) or delivered as logs in lengths, I do the cutting and splitting. I’ll be interested in pricing both methods, and finding the right vendor, we’ll be giving them business winters for the long-haul. I usually burn HALF my stacked wood in a winter; this year, I’ll be burning more like 80 to 90%. Email or call, number’s in the book.

✸ Missed Opportunity: I won’t be able to accept the offer I got yesterday to speak to a dozen school kids from Wonju Korea–a city with which Roanoke has a sister-city partnership. I’ve passed the baton along to a couple of other writer friends who may be able to tell me what it’s like. Meanwhile, I already have patients scheduled for next Tuesday and won’t be able to go.

✸ Book-keeping. Just looked at my Lightningsource score card for last year. That’s my “print as needed” source from whom I purchase my books for direct resale (costs me only the printing price per book) and also the source from which places like Amazon fill requests. It was not a stellar year; I let the book go dormant. I sold 50 books, but after paying shockingly exorbitant restocking charges on 14 (warming, self-publishers!) and the usual $25 annual fee to keep the title active, I didn’t clear anything–other than a couple dozen readers. Which isn’t nothing, I suppose. But I’m not quitting my day job.

✸ This way-cold period offers cold toes, hard-to-start cars, and a great opportunity to find air leaks. And they are many, moreso in a house with heart-pine floors, walls and ceilings that shrink with the heat of the wood stove, opening up gaps your could stick the handle of a spoon in–into the unheated (but mostly blown-in insulted) wall cavity. I’ll be looking for the caulk gun later today, using an incense stick to provide the smoke that will help me find the drafts.

✸ Got the proof back last night on the upcoming WINTER postcard from Wordsprint. I’d expected an 8-point microfiche readable credit on the back, so was I pleased (see card reverse side above, front cover image here.) This is a great “test market” for me, since I’d already come close to asking them to print up some cards for sale in Floyd and around. We’ll see how these are received. Thanks, Wordsprint!

✸ From our Flogging a Dead Horse Department: I’ve stopped. So I have time for other things now.

✸ I’ll be tinkering with Drupal over the next coupla weeks. Doug T’s been teasing me with views of his Blue Ridge Muse control panel with all its bells and whistles. I’ll not be switching Fragments to that platform any time soon, but look forward to a slow learning curve; and in the end, may have a resource for a targeted audience interested in things like composting, solar and wind, post-carbon living and such. We’ll see, and thanks Rob for taking the lead on this.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Best wishes on your success with Wordsprint. I’m excited for you. Your photographs are so exceptional they deserve to find as large an audience as possible, especially this winter offering.