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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



The first snow fall of the year is always a harsh reminder of the changes in the seasons. Around the farm it means the end to most yard work and if you are like me, and don't quite get all of the yard picked up before the first snow fall it heralds the fun that will come in the spring as the snow melts and all of our treasures suddenly reappear. More importantly here, it signals the final big push to get the house buttoned up and ready for winter.

After a month of hard work the corn furnace is in and the heating has begun. I began burning straight wood pellets the first day it was in. I had forgotten to read all of the instructions about adjusting things on the furnace once the heating began and burned through three hundred pounds of pellets in four days, much to my frustration. Adding to it, when I reloaded the hopper the motor on the auger that feeds from the hopper to the furnace had given up the ghost. A couple of phone calls later I discovered that the original motors weren't all that they were cracked up to be and that a new replacement motor was needed. Luckily I found one and after a twenty minute battle i installed it and started it up again. This time its working like a charm. I'm burning a 50/50 wood pellet and shell corn mix and it has kept the house a very comfortable 68 degrees for the last couple of days. So far so good, and although the entire project has cost me a little more than I expected, it still is sure nice not to have to pay for LP.

I took some time off the other night to attend a play at the Des Moines Community Playhouse. Escanaba by Da Moonlight was written by Jeff Daniels and is the tale of the Sody men at deer camp in the upper peninsula of Michigan. The wacky and extreemly true tale of men, the guns the hunting traditions they love and da bucks dat got away is worth the time and searching to find this story on DVD. Adapted from the movie, the play was true to the story and downright funny for anyone who has ever talked about a "tirty pointer". It's hard to find the movie on DVD, but netflix does carry it. I would highly suggest it.

Finally, this week brings us to Thanksgiving. For many of us, this year gives us a little more to be thankful for, even if we don't realize it. Hopefully your family gatherings are filled with smiles and pleanty of food, and maybe a little good natured ribbing of the siblings. For many this time is a painful reminder of the harsh realities of the economy. We'll get through this as we always have. We'll struggle, but we will not be broken, and in the end it just might make many of you remember that this season isn't about who has the most, but rather what we are truly fortunate to have. We should give thanks for the things we do have, and remember those who are far away both in body and in spirit.

There might not be much under the tree this Christmas, but maybe that's a good thing. A way to remind us that the Christmas season upcoming isn't about how much you can give, nor how fancy or expensive the gift. But, my dear friends, the true spirit of the holidays comes from giving of yourself, in the ways that aren't dependent on wealth, or luxury, or pride. No, they come from the gifts that we can give to others, in kindness, politeness, love and giving a little of ourselves, not just for the next forty five days or so, but all year long.

See you next week...remember...we're all in this together