The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.






The Windowbox

Keep the Home Fires Burning

by Susie Lofton

Being thankful is not limited to the month of November. It is something for which we should be consistently and continually mindful. Presented in this article are some things one may not think of firsthand, but certainly applies to everyone. To really appreciate these things we must analyze what it would be like if we were not so abundantly blessed. For instance, what would it be like if we did not have:

Electric/gas cook stove

I bare remember a wood cook stove in my home when I was a very young child, and cannot attest to the advantages or disadvantages between the two methods. Those who are somewhat older can probably assent with a heart-felt nod to some of these features. As it is now, one can come home, set the oven to preheat, put a pan of water on to heat, as they pass through the kitchen to turn on the TV set in the living room, then sit down and glance through the sales ads in the while the stove does its thing.

If one had a wood cook stove, one would have to linger in the kitchen while building a fire in the stove. Depending on your fire building skills, this could take a considerable amount of time to get the stove hot enough to bake or boil water. During all this time, the room temperature in the kitchen is going to rise significantly. Last but not least,

Susie Lofton

unless the wood is already set aside and waiting, you might have to go outside to the wood shed and bring in a sufficient amount of wood to fuel the stove, and there's a good chance you might have to empty the ash bin before you do any of the above.

Heating and Air-Conditioning

With the aid of a thermostat, one can set their heat and air controls to a desired degree and if the inside temperature falls below or rises above the selected setting, the heater or air conditioning unit will kick in and keep your home nice and comfy year round. If you have a fairly new H/A unit, you might not have to adjust the thermostat except on rare occasions. That is unless you have a spouse who like mine, will up the controls ten degrees above or below the comfort zone.

Before H/A was available, in the winter there was no coming home and shucking off your coat as you walked in the door, because the inside of the house would be near the same temperature-wise as the outside. One would first have to build a fire in either the fireplace or coal/wood stove. Once the room warmed, maybe an hour or so later, you might consider taking off your coat. The room where the coal/wood stove or fireplace was would become stifling hot, while the closed off bedrooms would be cold enough to hang meat. I remember a coal

stove in our living room; it would get so hot, that it would glow.

What about the ashes? One would have to deal with this residue on a day-to-day basis. We use our fireplace frequently in the winter. The cold ashes are taken out and placed around trees and rose bushes. We have a pear tree that doubled in height since we started putting ashes at its base. That's all well and good, but a years worth of ashes, whew! I guess we could make good use of them and start making our own soap. A friend of mine said she use to use ashes to help scrub pots and pans!

The air-conditioning in the summer was a raised window. Oops! Sorry, every window would be raised and the doors open for cross ventilation. In mid-summer, you were very thankful the slightest breeze.

Oh yeah, keep in mind that the heat from your wood stove in the kitchen would be adding a considerable amount of heat to the house, no matter how much ventilation come through the windows and doors.

A home's privacy level would be nearly zilch. Not only you, but your neighbors also would be facing the same dilemma in coping with the heat. Therefore, if you had a disagreement with your spouse or your kids; the neighbors knew it, word for word; and likewise, you were aware of theirs.

Electric Lights

According to one's taste, one can choose from a wide variety of lighting for your home. You can have direct or indirect lighting, incandescent or fluorescent lighting, mood lights with ever changing colors or patterns, etc. Your imagination is your only limitation.
Candles, oil lanterns and light from the fireplace were sources of light before the invention of the electric light bulb. Imagine what one's homeowners insurance would be like due the increased risk of fire.

Considering the wood cook stove, and the fireplace one has to remember that to use these facilities, there has to be quite an abundant supply of wood kept on hand year round. It would not be long before every tree, bush, limb or twig would be in demand to literally "keep the home fires burning." Imagine the price of a cord of wood as demand exceeded the supply.

Now that I've set the pace, consider these conveniences and what it would be like if we had to utilize a less up to date approach to their functions: the washing machine, water heater, the automobile, and the telephone.

In this brief listing I believe we can all say we are appreciative of modern technology. Our lives would be a lot more complicated to say the least. Just to make it from day to day one would have to sit back and make a re-assessment of their priorities. May be more mothers would find themselves staying at home and raising their children. Someone once told me that the most important job I would ever have would be to raise my children. Hindsight tells me that there is a lot of truth in that statement. I would love to have the opportunity to hold my little ones in my lap and hold them close.   

Most of us have received increased electric bills the last couple of months. It happens every winter, but when one thinks about the alternative; I'm not complaining, I'm thankful, truly thankful.