If You’re a Christian or a Pagan, You’re Not Observing Today Right

Today is the day most people call Halloween or “All Hallows Eve.”  It was a fun way to get candy when I was a kid, but now I have problems with the holiday for Christian, commercial and political reasons.

First of all, as a Christian, it doesn’t seem right to return to darkness when God has called us into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).  The Devil gets enough attention the rest of the year, without having his own day.  And recently in this blog I commented on churches compromising with Halloween when I asked, “What do pumpkin sales have to do with Christianity?”  A few years ago, my church in Florida wrote an essay called “Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?” Check it out, if you’re not familiar with the issue already.

Personally, I prefer to call today “Reformation Day,” because it was on October 31, 1517 that Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to his church door and started the whole Protestant movement.  If it wasn’t for that, every Christian this side of Constantinople would still be Catholic now.

As for the commercial reason, Halloween is a lot more commercial than it used to be.  Back when I was a kid, most of us made our own costumes.  We were encouraged to be creative and original with those costumes; it was considered cheating to buy one from the store.  But how many kids make their own costumes now?  Today when I passed through a Wal-Mart, the busiest section of the store was where they had the costumes and candy.

Moreover, many folks go overboard on the outdoor decorations, as if Halloween is another day like Christmas where the main colors happen to be orange and black.  I think I saw Halloween lights for the first time in 1996, not to mention the fake cobwebs, pumpkins and spiders, etc., that people put in their trees.  Gosh, it’s confusing enough that a website called CthulhuLives.org offers Christmas carols that promise to make Christmas spookier than Halloween.  If it wasn’t for Thanksgiving being in the middle, I’m sure the differences between Halloween and Christmas would be blurred by now.  Do you think we’ll soon heard some Druid or Wiccan telling us that we need to get back to the original spirit of Halloween?

Finally, the political reason.  Most of our holidays, from Memorial Day to Thanksgiving, observe important events in our history, or uphold what we might call “conservative values.”  By contrast, Halloween promotes a liberal value, the “entitlement mentality”; it encourages people to go begging for treats they did not earn.  You can see what the Canada Free Press had to say about that here:  “Halloween’s Liberal Message.”

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Whatever you call today, I hope your end-of-October day is a pleasant one.

Dodged It Again

We did get frost this morning, but it was too light to hurt anything in the gardens and flower beds.  When I got up the temperature was 34 degrees, so it looks like we dodged the freeze again.  Judging from the lack of a fuss from the locals, whereas frost is always a big deal in Florida, here in Kentucky it’s only a matter of concern if it comes after the spring flowers appear.

Today is also the last day of races at Keeneland for the fall.  With the month ending tomorrow, I am now looking forward to what November may bring.  In the past, November was often my favorite month of the year, so hopefully it will live up to expectations again, and be better than the other months have been lately.

The Night of the Freeze?

In Florida, there was one night in October I always looked forward to – the first night when it was cool enough outside to sleep with the windows open.  We thought of it as an unofficial holiday; call it “Open Window Night” if you wish.  Kentucky also has a weather-related night in October, but it’s not something anyone is happy about.  Yes, I’m talking about the first freeze of fall.

We thought we were going to get frost last night.  I urged Leive to get into the garden and harvest what she could before the cold killed any plants.  Together we finished off the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants for the season; currently they’re on the kitchen counter in several grocery bags.  Leive also harvested all the sweet potatoes, both the leaves and roots.  Because she mainly planted the sweet potatoes for leaves, and the clay soil left the roots small and in strange shapes, I thought she was going to save the roots and replant them next spring, but now she says we’ll eat the roots, too, and start with new vines from the store next time.  Finally, we picked some okra, but left those plants intact to see how much longer they’ll survive; Leive is trying to get some ripe seed pods from them for next year.  All the veggies mentioned above were a success, so I expect we’ll be growing them again.

Contrary to what the weatherman said, it only got down to 39 degrees last night, so all the plants left outside survived.  It looks like we jumped the gun, but the results will be the same if it freezes tonight.  Now the temperature is falling and the furnace inside is running regularly, so let’s see if tonight is the night.  Shabbat Shalom!

What You Can Learn From Five Monkeys

I don’t know who wrote this, but it should make you think.  This appears to explain how over the past 70+ years, the government taught us to depend on it, rather than on God and ourselves.

Start with a cage containing five monkeys.  Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it.  Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana.

As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all the other monkeys with cold water.  After a while another monkey makes the attempt with same result — all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water.  Pretty soon when a monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put the cold water away.  Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one.  The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs.

To his shock, all of the other monkeys attack him.  After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one.

The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.

Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth.  Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs he is attacked.

Most of the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they participated in the beating of the newest monkey.  After replacing all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water.  Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana.

Why not?

Unquote:  I wish I had as much faith in God as liberals have in government.

Lawnmower Dragster

Longtime readers will remember my messages from June 3, 2009 and June 11, 2009, when I posted four hilarious videos from The Red Green Show, Canada’s answer to Tim Allen. Now what can you do with a lawnmower, a legless chair, a ladder, a kid’s bike and duct tape? You’ll be amazed at the result!


Colonel Allen West Is One of Us!

Last August 16, I told you about Colonel Allen West, the Republican candidate for Florida’s 22nd congressional district.  Now I’ve been impressed by another video.  Apparently it was filmed in the middle of Ft. Lauderdale, last New Year’s Day.  Here he is talking about Israel, and except for mispronouncing one or two Hebrew names, he sounds just like the folks I hung around with, when I was living in Florida.  Wow!  Again I wish he was running in my district, either in Florida (district 24) or Kentucky (district 6).

Speaking of Florida congressional races, did you see what George Will wrote over the weekend about Alan Grayson, the moonbat representing Orlando?  I couldn’t have said it better myself!

America’s Worst Politician

I Can, I Will, and I Must

We got a little bit of rain on Sunday night and early on Monday.  Temperatures remained balmy until now, though; I didn’t need to wear a jacket whenever I went out.  Today the sky has been dreary grey since morning, with winds blowing in the 20-30 MPH range.  With all the leaves lying around, I felt it wasn’t a windstorm so much as a leaf storm.  At 1:30 we started getting rain as well, from a frontal system stretched all across the Midwest (at the time I’m writing this, it is running from Ontario to Tennessee).  So far the wind and rain around here haven’t been too heavy, though I hear that in the west, around Bowling Green and Louisville, they’ve gotten gusts strong enough to blow over the big trucks, what you call tractor-trailer rigs.

Last Wednesday at a gas station, I ran into Jeremy, the copier repairman from my former workplace.  He told me the Techpubs office has been confused and unhappy since I left.  however, I’m not expecting them to call the folks they let go, and ask them to come back.  This isn’t the first time I’ve been laid off — it happened in 1993, 1995, 2000 and 2005.  On none of those occasions were the ex-employees ever invited to return, when the company’s situation got better.

I haven’t found any good job prospects as of yet.  There isn’t much demand for tech writers, and I have yet to find anything that pays something comparable to what I was making at L-3.  No surprise there.  You probably knew already that Kentucky doesn’t have a high-tech center like Silicon Valley or Oak Ridge, TN.  As far as I know, the state doesn’t even have a small research park like the one I used to work in, on the east side of Orlando.  Most of the state’s economy is strictly agricultural and coal mining.  Lexmark, a big manufacturer of printers on the other side of Lexington, advertised a tech writer position that I thought would fit me perfectly, but it’s in the Philippines!  Yes, Leive was tickled pink when she heard about that one, though she conceded that I would probably be paid in pisos rather than dollars.  At least she wouldn’t be far from her family, even if the job is in Manila rather than on Mindanao.

Fortunately I’m not as desperate as the poor fellow above, because I have one other choice if I want to stay in Kentucky.  I can promote my Pre-Paid Legal business.  Because of the layoffs, the corporate world has left a bad taste in my mouth, so I want to be in a place where corporate America will never throw me away again; getting another job will just put me back where I was before this month.  What’s more, my Pre-Paid Legal sponsor, Terrell Cherry, was laid off at this time last year, and now he’s making more money part-time than I did full-time.  I put my business on hold in July and August, when I was doing all that mandatory overtime, and look how much good it did me!

Along that line, I’ve been taking my business cards with me every time I go out, and handing them to anyone I meet who is interested.  Under the circumstances, failure is not an option; that’s why I wrote “I can, I will, and I must” for the title of this message.  Last Saturday, I started working on one of my long-term goals in the business, getting a license to sell Pre-Paid Legal in Florida.  And I spent Sunday evening in Louisville, listening to training from Darnell Self, one of the top associates in Pre-Paid Legal.  Mr. Self earns $90,000 in a typical month; would you believe $20,000 is a bad month for him?  After the training we spent the rest of the evening in a nearby restaurant/sports bar.  In the picture below, from left to right, you can see me, Mr. Self, and Mr. Cherry.

To finish up, if you haven’t looked at the Pre-Paid Legal opportunity yet, I recommend you do so.  The way the economy is going, sooner or later all Americans are going to need this service; 80% of Europeans have something like it already.  This means it is only a question of whether you sign up with my team, or somebody else’s.  Call 1-800-394-6919 or 1-770-772-1700 for a recorded message on what it’s all about, or go to my website and watch the videos, and then contact me!  Sign up for the service and you’ll help me a little; become an Associate like myself and you can help me a lot.  Finally, we’re offering a special that ends on Friday; after that, the one-time cost to become an Associate will double.  I hope to hear from all my regular readers very soon.

Harry Reid Takes Credit For Saving the World

Oh, the arrogance of career politicians! I told you about some of the other dumb stuff that scoundrel Harry Reid said, like when he claimed he is glad the Capitol now has a special tourist center because visitors stink in the summer (see my message from December 3, 2008).  Now look what he is claiming now.



If there ever was a year when we had a compelling argument for term limitation, it is this year.  On November 2, vote to re-elect nobody.  This goes for both the Moonbat Party and the RINO Party (see the pictures below).  Nobody on Capitol Hill at this time is part of the solution; they are all part of the problem.  I dare anyone to challenge my assertion that you could open a telephone book, randomly pick 535 names out of it, and get a Congress that does a better job than the one we have now. Or maybe we should outsource to India for our Congress, as Michael Savage once suggested.

File CONGRESS.SYS corrupted: Re-boot Washington D.C (Y/N)?

Christopher Columbus

I think I’ve learned enough about Windows Live Writer to use it for all my future messages here.  I have also decided to post some of the notes I have made over the years on Latin American, Central Asian, and South Pacific history, rather than keep you waiting until I have composed full-blown history papers on those subjects.  I’ll start with one I should have given to you a week or two ago.

 

Christopher Columbus



Christopher Columbus1 was born in the Italian city of Genoa, in 1451. When he grew up he became a sailor; this was one of the most exciting jobs available, in an age when Europe had just started building ships that could carry large cargoes across the open sea. His first voyage was a commercial expedition to the island of Chios in the Aegean Sea, and that was successful enough to convince Columbus that sailing was for him. Then in 1476, he had his first experience with the Atlantic, when he went with five ships heading from Genoa to England. Unfortunately they were attacked by French privateers, six miles off the coast of Portugal. Columbus was on one of the ships sunk in that battle, and he escaped by swimming to shore and holding onto a piece of wreckage from the ship. After he recovered, he joined the great adventure of the fifteenth century, the Portuguese exploration of the African coast. Rising through the ranks, he eventually became captain of one of the ships that discovered the Congo River and Angola, on the 1482 expedition of Diogo Cão.

The ultimate goal of these expeditions was to find a way around Africa to the rich markets of Asia. In 1487 Bartholomew Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope, but still was only halfway to the destination. Africa was so big that many observers became skeptical; maybe a ship captain could sail around it, but he would probably never earn a profit doing so.

Now if you believed the world was round2, there was an alternate route. How about sailing directly to the Orient, by going due west across the Atlantic? In 1477, as part of his service for Portugal, Columbus visited Iceland, so he probably heard that the Vikings had discovered habitable lands to the west. Most geographers dismissed a westward voyage as unfeasible, not because they were afraid of falling off the edge of the earth, but because the distance was too great. 5,000 miles of open sea was the most fifteenth-century ships could manage, and the figure involved in sailing from Europe to the eastern coast of Asia was (correctly) thought to be more than 10,000 miles. Nevertheless, Columbus found an expert, Paolo Toscanelli of Florence, who thought that the distance might be as low as 3,000 miles. After doing the calculations himself, he changed the figures a bit, combining the largest estimation of Eurasia’s size with the smallest estimation of the earth’s circumference. That reduced the distance to 2,400 miles, allowing a ship a safety margin in case it had to return without finding anything. Then, unable to afford a ship by himself, he went to the rulers of western Europe to sell his plan.

Columbus succeeded because he was a great salesman, as well as a great sailsman. For more than a decade he traveled between the courts of western Europe. First he went to the king of Portugal3 , who said no to the idea in 1484. King Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain were more interested, and they let him live on an allowance from them, but they did not grant him an audience until 1486, and then they said no as well. Next, he sent his proposal back to Portugal, which said no again in 1488; to King Henry VII of England, who said no in 1489; and to King Charles VIII of France, who did not listen at all. In 1490 he started talking with the Spanish court again, but it could not spare any ships until the war against the Moors of Granada ended. Granada fell at the beginning of 1492, so after that victory Queen Isabella finally said yes.

By August Columbus was ready to go.4 The queen had entrusted him with ninety sailors and three tiny ships: the Santa Maria (100 tons), the Pinta (60 tons) and the Niña (50 tons). Of the three, only the Santa Maria had decks; the others were open to the elements (fortunately they had good weather on the journey west). No merchants, missionaries, settlers or soldiers went on the voyage; this would be strictly a scouting expedition. First they sailed to the Canary Islands; then they set forth into the Atlantic on September 6. The trip took five weeks. On the way Columbus kept two ship’s logs; the “official” log showed lower daily mileage figures than the secret log, where Columbus entered his true estimates of the distance covered; this ruse was done to keep the crew morale up.

In early October they saw some migrating birds flying west-southwest. Assuming the birds knew where the nearest land was, Columbus altered his course to follow them. Three days later, at 2 A.M. on October 12, the lookout on the Pinta sighted land. It was one of the outermost islands in the Bahamas, and here the Columbus met his first Americans. Convinced that his theories were right, he decided he was somewhere in Indonesia, and called the natives “Indians,” something Native Americans have been trying to get over since.5

The Indians, who had probably arrived in the Bahamas just a few years earlier, explained to Columbus that there were bigger islands to the south. Armed with this knowledge, he threaded his way through the Bahamas to reach Cuba, and sailed along the northern coast of Cuba to Hispaniola. The latter island contained an estimated 100,000 inhabitants, half the Indian population in the Caribbean at that time, and these friendly natives gladly traded their gold for some glass beads. Then the Santa Maria ran aground on a coral reef, so Columbus built a fort from the flagship’s timbers, left behind twenty-three men to garrison the fort, and finished his exploration of Hispaniola’s north coast. Finally on January 18, 1493, he set sail for home, bringing back various Caribbean goods, parrots, and six Indians. On the way he went through one of the worst storms of the decade (a hurricane?), before returning to a joyous reception at the Spanish court.6

Back in Spain Columbus reported that he had discovered some previously unknown islands in Southeast Asia; surely the great nations Marco Polo wrote about couldn’t be far away. In the meantime, the new discoveries needed colonizing. Accordingly, in the fall of 1493 he led a second expedition west, with seventeen ships full of 1,200 eager volunteers. He picked the perfect course; this time he crossed the open sea in twenty-one days instead of thirty-three. Making landfall in the Lesser Antilles, he proceeded to Hispaniola, only to find his original colony destroyed; while he was away, the natives had gotten tired of constant demands for gold, and killed everyone in the fort. He built a second outpost nearby, named Isabela, and this one proved too strong for the local tribes to eliminate. Indeed, within a couple of years, the Spaniards of Isabela had established their rule over the whole island.7 As for Columbus, he went off to do more exploring. He followed the inhospitable southern coast of Cuba, but not all the way to the island’s western tip, so he decided this was a peninsula of the Asian mainland. Next he explored Jamaica and the southern shore of Hispaniola before returning to Spain. Wherever he went he also found natives, but these Indians were so poor they were scarcely worth robbing. The dream was fading.

This showed in the type of colonists Columbus brought on his third journey west (1498); he had to scrape the prisons of Spain to find enough people willing to go with him. This time he steered a more southerly course than before, going down to the Cape Verde Islands before heading across the ocean. He made landfall at Trinidad, the southernmost Caribbean island, and briefly explored the large landmass next to it. The size of the rivers he saw told him that the uncharted land was big enough to be a continent. Then he made for Hispaniola, for the crown had appointed him governor of the colony.

None of the three Columbus brothers were successful administrators. Spaniards never like serving under a foreigner and the colonists did their best to make a difficult job impossible. Nevertheless, Christopher Columbus was partially responsible for the trouble this caused. When a royal commissioner came in 1500 to investigate complaints, he was so shocked by what he saw that he shipped all three brothers back to Spain in irons. Fortunately, that wasn’t the end of the story. The Spanish monarchs issued pardons instead of pressing charges, and hired Christopher Columbus one more time—but only as an explorer, not as a governor.

Columbus’ fourth and last voyage (1502-04) took him through familiar waters until he reached the north shore of Honduras. Here he met–and passed up–the best opportunity of his career; his ships encountered a boatload of Indians in unusually fine dress, with cotton robes and well-crafted jewelry. They were Aztecs, on their way home, but instead of following them to Mexico, Columbus went east, going down the Central American coast as far as Panama. By the time he turned to go back to Spain it was clear to most of the crew that the Caribbean Sea was closed on the west, and this was no short cut to the Orient.

However, it was not clear to the expedition’s commander. He thought the land he had finished surveying was the Malay peninsula, and China was just over the horizon. But most Europeans weren’t listening to him anymore. Instead they now paid attention to another Italian working for Spain, Amerigo Vespucci. At some point after Columbus’ third expedition (1499?), Vespucci had a look at the continent just south of Trinidad, and was the first to realize its significance. This was not an incidental discovery, but the most important one of all. Moreover, this exotic place, with its strange plants and animals, and jungles full of naked cannibals, could not be Asia, or any other known country. To coin a phrase, it was a New World. This convinced a German geographer, Martin Waldseemuller, to name the new continent after him = America. His proposal was quickly accepted.

Waldseemuller’s book, which was published in 1507, contained a map of the world that showed two oceans—not one—between Europe and Asia, with “America” right in the middle. A year earlier, Columbus had died in Valladolid, Spain, so he never saw the book or map; if he had, he would have disapproved of both.8 To the end he remained a cranky man with crazy ideas. His main achievement was that he had changed the world for everybody but himself.9

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1 Actually, that wasn’t his birth name. “Christopher Columbus” is what you get when you translate his Latin name, Christophorus Columbus, into English. In fifteenth century Genoa, his name was Christoffa Corombo; in modern Italian, his name is Cristoforo Colombo; in Portuguese, he was Cristóvão Colombo; in Spanish, he became Cristóbal Colón.

2 Contrary to what we were taught in school, by the fifteenth century a lot of people believed the earth was round. Evidence of the earth’s shape was there for anyone who cared to look. Ancient Greek astronomers had pointed out that the earth’s shadow is always round when it passes across the moon during a lunar eclipse, and anyone observing ships leaving a seaport would have noticed that as a ship moves away, the curvature of the earth hides the hull before it hides the mast and sails, giving the impression that the ship is sinking below the horizon. Finally, nearly two centuries before Columbus, when Dante wrote his Purgatorio, he imagined the mountain of Purgatory on the opposite side of the earth from Jerusalem. This means Dante believed the earth was round, just a few centuries after the time when cartographers drew maps showing the earth as a disk, with Jerusalem in the center, joining the three continents of Europe, Asia and Africa.

3 King John II of Portugal tried to steal Columbus’ idea by sending forth an expedition without Columbus, in 1483. It deserved to fail, and it did; the crew mutinied, and the captain, lacking the persistence of Columbus, returned before it crossed the Atlantic.

4 Because Europe had not received any news from the Far East in two hundred years, Columbus would have been poorly prepared even if he found what he was looking for. For example, one member of the crew, Luis de Torrez, knew Hebrew, Latin, Greek, Arabic, Coptic and Armenian. His job was to be the interpreter between Columbus and the Great Khan, who spoke Chinese.

5 The native name for that island was Guanahani, but Columbus called it San Salvador. Historians have traditionally identified this with Watling Island, to the point that it was officially renamed San Salvador in 1926. However, in 1986 a computer analysis was done on the surviving data from Columbus’ records, and the resulting simulation showed that Samana Cay is a better site for the first landfall.

6 The return leg of the voyage followed a more northerly course, going by way of the Azores. Columbus managed to follow the clockwise pattern of the north Atlantic winds and currents almost perfectly, providing optimum sailing conditions whichever way he went. The reader must decide whether he knew exactly what he was doing, or if he was just lucky.

7 However, Isabela was in an unhealthy location, so in 1496 Bartholomew Columbus, Christopher’s brother, moved the colony to Santo Domingo, on the island’s south coast.

8 Columbus was too ill to do much traveling after his fourth voyage, but he did not let even death stop his travels completely. First he was buried at Valladolid, but in 1509 his son Diego had his remains exhumed and reburied at a monastery in Seville. Diego in turn died in 1526, and was buried alongside his father, but Diego’s widow thought that a burial in the lands Columbus discovered would be more appropriate, so a petition from her caused the remains of both father and son to be dug up again in 1542. This time they were buried across the ocean, in a cathedral at Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. There they lay for two and a half centuries, until the French captured Santo Domingo in 1795. Spain now considered the body of Columbus a national treasure, and would not let him fall into the hands of the French, so he was dug up a third time, taken to Cuba, and reburied in Havana.

Or so it was thought. In 1877 an excavation under the Santo Domingo cathedral discovered a lead box containing bone fragments and a bullet, with Columbus’ name on the box. Over in Cuba, the Spanish-American War led to the independence of Cuba, and again the government of Spain did not want to part with what was left of Columbus, so in 1899 they dug up what they buried once more, and shipped it from Havana back to the tomb in Seville.

After that, individuals in both Valladolid and Havana claimed that Columbus had never really been removed from those cities. Because of that, and the lead box in Santo Domingo, nobody could say for sure where Columbus was buried. In 2003 DNA testing was used to settle the matter; DNA samples from the tomb in Seville were compared with known DNA samples from a brother and a son of Columbus (not Diego). Only mitochondrial DNA could be obtained from the Seville samples, and they suggested a closer match with Diego than with Christopher himself. The conclusion was that only Diego had been reburied in Seville. Since then, the authorities in the Dominican Republic have not allowed the Santo Domingo remains to be dug up for examination, so until we hear otherwise, we have to assume that Christopher Columbus is still in Santo Domingo.

9 One of his theories tried to explain why the Caribbean had a hotter climate than Europe. Columbus came to believe that the world was really shaped like a pear, and he had traveled uphill, toward the sun, every time he sailed west.

Dodging the Frost

We had a near miss this morning when it came to cold weather; at 34 degrees, we were just two degrees from the first frost of the season.  Fortunately, it doesn’t look like the garden took any damage.  Today I got my last paycheck from the recently ended job (the one that brought me to Kentucky in the first place), so when I went out. I was grocery shopping as well as job-hunting and business prospecting.  In the morning I needed a jacket, but by afternoon it had warmed into the upper 60s, so I didn’t need cold weather protection later on.

Leive wanted pole beans, among other things, and none of the grocery stores around here stock them anymore.  So I did something I haven’t done since my Florida days – I visited a farmer’s market.  I also picked up a dozen excellent apples, probably the best I’ve had since coming to Kentucky.  Therefore I have a feeling this won’t be my last visit to that stand; are they open in the winter?

The weather is still awfully dry; we’re coming up on three months since the regular rainfall stopped abruptly.  Thus, we have the unpleasant combination of fall color and a fire hazard from fallen leaves.  I think the droughts of 2007 and 2008 were worse, but it’s hard to remember at this point.