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Jim Cumming - From the Publisher's Pen

Jim is the publisher of the Fort Frances Times Ltd. He writes a weekly column and can be contacted at jcumming@fortfrances.com

Time to plan cabin projects

Even though the temperatures haven't risen above the freezing mark, and the wind still chills the body through to the bones, I'm ready to begin making plans for the cabin.

Each year, we look at potential projects to make the cabin more enjoyable. One year it was all new insulated double windows. Another year was new knotty pine paneling and bead board ceilings. Another was hardwood flooring and then there was a new unattached bathroom with all the comforts of home.

There was a wide wooden walkway connecting all the buildings.

Snow piles bring back memories

The sun is shining, making it look like a perfect day, but the wind is continuing to blow from the northwest, making it feel like a frigid mid-January day when, in fact, we are nearing the end of February.

The talk in the coffee shops now is focusing on when the snow will end, as well as the height of the snowbanks lining the streets of Fort Frances.

Will another government fall to scandal?

Do we elect governments or toss out governments at the federal level?

Since the 1930s, governments have fallen on scandals that have included potential bribery, potential collusion with Russian spies, and misappropriations of federal sums.

I remember when the Fort Frances Times acquired its first offset press in the mid-1960s. It had come all the way from Heidelberg, Germany in a huge crate.

Snow depth is deceiving

It is surprising how the accumulation of snow is deceiving. Through to Christmas, we had very little snow on the ground. And even through to the last week of January, the depth of the snow was not huge.

The deer regularly waltzed through the yard and often bedded down either under the spruce tree or nestled close to the white birch.

They continued to come into the yard right up through the cold snap. The mother and two year-old fawns could bed down and, with their noses tucked in, would lie below the top of the snow.

Saluting our snow clearing crews

Sometime after 4 in the morning on Monday, I became aware of a grader rumbling by my house. Sometime later, the sound of the sidewalk plow made an impression on me.

When I finally was ready to go out shortly after 6:30 a.m., I was not wrong. Both had been by in the early hours of the morning.

Alas, by the time I got outside, two inches of snow already had covered over the path of the sidewalk plow and even more snow had created soft lines over the bank in the driveway.

Dealing with the cold

Early Sunday morning, the street light at the corner of our yard had a halo around it. And as the sun was rising in the east, it seemed like a fog had descended across the community as I looked out from a second-floor bedroom window.

In reality, it was just ice crystals in the air.

“Alexa” announced to me as I began making breakfast that the outside temperature was minus-43 C. I knew then that the hydro meter would be spinning madly as I reheated my garage workshop to continue on my project.

Sore hands from latest project

My hands are sore today (Monday) as I spent the weekend in my wood shop beginning a new project which is made almost entirely of red oak.

Beginning Saturday, on the coldest day of the year, I began planing the four oak boards and two ash boards to thickness.

My wife kidded me that I had waited so long to begin this project as I went out to the freezing side of the garage to set up my planer and equipment. Your breath just hung in the air as you exhaled in that side of the garage.

Food guidelines changing yet again

I will tell you right from the start that I am a Type 2 diabetic who is insulin dependent.

It has forced me to pay greater attention to what I eat for almost 25 years. Sometimes I have been more successful than at other times, and exercise certainly plays a very important role in controlling my blood glucose levels.

Early on, I had discovered that prepared foods wreaked havoc with blood sugar levels and I had to pay close attention to carbohydrates.

Will lacking by feds to move on pipelines

Each Wednesday I travel between Fort Frances and Rainy River delivering the Fort Frances Times to our news dealers.

Often in travelling the route with my wife, new ideas are floated about the crops that are being grown, fields that are being cleared, and the quality of herds that exist along the highway.

We cross the railroad tracks four times in going to Rainy River and three times in returning. I watch the red signal lights along the tracks to tell me where the trains are heading.

The industry-wide fix has become standard

I've been using the same software on my computer for almost a decade. It has performed flawlessly and I am very comfortable doing it.

However, with the latest update in the OS system, I'm now getting messages that the applications I've been using for so long no longer are compatible.

It is frustrating! I did one update too many.

I went to operate the old Word program and it told me that it is a 32-bit operation. But the OS update now operates at 64 bit and is too fast for that old program, which operated without problems up until the first of December.