Sometimes, you just have to sit down and list some of the  occurrences that happened during the past week or so. By doing that, you find out whether or not the “plusses and minuses” come out your way.

Or not. It does sometimes boil down to an old saying: “Sometimes you eat the bear; sometimes he eats you.” An even better saying that I just ran across goes: “Sometimes you’re the foot; sometimes you’re the football.”

As the week goes on, and the sun warms up the south side of the house, the onslaught of Asian beetles continues. The south windows warm up, and these guys pour out of every nook and cranny, scurrying across the ceiling, looking for, looking for…what!?!?

Everytime one drops onto my head from the light up above, I am reminded where the expression “It bugs me” comes from. I know they eat the aphids that grow on soybeans, and I know that my land renter planted soybeans all around me here last year. So it appears that I’ll have to wait until next year to see if that is a connection.

A plus or a minus? Check in next year.

On my definite list of plusses is getting to see the Amish farmer plowing with his team of four horses. I have one small field so surrounded by forest that a normal farmer’s machinery cannot get in there. He rides behind the horses on the plow, which uses a 16-inch moldboard to turn what is nearly 20-year-old sod. He brings the horses up to the yard for water, and without a doubt, these are a different breed of animal, the way they placidly stand there. 

The four horses walk abreast, two in old sod, one in the dead furrow, one in freshly turned soil. The one in turned soil gets changed out frequently, because he—or she—has the most difficult time of it, as anyone who has walked in plowing knows. The weather is cool, and the earth is about as easy to plow as is possible. They seem to just amble along, but they get frequent breaks, because it is hard work.

The last thing I have to mention from this past week involves a call with my insurance agent, regarding some minor change. But while I was speaking to her, I asked: “I know I pay extra because of the fact that I burn wood for heat.” Then I inquired as to how much that specific cost is. It used to be a couple of hundred bucks, or so I  thought.

With a click of her computer keyboard, which I heard, she replied: “A little over four hundred dollars.”

Now I know that insurance companies are no longer “insurers,” but risk managers, and I know that lots of people who want to burn wood often end up setting the house on fire, due to ignorance about cleaning the chimney, cleaning the pipes, burning wood correctly, burning dry wood, etc.

So as is the case, the baby—that’s me, who has been burning wood for 40 years—goes out with the bathwater—that would be those novices who burn themselves down.

“I am no longer burning wood,” I told her. The math is inescapable. Being as I was here the entire winter, and burned maybe three cords of wood, which saved me, ummmm, nothing! 

But usually I’m in Florida for a chunk of winter. And I haven’t added in any cost for chainsaws, oil, gas, whatever. I don’t have to point out how this is all a “minus,” do I?

On the other hand, I can sell the wood, spare my back, and save four hundred bucks.

That’s a plus, for sure.

I give the plusses the win this week.