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13 January 2008 @ 09:25 am
may or may not escape south soon  
I'm at Dad's this Sunday morning after another very busy week at O'Neil because of the project I mentioned in the last 2 posts.

Stress combined with a cold snap in winter is very bad for me, and on Thursday long-range weather forecasts were predicting a long cold snap starting the end of this week.

So I have begun making preparations to take James and my new Porta-bote and motor and everything needed for camping to Natchez if and when a prolonged cold spell does occur.

But this morning the forecasts are still predicting some quite cold days later in January but not a long, continuous string of them.

And, I still want to make sure my fellow technical illustrators would not be inconvenienced if I left for 10-15 days.

So, although I'm preparing, a trip south may or may not happen this winter.

Yesterday perfectly illustrates why normal winter weather doesn't bother me at all -only stretches of extreme winter do.

Although it was only about 40 in early afternoon, the soft sunshine with no wind made the drive through the farmland from Dayton to here almost as pleasant as if it were April or October.

And before I left, my balcony, which is a box with only one open side, was totally filled with sunlight because the open side is south and the giant Chestnut Oak is leafless. (It was always pleasantly cool on the balcony in summer but in mid-winter it's nice and warm on sunny mid-days.) This "passive solar" design worked so well yesterday that it was about 68 degrees on the balcony about 1 PM so James and I sat out there like we haven't done since the fall! James was very vocal about how much she liked being out there and she walked along her railing and mimicked a nuthatch that was chirping at us from the big tree.

So, I really can love winter in Ohio, as I've been saying, as long as it doesn't get extreme.

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I might not have time to, but I would like to write an essay that can be accessed to the right here that describes why I'm arranging my future life the way I seem to be.

This essay would explain why I am newly focused on rivers and trails even though my past was not focused on them. (In fact, I never even had a boat until 1993 and I never camped in the wilderness until 2006.)

That story is too long to cover here instead of in a separate essay, but now that I am focused on rivers I have been reading some excellent books in the last few years about them and travelling on them.

I am now reading this one from the library:



It's the 1944 to 1951 portion of the journals of Harlan Hubbard, beginning with the building of his tiny houseboat on the Ohio just upstream of Cincinnati soon after he married Anna. Harlan was born in Bellevue across the Ohio from Cincinnati but he grew up in New York City and studied art there. Then, he moved back to near Bellevue and studied art some more in Cincinnati. He then met Anna when she was a librarian in Cincinnati. After they spent some time living in their boat where they built it, and learning how to forage and garden and become friends with farmers and other river people, they began their journey to the Gulf of Mexico which they reached in 1951.

I first became a fan of Harlan's books just before Katrina when I read this book:



It's about the time they spent exploring Louisiana after they got there in 1951. (So, I'm actually reading the two books in the wrong order.)

I am sure I will want to read this book soon next:



It describes the life the Hubbards lived after they returned from Louisiana. Payne Hollow is the Ohio River inlet they spent the summer of 1947 on after they went adrift in 1946. It's downstream from Cincinnati, and about 40 miles before Louisville. They loved it so much they chose to live there the rest of their lives.

Although they both died in the late 1980s, I just checked the most recent high-resolution aerial photos on the internet and their cabin and art studio in Payne Hollow are still all that is there.

Here is an excellent web site that is full of information about Harlan and Anna's lives and travels and about their Payne Hollow, Kentucky:

Harlan Hubbard -Life on the Fringe of Society