Posts Tagged ‘winter


Going To a Land Down Under: Kiwi? Aussie?

Who’s been a very naughty blogger? Who? WHO? (You, Joshie Joshie, You)

Actually it is true that blogging has greatly lost its luster for me (but, no, this blog did not die with Michael Jackson). Facebook and Twitter are way too time consuming and pretty much fulfill my longings for pontification. But I think the ol’ Smoak House still has a few good ones in her. Let see what we can conjure up today.

Here is something Lyndsay and I have talked over and thought about a lot lately. Nothing major is going to happen in the very near future but it could happen one day. No, I am not talking about parenthood.  I am talking about moving to another country.

We have not packed our bags yet, but the reason we have discussed this is for the very simple fact that HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF. I refuse to be one of the foolish ones who forget that. You all know where I am going with this. The Obama administration has made great and frightening strides toward Socialism in the last seven months.  I could not have predicted the swiftness with which he would put the hammer down.  Now I love studying history. In so doing I have seen what happens when governments take over the everyday aspects of commerce and people’s personal lives. I read of a Hitler who plunged an entire nation into ruin and hatred (Nazism was a Socialist movement); I have studied a Stalin who oppressed and murdered his own people. I have seen Socialism and Communism destroy, maim, oppress, and murder. I have never seen them actually work. I refuse to live under any version of either system. I will not subject my wife or any of our future offspring to such evil and tyranny. I can not let my family suffer under the type of single-payer healthcare system Obama wants to implement. I can not let my family suffer through a dead-in-the-water economic system that could result from the impending collapse of the U.S. dollar. I would rather leave the country. Chances are there are some who would rather I do so. 😉

But on a lighter note, what country should we move to if it were to come to that? Well by most accounts New Zealand and Australia seem to be good choices. They are ranked high in the world in terms of personal freedom, low government intrusion, and free market capitalism. There are a few differences though. New Zealand is a small island with some great natural resources, but not many. Kiwis must import many, many goods and thus they are more subject to dependence on foreign nations. Not necessarily a bad thing but something to consider. Australia on the other hand is in a little bit better position on that front. Also it stands to reason that more jobs would be available in a larger country like Australia. Plus it is its own continent. That’s just awesome! Keep in mind that I do not know minute details of either, only what I have read on the internet and heard from talking to people. So I would love to be educated by anyone who knows more.

There would be some non-economic/non-political details to consider as well. First of all, there’s the speech of those who live down under. A Georgia boy would tend to stick out like a sore thumb in a conversation. After living there for a time there’s a good chance that I would pick up some of the accent. I would rather maintain my southern speech but I am afraid there is just no way around it. The way I talk would most certainly change. Can you imagine me saying “g’day, mate?”  Oh brother.

Then there’s the problem of Christmas in the summer time. Yes, the seasons in the southern hemisphere are flip-flopped. Our fall and winter here is spring and summer down under and vice-versa. That means that December 25 is right smack in the middle of summer. It would be hard singing Jingles Bells while applying sunscreen.

What do you think? Australia? New Zealand? Some other place?  Let me hear from you.


Georgia February: Foretaste of Spring

What is your favorite season of the year? Just about everyone has one. I actually have more than one and the answer that I would give to the question all depends on timing. I really enjoy the winter months because the holidays are in the air, celebrations are being planned, and there are always plenty of holiday treats being cooked up in the kitchen. But by the time January 2 rolls around I have had just about enough of winter and I begin looking to the next season on the calendar.

Spring is sort of like the opposite side of the coin from the holidays. It is a great time to have friends and family over, to cook good food, and to enjoy time together except that you do so outdoors. And a grill is usually involved as well. It is the time of the year that I most want to be in my yard, riding my bicycle, or taking a walk—anything to be outside! Unfortunately we still have some weeks of cold before spring enters the picture again. But thanks to Georgia weather this week has given us great reason to step outside and have a little bit of early spring (except without the flowers). I liken it to opening one present the week before Christmas (though I would personally never commit such an atrocity).

Monday and Tuesday of this week the great outdoors called to my wife and I and we were happy to answer the call. Having worked all day long at our respective indoor jobs we were looking for any excuse to be outside and dinner seemed to be just the excuse we were looking for.

Problem #1: We do not have an outdoor table and chairs set.

Dinner for TwoGood old-fashioned Southern ingenuity won the day. We made an impromptu table. A base was provided by stacking a few cube-shaped cement blocks. A circular wooden disc measuring approximately 2.5 feet in diameter provided the perfect table top. The setting was completed by two spare chairs and a table cloth. The sun was still out, the temperature was just right, and the breeze coupled with the sounds of the neighborhood could not have been more relaxing.

Even after completing our meal we could not bring ourselves to go back inside but evening was coming on. So we decided to do what anyone desperate to be out of doors at night would have done: build a fire.

Problem #2: We do not have a fire pit.

So we built one. Using some large bricks and stacking them in the right shape we created a circular pit where we built a proper fire, pulled up a couple of chairs and watched the orange and blue flames rise and fall as we talked about our lives, our home, our favorite show “Lost” and a host of other things.

Fire Pit

If you are beginning to feel a little claustrophobic having spent so much time indoors all winter then do not let this week get away. Plan an evening or an afternoon activity outside on the porch, patio, or lawn because the weatherman says that Jack Frost is going to take at least one more jab at us Middle Georgians next week. Now put down your laptop or drop your mouse and get going!

Josh H.


Georgia’s Winters Play Catch-up

today-weather-forecast1I was originally going to title this post “Dixie’s Winters Play Catch-up” (which would go along with my recent Civil War fetish).  But I can’t really speak for all of the states in the South, only Georgia.

Have you ever noticed how winter in Georgia and the corresponding weather are always a little behind? Let’s take the cold months for example.  September still feels pretty much like August.  October and November might be cooler but it’s hit-and-miss.  Then finally in December it starts to feel like fall.  Not too cold, a little breezy, sunny and you can still ride with your car windows down (which I did earlier this week).   There may even be some years when you can wear shorts on Christmas Day…that ain’t right.

Then come late January and February and it finally starts feeling like winter. It gets pretty cold actually. But don’t get used to it because along comes March and BAM, it starts getting warm again.  We pretty much have summer from some time in April until October.  Some days you can still go swimming in late September.

I love the ol’ South. It’s a great place to live.  But lordy mercy I’d like to have some cold Christmases sometimes.

Josh H.


Spring Fever

If you take a look at your calendar (any calendar will do, whether it has kitties or puppies or Napoleon Dynamite) you will notice a reference to a new season. My Napoleon Dynamite calendar simply states “First Day of Spring”, unless you want to believe the Weather Channel conspiracy that says spring began yesterday evening (whoever heard of spring startin’ at night…give me a break). This is the season of new life, of love, of cleaning, of the return of fair weather. I personally love autumn and winter, that is until January 2. On the second day of the new year the “holidays” are officially over and the winter chill loses all its charm. So I am thrilled to welcome spring.

So we just wanted to take a moment and wish our friends a happy “springtime” and a soon-to-be Happy Easter.

Josh and Lyndsay H.


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