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Pat Shingleton: "Dropping the Grate and Collecting Wood"

2 years 4 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, January 06 2021 Jan 6, 2021 January 06, 2021 9:00 AM January 06, 2021 in Pat Shingleton Column
By: Pat Shingleton:

Before the gas furnace, many relied on the coal furnace. Situated in the basement of the home the burning coal heated an iron “bell” that radiated heat into the rest of the home through a series of insulated ducts. The radiated heat ultimately made it into registers that warmed the rooms and the house. Before bedtime it was the duty of my father, grandfather and later us, to stoke the fire and layer coal to provide some overnight warmth. Eventually, the grate that held the coal ashes sifted into a chamber that was removed on a daily basis. Traditionally, my grandfather would “drop the grate” on Saturday afternoons to remove remaining ashes and to provide more heat than needed - while he took his bath. Time for some "Ahhhs..." On a remote reservation in South Dakota, Native Americans asked their chief if the winter was going to be cold? Unaware of the ancient forecasting secrets he visited the National Weather Service. The meteorologist verified it was going to be cold and the chief ordered his tribe to collect wood. A week later he called the N.W.S. asking again if the winter would be cold? Another meteorologist responded that it would. He ordered the tribe to collect more wood and two weeks later questioned the N.W.S. folks to be sure it was going to be a cold winter. “Absolutely,” the meteorologist replied, “The coldest ever!” The chief asked, “How can you be sure?” The weatherman replied (here it comes)…”The Native Americans are collecting a lot of firewood!”

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