Herb Benham: Giving thanks for gas-burning fireplaces, river water

·4 min read

Nov. 29—Good Thanksgiving. No guns, some knives, most sharp but all busy carving turkey.

Peaceful seemed to be the order of Thanksgiving maybe because last year with COVID was tense and 2021 felt like a do-over. I'm guessing diners sidelined heartfelt political and religious beliefs opting for company rather than conflict.

I smoked a turkey and since my smoker fluctuated between 100 and 150, the turkey may have cooked faster had I breathed on it in rapid fire succession. As it was, the turkey took 10 hours and this included roasting it in the oven at 350 for an hour at the end.

----Mentioning the word sex multiple times in a column juices readership but columns about abandoning the wood-burning fireplace for a gas-burning one runs a hot second.

Rick Zanutto writes: "I laughed when I read Viewpoint and people were still talking about your new gas fireplace. We lived in Walker Basin for 32 years and our home had a forced air heating system we used once a month until I installed a wood- burning, free-standing Blaze King Air Tight fireplace with a variable fan. They said it would heat 3,000 square feet, they didn't lie. On the coldest days, we'd crank it up and have to open a window.

"Our new home in Bear Valley has a gas fireplace, the logs look almost real and the fabric looking material resembles hot flickering coals but I installed a high efficiency airtight wood burning fireplace so we can use either.

"At 76, I still love cutting my own firewood, hauling, hand-splitting and stacking many cords. When I place each log on the fire I feel a personal affection, almost like cremating a lost friend."

----Mark Glasser, formerly of Bakersfield, wrote recently from his home in beautiful Door County, Mich. Will Wood responded.

"Door County is one of the most beautiful locations in the U.S., but of course there are about three months in the winter when you can't leave the house because all your doors and windows are frozen shut.

"Hope your friend survives his retirement.

"If he's married I'm pretty sure she'll eventually whack him for dragging her up there.

"It will probably happen at night, in the middle of the winter when she goes Kathy Bates on him."

----I learned that in addition to sex and gas inserts, some people want water in the river too.

John Grant writes (and I suspect many will disagree): "You are spot-on calling for the 'Public Trust Doctrine' to prevail. The 'public' needs fewer pistachios and acres of alfalfa to feed dairy cows producing surplus pounds of milk requiring 'price supports' from the USDA.

"We all need to throw a few $$$$ Lois Henry's way at SJV Water. She and her intern deliver the facts; San Joaquin Valley agriculture is bloated; not sustainable but for massive public expense to provide its lifeline (water from far-away places) and price supports for growing crops that have very little to do with 'feeding the world' as it claims.

"'Job losses'? No other industry is racing to 'mechanize' faster than ag. My current great lament is watching a repeat of the very same blind spots as they occur in Montana."

----Bill Cooper, who along with Rich O'Neil made the bike path possible, also responded to the column about running water down the river.

"Getting the forfeited Kern Delta water into the river is critical for the Parkway. We don't see the reason for any conflict as the water will be put into the river through town and recharged for drinking water as well as stored underground for future extraction.

"Who better than the City to manage the water?

"The Bring Back The Kern Committee is an independent subcommittee of the KRPF. Much younger people are running it. This really pleases Rich and I."

----Bret Sill on the same subject: "I am a farmer in the Shafter/Wasco area and I agree this town would benefit with water running through the river. Think of the outdoor restaurants that could pop up overlooking a flowing river (even if it's a couple inches with a minimal swath) creating jobs and inspiring the mind with God's creation.

"What better place to recharge the aquifer than the riverbed full of sand that will recharge at a faster rate than many of the recharge facilities. These districts have spent millions and millions of dollars to create man-made recharge facilities.

"I know this wouldn't be possible every year as droughts come and go and farmers need to feed the people and water is a limited resource in this state. However, if we can send millions of acre-feet of water under the Golden Gate to keep a little fish alive then we can use a few thousand acre-feet or whatever it would be to beautify our city."

Herb Benham is a columnist for The Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at hbenham@bakersfield.com or 661-395-7279.

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