The Time Travelers, Part #3 “Vectors and Resonance”


Within the month I received another summons to visit Jethro Olam. We wasted no time on formalities, and went directly to the latest news from his parents.

“Dearest Jethro, we arrived in Guatemala at the peak of the Mayan civilization’s cultural and scientific renaissance. By fortuitous circumstances, we were able to witness the construction of a new pyramid and temple structure, and in the process, we learned that time travel is an ancient science and a here-to-fore lost art. We spent nearly 50 of your years rediscovering these ancient truths. Now it is time to reveal what we have found.”


“The building blocks of theoretical time are spherical and circular in nature. Linear time, past, present, and future are really a function of spherical movements.   At any given time we are moving from three impetus, the earth spins daily; it orbits around the sun annually; and we are flying away like a falcon from the beginning of time – from the creation burst. To travel in time, we must establish our location and our desired destination point. By a series of computations, we can arrive at vectors, or coordinates, to reach the targeted date. The past is a point between where we are and the creation burst, it is an actual place that can be mathematically determined. Ditto for the future.

“It took many years to create a working model of the cosmos. Of course it is incomplete, but we had enough information for our purposes. All matter is flying away on a concentric, spherical shock wave from the beginning of time, from creation. We were able to locate our relative position in this construct and determine the speed at which we were moving. TIME IS A FUNCTION OF MOVEMENT AND LOCATION.


“Part of understanding the movement of time is very elemental. We are being pushed by a shock wave originating from creation. As with all waves, there is a component of harmonic motion. Without harmonic motion, the wave energy would dissipate and the wave would cease. Time would then come to rest like water on a glassy pond, or like the surface of the biblical crystal sea, and time would also cease to exist.

“Every point in time has a unique signature, a harmonic resonance that is just as telling as a finger-print. This is an energy pulse that behaves similarly to a sound wave. The secret of time travel is creating the correct “pitch” or “tone” of this identifying signature. Have you ever watched a freight train approaching? The pitch of the engine changes as the train gets ever closer, then changes again as it departs. The pitch of this sound is a calculation of the sound wave from the point of origin, as modified by the pitch of sound relative to your present location.  Likewise, this signature energy pulse carries a different pitch at every location on earth’s journey through time and space.


The device

“What would our story be without an actual time machine? Bear in mind that the device had to be small enough to fit into a back-pack. We could not depend on a ground crew from our original point of embarkation, as we could easily out-live all of our contemporaries. We had to be self-contained and self-reliant if we ever hoped to return.

“We discovered that an unblemished crystal, about twelve inches in length, had the molecular characteristics necessary to act as a time machine medium.   Scholars of old may also have possessed knowledge of the unique properties of crystals, and mention is even made in the scriptures of the crystal sea flowing before the throne of the Creator. After decades of experimentation, we were able to catalog the pitches of different earth times, different ages. Next, we calibrated two tuning forks, one with the signature pitch of our present time; one with the pitch of the time we wished to travel to. When these two forks are activated at the same time and scanned over the crystal, a meta-physical transformation takes place. The molecular structure becomes an energy pulse which seeks out the desired target date. So with the crystal aimed precisely (utilizing a device akin to a sextant), everything within a three meter square area instantly transports through time and space to the destination. We do not yet know the range of this pulse, but we do know that it will reach thousands of years into the past. As for time travelers, the loss of any component of this device could result in becoming marooned forever.

“After our return last year from Guatemala, we discovered that we had not aged in your time. We have not yet determined why . . . this will be our next scope of inquiry. Hope you are well.”

Jethro and I sat without speaking for a time, processing the revelations from his parents. I finally said, “I wonder if they could travel in geological time, say, all the way back to the age of the dinosaurs?”

Jethro Olam did not respond. He was totally engrossed in thought. I excused myself, and returned to the rather lack-luster duties of our time.


June energy tips:

Fix leaky water faucets right away. Don’t let your money run down the drain. Install low-flow aerators on your faucets. Water your lawn early in the morning or late in the evening, and don’t mow your lawn more than necessary (short grass takes considerably more water). Wash only full loads of laundry (in cold water) and dry your clothes outdoors on the old fashioned clothes line. Use a bucket of water to wash your car, instead of a hose. Don’t have to pay for city water? Well water still costs you money for the pump, and wasting water effects all of us sooner or later. Some neighborhoods are running out of well water, make sure it’s not your neighborhood.


Tri-CAP June 2018 Blog

By: Stephen Bjorklund

The time travelers, Part 2 “A letter from Switzerland”

A few months after my mysterious visit with Jethro Olam, he asked if I would stop by. I assumed that he wanted to discuss the appliances that we had ordered for him, or some other question regarding the referrals made on his behalf, so I agreed to meet him on my way home from work.

“Come on in – there’s fresh coffee and glazed doughnuts in the kitchen.”

I sat once again across from Jethro.

“I suppose you’re wondering why I called you, it doesn’t have to do with the services from Community Action. I could just tell from our last meeting that you are interested in science, and intrigued with the goings-on with my parents.”

“Indeed. The prospect of time travel, for real, would be beyond words.”

“I have received another correspondence from my parents.”

I blurted out, “Did they send drawings or formulas?”

“Not in this correspondence. Instead, they set the stage, the foundation, the big picture. They said that time has many components – the physical, meta-physical, and spiritual. They said the physics of time and time travel, the nuts and bolts of the matter, can be explained logically, step by step. Once you hear it you may wonder why it took so long for mankind to come to grips with the mechanisms. The key is a blend of geography, mathematics, especially geometry; and physics – adding a dash of astral-physics. This letter was an introduction to coming revelations – it also contains a warning.”

“So where did your parents disappear to?”

“Let me read a portion of their letter, ‘Jethro, we chose our target destination into another time most deliberately. In the course of our research, we discovered that there are places on earth that are unique, when it comes to time . . . for a variety of reasons. Here are a few of them: the magnetic North pole; Death Valley; the caves of France; the jungles comprising the ancient Mayan Civilization in Guatemala; and a mysterious mountain top in southern Mexico. The metaphysics of time are refined and distilled into a powerful force in these special places. We chose to begin our journey into time on that mountain in Mexico. Here, we encountered millions of Monarch butterflies. They were gathered into great bunches in the trees, like fish-nets filled to the bursting. Never had we seen such a dazzling assemblage of the power of life and time. All these beauties came from untold distances, migrating at the same time to this same place. We too, were drawn.’”

“With that, their detailed description of place ended.”

“What else did they say?”

“Have patience. Remember that my parents disappeared in 1967, and did not resurface until 2017. They appear to be preparing me, and perhaps the world, for a momentous revelation. They concluded this second letter from Switzerland with, ‘We must warn you that time travel comes at great risk and personal sacrifice.   Eventually, we came to realize that time can be “traded” but not replicated. The years that we lost with our family are gone forever. It cannot be re-lived. It was an exchange. Had we known this on the mountain top our journey would have come to an abrupt end. Instead, we pressed on to Guatemala.’”

“I have many questions. If they can’t replicate those years, why did they not age, that is, in our time?”

“Perhaps in future communications. Would you like for me to keep you informed of further developments?”

“I would be most grateful.”

And with that, our second meeting came to a close.


May energy tips:

Some important facts: A new energy star refrigerator could save you up to $100 per year for electricity, over using your old fridge. CFL light bulbs last 8 to 10 time longer than incandescent bulbs.   They cost more to purchase, but you come out way ahead in the end. Turn down your water heater to 120 degrees, and save up to $100 per year in electricity.


Tri-CAP May 2018 Blog

By: Stephen Bjorklund




The Time Travelers

I meet many fascinating people in the twilight of their lives, during the course of my work as an energy advisor for Community Action. I am often treated to some unforgettable stories and here’s one for the record book. I won’t attest to the veracity of this tale, but it sure is a mind-twister.

Jethro Olam, with snow white hair and beard, led me to the kitchen table and poured us both a cup of coffee. Next to the table was a built-in cabinet with many glass shelves. Displayed there-on was Jethro’s life . . . his wife, children, grandchildren and his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. He began an astonishing account.

“My people originally were wheat farmers from the Ukraine. My parents were grade school classmates, and they excelled in their studies thereby catching the attention of the local government officials, who recommended both of them for scholarships. They were allowed to attend University at Russia’s expense. During the course of their studies, they fell in love and were married. They became physicists and spent their lives doing government research. Their field of study was unprecedented . . . theoretical time.”

I asked, “Did that have to do with the weapons program?”

“Only peripherally. Russia was experimenting with many non-traditional fields of study, such as extra sensory perception, drug induced hyper-awareness and the like. I’m afraid the government’s intentions were suspect. In those days, it seems, everything had a military application.”

“Did your parents speak of their research?”

“Only once. I was keenly interested in mathematics and physics, and I’m afraid that I badgered them without mercy. In the late 1960’s, my Mother reluctantly shared that they had discovered the key to understanding the fourth dimension – time.”

“So what’s the secret?”

“Shortly after we had this conversation, my parents disappeared without a trace. They never had the time to share the key of time.”

The old man slid his chair back from the kitchen table, and stood up. He walked to the bookcase and picked up a framed picture of his parents. They were a handsome couple in their mid-forties, and they were standing in a field of wheat. He turned the frame over and retrieved an envelope that had been taped to the back. “Would you like to see something amazing?”


“Here’s a letter that I received just before Hanukah last year. It’s from my parents. It says simply, ’we’re so sorry for the time we lost with you. We were in a different time and place – and that’s all that we can say. Hope you are taking good care of your life and our family – love, Mother and Father. PS. See you soon.’”

“The letter was post-marked in 2017, and contains a photo of my parents in Switzerland. Here it is.”

Jethro Olam handed me the photo. It was indeed his parents, and they looked identical to the photo in the bookcase.

I’ve run into a lot of great stories in my tenure as an energy advisor – but this one will be hard to top. I completed the remainder of my tasks for the home energy visit, but I must confess that my mind had drifted to another time and place.

April energy tips:

Do you know why your heating and electric bills are so high? The average three bedroom Minnesota home uses about 9500 KWh of electricity per year (about $1350). The average heating fuel bill for propane or natural gas is about $1350 per year, and for fuel oil, about $2000 per year. If your bills are higher than average, ask Tri-CAP for a home energy evaluation, through the home energy and resource advisor program (income guidelines apply).

Tri-CAP April 2018

By: Stephen Bjorklund



Another World

We navigate through most of life with the reality of what we can see, feel, hear, taste and touch. There is also the reality of the mind and spirit. All of the aforementioned comprise the realm of the conscious mind . . . our awake moments. But is that all there is? What about our dreams? What about our imagination (our day-dreams)? Both can take us to alternate realities which seem very real, but how real?

Have you ever been in a dream that was as real as any life experience? Some are great dreams that you hate to wake up from, others are close to a near death experience. We awaken from these dark dreams with a sigh of relief. We have little or no control of our fast-asleep dreams, so I won’t spend much time on them. We all have them and the experts have offered up a multitude of conflicting theories as to why. We must need to dream, or we wouldn’t do so.

The second category, the realm of imagination, is most compelling. We are the captains of our own ship when we venture here. I probably day-dream as much as anyone. I have two great compulsions in life, I like to write fictional short stories and do artwork, often illustrating the stories. These creative forays start with a day-dream. I can time-travel and be anywhere man has ever set foot. The more I concentrate on the story line and characters, the more I become an actor and participant in that place and time. I can see and feel the scenes. If you use your imagination on a regular basis, it’s like working out in a gym . . . you can get better and better at entering this alternate reality. You may be wondering if there’s a danger of going too far into your imagination and perhaps ending up lost. I can only speak for myself. It’s never a problem. If I’m writing a short story about the Civil War, my characters stay put on the written page.

How can you use your imagination in your own life in a practical way? No matter what your circumstances, you can imagine a better life. The revelation here is that you are able to take steps to achieve that life. If you are in a financial hardship, write down your debts, your income, and your financial goals. Seek some financial counseling and plot a course to your new life. Call Tri-CAP, we can help you complete a working budget, and we host free financial fitness courses for our income eligible clients. Imagine being out of debt and staying out of debt. Imagine having a savings account with at least three months’ worth of bill paying power, just in case of emergencies. That’s a good day-dream that can become your new life.

Energy tips – Three steps to getting caught up on your fuel and electric bills: Prepare a written budget and determine your average monthly electric and fuel bills; do what you can to weatherize your home by caulking and sealing exterior doors and windows and attic access panels; get a clean and tune on your forced air furnace. Check Tri-CAP’s Energy Advisor program. You may be eligible for a number of programs that would make your home more energy efficient, and you may be eligible for energy assistance. Tri-CAP’s energy advisor could meet with you at your home and discuss the options. Your first step is to complete an Energy Assistance application.

Tri-CAP March 2018

By: Stephen Bjorklund



About Birds

Whether you are science-minded and hold that the earth is billions of years old or a Bible believer of the creation account, one common fact rings true. Birds were created before men. They occupy every biome on the face of the earth. They are a keystone species, meaning that without birds the survival of man would be a tenuous proposition. Birds are a fundamental part of the circle of life, kind of like air, food and water. Birds, on the other hand, could easily survive without man. They have done so in the past.

Aside from the survival component that birds hold for men, they also give us company, beauty, song and the wonder of flight. Would we be flying today without the prompting of our aerial friends? I doubt it.

Have you ever wondered about the songs that birds sing . . . whether they are actually communicating? After spending way too much time outdoors, instead of doing my homework or practicing on the piano, among other omissions, I am convinced that they do have language. As a deer hunter, I pay careful attention to what the blue jays are doing and saying, and I also watch the crows. When deer are approaching through the woods, these birds will raise a particular kind of ruckus. If you are attentive, you can hear it in their calls – “deer on the move”! Song birds, like cardinals and chickadees, also have a distinct alarm call if a fox or a cat are approaching. The other birds pick up the warning, understand, and react.    And here’s something we all experience . . . birds express happiness in their songs. They greet the sunrise with an extraordinary celebration of life.

I am a life-long observer of crows. They love to play – on the ground and in the air. And they are very intelligent rascals. Once, while camping in the Boundary Waters of Northern-most Minnesota, the crows invaded our campsite. Every time we left camp to go out fishing, they would come in and steal from our backpacks and take things off the picnic table, including some shiny fishing lures. We tried to trap them by placing walleye filets on the table top, with mono-filament snares. They simply ate the filets, avoiding the snares. Then we tried a box trap, with more fish filets. The trap was sprung – but no captive crow in sight. The crows actually waited for our return from fishing, perching in the white pines by camp, and they gave us a raucous chorus of the crow version of the raspberries.

Another story from my youth: I was working at the lumber yard one summer, and delivered a load of roofing supplies for a shed to one of the local farms.   I parked next to the outbuilding that looked like a candidate for roofing. I didn’t see any of the farm folks, so I yelled out “Hello”. The response came loud and clear, “Hello”. I then said, “Where would you like the roofing unloaded?” Again the response was “Hello”. This exchange was repeated a couple of times, and I assumed the farmer was hard of hearing, so I went looking for him. As I rounded a shed, I saw a huge crow sitting on a perch, about four feet off the ground. I walked up to him and he greeted me with a perfect, “Hello!”

My best bird story: I used to live on a farm by Lake Christina in Ottertail County. Many Canadian Geese frequented the stubble wheat field between my farm house and the lake. One day a couple hundred geese were gleaning wheat on the far side of the field. I tried an experiment. I pulled out my harmonica, sat on the backyard patio and began to play.   At first lots of geese stopped feeding, and stuck their heads straight up, facing me. After a while, they went back to feeding, but about a dozen peeled off from the group and began to walk straight toward me. They covered the 200 yards separating us, laying down about 40 feet from me. I kept playing and some of them began to “gabble”, which is a gooses’ version of a cat purring with satisfaction. They just plain enjoyed the music, especially “She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes”. After a most enjoyable hour they went back to gleaning wheat, walking out of sight down the stubble rows, disappearing into the land of memories.

If we are observant, what might the world teach us?

Energy tips: Use the right sized lids when cooking with a pan; use the microwave whenever possible versus your oven; use the air dry option on your dishwasher and wash in cold water and with full loads; unplug your second fridge and save from $100 to $200 per year; set your fridge at 36 degrees and your freezer at 6 degrees; buy Energy Star appliances, they cost much less to run.

Tri-CAP February 2018

By: Stephen Bjorklund

The Looking Glass


You can tell a lot about a person by what they do for recreation. The internet marketers are keeping track of everything you buy on-line, and everything you look at. They are profiling you as we speak. If you have a TV service, they are modeling you as well. They know about every show and commercial that you watch. Your credit card company is also logging every transaction. Once you have been evaluated by any of these entities, they can profit by selling your profile to other businesses or advertisers. The department stores are also tracking your purchases. We are living in a glass house – nothing is private and nothing is off-limit . . . or sacred. Have you ever bought anything through the mail or over the phone? You may have opened Pandora ’s Box.   So everybody knows your name . . . but how well do you know yourself?

I like good movies, how about you? I’ve been thinking about the movies that I like the best, my top twenty-one. Perhaps if I write them down they may form a pattern. I’ve never done this before, so here goes. Maybe I’ll become more self-aware by pausing to peer into the looking glass. You could do the same.

Top 21 movies

  1. Ben Hur, with Charlton Heston and Haya Harareet.
  2. The Ten Commandments, with Charlton Heston and Anne Baxter.
  3. For Whom the Bell Tolls, with Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman.
  4. Spartacus, with Kirk Douglas and Jean Simmons.
  5. Treasure of the Sierra Madre, with Humphrey Bogart and Walter Houston.
  6. The Sand Pebbles, with Steve McQueen and Candice Bergen.
  7. The Bridge on the River Kwai, with William Holden, Alec Guinness and Sessue Hayakawa.
  8. The Phantom of the Opera, with Claude Rains and Susanna Foster.
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird, with Gregory Peck and Mary Badham.
  10. The Yearling, with Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman and Claud Jarman Jr.
  11. The Robe, with Richard Burton and Jean Simmons.
  12. Casablanca, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
  13. To Have and Have Not, with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Walter Brennan.
  14. The Shepherd of the Hills, with John Wayne, Betty Field and Harry Carey.
  15. King Kong, with Fay Wray and Bruce Cabot.
  16. The Day the Earth Stood Still, with Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal.
  17. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara.
  18. Across the Wide Missouri, with Clark Gable and Maria Elena Marques.
  19. The Red House, with Edward G. Robinson and Allene Roberts.
  20. Scarlet Street, with Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett.
  21. To the Last Man, with Randolph Scott and Esther Ralston.

Here are the patterns that I see:

  • Well made movies with Bible themes are powerful stuff.
  • Human nature, light and dark, is fascinating. Life choices are the ultimate test.
  • War and conflict can bring out the heroic and unselfish nature of man.
  • We can imagine our best life through love and adventure stories.
  • When the hero is a tragic figure it mirrors life, courage can be short-lived.
  • Stories about coming of age are priceless, we can re-visit our youth.
  • Science fiction and horror stories reach deep into our imagination.
  • I like any well-told tale about Native Americans – their culture is compelling.
  • The perverse nature of man is worth exploring – we all have it in us.
  • Comedies don’t make my list – I must be too serious.

What do you see? Let me know.

January energy saving tips: Take a quick look at your house, if you have icicles, ice-dams, or uneven snow melt at your roof, it means heat is escaping into your attic and you need to do some air sealing, especially around your attic access panel. If you can see the stud framing lines behind your siding, or the nail heads, you don’t have proper moisture/air barriers in your outside walls; if you have frost or condensation on the bottom of your windows – you have too much moisture in your living spaces – relative humidity should be around 40%. If it’s higher, your air quality and your health could suffer. If you see these things, and you are signed up for energy assistance, give Tri-CAP a call. Have a safe winter season. Thanks to all of you from Tri-CAP and enjoy some good movies this month!

January 2018 Blog

Written by Stephen Bjorklund


I accumulate a bushel of miles every month at work, while covering my four county, central Minnesota territory. Occasionally I encounter an abandoned homestead. The windows are gone, the clapboard siding is weather-checked and gray, patches of cedar shingles have blown from the rooftop. Often, the yard is overgrown with brush . . . and the barn roof sags in the middle, showing signs of carrying the times. Sometimes, remnants of lace curtains dance in the breeze, gently swaying in and out of the window openings – bearing witness to the loving touch of a farm-wife of so long ago. If one observes closely, you may see time travelers – flowers still blooming . . . surrounding by love the domain of the lady of the house. The delicate Forget-Me-Nots beckon. The scene speaks. Who were they? What was their life? How many children and grandchildren began every important thing upon this hallowed ground?
The farm fields around the five acre homestead are groomed and planted – rock piles and rock walls periodically positioned between the fields. They stand as a testament to decades and generations of rigorous toil upon the land. Picking rocks, bailing hay, milking cows, tending chickens, and manuring out the barn were all rites of passage for every youth that moved and breathed here. Now, a new generation abides as stewards of the land – they stand on fields prepared for them . . . a legacy.
I contemplate whether the old house and barn could be resurrected, brought back by some young, motivated couple, to begin life here once again. It would take special people with a deep and abiding love of the land. I know how much work, and money, the project would require. My wife and I reclaimed two old farmsteads throughout our marriage. I never regretted a moment of the task. As I pass by on the country road, I hope some young couple will see what I see and take hold of their own dream.
Everything can have a greater meaning. Sometimes, our own life can appear to us like an abandoned house. Our paint jobs-ajar, our roof-top needs repair. The cold seems to blow right through us . . . chilling bone and marrow. We feel isolated – the sunshine has left us, we feel unkempt and overtaken. At times it is hard to look forward to even one good thing. The good news is that we never have to remain in a dark and somber place. Life is good, God is good, and you can renovate. Life can begin a-new, you can be good as new. It will take some work. It will take some effort . . . to begin with you need to decide to begin. Remember this . . . you are more important than any house that was ever built . . . you can start your own legacy.
If Tri-CAP can help you begin, through our many family oriented programs, we will be waiting for your call.
Energy tips for the month:
If you use the old style incandescent light bulbs, switch to CFL’s or LED’s. In the winter, open the drapes during the day and close them at night. Let the sunshine help heat your house. Instead of turning up the thermostat, wear a sweater and use a blanket. Fix leaky faucets or toilets right away, don’t wait – it’s your money going down the drain. Wash full loads of clothes and full loads of dishes. Plan out your shopping trips for the week and do all of your marketing during the same trip to town. This will save you gas and extend the life of your car. Change your furnace filter every month, and get a clean and tune on your furnace every two years (every year if you use fuel oil). Install a programmable thermostat.

December 2017 Blog
Written by Stephen Bjorklund

November Time

November is a wild month. It demands action from man and beast. It’s like a time piece racing ahead to a final, inexorable winding down. It’s the harvest season for mankind . . . the migration season for millions of birds. It’s a swing time for nature as fall transforms into winter. The ponds freeze, frogs and turtles settle into their resting places. Black bears seek out their dens . . . the mother’s giving birth before the sleepover ends. Snow finally blankets and insulates the earth, like our grandmother’s best patchwork quilt, and man is obliged to cease from his hectic harvest activities.
I’ve seen some wondrous sights in November. Once, while raccoon hunting with my buddy Norm, we encountered a huge snapping turtle on a moon-lit night. The creature was lodged on the bottom of a pond, clearly visible through the ice of Chuck’s Lake. Norm tapped the ice with the butt of his rifle, right above the turtle, and it reacted in a flash leaving a cloud of silt. It disappeared into the cattails. I’ve always wondered how that turtle could awaken from its deep torpor . . . and then instantly vanish. It’s a mystery. How does a turtle morph from an air breathing creature into one who can survive underwater? Must have to do with that great and indiscernible November clock. And how about frogs and toads? They crawl into the mud or under a pile of leaves, and then freeze solid. They don’t thaw out until April. Impossible!
On another memorable November day, my son Aaron and I were deer hunting close to the Canadian border. It was a 10 degree below zero, windless day. I made a slow drive over a ridge toward my son, stopping to catch my breath. It began to snow from a clear blue sky. As I marveled at this oddity, I saw a puff of smoke rise from a clump of brush at the base of a dead-fall. About every 30 seconds there was another blast of steam, which lingered in the frosty air. Another mystery. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I was sitting next to a bear den. That old bear was breathing on November time, slowed down to two beats per minute. I, on the other hand, quickly vacated the scene . . . no need to awaken the old boy.
Well, we can’t crawl under a pile of leaves or fall asleep under a tree until spring, so the question remains, are we ready for winter? Here’s some energy tips to help you smile at the season.
The Hundred Dollar Rule
Here’s something easy to remember, I call it the hundred dollar rule. For electrical consumption, if your monthly bill is more than $100, you are a high consumer. For heating fuel, if your monthly bill exceeds $100, you are a high consumer. If you replace an old appliance with an Energy Star rated appliance, it will save you $100 per year in electricity. (This applies to each of the following: fridge; chest freezer; clothes washer; window A/C.) If you wash your clothes in cold water, it will save $100 per year. If you turn down the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees, it saves $100 per year. If you change  the filter on your furnace once per month, it saves $100 per year. If you seal your rim joist; caulk the air leaks; and insulate the lid of your attic access panel, it saves $100 per year. If you are using more than one fridge or chest freezer, re-organize and use one of each. One hundred dollar savings. Next spring, plant pine trees to the north and west of your home, and big leaf trees to the south and east . . . one hundred dollar annual savings in heating and cooling costs. Next summer, use a fan instead of your central A/C, it saves at least $100 per summer. There you have it, the hundred dollar rule. If your monthly bills are more than $100 for heating fuel and $100 for electricity, call Tri-CAP and sign up for energy assistance. It may open the door for a home energy visit and possibly weatherization services, as well as the CIP appliance program (income guidelines and program guidelines apply).
November 2017 Blog
Written by Stephen Bjorklund

Song of Fall

October whispers a wise old sound,
the best in life is fleeting . . .
would that trees retain their color,
splendor drifting to Autumn grounds.

The colors live in mind and memory . . .
embrace their short-lived reign.
Note that friends are like October,
we try to hold them but in vain.

The old appreciate the season.
We remember what we cannot hold.
Reason exposes all our parts
as seasons race upon our thoughts.

What is real, what we value
becomes severed and untouched by time.
I can live my love of fall
this year and decades past the same.

Love and time indwell October,
shortened days, geese in flight.
Nothing mutes the chilling grandeur
awakened by the bracing nights.

It’s a wonder that we surrender,
any friend or part of us.
But our life too steps to the season
fallen colors fulfilled as browns.

So what is left, what’s to be said?
A thank you would be nice.
For if God should tarry . . . taking measure,
October seasons with delight.

Fall energy tips: If you have fuel oil or propane, check the fuel level in your storage tank. Sediment from an empty fuel oil tank can back-flow into your furnace and destroy it; and running out of propane may require an emergency fill by your provider (after hours or on the weekend), which can cost an extra 100 to 200 dollars for the service call. Be wise and don’t run out. Call your energy vendor and see if they will work with you on a payment plan. Don’t forget about local resources, apply in October for Tri-CAP’s energy assistance program (financial guidelines apply).

October 2017 Blog
Written by: Stephen Bjorklund


In religious terms, an epiphany is a sudden awareness of the eternal; in secular terms it is the grasp of something singularly striking. Either way, the experience is indeed rare . . . and perhaps even life-changing.
Once, when my youngest daughter Leah was seeking a subject to make a short documentary film – for an important senior high class project, she asked me if I had any suggestions. “Hmmm . . . well, Saturday I’m hiking into my secret place by the beaver pond to go duck hunting. The weather is supposed to be clear and sunny and the fall colors are peaking. You’re welcome to join me.”
Saturday arrived with weather as promised. After a short drive, we trekked through a farm field, past the big woods and descended the great hill next to the swamp. Leah followed as I picked my way on an old Indian trail (I once found a stone point arrowhead there). We reached the creek and I carried her across. Then I headed toward the “three sisters”, a distinctive clump of birch trees that marked the access trail onto the island. We continued, going up, over and through the oak and maple trees. On the far side of the island, after passing through a wild berry field, we continued down to the beaver pond. I dropped my Duluth back-pack and shotgun, and retrieved a few decoys from the pack, tossing them out onto the beaver pond. Leah and I sat on a carpet of long grass next to a walnut tree. The ripples from the decoys subsided and the pond became a mirror . . . capturing the reds, oranges and yellows of the hardwoods on the far side.
Wood ducks, teal and mallards began to funnel into the lake on the other side of the island. I began to call them, first whistling at the woodies, then “talking” to the mallards. It wasn’t long before two male wood ducks responded, jetting into the beaver pond. I shot straight and true, retrieving the magnificent ducks. I laid them out on the flowing grass of the creek bank. Leah’s entire film only lasted eight minutes, but she captured it all . . . the perfection of fall, her Dad in his secret place – the old hunter in his element doing those things learned from his youth. She caught the sounds of the duck calls, the whisper of the incoming waterfowl . . . the perfect harmony of the place.
Leah will never again be a high school senior, I may never hunt at the beaver pond and that perfect fall day lives only in memory. A father and daughter shared this ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience as a singular point in time. It’s all there on film . . . an epiphany.
Fall energy tip: Consider entering into a pre-paid contract with your delivered heating fuel provider. You can lock in the price for a set number of gallons (we just did for several hundred gallons), and save yourself big bucks on this winter’s heating fuel bills. You can shop around at different fuel providers, and take the best price.
September 2017 Blog
By: Stephen Bjorklund