Friday, August 30
I am a huge glove-nerd, especially workgloves masquerading as winter gloves... #wheelhouse. New product from Poler is the Tohoma Glove (spelling take on Tahoma? Old name for Mount Ranier??). Anyhow; made with Poler-tastic Duffaluffagus hide (100% Goat Leather ), durable water repellent finishing, stash pocket for your Poler Heat Bag, insulated with Thermastuff high loft synthetics and waterproof breathable membrane. $99: upper-ish end for me admittedly. Some other styles (unlined, mittens, in black... here)
Someone mentioned how this Friday (pre-Labor Day weekend) is one of the busiest travel days of the year, so we should take the road less travelled. Reminded me of this 1991 (I think..) lecture by Kevin Murphy, Professor of English at Ithaca College, who examines Robert Frost's popularity and the darker implications of his poetry and The Road Not Taken. Have posted this once before but absolutely riveting, #essential. 25mins so settle in. Happy Friday.
Thursday, August 29
Except for a smart lunch; my uniform for recent family trip to Scotland consisted of Barbour Bedale rewaxed for the trip, LLBean Sig pants, and LLBean rubber mocs (beach/rain shoes and easy on/off at airport security).
We spent almost a week in Glenelg, a small town on the West of Scotland - a quicky ferry bounce to the Isle of Skye. Though the nearby port Kyle of Lochalsh gets large fishing catches on Tuesday and Thursday you had to be pretty nimble to score any of it - most of it sold commercially and not to local fishmonger who consisted of a man in a trailer who also sells ice cream to tourists (really good ice cream). A butcher's shop sold the bigger fish on Tuesday (pollock, haddock) while trailerman sold the shellfish. We did in the end eat fish almost every lunch and dinner, cooking it all with a large AGA (the large "always on" oven/stovetop/waterboiler that dominates some UK country houses).
Smallish oyster farm on Skye, shed near Talisker distillery. Cashier would shuck a dozen for you on the spot.
Used some gone-by peaches to attempt small fruit pies, recipe from The Lunchlady.
Not just for breakfast! Even made black pudding "sausage rolls" (pig in a blanket) with it. Mmmmm
For the man who has everything... Personalized bread board. Great gift idea.
The other Mrs Fox on-hand had these kee-lassic older Hunter boots. Real deal.
Found wild raspberries. Handy having small children carrying buckets...
Guy up the road has several poly-tunnels with all manner of veg. Zucchini flowers were huge.
Rosted tatties from local guy with the polytunnel - done in the AGA next day while out walking.
The meat sauce in the AGA didn't do so well...
Had to call a chap at the local Inn to go round and yank it as we were out walking and had forgotten.
Destroyed... But he left an amusing note. #oops
Destroyed... But he left an amusing note. #oops
Pictures take themselves. Even went swimming...
The Tea Hut - in village of Corran just past Arnisdale. Essential stop.
Arnisdale was an ancestral home of Valentine Fleming, father of Ian Fleming. Shades of Skyfall...
Tuesday, August 27
Monday, August 26
You're right, this is a thistle above, not nettles. Have been away in remote-ish Scotland (Isle of Skye area) for a week w siblings. Lots of hikes and cooking fish various ways.
Also, finally had a chance to try making nettle pesto from a bush outside the cottage - having been inspired by our author friend Whole Larder Love long ago. Spoiler alert - awesome. Picture below does not do it justice - the pesto comes out fantastically green - nuclear Hulk green. Not 100% sure how to define the nettle taste - once you have garlicky, oily, nutty, fried day-old-spaghetti (so good...) you could dress it with blended cardboard and it might taste OK. Still, there is a definite thrill of victory in having gone out with your work gloves and picked an inhospitable plant and turned it into something edible.
Tons of recipes out there and you can add and subtract (I used pistachios ground up instead of pine nuts and didn't have a processor so just chopped it) - but this below reprinted from Edible. Huge recommend.
"Italians make nettle pesto, or pesto d’urtica, in springtime.
3 cups raw stinging nettles
3 medium garlic cloves
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1. Using tongs or gloves, measure 3 tightly packed cups of raw young nettle tops. Add them to salted boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, drain immediately and then place the greens in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking [didn't do this part - ed.]. Cool, strain and squeeze dry using a tea towel to remove every drop of moisture that you can.
2. Coarsely chop the nettles to make about 1 cup. Add them to the bowl of a food processor with the garlic cloves and pine nuts. While pulsing, slowly add the olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. You might add a small knob of soft butter and a squeeze of lemon juice if it needs brightening. Blend once more to incorporate the final additions [i didn't do this part - ed]."
Friday, August 16
Thursday, August 15
Wednesday, August 14
An homage to $18 grainstore Kinco workgloves favored by ski-patrollers, lifties and chainsaw wielding snowboarders all over the States - Burton has introduced the Lifty. $40. Maybe part of the next Olympics uniform?? #readingmymail
Tuesday, August 13
Maple syrup is a cash crop in Vermont and can be a very important part of a family's income. Tina, a lady-friend of ours has started her own operation along with her husband Skye, dubbed Bobo's Mountain Sugar - "a taste of tree"; great line. The operation uses modern-tech when it makes sense (lines not buckets, and osmosis to remove over 50% of the water from sap before boiling) but they still boil the sap in the pan (or evaporator) using wood cleared from the land. Just now available online; prices are half-pint $11, pint $18, quarter of a gallon $26 - all in apothecary style bottles. Free USPS shipping. That is hard to beat... We visited at the height of sugaring season earlier in the year (end of Feb/early March) - photos and notes as below.
Sugarhouse built for the purpose. The sugar bush (the area of maple trees) rises off to the left - perfect to let gravity pull the sap down the hill in the newly installed tubes to the holding tank. #trucks #steam #dirtroads
Tina at the helm drawing off boiled sap to check the density of syrup, measured in Brix. Brix density must be higher for VT syrup than almost all others... so there is science behind the idea of VT syrup at least being different if not better/more densely sugared. Read more at the Bobo blog.
The other half of the operation is an old buddy, Skye Chalmers. #red
Tina and her sis-in-law wearing "the uniform". #carhartt #fleece #sunset #nofilter This is in Weston, Vermont, which compared to the valleys of Manchester is referred to as "over the mountain".
Not only working hard creating this business but also a bit of a super-mom. BBQ round back for the interns...
The old-fashioned way of collecting - for show really but a good lesson. Then tip buckets into the collecting tank as below - the thing is huge...
Besides hauling wood there is plenty of downtime to *ahem* "visit". Little bit of local info for the Boston crowd... Bobo's Mountain Sugar currently being used as the maple in the maple/bacon donuts over at Union Square Donuts. Hot damn they are good. Tina and Skye just started selling the syrup online as of yesterday... site has recipes, a blog and more to come - http://bobosmountainsugar.com/
Friday, August 9
Michael "Deer Hunter" Cimino's 1980 masterflop Heaven's Gate is being rereleased in the UK in a director's cut that mirrors the Criterion edition (216 minutes). If you have never watched it (as poisoned by its lore as a disaster of a movie) at least have a look at the cast list; Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Sam Waterston, Brad Dourif, Isabelle Huppert, Jeff Bridges, Willem Dafoe (uncredited - though he narrates the "making of" youtube linked far below), Mickey Rourke (bit part), and a cast of thousands. Criterion gives 3 quick reasons to see it below and also gets the scale of this thing...
There is a fascinating doc about the trials and tribulations of making the film; Final Cut. #recommend.
Thursday, August 8
Going to visit a good old friend tomorrow - the original @TenEngines infact... yup. Looking forward to the 90-minute ferry down to the end of Cape Cod. Clean #1 haircut and no hat. Sweater for on-deck cause the wind gets cold - and not bringing much else. Maybe an oyster knife (Island Creek have theirs made by Murphy - well played).
Navy shawl-collar cardigan. #uniform - Beams
HBarC blue gingham - eBay $10...
Vintage Randolph Aviators - eBay
Lee 101s. Any good canvas bag. Katin trunks. V-neck tshirts. Horween belt - used to be able to order them from the source. LLBean ducks.
Also see That Taking The Ferry Look, and That Taking The Ferry Look 2
Tuesday, August 6
Lee Manufacturing Company (est 1939 - and no not the jeans people) specializes in producing tried and proven products for the kitchen and garden. Producers of the original wooden corn cutter and creamer, patented in 1942. $12. They also sell cherry pitters, pea shellers, cabbage cutters, nutcrackers and pecan pickers.
Monday, August 5
Remove a water sprout (vertical shoot) rather than an end branch or litter off the ground, as the shoots are green and whippy. Plus they will be removed when pruning anyway as a drain on the tree.
Peel off some bark from the thin end and jam on an apple.
Kepp a good hold of the stick as you wing that sucker overhand [photo by the intern -ed.] and let apple fly off.
Apple POV cam before it obliterates into rock on far side. These things go incredibly fast so do not even think about zipping one at a friend. Srsly. Can also fling it straight up to land in the pond duck-fart style... #essentialskill