Tuesday, August 31

serendipitous browsing

Serendipitous browsing is a term, commonly used to describe a physical library experience; the accidental find of a useful item that was catalogued and shelved near the item the reader wanted. It has been taken up as one of the benefits of libraries and physical research (rather than online). Others conversely believe online browsing is fantastic for serendipitous learning. Not the exact same thing, but I'll take them both. Myself, love rummaging in a library and finding books you never heard of.

Looking through the cookery/homesteading shelves at the Somerville Public Library found this pamphlet shaped item, The American Frugal Housewife. Dedicated to those who are not ashamed of economy (1833) by Lydia Maria Francis Child.

Have you ever heard of A Boy's Thanksgiving Day?? How about it's common title Over the River and through the Woods? She wrote that too. Child was born in nearby Medford, MA, infact her grandfather's house (of "to grandfather's house we go..." fame) is a mile away from the serendipitous Somerville library shelf. V cool. The lady herself sounds like she was a real force; abolitionist, women's rights activist, opponent of American expansionism, Indian rights activist, author... Remember this is only 50 years after the United States gained independence.

Back to the serendipitous find though; The American Frugal Housewife title prepares you. Plenty of tough love, lack of frivolity and children being "seen and not heard" type of stuff but also definable ways to take care of your possessions, re-use things, grow vegetables etc. The intro sentences are great;
The true economy of housekeeping is simply the art of gathering up all the fragments, so that nothing be lost. I mean fragments of time, as well as materials. Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be; and whatever be the size of a family, every member should be employed either in earning or saving money.

'Time is money.' For this reason, cheap as stockings are, it is good economy to knit them. Cotton and woollen yarn are both cheap; hose that are knit wear twice as long as woven ones; and they can be done at odd minutes of time, which would not be otherwise employed. Where there are children, or aged people, it is sufficient to recommend knitting, that it is an employment.

In this point of view, patchwork is good economy. It is indeed a foolish waste of time to tear cloth into bits for the sake of arranging it anew in fantastic figures; but a large family may be kept out of idleness, and a few shillings saved, by thus using scraps of gowns, curtains, &c.
You can see/read it all via googlebooks. Irony of an objectifiying blog recommending a book on frugality does not escape...

Monday, August 30

at equilibrium

At Equilibrium presented by RipzoneEurope and bigairbag.com is the latest documentary from Blickinsfreie; a doc' about the passionate people who have developed snowboarding in Bulgaria. A mixture of cultures, languages and levels of snowboarding -if you don't care to hear the backstory head to the 3:30 mark. Washed out palette works with the EasternEuro vibe.

electric eg2.5 -ikka backstrom

Protesting a little too much?? Truthfully, I don't have a lot of camo stuff... Besides the hats. The camo/blaze mix on these 2011 Electric goggles is perfect. Something about EastCoast snowboarding just begs for this treatment.

carhartt -don't call it a trucker

They have done something like this a few times over the years. Was maybe for the Centennial collection that Carhartt offered it unlined. Make it w/ 2 pockets again and I'm all over it. Nylon down the sleeves this time though -not a fan of that. #close. Just $65 here.

Saturday, August 28

close one...

Been sitting on this idea for months. Somehow wanted to line/cover the bottom of a canvas bag so it is more rugged/waterproof. Wanted to use some kind of truckbed/rhinoliner/herculiner or similar. Truth is it works for impact resistance on flat surfaces but cracks when flexed. See my test material below. Not suitable for this application. [so you're posting about stuff you haven't done now?? -ed.] At the last minute I held off... Not even going the waxed cotton route. Keeping as is. Close one...

Friday, August 27


Yahweh frontman Lewis Cook (top left, photo by Andrea Heins) creates most recordings himself -but the band of violin, cello and gizmos recreate and reinterpret them live.

<a href="http://buy.gerrylovesrecords.com/track/make-me-stop">Make Me Stop by Gerry Loves Records</a>

The track above is from a split 7" single released w/ another Scottish band, Trapped In Kansas. Yes, Scots love American imagery as much as Americans romanticize the Scots. [N.B. scotch is a drink... the Scots are a people -ed.] If any reader can honestly remember the old Dukes Bar in Glasgow (decorated w/ John Wayne posters and USA license plates) I swear I'll send them a puredeadbrilliant hat. Was probably the only place in the UK to serve Rolling Rock at that time.

The music has been described as minimal soundscapes, tarnished electronica, or alt-folk. I get into that sort of thing. Laptop-folk doesn't sound so great but probably not far away. Releases on vinyl, like here, are not uncommon between all these little [almost said wee didn't you -ed.] collectives. Couldn't embed this but another tune; Laps(e).

Thursday, August 26

bachelor dinner -2

Steak is great -no question. Pre-heat that Lodge iron in the oven then jam the steak on. Easy. Gotta say the pile of spinach (bought) and herbal tomatoes (picked) are pretty infix though. [That's a fancy way to say fan-f*ckin-tastic -ed.] Mushroom gravy is stage left.

OK. Done steak and fried chicken, next must be fish...

carrie wicks -update

Sis-in-law jazz singer Carrie Wicks has launched a site at CarrieWicks.net to promote her album I'll Get Around To It. Hats off to the friend that created the site, v clean. All you need and nothing you don't.

The music is available via OA2Records or iTunes. Hear the self-penned title track here. Opening line; "My oil needs changing, gotta find my pile of dirty clothes..." Killing me Carrie, fantastic.

bachelor buttons

I know suspender buttons are euphamistically called bachelor buttons (why? not sure) but thought snap shirt buttons were called that too? Lazy snaps rather than button holes and sewing buttons -that would make sense as bachelor buttons. Or is it only the 2-piece put-together suspender add-on buttons that are called bachelors?

This Rockmount is more purple than expected; thought it might be shading red. That's the joy of ebay I guess... Saddle stitching is unexpected win though and subtler in real life than my pics make out. I have another that is way darker -definite aubergine terrritory.

Rockmount are famous for their diamond shaped snaps though not in this example. Also the Dan River Fabric part? Not much info out there, but label seems to date this shirt from the 1950's? Can that be right... Or a 1999 reissue. Western Shirts (co-written by Steve Weil of Rockmount) has all kinds of dating info for HBarC, Rockmount, Levis etc.

Dolt, me. Dan River is not a who, but a what -Dan River Mills in Danville, VA which was idled in 2006.

Wednesday, August 25

bachelor dinner

Ok, not bachelor; more "hall pass" dinner -some know what I mean. Steak is marinating for tomorrow so this is tonight. Chicken thighs = $3. The s&p all over the side of the plate is a nod to a Vineyard Haven dinner we had forever ago. The Chez Henri people bought the place later and didn't toy with it too much. That's a dry town so we brought our own Veuve.

Anyhow, it probably doesn't happen often but would be interested to hear others' hall-pass dinners. Mac'n'Cheese or WholeHog? What do you do?

the world's slowest snowboarding film

Flaghtlight Films from Finland mean that in a good way. Looking forward to it.

late to the party -cordings

Famous for their Covert coats (admittedly the image above doesn't wow... but these w/ the 35quid extra for a velvet collar are bees knees) Cordings are a storied British city/field outfitter (though new to me... bonus) operating since 1839. They count explorers, royals and a certain smoothy slowhanded English guitarist amongst their customers. Hackett used to be on the management side there and Clapton is a part owner now.

Anyhow, datamining/tweedp0rn below. Cordings are also famous for their brightly colored cords; horsey brigade stuff but bulletproof. Most prices within reach considering...

on the subject of eggs

Once you've seen one homesteady slightly broken down [hey! -ed.] chicken coop you've pretty much seen them all. Me below circa 1977, in our second chicken run, this one attached to the coop which was part of the barn. Used to be mean and lock Sis in there... Beacon Feed bag stretched over as a swinging door. Beacon Milling (from upstate NY) was closed in 1986 after being subsumed by Cargill -though I don't know the politics of it all.

Putting aside the treament of the animals, or the danger of nationwide distribution by the industrial food complex (cough salmonella outbreak cough); fresh eggs from well fed freerangey type birds are simply light years better tasting. Shockingly so. Long/short good chickens can lay almost an egg a day -less in the winter (light patterns etc) so a family could get by with 6 hens I bet, Pops has more. So cool for the kids to see all this go down. Plus hearing a rooster crowing (not necessary for eggs) gets into your DNA.

Tuesday, August 24

get the pan up to frying speed -gastronauts

Almost a year since British cooking icon Keith Floyd died. He paved the way for not only the idea of the super chef or tv chef but really the personality chef cooking on location with local ingredients and also getting men at home into the kitchen -giving them confidence to crash around the kitchen; frying, chopping and seasoning while having a slurp from the cooking wine. Long sentence.

Would it be a little "fast" to imagine a current guy cooking in a red chambray and cream canvas bow tie... The 80's cookery is slightly dated, that heavily sauced type but it is also about Keith and his efforts to get you jazzed on cooking generally. Clips below are good examples. Been watching these all day...

if you're still with me, further below is part 1/5 of a farewell documentary from last year. A lot of high praise from talking heads and maybe hard to see what the fuss is about from the small clips but give it a chance.

atk/kimball -fannie farmer last supper

Respect the hell out of her but don't get too revved up about the Fannie Farmer Cookbook have to say. The slightly prickly, though v v knowledgable to be sure, Chris Kimball of America's Test Kitchen took the time to investigate and recreate one of Fannie Farmer's menus: a 12-course Christmas dinner that she served at the end of the 19th century. Close to twenty different recipes made on a wood stove, without food processor or oven thermometer -done in about 3 hours...

The PBS special will be out this fall but he also wrote a book about the experience. Fannie’s Last Supper includes the sourcing of the unusual ingredients and implements, bizarre tastings, and would be a hit w/ readers interested in food and the Victorian era. The dishes from the dinner are there plus revised and updated recipes from Fannie's Boston Cooking School Cookbook.

This particular era of food is not my bag honestly but Kimball and co. are a huge resource and force for preservation of techniques and knowledge. Plus jealous as hell of his VT digs/barn/sugar shed/Indian motorcycle etc...

Monday, August 23

dinner "bell"

Dinner is starting soon, want one of these. Handmade by Matt the Norwegian of MountainStreamForge in Canby, OR. Different sizes; $12 to $37.

dis-union suit

Somewhere somehow I bet you picked up or where given a union suit. May have been a real or imagined need, or a present. Damn me if they are not uncomfortable though (wedgie) and impractical (sweaty cold cotton/poopshoot). A thermal undershirt though -that might get some use. Dis-join the suit below the rear button (you know, for a feature...) in an arc. Still long enough to tuck in, and then some.

Like staring down the barrel of a gun...
the backflap button and reinforcing tab.
Interior contrsuction of that area -double layer flap.

Stitch it down.
Final back. 'Shoot button left at bottom.
Just throw a red flannel on top and you are ready for the spring drive.
Or could sew the placket up the front and make it more like this.

Friday, August 20

peru fair look -2010

screengrab from vtweb.com

The annual (except 2 blips, and 29th) Peru Fair, in the township of Peru, southern VT will go ahead rain or shine on Saturday September 25th. Over 100 crafty and food vendors will be there as well as an estimated 6,000 attendees. A motley and hokey/fantastic parade starts at 9:45am, feel free to join in kids...

If you are from the area it is a yearly chance to bump into everyone you know pretty much, though part of the draw is definitely the pig roast -a 3 pig spitroast, cooked overnight, served w/ the usual trimmings of applesauce, b&b and coleslaw. Yum. Get there by 2 though or it will be gone. One year the meat locker forgot to deliver them split. No problem for the forestry boys... Read my further thoughts on the Fair or get updates via their facespace which is being managed by my Sis.

Levis x Filson shooting shirt. They even have some left...

Levis jacket. Mine. Already bleached when I got it from the Thrifty, but only on the front. Not sure if the owner got dowsed with chemicals or what… 2 pockets; the only way to go.

Work gloves from Brookville or Northstar or someone - in case you want to help the Fire Dept with the pig roast.

Large canvas bag to haul your loot – by TB&W.

Mocs. Arrow w/ crepe soles.

Miner’s pants from Orvis by Rising Sun.

Write down the names of people you meet in your County Fair notebook. Then tip your cap.

Me and the mannie learn clogging.
Wow, we were young here...
Pig remnants in background.

Thursday, August 19

whisky galore -more

Captain Wagget is almost the star of the picture... never realised till reviewing. Want that large plaid tie. Great stuff. Further reading.