Friday, December 20

10E2299: Farmers Talk Episode 1 w/ Arthur Willey

A sled-driving/gouda-making/hayride acquaintance of ours Jon Wright of Taylor Farm in Southern Vermont has started a series of interviews called Farmer's Talk about the history, art and craft of farming - for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont. 

His first episode (and nice gams Jon btw) was an hour long talk with Arthur Willey, a retired dairy farmer who managed the Janeway Farm in South Londonderry, VT. We hear about growing up in the 1930's and 40's, the advent of refrigerated trucks and bulk tanks, and other things that have (or haven't) changed in dairy farming over the last century. Great bit in the middle about dealing with an employee "who could drink pretty well". Not only is this an interesting historical document but suddenly more important too as unfortunately Mr. Willey died this past October... Also love that he is still in the work uniform after all these year. Hoping for a shirt like that to replace my worn one... #turnthecollar

If still reading... we used to visit the Janeway Farm pretty regularly when Senator Janeway owned it back in the late 70s. Their cook made the best apple-pie, and we would play Jack Straws (like pick-up-stix on steroids) while Pops made house calls. 

10E2298: Admiral Boom

I want a ship on my roof like Admiral Boom here. Nautical style for miles... set a cannon up. Be the hit of the town. Fireworks, bells, ropes, excessive copper, funnels, all that. Look lively now Mr Binnacle!

Damn me... The Admiral Boom character (and his home) from the Mary Poppins books/movie actually based on a real person... who lived in Hampstead, London as below.
"Admiral’s House owes its eccentric appearance to Lt Fountain North, who lived here from 1791 until his death in 1811. He constructed the ship’s quarter-deck on the roof that is the house’s most striking feature. Its original owner Admiral Barton is reputed to have fired cannons from the roof to celebrate royal birthdays, a tradition that later led author PL Travers to base Admiral Boom’s house in Mary Poppins on this house." - via ChefPaul

Photo by Maurizio

Wednesday, December 18

10E2297: Bully Tools - Snow and Ice/Sod Shovels

Cant imagine why I'm thinking of this... anyhow, as well as foodservicegrade poly Tuffy shovels (which are awesome and don't scratch the hell out of your car/porch), check these Bully Tools made in Ohio - either the mulch/snow shovel above or sod/ice shovel below. Having some kind of "summer" metal shovel (below)  is the secret weapon against frozen city streets.

Tuesday, December 17

10E2296: Mr. Benn at Christmas - via MR PORTER

MR PORTER (retail brother site to Net A Porter) have created a scary-good flashback recreation of the British afternoon cartoon Mr. Benn. For the 'Mericans who perhaps never watched this chap from their granny's sitting room rug at age 6... he is a bank-manager-type suburbanite who would visit his local costume shop and rent various rigs (cowboy gear, spacesuit, chef's whites) and then have adventures. Anyhow, the MR PORTER version ostensibly created to introduce their shopping app but the whole done v well. Real deal Mr. Benn below, and parents, lots more on the tubes.

Monday, December 16

10E2295: That Backhill Look

Woolrich helmet liner and plaid goggs.
Wolverine (USA) lined work gloves, $27.
Topo Designs fleece, with nanamica x Johnson Woollen Mills CPO.
Owner Operator snow pants.
Gnu 158 and Union bindings.
Sorels. Fake vintage recreations...
Copper flask just incase (or 145 miniatures)... afterwards warm up w/ pizza from Hapgood store.

View looking up the back hill on Sunday.

10E2294: Gift Guide

 Home office essential kit. Ok may not brew at 12 bars of pressure but simplicity itself.

 Ursa Major "try me" pack $3. #nobrainer

SmartWool  $18 via Sierra Trading Post.

Nashville/Criterion edition $32. 3 reasons; music, Altman, ensemble.

Deadstock chambray via the 'bay. Or deadstock Wrangler, or Lee jacket...

Cast iron griddle. Lodge $30. 
Use ours every weekend - pancakes for breakfast, leave it on the stove for grilled cheese lunch.

Saturday, December 14

10E2293: Bobos Mountain Sugar

Sugar means maple syrup in Vermont. Our friends doing a huge deal right now: $22 for a quarter of a gallon - free shipping [jeezum crow -ed] - buy now. #tasteoftree

Wednesday, December 11

10E2292: Smoke Your Own Salmon - Tim Hayward

The fine art of the reblog... via the Guardian: "Tim Hayward visits London's Billingsgate fish market, a builder's merchant, sources some electrical equipment on eBay [Amazon -ed.] ... then shows us how to combine his unusual purchases to produce the finest home-smoked salmon". Automatic reblog...

Mentioned this guy Tim Hayward a few times before (start here); he is a British foodwriter/do-er, and along with his wife has revitalized an old bakery in Cambridge, England called Fitzbillies. As well as writing for the Guardian and FT he has a book out called Food DIY (easier to get in UK). As he says in the clip below "not suggesting you do it every week... just do it once, understand how it operates, how it works and reconnect...". Beyond just smoking a bit of salmon, I'd suggest the "it" he means here is our relation to food in general. Good stuff. He also does a solid line in twitter chat - especially when on the late-train back from London... @timhayward.

Monday, December 9

10E2291: Christmas Shopping Tips No 1 – Saving Money

When not creating hand-knit tweed ties or securing thrift store sweaters (unworn), our Scottish mum rattles off amusing notes. Been collecting them for a while but this one timely...  

"Start your trip into town with first on the list being "buy some wrapping paper" –preferably 2 or 3 rolls of the really heavy kind 10 meters and all encased in cellophane. 
Very awkward to start with and really off putting to further shopping... These have to be the most unwieldy items to carry from store to home in the entire world. They stick out of any carry bag or slide out onto the pavement  – become almost impossible to transport without swinging round and swiping someone getting on or off the bus! 
Look for presale on Christmas decorations - the reversible red to silver wrap just up “Martha “ street to be twizzled with scarlet and silver ribbon ties and some red berries. Ok last year it was 3 for 1 at Poundland but was tempted with this admittedly obvious style over contents of the actual gift etc. But that’s the secret anyway of wrapping for impact...  
The saving is not just in the price but in the pressing need to get home as soon as you can with this impossible package and therefore no straying to window shop or linger over post shopping (smug satisfaction) Christmas spiced coffee! P.S. you will anyway get some great ideas and treasures in your favourite charity shop thus avoiding the crowds and giving a present money can’t buy.  
Just remember; go wild on the wrapping!"

Friday, December 6

10E2290: Sun Mountain Sessions 2013 - Bromley

Attn parents: If you are wintering near Bromley in southern Vermont over the Christmas break there is a neat and inexpensive option for a youth snowboard camp. Dec 26th through Dec 28th - 3 days of shredtacular coaching and instruction called the Sun Mountain Sessions. Cost is $125 for the 3 days (or $50 per), lift ticket required. Certainly frees up mom and dad to get some runs... Yeaaah point it! We'll be roaming around too. One of the coaches, Andrew Maness, is a 10engines friend and gave me a quick quote;
"As always guest coaches will be stopping by to hang and show the kids what hidden gems Bromley has to offer. New for this year are 3 daily contests with prizes being handed out at the pizza party on the final day of camp. [cue J.J.Hapgood store's new pizza oven -ed.] Campers ages 12 and up of all skill levels are welcome. If you’re new to snowboarding just let the folks know so we can make arrangements for special instruction. 
We've had a few kids doing it since the start so we've got to watch them grow up which is pretty cool." 
Video below from last year. To register for the Sun Sessions contact the Bromley Ski&Snowboard School at (802) 824-5522 x301. 

Thursday, December 5

10E2289: Tintin's Black Island Was Actually Gold

Ile D'Or by  Cliff_Barnes

Tintin's creator, cartoonist HergĂ© (real name Georges Prosper Remi - the pen name stands for RG his initials reversed...) released L'Ile Noire (The Black Island) as the seventh in the Adventures of Tintin series. As a visitor to the Cote D'Azur on the south of France he would have been familiar with the sight of Ile D'Or (Golden Island) off St. Raphael. Many believe that was the inspiration for the look of L'Ile Noire.

Current cover                                                        Older cover

The Black Island story is infact set in Scotland, and if a Scottish location needed in future one might imagine the castle of Lindisfarne (Holy Island) being considered.  Great book nevertheless.

Wednesday, December 4

10E2288: 2014 USA Snowboard Uniform - by Burton

Photo © The Burton Corporation

For the upcoming 2014 Olympics in Sochi, the USA snowboard team is again kitted out by Burton (the 2000 uniform here). The uniform jacket as above was inspired by an old quilt and flag bought at Brimfield market - then resewn by a contact in Vermont. The pants are a "corduroy". There is also a puffy version of the jacket based on Burton's Wanderer block [probably -ed.] with the same quilt-print for off-hill. V tasty.

The kit does not look especially technical for sure - but infact boasts a U.S. Army R&D'd Vaporshell laminate on top (the patchwork quilt-look is a sublimated print) and Burton's own Nanoshell for the cord snowpants. Sharp customers might project a dose of RRL in here and would not be surprised (esp w/ the Brimfield scouting trip added) if someone/somewhere migrated from Ralph Lauren. I don't know the answer myself. Like it or not they weren't lazy about it.  
"...the 2014 uniform builds on Burton’s legacy of creating fun, unconventional designs that stray from the formal, traditional look of most uniforms... The vintage quilt and flag print of the jacket combined with the corduroy pants give the uniform a ‘heirloom hippy’ vibe that lines up with snowboarding’s laid-back culture while paying respect to America’s longstanding creative heritage..." -Greg Dacyshyn, Chief Creative Officer, Burton Snowboards.

Photo © The Burton Corporation

10E2287: Rumpl

I am halfway through reading The White Spider, about the first successful ascent of the Eiger's north face (where the brand name North Face comes from don't ya know...). Anyhow amidst all the crampons through the hand and campstove coffee are fascinating bivouac descriptions detailing the rest periods taken by the climbers. Then through the inbox comes this; Rumpl.

"A modern blanket inspired by active lifestyles and made from materials developed for the outdoor industry."

Aimed at home and travel use (quite apart from the cheeky image above) - they are doing the Kickstarter/presale dance to get going. Synthetic inner and outer made from "ultra-fine 20D Ripstop nylon and coated with DWR to repel water, even after many washes". For those not into wool blankets and want wash/dry ease this might be a good option. Holiday delivery possible it looks like. More here.

10E2286: Burton 2L Workwear/Boro Print

Called a workwear print from Burton, clean lined 2L jacket from the [ak] line. Print reminiscent of the fix/repair Japanese boro patchwork style. $400...

Tuesday, December 3

10E2285: The Compleat Angler

The Compleat Angler (sometimes subtitled The Contemplative Man's Recreation) by Englishman Izaak Walton is a celebration of fishing and the English countryside but more than that... In print for over 350 years the book is framed as conversation between an experienced angler and his student (and you, gentle reader), with discussion of all manner of fish, fishing and lures, cooking and eating techniques. Also a love letter to the country life.

This was almost right of passage reading material for some reason around us - Anglophied New Englanders maybe?? Anyhow, read it now via Gutenberg - or even email their kindled file to you for reading later on the T.

Thursday, November 28

10E2284: Convenience Is the Enemy

This post is now tradition, and have to say thanks and best wishes to all the readers out there [both of you! oh! -ed] and to the extended 10engines/F'N'U family.

Rather than New Year's resolutions I am really going to try to keep feelings of thanks going forward from now and use that as fuel to act. The idea of community gets thrown around a lot... to paraphrase another great Morris/High Life ad - what are you made of? What do you contribute? Have you volunteered 1 hour, 1 day, 1 anything since moving to town 3 years ago? You can help. Me too, I can do more. Cheers.

Wednesday, November 27

10E2283: Norman Rockwell - Thanksgiving Day Blues

Everything planned? Anyone going off-menu and doing bellypork/crackling? Best wishes - James.

"Chef With Thanksgiving Menu, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published November 28, 1942...  An alternate title for the illustration is Thanksgiving Day Blues
This painting was Rockwell's seventh cover for The Post in 1942... This was also Rockwell's 211th cover illustration out of 322 Rockwell painted for the Post. Rockwell's career with the Post spanned 47 years, from his first cover illustration, Boy With Baby Carriage in 1916 to his last, Portrait of John F. Kennedy, in 1963. 
The location of the original oil on canvas painting is unknown.

Norman Rockwell gives us a humorous take on KP, or Kitchen Patrol, duty. We are not privy to whether or not this chef is a full time chef or just one of the kitchen staff. One things is certain. He had his work cut out for him. He has prepared a Thanksgiving Feast for 137 men, a whole brigade stationed at Fort Ethan Allen in Vermont."

Monday, November 25

10E2282: Giveaway | Ursa Major x Topo Designs "Scout Set"

Thanks to the good folks at Ursa Major in Burlington VT we have a scout version of their popular Ursa Major x Topo Dopp Kit to giveaway. This traveler special set includes;
  1. Fantastic Face Wash (2 fl oz)
  2. Stellar Shave Cream (2 fl oz)
  3. Fortifying Face Balm (0.5 fl oz)
  4. Essential Face Wipes (5 single wipes)
  5. Zipped up in a bag from Topo Designs (CO) in an exclusive Ursa Major camo/teal (9.5″ x 7.5″ height)
5PM UPDATE - Guy called Carl won. Thank you everyone. How to win: visit the Ursa Major site then leave a comment back here naming a favorite ingredient they use... [I like the idea of black spruce, which product has that?? -ed.] Winner picked at 5pm EST. The entire kit retails for $54 (and free shipping) so even if you don't win you can still console yourself with a good deal - or a stealth gift for someone. This Scout Set is a limited edition, shipping Dec 1 so no one else has it yet. Try for yours now...

Friday, November 22

10E2281: Knit Tie - Literally - Fridays Are Tie Days

Lion Brand Yarns in NJ offer a bunch of free knitting patterns for various ties. A certain Scottish grandmother knitting this for me next week! #oma #resource

Tuesday, November 19

10E2280: The Boston Strong Boy - Author Reading in Somerville

Tomorrow meet and hear Christopher Klein, author of Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan, America's First Sports Hero
"Strong Boy tells the story of America’s first sports superstar, a self-made man who personified the power and excesses of the Gilded Age. Everywhere [Roxbury-born -ed.] John L. Sullivan went, his fists backed up his bravado. Sullivan’s epic brawls, such as his 75-round bout against [Somerville's] Jake Kilrain, and his cross-country barnstorming tour in which he literally challenged all of America to a fight are recounted in vivid detail, as are his battles outside the ring. Strong Boy gives readers ringside seats to the colorful tale of one of the country’s first Irish-American heroes and the birth of the American sports media and the country’s celebrity obsession with athletes." - via SPL 
Wednesday Nov 20th, 7pm at Somerville Central Library, 79 Highland Avenue. Copies will be available for purchase.

Sullivan seems to be a slightly forgotten folklore hero, though the populist image of the mustachioed strong man no doubt pays homage to him. As part of this author event have created some gift packs to give away on the night - thx guys. We will continue the discussion afterwards at Five Horses in Davis Square and perhaps keep going until the 10:30pm network premier of Alternate Route featuring The William Brown Project's Matt Hranek.

To the work at hand... really looking forward to reading more of this. Check the excerpt below and visit Klein's site for more...
"The savagery, corruption, and gambling endemic to prizefighting roamed so far beyond the bounds of Victorian-era sensibilities that most American jurisdictions outlawed the sport. Government, however, could not legislate away bloodlust. Brawlers and fans engaged in elaborate cat-and-mouse dances with the police and often found refuge in remote locations such as islands, backwoods, and cow pastures... 
Despite their best efforts at secrecy, reports filtered back to the Twenty-Second Precinct that a large group of sporting men had slipped away from the pier at the foot of West Forty-Third Street a little after 9 p.m., most likely bound for a nearby island to stage a prizefight. The harbor police received orders to locate the “suspicious barge.” 
In the hopes of confusing any pursuing lawmen about which jurisdiction they would sully, the fight contingent’s tug straddled the watery state line between New York and New Jersey. Finally, ten miles upriver, they halted near the New York suburb of Yonkers, and an anchor struck the murky midstream bed of the Hudson. 
In the dimly lit reaches of the ring, a hulking figure with blankets draped over his broad shoulders sat huddled on a campstool. John L. Sullivan shivered lightly as he listened to the Hudson lap against the barge and felt the river roll softly beneath his feet. He breathed in the cool west breezes, fragrant with grass and trees that dissipated the fumes of whiskey and cigars hovering over the barge. 
The twenty-three-year-old boxing phenom from Boston had been the chatter of the heavyweight class. Reportedly blessed with the perfect combination of speed, strength, and stamina, the slugger had dominated every opponent he had faced. New York fight fans risked arrest and paid the steep ticket price of ten dollars to see him—and hopefully watch him get pounded by the city’s biggest brute, John Flood. 
Outside of his manager, Billy Madden, and his second, Joe Goss, John L. had few friends in the heart of Gotham. The locals gave the scattered Sullivan backers on board 3–1 odds. When the “Boston Strong Boy” shed his blankets and stood stripped to his waist, however, Flood’s backers had second thoughts. 
Muscular without being muscle-bound, Sullivan was constructed like a pugilistic product of the Industrial Age, a “wonderful engine of destruction” manifest in flesh and blood. The faint torchlight tickled his chiseled biceps and rippled back. It gleamed off his thick chest from which his deep bass voice rumbled. It lit up his enormous shoulder blades, which provided the necessary foundation to support his bull-like neck and bullet-shaped head. His clean-shaven chin glistened like polished granite, although darkness hid in the recesses of a deep dimple. 
Sullivan’s pristine skin, full set of even teeth, and straight nose belied his profession and visibly testified to the inability of foes to lay a licking on him..."

Monday, November 18

10E2279: "Pioneer Axe" - Look at the Emerson Stevens Axe Factory in Oakland, ME

From the inbox - reader Jonathan sent link below to this short but very clear doc; a fascinating look at handmade axe production in Maine and quite different from the drop forged method.
""Pioneer Axe" is a short film (ca. 1965) about the old Emerson Stevens Axe Factory in Oakland, Maine. Oakland, Maine -- like a lot of other towns in the Northeast -- used to be an industrial hub. Oakland's specialty was the manufacture of scythes and axes. The Emerson Stevens axe factory -- the last of its kind -- closed just a few months after this documentary was made. 
"Pioneer Axe" probably deserves a place next to "Ben's Mill: Making a Sled" and other gems of NE life on"  [Folkstreams is the mutt's... -ed.]

[11/25/13 Thanks ACL for the bump - to new readers we are giving away an Ursa Major x Topo travel kit  today.]

Friday, November 15

10E2278: Snowcraft featuring Powder Jet Snowboards

Transworld is showing a 3 part doc entitled Snowcraft about the snowboard sub-culture of home board builders. First up is family man, carpenter, and Rupert VT resident Jesse Loomis of Powder Jet Snowboards.  Not only does this get you excited for winter - and also support these designer/makers - but honestly inspires you to go out and make something yourself and get out on the backhill, not necessarily with all the bells and whistles we are used to. 8 minutes.  Watch.

Thursday, November 14

10E2277: The Farmers Arms - Industry Produceth Wealth

Ripped from the interwebs... "God speed the plough, 'a wish for success or prosperity,' was originally a phrase in a 15th-century song sung by ploughmen on Plough Monday, the first Monday after Twelfth Day [Epiphany, Jan 6th in the UK - ed.], which is the end of the Christmas holidays, when farm laborers returned to the plough. via - Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins.

Had never heard of this Farmers Arms stuff till recently. Good potted history by FionaLake describing the succession of English china makers who since 1800s have produced various cups, mugs, jugs and pitchers with this agricultural toast/motto inscribed. Pristine examples can be expensive but they are all over eBay / Worthpoint etc. The design sort of reminds me of Jack Straws. Anyone??? Perfect gift for the rural man-who-has-everything.

Wednesday, November 13

10E2276: Robert Louis Stevenson Day

Graphic via Edinburgh's City of Literature

November 13th marks the birthday of the author Robert Louis Stevenson. The sickly Victorian era Scotsman might have spent a lifetime in bed, but instead crafted some of the most famous adventure stories of all time - as well as traveling the world in the process. Fun fact: the family business was lighthouse design, but he struck his own path. “Treasure Island”, “Kidnapped” and “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” are his legacy. Jekyll is a novella really - but #mustread material. Kidnapped has hits of odd humor too.  All his works available through The Gutenberg Project for free download.

Stevenson never visited the Pacific North West as far as I know but this video below set to a rare recording of him reading "The Vagabond" is #desktopvacation. 

Tuesday, November 12

10E2275: Wick Ahrens - Whales in Vermont

Artist and sculptor Wick Ahrens is known for creating whales out of basswood in a naturalistic style. His studio/gallery in Weston, VT is called Whales in Vermont - playful name as Vermont is landlocked... but that is part of the joke I imagine. His work is in corporate collections, galleries, public spaces and occasionally for sale. Smaller (32") pieces are sometimes in the New England tradition of weathervane icons [like those -ed.] and others go up in size to 54" or commissioned 18 foot x 1000lb works.

Male and Female Sperm Whales
Acrylic on Pine

"Where Have All The Whalers Gone"
Acrylic On Bass Wood, Mounted on Corian Base 
Note whaling dory attached - (created by Blue Jacket Shipcrafters)