Tuesday, October 29

10E2266: The Maine Frontier - a docu-exhibit by Sumner McKane

Long-time followers may remember a history project a year or so ago called In The Blood about Maine logging. The creator Sumner McKane has delved into the archives again to create The Maine Frontier: Through The Lens of Isaac Walton Simpson, which combines photography of 19thC Mainer Isaac Simpson with film, oral histories, and music. "The Maine Frontier is an illustration of family, work, community and culture in northern Maine at the turn-of-the-century."

"The project is centered around a collection of over 1500 photos taken just after the turn-of-the-century by Isaac Simpson: photographer, blacksmith, barber, musician, woodsman, mechanic, and Father of 13."

"Simpson's subjects included scarcely documented families living in the woods, who's sole purpose was to hew railroad ties for the new lines of the Bangor & Aroostook RR. He photographed woods camps that were established only to cut shoe-blocks (wooden foot forms that were used to fit shoes). He photographed the crews constructing and excavating- by hand- the railroad, and the mill in Millinocket, tarpaper shacks, shanties, homes of the well-to-do, women in logging camps and on farms… His photographs document the exploration of the roots and conditions of his native land and neighbors."
"Isaac's wife Effie is another hero of the Maine Frontier. Effie exemplifies a woman's life at the time. As Isaac was often working away from home, Effie was responsible for everything an early 20th century home in the country-filled with 13 kids- required: cooking, knitting, baking, planting, dressing. She would cook, clean, can vegetables, and plant during the day. At night in the Winter she would knit woolen goods for Isaac to bring into the woods camps to sell to the crews."

McKane was recently awarded the 2014 Media and Performing Arts fellowship from the Maine Arts Commission - part of that no doubt because he takes these docu-exhibits into school and other spaces to connect New England youth with their own history. Congrats!

Monday, October 28

10E2265: Maine Hunting Sock | LLBean

As stated in the 1941 LLBean catalog, "The red top is protection against accidental shooting and the black stripe below makes it unusually attractive." Well said. Made in USA of 84% wool plus acrylic/nylon/spandex to keep the top from sliding down...with a thick foot. Reintroduced this year; $29 via LLBean

10E2264: Foxes for LLBean

Thursday, October 24

10E2263: Why "Red" Socks

"In 1882, the National League assigned stocking colors to the member clubs: red for Boston, white for Chicago, grey for Buffalo, blue for Worcester, gold for Detroit, green for Troy, and so on." There is more to the story than just that but it was the start of Boston's American League baseball team name. SOX was actually a contraction of stockings - as it fit the newspaper headlines better... SOX WIN! 

Have this top chenille number - big enough to be an elbow patch... 

Tuesday, October 22

10E2262: Dubbin

Whether because it is post-season baseball or the start of rugby season, or maybe the chill in the air - I thought to dubbin my cleats. Or studs as they are commonly called in the UK. The very tacky, waxy substance that is dubbin is satisfying to work with as it smears and absorbs pitch black.

The British military has a long tradition of boot polishing regimes. Those and examples of every conceivable product used are detailed over at BlancoAndBull.com.

Further reading: rugby football jerseys

Friday, October 18

10E2261: Maldon Sea Salt Flakes

Sis put me onto Maldon Salt recently but well known to many already. Crumbly, flaky salt that dissolves very easily. Clean finish etc. Established in 1882 and receiving its Royal Warrant in 2012, Maldon is an overnight success 130 years in the making.

"Seawater is filtered and boiled which, reassuringly, removes any impurities, and then heated until the salt crystallises. If this sounds easy, there’s an art in temperature and timing and in particular, the traditional ‘drawing’ of the salt by hand from the pans, that confounds anyone without a saltmaker’s skills." - How Maldon Salt is made.

Thursday, October 17

10E2261: Owner Operator | Wrangler Jacket

Firmly in the shirt/jacket area, this wool shirt from Owner Operator has quilting across the shoulders inside and Sportshell western paneling to bead off water. $370 but looks v tasty... made in NYC.

10E2260: Topo Designs | Chambray Shirt

Damn me but this shirt from Topo Designs looks like a recreation of a Sears Western vintage number I have - so good. 100% cotton chambray, made in Colorado - Topo HQ.

Vintage Sears version below via ebay.

Wednesday, October 16

10E2259: North Star | Bukaroo Work Glove

From North Star gloves in Washington state;  leather palm/canvas back chore glove. Gunn pattern with wrap around index finger (see glove pattern explanations here), straight thumb. Great graphic. $16 via Bailey's.

Monday, October 14

10E2258: Seafood Soups

I wrote a short piece for the distinctive home goods supplier Kaufmann Mercantile about various fish/seafood soups. Including Cullen Skink as above, from a recent trip to Scotland. Bon appetit.

Friday, October 11

10E2257: Whole Larder Love | "Just Grab A Seed..."

"Just grab a seed... grab a seed and pop it in the ground and see what happens..." 

You can't get more direct than that. 

Our film partners at Rough Water did a great job on this video from author/ gardener/ forager/ multihyphenate Rohan Anderson's talk held at Fringe in Somerville, MA last June. To recap, Rohan talks about sustainable eating through self-reliance including creating your own food community. This was a benefit evening organized for the Friends of the Somerville Public Library and (v happy to say) was well supported. Must say huge thanks to our Friends volunteers Meg and Kim and barman Lonnie, local purveyors Spindrift and Flatbread, Fringe for hosting us, and the presenting sponsor Barbour. Great 5 minute version of the rainy evening and talk below - snap ending... Music donated by the rugged and fancy Duquette Johnston.

Wednesday, October 9

10E2256: Wind Map

Wind Map is a realtime depiction of surface wind speeds, created as an art project by Fernanda ViĆ©gas and Martin Wattenberg. Picture doesn't do it justice - head over and have a look. 

Thx to Caleb for the tip.

On a related map note; you ever notice how Cape Cod is like a flexed arm... the shoulder is Buzzard's Bay, the elbow at Cape Mallebarre, the wrist at Truro and the sandy fist at Provincetown?? Thoreau did.

"...behind which the State stands on her guard, with her back to the Green Mountains..."

Tuesday, October 8

10E2255: Capita Microscope

The snowboard brand Capita do a great job of explicating their boards with these product vids. Never met this guy but their sales manager Johan Malkoski is an East Coast transplant to the North West and a charismatic SOB. Also a father, so knows how to equip kids and speak to parents about the process.

In years past their kids board the Microscope would graphically take its cue from its big brother the Horrorscope, "with toned down graphics so mom doesn't get pissed off..." as Johan says, but this year it has its own look.

The construction of the board has stayed identical over the last few years; flex rating of 3, true twin tip, flatkick between insert points, slight reverse camber, and 3° convex bevel to the edge (to reduce hangups).

You can get last year's model right now for $150 - not at all bad if you plan to pass it down.

Monday, October 7

10E2254: Stutterheim Raincoats

Stutterheim. Swedish melancholy at its driest.

Let’s embrace Swedish melancholy. Embracing rain is a good start.

No gore-tex. No Velcro. No reflectors. Like it. Coats all inspired by owner's barn-score of his grandfather's old rain coat. Made at the last standing textile factory in Sweden. A range of colors produced but including old yella here. Also make capes for hiking/cycling and more.

Friday, October 4

10E2253: J.J. Hapgood General Store & Eatery - The Revival (part 2)

Recap! Joseph Jackson Hapgood established a general store in Peru, Vermont in 1827 and until a few years ago it had been the longest continually running general store in the state. I partly grew up in this small town and the store in the 80's was still a fixture of the community. It was a right of passage to get your own "account" on turning 16.

Last February the new owners (our friends - heck she is a grade-school classmate of mine) Juliette and Tim invited us in to see the empty store before it was broken down to be rebuilt (as is happening now). They fired up the woodstove and we heard tales from the old constable about how in the 40s and 50s the town post office was inside the store as well - and horses would be fed and watered outside. Blast of Basil Hayden didn't hurt either... Follow their website for updates JJHapgood.com. Christmas opening I hear! All photos below credit to Max Wastler of All Plaidout. Many people in town v excited for this shot in the arm.

All pictures from February 16, 2013. [The store now taken apart, new foundation 15' back and being rebuilt/recreated/reborn. The paint color for the new outside will be Benjamin Moore's Waterbury Cream, as decided by straw poll at this year's Peru Fair.]

Cheese wedge slicer hanging on the wall there over paper flour sack wallpaper. And glass case below that held a wheel of cheese. Almost certainly cheddar.

Tuesday, October 1

10E2251: Apples This Year

The apple harvest all across the states has been big this year. Here in VT took only minutes to fill a bucket of windfalls for the horses. Rotten or broken fruit can attract bees and yellow-jackets though so alert kids to be a little careful.