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)

Monday, November 11

Thursday, November 7

10E2273: Giveaway - NTANDY Belt

Creative turned creator Napper Tandy has made these does what it says on the box sporty/preppy belts - and happy to give one away.

Made in California from old school nylon board short material wrapped around 1000 lb. test nylon climbing webbing; belts come in five colors. Visit the ntandy site and then leave a comment back here (anon will be rejected) with your preferred color choice. Winner picked at 5pm EST. Update: KATE - you won! The belts retail for $36 ($25 for kids) so if you don't win you can still console yourself with a good deal.

"There’s no point in half-assing the good times..." -Napper Tandy. Quite! Now what does the shot of a beachbuggy International Harvester have to do with belts? Who cares. Awesome...

Wednesday, November 6

10E2272: Steam Horse Dry Goods Co.

Ripped from the inbox... Steam Horse Dry Goods Co. in Erwin, Tennessee is updating some well know workwear shapes with Cone Mills denim, and canvas from some of the south's oldest cotton mills. The clothes are all sewn in Mississippi & North Carolina. Bandana printed in New York state I believe.

There are others out there doing similar things but the price points here are great; nothing over $100. 

Thermal Henley Shirt - $29.99

Sawmill Paul Ragg Wool Sweater - $94.99

"Railroad Gauge" Gusset Work Jacket - $84.99

Bandana $19.99

Tuesday, November 5

10E2271: 45th Pawlet Game Supper - Nov 16th

On November 16th, 2013 be in Pawlet VT.... The annual Wild Game & Chicken Pie Supper to benefit the Pawlet Fire Department. Menu is bear roast, venison roast, venison stew, mooseballs [meatballs, made out of... -ed.], chicken pie, salad, and homemade fruit pies w/ cheddar. The joke is - the dinner is free, you pay $12 for the pie... About 400 people get served on this evening and it is quite the scene. Doors open at 5 p.m. At the Pawlet Firehouse, Rte. 133 VT... you'll see the line. Adults $12.00, under 12 $6.00. Need more info? 802-325-3495.

The supper is always held the first day of deer (rifle) season in Vermont. It is a week late this year so check your calendar. "Vermont's November rifle deer hunting and youth weekend dates are set by law and revolve around Thanksgiving Day. Due to the late date for Thanksgiving this year, these deer seasons begin later than usual. Nearly two weeks will have elapsed between the close of archery season and youth weekend this year. Normally the gap is less than one week." - via Brattleboro Reformer.

These sorts of community events have a habit of disappearing right when you start to count on them... but this will be the 45th supper hosted by the volunteer fire dept of Pawlet to raise funds. Pro tip from our smart cousins (in point of fact they are rocket scientists...) - bring tupperware: buy 2 dinners and take one home. It is long tables and communal seating. Awesome.

The drive from Manchester/Dorset over the flats to Pawlet is a stunner and by 4:30 the sun will be going down; cue sunset. Pic below from flickr, courtesy of tballred9873. Temp will dip though as you wait on line to get in; dress properly.

10E2270: Vintage MBTA Canvas Tote

MBTA = Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the "T" in local parlance around Boston. #thicklines #orange

Monday, November 4

10E2269: Peterboro Bicycle Baskets

American made bike baskets since 1854, made of Appalachian white ash in Peterborough, NH. Various colors available. Largest $54. Use code FLASH for 25% off until midnight tomorrow at

Friday, November 1

10E2268: The William Brown Project TV Show

If you read the blog The William Brown Project you will already have a glimpse into the world of photog/traveller/interestingman Matt Hranek... Esquire chose him to be their everyman so we can live vicariously through a series of his dinners/projects/exploits on a new series called Alternate Route.

Sharing a little bit of DNA perhaps with Bourdain's Layover series, but more than just a travelogue it looks like it may also be a call-to-arms for the viewer to get out there and visit your own local brewery/bakery/machinist... Why not? If there are artists or businesses in your own town that you love - tell them that. See if they will give a tour, or have a group over to visit. I have never met the guy but seems approachable, and the show looks decent in that not overly extreme - ok granted we don't all have a stock 80s Porsche to fire around town...

10E2267: The Art of Manliness Book Club

10e readers may or may not be familiar with The Art of Manliness site. Since 2008 (!) they have done a consistent job of walking the line on sincere discussions of 21st century masculinity without falling into arch or camp or 'roid rants. Examples of most popular articles include How to Shave Like Your Grandpa, How to Tie a Tie, How to Carve a Turkey, 9 Ways to Start a Fire Without Matches, etc...

A further example of enlightenment here is their book club that currently counts over 900 members as active. Started this summer the readings so far have been, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and this month Gates ofFire. As their choice of graphic suggests, these picks are all consistent with the idea of self improvement [one could say that about most reading -ed.]. Readers that care to borrow a copy from their library can search WorldCat for the nearest copy.