Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Folks, if you haven't seen a Landreth's catalog, you haven't seen a seed catalog. I talked about this when I got my first copy last year, but I think this 229-year-old seed company has clearly outdone themselves this year. Look at that cover! That's an original image from the 1930's and the catalog is full of these type of beautiful, historic illustrations and photographs - they're so beautiful that you could frame them and put them on your wall (if you can bring yourself to tear up the catalog!) The cost for this beauty? Just $5.00.
Among the pictures, you're sure to learn from the historical information that's provided. Here's an example:
"Melons are native to the continent of Africa. Many wild forms of melons and watermelons can still be found there today. Though it is not known when melons were first cultivated, it is believed that prehistoric man may have gathered and saved the seeds of the sweetest melons, and this practice led to cultivation. Seeds and wall paintings found in Egyptian tombs indicate that melons and watermelons were under cultivation in Egypt at least 4000 years ago....Columbus brought melons to the New world on his second voyage..By the 16th century, melons were being cultivated in North and South America."
Interesting, huh? I had no idea that what we normally refer to as cantaloupes are actually muskmelons. Did you?
This year' catalog was accompanied by a separate catalog that highlights Landreth's heirloom bulb collection and is full of antique watercolors of many of the flower bulbs that they carry. I flipped through this and am realizing that I'm going to have to spend some time looking at the 24+ varieties of garlic.
Well, this is the last piece in the puzzle for my garden planning this year. I guess I have to get serious now, even as the snow lies deep on the ground. On the heels of 9 inches of snow 4 days ago and a light meltoff today, they're forecasting another 12 inches starting tomorrow night! Sounds like I might have another work-at-home day on Tuesday, so I'll be spending my "lunch break" on the sofa with hot chocolate and the Landreth's catalog.
If you are looking for seeds for your garden or flower bed this year, I hope you'll consider Landreths. There are so many companies failing right now and I can't bear to think of this company, the 5th oldest corporation in America, being dealt the same fate. For goodness sake, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both bought seed from Landreths. Let's keep this American treasure alive!
Thursday, February 21, 2013
|A view at 10:00 a.m. from the back deck looking over the garage at the chicken coop.|
Ol' Man Winter sure is a mean one! Despite it being February, we've enjoyed several warm days in the 60's asnd we've gotten spoiled. As he does just about every year, the Ol' Man is taking another swipe at us so that we don't forget he's still around.
When I got up a little before 6 a.m. there was nothing happening outside but the weatherguessers were saying that it had crept within the I-435 loop around the city. After they said western Kansas and Colorado were basically unpassable, I emailed the office and told everyone to work from home. No sense in risking life and property when we can do our jobs from home. By 7 a.m., the winds picked up and the snow started flying. It quickly became so thick that we couldn't even see the chicken coop in the back yard! We've gotten about 9 inches of snow in the last 3 hours and it's not slacking off one bit.
Meanwhile, they have closed the Kansas City International airport, there are multiple pileups on the highways (including a 20-car pileup south of here), and they're considering closing I-70 (the biggest highway that crosses both Kansas and Missouri).
J., the dogs and I are watching all this unfold from our safe, warm house. The chickens don't want anything to do with it either and are spending the day on the roost. We'll be going out to check on them and take them fresh water and scratch as soon as the eye of the storm gets here.
In the meantime, I'd say this calls for some hot chocolate....what do you think?
Toasty and warm,
Monday, February 18, 2013
|A lonely barn somewhere out by Tonganozie, Kansas. The diamond window caught my eye.|
We received our electric bill last week and, after they raised rates again, it's over 15% higher than last year even though it's been another mild winter. KCPL has raised rates 7% every year since 2009 and they just got approved to raise rates another 9.7%. I don't know about you guys, but I've only had one 2% raise since 2009 so I'm now going backwards in term of take-home-pay that I get to keep.
J. and I headed to Cabela's and Bass Pro Shop this weekend and were amazed at what we saw. No ammo to be found anywhere (other than the really expensive Hornady self-defense stuff). And imagine a 25 foot gun case at Bass Pro with only 12 or so guns in it. I've never seen anything like it in my life. A friend at work said that his wife had several people at her church that were new gun owners and they asked if he would teach them how to shoot.
Funny thing is, our own Missouri legislature is trying to confiscate all guns and turn law-abiding gun owners into felons in they don't turn over their firearms within 90 days. House Bill 545 has a snowball's chance in hell of passing, but it's still alarming.
Folks, we are in for a bumpy ride and it's going to get worse.
It's been awhile since I joined the Barn Charm Hop. If you love barn porn like I do, that's the place to find it!
Sunday, February 17, 2013
The fiddle is supposedly one of the hardest instruments to learn to play - at least that's what the folks at FolkMusician.com told me. They said it would sound like you were killing cats for the first 6 months. But, actually, I think J. might be a natural and this new fiddle has some really beautiful tone.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
(And, ladies, if you're like a number of people that I work with that are madly in love with Daryl on the show, start scrolling. Because he's in the second picture below!)
Step 1. Mount up in your trusty anti-zombie vehicle and head out. Park in the next town over because parking in downtown KC is terrible. Walk briskly because it's freezing outside. And don't forget to stand in line for 20 minutes because they only have one door open to the Midland Theater.
Step 2. Find out you've actually got VIP seats complete with a hostess that takes drink orders. And your seats are on a comfy couch right by the door. Score!
Step 3. Settle in for an hour and a half of fun, sometimes not-so-family-oriented discussion. Daryl has always been my favorite character on the show but I actually found myself liking Merle (Michael Rooker) better in person. He's very personable, energetic and has a great on-stage presence . Norman Reedus (Daryl) seemed surprisingly
Anyway, it was interesting listening to them talk about their characters, behind-the-scenes stuff, etc. and they took questions from the audience as well. Greg Nicotero, renowned special effects creator and director of The Walking Dead, wouldn't give any hints as to what is going to happen during the second half of Season 3, but he did say "there's some REALLY good stuff coming." Bring it on, Greg!
Then it was time to spill out into the night and head home. Imagine our surprise when we opened the theater doors to find this:
Fresh, wet snow plopping all around us. It was a pretty mushy walk back to the car, but we made it home without losing any body parts to the zombie hordes.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
I suspect I may be the only person on earth that was happy to get a books on the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl for Christmas. Yep, I asked for them on my list. My grandfather was born in 1919 and lived through both of those and, as we sat in lawn chairs in the garage and drank sun tea out of mason jars, he would tell stories that amazed me. Our house always had plenty of food in it, so I couldn't imagine not having a crumb in the kitchen.
One of the books that J. got me off my reading list is "The Great Depression", which is a collection of eyewitness accounts put together by David A. Shannon. When I unwrapped the book, it wasn't a slick cover reprint; rather it's an old library book that still bears the stamps of all the people that have checked it out and read it. That only makes it all the more charming.
|Men sometimes waited hours in line for a bowl or soup and a hard roll at the local soup kitchen.|
Toast, rice, grits or cornbread in hot milk
Toast with milk gravy
One eyed Sam – piece of bread with an easy over egg in the center
Oatmeal mixed with lard
Corn meal mush
Popcorn with milk and sugar – they ate it like cereal!
Banana slices with powdered sugar and milk
Chipped beef on toast (my grandfather said they called this "sh*t on a shingle" in the Army)
Gopher, turtle, squirrel and rabbit - including roadkill
Potato soup – water base, not milk
Tomato gravy on rice or biscuits
Gravy and bread
Toast with mashed potatoes on top with gravy
Fried corn mush
Hamburger mixed with oatmeal
Chicken feet in broth
Warm canned tomatoes with bread
Fried potato and bread cubes
Salted tumbleweed (*during the Dust Bowl)
Sliced boiled pork liver on buttered toast (slice the liver with a potato peeler)
Spaghetti with tomato juice and navy beans
Anything with eggs, since most folks had chickens
Spam and noodles with cream of mushroom soup
Rag soup: spinach, broth and lots of macaroni
Garbanzo beans fried in chicken fat or lard, salted, and eaten cold
Or how about these sandwiches?
"Jam" sandwiches - jam two pieces of bread together
Cucumber and mustard sandwiches
Lard or bacon grease sandwiches
Fried potato peel sandwiches
Butter and sugar sandwiches
My grandfather also had a favorite dish of stewed tomatoes in shell macaroni that he would make once a week. When I asked him why he liked it so much, he told me that they ate it all the time when he was growing up because they didn't have much else.
Wheat is pretty central to lots of these dishes and, ironically, it was very abundant and sustained many families through the Depression. In a later post, I'll talk more about the Dust Bowl and why it was ironic that wheat was abundant. Now that our grain mill has arrived (yeah!), we are working to stock up on wheat berries and other grains and continue to learn how to make different kinds of bread.
Having chickens for eggs and meat, pigs and maybe a dairy cow or goat, as well as homegrown and canned veggies also helped to sustain families through these hard times. And they didn't waste anything - did you see the chicken feet soup on the list?
What do you think? Could you live comfortably on this diet? I suspect I would be missing my chocolate in less than 24 hours. And, thinking about our society and most of the people I know, they wouldn't last very long. Heck, I know people that won't eat anything out of a home garden or that's been made from scratch. I think that's even stranger than a bacon grease sandwich.
Monday, February 11, 2013
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Thursday, February 07, 2013
by Helen Stuart Campbell, 1880
|That's the door to the back deck.|
|Turning 180 degrees. Kitchen on the left and dining room to the right.|
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
|J. counting the days down on our whiteboard|
Well, it's finally here! We're meeting Christine and Dave at the title company at 1 p.m. today to close on the 1893 Victorian. We're both happy and sad about it. We've loved that house for 15 years now and are proud that we were able to bring it back to life. It looks beautiful from our other side of the street. To lose it is a sad event, but it's overshadowed by the happiness that it's going to a family that will breathe true life back into it and will love it the way that we have. I can't wait to hear about little Emily's adventures playing hide-and-go-seek in that huge house.
Today is the day that we get new neighbors. Friendly, honest, down-to-earth folks that we instantly felt we could be friends with. I couldn't be happier!
Sunday, February 03, 2013