Some Random Thoughts For April 2008

I have a lot of little things on my mind that I’d like to share with you.....

Scott’s Emulsion
As a follow-up to my last blog essay I’d like to tell you about Scott Nearing’s “Emulsion,” which can be found in the book, “Simple Food For The Good Life,” by Helen nearing.

1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons peanut butter

Stir vigorously together into a smooth emulsion in your own bowl. (This is where the guest and eater has to do the work, not the cook.) Then fill your bowl with wheat berries (or kasha or millet). Again give all a good old stir and consume unlimited quantities.

An Organic Apple
For what it’s worth, I bought one organic “Gala” apple at the grocery store one morning this week before going to work. It cost me $1.25.

2008 Whizbang Garden Cart Contest Entry #1
80-year-old John Hudson down in Alabama made himself a Whizbang Garden Cart. It’s a sharp looking unit. Check it out HERE

A Simple, Sustainable Fuel Source
The most recent issue of Small Farm Today magazine has an editorial by publisher, Ron Macher, in which he states:
“One acre of mature forest will supply one cord of firewood per year (cull trees), and the supply will never run out. It is renewable and sustainable.”
As I’ve mentioned in this blog before, I heat my house each winter with a basic woodstove and 10 face cords of wood (which I bought from my neighbor for $450 last fall). I’ve heated my home with with wood in that same stove for 23 years.

In my dreams....someday....I hope and pray I will have a woodlot of my own to husband and harvest sustainably.

Deliberate Agrarian Review
My thanks to Small Farm Today magazine for reviewing my book, Writings of a Deliberative Agrarian. This is what the review says:
”This is a story of the best of rural life as it once was—and as it can be again. It is a wholesome Christian book for those families who want to experience life at its best. I found it an excellent read... It belongs on your bookshelf.”

2.2 Million Less Tomato Plants
According to an article in “Lancaster Farming” newspaper,
“The Mid-Atlantic region’s largest producer of mature green tomatoes is getting out of the business and switching tomato acreage to field corn.”
The reason for the change is the shrinking migrant work force. According to the farmer,
”Let me tell you, there is no local labor that is going to go out and harvest those tomatoes in 90-degree temperatures except our immigrant labor.”
The article reports that it has been years since the former tomato farmer (he planted 2.2 million tomato plants last year) “...has seen local students visit his farm for work. The farm pays a high wage, about $16.59 per hour...”

McDonald’s French Fry Grease
Marlene and I recently attended a wedding reception and sat next to a woman who manages a McDonalds. I asked her how often they change the oil used to make the French fries. The answer.... every 21 days.


One of my best friends from high school died of colon cancer at 44 years of age. He loved McDonald’s French fries. In high school, when we went out to eat at McDonald’s, he always ordered two large fries with his burger. When he was diagnosed with cancer, awaiting surgery in the hospital, I went to visit him. We had lost touch over the years. I asked if he still ate a lot of McDonald’s French fries. He said he did. He loved McDonalds French fries.

I never eat McDonald’s French fries.

My first Vegetarian Friend
After High School I went to school in Vermont for a year. There I met a fellow named Randall Blank from Philadelphia. We became pretty good friends. Randall was a vegetarian. The only vegetarian I had ever known of before Randall was the guy who ran a natural foods store I sometimes went to. He was pale and frail and sickly looking. But Randall was robust and healthy.

The amazing thing about my friend Randall was that he had never eaten meat in his life. His parents had raised him and his brother from the beginning as vegetarians. He also would not eat milk or eggs or cheese. He wouldn’t even eat jello. For breakfast he poured orange juice on a bowl of Cheerios. We went to McDonalds once with a group of other students. He ate French fries.

Incidentally, Randall and his brother once hitch-hiked to Maine to visit Scott & Helen Nearing.

Randall’s Legacy to Me
One day, my friend Randall, the vegetarian, stopped by the little library in the town where our school was, and they were throwing out 30 years worth of old Organic Gardening & Farming magazine. He brought them back to his dorm room and called me over to see his find.

I happened to love that magazine, and I practically salivated over the sight of so many old issues, going back to the 1940s. I offered him money. He wasn’t interested. I offered him more money. He wasn’t interested. I asked him if there was anything I could trade him for those magazines. There was nothing. So that’s the way it was.

But, near the end of the year, Randall gave me all the back issues. No charge. It was a gift. I was so grateful. I still have all those great old issues. That magazine is now nothing like it once was. It was a wonderful publication in its day.

Thank you again, Randall!

No More Squash
I wrote awhile back about My Squash Planting Secret. That essay got a lot of attention. Sad to say, we ate our last two Sweet Dumpling squashes on March 29th. They were tasty.

So we were able to eat our own homegrown squash for five months after they were harvested. Squash is easy to grow. Squash is easy to store. Squash is nutritious. Squash is good.

Men Talking
Yesterday, as I was going into my workplace, I stood with several other men in a secure enclosure. A heavy steel door automatically closed and locked behind us. We waited, without talking, for a man inside a room with bulletproof glass to work the controls that would open the door before us. We were about to walk into the main yard of a maximum security state prison. Here is the conversation that took place:

Man #1: “Well, here we are again.”

(momentary silence)

Man #2: “Another day in paradise.”

(momentary silence)

Man #3: “Another day closer to retirement.”

Man #4: “Another day closer to death.”

Everyone laughs.

Except me.

And the door opens.

Advice From Jack
I grew up watching Jack LaLanne on television. He inspired me to do exercises with common household items like a chair, a broom, and a couple cans of beans. He had a white dog named Happy. Jack LaLanne was an inspiration to me.

I recently told my kids about Jack LaLanne. He is still alive. He is in his 90s. He is still healthy. We went to his web site.

In 1956, at age 42, Jack set a world record of 1,033 pushups in 23 minutes on “You Asked for It, a TV Show with Art Baker. In 1979, at age 65, Jack towed 65 boats filled with 6,500-pounds of Lousiana Pacific wood pulp while handcuffed and shackled in Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan. He did all kinds of stuff like that.

As you might guess, Jack was and is a "health food" advocate. Guess what he ate a lot of. Yep, that's right... Scott Nearing's Horse Chow!

Naw. I'm kidding. You knew I was kidding, didn't you? Well, actually Jack might have eaten Horse Chow. I really don't know. In any event, I want to tell you one of Jack LaLanne's famous Words of Wisdom:
"If it tastes good, spit it out.
Now that's funny. Here's another classic bit of advice from Jack. This is his "Posture Improver" (and it works):
Pretend to try and crack a walnut between your buttocks

It's past my bed time..........


mark said...

Heh! I remember Jack LaLanne. I had almost forgot about him. I remember him on TV, every morning, doing jumping jacks. No slacker looking exercise clothes, just ordinary workout outfit, and no brain deadening workout beat, crushing your ears. Glad to hear he lived into advanced old age. I would like to think all those jumping jacks were paying off!

Ginny said...

LOL! Okay, I tried it and it really does improve your posture, but I can't see doing it all the time. LOL!

justme27 said...

You would be shocked at some of the things libraries throw out! It never hurts to ask if they have duplicates of magazines and things. Or old issues that they want to throw away....


Another good place is a used bookstore- they throw out lots of stuff too.

Goodolboy said...

Good morning Herrick,

It sounds like you don't like your day job. It might be just our time of life (we are about the same age). I used to love my work and couldn't wait to go everyday and see what new challenge or project I was faced with. As the years go on ya kind of get in a rut. Time at work seems to drag. Negitive situations (which were always there) seem to be more prevalent. The grass looks greener elsewhere. I used to scoff at the people that count days until retirement and talk about retirement all the time. Now, in some ways, I am one of them. Why stay in a job ya don't like? Well, for me at least, it's security. Have to feed the family ya know. That security is very expensive when ya really think on it. Is it worth the price? Not sure. Just some of my thoughts.

I enjoy your blog. Very informative and entertaining.