Dateline: 16 March 2015
Well, I picked The Lovely Marlene up at the airport in Syracuse last Wednesday. After nine days of relaxation and sunshine at her sister's place in Arizona, her skin had a healthy glow, and she was all smiles.
Unfortunately, I was on the verger of a hellacious cold, and have been dealing with that ever since. It's the usual achy-head-runny-nose-sore-throat-coughing-continually kind of cold. I seem to go trough a significantly uncomfortable bout of some viral thing once a year. Last year in January It Was The Flu. Thankfully, this cold is not equivalent to that flu (I have not heard the Gaelic war drums—nor the pipes).
My remodeling project in the upstairs remains to be finished. I have plugged away at it since Marlene's return. It will get done, little by slow, in the next week or two, after so many years, and it will be a very good thing.
That picture (above) of the Maine Farmer's Almanac of 1845 shows something kind of neat. The page was torn and carefully sewn back together. It was torn again, later on, and that part is missing. But the original stitched repair is holding very well, 170 years later.
A farm almanac was an important part every rural household back in those days. There were no wall calendars, like we have now, and the almanac was continually referenced throughout the year. These little publications were somewhat cherished, and I think that excellent stitching work, probably done by the farmer's wife, if not the farmer himself, gives us a clue about how cherished they were. Click on the picture to see an enlarged view of the old handiwork.
As I've mentioned here in the past, I am fond of the Farmer's Calendar essays in those old almanacs because many of them reveal something about the Christian-agrarian worldview that was a dominant factor in the "agrarian nation" America once was. The following Farmer's Calendar excerpt is an excellent example of this. If you did not know it was from the Maine Farmer's Almanac of 1865, you might think you were reading something written by the likes of Wendell Berry...
Let no one think meanly of an economical habit, but rather let every one esteem it a Christian virtue worthy of a high place in the Christian character. Indeed it is one of the results of uprightness of heart, for only the unfaithful steward wastes his Master’s goods. True there are those who advise economy because it favors the accumulation of riches, and these judge rightly of the means to the end; for most men become wealthy rather by what they save than by what they earn. But there is for the practice of this virtue a higher reason, which rests upon the fact that we ought to use carefully what we have as choice gifts from the Creator. The products of the field, the mine, and the ocean, are gifts to us; and he who wastes them robs mankind, and hence thwarts the beneficent Being working for our good. Moreover, He sets us the highest examples of economy; for in all His works He never wastes a single particle of matter. Though He has ample material for framing worlds, there is not so much unused as will feed the tiniest mite; so that in His works as in His Word, he commands to gather up the fragments that nothing be lost.
Also, Planning a Subsistence Homestead, a 1934 Farmer's Bulletin reprint, is the current reprint being offered at Agriphemera. The next reprint, coming out later this week, is Raspberry Culture, a bulletin reprint from 1948. It is an excellent resource, and will be available for only $1.00 for the first four days (as is the case with all pdf downloads).
I have much to write about here. Gardening is, of course, on my mind, though the actual work of gardening in Central New York State is still some ways off. I will write about using plastic in the garden. Last year I used plastic mulch for the first time in my life.
But I don't think I will be blogging for the rest of this week. There is the remodeling project to tend to, and tax time is nearing.
Speaking of which, I got an e-mail from the NY State department of taxation informing me that I must now file my annual sales tax form online (it's due this week). If I do not file the form online, I may be in violation of the law. The e-mail then tells me that I can not reply to it, because no one will get it. This is a small, but powerfully annoying, example of modern bureaucratic tyranny.
Have a great week.....