Random Thoughts for The End of October 2008

A surprising number of readers (around 50) took advantage of the special October offer and purchased a copy of my book, Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian. And I was pleased to get some nice feedback from those who read it.

Thank you all


If you would like a used copy of my book, Making Great Garlic Powder you can currently pick one up for only $325.00 at Amazon bookstore. Here’s the link: My Garlic Powder Book at Amazon (thanks for the heads-up Cheri)


Not long ago, I posted a Series on Home Business Ideas. To the list I could add, running a boarding house. With the economy in decline, there is more of a demand for boarding houses.

I remember there used to be a guy in the nearby town of Moravia, who rented rooms by the week. He lived in a big house which he kept up well. I think he did a pretty good business. For the right person this might be just the ticket.

When I think of boarding houses, I think of that movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Do you recall the part where Clarence the guardian angel is showing George Bailey what the world would have been like if he had never been born? George goes to his mother’s house. Without George to support his mother, she runs a boarding house, and she doesn’t know him.


I am in the beginning stages of producing a plan book for a Whizbang cider press and apple grinder. That being the case, I thought I better get a copy of all books I could find on the subject of making cider. One, from the UK, titled, “Cidermaking,” is about how cider used to be made in the British Isles, back when they still had a strong agrarian culture.

One chapter of the book speaks of old apple varieties, including one called “Coccagee.” Here is what the book says of this variety:

”Coccagee, a Somerset and North Devon variety, was brought over from Ireland in the eighteenth century (the name is said to mean ‘goose turd’ in Irish.”

That does not sound like an apple I would want to consume.


I got an e-mail from Johnny’s Seed Company saying that they are holding their 2008 prices until November 15th. After that, prices will go up due to increased costs.


During our recent vacation to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello we learned that the large vegetable garden is patrolled at night. It is patrolled by beagles. The beagles are brought in during the growing season at 7:00pm and taken out in the morning before the tourists show up. The dogs are restrained within the garden area by electronic collars and their purpose is to keep wild deer from doing any damage.


Have you been to Jeremy Myers’s blog Oldtime Smith? Check it out.

Jeremy has a self-produced CD titled Nail that Catfish to the Tree! I bought a copy. I appreciate his traditional Missouri old-time fiddlin’


My watch broke a few weeks ago, before going on my Virginia vacation. I decided to see if I could get along without it. Turns out I can.


Daylight savings time ends this weekend. Prior to establishing time zones in this country, noon, wherever you were located, was when the sun was at it’s highest point in the sky? Established time zones came with the development of our continental railroad system in 1883.

I don’t know the history of watches but I suspect there wasn’t much need of them when we were still an agrarian nation.


With election day next week I feel like I am in an airplane that has gone through turbulent weather and is nosediving. Oxygen masks have deployed. The pilot is standing in the open doorway, with his parachute on. Two men are fighting over who will get into the cockpit and pilot the plane. Neither one appears to be well qualified to fly the craft. Some passengers are getting involved in the brouhaha. But I am in my seat, near the back, watching the scene unfold, unable to do anything to make a difference. My knuckles are white, gripping the armrest.


Michael Pollan had a thought-provoking article in the New York Times Magazine of October 12th. It is titled, Farmer in Chief and is in the form of a letter to “Mr. President Elect.”

Pollan urges the next president to do what he can to fix our broken industrial food system, which now “expends 10 calories of fossil-fuel energy to produce a single calorie of modern supermarket food.”

The author proposes a “sun-food” agenda which will work to drive oil-dependence out of America’s food system. It is, he says, a matter of national security.

”We need more highly skilled small farmers in more places all across America—not as a matter of nostalgia for the agrarian past but as a matter of national security.”

Michael Pollan’s article is a lengthy read but a must-read for all agrarian-minded folks.


But in case you don’t read it....

In the above-mentioned article, Pollan urges the next president to “tear out five prime south-facing acres of the White House lawn and plant in their place an organic fruit and vegetable garden.”

What a fine idea! Then Pollan writes:

When Eleanor Roosevelt did something similar in 1943, she helped start a Victory Garden movement that ended up making a substantial contribution to feeding the nation in wartime. (Less well known is the fact that Roosevelt planted this garden over the objections of the U.S.D.A., which feared home gardening would hurt the American food industry.) By the end of the war, more than 20 million home gardens were supplying 40 percent of the produce consumed in America. The president should throw his support behind a new Victory Garden movement, this one seeking “victory” over three critical challenges we face today: high food prices, poor diets and a sedentary population. Eating from this, the shortest food chain of all, offers anyone with a patch of land a way to reduce their fossil-fuel consumption and help fight climate change.... Just as important, Victory Gardens offer a way to enlist Americans, in body as well as mind, in the work of feeding themselves and changing the food system — something more ennobling, surely, than merely asking them to shop a little differently.”



Anonymous said...


I am skimming Boostin's 'The Discoverers' at the moment. Not sure I like it as much as many of the reviewers but the section on time and watches is quite fascinating. Watches and keeping time have been around a lot longer than I would have guessed.


- Ethan

Tracy said...

I'm one of those who took advantage of your sale price on your Deliberate Agrarian book. And I finished it this past week. I really enjoyed it - and am passing it around the family for others to read. Keep up the good work. We will be very interested in your apple cider making research.

brierrabbit said...

I quit wearing a watch, as a teenager. They drive me crazy, on my wrist. There are so many fools wearing them, that I just ask someone, the few times I need to.
I've done well without one. I've noticed that without one, a person over time develops a rather accurate internal clock. I have never used an alarm clock for instance. If I know I must get up at a certain time, I just do. Usually about 5 to 15 minutes before I am supposed to. I don't know if it would work for everyone though.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your random thoughts. Got your book haven't read it yet. Just got back from visiting Micheal Bunker and His Family as well as all the others in the community. Will pass the book on to them when I am finished. Thanks a bunch.

Anonymous said...

Is your book really $325?? Wow, what's in it?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the 'Heads Up' at Johnny's seed. Going there now and checking it out!

Herrick Kimball said...


Yes, someone is really selling the book for $325, used.

While the information in the book is certainly of value, I am currently selling it at my Whizbang Books web site for only $7.95 (postage paid).

Amazon no longer sells new copies of the book because it is almost out of stock here at the Whizbang Books "warehouse" and I listed it as no longer available at Amazon. I have no plans to reprint the book. When my current inventory is gone, the book will, indeed, become a rare collectible.

Anonymous said...

I think you were scooped by another blog I read a while back on the victory garden thing...
Not that it matters - both you guys have great blogs and thoughts!

Anonymous said...

I noticed in the editorial below the price, it says "Each year he dries his grop, grinds it to powder..." That sounds painful!

Anonymous said...

I bought your book, but it's my husband's christmas present so shush now.
On the subject of english cider making, of course cider over here in the west country is distinctly alcholic. A discrepancy which has been known to cause American tourists some distress and confusion!