Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Turkey

"Catching the Turkey" Grandma Moses 1940
More in the "Catching the Turkey" series here

Though I know little about Grandma Moses, primitivism, or art, I am a fan of Anna Mary Robertson, and enjoy looking at her work.

"A Blizzard" 1956

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A lot can happen

I thought it might be a hoot to spend some time reading about the years leading up to the first Thanksgiving from the perspective of folks on the other side of the pond, so I pulled a few crappy old English history books off the shelves.

From pages 137-8 of A Manual of English History by Edward M. Lancaster (American Book Company, New York) comes this about Utopia:
Thomas More-- From the prophetic pen of More appeared a work entitled "Utopia," or Nowhere, a satire on the times, especially the reign of Henry VII. Utopia was an ideal commonwealth which an imaginary companion of Amerigo Vespucci, deserted on the American continent, found somewhere in the midst of the wilds. It had wide and clean streets, comfortable houses, a system of public schools in which every child received a good education, perfect religious toleration, and universal suffrage, though with a family, and not an individual ballot; and the sole object of government was the good of the whole people, and not the pleasure of the king. Had More's pseudo-voyager but wandered to the American continent a few centuries later, he would have found his model "Utopia" a real as well as an ideal republic.
(My emphasis)

Utopia was first published in Latin in 1516. It was first translated into English in 1551, about 20 years after the start of the Reformation in England-- and More's execution in 1535-- and 70 years before the Pilgrims landed. The text from which that passage comes was first published in 1905.

A lot can happen in a few centuries can't it?

Monday, November 17, 2014

There's a lot of space here at the Farm

It going to be cold tonight.

When it's cold, the smart thing to do is divvy up the space into small units & heat only those that are necessary.

Rocky is under the covers. Missy's on top of them. The door is closed and I can still smell Daughter C's fire which warms the greater surrounds.

I'll go check on it.

Meanwhile. It's right toasty here with the little electric heater and warm mist humidifier running in this 12x12 dogxdog space.

Laziness. Pure & Simple.

Miss M did not think too much of the fact that I simply bulk uploaded the photos from the Christmas Market the other evening. She was particularly troubled by all the work you, Dear Reader, would have to do to see the store front candy canes.

I have no excuse other than pure and simple laziness. 

Fortunately, I have a minute this morning to correct the situation.

On July 5, 2014 two Downtown stores were almost wholly consumed by fire. I hear tell the owner(s) of the buildings did not have insurance-- but that's just what I hear on the street. 
I think this building is testiment to the Great Southern motto, no matter what your circumstances are around the Christmas Season, You Can Never Over-Decorate!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rocky Update

Rocky is doing well. Thank you all for asking! 

He is not supposed to exert himself for 10 days. Daughter C has sequestered him in her room. He comes out occasionally to say "Hello" and to see what's up in the world. I think he's recovering quite nicely. 

Miss Missy, on the other hand, is a mess. She sits by his door and cries and cries. And then when he does come out, she's embarrassingly preoccupied with his... his... . Well, let's just say she's noticed Rocky is not the same boy he was a few days ago.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

We Participated in the Market to the Tune of $42 AND Contributed ... 42x0.07 = ...

$2.94 to the coffers of Mississippi

There are days when I think the Girls & I should be in charge of these events. 
Only one shop had cider. If WE were running the show, all shops would be encouraged to have cider.

Here's a bit of what I found picture-worthy:

This you have to pay attention to. Note the candy canes.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Seems early to me

First Daughter C fire of the season-- a Beauty!
Daughter C is such a fanatic. She refused to start a fire until I'd moved the highly flammable books and deer away from the fire box. 

I fuss at her for being overly cautious but... . Who am I to judge? She might be right. And believe you me, I would rather wake up tomorrow morning to a nice hot cup of coffee brought to me by Mr. Big Food who brewed said coffee in our very own unburnt kitchen than to the sound of fire engines.  

So I moved the deer and the books and the fire is almost out.

It's early to have a fire. It's not even Thanksgiving. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I wasn't making that up. I even marked a passage to share:

That public virtue which among the ancients was denominated patriotism, is derived from a strong sense of our own interest in the preservation and prosperity of the free government of which we are members. Such a sentiment, which had rendered the legions of the republic almost invincible, could make but a very feeble impression on the mercenary servants of a despotic prince; and it became necessary to supply that defect by other motives, of a different, but not less forcible nature; honour and religion.

from Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman EmpireMoses Hadas (abridger), Fawcett Publications, Greenwich, Conn 1962 (page 27).

Security alert !

So. I am sitting a few seats down from a woman who cannot refrain from placing call after call after call on her not-iPhone6. If it were not so annoying it would be entertaining.

I have learned that she's thinking of selling her house and the address of said house. I have learned where she banks and what pharmacy she uses. I can't remember her friend's name because I don't care but I do know she isn't well and that folks at the church are praying for her. I know she missed a call from her insurance agent the other day and that it was nothing important.

I also know that the new iPhone6+ she ordered from a particular store in Madison came in but was returned. Why? Her credit card was hacked and she had to o cancel it. Imagine that.

I am now going to start reading an abridged version of Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hey! Yo! Mike!

I'm re-doing the bookshelves in the BunkHouse! 

We are moving at the speed of  .   .     .       putting things back together here at the Farm after the Lost Summer. As evidence, I submit to you this shelf

which is finished  and is accidentally symmetrical. God works in mysterious ways ;-) [Please attend to the two crappy old books.]

Dang. Double Dang. You can't see the bottom shelves. They are dreamy, civilized hoots. I'd also like to draw your attention to the slim volume on the war shelf over there on the right.  

I do enjoy putting together book shelves-- libraries of a certain sort-- for folks (Mike) to peruse. The re-do of the BunkHouse-- now known as the Jager Haus-- Library has been fun. Out are the many volumes of needlecraft encyclopedias and kitchen decorating magazines.

In are Dogs & Guns & Star Trek.
Which reminds me. Hey. Yo. Mr. Low Man. I didn't even think of you when I was putting this little library together. I didn't even consider what you might find interesting. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sometimes There's Just No Tellin'

what's happening here on the Farm. (Yes. That is is a 10ml beaker. I have hundreds of them!)
Take this evening, for example. I went to lock up the Jager Haus (formerly known as as the 'Bunk House'

which is still not  yet put together properly)
and I came upon this:

What the H-E-Double Toothpicks is this sitting on the table that is the staging area for the 

bar Refurbishment?

It's Western Cedar. We-- that' s Daughter C and I (!) -- have been breathing paint stripper for months. I've rehabilitated an ancient Craftsman belt sander which works like a charm. It's-- the bar, not the sander-- almost ready to move inside and assume it's place under the bar top (see photo above- look for the orange drill, place bar under bar top) which, I might add, I've stripped and sanded AND stained.
Where was I? 

No Tellin'.



"Yes, Missy?"

"What aren't you telling?"

"Oh, Missy! You silly. There's no tellin' what I'm not tellin'!" 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What do you want to bet

we manage to shimmy through that break in the line? 

Okay.Okay. I know that we-- as in my location indicated by that little stick thing-- aren't going to shimmy through anything. We are pretty much stationary. We don't shimmy.

But what do you want to bet that little break in that big mean green line breaks up even more right before it passes over my little stick?

I'll bet you One United States Dollar that we don't get near as much rain as-- at first glance-- you would think we might be getting. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mac & Cheese: This is Serious

Everyone-- which is to say each and every solitary individual who has ever lived and is worth his/her salt-- wants to to consider him/her/itself special. And so it should come as no surprise that Mr. Big Food & I thought ourselves quite special this evening. Really? How many other folks in our little county were doing statistics on macaroni & cheese recipes? In the state, even?

Let that sink in. How many other people in the Sovereign State of Mississippi-- besides us here at the Farm-- are engaged in a Macaroni & Cheese Contest? This Year.

One of the first challenges we had was converting the ordinal good-better-best scale into something more orderly. You may recall that here on the Farm we like numbers... but we do NOT like people who try to make numbers out of things that are not numbers.

Anyhoo.... After we'd settled on the scoring scheme-- W-L-T-- we tabulated the wins, losses, and ties. Diner Mac is the clear winner, thus far, with a record of 13-1-1. I do feel a little bit sorry for custard mac (1-14). It wasn't that bad. 

Meanwhile, I see that I took some photos from earlier in the day-- when I thought Daughter C was never coming home with store-bought bagels.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Photo Op

"Hello? Have you seen Marica? I've been looking everywhere for her!"
"What? No! Who!! I'll eat your tail if you keep talking, you measly amphibian!!"

"Now, Missy. That's no way to talk to the ... gecko... lizard... chameleon... , is it?"


Saturday, October 25, 2014

We interrupt this silence to ask,


I am not an LSU fan. I am certainly not a fan of That School Up North. BUT ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Two calls in a row?? 

Let's just play tiddlywinks. 

Neither of those two calls was justified. 

Please note my formal protest against the SEC officials.

Please note that I already have a tag, "SEC," for just such occasions. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Place for Everything


"Mom? Where's that deer skull?"

"Ummm... . In that chest in the foyer." Right side. Top shelf.
Because, like, doesn't everyone have a deer skull in a chest in the foyer? 

The steer mandible is in the garage near the Area 51 rock. The goat skull is on top of one set of encyclopedias-- I think the stack that is weighing down some pressed four-leaf clovers. Those little bottles of model car paint with their cute teeny tiny little brushes are in the right hand drawer of that crappy old white metal kitchen cupboard under the air conditioner in the workshop. And the vintage mint-in-box Scarlet O'Hara Barbie is in the store room on the top shelf, one section over from the left.

And the truck keys are... . ... . ... ?

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Country Mice Are On The Move Part 2: This Week (with a spot of how to convert a Lickert scale to something that makes sense)

Miss M and I really did go to Our State Capital the other day, but we didn't stay.

Daughter C and Mr. Big Food really did go to Hotlanta. Oh! What stories they brought home. (They showered upon their return, ensuring that stories were the only things they brought home.)

But that was last week.

This week Miss M and I really are going to Our State Capital but won't be staying until next week.

Mr. Big Food is headed to Long Island. 

[with caption stating that if I had my things about me, I could find an even better photo-- I have a bunch of crappy old history of biology books. Point being that Mr. Big Food for the second time in his life will be at Cold Spring Harbor]

And Daughter C is at home on the Farm for the duration. As Miss M & I will be.

As we were all here last Sunday evening, we* enjoyed Entry #4 in our Fall '14 Macaroni & Cheese Contest: Diner Mac & Cheese with Turkey Franks.

Diner Mac & Cheese with Turkey Franks is the leader, thus far. I can prove it. 

Diner Mac & Cheese with Turkey Franks is a classic mac & cheese recipe. Cheesy sauce with a touch of mustard that I could have done without. But an excellent-- truly excellent!-- breadcrumb topping. 

On the back of the envelope where I collect the various bits of data concerning the Fall '14 Macaroni & Cheese Contest are written two quotes:
10/19 CLC: Please note that I've liked every one.

10/19 JB: Please note that... .

Daughter C also commented that the mac & cheese contest was a lot harder than the soup contests. Which I hope explains my comment about the mustard. It's a grain issue. When you are ranking soups... . Haven't we covered this already?
The second problem is that macaroni and cheese casseroles have just two unchanging main ingredients. Look back at the variety of soup entries-- not often two soups had the same two main ingredients. 
Back to Diner Mac & Cheese with Turkey Franks which got two #1 votes and one #2 vote. How does it fair compared to, let's say, Veggie Mac & Cheese with One #1, one #2, and one #4? Or Ro*tel with two #2 and one #3???????

Our weekly rankings are ordinal. We've covered this many times here and when I don't have to be up at O'Dark Thirty to take Mr. Big Food to the Airport, I will link. But for now-- consider that there are four entries. All we need to do is rank them. And therein is the pitfall.

It is impossible to quantify the distance between "1" & "2" & "3". More impossible still to quantify and standardize the distances between a star and a moon and a clover. Ranking things that are not measurable leads to all sorts of problems. 

Here's how you get around this problem-- Dawgs are still #1, by the way, even though they didn't play this weekend. You make everything a pair-wise comparison with a clear winner and looser and add up the wins and loses. 

So. see?  With a score of 7.2 Diner Mac is #1!! And Ro*tel is tied with Veggie for #2. 

*So by "we" I mean we were all on the Farm but as a vegan, Miss M did not participate in the mac & frank dinner.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

+/- 1 or thereabouts

Life is pretty amazing, isn't it? 

On any given day in May, June, July, August, September or October the ambient air temperature can be 98 °F or greater in Mississippi.

Take a look at these 48 data points. Consider different pairs of monthly high & low records: -5 & 85 (Jan.); 54 & 107 (August). There are 80 and 53 degrees difference, respectively, between those two sets. 

I can tell the difference between -5 and 85. Heck. I can tell the difference between 92 °F and 107 °F, can't you? I cannot tell the difference when the air is 92 versus when the air is 87-- a difference of 5 whole degrees Fahrenheit. Can you?

Think how remarkable it is, then, that we-- you and I-- know something is amiss when our body temperature is not 98.6 but 99.6-- or worse yet, 100.4! 1.8 degrees and we know things are not 'normal'. 

What's my point? 

Homeostasis is cool err err ... neet. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Country Mice are on the Move

Miss M & I are headed to Our State Capital day after tomorrow.

So much to think about. What books to take in the Traveling Library? How much canned Canada Dry can we reasonably transport? I never did order that quick one cup little traveling coffee maker... how to improvise such that I have coffee when I need it? And somewhere in this house there is a pair of black sweatpants that belong to Miss M. Can we find them in time? Do we know where the soft serve food outlets are in Jackson?

Meanwhile... Daughter C and Mr. Big Food will head to Hotlanta, Georgia. (It's purple on the map.) 

Still more to think about. Good grief! We're almost out of hand sanitizer and Daughter C and Mr. Big Food will be within spittin' distance of Hartsfield International Airport. I can say with absolute certainty that the LAST thing we need is for the Farm to be GROUND ZERO on an EBOLA infection here in Mississippi.

So. If you have Ebola-- stay the hell away from us Country Mice. 

We just want to go where we need to go. Do what we need to do without bothering any one. And get back home. 

Monday, October 13, 2014


Ro*Tel Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Ha ha ha haha. You thought I was going talk about college football, didn't you?

I've tabulated the results after three games entrees and the polls results for The Fall '14 Macaroni & Cheese Contest are in! Vegetable Macaroni & Cheese is in the lead with two #1 votes. Ro*Tel is #2 with one #1 and two #2 votes.

This was a good mac & cheese. More classically cheesier than the two previous entries. If you are a huge fan of Ro*Tel, then you would have voted this #1 as Mr. Big Food did. It wasn't too Ro*tel-y, but as a main dish-- we make these rules up as we go along*-- it was a bit too Ro*Tel-y for my taste. 

But again, it was by far the best cheese sauce so far.

* below

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cue up the Twilight Zone

You know what's more odd than the Ole Miss vs. A&M and the State vs. Auburn scores? The sound bar arrived today while Mr. Big Food & I were at the game. 

I coaxed Daughter C into hooking it up after I hooked it up after we had supper after we got back from the game. (She did a much better job than I. It actually works now.) 

What a nice distraction the game was! We ran into an old friend!!

La Girl with la Cool Name




"Missy? Where are you?"



"Wake up, Boy! Where's Missy?"

"ru.. ruf... f"



"Gosh, Rocky. I'm sorry I woke you. I'm still stoked up over the game and don't feel like sleeping. I thought you and  Missy might want to watch the new episode of Dr. Who. We recorded it, don't you know?


"Oh. You know."


"Where's Missy?"



"ru... f... f"

"Well. I see. Well, then good night Boy."


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Let this sink in a minute

Via Instapundit at Business Insider a "Beautiful Visualization Of Nobel Prizes By Country Since 1901.

It is beautiful, isn't it?

Suggestions for further reading:

Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative. Edward R. Tufte. Graphic Press, Cheshire, Connecticut. 1997.

Sign, Image, Symbol. Gyorgy Kepes, ed. George Braziller, New York. 1966.

The Great Books Foundation Set One Volume Four: Aristotle, The Federalist Papers, Adam Smith. Great a Books Foundation, Chicago. 1966.

Foundations of Liberty: Independent Study Materials. Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University.

Our Wonder World: A Library of Knowledge in Ten Volumes Volume Two Invention and Industry. Howard Benjamin Grose, ed. Geo. L. Shuman & Co., Chicago and Boston. 1914.

Being a Boy. Charles Dudley Warner. Hard Press at Amazon. Offprint originally copyright date 1877.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Things that Tire Me: Parts 3 & 4 of 365

3. Lies.

4. Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (E.S.P.N. dadadada).


Until 5pm this afternoon, FedEx tracking had my order arriving today. Who were they kidding? Hutchens, TX is 8 hours from here. 

It's not arriving tomorrow, either. We all know that. Tomorrow is Game Day. Ain't nobody gonna be driving a FedEx truck out the The Farm on Game Day. 

I'm never shopping at Walmart ever again. Never. Ever. Never. I don't like Sam Walton, lying thief that he was. 


I hate ESPN. 

At no time in the history of our planet have so many lives been so distributed but one stupid television network as ours have been by ESPN. Week after week, year after year, ESPN dictates when our teams will be playing, and by extension when our tailgates will start, what we'll have for breakfast, what time we'll need to get up, go to bed the night before... . ESPN even tried to start a new Mississippi Thanksgiving tradition! Who gave EPSN and its corporate shills that power? Not me! 

I'm tired of ESPN.

See you at the game. Go Dawgs.

And you know what the sad part is? Those staying home to watch the game won't even be able to listen to it on the new sound bar because the sound bar is in Columbus and as we have established, ain't nobody gonna be driving a FedEX truck out to The Farm on Game Day.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


From a crappy old book.

I'm on a mission to catalog 365 Things I Am Tired Of Which I am Tired. In the interest of positive thinking, I thought I should counter with a year's worth of things that tickled me to no end. This illustration from a 1933 edition of The Pilgrim's Progress is #1.

Maybe this is funny only to me. I was just the other day trying to remember all 12 of the cranial nerves and no one makes fun of German accents anymore. 

Recipe: Fruit Dumplings

Cherry Dumplings topped with cinnamon sugar
Before we go to the recipe, I'd like to say a word or two about 'Dumpling Culture'. Dumpling Culture refers to the crappy old times in which folks ate a lot of dumplings-- usually with sauce or gravy. I will not say that those were simpler times because making dumplings is complicated business. But they were good times because dumplings are yummy. 

We used cherries rather than plums.


3/4 C milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 C flour (or more)
2 eggs
plums cut into pieces
cinnamon sugar

Combine milk, salt and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add flour and stir constantly until mixture is stiff and doesn't stick to spatula or pan. Remove from heat, let cool slightly. Add eggs. Roll out on a lightly floured surface. Cut into squares. Wrap each square around a plum piece. Spoon dumplings into rapidly boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dumpling Culture is Alive and Well

Just add cinnamon sugar

I am trying. 

I may remind one & all that I am not the only one who has admin posting privileges.