Friday, November 30, 2012

Must go Soup

It's time to stock the pantry. it seems like a very archaic notion, I know, but still every year I make a list of those ingredients, remember food is made of ingredients, and it's not a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chips, or chili without the kidney beans. And I was off to the "Sharp Shopper" to stock up, so that I won't have to make unnecessary trips on bad roads, and I can stay toasty warm and make English muffin toasting bread instead of pushing the shopping cart with the wonky wheel through the unplowed parking lot.  Yes, I do have an excuse for everything, but I prefer to call it an explanation.

So yesterday was the first of usually two trips, stocking the pantry for winter should be an Olympic sport it is so exhausting.  Done right it could be considered a competitive sport, but I prefer to  turn it into a convivial sport.  Grocery shopping can be pretty frustrating,  and if you can spread a little cheer , exchange a few words, may-be learn something new , well i say "have at it."  Also if you run into someones shopping cart while you are looking for the marinated portabella, it's always the polite thing to do to exchange pleasantries.  may-be they know where the marinated portabella are.

~~google images
I met a lady while I was looking for large cans of mixed vegetables, she was looking for small cans of Lima beans, we both agree that Lima beans  are a good addition to vegetable soup ,  the kind one makes from the accumulated leftovers, she called it "Must go Soup",  and I like that.
Indeed everything must go, from the bits of meat and gravy, to the last few peas and carrots, a dash of chicken, why not, a few stray corn kernels,  of course, well may-be not the left over broccoli,  but the noodles can go in later.  Forget the old cucumbers, because it is also in knowing what to leave out, like lettuce. 
 
My cart filling with canned goods and pasta, cake mixes and peanut butter, spices, seasonings, flour, sugar and coffee, raisins, and other dried fruits, bags of nut meats, corm starch and cocoa powder, ketchup, a few kinds of mustard, some mayo.  If it something is shelf stable, like the old prospector coming into town.....whoops I forgot the yeast, baking powder and dried beans!  
 
Some time ago I watched a program about a group of people who found a  Mississippi  cargo ship, where it had sunk about a century ago,  complete with most of its cargo, of tinned and bottled foods including bottled pie fillings and tinned meats, the variety of which seemed to amaze them,  but would only make sense because transportation in those days was just too slow for the fresh and perishable stuff to be practical.   A few years ago a well know TV chef said " It wasn't that long ago the even the Queen of England couldn't get fresh blueberries out of season."
But I do digress, because I am getting very tired from pushing my well loaded cart through the isles, and all of that looking I am doing because there are so many interesting items, that  I just know I will find useful, but how may to buy, two is usually a safe number.
 
However the people around me also seem to be laboring under the burden of heavy carts, and an overwhelming number of comestible choices.   "Who knew there was almost as many varieties of noodles as there are varieties of pasta?"  One might turn to the person nearest them and ask "Have you ever tried this? is it good?"  In the last isle one begins to hear, " This is work." or "All this thinking is wearing me out."or from the little lady who explained Must Go soup to me, "Looks like we are having a  race."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Full Moon tonight!





The first snows, the first real snows of winter,  have arrived with the Full White moon.  The Full Dark Moon, this year will be only a touch darker, because of the subtle penumbral eclipse tomorrow morning before sunrise.  Appearing to be the smallest full moon of this year, it once was the source of light for those who had extra goods or provisions to barter  at this Full Trading Moon.  In the distant past did our ancestors use the light of the Moon when Horns are Broken off to gather the sheds for making tools and other items, and to set snares for pelts during the Full Beaver Moon when the beavers were also preparing for winter?


Most trees have lost all of their leaves, save the few that cling tenaciously to the oak, and are silhouetted against the  silvery disk of the Full Tree Moon as shines through them as it rises into the dark  starry night sky. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The First Day

 
 
It's only a dream, the kind of dream you might have the night before "the first day."
At this time of year "the first day" can only mean one thing!!!   And that is the first day of deer season, or buck season. 

The house is a buzz with activity, the blaze orange clothing must be readied, and the contents of the hunter's pack must be set out, checked and rechecked.  The lunches must be just right, including the lucky candy bars. Boots are waterproof and guns sighted in.  Various soaps and sprays that promise to eliminate human odor and make on invisible to game are set out,ready to be used, as are a variety of other gadgets, including one that uses a puff of chalk like powder to tell the hunter which way the wind in blowing. 

At the near by rifle range there is what sounds like  war games going on. When in fact it is sighting in rifles, making sure that the the scope is on target.   Actually very important as it doesn't take much of a jolt to cause a disparity, and this means that  the venison escapes, waving its white tail like a victory flag .

The inevitable 'Big Buck" contests run by local newspapers, some judge the buck on by the number of points on the antlers, and a few by the weight of the field dressed, meaning innards removed, buck,  I personally prefer the the weight method, as myself, if i could still hunt. would be hunting for meat.

A steady drone of traffic will fill the silent, snowy air tonight, there will be "tracking snow" still on the ground when the first shots are fired.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving ramblings

Again Thanksgiving Day is upon us,  and a celebration of home and hearth and friends and bounty.   A very sentimental holiday,  we think of big family dinners at  our grandparents, reunited with family we seldom see, and sometime reminded of why we seldom see them.  "Over the river and through the woods"  to a simpler time may-be.  A time when it was a very good idea to gain a few pounds to ensure that one stayed healthy through the winter.  

Thanksgiving , when the farmers table groaned under the bounty of his and his family hard work,  when everyone came home before the winter made the roads impassable, when the cooks in each family showed off their skills preparing dishes that were only prepared for Thanksgiving Day, and everyone anticipated the feast as much as the being together again. Sharing food, stories, and remembering the details of  Thanksgivings gone by.   


The turkey, the centerpiece of the feast was  reserved for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Ben Franklin proposed the wily turkey as the symbol of our country, but the eagle won out. The subtle Patriotic themes have faded over time, and probably it had less to do with with the Pilgrims  and Indians than it did with the aftermath of the the Civil War, the time when Thanksgiving became an official holiday.  A warm welcome, food and conviviality, the common ground was healing to the soul, no matter what time of year it is.
"Hope you will eat a big piece of turkey." said May Dean. 
A voice in the wind. echos that.




Friday, November 16, 2012

what am I gratetful for?????

Every year as Thanksgiving approaches I notice certain things, start to happen.  Pumpkin pie flavored food start to appear, but why are there no roast turkey flavored chips, or crackers??? men talk alot about football and or depending on where you live, the opening day of deer season.  The lines at the grocery store get long, and the carts are fuller, perhaps it is people who still believe it is necessary to gain a few pounds before winter. and I'm not even going to think about "Black Friday" which sounds like it should be some sort of curse.

But there is always "that question", yeah, that one "What are you grateful for?"  to which I like to either reply,"got a couple hours, or would you like the long version?"  worse I could just start rattling away.

Indigenous peoples find some place in their ceremonies and celebrations to express thanks.  the Iroquois Indians have at least 5 ceremonies/holidays per year dedicated to giving thanks. Of course many people give thanks when they sit down for a meal, and we thank someone who does something for us or gives us a gift. 

there are those times and they should be frequent when it just feels good to start out and count the good things , the things you are grateful for, no matter how small, or seemingly trivial they are, after all this is not a homework assignment and no one but you needs to  know what is on your list.

I am grateful for  can openers, fabric band aids, the sun in the morning and the moon at night, laptops, trouser socks, peanut butter, peaceful moments, when my car  starts, great big coffee mugs, a smile, Christmas light, candy corn, encouragement, sharpened pencils, my blog, a warm house and warm hearts, sidewalks......you get the idea, now have at it.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jack Daniels makes the "Telegraph"

Whenever I see that squarish bottle with the black and white label, I know what it is.
"Jack Daniels, on the rocks with a splash and a twist, please."  Or  "Jack Daniels and coke." which is a total waste of good suppin' whiskey.  Now I say this like I drink Jack Daniels, but I don't....I just think well make things should be appreciated.
Also I found the following articles really interesting, you just never know what you will find when you are looking for something else.





"The Telegraph", a newspaper from the UK, was the source of these excerpted articles



Original recipe for Jack Daniel's found in Welsh book of herbal remedies

The original recipe for legendary American whiskey Jack Daniel's has been discovered in a book of herbal remedies in Wales, it has been claimed.

The history of Jack Daniel's is a mystery because the distillery's early records were destroyed in a courthouse fire
The history of Jack Daniel's is a mystery because the distillery's early records were destroyed in a courthouse fire Photo: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Businessman Mark Evans, 54, was researching his family history when he discovered the recipe in a book of herbal remedies.
It was written in 1853 by his great-great grandmother who was called Daniels and was a local herbalist in Llanelli, South Wales.
Her brother-in-law left the Welsh town at about the same time to move to Lynchburg Tennessee where the Jack Daniel's distillery was opened three years later.

And the Jack Daniel's website states the founder of the distillery was from Wales.

Mr Evans says the ingredients in his great-great grandmother's recipe match what goes into the best selling whiskey in the world.

He said: "I'm pretty sure I've discovered the original recipe in great-great grannie's book.
"I was doing some family research, looking at photographs and things, and I wanted to look at the family bible.
"At the bottom of the bookcase was this book."
Mr Evans' grandmother Lillian Daniel's Probert, who is 97 and living in Llanelli, can recall her own grandmother using the book to make herbal remedies and ointments.
He said: "My great, great-grandmother wrote in the book in 1853, and Jack Daniel's is dated 1866, so it predates it.
"There is a link, because my grandmother's grandfather's brother - my great, great uncle - left for America and nobody ever heard from him after a couple of letters.
"That was during the time that Jack Daniel's was set up, but more important than that, he was called John 'Jack the Lad' Daniel's.
"We know he went to Lynchburg Tennessee and I'm pretty sure he used great-great grannie's recipe to start off the whiskey business."
The history of Jack Daniel's is a mystery because the distillery's early records were destroyed in a courthouse fire
A spokesman for the company said: "We know our founder was from Wales - we would love to see the book and the recipe."



v

Jack Daniel's sends 'world's most polite cease and desist letter'

Jack Daniel's has sent what has been described as perhaps the world's most polite cease and desist letter, after the front cover of a new novel looked suspiciously like their famous black and white label.

(L-R): Jack Daniel's whisky label and the cover of Louisville-based author Patrick Wensink's new novel, Broken Piano For President
(L-R): Jack Daniel's whisky label and the cover of Louisville-based author Patrick Wensink's new novel, Broken Piano For President


In most cases of copyright infringement, the standard response of those whose intellectual property has been stolen is to send a threatening legal letter, warning that they are prepared to sue unless their demands are met.
When lawyers at the popular whiskey brand spotted the cover of Louisville-based author Patrick Wensink's new novel, Broken Piano For President, it looked suspiciously familiar to the famous black and white label used on bottles of Jack Daniel's.

But rather than react angrily, the company's legal team sent him what the author described as the perhaps the world's most polite cease and desist letter, in which they even go so far as to offer to pay for the book's cover to be redesigned.

The letter reads: "We are certainly flattered by your affection for the brand, but while we appreciate the pop culture appeal of Jack Daniel's we also have to be diligent to ensure that Jack Daniel's trademarks are used correctly."

vt continues: "As an author you can certainly understand our position and the need to contact you. You may even have run into similar problems with your own intellectual property."
It adds that because Mr Wensink is a "Louisville neighbour and a fan of the brand we simply request that you change the cover design when the book is reprinted.

"If you would be willing to change the design sooner than that (including on the digital version) we would be willing to contribute a reasonable amount towards the cost of doing so."

The letter came to light after Mr Wensink posted it on his website. A perhaps not unforeseen consequence has been a host of publicity for his new novel. The book went to the top of the Amazon satirical books chart and was the number six bestseller overall. His website hits jumped from 20 a day to 200,000 in three days after it was picked up by several blogs.

He introduces the letter by writing: "What follows is, perhaps, the most polite cease and desist ever written. If it wasn't signed by some lawyer, I'd imagine ol' Gentleman Jack penning it himself, twirling his bushy moustache."

While Mr Wensink has agreed to change the cover of his book, he will not be accepting the offer of payment from the company.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "The letter was so warm and kind, I've never heard of a cease and desist letter be so generous.

Jack Daniel's sends 'world's most polite cease and desist letter'

Jack Daniel's has sent what has been described as perhaps the world's most polite cease and desist letter, after the front cover of a new novel looked suspiciously like their famous black and white label.

(L-R): Jack Daniel's whisky label and the cover of Louisville-based author Patrick Wensink's new novel, Broken Piano For President
(L-R): Jack Daniel's whisky label and the cover of Louisville-based author Patrick Wensink's new novel, Broken Piano For President

In most cases of copyright infringement, the standard response of those whose intellectual property has been stolen is to send a threatening legal letter, warning that they are prepared to sue unless their demands are met.
But, as their advertisement campaign suggests, the people at Jack Daniel's are a little more laid back.
When lawyers at the popular whiskey brand spotted the cover of Louisville-based author Patrick Wensink's new novel, Broken Piano For President, it looked suspiciously familiar to the famous black and white label used on bottles of Jack Daniel's.
But rather than react angrily, the company's legal team sent him what the author described as the perhaps the world's most polite cease and desist letter, in which they even go so far as to offer to pay for the book's cover to be redesigned.
The letter reads: "We are certainly flattered by your affection for the brand, but while we appreciate the pop culture appeal of Jack Daniel's we also have to be diligent to ensure that Jack Daniel's trademarks are used correctly."


It continues: "As an author you can certainly understand our position and the need to contact you. You may even have run into similar problems with your own intellectual property."
It adds that because Mr Wensink is a "Louisville neighbour and a fan of the brand we simply request that you change the cover design when the book is reprinted.
"If you would be willing to change the design sooner than that (including on the digital version) we would be willing to contribute a reasonable amount towards the cost of doing so."
The letter came to light after Mr Wensink posted it on his website. A perhaps not unforeseen consequence has been a host of publicity for his new novel. The book went to the top of the Amazon satirical books chart and was the number six bestseller overall. His website hits jumped from 20 a day to 200,000 in three days after it was picked up by several blogs.
He introduces the letter by writing: "What follows is, perhaps, the most polite cease and desist ever written. If it wasn't signed by some lawyer, I'd imagine ol' Gentleman Jack penning it himself, twirling his bushy moustache."
While Mr Wensink has agreed to change the cover of his book, he will not be accepting the offer of payment from the company.
He told the Daily Telegraph: "The letter was so warm and kind, I've never heard of a cease and desist letter be so generous.
"We thought this was a parody of their logo and never realised that it was copyright infringement and never intended for something like this to happen. We wrote back and said we would absolutely change the cover and told them please not to bother giving us any money." David Gooder, the Chief Trademark Counsel at Jack Daniel's Properties Inc, told the Daily Telegraph that the company deliberately favoured a gentler approach against Mr Wensink.
He said: "We get hundreds of infringements around the world and they are all different. At one end of the spectrum is the counterfeiter and the more benign side is the misguided fan, not that Mr Wensink is misguided, but the fan of the brand who thinks they are perhaps doing a good thing for the brand when they really are not.
"When it is the latter situation we like to take a step back and have a conversation with them. There is no point using a sledgehammer to crack a nut."
Mr Gooder said that he was pleased the situation had been resolved amicably but, perhaps shattering the illusion that the company was the antithesis to the hard-nosed legal world, he warned that they were prepared to take further action against Mr Wensink and others like him if the dispute is not resolved to their satisfaction.
"If somebody blows us off or writes back and says take a hike then it becomes a more formalised dispute and that is unfortunate."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

little wooly bear says

How the Woolly Bear Became "Famous"
  • In the fall of 1948, Dr. C. H. Curran, curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, took his wife 40 miles north of the city to Bear Mountain State Park to look at woolly bear caterpillars.
  • Dr. Curran collected as many caterpillars as he could in a day, determined the average number of reddish-brown segments, and forecast the coming winter weather through a reporter friend at The New York Herald Tribune.
  • Dr. Curran's experiment, which he continued over the next eight years, attempted to prove scientifically a weather rule of thumb that was as old as the hills around Bear Mountain. The resulting publicity made the woolly bear the most recognizable caterpillar in North America.
  • ~~the Old Farmers Almanac
I grew up on the story that wooly bear could predict the winter,  not that as I child 
I even cared what winter would be like,
When my Father found the first wooly bear of the season he would study it for a few minutes and make his prediction for the winter ahead.
We would pick them up and lovingly carry them around, but they didn't feel wooly as much as they felt like the bristles of hair brush.  And when we were done we would put them somewhere where they wouldn't get stepped on.  Little wooly bear is actually the caterpillar of the nondescript Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia isabella,) who hatched during the summer and is now

looking for a sheltered place, to spend the winter before emerging in the spring to spin it's fuzzy cocoon and repeat the cycle of life.
Perhaps this inky little fellow isn't a wooly bear but if he were it would signify and extremely bad winter.  the wooly bears body is divided into thirteen segments and  and it is the number of brown segments, the more brown segment the warmer the winter that matter most.  My Father always said you could tell if Fall would come early or Spring would come late by the length of the black bands on the head and tail...but i still can't tell the head from the tail.  Unless little wooly bear is moving.
 
Mike Peters, an entomologist at the University of Massachusetts, doesn't disagree, but he says there could, in fact, be a link between winter severity and the brown band of a woolly bear caterpillar. "There's evidence," he says, "that the number of brown hairs has to do with the age of the caterpillar—in other words, how late it got going in the spring. The [band] does say something about a heavy winter or an early spring. The only thing is . . . it's telling you about the previous year
~~The Old Farmers Almanac

 
This little  wooly bear definitely says "mild winter"
 
Until recently I thought that the wooly bear was a local idea but the citizens of Banner Elk North Carolina hold a  "Wooly Worm Festival" each October complete with a wooly worm/bear race and an official winter prediction made by the former mayor.
At Bear Mountain State park the annual counts have continue, but are not a serious scientific inquiry.
It has been more than thirty years since The Original Society of the Friends of the Wooly Bear.   Founded by Curran, his wife and a group of friends last met.  they would take to the Autumn woods and search for caterpillars and enjoy being out of the city for awhile.    I wonder, was it really about predicting the weather or was it about appreciating something grand.
 
 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I turned around to admire the cloudless blue sky

 
Typically cold, but sunny November day and there was only a little more spading to do before I could shut the garden gate, and leave it to sleep peacefully for a few months.   Cold and tired, I paused frequently to look up at the cloudless blue sky  beyond the bare trees, and think to myself what "lucky mud" I am.  I am truly grateful for the  delicious produce that my garden provides, but it also provides solitude and purpose,a place to think and to look for shards and the archaeology of days not so long past and still they are like ancient history to many.
I provides exercise, with near instant reward for mind, body and soul.And like Helga, wife of Hagar the Horrible, I like to tuck it in and say "sweet dreams" to it for the winter.  Having turned the last spade of earth,  and picking up the flowerpot I toss shards and the occasional clay marble into, stepped out onto the lawn and turned around to admire blue of the cloudless sky again, and saw.........
 
 
 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

pumpkin What?????

~~some unknown but clever person
 
In the beginning there was pumpkin pie, which is really best made from Hubbard squash. Then came pumpkin cobblers and pumpkin bread and pumpkin butter, pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin muffins, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin jam and pumpkin relish, pumpkin rolls and pumpkin cookies. certainly none of these things sound out of the ordinary, in fact they all sound delicious, in fact I am getting very hungry. And that all time favorite pumpkin soup which gets much of it's flavor from bacon, and pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust and maple creme icing.

Then things started gettin' weird, there was  pumpkin flavored Hershey Kisses, and pumpkin flavored Jello pudding and pie filling and Pumpkin flavored coffee creamer, Pumpkin flavored whipped topping, and Pumpkin dip mix. Again these products sound reasonable, rich and creamy and very like pumpkin pie laced with the wondrously aromatic spices that make pumpkin pie make us feel all warm inside, well  it's pretty much the ginger that gives you that warm feeling. I have grown pumpkins for years, and frankly pumpkin has little taste to it,  a bland slightly bitter, it's probably a very healthy food, it sure tastes like it. But after someone adds sugar, creme. spices, and plenty of them it is not only yummy it is a pretty color!   Did you know that many people make their pumpkin pie from sweet potatoes??? It is true, sweet potatoes are sweet with a slightly nutty richness, a beautiful color and packed with nutrition, sot anywhere near as much sweetened condensed milk needed.  It would ,of course, be our secret. 

Pumpkin Pie flavored gumballs
Pumpkin Pie flavored puppy teething ring
Pumpkin Pie flavored ice cream
Pumpkin Pie flavored eggnog
Pumpkin Pie flavored fudge
Pumpkin Pie Flavored beer
Pumpkin Pie flavored candy corn
Pumpkin Pie Amoretti
Pumpkin ravioli
Pumpkin Pie flavored rice Crispy Treats
Pringles new Pumpkin Pie Spice Potato Chips
Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts
Pumpkin Spice dried pasta from Rossi Pasta
Pumpkin Pie Vodka from Pinnacle
Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows from Kraft
Thomas Pumpkin Spice Bagels
Bigelow Pumpkin Spice Tea
Silk’s Pumpkin Spice Soy Milk
Trader Joe’s pumpkin flavored dog treats
Pumpkin Pie flavored yogurt
Pumpkin Pie flavored granola bars
Pumpkin Pie flavored creme cheese


But one feels the need to ask, why no Pumpkin Pie Flavored Cheerios???

Long ago in 5th or 6th grade, one learned about the the "spice  Trade" and how it, and how it sent explorers out in all compass directions to find the spices that hid the taste of rancid meats and other spoiled food stuffs.  One feels seeing all of this, that in ones not so humble opinion, that we should be grateful to those explorers for finding those wonderful spices for us, before  the pumpkin travelled to Europe from the New World.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

shadows and whispers



The seasons pallet is  softer, greys and browns ,  stark black, and soon brilliant whites, most of the color is in the sunrises, sunsets, and the occasional prismatic colors of sun-dogs. 
The landscape is now filled with  shadows and whispers , though it has been coming for awhile now, the quieting influence of winter is afoot. The extra hour of sleep we get tonight could serve as a reminder that it is now the season of turning inward, it would take someone with the encyclopedic knowledge, and even greater wit of Ben Franklin to invent this mix of economic practicality and personal comfort.
In the morning as sleep sweetly in our beds for an extra hour, dreaming of the books we will read and the things we will finally have time to do, of watching the snow fall on a moon lite night, are like a blanket that separates us from the icy reality.  In the coming weeks as the hours of daylight decrease and the snowfalls increase hibernation doesn't sounds like such a bad thing.

 

Haiku~~humidity

 humid night, quiet dreaming of the winter's wood the curtains are still