From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

How many fingers do you type with?

Traditional keyboarding or otherwise?



Blogger at workI learned to type from Miss Tibbits, who ruled a roomful of manual, Royal office models with an iron hand.

Miss Tibbits didn't tolerate any weird fingering of the typewriter keys. I learned to place my fingers in "ASDF JKL;" position and to use my right thumb for the space bar. I think it's called "touch typing." I still type that way!

When I worked in classified ads at the newspaper and typed like crazy every day, I even learned to reach up and hit the numbers fairly accurately as I sped along.

Dennis is a hunt-and-pecker. He uses three fingers total (two on the right hand, and one on the left.) He says when he gets enough typing practice on a regular basis, he builds up speed.

Keely types as I do, more or less -- all eight fingers on the keys plus a thumb for the space bar.

Today, I learned that Isaac types with three fingers on each hand -- his thumbs, pointers, and middle fingers. He doesn't use his ring fingers or pinkies at all. He says he goes pretty fast, and I agree that he does.

I'm amazed that his keyboarding teacher allowed him to type that way! Obviously, she was no Miss Tibbitts.

I am also amazed that he hits letter keys with his thumbs. My thumbs can't even imagine that.

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Another Bagged Spinach Recall

Salmonella found in fresh spinach bagged by Metz Fresh



Over 8000 cases of fresh bagged spinach were recalled today by Metz Fresh LLC of King City, Calif. A single sample on their lines tested positive for salmonella, but they're recalling the entire batch.

90% of the recalled bags of spinach is still in the warehouses and won't be released. The rest of it is -- well, somewhere else. If you have fresh spinach on hand, you should check whether it fits this description:

The recall covers 10- and 16-ounce bags, as well as 4-pound cartons and cartons that contain four 2.5-pound bags, with the following tracking codes: 12208114, 12208214 and 12208314.

Source: "Salmonella Scare Prompts Spinach Recall", by staff, Associated Press, August 30, 2007.


I tried to visit the Metz Fresh website, but the page wouldn't open. Possibly, their server has crashed due to a sudden influx of visitors! However, you can still visit the Google cache of the Metz Fresh website.

I feel sorry for Metz Fresh -- no company wants this kind of publicity -- but I applaud them for issuing an extensive recall that should (we all hope!) take care of the problem.

I checked the news for what was going on with spinach after the blog got a few hits from people searching for "Netz spinach recall" and "Netz contaminated spinach." They need to search for "Metz," not "Netz" (which is my last name, you know.) The search engines were sending them to "Bagged Spinach Warning," a post I wrote a year ago when E. coli bacteria took fresh spinach off the market for a while.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Roadkill: Better Avoided than Regretted

Watch out for the animals!



I've heard many roadkill jokes, but to me, it's not a very funny topic. I feel terrible when I hit something, so I really try to let the little animals and birds get out of the way of my car.

Today, I am sad that I hit a cardinal. I suppose he took flight as best he could when the car startled him. He came up from the side of the road right into the front wheel of my car.

I've often wondered if people were shocked that motorized vehicles killed so many more wild animals than horse-drawn vehicles did. Or was the increase in roadkill so gradual over the years that nobody really noticed how bad it was getting?

Birds on the highway



Birds fly like airplanes. When they take off, they have to fly forward. Most species of birds can't lift themselves straight up from the ground like a helicopter. This means that when birds on the highway try to get out of the way, they may fly straight at you! I know this, and I slow down for birds, but I didn't see that cardinal today until he flew out of the ditch.

A group of vultures gathered around roadkill on the highway can be dangerous. Some of them will probably take off in your direction. When their bellies are full, they have a hard time going airborne and gaining altitude. I have heard that it's very disgusting to have a vulture disgorge in your car after it comes through your windshield.

Wild turkeys also have a hard time rising up from the ground and flying. Last year, a wild turkey broke out a school bus window in Connecticut.

Helping turtles cross the road



Turtle in Missouri that Isaac helpedIsaac has always had an affectionate concern for turtles. If he sees one crossing the road, he likes to move it to the side of the road in the direction that it was headed. (By the way, if you ever pick up a turtle and he pees, be sure to put him down in an area where he can replenish his liquid within a short time.)

One day we were driving along one of our rural blacktops, and we saw a turtle about halfway across the road. I stopped, and Isaac got out to move him. He bent over to pick up the turtle, and the turtle went into attack mode! He stood up tall on all four legs and lunged at Isaac with his mouth open (as well as a turtle can lunge, that is.)

Clearly, the turtle wouldn't be picked up, so Isaac thought he could drag the turtle off the road if he would snap on a stick. The turtle wasn't fooled by a stick; he was determined to use his snap power on Isaac. So we abandoned the rescue and motored away. If we hadn't stopped, the turtle probably could have walked across the road in less time than it took him to scare off Isaac!

Drive defensively to avoid collisions with wildlife.



Many wild animals are active at dawn and dusk, because they're out looking for food and water. Unfortunately, it's hard to see them on the roads in the dim light between full night and full day. All you can do is slow down and be alert.

When you're driving at night and you see eyes reflecting in your headlights, there's a good chance that a freaked-out, light-dazed animal will run into the path of your vehicle. If you're alert to that possibility, maybe you can avoid hitting it.

And please, watch out for the possums. I think they must be the most-often-killed animal along western Kentucky's roadways. They have a hard time thinking what to do when they're frightened. In fact, panic can make their brains short out, so have some patience and a little extra care for them.


Collisions with Deer



Hey, try to avoid hitting a deer (or a moose or an elk or a bear.) It will wreck your car, and injure or kill the animal, and you could be injured or killed too!

The worst time for deer on the roads is coming up soon. Their breeding season in Kentucky is October through January. They are naturally silly from their hormones during this time, and also, their routines and habits are disrupted by hunters.

Be especially wary when driving through areas where the road is lined by woods. If you see one deer, there are probably others nearby. They may decide to follow the one you saw. They are particularly active at dawn and dusk, but you can see them anytime.

Deer behave erratically when they're befuddled by bright headlights. They might start across the road and then change directions and run back. It's better to stop (if possible) than to try to dodge them.

One last story, and I'm done with this topic. Our Mennonite neighbor has several sons -- young, single guys who are old enough to go places and stay out late. One of the boys was coming home on his bicycle late at night. A deer jumped out of the ditch directly in front of him and he couldn't avoid it. He ran right into it and both he and the deer fell down. The deer got up and ran away, and fortunately our neighbor boy wasn't hurt other than scrapes and bruises. He recuperated a little, and then he got back on his bike and pedaled home.

There's some kind of a lesson to that story, but I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's just that you never know what will happen next!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Happy 22nd Birthday, Keely!

My daughter at three years oldKeely, three years old

Today was my daughter Keely's 22nd birthday. I suppose most parents indulge in a bit of nostalgia on the birthdays of their children. I've been thinking about the little Keely of days gone-by. I can see her personality and sharp little mind sparkling in this photo. It's been great to watch her grow up, though I must say that the years have gone by much too quickly. She'll be graduating from college this December.

Monday, August 27, 2007

James Whitcomb Riley and Me

The first poet I ever read extensively



When I was growing up, we lived over 30 miles from town. I didn't go to the library nearly as often as I wished, so I read every book in the house that was interesting at all. I didn't read the entire set of encyclopedias, but I did look at the pictures and read their captions.

Some of the books in our house were odd ones for a child to read. For example, my mother had two volumes of poetry by James Whitcomb Riley: Green Fields and Running Brooks and Afterwhiles. I read some of the poems in those books many times.

James Whitcomb Riley in 1913
James Whitcomb Riley, 1913
James Whitcomb Riley often wrote in dialect. It was like reading a foreign language, but I understood his poems quite well enough to develop favorites. I liked them for their stories. If there were any hidden, deeper meanings, I didn't notice.

One of my favorites was "The Raggedy Man" which reminded me a little of Grandma's cousin, Pete, who came to work for us every summer. Another one I liked was "Farmer Whipple. -- Bachelor," because romances and weddings were some of my favorite things.

"How John Quit the Farm" and "Uncle Jake's Place, St. Jo, Mo., 1874" were prodigal son stories with happy endings. (If you want to read these, you can find them in the full books, linked above.)

Another of my favorites was "Little Orphant Annie." That poem was in one of our reading textbooks at school, with an illustration of children sitting around a fireplace. I remembered the picture everytime I read the poem at home. Also, I thought of Little Orphant Annie having wild red hair and strange eyes, like Little Orphan Annie in the newspaper comics.

I have the copy of Green Fields and Running Brooks that I read as a child. I don't know what ever became of its companion volume, Afterwhiles. However, I can read its poems online whenever I have the urge. The internet, the wonderful internet, makes that possible.

Related post: Life Pictures by William B. Dyer

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tobacco Harvest Hasn't Changed Much

Tobacco harvesting, curing, stripping methods described in 1923 are essentially unchanged today.



Tobacco, speared onto sticks and wilting in the fieldMy 1923 agriculture textbook has an entire chapter on growing tobacco. At that time, tobacco was America's eighth most valuable field crop. About 1/3 of that crop came from Kentucky. Other tobacco-growing states, in order of importance, included North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Maryland, and Connecticut.

Except for using tractors nowadays to take the wagons to the barns, tobacco harvesting procedures have changed very little in the last 80+ years. Even the scaffold wagon pictured in my old book looks very similar to that used today, except for the mule.

Kary Cadmus Davis, Ph. D. (Cornell), the author of , The New Agriculture for High Schools, wrote the following description of tobacco harvesting in the early 1920s.

HARVESTING THE WHOLE PLANTS

Most tobacco in this country is harvested by splitting the stalk from the top to within a few inches of the ground. Then the stalk is cut off near the ground and is placed on a lath or "stick," running the lath through the split. These laths, when loaded, are placed across racks made for hauling the tobacco and are taken to curing barn or scaffolds. The tobacco should be allowed to wilt somewhat before being placed on laths and loaded on the wagon as it bruises much more easily when the leaves are crisp.

Ripeness of tobacco is indicated by the feel of the leaves, by the brittlesness of the veins when folded between the fingers, and by the slight yellowing of leaves. Frost in northern states often determines the time of harvesting as the crop must be in before frost.

CURING

There are three main types of curing tobacco: air curing, open-fire curing, and flue curing. Air curing is accomplished in specially constructed tobacco barns having ventilators up and down all sides. Open-fire or open hearth curing is accomplished in barns without special ventilation and is used chiefly for dark type of tobacco. Flue curing is in barns similar to the last but with more ventilation at the top, the circulation being caused by the heat. Flues conveying the hot smoke run through the barns.

Several weeks are required to complete the curing process, by any of the methods. Much study and experience is required to conduct the work successfully. All tobacco barns are provided with timbers and supports on which tobacco laths are placed.

STRIPPING

When tobacco has been cured on the stalk, the next step is stripping, which consists in removing the leaves from the stalks. This should be done on moist days in early winter when the leaves are in proper "case." If too dry, they would be damaged by cracking and breaking. If they are becoming slightly to dry to "bulk," they are sometimes moistened a little, but it is better to have the leaves in natural condition with enough moisture present without adding any. They must be neither too wet nor too dry when in bulk.

GRADING

During the stripping and bulking of tobacco leaves, they are sorted into three, four, or five grades, depending upon the type of tobacco. Leaves of any one grade are tied into small bundles and these into larger ones, according to the type of tobacco...

Source: The New Agriculture for High Schools by Kary Cadmus Davis, Ph. D., published by J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, in 1923. From the chapter titled "Tobacco Products" (p. 223-224.)


Here, I'll end the quote, because the marketing is done differently nowadays. The old book describes the large tobacco warehouses and loose-leaf auctions of times goneby. Around Hopkinsville, many of these old warehouses can still be seen, but they are no longer used and tobacco auctions are no longer held. Most tobacco leaf is bought in the field by tobacco companies.

Trailer of tobacco sticks

Pictured above: a trailer loaded with pallets of laths (sticks) for spearing the cut tobacco plants. In the foreground, sticks with tobacco plants have been stood up in the sun so the tobacco can wilt before going to the barn.

Tobacco laths loaded onto scaffold wagon

Pictured above: A scaffold wagon, loaded with tobacco and ready to be pulled to the barn. The laths are laid across a framework and the plants hang down. In the barns, the laths will be laid across "tiers" of wooden framework, starting at the top of the barn and working down to the floor.

Related posts:
Major Tobacco Growing Areas, 1923
Also, check the label, "tobacco"

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Article about Shovel Dot Ranch

Buell "kids" I grew up with at Rose, Nebraska



The Omaha World Herald Online has an interesting, though short, article about the Shovel Dot Ranch of southern Rock County, Nebraska and its owners, Larry and Homer Buell. Thank you, Carolyn Hall, for pointing out the article.

These guys are neighbor kids I knew in my childhood. The Buells attended a different little country school than we did, but we were all members of the Rose Scouts 4-H Club. The Shovel Dot Ranch had Hereford cattle, and the Hereford 4-H calves exhibited by the Buell kids were always some of the best at the KBR 4-H calf shows.

Larry is my age, and he was in the same grade as me. Homer (or "Skip", as we called him then) was a couple years older. An older brother, Roger, was about the same age as my older brother. Sadly, Roger was killed by lightning as a young man. Their sister Jan was the oldest, a few years older than my brother.

In the article, Homer mentions that solitude is a natural part of the lifestyle at a Sandhills ranch. He is right. Children who grow up on ranches learn to be self-reliant at both work and play. They know how to be alone. It is a useful skill.

I think the Buells own some of the pasture land (the old Haskins place) that my family used to own, south of the Calamus River in Loup County, where the sweet red plums grow.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Major Tobacco Growing Areas, 1923

The world's most important tobacco producing regions in the early 1920s



Millions Nation
of Pounds or State
--------- ---------
470 Kentucky
450 British India
320 North Carolina
220 Austria Hungary
140 Virginia
130 Java
95 Japan
90 Tennessee
80 South Carolina
75 Ohio
74 Germany
72 Turkey (European)
65 Philippine Islands
60 Wisconsin
59 Brazil
58 Cuba
55 Pennsylvania
48 Sumatra
42 Connecticut
40 San Domingo
35 Maryland
25 Georgia
22 Massachusetts
20 Indiana
18 West Virginia
10 Florida


Source: The New Agriculture for High Schools by Kary Cadmus Davis, Ph. D., published by J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, in 1923. From the chapter titled "Tobacco Products" (p. 218.)

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cat Meets Cicadas

Cicadas have emerged in Christian County, Kentucky



Casper observes mating cicadasCasper observes a pair of vibrating, buzzing, mating cicadas


The loud noise of cicadas is constant right now. I don't know if they ever quiet down. I stay up pretty late at night, but they're still singing when I go to bed.

I've read that cats and dogs sometimes eat so many cicadas that they get sick. Casper doesn't seem to think they are food. He's really not sure what should be done with them. He watches them suspiciously and touches them gingerly. I wonder if maybe he associates buzzing with bumblebees.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fire Weather Warning

Drought, heat, and wind create risk of wild fires



Dry pasture in Christian County, KYCattle waiting out the midday heat under the trees

Here's a "Red Flag Warning" weather statement for our area today from the National Weather Service:

Statement as of 2:48 AM CDT on August 22, 2007

... Red flag warning in effect from 1 PM this afternoon to 7 PM CDT this evening...

The National Weather Service in Paducah has issued a red flag warning... which is in effect from 1 PM this afternoon to 7 PM CDT this evening for extreme southern Illinois and most of western Kentucky.

Extremely dry fuels... gusty winds and low relative humidities will make for a potentially volatile fire situation this afternoon. Any Sparks from vehicles such as farm combines or trains... could ignite grassland fires due to the very dry conditions. Gusty winds today could allow these fires to spread easily.

A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now... or will shortly. A combination of strong or gusty winds... low relative humidity... and warm temperatures will create explosive fire growth potential.

Source: National Weather Service Watches, Warnings, and Advisories


Related post:
Drought in Western Kentucky

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Drought in Western Kentucky

Rain is desperately needed.



Parched river-bottom pasture

I haven't been taking many photos of Kentucky's beautiful scenery this summer. We are so dry here that the whole landscape has taken on a dead brown color. It is horrible to see, and I just don't feel like photographing it.

The pasture in the photo above is in a river valley. Ordinarily, it would be green with grass, even in August which is always a hot, dry month. The trees in the background grow on the river banks. They aren't losing their leaves too badly yet, but on upland sites, the trees are really suffering. Some have lost many of their leaves and others are turning brown.

We've been under a no-burn order for several weeks. They've had so many fires at Pennyrile State Forest that they've even prohibited campstoves. If we have any tobacco barn fires this year, they could burn up the surrounding countryside as well as the barn.

An article in today's newspaper ("Fires sprout in parched fields," Kentucky New Era, August 21, 2007) described several fires that happened yesterday. One was in a cornfield, and they don't know how it started. Another fire that burned part of a soybean field and some grass may have started from a cigarette butt tossed from a car window. Both those fires were in the Pembroke Volunteer Fire Department's area. A couple of other grass fires happened in Hopkinsville; one of them may have started from a cigarette butt.

The Hopkinsville Fire Department chief was interviewed for the article. He begged people to be careful with their cigarettes, and suggested that farmers have a plow or disk ready to create a firebreak when they enter a field to harvest it. The vegetation is so dry and temperatures are so hot that a spark or just the hot exhaust from a machine could easily ignite a field.

We're also under voluntary water conservation. So far, it's just a limitation on landscape watering. We're supposed to cut back and only water on certain days. Well, we haven't been watering much anyhow -- just the flower bed by the house and the one poor old maple tree nearby that I hope will live a few more years. My garden has been dried to a crisp for a long time, now.

I am thankful that we had county water put in last summer, because wells have been going dry. Supposedly, the well on this place doesn't go dry, according to various local people, but I'm glad we don't have to worry about that possibility.

The newspaper has had several articles about the local water supply. We'd be having much stricter water conservation mandates, but a pipeline that will bring in water from Lake Barkeley (the Cumberland River) is very near completion. It will be put into service before local water supplies are exhausted -- or at least, we're counting on that.

Christian County is on the borderline between "severe" and "extreme" on the drought map. Beyond extreme drought, there is "exceptional drought" like they are having south of us.

The wild deer are having an outbreak of a hemorrhagic fever. The drought and hot weather has dried up many of the smaller watering places; thus many animals are drinking out of the remaining water holes and this facilitates the spread of the disease by tiny flies.

The problem with dried-up streams and ponds isn't limited to wildlife. Many farmers are hauling water to their cattle. With a very limited hay crop, dried-up pastures, crops that withered in the field, and water worries, it's a very bleak year for farmers.

This week, we've had wind along with high temperatures, giving a blast-oven effect that parches every suffering plant even more. We have a small chance of rain this coming weekend. It's much too late for the crops, but any amount of precipitation would help our farm animals, wildlife, pastures, and trees.

Vivid sunset


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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Five Steps of Home Improvement

Ideas from 1923 for making your home place look and function better



These five steps to a convenient and attractive home place are from a 1923 Agriculture textbook, (The New Agriculture for High Schools by Kary Cadmus Davis, Ph, D.) Dr. Davis's five steps are listed below in the order that they should be undertaken:

1. Clean up the place and put it in order as much as you can.

2. Study the current situation and think how it could be improved by re-planning or by adding new features.

3. Carry out the proposed improvements.

4. Add trees, shrubs and other plants to shade, beautify, delineate, and disguise.

5. Install modern conveniences.

Dr. Davis was writing about the improvement of a farm's home place, which would include barns, barnyards, chicken house, orchard, house, etc. However, his steps could be applied to any sort or size of home, anywhere.

I like his recommendation to make the most of what is there, first. Before you start spending money, put some elbow grease into it and really clean up the place. That can be a big improvement!

The "re-planning" he mentions in step 2 might include some "re-purposing", as we say today -- that is, simply thinking about the best way to use what you have to meet your needs and to improve the appearance of the place where you live.

I've watched Mennonite families set up farming operations in old farm buildings that weren't in the best of shape. It is interesting that they proceed much as outlined above.

First, they clean up the place, get the grass mowed, take care of the fences, nail down the loose boards, etc. Then, as money permits, they add the most necessary improvements first.

In the case of one of our Mennonite neighbors, he built a big machine shed for his tractor repair business as soon as they moved in. The old house looked pretty rough for a few years, but now they have put vinyl siding on it, and are in the process of building on a few rooms.

The modern conveniences that Dr. Davis suggested for step 5 were running water, bathroom equipment, electric lights and irrigation. That was in 1923. We think of most of those as necessities 85 years later!

In 2007, the modern conveniences we'd like might be a refrigerator with ice and water in the door, a home theater, or a hot tub. They're not necessities and everyone doesn't have them, but they'd be nice. I imagine that Dr. Davis would like us pay cash for our modern conveniences rather than purchasing them on credit, too.

The benefits of home improvement? Dr. Davis lists three:

1. For the members of the family -- better satisfaction with home surroundings, improvement and conservation of health, a valuable education for its younger members.
2. For the community -- good example.
3. For the place itself -- enhanced value.

Source: The New Agriculture for High Schools, by Kary Cadmus Davis, Ph.D. (Cornell). Published in Philadelphia by the J.B. Lippincott Company, in 1923. From the chapter titled "Improvement Projects" (p. 303).


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Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Victorian House in Hopkinsville, KY

A few photos of a beautiful old house



Front porch of a Victorian mansion in Hopkinsville, KY

I took these photos at an estate sale in a fine old house in Hopkinsville, a few weeks ago. I don't know the exact date of the house's construction, but I think it was built between 1870 and 1900 -- in other words, within the Victorian era. I read in the newspaper that a historic house nearby was built in 1875.

Foyer of a fine old house in Hopkinsville, KYWoodwork detail in old Hopkinsville, KY, home


The two photos above were taken in the foyer. The photo at left looks into the foyer from near the front door. A bench (where the platters are displayed) and a half-wall separate the entry area from the stairway landing. The photo at right (above) is taken from behind the half-wall looking toward the front door. (A better photographer would have noticed that the candlestick and light fixture were conflicting in this image.)



Parlor fireplace in an old house, Hopkinsville, KYMirrored mantle in an old house, Hopkinsville, KY

The house is equipped with a fireplace in each of the four front rooms downstairs. There's probably an upstairs fireplace directly above each first-floor fireplace, connecting into the same chimney. The tiled fireplace at left (above, sorry it's not a very good picture) is in one of the downstairs family rooms. The mirrored mantle with carved lion heads at right (above) is part of the front parlor's fireplace.


A beautiful Victorian dining roomSideboard in historic Hopkinsville, KY, home


The two photos above were taken in the dining room. I really like the tall narrow windows with their leaded inserts at the top. I am not sure what to call the built-in cabinet in the photo at right. It seems to be a place where table linens and silverware might have been kept, and it probably could have been used as a dry bar. I guess it's a sideboard.

Kitchen sink in a Victorian home, Hopkinsville, KY

The kitchen hadn't been modernized much beyond the installation of gas and running water. It was surprising, but interesting, that each cabinet was a separate, movable piece of furniture. The kitchen range was installed under the flue in the spot that the old cookstove (fueled by wood or coal) had once occupied. A big pantry, with shelves all the way up to the ceiling, was ample compensation for the lack of modern wall cabinets.

Another interesting thing I noticed was that the back second-story wall of the house did not have a stone facade like the rest of the house. Maybe that's because of the construction problems the weight of the stone would have created, or maybe that's because the stone facade was added sometime after the house was built.

Oh, I'd have a million questions about the construction and history of this house, if I were moving into it. I hope the next resident of the home will be diligent in preserving it, because it's a treasure. I'm glad I had a chance to see some of its inner wonders.


Stone facade of Victorian houseNice window in a Victorian house


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Friday, August 17, 2007

Tobacco harvest has begun

Drought has affected this year's tobacco crop



Dark and burley tobaccoDark and burley tobacco in a Christian County, KY, field

Tobacco harvest has begun in Christian County. The cutting down of the plants is underway in some fields, and in some fields, it is already finished. Trucks and tractors are pulling trailers of tobacco to the barns where it will be hung to dry and cure. The country roads are busy with the transport of the harvest.

Tobacco has some tolerance for dry weather, but this year's plants are noticably smaller than last year's. The drought didn't kill the plants, but the pounds of tobacco harvested will be affected.

Though you can't see from this viewpoint, this field was being cut at the time I stopped to take this photo. Near the house, in the field of burley (light green) tobacco, a line of men with big knives was moving across the field, cutting the plants. Then the plants are hung on sticks and stood up in the field to wilt for a while before they are taken to the barns.

I've written a lot about tobacco farming in Christian County, and have posted quite a few photos. If you're interested, click the label, "tobacco."

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Is Bargain Hunting a Gender Thing?

Sale items and women



I went to WalMart this afternoon, intending to make a quick trip of it. I needed some of life's basics: laundry soap, trash bags, milk, and bread.

When I got my shopping cart and started into the store, I immediately noticed a long line of piled-full shopping carts. Each cart had a "Sale!" placcard on it. I saw the bait and I took the hook! I pushed my cart right over to those sale buggies and cruised past slowly, scanning to see if anything interested me.

I was soon busily digging through a cart of discounted "designer" socks for women. Several other ladies were looking through nearby carts. One lady was checking underwear sizes and another was asking her friend how a certain wallpaper border might look in her living room.

Something happened then that made us all pause and take notice. A portly man in shorts, about 60 years old, and a chubby little boy in shorts, about 10 years old, walked by the bargain carts. The man looked at us with scorn. "Hmmmph! A women's paradise!" he sneered to his sidekick.

We women, all strangers, looked at each other and snorted. One lady got mad. She started talking about telling off men who make remarks like that. It was a good thing the perpetrator had already left the area.

I wonder. Is it true that only women will hunt through a jumble to find a bargain? When "manly" places like Bass Pro or Home Depot have racks piled high with sale items, do the guys really just ignore them?

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My Great Aunt Goldie

Memories of a sweet lady



My Great-aunt Goldie Davis has passed away, and her funeral was today in Ainsworth, Nebraska. That's roughly 1000 miles from here, so we didn't go, though I would have liked to attend as a token of my parents' love and respect for her.

Aunt Goldie was 98 years old. She had 25 great-great grandchildren! What a long life! What a variety of world-changing events she witnessed in her life span! Just imagine -- Teddie Roosevelt was the President when she was born.

Aunt Goldie once confided to my mother that her anti-aging secret was a daily half-tablet of estrogen. That may be, but probably Aunt Goldie inherited some longevity genes from her parents. Aunt Goldie's father, my great-grandfather Charlie Clark, lived to be 93, and her mother, my great-grandmother Virginia Fisher (Clark) McGrew, was nearly 90 when she passed away.

A year ago at Christmas, Aunt Goldie wrote me a sweet letter about how she remembered my dad when he was a baby. She was 15 years old when he was born. She said that my dad was the first baby she had ever been around and she loved him like he was her own. She was the only person left on earth who remembered my father as a baby, I'm sure.

Speaking of babies, I remember when my sister Charlotte was born, and Aunt Goldie came to the hospital to visit. I remember Aunt Goldie standing at the glass window looking at the babies in their little beds. Apparently Charlotte had some fluffy baby hair, because Aunt Goldie said she looked like a little dandelion. That tickled my five-year-old funny bone.

I don't remember going to Aunt Goldie's house in the country more than once or twice when I was a kid, but I remember seeing her often at my great-grandfather's little house in town.

Aunt Goldie was able to stay in her own home until just a day or so before she passed away. When I stopped to visit Aunt Goldie with my children, several years ago, she was amazingly spry of body and sharp of mind. She said she hadn't had her car out of the garage yet that summer, but she'd been thinking about it. She told us that she liked to go to the salebarn with her son, and that she baked mincemeat pies for my Uncle Harold.

She showed us some beautiful quilts and rag rugs she was making and the tomato plants and flowers she was growing in her garden. Then we drove out to the Ainsworth cemetery, and Aunt Goldie showed us the graves of three of my great-grandparents, some of our Fisher relatives, her husband, and other members of the Davis family. I thought about that today.

I feel sad that Aunt Goldie is gone, but not for her sake. She was a faithful Christian, and she has passed into eternity with God. He blessed her with good health and a long full life, and now He has taken her home.

Confessions of an American Driver

Money in the gas tank, time on the road, miles on the cars!



This week has contained a lot of driving so far. Yesterday, I went to town twice. The first time, I ran errands and went to the Y and the library. Then in the evening, I took Isaac to WalMart to get a few more survival supplies for an all-day, outdoor rock concert he attended today. The second trip should have been unnecessary, but we had forgotten something important.

Today, I got up at 5:00 to make sure that Isaac was awake and functioning. He left for Hopkinsville at 5:30, met some friends, and went with them to St. Louis (actually, Maryland Heights, MO) for the Vans Warped Tour. A few hours later, I drove to Nashville and picked up Dennis at the airport. He has spent a week with his sister in Washington D.C.

After the trip home and lunch, I went to town and got my computer out of the shop. (Hurray! Isaac wasn't here and Dennis went to bed early, so I had a good chance to reinstall a lot of programs and get the computer somewhat reorganized this evening.)

Isaac came in from the concert around 11 p.m, sunburned, but not as terribly as he would have been without sunscreen and a hat. Tomorrow afternoon, I'm going to town with him to buy his books, to walk at the Y, and then to play the piano at the mid-week service at church.

Keely called and said that "Sidney" (her car, a '97 Buick Skylark) is making a bad noise. I don't know how many miles the car has on it now but it's surely well over 150,000. It was a used car when we got it. Dennis drove it to work at Fort Campbell for a couple years, I drove it for about a year, and now Keely has had it for a couple of years.

She has an appointment tomorrow to get an estimate for repairing it. If repair will be too expensive, I guess we'll sell it for scrap and find another car for her. She might manage without a car at school, but it would be difficult. Murray doesn't have public transport, and she lives across town from the college. I feel that her trips to campus are safer in a car. Also, I want her to come home now and then!

We know a man who buys broken cars, fixes them, and resells them. Usually, he has some reasonably priced cars. Before Dennis had the '97 Skylark, he had a Honda that we bought from this guy. After a year and a half of hard driving back and forth to Fort Campbell, we sold it for nearly as much we paid for it. May we be so fortunate again!

One bad thing about country life is the vehicle and gasoline expense. For us, the trip to town and back is never less than 20 miles, and it's a 30-mile round trip if we go to the far end of town (where our church is.) The cost of driving limits the sorts of jobs I consider taking, the organizations I join, and the extent of my volunteer-ism.

Then there's all the additional driving in town, no matter how efficiently the route is planned. The main shopping district is a long strip several miles long. Even if I wanted to walk, there are no sidewalks between the stores. Other places I go -- church, medical offices, public buildings, etc. -- are scattered all over town.

I enjoy my car, and I love living in the country, but to be honest, we should sell this place and move to town. We have no reason to live out this far -- except that we like the peace and quiet of this place. we've invested a lot of work in it, and we own it, free and clear.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Old Bridges at Land Between the Lakes, KY

Eggner's Ferry Bridge and Lawrence Memorial Bridge


The Eggner's Ferry Bridge on August 11, 2007

The Eggner's Ferry Bridge (pictured above) crosses the Tennessee River at Fenton, on the west side of Kentucky's Land Between the Lakes. The Lawrence Memorial Bridge crosses the Cumberland River at Canton, on the east side of Land Between the Lakes.

Both these long bridges were built in the early 1930s, before the rivers were dammed and the lakes were formed. Before Kentucky Lake was filled in 1944, Eggner's Ferry Bridge underwent modifications. According to explorekentuckylake.com, new pilings were built and the bridge was raised in 1943. The Lawrence Memorial Bridge underwent a similar procedure in preparation for the damming of the Cumberland River and the filling of Lake Barkley (which took place in the 1960s) .

Highway 68/80, the road on which these bridges lie, has become a major, well-traveled, east-west route through southern Kentucky. Most of the road is now 4-lane. Land Between the Lakes is a popular recreation spot for both tourists and residents, and many of these bridge-crossers are towing campers or boats behind them. All in all, a lot of traffic pours across these bridges every day.

The two bridges were declared functionally obsolete in their last inspection. They are scheduled to be replaced within the next decade, and that will be a good thing for the motorists who must cross them. The bridges are too narrow for modern traffic. It's not uncommon to hear of someone whose rear-view mirror was knocked off while crossing these bridges.

The new bridges will have 4-lanes with shoulders and an additional lane for foot and bicycle traffic. They will cost an unbelievable $80 to 100 million each. Highway 68/80 will also be made 4-lane through Land Between the Lakes. The project is still in its design phase. Construction won't start until 2008 or 2009, and it will take several years to complete.

School buses from Christian County are not allowed to cross the Lawrence Memorial or Eggner's Ferry bridges. When our high school teams play Murray (west of Land Between the Lakes), they travel about fifty miles farther so the buses can cross the rivers on I-24's wider, safer bridges.


Eggner's Ferry history


The Eggner's Ferry Bridge over the Tennessee River is named for the ferry that was there for many years before the bridge was built. The ferry was established by Milton Eggner, (who also ran a stagecoach business and had a mail-carrying contract) in the 1850s.

During the Civil War, Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman mentioned Eggner's Ferry in a dispatch that warned of Union forces on the road to Murray. According to a listing of tavern licenses, in 1865, both Wm. Price and O. Walsdrop posted bonds and were licensed to operate a tavern at Eggner's Ferry. It is not clear if they operated the same tavern or different ones.

Eggner's Ferry is mentioned as an address in the 1924 obituary of Mr. Temolean ("Mollie" Leneave. An image of the Eggner Ferry when operated by John L. Jackson has been posted at Webshots by a Trigg county resident. Mr. Charles Hill Bradley, mentioned in a 1931 book of Calloway County biographies, owned an interest in the Eggner ferry and store. He may have been one of the last owners, because the bridge was built in 1932.


Read more:
"Bridge forum draws crowd", Murray Ledger

Updated 1/29/2012

Friday, August 10, 2007

Old Gas Station in Hopkinsville, KY

A relic of the golden age of 2-lane roads



Old gas station in Hopkinsville, KYEveryone who lives around Hopkinsville, KY, will recognize this building. It stands on the north side of the street near the intersection of Highways107 and 68/80/41/109. Peace Park is across the street to the south.

It was obviously built as a gas station, but it's been a while since any gasoline was sold on the site. The architecture suggests it was constructed in the 1940s or 1950s, when cars were still small. It was never a large station; it had only one bay in the garage, and only one set of pumps.

I wonder if this little gas station was put out of business when Y'all's Shell Mart, a large self-service station with half a dozen pumps, opened on the opposite corner. Or maybe the little station had trouble with the EPA about its gasoline storage and couldn't afford to modernize.

During the time we've lived in Hopkinsville, I remember a donut shop in the building, and later, a vacuum cleaner repair shop that changed owners at least twice. Most recently, someone was displaying some flea-market things outside the building. I am not sure if they were still repairing vacuums inside or not.

Today, I noticed that the little station seems to be empty again. It's also overdue for a shingle job. It wouldn't surprise me if someone decides to tear it down. I thought I'd better take its picture while I still had the chance.

UPDATE: My son says this little station was moved here from another location. He remembers this from a documentary about the history of Hopkinsville. I'd love to hear from anyone who knows the story.

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Ten Ways I've Changed Since High School

Me, almost 40 years later



1. I have very little patience for shopping for clothes, nowadays.

2. It's easier to guess the ages of people now.

3. My handwriting is worse, but I can sew much nicer.

4. I think little children are truly precious, not just cute.

5. I don't shrug off the risk of getting a sunburn anymore.

6. I spend a lot less time curling my hair.

7. I wear much brighter lipstick now.

8. I go to church and Sunday School voluntarily.

9. I am more interested in the news than in pop culture.

10. I am more interested in being left alone than in socializing.

Just for the record, I graduated in 1969. How can it be that nearly forty years have passed?! Actually, this was a list of some differences between being a senior citizen (a young senior, that is!) and a teenager.

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Hot August Night

Sunset, Clarksville, TN



Beautiful sunset over Clarksville, TN Sunset, August 9, 2007


When we came out of the mall in Clarksville, TN, last night, this brilliant sunset was painted across the western sky. Everyone was stopping to stare at it, and little children were pointing and chattering.

This image has had no processing except for sizing it down. This is exactly like it came out of the camera.

A few minutes later, as we drove away, most of the lights in the mall and most of the street lights in the area went out. Within 30 seconds or so, the mall lights came back on (from a generator?) but the street lights didn't.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cornstalks at Sunset

A tassled and tousled cornfield



Cornstalks at sunsetThis dried-up cornfield sits across the road from our house. I don't think high-moisture corn is going to be a problem in western Kentucky this year. The corn, what there is of it, is getting a good baking right in the field.

I read that, across the nation, a good corn crop is expected. Much of the corn belt has had a good year with enough rain.

That's good, because the demand for corn-based ethanol has put a lot of pressure on the corn market. When consumers have food and energy competing for the same product, we have a dicey situation, in my humble opinion.

I also read that the high price of corn is driving up the cost of farm land in some corn-producing states. In other words, the land is perceived as a good investment by more people, and with more demand, land prices have gone up. This is good for landowners who might sell, but it makes it harder than ever for young farmers to get a start. Property taxes will also rise if the land is re-assessed at current values. Then, there are the environmental costs of marginal farmland being put to corn production. Overall, better corn prices are a mixed blessing, even for farmers.

I think we should make every effort to use kudzu for ethanol. It grows like crazy, and we have a lot of it in the South. We can't get rid of it, so we may as well use it. I'm not suggesting that we plant any kudzu, because it's too hard to eradicate. We should just make use of the rampant, unwanted vines that are already growing. It's free, except for harvesting costs.


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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Wild Roses

Prairie rose and pasture rose



Wild rose, pasture roseRosa carolina, wild pasture rose of western Kentucky

This pretty little wild rose is named Rosa carolina or pasture rose. Several clumps of Rosa Carolina grow along our lane, which climbs the hill to our house from the highway. Every summer, I enjoy seeing their blossoms.

Pasture rose is a native of the eastern United States. I'm also familiar with wild prairie roses from my Nebraska childhood. The flowers of both roses are very similar, but the berry of the pasture rose is yellowish-orange while the prairie rose has a red or red-orange berry.

The pasture roses here are a larger plant than the prairie roses I remember. Western Kentucky usually gets about three times more rain per year than western Nebraska, and I am sure that affects the size of the wild rosebushes.

I've noticed that ladies sometimes choose "Prairie Rose" as a nickname for internet bulletin boards or a CB handle. There are many other things named for prairie roses, even a town in North Dakota. Pasture rose isn't often honored in that way -- its humble, homely name is rarely adopted.

I took this photo earlier this summer before the drought became severe here. The roses look lush and fresh, compared to the dried-up landscape we have right now.

If you look closely, you'll notice two plants are represented in the photo. The other one is honeysuckle vine, which grows rampantly around here. It's an invasive species, not even a native of this continent. It was brought here as an ornamental from Asia. I love the scent of honeysuckle blossoms, but I hate its habit of growing over anything in its path.

"Back to School" in 1980

The first two weeks of teaching in Santa Cruz, Bolivia



In mid-July of 1980, Dennis and I arrived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. We had accepted a two-year teaching contract at the Santa Cruz Cooperative School (SCCS).

Just a couple of days after we arrived, Bolivia had a military coup. We sat it out at the school director's house, with several other newly-arrived teachers who didn't have apartments yet.

In a couple more days, the markets and shops reopened, and everyone came out of their houses and went back to work. The new government established checkpoints on the main roads, military patrols of the streets, new papers for foreigners to carry, and a midnight curfew for one and all.

For us newcomers to the country, these restrictions were just part of the overall strangeness. We settled into our little apartment and got ready to teach school.

The seasons are reversed south of the equator, so it was winter when we arrived in July. The school year at SCCS ran from August through May. This put the seniors on the right schedule to go to college in the U.S., and also worked well for hiring teachers from the U.S. It also put us in school through the hottest months of tropical summer!

Instruction at SCCS was in English, but its students came from everywhere. Some were the children of rich Bolivians. Others were the children of foreigners working in Santa Cruz -- Americans, British, French, Israelis, Taiwanese, Koreans, Germans, Swedes, etc.

Many of the foreign families in SCCS were connected with sugar plantations and refineries or gas drilling and pipelines. Some families were in Santa Cruz with U.N. programs, as representatives of their home countries, missionaries, entrepreneurs, or expert advisors in some field.

When I look at the SCCS website, I am astonished at the growth and apparent prosperity of the school. When we taught there, the school didn't have as many buildings as it does today.

Here's an excerpt from a letter I wrote to my family on September 1, 1980:

School has started and it has kept us busy and mentally, if not physically, exhausted. We have two weeks under our belts now. We had a week of orientation and then students on Monday the 18th.

I think this has been the most difficult two weeks of school teaching I have ever done. The kids came in absolutely wild, and it has taken stern measures to keep them quiet and in their desks long enough to attempt to teach anything. Also, of my 18 kids, only one speaks English at home, so I explain and show, and re-explain and show again, endlessly. In Reading class, I teach not just the recognition of the word, but also the meaning. The language barrier makes everything about twice as hard as it would ordinarily be.

They are starting to shape up a bit as far as keeping quiet. We have very high ceilings and a brick tile floor, so any chair scraping or whispering echoes badly! If one other person is making noise, it is hard to hear whoever should be talking. So I'm sure my second graders think Mrs. Netz is really a grouch about being quiet.

However, I am learning the vocabulary that they can understand and adjusting to them somewhat--as they are to me. It is frustrating much of the time, but still it's rewarding when someone does understand.

I have 7 girls and 11 boys in my room. Dennis has 22 in his room. He has been having the same language problems as me, though to a lesser degree because his are 4th graders and have had more years of speaking English. With all this and the stress of being a first-year teacher, I'm sure he will always vividly remember these next months.


Related information:
Welcome to Santa Cruz
Free Wisdom about Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Michael Simon's photo blog about travel in South America

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Clutter Battle Fought and Won(?)

Cleaning out and re-accumulating


Casper The Incorrigible had a good time, early this morning before anyone was out of bed. He found the bottom door of the china cabinet open, so he explored that forbidden compartment while he had a chance.

To get in there, he had to push aside a stack of assorted foam and paper plates and plastic cups and tip over several tall flower vases. Most of this ended up on the floor in front of the china cabinet.

Somehow, picking up Casper's spill of paper plates and vases morphed into cleaning the china cabinet top to bottom. I "Windexed" the glass shelves and "Pledged" the wood. Then I rinsed the "china" and dried it.

This sounds so simple when I write it, but it took quite a while. I decided to pack away a few things I don't use much, donate a few things to our upcoming church garage sale, and reorganize the rest of it.

In the process, I decided that I don't need much more Anchor Hocking Early American Prescut (EAPC). I inherited my mother's 1960s glassware of this pattern, and I've collected it since then, thinking that I'll give each of my children a set when they set up a stable home. Thus I have two of many pieces -- or you might say, too many pieces!

I packed up the dishes and some other stuff for the church garage sale, and Isaac and I went to town to run some errands. We dropped off the garage sale items at church, and I must say, I was feeling quite virtuous about cleaning my china cabinet and getting rid of a whole box of clutter.

Then we went by the library and used the computers. When our time was up, Isaac went to look for some books. While waiting for him, I accidentally strayed into the magnetic field of the donated-books closet. I do have a terrible weakness for books, especially old books.

I only bought three, and they are in exceptionally nice condition -- well worth the $1.00 each I paid for them. They are:
  • The Poems of Eugene Fields (with an ancient strip of paper marking the page with the poem, "A Valentine"
  • Leaves of Grass (Carl Sandburg)
  • The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson

And I suppose I should confess that I bought an old book at the library on Thursday of this week, also:
  • American Notes by Rudyard Kipling
That's one box out, and four books in. Am I making progress in the ongoing battle against too much stuff? Not really, but at least the china cabinet is nice and clean.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Fannie Merritt Farmer and Her Cookbook

Upon finding three early versions of my favorite cookbook...



Today I discovered several online volumes of Fannie Farmer's cookbook: the original 1896 edition, the 1911 edition, and the 1918 edition of The Boston Cooking-school Cookbook. Finding them was like running into a dear friend unexpectedly -- a really nice surprise.

Fannie Farmer and Me



My cookbook collection takes up a couple of bookcase shelves, but my Fannie Farmer cookbook is my all-time favorite.

My mother had a copy of The Fannie Merritt Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook (10th edition) which I used sometimes, when I was growing up. Later, when I had a little place of my own, I bought my own copy, the 11th edition, which was named The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

I turn to Fannie Farmer every time I make cornbread, baking powder biscuits, pancakes, waffles, ginger snaps, brownies, and more. In the previous sentence, I linked to the recipes in the 1918 cookbook; their ingredients are similar, but not identical, to the recipes in my 1965 cookbook.

Some of my favorite Fannie Farmer recipes -- applesauce spice cake and peanut butter cookies, for example -- aren't in the 1918 edition. Those recipes were apparently added by her heirs. Her immediate family did early revisions, and later, her niece by marriage, Wilma Lord Perkins, revised several editions. Perkins writes in the preface of the 11th edition about upholding "Aunt Fannie's" standards of clear, dependable, basic recipes.

Marion Cunningham took over in the late 1960's as the reviser/author of Fannie Farmer cookbooks. It's now in its 13th edition, completely rewritten with many new recipes, but personally, I don't intend to buy it. I'm going to stick with the edition I know and love.

I have the Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham, and it has not become a favorite of mine, though I've tried to give it a fair chance. I admit I may have a bit of attitude. Some cooks think she's done great things with the Fannie Farmer cookbooks.

Who was Fannie Farmer?



Fannie Farmer (1857-1915) was a pioneer of scientific cookbook writing and the study of nutrition. In her recipes, she used standardized level measurements -- cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, etc. -- rather than the lumps, pinches, dabs, and dashes common to recipes of her era.

In the two decades after her cookbook was published, she saw it reprinted nine times. She surely would not have guessed that 110 years later, it would still be in print and considered a masterpiece and a classic.

Fannie Farmer's life



Fannie suffered a stroke when she was only 16 years old. She was unable to walk for several years and she was unable to complete the college education she had planned. Though she learned to walk again, she always had a limp.

During her years of recovery from the stroke, she became interested in food preparation. When she was about 30 years old, she enrolled in the Boston Cooking School, a school for professional cooks, where she became a star pupil, an assistant, and finally, the school's director. Thus the title of her cookbook was the Boston Cooking School Cookbook.

Later she started a cooking school for housewives, Miss Farmer's School of Cookery. She wrote a book about proper nutrition for sick and handicapped people and became a lecturer on that subject at the Harvard Medical School, as well as running her own school, writing a newspaper column on cookery, and authoring several other books.

As a young person, Fannie Farmer had red hair. She never married, and she died when she was only 57. She suffered another stroke that paralyzed her legs again, but she continued working from a wheelchair, giving her last lecture just ten days before her death.

A note from Fannie Farmer



My Fannie Farmer cookbook was revised and updated by her niece, Wilma Lord Perkins, but it still has a foreword from its original author. I quote a paragraph from it:

At the earnest solicitation of educators, pupils, and friends, I have been urged to prepare this book, and I trust it may be a help to many who need its aid. It is my wish that it may not only be looked upon as a compilation of tried and tested recipes, but that it may awaken an interest through its condensed scientific knowledge which will lead to deeper thought and broader study of what to eat.

-- FMF
Yes, Fannie, the book has been a good help to me every time I needed its aid.

Fannie Farmer and my daughter



My Fannie Farmer cookbook isn't in very good condition. It's well-worn, inside and out. Some of the most damaged pages are the ones with Keely's favorite recipes. She learned to bake from this book.

A few years ago, I found a nice clean copy of the 11th edition on eBay, bought it, and gave it to Keely. It has all her favorite recipes, so she was delighted to get it. She's been using it, she tells me, and impressing people with how she can cook and bake.

I also bought a fresh copy of the 11th edition for myself, but I haven't used it. I'm fond of my old Fannie Farmer that opens to all the right pages automatically. I think of little Keely every time I open it!

Sources:
Fannie Merritt Farmer Biography
About Fannie Merritt Farmer
Fannie Merritt Farmer at Wikipedia
Fannie Merritt Farmer
Fannie Merritt Farmer, Mother of the American Cookbook
Fannie Farmer Biography
Seven centuries of cookbooks - treasures and pleasures

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Flash Drive Solves Some Dial-up Problems

Uploads and downloads at the library



Kathy (my sister-in-law) sent me some wildflower photos over a month ago. I've been wanting to post them and photos of my own as well, in the way I usually do on this blog!

However, my "good" computer has been having problems. I've been using an older and slower computer, and I couldn't get photos to upload from it. The connection with Blogger timed out and gave me a 404 before the photo completely uploaded. (We have dial-up internet, here in rural Kentucky.)

I thought about taking some photos on a CD to the public library to upload, but I couldn't get the CD burner to work on this little computer. And when I made a diskette of photos, the library's computer wanted to format it, not read it.

So yesterday, I bought a little flash drive that plugs into a USB port. It holds 1 GB of data, and it cost about $20. It was very easy to copy my photos to it. I took the flash drive to a library computer, plugged it in, and uploaded ten photos to the blog in about a minute.

At the library today, I realized that I could take my flash drive there for downloading also. For example, I could download the 47MB upgrade to iTunes that Isaac wants, bring it home, and install it. Over a dial-up connection, that download would take at least several hours!

I'm frustrated about my "good" computer and its problems, but I guess there's a silver lining to this cloud. Thank goodness, I do have this little Linux computer. And now, I suddenly see that a flash drive will be a big help to me in both uploading and downloading until a faster internet connection becomes available. I wonder why I've never thought of that before?!


In the interest of better blogging, I removed the above paragraphs from another post, and gave them their own heading.


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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.