more sugaring

Here is a lovely piece about sugaring season (mud season, really) in Vermont. Makes me homesick. The author is someone I grew up around, and her family figures large in my earliest memories.

cultivating wild eatable plants

A post by Hank Shaw on cultivating wild native plants—ramps and such. I’ve been intending to do this with fiddleheads—young ferns that people in Vermont eat like people eat ramps in West Virginia. I’ve never found them in West Virginia.

Also, I’m keen on Jerusalem Artichokes, probably the most famous vegetable Hank mentions. More of those in my future.

I’ve noticed, in picking dandelions for wine, that the biggest and healthiest I could find (three to four times bigger than the ones in my yard—handy for such an endless task) grew as weeds in my weedy garden. I didn’t try the greens, though. I wonder how tender they’d be, whether they might not have a longer season than scrubby ones. With pork, they are among my favorite things.

‘old southern apples’ back in print

The classic in what is hypothetically my field, Old Southern Apples has been out of print for years. Used copies were ridiculously expensive. Now it’s back, and the Times has taken notice.

In honor of this joyous occasion (well, reminded) I’ve added a permanent link to Century Farm Orchards, the main commercial outlet for the author’s collection.


An article in Outside Magazine, titled “Chernobyl, My Primeval, Teeming, Irradiated Eden.” Lovely things like ten foot long catfish, and peasantry to put us to shame.

blood is in the air

Recent reading: Ken Albala’s blood sausage and blood pie and Hank Shaw’s blood pasta.

I’ve been eating a lot of blood oranges as has my young daughter, who is less dainty about it and thus necessarily gives rise to jokes in my presence. I am looking forward to being home and having access to whole animals to eat again, with all their funny bits intact. It has been a question with me as to how much gore to show on this blog. While tact and good taste argue that perhaps one should avoid the impression of gratuitousness (so easily reached when the subject is gore), the counter argument is that taking apart animals, is, well, fascinating. Such a funny thing, how killing animals developed into a taboo. My father remembers the style in which his mother used to dispatch chickens, which to me sounds almost flamboyant—and which I am shy to post here. (And she was one of my more genteel ancestors—went to finishing school in Gulfport Mississippi during the Great Depression.) It was just something that was done.

Dunno. Nothing to fear from me for the moment. I am accidentally living part time in a vegetarian religious community and seem to get most of my protein from peanut butter between meals. There may be a post in me forthcoming, on peanut butter and rice cake subsistence.