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Posts from November 2010

It fell most advantageously

Treeoutsidethewindow Pap and Jim fell the tall tree / Nov. 2010

“The first and most important consideration, when we have concluded to fell a tree, is, to decide which way it will fall most advantageously.”

~ The Young Farmer's Manual: Detailing the Manipulations of the Farm in a Plain and Intelligible Manner by Sereno Edwards Todd, 1860

This was the day that restored confidence in the mind of the man
who was doubting his abilities.

A fable

LightnessAll fables should have two parts: the intrigue and discovery. They may be divided into three types: the probable, the allegorical, and the marvelous (I like to think that this fable is marvelous ...) / Nov. 2010

For many years the soup pot was happy to make large quantities of spicy crab soup. It warmly simmered the onions, the celery, the potatoes, the tomatoes, the cabbage, lima beans, green beans, corn and peas, and the delicate crab meat. Then, one day, a musical wizard picked up the empty soup pot and hammered out a pleasing rhythm. Ka-thump-thump-thump. The wizard was inspired to compose a song for and about the soup pot, adding a heady mix of strings, melodica, shakers and bells to the pot's knell. It was a magical rhythm that moved mere mortals to sing and dance like the gods. The soup pot traveled with the musicans to a festival of spicy hot in a mythical place atop the endless mountain. The musicians sang in tribute to the soup pot while the soup pot called out the beat. Shakers shook. Uke strings twanged. Dancers danced. Flutes fluted. Bells jingled and jangled. The people were overcome with joy and called out. They clapped their feet. They stomped their hands. The soup pot sparkled and sang. Its metal glowed like a shooting star breaking through the august night. It had found its destiny. Days later the soup pot traveled back to the land of jersey and fell silent. No musical wizards made its metal sing or its heart go ka-thump-thump-thump. Months later it was pressed into service to make crab soup for a great feast. It simmered the onions, the celery, the potatoes, the tomatoes, the cabbage, lima beans, green beans, corn and peas, and lastly the delicate crab meat. Finally the cook turned the flame off beneath the pot so the soup would cool down. Hours later the pot was still too hot to touch. It burned with an intense desire. Fed by the soup spices and the memories of its music, the soup pot burned so hot it made the cooling cabinet melt. It burned so hot it turned the soup sour. It burned so hot the cook cried out in anguish, "but what shall we feed the dinner guests?"

The moral of the story is ... Have extra vegetables on hand to make another pot of soup because once the devil (dawg) has gotten into your soup pot you may not get him out. Or maybe: Once it has kept the beat the soup pot may no longer be able to regulate its heat? Or (more likely): Make sure your soup pot has cooled down completely before putting it in the refrigerator.

In copious tribute

Nov12_1955 My Mitza (48 years old), Pap (52 years old), and Grandmom (49 years old) on Clearfield Street in Philadelphia on the wedding day of their children / Nov. 12, 1955

“That humble current of little kindnesses, which, though but a creeping streamlet, incessantly flows; although it glides in silent secresy within the domestic walls, and along the walks of private life, and makes neither appearance nor noise in the world; pours, in the end, a more copious tribute into the store of human comfort and felicity, than any sudden and transient flood of detached bounty, however ample, that may rush into it with a mighty sound.” 

~ Anna Laetitia Barbauld, in The Female Speaker, or, Miscellaneous pieces, in prose and verse selected from the best writers and adapted to the use of young women

Happy 55th Anniversary Frankie and Berntz

The peaceful arts


Let us seek to engage in the peaceful arts (if more men learned to knit sweaters in the round there might be less practice of the murderous arts) / Hand-knit patterned yoke sweater; icelandic geometric motif; 100% wool

“We delight to glorify the 'new woman,' the advanced woman. If, however, we study Prof. Otis T. Mason's book, Woman's Share in Primitive Culture, we find the 'new woman' to be only a revival of a very ancient type. Prof. Mason says that, for the highest ideals of civilization, in humanitarianism, education, and government, the way was prepared in savagery by mothers and female clan groups. While men were the inventors of every murderous art, women were the actual inventors of the peaceful arts, and excelled in weaving, pottery, agriculture, the preparation of foods, and the substitution of other forces to do the work of the human muscles. Woman made rough looms. She tamed the present domestic animals. The first empirical physicians were not the sorcerers but the herb women, who collected also the earliest materia medica. Savage woman founded all the modern crafts. She was the butcher, the cook and server, the skin curer and dresser, the furrier, tailor, carver, cobbler, the hat and dress maker. She it was who made possible the great modern textile industries. In weaving, dyeing, embroidery, molding, modeling, and painting, in the origination first of geometric patterns and then of free-hand drawing, primitive women elaborated aesthetic art.”

~ an excerpt from The "New Woman" and Her Debts by Clare de Graffenbried, 1896

Art and artists

SweetmusicIn the museum / Philadelphia, PA / April 2008

“On her tongue dwelleth music; the sweetness of honey floweth from her lips”

~ The Female Speaker, or, Miscellaneous pieces, in prose and verse selected from the best writers and adapted to the use of young women by Anna Laetitia Barbauld, 1816