We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Sunday, May 12. 2013
1. Dang compressor died in our icebox. Replacing it would be a few thousand $, half the cost of a new one. OK, get a new one. The KitchenAid lasted 20 years. Nice timing, it died 2 days before our Mother's Day party and cook-out. Ribeyes on the grill for 12. But why, I wonder, does the 55 year-old Frigidaire at the farm still work fine? The very pleasant, amusing, and smart refrigerator repairman (retired NYC cop on 75% salary) explained that it's because the old ones were low-tech. He said KitchenAids are the best, and Sub Zeros are just for show, not worth the $. He said modern refrigerators require surge protectors. Besides the cost, worst thing is that the failure defrosted my year's supply of frozen cranberries.
2. Gwynnie always tells me I need to get out more. Mrs. BD drags me out constantly for social events. Whenever I go, I meet charming ladies and guys who are far smarter and more accomplished than I am. That is life-enriching and humbling. At a cocktail party on Friday nite, besides touching base with old pals, I met a guy who builds nuke plants around the world and a physicist who loves modern dance and speaks intelligently about Thomas Nagel. He kept pressing me on whether I was a materialist (in the metaphysical sense), but his lovely wife said he had had too many gin and tonics. I kept saying "I don't know," which made him think I was smart.
3. Worked on the vegetable garden yesterday, with the lad. Deconstructing parts of it to make it smaller. It just got too big to keep up with. I realized that all I really care about growing are tomatoes, cucumbers, rhubarb, and herbs. Everything else is just as good from the store, and no weeding required. In the afternoon, I split logs from a tree we took down in the winter. I ache all over. The good kind of ache. Some days I feel like I'd like to bring back slavery, but it just wouldn't be right in today's political environment. I don't mean black slavery - any color would be fine.
4. This morning, we had a Mother's Day wren in the bedroom. The house painter had not put the screens back on the windows. I figured it was a good luck thing of some sort. At least it wasn't a rabid bat. It was indeed a House Wren. Kind-of funny, because I saw this morning that a pair of Chickadees are nesting in one of my wren houses. We love to house the homeless here at Maggie's HQ. Still hoping that a pair of owls will use my Screech Owl house. I've heard them around a couple of times in the early morning, but I am not sure that they like my placement of the thing. My experience is that they seem to like their houses in full sun.
That's the news from Yankeeland.
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At least your fridge lasted.. the newer one wear out faster. I just had the compressor fail on a 4 year old fridge. Out of warranty... and the cost to repair high enough it makes no sense not to just replace it.
Maddening. I've heard too that the refrigerant they are forced to use now has something to do with modern fridges failure rate, but I've not researched it. Sorry to read you lost so much good food!
".... all I really care about growing are tomatoes, cucumbers, rhubarb, and herbs."
Me too but to keep up with the trends in Washington I'm putting in marijuana this year. Don't know what I'll do with the extra.
I had neighbors married 50 years and still on their first frig. Which leads me to this startling, data based conclusion: Frig failure is to the American marriage as CO2 is to Global Warming.
I have also heard the new refrigerators don't last. They have been cheapened up to use less power and they don't cool as well. I know that for a fact. They are OK for cooling if you don't get in an out of them very often, but if the door is constantly being opened and closed all day, they can't keep up.
2 years ago the thermostat failed on my second hand, circa 1970s harvest gold side-by-side. (Harvest Gold and avocado green must have been the official interior decor colors of the 1970s.) I was afraid I would have to buy a new refrigerator but the local appliance dealer tracked down a replacement thermostat and said it would cost $80 if I did the installation myself. I did and it has worked fine since then. I dread having to replace it.
For the garden we have basil, tomatoes, onions and peppers started. A big sweet corn patch will come in a couple of weeks. Too dang cool for a garden this year.
The lilacs haven't bloomed yet. This is the latest they have ever been. We are just finally getting leaves on the trees.
Have your electrician put a whole house surge protector in your panel. About $400.
"I don't mean black slavery - any color would be fine."
You're just like that. Fair and equitable. Besides, once you start expanding the range of color samples, from Caribbean tan to Asian dusk, you'll find a much wider color range in the matching chains and shackles. For example, I find light blue just doesn't work on African black, but on a Jamaican gold? Hubba-hubba!
BTW, I noticed the phone rang and you had to cut your article short. Here's the missing part:
5. As I threw on my heaviest winter coat this morning to fend off the icy chill of deep winter, preparing to chop the day's wood in a vain effort to fight off the bitter, gnawing cold, I couldn't help but think of moving to the beautiful Florida Keys. I wondered if Doc could give me just one good reason why I should leave this ice box behind and spend my sunset years basking in a warm, tropical paradise.
That's the news from Yankeeland.
Dear Bird Dog:
Low temperature tonight at Maggie's Farm:
A bone-numbing 42.
Low tonight here in the aforementioned tropical island paradise?
A delightful 74.
Hope that helps,
Everything's right about Florida except the crocs, the cops, the crazies, and the neighbors.
Then there's the Keys Disease.....
--speaking of slavery, the Heinlein wikiquotes has one of his characters, an older feller, in dialogue about remarrying, "...at my age, I wouldn't be taking a wife, I'd be indenturing a nurse."
Heh. Gallows humor, the longest-lasting form, for some damn reason, feh.
Help them fridges, plus the electricity bill, by keeping the freezer and the fridge full of water jugs as space opens. Plastic jugs of ice in the unused freezer space especially beneficial to the machine and costs, plus you want to leave 'em a quarter empty for expansion anyway, and there you have a perfect place to colden a beverage on the quick 'n easy.
Those of us who can't afford Sub Zeros replace the blasted things even faster. I don't know how many cheap Chinese pieces of junk refrigerators we have gone thru in our house in the last 15 years. The issue is where they're made, as well as what they're made of. The harvest gold thing originally in the house that died had enamelled steel liner, metal shelves, glass and metal drawers, etc. Now everything is plastic that snaps after a year. Not to mention temperature.
By contrast, we have one of these http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_i0EQSYsfI(or pretty close) up North, still works perfectly. Not much space for ice cream or other frozen food, but I'm tempted to truck it down here next time the latest Chinese plastic toy fridge breaks. The 1952 American fridge works better.
Sorry you lost all that food....
Hope the bird is a good sign, it normally is not! My Irish grandmother believed it was a sign someone in the house was about to die... of course she also said that you could cure warts by rubbing them with a cut potato and burying it in the garden, so take it for what its worth.
Mother and Dad bought a GE refrigerator as soon as they were available after the war. The one they bought in 1946 is still in daily use, in the attached garage. It moved there when they remodeled the kitchen in 1963, and they bought the new GE bottom-freezer refrigerator. Dad passed away, but Mother is still in the same house at age 90, enjoying both of her refrigerators. In those eras they were made to last.
Put a small patch of kale in your garden, too, the Russian blue varieties are productive much of the year, and survive frosts and snow really well.
For all the years I saw it , I never stopped being amazed to see kale popping through the snow in my parents' garden. Very hardy. No need to freeze it, or to put in a root cellar. Just keep it in the garden and wipe the snow off it.
I second green beans. Not a lot of trouble, and I find that the freshness makes a difference.
The one vegetable that I was very, very surprised at the freshness difference was cabbage. Cabbage from the garden tastes MUCH better than the stuff in the store. It's like comparing vine-ripened tomatoes from the garden to the optimized-for-shipping tomatoes you get in January.
What do you use the rhubarb for? And what herbs are you growing?