Quaker Oats

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Over this Veterans Day weekend, swamped with keeping the boat moving forward, quill never made it to parchment.  Several half articles popped their heads above the hedge but that blasted rabbit got away every time.  Notably, Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal was on sale;  a winter favorite, our review was imagined as steamy and satisfying … until the words MADE IN CANADA came into focus.  There’s always Heinz Catsup, but that would be too easy …. Maybe next week, the Apex Tool article will finally be finished.  And we will get the Quaker Oats angle;  our top muncher is on it.

Quaker Oats was founded in 1901 by the merger of four oat mills: The Quaker Mill Company of Ravenna, Ohio (founded 1877), which held the trademark on the Quaker name and was acquired in 1901 by Henry Parsons Crowell, who also bought the bankrupt Quaker Oat Mill Company, also in Ravenna.  

The company’s roots are in Akron, Ohio. Ferdinand Schumacher, a pioneer miller born in Hanover, Germany, in 1822, used medieval period milling techniques to manufacture oatmeal on a mass scale.  

Hands On The Earth • Apple Cider

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Romance is in the air.  A brisk windy autumn day, the Schuylkill River brown and full from upstream storms.  Clouds break up long enough for a sunny stroll to my favorite produce stand.  To my true autumnal love, fresh apple cider.

Dave tells me he can sometimes get four gallons of cider per bushel of apples.  The latest press, just a day ago, is giving him a respectable 3.7 gallons.  The pint of cider I enjoy was made with nearly four apples.  And why, Dave, is cider brown?  That’s because it oxidizes as soon as it is pressed.  The flavor is not affected a bit.  The fresh cider tastes like healthy goodness.

If you hear crunch-crunch through the leaves behind you, it may not be a prospective paramour trying to catch your glance.  They may just want to know where you got your cider.  🙂

Breakstone’s Butter

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ADVISORY:  Some images and text may be disturbing to our  celiac  readers.

Americans eat lots of butter. A hundred years ago, EIGHTEEN pounds per person per year.  Thankfully, we’re down to about six pounds per capita  *burp*  Personally, ATB staff have reduced their consumption to sub-Japanese levels, under 0.6 kg per year.  There may be easier ways to live forever, but restricted fats is not a particularly difficult path to a healthy diet.

When we do fall off the wagon, or more appropriately, jump upon the dairy wagon for a healthy dose of converted cream and salt, we reach for the best.  Breakstone’s.

  • 1882: Isaac and Joseph Breakstone (Breakstone Bros) opened a small dairy store on New York City’s Lower East Side.

The best butter?  Attractive marketing?  Hard to say.  Delicious, yes!  And the only brand to display a two-pack, a pair of quarter-pound sticks in a single carton.  Perfect for our dietary pacing.

Owned by Kraft,  manufactured by Keller’s Creamery, under license by Kraft.  Keller’s butters go back over a hundred years, so it is all a creamy mystery as to who is running the shop.  Keller’s Creamery appears to manufacture butter for many labels at its plant in Winnsboro, Texas.  Our spies report townsfolk friendly but protective of their slippery secrets.  Me, I stay away.  Lest I return to a dozen pounds a year  🙂

Eclectic Products – Eugene, Oregon

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Decades ago this penniless vagabond was huffing it across country.  One last adventure awaited just over yonder ridge.  His footfalls across the asphalt were joined by a third sound, the scrape / flwapp cadence of a detached boot sole.  He’d been advised to Goop-It, but the unfamiliar brought fear and confusion.  Goop?

In time a weekend adventurer joined the fire ring.  This camper had a pouch with everything one needs on the road.  We could suture the sole, duct tape it, or Goop it.  The Circle decided.  Goop it was.  The boot was carefully packed with flat stones.  Goop was squirted liberally between the sole and the insole and the affected area clamped together with more rock.  Some Goop squeezed out the edges like jelly from a donut but it was left as-is.

In the morning, our Weekend MacGyver was gone.  My boot, sitting by the smoldering fire ring, was unclamped, emptied of stone and scorpion, examined, yanked, poked, fitted, and pronounced good for another 10,000 miles.

Such bipedal adventures are now left to others but the experience stuck.  Goop is a quality adhesive.  No doubt the toluene and solvent naphtha play a part;  avoid confined spaces.

When a local college banquet bar triple bowl sink drip began to dampen spirits and socks, close examination revealed a mess of replacement issues.  The largest?  Budget and urgency. The sink was used only as a beer cooler,  melting ice the only use of its drain.  Instead of a Full Monty, stripping it down to bare metal and a full repipe with new components, we gave it the ‘ol college try à la MacGyver.

Buff the metal with ScotchBrite, a judicious application of Plumber’s Goop, and wait 24 hours.  Amazing results!  All three sinks filled to the brim with water, all unplugged simultaneously, and the strainers and drains lose nary a drop.  It looks like this assembly will withstand another decade of light use.

Now, it ain’t pretty. But replacing 1″ brass strainers on a copper drain, all the parts seized together, very tight access, the sink itself destined for the rubbish heap or recycler?  Replacement is definitely not cost-effective in this situation.  There is a time and place for “temporary repairs”.   Through no fault of our own we often see ‘temporary repairs’ last over a decade. 🙂


  

Bubba • Bootjack California

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It never occurred to me that Bubba might have a Christian name or a last name.  Joseph Lang  And surely he’d live forever, collecting bits and pieces of people’s lives, arranging them in his store for resale.  The social hub of Bootjack California, Bubba’s establishment anchoring one end of Main Street.

joe bubba lang.jpegWhere else could one find a twelve-foot arch-back velour couch in infant yellow, deep enough to sleep comfortably without crowded elbows?  For $20?  Clark Gable probably napped on it, and here the couch ended, for a worn Jackson.

Shelving, kitchen ware, tools of a sort, clothes.  Bubba had everything you’d need to set up house.  Apartment clean outs, estate sales, competitor’s overstock, where ever he got it always seemed a mystery as Bubba talked into his beard.  But he knew how to stand firm on his price.

Bubba left this world in May 2018, the victim of a 2:00 AM hit-and-run. Merced California police have released little information about the accident.

Harvest Moon Festival

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Coverdale Farm Preserve of Delaware Nature Society in historic Greenville finally had their festival.  It must be October again!  The perfect excuse to view crowds milling about crafts and activities – from a distance.  A good hundred yards away, by the food trucks, is a covered sound stage.  Five bluegrass and Old-Time bands are scheduled.  Chair, book, snacks, ACTION!

Every group was great but I did notice a new face.  Harrisburg native Henry Koretzky brought his 1989 Crafters of Tennessee mandolin.  It sounded like a vintage Gibson mandolin – someone had even inlayed “The Gibson” into the headstock.  A parts mandolin, its wood reportedly sourced from Gibson itself.  The real story will never be known, having died with famous Dobro player and shop owner Tut Taylor.

For the traditional sounds of Appalachian old-time, bluegrass, and early country music, I now know where to find an expert.  As well as perfect contra dance music.  The Contra Rebels, with Barb Schmid on fiddle, Todd Clewell on banjo/fiddle/guitar, and Henry Koretzky on guitar/mandolin.

Special thanks to Tater Patch for performing one of my favorite tunes, Lazy John.

Another fantastic version of Lazy John is Roger Netherton’s 2016 rendition.

D’Addario Violin Strings

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The estate sale find looked somewhat like a violin.  Except it was a jumble of dusty components which fell further apart when its chin rest was removed.  Quick work for our handy Kershaw pocket knife.  A bit of practiced slip-n-snap, the last remaining parts released their failed hide glue after a century together.

Inked with fountain pen upon the inside top, E. Guthwaite of Leeds (England) left his repair mark in 1886.  The hive buzzed that I had a French 1850-1870 Mirecourt.  Gut strings plus patterns of grime from playing along with dust from laying tell us this violin may not have been functional since about 1920.

Back apart, repairs begin anew.  Its old glue is tacky, with a sharp, astringent smell.  It is picked and scraped out of a groove along the back’s perimeter.  The ribs are reattached with fresh Behlen Hide Glue.  The neck heel looks different than usual, sporting a culvertail joint at the heel.  Odd, even uncommon?  We carve an end block to receive the dovetail and are rewarded with extra tensile strength.  The top is an issue, but we’re making a player, not a museum piece.  Joined, cleated, glued, we’re almost done.  Fingerboard dressed, polished, reattached, nut corrected, saddle soaped, bridge finalized, and we find used but serviceable D’Addario Kaplan strings on our windowsill for testing.

Superb!  At a gig, Steve cannot put her down for a full four hours, grinning like a kid as the tone opens up.  Chance favors the fortunate and lucky, as its set-up receives raves – although he says it feels more German and Italian than French.  But there was so much immigration and resettling after Napoléon Bonaparte.

Now for the final bit of finish.  A wipe of varnish here, pegs to trim and polish, a composite tailpiece for student trial.  Off with our used tester strings.  We’re going with adult fare, a D’Addario Helicore H310 offering.  Without knowing what the final owner will want, we choose a dependable string far higher in quality than most students will get.  Two or three times more expensive than economy strings, maybe half the cost or a little more than strings a professional might favor.  We’ve taken the high road of serious string choice.  

Fit as a fiddle.  Her voice is back after a century of slumber.  D’Addario is doing the talking.

All D’Addario strings are designed, engineered and manufactured in the USA to the most stringent quality controls in the industry.D’Addario