Chinook Winds Bison Yarn and Fiber • MONTANA

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Chinook Winds harvests fiber from bison, or buffalo as they are commonly called,  then blends the fiber with varying amounts of alpaca and/or wool.

All fibers come from animals  raised on South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming ranches.  The fibers are processed at regional and US owned mills. Once the yarn comes back from the mill, it is sold in its own beautiful natural colors or kettle-dyed and handpainted in deep rich tones.

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 Why am I so excited?

Because Heather had some extra time, bottled up on her farm in Iowa, during this famously cold winter. And I asked, very nicely, if she’s knit me an extra warm watch cap with extra special yarn. AND IT’S DONE !!!!! 

It’s 70% Rambouillet which is one of the softest wools with high crimp for warmth and bounce, 25% bison which is strong, light, warm, and soft with a micron count comparable to good cashmere, and 5% Suri which is strong, light, warm, and soft.   There are two types of alpacas, and Suri makes up only about 10% of the total population. – Heather

Hats by Heather of Iowa. From $55 to $225 delivered. This example cost $125.

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¡Ay, caramba! Cara Cara CARA !!!

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WE ARE officially in mid-season for one of my favorite Venezuelan imports! Discovered at the Hacienda de Cara Cara in Valencia, this  cross between the Washington navel and the DSCF2780Brazilian Bahia navel is a phenomenal treat.

You don’t like oranges? You’ll love the cara cara, regardless. Slice one up! Go ahead, I dare you ! The carpels tear cleanly off the pericarp and melt in your mouth in a complex explosion evoking notes of cherry, rose petal, orange, and blackberry. Carpels, you ask? HCeLFThat’s the flesh of the fruit, also called the segments. The inner core is the pith, and even that didn’t go to waste in the orange I just consumed. This cara cara was $1.25 at Wegmans, and well worth it!

Meiser Tire Pressure Gauge

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Pressure Drop   Toots & The Maytals

LONG long ago, a son gave to his father the nicest tire pressure gauge one could get from the auto supply store. It was made in the USA, and featured a hose and easy-to-hold brass chuck. But the father didn’t straight on tablebother with tire pressures; he allowed the garage to handle any and all routine maintenance. So, as often happens after the best intentions, the gauge was given back to the son several year later with a rueful excuse and a smile.

I used the gauge for over two decades before something went amiss. It began giving off-readings, telling me a tire was flat when visual inspection clearly showed a healthy sidewall. What to do? Meiser, the manufacturer, apparently had all their domestic market product made in China, sold under the Accugauge label.

I called Meiser, and discovered the gauge had a lifetime warranty. “If I would only mail it in with $3 return postage, they would repair or replace the product.” WHAT? No, sir, I want the gauge repaired. “Fine. Note that you want REPAIR, NOT REPLACE on your contact information.”made in usa

“Why don’t you make gauges here anymore”, I asked. The short answer was that their distributor stopped carrying domestic production gauges, so production stopped. I offered to take over sales, accepted the financial impact of a one hundred gauge order, and began selling them on eBay and sportsmen’s forums. The venture, after postage, fees, and promotional samples, does not make any money. But Meiser is very pleased to keep their guys busy, and Meiser’s suppliers can’t but feel the same way. Buyers invariably rave about the quality.

Never has an unfavorable comment been received. A quality gauge and a fair price

Michelin Primacy™ MXM4®

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Rolling Rolling Rolling

EVERY DRIVE, long and short, was rumbling thunder. Head-rattling, tension-inducing, muscle-cramping agony. Especially highway miles. I was in sales, a genuine road warrior. 300-400 miles a day was not uncommon. The 1994 850 Turbo I bought from a lawyer in Haddonfield was well-maintained, but he had his mechanic mount a cheap set of  tires before the sale. The tires were aggressive, but loud!

After a purchasing decision was made, several months were spent scouring online resources. Lengthy visits to tire stores, exhaustively gleaning every last bit of information regarding tread noise, durability, performance under all driving conditions, price, looks, and country of origin. Tires are classified by their characteristics. Given my wants, I chose a Luxury Performance Touring tire.

The best tire in my speed rating is made by Michelin. The best price? Costco [spend some time becoming familiar with their Road Hazard Warranty, which is  excellent & free]. Tirerack is the tire-primacy-mxm4-heroacknowledged go-to resource for online information and comparisons of tires.

Michelin manufactures tires in six states: Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Carolina and South Carolina. In addition, there are three plants in Nova Scotia, Canada and one plant in Queretaro, Mexico. All of the Michelins I’ve purchased have the words MADE IN U.S.A. imprinted on the tire.

When I sold my Volvo, the Primacys were over 60,000 miles old but still had usable tread. I next mounted a set on an ’01 Acura TL, and again enjoyed excellent handing and wear characteristics. We put a set on the Subaru. The car is unstoppable in all weather. When my GMC Sierra pickup needs tires, alas, the Primacy will not be chosen because it is not a truck tire. But I will purchase the Michelin  LTX M/S2. From Costco.

LOST NATION • a novel by jeffrey lent

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EIGHTEEN Hundred & Thirty Eight was the date. The location, somewhere between New Hampshire and Canada. A very sparsely occupied area with the roughest of living. The inhabitants prefered to be left alone. Both countries thought it their territory. 

A man pushes his wagon deep into the wilderness, looking for a place to set up trade. Far from the law, far from questions about his past. The wagon’s load? Two barrels of Jamaica rum, powder, lead, fabric, small housewares, a woman.

Mr. Lent captures the dirt, grease, and hardship as a first hand observer. The depth of his observations will transport the reader back to a time before electricity, automobiles, telephones. You will not notice they are missing. You will live in this world not so long ago when survival depended on your work and your neighbor.

lent190Jeffrey Lent was born in Vermont and grew up there and in western New York State, on dairy farms powered mainly by draft horses. He lived for many years in North Carolina, an enriching and formative experience.  Lent currently resides with his wife and two daughters in central Vermont. – Grove Atlantic

Rosa Blanca – Cuban Diner in heart of former Philadelphia Financial District

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Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 1.43.18 PMIN THE mid-50s, men still wore suspenders. One man with vision, thinking belt sales would eventually far exceed those of suspenders, had just sold his suspenders company and was walking along Chestnut Street near 8th, thinking. He was in the heart of Philadelphia’s vibrant Financial District, and he had a pocket full of money.

He’s offered a business deal in a chance encounter with an acquaintance, the purchase of a cable company in Tupelo, Mississippi. Knowing nothing about cable TV, he nevertheless purchased the company. His name is Ralph Roberts and his company became Comcast.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 1.44.11 PMThe Financial District is long gone, along with it’s NewYork-style diners. Change comes to everything, however. Renaissance is striking even this area of Philly.  We are graced with a new eatery which makes an authentic Cubano Sandwich for nine bucks [comes with plantain chips]. Clean and shiny,  visiting Rosa Blanca @ 707 Chestnut will be a pleasant and memorable experience.

Something a little more hearty? Try the Masitas de Puerco, a bowl of fried pork shoulder and other very tasty stuff.  The side salad is strongly recommended. Fantastic blending of flavors!

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 1.44.28 PMDesert? How about a fruity shake? Morir Sonando Batido is an Orange-Vanilla smoothie well worth five bucks.

It will be very east to over-order in this place. On a date? Stick with one entry and one sandwich and share.  You may still need a take-away box.

SF12-BB • Box of 12 SureFire 123A Lithium Batteries

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In honor of President’s Day,

Surefire offers free ground shipping this weekend.

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 8.32.17 AMRemember the American Toolbox post about a great headlamp?  The batteries that it uses, the CR123, can be bought this weekend direct from the manufacturer with free shipping. A great value just made better! 10-year shelf-life. Made in U.S.A.

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