Archive for July, 2013

Gardenu2Well, it has been a banner season for my container garden.  The summer weather pattern we have had this year has been perfect for my little garden.  With the heat and sun creating frequent afternoon showers, my plants have never been healthier.

I have a huge crop of tomatoes coming (below) – some have already ripened on the vine and have been harvested (along with my basil) to make some pretty tasty pizzas.  I should have tomatoes right through September. 

Gardenu3I have also had luck with beans this year (above right).  I have planted beans every year I have had a container garden and they have not been terribly productive.  This year I have plenty of healthy beans.

Meanwhile, I have quite a few tiny squash (left) getting ready to grow into big squash.

I have to say there is nothing more satisfying than planting seeds and watching them mature into healthy plants that yield great produce.

Maybe next year I can set up at the farmers’ market to share my bounty.

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While walking along the path the borders Schouler Park in the charming village of North Conway, NH on my way to the town’s Sunday Farmers’ Market yesterday, I spotted this charming sidewalk tile, which made me smile:

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“Play outside, nap often, stretch upon rising, and don’t eat frogs.” – Madison Jones

C71When you first land on the home page of Madison, Mississippi’s Circle of Seven you will certainly question why I fell in love with the place. Why? Well, because you will likely note the guns and think they are purveyors of such things. Well, they are. But they are also the stop for all sorts of luxury items for the classic gentleman outdoorsman…

…things like this Barbour Beaufort Jacket (right) which I covet.

About Circle Seven of Madison, Mississippi: “Inspired by the pure enjoyment of the outdoors and the classic memories and traditions that live on, we brought to life Circle Seven Outpost & Provisions in late 2007. We are a family owned and operated business started by one of seven siblings. The name Circle Seven name honors a generation of men and women who truly understand tradition, quality and value. Not just in the goods they purchase but in the lives they live. It is said you are known by the company you keep, and we proudly offer such classic brands as Filson, Barbour, Purdey, Alden Shoes, Red Wing and Woolrich, all of which were started in the 1800’s.”

C72Another item from Circle Seven I love is this Alligator Humidor (above, right):

“Wild caught Florida ‘gator and Spanish Cedar. Removable dividers inside can move over for the big boys or be removed (for a small Purdey flask) altogether. Colors do vary a little. Made in USA.”

Circle Seven also offers Quail Hunts which just sounds like great fun (save for the hunting part): “Circle 7 invites you to enjoy incomparable experiences at Prairie Wildlife, located in the middle of Mississippi’s Black Prairie. In addition to taking a leadership position in restoring the states Black Prairie, this luxury destination offers visitors and unparalleled Bobwhite Quail hunting adventure. Choices of hunts include mule-drawn wagon, horseback or on foot, Prairie Wildlife offers an unsurpassed experience.”

See all the awesomeness of Circle Seven of Madison, Mississippi here.

OTR.3.7.13.2While out on the bike the other day…

I was riding through some remote dirt roads that cross through the flood plains of a river, when I spotted a bunch of animal tracks drying in the mud left over from a thunderstorm. 

On closer inspection, it was clear that the paw prints were those of a bear – most likely a cub romping behind its mother. 

Very cool…

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LFSI am not going to go into the details right now, but I happen to be in possession of scores of fly swatters. Some years ago I started a collection of flyswatters and ended up with way more than I ever wanted as a result. I have several swatters that I display like flowers in a vase during the summer and it is always a conversation piece.

However, I have no swatter as cool as the Leather Fly Swatter from Kaufmann Mercantile, “a handmade English leather and white ash fly swatter that hearkens to a pre-plastic era. Made in Amish Country, Ohio exclusively for Kaufmann Mercantile.”

About the Leather Fly Swatter from Kaufmann Mercantile: “The plastic neon swatter that just broke apart in your hand won’t do a thing for you when flies begin buzzing around your BBQ chicken and corn-on-the-cob. This one is custom made for KM and features a white ash handle cut by Amish craftsmen and finished with Skidmore’s Beeswax, a swat panel made from vegetable-tanned English bridle leather (which means it’s finished on both sides), flat brass pins, and features a nice, big hole for hanging. This fly swatter is made by a maker of leather goods for 41 years who started making fly swatters when he worked in a leather shop in a Civil War-era village (where relics from the twentieth century weren’t allowed).”

Even with this swatter and the dozens already on hand in my collection, it seems that I can never find one when I really need one.

BTW Kaufmann Mercantile has a lot of cool stuff – check them out here.

We have been stuck in a little bit of a heat wave up here in NH over the past several days.  I am not complaining – winter is long and coming fast.  The heat and haze has had one very nice effect – providing a somewhat different hue than usual to the stunning scene that is Mount and Lake Chocorua as seen from Tamworth, NH:

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CBBSFor some reason this is the summer of soups for me. I have been experimenting with soups – chilled and otherwise – and have been enjoying it.

One of the best recipes I have found for a summer soup is the Chilled Butter Bean Soup with Basil-Corn Relish recipe I found in Cooking Light Magazine.

About the recipe for Chilled Butter Bean Soup with Basil-Corn Relish from Cooking Light Magazine: “You’ll need about 1 1/2 pounds of butter bean pods to get 2 cups shelled beans. You can substitute fresh lima beans.”

I used the lima bean option and made very few other alterations to the recipe and it came out great.

I am now a huge fan of summer soups and recipes like this that allow you to use the bevy of beans that can be found at the local farmer’s market.

Find the recipe for Chilled Butter Bean Soup with Basil-Corn Relish here.

See more from Cooking Light Magazine here.

FF: Daedalus Books & Music

FFDBPeople still read books. Books as in the printed kind. And if you are like me, there is nothing better than browsing a good old bookstore to find some interesting reads, and if the books come at a bargain price… even better. That’s why I love Daedalus Books & Music.

About Daedalus Books & Music: “Since 1980 Daedalus Books & Music has been the premier source for bibliophiles looking for quality books at bargain prices. From the thousands of books offered by publishers as remainders every year, we selectively choose books which are of lasting value. Remaindered books are the difference between what a publisher printed and what was sold. Bestsellers, classics, and overlooked gems get remaindered when the remaining stock is larger than the projected future sales. We are devoted to keeping these good books before the reading public. All of our books are hardcover editions (unless noted otherwise), and all are in good condition.”

See all the bargains of Daedalus Books & Music here.

FF: Beau Ties of Vermont

FFBTThe best thing for a guy to wear to a summer wedding? A seersucker suit of course. The best kind of tie to wear with a seersucker suit? A bow tie of course. The best place to purchase a bow tie? The great Vermont-based Beau Ties.

About Beau Ties: “Like many independent-minded bow tie wearing men, Bill Kenerson had a tough time finding attractive, high-quality ties to wear to work. So he took it upon himself to change the situation. He went shopping for fabric. He connected with a local seamstress. And they created some bow ties. But it didn’t stop there. What had been a passion for wearing bows became a passion for sharing them, and in 1993 Beau Ties Ltd. Of Vermont was born – launched with a collection of just eight ties on a single page (our first catalog!) mailed to 5,000 people. Response was immediate and positive. Our little Vermont company began to grow – gradually taking over every available room in Bill’s house. He and his wife, Deb, kept their day jobs until, with a deep breath, they launched themselves into the tie business on a fulltime basis. At about the time most folks reach retirement age, they decided to break ground for a new building for Beau Ties where sewing, shipping, sales and marketing operations could all work together.”

See all the great products of Beau Ties here.

FF: The amazing Blo Poke fireplace tool

FFBPOK, so it is the middle of the summer and the last thing you may be thinking about right now is lighting a fire in your fire place. However, after you see the Blo Poke fireplace tool, you will be wishing for those cold nights to return.

About the Blo Poke fireplace tool: “The Blo Poke is an outstanding example of American ingenuity. The original solid brass tool was conceived by James Hopkins Smith as he observed the French farmers during WWI blowing and poking their fires with ancient rifle barrels. In 1941 Smith trademarked and patented the original Blo-Poke. Today’s Blo-Poke is handcrafted from the original mold in Bristol, Connecticut and continues to reflect fine American craftsmanship. The Blo-Poke is made up of two unique forged brass end pieces that are bonded to a heavy duty brass rod, completing its approximate measurement of 46”. It is then polished and lacquered for life. Late owner Stuart Burt also developed the tool in black enamel and crafted a bronze cleat for hanging the brass or enamel Blo-Poke near the fireplace. The entire product line is American made and the design remains the absolute best on the market today. There is no better way to keep those fires roaring than the original Blo-Poke.”

It may be a little fancy, but you could totally us the Blo Poke fireplace tool for your summer campfires too.

Find out more about the classic Blo Poke fireplace tool here.

As a result of some of my recent posts about my love of old school letterpress printing and my love of one Mr. Johnny Cash, a Lost Cowboy reader turned me on to The Church of Type.

The Church of Type is a letterpress studio and the creators of many fine prints, like the wonderful Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two hand printed woodblock poster: “Hand printed letterpress from woodblock on archival handmade Arches 88 paper.”

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About The Church of Type: “The Church of Type is the new Letterpress Studio of Kevin Bradley, one of America’s most prolific letterpress printmakers since 1994. His work has been instrumental in redefining the idea of contemporary letterpress in America, from his early days at Hatch Show Print in Nashville, to his 15 year run as the founder of Yee Haw Industries in Knoxville, TN. Mr. Bradley has covered the globe with fine art prints and custom design work for a litany of clients. The Church of Type represents his newest venture, moving 20 tons of letterpress equipment across the country to the city of Los Angeles, California, to bring his own vision and style to the epicenter of American Culture. He would like to invite all the incredible friends he has made along the way to join the fun, once again, as he reinvents what it is to be a working letterpress artist, providing his brand of custom work for clients and fine art and typographic prints. If you are a lover of Letterpress, Typography, Art and Design, the Church of Type was built for you. Find out more at the churchoftype.com. As always, his slogan remains, ‘Art for the People, since 1987.’”

Learn more about The Church of Type here.

Visit The Church of Type Etsy store here.

OOTSI love the whole story of Vivian Maier, a woman who took thousands of photographs in her lifetime, chronicling the ever day scenes she discovered in her world. She took the photos, and in many cases never developed the film. Ms. Maier was a curious figure as few of her photos were ever seen until after her death. Thanks to the modern world where people’s curiosity meets the relative ease of finding an audience for things like art and photography – Ms. Maier’s work has found life after her death.

In the wonderful book, Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams, we are treated to some of Ms. Maier’s wonderful images and a bit of an oral history of the person who left behind such a legacy – each equally compelling.

About Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams: “Presenting her breathtaking photographs alongside revealing interviews with those who knew her best, this volume is the first attempt to put Vivian Maier’s work in context and create a moving portrait of her as an artist. Though she created more than 120,000 negatives during her lifetime, only a few were ever seen by others. Shortly after her death in 2009, the first group of her unseen photographs–gritty with humanity and filled with empathy and beauty–were shown online. What followed was a firestorm of attention, catapulting Maier from previous obscurity to being labeled as one of the masters of street photography. Her work has appeared in numerous museum exhibits and a feature-length documentary on her life and art has already been planned. Features more than 300 duotone photos printed on 105# paper with flood varnish.”

In Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows, authors and curators Richard Cahan and Michael Williams introduce us to a gifted artist who very easily could have been lost for all time. It makes you wonder what talent and creativity never sees the light of day. Lucky for us, Ms. Maier’s work has been found and will live on forever.

Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.