Ida Tarbell says:

Here is a great and insightful quote from over on Musclehead’s blog by Ida Tarbel.
“Ida Minerva Tarbell was an American writer, investigative journalist, biographer and lecturer. She was one of the leading muckrakers of the progressive era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and pioneered investigative journalism.”

The Müscleheaded Blog

“If it has taught us anything, it is that our present law-makers, as a body, are ignorant, corrupt and unprincipled; that the majority of them are, directly or indirectly, under the control of the very monopolies against whose acts we have been seeking relief.”

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A Concise History of Home Distillery

I’m sharing this little introduction to home distilling. If you’ve never thought about this before, it may be worth looking into. Enjoy!

Convivial Supper

Distillery.

The science of distillation has been around since 3000 BCE. There are four types of distillation: laboratory, industrial, herbal/perfumery, and food processing. These last two, herbal/perfumery and food processing, are the two we concern ourselves with today.

What Is Distillation?

Distillation is a process of purifying liquids through controlled boiling and condensation. A liquid is converted into a gas/vapour through heat, and then recondensed through cooling to return the vapor to a liquid form.

How Do You Distill?

You’ve probably seen an apparatus called a retort, or alembic, a glass container with a long, bent neck sloping downwards. As the substance heats up, the vapor travels down the neck and cools. A separate container catches the vapor as it returns to a liquid state. Figures III and VII below show two vessels that could be used to distill (1727).

Chemical_Vessels_1727-Alembic-Retort Fig. VII shows a distillation setup. 1727

As you can…

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What Is Effective Altruism?

This is an excellent little essay about being an effective altruist or helping others in a realistic and sane way.

Thing of Things

[Author’s note: I am absolutely confident I got this definition from somewhere else, but I’ve looked for it extensively and haven’t been able to find it, and I’d like to be able to reference it, so I’m writing it up. Sorry, original inventor of this definition, whom I have failed to credit.]

Definitions of effective altruism are often very vague. The Centre for Effective Altruism defines effective altruism as “using evidence and reason to figure out how to benefit others as much as possible, and taking action on that basis.” The Effective Altruism Foundation defines effective altruism as “a philosophy and a social movement which holds that actively helping others is of central moral importance, and approaches the choice of possible strategies in a rational and scientific way.” Various book titles define it as Doing Good Better or The Most Good You Can Do.

I’ve talked to people who…

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Cocoa ~1861

A perfect for a wintry day. I agree that once you make the real stuff you’ll not want to go back to the package junk.

Convivial Supper

To Make Cocoa.

Who doesn’t love a mug of hot cocoa in mid-winter? This particular recipe, I believe, is missing a key ingredient: sugar.

I was out of instant hot chocolate the other weekend and was scouring the cupboard for a special breakfast treat for the kids. The Hershey’s powdered baking cocoa has a phenomenal recipe on the label. Will never go back to the instant stuff again: 1/4 cup cocoa powder dissolved into 1/2 cup water whisked and heated in a pot. Add 1/2 cup sugar, 4 cups milk, dash of salt, dash of vanilla. Heat until warm. Rich. Delicious. Amazing. Mrs. Beeton’s version is no doubt equally as delicious, assuming you add sugar. Bitter!

From Mrs. Beeton’s recipe collection c. 1861.

To keeping warm in January!

More Fun Discoveries from Antique Cookbooks

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Carrot Soup ~1819

Great little recipe.

Convivial Supper

Carrot Soup Recipe.

Take a close look at this recipe and you’ll notice a small, but important, detail. A detail which may seem minor, but underscores the scope of genetic engineering, selective breeding, and the industrial food complex in altering our mental image of a carrot.

CarrotSoupRecipe_1819Source: American domestic cookery, formed on principles of economy, for the use of private families. 1819

More Fun Discoveries from Antique Cookbooks

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The Appalling Case of the Diligent Scout Master

The dangers of being an outgoing Scoutmaster in the 21st century.  Please give me your thoughts on this or better yet, comment on the original article (or both).  I am very interested yet very skeptical of the modern professional Scouter.

Living Dubois

Joe has no idea who reported him. It’s difficult to imagine anyone in town doing that. More than likely, some well-meaning visitor to the campground saw the empty kayaks floating downstream, and called 911.

As everyone in town knows (who has not been comatose, away all summer, or boycotting Facebook) that incident led the Boy Scouts of America to suspend our long-time Scoutmaster, Joe Brandl. The BSA has now denied his appeal.

It was a routine outing last May, a typical outdoors training exercise for the troop that Joe headed for many years. The Wind River was predictably high with the late-spring runoff of snowmelt, and some of the boys were tipped from their kayaks.

None of the scouts was hurt or even (in the other sense of the word) upset. This had happened before, and was hardly unexpected. Thanks to Joe’s guidance, they already knew what to do. In…

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The Ideal Tool Cabinet

Arranging your workspace and tools is critical, and one of the most difficult things to do. Here is a good post of an excerpt from Charles H. Hayward – The Woodworker. It is pitching a reprint of the book but worthy of a read nonetheless.

Lost Art Press

Fig-2 FIG. 2. DOORS OPENED SHOWING TOOL ARRANGEMENT When doors are opened back flat the position of every tool can be seen at a glance

Fig-1 FIG. 1. CABINET WITH CLOSED DOORS With lightly rounded corners and a painted or lacquered finish, the cabinet makes a most attractive as well as useful item. The closed size is 2 ft. 9-1/2 ins. wide, 3 ft. 7-1/4 ins. high, and 11 ins. deep. These dimensions can be varied to suit special tools


This is an excerpt from “The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years: Volume IV” published by Lost Art Press. 

A sense of orderliness in woodworking is an important factor contributing to good work. For instance, the bench should be clear of tools, excepting those in immediate use, and when a tool is no longer required it should be replaced in the rack or tool chest. By far the most convenient arrangement is to…

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Feast for the eyes

Sad news, but not surprising with massive growth, industry given free reign, and populations far beyond that which our planet has ever seen.

nature has no boss

The World Wildlife Fund just released their living planet report for 2018. Up front it seems it seem the report could well be  titled the dying planet instead of the living planet report given the summary  states “On average, we’ve seen an astonishing 60% declinein the size of populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians in just over 40 years, according to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018. The top threats to species identified in the report link directly to human activities, including habitat loss and degradation and the excessive use of wildlife such as overfishing and overhunting.”

You can read the full report here.

or here

https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/living-planet-report-2018

Please pass along the report to all who care and even those that may not.

Photo: Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, 2018.

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