Friday, October 20, 2017


My favorite literary critique was uttered by a dame whose opinion of a bucolic effort was "I do not believe that this young man has ever smelled a sheep." I recall gleaning this quotation from John Ciardi's high school English text.

The culture of young urbanites has grown precious and rightly wary of micro-organisms, but it's possible to take caution too far. Rot is one of the glories of life in Western Washington. Gardening is brewing, essentially, a process of growing soil with produce as a by-product. Now is the beginning of the agricultural year. Be brave: a whiff of the compost bucket never hurt anyone. 

A three-bucket emergency latrine, one for liquids, one for layers of soil and solids, and the last full of covering soil will be your best friend should The Big One hit. You'll be astonished by the clean, earthy odor. Jenkins "Humanure Handbook" is available free on line. One person/one privy for the squeamish. Add snap-on plastic seats for luxury -30-
More after the jump.

Thursday, October 19, 2017


I mentioned to my friendly local archaeologist that I had spent a couple of days in the boondocks marinating in the infrared emissions of a wood fire. I was barely able to get off the couch to tend to life support.

Straight away, he said that is how homo sapiens is designed to live. "Just keep the spears close to the entrance to the cave." -30- More after the jump.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Holiday Social Reserve

Keep the week before the big day free. Design breathing room into your schedule through New Year's day so that you have a holiday, too -30-
More after the jump.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Word For It

I was gratified to learn that Sweden has a tradition of what is called "death cleaning", rigorous editing of inventory with an eye to what will happen when one is not around. Since the date of one's demise is, presumably, not known, death cleaning is a constant minor process.

I learned a wrinkle in the technique while house-sitting recently. The hand-me-downs my student offspring had been happy to accept years ago still irritated me in the minor ways that had led me to offer them in the first place. My new policy will be to offer only things I can't quite bear to give up.

There are small piles of death cleaning inventory accumulating here and there in the house. I'm going to slap a decision deadline sticker on each one to accelerate what the museum folks call de-acquisition -30-
More after the jump.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Good Deals

Over the week-end, I noticed startlingly good prices in an e-mail from the Tabletop Matching Service in the southeast. Startling as in sterling being competitive with stainless and as in the fifty-dollar deal page offering high-quality mid-century modern serving ware for (relatively) peanuts.

This morning an on-line newspaper ran an article about the reluctance of millennials to commit to the kind of resource-intensive tabletop inventory for which my generation of females was willing to make nearly any sacrifice. Actually, it was our mothers who funded the equipment, thanks to marriage before cohabitation.

I mumbled something to my breakfast companion about the market crashing, and he reminded me that in twenty years, the next crop of young adults will be ravenous for the heirloom quilts and mahogany furniture that this lot can't wait to escape.

That said, the art and etiquette of the table may never rightly be compromised, because sharing food is bedrock social training. Details may vary, but healthy community is absolute -30-
More after the jump.