Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Floral Book Review: "Consider the Fork" by Bee Wilson

Bee Wilson opens her book, "Consider the Fork" with the wooden spoon.

She writes, "A wooden spoon - most trusty and lovable of kitchen implements...."

This instantly made me laugh because when I think of the "lovable" wooden spoon I think of my mom beating my butt as a child when I was bad. It was her weapon of choice.

My second thought as I started reading was that I overwhelmed by the detailed information. So much information folks.

As I put the book down for the day after reading the first few chapters and went into the kitchen to make dinner I noticed myself recalling what I had learned about the whisk.

Yes, I saw the humble whisk in an entirely new way. The evolution of the whisk was fueled by wanting to get frothy eggs...delightful meringue (few things are superior to meringue in mind). Wilson writes, "this only happens when egg's protein molecules have partly unfolded under contact with air, reforming as an air-filled lattice: stiff peaks."  This take a long time using a proper whisk...imagine how long it would take with reeds tied together.  That's how the balloon whisk began, with blades of giant grass and evolved into a breakfast time necessity at least for those of us who frequent the scrambled eggs.   

I mean I had never in my life questioned the origin of the whisk and for that matter I had never questioned the birth of even the fork, the spoon, the toaster or the rice cooker (I don't even own a rice cooker).

"Consider the Fork" by Bee Wilson Floral Book Review

I favored the "Eat" chapter that starts out with a focus on the spoon, and then moves on to the fork, chopsticks, and ....drumroll please...the spork!

Wilson writes, "There are fork cultures and there are chopstick cultures; but all peoples of the world use spoons."  A world filled with countless customs, vast cultures, and diverse languages all use a common implement.  The worldly spoon! 

The fork is also completely fascinating and surprisingly, "a relatively recent invention, and it attracted scorn and laughter when it first appeared." 

"Forks in our sense were considered odd until the seventeenth century, except among Italians.  Why did Italy adopt the fork before any other country in Europe? One word: pasta," writes Wilson.  

Thank you pasta for our dear fork because eating everything as finger food can get messy.

Disposable wooden chopsticks....we have all encountered them, some of us more awkwardly than others. I was so surprised to learn that, "the state of  Georgia is rich in poplar and sweet gum trees, whose wood is pliable and light enough to need no bleaching before it is made into chopsticks.  The company, Georgia Chopsticks, now exports billions of disposable chopsticks to super market chains in China, Japan, and Korea, all with a label stating, "Made in U.S.A.""  Isn't that incredible?! 

And lastly I'll leave you with the spork. Wilson provides an extremely detailed account of the spork but this exerpt was my favorite:
"Other important users of the spork included schools and prisons and any other institutional setting where the business of feeding is reduced to it's most basic, functional level.  American prison sporks are generally plastic, orange in color, and very ineffectual, because it is vital that they should not be used as weapons.  In 2008, a man was arrested in Anchorage, Alaska, for attempting an armed robbery with a spork from a fried-chicken restaurant." 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Peary the Farm Pup

Peary the Farm Puppy

I had been wanting a puppy for years and "shopping" on and off at various shelters and through various breeders.

However I didn't want to actively purchase a dog.

I know that sounds odd. 99.9% of the world decides they would like to add a dog to the family and they actively go to a shelter or find a breeder. They purchase the puppy and bounce home with their new bundle of joy.

My dog growing up, Peaches, just wandered in one day.

This was the same for pretty much every farm cat we ever had, including my Mom's current cat, Benjamin. They were all just found wanderers.


I wanted my new puppy to be fate just like Peaches was.

Peaches literally never ever...not even one time did she ever do wrong. She was saintly. A true lady, my sibling, and best friend. My mom would lock she and I in our giant play pen where we'd play house, race up the steps to the slide and swoosh down, and look for four leaf clovers (well I was looking for clovers, Peaches was listening for moles to dig up).

A few weeks ago I stopped by a new wholesale floral supplier. I was walking around when one of their employees walked in with a pet carrier.

Interesting, I thought.

Then she started pulling out puppies...lots of wiggly little puppies.

One of the ladies working called me over and said, "Rose come hold some puppies...someone get Rose a puppy."

Well needless to say I hustled across the store and snuggled a puppy.

Flowers + Puppies = best day ever!

So two days passed and I kept thinking about how crazy that was that I was simply just checking out a new wholesaler and there were puppies there. So I called the floral supplier and said something along the lines of, "I'm actually calling about puppies not flowers."

And the rest just kind of worked out. I got the very last puppy that was taken for a moment and then available.

Tiffany, who was the owner of the crate-ful of puppies told me just how much it really was fate. She actually took an Uber to work because her dad had the car. She'd been promising to bring the puppies to work for weeks.

So there it was my fateful puppy.

The puppy I'd been hoping for and waiting for.

Once we get crate training and potty training conquered life will be grand but for now I'm just savoring every second of puppy snuggles, puppy naps, chubby puppy tummy, and little puppy feet.  Every time I look at him I'm like I can't believe your mine.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Floral Book Review: "The Happiness of Pursuit" by Chris Guillebeau

I spent most of my life restless.

Looking for an adventure.

Looking for a quest.

And then I re-opened Robson's Farm.

Now I just spend most of my life exhausted....

But happy!

Something that was most interesting to me is that most of the examples in Guillebeau's book became quests.  He for example lived in Africa and started traveling to various neighboring countries. And then a few more countries and a few more and then it became his quest to visit every single country in the world.

"Happiness of Pursuit" Floral Book Review

Many people in his book started a project, an adventure, an activity and it turned into a full fledged quest.

I love traveling and have a quest to visit all 50 states. I have a map that I color in as I visit each state.  I want to see my own country before I see the vast countries of others. Oh and I have a rule that I must be a least passable in the language before I visit those outside countries.

Guillebeau writes about the Adventure Savings Fund:
"To go anywhere, save $2 a day" - this was the headline for a group project I hosted on my blog. The concept is that there is nowhere in the world you can't visit if you save even a small amount of money over time."

He goes over making a budget and assessing the costs and forming a plan....which I wholeheartedly admit that I am a loose planner and more of a doer, goer, "oh shit should have had a better planner."

The savings plans he shows break down as follows....
" $25/day = $9,125/year
$10/day = $3,650/year
$5/day = $1,825/year
$2/day = $730/year"

I'd like to offer what I have been doing since I started the farm....

Every time someone pays be in a large bill, $50 or $100 I put it away for my "winter time adventures." I use this money to travel or take a class.  Past classes include many floral design classes, calligraphy, sewing, and photography.

I am drawn with envy to those hyper disciplined folks and have vowed to harness my wandering Pieces slightly adult ADD self into more focus and discipline.  Guillebeau writes about a guy finishes the entire 4 year MIT computer science program in 1 very disciplined and focused year.

He also mentions my favorite 1 year challenge of all time which is now one of my favorite movies, Julie and Julia which is about Julie Powell and the queen of the kitchen herself, Julia Child.  Rent the movie people!   

I dearly love creative quests and traveling quests. However I think my biggest soft spot is for "cause" quests.

Guillebeau opens chapter twelve with, "Find what troubles you about the world, then fix it for the rest of us."

He tells the story of Stephanie Zito who, "for an entire year, every day she'd learn about a new person, project, or organization that was making the world a better place. She'd also make a $10 donation toward the cause, and whenever possible, write about what happned with the money. She called the project #Give10."

This snowballed and others were creating their own giving challenges.

Quests are contagious.

We see others out there with either their literal or figerative bookbag packed and we want a piece of the pie.

What's your quest.

Or even better question....what's your next quest.

Just because we finish one it doesn't mean it's the end. It means it's that incredible moment of freedom where we take a breath and take that first stride onward. Off to the next.

Hoping your "bags" are packed and ready.