Right away I am ready to do my breakfast…

In praising the quality of the comments on this blog a couple of days ago, I neglected to mention those whose wonderfully entertaining comments go unnoticed here.  Captured by the spam filter, some of the most interesting comments never get published.  There are too many of these gems for me to share them all, but it seems unfair for me to keep them all to myself.  So here are a sampling of a few that have come in over the past week.  I hope y’all enjoy them as much as I do.

“Xtreme No” offered this comment to my post about mushroom foraging:

Right away I am ready to do my breakfast, afterward having my breakfast coming again to redad additional news.

“How to Buy a Used Car,” having just discovered my post titled “Peanut Butter and Purple Hull Peas” responded to it with this, which made me blush:

I have been looking online for a bit more than 6 mins today, but I have not, as of yet, discovered a well laid out post that’s near yours. From what I’ve known, if only all site owners and bloggers wrote such amazing content as you currently do, the internet would be much more useful than before.

“Traitment Fissure” left this interesting response to my post “The Evils of Regionalism”:

I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish. Nonetheless, you command get bought an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following. Unwell unquestionably come more formerly again as exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.

“Lista de email” was complimentary of my post “Women’s Work”:

Thanks for taking a time to help people with so great information, congratulations, your work is so dignifying.

“Red Bottom Shoes” also seems to appreciate the blog, commenting:

We’ve figured out numerous essential things by way of your own personal posting.

I hope sharing these comments won’t cause me to appear immodest.

The Culls


When we pick the produce, some of it always is unsuitable for market.  Anything that is split, or has a bruise, bug bite or worm hole doesn’t go to market.  We eat those.  We eat the culls.

There’s nothing at all wrong with the produce we keep for ourselves.  It’s delicious.  It’s just not pretty enough to sell at the market.

Yesterday I made this awesome tomato sandwich.  The tomato had a bad spot on it, which was easily enough cut away.  Now doesn’t that look like a great snack?


Heart-shaped. It grew that way.


Sometimes we have produce that doesn’t make it to the market even though there was nothing wrong with it at all. Those watermelons in the picture at the top of the post looked fine when I picked them.  But like a dummy I allowed them to roll out of the bed of the RTV when I was hauling a load of them from the garden.

So two of them ended up cut up and in our refrigerator.  They were a tasty addition to our supper.

The rest were put to good use too.



Happy Pigs

We have happy pigs on our farm.

It’s warmed up lately and yesterday I noticed that their wallows were going dry.  So I filled one up for them and a muddy pig frolic broke out.














Pigs enjoying their pigness.


Before posting comments online, we may all need to ask if we are contributing to a conversation or simply making obnoxious noise.
Jack Heller

I’ve now had over 7,000 comments on this blog.  I’ve come to enjoy responding to the comments as much I do composing the post itself.  It feels more like conversation that way.

For years this blog was a soliloquy. I never encouraged or responded to comments. As I’ve learned to appreciate comments I’ve tried to become better about leaving them.  Even now I read lots of blogs but don’t often comment (but I’m trying to get better).

Now that I pay attention to comments I’ve noticed that on some sites, particularly those that are focused on current events or religion, the comment section is often ugly and brawling, filled with meanness and bile.  Often the commenters are merely hurling insults at one another, rather than having in a meaningful discussion.  I’m thankful that doesn’t happen here.  Over the years a few comments here have been head-scratchers and a few have seemed like invitations to an argument, but those have been extremely rare.

I don’t recall ever deleting a comment and I enjoy having a diversity of viewpoints.  But if there are ever comments on this blog that are rude, offensive or inconsiderate to others, I’ll delete them. The internet is full of sites that seem to welcome and feed upon such comments. It doesn’t need one more.

So to those of you have commented here, whether frequently or rarely, thanks for the great conversation and thanks for keeping it civil.  That’s the way things ought to be.


The Pond Road

There are three ways to our house from the road (meaning the paved public road).  We call them the lane, the garden road and the pond road.

Using the lane or the garden road it’s about .3 miles from the road to our house.

The pond road is a longer, more meandering journey.  It’s .7 miles from the road that way.

Over the dam

Over the dam

And through the woods

And through the woods


The pond road is our road least traveled.

But I do take it sometimes.

Eating Alone

Back when I was in the workaholic world I ate a lot of meals alone.  By the time I came home from the office the rest of the family would have eaten already.  So I’d have my supper alone.  During the years of my long commutes I ate alone 6 nights per week.  And when I was traveling on business, as I often was, I almost always ate alone.  Eating alone became the norm.

There are times when it makes sense to eat alone.  But eating alone should not be the norm. Whenever possible, meals should be communal and family affairs, as they always have been for us humans.  I have great memories of the big table at my Granny’s house, for example, where the whole family ate together three times a day.  No wolfing down a sandwich while watching TV.  No room service in a hotel room.  No reheated supper at the kitchen table long after the rest of the family has eaten.

If asked to recall some of our fondest memories of food, it’s likely that we’ll recall meals with family and friends, not meals eaten alone. If as a culture we went back to eating meals together, enjoying our food along with conversation and good company, it seems to me that would be a big step toward repairing our broken relationship with food.   It seems to me that we’ll take the quality of our food more seriously when we take the quality of mealtimes more seriously.


All sober inquirers after truth, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian, have declared that the happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue.
John Adams, 1776

I came across this quote a couple of days ago (h/t Gloria Deo) and it put me to thinking about virtue.  Virtue was a word used often by the founders.  By comparison, the word is rarely used these days and when it is, it is usually treated as synonymous with morality. But in the founders’ day, virtue meant much more than just personal morality.  Virtue, according to Thomas Jefferson, was the very foundation of happiness.  According to John Adams, happiness and dignity have their source in virtue.

When using the word these men were drawing upon the classical Greek philosophical understanding of virtue.

Greek philosophy recognized four “cardinal virtues,” defined as follows:

Prudence:  the ability to judge the appropriate action needed for any situation.
Justice: the ability to moderate between your own rights and the rights of others.
Temperance: the ability to practice self-control.
Courage: the ability to confront fear, uncertainty, or intimidation

When the founders, and others of their era, wrote of “virtue,” these were the characteristics they had in mind.  A virtuous society (and of course a virtuous government) would be attentive to these values, thus securing the happiness of individuals. The “pursuit of happiness,” which Mr. Jefferson identified as an inalienable right, presupposes a virtuous society.

A life of virtue, as the word was understood at that time, was characterized by moderation, industry, thrift, self-control, independence and devotion to duty.  Temperance, or what we might call “moderation” or “self-control” is essential to virtue.  Of course, a society characterized by overconsumption, debt, gluttony, dependency and aversion to work would not be, and cannot be, a virtuous society. However “moral” a person may seem to be, absent prudence and temperance the person cannot be said to be virtuous.  

Ultimately, a society that does not practice these values is unsustainable.  Whatever temporary comfort people may derive from imprudence, intemperance, injustice and cowardice, that comfort is not the same as the “happiness” that philosophers and political theorists identified as deriving from a virtuous life.  And a society characterized by a mere pursuit of comfort, or of convenience, or of safety, is not a society in pursuit of happiness.  Such a society is unsustainable, because it is not virtuous.

It is easy to recognize an absence of virtue in our government, and in other people, but do we as easily recognize it in ourselves?   I wonder how many of those who criticize the government for being wasteful and financially irresponsible (correctly so) are themselves deep in debt due to overconsumption and fiscal irresponsibility.  I wonder how many of those who criticize the government for failing to properly administer justice (correctly so), are themselves guilty of helping perpetuate social injustices.

I wonder if the best way to remedy a deficit of virtue in the government is to first remedy it in ourselves.

Any government in a society composed entirely of virtuous citizens, would necessarily be virtuous.

Better yet, in a society composed entirely of virtuous citizens, maybe no government would be necessary.  As Wendell Berry has written, “If we all behaved as honorably and honestly and industriously as we expect our representatives to behave, we would soon put the government out of work.”

That sounds good to me.  Let’s get to work.