Friday Homestead Dispatch
Crusty Culinary Canard
All we wanted to do was have a nice quiche for dinner. All the supermarkets were out of those handy frozen pie crusts and the one store that had some were $7 (Whole Foods, of course). A crime, I tell ya. We could’ve purchased a tasty quiche from the Back Dough but I would have had to take Whittier to the 710, then the 5 to the 10, get on the 101, take the 2 to Western and go south 37 blocks. So we said fuck it, let’s make a pie crust! How hard could it be? Heh.
OK, I could distort the truth here and say we used only the healthiest, holistically approved ingredients for the crust but Gawd would strike me down. My mother’s pie crusts were heavenly and she used Crisco™, so we used Crisco™, OK!?!? I will say we combined some of our really good butter to cut the Crisco™ in half. And I’ll be darned if it all didn’t go too bad™. Actually, it went quite well with the bottom of the crust being flaky! I even wore an apron, but that’s another story. The crust could’ve been rolled out a bit more to stretch over the ceramic plate (which was just a bit bigger than a standard aluminum pie plate) but all in all, a right fine first effort.
“Anthill” is the story of Raff Cody who, due to the rise and fall of ant empires that unfold on the picnic grounds near Lake Nokobee, grows up to become a lawyer in order to save his beloved wildlands from becoming paved over by the march of "progress" in the modern-day South. RIP, E. O. Wilson.
“Their philosophy,” Robbins went on, frowning and slightly shaking his head, “is that the earth was created for man, and dominion over nature mentioned in the Bible means replacing nature with people. They separate the world into two parts. Here is where we live, and away from us out there is nature, the place where critters, bugs, and wild plants live. Nature is fungible, in their view. I actually had a local banker say to my face what price he thinks will buy Nokobee, “It’ll be twenty million dollars, and a couple endangered species aren’t worth that,’ he said.”
“Well, what about all the churches? Don’t they care about the environment?”
Robbins shook his head again. “Believe it or not, a lot of folks on the Christian hard right around here are dead set against nature reserves. They think saving the wild environment is just an all-around bad idea. Don’t get me wrong. Most evangelicals I know are for conservation. They believe God means for us to save the Creation and God’s good green earth in general. But a few extremists are absolutely convinced God means us to do the opposite. They’re saying, ‘Use it all up, the faster the better, because Jesus is coming. The End of Days is almost here. He’ll show up as soon as the planet’s messed up a little bit more. The devil wants to keep us all here on earth, and Jesus wants to take us on up to heaven, at least He wants to take the true believers up.’ They say that’s all written in the Book of Revelation.”
As fires are ramping up every year, trees more precious than ever, and the cost of lumber soaring, alternatives are slowly being investigated and put into use. The New York Times reported earlier this year that In natural-disaster-prone areas across the United States, homeowners are building houses designed to withstand a multitude of possible calamities. And while some of the technologies are experimental, they offer a glimpse of the future of construction in large swaths of the country, as climate change ushers in an era of more frequent wildfires, storms and floods.
The article focused on Mike and Jennifer Petersen’s new home in Paradise, California, built after their home was destroyed in the 2018 Camp Fire. They replaced their previous home with a Q Cabin, a 1,400-square-foot structure made from noncombustible steel.
I had to laugh a bit when they reported that Michele Barbato, a professor of structural engineering in the department of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California at Davis, is studying compressed earth block construction, a 10,000-year-old technique for making bricks from tightly compacted dirt and mud, mixed with cement, limestone or a chemical stabilizer to make it water-resistant.
The laughter wasn’t about the idea so much as builders and architects in the Sonoran desert have been using this technology for years. One such person is Quentin Branch who has been constructing rammed earth structures for over forty years. Pictured below is their home in Oracle, Arizona. I’ve been in this home and it is stunning.
As with any building material there are advantages and disadvantages to using dirt to build your home. Read up on those here.
I’ve griped here about the Republicans’ grip on the redistricting process in previous posts and it paid off! I won’t take total credit but the Washington Post reported last week that Just in the past few days, the conventional wisdom on redistricting has undergone a dramatic shift. The most informed redistricting experts now say it appears that this process will look more like a wash, or even that Democrats might gain a few seats.
Paul Waldman, the columnist who wrote the piece, broke it down as four key factors:
1. Republicans had already gerrymandered so aggressively in the post-2010 redistricting that they had limited room to add to their advantage.
2. In the relatively small number of states where they had the opportunity, Democrats are gerrymandering with equal vigor.
3. In some places, Republicans opted to consolidate their current position rather than take a riskier path that might expand their seats.
4. Independent redistricting commissions wound up not hurting Democrats in the way some feared they would.
I guess I’ll keep griping…
Bwwaaahahaaaaaa…a group of high-powered lawyers who worked for Republican presidents have publicly undercut Donald Trump’s claim that he’s entitled to executive privilege and in an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court on Wednesday said, “Trump’s arguments are at odds with our nation’s rich history of congressional investigations. It is difficult to imagine a more compelling interest than the House’s interest in determining what legislation might be necessary to respond to the most significant attack on the Capitol in 200 years and the effort to undermine our basic form of government that that attack represented.”
Ted Koppel created a bit of controversy last year when he ventured down to Mt. Airy, North Carolina, a town that patterns itself after the fictional Mayberry, home of Andy, Opie, Aunt Bee, Barney, Gomer, Goober, Floyd, and all the gang. What began as a puff piece turned into an episode (on Sunday Morning) where Koppel was visibly taken aback by the fierce nostalgia for a time and place that literally never existed — and how it connects to the misinformation that has infiltrated America’s politics. In an interview with the Washington Post, Koppel said, “People looking back at that program seem to confuse the program with what reality was like in those days, wishing that we could only restore some of the good feelings, some of the kindness, some of the decency. But what they’re really reflecting on is not what was going on in a particular North Carolina community. What they’re reflecting on is what was going on in the creative minds of a bunch of scriptwriters out in Hollywood.” He compared the series to “chomping down on a marshmallow,” and said it was an antidote to everything going on in the world at the time, which never showed up on the sunny series: Tens of thousands of American troops killed in Vietnam War. Race riots throughout the country. Assassinations. “If there’s any period that matches our current period in terms of how terrible things were and how difficult things were, the 1960s were it.”
And, most of all, I know that both Goober and Gomer hope for a prosperous and joyful 2022 for all of you! Also from Patti…