February 2015

Bovine Phrenology

We tend to view phrenology and the larger idea of physiognomy as quaint curiosities, worn out ancient concepts akin to geocentrism or flat-earth theories.  But evidence keeps cropping up that there might be something to it after all, at least for livestock.  The original reasoning behind physiognomy is totally insupportable, but there is a body of evidence that suggests that physical …

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Buried fence

We had the misfortune of placing one temporary fence on the north side of the bale grazing pasture in the perfect area for both snow drifts and ice accumulation.  The fence in question is picketed on 36″ plastic stakes, with polywire strung at the top clip.  The field adjacent to the fence is usually wet …

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Eating Ashes

Our pigs love to eat the ashes from our wood burning (after they cool a bit of course).  We don’t have any pig husbandry books from the 18th century or earlier, but wood ash and charcoal are commonly recommended in many old farming references.  Wood ash seems to have been used as a cure for …

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Fire and Ice

On nights like this when it is going down to -20 degrees and the wind is gusting at 40mph, we welcome heat in any form we can get it.  Of course there is the wood stove, but it’s nice to have supplemental heat from a bottle, too.

Sumac and Questionable Linguistics

Around these here parts, the prevalent pronunciation for sumac is shoo’-mak.  We’ve also encountered that pronunciation among some Midwesterners.  A few dictionaries list shoo’-mak as an secondary pronunciation and soo’-mak as the primary, but it is curious that the sh supplanted the s locally.  The Amish around here also “shoo”, so I wondered if this was a German …

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