Charming, Inaccurate, But With a Point

“Factual or embroidered, all the stories linger like music in the mind, chants of the living charity that can exist and has existed between man and his voiceless brothers. It is perfectly true that Philip Neri used to say mass with a chipmunk perched on his shoulder. And if it is not perfectly true, it is rather charming to read that Petroc, a sixth-century abbot, took a splinter out of the eye of a dragon which came to him for help…
…We may believe only half the chronicles, but the very metaphors have a merciful point.”

Saint-Watching, by Phyllis McGinley

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Books read in September

I only finished three books this month, unfortunately. This is slightly ironic, considering how much of my time has been spent reading.

1) Castle on the Hill by Elizabeth Goudge ~ My second Goudge title. This one was written, and set, in World War II Britain. Sometimes books from this era can seem somewhat dated and overly dramatic with their sweeping passages about preserving Britain’s glories. This is because we know the “end of the story,” so to speak. We know that Britain was not defeated. People living in 1940, however, had no assurance of this fact. For them, it could have all been over within a few short months. They were not being vainly grandiose; they were facing the reality that they were in a war they hadn’t been well prepared for.
*steps off the soapbox* Uhm, back to the book. Goudge writes well and I was delighted with how she involved music in this story; including much discussion of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. This is a great way to win my approval. :-) This is not a story for younger readers, though, and even included bits this “older” reader did not like.

2) The Shining Company by Rosemary Sutcliff ~ My first Sutcliff title! I actually listened to this audio version of it while driving back and forth to school. It was excellent. I can see how her fiction could get formulaic, but I got completely engrossed in this story of early Scots trying to repel Saxon incursions. Sutcliff’s descriptions of this time period are full of life: there is nothing stilted or forced about them. Often there’s a great deal of focus on Roman Britain and Saxon Britain, but little on the in between times. This is a beautiful book about one of those times.
It is based on an actual piece of history and literature – The Gododdin. Fascinating stuff, really.

3) Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle ~ I like L’Engle, but I really did not care for this book. She is best when describing family life or detailing the Christian responsibility for creating good art (her Walking on Water is a favorite of mine); she suffers (or, rather, her readers do) when stretching beyond her scope to talk about speculative science or religion. Her theology is fuzzy and she allows evolutionary science to interfere with the beauty of God’s creation. Pity, because she does write so very well.

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Market Value

Some time back a fellow homeschooler took us to task because we spend hours at thrift shops, library booksales, and rummage sales looking for used books with a high market value. We resell them for a profit, and this is one of the ways we contribute to our family’s income.

Our fellow homeschooler was not angry with us for spending too much time hunting those books. No. She thought it was unethical to charge the market value. She believed the only cost we should consider was how much cash we actually paid for the book, and our mark up should only refect that original and very narrow financial cost.

She was not taking into account our time, our gas, our knowledge, or our work in staying on top of the homeschooling book market, finding sales, listing books, and selling them and getting them to the post office.

More importantly, she had an entitlement mentality. She told us that people like us were interfering with her daughter’s ability to get a good education by selling these books at a higher rate than she could afford. She said she needed those books to educate her child, and we were in essence, cheating her.

We, of course, do not determine market value. We could influence it, I suppose, by buying up all the stock of a certain item and then releasing only one title at a time, but the truth is that this would be impossible for us to do, and if we did manage it, somebody else would then step in to make a better title available.

It is not the responsibility of anybody to satisfy somebody else’s lust for
books at less than the market rate. We may want to do this as a charitable act at times. But there is *nothing* unethical about selling books for the market rate. There is nothing unbiblical about it.
If somebody wants to own a book for less than it is going for on ebay, than
nobody is stopping that person from spending her own time and gas searching for
books at thrift shops, yard sales, flea markets, library sales, and used
bookstores. But I think it is covetousness that makes us expect others to
give up their time and money and gas to search for books for us and resell them at far less than market value. It’s also selfish, because there simply aren’t enough of certain out of print titles to go to everybody who wants one. That’s why the prices on those books go up and up and up.

Such a mindset is also shortsighted, as if there is no profit in it for us, we will spend our time on other things, rather than looking for good books that homeschoolers like to own. We can and do use our business to enable us to perform charitable acts, but there is nothing unethical about a business being first and foremost a business.

part zero
part one
part two
part three
part four

(Many thanks to David for his organizational skills!)

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Frugalities and Potatoes

The “white” potato, know today as the Irish potato, originated in the
Andean Mountains. In 1532 the Spanish arrived in north Peru and it is speculated
that they brought the potato to Europe in the second half of the 16th
century.(8) Because they were classified in the same botanical family as the
poisonous nightshade, potatoes were thought to be poisonous and people refrained
from eating them.(9) Potatoes were considered a novelty and became fashionable
in the mid-eighteenth century when Marie Antoinette wore potato blossoms in her
hair. During the eighteenth century, the monarchs of Europe discovered the
nutritional value of the potato and ordered it planted.(10) By 1800, the potato
had taken root and ninety percent of the Irish population was dependent on the
potato as their primary means of caloric intake and as an export.(11)
Since the famine, the Irish have expanded their diets; however, the potato
continues to be a dietary staple in 130 countries today, including Ireland.(12)

Potatoes contain nutrients, such as protein, carbohydrate, and
vitamin C, which are necessary for a healthy diet, but lack vitamin A and
calcium. Combined with milk, potatoes supply almost all food elements
required for a healthy diet
.(13)

Emphasis added. Taken from this site, where you will find the footnotes sourced.

I don’t remember where I first read that potatoes and milk provided almost all the nutrients required for a healthy diet, but I know I read it somewhere more than 20 years ago. It might have been the USDA. I did a lot of reading of official pamphlets back then. Idaho Potato Expo has more.

Many, many years ago when we only had one child and another was on the way we were suffering the consequences of a poor financial decision. While trying to come up with ways to save money, I remembered what I’d read about potatoes and milk.
In order to get out of that situation, we spent a six month period eating a steady diet of baked potatoes and milk for lunch (with cottage cheese and butter when we were flush), homemade bread with eggs or fruit for breakfast and beans and rice with cheese and whatever vegetable was seasonal for supper every day. It may not be the healthiest of all possible diets, but it was a very frugal diet.

Other potato recipes:
Potato Pancakes, or Latkes
4 cups grated potatoes (I never peel them. I scrub them clean using a plastic kitchen scrubber I keep just for this purpose. Steel pads with no soap added also work well)
1 onion, diced small
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons flour
2 eggs
pepper to taste

Scrub and grate the potatoes, put them in a sieve and press down, squeezing out the liquid (do this for better hash browns, too).
Combine in a medium bowl with onion, salt, flour, and pepper. Lightly beat the eggs, and stir them into the mix.
Heat the oil in a skillet. Quickly drop in a spoonful of the potato mixture and flatten it with the back of the spoon, making a pancake patty. Brown on one side, flip with pancake turner and brown lightly on the other.

This makes about two dozen. SErve with applesauce, pork, sour cream, or ketchup. Or eat them plain.

Colcannon
1 1/4 Lbs Green Cabbage, chopped
2 Cups Water
1 Tbsp Oil
1 1/4 Lbs cooked Potatoes, scrubbed & Quartered
1 Cup Chopped onions (Leeks i fyou have them)
1 Cup Milk
1 Pinch Ground Mace
Salt And Pepper To Taste
1/2 Cup Melted Butter

In a large pot simmer the cabbage covered in 2 cups of water and the oil for 10 minutes, or until soft. Drain, set aside and keep warm. Fry the onion until it begins to be shiny, then add the cooked potatoes and the milk and simmer until onions are cooked and warm.
Puree the mixture and add the cooked cabbage. Beat until well mixed. Season with mace, salt and pepper. Top with melted butter and serve

Note: You could use leftover mashed potatoes for this and just add milk, cooked onions, cooked cabbage and seasonings.

Potato Soup

Incidentally, at the time of the Potato Famine in Ireland, potatoes made up 80 percent of the average Irish peasant’s diet. The remaining 20 percent largely came from meat, milk, and eggs supplied by animals who were fed on a diet of… potatoes.
According to Washington STate Potatoes, “More than one million of Ireland’s 8 million inhabitants died of starvation; almost 2 million emigrated. The population of Ireland was reduced by almost one-fourth and has never regained its former numbers to this day.” 

Recipes Reposted at The Common Kitchen

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Just For Fun- for my pregnant friends

Why Pregnancy is a Terminal Condition:

terminal: “terminal, adj. 1. “Of, pertaining to, situated at or forming an end or boundary”
This is the end of life as you know it, and it marks a definite boundary in the timeline of your life:-)

2. “Growing or appearing at the end of a stem, branch, stalk, or similar part”
Have you looked at your profile in the mirror lately?=/

3. “Pertaining to or occurring at the end of a section or series: final”
See number 1

4. “pertaining to or occuring in a term or each term; appearing regularly or peridically.”

It does seem to occur in each of three terms, although the second half of this definition seems to apply to some of us more than others:-)

terminal, noun
2. ” An ornamental figure or object… that is situated at the end of another object”

Has anybody told you how cute you look when you’re pregnant?

3. “*elect.* a. A position in an electric circuit or device at which an electric connection is normally established or broken. b. A passive conductor at such a position used to facilitate the connection”
For several weeks after baby is due, we couldn’t be more passive about facilitating connections.

5. “(computer sci.)” an instrument through which data or information can enter or leave a computer.”
When pregnant, data mostly leaves this human computer.=)

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The Chestnut

A wee little nut lay deep in its nest
Of satin and brown, the softest and best,
And slept and grew while its cradle rocked—
As it hung in the boughs that interlocked.

Now, the house was small where the cradle lay,
As it swung in the winds by night and day;
For a thicket of underbrush fenced it round,
This lone little cot by the great sun browned.

This little nut grew, and ere long it found
There was work outside on the soft, green ground;
It must do its part, so the world might know
It had tried one little seed to sow.

And soon the house that had kept it warm
Was tossed about by the autumn storm;
The stem was cracked, the old house fell,
And the chestnut burr was an empty shell.

But the little nut, as it waiting lay,
Dreamed a wonderful dream one day,
Of how it should break its coat of brown,
And live as a tree, to grow up and down.

Second Year, October, from A Child’s Calendar Beautiful

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Charming, Inaccurate, But With a Point

“Factual or embroidered, all the stories linger like music in the mind, chants of the living charity that can exist and has existed between man and his voiceless brothers. It is perfectly true that Philip Neri used to say mass with a chipmunk perched on his shoulder. And if it is not perfectly true, it is rather charming to read that Petroc, a sixth-century abbot, took a splinter out of the eye of a dragon which came to him for help…
…We may believe only half the chronicles, but the very metaphors have a merciful point.”

Saint-Watching, by Phyllis McGinley

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Books read in September

I only finished three books this month, unfortunately. This is slightly ironic, considering how much of my time has been spent reading.

1) Castle on the Hill by Elizabeth Goudge ~ My second Goudge title. This one was written, and set, in World War II Britain. Sometimes books from this era can seem somewhat dated and overly dramatic with their sweeping passages about preserving Britain’s glories. This is because we know the “end of the story,” so to speak. We know that Britain was not defeated. People living in 1940, however, had no assurance of this fact. For them, it could have all been over within a few short months. They were not being vainly grandiose; they were facing the reality that they were in a war they hadn’t been well prepared for.
*steps off the soapbox* Uhm, back to the book. Goudge writes well and I was delighted with how she involved music in this story; including much discussion of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. This is a great way to win my approval. :-) This is not a story for younger readers, though, and even included bits this “older” reader did not like.

2) The Shining Company by Rosemary Sutcliff ~ My first Sutcliff title! I actually listened to this audio version of it while driving back and forth to school. It was excellent. I can see how her fiction could get formulaic, but I got completely engrossed in this story of early Scots trying to repel Saxon incursions. Sutcliff’s descriptions of this time period are full of life: there is nothing stilted or forced about them. Often there’s a great deal of focus on Roman Britain and Saxon Britain, but little on the in between times. This is a beautiful book about one of those times.
It is based on an actual piece of history and literature – The Gododdin. Fascinating stuff, really.

3) Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle ~ I like L’Engle, but I really did not care for this book. She is best when describing family life or detailing the Christian responsibility for creating good art (her Walking on Water is a favorite of mine); she suffers (or, rather, her readers do) when stretching beyond her scope to talk about speculative science or religion. Her theology is fuzzy and she allows evolutionary science to interfere with the beauty of God’s creation. Pity, because she does write so very well.

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September is National Preparedness Month

This post will remain on top for a few more days- please scroll down for new posts.
~
A list of Common Room posts on frugal preparations.
~Click on title for more.

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Giant Squid Caught On Film

Thanks to Memento Moron for this story, which does have its odd moments. Giant Squid captured on film in its natural habitat for the first time- very cool. But that’s not all that was captured.

“We believe this is the first time a grown giant squid has been captured on camera in its natural habitat,” said Kyoichi Mori, a marine researcher who co-authored a piece in Wednesday’s issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

The camera was operated by remote control during research at the end of October 2004, Mori told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Mori said the giant squid, purplish red like its smaller brethren, attacked its quarry aggressively, calling into question the image of the animal as lethargic and slow moving.

“Contrary to belief that the giant squid is relatively inactive, the squid we captured on film actively used its enormous tentacles to go after prey,” Mori said.

“It went after some bait that we had on the end of the camera and became stuck, and left behind a tentacle” about six yards long, Mori said.

Kubodera, also reached by the AP, said researchers ran DNA tests on the tentacle and found it matched those of other giant squids found around Japan.

“But other sightings were of smaller, or very injured squids washed toward the shore — or of parts of a giant squid,” Kubodera said. “This is the first time a full-grown, healthy squid has been sighted in its natural environment in deep water.”

Kubodera said the giant squid’s tentacle would not grow back, but the squid’s life was not in danger…”

It was healthy when they first sighted it, anyway. You can see the picture of how it ‘became stuck’ on the bait they left for it, and then lost a 20 foot long tentacle that won’t grow back in one of the pictures of the slideshow (click on the link in the title of this post)- it’s the bottom, right hand slide. Quite a nasty little hook for the tentacle to ‘become stuck on.’ Wonder who left that laying around?

“New Zealand’s leading authority on the giant squid, marine biologist Steve O’Shea, praised the Japanese team’s feat.

“Through sheer … determination the guy has gone on and done it,” said O’Shea, chief marine scientist at the Auckland University of Technology, who is not linked to the Japanese research.

O’Shea said he hopes to capture juvenile giant squid and grow them in captivity. He captured 17 of them five years ago but they died in captivity.”

How do you suppose he feels about the Endangered Species Act?

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