Posted by: David | September 16, 2007

Autumn Approaches

The sun heads south quickly now. Sunsets are earlier and earlier and work their way to the left (south) of our westerly windows.


The evening sky of September 13, 2007– looking south.

It was very cool this morning. Got down to 39 degrees last night- frost is right around the corner. After the Sunday morning dump run, decided to process the mustard seeds. Remember when I “cut the mustard” a few posts back? Well that mustard hung in the cellar for a week or so. I spread the plastic sheeting that formerly covered the firecode sheetrock out on the garage floor and proceeded to thresh the bunches of mustard plants. I stomped them, twisted them, wrung them, and shook them to get the seeds to pop out of their pods. It took some persistence. The first threshing yielded about a pint of seeds. I scooped them up into a large stainless steel bowl. Then I worked over the 4 bunches of plants again and got another cup and a half of seeds. The 3rd and final threshing consisted of whacking the plant bunches with a 2-foot long scrap of 2X4.

Two large stainless bowls and a light breeze comprise the winnowing apparatus.

Winnowing the seed is how most of the pod husks are removed, along with dust and other lightweight contaminants. The seeds themselves are small, dense, and spheroid. They fall down a foot or two from the small bowl into the large bowl, the lighter weight stuff being blown out of the falling stream. One must account for the variation of the breeze as one dumps from the small bowl to the larger bowl. It takes about 20 or 30 such passes to get the seeds cleaned out.

Had to pick 4 or 5 tiny worms out too. Yield- about a quart of seeds. That will make probably 2 or 3 times that volume of pretty hot prepared mustard.

After that project it was time for a bike ride. Hadn’t ridden for a couple of weeks due to the busy opening weekend at the college. The wife mentioned she’d noticed that someone had rebuilt the Rt. 114 cairn so I headed south for the mindless Henniker-Hillsborough loop. Got 3 hours of thinking done and came to no conclusions at all.

Yay! Thanks for rebuilding the cairn, who ever you are.

More stones are involved now.

Still 5 stones high.

Some buttressing stones at the base.

A total of 7 stones now. And a roundish one sitting behind and alone, looking out at the road.

I rode on down to Henniker and then to Hillsborough. There’s this weird electronics store in the center of Hillsborough called “Piexx”. What would anybody want with giant electronic stuff like this?

Maybe you’d want this if you’re filming a Dr. Who episode.

Continuing west, I decided to grab a bite at McDonalds. Filet-O-Fish and a small Coke, $3.99.  Sad to say I remember when a burger at McD’s cost 19 cents. Just before McDonalds is a plant where they (Osram, a division of Sylvania?) make light bulbs for the automotive industry. They had a large US flag on the wall next to their security camera. Maybe they got a picture of me taking a picture of their nicely displayed flag and well-trimmed shrubbery.


On the way back I found some tossed CDs. 3 of them. Each and every one crap and scratched up to the point of being unrecognizable in my computer.

Found 3 CDs, all CRAP.

Got back around 3 as expected. The wife was hoping for some harvest help. We spread the aformentioned plastic sheet out under one loaded apple tree and took turns climbing and shaking the branches. Neither Oliver nor the horses cared much for the tree shaking or the sound of the apples hitting the plastic sheet. Lots of snorting and barking. Gathered up the meager squash harvest and the wife got about 13 gallons of tomatoes collected.

Autumn comes this Friday.



  1. Yay for the cairn rebuilder!!

  2. How tall is the complete cairn? And can you tell the difference between your mustard and the boughten kind?

    I did not know there was so much work and interest in mustard. On the shelves, here, in a supermarket, you’d see a dozen different kinds of mustard, but (the family has always been in the restaurant and hotel business) I have never learnt to eat in a civilized way and I simply gobble down anything that is on my plate, especially if I myself put it there.

    I am only more careful if there is a chance of little bichitos. I can see them really well. The other day I saw one on a black olive. It did not have any feet, but it had two antlers clearly visible, though its complete size was about that of this semi-colon ;

    The Route 114 Cairn is no more … (scroll down about halfway). It had been about 3 or 4 feet tall.

    Yes it’s easy to tell the difference between boughten and freshly prepared mustard, though it takes a few days for the fresh stuff to “settle down”. It’s a very spicy concoction, coarse grained and substantial. It would be used sparingly else one’s sinuses would catch fire.

    I think the bichitos add nutritive value to our foods. Though I would prefer that they are cooked. I’m surprised to hear that you are “gobbler”. My image of you from your writing is that of a very refined individual. 🙂

    I don’t have the energy for my common rave about mustard and the other wonderful brassicas. I’m taking it very easy today. It’s very hot and steamy, so I spent most of the day indoors in my cellar, where it is cool and watched a stupid movie on TV.

  3. Rather than refined, most people consider me a walking encyclopedia. It is incredible. They give me a leather bound Don Quixote for Christmas.

    As to cooking and eating, (I must have told you already a dozen times) the family is and has always been in the hotel or restaurant business. It is a funny fact that waiters and people employed in similar jobs learn how to classify their customers or employers at a glance : income, profession, family background, even cultural level, all before you have even taken your seat at that sweet little road side restaurant.

    Maybe that’s it. I would know how to avoid getting rated as a paleta (=hill billy?)

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