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Monthly Archives: November 2010

Homemade vegan sausages

I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who didn’t like sausage. It’s a miracle that someone figured out a way to make the nasty bits of pig taste good. Lots of people don’t want to eat those nasty bits, though. Morningstar’s vegetarian sausages are very good. Like the real thing, I don’t think I’ve ever […]

Chocolate applesauce cake

For more than 50 years, this has been my favorite cake. My mother first started making it when I was in grade school. I’ve had it as a birthday cake more times than I’d care to count. But since today is Thanksgiving and tomorrow is my birthday, that seemed like occasion enough to make a […]


I’ve mentioned before on this blog how much I’ve enjoyed the Two Fat Ladies cooking show, which I’ve been watching on DVD. Mostly their cooking is far too meaty and too heart-stoppingly rich for me to want to cook or eat. But I watch them for inspiration, and for insight into the roots of American […]

Black Twig apples

Black Twig apples straight from the orchard I was watching an episode of the Two Fat Ladies cooking show last week (I’ve been working my way through the entire series on DVD), and they were making a dish with apples. One of the ladies said, “But don’t use Golden Delicious. They have no flavor.” Then […]

Winterscape returns

A rather violent storm blew through during the night. It was the strongest wind I’ve yet seen at the abbey. The rain was blowing sideways for a while, hitting the windows by the bucketful and running off in sheets. There was an impressive light show made by the lightning through the upstairs gothic window. Lily, […]

Typewriters rule!

Before computers came along, no possession was more important to me than my typewriter. I have been fascinated with typewriters — or anything with keyboards, really — for my entire life. I got my first typewriter when I was about 10 years old. My father even had an old touch-typing textbook, so I taught myself […]

The abbey organ

The organ at Acorn Abbey is getting up in years. It’s a Baldwin HT2, built around 1966. It has its aches and pains. The speakers sometimes pop because of dirty potentiometers that seem to need another cleaning with Deoxit, and that low pedal B-flat is clicking noticeably and needs new felt. I finally made a […]

Solar gain

The front door and hallway around 8:30 a.m. Building a house will make you crazy. But one of the advantages of new construction is the greater energy efficiency of current building codes. Stokes County’s insulation requirements, for whatever reasons, are stricter than surrounding counties. For example, the amount of ceiling insulation required will not fit […]

Time to make sauerkraut

You need cabbage, crocks, a scale, a shredder, and the right kind of salt Making sauerkraut is not my favorite chore. Shredding the cabbage is tedious, and bits of cabbage go everywhere. I did the job out on the deck to keep the mess out of the kitchen. I use Harsch crocks, which are made […]

The garden in November

Winter rye grass Back in October, I used the tiller to work 650 pounds of organic fertilizers into the garden area, then I sowed winter rye as a cover crop. The rye grass is doing well. Not only will it make a nice winter cover crop, it also should serve as a great source of […]