The humble mason jar

I needed some quart canning jars the other day, so my generous sister gifted some quart canning jars to me. I noticed a few were different. For comparison, I had Mr. TellBlast get my old (not quart) jars out of storage. They are blue. I have the accompanying old tin lids some where.

mason jars (1) cropped

Guess how old these are?

I was able to date the Ball jars as manufactured in the early 1900′s. Sara gave me some jars from Atlas, Kerr, and a couple other places, which I could only roughly date with the help of a bottle collector website.

I like the thought of drinking from an old jar and holding history in my hand.

See here to date your jars.

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Processing: Women + Food + Agriculture = Power of She

WFAN, farming

Bridget Holcomb, WFAN’s Executive Director, and Karen Washington, founder of BUGS and City Farms Market (NY), at the #WFAN2014 wrap session

[Pardon the interruption. My website moved webhost servers. I lost a few months of blog posts and my honey main page, but I think I'll live without bringing them back. Except for the Younkers building honey bee relocation. Losing that post hurts. The honey main page will return at some point, but since business is going well currently, I don't have an urgent need to fix this.]

I attended the Women, Food, and Agriculture Network conference #WFAN2014 this month. As I mentioned this past spring, I now consider myself a (van) farmer (look here for insight on that), so attending a food and ag conference seemed like a natural step.

As I spent this last week processing everything that occurred, my thoughts are now shaping up like this:

- Similar to home schooling and going to a conference about home schooling, or keeping bees and attending a honey producer convention, there was plenty of education and networking. What I really saw as different was the personal development courses. I attended Friday’s programming especially for the leadership workshop and it did not disappoint.

- The people attending the weekend were awesome! Usually there is some sense of competition, differences in opinion or theology, but here, everyone sincerely seemed united and encouraging.

- At some point, the participants who have smaller operations mentally shifted, just like I did, from ‘gardening’ to ‘farming.’ It seems that garden is a noun for the place where vegetables are grown and that farming is name of the occupation of the one who keeps the garden. I found the mental movement of food –> gardening –> farming –> agriculture to be powerful. It helps put our activities in context and makes relating everything in the world easier for me.

- I love food. Buy fresh and local, know your producer. That is all.

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gotta go back in time

Remember the movie Back to the Future? Or maybe the song by Huey Lewis and the News? I know! Call me old. It’s OK.

My system administrator and I decided to go back in time….before we had our last software and hosting update. A few features on the website were not working as they ought to, and we figured out how to go back in time. On accident. I will take this opportunity I need to bring some functionality back here and a few visual changes before moving on to the future.

If you are seeking your invoice, a contact form for lip balm, etc., I’m going to go out on a limb and tell you to call my cell phone, type an email, or send a LinkedIn message.

{have I ever mentioned how much I hate computers?}

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Solar Car Skills

Mr. TellBlast and I managed our college’s solar car back in the day. (The team’s adviser told me over the weekend that no one has raised as much money as I did.) Mr. TellBlast visits the solar car garage almost every time he’s on campus, and I think we’re both better people because of it.

When we hung out at the Stage 4 Checkpoint last weekend, we drove home and had a conversation of reflections, recollections, and lessons learned. I’ll give the negative, then the positive. There was only real one negative issue I remember from the solar car.

solar car

Here is where the interpersonal communications would be good.

What I learned from working on the solar car

  1. There are bad-hearted people out there. (In case you are wondering: They used to be in Earlham, now they are in St. Charles.)
  2. It takes talent to match up skills and jobs and personalities.
  3. Cold calling is not bad if people understand your cause.
  4. Desktop publishing — resizing images, leading, fonts, etc.
  5. Big vision + daily plan are more powerful together than separated.
  6. Public relations is a sticky business.
  7. The university is self-insured.
  8. Not everyone has the same work ethic that I do. Related: Finishing a job is important. Finishing well is a bonus in time crunches like a rayce.
  9. Interpersonal communication skills is necessary with a diverse group united for one cause.
  10. Do interesting things if you want an interesting life filled with lifelong memories.



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