Friday, December 31, 2010

Roundup Week Wrapup

Since tomorrow is Mystery Person Contest day, we wrap up Roundup Week with this photograph. This is another picture from 1939 at the Quarter Circle U ranch in Montana. If you look at the Cowboy's shirt pocket, you see a little round tab hanging out. This would be the tab on a pouch of Bull Durham tobacco. This was a little bag of cigarette tobacco, that had rolling papers attached. When I was growing up, just about all the cowboys, ranchers and farmers smoked Bull Durham. Store rolled cigarettes were a lot more expensive, so the guys would roll their own.

What is he eating you ask? Well, he is eating a Rocky Mountain Oyster. Don't know what a Rocky Mountain Oyster is?  . . . google it.

OK, I normally show photographs here, and not old lithographs, but when looking through photographs to use this week, I found this old lithograph of a cowboy. I really liked it, so wanted to share it with you today.

Just a reminder, tomorrow is Mystery Person Contest day. If you are a new visitor, this is how it works. I put up a picture of someone with no other information. Whoever figures out who it is first, wins. If no one figures out who it is in 24 hours, then I win. If I win, then I make a big victory breakfast, and flaunt it to the world. My Arch-Nemesis, the Evil Nate Maas usually plays, and has had some small degree of success in the past, but tomorrow will be the day I defeat him. Oh yes, tomorrow he will be defeated.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cowboys Around Campfire

Good Thursday Morning to you all! I hope you are enjoying roundup week as much as I am. I love these old photographs of real men living the Cowboy Way. This picture is  classic, and shows cowboys on the range, sitting around a campfire. I think perhaps part of the problem with our Nation today is too few men sitting around campfires. More cowboying, and less TV watching, I say.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cowboy by Bunkhouse

Today's Old Picture was taken at the Quarter Circle U Ranch in Big Horn County in Montana. The photo was taken in 1939. The cowboy is enjoying a smoke in front of the bunkhouse. One thing you can pretty much bet on is that he rolled that cigarette himself. I can remember growing up in the country back in the 60's, the ranch folks would never think about buying a store-made cigarette, they all rolled their own from a little pouch of Bull Durham. 

Funny thing happened to me yesterday. There are a bunch of old timers in the little town I live in who sit around and drink coffee. They used to sit in the coffee shop, and smoke cigarettes and drink coffee. I had noticed that they stopped going to the coffee shop, and then found that they had started gathering across the street at Ross's welding shop. Ross has a coffee pot, so they go over there and drink his coffee. It is cold in the welding shop so he has a little open flame propane heater set up for them and a little table. When I was in the welding shop yesterday, I noticed that all the old timers were smoking roll-your-own Bugler cigarettes instead of ready made ones. I am guessing that the old timers are getting hit by the higher prices such that they are now drinking free coffee and rolling their own cigarettes. I am wondering what a pack of cigarettes costs today. I have been told that a little pouch of chewing tobacco, that one would expect to be a dollar or two, is now up to costing $9.48. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Branding Calf

Today's picture was taken in 1939 on the Three Circle Ranch in Montana. It shows the cowboys branding a calf. Branding was started back in the days of the Open Range to allow ranchers to identify ownership of their cattle. Given that it is the "Three Circle" ranch, I assume they stamp each calf with three circles.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Working Cowboy

Good Monday morning to you all. I hope a lot of you get this week off from work, to rest up a little for the new year. Roundup week continues with this picture of a working cowboy on horseback. The picture was taken 1939 at the Three Circle Roundup in Montana. I really love this picture, and believe it portrays what really made this country great. 

I noticed that yesterday we had a real cowboy commenting on the picture, Mr. 2lazy4u, of the 2lazy4u livestock and literacy company. When I saw his handle and company name, I recognized the genuine Cowboy Wit, and realized we were dealing with the real thing. Hopefully he will continue to share a little of his Cowboy Wit and Wisdom with us.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Roundup Week

About the only thing I like better than Bandits is an Authentic Cowboy, so I would like to welcome you to Roundup Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at old pictures of a fading if not lost way of life . . . the Cowboy Way. This picture was taken in 1939 near Powder Springs, Montana. It was taken at the Three Circle Roundup camp. Notice the straps and buckles on the man's boots . . . these are to hold his spurs on. The furry things he is sitting on are his chaps. You can also see his lariat near his boots. He looks to be having some grub in the mess tent. Notice in the background large white bags on the table. These are probably flour, red beans, and maybe even rice. There was of course no refrigeration out on the range, so the cowboys diet consisted of meat (which was readily available from the herd) and things that could be made from dry ingredients . . . biscuits, tortillas, red beans, cornbread, and maybe rice.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Butcher

Merry Christmas to you all. I hope you have a blessed day, and enjoy some good times with family. We will not have a mystery person contest today, but will resume the mystery person contest next Saturday.

As we have learned this week, Pancho Villa was more than just a bandit and revolutionary leader, he was in fact the de facto government of northern Mexico. As such, he had lots of responsibilities in addition to your normal raiding, pillaging and fighting. As such, he was in need of a right hand man to focus solely on the dirty work of banditry. He found a perfect man for the job . . . Rodolfo Fierro. The peons of Mexico affectionately referred to him simply as "The Butcher", and I don't think the name had anything to do with expertise in a meat market. No, Fierro was the ruthless bandit that allowed Villa to somewhat keep his hands clean, when necessary.

When trying to run a bandit operation, one of the key challenges is to keep the bandits outfitted and fed. This was typically done by raiding cattle or other creative activities. Supplies were always tight, so one of the particular challenges of a bandit operation was what to do with captured prisoners. Villa found Rodolfo to be particularly adept at handling this problem. In one case, Villa's forces had achieved a stunning military victory. One result of the victory was the capture of about 600 Federales. Villa put the Federales in Rodolfo's care. Rodolfo got them all together. He gave them a choice. They could either join up with Villa's bandits, or they could return home to a peaceful life with their families. Those that chose to join Villa's forces were brought into the ranks. Those that wanted to return home were marched out to a field. Rodolfo put them in groups of ten. He then would choose a group and tell them to run on home. As they ran, he would personally shoot each one as they ran away. In one day he was able to shoot each of the 600 prisoners. One prisoner was able to successfully get away. After all the shooting, Rodolfo's wrist got weary, and he paused for  a moment to stretch his hand. That was just the time needed for one of the running prisoners to escape being shot. In retrospect, choosing to join Villa was the wiser choice. Perhaps if faced with such a choice, one should choose to join Villa's forces, and then look for an opportunity one day to defect when no one is watching.

Another way that Villa would supply his army was to basically confiscate property. There was a wealthy Caucasian landowner in northern Mexico by the name of Benton. Villa had his men go in and confiscate Benton's large ranch. Benton was pretty upset and went and demanded a meeting with Villa. Things got pretty heated in the meeting, and it is said that Benton drew his gun on Villa. Rodolfo immediately took Benton outside and shot him. Villa issued  press release describing how his men heroically averted an assassination attempt on Villa. People in the US and abroad were outraged, and immediately demanded Rodolfo's head. In typical bandit fashion, Villa responded by promoting Rodolfo to General. 

With Rodolfo now general, he was given part of Villa's army, and was involved in a major battle with Federale forces. Rodolfo was defeated in grand fashion, but survived the battle. Villa called Rodolfo in, and demoted him for the loss. The meeting became very animated, and Rodolfo pulled his revolver and took at shot at Villa. In retrospect, this turned out to be a poor choice. Rodolfo was disarmed, taken outside, and shot. 

Perhaps the lesson we learn from both the Benton and Rodolfo meetings with Villa is that if you ever find yourself in a disagreement with a Bandit leader in HIS office, you best not pull a revolver on him. It would be wiser to bide your time, leave peacefully and then plan an ambush. In fact, Villa was eventually killed by an ambush, likely done by some of his disgruntled bandits. His last words were reported to be, "Don't let it end like this, tell them I said something."

Rodolfo Fierro and Pancho Villa in happier times.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Sad Saga of Maximo Castillo

I have to say I have very much enjoyed researching Mexican Bandits and the Revolution of 1910. It is a particularly hard topic to get your hands around, as the players and alliances were changing on an almost constant basis. It is hard to know who the good guys were, and who the bad guys were, but it was pretty clear that there was no shortage of innocent victims, which brings us to today's picture of Maximo Castillo. Castillo was one of Pancho Villa's men in the north. In looking at the picture, I am not sure I like Castillo's outfit. To me, it is almost like he is trying to hard, with the feather in his sombrero, and the over-the-top beard. Perhaps he is trying to make up for other Bandit shortcomings by his dress and appearance.

Anyway, Castillo was one of the Bandit leaders under Pancho Villa. Somewhere along the way Pancho and Castillo had a falling out, and Castillo's band broke away from Villa. Villa was not only the military leader in the north, he was also more or less the de facto government of the north. One of the many things Pancho Villa was responsible for was the northern railroads. Shortly after Castillo's band separated from Villa, there was a tragic train accident. The event occurred in northern Mexico in the Cumbres Tunnel near Juarez. A freight train entered the tunnel, and was dynamited in the middle of the tunnel. The train was left in the tunnel, and the following day a passenger train entered the tunnel at full speed, not knowing that the other train wreckage was in the middle of the tunnel. The passenger train crashed into the disabled freight train, and caught on fire and exploded. All 55 on board were killed, including ten Americans. Immediately, Pancho Villa issued a press release stating that Maximo Castillo and his band of Renegade Bandits had planned and executed the operation to destroy the train. Villa stated that he would hunt down, and then publicly hang Castillo and his men. Villa indicated that he would be sending VIP invitations to American dignitaries to come and watch the hanging. Tempers were immediately flared in northern Mexico, as most people at least knew someone killed on the train. So, Castillo was a marked man. Upon learning of Villas accusations, Castillo and his men made a run for the border. They were able to reach the border and cross over into the United States. Upon safely reaching the United States, Castillo and his men were captured by US army officials and placed in detention of Fort Bliss.

Castllo is the Bandit on the left, shown behind barbed wire.

Above, Castillo is pictured with his American Guards. Castillo looks none to happy in the photograph, but I notice that he is enjoying a fine cigar.

So, once Castillo is captured he vehemently proclaims his innocence. He said that Pancho Villa had blown up his own train to turn the population against Castillo, and to give Villa a pretense to hunt down and kill Castillo as punishment for crossing him, and to serve as an example to other bandits who might think about challenging Villa.

OK, now remember that the whole purpose of the revolution was to unseat Diaz. The revolution was successful, and Madero was installed as president. Very quickly the bandits became unhappy with Madero, and the revolution continued, but this time with the goal to kill Madero. Madero's palace was over run, and Huerta installed himself as president. Very quickly Villa and Huerta had a falling out, and Villa once again was part of a revolution to oust Huerta. It was at this period of time that the Cumbres Tunnel train disaster occurred. 

This caused great confusion in the US as to what should be done with Castillo. Castillo had broken no laws in the US, so could not be tried in the United States. The US government did not recognize the legitimacy of the Huerta government, so they could not turn Castillo over to Huerta. While the US had under-the-table relations with Villa, he was a Bandit, and simply turning Castillo over the Villa would be a death sentence without even a semblance of a fair trial. So the US did not know what to do with Castillo.

Interestingly enough, I spent the day researching this yesterday, and was unable to find any information on how this was resolved, and what happened to Huerta. The trail just ran completely cold.

So, we are left to speculate on who really blew up the train. As for me, I feel that it was likely Pancho Villa. I would think that Castillo would have been seeking to keep a lower profile after crossing Villa. My bet would be that Pancho Villa did it to give him an excuse to seek vengeance on Castillo. If any readers have any information on how this ended, I would love to hear it.

Domestic Update:

In my continuing quest to become a Gentleman Farmer, I am pleased to announce that I completed fabrication of my new lettuce growing system. The system will be able to grow 350 heads of lettuce at a time, year round. I now have the  seeds planted and am waiting on them to sprout. I will keep you posted on how this new system works out.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pascual Orozco

Bandit Week continues here at OPOD with this picture of Pascual Orozco. Don't let his boyish look and dapper suit mislead you, Pascual was pure bandit, through and through. As a start, during the Mexican Revolution of 1910, he was an insurrecto general, and Pancho Villa actually reported TO him. If that does not give you bandit cred, I don't know what does. I actually wish the bandits had created some sort of organization chart, as I find it very difficult to sort through who was on which side during the revolution, and who reported to whom. I guess they did not do this, as it appears to have been a loose knit operation, with allegiances constantly changing. In any event, it appears that Pascual was higher in the organization than Pancho Villa. Perhaps to better convince you of his Bandit Worthiness, I should show the following picture of him.

In this picture he literally defines the Bandit Chique look. With this outfit he would be equally at home attending a cock fight, dancing the night away at one of San Antonio's finest night clubs, or leading a cross-border cattle raid with the Texas Rangers in hot pursuit. His fine gold watch ensures that he is never late for any engagement, and that he shows up looking polished. Note he is sporting the bandit's best friend, the Colt 45 peacemaker, a model 94 winchester, and ammunition belts for BOTH weapons, with enough cartridges for any event that might come his way. I like to consider Pascual Orozco the Gentleman Bandit, able to adapt to almost any situation.

OK, a little more background on Pascual. As a young man, he made a wise investment in a gold mine that made him a very wealthy fellow. He then took some of his money, and developed gold mines of his own. This was successful, and he ended up a man of significant wealth. With that wealth, he was able to not only outfit himself, but was able to provide financing for the insurrecto movement. This financing, combined with his daunting appearance, led to him quickly moving up in the revolution hierarchy. Early in the movement, we was a gun runner, purchasing guns in the United States, and then transporting them to Mexico to help arm the insurrection. He was opposed to the Diaz government, and supported Madero's call to overthrow the Diaz government. He was a general in the insurrection, and achieved a number of notable victories over the Federales. After one victory, he stripped the dead Federales, and sent the uniforms to Diaz with a note, "Here are the wrappers, now please send some more Tamales". That has to be one of the best Bandit quotes of all times.

When the insurrection was successful, and Madero was made president, Pascual thought he would be put in charge of the new Mexican Army. Madero instead put Carranza in charge. This did not sit well with Pascual, and he was also upset that Madero did not institute land reforms, which had been one of the main reasons for the revolution. He then helped organize a rebellion against Madero. He helped finance the revolt with his own wealth, as well as organizing a cattle rustling operation where he would steal cattle, sell them in Texas, buy arms and then bring them back into Mexico. He was instrumental in bringing down the Madero government, and supported Huerta as president to replace Madero.

When Huerta's government fell, Pascual went into exile in the United Sates. While in the United States he immediately started making plans to retake Mexico. These plans ran afoul of the U.S. neutrality laws, so Pascual was arrested. He escaped from jail in El Paso, and made a run for the border. Along the way, he decided to raid a ranch in West Texas. The ranch owner organized a posse of Texas Rangers, and they overtook Pascual near Lobo, Texas. A gun battle ensued in which Pascual was killed.

A fitting end, I say, as a true Bandit should die with his boot on in battle, and never of old age.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Francisco Madero

This week we are looking at Mexican Bandits, and in particular, the 1910 Mexican Revolution. The three key men in this revolution were Francisco Madero (pictured above), Emileano Zapata, and Pancho Villa. Zapata was the commanding general in the south, Pancho Villa the commanding general in the north, and Madero was more of a political leader. The revolution achieved early success, and Diaz was deposed, and Madero was made president. The picture above shows Madero early on in the revolution. I think his attire is fitting for a Mexican Revolutionary leader. I note, however he is not wearing a sombrero. Of potentially more concern is his total lack of visible firepower on his person. Perhaps these are early indicators of a problem.

Make note of Madero's appearance in the photo below, after he became president:

He is sporting a three piece business suit, with a watch chain. Certainly if I were Zapata and Villa, I would feel betrayed by this attire. Well, the whole purpose of the revolution, at least in the minds of Zapata and Villa was land reform. The land in Mexico was worked by the peons, but owned by a small group of families . . . almost an aristocracy. Zapata and Villa felt the peons should be able to own land. When Madero became president, he did not institute the anticipated land reforms, and the people felt betrayed. This did not end well for Madero.

In 1913 the military was totally frustrated with Madero and staged an overthrow of the Madero government. Madero's palace was overrun, he was captured and then executed.

Personally, I feel if Madero had remained more of a bandit and less of a politician, he would have had a better chance of holding onto power. After becoming president, he tried to form a coalition between the political class, the land class and the revolutionary movement. It ended in disaster for him.

Domestic Update:

Handsome Jack continues to try and get the attention of Lovie. The picture below shows Handsome and Lovie on the woodpile, with Juaquin in the backgroung.

After I took this picture, Handsome Jack jumps down off the woodpile and puts on quiet a show for Lovie.

Lovie still showed no interest. That is Miss Ivy June in the background, watching the show.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Domestic Update: SPECIAL EDITION

We interrupt the old photos to bring you this special Domestic Update. In my continuing quest to become a Gentleman Farmer, I have achieved a major milestone in harvesting my first Ripe Tomatoes. I ask you, are they not lovely? Mrs. PJM will take part of the harvest to work tomorrow to try and sell at her underground farmer's market. How would you price such lovely, all natural, vine ripened, no pesticide beauties? Two for a dollar I say.

Emiliano and his Men

Good Monday morning to you all. Hopefully some of you have this week off and can enjoy a little time unwinding from the busy year. Bandit Week continues here on OPOD with this picture of Emiliano Zapata and his men. Zapata was one of the most famous of the Mexican Bandits/Revolutionaries/Rebels/Freedom Fighters. He is pictured seated in the middle. Zapata and his men were part of the 1910 Mexican Revolution against President Diaz. Zapata was in charge of the Army of the South, and Pancho Villa was responsible for the Army of the North. So, initially Zapata, Madero, and Pancho Villa were united in their efforts to overthrow President Diaz. They were successful, and then Madero was put in charge. However, Zapata became unhappy with the lack of reform instituted by Madero, and Zapata then turned against him. Zapata led the revolutionary movement in the south for several years very successfully. Then he was betrayed and ambushed by two Mexican Generals and was killed. Zapata is most remembered for his motto, "It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees".

I really like the picture above. First I like the blatant display of firepower, as you would expect in a picture of Bandits. Second, I really like the traditional Bandit hats adorned by the men. I am concerned that one man is attending the Bandit meeting in a Bowler hat. I mean, lets say that the Federales raided the Bandit meeting. Who would you naturally suspect had tipped them off . . . the man with the big sombrero, or the man in the bowler hat? I suggest that if you attend a bandit meeting, proper headgear is a must.

Ah, a classic photo of the quintessential Mexican Bandit, Emiliano Zapata.  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mexican Bandit

This week we are going to move South of the Border and look at Mexican Bandits and Revolutionaries. What better way to start the week than with this picture of the quintessential Revolutionary . . . José Doroteo Arango Arámbula, aka Francisco Villa, aka Pancho Villa. I like this picture of him because of the classic Bandoliers over his sholders forming an "X" across the chest. I would have preferred he have more actual weaponry in view, but I guess you can not have it all. Also, a little wider brim on the hat would have been nice, giving a little more of a sombrero look.

I find Mexican History to be fascinating. The 1800's and early 1900's appear to be one revolution after another. The central government would be corrupt, and then populist revolutionaries would appear to challenge the central government, but often times these revolutionaries were just as corrupt as the central government. It is interesting to try and figure out why the US evolved into a more stable government and society in the same time period. 

Wow, was that a Wild and Crazy Mystery Person Contest yesterday. The guesses were coming fast and furious. It was all I could do to keep up with all the contest entries. By midmorning I was becoming more confident that no one would get it, as it appeared my Arch-Nemesis the Evil Nate Maas had been stumped. While I did not get to have my victory breakfast this morning, I will admit that since no one had guessed it by lunch, I did have a splendid victory lunch.

I made that BBQ Brisket, and it was about the best I ever had. EAM made the potato salad and home made bread, and Mrs. PJM made the pinto beans. Now, zoom in and look at that piece of Brisket. The meat displays the highly sought after "Smoke Ring" which is the red area along the outside of the meat. I bet you have never seen such a big smoke ring. It goes half way into the meat. I have a secret formula for making such a large smoke ring. Unfortunately, I will be unable to share this most important secret with you, lest the Evil Nate Maas steals the recipe. 

There continues to be strange goings on out in Chickie Town. Handsome Jack's construction project is moving forward. He has the whole area cordoned off, but I was able to sneak in and snap a few pictures.

It looks like a large flat construction pad has been assembled.

In the picture below you can see Handsome Jack sitting on the solar panels watching over the construction site.

I will keep you posted as I learn more of what that bird is up to.

I don't have more pictures from Chickie Town right now. The chickies are molting right now, and don't want their pictures taken. They are a mess, as they have lost their feathers. Egg production is down from 9-10 eggs a day to about 3 eggs a day. Egg production is hurt when the chickies molt, and also when the days are short. I have a light on a timer in the Chickie Coop. If I turn it on, it will help get egg production back up, but if you use artificial light to increase egg production, the chickies do not live as long. So, as long as they produce enough for us to eat, I will leave the light off.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mystery Person Contest

Today is Saturday, and that means it is Mystery Person Contest time. I post the picture, you have to guess who it is. No hints and no help from me.

We have lots of new visitors today. Blogspot made our site their Notable Site of the Day, and it has generated lots of new visitors, so I hope the Evil Nate Maas will be on his best behavior.

Let the Contest Begin!

Friday, December 17, 2010


Today's picture is from 1939, and was taken in Jasper Country, Iowa. The box on the tractor is a radio, and it looks like bailing wire has been set up an an antenna. Interesting set up, but I am surprised you could hear the radio over the tractor noise.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

American Farmer

Is this a great picture or what? To me, this is a picture of what made America great. The picture was taken in 1939 near Ralls, Texas. It is hard for me to tell whether this is a young man or a teenager. I love the coveralls, and the hat. A classic American Farmer.

Domestic Update:

There is definitely something going on out behind Chickie Town. That peacock is up to no good, but I have not been able to get to the bottom of it. Handsome Jack for some reason is now going by the name "Tyler Durden". If I ask one of the men on the equipment what they are doing, they say, "Ask Tyler Durden".

I am at work all day, so it is hard for me to keep track of the situation. Maybe this weekend I can figure out what is going on.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tractor in Field

Today's picture was taken in Jasper County, Iowa. It was taken in 1940. It sounds like we have some real tractor experts on the site, so perhaps someone can give us some more info on the tractor, and the piece of equipment behind the tractor.

Domestic Update:

I have been noticing some strange goings on out in Chickie Town. I noticed a couple of times Handsome Jack was not around. Then I started watching him more carefully, and noticed that he has been flying over the fence and going to town. He stays gone 30 minutes to an hour at a time, and then comes back home.

Then yesterday, I started noticing what looks like some heavy equipment out behind Chickie Town. I have a bad feeling that peacock is up to something, but not sure what it is yet. We will have to keep our eyes on it. He is playing this one pretty close to the vest.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wabash Farms

Today's picture was taken in 1938, and shows a farmer on a tractor in the field on the Wabash Farms in Indiana. On pictures like this, I am always surprised the farmer has not rigged up some sort of shade. It is an old tractor, but you would think you could rig up a piece of burlap to serve as shade.

Sorry for not getting a picture yesterday. I have a 30 minute window in the morning to post the picture, and if things are not working, I have to move on with the day. Hopefully the technical glitch has been resolved.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Technical Difficulties

I am having technical difficulties getting a picture to post this morning. Sorry, and will get things going again tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Old Tractor

Today's picture is from 1943, and shows men working on a tractor. I really like this picture because I like the tractor and the pickup in the background. On the farm I grew up on, there was a tractor just like this one, and also several pickups like the one in the background. Really takes me back to a simpler time. I would love to find an old pickup just like that.

Domestic Update:

Once again, no pictures of Chickie Town today. The girls are all molting, and I think they would appreciate some privacy until they get their good feathers back. Also it was really windy and cold yesterday, so not much chance of getting any good pictures.

I have been busy in the greenhouse. I am taking the assorted small systems out, to make room for the new large systems. The greenhouse will have two systems. One system is a bucket system that will have room for 64 vine type plants. The buckets are good for tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, bell peppers and broccoli. Then there is a tray system that will have room to grow 350 leaf type plants. This system will grow lettuce, spinach, and other greens. My goal is to have the new systems completely installed over the Christmas break. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mystery Person Contest

Welcome to the mystery person contest. This morning you have to identify BOTH men in the picture. May the best man win (or woman).

Friday, December 10, 2010

Street Market

Today's picture was taken in 1908, and it shows a street market in Richmond Virginia. Wow, this guy really has some produce, doesn't he. I believe I see watermelons, cantelope, corn, and maybe potatoes. I would be willing to bet the shopping experience was infinitely better than at Super Walmart. Those watermelons are huge. You have never had a real watermelon if you have not bought one from a farmer on the side of the road.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mexican Market

Today's picture is from the early 1900's and it shows a street market in Mexico where people are selling vegetables. I can remember going to Mexico in the early 60's and it looked much the same. I believe most food was bought and sold through individuals coming together at a "market", not in traditional grocery stores.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Street Peddler in Cuba

I don't know about you all, but I am really enjoying peddler week. You don't see street peddlers in most parts of the US any more. Maybe a few cities have people who sell food from carts on the streets, but that is about all. These peddlers were really entrepreneurial, and were actually small businessmen. They had to sell their wares, or they did no eat. I like how this guy is selling rugs and brooms. When you carry your entire inventory with you, product selection is probably key. I can see that brooms and rugs make sense selling together. You sell the rug, and then say, "Would you like to purchase a fine broom to protect your new investment?" Then probably most of the profit margin is on the brooms.

Domestic Update:

Yesterday after supper I had a wonderful watermelon for dessert. It was delicious. While the watermelon grew well in the greenhouse, I don't think I will try that again. The vine starts taking over, you don't get a lot of  fruit for the space it takes up, and the blooms have to be hand pollinated, which is difficult on watermelons.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Street Vendor

Good Tuesday morning to you all. I hope you are having a nice Christmas Season, and not getting to stressed out with shopping. Today, we feature a picture of a street vendor in San Antonio, Texas. The picture was taken in 1939. The man is selling leather goods.

Domestic Update:

That pile of vegetables I showed on Sunday . . . I made that stir fry. The chicken was grilled outside over pecan wood, and then sliced, and stir fried in a little olive oil and wine with the veggies. Boy that was good.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Husk Peddler

This picture was taken in the late 1800's in Mexico and shows a Corn Husk Peddler. It looks like he has a heavy load, but corn husks do not weigh that much, so the load was probably not that bad. What are corn husks used for you ask? Why they are used in making Tamales. The tamales are wrapped in corn husks. Have I mentioned that I know a thing or two about Tamales?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Domestic Update: SPECIAL EDITION

Domestic Update: SPECIAL EDITION

If you read this morning's Domestic Update you learned I was spurned by a certain Women's magazine that will remain nameless. So, I decided to get on with my life. I drove the little tractor out to the Bean Barn and picked the above pictured bountiful harvest. Is that a watermelon in the back of the picture you ask? Why yes, that is a fresh watermelon picked on December 5. What magazine would not want to feature such a wonderful December Harvest on their cover.

I am contemplating starting a new magazine called Country Persons. This magazine would not display sexist or racists policies, and would be open to stories on all Country Persons.

OK, tomorrow Mrs. PJM and I are going to make MOASF (Mother of All Stir Fries). We will start with some fresh organic chicken. We will marinate the chicken in wine, vinegar, olive oil, rosemary, basil, and thyme. We have one of those vacuum marinaters that will marinate chicken in 5 minutes. Then we will grill the chicken outside over pecan wood. We will then cut the chicken thinly, and stir fry it in olive oil with the above vegetables. The stir fry will have more wine and spices stirred in. We will then enjoy out on the balcony with fresh watermelon. This will potentially serve as a feature article in our new Country Person magazine.

They will Rue the Day. Oh yes, they will Rue the Day.

Mexican Peddler

Today's picture is from 1910, and it shows a Mexican Peddler. The man is selling water bottles which he carries on his back. This picture reminds me of our visits to Mexico in the 1960's. In the squares in towns there were Markets, and in the markets people had booths, and they sold things . . . fruit, vegetables, meat, leather goods and so forth. You name it, and someone would probably be selling it. I think back at that time most things in Mexico were exchanged through these markets, not retail stores. Actually, it was a unique and enjoyable shopping experience.

Domestic Update: 

OK, I know I promised you a Chickie Town update today, but I did not get any new pictures. Things were very busy around the house yesterday as we made Tamales.

Some of you may not be aware that I am generally known around the world as the "Tamale King". I get emails every day from all over the world from people with Tamale questions. You see, I built this WEB site that shows how to make tamales. The WEB site is full of witty and heartwarming information on making tamales. It gets a lot of visitors, and then those visitors write with questions. 

About this time of year each year, I start getting hundreds and hundreds of emails from women. The emails come from all over, but they are virtually identical. The woman says that she was somewhere and smelled something or heard something that reminded her of her grandmother (or mother in some cases). That she was then taken back to memories of making tamales with her grandmother around Christmas. The email then goes on to describe  all the smells, sounds, feelings and sights the person remembers about making tamales, and about the grandmother. The person then says she went on the internet to try and find a recipe for making tamales, and found my site. When reading my site she is really brought to tears as she thinks of her and her grandmother making tamales. She then describes how the site made her cry and cry.

The woman then describes how she is restarting the family tradition of making tamales at Christmas, as she wants her girls, or granddaughters to one day have such warm and wonderful memories of her.

So, my WEB site is helping bring families closer together, and helping people think back to old family traditions. Just one of the little things I do to make the world a better place.

OK, so I have gotten side tracked. Well, I guess the people over at Country Woman magazine were interested in doing a story on Tamale Making Traditions. So, they end up on my WEB site and call me and say they want to do a feature article on Tamale Making and were really touched by my WEB site. Then they realized that I was a man, and so they said the story could not be about ME making tamales, it would have to be about a woman making tamales. I responded that they should broaden their horizons, and that they were starting to sound like a Sexist organization. I suggested that they should consider an article on me making tamales, and the cover of the magazine could have a picture of me on my tractor driving out to the Bean Barn to collect the ingredients for the tamales. They responded that that would not be a good match for their demographics, and that possibly I should contact Tractor Dan's Farm Implement magazine with my idea. I told them I had already contacted Tractor Dan, but he thought my tractor would be too small to be of interest to his demographic. She said she was sorry, but in any case my idea was not going to fly in her magazine. She then had the gall to suggest that perhaps there would be a woman in my household that could be featured in the article making the tamales. I told her to "Pound Sand", and ended the conversation.

Well, Mrs. PJM was walking through at about the time I was telling the person to Pound Sand and hanging up the phone. Mrs. PJM asked who I was telling to Pound Sand this time. I told her nobody. Mrs. PJM claims I got a sheepish look on my face, so she demands details. I told her the folks at the magazine had called and then shot down my idea of a cover shot of me on the tractor going out to the greenhouse to get ingredients for tamales. Mrs. PJM suggested that perhaps a better response would have been for me to suggest that Mrs. PJM be featured in the article. I told here it was MY website. She responded that I had never made tamales in my life . . . that I eat them and SHE makes them. Have you ever noticed how women always throw little things like that in your face in an argument? They never see the bigger picture, that it was my witty and heartwarming stories that caught the magazines attention to begin with. Nonetheless, Mrs. PJM insists I call them back.

So, we get them on the phone again, and they describe what they are trying to do, and what the article would be. They were interested in a story showing generations of women getting together and making tamales for a tamale party. They decided that my mom, Mrs PJM, and EAM my daughter could be three generations making tamales. Then there would be other friends and family over, helping in the process. Now, they said they were interested in the story, but could not commit to doing it. There would be several factors determining whether they did it, and one of the most important factors would be if we could come up with a set of photographs of magazine quality. They were not quiet that blunt about it, but reading between the lines you could see that they could only do the story if there were good pictures of happy well adjusted people making tamales. Luckily, none of Mrs. PJM's tatoos show. JUST KIDDING . . . Mrs. PJM has no tattoos.

At this point I sort of get interested again, as I have always considered myself somewhat of a world class food photographer. I have always felt I had what it takes to play in the Big Leagues, and this would be my chance to show my stuff, by doing the photography work that was good enough for them to use in the magazine.

So, anyway, everyone got together yesterday to make the tamales, and I took the pictures. We now will send the pictures in, and the magazine will decide if they want to do the article. Below, I show one of the pictures I took. This is the Money Shot. Be sure to click on it to get a good look.

In the mean time, I will be enjoying the 15 dozen tamales they made yesterday.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cobbler School

Today's picture was taken in 1899, and it shows a Cobbler School where young men are being taught to make shoes. I would be willing to bet that you could not find such a class in the US today.

In town, there is a shop that still makes custom boots for you. They measure each foot, and build the boot to be a perfect fit for both feet. They are supposed to be the best boots in the world. People from all over actually come in to have a pair of boots made by them. They also make custom saddles and other really nice things. Something very rare these days.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Shoe Factory

Today's picture was taken in 1895, and shows a woman working in a shoe factory in Massachusetts. I wonder if like for women was harder in these factories or on the farm back then.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shoe Shop

Today's pictures shows the Gilpin Shoe Shop in Richmond Virginia. The picture was taken in 1899. The shop made, repaired, and sold shoes.