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Posted 12/2/2012 8:58pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Hey Eugene here's my recipe for Osso Bucco:


It can easily be made with even 2 lamb shanks, no need to half the remainder of the recipe (you'll just have more delicious sauce!)

Ingredients:

1/4-1/2 C flour for dredging
1tsp dried or fresh rosemary (if fresh, chop up a bit)
salt and pepper
4 lamb shanks
1/4 C olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 15oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 C port
1 C chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together the flour, rosemary, and salt and pepper in a shallow bowl.  Evenly dredge the shanks in the flour mixture.
2) Heat up a large, heavy skillet with 2Tbs of your olive oil on high.  Sear the shanks on two sides until they're crusted and brown.  Reserve the shanks in a baking dish that is big enough to hold all four with a little bit of wiggle room.
3) Wipe out the skillet and heat the remainder of the olive oil over medium high.  Add the carrots, celery, and onion.  Saute, stirring occasionally, until dark and caramelized.  Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
4) Reduce the heat to medium low and add the tomatoes and bay leaf.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to break down.
5) Add the port and cook off the alcohol, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the chicken broth and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then take the sauce off of the heat.
6) Pour the sauce over the shanks, then cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, or until the meat nearly falls off of the bone.

Posted 10/10/2012 10:27am by Eugene Wyatt.

With over 60 year's of experience in 3 generations of a family, located a mile from the sheep farm near a stream that gave the charcuterie its name, Quaker Creek—where I have a NYS 20-C license—made a delicious Lamb Pastrami.

Now in the Lamb Store.

Posted 10/9/2012 8:06am by Eugene Wyatt.

"No..." was the 'official' answer to the question posted in the advertising section of the Facebook help center, "I don’t want to see ads on Facebook. Can I shut them off?" The ads are what turned turn me away from Facebook before. They disturb me by associating me with what they sell; even when I find them less than distasteful, I don't want to be used to sell someone else's stuff or to hawk his or her services. It's not that I'm against the concept of advertising, I'm only against that advertising which associates me without my choice to what is being sold. If the ads were text only I could easily ignore them but my eye is drawn to the photos (on a recent page: head shots of women offering themselves as dates) and I assume the photos attract many people who spend time on Facebook.  This targeted aspect (from information you've furnished about yourself) of Facebook advertising is insidious.

But the sheep could care less—more human silliness I expect they think, if they think of advertising or me at all. They have more important business than only my concerns according to Michael Pollan.*

Even evolution evolves. About ten thousand years ago the world witnessed a second flowering of plant diversity that we would come to call, somewhat self-centeredly, "the invention of agriculture." A group of angiosperms refined their basic put-the-animals-to-work strategy to take advantage of one particular animal that had evolved not only to move freely around the earth, but to think and trade complicated thoughts. These plants hit on a remarkably clever strategy: getting us to move and think for them. Now came edible grasses (such as wheat and corn) that incited humans to cut down vast forests to make more room for them; flowers whose beauty would transfix whole cultures; plants so compelling and useful and tasty they would inspire human beings to seed, transport, extol, and even write books about them. This is one of those books.

So am I suggesting that the plants made me do it?

...

Design in nature is but a concatenation of accidents, culled by natural selection until the result is so beautiful or effective as to seem a miracle of purpose.

By the same token, we're prone to overestimate our own agency in nature. Many of the activities humans like to think they undertake for their own good purposes—inventing agriculture, outlawing certain plants, writing books in praise of others—are mere contingencies as far as nature is concerned. Our desires are simply more grist for evolution's mill, no different from a change in the weather: a peril for some species, an opportunity for others. Our grammar might teach us to divide the world into active subjects and passive objects, but in a coevolutionary relationship every subject is also an object, every object a subject. That's why it makes just as much sense to think of agriculture as something the grasses did to people as a way to conquer the trees.

The sheep have plural concerns, not just mine, in their seemingly insouciant fashion. Not only are they coevolutionary in my regard—it's bigger than that—they pair with the entire human species. But let's make it simple, let's make it personal, let's talk about how they work with me, and if you like, you can interpolate these evolutionary dynamics and apply them to how they influence the lives of others from how you understand their relations with me. 

So they want me to front a Facebook page for them; and you know what, I'm going to do it.

*Botany of Desire, 2002 page xx

Tags: Facebook
Posted 9/7/2012 7:45pm by Eugene Wyatt.

To like something is to judge it favorably. Let's look at how a Like in Facebook operates; and secondarily, we might better understand the liking and unliking that goes on in Facebook when we look at it through the eyes of Immanuel Kant. His Critique of Judgement and Facebook seem to be related in the way that one is a topic of the other. I will use Facebook's Help Center language that is supposed to be comprehensible to a person 13 years old—the age at which one can legally use Facebook. 

Trying to come up with a page that pleases me, I've been skimming the Glossary in the Facebook Help Center and that seems to be of some help in undertaking this new learning curve but what worries me, as I move forward toward having a Facebook page, is that users lose interest and abandon Facebook as if it were a video game, a play of counting unqualified likes and doubtful friendships, not unlike viewers who get bored with American Idol and escape into their own world to become that winning crooner at least while the shower runs.

I make time to be with the sheep for more reasons than one; when I'm around them I get ideas, I have new thoughts: this is how they talk to me. How they talk to you is how you talk to yourself in your own voice. Maybe you think I'm crazy but but with them I think creatively. Not all these thoughts or ideas are good or trustworthy. I was going to say they are human but they are sheep and they can be as fallible as humans beings. My latest revelation when I was out walking with them was more of a correction and a total surprise: I didn't know they had knowledge of Immanuel Kant and his aesthetics but they do as well as death knows infinity. 

Sheep don't have the sense of beauty that humans do—they are beautiful—at least to me anyway. The revelation I had with them was that I was mistaken about likeing.  In holding Facebook to a beautiful standard, I had set the bar too high; even though you may find beauty to like on Facebook when you click a Like you usually indicate that you have found something agreeable, and certainly pleasurable, as when you say 'I like doughnuts'.

Beauty involves disinterest, according to Kant; by liking something on Facebook you are not disinterested, you find what you like agreeable in the aesthetic sense. When sheep look at you, their look can be of disinterest; then, are they telling you they find you beautiful. You're never sure, but rarely would I say that sheep find me agreeable no matter how nice I might be to them. Facebook likes would certainly be less if sheep were moving the mouse. 

Tags: Facebook
Posted 8/26/2012 7:25pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Saturday I told Mark at the stand that I'd activated a Facebook page and he described how I felt when he said, "Facebook is sad," shaking his head. But when he said that, I brightened because I didn't completely understand how it was sad. Yes, there is a component to that sadness that I must learn; I've resigned myself to having an active Facebook page or one for the farm anyway.

What gladdened me about Facebook, or my lack of understanding of it,  was I remember a friend telling me on St. Mark's Place years ago that you like your friends for their faults. I always loved that saying because to this day it questions me about my understanding of it. Last night when I thought I'd write about the sadness of Facebook I searched for that saying and I couldn't find it. The closest I came was a quotation by Herman Hesse, “When you like someone, you like them in spite of their faults. When you love someone, you love them with their faults.”

It's not quite the same, is it; but maybe it truly was this quote by Hesse and maybe my friend was wrong or maybe I remembered it wrongly—does it matter—the quote, or misquote as it may be, is of continuing value to me. 

I don't think I've had a friend as defined by a friendship that I've ever understood. I like people who are different from me in the sense that they go beyond who I am and who I strive to be, these are people who amaze me—they are people who are kinder, smarter, prettier, crazier and more interesting than I am. I respect people who have talents that I don't. They make me forget my faults as I celebrate theirs; I feel kinder, smarter, prettier, crazier and more interesting. Are these people that I admire friends—I don't know—they make me proud to be around them. And if the truth be told, there aren't many of them, not that I should be noted for my high humanhood, it's that maybe I should get out more, go different places, meet new people. But I confess, in the past I'd tried to be more sociable and found not the admirable people that I sought but many more reasons for my compassion. I really shouldn't condescend, I'm a winner after all, albeit friendless by the common definition.

On Facebook maybe I'll feel like I'm looking out of a Hallmark greeting card that happy people open on joyous occasions but maybe I won't think about that; it's more than sad, its rather lonely, but loneliness, isn't that a part of what a creator cherishes to make things anew. Maybe we can put loneliness on the side to temporarily forget its occasional benefits while we abate it with Facebook friendships.

Now that's where Facebook is supposed to come in—one of its functions is to gather friends. I have been asked to be a friend be several people using Facebook. Some friend requests I honored and some I ignored; but no matter how I responded to these requests, I have this feeling of an amoeba-like creepiness coming over me that originates with the casual befriending (or unfriending or ignoring) that 500 million people on Facebook use and accept.

Next: The likes of Facebook

Tags: Facebook
Posted 8/26/2012 2:03pm by Eugene Wyatt.

This brief 'Conclusion' (to The Renaissance: Studies of Art and Poetry) was to be Pater's most influential – and controversial – publication. It asserts that our physical lives are made up of scientific processes and elemental forces in perpetual motion, "renewed from moment to moment but parting sooner or later on their ways". In the mind "the whirlpool is still more rapid": a drift of perceptions, feelings, thoughts and memories, reduced to impressions "unstable, flickering, inconstant", "ringed round for each one of us by that thick wall of personality"; and "with the passage and dissolution of impressions ... [there is a] continual vanishing away, that strange, perpetual weaving and unweaving of ourselves".

Since all is in flux, to get the most from life we must learn to discriminate through "sharp and eager observation": for "every moment some form grows perfect in hand or face; some tone on the hills or the sea is choicer than the rest; some mood of passion or insight or intellectual excitement is irresistibly real and attractive for us, – for that moment only". Through such discrimination we may "get as many pulsations as possible into the given time": "To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life."

Forming habits means failure on our part, for habit connotes the stereotypical. "While all melts under our feet," Pater wrote, "we may well catch at any exquisite passion, or any contribution to knowledge that seems by a lifted horizon to set the spirit free for a moment, or any stirring of the senses, or work of the artist’s hands. Not to discriminate every moment some passionate attitude in those about us in the brilliancy of their gifts is, on this short day of frost and sun, to sleep before evening." The resulting "quickened, multiplied consciousness" counters our insecurity in the face of the flux. Moments of vision may come from simple natural effects, as Pater notes elsewhere in the book: "A sudden light transfigures a trivial thing, a weathervane, a windmill, a winnowing flail, the dust in the barn door; a moment – and the thing has vanished, because it was pure effect; but it leaves a relish behind it, a longing that the accident may happen again."  

Or they may come from "intellectual excitement", from philosophy, science and the arts. Here we should "be for ever testing new opinions, never acquiescing in a facile orthodoxy"; and of these, a passion for the arts, "a desire of beauty", has (in the summary of one of Pater's editors) "the greatest potential for staving off the sense of transience, because in the arts the perceptions of highly sensitive minds are already ordered; we are confronted with a reality already refined and we are able to reach the personality behind the work".

Walter Pater Wikipedia

Tags: Pater
Posted 8/26/2012 8:06am by Eugene Wyatt.

It was the very day–some day probably in the year 1482–on which Ficino had finished his famous translation of Plato into Latin, the work to which he had been dedicated from childhood by Cosmo de’ Medici, in furtherance of his desire to resuscitate the knowledge of Plato among his fellow-citizens. Florence indeed, as M. Renan has pointed out, had always had an affinity for the mystic and dreamy philosophy of Plato, while the colder and more practical philosophy of Aristotle had flourished in Padua, and other cities of the north; and the Florentines, though they knew perhaps very little about him, had had the name of the great idealist often on their lips.

From Pico Della Mirandola 1871 in The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry.

Tags: Pater, Pico
Posted 8/23/2012 6:41am by Eugene Wyatt.

“Let me briefly remind the reader"–says Heine, in the Gods in Exile, an essay full of that strange blending of sentiment which is characteristic of the traditions of the middle age concerning the pagan religions–"how the gods of the older world, at the time of the definite triumph of Christianity, that is, in the third century, fell into painful embarrassments, which greatly resembled certain tragical situations of their earlier life. 

They now found themselves beset by the same troublesome necessities to which they had once before been exposed during the primitive ages, in that revolutionary epoch when the Titans broke out of the custody of Orcus, and, piling Pelion on Ossa, scaled Olympus. Unfortunate gods! They had then to take flight ignominiously, and hide themselves among us here on earth, under all sorts of disguises. The larger number betook themselves to Egypt, where for greater security they assumed the forms of animals, as is generally known. Just in the same way, they had to take flight again, and seek entertainment in remote hiding-places, when those iconoclastic zealots, the black brood of monks, broke down all the temples, and pursued the gods with fire and curses. Many of these unfortunate emigrants, now entirely deprived of shelter and ambrosia, must needs take to vulgar handicrafts, as a means of earning their bread. Under these circumstances, many whose sacred groves had been confiscated, let themselves out for hire as wood-cutters in Germany, and were forced to drink beer instead of nectar. Apollo seems to have been content to take service under graziers, and as he had once kept the cows of Admetus, so he lived now as a shepherd in Lower Austria. Here, however, having become suspected on account of his beautiful singing, he was recognised by a learned monk as one of the old pagan gods, and handed over to the spiritual tribunal. On the rack he confessed that he was the god Apollo; and before his execution he begged that he might be suffered to play once more upon the lyre, and to sing a song. And he played so touchingly, and sang with such magic, and was withal so beautiful in form and feature, that all the women wept, and many of them were so deeply impressed that they shortly afterwards fell sick. Some time afterwards the people wished to drag him from the grave again, that a stake might be driven through his body, in the belief that he had been a vampire, and that the sick women would by this means recover. But they found the grave empty.”

Heinrich Heine 1853, quoted by Walter Pater in Pico Della Mirandola from The Renaissance, Studies in Art and Poetry 1873.

Tags: Heine, Pater
Posted 8/1/2012 9:03am by Eugene Wyatt.
 
 

My first patterned scarf, still as soft as the day I finished it. Knitted with love & care,  yarn

Tags: Kim, Scarf, Twitter
Posted 7/26/2012 11:43am by Eugene Wyatt.

Lambs in Lamb's Quarters at Dusk

I photographed the lambs and walked over to the ewe's camp but they weren't there and they are always there at this time of day—maybe something was wrong—I got on my tractor and drove to look for them. The flock was a half mile out in the far field, they seemed normal from a distance, I called but they ignored me—I shook my head and looked at them as if to say, "If you want to spend the night out..."—I turned and drove back to the barn through thick brush beside their camp.  

But hearing me approach, a coyote ran out of the brush—it was fast, the light was dim—at first I thought it was a low flying bird but it was too big and too fast. It ran about 35 yards across the nibbled down ram paddock and stopped to look at me: its front legs straight, rear legs in a crouch, back arched, ears erect...looking intently. Damn! I had no gun, I yelled, that spooked it; it ran 20 more yards then stopped to look back at me. I stood and raised my Nikon to my eye but before I could click the shutter it was gone into the dimness.

That's why the ewes weren't in camp; if they didn't see the coyote they sensed its danger lurking in the brush next to the camp where they have water. Something was out of order, they felt threatened, they left.

I stopped and got off the tractor, gingerly stepped over the hot fence into the ewe's deserted camp and started to walk out to them wondering if they'd come back in with me.  

As I approached I called out the litany they know so well, "Sheep, sheep, jong sheep. O jong (young), O good, O beegs (big) O sheep..." I got to within 50 feet of the leaders then I turned and walked back toward their camp. The leading sheep began to follow me—it worked—the leaders were followed by the flock; I was lucky,  even if they hadn't followed, I was lucky to have sheep. Up the slight rise to the camp we walked; beside me I heard breaths and many hooves softly impacting the damp ground, the younger ones dashed past me and ahead they frolicked, they cavorted, they jumped and turned in air. They were there. I was there. I was in a bouquet.