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The News from Malabar

Vol. 2, No. 10. ***Over 80 Served*** Dishing up news about vegetables and vagabonds since 2011. Monday, July 2, 2012

Heat wave sucks

(LUCAS) The recent spurt of hot weather has sucked the initiative out of everyone. In recognition of this, a new study was released today profiling the leading indicators of heat wave conditions. The study, released by The Institute for Agricultural Aggravation, details the top ten signs that you may be experiencing a heat wave: One: Camels spotted next to your tomato plants. Two: Your thermometer announces, Screw this, I'm moving to Canada. Three: When you water the garden, the water leaves the hose but evaporates before hitting the ground. Four: Your radishes don't just bolt, they pull themselves up by their own roots and walk over to the pond to soak their roots in the water. Five: Your hot peppers get jealous of the ambient air temperatures. Six: The only thing that continues to grow are weeds. Seven: Your potatoes are already baked before you even dig them up. Eight: You like to water the garden at 5:00 a.m., when it's still nice and cool at around 80 degrees. Nine: Nude gardening. Ten: You start transplanting air conditioners into the garden.


The weeds turned aggressive this week, attempting to overwhelm the zucchini and pumpkin plants, while attempting to smother the watermelon seedlings before they even have a chance to take off. I thought that I could placate the weeds, Jordan said. I thought that perhaps I would be able to keep up with them, but I was wrong. They are vicious little bastards.


Weeds attempt garden coup

(LUCAS) Political sources report that Farmer Jordan was nearly overthrown by weeds in the Victory Garden this weekend. The beleaguered wannabe gardener has been fighting the insurgency single-handedly recently, but began to lose ground as the heat wave forced him into spending more of his time watering then weeding.

Shortly before the weed invasion, Farmer Jordan, seen above, announced that he had signed an agreement with the weeds that would guarantee peace in our garden.

Jordan's contingent plan of falling back on the Malabar Farm rototiller fell apart when said rototiller itself fell apart. And, contrary to popular forecast, no hostel guests have thus far volunteered to take up hoe to help fight the war. I'm hanging on by a thread, here, said the farmer this morning as the weeds continued to mass on his northern front. He was able to do some spot weeding to open up the immediate area around some of the plants, but the breathing room was not expected to last long. Witnesses said that the growing jungle is turning ever darker, sinister. One eyewitness even claimed she heard the sounds of monkeys coming out from the weed jungle, but it is feared that she is not a reliable witness, even if she is a college professor. Help, said the benighted landsman.

This is probably not the sort of leather britches Mr. Jordan is referring to in his article below, but let's run it, just in case.

Leather britches in the pantry: Part Deux

Special to The News by Phillip Jordan In a special two-part article, Phillip Jordan has been sharing insights with readers about the traditional Appalachian style of dried beans known as leather britches. The previous episode of this article closed with a dramatic cliffhanger as J.R. was suddenly shot, but we don't know by whom. Will Lassie be able to save him in time? Let's see what happens in the exciting conclusion of Agatha Christie's Poirot in Leather Britches. -Ed.

When the time is right, pick and choose wisely the beans from your plants for the optimum experience of leather britches with smoked ham shanks and new red potatoes. Cooked on the stove top or over an open fire in the middle of winter, or better yet when you have fresh tomatoes and green onions from the garden, it cant be beat! Remember, not all of the beans on each plant will mature at the same rate, so take your time and pick the pods that are ready for harvest. String the beans if needed, break the beans or leave whole, and wash them. Now you are ready to dry the beans. The best way that I have found to dry beans is to place them in a single layer on a good mesh screen

that is elevated at least one inch to allow air circulation around the beans. The screen should be set up in an area that receives sunlight throughout the day. To thoroughly dry the beans it may take from five to seven days depending upon the temperature, the sun's intensity, the humidity and other factors. You must store the beans each night in a dry place and take them out each morning, placing them in direct sunlight. Once you place your screens you should start rolling the beans over to help dry evenly with the sun bleaching each side. I think that the sun bleaching gives the beans a good mellow taste instead of a richer, darker flavor typically associated with stringing the beans on thread and hanging to dry indoors or out. You should be inspecting each bean while turning them over to assure that they are bug, rot, blemish and mold free. To store your beans just fill paper lunch sacks three-quarters full, leaving enough room to fold the top several times and tape to seal. As the Traveling Wilburys song says, Stick it in a cool, dry place. When you are ready to cook a pot of beans pull out three good handfuls and soak them in a large bowl of water in the fridge overnight, drain and rinse before adding into the pot of shanks. Remember, these are dried so the amount may fool you, two to three handfuls is a large pot especially if you add in two smoked shanks and a few new red potatoes. If you are using smoked shanks in your beans start cooking them first. In a large pot place the two shanks; add water, making sure they are almost covered, and cook on medium high heat with the lid sealed for the first 45 minutes. Remove the lid and roll the shanks over, replace the lid and continue to cook 30 minutes on medium heat. This will tenderize the meat and concentrate the water, flavored with smoke and salt from the cured ham shanks. Add re-hydrated beans, lightly salt, add pepper and continue to cook, covered on high simmer for two hours checking the beans and shells for tenderness until done. If you

decide to add new potatoes, drop them in the pot about 20 minutes before done. I hope that you enjoy your leather britches and keep on gardening! ***

Recipe File
Kimberly Orsborn from Mount Vernon, Ohio, contributes this recipe for a true seasonal delight:


Thick-sliced, fresh, juicy, real tomatoes from someones garden Several basil leaves, rolled and sliced lengthwise into chiffonades (long, thin slices) Dash of sea salt Dash of freshly ground pepper Rounds of fresh mozzarella Extra-virgin olive oil

Scatter mozzarella, salt, pepper and basil over sliced tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy eating!

Squatch Watch
Nancy Nixon, co-author of the play The Bigfoot Letters, documents recent local encounters with the mystical Sasquatch.


Tonsorial Forecast
Mostly hairy, with a 90% chance of a buzz cut if this wretched heat continues. It's like wearing a hat I can't ever take off. I mean, come on!

More storm damage from more damn stormage

(LUCAS) Mother Nature opened a can of whoop-ass on central Ohio Friday evening in the form of foul-tempered storms. According to meteorologist Alberta Clipper of the Greater Pleasant Valley Area WeatherEye and Bunko Club, the storms were real bad. Theories about the unexpected outburst of nature's fury are as wide-ranging as the line of storms were. Even the weather got mad about how hot it's been, opined Clipper. Her card mate Helena Handbasket disagreed, saying that she believed the storms sprang up because it was Peg Jones' last day before retirement from Malabar Farm State Park, and nature wanted to send her off with some fireworks. News correspondent Nancy Nixon had trouble in the aftermath of the storms, finding Route 3 closed in four places between Mount Vernon and rural Loudonville, where she lives (and don't you dare say she lives in Loudonville proper, or she'll open a can of whoop-ass on YOU). She also noted that despite the damage, it was thankfully evident that no bigfoots were hurt in the storms. We assured her that all our readers will sleep much better, knowing that. At press time, it appeared that most of Knox County, Ohio, immediately south of Malabar Farm, was still without power. We wish a quick recovery to our friends down in Dan Emmett country, and thank our lucky stars that we didn't get the brunt of the weather, which cut a swath of destruction all the way from Indiana to Virginia. Clipper said that the highfalutin' name for such a weather system is a derecho, which is the Spanish word for, Holy monkey, that's one big-assed storm a'comin'.
Scientist Joe Hannibal of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History examines a piece of the mill stone which used to grind grain on Switzer's Run, in what is today Malabar Farm State Park.

impound ponds, located near what is now the entrance of the park. The water turned the water wheel, which mechanically turned the millstones, which ground wheat into flour and corn into corn meal.

Origin of mill stone elusive

(LUCAS) Malabar Farm was visited Friday by a team from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The group, led by scientist Joe Hannibal, was researching early Ohio mill stones, and was interested in seeing the two pieces located at the Malabar Farm Hostel. Hannibal, who is writing a paper on the subject, has discovered that it is possible to prove the exact origin of many of Ohio's French buhr mill stones, particularly in contrast with domestic-made stones of the period, 1790-1840. Though both local and French millstones were made of limestone rich in the minerals chert and quartz, only certain French examples contain miniscule fossils known only to exist in the Marne Valley of northern France. According to local history collections, David Schrack, builder of the mill (which was located on the hillside directly behind what is now the hostel), made the long wagon trek to the east coast to order a set of buhr stones from France, then returned one year later to pick them up. In the meantime, he and his brother Jonathan had done the engineering and building to create a large, three-story mill featuring a breast wheel for water power, meaning that it was installed horizontally instead of vertically, due to the relative shallowness of Switzer's Run. The wheel was powered by water running down a long, gradual sluice run which started at the second of two

From left, Malachai Fitten, Joe Hannibal, Robert Walton, and Nicholas Resar pause from research to pose with a section of probable French buhr stone located at the Malabar Farm Hostel.

Hannibal, who was assisted by teenage interns learning about scientific field work, took a close look at the pieces of the grind stones which are on display at the hostel. Alas, neither he nor his assistants were able to identify any visible signs of fossils. He said that the appearance of the rock, combined with the reported history, makes it probable that the millstones were of French origin, but only the presence of fossils would have proven it conclusively. The mill itself continued until 1896, when it was dissembled and used for building material for the Clem Herring barn across the field.

A grasshopper spotted on a squash plant in the Victory Garden this week. Unlike the alcoholic drink known as a grasshopper, real grasshoppers don't taste particularly good, nor can you get drunk on them, according to Farmer Jordan, who said he ought to know.

JillY Bean's
Picture of the Week

unable to see the pictures. Phil Jordan also had that problem. If anyone else has had this trouble, the back up plan is to go to the Central Ohio Heart of Hostelling website ( and click on the Malabar News tab, which will bring you up a facsimile version of the newsletter, reformatted where necessary to suit their site.

First of approximately 3,927,000 zucchini to be harvested from the Victory Garden

First zucchini harvested, a few more are expected

(LUCAS) The first of many, many zucchini to come was harvested Sunday from the Victory Garden by Farmer Jordan, who braved the withering heat long enough to harvest an armload of vegetables. Conservative estimates place the probable harvest near four million zucchinis based on the growth of approximately four intentionallyplanted zucchini plants and nearly 23,000 unplanned volunteer plants. The first two harvested specimens are robust, healthy dark green squash of about eight to ten inches. The farmer said that he plans on eating the zucchini for supper. I sure hope folks have got some zucchini recipes out there, Jordan said, because I'm going to be needing some ideas once these zucchini take off. Friends and neighbors are warned to lock their doors, lest they find themselves gifted with piles of zucchini. Jordan said that he planned to hire that house cleaner in Cleveland who breaks into places, cleans them, then leaves a bill, to do his zucchini sales and deliveries. We'll all be awash in squash, Jordan said, So I might as well try to weasel it into a massive hoarded fortune. I've always wanted to buy a Congressman, maybe even one of those deluxe model governors, and a fortune based on an unlimited supply of zucchini might make it possible for my dream to come true.

A little butterball of a ruby-throated hummingbird, caught as he sat at the feeder outside Jill's house. Jill Poloni reports from The News at Malabar's Washington, D.C. news bureau, located just outside the beltway in Ashley, Virginia. She interviews birds instead of politicians, because they generally are far more intelligent and sensible, and only slightly more likely to poop while you are talking to them.

TURTLE TIME: One of the farm pond's ten painted turtles was spotted sunning himself this week. When not covered with duck weed (it is not algae!), his shell is normally black and yellow.

Need advice? Ask Elzora

In a quandary? Confused about social mores? Not sure what to do about that neighbor with the yapping chihuahua? Ask our own Aunt Elzora for advice:

The first Hungarian Yellow Wax peppers were harvested Sunday from the Victory Garden. Pummeled by the Father's Day thunderstorms a couple of weeks ago, the pepper plants suffered no damage at all from the massive Friday derecho. Nya-nya-nya-nya-nya-nyaaaaaah, said the peppers in response to being asked if they had any comments they would like to direct to the storms themselves.

Bryan Gladden of Mansfield was enthused about the last issue, saying, it was a good read. He probably also said this because for inexplicable computer reasons, he is

The News from Malabar is published, just like that, by Mark Sebastian Jordan. All material is copyright 2012 by Mark Jordan, except that specific contributors retain their own copyrights. This newsletter does not represent the official views of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Hostelling International, nor any other organization, except possibly the Loyal Order of Moose lodge in Zap, North Dakota. How this came to happen is anyone's guess. But as God said to Moses in the Sinai Desert: You'll have that. That quote is supplied from a newly published version of the Old Testament of The Bible, as translated by the cast of The Jersey Shore, Snooki, editor, which we've been perusing in the office this week. While the King James Version has nothing to worry about, this is a considerable advance over the translation done two years ago by the cast of Two-and-a-Half Men, with its rude asides and raving interruptions by Charlie Sheen, or the poetic transliteration of The Book of Revelation prepared by last season's cast of Dancing With the Stars and read by James Earl Jones as part of the halftime show at this year's Superbowl. Pity about that wardrobe malfunction. He shouldn't have worn a sequined halter top, if you ask me.