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The News from Malabar

Volume 2, Issue No. 20 ***Over 115 Served*** Dishing up news about vegetables and vagabonds since 2011. to assess the needs of the farm. He added that if Bromfield were alive, he would no doubt be in the thick of the project with ideas and suggestions. Boyer's remarks were brief and to the point, anticipating getting started and working toward the goal of restoring the vitality of Malabar Farm. Additional remarks were offered as part of the program by other officials, including Fred Dailey, former director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and incoming state representative Mark Romanchuk. An open house followed with refreshments including a table featuring fine Ohio wines, a table of snacks, and tours through the Big House, which is slated to be repainted this coming summer. Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ohio Department of Natural Resources director Jim Zehringer, left, introduced the new manager of Malabar Farm State Park, Korre Boyer, right, at a media event held at the park to promote the kickoff of a major revitalization project.

One of the ones that got away: a turnip which grew in the abandoned Victory Garden while Farmer Jordan was asleep from October 21 to November 30.

Boyer named new park manager

(LUCAS) Richland County farmer Korre Boyer was named the new Malabar Farm State Park manager recently at a media event held on the steps of the Big House, the historical mansion of farm founder Louis Bromfield. Ohio Department of Natural Resources Deputy Director Andrew Ware started off the event with personal remarks about his own love for Malabar Farm, which was the site where he proposed to his wife, some 20 years ago. He introduced ODNR Director James Zehringer who announced that the department would be working closely with other state departments, such as the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency, to help revitalize Malabar Farm using approaches available to the average farmer, the same guideline once written by Louis Bromfield in his classic book of agrarian reveries, Pleasant Valley. Asked what Louis Bromfield would think of the state's new vision, Zehringer said that Bromfield was always on the cutting edge of agricultural practices and would approve of working with all the information and technology available

The News returns

(LUCAS) After a twomonth hiatus while editor-in-chief Mark Jordan recovered from a busy fall, The News from Malabar has returned to edify and enlighten. It was the busiest the hostel has been since I've been here, noted Jordan, who moonlights as the manager of the Malabar Farm hostel. Jordan noted that in addition to running the hostel, he produced the fall play production of Ceely, which did well and raised around $13,000 for the park. The personal cost to Jordan was steep, though, when an actor had to drop out of the show a week before opening due to health issues. On short notice, it was too much to ask for anyone else to jump in, Jordan said, and did the role himself. Things have since settled down, allowing the writer to do what he does best: Write about geese. The paper will appear at least periodically, as periodicals are wont to do, throughout the winter. How often? The editor said he dared not guess.

Abandoned garden kept on going

(LUCAS) Overwhelmed by a waves of heat, weeds, and groundhogs, Farmer Jordan threw up his hands, among other things, and walked away from the Victory Garden in early September and has barely even approached it since, due to the nauseating feelings of defeat and futility it engenders within him. Sunday, accompanied by bodyguard Nancy Nixon, the fragile farmer furtively flanked the failed farm field and found the former frame of fertile futility had flipped him the finger for a freakish finale. The replacement crop of turnips planted during the summer which seemed to have failed were actually just biding their time. They came up this fall and grew vigorously. Unfortunately, the fallow farmer, who slept from October 21 to November 30, had no idea and never noticed the turnips before the hard freeze. Shelby farmer David Ernst stopped by for a driveway chat the other day and encouraged Jordan to try again next spring. If you weed it rigorously for a couple of years it goes from being hellish to only semi-hellish, Ernst was imagined to have said. Jordan curled up in a ball right there in the driveway and began sucking his thumb. Ernst quickly got back in his car and fled the scene.

Living the bachelor life, part two: Cleaning the abode

George Breithaupt, The Old Curmudgeon
The latest flashes (news and otherwise) from the vicinity of rural Lake Vernor, the county seat of elusive Kootahatchies County, Ohio.

some time for a brewski. Put the beer nuts on a plate when you put them in the microwave because they will be pretty hot when you take them out. When they are done put them and the beer on the table within easy reach, sit down and put your feet up on your other chair. Its time to do some real thinking. And when a man has to do some serious thinking all he needs is cold beer and warm nuts.

JillY Bean's
Picture of the Week

(LAKE VERNOR) Having successfully cleaned the fridge (see last issue, if you can remember back that far), it is time for the confirmed bachelor to turn his or her attention to cleaning the rest of the place. Why should I do that, you might ask (and do ask if I know bachelors). I like the place the way it is. Come on now. The place is moldy and the floor has enough dirt to start a garden. Face it. Your place would make a vulture nervous. So it is time to gather up a few easily obtainable tools and have at it. You will need a couple of vacuum cleaners (one will not last through the job) a mop and a bucket that has never had any spackle in it and a bucket of spackle. Lets start with the mop. Thats the easiest way to clean the walls. First you take the mop and, uh, lets see... hold it, no thats not right, you take it by the.... This is getting confusing. Maybe youd better sit down and think this over for a while. Lets go to the kitchen and open the fridge. There it is all nice and clean. The refrigerator should be a good example to you of just what can be done if you put your mind to it. Look. There is room for a whole six-pack standing up and not on its side. And a whole package of beernuts. Lets take the beer nuts and warm them up in the microwave and while we are waiting for that lets take

A memory of summertime from our Washington News Bureau. Photog Jill Poloni snapped this study of a lovely blue delphinium last summer. It will be months before we see colors like that gracing the great outdoors again. Jill Poloni reports from The News at Malabar's Washington, D.C. news bureau, located just outside the beltway in Ashburn, Virginia.

Political football: Hut, hut, hike!

An editorial by The News from Malabar editor Mark Sebastian Jordan. Jordan has written extensively about Louis Bromfield and Malabar Farm.

Reversing a policy of over a decade of slashed budgets which have left Malabar Farm looking distinctly tatty, the State of Ohio painted itself hero on a white horse recently by announcing the spending of up to $500,000 to restore, repaint, and renovate historical farm buildings that wouldn't be in such dire shape today had the state maintained the necessary budget at Malabar over the same period of time.

But the universe doesn't ultimately care much for should have been. All that really matters is is. And it is welcome news that these repairs are coming down the pike before time takes a bigger toll on the historical site. Taking the hot seat will be Richland County farmer and Ohio Farm Bureau member Korre Boyer, named manager of the park just months after the state gave many the impression that a new manager was not considered necessary at Malabar. We here at the news welcome Mr. Boyer to the park and wish him the best as he leads the inspirational and iconic farm into the future. With his involvement in the Ohio Farm Bureau, Boyer has probably already spent some time sitting on hot seats, so I don't doubt for a moment that he knows what he's getting into. He won't be able to please all the conflicting interests that people have in Malabar Farm, for it means different things to different people. While this makes it iconic, it also makes it an ideological, agricultural, and environmental battleground. That isn't likely to change any time soon. Meanwhile, the valley is buzzing with questions about why the state would so abruptly change course and steer money toward Malabar. Some have opined that the money is likely tied to state income from hydraulic fracturing (popularly scorned as fracking). This would turn the park into a political football, perhaps used to promote the current administration's policies when election season rolls round: See how good fracking is? It paid for repairs to Malabar Farm. Only time will tell what the game plan is. Until then, anti-fracking activists will no doubt continue to practice blitzing the passer. Should be one hell of a game. I'll bring the hotdogs, you bring the beer, but don't be surprised if everyone gets pulled off the sidelines and out of the stands if this turns into the kind of free-for-all it very much could. Economy vs. ecology. Is this our only sane choice?

Twisted History
with Professor Petee

effects. As shown below, one of the telltale symptoms of the disease it the enlargement of the head and eyes and the desire to stand on silver things.

Today's Lesson Plan:

Belly Dancing, Uncovered

Many years ago I came up with the theory that all the diseases in the world and medical and mental conditions we now have names for, have all been here all along, except that either we didnt live along enough to contract them or that we just didnt notice they were there. Some examples include Alzheimer or Old Timers Disease, Schizophrenia, Erectile Dysfunction and Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). And now were finding out that we can actually have specific parts of our body with hyperactivity disorders: take for example Restless Leg Syndrome. With that being said, I recently realized that the Algerian dance craze that was introduced in America at the Chicagos World Fair in 1892 wasnt a dance craze after all, but another disorder that infects bunches of people here in the United States and is usually described as good for your health. What I am speaking about is, of course, belly dancing. Actually the term belly dancing is a misnomer as it is the hips that move uncontrollably. This disorder is only encountered when someone with the disorder shows someone without the disorder and then the someone without the disorder acquires the disorder. So beware! Signs of the sickness will show up and medical science has yet to come up with a way to reverse the

As best I can figure, it's the kind of shelf mushroom known as a turkey tail, Jordan said. While wild turkeys are no strangers to Pleasant Valley, this polyspore mushroom is so-named simply because of its vibrant brown appearance, reminiscent of the wild birds, around 100 of which live in Pleasant Valley, though they tend to keep their distances from the highly territorial ducks and geese at Malabar. Mycologists who can confirm or deny the ID on this woodland wonder can write to the editor at the submissions address on page four. We're not going to type it out here, as auto-formatting does strange and disturbing things with hyperlinks when you try to adjust them.

Effects of Belly Dancing Syndrome (Photograph source: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine & Boop-Boop-Be-Dooping)

Mike Petee is a Knox County songwriter, playwright, band leader, and navel-gazer. Check out the Elixir Chautauqua & Lyceum Series in Mount Vernon, which Mike and the other members of the band Elixir host and produce. It is the best thing since sliced bread, though not nearly as tasty if inserted into a toaster.

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


Though it's a lightly snowy morning here in the valley, we haven't seen much of the white stuff here, so far. Even the spike of snow which swept up into central Ohio from Hurricane Sandy missed the valley, even as it dumped four inches of snow on parts of Mansfield. Never saw a flake down here. While we're not fond of massive blizzards, we would like to see a little snow this winter. Last year's extended blahdom just didn't cut it. We prefer snow to mud, flakes to floods.

Hikers Mark Jordan and Nancy Nixon found this mushroom Sunday. Is it what is known as a turkey tail mushroom?

A different flock of turkeys in the Mt. Jeez woods

(LUCAS) Intrepid hikers Nancy Nixon and Mark Jordan didn't let rain stop them from communing with nature Sunday, as they hiked across Pleasant Valley, seeing some eagles along the way, then straight up Mount Jeez. Along the way, several varieties of mushrooms were observed. Among his many nature books, Jordan lacks a guide to the mushrooms of Ohio (Christmas hint) and had to turn to the always wayward Internet for identification.

Call for submissions

Want to become rich and famous? If so, why not send some articles or photos to The News from Malabar? It won't help you become rich nor famous, but it probably won't hurt. We pay only in satisfaction and modest notoriety, but we have a lot of fun and would love to see y'all join in. It's a creative way to promote the common sense and sane living of rural life, without aligning one's self with yay-hoos and nabobs. Come on, you know you want to write something. Send articles and photos to

The Quacking Light

In the previous episode, Ryan the not-quite-wild Canada goose had returned to the Malabar Farm flock of domesticated geese. How will the appearance of a trio of mysterious strangers change life at the pond? Stay tuned for this week's exciting episode of our never-ending soap opera saga, The Quacking Light, brought to you by Dr. Blodgett's Hot-Buttered Ice Water, the taste sensation that is sweeping the nation, one buttered roll at a time. Just when things were settling down among the Malabirds, a mystery appeared. One morning two weeks ago, as Farmer Jordan was feeding his noisy flock of geese and ducks, he took a roll call to account for all the critters. When he finished counting, all birds were present and accounted for, even Ryan, the wild goose forced to tag along with the farm geese, due to a bum wing. But out the corner of his eye, Jordan spotted two more white Pekin ducks floating on the pond. Who they were and where they came from was unknown. Once again, it seemed, a nave pet owner had dumped ducks at Malabar after discovering how voraciously the little quackheads can eat. For two days, the new critters watched the daily pilgrimage up to the hostel by the remaining fellers. It didn't take them long to realize that the rest of the birds were getting into some good eats. On the third day, they joined into the general feeding frenzy. It was immediately apparent to Farmer Jordan that the new ducks were nowhere near as healthy looking as the farm flock. The farm flock has

grown strong and plump, with even a little bit of a buttery, yellowish tinge from the corn they eat. The new ducks were dull, drab, and thin. As they did not offer their names, it took the happy farmer a few days of close observation to divine their names. He noted that the one was very scrawny, jumpy, fast moving, and didn't have much to say. The other had was much slower, having a pronounced waddle that made her sway back and forth as she walked. And she never stopped talking. Jordan was finally able to put his finger on why the two ducks seemed familiar. They were the duck version of an elderly couple that used to visit his family when he was a child: Myrtle and DeRoyal. Myrtle had arthritis in her hips and moved slow, but she was a gregarious talker. Her husband, DeRoyal, was as narrow as she was wide, moved fast, and mumbled. Though long gone, they now walk in the form of these two ducks. Now with 14 ducks falling over each other at dinner, meal times have gotten even more chaotic. Shy Ryan the goose disliked the hubbub and stayed away one day, but decided that it was worth a little bit of chaos to get a belly full of corn, but he still clearly dislikes the ducks running amok.

A third stranger appeared, but his name was no mystery. Hawkins the Rooster has been making his presence known at the working farm with vigorous crowing to greet the dawn. He was dropped off at Malabar in late August, and made his presence so well known during the fall production of the historical drama Ceely that codirector Dan Feiertag had to cut a rooster crow sound effect in the play, because it would set off Hawkins. Unfortunately, Hawkins is just as mischievous as his name sake, Louis Bromfield's business manager George Hawkins. After pecking at a few visitors in the Main Barn, the temperamental rooster was relocated to the Working Farm Barn. He has ventured over to the hostel yard once, so far, but has yet to partake of the vittles. Maybe a raccoon will get him, farm staffer Peggy Eilenfeld said, half hopefully. She was kidding. Will Hawkins soon be perching on Farmer Jordan's window sill, yodeling at 4:30 in the morning? Will Myrtle and DeRoyal settle down and cause less chaos at the dinner table? Will Ryan the goose's nerves ever relax? Probably not, but tune in to next week's episode, I Feel Real Loose Like a Long-Necked Goose, to find out!

Brought to you this time by Dr. Blodgett's Hot-Buttered Ice Water. The next time you need to slake your thirst and butter a biscuit at the same time, you know where to go!
New ducks Myrtle, left, and DeRoyal. Ignore the geese in the foreground who rushed into the picture like those people always messing up live news broadcasts by jumping into the camera shot and waving or saying, Hi, Mom, or holding up signs like those freaks at the window of the Today Show. Do they still do that? I wouldn't know, as I haven't watched a morning news show in years, since they don't actually tell much news. Anyway, I'm grateful the geese don't have opposable thumbs, or they probably would have been holding up signs, too. Sheesh, what do I look like, Al Roker? Maybe pre-stomach-staple Al Roker, but surely not the current edition.

The News from Malabar is published by Mark Sebastian Jordan. All material is copyright 2012 by Mark Jordan, except that contributors retain their own copyrights. This week's contributors are George Breithaupt, Mike Petee, Jill Poloni, and Nancy Nixon. This newsletter most definitely does not represent the official views of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Hostelling International, nor anyone but the names you see slapped on each item therein. But a little rabble rousing from ne'er-do-wells is what America is all about, no? We only offend those in dire need of being offended, because it's really funny when they fume.