• Design,  History

    The pageant of the unopened page

    What is a book? Opinions vary. Some believe that a book is simply a collection of written content, independent of the medium by which it is distributed. Others, like me, feel that the medium definitely needs to be in there, somewhere.

  • History

    Loma de Oro

    Among the slides was a gorgeous color Kodachrome, showing my still-teenage mother striking a pose on the doorstep of what seemed to be a motel of some sort, named Loma de Oro. But it was an apartment, not a hotel, in 1953 San Diego's Golden Hill.

  • History

    The chimney on Mill Lane

    Even as my childhood eyes were free to peer into the dark woods on either side, I have no particular recollection of seeing anything in the forest to the west, but a lonely overgrown drive, gated off, that curved out of sight.

  • Culture,  History

    Arduous task of pioneer was grubbing stumps

    At one time, I considered growing hops. As an experiment, and to immerse myself in the property that I had recently bought, I went about installing a 1/4 acre hop yard. I was not entirely practical about this venture. I resisted the use of treated wood for the trellises, and I resisted the idea that hops should grow on strings that stretch a full 16 feet into the sky. Needless to say, some of these decisions were not optimal.

  • History

    Barley an inch

    During the reign of King Edward II, in the early 14th century, the inch was defined as “three grains of barley, dry and round, placed end to end lengthwise.” Is it still true today? ...

  • Craft,  History

    January: Time to cut spiles

    Want to make your own maple syrup? "You should make your own spiles," the MIT professor Sandy Brown said, assuring us that it's easy if you have some staghorn sumac growing in the neighborhood. ...

  • Design,  History

    Where the Codd stopper lives on

    The Codd stopper was invented by Hiram Codd in the 1800s, and although very popular at the time, most people today have never seen one. But this weird throwback still thrives in exactly two places on Earth. ...