Friday, August 16, 2013

Moonshine Takes Over TV, Liquor Stores, and the UI Press

According to the Associated Press, the new reality TV show, Moonshine, has inspired distillers around the country to brew their own brands to be sold at liquor stores. For more information, check out the article here.

At the Press, moonshine's comeback is getting us excited for different reasons. Next month, we'll be releasing Others Had It Worse: Sour Dock, Moonshine, and Hard Times in Davis County, Iowa. In 1977, Chris D. Baker asked his grandmother, Vetra Covert, to write a notebook of her childhood memories. Grandma Covert wrote about her younger life in rural Iowa between 1920 and 1929. In Others Had It Worse, Chris Baker has compiled her stories and transcribed her words into nine chapters that illuminate home, family, neighbors, school, and social life. He has composed a collection of candid, whimsical, sometimes ornery stories that will resonate with anyone who has ever tried to decipher the lives found in old letters and photos.

Keep coming back to read an interview with Chris Baker and make sure to check out Others Had It Worse when it releases in September!

Others Had It Worse: Sour Dock, Moonshine, and Hard Times in Davis County, Iowa, by Vetra Melrose Padget Covert and Chris D. Baker

Midwest Nature Quote of the Week

As we swing around the bend, the water suddenly swarms with a shoal of redhorse suckers that arch and dive in a shadowy tumble. Suddenly, though, the fish are gone and the canoe crunches to a stop against a sheet of ice. Jabbing hard, I do nothing except chip a large notch out of my wooden paddle. The ice remains uncracked, stretching out before us for hundreds of feet. This, then, is the end of our trip: trapped by the current against an immobile sheet of ice too thick for us to break but too thin to support our walking weight. What made us think we could canoe a partially frozen river?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Excerpt 6 from STATE FAIR by Phil Stong

Abel Frake smiled. By deliberately snapping off his sense of direction he could almost imagine that he was driving, as he had been driving seven days before, to the carnival--to the Fair. There was Blue Boy murmuring objections at every pit in the road; there was the sleeping family; there was the yellow roadway with its fringe of varying shadow; there was the crackling mist of light which was the universe, spread out over Abel Frake at regular intervals, and over Blue Boy, the finest Hampshire stud boar in the world.

That, of course, ended the illusion and with surprise Abel Frake realized that he was glad that he was not going to the Fair--that he was going home. He was gorged with the excitement and the triumphs of that strange place; reality, as he had made it for himself, pleased and satisfied him. The Frakes had stepped for a moment into a fantasy; now, unchanged, they were returning to that five hundred acres where only birth and death--not even marriage--had been the only changes for four generations.

State Fair, by Phil Stong

Monday, August 12, 2013

25 Blogs Dedicated to Living Off the Land: Vegetables--from

Check out these articles that tell you how to grow vegetables you can eat from your own backyard! Keep coming back for more updates on food you can find and grow yourself.

Probably one of the easiest ways to start saving money and living off the land is by growing your own garden. For instance, one tomato plant will yield about one bushel of tomatoes. These tomatoes will allow you to make and can your own tomato sauce, stew tomatoes and make salsa, in addition to eating them fresh. Just think of all that you could do if you had more than one plant. Making your own salsa is a snap when you grow your own onions, jalapenos and cilantro, and you don’t have to step foot into a grocery store. These five blog posts will give you some ideas for getting started.

25 Blogs Dedicated to Living Off the Land: How to Do It--from

A great article from We'll be continuing to post more of the twenty-five articles so keep checking back!

As grocery stores continue to raise food prices, more people are turning to their own land to produce food instead of purchasing it at the store. Whether you want to grow your own herbs, harvest your own fruits or vegetables or raise cattle, there are many ways you can maximize your land as a food source. These 25 blog articles will dig into how you can live off the land.

How to Do It
There’s no way that one blog could give you all of the information that you need to live off the land, but combining these five blog entries can give you some ideas on how to go about starting the adventure.

25 Blogs Dedicated to Living Off the Land: Meat--from

Here's our second installment of "25 Blogs Dedicated to Living Off the Land!" Today, we're looking at how to find meat. Make sure to check out the featured article from Cedar Rapids's The Gazette.

Hunting isn’t the only way to have meat on your dinner table if you are living off the land. Many folks choose to raise their own livestock to butcher for food. A family of four can eat for several different meals from the meat that comes from a whole pig or cow. If you live by water, you can add fish or other seafood to your diet. These five blog posts will share some of their insights with you.

Excerpt 5 from STATE FAIR by Phil Stong

Even on Friday the glory of Blue Boy's triumph had not died out. The horse-show had come, and was going that night, but the grandeur that was Blue Boy, somehow, picked up by the Des Moines Register and the Tribune, had lingered over every stock section of the Fair.

For some reason, Blue Boy had been build up by the two papers to the stature of a Middle Western hero. Did you think of Governor Drake, of Tama Jim Wilson, of doddering Senator Allison, or Gullible Cummins, of Lillian Russell and Senator Copper King Clark--you thought also of Blue Boy. And Iowa's litterateurs--Rupert Hughes, Lewis Worthington Smith, Herbert Quick, Emerson Hough, Susan Glaspell, Ellis Parker Butler--why, was not this last author's greatest achievement called "Pigs is Pigs"?

Abel wondered a little, even in the greatest glow of his triumph, at the sudden fame which had come to Blue Boy. Even in Chicago papers they had shown the boar's picture with the caption, "The World's Greatest Hog." That hardly seemed reasonable, though Abel knew that the fact was a fact. Still, he saw no good reason why the country should be stirred by prospects of cheaper pork. Sport was sport, but pigs, it was true, were pigs.

State Fair, by Phil Stong