Book Review: The River Cottage Curing & Smoking Handbook

The rebirth of the gardening and urban farming movement often conjures up images of hippies and vegans to those who have not jumped in and started exploring just how broad the new small farm food renaissance is. While the local, homegrown food movement does have its fair share of vegetarians, those of us who love meat and dairy are also in luck as local grass fed beef, raw milk, and free range chickens more and more often make their way to our dinner tables.

As anyone familiar with the topic knows, there is a lot of good material on sustainable farming out there. But one institution, The River Cottage, has really excelled as they release one fantastic book after another on everything from smoked barbecue, pigs & pork to making homemade booze.

Their newest title, focusing on Curing & Smoking, is one of their finest and most fascinating yet. If you ever had any desire to start making and storing your own salami, dry cured bacon, pastrami, sausage and just about anything else you can think of along these lines, then you’ll love this. Tools, methods and the process for each recipe is covered in great detail and in easy to understand terms. Dozens of full color photos complement the text.

Anyone looking for a new food hobby or needing some tips to better enhance their craft, will appreciate this title.

You can pick up a copy of The River Cottage Curing & Smoking Handbook by Steven Lamb wherever fine books are sold.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.



Flagstaff City Council Set To Raise Property Taxes

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Rumors of a possible Flagstaff property tax increase of anywhere from 2-8% have been circulating around Flagstaff for quite some time. Now it sounds like the Flagstaff City Council is getting ready to act and they just might have the votes to move it forward.

The most recent push for an increase is a very real threat and was confirmed moments ago when Flagstaff City Councilman Jeff Oravits posted the following on his facebook page:

For 3 years I’ve led the charge to keep the city portion of your property tax bill flat. That’s at risk at tomorrow’s City Council budget hearing.

Want to keep your property taxes from increasing?

Thanks for your support!
Councilman Jeff Oravits”

If you have an opinion on this, you can contact the entire Flagstaff City Council at

Book Review: Genius Recipes by Kristen Miglore

As just about any chef or amateur kitchen cook will tell you, the cookbook genre is bloated with every kind of rehashed overused recipe you can think of. These unoriginal books clog the shelves of your favorite bookstores making it nearly impossible to find something with completely fresh ideas.  Where are the new culinary artists?

Seeking to change this is Food52 editor Kristen Miglore who has compiled a massive collection of 100 Genius Recipes that defy conventional cooking wisdom and give hope that original ideas do exist if you look close enough for them. And boy are these ideas big. They are so different and revolutionary that they will change the way you think about cooking forever.

Whole some of these dishes and tips have been featured on the Food 52 website, the majority have never been published before. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert dishes are all covered so there is guaranteed to be something for every cook here. No matter what you like to cook and no matter what your skill level, you’re going to be in for a real treat.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


Texas Republican attacks Libertarian voting rights

For Immediate Release

Republican state representative Drew Springer of Muenster, Texas has filed HB 464, a bill to require minor party nominees to pay filing fees.

Libertarian National Committee executive director Wes Benedict commented, “Republican Drew Springer’s bill is a poll tax on minor parties, including the Libertarian Party. It’s an injustice, and it’s unconstitutional.”

The bill would require all minor party nominees to pay fees to be allowed to appear on the November election ballot. The fees range as high as $5,000, depending on the office.

Kurt Hildebrand, chair of the Libertarian Party of Texas, said, “This law would effectively shut down third parties in Texas, and I believe that is the intent behind it.”

According to ballot access expert Richard Winger, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled twice that this sort of filing fee is unconstitutional.

On April 6, the Texas House Elections Committee voted 5-1 in favor of the bill. (Five Republicans voted yes, one Democrat voted no.)

Similar bills have been filed by Texas Republicans in past legislative sessions.

Benedict explained, “Republicans have claimed in the past that their bills make things ‘fair’ because Republicans and Democrats have to pay filing fees for their primaries. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Republicans and Democrats have to pay primary fees because their primary elections are financed by taxpayers. Political parties are private organizations, even though they are regulated by the state. Nevertheless, taxpayers are forced to hand over a lot of money to help the Republicans and Democrats pick their nominees. The filing fees pay for a tiny fraction of these costs.

“Libertarians and Greens, on the other hand, don’t use primaries. We don’t force the taxpayers to pay for our nomination process. So there’s no reason our candidates should be forced to pay any fees.

“If Republicans and Democrats are upset about their primary filing fees, they should just get rid of them. They control 100% of the seats in the legislature, so it should be pretty easy for them.

“The purpose of Drew Springer’s bill is simple: it has nothing to do with fairness, it’s just an attempt to shut all minor parties out of the election process. If this bill gets passed, there will be many more unopposed Republicans and unopposed Democrats in the 2016 elections.

“Representative Drew Springer has also filed a bill to prohibit school districts from offering same-sex couples the same benefits as opposite-sex couples. That gives us an idea of what ‘fair’ means to him.

“I urge legislators who support democracy to oppose this poll tax, which is designed to silence minority opinions.

“This is America. The people should decide who gets to run for office, not the incumbents. Libertarians stand for freedom on every issue, and we oppose bullies who would try to stop us from participating in the election process.”

Benedict added, “Texas isn’t the only place that Republicans are trying to step on voting rights. In New Hampshire, the Republican National Committee is trying to get involved in a lawsuit over the state’s petitioning law. The law was changed in 2013 to make it harder for small parties to get petition signatures to appear on the ballot. The Libertarian Party filed a lawsuit against the change, but the Republican National Committee is trying to intervene in support of the change.”

Wes Benedict is the executive director of the Libertarian National Committee, and he served as executive director of the Libertarian Party of Texas from 2004 to 2008.

Book Review: The Art Of Work By Jeff Goins

Finding your place in work and life is the primary focus of Jeff Goins newest book The Art Of Work. We all have moments when we wonder if what we are doing with our life is what we were meant to be doing. Finding that fulfillment is a challenge that we all must strive for as individuals. Unfortunately, this is difficult because we live in a society where people all too often see work as a robotic action and never fully realize the potential and satisfaction that work has to offer.

Accidental apprenticeships, building bridges and taking time out to give your life an objective look are just a few of the topics discussed. One chapter delves into a biographical look at Samuel Adams and his struggles and failures before realizing his great potential as one of America’s founding fathers.

Using real life stories and examples, Goins produces a heartfelt reference that should appeal to all walks of life. While it hints at coming from a religious perspective, it is much more than that. For anyone looking for direction in their occupation, this is an inspiring work that is destined to become a classic.

BookLook Bloggers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.


Book Review: Capture The Moment, A Lesson In Modern Family Photography

Sarah Wilkerson of the family photography website Clickin Moms has worked tirelessly to help a whole new generation of parents find creative new ways to document the day to day life of their children. Her work has taken parenting magazines and websites by storm and has fostered a following of dedicated photographers, anxious to share their digital experiences.

In her new book, Capture The Moment, Wilkerson compiles a wide selection of quality images and complements them with helpful hints and suggestions on how to be the best photographer you can be. Categories include black and white, natural light, story telling and composition. Everything from traditional to experimental styles and shots are explored.

In a genre cluttered with volumes and volumes of “how to” photography manuals, this is a standout addition that will outlive similar titles. It promises to be the book on your shelf that you will refer to over and over again as you document your family life. Prepare to be inspired.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.