Do you know what this is?

My sister texted me earlier asking if I knew what this was…

It is an osage orange, also called hedge apple. The fruit, named for its citrusy, orange-like fragrance is inedible by humans. She lives in Illinois and I believe they are found more in the midwest. I’m not completely sure but I’ve never seen them in New England or here in Tennessee.

Anyway, this little fruit led to me discovering why I might have had such a disappointing luffa (or loofah) crop last summer—or rather no crop!

This summer, my luffa has grown like wild…

The next two photos are a shoutout to my mother-in-law…

Yes, you do in fact grow luffa. They look very similar to cucumbers however they get much larger. And this year, they are the largest I’ve seen.

The photo above shows the luffa starting to get dark brown towards the stem (looks black but it’s not). This means that it will soon be ready to pick. I will leave the pods on the vine to get wrinkly and dried up as long as they can. But if we get a frost, then they will have to be cut off. But the more they harden, dry and start to wrinkle, the easier it is to process, which is a lot of work.

But I’m anxious to start processing them because last summer my plants, which I grew from my own seeds, never flowered which meant no fruit. This year, I purchased my seeds from a lady who lives in Tennessee, and watched them grow plentiful all summer. And tonight I think I finally figured out why my seeds didn’t work out very well last year.

After I texted my sister what that odd fruit was, she googled it and found that people sell the seeds on etsy. Shortly after, I got a call from my nephew Ben who wanted to know how to process the seeds. I didn’t want to give him false info so I looked up processing seeds specifically for the osage orange. And discovered that once you retrieve the seeds and dry them, you have to put them in the freezer for 3 months. BINGO! I did not do this with my luffa seeds and because the climate is much warmer down here in Tennessee, I probably needed to replicate a longer, natural chilling season.

Sweet! So thanks Ben! I can’t wait to put this year’s seeds in the freezer and try growing them again. But to be safe, I will also plant “back up” seeds dried by a professional.

Best use for luffa sponge? Dry brushing your skin to make it glow. It works perfectly. If you don’t know what dry brushing is, google it. Lots of info. It’s also great in the shower and used as kitchen sponges. 

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From Mr. Basketmaker: My Day at Third Man Records

(The following was written by Mr. Basketmaker himself.)

If you know me or follow my wife’s blog, then you may have seen that I’m kinda’ a big fan of Jack White. Okay, a huge fan.

If you don’t know who Jack is, the story is too long and most likely will bore you. Let’s just say he started out as an upholsterer from Detroit and picked up another passion… music.

Anyway, Lynne’s cousin, a.k.a. Karma G (who is now my new best friend), is best buds with Jack’s right-hand man. Me, the basket maker, didn’t know this just two short months ago. Somehow my man crush for Jack came up and Karma G said “you’re a fan?” and I said heck ya! (actually my wife was the middle-woman between us, via texting). He then said (again, relayed by my wife) “Really. I had no idea. I can totally hook you up.”

Forward three weeks to a UPS truck driving down our driveway with a package straight from Third Man Records. Here’s his logo all over the packing tape on outside of the box:

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Oh, my gosh it was like an early Christmas (for me anyways). Vinyl was exploding out of the box. It was packed full!

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If you don’t know Jack and I assume most of my wife’s blog fans don’t (but I could be wrong) that means you better have an old-school record player around. He is all about the vinyl.

Because of my blatant excitement over everything in this box, Lynne was kind of upset that she didn’t just hide it and wrap it up as a Christmas gift! Anyway, I say too late uber kitty (my new nickname for her… more on that later, most likely).

Moving forward again, we invited cousin Karma G down for a little visit after Christmas to see us and for him to hang out with his friend in Nashville. After a couple of great days here at our place, McSoHo in McMinnville, we all headed to Nashville a couple days before New Year’s. And that’s where I got the best surprise ever… a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of Third Man Records and their operation! There’s more to this story but “the wife” is going through the photos now… Check back to hear about the rest of my adventure.

to be continued…

I Can’t Pick On Him Now…

On the front page of our Fantasy Football League, Mr. Basketmaker posted this:

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He also put a tiny note inside the 11th box of our jointly-hand-made Advent Calendar,”We are going to a screening of Downton Abbey.”

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Yes, this special Season 6 screener was on a Sunday and Eric accompanied me to the newly renovated Park Theater in our hometown and sat through an episode of a series he has never watched.

Yes, that must be love.

And Yes, I certainly cannot pick on him now… well, at least for the rest of this year (thank gosh the new year starts in a couple weeks…)

It was a very nice surprise and I know Eric liked going as well (even though he won’t admit it).

The Park Theater in our town was recently renovated after sitting empty and in disrepair for quite a long time.

Below is an old photo from the McMinnville Historical Museum (courtesy of Jesse James — yes, that’s his name)…

mcminnville-town-park-theater-1950-tennesseeAnd here’s the PARK theater today (courtesy of my little ‘ole iPhone)…

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We have been wanting to see the newly-renovated theater for awhile now and it looked fantastic! And it was extra special to see so many people dressed in the 1920’s period, as suggested to do on our tickets (we opted not to dress as such).

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I elect the woman to the right, in peach and beige, dressed like the understated “Lady Edith” as the ‘best-dressed.’

It was a great afternoon that led to a nice dinner afterwards…where we met an 86-year-old father and his 49-year-old son out on their bi-weekly “dinner night.”  Thanks Mr. Basketmaker!!

And congratulations for making it to the Playoffs. Glad the Patriots were on Sunday Night since you probably would have been torn on what to do! 🙂