Saturday, August 28, 2010

Books on Farms

"This Little Pig Went to..."

Actually, this ain't no little pig! We did feed her every morning some fine corn meal and oats. So you might be wondering why start off a post with an image of a pig? Well, today's installment is actually about books on farms. Admittedly, I cannot address anything to do with farmer literacy, for example, even though I'm fairly sure that many and most farmers are capable of reading just fine, even though in the Sicilian old country where some of my family comes from, my own great-grandfather couldn't read or write (he had to sign his name with an "X" because of this!). Nonetheless, it just happens that my family and I had been out at a farm this past spring, and of course, books, books, and more books could be found! (I mean, where "aren't" books!? Though, I bet some of you might be saying "modern libraries!" But let's be kind.)

Now this was an old farmsteady kind of place. And it doubled as a B&B, which we all stayed at and enjoyed. Part of the fun and enjoyment for the suburban "city slickers" who frequented this establishment (which may now include me!) was the ability to let the kids go out and water and feed the hens, the cows, the goats, and "all them other beasts" in the early morning.

There was even a llama, with whom I had a good conversation or two with. But inside, after collecting some eggs, which were then fried up for a fine country breakfast, one could sit and enjoy a whole number of freely accessible books...on shelves around the house. But also on tables, chairs, and other nooks and crannies. There was plenty of reading on the history of the Amish, as we were in fact in Amish country. And so, that was a pleasant addition and learning experience.

Of course, the amenities of old times were preserved in some fashion here, with not just the stove and an antique radio (which worked!), but also a rather rustic bathroom. This old advertisement was hung in the very snug bathroom--The Robinson Improved Folding Bath Cabinet. That's how I felt, actually--the bathroom was that small. It does prompt a question quite relevant to bookishness and reading: when did bathroom reading begin? It is hard to say whether the Romans enjoyed the comforts of tablets and scrolls while discharging their daily duties. But my guess is that it must have occurred when bathrooms came indoors and comfortability became and issue. Cold outhouses, you'd want to run out and run back in the cozy house. Toasty, heated bathrooms, lend comfort to solitary reflection. Warm bathroom, won't travel. Will read.


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