One hundred and eighty-four years after its original publication,

Mackenzie’s Five Thousand Receipts in All the Useful and Domestic Arts

is making its Kindle debut.


My, how times have changed …

Or have they?

Complied by an anonymous source known only as “An American Physician,” this book is a mighty mish-mash of intriguing—and remarkably useful—miscellany.

In the course of 460 pages of small print and black-and-white diagrams, Mackenzie’s covers everything,

and I mean everything,

from beekeeping, gardening, metallurgy, pickling, and preserving

to watercolor paints, medical cures, chimney cleaning, brewing, cooking,

and about a bazillion other timeless topics.

Okay, so the application of leeches may not be relevant to most readers, but there is enough trivia in this tome to keep you entertained, and maybe even enlightened, for hours on end.

Who knew you could make acorn coffee?

And wouldn’t you love to try the “Cream of Roses” facial recipe?

Fortunately, farmgirls, the book has a “most copious index” (the physician’s own words).

I’ve been having fun just thinking up a topic and seeing if it’s listed.

Drying flowers?


Manure application?


Waterproofing shoes?


The Kindle release is slated for July 16, 2013, but you can also pick up a paperback reproduction of the original or even reference it free online.





Old Book Smell

Did you catch my musty book coffee fix post earlier this year?

Just the mention of “musty” makes my nose crinkle (although coffee is a pleasing antidote).

With our noses now inside a book, let’s turn the page … or pick up another edition?

Something like that.

Last week, on a spontaneous hunt for poetic inspiration, I spied my old copy of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass—the one that survived my house fire many, many years ago. It has been sitting unopened for so long, tucked inconspicuously among other faded fabric spines, I was prepared to pinch my nose upon opening it.


Courtesy iPad E-Book Library

But, there was no must, no mildew …

just that heavenly “old book smell.”


glitterati-leaves_of_grass-2 glitterati-leaves_of_grass-3


Courtesy Eakins Press Foundation

Do you remember the last time you fumbled upon that nigh forgotten fragrance?

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