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Author, editor, homesteader, collector–our friend Ben is all that and (of course) much more. When asked by the moderator at one of those corporate seminars what I’d be if I could be anything at all, the answer popped into my mind like Athena bursting fullgrown from the forehead of Zeus: I’d like to be the head of my own think tank. That’s because I love to think, about all sorts of things, all the time. And I love to learn, and to problem-solve, and to create great ideas that will save the world (or at least small ideas that are fun and ingenious). You’ll probably see a few of those here, along with rantings and ravings, and even some good advice. Happy reading!



1. Jean Ann - March 25, 2008

By the way, I really look forward to the next incarnation of “The Bible”…my only problem is that I am running out of testaments…might have to switch to “The Good Book I, II, and III”.
BTW, I’d be happy to write a review and post…I can guest blog in a couple of places, too. Always trying to spread the “good word” you know… 🙂

Ha!!! Many thanks! I’ll let you know when it comes out.

2. Michael Nolan - March 26, 2008

Just surfed through after your comment to my recent article over at Tomato Casual and I have to say BRAVO! I can still remember in 1990 when I found my first issue of Backwoods Home Magazine before they used color or anything other than recycled newsprint, and it has been one of my mainstays ever since. I’m add you to my reading list!

Thanks, Michael! I’m honored! And Backwoods Home is always the first magazine I read–cover to cover!

3. flowergardengirl - May 7, 2008

Took me awhile to figure out who ourfriendben was–and finally got over here. Very clever you are. I just added you to my blogroll which makes you ..well, a member of my blogroll…

I love your style and am much amused.

Thanks, Anna!!!

4. Catherine Kenny - July 24, 2008

A Luddite…! That’s good enough for me; I’m adding you to my list of favourites post haste, once I can coax said action out of this dread machine. Sorry, have to go now. General Ned is ordering me back to my loom.

Ha!!! Thanks, Catherine!

5. eliz - August 24, 2008

Dear fellow epicureans and luddites,

This website is a trip—I’m in.



6. Phebe - October 26, 2008

I’d like to know what info is out there about olive oil as a salad oil and what info says its safe for cooking. Are we still supposed to sear meat and fish using it? Mine seems to start smoking on med. heat and I thought that wasn’t good…

Readers, help please!

narf77 - June 13, 2012

Olive oil isn’t great for high heat cooking. It smokes…it burns easily and is best for low heat cooking and for salads. It’s best to use another vegetable oil like sunflower or rice bran for cooking at high temperatures. Save olive oil for dunking your fresh homemade bread and Dukkah in 🙂

7. zora naki - January 12, 2009

Dear Phebe,

I asked an Italian friend of mine, and (apparently) Italians never waste their olive oil on frying. Stick to veggie oil (canola, etc.) for searing meat or deep-frying anything.

Thanks, Zora! Much appreciated!!!

8. James - October 2, 2009

Just wanted to say I respect the time it takes to run a blog like this, and I really enjoy the content you have. Thanks for the hard work and good luck in the future.

P.S. I turned off my ad-blocker to see if you had AdSense… Why don’t you have AdSense?!

Thank you, James! As for AdSense, being Luddites, we had no clue how other blogs got ads on their sites until we checked out AdSense thanks to your comment. Figures!

9. Liz - October 30, 2009

I love your blog and look forward to reading more. What does a gardener do at night? Research and anticipate what I’m going to do next… Gotta be starting something.
I only have one thing to say about pesticides, Fire Ants in South Florida. Until I find a way to prevent them I think I’m stuck using pesticides, and I hate that.
I agree with you about thinking. I love to ponder while I garden. I’ve had many revelations about our natural world while working in the soil, or making soil as the case maybe. This is why I like your blog, I now have some new thoughts to consider. Hmm, am I a Luddite?
P.S. Install a pull-out keybord tray under the desktop, or get a wireless keyboard, they almost install themselves. I’m pretty sure if you take it one situation at a time you can outsmart the cat.
I have to keep mine from sleeping in my bed while I’m away. Our door handles are levers, it doesn’t even slow her down. I guess I’ll get knobs…and grease them.

Thanks, Liz! And hey, I’m with you on the fire ants. We have such dreadful poison ivy up here, if you buy a place with established vines, I know the herbicides would be a huge temptation. (Fortunately we “just” have to pull up seedlings here at Hawk’s Haven.) And I do use a keyboard with a pull-out tray, but unfortunately, when Layla plops herself on the actual laptop keyboard, it appears to override the “real” keyboard I use! Grrrr. The trials and tribulations! I can picture your cat blandly opening the lever handle and letting herself into the bedroom.

10. AE Reiff - December 12, 2009

I like a think tank. I have some fish for it, mainly in a blog called Human Botany which thinks about that plant in its wilderness.

Ha!!! Love it, AE! I have two fish tanks, and henceforth will contemplate think tanks every time I look at them…

11. Elle - November 7, 2010

I wish you could see (and take) the amazing small kitten who has appeared in my yard and insists that she is going to live here! She is chocolate BROWN with tiny orange dots all over, two small tan spots, three feet with BLACK pads, and ONE foot with tan toes and PINK pads. ALSO she has the DARKEST ORANGE EYES I have ever seen, sometimes they look BROWN. I am the “vitim?” of over 23 cats who had the same intent, and ended up “fixing” 18 cats – still have 3 of THOSE, plus my own 2 indoor Lap Cats and another “visitor” CALICO, who has stayed in my yard and is either spayed or infertile. So I yelped “aarrgghh” when this one looked into my eyes and said “Here I am, pet me.”
So – To the Vet we go, or start another 18 yard cats. HELP!!

I wish we could take her, too, Elle! We’re down to one tiny outdoor cat, and we’ve found that the ideal as far as keeping down mouse, rat, bunny, and squirrel populations for our one-acre Eden is eight! But some nearby monster has taken to taking pot-shots at our cats, so we’re out of the adoption business. We wish you luck with your beautiful new girl!

12. Linda Parsons - December 31, 2010

I felt like I could have written your essay on book reading or should I say lack of book reading. I stumbled upon your website researching Ben Franklin and here I am several minutes later adding you to my Bookmarks 🙂

Thanks so much, Linda! You’ve made our day!

13. Sandra Merriman - May 21, 2011

Hi. I read your post on another blog about cuban oregano… here’s a copy of it:

“Geez, dollins, I am stupefied! I grow seven kinds of plectranthus in containers here in scenic PA, including this one–on the deck during the season, in the greenhouse over winter–but had no idea they were actually edible! I love the colors and velvety textures and heavenly fragrance. You all MUST head over to the Well-Sweep Herb Farm website and see if they’re still selling their green-and-gold variegated form, ‘Well-Sweep Wedgewood’. It and the one you’re growing are the loveliest of all! ”

I live in York County PA and I’m so frustrated looking for what we call oregano brujo, which is one of the varieties of cuban oregano that’s all green and found/used mostly in Caribbean cuisine. I’ve bought them before at Valley View Farms in MD and at Stauffer’s in York, but now all they bring in is the variegated or a smaller, rounder puffy dark green plant. Here is a link to one of my posts with pictures of my past plants so you know which one I want:

Please let me know if you have a source for this plant or if you’re willing to sell or give me a cutting. My sofrito will thank you every time I use it!!!


Hi Sandra! Sadly, my green plectranthus is just the plain old Vick’s plant and wouldn’t do you a bit of good. I looked at my two favorite herb suppliers, Nichols Garden Nursery and Well-Sweep Herb Farm, to see if either carried your oregano brujo, Plectranthus amboinicus, and sure enough, Well-Sweep in New Jersey has it! A trip to Well-Sweep is a delightful experience, but if you’d just like to order a plant, go to http://www.wellsweep.com/ and stock up!

14. diana - June 27, 2011

love your blog

Thanks so much, Diana!!!

15. WhiteFang - July 17, 2011

Hey there.
Stumbled upon this as I was learning to avoid secret gelatin products to stay true to my vegetarian conscience. Given the awful law implementation in our country and the rampant corruption, for now I plan to stay away from anything which even has a remote chance of having it as an ingredient (because they may claim it’s agar agar and it’ll actually be the same ‘ol disgusting gelatin).

Apart from that though, you know, I’d be immensely grateful if you pointed me to any other products which directly or indirectly cause the slaughtering of poor animals that there’s a good chance I maybe unaware of. (some soaps for instance)

Lastly, from your “About” it so seems we share similar ambitions~ 😛

Hi WhiteFang! Glad to know you’re a kindred spirit! The most shocking inclusions of gelatin I’ve found in foods here include Altoid mints, many yogurts and ice creams, “tastes like butter” substitutes, marshmallows, and marshmallow cream or fluff. But I’m sure it’s lurking in all sorts of places we would never expect! The only way to be sure is to read labels compulsively. I have the same experience with cubed bread, crackers, cookies, chips, and other seemingly innocuous products that turn out to contain lard, chicken fat, etc. Yikes! The world’s just not safe for vegetarians…

16. jacquiephelan - July 18, 2011

oooh you like wombats. Please look at my blog (jacquie phelan/wordpress…inside the mind of the wombat…
ever, j

Hi Jacquie! And yes, I do like wombats. Many thanks for the link!

17. William Scudder - September 25, 2011

I came by here by way of serendipity (it’s a passageway to some of the most interesting places.)
We share a fondness for Franklin and his joie de vivre. It was not total circumstance that lead me here, I’m creating a blog for a class on social media (old dog- new tricks). And was toying with the idea of bringing Richard Saunders back via a blog. It’s obvisouly not an original thought, as this post can attest. But in as much as this is merely an assignment and not a career, I’ll press ahead and try not to step on your talented toes.
In the meantime, I’ll look forward to other witty and wise observations from somewhere in rural PA.

Welcome, William! Glad you enjoyed Poor Richard’s Almanac. And of course you can try your own hand at Richard Saunders! Please send me the link so I can visit when you’ve got it up and running. Here at PRA, Ben Franklin is our hero and blog mentor, and we post as Our friend Ben, Silence Dogood, and, of course, Richard Saunders. Occasionally Doctor Franklin himself has dropped by for a visit (usually to save us from ourselves). Someday, we hope to host George Washington!

William Scudder - September 27, 2011

Thank you for your gracious welcome.
Like you, my opinions fall somewhere between luddite and curmudgeon in flavor.
I’ve included the link to my recent addition to Franklin’s legacy. I suspect I will maintain it for at least as long as it mandated by my class. If I find it becomes habit forming, as a way of releasing pent-up frustrations with current events, I may continue. Time will tell. http://poordicksblog.blogspot.com/
In meantime, it is nice to know there are others who appreciate Franklin for more than being a pretty face on a hundred dollar bill.

Fabulous launch, Richard, I mean, William! And I love the look of your blog, too. I have a feeling you’ll find it as addictive as I do, and such good discipline, too!

18. Ali Geering-Kline - January 26, 2012


I just came across your “A different kind of card” blog post from 2010.

I work for an environmental health organization, the Center for Environmental Health, where we work to protect people from the corporate use of toxic chemicals.

I love the concept you brought up in your post about cancer being the “killer of our time” and how the corporations that are polluting our air, food and water should take responsibility for the damage they are doing to our health and the environment.

We’d love to post a shortened version of your blog post on our own blog, Generation Green (http://generationgreen.org).

Please let me know if we can crosspost your article, or if you’d be interested in writing any other environmental health-related material for our blog.

Thanks so much for your time!

All the best,

Ali Geering-Kline
510.655.3900 x312

Hi Ali! I’d be honored if you wanted to crosspost of one of my posts, and would be delighted to write for you. Let me know what you need!

19. Ali Geering-Kline - March 15, 2012


Happy to hear that! Can you send me your email address so I can give you the details about guest blogging for Generation Green?

Ali Geering-Kline

20. Science blogs that I recommend | Science on the Land - November 25, 2012

[…] Poor Richard’s Almanac is a Luddite’s take on life, chickens and other critical issues. […]

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