It isn't a portent, I'm pretty sure, that the silken grey ribbons pulled out from the spine of my little notebook, leaving it plain and undistinguished. It couldn't be an omen, for what would it be telling me? Don't use the notebook any longer? Don't rely on inanimate objects to mark your place? Pretty things die?
You see? You can make anything mean anything if you just set your mind to it. So I'll say this event signals that it is time to break out the glue gun and do some repairs. That's as deep as I want to go.
Now imagine a bushel basket. You don't see many of these any longer, unless you buy your tomatoes and peppers in bulk at the farmers' market. I love bushel baskets. My husband, not having grown up in a world that featured them, has trouble with the name and invariably refers to them as "bushels" not realizing that the operative word is baskets. I used to correct him (a bit harshly, sometimes, because surely after all these years with me he should remember this). But now I just let it go. Besides, we're about over our mock-farmer phase where we "put by" the peppers and romano beans and tomatoes for the coming year. So our supply of bushel baskets in the basement is dwindling, thank goodness. We really don't need to keep any on hand.
When our Hannah was not quite two (she's 23 now) her favourite game was to sit in a bushel basket, which we would place on a large towel or small rug. Then one of us—whichever adult had the most energy that moment—would grab one end of the towel or rug and pull the Hannah-loaded basket all through the house. We have pictures.
For vegetable deliveries from our CSA, Steph uses large plastic tubs with lids, which we return to her at the next delivery. They probably suit her needs much better than bushel baskets would. She can wash them with her power hose to clean them for the next delivery. They are sturdier by far than bushel baskets, whose rough thin slats are minimally held together with interweaving and wire. Plastic tubs don't have splinters, either.
But as long as farmers have stands and Dupont Street has Italian greengrocers who sell the tomatoes grown in the family fields, there will still be bushel baskets.
Once, when it mattered, I could recite the table of equivalents all the way up to bushel (16 T in a cup, 2 cups in a pint, 2 pints in a quart, 4 quarts in a gallon—and then something makes a peck and X number of pecks makes a bushel). "I love you a bushel and a peck". Take half a peck of small cucumbers . . . These days if I need that information I just look in Mrs. Rombauer's index (under Table of Equivalents). Someone else might go online, but that wouldn't tap into the nostalgia of finding those words and figures on the printed page of an old cookbook.
Food blog: http://fastandfearlesscooking.blogspot.ca