The Basil Book
Long Shadow Books, a division of Simon and Shuster, NYC, 1984
First edition, 128 pages with illustrations. Paperback, Autographed on request.
Yes, these books have not only withstood the test of time, they have also survived a fire that devastated the Fox Hill Farmhouse earlier this year. So, they come pre-smoked but without that usual new book smell.
Why would I offer ‘damaged goods’, you ask?
Well, simply because
1. We all know you can’t tell a book by it’s cover
2. The information is still valid, the recipes wonderful, the growing techniques still work.
3. I really need the money ebay.com auction sometimes
When I phoned my insurance agent the day after the fire, I was informed that the Farmhouse had been dropped from my insurance policy. I do not recall being told about that policy change
But, reality is that this is a major loss in more than one respect.
Just a week before, my adopted son again told me he wanted to live more independently and his preference was to move across the road into the Farmhouse with a roommate or a wife. This is part of his heart’s desire. I said yes. The fire changed all that. So now Charlie’s got a gutted non-house. He is very disappointed and mournful. More loss and tattered dreams.
Verify the fire at The Country Press and Jackson Citizen Patriot newspapers. Read about my kid in The Detroit News,” A Child is Waiting” column.
A year or two after The Basil Book was published, we acquired the 1888 farmhouse across the road and Charlie and his Dad, Don (now deceased) spent the better part of a year repairing, restoring and redecorating this two story country classic to serve as the farm offices. Get the computers and files out of the living room, dining room and entry room of our residence. Move our licensed food processing facility from the local pub’s kitchen to it’s own quarters. Provide room for seminars and workshops and the like. Create more herb laden goodies not possible to produce in our offsite facilities.
Charlie worked his tail off on the Farmhouse and was very proud of his developing skills and accomplishments. He’s hidden a lot of his potential, it began to manifest and a wonderful elfin spirit emerge.
The greenhouses, gardens and fields produced about 300 species of herbs, including about 15 varieties of basil. We even grew the stuff year ‘round to supply to restaurants and home cooks in a specially designed greenhouse. Any excuse to grow and eat more basil. Pesto has been a dietary mainstay, inflaming many passions.
We even celebrated basil with our annual Basil Festival featuring the Pesto Challenge.
For show and tell, we created a 60’ x 60’ maze featuring all of the varieties of basil we propagated, including the Silver Fox basil, developed right here on our farm. It, too, is gone now.
So, this is some of what you can read about in The Basil Book, written on one of my first computers in Peachtext running on C/PM. I couldn’t even figure out how to print the manuscript to send to the publisher. They did not have microcomputers anyway, much less C/PM compatibles with 5 1/4” floppies.
Randy, our Horticultural Agent from the Cooperative Extension Service, fortunately, had some microcomputer knowledge (we were using the same software, Peachtext and dBASEII). And, he figured out how to get the 70 lb. NEC serial printer to work. That daisywheel printer is kind of sodden now, but did not fall through the ceiling of the farmhouse.
When I got writer’s block and huge anxiety about not being able to finish the manuscript by the due date in the contract, I found an unsuspected quality in a friend, Connie.
She just started showing up on my doorstep a couple of times a week asking for the latest chapter to read. She would sit in my rocker in the bay window and read and rock, make suggestions, test recipes, laugh, find the typos and malapropisms. Bless her heart. Without her, The Basil Book would probably have not been completed. And, would not be offered here on eBay. Sometimes.
Now, I am told the farmhouse is beyond repair and must be razed. So, I need to raise the money to pay for that. No insurance proceeds to cover those costs must less any replacement. A dead spouse. A kid who needs help.
But, I still know how to ship. Carefully. And, the kid can help.
So, thanks to Lois and Gil, some of The Basil Books have been rescued from the second floor just a few feet from where there is no floor and no roof and no staircase.
They climbed up a ladder onto the unscathed porch roof and through the hole in the wall, Gil was able to reach into the corner where these books had been stored. They were somewhat protected by Chuck’s Chillers boxes and herb mix. So, if you find a bit of a spicy aroma, that’s just the lingering scent of the burned to nothing but ash herb mix, which of course, included basil (but I ain’t telling which variety).
The first books out were a real mess. But Gil and Lois persevered and the deeper they dug, they began to find copies that were in surprisingly decent condition.
As an expression of gratitude for their friendship and perseverance when the fire folk said that nothing was salvageable upstairs, at least 10% of the sale of these books will be donated to the Parma United Methodist Church.
So, please order one or several. Holiday are coming and you have to admit that this could become a truly memorable gift..... The 19.5 year old, not exactly perfect but previously unread first edition Basil Book.
Yes, I will autograph upon request and even dedicate it to whomever your heart desires, send a Note with your paypal.com payment..
I will even sweeten the pot a bit, so to speak, by enhancing the aroma with a couple of drops of essential oil of basil, lavender or tea tree. Just let me know your preference in a Note with your paypal.com payment.
The Basil Book was last offered in our catalog for $12.00 usd. Please consider this in your bid.
When you win this auction, you will also earn our undying gratitude.
By the way, I’ve been an ebay member for at least seven years, even buying things like computers. I just don’t buy much and many earlier sellers didn’t leave feedbacks.
21 August 2005 -
It’s been two tough years with Charlie’s health crisis but now I can offer the book again. I apologize for any inconvenience. In his memory we hope to launch the Parma Loan Closet.
You can also order The Basil Book directly from me for $15.00 usd including USPS first class shipping free within the USA. Payment only via paypal to email@example.com