Working at a demanding full-time job as well as on this project finally caught up with me after three years and I ran myself a bit past empty.
I found I needed to back off from this work for awhile so I could recharge my batteries.
Fear not, I’ve not given up but did need to take some time off.
I’m going away later this week for a true break.
I’m hoping that after this my energy to work on this will be renewed.
I don’t plan to blog quite as often since my next efforts will be to write a book on this subject with everything I’ve learned. The whole story is quite extraordinary.
I have some other very positive news to share soon but in the meantime, here’s a picture from this past weekend.
Almost every year I “process” (peel and freeze) some quantity of green chile. I thought you might find the bag interesting as I can’t remember the last time I bought a “bushel” of anything. I don’t think it’s used much outside of the agricultural world.
And, a couple of days ago, I was listening to an old Burns and Allen radio show where they were making fun of Gregory Peck’s name but most people probably don’t even know or remember what a “peck” is (apparently around two gallons, dry volume).
Measures are around us and we use them more than we realize.
Speaking of which, on September 3 this blog had more than 600 pageviews. It’s now at almost 120,000 since I began. That’s promising.
Thanks for your patience.
The bushel is probably the most abused unit of measure in the US. The Winchester bushel was imported from England as a measure of volume used for agricultural produce. Since the volume of produce depends on whether it was “stirred or shaken” (to misquote James Bond), the bushel was converted to a measure of weight (or rather mass). The equivalent weight in turn depends on the product density. The table at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushel#/media/File:Bushel_Table_of_States.jpg shows the impact of this where different states had different sized bushels for the same product.
That is from 1854. There are also Federal definitions in terms of mass for a commercial bushel. Parties in a contract are free to set their own definition, but if there is no definition, the Federal weights are assumed in disputes. The only use is in commercial contracts where typically a truck is weighed, emptied and weighed again. Besides commercial contracts, these definitions are used in the lot sizes of futures contracts for corn, wheat, and other commodities. In that case, the actual weight is first adjusted for moisture content and quality, then divided by the standard bushel weight. Obviously, the same adjustments could be made and they could be sold by adjusted mass instead.
In a farmer’s market, a bushel is a bushel basket filled with produce, ie., a volume. In England, some things were sold in level (struck) bushels, some in heaped. A heaped bushel is commonly taken as 1.25 times the volume of a bushel, literally a “bushel and a peck,” the origin of the phrase. Usually, several bushels are set out and the customer selects which he will buy. The containers for dry measure have standard sizes and tolerances set by law; how “heaped” it is will be between the farmer and customer.
I can see why this unit appears to be popular. With no one knowing what it really is, it is the perfect unit to deceive. If you asked a vendor what is a bushel in honest units of litres or kilograms, you would probably be labeled a communist as a means to cover up the fact that you exposed a scam.
When the Imperial System was introduced in the United Kingdom in 1824, an attempt was made to define a “heaped measure”. That attempt was abandoned in 1835 the “heaped measure” ceased to be legal for trade. The bushel ceased to be legal for trade in 1985.
It is incredible to see that a bushel weight is not only dependent on the produce being weighed, which is logical, but also *where* it is being weighed.
In other words, the bushel is a measure meant to be deceptive. So when you see it in practice, the person trying to offer you a bushel of something is dishonest and trying to trick you.
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