a marriage: late season asparagus and early season tomatoes
June 19, 2010, 2:51 pm
Filed under: art, garden, last green valley

Above is a photograph of what I made for lunch today. I…

baked the olive oiled ‘gus for 15 minutes at 375 degrees
took it out
added Parmesan, tomato, ground pepper, and sea salt
put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes
om nom nom!

I’m reading Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. It is the first thing I’ve read all summer, I need to do more reading! It’s a great book, but I’m having a hard time keeping proper nouns straight (this is common for me). I’ve heard from some people that they liked the movie better than the book, and one friend told me not to even watch the movie. I think I’ll watch it and decide.

I came across two nifty maps of the United States. One map visualizes moves between counties while another visualizes land cover vegetation throughout the country. For the second map click on the “land cover viewer” button, select a location, zoom, and play with the controls. Both maps are pretty nifty.


Whistler, Moulton, and my snake-friend

I’ve been doing more research on Pomfret and I am almost sure that James Abbott McNeill Whistler lived in the white house two houses down from the Vanilla Bean. I also now know that his mother would have preferred not to live in Pomfret at all, but she wanted her sons to attend the school in Pomfret. Whistler took his mother’s maiden name as his middle name because of the sacrifices she made for him.

I also now know that Louise Chandler Moulton lived in the mustard house at the eastern-most intersection of Brayman Hollow and Peterson Road. Her family called the house “Elmwood Cottage.” Moulton and Whistler walked home from school together. One afternoon Whistler gave Moulton a painting which she kept until she died. A poem about her childhood home reads:

My thoughts go home to that old brown house
With its low roof sloping down to the east,
And its garden fragrant with roses and thyme
That blossom no longer except in rhyme,
Where the honey-bees used to feast.

Afar in the west the great hills rose,
Silent and steadfast, and gloomy and gray.
I thought they were giants, and doomed to keep
Their watch while the world should wake or sleep,
Till the trumpet should sound on the judgment-day.

And I was as young as the hills were old,
And the world was warm with the breath of spring;
And the roses red and the lilies white
Budded and bloomed for my heart’s delight,
And the birds in my heart began to sing.

…it isn’t the best piece of poetry, but it is comforting to think that she thought of her childhood home when she was older (and who would want to think of your childhood if you were raised a Calvinist). I will write more about Whistler, Moulton, and Pomfret in another post.

The seemingly, (and actually), random photograph of a Garter Snake was taken outside of my garden while I was home two weeks ago. Isn’t (s)he pretty!


Over Field Work Term I read:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Timbuktu by Paul Auster
Farm City by Novella Carpenter
American Green by Ted Steinberg
The Gardener’s Year by Karel Capek
The Geography of Nowhere by James Howard Kunstler
The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

I also read half of each of these books:
The Path of Minor Planets by Andrew Sean Greer
Green Thoughts by Eleanor Perenyi

I am currently reading:
Green Thoughts by Eleanor Perenyi
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Next to read are:
The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
The Secret History by Donna Tartt

View East from Studio


This is the view from my Swan Garage studio. The maintenance facility can be seen in the mid-ground. I is nice to work with the door open, but it is getting colder and this will no longer be an option. Faculty parking is directly in front of the doors, and therefore views are spoiled for much of the day. I currently have the following books checked out of Crossett Library:

Breakfast Lunch Tea by Rose Carrarini
David Smith 1905-1965 by the Fogg Art Museum
Defiant Gardens by Kenneth I. Helphand
Eating Architecture edited by Jamie Horwitz and Paulette Singley
Floor Plan Manual edited by Friederike Schneider
Futurist Cookbook, The by Marinetti
Housing + Single Family Housing by Manuel Gausa
Lois Orswell, David Smith, and Modern Art by Marjorie B. Cohn
Pamphlet Architecture by Mark Janson

Politics as unUsual

I love the above episode from auto-tune the news. It is the most enjoyable of all of them. Also…the pope as environmentalist and a program for inner city residents to learn about growth. A message for those who live in housing developments and an alternative lifestyle.

Excerpts from My Summer in (and out of) a Garden


An excerpt from Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart:

“The SoHo and TriBeCa neighborhoods in lower Manhattan continue to thrive because their buildings were designed with several enduring advantages that today would not be considered efficient: they have high ceilings and large, high windows that let in daylight, thick walls that balance daytime heat with nighttime coolness…Their appeal and usefulness is enduringly apparent.”

Donald Judd would agree, see! I saw his home and studio in New York last term. It was a beautiful building.

An excerpt from “The Butterfly” a poem by Arun Kolatkar printed in Jejuri:

“Just a pinch of yellow,
it opens before it closes
and closes before it o

where is it”

An excerpt from a lecture by the fictional Elizabeth Costello in the Lives of Animals by J.M. Coetzee:

“Let me say it openly: we are surrounded by an enterprise of degradation, cruelty, and killing which rivals anything that the Third Reich was capable of, indeed dwarfs it, in that ours is an enterprise without end, self-regenerating, bringing rabbits, rats, poultry, livestock ceaselessly into the world for the purpose of killing them.”

The book ended with four reflections from others, including one by Peter Singer. I had been wondering if Peter singer would save his daughter or his dog and in his reflection he writes, “I’m your father, of course I would have saved my lovely baby daughter. But the point is, normal humans have capacities that far exceed those of nonhuman animals, and some of these capacities are morally significant in particular contexts.”

An excerpt from Morpho Eugenia by A.S. Byatt

“‘They take your dress for the sky itself,’ he whispered. She stood very still, turning her head this way and that. More and more butterflies made their way through the air, more and more hung trembling on the blue sheen of the cloth, on the pearly-white of her hands and throat.”

(I spent a lot of my summer here and here.)

An excerpt from My Summer in a Garden by Charles Dudley Warner

“The principal value of a private garden is not understood. It is not to give the possessor vegetables and fruit (that can be better and cheaper done by the market gardeners), but to teach him patience and philosophy, and the higher virtues,–hope deferred, and expectations blighted, leading directly to resignation, and sometimes to alienation. The garden thus becomes a moral agent, a test of character, as it was in the beginning…I mean to have a moral garden, if it is not a productive one,–one that shall teach, O my brothers! O my sisters! the great lessons of life.

I read most of this book while on the subway. It was the least applicable.

An excerpt from Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman

“‘Why do you keep saying that?’ he asked in response. “Apples and oranges aren’t that different, really. I mean, they’re both fruit. Their weight is extremely similar. They both contain acidic elements. They’re both roughly spherical. They serve the same social purpose. With the possible exception of a tangerine, I can’t think of anything more similar to an orange than an apple If I was having lunch with a man who was eating an apple and–while I was looking away– he replaced that apple with an orange, I doubt I’d even notice.”

An excerpt from Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart

“One day in 1845 a Scottish tailor named Duncan Gow ate a sandwich made with wild greens his children had collected for him. Within a few hours, he was dead. The children had made the fatal mistake of confusing the lacy foliage of parsley with that of poison hemlock.”

Growing Produce in Brooklyn Backyards
August 19, 2009, 1:04 am
Filed under: garden | Tags: , , ,

BK Farmyards is attempting to turn underutilized land in Brooklyn, New York into farmland. The website includes information on what legislation to watch, what they are growing, and how they would like to grow. There is a benefit for the farmyard this Saturday. Watch the video for some philosophy and hope.

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