I'd much rather read than write so it's not much of a blog...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Cistern

This is the one part of the house I've never stepped foot in, never really seen until it finally dawned on me last week that I could get a picture of it with a digital camera held over the edge. When we bought the house twenty years ago this was filled with 4 feet of water and every bit of roof on this Dutch colonial had old half-round gutters draining into it where they weren't twisted out of shape.

The first summer we had drought conditions so we'd used most of the water by the time we did the tear-off of the roof (of course thereby breaking the drought) and hung new gutters with conventional downspouts.

The plan was to cut an entryway in the 5 1/2 foot high, 1 foot thick concrete wall and use the space as a root cellar but I've now accepted the fact that it ain't gonna happen. Maybe someday when I'm dead and gone, someone will actually use this again as intended and the fact that we never cut into it will turn out to be a good thing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Bad?

I have 20 tomato plants in the garden. In this bed I have 3 Brandywines flanked by 2 Black Krims and the one Brandywine in the center has some form of 'wilt':

One tomato plant out of 20. At this point I'm pretty sure it's my fault. I think I got sloppy when I was pruning them and in taking off some suckers at the soil line at the same time I suspect I gave the soil-born disease a way in.

My dilemma is whether or not to remove the plant now or wait...

Funny how everyone seems to be blogging about tomatoes this week.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Clubman Has Arrived

I think the bonnet stripes are too much but there it sits in the driveway this morning.

Now I just need me a couple of nice pigs.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Grisamore Farms

I picked the seven quarts of red raspberries at Grisamore Farms in Locke on Wednesday. As I finished, a woman and her two young daughters, all in sun bonnets, joined me.

It wasn't easy picking–there were a lot of overly ripe berries that were just too soft–but the flavor was very good.

I've been picking red raspberries at Grisamore's for almost twenty years. One of The Mister's coworkers took us the first time and then for several years my parents would visit the middle of July and the four of us would pick berries, stopping in Skaneateles for dinner at Doug's Fish Fry on the way home. My mother and I spent the evenings, most often warm and humid, making jam. Good memories.

Now I usually go by myself. It's a beautiful drive down 81 then twelve miles on a picturesque country road to Locke. Past seasons I've gone as many as three times to pick raspberries, sour cherries and blueberries but this year I'm going to try to make do with two trips and keep the carbon output and fuel costs down.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


They took forever to germinate this year but they were well worth the wait. So far we've been eating them a few at a time but next week there should be enough to warrant a sit down with some pecorino Toscano fresco and a glass of Prosecco.

Other first plantings didn't do as well due to slugs or flea beetles or the fact that I didn't water enough during the dry spells so I've spent the last couple of days clearing beds and sowing warm weather crops like beans, cucumber, summer squash, more basil and lettuce...

Now if I can just do a better job of keepinging everything adequately watered.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Oenothera Triloba

Just as I was finishing up outside last night I noticed the night blooming primrose, the stemless one that opens at dusk and is spent shortly after the break of light. There were already five blossoms but while I was taking a picture a sixth dramatically unfolded.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

On One Acre in Kentucky

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

When I saw this photo my gut immediately tightened. It's has to be one of the most frightening things a person can experience, to be in the vicinity of a wildfire. I'll never forget standing on the deck of our house in Kentucky watching and listening to a brushfire race across the hill behind us, waiting to see if it would jump the road below. We were lucky; conditions were such that the fire burned out without any real damage.

Obviously a lot of people in California this summer aren't so lucky. I hope they get some relief soon, especially in Big Sur where Emile Norman has his home and studio.

The Bees and the Basswood

The big basswood outside the kitchen door is loaded with blossoms this year. On this humid, overcast morning the fragrance fills the air. But there are so few honeybees. When we first lived here twenty years ago the tree would fairly hum with honeybees. I don't know if I'll ever have chickens here, I doubt I'll ever have a goat but I think I could manage a beehive so I'm going to see if the beekeepers at the state fair next month can tell me if I have a good location for a hive.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


The weed-pest of my garden, 2008, is yellow nutsedge, the result of another mistake on my part since I thought it was a rather attractive grass when it first appeared. Damn, you can't even eat the stuff which at least was a saving grace with my previous bete noire, lesser bittercress.