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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Passing

My mother-in-law died on Monday. Her last years were exactly what everyone fears, a slow neurological deterioration affecting her mentally and physically. My father-in-law did a heroic job of caring for her at home, with considerable risk to his own health, until the last couple of months.

She was a very emotionally distant woman. If I were to write her epitaph I would simply quote something she often said, even to her younger son who was clinically depressed and eventually committed suicide: "I shouldn't have to say that I love you; you should be able to tell how I feel from what I do." She never saw the irony.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


The evening of August 31, 2004, I was driving home from a lecture at Le Moyne. The moonrise was so spectacular that I didn't think to turn on the Yankees' game until I was halfway home. I still remember sitting on route 92 waiting to turn left onto Hunt Lane when John Sterling gave the score: Indians 19, Yankees 0. I was sure I'd heard it wrong and I think I missed a couple of breaks in the traffic waiting to hear the score repeated.

In all the insanity surrounding the new Yankee monument to excess I've found comfort in fact that it was my hometown team, the Cleveland Indians, that gave the Yankees their worst home shutout in the old stadium, final score: 22-0.

Given that fact, I thought it was odd karma that the Indians were the first team scheduled to play the Yankees in the new stadium. I'd planned to listen to the game on Thursday but didn't realize it was a day game until it was too late. Yesterday the game was on Fox so I made it a point to take a break from the garden to watch the beginning.

I don't think this new record will hold. It seems like this $1.5 billion obscenity "plays small" and may host many more home run derbies.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Not all my Niger develop this color so I'm happy to see more and more seedlings that do.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thank You Salter

My old Salter kitchen scales (an older version of this model) had been behaving erratically for some time when I finally tried to beat it into submission. After that, all it displayed was "E".

I still had the box and the instructions but no receipt to determine if it was still covered by the ten year warranty. Regardless I was willing to pay to have it repaired rather than throw it away so I called Taylor/Salter in Las Cruces, New Mexico, of all places.

A lovely woman assured me that I could send my old scales to Las Cruces and they would send me a replacement. She told me they were no longer making my model and they would send whatever model I wanted if I put a note in with the old scales.

So now I have a fabulous new set of scales with several advantages over the old one, primarily sealed buttons where dust and dirt can't collect.

Thank you, thank you Salter. Friends and family should be warned they will getting Salter scales whenever the occasion merits.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I can coexist with deer, rabbits, skunks, foxes, snakes or just about any critter that comes around but not groundhogs. They are just too destructive and can do too much damage in no time at all. We've relocated a lot of nasty, messy, smelly groundhogs over the years but this one was by far the most mild mannered of them all, a perfect passenger on the trip out to one of the more remote canal parks.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring Tonic

A lovely box of fresh ramps from a friend in West Virgina arrived yesterday and I cooked some right away. Delish. Thank you C.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Il Orto



Even I can manage a bit of optimism in spring, plotting three plantings for the fenced garden, il orto, with the garden hogs, the melons and the winter squash, in another area. I rarely get everything in as I plan but I doubt I would do as much as I do if I didn't have all the options laid out early on.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

And So It Begins


I got the tomato, pepper & eggplant seeds sown yesterday. I've seen a lot of photos of lovely seedlings posted in various blogs the past week or so but here I wait until April 1 to open the porch and set up the nursery.

I used to start the season earlier but the tomatoes would grow into trees until our nighttime temps finally got over 50º/10º and the fruit would set. It just made for a lot of extra pruning.

With a heat mat and florescent lights the seeds take off quickly and are ready to move outside by the end of May. The cherry tomatoes that grow in pots on the stone patio on the south side of the house usually have ripe fruit by the end of July.

Tomato: Brandywine, Black Krim, Costoluto Fiorentino & Carmello (slicing), Bella Rosa & Lyn's Mahogany Garnet (two new determinate varieties), San Marzano 3 & Golden Mama (paste), Sugar Sweetie, Mirabelle, Black Pearl, Super Snow White, Italian Ice, Green Grape,
Sundrop & Isis Candy (cherry)
Eggplant: Nadia, Biatrice, Rosa Bianca, Purple Rain
Sweet Pepper: California Wonder, Islander
Cardoon: Pieno Inerme

The first rows of mesclun and radish have been sown in the orto but I'm holding off on the fava & rapa for another week since they took so long to germinate last year. Flats of escarole (Mentoponto, Cornetto di Bordeaux, Sugarloaf & Broadleaf Batavian), onion (Rossa Lunga di Firenze & Italian Torpedo), Baby Lincoln leeks and pots of podding radish have been sown outdoors on the patio along with a variety of perennials.