31 October 2006

Poetry in Motion

I saw this on the subway this morning, read it several times, and for some reason I feel compelled to add it to the collection of odd bits and pieces that is this blog. After all, what else does a magpie do but collect?

An Old Cracked Tune

My name is Solomon Levi,
the desert is my home,
my mother's breast was thorny,
and father I had none.

The sands whispered, Be
the stones taught me, Be
I dance, for the joy of surviving,
on the edge of the road.

-Stanley Kunitz

30 October 2006

Grabbing The Nearest Book

Spotted on another blog (MotherReader) - a game.

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig around for that “cool” or “intellectual” book on your shelves. (I know you were thinking about it.) Just pick up whatever is closest.

I always have books at hand...but the closest one right now is unpaginated and largely handwritten...a collection of recipes. Right now, it's open to three recipes - Fish Eyes and Glue, Strawberry Shortcake, and Blueberry Upside Down cake. So, here's that last one:

Blueberry Upsidedown Cake (also known as Tar Cake)

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups blueberries
2 t. grated lemon rind
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup milk

Melt 1/4 cup butter in 9” square pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Mix berries with lemon rind and put in pan. Cream 1/2 cup butter. Add sugar and beat. Add egg and beat. Mix dry ingredients and add alternating with milk. Spread on berries. Bake at 375° for ~30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate. At that point, you'll understand the secondary title.

Live Chickens

From the New York Times, on Sunday 10/29/06:

It doesn’t get much fresher than the fowl at De Maria’s Country Butcher Shop. Visitors to the store on the grounds of Hemlock Hill Farm in Cortlandt Manor are likely to see a few customers scooping up live hens themselves and bringing them to the in-house butcher for slaughter.

Well of course, we had to go running off yesterday to buy a fresh chicken. Unfortunately, we got there too late in the day and all of the chickens were gone. Except, of course, for the three chickens that were hauled into the shop upside-down by their legs by the family that followed us into the store...to be taken home alive, not butchered by the in-house guy. The people in front of us ordered rabbits...slaughtered while you wait. We didn't try to catch our own chickens (Miss M. was asleep in the car, for one thing), but we're looking forward to fresh fowl sometime soon. And so close to home! Who knew?

23 October 2006

The Dog Costume

For yesterday's town Ragamuffin parade, Miss M. wore a Scooby Doo costume handed-down by a neighbor. Lots of people said "Hi Scooby!", "Look, there's Scooby!". The great thing is, she has no idea who (what?) Scooby-Doo is. Although, to be perfectly honest, I don't think I've ever seen a Scooby-Doo cartoon either.


Everyday, twice a day, we drive by a Catholic church on the way to and from daycare. A couple of weeks ago, Miss M. noticed this statue in front of the church and said "That's you, Mommy!" She has repeated this nearly every time we've gone by. Someday, perhaps she'll know that I'm no saint. Though, her birth did result from an immaculate conception, the kind with lots of sterile equipment.

16 October 2006

The beach

Miss M. with Granny, overlooking the Pacific in Malibu. Posted by Picasa

15 October 2006

Bug Rabbit

Miss M. has discovered the joys of Bugs Bunny, through the inclusion of a tiny little short called 8 Ball Bunny, on the March of the Penguins DVD. However, in a great toddlerism, she has been requesting the viewing of Bug Rabbit.

[And believe it or not, 8 Ball Bunny has its own Wikipedia entry, which takes almost as long to read, as it does to watch the short.]

Annals of Gardening

Now that the temperature has dipped below 32°F at least once, I guess tomato season is officially over. Last year, I got a six pack of some ordinary hybrid...but because I didn't get them in the ground until after the Fourth of July, we harvested nothing but green tomatoes. This year, I got my act together sooner and got five robust plants into the ground just before Memorial Day. Here's the verdict:

Black Brandywine - good producer, good fruit.
Green Zebra - good producer, good fruit.
Sugar Lump - lots of mostly tiny cherry tomatoes, although not terrific flavor and somewhat tough skins.
Mortgage Lifter - lousy producer: we did not harvest a single ripe tomato. I'd love to know where it got its inaccurate moniker.
Heartland - nice compact plant, with a reasonable amount of plain red tomatoes of decent quality.

Black Brandywine and Green Zebra were sprawling, vibrant, out-of-control vines. I might have gotten more fruit if I'd been a little more ruthless about pruning them earlier in the season.

I would definitely plant Black Brandywine and Green Zebra again, and maybe Heartland. I think I'll look for a different cherry tomato, and maybe a different all around red tomato.

There is a whole mess of mostly green tomatoes now resident on cookie sheets in the basement - some will undoubtably ripen, thereby extending tomato season for at least another couple of weeks. Of course, all the basil is gone. Tant pis.

02 October 2006


There once was a man from Madras,
whose balls were made out of brass.
When he banged them together,
they played Stormy Weather,
and lightning shot out of his ass.

There was a fair maiden of Exeter,
So pretty that guys craned their necks at her.
One was even so brave
as to take out and wave
The distinguishing mark of his sex at her.

There was a young man of St. Bee
Who was stung in the arm by a wasp.
They asked, "Does it hurt?"
He replied, "No it doesn't"
I'm glad that it wasn't a hornet.