26 July 2011


It was pestopaloosa at Lucindaville.

Even with our abysmal garden, we collected enough basil to produce about 20 cups of pesto. That should keep Doe Run and several of our close friends in pesto through the winter.

23 July 2011

Requiescat in Pace -- Amy Winehouse

Just got an e-mail from England that Winehouse was found dead. Sometimes a voice is just not enough and what a booming voice she had. My favorite is her cover of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? from the forgettable Bridget Jones sequel.

William Shatner & Ballet

Really, did you ever think you might hear "William Shatner" and "Ballet" in the same sentence. Well you just did. After suffering this week with a summer cold and 100 degree temperatures, I admit to being pretty useless. So I watched an unusual amount of television. I realized that I can mow tell you who the killer is in most Law & Order episodes during the little prologue where they find the body. This will not find one gainful employment nor will it make you the life of the party (unless you might be parting with Dick Wolf). So I was pretty desperate to watch anything and being a bit of balletomane, I decided to watch William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet.

Never did I expect to find William Shatner speaking eloquently about ballet, but there he was.

So the story goes like this:

William Shatner after finding himself one more than one Golden Throats compilations really wanted to make some music...

Shatner enlists Ben Folds who totally gets what Shatner wants and brings his enormous talent to the project...

They produce a very interesting album entitled Has Been.

Choreographer Margo Sappington (who as a mere tot co-wrote, choreographed, and performed in the musical, Oh! Calcutta!) hears Has Been on NPR and calls Shatner and asks to turn it into a ballet and he says sure.

So William Shatner's Common People debuts at the Milwaukee Ballet on 15 February 2007. It is a big hit.

After that, a documentary is inevitable and so we have William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet.

This is totally watchable and quite fun. It is coming soon to Netflix, so add it to the queue.

22 July 2011

Requiescat in Pace -- Lucian Freud

Reflection, 1981

Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, 1995

Gaz, 1997

Elizabeth II, 2001

Clifford Coffin Lucian Freud at 25, 1947

Telegraph Obituary

18 July 2011

Romantic Moderns

Romantic Moderns by Alexandra Harris is a wonderful book. I can't offer a bigger recommendation, especially to the readers of Lucindaville. This is one of those books that came up while searching for other books. It purported to be a study of English modernism which some would argue is an oxymoron. The official title is Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper.

John Piper, Painting, 1935

It is a rather scholarly tome and was a bit hard to find. I had ordered it several times only to find it was out of stock. After several months I found a copy in England that came after four weeks a bit worse for wear from its' journey. It is beautifully bound on heavy stock and filled with photos. Harris' premise is that while modernism was often a violent break with the past, English Modernism saw the "modern" as not the least bit at odds with the its past.

While the title of the books mentions artists and writers, Harris takes a much broader, inclusive approach to a cultural history. She looks at "writers and artists" who wrote not only poetry and fiction, but writers who wrote about food and gardens and travel.

Illustration from Mrs. Beeton's Every Day Cookery and Housekeeping Book, 1890

Starting with the ever present Mrs. Beeton and her tarted up "European" recipes, Harris points out that painter Roger Fry was fascinated by regional food and often "carried around with him a huge Provencal cooking pot." Interest in food became less about the grandiose Victorian feasts and more about the one-pot meals from the English countryside.

Geoffrey Jellicoe's baroque garden at Ditchley Park, 1934-1939

When Ronald and Nancy Tree decided to redesign the gardens at their home, Ditchley Park they chose Geoffery Jellicoe. Jellicoe took his visions of Italy and moulded them into the English countryside working to bring "history and the modern 'psyche' into alliance."

Rex Whistler Clovelly Chintz, 1932

There are nods to Cecil Beaton's Ashcombe and the fascination with baroque and rococo. Rex Whistler took inspiration from the Cornish fishing village of Clovelly which became, "a toile-de-jouy fabric with cherub-edged capriccios and fountains of Neptune."

Writers abound. The Bloomsbury clan is here. W. H Auden mixes with Evelyn Waugh. The Sitwells make appearances.

Bill Brandt Edith and Osbert Sitwell, 1945

Roger Fry, Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell continued the English tradition of landscapes and still life but with a decidedly modern twist.

Duncan Grant A Sussex Farm, 1936

Angus McBean incorporated high Victorian decoration into surrealism displaying celebrity as curio.

Angus McBean Beatrice Lillie 'Surrealised', 1940

Harris' broad and sweeping survey of this period in English history beautifully draws together disparate threads and weaves them into a cultural tapestry. The book is well worth the price for the images alone, be it gardens, architecture, design, paintings, and photography, they fill the pages and clearly prove her point that the English were modernists tinged with their own eccentric flair.

15 July 2011

The Weather... Sucks

I had to run to D.C. for a couple of days and while I was gone, we had a massive storm. The power was out the entire time I was gone, leaving hot beer and melted butter in the refrigerator.

Trees were twisted and broken. Fortunately, none of the downed limbs fell on the house. The garden was decimated, with the bean towers knocked over and many plants uprooted. Since this has been a less than spectacular garden, I wasn't too upset, but I have spent the last three days trying to get everything back upright and debris cleared.

Still, all is well. It was just a blip compared to what so many people have gone through with weather this year.

So no one is complaining over a little clean up.

10 July 2011

That's Why They Call It...

Doe Run Farm

Actually it is because the farm has a run or stream that runs through it and the stream is called Doe Run.
But hey, a nice photo of our recent visitor.

09 July 2011

Garden Bounty

This is the worst garden we have ever planted, but a few things are up and coming.

08 July 2011

The One That Got Away

As I mentioned earlier, Teddy has a tote board of death detailing his prodigious hunting exploits this summer. (Though not as great as some of our readers cats -- yes you J.W.) On the Fourth, Teddy came running in and missed seeing his catch which he released in the living room only to recapture in the kitchen.

Since the chipmunk was still very much alive, I managed to capture Teddy and his prey and preceded to make Teddy give up little Simon. Just as Teddy let go and Simon made a break for it, Kitty Carlisle took over.

I managed to block her path as Simon scurried up the lilac bush.

I locked up both chipmunk offenders and made sure Simon had recovered sufficiently. After posing for the camera, he jumped to the oak tree and lived to fight another day.

07 July 2011

David Tanis' Bean Salad

I have been without a refrigerator for 3 weeks. Actually, I own the refrigerator, I just don't have it in my possession, but that is a long and ugly story. I recently watched a docudramatization of what the world would be like after the apocalypse. We would basically be screwed. Not counting the marauding gangs of hungry children that would kill you for a root vegetable (according to this program gangs of vicious children would be about the worst thing after the apocalypse), there would be the general problem of what to do without television to watch docudramatizations. For that matter, what would we do without electricity or the refrigerator that is run by electricity. Which brings me to my recent dilemma of not having a refrigerator and realizing, quite dramatically, what I use the refrigerator for every day.

There has been a lot of eating out of the garden. Recently at Cookbook Of The Day, I wrote about David Tanis' Heart of the Artichoke. I love Tanis because he really loves the "food" that food is made of and not just the allure of being a chef. He works at Chez Panisse, so that might just have something to do with his approach. I had seen a recipe for Green Bean Salad with Pickled Shallots. I had also left the cookbook on my desk, so I wasn't sure of the exact recipe, but I knew that having seen his recipe, I could replicate it even without his book. Here is the recipe:

Green Bean Salad with Pickled Shallots

3 large shallots
Salt and Pepper
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 pounds small green beans, topped and tailed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely slivered chives

Peel the shallots and slice crosswise. Put them in a small bowl, season well with salt and pepper, add the vinegar. let sit for a half hour.

Boil the green beans in a large pot of salted water for 3 to 5 minutes, until just past the crunchy. Spread them out to cool. Just before you serve the salad, put the green beans in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Whisk the olive oil into the shallots and vinegar, then add the dressed shallots to the beans. Toss well, transfer to a platter or serving bowl, and sprinkle with chives.

In that great cooking tradition: I had no green beans, only yellow beans. I had no shallots, only fresh onions. I had no sherry vinegar, but I did have white balsamic. I had chives but I used parsley. Oh yes, and I had no refrigerator! I didn't "tail" my beans. That is a very American thing to do. The French just leave them and I am more inclined to do that, especially since I grew the beans. Here is my:

Yellow Bean Salad with Pickled Onions.

tails and all.

03 July 2011

Musical Sundays

Here at Lucindaville, we have a soft spot for old timey roots music. And since we have a big space, some of the folks from the hills of West Virginia have been stopping in on Sundays to play and sing. Kerrville, eat your hear out.

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