29 March 2012

New Chicken -- First Egg

As you know, we got a flock of new little chickens. The first of the flock laid her first egg. As you can see, young chickens lay small eggs to start out before they get the hang of laying nice large eggs for our cooking pleasure. The small eggs are usually yolk-less.

Trick decided to be the official egg sorter.

24 March 2012

B*tches In Bookstores

Hardcore rapper and bad boy extraordinaire, Kanye (it always looks like one should pronounce it Can Yee to Mee) West and his buddy Jay-Z preform this rap entitle N*ggas in Paris. I am not sure if it a slur if you misspell it and I am growing very fond of adding an "*" to slightly alter spellings like that will assuage one's damaged sensibilities. It's like watching everyone on Battlestar Galactica use the word frack for f*ck, like every eight year-old in the room doesn't know what frack means. If frack means f*ck, then isn't it just as offensive... but I digress (and did I just admit to watching Battlestar Galactica?)

Moving right along...It would seem that these two young women, Annabelle Quezada and La Shea Delaney decided to parody Kanye's ditty which is also known as the Ball so Hard song. Instead of ballin' in Paris, these girls are readin' at the Strand and tossing out any ballers who mispronounce Proust! It is a fine weekend interlude. So watch this and then grab a book or head out to your fave bookstore.

Lyrics to Bitches in Bookstores.

Read so hard librarians tryin’ ta FINE me­,
They can’t identify me,
Checked in with a pseudonym, so I guess you can say I’m Mark Twaining.
Read so hard, I’m not lazy.
Go on Goodreads, so much rated.
Fountainhead, on my just read, gave it four stars, and then changed it.
Read so hard, I’m literary.
Goosebumps series, TOO SCARY!

Animal Farm, Jane Eyre
Barnes & Nobles, Foursquare it
No TV, I read instead
Got lotsa Bills, but not bread

Read so hard, got paper cuts
On trains while you're playin’ connect the dots
All these blisters from turning pages
Read so hard, I’m seeing spots

Your Sudoku just can’t compare
Nor Angry Birds cos lookit here
My Little Birds is getting stares
This print’s rare.

Read so hard, I memorize, The Illiad... I know lines.
Watch me spit, classic lit, epic poems that don’t rhyme.
War and Peace, piece of cake, read Tolstoy in 3 days.
Straight through, no delays.
Didn’t miss a word. Not one phrase.

Read so hard librarians tryin’ ta fineee me - That shit cray x 3
Read so hard librarians tryin’ ta fineee me – That shit cray x 3

He said Shea can we get married at the Strand
His Friday Reads are bad so he can’t have my hand
You ball so hard, OK you’re bowling
But I read so hard, I’m JK Rowling

That shit cray
Ain’t it, A? What you readin’?
AQ: DeMontaigne.
You use a Kindle? I carry spines.
Supporting bookshops like a bra, Calvin Klein.

Nerdy boy, he’s so slow
Tuesday we started Foucault
He’s still stuck on the intro? He’s a no go.
It’s sad I had to kick him out my house though –
He Mispronounced an author - MARCEL PROUST

Don’t read in the dark
I highlight with markers
While laying in the park
And wearing Warby Parkers
Marriage Plot broke my heart
And it made me read Barthes
I special ordered a
A softcover not hard- HUAH?AHEHA?!

Read so hard libraries tryin’ ta fine me x 2

I am now marking my place
Don’t wanna crease on my page
Don’t let me forget this page
Don’t let me forget this page
I may forget where I left off so I’ll use this little post it…
I hope it doesn’t fall out, I hope that it stays stickie…

I am now marking my place
Don’t wanna crease on my page
Don’t let me forget this page
I got bookmarks at home
But I forgot one for the road
AQ: I got a bookmark I can loan
La Shea: Know how many bookmarks I own?

I am now bookmarking my page x3
DON’T LET ME FORGET THIS PAGE -age-age-age-age-age.

23 March 2012

One Writer's Garden

I am a huge fan of Eudora Welty. Miss Eudora lived her life like many Southern women I know. They have remained in the same house they grew up in a family house presided over by a strong Southern mother. Welty’s mother, Chestina was, by all accounts, that strong matriarchal character that ruled with an iron fist tucked politely in a velvet glove.

Over at Cookbook Of The Day, we wrote about Welty’s one “cookbook” a limited edition recipe for White Fruitcake. Like many Southern women, Chestina cook amazing meals but never used a recipe, telling her daughter, "Any cook worth her salt would know, given a list of ingredients, what to do with them." So Welty never became a cook. Luckily, she did better under her mother’s tutelage as a gardener.

Unlike cooking, gardening can always use a strong back and extra pair of hands. Welty’s love of nature grew in her mother’s garden and the natural world of the South became a common feature in Welty’s work. But few people realized how much of her love of Southern flora and fauna was quite literally rooted in her back yard. In her second- floor bedroom at 1119 Pinehurst Street, Welty looked out of her window and gazed into her mother’s garden, seeing it grow with her reputation as a writer.

The relatively small garden, measuring in at roughly three-quarters of an acre, it bordered the Tudor-style house on the north, south and east sides. Like the English styled house, the garden took on the air of a cottage garden with trellises, boarders, and hedges dividing the garden into different areas. The garden held over 30 varieties of camellias, Miss Eudora’s particular favorite. The earliest of the camellias planted around 1926.

Gardens, however small, need a committed and driving force. When Chestina died, that driving force was gone. Welty continued to maintain the garden, becoming the chief gardener and delegating her self-proclaimed “yard-boy” status to another gardener. But Welty grew older and her garden help moved on and her mother’s garden became a tangled mess.

In 1994, noted garden restorer, Susan Haltom, sat down with the aging Welty who lamented, “I can't bear to look out the window and see what has become of my mother's garden.” Haltom planned to "fix up" the garden as a favor for an aging and beloved writer, but soon the project took on a life of its own. Welty had already made arrangements to deed the house to the state to become a literary museum. Haltom saw the garden as a vital extension of that museum. A way to tell the story of the time: a rising middle class, conservation, technology, women’s clubs, garden clubs, and civic beautification were becoming prevalent and this garden was a reflection of those changing times. The restoration focused on the garden’s peak, a period from 1925 to 1945. Haltom’s discussions with Welty began to uncover old borders with stone rubble. Day lilies from the 1920’s began to emerge into the sunlight as well as some of Welty’s beloved camellias. A rose garden, a favorite of Chestina's, was quickly carved out. Welty, an avid photographer once climbed to the roof for aerial shots of the garden. Haltom researched every plant from that period, nixing newer varieties. After Welty died, her niece, Mary Alice White, found Chestina's 1930s gardening journal. Like the consummate gardener that she was, Chestina had drawn the garden layout complete with plant names and locations.

Photographer Langdon Clay documented Haltom’s work. Jane Roy Brown conducted additional historical research. This magnificent collaboration is documented in One Writer’s Garden. On a visit to Jackson, Mississippi, one can now wander through one writer’s garden, smelling the camellias as Eudora Welty did for over 50 years.

20 March 2012

New Chickens

Spring has arrived and so have our new chickens. While they are supposed to be true free range birds, the new chickens, for the most part, are staying in a rather confined space. It will take them a week or two to get comfortable, but soon they will be out and about.

A small group did venture out but soon tried vigilantly to get into the greenhouse.

Teddy explained if he couldn't get in, neither could they and they dispersed quickly.

In addition to chickens, we have added a new item to our collection of chicken books. This is actually a two volume set produced for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair entitled Eggs. Book I features all that was new and innovative in chicken rearing. It featured many of the new technologies including a slew of young women in lab smocks and zippy chapeaux who sorted, candled and cracked eggs.

It would seem that one of the newest innovations in egg production was actually transportation. Eggs were cracked into large vats and frozen for later use at bakeries. It was all the rage.

For a less frozen idea, check out Book II: The Best of Food Eggs and Poultry at Cookbook Of The Day.

19 March 2012

7 Middagh

7 Middagh

March is my birthday month. I am a confirmed Pisces. You know you are not in the city anymore when this happens...

...My very first birthday card was from Ace Hardware. They even sent me a $5 gift card. Long before any of my friends acknowledged my birthday, Ace was out there on the ball data mining up a storm.

Being a Pisces, one of my most favorite books is Sherill Tippin's February House.

The true tale of a bunch of Pisces writers and a composer, designer, a few exiles and a famous stripper all living happily under one roof. February House stood at 7 Middagh Street in Brooklyn. The house no longer exists. It was called February House by many of its occupants because they were in large majority, born in February, making the house a virtual aquarium of fishy personalities.

George Davis

George Davis, a literary editor (February birthday but pre-Pisces on the 4th) decided to put together a house/artist commune. February House housed:

Designer Oliver Smith, who was a bit pre-cusp on February 13.

Writer Carson McCullers, February 19

Poet W. H. Auden, February 21

Writers Jane Bowles, February 22, with husband Paul.

Poet Stephen Spender, February 28.

Adding to the mix with Paul Bowles were composer Benjamin Britten, Thomas Mann's children who found themselves in exile, and a burlesque dancer...

Gypsy Rose Lee

It would seem that Gypsy wanted to change careers and moved in (with a maid and cook) to learn the writing game. She would eventually publish The G-String Murders, though some will always doubt she was the real author.

There is a famous tale of Michelangelo who supposedly said he didn't sculpt figures but merely released them from the stone. I have always felt that writers were like that. Some character would bug you and bug you until you realized who that character really was. Which brings me to a story that has always been my favorite from the gang at February House.

One afternoon, Gypsy Rose Lee and Carson McCullers were at 7 Middagh. Lee was working on her detective novel and McCullers was working on a short story about a girl whose brother was getting married. The story was going nowhere.

A fire broke out up the street and hearing the sirens, two women set out to witness the commotion. Gypsy Rose Lee bounded down the stairs with her long and graceful legs and McCullers, frail and hobbled, limped along far behind. Suddenly, McCullers began calling out to Lee who finally heard her. She paused until McCullers could catch up to her and when she did, she grabbed Lee's arm and yelled, "Frankie's in love with her brother and the women he is going to marry and she wants to be a member of the wedding."

Gypsy Rose Lee went on to view the fire and Carson McCullers went on to turn her story into one of her most enduring novels, A Member of the Wedding.

Happy Birthday to Pisces everywhere. I hope your birthdays were magical.

17 March 2012

Spring? Has Sprung?

Sometimes we just close our eyes and take a deep breath and ask ourselves, "Has Spring really sprung?"

While the hillside is busting out blooms...

And the jonquils are opening...

We have known a fickle Mother Nature and are not too trusting of this largess...

And still, we are off to the garden to begin planting some seeds.

10 March 2012

Adventures In Canning

We canned most every night this week. Largely because I ran across some lovely fruit. A small box of seckel pears, some blood oranges, some cara cara oranges and nice fat lemons. The seckel pears were spiced and canned whole. My preference would have been to peel them, but time was of the essence and after eating several of them, they were canned whole.

While the nice sweet and bitter contrast of marmalade is my favorite and the Blood Orange and Tangerine marmalade was beyond wonderful, I had been thinking for some time about experimenting with a "meat" marmalade. Not one with meat as an ingredient, but with a bold, hot and spicy flavoring to add to meat. A little jar of marmalade could be used as a glaze, or as a condiment, or an ingredient.

I made two varieties. One was a Cara Cara Orange and Chipotle Marmalade. It was very hot and spice. i was thinking of using it with pork. I used it on chicken and it was very good. I also added a bit to a side of rice which made for a striking sticky, hot rice dish. A tablespoon or two added to a plain ketchup makes a barbecue sauce. I am still experimenting.

The other "meat" marmalade was an experiment for chicken. I made a Lemon, Thyme and Garlic Marmalade. This one was not as spicy as the chipotle, but the flavors came through. I tucked a teaspoon under each chicken thigh and baked.

Since the marmalade has a high sugar content, one does have to watch that they don't burn, but I would say, the experiment is working well.

08 March 2012

My So Charmed Life

My So Charmed Life is the blog and store of my friend, Jodi Bloom. Jodi sells wild and wonderful jewelry around the globe to the coolest of the cool. And really why have a blog if you can't promote your friends.

She was my source for the exceptionally riveting exhibition entitled Rimbaudmania. I know you missed it but there is still the catalogue.

Jodie recently posted about really fun Japanese textiles on Etsy. So do check her out. You won't be sorry.

06 March 2012

Requiescat in Pace - The Doe Run Farm Hive

The causality of our recent stormy weather was our bee hive. At some point during the 50 mile-an-hour wind, the top blew off and the driving rain drownd the hive.

For six years the hive thrived while others faced mites, hive collapse, and disease.

It survived rain, wind, sleet, hail and even snowmageddon. Every year I would think it was gone, and on the first warm day of spring, bees would emerge and begin hunting for pollen.

Every year it provided honey for the farm and friends. It will be missed.

02 March 2012


At a time when people are mourning the loss of loved ones, we came the the storm messy but unscathed.

Here are a few during the storm. It would eventually cover all four bridges and flood the garage.

This is about 4PM. By eight this whole area was submerged.

The next day, it was like being on another planet. It has been impossible to get the car out.

The normally green field was covered under 6 inches of sludge.

Our foot bridge is worse for wear, but it stayed put. It will take us most of the weekend to dig out.

This weekend the weather report says: 68 degrees on Friday. Severe storms on Saturday. Snow on Sunday. March is coming in like quite the lion.

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