Wednesday, June 25, 2008
But just down the road, in the next town over, they are in the process of putting in a bikepath along a greenway where no motorists are allowed. The path runs along the Ohio riverfront, then turns to follow Pigeon Creek through town. The section to the north has been in place for several years. The section to the southwest is in the planning and clearing stage. All the sections should all meet up in a couple years, not nearly as soon as we'd like, but never mind our impatience. We're happy to have it, even in its current piecemeal state.
Yesterday we loaded the bikes, drove to that next town over, and rode the greenway. The completed section by the river is a bit too short to make a satisfying ride, so we looped a certain part of it where it crosses the train tracks, rounds a bit of grassiness, and dips under the cross-town expressway. (We did that part four times, whooping each time as we went under the expressway. Can you say fun?)
We're a long way from seeing bikes as transportation in this area. It's not (yet) practical and it's not (yet) safe. But not everything is about getting from Point A to Point B. Not everything has to have a point. Sometimes it's enough to load up the bikes and just go for a ride.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
She is at my side in an instant, standing tip-toe to squint through the screen. What? What?
I point, and she sees them: two birds hopping across the narrow strip of grass (low weeds) separating one overgrown bed of flowers (tall weeds) from the next.
The first bird, the one in front, pecks at the ground with its sunflower beak, while the one behind waits, impatient for an offering, rushing the first with a flap of wings and an outstretched neck.
Starlings, Mirabelle informs me. Parent and fledgling.
We watch for long slow minutes, the smaller black parent and the fat mud-brown juvenile, one pecking, one open-mawed and in constant twitter: hurry hurry more now more.
Do you think it can fly? I ask, and right then the two are up and gone, disappearing into the neighbor’s tall trees, as if the factory whistle had just sounded to call them back from lunch.
It can fly, says Mirabelle, and she lingers for a moment, then returns to her play, leaving me to stand at the screen, watching the yard, waiting for the next thing to happen.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
She handed me a tiny wedge. We ate. It was delicious.
Pictured on the right: small plum tomatoes, also just coming into ripe red perfection.
We don't grow a large vegetable garden. It's really just a "pick and eat" kind of garden. A snack garden. Four tomato plants, fifteen snap pea vines, and a small section of lettuces I nurse through warm weather by letting the larger varieties bolt and shade the rest of the plants. That's it. Oh, and all our herbs: culinary ones and magical ones. We grow those, too. And blackberries, but we can hardly take credit for those, since they appeared out of nowhere last year and have graciously returned this year bearing loads of fruit.
Ours is not a very efficient way to garden, and hardly puts us on the path of sustainability. But it gives us pleasure for many months, and it's small enough to not become a chore. Which is Very Important. There is no joy in being overwhelmed by bushels of tomatoes or zucchini, or weeding for an hour in the August heat. Where joy is concerned, scale is everything.
Friday, June 13, 2008
credit: folk art sculpture by southern artist Chris Hubbard
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Not this year.
This year it's already too hot to mow the yard, unless I choose to mow by moonlight. So things are a little shaggy around here. A little overgrown. The old roses are spilling onto my backyard bench, the mulberry branches are all low and heavy with berries. The honeysuckle has gone rampant. It's getting very woodsy out there. I love it.
I've been house- and pet-sitting for a friend these past two hot and humid weeks, making liberal use of her family's lovely backyard pool while keeping company with an enormous golden retriever and a sweet speckled cat. The house is perhaps 15 years old, handsome and stately, situated in a quiet, manicured subdivision a couple miles from my own (much less manicured) neighborhood. It's a nice house. It has nice features. It's very clean. After a few days there I went on an active search for dust bunnies. Crumbs. Grime. Water spots on bathroom mirrors. Dirt.
Did I find any of these? I did not. As I said, it's a very clean house.
My own little house is not so clean. It's also not 15 but rather 150 years old (yes.) It holds our lives, plus a century and a half of life prior to us (swept out on occasion, of course.) I imagine I could scrub for days and not eradicate all the visible dirt.
I like the contrast.
Which is a long way to lead up to the link I'm leaving you with, a post that stands in stark contrast to my mundane musings on flora and dirt: a book excerpt and commentary on American slavery that will wrench your heart and perhaps move you to action. I fear we could scrub for years and not eradicate this stain. But sunshine is the great disinfectant, is it not? A tip of the hat to Maryscott O'Connor at My Left Wing for shining the light. Please go read.
Monday, June 2, 2008
I found this today at Carmichael's Bookstore in Louisville. They come in several sizes -- this one is about 7"x8" -- and they're all very reasonably priced. Paper made from elephant poo... how could I resist?
Here's a quick link: poopoopaper.com