The wilderness without and within

house sparrow

The majority of the nature experienced today was tangled in all of the wild hormones within, riling my uterus and, you know, my outlook on all things. 

There were also the house sparrows at work, hopping and cocking their inchy heads, going after a gummy on the floor and the birdseed on display. I fought them without violence, clapping my hands and ineffectively kicking away the gummy which moved slow, sticking with tenacity to the cement floor.

I also found some funky, Mardi Gras costume-wearing, mantis-like creature in the sacred basil during the morning harvest. And I was sucked on by mosquitoes. Lastly, I found a cabbage moth in the greenhouse and a green caterpillar, dead and composed halfway of orange slime, also in the sacred basil. Amazing that so much life, death, and violence can exist within the juicy branches of such a holy plant.

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Lists of the Lately

(Source.)

It has been too long! But I am here, and as the season of growing things continues to ebb I’ll be coming back and posting much more often. In the coming months and years I aim to find the gumption to keep up with S&P, even in the madness of April, the thick green heart of July and the satisfying everything of September. I will do it. I think the secret is shorter posts and a less-anal attitude. Difficult, but possibly attainable?

As it often is, my time is mismanaged and short. And so, I shall offer some egotistical lists of the lately.

 
What I’ve been seeing:

Praying mantises on the mums – with an egg sack on one, and what we assumed to be a dying mother on the other, her body ravaged with the perpetuation of life. Another grand Dillardian drama!

A lot of gleeful kids picking out a lot of ridiculous pumpkins.

Warfare waged by squirrels in the canopy while I rummage for shagbark hickory nuts on the pasture’s edge.

Ember-colored leaves lilting past the window.

Autumn crocuses precociously busting out of their bulbs, entangled in their retail packaging and albino from a cardboard darkness.

(I brought it home for free. We’ll plant it in the garden in the rain and someday I hope it will bloom a light magenta.)

Tasting:

Apples. Mulled as a hot cider (a work perk), simmered into sauce, melded into butternut squash soup.

Cheese. And other animal fats. (They are All I Want.)

The last of the tomatoes. Sitting like asymmetrical harvest moons waiting to ripen, dappled with bulgur in a tabouli, dancing with cilantro in salsa.

Amazing Goan engagement party food! Curries, sausages, and, um, fancy cupcakes. (The latter’s a bit less Goan and a bit more Andrew and Melissa.)

Reading:

Tolstoy. A lot of Tolstoy. (In fact if you’d like to join my little Anna Karenina book club you can do so here.)

Research on coyotes and wolves in the American landscape.

The private lives of bullfrogs. (Completely mind-blowing – stay tuned for more on this in the future.)

Making:

A hat with a sperm whale on it. (Shameless plug: I’m taking orders for fingerless gloves, mittens, and hunters mitts (fingerless gloves with a mitten flap). Email me if you’re interested in a pair!)

Spiced plums and bourbon peaches.

A lot of jars of dried herbs – sacred basil (Tulsi), lemon thyme, mullein (flannel leaf) and Cascade hops flowers. (I don’t make beer, but I do like falling asleep, so sometimes a pot of hops is made before bed. It works wonders.)

(I want to point out that the scientific name is improperly represented in this image, as the genus is capitalized. Faux pas!! Source.)

Anyway. It’s good to be back. Tell me what you’ve been seeing, too.

To the ephemeral joys of basil

While much of last week’s weather was muggy to the point of balminess, the forecast has been speckled with days described by the meteorologist as “good for apple-picking.” While that certainly sounds deliciously gorgeous, it also serves as a reminder that the coming crisp nights and rosy-from-the-wind cheeks won’t do your supply of fresh basil much good. This is the time of year when both big- and small-time growers and gardeners start listening to the radio or checking weather websites more and more often, planning and pondering over when the first frost will come.

Few things are as glum as frost-bitten basil in the field. Why, you may ask? Continue reading

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