Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rainy Days

The first fork in North America was imported by John Winthrop, 1630. Both the spoon, or the scoop, and the knife go back forever. The fork cut back on the waving about of knives at dinner. More civilized. The rain moves back in for several days, a pleasant slow rain, and the temps stay quite warm. I'm stripped down to a tee-shirt for the first time in months, while I make a nice hash, corned beef, potatoes and onions, simple fare. The corned beef and potatoes are both canned (the winter pantry) and that got me reading about canning. Napoleon needed a way of preserving food and awarded a prize to Nicolas Appert for canning and sterilizing food in glass jars. The next year, 1810, Pierre Durand, patents food preservation in cans, which is superior when it comes to moving food in ox-carts. It's not until 1858 that a can-opener is invented and in the intervening 50 years cans were opened, this seems to be true, with a hammer and chisel or a knife. If you've camped enough, you know what opening a can with a knife is like. It's dangerous and scary. The odd cans, with the roll-tops, just a decade later, were all fish products. I've never understood why that was the case. Now, a great many soups and vegetables are pop-tops. There was a military issue can opener, before MRE's, a small thing, called, as I remember, a P-38, and small cuts were commonplace. Opening cans is always problematic. Anything not in liquid I take off both the top and bottom, corned beef for instance, so I can get it out of the can. I love the Argentinean corned beef in that odd can. A truncated, rounded corner, four sided pyramid with the top cut off. I was reading about Pueblo Bonito, built by the Anasazi about 1100, and there was not a larger apartment house built in the US until 1882, NYC. Any day I spend looking up things I'd noted is a day well-spent. Tractors didn't out-number horses and mules until 1955, the Fordson tractor and then the 8N in 1954-55. I plowed with a mule, trying to place this, maybe 1959, a pea patch outside Middleton, Tennessee, where my Grandfather, Tom, had his holding pens. He actually was a mule-trader. Until 1955 this wasn't a bad business, he had the money to buy young green mules and break them. They mostly came from Missouri, wild as you could imagine, but he had a partner, Wally, that could talk to mules, and they did well in the share-cropper economy. If you're only farming a few acres you don't need a tractor. After planting you just wanted to turn the middles, kill all those nutrient sucking weeds, and you can do that with a manual wheeled cultivator. Or a hoe, for god's sake. Read more...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Feeling Peckish

By my own rules, I should have gone to town, because it's still February and the driveway was solid, but I didn't feel up to it. Reconditioned a cast iron skillet, ate oatmeal, and drank tea. No fire, no carrying wood, it's sixty degrees outside, sixty-five tomorrow and I make plans for a sponge bath and hair wash. Scrubbing my neck and back would be good. Thinking about compaction, load and attachment, because a friend (an acquaintance from the past) called about a structural problem. We talked about the Loretto Chapel staircase, the way a helix might bond. My own experience is that if the load is carried perfectly, or close to perfectly, since most of the components are under compression, you don't need a lot of additional structure. The last couple of staircases I built, the treads carried the load down to a point. I made sure that point was well anchored. Injected concrete, pile-driven steel, anchor bolts in bedrock, whatever solution. I had a post-it note with two words, separate and underlined, Truss and Wheel. I was reading about the sweet potato, which seems to be of west African origin, and how it was being grown on the west coast of South America (Peru) 2800 BC, and I was having trouble with the geography. Of course it's true that you don't know who to believe. I trusted my teachers until I was in high school, then not so much. My American History teacher, 10th grade, was completely full of shit, I knew more about American History than he did, and it bothered him, so he failed me. The only course I ever failed in high school. I quit athletics that same year because he was the baseball coach. I was a pretty good utility infielder, but I couldn't hit a curve ball. Which might well describe my current status, not seeing the break. Ted Williams describing the seams of a fastball. In that fraction of time making a decision. Swing or not swing. The first recorded use of the truss, a famous bridge across the Danube, is shown, clearly on one of those Trajan columns: a diagonal load-bearing member. Buttresses allowed for thin walls and windows, queen posts and hammer trusses allowed open views. The mention of 'wheel' was just a reference to how you moved large heavy things, which is a subject that's always interested me. A log round soon falls apart, what you need is a rimmed spoke thing, a wheel. 2500 BC there's a bronze bushing lubricated with oil and a spoked wheel. Right on. Read more...

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Overlap

Reading Thoreau when he's reading Darwin, 1851, is like being in a time-machine. The Galapagos section of Darwin when the concept of species variation was just becoming clear. I get caught in a now/then loop, reading Thoreau reading Darwin, then reading Wallace, then reading Quammen reading Wallace reading Darwin. Late dawn because of overcast, rained most of the night and it's dead quiet. I'm wandering around, with my headlamp on, looking for a book on coral atolls. On a pure coral atoll there are no rocks, but some drift ashore, trapped in the roots of trees. These were special and belonged to the chief, used for sharpening implements. Darwin (I think it was) recounts that natives of some of these islands, taken elsewhere, would collect rocks to take home with them. I was telling JC last night, that I never found a surface rock on the 120 acres in Mississippi. This was after living on the terminal moraine on the Vineyard, where everything was rocks. Even when I dug deep, in Mississippi, like for the corner post of a hog pen, I never hit a rock; here, you go down a couple of feet and you're going to hit a sandstone shelf. Which brings up a nagging question. The Ohio River is a significant drainage, though it mostly exists now as a dredged barge canal, but something happens there. South of the Ohio it's limestone, north, it's sandstone. Why is that? I had a nice eggplant I needed to cook, so I salted the slices for an hour or so, then wiped them and fried them in olive oil. Served with the meatball marinara would be an excellent dish for the restaurant. I've been thinking about the tasting menu: marble sized meatballs served in Brussels sprout cups, a single larger meatball on a perfect volcano of mashed potatoes, fiery meatballs in bitter greens. A ten or twelve course menu, with dessert and wine. I spend a long time running the numbers on this. Pure speculation, a mind game, another house I'll never build, but it entertains me. I could do this with two other people, a helper in the kitchen and a server PR person out front, feeding ten or twelve people, it would have to cost $200 minimum, and we'd have to add a cut for the house, to maintain the infra-structure. I've already designed an extrusion machine that produces small meatballs. My compatriot in the kitchen would need to be very handy with a knife, and the hostess would run the operation. I would never do this, of course, but I enjoy it as a construct. What it would cost, who I'd want to hire, what the dishes might actually be. The alternative is listening to fabricated crap. I've been with people who bought the party line, but like Thoreau, from his high horse, I'd have to say, it's rare that anyone who actually walks in the world, could make such a mistake. Read more...

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Severe Clear

After hours writing I settled in to read the newest John Sandford novel and read through most of the night. Microwaved the last of the Mac and Cheese in a heavy glass bowl to warm my lap while I read. Supposed to be quite warm for the next few days, unnaturally so for the middle of February, and the frost is out of the ground. Still several freeze-thaw cycles coming, but it's so beautiful outside I sit on the back porch and stretch like an old dog. This weather bodes terrible for orchards. On my walk today I noticed the first stages of budding on young poplars and sassafras. Weeks too soon. Nothing for it. A great piece about batteries on Science Friday got me thinking about immediate needs. My electric lap blanket, the computer, and a seven-an-a-half watt LED light. A couple of marine 12 volt batteries could handle that for 24 hours, and I'm rarely without power for more than 24 hours; if I am I sleep on a down pallet over near the stove and break out the candles. It's not a big deal. I have a special pile of noir fiction I go to then, and I mostly sleep when it's dark. If I've banked a good fire, it's easy to cook breakfast and make coffee. You stoke the fire, chip and melt some ice for coffee water, take a trip to the outhouse, maybe read a travel brochure (outhouse literature is an interesting subject), fry some potatoes and get back in your sleeping bag. Wait until the sun wakes you. Roll up your pallet and stow it away; left-over potatoes, hash and eggs, more boiled coffee (settled with eggshells), my agenda, such as it is, is to split some kindling, and bring in two armloads of wood. I made the meatballs, simmered them in the tomato sauce, and had a serving on toasted cornbread. My first thought is that I should open a restaurant that serves these. "Bridwell's Meatball Shoppe". A small restaurant, off the beaten track, that only served a very expensive tasting menu. Meatballs in various guises. The waitress would speak a heavily Swedish accented English, I only say that because my Mom never made meatballs, and my introduction to them was a cheap TV dinner of Swedish meatballs on egg noodles, a side of green beans, that cost less than a dollar. The secret to a great meatball is rosemary and a little nutmeg. Read more...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Set Theory

It's interesting how a set of factors, components, affect a course of action. Local flooding, snow or rain, the various contingencies. I like to make my meatballs, and matzoh balls smaller, so you can deal with them, then either make or buy a good marinara, and have this on a toasted bun. Or pasta, egg noodles, or any other starch. I didn't know what day it was, so I turned on the radio to find out. Thursday. I started a tomato sauce, I'll make the meatballs tomorrow, having plenty of Mac and Cheese to last another day. I still feel that the hammer is going to drop, despite the fact that it's supposed to be fifty degrees tomorrow. I fear for the frogs, if they jump the season they'll all freeze to death. I have enough food to feed a family of four for a year. Beans on cornbread is pretty good fare, the occasional can of sardines, and generic mixed greens, cooked for an hour with salt-pork and onions are just fine. I spike the pot liquor with a Dove Creek hot sauce that's very good. During the camping phase of my separation, I'd occasionally rent a motel room in Dove Creek for a few nights, to bathe and do laundry, and I quite liked the place. The Pinto Capital Of The World. Read a piece about mountain lions in LA and remembered a time, heading back to Utah from a weekend with the girls, going through Desolation Valley on my way there, through Egnar (Range spelled backwards, there was already a Range in Colorado), then Dove Creek, then Monticello. We were building a house in Moab. I'd stopped on the road to pee. This was the loneliest stretch of road I've ever experienced, incredibly dry country, forbidding and beautiful. I often pulled off the pavement there and hiked in the foothills to the west. The roadcut had exposed fossils, especially where they had installed a culvert to contain the rare water event (a rainstorm every few years) and I sat there for a long time. More Bald Eagles, fifty at least, than I'd ever seen in one place, migrating down to the lower 48 from Alaska, when I noticed a mountain lion slinking through the rocks, then slipping into the culvert. Probably water, I thought, sat and watched until it came out the other side, heading into the hills. All the grace that can be imagined. Read more...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dog Pack

I could hear them coming, half of them hounds, from far away. The pack is still mostly intact. An alpha-male that I don't like, a pit-bull cross, and four or five followers. A radical sect of feral Baptists. I ran them off with a couple of firecrackers. Beautiful waning moon, a wee dram of Sheep Dip, I don't want for much. Mostly I imagine things with my eyes closed, my mind's eye. Black, as Dina said, is seldom black, it's usually red or blue. Overcast but blue behind it, so I drive into town, a couple bags for the Goodwill, some trash for the public receptacles, some plastic to recycle, then a stop at the library. I don't even stop at the pub, but right home to more fried potatoes and a new Thomas Perry novel. It's difficult to imagine a more perfect evening. I'd stopped at the bank, to verify all checks had cleared. I'd saved, to pay land taxes and vehicle insurance, and I was actually a few bucks ahead, so I stopped by the liquor store and bought a nice single-malt, a Glendronach, unplugged the phone, and killed the breaker for the fridge. Snowing, just a bit, and the sound is dampened, not even a fire in the stove, no wind; the house is closed up, it's winter after all, and I feel slightly guilty to feel so comfortable. I reread Guy Birchard's Hecatomb, thinking about how poetry requires ten or twelve readings. My passion for Basho, or Emily, is deeply driven. I don't know what that means, exactly, but I spent an entire night recently checking a very good gloss against plants that Basho had mentioned. I'm reading Thoreau's fucking Journals, for god's sake, and it's a botanical list. Before I settled in I made a Mac and Cheese, with sausage, peppers and onions, that should last a couple of days. The Thomas Perry novel is quite good, absolutely first class entertainment; a warm thick glass bowl of Mac and Cheese in your lap, enough light to read by; done died and gone to heaven. Read more...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Building Codes

Had to laugh, remembering some hoops I've jumped through. The building inspector, when I was working on Thomas Jefferson's father's house, in Virginia, just stopped by once in a while, we'd have a cup of coffee and chat. He came and got me once, to look at a rammed-earth place under construction, I didn't like the rafter attachment, and recommended a cheap and easy solution, after that I was the resident problem-solver. Building a place off the grid, twenty miles from power, I had to wire a house for an electric clothes dryer. The mice are going crazy, I guess it's the warmer temps, they skitter about. I've eaten a few mice, but they're not worth the bother. The bones are a problem. Twenty-four blackbirds baked in a pie. I'm not easily driven to temper, I'd rather be eaten by a shark, which I view as a horrible way to die, but I got upset, listening to the radio, a bunch of asshole politicians spinning whole cloth. I heated some beans and rice and listened to The Grateful Dead. I'd gotten out the small book binding press and was repairing the binding on a couple of books. The light wasn't good, I couldn't see what I was doing. I'm not a Luddite, but I do resist change if things are working ok. But I changed the location of the goose neck lamp I usually keep on when I'm reading or writing. I have to say, I'm often amazed at my stupidity, but I never would have imagined moving a lamp eight inches could make such a difference. Was blind, but now I see. I can't help but feel I've missed my calling: Saint Tom Of The Crab Pots. Gardy Loo. Kim's brother sent a price list, and transportation expense, for buying storage containers. Why doesn't FEMA use these? I spent several hours sketching a 16x20 foot space, different configurations. My needs are quite simple, four hundred feet of bookcases, a kitchen, and a reading nest. No bathroom, no bedroom, a sofa, a sink, my usual gray water system. Read more...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Smoking Meat

I'd packed the jowls in kosher salt, a nice day, so I started a small fire in the grill and added split green apple branches. Smoked par-boiled parsnips, Spanish sardines, and the jowls.The jowls I wrapped in canvas cornmeal sacks and put in the back of the fridge, but I ate all of the parsnips and sardines, smeared on toast. The bob-cat comes out, a couple of times a week, and sorts through the compost pile. From the compact shape I'd say it's a female. She seems to live between the house and the driveway, someplace on that slope. It's quite the sanctuary, and I don't let anyone in there. I do walk up the power easement, now and again, harvesting ginseng berries for replanting. The girls threw away the thigh pillow, I used for supporting Thoreau leaning against my desk, they thought it was disgusting, so I made another one, an old army blanket stitched into a doubled-over pillow case. It'll be disgusting in a few years too. Warm enough to wash my hair tomorrow, no fire all day, probably a record for 2/11, and I went outside in just a shirt. I don't know enough about ferns, how they keep from freezing, but a few of them were poking through the remnant snow, and the green was a welcome relief. Read another piece about wild fennel pollen. I think it's over-rated. I did a rather nice pork tenderloin, but I don't think a spice should cost more than the meat. I feel stupid enough buying saffron for risotto. Before dawn the wind wakes me, this is supposed to be a large weather system, but sounds like I'll mostly get rain. The Army Corp must be sweating bullets. Thinking about the indestructible house, drainage would be an issue. Drainage is always an issue. Still, if you controlled the high ground and everything pitched away. Kim thinks cement blocks, with lots of rebar, the cores pumped solid with concrete, would last a long time. Concrete has gotten expensive, but it's a great building material. Just look at all those viaducts. A cave might be perfect, an abandoned subway station, a tree-tip pit you covered with a tarp and heated with an oil lamp. When the wind picks up like this, you want to be under ground. Even a few inches of dirt protected mammals, everyone else was fried, during that last asteroid disaster. I'd decided to go for a small walk, but random branches were snapping off the trees and I retreated to the house. A steady wind makes a moaning in the trees, now and then sounding like a large jet at take-off. Little jets, private jets, have a whine about them, it's annoying. Read more...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Maximum Effect

Thinking about this piece of music that TR wants to do, what my part might be in that. I know he wants the conversational voice, which I've worked long and hard to find, but I haven't read for other people in a long time, so I read a few paragraphs, out loud, to see what they sound like. I'm not particularly tied to any specific meaning, Cold, when I got up to pee, so I turned on my reading light, stoked the fire, and read Thoreau for a couple of hours. When I got hungry, I fried some potatoes, added some homemade chorizo, some onions and peppers, and scramble a couple of eggs on top. Enough left-over for a burrito tomorrow. I wonder what they eat at a White House breakfast, how do they brew the coffee? where does the coffee come from? are the eggs free-range? what about bacon? This leads to thoughts about lunch, snacks, and dinner. I'd like a tour of the kitchen, how large is the staff? There must be a raft of freezers and refrigerators to prepare a dinner for 2 or 3 hundred. I can barely imagine. I can fix dinner for four or six people, a few times I've cooked for 40 or 50, but only if I could farm out all the side dishes. Not undoable. Ronnie makes a great potato salad, Dennis makes great baked beans. Dawn or Zoe would make cole-slaw. A good conversation with Kim in Tallahassee and we agree in most of the particulars about building an extremely durable house, concrete, half under ground, skylight, one door and maybe a tunnel. The skylight would be fixed, bullet proof glass (which is now clear aluminum sulfite, the space-age finish they use in floor coatings) fitted into a steel frame. The door, another fetish of mine, would be substantial, maybe the hatch from a submarine. Honda makes an air-to-air heat exchanger. Kim calls back and he's talked to one of his brothers. Seems you can buy a shipping container, two inch thick oak floor, steel construction, for $5,000. Two of them would make a 16x20 space, which is what I figure I'd need. Kim warns about moisture and my books, but I can deal with that, ten years in an art museum after all, phase-change salts and a small pipe, disguised as a root, to vent the various gases. Attachment (ain't it true) is always an issue, but I'd just run cable down to serious anchors, weld everything in place, them cover it all with dirt, grow some grass, raise some sheep. Disavow that I lived there. I know that guy, to nod in passing, but he struck me as slightly crooked and I didn't want to get involved. He was known to rant, on a Sunday morning, that the artichokes were unacceptable. I'm not sure I have adequate documentation. Read more...

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Snow Falling

It started raining after dark, then I heard it change over to snow. If the temps had been lower, which they should have been, this time of year, there'd be three feet of snow. Stoke the fire, bake a pone of cornbread and have a slice hot, with butter and syrup. Ronnie has his taps and blue bags hanging on all the Sugar Maples. Ronnie's a piece of work, always busy, often bloody. Vertically integrated. Butcher shop, smoke house, making jams, baking bread, two gardens, the Farmer's Market, trapping and selling pelts. His energy exhausts me. Steely dawn, just a few inches of snow, and I put on a bathrobe, sweep the back porch and steps; oats and berries for breakfast, coffee, staring out at the whiteness. The temperature swing goes from fifty at noon to twenty-five at midnight. I cook a pot of beans, pintos, with cracklings, onions and peppers, make a pot of rice, dump my piss-pot and settle in to read. Elmore Leonard or Thomas Perry. Mugs of tea, snacks, drifting off into the middle distance... Aunt Pearl's fried chicken, Sadie's sweet potatoes, Carleen's hush puppies... my extended family put great trust in food. Lazy snowflakes all day. The girls had picked up an electric lap robe at Big Lots and I decided to try it on the lowest setting. It's quite impressive, turning my reading nest into a comfortable place. I started thinking about creature comforts and realized that even a very small Honda generator could power my computer, a seven-and-a-half watt light, and a lap robe. A couple of five-gallon Jerry cans of gas would last for several weeks. My footprint, as it were, is very small. Read more...

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wind Sounds

Music, sometimes a conversation in a foreign language, trains naturally, a tenacious dry leaf can sound like a snare drum in a marching band. There are holes in the fabric: occasionally I hear an actual logging truck miles away. Working on the personal hygiene aspects of daily life, I changed into all new clothes. This is an extremely rare occurrence. New socks prompted trimming my toe nails. I felt like I was in a Beckett play, muttering to myself. Mom never made hash, and I was thinking about that. Dad didn't like having foods mixed together, so instead of stew (of which, now, I make about a dozen varieties) Sunday dinner would be a pot roast, with vegetables (cooked with the roast) served on the side with gravy. Always cornbread and gravy, Mom could make gravy out of old mail bags. It's a gift. I wrote about this, in an un-circulated monograph, Salsa And Gravy, which was actually just a study of textures, but I think it captures the spirit. I don't care what anyone thinks. I try to be aware enough to not offend. I know that my concerns don't make a rat's ass difference in the great scheme of things. I know that my opinions are based on false assumptions. Easily distracted by coincidence. Mountain goats, for instance, move with a grace that is denied mere humans. If we view reality as a whole cloth, the jury is out on this, we might opine that we'd rather be a goat. When in doubt, I always caramelize an onion, and watch the way the sugars convert. In many ways I've grown more stupid, case in point, just the other day I was splitting kindling, thinking about the birth of the universe. God, the Prime Mover, whether or not I could trust a Pope, his cassock down at his knees fucking a choir-boy, or anyone else. Mediation is the issue. A Free Will Baptist, some distant relative of Luther. The most seriously religious couple I've ever known, both potters, didn't attend any church, they found it all a sham. They didn't work on Sunday, they read the bible, they were vegetarian, they resisted social control. I have many pieces of their pottery, it's mostly a bit too heavy but I love the forms. When they threw a set of bowls or plates they always threw an extra, in case one was broken during production, and I'd buy the extra at a steep discount, so I have a complete set of unmatched plates. Fascinating conversations. So far right they were actually left. Read more...

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Nothing Fancy

Miles playing sparely, then Wayne Shorter, then Bill Evans. Sitting in the dark, listening. Like a tonic. A nap and then a quick trip to town, is what I'm thinking, because I can, the first rule of winter on the ridge, even though I don't actually need anything. I bought some more of the breakfast burritos and a couple of hard avocados. I stopped by the place I'm dumped the pig scraps and there was nothing there, nothing, every blood-soaked leaf had been eaten. I went out the long way around, to clean the undercarriage of the jeep at the ford, and enjoyed the ride enormously. Stopped at the lush stand of bamboo on 52, next to a old tobacco barn, the side of which is painted with an ad for a store in town that closed 15 years ago. I stopped at the place where they cleared the overburden, down to sandstone, to prevent mud-slides. I find a great many fossils there. Roller-coaster weather, 50 degrees today, 55 tomorrow, rain, big winds, then dropping temps and snow. The wind starts high in the trees, then sweeps across the ridge. The stick trees are groaning. It's grand. Get out a couple of candles and put the headlamp at the end of my desk, switch off the computer. Warm enough to take a sponge bath. About four in the morning the rain comes in hard, darker than a coal mine, branches scraping against each other, thunder, a howling that moans through the hollows. Can't see a damned thing, but it's quite the auditory experience. Storm produces storm-memories. Run out of the high country by a snow storm in August, riding out hurricanes in Florida, tornadoes in Mississippi, a huge storm on Cape Cod, when I dropped acid and went down to the beach. These explosions of nature are always a rap on the knuckles. Making sure you're awake. The trip into town today, I recycled everything I could, but I still have bags of trash to deal with. I dug a fire-pit and provided a cool air-intact channel, a forge, actually, and covered it with a grill, a cast iron grate, so the fly ash wouldn't set the woods on fire. Read more...

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Just Happening

Cold, so when I woke I stoked the fire, and went back to sleep. Hunger and the desire for coffee got me up an hour later. I'd let the scrapple set out, so it would set up, and heated some water, to wipe the knife blade. A good start for the day. Offal is an interesting word, sounds a lot like awful. Tomorrow I have to make some guacamole because the last three avocados will all be ripe. I'm struggling to eat food the girls left. It's not a stretch to say I have supplies for the rest of winter. I'll get to town two or three times in February, and pick up some produce, fresh milk (I use powdered milk in winter), and something interesting, oysters or squid. Glenn called, to tell me I had a book/package at the UPS pick-up station, they had brought it out to the driveway but considered me an "undeliverable address" and they'd hold it for a few days. There's no solution to this, for many weeks I am undeliverable, it doesn't mean I'm not a nice person, it just means the weather is bad. Nothing lasts forever. The freeze/thaw is messy, tracking pounds of mud inside, but it does keep you connected. Often I let it dry, the house needs the moisture, and it's easier to clean. I use a spatula (designated) for this, and a dust pan, then wipe the spot with a damp paper towel. I always refold the towel, so I can use it again. There's usually a small pile of these, at the edge of the kitchen counter, to be used for what I think of as liquid emergencies. Small emergencies, because if you don't have running water, it's difficult to have a large liquid emergency. Still, you might drop a jar of pickles. I pour water from one container to another quite often, and I drip. It's difficult to not drip. Most containers are not actually designed to pour, and you get a sheet of water instead of a stream. Sheets of water are beautiful things, but difficult to control. I've watched the napp at the spillway on Roosevelt Lake for untold hours, a uniform blanket of water. Studying animal tracks, knowing the bob-cat had worked through the compost pile. I'd like to cast some of the tracks, a simple form and plaster of Paris, maybe make a latex negative from that, and make some tiles, or maybe just stabilize the cast, a small collection: a perfect bob-cat, a perfect turkey, a perfect fox. So much is ephemeral. Angels in the snow. I have to go pick up the book from Glenn, and I have to throw out the pig skull somewhere. Small rodents love to scrape bone and have the teeth for it, and I'm interested, because the vole shit fertilizes a small area, which then produces great blackberries. I note the spot on my crude map. Read more...

Friday, February 3, 2017

Library

Book on snowflakes at the PO, and a box of on-sale clothes, both from JC. I've been a big fan of snowflakes for years and didn't know that much about them. The stuff I call spiculae is actually called diamond dust in snowflake research. Nice. And I love the quote from Yogi Berra, "You can observe a lot just by watching." At the library, this time of year, I don't check out new releases, with their two week limit (usually run through the library books in two days) because I can't guarantee getting back to town in time and I hate paying fines, so I limit myself to main-stack books (30 days). I keep a card with a list of authors in my coat pocket, Waited in line and paid my taxes, mailed my electric bill, then caught up on sports and chatted with the staff at the pub. The Super Bowl coming up, so that was all the news, ad rates are up to around 5 million for 30 seconds. They had some players from other teams on Sports Center, ESPN, and the closed captioning (they never have the sound on) was not decipherable. Talked with Loren about a career in theater, talked with Gayle, at Kroger, about my daughters, picked up several more breakfast burritos and a jar of salsa, a back-up jug of whiskey, tobacco and papers on the way out of town. I'd left the pig's head simmering, and decided to make scrapple. Cook the pig's head in ample herbed water, with wine. Let it cool and take the meat off the bone, some fat is good. For every four cups of shredded meat and liquid add one cup of whole grain stone-ground cornmeal, cook this for at least another hour, stirring often, mold it in loaf pans. Half-inch slices, browned in butter, with maple syrup, is a great treat, with an egg and toast may be one of the finest meals ever. I picked up some dried mushrooms and some ground pork, so I could make pate, and some sweet small pickles. Be prepared. It gets quite cold again, single digits, wind, and more snow forecast, but I have a good fire going. I make a pone of cornbread, because the oven is hot. I'd cut off the ears, from the pig's head, and made a nice stir-fry with onions and peppers. Pig's ears have that gizzard texture. I love gizzards, I have to say, and hearts, it's all about texture. Read more...