Monday, February 28, 2011

Totally fracked

The cleaner fossil fuel... Pretty soon the entire state of Pennsylvania can look more like beautiful Taft, CA (see photo), and enjoy more flavorful tap-water!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscars report

I didn't see The King's Speech, but I'm sure it was just a lovely film... yawn.... Co-host Anne Hathaway wore several dresses and looked smashing. Gwyneth Paltrow acts pretty good but can't sing worth crap. Everyone brought their mom to the ceremonies, which was a really nice thing to do. That is all.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

After the rain

One of our native currants, Ribes sanguineum glutinosum just may be my favorite native plant in the yard. Although deciduous, its foliage looks great about 11 months of the year, and the bright green contrasts most aesthetically with the deep red of the newer canes. The pink flowers, now about at their peak, are the icing on the cake. This plant is remarkably easy to grow. It likes a little shade and needs very little water. It is easy to propagate, even for a brown-thumb like me: cut off a branch in late fall and stick it in a pot of dirt. By now the leaves are budding out and you can plant it. The only down side to this fantastic plant for some people could be its smell, which is somewhat sweet and musky. I found it a little off-putting at first, but have grown to like it a lot.
The silver bush lupine (Lupinus albifrons), like many of its lupine cousins, has furry leaves that catch and hold the raindrops. The magnificent flowers are yet to come, but the foliage is splendid.

The rain stripped most of the petals off the plum tree, leaving behind just the eyelashes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Brian Jacques, RIP

Aidan devoured a goodly number of the Redwall books, and I would often read parts of them to him at bedtime in my ridiculous invented accents and dialects. I am certain Mr. Jacques would not have heard his Welsh (Cornish?) miners in the voices I gave to his moles, and that he never intended any of his characters to speak in the cheesy Aussie accent I gave to his hares. But none of that matters much... the books were full of life and derring-do, and of course sumptuous descriptions of food. We named our cat Matthias after the heroic Arthurian mouse of the inaugural novel in the series.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Poem of the week

Han Yu (768-824)
trans. David Hinton

This old-timer's like a sage monk, simple as a child:
draw water, bury a bowl—suddenly I've got a pond!
Green frogs call all night, straight through till dawn
and those good old days, lazy fishing at Square-Gape!

Don't say you can't really make a pond in a bowl.
Those lotus roots I planted are growing already!
From now on, when it rains, you can hurry over:
we'll listen to its windblown patter on the leaves.

In my porcelain pool, water's pure clarity at dawn.
Tiny insects, who knows what kind or how many,
scatter suddenly away, not a trace of them anywhere.
Just baby fish, in a school, darting here and there.

Muddy bowl, tiny, shallow—how could it be a pond?
Green frogs at midnight, sage masters, they know:
hearing a croak, they bring their friends—all that
squabbling male and female. Don't mind the racket.

Alight, my pond mirrors sky, azure into azure.
I just pour in a few jars of water, fill it brimful,
then wait. Evening deepens and the moon sets,
and look, swimming down there: all those stars!

Sunny and 78 degrees in February

I do feel sorry for you folks in the rest of the country. Really I do.