http://www.anenglishinkentucky.com/ - May 24, 2013 11:33:54 AM - Oct 3, 2010 6:19:05 AM
Thursday May 23rd 2013
I'd like to think the Gnatcatcher in the Apple is one of the more generous minded birds. My own rampant pruning of limbs followed by gusty winds that knocked Peaches from Peach trees, and yet there is still a tail feather in the Gnatcatchers nest. It's possible the nest has been abandoned as a poor choice of location, and into which no more effort will be put. And maybe the tail feather is a feature of Gnatcatcher nests, rather than belonging to an actual Gnatcatcher that's brooding.
One solution to the mystery would be to get a step ladder and take a look. Quite why I seem unable to do that has less to do with mt own inflamed perceptions of the Gnatcatcher's opinion of me, and more to do with a reappraisal of Stendhal's reaction to being in the presence of Florentine Art. Which caused him to claim: "Life was drained from me. I walked with fear of falling." Round here, where I live, I have learned to call that Dizziness from Grass Pollen, and fortunately there are pills for it.
Wednesday May 22nd 2013
Sweat Factor is also a quality of shoes. Sadly it's necessary to wear shoes, because we are very badly designed creatures, and without shoes great damage to feet can be done by the simple act of walking around. But fortunately some shoes have a high Sweat Factor, which produce a useful foot odor that I am persuaded discourages Tics, and other small creatures that can leap out of the invisible. And, I am happy to argue, shoes that fall into the category of a low Sweat Factor, produce a foot that encourages the attention of Spiders.
The shoe that produces a higher Sweat Factor, is either rubber or plastic. And there is an argument that in all shoes Sweat Factor is reduced by wearing fresh socks every day. Which, for some of us is quite out of the question, because socks in the warm weather are an incline into the pit of hell. And I'd wear flip flops, if I could, but along with my allergy to sunshine and windiness, I seem to be developing an allergy to the sight of my feet.
Tuesday May 21st 2013
Thinning Beans. A truly miserable process, but if I call myself Gardener in order to explore harmonies and ancestors, and thereby own some kind of identity, I should at least occasionally attempt to deserve the title. Which is why with Beans I have three approaches to "thinning." One is to insist that Beans are not yet ready to be thinned, this way time passes until it becomes too late to thin Beans, with resulting airlessness that brings on a slow and agonizing stem pox, a Bean Beetle haven. The other two approaches to thinning Beans require granting songs from war permission to wander into the back ground so that mood might be set. One of these songs is 'Erika,' and I have found that thinning Beans to 'Erika' can result in pardon of the weaker seedling, and a sort of ferocity toward the strong, because 'Erika' is a somewhat sappy bit of propaganda, which even contains what I suppose is a pun. A yearning for pretty 'Erika' who lives on a moor far from the front line, but who isn't the moorland Heather that's also called 'Erika.' "Her heart full of sweets." And she's crying for her valiant warrior. Indeed 'Erika,' though tempting to oblige her, is too mawkish, too wishful for the hard work of Tyranny, or Kapital, depending on which of your views has a root in eugenics.
The other war song is called 'Panzerlied.' Which is a very good song to kill by. It's about fearlessness in the face of just about anything from yellow sand to ice and sub zero temperatures, from deceit to an "honorable iron grave." And I have begun to use 'Panzerlied' to thin Beans, because one of the issues when Beans are being thinned is the six inch gap between each seedling in a well ordered platoon of seedlings. For those of us who are probably certifiable, the precision of this six inch gap is necessary for calm, and this means that a ten inch gap between seedlings becomes a source of anxiety, which can only be overlaid by the sure knowledge that when the Beans are grown to shaggy adulthood, I'll not notice the gaps in the line, unless I think very hard about it, and usually it is very hot when picking Beans so thought process ceases. And of course, culled seedlings as they shrivel are traditionally called "The Heroes" then slow marched toward the compost pile along with the Legions 'La Boudin.' "Let us forget, along with other hardships, Death which forgets us so little." And I tell you, 'The Blood Sausage' sounds better when chanted in French.
Monday May 20th 2013
Problems associated with major hacking back of shrubs and trees at this time of year are too many to mention. But a number of considerations are well worth raising. First, it's far too late to suddenly decide that something has to be pruned. Much better to have thought about it up to six months ago, instead of waiting all this time. Then, when a person realizes they made the same error last year and the year before that, it all becomes a little irritating. And without beating a bush, high temperatures with humidity are neither of them conducive to thoughtful pruning to shape of anything.
The second consideration is the nesting of birds. Some way into the ordeal of managing the Apple, I noticed what I thought was some kind of pox, an evil growth of some kind, and I decided that of the confusion of crossed branches, I could at least rip out an infested limb. By sheer chance, with sword in hand, I spotted a very small tail feather and realized I'd seen a nest. She'd been there muttering at me, holding on, and had not deserted her eggs, while I'd hacked away all around her. She's a tiny bird called a Gnatcatcher. Her nest is lichen, bark, Caterpillar silk, Spider web, and there is a slight chance her nest is lined with a hair or two from my own head. Thank Goodness I saw her in time.
Sunday May 19th 2013
Of perennials in the Vegetable Garden, all creatures capable of movement have a special place on their menu for Ripening Strawberry, and this can lead to conflict, anxiety and rattiness, especially if Mockingbird decide that a Strawberry bed makes the perfect nursery for three plump children. The first attempt at creating The Greedy Strawberry, which is the bigger and bigger and fatter and fatter Strawberry, was a 1750 French hybrid of two species of Wild Strawberry, one from the coastal regions of the Western America's and the other the Wild Strawberry that can often be seen anywhere from Kentucky to Virginia and which wisely produces a tiny little fruit that can often go unnoticed.
The interesting thing about the Wild West Coast Strawberry, or Beach Strawberry as it's sometimes called, is it's presence in the Mountains of Hawaii. The argument from some quarters is that the Beach Strawberry was carried to the Mountains of Hawaii by migrating birds. The Wild Strawberry of Europe are as far as I can tell, mostly The Little Woodland Strawberry. Which from around 1500 were kidnapped from their forests and planted by Gardeners in nice straight rows so that all creatures capable of movement could easily find them. The Romans boiled the entire Strawberry plant, roots and all, as a cure for mental distress. Which is an option I am seriously considering.
Saturday May 18th 2013
I thought a Squab was a life form of the sea, that lived in the colder depths where it grew to great size while it pondered the meaning of darkness and the poor dear had suddenly become fashionable amongst the 'eating-out' crowd now that Swordfish and Snapper are in terrible decline.
To discover that a Squab is a nestling domestic Pigeon, that's not yet left the care of it's parent, and can do not much better than flutter, has sent me into a decline, awakened the certain knowledge that so long as I trudge this earth, I'll never again open a cook book.
Friday May 17th 2013
One of the problems of being dominated by The Rabbit is the persistence of his past, which now intrudes. One consequence of this intrusion is boredom for any one who might read these pages and another consequence is such things as for example a name for the Out House. Which in my mind has become a tentative "Saint Teresa of Avila." For his part, The Rabbit formerly achieved Sainthood, in the Year of Our Lord 1099. But as is well known, since around 1100 a person does not usually become a Saint, until he or she has been gone form the mortal plane for a respectable period of time. There are a great many recent exceptions, and I'd argue that these exceptions are primarily a reactionary whim on the part of the modern Vatican, a pandering to populist demand. As well there has been in recent times a horrible habit of what I will call "Mass Sainting." The eight hundred Martyrs of Otranto, may be an extreme example but it is far from unusual. In the 1970's Pope Paul the sixth suddenly announced the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, most of whom had had their moment on earth at around the time tea first arrived in England.
The Rabbit was born around 720 and died around the time Offa came to the thrown of Mercia, which according the Anglo Saxon Chronicles was near enough to the year 757, though of course the calendar has changed a little, so it might have been 758, or 756. And during The Rabbit's time upon earth, it was more likely that in order to be a Saint a person had first to have held a very respectable office within the religious hierarchy, and as admirers gathered for a final farewell there would be graveside discussion of Sainthood, and onward the process would quickly go all the way to the Pope, who'd pretty much gloss through evidence of Sainthood and make the decision on political grounds. Then there would occasionally arise a rascal, who for one reason or another would be made a Saint for purely political ends. Which is why one of the phenomena a commission on sainthood considers worthy, is what's called the Odor of Sanctity. And here "St. Teresa of
Avila" became a Saint because her grave exuded a sweet scent for nine months after her death. Saint Teresa was one of the founders of the order of Barefoot Carmelites, who are called to a cloistered existence of "prayer, penance, hard work and silence."
Thursday May 16th 2013
William the Second was a son of William the Conqueror. "Hateful to almost all his people and odious to God," he well might have been. After the death of Archbishop Lanfrac, an Italian Norman who had been Archbishop of Canterbury, William was reluctant to name another Bishop to the postion and that way he was able to secure Church Revenues for his own purposes. Then one day William fell sick, and he was able to convince himself that this sickness was a punishment from God, and he set about the business of appointing a new Archbishop of Canterbury. He chose another Italian Norman called Anslem, a brilliant politician who a hundred or so years after his death was recommended for Saint Hood by none other than Thomas Becket. Saint Anslem of Canterbury died in the year 1109.
William the Second's nickname was William Rufus. He had a "red faced" appearance and probably suffered from some sort of red blotchiness as I do. He was 'flamboyant' and without entail. And it's possible that the good scribes of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles added this aspect of William's personality to their understanding of "odious to God." William died while hunting. The Anglo Saxon Chronicles suggest he was "shot by an arrow from one of his own men." The arrow pierced his lung, he fell from his horse, and there in the forest he was abandoned by the nobles. His younger brother, Henry, raced to Winchester where the Royal Treasury was kept and within days Henry had himself crowned King of England. And I have told the Rabbit of Usk that I have no intention of going hunting with a marksman.
Wednesday May 15th 2013
OK. I will wave the white flag. And I'll try to argue my surrender has nothing to do with any wimpy-ness on my part, or fear of Grocery Store encounters, or boiling head syndrome, or Tic. Nor do I want you to think my surrender follows after some form of enhanced interrogation technique on the Rabbit's part. Rather, I have endured everything I am prepared to throw at myself, and after last night's long conversation with Walking Stewart he has agreed to merge briefly with the oneness on the understanding that my conclusion brings out the shine in Pythagorean thought, and, so long as I take care to offer detailed accounts of the Rabbit's horribleness.
And I guess there are some who when they attempt an account of their own existence, their Ecce Homo, if you like, have some sort of control over the course of what the technical device calls 510,643 words. A summation so callous I can feel my heart break. And grudgingly I can understand the importance of structure, when the Rabbit of Usk shrugs off his sulk and now begins to insist it is his turn to take the lead, otherwise anarchy and unwarranted innuendo, some of it very risky, will reduce me to a gibbering wreck, a chaotic pile of confused inconsequence. And of course The Rabbit's first words to me after the months of his silence had to be a quote from the Anglo Saxon Chronicles. "You're like William the third," he said to me, "hateful to almost all your people and odious to God." An un-auspicious reemergence, I'd suggest.
Tuesday May 14th 2013
The Rabbit of Usk faces such a conundrum there's a possibility I'll never again be able to have a hair cut. The problem lies in the relationship we share, I am unwilling to compromise and his response for some time now has been silence. It's been a long impasse in communication. So around the beginning of March, which is when one of us last made a decent contribution, I drew a conclusion that perhaps if I let my hair grow through the March hair cutting deadline, my hair would become intolerable as the warm weather arrived, and this would force me to achieve an increasing intensity of concentration that might permit progress.
Already I have been called 'madam' in the Post Office, and I've been offered a biscuit recipe by a large round man with bad hair plugs in the Grocery Store. And now that Tic season has conjoined with Out House Construction season I am possessed by a twitchiness that defeats all attempt at clear thinking. But I will not surrender. I will not kill off Walking Stewart by causing him to discover his lost button then disappear into the ethers of the Ottoman Empire. And I will insist upon knowing the names and life history of the Advocates for and against Timothy's canonization. And whenever that's done, I'm going to get my hair cut. As well I believe somehow the failure of Carrot Rows has contributed to the Rabbit of Usk's continuing stubbornness. And who knows what might happen to thinking when Beans might be ready to pick.