Saturday, November 30, 2013

N. Baker, the prequel.

Here's the Paris Review interview with N. Baker from a few years back. Quirky. And I came across it the other day because the Paris Review had tweeted it, and I very very rarely go on Twitter; maybe I do so once every six months. Another quirk. And I would definitely read The Anthologist before Traveling Sprinkler.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

N. Baker

I know, I know. But I love most of his work. Here's a little piece on about writing. And the house in the background? A twin to the one I lived in, in western New England. D once shoveled snow out of the attic. And the ghost; well, it didn't like me much but it loved L and D.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Unthanks

A group new to me, mentioned by Rosanne Cash on a FB post as part of her current playlist this Thanksgiving eve:

Saturday, November 09, 2013


I had thought he was all about translating and reconstructing. Not so, apparently.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

La Mer

The original: I'm thinking about Libby Hillman, just to change the subject, and will post about her and her cooking/cookbooks and Le Petit Chef and Betty Hillman later this week. à bientôt

Monday, September 02, 2013


1971 all over again

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Today is the Feast of St Bartholomew

This is a fact I know only because I awoke in utter despair this a.m., not wanting to get up. At. All. Life in shreds. Work dismal. Projects uninspiring. And dispiriting. Plus this not paying me in a timely fashion for work done in a timely fashion is as unto a stone pressed upon my very head. Yes, crushing. And not very good for my credit score. Then, I was gripped by a notion that has been riding around in my head (yes, riding seems the correct word) for some time (every since I was there in the 5th grade, frankly). I was gripped by the notion that I have to go to Big Sur, California, as soon as I possibly can. Very soon. I was reading Kaffe Fassett's autobiography and was astounded to discover he grew up in Big Sur and his family still runs the restaurant Nepenthe there. And who could honestly remain comatose in bed, looking at all those colors he brings together? Anyway . . . So off I went into the interwebs, and found all kinds of things at, including a link to a monastery that hosts paying guests in need of solace and quietude. And so it was on its website I discovered that today is the Feast of St Bartholomew Plus I ordered a book, My Nepenthe, by Kaffe Fassett's niece . . . so that's something to look forward to receiving. Tomorrow is indeed another day.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I could have seen her in Northampton, but I didn't. Now I regret it.

Just looking over a few things, and discovered this: Quite a duet.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Unsung here

Elisabeth Luard . . . I suggest you search out her many cookbooks, some of which you can find on A writer of wit and intelligence, strong of will.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Merle Hazard explains the financial situation . . .

in song. Check out his website. His better half has her own website, Mason-Dixon Knitting.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I finally opened up my ancient Harrisville 4 harness, 6 treadle loom, after keeping it closed up for several years in the "living" room, only to discover that the leather strapping harness cables had broken or snapped on two harnesses. Argh. A week of broken things. First my computer screen, then D's laptop's mother board, or whatever it was, necessitating a new monitor for me and a rejuvenated 'new' computer for him. $500+. Not good. Good news is that I can replace these loom cables pretty inexpensively, from WEBS, which was the place I learned to weave (when I lived in Agawam!! so many years ago) and WEBS was still a mom and pop business in a house on a side street in Amherst. Now (or at least the last time I was there), they are in an industrial building in Northampton, on the way to Holyoke.
photo from Harrisville; certainly not me weaving there . . .

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Just the thing

to combat the heat: an Advent piece by Byrd. Stile Antico.

Friday, July 19, 2013


BBC has the Tweet of the Day, so I thought I'd send it along.

Monday, July 15, 2013


About every 6 or 8 months I swoop back into Twitter, but I just can't seem to get the point of it. So many bon mots, so little time (at least on this end). To what end, all this thumb movement on expensive iPhones, Androids, and similar? I don't need to follow a celebrity's peevish rants. I don't have such computer capabilities on my phone. Since I work at home on a desktop, I don't require it, really. When I need directions, I consult a map, install a navigator in the shotgun seat, visit MapQuest, or, simply, call ahead for directions. So no GPS (the guidance system, not the school) for me. Saturday, I was sitting in front of my screen, working away, when suddenly all went black. D consulted Apple, and the technician suggested switching the cable connection on the computer. This solved the problem for half an hour, but then darkness fell again. D went out to WalMart (closest!) for a replacement cable; that didn't do it, so out further afield to test old cable. Turned out to be the monitor, so poorer by about $160.00, but reconnected to my Word files and the wider Internet world. Odd how not too long ago (in the general scheme of things) the computer was a complete mystery, clacking keys and difficult-to-learn almost programing to input anything. I'm on an Elisabeth Luard kick: Sacred Food; Classic French Cooking; etc. Also trying (again) to create a sourdough starter using a recipe in Diana Henry's Gastropub cookbook (the second one) but I'm not hopeful.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


I picked Joan Wyndham's Love Lessons: A Wartime Diary off the shelf and started to read. This is her diary of being a student-ish person in wartime London. A very fresh voice from so long ago. I recommend searching out a copy. Then a FB friend pointed out that Rumer Godden's books are being republished by Virago. Greengage Summer, Kingfishers Catch Fire . . . Which made me remember Persephone Books, a great (re)publisher of forgotten or underappreciated women writers/books. Great cover/interior designs. I saw Few Eggs and No Oranges, another wartime diary, which I will save to buy. Persephone also publishes Etty Hillesum's wartime diaries. I recommend reading what she had to say. Glasses frames need major adjustment, in case you're wondering. Will be dropping in there tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Finally picked up my glasses today; had been putting if off because of the expense. Infuriatingly, they still need an adjustment. Eye guy blaming my cataract. Hmmm. I read in an afternoon Thea Goodman's The Sunshine When She's Gone. I liked it enough (so much?) that I went to her website, where she lists some books she especially likes. So I got A.M. Homes's May We Be Forgiven, which is so quirky and well written that I went to HER website and found this little link of her talking about writing: Now I am going on an A.M. Homes marathon, I think.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Cricket & Snail

I may see them perform tomorrow.

Friday, April 12, 2013


L dropped and broker her camera almost upon arriving in Paris, so her blog hasn't been really up and attem. However, funds were finally funneled to her for purchase of replacement, so watch her blog. I know I will be.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


happy Spring! we are unexpectedly having a fire here in the fireplace.

I just received my information on Crown Point Road in Shrewsbury:
The Crown Point Road Association
2013 Calendar
Contact Us
Click Here to Read the Order of General Jeffrey Amherst

he Crown Point Road: An Introduction
Across the state of Vermont a chain of markers stretches from the banks of the Connecticut River to the shore of Lake Champlain. Erected at different times, by different people, and made of different materials - granite, marble, stone, wood, metal - the markers have one thing in common; they mark the route of the old Crown Point Military Road.
Built in 1759-60, during the French and Indian War, the Crown Point Road was of great importance in the early history of Vermont. It was ordered constructed by General Jeffrey Amherst following his capture of the French forts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point. Its purpose was to connect the great stone fortress at Crown Point, then being built, with Fort No. 4, now Charlestown, New Hampshire. There was a suitable branch nearly straight west to Fort Ticonderoga.
This military road was of prime importance in the plans of General Amherst. The new fort at Crown Point was to be a strong point in the defense [and future development] of the colonies, and a jumping-off point in the campaign against the French in Canada. The new road to No. 4, then the northernmost outpost in the Connecticut River valley, would serve to bring much needed supplies to the fort at Crown Point, as well as troops from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
The road, though a poor one by today’s standards, was built well enough to serve its purpose. Portions of the road were graded, trees were cut, stumps removed, bridges and causeways were built, and corduroy sections were laid in swampy areas. Over this road, in the 1760 campaign, passed Colonial troops with supplies, munitions, cattle and sheep for the support of the army at Crown Point.
The Crown Point Road was again used for military purposes during the Revolution when troops and supplies were sent over the road from Fort No. 4 to support the American position at Ticonderoga.
But perhaps the road’s most lasting contribution to Vermont’s history was its use by settlers in the period between the French and Indian War and the Revolution. The road opened a large area of Vermont for settlement and, with the defeat of the French and the lessening danger from Indian raids, settlers were soon traveling the Crown Point Road and building their homes in the valleys and on the hillsides of Vermont.
The Crown Point Road of today has changed greatly. Much of the road has disappeared entirely, reclaimed by the forest. Other parts have been plowed under or bulldozed away to meet the needs of the expanding population of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Some sections of the road are marked and can be followed as trails, while other sections are barely discernible paths through the woods, marked only by the lilac-fringed cellar holes and stone walls of abandoned farms. A few short stretches of the old military road are still in use as town roads. Written by: Martin J. Howe, First President of the CPRA

I'm glad I'm a member. If any of you can make it to one of the organization's outings, I would suggest it

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Freshly harvested from out back, the root is soaking to get rid of some of the dirt that clings to all the crevices. Rather octopus-like, don't you think? We planted it two years ago, and this is the first root we've dug up.

I remember (many years ago) when our across-the-way neighbors in western Mass. asked if they could dig up some of the horseradish in the field between our house and the church. We didn't even know we had a patch of it! Turned out, we had a lot of it.

I'll never forget the wallop it packed after we ground it up in the food processor. One whiff almost sent us reeling. According to Nikki Duffy in River Cottage Handbook No. 10, Herbs, these fumes "(thiocyanites, if you want to know) are highly volatile, however, and soon lost. That's why freshly grated horseradish, mixed into an acidic stabilising medium, always tastes better than any that's been grated and stored." Her basic method "is to peel a small section of root, grate it ([she uses] a fine Microplane grater) and immediately combine it with enough lemon juice to make a damp (but not wet) mixture." Which is what I'll be doing later today.

Friday, February 08, 2013

A girl's gotta have a guide

I have a rather interesting memoir/collection of notions of recipes that is quite enigmatic. Mary Ann Caws's Provençal Cooking is her account of her time in France and her friendship with the poet René Char, some of whose poems she translated from the French (published by Princeton U Press). In fact, she says that Provençal Cooking was "deeply influenced by the poetry of Provence itself, as well as the poetry of René Char." What does this have to do with The Busy Girls' Cookbook? Ms. Caws mentions it: "my preference for speed, informality, and spending time with the mountains [of Provence] or my guests may be a direct product of too heavy a reliance on one of my first loves in the kitchen, and which I still recommend wholeheartedly: The Busy Girl [sic] Cookbook." So of course I had to track it down. And I thought you'd like to see some of the suggestions/recipes/artwork/typeface used.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

dun, mousy, slaty, etc.

General damp, overarching gray Sunday afternoon. Visited the garden w/D; leeks soldiering along. Rabbits/deer must be enjoying all the lovely chard. Still, it lives.

Need to get over to the other blog and work on it, get it going. I really think it has potential, but right now that reads as inertia.

Because of the wonders of the Internet, we can talk to L on the phone, calling from Paris. Somehow, it costs nothing. I don't understand a bit of it. I remember many years ago not being able to call home from England because the cost was astronomical. What a lonely feeling that was.

Midway through making Indian lime pickle in this shot:

It's now actually completed, but I haven't had the courage to taste it yet . . .

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Timber . . . not with a bang but a whimper

Today is the day. The Christmas tree must come down.

This is the reason I don't like to put the tree up in the first place. Taking the ornaments off is the saddest, dreariest activity. Ever. The holiday is over. It's wet, gray January. And really, what is there in the offing?

Adding up the accounts for the taxes.

Valentine's Day.

That's about it, really.

I look at all the ornaments, and we now put up only those that have been made by someone—mostly Helen's, but lots by Lucy, and others (some by me) and I think of time disappearing. Other Christmases with lots of relatives around, who no longer are here . . . Argh

All right, enough being maudlin.  Time to get down to business.

However, I may have to break my austerity pact (just this once) and buy two skeins of Madeleinetosh Tosh DK (they're on sale, and I can make the Honey Cowl x 2; presents!).

But maybe I can restrain myself.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Up, up, and

away . . . Right now, L is en route to ORD, then to CDG, landing tomorrow. It is v difficult to get up at 0300, although I'd say we all managed rather well, and before the alarm buzzed, too. D drove her to the shuttle which took her to the regional airport.

Will report back later, but man I'm tired, and I'm not going anywhere (except to clean someone's room and do a mountain of laundry . . .)

Betty C and Meredith: I will keep you posted on my plans, though I just heard this a.m. that plane fares are supposed to rise 8 to 12 percent this year.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Bagels and Books

L had to find a guide book and a French/English dictionary to be ready for next week. I had an Earth Fare coupon for a 4 lb bag of Valencias. Conveniently, the bags of oranges were right there at the door to the right as we entered. So that was that.

However, the scent of freshly fried bacon was in the air, and L was directed by it to the breakfast bar, which contained four or five white-paper-wrapped bacon, egg and cheese bagels. How could we resist? Upon unwrapping one, we were treated to thick-cut bacon (and plenty of it), real scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese. On a real (for these parts) bagel. Delicious. So big, we shared one.

Thus fortified, we headed to B&N for the above-mentioned books, and then I dropped L at New Moon so that she could meet a h/s friend.

After that, I headed to the library, where I found that  The Middlesteins was still on the shelves, probably because it was shelved in the stacks and not with the New Books.

I didn't particularly care for The Kept Man, but this got such a good review, that I'm looking forward to it.

A perusal down the New Books shelves brought this to my attention: Care of Wooden Floors. I'm hoping I like it enough to finish

The newest Ina was also on display. And Mrs. Pringle of Fairacre, by Miss Read was also a New Book, surprisingly enough. Always, as Kirkus Reviews says, "a soothing oasis of tidy living for the frazzled reader weary of an untidy world."

So far, a calm, productive, satisfying day

Friday, January 04, 2013

Telling the Bees

Noodling around on YouTube, I discovered this mesmerizing pairing of images and the haunting music of Telling the Bees. and this, a companion:

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Paris to the Moon . . . or Something

Yes, L is off to Paris for the semester. So many unknowns still, though. Where will she end up living? There is the problem of the cell phone. What service? How much to pack? What? There is the tricky problem of what kind of shoes (how many pairs?).

She's not taking Air France, but this photo will have to do. She has gotten around quite efficiently the past few years, so she's a seasoned traveller.

I'm wondering how much it will cost to get around. Will she live near enough to her classes so that she can walk?

More to come!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

New Year's Cactus

I hope that 2013 brings an end to much bickering and divisiveness, on many levels. 
 Happy New Year to all.

I noticed the blooms and bud and took the photo on January 1, 2013.