I remember years and years ago hearing the former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who was then giving a talk on war and WMDs and Iraq and the whole future of the Middle East, as it was seen from that moment–this would have been about 2000 or early 2001, it was definitely pre-9/11–and she was talking about people who were always asking her what would happen when we, the world, runs out of oil. I remember so clearly she said: “The world is awash in oil; the next war will be about water.” And I was thinking about this today because you know what else the world is awash in? Napkins. What the fuck is up with napkins wherever you go? Manhattan is awash in napkins from Pret-a-Manger, or the bodega, or the Starbucks with their brown do-gooder napkins. Can we graduate from giving out a fistful of napkins at every transaction?
Someone at 5:35pm today asked me if we had any “symmetrical candy.” Just in case you wonder how I’m doing.
Today I repotted a bunch of stuff that had gotten out of hand, moved all the pots into a chunk of space, a pot cluster, if you will–and I think you will. It was starting to look like things were placed here and there with no idea, which in fact is how it was done. Now it is much neater.
When I was up at Silver Heights on Monday I was telling Leona, who has worked with Trina for many, many years, about how the squirrels have basically destroyed my lemon balm. They don’t eat or kill the plant necessarily, but they dig in the dirt, and it just hasn’t been able to get enough green material going to feed the roots to “come back” as it should. So the next day Leona brought me a huge chunk of the lemon balm she had dug out of her yard. It was in a plastic bag. How thoughtful! I put it in the actual ground this time.
I put two more anise hyssop plants into the big pot where one lives now, and I put another one in the ground near the one that’s already in the ground. I love it so much!
For dinner we met our friend Chris at Frankie’s on Court Street, and got a table in the carriage house, where Mario & Carl got married. I had a Carpano Antica spritzer to start and it was giving me life! We all shared the antipasto platter, and then I had meatballs with polenta and rabe, and Kip had the tagliatelle with pulled lamb. That place is always fabulous!
I met Dr. Calvin Langborn at the greenmarket today — he is a giant among farmers, and is best known for breeding and stabilizing the sugar snap pea in the 1970s. What an amazing feat!
Today we visited the Gorzynski farm in the afternoon, after having had Turkish food in Jeffersonville, and picking seedlings out of the greenhouse.
I ended up with lemon thyme, French thyme, chamomile, a new kind of rosemary that’s more hardy and possibly winter hardy in my zone, another angelica, three small hyssops, lots of Italian parsley, two more mints, uh what else? Some other stuff was too young to bring down–no basil, no zinnias, no coreopsis. Yet! I may make another trip in a few weeks to get more stuff.
I am such a different person from who I was just three years ago.
I’m up at Silver Heights Farm, visiting Trina and her seedlings one last time before she moves to West Virginia to retire and be close to her daughter and family. Today we spent some hours “seeding up” melons and watermelons, summer and winter squashes. This means filling a small peat pot with soil, then pushing two seeds down into the pot, about the depth of your second knuckle, then covering lightly with more soil. You do this in trays of 18 pots, dust everything with a spray of water and then they sit under the greenhouse tables until germination.
I am here with friends Gina and Michelle and we spent the last half hour curled on the bed in the guest room chatting through hundreds of topics like schoolgirls at a sleepover. It is nice that we all feel the joy of this time, of the day spent with the plants and the chickens and the sun going down.
We found in the bookcase here a book from 1923 called “What Mom Used to Make,” which is recipes, well, you get the idea. To make a ham omlette, it said, make a plain omlette and add half a cup of sliced cooked ham. This, of course, made us hysterical.
The 1923 world was FILLED with dust. Every page has some warning about dust containing this or that, and even a “game” where you gather what seems to be fresh clean snow, then melt it, to show your children that they should not eat it, regardless of how lovely it looks. Don’t drink a glass of water that has sat in a room with a sleeping person, because the water will absorb all the gasses emitted by the sleeper. Look, the books says, there’s danger everywhere.
What a great day this has been.
You guys, I am so tired. I forgot what the springtime is like–four markets per week, plus one day of driving, I really can’t be responsible for myself in the hours that I am not working. I can barely do one. more. thing. The patience bucket has been poured and is now empty. Only six more weeks of this–ha–and then I’ll be back to a more normal personhood.