CSA Still in Swing

On the friendliness factor, this was one of the better visits (keeping in mind my expectations are significantly lowered based on previous visits). So the experience of going to get my produce was a pleasant one, overall.  As before, there were no tables for the produce.  The veggies and other goodies were, instead, in crates on the ground.  I don’t mind this.  It makes it easier to see what you’re getting. It’s also lighter, more open, airier.

Per usual, the allotted amounts were a little scrimpy (4 leaves of collard greens? Really?? Just four?).  The variety, however, was peak.  I’ve wondered before if they go out and buy items from other places when they’re running low and, if so, from where.  They had peaches very early, when it just didn’t seem possible to have peaches.  Their flower selections are wrapped and packaged in a way that just doesn’t look like it came straight from the farm (wrapped in cellophane with handles like the often sad-looking hyper-colored bouquets at Church Avenue mini-grocery stores and LES bodegas).  On occasion, there will be a food item or two that simply looks like it was a stray, along for the ride and to round out the selection.  I don’t mind, I guess.  We benefit.  I’d rather like to know, though, where each item is from, and I haven’t always gotten a clear answer when I’ve inquired about some of these (suspected) strays.

As for the goods, we got green beans, slim sweet green peppers (just two but oh well), a bunch of lovely radishes, 1/2 lb. beets (which equaled two smallish beets), one head lettuce, two sweet potatoes, my four collard greens, five apples (that’s generous), six pears (also generoso), a bouquet of flowers and my usual six eggs. Oh, and kohlrabi and one other squash like plant I forget the name of and do not recognize. Close up to follow. For now, here’s my stash ….

mind my expectations are significantly lowered by my previous visits). So the experience of going to get my new produce groceries was a pleasant one. Sometimes folks sry put bo


Totally Unnecessary Kitchen Science Experiment

Here’s a whole tomato that had sat on the vine a little long. I plopped it in a ramekin and covered it with plastic wrap, fully intending to get it labeled and into a uniform baby food/seed saving jar with proper cover and label.
I didn’t get that far, but I think the mold and tomato may have done the work on their own, nature’s way. Time to harvest!



I Know Who Poo’d

All summer I was extolling the virtue of neighbors and knowing them, then something dropped me in my tracks last week.  It was a little pile of poo, neatly secreted through the a-hole of a very small dog, two of them in fact (turds and dogs).  The dogs, I could discern from the droppings, were the little yippy kind.  Only those kinds of dogs can squeeze out those baubulous bobbles of doo – the round, hard barely-a-fist-size kind.  Only an annoying, overly-trimmed, tailored, and parlored kind of a canine can squeak out those equally offensive rocks.  Not that I have anything against the dogs.  I do not.  It’s the owners who insist that just because a dog is of a certain size, dimension, and coat hair, it must be coddled, curled, and coiled up in travel baskets and squeezed into pastel duds that are even saccharine on a doll.

I have to pause to admit that I did not actually catch the canine culprits in action, but in light of surrounding circumstances, I can be pretty certain I know who they are or, at least, who their owner is.  She’s a neighbor, but not an acquaintance or a friend.  She was blathering away in a high-volume pipsqueaky kind of a voice very late at night a month or so ago, dead center of the sidewalk in front of my house.  The words she was using did not match her manner of dress although I may be elaborating here.  It seems she was cursing like a sailor.  Or maybe it was the content of her call.  I recall that there was something offensive enough about the occasion that it prompted me to take the rare step of using a stage whisper through the window to suggest she “move on.”   Personally, I thought it was a nice way to say what she really deserved to hear.

This block is a quiet one.  It’s a one-way.  There are old people.  There are babies.  There are people with early-morning jobs.  There are blue collars.  There are white collars.  And no one seems to know for sure or care at all which is each.  There are new couples with babies.  There are more than a few little old ladies.  There are, I believe, even artists, but they’re the solitary kind that are up at night working, not up all hours talking about being artists.  Or they’re the kind (like the one kitty-corner to me) who sleep at night to get up early and take their dogs on a non-poop littered walk so they can come home and give lessons to musicians (who aren’t as good as them but are getting better) so they can continue to be artists and musicians.  (I, like others in this little stretch of row houses on my street, view these mini, on-going serenades of lessons as a fringe benefit to being on the block.)  There are people who, if they need to have a lovers’ quarrel or family feud through the air waves, and can’t do so in the privacy of their own homes, will at least move on when someone makes their presence known, “ahems,” or kindly, as I did, suggest they move on.  That night, the little chickadee in the Juicy Couture velour with her matching miniature whozseedoggywhatzsits, took offense at my suggestion.  She said something utterly forgettable about it being a free country or me not owning her or the sidewalk or some such other nonsense that indicated she has no regard for making the world a better place through love, kindness, and peaceful harmony.

The first summer I lived in this house, in the year 2000, I had some friends from Wisconsin who came to visit.  I don’t remember if it was a weeknight or a Friday night.  Either way, it was late.  We’d been drinking.  We’d been laughing.  We were on a back porch in Brooklyn.  We were free.  The night was ours.  So we thought, until my next door neighbor, who works the graveyard shift, stuck his head out the window and barked at us to “Keep it down out there.”  I wanted to crawl into the ground.  It froze me.  My friends all started cracking up over it, and eventually I did too.  They took that moment and froze it in time.  They still pull it out to polish it with retelling.  It was their first true New York moment.

I put on my neighbor’s voice to put this pipsqueak in her place.  “MOVE ON!”  She was still yakking away when I went to put a collar on my good sized dog.  She may be advancing in age, but she’s still more than twice the size of Juicy’s little rag dolls that were prancing near my front stoop.  I don’t remember if I had to bring out the big dog, or if the silence of the night made her realize her words were falling loudly, and she might be outnumbered in the people who, in this moment,valued quiet over freedom.  I still hadn’t said more than my two words repeated once.  (I’ve been here long enough to know that on my block, like many, past a certain hour, it is best to do what can be done in few words).  Within minutes the encounter was over.

So I thought that was the end of it.  I’ve seen her since then.  We have a silent pact that requires neither of us to look at the other.  Nor are we required to extend the usual dog-walking courtesy of crossing the street if there’s any chance of an unpleasant interaction.  We stay the path, bothering only to keep our dogs under tight rein.  And I thought that was the way it was and the way it would be, and also the end of it.

But last week, I came home to poo on my pavement.  Smack dab dead center.  Unmistakably in front of my house.  I started to tell my good neighbor/friend about it.  She lives on the same end of the block as Juicy.  My good neighbor/friend lives right next to Juicy’s apartment building with her two kids and partner.  They’re out there so often, and soak in so much about the neighborhood,  I’ve decided her partner’s the mayor.  So in my retelling of what had happened, before I could get to the second “move on,” my friend was finishing the story for me.  Turns out Juicy told the Mayor what happened.  Next thing I knew, my friend/neighbor was telling me the rest of the story, with Juicy defending the fact that it’s a free country, and all she was doing was talking on her cell phone, and it wasn’t even really that late.  And she doesn’t even really know them.  So my suspicions were confirmed.  She trained her dogs to poop on my path.

Now before you go thinking I’m jumping the gun on this conclusion, note that I have seen her since our initial encounter, loiter with her dogs in front of my house, looking around to see if anyone’s watching.  A passerby always seems to appear before they get to doing their doo.  The sidewalk, too, by the way, is a free and clear canvas.  There are no hydrants, or flowerbeds to awaken the little doggies’ urges.  Moreover, most people pick up their dog’s dookey, so much so that even a “curb your dog” sign on the block is rare.

So I was mulling all this over in my head tonight, as I took my dog out for a walk after being away all weekend.  I have known my dog for a good seven years.  She has never, in all the time that I’ve known her, ever pooped on the sidewalk.  She has always had a yard at her (and for her) personal disposal.  With only minutes to go till we turned the corner onto my block, she pulls over and squats deeper than is her custom.  A few feet ahead of me, a delivery guy was getting on his bike.  He was watching to see if we would cross first or if he should go ahead.  In that moment was when my normally uber-private puppy got into that unmistakable crouch, nearly in the middle of the sidewalk.  Of course having walked her without ever needing a bag, I was empty-handed save for her leash in my quickly tightening grip.

I didn’t have time to see whether she left a gift, but I think it was at least a token.  I whisked her away hoping that whoever’s house it was doesn’t have a neighbor with a real, or perceived, vendetta.

Taking it to Another Level: fellow blogger learns the secrets of grow lights and water ways

Hello fellow revelers,

Just wanted to share a recent post from a fellow gardening blog, Gardening in the Boroughs of NYC.  I met the author at the recent Big BK Seed, Etc., Exchange.  I love this description of how she went to a lecture on hydroponic farming, which was informative but only served to even further pique her curiosity on the subject.  Instead of setting down her pen and checking off the lecture as another thing done on her list of to-dos, she dug in deeper, and farmed for a way to learn more.  She wound up with an internship to learn the deeper ins and outs of hydroponic farming with Boswyck Farms of Bushwick. 

The post is a good reminder of the virtue in each of us, individually and collectively, to roll up our sleeves, dig in the dirt, learn the earth and its resources, explore new methods of doing, telling what we’ve learned and sharing, to the best of ability, our means to do more with less. 

Revel reading, y’all!


Walking Before Midnight

Take a walk one night this week past ten, if you can. It’s rare air out there, breezing around the brink of summer and fall. There’s a unique quiet on the side streets and trees lit with Chinese lanterns and colored lights. Plaster madonnas peer past their plexiglass cases. Discarded miniature rockers and outgrown baby bouncer toys wait to move again. The requisite construction debris, with once treasures in heaps, lines a few row houses parallel to mine. I usually like to look between the buildings to see the back of my house and view it as others passing by. Tonight I delighted in my neighbors’ individual lots in their varying stages of care and decay. It’s worth a walk on a weeknight, when the more diligent have turned down their beds, to catch a city sighing under sleepless moon and clouds outlined in inky blue.

And you? What do you see when you take a late night stroll?

Go ahead … gimme the dirt.


It Was the Best of Times

It was the best of times.  It was the best of times.  Thank you so much to the fellow revelers who joined me today in the garden for some good eats, great company, and the best The Big BK Seed, Etc., Exchange ever!  The best thing about it, of course, was the company … but wait’ll you see my stash o’ loot!  I feel like a kid on Halloween night, buzzing with the warmth of friends, a belly full of nummy treats, and anticipating an evening sifting through the goodies!  Big thanks to everyone for making it so much fun, and getting out here despite the lack of cooperation of the MTA.  It reminded me of why I love gardeners.  Special thanks to Ralph for the banana plants and bringing seeds for all, to Mimi for the awesome bruschetta and heirloom tomato seeds and spreading the word, and to Aimee for the books, flower seeds, yummy beans and delicious figs!  And a big special thank you to my partner for warming the hearth (then cooling it with the best ice cream ever)!