Brutal Muggy

It’s the kind of day that makes you give up on things.  So many to-dos that I to-didn’t.  Like staking my cuke containers and the tomatoes out back.  Or setting my crowded beets free and giving my carrots some room to grow.  I got halfway to planting a mysterious squash that had appeared unexpectedly among my container sage – and only this by putting my neighbor friend’s kids to work (while we kicked back with coffee & tarts – this is, after all, what parenting is about, right?).  And, on the advice of a very sage fellow reveler, I finally decided I am NOT going to use those Triscuit card seeds.  They kinda freak me out.  Does anyone else think that there is probably something a tad toxic in the gum that holds the cardboard seed card together?  And hasn’t Nabisco confused most its constituents who think someone stole the seed card since it looks just like part of their cracker box?

Yes, it was that kind of day: hot, humid, with too much something in the air, making hay fever go haywire, making a person delirious, and not in the good Prince circa 1983 kind of a way.

There is the good.  I learned that the City is providing seeds and something else I imagine for garden growing in the projects, but only the old folks are doing it.  There is the bad.  There was an armed mugging just a couple blocks down from me in regular daylight (wasn’t broad but it was only 9 pm).  Then there is the ugly.

Like the duck.  This was the kind of day that makes me want to choke the duck.  There is a toy that found its way to my house within the past year.  It is a grubby-looking matted hair whitish-grayish looking duck that my dog sometimes loves and sometimes ignores.  And when you squeeze that duck at just one particularly hard to find spot on its creepy arm-like wing, it sometimes rolls its head and sings, “It ain’t gonna rain no more no more, it ain’t gonna rain no more,,,how in the heck can I wash my neck when it ain’t gonna rain no more?”  The duck seems to move itself.  I put it one place, I find it in another (and this is on days when my dog is being lazy and secluding herself on the cool comfort of the basement floor).  I heard it on level balance that even farmers lately are weirded out by the non-weather “weather” we’ve been having — that they think it’s gonna rain then it doesn’t.  That all signs say go – the animals doing their little scatter or whatever it is dance, the leaves turning upside down, then nothing.  Not a drop.  I took my clothes off the line tonight, put them in a bag, still damp, because I was CERTAIN it was gonna rain (and I, remember, grew up in rural Wisconsin –  I do like to think I know weather).   Several hours later, it still was just doing the threatening cloud looking thing in the sky, and now those clothes are back on the line.  And this duck keeps looking at me ominously, just waiting to sing.

QUESTION:  is the sky falling?  (Cuz if it is I gotta go get my clothes off the line).

If There’s a Summer Reading List

On rainy days like this week, I like to think about when the slugs have slithered or been salted away, when my garden will be all lush and beautiful, full of flowers in bloom and meticulously cultivated organic juicy red tomatoes whisper, “eat me, eat me,” (yours say that too, right?).  Yes, these soggy days I drift in my mind to when I will finally feel the tickle of perfect, pesticide-free, native grasses beneath my feet, and I will lord over my bounty, a steamy cup of morning joe in hand, gently brewed from individually selected, hand-picked, shade grown, fairly traded, equally exchanged, peacefully planted coffee beans lovingly smuggled from some distant corner of the globe, when bounty bursts forth from each bud in each hand-painted, Gaudi-inspired mosaic-print pot.  Well, maybe not all that.  But I do get through these days without a trowel thinking about what, other than gardening, I will be doing with my long summer days (besides pecking away at my desktop under flourescent glowlights, day in, day out, thinking about what I could be doing with those long summer days).  And that, naturally, turns to reading.  

Assuming those weird Canadians (thanks for the link, Bronwen – see Armagarden post comments below) are wrong, and no one will be whisked needlessly away into the unfeeling blue yonder by an unloving god, I think it’s time we talk summer reading list.  Top of mine is “What Would Google Do,” by Jeff Jarvis.  I’m only twenty pages in but I’m hooked.  I think it’ll be a perfect subway read (being realistic, for those of us not fortunate enough to have a home in the Hamptons or anywhere but our concrete slab of this city, it’s just more practical to think in terms of a subway read rather than beach books).  More on this later but the skinny is it’s about Google, the first “post-media company,” what it’s doing right, and what other companies can learn from it.  Although it’s early to tell, I’m pretty sure he’s also sending out a warning signal to all the rest of the companies who think they can keep doing business as used-to-be: we’re in a new era, folks.  And the old ways just aren’t cutting it.  But, it may take many a more company to flounder and sputter about before that message gets through.  I’m also putting on my list Just Kids, the Patti Smith memoir, just ‘cuz, and maybe…not sure what else.  How about you?

QUESTION: what’s on your list?  What will you be reading this summer?  What’s the last book you read?  Are you glad you did?  Was it on a  Nook, Kindle or in your good, old-fashioned hands?  What are you reading now?  Any suggestions for a good gardening book (tall order, I know, but one worth filling). 

(I just picked up How to Grow Practically Everything by Zia Allaway and Lia Leendertz, DK Publishing 2010, which is a great book to have on hand, easy to peruse & good how-to photos, and also am flipping through, courtesy of my most very cool neighbor, Weedless Gardening by Lee Reich regarding how to give the earth a break and grow above ground, like on newspapers and clippings – inneresting but not sure it’s for me.  I like to dig in the dirt, what can I say?  We’ll see. )

LINKS:,/ (Jeff Jarvis’s blog)