Friday, May 30, 2014

Nothing Changes

Politicians are the only people one can vilify with impunity, for if you do not specify what party- or even what country-most of your fellow humans agree with you!

Here is a snippet from a book titled "The Essay", that I pulled out of the free books bin at McKay Books. It is from an essay by Jack London, who describes how his working class birth made him long for a different life. As a young man he became an oysterman, and briefly a criminal:

"One night I went on a raid amongst the Chinese fisherman. Ropes and nets were worth dollars and cents.It was robbery, I grant,but it was precisely the spirit of capitalism. The capitalist takes away the possessions of his fellow-creatures by means of a rebate, or by a betrayal of trust, or by the purchase of senators and supreme- court judges. I was merely crude. That was the only difference. I used a gun."

And from "The Craft of Gardens",by Ji Cheng, a garden designer from the age of the Ming Dynasty (translated by Alison Hardie), Maggie Cheswick writes this in the Foreword-

"- and since the Ming was a repressive and autocratic dynasty, it reinforced the option of a gentleman to reject public office and devote his time to the advancement of his spiritual,literary, and artistic gifts in the elegant setting of a garden. The great Ming artist Wen Zhengming(1470-1559), who partly designed the Zhuo Zheng Yuan, or Garden of the Unsuccessful Politician, in Suzhou, made only one brief and unsatisfactory excursion into public employment and then, calling himself always an amateur, he lived for a time among the watery mazes of this lovely place, devoting himself to poetry and painting."

Well, one of our previous Presidents, who no one calls much of a success, did retreat to Texas to paint pictures of himself and his feet, as they stuck out from the water in his bathtub. I do not know that he ever gardened, though he had been pictured on his presidential time-outs clearing brush and complaining about armadillos.

"The Garden of Sagebrush and Possums on the Half-Shell". That is what the Chinese might call it-

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Late May in a Nashville Garden- May 22, 2014

Here are some photos from the West Meade garden I take care of. How fresh and bright everything looks in May!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Follow the Money Report- May 14,2014

When war breaks out, who benefits?

For those of us who have wondered,( and been naive in our wondering) just what the Ukraine has to do with our national interest-

Well here you have it.

Hunter Biden, Joe Biden's son, has joined the board of the Ukraine's biggest private gas company.

These people do not even bother to be discrete anymore! Maybe we should just go ahead and annex the Ukraine as our newest state!

When you read about the Ukraine and you see the word "freedom", insert the word "gas" instead.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Good Question

When I was a highschooler, I can remember my Uncle Seb and my Aunt Philly visiting us at our house on Bible Hill. They brought one of my myriad cousins- this one a girl toddler with a beady and suspicious eye.

This child gave me the up and down, then asked me in a demanding and condescending tone"Whose mother are you?"

A good question, even after 50 plus years. During that time many people have asked me if I had children. New co-workers and my patients and their families were always curious. When I replied that I was not married, some were confused. What did it matter, their looks seemed to say.

Well it mattered to me, and I chose the New England spinsterhood of an outmoded day and age.

But not having children does not mean not having to mother and be bothered by others. Ask my married friends.

Ask me, as a nurse who has practiced for 44 years. I took care of hundreds of people I was not related to, and in the now dead tradition of Nightingale nursing, was duty bound to always put their needs above my own.

Now my nursing career is vestigial, since I work only a few days a month at the night clinic at the Little Big House. But some things do not change. The inmates who have already been judged fear no further judgement from me, and I take care of them as best I can.

There are no shortages of others dependent on me in the animal and vegetable kingdoms either. I have over a hundred seedlings in flats. Dozens of plant cuttings. Two gardens.

Not to mention possums, raccoons, and porch cats, one whom just presented these-

So- not all mothers are mothers. It is one of Nature's great jokes.

I would say Happy Mother's Day to my mother here but that would be pointless. She thinks the Internet is the Devil's Playground.

Friday, May 9, 2014

New President at NPR

At the top of the hour, if I can get there fast enough, I turn down NPR news on our Classical station and wait for it to go away.

A few minutes ago I was not quick enough. I heard that one Jarl Mohn was the new president at NPR.

His credentials?

Former president of E! Entertainment Television, and a former disc jockey also associated with MTV.

Classy. I can imagine what is coming.

Symphonic music to strut down the Hollywood red carpet by. Beyonce's favorite composers. Miley Cyrus's favorite concertos.

Imagine , though, the plus side for the news division!

Fewer boring reports on the future of wind farms! GMA instead of GMO! Overnight TV ratings and up to the minute box office tallies for the weekend-

Crimea? Isn't that a town with a high crime rate? You know, like Chicago?

God help us all-

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Walk at Vaughn's Gap

For the past two mornings the hounds and I have walked at Vaughn's Gap in Percy Warner Park. The Main Drive and trails there are in the forest, and safely out of the sun, which makes even 10 am hard to bear.

Most of the spring's ephemeral flowers of the forest floor are gone by now, but I found a solitary Butterwort-

And a clump of pale blue Waterleaf, that the photo does not do justice to.

This beautiful orange and green flower chalice is from the Tulip tree, and it fell far to land on the road, for Tulip trees can grow to 200 feet. The woods at Vaughn's Gap have much second growth, but many of the trees are old and venerable, and though they are not the oaks Keats described in "Hyperion"- "Those green-robed senators of mighty woods", they too are"branch-charmed by the earnest stars-".

These woods were full of wind and birdsong this mid-morning. The Swainson's thrushes were singing. I heard Acadian Flycatchers, Tennessee Warblers, Red-eyed vireos, Parula warblers, and a Scarlet Tanager.

The only disturbers of the peace were the cars on the main drive. Edwin Warner Park banned cars on its drives years ago, and it is the better for it. I think Percy Warner should follow suit, for too many of the drivers care not that there are toddlers in strollers up behind the next curve-

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday In The Green Hills Garden

The Green Hills garden is , in spring, a garden of old fashioned flowers. The owner inherited many of them when she bought the house 25 years ago, and she added family heirloom flowers such as these irises, which came from her mother's garden in Milledgeville, Georgia.

The cornflowers, once called Bachelor's Buttons, have been returning yearly for decades. One never sees them for sale at garden centers. They do not transplant.

There are peonies here as well, but they are still in bud.

As I was putting in new plants this morning I saw a small flock of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks at the neighbors' feeder. They are transients of course, headed to the north country. I remember seeing them in our garden in back of our old house in North Charlestown , New Hampshire over 50 years ago. My father had planted rows of potatoes. The potatoes were attacked by potato beetles, and the grosbeaks came to our rescue.

One other bird note for today- I heard the first Wood Thrush of the season as I walked the dogs at Edwin Warner Park. The Wood Thrush deigns to spend the summer in Tennessee, but the Veery and the Hermit Thrush live in this state only in the Mountains.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Strawberries from Outer Space

I bought these strawberries this morning here in Bellevue at a farm out on the River Road. Cut up and topped with whipped cream they look conventional enough.

But look closely at these. They appear to be sprouting antennae from their little tops.

Or maybe satellite dishes-

They taste good, though.