Friday, March 26, 2010

Quick Update

I haven’t blogged in a while, although there has been plenty to write about… we passed health care reform—WE PASSED HEALTH CARE REFORM!, stories about the chickens, a quick trip to Florida to visit my mother and sister and three days of antiquing, a Saturday afternoon at the American Craft Council Show, and planting the first of the spring garden vegetables.

Despite these potential posts, I have been so busy in the studio that I haven’t managed to make time to share my thoughts on any of these, so I thought I’d do a quick update.

Buffy made a second escape recently that had me running down the alley to the front yard of the people who live on the street behind us. This was precipitated by guy who does yard work for us trying to put yard trimmings in the compost while Buffy was in there rooting around for anything of interest to eat. Guess we really will have to do something about keeping her in the yard instead of just talking about it. I also discovered that Matilda made a secret nest under a tarp covering some wheat straw—or I should say Marley discovered the nest since he led me to it—where I discovered 11 beautiful blue eggs, all of which had to be disposed of because I had no idea how long they had been there; at least 11 days! Thankfully, she is back to laying in the nesting box.

Trip to Florida…
Marley and I drove down to Florida in February for my mom’s birthday. Marley was a great companion in the car—he loves to go with me whenever/wherever he can. My mother is a serious collector of McCoy Pottery, so whenever I’m down we usually make time to go antiquing at least once. Since I was down for three days, not counting two driving days, we decided to make a long weekend of it. On Saturday mom, my sister Brenda, and I drove to Dade City, about an hour Northwest of Tampa. We had a really nice day shopping and mom was successful finding a couple of pieces to add to her collection. We had lunch at “A Matter of Taste” of Cuban sandwiches, good but nowhere near the quality of Havana’s—the standard by which I judge all Cuban sandwiches—Spanish Bean soup, and sweet tea.

On Sunday, my brother-in-law, Cal joined us for the drive to Mt. Dora for the annual Renninger’s Extravaganza. Mt. Dora is about an hour-and-a-half from Tampa, but worth the drive for Renninger’s Antique Center and weekly Flea Market. With the addition of 1000 plus vendors for the Extravaganza and well, to us, it was practically mandatory. Since the Extravaganza is outdoors, we decided to take Marley with us. Unfortunately he was a little overwhelmed by the crowd and Cal and I wound up carrying him for most of the day. Mom again found a few pieces of McCoy and I purchased this wonderful bird pitcher for $5.

On Monday, we headed for Plant City—sans brother-in-law—my sort of hometown; I went to middle and high school in Plant City and lived in what is now the historic district. When I was living there downtown was a thriving business district where we shopped and dined. Now it is mainly antique shops, and a huge Scientology Center; who would have thought? Shopping was followed by a stop at the cemetery to visit my grandparents’ grave site. Brenda and I picked up a couple of stones to place on their graves.

Why to Jews place stones on the grave stones?
According to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, “In former days one did not mark a grave with marble or granite with a fancy inscription, but one made a cairn of stones over it. Each mourner coming and adding a stone was effectively taking part in the Mitzvah of matzevah ("setting a stone")… in our day one tends to stick a pebble on top of the tombstone as a relic of this ancient custom, and it is still clear that the more stones a grave has, the more the deceased is being visited and is therefore being honored. Each small pebble adds to the cairn.”

American Craft Council Atlanta Show
Last year my friend Heather went to the ACC show and purchased an incredible bird by artist James Mullan, which I have coveted every since. So, this year Mr. Man, Heather and I headed out to the show where I was hoping to purchase one of James’ birds. The show was great with a variety of artists; furniture, sculpture, textiles, but interestingly only one painter. I was so excited when we came upon James’ booth. This year’s selection of birds was wonderful and I took my time looking at all of them until I found “the one.”

Planting The Spring Garden
We managed to keep the garlic and onions alive over the winter. We weren’t so lucky with the broccoli though. We put up hoop houses when the weather dropped below freezing and the broccoli survived two snows and had flower heads the size of tennis balls—I was so excited. Unfortunately, while I was in Florida something got into the hoop house and ate the broccoli down to the stalks! Squirrels maybe? Who knows, maybe broccoli is not meant to be in my garden.

Last weekend I planted lettuce, more onions, and swiss chard. And I have started my Heirloom Cherokee PurpleTomato seeds, which I fermented and saved from last year’s harvest. The blackberry and blueberry bushes I planted last fall are budding/leafing and the strawberry plants look good. I’m also planning to plant eggplant, potatoes, zucchini, peppers, pickling cucumbers, spinach, beets, and green beans. And of course, herbs. Thyme, sage, oregano and rosemary are still doing well, but need to add basil and mint in pots, and perhaps cilantro and parsley.

Okay, I believe that catches me up. I’ll post about my life in the studio another day.

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