Saturday, October 12, 2019

more fall color

There is chamisa everywhere; I could fill a whole page with yellow.  But instead, two images from the Farmers' Market today: skeins of naturally dyed wool with a ristra hanging in front of them, and some pumpkins and garlic.  We bought a lot of new season garlic - and greens of various kinds, and potatoes, and goats cheese, and a French Rouge hen ready for putting in the Instant Pot tomorrow, and, of course, plenty of chile.

Friday, October 11, 2019


Outside our (New Mexican) front door - a huge and very golden chamisa bush.  It is very wonderful to be back with peace and quiet for a snatched couple of days.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

our marbled pumpkin

This may be the most delicate, subtly-colored pumpkin that I've ever seen, which is of course why I bought it.  Mind you, it seems to be caving in slightly on one side: I fully expect that by the time that Halloween arrives, it will have been gnawed into a mushy mess by a raccoon or three.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

the library garden

Going and working at the Huntington never fails to take my breath away.  And how not to fall into cliché ... but the seasons - and yes, the gardens really do demonstrate that there are real horticultural seasons in Southern California - make everything change, all the time.  But can it really be, I always ask myself, that I can stroll outside for just five minutes, and see this?  Quite probably this has something to do with managing an excellent day's writing, too.  Or maybe that's just conference panic setting in ...

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

is it time to rename the begonia?

I thought that this post was going to go in a quite different direction.  Seeing all of the begonia-trays waiting to be planted out, and observing newly-sited begonias in the planters on Trousdale Parkway, I was going to berate - indirectly - our new eco-friendly University President for enabling (also, probably, indirectly) the transplanting of thousands of plants that guzzle up water.

But.  Checking on their thirstiness, I found that begonias (native to many moist sub-tropical and tropical climes, which certainly doesn't include Southern California) were first named by Charles Plumier, a French patron of botany, to honor Michel Bégon, a former governor of the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti).  The name was then adopted by Linnaeus, in 1753.  Bégon was, to be sure, a huge collector of plants.  He arrived in Saint-Domingue in the mid-1680s, having previously been in the Antilles; he sold an estate on Martinique; he became involved in the spice trade; he went on to become superintendent of Rochefort, on the Atlantic coast, where he started a naval botanic garden.  There's a brief history of his career in, of all places, the Daily Express in 2015.  But this doesn't mention how his overseas properties functioned; what I do know is that his son, Michel Bégon de la Picardière, not only went on to become Intendant of New France - French Canada - but, in order to accelerate that territory's rapid growth, introduced slavery.  Did his father have useful connections?  Maybe not - the appointment happened the same year as his father's death.  And indeed, one biographical source that I found with some hasty googling says that Bégon père was "humaniste et philanthrope," which may mean that these are not Tainted Flowers, after all.  Tell me if there's a family bio of the Bégons out there - if there isn't, there should be.

Monday, October 7, 2019

fall colors, from above

somewhere down there, the lower slopes Rockies are turning golden with aspen leaves.  It's for views like this that I always try and get a window seat ...

Sunday, October 6, 2019

some New York walls

Here this evening, gone tomorrow ... not these pieces of wheatpasting, but me, grabbing a very quick moment or three here on my way back from the Princeton conference.  Disappointingly, it's grey and drizzling, but all the same I had a good walk around.  Imagine!  there is now a Whole Foods on the Bowery!  For those of us who have known NYC for over forty years, that is beyond inconceivable - although there again, so is the whole concept, or at least the scale, of Whole Foods.  I used to subsist on salads - mostly lettuce and garbanzo beans - from those endless take-out diners (if that's not an oxymoron) that had rather limp salad bars down the middle of the store, with an occasional - a very occasional - treat of tortelloni salad from the Balducci's that used to be around 13th street, I think.  

For those of you intrigued by the idea that Freedom is a New Kitten,

LA LIBERTE EST UN NOUVEAU CHATON is a Photo Zine of staged but vibrant photographs which tell the story of a young woman arriving in New York City to establish a modelling career, but instead finds meaning - not in the bright lights and allure of money and fame, but in the simple pleasures of compassionately caring for an orphaned kitten.The strange adventure begins when her new pet is kidnapped...

The characters of the story are themselves played by high-fashion models recognisable from their work for big name brands and fashion magazines.

So now you know.  

All the other collage/posters may be considered as writing prompts.