Saturday, July 31, 2021


In which Gramsci contemplates the weather outside, connects it with the loud bangs and rumbles of thunder, and thinks that it doesn't look very appealing at all.

We were very grateful to have taken an early, and sunny, and longer than usual walk this morning, on the green belt trail that runs under the railroad line - figuring, rightly, that if the forecast rain came, it would be unspeakably muddy later on.  We were right.


Friday, July 30, 2021

the tumbleweed forest

by this stage of this wet summer, I look at Eldorado and think - how green it is, how green.  People remark on its greenery.  In truth (although yes, we have grasses, wildflowers, and sunflowers in our back yard, too), so much of the greenery is tumbleweed.  This is the rolling llano of tumbleweed that we see when we drive back in the evening.  It'll create a lot of spectacular weed migration, later this fall ...


Thursday, July 29, 2021

kitten? or gecko?

Look what was hanging from our screen door this morning!  I thought things were ominously quiet - I'd been able to type for all of forty-five seconds without my fingers being treated as irresistible moving toys - turned my head, and there was Gramsci, apparently inspired by a towhee that had flown onto the roof.  He did it again this afternoon, and then again ... at which point he wasn't just removed, but the water spray bottle came out...


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

settlers' monument

I hadn't known this was still in situ: it's the Settlers' Monument, topped by a statue of Mary La Conquistadora, "celebrating" the occupation of New Mexico by Spanish settlers 400+ years ago (from 1598, to be exact).  Erected in 2003, positioned outside the Cathedral - I'd had the impression it had been taken into safe keeping, or boarded up, or something at around the time that the obelisk was toppled in the fall, but it's still going strong - not looking at all like a C21st artifact.


Tuesday, July 27, 2021


I was doing some yard work after lunch, looked up, and the sky was like this.  In fact, we only had ten minutes or so of rain - enough to be grateful for it falling on a non-yard-watering-day - although it looked as though it could well be another apocalyptic event.  But this symbolizes very well how wonderful the skies have been ever since the monsoon started, and how tall the weeds - I mean, when they're not tumbleweed, the wildflowers - are growing.


Monday, July 26, 2021

what IS going on?

Poor Moth is feeling beleagured.  Here she is, up on the kitchen counter.  First, I get up at 2.40 a.m. to spend the day (night?) at a meeting "in London" - she was pleased enough to have an extra handful of kibble at that strange hour.  Then - when I eventually emerge, groggily - there is that Thing still around.  Moth is quite happy having a Kitten in the room, so long as Gramsci doesn't come within a paw's length of her, which he inevitably does.  He thinks it would be fun to play.  She's not quite there, yet ...


Sunday, July 25, 2021

this year's first

It's heading towards the end of July, which is fairly late for the first morning glory of the season - but we were (because of LucyFur, and The Car Incident - for those of you wondering, Alice's car is still in the Californian hinterland, and should be shipped out here - well, maybe this week) - we were very late arriving, and tending, and even though this is self-seeded from last year, it still didn't get watered and nourished until we arrived.  But the rain means that the back yard is thick, truly thick with them, so they should be spectacular in a few weeks.

How does one ever type anything with an 11 week old kitten helping?

Saturday, July 24, 2021

a fine Ford truck

This was a splendid old truck outside the Agora today - a tall, elderly, stetson-wearing man got out to go to the supermarket, and I was just sauntering round to the front to take its picture hood/bonnet on, when I realized that there was still a fierce battle-axe of a woman sitting in the passenger seat.  She seemed utterly unmoved by my charmingly enthusiastic smile - which I then realized was hardly a surprise since it was hidden behind my mask.  I've seen a number of impressive vintage cars and trucks around Eldorado, but this was a new one to me.


Friday, July 23, 2021

cat, or ocelot?

Cat, or ocelot?  The verdict is out.  Two weeks of living with Gramsci, and Alice, Moth and I are exhausted ...


Thursday, July 22, 2021

feeling better!

Gramsci thanks you all for your concern, and wants to reassure you that after twenty four hours, he was feeling more or less himself again, and has gone back to his usual habits of causing mayhem.  I think follow-up kitten vaccines are like having second shots of Pfizer or Moderna - one's body has started to produce strong antibodies, so they come out to fight round two (or in his case, round 3).  And yes, he persists in thinking that laptops - like laps - are wonderful warm spots on which to pause ...


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

sleeping it off

Young Gramsci went for a check-up today, and for a vaccine - he's been increasingly sleepy and quiet since, which is very unlike himself - he's normally the quintessence of hyper-activity.  So I'm hoping that he'll feel a good deal better after a good night's sleep - I know it's not unusual to have a reaction, but he's such a little cat (all 2.88 lbs. of him.  That's actually nearly half a pound more of Gramsci than there was ten days ago).


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

apocalyptic rains

Having spent the morning at the first workshop meeting talking about an exciting 2024 show at the Huntington, on the C19th and environmental issues, I spent the afternoon contemplating today's evidence of climate change: a torrential storm that dumped about two and a half inches of rain in forty-five minutes.  This was the view from our front path: a lot of this water (which then charge off, making deep channels in our driveway) came out our neighbor's yard - to the right of this picture - and was roaring through holes in their garden gate as though it were a sluice gate, or some re-enactment of the ending of The Mill on the Floss.  Oh, and there was thunder and lightning, too ... truly dramatic, and we are very grateful for a dry house.


Monday, July 19, 2021

academic assistance

This is one ridiculous kitten.  It's a good job that most of the work I've been doing - trying to do? - today has been departmental administration (the departmental staff re-opening plan, anyone?), rather than serious academic labor, because either Gramsci sits on the book I'm reading; sits on the computer; chases any writing implement that I'm using - or is just generally distracts me through playing with - today's favorite toy - a catnip red chile.


Sunday, July 18, 2021

learning to be a big cat

Moth?  Can I watch you eat dinner?  Moth?  Can I sit on the table with you?

All things considered, this is going fairly well.  To be sure, Moth continues to issue perfunctory hisses when the Little Monster comes too close, and waves her paws in the direction of his ears, but that's fine: she's showing Gramsci who's boss.  Given the size differential, you might have thought that spoke for itself, but it doesn't seem to trouble him.  We are amazed at Moth's generosity, so far - nine days in to her new companion, and although she clearly thinks he's pesky, there's a good deal of tolerance.  He, of course, really really wants her as his surrogate mother, new best friend, and playmate ...


Saturday, July 17, 2021

if it's not a kitten, it's the sky

... yet another will it rain, or will it not sky for our evening walk - it was clearly raining in some places, but nowhere immediate.  For now.  There were stripes of a rainbow over our left shoulder, which means there must have been precipitation in that direction ... 

And in Gramsci news?  I've been working on him substituting a catnip banana for my fingers.  He's kept a respectful distance from Moth today, who is steadfastly ignoring him (which is, in the world of Cat, not bad progress).

A very slight rumble of thunder in the distance ...


Friday, July 16, 2021

It's been a week!

A whole week of living with Gramsci!  Gramsci the Banshee, when he can't be with at least one of us.  Monster Pipsqueak, to Moth.  They have spent a fair amount of today together - well, in the same room - not least because G was driven out of my study by a swarm of flying ants (battled with boiling water outside, and my murderous brutality, cinnamon, and the suction hose of a Dyson inside.  This was not good for my nerves, and I still feel as though they are crawling all over me).  Moth has really behaved pretty well - some hisses and swats when he gets too close, which is tough on the young tabby, since he so wants to be friends ....


Thursday, July 15, 2021

morning after a storm

It completely poured around 4 a.m. - a great rush of a heavy rainstorm that woke me up, and made me instantly think that I'd miss-set the A/C and that it had come on loudly - until I realized that I wasn't in LA, so it wasn't that ... The light this morning, and the raindrops outside the kitchen window (you'll see that windowsill horticulture is back) was extraordinary.  The same with a somewhat mis-focused shot of the tamarisk outside the front door - I know that this is a tree that one isn't meant to favor, because it sucks up water, but I always find it so pretty - especially when covered in raindrops and flowers.

And for those of you looking for your Daily Gramsci, I'm pleased to report that he has had three lively play sessions in the living room, under Moth's eagle eye - and our eagle eyes, too - with only the occasional hiss when he got a little too close.  We were very, very proud of her.  Next training goal - to stop him thinking that fingers and toes are tasty prey.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

toasting Gramsci

Day 5 of Living with Gramsci, and we felt that the time had come to leave the house for dinner at our local, Arable: a particularly wonderful cold green soup, and Gramsci - and Moth - were toasted in Chablis.  This morning, we - well, I can only speak for myself - were plummeted into gloom that somehow the Introduction of a Kitten would never work; that Moth (who met him in the living room this morning, and hissed) would never accept him.  But we had a more organized play session this afternoon: that is, Gramsci played with a rustling catnip-favored simulacrum of a tiny fish sandwich, and Moth looked on with a kind of benign tolerance for a while as he - he's a sociable kitten - played closer and closer, and only hissed, and only in a piss-off-out-of-my-space way, when he jumped on the sofa to say Hi!  Poor Gramsci - however much he's enjoying bonding with humans, and he is - he would really appreciate a feline friend.  He's never known life as an Only Cat, and this isn't in his plan.  But I felt more optimistic this evening than I did earlier ... [below: bonding ...]


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Moth would like to remind you ...

... that she is (now) Cat 1, and that all this stuff about Cute Kittens is ridiculous.  Also ... she isn't really that size!  She's about 11 lbs - that's an unfortunately unflattering picture of her.  At the same time, compared to little Gramsci (2 1/2 lbs), she's huge.  

We will be slowly, slowly, working towards them officially meeting ... still at the tee-shirt exchange and glimpses from afar stage.  It's not hard to guess which of the two is more excited at the idea of getting together.


Monday, July 12, 2021

more kitten cuteness overload

It's ok, non-cat-people: I'll turn back to my regular diet of morning glories and sunsets, soon ... but bear with me, and Gramsci, for now, because he would like you (and me) to look at ,.5¢œ∑a [message from him, as he bounds over the computer, again] - to look at him.  He's still a tiny kitten: it is so very good to be able to scroll back nine years, to Moth and Walter Gomez's kitten hood, and remember not just that they were tiny, too, but that I lived then, as now, in a state of constant feline anxiety and hypochondria.  However do human parents manage?  Antonio the Ocelet has much enjoyed playing today, especially with a fluffy small pink ball that he can carry around, and put into a large shoebox with one or two of his other toys, and then pick up again and bring to me, ready for it to be thrown again.  Moth remains in a state of horrified denial (she occasionally sees a small feline scoot out of my study, only to be scooped up and brought back).  We have Feliway plugged in; we are making sure Moth encounters Gramsci-scented tee-shirts, and vice versa; we are taking this very, very slowly.

Also - my head's not that big - you can see how pint-sized he really is ...


Sunday, July 11, 2021

long legs ...

How big is this cat going to grow?  Currently Gramsci is about nine and a half to ten weeks old, so far as anyone can tell.  It seems that he and his sibling - also now adopted, I'm glad to see - were probably picked up by Animal Control somewhere in Santa Fe just as their deciduous teeth were coming in.  That means he was around 2-3 weeks old on May 19th - and then he was fostered.  Fostered, I'd say, by someone who was very loving, and has taught him to be a people-cat.  A people-obsessed cat ...  But those legs!  They say that the surest way of knowing how big a cat is going to be is to look how long the hind legs are.  I swear that what we're looking at here is half ocelot ...


Saturday, July 10, 2021

working today hasn't been easy

It has been very difficult concentrating today - if Gramsci isn't needing an eye kept on him to make sure that he isn't getting into trouble, he's falling asleep on me or on my computer.  A nine and a half week old kitten has a lot of energy and curiosity ... and is completely irresistible.  Irresistible, that is, except to Moth, who is ignoring him, and his piteous cries if I leave him alone, as resolutely as she can.  He's in a huge cage when we're not in the room with him - screech, screech, screech - and we'll leave the door open, so that Moth can wander in.  No.  Perhaps, I'm sure she thinks, if I pretend this Kitten doesn't exist, it'll disappear ...


Friday, July 9, 2021

Eldorado Farmers' Market (and Gramsci)

the farmers' market, just before a truly heavy monsoon downpour ... and then twenty minutes later, having seen his picture appear on the Santa Fe Animal Center website, off we went to meet Gramsci - all nine weeks of him.  He is tiny, and incredibly people-oriented, with a huge purr.  Moth and he haven't met yet - but she seems a little baffled by this new presence somewhere behind a door ...

More, of course, will follow ...


Thursday, July 8, 2021

the morning glories are coming ...

Some of you will remember my obsession last summer with morning glories.  I planted a few more packets of seed this year - and planted a lot of seeds that I'd gathered at the end of the year, before cutting them back - but honestly, there may have been no need: last year's plants seem to have self-seeded everywhere.  The ones that were tidy enough to fall inside pots are already racing up canes - let's see what color appears first.


Wednesday, July 7, 2021

another day, another (day) lily

This may look very like its predecessor - but the one from a couple of days back is fading and wilting in the background.  This is today's magnificent offering.  Really, what I should have been taking a photo of at the same early-morning time was the extraordinary fleet of workers' trucks - and a large concrete mixer - that turned up at 6.20 at our neighbors in order to - to do what, exactly?  Nothing, it would seem, that required planning permission (I was quickly on line to check that); and nothing on the roof.  My guess is that they were concreting over the back yard.  Maybe.  They had mostly left by 9 (probably for their regular construction jobs), and all had gone by 12 - and nothing is visibly different (their back yard has a fence round it, still in place).  Of such are our daily excitements constituted ...


Tuesday, July 6, 2021

unexpected adornment

In the very early days of this blog, I went through periodic phases of imitating Neue Sachlichkeit photography - pots and pans; cutlery; the insides of a loaded dishwasher - that kind of thing.  It's been a long while since kitchen utensils have featured, I think - or, indeed, half-washed-up cups of coffee.  I've never tried pouring cappuccino foam and finishing off with the flourish of a fern, a leaf, a panda's face (google "cappuccino foam art," and a whole lot of tricky-to-achieve examples appear).  I suspect it's quite a skill, and as someone who prefers their morning mug or three black, I probably won't be practicing a lot.  But this was unexpectedly achieved and stumbled upon: a neat, rather Christmassy star appearing in the grubby foam of washing-up liquid.


Monday, July 5, 2021

a lily flowers

All that rain (there was another huge thunderstorm, at 1 a.m., which was New Mexico's natural way of choosing loud fireworks to celebrate July 4th), and all the warm (but not scorching) weather - this lily raced to open from what, just a day or so ago, were tight buds.  Indeed, the garden is enjoying this weather - the seeds that I put in last week have already germinated, and now there are whole clumps of self-seeded morning glories (remember last year's photographs?) which may flourish in unpredictable ways ...

I really didn't know that this lily was going to be quite so obvious in USC's colors of cardinal and gold, and promise, hand on heart, that this wasn't intentional.


Sunday, July 4, 2021

evening light

and no, it didn't rain today, whatever this appears to be promising.  Here's the corner of our house in evening light, closing up July 4th - so far, I'm happy to say, with only the faintest and occasional thud of fireworks somewhere in the distance, now that it's actually getting dark.  As ever, it's a holiday from which I feel at a bit of a remove - although we did allow ourselves a glass of wine at 5.45 as opposed to 6 p.m. - that must be the most muted act of marking a holiday on record ...


Saturday, July 3, 2021

planted and (well) watered

I finished planting out yesterday's purchases this morning - sneaked some water onto them from watering cans and jugs (today was not an official watering day) - and then this afternoon enjoyed a real monsoon soaking - lightning, thunder, and torrential rain.  If this doesn't make them feel happy (and all the sunflower seeds that I've planted sprout), I don't know what will.  But - proving that this is a land of micro-climates - I've just had a text from a friend in town saying that it didn't rain there - twelve miles away - at all ...


Friday, July 2, 2021

my favorite emporium

As I know I've remarked before - probably many time before - I adore going to Agua Fria Nursery to stock up for the summer: for reasons already recorded, we were about three or four weeks later than planned, this year, and of course this meant that the plants had a decidedly midsummer air to them: not exactly wilting, but many of them already flowered.  All the same, I came back with a good carload.

But I'm not sure that I just go to Agua Fria to buy plants - rather, it's for the whole organically committed and decidedly funky ambience.  So far as I can see, if plants don't sell, they're turned loose to fend more or less for themselves.  One couldn't have bought anything that I show here: everything was growing in the soil, and everywhere there were bees, bees, bees ...

... and as for what I bought: I'm particularly excited by the horseradish - I've never tried growing that before.  One harvests it - the roots, that is - after frost has killed off the leaves: could be interesting!