Thursday, January 31, 2013


Back at the year's beginning, I did say I'd try to make a calendar of collected objects. And, in my regular fashion, I've waited until the final day of the first month to begin. Here is a small branch found on a walk this morning. Can anyone identify the tree?

{Update: These are definitely red maple buds. Thank you Kayta!}

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Getting Real

If you've looked at this website before, albeit perhaps with the liberal love and relentless fomenting excitement of the greater Troy, NY community, you might be wondering exactly what the deal is. I seem to be rustling around poeticizing about rocks that look like flowers, the shapes of snowflakes, and the finer points of post-apocalyptic temporary tattooing. This is true. 

But I'm also trying to start a business, one committed to a few core ideas, namely the following:

1. Beauty, like everything else, is impermanent.
2. The communities we want to live in, and which I'm committed to participating in, flourish when we encourage and engage in the creation of participatory things-of-beauty.
3. These things should not tax our health or the health of our planet.
4. I really like getting dirty.

With these core principles in mind, I'm creating an official thing-of-sorts, as recently documented by the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.

This horrible pink-colored document is my CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY. It lets me charge sales tax. It also makes me feel serious.

And this is the FEDCO catalog. The FEDCO catalog! This is a page of sweet peas, into which I pour all my wintry thoughts about sweet peas, and Tithonia (every punctuation mark here is a deleted exclamation point): Tithonia, the Mexican sunflower, with gray velvet leaves.

This catalog, the stack of catalogs underneath it, and the various notes, question marks, and to-do lists filling my space are the antithesis of a CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY. They point to everything I don't know, the future that I can't predict, and the locus of all the real excitement.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Scout & About

This is my beautiful housemate Tonya.

This is her beautiful suitcase. 

Tonya is a teacher, a hugger, a maker-of-soap, a singer, a clothes horse, and a preeminent flower scout. We're going to keep bees, grow berries, and deck our home with plants of infinite variety. Beginning right here:

Yesterday morning, Tonya thrust a little dead ball of dried leaves into a bowl and said, "Take this. Give it some water." So I did. Then she said, "Don't give it too much. Its needs are few." So I turned off the tap, took it into my room, and set it on a crate under the window. Ten minutes later, I turned absent-mindedly toward it and found the above--a fractal wonderland of uncurling bliss-krieg! I couldn't believe my eyes! This, dear friends, is the famed Resurrection Plant.

It's immensely inspiring, for all sorts of reasons. But beyond that, it's beautiful.

(Don't worry, I promise not to let that dinosaur eat it. But only if you listen to this song, Resurrection Fern, by the indomitable flower scout Sam Beam.)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Go Underground.

 Lester Howe, seen here amidst some phenomenal wallpaper, was a tremendously intrepid spelunker. He discovered what came to be called Howe's Caverns by crawling through the dark on his hands and knees, deep into a cave that we can now trot through quite unmessily. A cave that I did trot through on Friday, accompanied by four artists and one great guide named Guy. In which I noticed that rock formations can look surprisingly like flowers.

This stalactite seems like  a conglomeration of the strangest varieties of amaranth.

Another luxury that Lester didn't have, at first, was a gondola ride down the dark, clear lake in the middle of the cave, with its treat (perhaps not as rare in Lester's day) of total darkness at the end.

When I say total darkness, I mean complete and utter absence of light. I mean the kind of darkness in which the brain begins to play tricks very quickly. I mean H.P. Lovecraft's kind of blackened space. Who would imagine that any plants could live in this environment? Yet the deeper we got into the cave, the more thick and beautiful the moss colonies and lichens became, cropping up predictably near every fake-rock wall sconce. Plants themselves are so intrepid.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012: The Year of Pip

Inspired by Sarah Rhyanen's unbelievably beautiful recent post on the Saipua blog, I've cobbled together my favorite photos of 2012, a year of pastoral photo-ops to say the least.

Lots of plaid-itude.

. . .and this guy, if you've made it this far, is the aforementioned Pip, as photographed by Kayta, whose photographer's talents far surpass mine.
 Here's Kayta herself.

Thanks for the beauty, 2012.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Annual Start-Overing

It's a new year, evidently. And the fourth day, already, of this new year! And it's COLD! But it's sunny and snow-bright here in lovely 2013.

But before we get too deep into January, before we throw aside the goals and tribulations of 2012, before we dive head-first into our new and brighter selves on this side of the countdown and throw away our old calendars, I want to pay homage to the maker of my 2011 and 2012 day-keepers, Mr. Henry Evans. 

Evans, on a beautiful October day at Caretaker Farm

Because he lived in California, Henry Evans focused many of his illustrations on poppies and eucalyptus, but my favorite of his works are of weeds and grasses, like the milkweed below.

...and this nasturtium 
(pay no mind to the reflection of my lazy little head)...

I haven't picked a 2013 calendar yet, and I don't know if I will. Instead, I might carry something in from the great outdoors every month and stare at it rather than some vague representation of a generic every-January; to make instead a natural history of my own year in this magical place called Troy. If I manage to make it happen, you'll be the first ones to know.

Happy new year, with all love, all best intentions, and all perennial excitement,
yrs truly