Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Innertube Inspiration, vol. 3*

. . . in which I cast my envy about as though it were admiration.

Just yesterday, Taylor Patterson of Fox Fodder Farm wrote that she would be turning 30 today. When I read it, I had that amazing and particularly female (I think) response of feeling simultaneously thrilled (she could be my friend! We are almost the exact same age!) and fang-ed, like how the hell has she done all the things it seems she's done before the age of 30? I feel like a slug. I want the people I admire to be aeons older than me, plz.

She does floral styling for fashion shows and weddings, collaborates with designers and pop-up-shoppers and all that Brooklyn goodness, and has a family farm in Delaware of the same ingenious + adorable name. Where my Valentine's Day bouquets were $10, ( I CAN'T BELIEVE I ONLY CHARGED TEN DOLLARS IT WAS SO MUCH WORK O MY GOODNESS ) hers came in $100 or $200 versions ( DO NOT WORRY I WOULD NEVER CHARGE THAT MUCH FOR ANYTHING EVER ).

But of course I think she's incredibly talented. Just look at this hanging Scandinavian-seeming citrus tree in a ball of moss. Just look at this giant anemone bouquet and fresh pressed juice. She's not afraid of using dead plant matter or feathers or inventive ceramics or really kinda ugly carnations. So I hope I'm as cool on my 30th birthday, which is not so far away.

*check Volumes 1 & 2 via the click.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My succulent bolted

and it looked absolutely insane while it was happening. This took place over the course of the last three months or so, and was caused, I think, by too much water during a rainy early August/late July.

The other day, I noticed that the antennae it had slowly but inexorably cast upward were beginning to show some bright pink buds. Then they began opening into actual jewel-like tulip-esque blossoms, and I couldn't resist chopping them off to put in vases. (I was also worried that they were sounding the death-knoll of my Echeveria, and so I chopped them to preserve its will to live. We'll see what happens.)

Here's the beautiful plant, sans its long vertical legs:

I also removed most of the leaves on the stems, as they formed, because I read that they contained more growth hormone and would be easier to propagate. That photo in the last post is of these leaves, with their little root hairs showing hot pink. Colors! Surprising! I've planted each of them and will have some baby Echevaria to give away/sell in ... I actually don't know how long. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 11, 2013

this is a poem [that doesn't have an ending]

. . . crowdsourcing final lines . . .

cold hard transcendance

transcendance as action. setting the table
with bowls of whole grain transcendance

let us consider what is never not happening

total loss farm
celery wine

with names one should know where to stop
but it rests thinly

action expressing its own fullness
in a draft toward the most voracious fire

trying to bite the teeth with the teeth

when you itch the oil it spreads
violet to one side and gold to the other

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A lot of words from an enthusiastic space on some dark evening in November

I wrote about Wilder Quarterly a year ago, when I had (more of) all the time in the world to revel in super-saturated full-page photos of geodes, and all desire to get back into a world on paper.

(Pardon me for all the reflection, lately.)

But there's a new issue of Wilder, and though I ordered it with the same paper-hungry eyes, it's sat around for a few weeks languishing on my newly-hewn coffee table, because I kinda feel like doing things when I'm not at work, on the computer.

I even felt like doing things this evening, but it's dark and quiet and after a long cold dog walk and a big bowl of garlicky greens, there was nothing much on the docket.

So I finally read the piece de resistance of this Wilder issue, for me, an interview with a mythical being who turns out to be an actual human, a teeny tiny Q&A that instantly lit up the Indra's Net of my neural patchwork, caused me to pull old books off my bookshelf and buy new books on the goddamn internet, thank you universe for Alicia Bay Laurel.
(This may be a long post.)

When I was in college, a even-now-dear friend gave me a copy of Living on the Earth, Bay Laurel's compendium of life-affirming skills. Without proselytizing, it defined the priorities of a skills-based revolution. I made its sauerkraut and carried it all over the country with me as I moved, flashing the manage-the-birth-of-your-own-child DIY and the know-your-clouds tutorial and the "hatha yoga keeps you stoned" meditation tools bit. My favorite part: how to survive potential drowning.

When I was in publishing, my only Editor's Note consisted solely of her how-to-build-a-fence page.

And the thing is, the whole while, while I waxed nostalgic about the communes that were, Alicia Bay Laurel has been kicking around. Here's the Indra part: Her cousin was married to John Fahey, who taught her guitar. She lived for a short time in San Francisco Bay on Agnes Varda's uncle's houseboat. One of her mentors, Stephen Gaskin, whose wife was Ina May Gaskin, was a student of Suzuki Roshi. These are incredibly influential figures that you may not know about! Click the links!

(I may be highly excitable right now, for some reason, but it's such a great feeling.)

And now I've again picked up an some important books, for me, and  reminded myself about this movement that resonates as the most radical, most utopic, most brave and influential thing I can recognize, and about the reasons why I'm interested in and terrified of it.

I went to Canaan this weekend to take part in a dialogue about shared space, resilience, experimental business incubation, communal life and participatory democracy. It was infuriating and inspiring, and full of the kind of energy that must have driven Alicia Bay Laurel to write this kind of book // live this kind of life // learn to do things, learn together, grow and use and eat and remark and mark the time and space in which it's all done.

So where does this fit into the Flower Scout scheme? How about this: After the fall of the commune for which Living on the Earth was originally written, after the residents had lost their bid to deed the land to God, and after the judge stated that "God is not a person, natural or artificial," and after the police had kicked everyone but the owner off the land, arresting some of them for possession of ginseng and vitamins, Hugh Gardner writes, "Over at Morning Star the only thing left standing was a rose trellis in full bloom."

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dead Flowers Redux

Redux is from the Latin for "to bring back," which is funny, in a way.

I ripped these geezers out of the wet earth, along with fistfuls of dead grass, gill-over-the-ground, baby dill and bolted arugula. It was like what I imagine when I imagine bushwhacking through the jungle, if the jungle were dead; I smelled my way through a wasteland of bristling stalks on hands and knees. I shook seeds from dry pods onto the ground. I emerged with mysteriously bloody hands. I lost both my earrings.

I wrote about dead things a year ago, when I was exposed this way to the elements, raw-handed every day. This year I'm cushed and propped in a desk chair, mostly, but last night I slept the serious kind of sleep, deep and thick and twitchy with dreams I don't remember. I feasted with good friends in a wintery way, put my scarf on a dog, saw my breath in the air on the way home.

This wasn't the season I imagined I'd have, nor the jungle garden. Dead flowers are a relief: I give up the grief of this messy season, pile the debris and let it rot. Break out the planning notebook to reimagine what Flower Scout can be and is. Got ideas? It's a good time to tell me. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Time Change

Tomorrow I'll go to my garden for the first time since this week's frost, to bear witness to the dissolved protoplasm my flowers have surely become. But just a few nights ago, looking out toward the river, the whole world seemed filled with improbably resilient cosmos and velvet-stemmed tithonia. 

It's a sea-change kinda time. I left a very sturdy houseplant outside and its cells froze and gelatinized overnight. Though today was warm and lovely, I can hear the heater kick on again and again. For me, that means it's time to drink whiskey and eat chocolate and start stockpiling books.

I put this together for my friends at The Grocery, in celebration of their grand opening on Tuesday. It's a beautiful new shop, full of tiny delicious necessities and completely unnecessary nearly-necessities. Flower Scout arrangements will be there on the semi-regular throughout the winter months, should you need some tabletop love.