Sunday music: John Hartford

Live version of one of my favorite John Hartford songs, I’m still here. (There are so many, it’s tough to pick.) Made all the more poignant by his passing. I saw him live summer of ’89 when I literally stumbled onto an outdoor show on the river north of LaCrosse, Wis. I figured I must live right to be so blessed.

I may have lost my lunchbox, but I’m still here.

I’m Still Here is no longer here, lost in the great Viacom YouTube purge of ’07. So here’s Skipping in the Mississippi Dew:

Rosie finds a new home

Rosie through the transom.

That’s a nicely framed view of Rosie through my office transom.

Rosie was a student project from the Art of Horticulture class my friend Marcia teaches . As I recall the story, the student and a friend basically spent most of Thanksgiving break making a plaster of paris body cast in sections, assembled the sections, then painted Rosie and decoupaged pictures on top of that. The resulting Gaia-inspired statue was spectacular.

Rosie’s been around. She graced a sitting area in Cornell’s College of Agriculture administrative building for a few months. She moved on to our department’s breakroom, and then into Marcia’s office. Before the holidays, Marcia decided she needed more space, so I told her Rosie could stay in my cluttered office for a spell. With floor space at a premium, I decided to hang her from the wall, instead.



Hanging Rosie put her in a whole new perspective. Standing on the floor, Rosie was tasteful. Now I’m no prude, but elevated so that her panty-parts are at eye level made me blush. While I ridiculed him at the time, I now know how former attorney general John Ashcroft must have felt giving press conferences in front of that bare-breasted statue of Lady Liberty. I thought it a tad prudish that he had a black sheet put up to block the view. But I resorted to strategically placing an old umbrella to camouflage Rosie in her new residence.

Judging from the comments I’ve gotten, the hanging doesn’t do her justice. Next move for Rosie will need to bring her back to earth.

But can they sift compost?

5 shovels by Cal Lane

I noticed this work, 5 Shovels, by Cal Lane in an article in this morning’s New York Times. I like her wheelbarrow, too.

According to Cal’s website, she’s known for “Knockout steel sculptures with a lacy touch. … The artist’s signature Steel Doilies and monumental, ‘crocheted’ I-beams elegantly perforate traditionally masculine realms of art and architecture with feminine craft.” (Sharon Doyle Driedger in McLeans Magazine.)

Talk about dynamic tension.

Gathering seeds

Old Japanese seed catalog cover

At right is a wood block print of Iris Kaempferi from the cover of an old, undated seed catalog from Yoshinoen-Garden in Tokyo, part of an online exhibit titled Mail Order Gardens exhibit at Cornell University’s Mann Library. Larger image.

I have a pretty rigid rule for winter activities: Order seeds before doing taxes. Do taxes before starting seeds. That’s the only way that I can make sure I get my taxes done on time. It also keeps me from starting my tomatoes too soon.

This year, I decided to really use the Vegetable Varieties website I help out with at work. We’ve got more than 5,000 varieties described there (along with seed sources), and more than 1,500 registered users visiting the site to rate and review what works for them (and what doesn’t).

The process forced me out of my comfort zone. I ordered less from my favorite companies, and I tried a few new ones. We’ll see if the recommendations and reviews offered by other gardeners on that site pay off with a better veggie garden this year.

I’ll paste my variety list below. It doesn’t include a handful of varieties I picked up in behind-the-scenes trading. And I usually by some tomato starts locally, as we’re blessed with greenhouses in the area that know a lot of folks around here are looking for something out of the ordinary.

On the flower front, for the first time in a decade or more, I’m refusing to even open a single perennial catalog. That stack of porn is going to sit unread this winter. Oh, I may break down and look at the pictures should winter linger too long here. But I’m putting a moratorium on plant orders to try to focus a little more on what I’ve already got in the ground.

There are a few morning glories I’m lusting after, so I’ll break down and order a few flower seeds. And I’ve still got my North American Rock Garden Society seed exchange order to place, which will give me a couple dozen more plants to check out. But like the block print above, I’m going with a minimalist approach this season.

Gotta get those flower orders taken care of so that I can move on to taxes.

Here’s this year’s veggie seed list. Any suggestions? Let me know. Or better yet, let everyone know through the Vegetable Varieties website.

Artichoke Imperial Star
Asian greenYukina Savoy
Beans Molly Frazier’s White Cutshort
Beans Cherokee Trail of Tears
Beans Romanette
Beans Jumbo
Beans E-Z Pick
Celery Afina Cutting Celery
Chard Bright Lights
Collards Champion
Cucumber Poona Kheera
Cucumber Suyo Long
Cucumber Northern Pickling
Eggplant Swallow
Kohlrabi Gigante
Leeks Tadorna
Lettuce Cracoviensis
Lettuce Green Deer Tongue
Lettuce black seeded simpson
Mache Verte de Cambrai
Melons Green Nutmeg Muskmelon
Okra Burgundy
Onions Crimson Forest
Pak Choy Mei Qing Choi
Peas Sugar Snap
Pepper Melrose
Pepper bull nose
Pepper Aconcagua
Pepper Hot Paper Lantern
Radishes French Breakfast
Spinach Tyee
Squash Zephyr
Squash Costata Romanesco