Thursday, 1 October 2015 | 8 comments
I arrived home from Botswana to full-on fall. No matter how how much of a jaded, ungrateful traveller I become, I don’t think the whole other-side-of-the-planet thing will ever get old. One day, you’re sweating it out in the southern part of the African continent, in the country that is seventy percent Kalahari Desert, in a city that gets eleven inches of rain per year. After thirty hours hurtling around in metal tubes, you begin descent into the mid-Atlantic U.S., the first pops of orange and red flashing up at you from the ground. Stepping out of the airport, your hair curls from the damp. It smells like dead leaves. A hurricane is coming. What a world.
Saturday, 8 November 2014 | 44 comments
“Moreover to light a fire is the instinctive and resistant act of man when, at the winter ingress, the curfew is sounded throughout Nature. It indicates a spontaneous, Promethean rebelliousness against the fiat that this recurrent season shall bring foul times, cold darkness, misery and death.”
It’s difficult to explain about the bonfires. It started five years ago, right about the time I returned from living in Tanzania, just a few months before I created this site. Most people know about Guy Fawkes Day from the movie V for Vendetta. If this is your only acquaintance with the day, you probably picture eerie masks and explosions.
If you don’t know anything about Guy Fawkes Day, here’s your primer: on November 5th, 1605, a group of Catholic extremists in England tried to blow up the House of Lords and kill King James I. They were thwarted, and a man named Guy Fawkes was arrested. People lit a bunch of bonfires to celebrate and hated on Catholics. Like everything in England from Henry VIII on, it was about Catholics versus Protestants. Bonfire Night (a.k.a. “Gunpowder Treason Night”) caught on.
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 | 25 comments
At this time of year, there’s a late afternoon sun that streams in during a pretty hour or so before early dusk. » Click to read more
Thursday, 19 September 2013 | 38 comments
The weeds win out, this time of year. At some point we just start harvesting and stop weeding, and nature, which errs on the side of fecund around here, takes over. » Click to read more
Friday, 14 September 2012 | 31 comments
“Welcome to my office,” Ben says as we climb out of the car. Neat rows of pear trees stretch their limbs out of the morning mist. It’s kind of obnoxious, actually—does he have to brag?—when you consider that my “office” is a cube with padded, circa-1981 salmon pink walls. Ben, by contrast, makes his living here:We grab a ladder and start picking. The crew has been through here once already and most of the harvest is in—they’ll use it to make pear wine, which they then send to a local distillery to make pear brandy—but there are some stragglers. These get sold in the tasting room. We get to take home the “ugly” pears, the ones with spots or lumps or hard patches where they were damaged by insects. For the next couple weeks, bins of the fruit take up residence in our house, and I start thinking of pear pie and pear bread and pear butter. » Click to read more