Thursday, August 14, 2014
Minneapolis has a farm within its park system, Gale Woods Farm.
They raise cattle, sheep, pigs, and chickens, in addition to a number of crops. They expose school groups to farming and offer volunteer opportunities. The park is about 15 minutes from our place.
You can buy pastured meats at a fraction of the NYC price (5 lb leg of lamb -$36). As far as I know this is unique to the region, is hardly known even to locals, and is a great resource in a region that has not quite made pastured meats accessible to the urban population. Food is generally more expensive in the Minneapolis region than it is in NYC, variety is dismal, international foods are harder to come by, and produce is not well-stocked or good looking. There is a grand farmers' market in Minneapolis, but it's a drive into downtown. Fortunately, smaller markets are popping up including one in our town despite the fairly short season.
Monday, August 11, 2014
You might find a frog on the side of the porch. It happens.
But would you expect to find one inside a day lily?
Hiding spot, feeding hole, great place to meet the opposite sex?
Do you leap in a single bound or climb the stalk, waiting for the flower to open it's doors?
And do they know the doors close after dark?
Friday, August 8, 2014
We arrived in Minnesota early Sunday afternoon after two days of driving and two nights of miserable lodging. It's hard to imagine making this drive anymore after a dozen years of doing so, twice annually, and it's quite possible this will be our last. Rex's ability to take in oxygen is at its limit as is the machine's ability to provide it. He is slowly suffocating to death. We like to imagine his lungs will finally give out under the influence of morphine and heavy sleep, but one can't know.
His days are filled with an anxiety of breathlessness and jokes mustered around such a condition and a general disposition lighter than one might expect. Every now and then he makes it to his Estonia grand, orchestrating his nimble, digital memory. We cook and although he passes on most lunches, he eagerly takes in dinners under the magical influence of prednisone. We are lucky for his nine to five caregiver, Patsy, whom he listens to as much as she patiently listens to him. The dissolution of age will come for us all, gradually or quite suddenly. It is best to have a plan.
The best indicator of Rex's declining health was the gradual but evident retaking of the trails by plants and fallen timber. Many have become impassable with tangled windfalls and occasional widow-makers, the soft padding of chips disintegrated into soil, the buckthorn and even trillium growing center trail. There was considerable flooding this spring and the smaller marsh became the smaller pond, it's overflow draining underneath this bridge. The rain fell so long and heavy that pond waters rose high enough to float the bridge, dismantling it, and nearly over washing the driveway forty feet beyond. In other words, the woods is a mess and in need of a chainsaw samaritan who will work for cord upon cord of wood. Do you know one in the Twin Cities area? Email me.
The moisture and cool, darkened understory has produced a good crop of mushrooms, like these corals and those below.
Ductifera pululahuana or the White Jelly (Roll)
Last year's unharvested chicken, the ghost chicken.
Right alongside the driveway, growing on a strategically placed, chainsawed oak stool, is this summer's small but wanted chicken.
A day later it looked like this.
And the day after that, we harvested.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
We flew in from Orlando early Friday. Lucky, flying standby, we got bumped up to first class. Nothing too special, it appears to me to be the way flying was when it first appeared on the commercial carrier scene -more comfortable, more service, smoother ride, but I could hardly imagine paying the premium for it unless my wallet was well endowed.
Days before leaving are solemn, made more so by a memorial service for Betsy's aunt that we attended once we landed yesterday. I did get to meet her great aunt Margaret, a woman with lots of spark at nearly 101. I have never met much of Betsy's extended family on her mother's side, mostly because her mother is no longer with us. I never met her mom, regrettably, because she died years before Betsy and I met.
There is snow on the ground and the light is brilliant. The temperature a pleasant 18 degrees, far better than the 4 or 5 while we were wearing shorts in Florida. It's tough to leave Rex behind, more so these days due to his declining health. There is always the chance that this could be the last time we see him. We won't be able to return, in any meaningful way, until late July. I'll be wrapped up in the garlic harvest at that point, plus school, so scheduling will be tricky.
Travel is a luxury, like so many others, that requires agency of time. There are so many places we haven't been, that we would like to experience, but our responsibility to family is powerful, and instead of using our time off to travel to exotic locations, we dutifully truck to see family.
There's no need to complain about this, one day it'll be different. We will soak up our last day here in the frozen woods of Minnesota. Tomorrow, by noon, we will warm up the van and trek east toward Madison, Wisconsin. The cats will mew in discomfort. We will stop in Menominee (ba dada bop) for our usual cup of better road coffee. Eyes will glaze over as numbing vibrations of interstate travel permeate the fingers and bums of being while our van unceremoniously rolls over two hundred thousand miles somewhere in Ohio.
Monday, December 31, 2012
We were going to see temperatures down about -15 tonight with a brisk wind chill on top. So we decided to leave our cats with Rex and visit my mother and sister, west of Orlando, Florida for a few days.
Weather should warm back up to 15 or 20 by the time we return. Then a couple more days in Minnesota before we make the driving journey back to New York City.
Happy New Year everyone!