Monday, December 28, 2009

St. Augustine FL

I spent 12/27 in St. Augustine with daughter Maggie and our dear friend Deborah.  We had great fun in the cold wintry weather.  One highlight was eating hot borscht with pirogies, spinach/feta pie, and a greek salad, served up at a little mom and pop place on Aviles St.

Dooryard sculpture and wrought iron.

An old doorway arched in coquina blocks.

Old window with hurricane shutters.

Stained glass window, Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine.

Castillo San Marcos

Old arcade piece

Maggie and her doting father at the old carousel in St. Augustine.  Only $1 per ride!

Maggie and Deborah on the carousel.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yuletide - The Winter Solstice

Today is the Winter Solstice - Yuletide - the shortest day and longest night of the year. Take the bright lights of the season into your heart and together with your own inner light go out and do some good in the world.

(Payette Lake, McCall, Idaho)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Visions of Sugar-Plums

I made sugar-plums this afternoon, loosely following this recipe.  For dried fruits I used dried plums, apricots and cranberries, and added some walnuts as well.  All ingredients were chopped fine and mixed in a food processor.  Not wanting to use sugar, I dredged the formed sugar-plums in pecan meal, which has its own sweetness.  This being Florida, I used orange blossom honey to sweeten the mixture.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Banjo - Fairbanks Imperial

Photos of my A.C. Fairbanks & Co. "Imperial". Serial number suggests it was made around 1894.  I purchased it from Jim Bollman's "Music Emporium" in Lexington MA several years ago.

I love the signature prow-shaped "boat heel" at the base of Fairbanks banjo necks. The neck is mahogany; fingerboard is ebony.  The centerline of the neck also is slightly keeled like a boat, and is very comfortable to hold and finger.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Local Color - Florida

Winter hasn't quite arrived in Florida.  A cool snap during the last couple of weeks has brought out the colors of Fall.  Hickories and elms have turned yellow.  Sweet gums range from bronze to maroon to a decent orange color.  In this photo of an upland tupelo (Nyssa sulvatica) one sees a pleasing medley of hues.  This is one of my favorite Florida trees.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bearing The Cold

A cold front plunged south into Florida and has turned everything chilly.  The low clouds drifting into the area are a sign of the rain that is expected over the weekend.  Gray skies this afternoon.  Typing by the light of my flatscreen monitor in the office today (I only use natural light from the window -- by choice -- not by necessity).  [bronze sculpture, McCall, Idaho]

Friday, December 04, 2009

Seeking a Troll

Wouldn't want to meet this guy crossing a bridge. (Riggins, Idaho)

It's Reddy Kilowatt!

Reddy Kilowatt - the logo/mascot of Idaho Power Company for at least the last 50 years.  Nostalgic for me to see this happy guy again!  Did Reddy have a nemesis? Click over to and see this matchbook cover featuring Willie Wirehand from Minnesota.

More Signs of the Times

Signs of the Times

There's a certain message here someone is trying to make very clear.

The Snake River looking downstream from Swan Falls Dam, southwest of Boise, Idaho.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Trip to Idaho

I spent a few wonderful days before Thanksgiving in the Salmon River country of central Idaho.  Fiddle Creek is between the whitewater and steelhead trout fishing towns of Riggins and Whitebird.  The steelhead eluded us, but we saw lots of wildlife - elk, mule deer, golden eagles, magpies, turkeys, Canada geese, and those energetic little gray dippers, the ouzels.

Payette Lake in McCall, Idaho.  Brundage Mountain Ski Resort is not far from this lovely little burg.

My father fishing on a rocky bar downstream from Riggins at the place our family calls "The Rock" - a large vertical outcrop that juts into the Salmon River at the head of a deep slow hole.  Informational signs describing the geology of the area are along the roadside here.  We cannot pass this place without "dropping a line" to see what is biting, any time of the year.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fordham Eel Spear

One of a couple of dozen hand-forged eel spears in my collection.  This one stamped "Fordham" on the center tang.  The 1876 design was by Fordham's business partner, one Samuel Parker Hedges, of Sag Harbor, Long Island, where the Fordham shop was located.  See p. 381 of this book on L.I. genealogy.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Surfers' Ashram - Surfing With an Om

Attention surfers.  An ashram for surfers has been established in the Indian state of Karnataka.  Go figure!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Swine Flu

Swine flu seems to be everywhere these days, even in the remotest places in Amazonia.  It is suspected of killing a pregnant Yanomami Indian woman and three children in the rainforest on the Venezuela/Brazil border.

The Sky, As I See It

Guy Fawkes Day, Iranian Style

Israel unveiled a cache of hundreds of tons of rockets, mortars, missiles and anti-tank weapons on a ship seized at sea near Cyprus.  The weapons were shipped from Iran; Israeli officials aver they were bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon.  Read the Voice of America article.

I've lamented before: "Some people just like to blow up other people."  That's no world I want to live in.  Sue for peace.  Live peacefully and encourage others to as well.  Peace begins inside each individual, and with the family and community.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Currently Reading

The Songlines, by Bruce Chatwin.
I recently picked up a printing of the 1988 Picador trade paperback and have begun reading it.

I'm not a newcomer to Bruce Chatwin or his work.  Being sorely afflicted with the antique collectors' disease (corkscrews, Ainu bear carvings, eel spears, to name but 3 categories) I have read his last work Utz.  I've digested The Viceroy of Ouidah, On the Black Hill, and his In Patagonia.  I own and have read a galley proof review copy of Nicholas Shakespeare's biography Bruce Chatwin.

I've a copy of Chatwin's What Am I Doing Here? that I will read next.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Bond Minicar

The Bond Minicar - a historic bit of Lancashire technology.  The survivors of the 26,000+ produced are now the stuff of automobile collectors.  An advert in my Autumn 1957 issue of The Countryman claims this little car got 85 mpg.  The cars were produced at a former rope factory, Sharp's Ribbleton Lane premises in Preston, Lancs.

Warren Buffet's Christmas Train Set

Some folks love the Christmas train set they received as a kid.  Some even go on as adults to build elaborate layouts that fill a basement or attic.  Then there's Warren Buffet, the world's greatest investor.  He just agreed to buy, through his company Berkshire Hathaway, a whole railroad,  Burlington Northern Santa Fe.  Forty-four billion in cash.

Conversation Through a Windshield

A draft of a new poem:

Conversation Through a Windshield

The wind hurried
Through breaks of goldenrods,
Late for a dance with the cottonwoods,
Pushed by a storm stalking up the valley.

My friend, the towheaded farmer with over-sized hands,
The one with a crooked nose
And a forehead like an anvil,
Struck a serious gaze through my old truck's windshield
At the looming gunmetal clouds
And asked aloud, over cherry-red cheeks,
If God approved of cremation, and
"Do you think its gonna rain?

I said, "The ripening wheat fields down by the river
Dream of terrible hailstorms this time of year."
"Did Evan get that cutting of alfalfa baled this week?"

"Myra left me last night", he says.
"Gone to her sister's over in Pocatello."
"Kids are resilient," I say." They get back up
When they get blown over."

"I cleaned my pistol last night after she left."
I said, "Hey, let's hunt in Arbon Valley this year."
Then silence as the pickup droned up the blacktop.

Then, through the windshield he says
"I want my ashes scattered in the Teton River
If it's OK with God and you."
"That long riffle where we saw the double rainbow last year."

[Submitted to Subtropics literary journal on 1/6/2010]

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Water, Amazing Water

Tonight I watched this 2-hour web video about water and came away with a few inspiring thoughts.  I may not look upon water the same way again - how my thoughts and actions and living affect this vital resource that enables life to survive on this world.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

On Poetry:

"Poetry should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance." - John Keats

I firmly believe all of us have poetry that lives within us.  Some of us have to wrestle with ourselves to bring it to light.  I have danced around the firelight of that struggle lately, almost afraid to indulge myself in that fight, but at the same time am compelled to boldly stride into the brighter circle of that very light, again.
It's winged sumac time in north-central Florida. Isn't this a lovely photo of a female indigo bunting peeking over a cascade of sumac fruit clusters?  Hat-tip to my good friend Mike D., who captured this image recently and posted it to his Flickr stream.  He's an impressive photographer, and I recommend you give his site a long look.

Waltzing Matilda

For the past two days I've really enjoyed listening over and over to this beautiful arrangement of the Australian bush song Waltzing Matilda played on a handcrafted parlor guitar made by Rebecca Urlacher.  I'm sure you'll like it too.

This Just In

I'm back to blogging after a several month hiatus during which I've experienced many changes and heartbreaks.  The Clog-wife left and is living with someone else.   I've resurfaced and am up and moving again, and trying to recover the old fire inside me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Obama: License to Jive?

This just in: Reportage from the belly-, leg- and zipper-seams of the US fabic indicate that now Obama and Michelle are in the White House there will be a resurgence of white people who feel empowered to connect linguistically with African-American friends who don't speak at all likethe Obama First Family. Scions of the popular music and film industries are reportedly waiting to see how "things play out" before committing themselves one way or the other.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Rhymes with "Month"

Can you find an English word that rhymes with "month"? Some folks are on-the-prowl.