2016. beans are one of the most rewarding crops–giant beans, like the one’s from Jack and the Beanstalk–go into the ground in the fall or spring.

Soon they pop up tall and full of flowers. Then the many branched stems have many big seed pods. You have to pick them fast before they get too fat.  Then comes the shucking, parboiling, peeling, and eating. Once you’ve parboiled and peeled them, they can go into almost any dish.

2016. (1)Optimized-2016-04-24 08.44.50












Like fried rice, for example.  2016.

But now I’ve learned you can also roast them whole in the pod with a little olive oil, salt, and spice–they come out crispy and delicious. You can eat the whole thing!

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Spring is sprung

E.-E.-Cummings-150x150I was in high school when I first discovered e.e. cummings. I thought he was terrific. He is terrific, even though though his methods are no longer novel, and his work can seem a little too precious…still, it comes from a time when queer had nothing to do with sexuality, smoking was cool, and verbal playfulness was new.

in Just-

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and




balloonMan          whistles


e.e. cummings

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is the only word I can think to describe this spring. Even before today’s rain, the hills were Ireland green, and the flowers, spinach, and herbs have overwhelmed the Labyrinth.  They look so good in their profusion, I’m just giving up on the labyrinth idea for the moment.


In back, the small flower area of the vegetable garden is a riot of color–with nasturtiums, geraniums, cymbidiums (should that be cymbidia?) and poppies.

2016. are eating whole meals from the fall vegetable garden, which has yielded potatoes, onions, greens galore, and bouquets grace the table:



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2016.’s been so warm, I’ve made a temporary summer office (had to take in the rug and the hammock today, of course).



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Managing grief

bridgeI’ve been reading Paradise Drive, a book of sonnets by Becky Foust. I heard her read this one the other day–she said she had taken the words from the elegy of a woman she knew who committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. She rearranged and fractured them. The disjointed result gives a sense of abandonment.

Anastrophe Elegy

Not the woman we all knew. No.
Never would have done she, like this a thing.
How could someone, her, like that ever do?
Knew we the girl: hurdler varsity,
date cute. Sport good. Track quit who Continue reading

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Mark Strand on Monday

man-with-camelHere’s a poem by Mark Strand that deals with that old question of does the tree falling in the forest make a sound if no one is there to hear it–or more specifically the relation of the listener to the event itself.

Man and Camel

On the eve of my fortieth birthday
I sat on the porch having a smoke
when out of the blue a man and a camel
happened by. Neither uttered a sound
at first, but as they drifted up the street
and out of town the two of them began to sing.
Yet what they sang is still a mystery to me— Continue reading

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How does your garden grow?

Optimized-2016-04-03 09.58.40

With the recent rains, I’ve been working a bit most days in the garden, weeding, mulching pruning, planting.

2016. chickens love the weeds, and the garden loves the attention.

Favas, blueberries, lots of green:


2016. (1)Remember those paper bags of asparagus  I planted in the wet dirt? Here are a few little tips poking up:

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For an election year

david youngJust got back from a week in Hawaii–a vacation spot that’s NOT overrated–that luscious warm ocean. It was a week without news for me, such a luxury. Now the papers blare again each morning.

Here’s a poem from another vacation, another election year. I love the turn it takes at the end.

Poem for Adlai Stevenson and Yellow Jackets

It’s summer, 1956, in Maine, a camp resort
on Belgrade Lakes, and I am cleaning fish,
part of my job, along with luggage, firewood,
Sunday ice cream, waking everyone
by jogging around the island every morning
swinging a rattle I hold in front of me
to break the nightly spider threads.
Adlai Stevenson is being nominated,
but won’t, again, beat Eisenhower,
sad fact I’m half aware of, steeped as I am
in Russian novels, bathing in the tea-
brown lake, startling a deer and chasing it by canoe
as it swims from the island to the mainland. Continue reading

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A very small vitamin

I have been reading Italo Calvino on “lightness” in writing. How about this for an example?

Ars Poetica

the way a fox steps into one side
of your headlights and carrying his tail
(like a pen running out of ink) slips
out the other–

James Baker Hall

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A garden solution

Because of the beautiful, day-after-day, much needed rain, I had a gardening problem. My bare root asparagus arrived in the mail, and it was too wet to plant.  I came up with the idea of planting the 10 roots in individual brown paper bags. I set up a doubled lunch bag, filled it with dirt, and gave it a try. The bag almost immediately split. So I got plastic bags to act as sleeves to hold the paper together.Optimized-2016-03-13 15.40.34

Continue reading

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cavafyPoetry has the ability to transcend time, as this short lyric by Constantine Cavafy, a Greek poet who died in 1938.


Without consideration,without pity, without shame,
they have built big and high walls around me.

And now I sit here despairing.
I think of nothing else: this fate gnaws at my mind;

for I had many things to do outside.
Ah, why didn’t I observe them when they were building the walls?

But I never heard the noise or the sound of the builders.
Imperceptibly they shut me out of the world.

C. P. Cavafy
Translated by Rae Dalven

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