Sunday, May 13, 2007

With Love For Mother's Day

Concrete fissured; releasing crocodiles into the yard. This in the midst of high-80s and 90s temperatures.
Work on the greenhouse went on despite the reptilian threat.

Our despicable cover crop, alfalfa, was baled finally ( the crop came with the plot, and is slowly being removed, acre by acre ). Nice antique tractor, though (not ours).
On-the-spot scenes from the latest Berkeley Critical Mass: (below)

Objective: find the lizard in this photo.
"Let us go on to tell about the great number of dancers kept by the Great Montezuma for his amusement, and others who used stilts on their feet, and others who flew when they danced up in the air, and others like Merry-Andrews, and I may say that there was a district full of these people who had no other occupation. Let us go on now and speak of the workmen that he had as stone cutters, masons, and carpenters, all of whom attended to the work of his houses, I say that he had as many as he wished for. We must not forget the gardens of flowers and sweet-scented trees, and the many kinds that there were of them, and the arrangement of them and the walks, and the ponds and tanks of fresh water where the water entered at one end and flowed out of the other; and the baths which he had there, and the variety of small birds that nested in the branches, and the medicinal and useful herbs that were in the gardens. It was a wonder to see , and to take care of it there were many gardeners. Everything was made in masonry and well cemented, baths and walks and closets, and apartments like summer houses where they danced and sang. There was as much to be seen in these gardens as there was everywhere else, and we could not tire of witnessing his great power."
Bernal Diaz del Castillo
The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico 1517-1521
"At length corruption, like a general flood,
Did deluge all; and avarice creeping on,
Spread, like a low-born mist, and hid the sun.
Statesmen and patriots plied alike the stocks,
Peeress and butler shared alike the box;
And judges jobbed, and bishops bit the town,
And mighty dukes packed card for half-a-crown:
Britain was sunk in lucre's sordid charms."

"Making nails was originally done by eye; they just hammered them out with a blob on top for a head, and a point on the other end. At that, you can see why so many old houses and pieces of furniture are pegged and not nailed. Later on they had a nail machine, which really amounted to a mold. They would buy nail bars commercially; they heated the bar, put it in the form and pounded it to a point; then they would cut the tail off, and shape the head...
The steel square was invented at a blacksmith's shop right here in Vermont. You may not think its an invention worth talking about, because what else would you make a carpenter's square out of? Well, the old squares was wood. The blacksmith upcountry used a wooden square to mark off hot iron, and the wood used to burn; so he conceived the idea of taking a broken saw blade, and welding on the short piece to make a right angle. This was the first steel square that was ever made, and it used to be quite an industry in Vermont before other people started manufacturing them too."
Walter Needham,
A Book Of Country Things (1965)

Here's a handy map of our tri-city area. (below)
I recently began building a series of chairs and loveseats to put around the compound.

Chair number one almost finished.

Chair number two, installed at it's site.

"According to Ummon, "In Zen there is absolute freedom; sometimes it negates and at other times it affirms; it does either way at pleasure." A monk asked, "How does it negate? "With the passing of winter there cometh spring." "What happens when spring cometh?" "Carrying a staff across the shoulders, let one ramble about in the fields, East or West, North or South, and beat the old stumps to one's heart's content." This was one way to be free as shown by one of the greatest masters in China."
D. T. Suzuki,
Zen Buddism (1956)
Crew working on the chicken house.
Painting by the Mindwrecker, below:
Photo by Molly Vickart
...Just a fun image from the files, good to remove the date and use again.

"Our coach rattled out of the city, and, at a short distance from its outskirts, passed over a bridge, of elegant construction, but somewhat too slight, as I imagined, to sustain any considerable weight. On both sides lay an extensive quagmire, which could not have been more disagreeable either to sight or smell, had all the kennels of the earth emptied their pollution there.
"This," remarked Mr. Smooth-it-away, "is the famous Slough Of Despond- a disgrace to all the neighborhood; and the greater, that it might so easily be converted into firm ground."
"I have understood," said I, "that efforts have been made for that purpose, from time immemorial. Bunyan mentions that above twenty thousand cart-loads of wholesome instructions have been thrown in here, without effect."
"Very probably!- and what effect could be anticipated from such unsubstantial stuff?" cried Mr. Smooth-it-away. "You observe this convenient bridge. We obtained a sufficient foundation for it by throwing into the slough some editions of books of morality, volumes of French philosophy and German rationalism, tracts, sermons, and essays of modern clergymen, extracts from Plato, Confucius, and various Hindoo sages, together with a few ingenious commentaries upon texts of Scripture- all of which, by some scientific process, have been converted into a mass like granite. The whole bog might be filled up with similar matter."
Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Celestial Rail-road (1843)

Some of our acreage is done in the Grow Biointensive method, and here I'm at work on some beds.

Then the magic seeds are dropped in, by hand or device.
" A writer's will is the winds of dead calm in the Western Lands. Point way out he can start stirring of the sail. Writer, where are you going? To write. Here we are in texts already written on the sky. Where he doesn't need to write anymore. A sleight seismic with the cat book. Always remember, the work is the mainsail to reach the Western Lands. The texts sing. Everything is grass and bushes, a desert or a maze of texts. Here you are. . . never use the same door twice. Sky in all directions. . . on the word for word. The word for word is word. The western sail stirs candles on 1920 country club table. Each page is a door to everything is permitted. The fragile lifeboat between this and that. Your words are the sails."
William Burroughs
My Education (1995)

"During the rest of the day there was no other adventure to mar the peace of their journey. Once, indeed, the Tin Woodman stepped upon a beetle that was crawling along the road, and killed the poor little thing. This made the Tin Woodman very unhappy, for he was always careful not to hurt any living creature; and as he walked along he wept several tears of sorrow and regret. These tears ran slowly down his face and over the hinges of his jaw, and there they rusted. When Dorothy presently asked him a question the Tin Woodman could not open his mouth, for his jaws were tightly rusted together. He became greatly frightened at this and made many motions to Dorothy to relieve him, but she could not understand. The Lion was also puzzled to know what was wrong. But the Scarecrow seized the oil-can from Dorothy's basket and oiled the Woodman's jaws, so that after a few moments he could talk as well as before.
"This will serve me a lesson," said he, "to look where I step. For if I should kill another bug or beetle I should surely cry again, and crying rusts my jaw so that I cannot speak."
Thereafter he walked very carefully, with his eyes on the road, and when he saw a tiny ant toiling by he would step over it, so as not to harm it. The Tin Woodman knew very well he had no heart, and therefor he took great care never to be cruel or unkind to anything.
"You people with hearts," he said, "have something to guide you, and need never do wrong; but I have no heart, and so I must be very careful, when Oz gives me a heart of course I needn't mind so much."
L. Frank Baum
The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz (1900)

A recent hootenanny at the compound.
One of my many darned MySpace pages is
for those who appreciate the finer things...
Drop on by, I'm sure he'd like to see 'ya.
WANTED: Information as to whereabouts of these old-time boomer switchmen: "Old Seegram" Jerry Hart, "Hi-Pockets" Ed Frank, "Bourbon Head" Jerry O'Conner and "Gin Nose" Mike King. I worked with them on the C.G.W. and B&O at Chi in 1917.-Jim Kerr, 1714 N. Luna Ave., Chicago

WANTED: Address of Chas. P. Brown, author of book "Brownie The Boomer", born in 1879 at Lamar Mo., lost his legs while trying to set hand brakes in a Wyoming blizzard in 1913; last heard from at 1418 S. McBride Ave., Los Angeles. Send information to Freeman H. Hubbard, Editor, Railroad Stories, 280 Broadway, New York City.

ANYONE who knew Fred Barner- he used to run out of Pueblo on the D. & R.G.- please write to me. Fred was discharged on account of a wreck in 1909 that I want to know about. Two weeks afterward he was killed by a thug when he joined the Pueblo police.
I live five blocks from the South Park Line, half a block from the C. & S., the Santa Fe and the Rio Grande lines to Colorado Springs. I know a little about these roads and would gladly answer questions.- Bill Mathews, 1422 S. Cherokee St., Denver, Colo.
From RAILROAD magazine, 1936
Chair number three, actually a two-person loveseat.
Chair number three, showing the jeweled seat.

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