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Out with the truckers and the kickers and the cowboy angels…

March 26, 2014

Nah, still here in Chicago. But today I came across a song that put me in a Gram Parsons frame of mind.
Jim James (in disguise as Yim Yames) doing a slow burn cover of a song I dearly love. (How did I miss this?)

This song became an instafave the moment I heard it years ago on the “Return of the Grievous Angel” tribute to Parsons, performed with soul and sexy swagger by Raul Malo and the Mavericks. Juicy.

But here is the man who gave it to us. The record version always sounded so tame to me compared to the cover. But listen to Gram & the Flying Burrito Brothers jam live. Maybe I haven’t appreciated the original enough. Better late than never.

Let me know what stuff you love to see and hear remade, revamped, remodeled, reworked. Cause the good stuff, it’s worth keeping.

Walking Off the Longest Winter

March 19, 2014

The lake ice is melting and it’s something to see. I would have been walking anyhow, but A Tidewater Gardener’s Winter Walk-Off inspired me to take my camera. I don’t do this in Chicago really. Wielding large electronic devices out by yourself invites mugging. Sucky but true. But on a sunny 50-degree Friday, photos were in order. Ice melts fast.

To begin with, I’m breaking Rule #1, which is “don’t show your own garden.” But Bud hasn’t made an appearance here in so long! He didn’t join me at the lakeshore, but he did some wading in the yard.

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I drove to 51st Street, the northern border of Hyde Park, and started at the north end of Harold Washington Park. This is the model yacht basin. Never have we seen a yacht afloat. But hundreds of waterfowl do foul it pretty good. This doesn’t stop people using it as a giant dog park when it’s drained and snowed over. The basin is ringed in crab apples, spectacular in springtime. You can see the 51st St. pedestrian bridge that crosses over Lakeshore Drive to the edge of Lake Michigan. That’s where we’re headed.

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The view south from the bridge.

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And the view north.

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Signs.

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Signs of activity.

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Lines.

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Running water. (looking right)

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Right under my feet into the lake. (looking left)

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East.

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I should have made you a pano of these.

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Looking south toward the Point, scene of open-water swimming, moonrise playgroups, campfires, George Lucas’ wedding, and recent coyote sightings.

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Shoreline management is rather brutal. The ice dunes in the distance are several meters high.

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Heading north.

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Thar she blows! You know, it isn’t technically called the Sears Tower anymore, but Willis Tower sounds like somebody’s little brother.

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 Without scale here, you can’t tell the ice is a few meters deep.

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Everything is ripe for tagging. I think this says, “Know Live Gain”?

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I prefer the art in the old quarried stone blocks.

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And finding some names quite dear to us.

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Are you still  here? We are almost to Pebble Beach, everyone’s favorite unofficial, un-lifeguarded swimming beach. We like it in part because no sewers drain here, as near other public beaches. The concrete barriers suffered in that polar vortex, it appears.

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I didn’t ask the beachcomber what he was looking for with his tiny shovel and toothbrush.

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After the beach the walking at water’s edge starts to break up and get rough and overgrown, so we tend to go back to the Lakeshore hike and bike path, (even though with beagle and baby, we are hazards to the rabid triathletes in training, and they to us. We stay on the grass as much as possible.) The outhouse is a work of art.

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This is where I turned around to head back and pick up my boy from preschool close by. It was so good to be out in warm sun, however briefly. It snowed the next night, and the days since have been crappy and wet and cold. But today Bud and I found snowdrops lurking under an east-facing shrub. Snowdrops. Take that and good riddance, lake ice.

Thanks for the boost, Les, and for gathering gardeners virtually as we sweat out this long winter.

I’m not that good at breathing in.

March 7, 2014

Lynn:

I feel proactive! I pull out weeds!
In honor of my new inhaler, and my garden friend and famous author Kris, and the fact that I never blog anymore, here’s a ditty, and it’s not even Monday. Now everybody breathe in!

Originally posted on kristin green | trench manicure:

In case any of us forgets that gardening is perilous.

Also because she wears Blundstones to play tennis.

Happy New Year!

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Why this blog isn’t about house plants

February 24, 2014

20140224-155840.jpgMaybe it was that college job taking care of plants in malls, banks, and businesses for my sister’s company that put me off house plants forever, or maybe the poor rosemary was just too close to the floor vent. The Venus flytrap, sad to report, also bit the dust. A tropical plant on a windowsill in a bloody cold Chicago winter is bound to suffer. Or maybe I just overwatered it. The postmortem was skipped.

My mom and sisters have gorgeous plants inside. Mine die. Well, the non-succulents die. So far we are keeping alive a few small jades, a zygocactus, some hens & chicks I didn’t want to unpot, and one surprisingly tough eyelash begonia. All brought from NY, and all that would fit in the car. I owe them that.

Overwintering Asian Lady Beetle Reduction Program

November 9, 2013
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Happy fruity Halloween!

October 31, 2013

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To plant or not to plant…

October 23, 2013
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is the question of a fool,” says the song.
“Better not to stop and ask. Just take up your tool!”*
20131023-104900.jpgThese garlic bulbs are from my friend’s garden, grown in the plot next to ours in the community patch. I gave her some of our garlic to plant in our first Chicago fall, 2011, brought from Slaterville. At the time I had nowhere to plant it. I’d carefully marked the varieties when I’d planted them, labeled the drying plants, and kept them separate even for the move. Then when there was no ground for them to go into, they just came into the kitchen, jumbled together. Soon after that, we found some of them a garden. There’s no telling if these bulbs are New York’s progeny, but I like to think so. And I need the memory. Learning about growing garlic, planting it, tending it, photographing it, cutting and eating scapes, and finally digging huge hard neck bulbs in late summer has brought me more joy than I can relate on a page.

Time to plant again.

*I’d tell you the artist, but can’t find it. Remembered from an African record heard lifetimes ago.

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