Wednesday, March 30, 2016

One Potato, March 29th

One Potato has breached the soil, its lonely sprout looks cheerful, green and healthy, and I have to think it's a Red Norland, but it could be Kennebec or an Adirondack Blue or one of the Yellows, and somewhere in my head, if I could find it there's a little diagram which would tell me.

There's an argument which says that perfectly planted, neat and tidy garden rows should be well labeled. It's an argument I agree with in principle, but for some of us when it comes down to the practice of labeling garden rows it just doesn't happen. Call it a mystery if you wish to.

Monday, March 28, 2016

End of March

It's correct to say that of the pair one of us is wholly incompetent around potting soils, germination of seeds and the necessary heartfelt cooing which fills the soul of a plant, adds to its completeness, permits it to understand that all is love and plenty.

For him a Vegetable Garden looks at its best when the beds have achieved the Moment of Expectation. It's an Existential Sate where there's nothing actually growing, but possibilities are endless.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Once More Into The Breach

Once more unto the Vegetable Garden my friends. In winter, stillness, modesty and a plurality of indoor projects, but in the blast and irrational weather of March, it's time to cry God for the Gardener, South Central Kentucky and the distribution of compost. So stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood and do your very best to imitate the actions of a Tiger.

Yes indeed it's the month of valor, a time for the yeoman to show the mettle  of his pasture, do his bit and show those grosser men who have things like tractors how to use the shovel and wheel barrow. The games been afoot for a while now and maybe you do feel like a more elderly Greyhound, but soon enough the noble luster in your eyes will behold the depressing sight of hosepipe and Hoppy Bug. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Election 2016 and The Nika Riots

Difficult, possibly irresponsible, to remain oblivious to Election 2016. There are some who may well have surrendered to what the younger generation might call an OMG. The more sensitive might LOL and then burst into tears. Many will of course be wholly engaged in the fever of who gets what and why. But we can all draw a strange comfort from the Nika Riots of January 13th 532 AD. And when I say all, it could well be just me who sees in the past a repeating history, a sort of depressing endlessness that serves primarily to remind us just how vibrant and wonderful we are as people when it comes to doing the same thing over and over and over again.

In 532 it was Justinian the first, who ruled the Political Class of the Byzantium Empire. He was ably supported by his Lioness of a wife. And in that year, for the same old reasons, a person can read them in the newspapers today, the populace was in no good mood with their leaders. Then on the 13th of January, during a chariot race insults were hurled at Justinian, and soon enough a riot ensued that led to pretty much the destruction of at least half of the city of Constantinople. Justinian had a mind to run away, but his wife dissuaded him with the words "Those who have worn the crown should never survive its loss. Never will I see the day when I am not saluted as empress." She told her emperor she'd prefer to die as Empress than flee the city. Justinian pulled himself together, he sent one of his trusted Eunuchs out into the enemy camp with instructions to bribe the leaders of the opposition, and then he sent in his well paid army. It all worked out for the ruling family, Justinian ruled the empire for another 33 years and he outlived his Lioness of a wife by 17 years.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Better Maker

Your writer of pulp is been carefully reading a very full book called The Better Maker by Walter Aske. As I read it, the hero is struggling with his own eccentricities as he navigates a passage into a world where the object is to somehow fit, find home, makes sense of the passions without ever becoming convinced or aligned to a belief through submission. I'm a long way from the end, so who knows what will happen.

I get the sense that Aske reckons his book is flawed. Who knows whether it is or not. In the tapestry the idea of flaw assumes a perfect template onto which a coat is hung. Sure there's stuff like spelling and semi-colons. But if your writer of pulp can reach page 110 and is eager for more, then the idea of flaw becomes absurd to him. I guess too, more useful than the end, much depends upon who Aske is writing for. It's exciting.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Tooth Fairy

Despite having entered the ranks of those who go to the Grocery Store on Thursday in order to take advantage of the special prices for the decrepit your correspondent is looking forward to a visit from a Sprightly Tooth Fairy. It's his front teeth, they're not real teeth, they've tickled and complained for twenty maybe thirty years as the remainder of what I call me have attempted to reject them. It's kind of like having a house guest in your mouth.

Sometimes a person just has to ask the question "Do the professionals see beyond dollar signs?" Granted, having front teeth is the more acceptable option but I'm beginning to wonder whether the more acceptable option has advantages.  Nothing wrong with a smile that frightens pretty much everyone, and the other thing, without your front teeth there's a an unnerving shushing sound when you talk. Sounds like a major win/win to me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Oddfellows in Saint Barbara

The Oddfellows go back a while. In the early records Oddfellow meetings were often held in Pubs, they were convivial affairs that on occasion required the attention of the Night Watchmen who were like well paid thugs, charged with making sure everyone behaved themselves after dark. Oddfellows had Mutual Support as their organizing principle, a fraternity of odd trades that followed the equally odd values of Fraternity, Benevolence and Charity. And like The Masons, other Guilds, and the New Industrial Unions, Oddfellows tickled the paranoia of The Authorities who do seem to spend a great deal of their waking hours looking for threats to an established order.

 Following the American Revolution, it wasn't just the Political Class that declared Independence from the Crown of England. The Church of England in the United States re-wrote their rules, and Oddfellows in the United States chose to become The Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Or IOOF. In Kentucky there were and still are several Oddfellow Halls, or lodges. And most interesting is the Odd Fellow Hall in the County of Saint Barbara. But one of the problems for the model maker is the scale of the Oddfellow symbol, three links of a chain that symbolize Friendship, Love and Truth. The Hall itself is magnificent but without the symbol not even the Oddfellows will know what it is.

Monday, March 21, 2016


Patchy frost and a hovering around 32 Fahrenheit in the early hours. I believe it was in 2012 that Peak Forsythia Day was March 15, in 2011 it was March 22nd and in 2010 it was March 28th.  Have to think that in 2016 Peak Forsythia Day was probably yesterday. Always an association between the cheerful bloom of Forsythia and the work of a gardener who might once have spent time gainfully employed in the gardens of others.

There's a set who dislike Forsythia, not because of it's bloom but because of the color of it's bloom. They're not that fond of yellow Daffodil, or Redbud. Dandelion can cause apoplexy. Yes, they were a nightmare people to work for, all sunhat, green gloves, Smith and Hawkins and glossy magazine.  When I think of the barn here where I live I can see a liberated Potato Fork, a Tree Shovel, a tall Orchard Ladder all of which once might have belonged to employers who didn't like Forsythia. Do I feel guilty? No I don't.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Flowering Sunday

Ah! Palm Sunday. And next Sunday the resurrection of a savior will be celebrated. There'll be Eggs, some of which will be chocolate, and a Big Happy Bunny bouncing around hiding eggs or Jelly Beans and hopefully chocolate bars without nuts, and there'll be feasting and some people might even feel ill as a result of an over indulgence. Meanwhile it's been Lent since February 20th and it's a sure bet that of the nearly three billion people who define themselves as Christians, some might have forgotten about Lent, because there's never a big sign in the Grocery "What are you giving up for Lent?" to remind the faithful.

An alternative approach is to understand it all as a celebration of fertility. And for those in doubt about a Big Happy Bunny bouncing around, they're probably correct to question whether it's safe to have such a creature anywhere near children. It's Spring, and without any attempt at fluff, this year the term "Breeding like Rabbits" probably started well before the end of Lent. And the whole thing about an Egg is that from an apparently lifeless thing a chicken or if you're lucky an Ostrich emerges. Interesting to recall that the Palm is not available all around the world, it's more of a tropical plant, which means that Palm Sunday has been called Yew Sunday, its been called Willow Sunday and in parts of Wales its been called  Flowering Sunday

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Mind, Body and Short Term Memory

The Body often does what the Spirit tells it to do. There are those who might call it discipline. The Iron Will. The more reasonable recognize the relationship as a Schism, and like all Schisms there really is very little room for Iron Will because more often than not during moments of intense impasse the Body wins and sadly the Spirit can sulk all it wants, but it can't just up and leave until the Body signs the death certificate. And here the more pedantic might claim that the word Schism is reserved for disagreements of a religious nature, matters of doctrine, who said what, and without beating around that list is very long indeed. And yet, in my view, Schism is the correct word for disagreements between Body and Spirit.

A most enjoyable Schism occurred many years ago in the Russian Orthodox Church. It had to do with the Sign of the Cross, which is a gesture of the hand. The Schism arose around which fingers to place against the thumb while making the gesture. It was in my view a whole Body and Spirit moment, and those who made the Sign of the Cross in the wrong way might not be in heaven at the moment. Meanwhile, The Artist has drawn attention to a short term memory enhancing exercise designed to improve the relationship between Body and Spirit. It involves grasping the left ear lobe with the right hand, grasping the right ear lope with the left hand, bending the knees up and down for at least five minutes every morning. For those interested, over the past few mornings your correspondent's Spirit has been willing, but his body and probably the neighbors can't stop laughing.

Friday, March 18, 2016


Worth recalling that when Saint Patrick returned to Eire so he might preach the word there were no Potatoes in Europe. And too there were probably no Potatoes in this part of Kentucky so quite why a gardener should plant his Potato on Saint Patrick's day, I've got no clue.

The problem, as I see it, flows from Potato growing season here where I live. They don't like it too hot, and heat comes here quickly which means that a Potato planted in the middle of April does struggle by middle of June. So it's all down to what kind of Spring a gardener thinks might be possible. Let's hope for long days and cold rains through the end of March well into April and if there is to be frost let's hope it's gentle.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Potato or Tratinska Street

Our hero is in a brightly lit room in Tratinska Street in Monda's Fair City of Zagreb which is in the Northern part of the Balkans. He's enjoying a drink from an unlabeled bottle of very clear brandy, it's a Rakia made from unspecified fruit, he's smoking a Winston cigarette, there's a very old man called Rafael in an arm chair, a slightly younger man called Broz in the room, all of them looking at the contents of a rusty biscuit tin. And it's early 1970 something. How anyone remembers an actual date isn't something our hero takes too seriously, so nor should we.

But the point is while everyone was happily examining the content of Rafael's biscuit tin, it occurred to your writer of pulp that the weather outside might be good enough for a more traditional celebration of the Saint Patrick's Day Spirit. Definitely talking Potato Planting, or at least further preparation of the Potato Bed. And here there's always that horrible chance that it might not rain until August, or something even more awful like four foot of snow in the middle of April. Either way, I'm going for the Potato and if you listen carefully you can hear the disgruntlement in Tratinska Street where an old photograph of immense importance to our hero was being discussed..

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Saint Barbara Gossip

Saint Barbara's Railway Station has been funded in part by the Railway Authority, the Railway Company, the State and by a 0.5 percent increase in Local Taxes on property and Non Farm Vehicles. Most vehicles in the county are designated Farm Vehicles, and property values in The County are rightly determined by the property's owner. This means that Saint Barbara is proud to contribute around two cents a year to the investment in the County Railway Station.

What with one thing and another the Railway Station is a little over budget, we're looking at a total cost of around two dollars and thirty five cents depending upon who might be doing the accounting and whether the Railway Company's Sedate Maroon and Cheese Cream are used to paint the roof and walls of the railway station's main building. The Architect would prefer a kind Yellow Taupe and Signal Box Red, and following the County's declaration of Independence from the State, Citizens are arguing strongly for Saint Barbara's own colors, Luftwaffe Blue for the roof and and Lime Green for the walls. So it's all very exciting.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Foot

My own advice to the younger generation is to enjoy their feet while they can. In time the foot reverts to what has to be a more primal condition, it soon forgets such dubious wonders as the invention of shoes and socks and it begins to believe it is still upon the thorny Savannah where its main responsibility to the whole is the production of callous skin that can cross hot coals, sharp rock without ever moaning or groaning.

It's actually amazing to think about it. In those far off days when none of us had to live much beyond our twenties, surrounded by the Saber Teethed, chased by the Warthog, watched over by the Giraffe, our feet had to pretty much fend for themselves. Back then when being chased by a Giant Goat it was no good saying "Hold on a minute, I've stepped on a Prickly Pear." Now days of course a person can look at politician wearing Cowboy Boots and get very depressed around the question "Why?"

Monday, March 14, 2016

"12 Equals 16"

OK Guys, the recent ordinance in The County of Saint Barbara which declared that one foot will henceforth be measured as sixteen inches has led to something of a kerfuffle. The more sniveling surrounding counties have reached out to State Authorities who in their turn have decided the ordinance makes no sense and have declared Saint Barbara's ordinance "12 equals 16" against the Interest of the Commonwealth and have directed Saint Barbara to remove it from their Big Book.

This over reaching arm of The Central Authority has not been received well by Saint Barbarians, as county residents are sometimes called, and after a long day and a late night, at around 8.30 PM Eastern Standard Time on March 13th in the Year of Our Lord 2016, Saint Barbara decided to declare itself independent of Kentucky. Local youth gathered at the site of the New Railway Station chanting "Hell No, We Don't Care if the Train's are Too Small." The County's  two Militiamen and one Militia-woman manned the border. And it all warmed the cockles of a model maker's heart.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


A person might be tempted to go on a little about the uncivil nature of an authority which twice a year actually goes to the effort of messing with the time of day.

Then having recovered from the emotion of it all, a person might wander into the outdoors and ask "Where is the outrage?" The sad fact is, there isn't any, nobody cares.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Our Lady's Bird

To don the hat of a pompous ass, which incidentally is blue and green, it's made of felt, it has a peak and a point, a little bell and a flight feather from a Turkey, quite fetching in the right light, the Ladybird Beetle or Lady Beetles are not what they call True Bugs. To find a True Bug you have to go to the Shield Bug and Stink Bug, the Plant and Leaf Hoppers, the Aphids and so on, any little creature that has six legs, mouth parts that pierce and whose eggs can hatch without necessarily being fertilized so they can populate the planet in an afternoon should they chose to. Bed Bugs are True Bugs, the Cicada is an edible True Bug but the Lovebug is a Fly and the May Bug is a beetle.

The Ladybug, or Ladybird Beetle, or Lady Beetle gets his or her name from the scarlet color. In a very distant past, and probably still today, Mary the mother of the Christian Prophet Jesus was often depicted wearing a red cloak. Your pompous ass has seen a few of these depictions, and she does look a little like Little Red Riding Hood, which frankly I find sinister. Either way in the early records, in what might have been early English, the Lady Beetle was referred to as "Our Lady's Bird" and I believe in modern German Lady Beetles are still called "Marybeetles." The point is that Ladybirds are voracious predators, and they spend a lot of time hunting down and eating True Bugs when they're not hanging out or fussing around in the room where I sleep.

Friday, March 11, 2016


Of the two topics on the agenda the one has to do with Ladybirds and the other has to do with the idea that Republican Primary candidates are a great deal more scary when they direct their attention to Public Policy.

 As a general rule of modernity your correspondent should direct his attention to the topic he thinks might most appeal to a majority of those who might happen upon these pages. It's called "pandering" which of all words is kind of a nice, big-eyed, sweet and cuddly word.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Language and Chickadees

Mind you, your all round jolly good chap has some radical views on language. There's a report of a bird called a Black Tit in more easterly places that Japanese observers have decided uses syntax in his chattering to other birds of his own kind. It's an oh-ah moment for some, the more open minded might yawn a little but more interesting the Black Tit is closely related to our very own Chickadee who in the Spring traditionally spend a couple of weeks debating the merits of a territory nearer rather than further from the domicile. Then in the Fall the Chickadee elders herd the clan toward the domicile so that younger Chickadees might see their future, tremble a little and leave the nest.

For a long time I have been hoping a Chickadee might find suitable nesting near the front Porch. In history there's been a Chickadee nest in one of The Artist's  woven forms placed in a Washington Hawthorn within view of barn windows. Last year there was a Chickadee nest behind Saint Teresa near the Compost Piles. The other thing about a Chickadee is that he or she doesn't actually use much syntax when nesting, and even though I spent happy hours in the company of the Compost Piles last year I didn't notice the Saint Teresa Chickadee nest, probably no more than three yards from my nose, until long after the hard work had been done. For those who might be interested Language, is of course a property of matter. Everything uses it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Potato Angst

The earth is crying out for Potato Rains. It's a light rain that just goes on for hours and hours, might even be days with temperatures around 45 Fahrenheit. Always nice when Potato Rains follow the planting of Potato, but what with one thing and another and despite the feel like conditions, the warming soil, the color of the boy Bluebirds, and the Robins increasingly distrusting each other, it's probably far too early for Potato.

The Saint Patrick Day argument holds little water in the imagination of your gardener, in the past years he's been banjaxed by the Snake Hating Irish Saint far too often. One year in recent memory March 17th was followed by a Naraka so shivering the Potato shoots crisped and shriveled and worse nut trees went nutless. As well, it was the fall of that year which challenged the Fox Squirrel and brought out the Greys. Forget which year it was, but it's a year that will live in infamy.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Commons and Castles

Comment sections are rich with debate, much of it passionate, some of it humorous, and there's a rattiness that comes from minds that see obvious solutions patently ignored following a perception of dysfunction in the Political Class that too many of us find it hard to believe has been with us forever.

And up there in what they call "Above the Line" or the careerists it's a whole other world because down here we're the ordinary people, the common folk, the uninformed, the pig ignorant, the inconvenient, the illiterate, all of whom have yet to go away. Call it a revolt if you wish, but sure is nice to be briefly courted by the Castle. Yes indeed Feel the Tantrum, enjoy it while it lasts, it's healthy.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Trees and Stuff

It's nice. Warmish to chilly, not cold and not hot, ideal for the bloom of Trees of which there are still a great many around here, where the majority are blatantly preparing to do what we human beings have learned to do in a more private, coded and altogether less theatrical setting before attempting to convince ourselves that the future belongs to the off-spring and entail of grunts and groans, even if the little goblins do terrible things in the Grocery Store and generally inspire intense disappointment in the truly objective observer.

The children of trees are pretty much on their own from pollen to firewood, and while there may well be those who prefer not to think of Trees as producing children, the great plants have nuts, or wing-dings rather than kiddies, Whales have calves and so on, my own preference is to think of all living things as producers of child, however odd looking those children might be. And if you wish to know why, it's the anti-hall-monitor that courses through my veins. Call them Baby Ducks if you have to.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Traditional March

There's been a Fagin Glove issue for sometime. The old pair were good strong leather that had taken on a green patina and smelled a little like rutting Warthog and decomposing Frog. And at the same time a Gardener does develop a relationship with his Fagin Gloves, it's called loyalty which combines with an affection, a solid bond that no man or woman or flavor should rent in twain.

The other thing that I can't find and may well have also succumbed to suspicious circumstances is my Mushroom Hat. There is a theory floating around that the hat had developed certain characteristics that resulted in it actually producing spores of such good quality boiling it in bleach served only to encourage it to behave like a Mushroom. Not saying anything's been accidently thrown away or lost to high winds just saying the season is off to a rocky start.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Who knows

 I am well able to respect more scholarly interpretations, but a time comes when the relevance of scholarly interpretations raise the odd eyebrow. I understand the difficulties and potential for embarrassment and I too have recently experienced a foundation shift, when the earth seems to move. "Chairman Reinhold Priebus is not all bad." There, I've said it and you can call me a wussy if you wish to.

However, I'm going to hold fast to the idea that Titans are the old people and we're not talking everlasting youth, we're talking the dead and the long gone, who remain only as memory, some of it written down, most of it made up, some of it scholarly and endlessly repeated.  The question, are they worth worshipping. The short answer is probably not.

Friday, March 4, 2016


The Druid view of fellow creatures is as close as I can get to my own understanding. It's a Celtic thing for the Druids, what you call Pre-Roman, that seeks wisdom, knowledge and the spirit of creation through a relationship with living things that reckons upon living things having the quality of sacred and this quality I'd define as containing a venerable-ness that commands respect.

 Then a person sees a representative of one of the great towers of Modern Druids and he's dressed up as something like a Hobbit, he's got the white beard, and a staff and there's a whole thing happening with sandals. And the question for me, does this man share my view of Bluebirds as chess players, and it's the Girl Thrasher that writes the lists or does he just want to be powerful in the world.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Mystery of the Rabbit's Feast Day

Reckon on a big Potato planting this year. Mind you every year there's always some kind of reckoning on a big Potato planting, and very often the Potato planting is more moderate to small than it is big. And given this Gardener's propensity to distribute blame to all and sundry it might well be worth considering the life and times of Saint Patrick, who like our hero's grandfather was once captured by pirates, he was sold and he escaped from bondage. But unlike our hero's grandfather, Saint Patrick chose to return to the land of his slave days where he preached the word, eradicated the Islands population of Snakes, and his followers in more recent times have chosen Saint Patrick's Feast Day to become valiant around planting Potato.

The thing about a Feast Day, is you have to actually be a genuine, certified by the Pope type Saint in order to qualify for a Feast Day. And it seems astonishing to me that despite the years and years of selfless endeavor and research into the many lives of our hero's grandfather your writer of pulp has failed to assign a Feast Day to The Rabbit of Usk. There's been a Society of Saint Timothy, there's been a whole thing, which some might have found a little dull, around The Rabbit's role in the Sabean Schism and the Poached Egg controversy, but no thought whatsoever given to The Rabbit's Feast Day. There are some might argue that this would make sense, given the strength of the Devil's Advocate's case against our hero's grandfather, but frankly I see no reason why The Rabbit can't have a provisional Feast Day until such time as the Vestry of Monnow has done it's difficult work of determining whether or not The Rabbit might have been a Saint.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Dewi Sant

For your sometimes very pompous correspondent the late night on Saint David's Day, Dewi Sant, the Bishop with a Dove, and vegetarian Patron Saint of Wales, an historical character who figures quite large in the Vestry of Monnow, had more to do with the Governor of Utah than Leaks and Daffodil. The thing is there's an assumption somewhere which may or may not be a Conspiracy Theory that the Governor of Utah tried to put to sleep. He said, roughly, that there's a fallacy in the world which suggests there's a dark, smoke filled room, where large, highly educated, very well adjusted if slightly blinkered College graduates with ties to Wall Street can come together to put an end to what many up there in the higher echelons of society think of as "The Menace who is Donald Trump."  Otherwise known as "The Billionaire Property Developer with Reaganesque communication skills."

The Good Governor then goes on to say that this powerful cabal does not exist, elections are a free market place, the Republican Party can arrange for the structure of the their Primary Process but cannot dictate the outcome of that process. In short, what I think he was suggesting, is that despite all attempts to fix them, and many rumors to the contrary elections in a democracy are still elections. Odd thing when a Governor of a whole Sate feels inclined to say this. All the same it could well  have been a reference to Saint David. Saint David, who was a short man, while speaking to a large crowd he performed a miracle of raising a hill so that more people could see him. In that speech a Dove landed on his shoulder as he railed against Pelagianism and the crowd cheered. The Monk Pelagius believed that original sin did not taint us people. He claimed our Mortal Will is capable of choosing between good and evil. Those were the good old days, of course, when evil was all clearly written down in the book.