Friday, July 25, 2014

Hiatus


Photo courtesy Flickr

The garden is dormant. Mowing is not an issue, neither is watering, and it’s too dry to plant. The soil’s in good enough shape that I can lift even a mature weed with no effort.  Surprisingly, pearly everlasting is frolicking around the back of the house. It’s a native volunteer and more than welcome with its gently spicy foliage and durable, elegant blossoms.

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More after the jump.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dressing The Slate


Einstein's work courtesy Flickr

Knowledgeable writers used to lay a full stick of dustless classroom chalk on its side and cover the entire surface of a new blackboard. The object was to fill every pore of the writing surface so as not to leave ghost messages after the board was erased and/or washed. It’s oddly gratifying to repeat such an old practice when a new writing surface comes into the house. It’s especially gratifying to find an opportunity to write on real slate, because the surface is musically percussive. World-class scroungers seek out broken pool tables.

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More after the jump.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dinner


Photo courtesy Flickr

It’s pleasant and gratifying to turn out an old-fashioned meal the old-fashioned way: by starting after the breakfast dishes are washed and preparing various dishes a speck at a time while, in my case, crunching paper.

Small appliances automate cooking. A pot of rice cooks itself, an electronic pressure cooker makes short work of soup or stew, salad prepped with sanitizing rinses of peroxide and vinegar lives happily in the refrigerator waiting for a dose of dressing.

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More after the jump.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On The Wall


Photo courtesy Flickr

The Bellevue Art Museum is showing artists’ ornamental dinner plates. The group is displayed vertically. One entry consists of a number of gold-glazed pieces in varying degrees of wholeness. It’s dead elegant. I suggested to the veteran hostess who shared my quick pass through the gallery that with that sculpture hanging on the wall, one could get away with paper plates (or the greenest equivalent) for the rest of one’s life. She thought so, too.

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More after the jump.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Legacy


Photo courtesy Flickr

An acquaintance and I discussed the heirlooms left when his mother died recently. It was heartening to hear his love and respect for his family and the seriousness with which he takes maintaining future ties. George said he had declared to his siblings that stuff was less important than a meaningful network. He added that he’s up for a sideboard, but that it’s halfway across the country and he’s contemplating downsizing of his own.

I suggested that it might be worthwhile just to ship the thing to Seattle. It clearly has value beyond the market price. I forgot to add that a side board can do much more than store forks and place mats. A local B’nB used one as a kitchen counter in a 1910 room. One could stow a home office in a sideboard, use one as a subtle room divider, add a worktop and call it a light duty shop, or use it at the foot of a bed in lieu of a dresser. 

The side board originally was just that, a board mounted on a wall to one side of the eating table in a medieval communal hall. It held cups and plates that weren’t in active use. The dining space was multi-purpose, with the table, aka board and trestle (sawhorse) being set up and knocked down for each meal. The term cupboard derives from the original design. The sideboard became a specialized dining room piece in the eighteenth century, a period when gentlemen were rightly house proud. Sideboards are often narrow compared to their length and height, which makes them good for small spaces.

2014 is an interesting period. Any piece of furniture can be put to use in any room, for any reasonable application. I favor keeping and carefully using the best wood. A well-designed piece of furniture is a passive appliance. We have been so wealthy we don’t even know what we have.

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More after the jump.