Friday, July 14, 2017

The Scent Of The Woods

Over nearly four decades, I have gradually shifted the garden toward what occurs naturally on the Olympic Peninsula. Opening the back door at the crack of dawn usually brings the same native fragrance as crawling out of a tent.

A week ago I decided, uncharacteristically, to irrigate the lot. The next morning an open back door admitted-nothing at all. The garden smelled like suburban lawn. I fear the generous application of chlorinated water may have disrupted some subtle aspect of the pinpoint ecology of the lot, although someone's informed comment suggested that the advent of hot, dry weather may very well have had something to do with the change.

I'll keep a nose on the proceedings -30- More after the jump.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tea Time

I have an ongoing design discussion with a digital work-at-home fella who is a good sport only about necessary domestic activities. Somehow the importance of multi-forks and a clutch of stemware at each table setting has escaped him.

We recently swapped opinions about mixing Japanese, English, and American china on the same table, and his take was "that's a lot of dishes to wash". I can live with the attitude: from it I realized that his preference for utilitarian restaurant china is probably closer to the living reality of the Japanese tea ceremony than my conventional cups and saucers. I understand that the most highly valued cups used in the tea ceremony were originally utilitarian ware produced in Korea.

The scion of a store-owning Japanese family looked at my handful of reproduction Imari one day and said he eats breakfast cereal out of a stainless steel bowl from the hardware store -30- More after the jump.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Low-rent Ecology

A friend who lives in a fairly ancient building in a gritty area of the East Bay shares the structure with two highly desirable species of fauna. One is a strain of Italian honeybees that attracts keepers when it swarms. The other is an endangered swallow that has decided to make itself at home in Andy's walls.

I suspect that a long-established neighborhood harbors species that grew accustomed to Euro-American presence in the late nineteenth century, plenty of time to adapt and settle in -30-

More after the jump.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Return To Irrigation

Changes in neighborhood density make it sensible to water the garden again. The subtleties of a Gilded Age domestic landscape that echo life before running water no longer hold their own in Amazonia. Various maintenance needs sent us on numerous trips to the hardware store to expand our minimal inventory of hose and nozzle. 

A sidewalk washing gizmo has a flat sweeping spray that is just the thing for giving plants a morning shower. Doing so cleans city dust off hardworking leaves. The plants' response is downright frisky -30- More after the jump.

Monday, July 10, 2017

How Much Does It Weigh?

Futurist Buckminster Fuller maintained that the essential quality of a thing, be it building or butterfly, is its weight. I overheard a senior dame in fragile health discussing her move to more convenient quarters and took very much to heart her comment about the tonnage she had to cope with. She said she has a box from the last move, twenty-five years ago, that she has not yet opened.

Fortunately, Ellen's options are secure and predictable. A recent conversation with a younger friend who is contemplating a move up the West coast brought out the same concern with weight. In his case, it relates to the cost of shipping and the payload of a personal vehicle. My friend and his partner are canny. They have made witting choices for their inventory. Even so, they're looking at a couple of thousand dollars at least to cover the move.

My entire tabletop inventory made the same trip for $30 in the mid-Sixties. Now a parcel of books less than a tenth of the weight costs the same to ship. Economist Paul Hawken advocated increasing what he called the intelligence in a product as a way of countering the late Seventies' drastic increase in the cost of energy. To that line of thinking, I credit the personal and then the laptop computer (as compared to the manual typewriter they replaced). With weight in mind, it makes sense to pay more and get more, possibly even in a smaller package, than to be lured by Giant Economy Anything -30- More after the jump.