Of Ants, Aphids, and Dock

I should call my garden Scheherazade. She tells me a thousand and one stories. Nothing gets lopped as long as there is a tale to be told. Today we have Curly Dock, or Rumex crispus, a member of the Buckwheat family. “A deliciously raw tart green if you can find it young. A delicioius cooked […]

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The Rochester Patriarchy 1914

Once upon a time, Jim bought a book called “Club Men of Rochester in Caricature.” It was produced in 1914 by Jack Sears and associated cartoonists and printed at the Roycrofters shop in East Aurora NY. The suede-bound volume contains elaborate and affectionate caricatures of 340 Rochester “club men” — businessmen, doctors, lawyers, architects, and […]

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The Library

I’m on Chapter 2 of The Library Book by Susan Orlean, the New Yorker writer of one of my very favorite books The Orchid Thief. She is describing the cataclysmic fire at the Los Angeles Central Library, April 29, 1986. It’s riveting. But of course, she started the book by reviewing her own childhood relationship […]

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Garden Gone Wild

Last year, hordes of monarch butterflies came through, enjoying a flyway along the shore of Lake Ontario. They were such a delight that I decided to go all in on creating a butterfly garden. I had three stray milkweeds, which the visitors ignored. But I invested in seeds for five varieties of milkweed and dutifully […]

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We admire people of lifelong passion–musicians, scientists, humanitarians, athletes. Nevermind that, up close, single-minded obsessives can be both unhappy and hard to live with. What is your passion? I’ve always had a hard time answering that. My interests have bounced around over my lifetime. I’m a hard worker, but I don’t enjoy the feeling of […]

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Courage to live on the edge

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that, for the past month, every time I hear a wave crash against our eroding shore, I flinch. I’m hypervigilante and my brain rushes to worst-case scenarios. Is beauty really worth the agita? Can I take another month of cursing the wicked wind of the west? As a […]

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The tau tau and storytelling

Everything sooner or later turns into a story. Maybe in God-time the Word becomes Flesh. But in my experience Flesh fades into Word and the Word becomes Story. Yeah. People loved hanging out with my Irish-American parents, because any disaster could be neutralized by turning it into a story and having a good laugh. It […]

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