good morning ~
(click the link / lightning porch to listen)
(you should check out this recording my neighbor Camille recently put out, it's really nice)
forgot to include a link last week: here's the old song by my old band I talked about
also this past weekend's show at Opus 40 was indeed rained out and unfortunately I cannot play the August 5 rebooked date - - Ged will be playing solo, though, with most of the bill and your tickets are still good for it if ya got 'em.
At the new place there are unexpected roses and more stinging nettle than anyone could ever use and at the edges of the clearings and the driveway there are a handful of bristly berry bushes, both red and black raspberry. They're just beginning to ripen and in the weird long late afternoon hour before I cooked us dinner my girlfriend and I awkwardly climbed through the terrace right next to where we park our cars and pulled at the ready fruit. The red berries are tiny, just a little node cluster each, and they are unmistakably the country cousin of the chunkier supermarket variety. When I grind my teeth against its juicy flesh the bush's yield is familiar and furry, tastes just like a raspberry. The black berries are far more tart and the ripe ones are easier to find - they start red and grow a sweeter, deeper shade when they're ready. They're just shy of lemony-mouth-puckering and I immediately understand why they are among the most coveted of ice cream flavorings.
That these little edible morsels come from the dirt next to our garage is nothing short of a miracle (but then again, miracles are everywhere). I have long shopped at farmer's markets and marveled at the shapes, forms, and flavors made available on folding tables in parking lots. I know some people who farm more socially, too, and they possess to me what seems like an impenetrable, arcane knowledge - agromancy, they wield a mystic hoe, overall robes and a pointy straw hat. My friend Leah also maintains an absolutely bodacious garden, but her place is among the more special homes I've ever had the pleasure of hanging out at, never feels quite of this world (she's the inventor of something called night radishes, in other words enjoying some fresh, crispy bites freshly gathered with butter and salt right before bed). But I've never really lived on land that fed me, too.
Lately, my girlfriend - who really should accept all credit for the bounty, I've barely helped - has successfully grown arugula. It's generously leafy and considerably spicier than the kind that comes in a bag and despite eating it as fast as we can it still returns in hilarious abundance. She also put chives and Thai chiles and purple cabbage and giant sunflowers and tangy purple mint and green peppers and two basil plants down in the various planters and patches scattered about the back of our property. The herbs are for you, sweetie, she says to me often, and what a sweet thrill it was to sprinkle the fridge-emptying pizzas we made in the backyard fire pit with basil, still wet from watering, freshly knifed in chiffonade style (the pizza flavors? Halloumi and fennel, pepperoni, onion, and goat gouda, ube preserve and pecorino Romano, surprisingly savory). How nourishing and delightful to stuff fried eggs with little verdant pops of chive like we're once again having breakfast in Vienna. In the morning I've taken to putting a single mint leaf in my coffee grounds before the hot water's poured, something I learned from visiting my brother in San Francisco for the last three decades. See the peas in the raised bed with their adventurous tendrils, grasping toddler-like at the circle of their metal frame! So brave, she says!
Of course there are blights in the soil and bouts of overwatering - when the rainfall gets heavy enough I find myself wondering if the more delicate of my girlfriend's plantings are okay, my priorities really have changed. There are also more animate threats, all manner of critters. It's believed that either deer or rabbits got at the first round of purple cabbage leaves, can you blame them? Dastardly, overfed groundhogs scurry everywhere - one seems to be living either in our driveway's drainage pipe or under the rotting gazebo we'll one day have to rip down. And there are airborne threats, as well - naturally the birds, whose near-constant singing I've almost started not to notice, are just constantly trying to dive-bomb the shit out of these luscious buddies. They've successfully nabbed a bunch of 'em, too, there are bald spots where they've gotten the goods.
Ever the eager garden keeper my girlfriend purchased two things to keep the berries safe. The first item is bird tape, a sparkly, shiny roll that looks like something from a roller rink. Long strands of it get tied to branches and the erratic, flashy, gleaming wave of it seemingly scares the birds. The second item is even more exciting: one of those wacky, wiggly, air dancers, a home-use-sized version of the happy guys you see at car dealerships and, on occasion, the Avalon Lounge. Ours is bright pink with an implacable smile screen printed onto its soft tube of a head - it dances just beyond our bedroom window and I keep catching glances of it, thinking it alive, the uncanny valley of late capitalism's finest scarecrow technology. She's most concerned with the birds of the dawn (the early ones get the berries) so she often leaves the dancer running overnight - when I finally come home my headlights catch it's neon and the bird tape tied to its flailing hair and I am both comforted and haunted by its protective choreography. How nice is it that we shield the yield of our house's land with a little of the old razzle dazzle?
Other miracles: our neighbors, who are just the coolest, weirdest people you could ever hope to move next to, told everyone they introduced us to at the last-minute, rained-out house show that our arrival was a blessing, almost spookily so. They use the phrase "won the lottery" often. The potluck filled the entire length of their salvaged kitchen island and I am seen, heard, and nourished. The morning after the thunder kept rolling and the lightning kept cracking during my late night set I heard the thump of distant minimal techno from the speakers on their back porch. Would it keep the birds away, I wondered?
But what about you? What protective spells are you casting? Are you minding the yield? How will you keep away those that seek to consume and destroy your sweetness?