fire pit

Yesterday a firepit for Hannah's Hideaway was finished and christened with—fire. And marshmallows.


debby does lobsters

Debby instructs:
1) Rip off tails
2) Take meat from tails
3)Rip off claws
4) Open claw hinge
5) Break off knuckle
6) Slide out claw and knuckle meat
7) Eat
8) Pull off legs
9) Chew and suck out leg meat
10) Find pockets of meat in carcass
11) Eat everything left


happy birthday

Gathering stones yesterday, when it was warm
Today is Debby's birthday, which we will celebrate with lobsters and a roaring fire, given the temp today on Block Island. Tomorrow is Paula's birthday. Friday is Yuming Chang's birthday. We have just had Eva's birthday and Barrett's birthday and Pam's birthday and Noah's birthday and will soon have Donna's birthday. Then we have a bit of a hiatus (I believe—correct me if I've forgotten you) until Virgo.


katie's view

View on the West Side
"If it's not warm enough to run around naked eating ice cream, then it's not warm enough." I wonder whether there is a vast government conspiracy to fudge the weather forecast for holiday weekends so that people will go away and spend money. I have wondered this for a while, and almost every Memorial Day weekend proves worse than forecast. This one was no exception, with days of sunny bliss forecast and boatloads of eager shirtsleeved tourists arriving on the island only to be frozen, rained on and blown to bits. Yet, as always on Block Island, the beautiful moments made you forget the rest.


memorial day

Bill Dugan's obsession with old typewriters is one I share.

Here, Memorial Day weekend means the opening of season (guest season here on the compound), but veterans have a very different association. Artist friend Bill Dugan is headed from Missouri to Chicago for the opening of a group show at the National Veteran's Art Museum in Chicago for their show "Surrealism and War." You can see a dead bird valentine he made on the second slide of the NVAM website. I don't have any pix of his other, rather terrifying war work using hanging rat skeletons and mummies and roadkill prints and combat gear. He obsesses about other subjects as well— wedding dresses, cows, roosters—but there is no denying that the death stuff is powerful.


railing against the weather

What to do about porch railings.
See this? Redwood. Expensive, weatherproof redwood. Rotted. Every year the same thing only worse. Fight with the nail gun to get it working. Renail all the railings where the nails themselves have rotted through (salt air+metal=fucked up). Replace railings that have rotted from water settling in the nail holes. Paint. Pray they hold up for another season.
   PS The reason I had to replace the roof was not that the cedar shingles had rotted, it was that the nails had corroded through.
   You know what survives this climate? Plastic, baby, plastic. I'm talking Azek railings the next time around. No rotting. No painting. Live forever. Only one problem. I would not live forever. No, I'm not afraid of Jimmy Sponducci. My brother and my brother-in-law would kill me. So I say, let them replace my damn railings. At least with pressure treated.


green with envy

the house next door

north of the border
I do not covet my neighbor's house nor my neighbor's wife nor my neighbor's ass, but I confess to coveting my neighbor's grass. And look where lawn envy can lead you: right into the briarpatch.
   Urged on by my desire for more greensward, Dada chainsawed a couple of gigantic rosa multiflora trees (curse the day this invasive thornbush escaped Edie's sister's garden) (don't worry I still have plenty left) (Dada was rewarded with Lyme disease carrying ticks), and I spent a day wallowing in sawlike tendrils. Talk about a burning bush. I would dearly love to douse these with gasoline. Threw them in the ditch instead. May they rot in hell and suffer other biblical plagues.
  And as accompaniment to this post, have a listen to Brad Paisley's "I'd Like to Check You for Ticks."


before the night

We have had a string of beautiful days, so I am trying to get to as much of the outdoor checklist as possible. Nailing and brushhogging and moving and etc. But more on that later. Looks like one more good day before the rain! Gotta get to work.



Almost missed the blooming of the shad. But here's the tail end of it at Rodman's Hollow. There's something about those soft contours. . .


beatles and birthdays

Actually, this year is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first U.S. tour.  And today is the birthday of our own CBA, who made and hung this sign at the Beatles' Carnegie Hall concert in 1964. Today she is offering it up on eBay for $15,000 or so bucks. Here is the link, if you want to get in on the bidding. I am just amazed she still has it.
   "It has spent the majority of the last 50 years stored in my father's studio in Ridgefield, Connecticut," she writes. "In 1964 I had no idea that the Fab Four would become Knights of the Realm, that my father's studio would become a National Historic Site, or that I would pursue careers as a dancer, huntress, fisherman, retailer and writer, ending up in a genteel southern town working as an extra in film and television." Nor did we, but


another end-of-school-year sign

Madison and David head for the prom. Big night. Word is they and their friends got in early and went to sleep.


nice ride

It's not road ready yet (needs to be registered), but the Lincoln has been providing limo service around the compound for a day now. In fact, Dada just drove it over my new sod. This cherry baby is slated to be the college boy's ride this summer. Not sure his older rels have permitted him to take the wheel yet. They're having too much fun.
   Care to guess the year, mileage and price? Unlike the "Price is Right" you don't win the car, though.



Front porch, Claudia's Surf City
Hung the swing. Now to nail in all the railings again. . .


the old sod

From How to Increase Your Rental Income by CG Dowling
Well, actually, it's new sod. New to me. Hannah dug it out of her yard and I (what's in the truck?) brought it out here and installed it. Given the way the neighborhood is skewing 99 percentish, I am scrambling to keep up with the—ahem, not mentioning any names. They put in sod. I put in sod. Okay, it wasn't that much, but hey, it's a start. The idea is to correct the incursions made by roofers' pickups going in and out all day long for a couple weeks, shine and —memorably—rain. Now, if I just had the grounds crew to cue the sprinklers like the—Joneses—this place would be a palace in no time.



The President of the Garden Club, unflocked.
It is a very sad day for me. My sister, the President of the Garden Club, at the pinnacle of her distinguished career, has passed the torchflower to another. Never mind that the Other is worthy; never mind that my sister is glad to be shut of the responsibilities of the office. I have been so proud. She will always be the President of the Garden Club to me (in fact she was before she was, if you follow). I'll just swallow the word emeritus.
   In her last act as President, she of the takin'-care-of-bidness stride installed plantings at the charming Town Hall of her bucolic Massachusetts village. Across the street from the green, doors to the perfect church were open, I assumed for a wedding.
   But no. It was the funeral of a 20-year-old, dead of a heroin overdose. There is evil, even in the garden.


mother's day

And then today back to Block island for granny.


morning boat

Leaving Block Island in the rain this ayem. Still raining...


surf's down

Everything is still, so I am assuming that unless some climate change happens immediately, my trip off-island for the weekend will be uneventful.
   And speaking of climate change (happening), organic (not happening, according to Mark Bittman), and other woo-woo concerns, if you are interested in the nutritional values of your foods here's a great website.


other people's views

Beautiful tree at Karen and Larry's. So jealous—trees won't grow here!
 This is a good time of year to prowl around the island and visit friends and check out empty houses. The grass is greening up, and the workmen are hammering and painting away. The dump is full of big screen TVs that still work and and fans that no one can be bothered to clean, store fixtures, old bikes and furniture. Pickings are too good for the likes of me.
New mown lawn at Barrett's, with view of the (treeless) compound. We got some bushes.


the early boat

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never happened

Adirondack Chairs and Daffodils
Those three inches of rain? Never happened.


it's a perfect day

And when it is good it is heaven


some people have all the luck

Hannah's almost-ready-for-prime-time beach house on Block Island

Claudia's currently uninhabitable beach house on Block Island
Yes, I was cozy at Hannah's Hideaway with my Beltane fire while others toiled to batten down the roof at Claudia's Surf City to protect it from what I cannot find on record but estimate to be about three inches of rain. Maybe more. The back yard was flooded, and New York got five. As they frantically worked, I got to mangle a door while attempting to switch out a doorknob, read novels and answer mail.
  Here is a fabulous slide show of fabulous architecture in Michigan, from roadside to sacred, by my friend David Cobb Craig.
  And here is our own Woo's (aka Catherine Scarlett Lauren Durett Andrews Jackson) first almost-post-graduation foray into the Great Big Scary Grownup World. Looks like she's up to it!