My yard. And others' homes.

I have been looking for someone who might be interested in a weird reality show/home renovation show. 
    Kind of a Duck Dynasty meets Martha Stewart. 
    Eight years ago,  I bought an old gas station/café/post office in a dying town in the Ozarks. It is tiny, just 16 by 22 feet. I redid it in a kind of ‘50s diner/midcentury modern style.
    Then, at the end of April, a seven-foot wall of water swept through the town, erasing much of it. I am trying to decide whether to rebuild, and it occurred to me that it would make a good TV “renovation” show.  I mean, the characters who are helping me out are too amazing—one is of the Hatfield clan. 
      Here are pix of the place before and after the flood:
    And here are pix of the place gutted. The second floor and structure were untouched, though the meth addicts may get in there to pull the wires out at some point, and the squirrels and skunks may take up residence in my beds upstairs.  My hillbilly neighbors and the local sheriff are patrolling to repel marauders  as of now.
   If you have any thoughts or contacts, please let me know. I am planning to go out and survey the wreckage at the end of June. 
  Keep with me for new developments.


the sunshine came softly

The sunshine came softly through my window today. And very early, being as it's the longest day of the year in this here northern hemisphere. We're talking 5:24 til 8:30. And that's a beautiful thing.


back to the mainland

Home again in the city so nice they named it twice. Slept well for the first time in months. There is a lot of news that has gotten away from me, so here is some that is not too out of date.
Hannah's new office is in this way cool live/work building in Providence. Here is a Providence Journal article about it.
  I just finished writing panels for Donna Ferrato's upcoming exhibition in Italy, American Woman.
  There has been a big hoopdedoo about Vacation Rentals By Owner and HomeAway's new policy, which charges not only owners but renters as well. I reduced my prices slightly to partially make up for the bump, and so far no one has balked. I have 13 weeks rented in each house, which is basically full. Here is a Washington Post article about it. 
   And for my next real estate venture, I am soon to head out to the Ozarks to see whether or not I want to rescue the Goose in a town that has been erased from the map. I still think it would make a fab reality TV show—a kind of Duck Dynasty meets Martha Stewart scene. Totally weird, what with characters like Bear. And speaking of Bear, according to this article he (aka Randy Walker) is the hero of Thomasville.
And PS Vogue (!) is calling the Ozarks happening as seen here.


father's day

Father standing baffled
At the bar
Long a site of potency
Another touchstone lost or hidden
The ice maker too had wandered off
Perhaps in search of his wits.
His spirits vanished
Now just tonic, but not for body or soul


it begins

The summer people inhabit my places as of today. When I left yesterday, all appliances were working and everything was done but for Ana's spit shine. And the weather was glorious. Today, as the tenants move in it is intermittently pouring and totally freezing. Uh oh. That's when they tend to find fault! But I am back in NY and they'll have to deal with me remote.


my daughter, rock star

 Done for a business publication to go with interview. Looking good!


strawberry moon

Moonrise over the Mansion Next Door


fluff and puff

 It seems like I've been fixing and painting and etc forever, but we're now down to the wire in Block Island. Simultaneously, I am trying to set things up for July in Missouri, where repairing isn't the issue. My current plan is to try to button the place up (four windows, two doors) while living at the Sage Cabin at , ahem, the Ananda Kanan Ozark Retreat Center. Probably just as well my brother Chris couldn't come.



Poor Ruca has been doomed to another two weeks of being coned. Apparently she pulled some of her stitches in her belly (from whence they removed a fatty tumor) and now she has been stapled. The saddest thing is that she cannot scratch her ears. Or see very well! With cone, she is no longer a danger to herself, but she is to others as she pounces at them with no idea how wide and how sharp her head is.


billy goat gruff

With troll

Receiving her public



The Littlest Billy Goat Gruff is very excited about her performance tomorrow. She will likely have the largest audience of any child. I am terrified that she will forget her lines, of course. But she is mega jazzed, and has been for weeks.
And she did give me the script.
 I am not taking it with me to the otutoryum.
Charging phone now.


island transport

The ferry bringeth and the ferry taketh away. The New London ferry took Debby away yesterday, back to New York, Land o' Culture. And shortly after she left, there was again rain. But that evening. . .


not beach weather

My poor houseguests (and tenants) have had a run of bad weather. The sun came out today, and you can actually go outside! Deb managed to grab a shot of a nice sandcastle (above) during a brief break in the rain, but for the most part it has been inclement.
As you can imagine I have lots of news (and pictures) saved up for a roundup, but haven't gotten to it yet. Too busy planning meals and writing copy for a retrospective exhibition Donna is having in Italy.
Mo' later.


stormy weather

Painting at Hannah's
Hannah's bedroom with Kate's hat.
It was a dark and stormy day, and Kate Knapp had been looking forward to painting the ocean. Outside. But with uncooperative weather, she was forced to condier alternatives, and came up with windows. First she hung her hat at Hannah's, prepped for the advent of Hannah herself  today, and painted through the French doors.
Then she went home for lunch.
When she got back she painted from my bedroom window at Claudia's. Hopefully, this afternoon when the rain stops she will have a greater choice of locations.
My bedroom with Kate


tub with a view 1

When the cold, nor'east wind blows, after a hard day of painting and washing and mopping and carrying and fixing and sawing and screwing and brewing, there's nothing like a soaking.


another flood zone

Things are opening for the season on Block Island, and Everybody was at the Oar last night. And what a show we got. An epic sunset, good food and a chance to table hop with Islanders who are just crawling out of their shells and cottagers just opening theirs.
  Sadly, somebody's beautiful 1780s house just exploded. Nobody was there. Gas leak. The house was down the road from Katie and Mike's (left). The house was not burned, just shattered into smithereens. Katie tried to rescue a painting from the shards of someone's summer dream.


goose, cooked

The former kitchen (above) and bathroom
 My neighbors salvaged what they could, and the Christian Aid Ministries, very charitably, took out ruined dry wall, power washed and sprayed fungicide all over the place. Alas, just as the Goose had reached operational perfection, it is a shell, embryonic even. 
  No windows, doors, electricity, appliances, plumbing. Don't know about the well, the well pump, the septic system. The foundations of the columns look a little shaky as well.
   And I bet there's some wildlife in there. 
  What I need is one of those TV home makeover shows to come in. I could certainly start over! Alas for my pink floor. . .
    Rebuilding makes the polyurethaning I'm doing here in Block Island look like a piece of cake.
So what should I do? I'm taking votes. The upstairs is fine. The building is 16 by 22 feet. But still, to reinstall all systems would take an army of tradesmen—if I could find any who were competent and would show up. The latter usually presents greater difficulty.
   And if I did rebuild, the next thousand-year flood could come along in a year or 20. When I toured flooded towns (Grand Rapids, ND, Mississippi River towns in Missouri with Tipper Gore, New Orleans) I was bemused that people could think it was a good idea to rebuild in a place that had already been washed away.
   But now I understand the impulse. I'm torn. I love the place, and I did a lot of writing there. I know the hummingbirds miss me, and I miss my friends. I hate to just walk away. But it would be cheaper to rent than rebuild. Rational v. Emotional
  I'll still have to pay that $48 property tax every year. And for mowing.
  Should I rebuild or cut my losses! Vote early! Vote often!

Upstairs untouched—unless the squirrels have moved in. Or skunks.



When I was young and vigorous, I felt like the neighbor's daughter who twirled around in joy when she arrived on the island. This past weekend, the first that cracked 70 degrees, there were birdwatchers and cyclists, even people in the water. And there were summer people, opening up their houses for Memorial Day.
    Block islanders and people who rent for the summer seem increasingly frantic. Deadlines approach. My high school friend Jamie flew in from a funeral. Her daughter's  boyfriend is shingling the roof, there's a washer/dryer problem and a leak and a cleaning crew. Plumbers are much in demand. Yesterday, with brilliant weather (top), summer felt like a real possibility. Today, in heavy rain, with the heat back on, it feels like a long slog.



Mother's Day morning. Photograph by Donna Ferrato

 As always, she brought her camera. And knew how to use it. But of course it ain't the camera, it's the eye. And she brought that to Mother's Day weekend also.
   The big mamas stayed at my house, while the little mamas—our daughters, their husbands and children—stayed at Hannah's. The weather was cold and rainy and howling, and it was cold. But we did a lot of cooking and eating and chatting. And, with four professional photographers  among us, taking pictures.


 Placidity is on the surface: Underneath it was a weekend of whirlwind love and togetherness. There were the knocked-out teeth, the dark and stormys—drinks and weather— the junkets, the bagels, the cooking, the stories, the new minivan and the disfunctional dishwasher. There was talk of aging, of Syria, of art, of eroticism, of learning and reading and, of course, photography.  And now, there is quiet and much polyurethaning.



A little nininap for mamadonna on the Pt. Judith boat. We got here, and at the moment all the plumbing seems to be working.


the goose, before and after the flood

 You may be wondering why it was called the Goose. This is why, though I did not name it nor did I paint the picture on it. In its time, the Goose had been a gas station, the post office, a cafe, a gift shop and a home.
 The Goose was at its finest last summer after I painted the floor pink.
In the middle of the night on Saturday April 29-30, a 7 plus foot wall of water swept through Thomasville, Mo. Fortunately I wasn’t there or I would have been one of the 70 people being rescued by boat. The state declared it a disaster area, but whether the feds do depends on Trump. A vacation home gets nothing from FEMA anyway. I have no insurance. Nor do most people there. My neighbors, who had lost their houses—and moreover homes—pitched in to help clear out. Pix from the West Plains Daily Quill, Frank's longtime newspaper, here. Neighbors very kindly gave me the number for Christian Aid Ministries, which is power washing out houses. The answering message says, "Thanks for calling, and may god bless you."
   I am waiting to see if anyone else in town is rebuilding, but I doubt I will, having lost kitchen, bathroom, living room, antiques, art, furnace, air conditioner, doors, windows, hot water heater, dishwasher, well, pump, septic system and entire town. And the old Marlboro signs Danny gave me.
 Once the bridge was open, Dianne and Frank Martin very kindly went over to Thomasville to take pictures of the damage for me.
 This (above) is the back door. Kinda jammed up.
 This is the cafe across the highway from my house last summer. The hummingbirds will be missing us.
 The cafe used to be called The River's Edge Cafe, which was certainly true, never more so than on the night of April 29. It's name was changed to the Eleven Point cafe, named for the river that did it in. But all the people who had been in town forever called it The Store. Back in Thomasville's heyday, it was a general store and the bank building.
And this picture from the Quill shows what happened.
 I think that's my friend Bill's shed.


the city so nice

I would not ordinarily be in Times Square of a Friday evening, but since LynnO was in from Santa Fe and had invited me to the delightful Present Laughter by Noel Coward, there we were in the middle of the crush. And my dear, it was a crush!


flood warnings

Now there are flood warnings in New York! I think I'll be safe on the 15th floor, however. Just cancelled my power and phone in Missouri. The Howell Electric woman said she was "sorry for your loss." The North Carolina Century Tel woman said there were  tornado warnings there.
Weather. It's something!


by dawn's early light

Headed to New York for a short visit by the  first boat.
Will post pix of the Goose when I can bear it.


the tub, part over

 It has been many long nights since I started worrying about this stupid tub. After recent events, I can't but wonder why I thought it was important. However, it was rolled up the stairs, installed, corrected for leaks, and I just had my first bath. Glory glory hallelujah! And this morning the shad popped. So beautiful. I drove around the island to see something that made my heart sing instead of sink.
   I talked with neighbors in Thomasville and got pix of the flood destruction. More abut that later. Meanwhile, enjoy the day.