Other hats, department of:

Editing a book-length critical essay on the artist who made this.

And this.

As usual when I am this knee-deep in editing I tend to fall in love with the subject. When the book is done, promise I'll lift the veil. But the good cousin of love is discretion. Just ask my grandmother, who had to chase her husband down with a camera to catch him with his mistress back in the day. She is also the one who coined the euphemism "time to take off the apron," which meant, leave the bastard.


Xavier's morning routine
9 a.m. 2/16/2012
Rest assured, first of all, that none of this gets into the vintage. Xavier does nowhere near the vintage. He knows not to set foot in the luncheonette, though he will linger outside, possibly jump up and look in the window (he is a dog that likes to see stuff and will stand up to do so). But none of that spit and vigor gets anywhere near the vintage.

It does get into the book if I'm not careful, though. So I'm being careful. Wolves are not like dogs. Xavier's joy is in the Play. Is in the whole tootin ritual we do. Wolves would not think it very appropriate. But Xavier does. Every day. Nine times a day if possible. Or ninety. Ninety times a day chasing a ball for all it's worth, or waiting on a sit-stay and vibrating like crazy until that release, that amazing WOW release as in WOW I CAN GO FIND THAT THING SHE JUST HID SOMEWHERE OUT THERE — that could happen ninety times a day and it would not be enough. But even twice a day, even once a day, it makes him so happy he stands like Rin Tin Tin at a photo shoot, except for all the spit and vigor in his jaws.

And I did not ask or tell him to pose for this picture. That's just how he stands when he's done. Like, yo, I could take Westminster.


Across the ocean she sails




Lucy gone broody

Lucille, lead biddie of the Olivebridge 7, was looking poorly about 5 days ago. She puffed up her nest box with a stoned look and a growl. I've had a couple of hens suffer from egg binding —  if you had an egg the size of gibraltar stuck in you, wouldn't you puff up and groan? What worked for them so they don't suffer exponentially and then die was a warm bath. I read about that. Part of me is a reader first and an experiencer second and when I was a child that meant I was always mispronouncing words (like banal) since I read them before hearing them. Thank you, Mom, for all your corrections.

The two hens who were successfully bathed out of their predicament are both more petite and tractable than Lu. With them I could also feel the telltale egg under the surface, like a mean, smooth rock. So I sunk the gals into a warm bath for 20 minutes, sang to them, put on Al Green. Both got coo-ey and half-eyed and relaxed. Some time later, out popped the egg. But Lu is a big starchy gal with a raucous caw in the face of strange dogs or people. She is the Ethel Merman of Buff Orpington hens. And there was nothing like a bump there when I felt her. Not knowing the true course of action to take, I gave her a bath anyway. Went the when in doubt, do it anyway method. She put up with Al Green and the warm water. She even put up with a follow-up mineral oil up-douche. But gave me this look, like, Idiot.

Because she was not egg bound. She was broody. She was tired of not having chicks already, of all those eggs and nothing to show for it. We have laying hens here who dutifully lay eggs for us everyday and let us steal them out of the nest to eat. More on that later: everything has a quandary in it. But I finally called someone with way mucho chicken smarts and he set me straight. So in addition to all the other additions around here (a 135 lb. Newfoundland, for starters), I am off to procure Lucille some fertilized eggs from the Chicken Whisperer. Because we do not have a rooster here anymore. This has been a pretty tranquil hen sorority since the departure of Jojo, handsome combripper maniac that he was. Soon it will all change again. There will be life in the form of peeps and adorableness. It will be easter here. Nature's way, or at least its cousin.

Lu is ready. She is back in the nest, partitioned off, looking stoned and clucking softly, only now it will mean something.  In other words Lucille got in touch with her maternal side, a lot quicker than I did. Which for about a thousand reasons, is not surprising, I admit.


Bandana, she likes.

1950s tuside in the shop

Incredibly soft cotton, probably washed a thousand times, but probably carefully, as it came from a lady who could ride a Palomino like the wind but had her judicious moments. She was known for her ability to chill butter with just a look. Worked on husbands too.

Actually it came from my friend G, source of some of the most remarkable things to come through the kitchen in a good while.