Monday, August 31, 2009

Moonstruck breakfast

Vince and I watched Moonstruck together.

I've seen it many times. He's seen it more than once. I didn't think I could enjoy it again, but I did. I loved it. It is embarrassing, sometimes, to say that this may be my favourite film, because it is schmaltz. But it is is well written, well edited, well photographed, well acted schmaltz and it hits every pleasure nerve I have. The sugar cubes dropped casually, deliberately and precisely into the glasses of bubbly; the egg in the pan when Cher has a love bite on her neck; the dogs eating Rose's dinner; the old woman putting a curse on the plane; young Nick Cage tossing Bread Bread Bread into the oven. Cher's high heels. Brooklyn Heights. Johnny Cammareri.

It is perfection. Nevermind the continuity that cannot get Olympia Dukakis' hair to look the same two times in one scene.

So the next morning we made the eggs in holes in bread. Italian American bread. Soft white stuff. And I cooked bacon. It was fabulous.

That was August

As if on cue, the temperature today in New York on this last day of August 2009, is 23'C/73'F. The air conditioners have been turned off.

Is summer over? Fine by me. Produce at the markets will continue to be abundant for a long time to come. Roses will still bloom. We will still snip chives and basil...

Here are some pictures from the last 30 days on the terrace.

The Black swallowtail family.

Thai basil.

Mexican heirloom tomatoes.

Calamintha and basil.

Lowly, pink impatiens.

Th east tinted pink at sunset.

A cooling drink.

A warm cat.

Hosta 'Fragrant Bouquet'.

The gaura's leaves turning red.

Fennel and agastache.

Giving some unruly chives a serious brush cut.

Bee wings.

More calamintha.

Fennel and basil.

Terrace from the top.

Abraham Darby this morning.

Brilliant sunset in the middle of the month.

Tomorrow is September. Bring on some of the best months...This year is drawing down.

We have postponed our move. For various reasons it was too much too soon, and I feel like I have some breathing room. We will find more storage in the tiny space for my tall husband. We will enjoy the terrace some more. We will not worry.

We will eat more figs.

Fire escape garden, SoHo

A real fire escape, this time...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Kensington, Brooklyn

Today we found a neighbourhood I knew nothing about. Brooklyn is big. Really big. And I know bits of it.

Our bit is Cobble Hill. Bluestone flagstones on the sidewalk colour both the street- and audioscapes; tall trees, discreet brownstones and townhouses, expensive strollers pushed by rather entitled mothers; little, pretty parks, a stretch of Atlantic that is comfortingly Middle Eastern, and human; good food shops: cheese, bread, meat, fruit, vegetables. Serious restaurants close by, Manhattan ten minutes away. It's all very attractive and civilized

We took the F to Church Street and came out in what looked a lot like a suburb once off the main drag, except one with big, solid apartment buildings, wide avenues, and a population on the street that is the least homogeneous I've seen in New York.

On the cement sidewalks of Kensington were old Ukrainian ladies in sandals and knee high natural stockings, ladies in saris, in burkas, men in kurtas; yarmulkes, kufis, Hasidic hats.

I liked it.

Even before I saw the people, I knew from my recent BBG judging experience that the mosaicly bright gardens in front of the houses signified an "ethnic" population. The adjective amuses me. Am I ethnic? And why is an Indian family ethnic? Anyway, folks were growing things. Food.

This one fence had four kinds of beans rampant over its mesh: green beans, yard long beans, hyacinth beans and one I'd never seen before.

Squash and gourds grew up every available vertical surface. There were little pepper bushes and aubergines and tomatoes. There was a grocery that sold fresh pea shoots and amaranth from boxes. I perked up. I could live here.

There were stand-alone houses (as opposed to connected brownstones and townhouses) and bits of green everywhere.

But the apartment we looked at was on busy, noisy Ocean Parkway and was very old and urenovated. Windows stuck in place. The garden, if you can call it that, was surrounded by rotting fences covered in astroturf. Yup. The landlady, a lip-linered, bust-enhanced Russian, had a sporty BMW and Mercedes parked in her driveway next door. Her dark garden was chipped marble and bad statuary and lots of shade.

It wouldn't work.

This autumn clematis foaming over a fence showed that August is over.

I have put a request into the Universe for an apartment with lots of light, and a terrace.

I asked nicely.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Summer in New York

Pic: Vincent Mounier

For a break at a beach, go as far east as you can with the Metropolitan Transport Authority, and Vincent as your gimlet-eyed guide...

Black swallowtail

Tired, struggling to hold onto the wet Japanese ribbon grass on the terrace in a mist of cloudy rain.

The two last caterpillars disappeared the day after I photographed them. Birds? It was very hot, and the parsley was in full sun, so I thought they might have moved to shade, but they never came back. I suspect there'll be more.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The roses of August

...smelling as good as they look.

Garden Rant

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to write a guest post for Garden Rant, which you can read here, about plant thievery.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you'll recognize the story of the lily thief and the agastache...

If I can make time there will be be future posts over at Garden Rant, so I'll have to pull up my writing and ranting socks. I try quite hard to not to rant over here, so it may be a good steam vent...

Between the bridges

Under the Manhattan Bridge, on the Brooklyn side...Daucus carrota, Queen Anne's Lace, host to the Black Swallowtail children (so they stay off my parsley, damnit). I saw no caterpillars, but we did see a cormorant diving and bobbing in the strong, incoming current.

This low 12" high grass - anyone? I swear it's growing on the Highline, too.

Brrr: cedar quince rust on the poor amelanchiers in the park between the bridges. I never did go and pick berries in June. I chickened out.

Sumac. For the first time this year I saw it sold at the Union Square Farmers' market, though the person tending the stand was vague about it. I buy it powdered from Sahadi's for Middle Eastern dishes, and I tasted two of these seeds, though the fine fluff covering each bothered me a bit. Same tart taste though - very nice.

Below, looking over the little bay in the park, a leggy Russian woman posing in gold bikini for a plump, elderly photographer...

Next time we'll take a picnic.