Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Weather report

The fynbos flowers are Leucaspermum, bought from a flower seller on Lenox Avenue, as if straight off Table Mountain. The book beneath is Don't Die in the Bundu, a handbook on survival when stranded in the wilderness. I need another string of lights for this window. On today's list.

Where did the Fuchsia magellanica cuttings come from? I have no idea what you are talking about.

Good Harlem morning to you. Or does it look like evening?

Jet lag woke me and by 6am I was shaping today's sourdough boule, at an hour appropriate for a baker. The starter survived two weeks without feeding and last night was bubbling happily to itself.

The quiet Constantia nights have given way to the middle-of-the-night thumps and bumps of this house, but being back in our most comfortable of beds is still reassuring. A new upright floor heater (we will not use the electric wall heaters at all this winter, to avoid those $500 bills) looks accusingly at me from a corner, convincing the corner of my eye that it is the cat, wondering belligerently where his next meal is. The three-sided conversations that our strange little family used to enjoy have become stilted duets, with awkward silences and spaces for tears.

There are things to do, lights to be strung, lilies to be packed and stored, stories to be written, photos to be downloaded, lists to be made, menus to be conjured, pictures to frame, walnuts to toast, and direction to be found.

The smell of baking bread will help, the living thing in this long, high house.


  1. How magical to have those flowers. And of course, the fuchsia cuttings. Do they smell of Constantia?
    When the time is right, you should fill Estorbo's spot with another kitty or two.

  2. Also good to see your trusty South African insect guide there.

  3. Press on and savour the moments of happy. They will soon fill out the spaces. And there's that unwritten Cat Law - a special feline soul will find you when they know you're ready : )

  4. Merry Christmas Marie and Vince from the land of the mole people, Southern ON has had 1 sunny day this month. TG we are past the solstice and the days are now moving at glacial speed toward the light. Your flowers and lights look wonderful. What cuttings?

  5. Nothing is more magical than lights in the windows. slow down and enjoy the rest of the season. Glad you are safely home and nearly back on "our" time. Merry Christmas to you both.

  6. Cuttings, I don't see any cuttings. I hope you're New Year is filled with joy.

  7. Thinking of you & Beence Marie, much love from me & les Gang xoxo Susan

  8. Cats. When my best buddy, a beautiful rescue then hand me down tuxedo cat name Hammie passed on, I was so sad, and swore I was done with cats. Two weeks later in early November (pretty chilly in Canada) a small semi-feral (but friendly) little calico stray took up residence on my firewood pile. Congenial greetings mostly as she darted around on hunting expeditions. I put out water so she didn't have to drink out of the puddles on the street. I was hoping she would move on. One very frosty midnight, about a week after I noticed her, I had to go check on her...curled up asleep on the woodpile, out of reach from coyotes. I invited her in, she followed me into the house and curled up on the corner of my bed. No luck in finding a home for her. 4 years later Miss Tiger Lili Bouquet is a little resident companion, a completely different 'personality' than Hammie, but a great little friend.

    A good friend has a motto that the Universe will always provide a cat.

    All the best.

    1. Yes, putting out clean drinking water is an excellent way to encourage a cat to leave. Second only in efficacy to putting out food. Sounds like you chased her until she caught you. ;-)


    2. Thank you, Jake. That is a very good story, and also beautifully told.

      I like to hear that other people also have cats as best friends. I used to love a tuxedo cat, too, long ago.

      Miss Tiger Lili Bouquet has come up from the woodpile days - but what a pretty picture :-)

  9. Welcome home.

    PS I gave myself your book as an early Christmas present. I hardly know one plant from another and can't cook worth a lick, but it inspires me (one can always hope!). And then, of course, every now and then there is that little black character . . . :-))))))

  10. Jake's story made me cry, but I am a very tired and fragile florist. The kittens came to me before I felt I was ready but they filled and have continued to fill a hole in my heart I didn't know was so deep.

    Mourn, cry, bake and when the people are ready the cat will appear.

    Love to you

  11. welcome back.
    transitions are hard and mourning takes its own time, as you know.
    it is good to have work -- and flashes of red and yellow outside the window as well as in the vase.

    go well,
    Bosco and . . .
    Clover (my collection is complete, a calico found me)

  12. If you put enough lights in your windows, they may serve as a heat source!


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