Tuesday, June 25, 2019

City summer

The first muggy days have arrived in Brooklyn. We have supper on the terrace, and are entertained - soon after 8pm - by the fireflies, who first appeared on the 24th. We wondered if we would see them from this terrace, and are very happy that we do. The gardens below - ranging from indifferent, to lovely,  to barren - are mostly empty of people but are flashing with those little swooping lights.

We have central air, now, which seems very luxurious after 1st Place, where we couldn't even squeeze a wall unit into the windows because of their - thankfully very pretty - wrought iron burglar bars. But turning on the oven still seems a crime, so suppers are increasingly salad-like, or we braai. I did cheat tonight and baked a clafoutis with some wonderful cherries.

Those skylights on the big roof across from us are mysterious. They are all covered by cloths. Sometimes a strong wind whips one away and then men come up to attach new ones. We can only assume that the building below becomes very hot and that the extra sunlight doesn't help. We see no roof units for air conditioning, even though there is a huge fan or machine that roars all day - possibly extraction for the laundry business below. It is a rare remnant of industria in a residential neighborhood. An episode of The Sopranos (I am only watching it now!) suddenly tuned me in to the fact it is mafia-founded and owned, or at least owned now by the sons of mafia. The long green wall of Boston ivy on the southern wall must help with cooling. This vilified climber deserves more respect for its ability to lower building temperatures (and it is beautiful - like a thick green pelt). It is embraced in Europe and herbicided, here.

Once, we saw a raccoon trundle across that roof in the moonlight.

I have a new botanical walk schedule up - you'll find it on my Forage Walks and Talks page. The next one is this Sunday in nearby historic Green-Wood Cemetery, where the gorgeous trees should help to cool us (You can read about it in the August chapter of my first book, 66 Square Feet- A Delicious Life).


  1. I love Boston ivy but, despite its common name, Parthenocissus tricuspidata is actually native to east Asia. I tend to cultivate its native cousin, Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), because of its similar habit, beautiful fall color, and ecological benefits.

    1. THANK YOU! You have disabused me of a notion I have held for more years than I care to mention. I was taught that it was American way back when I worked at a local nursery, and because it is a plant I never work with or forage (and perhaps because it is everywhere, and so taken for granted) I never questioned it. How terrible.

  2. The covered skylights evoke tents set up for a fest.

  3. So interesting that the skylights are all covered. Mine.... and I have 5 are never covered and I love the dappled light that comes in and lights up the staircases below.

  4. Saw our first firefly (in years) last week on a cooler evening when we could sit out. It evoked so many childhood memories - shared even tho we grew up far apart. Am glad Rollie likes Va. Creeper - here it is very invasive (Virginia? duh!), but lovely in the fall ... if I can just keep it out of the flower beds where it chokes everything!

  5. You truly have a way of making even the tiniest garden spaces just lovely, Marie!

  6. Gorgeous view and place. How did you find it?
    This is what I enjoy about your blog; I learn about various plants that I never paid much attention to. Ver soothing and relaxing with artistic professional style photos and then suddenly the surprise in the middle about nefarious men with too much fabric on their hands.


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