Saturday, October 18, 2014

Autumn Opus

Two weeks ago Betsy and I went up to Saugerties to walk around Opus Forty, sculptor Harvey Fite's dry laid stone project at the base of the Catskills. We had been by before, but always too near closing time or on the wrong day so that we never had the opportunity to wander around. If you go, plan to spend about an hour or two, and by all means, go in the autumn.

The frog pond. See below.

The museum has little to offer, but the video is worth it, if only for its ancient VHS quality.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


I visited Gettysburg for a new project. Below are some images from the first two days.

I arrived in the evening on Saturday, van camping at a state park in the hills to the west. In the morning, I opened my eyes to this.

The map, marked up as I explored, indicating forest or field.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sandy Beaches

Life is more interesting at its boundaries, and here both a boundary between the sea and the land and the sports field and the dunes. The redistribution of dune sand, nearly two years ago, was quite a blow to the shoreline ecosystem GNRA is intended to protect. Keeping people off the dunes is a full time job, so the Fed made the right decision when it put up a tall chain link fence instead of trying to police the summer hoards. Now, autumn brings quiet to the dunes and beach, so I took some time after tomato picking to check in on its recovery.

Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, growing across the dune.

Solidago sempervirens, the hardiest of Goldenrod, tolerating salt and wind, drought and flood, poor soil and nearly zero nutrients.

It is hardly considered a garden plant, but its structure, succulent leaves, yellow autumn flowers, and downy late autumn seeds are perfect for the garden.

And insects love it.

In fact, ecologists recognize Seaside Goldenrod for attracting native bees and predatory insects.

The dunes, prior to Sandy, were easily 8 feet above the concrete walkway.

These are now beginning to rebuild with the help of snow fencing and simply keeping off.

I'm always impressed with plants that colonize sandy beaches. Is this because I had the darnedest time trying to grow vegetables in our Long Island sand when I was a teenager?

Cakile edentula, (American) Sea Rocket.

Kali turgida, I think, creating its own dune.

When we leave Brooklyn for another place, one likely known for draining water, not containing it, I know I will miss the beach and tidal marshes, even the scent of muck, the most. Appreciate, respect, and protect it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Saturday, the rainy day, someone had left a large glass jar in the garden.

Larry put out his pumpkins. They look, to my eye, like the jar.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Beach Farm Virtue

The beach farm is winding down, and quite frankly, so am I. I've been lucky to visit about once every two weeks. My cover crop of buckwheat has grown, flowered, gone to seed, seeded, and sprouted once again. No harm, but folks are beginning to whisper into cupped hands. I have not planned for garlic, nor an autumn crop of cool weather greens. A volunteer sunflower has appeared, its presence among the tattered buckwheat welcome and self-sustenance a virtue.

Japanese eggplant, preferred by this cook, continue to produce into the cooler days.

They take quite awhile to begin, and then decline slowly toward the freeze.

I've harvested all the tomatoes fit to harvest. 

The bigguns mostly look like this, although, I did get a few worth ripening at home with only cosmetic issues, namely -black spots. We'll eat those this weekend, before Betsy returns to Minnesota on Tuesday.

The fennel is home to several swallowtail pillars. 

And the chard, grown from seed several years old, is still quite good.