How rabbits recline

Today is not the sort of day on which a bunny might be seen in this come-what-may, and-isn't-the-breeze-lovely? position. Mother Nature heard my yesterday's plea for more true gloomy winter weather, when one does not feel she is Missing Out on Everything because she is spending the day at her desk. Bunnies are in their hollers, or under their bushes, or at least definitely not in my salad patch considering the tautness of their bellies or the delicate peppery tasting notes of arugula, when paired with something more mild like a nice tender mache.


Well ahead of schedule...

First crocus. Where has my winter gone? I am not through with my indoor to-do list yet. Oh dear.


My tobacco is bigger than me!

I keep finding unposted pictures of happy memories, when the world was green and much less apocalyptic. Here I am with my Scherazi tobacco. I bought the seedling from a woman at the Ithaca farmer's market. She said it had an amazing scent in the garden, and made for a good smoke. I enjoy the fragrance of nicotiana when I am moth-gazing at night, and Matt enjoys a good smoke, so it sounded like just the ticket. I was disappointed when the lovely pale pink flowers came and smelled like nothing. But then on a warm afternoon when the sun was cooking up little thermals of air above the garden, I smelled something... Dark-dirt-animal. Wet-leather-smoke-and-manure, like a damp cigar. This must be the smell the farmer was talking about - one I associate with cured tobacco, and didn't know could come from a green plant. I can never call it up on command - crush the leaves, bruise the stem... nothing. It wafts up like an aura when it wants to, and I love it.


Frederick, master of ambush

This is Frederick. He lives on Brook Street. In the early morning, from his porch, he spies my dog Laika and I approaching from the east. He does not like this. But at the same time, there's the thrill of the hunt, which is, after all, thrilling.

Frederick does not sound the alarm. No - he has a plan, and it involves Silence and Stealth. He is slingshot-fast. So fast that the human eye cannot trace his path. Now, he is crouched behind his Shrubbery (which I suspect he has - with the help of his master's pruning shears - optimized into The Perfect Disguise).

Here is what Frederick would look like, if you took his Shrubbery away:
I have been duped by Frederick one too many times, and now, understanding his wily ways, I cross the street. This disappoints him, accustomed as he is to winning his nasty little game. He was so looking forward to transforming into the dog version of one of those terrifying samurai throwing stars, scaring the very soul out of my dog and I, and then slamming into the chain link fence at waist level. At that point we would realize the assault was really all in jest, because Frederick would stand, dust himself off, and trot back to the porch for a snack from his kibble dish, and a wait for the next unwitting opponents.

[Frederick (that fiend!) and I are pleased to take part in Illustration Friday's "Suspense" theme this week.]



In keeping with the "thug life" theme of my last post, here's a question for you... If, sooner or later, all your friends end up behind bars, does that mean you're hanging with the wrong crowd?


Gangs of the city garden

(Or, My Tribute to Richard Price)

This week's sketch features two of the ne'er-do-wells who are good enough to give me a nod when they pass through my garden, on their separate ways to... where? The dumpster behind the Irish pub? A meeting to discuss New Screams to Make in the Night that Sound Like Human Children Dying? A place where they sell unlicensed firearms (and glocks to cats)?

I will likely never know, but strange as it may sound, I welcome these and other unsavory characters into my little sanctuary. Not that I have any choice - it's more their garden, and I'm just That Lady, Prone to Outbursts, who Lives in the Big Wooden Box.

Here's what I've come to believe. As a city gardener, you can think of yourself as a weeder, a waterer, a seeder, a mulcher, even an urban farmer with utopian organic ideals... Or you can simply accept that your role is to prepare fluffy, soil-filled toilets for cats to shit in. Also, importantly, you provide fortification to the thirteen generations of rats who currently occupy your compost pile.

To sum up, being that I embrace all creatures, great and small (even as I attempt to ensnare them in my Hav-a-Hart trap), I want you to know that everyone is welcome here, from the sweethearts (chickadees) to the scoundrels (dirty English sparrows, guilty of countless atrocities against the ecosystem).

Roving pitbulls, one-eyed-one-eared-stub-tailed tomcats, skunks of ill repute and all other bad actors... My land is your land. This is why, when I come out in the morning, I say "Good morning, friends!" and acknowledge anyone who wasn't there yesterday (song sparrow!), and take note of any fresh blood. Then at night, when I go in, I say "Goodnight, friends!" and everyone goes on with whatever it is they like to do at night, which may or may not include feeding, collecting nest materials, or Forcefully Removing the Ear of a Foe.