Monday, February 25, 2008

The Acrobatic Fly

"I love only the cleanest flies, super-gay, dressed in little grey alpace suits from Balenciaga, glittering like a dry rainbow, precise as mica, with granite eyes and with bellies of noble Naples yellow, such as the marvellous little olive flies of Port Lligat, where nobody lives except gala and dali. These little flies always have the grace to sit on the oxidised silver side of the olive leaf. They are the fairies of the Mediterranean." Dali 1966
Dali said that he was only happy in the sun, naked and covered with flies. And he would wax his moustache with sticky date juice and pour anchovy oil over his head to attract them.
Whatever your feelings toward flies you've got to be impressed by the dexterity and strength of 'The Acrobatic Fly' from 1910.

Click on picture to enlarge.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This Year's Models

Along with the leeks I've now got a tray of salad seeds going - 2 lettuce varieties Craquerelle de Midi and Black Grained Simpson, rocket and scallions. Meanwhile I'm fondling this season's squash seeds and indulging in some 'pre-vis'. It will be another 3 or 4 weeks before I dare to start them off. I could be happy with Buttercup and any of the Hubbards but it's fun to try some new ones. This will be the second time out for Chirimen, although I've had great difficulty with fruit set on the moschatas, particularly the Kabocha types. Last year I had 3 Shishigatanis which unfurled over 100 feet of luxuriant vine and after dozens of false starts yielded 2 small squashes.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cabbage Day

February 17th, that'll be 'World Cabbage Day' again. Last year on this occasion I posted some of Cato's enthusiastic 'In Praise of Cabbages'. Here are just a few additional uses to which Pliny the Elder suggests that the brassica may be put.
"... this plant is a remedy for flatu-lency, melancholy, and recent wounds, if applied with honey, and not taken off before the end of six days: beaten up in water, it is also for scrofula and fistula ... We will add only one more proof of the virtues of the cabbage, and that a truly marvellous one - in all vessels in which water is boiled, the incrustations which adhere with such tenacity that it is otherwise impossible to detach them, will fall off immediately if a cabbage is boiled therein."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Halcyon Days of Winter

The skies have been blue and daytime temperatures around 14° for the past week.
Unlike the lilies of the field, I have toiled AND I have sown and now I'm pooped. Two trays of leeks are now sat in the potting shed - Swiss Zermatt and Bleu de Solaise - about a week ahead of my start last year. Most of the beds are dug over and cleaned up and I'll get shallot and onion sets in tomorrow.
Happy days. And it's scientifically proven that playing in the dirt is good for your psyche. Read all about it if you haven't already.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Happy Fat Tuesday

You might be tempted to make pancakes the tiresome old-fashioned messy way (mix 3 eggs into 200 gm. self-raising flour and then gradually stir in a pint of milk). But why bother? Just reach for a can of 'organic' BatterBlaster. Be sure to have a look at the demo film to be convinced. And with the time you've saved you can whip up delicious toppings (sorry not yet available in aerosol cans - you'll have to get out your blender and bowls and use the suggested recipes) instead of just pouring on boring old maple syrup or squeezing a lemon.