At 5:30 Thursday, we returned from Dr Libby to find that around 5 pm, the copy-edited ms. of my new poetry collection ON THE WAY OUT, TURN OFF THE LIGHT had arrived two days late and with a fairly quick turnaround required. So this is likely the only other writing I’ll do this weekend. I can’t work on the ms. on Monday as I have a lot to do for my June juried intensive poetry workshop, providing information to the 12 poets I selected and also dealing with two zines that have taken or want poems. But between now and then, the ms. and only the ms will get attention except when I’m cooking, cleaning and doing laundry, feeding and playing with and brushing cats. Woody and I won’t have much private time together, so it’s great we had a getaway last week.
It has been a mild and rainy winter here with occasional freezes, when temperature at night dips into the low twenties or even the teens. After a pleasant and very mild week, tonight the temperature is dropping into the low twenties. Since there’s no snow cover, I’ll have to leave the water in the upstairs bathroom running a thin but continual stream to keep the long pipe from the well from freezing and having to be dug up – a huge task we would probably have to do ourselves. We wouldn’t know how to replace the pipes.
I started seeds last Sunday: broccoli, bok choi, red cabbage, cilantro, parsley, lettuce. Everything has popped except the ones that take a couple of weeks minimum: cilantro and curled and flat parsley. Today I started sweet, frying and hot peppers. As soon as the very cold weather of today and tomorrow passes, the seedlings that are temporarily in the bay window will go out to the greenhouse, tomorrow, I hope. A landscaper, Bob Fryland and his son, put in three little steps down below leading from the gravel driveway to our bottom garden. For years I have been asking for steps there as the slope to the garden is steep and can be slippery. Woody grows pole beans down there; I grow pumpkins, butternut squash and four other kinds of winter squash. Last year we got nothing but pumpkins since the rabbits ate everything else. I got ONE butternut squash, nothing else. They gnawed on one pumpkin, didn’t like it. I grow two kinds, the New England Pie and the big Cinderella pumpkins, Rouge Vif d’Estampes. They are grown mostly for beauty but I find if I cook down the flesh a bit, it’s very tasty.
I just finished Alexis Coie’s YOU NEVER FORGET THE FIRST. It’s a lively bio, not hagiographic. She’s a feminist. It’s heavily researched and well written and a very different take on George Washington, who by the time I finished the book, no longer seemed a wax figure.
After Karen Pasquale took me to the neighborhood Brazilian restaurant she had discovered in Hyannis, we also went across the parking lot to the Brazilian grocery. In the restaurant, only one person, a waitress, spoke English; in the grocery, no one. At the huge meat counter, I couldn’t tell what most of the cuts were. However, I saw oxtails. I used to cook them when I lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I hadn’t found them since I moved to the Cape until that grocery. I bought two pounds. I spend much of Wednesday afternoon making a stew, also including spices, herbs, carrots, celery, parsnips, Eastham turnip, onion, garlic, small potatoes, dry red wine and inexpensive Port. It cooked for four hours and we had it with multigrain bread for two nights. It was even more delicious the second night.
I was eating lunch and watching birds at the two feeders just outside the diningroom when a Swainson’s hawk landed on a branch where I could see him but the birds around the corner, couldn’t. One finch gave an alarm cry but the hawk waited. Xena saw it and launched herself at the window. The hawk was so startled, it flew away in alarm, thus saving the lives of the little birds who use the feeders. Xena watches them regularly but doesn’t do much except observe. But the hawk was big and thus required action to protect me, or just to defend her territory against a largish intruder.