Category Archives: sometimes I leave the house

A clean, well-lighted place

Last weekend, I took advantage of the gorgeous weather/late fall light combination and took a long walk around Green-Wood. I love the dramatic shadows you get when the sun is this low in the sky. The picture below was taken right around noon.

I hadn’t posted a good grave-marker-reclaimed-by-the-earth photo in a while.

That bizarre sculpture on the ground definitely wasn’t there the last time I was in this area.

I was fully expecting/half hoping to get an angry badger to the face while I was taking this. (I love badgers.)

Then I had the good fortune to stumble upon what very well might be the most beautiful tree in the world…

Day trip

Saturday, I met my mother a bit north of the city for a day of sightseeing. She really likes visiting historic homes and I’m perfectly willing to go to one once in a while, so our first stop was Lyndhurst, one-time home of Jay Gould. (I nearly typed Stephen Jay Gould, which would be a whole other story.) I thought the grounds were a lot more interesting than the house.

From there we headed over to Blue Hill at Stone Barns. I’d never been there, but I’m a huge fan of Dan Barber and everything he’s done to make sustainable agriculture viable and visible and, frankly, kind of sexy. I’d been curious to see the operation for a long time. There is a fancy restaurant on the premises, but there’s also a nice little cafe where we got soup and sandwiches before walking around the grounds.

Escapee turkey (the little bastard hopped down, walked over to us and tried to peck me; I hope someone finds her delicious):

Maybe not the most alert livestock guardian dog I’ve ever met:

Then we went over to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, since we both have a thing for old cemeteries. It’s a nice one, hilly and old, with some interesting monuments. Washington Irving is buried there, and plenty of people who share names with his characters (a passel of Van Tassels, for example). At one point when we were walking around, a woman drove up next to us, asked my mother if she is of Dutch descent (she is), burbled happily about how much she loves history, and then drove away, leaving the two of us open-mouthed and giggly.


Last night was the latest in a series of larder food swaps organized by Kate of Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking and Meg of BKHomesteader. The general idea is to bring extras of all of the jams, pickles, and other interesting concoctions you’ve been making and swap with other people who’ve also been toiling away making fun stuff. I brought some of the rhubarb schnapps I made this spring (will post a recipe soon, have to find my notes) and a jar of roasted, shelled gingko nuts I collected this weekend (post on that to come too) and came home with a jar of salmon rilettes made by Liza of FoodCurated and a fascinating tea blend made by Liz, who I was excited to meet after following her on twitter for a while. It’s called Vivid Visions and can be either drunk or smoked(!) The swaps are always a good time. People bring snacks, last night there was wine, and there are dozens of interesting people to chat up.

That was … weird

This past weekend, I went to the last ever performance of Angels and Accordions, the site-specific dance/music/dramatic posing extravaganza at Green-Wood Cemetery. I had won tickets through their site for knowing some things about Dewitt Clinton* and brought along my friend Anna. I had a great time, but it was due more to the excellent company and our shared love of the absurd than the performance itself, which was overly crowded and overwrought and kind of hackneyed. This photo gives a pretty good idea of what it was all about:There was some dance at the beginning and end of the event, but the bulk of it involved walking around with roughly 500 other people, looking at “angels” posing dramatically around the cemetery. Occasionally, someone playing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” or “Beautiful Dreamer” on an accordion would be stationed nearby. We split off from the group for half an hour or so and wandered around taking pictures and picking up conkers, which I find completely irresistible both as shiny, useless objects and a kickin’ potential fake swear. If I could think of anything to do with them, I’d haul ’em home by the sackload.

I’d never seen this stone before Anna spotted it and we spent longer than I’d like to admit trying to figure it out. There’s no apparent connection between the two people. She was 13 when he died, so he could have been a grandfather, though it doesn’t say so. They seemingly had nothing in common, she being a California-dwelling pacifist and socialist, while he was a Freemason who fought in the Civil War. Even if she was a descendant who wanted to be buried across the country from where she died near this particular guy, why add him to a new stone? Presumably he had had one sometime in the more than 70 years between their deaths.

Then we accidentally stumbled back on the group just in time to catch the finale.

*VERY little-known fact about Dewitt Clinton: He was the ancestor and namesake of a young man with whom I once spent an evening in the early ’90s drinking a highly suspect concoction of malt liquor and wine coolers and because of whom I was subjected to one of my first hangovers.