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Monthly Archives: May 2014


When did lemons get to be so expensive? For years, I rarely bought them, because they just didn’t seem worth the price, and the quality was rarely appealing. And yet, lemons can be useful. Nothing is better than fresh-made lemonade on a hot day. Trader Joe’s has pretty good prices on lemons, so I’ve been […]

Update on Fugue in Ursa Major

I regret that, several times, I’ve made optimistic projections about when Fugue in Ursa Major will be released for sale. Then I keep missing the targets. My new target date for release is June 20. I am reasonably confident that, even if I miss that target date, I won’t miss it by far. The novel […]

The garden kicks in

The abbey is far from self-sufficient in food, a fact made clear by expenditures at Whole Foods. But each year when the garden kicks in, there begins a time, lasting for several months, in which the abbey is pretty much self-sufficient in produce. Eggs too are an important part of the equation. Eggs from the […]

Old-fashioned shrubs

A neighbor has given us some shoots from her old-fashioned shrubs. I’m pretty sure this is English dogwood, also known as “mock orange,” or Philadelphus coronarius. If that indeed is what it is, it’s a native of Southern Europe. A hundred years ago, it was very popular, and it can sometimes be found around old […]

We’ve got lettuce

We are so rich with lettuce right now that we donated some of it to the Stokes Future Farmers’ Market. The garden is looking great. Photos soon… Kitty and Ronda, who help hold the farmers’ market together

A good drink was had by all

There had been barely half an inch of rain in the last month. Yesterday, it rained — 1.56 inches. This morning you can almost feel the exuberance of the green things. The honeysuckle and the roses are just getting started. We’ve been eating lettuce for a week, and now we’re covered up with lettuce. The […]

American classic

Sometimes when I am out and about and the only choice is to eat what the natives eat or go hungry, I eat what the natives eat. One of the few reliable items on any country menu will be the hamburger. This is because it’s food they understand, and they have to make it fresh. […]

It’s that farmer’s market time of year

The farmer’s market nearest to the abbey is in Danbury, and today it opened for the season. It’s operated by a group called Stokes Future, several members of which are friends of the abbey. So far, there’s not much fresh produce available other than lettuce and onions. But you can buy honey from bees that […]


How to find a dark sky

The dark blue areas are reasonably dark skies. One of the darkest areas on the East Coast is in West Virginia. Note that almost the entire state of North Carolina has ruined skies, with the exception of the Dismal Swamp in the northeast corner of the state. One of the cruelest, most magic-killing forms of […]