Thursday, January 13, 2011

no tomatoes for you

    There was the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld - "No soup for you"  and this season, I must be the tomato Nazi.  I cannot give in.  January arrived and so did the dozens of seed catalogues who have me on their mailing lists.  I love this time - so cold and snowy outside, but daydreams of harvest time rolling around in my head.
    Every year I try something new, something I  have not grown before.  Last season was tomatillos - pineapple tomatillos, too be precise.  The verdict was: They are WONDERFUL!  So easy to grow and very prolific.  I love crops I can eat straight from the plant, as I am weeding.  However, last year, for the second year in a row, my tomato plants succumbed to the late season blight.  So this year,  in hope of freeing the garden from it, I am bypassing the tomato sections of the catalogues.  I hope a season without them will mean next year will be better.
  So this season I will be focussing on greens - lettuces, spinach and chard - and trying kale for the first time.  I plan on beets, because, well, I like beets! They also make some lovely dye.   We  will have the requisite pole beans and zucchini, but perhaps we will skip the gigantic space eating winter squashes.  I may tuck in some amaranth, as it is so lovely, and finally cucumbers.  But, no tomatoes for me...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Red Chair

   This chair belonged to my husband's grandfather. It was in his office when he was the County Executive of Baltimore. This was between 1958 and 1962.  We think it was in his office when he was on the Board of Commissioners between 1942 and 1954.
      Regardless, it is an old chair.  It is a much loved chair.  For the 23 years I have known my husband, I have loved this chair.  It sat for nearly all those years in my mother-in-law's damp basement.  Nothing was done with it in terms of restoration, except someone, possibly my husband's grandmother, replaced the seat cushion with a vinyl covered cushion - yuck!
     What makes this chair so special is its inviting nature.  This chair calls to you,  "Come and sit. Flip a leg over the arm and rest your head in the spot between the wing and the back as you nestle in with a book.  Come and relax."
     The wings on this chair are far deeper than those found on contemporary chairs, allowing you to really snuggle in and get comfortable.  And countless people have done just that.  My children, my nieces, my husband, his brother, and heaven knows how many others have all flopped into this chair wriggled back and flipped a leg over the arm.
    It is for this reason that I have been asking friends and relatives, work associates and strangers for the name of anyone who does leather upholstery.  I finally called a local museum, who gave me the name of a guy, who gave me the name of a lady, who now has the chair in her possession and is ordering new leather to re-upholster this chair and bring it back to life.  After fifty - plus years, the surface is cracked and rips as you look at it.  The countless legs draped over the arms  have disintegrated the leather and the inner stuffing is showing.
     It will take a few weeks, and a lot more than a few dollars, but this chair will soon be granted another 50 years,  or more,  of happy readers draped sideways as they relax.