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Posted 4/17/2011 11:11pm by Eugene Wyatt.

My reply to email  from a customer who had been waiting for more Musik garlic and to his comment about my blog entry concerning paying for digital access to the New York Times.

We did not plant any Musik this year as there was a nematode, as described by Cornell University's Diseases of Garlic Factsheet, that invaded much of the seed garlic in the Northeastern United States & Canada; the only clean seed (free of all diseases including the nematode) we could find to plant within a reasonably priced shipping distance was a German White porcelain (like a Musik) and a Ukranian Red rocambole.  The nematode problem was so pervasive that the Saugerties Garlic Festival prohibited wholesale sales last September and the SGF is a major market for seed garlic in the NE; this was the 1st sales prohibition in the 17 years of the festival's existence.

As far as the New York Times is concerned, it is not an either/or situation as you describe: the Times will cease to exist as we know it and readers paying for it will not make up for revenues lost in advertising.  As you know, there is a redefinition of  news media going on brought on by the Internet: no longer is media a one-to-many activity (
NYT > public, as in a traditional print newspaper), it is a many-to-many activity (public > public, like The Huffington Post and other blogging websites).  This redefinition will only accelerate leaving the Gray Lady sick and getting sicker. 

But the Times will be free again (I've read estimates of  within 10 months) as it attempts to recapture readership lost by charging for digital subscriptions; but the death throes will howl on longer than if the Times, that venerable broadsheet, were a publicly managed company, rather than being family managed as it is now, because blood (tradition) is thicker and stickier and blinder than red or black ink.

Other than that, what are you reading in French?


Posted 4/17/2011 7:36pm by Eugene Wyatt.

This morning's reading:

"Adjectival styles often succeed in nonfiction descriptions of first­hand experience. A cellist calls on adjectives…to answer the question, "How do the members of a string quartet play together and tour together year in and year out, without killing each other?" Below, the adjectives are italicized...

Conversely, there is a danger that individual criticisms can become destructively hurtful and bitter. If they are voiced too harshly and personally, no one ends up in a fit state to play. After all, the deep feelings conjured up when we play great music already make us feel vulnerable. In addition, nearly all playing requires maximum self-confidence and complete physi­cal ease and relaxation, even (or especially) in music of great intensity and ardour, or that is rapturous or celebratory

David Waterman, "Four's a Crowd"

From Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style Virginia Tufte 2006

Posted 4/17/2011 9:14am by Eugene Wyatt.
Eugene Wyatt
The old Mark Bittman as we still love him: How to Carve Leg of Lamb in Three Cuts -

The good with the bad: Now we have to pay for the New York Times online: $0.99 + tax for a week for the first 4 weeks, then $8.75 + tax a week thereafter...and I wonder why Judith Miller & Jayson Blair come to mind?  I suppose that as they got around the news (by falsifying it) while on the NYT's payroll, I'd like to get around paying the cost of a digital subscription (by fair means, not foul) as a reader.

The good again: Bittman says that a properly done leg of lamb will have both rare and well-done portions to please all your guests.

Posted 4/8/2011 1:45pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Even when it's not raining upstate one must wear a coat outdoors for all but a few hours in the early afternoon—it's still that chilly and  it feels colder when wet. This is the time of year of mud.  The  Spring rain makes a boot sucking mud of the recently thawed soil,

April is the cruellest month, breeding    
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing    
Memory and desire, stirring    
Dull roots with spring rain.

The Wasteland T. S. Eliot, 1922

It was Saturday. New Yorkers do not know mud; the city is paved and there are cement sidewalks to stroll upon. Before driving to Manhattan, I put on my Blundstones and looked down to see semi-dried mud caked on them. It was 5:30 AM, it was too late to wash my boots: my feet would be wet during the cold morning hours.  Instead I would take the farm with me to the city on the soles of my boots.  I was going there to sell, to see and not to be seen, I told myself.

And I should do something other than hang out  at the stand in Union Square as I usually do.  I have competent sales help at market; they really don't need me there.  Maybe I should take in a Chelsea gallery or two, see an exposition at one of the uptown museums or even go to a downtown movie, one that will never play upstate...I brought The New Yorker along to see with what kind of city idyll "Goings On About Town" could tempt me. 

Posted 4/7/2011 8:56pm by Eugene Wyatt.

If one had to read but a sampling of À la Recherche du temps perdu it would be Noms De Pays: Le Nom, the last section of volume I, Du côté de chez Swann.  The tone is lovely; the account is self contained and it has a wistful yet mature view of time past and has no need of the madelaine gimmickry that Proust uses to conjure 'involuntary memory'.

Tags: Proust
Posted 4/4/2011 9:10am by Eugene Wyatt.

Robert de Montesquiou, the aesthete who was the model for Proust's Baron de Charlus (perhaps the most intriguing and certainly the most  amusing character of the 2000 personages, real or fictional, in À la recherche du temps perdu), had his first love affair

"with a female ventriloquist who, while Montesquiou was straining to achieve his climax, would imitate the drunken voice of a pimp, threatening the aristocratic client."

Pages from the Goncourt Journals, (1851-1896) the Goncourt Brothers, Edmund & Jules, translator Robert Baldick, 2006.

Posted 3/31/2011 3:03pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Colette has given us a portrait of Marcel that is all but forgotten, yet which is shocking in its disdain:

“At ‘mother Barmann's’ [that is to say Mme Arman] I was hounded, politely, by a pretty, young literary-minded boy. The young fellow had fine eyes, with a hint of blepharism...He compared me—my short hair again!—to Myrtocleia, to a young Hermes, to a love of Prud'hon's...My little flatterer, thrilled by his own evocations, never left me...He contemplated me with his caressing eyes, with their long eyelashes...”

Colette did not much care for

“his over-weaning politeness, the excessive attention he paid to those he was talking to,”

she once again described

"the large, brownish, melancholy eyes, a skin that was sometimes pink and sometimes pale, an anxious look in the eyes, a mouth which, when it shut, was pursed tightly as if for a kiss...”

Marcel Proust, A Life by Jean-Yves Tadié, 1996 p. 211.

Posted 3/30/2011 7:50pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Sarah of Hawthorne Valley, a biodynamic farm in the Union Sq. Greenmarket and our neighbor there on Saturday, had a baby that she and father Ben (Hawthorne Valley too) call Hannah;  Sarah knit the hats pictured here from our wool, and a Catskill Merino sheepskin helps keep them warm.

Hannah and Sarah

Tags: Hannah
Posted 3/28/2011 7:48pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Dominique takes the early morning shift (when most of the lambs were born, 10-12 a day over the last 10 days) while I look in on the ewes about 9 PM every night to see if anybody needs a hand lambing.  If I come upon a newborn, for identification, I'll spray mark/color code the ewe to the lamb then dip its navel in a 7% iodine solution to prevent infection. 

There are some weak lambs born recently, usually twins, who need 2-4 oz. of milk replacer to keep them going through the night as their mothers are not producing enough milk yet; I deliver nourishment with the insertion of  a flexible plastic tube into their mouths, run it down their gullets and into their stomachs, then with a 2 oz. syringe connected to the tube I slowly introduce the milk replacer, made by adding water to powdered milk specially formulated for lambs.  Stomach tubing is faster (you can treat more lambs in the same time) than waiting for lambs to consume what they need from a latex nipple. 

It's still cold—19F tonight—the colder it is, the more nourishment a sheep needs.

Posted 3/28/2011 4:54pm by Eugene Wyatt.

I asked Dominique to pick up 072 so I could photograph him.  His mother is 159 and his Birth was recorded 6 days ago.  He was the 72nd purebred Saxon Merino born this year, hence his ear tag number.

I'm amazed that he, and his dam too*, know that he is a special sheep (good sheep seem to know their excellence and it is this self knowledge that amazes one); I can see by his calmness and the way way he carries himself that he is special.  The way he looks at me. He has that sense of assurance that only good sheep have; being that he is a purebred Saxon Merino, he will have superior wool, better wool than his peers have, in those important fiber qualities of fineness, uniformity and density; he should pass these qualities along to certain of his offspring when I breed him two years from now.

*Two days earlier I had tried to photograph him as he stood in the barn with a very dear Nikon 14 mm-24 mm  zoom lens on my D-700; as I bent over to get close to him, his mother, 159, interceded and bumped me leaving her nose print on the convex glass of the wide angle lens. "What you doin gettin so close to my boy?"