…but the demarcation line really is Labor Day, isn’t it? I did the Facebook cover photo seasonal change, and I thought those of you not on Facebook might like to see the photo, too. This was shot late last fall from the native plant garden at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.
Yesterday, the world lost a great woman, and I lost a good friend. Bea Kreloff died at 91. She was an artist, a teacher, a radical feminist, a very secular Jew, and a grand dame, one of the best storytellers I ever met. Even if she did tell you the same story a million times. She and her partner, Edith Isaac-Rose, co-founded Art Workshop International, where I teach in Assisi in the summer. She lived around the corner from me and I went over often for coffee (me) or martinis (Bea). One of her few regrets, she told me toward the end, was that she wouldn’t live to vote for a woman for President. There are better pictures of her — and certainly, ones she’d like better, with fewer wrinkles — but this is as I remember her best: on the terrace at the Hotel Giotto at cocktail time, looking splendid, laughing, and holding court. Bea, I will miss you.
And there’s more coming. This was dinner at the country home of my friends Mario and Marina. In addition to fabulous food — more than I photographed — we got the first lesson in wine that ever made sense to me; both Mario and Marina are sommeliers, amateur but certified. The house has been in Mario’s family, as has their home in Assisi, for, literally, centuries.
Table is set; Mario lights the mosquito candles. (They worked, too.)
Jonathan and Barb hang out before dinner.
Rolled meats, vegetables, and breads, skewered and roasted. Never had this dish before. Quite delish.
Cold rice salad.
Two colors of zucchini, one grilled, one marinated.
Plums, so sweet I’m wondering if these are the so-called sugar plums.
Inside the cake.
The house after dark.
Day trip to Florence starting early this morning, so cappuccino. (The first, but not the only, today.)
I know you asked for food and art, but a storm came in last night and left this morning, and I thought you’d want to see it.
Storm comes in last night.
After the storm, early this morning.
Yesterday I posted one of the sketches I did in drawing class and got this response: “Post more food pix!” Sic transit gloria. Here’s last night’s primo, which was vegetable lasagna, plus some foliage near the dining terrace and a sunset with backlit pigeons.
Okay, you guys. The food here is fabulous, so fabulous I keep forgetting to photograph it before we eat it. But I did grab some pix for you and there will be more. I’m sitting in my window watching at the layered mountains recede to the southwest and the rain clouds slide in. Dinner soon, but here’s yesterday’s. I didn’t manage the main course (grilled meats and vegetables) but I got everything else.
Campari and soda before dinner.
Antipasti, and students going for it, and statues looking on enviously.
Breezy here, which is great, because it’s hot. I’m on the porch watching the whitecaps roll around on the bay. We have only a tiny slice of water view, but it’s framed by branches and quite lovely. The rocking chair beside me is going as though The Invisible Man were also enjoying the afternoon. What’s a zephyr where I am is apparently a strong wind higher up; the trees are tossing their heads. An osprey with a fish in its talons just headed across the sky above the yard, struggling and pitching until it found a current it could ride. For some reason unknown to me, the ospreys don’t seem to fish where they nest. The ospreys from the beach to the north will fish in the water to the south, and the birds with a nest to the east — I have an almost-irresistible urge here to break into
The Vessel with the Pestle
but I’ll give you Danny Kaye instead.
When I got here I filled the birdfeeder, and though I had no customers in the hottest part of the day I had a house finch and some sparrows later on. Four crows were roosting in the neighbor’s apple tree. They’re a family; for the last two weeks the young ones followed their mother around making weak little “feed me” caws. That’s over now. One by one, they flew from the apple to the maple on the other side of the yard, feathery black shapes across the blue sky each with a small green fruit in its beak.
Stopped in my local deli last night on the way back from the Rancho. Young couple at the counter buying coffee. Counter guy I’ve never seen before, young, big grin, trendy glasses, says to man, “Mind if I give your girlfriend a compliment?” Man says go ahead. Counter guy turns to woman and says, “Nice ass!” Woman turns bright red, giggles. Man is stuck for a second, then says, “She loves to hear that.” Woman slaps him on the arm. They leave, her still giggling. I say to counter guy, “That may not have been what either of them was expecting.” Counter guy laughs and says, “Bet the sex will be better tonight.” “Oh,” I say, “that was altruistic?” “Yeah,” says he. “That’s what I do, travel around the world making sure everyone has great sex.”
I love New York.
The Rancho’s*** little North Fork town has a 200-year tradition of reading the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth. A dozen local folks take turns and everyone sits on the Historical Society lawn and listens. Since we’re the emphatically-not-the-Hamptons fork we don’t have a lot of celebrities and we’re delighted with that. But every now and then someone of note does appear. Sometimes they have places here, and sometimes they’re visiting friends. That was the case this year, and so the reading of the Declaration was led off by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
***Rancho Obesesso, the semi-nomadic summer home I’ve shared with friends for 24 years