Cornichons de Mont Plaisant Tuesday, Jun 22 2010 

Mount Pleasant Gherkins

Ceci sont des cornichons.

The 0.00055 acre community sharecropping venture has finally paid off huge dividends in the form of diminutive cucumbers (cucumis sativus, though a different cultivar group). Growing at an alarming rate with late 60’s hippie hair breadth due to a strict regimen of cat food, hard boiled eggs and cheeseburgers. The fruits were picked throughout their adolescence for the purpose of pickling. There are few pleasures that surpass that satisfaction of growing sustenance from seed, nurturing it and preserving it for consumption well after its seasonal prime.   Mount Pleasant cornichons follow prescribed preserve protocol and provide a proper pickled pairing with homemade charcuterie.

Cucumbers in numbers.

Carmen and cayenne hot peppers are being grown for drying, along with paste tomatoes, heirloom carrots (all from seed), meth amphetamines, wheat, peaches, artichokes, cashews, corn, soy beans, pork bellies, rice, wax, wool, and, -if there is enough vertical space- rosemary.

Power to the pickle.

Half the cucumbers were pickled with cider vinegar (white wine vinegar is far from thrifty and the Swedish vinegar far too dear for pickling), water, 3% salt, coriander, black pepper, mustard seeds, pixie dust, dried chili, a few radish & garden carrot slices, fennel fronds and sour tears from a season past.

Trying to get bees with vinegar.

Un compagnion s’éteint. Wednesday, Jun 2 2010 

ManServant Heccubus

May ?, 1996 – May 30, 2010

They leave us in 3’s.

In loving memory of a constant, unwavering, dedicated companion throughout my adult life and all of his; Buffalo-Boston-Paris-San Francisco-New York City and Washington, DC.  A clever creature and clearly the best in the lot, with a passion for burrowing under blankets and resting vigilantly on my chest.  A noble chin, siren’s meow, wily nook finding skills and audacious sidewalk patrols were his hallmarks.  He was fed as best possible: calf’s liver, wild salmon, Skittles, fresh tuna, yucca chips  (salsa not so much) and whatever scarps were available from previous endeavors.  He is loved to pieces and missed very much.

After a week of poor form, non-existent appetite and a peculiar insistence on being perched on the kitchen table, Heccubus was rushed to the animal hospital by his hungover protector guardian who had over-celebrated his birthday the night prior.  The prognosis was grim.  An abdominal cavity filled with mysterious fluid, pockets of gas and strange discoloration in the lungs; the accurate $2000 diagnosis of which was not financially possible.  I broke down at the mention of euthanasia and the kind nurse’s lower lip seemed to quiver at the sight of my hopeless rum-flavored distress.  Upon asking her objective opinion, she confirmed the worst fears.  The dearest companion was very sick; at the end of his roll of battered yarn.

All of my choices have been questioned to the point of agony, either as a result of ancestral Semitic neuroses or uneasy self esteem; from choice of city, job, knife, footwear, lettuce variety…etc.  The decision to relieve the unforeseen, sudden pain was bittersweet and I wish more time had been spent with the beloved creature once he came to terms or understood that his time was running out and stopped nourishing himself despite my best efforts.  Most upsetting was that he suffered on my watch.

Best bedfellow ever.

I offered Heccubus to myself upon graduation from college, a birthday and as a companion for post-collegiate adult life.  He was one of a litter of 6, the only in sheer black and eating from a tiny dish, fitting in my shirt pocket on the way home.  His  title was a nod to The Kids in The Hall, the essential, iconic comedy troupe of my formative years.  He followed me to Boston,  onto Paris, then back across the Atlantic and US continent to San Francisco,  back over to the Bronx and ultimately Washington, DC.  A well traveled animal, possibly better traveled than most in my high school class.  The Parisian and Bronxite quarters were confining, the former more of a prison as a result of lengthy workdays and that period has been noted at 10 human months of lost affection,  far more in feline years.

I have been fortunate enough only to have lived through the deaths of maternal grandparents and while the current grief is certainly not within the immediate spectrum of a lost human, such a constant, grounding companion merits parallel sorrow, particularly for those with more fragile emotions and decision of euthanasia needs to be made.  With my limited personal relationships throughout his lifetime, any careful affection and what may constitute rudimentary “love” for an animate object that recognized me and answered to his name was funneled to that cat like some modern  masculine table-arts version of Colette.

A catnip plant (the demands of a dog are similar to entertaining a girl-friend whereas those of a cat evokes an independent houseplant)  honors his memory on the sidewalk he patrolled for 6 years and will be planted in the garden for Constable Cuddlesworth to enjoy, the low-watt long hair that my sister found in the woods and whom Heccubus protected in his infancy, only to pounce on and wrestle with him later.