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Whole-fruit marmalade

We often order a box of grapefruit at Christmas. I had opened the last jar of homemade marmalade in early December and it is also the season in Florida for Seville oranges, the ugly, bitter fruit that produces a delicious preserve. I’ve discovered that it improves with aging. That last jar I was finishing was five years old and had

By |December 27th, 2015|Categories: Oddments|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Valerie Fletcher Eliot, born this day in 1926

Today would be Valerie Fletcher Eliot’s 90th birthday. I’ve been thinking about the reserved girl whose schoolmates I’ve visited in different parts of England over the past two years. I have met wonderful old ladies whose energy and vivacity gives me hope for my own future decades. None knew Valerie well. She was that quiet girl in the back of

The article I wrote for Valerie Eliot about novelist Djuna Barnes

Valerie Eliot agonized about writing anything. It drove me crazy. There was, for example, a footnote about a reference to “charflappers” in a letter from T. S. Eliot (TSE) to his American publisher Scofield Thayer that she rewrote, or rather we rewrote, dozens of times. I’d think we had put that question to bed, and a day or two later

The rapturous consciousness of life beyond self

I decided to reread the novel Middlemarch by George Eliot because it is considered one of the great depictions of community life, and when I read it last, probably as a teenager, I wasn't thinking about community at all. What I'd forgotten is that it is also about female aspiration and the longing for a life of significance. This opening

Hops from the compost heap [updated]

October 2015: Here's a photo of the first year's growth. Unfortunately I was at the Frankfurt Book Fair when an unusually hard frost (a sudden drop to 18 degrees F) came, and I hadn't yet cut the garlands of blossom. They'll climb again next year, with an earlier start and stronger roots, so my kitchen will eventually be decorated with

By |October 30th, 2015|Categories: Home Ecology|Tags: |0 Comments