Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Florence, 2013

The cheese room, Podere Campriano, February 2013. It's unheated and in the winter I wore five layers and three layers of socks and still shivered the whole time, with my toes going so numb my feet felt like pegs. After lifting the curds out of the immense caldaia, we put them in forms and placed them under a tarp filled with steam, which was so hot it burned my eyes. In the cheese room not a second was wasted--we were either stirring, cutting, putting curds in forms, or rinsing, washing, and mopping at all times. Claudio made a lot of cheese, from fresh, custardy ravaggiolo to piquant pecorino stagionato, but by far his most popular sale at the market is his ricotta, which would all be gone in an hour or two.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

Train ride, Marrakech to Fez

On the train ride from Marrakech to Fez you can still see farmers and their families gathering hay by hand and loading it onto donkeys. After a year of farming, I was very moved by the sight. It reminded me of something Claudio of Podere Campriano told me. I asked: "But in the olden days, before machines, how did they even have time to do all this?" He said: "In the olden days, the only thing they had was time."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

February afternoon, Podere Campriano

Above: Claudio, a man who once crashed his car and ended up in the hospital because he had been trying to kiss his girlfriend while driving.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

One poem for the day

Buffalo Bill 's
                     who used to
                     ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat

he was a handsome man
                                                            and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death

--e. e. cummings

Saturday, July 20, 2013

February mornings, Podere Campriano

 Above: beautiful hot milk, the reward for getting up at dawn and undergoing two cold, hay-dusty hours of milking and feeding

There is a sign on the long dirt road to the property that warns hunters of the Podere's three dogs. "That's good, that way the hunters won't get near and accidentally shoot your dogs," I said to Claudio. "No," said Claudio, "It's so that the hunters don't get near, because if they do, our dogs will eat their dogs." And in fact there are corpses of deer and skeletons of sheep all over the property.

Siena, 2013
San Galgano, 2013

Somewhere in England, 2010

 London, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

One Poem for the Day

The Rhythms Pronounce Themselves Then Vanish

After they told me the CT showed
there was nothing wrong with my stomach
but my heart was failing, I plunked
one of those weird two-dollar tea balls
I bought in Chinatown and it bobbed
and bloomed like a sea monster and tasted
like feet and I had at this huge
chocolate bar I got at Trader Joe’s
and didn’t answer the door even though
I could see it was UPS with the horse
medication and I thought of that picture
Patti took of me in an oval frame. Sweat
itself is odorless, composed of water,
sodium chloride, potassium salts,
and lactic acid; it’s the bacteria growing
on dead skin that provides the stench.
The average life span of a human taste bud
is seven to ten days. Nerve pulses
can travel up to a hundred and seventy miles per hour.
All information is useless.
The typical lightning bolt
is one inch wide and five miles long.

--Dean Young

Favorite things in the Louvre

I know some of my friends think it's bad form to take pictures of pictures. But especially in an encyclopedic museum it's nice to go through picking out the things I like, and in the end assembling them, and figuring out from the outside in the patterns that I'm drawn to.