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Archive for the ‘Home & Garden’ Category

Erika Rae

Harvest Time! Or, My Democratic Carrots Have Genitalia. What Have Yours Got?

October 25th, 2009
by Erika Rae

BOULDER, CO-

This year, being the proud Obamabot that I am, I eagerly followed the left wing conspiracy all the way to my garden. Never mind the fact that I live at 9000 ft in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and get exactly 11.3 weeks of contiguous summer. The White House grounds currently survive an inordinate measure of chill under the scrutiny of the GOP. If Michelle could do it, I reasoned, so could I.

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Amy Shearn

Disparate Housewives

October 17th, 2009
by Amy Shearn

BROOKLYN, NY–

I come from a long line of unenthusiastic housekeepers.  My maternal grandmother was known for blowing up kitchens (a particularly awkward situation as my grandfather was a clergyman and they were therefore always residents in church-owned homes).  My paternal grandmother’s culinary ambitions began and ended with Jell-o mold, albeit the dressed-up variety with fruit cocktail bits suspended within like edible gems.  Growing up, my house was a preferred place to play among my friends because you could make a mess, which made it ideal for craft projects of all sorts.

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Matt Baldwin

The First Thing I Did After You Moved Out

September 11th, 2009
by Matt Baldwin

SAN DIEGO CA-

The first thing I did after you moved out was rearrange the furniture.

Before your moving truck even made it down the hill to the interstate I was back upstairs, calculating the new geometric equation that redefined “our” home as “my” home. It was easy; the strength I wasted trying to keep us together was more than adequate to the task. With all of your junk gone there was at last room to move, room to breathe. You took away so much but at least you left me with that.

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Christopher Eaton

A Thousand Words: Home Again, Home Again

September 5th, 2009
by Christopher Eaton

CHICAGO, IL -

I don’t remember the first house I grew up in, though I have mental pictures of it from stories my parents tell. I know that it had a skylight. A school maintenance man climbed through it one chill New England day to rescue my locked-out family. New Hampshire houses weren’t locked in those days, so no one carried latch keys—inconvenient given that my toddler fingers were testing their new-found dexterity on deadbolts. Having denied my family entry, I sat in the kitchen, crying over the burned dinner and all the other heated activity I had set in motion.

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Dawn Corrigan

My Day

August 24th, 2009
by Dawn Corrigan

GULF BREEZE, FL -

When I got home from the hospital, where I spent approx. five hours wrestling with my grandmother so that she would not either:

1) Rip out her catheter; or

2) Climb out of bed and break her other hip

I found this notice waiting for me on the front door:

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Don Mitchell

Badass Pink Chevy

August 18th, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY -

Prologue: I’m getting worried about the Simon Smithson Effect (SSE). This afternoon I was fiddling with this piece, which is a companion to the earlier “I Don’t Brake for Mongoose,” both belonging to a larger work called “The Dump,” when in comes an email from the guy in Hilo who’s been using my trailer, telling me that this morning at sparrowfart, when he was least expecting it, he was stopped by a cop and told to register the trailer or face a $100 fine. SSE? WTF? LOL! Read on.
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Will Entrekin

When Your Heart is a House, You’re Home

August 18th, 2009
by Will Entrekin

JERSEY CITY, NJ-

I can’t decide how it feels to type those few words. Just a location. Geo-spatial coordinates related to a space I’m occupying. Heck, my phone has some radio or other Google Maps can apparently pinpoint to within 50 or so meters (not sure how I feel about that one yet, either), so it’s not as though location is a difficult thing to measure.

So. This is my first post here at TNB. Happy to be here. I actually meant to begin posting sooner, but then I read that every post on this site begins with a location . . . suddenly, I felt cogs slowing to halts. Grinding down. Or maybe spinning harder, faster, nearly out of control.

I guess that’s just one more thing I can’t be certain of yet.

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Paul Clayton

Le Voisinage de Monsieur Roger, First Blood, Part I, Chapter 7, addendum 1.2, or Wally Gator gets down with the crew at the sauna…

August 17th, 2009
by Paul Clayton

SAN FRANCISCO-

As usual, I drove to the municipal pool last Sunday.  My route takes me past the soccer field.  A game was in progress, one team wearing green shorts and jerseys, the other blue.  Soccer is really big here in South City with the Mexicans and Central Americans.  They’re out there most Sundays, their families picnicking on the grounds, watching.  There’s always a truck parked alongside the field selling burritos and tacos.  We also have a baseball field adjoining that.  They usually play Saturday and some evenings under the lights. (more…)


Paul Clayton

Le Voisinage de Monsieur Roger, First Blood, Part I, Chapter 7, Addendum 1.1, or My Life So Far…

July 26th, 2009
by Paul Clayton

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-

One of the neighbors in the ‘nage’ flips cars—that is, he buys them, spruces them up, then sells them.  There are always at least six of them parked on our little street, so sometimes it gets a little crowded.  He “ain’t from here,” as country people would say.  He hails from somewhere down south–El Salvador or Guatemala, I think.  He is well dressed, respectful, and attentive.  He can usually be found outside, cell phone in hand.  If I or one of the other neighbors seem to be having difficulty negotiating a turn into our driveways, he will hustle over and move one of the cars like an uptown parking lot Johnny.

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J.E. Fishman

The Prisoner of Bedford Hills

July 13th, 2009
by J.E. Fishman

WILMINGTON, DE-

In northern Westchester County, New York, not long ago, a man I know tried to end his life in a most horrible way.  It happened in the town of Bedford, famous for its tree-lined roads, for the millionaires who live along them, and, incongruously, for its maximum security prison.

The Bedford Hills Correctional Facility — named for one of the town’s three hamlets — sits hard by the highway, just over a mile from the train station, surrounded by tall fences and barbed wire.  Woods encircle the compound.  From the ground, it reveals itself by a single approach.

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Jennifer Duffield White

The Barefoot Summer

July 7th, 2009
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

It might be because this is my last summer in these mountains, for a while at least.

Or because my friend Amy is obsessed with the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico and their barefoot running.

Or because I just quit my job of nearly 10 years.

In any case, I’m conducting another experiment, exposing tender skin to the jagged edges of my world.

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J.E. Fishman

Dramatic Entrance

June 17th, 2009
by J.E. Fishman

WILMINGTON, DE-

She had my thing in her hand when the monkey swung in.

Like the monkey, I wish to make a dramatic entrance.

But what constitutes a great dramatic entrance?  Is it some thing or some act that rises above ordinary by its very existence or action?  Or is it an invitation for one’s imagination to go someplace it hasn’t been lately — or someplace it has never been?

The great dramatic entrance — whether it’s an opening sentence, an architectural feature or a theatrical introduction — has a come-hither quality, I think.   It startles one pleasurably with certain unspoken possibilities.

Some people’s flair for the dramatic goes way back.  Take the du Pont family, for instance.  They fled the French Revolution, it is said, and landed on these shores on New Year’s Day 1800 — kissing the still-new world on the first day of a new century.

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Savannah Schroll Guz

In Praise of the Radish Burp

May 29th, 2009
by Savannah Schroll Guz
WEIRTON, WV -

I have a tendency to become….mmmm, how shall I say this?….a little paranoid. It’s not anything out of the ordinary. I think, under the circumstances, many people probably feel inherently uneasy right now (and maybe always have). There’s, you know, that nuclear threat posed by North Korea, the recent swine flu outbreak, the continued recession, local political battles, larger social dynamics over which I have absolutely no control. I could list a thousand things that push my personal panic button.

However, what happily tows me back to earth (besides my comforting and levelheaded husband) when I jet into one of my overly-reflective or speculative orbits, is a walk to our garden. We have gradually increased its size over the three or four years since we started growing our own food. We have beets, eggplants, carrots, peppers of all sorts, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, potatoes, sunflowers (for seeds), squash, pumpkins, even cantaloupe. Soon, we’ll plant black beans.

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Colleen McGrath

Home Improvement and High Heels

April 23rd, 2009
by Colleen McGrath

BERLIN, GERMANY

I seem to be carrying on the family tradition of tool-wielding women, albeit reluctantly.  My mother has long been gifted every Christmas with an addition to her tool set and although I am all for self-sufficiency and stepping outside traditional roles, the call of the tool belt never quite reached me.  It is, however, being forced upon me these days as drippy faucets and non-functional washing machines pervade my world and I have now come to know the inside of the Bauhaus the way I used to know Sephora(more…)


Zsofia McMullin

Leaf Management

April 20th, 2009
by Zsofia McMullin

PORTLAND, ME -

My garden taunted me all winter long. And that’s a long time in Maine. For several weeks, the snow was so high that the small wrought-iron fences that give the garden some sort of organization and form were completely invisible. I couldn’t wait until spring to dig my hands into the soil again.

My husband always corrects me when I call the area behind our house a “garden.” “It’s a yard,” he says, and I think he is wrong. A yard, to me, is some sort of vast expanse of grass, maybe some bushes and hedges. Perhaps a flower bed.  I am sure that there is a dictionary definition that would clear all this up, but frankly, I am just not that interested in the terminology.

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Claire Cameron

A Guide to Thinking About Urban Chickens: Chapter 3 - Chickens

April 8th, 2009
by Claire Cameron

TORONTO, ON-

In this chapter we will cover chickens. When I raise the subject of chickens at a dinner party (remember, this is the point of this guide), I often get a lot of concerned questions. Chickens worry urban people. This could be a product of urban anxiety or a symptom of our disconnect with the food chain. It may be that too many of us watched The Birds at an impressionable age or perhaps it’s a question of insecurity about property values.

Whatever the case, there are many things to fret. In case you haven’t thought of them all yet, I will address the most popular things to worry about in this post. Anxieties, after all, lurk behind many engaging conversations. (more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

Love Song for Budding Colors and Bloody Paws

March 29th, 2009
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

I shave my legs more often, dice green vegetables back into my diet, and find myself looking into the mirror in search of a favorable impression more often.

I let the v-lines of my shirt drop seductively low, unhindered by scarf or sweater.

And just now, as I was walking, I became aware of a sultry swing of the hips that has infiltrated my stride, stretching from swirled embroidery on jean pockets down to brown leather boots.

It is mating season. (more…)


Claire Cameron

A Guide to Thinking About Urban Chickens: Introduction

March 24th, 2009
by Claire Cameron

TORONTO, ON-

When I am at a dinner party and there is a dull moment, I often bring up Big Red. She was the dominant bird in my flock. We disagreed on a number of things, but our main the issue was who was in charge. When I brought out corn each morning, Big Red would rush me. I’d drop the corn and Big Red would have a good breakfast. I got bullied by a chicken.

I’ve looked after chickens at various times in my life, most recently on retreat from the city at friend’s farm near Creemore, Ontario. That’s where I met Big Red. She and the girls were in a coop at the back of the house. I fed them, talked to them and scooped out their poo. Caring for the chickens felt good, like an extension of buying free range eggs or organic meat. Giving them a nice life made it seem like a fair deal if I took their eggs. But Big Red showed me things were different than I first thought. (more…)


Paul A. Toth

Hats Off to the Pest Controller

March 20th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

Yesterday, I received notice from the landlord: A pest controller would arrive in the morning and remove some type of animal from the attic spaces above all second floor apartments.  Today, at approximately 10:00 a.m., a man in a uniform climbed into the attic, where he remained for six minutes.  I heard what sounded like two hammer blows, followed by a high-pitched “Ouch, motherfucker!” Then, with a thud, it was over.  Before leaving, the man in the uniform stopped and said, “This never happened.” (more…)


Henning Koch

Toilet Notes from Sardinia

February 28th, 2009
by Henning Koch

SARDINIA, ITALY-

This month’s instalment from me has been drafted whilst on the toilet. There’s a reason for this, and the reason is the self-centredness of certain artistic types I know. Most people, when afflicted with the vomiting virus, particularly once it has struck down most of their family and friends, will tend to stay in until the storm wanes. Not artists, though. Artists cheerfully turn up at your front door, kiss you full on the lips, offer you a swig of their bottle of rum and then spend the whole night insisting on games of poker, only occasionally interrupted by hurried forays into the bathroom – emerging pale and trembling. Only then do they tell you:

“Wow, it’s amazing, I’ve been vomiting and crapping myself silly for the last twenty-four hours, and so has my brother, mother, second cousin and nephew. I wonder, could there be something going round?”

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