My kids are certifiable artichoke fanatics. Have been since they could eat solid food. And they come by it naturally: My parents had me eating them very young. The ‘chokes we get here are artichokes in name only – desiccated, brown, disgusting shells of what were once little packages of deliciousness. A number of years ago we grew our own, very successfully, here in southeastern Pennsylvania (a claim which was discounted by the local horticultural society as “improbably”). We were able to over-winter the plants for a year as well, but haven’t grown them since.

Last year, I placed an order with a California grower for a number of 1-year-old plants in hopes of having fresh ‘chokes for the summer. She never delivered, though, and we were (again) left with the drech at Redner’s.

In December, we ordered a few packets of seeds, determined to have viable plants this year. The seeds were planted last week; today we have our first sprouts! About four of the ~20 Violetto seeds have sprouted. I’ll check the Imperial Star pots when the kids are home.

Summer, here we come!


Ash box…


Ash box...

Started this box for my son when he was about 3, as a sturdy rock box. He turns 14 this week. Yow.

As a rock box, I was more interested in resiliency that appearance; I was making a bench at the time, had a surplus of ash, so I planed some down. Mitered the sides, checked the fit with band clamps, then got distracted. The box has sat, in the band clamps, ever since. Planed some walnut a while ago for the top and bottom, summarily lost the pieces, and put it on the back burner again.

About a month ago I cleaned out the garage. The shop’s usable again. Decided I’d finish this box. Found some more walnut, but wasn’t really excited about it. One afternoon, napping, it occurred to me that the box should be entirely ash (I love ash), and I should find some figured ash for the top. Woke up (seriously) and found a 4×4 chunk of a bench leg that’s been sitting on the bench as long as the box had been. Resawed it, reverse diamond matched the pieces, and the top was born. Resawed a plank for the bottom, got after it this week, and today it’s finished.
My son has long since moved on from his child’s fascination with garden rocks. The box is destined to be filled with Hershey Kisses and Wint-O-Green Lifesavers, and will perch on my desk at work.

So, all ash, splined with ash, finished with lacquer. Knock another off the long-term project list.

Uh, oh…


Uh, oh...

…it’s happened again!

Today’s mail brought a new toy, one that I’ve been wringing my hands nervously for for what seems like an eternity (thanks to UPS’ holiday snafu…): An Eastman View #2 8×10. In remarkable condition, the only real work to be dome is to loosen up the action of the pinions on the gear racks. And patch some holes in the bellows. But really, shootable as-is. And complete with a Voigtlaender 9-7/8″/7.7 Series III #5 Collinear lens (of which I know NOTHING). I’m down to my last four sheets of 8×10, and now need to sell something to buy more. Anyone needs a Series I Canon 5D (full frame!), drop me a line!