4 min read

Weekly Waxing #2

Broccoli, zinnia, a devastating novel, an invitation of invasive plants, and (regrettably) a book about New Yorkers.

Weekly Waxing

It's the last week of Cancer season, the moon is waxing in Leo, and I'm waxing on...

What's blooming in the gardens

Last week, we harvested and ate two heads of broccoli from the garden. There's no feeling quite like eating something grown by my own care and attention; fertilized by the neighbor's chicken coop, store-bought soil, and last year's food scraps; and fed by the same sun that shines on me while I tend it.

Kal holding two small heads of green broccoli in their tattooed arms. The heads are surrounded by blue-green leaves. They are wearing a black tank top that reads “fuck you bike thief” in gold script.
Our broccoli, ft. Kal's "fuckyoubikethief" shirt lol

Kal thought it a bit unceremonious that the broccoli's fate was to be mixed in with mac and cheese. Personally, if I were a brassica, I'd want nothing more.

Last week I promised you a tiny zinnia. This week, I deliver:

A very small Orange zinnia blossom. The stem has many pointed green leaves, and the soil beneath it is dark brown and flecked with wood chips.
The only blossom yet of my February-sewn annual flowers.

I got a late start on tomato seeds this year, but they did start eventually, and this week I transplanted two Romas from their small containers. One went into a gallon bucket, and the other went into my herb bed between the oregano and nasturtium—a placement motivated by the lack of another large container.

a polyculture garden within about 100 sq ft of 7’ tall light mesh fence. Inside are four garden beds; numerous buckets and pots with peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes around the edges; two fanning wooden trellises; two hanging pots of strawberry; and a wall of pole beans growing up bamboo stakes. The garden beds contain an inter planted variety of brassicas, marigolds, beans, nightshades, calendula, herbs, wildflowers, cultivated flowers, and vining plants. The morning light glows yellow from the East. The garden is surrounded by mown grass and the suburban woods.
The center garden in the morning light.

It’s been a strange season for growing, between the heat waves and brief droughts and drifting smoke. Things are blooming at unexpected times. I’m trying my best to find the enchantment in the plants’ ability to adapt, improvise, send energy only where and when they can.

What I've been reading

By the time this newsletter reaches your eyeballs, my hope is that I've finished my current read: the marvelous, devastating novel Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez, as translated by Megan McDowell. Truthfully, I've slowed my pace over the past few weeks for no reason other than that I'm not ready for my time with it to end.

a white hand wearing silver rings holds a copy of Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez. It’s a big book (~600 pages), and the bright blue cover features an illustration of a demonic red hand with yellow claws adorned with orange flames. The title and author’s name are shown at the top and bottom of the cover respectively, in bold and bright yellow text.

I've been a fan of horror across mediums since I was a preteen. It was not a phase! No other genre finds a quicker way to the core questions and answers of what it means to be human, which is what art is supposed to do, in my humble yet pretentious opinion. Our Share of Night is an intergenerational horror epic unlike anything I've experienced before, from its depiction of the nonfictional horrors of war in 1980s Argentina to its conjuring of demonic nightmares from the other side.

There is some truly twisted stuff in here, and I've seen and read a lot of horror, so you can trust me when I say: there is some truly twisted stuff in here. This blog has a pretty solid content warning, but the full review does contain spoilers. Please check them out before embarking on this read — you deserve to enjoy the thrill of the scare without enduring psychological harm!

My favorite recent podcast listen

I love to listen to the For the Wild podcast archive while I tend the yard, and this episode accompanied me on a sunny afternoon of...weedwacking.

"Tusha Yakovleva on the Invitation of Invasive Plants," episode 307 of the For the Wild podcast

In the episode, host Ayana Young and ethnobotanist Tusha Yakovleva have a rich and winding discussion about the strengths of invasive plants, the meaning of the label "weed," and the possibilities of kinder collaboration between us and our weedy kin. Yakovleva is a student of Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer at the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry on Onondaga Nation homelands, and as a fan of Kimmerer's work, it was a treat to hear the ways her teaching has influenced Yakovleva's thinking and research. It gave me a lot to think about while I used a battery-powered trimming machine to pare back the "weeds" growing along the fences and the front curb.

Kal's Corner

Back by popular demand, it's Kal's corner, where my partner Kal shares something with you all.

While I am reticent to recommend any book about anyone from New York City, I adored Dykette by Jenny Fran Davis. I read a lot of gay books, and rarely are they also juicy, high-drama page-turners. I liked that a straight person...could not read it. It felt like an in-joke that I was in on, even though I know absolutely nothing about fashion or NYC (and would like to keep it that way). It was cool to read a novel with lesbian representation that includes transmasculine characters and have it not be, like, a thing. And with that recommendation I leave you with this:
A tweet from 12/14/2019 from user "femme oliver twist," whose handle is @ruinedurnight, that reads: "if i dont get a switch for christmas tm im going to explain he/him lesbians to my pop pop w dementia in the middle of dinner." It was tweeted at 7:10 pm from an iPhone.
An unhinged banger of a tweet from our shared mental vault

That's all for this weekly waxing! May the waxing moon treat you well. Thanks, as always, for reading my thoughts — if you dig into any of these recs, I'd love to hear about it in the comments here or via email reply. 💌