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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Up Bear Creek / 20oct50011

Harvest time, down on the Spud Patch

CLOUD ACRE … One of the glories of getting old is getting to ask help of your friends (especially younger ones) … I’ve been cultivating heirloom potatoes for over a dozen years now, and developing reliable seed production for almost 50 varieties of Solanum tuberosum. Sort of your one-man horticultural research station … Good keepers. Potatoes are a survival crop. Grow best at high altitudes. We have less bugs on Wright’s Mesa than the San Luis Valley. Or the Snake River Plain of Idaho … Reds, blues, browns, whites and yellows, with names like Pink Eye, Bluebird, Rose Apple, Caribe and Maroon Bells … In total, I have 50 of so separate varieties in cultivation. Perhaps 30 or so seed potato varieities to trade, and enough bulk for gifts and good eating all winter … But harvesting and preparing the beds for planting is time-consuming (though good down-in-the-dirt work). So I was able to talk my (younger) friend Steve McHugh to help me out. He’s a garden whiz of his own – with a plot in Norwood’s community garden, a plot at his place and a plot at mine. But his help made all the difference this year, and we got a darn respectable crop. Thank you, Steve!

OVER ON THE ROARING FORK … I met the amazing Valerie Haugen at the Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival in Carbondale last winter. So, of course, I had to go see her perform. I love performance. My father was an actor – church plays, community theater, even professional parts before he died. My one claim to theater fame revolves around ushering for several plays at the Strater Theater in New Haven – a legendary old house in Broadway circles … Valerie’s dramaturg and lead actress for the Thunder River Theatre Company (as well as a very fine poet). I had high hopes, and I wasn’t disappointed … Gorio and I hightailed over McClure Pass after school on Friday and caught the repertory company’s current production -- a zany dark comedy of John Guare: The House of Blue Leaves (1971). The play’s about thwarted dreams, friendship, nuns, bombs, love, madness, and show biz -- a bouillabaisse of post-Sixties Warholian madcap married to a kind of half-musical drama … Valerie played a seductively off goddess gone bananas, opposite Lee William’s mercurially athletic singing lead, Jennifer Michaud’s two-timing bad-mouthing know-it-all hussy, and a baker’s dozen of quite believable characters … A delightful evening … Valerie has a one-woman show coming up, The Healing Power of Art, Nov. 27th at 7 p.m. at Thunder River Theatre (go to and click on events)

STICKS & STONES … “Art Good-Nowhere-Times,” my new nickname courtesy of a wild horse advocate who thinks I’ve not been doing enough for our more-than-human friends out in Spring Creek Basin … … The Rev. Clint Perry’s funny aside at his touching graveside service in Norwood: “If you’d never been offended by Dora Spor (God love her), than you didn’t know her” … What Jim Fisher, area manager for Dennison Mines, said, with a big sardonic grin, at the post office closure meeting in Egnar, “It looks like Art Goodtimes and I are on the same side this time.” … “Classless” was how one Facebook friend termed my sarcasm around the departure of Susan Culver from our wagon wheel of West End bully pulpits.

OUTLAW POETS … Norwood actually gets to host two poem-packing street poets from California’s Long Beach on the first leg of their Western tour:from RD “Raindog” Armstrong -- author of Living Amongst the Mangled (Lummox Press, 2010) -- and G. Murray Thomas -- author of My Kidney Just Arrived (Tebot Bach, 2011) … At the Livery, Monday night, Oct. 24th at 7 p.m.  … And then Telluride gets the duo at the Wilkinson Library, Tuesday, Oct. 25th at 6 p.m.

MONTROSE … Got to beep my horn in solidarity and give a thumb’s up to (mostly) young folks occupying the southwest corner of Townsend & Main. Nice to imagine our conservative regional commercial core to be hosting occupation forces … Tea Party meet Wall Street.

BLUFF ARTS FEST … Kate Niles is one of many reasons to make an off-season pre-snow desert drive over into our neighboring Mormon Four Corners state. She’s leading a workshop 9 a.m. to noon at St. Christopher’s Mission for the annual Bluff Arts Festival, Oct. 20-23. The award-winning author of two novels (The Basket Maker and The Book of John) and a book of poetry (Geographies of the Heart), Kate taught at Fort Lewis College for eight years
in the Writing, Honors, and General Education programs. Her anthropological background and love of the American West serve as her principal muses … The title of her workshop is “Fiction or Non-fiction: It Doesn’t Matter!”


That’s U.S.

One Halliburton
Under Goldman-Sachs
With Great Riches
For the Few
& Servile 
For the Rest

-Jack Mueller
Log Hill Village

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