Friday, July 17, 2015

My Garden and More Research

Oh my garden
How do I love thee? 
Let me count the ways...

So this is interesting - a flower column.
This is the squirrel-poop sunflower  - meaning - I did not plant this seed here. The only logical explanation is that a squirrel pooped a sunflower seed and it landed here - all nice and fertilized. Then the morning glories grew right up the stalk and attached themselves to the wire above. Now I have a beautiful flower column. It's funny how I took so many morning glory seeds and threw them into the abandoned house and a few into my garden. The only ones that grew are the ones in my garden.  ???
The ones on the side, between me and the Els are doing beautifully. It is such a joy to look out the second floor window in the morning and see the little pink and purple buds. 
I have more than ever this year so I think I need to start gathering them and reigning them in. They are growing were I don't exactly want them - in the middle of my lawn and in my brick walkway. Actions must be taken. 
This morning I went out to survey the garden and picked a bounty of cherry tomatoes. I just went out because I had a hankerin' for a green tomato frittata. 
There were so many very ripe little cherry tomatoes, I took them too! Plus garlic chives, echinacea flowers, cosmos and the one marigold. What a nice harvest. The frittata didn't turn out the way I wanted but that's okay. I have puh-LENTY of green cherry tomatoes to experiment with. When I nail the recipe - I promise to post.  
All of this at 6am after returning from Washington DC at 12:30am! 
Yes.yesterday, I woke up at 5:30am and rushed to get to the Amtrak train by 6:55. Which I am proud to say I made it. But without the regular ration of caffeine. I only had about half and I think it did affect my day! I was barely dragging by the time I made it home. ugh. It was all worth it though. Success in research and success in meeting up with old friends. 

I arrived in Washington DC early and then made my way to Dumbarton Oaks to see copy #2 of "my book" - the sundial book. This involved a security clearance, white gloves (huh?), a lovely rare-books librarian who was willing to bend the rules, an hour and a half lunch break (ie - kicked out of the rare-books room) and back again to look at some other volumes Salomon de Caus or his brother Isaac wrote. What a luxury.  
Its a good thing I went,  too - I missed something really important at Harvard:
This little note? would have been incredibly helpful the Sunday I spent (all day) figuring this pop up out.  But somehow I overlooked it. (Its the pop up in my previous post.)
I did catch this beautiful little watermark though. 
I have to say, again, what a luxury it is to be able to look at copies of this almost 400-year-old volume. sigh. Seriously. This version was in better shape than the version at Harvard as it was most likely in its original binding (unlike the Harvard volume). None of the graphics were cropped. All of the same volvelles were in tact and were as good as or better functioning than the copy at Harvard.
I'm learning that the more research you do the more questions you have. Once you are finished with all of your research you almost have to start back at the beginning in order to answer your questions. I only noticed this watermark on the fly-leaves. Even though I looked throughout the text block, I didn't find this mark again until the back flyleaf. Is this another thing I missed at Harvard?

My visit was complimented with a wonderful visit with a former intern and now good friend and colleague. Amanda was one of the first interns I had and we've stayed in touch ever since. She went on to study conservation in the UK, hold a position at the North East Document Conservation Center, and is currently concluding a fellowship at the Freer and Sackler museums in DC, (part of the Smithsonian Museums network).  
Amanda has a fellowship devoted exclusively to the Islamic arts. Here she is in front of her microscope where she is consolidating the most gorgeous manuscript. 
It is a composite of  a mogul painting with (most likely) Russian embellishments. The thing was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! If you are interested, it will be on view when the Freer re-opens in 2017 after major renovations.
Here is a preview: 
want to see what's on the other side?  Yeah, just as gorgeous...
While she was showing me around, her supervisor had a tour of conservation students in the lab so Amanda had to repeat the spiel she had just given me. It was just as interesting the second time around. 
I don't have children, so when I get to see the progress of someone I've known for so long, and first met in a teaching capacity, I can't help but get a little proud and parentally-bustley (do you know what I mean?) I'm so excited to see what Amanda has accomplished - it's great stuff. And now she is making plans to start her own business! Brave woman!
After the tour, Amanda had to still do some work so I had an hour and half to wander in the Freer and the Sackler. Now - if you don't know this - the Freer has Whistler's Peacock Room.
I studied this in History of Western Art 2 almost 20 years ago. To walk into this piece was amazing. It is gorgeous. The room in entirely a deep turquoise and gold and showcases an amazing collection of ceramic pieces.
Adjacent to the Freer, the Sackler museum is hosting a contemporary artist's response to the Peacock Room. Darren Waterston has created an incredible piece based on the original room.
It was a fantastic day, but exhausting. We had dinner in Old Town Alexandria - which was very fun and Amanda chose an excellent restaurant. Fantastic Food. We talked and talked and left with plenty of time to get to my train - but not for construction. So I missed my train and had to take one an hour later. Thus my arrival to my bed at 12:30. I am not used to the 18-hour day! But it was totally worth the tired, sore bones, and muscles to have such a great day in the Capitol.

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