Sunday, September 28, 2014

hot autumn equinox

hot autumn equinox --
vintage autos surround the square
gleaming in the sun

At the annual autumn auto show, people are still dressed for summer, lining the sidewalks and the still-green-grass on the square to watch the parade of vintage automobiles drive past to receive their trophies. 

The DJ from Odyssey Music has stopped the music so we can hear the awards announcer over the speakers. 

Like many onlookers, these three men brought their own folding camp chairs.

While these three share one of the green wooden benches.

This year there are few really old vehicles, like this 1939 Mercury. I have to keep reminding myself that cars and trucks from the 70s are now 50 years old. 

Many of them have been repainted in vivid colors that dazzle the eye as they reflect the bright afternoon sun.

Even the spanking-clean engines are decked out in brilliant colors.

I just get drawn into the reflections on the gleaming paint and chrome and glass.

As I'm leaving I see my favorite vehicle of the day -- a three-wheeled stroller for three!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

sultry Saturday

sultry Saturday 
at the farmer's market --
in a flowered bib apron 
Homer's wife shows off her 
heirloom Supremo shell beans

The heat index is over 100 F when we visit two Saturday farmer's markets in Carbondale, Illinois. I'm hunting for White Lady peaches, my favorite because they're sweet but low acid, and more delicate in flavor and texture than yellow peaches. Our late-blooming peach tree got hit with a really late frost this year, so no peaches at all in our neck of the woods. In southern Illinois, 300 miles to the south, growers had a good crop of both white and yellow, but it's past the mid-season harvest time for the white peaches. 

Homer has mounds of sweet white corn and his wife has a pink bucket full of heirloom Supremo shell beans with fat white beans inside the long, splotched pink pods. But no white peaches.

And so it goes at both the big and little markets. Henry has a table loaded with blushing yellow peaches in wire-handled half peck boxes, but no white. However, my sister discovers that a little grocery store next to the big farmer's market does have what I'm looking for. While a Muslim lady shops for white eggplant, I purchase a whole box of white peaches (a half bushel, 25 pounds, 83 peaches). Back home, I will slice and freeze most of my "white gold" treasure, saving a couple dozen for fresh eating and sharing with my sons.

After I accomplish my annual White Lady mission, I roam around on my perennial mission, witnessing the wondrous variety of our world. A cornucopia of fruits and vegetables worthy of Edward Weston -- sensuous red, green and yellow peppers overflowing their green plastic cartons, wooden boxes brimming with silver oyster mushrooms, a bushel basket of purple string beans, striped winter squash nestled in each other's curves. 

The farmer's market is more than a gathering place for selling and buying, it's also a place for meeting and greeting.

A plethora of colorful characters, including entertainers -- a harpist, a violin duo, a mandolin and guitar duo, a Renaissance sword duo and a balloon man making cute toys for cute kids.

Vendors each have their their own decor.

Many of these farmers are passionate about organic, sustainable agriculture and the market becomes a forum for making a public statement about their beliefs.

Customers come in all sizes and shapes.

And attire.

After the markets, we go out for lunch at the Longbranch Coffeehouse, a vegetarian restaurant in the restored historic downtown area of Carbondale. Delicious food, delightful decor! John especially enjoys the root beer float, topped not only with ice cream, but whipped cream and candy sprinkles.

I'm still hoping to find locally grown blueberries, so we duck into the corner grocery store. They do have pints of blueberries, but they're imported from Canada. This store's owners may not be totally into Buy Local, but they are definitely passionate about NO GMO.

They also have a sense of humor.

And their clerk has a sense of what's important in life.

As we leave, we pass a pair of headless, naked mannequins embracing in a store window. Another reminder of Edward Weston, who also loved to photograph the voluptuous curves of the unadorned human body.