Category Archives: Book of Days Calendar

Little Ghostthings, or Your October Book of Days

It’s October, and here is your Convivio Book of Days calendar for the month. It’s the month of Halloween and tricks-or-treats, so for this month’s cover stars we went back to 1987, when the photo above was taken. That’s my nephew John as a little ghostthing. He would’ve been just about 4 years old there. We started our kids out young on the trick-or-treating and kept them going into the night as long as they could stand it. He and his brother Nick did pretty well each Halloween. We lived in a neighborhood with not many kids. One result was that neighbors for years were surprised to hear their doorbells ring on Halloween night. This resulted in a few things that could not be erased from memory (like the man who yelled out, “We can’t come to the door; we’re naked.”), but mostly it resulted in some of the best Halloween loot ever: whole Toblerone bars at times, or at others, the jumbo size candy bars you’d get in a movie theater. And always a pretty good haul of cash (“We don’t have any candy. But here’s 5 bucks.”)

I loved Halloween then as I loved Halloween when I was a kid and still I love Halloween. These days we are home as the kids come to us. Every year I worry we won’t have enough candy (and every year we have way too much left over). And once Halloween passes, we bring out our Day of the Dead decorations and plan on baking Pan de Muertos, Bread of the Dead. Halloween gives way to All Saints Day on the First of November and then to All Souls Day, the more populist of the two, on the Second. Our thoughts through all this shift underground, just as the trees shift their focus underground, too, growing roots rather than leaves. Our remembrance of all who have passed continues on to Martinmas on the 11th of November. And this is part of what I have come to love about Halloween, too, and perhaps especially: the mystery and the remembrance.

We’ve been adding lots of fun new items to our catalog pages for Dia de los Muertos, all of them made by hand by artisans in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. This is where these traditions are born, and it is right, we feel, to support the endeavors of these traditional artisans––this is the Convivio Bookworks business model in a nutshell. New items are still arriving, and we offer free shipping on your order of $50 or more (not bad, eh?). Order through our website and we’ll ship to you in plenty of time for Dia de los Muertos, or come see us at any of these upcoming pop-up markets local to Lake Worth:

Sunday October 29, 2017 from Noon to 7 PM
AUTUMN WAYZGOOSE & HARVEST MAKERS MARKETPLACE
Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (follow the blue & white MAKERS MARKETPLACE signs on main FAU campus roads)

Saturday November 4, 2017 from 4 to 9 PM
DIA de LOS MUERTOS LAKE WORTH
Hatch 1121 at 1121 Lucerne Avenue, Lake Worth, FL 33460 (the old Lake Worth Shuffleboard Courts)

Come say hello to us! Wishing you all a fine autumnal month.
John & Seth

 

Harvester Basket, or Your September Book of Days

In Maine, where autumn is quick to arrive, the apples are just beginning to come in. The apples above and the basket that holds them are both from the same place: Thompson’s Orchards in New Gloucester, Maine. The apples were picked just two days ago; the basket made two decades prior by Herb Thompson, who ran the orchard back then. Now his sons do. The basket is one of our simple treasures, and it is the cover star of your Convivio Book of Days calendar for September. The calendar is our monthly gift to you, printable on standard US Letter size paper, a nice companion to the blog.

The month begins this year with Labor Day, which will make this a long holiday weekend. It is generally considered summer’s last hurrah here in the US, but it is, more officially, an annual celebration of the American worker, upon whose labor this great nation is built. I may take the weekend off myself from writing, so perhaps you won’t hear from me until later in the month: maybe for the day honoring Our Lady of the Grape Harvest, or for Rosh Hashanah, or for Johnny Appleseed’s birthday, or certainly for Michaelmas. You never know, as I write these things by the seat of pants usually, very often late in the night on the eve before each holiday. It is a month of balance and perhaps we (I) could use a bit of that ourselves: the next equinox arrives, bringing autumn by the almanac to the Northern Hemisphere. But by month’s end, night will be just slightly longer than day. The wheel of the year is always turning, like a great clockwork.

Did you know I write another little something called The Convivio Dispatch? The Dispatches are tales from my town of Lake Worth, Florida, a project much older than the Convivio Book of Days. It is not a book and not a blog but rather the Dispatches from Lake Worth arrive in your inbox as plain text emails. Nothing fancy (again, simple). They are sometimes monthly and they are sometimes few and far between, but the first dispatch in months went out late last night. Dispatch subscribers get the annual ghost story for Halloween, for instance. Interested? Send me an email to subscribe: mail@conviviobookworks.com. (How simple is that?)

Oh and I find my life very often comes with an accompanying soundtrack. Does yours, too? Placing all these apples with care into this basket we love so much, well… this song came to mind.

 

 

It’s Jane Siberry, circa 1985, walking down a road with a very pregnant cow named Buttercup. The video was directed by Gerald Casale of Devo fame. Jane told us when she was here that the photo for the single was shot right here on the beach in Boca Raton. Small world.

Have a wonderful month.
John

 

Love Calls Us to the Things of this World, or Your August Book of Days

And so with this first day of August we welcome Lammas, the old festival of the first harvest. Summer’s bounty is ripening all around us, and even here in Florida, where we grow things at a schedule mostly topsy-turvy from the rest of the country (our vegetable growing season begins next month, in September) there are usually figs ripening on the trees about now. When I was much younger than I am now, one of our neighbors had a fig tree. They also happened to be snowbirds: they spent the winters in Lighthouse Point, where we lived year round, but they went to New York for the summers. Which meant their figs would be left for the birds if we didn’t gather them ourselves, and so we ate many figs in Augusts gone by.

Now we get them at the market, and that’s good, too. I love them quartered or halved and drizzled with honey, a taste the very essence of late summer. We got our first ones just this week, and so it seemed right that our cover star for your Convivio Book of Days calendar for August should be that humble and delicious fig. These are Brown Turkey figs, though I am waiting patiently for my favorites, the white varieties: Kadota and Calimyrna. Perhaps this year I’ll finally poach fresh figs in wine, one of the recipes I’ve been pondering for many summers now.

As for the calendar, it is printable on standard US Letter size paper, and is a nice companion to the blog. If all goes well, I will write in the blog about most of these August red letter days. But my goal this month is also to complete the proposal for what I hope will be the “real book” version of the Convivio Book of Days. A blog is good, but I am an ink-and-paper person, a man who loves books. I realized that a few weeks back when I found an old 19th century book I had remembered reading years ago: Observations on Popular Antiquities by John Brand. I found it in the university library, and I checked it out. It was the first library book I’ve checked out in a long while, and it felt good to do so. The librarian handed me the book and told me when it was due, and I left with this wonderful gift and got some lunch and sat to eat and opened my book and traveled to 19th century England.

The figs drizzled in honey and the old book borrowed from a library both called to mind for me the words that Richard Wilbur used to title a poem: “Love calls us to the things of this world.” As summer begins its certain transition to autumn this Lammastide, this is what I think of. I wish you these good things, too, and everything else that means much to you this late summertime.

 

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