Hardware Store Punch, Q. Cassetti, 2013Tomorrow I have the opportunity to speak to the Farmers Market Federation of New York at LaTourelle Inn and Spa about how our board works with our Market Manager. Just thinking about the points I am going to make, has forced me to think about how I have engaged in the local foods movement, and the progress that has been made in the last 18 months.

In the past two years, I have provided pro bono work (some design, some consulting, some both) to: MyerFarm Distillery, Redbyrd Orchard Cidery, Good Life Farm, Sweetland Farm, Tree Gate Farm, Stone Cat Cafe, MacDonald Farm, Wide Awake Bakery, Farmer Ground Flour, Regional Access, New York Foods, The Trumansburg Farmers’ Market,  Central New York Cider Week, Forge Cellars, The Piggery to name a few. I am sure I am forgetting someone. It has been an amazing journey learning about these farmers, their farms, their livlihood, their focus and why they farm. I have learned that farmers may not all be born marketers, and that the perception that there is fairness in the world/ and in the local economy should be cultivated (to that, I believe that the market teaches us if we listen—to tune our products, product selections, and the work we do to be desirable….We just have to each listen, and hear). I have learned about the import of transportation, of distribution hubs wheither it is in the form of a weekly pick up or CSA, a pop up shop or a truck that delivers to a bigger area. I have learned about farming during a drought, and the sheer knife edge these farmers live on between the seed purchases to harvest with bugs, and water, and hail, and heat or lack thereof….defining success and financial disaster. I have learned that sometimes, just sometimes, I need to give my farmer friends a bit of rope to figure things out themselves, and in the same way, give myself permission just to take a little time and let things simmer and evolve. These are people who know about watchful waiting. They know about seasons and time. They know about light and darkness, heat and cold. These are people who will move greenhouses around on tracks to make sure their greens have the best source of light and heat to bring us delicate greens in the middle of March. These are passionate people who love deeply but because of their trust and collaborative make up, can be hurt as deeply as they love. These are people who do not mind getting dirty, working hard, and when possible, playing just as hard. They care about their apples, their greens, their flowers and boules and link it to a larger, more spiritual notion. Allison Usavage  created a lovely film about Stefan Senders and David MacGuinness’ Wide Awake Bakery and captures this spirit that seems to be an overlay to the local food scene here, here is the vimeo link>

This work sometimes can be challenging…but the film shows the reward. To be able to drink from the same cup as these hard working people is an honor. And, to try the first fresh greens of spring, to taste Eric and Devas sublime sparking cider as delicate as a bite of apple, or see tiny Melissa get her massive horses, Randi and Betsy pull together for her, or taste Stefan’s wonderful hot bread made from Greg’s flour (Farmer Ground) which was ground from Thor’s wheat….Or to try Tony’s black beans…the circle is complete. One blessing after the next—from the farmer to the consumer and back to the lovely land we live in and on. The same birds sing to my farmers as they do to me. The same rain and snow come our way. It is all right here, right now. And we all live in it for now.


Alex Cassetti, August, 2012, on the back porch, Q. Cassetti.As I have mentioned before, the new parents are not handed a care and feeding manual when  leaving the hospital to prepare them for the new life ahead. However, many parents despite the lack of information, learn how to parent, learn how to raise/ praise/ reward/ and grow these little beings they have been blessed to foster. I was one of those people who were surprised into parenthood. The time with these remarkable people sped us through almost two decades…so that time before kids is my B.C/ A.D. And just as quickly, the time changes…as they need to go on, and bridge into their own lives with our support and coaching, but not as core players.

Alex is gone and now is situated at Hofstra, being enlightened by the diversity of people, the joy of a new community of like souls, and the freedom of choice, freedom of time, and self focus. He was just a wee bit tentative, but as we were saying our goodbyes, he turned to both of us and said ” I think I am already homesick. You know, I had it really good in Trumansburg.” Just when I thought he took it all for granted, just as he was getting ready to plunge into the unknown, he had the grace and inspiration to gift us with that wonderful sentiment. Not only did he appreciate living in this charming little town, but we loved having him here with us. It has been a remarkable two years allowing us time with him as our only child with Kitty at Hampshire.

We became a new team watching sports with Alex and loving every minute. We took him out to see bands we thought he would like. We had weekly bro-fests with his friends—with food, video games and gossip. We had boy sleepovers and cast parties. We had sausage fests and cross country events. We had sports banquets and musical performances. We had Prince Dauntless and Ike Skidmore. We were treated to Alex’s back seat comedy impressions and hilarious serenades from musical theatre. We froze squirrels for Elly. We went on double dates with Alex and Elly—movies, dinners, pizza. We drove all over. We shopped and planned and talked. We were there for each other. You can guess it, I miss him.

After leaving him to start this new chapter, it took me the better part of three days of being silent to process this change. Not only did Alex have a new world, so did Rob and I. We had a nice life before kids, 12 years of just us doing what we wanted to do together. We traveled. We lived in different places. We had friends (albeit nothing like the life we have now). But this amazing two decade slide from Q and Rob as couple, to Q and Rob as parents, has changed us as the team that we are. We too, have changed and continue to evolve.

It makes me nuts that having your children leave is called having an “empty nest” as the grown birds never return. I was musing on that during the last lake float that I had—and it dawned on me that Rob and I were bookends for our family. We are on the left and right, with just the right amount of space between us to accomodate two delightful books that need a bit of help to stand up. The bookends squeeze the books just to allow them to be vertical— keeping the binding and the paper in the best possible way. When the books are borrowed or are no longer between the bookends, they keep that same space, waiting for it’s  purpose to come back…to support, to accomodate those publications. That is where Rob and I are. We are the bookends, holding the space for Kitty and Alex…and we should learn to scootch together for the time they aren’t here, so we can support each other and relearn our new role as US, versus as the parent role that we have assumed.

The High School is back in session. Everyone has moved forward a grade…and my boy has moved forward too. Its going to be a wild ride for him from now until Christmas—and the work will be hard. I know he can do it. I have to watch from the sidelines and cheer—even if he cannot hear me.


Butterfly Flash, Norman Collins aka Sailor JerryIt has been mega fly time at the lake. When we get to the house in the evening, there they all are, clustered at the windows banging to be let out, or dead in groups on tabletops, corners and the floor. It is weird doings and I cannot fathom why this moment for the flies to gather here, chez moi. It most definitely could be something agricultural—as the Luckystone is near open fields and vineyards. But why now and why in general?

“Good work isn’t cheap. Cheap work isn’t good.” Sailor Jerry

I have been trying to learn about Norman Collins, tattooist going by the moniker, Sailor Jerry. The interweaving of Sailor Jerry’s life, art, local and the rise and legalization of tattooing is taking me on a wild ride from blogs to websites to tattoo shops. The history is intriguing as is the source of the imagery—but to me Norman Collins steady and sure hand, his drawing rocks my world. This untrained guy—a sailor, musician, poet and tattooist, was remarkable when it comes to simplifying an image, making a limited palette work, and then sheer good design skills. A rose is a confident series of lines that is complemented with solid color leaving the highlights white without blend or gradation. However, as in the woman’s head I posted yesterday, look at the deliberate use of gradient/tone around her eyes to really take something simple and really sex it up. The eye gradient makes the tattoo. His interest and relationships with master Japanese tattoo artists peeks through his work. One can see bits of Utimaro and the brevity of line and tone work right there in his flash .

I am also surprised to find out that tattooing became legal in 1997. Look at the mad popularity that expanded after that date. Hmmm.

more musing later.


Alex Cassetti, June 21, 2012, Graduate, Charles O. Dickerson HS, Q. Cassetti, 2012Simply madness. I have been at it so much that I havent had a chance to say hello. I am so sorry for being such a deliquent, but these things happen as I am sure you know. Running and running. Work and filling in the gaps with driving, going to the grocery store, and trying to keep up with all the extras that are out there.

There have been family health issues (large scale under our roof) and of course layered on it was a visit from Kitty, and a graduation for our boy, Alex. Graduation was great. Alex was so happy, just plain bursting with it—and the relief and joy in the recieving of his diploma was palpable. It is a real smile you see in this perfect picture of a graduate. He was delighted to have accomplished this, delighted to be with his friends and family, and delighted to move on. So, the moving on has started and we have pencilled in his Orientation, his  tests and prework, his doctor’s paperwork, moving the transcripts etc. We are moving the show from Trumansburg to Hempstead, LI.

The tenor guitar is ordered and should be here by the end of the week. He is tickled pink with the idea that I got him the guitar versus the watch he kept telling us he needed to recieve (somehow that is all wrapped up in his “old fashioned boy” thing he has in this mind). The “old fashioned boy” was a thing he did as a kid, where he would wear antique newspaper boy hats, type on a manual typewriter, carry a pad around his neck to keep notes on, and want to wear vests and ties. He has this idea that being  the “old fashioned boy” (his term) was somehow befitting breeding and intelligence. Same thing with the watch. He told us that if we gave him a watch for graduation, he could wear it when he got married and then he could say that he got it from his parents at his HS.graduation. I say phooey on that stuff. Get a tenor guitar, learn to play it and tune it a zillion ways and be happy. Then you can play your guitar at your wedding and say “This is what I got for my HS graduation, and look at what I can do!” . And my old fashioned boy grins, smiles and prods me for when it will deliver. I expect a song!

Kitty and Kira, June 21, 2012, Q. Cassetti.Kitty was talking a mile a minute about everything that she has processed for the past three weeks. Lets put it this way, FIT has been amazing money well spent. She is revelling in sewing, and puzzled and inspired by the draping course she is taking. She gets it…and is pushing herself to try new things, go beyond what is being assigned in class. She is delighted by slopes, grades of muslin, all the measurements and dimensions one needs to add or subtract, the import of a puffed sleeve….and so on. She is puzzled by “real girls”, what they do for fun, the need to curl their hair, zebra patterns and high heel decorations, hot pink and nail decals. She is puzzled by the club scene, by the inability for people to see the world as she does—and the pronounced focus she has on gender identities and roles that Hampshire so happily celebrates. It is a bit unnerving for her, but as part of a balanced education, she is getting a whole lot of something from the polar extreme of the Pioneer Valley.

I have to go. I have some driving to do to get Alex and Elly to a graduation party. Then its Farmers Market (#3) and we have people to see, photos to take, Kimchi and mustard to buy. Then, hopefully, it will be a glorious time in the later evening lakeside with the fat bumblebees, magenta sweetpeas, and a blazing sunset. Tomorrow, my friends.

People in the tintype

Lincoln study, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5Yesterday was a gorgeous day. Ditto for today. The Farmers’ Market was fabulous with all sorts of great things to buy—with Meg having black cherry tomatoe plants, and all sorts of elegant currant plants from Daring Drake. We had a massage therapist…and two more people wanted to throw in with us to our delight. Food/catering was selling out to my happiness…and hope that we can continue to drive folks to the market to gather, eat and spend their money of produce, wine, cider, plants and goodies. This is our second shot and I feel real energy around what is happening, the help of the board, and the direction we can point this. I got some great shots and will share with you. I love it when people just “give” you the picture…and I was given quite a few last night. We need more…and we will get them. By the end of the season, we will have imagery to really sell the market!

The big RFP is done. Will deliver tomorrow.  Little projects are moving. The images for the StoneCat have been framed (thanks to Nigel). My cabochons are en route. The market is beginning to stand up on its little shaky legs…and we are going week to week to see what and how it evolves. I am getting things fixed, delivered, and ordered. And! My dies came from Accucut…so it means my diecutter should be here soon! Hello! How exciting is that?

Did you ever notice how big Abe Lincoln’s ears are? HUGE. I saw a life mask , and life casting of his hands at the Fenimore in Cooperstown and was dumbstruck at how odd and overlarge they were…but the facial casting did not get to the ears. Now with this study kicking off a series, I am stunned by his ears…and his amazing assymetrical face. Chasing down info on Lincoln has thrown me back on the amazing photography of Matthew Brady. Brady portrays these civil war era people as the living, breathing people that they were…not shining them up, but just as is…and somehow he captures the individuals essence through a sensitive vision. There is so much humanity peeking out of those sepia images that if you were to just change the fashion, they might be the person on the street passing you by on the way to Starbucks.

I also unwittingly surfaced a whole lot of stuff about the hypothesis that Lincoln might have been gay. It started with my poking around Wikipedia…and then it went on. This is all supported, academic studies…and so it changes the discussion around him. Our first gay president? Interesting. This was not the sort of stuff we addressed way back at Ellis School on Presidents Day. Whole new world.

Rob is home from his travels. It is wonderful to have with us. He is reconsidering his travel for this week. We would love to have him around a bit more!

Onward to the day.

Farewell teacher and friend.

Floral Tribute, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
Abraham Lincoln

Radio silence. A whole week of radio silence…and I apologize.

I have been trying to sort our where the chaos has come from and why I cannot find the glimmers of interest in all the wonderful things out there. Its been like a stall with loads of work but no zing to connect with you and my world. I guess it is because of a text Alex Cassetti got.

Last Friday afternoon, Alex got a text from a friend saying that his dad had died of a heart attack. Alex came home stunned, silent, shocked. He was wooden and worried. Alex told me about this important man’s passing..and we both shook our heads and wiped our eyes in amazement and shock. We worried about the family and most particularly my Alex’s friend Alec.  What to do? How to respond? Give the family space or dole out hugs. Alex opted for hugs. He also suggested that he should pay a visit and take some candy (which he did after we went to the store and filled a huge shopping bag with corn syrup in every shape and unnatural color imaginable). How could he show he cared about this wonderful man

This man, Paul Bartishevich (1956-2012) was a vital member of the school community, particularly sports where we got to know him. He was an inspiration to me to be a better parent, to love each other,to build community whether it was a larger community or just cooking breakfast for a team his child was in. 

Paul taught me to be a coach and advocate for everyone—impressing on what is good, what is valid, what is right while quietly pointing up what could use some work in a friendly, collaborative way. He had amazing energy, a force to be reckoned with—blended with a sharp wit and intelligence, humor and laughter. It was always a party to be with Paul as he was such mensch— bringing you into his circle with stories of his family, his wife, his extended family from events to the traditional games of football (referred to as BartBall) on Thanksgiving. Paul exuded enthusiasm, and happiness—living in the moment and making me want to be swept into the current he was making in this little pool we call home.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this loss to Alec and his family. The vortex of silence….the sudden whoosh and then life changes. The why now? the why? and the hole that will be in the fabric of his wonderful family he loved so much. And so many more holes left in different groups who had anticipated their moment in the Paul sunshine.  

But, his light still shines in all of us. You can palpably feel it. And in his children, you can see that flame, the energy and spirit of this man. Hopefully, I learned from Paul, to reach out, spread the love, and live in the moment we are granted every day. And know, that time is to be cherished. It slips away and is gone….sometimes before you even know it.

Blessings on Paul and the gifts he so generously shared. He will be missed but will live on through the carefully planted seeds he gave to each of us.

Farewell teacher and friend.

IthacaJournal.com’s Obituary>>


Inspired by Nesting Dolls: A Cat, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5We visited StoneCat Cafe yesterday evening to see the new pictures on the wall…the tulips and the tulips on a black field along with a pair of monkeys. It all looked so great, I am tempted to have a few more output and stretched to take the theme further. These big graphic florals really snap up the space and make it very chic. Hurray for the Stonecat. Hurray for me! What a bragger I am. ( will post pictures as soon as I can connect the camera and see what is in that collection of shots).

We spent the night at the lake—revelling in the beautiful spot we have, and admiring the grass that it took Rob three passes to cut. Lush doesnt even begin to describe it. All my little bunnies were snug in their happy beds doing what they do lakeside—eat, sleep, talk and when the time is right, swim. Our visitors’ funny and smart dog took the first leap of the Summer into the lake…happily taking the prompt from his mistress to take the plunge. If dogs could smile, he was grinning from ear to ear.

Did I mention that I am married to a saint? Well, now you know it. Rob got up early this morning to do a round trip to NYC with Kitty to get her set up at FIT with mirrors and sewing machines, boxes of tea and teapots, and of course things to wear. Our plans to go to New York were scuttled by our girl who really didnt get her stuff packed until the end of day yesterday leaving no time to travel. So there you have it. Another mark in the golden book for Rob. 

My plans are to do some plant poisoning (good by thistles)…and laundry. Maybe Alex and I will go do something fun (can you say Avengers?). Am working on more russian dolls for a meeting tomorrow and interesting things are evolving from the shape. Lets see where this goes.

I know its crazy, but I am thinking a lot about my new home diecutting machine I ordered with a stationery show discount, the Accucut. I hesitate to rave too much as you might immediately put me in the category of scrapbooker (a creative endevor I wish I could better understand…but it is a creative outlet and that is a good thing). However, the Accucut is used by scrapbookers to make essentially paper findings to build memory books with paper and glitter, rhinestones and photographs, ticket stubs, and flowers to document their lives in the most robust way. What that means to me is that there are dies (with creases) that I can buy to cut out my artwork,make cards, folding cartons, coasters etc. right here. Diecutting is one of those points on the horizon for me …always “too expensive” or too promotional for my clients. However, now that I will have the ability to crank out shapes and package them—and if I really want to, have a die built just for me….then the world opens up to retail possibilities (like decorated masks?). And I have a local venue that is interested in my stuff. So hello cupcake holders, masks, boxes, stationery and more…. Should be a ton of fun…(at least for me).

Time to get the engines roaring. There are things to do!

Whaddah day.

Barley Rondel, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5The world was at the Rongo last night to hear the amazing Stringbusters and to welcome our favorite, Billy Eli with Eric Aceto and group. Many of the Tburg Royals were there…so there was lots to talk about with fascinating people who had things to say. Lets just say, I am having a love affair with our little Village, and every social event, every interaction just sweetens the love more and more. I had to leave a bit earlier than Mr. Cassetti as I had to be ready to rock this morning at the Community Yard Sale at the Farmers Market. Thanks to amazing Suse Thomas Wolfanger, she was there to help—getting money and spreading the love she does so naturally. We had an amazing day, a great turnout. As I noted on Facebook, fresh from the Market: “

Such fun at the Trumansburg Farmers’ Market! Bought a few amazing things (Pendleton shirts, Woolrich shirts) a pashmina scarf, a fluffy chiffon scarf with pansies on it, and a scarf with a 1953 calendar on it (amazingly interesting palette. Had a divine Kimchi hotdog from Trevor and Shelly MacDonald along with sampling their amazing Sauerkraut balls and a half sour pickle. Amazing! Sharon Tregaskis from TreeGate Farm was selling beautiful seedlings. Meg Meixner from Wolftree Farms was selling organic chickens and eggs. Margaret Shepard from Sage Hen Farm was selling garlic, leeks and greens. There were mushroom logs and perennials along with a great assortment of treasures. I am sunburned and energized. What potential we have in our amazing village! Pictures to come.”

This event was great because it allowed us to see how we needed to be “on” for our first day (we need keys to the electrical box, we need signage, a lot of direction getting people situated, a bit of process, a way for folks to hang banners etc.). It also prompts me to suggest that we should think about the flea market idea…and that maybe a Sunday event might be fun during the summer (once a month?). Do you think that could hold up? After seeing the crowd we got, I think there is something here…and could provide a fun activity for all. If we promote it, it can happen. I def. feel we need to do this sale again next year.
We need to get Alex to a boat for his senior dinner dance tonight. It will be a perfect evening for this party…which will be great for our boy. Rob and I will burn time in Watkins to take them home around midnight. Rob is off tomorrow to pick up Kitty and attend a meeting in Albany. Alex is going to be acting with Running to Places from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. I plan on making flower pictures just for myself (!) for Mothers Day!
I bought a pair of very cute black espadrilles as my mothers day present to me!
Onward to more springtime fun!


April showers may bring May flowers

Parrot Tulip wreath, Q. Cassetti, 2012 Adobe Illustrator.Making my lists. Checking them twice. Getting them whittled down, down, down. am feeling like we are getting a little traction—moving this forward versus feeling victimized by the lack of focus on much of this work. Am wrapping things up today/tomorrow with new work coming through the door. The snarls are being shaken out.

Pro Bono-ville has a few quick websites to put up on Squarespace (Farmers Market). Am hitting stride for this week. I am liking InDesign this week…and enjoying how smooth working with text is. And the crossover between InDesign and Illustrator is totally beautiful.

As you can see. more illustration findings….parrot tulips galore. I am going to dig on the web for some alternative images to draw…more parrot tulips, more bulbs (frittillaria, muscari, daffodils, narrcissus). I am getting a few canvases ready for Picture Salon to output and stretch. Two monkeys that like to drink, and 3 floral patterned biggies (36” square)—all to be hung at the Stonecat Cafe. They are also interested in a series of paper prints framed for the restaurant (a former fruit stand). More for this evening as things are going to start a bit later with Rob having a meeting and Alex out winning tennis tourneys. This work is quite a surprise for me as it is very appealing, very applicable and very pretty. I did not set out to do this but to better understand Dutch Flower pictures, their compositions and the general feel. This process of making pictures always is a surprise and shock. Its a new body of work every 2-3 months. From fruit now to flowers.

Full Plate

Watermelon Wreath, Q. Casseti,2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5Spring slash Early Summer burst through the veil of March —confusing the trees, the green lily shoots, and pump peony blossoms, and me. I have been weather obsessed—reading tons of stuff online, the digital Farmers Almanac trying to make sense of this insame weather and what to expect…with really no answers but those of Rob which essentially was to go with the flow. That would be the right and easy thing, but I fight it. I like the change in weather…the frosty winters, the frozen springs, the gradual warming and then the delight in the blast of heat. This is all upsidedown and backwards. As someone who likes what she likes, she doesnt cotton well to these changes. However, my Rosemary plant from Atkins Farm in Amherst is digging the change as well as my rootbound orchid.

As a bow to early spring, I cleaned the science projects out of the fridge yesterday—and configured a bunch of things into a kale/couscous/vegetable stock soup, a double batch of biscotti (chocolate chip/almonds and toffee brittle), and cooked a brisket. Now we have stuff to eat, and space to store it. Wow. Productivity.

Sparkly Kitty is home to our delight. She is relishing sleeping in her own bed, eating soup and cookies, and just being in her home. We are doing the same. Kitty delights in everything…and we love her so much. Alex is being very funny…and so its great to be all four of us together in the car, at table together.

I have been heads down getting a ton of work out the door from a new Calendar for the Museum, to covers and branding for the big customer.

Lots of small local projects: There is a new local calendar (http://www.tburgevents.com): “Tburg Events was created by Trumansburg residents Peter McCracken, Flannery Hysjulien and Sarah Koski. Christopher Wofford brought our team together. I created their masthead and a printed postcard to be dropped off at various locations to update folks on this new service. The Great Local Foods Network benefit has a poster/website/ postcard and now rack card to promote the event and the background of this new organization (http://www.greatlocalfoodsnetwork.com). I am using scrap from my files for all of this work which is inspiring me to keep going as there is a place for all of this stuff (particularly as I am the art director/creative director) so I can plug and play as I go. My farmers and I keep at our projects as well as the local beverage producers….so more to come as they come to fruition. And then there is the Farmers Market—which I am very excited about and need to wrap my head around what it is that we are doing this season and getting the manpower behind doing it. Maybe a few emails today.

I am learning sooo much new with Adobe Illustrator these days. I have always used the pen tool…but never really engaged in learning all the cool stuff having to do with paths that are integral with the program and I delight in this new knowledge. The work is speeding up a bit…and I am happier with the results than you can imagine. I also have purchased two new plug ins for Illustrator recommended by the amazing Von Glitschka (aka the Vonster)—Inkscribe and Vector Scribe from Astute Graphics. These plug ins do not really make Illustrator any more inuititive, but allows the work to go more smoothly, more accurately and does some of the knitpicky stuff that just takes time and patience. I was watching a few tutorials yesterday, and plan on a few more today to get rolling with this. It will help with the illustration work, the graphic work and the logotypes which demand more precision/accuracy and smoothness.

So, all in all, things are good. Prince Dauntless will tread the boards this Thursday through Saturday with our having our last, yes last, Cast Party on Saturday. Kitty is home. Rob has a relatively “normal” week. And I have the standard plate of things to do, but with a lot of learning and trying. So, apart from this extrordinary and yet odd weather, things are as close to perfect as possible.

The Pride of Central New York: Stefan Senders speaks out about Fracking.

Yesterday, along with Thor Oechsner, Neal Johnston, Sandra Steingraber, and a host of others, I spoke at the Anti-Hydrofracking Day of Action in Albany. We distributed almost 200 loaves of bread to the assembled crowd, and then we marched, led by a chanting, bread-carrying farmers, to Cuomo’s office. Here is what I said:

My name is Stefan Senders, and I am a baker. Beside me are Thor Oechsner, an organic farmer, and Neal Johnston, a miller. We work together.

Today we bring bread to Albany to intervene in the self-destruction of the great State of New York. We come, Farmers, Bakers, and Millers, to remind our state and our Governor, Andrew Cuomo, that despite the promises of industry lobbyists, the exploitation of Shale Gas in New York is bad and broken economy of the worst kind.

This bread is the product of our community and our farms. The wheat, grown, tended, and harvested by our local organic farmers, is fresh from the soil of New York. The flour, ground in our local flour mill, is as fine as concerned and caring hands can make it.

To resurrect a term long since emptied by advertisers, the wheat, the flour, and the bread are ‘wholesome’: they bring our communities together, give us work, nourish us, please our senses, and make our bodies and our land more healthy.

This is good economy. It is wise economy. It is a steady economy that nourishes the State of New York.

We know that for many New Yorkers, Fracking sounds like a good idea. We have all heard the fantastic tales: Fracking, it is said, will save our state from financial ruin, release us from our dependence on “foreign oil,” and revive our rural economy by bringing cash, if not fertility, to our once vibrant farmland.

For politicians, these stories of money and growth are hard to resist: the numbers are large, deficits are unnerving, and elections are expensive.

For many farmers and land-owners, the promises of cash are dizzying, and to risk the land’s fertility to extract gas is only one step removed from risking the land’s fertility to extract a few more bushels of corn or soybeans.

But farmers might know better.

Farming has not always been, and need not be, an extractive industry. There was a time when farmers worked with a longer view, keeping in mind their role as stewards and caretakers of the land. That long view is the farmer’s wisdom, and it is as good and wise today as it ever was.

The promises of the gas industry are demonstrably false, and they miss what farmers know well: There is no independence that does not demand care and responsibility. There is no quantity of cash that can restore fertility to a poisoned field. There is no adequate monetary “compensation” for poisoned water. There is no payment, no dollar, no loan, that can restore life and community to a broken world.

Our work and the work we provide others—on the farm, at the mill, and at the bakery—depends on fertile soil, pure water, and a viable community. All of these are put at risk by Fracking.

What happens to our land in an economy bloated by gas exploitation? Prices rise, rents rise, and good, arable land becomes scarce as acres once leased to farmers are set to quick development schemes—flimsy housing, storage barns, parking lots, and man-camps.

And what happens to our water when gas exploitation takes over? Storage pools, as safe as Titanic was unsinkable, overflow, contaminating the soil; inevitable leaks in well-casings allow gasses and Frack-fluids to pass into our aquifers, into our bodies, and into the bodies of our children.

And what happens to communities held in thrall to gas exploitation? As we have seen in other parts of the country, the boom-bust cycle of the petroleum economy fractures communities, undermining our capacity to act wisely and civilly.

With every boom, a few get rich, a few do better, but all are impoverished. For every hastily built motel there are dozens of apartments with rising rents; for every newly minted millionaire there are many dozens who see nothing but the pain of rising costs and receding resources. For every short-term dollar there are hundreds in long-term losses that can never be recouped.

To go for gas is to go for broke.

With this bread we are here to remind you that there is another economy, one that works.

This bread symbolizes a commitment to the health of New York State. It embodies the knowledge that good work, not a gambler’s dream, is the basis of a sound and sustainable economy.

This bread symbolizes the farmer’s simple truth that without fertile soil, without pure water, and without strong community, we go hungry.

This bread reminds us all that the promises of gas exploitation are empty: What are we to grow in fields broken by the drill and tilled with poison? What are we to feed our children when our water and wheat are unfit? Shall we grind money to make our bread?

We do have a choice. We need not poison our land to live. We need not taint our water to drink. We need not sell our future to finance our present. These are choices, not inevitabilities.

With this bread we say: take the long view; pay attention to the health of the soil and nourish it; treasure pure water; remember the value of your community and keep it whole.

If something must be broken, let it not be shale. Let it be this bread.

Advent Day Thirteen, 2011

Advent Day Thirteen, 2011, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and inkWriting lists as fast as I can. There is the “go to the postoffice” list. There is the “get at the grocery store” list. There is the “help Alex” list. There is the “plan for the 25th” list. There is the “people/ places/ timing” list. There is the “work” list. And as always, there is the “PAY” list. I used to keep these on little crummy pieces of paper, but now I keep a running tab of lists in a little bound book…so I can keep them current and not as little nasty things that are easily lost. I love my lists. They are my working memory on paper…and though there is slippage, it isn’t as bad as if I had to remember it all. Thank goodness. And, thank goodness for a big fat fuscia sharpie which strikes the done things off the list.

Alex and I are teaming up to get his applications done. Chipping away everyday for a little bit, and we are getting this finalized. I didn’t realize I needed to intervene, but I do. He is significantly happier and has been treading water, waiting for someone to throw him a life preserver. I think this is his way of coping…and we just haven’t seen it. Bad me. But, now that I am more sensitive to him, maybe he can feel we are in his corner for him. As a parent, this whole college process and the computer forms can be highly frustrating as they are not well thought out, intuitive or even clear. They are a close second to the tax form (at least for Alex). We will get this done, done, done before the 25th. Peace on earth, or at least on Camp Street, 2011.

It was great to go to Shur Save and have a chat with my deerhunting friend. I have a friend there that I gab with about deerhunting (bow and gun), fishing and his family. We have talked about his cancer. We have talked about his troublesome children. This friend, after a heart operation and being told he couldn’t hunt, would’t let that keep him down. He padded around his house in pyjamas and bathrobe….and saw out the kitchen window a lovely deer that represented sport and food. He just so happened to have a loaded gun right there. So, he opened up the back door and got his deer never leaving the kitchen. Picked up some milk and a hunk of something to go into the slow cooker for dinner tonight as I have the whole team here with no after school/ or work plans. Tomorrow is the Mrs. Cassetti holiday dinner (I have to be the missus and behave). Thursday is the HS chorus concert. Friday is the Community Chorus concert. Sunday is the Musicians Christmas Party (an amazing line up at Felicias)….so we are scheduled out.

Today begins a brand new sketchbook. I have gone from the normal big Moleskine to the big watercolor Moleskine to now the super jumbo deluxe watercolor Moleskine. Watercolor paper and ink really rock…just a bit toothy for fineness…but worth it for the blackness for me now. I know I will vascillate on the paper as I go…but today its big big black ink….that wins. I have birds and angels on my brain…inspired by the clutch of crows at the bottom of our lot this morning actively shelling kernels of pinecones and chowing down on those savory bits. These crows were not frightened nor deterred from their tasty treats. Patient and focused. Made me think about how these birds are associated with Bran in Norse Mythology and with St. Benedict in Catholic Mythology…whispering in his ear. Early cell phones, right?

Gotta go. Land line is ringing.

Lovely Fall Back

Here I am at the ultimate chic Maguire VW to have my car get a check up and lo and behold, there is this lovely computer room, free snacks, teevee, nice chairs, windows and not a cigarette butt in site. How remarkable. I am so impressed, I want to have my car serviced weekly. Maguire really is impressive.  No greasy vinyl chairs tucked between the humming soda machine and a stand ash tray with the battering ram sounds coming from the garage and the endless chat of the owner of the shop on the phone. Now its the car spa…blonde wood, free iced cream and teevee. Glorious.  And the folks are really really nice too. And, with the time I thought I would be dawdling, I can dawdle a bit with you.

I seem to be able to get through my lists these days—taking on more new stuff and being able to get through it without having to do nine or ten iterations on something really simple (like a two color mouse pad that was the recent project of note). We are getting the lineup of a lot of people who want to make their year-end bonuses by finally figuring out they need to get things done that they hadn’t thought about until now, and they need them figured out, designed and produced by December 1 so as to print and distribute by January 1. Screamers. And many of these folks are not our focus customers, so its a bit disconcerting as I really want to say no to quite a few of them as I do not want to have to work Thanksgiving and the day after on someone else’s lack of planning. Urg. Enough of my complaining.

Alex posted some music to the web yesterday—mashups that he created with some audio scrap and work of a rapper online. He is smiling and happy as he is getting some great response (including the rapper who saw a post on YouTube—and was psyched by the work). I need to get Reason, a software package for him for the holiday (along with their software that really allows you to untangle the layers of sound and pluck out snippets to work with. It is great to see him delight and have motivation around something he is getting recognition for. He is talking about how easy these mashups are and how he is done with it. So, both Rob and I are pushing for a body of work so he has an hour of original work to play with the incentive being an exclusive DJAQ (his DJ name) party/event. There is some interest in that…and if its so easy, 75 new mashups should be in the works. If John Thompson told me I would not be an illustrator until I did 500 illustrations, I would say the same around audio mashups. Then we can move on…But recognition for his work and the sheer joy in having others enjoy our work is something I want him to have more of. We all can relate to that (particularly those of us who blog and post our work). I hope there is more of this in the future.

I must admit, I love fall back as much as spring forward. I love the velvety darkness in the evening and being in our snuggly house with the woodstove fired up in the evening with tea and company. It is such marvelous sleeping weather, I am feeling much sunnier and revv’d up. Now, the sixty degree weather and chrome yellow leaves on the trees cannot hurt things either. But we have had a glorious fall—perfection—that to have it extend a bit further into November is something I do not take for granted.

Rob is working late tonight. Leah, Alex and I are going to pick up our two pig shares (1/2 pig each) to our delight. I think there might be some bacon for dinner. Yes!

And then more mailing list correction, amendments and changes.


Glass Farmers Market at the Corning Museum of Glass, 10/08/2011, Q. CassettiPicture perfect day. Alex was up early to get on a gorgeous bus to take him to Ohio to ride the roller coasters, “enjoy” the buffet breakfasts, and hang with the bros. He had a nice evening with friends back from college—a catch up with the new freshmen and all they are experiencing, missing, confounded by. Great to hear it a year or so in advance.

Rob and I tootled down to the Corning Museum of Glass’ Columbus Day spectacular, the Glass Farmers Market. It was a gorgeous drive with the color finally beginning to pop. There was grape in the air…in the warm, humid air that made it even more sweet. A lovely drive with pumpkins, yard sales,and produce..the last of the tomatoes and the beginnings of beets, potatoes and carrots.

Yes, The Corning Museum had all sorts of gourds and pumpkins in glass available to take home (and they do not stink, mold or rot). I bought a few for friends and a tortoise shell one for me. I have a little collection of them…and its fun to add to the grouping. Many of mine are clear (from the Studio Sale) but I have some orange ones, a green one…and now brown. I love this one so much, I could see doing tortoise shell ones entirely. I fess up, I LOOOVE tortoise shell. I cannot say why, but the aesthetic is one; the history of how we have tortoise shell is two, and just how it works…for me. It was fun mixing it up with my museum friends, seeing the enormous numbers of asian and indian tourists (and how smoothly the whole thing was)—An amazing hat trick that these lovely people seem to do with great humor and aplomb. They had great wooden boxes filled with apples (as a give away) inspired by the Tully Cross Country event we attend every year and how the great treat are the free apples. The crowd loved it (Tully and today).

On the way back, we stopped at the Seneca Lake microbrewery, Two Goats and were impressed by the packed deck, the piles of cool people and the tasty brew offered. We ran into some old Corning chums full of good energy having come back from helping with a grape harvest for a friend.

And now, lakeside…the cats scamper. There is manure thick on the air….but the rosy sun is setting on the lake and its not quite 7. And the year rolls by.


Kitty, Q. Cassetti, 2011Kitty and I drove back to the Luckystone via the Lucas Winery vineyards last night. We had the windows open and what with the slight warmth and the cooling humid day, we were treated to the most sublime fragrance of ripening grapes—floral and fruity capturing the spirit of our evening. The boys were all off having fun with friends or in Rob’s case, doing business, so Kitty and I had a girl date at the Americana Winery’s restaurant—having hamburgers, sitting outside, talking about Kitty’s passion for fashion and watching the big, furry cats groom themselves. It was wonderful. She regaled me with hopes of helping with the Hampshire theatre group on the costuming, the searching and the reason to thrift in the Pioneer Valley. We talked about decorative arts versus fine arts and how its okay to not have something burning to express…but to just go out there and engage. Passion might come later. I believe one needs road time to really develop opinions, passion, beliefs to express. How often can one at 18 have much other than discovery to express. This seemed to concur with Kitty’s thinking—to her newly realized permission to explore.  It capped a day of solutions versus problems.

I spent some time with Mike from Apple to try and figure out the crashing I have with my computer. Better but still a bit tenuous. We worked on resetting the RAM and throwing away all the cache files (there were 75,000 files to throw away!). We will see if there is any action here. I have a case number so I can call them back to pick up from where we left off.

Rob thinks I should have two set ups, one for graphics, the other for illustration. I don’t know about this, but will think about it as I need to protect myself from this stuff. Its too bad there isnt a person you can have come every four months to do a clean out, a virtual “oil change” and filter swap on the computer in a preventative mode. I would be one of the first ones to sign up. Would that be too hard, too complicated to do? It would be soooooo worth it.

I had a very fun conversation with a friend of mine from the school. I asked her if she could go with me to the Demolition Derby just so she could fill me in with the whos who, and the whats what around town. Small town doings, and gossip to the max. We have great laughs and I love her. She suggested in jest that we should join a Horseshoe League (!!) at the Falls to really get the low down. Imagine! And think of the horseshoes inspired pictures!. What an American “sport”! Right up there with the dem derby where the sport is a parking lot of cars (only parked on the track at the Fairgrounds)—each car parked close to the next one. Then the sport is to get free of the crowd. So, the only thing the drivers do most of the time is to back up, and then pull forward with as much force as their jalopies can handle. The aesthetic of the demderby is “Mad Max” meets “John Deere” with fabulous paintjobs or lack thereof (my favorites). The crowd loves it as there is smoke, gas fumes and if lucky, something our intrepid firefighters might have to handle. American Gothic meets “Monster Garage”. To heck with the environment! To heck with sustainablity! To heck with conservation! Bring on the pump cheese nachos and the Ulysses Demderby!

Speaking of fun, Sausage Fest 2011 tomorrow. Need to acquire the links.

I was trolling on the web and found Tifani Carter who was trying to copy my work. I found it fascinating to see what she did trying to mimic my Shady Grove images with her own dog and how she interpreted what I did.  Interesting how it isnt the technique, but the design that makes the piece. I was particularly intrigued with how she mimicked my swan but had to do all sorts of back flips to make it happen. I mean, I did all the edititing and design….but she still didnt get the technique. Here are her two entries on trying to figure out what I do>> One>> Two>> She did honor quite a few of us with her explorations, so I am complimented to join that group.

Kitty is here so its time to go.


Summer lull

Green Man 10, Q. Cassetti 2011, pen and ink.Yesterday was a day of shuttling and shopping, cooking and floating, revelations and quiet. Rob went sailing with our friend Peter and our friend John on the prettiest little wooden sailboat on Cayuga Lake.

I took Kitty into her job by noon with a stop at the fabric store to buy fake fur to make  hats out of. We looked and touched pretty much everything in the store, ending up with a yard of tone on tone spotty cheetah type stuff that she was delighted with. I then did a little grocery shopping (for the crowd of 10 for lunch everyday) coming home to marinate chicken, brown a big hunk of beef for spaghetti sauce, and a mamouth pork butt into the crockpot for pulled pork (the crew loves it, its cheap and in the crockpot, not a lot of heat is generate). After all of that, I glanced at Alex and Jacob looking glum and uninspired, so I suggested I take them to Jacob’s favorite music store to see what there was to be seen. I dropped them off, and ran to TJMaxx for wrapping paper and thises and thats. Then, my phone rang and it was time to pickup the boys. With more time to kill prior to picking up Kitty, we went to the new Trader Ks to find some really great things for the boys. We took a long and neighborhoody drive down the hill to gather our girl and go to the lake for swimming. But that changed as Kitty went off to the last Blue Stockings game (one of our rollerderby teams) and Jacob and E. stayed chez camp for music and such.

So, Alex, Shady, Rob and I were lakeside and talked about how maybe Alex would like to spend a year (maybe Rotary) abroad to experience all of that. Bless him! He finally heard me…! How great would that be? and what a great calibration for him out of high school and into a world that loves him and that he can grow and expand in. This is so so great. He would so love it. Now, to  make it happen.

Today, we had a quiet morning with coffee and swimming.  Once Rob started to mow the lawn, Kitty and I went to pick peaches and raspberries. I have about 3 quarts of raspberries in the freeze with many many more planned (seeing the abundance of green berries ready to go in 10 days or so). The peaches were sublime with soft fruit on the ground with tremendously happy bees scavanging for the sweetness to take home to the hive. Maybe some bees and fruit need to become integrated into the greenman project.


08.03.2011, Concert in Canadaigua, Q. CassettiWild day and wilder evening. We left pretty promptly in a rain storm (imagine!) to go to Canadaigua via Geneva to pick Mr. Alexander up. He was in fine form and it was great to see him. As we pulled out of his host’s driveway, the sky seemed to clear up and as we moved closer and closer to our venue, the sky brightened, the sun shone and the most amazing clouds over our lovely Central New York fields emerged. More English clouds than those of Maxfield Parrish, which Kitty and I gasp and rave over. Beautiful nonetheless. Very linear and shapey.

We were directed through these fields and country roads to a big parking lot complete with a zillion attendants, security folks etc. The real deal…to easily park and access the CMAC (Constellation Music) venue. It is an open air pavillion with huge screens so everyone can see the acts, nice legroom and tons of little service tents from food to beer/ wine (you need a wristband…clever them to buy them…so the ID is done once and for all). Bathrooms were easy and accessible. It gave us a gander at the Community College of the Finger Lakes which is a little gem and worthy of considering. Really, really nice. Rob and I were by far, the oldest people in the venue…with fashion highlights being the universal white hotpants, flipflops, bandeau top with a shredded or modified teeshirt on top. Boys were pretty Bro-ie (both in manner and in looks). The place reeked of pot…and no one had any, I mean ANY problem lighting up etc. The teeshirts were lyrical (see above, the Front of the said shirt simply said “wake up drunk”. Poetic. Right? However, after the rappers amused us with their dancing with their pants hanging way off their hips with their boxers more than peeking out—the crotch fondling and the hand gesturing, and the evocative lyrics inspiring one to meet “Hoes”, acquire and consume weed, and of course roll it. There were all sorts of things one does with the Hoes (complete with buy a teeshirt that says Hoe on it)..No mystery here. Not really family values.

However, after that stuff was done and the the fans gone, the real fun began. I love Gregg Gillis, the pride of Pittsburgh and did not disappoint. Kitty and Alex and team were crowding the stage….and then Gillis started tailoring a bespoke musical presentation, sewing little patches of music together, fusing them, stitching and tuning—matching thread with thread so the final suit, the final musical event was seamless…and a single fabric…not the layers and pieces that composed these witty pieces. The crowd loved it, as did I. There was the requisite balloon drop, confetti, and then the lively use of a leaf blower with spools of toilet paper to spew white ribbons into the air. Gillis engaged, entertained, enthused, inspired. And I am…inspired that is.

NY Times on Gregg Gillis: “The 373-Hit Wonder”

Download Greg Gillis/ Girl Talk “All Day” gratis from Illegal Art>>

More later.