reformations and malformations

‘Mooncalf’ is an old name for the malformed, abnormal offspring that livestock occasionally produce. Usually still-born or short-lived, mooncalves were thought to be a result of lunar influence and were sometimes considered to be magical creatures, or hybrids thereof.  Although the word is closely associated with cows, mooncalves from other animals are also recorded and it’s likely that the ‘calf’ element of this word comes from the Old Norse kálfi ‘swelling’, which is also the origin of the ‘calves’ of your leg. One particular mooncalf, born in Freiburg, Germany, on December 8th 1522, became an unlikely pawn in an escalating …

Deadheading

Flowers are turning to seeds in the garden. It looks like a death. Their petals crumple and stain in earth-browns and red ochres, they bow and fail and fall. Bees and florists seem to agree on the bloom’s moment of peak attraction: the opened bud, all invitation and sweet promise. However artful, the flower has an agenda, an ulterior motive to sell with a gloss of perfection. That moment passes but there is beauty in the fading flowers and it’s more subtle and complex. The hard-sell is over, here is a time of transformation and fulfillment, of real promise in …

New home

The new website is up and running. Thanks to the hard work and talents of Jakub at 56 Degrees and Miles Essex, www.thelandreader.com is reborn as a multi-functional glossary that is open to contributions from the public as well as continuing to offer a blog about the project. I will be working hard to add data to the glossary over the next few weeks so check back to see new and exciting words being added as well as news and information about fieldwork and the book. If you notice anything misbehaving or find anything confusing or frustrating please get in …