Friday, February 27, 2009

Sky Watch - February 27

Sky to the Southeast

Sky Above

Sky to the West

As seen at around 9:30 this morning. We're supposed to have a change in weather today but, since I'm not our friend DewDrop, my favorite cloud-interpreter, I can't tell from looking just what that might be. Time will tell. I do know that it's much cooler this morning.

Sky Watch was created by Dot and expanded upon by our retired friend Tom. This weekly theme post is brought to you by Klaus, Sandy, Fishing Guy, Ivar, Wren, and Louise. Visit the Sky Watch Friday home page anytime after 7:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time on Thursdays to see sky photos from around the world. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

ABC Wednesday - "F"

(click on photo to enlarge)

"F" is for British Soldiers?

Whilst taking my "D" photo a couple of weeks ago, I discovered an interesting growth on the old timbers of the bridge upon which I was standing. I had never seen such before, and had not the faintest inkling of what I was observing. I took my camera, with photos, to my gardening daughter's home and we looked it up in her Fungus book (she has a book for just about every sort of thing one might encounter in the great outdoors.) Turns out that what I had on my camera card was a lichen named British Soldiers. A quick Google search revealed the following:

"British Soldiers is a lichen which gets its name from its resemblance to the uniforms worn by English soldiers during the Revolutionary War. A lichen is not just one organism, but a fungus and algae living together to form a new organism.

The fungus in British Soldiers is called Cladonia cristatella. The algae is known as Trebouxia erici. Because lichens take the name of the fungus part of the relationship, British Soldiers is also known as Cladonia cristatella." - The above information taken from the Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools web site. More information on British Soldiers can be found here.

This fungus/algae combination is really tiny. I estimate that the longest of the growths shown in my photo were about an inch long.

ABC Wednesday was created by Mrs. Nesbitt. Please visit the ABC Wednesday site to view others' interpretations of this week's letter, "F."

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I'm back from convention, which, I am happy to report, skirted the edges of being a non-event. I don't mean that the issues on the agenda were not interesting, nor that it was an unnecessary event. However, there were no histrionics, unpleasant contentions, divisive issues or jostling for power that, unfortunately, has wracked Episcopal Church conventions in other places, and sometimes torn dioceses asunder. We gathered together, prayed together, shared meals together, and conducted the business of the Diocese in a civilized manner. Thanks be to God.

Now, I just need to get the kinks out of my posterior caused by sitting on a hard chair for extended periods.

More, later.

Friday, February 20, 2009


I am away, attending the 137th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas, as one of the lay delegates from my church.

Be back soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sky Watch

Sky Watch was created by Dot and expanded upon by our retired friend Tom. This weekly theme post is brought to you by Klaus, Sandy, Fishing Guy, Ivar, Wren, and Louise. Visit the Sky Watch Friday home page anytime after 7:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time on Thursdays to see sky photos from around the world. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ABC Wednesday - "E"

"E" is for Emerging

It takes only a few days of moderate temperatures for daffodils to start pushing their way up through the still cold ground and the layer of leaves which have sheltered them from the most bitter cold. It won't be long until bright yellow blossoms are nodding their heads in the breeze and silently whispering "Come on, Spring!"

ABC Wednesday was created by Mrs. Nesbitt. Please visit the ABC Wednesday site to view others' interpretations of this week's letter, "E."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sky Watch

"... and Evening Gray,
send the travelers on their way."

The photo above was taken just before sundown on Tuesday evening. It was an almost colorless sunset. Wednesday morning dawned bright and clear, and we had sunshine all day -- perfect for traveling. Perhaps there is something to the old saying, after all.

Sky Watch was created by Dot and expanded upon by our retired friend Tom. This weekly theme post is brought to you by Klaus, Sandy, Fishing Guy, Ivar, Wren, and Louise. Visit the Sky Watch Friday home page anytime after 7:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time on Thursdays to see sky photos from around the world. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

ABC Wednesday - "D"

"D" is for Ditched

We had a torrential rain about dawn this morning, and the flood relief ditch that runs between the neighborhood park and a housing subdivision was deep with rapidly moving water. A late afternoon visit to the area found the water level significantly lower, with more than a few pieces of trash caught in the weedy undergrowth. As I looked into a patch of weeds near the bridge on which I stood, a piece of footwear caught my eye. I couldn't help but wonder how it came to be in a place where it could be washed away, and from how far upstream it might have come. Someone is missing what looks to be a perfectly good, if currently waterlogged, left boot.

ABC Wednesday was created by Mrs. Nesbitt. Please visit the ABC Wednesday site to view others' interpretations of this week's letter, "D."

Hey, Bill. What's a "clove" of Garlic?

Image: Wikipedia

The women of our church are presently engaged in preparing for this Saturday's Valentine's Day Dinner. This event has become a staple in our list of annual fund-raising activities. Since it's inception about 7 years ago, the dinner has had an Italian theme: a variety of pasta dishes, salad, toasted garlic bread, and a number of wickedly rich desserts.

All this activity called to mind the first time I ever used garlic. I don't recall that my mother or father ever used garlic in any of the food they prepared while I was living at home. I didn't even know what pizza was until I married and moved away from home.

Anyway -- to the story.

At the time, my husband and I lived in an north Arkansas town where one of the major social events of the year was the Annual Spaghetti Supper hosted by the ladies of the local Episcopal church. The recipe for the spaghetti sauce was a closely guarded secret, and it was delicious! My next door neighbor, a local restaurant owner, declared that he could wheedle the recipe out of one of the Episcopal ladies... and he did! She dutifully pared down the ingredient quantities and presented him with a written recipe.

We had a small but close group of friends: the restauranteur and his wife, who lived next door to us, and two males who ran the most successful hairdressing establishment in town. We set aside a Sunday morning to prepare the sauce and scheduled our own spaghetti supper for that evening. Neighbor Bill said he would purchase all the ingredients required.

And so the six of us gathered on the designated morning in Bill's kitchen, each of us preparing one of the ingredients for the sauce. However, when we got to the garlic in the recipe, we had to admit that none of us had ever used garlic. The recipe called for two cloves of garlic. What's a "clove" of garlic, Bill? No idea! The recipe called for two, and he had purchased two garlics, which looked like a small onion divided into parts. We decided that we'd just use all of it. Yep! Two heads of garlic went into the sauce.

The sauce bubbled and simmered on Bill's stove all day. It smelled divine! We could hardly wait for supper time to come. At last, the pasta was cooked, the salad prepared, the wine poured and we sat down to our own version of the Episcopal ladies' spaghetti.

It was marvelous! It was delicious! It was the very best spaghetti sauce I have ever eaten in my life (still, to this day.) We were very pleased with ourselves, and probably had double helpings.

Jump forward in time now, faithful readers, to the following Wednesday.

At the time of this story, I was working as a bank teller, and since I was an experienced teller, I also was training a new employee, a very sweet woman from Georgia, who shall come back into the story in a moment. Neighbor Bill was in the habit of bringing the restaurant deposits to the bank on Wednesdays, and generally came to my teller window. When he came in on this Wednesday, he leaned into the opening and whispered "Pat, smell my breath," and puffed a little air towards me. "Do you smell any garlic? The waitresses say I stink like garlic!" I sniffed at the air and replied "No, Bill, I don't smell any garlic."

At this point, my teller trainee, who had overheard this exchange, had cracked up with laughter. As I turned to her she said in her soft Georgia drawl "Honeh, it's been awl I could due to stay in the winda with you. You defintly smell lack an Eye-talian."

It took several more days for the smell of garlic to leave our persons. After I had regained my normal sense of smell, I realized that a wool dress I had worn during the time when garlic oils were still seeping through my skin could never be worn again. Even dry cleaning couldn't remove the odor.

I still like garlic, a lot, but have learned to use it in moderation, lest I inadvertently drive those with sensitive noses into fits.

Maybe I should move to Italy.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Photo Hunt #148 - Bridge

Big Dam Bridge

Murray Lock and Dam
Kerr-McClellan Navigation System, Arkansas River
Little Rock, Arkansas

I posted last summer about the Big Dam Bridge, so I won't go into a lot of details here, but you may read that post, if you're interested, by following this link. Pictured above is another photo I took on the day of my visit. At 4,226 feet long, Big Dam Bridge is the longest pedestrian/bicycle-only bridge in North America.

Additional information about the bridge may be found on Wikipedia.

Photo Hunt is the brainchild of tnchick. For other interpretations of this week's theme, or to play, pay a visit here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Sunset, with Trees

Last Sunset - 2008
Photographed, December 31, 2008

A Sunset Haiku
The sky is lovely.
Lines and trees get in the way;
Not the best photo.

Sky Watch was created by Dot and expanded upon by our retired friend Tom. This weekly theme post is brought to you by Klaus, Sandy, Fishing Guy, Ivar, Wren, and Louise. Visit the Sky Watch Friday home page anytime after 7:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time on Thursdays to see sky photos from around the world. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

ABC Wednesday - "C"

ABC Wednesday was created by Mrs. Nesbitt. Please visit the ABC Wednesday site to view others' interpretations of this week's letter, "C."

"C" is for Ceramics

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of taking my younger sister, Carol, to visit a fascinating place in the northwest part of Arkansas: Terra Studios, located in the community of Durham. Terra Studios is perhaps best known for producing those sweet little blown-glass Blue Birds of Happiness that one can find in gift shops almost everywhere. Perhaps not as widely known are the wonderful ceramic pieces they produce. I am the very happy owner of the piece in the first three photos, the work of potter Marty Reed.

The vessel, as I would call it ("pot" is entirely too common a name for it), is a bit over 12" wide at the widest point, which includes the face, shaped in relief so that it stands out from the rounded sides of the vessel itself. The two photos below may give you a better idea of the relief.

I fell in love with this when I first saw it in the showroom , but it was priced beyond my means, and so I left it there, with a parting caress, thinking it would be only a pleasant memory. Imagine my surprise when, a couple of months after the visit, a large package arrived on my door step. Inside, very carefully wrapped, was this beautiful vessel containing a card which read "Happy Birthday! Love, Carol." It has held a place of honor in my home ever since.

In addition to the smaller ceramic pieces displayed in the showroom, the artists at Terra Studios also produced some very large pieces which were on display in the grounds surrounding the studio. During my visit, I took photos of many of them, two of which are shown below (these were scanned from hard copy photos.)

This representation of the Native American dwellings at Mesa Verde, Colorado, is composed of individually cast ceramic pieces, fitted together as a mural, and is at least 12 feet in width. I found it fascinating.

The dragon in the photo below (sorry for the visual clutter in the background) is 5 to 6 feet high. I learned through inquiry that it was fired in a single piece, in a very, very large kiln! Amazing!

I'm way overdue for a re-visit to Terra Studios. I hope the dragon and the murals have stood the test of time and are still on display. Come warm weather, I think a trip to northwest Arkansas may be in order.

The Things You Can Discover on the Internet

I've been intrigued by the Internet since I first discovered I had the capacity to gain access. I really can't remember when that was, but it's been a few years. What continues to amaze me is how much information there is floating around out there, available to anyone with only a click of the mouse.

As often happens, I began to wonder about odd "stuff," the stuff in this instance being the date of February 3. A few clicks of the mouse brought me to a hitherto undiscovered service of the ubiquitous Wikipedia: Wikipedia Answers. At that site, I discovered a plethora of interesting information concerning this date in history, from which I have selected the following (I offer my apologies, in advance, to my non-U.S.A. readers, as most of this information applies to American events):

1690 - The colony of Massachusetts issues the first paper money in America.
1809 - The Illinois Territory is created
1834 - Wake Forest University is established
1870 - The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, granting voting rights regardless of race (comment: men only)
1913 - The Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, authorizing the government to impose and collect income tax ( you needed to know that, didn't you?)
1947 - The lowest temperature in North America is recorded at Snag, Yukon: -81.4 degrees F., -63 degrees C.
1959 - THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED - A plane crash near Clear Lake, IA kills Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, The Big Bopper, and Roger Peterson
1966 - Unmanned Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft makes the first controlled rocket-assisted landing on the moon.
1984 - The first untethered spacewalk was made by U.S. astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Steward.

Birthdays of note on this date:
1809 - Felix Mendelssohn
1811 - Horace Greeley
1842 - Sidney Lanier
1874 - Gertrude Stein
1894 - Norman Rockwell
1904 - Pretty Boy Floyd
1907 - James Michener
1911 - Robert Earl Jones

Deaths of note on this date:
1468 - Johannes Gutenberg
1889 - Belle Starr
1922 - John Butler Yeats
1924 - Woodrow Wilson
1943 - THE FOUR CHAPLAINS - if you're too young to remember the story of these heroic men, it's worth a read; just click on the link.

OK... I'll stop there. If you've read this far, you are a blog friend indeed!

Additional information about all of the above is available at Wikipedia Answers, which has very nicely left a trail of clickable links in case you have any interest.

A Puzzlement

Photo: Jean Moser

During the recent bitter cold we had here, my daughter looked out a window to the courtyard of her home where she has a heavy plastic "fish pond." The pond contains water year round, as it is the home of some very hardy gold fish. Something strange caught her eye. Being as curious as I, she and her camera braved the cold to take a closer look. A single frozen stem, rising unsupported by anything, had branched into a trio of hollow, tubular ice formations, as shown in the photo above; there's nothing below it except water, and it is about 6 inches from the pond wall. If you look closely at the photo, you can see a few wrinkles of ice around it, but this extrusion (if that's what it is) was the only one anywhere on the pond.

Not having any knowledge of what causes this sort of thing, I can only declare it a "puzzlement."

Information on the cause of this phenomemon would be gratefully received. We've already looked at "frost flowers" and this seems to be different.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Candlemas Day

Image: Wikipedia

Today, February 2, is Candlemas Day, the day upon which the season of Winter in the northern hemisphere is half over. The end can't come soon enough for a lot of folks.

An old English folk song declares:

If Candlemas be fair and bright
Come, Winter, have another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.

This day is also known as
Groundhog Day (lots of information), and here in the U.S. we direct our attention to Punxsutawney Phil. He popped his head up to bright sunshine this morning, and left us with a dread of six weeks more of Winter to come. For more information on Phil, go here.

In addition, February 2nd is celebrated as the Pagan Festival of Lights, St. Brigit's Day (Ireland) and in the Roman Catholic church, the Purification of the Blessed Virgin and The Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.

Today is also the birthday of my teacher/mentor Mrs. V., about whom I have been writing in a series of posts titled "Caught in the Web of Words." I lost track of Mrs. V. when she and her family left Clinton, AR to move to California. I know that she passed away years ago, but upon what day I know not. I'm thinking about you today, Mrs. V.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

An Award

I recently received this blog award from Old Lady Lincoln. Thank you, Patty. I'm honored. My day gets off to a great start by visiting Patty's blog for humorus or inspiring posts. I like your style too, Patty.

Sometimes I pass on the few awards I've received, and sometimes I don't, which is why I'm a bit shy about publicly acknowledging the receipt of them, although I am always pleased that anyone considers my blog worthy of such. I don't have any trouble finding others to pass this one on to, however, and I choose:

Bob Brague at Billy Ray Barnwell Here (a blog book containing both autobiographical and fictional occurrences and unusual written construction which is often extremely funny). Bob also has another blog, rhymeswithplague, which, if you enjoy well-turned words and interesting facts, you will find quite enjoyable.

Jeannelle at Midlife by Farmlight (a photo journal of everyday, and some unusual, occurrences at an Iowa dairy farm; life like it is).

Ruth Hull Chatlien at Ruth's Visions and Revisions (warm, spiritual without being preachy, uplifting and interesting).

Jim Sullivan at Suldog (definitely not the "proper Bostonian," Suldog has a style of his own; his blog posts may not always be appropriate for the faint of heart, but they are very often hilarious). Yes, Suldog, I know this award is a bit "girly" for your site, so I won't be offended if you don't display it, but I'd be honored if you did. :)

Today's Flowers # 25

Rose "Dainty Bess"

Family: Rosaceae Genus: Rosa Cultivar: Dainty Bess

Hybridized by Archer; Year of Registration or Introduction: 1925

This photo was not taken during this week of ice and very cold weather, but during "rose season" this past summer. I've had this rose bush in my garden for almost 20 years. "Dainty Bess" is a Hybrid Tea Rose and is "single," in that it does not have multiple layers of petals. It has a faint but sweet perfume and is one of my favorites.

Today's Flowers is a weekly Meme created by Luiz Santilli, Jr. and may be found here. Please visit to see others' lovely flower photos. If you have a flower photo of your own to share, please join us.