Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Glitches still exist

I am still having some difficulty using alternate programs and getting my photographs to upload properly.

The 2 photos in this post were supposed to go up with the poem yesterday, but refused to cooperate. Today the oak-leaf hydrangea above imported really tiny and gets all pixelated when attempts are made to enlarge the photo in place.

Loved the look of these pokeweed berries so wanted to include them. Too bad the berries are poisonous to humans. Birds however can eat the berries with impunity.

Pokeweed berries do have other uses, yielding a red ink or dye, which was once used by American Indians to decorate their horses. Many letters written home during the American Civil War were written in pokeberry ink; the writing in these surviving letters appears brown. A rich brown dye can be made by soaking fabrics in fermenting berries in a hollowed-out pumpkin.

Pokeweeds are used as food plants by the caterpillars of some species moths and butterflies including Giant Leopard Moth.


(And for some stupid reason my name does not want to change to normal font, so rest assured I am not shouting at you, just dealing with some unfamiliar computer programs)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quick, some fall photos before the snow flies

The Autumn
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them --
The summer flowers depart --
Sit still -- as all transform'd to stone,
Except your musing heart.

How there you sat in summer-time,
May yet be in your mind;
And how you heard the green woods sing
Beneath the freshening wind.
Though the same wind now blows around,
You would its blast recall;
For every breath that stirs the trees,
Doth cause a leaf to fall.

Oh! like that wind, is all the mirth
That flesh and dust impart:
We cannot bear its visitings,
When change is on the heart.
Gay words and jests may make us smile,
When Sorrow is asleep;
But other things must make us smile,
When Sorrow bids us weep!

The dearest hands that clasp our hands, --
Their presence may be o'er;
The dearest voice that meets our ear,
That tone may come no more!
Youth fades; and then, the joys of youth,
Which once refresh'd our mind,
Shall come -- as, on those sighing woods,
The chilling autumn wind.

Hear not the wind -- view not the woods;
Look out o'er vale and hill-
In spring, the sky encircled them --
The sky is round them still.
Come autumn's scathe -- come winter's cold --
Come change -- and human fate!
Whatever prospect Heaven doth bound,
Can ne'er be desolate.

Just a few fall photos and a poem for you today (before the snow flies).


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Seeing and Perception

Our brain first directs where our eyes look and then interprets what it is we see.

An excellent example of this can be found in the two books recently published by Sarah Palin and Barack Obama. Now one is written for adults and the other is a children's book targeted at an age group of 6 to 8, but they do cover some similar ground. There is overlap as both comment on American icons such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Helen Keller.

The points they highlight and the conclusions they reach, not surprisingly, differ a fair amount. Sarah Palin stresses how Lincoln "mentions God 14 times" in his second inaugural address.

While President Obama depicts Lincoln as a man who "promised freedom to enslaved sisters and brothers."

While both statements are true, they certainly represent two pretty distinctive take home messages and no doubt they way you feel about the different interpretations reflect on how you see things.


Monday, November 22, 2010

The French word for pumpkin is citrouille

As you may or may not know, my favorite (and only) daughter currently resides in France. She snagged a position with the French Ministry of Education as a part time assistant teacher of English in the French public school system for this academic year.

As I became aware when I visited the daughter on her first French adventure as a college junior studying abroad, the French have a very different culinary relationship with the pumpkin. Canned pumpkin is simply not available for pie making. They are very confused about the whole Halloween thing. If you are in France on October 31, make your way to an English pub if you wish celebrate the holiday.

These pumpkins while supposedly French were found in Asheville, North Carolina.

French pumpkins are either called citroille or potirons. It seems to me the really large ones are the potirons. An entry on David Lebovitz's fabulous blog tells about cooking French potiron.


Somehow I lost the first letter in the photograph above, it reads:

Jack was never the same after the operation

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!