Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I know there's a lot of people who say Global Warming doesn't exist, but how can it not? Look how we have damaged the planet by our industrialization! Imagine, if you will, what would happen if you, for instance, plugged out all your hair on your head (the world's trees) and then slathered on, let's say, hot wax (all the roads made of tar that replace open land) and then see if your brain won't boil... We are doing just that - we are destroying the rain forests and harvesting our trees and then make more roads...how dumb is that? All you have to do is take a long road trip during the summer and watch the heat waves wiggling upward from the pavement...that's our earth overheating...but, I guess it's always easier to live in denial! If we could only be more conservative and take a hint from our frugal post war parents and grand parents who always said: "waste not, want not" and conserved whenever they could. That was a good way to live, but it may be too late for us because people, for the most part, are already spoiled and used to overabundance and going backwards is probably next to impossible, not to mention not profitable! That reminds me of something Albert Einstein once said: Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction. Let's pray for courage!
Monday, July 20, 2009
I started to sing this song to Gizzy this morning and now I can't get it out of my head, so I'm writing it down...so it can get into yours: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life Some things in life are bad, They can really make you mad, Other things just make you swear and curse, When you're chewing life's gristle, Don't grumble, Give a whistle And this'll help things turn out for the best. And... Always look on the bright side of life. [whistle] Always look on the light side of life. [whistle] If life seems jolly rotten, There's something you've forgotten, And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing. When you're feeling in the dumps, Don't be silly chumps. Just purse your lips and whistle. That's the thing. And... Always look on the bright side of life. [whistle] Always look on the right side of life, [whistle] For life is quite absurd And death's the final word. You must always face the curtain with a bow. Forget about your sin. Give the audience a grin. Enjoy it. It's your last chance, anyhow. So,... Always look on the bright side of death, [whistle] Just before you draw your terminal breath. [whistle] Life's a piece of shit, When you look at it. Life's a laugh and death's a joke it's true. You'll see it's all a show. Keep 'em laughing as you go. Just remember that the last laugh is on you. And... Always look on the bright side of life. Always look on the right side of life. [whistle] ...and if you want to sing along, be my guest: (Just FYI: This tiger mama was depressed after losing her babies, so they gave her these piglets in tiger clothes to help her feel content - and it worked!)
Sunday, July 19, 2009
This morning we had very comfortable weather. It was not too hot and perfect for sitting on the porch, reading, knitting, drawing or snapping photos...well, I did all of that. I sat in my Adirondack chair with my feet propped on the ottoman, drinking my morning coffee. Gizzy was tied up next to me on a very long leash so he could not bolt after a stray cat, if one happened to stroll by as they often do. Middi was inside, by herself, on a windowsill looking out when I started to feel really bad for her. She's strictly an indoor cat and she doesn't mind it when we're all together inside, but she just hates it when Gizzy and I are outside and she's not. You should hear her calling after us when I take him for a potty run ...she sounds like a baby or like a peacock. I can hear her meow echoing through the neighborhood - it's almost embarrassing. So, I decided to give her harness and leash another try. I purchased them a while back, but used them only a few times before. Well, Middi is capable of reading my mind because before I even had a chance to get her harness, I saw her slithering under the bed out of the corner of my eye. I KNOW that cat is psychic! So, I went back outside for a while and finally caught her by surprise when she was sitting by the window looking out. She actually was quite calm as I put the harness on her. I snapped on the light weight cord-type leash and carried her outside...I watched her closely, because last time I walked inside for only a minute and when I returned she had managed to get herself all tangled up and the harness was almost off. When Gizzy started to growl at her because he thinks he's the boss of her and he wasn't consulted on her being outside, I carried him inside and put him on the windowsill while Middi was outside sniffing around and tentatively exploring the front yard with me watching carefully and taking some photos: Gizzy and Middi share this windowsill. My friend extended the width because Middi kept falling off when she was sleeping, so now it's about 11" wide and perfect for either one of them since they're both about the same size. (Yeah, when I first adopted Middi she was skin and bones and half her size - poor thing!) I love looking up into the trees and leaves...always have, since ever I was a kid. Looking across the street, watching my neighbor, Bruce, do his "gardening thing." He's the self-appointed horticulturist in our neighborhood and loves to prune and snip and plant...he reminds me a little of St. Francis of Assisi. Another view from where I'm sitting. You can see Middi on the lower left hand corner of the picture sitting there, just watching the birds and enjoying the outdoors. We have lots of birds here, especially Robins, Mockingbirds, Doves, Woodpeckers and others I don't even know. I will have to purchase a bird book, because this is the perfect place for birdwatching. My neighbor has a bird feeding station out back and I often watch them through my binoculars early in the morning when they are especially active. Middi was outside for a little over an hour just being interested in everything that moved. She even discovered the toad hole at one point and stuck her arm in there up to her shoulder. When she started to get antsy, I took her back inside and now she's sleeping on the couch, probably dreaming of a bird. From now on I will take her outside more often.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
In this materialistic world of expensive can't haves, it is important to pause and reflect on the things we do have...things that often cannot be bought for any amount of money, like the gift of sight, for instance. Not only do we see, but we see in color, which brings me to this lovely slide show of colorful images of nature. Click here:Colors I look forward to autumn because my little apartment is nestled beneath the colorful ornamental pear trees.... one in the front and another one in the back. Double blessings! Lucky me! Then in the Spring, these trees bloom and it looks like white snow all over: Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. ~Robert Brault, robertbrault.com
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I don't have expensive equipment, but I know what looks good to my eye, so photography to me is a pleasure, but taking a serious approach and learning about it would be something that I could benefit from.
Just thought I'd share this with you!
You can find Mr. Berndt's work on his Flickr account by clicking here. Thanks for your time!
Monday, July 13, 2009
I've had an interesting morning, starting with taking the cover off my car, when I noticed this bright green grasshopper type clinging to my windshield. I've never seen a grasshopper look like this before, but then I never lived in the South either. It had thin, spindly legs, super long antennae; it was flat like a pea pod and very slow moving, not like the grasshoppers that I know that pounce away as soon as you barely touch them. This one sort of moved like a chameleon. (I just learned this insect is called a Kadydid. How interesting! Thank you, Gwen.) When I visited my friend at Bank's Lake National Wildlife Refuge, we saw three alligators in the water near the pier. This was the first time since I lived here that I could see them so well. Too bad my camera doesn't have a better zoom lens, so I had some serious cropping to do. (You can see them better if you click on the photos to enlarge them on your screen.) It was amazing to see them slowly come closer when my friend was gently calling out to them. She's an avid wild life advocate and has been around these alligators for some time now. Feeding of the wildlife is strictly prohibited here at Bank's Lake and she's always telling people to not do it, because it's dangerous for the people and the animals. It is also against the law to take anything from this refuge as the animals and plants are under wildlife protection, but there is always someone who thinks that they are above the law and it's usually the animals that get destroyed when something goes wrong. On the way home, I stopped at Lake Irma, where Gizzy and I have our regular walks. While sitting on a bench with Gizzy, I saw a white Egret under the bridge. I often watch them wade through the water, poking their long beaks into the mud to search for fish. I have seen them congregate in the tops of those bald cypress trees around the lake where they apparently nest. It's amazing to see flocks of these big, white birds in the tree tops high above the water. It was not quite 10 am and the morning light cast interesting shadows on the ground and the water. Looking to the left, I noticed the Anhinga bird sitting on his usual rock in the center of the lake, wings outstretched, seemingly worshipping the morning sun. People here call this bird "snake bird" because he swims in the water with his whole body submerged and only his long neck and beak sticking out, just gliding along, only erect, not like a snake that swims flat on the water's surface. Here's a better picture of him sunning that I found on the internet: Lastly, here are some photos of my boy sitting on the bench by the lake, with our car in the back ground - YES, it's Gizzy's too ;-) When Gizzy started to look a bit uncomfortable due to the heat, I decided it's time to go into our cool home. (Thank God for air conditioning!) One last photo taken out the car window while driving home.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
As you all know, I have a shop on Etsy called Honey Bee Crochet by SturmDM and I also belong to a crochet team called the Etsy Hookers. We will have a "Christmas in July" sale on Wednesday night, July 15, 2009 from 6 pm to midnight (EST) - all participating shops are offering something special, like discounts, gifts, BOGO, etc. I am offering FREE SHIPPING for items purchased during that sale. This is a great opportunity for you to get a head start on your Christmas shopping at a reasonable price. Please, mark your calendars: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 from 6 pm to midnight (EST) Gizzy says: BE THERE OR BE SQUARE! (you can't let a doggy double dog dare you now, can you?) ... and the bees will benefit too, since 10% of my sales proceeds go to Honey Bee Research!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Mountaintop removal is a common method of coal mining where the top of a mountain (up to 1000 ft) is blown up and placed in adjacent valleys and the coal is scraped out with large machinery. This process has destroyed over 1,000,000 acres of the Appalachian Mountains. Visit I Love Mountains to learn more. Mountaintop removal is a relatively new type of coal mining that began in Appalachia in the 1970s as an extension of conventional strip mining techniques. Primarily, mountaintop removal is occurring in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. Coal companies in Appalachia are increasingly using this method because it allows for almost complete recovery of coal seams while reducing the number of workers required to a fraction of what conventional methods require. Read more here Coal River Wind and learn how we can harness clean wind power as an alternative energy source instead of dirty coal. We can all help in small ways - learn AND talk about it, sign a petition, vote responsibly - because together we stand, divided we fall. I know this sounds corny, but I believe it's true with a lot of things. For more information visit Coal River Mountain Watch. ... and if we can't manage to save the mountains, at least we'll have the movie videos to pass on to our future generations, right? along with the zoos and museums, so that they may see what our world used to look like. This is an especially pretty clip showing images of country roads - albeit not West Virginia's - with John Denver's voice singing about West Virginia and the Blue Ridge Mountains in his song called "Country Roads."
Last night, I happened to look out my kitchen window, when I saw the most incredible full moon. It was so low, I thought I could actually touch it. This photo is a poor excuse for a moon picture, but, as I said before, I just have a simple digital. When I looked at the calendar, it indicated that we had an official "Full Moon" on the day before, so I decided to take a closer look. I leashed up Gizzy, who didn't understand why we were going outside in the middle of the night. The grass was wet from the rain earlier and he was not at all enthusiastic about the whole thing. It was so beautiful and quiet outside - with everyone asleep - seeing that incredible, full moon suspended in the night sky, surrounded by some clouds illuminated by the moon shine. I have always enjoyed staring up into the constellations, but especially the full moon. When I was just a kid in Germany, I used my Opa's (grandpa) binoculars to gaze up into the moon for hours. Studying the shadows of the craters and lines, I could almost see "the man in the moon" and I was convinced that the story was really true. There are many different versions of the story, but this is what I was told: A man was banished to the moon for gathering sticks on the sabbath. He was sentenced by God to live on the moon as an example for all the world to see. He is to serve as a reminder for everyone to observe the sabbath. Hey, it worked for me. Lastly, here's a beautiful picture (albeit not taken by me) of a magnificent full moon amongst some clouds, because that's very similar to what I saw last night.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Is Honey really bee vomit? Well, the fact is that honey is made from nectar the worker bees regurgitate, which is a polite way of saying vomit. The bees collect the nectar from flowers and store it in their "honey stomachs" separate from their true stomachs. On their way back to the hive they secrete enzymes into it that begin converting the stuff into honey. Once in the hive, they puke up the nectar and either turn it over to other workers for further processing or else dump it directly into the honeycomb. The bees then beat their tiny wings to fan air through the hive to evaporate excess water from the honey. Lastly, they cover the honeycomb cell with wax, figuring hey, we worked like dogs, but at least now we'll be able to get a snack whenever we want. Suckers! The humans steal the honey, pack it in bottles, and there you go - directly from the bees' guts to yours. Don't you wish you'd have known this before you tried my honey recipes last month? Ready for more (not-so-) fun facts about the bees? Well, did you know that proportionally to its body size, the genitalia of a drone (male) bee is among the largest of any animal on earth? The size of its equipment is thought to be directly related to the drone's post-coital fate, namely death. The drone's demise is that its privates are ripped off during the act. One last thing: Despite its status as bee stud, the drone is not itself produced as a result of sex. On the contrary, it develops from an unfertilized egg. Fertilized eggs become either workers (all workers are females) or queens,thus the queen bee is capable of parthenogenesis and drone bees have no father, only a grandfather... if you think your family is dysfunctional, be glad you're not a bee. Just as a reminder: I have talked about several bee facts in a previous post. You can read about it here, if you are interested: Amazing Honey Bee Facts
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Today is July 4th, Independence Day and this is why: On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. As always, this most American of holidays will be marked by parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues across the country. Most Americans simply call it the "Fourth of July," on which date it always falls. Independence Day is regarded as the birthday of the United States as a free and independent nation. So, Happy Birthday America, and God Bless you! To help consumers use fireworks more safely, the CPSC offers these recommendations: Do not allow young children to play with fireworks under any circumstances! **Sparklers, considered by many the ideal "safe" firework for the young, burn at very high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing. Children cannot understand the danger involved and cannot act appropriately in case of emergency. **Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under close adult supervision. Do not allow any running or horseplay. **Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves or grass and flammable materials. **Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that don't go off. **Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away. Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks. **Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container. **Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas. **Store fireworks in a dry, cool place. Check instructions for special storage directions. **Observe local laws. **Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting. **Don't experiment with homemade fireworks. PARENTS SHOULD SUPERVISE THE ORDERING AND USE OF MAIL-ORDER "MAKE YOUR OWN" FIREWORK KITS AND COMPONENTS. MAIL-ORDER KITS AND COMPONENTS DESIGNED TO BUILD BANNED FIREWORKS ARE PROHIBITED. Have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend, no matter what you do, but especially if you have to be out on the road driving. I, for one, will be sticking close to home this year and be thankful for what I have and think about my loved ones - as they are all very far, far away! Maybe I'll finish the book I started to read about St. Francis of Assisi...one thing for sure, I'll be mostly inside because it's way too hot out there for me and Gizzy this time of year. Enjoy and have a hot dog for me ;-) Here's a great movie on the history of Independence Day; And, for those of you with a little more time and a decent Internet connection, I found this movie that touches every element surrounding 4th of July. Enjoy!