Monday, June 27, 2016

Panola Mountain State Park-Moonlight Hike (June 18, 2016)

Hello, my friends! How in the world have you been doing? Have you all been able to survive without me for a little while? Oh good, I was worried, I know how much you need my wise words!

It was brutally hot in the Atlanta area this past weekend.  Let's see, it was 105 degrees when we were out and when we came home, our house seemed as if it was getting hotter. Our air conditioning was not working! Luckily, we were able to get a repairman quickly and all was well within a few hours. (Thank goodness!) 

What a difference a week makes! The weekend before was really gorgeous, the high was only in the 80's and since there had been a bit of rain, it was overcast.  THAT was the Saturday that I did the Moonlight Hike on Panola Mountain!  Want to see?  Sure you do!
I am sorry for the quality of these photos. Richard was not able to go with me so all of the pictures were taken by me!

You shouldn't worry about me going by myself, our group was a nice bunch of folks, twenty eight in all, plus two guides!  We met and then drove our cars down a small road and then, walked to the base of the mountain.  The weather was pleasant, it had rained the day before and the air smelled wonderful under the pines. (To be fair to this area, just beyond these pines, it is almost all hardwood trees and they are truly wonderful! Panola Mountain State Park has some great specimens of trees. I wish they would do a Tree ID Hike! Hint, hint to Panola Mountain State Park!)

Okay now, I tend to get distracted by my trees and flowers, don't I? Where was I? Oh yes, ready to climb Panola Mountain for the Moonlight Hike on June 18th!  

Look! Here is the famous "butt slide", so called since the hikes often come down the mountain on this side. (And very often, people will come down like a crab, on their feet and hands.) This time, we went UP the butt slide. The young man behind me when he saw my face at the thought of going up this rather steep slope said to me, "I've got your back".   As we climbed up (and hey, I didn't have a problem at all with it!) , he laughed and said, "Why, you don't need my help!"  I guess all my years of clambering over these monadnocks have paid off!  Thanks anyway to this sweet guy and really I have to say, all the folks on this hike were just a great bunch of people!

Ideally on this hike, you will see a beautiful sunset on the Atlanta skyline and then, watch the moon rise on the other side.
We saw a pretty sunset but the moon was mostly hidden behind clouds, but sometimes, it would peek out and when it did, it was a gorgeous sight.  (The hikes are always on a Saturday closest to the full moon.)  

We all had flashlights to light our way. I loved to see the mica sparkling under our feet, as if we were walking on diamonds.  At the very top of the mountain, as we admired the sunset, we heard the most unusual birdsong, the sound of the whippoorwills.  I didn't want to leave!  

At the base of the mountain, beside the lake there was a fire waiting for us and we toasted marshmallows and "s'mores".   If you look at my header photo just now, you will see the lake and you can see the area in front of the photo where the fire area is located.  Now, as I was walking back to my car, I thought to myself how much I enjoyed this hike and it would have been perfect if I could have just seen the beautiful moon...

Wait!  What do I spy with my little eye?  Hello, Mr. Moon!

Ahh, a moonlight hike at Panola Mountain...will I go again?
What do you think?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Genius (New Film With Colin Firth)

Just found out that the movie "Genius" is playing in select theatres. (I looked it up and there are only two theatres that are showing this in the Atlanta area.   Looks like I will see it when it makes it to TV!)  It is based on the book by A. Scott Berg about Max Perkins, the publisher of Thomas Wolfe.  If you would  like to read an article about this, then I have a link for you at one of my very favorite magazines, "The New Yorker", you may read it just here.
Max Perkins had a great problem in getting Thomas Wolfe to edit his writing (as you can see from the following clip.) Me thinks that J.K. Rowling could have used a Max Perkins! (I do like the Harry Potter books but come on, those last ones were just way too long.  I am sure my son would disagree with me and perhaps many of you, but this is my belief. I just bet Max Perkins would agree with ME!)

This film looks very much like one I would like to see.  Funny thing, most of the actors are from either England or Australia!  Colin Firth plays Max Perkins and Jude Law plays Thomas Wolfe. ( I have read criticism of the Southern accent that Jude Law tries for, but personally, I think it is quite good.  Thomas Wolfe from that time period would have sounded quite differently than the accents we hear today.)
Now, may I just say...COLIN, he is just an incredible actor, truly!  If any of you see this film, let me know what you think.  As I said, I am sure I will have to wait and see it on TV!

Image result for look homeward angel book

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Bird In The Hand


Our baby cardinals are growing rapidly...but back in April, they were very small.  We heard them one day making quite a racket and they had fallen out of the nest.  It really is best to leave them be unless they are headed for danger.  We rescued them and put them next to the fence in our yard.  (I would like to tell you that this is some old woman who just wandered by and asked to hold the baby bird but alas, it is yours truly and even Richard with his magnificent photography skills could not make me look any better!)  This bird nestled quite comfortably inside my hand and I could feel its tiny heart beat.  

Have you ever rescued a bird?  Once again, I do know that it is best to leave the birds alone but if you know for certain they are headed for danger, I don't see why you can't help them.  We have been rewarded by watching the baby cardinals grow up! They now have  orange beaks (they are brownish at first) and the feathers are changing into the adult colors...bright red for male and reddish/ green color for females.  

Do you ever notice what folks type in a search engine and end up on your blog? For the longest time, they would get to mine by typing in "Bird with bright orange beak"!  HA! I am for the birds, I tell you!


Friday, June 17, 2016

Woman In Gold

Gustav Klimt 046.jpgHello everyone! Richard and I watched a movie this week on TV and you might have already seen it but if not, then I most certainly recommend it.  It is "Woman In Gold" and it stars Helen Mirren.  It is a true story about the  painting "Woman In Gold" by the Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt.  The artwork had been stolen from the family's home in Austria by the Nazis in World War II. It ended up at a gallery in Austria (and the gallery did NOT want to let it go, of course.)   The film is about Maria Altman, a Jewish refugee who settled in California (played superbly by Helen Mirren) who went to court and asked to have the painting returned to her. (Her aunt was the subject of the painting.)  

You might not know this about me but I am very interested in court cases and the back story, if you will, of how they are brought about in the first place!  You MUST watch the movie to find out what happens when the lawyer goes to a Barnes and Noble Book Store and that one visit makes him realize that he will be able to bring suit against the gallery in Austria for the painting!

It is a very good movie, based on a true story.  Please let me know if you have seen it and if you do see it, let me know what you think.
Maria Altmann's attorney, Randol Schoenberg, now specializes in legal cases related to the recovery of stolen artworks, especially those stolen by the Nazi regime.  He is the President of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.   

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Fire Pink (Trumpets Should Sound When This Blooms!)

 This is a Fire Pink and that RED color is amazing, the photo just cannot capture it.  And as my title post tells you, there should be the sound of trumpets when it blooms! The color is a very bright red and it sways upon a very long stem, which makes it hard to photograph!  Notice, the notched edges of the petals, that is why is in the PINKS family, called this not because of the color "pink" but because the edges are "pinked".  (Think of  "pinking" shears!)
Hey, guys, I have told you this before, you may read my old post just here from two years ago!  I love the wildflowers that grow in this area.  We found the fire pink in the same spot that we have seen it in the past two years, on the Outcrop Trail at Panola Mountain State Park!

Carl Wilson, you know his name, don't you?  He is no longer with us but he was one of the Beach Boys and he had a beautiful voice. I was thinking of this video where he was just singing in a small restaurant.  I have it here for you. (And if this makes you sing or hum this lovely tune, you are welcome!)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Peach Melba

On Saturday, my Dad and I picked blackberries from his garden.  It was almost 100 degrees.  The berries were so hot that when I washed them later under cool water and put them into a bowl, you could see steam rising off of the the berries!  Now, that is HOT!
My Dad also gave me two nice size peaches, he had bought them from a man who has his own peach orchard and he just lives a few miles away.
What did I do with the blackberries and peaches?
Hmm...I thought that I could possibly make Peach Melba.  I looked up the recipe and yes, I think I could substitute blackberries for the raspberries. Want to know how I did it?  You know I am going to tell you whether you want to know or not!

KAY'S Peach Melba!

4 cups blackberries (freshly picked!)
3/4 sugar (maybe a bit more...go by your taste)
squeeze of lemon juice
2 tablespoons blackberry jam  (Oh, forgot to say, Dad gave me this too!)

Put the above into a boiler and bring to boil and turn down to a high simmer.  Take a spoon and smash the blackberries as much as possible.  Simmer until...well, I don't know, until you think they look right, you know until it is cooked down. Take off heat and let cool.
At this point, I had a strainer and I took some out and strained some of this mixture into a clean glass jelly jar. So, this part has no came to about 1/2 cup.   Any of the seeds left in the strainer, I just put this back into the mixture.  Now, the mixture left, I took that and put into a larger glass jelly jar.  (Richard likes the seeds but I don't!)

The two peaches, which were lovely and ripe, were sliced into a bowl with 2 teaspoons sugar. I then put the peaches in the fridge. 

Later that evening (after another blazing hot day!) I took the peaches and put them into two bowls. On top of my peaches, I had two scoops of vanilla ice cream and Richard's bowl had 3 scoops of ice cream. I then drizzled some of the blackberry topping on his (with the seeds) and on top of mine, the strained blackberry sauce without seeds. (I will keep the jars of blackberry sauce in my fridge, and hopefully will find a use for them in another recipe this week!)

Wow, those fresh blackberries and fresh peaches just make such a difference.  It was delicious.

What do you think?  Have you ever made this before? It seems to me you could make it with any kind of berry and you should use any berry that you have that is fresh and most certainly a berry that is GIVEN to you!

Oh! And my "go to" recipe book is always my Fannie Farmer Cookbook. I have had it since 1984 or so and Richard covered it for me in a yellow plastic wrapping. It is a golden treasure!

By the way, Peach Melba was invented by the French chef, Auguste Escoffier in honor of the Australian opera singer, Nellie Melba.  It was first served at the Savoy Hotel in London!

 Funny, I always find an English connection, don't I?  

Don't know about anyone else but I couldn't do much of anything on Sunday after the terrible news from Orlando.  So sad and today I learned that one of our former co workers had died in an accident over the weekend.  Praying for all who have lost loved ones.
The man that I know who died had found great joy in his job at Stone Mountain.  Here is a photo in his honor.
He truly loved Stone Mountain.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Pink Clouds and Car Races-JOY

Hello, my friends!  What in the world have I been up to? Going to car races? No, not at all, I have just been talking to my Dad!
Two days ago, he called me and said, "Look outside! You have PINK clouds over your way!"  It is refreshing to talk with someone who has an interest in ...well, almost everything!  He was very excited to tell me that he had seen one of the best car races that he had ever seen.  Just a few weeks ago, Martin Truex won the Coca Cola 600 in Charlotte in a very exciting race. Now, you must understand, even with my Dad's influence, I don't care one thing about car racing. Not one thing.  Still, if I am speaking with someone and they are passionate about their subject, it always makes me listen even though I care very little about what they are describing to me! (Does that makes sense?)  It makes me happy!

When our son was growing up, I remember some of my friends asking me, "What do you do when your son says he is bored?".
My reply, "I don't know, it has never happened yet." It was true!  And I do wonder if our son is a lot like my Dad, always finding something of interest, something to share with someone that expresses joy in the subject! is a word that you don't really hear much any more.  In England, they have an expression..."any joy?".  It means were you able to accomplish a certain thing or if something had come through for you in a positive way.  I think we should ask ourselves that at the the end of each and every day- Any Joy?  And if it is hard for you to do so, then search out positive people like my Dad...seen any pink clouds lately?

I will be going to visit my Dad today...there might be discussions on baseball, politics, cows, chickens, cucumbers, butterbeans, homemade pimento cheese, tractors, weather, or his childhood in Toccoa. One thing for sure, I won't be bored!