Thursday, July 28, 2016

Leapin' Lizards! (Animal Rescue!)

Isn't life funny? Would you believe that the very next day after I wrote my post about animal rescues I had a chance to do a rescue myself?  This is how it happened...

I was driving home from work when I noticed out of the corner of my eye some movement on my side mirror.  At first, I thought it was a small snake but then, it moved into my line of vision and it was a small lizard, an anole.  Now, here is the thing....when I saw this little guy, I had been driving down Highway 20 going about 50 MPH.  How could he have held on to the car going that fast? My son told me that he has read that they are able to do this because they...oh dear, can't remember what he told me, something scientific, I guess, my poor little brain can't handle much at the end of a working day. Anybody know how such a little creature could hold on to a moving vehicle at such a speed? (Funny to think of him kinda surfing on the roof of my car!)

Anyway, I turned into a parking lot of a church and tried to get the lizard to release it onto the grass.  As much as I tried, he would run onto the top of the car and I couldn't reach him. Oh well, I figured, if he made it this far, he must be able to hang on until I get home! Sure enough, when I pulled into my driveway, he was still there! Richard was already home and I asked him to come out and help. Sure enough, he put a small piece of paper close to him and the anole climbed onto the paper.  Richard was going to gently place him onto some bushes near the car, but the little lizard LEAPT off the paper in a big jump! LEAPING LIZARDS!  Now, I know where that expression comes from!

I did a post about the anole that we saw at Panola Mountain and that one was a little green lizard. (Remember the throat flap is called a dewlap?) The lizard on my car was brown in color and it is the very same lizard, just different colors!
Yes, it felt good to rescue that little guy. (Well, Richard did really, but I ORCHESTRATED it!)  Now, do you want to know the rest of the story?  When I turned into that church parking lot, I must have picked up a nail in my tire!  I had to spend some time that afternoon getting it repaired! (Not in the sidewall, so it was okay to patch it, no need for a new tire.)
I am sure that anole appreciated the rescue, don't you think?

I hope so!   Leaping Lizards!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Rescue and Release

Giant toad stuck in decking in Norfolk, England!  Of course, they rescued it!  You may read about it just here.  I love this story!

Recently on a "Sea Rescue" episode from TV, we watched as TWENTY manatees were rescued in Florida. These large gentle creatures had managed to swim into big water pipes and had gotten stuck.  The rescuers were able, with great effort , to back them up, so to speak, and get them out. They had to get heavy digging equipment to release some of them. It was wonderful to see them swimming into the open water.  On the same show, they rescued two sea turtles on the same day,  One had been hit by a boat and his flipper was damaged.  (The flipper had to be partially removed. Also, his shell was cracked and some kind of material was put upon it to harden it, the same kind used on the legs of horses, apparently.)  The other sea turtle had a very serious skin disease and they had to coat it in antibiotics and put it in very clean water and hope for the best. It took over 6 months for the turtles to heal. (They made a joke about the slowness of turtles!) Hey, there was nothing slow about them when they were RELEASED into the open water! 

  The sight of those creatures swimming rapidly away into the open sea fills me with an emotion that I find hard to describe.   Now, you know this reminds me of the movie, "The Shawshank Redemption"!  I have written of it before and I hope you have seen it.
I am also thinking of a hymn, do you know it? It is "Oh Zion, Haste" and has this: "Publish glad tidings, tidings of peace, Tidings of Jesus, redemption and release."
Oh, I looked at a great many videos of this song for you! And I finally found one that not only has good singing but it also shows the words! The lyrics are by Mary Thomson. She was born in England in 1834 but she and her husband came to America in 1881 and she wrote many poems and hymns in her lifetime.  Mary Thomson said she mostly wrote this one in 1868.  She had a long life, passing away in 1923 in Philadelphia.  

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sunflowers and Grandpa, What's For Supper?

  Do you remember that my Dad planted sunflowers and I told you I would show you the sunflowers when they bloomed? Well, here they are!  Look away if you don't like sunflowers! 
Richard took most of these photos, but I took this one!

Outstanding in my field! (Totally stole this from a birthday card, I have no shame.)

Leonardo de Pisa, usually known as Fibonacci might come to mind when you see the head of a sunflower.  See the way the seeds are in a spiral?   Fibonacci did, you may read about him just here.  And maybe it is just me, but all of nature amazes me! Look at the seeds on this sunflower, they are perfectly positioned to perfectly maximize the space.  (God made, not man made!)

Now, I wish I could have gotten a photo of my Dad posing with his  sunflowers but he was taking a nap when we were taking photos. He had been very busy canning!  Just today, he told me he had canned the following: 5 quarts of October beans, 7 quarts of peaches, 3 quarts of pickled okra along with 4 pints of pickled okra! (Have to use the smaller jars sometimes!)   Earlier in the week, he had canned 21 quarts of green beans! (He put some October beans in with his green beans.)  He also canned jars of vegetable soup....but I am sorry, I forgot to write down how many jars he told me but I think it was 15 or so.  This is very hard work! All the cleaning and chopping of the vegetables and then, the canning procedure...very hot work in such hot weather!

They still show the old TV show HEE-HAW and my Dad loves to watch this even though he must have seen all the episodes. There is a segment on there where they say "Grandpa, what's for supper?" and Grandpa Jones replies with a wonderful list of Southern food and it always rhymes and it always sounds good! (You know my Dad is a great cook and can cook all these Southern favorites!) I have a clip of Grandpa Jones with his wife Ramona for you.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ah, Go Jump In a Lake (Or the River Aare!)

When I was growing up in the 1960's, and someone was irritating us, we would say, "Go jump in the lake!".  I have met up with quite a few folks lately that I would like to say this to, but rather I would like to tell them to go and jump into the River Aare..  You might have heard of this if you live in Europe or if you do crossword puzzles.  Me, I know it from the crossword!  (A river in Switzerland:  Aare.)

It is an amazing river, quite a fast moving river and I think it takes quite an amount of courage to jump into such a swift current.  They have ...oh what would you call it, they have metal poles on the banks that you can catch onto as you are swiftly moving down the river.  (If it were me, I would be grabbing hold of them so tightly, I might pull them out from the riverbank!)  I hope you can see the video from the BBC that I have for you above.

Okay, so thinking of people who are quite annoying...

Look at the sign that they put up at Panola Mountain State Park, can you read it?  Ha, I love it!  They are telling you that it is PROHIBITED to go off the trail to capture Pokemon even it it is LEGENDARY!  Way to go, Panola!  You tell 'em!
That last sentence on the sign could be rewritten for anywhere else:
Please be respectful of our world and for all the people who live on it!
Hmm, sorry guys, the heat might be getting to marks the 40th day we have had temps over 90 degrees.  Tomorrow promises to be the 41st, and so on and so get the picture! 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Catalpa Tree

My Dad has a big catawba tree which he planted about twenty years ago in his backyard. (Just found out that it came from his brother, George, so it came from Toccoa, Georgia - just like my Daddy and me!)  You will see it spelled this way and pronounced this way, but it is really "Catalpa" and it is a native tree.   It is also called Indian bean tree and fish bait tree.  The fruits of the tree are long and bean like and was well known by Native Americans, but why is is also called fish bait tree?  The catalpa tree is a native American tree that is known mostly to fishermen...

The sphinx moth lays eggs on this tree and they hatch into very large caterpillars.  These caterpillars drop off onto the ground and they are very highly prized as bait for catfish!  Here's an amazing thing about this tree, some years the caterpillars might completely eat every single leaf off this tree and yet, this does not harm the tree! Isn't that something?  So, if you see this tree in the South with its large heart shaped leaves and worms are eating the leaves, leave them alone! And if you want to read a great piece about this, you may read it just here-Leave it be!

The word, "catalpa" is from the South, it is derived from the Cherokee language, one of the native American tribes who lived here. (There are Cherokees who still live in North Carolina, they are descended from the few who managed to escape from the forced Indian march to Oklahoma.  You do know about this, don't you? So many died on the way there, it is known as "The Trail of Tears".  Anyway, a great deal of our place names and plant names come from the Indians/Native Americans.)
Okay, where was I before I began thinking of the Cherokee and the forced march? Oh yes, the catalpa...
the Cherokees used to smoke the bean-like pod, they do look a bit like cigars.
Now, you all know how, for some reason, I seem to have an English connection to things. (I really don't look for this, it just happens.)
The oldest known specimen of the catalpa tree is in ...wait for it...
Reading, in Berkshire, England!  The catalpa tree there is about 150 years old, it is in a church graveyard there and it is a magnificent tree.  Reading about it (no pun intended, you pronounce the town "redding"), they tried to get rid of the old tree, and they planted a new one just beside it. Both trees are thriving!  The old one refuses to die!  The old tree is called the "trippy tree" as the hippies in the 60's and 70's used to smoke underneath it.  (I do wonder if they smoked the bean like pods, just as the Native Americans did?) Want to read about the trippy tree or catalpa tree in England?  Here is a link for you:
Indian bean tree or "trippy tree" in Reading, England!

One thing, I would say to not plant this tree unless you have PLENTY of space, it is very messy, what with the worms and the very large leaves, but man oh man, it is one interesting tree!
This is just one more bit of knowledge from my Dad that I am sharing with you!  

My Dad just called me and told me to turn the TV on to the RFD channel, one of his favorites was on there...
Narvel Felts.  He might not be a household name but hey, if my Dad likes him, that's good enough for me.  

See the things you learn from me and my Dad?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Cucumber, Baby! (Cucumber baby)

pickling cucumbers- not very big but they taste good raw or pickled!

Cucumbers!  I grew these cucumber plants from organic seed and was pleased when they all came up!  Only thing, we have had very little rain so it has been a job to keep them alive!  They are beginning to really produce now, so I will either have to give some away or make pickles. How about both?  Yes, that's the ticket!

Looking up recipes for easy refrigerator pickles, I found quite a few that used a long list of pickling spices and ingredients but I found one that only used white vinegar, salt and sugar.  That is my kind of recipe!  I peeled and sliced just two cucumbers and put them into this pint jar with the liquid.  You are supposed to wait two days but hey, it looked too good so I had some on a sandwich the day that I made them and they were delicious!  

Kay's Pickles: 
1 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
(NOTE: I made more pickles and think I used 1 tsp. salt, whereas I had this as TWO teaspoons originally. Please,  I would taste the liquid and put it to your taste. Not meaning to steer you wrongly, I am just trying to remember how I made them! You could also use more sugar if you like!)
Stir in a large glass measuring cup until dissolved and then pour liquid into glass pint jar. Pack the cucumber slices into the jar. Place jar upon a crocheted cloth and admire! (Then, put the jar in the fridge and use within 2 weeks.)

You understand the first part of title post,  I am exclaiming to you that I have grown cucumbers but what does the second part mean?
When I was a little girl, my sister and I used to take cucumbers and wrap them up into a cloth and pretend they were our "babies" and we would cuddle them and hold them close.  (Did anyone else do that or is this just a very "country" type of thing that hardly anyone else has heard of?)
 I told one of my co workers about our pots of cucumbers and she seemed quite keen on the produce. I also told her about my cucumber baby days! So, what do you think...of course, I had to crochet a green and white cloth and wrap up a cucumber for her!

Cucumber, baby!  Cucumber baby!

(I love a play on words, don't you?)

Oh, and speaking of that...does this make you think of the expression, "cool as a cucumber"?  Did you know that the inside of a cucumber is about 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature?

We have had had about 36 days with the temp over 90 degrees, so cucumbers are a very nice thing to have this year!

Hey, eat more cucumbers, especially home grown ones!
Wish I could send you all one! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


What in the world could take the place of "Downton Abbey" on Sunday nights on PBS?  How about an eight part series on Queen Victoria? That sounds good to me!  It looks as if this will be shown later this year in the U.K. but will shown in the USA sometime in 2017.  Hey, I have to keep up with my British shows, don't you know and I think it is my duty to pass along things like this to you!
In the United States, we sometimes get shows years after they are shown in England, but sometimes we get them fairly quickly.
We just saw the last episode of "Endeavour" here whereas it was shown last winter, I think, in the U.K.  (Love that series, by the way!)
It's funny, sometimes I will ask my in-laws in England about a particular show and they will have to think back, since it would have been shown there much earlier. Hey, it keeps them on their toes, they should thank me!

Queen Victoria was the longest reigning monarch but Queen Elizabeth just surpassed that mark recently.  I have shown you this mosaic of Queen Elizabeth before...made from pieces of cloth, it was displayed in her honour for the Queen's 60th Jubilee from 2012. (It was at the C&H Fabrics in Eastbourne.)  

Long live the Queen!   And don't forget to watch out for "Victoria" in 2017

Where did Queen Victoria keep her armies?
Up her sleevies! HA!  I got this from a Christmas Cracker!