Sunday, May 15, 2022

Joy From Flowers and Music

 

Blooming flowers! I never tire of them. Honestly, every time I see a flower, it is as if I have never seen one before...


Walking Iris or Apostle Plant. (Neomarica gracilis).  









The walking iris is on our front porch and we have several in pots.

The blooms only last for one day but what a great day that is!



We also very much enjoy the blooms on different trees and shrubs that we see on our walks.  


Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus).

This is a native tree, also called "Grancy greybeard"!  Such a lovely thing! We saw this planted on the grounds at the Monastery and also in the woods at Panola Mountain State Park. (And also growing in woods beside the roads here and in other yards!) Wish I had one!





Mourning doves at our very expensive bird bath.  It's quite amusing to see a bird this size take a bath in such a tiny amount of water but they seem to enjoy it. (Keep it clean and the birds will come. I promise!)



Does this rabbit look big to you? Or is it just me? We have a wildlife haven at our home, I tell you!






If you remember my last post, I wrote about air conditioning and how grateful I am for it in Georgia.  So, it's a bit funny that we just had a very comfortable April and it has even been fairly cool the first two weeks of May!  The mornings in particular have been truly lovely.  What about you in your part of the world?  Do tell!

In a recent post I also spoke of seeing the International Space Station. Well, TONIGHT you should be able to see a total eclipse of the moon!  I say YOU should because I won't be able to stay up to see it, so please let me know if you do! LOL!

I don't see too many films these days but I do believe that I would like to see the new film about Elvis that will be coming out in June.
I've read that Priscilla and Lisa Marie have seen it and both of them love it.
That's good enough for me!  You have most likely seen the trailer so I am going to try to find you one of my favorite videos of Elvis....


This was from the special on TV in 1968.  I remember it well. Just like my spring flowers, it still brings me joy!





Sunday, April 17, 2022

Is It Getting Hot? Turn On That AC!


There, I typed "AC" but in real life, I always say "air conditioning", honest, I do! I live in Georgia and let me tell you folks, it gets HOT in Georgia! Here's the thing about air conditioning, like so many things we take it for granted.  We just switch it on when it gets hot, we expect it to be in all buildings and vehicles and if it breaks, we plead with the repairman to come out and fix it! (Maybe you don't, but I do!) Now, how many of you know who invented it? Anybody?  Ha! Maybe you all know and I am the last one to find out but that won't stop me from telling you about Mr. Willis Haviland Carrier and his wonderful invention...

Willis Haviland Carrier was an American engineer born in Angola, New York on Nov. 26, 1876. He graduated from Angola Academy in 1894 and from Buffalo High School in 1897. He then attended Cornell University and graduated with a Master of Engineering degree in 1901.  Alright, got those dates in mind? Now, I am going to tell you that in the summer of 1902, a publishing company was having great difficulties with the humidity and heat in Brooklyn, New York. The paper to be used in printing would grow and shrink in the humidity.  Mr, Carrier to the rescue! He submitted drawings for what would become the first modern air conditioning system. We may think of it as just cooling the air, but it must do these four things:

1.  Control temperature

2. Control humidity

3. Control air circulation and ventilation

4. Cleanse the air


After more refinement, Mr. Carrier was granted a patent for his invention in 1906. (He called it "an apparatus for treating air".)   He received another patent in 1907 for the "law of constant dewpoint depression".  I have read that he stepped off a train station in the early morning in a dense fog and that started his mind turning! He learned that getting rid of the humidity was the way to cool the air. The key was to dry the air by producing artificial fog.

The first use of his air conditioning was for businesses such as the publishing company that I told you about. The first building to be air conditioned just for comfort was the New York Stock Exchange Building in NYC which was also in 1902. The first time that it was used in a home was in 1926.   The following video explains how it is used in the Sistine Chapel, "The Art of the Invisible"....




Fast forward to the early 1960's in Georgia...which was MY childhood.  I well remember stepping into a drugstore with my Daddy and the cold air that blasted out as I crossed over the threshold is something I will never forget! "What is that?!", I remember asking him.  "Tee, hee, hee....THAT is air conditioning!", he replied.  Ah, don't worry, it didn't take me long to get used to it and I didn't want to leave! It was so lovely and cool and you know I sat at a counter and had a Cherry Coke before we left! (With a paper straw, of course!) We didn't have air conditioning in our homes or schools.  I don't think that came as a standard thing until the late 1970s.  I have tried to explain to our son that things like watermelon and ice cream were such an important part of summer for us, they were cooling and very, very welcome in the Georgia heat!



RATIONAL PSYCHROMETRIC FORMULAE

THEIR RELATION TO THE PROBLEMS OF METEOROLOGY AND OF AIR CONDITIONING

By Willis H. Carrier

ABSTRACT OF PAPER

In many industries such as the manufacture of textiles, food products, high explosives, photographic films, tobacco, etc., regulation of the humidity of the atmosphere is of great importance. This paper deals with the subject of the artificial regulation of atmospheric moisture, technically known as air conditioning. It gives a theoretical discussion of the subject in which formulae are developed for the solution of problems. These formulae are based upon the most recently determined data and in order to establish a logical basis for the presentation of these data and the derivation of the formulae, the principles governing atmospheric moisture are reviewed and the present methods of determining atmospheric humidity are discussed.









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 Most of the dogwood trees have now lost their blossoms and underneath them you may see a carpet of white petals.  If you ever find yourself underneath one on a sunny day, make sure you take a photo. I asked Richard to do so and here it is!

Hope you are all doing well these days, my friends!

And next time you find yourself on a foggy day, think of our hero, Mr. Carrier and how grateful we all are for his invention.














Monday, April 4, 2022

Look Up! It Might Be the International Space Station

 





Wait, what's that in the sky?


It is the lovely moon, of course!  No matter where you are, we can all look at the sky and marvel at what we see....


Happy April, everyone! March just marched on by for me but the one thing that I can tell you that I truly enjoyed was viewing the International Space Station on March 17th! Now maybe all of you have seen it many times and is just a kind of a ho-hum thing for you to see but Richard and I were pleased to see it fly right over! (You will see it called the ISS but my friends, I will type out "International Space Station" EVERY time because, well, that's just how I roll! Drives me crazy how EVERYTHING is just initials now, I don't know half of what folks are talking about!)  Anyway, before my old annoyed self butted in, I was telling you about looking at the sky....

Now, what did it look like? It looks like a very bright STAR moving across the sky, there are no flashing lights or anything and it does not change direction.  You will NOT mistake it for an airplane as it moves much faster! (Airplanes fly at 600 MPH and the Space Station flies at 17,500 miles per hour!)  So, remember, it looks like a moving star!  Richard and I watched it until it was gone out of sight. And it made me smile to think of someone else in another part of the country and then, another part of the world, also eagerly looking up to view it!  There is a site from NASA that shows when it may be viewed in your area.  You may see it just here!

Of course, you may look up at the sky at any time!  During the day to see the lovely clouds and each and every evening, you may see the moon in all its phases.  And it is FREE! And thinking of the moon, I do hope that you have all seen the film "Apollo 13".  It is based on the book by Jim Lovell, "Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13".  If you have not read it, you should do so!  At the end of the film, Jim Lovell is shown shaking hands with the astronauts aboard the ship, the IWO JIMA. He was offered to play an admiral but he refused with this reply: "I retired as a captain and a captain I will be". Isn't that just a nice thing to learn?  (I recognized Jim Lovell when I saw the film but I only just learned that quote from him.)


What song for this post? It has to be the one that I instantly thought of when I watched the International Space Station come up through the tall pines and then, go across the sky in front of us like a bright shining star.  It is a song by EARTH, WIND and FIRE!











Sunday, March 20, 2022

When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano/St. Joseph's Day


 St. Joseph's Day was yesterday, March 19th. (St. Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and earthly father of Jesus.)  Years ago, my sister and I were invited to a St. Joseph's Day Altar by a friend of hers who was Italian-American. I have never forgotten it! There were all kinds of lovely food dishes artfully arranged in three tiers with flowers and fruit interspersed beside the dishes. (The top shelf had a statue of St. Joseph).  Reading up on it now, I realize that since St. Joseph's Day is always during the season of Lent, all the food would have been vegetable or fish dishes along with sweet cakes. Some of the dishes would have had breadcrumbs as toppings, these would symbolize sawdust to remind us of St. Joseph, the carpenter.  I really can't say that I remember that fact, but I do remember that it was all very good. We were given a fava bean when we left....

The St. Joseph's Altar came from Sicily.  During the Middle Ages, Sicily suffered from famine. The severe drought ended after the people prayed to St. Joseph. The fava bean is the crop that saved them from starvation and is therefore a traditional part of the St. Joseph's altars. 

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San Juan Capistrano! It is in California, there is a famous Mission there founded by Spanish Catholics in 1776.  It is well known because of the cliff swallows that return faithfully there very year in March, and it is also on March 19th, same day as St. Joseph's Day! I hope you know the story of the swallows! Father St. John O'Sullivan. who was the pastor of the church during the 1920's noticed a shopkeeper knocking down a nest of birds who were trying to build under the eaves of his shop. When he told Father O'Sullivan what he was doing, Father O'Sullivan said, "Come on swallows, I'll give you shelter.  Come to the mission. There's room enough there for all." The very next day, the swallows did just that and they have been returning to the Mission ever since. Mission San Juan Capistrano - Mission San Juan Capistrano (missionsjc.com)  

If you click on that link that I gave you above, you can read more about it!

Of course, there MUST be a song connected with this. (You knew there would be, I know!)  "When The Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" was written by Leon Rene and first recorded by The Ink Spots in 1940. (The Ink Spots featuring Bill Kenny! I have written about them before, you know I love the songs by them!) The most wonderful thing, the Rene Family donated the piano on which Leon Rene composed the tune and the Mission has it displayed in a special room at the Mission honoring the songwriter.

Leon Rene also wrote another song about a bird too! "Rocking Robin"! And I must tell you, robins are more likely to run along than to rock. They are not very good fliers so please be especially careful of robins if you see them in the road. Robins in America are in the thrush family and tend to be a bit bottom heavy. I have observed birds for many years so this is a personal observation of mine! 


Today is March 20th, first day of Spring! It is the time when we get to see the male cardinal (bright red) actually feed his mate! Now, I don't have a photo of it here but I promise that they do, just as faithfully as the swallows return to Capistrano, every year.

Happy Spring to you all!


Saturday, March 5, 2022

Sowing Seeds

 


"What can I do to help?"  That is the very first thing that I always hear from a very dear friend whenever I am going through something in my life.  (I am hoping that you all have friends like that!)  There is a company here in the USA that sells rare seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. (If any of my friends have received seeds in the mail from me, they are usually from Baker Creek in their black packages.) Last weekend, they announced a fundraiser called "Aid for Ukraine".  You may read more just here.

I read that from Friday noon until Sunday night it raised 1.6 million dollars!  Isn't that something?

There is a video about the founder of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Jere Gettle. You may see it just here.  An amazing story, he started his company with $100 with seeds that he had collected, selling to friends and family.  In the early years, his mother drew the pictures for the cover of his catalogs.  After 2000, the company really grew with Jere Gettle's understanding of the future of the internet and his passion for heirloom seeds.

Heirloom seeds are pollinated by wind or insects. You can save the seeds and they will be the same year after year. Heirloom seeds are NON GMO. GMO means genetically modified organism where the DNA has been artificially altered in a lab. If you click on that link that I gave you for the video it is explained in much more detail. 

I come from a long line of farmers.  My father and grandfather and their fathers before them, they all knew how to grow a garden. How I hope I inherited that gardening gene! I am very grateful and proud of Jere Gettle and the good work that he has done for spreading the word about heirloom seeds.  I noticed that in the comment about the video that no one mentioned about all the humanitarian work that Jere Gettle has done through his company.  There are still people in this world who do a lot of very good things but no one ever hears about them.  "What can I do to help?", they say and then, they get about helping in whatever way that they can.

More power to them, I say. 

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This photo is from the summer of 2011. All grown by my Daddy who also was an expert at canning his homegrown vegetables. The taste? Out of this world!












And after my last post, I saw a comment by a German artist who lives in London, Lothar Goetz.  He spoke of the unspeakable aggression against Ukraine and then used blue and yellow in a painting.  He said this: "Colours in a flag are mainly of a symbolic nature but I believe in the power of colour and blue and yellow are both beautiful and strong!" 



Sunday, February 27, 2022

An Eye for Beauty

 

The London Eye!  You know it, of course. It was constructed for the Millennium and was completed in March of 2000.   In 1993, there was a competition to design a landmark for the millennium.  The architects, husband and wife David Marks and Julia Barfield, submitted the design for the London Eye but it was rejected by the judges. They built it anyway!

I took the photo of Richard from the other side of the Thames, showing how it looks at night all lit up. The year that we were there, it changed to different colors.  (The colors can be used to show support, just two nights ago it was lit up yellow and blue, the colors of the flag of Ukraine.)  I think that's wonderful.  From the other two photos here, I think you can see how it looks very different from other observation wheels you might have seen....

You can see that it is cantilevered or supported on only one side.


If you call it a Ferris Wheel, it won't bother me any! We use words that are familiar to us.  Just across from the London Eye is, I believe, one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen...The Houses of Parliament which includes The Elizabeth Tower, which was recently restored.  Once again, The Elizabeth Tower has been called "Big Ben" for many years and we all know that technically, that is the name of the bell inside the tower itself, but if you wish to still say "Big Ben", I will NOT send the language police to your door! Whatever you call it, it is truly lovely.  



Now, let's cross back over the equally lovely Westminster Bridge and talk about the London Eye again!  Did you know that the London Eye has 32 capsules? Each capsule or pod holds up to 25 people. You might have been on it before and remembered being inside number 33.  This might be true. They are numbered from 1-12 and then from 14-33.  There is no capsule number 13!  When I have been on it, I paid no attention to the number of the capsule, I only had eyes for the views.  It made me think of the song, "On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever).  You have time to marvel since one revolution of the wheel takes 30 minutes.



If you click  here you will see other designs from the Marks Barfield architectural firm.  There is beauty in design! David Marks died in 2017 but the beauty that he created lives on.



















Sunday, February 13, 2022

Love Grows/Music Is Forever

 



Before this old computer crashes, let me try to type a post as quickly as I possibly can...

Well, hey there! How are y'all doing? Have you watched any of the Winter Olympics? There have been some very special moments, I think.  Since I have to go to bed early it means I am finding out results days after everyone else but that's been okay for me, I still enjoy what I have seen.  All those snowy pictures from the Olympics have made me very feel very cold though! And remember when I told you in a post recently about the possibility of getting snowy weather? It never came and for that, I am grateful! Just as soon as see it on TV!  Besides NOT seeing the Olympics, what have I been doing?  Nothing very exciting but you know me, I am always thinking of music and background of songs! On Instagram and TIKTOK there is a song that is really making the rounds. When I first heard those opening chords, I knew exactly what song it was....






There, did you recognize it? (I hope you were able to see the video). Some songs don't age as well as others but this one...I think it still sounds very good today!  Oh dear! I just went back to read this post after I posted it and it WILL NOT SHOW THE VIDEO!!  You should see it
here! (Hopefully).

It is "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" by Edison Lighthouse from 1970.  The lead singer is Tony Burrows (a Brit, of course, my posts don't always have to have a Brit involved, it just works out that way!) He was contacted in January of 2022 to inform him that this song had gone viral, he was astonished to learn of its popularity. I have read that it has been used on reels on these social platforms more than 2 billion times! Is that correct? Isn't that something? And what is quite interesting to me is that this same singer had three other songs on the charts at the same time in the first week of January of 1970! The other three are as follows: "United We Stand", "My Baby Loves Loving" and "Gimme Dat Ding".  Oh, that last one is quite funny, he is singing a duet where Tony Burrows sings in a low, gravelly voice and the other singer sings in a high tenor.  Calling themselves "The Pipkins", the other singer is Roger Greenaway, who is also a famous songwriter!  (He wrote "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress", "I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing" and many others.)  "Gimme Dat Ding" came from a children's musical and the song is meant to represent a piano and a metronome.  





The first video from 1970 which I hope you were able to view from the link I gave you, has the band performing in front of a large building with columns.  

After seeing it, I believe I recognized that same building in a Poirot episode from the early 1990's that I saw on TV.  It was called the Arnholt Bank but it is the Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square in the City of London.  You can see the columns if you click just here.  (Scroll down but enjoy the lovely views of the inside as you go!)   Before it was bought as a luxury hotel, it was the London Port Authority. If you have been to London and visited the Tower of London, you have been very close to this building!  Now....after I have told you all that, it is possible that I could be totally wrong and the building that you see in the video is NOT that same building, but it looks very much like it to me!




Look at this fantastic display of books by Agatha Christie at the bookstore "Waterstones" which is on Gower Street in Bloomsbury.
(Notice that I have mentioned Gower Street on the post that I have listed on the right of this blog.  Bloomsbury is our stomping ground whenever Richard and I are in London! Not that we have been there lately but still, it is dear and fairly familiar to me.) 

Hope you are all doing well and still using your little grey cells, mes amis! 

P.S. I am not certain if the singer in the video really is Tony Burrows but he certainly is the singer on the record that I know and remember.