Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stay Curious!

How many times is your curiosity aroused by either reading something or viewing something on TV?
Are you interested enough to question and research what has piqued your interest?  It is much easier now with the internet.  You can type whatever word or phrase you like into a search engine, and presto...there it is , right at your fingertips.  I would like to tell you a true story that you may or may not know about...

This story starts out with a man watching the movie "Jaws" on TV with his eleven year old son,  Hunter Scott.  Remember the scene where the Captain is describing the ship that sank and the men in the water being eaten by sharks?   Hunter Scott turned to his Dad and asked him if this story was true.  When his Dad told him that indeed it was a true story, this young boy took it upon himself to write to the survivors of the USS Indianapolis.  I believe that this was about 1996 or so.  These veterans wrote back to Hunter Scott and described in great detail the tragedy of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and how the sinking itself was the greatest loss of life in the history of the U.S. Navy and also, how the survivors were left for five days in the ocean with sharks taking most of the men.  (There are several good books written on this, I have read "In Harm's Way" by Doug Stanton and "Fatal Voyage" by Dan Kurzman.  Both are good and I highly recommend them.)

The final horror for the survivors was this: the Captain of their ship, Captain B. McVay,  was court-martialed and was so driven to despair that he committed suicide.  These men from the USS Indianapolis never gave up trying to get justice for him.  All of this was explained to Hunter Scott and here is the amazing part... he, along with the veterans, although this took years, was able to get the Navy to REVERSE their decision, in the year 2000.    This was truly astounding  since the Navy had never done that before or since...

Now, here is a book that I want to read: "Left for Dead: A Young Man's Search for Justice for  the USS
Indianapolis" by Hunter Scott and Pete Nelson.   Even though this is considered a "Young Adult" book , I have never let that stop me from reading about something I have a great interest in! I have also read that it is being developed for a movie, so keep an eye out for it!
I have a great many books about World War II that I would like to write about here.  I worked as a travel agent for almost twenty years and I was lucky enough to speak with a great many veterans making plans to go to their reunions.  We've lost a great many of those men, but I was very fortunate to meet some of them and talk with them about their experiences.  This contact with these men made me feel much more CURIOUS about the war and what they went through.  Other people that I worked with met these same men, but they were not as interested as I was (and still am).

What have you been curious about lately?  Done anything grand like getting the Navy to reverse a court-martial like young Hunter Scott?  What are you waiting for?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Old Style Country

A new computer at my Daddy's house!

By the time I finish typing this, my Dad will be able to go on-line and read some of the things that I have written here since Aug. 21st.  I have a photo of my Daddy along with a photo of my two sisters.  And I have written about his big garden and how generous he is to share the bounties of that wonderful garden.
He gave me some more pears last weekend, so I now have nine bags of frozen pears in my freezer! Thanks, Dad!
One of the things that we both enjoy is country music.   It's nice too because he has a great sound system in his truck and when the singer comes on, it sounds as if you are in a real concert!  My Dad's first job was working at the Army Camp near his home (remember "Band of Brothers" and the army camp in Toccoa? That was the one!)  He was only 14 years old and he bought a radio with his first earnings.  I think he has always loved music.  One of his favorite movies is "Brother, Where Art Thou" and I know one of the reasons is because of the music in it.

Recently, he got me to listen to an artist that has been around for years and the artist's name is Narvel Felts.  I am going to put one of his songs from You-Tube on here.  This is for you, Daddy!
Now Daddy,  just click on the arrow on the photo above and you will be able to hear him sing. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's A Free Country!

As a kid in the 60's, when I would have an opinion on something that someone didn't like, I would hear this.. "Hey, it's a free country, you can say what you like.  I might not AGREE with it, but you are free to say it!"  I wonder what happened to that expression?  This also applies to books...

Lesley at http://www.lesley' has a list of banned books in America. (Check it out!)
Some of these are some of my favorite books of all time! When I first read Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a child I remember being blown away by the writing of one of the chapters that I went back and re-read it, thinking..."How can anyone write so incredibly WELL?" It was the chapter titled, "You Can't Pray A Lie".  That is the first book I ever read that made me realize the power of words. I know kids now can't get over certain  words used in the book and I believe I have read that they have now changed the most offensive word. But still, there is so much truth in that book...maybe that is why so many of these books are banned or "challenged". One of the books on this list, The Catcher In The Rye, is one that I didn't care for at all that many people like... I just told my son that this book is on the list and I said it shouldn't be banned, it should be burned! His reply was that no, no books should be burned, it is just a book that SHOULD NEVER BE READ AGAIN! (So happy he agrees with his Mom on this one.) Of course, neither one of us thinks that censorship of books is a good idea.

My son has grown up with the Harry Potter books so it is hard for me to be objective about them.  Would I like them as much if my son wasn't the exact same age as Harry Potter and his friends? In other words, the people around you can influence how you feel about something.  (If my son can make me enjoy the movie "Avatar", anything is possible!)

Today is a beautiful day.  I must not miss one more minute of it.  Going outside now...will leave this with a song from the Moody Blues.  And hey, it's a free country! A free world...enjoy it!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Croydon Connection

There are beautiful drawings of fairies that are very popular.   Once you see them, you can begin to recognize the same hand must have drawn them.  They were done by an artist named Cicely Mary Barker and she is from the same town where my husband was born, which is Croydon, England.

 There is another artist who is very popular in Europe but is almost unknown in the U.S.A. and he also is from Croydon.  (He was born in Kent, but spent most of his childhood in Croydon.)  He is a musical artist and his name is Ralph McTell.   I will try to have a song by him from YouTube here called "From Clare To Here".  It is a beautiful song which he wrote, but you sometimes can see it listed as "Irish Traditional", when he fact it was written by Ralph McTell.  One of his biggest hits has been "Streets of London" and our family very much enjoys a children's album which he did in the 80's called "Alphabet Zoo".   He is an excellent guitarist and songwriter and it is surprising that more people are not familar with him.  Strangely enough, he and his brother actually posed as children for Miss Barker for one of her fairy pictures. Ralph McTell has written two books.  "Angel Laughter" and "Summer Lightning".  The first one is about his childhood and the second one about his adult life and musical career.  I highly recommend both of these books, as I also recommend his music. 

Just listen for yourself... and also remember, the beautiful artwork of Cicely Mary Barker and please note how wonderfully she captured the images of all the flowers that she painted.  They are perfect.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gluten Free Cake!

One of the names that I considered for my blog was "Reason, Memory and Skill".   My thinking was that by writing about the things that would interest me, I could hope to improve all three.  (I stole...I mean borrowed that phrase from The Book of Common Prayer , by the way.)  I've never been what you would call skillful in the kitchen but by reading some wonderful blogs I really think it has improved my cooking and baking.

Just this weekend, Nan from  wrote about making a simple butter cake.  She explained that she has NEVER made a cake from a cake mix (Duncan Hines, look away now!) and that she finds it "easy peasy" to make this simple cake!  Boy, oh boy, it is easy and GOOD!
The exciting thing for me is that I have found that many times, if a recipe only uses a few ingredients, it can almost always be adapted and be made gluten free. I will list Nan's recipe here and then show what I did to make it gluten free!  My husband is the one that must be on a gluten free diet but honestly, we both loved this cake.

                                           B  U  T  T  E  R     C  A  K  E

1 1/2 cups   flour     ( I used 3/4 cup rice flour and 3/4 cup cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder    (Which I OMITTED, by mistake)

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup or 1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Here is how easy this is....Mix the flour (or rice flour & cornstarch) with the salt
                                           and baking powder.  (I left out the baking powder and instead used
                                            1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum.)

In another bowl, mix the softened butter with the sugar and mix well. (I just use a fork!) Mix in the two eggs and the vanilla.  Now, mix the wet mixture (the eggy, butter mixture) into the dry mixture (the flour mixture) and alternately mix in the 3/4 cup milk. Mix into a lovely, beautiful really is creamy and gorgeous!  Pour into a greased cake pan (I used an 8 inch one) and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

I took two photos of this cake.  As it was on my cooling rack, I cut a piece and you will see it sitting underneath the cake (didn't want to lose a single crumb, don't you know!) Please notice that even though that slice is sitting there waiting for my husband, I just had to cut off one end of it to taste it! Oh, and while you are looking at it, please admire the pretty polka dot plate that my mother in law insisted that I bring back from England.  (Hey, she insisted!  I love these plates. Thanks, Joan!)

The next time I make this, I will still make it gluten free, but I will remember to use the baking powder, but it was more like a poundcake and was truly a wonderful cake and one that I would happily make again.  Who knows? Maybe this mistake is like the mistake that the woman made who first put pieces of chocolate in her cookie dough and invented chocolate chip cookies.  What a happy accident that was!

Here is how Nan ended her post:  "Why not put only good things into the body to hopefully give us a longer, healthier life".    Why not indeed?  Thank you, Nan!

And I really wanted to let you hear Chas & Dave sing this song, but the Count and The Cookie Monster are good too.  ENJOY!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gluten Free and Good

Believe it or not, I have made some pretty tasty meals lately.  Here is something that I like to make if I have some leftover rice...comes together rather quickly and easily which is how I like to cook.

Rice Crust Pizza  (GLUTEN FREE) all ingredients that I list here are gluten free.

2 cups COOKED rice (if rice is cold, I put a little water in it and heat slightly in microwave)
1/2 to 3/4 cup grated Pepperjack cheese  ....1cup cheddar cheese for the topping
1 pound chopped boneless chicken
1/2 onion chopped
2 big stalks of celery
1/2 of a big green bell pepper (or red , or yellow one)
 Cherry tomatoes . This time I used my Daddy's canned tomato juice.
Seasonings:  Seasoned salt, garlic powder, pepper & salt.  Also, McCormick's Steakhouse Seasoning Grinder- have you tried this?  We just discovered this and my husband loves it on everything! (It must be good...the store will have all the different kinds but only 1 or 2 will be left of that kind.)

Mix the rice and the Pepperjack cheese together. Press down in a buttered glass pie plate.  (As you prepare the may put the pie plate in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.)
Cook the chicken in a little olive oil with the onion, celery and peppers. Season as you wish...I use the seasonings listed.   If you have tomatoes, put them in with the chicken, celery , onion and pepper mixture.  Now, mix 1/3cup SALSA with 1 tsp. cornstarch.  Put in pan with everything & stir it well.  OR, just mix the 1/3 cup salsa with 1/3 cup tomato juice and put in the pan.   (The salsa really does give this a lot of flavor.)

Now, did you remember the pie plate that you put in the oven?  Is it sitting on top of the stove waiting?
Good, now put the cooked mixture in the pie plate and grate some cheddar cheese on the top.  You could put pepper jack cheese on the top, but if you have a son who doesn't LIKE pepperjack, then you put cheddar on the top so he doesn't KNOW that there is pepperjack cheese in the dish! Sneaky, huh?

Put this back into the 400 degree oven and this takes another 20-30 minutes or until you just can't wait a minute longer...after all, everything is already cooked, right?

While this is cooking, make some of my famous green beans. 
Saute some chopped onion in a 2 qt. saucepan until close to brown, as this is cooking get 2 cans of green beans. Drain one can, and partially drain the other can.  Pour into the pan with the onions. (In other words, just have the water in the one can.) Bring this up to a good boil and let it simmer away...Season with salt & pepper. Now, the rice crust pizza should be almost ready... drain the beans and squeeze a bit of lemon over the green beans.  Put a little butter over the green beans.  These green beans are really good with the rice crust pizza.  Oh, and I usually use jasmine rice, just because that is what my husband likes, but plain white rice would do just fine.

There. perhaps this is more like a really need to eat it with knife and fork.  We really like it though...we have used different meat and also just used veggies and it is good EVERY TIME.
This also happens to be gluten-free but it would be good for anybody, as you can see, there is nothing strange in it, it is just good food!  Just noticed the date that I wrote beside this handwritten recipe, it is June 9, 1999!  I told you I have made this for years!

That cabbage has nothing to do with this recipe.  It is from my Daddy's garden and isn't it beautiful?  I am forever taking photos of vegetables. The other photo is of the bluebells in England in June of 2010. So, you see the red clay of Georgia with the sturdy cabbage and the beautiful bluebells in that rich dark earth of England... each place very different but both very dear to me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Work of My Hands...and Other Hands Around the World!

My colorful granny square that I crocheted has been made into a blanket for the elderly!  A dear woman named Sue in England wanted to make some blankets to take to nursing homes in honor of her grandmother.  She asks for squares to be sent to her and she then crochets them together and makes a lovely border around each one.  Sue also takes the blankets into her garden and photographs them beautifully.  Today marks the day that the 90th blanket was made!  I am very happy to say that if you go to Sue's blog...  for today, Sept. 15th,
you will see the tropical blanket (which still must be named) and the 4th square down in the middle with the butterfly perched upon it...was made by me!  It is incredible how happy this makes me.  It just amazes me that these squares come from so many different people from all around the world...they truly are international blankets of love that seem to generate the love and goodwill of all those involved in the creation.

In honor of this special day, I would like to post a pattern for a butterfly, especially since Sue likes to use them so very much.  I don't know where this came from, if anyone knows let me know and I will try to give them credit!

Butterfly:     ch 4, sl st in 1st ch to form ring.
                  *ch 4, 3 tr into ring, ch 3, sl st into ring*  Repeat once.
                  *ch 3, 3 dc into ring, ch 3, st st into ring.* Repeat once.
                    Fasten off.  Create abdomen and antennae by making a loop
                                       around the middle and then tie off.

 Sometime I use a smaller size hook when I do the bottom part of the wings (in other words, the part that has the 3 dc into the ring.)  These are American terms... can any one tell me why the American and British have to be different? Anyway, hope this makes for some nice butterflies...

The photo at the top of this post shows the crocheted butterflies (and one flower!) that I made which I propped up next to my birthday card and anniversary card. Both cards are from England and are from my favorite in-laws! 
Just because I love this song so much (sung by this sweet Hawaiian man that I hope everyone is familar with) I have included it here. This is in keeping with all the love generated by the making of these blankets!     A  L  O  H  A  !  !  !

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Heartfelt Thoughts

After my post on the Monastery, I realized that I hadn't really explained how much the Monastery means to me.  How I feel renewed after I leave and what a quiet and peaceful feeling I have while I am there.
In no way did I convey the deep respect that I have for the monks...One of the things that I didn't mention, they have been an amazing help for people who are going through hard times.  Hidden away in a very small booklet about them, I found this little item:  the Monastery was rated the number one food bank in the whole state of Georgia...
Many times we take for granted the things that churches do and we don't even think about it.  Remember Hurricane Katrina?  It seemed to me that it was churches (and by churches, that means the PEOPLE who go to these churches, since the church is the PEOPLE not the building!) who provided most of the real help during that crucial time...
It has now been just over ten years since Sept. 11, 2001...Remember seeing the church with the white walls and pews that had all the firefighters curled up asleep absolutely exhausted? Remember the drawings and flags that were hung up there?  That church was St. Paul's and it was just a block away from the Twin Towers... there was dust and debris but the building stood intact.  Before 9/11/01, it was most known for the fact that George Washington had worshipped there.  Now, it is remembered as the place of refuge it became for those who were working at the site that became known as Ground Zero.  This was (and is ) an Episcopal Church and I remember at the time that the decision was made that the congregation could worship at another church a short distance away and this building was used from September 2001 until May 2002 just for those working at Ground Zero.  This was because they saw the great need... Here is a link to an article in National Geographic

One of the songs that was performed at the tribute this past Sunday was by Paul Simon. He was supposed to sing "Bridge Over Troubled Water".  Instead, he sang "Sounds of Silence".  I found it to be very moving.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Monastery of the Holy Spirit

There is place within Rockdale County, Georgia which may be more well known to out-of-state visitors than to those who live within the county itself.  Most people who live here may have heard of it... most simply just call it "the monastery".  In 1944, when the monks purchased the land and then built their own buldings, this area was considered rural with mostly farms and not too many of those.  The monks first built a barn to house their animals and they actually lived in the barn loft above the animals!  They then built their church and if you go to see it, you will be amazed to discover that it was built with concrete.  It has been so smoothed over that you would never suspect that it is made of that material.  Just this past May, they built a new visitor center and also made the old barn (which was their first living quarters) as part of the new Monastic Heritage Center.  It is so beautifully done... I have been there several times since it opened and every time I go, I notice something new...  I will try to put some of my photos that my husband and I took on our visit today...

I was also able to ask one of the monks if  he knew that the monastery was mentioned in a book that I read many years ago (when I was 19!) called "Black Like Me", written by John Howard Griffin.   This was a white man who chemically altered his skin so as to be accepted and seen as a black man.  He simply wanted to try to understand that it would be like for a man of color in the South.  He traveled by bus and got off in Conyers, Georgia. There is an amusing story he told about getting off the bus, but I don't want to ruin it for anybody!  He then described the magnolia lined driveway into the monastery and asked to spend the night there...trying to explain to them that he was writing a book.  He was welcomed, of course, as I knew that he would be.  Now, when I asked the monk who was in the gift shop there if he knew of it...he didn't, so I hope that they will now look it up and I hope that they will like this book as much as I did.

Funnily enough, as I was looking at the books, one of them really stood out to me, it was called "Black Like Licorice" by Father Anthony.  (Father Anthony, the one who grows the nice banana peppers and the one who blesses the medals I buy there? Yes, the same one!)  Even though I haven't had time to read it yet, just from the cover, you can tell that he has spent time in Africa and it looks as if he speaks very plainly and movingly of all that he has seen and heard in his lifetime.

We have spent a great deal of time visiting the Monastery over the years.  Our son loved to go there the weeks before Christmas.  One of the monks (this doesn't happen anymore) used to place a very large nativity scene just outside the church...he would leave the manger EMPTY and have Joseph & Mary some distance away....and then, move Joseph & Mary a little closer to the manger each day...and it was very special to go the day after Christmas and then see the baby Jesus in the manger.  Afterwards, the three wise men would also move closer, just as it should be as our son pointed out to us when he was older!

 It is wonderful to have such a beautiful and sacred place to be so close to us...Today, after my husband's illness, it was so nice to hear him say..."You know, I really enjoyed our day at the monastery".


Friday, September 9, 2011

A Gluten Free Talk

Absolutely there are more gluten free items available now. Also, there are some brilliant women and men who have such positive energy with their gluten free websites and blogs that they have been a powerful force for the advancement and improvement for those who have celiac disease or other gluten free issues.  Oh, and some of those "gluten free" foods?  They cost about 3 or 4 times more than I can afford to pay for them...and even if you do buy them, oftentimes, they taste terrible!  More people should know about foods being gluten free, but I fear that many just think of it as a "trend" and not a real health issue. My celiac husband usually just tells folks that he is allergic since that is easier for people to understand. When he was in the hospital recently, the nurses tried to give him wheat crackers to take with his medicine! Luckily, he was awake enough to tell them he couldn't eat them.  I was able to go to the vending machine and buy him peanut M&M's (they are gluten free) and the nurses LAUGHED at me, they were highly amused by it.  Even though I tried to explain celiac disease (to nurses!) I still don't think they understood. Oh dear, it all comes down to respect, doesn't it..  I think if someone told me that they could only eat purple foods and only on a Tuesday, I think I would call the store for them and make sure they had eggplants, grapes and plums on the Monday before! 
Many good foods just happen to be gluten-free.  There is nothing magical about just means, the foods should not contain wheat, barley, rye or oats.  (Yes, I know it is possible for oats to be gluten free but my husband still does not trust them.)   I am very thankful for those stores that now have gluten free lists for their products and also for those brave companies willing to put those wonderful, beautiful words on their labels: GLUTEN FREE.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gluten-free Cooking

   Yesterday, as I was in the Publix grocery store and struggling to read the signs posted above the aisles, a  woman came up beside me and grabbed my arm and exclaimed, " You MUST go and try the fish and grits, they're WONDERFUL!".  Although this startled me at first, I realized they must be pretty darn good to make someone do that, so I walked over to where the employee was handing out these small plates of food...

Now, you must understand, I don't usually pay much attention to most tastings like husband has celiac disease (or coeliac, if you are in England) and must be on a gluten free diet.   He was diagnosed with this at the age of two (he was in London at the time) and has had to contend with this his whole life.
When we married in 1983, I can assure you that I didn't know one other person who had this, nor did I even know anyone else who even knew about it.  One of the recipes that saved me was a peanut butter cookie recipe that I found in a Southern Living cookbook (I think that is where I found it) and it was called Miracle Cookies.  They didn't mention that they were gluten free, but I knew that they were just from the few simple ingredients. I think that I could make this recipe with my eyes closed I have them so often. I sent this recipe to a friend in Germany and she did a post on her blog about these cookies. It is , she wrote about it on July 24th of this year if you are interested in it.  Honestly, even though she thought she burned them slightly, they still looked great to me. 

Okay, now let's get back to that Publix store with the lady standing there with the plate of food...
I tasted the food.  The woman who grabbed my arm was not was heavenly.  "Oh, I wish my gluten free hubby could enjoy this", I thought to myself.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see a bag of Publix corn meal on the counter.   "What is the corn meal used for in this recipe?", I asked the lady.
"That is one of the ingredients for the grits.", she said.  HOORAY!  Publix corn meal is on the gluten free list!  Hastily, reading the rest of the recipe made me very happy.  Grits that you can buy in a bag, even though they are made from corn, are NOT gluten free but if I can make them with corn meal...that will be a very good thing!  Now, the fish recipe is NOT gluten free...but that's okay, I can even adapt that to gluten free but the grits recipe is so easy and so good, that I wanted to share it.  Here it is...

 Creamy Corn Grits:
1 can cream style corn
2 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup plain yellow corn meal (Publix is gluten free)
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (you can use more, you know I did)

Combine corn, water, butter, seasoned salt and pepper in saucepan, bring to boil.
Add cornmeal, whisking constantly, until blended. Reduce to low, cook 8-10 minutes, whisking often until thickened.
Stir in cheese until well blended.  It says it makes 8 servings.  Hey, I'm just telling you what it says!

There, don't you just love a recipe that is easy AND good!  You don't have to be on a gluten free diet to enjoy this.  When I informed the woman who made this that it was gluten free, she had no idea what I was talking just so happens that it is!

If anyone makes this, I hope you will like it as much as I did,  and as much as the lady who insisted that I go and taste it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


What would you do if you were walking across a parking lot and see something on the ground about four inches long on its back struggling to turn over?  This happened to me while I was at work taking some paperwork to the front building.  First of all, I looked around to make sure it was safe for me to rescue this live creature (must always look out for cars!) and then I bent down and turned it over with the envelope that I was carrying.   Anyone observing me and hearing my intake of breath would have thought I had found a diamond ring.  It was a beetle with the most exquisite shade of olive green with black irregular spots and the largest black horn on its head with what appeared to be kind of  like a black "pincher" below the horn.  Look at a photo and you will see what I mean.  Well, I was amazed and very pleased that he had not gotten run over (very sure this was a male, I mean, come on that HORN), so I very quickly got him on my envelope (the very one that I am taking to the front building, remember) and take him over to some trees and bushes and I deposit him next to the trunk of the tree.
I then go to my computer and type in these words: large green beetle with black spots.  There is no doubt in my mind that it was an Eastern Hercules beetle and my sources say that it is the largest beetle in North America!  I will try to post a photo of it, but honestly, none of the photos that I have seen can convey the beauty of those black spots against that beautiful shade of green.

"The most common specimens today are dead ones, mounted and dipped in alcohol to retain the beautiful, natural color and markings of the live creature."

Ugh, isn't that just the sickest thing to read?  That came off one of the websites about "bugs".  I agree about the beautiful, natural color but I saw one when it was alive and I hope that I rescued it!  I found that many people upon finding one will keep it in a box and try to feed it and keep it.  Yes, it is beautiful but shouldn't we just try to let things live and not try to keep them just to look at them?  I loved the info from this website

"The males use their horns in battle, where they go head to head for the right to mate available females. This is not a fight to the death, but these amazingly strong beetles will pick each other up and push each other around until one is more exhausted than the other."

For some reason, that made me like him all the more.   It surprised me how much it pleased me to find out about this beautiful beetle and to know that it was called a Hercules beetle.  It also reminded me of the Hercules cartoons that I loved so much as a remember that you can type almost anything into You-tube and find a song. Success! I was able to listen to the theme song that I really liked from that cartoon.  I was curious to find who might have sung that song and would you be surprised to know that it was sung by Johnny Nash, the very same singer who had a big hit with "I Can See Clearly Now"? 

 There, you see the things you can learn when you try to rescue a "bug"?  Oh, and that is a female that I found a photo for you...the colors were better.  You can see a male one on any of the bug sites.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


A good bit of my morning was spent watering and then trying to weed around some lamb's ear plants.  It occurred to me how lovely these plants are and as I stroked the leaves and felt the velvety texture I marvelled that such a seemingly fragile plant can be so very hardy.  Looking at the information on the different gardening websites, many of the descriptions were not very inspiring, calling this plant "invasive" and a "common ground cover".  In other words, they don't get too much respect. I finally found something positive written by Marcia Tatroe in The Herb Companion Magazine...

"Few silver-foliaged plants are grown more widely than lamb's ears.  Even the sophisticated gardener who has long since tossed out other beginner's plants still values this silver-gray beauty and the impact it has on other colors in the garden".

She then went on to say that one may dry the leaves and steep them for tea.  Also, children will take them and  put them on their scrapes and cuts and they act as a natural bandage.  I found that interesting  but I just like the way that they look and I am grateful that they can survive in this brutal heat that we call summer.  "In our busy lives, we need to stop and take take to appreciate all the natural beauty that surrounds us each day."  Someone left that comment at the very bottom of my blog and I agree!

These are the lamb's ears next to the Dutch irises that my brother gave us as bulbs years ago! This photo was made in April of this year and not long after those tall stalks had purple flowers on the top that the bees were crazy about.  We left the flowers on there as long as we could, just for the bees!