Sunday, April 30, 2017

What Hickory? What Warbler?

As a child, a "hickory" meant just one thing to me, it was a switch that was meant for punishment! Every single stick that was used for a whipping was called a "hick'ry", I am certain that no one took the time to properly identify which tree it came from! That must mean that we have a lot of hickory trees in the South! 

  As an adult, I appreciate the trees that we see on our walks and I am happy to say that Richard and I are beginning to identify many of those that we see.  However, the tree that you see it a pignut hickory, a mockernut hickory or a shagbark hickory?  Can anyone tell me for sure?  The tree has serrated edges (might be hard to see in the photos) and has five leaves, arranged...well, you see how it looks, one big leaf at the end and the other leaves are two on each side, directly beside each other.

The bird that came to us a few weeks back, we think it is a yellow rumped warbler. It must be a female as the male would be a bit brighter.  Having said that, this bird was gorgeous and I am sorry you can't see the bright yellow patch on its backside!  We think that this is a Myrtle warbler (there is the yellow rumped warbler called the Audubon's warbler with slightly different coloring that is mostly in the western USA.)
The Myrtle warbler is migratory and it overwinters in the southern US.  And guess what I have read about it, it is "an occasional vagrant to the British Isles"! Isn't that funny, so am I!
   We only saw this bird for a week or so and you know it was happy to visit us with our clean water and fresh birdseed!
Remember me telling you of my love for Chas & Dave? (Charles "Chas" Hodges and Dave Peacock.)
Chas is going though treatments for cancer just now and has had to cancel some tour dates in England. (Chas is the one singing lead on the song, Dave is the one wearing a hat and singing harmony.)  Please say a prayer for Chas.
So many are battling cancer and other serious illnesses just now.
I pray for them all.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Finally Friday-George Jones

Thanks very much for the well wishes for my Dad's 90th birthday!
He wanted a CD by George Jones and the song that he really wanted it hear on it was "Finally Friday".  

Here is what I wish for you...on your 90th birthday for you to wave your arms in the air singing, "Let the good times roll".  You know that is that my Dad did!

The photo above is of the homegrown potatoes that my Dad has canned himself.  The photo below is of Camp Toccoa (remember Band of Brothers?) and that is in honor of his first job as a teenager, he helped to pour concrete for the sidewalks there. I should really say that was his first paid job. He had been working  on the farm since he was a child. Why, at the age of ten he could pick 100  pounds of cotton per day!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Biscuits From England/Biscuits In Georgia!

When you are in England, you might be offered a biscuit with your cup of tea. (Say yes!)  It will be what we call a cookie in the USA!
The above photo shows you the VIP cargo that we brought back last September. See the custard creams? Those are some excellent biscuits!

Biscuits here in America!  Bread made with wheat flour, they should be light and fluffy with a nice crust. Best to make them with buttermilk, that is how my Dad makes them.
Homemade buttermilk biscuits made by my Dad are the best, truly they are.  He makes them in a very old black iron skillet. (See it at the back of the stove?)  And he bakes them at 500 degrees!
Boy, I am telling you...these taste wonderful!

This past Thanksgiving we had a big crowd, so my Dad made a lot of biscuits! He used four black skillets (different sizes) to do so, and hey, why not just stack them all in four tiers?  Looks good, yes?  (The large one on top is what he calls a "hoe cake". If there is a very large biscuit in the middle, that is a cat head biscuit.)

Of course, when you make good biscuits and you are at a wedding reception, you just can't help making fun of biscuits that are...well, just not as good as the ones that you make!  HEE HEE HEE, that is what my Dad is saying in that photo above!

My Dad turned 90 on Monday of this week!  He asked my sister for a CD by George Jones.  One of the songs is "I Don't Need No Rocking Chair".  That's my choice for this post!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Lost City of Z (ZED)

The film, "The Lost City of Z" is in movie theaters now in America.  It is based on a ...wait for it...a TRUE story! (You know that is my favorite kind!)  Here is a link to the New Yorker Magazine article by David Grann from 2005, the same author who developed this into a book in 2009 upon which the movie is based, "The Lost City of Z". 
(An aside..did you know that in England "Z" is pronounced "zed" not "zee" as we do in America?  If you think back on some nursery rhymes, you will see that "z" rhymes with "bed" and that will make you understand why they used the rhyme that way!)

I have directed you to the excellently written article above by David Grann, and since it is quite long and detailed, I won't go into much about it myself, only to say that the explorer Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett disappeared in the Amazon forest in South America along with his son and another companion in 1925.   They had been attempting to discover a lost civilization that Fawcett had called "The Lost City Of Z".  
The man was not a nutcase, he was a decorated World War I hero, a skilled mapmaker and a member of the Royal Geographical Society. He had received the Gold Medal from them, their highest honor. 
This is a quote from his son: "True, he dreamed, but his dreams were built upon reason and he was not the man to shirk the effort to turn theory into fact".

If any of you see this movie, let me know what you think of it! Since the film was directed by an American, the name of it will most likely be called "The Lost City Of ZEE" but you now know how the English explorer would have pronounced it.
Have a great weekend, everyone! Get out there and explore!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

With A Little Help From My Friends

"With A Little Help From My Friends" is a Lennon/McCartney song from the album "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band".  It was written with the idea of Ringo Starr singing the lead.  You must know that I love this song and Ringo singing it but I also love the version of it by Joe Cocker.  I heard this song on a Walmart TV ad tonight ...and it sounded so good!  There is so much bad music these days, it was wonderful to hear this song!

Ringo, if you happen to be reading this blog, you may certainly sing it to me anytime!  You know I love you!

A dear friend called me this week to wish me a happy birthday and also to let me speak with another one of our friends who was visiting for Easter weekend.  Dusty and Deb, it was wonderful to speak with you both! 
"I get by with a little help from my friends", you must also agree with the truth of those words!

Hey, you know I have to have Ringo on here singing the song too!

The apostle plant or walking iris bloomed in time for my birthday!  It smells good too!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

What Language Shall I Borrow/ Stone Mountain

Today, thousands gathered at the top of Stone Mountain for the sunrise Easter service.  Yesterday, we climbed the mountain and saw the large cross placed there in preparation for this event.
Lots of folks get up there on the lift but you know we walked up!

Remember my post about white flowers? Why it was as if Stone Mountain had read my blog, look at the sandwort and the fringe trees that were blooming there! The diamorpha had the white flowers too!  From these photos, you would think we were the only ones there. WRONG! It was very crowded but we know how to get away from people and take our photos.

Two songs I am thinking about today, one from the Good Friday service that I attended and one from the sunrise service today. (Not the one at Stone Mountain, just at a church nearer to my home.)
The first song is "O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded" and one of the following verses is this:

What language shall I borrow
to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever,
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love to Thee

"Will The Circle Be Unbroken"  is an American song and I wonder if it is as well known in other countries as it is here? 
This is one of the verses:

You remember songs of heaven
Which you sang with childish voice.
Do you love the hymns they taught you,
Or are songs of earth your choice?

These lyrics have stayed with me and I just wanted to share this with you.

Hope you all had a happy Easter.

(One more from the Good Friday service, "He Never Said a Mumbling Word".)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Smiling Purses and Poppy Seeds!


My friends, I have planted some flower seeds!  I have never grown poppies before but the poppy seeds that I have planted have come up and it looks like...with luck...we will have the tall red poppies soon! (The photo above is from a garden I visited a few years ago.)
I love the poppies in England but I have only seen them just the one time here in Georgia. Hopefully, I will have them in my own garden this summer!

THANK YOU to my newest follower, Anne! I have neglected to say thank you to my new followers and to anyone who follows my blog, so I may I say it now? THANK YOU! 

If I were to make a solemn speech in praise of you, in gratitude, in deep affection, you would turn an alarming shade of crimson and try to escape.  So I won't.  Take it all as said.
Today is my birthday! Richard and I will be off to climb Stone Mountain!  Wish me luck!

Richard gave me this CD for my birthday! I haven't listened to it yet, but you KNOW I will love it, right?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

White Flowers!

The dogwood trees (Cornus florida) have been gorgeous this Spring! I have a fondness for white flowers! Although, technically speaking, on the dogwood tree, the flowers are really on the part in the middle, which is like a crown of thorns.  (The dogwood always blooms close to Easter, and in fact, there is a legend of the dogwood tree associated with Easter, I am sure you know it.)

The white flowers are in abundance on the local mountains (monadnocks) and they are beautiful! They are called sandwort, but before I knew the name of them, I called them "joyflowers" and you will forgive me if I still think of them with that name.

The red diamorpha, which is incredibly beautiful, is now blooming with the tiny, starlike white flowers. (Like the dogwood, they too have that cross shape.) Recently, we met a couple on top of Arabia Mountain and they were disappointed to see these white blooms.  They said they had only wished to see the bright red diamorpha! Well, you could have knocked me down with a white feather! Imagine, being disappointed at seeing this kind of beauty!
Of course, I have to show you this photo (yes, you have seen it before!) It is in Eastbourne in England, along the seafront and that is me with Christopher and we are posing with the flower "snow in summer".  I love it! Most people there just call it a "ground cover" but you know I am crazy about it!

Speaking of white flowers, it should make you think of weddings.  I have "Love Stinks" from the film "The Wedding Singer".   I hope you know the scene from the movie! The character was jilted at the altar and you can imagine since he is a wedding singer, it would be hard for him to sing happy love songs for a wedding couple!


Thanks to all who left comments on my last post.  It is difficult for me to write of such things and I didn't have time to think properly, so I hope you will forgive my lack of response to such insightful comments.
Once again, let me apologize for my lack of time in the wonderful world of blogging.  I have had a few problems with my hand and wrist on my right hand, and doggone it, then...the LEFT hand went the same way! Too much typing at work, I guess, makes it hard when you want to type on the computer in the evenings!
Hope you are all doing well, my friends.  And remember, you may have folks scoff at little white flowers, but think of me and remember how much I love them!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Promise (New Film)

There will be a new film that will be released on April 21.  It is "The Promise".   Have you seen it advertised on TV?  It is based on the true story of the Armenian genocide when the Ottoman Turks killed 1.5 million men, women, and children between 1915 and 1922.  There are many who deny that it ever happened.  It is not taught in schools and if you are not a part of the Armenian community you might not ever have heard of it.  As much as I read about history, I did not know of it myself until I met someone from Armenia.
If you click on this following link: The Promise To Act, you will be able to read much more about the Armenian genocide and this film that has been made about it. 
Once again, I am telling you about a film that I have not seen, only one that I would like to see.  "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."  That might not be the exact quote (I rarely get my quotes exactly) but the truth of that statement rings very true.  If you would like to read more about the Armenian genocide, you may find much more detail just here. (This has quotes from  Henry Morgenthau, Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, to name just a few.)

 The forget-me-not flower is the one that was chosen in 2015 to represent the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian genocide and there is powerful symbolism behind each part of the flower.

 THE PAST: The black center represents the sufferings of 1915, and the dark aftermath of the Armenian Genocide.
THE PRESENT: The light purple petals represents the unity of Armenian communities across the world—all of whom stand together.
THE FUTURE: The five petals represent the five continents where survivors of the Armenian Genocide found a new home. The dark purple color is meant to recall the priestly vestments of the Armenian Church—which has been, is, and will remain at the heart of the Armenian Christian identity.
ETERNITY: The twelve trapezoids represent the twelve pillars of the  Dzidzernagapert Armenian Genocide memorial in Yerevan, Armenia. The yellow color represents light, creativity, and hope.

Hope, it is with hope that I write this post...that you will read more about the Armenian genocide and learn more of the history of what occurred.  This article just here from the World Post tells more about the denial of the genocide. 
Now, I read a great deal from Armenian recipe blogs, there is an excellent one just here.   The food blogger has written lovingly of her grandmother's memories of the genocide, hoping to honor her family and the Armenian culture.

It is also my greatest hope that anyone who reads this with Armenian heritage will know my sincere wish for this event in history to be simply acknowledged.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Little Engine That Could (I Think I Can, I Think I Can, I Think I Can)

Hey! Do you like children's books? You must know that I do!
"The Little Engine That Could" is a very popular children's book in America.  If you are reading this from another country, do you know it? It has been popular since it was first published in 1930.
Since I am invited to a baby shower this month, I asked my husband to buy a copy of this book for me but as a boardbook as a baby present. (I had found the most adorable "onesies" with trains on them, so you know I had to have this book to go with the little outfits for a baby boy!) 
I was delighted to see that the book now has new illustrations by Loren Long.   I love them!  Reading more about Loren Long, I was pleased to see more of his artwork.  You may read more about him just here!  If you have ever thought of writing a children's book, you should read the FAQ section on his website.  There is some very helpful advice on there it seems to me.  Once again, and I do apologize for repeating this so often, but I honestly don't care how talented you are, only how nice you are!

Otis, the tractor, is another one of the characters that Loren Long has created. (He is not just an illustrator but an author as well!)
Looks like Otis will be my next purchase!

Now, back to "The Little Engine That Could".  Did you know that it was Dolly Parton's favorite book as a child?   Through her Dollywood Foundation, she has given away over ONE MILLION copies of the book! 
Personally, I don't remember seeing this book as a child. I think one of my teachers must have read it to me in school. I always liked the sound of "I think I can", I think I can, I think I can" and how much that phrase sounded just like a train!
(As  kids, we were always told, "Remember, American ends in I CAN".  I wonder if anyone says that to American kids anymore?)

Since I had three younger siblings, I spent a good part of my childhood reading to them and I read a lot of Dr. Seuss (American author) and Beatrix Potter (British author.)  (When I had my own son, I was thrilled to read to him and I think he found it amusing that I knew so many books!)  I know a lot of these books by heart!  What children's books are your favorites?
Do you know any of them by heart?  What, you can't memorize anything? Tosh, just say to yourself...I think I can, I think I can, I think I can! 

I also loved Aesop's fables too..."The Tortoise and The Hare" for example.  Hmmm...I am spotting a theme here, I am always for the underdog, I guess!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

It's Now Or Never (TV Ad With ELVIS SONG!)

One of my co-workers saw this commercial on TV and they told me that I would love it.  Oh boy, were they right!
Not only do I love the song here with the great vocal by Elvis but I like the dancing too.  Too bad I could care less about what they are advertising!  Notice that at the end when the jukebox gets crushed, the woman goes over to the piano and starts singing and they all join in.  Great! Don't you think so too?

Do you know the story behind the song "It's Now Or Never"?

Elvis Presley was stationed in Germany during his stint in the U.S. Army. While there, Elvis heard a recording of "There's No Tomorrow" which was a hit for Tony Martin. (The melody is the same as "O Sole Mio".)  Elvis must have really liked it. After his discharge, he asked for new lyrics to the tune. (Written by Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold, supposedly in only 20 minutes!)  The song was a huge hit in 1960. When Elvis performed it in concert in the 70's, he would explain the origin of the song and have one of the singers sing a few lines of the Italian version, "O Sole Mio" before continuing with "It's Now Or Never". 

Okay now, you can all go and practice the dance moves in this commercial AND sing the song.  Go on, you know you want to.

Hope you all have a blooming good April!