Thursday, June 29, 2017

Flowers- Male and Female

 Cucumber flower, is it a male or a female?   This one was a male, it did not become a cucumber!

Steve Bender aka the Grumpy Gardener from Southern Living Magazine has a very informative (and funny!) article about growing zucchini.  You may read it here. 

Did you know that the plants of cucumbers and zucchini have male and female flowers?  It is the female flower (of course) that bears the fruit.  On a zucchini plant, the large showy yellow flowers toward the end of the stalk are the male flowers, the female flowers are towards the base of the stalk and are smaller...that is where the zucchini squash will be!  There are always more male flowers on the plant than are needed. Have you ever heard of people eating fried squash blossoms? That would be the male ones! Hey, better to eat them than to just let them wither on the vine, right?  (Sorry, but I usually do not like the idea of eating flowers, I just don't but in this case, it makes sense to me.)

I found another thing for you...Hand pollinating.  There, that link will explain how to help things along, it involves a small artist's paint brush!  We have not had the problems that we have read about here, maybe we have so many plants and flowers that the bees in this area just can't wait to see what we have for them.  Come on, bees, you are always welcome here!

(Of course, it might also have to do with the amount of rain in your area...we have had more rain than normal, so it took a while for the bees to even find our garden!)

     Are you growing any fruit and vegetables this year?  Aren't they the best when they are fresh from the garden? 
 Our flowers are pretty in the bright sunshine of June...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Aled Jones Sings With His Younger Self- One Voice (With Help From An Airing Cupboard!)

The things I learn from writing my blog! After my last post, I thought I hadn't looked up any info on Aled Jones lately and you will never guess what I discovered!

First of all, I hope you know Aled Jones! No? Well, do you remember the picture book "The Snowman" by Raymond Briggs?
It was made into a short film during Christmas of 1982, and it had a beautiful song, "Walking In The Air".  It was sung by a choir boy from St. Paul's Cathedral, Peter Auty.  A few years later, a young Welsh boy had a huge hit doing a cover version of the song and that was Aled Jones!  As an adult, Aled Jones became a host on one of my very favorite British TV shows, "Songs of Praise". (A BBC show where a church is visited each week and the church choir and congregation sings hymns...why can't we in America copy this show? I love it!  You can look up some of the episodes on YouTube if you don't know what it is like.) 

Since last year, his latest show is "Going Back, Giving Back" and it looks like my kind of show...

Now...I will tell you the story behind the title of my post! Better yet, listen to the story behind it by the man himself!

“We were sitting around the kitchen table one day, when my mum suddenly announced that there was an album of folk songs of mine that had never been released,”
“I didn't even remember recording the album, but when I listened to it at my parents’ house, I felt like a proud uncle or father. From that came the idea to release the album of duets, featuring my voice as a boy and now as an adult.”

I love that!  What is even better is that I read that his Mum had kept the album in her "airing cupboard", which tickled me no end because I know what an airing cupboard is! It is...well, here is a definition I found for you:

a heated cupboard where clothes, sheets, etc, that have been washed and are almost dry are put so that they can become completely dry.

That is certainly what my mother-in-law uses it for! Now, it seems to me that the hot water heater is in this small cupboard, and the Brits, being the practical lot that they are, used this cupboard to help finish drying their clothes.  From the explanation above, you might think they have the cupboards specially built just to dry clothes! HA!
(Can't help but notice too that some wealthy folks have HEATED towel racks but the Brits have them too, that would  be the hot water pipes which is part of their hot water central heating in their bathrooms! Practically perfect, like Mary Poppins!)

Goodness me, here I am telling you all about heated cupboards and pipes and Aled Jones is patiently waiting to sing for you!                  

Just one more thought about airing cupboards...we visited the Anne of Cleves house in Lewes, England. (Anne of Cleves got this as part of the divorce settlement from Henry VIII, she never lived there but it is called her house nonetheless!) Since it is from the 15th century, I was surprised to see that even this house had an airing cupboard!  (It was just behind the fireplace, I have a photo below of it for you.)

Let me know what you think of Aled Jones singing as an adult, combined with his younger self! I think it is great! 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Who Is Henry Bates? "A Rare Human Being"- Amazon Adventure IMAX Film

The IMAX film, "Amazon Adventure"  is based on the true story of the 11 year journey down the Amazon by the Englishman Henry Bates in 1848. (At the time, it was only small sailing vessels that were used...steamships came a bit later!)  The book that he wrote of his discoveries, "The Naturalist on the River Amazons" was published in 1863 and he was encouraged to write of his experiences by Charles Darwin.  The subtitle of the book is from a time when books had subtitles that told you quite simply what was in store for you:  It is: A Record of the Adventures, Habits of Animals, Sketches of Brazilian and Indian Life, and Aspects of Nature under the Equator during Eleven Years of Travel. 

Also, please note that the book has the word "Amazon" in the plural as I have it spelled above! Was the river called Amazons in those days?  And in England, the word "Amazon" is pronounced "Ama-zun" while in America, we say "Ama-ZAHN".   You will notice this if you watch the next YouTube clip I have for you...

I just looked this up and it is being shown at the IMAX Theatre at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta until the end of September, 2017.  It must be at all IMAX theatres all over the country, check it out!

Even if you don't see the movie, read about Henry Walter Bates and his amazing life.  I have a link for you here and here!  Besides being a naturalist and explorer, he was also a singer and guitarist and you know that makes him special to me!

On a personal note, Richard and I walked past Burlington House once when we were in London and it looked so inviting, we just had to stop there and have a coffee in the courtyard. Read the links about Henry Bates and you will then know about Burlington House and the Linnean Society!

You never know who will be lurking in the shadows of these mighty gates!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Service of Hope-Southwark Cathedral

Last week, on June 16th, there was a service at Southwark Cathedral in London following the terror attack at London Bridge.
It was called a Service of Hope, to remember and honor the victims of the attack. 
Looking at the Southwark Cathedral website, I was able to view the order of the service. If you would like to see this also, you may do so just here.

One of the songs, "Jesu, Lover of My Soul" was one of the songs in the service.   It is one of my favorites.  I have a video of Aled Jones singing it.  The lyrics are by Charles Wesley and this is what the American preacher Henry Ward Beecher had to say about it - "I would rather have written this hymn of Wesley's than to have the fame of all the kings that ever sat on earth."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

In The Summertime! (Gluten Free?)

Chick Fil-A is a restaurant chain which is based right here in Georgia.  They have good chicken sandwiches and are very popular. You must remember this though, they are always closed on Sundays.  (By the way, filet is pronounced "fil-a" in America, but did you know it is pronounced like this- "Fill- It" in England? Sorry for my English side to break in here...back to my story!)

Today, I learned that Chick Fil-A has come out with a gluten free bun! My husband has celiac disease and must be on a gluten free diet. I thought that was wonderful news...until I read a bit further.
First of all, the buns are made in a bakery and then shipped frozen to the restaurant.  Also, there will be an additional $1.15 added to the price of the sandwich (which is already fairly pricey, in my opinion). You will then be asked to MAKE YOUR OWN SANDWICH as Chick-Fil-A can't guarantee that the food will not be cross contaminated with gluten in the kitchen.)  Okay then, that is fair enough...but I read further, and their website states that they have grilled chicken and tomatoes and lettuce and mayo...that ARE considered gluten free but they can't guarantee that those food items will be completely free of gluten as they are around, you guessed it, other foods which contain gluten!  Got that?
So... what is the point of having that gluten free bun if you can't guarantee that the chicken is safe for those with celiac disease?
Well, it must mean that the restaurant has been responding to the public's insistence on the "healthy gluten free" life style that I have been reading about, for those who are eating this way to either lose weight or because they know it cuts out many processed foods.  You would think that it would be a good thing for gluten free to become a trendy thing, but I find that it is a double edged must be very careful and read the fine print, just as if you are entering into a legal contract.

Oh well...I saw a TV advert for Chick Fil-A today that I really liked, it was a woman singing the song "In The Summertime"...with the words just changed slightly.  I would find it for you if I could!  I have been singing this all today and it is perfect is the first day of summer!  Might as well give you the original song by Mungo Jerry, and you know the band was British!  (Lead singer-Ray Dorset.) This was their biggest hit and well deserved, I think.

Happy Summer everyone! 

Friday, June 16, 2017

1960's- "Silent Spring" and "Abraham, Martin and John"

The New Yorker Magazine on June 16, 1962 published the first of three articles by Rachel Carson.  (You may read the first one just here.)  "Silent Spring" was published in September of that same year.   Rachel Carson wrote of the effects on the environment from the use of chemicals and of the chemical companies who knew of the dangers but tried to hide them. (Can you say "Monsanto"?)  Her book led to a nationwide ban in America on DDT, a widely used pesticide at that time. Due to the interest generated from her writings, this led to the creation of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. (The EPA.)

In 1968, Dion had a big hit with a song..."Abraham, Martin and John".   It was written by Dick Holler.  (And he also wrote "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron"!  Do you remember that one too?)
Mr. Holler has a website and he has a place there that you can send him a message. You know I had to send him a note and tell him of my admiration for his songwriting! I invite you to do the same!
You may find his website just here.

The 1960' seems as if I am living that decade all over again but this time, I am an adult and current music is not as good.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Blue With My Best Side

       Lobelia is blue...

   Hydrangeas are too.

Blue is the water...

Blue is the sky.

Blue is the color I see with my eye!

Hello my friends!  Just in case you have forgotten what I look like, here I am! My friend in Germany had some wonderful photos made of herself (you may see them just here.)  Therefore, I am sharing the above photo of myself showing you my BEST side! HA!
(By the way, the bit of plant that you see just beside me is something that we are growing in a pot but it is NOT illegal, I repeat it is NOT, it just LOOKS a bit like it, okay?) Honest!

                                                    I love blue!  No weed here!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ferris Wheels

Ferris wheel at the seafront in Eastbourne.

London Eye

A Frenchman, Antonio Manguino, introduced the idea of the wheel to America in 1848, when he constructed a wooden pleasure wheel to attract visitors to his start-up fair in Walton Spring, Georgia (now Spring Street which is in Atlanta, Georgia.)

There, isn't that interesting? I only just learned this when I was reading the history of the Ferris wheel. Wheels had been around for a while but the Ferris wheel as we know it was invented by ...wait for American!  His name was George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr, an engineer.  In 1893, the directors of the World Expo in Chicago issued a challenge to American engineers to design a monument that was unique and original, something to rival the Eiffel Tower (which was built in 1889, I am sure you all remember.)  Mr. Ferris proposed a wheel that would allow visitors to view the entire exhibition.  The directors did not think this could be safe! He did so, of course and it was a huge hit with the crowds.

Oh dear, what a sad story this turns out to be.  After the fair closed, Mr. Ferris sued the directors claiming that he and his investors were robbed of the $750,000 profit that was made at the fair.
(By the time the Ferris Wheel in Chicago was demolished, it had carried 2.5 million passengers.) George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. died of typhoid fever in 1896.  He was only 37.

Dare I say to you that I wish that could make a film about him? 
Don't you want to know more about him? 
When some famous director makes this movie, you will know where he got the idea!

1893 Chicago Ferris Wheel
I remember reading that the London Eye is technically not a ferris is more like a wheel of a bicycle.   Hey, I am no engineer, just telling you what I read about it years ago!
  The London Eye was supposed to be temporary, I can't imagine that they would ever let it go now! 

Oh is something I found...
And let's not forget that the London Eye was supposed to be a temporary structure. It was only tentatively given planning permission for the first five years after the millennium. Its future is now secure, in planning terms at least, for at least another 20 years, but it is likely to be there a great deal longer.

See!  I told you!  It is such a burden being right all the time but I try to muddle through somehow!

Do you like Ferris Wheels?  You know I do!

Wheel of Fortune!  You know I had to find some kind of wheel video for you!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Music From One Love Manchester

Chris Martin and Ariana Grande AND the wonderful singers in the crowd singing "Don't Look Back In Anger" at the One Love Manchester concert from this past weekend, this is the video I have for you.  If you don't have time to listen to all of it, just fast forward to the last minute or so and listen to the crowd.  Thousands of voices joined together...if this doesn't move you, you don't have a heart.

Okay, you know how much I love music so I have to share another one with is "Angels" by Robbie Williams.  Once again, I find this particularly moving due to the audience participation.  Those young voices!   Just beautiful.

(I just read that the Manchester benefit concert raised more than $13 million for the victims of the May 22nd attack.)

Something of hope for you...the eggs of a mockingbird.  Like life, they are fragile and precious. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

"A Part of the Main"

                                       London Bridge

                                                             Borough Market

Richard and I came home last night and switched on the TV to see the news from London.
Borough Market is just beside Southwark Cathedral on the South Bank.

                                  Southwark Cathedral

I looked at the website for Southwark Cathedral and this is what was posted for today.

Sunday 4 June

As a consequence of the terror attack on London Bridge and in the Borough Market the Cathedral is closed until the police cordon is lifted. We will post updates. Please pray for the Cathedral, its parish and community and all those caught up in the attack.

Praying for SE1

(SE1 is the post code for this area. It stands for Southeast 1.)


No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

The above was written by John Donne, a cleric in the Church of England, in 1624.  If you would like to read more about his life and writings you may do so just here.
Sorry to say that it states that for a many number of years his work was considered "inept and crude".  Well.
If I had never written any other thing in my life, if I could have written the truth as he has stated it in that piece of prose above, I would be content.

Note:  I don't have much control over this world but this is my blog and if anyone leaves me a comment that I find offensive, it will be deleted. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Desiderata (Latin for "desired things" or "essential things" was written by Max Ehrmann, an American writer, poet, and attorney.  He wrote the poem in 1927 (some accounts say even earlier)  but it was not published until 1948.  The rector of an Episcopal church in Maryland, Rev. Kates, must have liked it very much as he used it in some devotional materials at his church.  There was some confusion to the authorship to this poem since the church, St. Paul's, had this printed at the top of their stationary: "Old St. Paul's Church, Baltimore, Maryland 1692".(The poem must have been on this without any mention of Max Ehrmann.)Therefore, many still believe that it is written by an unknown from 1692...
If you read about the life of Max Ehrmann, and you may do so just here, it seems sad to know that this beautiful poem was only published after his death, and he never knew of its popularity. Yet, maybe that is the whole point of what he wrote here.Let me know if you know this poem and the background behind it.(I have written of this before but wanted to share it again.)

My nephew will be graduating from high school this month.  I am thinking of him.  He is the son and grandson of lawyers, so this is my way of honoring him.Congratulations for all those who are embarking on new journeys!