Flower of the Day, May 29, SSAW’s birthday

Today is my father’s birthday, and I’m posting a flower he would have liked, the Cliff Fendlerbush.

Chimney Rock (5)

We were climbing up a ridge in Colorado to Chimney Rock to see the full moon rise and this fragrant bush was everywhere. (more of that in another post).

Stan Watkins always said that nothing of note happened on May 29th, 1888, except his birth. (As you can see he was a very modest man.) He would have been 128 this year.

From childhood, Stanley loved nature and would spend many happy hours in the local green spaces around his London home. He captured and collected butterflies, moths, and insects of all sorts with a sweep net. He kept a ‘killing bottle’ in his pocket to keep the best specimens. At home he mounted them on long thin pins and dried their wings stretched out by fitting the pinned thorax in a slot between two blocks. He wound a soft thread around the wing and block, and when dried, transferred them to glass fronted boxes with labels. There was a small muslin package in the corner soaked in some kind of alcohol – I can’t remember what, but it smelled awful. It was to keep the bugs out of the box of bugs. No cannibals wanted there.

We still have many of these boxes – Grandpa gave them to Danny who had a interest when young, but they were left in the attic when he moved to Sweden. And the boxes have lost their preservatives so the insects and butterflies are being eaten by their relatives.

There are lots of websites today describing how to kill and preserve insects so that popular Victorian hobby, which doesn’t sit well with our ecological era, apparently still continues.

When I hung out the washing this morning, a bright yellow Swallowtail flitted among the flowers of the desert willow tree. I enjoyed watching it flying free.

Good Morning

I always say “Good Morning World” as I open the kitchen blinds each morning, and I pat the head of the little carved wooden bird perched next to the cork bulletin board.polish bird 001

I acquired this in Germany while Hugh was teaching in Muenster. One day I read about a gallery showing Polish wood carvings; they are quite lovely and I decided to go and see the new collection. I walked around some while before I found it, in a house some way away from the center of town.

It was a collection of beautiful examples of this folk craft – some very detailed, some so simple but still lovely. With my limited German the proprietor and I had a conversation about the work. Her brother bought the pieces in Poland and brought them over to her gallery. This was the latest shipment.

We chatted a bit while I admired the workmanship. But I didn’t buy anything because regretfully they were not within my budget.

When I was about to leave the woman asked me if I had any Polish wood carvings. “I’m afraid not,” I said. “Well, here is the start of your collection,” she said, handing me the little bird.

I wish I could say I now have my own collection of Polish wood carvings, but my little bird is still the only one.


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Architecture

I picked a few from my photo album; all taken by me. The camera often leaves a date.El Fuerte & Charls

El Fuerte, Copper Canyon (Barrancas de Cobre) Mexico, with our guide Charles.

phone july 17 2015 007

Los Angeles Folk Art Museum; with my sister, saw outlandish shoes, and a Veterans’ exhibit.

Vancouver Feb 2015 with Su (4)

Vancouver houseboats on rafts on the river; skyscrapers on the mainland, with my other sister.

Valles Caldera with Paul Tosa 009

TV lawman Longmire’s house in the Valles Caldera, NM. I was there on a tour, before the series was filmed there.

church in Tucson

San Xavier de Bac in Tucson, AZ. We spent New Year in Tucson. Great time to be there.

railyard (6)

Albuquerque Railyards; once a thriving repair shop, now derelict, though a farmers’ market takes place on Sundays.

San Miguel

San Miguel Chapel, Santa Fe, NM. Built in early 17th century for the Mexican Indians who came north with the Spanish settlers. Still in use.

Chimney Rock 029

Ceremonial kiva at Chimney Rock Pueblo, Colorado. Near Pagosa Springs. Had a wonderful weekend there. Impress architecture, built ca 900-1150.

Hawaii 083

Hawaii. No comment.

Flower of the day 17.5.16 Peony

This peony, displaying its colourful blooms in my English garden, was given to us from a neighbour about 1/2 a mile away, as they didn’t want it anymore. Not sure where to put it, we heeled it in at the end of the shed, and there it grew and bloomed for a few years. Then it was moved across the garden to a better spot where it also grew and bloomed. At last it was moved to the front garden against the fence, and under the plum tree and bushes. And still it blooms and grows. And I was told that peonies do not like to be moved!

This is a repeat of something I sent ages ago; I’m looking forward to seeing how our British peony is doing when I get there next month.

Maybe I’ll have time to do a bit of blogging again. I miss chatting with you all. Best wishes for a wonderful summer.

Flower of the Day: 17.05.2016 Peony

Pedro the Voder at home

SSAW playing Pedro the Voder

Are you playing the piano, Daddy?

No, Bops, this looks a little like a piano but it’s a Voder, and its name is Pedro.

Why is the Voder’s name Pedro?

It was named after Dom Pedro, who was an Emperor of Brazil. When he first saw a telephone a long, long time ago, he was very surprised. He said: “It talks!” and because I made the Voder talk, we call it Pedro.

That’s funny, Daddy. It looks like you are playing the piano, but the way Pedro talks is funny.

Do you remember when you and Annikins, and SuziQ came to the World’s Fair with Mummy and me? We stood up on a balcony looking down at the lady playing the Voder and Pedro said hello to each of you. You were very excited.

Yes, I remember that. We were all dressed in our green kilts with red jackets that Mummy made for us. I love my red jacket, I’m wearing it right now.

I wonder what Mang is doing with Uncle McInerney’s hair? It doesn’t look like he is a bit bothered. He is one of your engineers, isn’t he?

Yes. He just got back from Japan where he looked after our business there.

Can Pedro say Hello, McInerney?

Yes, he can. Listen.

That sounds really funny, Daddy. But it is very clever for a machine like Pedro to talk.’And you were very clever to make it talk.

And if my readers want to hear the Voder talk, follow this Hackaday link: http://hackaday.com/2014/08/12/retrotechtacular-the-voder-from-bell-labs/






Good Morning – Daisy Bread

Zuni Daisy Bread 001

Our Zuni Pueblo friends are raising money for their daughter to travel to Europe with her class. I really admire these parents working hard to give their child this experience. They put it out on Facebook, and got lots of friends ordering pies and breads. The trip requires big bucks, and mom – as well as working days as an accountant – has been baking pies and what she calls “Daisy Bread.” A one-woman bake sale.

Daisy Bread is a sweet bread topped with icing sugar and jam. We chose the orange marmalade topping. It is a huge loaf (that’s a dinner plate under it) and we are slowly working our way through it. But, because of the marmalade which is dripping off the sides and sticky as all get out, we can’t put it in the toaster. I tried to broil it under the grill in the oven, but had to beware of the hot jam.

Here’s a funny difference in English/American language terminology – when telling a friend here (US) I might have to grill the bread, they looked very puzzled and assumed I meant on the barbecue. We Brits do say ‘grill’ in the oven, don’t we? I think ‘broil’ is the American equivalent. My PA says we are two people separated by a common language.

Anyway, before my lovely “daisy bread” dries up, I may have to take some to my neighbour. Don’t you wish you were next door?