Monday, September 29, 2008

Today's Flowers

Cosmos are some of my favorite flowers and I'm happy to show these off for Luiz Santilla's meme Today's Flowers.I always like white flowers the best because they glow and reflect. . . and always draw me to them. In the language of flowers cosmos mean 'peaceful.' That cinches it for me!

To see more in this virtual flower shop, visit Denise & Santilli here.

Monday's critters and cartoons

Sweet and savory September is winding down and while we were on a [rather cold] motorcycle trip east toward Wisconsin yesterday I noticed that more and more trees are turning color. The hills are covered with a patterned carpet. We were at an event at a farm called Hope Glen which was an appreciation lunch for those who had attended or supported a bike washing ministry at the annual motorcycle week in Sturgis, South Dakota. This was one of the four dogs (note the blue eyes and sandy paws!) that were part of the farm and below a beautiful pinto pony for childrens' riding.

Visit Misty Dawn at her meme, Camera Critters No. 25 to see more wonderful creatures.
Call me redundant, but it seems the autumn theme appears everywhere.

My first car was a '51 Ford. At night, I parked it on an incline.
To get the pistons firing, I had to put it in second gear, depress the clutch, release the emergency brake, roll down the hill, and pop the clutch.
Maybe if I end each day on a mountaintop, I can roll out of bed in the
morning, release the brake of fear and confusion, and jolt that old engine into
Wendy Reid Crisp

Enjoy this Monday!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Stuffing my happy morning face. . .no wait, what?!

I can say that it usually doesn't take much to make me happy but the blooming last week of my 'Heavenly Blue' Morning Glory plant has knocked my socks off! Mark the calendar: September 18, with more and more blooms opening each day. To add to the beauty some of the vines have intertwined with a dark red ivy geranium. The large blue blossoms only bloom in the early day and live just a few hours. I read that Morning Glory is also called asagao by the Japanese : a combining words for 'morning' and 'face.' One of the reasons I love Minnesota is the defined seasons, each with something colorful and delicious to offer. Not always edible but a feast for the eyes.

Four seasons fill the measure of the year;
There are four seasons in the mind of man ...
John Keats

Now that September is nearly gone it is becoming clear how busy she's been burnishing and re-arranging the landscape. This is the area I love to walk behind the lake where I've occasionally seen deer. This week in this very spot below stood one of the twin fawns, bigger, sans spots and sporting a new 'fawn' colored coat. She stopped eating apples and listened to me talk to her for a minute before jumping into the trees. When I walked by I saw three sets of eyes peering out at me: the doe and her twins.

This spot takes me back to the lake--but first to the little pond that is visible at the very middle of this photo. That is where I've watched a family of wood ducks mature this summer. I have not seen them for several days now and am guessing they've flocked and flown off toward the south. I've wished them well and pleaded that they be watchful of hunters.

Not everything has a name. Some things lead us into a realm beyond words.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn

In homage to autumn and the blackening bananas on my counter that just won't go away, I made this yesterday and can say it made me happy:

Spiced Banana Bread

1-1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour (I used spelt instead)
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon + 1 tsp ground allspice (which I didn't have)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg beaten
1 bananas, mashed
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. canola oil
1/3 c. fat free milk

Preheat oven to 350. Coat loaf pan w/ nonstick spray and dusting of flour. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Combine egg, bananas, applesauce, oil and milk. Gradually add to flour mixture, until just mixed. Don't overbeat.

Bake 42-45 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into 12 one-inch slices.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

SkyWatch floats over

There was something about the prairie for me—it wasn’t where I had come from, but when I moved there it just took me in and I knew I couldn’t ever stop living under that big sky.
- Pam Houston
This big sky was what I saw on a recent motorcycle trip. I am always amazed at the depth of clouds in our midwest sky. Visit SkyWatch Friday to be further amazed by sky photos from all over the globe.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ABC Wednesday arrives with a bouquet.

Stepping in front of autumn today is Jonquils, a showy spring perennial, part of the Daffodil family. The bright yellows herald the end of winter, always a welcome and much photographed sight. I caught these peeking out at the McNealey Conservatory at Como Park in St. Paul last spring.

Way across the world, French photographer Robert Doisneau caught this photograph the year I was born and he called it 'Bouquet of Jonquils, Paris, 1950.'

The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street. Robert Doisneau

J being today's alphabet letter for ABC Wednesday please visit more photographs at Mrs Nesbitt's wonderful Meme. You'll be more than glad you did. You can also just browse the ABC Anthology, the no-comment sister site here.

Here's to finding beauty in daily life!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Today's Flowers arrive

This dahlia is from a neighbor's yard full of dahlias where, seen in person, are quite stunning and showy. Perfect for Today's Flowers! Visit this site here and you'll be amazed at the beauty seen from many other avid, amateur photographers.

Work of sight is done. Now do heart work on the pictures within you. R.M. Rilke

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Camera Critters

Got no check books, got no banks.
Still I’d like to express my thanks-
I got the sun in the mornin’
And the moon at night.
---Irving Berlin

I came upon this red hawk who was obviously not afraid of heights and otherwise intent on some breakfast of a vole or little field mouse, oh my. The closer I came to him, he turned, fluffed up, sending a shower of feathers to the ground, sighed and flew off.

So, in honor of the little critters that got away that day I chose this photo for this week's Camera Critters. See more photos from critter-loving photographers. You, too?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sunday Scribblings, R.S.V.P.

Spring wobbled in brand new heels
And took the stairs gleefully,
Dropping petals that
Floated softly away.

Summer sat at the end of the table
Picking flowers from a vase.
Pulling petal from stem, entwined,
Moon blushed smile.

Fragrant ribbons unrolled across the floor
As Autumn’s velvet skirts swayed,
Pouring wine in upturned glasses
Intoxicating their dreams.

Sated eyes watched the doors and
Lips silently repeated the clock’s ring
The slow waltz of regret and wondering played,
Waiting for Winter to accept the invitation.

Visit Sunday Scribblings for more takes on the prompt 'invitation.'

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Skywatch Friday after the storm

Weather forecast for tonight: dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning.
George Carlin

My choice for SkyWatch Friday is the scene from my front door after a summer storm in August June, late evening just before sundown. The sky seemed to hold a beautiful promise for the coming day.

See more photos at SkyWatch Friday, here. You will want to join in the fun.

Fave Things for Thursday

Thursday arrives and with it comes Favorite Things Thursday, my friend Blue's meme. (Time seems to fly for me in the autumn). I know I'm in good company when I saw that I am an \in-ˈve-t(ə-)rət\ yard sale shopper. Around here they are referred to as garage sales or just simply 'sale.' Either way, my car seems to detect their signs several yards ahead and all I have to do is make the turn. Usually I don't have much cash with me but what there is ready to burn a hole in my pocket by week's end. Also indigenous to Minnesota are sales sometimes on Wednesday and Thursday as well as the weekend. So the fun begins, and today was no exception. Sometimes I only come away with a $.50 paperback I've wanted to read, a bag of apples or tomatoes. These are a few of my finds recently. The blue sugar & creamer set was being sold by a lady in her sixties who was cleaning out her cupboards and I was happy to give them a good home. They are blue, after all! On a walk to the post office I bought the green watering can for a song because of its lovely shape and a frog and dragonflies embossed on its front. The plate was a find on one of our motorcycle jaunts at a thrift store. These state plates are ubiquitous, I know, but I've never found one from my home state of Idaho. It has Mountain Bluebird and Syringa patterns. If you can enlarge this photo you will better see the cat in this framed print I bought today for $1. It is a rather haphazardly mounted page from a railroad calendar and the lady who sold it said she remembered these calendar prints from her youth many years before. It is marked Peake - Chessie for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. Here's what I learned about 'Peake':

In 1934, the first "Chessie" calendar was produced, with 40,000 copies distributed. Advertisements featuring Chessie appeared in most national magazines as well. Her popularity grew, as did her family. She got two look-alike kittens in 1935, and a mate, "Peake" (from the railroad name as well - Chesapeake = "Chessie-Peake"), in 1937. Soon Chessie, "America's Sleepheart," was the talk of the railroad world, and propelled C&O to the top ranks of rail advertising. You can read more about Chessie here.

I feel very fortunate to have seen this in a box of frames. Maybe Chessie was waiting for me?
Visit the amazing Blue for more bloggers' favorite things. She might inspire you to play along too!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Imagine. . .

I saw this, actually very small, peace sign painted on a boulder at the edge of someones property while I was out walking yesterday. It called me from the road I was on and in spite of its size opened up a flood gate of memories of coming of age in the late sixties. While I was taking the photo someone drove by and gave me such a quizzical look asking, 'who has the time to take a picture of a rock anyway?' This little emblem means something different to each person that sees it, but it will always mean imagine to me.
I recently found this Marc Chagall painting at the MIA called 'Poet Dreaming.' So I'm adding this image to today's ABC Wednesday letter 'I' as well.

In his book In Beauty, John O'Donohue shares that "the imagination is capable of kindness that the mind often lacks
because it works naturally from the world of between;
it does not engage things in a cold, clear-cut way
but always searches for the hidden worlds that wait at the edge of things."
—Barbara Biziou

Visit ABC Wednesday hosted by Mrs Nesbitt where the letter 'I' is highlighted. You'll be glad you did. Join in anytime.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Calling all Gypsies!

'By its very nature, “Gypsy” implies
multiculturalism, given the vast

stretches of land the nomadic dwellers
have covered over the last 700 years.'

So, before Johnny Depp was a black-hearted pirate, he was a tormented Gypsy horseman. A further bit of trivia: I became a fan of Sally Potter films several years back after watching her The Man Who Cried, set in World War II Europe. But my interest in the Roma population began when I was a pre-schooler and had a friend named Sonya, the Gypsy girl who visited my grandmother with her colorful family. You can read about Sonya here.

Yesterday I found out about the DROMA Gypsy Festival to be held in New York City starting next week, September 24th through October 3rd. I caught wind of this event--that I won't be even close to attending--in an e-mail update from the group Eastern Blok. I have been following this Chicago 'Baltic fusion' group led by guitar virtuoso Goran Ivanovic--and I can say that because I've heard him play--since I lived in Chicago. They will be playing there! The festival will showcase twenty bands, 7 international, and sounds wonderful.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Today's Flowers: from the prairie

The common name of this wildflower is Touch-me-not or Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

Throughout late summer and into fall, I see large stands of them at lake edge and around marshy areas where they nicely border cattails. About the size of a thumbnail and a delightful gold/orange, in a cluster they seem to float above the leaves like small yellow butterflies. Click on the photo to enlarge and you'll see their most endearing qualities: little orange freckles. What could be any prettier than a freckle-faced native flower?

To see more wonderful flower photos, visit Luis Santilli's meme, Today's Flowers. You'll be glad you did and you may even want to join in the fun!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I'm just saying. . .Camera Critters

Where did my summer go?

It was just around here somewhere. . .

Visit Misty Dawn to see more critters--and possibly more existential questions--here at Camera Critters.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

SkyWatch Friday...Minnesota backroads

We joined a motorcycle group on a fund-raiser ride last Sunday. It started out raining,cleared but the clouds followed us all afternoon. We rode for over 150 miles on back roads through farm land and into small towns with names like St. Bonafacius, Clearwater, Hanover, Elk River and St. Michael. Enlarging this photo shows the precise rows of golden corn on this farm.

See many more sky views at SkyWatch Friday here. Happy Friday!

Fave Things Thursday with a purple passion!

Never one to just say I like something without having to trace the whole progression through the passion, history (histrionics?) complete with recipes and quotes [the other side of the Libra scales of indecision]. . .sigh. . .but my passion, next to blue, is purple and that it would be food should be no surprise either.
Today's Favorite Things Thursday highlights my love of all things eggplant.
My affair began in adulthood when I finally put things in order about eggplant--its real meaning to me. I spent my first five years living away from my family of origin only to find myself back with them when I started kindergarten. I probably wasn't very happy about this and eventually was bestowed with the nickname mellanzane by my 'new' Italian relatives. What I realized later was they were commenting on my 'long face.' So be it. When I fell in love with cooking--my dad always said 'women are fickle'--I acquired a taste for the delicious variety of this veg. First and foremost was the appealing smooth, shiny shape and gorgeous color. Who could resist?

Eggplant shows up in the cuisine of many cultures. I've made:
baba ganouch
moussaka &
but my all time favorite way to eat it is to cut in 1 in. slices across, layer the slices on a baking sheet, slather with olive oil, and bake in a hot oven until the skin is crispy and the insides are soft. Set to cool a bit and eat, all in one sitting. This'll turn that frown upside down!

'How can people say they don't eat eggplant when God loves the color and the French love the name? I don't understand.'
Jeff Smith

If an eggplant went to a plant psychologist for some veggio-therapy, it’s unlikely that the managed care company would authorize enough sessions to cure the addled little bugger. It suffers from an identity crisis that is quite, ahem, deep-rooted. Eggplants don’t know what they are, what their name is, or what they do. To begin, eggplants are not vegetables but fruits and to take it one step further, a berry to be exact. . .[read more here!]

I can relate.

Visit Blue and her Favorite Things Thursday for more bloggers' favorite things.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Delicious autumn! ABC Wednesday arrives

We are already one quarter through the alphabet for ABC Wednesday bringing us to the letter 'H'--so I choose harvest to illustrate this letter with some photos I took yesterday at a farmer's market in the town I live in. It assembles every Tuesday and will go until mid-October. We are definitely seeing more fruits of the harvest now and yesterday one of the vendors was even giving everyone a free roasted ear of corn to eat while shopping.

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. George Eliot

Visit Mrs Nesbitt who hosts ABC Wednesday each week. You'll be inspired and may want to join in the fun!