Monday, May 30, 2016

May 25 -- evening


My better half spotted this.  We seem to have much in common with these people!

We love Pooh.  Our kid was in choir, rather than orchestra, but it looks like we can agree about some important elements of politics.  I have been known to spend some time with the Snoods (an elderly computer game).  As recently as this morning.......... 

(The Poohs look as though it's possible their honey was fermented.......)

The 25th was just packed.  There was a Smell & Tell, which I planned to attend.

It turned out that the golf course was full of a high-school tournament on the 25th.  This meant my husband could go along to the Smell & Tell (rather than golfing into the night). 

We decided to begin with supper at Jerusalem Garden (just around the corner from the library), and our daughter decided to join us.  We had a pleasant family evening, enjoying falafel at Jerusalem Garden, and then strolling over to the library for the Smell & Tell.  It was about roses..........................

Perception of chemicals in the environment is Life's oldest sense.  Vastly older than come-lately senses like hearing and vision.  Since Life began, billions of years ago, it has prospered through attentiveness to the scent of its environment.

Given the antiquity of smell and taste, it's not a surprise that they should be closer to the essence of being alive than newer senses.  Not a surprise that they are intertwined with emotion and memory in a unique way.

Most of us walk through our days paying very little attention to our noses and the news they bring us. 
Not so for Michelle Krell Kidd, whose nose has guided her since her early childhood. 

Michelle, Ann Arbor's only trained Nose*, is on a mission to help all of us pay more attention to what we are smelling, and to help us practice describing the unseeable.  On the 25th, her subject was roses.  The history of rose cultivation, the differences between different roses, the ways humans have sought to preserve and enjoy the scent of roses, the way perfumers have used roses in the design of fragrances....

This is only the second Smell & Tell at which I have been offered tastes as well as smells.  We began with rose Turkish delight.  When I was a kid, I had a little round tin of those small hard candies.  As an example of memory brought forward by smell/taste, I am pretty sure that my little candies tasted like the rose Turkish delight we ate on the 25th..........

We went on to smell the scent of a couple of different roses.  We tasted D'Arbo rose hip jam, which is delicious.  We smelled a couple of rose perfumes, and didn't have time to smell all the ones Michelle brought with her, alas.

As always, in addition to the history and culture of perfume, in addition to the active smelling, in addition to telling what those smells entice us to remember (perhaps connections to places/times/people), we also receive a lot of information on how and where to acquire the things we enjoy at a Smell & Tell.

I got some D'Arbo rose hip jam at Busch's yesterday.  (Rose hips!  Something new to add to my Food as Medicine repertoire for 20 different foods each day!)

If you live near Ann Arbor, and you want to expand your mind with an experience you aren't likely to find anywhere else, I encourage you to try a Smell & Tell.  Michelle's connections often mean we get to smell things that basically no one else will get to smell.  Each Smell & Tell is a unique venture into a place most of us don't usually get to visit.  Highly recommended.

The next one is June 22, when the topic will be patchouli.

* Wikipedia:  A perfumer is a term used for an expert on creating perfume compositions, sometimes referred to affectionately as a Nose (French: le nez) due to their fine sense of smell and skill in producing olfactory compositions. The perfumer is effectively an artist who is trained in depth on the concepts of fragrance aesthetics and who is capable of conveying abstract concepts and moods with fragrance compositions. At the most rudimentary level, a perfumer must have a keen knowledge of a large variety of fragrance ingredients and their smells, and be able to distinguish each of the fragrance ingredients whether alone or in combination with other fragrances. As well, they must know how each ingredient reveals itself through time with other ingredients.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

May 25


On the 25th we went to the farmers' market to get tomato plants.  We parked near my first house.

In the first image, we are standing on the corner of my old block, in the midst of the beautiful garden, looking north down the sidewalk toward my old house.  All of the images in this post are of this amazing garden.

The artist responsible for this floral extravaganza was out in her yard on the 25th.  I was able to ask her about this white stuff, which smells delicious (like honey -- it reminds me of sweet alyssum).  She said it is snow-in-summer.

Love the shadows of the snow-in-summer.  Wish the scent were as easy to preserve and share as the image!


Poppy, with columbines singing backup.

Poppy, with bachelor buttons.  "Oooh ooo ooo, baby baby..............."



Orange poppies in the background, and a fat fuzzy pink-poppy bud in the foreground.

Pink poppy.

Another drift of snow-in-summer at the south end of the block, looking east.  It is a delight to stroll through this garden, lingering to enjoy this and that.............


Saturday, May 28, 2016

May 24


Tuesday is bagel day at the Bakehouse (buy 6, get 6 free).  The 24th was a Tuesday.

The sidewalk in front of the outdoor picnic-tables was decorated.

We got lunch, and bagels.  Potato/leek soup.  Mmmmmmmmmm.

Iris, between a rock and a hard place, apparently thriving.

Sandhill cranes on the golf course.  They are the biggest birds we see around here.  Noticeably bigger than herons.  This is a really big bird, for a migratory species.


Bachelor buttons.

Geranium.  Love the foliage.

I believe this is star-of-bethlehem.  With daylilies and periwinkle.


Friday, May 27, 2016

May 23


Tree peony.

Heron in the pond!  I think this bird is easily big enough to take a small duckling.  But the mama ducks did not seem worried by the presence of the heron.  This pond surely contains a gracious plenty of fish for it to snack on.

This is a big bird.  Four feet tall, at least, I think.  Big bill.  Look at the wispy feathers on its back.  I wonder what those are for...........

One mama with four ducklets.

Another mama with 10.  Hoping they live long and prosper!


This is my favorite iris.  Dark purple, with stripes.

Closer crop of the above.  Iris have so much going on...........


Geranium.  Especially like the chartreuse spent ones pointing up and down.

Wisteria.  Smells so good........................


Thursday, May 26, 2016

food-based dietary guidelines


Have you been wondering, lying awake in the middle of the night, what the Mongolian food-based dietary guidelines are?

Well, wonder no more.  This website guides you to a ton of national food-based dietary guidelines, including the Mongolian guidelines.

(I found my way to this site through Food as Medicine.)


May 21


Walking to the farmers' market.


Tiny baby tulip tree.  There are millions and billions of tiny baby maple trees in the neighborhood, but this is the only baby tulip tree I've seen this year.


Petunias and other goodies in planters at the market.

My breakfast was a country scone from Zingerman's Bakehouse.  I've liked every one of their scones I've eaten, but this kind is my fave.  It has oatmeal, raisins, nuts (I think), and cinnamon sugar on top.  Mmmmmmmmmm.

Breakfast detritus, with a souvenir of Florence, Italy, from 2013.

Walking back through the market after breakfast, looking for a bouquet.  I was disappointed -- the only bouquets I saw were hot-house flowers, and I didn't like the color combinations (even had I been willing to buy a hot-house bouquet).  Oh well.  I tried.

This is rhubarb, potted up and ready to take home and add to the garden.  I love rhubarb, but it is a really big plant when full-grown.  The farmer said it would take up a circle 4-5' in diameter.  I like to eat rhubarb, but I don't have enough space to grow it.

I think it's attractive, though.  If I had unlimited space, I might well grow it.  I think it's amazing that leaves this big start new every year!


Walking home.  Iris.  I love iris..............

I don't know what this is.  I saw it in West Park.  I suspect it was deliberately planted, but do not know.  The tiny flowers are carried high (2'?) above the ground.

Pleased, again, that the phone took a pic this sharp of something tiny that was waving in the breeze.

Fancy teeny flowers which were basically round yellow blobs to my naked eye.

I just finished an online class on Food as Medicine.  It was interesting -- and tantalizing.  Nutrition science is booming, like so many parts of biology, as a result of things we are learning every day about the workings of our bodies, and the intricacies of those workings.  As with any class where knowledge expands and changes every day, we got glimpses of things that will be usual in the future, but are not yet possible.  For example -- recommendations as to what each of us, individually, should eat for optimum health.

In the mean time, while we wait for the technology/knowledge to catch up to the promise of individualized nutrition, they gave us the one-size-fits-all advice that is informed by the research.

One such piece of advice resonated with things my mother learned when she studied nutrition in the 1960s.  "Eat a variety of things, prepared in a variety of ways."

In class they said that we really don't know much, yet, about the micronutrients in foods.  They asserted that more diversity is better, to make it more likely that we are getting everything we need.  They recommended that we eat 20 different things every day, and specifically said that we are better off eating more different things, rather than a lot of one thing (even when it is a good thing).

They used orange juice as an example.  They showed us how much orange juice you'd get if you squeezed one orange.  Not much.  About 1/3 cup.  That 1/3 cup of orange juice isn't as good for you as an orange (less fiber, for one thing).  They said that we get all of the nutrition (vitamin C, for one thing) we need from orange juice in one day from that 1/3 cup.  If we drink more orange juice, we are not getting any more of the nutrients we need, but we *are* getting more calories.  We can only use so much vitamin C in a day, and we can't store it.  If we keep drinking OJ, we are basically getting no added necessary nutrition, after that first 1/3 cup, but we are still taking in the calories from the extra OJ.

Their contention is that we are better off to consume those "extra" calories in the form of some other food, so we can take advantage of the different nutrients in that other food.

This makes a good deal of sense to me...............

I'm happy to eat a lot of different foods, but am less happy to wash/cut/peel/chop/measure/mix/cook/whatever all of those different ingredients.

So I got sneaky.  I started looking for more complicated foods instead of simpler ones.  Roasted unsalted mixed nuts (5 different things), instead of roasted unsalted almonds(1 lonely thing).

Zingerman's Bakehouse makes several breads that are packed with ingredients. This, for example, is 8-grain 3-seed bread.  Hey, presto! -- 11 different things in one tasty package!

Isn't it pretty?  Pleasing to the eye, pleasing to the taste, and provides access to the nutrients in 11 different grains/seeds!

I mentioned earlier that I didn't see any bouquets at the farmers' market.

Luckily there are violets growing up between the bricks of our patio.  Some of them had really long stems.

I took this little bottle out to the patio and picked a handful of violets.  A pretty, if tiny, bouquet.

All of these violet pics were taken with the phone.  So odd, that it sees the color of the wall so differently from different angles...........  This next pic is closer to reality than the prev.

I found a recipe online for baked rhubarb jam.  I don't want jam, I just want cooked rhubarb.  But mixing the rhubarb with sugar and baking it is awfully easy (and the weather was a bit chilly over the weekend, so I didn't mind having the oven on rather than the furnace).

Rhubarb is beautiful.

The recipe said to cut in 2" lengths.  When we make rhubarb crumble, we usually cut in slices that are less than 1/2".  I compromised at around an inch, erring on "more is better."  It takes less time to cut this sort of length than the shorter slices we usually go for!

Here it is, sugared up, ready to go in the oven.

Still pretty after an hour or so in the oven.

I decided to make the crumble (oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, butter) separately, and I toasted the nuts separately, too.

This meant I could add more sugar to the rhubarb, when I discovered that I had seriously underestimated.

This was good.  But.  We usually eat it with ice cream, and I didn't have any ice cream.  I'm sure I could have tolerated sour rhubarb more easily if I'd had ice cream, which has both sugar and soothing cream (which, I bet, would mitigate the sourness, even without sugar).

This was the first rhubarb I'd eaten this season.  Cooking it this way is very easy.  I mean to make more and freeze it.........  (Note to self -- 2.75 pounds of rhubarb doesn't come close to filling the oblong glass cake pan.  Get more next time.)