Friday, November 27, 2015

eat green


From The Conversation -- how our food purchases impact climate change.


an article from The Conversation about how they detect credit-card fraud


Here's an article from The Conversation about how they detect credit-card fraud.

Not as informative as I was hoping it might be, but interesting points about how they compare current activity to our usual patterns.

When we were in Chicago last summer my better half got a message from a credit card company telling him they had denied some charges.  The odd thing was -- we were in Chicago, and the charges that were denied were in Michigan, not too far from our normal haunts........  So they were allowing charges in a place we don't usually go, and denying them "back home".........

Perfectly properly.  Which led me to wonder -- how did they know?


November 20


Walking.  That redbud at the bottom of the hill.  These new varieties of redbuds have some fancy leaves!

Sprig of Bradford pear.

The skies were excellent on the 20th.........

There are still a few flowers blooming, here and there..............  Coneflower.

I think this is chamomile.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

November 19


The 19th was one of those contrasty days -- dark clouds, with patches of bright sunshine.....


Happy Thanksgiving


Our week did not go the way we expected.  Gilda was right, it is "always something."  And some weeks, the "somethings" pile up.  A dead computer; the plumber and the furnace guy coming on the same day; one of the old folks in the hospital again.

The drive back and forth to do eldercare is a nasty one -- an hour's worth of traffic-packed switching from one too-busy expressway to another.  Our plans put on hold, while we did someone else's laundry, and waited for test results..........

Working hard on remembering to appreciate that, almost always, this moment right here, right now, is ok.  No bears behind the trees; no need to actually physically run for our lives.  Taking deep breaths.  Appreciating the fact that, in this moment, there is no disaster that needs immediate addressing.  No bears.  Working on letting go of the tension that accumulates (so quickly, thanks to three billion years of evolution!) but is not useful, because my day's "bears" are all potential rather than actual..........

After the 6-8" of snow we got over the weekend, yesterday (Nov. 25) was beautiful.  Clear, blue, bright, and 50 degrees (F).  The grass is still green.  The plants are still making oxygen for us.

The roads were clear of snow and ice, as we made yet another trip to the hospital to spring him and install him in rehab.  He was very glad to not be in the hospital, with odd (and/or awful) roommates, and staff wandering noisily through the room at all hours of the night, and glad for better food.  He's determined to do all the physical work they throw at him, so he can be able to go back to his apartment.

Things could be much worse.

Concentrating on green grass, blue sky; on being able to breathe, and walk, and get things done.  Looking forward to a day free of expressways, spent quietly at home.

Pumpkin pie for breakfast. 

Wishing for you your preferred version of pumpkin pie for breakfast, and a day which includes savoring the good things life presents.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

making molds out of candy......


Making molds out of sugar (which is soluble), in order to make very (VERY) soft/flexible silicone molds..........

Cheap, non-toxic, and does the job.

A pretty good idea.  There are many expected scientific uses............


November 18



The big green leaf is a redbud.  The tan one in the upper right is a sycamore.  most of the rest are maples, I believe.

Bradford pear.

A wider view.  It's getting drab, around here...........  There are still some autumn colors, and the grass is still green..............

I think this is a sweetgum leaf.  I think there is only one sweetgum tree in our neighborhood.  It holds its leaves until late in the season, and has nice color.  I'm glad its here.

I bring leaves home and tape them on the fridge.  Until they are shriveled, and then I replace them with new ones.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November 16


Walking home through West Park.  Ducks were swimming in different directions, causing overlapping ripples, which resulted in interesting reflections.


Monday, November 23, 2015

November 13


Walking to the farmers' market.  When I took this pic, I thought it was the result of a leaf having been embedded in the concrete.  But looking at it on "the big screen," I think it was a leaf sitting on top of the concrete, which had been sprayed with whatever it is they spray on new concrete.

Cranberry-walnut pie from Zingerman's Bakehouse.  Beautiful, and delicious.  Mmmmmmmm.

The sun was very bright on the table behind this mug of Iron Goddess tea.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

dead computer?


The computer I use most often may have breathed its last yesterday.

It just quietly expired when I was in the shower.  Or, at least, was completely unresponsive, and turning it off (and unplugging it) made no difference.  It lights up, the fan comes on (hard), but no other apparent signs of life are present.

It's in the shop, but we were not given much hope (possible/probable dead hard drive).

We have a newer computer, but it doesn't have Photoshop Elements on it, and it doesn't even have a camera card reader.....................................................


If I am less present here, for a while, that would be why.

A not-so-gentle reminder, y'all -- no one plans for their computer to die.  Do your backup.  Now.  Tomorrow may be too late.


November 12


The 12th was a chilly, damp, and windy day.  It was the first time this season that I felt the breath of winter down the back of my neck.........

I went to the dentist for a filling.  Sigh.

Sitting in the dentist's chair, looking out at the trees being blown by the wind.

The evening of the 10th we went to a special dinner at Zingerman's Roadhouse.

Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills was the star of the evening, along with many of the special things he grows.  He brought all sorts of wonderful things for us to taste, including several that are so new to his repertoire that no one in the USA is eating them.  Special varieties of various edibles, including grains and legumes, all cooked for us by the Roadhouse chef, Alex.

Glenn is particularly interested in historical grains -- the varieties that were grown two or three hundred years ago, when flavor was more important.  I hadn't thought about the way food plants move around the world.  Some of the varieties Glenn grows went from the southeastern USA to Europe, Africa, and Asia, and then were lost in this country.  Glenn has retrieved them, and is growing them here again.

I liked hearing the stories of the different foods -- where they originated, where they traveled, how they are being used today.....

All of the food we ate that night was delicious, and, as you'd guess, most of it was grain/legume based.  Right down my alley -- I'm one of those people who have only extremely rarely met a carbohydrate I don't like.

One plate served to us that evening had three scoops of grits.  One made from white corn, one from yellow, and one from red corn.  It was so interesting to taste the differences.  The textures differed, as well as the flavors.  I would eat any of them, any time, and the red one was really special.

The one thing I liked the very best were the polycrop biscuits.  "Polycropping" is growing multiple crops in the same soil at the same time, and harvesting them all at the same time.  Glenn plants the seeds in the order of how long the plants need to grow from planting to harvest.  (I wonder how that works -- planting when other plants are already growing there......  I also wonder about the harvest -- wondering what sort of machinery can harvest a wide variety of plants at once, saving the big seeds like corn, and smaller seeds from other plants, too......)

It was a very interesting and tasty evening.  I'm so glad we went.

We loved the biscuits so much that our server gave us a few to take home.

Eating something nice and soft for lunch after the dentist (the anesthetic was mostly gone, but I really did not want to bite myself and add insult to injury)......

This is very nice indeed.  Biscuit made from Anson Mills Polycrop flour.  It had emmer, flax, sorghum, buckwheat, and oats, if I remember correctly, plus four more plants whose seeds are eaten by people (which I have forgotten, alas).  All grown together in the same fields at the same time, and all harvested at the same time.

We were told that plants which grow together taste even better together than if you grew the same plants, separately, and combined them only after harvest. 

After seeing the PBS Nature program "What Plants Talk About," which showed mother trees feeding their baby trees with help from underground fungus, I can totally believe that plants who grow with each other are sharing information, nutrients, and who knows what all, under the soil where we have no idea what is going on..........

We can see flecks of all sorts of different colors, from all sorts of different seeds, in the biscuit.


I would eat these any day and every day.  If I only could.  This 9-plant polycrop is unique to this year (they are building up and adding more plants to the mix each year), and the flour is not for sale...........

I can buy Glenn's grits, though, and I mean to do that!


Saturday, November 21, 2015

November 11


On November 5, I raked the front yard.  I found a ring in the grass near the sidewalk.  It wasn't dirty; I don't think it had been there long.  I don't know anything about jewelry, but it was heavy enough that I was sure it hadn't come out of a gumball machine.

I put a sign in our front yard, saying "RING FOUND.  Describe to claim."

On the morning of November 9, a police officer showed up on our front porch.  He said that someone doing yard work in our neighborhood told the person whose yard he was working on that he'd had a ring stolen.  That person told him about the sign in our yard.

How that led to the police officer showing up at our door, I do not know.  It seemed that the individual who said his ring had been stolen was known to the police....

I showed the officer the ring.  He had seen pics of the stolen ring, and this was clearly not the same ring.  He took some pics of the ring I found, and took our address and my name and phone number.

He said that if an individual showed up at our house and "made us uncomfortable" asking about the ring, we were to call the police.

Sheesh.  All I want is for the person who lost the ring I found to have it back.  I do not want to become involved with "persons known to the police".......................  !!!!!!!!!!!!

I thought about this, and decided to take the ring downtown to the police station, and give it to them.  I surely don't want it.  I just want whoever lost it to be able to get it back.

On the morning of the 11th, I got dropped downtown, so I could take the ring to the police.

Of course it was Veteran's Day, so everything at City Hall was closed.

Sigh.  Who knew finding someone else's ring, and wanting them to have it back, could be so complicated!

I took myself and my frustration (and the ring!) over to Kerrytown for a little light retailing.  I hadn't wandered around inside Kerrytown for a while.

I enjoyed looking through the expanded Found in its new location, admired many things at 16 Hands, and then spent a good deal of time looking at all the eye candy at Hollander's.

Rack with sheets of black and gold papers.............. 

There are racks and racks and racks of fancy papers of all descriptions at Hollander's.  They are a Destination for paper people, and book-binding people, and art-book people.  They also have an excellent supply of cards for all occasions.  I bought no paper, but I bought cards.....

This excellent white paper is in one of the windows that separates Hollander's from indoor space in Kerrytown.  I love this...........  I am thinking it would look great on a colored wall.........  I may have to go buy some.  What a lovely big *statement*-y piece of paper!

I walked home through West Park.

There were hopeful ducks on the pond.  Note the one swimming determinedly right toward me.  Alas, I was empty-handed, food-wise.

Pond reflections.

Love the ivy on this house...........

Curving around the window............

Fallen leaves and chewed-up walnut hulls, on an elderly picnic table.

The top of the stump of a locust tree that was cut down last summer.  Most of it was dead.  I didn't like walking under it (as large branches regularly appeared on the ground beneath it).  It's always sad when an old tree goes, but this one was definitely gone before it came down.

I heard an unfamiliar noise in the trees, and looked up.  Flicker, in a Bradford pear.

Love that checkerboard, especially with the red!

I'm not that fond of pears, but I like to have one every so often.  I bought some at the farmers' market, and this is the first one I pulled out of the bag.

Love the shapes.............................

I wish this image were sharper, but maybe it really doesn't matter?


Friday, November 20, 2015

visiting New York City with an 1899 Baedeker guidebook


Here's an article about touring NYC with the advice of an 1899 Baedeker guidebook.

One of the things I found most interesting was that visiting Pimlico (horse-racing track) was $2 when a night in the Waldorf-Astoria was $2.50!


November 9


Bright morning sunshine, through a glass bridge-tournament mug.

Looking across the street at a little Bradford pear.

Later.  Walking.  Pine cone & shadow.

Another excellent Bradford pear.

Big tulip-tree leaf.

Berries in the strong late-afternoon sun.  Love the chartreuse stems..........

Leaves picked up along the way.  That same tulip-tree leaf, a maple, and a Bradford pear.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Einstein's big ideas, explained in common words.


Two of Einstein's big ideas, explained using only the thousand most commonly-used words in English.


November 7


Spotted this little one crossing the sidewalk, when we were on our way to the farmers' market.

So interesting, the way the spines come in fanned out bunches.......

A holiday special -- cranberry walnut pie.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm................

I wonder if this was done on purpose by people with spray paint, or something.  It's one of those metal things you see in downtown sidewalks, that was (is?) probably used for loading goods into a store.

Squash and pumpkins in the sunlight on another gorgeous day.

This is new!  On Detroit street, right by the farmers' market.  The first hour is free.  I wonder where the other places to drop them off are.  I know there's one at City Hall............

Happy marigolds.

I am not emotionally prepared for this. 

But aren't they lovely examples?  I believe these are handmade.  They are big, and they are beautiful.  Especially in bunches.