Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Beginning of the End Song

This has become one of my annual posts.

I've heard the first cricket of 2021, the crickets of the second year of the pandemic.

It was just for a moment, on Thursday, that I thought I heard the sound.  On Friday I heard it again.  My spouse kept saying no, I don't hear it.  Then, Sunday, the same discussion.  There was  a buzzing in the air.  But yesterday, it was official.  I heard the song.  No mistaking.

In a way, I dread the first cricket song, because it means winter is on its way.

I've been tracking when I've heard the first crickets since I started to blog in 2009.  Here is my post from 2019, complete with links to the previous posts tracking first cricket song dates.

For 2020, the date was Thursday, July 23.  For 2021, I'm calling the date July 26..

So, why track this date?  In the pandemic, many of us continue to take comfort watching nature, be it birds, flying insects, or sunrises and sunsets.  With change all around us, nature is a constant, and keeps on keeping on paying little attention to us.
Which, maybe is why we have three bird feeders in our backyard today. And why, on my walks, I look for butterflies to photograph.   I am learning more about hummingbirds each day, a bird that continues to fascinate both my spouse and me.

My 30-something son calls us "old".  I call it "refreshing my interests".  If that makes me old, so be it.

And then, there is the human desire to keep records, which is why I write this annual post.

As I blogged in 2019:

"My blog, with the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day meme I participate in each 15th of the month, has become a kind of garden journal.  I'm no good at diaries or journals, but blogging is something I do keep up with. For now, anyway."

So, what does this pattern of dates mean?  Not much, perhaps.  You can see that my dates are all over the place.

But for now, I have heard the crickets, and I know the end of summer is approaching. Maybe it's still a few months away, although frost threatened us last September.

Also, COVID-19 is spiking once again.  Once again, we face the possibility of a fall and winter to dread.

I can only hope that this period in our history will, one day, be just another fact in the history books.  In the meantime, I will study the hummingbirds, try to ID butterflies, and listen to the song of the crickets.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Songs of the Late 70's #MusicMovesMe

 It's Monday, and it's time for music!  It's time to join up with the Music Moves Me bloggers.

Who are the Music Moves Me bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only-meaning at least one music video, please!)   First, there is XmasDolly.  Her co-hosts are: Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, and me. 

Each month we have a guest conductor. Today, for her last stint as guest conductor for July, welcome Songbird from Songbird's Crazy World.

Her theme for today:  You Pick.

I decided to go back in time just a little, to 1978 and 1979.  I'll try not to put too much disco in here, but I hope you groove to these picks. 

First, 1978. 10cc and Dreadlock Holiday.

 Sweet - Love is Like Oxygen.

I've had this song on my blog before, but I could listen to this song all day.  Frankie Valli and Grease.


OK, I've held onto the disco for long enough.  Time to release some boogie! The Trammps and Disco Inferno actually dates from 1976 but it did not hit it big until 1978.  If you can hold back the dancing when you hear this song, you have more self control than I do, so I decided on a long version.

It's time to switch to 1979 and The Cars - Dangerous Type.

The next two songs were actually released in 1978 but were hits in 1979.

Younger people may know Rod Stewart as an American Songbook type of artist but, in his younger days, he was quite the rocker. In this song, though, he shows his disco side - sort of.   Here he is with perhaps the best song ever written about one-night stands and "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?"


Chic's Le Freak was actually released in 1978, but was one of the top songs of 1979.

And that's a late 70's wrap!

Let's thank Songbird for her July guest conducting.  For August, the guest conductor will be - ME! (Shameless self-promotion).  

Join us again same time, same place, next Monday!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Down the Rabbit Hole

Before I begin, I need to correct an error in yesterday's blog post.  Thank you, my readers, for catching it.

My post yesterday was about interesting names for daylilies.   I forgot to include a link to a site I found online where you can name your own daylily.  I have now corrected my post, and also included the link at the beginning of this paragraph.

It isn't cheap to name a daylily, but if you have the money, I think it would make a wonderful special occasion gift for a gardener (note, I have never done business with the nursery this link leads to, and it is not an endorsement.)

So, why not continue with more of yesterday's theme and feature the rest of the interesting named daylilies I took pictures of yesterday?  I have a few more interesting daylily names for you.  One gave me the creeps - I saved it for last, because it really is creepy.

This is called Paula Nettle and is an award winner - it must be named after somebody, I'm thinking, but "nettles" have other meanings in gardening.   There is the stinging nettle, and if you touch that plant, you are going to suffer for it.

Here is Island Lord.  Love this color!  Interesting, I found other daylilies online with "Lord" in the name, but not this one.

Last but not least, the name of this flower made me shiver a little.  In college, I majored in anthropology, and took a couple of courses where we studied Native American peoples, including the group we call the Navajo. Something seemed familiar about this name so I had to look it up.  In Navajo culture, a "skinwalker" is a harmful witch that can transform from human to animal but other Native American groups have similar legends.

I wonder why this daylily was called "Skinwalker"?  And, did I really want to know? (you know the answer to that one.  Yes.)  I had to look, and found the hybridizer of this daylily - the late Ned Roberts.

This beautiful flower apparently was named after a book by the late Tony Hillerman from 1986 called "Skinwalkers".  I read several of Hillerman's mysteries long ago - I'm not sure if I read that one, though.

But anyway, this lovely flower is a multiple award winner. Although I don't own any spider daylilies, now I want this so badly (and have no room for it).

Internet slang calls this kind of research "going down a rabbit hole".  I'm glad I emerged in time to write this blog post.

So, we've gone from daylilies to Native American legends to rabbit holes.

Not a bad day's work.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Westbourne Mom's Cinnamon Rolls and Other Delights

If you came here looking for cinnamon roll recipes, I must disappoint you.  This post is about daylilies, and some of the best names ever.

Today, spouse and I made our annual visit to Cutler Botanic Gardens in Binghamton, New York to enjoy their daylily collection.  But, besides flower beauty, the names are such a delight.

This is now an official hermerocallis display garden 

The view that greets you at the entrance.

Here are some of my favorites from today. 

Wouldn't you love a no-calorie cinnamon roll?  This daylily is named Westbourne Mom's Cinnamon Rolls.  I'd love to know the backstory of this name; I wasn't able to find out more after a quick Internet search.

Next up:

Longlesson Flattery.

This is a double daylily but I don't know where Double Dribble comes from.

I love this one, and not just for the name.  Presenting: Last Snowfall.

Last one for today - how about more in a couple of days?  This one is called Custard Candy.

Let's say goodbye for now.

Cutler Botanic Gardens is a little hard to find, but it is right off Front St, a major Binghamton street, easily accessible from I-81 (except maybe this year, where there is nearby road construciton.)   Nearby, on Saturday mornings, there is an indoor farmer's market, and there is a Taste of New York store (closed Sundays) nearby, which has spotless bathrooms, and the most wonderful ice cream (by the scoop).

Want to see more?  I'll end with this link to a site where you can name a daylily yourself.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Show in the Sky #SkywatchFriday

Last week, we had a show in the sky.

We got to see somebody (possibly the Thunderbirds) practicing while we were picking blueberries last Friday. Then we saw the (definitely) Thunderbirds performing, from a flood wall, Saturday, during the one performance they were able to hold.  

The Sunday air show sky performances were cancelled due to low ceiling.

I'm apologizing in advance for these pictures but they do have some pretty cloud formations in them.  So, please view them as much for the clouds as my poor attempts to capture these planes from afar.

Here's a couple of the Friday practice run pictures we took while blueberry picking. You can see contrails in the center of the photo and (maybe) two little dots - the airplanes.

Another picture, after they straightened out.  Don't strain your eyes.

As for the Saturday performance, our skies were blue, but there are four tiny dots towards the bottom center.  But the clouds sure were pretty.

To me, the cloud looks almost like a musical note.
Next to last, but not least, just enjoy the sky.  I didn't try to crop this one.

It was so nice seeing that blue sky so I will give you one more photo from Saturday.  No planes, I promise.

All the rain is scary - we are under flash flood warnings several times a week now and we may be one major storm (according to a newspaper article) from river flooding.  But it's nothing like the flooding in Germany, Belgium or China recently.  I hope everyone who reads this post, and their family/friends, can stay safe.

Joining Yogi and other sky watching bloggers for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Binghamton Clothing Company Fire and The Present Day

 History is not a collection of dry facts and dates in a hated textbook.  History is not meant to be a school subject that is discarded the second a person graduates. 

History is the story of you and me, and, properly told, it can prevent us from making the same mistakes again and again.  History teaches, if only we listen.

Today is the 108th anniversary of a tragedy in Binghamton, New York, one that (in a way) mirrors a tragedy in New York City a couple of years before.  

Descendants of those who died in Binghamton on July 22, 1913, still remember.  Recently, one of them commented on an old post of my blog.   

Fire is something that terrifies all of us. That fear is inborn but we will be facing fire more and more in the future.   In recent years, wildfires have ravaged thousands and thousands of acres in the Western United States.  It has caused millions to breathe smoke from those fires.  Living thousands of miles away doesn't exempt anyone, either, as many people in New York State (including me) found out on Tuesday when we had air quality alerts caused by a fire two thousand miles away.

But, historically, fire has ravaged cities (London, Chicago, New York City, Portland, Maine and others).  The hope is that, each time, we learn lessons.  We build better.  We learn to fight fires better.  We abandon practices that cause death.

One of these fires was the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City.  On March 25, 1911, some 600 workers, including many young immigrant women in their teens and 20's, were working in a clothing factory in lower Manhattan under sweatshop conditions.  Many did not speak English.  Their workday was 12 hours a day, every day.

Management had locked the exits to keep the workers in.  A fire started in a rag bin. A foreman tried to put the fire out but the hose was rotted out, and the fire spread rapidly.  The fire took 146 lives.  Maybe some lessons were learned, but not enough lessons.  More tragedy would follow, this time in the city where I worked for so many years before COVID-19 sent me and others home.

On July 22 1913 a fire broke out at the Binghamton Clothing Company factory on Wall Street in downtown Binghamton, New York. After the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, some safety procedures had been instituted including fire alarms and fire drills, but those didn't prevent the tragedy. 

There was only one fire escape. 

Of some 110 workers in the building, 31 died while a crowd estimated at some 1500 people outside the building watched, helpless to act.  It is thought that many of the dead originally stayed at their stations because they were confused over whether the alarm was real or not.  If they left their stations, they would have lost income because they were paid by the piece.  And they needed every penny.

Here are some of my posts on the topic:

Forgotten History and the Binghamton Clothing Company Fire (note the comments on the post; they are most interesting). 

The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and Binghamton

I am honored that some descendants of the Binghamton factory workers who died from that fire have chosen to comment on my blog posts, especially the first link above.  One, Sharon, recently tried to help me find a monument to the fire victims (and some graves) at Spring Forest Cemetery in Binghamton.  I had tried to find it last fall.  I tried again after Sharon contacted me, but I'm sorry to say I didn't find it (once again).  The directions she found online were clear. I must have passed it.

I'll try again one day.

Now, we face other fire tragedies, and must find our way forward in our rapidly changing world.  Let us be armed by the lessons history teaches us. We'll need all the wisdom we can find.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Black Swallowtail Butterfly #WordlessWednesday

Usually, butterflies torment me. Either they don't get close to me, or they aren't close to me long enough to make for a good pictures.

Last week, this eastern black swallowtail butterfly was so intent on feeding on a milkweed plant that it didn't care that I was getting closer and closer to it.  

Making the approach.

Somehow, some of these pictures ended up sideways and I forgot to edit this one to make it upright.



Yum.  And she finally got the right side up on this photo!
I'm thinking this is a male, but I'm too new to the butterfly ID world to know for sure.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.