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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Zig Zag Zoo #AtoZChallenge

It's the last day of April, meaning it is the last day of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  I've gotten through another Challenge.

Now to Zero in and create this last post.

I've chosen Zoo more than once for my final A to Z post.  I was supposed to be showing my readers America the Beautiful as my theme so I will start with a couple of art photos from the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Columbia, South Carolina.  It's closed, but I can bring you there through photos.  We are so fortunate to have the Internet.

Big cat.

"Recycled Life"

These photos were taken the day after the August, 2017 total eclipse of the sun and by mid morning, this Northern blogger (upstate New York) was quite wilted.  But the people of South Carolina know how to deal with heat they describe as being five degrees cooler than hell (yes, I heard that expression).  Every so often we would walk through misters that would cool us down.  But we didn't make it much past noon.

I want to return one day - maybe in March.

What I love is how people are coming up with imaginative ways to deal with our present situation.  The Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens is offering a pickup Mothers Day meal for four, complete with a bottle of Prosceco and an (unspecified) pollinator plant.

So what about the zig zagging?

That's what spouse and I find ourselves doing when we try to walk for exercise on our rare beautiful sunny days (usually it's cold, or windy, or gloomy, or all three). If everyone else is out, keeping social distance becomes an exercise in planning and changing directions.
Binghamton, New York

But it's worth the zig-zag, just to get a glimpse of spring.

"Z" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Thank you for following part of, or maybe even all of, my journey through the alphabet.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Yellow #AtoZChallenge #WordlessWednesday

This, I believe, is the second time I've chosen the color yellow as the focus of my Y post for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

I don't mind the repeat, because yellow, in some ways, is my favorite spring color.

Why?  Maybe because there is so much of it.  The forsythias are starting to fade, but our cold spring has kept them going since the first week of April.

And then there are daffodils.

A flower in my shade yard which I've forgotten the name of.


Or pansies.  I made a hanging basket with these yesterday.

Early tulips in my yard
This daffodil is from a past year.
Not mine

Yes, I think flowers are so beautiful, especially spring yellow flowers.  And using "Y" was a way to sneak them in, I admit.

We need a bit of yellow cheer in our lives now, don't we?

"Y" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme "America the Beautiful".

Also joining up with Sandee for #WordlessWednesday.

Only one more day to go!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Xanthine #AtoZChallenge

The last thing I ever expected was to have my vocabulary expanded in ways I never would have dreamed of back in January.

"X", for many A to Z bloggers, is the most difficult letter.  How many common words begin with X?  And we A to Zers don't want to resort to words that begin with E but people take the E off of, such as Xcite (excite).

Enter COVID-19.

Some letters, including "Q", became so easy with our current epidemic.  X was not one of them, until I ran into this term:

"Xanthine:  A yellowish-white crystalline purine base that is a precursor of uric acid and is found in blood, urine, muscle tissue, and certain plants."  Apparently, among other uses, it can be used as a dye and even a food coloring.

OK, true confession time. I didn't have to learn about Xanthine, but I suspect many of us learned medical terms we never expected to learn about over the past few months.

Like intubate and extubate. (My spell check hasn't caught up with either term, by the way.)  Ventilator. High flow oxygen, which is something my hospitalized relative with COVID-19 became familiar with.   ABX, meaning "antibiotics", which a nurse used in a text to me. Weaning. Hydroxychloroquine, which may well become a spelling bee standard. (Extra credit if you can pronounce it.  I still stumble over it, although my relative was given that drug for several days after he tested positive.

We've had to learn so much in the last couple of months, here in our beautiful United States.

So, what about xanthene?  I found out it is derived from the Greek word  xanthós, meaning "yellow".

And that, dear readers, is a hit of what I'll be blogging about tomorrow.

"X" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

 

Monday, April 27, 2020

William and other Wonderful (Angel Songs) #AtoZChallenge #MusicMovesMe

It's time for another episode of #MusicMovesMe. It's also W day on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Who are the members of Music Moves Me ?  We are bloggers who blog with music each Monday. If you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only- Please post containing links to You Tube or Vimeo for actual music.  Other posts are subject to removal or labeling as "No Music".)  Every other week we have a theme and on alternate weeks we have "You Pick".  

Our conductors? First, there is XmasDolly.  Her chief co-conductor is Cathy of Curious as a Cathy. Her other co-conductors are Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, and me.  

For April, our guest conductor is Binky the Cat and his Granny at their blog Angelswhisper2011. Their theme for today:
Angels in song titles or lyrics.

But this is W day, meaning I have to find at least one song beginning with W.  And I actually did that.

William the Angel is a song about an Angel trying to convince the world of God's love - something he has failed at.  This is his story.  I wasn't familiar with the song or the singer, but this man has (I think) an incredible voice.

Some of my other Angel favorites:

Angel of Harlem - U2.  I can't say this is my absolute favorite U2 song, but it's right up there.  I love the lyrics.

Johnny Angel - Shelley Fabares, from 1961.

Send Me An Angel by Real Life, originally released in 1983, but this is a later remix, I believe.  This 80's music fan loves this song.

I will end  the angel songs with this beautiful ABBA song "Like An Angel Passing Through My Room".

Time enough for one bonus song - the video of the world during the COVID-19 lockdown to Disturbed's cover of Sounds of Silence is back up!  Copyright issues are resolved and some different footage had to be inserted, but the video and song are both so powerful, it's well worth your time.

And that's a wrap.

Join me again next Monday - same time, same place, for more Music.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Chickens In These Times

This post, with some edits, updates, and additions, was first posted in August, 2010.

I never realized that Iowa is the #1 egg producer in the country. 

I lived briefly in Iowa in the 1970's and have been back several times since.  When people think of Iowa, they think of (not necessarily in this order):  Pork, soybeans, corn.  In fact, if you ask my son (who has been to Iowa several times) what he remembers of Iowa, he remembers  miles and miles of boring cornfields.  I don't think I saw many chicken houses there.

When I think of Iowa, I also think of local food, of heritage breeds, of farmers who still care.  Iowa does have at least one heritage breed poultry breeder, who we bought from several times when we lived in Arkansas:  the incomparable Murray McMurray Hatchery.

Visit Murray McMurray's website today, though and you will find a COVID-19 information page.

Iowa also has wonderful, friendly people and a wonderful place we have never been to-the headquarters of the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa and its Heritage Farm.  

Sadly, Seed Savers has had to suspend shipping for now, due to the huge demand for seed.

It's also sad that Iowa, right now, is in the news for something totally different-COVID-19 and meat processing plants (in addition to those in several other states).   I would like to share some memories of when Iowa farming goes right.

I have fond memories of visiting the Iowa City Farmers Market.  Iowa City is a college town so, as you could expect, they had their share of organic booths.  Of course, everything was locally grown and made.  But now, in case you are wondering, their farmers market is delayed until at least July 4.

Yes, in Iowa the small farmer still exists, marketing the most delicious pork and beef (sorry, vegetarian readers), plus all the usual veggies.  In a climate hotter than ours in the northeast, one even saw okra and some other southern favorites for sale.

But I promised to speak about mail order chicken memories. Since some who have never raised chickens are interested in that now, I want to share something about raising chickens and "growing" our own eggs, all from Iowa chickens.

Back in the 1980's, when we lived in rural Arkansas and kept chickens, we would spend the New Year perusing the Murray McMurray catalog, with its brightly colored pictures of what was even then called "rare" chickens.  These are the chickens with names, not numbers:  Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Black Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, New Hampshire...and on and one-about 130 breeds total.

We would make our selection and place our order (in the mail, of course).  No internet, no fascinating website giving pictures of their operations, no instant update of stock on hand.  Rather, we placed our order and waited for the day we specified.  We did it the "old fashioned" way which, in those days, was the only way.

On the appointed day, there would be a phone call from our local rural post office.  We had to come and get them; they would not deliver.  The box, cheeping away, was rushed home.  In a miracle that we could never get tired of, the living chicks survived the trip.  Just imagine opening a box and being greeted by 25 cheeping 2 day old chicks!  We would take each one out gently, dip its beak in water, and put each precious chick in a little pen under a warm light.  The waterer and feeder were made from mason jars screwed into special "lips".  We fed them commercial but unmedicated chick starter.  After a day or so, they would be ready for supplementation with the occasional June Bug attracted by the light.

This next part is not for the squeamish.  The chicks would get hold of the unfortunate bug and chase each other, trying to snatch what was left of the large bug (it didn't last very long) in a game of chick free-for-all.  The whole while, they would be screaming in delight.

Don't ever say baby chicks are cute.  Not unless you've seen one of those feedings.

You have to love chickens to know them. You have to accept their nature.  Chickens are omnivores, and they lust for blood.  If one of those chicks accidentally got cut, it would have suffered the same fate as that bug.

Then, those chicks would grow, and about six months later the female (pullets) would start to lay their small beginner eggs.  The males?  Well, that part isn't for the squeamish either.  (I'll leave the part out about how roosters treat the hens.)  Nothing like a wonderful, thick shelled, fresh egg.  Except if you want to hard boil, in which case you want a slightly aged egg.

We never worried about salmonella.  We ate raw (from scratch) cake batter.  We even made (gasp!) real eggnog!

We moved back to urban life in the mid 1980's, and our chicken life was over. 

If you attempt to raise chickens, one thing you will learn quickly is that it's hard work.  And one more point is necessary:  unless you get pre-sexed chickens, you will have males and females.  If all you want is females for eggs:  what are you going to do with the males?

Just realize you may be entering territory you may not have considered.


You'll quickly appreciate your local farmer.  In these times more than ever:

Support your local farmer.  Know who produces your food.  Know HOW it is produced. Ask questions. Ask lots of questions, including how the animal is - to use a euphemism - harvested.

That harvesting and processing is hard work, too, and it's a national scandal that the workers in the large commercial plants put their lives at risk so that we can eat meat. So:  how is the animal harvested? Is it done by the farmer?  Is it done humanely? Is it done by a local operation that is treating its employees well?

Because, in this day and age, treating their employees well can make the difference between life and death.  And how you support your local farmer can make the difference between their operations surviving this time, or not.

Just one more detail of life in the time of COVID-19.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Victory Vegetatively

I don't even remember how I got on the topic, but my cousin in New York City brightened up when I started talking about windowsill gardens.  Apparently, this has become a "thing" during our stay at home orders.

Do you remember taking sprouting potatoes as a child and putting them in water, so you could see the shoots grow?  Wasn't that fun?  It was for me.  I did it, on my 4th floor New York City apartment windowsills, with both white potatoes and sweet potatoes.  Of course, then you need a place to plant them.

As a child, I also used to do things like sprouting apple and orange seeds from fruit I ate, but I never did get a tree out of it.  But, now, in my senior years, I am talking to my cousin about growing carrots from carrot tops (yes, you can do that) and taking scallions (what we call green onions in New York City), saving the root and a couple of inches of the white part above the roots, putting them in a glass with a little water, and regrowing the green shoots.

Or, you can go even further.  My spouse and I have been successful in sprouting ginger root and getting a harvest of roots. 

We are not alone.  It would seem that millions of people have decided to grow Victory Gardens this year.  Maybe it's the spirit of World Wars I and II.  Maybe it reflects fear of food shortages.  Maybe it's the joy that comes from watching something grow.
There's nothing like a garden, even in the best of times.  

Seeds are suddenly hard to get.  Yesterday, spouse and I took a trip about 20 minutes from our house.  It's the furthest we've been from home since around March 14.  The highlight of our day?  Going to a country store that recently reopened for the season and seeing a rack of seeds there.  Victory.  We had already mail ordered seeds before the pandemic started, but hadn't gotten everything we need for our community garden.

And then there are the people who are trying to raise chickens, because it's suddenly become hard (at least around here) to get chicken meat.  As it happens, I've been there and done that in the country - about 30 some years ago. Am I thinking of doing it again, this time in my urban home?  Not really but you never know where life will lead you.  For one thing, years ago, we community gardened in what was once a Potter's Field.

Meanwhile, we count our Victories, small and large, not just the Vegetable type.


The hospital triage tents shown in my March post were taken down yesterday.  My relative who was hospitalized with the Virus on April 7 has made large strides towards recovery in the past three days.   I hate to celebrate his recovery because of the 51,000 plus people whose families have nothing to celebrate - and few ways to mourn.

But we celebrate what we can.

And eventually, we hope for Victory over coVid-19.  It will be a beautiful thing.

"V" day on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My topic:  America the Beautiful.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Under (an) Untermyer Sky #AtoZChallenge #SkywatchFriday

Last March and April, I blogged about Untermyer Park in Yonkers, New York.

These gardens were once one of the most highly visited gardens in the United States, but, for various reasons, had fallen into ruin.  In the last several years, restoration work has attempted to bring the gardens back to their original glory.

When I visited in March of last year, the gardens were only starting to break their winter dormancy.  Spouse and I were able to return in September of 2019, and I want to share some of those pictures with you.  Alas, the gardens are temporarily closed due to the coronavirus.

Across the Hudson River, you can see the Palisades rock formations on the New Jersey side of the river.

Isadora Duncan once danced here.

The amphitheater, still in restoration.

A beautiful rock formation.

Another view of the Palisades, and a peek at the gardens.

Join Yogi and the other bloggers who watch the sky at #SkywatchFriday.

"U" day at the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme is "America the Beautiful".

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Tree #ThursdayTreeLove #AtoZChallenge

How nice of the Blogging From A to Z calendar to put the day where our post is supposed to have a Topic starting with T on the fourth Thursday of the month - the day I would be doing my Thursday Tree Love post.

How do I love trees?

Let me count the ways.  So many ways.

But as valuable as their wood and their fruit are, I love their flowers the best.

The flowering trees are coming out where I live in upstate New York.  This magnolia started to bloom on April 13 but then we started to get cold weather and even a couple of instances of snow.  So the tree was somewhat stuck in neutral when I took this picture.

The tree teaches us patience - that things will come in their time.  Like us trying to try to return to a type of normal after COVID-19.  The coronavirus has its schedule, just as this tree does.  Nature has a schedule, too.  It's hard when so many of us are suffering from job loss and other difficult times.

Joining Parul of Happiness and Food and other tree loving bloggers each 2nd and 4th Thursdays at #ThursdayTreeLove.

"T" day at the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Sarasota #AtoZChallenge #WordlessWednesday

I was Supposed to be blogging about "America the Beautiful" as my Blogging from A to Z theme,but looking at some of my travel photos make me - wistful?  Some of them were from only three months ago, when we weren't trying to stay safe and away from a deadly virus.

What a beautiful flowering plant.  These pictures were taken, mostly in January of 2019, in Sarasota, Florida.

It's fun around Christmas because there's no Snow in Sarasota, despite what the sign says.  It makes me wonder: why even have snow on a sign to begin with?

If you visit Sarasota, the Ringling Estate, Ca' d'Zan, is a must see.  This is a small portion of it.  The red flowering plant above was also from that estate.

The estate is full of statues.

In Nathan Benderson Park each November-February, there is an outstanding photographic exhibition called "The Fence". 


A turtle swims in a waterway.

Roses bloom, so unlike the winter clime of upstate New York, where I live.

But when I see it next, how will it all have changed?

I'm coming out of my Self Imposed Shell today for Sandee and Comedy Plus's #WordlessWednesday.

Also Natasha and Esha for their #WordlessWednesday.

  Today was "S" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme (most days) "America the Beautiful."


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Respect Recovery and Remembrance #AtoZChallenge

Oh dear, I tried to Resist but I'm deviating from my A to Z theme today.

I haven't blogged about my autistic brother in law, "B", for a long time.  He's had a lot of life changes in the past almost five years.  Here's a partial list: his elderly mother needing to be moved up here so family could take care of her (and, as he lived with her, he had to come along), her eventual death, and him moving into what is called supportive housing.

But all that was to pale besides what happened two weeks ago yesterday.

We got a call that he was being taken to the emergency room - a nurse at the agency that runs the housing and provides other services to him didn't like what she saw in her daily screening of the occupants.  His oxygen was lower than it should be. He was running a fever.

He was seen at the ER, given various tests, and released.

But the next day he was worse.  He was coughing, his oxygen was still low and his fever had returned, higher.  This time, at a different hospital, he was admitted and placed into isolation.  That was two weeks ago today.  He was monitored continuously in this ward that once was a pediatric ward.  It had been repurposed, but the baby monitors remained for monitoring.

A COVID-19 test came back two days later - positive. He was moved into a COVID ward but they couldn't maintain his oxygen level and he was moved to another COVID ward where he could receive extra oxygen support (high flow oxygen) and a lot more monitoring.  He had double pneumonia (we found out after we were told initially it was only in one lung).  He was on IV antibiotics and a number of other medications. 

He's been in that ward ever since.

Let me tell you about that ward, which we have never seen.  We have never seen any of the various nurses who looked after him, either. (My spouse did meet the hospitalist who has been caring for "B" back when spouse was hospitalized last year.)  But I know their names, and they will have a Respectful place in our hearts for the rest of our lives.

This COVID ward is a former Respiratory ward.  It has negative pressure, meaning air can only enter.  Needless to say, everyone working in there wears the PPE we have come to know and Recognize.

As is the Rule, none of us were able to see him.  His family became the nurses and doctors, and they would also update us when we called. 

Eating was too exhausting for most of his time in the ward.  He didn't want to answer the phone, many times.

The head nurse at the agency providing his housing was a tremendous support too, as were some others who have worked with him.

He started to make slow progress several days ago, and made substantial progress (slow but that's how it goes with the coronavirus) yesterday, when he was able, with help, to stand up and be placed in a chair.  Before then, he could hardly move without his oxygen slipping down below acceptable levels.  He lasted an hour in the chair before he had to return to bed and the land of healing sleep.

He has a long Road to Recovery.

We Realize how close "B" may have come to the brink.  With that, we Remember the tens of thousands who passed over that brink, and entered the next world.  We know they were alone except for those nurses and doctors.  Each lost life was a tragic loss.  Those aren't statistics, they were people. Everyone I know who lives in New York City, where some of my family lives, knows one or more persons who are no longer in their lives.

Calling the essential workers: the health care people, the transit workers, supermarket employees, the mail deliverers, the sanitation people, farmers, meat processors and more, "heroes", can not be idle talk when all of this finally Resolves, but that is a post for another day.

And for you out there who think the coronavirus is no worse than the flu:  I will put this as succinctly as possible.  If you develop any symptoms, call your health provider right away.  It could be nothing.  And please, please, listen to those health authorities.

To all those who are or having been involved with my brother in law,  I present a virtual bouquet of flowers. This was taken in April of 2017 in Richmond, Virginia.

Stay well, my dear readers.  Stay safe.

"R" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme probably doesn't matter anymore.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Quarantine #AtoZChallenge #MusicMovesMe

It's time for another episode of #MusicMovesMe. It's also Q day on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Who are the members of Music Moves Me ?  We are bloggers who blog with music each Monday. If you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only- Please post containing links to You Tube or Vimeo for actual music.  Other posts are subject to removal or labeling as "No Music".)  Every other week we have a theme and on alternate weeks we have "You Pick".  

Our conductors? First, there is XmasDolly.  Her chief co-conductor is Cathy of Curious as a Cathy. Her other co-conductors are Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, and me.  

 

For April, our guest conductor is Binky the Cat and his Granny at their blog Angelswhisper2011. Their theme for today: You Pick.


I am picking songs done by groups whose name begins with Q, or song names beginning with Q - perfect in case you are in Quarantine.

Queensryche - Jet City Woman.

Quiet Riot- Cum On Feel the Noize

Let's Quiet it down a little with Queen and Under Pressure. 

A favorite of my Mom - Que Sera Sera by Doris Day.

I will close with two Questions- first, from the Moody Blues, Question.  For this I chose a live version.

One final Question - the Leonid and Friends cover of Chicago's Question 67 and 68.

It's a wrap!

Join me again next Monday, same time, same place.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Sounds of Silence

My spouse and I walked along down the silent street in Binghamton, New York.

It really wasn't silent.  Windchimes chimed in the breeze.  Birds sang. A church carillon played to an empty congregation.  
Nature spoke. Daffodils swayed in the air, and cherries bloomed.

It was the humans living on the streets who were silent.  On this one street, no one moved.  Other streets had one or two dog walkers.  One had a young mother with a stroller.  In the distance, a sole lawn mower spoke its roar on a Sunday morning.

In some ways, I could get used to these silent streets with little traffic. My spouse and I have listened to woodpeckers, observed bright red cardinals, and even saw a hawk alight in a tree, during this time.

But in other ways, I know it shouldn't be like this.

My theme for the A to Z Challenge (today is an off day, by the way) should have been "Planning to Write about One Thing and, instead, writing about something else."  This wasn't what I was planning to blog at all, today.

Today, I ran across this blog post.

In the midst of fear and uncertainty, nature is paying little attention to us.  But I do need to pay some more attention to nature.  I had thoughts of getting into birding, but the mere thought is overwhelming.  There's so much detail.

I sat in my back yard one day recently, and watched some black bird in a tree court (I assume) a female.  It had its wings outspread.  It gave a cry, then spread out its wings again.  Or maybe it was mad at another bird.  I had no idea but it was a nice distraction.  Would I have noticed in better times?

We humans have been both drawn inward and outward.  Is this how the hunters and gatherers of old felt, time almost standing still, and only the march of the seasons revealing the passage of the minutes?

All I know is, sometimes I do enjoy the Sounds of Silence.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Parks (And no Recreation)

 The snow flurries fly.  The sun refuses to shine.  The virus still has its hold on New York State.

The Parks are empty. We stay at home and if we go out and know we may not be able to keep social distance, we wear masks.  It's the law now.

Let us visit some parks from afar.

The Blogging from A to Z Challenge is challenging me to Paruse the over 10,000 Photos on my iPhone, and I realized I had a number of Park pictures.


Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, Christmas Day 2018.

MCU Park, where the Brooklyn Cyclone minor league ballteam plays - except, of course, this year.

Speaking of the Brooklyn Cyclones - here is the original Cyclone, which my phone says is in Steeplechase Park.  This was taken on Christmas Eve 2018, when there were no crowds.  Normally, in the summer, it would be quite crowded, but this year, the opening is delayed indefinitely.
Kershaw Park, Canandaigua, New York.
 Recreation Park, Binghamton, New York.  It is said that Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame (who grew up in Binghamton) carved his initials into this bandstand, but I've never seen them.   Right now, there is no recreation in any New York park; the playgrounds are roped off.  I'm sure the carousel and swimming pool in this beautiful park won't be opening any time soon.

Finally, Breitbeck Park, Oswego, New York.  It's a beautiful place to watch the sunset.

We can all hope these parks will reopen soon.

"P" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme "America the Beautiful" has turned more into a local theme, but I hope you are enjoying it anyway.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Oswego Onondaga and the Other O's #SkywatchFriday #AtoZChallenge

It's O day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and the Challenge threw me a big, juicy softball.

For us in New York State, the letter "O" isn't a challenge at all.  The Native Americans had so many words beginning with O:  Owego, Oswego, Otsego, Onondaga, Otsiningo, and many more.  Here is a sky sample.

I've taken some nice sunset and other pictures in these "O" places.  Right now, travel is a memory, but the photos on my phone remain.

Oswego, New York, is noted for its snowfall, but I visited it in fall, when sunsets Overwhelmed.

Oswego's northern border is Lake Ontario.

Onondaga County.

Ontario County includes portions of New York's wine country.  I chose this picture overlooking vineyards.

Owego?  Once voted the "Coolest Small Town in America" this old home in snow is a photographic delight.

Finally, Otsiningo Park in Broome County, New York, with more of the overcast we are famous for.

I hope my pictures bring some joy to your life.

"O" day on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme "America the Beautiful" although, as this progresses, I find myself staying close to home - as we all must, until things get better.  For now, memories carry us forward.  One day, life will reopen.

Join Yogi and the fellow bloggers who watch the sky, pandemic or not, at #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

New (York State) #AtoZChallenge

New York, to many people, means New York City - the land of skyscrapers, endless crowded streets, and sadly, the highest death statistics from coronavirus than (currently) any country.

At the beginning of the A to Z Challenge, I was intending to make my topic "America the Beautiful".  Today, I want to pay tribute to the beauty of New York State.
Naples, New York, and its grape pies.

The New York State Fair, and the best baked potatoes ever baked. (Sorry, Idaho.)

New York State crafters.

New York State chocolate pizza.

The oldest winery in the United States, in an original building from 1860 (Hammonsport, New York)

Local winter squash.
Maybe even the best daffodils, genus "Narcissus".

Definitely some great local food.  I grew up with New York City specialties such as eggcreams.
and charlotte russe.

I was born in New York City and I couldn't resist one picture of the City, from Christmas Day 2018.

My relationship with New York State is complicated but I don't regret being a New Yorker.  We do bloom where we are planted, do we not?

"N" day of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Magnificent #GardenBloggersBloomDay #AtoZChallenge

Despite our virus pandemic, it is the 15th of April and it is time for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Spring has come to my zone 5b garden in the Southern Tier of upstate New York the way it comes almost every spring - a day of spring, a day of winter, a few more days of winter, a little more spring...in fact, by tonight, we aer supposed to get snow.  Will someone tell winter to leave?

In the meantime, we have flowers.  The crocuses are gone.  The bloodroot is almost gone.

But now we have jonquils.  My daffodils should be out tomorrow.  Maybe.

My purple Lenten rose is still hanging on.

My one trillium still has not bloomed.  For several years it came up without a flower.  The last two years the flower did not open.  Will this be the year?

Brunnerias are thriving, both variegated (Jack Frost)....

And not variegated.

For some reason, most of my hyacinths are not doing that great.  Here's the best one.

Primrose.

Vinca.  No pansies - yet.

Indoors, things are popping, too, such as my Easter cactus.  I think it's an Easter cactus.

The African violet is hanging on.

My fancy African violet with its small blooms is thriving, happy to say, in a self watering pot. The blooms should open any day now.

My rebloomed poinsettia.

It's a wonderful thing to have flowers in abundance at last, but how I will get flowers that I can't start from seed will be a challenge, given our shutdown in upstate New York.

But, why worry when we can enjoy flowers from all over the world? Join Carol at May Dreams Gardens and her gardening friends each 15th of the month for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

"M" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme "America the Beautiful".

Is anything blooming for you?