Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Flowers of Late May #WordlessWednesday

Before I begin, I want to thank everyone who took the time to comment on yesterday's blog post - two mysteries. I so appreciated all your inputs.   If you noticed I misspelled "mystery" in my title, you were kind enough not to tell me. 

Today, some flowers of late May from my yard, to thank you all.

Bearded iris.

From a few days ago, our last tulips.

Let's peek inside the tulips.

My two rhododendrons are blooming.

Light pink.

Finally, from a few days ago, my Itoh peony in full bloom.  It's done blooming now.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Myserious White Goose and A Mystery Wildflower

Two mysteries for the price of one today.

Sunday, we took a short walk in our local park in the Southern Tier of New York State after lunch.  You never know what to expect from a walk in the park. 

It's even more unusual for my spouse to ask for my help but he wants very much to identify a white bird we saw.  His guides don't seem to match up this bird with wild white geese.

Canada Geese are frequent visitors to this park but today, a white goose joined them. 

I took some quick pictures, because someone was heading to us in the opposite direction and I suspected the geese would fly away (which they did).

Unfortunately I couldn't get a good closeup.  It had an orange beak and faint black markings on its wings.  It was about the same size as the Canada geese.  We were thinking, perhaps, that it was a domesticated goose but are not sure.  It seems to have too much dark on it. 

From the back, you can see orange legs.

Here it is preparing for takeoff.  It's on the right; the bird on the left is a Canada Goose.  You can see the black on its wings.

They flew to nearby water but when the flock flew away to a different location, the white goose didn't join them.

Years ago, we owned a pair of Pilgrim Geese but I am not that knowledgeable of domestic breeds.  Spouse does not think this is a snow goose (and I'm not sure you would find them here this time of year, anyway).

Any guesses?

If you aren't into birds here's a wildflower I am also trying to figure out.  I've never seen it bloom in this park before.  The flowers have no fragrance.  I know it is a type of rubus from the leaves and the thorns.

Another photo.

The closest I can get is Pennsylvania blackberry.  This is  closeup of the flowers. For my spouse, this brought back a lot of memories (he's thinking it's a blackberry) of picking blackberries when we lived in rural Arkansas.  Somehow, though, I don't remember the flowers.  Memory can be selective.

Thank you, readers, for whatever help you can provide.

Some more flowers tomorrow.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day - Remembering My Father and Tina Turner #MusicMovesMe

 It's Monday, Memorial Day in the United States, and it's time for music.

Who are the Music Moves Me bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Sunday or 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!)   Our head host is Xmas Dolly, and our co-hosts are Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, joined by the knowledgeable Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and Yours Truly.

Why not join our music loving folks?  It's so easy. All you have to do is join the linky above with a music post that contains at least one music video.  No music video? Your post may be removed, or may be labeled *NO MUSIC*.     

Today is "Memorial Day songs remembering those in general, or a particular person who served.  Pick songs you think that person might have enjoyed, or songs that make you think of your fallen hero."

I am also going to pay tribute today to Tina Turner, who passed away on May 24 at the age of 83.

I am fortunate enough not to have knowingly known anyone who died in combat, but I did know a number of people who served in time of war, including my father.  Others, like my mother, worked in wartime industries to support the war effort.  Although my father did return from his World War II service, unlike some 405,399 of his fellow soldiers, he did return with a service connected disability.

My father originally was not accepted for service in World War II but was inducted into the Army Air Corp in 1942.  He served as a MP and as an airplane mechanic, but suffered a head injury in 1945 which left him suffering from seizures the rest of his life.

To honor my father, here are several World War II era songs he certainly would have known.

Vera Lynn and her cover of As Time Goes By.  This song was written in 1931 but became famous through the movie Casablanca in 1942.

Bing Crosby and The Andrew Sisters "Don't Fence Me In" from 1944.

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy - the Andrew Sisters.

Now, a tribute to Tina Turner, born Anna Mae Bullock in Tennessee in 1939.  After she met Ike Turner, she became a vocalist in his band, and eventually married him. Her first recording was made in 1958.

Let's fast forward now to modern times and a Tina Turner rerecording of her first release, 1960s A Fool in Love. This song highlights just how powerful her voice is.

Perhaps the song she is most famous for, Ike and Tina Turner's 1971 cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's Proud Mary.  You'll need to click on the video to watch it on You Tube, but I liked this live performance.

Tina Turner's 1984 cover of What's Love Got to Do With It, her first (and only) #1 hit on the Billboard charts.  At this point of time, Tina Turner was the opening act for Lionel Richie.

Tina hid for years that her first husband, Ike, was terribly abusive (besides being heavily involved with drugs -in fact, he died from an overdose in 2007) and she left the marriage with literally 34 cents to her name, running for her life.  In the divorce proceedings, she asked for only one thing:  the name she had recorded under with Ike:  Tina Turner, the name the music world knew her by.

She worked hard to build a solo career without Ike, and also, eventually became an advocate for abused women.  Sadly, her health deteriorated in the past few years.  She died in Switzerland, where she had lived with the man she called her "first husband".  Thankfully, her second marriage was the total opposite of her first.

In 2021, Tina Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

On May 24, 2023, Tina Turner was inducted into Rock and Roll Heaven.  May she forever rest in peace.

And that is a nostalgic wrap.

Join me again next Monday for another episode of Music Moves Me.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Memorial Day Thoughts


Tomorrow, in the United States, it will be Memorial Day, the day we honor our heroes who died in military service.  This is a portion of a post I wrote for Memorial Day, 2012, updated for this year. 

Memorial Day. 
This day, sadly, has evolved into a major shopping event for many people, missing the element of what it originally stood for.  It is also thought of as the "unofficial" beginning of summer.  In my area of Binghamton, New York, the six (only five operating this year) carousels we are famous for open for the season, as do the lakes, and some other recreation areas.

But in memory of my late father, a veteran of World War II service in the Army Air Corp, and one who struggled with a service connected disability for the rest of his life, I will also take some time to honor his memory and those of other veterans I knew.  

This leads me to a discussion of how this holiday originated here in the United States.

Memorial Day, in my youth, was celebrated on May 30.  Today, it is observed on the last Monday of May, to allow many to have a three day weekend.

At one time, this holiday was called Decoration Day.

There are several versions of the origin of Memorial Day.  Some of the stories depend on if you were from the Federal side, or the Confederate side, of the United States Civil War (1861-1865.).  What the stories have in common is that Memorial Day, once known as Decoration Day, originated in a desire to honor the sacrifice of those who died in our Civil War.  The Library of Congress lists several stories.  Here are what are perhaps the two main origin stories:

Waterloo, New York considers itself the birthplace of Memorial Day, and has a federally recognized Memorial Day museum.  According to this story, Henry Wells, a local druggist, suggested a holiday in the fall of 1865 to honor the sacrifice of Civil War dead.  The idea gained traction, and the first Memorial Day was held on May 5, 1866.

But there are other stories. One takes place in Mississippi, a state late a member of the Confederate States of America.  As that story goes, many of the wounded of the bloody battle of Shiloh (1862) were taken to Columbus, Mississippi.  Columbus ended up with its Friendship Cemetery full of Civil War dead of both sides.  Eventually, the Federal dead were relocated to other area cemeteries.

According to Columbus, the first Memorial Day was held on April 5, 1866, as the women of Columbus decorated the graves of both Federal and Confederate soldiers buried in Columbus.

Mental Floss has more interesting perspectives on Memorial Day. 

Regardless of what the "true story" of Memorial Day is, I want to leave you with a modern, local story - the story of a family of a soldier from Pennsylvania lost in the Vietnam War. 

May your Memorial Day tomorrow, if you live in the United States,  be a meaningful one.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Our Raised Beds at the Community Garden

Here's a little peek at our raised beds at our zone 5b Southern Tier of New York community garden.  We have gardened in one for many years because we don't have much sunny ground at our house.  

We are hoping we are past frost advisories - we had two this week (but no frost where we live.  Others would have had frost in higher elevations.)

This year, spouse (the gardener) rented two raised beds this year as it is becoming increasingly difficult to garden in the ground, although we did keep one in ground plot.

 Chive blossoms.   We are permitted to grow perennials in raised beds but not in in ground.
Garlic (in back of the chives) that was fall planted.

Purple tat soi and, behind it, "yellow squash".  I put the yellow squash in quotes because we have no idea what these plants are.  The organization that runs the community garden, VINES, occasionally provides veggie starts to the people renting community garden plots, but sometimes the starts are a bit of a gamble.  Strangely, the leaves were yellow when we got the plants but there is some new growth on them.   I'm thinking these are a yellow summer squash.  We'll see.

Pak choy.

Peppers, eggplant, and a couple of tomato plants went in this week.  Under row covers on the left are edible podded peas. These are subject to deer attacks and we haven't found a good repellent yet.

Sadly, there is also theft on occasion and these friendly signs were posted last year.  This sign has the same message in various languages.

Part of why we garden in a community garden.

Our zinnias aren't up yet.  I started several from seed (provided in a "take and make" project from the local library) which we transplanted a couple of days ago.    I'm the flower gardener.

Last but not least, onions.  We buy these mail order as plants from a company in Texas we've done business with for many years - Dixondale Farms. Dixondale is winding down their season right now - I highly recommend them for quality and their customer service.  Otherwise, we've greatly cut down mail order - it's just too expensive now in these times.

Have you ever gardened or used a community garden?

Friday, May 26, 2023

Skies with Smoke? #SkywatchFriday

To me, it seems that May has come and gone in a flash.  No, it isn't gone yet, but this is the last Skywatch Friday of May. 

I'm thinking back to some of the skies we had this month.

Most dramatic, perhaps, were the skies of this past Monday and Tuesday (May 22-23).  High up in the sky, we wondered if smoke from the Canadian wildfires had reached our area.  Just think, where I live in New York State, we are thousands of miles away. What is it like closer?  I don't ever wish to find out.

May 22, an American robin (Turdus migratorius) (tiny dot in the bottom third of the photo scolds me, but I wanted to show you the sky. Those look like storm clouds but they aren't. My spouse, who is into the weather, said we should have had blue skies.

By the next day, it got a bit more interesting.

May 23, around 4:45 pm, the clouds look so dramatic.

Again, no storm in sight.

The bottom cloud above looks like the head and eye of a monster.
Saved the best one for last. A smoke from Canada monster? Maybe.

On May 24, a cold front came through and our blue skies returned.

And now, this morning, we are under a frost advisory (we were last night, too).

Joining Yogi and other sky watchers each Friday for #SkywatchFriday.

And hoping that the wildfire situation improves soon.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

A Quick Tribute and Horse Chestnuts 2023

Before I get going with today's post, I wanted to pay a quick tribute to Tina Turner, who passed away yesterday after a long illness.  She was 83.

I will have my own tribute on Monday, but for now, I am linking to another blogger and his tribute.

Rock and roll heaven is filling up.

Now, to my scheduled post, and my annual tribute to one of the most beautiful trees where I live in New York State.

I'm a little late blogging about the annual bloom of the horse chestnut trees.   The flowers are on their way out, but the memory remains.

Unlike some spring trees, the horse chestnuts don't flower until their leaves are grown out.  Flowers can be either whitish or pink.   We have both in the part of New York State where I live.

The white ones are more common.  The white flowered pictures were taken May 15.

The trees can get quite tall.  But let's get close because I want to show you the flowers.

Let's get even closer.

So pretty.

The pink ones, I think, tend to be shorter, but this is a young tree.

These pink flowered pictures were taken May 21.

In the fall, the tree produces inedible nuts that children love to play games with.  One game, in particular, conkers, stretches back hundreds of years.  There's an entire tradition in Great Britain built around preparing and playing with your horse chestnut nut (conker).  My spouse played a variation of this game growing up near New York City.

What a lot of history rolled into one majestic tree.

But, what are horse chestnuts, exactly?

They are not native to our country, but rather, to the Balkans, in Eastern Europe.  They were introduced into Great Britain in the 1600's.

One thing they are not is edible - in fact, the entire plant, including its chestnuts (in Europe, they are called "conkers") are mildly poisonous.  

Native Americans would make a mash of the nuts and use it to stun fish. They would then have to get rid of the toxins in the fish, but it was an effective way to kill the fish.

But, why are they called "horse chestnuts"?

The nuts are edible for horses (and deer); perhaps that is why. Their scientific name is Aesculus (with about 15 species - I don't know which one I took a picture of but I suspect it is hippocastanum).  The trees have an interesting history.

As for conkers, my spouse, growing up near New York City, would play that game.  It was a favorite game at one time in Great Britain.  Now, alas, children entertain themselves in other ways.

Do you have horse chestnuts where you live?  

Joining Parul at Happiness and Food for #ThursdayTreeLove.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Purple and Lavender Car #WordlessWednesday

If this past week had a theme, it would be automobiles.  

Friday, I went to a parking lot car show at a local supermarket.  Today, we had our first experience with an EV (electric vehicle) which I will blog about in the near future. 

Today, though, it is back to the past.

I should have taken better notes at the car show because I have no idea what year or make it was.  Any car buffs reading this?

I will guess, though, that these colors weren't the original.  I can't make up my mind, either as to if the main color is purple or blue.  I'm guessing purple.


Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Supermarket Wine Time?

For the benefit of my non-United States readers, I need to explain that alcohol sales is controlled on the state level.  Hence, 50 states, 50 ways of regulating it.

In my 20's and 30's (back in the 70's and 80's), I was introduced to various state ways of regulation, thanks to my spouse's military service.  In Texas, at the Airman's Club, we could only drink beer with 3.2% alcoholic content.

In Kansas, where we were later stationed, you had to buy a membership in a restaurant to drink.  At first, there was also a card involved.  The bar or restaurant made you purchase a liquor card and they would punch out the value of the alcohol.  I can't remember all the details, because it's been too long.  Later in my Kansas residency, restaurants could offer reciprocal memberships, so if you bought a membership at one restaurant, it was good at a number of restaurants.

In Arkansas (where I lived for several years) I lived in a city that was located in two counties.  One county was wet.  One county was dry.  That got interesting.

When we visited Utah in the 70's, our liquor came in those little bottles that airlines would pour from.

Things have loosened up some (well, a lot) but can still get ridiculous. 

Iowa once had state liquor stores, but years ago, they dropped that and you can buy hard liquor in supermarkets.  Some states, like North Carolina and Vermont, still have state run liquor stores.

Speaking of Vermont, they don't permit happy hours (for example, two drinks for the price of one at certain hours of the day).

Meanwhile, in my home state, things are about to get interesting.

In my New York childhood, you couldn't buy wine in supermarkets.

Oh, wait.  You still can't.   This despite the fact that New York State is one of the top wine producers (currently number three) in the United States.  You can only buy wine (well, full strength wine) in liquor stores.  (On the other hand, you can't buy beer in New York liquor stores.  Got that?)

Now, there is a push to allow wine sales in grocery stores (but not in big box type stores like Wal-Mart and Target, or in gas stations or convenience stores).  See the sign above?  It was in front of a large New York based supermarket chain's local store.

New York is also one of the few states that don't allow any chain wine or liquor stores.  No Total Wine.  No Macadoodles.  Our liquor stores, which are independently owned (well, not all of them, which is a long story I won't get into), are afraid that many of them will go out of business if grocery stores get the right to sell wine.  I should note here, that unlike many other states, New York liquor stores can't sell food or liquor accessories, so this would make that hit worse.

Unlike the last attempt (in 2010), I have a feeling this "buy wine outside of wineries and liquor stores" push may be successful, because it is less broad than the 2010 bill.

Just in time for the senior citizen me, who rarely drinks.  Oh well.

What are your liquor laws like?

Monday, May 22, 2023

More One Namers #MusicMovesMe

 It's Monday and it's time for music!

Who are the Music Moves Me bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Sunday or 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!)   Our head host is Xmas Dolly, and our co-hosts are Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, joined by the knowledgeable Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and Yours Truly.

Why not join our music loving folks?  It's so easy. All you have to do is join the linky above with a music post that contains at least one music video.  No music video? Your post may be removed, or may be labeled *NO MUSIC*.     

Today is "Your choice". 

Last week, we had such an enjoyable theme that I decided to carry it forward into this week.  Our theme last week was to feature music with either one word titles, one word artists/bands, or both. Last week, I chose both groups and songs with one word title.  This week I'm a little looser.

My first selection is one I had intended to include in last week's post, but I forgot to until my post was published.

This song by Cream features George Harrison on rhythm guitar, but he was contractually not allowed to use his name - he had to be given credit under a pseudonym.  I bring you "Badge", from 1969.

  From the Beatles, the song "Yesterday".
It's so hard to believe this song was released in 1965 - it was one of the theme songs of my early teen angst.  It is also the most covered rock song in history.

From the Cars, "Drive".

From Linkin Park, 2003's "Numb".

Finally to wrap up,  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy got me into the mood for this song in her post last week.  Here's "Abacab" from Genesis, dating from 1981.  This was written by Mike Rutherford, later a member of Mike and the Mechanics.

And that is a one word wrap.

Join me again next week for another episode of Music Moves Me.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Car Show Shadows #ShadowshotSunday

We went to a local parking lot car show on Friday.  There were shadows and reflections everywhere, partially because proud car owners polish their cars.

Here are some:

On the hood of a 1992 Corvette.

The photographer's shadow taking a picture of a Ford Galaxie.

An onlooker's shadow on another Corvette.

Joining Magical Mystical Teacher's Shadowshot Sunday today.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Beautiful Food and Companionship

 I was busy today helping with planting flowers and other activities, so I am keeping today's post simple.

Farmers market today:  The beauty of lettuce struck me.

Red and green.



There was more than lettuce at this stand.  Bok choy.



While we were at the market, someone flagged us down.  It was a woman who lived across the street, a couple who befriended our then young son, a couple who cared about others.  Her husband, who was disabled and could no longer work, would repair bicycles and donate them to children who couldn't afford a new one.

He passed away several years ago from cancer, and she moved away.  But we still seem to run into each other once a year or so.  She was with a friend, so we didn't talk long today.

We are so fortunate.

We are fortunate enough to have this market, a way to get there, and the money to purchase this food and support local farmers.  And we are fortunate enough to have lives where we are healthy enough to get out and plant flowers, and for having each other.

May truly is my favorite month.

This was a good day.

I hope yours was, too.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Mid April Blazing Sunset #SkywatchFriday

April 14.  I was in the house, barefoot, while my spouse was outside BBQing some supper.

Come outside, he called.  You have to see this!
I didn't want to get too far from the house.  I didn't even have time to put on my shoes.  This after sunset glow might end any minute.

So I did what a devoted skywatcher not quite in her right mind would do - ran out in the street.

Barefoot.  Fortunately it had rained recently and the street were clean.

I'll let the pictures tell the story.

So red....

Finally, the sunset started to fade.

And to all, a good night.

Joining Yogi and other skywatchers for #SkywatchFriday.