Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Zen and Morikami Gardens #AtoZChallenge

 Take a deep breath, participants in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.

We've reached the final letter, Z.

The word Zen has many meanings.  I understand that we in the United States don't always use the word "Zen" the way it is meant to be used but my understanding is that the word "Zen" comes from a " school of Mahayana Buddhism asserting that enlightenment can come through meditation and intuition rather than faith."

Perhaps, what better place to pause, sit, and meditate for a while is at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida, which I had the pleasure of visiting with my spouse in January of 2019.  

If you search on their site, you come up with several results of Zen, including a Zen Garden kit for your tabletop.  Maybe I'll buy one one day to help me escape from the world's troubles for a few minutes.

In the meantime, here are some photos from my visit.  Sit and relax a while.  Meditate if you are into that.

Let's go in.
Outdoor bonsai.  That's an art form in itself.  Morikami has a nice bonsai collection; some are hundreds of years old.  They are meticulously taken care of.
A little philosophy.
It was so relaxing watching water flow through this pipe.
I'm guessing this is a rhodedendron.

Lantern art.


Finally, a stone formation.

I hope these photos brought you peace, which we need so much in these times.

My final post, for "Z" day in the 2024 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme for 2024 was:  Gardens, History, Art and The Unexpected.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Yarn (and Temperatures) #AtoZChallenge

If you are looking for my Music Moves Me post, please click here.

It's the next to last day of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and also time to be accountable.  Here's a Yarn for you, so to speak.

Accountable for what, you may ask?

Well....part of my theme is the unexpected. I'm sure you didn't expect a post about me crocheting a blanket.  It's not just any blanket, though.

I first blogged about crocheting a temperature blanket on  November 17, 2022.  On January 25, 2023, I told my readers I was underway.  I did start.  I even purchased almost all of the yarn over the last year.

What is a temperature blanket?   You pick colors representing temperature ranges that make sense for your climate (or the climate of someone you want to gift the blanket to). You can knit, crochet or quilt it.  Some people make one for a new child or grandchild/great grand in their family to record their first year of life.  Or, you can just make one for no reason at all, like me..

I recorded the high and low temperatures for every day in 2023 and my plan was to crochet one row for each day's high with its assigned color. These are my color picks for the Yarn I'm using:

0 F (-17.8 C) and lower:  Pale Plum. It's unusual where I live to have a high less than zero F, and, in fact, 2023 did not offer such a high.  But we did have a low of -5F (-20.5 C) one night so I decided to include a strip of low temperature color and high temperature color for that day.
Here are my other color choices.
1-21F   Dark orchid
21-32F  Royal blue
33-43F  Turquoise
44-53F  Spring Green
54-66F  Kelly Green (think of St. Patrick's Day)
67-77F  Bright Yellow
78-88F Carrot orange
89-99F  Pretty in Pink
100F (38C) and above - Fruity Stripe (shades of pink - a variegated yarn) which I won't be using.

Once a month, I blog about my progress.  Hence, the above Yarn.

As of today, I am up to June 20, 2023. I still have almost six months to go.

This is getting so large it's hard to photograph, and I hope you get the general idea from this less than ideal photo.

With warmer weather, I crochet less, or not at all.  We'll see what the next months bring.

"Y" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme:  Gardens, History, Art, and the Unexpected.  

Tomorrow - Z, last but not least.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Concert Residencies and Shadow #MusicMovesMe #ShadowshotSunday

Once again two memes collide on this off day from the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  First, some music, and then, a shadow photo for #ShadowshotSunday.

Let's introduce the Music Moves me bloggers:  We 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! Otherwise, your post may be removed, or may  be labeled "No Music".  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, last but not least, me.

Every other week, we have a theme.  On alternate weeks, we can blog on any music theme we want.  Today is a free day, where we can blog about whatever music we want.

Concert (or musical) residencies have become popular.  These are mainly a series of concerts by one band or performer but all occurring at the same venue.

I may have attended a residency concert in 1979 at a hotel in Las Vegas as part of a impulse stay in Las Vegas (we were driving through).  It featured Chinese acrobats, in addition to Liberace' act. In fact, Liberace had the first Las Vegas residency back in 1944.

I can't find a You Tube video of the concert I went to but here's part of one from February of 1979.  My spouse loved Liberace.  Honestly, I didn't but it really was a once in a lifetime experience.  The pianos he used have to be seen to be believed - along with his costumes, jewelry, and flirtations with the older women in the audience.

Billy Joel will be finishing up a 10 year residency in Madison Square Garden in New York City - 150 performances, with the last one being July 25. (The first one was December 14, 1978. He was already in that residency when I saw Liberace!)  Here's Joel's new release, Turn the Lights Back on, from the 100th Madison Square Garden show.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Barry Manilow just set a record for most lifetime performances (42) at New York City's Radio City Music Hall on April 20.    I was not happy with the videos I found on You Tube of that 42nd performance, unfortunately.  I used a live performance from 1978 instead.

Another  record was set by Celine Dion in Las Vegas from 2003 to 2007 with a total of 714 shows.  From 2003, here's Celine Dion at that residency singing I'm Alive.

We'll wrap it up with Elton John in Las Vegas, 2004-2009, and 247 shows.  Here's Bennie and the Jets from that residency.

That's a wrap for the music.

Here, now, is my entry for #ShadowshotSunday, brought to us from Lisa at Lisa's Garden Adventures.

This is a red tulip starting to open in my yard April 23, with the sun shining through it.

Not to be outdone, here's another one from April 25, with more tulips opening.

Join me again next Sunday for Shadowshot Sunday, and next Monday (back to my normal schedule) for Music Moves Me.

Tomorrow is Y day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  Hope to see you then.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Xanthic #AtoZChallenge

 X, for me, is the hardest letter of the alphabet in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Because of our early spring, I'm revisiting a topic I also blogged about in the 2021 Challenge - Xanthic.  Or, in plainer language, Yellow, especially related to flowers.

The dictionary defines xanthic as yellow, or yellow-like.  That works for me, because I wanted to sneak some spring flower photos into the Challenge before it was all over.

At my house 4-22-24.

Yellow and orange double daffodils.

More daffodils.

A yellow pansy.
More yellow pansies in a hanging basket. 

First picture, two daffodils from my daffodil bed.

The other flower is barrenwort, taken 4-20.

I took a picture of this beautiful primose at Cutler Botanical Gardens in Binghamton, New York.

Yellow (or Xanthic) and spring go together so well, don't they?

Tomorrow I will publish a music and shadowshot post.  Monday, it's back to A to Z with the letter Y.

X day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme:  gardens, art, history, and the unexpected.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Wampanoag (and Plimoth Patuxet) #AtoZChallenge

If you are looking for my Skywatch Friday post, please click here.

In July of 2023, my spouse and I visited the Plimoth-Pautuxet Museums in modern day Plymouth, Massachusetts.

It's educational, to put it mildly.  In school, I learned that the Pilgrims landed there in 1620 on a ship called the Mayflower.  And there was a Thanksgiving feast where the local "Indians" and the Pilgrims feasted as friends. 

Well, not exactly....

We learned that where the Pilgrims settled had been an Indigenous Wampanoag settlement called Patuxet.  "Was", because white men had visited there before and, sadly, brought diseases such as smallpox and a blood disease with them.  In fact, these Indigenous people had first contact with Europeans some 70 years before 1620, we were told.

 It is estimated that around 90% of the Wampanoag died from disease between 1614 and 1620 in two outbreaks.  Almost all of the Patuxet band of the Wampanoag died and the village was deserted when the Pilgrims landed.  What happened next is a hard and sad story to absorb.

What had been the Patuxet village and cornfields were taken over by the European settlers. 

Reconstructed Plimoth Village, Plimoth Patuxet Museums

However, it was true that they wouldn't have survived their first winter without the assistance of those Indigenous peoples who had survived the two outbreaks of disease, and attempts by Europeans to capture them and sell them into slavery.  

Tisquantum, who was incorrectly named Squanto in the textbooks of my youth, survived to assist the Pilgrims only because he had been captured in 1614 by an English explorer who sold him to the Spanish.  He was enslaved until Franciscan monks bought his freedom. During his time in Europe, he learned the English language. As a result, he missed the epidemics of 1616 and 1618. He  returned home to find his village gone, the residents dead.

Tragically, Tisquantum died from disease in 1622.

Not only that but when I tried to write his name in an email, Autocorrect changed it to "mosquito".

As for 1621 and the first Thanksgiving, here is a perspective different from what we were taught in school.
Recreated Indigenous garden

At the time the Europeans first came, it is estimated about 40,000 Wampanoag lived in as many as 67 villages through Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island.  Perhaps 5000 (enrolled members of two Federally recognized tribes) remain.  It was hard to research an exact number.

The Plimoth Patuxet museums, a living history complex that includes the replica Mayflower II ship, continues its educational mission as living history museums.  

"W" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme:  history, gardens, art and the unexpected.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Vermont Mansion Visit #AtoZChallenge#SkywatchFriday

For today's Skywatch Friday (a day early) and "W" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, here are pictures of the sky taken at the Park-McCullough Historic Governors Mansion in North Bennington, Vermont.  This Victorian mansion is a 35 room with landscaped grounds gem.  Here is more information on the property, if you are interested.

Yes, I know it's Thursday.  I hope you don't mind this being a day early.

We finally got to see this mansion on our last Visit to Vermont in September of 2023.  We always seemed to miss this property being open. But this time, it was open.  It was worth the wait.

A Vista.

The outside.
Let's get closer.
How about some outside pictures first?  Here's some Joe Pye weed in bloom.


Some of their formal garden.

More garden.

I'm sure you want to see the inside, too.  Here's a couple of pictures.

I hope you enjoyed this Visit.

Joining Yogi and other sky watching bloggers for #SkywatchFriday (on a Thursday).

"V" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme:  garden, art, history, and the unexpected.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Untermyer 2023 #AtoZChallenge #WordlessWednesday

It seems, every U day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, that I return to a public park in Yonkers, New York that contains one of the most beautiful gardens I've ever been in.  

Here's a brief history (I know, it's Wordless Wednesday, but I think we need some background) of what is now called Untermyer Park and Gardens.  You can, of course, skip to the photos first.

In 1865, John Meyer, who owned the largest hat factory in the world at the time, purchased 33 acres of land in Yonkers, New York.  He had a 99 room mansion called Greystone built for him. But his fortunes reversed and Meyer had to move and offer the property for rent.

Greystone was rented, in 1879, to a man by the name of Samuel J. Tilden (if you study United States history, you will know the name of Samuel J. Tilden).Tilden built 13 greenhouses in the property but died in 1886.  Much of his estate went to fund public libraries in Yonkers and in nearby New York City.

In 1899, at the auction of the Greystone property, it was purchased by Samuel Untermyer, a lawyer and civic leader born in Lynchburg, Virginia. As a teenager, he and his family moved to New York City, where he rose in the legal ranks and became wealthy.  In 1916, Untermyer started the construction of a massive garden complex at Greystone.

Untermyer was a strong opponent of the Nazi rise to power in Germany in 1933 and spent the next few years doing what he could to sound the alarm to the American public.  At the same time, he built a garden renowned in the world.  But, his health declined, and he died in 1940.  The city of Yonkers agreed to take on about 43 acres of what had become a 150 acre complex.

After 1940, the gardens declined and eventually fell into ruin.  But, in 2011, restoration began. When I first visited them in 2015 with my spouse and his cousin who lived in Yonkers all her life, they were still mainly in ruins.  Unfortunately, I can not find the photos I took back then. 

I've visited several times since.  The last time was a brief visit in June of 2023, on the way home from a wedding in New York City.  Restoration work has blocked several of my favorite views, but there was still plenty to photograph.

Tall trees.  My iPhone plant ID built in app says these are pedunculate oaks.

Part of the garden wall.



I believe this is called the Temple of the Sky.


One of the blooming shrubs - common ninebark.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for #WordlessWednesday.

 "U" day for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme:  Gardens, History, Art, and the Unexpected.  Only five more days to go!

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Tioga County New York #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to Tioga County, New York, the county just west of the Binghamton, New York area.  We are visiting Tioga County virtually today, partially because I enjoy visiting its county seat, the Village of Owego, and partially because there are a lot of interesting things to discover.

Let's start our journey in the Village of Owego.

One year, there was some remodeling and I took this picture of art posted on a wall built during the reconstruction.

One of the village's historic houses.

An antique piano.

A little hard to see, but this is the Baker Foreman's Fountain.  This is a memorial to a fireman's son who was killed in an accident in 1913.  The fountain was restored in 2019.  This photo was taken in October 2019, I believe shortly after the renovation was finished.  I couldn't get close to it because it was still roped off.

Each year, my spouse and I visit the Tioga County Historical Society in late November and early December.  One year, I found this picture hanging in the basement, where the offices are (I was visiting a seasonal gift shop down there).  In talking to staff, I was told this is a colorized Matthew Brady print f an 1863 photo of Abraham Lincoln.  What a find!  (The piano above also belongs to the Society.)

Let's also visit the rural areas of Tioga County.  These next photos were taken at a couple of farms during an open house event.  

I believe this was taken at Twin Brook farms near Owego.

Tioga County chickens.

Englebert Farms in Nichols, New York, during an open house several years ago.  This farm was the first certified organic dairy farm in the United States.  It is still family operated by a family who has been in this country since at least 1848.  Their farm store is a treasure.  This picture was taken near or at the farm.

Art, history, an unexpected find in a basement, and scenery - I hope you enjoyed today's post.

"T" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme: Gardens, history, art, and the unexpected".

Monday, April 22, 2024

Southern (Rock) Songs #MusicMovesMe #AtoZChallenge

It's Monday and it's time for music!  It's also "S" day for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Let's introduce the Music Moves me bloggers:  We 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! Otherwise, your post may be removed, or may  be labeled "No Music".  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, last but not least, me.

Every other week, we have a theme.  On alternate weeks, we can blog on any music theme we want.  Today our theme is "build your song picks around singers, songwriters, or musicians born in April".  For that, please see the last song below.

However, first, it's time for another induction into Rock and Roll Heaven.

Dickey Betts, born Forrest Richard Betts, was a guitarist, songwriter and co-founder of the Allman Brothers Band.  Betts died last Thursday at the age of 80.  The causes of death were cancer and COPD.

Because this is "S" day on Blogging from A t Z, I would have tried to find songs beginning with S, but due to time constraints, I'll do that with another artist first, just to confuse all of you.

So I picked two songs beginning with "S" from a group that has suffered its own tragedies.  Here is Leonard Skynyrd and their 1974 hit Sweet Home Alabama.

Leonard Skynyrd again with Simple Man.

And now, time to for Dickey Betts and his style of Southern rock.

Perhaps his best known commercial song - Ramblin' Man, from 1973.

The instrumental Jessica, from 1973.

This song,  Bougainvillea, was co-written with Don Johnson, the future co-star of Miami Vice and dates from after the breakup of the Allman Brothers Band.  Betts formed a group called Dickey Betts and Great Southern and released this in 1977.  The sound quality isn't the best here, but I liked the B&W vibe.

And now, for my April birthday contribution:  Guitarist Michael Poulsen, from the Danish band Volbeat, celebrated his 49th birthday on April 1.  And that's no April Fool!

I'm a fan of several Volbeat songs, including this one.  Not Southern rock, but the title begins with S and Poulsen co-wrote it:  from 2012, Still Counting. 

You didn't expect that last song, did you?

And that's a wrap!

Join me again next week for another episode of Music Moves Me, which will probably be next Sunday.

"S" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme:  Gardens, History, Art and The Unexpected.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Big Box Small Scissors #ShadowshotSunday

 Friday, I ordered a pair of small scissors from a local office supply store.  They had to be mailed to me because they were out of stock at the store.

They came yesterday.  I'm happy about the young woman in the store who gave me excellent service and the store that provided quick shipping at no extra charge.

But not so happy about the box they came in.  A little too big, perhaps? Isn't Earth Day tomorrow?

Joining up with #ShadowshotSunday at the blog of Lisa's Garden Adventure.

We'd love to have you come out of the shadows and join Lisa and other bloggers who participate.  It's fun, and I think you'll find other blog posts on Lisa's blogs that are well worth the read.

Tomorrow, the Blogging from A to Z Challenge resumes with the letter S. 

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Rochester (New York) Redux #AtoZChallenge

 Rochester, New York, is New York State's fourth largest city, with a population of about 211,000.  It was the birthplace of a number of businesses known worldwide, including Eastman Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch and Lomb.  

A number of famous people made Rochester their home, including social reformer, writer, newspaper publisher, and abolitionist Frederick Douglass (who started his life in slavery) and abolitionist, women's rights activist and suffragist (including an arrest for daring to vote in a Presidential election) Susan B. Anthony.  

Yes, I've blogged about Rochester for Blogging from A to Z before, but this city deserves another mention.

Today, I want to take you to two parts of Rochester - the historic East End and one of the United States' first public arboretums, Highland Park.

The historic Little Theatre, which opened in October of 1921, and, today, shows indie and other movies.

I now have an ID on this East End building I featured in my "K" A to Z post, thanks to Tom at Tom the Backroads Traveler:  "The Hiram Sibley Building was built in 1925 at the corner of East Avenue and Alexander Street in Rochester, New York. It was named in his honor by his son Hiram Watson Sibley, and designed by Shepley, Bulfinch and Abbott of Boston."  (Hiram Sibley, among other things, was a founder of, and first president of, Western Union.  Are any of my readers old enough to remember telegrams?)

One of many decorations on the outside of the East End garage.

Let's move to Highland Park.  These pictures were taken April 9.

Outside the Lamberton Conservatory, which we visited in 2016.  It's well worth the time.  Unfortunately we were on our way out of Rochester and didn't have time to visit this time.

However, here is a picture I took inside in 2016. 

The glacial terrain of Highland Park makes for beautiful hills and valleys.  Rochester, like many other places, is ahead of what should be blooming at this time of year.

Weeping cherry.

Highland Park is known for its Lilac Festival each May.  I wouldn't be surprised if they have lilacs in bloom before the end of the month.  In fact, for April Fools Day, they posted on social media that their lilacs were in full bloom.  I hope they didn't trick anyone out of the area!

Hopefully, I'll see their lilacs in bloom one day.  I think I was last there for the lilacs nearly 30 years ago.

"R" day at the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme Gardens, History, Art and The Unexpected.