Monday, May 22, 2017

Pesky Avocado

Driving down the road I heard the strangest news story about how Avocados are dangerous and people should be aware and be safe.
 What??!
                             
                                          Still Life with Avocados - Francisco Oller

I have been eating these creamy delicious things since about … Well since I came to Texas a long time ago (yes.. Texas was a state by then) and my Mother never injured herself, none of our guests who were fascinated and wanted to help make Guacamole were injured. I have not been attacked by one either.

As I listened what was happening was people were stabbing themselves, cutting themselves, and slicing tendons, muscles and chipping bones with knives while attempting to remove the pits.

 It has been suggested that warning labels should be applied to the skin of each and every avocado sold throughout the world. There are videos on how to remove the pit.

There are reports from a London Hospital that claim they have at least 4 patients a week come into emergency for what the staff now call “Avocado Hand”.

I have one word. Spoon.


This week I invite you to enjoy Pesky Avocado.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Balloon Dream


I have had Soar above Earth in a Hot Air Balloon on my "Bucket List" for many years and have just not ever had the chance to make it happen until my Sister-in-law suggested an event taking place locally called Balloona Palooza. 

The evening was magical.
We were allowed to get up close
and personal
with the balloons,
pilots and even volunteer as staff on a
balloon team. 


I would dream about escaping from school in a balloon, escaping from home and soaring to my Granny's house to live. Romantic adventures, daring escapes, floating for just joy have all danced in my head. 

Francois Laurent d'Arlandes and  Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier  had the first untethered, manned hot air balloon flight in Paris France on 21 November 1783. 

This week enjoy Balloon Dreams

Monday, May 8, 2017

Lady Hawking

This week I will give the Ladies fair treatment and we will see some Lady Hawking
                             

Long ago in a distant land where the upper class were seen very often with hawks on their hands and often even in church are the Ladies. 

14th Cent. Lady hunting with hawk https://uk-mg42.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch?.rand=9sn2bunm18u98:

14th Cent. Lady hunting with hawk

These birds were tethered to the hands of their Mistresses by a silk or leather cord. A favorite recreation of the Ladies was hawking and being seen with their hawks whether walking or riding. Sometimes they hunted in parties of mixed company but it was not uncommon for them to hunt with their hawks alone. 

Hawking season started in August with September and October being the best months to hunt. If a hawk has caused a bird to take to a bush or tree and it refuses to rouse from its perch a Lady may use her bow to take the prey. 

Albrecht Durer.lady holding a hawk.c.1484-1486.chalk.[BritMus.London]:
                   Albrecht Durer.lady holding a hawk

This week enjoy Lady Hawking

Monday, May 1, 2017

Birds and Their Men


                          

A friend posted up on Facebook about their wonderful evening at Medieval Times. I have been several times enjoying the show and wishing I could get back stage and meet the horses, knights, and the birds. You could say it was a "Bucket List" thing for me. My dad had taken me to see the Lipizzan Stallions
once upon a time and he somehow managed to arrange an introduction to one of the Paso Finos.

It was like touching magic. 

One day as I was out on an escapade I bumped into a man. He was intrigued by me and asked if I had ever been to Medieval Times. I confessed my bucket list. He asked me to attend as his guest the following Friday. Surprised, I said yes. He left my name at the door and as I watched the show there he was. In the arena, in Garb with a huge bird perched on his arm, staring up at me. I waved, he smiled and both him and the bird entertained the crowd. After the show he asked if I would like to go meet some of the knights and horses. YES!!!!

The horses were beautiful. The knights were.... have you ever seen the locker room interviews after a football game? It was like that only sexier. Last he introduced me to his bird. As we were chatting he told me he had more at his home and invited me to dinner the following week to see them all. 
                           
                               Falconer - Spanish (unknown)

This gorgeous man with long flowing hair and looked like he had stepped off the cover of a Romance novel had all kinds of birds of prey in his home. They were trained and used not only for the show but also actively hunted with. 

Thanks to my friends trip to Medieval Times I was inspired by my own experience. 
This week enjoy Birds and Their Men.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Crown of Blackberries

I had a few blackberries sitting in my fridge that were demanding my attention. I pondered about  what to do with them when I came across an ad from IHOP and I was suddenly craving pancakes. I put them in a pot and muddled them up with sugar, butter, vanilla and a touch of bourbon. Reduced them down and poured them on some homemade buttermilk pancakes. Not only were they delicious to eat but my house smelled incredible for hours. 

           

I love Blackberries. They are comfort food and take me back to long warm summers at my Granny Ina's  house in the back of nowhere West Virginia. Her house was off of a dirt road by a creek and she had chickens. 

                               
                    Country road in Preston County, West Virginia by Grayspace Imigery

She traded eggs for cream and milk with a lady who had a dairy cow who lived a a mile down the road and she was known to make homemade wine from Grapes she grew. 

Legend tells that Blackberries were not so dark in color before the death of Christ. They became that way because of how they were used on Him. You see, the Crown of Thorns that was shoved on to His head were blackberry brambles and the dozens of pricks to His head and face were the result of the tiny sharp thorns of the plant.     
                                                        William C.D. Glaser

When this happened the berries started weeping a deep royal purple/red in honor of the His blood that they had shed. That is how they came to be the color they are. 

This week enjoy Crown of Blackberries

Monday, April 17, 2017

Asenath

One April morning in 1732 a little girl was born and her parents named her Asenath. I have never seen this name and found it very unique. I was gifted with an unusual name as well so I took an interest in this distant cousin of mine. Where did the name come from? 

Asenath makes an appearance in the Bible in the book of Genesis. She is Egyptian, the daughter of a pagan priest and  is gifted to Joseph to become his wife by the Pharaoh.  

Whispers surround her story.... tales of Joseph rejecting her because she was Pagan.  Her locking herself in a tower and begging Joseph's GOD to accept her. An Angel coming to her bearing bees which are placed on her lips and she she is stung to remove the false prayers that have spoiled her mouth. Joseph accepts her and they marry ruling Egypt for 48 years. 

Her story is very small but she plays a very important role in the story of Israel. 

This week meet Asenath.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Bonnets of Blue

Springtime in Texas brings Bluebonnets. Millions of them all across the state. On I 35, FM 3009, RM 2627 and in fields, pastures, and gardens everywhere. It is the state flower and any one of the 5 species found in Texas count as the state flower.

People will stop on the side of the road grab their kids,

wives, pets 


and cameras and take family photos, wedding photos, 

engagement photos, baby photos all kinds of photos in clumps and clusters of these beautiful blue flowers.

They were called Bluebonnets because the shape of the blossom 
  resembles the huge bonnets

worn by pioneer women to keep the sun out of their faces.

So this week I am going to show you Bonnets of Blue.
Enjoy!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tartan Dancing

This past weekend the San Antonio Highland Games were underway. 

Tartan was everywhere. 
People
Booths
Dogs
Athletes
Musicians

                              HIGHLAND DANCERS, 1844. Wood engraving, English, 1844

And, dancers in tartan. We are all familiar with the Scottish Sword Dance and in California I have seen it performed with precision and strength by beautiful kilted men. It is a war dance and is ceremonial demonstrating strength, stamina and agility. All excellent qualities in a warrior. 

Legend tells that in 1573 a group of Scottish mercenaries were brought to the Court of King John III. They performed  the Scottish Sword Dance and upon a signal were to execute the King. The signal never came, the King lived never knowing that a few dance props were actually the weapons that were going to destroy him. 

This week enjoy Tartan Dancing

Monday, March 27, 2017

Torn Between Two Lovers

In 1976 Mary MacGregor released a song written by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary, a folk music group formed in 1961. 
The song Mary sang was "Torn Between Two Lovers".
                                
This painting was posted in a Group I am a member of with the comment - " Describe what you think is happening here." 

                     
                               Charles Haigh Wood - The patient competitors 

The comments varied from literal to comical to sassy and romantic. To be honest I was more concerned with what the cat was thinking. But more importantly this painting brought back memories of when I was torn between two lovers.  One ended very badly, he was vicious. The other is the one I keep. The one that dances in and out of my memory like a coy lover. A gentle touch on the edge of my mind and then he is gone. His whimsical smile, his head cocked to the side inviting me on an escapade...  Him I will lament and cherish always. He scared me...and I am fearless. 

This week enjoy Torn Between Two Lovers.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hat Box

                            
I was dressed, primped, perfumed and ready to go except something was missing. I tried a necklace, changing my hair, a different sweater and still I was incomplete. As I stood in my closet I saw my favorite old hat box. It is green, and plaid and says Kevin McAndrew Hat Maker

                              
Kevin McAndrew hats were out of England and they sold high quality men's hats. I don't keep a hat inside the box I keep a delicious swirl of vintage scarves most of them worn by my mother in the 60s. I grabbed one, twirled it around my head and I was ready. 

                               

Hat boxes were often called Band Boxes. They are cylindrical and made of thin wood or cardboard. Band boxes originally did not hold hats. All those stiff ruffs or bands worn around peoples necks in the 17th century needed to be stored in something that would help it hold its shape. Band Box

                                     
                                                        Lady Littlebury by unknown artist
This week enjoy  Hat Box




Monday, March 13, 2017

Fruity Jack



Jackfruit are back in my local market. They are not a new thing but last year was my first encounter with these odd giant fruits. There was a taste demonstration and I bravely stepped out of the crowd to sample. When she asked me what I thought  the first thing that came to mind was cotton candy. A faded mango/honeydew cotton candy. Weird! I did not hate it, I did not love it and it was a complicated prize to get so I would not buy it. 

For those of you who do not know it is a large (bigger than an American football) green bumpy watermelon looking thing.  
It is filled with Alien looking pale yellow pods
that contain a pit surrounded by the edible fruit. 

Jackfruit is in the fig family and is native to Southeast Asia. They grow on trees
and are the National fruit of Bangladesh. It is called chakka in Malaysian which the Portuguese wrote as jaca.

If you are in a market that is offering a taste try some. 

This week enjoy some Fruity Jack.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Pies of Meat

There I was blissfully watching the Great British Baking Show
when they decide to make meat pies. WHAT??!! I watch because there is no meat on the show. My bliss is now stress. I want frostings and creams and fruit filled pastries. 

They are to create a Victorian meat pie
complete with intricate designs fit for the most discerning upper class. 

These pies can contain rabbit, pigeon, venison, chicken, pheasant, swan, pork, or any meat in any combination. They were baked in special decorative tins.
The pastry was not always eaten. In some cases it was just a way to encase the meat. Smaller pies were sold by street vendors or in shops so they could be eaten while traveling or moving about . No need to sit at the table. 

Remember Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pies.
Made from the victims of Sweeney Todd

My inspiration this week ... Pies of Meat.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Tornado Walk

Sunday night my phone weather alarm goes off. I assume it is a severe weather warning as there has been lightening and rain.  It is a weather alert but, it says Tornado Warning - seek shelter now.  Not a tornado watch but a warning. Three minutes later the wind is raging outside my window, and the sky has an eerie green (like the color of the slime from that show on Nickelodeon) cast to it. My child who lives within sight of my window has called and she is very afraid. She believes the tornado is on her porch, which I can see from my window. I step from where I have sheltered and look out. Later I will realize that might not have been the best course of action but the only thought in my head was MY CHILD is terrified. As if just looking will save her. I calmly told her that her plants, chair, and cooler were all still there as are her windows and the rest of her flat. 

                                            Tornado Bahamas - Winslow Homer 

I discovered days later that there had been at least 6 tornadoes. One of them touching down about a mile from us and stopping less than 360 yards on a direct path for us. It was at that moment that I became scared...silly me days later. When I went outside later that day to run errands I felt jittery and distrustful. Why... because the weather had attacked. Again, silly me. 

The tornado had walked right past after it ran a mile. 
This week enjoy Tornado Walk

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Merchants of Wine

In the early 1700's my Very Great (7th) Grandfather, Samuel Bliss went into business with a French Wine Merchant, Daniel Jaunott or Johnnot

                                                    Wine Merchant -Granger

Daniel had offices in Boston, tracts of land at harbors in Greenland and was part owner in several ships. He is stylized on legal documents as a Distiller


Grandfather Bliss and Daniel also were part owners in a sloop called "Love and Ann" and a Brigantine called "Success". 

There may have been some wine involved but the Success sailed only to Barbados. And, what product came out of Barbados in the 1700's? Rum! And, what type of ship did Pirates favor? Brigantines! 

Dear old granddad may have called himself in business with a Wine Merchant but I think he was a Rum Runner. 

                 

This week enjoy The Merchants of Wine


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Yes to Benedict

I don't usually follow-up on stories. But this one took an odd twist as I did more ghost hunting on my kin, the family of Pelatiah Bliss

You see his cousin John Bliss, born in 1645 married a girl named Damaris Arnold. Her father was a Benedict Arnold and so was her brother and a nephew and so on until 1741 when the Benedict Arnold who burned Newport came about. 

So, to answer my question from Monday, "I wonder if they knew each other" the answer is probably yes.

I love Ghost Hunting!


Monday, February 13, 2017

New London Flame

In 1762 Pelatiah Bliss, a very great Uncle dies and has his will probated while living in New London, Connecticut.  It is over 50 pages. He had one son, 1 step-daughter, and 9 daughters. 
                            
Had he lived another 19 years he would have been there when British Brigadier General Benedict Arnold orders his troops to burn the village to the ground.  

                    

New London was a supply depot for the rebellious men and women who made up and supported the Continental Army. It was a thriving seaport as well as a hub of commerce. General Arnold ordered the burning of not only the town but also the many Privateer (Pirates against Great Britain) ships in the harbor. 

15 Miles north of New London is Norwich Connecticut. In 1741 Benedict Arnold was born there as was my great uncle in 1697. 
                         
                        The birthplace of Benedict Arnold in Norwich

This week enjoy a look at New London Flame.