Saturday, May 27, 2017

Local Saturday - The One Thing Missing

On this Memorial Day weekend, unlike many Americans, we are staying local.
The rhododendrons are blooming, and I want to start you off with a picture of one of mine.  One thing is missing out of this picture, though - can you guess what it is?

While you think, here are some other pictures of our day.
We started our day at the local farmers market in Binghamton, in upstate New York.  The mushroom vendor we were hoping to buy from did not come today, but there were plenty of eggs to choose from.

Even more eggs - how's this for a selection?

A favorite vendor in the market for many is a Peruvian bakery, perhaps from the cookies she samples each week.  Once you taste, you just have to buy a package.  She's branched out into other foods, and they don't last long.  She is such a hard worker, she deserves all her success

After a short trip to our community garden (worth its own blog post), we planted some plants at the house.  Here is some basil now in our front yard.

I want to leave you with one thought today, after showing you this delicious food.  Remember the picture of the rhododendron flower at the top of my post. I told you there was one thing missing.

I am sorry to say I had no problems taking this picture.  And it makes me sad.

In past years, this bush would have been swarming by bees.  But, in the past few years, there have been fewer and fewer bees feeding off the blooms.

This year, I haven't seen one bee on this bush.

One small thing, perhaps, but other people I know are reporting the same thing.   This video explains some what is going on - entertaining, perhaps, but also frightening.

Are you noticing fewer bees where you live?

Friday, May 26, 2017

Storm Sunset #SkywatchFriday

We have been having a stormy spring here in upstate New York.

Last Thursday, stormclouds gathered just around sunset. The color of the sky was golden, reflecting off the stormclouds.  I only was able to capture a fraction of the color.

The stormclouds gather.

The sunset as seen through a Norway Maple facing west.

And more stormclouds.

Join other bloggers at #skywatchfriday and see skies from all over the world.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Golden Rain #ThursdayTreeLove

Part of my love of trees, and growing plants in general, is finding plants growing that are out of the ordinary.

Where I live, in upstate New York, some trees are common - maples and oaks, for example.  Some may be endangered, such as the ash, and will (sadly) become uncommon in years to come.

Others are not common at all.  Today, I want to show you a tree not common to my part of New York State.

Recently, an Indian bloger, Shalini Baiswala, posted a picture on Instagram (something I recently joined) of what we call a Golden Rain Tree here in the states.  I didn't think they grew where I live.
Binghamton May 21
Ok, I admit it.  I was wrong.

Because I don't trespass onto peoples' property when I take pictures I wasn't able to enjoy the scent of this tree.

This find made my day. I hope the golden rain of this tree makes you happy, too.

If you want to check out (or participate in) other #Thursdaytreelove posts, join me, Parul, and other bloggers and show your love for the trees we share this world with.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Spring Things - First Rose and More

I've been saving some nice flower photos for today, just for you, my readers.
Sunday, I saw my first roses, on a traffic divider where I walk for exercise in Binghamton, New York.  These roses have such a heavenly fragrance.  Too bad they don't bloom all summer.  (Note, none of these flowers are mine.)
Alas, the last of the lilacs are blooming.

The azaleas are in full bloom.  Here is a closeup of white flowers.

Bachelor Button, one of the few blue flowers.

And finally, some beautiful dianthus to round out a late spring walk in Binghamton.

Anything blooming where you live?

Linking today with Write Tribe and #writingwednesdays

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

At Times Like This

This is not the post I wanted to post today.

I am looking at a picture.  It's a professional photo, so I don't have the rights to post it, but it's a precious photo for me.  It shows me, my spouse, and my son with another father and son, in a whitewater raft (the only time I've done white water) on a river in Pennsylvania, as we shot out the gate and into our wild adventure. 

It was taken on July 7, 2005, minutes after we had found out about the London bombings now known as the "7/7 bombings".


The Manchester bombings of (for us in Eastern Time in the United States) early last night will now join the ranks of the millions of atrocities we humans have inflicted on ourselves, all over our world.  This wasn't just any bombing, it was quickly obvious, but one that targeted teens and children trying to have a good time with a suicide bomb full of nails.  It was timed to occur just as the concert ended, as the bomber knew well people would be crowding together to leave.

There are many other incidents, of course, that never even reach the media, people suffering as the world never knows (or, in some instances, cares).

In some ways that picture of my family and another poised on the edge of of churning water is a metaphor of our world.  The white rapids come, and they come, and they come.  All the kindness of the world doesn't seem to matter at times like this, even as Manchester mobilizes to shield the living victims and give them shelter, medical treatment, and comfort.

Now, the cycle of hate will continue.  So all we can do is voice our condemnation, and try to continue to live our lives as normally as we can.  It won't be easy.

But we must, or those forces would have won.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Music Monday - Middle Aged Suicide

When my husband, a  Soundgarden and Audioslave fan, heard the news of rocker Chris Cornell's death, he couldn't believe it.

Soundgarden, the band Chris Cornell was the lead vocalist for at the time of his death, was participating in a Rock on the Range tour.  He had finished a live concert in Detroit, and must have been feeling the love of his fans.  Other concerts were on his schedule.
Cornell's last song is above (it's about 13 minutes long) if you care to see him hours before his death.

Why did he take his life?  Why? Why? Why?  How many times have we asked ourselves that in recent years?  His family says the suicide wasn't intentional; it may have been caused by a side effect of prescription medication.  But Cornell suffered from depression from a lot of his life, and life has not been easy for him (or anyone else who suffers from this variety of illness).

Meantime, I found this sobering statistic:  middle aged men between 45 and 65 (Cornell was 52) have the highest rate of suicide of any age group.  These men suffer in silence.  They don't reach out for help.  They must be reached in non-traditional ways.

As anyone who has had a suicide in their family knows, the impact is huge.  This pain is public, but so many go through this pain privately.

Will Cornell's death change the suicide statistics? Will we pay more attention to the issue? That remains to be seen.

I've had an earworm with  the hit song "Black Hole Sun" for the last couple of days.  So, instead of that, I'm featuring three other songs from Soundgarden, hoping they will chase the earworm away.

"Fell on Black Days" is a product of Cornell's struggles with depression.

Spoonman is a song I enjoy - in some ways it reminds me of Led Zepplin.

I will end with another song called Outshined, a personal favorite.

Another great talent gone too young.  I can't say much more.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hidden in Plain Sight

I used to have a Civil War Sunday feature on my blog for some four years.  After our Civil War was over, slavery (which was legal in some parts of our country and not in others) was abolished everywhere. (Sadly, "abolished" was a relative word).

One thing we learned in post-Civil War history was that freeing enslaved people does not necessarily make them free.  Both enslaved people and their owners are forever changed by the institution of slavery.  You can't undo that with the stroke of a pen or the firing of a gun.

Many times, enslaved people can be freed physically, but being freed mentally is a whole other story.

Here is an amazing story of an immigrant who died in 2011 who also spent almost her entire life as an enslaved person, told by a son of the family that enslaved her.  This is  the cover story of the June 2017 The Atlantic.

But, in other ways, this one story is not amazing at all.  This article in the Atlantic magazine has a large "rest of the story".

When the man who wrote this story had someone write an obituary for the woman his family called "Lola", he lied.  The obituary omitted the truth of her enslaved condition and the years of abuse that bent and warped her, abuse (both physical and mental), hidden in plain sight from her American neighbors.

The abuse prevented her from taking advantage of the freedom finally offered her.  She never learned to drive or use many modern devices.

But, at the same time, you feel for the man who wrote the article - for growing up in a household where he was raised by an enslaved person, witnessing the abuse she suffered and being (while young) powerless to stop it.  He was warped by the experience, too.  I do not condemn him in any way for initially not telling the truth of Lola.  No, I congratulate him, for speaking of a taboo topic.

The fact that so many are commenting online about this article means that we are being made to think about an inconvenient truth - that enslavement still takes place in our country, and you may live or work near such a person, without ever knowing it.

Maybe even right next door to you.

Here is a link to the article and to what has been written in response.  It is well worth reading, on this Sunday before our Memorial Day holiday.