Posts

Boletus Tylopilus - Macro Photography

Image
Dear Henry,

This is one of the Tylopilus versions of the Bolete mushroom.  They are gorgeous, with deep purple caps and, like most boletes, are non-toxic (there is a bolete with red spores which is said to be dangerous.  They don't appear to be wide-spread and I haven't seen one).

There is, however, a huge variation in the edibility of "non-toxic".

Any bolete with a purple cap tastes awful and by awful, I mean so bitter that your tongue tingles.  You could not eat this mushroom, not even if you are starving. 
Ask me how I know.

You see, once, Fish and I, armed with the "all boletes are non-toxic", picked, sauteed, and attempted to eat one. They smelled heavenly while cooking.  They taste horrific. The taste is so bad that we were afraid we had misidentified the mushroom. 

I hear (unverified and unresearched) that they are a component of bitters.  I did, however, make a joke about eating one on social media and I should not have.  Anyone who tries to eat on…

Bougainvillea - Macro Photography

Image
Dear Henry,

This morning I found myself flying into the colorful world of parrots after I read about the discovery of a fossilized parrot skeleton found in New Zealand.

The parrot discovered, named Heracles Inexpectatus, would have been about three feet tall.

The article mentioned several times that this parrot was the size of a small child and I hadn't realized until this article that parrots were a bird to be feared.

As it turns out, parrots are considered raptors and are carnivorous.  For example, a current species of parrot in New Zealand called the kea, has been known to regularly attack and takes bites out of living sheep.

They are smart too, and like ravens, can remember, mimic, and hold a grudge.  They also have a dominate foot and can be "right or left-handed".  Parrots are monogamous and appear to mate for life, although they are difficult to study in the wild.

One of the most important things I learned about parrots is how bad it is to keep them as pets - at …

Mizaru, Kikazaru, and Iwazaru - Nature Photography

Image
Dear Henry,

There are days when it doesn't serve any purpose to read the paper.

Today seems to be one of those days.

I have learned, to my utter horror, what happens when lightning strikes a septic tank.

The effect is much worse than you have already imagined.

You see, plumbing is an excellent conductor of electricity. Plumbing that is connected to a septic tank can also contain a fair amount of methane gas. Methane gas is flammable.

And as a poor couple in Florida discovered, when lightning strikes a septic tank, not only does the septic tank explode, so does the plumbing in the house including the toilets. 

Yes, yes, I think you now have a full picture of how horrific this situation is.  There are also so many puns that can be applied in this situation.

Fortunately, no one was hurt. 

As someone who both lives in an area of many lightning strikes and has a septic tank, my heart goes out to the Ward family.  I am also trying to figure out how to lightning proof my own tank.

I won…

Haw Creek Falls - Long Exposure Photography

Image
Dear Henry,

There has been enough buzz about a new ice cream flavor that I thought I would, at least, look into this concoction.  It is absurd.

Oscar Mayer made a hot dog ice cream sandwich.

That just sounds bad right away, doesn't it?

Anyway, the sandwich is a shortbread-type cookie outer layer, with a "hot dog sweet cream", and pieces of candied hot dogs.  One end is dipped in a spicy mustard gelato and made to compete with the new French's Mustard Ice Cream (I am suspicious of this product too).

I can't decide if this is supposed to be a sweet dessert or a savory one, or perhaps, Oscar Mayer is trying to apply the Chinese principle of  "Five Tastes" to this dessert.

Despite my willingness to give everything a try, once, I am really struggling to put a game face on this one.

The Weiner mobile will be passing them out in New York on August 12, I think I am going to wait for the reviews to decide.

xoxo a.d.




Image 8.5.19 - Cyanotype Process

Image
Dear Henry,

Growing up, I never got to experience the summer sounds of cicadas - they don't (at least from everything I have read) live West of the Continental Divide and while I did hear them in Colorado, I was not at all prepared for the cicada cacophony of an Ozark summer.

Now that I have lived here for a couple of years, the sounds of cicadas, like the twinkling of fireflies (also not found in the Western US) have come to represent Summer to me and I couldn't imagine a Summer without them.

In fact, despite the humidity, I love summers in Arkansas best of all.

One of my favorite times of the day is the early pre-dawn and during the Summer months (which are long and warm in Arkansas), the predawn has become a wonderful moment of meditation while sitting on the porch, watching the fireflies, and listening to the cicadas.


I am still trying to capture this magic in a photograph.


xoxo a.d.




Image 7.31.19 - Cyanotype Process

Image
Dear Henry,

Did you know there were vampires in New England? 

In 1990, a coffin was discovered at a gravel quarry in Griswold, Connecticut, with the initials JB and the number 55 hammered into the coffin lid with brass tacks. 

The bones within the coffin were arranged, several years postmortem, into a Jolly Roger.

Intrigued by this arrangement, local archeologists started "digging" (couldn't help it) into the mystery and though historical records and DNA testing, they were able to put together his story.

JB was a man named John Barber and he had tuberculosis and oddly enough, what happened to John Barber's body wasn't all that rare.

Tuberculosis was a real problem during that period of time and was called consumption because of the wasting and draining effects of the disease.  The disease was (and still is) incredibly contagious, and because of the disease's symptoms  (paleness, blood at the corners of the mouth, a decaying smell to the breath), there was a …

Lake Ann Spillway - Long Exposure Photography

Image
Dear Henry,

I am currently reading Carl Jung's autobiographical musing "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" and I discovered something very interesting about Dr. Jung.

He liked to doodle.

Dr. Jung began drawing during a period of struggle within his own psyche and noticed that the circular patterns he would draw resembled the mandalas of Hinduism, and adopted the phrase for his (and his patients) drawings.

Dr. Jung came to believe that the mandalas represented his "Self" at that moment and he believed that they helped rebalance the psyche.  He would continue to use this tool throughout his entire practice.

It is interesting to note, that rhythmic, repetitive, doodling seems to span all cultures.  Not only are they found in Hinduism, but mandala-like drawings are also found in the religious philosophies of Buddhism, Shintoism, and Jainism. Additionally, many of the stained glass windows and illuminated manuscripts of early-Christian works also invoke the rhymic plac…