Showing posts from June, 2019

A MOSAiC of Climate Observations and Image 6.28.19 - Cyanotype Process

Dear Henry,

In September a curious science mission will begin.

This fall, a German icebreaker named Polarstern will leave Norway, filled will 600 researchers and other personnel, and position itself deep into the Arctic and allow itself to freeze into the polar ice.

For the next year, researchers will be "adrift" amongst the currents of the sea ice.

The study is called MOSAiC (Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate) and is a 17 country collaboration and will contain multiple scientific studies.

The goal is to try and pinpoint the cause, the true rate, and, hopefully, a way to correct the reduction in Arctic ice. The study also looks to put in place a monitoring system, so that future studies will not require such an extreme study again.

While I can't imagine how difficult it is going to be, cramped on a boat and freezing, I can imagine their discoveries are going to be thrilling.

I can hardly wait for the updates - and the pictures.

xoxo …

A Study in Kindness with Fairy Falls - Long Exposure Photography

Dear Henry,

Do you find the world a kind place?

I get that it can be hard finding the kindness in the world, particularly during morning rush hour traffic, but really, the world is a kind place.

There was a study just recently done by Swiss university students where they left spare keys, wallets, and other necessary items lying around 355 cities across the world.

More often than not, the items were returned.

What was notable to me was that the larger the amount of money, or the more crucial the document found (eg passport) the more likely the item would be returned.

And there wasn't one particular city or place more (or less) likely than another to return the money.  Across the board, we (as a species) try to do the right thing.

Now, if we (as a species) could just get the zipper merge worked out.

xoxo a.d.

The Ultimate Low Cost North West Arkansas Travel Guide - Travel Photography

Dear Henry,

My cousins are safely back home and it has been such a fun adventure. I mean, how often do you get to explore your hometown like a tourist?

I am grateful they came to visit and trusted me enough to allow me to plan a trip for them. I would like to call the trip a success as they seemed to have a good time (I hope they weren't lying).

So here it is, a Take the Back Roads Ultimate Northwest Arkansas Destination Guide*
 *(according to me)

Day One: Eureka Springs Arkansas
Eureka Springs Arkansas is a quaint town nestled in the Ozarks. It became most known, during the early 1900s, as a mountainous spa and resort town.  Many of the oldest buildings have been maintained and the entire area is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Our first stop on our tour of  Eureka Springs was the Thorncrown Chapel. The chapel was commissioned in the 1980s by Jim Reed as a pilgrimage chapel. It was designed by E. Fay Jones. The design gives an open-air feel to the structure and it all…

What is the Definition of Old? and The Dam at Devil's Den - Long Exposure Photography

Dear Henry,

Is age more than a number? I think so.

I recently read that the United Nations defines "elderly" as any person over the age of 60.

And I think that number is completely arbitrary and total b.s.

For example, in Japan, where people have remarkable longevity, with women living an average of 86 years.  Is it fair to call them "old" at 60?

On the other side of the coin, in countries like Angola,  where conditions are so harsh, that life expectancy is only 39 years.  When (do?) these people become old?

Besides, if you exercise and eat properly, you can, quite possibly, make it to the end of your life as a "young person".  It seems that the key to staying young is good food, exercise, and plenty of mental stimulation.

I think you become "old" when you allow yourself to retire to the rocking chair and I vow never to get one.

xoxo a.d.

What the Heck is a Hapax? With Image 6.18.19 - Cyanotype Process

Dear Henry,

I just learned about a new word type - the Hapax Legomenon.

Hapax Legomenon is a word that occurs only once in the written form. 

Most hapaxes occur as a single occurrence in a book, or as a word used only once over the entire author's portfolio of work.

However, there are a few English language hapaxes, where their usage has only occurred once in the entire written record. although technically, as soon as I write them here, they are no longer hapaxes.

The English hapaxes I found were:

Flother  - a snowflake - from "The XI Pains of Hell"
Hebenon - a type of poison - "Hamlet"
Manticratic - ruling by a family - "Seven Pillars of Wisdom"
Nortelrye - an education - "Canterbury Tales"
Sassigassity - audacity?  - "A Christmas Tree"
Sleepwerigne - sleep weary? - "The Exter Book"

One of the problems I noticed about these words is that no one is entirely sure what the definition really is, as they were only used in on…

Whaling, Ocean Voyages and Mr. Fabris. With Red Gladiolus - Macro Photography

Dear Henry,

I love reading about adventures and the adventure of Mr. Vittorio Fabris is definitely a good read.

Venice's Mr. Fabris enjoyed Moby Dick so much he began to study the history of the whaling industry.  What he learned about the whaling industry inspired him to sail across the ocean to Nantucket.

He left Venice in his small boat named Mia which was draped with an "I'm going to apologize to the whale" banner and carrying a statue made by sculpture Carlo Pecorelli to donate to the Nantucket Whaling Museum.

His trip was plagued with mechanical problems and forced stops in the Azores, Gibraltar, and the Canary Islands before having to reroute his course to Cape Verde to avoid hurricane season.

Finally, when Mr. Fabris was in the bay, 1,500 feet from Nantucket, his boat capsized.  The towboat was housed out of Cape Cod, and towed the boat there, instead of Nantucket.

Mr. Fabris did eventually make it to Nantucket and the museum and after some initial struggles…

Bridal Veil Falls - Long Exposure Photography

Dear Henry,

Do you remember the Alamo?

Although not a Texian, I had thought I knew the story - the brave but failed attempt by some of the leading frontiermen of the day to hold a fort in Texas from the Mexican Army, being led by the great General Santa Ana.

Over the weekend, I did learn a bit more about it and discovered a couple of facts I didn't know.

The first, the Alamo was never supposed to happen.  General Sam Houston knew that the Alamo couldn't be defended.  He had sent Colonel Jim Bowie, with a team of 30 men to remove the artillery and personnel from the fort.  Instead, Colonel Bowie, after listening to the arguments of the soldiers within the fort, chose to stay and try and defend it, unable to surrender the fort without a fight.  Other reinforcements arrived and fought and died with this same ideal.

The other fact I hadn't realized is that Colonel Bowie didn't actually get to fight in the Alamo's defense.  When one thinks of Jim Bowie, one imagines a …

Image 6.14.19 - Cyanotype Process

Dear Henry,

It has been (at least in this neck of the woods) a very chilly/rainy early Summer and I am just beginning to get out my Summer shoes.

I have noticed though, that I never seem to wear my shoes, opting to go barefoot much of the time.

How about you?  Flipflops or bare feet?  Do you only wear flipflops because it is easier to transition to bare feet?

xoxo a.d.

The Black Dahlia - Macro Photography

Dear Henry,

My dahlias are budding, I should have blooms with a couple of weeks and I am so excited.

After reading about the language of flowers, I have found myself happier and happier with the choices I have made for my garden.

Dahlia's represent grace and strength.

I should get some more.

xoxo a.d.

Glory Hole Falls - Long Exposure Photography

Dear Henry,

Did you know it was illegal to send a child by U.S. mail?

Fish and I discovered this odd fact while stuck in traffic behind road construction (I love smartphones) and we tried to figure out how exactly this law came to be.

On January 1, 1913, the U.S. Postal Service began offering parcel post services - paving the way for the Amazon boom that is going on today. 

Of course, issues with parcel post regulations rose immediately as, within weeks of this service opening up, Jesse and Mathilda Beagle mailed their son infant son James to his grandmother's house.

It wasn't an isolated incident.

The most famous of the "mailed" children was that of Charlotte May Pierstroff, who at the age of four, was mailed 73 miles in February 1913.

By June, the post office had had enough and put a kibosh on the whole adventure, but, for a few brief months, you could send your child to their grandparent's house for the cost of a stamp, rather than a train ticket.

I wonder wh…

Image 6.12.19 - Cyanotype Process

Dear Henry,

77 years ago today, Anne Frank turned 13 and the birthday she received her well-known diary

A month later, she would be moving to the attic of an office building, where for the next two years, Anne, her family,  and several other people hid.

On August 4, 1944, they were discovered and immediately sent to concentration camps.  Anne died of typhus in February 1945.

While I am normally against reading other people's diaries, this one is different.  This little girl's story needs to be read and told to everyone, forever. It is a beautiful book. I highly recommend it, if you haven't already.

In remembrance, I bought a new journal today.

xoxo a.d.

Gladiolus with Purple - Macro Photography

Dear Henry,

I have been reading (surprise!) about the Victorian era's language of flowers, or floriography.

While I knew, vaguely, that different roses had different meanings, I hadn't realized how complex and rich the language was until now.

For example, my abundance of gladiolus flowers can represent strength and integrity.  I am almost happy they are taking over the yard now.

Of course, the language of flowers is not precise.  Gladiolus can also mean infatuation.

Can you imagine, during the heyday of floriography, how many secret and ambiguous messages were passed back and forth this way?  I also imagine that many hours were spent interpreting bouquets and planning responses.  Given the detailed nature of this research, the time spent arranging flowers, and the time spent decoding messages, I suspect this was an upper-class activity.

It does seem like a fun language to learn, although I don't know if I could ever find the time, or muster the patience to try an pull off…

Latourell Falls - Long Exposure Photography

Dear Henry,

Of all the through hikes I wish I could do, the Camino de Santiago has been the highlighted one.

The Camino de Santiago (the way of St. James) is a route about 500 miles through the mountains of  Northern Spain (there is a small part in France) to the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, which is thought to be the final resting place for St. James.

The trip takes at least a month.

Fortunately, Spain has another trek called the Camino dos Faros (the lighthouse way).  This trek walks along Spain's "Costa da Morte" and takes about eight days.  The reports that I have read call the hike absolutely breathtaking.

It is also much less crowded than Santiago.

Where do you want to go?

xoxo a.d.

Image 6.10.19 - Cyanotype Process

Dear Henry,

Although I live in a fairly rural area, I still have enough light pollution that I can't see the Milky Way from home and have to drive a fair amount to get somewhere that I can.

And I truly want to get better at night photography.  I love the light painting and Milky Way shots and I was actually considering a road trip to the Oklahoma Panhandle and Black Mesa State Park to give the Milk Way shots another go.

Still, I do see quite a few stars where I live and one of the nicest activities of Summer is to hang about on the porch and watch the fireflies and the stars, because, despite not having the drama of the Milky Way, what I can see is still amazing.

I was reading that there will soon be new "stars" to check out in the sky as Elon Musk's Starlink satellites (the ones being designed for universal wifi access) deploy, so far, people say the first one is very bright.

After reading about these new satellites (as well as all of the others) I began to wonder …

Fine Print - Macro Photography

Dear Henry,

Do you like honey?  I love honey and I heard about a new type and now, I kind of want to try it.

In Nepal and China, there are bees called the Himalayan Honey Bees, which build their hives on the cliffs and mountain faces of the region.

These bees are scary by the way, they are huge, and grow up to an inch and a half long and have a stinger to match.

The beekeepers - I read about the Lisu Honey Hunters from China's Yunnan province - have to build fires at the base of the cliffs and wait for the smoke to rise and clear the hives before the keepers begin climbing the cliffs (using what looks like standard mountaineering equipment) and collecting the honey.

The beekeepers are still stung quite often and I really can't imagine a more harrowing job, to be honest.

The honey they collect from the hives is unique because these bees pollinate rhododendron blossoms.  The honey called "red honey", "spring honey", or "mad honey", is considered to…

White Camelia - Macro Photography

Dear Henry,

Have you ever thought about mountaineering?

Social media has been flooded with pictures of the tourism on Mount Everest, with the lines, the guide ropes, the garbage and I wonder how crisp and clean the summit used to be in 1953.

In other mountaineering news closer to home, today marks the 106 year anniversary of the first ascent to Denali's summit.

While not as tall as Everest (Denali being 20,320 feet and Everest being 29,029) it was/still is a daunting climb, especially in 1913.

The climb was first done by Hudson Stuck, the archdeacon of the Yukon Episcopal Church, and friends, Harry Karstens, Walter Harper, and Robert Tatum. 

I can't imagine how beautiful (and cold) that would have been and I can't imagine the feeling of knowing that you were the first person to arrive there and witness something so untouched.

Another fact that impressed me most the story of Denali's first ascent was Hudson Stuck's insistence upon calling the mountain Denali.

The m…

Cyanotype 6.6.19

Dear Henry,

There has been some crazy weather this Spring/Early Summer and the news has been full of weather-related facts.

One fact, in particular, caught my attention - probably due to the most recent weather patterns in my area. 

The U.S. has the greatest number of tornados in the world, at approximately 1,200 a year. Most are concentrated in the famed "Tornado Alley", although they can occur anywhere.  The South American continent also sees a bunch, particularly in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uraguay.  While other countries have had severe tornados occur, the American continents seem to be where tornados happen regularly.

1,200 seems like an awful lot of tornados and two facts stood out to me.

1.  Tornado season runs until about the end of June, we still have a few more weeks of this weather nonsense.

2. We have already had more than 1,000 tornadoes this year.

I wonder, is tornado season supposed to follow the "in like a lion, out like a lamb" rule that March is …

Diamond Lake - Landscape Photography

Dear Henry,

Today is National Drive-In Movie Day.

I have always wondered about the history behind the National Days, many don't seem to have a story behind them.

National Drive-In Movie Day does though.  On June 6, 1933, Richard Hollingshead opened the first drive-in theater in Camden New Jersey, the film was "Wife, Beware".

When I was younger, we used to go to drive-in movies all the time and yes, I have been guilty of sneaking people in.

Do you remember drive-in theaters?  How many people have you snuck in?

xoxo a.d.

Parvin Lake - Landscape Photography

Dear Henry,

I have just heard about the most fun race ever.

It is called the Man Versus Horse Marathon.

The race began much in the same way that "Around the World In 80 Days" did as a conversation/debate/bet in a pub.

The debate that started the race occurred in 1980, in a small town called Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales between two men at the Neuadd Arms pub.

The question, whether a long distance would negate the speed of a horse and allow a human runner to win a race, was put to the test by a local landlord and owner of the pub, Gordon Green, who insisted upon the test being in public view and with an official course.

The race, covering 22 miles through the Welsh countryside has been taking place ever since.

To date, only two people have ever won the race - once in 2004 by Huw Lobb and once in 2007 by Florian Holzinger.  This year, ultramarathoner Michael Wardian will be giving it a shot.  He feels pretty hopeful.

In addition to this race in Wales, there are two others, one in …

Cyanotype 6.4.19

Dear Henry,

I was reading (of course) about how the language changes over time and how certain words and phrases become obsolete (and unknown!) due to the effect technology has upon language.

I have occasionally run into this problem in my readings, where I have come across an unknown term, that refers to something that really doesn't exist any longer. For example, does anyone know what a cushion pall is?  I *think* it is the cushioned leg rest on a nicer horse-drawn buggy, but I am not completely certain.

The article I was reading mentioned words and phrases that are still fairly well known now, but, will soon be obsolete.  The author uses the terms "carbon copy" and "dialing the phone" as his examples.  I am adding the terms "hitching up the team" and "the flip side" to the list of soon-to-be obsolete phrases.

What word or phrase do you think will become obsolete?

What word or phrase have you come across that is obsolete and you aren'…

Goose Pasture Tarn - Landscape Photography

Dear Henry,

Did you know people steal plants?

I hadn't realized this was a thing but with the rise of Pinterest and Instagram the "Picture Worth Plant" has become something people are searching low and high for.

Lately, it seems, people have been going onto public lands and loading up tubs upon tubs of succulents.  Several were just apprehended with $600,000 worth of stolen plants.

Succulents are slow growing and slow to reproduce, any type of "mass" taking of plants will destroy natural habitat quickly.

Plus, on average, half the plants harvested in the wild die.  It is such a waste.

Plus, it's stealing.

I feel like we need to leave nature in nature and that if you want a certain type of plant, you go to the garden center.

xoxo a.d.

Cyanotype 6.03.19

Dear Henry,

This morning I heard about an old-timey summer punch called switchel.*

The description grabbed my attention because it used two ingredients I have in abundance: Ginger and apple cider vinegar.

I ended up purchasing a big bottle of apple cider vinegar because Pinterest told me to (do we all remember the apple cider vinegar craze?) and I was very happy to find another recipe to try it in.

I gave it a go and decided that I quite like the punch.  It is a nice break from the water/flavored water/ice tea/lemonade rut that tends to happen during the Summer.  It also looks like a promising way to get rid of the big bottle of apple cider vinegar in my cupboard.

xoxo a.d.


2 cups cold water
1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2  tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ginger

Stir, serve over ice.

Hanging Lake

Dear Henry,

What would you give up for someone you loved?

Today is the anniversary of the Duke of Windsor's, formerly King Edward VIII, wedding to Wallis Simpson, twice-divorced American socialite*.

Because of conflicts between Wallis Simpson's divorced status, Edwards responsibilities as head of the Church of England, and Ms. Simpson's general "unsuitability" as an English Queen, King Edward VIII decided to give up his throne and to become plain old Edward, Duke of Windsor, abdicating his crown to his brother, George VI (Queen Elizabeth's Father).

I have heard it wasn't the happiest of marriages and that the two had very different temperaments. Which was a shame, because, after a sacrifice like Edward's, marital bliss should be assured.


*as a side note, how does one get the job of a socialite?  I would like to apply.