November 17, 2014
art, nature, photos, sunrise
What is it that makes a sunrise so attractive? The ephemeral nature of it is no doubt part of it. The clouds don’t stop moving so that their effect can be admired.
The difficulty of capturing a sunrise is surely part of the attraction. Painters are naturally interested in sunrise and sunset because the colors are so varied and hard to reproduce. I can’t do a sunrise justice in a poem, because there aren’t enough names for all the variations in the color, and people don’t agree on the names there are. Photography has its own complications of capturing the shifting light against darkness elsewhere.
In our household we are such creatures of the clock that we only notice the sunrise at a few brief periods of the year. The rest of the time we are up too early or too late. The problem of being too late is obvious. The problem of being too early is caused by my inability to put off getting to work – near a window through which the sunrise does not appear.
These photos were taken on two consecutive mornings―this past weekend. Two very different beginnings of two different days. This morning there were no clouds at all to create any colors.
November 12, 2014
garden, grass, invasive plants, native plants
In case anyone imagines that I like everything and anything that will grow in my garden, I decided to devote a post to the nasty weeds I’d like to get rid of. There are three.
Nutgrass is a very attractive grass. The deep green leaves are a contrast to most of the paler greens of the desert. But it is terribly invasive, sending its roots deep and out in all directions.
Bermuda grass is known in many places, but wasn’t a problem where I lived in the east. It too is attractive when it is young, and it can – almost – be kept under control as a lawn. When it matures, however, it sends runners out, long and strong. they appear spreading out over sidewalks looking for places to root.
Goathead, as the name may suggest, is the worst of all. It is also the prettiest, with delicate leaves and a pretty little yellow flower. Its seeds stick to everything, are a danger to bare feet, and can pierce through gardening gloves. I may get lazy with nutgrass and Bermuda grass, but this plant I pull on sight.
I’ve recently realized that I’ve been taking more pictures than I’ve had time to post this fall. This is a first step in correcting that oversight.
November 7, 2014
crops, hunger, justice
I have been working this week on hunger conditions around the world to use for publicity for a Hunger Sunday at church. There are huge quantities of data out there, but somehow they rarely answer the questions I ask.
Along the way I found some interesting facts about food crops. Do you know what the fourth largest – and number one non-grain product – is? Potatoes. Do you know which country is the largest potato producer in the world? China.
I was interested in the basic grains, because I was trying to figure out who, where, eats how much of what. The top three crops are 3. rice, 2. wheat, 1. corn.
One can grow more rice than wheat per acre, but it takes a lot of water. Rice is the source of 20% (1/5th) of all calories consumed by humans. We can guess that a lot of this is in Asia, but don’t forget the popularity of rice and beans in Latin America!
Another stray fact from another source: Cambodians eat a lot of wheat bread along with their rice. It’s the influence of the French who once controlled the country.
Wheat in the Field
Wheat is the leading source of vegetable protein for humans worldwide. It also takes up a lot of space – more than corn – partly because it can be grown in colder, drier places.
Corn is a staple food for the majority of sub-Saharan Africa. It is also, as we know, feeding cars as well as humans. My source, being about the business side of crops, not the hunger issues, did not consider this a problem.
Even with the cars taking a share of the corn, there is enough food in the world to feed everyone; the problem is distribution. Finding out the end result – who gets how much of what to eat – has proven difficult.
October 31, 2014
cross quarter day, dark, Halloween, NaNoWriMo
Halloween. Why does this holiday get so much attention? Are so many adults unable to give up the childhood game of dressing up? Are we all afraid of the dark?
I understand the Day of the Dead, honoring ancestors, and sensing a closeness to the “other world” a little better. But zombies, big parties, and extensive ugly decorations? It’s not where I want to spend my money. Some extra candy for children is enough.
Night Scene from Last Winter
There is a lot of dark out there, particularly Ebola and ISIS. The demand to close our borders on both these counts is a case of fear taking over sense, because neither illness nor terrorists can be kept out by limiting flights. If we knew where and when the enemy would enter, there might be some sense to it. (“If the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, , ,he would not have let his house be broken into,” Matthew writes. Now, as then, there is a limit to what defenses and walls can do.)
In a personal context, going into the dark at this time of year makes sense to me. I suspect that part of the success of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is that this moment in the year is a great time to find an excuse to stay indoors, and even to spend time in an imaginary world. Holiday festivities and then lengthening days will draw us out again.
November is a time for burrowing. I hope to spend some extra time at my desk this month.
October 23, 2014
Amazon.com, Made and Remade
Not many people order my books through this site. Today I’m reminding you of another option. I’ve just added Made and Remade to my listings on Amazon.com. Yes, you can buy it from the publisher, and from various other sources on Amazon, but if you buy it from my seller listing, ERYbooks, you can get a signed copy, at a competitive price.
Both Map of Longing and John Emerson Roberts: Kansas City’s “Up-to-date” Freethought Preacher are also available through my ERYbooks channel.
Place your order just like anything else you get on Amazon, and all the connecting happens for you. It’s like a bridge built over a river.
October 20, 2014
chamisa, gardening, native plants, New Mexico
Some days I miss the many fall colors of the east. There’s no question that the dominant fall color where I live now is yellow. I chose the chamisa for my garden because it does have great fall color. The photo above is carefully framed. Here’s the general view:I think the plant got too much water from the new watering system I put in last year. It’s a problem I saw coming, but I didn’t crawl into the plant to adjust the emitter near its base, knowing it would be easier to reach when I cut it back At least the clothesline holding parts of it from falling further doesn’t show up too much in the photo!
Gardening is ever an experiment.
October 4, 2014
Las Cruces, New Mexico, roadrunner
When we first arrived in Las Cruces, the huge Roadrunner at the rest area looking over the city from the west seemed like a major symbol for the city. After a few years he had to be taken away for maintenance. He is made entirely of old “stuff” and pieces were coming loose.
While he was under repair there was a great deal of discussion about where he should be re-installed.
We were pleased to see, on our first trip west in some time last week, that the original site won out. He looks very grand there, and very perky.The giant roadrunner has his eye on the city once again.
Photos courtesy of Paul Young.