Mountain Ash Berries

Sorbus genus

Mountain Ash Berries

The Mountain Ash tree is a member of the Sorbus genus. The fruit is not only safe for humans to eat, it is a favorite of many types of birds. Mountain ash berries hang on the tree well into the winter, making it a good source of cold-weather bird nutrition.

In Celtic and Norse folklore, the Mountain Ash was called a Rowan or Witchwood tree because it was believed they had magical properties.

frost

If you have read the Harry Potter books, you might remember that Rowan Wood was prized for making wands.

It is commonly stated that no dark witch or wizard ever owned a rowan wand, and I cannot recall a single instance where one of my own rowan wands has gone on to do evil in the world.
– Mr. Ollivander, Harry Potter books –

This site about Wand Woods was of particular interest to me because the Red House woods not only have a Mountain Ash tree, they have numerous other trees that are good for making wands: several apple trees, many aspen, dogwood, larch, pine, poplar, spruce and willow. If I was inclined to start a wand making business, I would have lots of wood to choose from.

Have you ever started writing a post and found you headed off in a direction that was entirely different than where you started going? So it was with this post, which was simply going to be about photo filters that blur, add textures or shift colours. I thought I’d add the Latin name for the Mountain Ash tree and before I knew it, I had found sites about the many uses for the berries and, of course, wand making… and witches.

Most people think witches are a coven of lesbians dancing naked in the forest celebrating the semen stolen from imprisoned hypnotized males, which they then use to inseminate one another using turkey basters in order to create a legion of demon babies. Well, that’s only part of it. We are also active in community outreach programs.
– Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not, a satirical novel by comedians Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert –

Well of Lost Thoughts – 2017

The QuipperyWhen I find ideas that speak to me, but I’m not ready to blog about them,  I save them on my Fueled by Chocolate ‘Well of Lost Thoughts’ Facebook Page. Here are just a few of the ones I have ‘rescued’ from there to share with you.

How Cold was our Christmas this Year?
“On Boxing Day, extreme cold warnings were issued for a section of Canada stretching from the Alberta/B.C. border all the way to the St. Lawrence River. That’s a swath of Canada roughly 3,500 km wide.” from the National Post: Mars and the North Pole are warmer than Winnipeg

It was -30C (-22F) here at the Red House on Boxing Day (December 26). It takes a lot of fuel to heat our country in the winter – renewable resources are not going to be able to provide that much energy in the near term. In the meantime, we depend on fossil fuels. This video by Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans, (filmed near Devon, Alberta on May 30, 2004) is a favourite for some of us who depend on this industry. The Car Guy will attest to the accuracy of the terms used in this song.

On the Topic of Jobs Where you Get Dirty
Mike Rowe has dedicated his life to making ‘work’ cool again. He recognizes and tirelessly promotes, the need for education programs for trades people.

We are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That’s nuts.
– Mike Rowe –

Mike Rowe – You’ve Got to Make Work Cool Again

The Piano Guys – This is Your Fight Song
I first heard The Piano Guys at a friend’s house in Arizona this past spring. The group, who are from Utah, decided to perform at the inauguration of Donald Trump in January 2017. That caused a lot of controversy, but the ‘Guys’ explained “We don’t feel right limiting our positive message only to people that believe or act the same way we do.”

Christmas Joy
I am not a devout anything when it comes to religion. This has been quite useful as I traveled the world and visited churches of many faiths, listened to their music and read their history and stories. In keeping with this time of year  and the Christian traditions of many parts of the world, here are some videos that are fun:

Christmas According to Children

From England – Marks and Spencer Videos – lots of interesting stories, including this one from last Christmas:

Human Rights, Animal Rights and Plant Rights
A Dissertation on Plant’s Rights by Cowboy Poet Baxter Black DVM .

Last, but not least our Canadian airline, WestJet Puts the Fun Back into Travel

Deer readers, my gnu years resolution is to tell you a gazelleon times how much I caribou you! Sorry. Bad puns. Alpaca bag and leave.
– Greg Tamblyn –

Christmas Tree

Christmas – there is, perhaps, no other time of the year when Peace and Goodwill is more prevalent. That is what makes Christmas my favorite time of the year and my Christmas Tree my favorite photo this month.

My Christmas Tree is full of decorations that are either home made or from little shops all over the world. There is even something from Qatar where local merchants take a multi-prong approach to marketing for every major holiday, even non-Muslim ones!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!

 

They are green when summer days are bright,
They are green when winter snow is white.

 

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!
– English version of O Tannenbaum by Ernst Anschütz –

 

The Christmas Tree in Canada:  Advent calendars, gingerbread houses, cookies and Christmas trees were all introduced by German settlers who migrated to Canada from the United States in the 1700’s. But it was Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, who solidified the Christmas tree tradition when he put up a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in 1848.

We have a Tannenbaum forest here at the Red House, but my Christmas Tree is a very realistic, artificial tree – I don’t want my forest to think of me as a tree killer…

Are you ready for Christmas, or are there still lots of things to tick off your list before you can say, “It’s a Wrap!”

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Favorite.

Bubble

I could have (okay I did) spend hours one afternoon in front of a water fountain – taking photos of ‘never two the same’ Shape Shifting Blobs and impressively big Bubbles.

Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,

 

Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,

 

For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

– William Shakespeare –

Moon Shots

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
Riding—riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.
– The Highwayman, Alfred Noyes (1880-1958) –

If I was going to choose an illustration for ‘The Highwayman”, I’d choose this photo…

In the Woods

Everything in the country, animate and inanimate, seems to whisper, be serene, be kind, be happy. We grow tolerant there unconsciously.
– Fanny Fern –

Alberta

Early fall in the wooded area near our house. Color levels adjusted, slight sharpening

The only people I am aware of who don’t have troubles are gathered in peaceful, little neighborhoods. There is never a care, never a moment of stress and never an obstacle to ruin a day. All is calm. All is serene. Most towns have at least one such worry-free zone. We call them cemeteries.
– Steve Goodier –

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Serene.

Canadian Snowbirds – Renewing a Prescription Drug in Arizona

The fountain in Fountain Hills Arizona – on St Patrick’s Day. the water is tinted green.

Good News for Canadian Snowbirds! If you are going to run out of a prescription drug before you can get back to Canada, there could be a way you can get it refilled.

Take the remaining medication to a local Urgent Care (Primary Care Walk-in) Centre (we used the one nearest  to us, in Fountain Hills Arizona). Be sure the medication is in the original container with the label from the pharmacy that filled your prescription.

The Doctors or Nurse Practitioners will give you a similar check-up to what your doctor at home would do before renewing your prescription. There will, of course, be a fee for this service.

The prescription will be sent to a pharmacy of your choice for pick-up the next day.

Totally unrelated to this topic – I’ve edited the following popular Snowbird joke that circulates in emails. I made it an Alberta/Arizona joke instead of Minneapolis/Florida (though it is rather far fetched to think someone would choose to honeymoon in Arizona…)

An Alberta couple decided to go to Arizona to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Calgary and flew to Phoenix on Thursday. His wife would fly down the following day. The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an e-mail to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her e-mail address, and without realizing his error, sent the e-mail.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned home from her husband’s funeral. He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack. The widow decided to check her e-mail since she was expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted. The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:

To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I’ve Arrived
Date: November 18, 2004

I know you’re surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send e-mails to your loved ones. I’ve just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
PS. Sure is freaking hot down here.
– Original Author Unknown –

Where is the Letter ‘F’?

Can you find the shape of the Letter ‘F’ or ‘f’ in the photos below?

British Columbia

Courthouse, Nelson, British Columbia

stile

Ceramic fence stile

Disney World

Epcot Japan, Disney World

Alberta Canada

Wooden fence

The letter ‘F’ is used as an abbreviation for:
Fahrenheit
False
Failing Grade
Female

Did you find a ‘F’ or ‘f’ in each of the photos? I’ve posted the answers at Photos Containing the Letter ‘F’.

Temporary – Blog Posts, Laundry and Hair Cuts

It is my 8th Anniversary of Blogging. Is that long enough to say blogging isn’t a temporary pastime for me? My blog posts, on the other hand, are only of temporary interest to the blogging world!

Other temporary things in my life:

  • laundry – if I ever get ‘caught up’, it will only be for a few hours…
  • hair cut – if it is perfect, it won’t be for long; same with fingernail length
  • cuts, scrapes, bruises, a cold
  • weather, seasons
  • batteries
  • ripe fruit, ice cubes in a drink, gum flavour
  • shiny copper or silver, empty dishwasher
  • new car smell, full tank of gas
  • fresh-cut grass, perfect flowers
  • family vacations, Christmas Spirit
  • bubbles

  • Fall leaves and the berries from the Mountain Ash Tree

  • Snowflakes

What things would you put on your list of temporary things?

Eight Years of Blogging

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Temporary.

Ambushed by the Best Paraprosdokians

Paraprosdokians are sentences that ambush you. They have an unexpected shift in meaning in the latter part of a sentence or phrase – that you didn’t expect from the first part of the sentence. Sometimes they also play on the double meaning of a particular word.

Here are some examples that I found on sites about paraprosdokians, or that I’ve chosen because they seem to fit the definition.

A fool and his money are soon elected.
– Will Rogers –

A good cook needs storage, a bad cook needs a dog.
– IKEA sign in a store –

And I, I took the road less traveled by. I was using a GPS system.
– Robert Brault –

Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what’s for lunch.
– Orson Welles –

By trying, we can easily learn to endure adversity.
Another man’s, I mean.
– Mark Twain –

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
– Robert C. Gallagher –

Columbus went around the world in 1492. That isn’t a lot of strokes when you consider the course.
– Lee Trevino, golfer –

Don’t forget to turn your clock back. I’m going to turn mine back to when I was 20.
– Crabby Road – Maxine –

Do you ever wake up, kiss the person sleeping beside you, and feel glad that you are alive? I just did and apparently will not be allowed on this airline again.
– Author Unknown –

End world hunger. Grow Zucchini.
– Author Unknown –

Every woman’s dream is that a man will take her in his arms, throw her into bed… and clean the whole house while she sleeps.
– memions.com –

Familiarity breeds contempt – and children.
– Mark Twain –

For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.
– Bob Wells –

How many roads must a man travel down before he admits he is lost?
– Author Unknown –

If I could just say a few words … I’d be a better public speaker.
— Homer Simpson –

If I am reading this graph correctly, I would be very surprised.
– Stephen Colbert –

If the shoe fits, get another one just like it.
– George Carlin –

If you drink, don’t drive. Don’t even putt.
– Dean Martin –

If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.
– Henry J. Tillman –

I haven’t slept for 10 days, because that would be too long.
– Mitch Hedberg –

I have one last request. Don’t use embalming fluid on me. I want to be stuffed with crabmeat.
– Woody Allen –

I just found out it takes 5 sheep to make one wool sweater. I didn’t even know they knew how to knit.
– Author Unknown

I may be barking up the wrong tree, but that is my natural voice.
– Author Unknown –

I play in the low 80s. If it’s any hotter than that, I won’t play.
– Joe E. Lewis, golfer –

It matters not whether you win or lose; what matters is whether I win or lose.
– Darrin Weinberg –

I tried sniffing Coke once, but the ice cubes got stuck in my nose.
– Author Unknown –

It’s always darkest before dawn. So if you’re going to steal your neighbor’s newspaper, that’s the time to do it.
– Author Unknown –

It’s so weird all the different names they have for groups of animals. They have pride of lions, school of fish, rack of lamb. . .
– Ellen DeGeneres –

I’ve decided not to have kids. The kids are taking it pretty hard.
– Author Unknown –

Magnetism is one of the Six Fundamental Forces of the Universe, with the other five being Gravity, Duct Tape, Whining, Remote Control, and The Force That Pulls Dogs Toward The Groins Of Strangers.
– Dave Barry –

My grandmother is over eighty and still doesn’t need glasses. She drinks right out of the bottle.
– Henny Youngman –

My wife left a note on the fridge that said “This isn’t working I’m going to my mom’s.” I opened up the fridge. The light was on and the beer was cold. I’m not sure what she was talking about.
– Author Unknown –

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.
– Groucho Marx –

Nature abhors a vacuum, but not as much as cats do.
– Lee Entrekin –

Out of love I made you a cake. Also out of milk, eggs, flour, sugar, and vanilla.
― Jarod Kintz, The Days of Yay are Here! Wake Me Up When They’re Over –

Protons have mass? I didn’t even know they were Catholic.
– Author Unknown –

Show me a man with both feet on the ground and I’ll show you a man who can’t get his pants on.
– Joe E. Lewis –

Silence is golden, duct tape is silver.
– Author Unknown –

Sometimes I wake up grumpy but sometimes I just let him sleep.
– Karen Scalf Linamen, book title –

The only people I am aware of who don’t have troubles are gathered in peaceful, little neighborhoods. There is never a care, never a moment of stress and never an obstacle to ruin a day. All is calm. All is serene. Most towns have at least one such worry-free zone. We call them cemeteries.
– Steve Goodier –

Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don’t.
– Author Unknown –

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
― Anthony G. Oettinger –

Tranquilizers work only if you follow the advice on the bottle – keep away from children.
– Phyllis Diller –

There’s a bunch of different crunches that affect the abs … my favorite is Nestle.
– Shmuel Breban –

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but three lefts do.
– Jason Love –

War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
– Author Unknown –

When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
– Author Unknown –

Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
– Author Unknown –

While playing golf today I hit two good balls. I stepped on a rake.
– Henny Youngman –

Try these two links for more funny quotations:
Fueled By Chocolate Wordplay and Quotations
Fueled by Chocolate’s other blog, The Quippery

A Peek at Bourton-on-the Water

Bourton-on-the-Water is a village in the Cotswolds Area of Gloucestershire, England. The houses and shops in the village are constructed of the yellow Oolitic limestone that is found in the surrounding hills. Cotswold stone is easily split into blocks and is quite weather-resistant.

The Cotswold hills cover an area that is about 40 miles across and 120 miles long. It is an extremely popular tourist destination.

thatch roof house

A peek over just about any hedge or stone wall will give you a glimpse of why at least 117 buildings within Bourton-on-the-Water have been listed as Grade II or higher. This designation means the building has ‘special architectural or historic interest’. The building’s owners have to apply for consent to do most types of work that affect their home.

hedge

A peek inside this wobbly hedge! I sure wouldn’t want to be the one who keeps it trimmed.

In old age, and having been sprained by the weight of snow over the decades, the hedges now wobble along, imperfect, but full of vegetable dignity…
– Description of Walmer Castle Hedges, Heritage Magazine Issue 48 –

Vine House

A peek at the house behind the Ivy. English Ivy is the most prevalent self-clinging climber found on walls in England, though some ornamental ivy types are also used.

In 2010, English Heritage released the results of a study to determine whether Ivy was beneficial or detrimental when it grew up the sides of buildings. Their research suggested that as long as ivy was not rooting into the wall, there were numerous positive benefits.

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Peek.

Pumpkin Meets Drill

A well-rounded and compact head – a good description of a cabbage, but it works for a pumpkin too!

drilled hole design

This year I used a drill to make almost perfect round holes in my jack-o’-lantern. (Did you know that the term jack-o’-lantern comes from an Irish folktale? Large turnips and potatoes were used by the Irish in Ireland, but they switched to the readily available pumpkins when they came to America.)

holes drilled zentangle design

‘Jack’ doesn’t look all that handsome in the daylight, but he really ‘shines’ in the dark!

When I was looking for a quotation about pumpkins, I found a musing by Alexander McCall Smith. It reminded me of transporting my pumpkins last year.  I secured them in the back seat of the Jeep and briefly thought about what quiet, friendly companions they were.

The pumpkin looked delicious—almost perfectly round and deep yellow in colour, it sat on the passenger seat beside her so comfortably as she drove out of the car park, so pleased to be what it was, that she imagined conducting a conversation with it… And the pumpkin would remain silent, of course, but would somehow indicate that it knew what she was talking about, that there were similar issues in the world of pumpkins.

There was no harm, she thought, in allowing your imagination to run away with you, as a child’s will do, because the thoughts that came in that way could be a comfort, a relief in a world that could be both sad and serious. Why not imagine a talk with a pumpkin? Why not imagine going off for a drive with a friendly pumpkin, a companion who would not, after all, answer back; who would agree with everything you said, and would at the end of the day appear on your plate as a final gesture of friendship?
– Alexander McCall Smith, The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine –

Happy Halloween, all!

(Is it still called Halloween in your community schools, or has it been changed to Black and Orange Spirit Day?)

There is a growing list of Halloween costumes that have been described as inappropriate because they are negative representations. Lynda Davis, at BoomerBroadcast wonders: “If I answer the door dressed as myself, an aging baby boomer in a comfortable T-shirt and yoga pants will I offend my entire generation?”

Cårven Der Pümpkîn | Recipes with The Swedish Chef | The Muppets

This weeks’ WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Rounded.

The Silent ‘M’

The Quippery

English has 13 letters that are, at times, silent. A ‘B’ might as well disappear when it is at the end of a word if it follows an ‘M’. ‘C’ is not pronounced in the ending ‘scle.’ ‘D’ disappears in handkerchief. E, G, GH, H, K, L, N, P, S, T, U and W may also be silent on occasion.

Readers should also be aware that when a media campaign tries to generate mass hysteria, based on nothing but purposefully vague and unsubstantiated claims, the ‘M’ in ‘Masses’ can also be silent.

Social media makes it incredibly easy to spread false or misleading information.

Facebook’s algorithm, which tends to only show users content they agree with, makes the company complicit in spreading falsehoods. That feeds into people only seeing particular viewpoints or sources, which allows for these kinds of sites to be circulated with much more frequency.  Facebook needs to create a “check this source bar” that would display information about a story’s origin. We have to remove the barrier for people to fact-check what they’re sharing. [That is], If we can even get them to read what they’re sharing.
– Quartz report on the work of Melissa Zimdars –

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