Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
The National Cherry Blossom Festival annually commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, honoring the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and celebrating the continued close relationship between our two cultures.
In a simple ceremony on March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two trees from Japan on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. In 1915, the United States Government reciprocated with a gift of flowering dogwood trees to the people of Japan. A group of American school children reenacted the initial planting in 1927 and the first "festival” was held in 1935, sponsored by civic groups in the Nation’s Capital.
First Lady Lady Bird Johnson accepted 3,800 more trees in 1965. In 1981, the cycle of giving came full circle. Japanese horticulturists were given cuttings from our trees to replace some cherry trees in Japan which had been destroyed in a flood.
The Festival was expanded to two weeks in 1994 to accommodate a diverse activity schedule during the trees’ blooming. Today, more than a million people visit Washington, DC each year to admire the blossoming cherry trees and attend events that herald the beginning of spring in the Nation’s Capital.
The Festival looks forward to celebrating the centennial anniversary of the gift of trees in 2012 and is planning spectacular events to mark this historic and special occasion.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Their fireplace was roaring. It felt very cozy sitting next to it.
We had a great time and left after finishing off with coffee and biscotti. I ate so much that I didn't have to have dinner that evening. I waddled out of Carol's like a penguin saying to myself that Monday is coming and that's my reminder to 'be good'.
George Mason (1725 - 1792) was an American patriot, statesman and delegate from Virginia and along with James Madison he is called the "Father of the Bill of Rights" and is considered one of the founding fathers of the United States.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.
And if that mockingbird don’t sing,
Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.
There are usually two to six bluish or greenish white colored eggs with brownish markings. Incubation is by the female only and takes from 12 to 13 days. The fledglings are fed by both parents from 12 to 15 days and they can have two or three broods per year.
Take l lb. of navy beans, put them in a strainer and rinse under cold water, picking out any bits of grit or dark beans. Pour the beans into a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 30 minutes. Put back into the strainer and rinse again.
To the saucepan add the beans, one finely chopped yellow onion, 6 peeled whole cloves of garlic, 3 grated carrots, two diced ribs of celery and a large meaty ham bone. Cover with water, bring to a boil and then simmer for about two hours.
Take the bone out of the pot, remove any meat and cut into small bite-sized pieces. Put the meat back into the pot and discard the bone. Season to taste. I use our family favorite - I will always thank my Mother-in-Law for telling me about Lawry's Seasoned Salt and Pepper - and voila, Navy Bean Soup to enjoy with lots of left overs unless an army is turning up for dinner.
Note: only one Batman band-aid was used in making this soup.
Word of caution: don't try to grate every last little nub of carrot okay? And most definitely don't grate as fast as I was grating, or at least stay away from the coffee beforehand, otherwise you might find yourself grating your knuckle! Instead, STOP when you have about an inch of carrot left and treat yourself to a nice healthy snack. BETTER STILL, use the food processor. Mine wore out and I never replaced it. I'm going to try and be a good girl this year and my grated knuckle and I will be asking Santa for one next Christmas.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
These photos aren't the best quality as they are scans of old 'film' and the quality is better when not enlarged this time.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The short, straight, chisel-like bill is especially suited for probing for insects and insect larvae, and for chipping a cavity for a nest site.
Downy Woodpeckers are cavity nesters. The female usually selects the nest site in a dead tree or branch. Excavation of the cavity, however, is mostly accomplished by the male. From 3 to 6 eggs are laid in the cavity nest, and hatch in just under two weeks. Fledged young stay with the adults for the first few weeks. More than one brood may be raised in a breeding season.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
I thought I would combine my love of bird life for this week's entry as it is indeed very much a part of 'my world'. You will often find me peering through my curtains with my camera at the ready when birds are at the feeders. Lately I have been giving them speech, and as I have this particular 'problem', the two subjects seemed to go hand in hand. I always have to be fast as these pretty birds don't stay around for long.
The idea for this post was borrowed from that lovely line,
"I don't have a short attention span, oh look a kitty!"
Another favorite quote:
"A fellow with the inventiveness of Albert Einstein but with the attention span of Daffy Duck."
Tom Shales, American Critic