Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hogmanay Piper - Newburgh, Fife ,Scotland

Hogmanay Piper

Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year (Gregorian calendar) in the Scottish manner. It is, however, normally only the start of a celebration which lasts through the night until the morning of New Year's Day (1 January) or, in some cases, 2 January which is a Scottish Bank Holiday.

P & A Royal - hanging style

A Very Happy New Year to All

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Royal

Made by Plume & Atwood Mfg. Waterbury, CT and rolling mill at Thomaston, CT.

This is a Plume and Atwood Royal lamp

One of the Kerosene Lamps I gave Jim this Christmas

Victorian "white light" lamps are a wonder to behold when lighted. They produce a beautiful white reading light while consuming little fuel. This is a Plume & Atwood Royal lamp. It is called a center draft lamp. The lamps put out a great deal more light than a flat wick kerosene lamp. Plume & Atwood produced a full line of lamps and lamp accessories. Their lamp lines included Royal, Plumbwood and Naugatuck in table, bracket and hanging versions. Plume & Atwood made gas burners, shade rings of all descriptions, filler caps, and just about any brass lamp part you could mention. Their burners included Banner, a high quality Duplex, the Moehring and Harvard burners often associated with finer student lamps, the Hornet, Nutmeg and Acorn burners often found on night lamps, and scores more. Plume and Atwood (P&A) Royal oil lamps were produced by P&A starting around 1890 and for many years thereafter. They were very popular and were sold in at least 3 sizes (junior, No. 1, and No. 2.) , and were often nickel plated to reduce maintenance of the brass finish. P&A also made parts for many other major lamp manufacturing companies (including the Aladdin burner), and they also sold lamps to department stores that re-branded them with their various store names (especially with names on the flame spreader). P&A had it's main factory in Waterbury CN, but also had big warehouses in Boston, New York, and Chicago. The Royal line evolved into other models in the early 20th century. One was the Naugatuck, which was actually made up to the 1950's, P&A also made very popular brass oil pots/fonts for use with vase lamps, and these were branded as Royal, but often P&A made these pots for Fostoria (WV) lamps. The P&A plant was eventually destroyed by a flood in 1955, along with the lamp-making equipment.

Special thanks to Mr. Mike Moore of Maryland who restored and sold me this lovely lamp and also gave me some information to share with you on Plume and Atwood.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Past Three O'Clock

Past three o'clock and a co-old frosty morning
Past three o'clock, good morrow masters all

Born is a baby, gentle as may be
So-on of the eternal, Father supernal

Past three o'clock and a co-old frosty morning
Past three o'clock, good morrow masters all

Seraph quire singeth, angel bell ringeth
Har-ark how-ow they rhyme it, time it and chime it

Past three o'clock and a co-old frosty morning
Past three o'clock, good morrow masters all

Mid earth rejoices hearing such voices
Ne'ertofore so well carolling Nowell

Past three o'clock and a co-old frosty morning
Past three o'clock, good morrow masters all

Hind o'er the pearly dewy lawn early
Seek the hi-i-igh Stranger laid in a manger

Past three o'clock and a co-old frosty morning
Past three o'clock, good morrow masters all

Cheese from thy dairy, bring it for Mary
A-and not for money, butter and honey

Past three o'clock and a co-old frosty morning
Past three o'clock, good morrow masters all

Light out the star-land leadeth from far land
Princes to meet him, worship and greet him

Past three o'clock and a co-old frosty morning
Past three o'clock, good morrow masters all

Myrrh from full coffer, incense they offer
Nor-or is the golden nugget withholden

Past three o'clock and a co-old frosty morning
Past three o'clock, good morrow masters all

Thus they I pray you, up sirs nor stay you
'Till ye-ee confess him, likewise and bless him

Past three o'clock and a co-old frosty morning
Past three o'clock, good morrow masters all...

"Past Three O'Clock" (or "Past Three A Clock") is a Christmas carol, loosely based on the traditional cry of the city night watchman:
Past three a clock,
And a cold frosty morning,
Past three a clock;
Good morrow, masters all!

The words were written by George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848–1934) to the traditional tune "London Waits". Woodward added lines to the traditional refrain in a style characteristic of his delight in archaic poetry. It was published in A Cambridge Carol Book: Being Fifty-two Songs for Christmas, Easter and Other Seasons in 1924.

Numerous variations of the carol include an arrangement by William Llewellyn as a "quodlibet" for choir: London Waits (Past Three O'clock).
Recordings of the carol include those by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, the Monteverdi Choir and the Irish group The Chieftains as heard in this video.

Popular music artistes who have recorded the carol include Linda Ronstadt on the album A Merry Little Christmas (2000).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Greetings!

Orkney Isles at Christmas

A moving and well done short film shot on location in the Orkney Isles at Christmas.

A Medieval Christmas

by Jane Gilbert

When we think of medieval Christmas, our minds are filled with images of royal banquets in halls bedecked with green, of minstrels singing festive songs, noble lords and ladies gorging themselves on roast goose. We imagine snow-topped hills, and fresh bright mornings, where the differences between rich and poor could be momentarily overlooked. Is it wrong to romanticize like this? There is evidence to suggest that our imaginations aren't far off the mark.

An Ancient Festival

The word 'Christes Maesse' surfaced in a Saxon book in 1038. But the roots of this festival stretch back much earlier. In late antiquity Christmas was not a time of revelry and fun, but instead a time for a special mass, quiet prayer and reflection. Until the fourth century, the church hadn't even fixed a date for Christmas. Eventually, Pope Julius I chose December 25th. It seems likely this was an attempt to christianize a pagan holiday that fell on that date.

Medieval folk were no strangers to Christmas excitement. William the Conqueror was crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey on Christmas day in 1066. This was such a momentous occasion that the cheering inside the Abbey made the guards outside think the king was being attacked. They ran to his assistance and the coronation ended in a riot, with people killed and houses burned.

But in Medieval times 25th December wasn't the most important date: Epiphany was celebrated with more gusto. Some people say that this day, 6th January or twelfth night, is to celebrate Christ's baptism, others that Epiphany marked the visit of the three kings bearing gifts to the baby Jesus. Some people forget that Christ was born at Christmas, but they don't forget the gift giving. While the kings may have brought gold, frankincense and myrrh instead of Nike trainers and Playstations, the tradition they started continues today.

The medieval holiday of Christmas is an amalgamation of Christian and pagan, old and new. In the pagan festival of Yule, druids blessed and burned a log and kept it burning for twelve days as part of the winter solstice. The church has its own version of this -- Candlemas, or the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin held on 2nd February. Medieval parishioners came to church with a penny and a candle to be blessed. Other candles were taken away to comfort the sick and dying or to give hope during thunderstorms. The Yule log gave the pagans a symbolic light to guide them through the harsh winter, while the Candlemas candle gave Christians solace in times of cold and hunger. The joining of these two traditions meant ordinary people could celebrate the birth of Christ and their own salvation, as well as enjoy themselves with the feasting and fun associated with pagan tradition.

But it wasn't fun for everyone. Childermass or Holy Innocents Day was on December 28th -- the day King Herod ordered the killing of all boys under the age of two in an attempt to kill Jesus. While nowadays we might expect youngsters to be playing with their new toys over the holiday season, in medieval times they were cowering in cupboards. That's because in medieval England, children were reminded of Herod's cruelty by being beaten. Many thought December 28th a day of bad luck. People were reluctant to get married on that day, or start building something and Edward IV refused to be crowned.

One example of the heady mix of Christian and pagan is the tradition of the Lord of Misrule. This was someone appointed at Christmas to be in charge of Christmas revelries, which often included drunkenness and wild parties in the tradition of Yule. Again, the church had an equivalent, called a boy bishop. This tradition seems to come from ancient Rome, from the feast of Saturnalia. During this time, the ordinary rules of life were turned upside down. Masters served their slaves, and offices of state were held by peasants. The Lord of Misrule presided over all of this and had the power to command anyone to do anything.

In the church, on January 1st's Feast of Fools, similar strangeness occurred. Priests wore masks at mass, sang lewd songs and ate sausages before the altar. It was a time of such wildness that lords often employed special guards to protect their property in case of rioting. Tenants of a manor belonging to London's St Paul's Cathedral were obliged to keep watch over the manor house, and were paid with a fire, a loaf of bread, a cooked dish and a gallon of ale -- a sumptuous Christmas dinner.

Food for Thought

But what was medieval Christmas actually like? It was certainly the longest holiday of the year, and brought with it cruelties as well as privileges. Poorer people were let off work for the festival, and sometimes were even treated to a Christmas dinner in their landlord's great hall.

If you were lucky, that is. Some manors dished out Christmas treats depending on status. One manor near Wells Cathedral in the south of England invited two 13th-century peasants -- one a large landholder and the other a small one. The first got a feast for himself and two friends, including beer, beef and bacon, chicken stew, cheese -- and even candles to light the feast with. The poorer peasant did not fare so well. He had to bring his own cup and plate. But at least he got to take home the leftovers, and he was even given a loaf of bread to share with his neighbours. This was used to play a traditional Christmas game. A bean was hidden in the loaf and the person who found it became king of the feast. This has turned into today's tradition of hiding pennies in Christmas puddings to symbolize coming riches -- even if a penny won't pay the dentistry bills for cracked teeth.

If you were higher on the social scale and were part of a knight's household, or even the royal one, you would be treated to a fabulous feast and gifts of jewels and robes. In 1482, the famously generous King Edward IV gave a spectacular Christmas gift to his people when he held a banquet that fed over two thousand people each day. Even then the pressures to give at Christmas were immense. Edward's brother, the notorious Richard III had to sell items from the Royal household, and used items from the treasury as pledges for loans in order to live up to his brother's reputation. With the money he made, Richard presented the city of London with a gold cup encrusted with jewels. He and his wife Anne spent a staggering 1200 pounds on new clothes and gifts for the court. He even licensed a merchant to bring jewels into England -- as long as he had first choice so he could give his wife impressive gifts.

But these weren't the only gifts given at Christmas. Famous medieval chronicler Matthew Paris records that in 1249 King Henry III got from London citizens 'the first gifts which the people are accustomed superstitiously to call New Year's gifts.' Portents of success for the coming year, these gifts are also related to the modern tradition of 'first footing', where the first person to set foot inside your house determined your family's fortunes for the year.

On Boxing Day, rich lords often gave their tenants a small gift, containing a moral lesson. The poor received money from their masters in hollow clay pots with a slit in the top. You had to break them to get the money out. Nicknamed 'piggies' these offerings were the earliest version of a piggy bank, although it is doubtful whether they encouraged much saving,

If you were lucky enough to be present at a noble Christmas banquet, you would have your fill of sumptuous starters and tasty treats. Medieval noblemen often had a boar's head as their main dish, served with rosemary and an apple or an orange in its mouth. In the countryside it was traditional to kill a wild boar, cutting off its head and offering it to the goddess of farming to ensure a good crop in the coming year. But if boar was elusive, you might have goose or venison. You might even be served with swan, smothered in butter and saffron -- with the King's permission, that is. (They are still royal property today.)

Less fancy tables would have to make do with whatever was left. Though not allowed to eat the best parts of the deer, a nobleman full of Christmas spirit might allow his poor tenants to have the leftovers. Known as 'umbles,' these parts were usually the heart, liver, tongue, feet, ears and brains. They were made into a pie. It's easy to see where our modern expression about having to 'eat humble pie' comes from. However, if you weren't into deer entrails, the church generously offered a fixed Christmas price of 7 pence for a ready cooked goose -- although that was about a day's wages.

Mince pies were also eaten at medieval tables. If you made a wish with your first bite people said it would come true. But don't refuse if someone offers you a pie, or you might suffer bad luck. Another big treat of the medieval table was Christmas pudding. Called 'frumenty' -- from the Latin for corn 'frumentum' -- it was made of thick porridge, wheat, currants and dried fruit. If available, eggs and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg were added.

To wash down all this rich food there were two fine festive tipples. Lambswool was a hot concoction of mulled beer with apples bobbing on the surface. There was also Church Ale, a strong brew reserved only for Christmas and sold in the churchyard or even in the church itself.

Christmas Carousing

The proximity of alcohol to the church coincides with one or two of the more lively Christmas traditions. Carols, such a staple part of today's Christmas diet, were prohibited in many European churches because they were considered lewd. They were often accompanied by dancing. The leader of the carol dance sang a verse of the carol, and a ring of dancers responded with the chorus. However, carol dances were suggestive of the fertility traditions of pagan song and dance cycles, and were thus considered too coarse for church.

A famous Christmas song of today is The Twelve Days of Christmas, where a list of presents given to the singer by their 'true love' is recounted. The gifts range from 'eleven lords a-leaping' to 'a partridge in a pear tree.' In medieval times this was a game set to music. One person sang a stanza, then another would add his own lines to the song after repeating the first person's verse. One tradition says it was a catechism memory song. It helped Catholics in post-restoration England remember facts about their faith at a time when practising it could get them killed.

Another popular form of Christmas entertainment was 'mumming'. Similar to modern English pantomimes, these were unceremonious plays without words which usually involved dressing up as a member of the opposite sex and performing comic tales. They took place throughout the twelve days of Christmas, and involved members of the troupe parading the streets and visiting houses for dancing and dicing.

Of course, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without festive decoration. A description of twelfth century London says that "every man's house, as also their parish churches, was decked with holly, ivy, bay, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green." Whilst our gaudy modern decorations would have confused a medieval person, they were still fond of a bit of greenery to brighten up the murk of winter. Christians believed that traditional Christmas plant, holly, had white berries that turned red when Christ was made to wear the crown of thorns. But holly was also important to the druids. So was mistletoe, under which we still forge romantic encounters today. Ivy, a plant associated with Bacchus, Roman god of wine and carousing, was forbidden by the church because of its immorality. (For more details, see The Holly and the Ivy, by Julia Hickey.)

The story of Christmas trees also has long roots. The oak was sacred to the druids and the Romans thought evergreens had special powers. But for both pagans and Christians, the fact that the fir tree kept its green needles throughout the ravages of winter was enough for it to earn a place as a symbol of life and renewal. This hope was vital whether you were celebrating the birth of Christ or just desperately looking forward to the first sign of spring. Even today we focus on them for Christmas merriment.

Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan government tried to ban the frivolities of Christmas and some of the more vernacular traditions which developed during medieval times. But he didn't succeed for long. Many of our modern traditions come from the early mingling of the Christian and the pagan worlds. Whilst the church secured Christmas as a truly religious Christian holiday, peasants quietly continued with the old ways. The result is the rich and eclectic mixture of old and new that characterizes Christmas today. What better way to encapsulate the spirit of Christmas than this fusion of different times, religions and peoples to make a festival that has earned its place as one of the favourites in our calendar.

Writer, teacher and psychologist, Jane Gilbert comes from Devon, England, and lives by the sea in Italy. After studying English Literature, she ran away to Brazil where she travelled extensively and cuddled sloths. She likes giraffes and curl reviver.

Friday, December 23, 2011

East Suffolk Morris Men

East Suffolk Morris Men: Border Morris: Bury St Edmunds Christmas Market

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Some thoughts on Snow in Western, NY

Today I read some complaints and rather grumpy comments on a Buffalo weather blog about snow in Western, NY. I was surprised how many of the posters were whining and crabbing about the climate in winter. This was my reply: I find snow makes me slow down and reflect and it makes me feel peaceful. It can cause me stress when taking care of my livestock and be difficult to deal with but so does extreme heat in summer cause me to become stressed. Snow is cleaning and restorative. Snow covers the mud and the depressing greys of a leafless world and gives it sparkle. Snow adds excitement and adventure and keeps us on our toes. Those who curse snow and fight with it perhaps should move someone else further south because raging against the climate is futile and bordering on the ridiculous. Snow and winter are as natural to this place as sunshine and open water in summer.

From a friend of mine....

A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives.

Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups - porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said: "Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

“The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups ... and then you began eyeing each other's cups.

“Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life,” said the professor. “The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have.
“Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us. God makes the hot chocolate, man chooses the cups. The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

And enjoy your hot chocolate.

My friend Gwen said this came from Roy Exum's column. Thanks for sharing it with me Gwen.

Loreena McKennitt - In praise of Christmas

In praise of Christmas
by Loreena McKennitt

All hail to the days that merit more praise
Than all of the rest of the year,
And welcome the nights that double delights
As well for the poor as the peer!
Good fortune attend each merry man's friend
That doth but the best that he may,
Forgetting old wrongs with carols and songs
To drive the cold winter away.

'Tis ill for a mind to anger inclined
To think of small injuries now,
If wrath be to seek, do not lend her thy cheek,
Nor let her inhabit thy brow.
Cross out thy books malevolent looks,
Both beauty and youth's decay,
And wholly consort with mirth and with sport
To drive the cold winter away.

This time of the year is spent in good cheer,
And neighbours together do meet,
To sit by the fire, with friendly desire,
Each other in love to greet.
Old grudges forgot are put in the pot,
All sorrows aside they lay;
The old and the young doth carol this song,
To drive the cold winter away.

When Christmas's tide comes in like a bride,
WIth holly and ivy clad,
Twelve days in the year much mirth and good cheer
In every household is had.
The country guise is then to devise
Some gambols of Christmas play,
Whereat the young men do best that they can
To drive the cold winter away.

Phil Thornton ~ Winter Solstice

Phil Thornton performs Winter Solstice

The winter solstice occurs exactly when the axial tilt of a planet's polar hemisphere is farthest away from the star that it orbits. Earth's maximum axial tilt to our star, the Sun, during a solstice is 23° 26'. More evident from high latitudes, a hemisphere's winter solstice occurs on the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the sun's daily maximum elevation in the sky is the lowest. Since the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, other terms are often used for the day on which it occurs, such as midwinter, the longest night or the first day of winter.

The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the winter solstice usually occurs on December 21 to 23 each year in the Northern Hemisphere, and June 20 to 23 in the Southern Hemisphere.

Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.

Of The Father's Love Begotten (Corde Natus Ex Parentis)

Of the Father's Love Begotten"
by Aurelius C. Prudentius, 413, cento
Translated by John. M. Neale, 1818-1866
and Henry W. Baker, 1821-1977

1. Of the Father's love begotten
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the Source, the Ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore.

2. Oh, that birth forever blessed
When the Virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race,
And the Babe, the world's Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face
Evermore and evermore.

3. O ye heights of heaven, adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him
And extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore.

4. This is He whom Heaven-taught singers
Sang of old with one accord;
Whom the Scriptures of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word.
Now He shines, the Long-expected;
Let creation praise its Lord
Evermore and evermore.

5. Christ, to Thee, with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
And unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #98
Text: 1 Tim. 3:16
Author: Aurelius C. Prudentius, 413, cento
Translated by: John. M. Neale, 1854 and Henry W. Baker, 1861
Titled: "Corde natus ex Parentis"
Tune: "Divinum mysterium", Plain-song tune, 12th century

Loving the Advent Season so...

'Veni, Veni, Emanuel' by Mannheim Steamroller

'Veni, Veni, Emanuel' by Mannheim Steamroller

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I love Christmas

Scholars tell us that Christmas as we know it today is a Victorian invention of the 1860s. It is probably the most celebrated holiday in the world, our modern Christmas is a product of hundreds of years of both secular and religious traditions from around the globe. Christmas has something for everyone and it does not need a name change! Christmas is so wonderful it has all these traditions woven together and always its about Joy and a celebration of life and love. Fighting about Christmas makes me very, very sad. Those who make war in the media about it are a disgrace. In Scandinavia it has always remained Yule or jul which goes back to the ancient celebration of the the winter solstice. No one has the right to mess with Christmas and try to rebrand it! It belongs to the world. In a world that is so full of discord Christmas and its message of peace and joy is a splendid thing indeed. For me the holiday centers on the birth of Jesus my light and guide. I do however take joy in the secular traditions and its earthy pagan roots as well. The cycles of the earth and the winter solstice are an important part of the tradition of Christmas. Let us all keep Christmas in our own way and remember the light and the message of peace on earth?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Chanukah 2011

Happy Chanukah! Chanukah starts on the Hebrew calendar date of 25 Kislev, and lasts for eight days. In 2011: December 20-28

Monday, December 19, 2011

Celtic Woman sing The Wexford Carol

The Wexford Carol - History

The Wexford Carol is a beloved traditional Irish Christmas carol. It is also known as "The Enniscorthy Carol", as it was originally collected by a folklorist named Grattan Flood in Enniscorthy, a town in Ireland's County Wexford, as well as "Carul Loch Garman" (the Irish translation of "Wexford Carol"). The lyrics, which are in English, date back to the 12th century. As is the case with all very old songs, the history is a bit hard to track, but it appears that the lyrics were added to the tune much later, and it is not believed that the lyrics were originally in the Irish language. Some reverse translations have been made by contemporary Irish trad musicians, but the English lyrics are actually the most traditional ones.

The Wexford Carol - Lyrics

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved son
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born

The night before that happy tide
The noble Virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town
But mark right well what came to pass
From every door repelled, alas

Sunday, December 18, 2011

4th Sunday in Advent

The welfare of the country

"Children and dogs are as necessary to the welfare of the country as Wall Street and the railroads." - Harry Truman

Thursday, December 15, 2011

John Gorka , I Heard the Bells

John Gorka (born 1958) is a contemporary American folk musician. In 1991, Rolling Stone magazine called him "the preeminent male singer-songwriter of what has been dubbed the New Folk Movement."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Christmas Bells

I HEARD the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

Written during the American Civil war, the above poem can be found in:
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Complete Poetical Works of Longfellow. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1893.
Stevenson, Burton Egbert , ed. The Home Book of Verse for Young Folks. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1915

This makes me wish I was there!

Trad music session from Railway Tavern, Camp, Co. Kerry, Ireland

It won't stop raining!

Rain, rain go away or else just turn to snow, the mud is so deep my donkey is drown and only his ears still show.

Jingle Bells on a Player Piano

James Pierpont - 1857: Jingle Bells is a song that we evidently were born knowing. Who hasn't heard a three-year old, or even a two-year old child attempt this simplistic tune at Christmas. In all truth, it is neither inherently a Christmas song, nor is the current popularized version quite like the original composition. James Pierpont was one of six children of the well known poet John Pierpont, and uncle of the well known fortune builder J. P. (James Pierpont) Morgan. During the Civil War he defied his abolitionist father's wishes and promoted the Confederate cause with anti-Yankee tunes. But that was later. Jingle Bells was allegedly composed as early as 1850. It was first published by Boston publisher Oliver Ditson in 1857 as The One Horse Open Sleigh. In the following two years it gained such popularity that it was reprinted with identical plates and a new cover sporting the title that the public had chosen for it, Jingle Bells. Not only did American music consumers and performers quickly adopt this song, but they collectively made editorial changes to the melody in the chorus, leaving the verse more or less intact. By 1900, the familiar melody we know today was well established. Bill Edwards has a recording of a cylinder made in 1902 featuring the Hayden Quartet singing the altered melody that reinforces this fact. In the performance here, Bill Edwards plays the original melody through the verse and chorus, then repeat the chorus with the original printed accompaniment. The second verse would be closer to what the public performed through the 1870's. By the third verse he's abandoned the original chorus for the popularized one, and the fourth time through he incorporates some ragtime into the mix. You may also want to take a look at the lyrics, some of which are slightly different than what we know today. For a simple tune, you've got to admit it has endured very well for a century and a half.

Jingle Bells, or the One Horse Open Sleigh
Words and Music by James Pierpont
Verse 1: Dashing thro' the snow, In a one horse open sleigh,
O'er the hills we go, Laughing all the way;
Bells on bobtail ring, Making spirits bright,
Oh what sport to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight.

Chorus: Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way;
Oh! What joy it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh.
Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way;
Oh! What joy it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh.

Piano Chorus

Verse 2: A day or two ago, I though I'd take a ride,
And soon Miss Fannie Bright was seated by my side,
The horse was lean and lank; Misfortune seemed his lot,
He got into a drifted bank, And we, we got upsot.

Chorus: Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way;
Oh! What joy it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh.
Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way;
Oh! What joy it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh.

Verse 3: A day or two ago, The story I must tell,
I went out on the snow, And on my back I fell;
A gent was riding by, In a one horse open sleigh,
He laughed as there I sprawling lie [sic], But quickly drove away.

Chorus: Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way;
Oh! What fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh.
Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way;
Oh! What fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh.

Verse 4: Now the ground is white, Go it while you're young,
Take the girls tonight, And sing this sleighing song;
Just get a bob-tailed bay, Two forty as his speed.
Hitch him to an open sleigh, And crack, you'll take the lead.

Chorus: Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way;
Oh! What fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh.
Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way;
Oh! What fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh.

Performed by Bill Edwards

Information obtained from

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Not much snow this December

Just a few small snow falls and then thaws so far this season. November was above average for temperatures and December thus far has been very mild as well. The days warm up and melt allot of the snow even when the clear nights freeze the earth again, the snow can't hold in 50F afternoon sun.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

William Dutton sings This Is The Truth Sent From Above.

The Herefordshire Christmas Carol

This is the truth sent from above,
The truth of God, the God of love:
Therefore don’t turn me from your door,
But hearken all, both rich and poor.

The first thing which I do relate
Is that God did man create,
The next thing which to you I’ll tell,
Woman was made with man to dwell.

Then, after this, ’twas God’s own choice
To place them both in Paradise,
There to remain, from evil free,
Except they ate of such a tree.

But they did eat, which was a sin,
And thus their ruin did begin.
Ruined themselves, both you and me,
And all of their posterity.

Thus we were heirs to endless woes,
Till God the Lord did interpose,
And so a promise soon did run,
That he would redeem us by his Son.

And at this season of the year
Our blest Redeemer did appear,
And here did live, and here did preach,
and many thousands he did teach.

Thus he in love to us behaved,
To show us how we must be saved;
And if you want to know the way,
Be pleased to hear what he did say:

"Go preach the Gospel," now he said,
"To all the nations that are made!
And he that does believe on me,
From all his sins I'll set him free."

O seek! O seek of God above
That saving faith that works by love!
And, if he's pleased to grant thee this,
Thou'rt sure to have eternal bliss.

God grant to all within this place
True saving faith, that special grace
Which to his people doth belong:
And thus I close my Christmas song.

Taken from English Folk-Carols by Cecil J. Sharp The Herefordshire Christmas Carol, This is the Truth Sent from Above, was one of several folk tunes preserved and popularized by Ralph Vaughan-Williams. In 1909, he transcribed it from Ella Leather, a collector of Herefordshire folk music, who had herself recieved it from a Mr W Jenkins, a folk singer from Kings Pyon.

The text recalls the fall from grace of Adam, and the promise of redemption by Jesus.

An Earthly Tree by William Byrd

An Earthly Tree : The Choir of Magdalen College Chapel, Oxford

An Earthly Tree by William Byrd

An earthly tree a heavenly fruit it bear,
A case of clay contained a crown immortal
A crown of crowns, a King whose cost and care
Redeemed poor man, whose race before was thrall
To death, to doom, to pains of everlasting,
By His sweet death, scorns, stripes, and often fasting.

A star above the stars, a sun of light,
Whose blessed beams this wretched earth bespread
With hope of heaven and of God's Son the sight,
Which in our flesh and sinful soul lay dead.
O faith, O hope, O joys renowned for ever,
O lively life that deathless shall persever.

Then let us sing the lullabys of sleep
To this sweet babe, born to awake us all
From drowsy sin that made old Adam weep,
And by his fault gave to mankind the fall.
For lo! this day, the birth day, day of days,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 6th is Saint Nicholas Day

St.Nicholas was born a Greek in Asia Minor during the third century in the Greek city of Patara which was a port on the Mediterranean Sea and lived in Myra, Lycia (part of modern-day Demre Turkey), at a time when the region was Greek in its heritage, culture and outlook and was part of the Roman province of Asia. He was the only son of wealthy Christian parents named Epiphanius (Ἐπιφάνιος) and Johanna (Ἰωάννα) according to some accounts and Theophanes (Θεοφάνης) and Nonna (Νόννα) according to others. He was very religious from an early age and according to legend, Nicholas was said to have rigorously observed the canonical fasts of Wednesdays and Fridays. His wealthy parents died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young and he was raised by his uncle—also named Nicholas—who was the bishop of Patara. He tonsured the young Nicholas as a reader, and later as presbyter (priest). Nicholas also spent a period at a monastery named Holy Sion, which had been founded by his uncle.

He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, itself from a series of elisions and corruptions of the transliteration of "Saint Nikolaos". His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints. In 1087, his relics were furtively translated to Bari, in southeastern Italy; for this reason, he is also known as Nikolaos of Bari. His feastday is 6 December [O.S. 19 December].

Monday, December 5, 2011

Decorating for Christmas on Sunday.

I did a little outside decorating for Christmas on Sunday.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ed Miller, The Last Trip Home

A've aye worked on farms an frae the start
The muckle horses won my heart
Wi big broad backs they proudly stand
The uncrowned kings o' a' the land
And yet for a' their power and strength
They're as gentle as a summer's wind

Chorus (after each verse):
So steady, boys, walk on
Oor work is nearly done
Nor more we'll till or plough the fields
The horses' day is gone
An' this will be our last trip home
So steady, boys, walk on

Now you'll hear men sing their songs of praise
Of Arab stallions in a race
Or hunters that fly wi' the hounds
Tae chase the fox and run him down
But none o' them compare, I vow
Tae a workin' pair that pulls a plough

And a' the years I've plied my trade
And a' the fields we've ploughed and laid
I never thought I'd see the time
When a Clydesdale's work wid ever end
But progress runs its driven course
And tractors hae replaced the horse

As we head back, oor friends have lined
The road tae be there one last time
For nane of them would want tae miss
The chance tae see us pass like this
They'll say they saw in years tae come
The muckle horses' last trip home

Flower of Scotland

O flower of Scotland
When will we see your like again
That fought and died for
Your wee bit hill and glen
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

The hills are bare now
And autumn leaves lie thick and still
O'er land that is lost now
Which those so dearly held
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

Those days are passed now
And in the past they must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again
That stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

O Flower of Scotland - Scotland's (unofficial) National Anthem.
The Flower of Scotland, written by Roy Williamson of The Corries

Happy Saint Andrews Day!

Music & Lyrics by Dougie MacLean. Published by Limetree Arts and Music

I don't know if you can see the changes that have come over me
In these last few days I've been afraid that I might drift away
So I've been telling old stories, singing songs that make me think about where I came from
And that's the reason why I seem so far away today

Ah but let me tell you that I love you and I think about you all the time
Caledonia you're calling me and now I'm going home
But if I should become a stranger you know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia's been everything I've ever had

I have moved and kept on moving proved the points that I needed proving
Lost the friends that I needed losing found others on the way
I have tried and I've kept on trying stolen dreams, yes there's no denying*
I have travelled hard, sometimes with conscience flying somewhere in the wind

Now I'm sitting here before the fire, the empty room, the forest choir
The flames that couldn't get any higher they've withered, now they've gone
But I'm steady thinking, my way is clear and I know what I will do tomorrow
When the hands have shaken and the kisses flow Oh I will disappear

Ode Written On The First Of December

by Robert Southey

Written on the FIRST of DECEMBER, 1793.

Tho' now no more the musing ear
Delights to listen to the breeze
That lingers o'er the green wood shade,
I love thee Winter! well.

Sweet are the harmonies of Spring,
Sweet is the summer's evening gale,
Pleasant the autumnal winds that shake
The many-colour'd grove.

And pleasant to the sober'd soul
The silence of the wintry scene,
When Nature shrouds her in her trance

Not undelightful now to roam
The wild heath sparkling on the sight;
Not undelightful now to pace
The forest's ample rounds;

And see the spangled branches shine,
And mark the moss of many a hue
That varies the old tree's brown bark,
Or o'er the grey stone spreads.

The cluster'd berries claim the eye
O'er the bright hollies gay green leaves,
The ivy round the leafless oak
Clasps its full foliage close.

So VIRTUE diffident of strength
Clings to RELIGION'S firmer aid,
And by RELIGION'S aid upheld
Endures calamity.

Nor void of beauties now the spring,
Whose waters hid from summer sun
Have sooth'd the thirsty pilgrim's ear
With more than melody.

The green moss shines with icey glare,
The long grass bends its spear-like form,
And lovely is the silvery scene
When faint the sunbeams smile.

Reflection too may love the hour
When Nature, hid in Winter's grave,
No more expands the bursting bud
Or bids the flowret bloom.

For Nature soon in Spring's best charms
Shall rise reviv'd from Winter's grave.
Again expand the bursting bud,
And bid the flowret bloom.

Robert Southey (12 August 1774 – 21 March 1843) was an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the so-called "Lake Poets", and Poet Laureate for 30 years from 1813 to his death in 1843. Although his fame has been long eclipsed by that of his contemporaries and friends William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Southey's verse still enjoys some popularity.

*paintings by GEORGE MORLAND (1763-1804)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

The whole of life

"You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

The season of Advent has begun, the season of waiting.

Advent (from the Latin adventus meaning "coming") is a liturgical season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. Advent marks the beginning of the Western liturgical year and begins on Advent Sunday, the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, Dec. 25. For Christians, the season of Advent serves as a reminder both of the original waiting by Israelites for the birth of the Messiah, and the waiting by Christians for the return of Christ. The most famous hymn of Advent is "O Come Emmanuel." Its lyrics, based on the Prophet Isaiah, articulate the hopeful anticipation of the Advent season:

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Originally observed as a time of fasting and penitence, the emphasis of the season of Advent is one of expectation and anticipation for the coming Messiah. The season of Advent starts out in a sombre tone and for the first two weeks, purple and blue are the primary colors used in church. On the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (gaudete means rejoice) pink or rose are the primary colors used. This shift in color symbolizes change in emphasis from expectation to celebration.

In 2011, the Advent season begins on Nov. 27, 2011 and ends on Dec. 24, 2011. The Eastern Churches' equivalent of Advent, Nativity Fast, is 40 days long and began on Nov. 15, 2011.

The themes of the Advent season are Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. Lighting of candles, especially the circular Advent wreath with five candles is an important tradition of the Advent season. Each Sunday of Advent, one of four candles is lit -- with the final candle, the Christ Candle, being lit on Christmas Eve.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wonderful Video about Dog Breeds

The insanity has begun...

I am buying only hand made or made in USA this year for gifts. Sorry about the add with this. The video cartoon is worth watching.

LAU "Wintermoon" 2009

LAU - (Kris Drever, Martin Green, Aidan O'Rourke) Words Kris Drever / Music Drever/Green/O'Rourk


Thursday, November 24, 2011

A National day of Thanksgiving

During the American Revolution in the 1770s the Continental Congress suggested a national day of thanksgiving. In 1817, the state of New York adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom, and many states soon followed. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a day of Thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November. Some historians believe the day was chosen that is might be a remembrance of the anchoring of the Mayflower at Cape Cod in November 1620.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Song - Mary Chapin Carpenter

The Holidays in 2011

Chanuka falls late this year it is close to Christmas which is cool. 2011: December 20-28. What is also really cool is December 22 is a Solstice Day in 2011. Kwanzaa is December 26 to January 1 each year. The holidays are in alignment. PEACE!

Ode to Autumn

By John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,---
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

First Snow Along the Hudson River 1959

First Snow Along the Hudson River 1959 by Régis François Gignoux (1816–1882). Gignoux was a French painter who was active in the United States from 1840 to 1870. He was born in Lyon, France and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under the French historical painter Hippolyte Delaroche, who inspired Gignoux to turn his talents toward landscape painting. Gignoux arrived in the United States from France in 1840 and eventually opened a studio in Brooklyn, New York. He was a member of the National Academy of Design, and was the first president of the Brooklyn Art Academy. George Inness and John LaFarge (1835–1910) were both his students. By 1844, Gignoux had opened a studio in New York City and became one the first artists to join the famous Tenth Street Studio, where other members included Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Church, Jasper Francis Cropsey, and John Frederick Kensett. He returned to France in 1870 and died in Paris in 1882.

Holidays are for joy, not pollitical correctness

It's not yet even Thanksgiving here in the States and a friend has begun the rancorous debate on another page about saying happy holidays vs. Merry Christmas. It's a shame we have all fallen for this political correctness bullshit. If someone says happy Hanuka to me I will return the greeting. If they say happy Yule or solstice I will return the greeting. Most of my friends are agnostic and many still say Merry Christmas, it's just not something that should polarize people in my humble opinion. The holidays are supposed to be joyful. What ever you say to express your joy this holiday season you can count on me to NOT be offended and to share in your joy. Fighting about holidays is painfully sad. So many people are offended because they want to be offended. They look for things to become angry over in an attempt to get attention or so they can react and create drama. It never fails to amaze me how many people live for the adrenaline rush they get from fighting with everyone around them. Let us all put aside our petty differences now and look for common ground and a way to peace during the holidays and keep that alive in the new year as well? PAX

Monday, November 21, 2011

George Henry Durrie

John Schulter, after a painting by George Henry Durrie, 1867. George Henry Durrie is the artist behind many of the Currier and Ives prints we all know so well.

George Henry Durrie (1820-1863)

Connecticut Painter of Rural Genre Scenes

By Amy Spencer

George Durrie is best known for his winter landscapes, which were popularized when the firm Currier & Ives published them as prints.

George Henry Durrie was a nineteenth century artist who developed a unique expression for the depiction of winter farmyards and landscapes. Durrie produced around 300 paintings over the course of his career. The earliest of these works were portraits however, by the early 1850s, Durrie had begun to focus increasingly on painting rural genre scenes and winter landscapes of New England. These winter scenes are considered his finest achievements.

Most of what is known about Durrie’s painting career has been learnt through his account books (1839-1852) and from a diary he kept from January 1, 1845 to July 1, 1846. The account books document Durrie’s commissions, sales, and exhibitions, while Durrie’s brief diary offers insight into his personal affairs and interests.

Durrie was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1820. His father was an emigrant from England and his mother was a descendant of Governor William Bradford, a Mayflower pilgrim who became a leader of the Separatist settlers in Plymouth Colony.

In 1839, Durrie and his older brother John began taking painting lessons from Nathaniel Jocelyn, a renowned New Haven portraitist and Honorary Member of the National Academy of Design. Durrie studied with Jocelyn for two years. During these formative years Durrie’s account books indicate he was already taking commissions to paint portraits.

Much of Durrie’s early career was spent as an itinerant painter, traveling over the countryside in search of portrait commissions in smaller towns and rural areas. In 1839, Durrie traveled to Hartford and Bethany, Connecticut, and then from 1840 to 1841, he worked in Naugatuck and Meriden, Connecticut, and in Freehold and Keyport, New Jersey.

Throughout his life Durrie had a strong interest in the church and its music. He played violin and bass viol, and often sung in church choirs. His diary reveals it was not unusual for Durrie to attend church three or four times each Sunday. While painting in Bethany, Durrie attended rehearsals for the Episcopal Choir where he met Sarah A. Perkins. Durrie and Perkin married on September 14th, 1841. The couple had a son, George, in 1842.

After getting married, Durrie and his wife lived briefly in Monmouth County, New Jersey, before settling in New Haven. Under the patronage of Judge James S. Lawrence, Durrie painted many portraits throughout the year of 1842. His account book shows at this time his portraits were between five to fifteen dollars each. To supplement his income, Durrie did other painting jobs such as altering portraits, varnishing, and even painting decorative motifs on window shutters.

Durrie first showed his works in public exhibitions in 1843. His exhibited a portrait at the National Academy of Design in New York City, and two portraits at the New Haven Horticultural Society. The following year Durrie exhibited five more works at the State House in New Haven. One of these works was his first recorded winter scene. Durrie sent another winter landscape, The Sleighing Party, to the National Academy in 1845.

In January 1845, Durrie left his wife and child to travel to Claverack and Hudson in New York. Later in the year he moved to Petersburg, Virginia where he remained for six months painting portraits. Durrie’s second son, Benjamin, was born in 1847. His only daughter, Mary, was born in 1852.

By the 1850s, Durrie’s local reputation had started to grow and he was established enough to give up his itinerant lifestyle, setting up a permanent studio at 5 Marble Block in New Haven. In 1853, Durrie had a house built on Temple Street where he lived with his family for the rest of his life. During this time Durrie began to specialize more in rural landscapes, as demonstrated by a public sale of his works in 1854. An advertisement in the New Haven Daily Register reads: “Having engaged for a few months past in painting a number of choice Winter Scenes, [G. H. Durrie] would offer them at public sale to the admirers of the fine arts… It is needless to add that no collection of pictures is complete without one or more Winter Scenes.”1 Durrie exhibited two more winter scenes at the National Academy in 1857.

Durrie’s landscapes are characterized by pale yet bright colors and by the repeated use of certain motifs, such as an isolated farmhouse, a road running diagonally through the composition, and a hill in the distance. They are appreciated for their freshness and originality, and are quite distinct from the predominately summer scenes produced by Durrie’s contemporaries in the Hudson River School.

In 1861 the printmaking firm Currier & Ives further popularized Durrie’s work through publishing two lithographs of his winter landscapes, New England Winter Scene (1858) and the Farmyard in Winter (untraced). Two more of Durrie’s works were published in 1863 and a further six after his death. The last print to be published was Home to Thanksgiving (unknown) in 1867. It depicts a young man, having returned home by sled, being greeted by his family on the front porch of their home. It has become one of the most Durrie’s most iconic images.

Durrie died at his home on October 15th, 1863.

Durrie had a modest reputation during his lifetime, however after his death the Currier and Ives prints ensured Durrie’s works were kept in the pubic eye. Since the 1930s, Durrie has been increasingly recognized for his paintings following posthumous recognition in books, articles, and numerous one-man exhibitions. Most of his paintings remain in private collections however important examples can be viewed in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, the New York Historical Society, and the Fine Arts Museum in Boston.

Barnyard Friends by Lucy Ann Leavers

Lucy Ann Leavers was a 19th Century British artist born in Nottingham. She flourished from 1887 through 1898, is best known for her paintings of genre scenes and animals. Often painting in a large scale, her work is characterized by a highly finished style and her choice of compositions, which often put animals in amusing situations. She exhibited seven works at the Royal Academy between 1887 and 1898.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christ the King Sunday

Today is Christ the King Sunday. Christ the King is a title of Jesus based on several passages of Scripture. It is used by most Christians. The Roman Catholic Church, together with many Protestant denominations, including the Anglican Churches, Presbyterians, Lutherans and Methodists, celebrate the Feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday of the liturgical year (before a new year begins with the First Sunday of Advent, the earliest date of which is 27 November). The Feast of Christ the King is thus on the Sunday that falls between 20 and 26 November, inclusive. Originally, the liturgical calendar had this feast on the last Sunday of October prior to All Saints Day, where it is still celebrated in the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite. The title "Christ the King" is also frequently used as a name for churches, schools, seminaries, hospitals and religious institutes.

A Sat in late November

We had a very warm day here for late November. It got up to the 50sF. Tonight the wind is picking up but the view of stars tonight is just wonderful , the sky is mostly clear but there are some high clouds to the southeast and east and a spooky little moon hiding under the blankets.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November Snow

by Joseph Pacheco

The first to fall is the first to go.
Earth wears its mantle damp and chill —
Patina of November snow.

Leaves raged with fire just days ago —
Now grays, ash browns, pale yellows tell
The first to fall are the first to go.

Remains of harvest in desolate row
Brace for the final winter kill
Beneath their shroud of November snow.

The rakes now dry, the plow and hoe
Await Spring’s promise to fulfill —
The first to fall are the first to go.

Lit by the sky’s anemic glow
The pines are standing stiff and still,
Defiant of November snow.

In barns of silence wait those who know
What lies beneath the fields they till —
The first to fall are the first to go,
Together with November snow.

©2007, Joseph Pacheco

Joseph Pacheco is a 76 year old Nuyorican, retired NYC school superintendent living on Sanibel Island, Florida. He began writing poetry at 70, and has published two books of poetry: The First of the Nuyoricans/Sailing to Sanibel and Alligator in the Sky. Two of his poems appear in our other seasonal anthologies: “Cold Winter Morn in Florida” in the winter collection, and “Dejection on a Florida Summer Afternoon” in the summer collection.

The snow has returned

Cati the Cardigan Welsh Corgi has found one of the last apples that just fell off our tree.

The fence looks just right to me now.

The posts are cut down now to the same height except the one we left high for a bracket for the bird feeder. I think it looks much more balanced now. I am very pleased with Jim's handiwork.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Freedom for the Corgis.

Cati and Jack love their fenced in yard. They now can go outside any time without being on a leash!

The Rams Horn

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