What plant colored a rebellion? – Plants that Changed History

In light of the Scottish history and traditions that fill the valleys and coves of the Blue Ridge Mountains, I thought the following was interesting. To learn more about the history of tartans follow the link…What plant colored a rebellion? – Plants that Changed History: “Six colors used in the dyeing of thread came from a single plant, the elder (Sambucus nigra Linnaeus). Of the elder dyes, Mrs. Grieve wrote ‘The bark of the older branches has been used in the Scotch Highlands as an ingredient in dyeing black, also the root. The leaves yield, with alum, a green dye and the berries dye blue and purple, the juice yielding with alum, violet; with alum and salt, a lilac colour.’ (A Modern Herbal, Mrs. Grieve, 1931, reprinted 1996 Barnes & Noble Books)”

Just Vote!

I think anyone who has read my post would know my political leaning, but that’s beside the point. Today’s lesson in democracy is Go Vote. This really is one of those things where if you don’t use it, you lose it.

What were the virtues of borage? – Herbal Folklore

I started reading KillerPlants a long tme ago, and still I find the daily emails informative. I discovered Borage quite a while ago also, and the flavoe of the flowers is still a delight ever time I taste one…
What were the virtues of borage? – Herbal Folklore: “Cool-tankard is now commonly known as borage (Borago officinalis Linnaeus). In A Modern Herbal (1931), Mrs. Grieve explains the use, ‘When steeped in water, it imparts a coolness to it and a faint cucumber flavour, and compounded with lemon and sugar in wine,…it makes a refreshing and restorative summer drink. It was formerly always an ingredient in cool tankards of wine and cider.'”

Sunday Afternoon Walk

At this time of the year a walk through the woods behind my house is a real experience. Your main problem is fighting off the blood sucking flying insects this part of the country can be overrun with after a few good rains. If you make the effort though you’ll have some surprises. Although green is still the predominate color around here, yellows and browns are beginning to show their coming prominence. As you wander around you will occasionally come across the brilliant reds and maroons of later in the season.

  
The dichotomy of fall in southeast Texas within fifty miles of the Gulf of Mexico is best explained by the act that as some leaves show their fall colors, flowers are blooming in great abundance. Most of the blooms are small and you really have to look for them.

 
This is wild Lantana…

from “Lantana”:
Wild lantanas are hairy and often prickly-stemmed. If rubbed and bruised, their leaves usually have a pungent odor. Verbena-like flowers are formed in clusters from the leaf axils or at the ends of branches. The small, berry-like fruits contain seeds. In some regions, Texas included, lantanas grow wild as weeds, chiefly spread by birds that are very fond of their juicy fruits. The species name for the native L. horrida, refers to the pungent odor of the crushed leaves.

In my family this plant is known as “Stinkweed” because of the odor.

  
These little yellow jewels are not known to me by name. They are beginning to be harder to find as I walk around. Earlier in the year they were much more common.

 
Even this late in the year you can find some honeysuckle blooms along the edges of the wood in protected nooks. In spring it is the aroma of honeysuckle that lets you know that summer is on the way.

 
My Red Oak still is predominantly green, but I did find this leaf changing color. Most of our oaks are in the process of dropping a few brown leaves a day and will continue doing so for the next month or so.

 
And then there is my so confused Apple tree. It does this every year, waits until the end of fall and tries to set blooms and fruit. I knew when I planted these tree we were really too far south for apples, but I had to try. I manage to get a few small apples every year and every year they bloom again in the fall…

 

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Fall Sunset

  

About the only fall color around these parts is found when the setting sun paints the trees with that wash of oranges, reds, and yellows. The above view caught my eye last evening as I looked out the kitchen door. The trees are across Mustang Bayou from my house and a few hundred feet south of here I sit writing on this blog. The trees are still mostly green here even as they start to fall to the ground. The trees above are more of a yellow green in full light, but last evening under that setting sun they just glowed…

We enjoyed a few days of beautiful fall weather last week which is now changing into our normal warm and muggy with a chance of rain…Duh, seems like the way we spend our year. I guess I shouldn’t complain, the doors and windows are open and the sounds of the birds and wind chimes aren’t too distracting from the Sunday morning talk shows.

Speaking of the Sunday shows…How about those Democrats? Boy, nobody thought they would look this good at this point in the election season. Kinda’ makes you wonder what may happen tomorrow…Does anyone really think the Republicans don’t have a ace in the hole? They have already managed in 2004 to convince us that exit polls used around the world to check for the honesty of elections don’t have any bearing in America anymore. What are we going to buy into next? We already bought into the tall tale that Republicans keep us safer as they try to scare the hell out of us.

I guess the only thing I want to say is everyone go out and vote on Tuesday. As you stand in line waiting to cast your vote just reflect on the past decade and decide if you feel safer and better off than ten years ago. Do you feel like your leaders really reflect your values? What ever the answer, just vote your conscious…

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Study: Red wine cuts high-fat diet dangers in mice | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

So maybe Marie Antoinette had it right when she said “let them eat cake”. Pour me a glass with that cupcake please…
Study: Red wine cuts high-fat diet dangers in mice | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle: “Huge amounts of a red wine extract seemed to help obese mice eat a high-fat diet and still live a long and healthy life, suggests a new study that some experts are calling ‘landmark’ research.

The big question is, can it work the same magic in humans?

Scientists say it’s far too early to start swilling barrels of red wine. But some are calling the latest research promising and even ‘spectacular.'”

Good Morning Cyberspace…

Happy day after Halloween, otherwise known as November 1.

Have a cup of Joe and sit a spell as we wonder through the headlines from the mornings email updates. For those of you wondering where I get the time for these morning musings, let me say a few things about how my morning goes…Teenage daughter, school, and bathroom, enough said? That combination usually means I have about an hour in the morning for putting together these wanders through my slowly awakening brain cells as the coffee meanders into the veins.

After glancing at the mornings comments from the “Decider” I decided to forbear measuring for new drapes for another week. I wouldn’t want to give anyone new ammunition to chunk at the “loyal opposition party”. Not that anyone in this administration has really needed actual evidence to back up their statements about much of anything.

I also see the story from yesterday is still trying to float up into the national awareness. Another foodborne disease outbreak, and it seems that even though the E. coli outbreak has been contained we still don’t have a clue as to where it came from according to the following news story…

CDC Investigating Salmonella Outbreak – washingtonpost.com:
“Illness linked to produce is a growing concern among food safety experts as Americans consume more fresh fruits and vegetables, on the recommendation of the federal government. Consumers are now more likely to get sick from a produce-related outbreak than from any other food source, said Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety for the CSPI.

Every year, about 76 million people contract foodborne illnesses in the United States. About 325,000 of those cases require hospitalization, and 5,000 people die.”

Folks, did you catch the significance of that figure? Over a quarter of the population each year is made ill from the food they eat. It all goes back to our corporate industrial food supply. With more and more of the food supply passing through fewer and fewer processing locations we are asking for disaster. To me this is a Homeland Security issue the government just wants to keep quite. I guarantee you I am just as bad as most of America when it comes to buying locally grown produce. I couldn’t even tell you how much of the produce sold at my local farm stand is local.

I just saw this from Garrison…

Early retirement | Salon.com:
“Nov. 1, 2006 | It took me an hour to turn the clocks back an hour, coordinating all the watches and digital alarm clocks and oven clock and kitchen clock and car clocks to Central Standard Time, during which a man starts to question the entire concept of promptitude, meetings, appointments, etc., which leads to thoughts of retirement, the End of the Trail, Old Paint, the part of your life when it doesn’t matter so much if it’s 9:30 or 10:05, or even if its Tuesday or Saturday, when you drift along as most mammals do, eating when hungry, sleeping when sleepy, and meeting whoever you meet whenever you meet them.”

Lord I know that feeling these days, you drag yourself in to do what you have always done…But, you are beginning to here the words from the song run through your head…”Is that all there is?”. This piece of Garrison’s leads to ruminations on retirement. This of course must lead to thoughts of the coming retirement of the “Leader of the Once (Sometime?) Free World”. His closing is classic:

“Washington is a city where a bill to relax air-pollution standards would be called the Clean Air Act and a bill to protect government officials from war-crimes prosecution would be called the Military Commissions Act, and so a man’s statement that he knows who he is and who his friends are needs to be taken as meaning the opposite, a cry for help. You come to office as a uniter and you wind up doing the opposite. You stand for American values and you wind up defending torture and the waste of resources. Knowing who you are is a minimal adult requirement, and you don’t get there by being an object of attention. Retirement is recommended. The sooner the better.”

Time to run on down the road…maybe later…