On one particular day, beneath the mosque's 130-foot diameter dome, Nahide Buyukkaymakci instructs a worker on how to hang dozens of blown-glass rain drops from an asymmetrical bronze and Plexiglas chandelier.And all I could think was: Oh god, that would be so hard to clean.
The glass drops are inspired by a prayer that says Allah's light should fall on you like rain, Buyukkaymakci explains.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Once at the park, Leah decorated her rocket with stickers and markers:
All the parents were wondering how the rockets would be lauched. See the contraption below? A hose and an air compressor are routed through the same line, which is attached to a foot pedal. The spout of the 2 liter is screwed onto the nozzle of the water/air hose. The group counts down -- 3, 2, 1 -- and the Girl Scout slams her foot onto the pedal. For anyone who has never actually experienced this, I cannot emphasize how amazingly freaking fast and high these things fly. They then turn right around and come crashing down to the ground. It is a most spectacular display.
I wish I had a picture of a rocket in mid-air, but they shot up much too fast for me to even try, and once they reached their peak and paused for just a moment before dropping back down, they were too far up in the air to be snapped.
Upon landing, pieces of Leah's rocket flew off in all directions, but the kind lady with the tape assisted in putting it all back together again.
So that was how Saturday started.
Now, there are a great many rabbits where we live, so I assumed they had spotted a regular old brown rabbit with a cute little white tail off in the woods behind Paw Paw's house. I was wrong. This rabbit was gray and white, and was coming within inches of the children. This was not a wild rabbit. This was somebody's pet. And I'm guessing you can guess whose pet he ended up being.
Here he is, in our living room, eating an apple:
We're going to try to determine whether he already belongs to somebody, but, sadly, odds are that he was intentionally released. Which is okay, because he's just about the cutest thing you ever did see, and we're happy to have him.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Wagon Weight List
And now back to Hayden, where Neal and I went to the Great Pumpkin Patch to pick ourselves a great big pumpkin.
I'm not sure there's much distinction between big orange pumpkins and big orange balls. I had to keep reminding him not to throw, roll, or stand on the pumpkin, lest it become pumpkin mush.
It was surprisingly cold and overcast given the weather of the past week. Neither Neal nor the ponies seemed to mind.
The chosen one.
Pumpkins were once pollinated by squash bees, but now mostly by honey bees. The decline of the native squash bee is likely a result of pesticide sensitivity, which is particularly troublesome given the recent increase among honey bees of Colony Collapse Disorder, also thought to be at least in part related to pesticide use. Look people: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I LOVE me some pumpkin pie, so quit poisoning everything already, okay?
After the pony ride, the wagon ride, the jumper, the hay maze, the petting zoo, the patch, and lunch, we were tuckered out and ready to fetch Leah from school. I love this Charlie Brown time of year.
Monday, October 13, 2008
I can't complain about not being in any of the pictures -- here is my arm in the side view mirror of an otherwise lovely scene.
I used to ride for miles and miles at Oak Mountain and all over Southside, but it had been so long since I'd ridden my bike that Lee had to put olive oil on the chain. And I can attest to the fact that you use your muscles differently when you ride versus when you run. While I can run ten miles without feeling any soreness in my calves, I am still feeling the bike rides.
Between riding and fishing, we ventured to the Swiss Pantry, a Mennonite bakery in nearby Belvidere, Tenn. It's stocked with bread, cookies, candies, preserves, and cheese, to name but a few of the yummilicious things we found there.
We noticed there are also quite a few Amish establishments in this area. My understanding is that Mennonite and Amish are two branches of the same Protestant Anabaptist church. The main difference is not so much what they believe as how they practice their beliefs. The separatist Amish shun the world, while Mennonites live simply but without separation. Whatever -- they can bake, is what I'm saying.
On Sunday, again between bike riding and fishing, we found Falls Mill, a water-powered grain mill in Belvidere. The water wheel is huge, and powers many smaller, belted gears inside. Leah has an Eric Carle book called Pancakes Pancakes, about a boy named Jack who wants pancakes for breakfast. His mother instructs him to gather the wheat, take it to the miller, gather the firewood, put it in the stove, fetch the jam, and so on, until the pancakes are finally ready to eat. It was nice to see her connect the mill to the book, and both she and Neal were so excited to watch the water spin the wheel that spins the gear that spins another and another, and so on.
In addition to gears and grains, the mill also has several old spinning wheels, looms, broom presses, and a working nickelodeon. And, they sell their flours, meals, and grits, so of course we came home with a bag full of stone ground grits!
We returned today, stopping at Ave Maria Grotto on the way, where Brother Joseph Zoettl created miniature reproductions of many of the world's most famous buildings. He incorporated marble, glass, beads, jewelry, and shells into his work.
I especially like the dragon (above) peeking out from under the Castle of the Fairies (below).
A good example of the Brother's fondness for shells. He was well suited for this kind of craftmanship: maimed in an accident, he was a hunchback whose miniatures required an attention to detail perhaps best acheived by hunching over his work.
The Tower of Babel.
More to come. Right now I'm gonna go snack on some Mennonite cheese.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
We're investing in a bigger wood burning stove, so we wanted to be certain the floor would support the weight. Harry, who rents our old house in the city, drove up to help Lee bolster the house. Leah and Neal played together nicely while I napped after a nine mile run. Every now and then I heard voices drifting from under the house, and then, suddenly, I heard rather loud, rather freaked out sounding voices. Fearing the worst (whatever that was), I quickly shifted from halfway asleep to fully awake and began mentally listing the things it could be. I will not list those things here. They are too weird. As it happens, the thing it was is pretty weird, too. There are hundreds -- hundreds -- of big, old, glass jars beneath the house.
Back in the day, there was no garbage service (we were actually quite relieved to learn that we have it now), no way of storing that many jars inside for re-use, and no way of disposing of any excess. It's possible they were using the crawl space as a root cellar, in which case they would have stored vegetables and preserves there. I've been reading about root cellars lately -- perhaps it's something we can add to our long list of homesteading to-do's.
There was too much other work to do to add fruit jar removal to the list, and we don't have enough storage space above ground, so we'll leave them be for now, saving the excavation for another day.