Friday, March 5, 2021

THIS MONTH'S QUIZ - ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY'S QUESTIONS

  

Which U.S. City is known as the City of Brotherly Love?  

Philadelphia.  "Philadelphia is called "The City of Brotherly Love" because it was founded by people who followed the Quaker religion (actually called the Society of Friends).  These people were pacifists and dedicated to peace and love.  They actually openly and honestly bought land from the Native Americans.  They were also the first organized group in the Thirteen Colonies to oppose slavery."


Ludwig Van Beethoven was born in 1770 in which city?

Bonn.  

Bonn is a city on the banks of the Rhine, in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.  Beethoven was the grandson of Ludwig van Beethoven (1712-1773), a musician.  Beethoven's parents were Johann and Maria Magdalena Keverich and was one of seven children. There is no actual date of birth recorded but his baptism took place on December 17th, 1770.  His father Johann was his first musical teacher.  You can read more if you click on his name above.


What is the most expensive home in the world?

Buckingham Palace.

The world's most valuable residence is thought to be Buckingham Palace, home of Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, worth $1.55 billion.  The Queen doesn't own the palace, it is held in trust (The above is from a September 17th, 2020 article).

Originally known as Buckingham House, the building at the core of today's palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703, on a site that had been in private ownership for at least 150 years.  

It was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and became known as The Queen's House.  

During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, who constructed three wings around a central courtyard.  

Buckingham Palace became the London residence of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.  

The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and 20th centuries, including the East Front, which contains the well-known balcony on which the British royal family traditionally congregates to greet  crowds.  

Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms, including 52 bedrooms for the royals and their guests, 188 bedrooms for staff, 78 bathrooms and 92 offices.  That's in addition to 19 staterooms - among them a state dining room, a music room and, an obvious necessity for any sitting monarch, a throne room.  The ballroom is a more recent addition, built by Queen Victoria in time to celebrate the end of the Crimean War in 1856.  The palace's gardens cover some 40 acres.  

And I could go on and on and on, but you can find this information at the above link and also here.


Which mammal has no vocal cords?

Giraffe.  

Giraffes do have a larynx (voice box), but perhaps they couldn't produce sufficient airflow through their 13-foot long (4 meter) trachea to vibrate their vocal cords and make noises.  The researchers suspected the reason no one heard giraffe communication was because the sound frequency was too low for human ears to hear.

In 2016 scientists made a blockbuster discovery about the world's tallest land mammals, in that giraffes actually came in four different species.  Previously, scientists thought that giraffes all belonged to one species, with many subspecies, but this assumption has been overturned.  The four species of giraffes are the Southern Giraffe, the Northern Giraffe, the Maasai Giraffe and the Reticulated Giraffe.

Other interesting facts about the giraffe can be found here.


What type of music has been known to help plants grow faster?

Classical.

The scientific research conducted on the relationship between music and plant growth has generated a consensus about the best type of music to choose for increasing plant growth.  The genre itself isn't as important as the rhythm and harmony found within the music.  Thus, classical music is often selected by growers who wish to play music for their plants, while other genres like heavy metal aren't as popular.


What is the rarest M & M color?

Brown.  No explanation was given when the company - Mars - was contacted.  It is a mystery.  If you ever find out the answer to that, let me know and I will update this paragraph.

Did you know that Spanish Civil War soldiers provided the inspiration for this candy?  Forrest Mars Sr., son of the Mars candy company founder, had a falling out with his illustrious father, and in 1932 went to England to try and go it alone in the confectionary business.  The story goes that on a visit to Spain during the country's civil war, he observed soldiers eating chocolate candies encased in a hard, sugary shell.  This was a revelation to Mars who, like any good candy maker, knew that chocolate sales plummeted during the summertime, for obvious reasons.  He may also have copied the idea from English candy maker Rowntree's of York who came out with Smarties, the hard-shelled chocolate candies, in 1937, during Mars' prolonged stay.  The early success of Smarties may have caused a light bulb to go off in Mars' brain.  Whatever the case, Forrest Mars developed a manufacturing process for M&M's Chocolate Candies, patented it and in1941 began making them out of a factory in Newark, New Jersey.



Thank you for joining this month's quiz.  I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.

I wish you all a great weekend!









(We found the llamas in the Virginia Countryside.  I would like to visit them again one day.  Hopefully they are still there.)


Thursday, March 4, 2021

THIS MONTH'S QUIZ QUESTIONS - ANSWERS TOMORROW

I am starting off with a mini ramble today.  Yesterday we received our first Covid-19 vaccination.  We expected to have a long wait looking at all the people we followed into the building, with many more making their way behind us.  However, there were 35 tables and not one spot empty.  Our long line moved steadily, we were separated the six feet thanks to the small round circles on the floor, and everyone wore a mask.  I was not looking forward to being in a crowd again after all this time but was quite comfortable with how they had organized us.  The young nurse was very warm and friendly and after asking us a few questions, hubs and I got our jabs.  We were out of the building in half an hour, and that included the 15 minutes waiting time to see if we had any reaction.  We could hardly feel the injection, the needle was so small.  Hubs did not have any soreness in his arm afterwards, I have a little though it is already disappearing.  I was a bit nervous beforehand but won't be when we are called the second time.  She did say that we might have three days of discomfort with that one, slight fever, tiredness, etc. but I won't hesitate.  Just glad the process has started.  Several of our family and friends have had the full dose, others are still waiting.  We thought we would be too.  Now onto this month's trivia questions.


Which U.S. City is known as the City of Brotherly Love?  


Ludwig Van Beethoven was born in 1770 in which city?


What is the most expensive home in the world?


Which mammal has no vocal cords?


What type of music has been known to help plants grow faster?


What is the rarest M & M color?



Thanks for stopping by.  There will be another quiz next month.  Answers to this one tomorrow.  

Have a great day!






(my llama photo was taken on one of our road trips years ago, a favorite photo of mine)



Wednesday, March 3, 2021

POLAR BEARS FROM SEA WORLD IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

Before we moved to Virginia a little over 30 years ago, we used to live in San Diego.  One of our favorite places to go to was Sea World. Quite a while ago now, our son found an old photo album of the last trip we made.  I started cataloguing all the old photos and putting them on a portable hard drive.  Among the photos were the polar bears. That day they were very active and we thoroughly enjoyed their underwater antics. Our son took all the photos shared today.
We originally moved to San Diego from Virginia when our son was ten years' old. Hubs was still in the navy and on his very first day at his new job he dropped us off at Sea World. We arranged to meet him at the end of the day. It was the first time we had been there and the day was magical, the time just flew by. 
We walked over every square inch and so many shows and exhibits, so many things that first time and we couldn't wait to share our day with his Dad. We told him all about it on the ride home and it wasn't long afterwards that the three of us went back. 
There is a great link here designed for children, and it has a wonderful map of where polar bears live in their natural habitat.
The Polar Bear's scientific name is Ursus maritimus, and they live between 25 to 30 years.
A polar bear's skin is black and its fur is transparent with a hollow core that reflects and refracts light from the sun and off the snow, making it appear white.  This adaptation helps polar bears keep warm as their fur reflects heat from the sun down the hair shaft, so that it can be absorbed by their black skin.
I found that information here.
A polar bear asks another bear for something, such as food, through a nose-to-nose greeting.  The guest bear will approach slowly, circle around a carcass, then delicately touch the feeding bear's nose to ask for permission to share.  I found that information here.
Polar bears are the largest bear species in the world, growing to a maximum length of 8.5 feet (260 cm) and weight of 1,543 pounds (700 kg), with males growing about twice as large as females.  I came by that information here.
Polar bears clean themselves by rolling in the snow.  Staying clean also helps the insultating properties of their fur, so after feeding they will often freshen up by taking a swim or roll in the snow.  Rolling in the snow also helps cool them off when they get too hot.  That information I found at this site.
At the same website I learned that they are quick on their feet.  Polar bears can reach speeds of up to 25 mph (40km) on land.

Quite an amazing animal who are sadly endangered out in the wild.  The biggest threat to polar bears is shrinking sea-ice as climate change is causing it to melt earlier and forming later each year, which means the polar bears have less time to hunt on top of the sea-ice. 

I hope you have enjoyed these old photos of the polar bears.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.




Tuesday, March 2, 2021

THE MOON

 


The Moon


The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.


~Robert Louis Stevenson~


Monday, March 1, 2021

MONDAY RECIPE POST - CRANBERRY ORANGE SCONES

An old recipe I wanted to make again recently when our son came over for a visit.  One of those recipes I can't remember where it came from, so there is no link today.


Cranberry Orange Scones

I originally made this recipe as part of an afternoon tea I put together when the weather was warmer.
I put it together when we had company pre-pandemic, and also fixed tea sandwiches (with all the crusts cut off), wheat and white, cutting down the middle diagonally once filled.  

I always do a variety of fillings which include very thin slices of cucumber, thin slices of ham, both lightly spread with butter, and chicken and egg salad spread lightly with mayonnaise.  Shaved smoked salmon with capers are often used but although fresh wild salmon is a favorite of mine, I am not a fan of smoked. I also usually make a couple of cookie recipes but this day I only made the scones to be eaten after the sandwiches.  Spreading clotted cream and strawberry jam between them is the piece de resistance!  There is a website I enjoyed reading about Scone etiquette here as told from an Australian point of view.  What goes on first?  Clotted Cream or Jam?  Where I came from it depended if you lived in Devon or Cornwall, and both counties had their own way of doing things.  

This link will take you to a food blog where they make tea sandwiches.

And we mustn't forget a large pot of tea.  My favorite tea at the moment is Yorkshire Gold served with a splash of milk.  I stopped using sugar for hot drinks in my teens, but remember PG Tips and Typhoo being in my childhood home.  My sister's favorite was Assam tea I remember her telling me once.

In the days when British tea was hard to come by here, every time my parents visited they literally packed a suitcase to overflowing with their favorite brew.  This practice caused a few raised eyebrows among my neighbors, but when they tried their first cup of my parent's tea, they told me they would be packing their suitcase too.  By the time they left several weeks later it was all gone, and that empty suitcase was used for taking back gifts and souvenirs.  Now I can buy British tea just about everywhere, and enjoy a cup or two, or three.

Traditionally I make scones with raisins but I found this delicious recipe for Cranberry Orange Scones, and was eager to try something different. 
Cranberry Orange Scones
Makes 8 scones

1-1/2 sticks of cold butter
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 orange, zested and juiced
2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine chopped cold butter, flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder and salt in either a stand or hand-held mixer, until the mixture forms into small, pea-sized clumps.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, heavy cream and dried cranberries.

Slowly pour the liquids in as the mixer continues to run, and make sure your fingers are clear.  Yes I am overly cautious but you know, I have done silly things in the past and have never forgotten.  Once all ingredients are incorporated, turn the mixer off and scoop the dough onto a floured surface.

Knead the dough just enough to bring it together and create one smooth surface (without seams or folds if possible, it isn't always).


Dust the top lightly with flour and roll the dough out to about 1-1/4 inch thickness.  Cut using a round plain or fluted cutter that has been dipped in flour.  Dipping the cutter into the flour will help between each cut.  Just press down hard and give a slight twist.

Place scones on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 15-18 minutes.  (I did not have any parchment paper so I lined my sheet with non-stick aluminum foil.  This worked out really well.  My scones also baked in the 18 minute range but it will all depend on your own oven.)

While the scones are baking go ahead and prepare the glaze.  For this you will need:

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (my two oranges produced the 1/2 cup of juice but I suppose it will all depend on how large or how much juice there is in them.  Mine were medium size)

Mix the ingredients until it makes a smooth, pourable glaze.

Leave the scones to cool slightly before drizzling with the glaze.
And there you go, one very delicious scone.  Son really enjoyed his and when I made them originally I was asked for the recipe.  They are pretty rich, especially with the Devon Clotted Cream......
and strawberry jam.  This is the type of cream I have always used, my mother before me.  I can get it at our local supermarket in the section where they also sell imported cheese.  If you can't find clotted cream this website has a recipe.  

I hope you have enjoyed the look of today's recipe.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great week.
Bon Appetit!


Sunday, February 28, 2021

JUST FOR THIS WEEK A SUNDAY RECIPE POST - EASY SHRIMP FRIED RICE

There will also be one tomorrow.

In our house we enjoy shrimp and we enjoy fried rice.  We put these two things together in this recipe, which came from a food blog called Recipe Girl hosted by Lori Lange.  Her introduction reads in part, "...enjoy over 3,000 recipes, entertaining tips and travel adventures."  I will be going back to visit often, and you can visit the original recipe if you click here.   It will also show you a more complete nutritional value.


Easy Shrimp Fried Rice Recipe - 

Serves: 8 

Calories: 211 in a 1 cup serving

It always takes me a little longer than these recipes state, but are a good guide line as to how fast you can put a meal from prep to table, so....

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

 

2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided

16 ounces medium peeled and de-veined shrimp (suggestions to use instead of the shrimp are pork, chicken, beef and I am adding tofu to this list, also scallops)

1 cup diced onion

1 cup finely diced carrot

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger

3 cups cooked white rice

1 large egg

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

chopped green onions, for garnish (if desired)

 

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok over high heat. 

Add the shrimp to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook the shrimp until pink and no longer translucent. Transfer the cooked shrimp to a plate and keep warm. Set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and stir in the onions. Cook the onions until softened, approximately 3 minutes. 

Stir in the carrots and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until softened. 

Add the garlic and ginger, cooking until fragrant.

Stir in the white rice and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the rice is crisp.

Push the rice to the edges of your pan making a well in the middle. Crack the egg in the middle of the pan and stir to scramble. Cook the egg and then begin to stir into the rice mixture.

Add the peas, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil to the rice stirring to combine. Cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. 

Stir in the shrimp and cook for an additional minute to warm through.

Serve immediately topped with chopped green onions (optional).


I would like to thank Lori for an excellent meal.  We enjoyed it very much.

We added three or four small, seedless sweet red peppers, and for a garnish I put a sprig of parsley on the top as I had no green onions.  

As we both like heat in an Asian recipe, we added a tablespoon of Chile paste.  A little goes a long way.

The condiments we used were Sweet Chili Paste and a dash or two of Ponzu Sauce.


Thanks for looking and have a great week.










Friday, February 26, 2021

BAR-HEADED GEESE

This is an old photo from April 2008 of a pair of Bar-headed geese.  I found them on a lake at a local, privately owned zoo.  They had a whole variety of different geese and ducks there but these two caught my eye on that trip.

I found very interesting information at a website called The Spruce, and if you are curious about these birds you can click here.

I gleaned a few interesting facts about them.

"They are one of the highest flying birds in the world and can fly above the Himalayan Mountains when it migrates, at heights that may reach 30,000 feet.

Their scientific name is Anser indicus (occasionally Eulabeia indica).

It's common name is Bar-headed Goose, Indian Goose and Gray Goose.  

They have a life span of 15 to 20 years.  

Size 28-30 inches and weight 4.4-6.6 pounds.  

Wingspan is 55-62 inches.  

These geese have a low honking call they use almost continuously in flight.  On land softer calls or small trills can occasionally be heard.

These geese prefer freshwater habitats such as bogs, open marshes, marshy lakes or river wetlands, as well as wet grassy fields or flooded agricultural areas.  

They are found in much of Asia and migrate seasonally.  

These birds are also part of exotic waterfowl collections throughout the world, including zoos and aviaries.  

Some feral populations have been established, most notably in Spain, Belgium and Finland, but regular escapee sightings are also recorded in Canada and the United Kingdom.  Rare escapees may be seen nearly anywhere.

During the breeding season, bar-headed geese can be found in appropriate habitats in Mongolia, western China, Kyrgyzstan, eastern Afghanistan and northeastern Pakistan.  In winter bar-headed geese migrate directly across the mountains to their wintering range in central Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Nepal and southern China, generally favoring lowland areas in winter."

I found it so very interesting to learn about this goose.  There is much more information about them at The Spruce.


Thanks for looking and have a great weekend.





Thursday, February 25, 2021

MORE ON OUR VISIT TO WIDECOMBE IN THE MOOR

I am sharing more photographs from our visit to Saint Pancras Church in Widecombe-in-the-Moor several years ago.  My other post can be found here.
Saint Pancras is cruciform in shape and consists of a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, north and south transepts, south porch and a 135 foot tower which contains six bells of various dates, the earliest going back to 1632.
The church was originally built in the 14th century in the late Gothic style, and was nicknamed "Cathedral of the Moors" because of its relatively large capacity for such a small village.  People would have to walk miles for services.   

It was also badly damaged in the Great Thunderstorm of 1638 which I mentioned in my previous post, in which during the month of October a ball of fire passed through the church (long before lightning rods were even thought of I suppose).  Wallboards in the church tell the story.  More details of this event can be found at this site.
This area is steeped in folk lore and superstition, and there are many ghost stories, one involving American actor Daniel Stern, though I could not find what this experience was about.  He said that he had 'an unsettling and possibly supernatural experience' there.  You might remember him from Home Alone 2, City Slickers, and he also narrated the TV show Wonder Years.  What I found interesting was that he had visited Widecome-in-the-Moor briefly back in 1980 when he was on his honeymoon.
I found the above picture on line, as I did the painting below, which shows the village as it was long ago.

So, who was Saint Pancras?  Pancratius was born at Phrygia in around AD290.  He was an orphan who at the age of 14 was taken to Rome by his Uncle, Dionysium, where he was converted to Christianity.  As with many saints it seems, he came to a sorry end around AD304.  You can read his whole story here if interested, which is where I got some of my information.
We were very happy that the church was open and had a good look around.  


 





















On the old stone floor.




The following is an explanation of the above.
There were display cases with items from previous wars.






An impressive model of the church made by a local gentleman out of what looked like matchsticks. 
In the churchyard is the grave of novelist Beatrice Chase who lived for much of her life in a cottage close to the village.  Her real name was Olive Katherine Parr and she was a direct descendant of William Parr, the brother of Catherine, the sixth wife of Henry VIII.















This flower below is called a Narrowleaf plantain, a species of Plantains (Plantago), also known as English plantain, Ribwort plantain, Buckhorn plantain, Lamb's tongue and Buckhorn.  It's botanical name is Plantago lanceolata.
Below is the Golden chain tree bloom I mentioned in my other post, link already provided.


Near the entrance of St. Pancras there is a giftshop and out front is a 15-inch naval shell.  It was donated to the village after the First World War, to thank the villages for supplying troops with sphagnum moss.  This grows in abundance in the damp Dartmoor conditions and is said to have healing properties.  It was used as an emergency field dressing for injured troops.

Lastly, a few more scenes of the English  countryside.









The next photo was taken of the Church in the distance, center of photo. 
I have one other post about the church which I will share as soon as I can put it together.  I had a wonderful time researching and finding out some of its history, and there is a lot more I have learned but it would take another dozen or so posts and I think I will stop here. 


Thank you so much for looking and enjoy your day.