Friday, January 15, 2021

A Walk Along the River Trail: Green!

 One of the things that's interesting to me here is the blurring of the seasons. We did have some frosty days over the past couple of weeks and there was ice on the ground. I guess other places got snow, which is rare here, at least from our perspective. Still, it did hover around freezing and slightly below at times. Then it got warmer and feels like spring once again. Our first winter in Ireland, people would always ask us if we were warm enough and doing OK in the cold. We assured them we were fine and that just about the entire winter felt like spring. 

Walking around, it's clear when looking at some plants that it's winter. Yet walking on a few steps and we come across plants that are many shades of vibrant green, sometimes with flowers in bloom and sometimes just with buds, but looking like spring is here in any case.
In a book about trees I recently listened to, I learned that gorse, pictured above, is a member of the pea family. I had no idea.

In today's post about our time in Alaska, there is more about our adjustment to the water situation.

Stay safe and well!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

A Walk Along the River Trail: Pale Beauty

 As we walked the river trail, so many things caught my eye. The differences between what I was seeing from one spot to the next, only a few steps away, was striking. In some places, it seemed like winter. In others, like spring was almost here. I guess both are true. In these photos, Irish winter is evident.

On the other blog, today's post is the beginning of our Alaska water story collection. We never gave much thought to water before, but that quickly changed!

I hope you're having a nice day today.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

 "I would rather be a [person] of conviction than a [person] of conformity. Occasionally in life one develops a conviction so precious and meaningful that [one] will stand on it till the end. That is what I have found in nonviolence."

Martin Luther King

Today on Glancing Back in Time, we've reached our funky new home in Alaska--a round house with a totem pole at the centre. Pictures and the story depicted by the totem pole included in the post.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Brown and Bloom

brown leaves hanging on
while a single flower blooms
soon one of many

Over on the Glancing Back in Time blog today, our story continues as we finally reach our new home, albeit not without some weirdness along the way!

Friday, January 8, 2021

Winter or Spring?

walk by frosted leaves
around the corner, green shoots
on a cold morning

For those that are interested, our Alaska stories continue on the Glancing Back in Time blog. Today there are some scenes from British Columbia and the Yukon, along with a story about our search for a simple loaf of bread, which turned out to be not so simple. 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

December Books: A Couple of Classics and a Few Short and Sweet Reads

 There were some short fun books on my reading list in December, including a couple of cartoon books that were fun and made me laugh. I do seem to be reading more books of various kinds that make me laugh these past few months.

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint by Harriet Dwyer
This is a good little book, filled with information about the climate emergency and what we can do about it as we go about our everyday lives. The actions we can take will be situational, of course—not every suggestion will work for everyone. We already do most of the things that are possible, but there were one or two things that I can be more mindful of. 

People Who Love to Eat Are Always the Best People and Other Wisdom by Julia Child
I’ve read one or two books about and by Julia Child and loved them. She was such an interesting person and I loved reading about how she developed a passion for cooking and France. I don’t cook like she did and have never been to France. It has never attracted me, to be honest. But even though the particular places have been different, I do know what it’s like to go somewhere and fall in love with it, so I could relate on that level. I am always fascinated by stories of how people found their passions in life. Bill and I once worked at a small local museum and did a life story project with women who were artists. I began every interview with the same question: ‘How did you discover that you are an artist?’ In the books I read about Julia Child, I learned how she discovered she had a passion for cooking and how it evolved. 

So when I spotted this in the new offerings on the e-book page of the library website, I requested it. It’s a fun little book of quotes. There were many good ones, but this one in particular jumped out at me:’Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.’

The Philosophy of Snoopy: Peanuts Guide to Life by Charles Schulz
This appeared in the ‘new to library’ section of the library e-book site and I didn’t hesitate to borrow this fun little book. It made me laugh, which is always welcome.

Simon’s Cat vs The World! by Simon Tofield
I have seen a few animated ‘episodes’ of this on youtube, so when I saw the book in the ‘new to library’ section of the e-book site at the library, I borrowed it. I am all for stuff that makes me laugh at the moment, and this fit the bill!

Very Good, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse (audiobook read by Jonathan Cecil)
I am enjoying these comedic short story collections. I think I am enjoying the audiobooks more than I would enjoy reading them, because the reader is wonderful. I wonder whether I would find the print books as funny, because I think much of my amusement comes from the way Cecil reads the words.

It was a happy accident that I started listening to them instead of reading them. I have some of the works on my e-reader, I think, but one day I was scrolling through the library e-audiobook site and saw that they have a lot of them. I’d read somewhere that one should try to read these books in order, because of the way characters come and go and previous episodes are discussed in later books, so I looked up the order of the books and started. As I was listening to this one, I reserved the next one.

Turn of the Screw by Henry James (Phoebe Reads a Mystery podcast)
This is the book Phoebe began after The Secret Adversary. I’ve not read Hnry James, so I listened as she read a chapter or two per day. It was an OK book. I didn’t dislike it enough to stop listening, but I don’t think I’ll be that eager to read James anytime soon. In this book, a young woman goes to be governess for two children who have been orphaned and are in the care of their uncle, who does not want to be bothered by anything. He does not live in the house and leaves things to the hired help. Strange things start to happen and the governess and the cook, who became close friends, begin to attempt to get to the bottom of it all.

Here's to more great reading in 2021!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

December Books: Nonfiction

 I read some fascinating nonfiction in December. Some of it was disturbing and one book in particular was hilarious. If you're in need of some laughter, I highly recommend Love, Clancy!

The Wisdom of the Buddha: Heart Teachings in His Own Words by Anne Bancroft
This is a collection of teachings from various early Buddhist writing. It was a re-read for me, but it’s the kind of thing that can be read over and over again and something new will jumo out each time. It is in the e-book collection of our library.

Donegal Poitín: A History by Aidan Manning
I picked up this book at a car boot sale a few years ago. It was time to read it and get it into the donation pile. It was an interesting book that gave me some information about the colourful history of some areas within Donegal that I have lived and visited. Poitín is illegal homemade booze. Unsurprisingly, stills were quite common in the remote areas of Donegal during this time when Ireland was still under British rule. 

To Speak for the Trees: My Life's Journey From Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger (audiobook read by the author)
This was a new addition to the audiobook offerings at the library website. It sounded intriguing, so I borrowed it. It was a fascinating book, combining memoir, science and old Celtic wisdom. This is from the website:
When Diana Beresford-Kroeger--whose father was a member of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy and whose mother was an O'Donoghue, one of the stronghold families who carried on the ancient Celtic traditions--was orphaned as a child, she could have been sent to the Magdalene Laundries. Instead, the O'Donoghue elders, most of them scholars and freehold farmers in the Lisheens valley in County Cork, took her under their wing. Diana became the last ward under the Brehon Law. Over the course of three summers, she was taught the ways of the Celtic triad of mind, body and soul. This included the philosophy of healing, the laws of the trees, Brehon wisdom and the Ogham alphabet, all of it rooted in a vision of nature that saw trees and forests as fundamental to human survival and spirituality. Already a precociously gifted scholar, Diana found that her grounding in the ancient ways led her to fresh scientific concepts. Out of that huge and holistic vision have come the observations that put her at the forefront of her field: the discovery of mother trees at the heart of a forest; the fact that trees are a living library, have a chemical language and communicate in a quantum world; the major idea that trees heal living creatures through the aerosols they release and that they carry a great wealth of natural antibiotics and other healing substances; and, perhaps most significantly, that planting trees can actively regulate the atmosphere and the oceans, and even stabilize our climate.

This book is not only the story of a remarkable scientist and her ideas, it harvests all of her powerful knowledge about why trees matter, and why trees are a viable, achievable solution to climate change. Diana eloquently shows us that if we can understand the intricate ways in which the health and welfare of every living creature is connected to the global forest, and strengthen those connections, we will still have time to mend the self-destructive ways that are leading to drastic fires, droughts and floods. 

Those Who Forget: One Family’s Story a Memoir, a History, a Warning By Géraldine Schwarz translated from the French by Laura Marris

Love, Clancy edited and debated by Richard Glover
I stumbled upon this e-book when looking at the new titles available via the library website. I decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did! It is hilarious and I laughed so much as I was reading. At times I tried to read passages to Bill and I was struggling, because I was laughing so hard and the tears were flowing as a result. 

The book begins with a brief introduction by the male human in which he talks about the dog he and his wife had for 15 years. When Darcy died, they were devastated and called the farm where they got Darcy, just to let the people know. After condolences, the people at the farm mentioned that there had recently been a new litter of puppies born and one was not spoken for. They decided to adopt Clancy. 

Clancy finds his move to the city (Sydney, Australia) and the behaviour of his humans, who he calls Lady and Man, puzzling and writes letters home to the farm. The book consists of these letters from Clancy’s point of view with occasional defensive commentary by Man. Clancy discusses the strange ways humans act, the lack of adequate chicken, his hard work digging holes to find valuable minerals, the dog park, and more. The book ends with an epilogue about Darcy and how he aged. 

Having been a staff member to dogs I could relate to so much of this, but beyond that, it was just hilarious and given all that is going on, this aspect of the book was particularly welcome. I highly recommend it.

The next part of our Alaska story is on the Glancing Back in Time blog now. Yesterday, we posted about starting the trip. In today's post, we begin the Canadian part of the journey.