Saturday, February 29, 2020

Tyler Arboretum Maple Sugaring (2/29/2020)

Saturday, February 29, 2020
Time for maple sugaring here in Pennsylvania! We attended the Pancake Breakfast at Tyler Arboretum, then went out to refresh our memories about maple sugaring.
Station One: Learning to identify a Sugar Maple tree in the winter,
by looking for opposite branches and small round red buds

Maple sugaring time is when the temperatures at night are below freezing and during the day are above freezing.
Station Two: Finding the proper size tree and
drilling a hole angled upward
A stile or spout is placed in the hole and a bucket hooked underneath to collect the sap. A cover on the bucket keeps out rain or snow, animals, leaves, and other debris.
This tree is already tapped, but they are
measuring the circumference of the tree
The sugar maple tree should be 31-53 inches in circumference for one tap, 57-75 inches for two taps, and 79 inches or greater for three taps.
Rendering the maple sap by heating it for evaporation of water content
Sugar maple sap is 98% water, and it requires 20 gallons of sap to make a half gallon of maple syrup.
Jasminum nudiflorum/Winter Jasmine
Eranthis hyemalis/Winter Aconite
Galanthus sp/Snowdrops
Helleborus orientalis/Lenten Roses

Friday, February 21, 2020

Mummers Museum (2/21/2020)

Friday, February 21, 2020
Back on New Year's Eve we were entertained at Granite Farms Estates by three members of a Mummers string band, and some of our fellow residents got up to do the "Mummers Strut," seeming to just prance around. We were not familiar with this Philadelphia tradition of a New Year's Day parade with groups of folks in outlandish costumes, many playing musical instruments or putting on skits.
So today we joined the GFE field trip to the Mummers Museum in Philadelphia, PA.
Mummers Museum at 100 S 2nd Street
Mummers are known through recorded history as masqueraders who used to seek food or drink in return for a small performance such as music, song, dance, a skit or a joke. European immigrants brought their traditions to Philadelphia and groups would be out at different times. The City of Philadelphia decided to organize all these factions into one parade on New Year's Day, the first one being in 1901.
The GFE group in front of the Winners Circle display
of first prize winners in the 2020 Philadelphia Mummers Parade
2020 First Prize Handsome Costume won by
Golden Sunrise NYA with "Jesters Court"
2020 First Prize Original Character Category
of Comic Division won by Gideon Lynch
2020 First Prize Brigade won by Murray Comic Club with
"Mumming Roaring 20s"
Mummers belong to clubs in five divisions: Comic, Fancy, Wench Brigade, String Band, and Fancy Brigade.
Fancy Club Captain's Cape circa 1940s
2015 Third Prize Handsome Trim won by
Golden Sunrise NYA with "The Phoenix"
The Phoenix was rigged so that "smoke"
(fire extinguisher spray) came out of its beak
1952 Second Prize String Band won by Joseph A Ferko String Band
with "Playing Cards" where each of 52 capes were hand-painted
A frame costume was worn/carried by a single person
On L: 2019 Fourth Prize Fancy Brigade Division won by
Avenuers NYB with "Reflections of China" and on R: 2019 First Prize
Fancy Division won by Golden Sunrise NYA with "King Kelce"
Tamiko (photo by Jan)
Kent (photo by Jan)
 Musical instruments played through the years by the string bands
The unofficial theme song of the Mummers is "Dem Golden Slippers" composed by James Bland in 1879, although he did not receive credit at the time.
After a thorough tour of the museum led by the curator, we were driven to Nick's Roast Beef Bar and Grille for lunch.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Brownsville, TX Again (2/13/2020)

Thursday, February 13, 2020
Time to check out of the hotel.
A sunnier view of the Gulf of Mexico from the Palms Resort
After being picked up by John, we went to retrieve Pat who was volunteering to set up for a quilt convention. We were able to get a sneak peek at some of the quilts.
Patriotic quilt using trapezoids
Wow, unique disappearing nine patch (?) design
Fan pattern quilt
Fan pattern quilt detail
3-D design quilt
Attic window design variation quilt
Six-pointed star design quilt
Star quilt detail with sequin bling
Colorful quilt, using triangles to create curves;
note the hard-to-see edging
Original design quilt
Positive-negative design quilt
Positive-negative quilt detail
Quilt with kaleidoscope effect
Kaleidoscope effect detail
Okay, a nod to Texas: Dallas Cowboys quilt
After breakfast at Pat's and John's condo, we headed back to Brownsville.
Immaculate Conception Cathedral (founded 1850,
built 1856-1859, by Father Pierre Yves Keralum,
in Gothic Revival style)
Cathedral interior with sky blue canvas-lined vaulted ceiling
and chandeliers from France
The pulpit is made of mesquite wood
Chapel with statues of St Jerome, Our Lady of
 Guadalupe, St Martin de Porres, and
perhaps St Benedict (KSS)
Our Lady of Charity (KSS)
Memorial to the Missionary Oblates of Mary
Immaculata, who founded this church and others;
the hexagonal sign marks the Oblate Fathers Trail
linking the churches they founded (KSS)
Market Square, site of open-air market started in 1852
Former City Hall (1850) is now the Market Square Event Hall and
Research Center of the Brownsville Historical Association
E Washington Street from E 12th Street
Shop front with earrings
Shop front with wedding bouquets
Rutledge Hamburger Stand (established 1922)
was constructed in the alley between two buildings
Holy figures from many religions
Mexican dresses
Stillman House (c 1850) is one of the oldest houses in Brownsville;
one owner was the Mexican Consul to Brownsville who later was
involved in a plot to overthrow the  Mexican president in 1875;
now the Brownsville Heritage Museum
14th Street Plaza murals (2019, by Monica Lugo, Samantha Rawls and
Alexandria Canchola) that represent sisterhood and female empowerment
View down an alley
Entrance to the Gateway International Bridge to Mexico
View of the Gateway Bridge through the border fence
Here the fence follows the curve of the Rio Grande
Demonstration in Xeriscape Park, protesting the so-called
Migrant Protection Protocols/MPP which in effect traps
all asylum seekers and immigrants on the Mexican side of the border
Banner in Xeriscape Park (KSS)
The bars on this bench do not deter the homeless from sleeping!
Former Cameron County Courthouse (1912-1914, by
Atlee B Ayres in the Classical Revival style) now houses
county offices and County Court at Law #1
Old County Jail (1882-1883) is an example of the Spanish Colonial
Border Brick style); it later was converted into a store with living quarters
The windows are still barred in the former jail
We had a late lunch at the Vermillion Restaurant and Watering Hole, experiencing another Texas specialty: chicken-fried steak. Oh, so "comfort food" good!
It was time to be dropped off at the Brownsville airport and say our goodbyes. We are very grateful to Pat and John for a fabulous and busy "winter break." ¡Muchas gracias!