Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Sunflower Blogger Award

Thank you very much, Abigail and Daisy!

Sunflowers!  I love them!  My Dad grows them and just down the road from him they have had a Sunflower Festival for years but THIS year, they didn't have it and I really missed how about a Sunflower Blogger Award? 
Everybody needs a Sunflower Blogger award!  I think that each one of you deserve this.  I  stole  got mine from dear sweet Kathy at her blog- Whispering Pines. (AND Kathy and Jack celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary today! Isn't that great! Congratulations to Kathy & Jack!)  She didn't EXACTLY give me this award, she very nicely just said that anyone could take this and so...I did!  And now, I will answer the questions and you may also capture this sweet floral image above for your blog and answer the questions too!  Okay?  Here are the questions and MY answers!

AND if you don't think the Sunflower Award should be given to you since TECHNICALLY it was not given to me...there is no reason why you couldn't answer the questions anyway! Why not give it a go?

1.  WHY DO YOU BLOG?   I think I drove several bloggers crazy with some of my long comments before I started my own blog!   Mieke from Germany suggested that I have my own blog and I am very thankful that I listened to her!  Thanks, Meike!  (You may find her blog just here!)
I blog because I enjoy it!  I love to write about the things that I find interesting and I am thankful that there are so many nice folks who read my blog and leave comments.  I can't tell you how much I enjoy this!!  And it makes my day when I get a new follower! Thank you to all the nice people who read this blog, I really appreciate it. You guys are the best!

2)  ARE YOU AN EARLY RISER OR A NIGHT OWL?  Uh, sorry, I don't even know what my little town looks like at night!  I am most certainly an early riser! (But even so, please don't ask me anything until I have had a cup of coffee!)

3) FAVORITE SMELL?   It would have to be from a flower and it might seem strange to say this because I only smelled it just ONE time! It was from a lilac bush, it was growing over a wall next to the pavement (sidewalk) when we were walking in Eastbourne, in England.  If you have ever smelled lilacs, then you will know what I mean.  Oh! And of course, the fragrance from my Yellow Daisies would have to be a favorite too!
OH! And also, I really love the smell of the sheets after they have been hanging out on the line in the sun...also, another fragrance from England!  Sorry...that's sue me!  HA!

4) IF FEELING SAD, WHAT ONE SONG WOULD YOU PLAY OR SING TO MAKE YOU HAPPY?   Oh, so many songs!  My goodness, I LOVE music, almost any song could do it for me but here's one that came to mind... "I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover"!  (It was written in the year of my Daddy's birth, 1927!)     OH, and anything by Chas & Dave...I love them!

5) WHEN YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR, WHAT DO YOU SEE?  I see a very sophisticated lady with a great deal of panache...NOT!

6) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?  Funny, that made me think of a teacher that I had in the 8th grade, and she told me that I had a scintillating personality, and I had no idea what that meant and had to look it up! I was hoping it was nice! But honestly, goofy is the first thing I thought of!  

7) NAME SOMETHING IN YOUR LIFE YOU ACCOMPLISHED THOUGH SHEER DETERMINATION.     I must be a real dud because I can't think of anything like that!

8) WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST IMPORTANT WORLD OR NATIONAL EVENT THAT HAS TAKEN PLACE IN YOUR LIFETIME?  For me, the first thing that I thought of was this: The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989...this happened just one month before I gave birth.
The birth of my only child was pretty important to me, so perhaps that is why I thought of it!

9) IF YOU COULD SPEND YOUR LIFE IN A DIFFERENT CENTURY, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHOOSE?  Oh dear, I couldn't live in the past or the future, I will stay in my own time period, thank you!

WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE?  That's an easy one!  I would talk about the magnificent monadnocks in this area and all the beautiful wildflowers and trees that surround them! I don't look at them in a scientific kind of way, I look at them as a great gift from God and I am grateful to live so near to them.

And the next time you take a photo of a sunflower, try to get one with not one, not two but THREE bees on it, will you?  I took this photo one year down at my Daddy's and you know he gave me an armful of sunflowers to take home with me, but he made sure they didn't have any bees clinging to them!
UPDATE:  After posting this, I couldn't get the Sunflower Award photo on here anyway, so perhaps that is all for the best, since I really didn't get the award, TECHNICALLY!  You know, I always think that things work out for the best. And if they don't, I MAKE them!  Keep on the sunny side of life!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Stone Mountain-Aug. 23, 2014-Yellow Daisies In Bloom!

Happy to tell you that Richard and I can still climb Stone Mountain!  It was hot last Saturday so we made sure we got there early in the morning, the sun was just rising over the mountain and it wasn't too blazing hot, not just yet anyway...and at the top we were rewarded with a cool breeze and flowers!


The Yellow Daisies were blooming on the last 1/3 of the climb up the mountain and also, on the very top.  Such a welcome sight!  We very much look forward to seeing them bloom every year.  They are very special flowers, they only grow on or next to this type of rock and only within a 60 mile radius. (40 mile? I have read both figures.)   Yellow Daisy or Confederate Daisy -there, click on that name if you would like to know more about it!
Of all the people that were on the mountain, we only saw, I think, about three other couples taking photos of these beautiful flowers. 
Here I am, at one of my favorite places, on top of Stone Mountain and I am waving to you!
(And Pat, in the Outer Hebrides...I think I am looking in your direction!)
The skies were hazy, it was hot and humid but you could still see the Atlanta skyline. In the Autumn, it will be much clearer.
The Yellow Daisies also have a wonderful fragrance, especially so in the early morning, and it was nice to sit near them and smell the flowers and hear all the bees with their soft buzzing.  And the sight of all that yellow against the rock with the blue sky above...just gorgeous.
You might not see our faces very well but Richard and I both are very happy in these photos, just drinking our coffee and enjoying the flowers and the view.
Lots of people come up by cable car instead of hiking up like we did, but still, you would think that more would have commented on the beauty of these Yellow Daisies! They are magnificent!
 We are looking back as we are leaving, already looking forward to our next visit to our beloved Stone Mountain!  Hope you are finding great beauty in your part of the world. 
Love to you all!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Talking to My Daddy!

Even when my Dad is wearing glasses, I think you can still see that twinkle in his eyes!  (And when he was a young man, he didn't wear glasses, he thinks he wore them in that  photo above just to be funny.  Yep, that sounds like him.)
When we were at the Sunflower Festival last year, he waited a while to get on this toy tractor just so I could take this photo!
This is what my Dad looks like on his real tractor! "Nothing runs like a Deere".  Daddy is plowing his field to plant peas!  (Not what we call English, they are called field peas and there is nothing better than to eat them with a big piece of Daddy's onion cornbread!)  I took this photo just a few weeks ago.   (And if you are wondering, my Dad is 87 years old!)
I took the photo of my Dad's garden sometime in early summer.  See the buckets with the sticks in them?  That is to deter the deer from his vegetables.  The deer have been hunted for so many centuries now, that it must be ingrained in them to look out for anything that looks like a gun!  And also,  Daddy just told me that he likes to splash some men's cologne around the edges of the fields.  Once again, that will deter the deer since they know from that smell that a hunter could be after them....  Why does my Dad do this?  The deer can come in and just eat so much.  He has also set up some electric fencing too but he says that he really likes to use the sticks and the men's cologne.

OKRA!  It is so wonderful when it is freshly cut from that stalk.  Before it turns into that pod of okra, it is such a pretty flower, especially against a Georgia sky!
Now, I love talking to my Dad and learning his wisdom in the garden.  I just wish you could hear him speak!  He has a North Georgia mountain dialect, and I have it too when I am speaking with him...I had to lose it when we moved to the Atlanta area as a kid, lose it or get ridiculed or beat up!  As my grandmother used to say, "I hope YOU'UNS are being good!"  
I found a video of Wendy Bagwell telling a funny story and he sounds a bit like my Dad, so much that it is why it is here and also, I think it's funny!  (I have written of Wendy Bagwell before, he was a gospel singer...Wendy Bagwell and the Sunliters!  And my Aunt Jean cut a record with him once, "When The Wagon Was New".  If anyone ever finds that record, let me know!)  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

"Blood Swept Lands And Seas of Red" - The Tower of London

When we read of deaths during wars, it might seem difficult to think of the great numbers of those who have died.  World War I began in 1914 and to commemorate the one hundred year since the start of the war there is an amazing display at the Tower of London which is still being completed.  The artist, Paul Cummins, has made ceramic poppies and the idea is that by November 11th (the date of the end of World War I in 1918)  there will be 888,246 poppies filling the moat around the Tower of London, one for each of the British and British Commonwealth soldiers killed in the war. He has entitled this: "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red".

If you would like to see some amazing photos of this display, then I urge you to look at the post by Chel at Sweetbriar Dreams from England.  You may find her post just here.   Chel kindly gave me permission for this link. Thank you, Chel!

In case you might wonder why the poppy is used for remembrance for veterans, it is due to the poem written by Canadian John McCrae in World War I.  He was struck by how quickly the poppies grew around the newly dug graves at Ypres in the Flanders region of Belgium.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,

   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

S.S. Leopoldville Disaster Dec. 24, 1944

Not too many people know about the sinking of the Leopoldville on Dec. 24, 1944 in the English Channel and the cover-up that followed.   I have written about it on my blog before and it is very moving to read some of the comments left on those posts, many of them from the relatives of the survivors or the relatives of the men who died from this ship.
(There, you should be able to click on that link to see my Leopoldville post.)

Allan Andrade wrote a book, "S.S. Leopoldville Disaster Dec 24, 1944" with lists of all the survivors that he could find. 
He later added new material with photographs along with a revised list of the survivors in a book entitled  "Leopoldville: A Tragedy Too Long Secret".  I have read both of these books.    If you click on this link:  you will see a list of all the men who died along with drawings by Richard Rockwell, depicting the tragedy.

 How did I find out about it?  When I worked as a travel agent, one of the army veterans came in to arrange his military reunion and told me that he had survived the sinking of the Leopoldville and that I wouldn't have heard about it because it had been kept top secret for over 50 years.  That army vet's name was W. S. Connor. He told me that there was a book about it but somehow, his name was not listed as one of the survivors.  The author, Allen Andrade, was kind enough to inform me that Mr. Connor's name was now listed in his second book and I am very grateful that this is so.

"Forgotten by many, remembered by few", that is the quote from Clive Clessler about this may read an article about it here.

In Allen Andrade's introduction to his book, he tells us that in research for a book he was planning to write he found that in one American business, over 700 employees served in the military during World War II.  (The Oneida Company).  Thirty two of them were killed.  One of them, was an orphan who celebrated his 20th birthday on board the Leopoldville on Dec. 1, 1944.  He perished in the tragedy.  His name was Staff Sergeant Benjamin J. Blaskowski and it is to his memory that this book is dedicated. 

The ship was torpedoed and sank just five miles off the coast of Cherbourg, France.
There are so many personal stories and I found them to be so moving that I have found it very difficult to write a post about this book.  Like the story about Mr. Louis Zamperini, it is my hope that one day, someone will make a movie about this true story.  There was a documentary about the Leopoldville which was on the History Channel here in the USA and there is also a monument to the memory of the men, one here in Georgia and also, one in Florida.  I hope to visit both of them one day and when I do, I will show you the photos and will mention the men from the Leopoldville again.
I will never forget them.

Monday, August 18, 2014

George Ballas, Inventor of the Weed-Eater

You are just one thought away from an invention that could be very useful to the world!   For instance, the weed-eater was invented by George Ballas in Houston, Texas in 1971.  How did he get the idea?  He took his car through an automatic car wash and as he watched the large round brushes against his car, it gave him an idea.  He went home and attached some fishing lines to a tin can and hooked it up to a lawn edger.  After failing to get toolmakers to invest any capital for his invention. he came up with the money himself.  By 1977, the company was worth $80 million.

Like most inventors, this man had his regular day job. George Ballas owned a large dance studio in Houston with over 100 instructors.  His son Corky Ballas is a ballroom dancer and has won several Latin dance championship titles.  George's grandson, Mark Ballas, is a name that you might know from "Dances With The Stars"! 
George Ballas died in 2011 at the age of 85.  I wonder what it would have been like for him to see his invention become so commonly used by millions. And all of that came from his observation of watching those brushes in an automatic car wash .Of course, the idea itself is wonderful, but you must follow through and invent something!   Do that for me, would you?  Thank you! And the world will thank you too!  And hey, if you make money from it too, I would not begrudge you that either! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Panola Mountain, Arabia Mountain, And Stone Mountain-Love For All Three

We love to walk the trails at Panola Mountain, Arabia Mountain and Stone Mountain as much as we can.  Arabia and Panola Mountains are closer to us, so you will see more photos of those two...but I love all three!

Peaceful to gaze upon Lake Alexander, at Panola Mountain State Park

Old Barn At Panola Mountain State Park...the Lake Loop Trail goes right through it!

Dayflowers At Arabia Mountain...see the star shaped leaves at the bottom? They will be Yellow Daisies!

So much to see on these mountains, but don't forget to look up! The clouds can be amazing too...

Don't worry, little flower, I will always remember to look out for you!  This has the enchanting name of "butterfly pea".  (Photo taken on trail at Arabia Mountain, beside Arabia Lake.)
At one time, there were houses at Stone Mountain, this is a remaining chimney which is on one of the trails at Stone Mountain.  You can often see stone chimneys like this in the South and I remember thinking, as a kid, why don't they just make the house of the same stone they used for the chimneys?
I would think that this stone is from Stone Mountain itself, since we are just steps away from it here!
Rock on!