Wednesday, August 31, 2011

From Farm to Table

I visited the Walking J Farm, a local organic farm that serves farmer's markets in the Tucson area and offers tours to educate people in the concept of sustainable organic farming.

I admire this family and their skill and hard work. Although this concept is admirable I feel it is a way of raising food that is only for the elite.

Organic farming will never be able to feed the middle class or the poor and those many families who go to bed hungry in the US not to mention the world.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Buddy does the Dairy Queen

When you go to the DQ and order a humanoid treat and you ask for a pup cup you get a free puppy cup vanilla for the canine in your car.

Two Books to Film

Two "Books to Film" Movies

Sarah's Key and The Help were both very popular books in women's book clubs last year. I read The Help and I wish I hadn't. I didn't read Sarah's Key and I wish I had.

They were both quickly snatched up for films for the same audience that loved the books. Both had plots that were about difficult times in history as portrayed by journalists.

The Help takes place in the 1950's in Jackson Mississippi. Skeeter, an aspiring journalist interviews black maids about their relationship with their white housewife employers. This film and book has been very controversial. Loved by those who loved the book. Criticized by the literati like the New Yorker and the New York TImes as well as many black women. IMO I couldn't decide if it wanted to be a serious story about race in the south or a feel good chic flick. Some very good dramatic scenes were followed by laugh lines. My gut told me that it was more Hysterical than Historical. The best thing for me about this movie was the appearances of Cicely Tyson and Sissy Spacek. My favorite character was Celia, poor white trash played by an actress new to me, Jessica Chastain. Several good performances but her stood out.

Sarah's Key tells the story of the French rounding up Jews in 1942 holding them in terrible conditions and sending them the to the death camps. Sarah attempts to protect her younger brother by locking him in a closet and the rest of the film portrays what happens to Sarah. Her story in unearthed by a journalist (Kristen Scott Thomas) who finds out her in-laws lived in the apartment that Sarah and her family had resided. Adian Quinn does an excellent of playing Sarah's son whom the journalist meets late in her search for the true story.

Unlike The Help, this movie felt real to me and that the author had carefully researched the subject for her novel.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Is it time to sell Grandma's silver?

As the markets falter the price of gold and silver are rising. Many of us senior citizens have grandma's silver put away unused and unwanted by our children. Entertaining is not as formal as it was in our mothers and grandmothers generation. Some of us don't even entertain anymore. When we do we go out. When we moved here in 1988 we couldn't give away the silver. It didn't sell at estate sales or antique stores. The cost was $5.05 an ounce. In 2004 it was $6.80. In 2010 it was $18.00. In 2011 it has steadily gone up and today sold at $43.80 per ounce.
For me and a couple of friends - it was time. Some tips: Do your research. Shop around. Don't go to the 'good o' boys, or to the hotels or to the mall jewelry stores.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Two movie reviews - One Excellent & one awful

Two movies - One excellent and one awful.

"Poetry" - a film from South Korean, recently getting a good reputation for quality films.

This is the second S. Korean film that I have seen. And they had a lot in common.

"Mother" and "Poetry" both star older female actors. In "Mother", a mother tries to prove that her retarded son is not guilty of a tragic murder/accident. In "Poetry" a Grandmother tries to sort out a tragedy in the community in which her grandson has been accused of being involved. I liked both very much. Probably "Poetry" the better.

"Mother" on DVD now and "Poetry" was at the Loft should be on DVD soon. I recommend


I really enjoyed Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris". After seeing it I put "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" at the top of my rental list. What a bad movie. And a waste of a great cast. Click on the poster to see whose talent was wasted on this nauseating script. IMO the actors over acted as if trying to make the script palatable. Don't bother.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Birds of Newfoundland

Photos taken by my sister during a trip to Newfoundland.

The White Throated Sparrow

Black Guillimot

Atlantic Puffins

6 ft wing span of the Gannet

Common Razorbill

And more Gannets

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mysterious Hollyhock

A deep red hollyhock
rises from a small vegetable garden.

We remember that there was one there several years ago.
So many years that we don't remember how many.

But we do remember that it was a light pink,
not this deep maroon.

Very drought resistant and liking full sun,
It's not surprising they like the Arizona desert.

The darker red particularly like sandy soil.
But why this one? Here and now?

They are biennial -having a two year like cycle.
And can reseed themselves.

But this one? Don't know. Don't care.
We just enjoy this Mysterious Hollyhock.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Monsoons and hummingbirds

I remember the first time I saw hummingbirds in a feeding frenzy right before a storm hit.
We were on a balcony of a condo in Park City, Utah. A whole bevy of them rushed to the feeders.
I have seen this often in Green Valley when we have our summer rains.

The best feeder, IMO, is the small cup. Food is always fresh. If you remember to fill it every other day or more. No ants. The hummers love it and room for only one at a time so I also have the larger feeder up for the others to fight over. The hummingbirds we have here in summer are the Broadbilled, the Black chinned and the Annas. The Rufous come through in August and fight the rest away.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A day in Mexico

August - midday - hot and humid
Pleasant drive under cloudy skies
One hour door to door

Purpose: dental cleaning

No line to get into Mexico.
A few Mexicans returning home with shopping
bags from Food City.
Long lines of Mexican pedestrians coming
into Arizona.
Some come here to visit families, go shopping,
get medical care and some may go to school or work.
These are middle to upper class citizens who have an ID
card that allows them to enter for a limited
time and distance.

The only gringos entering Nogales are
going to the dentistas or the pharmacies.

Some have visited the Utea duty free shop in Nogales, Az.
and must enter Mexico and return with their purchases of
alcohol and cigarettes.

Streets busy with traffic.
On the sidewalks vendors call out for me
to buy their merchandise.

Returning 2 hours later the line is very
short. A wave of our passports and we have
left the border wall behind.

A stop at the Cow Palace for my favorite
blue cheese and bacon burger.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Agave Americana

The common name of this plant is the Century Plant. It originated in Mexico but now has been introduced to desert areas all over the world. It lives between 10 and 30 years - not 100. It probably got this name because it is a semelparous plant. Meaning that once it blossoms, it dies. The agave plant itself is a rosette with gray green leaves that come to a very sharp point.
It's blossom is a magnificent stalk that can grow to up to about 28 feet in a very short period of time. On the stalk are beautiful red/yellow flowers that provide delightful food for birds. Many people like to keep the dead stalk it the their yards to decorate seasonally or just be a perch for birds. This beauty was in out common area but unfortunately the landscaper cut it and took it away.