Sunday, April 26, 2009

in and out the window

Spring has sprung, the weather's warm and the wisteria has bloomed. We planted some rosemary, basil, thyme, two types of lettuce, rocket, black violas and a little strawberry plant on our kitchen balcony.

Usually bees and wasps fly in my windows in the spring and summer, but today a large peacock butterfly came to visit:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy Birthday!

to my sister the Cheezelady, with love.

a forest in the chest

It must be a slow news day as the Guardian is reporting the story of a man in the Urals who supposedly had a spruce fir seedling removed from his lung. This seems more suited to the Fortean Times than the Guardian. It makes me think of fairy tales, forest curses and the scene from Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain in which the conquistador drinks of the tree of life.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Darwin's Easter Egg

A volunteer at the University Museum of Zoology Cambridge found this egg, which was collected by Charles Darwin during his voyage on the HMS Beagle, after it had been lost in the museum's collection for nearly 200 years. I love that this happened just in time for Easter and the celebration of Darwin's 200th birthday. You can read more about it here.

I also discovered the Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online, including his diaries, notebooks and illustrations. These photos are from The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals published in 1872:

low spirits, anxiety, grief, dejection, despair

The Darwin Online site not only has the complete texts of Darwin's writings but images of the book covers and individual pages. It's well worth a visit, especially if you can't make it to the Darwin Exhibition at the Natural History Museum.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

little recipe of the month...

I've added a tiny recipe over in the sidebar just for fun. This month's recipe is for sweet spiced chai. It's been getting warmer here, but it's still nice to have a warm cup of tea.

April Chai...

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil & add three Darjeeling teabags or loose-leaf tea. You can also use regular black tea, green tea or rooibos.


4 ~ 1 1/2 inch slices of fresh ginger (you can make them with a vegetable peeler)
1 ~ 2 inch cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1 heaping teaspoon of powdered cardamom or a few whole cardamom pods
1 ~ 6 inch vanilla bean cut up into 1 inch pieces or a splash of vanilla extract
a dash of nutmeg
1/4 cup of honey

Reduce heat & simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add two cups of milk or soy milk & bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Strain & serve hot or over ice.

If there are any leftovers the may be stored in the refrigerator.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Books and Black Holes

Lincoln had his melancholia, Churchill had his black dog, and I occasionally fall into black holes. Sometimes I can be in one for quite some time before I realize I have to dig myself out. It helps to remember things I like; in the past I have used this as a place to share things that make me happy, but I've gotten out of practice. So, it seems a good time for spring cleaning, both here and in my head.

Books are some of my most favorite things, and I was lucky enough to recently find a copy of the first American edition of Michael Ende's The Neverending Story. I first read it as a teenager, but the copy I borrowed from the library was printed in black ink with no illustrations. My beautiful new (old) copy has text printed in the proper red and green with 26 illustrations by Roswitha Quadflieg illuminating the chapter heads, one for each letter of the alphabet.

Here are some images from the book... more pictures, including Roswitha Quadflieg's full alphabet can be found here.

If you've never read The Neverending Story run out and get a copy; even if it's a paperback in black and white you won't be disappointed. If you're able to read it in the original German then lucky you!

..and if you're still reading this after all this time, or still checking in, hello again.