Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tibetan Sand Mandela here in Fayetteville

Sunday afternoon I attended the opening ceremony for the creation of a sand mandela at the University of Arkansas, in the Anne Kittrell room of the Student Union. Generally, a sand mandela is a Tibetan tradition of monks creating and subsequently destroying a mandela made of colored sand...grain by grain. It is meant to depict the transitory nature of material life.
Creating it is a lot of concentrated effort requiring many hours of tedious attention; the end result is always beautiful and then it is gone. Yes, it is a lot like life.

The Mystical Arts of Tibet are creating the mandela and they also will be performing and chanting at the Peace ceremony on Thursday. I have tried to link to their website, but all connections result in "bad link"...I will try again later, so check back.

Here are some shots I got at the opening ceremony; I am hoping to also attend the closing ceremony where I may get some shots of the finished (but un-destroyed) mandela.

The opening ceremony which included throat singing, chanting and music.

Once the festivities were complete...it was on to the job at hand. Here the monk is fastidiously making the pattern for the mandela.

This is a sample of the completed pattern that is used in preparing the mandela.

Here are the tools that the monks will use.

Here is the colored sand that will be the mandela.

Oh, the best news of all is that this particular mandela is being prepared in anticipation of the Dalai Lama visit, which should take place on May 11, 2011. Very exciting.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Little Darlins'

A while back I went to visit a lady who heads up the volunteer office of a non-profit that I spend some time with. She moved here to Arkansas from the west coast with the idea of having a farm and raising some animals. Along the way she got a position with a very well run organization and she has added tremendous value to its operation.
Here is how she spent this particular day off

If you start every day hugging a lamb...nothing that happens that day can upset you

These are two of the older lambs she has right now, but she also has some that are only days old. Oh my gosh! They are so cuddly.

Hey...just because I am older...does that mean no more hugs?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Backyard Happenings

Taking a walk around the back yard after the summer profusion of growth can show a little of what has been going on behind the scenes. Here's what I saw last week...

You don't know how badly I want this fellow to be the beginning of a beautiful butterfly. Is he? I don't know. Will he turn into a ravenous destructive monster in his next life? I don't know. For now, I find him mesmerizing. He is doing a number on my parsley though!

I asked around and did some research and found out that this one is a Black Yellowtail Larva... at first I thought it might be the dreaded Tobacco Worm (eats everything in the garden and has NO redeeming qualities) but fortunately it was not! The worm has 5 distinct feet; the one above has a few more than that. The yellowtails are customarily found on parsley plants...that's where this guy was!

I was clearing out the sunflowers and undergrowth in the corner of my yard and saw this guy taking a rest on my fence. I had to look closely to see him, at first I thought it was a dried leaf.

...and of course, my first fig crop. I need say no more.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Call...In Memory

On this day of remembrance, I thought I would share this beautiful song and video with you. it was written by Karen Benedetto, I lady I hired as my assistant when I worked at a prominent NY University. I feel blessed to have met her. You may agree after listening to this:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rain...Glorious Rain

Yes, that is what I have been saying to myself for the last couple of days. We haven't had any discernible rain for months. My trees are all but dead and I won't bore you with the state of my lawn.

But that is all changed now. Last week we got inches of rain over a two day period and last night again...more inches. Just fabulous! I think I see life springing back in my trees.
But wait a minute, I think I see something else as well.

What are those spots in my bedroom ceiling? And wait a minute, what is this REALLY big wet spot on the wall in my bathroom? Oh boy, two pretty serious leaks and it is really pouring. I just had the roof replaced this past January because of a pretty serious hail storm that we had last year. As luck would have it, I managed to find the same folks who put the original roof on the house to re-roof it. At that time I shared a pretty sordid story of a hurricane related complete wash out in New Jersey and begged him to be sure when he did this job, not to remove any shingles if there was rain in the forecast. He did a fine job and I was very pleased.

But what's with the leak now? I fished out his telephone number and called at 8:30 this morning. He sounded quite surprised when I told him what was happening and said he would be here in 30 minutes. It actually turned out to be a few minutes longer, but I knew he would be here. I could tell by the way he handles his business. He cares about his work and his reputation.
I showed him the leaks and he had to admit it was a head-scratcher. Well, sure, a leak in the middle of the wall in the bathroom and another along the inside edge of the bedroom ceiling, I was curious too.

I was relieved to find out the leaks were not related directly to the shingling job that they did. It was actually caused by the rubber collars on two plumbing vents; they had dried out and pulled away from the vertical pipes thus allowing rainwater to trickle in and down the vent pipe. He told me these collars generally last five or more years and that they were all replaced in January. So he is attributing their failure to a combination of manufacturing defects and the extremely hot summer we had this year. Just fried the rubber and made it crack and pull away from the pipe. He said he replaced the two damaged collars and resealed all the other vent pipes.

OK, so I am setting up a long range "to-do" list.
Item number one: in 2015 replace all the collars on the vent pipes.

Probably the best news from this whole fiasco is that when he sends a painter to repair the water stained spots, I may actually get a match for the paint in my house. I've been trying for years without success.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Last of the Washington County Fair

I decided to make this the third and last of the Washington County, Fayetteville, Arkansas fair entries. While there was unbelievable stuff happening there, I really limited myself to the displays. So you won't be seeing tractor pulls, Ferris wheels, cotton candy or other edible delicacies.
Nope, just the last of the animals...because as far as I am concerned, that is what it is all about. So here, enjoy these shots that require no further explanation

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Non-Animal Entrees at the Fair

I was surprised to see some of the non-animal entries at the fair. Two in particular are worthy of note. First, was a demonstration of creativity with scraps of metal and I have to tell you, I spent quite a few minutes looking at the Grand Champion winner. This is really something!

Actually, it was positioned behind some fencing and since the day was warm there was a fan blowing right on the piece and toward the lady sitting just behind it. That made the ribbons fly all over. I was trying to get a picture of the ribbons facing me so they could be seen on the blog...not an easy task. After some struggle, a man walked in and saw me fiddling with the ribbons. Then he took an extension gadget out of his pocket, reached through the fencing and held the bottom of the ribbon so I could take the shot. I did and thanked him very much. He said I must be very proud of my grandson and what is his name? I told him I had no idea, I had no grandson and that I was just admiring the workmanship. He looked bewildered.
I was bewildered when I got home and found out that I did not get the shot of him holding the ribbon for me, but one of the others I got previously was OK.

In a different section of the same building was another fenced off section that demonstrated creativity with table-setting. This was not just two forks a few plates and a knife and spoon. No. This was all of that PLUS the THEME. The theme could be anything, beach, picnic, holiday, birthday, camping out etc. I selected this one because the theme was my favorite food: Italian.

Of course what fair would be complete without some of this

It was really difficult to pick from all the gorgeous entires that were on that shelf.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chickens at the Washington County Fair

I could not resist going to the fair this week. I just love seeing animals that are loved so much they are almost considered part of the family. You will most definitely see that at the fair. So I took a lot of pictures and decided that I would make a few posts on a particular topic rather than just run them all together.

I found myself in a section that was actually set aside as a kind of petting zoo area for baby farm animals and back to one side there were chickens. Not really chickens but certainly the beginnings of them. Here are fertile eggs getting ready to hatch. See the wet feathery chick right there in front. That one is less than an hour old there!

When they get a few more downy feathers they move next door to join the other newbies.

After this section I wandered around and found another building that housed poultry. I cannot begin to tell you how many different kinds of chickens were there, but this one caught me eye
I'll bet you this guy is not meant to be eaten!