Monday, September 25, 2017

Music Moves Me - School Tunes

School days.  What memories to they bring to you?

As adults, some of us look upon those days fondly.  For others of us, the memories are not fond.  Either way, songs about school are the prompt today on Music Moves Me.

The very first song that popped into my head was not a modern song, but, rather, a song from 1907, written by Gus Edwards and Will Cobb.  This song is 100 years old, and brings back the feeling of a simpler, perhaps more innocent, time (note the reference to the "hickory stick", however.)
From 1973, My Old School by Steely Dan is not a song about elementary school, but, rather, the college where they met - Bard College, and some less than nostalgic days spent there.

Let's go back to 1963 when I was still in elementary school.  Be True to Your School by the Beach Boys has some wonderful harmonies. Some of us love that school spirit.

Does anyone here remember the 2003 movie "School of Rock"?  I had never heard of it, until one of my spouse's cousins (an elementary school teacher!) gave it to us as a gift.  I loved that movie, and I highly recommend it.  This clip is from the 10th reunion in 2013.


Last but not least...I can't resist this one, because there is a link between this musician and the Binghamton, New York area, where I live.
School's Out - Alice Cooper.  A musician whose tour was once banned from Binghamton.
Yup.

What are your school memories?

 Join this #MusicMovesMe blog hop every Monday - here are the people responsible for it:
X mas Dolly is the Conductor of this trip, and the other Conductors are her fellow bloggers Callie of JAmerican Spice, ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥  and Cathy from Curious as a Cathy.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Strange Times Ahead

We are having a strange fall.  Today, in upstate New York, it got up to 88F (31 Celsius).  Meanwhile, out west, for some people, it is snowing.

Every winter for the past few winters, here in the Binghamton area, we have said "this is the most incredible winter ever!"  Winters with lots of snow. Winters with record low snow amounts.  Or, this past winter, a winter that started with an incredible snowstorm, ended with an incredible snowstorm, with not much of anything in between.


It is so hard to think of winter right now, but it will come, just as surely as the New York asters are blooming. 
The asters speak to us.  This is what they say:

Soon, the growing season will be over and snow will blanket the ground. 

Or, will it?

Take these pictures of the Susquehanna River in Binghamton, taken on March 4, as just one example.  Look carefully.  There is something there you should see, but you don't.
Here's another view of the river.

Give up?

No ice.  Not this winter.
No, it's no ice, as in THE RIVER NEVER FROZE.

I've lived here over 30 years, and I'm certain that has never happened before.

And it wasn't just us.  Nearby, the annual crappie ice fishing derby was cancelled for this year.  It's not the first time in recent years.

Our spring wasn't quite like the winter of 2011-2012, when the forsythias and Bradford Pears were blooming by the third week of March.

And the summer was rainy.  By the last week of August, I was wearing a jacket in the morning.

And then summer returned.  We may hit a record high tomorrow.

Then what?  I'm almost afraid to ask.

Climate change isn't for sissies. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Local Saturday - A Pumpkin Day

The first day of fall in upstate New York.  If you looked at the thermometer, you may have thought it was August.

But, all around us, fall was showing itself.
Russell Farms tent, Vestal, New York
Gourds.
Russell Farms tent, Vestal, New York
More gourds.
rest of pictures: Stoughton Farms, Newark Valley, New York
Massive pumpkins.

Pumpkin checkers with mini-pumpkins.

Pumpkin and corn games. 

The corn maze, which I did not take advantage of, has a different picture theme each year.  This year's maze theme?  Local animal celebrities April the Giraffe and her son Tajiri.

Like it or not - fall is here.

More fall pictures in the coming weeks.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Equinox Minus One - #SkywatchFriday

Today, in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the first day of fall.

Last night, I took pictures of the sunset from near Johnson City, New York.
The last sunset of summer.

Alas.  Goodbye, summer.

Visit bloggers from all over the world on #SkywatchFriday, to see what the sky looks like from other places, all over the world.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Shadows on a Sidewalk #ThursdayTreeLove

Last night was Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish New Year (but so much more is involved).

Quoting History.com:
"Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement."

These next 10 days (The Days of Awe) end a period of self reflection for practicing Jews, including deep thought on what each and everyone of us can do to make the world a better place to live in.  It is a time for renewal and for spiritual connection.

These next 10 days also require us to face what we fear the most, and require us to examine how we can repair relationships, and reach out to others we may have hurt or not done enough to maintain a relationship.

A number of people I know were impacted by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  I also have friends who are connected to friends or family in Puerto Rico,damaged so heavily by Hurricane Maria.  Mexico City has suffered a major earthquake. Meanwhile, I sit here dry, with a roof over my head, and no major health issues. 

The other week, I read a quote by Thomas Jefferson on a blog:

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.

For many right now, there is no sunshine, only shade, only suffering.  What I can do to make the world better after these natural events?  What can I do to move us back into the sunshine?  That will be one of my challenges.

For now, I want to thank all of you for spending a few minutes reading today's post. 

You, my readers, are part of my sunshine.  You encourage me, you comfort me, you listen to what I write about. 

Today, on our last full day of summer, I would like to thank you for this past year of your readership.  I thought of this quote the other day, as I saw sunshine on a sidewalk and the shadow of a tree losing its leaves.

May the coming year have less shade for you, and much more sunshine, friendship, and good times.

Now, all of us - yes, all of us, now have to work our way through the shade next few weeks and months.

One day the sun will come out again.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Summer Ramblings - The First Touches of Fall

It's the last post of summer 2017.

The weather, after a wet summer, has suddenly turned sunny and warm this September.  We bask in a late summer "warm wave" while the author of a blog I read often, who lives in Alberta, experiences snow showers.
The goldenrod is winding down (complete with my shadow).

A daylily in my yard that is suddenly reblooming (it did last year, too).

Some random pink flowers in a Binghamton, New York front yard.  I should know what these are, but I don't.

And yet...fall looms.  Some trees are already turning color, their leaves falling and coloring the sidewalks.

Mums are everywhere.


Goodbye, summer.  Goodbye (almost) to eating lunch outside.
Goodbye to butterflies.

On Friday, we will welcome fall, and next Wednesday, new seasonal features intermixed, perhaps with more "fall prevention" (as in humans falling) features.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Last Summer Tuesday - Honey Apple Cake

Tomorrow, besides being the last summer Wednesday of 2017 for us in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the start (at sundown) of the Jewish New Year.

Two of the traditional foods for this happy occasion are apples and honey.

Both apples and honey are produced locally in my area of upstate New York.  So, I like to combine the two every year.  I have a favorite apple honey cake recipe I'd like to share with you.

It isn't my recipe but I have adopted it as "mine". Sort of.

I made it slightly differently from last year.  Here is this year's recipe.

AM's 2017 Version of Tori Avey's Apple Honey Cake

3 large eggs (I was fortunate enough to use free range brown eggs from a local farm)
3/4 cup honey (local buckwheat honey from the Finger Lakes, which is quite dark, and is a good fall honey)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup unrefined coconut oil melted gently in microwave (this is solid at room temperature) mixed with 1/4 cup canola oil.
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups King Arthur's White Whole Wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon, freshly ground
3/4 tsp Penzey's pie spice
4 apples, peeled, cored and shredded (you will also want to use the resulting liquid)

Here, you get an idea of how dark buckwheat honey is
 I had local ginger gold apples in the house, and also a pippin apple I had never eaten from the local farmers market called Saint Edmund's Pippin.  This is actually more of a cider and fresh eating apple, but it's what I had.

You will bake this in a 9 inch Bundt cake pan.

Method (sorry, not metric)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

While oven heats, mix the wet ingredients:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until frothy.
Whisk in honey, white and brown sugar, melted coconut oil, and vanilla

Then mix the dry ingredients:
In a smaller bowl, sift together flour, baking power, baking soda, spices.

Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stir to blend.  You don't want any dry ingredients, but you also don't want to over beat.

Fold in your shredded apples and liquid from the apples.

Spray your bundt pan with cooking spray, coating the inside evenly.

Now, pour your batter into the pan.  You don't want to overfill (Tory Avery, who wrote the original recipe, warns you not to fill more than 3/4 full.)  Smooth the batter on the top so that it is flat and even.  You do not want any air pockets.  I press down on the filling gently with a spoonula.

Bake for approximately 75-90 minutes.  When the edges darken and pull fully away from the sides of the pan, and the cake is browned, test with a toothpick.  This is a moist cake, so you don't want to under cook.  But, you don't want to overcook it, either.
All done - wonderfully dark (not burned)

I don't put a frosting on this although the original recipe calls for one.

In the mood for more apple recipes? Check this blog out.

Do you have a favorite apple recipe?