Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kalanu, Kahka'kwi, Kangi, and Kotollo-ah

As many of you know I did not start my Alphabe-Thursday participation until the letter "G"...a late bloomer I guess:-) Thusly I missed the letter "C" and an appropriate opportunity to post about one of my favorite groups of birds, The Crows...and Ravens to a lesser extent only because we do not have them in the southeastern US. The title of my post are four of the Native American names for crows and ravens...Cherokee, Cree, Lakota and Zuni respectively. So I sort of snuck in the back door with our Alpahabe-"K":-)

Crows and Ravens are remarkable birds, both from a natural history and cultural perspective. Their level of intelligence ranks among the highest of all birds perhaps only rivaled by the Mynah and a few Parrots. There is no telling how far back the crow/raven/human relationship extends, although cave paintings depicting crows or ravens have been found in France dating back some 30,000 years. There is such an enormous amount of material on these birds...much more than I could even begin to cover here. As many of you would know much of their history as relates to humans is particularly dark and negative. There are obvious natural history reasons for much of this. It is interesting to note that a good bit of the negative started in Europe, and that for the most part this group of wonderful birds are seen as powerful, yet positive "influences" in Native American culture.

The pictures below are some I have taken of crows here around our house. The artwork/sculpture...a clay, hand fashioned crow family (technically called a "murder"), a hand carved crow decoy, and a prized, 160 year old 1st edition Audubon.

There are many good books on crows and ravens that would amaze and amuse anyone. Enjoy:-)

Kathy's Knee Replacement...Her surgery went well and her hospital PT has gone well, although she will never again take an Ambien:-) She is scheduled to come home tomorrow afternoon, and we will venture out for our first PT on Good Friday. Thanks to you guys for your prayers, thoughts and good vibes...Happy Good Friday and Easter to you all. Thank you Jenny...Peace and blessings...Namaste...Shalom Aleichem

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Happy MrsC and Her Knee

Tomorrow morning Kathy and I will go to the hospital so that she can have her knee replacement surgery. Her knees have bothered her for longer than either of us care to remember. She is finally going to ‘take the leap’ and have them done…one at a time. I ask for your prayers and meditations for her and her surgeon…that she may have a smooth, successful surgery. I also ask for your prayers for me to be the best support I can be…from day one to day whenever. This will be an ‘adventure’ for certain for the both of us…hopefully as pain free as possible. I have been reading up on what to expect and do, and I have put together the appropriate collection of aids…walker, shower bench, potty accessory , etc. I guess we are good to go. I pray that she will be soon back to the things that give her pleasure…her kids at school and all their little projects…her beekeeping…I don’t know about me:-)

Peace and Blessings

Mr C (Jeff)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"J" is for Jiffy Jeff

Note: For those brave souls that choose to endure through this post, my apologies...

Jiffy Jeff…not a moniker I would choose to give myself. It was one given to me by my wonderful , great aunt Nell Jeffords. Not sure why, although I do remember it being spoken by her in loving fashion. She has long since ‘crossed the veil’, but the memory of her and this nifty name she had for me is imprinted forever in my mind.

Jeffords is my middle name, so ascribed to me as a ‘tribute’ of sorts to my great uncle, Warren Jeffords (Nell’s husband). My first name is George, as was the case for a number of Campbells in succession, and as is the case for my son, Ben. My dad was called George, as was his dad, so to avoid confusion Jeff seemed an appropriate, familiar name for me.

Jeff comes from the longer name Jeffrey (Germanic). It means “God’s Peace”, and thusly the meaning of the name Jeff is often given as “God’s Peace”. Would it not be grand and heart warming if Jeffords had the same meaning? As fate would have it, that is not the case.

Jeffords is of English origin, although it may have roots in an earlier time in France. Its theoretical English origin would be from the ancient Norman culture established in England after the conquest of 1066. It was a name often given to a chubby-cheeked or round-faced person (God’s Peace…oh why could it not have been Jeffrey? Although chubby-cheeked could bring up imagery of a happy person). As for the possible French origin…quite possibly from the word “giffard”, a pejorative of the word “giffel”, meaning “jaw”.

The name was spelled a number of different ways…Gifford, Giffard, Gyfford, Gifferd, Givard, etc. You may be wondering as I have , how the “G” became a “J”. I am not certain, although name spelling changes were commonplace with early immigrants to the New World.

Historical records indicate that some of the first immigrants to North America bore the name Jeffords, or a variant thereof. I have traced my Jeffords ancestors to early 1700s New England.

I like to provide appropriate photographs with my Alphabe-Thursday post, although I am hesitant to offer myself up in photo exhibitry. I also like to post photos that I have taken. If I were to post about my name, then by assumption I would post photos of me…the Real Deal…and most likely these photos would not have been taken by me. Alas, most are not, although the last and most recent photo of the “chubby-cheeked, round-faced” character I did indeed take. Photo credits for the majority of pictures go to my dad, MrsC, and my friend Rick.

Jeff Haiku...

Jiffy Jeff eats jam

While Auntie Nell cooks her ham

Memories run deep


Jenny Matlock

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Infinitely Incredible Insects

Infinitely Incredible Insects...and little Irishmen in spring green

I love insects, their diverse colors, shapes and alien appearances. I really love to photograph them, and am always trying to improve my insect photography skills. I am so looking forward to Spring and Summer…Insect Season.

There are an estimated 10 quintillion insects alive on our planet (that number should make you feel better about CDS and Budget Deficits). There are over 1 million known species, with many experts thinking there might be as many as 10 million. Insects are Arthropods, divided into 32 Orders. The largest Order is Coleoptera(beetles). Approximately 1 in 4 animals on Earth is a beetle.

Scientists estimate that 10% of the annual biomass on the planet is made up of ants, with another 10% made up of termites. Some 20% of the Earth’s annual biomass is in social insects…maybe we could learn something from them.

Insects are found pretty much everywhere, even the extremes of the Arctic and Antarctic. They are in the soil, air, water, plants, on and in the bodies of animals, even you. They are not commonly found in oceans.

Insects are important in the decomposition of plants and animals. They are a major foodsource for many animals.

Insects are not “bugs”, although “true bugs” are insects comprising some 35,000 species of the Order Hemiptera.

Some other Interesting Insect Information…Painted Lady Butterflies migrate over 3000 miles from Africa to England. Desert Locusts travel about 2800 miles, and our well-known Monarch Butterflies migrate over 2000 miles from Canada to Central Mexico. These Monarchs can travel over 600 miles without stopping. The oldest insect fossil is a 390 million year old “bristletail”. The oldest butterfly fossils are from the Cretaceous (dinosaur) Period…about 130 million years ago. The largest insect fossil is of a prehistoric dragonfly with a wingspan of 30 inches on an 18 inch body. Would that not be cool to have those flying about your pond? We would have to wear helmets. The largest, currently living insects are the Great Walking Sticks. Record specimens of some 22 inches have been found in Malaysia.

In summary…when the warm months ahead seem all too “buggy”, and the gnats, no-see-ums, and skeeters seem too much to bear, remember that without insects, without the bees to pollinate our fruits and veggies, without all the myriad of beneficial things that insects do…we simply could not survive.

Insect Haiku

Summer dreams will fly

Free on Odonata wings

Wake from winter sleep.

Peace and blessings on this fine St. Patrick’s Day…

Please click on the pictures to enlarge...

little Irishmen in spring green
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May God be with you and bless you:
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

I am participating in Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. You should check it out!
Jenny Matlock