Musings

Minor mysteries

Ghoul in tree

Not sure what to lead with…I choose the seasonal, emotional, and possibly artistic image. Ghoul I thought, rather than ghost. Not sure why. “Ghoul” is from a late 1700s Arabic word for “to seize” that shifted meaning a bit to refer to a desert demon/monster that desecrates graves to eat corpses. That’s specificity; a ghoul is no city-critter.

Feather azalea mystery

Now, switch to the merely mildly mysterious. I cannot figure out for sure how this feather got so deeply embedded in the azalea foliage. Wind?

A day in Québec City

Citadel electric

After a nice walk through the trees on a boardwalk high above the St. Laurence, we popped out by La Citadelle de Québec. We opted to look from the entry gate and not take the tour. You can’t wander around because this is still an active military base, plus it is the official residence of the Queen of Canada, who is also Queen of England, and I’m sure rarer than rarely visits, let alone stays in the Citadelle. Apparently electrification is important to the mini-moat around the exterior wall.

Childrens courtyard

This is known as the Children’s Courtyard, within the Petit Séminaire de Québec, a Roman Catholic secondary school. Turns out where I was standing was the goal. The young man (second from left) stopped just in front of me and extended his foot toward me, tapped his toe immediately in front of my feet (no fudging!), and quickly and simultaneously deftly turned to continue the game. I really felt like a darned tourist, right in the way of real life.

Maison montcalm

On the slope as we worked our way down from the heights, we found this door. It’s not on a straight wall, and is not flush with either wall, the dark or light one. Rather strange. It is 51 Rue des Remparts, and is for sale. Across the street are two cannons. Who wouldn’t want to live here? Plus the plaquette notes that this was the home of Louis-Joseph de St-Verán, Marquis de Montcalm. You may know him from Québec history from the phrase Wolfe and Montcalm, referring to the leaders at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham here in 1759—both died from wounds they received in that battle.

Demi lune

Of course, demi-lune means half-moon, literally. Maybe that’s what it means here. However, on the open highway, it indicates a place where a driver can make a 180 and reverse direction. This meaning doesn’t quite make sense here?

Demi-lune is one of my words for this trip. Another is vitesse. It’s another driving term. It means speed. Vroom-vroom.

Kitchen vent

Kitchens get hot. Kitchens in ancient buildings are retrofitted in awkward ways. Thus, they are often cramped, with poor ventilation. Apparently, that’s the case here. Not only is this portal a vent, it’s a storage area for a rack of bins of food. No lie. Without plastic wrap or any other dust/fly protection over the bins. We did not eat here.

CG Amundsen

Coast Guard ship Amundsen. Monitors fisheries, and perhaps does research. Dramatic late-day light.

Lower town

We ate in the lower town. Yum.

Maplesyrup liqueur

Nothing against the many fine foods and beverages I consumed today, but this was hand’s down the best: a maple syrup whiskey cream liqueur. A gift from our dinner waitress. The maple flavor was exquisite. I didn’t ask the brand, but a prominent one is Sortilège…with Canadian whiskey, of course. WikiPee says French Canadians call this miracle beverage eau de vie d’érable. Heaven in a glass.

Another documentary

Groc orchid

In the middle of watching another wonderful documentary, totally different from “Chasing Coral“—watch it if you haven’t already.

Today’s is “Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin.” I remember the covers of her novels from the early Earthsea titles, the Hainish Cycle titles, and more, but I don’t remember reading a single one. Embarrassing. Time to track down several and inhale-read.

UKL had something in common with President Obama—both had one parent who was an anthropologist. Not too smug, am I? 😀

Our 50th state

Airport sign

Travel day, yuh. We walked to a bus station, took a bus to a train station, and this is on the train. So: bus; train.

Plane map

Got off the train, checked bags, went through security, and got on the airport train. So: another train.

Then, from the international concourse: a flight.

Land ho

Land ho! This is the roughly rectangular Molokai island, properly: Molokaʻi (almost correct…).

The Guru and I now have stepped on all 50 states of the USofA. And this is the US’s 50th state. Whatta coincidence. I won’t go into how the US government and US businessmen, along with a few well-meaning (hrrrrumph) missionaries, started wheedling these islands away from the people who “owned”/had them, beginning in the late 1880s at least. Finally, the coup was cemented in the 1890s, although statehood wasn’t until 1959. Colonialism in northeast Polynesia.

BTW, the Hawaiian language uses a glottal stop. This is denoted properly by a written symbol called ‘okina in Hawaiian. It is correctly a different symbol than a single quote or an accent grave, although they are frequently substituted (the former substituted here). TMI?

I’m thinking palm trees tomorrow?

Vinho verde, technically

Tiny grapes

This is how far along the grapes are. These are wild grapes, I think, and the vines are quite productive this year. They have taken over the spreading juniper since The Guru had to remove one trunk of the sour cherry they used to hug. I bet the birds still get the fruit when it ripens, and we don’t snag more than two or three grapes (not bunches) per person.

Lily light

We got to dine with five lovely young women and two of our age-set tonight. We laughed, we told stories, and we learned that “vinho verde” is not pronounced with Spanish phonetics. This makes sense because it is a Portuguese wine. The correct pronunciation of the second word is along the lines of “verdj(eh),” with the “eh” at the end just a hint. We sampled two tonight; one was still and the other had teeny bubbles, technically pétillance. Note that the green in the name refers to young/new/youthful, rather than the color.

Note that the grapes above are not a variety used in vinho verde. Or in wine. So far, anyway. Maybe not even technically a variety.

New vocab: frass

Morning light rug

Loving the low-angle morning light. And this rug. It’s seen better days, but we both like the color, so it stays (for now).

Flowers table

Stunning flower arrangement for the table…all from the garden and field. Great party followed!

Frass maker

Bumper crop of tent caterpillars this year. Friends are picking them off by the five-gallon bucket full. Yikes! I have heard of scat 💩; turns out that the same sort of output by insects is frass. I knew you wanted to know that.

Churning through steps

Fern backside

Apologies for the curt post yeasterday. I was amidst a complicated battery discharging/recharging regime. Judging by today’s data, it worked! Yay!

Messy job site

I’m pretty sure this is the messiest job site I’ve seen herebouts. Knew you’d want to be in the know. 🙃*

Just found out that the upside-down slightly smiling emoji indicates sarcasm. Alternate: 🙄 but this one can also mean playful—NOT the same.

Producto local

Producto local basil

“Producto local” in Spanish means what you might guess in English. The basil is from our front yard/garden plants, and the pesto I made from these leaves was superb (and tasteeeee!).

Producto local peaches

These are Georgia peaches, albeit from the groc-store and not our property. We are so lucky to have the final droplets of last year’s maple syrup from our neighbors’ in northern Michigan (no-Mich?) to add to the peaches, and a new 2019 ration to turn to when those droplets are consumed.

We are living large, and very lucky.

Odds, ends

Redbud leaves droplets

Little bit of precipitation last night…wowzer, these (redbud) leaves look mid- to late-summer.

Tumbling bus

I don’t think this means the bus tumbles. I hope.

Containers curbside

We missed Summerfest in the neighborhood this weekend. Not sure what these are but my guess is they were to catch wastewater (like from sinks in food trucks).

Home basil pesto

First big basil harvest here in the ATL. Also have Thai basil for some Thai curry—wonderful eats this week!

Oh-kayyyyyy

Fern bright

I do love ferns. So delicate.

Split box

A fellow was unloading a Sysco truck…is it true that every restaurant needs split box products? Popotes I understand—those are drinking straws in Mexican Spanish, a corruption of the Nahuatl/Aztec word for the plant stem used to make sweeping-brooms.

Realized I didn’t know the Spanish for fern—heh; turns out it’s helecho.