Saturday, June 30, 2012

I didn't know what hot was until...

That's actual temp, not heat index, which was higher.

When this heat wave was predicted for Friday and through the weekend and early next week, I went to the grocery store Friday morning when it opened, 8am. I quickly did my business at the Dollar Store and Grocery Store, and got home for 9. The temperatures raised up by 12 degrees just in that time, being 74 when I left and 86 when I got home. I haven't been outside since, except in the very early predawn to water my plants.

It really is dangerously hot out. At 10 pm it is still 89 degrees. Several folks I know go walking and they said that even at that hour it was the hottest they ever felt, and this is from lifetime Georgia locals.

I'm not looking forward to the electric bill next month. I rarely turn it on for lengths of time, the last few years being bearable until August. I never have the AC on through the night, preferring the night air and night sounds to the humidity, which wanes as the night deepens anyway. Not last night, I had the AC on all night and haven't turned it off yet. Even set at 78 degrees on energy saver, low fan, I know it will be a bear to pay. Oh well, 115 degree heat index is not really livable or survivable even.

At the grocery store I bought a lot of bread, turkey cold cuts, and fruit. I don't mind eating cold meals! Not if it means not having to use the stove. And I bask in time to write, to study, to read, to surf, and to goof around watching Cheers clips from thirty years ago. Man, that show was funny.

I am the epitome of hunkered down. It's like in Maine during the winter when a Nor'easter was predicted, except the temperature opposite. Stay cool and stay safe everyone.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Historic heat

That is the ACTUAL temperature, right now, not a heat index value. But tomorrow's predicted heat index of 114 is amazing, absolutely amazing. The near future offers no relief, says the weather service--




LOL I have my AC on. It is a window unit doing its best to keep up. I laid down for a nap and just got back up, HOTTER than when I laid down. How does one get sweaty hot just by sleeping?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cute overload: Live cam of Puffin burrow

Baby puffin so cute!! Live Cam of underground Puffin Burrow It is from Audubon's Explore series. The live puffin cam was just opened yesterday. It is located on Seal Island, Maine, a natural rookery for the Atlantic bird, being well offshore and having no predators that can get to them.

Here is a still of the baby. It is looking at its mother.
Here is the mom, who went outside to take a walk, perhaps to lounge on the loafing ledge. Here is a link to video of the loafing ledge cam.

Puffins are definitely adorable!

"Audubon ornithologist Steve Kress says the video, which went live Wednesday, marks the first time high-definition cameras have been used in North America to stream video of Atlantic puffins." (source)

Here is where Seal Island is:

The island is 10 miles offshore from Machias-Cutler Maine, but both the US and Canada claim it. However, the birds know nothing of this sovereign kerfuffle, and simply enjoy baby-raising, fish feasts, and sun all season. The cams will be open during the summer months. Which, at that latitude, lasts for about a minute.

You can take a birding tour to the offshore Island. I did and it was wonderful! I had a blast. We saw puffins galore, swimming and flying. The puffins are really small, and in reality look like a flying cigar!

Hot! 108 degrees is just ridiculous

We are going to receive the record-breaking heat the Midwest has been having. It is predicted to be 108 actual degrees tomorrow. It is pretty hot as it is, today. At mid-morning, I went outside for a stroll around the house. Here are the photos I took.

This one is of the front of the house. The trees and the bushes plus lawn makes this side of the house cooler. It looks lush, and it is. There are flowering bushes and morning glories here.

This is the back of the house. The driveway, cement patio, and less foliage makes my back room hotter. This is the pasture adjoining the property. It is mostly brown.

Here is the side yard. Atop this tree was a huge robin singing cheerily.

Stay cool and make sure to check your hot weather tips. This last one is from CouponCabin on Facebook

The pictures say it all

Weather Underground says: says:

And I am so sad that for once the different weather reporting stations are in agreement. It is gonna get ugly around here...dangerously hot and ugly.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Corner View: mineral

Corner View: Vegetable Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. If you'd like to join in, please leave a link to your Corner View post in the comments at the Corner View link, and be sure to visit other participants you'll find there too. Today's theme is "Mineral" and it comes from Dana. It's part of a trilogy inspired by the game "animal, vegetable, or mineral?" (do you have it in your corner of the world?)"

I love minerals. In Maine there are lots of opportunities to dig for gems just lying barely under the surface. There's tourmaline, beryl, amethyst, quartzes of all colors, and more. Perham's of West Paris Maine was a 90 year old store that sold minerals and gems as well as books and equipment for prospecting. Unfortunately it closed in 2009. The store sold local gems and minerals and pieces from around the world. Perham said the area is rich in pegmatite, a rock composed of quartz, feldspar, and mica. The slow cooling of such materials allows crystals to grow. Green tourmaline mined on Mt. Mica was the store's specialty when it was founded. The store was featured in Reader's Digest in 1957; Perham said recent visitors still arrived with copies of the issue. Yankee Magazine also cited Perham's as "The Best Place to Rock" in Maine in their May-June issue. More about the famous mineral store here.

Tourmaline is actually Maine's state mineral. Digging for minerals is a Maine tourist attraction for those so inclined. They stay at Mining camps as a home base like the Poland Mining Camp and are taken to quarry locations to prospect.

Living in and near the locations for best mineral collecting, we were fortunate to belong to the Maine Mineralogical Society. As a club they had permission to go to quarries where the mechanized gemologists had already dug out the vein and dug up the earth from around it. We sorted through the tailings, as they called it, happy as clams and finding lots of pretty gems and rocks. Here is a collection of a few I found whilst digging with my nose to the ground under the Maine skies:

From front and clockwise: amethyst ,2 quartzes, geode, smokey quartz

Oh, look, it's an ugly rock!

Ah, but look what's lurking inside! It turned out to be a geode!

Smokey quartz closeup. In real life it looks like there is smoke inside the mineral. I just can't photograph it so well so the picture didn't pick that up

Amethyst, note the light purple. In Maine, amethyst came in all shades, from light lavender to deep purple.

Green tourmaline

Did you know that minerals grow so big? A cave was discovered in Mexico where the crystals have grown as big as a pillar and tall as a house!

You can read more about the wonderful crystal cave in NatGeo here.

Finally, there is a new mineral that has been discovered!

Meteorite Hunter Discovers New Mineral
"Hidden within a rock from space is a mineral previously unknown to science: panguite.The new mineral was found embedded in the Allende meteorite, which fell to Earth in 1969. Since 2007, geologist Chi Ma of Caltech has been probing the meteorite with a scanning electron microscope, discovering nine new materials, including panguite."

So thanks for taking the mineral tour with me! Be sure to visit the other Corner Views. Happy Corner viewing!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What I think...

This is very true for me

Our visit to an Etruscan tomb

I was re-reading my old travel journals. This one was from 1996 or so. It was a long trip I took with my family and my husband. First, the bunch of us went to Paris. When that part of the trip was over and they scattered either for home or for other European nations to visit, my husband and I went on by train to southern France, and then to Italy.

We had rented an apartment on the Tuscan/Umbrian border near Cortona, in a little town named Tuoro Sul Trasimeno. Each day we would take our rented car and explore.

This particular day I'd written about involved an Etruscan tomb. I remember our experience there like it was yesterday and not 15 years ago. Here is what I'd written.

"after laundry and a rest, we struck out for Camucia, a town at the bottom of the hill from Cortona, in search of an Etruscan tomb we'd heard about. Sure enough, after a few minutes of poking around, we saw a sign for the tomb and a small sign for the parking lot. So we parked. But we did not see anything even approximating an ancient tomb.

As we wandered about the lot, we saw an ancient woman in a vineyard clamber up and part the vines, yelling the whole time. She had a scarf on her head, a plain dress, clumpy heavy black shoes, an apron, and a few teeth. I heard a couple of words, mainly "custodia" caretaker. We asked where the tomb was and again she said she was custodian and seemed to wait expectantly.

Mike dug in his pocket and as he did the woman eyed us and said, "Americani?" When we said "Yes", she pronounced, "20,000 lira!"

Of course that was too much, but we didn't bargain and we handed it over. In return, she asked us if we wanted some white grapes, and sliced off a big bunch. They were SO sweet!

She hobbled down a neat, graveled path, banging her cane all the way to the gate. At the gate, she dug her out of her apron of a huge key, the kind you see in cartoons. It must have weighed 10 pounds. She opened the gate wide and took us around a bend. There it was.

The Etruscan tomb was built in the 6th century before Christ, making it close to 3000 years old. It was 5 rooms large, meaning it had intended to house personages from a rich family. The Etruscan tomb was deep, well constructed, and impressive. There was even writing on the wall, as old as Egyptian hieroglyphs, describing the married couple whose tomb this was.

The old lady began speaking in a loud measured voice in what was obviously a memorized spiel. She'd gesture to this side or that side with her cane, and whack the wall, with it, and sometimes dust would come trickling down. Then she asked how we liked her grapes."

That was our trip back in time 3000 years ago to the tomb. It was an amazing archaeological site to see. But the real feature of the day was the old lady with her cane and her key.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


What to do with the yellow squash? Make a version of ratatouille. Put in oil to cover the bottom of the pot, add chopped Vidalia onion, stir till golden brown. Then add the cubed yellow squash. I didn't peel it. Turn stovetop to medium low, add salt, cover and let simmer down till the juices are almost gone. Then add the green pepper, and when they are almost soft, the tomatoes. The tomatoes adds the juices back in. Part way though I added margarine.

To save electricity, I turn the stove off when the veggies are cooked through and just let the residual heat on the burner and the pot simmer and blend the flavors. I ate it with a slice of crusty bread. Yum! Lunch is served.

It is another hot day today, but we have been blessed with perfect weather and temperatures up till now. I've got the fan on but I might break down and turn on the AC. It is 87 degrees right now. Once temps get above 90, no amount of nighttime open window policy will let in enough cool air to sufficiently cool off the apartment. It starts over the next day already hot, and piling on is a dead end road I don't like to travel.

I'm starting a new book today, "Shadow of Ashland." The blurb goes, "As she is dying, Leo Nolan's mother asks him to find her brother Jack, who left home during the Great Depression and dropped out of sight. Leo's quest for his uncle takes him south to Ashland, Kentucky, where he discovers that the present lies in the unbreakable grip of the past."

Oh, the past, the past. I don't like to look at the past. I look to the future, because it is filled with heavenly delights. I look to the future so much I can totally understand Leonard Ravenhill's quote, "I'm convinced that the greatest thing about those Puritan preachers (is) they lived in eternity six days a week and came down to earth on the seventh!" But I still hope the book will be good. If it isn't I have four others on deck to give a try.

The construction at the school across the street is finally getting noisy. Hey, maybe one good outcome of turning on the AC is that with the windows shut I won't hear the jackhammers...

Have a good day everyone and stay cool on this long, longest summer day!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Corner View: Vegetable

Corner View: Vegetable Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. If you'd like to join in, please leave a link to your Corner View post in the comments at the Corner View link, and be sure to visit other participants you'll find there too. Today's theme is "Vegetable" and it comes from Dana. It's part of a trilogy inspired by the game "animal, vegetable, or mineral?" (do you have it in your corner of the world?)"

Access to good, fresh food is a worldwide problem. Living in the verdant and richly soiled American South, with a long growing season, I have access to fresh food that is local and usually organic 9 months per year. Though I don't frequent the local Farmer's Market each week, I I never take for granted that it is there and the hard working farmers are offering a treasure to the people.

Comer Farmer's Market

Tomato plants in a friend's garden

Thank you for stopping by to see my virtual vegetables, and be sure to visit other Corner Views this week! :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What to cook? Do I care?

A few days ago I made huge batches of things. I love having good, healthy cooked food available to just yank out of the fridge and reheat.

Alas, it is now all gone. But also gone is my energy to make stuff. I hope it comes back. I think I'll lie down while I'm waiting...

Here is an irony: every time I buy a bunch of bananas, they turn brown faster than I can get to eat them! Last week I bought a bunch of yellow bananas and then decided to use them to make banana muffins. Bananas need to be really brown and mushy for use in banana bread or muffin recipes. Since I decided to use them in a baking project, the bananas have somehow colluded with the browning chemical elements to stay their execution. They will not turn brown! The muffins will have to wait. That is good, because the energy to bake is still MIA.

I like routine. My cats do too. Apparently so do the birds. Every night a tiny bird comes and perches on the tree outside the front door, and tweets the loudest series of TWEETS you can imagine. I truly don't know how those tiny bird lungs can emit such an ear-shattering sound, but they do. And every night, my cats go crazy. The leap up, all four legs splayed out in finest cartoon-style, they run to the door and they try and catch the bird.

Ahhh, every day is a new day for them, isn't it! They always forget that they can never get the bird.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Beach going, virtual-style

Oh, beach, how I miss you! Yes, there are beaches here in Georgia, and nearby South Carolina. But they are not the same. They are over-developed, far away, sandy, and crowded.

Even the nooks at places like Tybee Island are gentrified.

I like the rough and tumble foggy beaches of the slate gray north Atlantic. There are high tides and lobster boats and lighthouse and foghorns. I love the south, but I miss the Downeast beaches.

Jasper Beach Maine
Below, Lubec Beach. At high tide the water comes all the way up to the foreground. Really. And it comes up fast, too.

See the high tide at Cutler, Maine? Notice the boat on the flats to the left? And the tall ladders? And the tide-line of dark, wet wood and dry wood above it?

LOL, if I may be forgiven, I think the beaches at Georgia are girly beaches. I miss the muscular, rough, foggy dangerous beaches at Maine's far reaches Downeast.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Some favorite photos

This is one stylish dog! It was at a library book sale about ten years ago. I almost missed seeing the dog against the lady's sweater print and the print on the bag. So cute! So tiny!

Lichen in Downeast Maine. I like the various shades of greenish blue.

Pampas grass at the end of a driveway in Georgia.

Did I post this already? I can't remember, lol.  A lonely shack.
Today is a fresh, gorgeous, sunny day. When morning temps are below 60 degrees, I know the day will not be too hot. Isn't it a luscious feeling to have fresh, pre-dawn air wafting over you as you draw up the blanket to your neck? Cool but not cold. Refreshing but not chilly. Ahhh...summer mornings.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fig ricotta bake

As I mentioned yesterday, a friend gave me a bag of fresh figs. Another friend gave me ricotta cheese. Hmmm, what to do with all this bounty? I have to make sure it doesn't go to that means cooking it. I know! Google "figs" and "ricotta" and see what I get!

There are many recipes for fig-ricotta bake, and they all pretty much have the same ingredients. The only difference is that some recipes had the cook baking the figs and then spooning ricotta mixture into a slit top, and the others had the cook slicing the figs and baking with the ricotta. I went with #2. Baby spooning in delicate amounts of ricotta mix seemed like too much work.

I had most of the ingredients the recipe called for right on hand, except for honey. I had the ricotta, figs, butter, cinnamon, pecans, but no honey. I decided to substitute maple syrup, which was a mistake.

The maple syrup down south isn't really maple, though it is a syrup. It is mostly sugar or corn starch water with colored flavoring. The syrup turns bitter as it is bakes, whereas honey just turns mellow when it's heated. Although my recipe is a bit bitter, it is still quite good. I will definitely use honey next time.

The only other problem is that the best recipe I found had no cooking oven temperature listed and no times for length of time in the oven. So I combined the most usual amounts from the other recipe I'd read, 350 degree oven for about half an hour. I have no idea if cooking longer would have made a difference or not, but sometimes you just have to improvise.

Here are the results

Buon appetito!

NeverSeconds, food blogging, and summer bounty

I have an embarrassment of riches. Summer gardening and harvesting season is here in north Georgia, and the squash and figs are coming in! A friend gave me a bag of figs, and a bag of squash yesterday, and they are delicious! Blackberries and blueberries are coming, too. I am so blessed to live in abundant land, where not only is the food to be scooped up off the ground, (figs, blackberries, pecans), but talented and dedicated gardeners nurture their crops to such fullness. And thank goodness they are generous! Thank you one and all for the fresh local food!
See?! I told you they were huge!
One of the bounties yesterday was fresh pineapple that another friend shared with me. I have about a half dozen slices. Since the leeks turned out to be such a tasty surprise on the George Foreman Grill, I am going to grill the pineapple slices too.

I made a quinoa salad yesterday that was fantastic! I had cooked quinoa on hand from the last batch I'd cooked to use with the mustard greens. It is best to cook extra and use the stove only once. It saves on electricity and it saves from heating the kitchen up two times. It also helps the fridge with cooling. It is easier for a fridge to stay cool with more in it than if it is trying to cool empty air. The trick is always to use the extra so that is not wasted. It really hurts to see the food waste on Hell's Kitchen.
I use red quinoa.
I had craisins on hand and also regular raisins. I plumped them in a steamer for a minute, and tossed them into the cooked quinoa. I added some crushed pecans and a seeded diced cucumber. I stirred in some mustard vinaigrette I'd had on hand. You can add any kind of dressing you like, or none, that is the beauty of quinoa. It holds its own and the craisins added a burst of flavor anyway. But I did add a tablespoon to hold it all together. It was a very, very good dish.

I also made a blackberry cobbler yesterday. Cobbler is soooo easy to make, even a person like me who hates to bake can do it.

This morning was a boiled egg on ciabatta bread. Now, usually artisan bread is too expensive for my budget, but this was reduced. It gets reduced because it has no preservatives (yay!) but it has a shorter shelf life. People around here don't go for artisan bread so much, sticking with their tried and true biscuits and cornbread. So I scooped the loaf up.
Ciabatta bread
The thing is, it is a little hard. So naturally I toast it harder, and that way it can hold up a soft-boiled egg. Another good thing to do with hard bread is to toast it and put summer tomatoes/garlic/olive oil on top for a hearty bruschetta.

Speaking of food, I ran across a food blogger I really enjoy. She is nine years old! She lives in Scotland and started blogging about her school lunches, 'dinners' as they say over there. She had permission from her teachers, and each day she would take a photo of the lunch, describe it, and rate it. She also explained what other choices there were available and why she chose the one she did. She was incredibly fair minded, witty, factual, and charming. Her blog is called NeverSeconds.

For example, one day she wanted to know where the chicken in her fajita came from. "I know it comes from a hen. I just want to know where it lived." One day she has sticky rice, commenting dryly that "it's amazing that they stick together but not to my fork." And noting that when eating peas and corn, "dropping is not popular" so she tried extra hard not to be messy.

As one student from the western US sent in her photo of her lunch, Martha noted that her lunch tray has more compartments. Kids!

As she received more notoriety she decided to use it to raise money for a school lunch program in a Third World country that feeds children, (Mary's Meals) often the only meal they get that day. So she is also a generous kid.

Her name is Martha, nickname 'veg' and she started her blog in April. She raves about the soups, loves licking the frosting off the cupcakes, and generally is all around charming, She encourages children from around the world to also send in their photos of school lunch, which they did. Her blog turned out to be a viral hit, and received over two million views in two months. She got the notice of a UK celebrity chef, praising her for advocating for more fruits and salads, and was interviewed on radio and newspaper.

So of course the School Board banned her from taking any more photos. They shut down that kid so fast it made her head spin.

But thanks to twitter, other social media, and generally negative newspaper and radio publicity, the School Board recanted their ban, and will now allow Martha to food-blog school dinners again. Even the Scotland School Superintendent said that the local board was "daft" for censoring the girl. A famous UK crime author wrote in, too. "Ian Rankin, the best-selling crime author, tweeted to Argyll and Bute Council: "I spent yesterday trying to enthuse school pupils about creativity and the written word. So thanks a lot."

He has a point. Martha is being creative, showing initiative, demonstrating generosity, honing her observation and writing skills, reaching out to other children (who hear a message from a peer better than an adult), causing positive change, and being a good role model. I can't say the same for the adults in authority. I'm glad they recanted.

So thanks to the internet, one never knows where the next great food blogger will come in! I read all her entries this morning and they were a delight.

Something she said I agree with for myself: a reader wrote in to her saying how lucky she was to have lunches at school. She said, "They are right!" and it sparked her Mary's Meals charitable initiative. I am also grateful to have access to so much fresh food. Thank you Lord for your provision. Whether it came from my paycheck, generous friends, or a bountiful yard, access to fresh, healthy food is something not to take for granted.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hello, Thursday!

I love how there is this random bird who decides at 3:00am to suddenly start chirping. I'll be laying there awake, and all is quiet. I hear the wind rustling in the leaves, the curtains gently brushing against the windowsill. Suddenly splitting the peace will be CHIRPCHIRPCHIRPCHIRPTWEETTWEETTWEET. LOL. I wonder why he isn't sleeping? I wonder what he's saying? Maybe he can never get a word in edgewise during the day and saves it up for 3:00am when no one else is chirping. Anyway, it always cracks me up.

I saw that new television series, "Bunheads." The dialog was witty and fast, and it seemed like an intelligent show. It is about a down on her luck former ballet dancer and current Las Vegas showgirl dancer who marries a nice guy and it turns out his mom runs a ballet studio. It is on ABC Family and though it is not 100% clean, at least the pilot showed a fairly solid presentation morality-wise.

My summer routine has begun to include re-potting the aloe cuttings I'd put in the little espresso cups for decorating the kitchen windowsill. At night, it seems, the cats, one or both, nibble on the stalks. In the morning I see a little sprinkle of soil on the counter, and a cutting or two on the floor. So after a few days of this, duh, at night now I put them in a spot where they cannot reach.

A friend brought over some of the world's largest figs, and also some squash. Thank goodness for friends with gardens! It was so sweet of her. I'm not kidding, the figs are as big as a baby's head.

Speaking of random birds, here is a bird:
It is Plato the African Gray, at the Comer Farmer's Market. At least he isn't a Norwegian Blue.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Corner View: Animal

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. If you'd like to join in, please leave a link to your Corner View post in the comments at the Corner View link, and be sure to visit other participants you'll find there too. Today's theme is "Animal" and it comes from Dana. It's part of a trilogy inspired by the game "animal, vegetable, or mineral?" (do you have it in your corner of the world?)"

Rather than present photos on the four-legged variety of animals, instead I chose to go in a different direction. I thought of Aristotle's famous comment "man is by nature a political animal." (~Aristotle, 384-322BC). He posed the notion that "we can only achieve the good life by living as citizens in a state.....Aristotle identifies citizenship with the holding of public office and administration of justice and claims that the identity of a city rests in its constitution."

Are we political animals? Are we happier, more productive, or make a nicer community if we are? Or are we at root just brute beasts, like the four-legged animals, pretending that civilization is ours to create? The photos below represent citizens, officials, and municipal appointees being political animals in some way.

Some of the photos were taken with a Lomo camera. A lomo is a Russian analog camera that produces interesting photo results, charming and sometimes blurry, but unexpectedly visually interesting. This photo below was taken with a Lomo, it is of a New England Town meeting. In New England towns with Town Meeting-type of government, the citizens gather at the town meeting hall once per year to discuss and vote on the municipal budget and other issues that have been brought forward. It is a method of government that is slowly dying out, due to the increasingly large size of towns and increasingly apathetic turnout. it worked well in 1700, not so much in 2012. Here, the town council chairman stands to show his affirmative vote on an issue. Sitting down was a no vote. Sometimes we raise hands, and other times there might be a call for a paper ballot vote.

This vote was taken in a 115 year old traditional New England town hall meeting building, with white columns and imposing steps on the outside, and plenty of polished wood and high ceilings on the interior. Often, back in the day, the town hall would double as the church building too.

In the American South, there are a good many citizens who believe in Jesus. In this photo below the voting center is in the church fellowship hall. These are two of the portable voting machines with the painting of Jesus above them. It looks like He is blessing the voters, lol.

In another lomo photo, the town officials here relax and chat for a few minutes after a formal Town Council meeting. The elected officials are simply citizens of the town who, for one reason or another, decided to enter the political arena and campaign for election to serve a 1, 2, or 3-year term. There is often an appointed town official such as a manager, who sees to it that the council's official orders are enacted. The citizen councilors make policy and the appointed and hired officials carry through on the details.

In this photo, election results are read out loud to those who had cared to wait around for the final votes to be tallied. By this time of night, usually only the candidates and the reporters hung around to hear the official calling out of the results. The ones reading out the results are also citizens, hired to perform this one duty once per year. They are trained, but this is their official act in their one yearly official office. This kind of person is a short term political animal- participating in an integral part of the political process but their duties end when the polls close. The man with the beard was the "Election Warden." He is like the King: completely in charge of everything that happens inside the voting place, aware of the laws and called upon to enforce them every moment the polls are open. His answer is final.

Parades in New England USA are places where our penchant to be a political animal, and a patriotic one at that, is displayed proudly. Many people of a town are involved in the political process some way, or perform civic duties in some capacity. Any and all people are invited to participate. The political animal roars more loudly in some than others, though.

Officials from several towns gather to discuss a property development that affects their town. Cooperation in and among several different towns is common. Even work-meetings such as this one are open to the public. Several of these elected officials pictured below had held office for more than ten years or even twenty, indicating their love for municipal service. It has to be love, because the pay is extremely low, the aggravation factor is high and the hours it takes to perform duties are multitudinous. These kinds of officials are the most representative kind of Aristotle's political animal.

Sometimes teens and youths participate in the civic process. Being a political animal may be a 'bug' that bites someone for life, as noted above, or it may be a short-term interest that brings out people to coalesce around one issue. After the issue is over, the political animal goes back to sleep, lol. Here, high school students were protesting to the School Board a popular teacher's firing.

Another parade, a Memorial Day parade. This is a parade which honors those soldiers who have given their utmost sacrifice, their lives, in battle or on duty. It also honors veterans. We cannot be political animals without the freedom to do so, and it is the military who had fought for this freedom we in return honor with a special day each year.

So that is my "Animal" Corner View. Thank you for visiting!