Monday, October 31, 2016

Festival: A Halloween story......

I am not an American.......so Halloween is not part of my nostalgia or current part of festivities...

But having lived in this country for more than half a decade now...I am as much familiar with it as others......
Kids too visit our place for trick or treats...And I love roaming around the neighborhood to see their Halloween decorations...
When I was in a research laboratory, we used to have potluck lunch....and afterwards exchanged some scary stories....that is how it goes, I have heard...
Talking of petrifying story, this Chinese story comes to mind...I had read the translated version when I was much younger.........it still gives me shivers...
It goes like this.....
"A middle-aged man lived  in a large loving family...He used to herd his flock of cattle to the pasture...
His wife would pack breads and some vegetable for him for the mid-day meal..........
At the evening he would sit before the bonfire surrounded by his family consisting of his wife, sons, their women and grandchildren...

One day, as he was leading his cattle, he saw a crow flying overhead, with a large piece of meat in its beaks..
In a whim, he threw a stick at the bird...the meat dropped to the ground...
The man thought, if he had no intention to get the meat, why did he deprive the poor bird of the meat. So, he picked it..it looked succulent...he decided to cook it..
He wrapped it up in a leaf with some salt..made a fire and put it there..
He ate that with his lunch...the taste was unique...he had never tasted any meat like that..

The next day he went to the pasture with his animal flock as usual....and ate his lunch..it tasted insipid..
He craved for that meat he had tasted the other day..
With a hope to find that meat, he went into the nearby forest and hunted a rabbit...then he cooked the liver, it tasted bitter..
Net day, he killed and tasted another animal...he did not find the 'unique' taste..
In this way, he tasted almost all animals in the woods...but, the elusive taste was missing..
Bach home, he was not as gregarious as he used to be..something was gnawing him inside..
He was thinking to himself, which animal is that, he has not tasted?
An wicked thought cam to him mind..human?

He was so possessed by the desire to taste that meat again, he had lost his mind..and he was looking for an opportunity to execute his evil intention..

One day, his grandchildren were playing outside...
He asked one kid to get him a glass of water..as the child went into the dark room, he followed and wrung the child's neck....gross things followed.......he tasted the meat..it was just like the piece he had obtained from the bird...
People searched for the dead child...but soon everybody forgot...
The old evil man committed the crime  for the second time...then again and again...
People were clueless...

The old man's youngest son was intelligent...he suspected thathis father is the perpetrator of the crimes..he decide to spy on him..
One day, a the old man was following him granddaughter into the dark kitchen, and was about to grab her, his son appeared and caught the old man red-handed..
He was jailed in a tiny room......
The villagers decided the punishment for his grave crimes...as per unified decision, the old man was stoned to death."
-------
Now is not that a bone-chilling story?

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Passion: Bulbs germination in my garden starts.......

By now I have planted bulbs of 5 kinds...crocosmia, narcissus, daffodil (2 varieties), canna, common hyacinth..
Of those, narcissus, daffodil and canna have  sprouted...I am excited to see them full-grown and abloom in a month..




Also, my Asiatic lily and calla lily are expected to send out shoots..

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Observation: Well-trimmed gardens and parks...

The local parks are always well-pruned..well-mowed...
Lush even in the midst of prolonged drought...
I always wondered how they look so presentable amidst the adverse conditions...


Then I went bike riding on a morning...
Saw dozens of gardens busy tidying them up...

With large sacs full of the trimmings........

Friday, October 28, 2016

Food: Drinks........

Well.......these are soft drinks......
Or you can call fruit-infused water....the way I like it....


or simply the fruit juice........
as in this case pomegranate juice.........

Lemonade...

Coconut water....

Red wine..

Or herbal tea..
Pine needle tea...
#Please check safety before consuming such herbal, unconventional drinks...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Place: Flora of Olympic National Park...

Trees are the key attractions of Olympic National Park...
Some of them from my lens..
An impressive maple coated with moss..

firs...

A tree shrouded by vines...

Moss-draped maple..

Autumnal ferns..

A giant big-leaf maple..

A Douglas fir...the buttressed root indicates that it started life on a nurse log...

An iconic conifer, barely hanging on the bluffs of Kalaloch.......

Somewhere in Hoh rain forest...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Observation: Carpet of fallen flower petals........

Petals strewn on the ground look dreamy to me...and I am sure, to many of you as well.....
Jacaranda....

African tulip......

Silk floss..

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fauna: Wildlife viewing by Jeffrey trail, Irvine...

Jeffrey trail, Irvine...this shaded trail is primarily used for cycling and jogging...
But, enjoy the wildlife there...
Bluebird..

Scaly-breasted munia..

Garden lizard...

Monday, October 24, 2016

Food: Oreo cream cheese cookies......

Oreo cookies.........
Made of a core of blend of Philadelphia cream cheese and crushed oreo cookies..... coated in melted chocolate chips...... 


They do not look that appealing, but were delicious......worth making again...
However, they were too rich to eat more than a few....

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Joy: Our house (Irvine)...

Its been 4-5 months, we have moved to this house in Irvine....our third place in this country..

Ever since I am trying to make it a home....putting personal touches..
With my paintings on the wall..
And  a garden beyond it..


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Health: Noise pollution...a grave assault to sense...

 I hate any kind of pollution..........everybody does....everybody should...
We are not evolved to be comfortable or healthy with pollutions......be it air, water, light or noise...
Unfortunately, with  human abhorrence for manual work and advancement of  technology, comes these heavy costs of pollutions............
I have been victim of air pollution, light pollution, noise pollution.....i am sure water pollution too..especially if you are in fire-prone California or any pesticide-runoff regions or industrial effluent zones.......so, basically all of we are affected with these evils called pollutants.........

I am from a developing country (India)...so when arrived to the USA five years back, many things were new to me...
The noisy leaf blower that gardeners use early in the morning and disrupt your serenity is one of such device.
I was in University of California Irvine (UCI) campus Aldrich garden, waiting for a Professor...
I was chasing a bluebird and marveling at the beautiful coral trees, this guy started blowing the litter.......I was annoyed, as anybody who appreciates silence would have...

In San Diego, where we lived for three years, the gardener wielding the leaf blower and lawn mower would irk us to the extend of slamming the glass doors in frantic pace....to block some of the invasive noise........

And now in this Irvine house, where they generally respect human quality of life, the leaf blower is still a nuisance........


As I am at my study table, trying to understand the complexity of some pathogen and disease connections (am a microbiologist), the intense noise upsets my thoughts........doors and windows are closed...yet..
I turn on the music to annual the noise...yet...
I have no other option but to plug my ears with my fingers...

As I googled, learnt that these gasoline-powered device not only emits toxic gases as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, particulate matter...generates allergenic dust clouds...but produces noise, strong enough to cause hearing loss.........
No wonder, some posh regions of  California have banned these mechanical monsters.....
I feel like cursing the inventor.......sometimes, in fact always, health deserves priority over spic and span looks...

Friday, October 21, 2016

Joy: The three California houses we have lived in...

So, far we have lived in three different cities in CAlifornia...
Each of them had the highs and lows...perishable memories and forgettable ones...
Some shots as I go down the memory line..
Costa Mesa, Orange County...









Mission Valley, San Diego County...









Irvine, Orange County...





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