Month: July 2014

Durrow Scarecrow Festival: part II

scarecrow festival

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil“. Do they want to show us that they are not responsible for the evil deeds of the  Hollywood villains scarecrows, or is it a “code of silence”?  Anyway, it seems like the scarecrows do want to live a human-like life. Miley Silage in the image below shows all the passions of her human prototype, and has a very similar success here at the Festival.

scarecrow festival

Some scarecrows are confident and have a career…

scarecrow festival

Some are lost and confused…

scarecrow festival

Some walk past a stranger and never look back…

scarecrow festival

Some are happily married, and enjoy their cinema dates…

scarecrow festival

Some are just having fun…

scarecrow festival

Some are grumpy…

scarecrow festival

It is not easy to live a human life if you are a scarecrow,  but as we all know,  “One that would have the fruit must climb the tree.”

scarecrow festival

I saw a few little dogs there, one of them might be Toto. What do you think?

scarecrow festival

scarecrow festival

Mrs Brown was a favorite of children …

scarecrow festival

…and I loved Mrs Brown’s boys … or was it  “buoys”?…

scarecrow festival

scarecrow festival

They even had a pyramid there…

scarecrow festival

…and a mummy!

scarecrow festival

There was a nun on a mission: them bugs are no good for the straw.

scarecrow festival

Almost everything was covered; the humans only provided music…

scarecrow festival

…and transportation ( Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?)

scarecrow festival

Durrow Scarecrow Festival Community Organisation have a Facebook page you can visit. The program is huge! So many events, it is impossible to see everything. Well done, guys, you rock!

scarecrow festival

Hope you enjoyed these two posts from the festival. Click on the images to enlarge them and see the details. All the images are always resized so that you can easy open them.

Photography tip of the day: Here is a video about resizing your

images. 

inese_mj_photographyHave a great weekend!

Durrow Scarecrow Festival: part I

scarecrow festival

Beautiful village of Durrow, Co Laois are hosting their annual Scarecrow Festival this week. It officially opened last Sunday afternoon, but a fantastic job of preparation and scarecrow making started long before the day. Colorful and happy looking scarecrows sitting on the perches, trees or simply on the ground follow you on your way through the village and promise a good time and lots of fun.

scarecrow festival

Oh, even the President and the First Lady are… wait… never mind…

The Scarecrow glorified by L. Frank Baum is one of the most loved characters in children’s literature. He is gentle and kind, honest and wise. Seeking to get a set of brains he still appreciates the straw he is stuffed with, and his logic is unbeatable:

Scarecrow: I haven’t got a brain… only straw. 
Dorothy: How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain? 
Scarecrow: I don’t know… But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking… don’t they? 
Dorothy: Yes, I guess you’re right.

I will try to not do an awful lot of talking. The pictures will talk by themselves.

scarecrow festival

scarecrow festival

scarecrow festival

Scarecrow: Witch? Hmph, I’m not afraid of a witch. I’m not afraid of anything – except a lighted match.
Dorothy: I don’t blame you for that.

scarecrow festival

scarecrow festival

scarecrow festival

Who is the famous Scarecrow’s of Oz predecessor? It must be a Feathertop, the main character of the short story of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorne,  first published in 1852. It is an almost Kafka-esque, thought-provoking story.

“Poor Feathertop,” Mother Rigby said, looking at the heap on the floor. “He was too good to be a scarecrow. And he was too good to be a man. But he will be happier, standing near the corn all summer and protecting it from the birds. So I will make him a scarecrow again.”

scarecrow festival

There is a long forgotten, but nevertheless brilliant movie Scarecrow (1983) directed by Jerry Schatzberg. It is a drama starring Gene Hackman and Al Pacino.  I was sure there is a comedy related to scarecrows, and  I did find a 1920 short comedy The Scarecrow. You can watch it here on Youtube it is just a few minutes of laugh 🙂

When did scarecrows become the horror icons? Some say that it all started with the 1981 horror mystery thriller Dark Night of the Scarecrow, directed by Frank De Felitta. I haven’t seen the movie, and to be honest, I haven’t seen ANY scarecrow horror movie. I would be terrified, I hate creepy things like murderous clowns and scarecrows. I’d better stay with this cute Snow White 🙂

scarecrow festival

There is so much to see in Durrow this week. Humans are watching the scarecrows ( you never know…) and…

scarecrow festival

..Scarecrows are watching humans…

scarecrow festival

There is even a local war going on!

Cowardly Lion: Come on, get up and fight, ya shivering junkyard! Put your hands up, ya lopsided bag o’ hay!
Scarecrow: Now that’s getting personal, Lion!

scarecrow festival

Children are actually very quiet here. I cannot blame them: the real and the surreal are tangled and unclear 🙂

scarecrow festival

Watching the performance I thought  I would take a picture of these fire red hair owners.

scarecrow festival

Suddenly all three of them turned back 🙂

scarecrow festival

That’s all for today. More pictures coming Friday.

I want to share a short fun video courtesy of Hattie Wilcox (the video is on this page of her website). It is filmed in Ireland, it is about the scarecrows, so it is quite relevant.

Hattie Wilcox is a terrifically talented composer, singer, poet, songwriter, photographer, and most humble and hard working  person. Please check out her website and blog.

Photography tip of the day: Use the White balance feature of your camera. Take pictures with different settings and chose the result you are happy with.

inese_mj_photographyHave a great week!

FOX NEWS

Pat Gibbons foxes

It is my second blog post about Patsy Gibbons and his foxes. In early April, almost 4 months ago, I went live with a blog post KINDNESS, amazed with my own boldness, and having a very little knowledge about blogging rules and ethics. Still learning.

That time Pat invited us to come again in summer when the foxes look gorgeous on the green meadow. Two weeks ago a friend of mine arranged a visit, but when he rang to confirm it Pat told him that he is in the hospital waiting for admission. They kept him in from Monday to Thursday; Pat’s brother fed the foxes, but they had to stay in their pen all this time, and they also missed their bath – a day when they all walk to the pond to get bathed. Needless to say, the foxes were upset, Pat wasn’t feeling well either, so this visit was short, and I left sad and worried .

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

This is Gráinne. She is an easy going, clever and curious lady, devoted to her master. Back in 2007 Pat’s brother-in-law Eugene was working in a storeroom and getting the cardboard boxes ready for shredding.  To his surprise he found a fox cub inside a box, malnourished, almost dead: it could be there some 10 days without food or water. Eugene brought the cub to Pat who had helped the troubled creatures before. It is how the story started. Pat consulted with a local vet, and the cub was estimated as a 5-7 weeks old, and weighed 1 pound. It was not easy to nurse the little miracle back to life and health, but they did it! The cub got a lovely name: Gráinne.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Average life span of a wild fox is 2-3 years although a fox can live 10 years. Gráinne is in her senior age, but you would never guess it. She looks very healthy and happy on her rescuer’s shoulders; she has had a long life of mutual love, adventures and little pleasures.  Gráinne run away twice, but was back for dinner the same day. How did she run away? She just snapped the leather leash when at walk. That easy, so if she wanted she could run away any time.

Pat Gibbons foxes

This is Minnie. Minnie is a bit of a drama queen. When we came into the pen, she was whimpering and howling, and putting on these funny faces, so that she had to be petted and rubbed and hugged all the way. Minnie is 5 years old. A woman from next village brought her to Pat when she was a month-old cub.

Pat Gibbons foxes

This is Henry, he is named after Kilkenny hurler Henry Shefflin. A man  brought him to Pat a year ago after his dogs attacked and mauled him. Pat thought he would have to put him down, so bad he was. His ligaments were cut, his head was severe injured, especially his bottom jaw and left eye. Pat nursed him back to health, but it took a while. Henry is a gentle and affectionate creature. Pat calls his female foxes “girls”, but Henry he calls “son”.

Pat Gibbons foxes

The foxes have a clean den with three separate compartments for privacy. Every fox has their favorite place on the shelves. In the evening they are brought into the cottage ( they are house-trained) along with Pat’s two dogs, and enjoy the time together watching TV or listening to Pat playing his harmonica. The foxes and the dogs are cuddling together, and actually the foxes feel more at ease when they go for a walk together with the dogs. Sometimes they get a snack – a biscuit or a wine gum. They adore the wine gums.

Pat Gibbons foxes

“You all right, son?” Patsy would ask and hug his little boy.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Henry’s left eye is still sore and probably will never get better. He is enjoying a few minutes in the sun and then Pat takes him back to the pen. Now it is the girls’ turn to go outside but Minnie has her drama moment 🙂

Pat Gibbons foxes

Minnie actually needs some extra exercises for her good, but she stalls and refuses to walk.

Pat Gibbons foxes

In the middle of this drama a car stops and people start taking pictures of Pat. It happens on a regular basic but Pat doesn’t like it. He would rather they stop, get out of their car, have a small talk and then take the pictures.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Minnie gets her way.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Patsy is getting his girls ready for the portrait:)

Pat Gibbons foxes

Look at Minnie’s face:) Drama in progress.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Patsy has a kind heart and angelic patience. Minnie is getting all his attention:)

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

We had a good chat, but look at Minnie’s eyes 🙂 Her face expression speaks for itself. Pat says that he should better take the foxes back to their pen.

I wish them many happy years together.

PS  I have found an article which says that a spokeswoman with Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland has criticised the media for writing about Pat Gibbons and his foxes thus promoting a dangerous and irresponsible attitude towards the wild animals.  What do you think about it?

***

A blogger friend Aquileana, inspiring mythology expert and a lovely person has nominated me for a Versatile blogger award. I am very honored and grateful for the nomination, especially from Aquileana who is such a great example of knowledge and personal charisma.

 

Here are the Award Rules:

1) The nominee shall display the Versatile blogger Award logo on her/his blog.

2) The nominee shall nominate ten (10)  bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about it.

Here are the bloggers I nominate for this award. Please visit their blogs!

http://indahs.com/

http://halfeatenmind.wordpress.com/

http://thebluepolarbear.wordpress.com/

http://kmihran.wordpress.com/

http://allizzwell.net/

http://anotherdaysomeday2013.wordpress.com/

http://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/

http://dorisbolliger.wordpress.com/

http://sarbjitsinghkhaira.wordpress.com/

http://happendonthisday.wordpress.com/

http://yadadarcyyada.com/

Keep great work going!

Photography tip of the day: Karl Taylor’s  10 minutes video.

inese_mj_photographyHave a great weekend!

It is my cup of tea: part II

296hers

The origins of herbal medicine are the origins of civilization itself. Only imagine that all these herbs were known and used thousands year ago: for healing, food, drinks; to eliminate bad odors; for making soap and body scrub; to dye clothing and even hair. There is no plant, no part of a plant that could not be used one way or another. If you are interested in growing some herbs in your back yard, you can check out this link for the UK and this link for the USA. These two companies are selling seeds and gums of the wild herbs online. I just found them in Google. I used to buy seeds of wild plants back in the 80-s, and from that experience I know that you will get literally a few seeds in that paper bag, but don’t panic, it will be enough to start your herb garden. You can also buy a mix and turn your lawn into a meadow 🙂

rose hips

Wild rose (Rosa canina )

These are the fruit of the Wild rose plant – rose hips. You can dry rose hips or soak them in honey for a couple of weeks. Remove all the seeds and itchy hairs from inside the rose hip before you use them. You can also soak a whole flower in honey, or only the petals. Fill up a jar and then gradually add honey until the jar is full. This honey tastes great on your toast, and gives you a whole load of  vitamin C, healthy flavonoids and cancer-fighting compounds. You can also use rose petals on you toast, salad or in your desert – all up to your imagination.

Wild roses have five petals. The five-pointed star is a pentagram, a pentacle, which is a symbol of magic. Roses also have a secret hidden behind the flower. Literally. I will share this secret with you.

rose sepals

This is my drawing, sorry it is not perfect, but it is good enough to show you something. If you look at the back of a rose flower you see the set of five leaf-like sepals (they enclose the flower in the bud stage). Look at them carefully – two sepals have outgrowth on both sides; two show no sepal outgrowth, and one has it only on one side! Some of the roses have more prominent outgrowth, some less prominent, but all roses do it 🙂

When I was young I read a riddle about the rose sepals in a very old book. I googled it and found this page! For those who have no time to check out the link here is the riddle I remember:

Of the five brothers at the same time born
Two from our birthday ever beards have worn
On other two none ever has appeared
While the fifth brother wears but half a beard.

You can show the sepals and read the riddle to your kids:)

wild strawberry

Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

Wild strawberry is a close relative of the wild rose and it has also been used over the centuries. It would take me a page to list all the phyto-chemicals and microelements found in the fruit, leaves and root of Wild strawberry. It has anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties and can be used to treat diarrhea, kidney and bladder problems; it also reduces risk of cardio-vascular diseases. In-vitro studies have shown that certain chemicals found in strawberries reduce cell proliferation of breast cancer and colon cancer cells. You can consume as much berries as you like, and add the leaves to your regular herbal tea mix. All the above also applies to the cultivated strawberry fruit.

202hers

206hers

192hers

Lime (Linden) blossom (Tilia europea)

Linden is a tree. Its flowers, leaves and wood are used for medical purposes. Linden leaf and blossom are used to treat cold, sore throat, nasal congestion, bronchitis, fever, high blood pressure, insomnia. It is the best herbal tea you can use when you get a virus infection: it induces sweating and all the toxins get washed out of your body. You can put 1-2 Lime blossoms in your regular herbal tea mix every evening just because it smells and tastes so nice 🙂

st johns wort

St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum )

Actually all species of Hypericum can be used in herbal medicine. To pick up some plants for your tea you don’t have to pedantically look for those perforated leaves.

St John’s wort is one of the most favored herbs. Ancient herbalists used it internally and externally to treat sciatica, deep wounds and bruises. Internally it is used for any inflammation and ulceration: in kidneys, liver, bowels, uterus. There is good evidence that St John’s wort may reduce symptoms in people with mild to moderate depression acting like Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. Of course it can not be used if a patient is already on antidepressants.

St John’s wort helps people with Seasonal affective disorder ( SAD) and reduces anxiety during menopause. For a generally healthy person a small bit of St John’s wort flowers added to your afternoon herbal tea cup will improve your mood and clean your system, and give your tea that beautiful ruby color.

Here is a poem describing another use of the plant 🙂

St. John’s wort doth charm all the witches away.
If gathered at midnight on the saint’s holy day.
And devils and witches have no power to harm
Those that do gather the plant for a charm:
Rub the lintels and post with that red juicy flower
No thunder nor tempest will then have the power
To hurt or to hinder your houses: and bind
Round your neck a charm of a similar kind.

firewood

Fireweed/ Rosebay Willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium)

Fireweed tea has antispasmodic and demulcent properties. It is used to treat kidney, urinary tract and prostate disorders, and also whooping cough and asthma. Young shoots are good in salads and also steamed as a substitute for asparagus. Fermented leaves of Firewood are known as Kapor tea, but even simply dried leaves make a great tea, soothing and healing.

ladys bedstraw

Lady’s bedstraw (Galium verum)

This plant is for centuries used in herbal medicine to treat skin problems, and also to detoxify liver, kidneys, pancreas, lymph and blood. It can be used for foot care. Place this herb in hot water and when the temperature is comfortable soak your feet. The name of the plant indicates that it can be used as an aromatic stuffing for pillows and mattresses. It also has insect repellent properties. Roasted seeds of Lady’s bedstraw can be used as a coffee substitute, and its green parts as an addition to salads. The plant is used as a curdling and coloring agent in cheese making. A red dye is extracted from the roots and a yellow dye from the flowers of Lady bedstraw plants. You can try to color your hair blond as did the ladies in the 15th century England and Ireland.

307hers

Common figwort (Scrophularia nodosa)

Figwort is a powerful medicine plant, and I don’t use it in my tea. It just looked nice in my viewfinder so I took a picture 🙂 It has anti-inflammatory, diuretic and cardiac stimulant properties. Figwort’s Latin name speaks for itself: it is used whenever enlarged glands and tumors are present.

Thank you for reading! Hope these two blog posts and links were useful, and at least one herb will find its way to your cup of tea!

Photography tip of the day: Check your images after every 2-3 shots. The light is changing and you don’t want your images over- or underexposed, especially your portraits.

inese_mj_photographyHave a great week!

It is my cup of tea

246hers

Walking by the river I took pictures of some plants traditionally used in herbal medicine and aroma therapy. For you to know: 80% of the world’s population still relies on natural remedies, and 20% of pharmaceutical products are made from plants.

Summer solstice is the best time for gathering most of herbs: around that time they have the highest level of active chemicals. In July you can still find some herbs to supply your needs for cold remedies during upcoming autumn, and make a mix to simply enjoy a cup of aromatic tea with honey. Make sure you do your herb picking away from the roads with heavy traffic and that your herbs are not covered with dust: you are not supposed to wash them.

320hers

yarrow

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Its Latin name means “thousand leaves”, and all these leaves have been used for healing since the world began. Yarrow has anti-inflammatory properties and it is used for gastrointestinal problems and loss of appetite, varicose veins and hemorrhoids, common cold and painful periods. As a compound, Yarrow improves taste of any herbal tea mix.

216hers

meadowsweet

Meadowsweet ( Filipendula ulmaria). It can be used in the way similar to Elderflower: for making cordials, jams and even fritters. As a remedy, Meadowsweet reduces acidity, decreases mucus and has anti-inflammatory effect. It contains some amounts of salicylates, so people who are allergic to aspirin have to better be careful using it. Meadowsweet tea is good for common cold, bronchitis, heartburn and reflux disease, peptic ulcers and bladder infections. In the next image there is a Nettle plant next to the Meadowsweet.

nettle and meadowsweet

Nettle ( Urtica dioica). Nettle is used to treat rheumatism, arthritis, prostate problems, allergies and any other inflammation: it clears toxins out of the whole system. It grows in abundance, you can use it fresh or dried, and as much as you like. You can cook it and eat like spinach. Nettle’s roots are good as diuretics.

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Red clover ( Trifolum pratense) . It contains isoflavones (phytoestrogens) and is a good remedy for PMS, menopause symptoms, preventing osteoporosis and any estrogen-related condition or disease. Men can use it for prostate related conditions, and also for slowing down benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) which comes with ageing. Red clover is also good for regulating cholesterol level.

oregano

oregano

Oregano (Origanum vulgare). It tastes great in your tea, and can be used for arthritis, cough, bladder problems, hemorrhoids, migraine, poor circulation and stress. One of my favorites for a regular use as a herbal tea mix compound, and to spice salads.

303hers

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). Valerian root has sedative effect and could  be used to treat insomnia and anxiety disorders. It has to be used very carefully, but you can put dried pieces of root into a fabric bag and keep it in your bedroom (aromatherapy). Cats love these roots even more than catnip, but don’t let your cat swallow the root, just in case.

I have pictures of another seven herbs, but I will keep them for Tuesday:)

……………………………………………………………………………..

 

I have been nominated for another Very Inspiring blogger award by Vijay   http://halfeatenmind.wordpress.com 🙂  Thank you Vijay, I really appreciate that you like my blog! Vijay is running a news blog, there is always something interesting.

I am glad that I  have another chance to nominate some of my favorite  bloggers.

Emily Grace  http://www.beefandsweettea.com

olganm   http://olganm.wordpress.com

jorobinson176  http://africolonialstories.wordpress.com

charlypriest  http://charlypriest.wordpress.com

Alisa Belzil  http://sweetafternoons.wordpress.com

Victo Dolore  http://doctorly.wordpress.com

Linda Arthur Tejera  http://livingwithmyancestors.wordpress.com

Aquileana  http://aquileana.wordpress.com/

T Ibara Photo  http://tibaraphoto.wordpress.com

Sweet as a Picture  http://sweetasapictureonwp.wordpress.com/

eebrinker  http://eebrinker.wordpress.com/

Photobooth Journal  http://photoboothjournal.wordpress.com

Mijnnikonenik  http://mijnnikonenik.wordpress.com

Accepting the nomination there are two simple rules:

1) The nominee shall display the Very Inspiring Blogger Award logo on her/his blog, and link to the blog they got nominated from.

2) The nominee shall nominate fifteen (15) bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about it.

Best of luck with your blogging!

Photography tip of the day: Don’t be afraid to crop your images. Take any of your images and make as many nice crops as possible. It will boost your imagination:)

inesemjphotographyHave a great weekend!