Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is the day commemorating the Last Supper with Jesus and his disciples.

The word "Maundy" refers to he ceremony of washing the feet of poor persons or inferiors, performed as a religious rite on Maundy Thursday in commemoration of Christ's washing the disciples' feet at the last supper.

Jacopo Bassano's Last Supper, painted in 1542, is one of the masterpieces of 16th century Italian painting. Instead of the elegant grouping of figures in Leonardos' painting, which inspired it, this dramatic scene features barefoot fishermen at the crucial moment when Christ asks who will betray him, and the light passing through a glass of wine stains the clean tablecoth red. Recent restoration has only now revealed the extraordinary original colours, which had been heavily painted over in the 19th century, when the emerald green and iridescent pinks and oranges were not in fashion.

Here is an interesting fact about the dog at the bottom of the painting:

The themes painted by Bassano are predominantly religious but in the Mannerist style he includes many every day articles, rural people, barns and farmhouses. His work is devoid of the grand temples, the silk and furs of his contemporaries; Bassano’s depictions are of normal people, undertaking daily tasks. Many of his works are Franciscan in content, full of nature and animals, the focal points of his pictures are often surrounded by detailed images of farm animals, dogs and cats. His painting Two hunting dogs tied to a tree is credited with being one of the first animal portraits in Western art in existence.

We remember this day in the liturgical calendar as the day that Jesus had the Last Supper with his disciples.  Our church will have a noon service today with communion as we remember Jesus' Last Supper.  Some congregations wash the feet of communicants to further signify Jesus' teaching of humility.

Scripture References: Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20.

(this is a partial repost from April 2011)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Last Week in Lent

Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891 – 1959) Driven by the Spirit

"And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness." Mark 1:12

After Jesus was baptized, he directly went into the wilderness where he was tempted for 40 days (called the Lenten season) where he prayed constantly.  As we near the end of the Lenten season and await Easter Sunday, our church had a beautiful Palm Sunday service yesterday.  It is always one of my favorites services during the year, with palms waved high above and palm crosses worn by parishioners.

Next we celebrate Maundy Thursday with communion.  An excellent article entitled "Living into the Banquet Feast" can be found here and is definitely worth the time to read.

Now we also await Good Friday, and three days of contemplation commemorating the time before Jesus' resurrection.

Thanks to Floss for hosting A Pause in Lent again this year.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Easter Terrarium

Do you want to get your hands into dirt, but your evening temperatures are still too cool to allow seedlings to germinate?  That was my thought.  So I looked into planting indoors with small terrarium plants that could be tended indoors.  At our local nursery I found green Irish moss and a wee little plant called "goldfish" because when it blooms, it supposedly looks like a goldfish.  Go figure.

The above picture shows a bloom from the goldfish plant and below is a close-up of its foliage:
I so hope I can keep it alive until it at least blooms!  Armed with irish moss, also available at nurseries, I planted a terrarium using some other ferns, other dried moss, two small plants culled from existing house plants, along with various glass stones and two crosses symbolizing the Easter season.

Thinking I should add some mushrooms, I got out my Fimo clay (after two years, it was still easy to work with) and made some little 'rooms with a toothpick inside each for ease in sticking them into the terrarium dirt.

Looking at Sara Midda's mushrooms as examples, here was the process.

Forming the mushroom shapes with white clay:
Baking the figures in rice to ensure the tops would not be mashed.
Painting the figures to resemble mushrooms.

A wedding present from 1990 was used as a topper for the terrarium.  Yes, it is a glass cake cover and a very heavy one at that.  There will be no mushroom escape from this device!  A 9 inch cake pan was the base of the terrarium, painted green with acrylic paint.  Then I found a mirror with a turquoise frame, about 10 inches round.  That is the holder and base of the entire terrarium.

Here it is uncovered.

It was lots of fun to make.

To read more about how to consruct the layers of a terrarium, this post from March 2008 describes the process in detail.  Who knows, I might make a few more!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chicken Curry from the Hairy Bikers

BBC2 runs "Mums Know Best" and features the Hairy Bikers on many episodes.  Sadly, in the US, we are unable to access that programming.  But you can keep up with the Bikers on print media.  And they have at least a dozen excellent cookbooks, one featuring curries.  This is their website: HairyBikers

The hub and I made one of the favored recipes for chicken curry.  The recipe can be found here.

The spices make the dish perfecto!  (add salt and pepper, of course)

Served over rice, it was very tasty.  This will be a repeat.
Next on the menu docket is chicken tikka masala, one of my favorite Indian dishes.  You can find the recipe here for an easier version.  And if you really want authentic, a naan recipe can be found here.

(Source: Food Network)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Father: Charles W. McCarroll, Jr.

Charles Wilson McCarroll, Jr. (1919-2013), my father, died yesterday at the age of 93.

As a late stage Alzheimer's patient, he was sometimes aware of his surroundings.  My desire is that he knew he was loved.  His wife of 39 years, Pat, was a caregiver for him in his later years and was truly a steadfast mate.  They weathered many a storm together.  My brother John was always there to lend a helping hand to Dad and Pat, expecially in their later years.  John wrote Dad's obituary:
Charles Wilson McCarroll, Jr., died March 4, 2013 in Georgetown, Texas, following a brief illness.

He was born May 2, 1919, in Miles, Texas, to Charles Wilson McCarroll, Sr., and Ethel Lee Motley McCarroll. He attended all 12 grades in Junction, Texas, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1941 from A&M College of Texas (now Texas A&M University).

Charles McCarroll entered the U.S. Navy Reserve in 1941 and served as a ferry and test pilot, leaving the service as a Lieutenant Commander. An especially memorable event during his service in World War II was successfully parachuting from a doomed airplane in 1943. The plane was a FM2 Wildcat fresh from the factory in Linde, New Jersey  that he was to fly solo to its new station in Trenton, New Jersey. Once airborne, cables controlling the elevators snapped, rendering the plane inoperable. Naval investigators later determined that a factory saboteur was responsible for the destruction of this and several other aircraft before being discovered.

From 1946 to 1956 Charles McCarroll served as a vocational agriculture instructor with the Veterans Administration, teaching in Ballinger and Paint Rock, Texas. Veterans returning to their West Texas farms and ranches from World War II and Korea attended night school under the G.I. Bill to learn about modern advances in agriculture. He also operated the family’s successful demonstration stock farm at Mereta, Texas.

Charles McCarroll entered the electrical supply business in Odessa in 1957 and later became business manager of the Odessa Chuck Wagon Gang. He moved to the Dallas area in 1970 where he was a home builder.

He was an avid fisherman and enjoyed flytying, travel and family gatherings.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother Arthur Lee McCarroll of Midland. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Patricia, of Round Rock.

Other survivors include sons Chuck McCarroll and wife Karen of College Station; John McCarroll and wife Charlotte of Georgetown; daughter Nancy McCarroll and husband Gene Kinsey of Grand Junction, Colorado; and stepdaughter Pam Turner of Austin. He also leaves behind seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
To give tribute to my father, I am republishing an article he wrote in his memoirs from 2001 recalling the day he was born in Miles, Texas.  To say the least, things were different almost 100 years ago on a Texas dryland farm.  This is his recollection.
How Things Were on May 2, 1919

The drought of 1917-18 affected the farmers on the Lipan Flat as there were no crops. Charles and Ethel McCarroll (sic, his father and mother) and the Ed Roberts family moved to San Angelo to a house owned by Pa McCarroll to find work. Uncle Ed drove a delivery wagon for a wholesale grocer. Dad worked in the Gulf Gas Station on the northwest corner of Chadbourne and Harris. This Station operated until the l970's.

Aunt Lula was visiting her mother and father at Mereta when they heard that Ethel had a little boy at Aunt Lillie Boykin's house in Miles. The rains were so heavy that the roads were nearly impassable. She managed to get to Miles in a buggy to see the new nephew. She laughed and said "good thing it is a boy, Ethel could not have made girl's dresses".
Aunt Lula was going back to San Angelo on the train but could not get across the flooded creek to the depot. They had the train stop for her near Aunt Lillie’s home on the west edge of Miles, Texas.

Dr. Herndon was the attending physician when I was born. Sickness and births were cared for in the home and doctors made house calls. The horse and buggy was the transportation and the black bag was about all that they carried. The roads were makeshift and through pastures and down fencerows of the farms and ranches. The automobile was scarce in the early 1920's because the roads were primitive and cars were not dependable.

The railroads were the means of moving freight and livestock between cities, but the wagon and team were still used for delivery. The newspaper, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, would reach San Angelo early in the morning with news and stock and cotton reports. The mail and papers were thrown off the mail car at each station. Telephones were in each city and town. Western Union was the way to send messages, delivered by men on bicycles. Railway Express was used for small packages and fast delivery. The railroad operated the Western Union and Railway Express. Telegraph was sent over wire in Morse code and was used to give information used by the railroad systems.

San Angelo became a health center in the early part of the century. Tuberculosis, a lung disease, was treated in a high dry climate. Because it was highly infectious the patients were isolated. Several sanitariums were constructed and operated in and near San Angelo. There was one in northeast San Angelo that consisted of many small houses, but large enough for a bed and a porch. Patients were cared for in these isolated units. There were several medical clinics and hospitals in town with many doctors that made San Angelo popular. The city became a business and transportation center.

A typical day on the farm in 1919 was busy and tiring. After the rooster crowed announcing a new day, it was time to remove the several quilts and touch the cold linoleum, light the coal oil lamp and the fires. The cook stove got the first attention, the fire must be warm enough but not too hot, the stoves were fueled by wood or coal. Water was carried in buckets from the cistern and heated for the morning meal.

With no inside plumbing, we had to use an outdoor privy. This was a little house about four by four feet over a pit. The toilet was located some distance from the dwelling.
There was no refrigeration, and the summertime called for an ingenious cooler made of sheet metal consisting of about four shelves. The top and bottom shelves were about four inches deep filled with water. The middle shelves held the food. Cotton cheesecloth was pinned to the water pan and surrounded the cooler. The water wicked onto the cloth and the evaporation caused cooling. This unit was placed on the shaded porch that caught the breeze.

The livestock must be cared for and feeding was the first chore of the day. Since this was a family farm, the cows were milked first. Other livestock were hogs, horses, and sheep or goats. Horses were essential to the farm as they pulled the implements and the wagon and buggy.

The man cared for the stock and crops, and the wife cooked and kept the house. The garden and poultry may have been the responsibility of the wife and children. Most of the farms on the flat had another family or some young men to help. Everything was done by hand and it took people to make the crop.

The first machine was the thrasher for wheat and oats. It took many people to cut shock and bring it to the thrasher on a wagon. Milo maize heads were cut off and tossed into the wagon which was pulled by a team, then carried to a barn. Cotton was hand picked from the burr and put into a sack pulled along the row. There were many cotton pickers and the pound of cotton weighed in the sack paid them.

The family farm at Mereta was about 320 acres. About 100 acres was cropland, 100 acres of pasture and the rest used for house, barns, garden and such. The planter, cultivators, harrows, and horses or mules pulled wagons. Thinning rows and weed control was done by hand.

An early mechanical tool was the row binder, which cut feed crop and tied it in bundles. These bundles were shocked; a dozen or so were placed upright and allowed to cure in the field. They were tossed onto a wagon and carried to the feedlot and carefully stacked until fed to the livestock.

The washing of clothes was done by hand. The tools included a big black kettle on short legs. A fire was built to heat the water. Large galvanized tubs on a bench with a rub board were used to wash the clothes. Homemade lye soap got the dirt out. Washday was usually on Monday. The clothes were dried on a clothesline strung between posts. Wooden pins held the clothes on the line. Ironing was done the next day with irons heated on the wood stove and almost everything had to be pressed (sic) since cloth was natural fiber.

Most of the food was produced on the farm and prepared in the kitchen. A process of baking bread and cooking. The food was fresh and plentiful. Taking care of the milk was an every day chore. Baking ingredients were the bulk of groceries that were bought.
The McCarroll farm is just northwest of the town of Mereta which is located 10 miles south of the city of Miles and 18 miles east of San Angelo. In 1919 Manse McCarroll lived on this farm. He bred Percheron horses and purebred hogs.

Loraine, the youngest daughter, said Pa built his stud-breeding chute west of the barn so it would be out of sight of the ladies.

The town of Mereta was a thriving community with two Cotton Gins, a general mercantile store, blacksmith, cafe, barbershop and post office. Mail routes were to San Angelo and Miles. The Tabernacle was open edifice, replacing a brush arbor, for church and community activities. The school was a four room wood frame house just west of the town and across the lane south of the McCarroll place.

The people of the community were of mixed European origin, friendly and cooperative. . It seemed that each individual had some talent that another family could use. Trades that were used included: windmill repairs, carpentry, butchers, well drillers, fence builders, and even 'Watkins' drummers. There was always someone to call when a farm animal was sick. Most of these talents were a trade-out: your day for my day. Money was rarely exchanged.

May of 1919 was a time of change, the terrible drought was broken, world war one had ended and the veterans returned. It was the beginning of mechanization farming. "Ford in every garage" would call for new roads and bridges. So, I was born at the beginning of the good times that lasted about ten years.
(excerpted from "The Way It Was..Recollections and Reflections of Charles Wilson McCarroll, Jr."  -2001)

August, 2012

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever."  Psalm 23:6

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Alan Dart: Toy Designs

There must be thousands of knitted toy patterns available.  But the one designer of toy patterns who really stands out is Alan Dart. So I took a leap and started knitting up Baby Pearl just because she was so darned cute.

This is Mr. Dart's picture of Baby Pearl:

My first attempt at knitting up Baby Pearl went well until it came to her head.  I must have read the directions incorrectly because the top of her head was much too big.  After doing some scissor surgery, this is how she now looks.

Baby Pearl has five fingers on each hand and overalls that actually go over her body.  The overalls are not stuffed.

Her feet were knit in sock yarn, stuffed with fiberfill.

Since I knew that the doll's face was not knit correctly on the first attempt, I just had to knit it up again and correct that previous knitting mistake.  I used scrap white cotton yarn (Peaches and Cream).  But it was pure white, not a good color for a face.

So I dyed up the cotton pieces: ears, nose and face, in hot tea, letting it steep for a few minutes.  Then the pieces were allowed to dry on the clothes dryer, not in it.

The color was about right for an African American baby face, but she needed some hair.  What to do? Orange hair would not look right on this special baby.  So I plaited up some corn rows from black yarn and added beads at the end of each plait.

This second baby ended up looking adorable with her pink cheeks and button eyes.

Friend Natalie knitted an Alan Dart pattern called Batty (I think).  This is Natalie's Batty:

His feet in spats and his bib and cuffs accentuate his wing span.  Don't you love his ears?  What a great Halloween decoration.

If you are interested in making up a pattern from Mr. Dart, all of his patterns can be accessed here.

These nursery mice are some of my favorites:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Camera Returned: Pictures from Scrabble Tourney

Phew!  My camera was returned today via USPS and all is well.  I had left it in Las Vegas, but kindly tournament director Mark mailed it back to me, along with all my notes and picures.

First, may I introduce Miss Betsy Chai from Calgary, CA whom I played in the tournament last week.  Is she not a doll?  Please don't think I am being too friendly, Betsy, in saying that.  Eric, the man in her life, thinks so too!

Below is a picture of Olobatoke, Chief of Kabba, from Abuja in Nigeria.  His grandfather was the King of Kabba, elected by the families in his tribe.  Chief Toke, as he is called, plays the Collins dictionary.  Chief Toke, or Toke, is also the President of the Nigerian Scrabble Association and has served since 2009.
Talking with Toke was a treat, and he was patient with me as I tried to get all his family history down correctly.  He might also become King of Kabba if elected by his community of a dozen families.  As current Chief, he is a magistrate and settles disputes and gives advice, generally in charge of administrative and civil matters in his tribe.  The picture below is of Toke playing in the tournament.

Next, may I introduce Bassey Umoh.  He lives in the southern part of Nigeria in the state of Akwa Ibom.  He speaks not only English, but his native language is Efik/Ibibio.  Umoh has been the State chairman of the Scrabble Association in his area since 2012, and also plays in the Collins Division.

Umoh works as an auditor for his state government.  This is Umoh, and standing beside him is Sam Kantimathi who organized this tournament. Sam is from California.

 Umoh, on the left, mostly wore a business suit during the tournament days, but doesn't he look handsome in this blue?  I failed to ask him about this outfit, so I really do not know if this is what he might wear in his off-work hours.
We did some sight-seeing and I was amazed at the ceiling of the Belagio Hotel that was covered in colored glass that featured this work by artist Chihuli.  The picture does not do it justice.
Since it was the Chinese New Year, all the hotels were beautifully decorated in red with the Year of the Snake being emphasized.
And I just have to show you some women at the reception desk wearing those killer six inch heels.  Will they be able to walk when they are 50?
Sam put on a good tournament and was ably assisted by Director Mark Milan.  They do this for the love of the game.  Thanks, gentlemen!