My Work

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Green Beer? No!

Nothing seems to be sacred any more. Brian Williams was not on the moon? Really? Damn, there goes that ten-spot. St. Patrick isn’t Irish? Oh, my. It’s not that there aren’t snakes in Ireland, it’s that there weren’t any in the first place. Will it never end?

There are more stories dealing with the snakes than there are glasses of green beer in the misty Isles. They don’t drink green beer in County Cork? That’s just about enough, now. According to today’s pagans and Druids, it may have been the Druids that were metaphorically driven from Ireland, but other pagans even challenge that. The Druid priests, however did have serpents tattooed on their arms. Today’s pagans don’t much care for St. Patrick.

The green we so relish, as being a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day (remember getting pinched if you weren’t wearin’ some?), may not date before the 18th century, about the time Irish independence supporters used the color for representation. A blue or greenish blue was more apt to be found on uniforms and such. And of course, the color orange came from those that supported the Church of England.

Back to those snakes for just a bit. Some scholars have been quoted as saying there weren’t any there for our good saint to drive out, and hadn’t been any since the massive ice sheet pulled itself away from the Island following the last glaciated period. If there had been any before the last ice age, they would have frozen to death.

But, one scholar noted that they wouldn’t be there after because it’s too far for a snake to swim from Great Britain. The man never heard of boats? Snakes and rats and bats and other members of the flora and fauna of this fair earth travel the world on boats, ships, canoes, and rafts.

Drinking green beer is purely American. No Irishman in his right mind is going to deface a fine Irish Stout with green stuff. If you must color the Truckee River green, as it flows gently through Reno, have at it, but you stay back from my stout, my ale, my beer.

Ah, ‘tis a fine time now, oh, wait, one more little story. Don’t know if this one is truth or not, but funny, anyway. Seems long ago and far away, an Irishman with a snarly sense of humor invented the bagpipe and drove his friends and family nuts. Well, he visited Scotland during a pageant of some kind and offered the instrument to the Scots, who gratefully accepted the gift.

And to this day, the Scots don’t understand the joke.

Until next time, will you join me on facebook from time to time?
Or Tweet with me, darlin’?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Make Way, It's the God of War

Those that favor the sport of basketball did not invent the concept of March Madness, but simply joined in what many consider the most awkward of the twelve in which we participate. There are howling winds, winter storms becoming spring storms, and just plain old-fashioned storms. That is probably as it should be considering it is named for the Roman god of war, Mars.

Spring is nature’s way of saying, "Let’s party!" 
~Robin Williams

The winds of March play havoc with planting, fell trees, spoil weekends, and are loved by those that fly kites. In Kittyhawk they have huge kite flying festivals, kite companies sponsor weekends and introduce new lines of kites. Austin, Texas hosts a spring party at Zilker Park dedicated to kite flying.

My brother and I used to make our own kites using balsa wood, newspapers, string, and airplane dope. Mom would get mad as hell when we would ‘acquire’ her stockings and use them for kite tails. Safer, her stockings than dad’s ties. Who hasn’t seen Charlie Brown suffering through March Madness with kite after kite stuck in a tree.

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.
~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

On or about March 21, we honor the spring equinox; say goodbye to old man winter and his buddy, Jack Frost. It may look good on paper, but it rarely works out that way. Frosts continue in our part of the world well into May, sometimes even June. Living at slightly above the five thousand foot level on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada means spring comes slowly and sporadically.

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. ~Ruth Stout

Many people believe that at the spring equinox, the length of the day and night are equal, but that isn’t an absolute. Equinox means the center of the sun passes over the equator, and often the equality of day and night takes place a day or two before in spring and a day or two after in the fall. And for us as individuals, it will depend on where you live, closer or further from the equator. Enough, already.

Hee that is in a towne in May loseth his spring.
~George Herbert

Where we live, we don’t plant by the phase of the moon or the date on the calendar but rather, by the extended forecast offered by the weather gurus. That old Roman Rogue, Mars, was originally the god of agriculture and was called on often to bring good planting and large harvest. It seems that the queen of the Roman gods, Juno, gave birth to Mars after allegedly being touched by some magical plant. Hmmm?

While we’re on the subject, there is a Roman goddess we need to meet. Named Flora, she is the goddess of flowers and spring as well as being a fertility goddess. Flora, meet Mars.

I believe it’s time to go fly a kite.

Until next time, will you join me on facebook from time to time?
Or Tweet with me, darlin’?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Rain, Rain, Stay A Bit, Please

A most unusual winter, this thirteen week period from December 2014 to March 2015, in that we have had three large storms, we’re in the middle of a drought, and according to the official rain gauge, we are behind what might be called normal. Of course, there is no normal when discussing weather in Nevada.

Here at the J-P ranchero, located about twenty miles north of Reno, in a delightful non-community called Cold Springs, we don’t have an official rain gauge. No sir, I found in my coat pocket one day, coming from the Cold Springs Pizza Parlor and Golf Shop, a pint glass, once full. I filled it while sitting at our outside picnic table, no that is correct, we also have an inside picnic table, drank it dry, and left it there.

So far in this current storm, it has filled three times.

We had one major rainstorm in December, with good snow in the Sierra Nevada, and then no rain storm in January, with seriously decreasing snow in the Sierra Nevada. Now, February comes and we have already had two major rainstorms with significant snow in the mountains.

And we’re still in a drought.

Time to empty that pint glass, but I’ll bring it in, place it on the inside picnic table and fill the little bugger with some pinot noir, put some anchovies on a cracker, and continue to watch the rain. Ta.

Until next time, will you join me on facebook from time to time?
Or Tweet with me, darlin’?