Monday, January 31, 2011

Pic Today 1/31/11


I start my day with bee pollen,
just a teaspoon full.

Twice a year, I pay a visit to my friend,
Joy Stinger (it's her real name),
who raises bees locally and sells
her honey, bee pollen and bees wax.

On a recent visit to her city home/farm,
she invited me in to see her greenhouse (on the 3rd floor)
to meet her Portuguese water dogs,
all her chickens, her bird sanctuary,
her bees wax candle factory (in the basement),
and of course, her bees!

Each room of her house was an "art gallery"
of collected treasures -- paintings, figurines,
antiques, dolls, stained glass, photos, eggs,
potted plants, a life time of design and good taste.
She's become a celebrity of sorts, and a reliable
source of fresh bee pollen.

She's spry for her years, and promotes the healthy benefits
of bee pollen . . . which she calls the "perfect food."
Used in traditional Chinese and ancient Egyptian
herbal medicine for thousands of years,
bee pollen contains "every nutrient that we know of
required to sustain human life, and all the main
anti-oxidants that have been discovered to date."

Bee pollen granules are a combination of flower pollen,
nectar and the digestive juices of worker bees
that contain 22 amino acids, all the key vitamins
and essential trace elements essential for good health.

(Fact: I haven't been sick one day since
taking my daily dose of bee pollen.)

Thank you, Joy Stinger.
And thank you, bees!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pic Today 1/30/11


The 2011 Orchid Show opened Saturday
at Missouri Botanical Garden.
I went to shoot photos of the
amazing and beautiful orchids in bloom.

But instead,
I found it much more interesting (and fun)
shooting pictures of people shooting pictures.

It seems that everyone has a camera,
or a camera phone, these days.

(It's not safe out there, you know?)
It's like we're always in someone's viewfinder,
or cameras are watching what we do.

I'm going back to the show
later this week, early in the morning,
to see the orchids
(and not the people.)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pic Today 1/29/11


Unassembled snowmen for sale? . . .

snowman gunned down? . . .

two-headed snow monster? . . .

snow twins standing guard? . . .

or something ! ! !

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

All I know is,
with our warm weather now,
it will soon be over.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Pic Today 1/28/11


In Bogotá . . . it depends!

Bogotá has become famous for many things.
One lesser-known claim to fame
is its recent reputation for quality street art,
a.k.a. "graffiti."

Internationally known graffiti artists in Bogotá
are receiving invitations from world capitals
(Berlin, Mexico City, Vancouver, Tokyo)
to create street art in their cities (for big $$, too.)

Most graffiti in Bogotá is confined to La Candelaria,
the oldest part of the city (400+ years)
and birthplace of modern Colombia (back in 1550)
where the streets are chaotic, narrow
and the walls blank canvasses for students & activists.

Bogotá's Office of Public Space treats graffiti as a "violation",
as opposed to America and Europe where graffiti is a "crime."
Bogotá police are forbidden to detain a graffiti artist, and
instead, evaluate if the art is high quality or should be erased.

Thus, much of the graffiti here is well done,
acceptable to the building owners (and local officials)
and "an acceptable vehicle for cultural expression,
or with a meaningful message."

(Notice the cobs on the corn stalk,
and the "coca is fashionable" message.)

In Bogotá, that's "acceptable" and "meaningful."

Oh . . . and an artist friend painted my name
on a wall in La Candelaria . . . "Rick" (en inglés!)
Nice, huh?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pic Today 1/26/11


The indigenous tribes of Colombia
weave great art in their tapestries, rugs and bags,
drawing from the colors and designs of nature
and defining their unique cultural identity.

The Wayúu Indians believe their weaving skills
were handed down from the spider as an ancient art form.
They create one-of-a-kind mochilas (knapsacks),
each one taking 20 days to hand stitch.

The Arhuaco tribe, high in the mountains of Northern Colombia,
create authentic hand-woven shoulder bags,
called mochilas, in earth tone browns and tans,
representing a spiritual artisan tradition
that goes back over 1,000 years.
Mochilas are tightly woven from hand-dyed
sheep's and goat's wool, and wear like steel,
but remain soft and supple.
Each design is unique and has spiritual significance
to their indigenous culture.

Whether a rug, blanket or bag,
each hand woven Colombian piece is
a true work of art.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pic Today 1/26/11


(The beautiful emeralds of Colombia.)

The most beautiful and prized emeralds
in all the world have been mined
in Colombia, South America, since 1000 A.D.

Colombian emeralds are unique for their
transparency, crystal forms and intense green fire,
and are often more valuable than diamonds.
Their color ranges from pale green to deep green-blue.

These specimens were collected by this blogger
north of Bogotá in the mine dumps in Boyacá
along the Rio Bogotá river.

(I've since learned that treasure hunters, "quaqueros",
have been shot by the Policía Nacional
for searching these private dumps for emeralds.)

Soooo . . . we might be thinking twice about
searching again for more specimens.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pic Today 1/25/11


Always fun for the whole family,
sledding down Art Hill in St. Louis.
(Especially after a fresh snow fall.)

Sleds, toboggans, flying saucers, cafeteria trays
and some creative sledding "devices" to race down the hill.
It's always amazing to see how many riders
can fit on top of the tiniest sleds.

And sometimes, the family pet rides along.

Watch dad load up the family sled . . .
Mom on the bottom, an obliging pooch on top,
and -- look close -- there's a daughter
somewhere in between.

And yes, they made it to the bottom
with no one falling off!

(I'm thinking the dog has done this before.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pic Today 1/24/11


Snowy days are a great time to visit the zoo.

There's never a crowd,
and some animals just love getting out . . .

like the Bactrian camels
from the Middle Eastern desert.
These 2-humped giants are well suited
for rugged winters or dry hot arid summers.
In the Spring, they shed their thick winter coats,
leaving them hairless in the summer heat.
(There are less than 1,000 left in the wild.)

or the Emperor penguins
who are permanent residents in Antartica
(except for those guests at the St. Louis Zoo.)
On some snowy winter Sunday afternoons,
lucky visitors get to witness the Emperors
as they march through the zoo grounds
and play in the snow.

(It's hard to tell if the people are watching the penguins,
or the penguins are watching the people!)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pic Today 1/23/11


A warm sunny day
slowly takes the snow away.

Soft retreating shapes
reveal a winter's garden detail
while shadows play on
a cold blue snow.

The golden afternoon sun
makes the snow feel not so cold,
and colors are gradually restored to the land.

My thoughts are already turning to Spring.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pic Today 1/22/11


You never know what you'll discover,
shopping in Bogotá, Colombia.
Most of the "trade" happens on the streets,
as it has for thousands of years . . .
vendors laying out their wares,
hand-made, recycled, restored, home-brewed.

Vintage cameras (with original rolls of film),
eye glasses (near-sighted, far-sighted).
Hand made jewelry, woven rugs and purses.
Herbs, potions, teas from the jungle.
And if you dare, you can try a bottle of vintage
Vino de COCA,
wine aged with coca leaves.

(You won't find that on most wine lists!)