Historic Gardens at Annapolis Royal

Beauty, both natural and artistic…takes your breath away.

Jessica's Nature Blog

Pink rose at Historic Gardens in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The Historic Gardens at Annapolis Royal are most famous for their roses which, unfortunately, were only just beginning to bloom when I visited in early June – but there was still plenty to enjoy. There are 17 acres of garden featuring plant collections and displays which contribute to an understanding of the past of the region from a horticultural perspective. It is a tranquil place full of interest and beauty. Almost 2,000 rose bushes of over 200 cultivars are the scented summer highlight.

The gardens include a replica of a 17th Acadian dwelling and kitchen garden; whilst away from the neatly ordered flower beds, lawns and ponds, a board-walk takes visitors through old stands of Norfolk Reeds to the wilder environs of the tidal River Allain valley. A dyke constructed using traditional Acadian methods allows visitors to explore further into the valley with its salt marsh flora and reed-bordered water…

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Kejimkujik National Park

Jessica's Nature Blog

Mill Falls at Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia, Canada.

We were driving from Lunenburg to Annapolis Royal in the tail end of a tropical storm when we thought we would pull over for a break in the Kejimkujik National Park. It was still pouring with rain as we went for a short walk to Mill Falls but it did not stop the mosquitoes (which the Lonely Planet Guide says are as big as humming birds) – and it did not stop me taking photographs, even though it nearly wrote off the camera with the soaking it received.

It was simply so beautiful.

We were in a watery world where late spring foliage was still a fresh and vibrant green, and the river ran like dark tea. Tall stands of eastern hemlock and pine shaded hummocks of soft saturated mosses dotting the boggy ground below. Only the occasional white flower or single red berry favoured the acid water – though…

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Do you see what I see?

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Hermann Rorshach’s inkblots provoked responses based on what already existed in the viewer’s mind. If you don’t like inkblots, how about interpreting the images in clouds?

I look for faces, and usually find them.

Nancy, my creative wife loaned me the images presented here. If not inkblots, these close relatives come from a growing school of artistic expression: Alcohol Ink. No, the artists  don’t drink the alcohol. They apply alcohol soluble inks to ceramic tiles or “yupo,” a plastic material that in some ways resembles paper .

The results often dwell in the realm of the abstract, allowing the mind to interpret them as it wishes. Turning the tile, 90, 180 or 270 degrees allows many more interpretations, perhaps more meaningful than the first. The titles I use reveal my interpretations or prejudices. Feel free to release your imagination as you view these images.


I see the Southwestern USA, like New Mexico. Do you see the person?


Is the image above made from molten glass? Stained glass? Or something else?




Scallop shell?


A flower?

feathers and flowers


mystical-forest  Trees or forest?

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Sea slug (Nudibranch) (http://www.bing.com/search?q=nudibranch&form=UP97DF&pc=UP97&dt=071813) or Alcohol Ink Image?

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Nerve network in your brain trying to figure this one out?


A tile drying on the back deck. Just ignore Nancy’s foot.

Emusoi: Maasai Girls Tell Their Stories by Kasia Parham

Front Cover

Kasia Parham relates the story of the struggle the Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania as they face extinction as a people. The Maasai have lost much of their traditional cattle raising lands through drought, encroachment from large-scale farms and the expansion of national parks that cater to lucrative tourist safaris. In response, many displaced, young Maasai men have migrated to cities in search of employment as security guards and other trades while the uneducated young women have remained at home, ill-prepared for the changes that swirl around them. Emusoi means: discovery or awareness, so The Emusoi Centre proposed an innovative alternative to pending extinction: the education of girls.

Gareth Thomas, a Minister in the UK Department for International Development wrote in the forward to this book, “educating girls is one of the most important investments any country can make in its own future.” For some, this is a radical concept. Too much of the world regards girls and women as property. That portion of the world asks, “Why would a father educate his daughter when he plans to trade her to her future husband, perhaps a much older man, already with many wives?” Maasai fathers have exchanged their girls, as young as twelve, for cattle or even cases of beer.

The author presents stories by six Tanzanian Maasai girls, a perspective from one of their teachers along with addenda and testimony by Maryknoll Missionary, Sister Mary Vertucci: Director of The Emusoi Centre. The author enumerates the benefits of and obstacles to the Emusoi project as she unravels the complex interactions within the ecological, political, social, economic and cultural forces arrayed against the survival of the Maasai.

At first appearance, this richly illustrated, 56 page book seems destined for a young audience. Actually, young adults may find its contents challenging, but will, perhaps learn why the Maasai girls and their mothers have placed such a high premium on education. Both generations have risked emotional and physical suffering, including running away from home and beatings by husbands and fathers. All of this happened so that educated girls could begin to save the Maasai from assimilation and cultural extinction.

The author’s startling description of the role of women in this ancient society will evoke an immediate response in all readers. The good news is that The Emusoi Centre and its mission to educate girls have endured. In its first ten years, the enrollment at Emusoi sponsored programs, rose from six to more than 600 girls in primary, secondary, university and graduate schools. Some early graduates of the Emusoi program have joined the Centre’s staff. These and future alumnae will insure the longevity of the Emusoi dream for generations of Maasai girls. Through the efforts of The Emusoi Centre, the Maasai may also endure as a unique people.

Unlike many developmental efforts that separate native peoples from their land, heritage and language, the program of The Emusoi Centre arms the Maasai with the means to resist the destructive influences of disease, poverty, ignorance, and bureaucracy, with women trained in medicine, business, education and law. The Emusoi Centre offers the prospect of a Maasai people surviving indefinitely on their own land, with the best of their culture intact.

This publication, certainly appropriate for school-wide teen reading programs, fits many a niche. Every school child in the developed world needs the perspective provided herein, not only as a lesson in cultural diversity, but as a means of appreciating their own educational and economic advantages. The book could serve as a prologue to that famous “coming of age” conversation between parents and children. It can assist citizens of developed nations as they refocus their world view to embrace and revere a broader vision of cultural diversity. It also details contact information and specific directions for channeling funds to The Emusoi Centre.

V-J Day/ Paratrooper Padre poem

gpcox is sure to please with careful research and dedication to those who served so that we might lie in peace. Check out the many essays delivered by this champion blogger.

Pacific Paratrooper


by: Peter S. Griffin

copied in full from Paratroopers of the 50’s, http://home.hiwaay.net/~magro/poemsww2.html

In loving memory of Monsignor Francis L. Sampson, Major General (Ret.) U.S. Army (2/29/12 – 1/28/96)

001 (746x562)

Father Francis L. Sampson,a man of the cloth
The PARATROOPER PADRE, his mission, not a soul lost…!
An elite soldier, who jumped from the sky,
A faithful companion, for one who might die…
The Paratrooper’s greatest fear,
The Angel of Death, oh so near…!
“Praise the Lord, pass the ammunition,”
An accurate description of the combat condition…!
Hungry, tired, dirty, pushed to the edge,
Praying to God, dodging bullets of lead…
Facing death at every turn,
God’s saving grace, the soldier does yearn…!
But there’ one comfort, he surely does know,
By his side, the PARATROOPER PADRE, wherever he goes…
Offering encouragement, dispelling confusion,
Comforting the wounded, granting absolution…
A shining example, for all who…

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A Word A Week: Roof

Beautiful scenes from around the world.


The Word this week is Roof.

I like viewing  large areas extensively covered by roofs of uniform color and style:

Terracotta roofs in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Bright color roofs everywhere, as far as your eyes can see. DSCF0832


Roofs and spire at Tallinn, Baltic.Baltic Capitals  15-Aug-09 018

Light color tiled roofs in Yunnan, China.DSC_0159

More roofs on a closer look in Yunnan, China.DSC_0044

I also like looking at individual roofs with different styles and architecture:

Unforgettable union dome-shaped roofs to church in Tallinn, Estonia.Baltic Capitals  15-Aug-09 015

Stepped roofs in the Baltic.DSC_0055

Roof at LiJiang, Yunnan.DSC_0154

Distinctively styled roofs at FengHuang, China.DSC_0002

Tiled temple roof at HongLuo Temple near Beijing, China.CIMG2570

Roof at Shirakawa-go, Japan. These are thatched roofs with an A frame structure so that heavy snow would not accumulate on them.DSC_0174

Roof to an ancient palace in Okinawa, Japan.DSC_0054

Roofs to yurts in Inner Mongolia, China.DSCF2282

Roof of Genghis Khan’s mausoleum at Inner Mongolian; a mix of dome and…

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