Friday, 28 October 2011

Helianthus maximillianii

Helianthus maximillianii, aka Maximillian Sunflower, drawn by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

Helianthus maximiliani (also, H. maximilianii) is a species of sunflower known by the common name Maximilian sunflower and is a member of the Aster Family (Asteraceae). Originating in Texas, it is native to much of the western half of North America, it is found in parts of the eastern half as an introduced species. The plant thrives in a number of ecosystems, particularly across the plains in central Canada and the United States. It is a branching perennial herb, reaching heights from one half to three meters. The lance-shaped leaves are narrow, pointed, folded down the mid-vein, and up to 30 centimeters long on large plants. The plant reproduces by seed and by vegetative sprouting from the rhizome [a thick underground horizontal stem that produces roots and has shoots that develop into new plants]. The thick rhizome is edible and provided a food similar to the Jerusalem artichoke for Native American groups such as the Sioux. The flower heads are attractive to insects and the fruits are eaten by birds.

This sunflower is named for Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, who encountered it on his travels in the North American west in the 1830s.  Native Americans grew sunflowers as a source of food, oil, dye and thread. Early pioneers planted sunflowers near their homes. They believed that sunflowers repelled mosquitoes and that a bath in boiled sunflower blossoms relieved arthritis pain.
For really detailed information, go to: 

Helianthus maximillianii, aka Maximillian Sunflower (Solarization effect), drawn by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

Here is the result of applying the "solarization" option of my funny software.  I always enjoy seeing what this option does to the colours I have used.  In this case, the greenish-yellow shade I had used for the leaves is turned into a deep burgundy.  Fascinating -- to me anyway and, hopefully, of interest to you! 



Autumn sky on fire.
Such incredible beauty occurs every day across this planet and so often no human eyes are there to witness it.  How playfully extravagant our God is each day with His paintbrush!



Below are four very different photographs I came across this past week.  I find each one of them interesting for different reasons.  I hope you enjoy them as well.

I think this makes it pretty clear who it is that wants people to keep being addicted to tobacco!
Just more evidence that the "Father of Lies" really exists and encourages people to do things that will make them addicted, sick and smelly like stale tobacco smoke!  How clever have been the advertising campaigns this Liar has used over the years to associate such addictive and unhealthy practices with being young and attractive and part of the in crowd.  Look at the face in the smoke and see the evil in it and then never believe the lies about smoking in the first place.  If you never start, you will never have to go through the agony of trying to quit!

Talk about a kindle!  (methinks this has been photoshopped)
 What makes this photo so interesting to me is that at first you don't realize that it has been photoshopped.  However, when you look more closely, you see more than one cat in exactly the same position with exactly the same look on its face.  You can make areas lighter and darker so that it appears that this is a real photo, but no two kittens would ever been in exactly the same position!

I wonder if that dog in the centre is named Joseph by any chance....
 First off, let me say that I have no idea what this photo is supposed to represent.  It really is very strange.  The dogs in the circle are each in a position of submission.  However, the dog in the centre, although sitting up, is in a position we normally associate with begging.  Then there is the soldier standing and saluting -- what does that mean?  The reason for my comment about Joseph in the caption under the photo is that when I first saw this photograph, I thought immediately of the dream that the "Joseph of the coat of many colours" had:  he saw himself in the centre while all his brothers were bowing down before him.  Of course, Joseph had a lot more brothers than the number of dogs shown here so I am sure that his story does not apply.  So, I am still puzzled.  If anyone out there knows what on earth we are supposed to make of this scene, please let me know.  Meanwhile, it is just sort of funny all on its own!

Tell me -- what is wrong with this picture!
This photo simply made me laugh.  Here we have two, very comfortable camels stuffed into the back of a pickup truck.  Normally, the camels are carrying loads on their backs while walking not sitting down.  I mean you might even see camels pulling a pickup truck if the truck had broken down.  But to see them being the load that is carried strikes me as funny.  As you can see, the owner of the truck has attempted to secure the camels in place so that they are unable to stand -- otherwise, just imagine what would happen if one of them suddenly decided to stand up and go for a walk! 



Well, I had a marvelous retreat which officially ended on Tuesday morning when my director came by and we reviewed everything that had occurred.  I feel very refreshed spiritually and very grateful to God for His goodness to me.  The remainder of the week has passed by too quickly so that it is difficult for me to believe that we are already at Friday evening again!

I saw my friendly chiropractor again today and told him about a new exercise I had discovered at the gym which seems to be giving me tremendous relief of the pain I have had in the chest wall ever since I fell several months ago.  I was told that the pain was the result of damage to my spine so I assume that the exercise is actually doing stretches similar to those a chiropractor might do.  This is very good news as my chiropractor really can;t do a lot of stretching exercises with me since I cannot recline on the exercise table -- whenever I do, I end up with a severe migraine.  No, I don't know why that happens -- all I know is that it does.  Anyway, I am just grateful to have asked one of the personal trainers at the gym about an exercise that would strengthen my upper body which led to my discovery of  this new exercise that is bringing me so much pain relief

As for Suki Cat, she is -- surprise, surprise -- sleeping at the moment.  We had great excitement earlier today when she discovered some pigeons congregating on the balcony above ours.  She begged me to help her get those pigeons even though I told her that it is just not possible.  Poor kitty.

You may recall my telling you of Suki's fixation with the toilet.  Well, recently I made the mistake of deciding to removed the few items I had been keeping on the top of the toilet tank, leaving the top of the tank clear.  Once Suki discovered this change, she took full advantage of it by perching on top of the tank, giving her a new perspective on the entire toilet.  Now, whenever she hears the flushing noise, she comes running, jumping first on the laundry hamper next to the toilet, then on to the top of the tank, back down to the laundry hamper, back up to the top of the tank.  I am so grateful that thus far she apparently has not realized that the little "handle" is what causes that flushing sound and makes the water move.  Should the day ever come when she learns to flush the toilet herself, I will have to ban her from the bathroom forever!  Can you imagine being awakened from a deep sleep by the sound of your toilet flushing when you live alone!  Enough said... 



Suki says "Have a safe and happy Halloween
and then don't forget to go to Mass on All Saints"

A Controversial Holiday: Every year, a debate rages among Catholics and other Christians: Is Halloween a satanic holiday or merely a secular one? Should Catholic children dress up like ghosts and goblins? Is it good for children to be scared? Lost in the debate is the history of Halloween, which, far from being a pagan religious event, is actually a Christian celebration that's almost 1,300 years old.
The Christian Origins of Halloween: "Halloween" is a name that means nothing by itself. It is a contraction of "All Hallows Eve," and it designates the vigil of All Hallows Day, more commonly known today as All Saints Day. ("Hallow," as a noun, is an old English word for saint. As a verb, it means to make something holy or to honor it as holy.) All Saints Day, November 1, is a Holy Day of Obligation, and both the feast and the vigil have been celebrated since the early eighth century, when they were instituted by Pope Gregory III in Rome. (A century later, they were extended to the Church at large by Pope Gregory IV.) by Scott P. Richert

For more information about this interesting topic, click on the link below:

Today is the Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude.  Five years ago today, my godson and his wife were married.  I want to wish them another year filled with blessings.  May God protect them and grant them the desires of their hearts.
Sts. Simon and Jude, pray for them and for all readers of this blog.

May the peace of God be with us all.

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