June 2, 2009

Violet infestation? Why complain?



      As I sat on my comfortable couch this winter, watching the snow drift with the winds and the birds fly to and from the window bird feeder, I was invited to contemplate on the number of blades of grass that would be on my lawn come summer. This invitation, in a Vital Stats column, Growth Industry, (the May 2003 Pittsburgh Magazine), states that the “Number of blades of grass on the Cathedral of Learning lawn” is 278,784,000.

     Naturally, my mind wonders about my lawn—and I wonder how I could ever count the blades of grass on it. I recollect how I once did red blood cell counts (I once worked as a hematology technician doing differential counts under a microscope). A section of blood, smeared on a slide and stained, is counted, and the total is projected from that count. Ah, so I could take a patch of lawn, say three inches square, and count the blades of grass in it. There are sixteen of these squares in (more…)

February 12, 2009

CANDIED VIOLETS: Remembering My Mother on Her Birthday

     While living in the home we built in Slippery Rock, in the midst of seventy acres, part of our experience is what many would describe as “back to earth.” We gardened, canned, kept chickens. We also had lots of violets that bloomed in the spring and in the fall. (click to view photo: )
     It was the early seventies when I discovered that one could make what was considered a delicacy: candied violets, a violet blossom preserved by (more…)

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