Wednesday, February 27, 2008

African Footprints

Monday night, we went to WVU's Fine Arts Center to see the production of AFRICAN FOOTPRINT. We were treated to the production by daughter Sarah and her family.

AFRICAN FOOTPRINT tells the vibrant and diverse history of South Africa through a breathtaking blend of Afro- and Euro-centric music and dance. A cast of 30 energetic performers has created a show so exciting and entertaining that critics have dubbed AFRICAN FOOTPRINT “The Riverdance of South Africa ”.

The show started out with a neat set and superb drummers. The fog (actually a petroleum product used in theatrical performances) came rolling onto the stage to create a mysterious effect. Technology then stopped the show for about 30 minutes. As the drummers departed the stage, strobe lights flashed and an automated voice said, "There is a fire in the building, please exit in an orderly manner!" Yes, the fog had tripped the fire alarm system. It took about 1/2 hour to vent the material from the stage. The performance was restarted and went without any problems. (I must say that the settings on the fog machine were most likely changed to minimum output!)

In 1998, South African Performer/Producer Richard Loring started a school for disadvantaged South African youth interested in performance. When CNN decided to broadcast Millennial Festivities, on New Years Eve 1999, from the prison cell where Mandela had been held at Robben Island , Loring’s troupe was invited to perform. The performance, broadcast around the world, became the launching pad for AFRICAN FOOTPRINT. Since its splashy conception, AFRICAN FOOTPRINT has played for seven years in South Africa , 2½ years touring Europe, as well as numerous engagements throughout Australia , China , Israel and India . The show has been seen by over 250 million audience members, including luminaries such as Bill Clinton, HRH Prince Charles and Nelson Mandela.

Check out the African Footprint video clip on YouTube at

Friday, February 22, 2008

Bob Henry Baber’s Memory Pieces

Bob Henry Baber treated us this afternoon to a tour of his exhibit of original folk art. The exhibit is appearing this month in GSC’s Fine Arts Gallery. Bob Henry Baber is a professor, artist, and writer. He works with Glenville State College’s Foundation Office.

Memory pieces are original and very personal works of art. Simply one finds an object that tile adhesive grout will stick to. Once covering your jar (hubcap, tray, gourd, bottle, etc.) with adhesive, then the art begins. Items are added to the jar and the memories start to take form.

Bob Henry was introduced to memory jars when he gave a hitch hiker a ride many years ago. Upon arriving at the hitch-hiker’s home, Bob Henry noticed the memory jar below on the mantle and was intrigued as to its history. The fellow gave it to Bob Henry and Memory Piece Art quickly took root in the Baber household. This original jar is the only piece not created by Bob Henry. According to Bob, this piece was created in 1955 in Gadsden, Alabama.

Here are a few examples of his creations.

The piece below is "Royal Lemons".

Our friend Duane Chapman purchased this piece entitled"Spiderrific."

I love this one entitled "for morticians, death is breathtaking."

The piece below is a child's castle on a silver tray and was created for WV First Lady, Gayle Manchin.

Remember any object can most likely be used as a foundation. How about the memory trunk below?

Bob Henry poses by his large piece entitled "wishing you well." I must say that when I left the exhibit, HAPPY is the word I would use to describe these art pieces.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

It was a wonderful night to watch the lunar eclipse last evening. Clear skies provided a great view. Temperature was in the teens around 10 o'clock. This morning the low is around 7 degrees. My good wife is trying to capture the lunar event with her spotting scope. Most of us know that a lunar eclipse is actually when the earth comes between the sun and the moon in such a special way that the shadow of the earth is cast upon the surface of the moon.

I remember listening to an oral exam being conducted at GSC for folks in science education. The student was explaining how an eclipse occurred when the sun came between the earth and the moon! She did not think that the mass of the sun would quickly incinerate both the earth and the moon!

In the past 12 months, we have had three lunar eclipses. A total lunar ecipse will not happen again until 2010. This eclipse came with a rare bonus. The planet Saturn and the bright bluish star Regulus formed a broad triangle with the moon's ruddy disk. This double event was the only one of its kind occurring within the next millennium!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Yesterday and Today!

Yesterday I took a few snapshots of the flowers starting to show themselves in our garden. This hellebore (Lenton Rose) above is starting to bloom. I am amused when the prime source of my hellebore varieties indicates these plants are deer reistant. I wish Barry would come over and explain it to our deer.

The "Barry" I refer to is Barry Glick of Sunshine Farm and Gardens in Renick, WV. Barry specializes in hellebores and he has an amazing selection. I would suggest you check out his website at

Look below, my friends, and you will see the snow drops starting to display the wonderfully delicate white flowers. You ask, "Why are they called snowdrops?"

Today the answer to that question should be no mystery. Yes, a fresh three inches of snow appeared this morning.

The snowdrops will bounce back as soon as the snow melts. The birds, like this junco, were most appreciative of the sunflower seeds and suet.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Butchart Gardens

This morning it is snowing in our hamlet. The meterologists tell me that tomorrow will be another cold and snowy day. I am ready for spring. The daffodils have started poking their leaves from the cold ground. That is a good indicator of things to come.

Cousin Sherel shipped me these photos of Butchart Gardens. These gardens are located north of Aunt Pauline, who lives in Bellingham, WA, and Uncle Gary and Aunt Allene, who reside on Camano Island in Washington State. These pics reminded me of when I was a kid and visited these gardens.

The Butchart Gardens is a floral display garden located in the neighbourhood Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, a small village on the Saanich Peninsula in the municipality of Central Saanich, which is part of Greater Victoria on Vancouver Island. The Gardens was originally created under the supervision of Jennie Butchart.

In 1904 Jennie Butchart's husband, Robert Pim Butchart, had abandoned a worked-out quarry site left behind from his pioneer work with Portland cement. Mrs. Butchart then began to beautify the exhausted limestone quarry by committing herself to the gradual horticultural development of what later became The Butchart Gardens.

Currently the garden staff are executing a series of replantings yearly throughout the gardens. A full-time staff of fifty gardeners uses over one million bedding plants in some seven hundred different varieties to ensure uninterrupted blooming from March through October.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Three Eggs!

Yes, the Shepherdstown Bald Eagles have now laid three eggs. Sunday's posting was advertising a Spring Update. I may have been a little optomistic! I now have to give you a....

Winter Update
The old eagle this morning is trying to keep the triad of eggs warm. A snow front has moved in and now, instead of flowering aconnites, we have a change in the landscape!


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Spring Update

Yes, yesterday the temperatures were in the 50's and it was a sunny day. Well, this morning it is cold! We have wind and cold warnings today- winds over 50 miles per hour and wind chills below zero.

There are, however, indications that the Spring season will be here soon. Each year I love to check out the eagle cam at Shepherdstown, WV. If you remember last year, the eggs were laid, but no hatching becuse of a wet and cold snowstorm. I still see in my mind the eagle covered with inches of snow and trying desperately to protect the eggs. No luck. This year we have eggs once again. Let's hope for the success we had two years ago when the eagles fledged three eaglets.

Yesterday, I found several flowers starting their growth spurt. The primroses are poking through the leaf litter.

Our neighbors aconites are blooming. These are always the first flowers we see in our neighborhood.

Our Italian arums are leafing out. I even heard my favorite "Spring Peepers" calling last week! Spring can not be too far behind.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


Well, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That saying has been one that I try to take seriously. There is a town in France that definitely takes this saying to heart. Notice the photos are from the Menton, France website.

Every year in February the Lemon Festival (Fête du Citron) takes place in Menton, a city of just over 28,000 residents on the French Riviera. Menton is the lemon capital of France and the Festival is a celebration of all things related to that small yellow fruit.During the festival large constructions made of lemons and oranges parade down the streets and huge citrus fruit sculptures are built.This year Menton is hosting the 75th Lemon Festival.