It will be a long time before we see anything green or blooming in the Northeast.

Winter is a good time to look for interesting stalks and seed pods in the snow.

Well, this plant is not native to New York, and I think, it’s more interesting than beautiful.

I’ve seen it, in gardens, roadsides and woods, all my life.

Wikipedia indicates that Lunaria annua is naturalized, but native to the Balkans and SW Asia.

In both Europe and Asia, the common names refer to money:  silver dollar plant, the Pope’s money, coins of Judas, etc.

We’ve always called it “honesty.”

In winter, the stalks resemble an abandoned optician’s shop, vandalized by the winter, with old wire-rimmed spectacles, gone cloudy, or missing lenses.

It’s a tough, almost shrubby plant, that needs no care, and produces nice purple flowers, and self-seeds reliably.

The seed pods are brownish, flat, and oval – -you can see one hanging on in the pictures, darkened by exposure.

But when the outer layers drop off, it’s the inner part of the seed pod that a lot of people like to gather – – almost pearly, like discs of translucent parchment or paper.

In the last shot above, the membrane is shredded by the winter weather.  (Tattered honesty, this is New York, after all)

I think the last shot looks a bit sinister, like a display for “Sweeney Todd, Eye Doctor”

If you gather it in the fall, when it’s good and dry, you can slip off the outer covers, scatter the seeds, and bring in the money.

 

 

 

 

Finger Lakes, FLX, Frostbite, Nature, snow, Things to Do When Your Water Crystallizes on You, Upstate New York, Winter

Pictures of Upstate New York. January. Honesty, a bit tattered.

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The fallen tree seems to be a clear message – don’t try walking up the icy stream bed.

Never seen this stream completely frozen before.

Even listening very carefully, I could not hear the faintest burbling sound under the ice.

Even the places that look like water, are just clear pools of ice, on top of the milkier layers.

 

 

 

 

 

Finger Lakes, FLX, Frostbite, Nature, snow, Things to Do When Your Water Crystallizes on You, Winter

Pictures of Upstate New York ~ January ~ ~ Finger Lakes Forest ~ ~ 5 °F.

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I was taking pictures through a frosted window pane.

This one isn’t the sharpest or most glittery of the bunch, but I somehow like it the best.

 

 

Cold War, Frostbite, photography, snow, Things to Do When Your Water Crystallizes on You, Winter

street lights through a frosty windowpane

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Hello from Boston, Massachusetts, Winter Wonderland!

I haven’t posted any pictures from this town yet.

So I thought I’d send a few cellphone photos, from where we’re holed up,

above the snow line and away from the wolves, atop the Hancock Building.

We’re OK up here for now — we have 7 cans of Sterno, 4 boxes of Saltines, and a whole crate of Ovaltine.

Above is a shot of residents fleeing Boston on snowshoes, over the rooftops.  That’s Quincy Market to the left.

In the next picture, I think the mound at the bottom is the dome of the Statehouse.

 

 

I took a few more pictures from the sledge, when the Lyft dogsledder picked us up.

Here’s the Castle at Park Plaza (on Columbus Avenue)

 

And the entrance to my subway stop on the MBTA line

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And a new advertisement for the ferry to Hingham

 

Dairy aisle in the Whole Foods store.

 

“Looking for the Bus Stop, Friday Night”

 

Heck, I’m from Upstate New York – no worries.

They warned me the Yankees were a bit on the cool side, and a bit of weather doesn’t bother me.

So long for now!  Keep warm!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The old pictures are from the Library of Congress.  The engraving is by Conradus Lycosthenes (Switzerland, 1500’s) from the Wellcome Library.  The Retreat from Moscow is from the Saratov National Research State University on behalf of NG Chernyshevsky.
Those are actually New York ice crystals in the last photo, as you can probably tell – – sharp-edged, stony-hearted.

 

 

 

 

Boston, Frostbite, snow, Things to Do When Your Water Crystallizes on You, Winter

Pictures of Boston. January. The Evacuation.

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I figured everybody’s seen a million photos of Niagara Falls, by better photographers than me!  So these are mostly snapshots of the area around the Falls, taken on Saturday.

The freezing spray glazed our coats, so they crackled when we took them off, and added layer after layer of ice to every non-moving object in the area, making a walk kind of tricky, but it’s always very interesting and beautiful to visit the Falls in winter.  Until your blood begins to jell, of course.

1,2 = Coin-operated binoculars, coated with ice and turned into friendly-looking robots.

3-6 = Trees and shrubs covered with ice on Goat Island, in the middle of the Niagara River, and the American side of Falls.

7-13 = getting toward dusk, near Horseshoe Falls, on the Canadian side.  The Falls are illuminated with colored spotlights.

I hope everybody out there has a wonderful New Year’s, and best wishes for a peaceful, happy 2018.

 

Xmas lights reflected in the ice

 

Canada, Frostbite, NY, photography, snow, Things to Do When Your Water Crystallizes on You, Upstate New York, Winter

Pictures of Upstate New York/Upper Canada. December. Niagara Falls.

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Boy, what a difference an hour makes.

I was looking at snapshots taken some time ago, on my cellphone.

I think both of these pictures are a bit awkward – –

but I also thought they were interesting, because of the change in atmosphere.

They were taken just a couple of yards from each other, same day, one hour apart.

The first picture looks “seasonal” and almost festive, nice red winterberries (thanks Linda & Steve for identifying!)

Reminds me of cranberries, which I love.

An hour later, the swamp presents quite a different aspect, kinda spooky.

Reminds me of a ham dinner with too much cranberry relish – a portrait of the atmosphere in my stomach.

The dark blobs on the dead trees in the background, just barely visible, are nests in a blue heron rookery heronry.

BTW, a lot of people, none of them birders, have told me that herons kill off the trees they roost in.

I don’t know if herons seek out dead, mostly limbless trees, because they’re somewhat awkward fliers, and can’t navigate through branches, or if it’s true, what the old folks around here say, that by pooping on the trees day after day, they actually kill them off.

I’m not sure how that would be fatal, but it certainly seems like it would be discouraging.

I remember reading about a primitive tribe, that rather than trying to cut down trees, to clear a field for cultivation, would get up very early each morning, and whack the tree with a club, while yelling at it.

The theory was that the pre-dawn shock killed the tree.

I figure the tribespeople were eventually severing the phloem layer, girdling it, and that’s what killed the tree, but who knows.

Doesn’t it seem an awful lot like waking up to talk radio in the USA?

Caveman thinking & poo-flinging in a dismal swamp.

Heron excrement, Stone Age tree-clubbing, or paranoid rabble-rousers — may not be fatal, but it’s surely discouraging.

As one rookery tree said to another — all this crap just has to be taking years off our lives.

On a happier note, from the album “In My Tribe”

Here’s 10,000 Maniacs with Natalie Merchant “Like the Weather”

Obviously not taken in December! But wouldn’t they make nice Xmas tree decorations?  Same location, during the summer – – I think I mentioned some time ago, seeing buttonbush – – this is the area  where I always see it.  Sterling, NY, on the shore of Lake Ontario.

Finger Lakes, FLX, Frostbite, Nature, NY, Ontario, United States, Upstate New York, Winter

Pictures of Upstate New York. December. Sterling Swamp

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Teddy Roosevelt, sculpted in butter for the St. Louis World’s Fair, 1904. LOC. Personally, I thought, ghee, a pretty good likeness.

 

[Second in my Monumental Series “Learning History Through Statues”]

As you will recall, however regretfully, we began the series with the Father of Our Country, George Washington.

George was made for statues.

Statuesque since he was a lad.

Strikingly tall, striking a pose in almost countless statues, struck onto coins and then stuck into vending machines, stuck on letters as a stamp, stuck onto dollar bills, and also sometimes stuck on stumps, possibly of cherry trees.

 

Reenactor visiting Waterloo, NY for the Memorial Day commemoration.

 

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Moving on, here we have a New Yorker, reproduced in numerous statues, and stuffed animals.

Governor, Soldier, President.

In the pictures above and below, “Theodore Roosevelt, Modeled in Butter”.

This was an exhibit at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904, commonly called the St. Louis World’s Fair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I pondered this monument, done in a style called  baroque arteriosclerotic, a thought suddenly occurred to me.

And, man, that’s annoying.  How many times, have I told my brain, “Don’t do that!

A historian’s thinking process should be like a bank robbery – – “Don’t nobody make no sudden moves!

I hate it when random ideas pop up, like a deranged Whac-A-Mole game, and you just cannot pound them back in their hole with the hammer.  So I was dismayed to realize that Teddy’s  1904 butter sculpture for the St. Louis World’s Fair, had somehow brought up a new and timely topic – the removal of statues.

Well, my brain can go off wherever it wants — so long, good riddance, write if you get work — and I’ll go my own way.

But here’s a concept that could help with that debate over taking down monuments.

My plan, the Statue Statute, combines the oleaginous evasiveness of a politician, with the icy reasoning of a historian.

 

“He who cannot put his thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of dispute.” Nietzsche

 

Chill out, dude.  It’s simple.  In future, we’ll make all our statues out of butter or ice. 

Stick ‘em in a refrigerated case —  and here’s a key concept – – fans of the statue have to pay the electric bill to keep things cool.

You can donate online, or by feeding change into a meter.

Way more hygienic than having the actual person there, like Disney’s longest-running show,

“What a Sleeping Beauty!  Lenin on Ice!” in Red Square.

 

 

If we have a burning desire to see Jubilation T. Cornpone memorialized in the park, we have to pay to keep him

— in sparkling ice, granita, or well-marbled butterfat.

The Popsicle Pantheon, The Immortal Icebox of Heroes, La Crème Glacée de la Crème.

Ice, pure and transparent, is obviously the wrong medium for politicians, so we can “laud him, all ye people, in lard.”

If we don’t keep the power on, if we waffle, our hero turns into a pool of melted butter.

 

 

When memories and passions cool,

and their snow jobs come to light,

and there’s no frozen slush fund to pay the electric bill,

the Sub-Zero Politicians will just melt away

… dissolve like such stuff as bad dreams are made on.

And most likely, the world will just carry on

…spinning in greased grooves.

And in the end, even when all the lights go off,

and the stuff in our refrigerators has gone very bad, become sentient, and taken over the planet,

the people we actually want to remember, will remain

…frozen in our memories, in the times and forms we most love to recall.

 

 

We’ll get back to Teddy, another time, don’t worry, I won’t forget.

 

 

Art, Frostbite, History, Pantheon, Public Art, Removing Statues, Sculpture, statue, Things to Do When Your Water Crystallizes on You

Giving History an Icy Reception. (Learning All About History By Looking at Statues. Chapter II)

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