Archive for February, 2008

An excellent evening en Français

February 21, 2008 1:24 pm

LabelAn excellent evening last night. We had two of our French friends round for dinner and spent the whole evening speaking French (well, they did, we spoke Franglais). I opened one of my last three remaining “good” wines, I’ve had them for seven or eight years. This was a Neibaum-Coppola Merlot 1999. It was excellent, full of fruit, a great bouquet, wonderfully mature, smooth – a great wine.

Our friends brought along a Christmas present they had received. It was called La Clef du Vin (the key of wine). It is an amazing. It is made by Screwpull and it ages wine! It is a long metal rod that you dip into you glass or bottle of wine. Each one second dip ages the wine by one year. It doesn’t significantly change the bouquet but it does change the taste. You can use it to determine how long to keep your wines in your cellar. If you have a case of wine, open one bottle, pour a glass and then start ageing your glass of wine, one year at a time. The flavour will improve with each year and then it will drop off, that is the maximum age for the wine. Amazing but it seems to work. It can also be used in restaurants to improve your glass of young wine and add a few years to it. The only link I can find is to the French site.


Grandma Remembers, Part Deux

February 13, 2008 5:29 pm

IMAGE1(5)My maternal grandparents were known as Mama Davis and Papa Davis. They had sixteen children, but lost four in infancy. Many of my family have quite interesting names. Papa Davis was born James Madison Davis. Mama Davis was named Bertha. Their daughters were Olive Bertha, Flossie Etta (also known as Momo), Sadie, Alice, and Bernice. Their sons were Jessie, Grover, Edward, Comer, Hollis, Clay, and Clifford.

Papa Davis was very talented. He owned lots of land which was forested and also good for farming. He “thinned” trees which were sent to paper mills. By thinning the trees, the other trees grew better. Papa had a wonderful workshop that many of the local men enjoyed using. He was also the local horseshoer.

Mama and Papa Davis had 48 grandchildren. Lord knows how many great and great-great grandchildren they had. Papa lived to be 92; Mama made it to 89.

Here are some more good family names. I have cousins named Ouida Faye Bagley, and Lucy Belle, Minnie Belle, and Lucy Kate. Then there’s Marian Earl Chaney and Virgie Chaney. Berta Davis, Lovey Mae Hicks. Zula Mae Pea. Ester Butts and her sister, Lucy Butts. (John said to add Lucy Bowels, but I won’t.) Oh, and my Aunt Momo was married to Uncle O.C. The initials didn’t stand for anything. Their daughter, Boyde, had a son named Freddy Funches. My sister, Frances, is married to Luther Smith, also known as Smitty Smith.

Ruthie’s named after John’s mother, Ruth Marie. If we’d named her after my mother, you’d all be calling her Olive Bertha. Now wouldn’t that be fine?

Grandma Remembers

February 12, 2008 5:14 pm
IMAGE1(10)My maiden name is Olive Juanita Haskew, but you can call me Nita. I am what you would call a Southern Belle. On February 12, 1926 I left the comfortable environment of my mother’s womb and saw the world for the first time. I truly believe those simpler days had more to offer than the world we live in today. But that is another story. I am here today to let you know the story of my life.

I was born at home, not in a hospital. That was a usual event in rural Alabama. My father, Albert Comer Haskew, was a farmer. My mother, nee Olive Bertha Davis, was a devoted housewife and school teacher. I have three brothers – Percy, James, and Ned; and three sisters – Maggie, Alma Ruth, and Frances. I was born in Nettlesborough, a town with one store, but attended grammar school in Thomasville. I have to mention that my sister Maggie lives in Lower Peach Tree – a bit of a strange name as there is no Upper or Middle Peach Tree.

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Dadums Remembers, Part Deux

February 11, 2008 5:24 pm

Dadums80002When I was quite young [1932] I witnessed the “Bonus Army,” or “Bonus Marchers,” camped out on the Anacostia River Flats in southeast Washington. This area was near the end of Pennsylvania Avenue across from the Anacostia Bridge. This was during the days of the Depression and the marchers were World War I veterans who had been promised a bonus. The Government wouldn’t keep its word and pay the bonus to the veterans.

They camped in makeshift huts at Fairlawn, a park-like green area along the Anacostia River. The vets were orderly, but President Hoover wanted them removed from the area. He sent the United States Army to remove them forcibly. Among the famous generals leading the “attack” on the marchers were MacArthur, Eisenhower and Patton. The marchers refused to move. The army used tear gas and bayonets to drive them out. I witnessed this action first hand. It was horrible to watch. Several men were killed – United States veterans. I cried at the sight of it.

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Dadums Remembers

February 10, 2008 12:11 pm
I am John B. McVeigh. I was born on February 10th, 1926. It was a very cold day to arrive on Earth. My father was a dentist. My mother was, as it was called, a housewife. My sister Mary is six years older than me, my other sister, Helen, is four years older. In 1930 my brother Bill arrived. That completed our family.We lived on East Capitol Street, just a mile from the nation’s Capitol. It was an interesting time to grow up. There were many young boys in the neighborhood and we never had trouble starting a baseball or football game. Outdoor sports were a big thing in the 30s. No tv to interrupt play. I remember when tv’s first appeared, the screen was 4 1/2 inches by 6 inches. Many people had a magnifying glass over the screen to enlarge the picture. It didn’t work.

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Family Memories

12:11 pm

My mother, Nita, and my father, John, are only two days apart in age. Today is my father’s 82nd birthday. My mother was born not only on her own mother’s birthday, but Abraham Lincoln’s as well.

I think I started calling my father “Dadums” when I was twelve. I’ve asked him and mom to post some of their memories and they have graciously agreed. Today and tomorrow, I’ll be putting up Dadums’s posts, to be followed on February 12 by one from Mom. I’m working on her still to get another post up the next day.

Happy Birthday, Mom and Dadums!


A winter walk in Bushy Park

February 9, 2008 11:35 am
What are these trees?

I’ve just returned home from spending a week in London. I stayed with my parents who live near Hampton Court Palace and a wonderful royal park, Bushy Park; home to many deer, wildlife and people enjoying a day out. I went for a great walk with my parents, a beautiful, crisp morning and want to share some of the pictures I took with you.

If anyone can identify the trees in this picture, please let me know. Every time I walk past them, I remark how different they are and I have no idea what they are.


Au Revoir, Pesty Pesticides

February 2, 2008 3:11 pm

PesticidesMost of us are aware of the danger of pesticides in conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables but can’t always afford or find organic alternatives. The Environmental Working Group has compiled a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. The guide lists 45 fruits and vegetables ranging from those with the highest pesticide load to the lowest. The top 3 with the highest load are peaches, apples, and sweet bell peppers; the bottom 3 with the lowest load are sweet corn (frozen), avocados, and onions. What I get from this information is which produce I should definitely buy organic, and which is probably okay to buy conventionally-grown.

In other news, I was very happy to learn that France has banned the sale of more than 1,500 pesticides in the country, effective as of yesterday. Vive La France!