Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekend Blather

Just outside the window is our Chanticleer pear tree. This particular variety of pear tree was chosen for it's practicality rather than productivity. Most pear trees in this area are Bradford Pear, a fruit bearing tree.  That quality is negated by the tree's susceptibility to splitting at inopportune moments such as during high wind conditions or ice storms. Both conditions are known to happen in this corner of Kansas. The Chanticleer Pear is a taller specimen and much hardier in severe weather conditions.
While the tree isn't fruit bearing, inedible- at least inedible to humans, berries or seed pods grow after the tree blossoms in the spring. These berries or pods are becoming more visible now that the tree is shedding its leafs. By the time the branches are bare of leafs, birds will descend upon the tree to feed on the berries. Last year, robins were the prevalent gastronomes and they were here in numbers. Robins aren't known for gathering in large flocks but they did gather here, up to forty at a time on or on the ground below our pear tree. They aggressively chased other types of birds away. Their behavior made us wonder if the robins were drunk. This year's show should start in about ten days or so.

Book Review! "The Big Burn" by Timothy Egan turned out to be an excellent read. The book details one of the largest forest fires in the US in 1910 in the Bitterroot Mountain chain located along the western Montana-Idaho border line, stretching from as far south as Yellowstone National Park and north through Glacier National Park into Canada. The area that burned covered more square miles than the entire state of Connecticut in the eastern US. Even though I've visited both parks by car, I have a hard time grasping how enormous the burn area was. Mr Egan has provided his footnotes and resources from his research for the book. One of Mr Egan's earlier books was "The Worst Hard Time" about the Dust Bowl Era in the Great Plains area of the US during the 1920s and 1930s. That's a book worth reading as well.

"Here's to Life" is an excellent CD by the late Shirley Horn. Besides being a "desert island" worthy disc, the recording provides a thorough test for the quality of your stereo equipment's reproduction ability. Ms Horn is an artist worth listening to.

"Live at Monterey" by the Jimi Hendrix Experience brings a smile to my face each time I hear it. While Jimi Hendrix was known for his spacey guitar playing, the band in this recording had elements of speed metal, thrash guitar, and perhaps even a precursor to the punk music scene. All that happened way back in 1967, just before I graduated from high school. It's hard to find a category that could contain or describe all the artistic creativity of Hendrix. Compare that to the compartmentalized, molded for appearance, and scripted for money groups that currently occupy popular radio. The only guitarist playing these days that I've heard that can play at a similar level is Bill Frisell.

Enough is enough for today. Add your recommendations for books and music whenever the notion strikes you in comments.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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