Friday, April 30, 2010

May Day Herb Class


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I have known just one herbalist all my adult life. She saved my life once when the doctors couldn't or wouldn't help me. I will never forget it. I will be at a Kentucky Derby party this weekend, but I would urge anyone who wants to know more about the power and healing of herbs to join Cindy Parker this weekend near Athens Ohio.

May Day Herb Day

Join Cindy Parker at Healing Heart Herbals for a weekend of spring herb and de-stressing activities. Learn from hands on experience how to create a material medica, make nettle quiche and tincture, blend nervine herbs for relaxation, breathing exercises to center and calm, and much more. Classes $75 per day or $125 for both. Camping is available. Lunch is included, dinner is available for $10. Contact Cindy at hhherbals@frognet.net or call 740-742-8901 to assure your space.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ugo Mochi


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In Yesterday's blog I featured a Ugo Mochi table. Here he is standing in front of a painting he posed for, painted by artist Alton S. Toby (also pictured).
It is quite common for artists to pose for one another. Back when I was a struggling artist I posed for a Denison University beginning drawing class. The job paid $18 an hour, perhaps the most money I ever made per hour in this lifetime. Mochi portrays the great violin maker Antonio Strativari in this painting. The two men were friends.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Black Fiesta




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This is a Fiesta Disc Pitcher in Black. Homer Laughlin introduced Black in 1986. The enamel table is a Ugo Mochi Table. Ugo Mochi was an Italian Silhouette artist from the 1930's. This table was a great find on Craigs List replacing our "made in Taiwan" Target table.
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Profile Pictures


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The other night at The Katie Reider benefit I got to meet Lori Gum a local photographer. Here is one of Lori's many photos from the evening. It is not often that I like pictures of myself. This is a good one of both me, my frame drum, and my new drummer friend Josh. To view more of Lori Gum's photos go to
The Shooting Gallery by lorigum on Etsy

Monday, April 26, 2010

Honesty and Money


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We have a healthy crop of Honesty in our garden this year. Honesty is also known as Money Plant. It transforms in the fall and the lavender colored blossoms turn into coin like seeds. This plant reseeds every other year, being a biennial. Perhaps there is allegory and metaphor built into the name of this flower. I know I don't usually associate "money" with "honesty". Perhaps the folks at Goldman Sachs could take a hint from this glorious plant.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Real Deal Medicine Wheel


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I have a medicine wheel pendant that is nearly finished. I call it The Real Deal Medicine Wheel. Right now it has a natural ruby stone in the center and onyx stones at the 4 points. I hand made each feather and the whole piece is Sterling Silver. My plans for the inlay are Turquoise, Ivory, and Lapis Lazuli, starting from the center and working outward. It will be finished some time this year. What has been holding me up is that I need to hand cut the inlay pieces. Sometime in May The Martin Janis Center is going to re open. There is a lapidary workshop there. The only one I know of in Columbus that I have access to. Until then though I will wear my medicine wheel as is. I wore this to my drum gig last night where I was to represent the Native American component of MDOFE. It could be that there is some Native American in my genealogy as we don't know who the mother of Robert Henry Hendershot The Little Drummer Boy at The Battle Of Fredericksburg is. She is mentioned, but I have yet to identify her. I have been told by Native Americans that I have the high cheekbones, the dark hair, the coloring. What is most important though is I have the drum for the job. And I have the real deal medicine wheel to wear around my neck.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Second Annual Katie Reider Rocks Back Benefit


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Second Annual Katie Reider Rocks Back
Benefiting Camp Sunrise & Girlz Rhythm n’ Rock Camp!
Saturday April 24th
Slammers & Score Bar (5th & Long St)
Featured artists include:
Coyote Grace, Luster, Katie Todd Band, Billy Zenn, Donna Mogavero Band, Alexis Antes, Rosco, Robin Stone, Wahru, Unecc, Royal Renegades, MaryB, Chelsea Topper, & more!

I will be performing with Wahru and The Columbus Community Drummers.
Doors open at 6pm
General admission suggested donation $5 - $10

Friday, April 23, 2010

Got Sanding Blocks?


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I have been sitting in with 2 old woodcarvers on Monday mornings at The Gillie Senior Center here in Columbus Ohio. One of the fellas is in his 80's and the other in his early 90's. I learn much from my 2 hour sessions with them. They were both in WW2 and both of them lived through the Great Depression. They are full of stories that are relevant to what is happening today. They are more with it than most of my friends. When we carve wood sometimes there is no modern tool for the job. In the instance of my curved handled wooden spoon, I created a problem. Fortunately, I have two tutors that instruct me through my problems. Today I am making sanding blocks from the scraps of futon boards that I have a surplus of in order to get to the places that are seemingly impossible to sand. These recreational centers around town are a wealth of teaching and instruction as well as equipment that would be difficult to obtain in one lifetime.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Beautiful Tree


Somehow this song is appropriate for tying in my weekend of Genealogy with my sister, and my experience yesterday with watching the tree trimmers. The universe is always on purpose
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tree Butchering In My Neighborhood Today


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A few days ago we got a yellow paper notice on our front door that they were going to be trimming trees on our street. We tried to call as it is very hard not to see that the previous "trimming" was very destructive. We did not want to go to all the trouble of planting a garden and then have these so called "experts" come in after wards and destroy our efforts. I had to laugh when I read the logo on Asplundh's truck door. They actually call themselves "Tree Experts". When they trimmed the last time it resulted in practically everyone on my street required to get an air conditioner. It is not too hard to see that they have a symbiotic relationship with The Power Company and that it is in their best interest to lop off as much of the shade tree as possible in order for us to consume more power and buy more air conditioners. You gotta wonder why they didn't put "tree service" or Arborist on their truck doors. But then that would be lying wouldn't it?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Patton Road

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I found my Great Grandparents Farmhouse. Gary and Helen Patton lived in this house and I have very fond memories of the place. I hope to get back there one of these days and perhaps get permission to look around. Google Earth and Google Maps Rock!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Perry Elementary School


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I went to visit my sister this weekend and took the long way home; drove by my old elementary school. This place is still in great shape and is a personal residence these days. What a great space!
This is Perry Elementary School in Licking County Ohio. It is located on State Route 668.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Abandoned Places In The World


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"There are mainly two reasons why people suddenly or little by little leave the place where they used to live for years or even generations: that’s the danger and economic factors. The biggest number of abandoned villages and farms can be found in Unites States and the countries of the former USSR."

I found an interesting website that is about these abandoned places in the world.
The photography is fantastic on this website!

Friday, April 16, 2010

This Weekend


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I am visiting my sister this weekend in Coshocton County. We are putting together a virtual cemetery for the Robinson family. My Great Great Grandfather was Richard Allen Robinson.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Redemption

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My heart goes out to those who are planning the protest against gassing dogs and cats at The Licking County Animal Shelter today.
Here is a YouTube featuring Nathan Winograd who has turned kill shelters like Licking County into no kill shelters practically overnight. Nathan wrote a book called Redemption that I read several years ago.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Luzio Must Go


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Licking County has always been somewhat of a cultural desert in my opinion. In fact for people like myself it is a downright dangerous place to live. It is even more dangerous to be a stray cat or dog in Licking County these days. Like PETA and ASPCA, Licking county animal shelter euthanizes the majority of the animals they take in. They are paid high salaries to operate a killing center. Please join the protest against the polices of this heinous organization.

Please come to the Heath High School Cafeteria on April 14th at 6:30 PM to find out what all can be done to stop the torture chamber practices at the Licking County Animal Shelter...Luzio Must Go!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bachi.


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The drum sticks used in Taiko drumming are called Bachi. This is a pair I put together from a dowl rod earlier this year. They work well with my Djun Djun.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Djun Djun




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I play a drum called Djun Djun
(pronounced Dune Dune) in an all womens drum group here in Columbus Ohio. We have several concerts and performances we are practicing for this spring and summer. There are 3 basic sizes of this classification of drums. The smallest one is called Kenkeni. The middle size in this drum family is called a Sangban. I play a Sangban Djun. The third and largest size is called Dununba. I want to make a Dununba out of a Zep Barrel and parts at hand. I am consulting with musician friends and doomers to help me solve the other parts of the puzzle. Maybe we will call our new drum a Doomdoom! It should have a great sound. I am hoping comparable to the Great Taiko drum (which was as big as a man!) I got to play at Capital University in Eric Patons Taiko class which he modified for our drum group to fit our schedul. I am convinced that Taiko is a martial art, and that drums are a sort of cauldron. I had this concept of drum being a container in mind when I decided to do a daily blog. Drum as cauldron.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Multitracker Recorder


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I am the high bidder today on this multitracker. I have been trying to get my music together since 1998 when I had to suddenly pack up and leave my hometown. I wrote some pretty good music back then and I faithfully recorded it on my Fostex multitracker. But the only drawback to the Fostex is they are made of plastic. Mine took a beating and yesterday I had trouble hearing my recorded tapes. I am hoping my damaged one will be compatible with this one. If not, I will keep looking.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Twilight Of The Machine


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I follow a weekly blog called The Archdruid Report written by John Michael Greer. This week his subject is about The Twilight Of The Machine. The Archdruid Report is on my bloglist with my other favorite blogs. Here is this weeks Archdruid Report blog in its entirety.

The end of the age of cheap abundant energy, as last week’s Archdruid Report argued, brings with it an unavoidable reshaping of our most basic ideas about economics and, in particular, economic development. For the last three centuries or so, the effective meaning of this phrase has centered on the replacement of human labor by machines. All the other measures of development – and of course plenty of them have been offered down through the years – either reflect or presuppose that basic economic shift.

The replacement of labor with mechanical energy has even come to play a potent role in the popular imagination. From the machine-assisted living of The Jetsons to the darker image of reality itself as a machine-created illusion in The Matrix, the future has come to be defined as a place where people do even less work with their own muscles than they do today. All this is the product of what an earlier post called the logic of abundance: the notion, rooted right down in the core of the contemporary worldview of industrial society, that there will always be enough resources to let people have whatever it is that they think they want.

Abandon that comfortable but unjustifiable assumption, and the future takes on a very different shape. In a world where everything but human beings will be in short supply, it makes no sense whatever to deploy increasingly scarce resources to build, maintain, and power machines to do jobs that human labor can do equally well. An example may be useful here, so let’s take Rosie the Riveter, the iconic woman factory worker of Second World War fame, and match her up against one of the computer-guided assembly line robots that have replaced so many workers in production lines in the industrial world; we might as well pit icon against icon and call the robot HAL 9000.

Both of them serve the same economic function, we’ll assume, riveting parts together on an assembly line. It’s a credo of contemporary economics that HAL is more efficient than Rosie; since the term “efficiency” in contemporary economic parlance means “labor efficiency,” or in other words how much production you can get per worker, any machine is by definition more efficient than human labor. In a world of resource constraints, though, this definition of efficiency becomes very hard to justify. It may be true that HAL can work long shifts at all hours with only the very occasional break for maintenance – at least this is what the robot salesman will tell you – and Rosie cannot. Still, in a world of resource scarcity, Rosie has a crucial advantage that more than offsets HAL’s capacity for night shifts: her operating requirements are much less energy- and technology-intensive to meet than HAL’s.

We can start with the energy source used by each riveter. HAL requires electricity – quite a bit of it, within fairly tight specifications of voltage, amperage, and cycles per second. For her part, Rosie requires food, and though she’s been known to take a second helping in the factory cafeteria, her fuel needs are fairly modest compared to those of the machine. Her tolerances for variability in energy sources are also much broader than HAL’s – if you have trouble believing this, a few minutes paging through an old wartime cookbook should settle the issue.

HAL’s maintenance requirements are just as exacting. He needs lubricants that meet precise specifications, and an assortment of spare parts ranging from zinc bushings to integrated circuits, none of which he can provide for himself. All of them must be manufactured off site, and some (such as the integrated circuit) cannot be made without extremely expensive, complex facilities demanding intricate technological infrastructures of their own. Rosie’s maintenance needs, by contrast, involve little more than eight hours of sleep and a modest additional amount of food. (“I’ll have two scoops of slumgullion today, Franny, thanks; it’s been a hard shift.”)

When it’s necessary to replace HAL, a huge array of industrial facilities – mines, smelters, chemical plants, chip fabrication plants, and one or (usually) several factories – have to be brought into play to produce HAL 9100. Unlike HAL, Rosie can manufacture her own replacement, and while it will take most of two decades before Rosie Jr. is ready to tie her hair up in a bandanna and take her place on the assembly line, Rosie’s own working life is longer still, so the replacement cycle is not a problem for her. In a world with nearly seven billion people on it, of course, it’s hardly necessary to wait for Rosie herself to reproduce in order to find a new riveter, or ten thousand of them.

Finally, what happens if the economy changes so that there’s no longer a need for as many riveters, as happened (for example) at the end of the Second World War? It might be possible to retool HAL for some other industrial process, but for reasons of efficiency, most assembly line robots are designed for a very limited range of operations, and get mothballed or go to the scrap heap (to the tune of a substantial tax writeoff) when the demand for their services goes away. Rosie, on the other hand, is capable of a nearly limitless range of productive economic activities, and can head off to some other career when the factory closes down, leaving HAL to sing “Daisy May” to himself on the deserted assembly line.

All this could be developed at even greater detail, and with less whimsy, but I trust the point has been made: HAL’s appearance of greater efficiency depends on access to a support system of factories and services vastly larger than the one Rosie needs, and his support system necessarily depends on the availability of cheap abundant energy and a wide range of specialized resources and supplies, while hers need not do so. What makes HAL more economical in an age of resource and energy abundance is ultimately the abundant supply and low cost of fossil fuel energy. During an age of resource scarcity, the equation changes completely, because the goods and services that support Rosie can be produced with a much simpler technology, and with much less in the way of concentrated energy, than the goods and services that support HAL.

There’s a reason for this, of course: human beings evolved over millions of years in a world of energy and resource scarcity, along with all other living things. Our hominid ancestors, and all their ancestors down the lineage of evolution all the way to those first prokaryotic cells back in the dank Archean mists, spent most of their lives confronting the hard logic of Malthus by which population rises right up to the limits of carrying capacity. There are some multicellular organisms that have requirements as exacting and purposes as limited as most machines, but not many, and our species ranks right up there with rats, crows, and cockroaches among Nature’s supreme generalists.

It’s only in the highly atypical conditions of the last three centuries, then, that machines become more economical than human laborers. This is why, for example, nobody in the Roman world thought of using Hero of Alexandria’s aeolipile, the first known steam engine, as a source of power for industry or transport. Craft traditions in the Roman Empire would certainly have been up to the challenge, and the aeolipile was much discussed at the time as an interesting curiosity; what was lacking was the recognition that the black gooey stuff that seeped from the ground in certain places, or the black flammable stone we call coal, could be extracted in large quantities and turned into fuel. Lacking that, in turn, the aelopile could never have been more than an interesting curiosity, for the fuel supplies the Roman world knew about were already committed to existing economic sectors, while human and animal muscle were abundant, familiar, and cheap.

As the industrial age winds down, in turn, human muscle will again be abundant. Will it be cheap? Almost certainly, yes – and that means that real wages for most people in the industrial world will continue their current slide toward Third World levels. I wish I could say otherwise, not least because my chances of taking part in that slide are tolerably high. Still, part of what has made the last three centuries so atypical is the extent to which ordinary people in the industrial world have been able to rise out of the hand-to-mouth existence typical of most of humanity for most of history, and partake of a degree of comfort and security that monarchs of past ages have often sought in vain. That state of affairs could never have been permanent, because it was made possible only by using up fantastic amounts of fossil sunlight at a pace so extravagant that the quest to figure out what to do with all that energy has been a major driver of economic change for more than a century now; it’s simply our bad luck to live at a time when the bill for all that extravagance is coming due.

All this should be fairly straightforward and uncontroversial. It isn’t, of course, because the contemporary faith in the superiority of the machine reaches deep into the irrational levels of our collective psyche. When Lewis Mumford titled one of his most significant books The Myth of the Machine he was not engaging in hyperbole. The thought that Rosie the Riveter could go head to head with HAL 9000 under any conditions, and win hands down, is unthinkable to most of us; it’s a matter of folk belief throughout industrial society that the machine always wins, or at least that any victory over it is as temporary and fatal as John Henry’s Pyrrhic triumph over the steam drill.

The machine is our totem, the focus of a great deal of our culture’s sense of value and purpose, and most people in the industrial world accord it the same omnipotence that older religions claim for their gods. The sheer volume of popular culture over the last century or so that fixates on the notion of machines taking over the world, and treating humanity the way industrial humanity has so often treated other living things, is one indicator of the mythic power machines have come to hold in our collective imagination. It’s for this reason, I think, that so many of us simply can’t imagine a future in which machines will be less economically viable than human labor.

Yet if it costs the equivalent of $5 a day to hire a file clerk and a secretary at Third World wage scales, and it costs the equivalent of $10 a day in expensive and unreliable electricity to run a computer to do the same things, those businesses that hope to succeed will hire the file clerk and the secretary, and the computer will be left to gather dust. Now it’s true, as fans of computers are quick to point out, that computers will do things that secretaries and file clerks can’t, but the reverse is also true – try asking your computer sometime to go pick up takeout lunch for the office from a place that doesn’t deliver – and many of the abilities unique to computers are conveniences rather than necessities; businesses got along very well without them for thousands of years, remember.

Once again, however, this points up the value of E.F. Schumacher’s concept of intermediate technology – or, as it was usefully retitled in the Seventies, appropriate technology – for the deindustrial future. The technology that’s useful to help a human worker do his job more effectively is not the same as the technology that’s needed to replace him with a machine. As cheap abundant energy becomes a thing of the past, replacing workers with machines will no longer be a viable option, but providing workers with tools that will make their labor more productive is quite another matter.

The problem here is that very few people are used to thinking in these terms. The vast majority of thinking about appropriate technology these days still envisions it, as Schumacher did, as something to be used in Third World countries only. Worse still, while every industry in the world once had a vast amount of practical knowledge about the tools and training human workers needed to do their jobs well, nearly all of that knowledge is endangered if it hasn’t already been lost.

Consider the slide rule as one example among many. Until the 1970s, it was the engineer’s inseparable companion; every technological advance from the mid-19th century until Apollo 11 landed on the Moon was made possible, in part, by competent manipulation of this simple, flexible, ingenious tool by people who knew how to make the most of its strengths and work within its limits. Since it doesn’t require a massive and technologically complex support structure to construct, maintain, and operate them – any good cabinetmaker can make one, and their proper fuel is a scoop of the same slumgullion that kept Rosie going on her shift – slide rules are likely to be just as useful on the downslope of the industrial age as they were on the way up. If, that is, anybody on Earth still remembers how to use one when we get to that point along the curve of deindustrialization.

This is where the myth of the machine – the conviction, as irrational these days as it is pervasive, that the best person for any job is always not a person at all, but a machine – stops becoming a curious twist of our collective imagination and turns into a trap we ignore at our peril. As peak oil moves closer to center stage in the historical drama of our time, making the gargantuan technostructure we’ve built on a foundation of cheap abundant energy ever more problematic to sustain, the most common response from the centers of power and the masses alike is to call for the development of even more complex, gargantuan, and tightly interlinked machines, pushing the technostructure in the direction of greater risk and greater dysfunction. It’s hardly an exaggeration to suggest that if it turned out we were all about to perish en masse from building too many machines, the first reaction of most people in today’s industrial cultures would likely be to insist that the answer was to build more machines.

Thus we will doubtless see plenty of shiny new machines built in the years to come, and they will doubtless do their fair share and more to push industrial civilization further down the arc of its decline. As the ancient Greeks knew well, it’s the essence of tragedy that the arete, the particular excellence, of a tragic hero also turns out to be his hamartia or fatal flaw; put another way, a civilization that lives by the machine can expect to die by the machine as well. Still, among the heretical minority that has learned to mistrust the myth of the machine, it may well be worth remembering that as the age of scarcity dawns, educating people is a far more useful project than building machines, and doing as much as possible to insure that individuals, families, and communities have the skills and simple tools they need to work productively is one very promising response to the future ahead of us. We’ll talk about one application of that approach next week.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fixing Things


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It is time to get out in the yard and start turning dirt. I have been busy trying to repair snapped off tools. Ordinarily I wouldn't bother fixing something that was easily broken in the first place, but this pitch fork was made in Austria...not China. It would be easier in this instance to fix this than to try to find a replacement that is made in USA and not made in China.

So I had my friend Bill hollow out the broken pieces of wood still lodged down in the handle. Then I took the fork to Kristi and had her drill out two nice new holes. I searched around till I found a hardwood handle. Next comes the Polyurethane and drilling out the new handle. Wish me luck. It takes a village to fix a pitchfork!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Lettuce


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We got spring lettuce! Lori put out cold frames through the winter. She removed them the other day and wala...just like magic we have better lettuce than you can buy at the store. I am fairly sure that I posted and blogged a winter picture of this little garden with the old storm windows put to new use. The glass insulated the plants through the cold months and then gave us a good start this spring.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Power Of Community


This is just one of several of these videos about how Cuba survived Peak Oil. Just go to YouTube and search for Power Of Community and all the videos will come up.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Photography Extended


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These yummy colored eggs have to be properly displayed in order to achieve the desired photogenic quality and effect. Perhaps I was a bit premature in posting my photo yesterday. Here is what they are suppose to look like. Photo credit to Ms Lori Rayburn.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Doomer Movies


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I got a chance to see I Am Legend. These sort of movies are my favorite kinds of movies. I would give this movie almost 5 stars if for no other reason than the scenery. Horay for the prop department!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Will You Miss Me When I Am Gone?


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I am reading Will You Miss Me When I Am Gone? It is a book about The Carter Family. So far it reads like De Ja Vue. Very strange feeling. They seem like they could be my family.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Forsythia


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Winter can not let go of its grip here in Ohio till 3 snows after the Forsythia blooms. That is what my grandmother and mother told me and I think it is probably more accurate than the local weather channel.
I saw this little shrub today on my way home and my heart was gladdened. What I don't know is when it's blooms started happening. We could have had one snow since it started to bloom. One thing for sure is that winter can not officially exit until this plant hearkens in spring!