Sunday, June 18, 2017

Saints, castles, and AFC

Grace Pilgrims relied on the grace of a tour company to get us to Avila and Segovia through tunnels and over mountains we cruised in comfort.

Tired toes be glad

Travel by bus refreshing
Ready to conquer

Sunday in Lexington

Alton and I are home from this fabulous trip and ready for services at Grace Episcopal Church at 10.  See you there.

Connectivity and time caught up with me for the Granada part of this trip.  I'll add that after another good night's sleep!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Just hanging around Spain

Does anyone else remember a song about a Spanish cat--"Oh Senor Don Gato was a cat. On a high red roof Don Gato sat oh he wasn't very pretty meow, meow,meow...Well these cats in the Prague El Retiro didn't recognize my English renditions  of it!

Tuesday night after Toledo we found a great taverna with an English-language menu.  We enjoyed jam on croquettes, mullet, and a Spanish egg-potato-meat dish, followed by our near nightly ice cream break.

Toledo- a wonderful guide, a great city

Toledo, is much smaller than Madrid, about 83,000 compared to Madrid's 3.3 million, and it welcomed us with open arms- the arms of our guides Judy and John Duer, longtime friends of the Honeycutts, who now live in Toledo.  Judy met us at the train station, took us into Toledo, where we explored the City of Three Cultures, a World Heritage Site, so named for its peaceful co-habitation of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Madrid Day Two

Museums, Spanish burgers, and a Buckeye!

Doors leading to the oldest  church in Spain...

Spain and France share a border and the ability to make a buttery croissant. Along with fresh squeezed orange juice and cafe con  leche, my desayuno (breakfast) was complete and we were off to the Museo Nacional Centro des Artes, Reina Sofia. Wasn't I thrilled to see art from one of my favorite fellow Buckeyes - Roy Lichtenstein.  Columbus friends will recognize this "Brushstroke " as its cousin, "Brushstrokes in Flight" is at the airport.

The showstealer was Pablo Picasso with the exhibit "Pity and Terror" which runs through September. Before this trip I read "Madrid in Winter," CJ Sansom's spy novel set in 1940, in which a character loses all family at the bombing of Guernica.  And I learned a bit about the piece, yet the emotion in the studies before the final work, the work itself, and Picasso's Weeping Woman, stung my eyes and my heart.  The work cannot be photographed and  the power is absent, but here's a postcard  from the museum gift shop.

The museum courtyard and fountain provided a quiet spot for Morning Prayer and a group picture( just not on my camera). The gardens near the Prado will host us for reflection and Evening Prayer.  

 Some Grace  Pilgrims favor foods they know and we're quite pleased with giant Spanish hamburgers at lunch.  Other pilgrims favored  sandwiches mixta - jambon y queso 
(Ham and cheese) and cool gazpacho, and pitchers of agua.  It is in the mid90s today.  Siesta, then more exploration!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday morning Madrid!

We are here! Tired from the flight and  the walk uphill to our charming hostel on Cervantes street (sans windmill). We've  already experienced jambon and manchego for lunch and a stop for ice cream at the Freddo Freddo.  I said I was coming for the food!

But the cathedral, the palace, the Prado -- oh my!
Cathedral de Nuestra Senora de la Almudena-has been one of today's highlight for me.  All sainted up with the requisite lingering incense which reminded Alton and me of our old Columbus home at St. James, an Anglo-catholic parish.  The gorgeous Mary chapel was off to the right of the main altar.  Soft chants played in the background as visitors and worshippers move quietly around the sacred space.
I enjoyed the brilliant colors in the ceiling, the graphic designs, and the stain glass. The ceiling was very contemporary-flames for Pentecost, bright blue stars above, and behind the altar brilliant, contemporary stained glass windows.
The Royal Palace was huge, bigger than I remember Versailles being, which is the point.  It is the biggest palace in Europe. Waiting rooms, etiquette room, study, lunch, a massive, fully set dining table.  Alton thinks it would work well for next year's Vestry dinner.  I don't even know what to pour  in the five pieces of stemware at each plate.  The a time when so many had so little.   But I'm guessing each chandelier had its own maid to clean and polish all those pieces of crystal.  I wonder if that's also the case at Mar-a-lago?

But the Prado. Oh Kathy Johnson, you must visit. Everything you told us was so true, and more!
  We each had a painting/painter to find - mine was Heironymous Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delites.  Gorgeous, scary, weird, contemporary.  If you don't know it, please look it up.  It's worth your two minute Google.
Giant paintings, fatuously funny portraits of wealthy folks, El Greco, Velazquez, Titan, Both Goya's frightening and Rubens pudgy Three Graces, So much religious art, so many faces of Christ!

The Grace Pilgrims are tired tonight, all tucked in, and there may be some snoring.  Tomorrow we are back at it.  Check back to see what "it" is.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Here we pilgrims are at our annual outdoor mass (and picnic!) last  Sunday as the church sent us on our way. Note our various styles of prayer. Bowed heads, solemn faces --we're Episcopalians-it all works!  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Going to Spain

Tomorrow!  Bags packed, Alton  and I are off to explore Madrid, Avila, Toledo, Granada with four teenagers - Blake, Jack, Miles, and the courageous Parker - and our ever popular J2A youth leaders - ever  popular Cathy and her husband Sims.
Look out Iberia, here we come.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March 2012
As the sun shines and the snow melts I am reminded of the summer of 12 and this article I wrote for the Clintonville Farmers’ Market newsletter…

Summer of 12  “Aporkalypse”  Now? 

Bone dry. Hot as Hades, and maybe a summer we want to forget now that cool, fall temperatures are here.
While thankful for every growing season, this past year was difficult for many Central Ohio producers.    In a survey near the end of summer, Market Manager Laura Zimmerman found that producers said their yield was down by 25% and some yields were down as much as 50%.   Yet, for a lucky few producers, yields were the same or even up this year.
While any things impact yields – heat, cold, rain, wind, irrigation, soil condition, drought resistant plants, time, field workers, and broken machinery – this year weather was the main problem – too much heat and not enough rain.  
According to the National Climatic Data Center, the historic drought of 2012 covered nearly two-thirds of the contiguous U.S.  In fact, drought covered 65.45% of the Lower 48 states on September 25, a record during the 13-year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor.  The good news is that recent generous rains have helped range land, pastures, and recently planted winter wheat from the southern half of the Plains into the Ohio Valley. That’s good news for those of us who like bread!
Where there isn’t rain, there isn’t a crop.  The USDA says the impact of the drought has the potential to increase retail prices for beef, pork, poultry, and dairy products later this year and into 2013. But in the short term, drought conditions may lead to herd culling in response to higher feed costs, and short term increases in meat supply. This could decrease prices for some meat products in the short term. That trend would reverse over time after product supplies shrink.
Here’s how this weather to crop thing works --  Historically, if the farm price of corn increases 50 percent, then retail food prices increase by 0.5 to 1 percent.  We know from every trip to the grocery, that retail food prices bounce around depending on supply and demand.  Expect that again this fall and winter.   USDA reports inflation has averaged 2.5-3 percent annually for the past 20 years, and 2012 is no different. They predict, next year, a slight increase above those historical averages when food price inflation is expected to be between 3 percent and 4 percent, with increases centralized in animal products--eggs, meat, and dairy.   So “Aporkalypse” as the rumored bacon shortage has been dubbed, may not be a problem in Ohio, but you’re likely to pay more moola for that bacon.
Regardless of the weather and the price of pigs in or outside a poke, the summer of 2012 was challenging for our local producers.   Keep them in mind as you make your own food plans for the coming year.  Buy local and keep supporting the local farmers and producers you met at the market this year.  Your support keeps them coming back year after year.