Saturday, October 29, 2011

Where Did Pumpkins Originate?

As we start to feel the coldness in the air we
can still see the wonderful colors of Autumn around us.
Recently there were fields and fields of colorful
pumpkins. These photos show their beauty.

Here are some interesting Pumpkin facts:

Pumpkins originated in Central America.

The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds.

The name pumpkin originated from "pepon" – the Greek word for "large melon."

Pumpkins are 90 percent water.

Pumpkins are fruit.

Total U.S. pumpkin production in 2010 in major pumpkin producing states was valued at $142 million.

The top pumpkin production states are Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and California.

Around 90 to 95% of the processed pumpkins in the United States are grown in Illinois.

Pumpkin seeds can be roasted as a snack.

Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.

Pumpkins are used for feed for animals.

Pumpkin flowers are edible.

Pumpkins are used to make soups, pies and breads.

Pumpkins are members of the vine crops family called cucurbits.

Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October.

Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Enjoying the Autumn Season - 'Trees'


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

A sergeant in the U.S. Infantry who was killed at the Second Battle
of the Marne in 1918 at the age of 31


It was September when I first arrived in the United States. We visited in Detroit, Michigan for about a week and then we drove from Detroit to California. It was Autumn and my strongest memories of our travels are when we drove through Colorado. The trees were so beautiful and the landscape was breathtaking.

Here we are in the Autumn season again and now I live in Western New York. As I travel around the community I am in awe at the incredible colors of the foliage.

If you live in an area that does not have the four seasons I urge you to try to travel to New England or New York state, especially along Route 20.

Yes, as I have confessed before on this blog,
I am proud to declare that I am definitely a tree hugger.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to Cook Acorn Squash

Here is a seasonal vegetable that is delicious and so easy to prepare.

Baked Acorn Squash


Things You'll Need:

1 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Baking pan

Step 1:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Step 2:

Use a paring knife to score the insides of each half several times.

Add 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan.

Step 3:

Coat the inside of the two halves of squash with 1/2 tablespoon butter

and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Place each half into the baking pan, flesh side UP.

Step 4:

Bake squash for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until squash is soft and tops are browned. Spoon sauce which has not been absorbed over exposed areas.

Slice and enjoy!

This is a great substitute for potatoes with a meal!

Acorn squash contains magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and A, and calcium.

An entire acorn squash only contains 172 calories!

Alone, a whole acorn squash contains less than 1 mg of fat.

Acorn squash is at it's peak in fall through winter, but can usually be found in the grocery store year round.

Store an acorn squash in the refrigerator for up to a week when placed in a paper bag

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It Is Thursday It's Going Green - Walking Exercise

Some suggestions on how to improve your health,
while you save money and the environment.

1. Stop purchasing so many new things. Curb your consumerism. Buy less active wear, expensive running shoes and/or fad, workout clothes. You’ll leave a smaller carbon footprint and leave more money in your wallet too.

2. Join a neighborhood gym that’s within walking distance to where you work and/or live. You’ll be supporting the local economy and saving car gas emissions and costly parking fees.

3. Better still, what is more convenient than your own living room? Pop in an exercise video and you're ready to get started without leaving your house. We know what you're thinking: You don't have the equipment.

4. Look around your house, I’m sure you will find a few things to get you started with a simple routine: canned goods to use in place of weights, a few towels to lay down instead of a mat, a small stool or a stack of books to use as a step, a chair to use for triceps exercises.

5. Buy used workout DVDs, as it’s a great way to recycle and save money too. You can find great quality, popular used home workout DVDs for less than half price at,

6. If the weather is fine, walk outside it’s free. More intense cardio—like running, biking or jumping rope—works better with a little more space, but why waste the energy required to run a treadmill or stationery bike when the whole world is waiting for you?

7. Lacing up a pair of running shoes and going for a jog is the simplest do-anywhere workout; all you need are the shoes.

8. Working out with other people is one of the most effective ways to stick with your plan. Keeping each other accountable helps you both get fit faster. Finding a jogging partner or a tennis opponent makes it easier to schedule your workouts—and harder to skip them.

9. If you can, sign up for a group race or join a larger team to play soccer, softball, volleyball or any other sport you love. As a bonus, the team will likely have a lot of the equipment already, so you can skip buying your own or share.

10. If you are not a runner, you still have options. Hit your local hiking trails, take your two-wheeler out for a spin or just add a daily walk to your lunch hour.


Remember, we can make a difference together by just one small action at a time!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On a lighter note..................

When I first moved to Buffalo, NY, I was startled to see the sign you see below.
At first I thought it was a joke but then I realized that it is a legitimate funeral home.
One evening Jay Leno mentioned it on his Late Show.

After being amused at the sign above I came across a couple of other funeral related signs
that made me smile. Here they are.

What a Bargain!

A Snowman Funeral

Don't Even Think of Parking Here!

No Comment!

Hope these made you chuckle.

You can't make this stuff up can you?



Sunday, October 16, 2011

UN World Food Day - October 16th.

"I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education culture for the minds and dignity, equality and freedom for the spirits."
Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is World Food Day

Which is held annually on Oct. 16 to commemorate the founding of the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945.

The program is aimed at leaders of political and non-political organizations at all levels and at increasing press attention on topical issues around food supply. Across the globe, many different events are organized to raise awareness of problems in food supply and distribution.

I have never gone to bed hungry – have you?

There have been days when I didn’t know what was going to be available to eat but there was always something on hand. Maybe a baked potato, beans on toast or fruit.

I have been in countries where I personally witnessed the hunger of the people. I lived in a village in El Salvador, where food was provided to a few by the Canadian Food Program. They made dried corn (for tortillas), and dried beans available to the families and this was their every day diet. Occasionally rice was available and was considered a luxury. Each family received the same portions, which were meticulously shared. The water was also contaminated with chemicals from local (US) factories in this particular area and many of the children were ill and dying.

In India, I lived for a while in the Dalit community (formerly known as the Untouchables). All of the people were extremely thin and the children were hollow eyed. In that community they were eating potatoes and cauliflower when that was in season. The water was also contaminated in that area.

The United States has adopted a 3.5 billion dollar plan to fight world hunger as part of 20-billion-dollar pledges made by the world's richest nations at a Group of Eight meeting in Italy in July of this year.

The United States Department of Agriculture is currently working with several organizations to improve agricultural technology use and productivity in Africa and other poor regions in order to promote hardier crops for healthier people.

Meanwhile at home, USDA's food and nutrition programs are helping to feed millions of low-income Americans. Thanks to increased funding, more children are receiving free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches, more mothers and infants are receiving nutritional assistance and nearly six million more people are receiving food stamps than five years ago.

Now that I live in the United States I currently volunteer with three local food programs where it is evident to me that the need has increased and that even more people are in need of food. The three programs are independent of each other and at each one the number of people who line up for food has increased. Don’t let the size of some people fool you either, often the adults and children are overweight due to extremely poor nourishment and nutrition with starches being their main source of food.


Children are the most vulnerable to nutritional deficits and the first to succumb when there is not enough food to go around. The Government of Ethiopia estimates that 75,000 children under the age of five live with severe acute malnutrition. And 25 to 50 percent of children with severe acute malnutrition are likely to die if they don't receive proper treatment.

Bringing international attention to the plight of these children and the benefits of the therapeutic feeding programs can help save lives!

How can you help?

* Write a post on your blog or profile page about the conditions in Ethiopia.

* Explain to your friends and family, book group or social club how malnourishment is affecting Ethiopian children.

* Send this pledge to at least five friends so they can keep spreading the word!


One sixth of the world’s population goes to bed hungry.

What are you doing to help?


"Never before has man had such capacity to control his own environment, to end thirst and hunger to conquer poverty and disease, to banish illiteracy and massive human misery."
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Going Green in 2011 - Remember the 4 R's

If it is Thursday it's Going Green

Most of us have heard about the importance of making environmentally friendly lifestyle changes. Do you think that "going green” could mean turning your life upside down?

If you believe you don't have the time or money to join the green movement, you might be surprised that you already have some eco-friendly habits. These simple practices make a difference and can help you on your way to living an even greener lifestyle.

If you follow any of the green practices listed below, you just may be greener than you think?

If your household:
• Recycles paper, glass and metal items
• Has swapped plastic bags for cloth bags when shopping
• Utilizes natural sunshine light during the day
• Uses long-lasting fluorescent light bulbs
• Turns light switches off when they leave a room
• Covers windows with curtains to keep out cold air
• Closes the fireplace damper when a fire isn't burning
• Has insulated all heating pipes in the home
• Runs your dishwasher and washing machine only when they are full
• Removes lint from the dryer filter after each use
• Covers pots and pans when cooking
• Cooks food in the microwave instead of the oven
• Uses shower-time efficiently and have installed a low-flow showerhead

If you eat:
Locally grown foods, organic foods, a variety of fruits and vegetables and limit your red meat consumption

If you drink: Filtered tap water instead of bottled water

If you buy:
• Organic cotton, bamboo, soy, or hemp clothing
• Reusable products, such as cloth napkins or plastic containers for food storage, rather than the disposable versions
• Natural bath and body products
• Nontoxic cleaning products
• Rechargeable batteries

If you travel:
• By carpool
• By public transportation
• By bicycle or on foot
• In a fuel-efficient vehicle

Let me know how many of these environmentally friendly changes you
and your family have made.

Remember the 4 R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Full Hunter's Moon - October - 2011

The full Hunter’s Moon, also known as Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon, is so named because plenty of moonlight is ideal for hunters shooting migrating birds in Northern Europe. The name was also used by Native Americans as they tracked and killed their prey by autumn moonlight, stockpiling food for the winters ahead.

At the peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of this moon. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice the chief Native American staples are now ready for gathering.

The ‘Three Sisters’ Garden is a method of planting used by the indigenous farming societies. The three sisters represent corn, beans and squash, three crops that should be planted together, enjoyed together, and shared among the community.

October is the month when the last of the harvest is taken in and stored for winter. Late-cropping berries are still ripening and are gathered in this month. This is a month when there is still plenty of daylight but there is more time to devote to such activities now that the harvest is taken care of.

October is the month that even the more temperate altitudes feel the chill of autumn and the coming of winter. Most animals have already grown out their winter coats and are finishing their winter stockpiles of food. Stocking up for the cold season is the main activity of both animals and humans at this time of year. The two squirrels that live in the tree in my garden seem to be in a frenzy burying chestnuts in my flower garden.

This moon is a northern hemisphere event. In the southern hemisphere around now, people are seeing a moon whose characteristics match those of our springtime full moons.

The cycle of the moon affects most people and often, for a few days around the Full Moon we can feel more completely exactly who we are and are less concerned with what others think and what others need from us. This can be a time of emotional and spiritual power; the Moon represents the heart of our being as well as our emotional heart.

Eyes up this evening and enjoy this gift of Nature.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Indigenous People's Day - October 10, 2011

In the U. S. there is a designated day for Indigenous People. The purpose is to bring attention to the true history of Native Americans

A Short History of the Columbus Day Holiday

Indigenous People's Day

"First Landing of Columbus on the Shores of the New World",

after the painting by Discoro Téofilo de la Puebla

It should have been titled –

"The Day When the Indigenous People Discovered Christopher Columbus on Their Land."

(look closely in the left hand corner – there they are)


Today has been declared Columbus Day in the United States – this day is set aside to honor Christopher Columbus' first voyage to the Americas in 1492

Columbus Day first became an official state holiday in Colorado in 1905, and became a federal holiday in 1934. But people have celebrated Columbus' voyage since the colonial period.

Some Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage, the first occasion being in New York City on October 12, 1866.

Actual observance varies in different parts of the United States, ranging from large-scale parades and events to complete non-observance.

So who did discover America?

For most of us, the answer to that question is straightforward: Christopher Columbus. That's what most were taught in school and that is why we celebrate Columbus Day. Yet it is far from clear-cut.

There are alternative theories about who got here first — some are well documented, others much more flimsy in their writings. Some say the Vikings, the Irish Monks, or Leif Erikson and his extended family journeying from Greenland were the first to arrive on these shores.

So if Columbus wasn't first, why does he get all of the credit? He opened up America to Europe, which was the greatest power at the time. He was the one who made it possible for them to conquer the Western Hemisphere - and to bring with them the diseases that apparently wiped out 90 percent of the indigenous population. He wasn't the first (and neither were the Vikings) — that is a very Euro-centric view. There were millions of people here already, and so their ancestors must have been the first.

Columbus and his crew first landed on Hispaniola, an island in the West Indies east of Cuba, in 1492. On their second visit to Hispaniola, they took captive about two thousand local villagers who had come out to greet them.

Columbus and his men also used the indigenous Taino as slaves. As he began exporting Taino as slaves to other parts of the world, the slave trade became an important part of the business.

When Christopher Columbus first set foot on the white sands of Guanahani island, he performed a ceremony, placing a flag and a cross in the soil, to "take possession" of the land for the king and queen of Spain, acting under the international laws of Western Christendom. Although the story of Columbus' "discovery" has taken on mythological proportions in most of the Western world, few people are aware that his act of "possession" was based on a religious doctrine now known in history as the Doctrine of Discovery. Even fewer people realize that today - more than five centuries later - the United States government still uses this archaic Judeo-Christian doctrine to deny the rights of Native American Indians.

On this 519th anniversary of Columbus' journey to the Americas, it is important to recognize that the grim acts of genocide and conquest committed by Columbus and his men against the peaceful Native people of the Caribbean and the Americas were sanctioned by the above mentioned documents of the Catholic Church.

I invite you to research any documents that you can find that will enlighten you on:

1. The Origins of the Doctrine of Discovery and

2. The Papal Bulls of the Catholic Church.

When you find out more about what happened in this country after Christopher Columbus landed and what happened to the indigenous peoples who were already living here let me know your thoughts.

Was this history new to you? Were you taught it in school? At what age did you first learn about it? Do you think that the indigenous people (now called Native Americans) deserve compensation? Do you feel that the US government should at least apologize?

For many that is all that they ask.


I learned about this history quite some time ago but since moving the Western New York I have learned more about the Six Nations also called Haudenosaunee (ho dee noe sho nee) meaning People Building a Long House. Located in the northeastern region of North America, originally the Six Nations was five and included the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. The sixth nation, the Tuscaroras, migrated into Iroquois country in the early eighteenth century. There are several reservations located here and I meet many local indigenous people in my day to day activities. They are helping me learn to more about their circumstances. So I thought I would write just a little about the true meaning of Columbus Day today so more of you can learn for yourselves.


Here is what the former president said about the holiday:

"Christopher Columbus not only opened the door to a New World, but also set an example for us all by showing what monumental feats can be accomplished through perseverance and faith." --George H.W. Bush


Get out those books and start reading!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

John Lennon - born October 9, 1940 - 71 years ago today

by John Lennon

Imagine there's no heaven

It's easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will be as one.

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will live as one.

Born John Winston Lennon born 9 October 1940 in Liverpool, England. He was an English rock musician, singer, and songwriter, artist and peace activist, who gained worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles. John Lennon along with Paul McCartney formed one of the most influential and successful songwriting partnerships and wrote some of the most popular music in rock and roll history. He played guitar, piano, bass and the harmonica. John was controversial through his work as a peace activist and artist.

After The Beatles, he enjoyed a successful solo career with such acclaimed albums as John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine and iconic songs such as "Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine". After a self-imposed "retirement" from 1976 to 1980, John reemerged with a comeback album, Double Fantasy, which would win the 1981 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

Less than one month after the release of the album, John Lennon was murdered in New York City on 8 December 1980. He was 40 years old.
He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994


It is 30 years since the death of John Lennon yet he still lives in the memories of those who remember and even those who were born after his death know who he was
and enjoy his music.

Thanks for the memories John.

Whenever I read the words to 'Imagine' or hear it on the radio I find
myself singing at the top of my lungs - how about you? :-)