Posts Tagged With: corn



Often our meals are buffet style because it is easy to feed a large group. Our dinner last night was served to us. Steaming hot chicken, spaghetti and antipasto. This is an Indo style Italian place Ranvir chose to give us a break from Indian food.


I chuckled at this because it looks like Kathy is quite unsure of what is coming from behind.


But the main event today is a visit to the largest Sikh Temple in the world. dsc09590-copy

Before you can enter the temple, they have a place outside of the grounds where visitors must cover their heads and either go barefoot or put on temple socks. Here Paul and Trish get covered.


Theo, Chris and Hugo.


We tend to regard this a bit humorously, but it is very important to respect the customs of the Hindu people and appreciate the enormity and generosity of this place.


The Holy Book is treated like a being. The priests ritually bring the Holy Book or Scroll out during the day, and  put it to bed at night. There are signs, no speaking; no photos. But people, Indians as well, use cell phones and take pictures. So, we do too, if a bit guiltily.


The koran is read 24 hours a day. Though more people are educated now than ever before, older people cannot read.


This is the bedroom where you can peek through the windows  and people here were especially reverent. One woman whispered to me, no photos. I put my camera away and took no more.


But this temple is special because it can feed thousands of people a day during holidays. And on any given hour, there is 250 to 300 people eating a meal, and another 200 or more in a waiting area, for their turn. This practice continues every day of the year from sunrise to sunset.


The men standing are dishing out food from a bucket onto each plate.


This gives you an idea of the enormity of the hall. Isn’t this an awesome accomplishment? dsc09619-copy

What is even more impressive is that the temple elders, and wealthy supporters and their families, voluntarily do the kitchen work. Here they are cutting up melon slices.


Some need seats because they come from homes that are furnished and no longer serve meals on the floor.


Carrots in India are red. This full tub with seasonings is waiting to be put in a cooker.


Bags of rice, beans and noodles are overseen by a watchful storekeeper.


A huge machine mixes and rolls the dough for nan.


Mothers and children work in shifts.


It takes a great deal of effort just to provide the bread.


Cooked and turned on a giant burner that can hold about 160 pieces of nan at a time.


Huge quantities.dsc09626-copy

Huge pots from which they fill the buckets of hot food for those waiting.


This bank of home-made gas burners make a giant stove.


A second area where food is heating to be poured into the pots as they empty.


Theo stands next to a great pot to give a perspective on size.


What I found equally impressive is the friendliness of the people. They work hard, and bend to the task, but they are cheerful and smiling. Not a grumble is heard.


We leave the temple with the ever resourceful Hugo, setting himself up as a traffic policeman so we could all safely cross the street to get to our bus. He supplies such levity and keeps everyone smiling.


Our next stop was this silk carpet emporium.


The beauty and the hand work that takes to make carpets like these is significant.


You look at a carpet like this and can’t help but ask, is this a painting?


I bought a silk carpet in Turkey and I was disappointed that this place was just a showroom. It did not show the process from  gathering the cocoons, expelling the larvae, to pulling the strands to make silk thread, and then watching the workers make the rug.


Even so, they have great beauty, and I bought one. The color from my camera is so different from the real thing that it is surprising.


As we left the showroom, two children were looking for handouts. They seem healthy. They have shoes. Ranvir tells us that children of poor families have free health care, and they can get food from the government. I sometimes wonder if the word actually gets to the people it is intended to serve. More tomorrow.


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Donna Parker is renowned for her clam boil so I’m sharing her recipe and method. First she scrubbed up about 10 potatoes and 6 pounds of little neck clams. The potatoes go in the bottom of a big corn cooker pot. She covers them with water, i can of beer and arranges the clams on top and sprinkles them lightly with salt to taste and cayenne pepper.

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Next she loads individual cheesecloth bags with the meat. Here is 8 hot dogs.

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This is 12 breakfast sausage and another bag holds  four linguisa cut into chunks. You can place the meat in the pot without a bag, but it is easier to dish up from the bag, explains Donna.DSC07850 (Copy) The meat is arranged on top with four vidalia onions and all is set to boil. It takes about 45 minutes from cold start to finish. Donna cooked four ears of corn, broken in half, in a separate pot.

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Bob tied a lobster bib on Jim and then the feasting began while the clams boiled.

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We visited and snacked on shrimp and crackers and ate lobster because at the Parkers, a clam boil is a feast and you have to have lobster, too.

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In 2010 when we visited, Bob taught me how to pet the lobster to put it in yet another giant pot to cook. You stand them on their tails, pet them and they become docile and go into the boiling hot water without thrashing and splashing. These one to one and a quarter pounders cost $3.99 each already cooked. They are soft-shelled. You can crack them open with your fingers. Bob explained that lobster shed their shells and the newly grown shells are still soft. They don’t taste any different.  In may they are caught before shedding.

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Bob poured a bit of strawberry bubbly.

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Donna loaded individual bowls with clams and for each a cup of the broth.

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You load up your plate with potatoes, onion, meat  and corn. Pour on a bit of butter and broth and chow down. The clams you dip in the broth first, (or vinegar if you prefer) then into the butter and enjoy. Yum. The broth is so delicious, you can drink it straight, cup after cup. I got to take some back to the motor home.

I must apologize for no pictures of Donna. I was concentrating so hard on the recipe and getting every step in the process, and busily eating in between, I forgot to take a picture of all of us before I waddled, much too full,  out to the motor home with my containers of broth.

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Mesa Verde means green table. And, for desert, this high mountain place is green.  The drive  Mesa Verde National Park at  7,500 feet was a challenging pull. The drive to the various ancient dwellings on a twisty hilly road provides you beautiful views of the valley below.

It takes 45 minutes to drive the 25 miles to the Long House. We stood in line to get tickets for our guided tour.  The tickets are only $3, affordable and young children can climb the ladders. No water or food in the canyon. When  you go, read all the rules before you start.

A panoramic view of this ancient  cluster of dwellings, set into a stone mountain suggests to me why it is called the Long House since it sits in a long crevice in the stone. ( Click on pictures to make them larger.)

The tour starts here, with these two ladders. They are easy to climb. The guide allows 90 minutes for the tour from start to finish. Plenty of time to look around and rest if you need to.

The first building we looked into was quite intact.  The Puebloan People crawled into their dwellings through a small door. Windows were often smaller than this one, and gave very little light.

This is what it looks like inside. Jim teased a little girl on the tram ride back and asked her if she would like to live here if they would install a television set.  Of course,  she said no. The climate gets very cold and very hot here.  Archeologists believe the ancient ones  spent as little time inside as possible. Mostly to store goods, sleep and cook in winter months. 

Looking down into one of the dwellings shows a fire pit with a deflector in front of it.  The chimney that brought in fresh air is behind the deflector, so not to blow embers or smoke around. Smoke went up through a hole in the roof.  It is amazing to think these people lived her around 568 BC.  Archeologists  know the dwellings were continually occupied for 200 years. Then abandoned and then lived in a second time.

No one knows how many people lived in this cluster of dwellings, but their middens show they hunted elk and the bones in the midden got smaller and smaller as the years passed, suggesting they had over hunted and game became scarce.  Knowledge had to be passed down to younger generations, and the average lifespan was 32 years for men and 36 for women. They were good architects; survivors; capable of eking out a living in a sparse environment.

Building here was no easy task, picking the stones, carrying them in, making the mud. This rock shelf had a small spring at the back wall that now grows moss and mosquitoes. Life giving to the Puebloans.

In the floor were grinding holes next to the water visible as a thin layer on the right.

And on the  floor, a moccasin footprint .


It is easy to romanticize and imagine the congenial families, children cavorting, enjoying story telling around a fire at night, women weaving, looking out over the beautiful canyon. But, the lifespan, the sparse living, suggest more work than play.

We hiked back up to our tram and got off at the Pit Houses. These ancient dwellings are covered for protection and precede the cliff dwellings.

This community of ancient peoples dug homes into the ground. We visited four covered sites  within easy walking distance of each other.

A large Kiva, where ceremonies and religious rituals  were held suggest a large community.  A drawing of what these dwellings looked like with a roof over is at one of the sites.

Why did they dig homes to live underground?  Why did they cease their formerly nomadic life style to live in “permanent” dwellings? One pit house had evidence of a fenced enclosure around it. Was it for protection?  To hold livestock, like turkeys?  No one knows. Archeologists suggest the planting of corn, changed their lives from nomads to farmers. They used practically every plant in the canyon for food and medicine.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how they lived and imagining being set down in this hostile climate and  being able to survive. For us, not possible.



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Aren’t they adorable? These dogs all togged out for the holidays?  Heavily laden with jewelry and coats, sweaters and fur.

I think it’s ridiculous. Of course, anyone who dares criticize pets and pet practices is in for a firestorm of …hate!  Yes, hate. If you dare offend a pet lover,  you  are in big trouble.

I usually just smile and avoid discussing the subject, but my values do not include treating pets like humans. When I saw this display while shopping, I almost gagged. I can’t imagine the dog or cat being comfortable in the expensive adornments they are forced to wear. Pet owners ferociously defend this type of clothing and jewelry, maintaining THEIR pet loves to get dressed up and loves the attention. I maintain animals are psychologically changed by the treatment they receive. And, I will concede that to dress up an animal for a short time for a parade or the holidays isn’t going to harm them.  It seems overboard and warping of a dog’s basic needs to coddle  pooches and cats, and treat them as though they are human, which by extension includes dressing them in jewelry and fancy clothing.  People expect them to act human-like and ignore their basic instincts.

I’m a practical person. Dogs and cats, horses as well, had an important function as domesticated animals. And they still do, as companions, medical assistants, rescue animals, and just unconditional love. Isn’t that enough?  It is noble. They seem to be natural healers.

What does it say about us as humans that there are food banks begging for food; some  have quit taking applications because they just can’t meet the needs. Many children are living in cars and struggling with parents stressed because the  family is at risk. So, does it seem okay to  spend $15 to $30 or more on doggie jewelry?  I can’t imagine teaching my children, if I had young children, that lavish spending on an animal is a part of family life. Especially in times like these, even if you can afford it.  I think  giving to a charity comes first and deliberately ignoring that type of spending teaches a basic lesson about moral choices.

We taught our children and my kids have taught their children that giving and sharing is part of everyone’s responsibility. If your children love  animals, teach them about Heifer International where you can buy a sustainable animal for families in Slovakia, Malawi or the United States. $500 buys a heifer, $50 buys a share. $120 buys a goat, or $10 buys a share. Wouldn’t be nice to know some little boy or girl can get a constant supply of milk in India? Or $10 buys a share of a pig in Thailand. $20 buys a flock of chickens in Honduras. Another great close to the ground charity is Oxfam, providing loans, work, education, clean water, self-sustaining practices, working with peace keeping organizations in countries at war. It seems to me that not enough Americans  have been hungry enough in  our collective memory to consider that the amount of money we spend on pets per year, over a billion dollars, could feed or educate a small country.

I’ve had pets all of my life. I’m not a pet hater. I love pets. I just think we should put the price of a pet in perspective. The land to grow the corn and wheat they eat. The detriment to wild birds from predatory cats. Consider the horror stories of people who don’t know how to care for pets and abandon them or mistreat them by neglect. The medical resources used to treat them. The continual cost of animal control by every county and city in the U.S. is a direct result of the mishandling of pets by humans.

Go ahead. Get out the whip!

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It takes me by surprise when we park in a town, knowing nothing about Towanda, PA, to learn that some famous person once lived and went to school here. In this case it was popular American songwriter,  Stephen Foster.  We spotted a mural about one of his songs, Camptown Races.

They have a festival celebrating Camptown Races, here. A number of his songs are still popular today. I couldn’t believe how many I was familiar with. You can check out his story here:
Also, David Wilmot, who was a politician and an advocate of anti-slavery in the newly acquired territories from Mexico. His name is on the official proviso.He practiced law at one time in Towanda. You can learn more about him here:

Highway 6 through Pennsylvania crosses the Allegheny Mountains and acquaints us with small, historic towns along the way. This building has 1880, as was the custom then, on the building’s front piece, like a signature.

Quite small towns have beautiful old churches indicitive of the values of long ago, the mainstay of social life.

Between the corn and clover fields, are plenty of old barns. Hard to photograph as you are whizzing by, but interesting. Makes you want to record them with the camera since they are beginning to deteriorate. Many of them are still in use, full of hay or equipment. Barns, a part of Americana we hate to lose to the steel clad factory farms along with the personable image we retain of the stalwart farmer, the backbone of his community and American rural life.

It was fun to see old Five and Dime stores, a couple of Ben Franklins and a few old Diners like this one:

It kind of makes you yearn for simpler times to see this part of America. Its nice to have the ability to do this in retirement. And, of course, I’m making mental notes of places I would revisit and spend more time.
I also like to photograph signs, if I can. I wasn’t able to catch them with my camera, but here they are:
At Denton we crossed through a ski area. The Alleghenies are scenic and we enjoyed our 150 mile drive to Smethport.

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