carolinainmymind

can't you see the sunshine….

Elephant Ears, Part 3

We have been having a number of afternoon thunderstorms. During one of them I looked out to see that we had a naturally occuring water feature on our deck now.



The water collects on the cup shaped upper leaf and then rolls off to the leaf below. Pretty cool!

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Elephant Ears Again

We recently suffered through our second long stretch of 90+ degrees heat. Finally it was broken by some rain.











Needless to say, I was fasinated by the water collecting on the leaves. I am also fascinated by the size of this leaf.



It measures 28 inches long by 22 inches. Not as big as this one that we saw in the greenhouses at NC State.



That is my friend Roy standing beside it, to give you an idea of the size of the leaf.

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The Corpse Plant

When we still lived in Italy, I started following this blog. https://arthur-in-the-garden.com/. The writer, lives about a mile from where we are now. Following his blog gave me a good idea of what to expect garden wise before we moved back. Now that we are back I have just kept reading it. I was tickled when on Tuesday, he posted about a corpse plant blooming at nearby NC State University. It wasn’t until Thursday AM that the newspaper picked up the story. This was a case where being connected on social media paid off. Thanks Arthur!


Wednesday, at our exercise class I talked with our friends Roy and Marcia about going to see it. And we agreed if I could arrange tickets, we would go. It was free but, online reservations were required. Accessiblity for Ben and Marcia was an issue. Parking on campus can be difficult. Accessible parking even more so. Viewing slots were for a 15 minute period. After weighing the hour needed to get Ben ready to go somewhere, the logistics of finding two handicapped accessible parking spaces and the fact that Ben was not nearly as excited about seeing this plant as Marcia and I were, I decided that he might just not go. Roy was dragooned to be the driver allowing us to be dropped off if no parking was available.

Well, our after 5:00 PM viewing time on Friday meant we could get on campus and park fairly close by. So after a bit of standing in line we got to see the much hyped Corpse Plant.







This will give you an idea of the size of it. It was sitting on greenhouse table.

The bloom started to open on Thursday. It was already wilting by the time we got to see it, which is normal. It is very short lived. As you can see from the newspaper photo the center part had been erect but on Friday was now folded over.

If you are able to read the poster about the heat you can see that the plant heats itself up to attract pollinators and produces a smell similar to rotting flesh. By the time we were there it was more like a fish shop smell. Really not that strong. Some close ups.











And this bit of history, lifted from the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden website.

When it was discovered in the rainforest of central Sumatra in western Indonesia, by the Italian botanist and explorer Dr. Odoardo Beccari in 1878, the stories caused quite a sensation and disbelief among European botanists. Not until the first specimen flowered in cultivation at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England in 1889 did the world take notice. During the Victorian era plant hunting was at its height and unusual specimens were enjoyed by a discerning and curious audience. It was also an era where governesses protected young women from such an indecent sight. Whenever the Amorphophallus titanum, which grows only in western Sumatra, has flowered in cultivation it has attracted an enormous amount of attention. The 1998 bloom attracted more than 5,500 visitors to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and worldwide media attention as the first documented bloom of this species in the United States since 1939. A 1996 bloom of this species attracted thousands of people to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as did a 1970 two-day flowering in Java which attracted 34,000 viewers. It was introduced to the United States in 1937 when the New York Botanic Garden and the daily press kept the public informed of the progress of the gigantic bloom grown from an imported tuber. The spectacular event so impressed people that when a second specimen flowered (from another imported tuber) two years later it was designated as the official flower of the Bronx, symbolic of the largest and fastest growing borough of the City of New York. The discovery of this species must rank as one of the greatest highlights of natural history exploration.

So I was very tickled to get to see this. Thanks to the owner of the plant, a Doctorial student at NCSU, Brandon Huber. And thanks to NCSU for allowing the public in to see it too. It really was cool!

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Freaky Elephant Ear

I have been growing elephant ears for years now. This is the first time I have ever seen this.

When I first noticed this, I was inside looking at the plant, thinking this two leaves that are just entertwined. I went out to look.

So it is two leaves on one stem. Never seen that in all the years of growing these bulbs.

Elephant ear bulbs seem to do real well for me. I have grown and given away bulbs for years now. Hopefully some of them are still growing in Italy. I know that the family that bought our property in Virginia still plant elephant ears every year. Ohhh, I don’t know if that is the legacy that I want to leave….

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Hummingbird Heaven

My friend Debby lives near Jordan Lake. She is out in the country and has a beautiful yard. She also has two hummingbird feeders and a whole lot of hummingbirds. She makes a gallon of food a week for them.

It was great fun to stand between the two feeders and watch the 10 to 12 hummers fighting over space at the feeder.

She also has the coolest dragon flies that I have ever seen.

It is in the lower right corner of the picture. White body/tail, very flashy wings!

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This and That

Sometimes I have a picture or two that I don’t have much more than a sentence to write about it. This is that colection.

The ‘color wash’ of our car.

Yes, the holly is growing out of the bottom of this pot.

A night time visitor when the parking deck was being constructed.

Evidently, the bushes out front were hosting a convention.

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March 1, 1878 March 1, 2019

This is an updated version that some of you might have read before.  We were able to  ‘live the dream of Italy’ full time because of my grandparents. On my grandfather’s birthday, I like to remind others of him and all the folks, who either by choice or not, immigrated to America and helped to make it into a strong country.  If you are interested in more than my story I urge you to watch the series on PBS  http://video.pbs.org/program/italian-americans/.  While I don’t think that my grandparents had the same type of experience that happened in big American cities I think they had some of those experiences.

Friday, March 1, 2019 is the anniversary of my grandfather (nonno), Antonio Iaccarino’s birth. He was born in mille otto cento settantotto or 1878 so he would be 141 years old. His parents were Ferdinando and Maria D’Esposito Iaccarino. Besides my grandfather, I know they also had 2 daughters, one, Concetta, (my Zia or aunt) who was 4 years younger than my nonno and another that I never met, Josephine who lived in Connecticut.

In 2003 I began researching my grandparents’ lives so that I could apply to become an Italian citizen. In the process of this research I have learned some things which have brought me closer to my nonno who I never met. He died before I was born. I always think of him when I hear the Simon and Garfunkle song that starts “I left my home and my family when I was no more than a boy, in the company of strangers…” My nonno was only 12 when he joined the merchant marines (Marina Mercantile Italiana). Whether he joined willing or unwilling I don’t know. I do know that at that time he and his family were living in a room or rooms in this house in Meta, Italy.

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I have found this house because very dear friends, Tonino and Carmella Romano spent hours researching old town zoning records. It seems as if the town fathers in Meta like to rename and renumber streets all the time.  Only the Romano’s  tenacity helped me to find this place.

So my nonno went to sea. He signed on as a mozzo (a cabin boy). Fortunately, his seaman’s book is still in our family. The entries are handwritten in script that I can’t always read and understand. (Someday perhaps…) So far, I know he was promoted, learned great skills that he would use later in life and four languages besides his native Italian. From the log I can tell that he returned to and left Italy a good bit. Stamps in his book show that some of the places he went to were Greece, Liverpool, England, Marseilles, France, and Odessa, on the Black Sea. Can you imagine sending off your 12 year old son and for the next 19 years only seeing him periodically? And he comes back with stories of places he has been to and things he has seen. This is the view leaving the port of Naples that I am guessing is relatively unchanged even today.

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He did not always leave from Naples. Meta, the town south of Naples, where he lived was at the time a fairly large port and had a ship building facility. Today it is not. It is a small town with a nice sandy beach and a bedroom community for surrounding towns like Sorrento.

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Even though Sorrento and Positano have been popular tourist destinations since the late 1800s prosperity did not arrive until after World War II. Before that, a large number of people of all age groups emigrated from the area to the United States and South America. But our family name, a very common one still remains in the area.

From my nonno I think I have inherited my interest in other languages besides my native tongue. I do hold it against him that he did not allow Italian to be spoken in their house in America. My cousins have told me that he would scold my grandmother (nonna) if he caught her chatting with her friends in Italian (after they moved to America). He would say “We are Americans now, we will speak American”. (Italian men do so love to declare, dictate and proclaim, don’t they?) So my father never really spoke Italian. He never passed that on to me.

I also know, that from my nonno, the spirit of travel and adventure passed directly to my father and then to me. My passport is never locked up in a safety deposit box. I like to have it near me so if the opportunity to travel arises I can just go. And I have a very cooperative and loving husband. After I finally got my Italian citizenship he didn’t mind when I packed us up and moved us to Italy.

(Who is that Lady in the distance?)

Recently, I was part of a conversation about ‘how many folks knew the name of a cousin of one of the their grandparents.’  On my mother’s side of the family I could say that I knew the name and I have a picture of the woman, sitting with my great grandmother (and her chickens!).  On my father’s side, I don’t even know the names of all his brothers and sisters.  And as his children die that information will be lost or much harder to find.  The point that I took from this discussion was that in a very short period of time this knowledge of family is lost.

Now I am climbing on my soapbox.  The story of my grandparents’ migration is because of choices that they made, a story of a fairly easy journey with a very happy outcome.  Everyday, in Europe, we see stories of families being forced to flee because of war.  Their journey is not easy.  Their greeting is not with open arms.  Time will tell how their migrations will end.  Time will tell how many of them will remember or know the name of their own cousin, much less the names of previous generations.  I urge everyone of you reading this to examine your attitudes and thoughts about the current migrant crisis.  Do some research and remember how America was built on the backs of immigrants.  Immigrants who just might have been your relatives.  Remember the ‘Golden Rule’ that many of us learned as a child.  Wonder that if your ancestor had not have made a migration you might be not be enjoying the freedoms and comforts that you have now.

I’m off my soapbox now.  Little by little, with research, the help of friends and the memories of my family I learn about my grandparents. On Friday or when ever you think about it, please raise a glass of wine or a mug of coffee to my nonno and nonna who had the spirit and sense of adventure to try something different and create a new life for themselves. Most Americans have ancestors that emigrated. I have been lucky enough to be able to trace mine and fill in some of the blanks. If you have any interest in your own background you should try it.  You learn about the past and look what it led to for us.

Buon Compleanno Nonno!  And thank you from all of my heart!

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The Grandparents in the late 1940s.

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OVERALLS!!!!!

Wow! Target had overalls that fit and did not cost over $50.

I had to order my size online. So I went crazy and ordered two pairs. I’m so excited. And I can hear those eye rolls…..

Ohhhh, I will be so ready for the ACC Tournament and of course Tour d’Coup.

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A Big Week

Guest Post:  By Guppy, The Lucky Dog 3

Well this second full week in June was certainly a busy one for me.  On Tuesday I went to see my new vet, Dr. Melissa Hudson at Northwoods Animal Hospital in Cary.  Link to Northwoods  She said that She had known Dr. Hudson since she was a pup.  Apparently, She used to come here all the time many years ago, bringing good dogs to see Melissa’s father, Dr. Dan Hudson.  Going all the way back to Bailey, the cocker spaniel.  That was a really long time ago and then there were the two Afghan hounds, Shamir and The Contessa, and then Hawthorn and even the Sainted Siena came here.  I’m guessing that the only dog that She had, that never came here, was Nerone.  (Sometimes Ben calls me Nerone.  That’s okay because he was a pretty good looking dog so I don’t mind being mistaken for him)  Anyway, my Dr. Hudson was pretty nice and didn’t do any thing really awful to me.  So I guess I won’t mind going back to see her again.

That night after we finished at the vet, we went home and got Ben and then it was off to dog school for graduation. Link to Dream Dogs  I think I did pretty well.  I lost a few points on ‘recall, come and sit’.  I got distracted by my friend Grace.  (She’s just so cute and stylish.  And petite.  She reminded me of my puppies)  Otherwise I did real well on all the exercises.  She and Ben were so proud of me.  She said that one of those Afghans, The Contessa, had flunked dog school.  Can you imagine?

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(Photo credit Robina Thornton)

Anyway, She said we are going to work all summer on exercises and then in the fall I can go back for ‘Distraction Dog’.  I’ll learn how to ignore squirrels.  I was going to work on that this summer since some group has opened a day camp for young squirrels in the big tree by the deck.  (Sometimes there must be 15 or 20 of them up there!)  but what happened to me next will keep me from doing that.

On Wednesday, She and Ben took me back to Saving Grace, the rescue place that I came from.  link to Saving Grace  I know that She and Ben hugged me and told me that they would be back.  I didn’t want to go.  It took a whole lot for me to walk through that gate.  I was real upset and depressed.  I was there for a long time.  She said it was only two nights but it felt like a really long time to me.  Anyway, they gave me big ole shots that hurt.  They are for my heartworm.  So now I need to be quiet for 60 DAYS.  The nasty heartworms die and break off.  If I get too excited too many of them might break off at a time and that would be really bad.

I was moping around on Friday, really sad, napping in my little box when one of the nice volunteers came to get me.  The volunteer walked me out and there was She waiting for me.  I was soooooo happy.  And Ben was in the car.  She says that all the papers are signed and they are really my people now.

 

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I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am.

 

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Deck Pics

From walking Guppy I realized that I always post pictures of the deck taken on the deck rather than looking at it from a distance.

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I do enjoy having flowers on the deck.  Birds have made a nest in my $5 fern from the Lowes reduced rack.  They dash off everytime someone goes in and out.

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The blue thing to the right of the door is a stack of chairs to use when we have folks over.

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All the rain has set the elephant ears off.  They are really doing well.  You can just see bits of the pink flamingo that I got at the Dollar Store.  It was just the right size to squeeze in there.

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This is my favorite to look at.  I like all the shades of green, the purple of the elephant ears with the purple pots.  And the pinks and blues.

Guppy and I brave the mosquitoes and sit out there every night.  Since I have started walking her and seen other units on the property I am glad that we have the one we have.  Not every one has such a nice private space.

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