• PORTENCE, BLISS, SOLACE, A COWBOY'S FATE, VICTORIAN DREAM, SPECIAL DELIVERY, IRON HEART, LADY GALLANT, THE DRAGON AND THE ROSE, FATE OF THE SILVER MOON,......click cover to buy (image by Svetlana Petrova)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Highway Cafe SPRING..TASTIC Blog Tour April 24,25,26 2017

                 A bit of Easter Egg Americana.
   The original PAAS® Easter egg dye was invented by an American named William Townley.

Mr. Townley owned a drug store in Newark, New Jersey, where he concocted recipes for home products. In the late 1800s, he came up with a recipe for Easter egg dye tablets that tinted eggs five cheerful colors.

In 1880, neighborhood families loved the idea and started buying Townley’s Easter Egg Dye packets for only five cents! He renamed his business the PAAS® Dye Comopany. The name PAAS comes from "Passen" the word that his Pennsylvania Dutch neighbors used for Easter. 
  
   Today, Americans purchase more than 10 million PAAS® Easter Egg Color Kits during the Easter season, and use them to decorate as many as 180 million eggs!
 
Helpful hint, next year use a whisk when dying eggs.
     There are many new applications for dying and decorating eggs, from applying stickers to using all natural ingredients. For me, when I think of coloring eggs, PAAS and that iconic package, will always come to mind.                 
Leave a comment here before 4/27/17 to enter drawing 
      for free e-book   
     Special Delivery 
A mysterious letter and the drop-dead handsome town marshal, are the last things Mariah expects to find making rounds 
as a midwife.
available at AMAZON

              
For more prizes, including the Grand Give Away leave a comment at > 
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Friday, April 14, 2017

Frivolous Fun Facts about Easter

Using greens and yellow, 2,500 years ago, the ancient Zoroastrians painted eggs
for “Nowrooz“, their New Year celebration which happened to fall on the Spring Equinox. Pagan cultures and religions throughout the centuries incorporated the egg with their spring rituals since it not only was edible but symbolized new life, especially after a long, hard winter season.


An Elderly couple from Thuringia, Germany decorated a 5ft apple tree with 10,300 personally decorated Easter eggs.
They spent weeks sprucing up the tree with brightly-colored eggs in time for the celebrations despite the cold weather,

                                                           



 The tree with the most eggs EVER, was the German Rostock Zoo red oak tree, decorated with 79,596 painted eggs.







In 1901, in the village of Engelhardsberg, the Germans decided to start decorating Easter wells. They do this to honor water, essential for existence, and to celebrate the feast of renewed life. Decorations are usually put up for Good Friday and kept up for two weeks after Easter.
     It seems, the Germans like to keep busy.





Largest Baskets
Located in Ohio, the office building of the Longaberger Medium Market Baskets is hard to miss. The building is 160 times the size of a normal basket.
                                            Hey, that's pretty big too!

           SOME VERY EXPENSIVE 
                      CHOCOLATE EGGS
     


Chocolate Beehive Sculpture, limited edition, made by mother-and-daughter team of chocolatiers and inspired by the store's rooftop bees. Price: €343,50 each. How can that be possible!?





                                    A £250, five Kilo, masterpiece
                  from Betty’s famous Café Tea Room in Harrogate, 
                   
                       Biggest Chocolate Egg 
                                            Image result for biggest easter egg
                         World's largest Easter egg towering over 27ft tall 
              at the Chocolate Festival in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina
        The world's biggest non-edible Eggs
                                          2008 Guinness Book of World Records record breaking giant Easter Egg Picture, worlds largest Easter egg taken at Freeport factory outlet  in Alcochete, Portugal. Click for a larger photograph of this 2008 Guinness World Book of Records new record breaking worlds largest decorated Easter Egg from Portugal.
                                                       (in Portugal)
(in Canada)

                      Biggest Edible Bunny

                      Biggest Real Bunny
                                    Hey, wait a minute, that can't be right....


      Have a Happy Easter and a glorious Spring. 
                                             

Monday, March 27, 2017

The world's most dangerous bird.

The Southern Cassowary, found on the NE coast of Australia, is the third largest bird, following the Ostrich and Emu. But it rates #1 as far as being dangerous. 

 This remarkable and rather scary looking animal, appropriately appears prehistoric with its large casque (a horn like crest which indicates age and dominance) displayed dinosaur-style on its forehead.
    The female Cassowary, although not always as colorful, is stronger and bigger than the male. During the mating season, she can can take up to three different mates. The final partner will be the one to rear the young. 
 After a month or so of courtship the female lays a clutch of eggs and leaves. Giving new meaning to "see ya mate." 
   The male is left to incubate the eggs and look after the young whether or not all of the brood are his.
   Omnivorous creatures, they will eat small vertebrates and invertebrates when necessary, but they prefer fruit. 
  When surprised the bird will choose to run--at speeds up to fifty kilometers an
hour (30+ MPH). 
  However, when cornered, they can maim or kill a person. 

The Guinness World Record Book puts them at the top of the list of birds dangerous to man.
   These beautiful, mysterious, birds are on the endangered species list as they compete with humans for territory in the rain forests. Many were lost to a cyclone in 2006. It is thought less than 1500 still survive in the wild.   
                                   Thank you http://www.arkinspace.com




Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Vernal Equinox


The Equinox, known to the Pagans as Ostera, is a day of balance, the midpoint between Imbolc or Candlemas and Beltane (the feast of the green man). Twelve hours of darkness and twelve hours of light. It is the time when light overtakes darkness and even though the days have been growing longer since the Winter Solstice, they are now greater than the night. On the equinox the sun rises due east and sets due west.
   The expression "Mad as a March Hare" may be foreign to many, except for those who spent a lot of time hobnobbing during the 1500s when the saying first came into fashion. Back then, "mad" meant crazy or wild, and this could certainly be used to describe the behavior that was commonly exhibited by the normally shy and quiet hare during the spring mating season (which in Europe primarily meant the month of March). 
Image result for picture rabbits boxing
Their odd conduct included boxing with potential paramours but contrary to early belief, it was the female throwing the one-two punch



Erasmus used the words mad as a marsh hare because he felt the hares living in the marshes were wilder due to their lack of hedges and cover. But Chaucer used the expression mad as a hare before him and Lewis Carroll gave the usage new life with the creation of his character the March Hare in Alice and wonderland.  


  March is also a time when we should consciously make an effort to balance our life and offset any sadness with joy, anger with forgiveness. Like being on a tightrope, sometimes balance is not easily achieved either physically or mentally, but use this day to try to align yourself for the days ahead which will be filled with activity. Ask for energy even as you are grateful for the energy returning to the earth.     

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Mysterious Shell Grotto of Margate.


    In Kent England, in1835 a labourer was digging a 
field just outside the English seaside town of Margate.  His work was interrupted when he thrust his spade in to the soil and it simply vanished into the ground.  The master of the nearby Dane House School, was made aware of this strange disappearance.  He volunteered his young son, Joshua, for the task of being lowered, candle in hand, into the void via a length of rope 

   Joshua’s tale was nowhere near as tall as people may have at first imagined.  When the hole was widened enough for adults to enter they too witnessed the wondrous contents of the winding subterranean passageway, complete with an altar chamber and rotunda. 



We recently discovered that Lewis Carroll came to see the Grotto, on 28 September, 1870. He described it in his diaries as “a marvellous subterranean chamber, lined with elaborate shell-work”.
  

In 1837, just two years after its discovery, the grotto opened to a curious public.  Yet to this day debate rages (in a very English way, of course, involving polite discussion over tea and cucumber sandwiches) about it origins.

It has been suggested that the grotto was a smuggler’s cave – almost all the shells are British and so it could have been a hideaway made by locals for stolen and contraband goods.  Yet this idea doesn’t hold much water. Although near to the sea, the waves remain a number of miles
away and there are no tunnels from coast to ‘cave’. Plus with a distinct lack of an escape route any smuggler would have been mad to hide their booty here – not to mention the fact that they would have had to spend more of their time decorating the place than doing any actual smuggling. So, it’s a no to that theory.


Could it be a Roman temple?  A remnant of dark-age rituals?  A prehistoric astronomical calendar? Make up a theory and it could well be feasible. There have even been séances held in the grotto to try and contact the spirits of the builders, such as the one from the 1930s above.

The latest research which took place in 2006 points
towards an explanation which might please Indiana Jones fans.  Mick Twyman of the Margate Historical Society put forward the suggestion that the grotto was built by the Knights Templar or their associates sometime in the middle 1100s.  
                
     Why not get the shells carbon-dated? This has been advised against. First and foremost quite a number of shell samples would be needed to ensure that dating caught the earliest shells and not just those used in previous (unknown) restoration work over the centuries.  Secondly it’s expensive and money needs to be more urgently spent on conservation of the grotto.

What are your thoughts on who built this mysterious wonder?

Go here for a virtual tour of this spectacular grotto. 




Photo thank you to:
Kotomi
Kevan
Ben Sutherland