Tag Archives: nature

purple crescendo


Filed under 5-100

The Maki-bear

Like other omnivores, the Maki-bear prowls through deep forests foraging for sustenance.

Total immersion is required by the Maki-bear; he was so focused on his task that this is the only full face shot the photographer was able to obtain.

Finally satisfied with his labors, Maki-bear settles down to enjoy his final blade of we-thought-those-were-chives grass.

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Filed under 5-100, Kitties

Kiwis in Italy

Kiwis growing at the home of my colleague and friend, Armando
Viagrande, Sicily

Growing up, my mother often peeled and sliced kiwis for our special weekend breakfasts. She had them available at other times, but I mostly remember eating those bright green slices on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The fruit usually accompanied her famous blueberry muffins, my personal favorite! Of the muffin, I loved biting into a berry that was still hot and juicy. Of the kiwi, I loved the crunch of the inner ring of seeds and the complimentary but distinct sweetnesses between the flesh and the seeds.

Over the years I have grown to tolerate the skin on certain kiwi, and to eat less-ripe kiwi than the soft, juicy kiwi of my childhood. Sometimes the less-ripe kiwi is a crunchy delight, though it tickles my mouth more with that sticky-itchy feeling I get from eating too much pineapple in one sitting.

You may be able to imagine my surprise and delight to find an abundance of kiwi in the stores and markets in Sicily. Come to find out, Italy is the global leader in kiwi production. Italy has no shame in adopting new fruits and vegetables (ahem, history of the tomato please), and incorporating them so deeply in Italian food culture as to be a part of its food identity. Seriously, can we talk about Italian food without mentioning tomatoes? I think not.

I mean, I could go on and on about certain dishes, but if it is a comprehensive discussion, tomatoes are going to be covered…I digress.

The kiwis pictured above are flourishing in the four-cornered gazebo canopy of Armando’s mini-farm. He grows nearly every traditional Italian plant you could think of if you listed the first ten Italian plants to come to mind, and then he keeps birds, rabbits, beautiful ferns and luscious trees. One could mistake his grounds for a veritable utopia, especially when the fragrant wine he produces lulls you into submission. You submit yourself to the soft hum of insects working around you, the muted chirp of night birds, and the sparkling stars overhead, and just like that, you are one with the earth and lost forever to the innocence and magic of Armando’s garden.


Filed under 5-100, Food. Cibo.

More Green Island, Lyudao, Taiwan

The nature pictures of picturesque, Lyudao, aka Green Island, Taiwan.

The typical cuddly pose of the dual self-portrait. Maddie & me.

We were in the top pavilion of the Little Great Wall of China.

The following pictures are the views from the pavilion.

A great place to hang out for sweet contemplation.

Then, there was the panoramic view from Mountain Goat Bluff. It was a brief walk through poisonous snake and bee infested greenways, along a wooden pathway, up to the bowl of Mountain Goat Bluff (self-title, btw). We scrambled a bit among a crag or two and listened to the mild bleats of the goats and kids. It was incredibly peaceful and serene.

See you tomorrow for more Green Island beauty. Namaste.


Filed under 5-100, Travel

Photo Montage, Sicilian Natural Beauty

Part II of this five part series reflects my quick romance with Mt. Etna and a couple of beautiful views taken while visiting touristy Taormina. These views hint at the beauty one can find on many an Italian coastline, here in Sicily or further north.

When I visited Sicily in 2005, I spend a day exploring Taormina with my friend Ashley and her uncle Mario. Upon our arrival in August 2011, the first place we were escorted by Dave’s colleague was the same Taormina. However, the Jill was a completely different person and I experienced Taormina differently. One aspect that didn’t change was my appreciation of the views.

This photo shows the toll booths that line the autostrade from Acireale north to Milazzo (at least), as well as the beautiful blue water. The toll booths are in the lower left quadrant, the white archways along the highway.

This second photo from Taormina shows mainland Italy to the east (right) – an immediate delight for me was announcing “Oh! There’s Italy!” whenever we could see the mainland. I see it nearly every day now, and I am still pretty delighted, I have to admit.

My heart was missing the Olympics, Cascades, and Mt. Rainier from Seattle, and the solitary soul Mt. Etna immediately welcomed me to Sicily. With long shadows, deep greens, and gorgeous sunsets, my crush on Mt. Etna was formed. Before long, her volcanic activity drew me into a deeper, more abiding relationship.

This is from the first eruption we saw from our balcony in Acireale.

Then, autumn brought cooler weather and eventually Mt. Etna was snow covered. Like seeing a beau with a new haircut, or all dressed up, Etna charmed me anew.

Mornings like this make me catch my breath and be thankful for all the special quiet moments that make me glad to be alive. Etna and I have history together now, she will always have a special place in my heart.

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