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Erik’s sister and family are off on their five-month European sailing trip. The three children have homework to do during the first part of the trip, when they would ordinarily be in school. All five family members are contributing to a WordPress blog they call Burning Cloud. Four write their posts in English; the youngest sometimes writes in Danish. The entries are a lot of fun to read.

Here is the oldest child’s May 11 post:

this is a word for word conversation.

Klara : the first qustion is, why are we not moving

Klaus: because we are waiting for our gear to come back from the repair shop

Klara : the second question is: when are  we going to move?

Klaus: on Friday

Klara: the third question is: what is wrong with the motor?

Klaus: the gear is leaking a bit of oil.

Karl-Oscar: how will they fix the gear?

Klaus : it will be repaired in Køge  with some spare parts that are cominng form Gottenburg.

written by Axel.

Join the fun at Burning Cloud Blog. You can follow the route on maps the family posts periodically along with other entertaining pictures. (Don’t miss the photo of everyone making sushi on shipboard.)

Photo: School at sea.

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2014 in review

WordPress asked me if I would like to post its summary of my 2014 blogging, and I said OK. So the rest of this post is from WordPress.

“WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

“Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Among the many things that are a fun about a blog is checking out the likes to my entries and learning about common interests. I also love thinking about the people I know who may be reading. Then there are the thoughtful comments from strangers.

Cynthia, for example. She came to the blog after searching on the late, amazing ceramicist Anne Kraus and finding my post “The Mysterious Tea Cups of Anne Kraus.” She says she knew the family.

My entries on new farmers have a led to a nice exchange with an Ohio farmer, DrJeff7, who raises traditional livestock at Heritage Breeds Farm. Here is one of his comments:

“There is definitely a shift toward buying local and buying organic/ grassfed, and all natural. We are staring up with similar goals in mind. I am concerned about the fact that farms continue to ‘go out of business,’ yet the animals get absorbed by larger and larger farming conglomerates. (i.e. factory farms). Their argument is that it is a necessary evil if you want to feed the world. I think that the world needs to move away from supposed progress and head back to the days of traditional farming, where animals see the light of day and chemicals are nowhere to be found (or limited to the best extent).”

And there came a day when I really needed to see this title at 5kidswdisabilities, a WordPress blog: “Beyond One’s Own Problems.”

Listen to this mom. “I work with a social/educational/recreational group for teens with disabilities.  When first getting this group together at the beginning of the school year, I asked them what they wanted to do as part of our program.  Every single one of them said they wanted to ‘help other people.’  Here are students with a variety of disabilities and medical needs, and they wanted to help others! They were mature enough to look beyond their own problems to the problems of others.

“Various suggestions were tossed about … They chose making sandwiches for the homeless. …

“They worked as a team and made 165 sandwiches and twelve dozen cookies. As they worked, they talked about who might get to eat them, what kind of bad luck may have fallen upon that person and so forth.  They talked with much empathy, and not once during their conversation did they mention their own problems.  They were caring about the problems of others.

“After the sandwiches were made, I drove up to Traveler’s Aid, a local spot where the homeless hang out.  The kids … walked and wheeled to the front desk which, fortunately, was wheelchair accessible.  The crowd murmured appreciatively, politely, thankfully.  The kids faces beamed as they turned around and came back to the van.  They were no longer disabled, but capable of helping others.  Suddenly, their problems were not as bad as the people who thanked them; people without shelter and food.”

Read her whole lovely entry here.

Photograph: HeritageBreedsFarm.com

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We’re hopping an early Acela train Wednesday to join Suzanne, Erik, and other family members for Thanksgiving.

I’m assigned to make cranberry sauce, stuffing, and a squash dish. Although I have already placed my ingredients order and can’t use the recipe I just saw at another WordPress blog, you might like to. It’s a maple-citrus-ginger-cranberry sauce.

The blog in question is the public face of a collaboration in Upstate New York, the “From Scratch Club”: “We are a small group of women, living within the Capital Region of NYS (Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs) striving for a sustained connection to the whole food we, our loved ones, and our communities consume.

“We meet twice a month for food swaps, and maybe even a food-related adventure, field trip, cheesemaking party or potluck. Once a month we participate in community outreach at various local farmers markets in our area.”

These ladies understand that the key to enjoying great cooking is to have others to share the results with.

Consider Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is mostly about preparing lots of food and bringing groups of people together to eat the food and talk and not rush off to anything.

This year at Suzanne’s, my sister and her husband will join the fun. Also Erik’s cousin and her family, who have just relocated from Sweden to the U.S. It’s great that little kids will be part of the festivities.

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I have not been blogging that long for Luna & Stella, but already interesting things have happened. For example, one customer who found the blog decided Suzanne’s Mom was OK and probably Suzanne’s business was, too. She became a Luna & Stella customer.

Another interesting thing occurred after I blogged about an artist I once knew, Lucille Corcos. I had written her up with the goal of creating an entry for her on Wikipedia. (The entry is still to come. I need a good block of time to make the changes Wikipedia asked for.)

Soon I began to notice in my WordPress site statistics that someone was doing Internet searches on “Lucille Corcos.” I wondered if it might be one of her sons. Sure enough, I eventually received an e-mail from artist Joel Corcos Levy, saying, “Who are you and when were you in our house?” So I e-mailed him, and we had a nice back-and-forth. He generously sent me a piece of his mother’s art, an illustration for a children’s book.

Joel himself appears in an art book called The Artist as Native: Reinventing Regionalism, by Alan Gussow. The book features Joel’s painting of the Davies farmhouse and pine trees. Nice, huh? The other selections are great, too.

Not sure if Joel is OK with having this on the web. I’ll take it down if asked.

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Just a quick post to say that there are some lovely blogs on WordPress, where Suzanne’s Mom’s blog is housed. I recently noticed two in particular I wanted to share.

The first features the Modern Museum of Glass Art in Copenhagen.

The second has photos of cool cut-paper art. Enjoy.

 

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In case you just tuned in, this blog was started at the invitation of my daughter, who is the founder of the birthstone-jewelry company Luna & Stella. Sometimes I blog about the jewelry, but Suzanne told me to write about whatever interests me. Already a customer who was previously wary of online purchasing found the blog and wrote Suzanne that it helped her decide that Luna & Stella was good people.

The blog is currently housed at WordPress, which makes life easy for a neophyte like me. One thing that is fun at WordPress is clicking on posts from the other bloggers, posts that are on the Freshly Pressed page or found by clicking on a key word at the Tags page.

Today I got quite interested in an entry from a WordPress blogger in northern England who calls herself Heather Uphillanddowndale. She shows her photographs of a lovely Scottish island and talks about its fight against a major commercial fish farm.

I used to think fish farms made a lot of sense, but lately I have read about possible environmental damage and overcrowding that can spread disease to wild fish.

Heather quotes from a statement by island residents: “Highland Council has recently received an initial application to site a fish farm off the east coast of Eigg, north of Kildonan. The site identified covers an area extending to 20ha (this equates to 28 football pitches) & would consist of 14 x 30m diameter cages which would be serviced by a 10m x 10m permanently sited barge (powered by diesel generator).

“The community has considered this proposal at length. The outcome of the resulting ballot which had an 86% turnout was 97% against the development.

“Eigg lies within the Small Isles National Scenic Area. A large fish farm would have a considerable negative impact on the approach to the island and could also impact negatively on the peace and quiet that visitors seek when they come to the island, as well as on the quality of life of nearby residents.” Read more at Uphilldowndale.

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