Weekly Photo Challenge: Inspiration

If you Google the definition of the word “inspiration,” the first definition that comes up is:

the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

Even though I did not get out when it was technically still full, last night’s waning Blue Moon was inspiring, particularly when combined with another source of creative inspiration – Lake Superior. I felt compelled to load up the camera and tripod and head down to the water’s edge as the orange-pink orb crept up over the horizon of the big lake.

Waning Blue Moon over Lake Superior, 8/1/15

The higher the moon rose, working its way through wispy strands of clouds, the more intense the reflection on Lake Superior’s water became.

Waning Blue Moon over Lake Superior, 8/1/15

Moonshine as brilliant as sunshine, the water embracing its light, encouraging it to climb ever higher and then do it all over again tomorrow.

Waning Blue Moon over Lake Superior, 8/1/15

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  “Inspiration” is this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close Up (the Family Reunion Edition)

On July 26, 2015, in a small town in Iowa, the descendants of some of the original Benton County homesteaders gathered for the 100th annual Brody Family Reunion.  One of the treasures brought to the reunion by a distant cousin was an almost 100-year old postage stamp quilt, hand-quilted by my great-great grandmother.  At any distance, the quilt is an amazing piece of handiwork.

Hand-quilted postage stamp quilt

With each closer look, one’s appreciation for the love and attention paid to this heirloom only grows.

Hand-quilted postage stamp quilt

What appears at first glance to be a precise, machine-measured covering is a collection of meticulous, individually-embroidered stitches.

Hand-quilted postage stamp quilt

Close up, one can marvel at the slightest variation from each carefully placed stitch – the thousands of tiny segments of thread, woven in and out of the fabric, through the hundreds of postage stamp-sized fabric squares.

Hand-quilted postage stamp quilt

This quilt was just one of many special mementos shared during the reunion weekend, as family members old and new became acquainted or reacquainted again.  Members gathered from all over Iowa, and traveled from as far as California, Washington, Alabama, and Utah, to name a few states.  Babies were cradled in the arms of those approaching their own century mark.  The potluck table was loaded with salads and cupcakes and pies, as the aroma of the roasted pork and ham filled the church hall.  Professions and vocations ran the gamut, as did political beliefs, spanning both ends of the spectrum.

Over 100 years, the family tree grows many branches, each still drawing strength from the original trunk.  That old wide-arching tree, just like the arms-length view of the hand-crafted quilt, have a lot in common as illustrative symbols of the family tree and relation’s ties. They remind us that just like no two branches are quite the same, and each carefully pieced quilt may have some slight variations or imperfections, we have much more in common than we even want to admit at times.

We are fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, friends and community members, wanting the best for those we care about, and feeling pain when we lose those we love. We may talk a little different, check a different box in the voting booth, spend our leisure time in different ways, but we are family.  Pull one thread, and you find it’s connected to the rest of the quilt.  Find a calico quilt block in this corner, and sure enough in an opposite corner you might find a similar pattern.  Maybe they don’t match exactly, but they coordinate closely enough to complement each other and complete the pattern that is so pleasing to the eye from afar.  If the quilter used the same fabric for each block, how dull that finished bedcover would be!  It is the diversity of pattern and contrast in color that create the fascinating beauty of the hand-pieced quilt.

Urbana Cemetery - Urbana, Iowa

I prepared a press release for local news outlets, and share it with you here to provide additional background information on the woman behind the quilt and the enduring tradition of the Brody gatherings:

Hugh and Joanna (Osborn) Brody established their homestead in Polk Township, just a couple miles south of Urbana, shortly after the Osborn family moved to the area in 1840.  Joanna Brody was the guest of honor at the annual family reunions, which were held in the Urbana area every summer beginning on August 24, 1916, with 125 family members in attendance.  On July 26, 2015, over 200 descendants of Hugh and Joanna Brody are expected to gather at St. Mary’s Church in Urbana for the 100th Annual Brody Family Reunion. 

The September 6, 1921 edition of The Vinton Eagle published Joanna Brody’s obituary, “Benton’s Oldest Settler is Dead.” She had lived 78 of the last 81 years on the same homesteaded farm, before coming to her final resting place in Kisling Cemetery.  After coming by wagon from Indiana, the Osborn family landed in Center Point.  Hugh Brody married Joanna Osborn in 1843, and they had 11 children.  At the time of Joanna’s death in 1921, she was reported to leave 50 grandchildren, 90 great-grandchildren, and 19 great-great-grandchildren.

Hugh and Joanna Brody and family

Hugh and Joanna Brody and adult children, with my great-great grandmother, Rebecca Jane Brody, sitting at the far right of the front row.

Brody kith and kin from all over the country are again returning to the area, filling the Urbana Inn & Suites for the weekend to reconnect (or to connect for the first time!) and share family history stories, photos and other memorabilia.  A new page will be added to the reunion record book that was purchased in 1917, recording minutes from the business meeting at the reunion, and continuing the tradition of documenting family births, deaths, marriages, as well as special program features of this year’s get-together. 

1939 Brody family reunion

Brody Family Reunion, ca. 1939

The words from that first reunion in 1916 ring as true today as they did 100 years ago, from the “Address of Welcome” delivered by Reverend David Shepherd, son-in-law of matriarch Joanna Brody: 

“Man is a social being and it is meet and proper that there by family reunions of all family relatives from time to time, which has been the case with well-ordered families for ages past and will continue to be as long as time shall remain.  These reunions are calculated to draw the relatives closer together, though each family are doing for themselves. By these reunions we become more interested in one another’s welfare and thereby preserve a spirit of unity and love for the best well-being of all.”

The unity and love of the Brody family lives on. 

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  “Close Up” is this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

The Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona

Kat at travelgardeneat:

Remember my earlier re-blog regarding my son studying abroad in Spain?! I think you may enjoy his post on his recent visit to Pamplona during the Running of the Bulls at the San Fermin Festival.

Ciao! ~ Kat

Originally posted on Chuck's Trip:

Stepping cautiously through treacherous terrain–vomit and tens of thousands of broken bottles–crossing raging rivers of sangría in the streets, and making sure not to provoke the local wildlife…the Festival of San Fermín was almost like a safari.

Last weekend I took a train to Pamplona to stay there Friday and Saturday nights, leaving Sunday afternoon. I would say that the Running of the Bulls is something I don’t necessarily approve of, but at the same time something I had to see. From what I heard from other students and witnessed for myself, the run can be as dangerous as you want to make it; some people hear the first boom that indicates the bulls have been released and run straight for the arena without ever really being in harm’s way, while others try to get as close to the bulls as possible. A short jaunt in front of some pissed…

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Indian Summer: Fennel-Spiced Pork Ribs with Onion Cilantro Tempering

Summertime is perfect for lazy afternoons on the patio, with a book in one hand and a beer in the other.  Grilling ribs is an art that requires several hours, so it is a perfect companion for the lazy afternoon on the patio (especially if it is your spouse or partner doing the grilling while you sit with the beer and book!).

My boys and I decided to improve the probability of this scenario by splurging on my husband’s 50th birthday present …… a Primo Oval XL 400 Grill.  Yep, that’s 400 square inches of cooking surface and a ceramic grill construction that allows for perfection in grilling and smoking.  Some men have their dream sports cars, my husband has his dream grill.  When I went shopping for the grill, I texted my sons jokingly, “Do we love him that much?”  My oldest replied, “Well, the grill is a show of love as well as an investment in future meals for ourselves, making the deal substantially more attractive.”  With meals like this Fennel-Spiced Pork Ribs with Onion Cilantro Tempering, we have been quickly realizing that return on our investment!

Fennel-Spiced Ribs on the grill

The grill was actually the perfect opportunity for my husband to try one of the recipes he had been eyeing in the cookbook I recently purchased from one of my favorite bloggers — Tikka, Tikki & Spicy Bites, authored by Peri Avari and Rohit Kapoor, over at Peri’s Spice Ladle.  The Fennel-Spiced Pork Ribs with Onion Cilantro Tempering did not disappoint!

After marinating the pork ribs overnight, they were ready for hours of slow roasting on the grill. In order to help keep the ribs moist, my husband sprays them down every 20 minutes or so with a mixture of juice, vinegar and water.

Finishing the Fennel-Spiced Ribs

After smoking the ribs in the rack, and cooking them for a couple hours, he then wraps them in foil to cook for another hour.  The last stage is to put the ribs directly on the grill with indirect heat to finish them with a glaze.

Glazing the Fennel-Spiced Ribs

Using a silicone brush, he glazes with a heated mixture of mango chutney and chicken broth.

Fennel-Spiced Pork Ribs on the Grill

After the grilling stage is done, the ribs are transferred to the kitchen for application of the Onion Cilantro Tempering.

Onion Cilantro Tempering on Fennel-Spiced Ribs

Fennel Ribs 20150530 6

We served the ribs with a side of cucumber raita, and bookmarked this recipe for a repeat performance!

Fennel-Spiced Ribs with Onion Cilantro Tempering and Cucumber Raita

Peri’s newest cookbook, Tikka, Tikki & Spicy Bites, is a bargain at only $5.99 (USD) through Amazon, and also available through Amazon’s international sites.  I have followed Peri’s blog since I began blogging several years ago.  If you are not familiar with Peri’s Spice Ladle, it is a feast for the senses with delicious recipes and food ideas (ranging from family-friendly weeknight meals to more sophisticated dinner and party options), as well as interesting writing on the Indian culture and cooking techniques.

Ciao! ~ Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Door

The door to a charming setting for a pottery sale, with artistic inspiration galore!  I shared with you an afternoon at the Rustic Road 13 Pottery Event in this blog post.  Save the date for the 2015 sale this fall and explore the charming grounds yourself – September 19th and 20th!

Doorway to charm at the Rustic Road 13 Pottery Event

The pottery event’s website with schedules and directions to the show in Hudson, Wisconsin, can be found here.

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  “Door” is this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.