Sunday, September 23, 2012

Shout Out to Kendall Wallor

I went to another art fair today and met a young woman named Kendall Wallor.  Many of her paintings are those of animals.  What really caught my attention was her style.  It was very similar to an old renaissance style of the masters.   Kendall painted most of her pictures with a dark background but started out her paintings with light colors and then darkened them.  I had taken an art class at an art school with a teacher who did something similar and he said it was the secret of the masters.  They would start out dark and then work in the lighter colors.  Kendall did hers the other way around and it came out just as great.

Check out her site:

by Rita Jean Moran (

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Story of My Backyard Garden

When my two dogs were alive, I used to have a very good garden each year.  I tried to grow different things each year.  I grew mint for tea, peas, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, onions, radishes, spinach, and even cauliflower and broccoli.  The dogs would keep the rabbits and squirrels out of the backyard and even the birds would fly away when the dogs were on patrol.  I would plant some flowers in the garden for the bees and butterflies and the birds would fly in and eat some worms out of the soil once in awhile.

But since my dogs have been gone, my gardens just haven't been the same.  I have had squirrels in there and rabbits and even mice this year.  I would find my line of carrot tops bit off.  I did have a fence around the garden, but the animals still got in.  I would find little teeth marks in my tomatoes if the crop was good.  The weeds seemed to keep taking over no matter how much I tried to get them out.  I even tried growing corn a couple of years ago, but the squirrel got the good ones and left the ones that had some sort of black fungus on them (the organic seeds were not immune to fungus).  The birds even ate my strawberries as soon as they were ripe.

All I can say is I understand how tough it must have been for settlers to try and live off the land.  My gardens have not been producing very much for me and without the dogs to chase the animals away, the garden is just a food source for rabbits and squirrels.  I also tried to grow some potatoes, but I didn't put them in soon enough and by the end of the season, they were still green so I did not want to eat them.

I think I'm going to just grow only a few things next year and put some of the tomatoes in pots and on the deck so the animals won't get to them.  I can't get new dogs at this time, but as I've been told by old farmers, every one on the farm, including the animals, had a job to do.

by Rita Jean Moran (

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Japanese Underwater Pyramids

The Yonaguni Monument appears to be a collection of underwater pyramids and structures off of the coast of Japan.  According to wikipedia:

The Monument consists of medium to very fine sandstones and mudstones of the Lower Miocene Yaeyama Group deposited about 20 million years ago. Most of the formations are connected to the underlying rock mass (as opposed to being assembled out of freestanding rocks).
The main feature (the "Monument" proper) is a rectangular formation measuring about 150 by 40 m (490 by 130 ft) and about 27 m (90 ft) tall; the top is about 5 m (16 ft) below sea level. Most of its top surface consists of a complex series of terraces and broad steps, mostly rectangular, bounded by near vertical walls.
Some of its peculiar details include:
  • Two closely spaced pillars which rise to within eight feet of the surface;
  • The "Loop Road", a 5 m (16 ft) wide ledge that encircles the base of the formation on three sides;
  • The "Totem", a stone column about 7 m (23 ft) tall;
  • The "Dividing Wall", a straight wall 10 m (33 ft) long;
  • The "Gosintai", an isolated boulder resting on a low platform;
  • The "Turtle", a low star-shaped platform;
  • The "Triangle Pool", a triangular depression with two large holes at its edge;
  • The "Stage", an L-shaped rock.

There are those that believe the rocks are natural formations and others believe they are not.

by Rita Jean Moran (


Easter Island

Easter Island is said to have been settled between 700 and 1100 CE.   The island is in the Pacific and the farthest of the Polynesian islands to be settled.  The people of the island suffered through famines and wars, but what is most unique are the giant statues, called moai, found on the island and the mystery of how they were built and moved.  It is said that the statues rocked their way down the hills.
Recent excavations have shown that the statue heads that are buried have bodies. 

Overpopulation of the island occurred and ancient cults gave way to the Birdman cult.  According to wikipedia:

As the island became overpopulated and resources diminished, warriors known as matatoa gained more power and the Ancestor Cult ended, making way for the Bird Man Cult. Beverly Haun wrote, "The concept of mana (power) invested in hereditary leaders was recast into the person of the birdman, apparently beginning circa 1540, and coinciding with the final vestiges of the moai period." This cult maintained that, although the ancestors still provided for their descendants, the medium through which the living could contact the dead was no longer statues, but human beings chosen through a competition. The god responsible for creating humans, Makemake, played an important role in this process. Katherine Routledge, who systematically collected the island's traditions in her 1919 expedition, showed that the competitions for Bird Man (Rapanui: tangata manu) started around 1760, after the arrival of the first Europeans, and ended in 1878, with the construction of the first church by Roman Catholic missionaries who formally arrived in 1864. Petroglyphs representing Bird Men on Easter Island are exactly the same as some in Hawaii, indicating that this concept was probably brought by the original settlers; only the competition itself was unique to Easter Island.

Today the island is still inhabited but by the European settlers and indigenous people.

by Rita Jean Moran (


Hypatia, The Last Librarian of the Library of Alexandria

Hypatia was the last librarian of the Library of Alexandria.  She took care of the library and taught philosophy, math, and astronomy.  She was accused of witchcraft by a Christian mob that kidnapped her and then they murdered her in a most gruesome way around 415 C.E..  The following picture is of an actress portraying Hypatia.

As I've written before, the final destruction of the Library of Alexandria came with the Christian laws against paganism and the Muslim invasion of Egypt and the subsequent burning of the remaining scrolls of the library to heat muslim bath houses.  According to wikipedia:

The library seems to have been maintained and continued in existence until its contents were largely lost during the taking of the city by the Emperor Aurelian (270–275), who was suppressing a revolt by Queen Zenobia of Palmyra (ruled Egypt AD 269–274). During the course of the fighting, the areas of the city in which the main library was located were damaged. The smaller library located at the Serapeum survived, but part of its contents may have been taken to Constantinople to adorn the new capital in the course of the 4th century. However, Ammianus Marcellinus, writing around AD 378 seems to speak of the library in the Serapeum temple as a thing of the past, and he states that many of the Serapeum library's volumes were burnt when Caesar sacked Alexandria.
In 642, Alexandria was captured by the Muslim army of Amr ibn al `Aas. There are five Arabic sources, all at least 500 years after the supposed events, which mention the fate of the library.
  • Abd'l Latif of Baghdad (1162–1231) states that the library of Alexandria was destroyed by Amr, by the order of the Caliph Omar.
  • The story is also found in Al-Qifti (1172–1248), History of Learned Men, from whom Bar Hebraeus copied the story.
  • The longest version of the story is in the Syriac Christian author Bar-Hebraeus (1226–1286), also known as Abu'l Faraj. He translated extracts from his history, the Chronicum Syriacum into Arabic, and added extra material from Arab sources. In this Historia Compendiosa Dynastiarum[ he describes a certain "John Grammaticus" (490–570) asking Amr for the "books in the royal library." Amr writes to Omar for instructions, and Omar replies: "If those books are in agreement with the Quran, we have no need of them; and if these are opposed to the Quran, destroy them."
  • Al-Maqrizi (1364–1442) also mentions the story briefly, while speaking of the Serapeum.
  • There is also a story in Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406) which tells that Omar made a similar order about Persian books.

by Rita Jean Moran (


Halloween Party Idea

Yes, I know it's early but you might want some time to plan a Halloween party and I have an idea.  Several years ago, I went to a pumpkin carving party.  The host had pumpkin carving kits and had set up several tables in their garage.  The guests brought their own pumpkins and could choose what design they wanted to use for their pumpkin.  Inside their house, were some party foods and drinks.  It was a great idea and was family friendly.  The clean-up was easy and kept to the garage area.

The pumpkin seeds can be saved in a ziplock bag or containeer and taken home to bake.  Here is a recipe I found online for baking the pumpkin seeds afterwards:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes


  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cooking spray, olive oil, or butter
  • Optional: Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, or other seasoning of choice


Rinse pumpkin seeds. Use your fingers to remove all the pulp. Drain pumpkin seeds and discard pulp. Spread out on a cookie sheet to dry overnight.

Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil.

Toss pumpkin seeds in olive oil, butter, or spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, or your choice of seasonings. Toss to coat.

Bake about 1 hour, tossing every 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool pumpkin seeds before eating. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 months or refrigerate up to 1 year.

If you like your toasted pumpkin seeds extra-salty, soak overnight in a solution of 1/4 cup salt to 2 cups of water. Dry an additional day, then proceed as above.

by Rita Jean Moran (


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Alan at Ancient Art Reproductions

I stopped by a craft show this Labor Day weekend and had a conversation with Alan W. Barbick from Ancient Art Reproductions.  Alan specializes in reproducing petroglyphs as art.  He travels all over the Southwest of America and other places to take pictures of petroglyphs and learn about their meaning from local tribes if the knowledge is available.

We had an interesting conversation regarding some of the symbols that are shown in petroglyphs from the Americas.  Of particular interest to me was the use of the spiral and horned shaman.  But another interesting petroglyph was that of a hand with an eye from Cahokia.   This is a symbol that is common in the Middle East and North Africa, and is known as the Hand of Fatima, Hand or Mary, Hand of Miriam (the sister of Moses), or the Hamsa.

Many of these symbols such as the horned man, the spiral, the sun needle, and more are not only ancient but globally found just like the swastika.  Please feel free to look at Alan's website:

The eye in the hand motif is a common symbol throughout Mississippian culture.  Here is an artifact from Moundville (in Alabama):

by Rita Jean Moran (