Saturday, May 31, 2008

God Bless the Lowly Dandelion

Yesterday I read an article by Noel Taylor in the Ottawa Citizen concerning the lowly Dandelion and it brought back pleasant memories of warm summer evenings sipping Dandelion Wine (and waking up the next morning with a 'God-awful' hangover).

Dandelion Dandelion Seeds

When I was a youngster growing up in the country the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) was the most colouful Spring and Summer flower. Once it matured and had gone to seed we loved to pick the dandelion and wave it in the air just to see the seeds float away in the wind. And of course they continued to flourish in abundance every year.

When I married and moved to Ottawa I found that the lowly dandelion was held in distain. Major effort and money were expended every year to eradicate this dastardly weed. Everybody wanted pristine lawns front and back and tonnes of herbicide was poured onto lawns and parks to prevent this annual display of colour and as a result we were surrounded by hectares and hectares of mundane green.

However, with next summer's forthcoming municipal ban on pesticides my favourite flower may have a fighting change within the city boundaries. And possibly we can educate city folk to the advantages and uses of this versatile plant.

The dandelion has long been recognized as a medicinal herb and is a source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as the minerals iron, potassium, and zinc

The leaves are used in salads, sandwiches, and teas. The roots are used in coffee substitutes. The flowers are used to make dandelion wine and dandelion syrup. In fact, when I last checked there were over 700,000 sites indexed on Google which referenced Dandelion recipes.

As an interesting aside, when I was preparing this article I discovered a great duo out of Winnipeg, Manitoba known as Dandelion Wine. I strongly suggest that you drop by their web site and listen to the music.

Here's a little sample: Canadian Lady by Dandelion Wine.

Have a good one,


Thursday, May 29, 2008

So, Just Where Is The Kokoda Track?

Being a good ol' Canadian boy, I'd never heard of the Kokoda Track (or Trail) until I started hanging out with some Australian friends on the Internet. The Kokoda Track is a 96Km, single file footpath crossing the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea and was the site of a major campaign during WWII. A nine part video entitled Kokoda - The Bloody Track can be viewed on Youtube. As with many events in the last century, modern day hindsight has generated some controversy as to the significance of the campaign.

Be that as it may, hiking the Kokoda Track has become a popular, if somewhat dangerous, challenge. One of the biggest problems would likely be exposure to malaria. Of the 15,000 people who have attempted the trek since 2001 there have only been two reported deaths.

I became interested in the Kokoda Track when I learned that an online friend, Ange Recchia, was planning on making the trek in June of this year. From what I've learned about Ange from her blog I can't quite picture her as the outback, walk-about type let-alone the hazardous jungle, mountain-climbing type. But I must admit I admire her determination and fortitude and wish her all the best on this endeavour. Hopefully, she'll be able to keep us advised of her progress during the hike and if so I'll be following her closely.

All the best Ange.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hello, World

Well here I go with a new blog. Harking back to my programming days, I guess the first item should be the classic "Hello, World". On my old original Commodore PET purchased in 1978 that would have been the result of running the BASIC program:

10 print "Hello, World"

What you'll likely see on this blog are a random collection of thoughts, ideas, rants, music I like to play, interesting web sites I've come across, computing problems I've encountered, and the ongoing generation of other related drivel. As mentioned in the header, if you see any factual errors here the problem is between keyboard and chair.

As a starter, why don't you drop by the Grateful We're Not Dead blog to see what I'm up to in my spare time.

That's it for now, just to get the gears in motion.

Y'all come back soon