Early Bird

5 Apr

This ring-necked parakeet is enjoying an early morning lunch by eating the flowers of the cherry tree in our yard. Ring-necked parakeets are spreading in German cities, especially in North-Rhine Westphalia and are getting into conflict with humans. E.g. Cologne began in 2018 to actively expel the birds from its city center. Meanwhile ornithologists suggest beneficial effects of the parakeets, since their breeding burrows are being reused by other birds, e.g. stock doves, which are listed as threatened. The parakeets breed earlier than our native birds. During autumn there about 3000 parakeets, crows and jackdaws gathering at Düsseldorf’s Kö, a famous strolling promenade.

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Kamelienblüte Schloss Pillnitz, Frühlingsanfang 2019

22 Mar

The camellia in Pillnitz is around 230 years old, almost 9 m high and 11 m in diameter. From February to April it is covered in carmine red flowers. During the cold season, the tree, which was planted in 1801 by court gardener Terscheck, is protected by a large glass house with stairs. During this time visitors can enter and view the tree from two levels.

In the mid 19th century Dresden became a European hot spot for the culture and breeding of camellias, and exported them to Russia as well as Italy and Spain. The camellia was viewed as a status symbol among European aristocrats, and Russians in particular, had a high demand for camellia flowers, which were exported in thousands to St. Petersburg and Moscow.

With growing popularity among Westerners, and contrary to its Far Eastern symbolism, the meaning of the flower changed. Thanks to popular literature, most prominently La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas from 1848, as well as real life personae, such as the “Wiener Cameliendame”, a dancer named Fanny Elßler, the camellia became erotizised!

On the other hand the longevity of the flowers, and particularly white camellia flowers, became associated with death and mourning and were woven into funeral wreaths.

The seeds of all known (about 200) camellia seeds yield a valuable oil, which smoothes the hair and juvenates the skin. The oil is rich in linolenic acid, and is also used in cooking and reduces cholesterine. Samurai rubbed camellia oil unto their sword blades to protect them from rust. The oil is also used as a natural surface finish for wood, as lube in watches and precision engineering and more.

Camellia wood is hard and durable and was used in the manufacture of weapons, different tools as well as kokeshi dolls. Up to the Edo period, a camellia rod was used in Buddhist ceremony to punish and drive out malign spirits. The wood also yielded a spark-free and, hence sought after charcoal.

Camellias are highly resistant against diseases and may contain different antibacterial and fungicidal agents.

Besides, the first Westerner to portrait a camellia flower was likely a Saxon gardener by the name George Meister. His book “Der Orientalisch-Indianische Kunst- und Lust-Gärtner” was published in 1692 in Dresden. In it he describes both the camellia as well as its crop plant, Camellia sinensis var. sinensis – the tea shrub!

Further Reading:
https://kamelienschloss.de/botanische-sammlung/kamelien/geschichte-verwendung-von-kamelien/
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillnitzer_Kamelie
https://www.schlosspillnitz.de/de/schloss-park-pillnitz/kamelie/

Selling on Etsy — The Long, Rattling Death March

3 Mar

I used to sell on Etsy, but stopped, when they began to force sellers to provide their personal bank info (which I did not want to give to them). I also felt they were starting to charge more and more fees. I too experienced automatic renewals even though I had turned them off. But all of this was small compared to the experiences shared here. I am hence sharing this.

Sydney Schuster

Copyright © 2019 SYDNEY SCHUSTER — All Rights Reserved

My last post was a screed about selling on Etsy and why your inventory there never moves. This used to be part of it. I moved it here because veteran sellers already know how Etsy rips them off. Newbies, this one’s for you.

Worst eCommerce Nightmare Ever
On February 15, 2019, Etsy hoovered millions of unowed dollars from sellers’ bank accounts and credit cards. The first 87 sellers reporting to Etsy’s forum cited individual amounts ranging from $265 to $144,000. They collectively lost a half million dollars.

Said one seller: “I went from owing no Etsy bill to owing $1,200 in the blink of an eye. Even though billing said I owed nothing, I couldn’t print any shipping labels because it said I had to pay at least half of a $1,200 bill I didn’t owe.”

Below is a screencap…

View original post 3,397 more words

Gallery

February Super Full Moon

19 Feb

Nordfriedhof, January 2019

23 Jan

Nordfriedhof Düsseldorf, January 11th, 2019

Herbststillleben

18 Nov

This still life photo has been on my mind for weeks.

Fall 2018

5 Nov

Fall is here, death is here, but the flowers keep on flowering