Awesome

“He who can no longer pause
to wonder and stand rapt in awe,
is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”
Albert Einstein

For the past two decades, scientists have been studying the emotion called, awe. Growing research suggests that experiencing awe may lead to a wide range of long-term benefits, from happiness and health to perhaps more unexpected benefits such as generosity, humility, and critical thinking.

The research also suggests that taking the time to experience awe, whether through appreciating nature, enjoying art or music, or even watching YouTube videos, could be a way to improving your life and relationships.

Did you know that experiencing awe can improve your mood and make you more satisfied with your life? You don’t even need to take a trip to Tahiti to get the job done. You can experience awe by watching slideshows or videos of Tahiti to induce awe. It’s also possible that awe can even bring people together. Research tells us that awe helps us feel more connected to the people in our lives and to humanity as a whole.

What I found interesting about these recent studies is that people who experience awe more often, had a better understanding of nature and science and were more likely to reject creationism and other scientifically questionable explanations about the world. Importantly, these people didn’t have greater “faith” in science; they just understood better how science works.

In 2020, seeking awe should be a high priority. The power of awe may be a simple remedy to improve our outlook and have transformative effects. With increasing interest among psychologists and the public in the study of awe, the future looks bright. Maybe even awesome.

 Shine On

H is For Hawk

 

“We carry the lives we’ve imagined
as we carry the lives we have,
and sometimes a
reckoning comes of
all the lives we have lost.”
Helen Macdonald

 

h-is-for-hawk

 

Recently I read Helen Macdonald’s book, H is For Hawk.

The book is about the author’s inconsolable grief after the death of her father.

In an effort to heal her soul and regain a connection with her father, she sets out to find and train a hawk. Not just any hawk, a Goshawk.

That is just one of the beauties of her story. She writes about nature and the healing process of her grief through nature and bonding with her Goshawk.

If you are intrigued by birds of prey, as I am, you will enjoy this book immensely. Not only for its behind scenes life of a falconer, but the history of the hobby. Helen Macdonald writes beautiful prose about her life and struggles with depression and how her Goshawk helps her through a difficult time in her life. This book definitely deserves all the attention it has received and I give high marks to H is For Hawk.

Shine On

Bird Man of Our Century

 

“A bird’s experience is far richer,
complex, and thoughtful than I’d imagined.”
David Allen Sibley

 

Birdman of the New Millennium
In a previous blog post I wrote about The Bird Man of America, John James Audubon. However, it appears there’s a new bird man of America artist that has been painting and studying birds for over 50 years. He has been called the most important illustrator of birds since Audubon.

David Allen Sibley, ornithologist, self-taught artist and author was born and raised in Plattsburgh, New York. His love of birds began at the age of eight years old while hiking with his father, Fred Sibley, famous ornithologist at Yale University.

Often after hiking with his dad, David would sketch all the different birds he had encountered from memory. His bird-watching hobby became a life-long passion. Much so, that he dropped out of college at Cornell University to pursue the study of birds.

Through the past five decades, Sibley has drawn and painted thousands of species of birds. His love of birds and painting them has never wavered. It was his goal to one day publish a field guide book for other bird watchers. With encouragement from his wife, also an ornithologist, he spent 14 years traveling, researching and painting birds for the book.

His hard work paid off and his goal was achieved in 2000, when his first book, The Sibley Field Guide to Birds was published. Shortly after publication, his first volume was on the New York best seller list and David followed up that book with numerous other popular guide books.

Even after half a century of bird-watching, David Sibley continues to study and learn new things about his favorite topic. When he did research for his recent book, What’s It’s Like to Be a Bird, he became convinced of something he had not previously anticipated: “Birds routinely make complex decisions and experience emotions”. In this book, he also covers such topics as; Do birds have a good sense of smell? Where do birds go at night? Where do they sleep?

With over 8.7 million species of birds throughout the entire world, I’m pretty sure his latest bird book won’t be the last for this bird man of our century.

Shine On

Exceptional Eggs

“The key to everything is patience.
You get the chicken by hatching the egg,
not by smashing it.”
Arnold H. Glasow

Exceptional Eggs

Everyone has heard the old famous question; What came first the chicken or the egg? Well, scientists say the egg came first about 340 million years ago while the chicken evolved about 58 thousand years ago.

Scientific records show that fowl were domesticated and laying eggs for human consumption since the 14th century. There is also archaeological evidence dating back to the Neolithic age for egg consumption. In North America, the first domesticated fowl arrived with the second voyage of Columbus in 1493.

Just a little over 100 years ago most people with farmland had chickens and the majority of these chickens were kept in a henhouse. So how did we go from gathering a few eggs on a farm to shipping millions of eggs across the country every day?

Exceptional Eggs

James Ashley’s Egg Case Maker circa 1900

In the late 19th and early 20th century, families leaving the farm for the city couldn’t take the chickens with them, so they had to rely on markets in the city to get their eggs. With the demand for fresh eggs, an innovative Civil War veteran, James Ashley developed a crate for eggs that allowed eggs to be mass marketed.

Ashley first patented his egg case maker in 1896 and received additional patents for improvements to the machine in 1902 and 1925. Farmers could then put their logo stamp on the outside of the crate and ship them off on the rails to major cities. Today, egg farmers are still using Ashley crates to get their eggs to grocery stores.

There are different types of eggs available at your local grocery stores, such as pasteurized, farm fresh free range, and organic type eggs. Pasteurized eggs means they have been treated to destroy any bacteria on the egg so it has a longer shelf life but they must be refrigerated. Farm fresh eggs come from chickens that are free range and eat non-GMO feed, mostly small bugs. Organic means these eggs aren’t from free range chickens but may have been fed non-GMO feed.  You do not have to refrigerate your farm fresh organic eggs because they have a shelf life of over a month.

Eggs have about 7 grams of protein per egg. An individual needs about 40 grams of protein a day. So, eggs are an excellent source and inexpensive way to get your daily protein.

I’m a fan of farm fresh eggs and it is one of my main source of protein. I’ve noticed if I buy grocery store eggs, they’re just not as agreeable with my digestive system. That’s why I buy farm fresh organic eggs that I get at the local farmers market, which in my opinion are exceptional eggs.

Shine On