satirical ART of surrealist Pawel Kuczynski

A commentary on technology and the influence it has on our everyday lives.

Polish born artist Pawel Kuczynski creates surreal fantastical compositions, where anything and everything is possible. He looks at contemporary issues through the lens of satire to portray today’s social, political and cultural reality.

When you take a closer look, what at first seemed a funny cartoon actually shows some serious problems in today’s world. That is the art of satire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine family dinner not with healthful food and conversation about the day’s events, but sitting around a wireless router saying grace before partaking in the glow radiating from the blue screens of their tablets and mobile devices. It has become common for the internet and  social media to become a substitute for experiencing the natural world and personal conversation.

New technologies are coming in the near future. Brick and mortar retail stores, manufacturing, transportation, increased automation, media and communication will continue to be affected by change. How will these unknown technologies change the social fabric of society?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each of us will have viewed the art of Pawel Kaczynski differently. Each of us will take away something different from these drawings. On a second viewing our interpretation may change. What at first seems humorous takes on a deeper meaning. These improbable drawings, fantastical as they may seem, are based in a deeper truth that speaks of our cultural reality.

Did you enjoy the thought provoking art of Pawel Kuczynski? In January 2012 I posted a gallery of Kuczynski’s earlier artwork. You can find that post here.

Keep exploring.

Aloha, Dohn

 

 

Posted in Art, the hungry brain | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Medicinal Herb Survey at the Lower Farm

Remedios de Ledoux

Wild plants have been used by humans for medicinal purposes since prehistoric times. In the past two thousand years volumes of books have been written, by herbalists from around the world, to document the preparation and use of medicinal herbs and how to identify them. Scientists today are able to analyze the compounds found in wild plants and herbs, discovering the many healthful benefits they hold. They find that not all traditional remedies have value, on the other hand many, many, other remedies are tried and true.

Over the years it has been a favorite past time for myself and others to harvest medicinal herbs at the Lower Farm. To wander the fields with sack or satchel plucking the freshest of leaves and most luxurious of blooms in the early morning throughout the seasons was a wonderful and memorable experience. At times it became a daily meditation to walk in nature and collect only the finest it had to offer that day.

For over a decade the southwest has suffered under severe drought conditions. At the Lower Farm  there were consequences. After several years of diminished plant growth, seed stock plummeted. The most common of herbs and flowers have managed to persist but in lesser quantities, some varieties once prevalent are not found. Finally this past winter there was a bountiful snowpack in the higher mountains and the watershed has fed plentiful water to the canyons and valleys, resulting in a most favorable condition for wild plants.

On the first day of the second week of July, I set out with the morning dew still glistening on spiky grass to explore my bottom field. I was open to a meditative morning in nature and could focus on and survey where herbs were growing and in what quantities. I could feel my well being improve as I scuffed through young sage and assimilated the aroma.

I didn’t do an exhaustive investigation along the rio where I knew that horsetail and mint once grew but I did find that most of the more common of medicinal herbs found at the Lower Farm are doing well. Quantities are low as expected but seed propagation and the quality should be good this year.

A brief description and photographs of a Medicinal Herb Survey at the Lower Farm follows:

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Red Clover

Has long been used as a blood purifier. It has a pleasant flavor and offers many benefits to health as a gentle cleansing tea drunk on occasion for overall salutary purposes. It is high in natural protective antioxidants and anti inflammatory compounds. As a topical aid, red clover is often an ingredient in ointments and balms.

 

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Alfalfa

Has a high level of nutrients and is easily absorbed and assimilated by the body. Contains wide variety of minerals including; iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, sulfur, chlorine, sodium, potassium and silicon. Alfalfa is also a good source of Vitamins E, C and K.

 

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Sage

Known for its fragrant aroma. Sage is pollinator friendly, has had extensive culinary use, used in ceremonial practice for indigenous people in America and used as a cosmetic. Loaded with calcium and vitamin A, helpful with anti ageing and digestive health.

 

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Mullein

It’s traditional uses generally have focused on the management of respiratory disorders. Used to treat asthma, coughs, tuberculosis, and related respiratory problems. Preparations of the plant have been ingested, applied topically, and smoked.

 

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Yarrow

Used for fever, common cold, hay fever, absence of menstruation, dysentery, diarrhea, loss of appetite and gastrointestinal tract discomfort.

 

 

 

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Milk Thistle

Boosts immune system, treats degenerative conditions that affect the mind, supports bone health, limits spread and inhibits growth of cancerous cells, improves asthma symptoms, supports weight loss, reduces cholesterol and good for skin health. Most common use is to treat liver problems.

 

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Milkweed

Nectar in flowers provides valuable food for butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Leaves are the ONLY food Monarch caterpillars can eat. There was a 90% decline in Eastern Monarch Butterflies in just a decade. The latex is used as a treatment for warts, ringworm and other skin ailments. Root extracts have been used to treat respiratory disorders and for intestinal parasites.

 

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Rosehip

Rosehips are the fruit of the rose plant. Consider drinking rosehip tea if you suffer from a weak immune system, skin conditions, chronic pain, indigestion, high toxicity levels, arthritis, gout, inflammatory conditions, high cholesterol, and hypertension, or if you are at increased risk of heart disease or cancer.

I have not been drinking as much herbal tea as I once did. Part of that is due to being away from the Lower Farm for over a decade while living in Hawai’i. After taking a survey of some of the herbs growing here I am reminded how beneficial these wild plants are to promote good health and how joyful it is to traipse my own fields gathering flowers and leaves for my well being.

My attempts at preserving the legends of this old homestead include wild crafting for  medicinal herbs through the seasons. It’s a way to be directly connected with Mother Earth, have enjoyable exercise in the environment and promote general wellness.

Be well,   Dohn

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ART and Wellness….diary sketches

 

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“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”     Pablo Picasso

Rummaging around in my attic I came across an old black portfolio case. Safeguarded inside were art notes and sketches, ideas to be pursued at a later time. I hadn’t looked at the neglected collection in ages. After dusting off the case I carried it downstairs to see what it was I put away 20 or 30 years ago. Inside; long forgotten images, drafts of imagination, a wordless journal capturing a few years in time…to be continued later…sometime…maybe.

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There is an undeniable sense of pleasure that comes from creating something with one’s own hands. Whether or not the piece turns out like we hoped it would, there is still enjoyment in the process. The great thing about art is that you don’t have to be talented to enjoy the benefits it provides.

 

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Art can improve your quality of life and have a positive impact on your mental health and well being, no matter if you have talent or not. Exposing ourselves to paintings, sculptures and photographs can lead to healthier mental states. People often choose to display art in their homes for aesthetic reasons, but recent studies have shown that engaging in the visual arts can actually improve memory, lower stress and increase empathy whether by viewing art or creating it.

 

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When people engage in complex activities the brain creates new connections between brain cells, it also stimulates communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Your brain’s ability to grow connections and change over time is called brain plasticity or neuroplasticity. Creating art has proven to increase this plasticity and aid in psychological and emotional resistance to stress.

In the journal Art Therapy, researchers found that after just 45 minutes of art making, levels of cortisol – which is associated with stress – where reduced in participants, regardless of prior skill levels.

Studies have shown that creating art increases the level of dopamine in your brain, which helps to ward off sadness and depression. It can also provide you with a boost to your self esteem.

 

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One 2014 study published in Plos One found that making visual art can improve connections throughout the brain known as the Default Mode Network. This system is associated with the brains state during wakeful rest, like daydreaming, but it’s also active when we’re focusing on internal thoughts or future plans.

Similar to meditation, art draws people’s attention to details and the environment, which creates a distraction from day to day thoughts.

 

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Art is good for wellness:

  • It stimulates imagination. By engaging in artistic endeavors you are learning to see the world around you in a new light, and you are more present in the moment. Your only limit is your imagination.
  • You become more observant. You learn to see what’s around you by concentrating on details, lighting, colors, shapes and  much more.
  • Stress reduction. Whenever you immerse yourself in an artistic endeavor, your mind temporarily forgets all of your worries since your hands and brain are busy crafting.
  • You enhance your problem solving skills. Being creative and making art shows us there is more than one solution to the same problem. It encourages open ended thinking.
  • Self esteem builder. Especially for youth but all ages can use an occasional boost.

 

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Crafting hobbies of all kinds – knitting, quilting, sewing, drawing, photography, woodworking and DIY repair – increase dopamine, ward off depression and protect the brain from aging.

If you don’t have time for it, you can visit a local art exhibit and view someone else’s art as it will also have a positive impact on your creativity.

 

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Self expression doesn’t require talent – the purpose of art is to express our ideas and emotions freely.

I’m motivated and inspired to take out some pencils and watercolors to rework and expand on the ideas held in this old diary of sketches.

Aloha, Dohn

 

Posted in Art, health | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Books On A Shelf

“You are a reader, and therefore a thinker, an observer, a living soul who wants more out of the human experience.”     Salil Jha

 

” Old books exert a fascination for me – – their smell, their feel, their history; wondering who might have owned them, how they lived, what they felt.”         Lauren Willig

 

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Books are my friends, my companions. They make me laugh and cry and find meaning in life.”     Christopher Paolini
” Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”     Charles William Elliot

 

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I’ve always had old books in my library. Some for a very long time now. The books on this shelf for example.

My Life And Work by Henry Ford, 1922.     Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe,      The Treasury of American Folklore,     Theodore Roosevelt Hunting the Grizzly, The Wilderness Hunters, The Rough Riders, 1889      Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Life Among the Lowly, Harriet Beecher Stowe, published by the Federal Book Company (no date, an original?),     Elliot Moore’s Textbook on Writing the Photoplay, 1918,     The Webster Franklin Fourth Reader for the use of Public and Private Schools, 1873,     Everybody’s Complete Encyclopedia, Whitman Publishing Company,    Short Stories New and Old, 1916,     Danny Orlis and the Wrecked Plane, Bernard Palmer, 1956,     Hopalong Cassidy and The Trail to the Seven Pines, 1950,     American Boy’s Handy Book – What to do and How to do it, 1882,    The New Etiquette, Margery Wilson, 1937,     Henry David Thoreau – Three complete Books, The Maine Woods, Walden, Cape Cod.

 

“The beautiful thing about reading old books, is realizing all your struggles, aren’t a you thing but a human thing.”     Atticus

 

“Oddly enough, my favorite genre is not fiction. I’m attracted by primary sources that are relevant to historical questions of interest to me, by famous old books on philosophy or theology that I want to see with my own eyes, by essays on contemporary science, by the literatures of antiquity.”     Marilynne Robinson
“Half of my library are old books because I like seeing how people thought about their world at their time, so that I don’t get big headed about something we’ve discovered and I can be humble about where we might go next. Because you can see who got stuff right and most of the people who got stuff wrong.”     Neil deGrasse Tyson

 

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“Raised in a house filled with old books, I’m drawn to them: the dust jackets that call out a historical moment, the marbled boards, the words pressed into the page with moveable type.”    Jacob Weisberg

 

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” Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”     Plato

For the love of old books.

Happy Trails, Dohn

 

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A Small Patch Where Little Flowers Grow

Where Little Flowers Grow

 

I left a small patch

A place I didn’t mow,

Just a small patch

Where little flowers grow.

 

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In the morning sun I see

The oasis radiantly glow,

I’m seated on the Earth

Where little flowers grow.

 

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Lazy bees and ladybugs

Pause to say hello,

At that isolated patch

Where little flowers grow.

 

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A healthful spirit is restored

When the mind is slowed,

While breathing deeply

Where little flowers grow.

                           Dohn Chapman

 

Aloha, Dohn

 

 

 

Posted in earth, environment, health, Nature | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Remembering the First King of Hawai’i

King Kamehameha the Great

Statue of Kamehameha the Great at the Capitol Bldg. ,Washington, D.C.

June 11 is King Kamehameha Day in Hawai’i. This official holiday was established by royal decree on December 22, 1871 by King Kamehameha V to honor his great grandfather, Kamehameha I who united the Hawaiian Islands in 1810 and became Hawaii’s first king.

King Kamehameha was revered by his subjects and is still honored across the Hawaiian Islands today. On King Kamehameha Day there are speeches, songs, hula dancing and parades with floats, equestrian units and the wonderful Hawaiian Pau Riders. https://earthstonestation.com/2013/06/30/the-wonderful-hawaiian-pau-riders/

Festivities begin with a draping of lei over statues of King Kamehameha in four locations. One in Washington, D.C., one at Iolani Palace, Oahu, Hawai’i, another in Hilo, Hawai’i and one at Kapa’au, Big Island, Hawai’i. The statue at Kapa’au is the original cast bronze statue and was retrieved from the bottom of the sea before being installed in Kapa’au, the birthplace of Kamehameha.

The statue of Kamehameha the Great, arm outstretched, bedecked in lei is a beautiful sight.

You can see more photos and learn history at https://earthstonestation.com/2013/06/13/king-kamehameha-day-june-11/ 

and

https://earthstonestation.com/2014/06/18/2014-king-kamehameha-parade/

King Kamehameha was known as a fierce warrior, superior statesman and a fair and just ruler. He was worthy of the name  “Great”. Learning the history and attending celebrations for Hawaii’s first king has left a lasting impression with me. I treasure it.

Today, June 11th we honor King Kamehameha, the first king of Hawai’i.

Aloha, Dohn

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Muhlenberg, Kentucky. The Loss of Paradise.

Paradise….. a folk song

Commonly associated with folk lore, folk music is known for story telling. Originating in popular culture, folk songs are passed down from generation to generation, often with words or their meaning changing in the retelling. Historically these songs were transmitted orally and learned by singing with others. That changed in the 1930s with electrical music recording, record players and radios.

The Oklahoma dust bowl followed by the Great Depression left thousands of Americans in desperate conditions. Folk singers Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger wrote songs to bring hope to the disenfranchised. They traveled the country singing in union halls, at rallies and political gatherings. Besides personal appearances radio airwaves provided a forum for their controversial social commentary and criticism.

In 1960s America the momentum of social activism promoting concepts of peace and notions of equal rights gave rise to a new generation of folk singers and protest songs. Civil liberties, civil rights, women’s rights, economic injustice, politics and war were popular subjects for protest songs. They were effective in drawing people together and inspiring them to take action or reflect.

Every now and then a song comes along that has a lasting impact on our perspective. The first folk song I remember that addressed environmental concerns was like that. I have kept it close in my memories and recall it often.

Paradise…..by John Prine

When I was a child my family would travel
Down to Western Kentucky where my parents were born
And there’s a backwards old town that’s often remembered
So many times that my memories are worn

chorus…And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking
Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away

Well, sometimes we’d travel right down the Green River
To the abandoned old prison down by Airdrie Hill
Where the air smelled like snakes and we’d shoot with our pistols
But empty pop bottles was all we would kill

chorus…And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County

Then the coal company came with the world’s largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man

chorus…And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County

When I die let my ashes float down the Green River
Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester dam
I’ll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waitin’
Just five miles away from wherever I am

chorus…And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County

Songwriters: John Prine Paradise lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Peace, Dohn

Posted in environment, local economy, Music, politics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment