Faraway Places

Daily Bread for 5.4.24: The 2,000-Year-Old City of Mosaics

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 77. Sunrise is 5:42 and sunset 8:00 for 14h 17m 08s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 17.5 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1776,  Rhode Island becomes the first American colony to renounce allegiance to King George III.

The 2,000-Year-Old City of Mosaics:

Dating back to the Byzantine era, Ravenna in Italy has been filled with a rich tapestry of mosaic craftsmanship, from the walls to the floors and the ceilings of its architectural marvels. From grand basilicas to intimate residences, Ravenna’s mosaic artistry portrays ancient civilizations through every shimmering tile and preserves the legacy of a city steeped in history and artistic brilliance. Experience these timeless artworks as Professor Daniele Torcellini offers insights into their historical context and artist Luca Barberini shows how mosaics can engage with contemporary issues.

Happy May the Fourth, Star Wars Fans:

Daily Bread for 3.30.24: The Art of Making China’s Most Luxurious Fabric

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 50. Sunrise is 6:37 and sunset 7:30 for 12h 42m 19s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 75.8 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1867, Alaska is purchased from Russia for $7.2 million, about two cents/acre, by United States Secretary of State William H. Seward.

The Surprising Art of Making China’s Most Luxurious Fabric:

Xiangyunsha is a silk that’s not only incredibly soft but also eco-friendly and antibacterial. It’s giving modern synthetics a run for their money.

This is the intricate process behind this legendary fabric. From soaking and drying, to the unique rusty hue achieved through a special reaction involving a specific river mud in China and local yams—each step adds to the charm of what has become known as “soft gold.”

We meet Liang Zhu, a local artisan with a wealth of knowledge about the rich history and cultural significance of Xiangyunsha. But these techniques aren’t just passed down—they’re carefully taught and honed through generations of skilled artisans. We’re unravelling the secrets and wonders of Xiangyunsha, an ancient silk dying technique that has been solidified as part of China’s cultural heritage.

Through the Lens: Acorn Woodpeckers:

The Acorn Woodpecker is a favorite among bird watchers. It has a clown-like appearance and the unique habit of storing acorns in a favored tree that is often used by generations of birds. Wildlife Photographer Marie Read shares her experience photographing the behaviors of these lively birds.

Learn more about Acorn Woodpeckers on All About Birds:

We don’t have this species here, but birders can find them on visits west. Acorn woodpeckers range on the West Coast, from as far north as Oregon along the Pacific into South America. 

Daily Bread for 3.23.24: Tiny Windows Serving Wine

 Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 34. Sunrise is 6:49 and sunset 7:11 for 12h 21m 58s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 97.4 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1909, Theodore Roosevelt leaves New York for a post-presidency safari in Africa. The trip is sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society.

Tiny Windows Serving Wine:

A glass of wine…served out of a window 🍷

In Florence, Italy there are tiny little windows built into the side of most noble palaces. And from these tiny windows, wine is served.

Affectionately known as “buchette del vino”, Florence’s wine windows date back to the 16th Century, and were a means for noble families to sell their wine directly to the public. Their usefulness, however, really became apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic, and doubled as a unique solution to minimizing contact and halting the spread of illness.

We explore the history and preservation of these wine windows, and how they are still used today. Watch as @JacobHarrell guides you through this story.

‘The Empire (State Building) strikes back with a ‘Star Wars’ light show:

Daily Bread for 3.2.24: A Scottish Village In Italy

 Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 60. Sunrise is 6:26 and sunset 5:47 for 11h 20m 46s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 61 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1983, compact discs and players are released for the first time in the United States and other markets. They had previously been available only in Japan.

Why Is There a Scottish Village In Italy?:

What’s in the Night Sky (March 2024):


 Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 40. Sunrise is 6:46 and sunset 5:30 for 10h 43m 54s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 69.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1930, Elm Farm Ollie becomes the first cow to fly in a fixed-wing aircraft and also the first cow to be milked in an aircraft:

Elm Farm Ollie (known as “Nellie Jay” and post-flight as “Sky Queen”) was the first cow to fly in an airplane, doing so on 18 February 1930, as part of the International Air Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. On the same trip, which covered 72 miles in a Ford Trimotor airplane from Bismarck, Missouri, to St. Louis, she also became the first cow milked in flight. This was done ostensibly to allow scientists to observe midair effects on animals, as well as for publicity purposes. A St. Louis newspaper trumpeted her mission as being “to blaze a trail for the transportation of livestock by air.”

Elm Farm Ollie was reported to have been an unusually productive Guernsey cow, requiring three milkings a day and producing 24 quarts of milk during the flight itself. Wisconsin native Elsworth W. Bunce milked her, becoming the first man to milk a cow mid-flight. Elm Farm Ollie’s milk was sealed into paper cartons which were parachuted to spectators below. Charles Lindbergh reportedly received a glass of the milk.

Although Elm Farm Ollie was born and raised in Bismarck, Missouri, it is largely in the dairy state of Wisconsin where her fame has lived on.

Painting of Elm Farm Ollie by E.D. Thalinger in 1930 Fair use,


As we were in Nepal filming « Everest Green » documentary, about pollution in Kathmandu and the Himalayan mountains, we decided to make this short film, « CHASING LIGHTS IN THE HIMALAYAS », showing the incredible beauty of this country.

If you want more information about « Everest Green » :

Hungry moose goes grocery shopping in woman’s cart outside of store:


Daily Bread for 1.20.24: Berlin’s Flying Ramen

 Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 16. Sunrise is 7:19 and sunset 4:52 for 9h 33m 21s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 75% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1929, the first full-length talking motion picture filmed outdoors, In Old Arizona, is released.

Berlin’s Flying Ramen

In the bustling city of Berlin, an extraordinary ramen phenomenon has taken flight thanks to a man named Christopher. From the confines of his apartment, Christopher crafts and delivers fresh ramen kits in a most unconventional manner. Using a vibrant red bucket suspended from his window, he lowers these delectable packages to eager customers waiting below. What started as a creative solution for social distancing during lockdown has evolved into a cherished ritual in the culinary landscape. Christopher’s flying ramen delivery system has become an iconic symbol of his business, capturing the imagination of locals and international patrons alike. As customers eagerly await their airborne ramen, the act of receiving this unique delivery has transformed into a communal experience, making Christopher’s flying ramen a beloved and distinctive culinary adventure in the heart of Berlin.

Endangered baby hippo makes debut at Czech zoo

Mikolas, a baby pygmy hippo born at the Dvur Kralove nad Labem zoo in the Czech Republic last month, made his public debut on Jan. 15.

Friday Catblogging: The Corsican ‘Cat-Fox’

For years, scientists have wondered if striped cats on Corsica were a distinct species: Turns out, they are: The elusive striped “cat-fox” familiar mostly to Corsican shepherds and as a source of intrigue to scientists, is indeed its own species specific to the French Mediterranean island, the French office for Biodiversity (OFB) announced Thursday. New…