Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Does Astronomy and Peony Seeds Have In Common?

(Taken from "Uppity Women of Medieval Times" by Vicki Leon)
The seventh century was a tumultuous time in history especially in Korea - Full of battles, fights and blood - but there was a bright shining star that was equal to the task of ruling a great country wisely. Back then Korea was made up of several kingdoms and the kingdom of Silla was blessed with a woman of remarkable talents Queen Sonduk.
Legend has it that at the age of seven, her intelligence was revealed when her father, the King received a gift of peony seeds with an accompanying painting of a peony from China - little princess Sonduck said"Too bad the flower doesn't smell pretty". When her father asked how she know that, she said "If the flower smelled pretty there would be butterflies and bees around the flower in the painting". Her Dad was so impressed that he made her his heir to the kingdom of Silla.
Queen Sonduk ruled her kingdom for 14 years managing to keep it running smoothly and also encouraging intellectual pursuits and broadening the exchange of ideas with neighboring countries. In fact Sonduk built the first observatory in the Far East, known today as the Tower of the Moon and Stars. The tower still stands in Kyongju, South Korea, the capital city of the ancient kingdom of Silla.

Friday, September 2, 2011

5 Steps To Catch A Pig

We recently went to a small local country fair - the kind of country fair that you think your grandparents might have attended years ago - full of farmers and animals and nostalgia.
What Fun we had!!! We watched horse pulling, oxen pulling, cow judging, etc. We looked at giant pumpkins, newly hatched chicks, quilts and jams. We ate all sorts of good, gooey, fattening stuff. But the highlight had to be the Pig Scramble. "What is that" you ask?? Well, it begins by lots and lots of moms, dads, uncles, aunts and grandparents gathered around an enclosed corral ( we had to really elbow our way up to the fence to watch). Then you gather a group of 8 year old children in the center of the corral. Each one is given a burlap bag. At the sound of a bell - a box in the middle of the corral is opened and out runs a bunch of little piglets. The children begin chasing the piglets, the audience begins to shout and cheer and the squeals from the piglets only matches the squeals from the kids. Pandemonium!!!!!!
What was amazing was that some of the kids actually were able to catch some of the little pink wiggly creatures - but the prize is that they get to keep the pig and come next Easter - guess what's for dinner!
So what are the 5 steps to catch a pig?
1) Get an 8 year old child
2) Get a pink squealing baby pig
3) Hand the child a burlap bag
4) Get out of the way and finally
5) Go to the grocery store and buy a ham.