September 23rd, 2007

count, ten, 10-A

Ten random things: Reader Request Month, day 23

Ten things you may not have known about kumquats:

  1. Kumquats were introduced to Europe in 1846 by Robert Fortune, a collector for the London Horticultural Society
  2. Its name means "gold orange" in Chinese.
  3. Kumquats are rarely grown from seed, but rather are grafted onto citrus trees such as the trifoliate orange or grapefruit.
  4. In Vietnam, kumquat bonsai trees are used as a decoration for the Tet holiday.
  5. Because of the thick peel, the kumquat has good keeping quality and stands handling and shipment well.
  6. Potted kumquats are subject to mealybug infestations.
  7. A 100g serving of raw kumquat contains 274 calories and 0.4g of fat.
  8. In Taiwan, kumquats are a popular addition to both hot and iced tea.
  9. Kumquats readily hybridise with other members of the genus Citrus and with the closely related Poncirus.
  10. It's not spelled "kumkwat."

Today's list is for figgy_newton, who I think didn't know at least one of these facts.

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art

Art on Sunday: Autumn Landscape

Happy vernal equinox!

Du Bois Fenelon Hasbrouck (1860 – 1917)
Autumn Landscape, 1888 (big snow that year)
Oil on canvas
Du Bois Fenelon Hasbrouck, Autumn Landscape
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

Speaking of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, I was there last week to see the new exhibit "Kindred Spirits: Asher B. Durand and the American Landscape." Those of you with long memories may recall that Kindred Spirits was among the first works of art I posted here as part of the Art on Sunday series, way back on January 23, 2005. Good exhibition, especially if (like me) you're a fan of the Hudson River school of American landscape painters.

On my way to the gallery in which the Durands were on display, I walked through the Lincoln Gallery, which displays contemporary works. Upon entering, a particular sculpture (click on the photo to see it at highest resolution) near the entrance caught my eye. It reminded me very strongly an Art on Sunday work I posted last year. (And for good reason: they're by the same artist, Laura Butterfield.) I made my way over for a closer look, and was very impressed by how skillfully she had assembled driftwood into such a recognizable form. The plaque with information about the work and the artist was a couple feet away on the wall, so I walked over to read it:

Monekana
2001
Deborah Butterfield

bronze

Bronze?! I made an obviously amusing double-take back at the sculpture -- obvious because the security guard standing nearby laughed when I did it. I talked to him for a bit afterwards; Apparently, most people react to it in exactly that way, and I got the impression that watching people like me react in that way is a highlight of his day. It really is very difficult to see, even standing right next to it, that it's not made of wood, but the guard tapped on the side of the sculpture with his fingernail to demonstrate that it really was bronze. Amazing.

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    Bruce Springsteen - The River [Live]