Dyeing Textiles–with Earthworms

Today’s Earthworm Moment is brought to you by NPR, India, and the traditional art of “ajrakh.” See Worms Land a Great Job Working with Gorgeous Indian Textiles to read more about how the lowly worm is helping to clean and filter toxic wastewater left over from making these beautiful block-printed fabrics so it can be reused. Sometimes the answer to tough problems is right in your own backyard.

More about the fascinating process of Ajrakh printing here.


The Art of the Picnic

The Pickwick family in The Pickwicks’ Picnic is heading out of the city for a special outing–a picnic! This article from the Atlantic, “The Seductive Nostalgia of the Picnic,” may make you hanker to plan an outing of your own; it talks of picnicking, its history, its logistics, its delights. Here’s a snippet:

In my youth, [the picnic] was still a thing. Upon the announcement that a family picnic was in the works, an anticipation of bliss took hold. What was so transporting about the idea of taking grandma’s hamper, with its chipped enamelware, and the fringed wool blanket that otherwise went unused in the back of the car, just to go eat in the countryside?

What are your fond memories of picnics past? I’ll share mine in a future post.

Giraffe Gaffe–What Would You Do?

Young giraffe, Brookfield Zoo, 2010. Photo by me!

Young giraffe, Brookfield Zoo, 2010. Photo by me!

I ran across this brief article recently, from the Bandwagon website:

Low Bridge and a Giraffe

(Reprinted from Chesapeake & Ohio Railway magazine “TRACKS” (April 1953). Bandwagon, Vol. 1, May-June, 1957, p. 3.)

An unusual problem in railroading occurred several years ago when a circus train was delayed by a low bridge and a giraffe. The animal’s head poking through the top of his special crate-car, was three inches too high for the bridge. Trainmen pondered the problem, while circus officials insisted that a headless giraffe would be worse than useless for exhibition purposes.

The next show town was fifty miles up the line, and something had to be done promptly or the performance would not open at the advertised time. The baffled conductor phoned headquarters. The freight clearance expert was called in. He thought the matter over for about thirty seconds, then advised, “Drop a carrot into the giraffe’s cage.”

The carrot was dropped.

The giraffe ducked down to get it.

The engineer jerked the throttle and the train went under the bridge.

The show opened on time.