Archive for November 2012

Portraits: John Quincy Adams   4 comments

John Quincy Adams (1767 – 1849)

Adams was the first (ex) President to be photographed, in 1843 … though there are claims that Harrison was photographed in 1841, no proof exists.

The 6th President of the United States, 1825 – 1829

When Adams sat for this portrait, he doubted that artist George Caleb Bingham could produce “a strong likeness.” Ralph Waldo Emerson commented that the aging Adams was “like one of those old cardinals, who as quick as he is chosen Pope, throws away his crutches and his crookedness, and is as straight as a boy.”

AKA: Old Man Eloquent or The Abolitionist

From: Massachusetts

College: Harvard College, class of 1787

Married to: Louisa Adams

Children: Charles Francis Adams, Sr, George Washington Adams, John Adams II, Louisa Catherine Adams

Party: Federalist, Democratic-Republican, Whig

Previous Jobs: secretary, lawyer, state senator, senator, diplomat, Secretary of State

In His Words: “Civil liberty can be established on no foundation of human reason which will not at the same time demonstrate the right of religious freedom.”

“The manners of women are the surest criterion by which to determine whether a republican government is practicable in a nation or not.”

“America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

Not true:  Adams’ service to the United States became an issue in the 2012 Presidential race, 183 years after he died.  Michelle Bachmann famously declared that our founding fathers “worked tirelessly to end slavery.”  When  journalists called Bachmann on being inaccurate, she cited John Quincy Adams as one founding father that was an example of what she meant.  In spite of his unprecedented international experience at a very tender age, it does seem to stretch credibility to call him a founding father, as he was only 9 years old in 1776.  It is true that he railed against slavery while serving in the House of Representatives, but he was not a steady advocate for abolition until after he was President.

True: He served in the diplomatic service at the age of 13 as the secretary to the US envoy to Russia.  He later was one of the secretaries to Jefferson and Franklin, helping them draft the documents confirming US independence from Great Britian.  He was barely 16.

In the 1824 Presidential election, he did not win the popular vote, nor a majority of the electoral college.  Because no candidate won a majority, he was eventually selected as President by the House of Representatives.  Adams had been a brilliant diplomat, but proved to be an idealistic and inflexible President.  He followed his father’s unfortunate example as the 2nd President to only serve one term.

He’s the only President to serve in the House of Representatives after he left the White House.

The Official Portrait:

George Peter Alexander Healy was one of the most prolific portrait artists of his day.  He painted 18 Presidents, from John Quincy Adams to Ulysses S Grant.  Some of his other famous paintings were of Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Pope Pius IX and John James Audobon.

Vasquez Rocks in the Rain   Leave a comment

When the rain made the surface of the rocks reflective, the blue sky provided a blue sheen to the rocks.

Posted November 18, 2012 by henrymowry in California, Photography

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Portraits: Theodore Roosevelt   5 comments

Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919)

The 26th President of the United States, 1901 – 1909

AKA: Teddy

From: New York

College: Harvard class of 1880, Columbia Law School

Married to: Alice Hathaway Lee, Edith Kermit Carrow

Both his mother and his first wife died on the same day; his diary entry said “The light has gone out of my life.”

Children: Alice (with Alice), and with Edith: Theodore Jr., Kermit, Ethel Carrow, Archibald Bulloch and Quentin

Party: Republican, Bull Moose

Previous Jobs: Cattle rancher, deputy sheriff, historian, naturalist, explorer, author of 35 books, police commissioner, assistant Secretary of the Navy, governor of New York, war hero, and lawyer.

In His Words:  “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

“When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer ‘present’ or ‘not guilty.'”

Portrait by Adrian Lamb

Not true: The Iron Ore, a newspaper in Marquette County, Upper Peninsula, Michigan, accused Teddy of public drunkenness.  The editorial stated, “Roosevelt lies, and curses in a most disgusting way, he gets drunk too, and that not infrequently, and all of his intimates know about it.”  Roosevelt was running for President at the time as the standard bearer for the Bull Moose Party, and he sued for libel in what became one of the most celebrated trials of 1912.  The newspaper editor admitted guilt, and Teddy settled for six cents … the “price of a good newspaper,” he said.  The Iron Ore cost three cents.

True: As the first conservationist president, he spearheaded the creation of the United States Forest Service, and established five new national parks. He was responsible for the start of the Wildlife Refuge system. During his administration, 42 million acres were set aside as national forests, wildlife refuges, and areas of special interest (such as the Grand Canyon).

He coined the phrase “good to the last drop” after being asked about the quality of Maxwell House coffee.

The Official Portrait:

Edith Roosevelt portrait, by Theobald Charlton, 1902

John Singer Sargent’s painting would be the official portrait of the President, but it wasn’t the first. In 1902 Theobald Chartran was  commissioned to paint portraits of the President and his wife. Although she enjoyed her’s, Teddy simply hated his. At first they tried to hide the blasted thing in an upper corridor in the darkest place on the wall. The family called it the “Mewing Cat.” Teddy disliked it so much that he eventually destroyed it.

What Teddy wanted was a man’s portrait by a artist that could capture the adventurer that he was.

The two men walked around the house searching for the right setting, but nothing was working. As they climbed the stairs, Teddy barked that Sargent must not know what he wanted. Sargent, who was also frustrated, snapped back that he didn’t think the President appreciated what was needed to pose for a portrait. Roosevelt, the stairway landing, planted his hand on the balustrade post, turned onto the ascending artist and said,  “Don’t I!”

And that was the pose Sargent wanted.

Sargent’s portrait of Teddy Roosevelt was exactly what Teddy Roosevelt wanted and he would adore the portrait for the rest of his life. It had exactly captured, in the President’s eyes, the essence of his energy as well as his presidency.

Roasted Garlic Tomato Pasta Sauce   7 comments

California still has fresh tomatoes in November! These beefsteaks were seconds … perfect for sauce!

The best ingredients make the best dinner!  Tomatoes from our local grower inspired this meal.

Roasted Tomato Garlic Pasta Sauce

Basil from Velda’s garden!

  • 10 ripe beefsteak or roma tomatoes (or substitute 2-28 oz cans of whole tomatoes)
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T sugar
  • garlic salt
  • pepper


Heat oven to 400*.  Do a 1″ rough chop on the tomatoes.  Dice onion and shallot.  Peal and rough chop garlic.  Spread 2 T olive oil in the bottom of a 11″x17″ jelly roll pan.  Spread tomatoes, onion, garlic, shallot and basil over.  Drizzle with remaining olive oil and the balsamic.  Sprinkle with sugar, garlic salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.

Place on top shelf of oven and roast for 20 minutes.  Stir, and roast for an additional 30 minutes until most juices are evaporated and carmelization has begun on the tomatoes.  Volume should reduce by about 50%.

Taste and adjust salt and pepper to preference.

Serving Suggestion

Prepare bow tie pasta per package directions.  Stir 2 T of the Roasted Garlic Tomato Pasta Sauce into the pasta to coat.

Plate, and cover pasta with additional sauce as desired.

Top with fresh mozzarella. Sprinkle pine nuts. Shave parmesan to taste. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Fresh pasta sauce + fresh green beans. It’s what’s for dinner.

Side Dish: Green Beans with Mushrooms and Onions

  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 4 oz Cremini mushrooms
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c water
  • salt & pepper

Melt butter with olive oil in heavy skillet.  Saute sliced mushrooms and onions until soft and edges start to carmelize.  Add whole green beans with stems removed.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to coat with olive oil and let saute for 4-5 minutes.  Add balsamic, water, and cover for 10 minutes.  Remove lid, stir, continue to heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Taste for doneness, salt and pepper to taste.  Green beans should be crisp and tender.  If more tenderness is desired, add more water, cover and cook a few more minutes.

Salad: Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

  • 1 lb fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8-10 strawberries, quartered or sliced
  • Slivered almonds
  • Panera fat-free Poppyseed Dressing

Toss spinach and onions with 2-3 T of dressing to coat.  Top with strawberries and almonds.

Wand Buckwheat   Leave a comment

A Wand Buckwheat bush against one of the many sandstone rocks in Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, Los Angeles County, CA.


California Buckwheat: Fall   2 comments

California Buckwheat has a pale flower in the spring that turns to an orange/russet color through the winter.  Great fall color, seen here at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park in northern Los Angeles County, CA.

Here Comes The Sun   1 comment

The sun rises over Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park in northern Los Angeles County, CA.

Posted November 15, 2012 by henrymowry in California, Photography

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The 100th Post   6 comments

I started this blog with no one’s permission.  It’s just like when you were a teenager:  if you don’t ask permission, no one can say no.

The blog was launched last June — for fun! — and I’m having fun.  By the fact that you’re reading this, I assume you’re enjoying the blog as well — at least on the good days.

In celebration of MowryJournal’s 100th post (can you believe it???) on its 146th day of existence, I’m going to list 25 things you don’t know about me.  Well, you won’t know all of them.

1. I decided early on I was not a farmer.  My Grandfather had my sister and I help harvest potatoes one year, and our reward (?) was to raise some runt pigs for market.  Runts wouldn’t survive on their own; they needed the personal care that we apparently were expected to provide.  The pigs were eventually sold at the St Joseph, MO stockyards, and I eventually learned I was not a pig farmer.

2. Car accident # 1:  I was a passenger, and we had a head-on collision with a snow plow.

3. I was the student council president for the Nodaway-Holt Trojans, class of ’74.  Our big accomplishment: we got a soda machine for the students.  This would be illegal in California today.

4. Worst meal of my life: dinner, January 30, 1983. Christopher was weakening (1 day old but 2 months premature) and had just been put on a ventilator. I went to the hospital cafeteria for dinner alone and literally tasted ashes in my mouth. And the food was not burnt.

5. I grew up admiring Mr. & Mrs EA Pence, who went to my church.  They also attended the Blue & Gold Banquets every year for my Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop.  Mr. Pence had a Silver Beaver award. I didn’t know what it meant when I was 10 years old, but I knew he was an important Scouter and deserved my respect.  I never put on my Silver Beaver without thinking of Mr. Pence.

6. My first college dorm was the first place I lived in with a shower.

7. Largest amount of money I’ve been given for a single idea: $450,000.  Largest contact I’ve implemented:  $2.1 million.  Today’s sales:  $13,027.

8. # jobs while working through college: 8. Carpenter, landscaper, electrician, bookseller, lighting designer, follow spot operator, bartender/dish washer, door-to-door accordion lesson salesman.

9. To “pay” for the feed that was needed to raise those runt pigs, I had to take the family out to dinner.  We went to the truck stop on the 5 Mile Corner, near Maryville, MO.  I remember paying the waitress’ tip in nickels … and it would have been a 15% tip.

10. Car Accident # 2: My car was hit by a parked vehicle.  Willard Fincham didn’t properly set the gearshift for his 1/2 ton truck when he parked it on Main Street in front of Speck Dougan’s store in Graham, MO.  The truck bed was filled with concrete blocks.  The truck slipped into neutral and rolled down the hill to hit the left rear fender of Grandma’s cherished ’59 Oldsmobile Super 88 before I could get parked & out of the way.  I then had to muster my 16-year-old courage and tell Grandma what I had done.  It was not a good day.

11. Wackiest job ever: age 16, and teaching 70+ 11-year-olds how to cook shish kabob skewers over open fires that they had to build.  Thank goodness raw beef isn’t toxic, or there would have been many sick 2nd class Scouts at Camp Geiger in 1972.

12. All 3 of our kids are still with their high school sweethearts.  Makes some sense: Velda and I became an item when we were 18.  However, that means we were actually older than the kids were when we started dating.

13. The best job in Scouting for an adult?  Cubmaster.  You’re the leader of Pack Meetings, and you’re one part ringmaster, one part magician and one part general.  You are adored by 7-year-olds.  Even the 10-year-old Webelos tend to be on good behavior around you.

14. Think you know fear?  I remember being 6 years old and having to make trips to the outhouse in the dark, armed with nothing but a flashlight.  We lived in the country, of course, so no street lights, and some things really DID go bump in the night.  And when the dogs came tearing out of the darkness to see who was in their yard … I knew fear.

Here I am feeding my new calves, Hessie & Bessie.

15. After deciding there was no money in pig farming, I took the cash from selling my pigs and bought two Holstein calves.  Purchased from the Hesnault Farm, I named them Hessie & Bessie.  My visions of profits evaporated when one proved barren and the other lost her first calf.  My livestock dreams ended when we sold the farm the next year, and moved into the big city of Graham, MO, then with a population of 213.

16. Best theatrical role: Noble the Lion in Reynard the Fox at the University of Missouri, 1979.  I wore yellow tights and a brown taffeta mane.  Yes, I am thankful no pictures have survived. Starring role:  Tom Destry in Destry Rides Again, a role played by Andy Griffith in the movie.  For the good of humanity, my list of theatrical appearances is mercifully short.  I did not belong on the stage; my skills were better used in directing and lighting design.

Yes, that’s a 4″x4″ white bandage covering my head wound in our wedding pictures.

17. Car Accident # 3: Six days before my wedding, I had a head-on collision with a 1/2 ton Chevy pickup, totaling both it and my new VW Rabbit. All my fault.

18. Least favorite college course:  psychology.  # of our children that majored in psychology:  2.

19. Like too many woodworkers, I had an accident with my table saw.  I was building our new kitchen cabinets, using the saw without the proper safety shields — like a stupid person.  Today, I don’t remove safety shields from power tools.  My little finger, which is about 98% effective after two operations, recommends you do the same.

20. The most fun I have is at the dinner table with Velda’s cooking & our family.

Half Dome in Yosemite National Park

21. Best National Park I’ve visited:  Yosemite.  I also love Sequoia, which is a close second.  I have many more to visit, however.

22. Worst alarm clock I’ve ever had:  the 8am tap dancing class that was on the stage next to the room Velda and I had been given to live in for the summer. We were on staff at a summer dance/arts/theater camp for ages 12 – college. We called it a “honeymoon.”  We were “wrong.”

23. I paid the national touring talent prior to their concert performances at Six Flags Magic Mountain for several years.  I only had one road manager show me his gun before I paid him.  He was just being friendly; he had one of the top Country artists of the early ’80s and he wanted to make sure I understood he was serious. Good times.

24. I worked only briefly as a professional teacher, and it made me a 4th generation teacher in my family.  My sister had a long career as a teacher, and now daughter-in-law # 2, MrsMowry in this blog, carries the torch in Gen 5.

25. Why is it we can’t agree on how to spell whiskey?  I’m very disappointed that my favorite cocktail might be whiskey, whisky or bourbon, depending on who made it and where they are.  Can’t we all just get along?

And that seems like a great place to stop.  It’s 5 o’clock somewhere….

My Great-Grandfather James Decker, Grandmother Ruth Decker Shull and Mother Letha Shull all taught in the vicinity of Graham, MO in the fall of 1947.

Mistletoe: No Kissing   1 comment

The hot colors in the center of the photo are provided by Juniper Mistletoe, which is different from the white-berried, green-leafed variety that provides kissing motivation for many people.  Shot at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, northern Los Angeles County, CA.

California Juniper   1 comment

A bush filled with juniper berries silhouetted against a bright California blue sky.

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