Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Montana



The name Montana comes from the Spanish word Montaña meaning "mountain" or more broadly, "mountainous country". Montaña del Norte was the name given by early Spanish explorers to describe the entire mountainous region of the west. Historians believe General and former Kansas Territory Governor James W. Denver was aware of this when asked by Senate chairman of the Committee on Territories Stephen A. Douglas for a name of one of the several territories he was planning on proposing. Though Douglas never did introduce a bill with the name Montana, he is credited with at least introducing the name. The name was eventually added to a bill by the United States House Committee on Territories, which was chaired at the time by Rep. James Ashley of Ohio, for the territory that would become Idaho Territory.

The name was successfully changed by Representatives Henry Wilson and Benjamin F. Harding both complained that Montana had "no meaning". When Ashley presented a bill to establish a temporary government in 1864, for a new territory to be carved out of Idaho, he again chose Montana Territory. This time Rep. Samuel Cox, also of Ohio, objected to the name. He complained that the name was a misnomer given that most of the territory was not at all mountainous and that an Indian name would be more appropriate than a Spanish one. To this Rep. Elihu Washburne of Illinois jokingly suggested Abyssinia. Cox suggested Shoshone, but its translated meaning of "snake" elicited laughter and a remark that the bill had progressed too far to have the territory's name changed without unanimous consent.

Cox then suggested that the new territory be called 'Jefferson', to which Ashley responded, "Oh, well, we are opposed to that." This astounded Cox, "Opposed to Jefferson! I propose that we name the new territory, by unanimous consent, 'Douglas Territory.' I think the gentleman opposite will agree to that," to which Ashley replied, "Oh, no, we cannot do that." Rep. John Pruyn then commented that the Governor Lyon of Idaho Territory said he thought the names for the two territories should be reversed given Idaho was more mountainous than Montana. Finally, Rep. Edwin Webster of Maryland stepped in and suggested that every father has the right to name his own child, and since the bill was the progeny of the Committee on Territories, the committee could name it whatever they wanted. After more laughter the name was settled.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Asteranthera

Asteranthera is a genus of African violet. Native to the humid forests of Argentina and Chile, it is a species of evergreen scrambling vine. The plant has small, scalloped-margin and rounded leaves and its two-lipped, tubular red flowers with white markings grow in the summer. It can be grown as a climber or a ground cover.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Montana

Montana (i/mɒnˈtænə/) is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name, derived from the Spanish word montaña (mountain). Montana has several nicknames, none official, including: "Big Sky Country" and "The Treasure State", and slogans that include "Land of the Shining Mountains" and more recently, "The Last Best Place". Montana is the 4th most extensive, but the 7th least populous and the 3rd least densely populated of the 50 United States. The economy is primarily based on services, with ranching, wheat farming, oil and coal mining in the east, and lumber, tourism, and hard rock mining in the west. Millions of tourists annually visit Glacier National Park, the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Moonshine


Moonshine is any distilled spirit made in an unlicensed still. As with all distilled spirits, yeast ferments a sugar source to produce alcohol; the alcohol is then extracted through by means of distillation.

Because of its illegal nature, moonshine is rarely aged in barrels like proper whiskey, and it sometimes contains impurities and off flavors. On rare occasions, it may contain dangerous levels of toxic alcohols such as methanol. The off flavors may come from improper mashing, fermentation and/or distillation, and unsuitable storage containers. In popular culture, moonshine is usually presented as being extremely strong and in North America is commonly associated with the Southern United States, Appalachia and Atlantic Canada.

Moonshining is usually done using small-scale stills. Typically, the still is built by the moonshine producer, thus avoiding the legal ramifications of obtaining a still commercially. The pot still is made of copper or stainless steel, and a water filled barrel with a copper tubing coil for a condenser, is the traditional type of still, being popular with early moonshine producers due to its simplicity and ease of construction. More efficient Reflux stills are available to the modern moonshiner, either self-built, assembled from a kit, or purchased fully assembled. Lately, do-it-yourself still designs have become widely available on the Internet. "Moonshine" and "Still Making Moonshine" are two documentaries that depict the life of a modern Appalachian moonshiner: the making of a three-stage still from sheets of copper, putting up corn mash, and running whiskey.