Shooting Colors in Scotland (Summer 2014) ~ MoC

June – October 2014 @ MoC

Τartans, Harris Tweed, Heather fields, Lochs, Dramatic Skies, Emerald Forests, Deers, Stonehouses etc, Scotland’s palette of earthy tones is a balsam to the soul — at least for the summer! For in winter it gets far too cold, bbrrr…


See more pictures at MoC

September 21, 2014 @ CawdorCastle

We visited few castles too, among which the Cawdor Castle was the loveliest!

“In the Crimson Chamber there is an Crimson velvet bed, with head and foot valances both [gilt-]laced alike, lined with white taffeta, with feathers on the top of the bed, an gilded head in the bed, an feather bed-bolster…”

There is also a pink room and a yellow room. Pictures are not allowed in the castle so we can’t provide any.

September 26, 2014 @ TartansScotland

pics_making_dyeing tartans

For the color lover in Scotland, it’s impossible to ignore the traditional Tartans and their rich heritage …

“In the earliest times, tartans such as the “Falkirk” were produced in only the natural colours of the wool. However, the introduction of coloured dyes allowed much more interesting cloth to be produced.

The dyes were produced from lichen, tree bark, plant roots, or from the leaves and berries of plants and trees. The wool was prepared by first washing the wool and removing the oils, and then soaking the wool in an alkaline solution – usually made by adding soda ash prepared by burning seaweed. The washed wool, either before or perhaps after spinning, was then soaked in the dye. To make the dye the plant material was boiled in water, sometimes taking up to 14 days, during which time the dyestuffs would come out into the water. The dyeing was made permanent by adding a chemical “fixer” called a mordant – a metal salt, frequently Alum, Iron, or Copper. In many cases the dye was not formed unless a mordant was included in the boiling process.

When you see how complicated some recipes are it is quite remarkable that they were discovered. Dyeing is frequently a matter of experimenting and chance. The dye-colour that a particular plant produces can depend on the time of year it was picked, the type of soil grown in and where, as well as the climate of the area. The type of mordant, too, can also dramatically alter the colour of the dye. For instance, heather flower tops produce a yellow dye when Alum is used as a mordant, while Chrome produces a much deeper yellow. And dock leaves picked early in the year (February) produce red dye when Chrome is used as mordant, but produce yellow when Alum is used; and when picked later in the year the leaves produce a golden coloured dye when chrome is used as a mordant, while copper produces a green dye, and iron a darker green dye.”

“Tartans have become synonymous with Scotland and Scottish clans and families in particular. However, tartans were originally a style of cloth intended to be decorative. They had patterns that were popular within certain districts of manufacture, they relied on a limited range of colour dyes and were made of the local coarser type of wool.

This has lead to the idea of district tartans being the original association, between the land, the community and its cloth. Where there was a strong clan within a district, as was often the case in the highlands, then visitors from other areas might well have been recognised as of a clan from their tartan. This must have been true of visitors from the Western Isles, for instance. It is this concept of clan tartans that today predominates, but the use of tartan is yet richer.”

“A tartan pattern emerges out of a single list of coloured threads called a thread count. Reading a tartan requires a little practice and involves finding two unique points within the pattern called the pivots. Tartans consist of broader bands of colour called the under check which are often decorated or embellished with narrower lines of colour called the over check. Once the basic possibilities are understood, one can better appreciate designs that combine and extend the simple ideas. The largest group of tartan uses the three-colour design of Black Watch as its basis.”

Read more about the hundreds different types of tartan at Tartans Scotland (see link above)

October 2014

Another thing the color lover in Scotland can’t miss: the Tweed. Early October we traveled to the Isle of Lewis and Harris (Outer Hebrides). Unfortunately a friend of a friend who happens to be a Harris weaver was not there to show us around at that time but it’s ok (another time maybe); we were lucky to see on our tour to both Lewis and Harris the many sheep grazing freely, see and feel the tweed in many shops, buy a jacket, and purchase the book “From the Land comes the Cloth”, overly happy to have the chance to experience part of this rich Scottish heritage.

Find out more about Harris Tweed exploring their website

Albedo (whiteness) & Dark Snow in Greenland, Asia and North America

September 19, 2014 @ EcoNews (Greek) & National Geographic (English)

black snow

Έχει σκουρύνει το χρώμα του χιονιού που πέφτει στη Γροιλανδία σύμφωνα με παρατηρήσεις της Γεωλογικής Υπηρεσίας της Δανίας. Αιτίες για αυτό είναι η μείωση της συχνότητας εκδήλωσης καταιγίδων κατά τη θερινή περίοδο, καθώς και η εμφάνιση μικροβίων και αιθάλης από πυρκαγιές δασών.

Περισσότερα στο Eco News

From Greenland’s ice sheets to Himalayan glaciers and the snowpacks of western North America, layers of dust and soot are darkening the color of glaciers and snowpacks, causing them to absorb more solar heat and melt more quickly, and earlier in spring. This trend toward darker snow from soot and dirt has been observed for years.

Albedo, or “whiteness,” is a scientific term meaning reflectivity. It is the fraction of solar energy that Earth reflects back into space. Lighter colored areas of Earth—those covered in new snow and ice—reflect most solar energy back into space. Darker areas of Earth—oceans, forests, and cities—absorb more solar heat. This whiteness is why snow-covered areas can stay cold, while dark spots like pavement and black roofs heat up. So when the white color of snow and ice is darkened by dirt and soot, more of the sun’s heat is absorbed, and snow and ice melt faster.

It’s not just Greenland and Arctic ice caps being affected by soot and dust. Atmospheric dirt is changing Himalayan glaciers in Asia and snowpacks in the mountains of western North America. Studies show cooking stoves that burn dung and wood darken snowpacks and ice in the Tibetan Plateau of the Himalayas. Soot from these biomass stoves falls on and darkens snow and ice in this region, whose extensive glaciers give birth to Asia’s largest rivers—the Yangtze, Yellow, Mekong, and Ganges—and provide water for two billion people.

Read more at National Geographic

Red Rain

September 9, 2014 @ ScoopWhoop


Apart from its delectable coastal curry, Idduki, Kerala, is also known for a strange phenomenon called ‘Red Rain’. The first incident of Red Rain was recorded as early as 1818. Ever since, Idukki has witness this unusual sight intermittently. Idukki has been classified a ‘Red Region’. In Hinduism, red rain is the wrath of the Gods, punishing sinners. It signals a wave of destruction and woe. Some believe the killing of innocents leads to red rain. Scientists are yet to come up with an explanation.

White Eggs Brown Eggs & Blue Eggs

August 29, 2014 @ io9


Brown eggs tend to have more omega-3 fatty acids, but the difference is miniscule. There’s also no difference in yolk or taste.

Genes determine shell color. White-feathered chickens with white earlobes lay white eggs; red or brown ones with red earlobes lay brown eggs; and the Ameraucana breed, also known as the Eastern egg chicken, lays eggs with blue shells. Shell quality does not differ by breed, though younger chickens lay eggs with harder shells. Brown-egg chickens tend to be larger and cost more to feed and raise, so white eggs are more cost-efficient.

More at io9