re-organising the storeroom

Reply Sat 15 May, 2004 09:46 am
I have a part-time job working for a museum, with exhibits from all over the world. The other day, when re-organising the storeroom, I found an ancient chest containing the following objects, all showing great age, yet well preserved:

a horseshoe
a container of seeds (possibly fruit pips)
a large claw (lab analysis suggests feline)
a piece of keratin (lab analysis suggests from a horn)
a lock of long blonde (apparently human) hair
a large unidentified reptilian scale
a large black feather
a packet containing 5 types of hair (lab analysis suggests equine, bovine, porcine, canine and from an unidentified herd animal)

The chest itself gave no clues to its origin. What, if anything, can I ascertain from the chest's contents?
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Reply Sat 15 May, 2004 09:58 am
Leftovers from the Days of Creation?
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Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 11:26 am
A classic trial of strength.

Each of the items in the chest is from one of the trials of Hercules.
(I guess there are no readers of the classics within these pages) Sad

1. Slaying of the Nemean lion: The claw
2. Slaying of the Hydra: The reptilian scale
3. Capture of the hind(or stag) of Arcadia: The unknown hair
4. Capture of the wild boar of Mt. Erymanthus: The porcine hair
5. Cleansing of the stables of Augeas: The horseshoe
6. Shooting of the man-eating birds of Stymphalia: The black feather
7. Capture of the mad bull of Crete: The bovine hair
8. Capture of the man-eating mares of Diomedes: The equine hair
9. Taking of the girdle of Hippolyte (Amazons): The blonde hair
10. Seizing of the cattle of Geryon: The horn
11. Bringing back the golden apples: The seeds
12. Fetching up Cerberus: The canine hair
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Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 01:23 pm
Alas, we have fallen from the Golden Age.
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Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 02:26 pm
"Alas, we have fallen from the Golden Age."

May I suggest you don't fly so close to the sun. Very Happy
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Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 04:41 pm

I mind my own beeswax.
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Reply Wed 2 Jun, 2004 10:09 am
Beeswax candles are beautiful, fragrant and very easy to make. They do not drip or smoke and burn longer, with a warmer glow, than paraffin candles. With a little help from an adult, even very young children get great results, making this a perfect activity for the entire family.

Enid Blyton would have approved. Very Happy


Big Ears.
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Reply Wed 2 Jun, 2004 02:48 pm

Every Christmas for years and years I give my son (turning 41 this year) beeswax. He's a tweaker and a twiddler and part of the legends in the Computer Science Department.

As for candles, bayberry would be my choice, were I rich as Croesus. I do consider the uncertainty of life and the jealousy of the gods--usually without reminders.
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Reply Wed 2 Jun, 2004 03:52 pm
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Reply Wed 2 Jun, 2004 05:47 pm

Have you priced saffron lately?

According to Penseys:

Saffron is the stigma of the fall flowering crocus. Peek inside most any flower, and you will see three threadlike filaments. These are stigma - but only in the saffron crocus are these stigma worth thousands of dollars per pound. Saffron is so valuable because it is a very labor intensive crop, and only 5-7 pounds of saffron can be produced from each acre of land. This makes saffron the most expensive spice by weight - it always has been - but by use saffron isn't that expensive, because a little goes a long way. A single gram of saffron easily translates into golden color and fragrant flavor in 10 recipes of saffron rice for four, several batches of bread, or a couple of big pots of paella. At Penzeys, we sell three different grades of Saffron:

Kashmir "Mogra Cream" Indian Saffron is the world's finest saffron. The dark red color and long perfect strands are as beautiful as they are colorful and flavorful. Kashmir saffron is awfully tough to obtain, which makes it higher in price, but Kashmir Mogra Cream Saffron is truly wonderful.
Spanish Coupé Saffron is the top grade of the Spanish Saffron crop. Extra hand labor is used to remove every bit of the yellow saffron style material, leaving 100% beautiful pure red saffron threads -hence the name: coupé means "to cut", as in cutting off all the yellow bits. Spanish Coupé Saffron is a truly excellent crop, especially nice for the traditional Spanish dishes.
Spanish Superior Saffron is the most widely available saffron and is a very good crop. Spanish Superior Saffron has a bit of the yellow style material left attached to some of the saffron stigmas (see photo), so it is not quite as strong as Spanish Coupé or Kashmir Indian Saffron.

Saffron contains 450-500 saffron stigmas to the gram. The stigma are also called threads, strings, pieces or strands. 1 gram equals 2 tsp. whole, 1 teaspoon crumbled or 1/2 teaspoon powdered. Don't buy pre-powdered saffron because it loses flavor quickly and is usually cut with turmeric or something else.

Kashmir Mogra Cream Indian Saffron (100% red saffron threads) Product# Description Price Qty
57688 ¼ oz jar 57.95
57659 1 gram jar 10.95

Superior Quality Spanish Saffron (90% red saffron threads, 10% yellow saffron styles) Product# Description Price Qty
57783 ¼ oz jar 33.95
57754 1 gram jar 6.49

Coupé Quality Spanish Saffron (100% red saffron threads)
Product# Description Price Qty
57381 ¼ oz jar 41.95
57352 1 gram jar 7.95
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Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2004 07:50 am
My Dear Noddy, your knowledge of Stigma and Saffron is exemplary. I have forwarded a copy to the UK Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in the hope it my help combat world hunger. In the meantime, should I ever read a book I will pop over to the intellectual's corner and converse further. Must go, I think I hear a Moderator approaching. :wink:
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Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2004 11:35 am
Adieu, adieu. Remember me.
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