Saturday, October 31, 2009

Upstate New York

The Library of Congress identifies this 1902 photomechanical print as the home of Rip Van Winkle in Sleepy Hollow, Greene County, New York. Perhaps they meant Washington Irving, the author.

The photo below of Catskill farmland was made for the Office of War Information in June, 1943. With dear friends in Ulster County, the Catskills have been a favorite travel destination for me going back to the 1980s. The Hudson River Valley is spectacular and it doesn't take long to realize why New York is called the Empire State.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Town And Country

The photographs are by Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii, a pioneer in color photography who traveled the Russian Empire during the first decade of the 20th century in a train car/darkroom, documenting life across the far flung Russian provinces for Czar Nicholas. These photographs are circa 1910.

Above, three generations of the Kalganov family gather for a portrait. The father and daughter both work in the Zlatoust Arms Plant, pictured behind them.

Below, a peasant woman breaks flax in the Perm Province.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Bicycle Built For One

The year was 1886, and S.C. Spier posed with his trusty bicycle, after having ridden it from New York to San Francisco in just 84 days.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

As Seen In The Yard

Sometimes it's fun to just walk around the yard with the camera and see what catches the eye. Above, petals from a hanging flower basket floating in the birdbath.

The only tree in our yard that turns color for autumn, our towering ginkgo tree.

Up top, our stash of firewood for this autumn and winter. We keep a fire going most of the day when it's chilly out, almost as much for the sheer pleasure of it as for the warmth.

A buttery rock rose blooms along the concrete driveway.

If you have children, consider planting a lamb's ear. The more interesting your plants, the greater chance you have of fostering a love of gardening in youngsters. The leaves are soft as velvet. The plant has a lovely grayish color that is a nice contrast to the usual greens of other leaves. Although the lamb's ear produces flowers, they're not very impressive and the plant is mostly grown for its outstanding foliage.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stand Up Paddling

My daughter has loved the beach and the ocean since she was just a tot and she still gets in the water year round, as often as possible. Long boards, shortboards, and now stand up paddle boards - whatever works best for that day's conditions. Generally the stand up paddle boards are used for just paddling, but here she gets a nice noseride on hers.

The water is still warm enough for just a wetsuit jacket, but that's due to change at any time. On cooler days, as the air temperature drops, a full wetsuit becomes mandatory.

This wave is feathering in yesterday's late afternoon autumn sunshine. Surfing is one of those endeavors that satisfies on multiple levels - physically, mentally, good for the soul and just plain fun.

Thanks to neighbor Kevin for the outstanding pictures. In addition to capturing these water shots, Kevin also hand builds the stand up paddle boards from start to finish.

Monday, October 26, 2009

On The Beach

We're having a nice spell of warmer than usual weather, sort of Indian Summer. My daughter stopped by and took me along with her to the beach.

There's a tangle of morning glories that grow along the top of the cliff above the beach. The late afternoon sun set this one alight.

These little shore birds flock together. When the waves recede, they follow, quickly digging for sand crabs, then turn tail and run away as the next wave comes in.

The curlews take their time and are more solitary.

Even though the tide was outgoing, a few of the waves pushed the water up all the way to the cliff, so it was good to be barefoot.

Once she'd had her share of waves, we headed up the stairs for home.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

20th Century Barbershops ~ #13 In A Series

Here's a look back at the Pacific Northwest. The first picture is downtown Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, circa 1907. There's a general store, soda fountain, saloon, and of course, a barbershop.

Meet the Dennis family, gathered in front of their family barber shop in Monroe, Snohomish County, Washington. They'd lost their business to fire in 1901 and the menfolk gathered proudly to pose for this photograph when their business was rebuilt.

Below is the Sportman's Barber Shop in Juneau, Alaska, circa 1920. The business was located on Seward Street for 70 years and only recently relocated.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Neighborhood Color

My best friend Susan stopped by yesterday and she joined me and my daughter on a walk through the neighborhood.

The photo above is of a silk floss tree. The blossoms on these trees look similar to orchids, and as you might imagine, these flowers are great favorites of hummingbirds.

We spotted an apple tree, loaded with fruit. Apple trees aren't terribly common in this area - we have mostly citrus and avocado trees.

This coreopsis was radiating sunshine.

Our neighborhood has a mixture of old concrete streets and newer asphalt ones. No telling when or which pilgrim came this way.

This flower was growing in an empty field. It's a weed, but as pretty as any flower growing in anyone's garden.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Oldest Working Cowboy In 1941

The picture above is of Tex Cooper, who was born during the American Civil War. It was taken in Saugus, California in 1941, when he was considered the oldest working cowboy. The 6'2" cowboy acted in many films and was married to the former circus performer, Lady Dolly, who stood 3'9" tall. The couple celebrated their 28th anniversary together in 1946.

The picture below was taken of Tex Cooper in 1926 when he was the crack shot in the 101 Ranch Wild West and Far East Show. Mr. Cooper died at the age of 87 in 1951.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Autumn's Bounty

With Halloween just a week or so away, it was time to choose a pumpkin. Our local fruit stand always has a great selection and they go all out with a pumpkin display with a tractor, bales of hay,stalks of corn and painted murals. Once the pumpkins clear out, it won't be long until the same space is filled with Christmas trees!

In the meantime, we're happy with our locally grown watermelons, strawberries, avocados and hand made fresh tortillas.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

This little hummingbird is perched on a branch of a Mexican sage plant, waiting for the tiny bug to the left (you can barely see) to fly into his mouth.

The photograph is courtesy of local wildlife lensman Chris Mayne.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Looking Back At Honolulu

The watercolor above was painted 160 years ago, by Robert Elwes, in 1849, of a harbor scene in Honolulu, Oahu, in what where then called the Sandwich Islands.

50 years later, in 1899, these three lovely local lasses posed in their grass skirts on Waikiki Beach.

And a mere 10 years later, in 1909, a photographer made this image of early surfers enjoying the waves on Oahu's south shore.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Log Cabin A World Away

In the Russian village of Izvedovo, in 1910, Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii photographed this woman spinning yarn on the front porch of her log cabin, above. Below is a picture of ironworkers molding artistic castings at the Kasli Iron Works nearby.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

20th Century Barbershops ~ #12 In A Series

The picture above was taken by Paul Vanderbilt in Spring, 1937, during the depths of the Great Depression. The barbershop, with the shoeshine stand out front, was on the corner of 19th and Bainbridge Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The striped ball at the top spins and is very unusual.

That same Spring, 1937, Arthur Rothstein made the picture below in Birmingham, Alabama. Both photographers worked for the Farm Services Administration, capturing scenes of daily life in America.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Summer In October

We had a brief taste of autumn, then all the sudden Mother Nature had other ideas. Yesterday was in the high 70s and the tides were extremely low, so it was a perfect day to join my sister and her granddaughter on the beach. My sis saves all her bread scraps for the gulls and they didn't waste any time flocking around.

These youngsters were happy with the sunshine, sand and snow cones.

My sister lives here in town, in the same neighborhood where we grew up . We walked the familiar streets and trod over the autumn leaves from the same trees we used to ride under on our bikes. As children, we relished their crackling sound as we passed over them with our spinning wheels.

This plumeria blossom caught my eye as we rounded the corner to my sister's street.

Friday, October 16, 2009

There's No Doubting Thomas

One sure sign of the season's change is that Thomas is visiting more often. In the summer, his attention is directed to the gophers, possums and assorted birds who inhabit his world. As the days get shorter and cooler, he spends less time hunting and more time sleeping. Yesterday, he stopped by for some morning catnip and some cream in the evening. He contemplated a short nap inside, but opted for one more turn around his territory before dark.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Equilibrists In The Circus

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, traveling circuses made their ways to our biggest cities and the smallest towns alike. As late as the 1950s, a circus pitched tents on my great uncle's dairy farmland in Del Mar, 5 miles south of here. Colorful lithographed posters, not unlike the one above, and a wildly painted calliope that drove through the streets of our town announced the arrival.

These portraits of circus performers are circa 1915. Acrobats, like those below, were also known as equilibrists.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Southern California Oddity

Times were tough during the Great Depression and southern California was no exception. In 1931, possibly inspired by the blimps stored just south in Carson, an enterprising soul rolled the dice and opened the Zep Diner, shaped like a zeppelin and "Home of the Hinden-burger" (terrible play on words). Located on West Florence, near Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles, the postcard above shows it in all its glory, while the picture below shows it still under construction, before painting or signage.

The Zep Diner was located near a Goodyear tire plant and north of the blimp hangers in Carson, where Goodyear has anchored its West Coast blimp fleet since the late 1920s. Interestingly, starting in 1926, blimps in the Goodyear fleet were named after American yachts that had won the America's Cup Sailing Race, as the chairman of the board considered his blimps to be yachts of the sky. Unfortunately, it's a custom that has been discontinued. And the Zep Diner is long gone, as well.