Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"When In Doubt, Eat Potatoes"

During World War I, in 1914, fifteen years before Herbert Hoover became President of the United States, he was in charge of delivering 2.5 million tons of food to nine million people in need on war-torn continental Europe. His tireless efforts were so successful he received international acclaim. When the United States entered the war in April, 1917, he was tapped by President Woodrow Wilson to head the U.S. Food Administration. He averted nationwide rationing by encouraging people to set aside certain foods for soldiers, through the establishment of "Meatless Mondays", "Wheatless Wednesdays" and the catchy "When in Doubt, Eat Potatoes". When the war ended, the New York Times named Hoover one of the "Ten Most Important Living Americans".

The chromolithographed poster above was created in 1919 by the American Lithograph Company for the U.S. School Garden Army. The caption on the poster reads "Helping Hoover In Our U.S. Garden Schools". The School Garden Army was sanctioned by the Bureau of Education, which was part of the Department of Interior. The lithographed poster below was created for the same effort in 1918 by Edward Penfield, widely known for his striking work for magazine covers.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Foolproof Flower Gardening ~ #14

The calla lily is so easily grown, it is considered a weed in much of the world. This native of southern Africa will naturalize in your yard and send offshoots from its underground rhizome root system, much like ginger or cannas. With a steady source of water, it will bloom throughout much of the year and can withstand bouts of cold. Once a plant is established, it can be lifted, separated and transplanted.

The calla is a sturdy plant whose flowers are long lasting and showy in bouquets. It will tolerate full sun or partial shade, depending on how far from the coast you are. Snails do love calla lilies, so you'll need to keep an eye out for them. The only other drawback to this garden staple is that all parts of the plant are poisonous.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

When Tuna Was King

Mid 20th century, tuna fishing and its related businesses were the third largest industry in San Diego, at one time employing 40,000 people. Only the Navy and aircraft industries employed more people. Albacore canning began in 1911, followed by yellow fin and skip jack in the 1920s and 30s. Van Camp (Chicken Of The Sea), Starkist and Bumble Bee all processed fish locally and San Diego was considered the Tuna Capitol of the World.

During World War II, many ships in the fleet were used by the Navy to transport men, material and supplies to the southern theaters.

Environmental laws and foreign competition both took their toll and the fishing industry in the 21st century is a shadow of its former self.

The photograph is circa 1940 and shows one of Van Camp's employees handling one of the tuna that eventually found their way into 80% of American kitchens.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What Low Tide Looked Like

We have more sunny days in December than any other month, and the most overcast days in June. My mom joins me one morning every week for a walk on the beach, clouds or sunshine, and there's always something new to see and something new to talk about. The tide was so low yesterday morning that the flow of water from the lagoon had receded to such an extent it left behind a pie crust edge of sand and a field of cobblestones, shown above.

This little crab had the run of acres of sand, all to himself.

Reefs normally submerged were revealed.

No telling how many miles and years this worn old rock has tumbled up and down the coast and in and out with the tides.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Jupiter Rising

NASA has a website featuring a different photograph every day. If you're interested in either outer space or photography, you may want to bookmark their site. Whether acquired from the Hubble Space Telescope, International Space Station or an Earthbound observatory, their photographs are routinely awe inspiring.

This is a shot of Jupiter rising in a summer sky over the ancient port city of Ephesus on the western coast of what is now Turkey. The arc of the Milky Way is also visible in the sky. The ruins of the Roman Temple of Hadrian are to the left.

Ephesus is also the site of a large gladiators' graveyard.

The photograph is copyrighted by Tunc Tezel (TWAN).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

An Evening on The Beach

My daughter stopped by last evening and took me along for a walk on the beach while she surfed. The top picture is looking south from the 5 story staircase that zig zags down the cliff to the sand. That's La Jolla in the hazy distance. Most of the tourists had packed it in for the day and the beach had wide open spaces.

Walking north, the sandstone cliffs seep water all year, making them slick and shiny. They crumble randomly, which poses an ongoing problem for the houses built along the top.

The moss that grows along the base of the cliffs is an eye-popping chartreuse green color, almost neon, and as soft as velvet.

These tourist girls were intently photographing their friend striking a pose on a reef with the waves splashing behind her.

The ocean's warming up, but it's still cold enough for a full length wetsuit. My daughter grabbed a quick shower to get the salt off and we were up the stairs and headed back home.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thomas Stops By

One of our best friends is a cat. Thomas lives across the way, where he is part of a vast menagerie of pets. We figure he likes it here because he doesn't have to compete for attention and we keep a supply of the heavy cream he prefers. He didn't stop by nearly as much as usual this past spring, but he knows we're not fickle with our affection and he's welcome any time.

He stops by first thing in the morning, after a night of hunting, and then returns in the late afternoon and takes up a sentry post in the sweet alyssum near the bird bath. Most of the birds are wise to his tricks, but his patience is rewarded often enough that he returns time and again to the same spot.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Upper California's First Mission

A cross was raised by Father Junipero Serra at Mission San Diego de Alcala on July 16, 1769, the first mission in an eventual chain of 21 along the coast of California. From the get-go, the natives didn't look kindly on the effort. By 1770, there were no permanent buildings, zero conversions and food stocks were running alarmingly low. The settlement was saved purely by chance when a ship in need of a new anchor sailed into the harbor, carrying enough supplies to share.

Originally built on Presidio Hill, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the mission was moved up river 6 miles inland in 1774, where it remains today. By 1795, the first irrigation project in Upper California was bringing water through aqueducts to the fields and mission, which became self-sustaining with bountiful crops of barley, wheat, corn, beans, wine grapes, sheep, cattle and horses.

The hand tinted photograph above is a photomechanical print by the Detroit Photo Company, originally published in 1904, when the mission was already 135 years old. The photograph below was also made by the Detroit Photo Company in 1904 and shows San Diego Bay and Point Loma, much as they would have looked to Fr. Junipero Serra in the late 1700s.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mug Shots

Valerie at acornmoon is a designer by trade, of, amongst other things, mugs. She and Pat at Weaver of Grass invited their readers to show their favorites.

My collection started with the gift of an antique silver mug 30 years ago, honoring the birth of my daughter. Each one has a story to tell, most of which can only be speculated upon. The one above, with the gargoyle handle, is engraved "Charlotte" and is circa 1880.

This one is a Victorian bright cut quadruple plate mug, engraved "Charlie From Uncle Ed".

This sterling mug has raised classical profiles on each side and is engraved "Wayne Dennis Sanger Oct. 6th, 1866".

This is probably the sweetest of them all, and definitely a favorite. Each side of this silverplated mug has a different domestic scene and was a gift to a child from the Grand Army of the Republic, which was an organization of Union Army veterans who fought in the Civil War. It is engraved "For Sarah M. Brown From Post 70 GAR".

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Fort Peck Dam

One of public work projects Franklin Delano Roosevelt hoped would help lift the country out of the Great Depression, the Fort Peck Dam was authorized in 1933 and employed 11,000 workers by 1939. The dam was completed in 1940.

At 21,026 feet long and 250 feet tall, it is the highest of 6 major dams on Montana's Missouri River and the largest hydraulically filled dam in the country. The dam created the 134 mile long Fort Peck Lake, the fifth largest man-made lake in the United States.

Margaret Bourke-White, who took some of the most iconic pictures during the Great Depression, shot this photograph of the dam, which was featured on the cover of Life Magazine in 1936.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Away From The Madding Crowd

Tomorrow is officially the new season, but summer is already in full swing. Although the sun hasn't been cooperating, tourists have arrived and are on the beach in droves. They're most recognizable by the massive amount of stuff they take along - blankets, umbrellas, boom boxes, balls, coolers, chairs, barbeques, towels, lotions/potions and a myriad of plastic digging, paddling, and floating implements.

Walking either north or south from the beach access points, the tourists thin out. Away from the crowds the dominant sounds are the breaking waves and sea birds, and the only distractions are small random clumps of bright pink seaweed, here today and gone tomorrow.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Foolproof Flower Gardening ~ #13

We call them impatiens, but America's #1 bedding plant is known in many areas as Busy Lizzie. This is one of the easiest flowering plants to grow, bar none. It thrives in semi or full shade and will grow prolifically in beds, borders, baskets or containers. It covers itself with blossoms and thrives with very little attention from you. Just don't let the soil dry out.

You can grow impatiens from seeds (they self sow beautifully), cuttings or six packs from your garden center. They mostly bloom in jewel tones and although they are available in double, rose-like flowers, you'll find that the simpler single blossom will perform the best. If you're planting in the ground, mass them for the best display, preferably one color per mass. They mix especially well with ferns, begonias and fuchsias.

These are perennials, treated more like summer annuals. If the plant starts to get leggy, don't be shy about pruning it back to within 6 inches. You'll see new growth almost immediately. The impatiens in the hanging basket in the above photograph will be 2 years old this August and is still going strong. The photo below shows what the seed pods look like. They eventually burst along the seams and broadcast the seeds widely. You can collect the pods in a paper bag and scatter the seeds yourself.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nonaccidental Tourists

The year was 1918 and the only entry on theses old photographs is "Munitions Workers". So these young ladies must have traveled to Washington, D.C. from afar, along with their not so young chaperones, and were variously posing seriously and hamming it up for the camera outside the Capitol Building. Chances are they were there to lobby Congress for something, perhaps the vote for women, which was granted in 1920 through the adoption of the 19th amendment to the United States Constitution.

These photographs are part of the Harris & Ewing collection at the Library of Congress.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Continental Effort

During World War I, as part of the war effort, posters were created to encourage the populace to eat the most readily available food stuffs. The above poster was created circa 1918 by Lloyd Harrison, on behalf of the United States Food Administration.

The Canadians made similar efforts and the poster below was created by E. Henderson in 1914 for the Canadian Food Board.

Both images are from the Library of Congress.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Ride on The Wild Side

These two young men, posing in front of the White House in 1915, were preparing to set a speed record crossing the country on an Indian motorcycle. The photo, from the Harris & Ewing collection in the Library of Congress reads: "Balcer & O'Brien, transcontinental motor cyclists".

Monday, June 15, 2009

Before Madison Avenue

Before images were beamed by satellites around the world in split seconds, manufacturers relied on advertising posters to capture the attention of customers. Companies commissioned illustrated lithographs with bold and vibrant colors to showcase their products.

The advertisement above is circa 1900, for a product that still has a place in practically every home in the country - Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. The choice of a clown and equestrian acrobat was probably due to the fact that traveling circuses were at the height of their popularity.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Flag Day

When the Founding Fathers adopted the Stars And Stripes as our country's flag at the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia on June 14, 1777, these images probably weren't what they had in mind.

The day has been marked in one form or another these many years, with the largest celebration being a parade in Troy, New York that attracts 50,000 people.

The vintage postcards are circa 1900. Interesting to note that the zaftig young women with the flowing tresses would be considered heavy by today's standards.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Back On The Beach

This week, we parked on the Coast Highway in Cardiff and took the trail by the bridge onto the sand.

There were more people in the water than on the beach that morning . Even though the tide was extremely low and the wind had picked up earlier than usual, there were enough waves for surfers and stand up paddlers alike.

Friday, June 12, 2009

At The Fair

Just south of here, at the foot of the San Dieguito River and just inland from the Pacific Ocean there's a large tract of land that hosts the Del Mar race track and county fairgrounds. The first fair was held in 1936, then suspended for the duration of World War II. During the suspension, Marines from Camp Pendleton were housed there and trained on the nearby beaches and paratroopers bunked in the horse stalls. After the troops shipped out, an assembly line for B-17 "Flying Fortress" bomber parts operated until 1944.

The glory years of the Fair, 1946-1984, are known as the Don Diego Years. That was when a young Spanish actor, Tom Hernandez, brought the character of Don Diego to life. Modeled after an actual late 1800s Del Mar land grant owner, Don Diego Alvarado, known for his lavish parties and gracious hospitality, Tom Hernandez as Don Diego became the dearly loved living symbol of Del Mar. His image appeared on all the promotional material for the fair and he and the current "Fairest Of The Fair" would stroll the grounds in costume every day, arm in arm, greeting fairgoers and posing for pictures. The Fairest Of The Fair was chosen from the winners of all the county beauty pageants, with the winner going on to vie for Miss California and eventually Miss America. The 1958 Fairest of The Fair was a young La Jolla woman named Raquel Tejada, later better known as Raquel Welch.

At the time, the role of Don Diego was the longest running role in show business. Tom Hernandez as Don Diego was the image of the fair for 37 years. After his untimely death in 1984, a 16 foot bronze statue was erected at the entrance to the grounds, in his honor. Even after 25 years, the fair has never been the same without him.

My sister took his picture in 1974, above. The picture below is an aerial view of the fairgrounds and race track, looking north along the coast.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Revisiting Coronado's Tent City

We looked back at Coronado's Tent City last year, a mini-city of semi-permanent rentals that sprang up south of the Hotel Del Coronado when John D. Spreckels (of sugar fame) took over the ownership of the Hotel. That's Point Loma in the distance.

Above is one of the first advertisements for Tent City. It worked! Tent City's thatched roofed tents became a destination for tourists from around the world, eager to camp across the street from one for the most beautiful beaches on the coast of California.

Tent City's population was such that it supported its own newspaper, fire department and police force. It thrived until the darkest days of the Great Depression and closed in 1939.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Foolproof Flower Gardening ~ #12

This old fashioned garden favorite thrives on neglect. You don't even have to plant the seeds - just take a handful and scatter them into your flower beds and let Mother Nature do the rest. Once established, nasturtiums will become a permanent fixture in your garden, reseeding for decades to come. They'll tolerate full sun or semi shade, drought or regular water, poor or rich soil. Here, along the coast, they bloom all year.

All parts of the plant are edible. The leaves have a peppery taste and can be mixed into salads along with lettuce. The flowers can be used to decorate cupcakes or mixed into salads along with the leaves.

The plants have a tendency to ramble and will twine themselves in whatever is in their path. They can be trimmed back or pulled out altogether, as the seeds left behind will send up new plants almost immediately.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Beginning Of The End

When the Battle of Brandy Station commenced on this day in 1863, the 20,000 troops engaged had no way of knowing that this largest ever cavalry battle on American soil would be the beginning of the end of the War between The States. The Union victory in the fields in Culpepper County, Virginia, gave the Federal troops the confidence in themselves and their commanders needed for the pivotal battles that were ahead, including the decisive three days of fighting at Gettysburg, less than three weeks in the future.

These historic albumen photoprints, made by Timothy O'Sullivan, are from the Civil war collection of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, in the Albin O. Kuhn Library. The first picture shows the Union wagon park in Brandy Station where the supply wagons were stored.

The second picture shows part of the Union camp. The third picture is of the quartermaster's residence.

The last picture is the camp's Post Office, nestled in the trees, no doubt a comfort to the men so far from home, as a link to their loved ones.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Simple Pleasures

Chocolate cake, baked from scratch, is good - especially for breakfast.

An afternoon trip to the neighborhood fruit stand yields tastiness by the boxful.

The ginkgo, Torrey pine and eucalyptus trees against the evening sky, as seen from the patio.