Saturday, October 30, 2010

American Old West Saloons - #12 In a Series

This is the Union Saloon, photographed in 1910 in Colorado City, Colorado, where the spittoons were all in a row.

Photograph courtesy of the Denver Public Library.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Autumn On The Beach

Yesterday was one of those warm autumn days Southern California is famous for. With the temperatures in the mid 70s and a good swell running, my daughter headed down to the beach for a surf and took me along. The tide was outgoing but the surge was still strong. The seagull, above, had to scramble to keep ahead of the whitewater.

Birds of another feather, namely tourists, are easily spotted by their tropical plumage.

Youngsters were reveling in the sunshine and sand, exploring the reefs.

After a good walk for me and a good surf for my daughter, we called it a day and headed home.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Some Enchanted Evening

We've had some great sunsets lately, as the sun sets further to the south.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Great Depression In Color

At the humble Pie Town, New Mexico home of Jack Whinery, his daughter tends the garden in September, 1940. Russell Lee of the Farm Services Administration made the photograhh, documenting life in the United States during the Great Depression.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blending In

With Thomas the cat having come and gone, this wee mouse figured the coast was clear enough to scamper onto a mossy patch of front porch to savor some dewdrops on the maidenhair fern. When he holds still enough, he blends with the fallen leaves of the trumpet vine.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Autumn Color

We don't get a whole lot of autumn color in Southern California, so when we spotted this lone colorful tree on the back road to the fruit stand, it merited pulling over and snapping a picture.

Lucky for us, the fruit stand had some of the best peaches we've had all year. The proprietor told us they're called "Last Chance" peaches, grown 100 north of Los Angeles. They don't get any sweeter.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

American Old West Saloons - #11 In a Series

In 1910, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania has 25,000 residents and 50 saloons to serve them. On any given Saturday night, Saloon Corner was the place to be.

Pittsburg isn't part of the Old West, but it's too good a picture to exclude.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bees' Eye View

Back in the garden, enjoying the morning sun and the colorful flowers of autumn.

No wonder bees buzz for merrily, with so many flowers to chose from!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Highway 101 Revisited

Heading up the Coast Highway earlier this week, it was easy to see the storm brewing in the north that was ready to circle around and bring a good dose of much needed rain, mixed with thunder and lightning.

Just a scant month ago, the highway was bumper to bumper with cars full of tourists looking to spend a day at the beach. Now with another summer behind us, it's mostly locals on the sand and in the water.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Great Depression In Color

Louise Rosskam made these photographs in 1941 in the nation's Capitol. Above, the neighborhood market on the corner of N and Union Street NW, and below, a young boy walks the same neighborhood.

These photographs are from the Library of Congress, part of their collection of uncommon color photographs made for the WPA during the Great Depression.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In The Field Next Door

Another sure sign of autumn is melons growing wild in the field next door. They seemingly appear out of nowhere and run in all directions, not just here, but down along the railroad tracks, up along the bluffs above the Pacific and just about anywhere else they can get a toe hold.

They're a native California plant that thrives on neglect and will soon be gone as suddenly as they came.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Tell Tale Tail

When the shades were drawn at dawn, what should catch my eye but the striped tail of Thomas, curled just so where he'd perched himself in search of breakfast.

He usually crouches at ground level, in the shadows of the birdbath, so his elevated perch took me by surprise. A new trick up his sleeve!

Once he became aware of me, all the sudden he wanted down, and quickly. The can of albacore he's been chipping away at inside may have had something to do with that.

He couldn't remember how he'd gotten up there in the first place, so with a boost from a step stool, he was easy to lift down.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

American Old West Saloons - #10 In a Series

If you found yourself in Colorado in 1910 with a hankering for a cold beer and a game of poker, you could do worse than the saloon associated with the Rocky Mountain Fuel Company.

Photo courtesy of the Denver Public Library.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Bower Vine

The bower vine that grows over the garden arch on the walkway has bloomed all through the summer and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. If you need a dependable climbing vine that grows steadily and doesn't attract many pests, the bower vine of beauty deserves a second look. We chose the varigated variety, with glossy leaves mottled in green and yellow.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Garden Visitor Who Decided To Stay

We're used to a myriad of critters stopping by after dark - skunks, possums, raccoons - no problem. We can tell they've been here, as they burrow into the lawn and flower beds for worms and other treats, leaving tufts of grass and piles of soil in their wake. This skunk has decided to stay and isn't shy about it. He ventures out of the maidenhair ferns whenever the spirit moves him, strolls across the lawn like he owns it, which, for all intents and purposes, at this point, he does! We're hoping he is not a she and that there's no nesting going on. Time will tell...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Great Depression In Color

These rare color photographs of the Great Depression were made in a rural San Augustine County, Texas one room schoolhouse in April, 1943 by John Vachon for the Farm Serices Administration. The three boys in the foreground look like they could be brothers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Autumn Rainbow

We finally got some rain last week, sorely needed and much appreciated. Right before sunset, as the light turned golden, a rainbow appeared in the eastern sky.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Her Drawers Are Showing

My second bedroom is the stock room for my daughter's internet business. She's very organized and has drawer after drawer of vintage flowers, hand made velvet and lace trims and fancy papers from Germany, England and Italy. She stops by every day to fill orders, which is a blessing, as it's always a delight to see her.

The vintage millinery and craft supplies keep her busy all year, but her Christmas goods are the heart of the business.

My favorites are the traditional German advent calendars.

Her paperboard cottages are the most labor intensive item she makes. She designs each one, cuts them out by hand, assembles, paints, puts cellophane in the windows, applies "snow" to the roofs and bottle brush trees, along with vintage mercury glass beads, trims the eaves and fences with Dresden paper lace from Germany and then dusts the whole cottage with natural mica for a subtle Christmas sparkle. Each one takes an entire day to make. Here, they're stacked up, waiting to be shipped to their new homes.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

American Old West Saloons - #9 In a Series

The Longbranch Saloon of Dodge City, Kansas looms large in the lore of the Old West. The picture is of the original Longbranch Saloon, taken circa 1880.

The photograph is courtesy of the Ford County Historical Society.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bird's Eye View

The phrase "bird's eye view" is a common one, but what do birds really see? Looking down from above, this Lomaria looks out of the ordinary, when actually it's a dwarf tree fern with elegantly ruffled fronds. Scientists have long wondered how birds keep to their course during migration. One current theory is that with their ability to see ultraviolet light, they actually "see" the Earth's magnetic field and use it for compass orientation. Some believe they recalibrate their compass at twilight as the sun sets in the west.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

100 Years Ago In Karelia

In the course of his travels across the Russian Empire, the Czar's photographer, Sergei Prokudin-Gorski, found himself far to the north, near Finland, in Karelia. The notes in the margins of his photograph of these rugged fellows read simply "Karelian types".

With the exception of the fellow on the far left, these fellows could have fit in seamlessly in the American Old West.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Great Depression In Color

Seventy years ago, in October, 1940, children harvested potatoes in Caribou, Maine, as photographed by Jack Delano for the Farm Services Administration. The potatoes made their way to the Caribou Starch Factory, where farmers in trucks lined up to deliver their crops.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Seeing More Spots

Looking north, the ginkgo tree is silhouetted against a polka dot sky.

While to the west, the sun slips away at the end of another beautiful day.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Seeing Spots

When the sun comes up over the hill, it casts a beautiful light across the front yard. Above, sunrise casts golden reflections into the birdbath.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

American Old West Saloons - #8 In a Series

This saloon was in Oconto County, Wisconsin and was photographed circa 1900. Above, the sample room, where the barkeep has a drawing of himself framed above the mirror. The gentleman on the far left may be the town's blacksmith. Below, the same saloon, from the outside. Again, although Wisconsin is not part of the Old West, these photos were too good not to include.

The photographs are courtesy of the Oconto County Reporter.