Monday, May 31, 2010

Please Remember Them

Today is about remembering those who served in our armed forces and made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms and our country. May God comfort the families of the departed.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Last Look At Our Malibu Trip

Speeding along the freeway on our way up the coast to Malibu, the local range had dried out and only a few wildflowers remained. Another month or so, this area will be totally gold and brown until we get rain again in the autumn.

Camp Pendleton is a buffer between Orange and San Diego Counties. If it weren't for the Marine base, development would be solid all the way down the coast. It's not uncommon to see tanks and helicopters kicking up dust along this stretch of road.

The fish were biting that day! There were a handful of folks casting their lines and pulling in fish. The skies were clear but the wind was nippy.

The youngster was so excited to be there. It looked like his dad had come straight from work to fish with him, as he was the only fisherman in silk pants. The water really was that blue. These pictures have been cropped but not color enhanced.

When the Malibu pier closes, two huge wooden doors swing shut across the entrance. This is a picture of one of the door's hardware. When the doors are together, the cast iron hardware forms a giant starburst.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

American Country Stores ~ #10 In A Series

In 1908, this humble building near Lindsburg, Kansas did triple duty as McPherson County's first courthouse, general store and post office.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Let's Go To Malibu!

My daughter
and my favorite neighbor Kevin asked me along on their surf trip to Malibu earlier this week. It hadn't changed all that much in the 40 years since my last visit. Yes, more houses and commercial development, but the essence of the surfing beach was the same and the surrounding terrain of hills and canyons even more beautiful than remembered.

We snagged a prime parking spot on the Coast Highway, just north of the pier and right in front of where the waves break. A vehicle parked just up from us was stencilled with spray painted pictures of Jimi, Mr. T, and maybe the driver of the van. Definitely something not seen every day...

Even this close to summer, there was a cold wind blowing and people out fishing on the Malibu pier were bundled up. The skies were clear as could be and Catalina Island appeared close enough to reach out and touch.

These fellows were cleaning their catch right there.

As dusk fell along the coast and the lights came on the pier, evening fog crept up the canyons, the surfers left the water and we headed for home.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Young Upstarts

In my garden, it's always the flowers that grow from seeds cast off from other plants that are the hardiest. Case in point, above, a nasturtium has sprouted between a crack in the concrete driveway, probably from a random seed that rolled away from a clump of nasturtium being dragged from the patio across the driveway.

Below, one of the prettiest impatiens in the yard this year has sprung up in a crack where the patio meets the driveway at the corner of the house.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Porch With A View

This old photograph from the Library of Congress appealed to me because the people appear absorbed in their own thoughts.

If my memory is correct, it was taken in the Carolinas circa 1880.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Depression Era Posters

From 1936 to 1943, during the Great Depression, FDR's government paid artists to create posters promoting health, education, communities and events. 2,000 such posters were created in 17 states and the District of Columbia, 907 of which are in the archives of the Library of Congress. This was the government's first foray into sponsoring art.

These two posters were made to advertise a doll and buggy parade in Illinois in 1939. They are both silkscreen prints on board.

The artist of the top poster was Joseph Ducek.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Calm Before The Storm

This is a view of our Coast Highway, the main thoroughfare in town, looking north. It's quiet for the next few weeks, but once Memorial Day arrives, traffic will be bumper to bumper with tourist traffic until Labor Day. Summer came quickly!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Another Walk On The Beach

Above, the afternoon sun cast shadows on the stairs that lead down to the beach.

The view looking up from the sand, with a carpet of late spring California wildflowers growing on the side of the cliff. They're too small to see, but the cliff was just crawling with squirrels, furiously eating seed pods from those same wildflowers.

More tourists are starting to appear. After Memorial Day, the beach will be wall to wall people, sunshine or not.

The sparkle in the sand is fool's gold - it really sets off the different colors of seaweed and kelp.

After a vigorous paddle for my daughter and a long walk for me, we headed for home.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

American Country Stores ~ #9 In A Series

In a rare color Depression era photograph, made for the government's Office of War Information in Spring, 1943 by John Collier, local men and their sons gather in front of their town's general store in Chacon, New Mexico.

Friday, May 21, 2010

As The Sun Set Last Night

Our towering ginkgo tree has filled back out with chartreuse green leaves. Last night, it fell into shadow as the sun set.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yesterday On The Beach

Yesterday my daughter took me along for a walk on the beach while she stand up paddled. The conditions were way less than ideal - lots of wind and surface chop - but she's in a water event this Sunday and wanted to get her sea legs.

My walk took me along the sand below the cliff where the state campground is. People come from all over to camp there in motor homes, tents and everything in between. Plenty of campers were there, but with the wind blowing and the sun obscured by random clouds, we had the beach almost to ourselves.

That's the old Coast Highway bridge that crosses the mouth of the lagoon where the water flows into the Pacific.

These youngsters were delighted with the water, even as cold as it still is.

My daughter finished her paddle and we headed up the stairs and home.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yesterday On The Patio

Yesterday was sunny and blue with a cool breeze coming out of the north. A perfect day to sit a spell on the patio and listen to the wind in the palms.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where You Are

It's always interesting to me to check in with Google Analytics and see where you folks are. Welcome to my new readers from Finland, Morocco, Mauritius, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Croatia, Estonia, Chile and Kuwait. Most of my visitors outside the States come from (in order of magnitude), the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Italy, Norway, Australia, Hungary, France, Spain and New Zealand.

Welcome to all and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Desk

My computer sits on an old walnut desk that was made somewhere in the American Northeast before the Civil War. It still has its original turned pulls and simple keyhole covers and sits on brass casters with little wooden wheels that are almost flat on one side. The finish is the original and all the little nicks and scratches from over the years have added to its character. The corners of the desk top are rounded now instead of pointed. Being brushed up against so many times over the years has softened the edges. No telling who may have sat here before me, writing letters, making plans, looking ahead...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Vine On The Arbor

It's been a banner year for the trumpet vine that grows along the arbor above the front porch. Some local sparrows have found it a good place to perch and sing.

The way the sun lights up the inside of the flowers is something to see. They are like a beacon for hummingbirds, who seem to like the red ones the best.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

American Country Stores ~ #8 In A Series

This country store was out in the frontier of Ester, Alaska. Life was not easy in Ester in 1910.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Yesterday Afternoon On The Beach

The afternoons have been windy for the past month or so, but it's easy to tell summer is right around the corner, as we spotted a large jellyfish washed ashore. It's usually the warmer water that brings them closer in, so maybe they know something we don't know.

The kelp, below, caught my eye because of the way the sun was reflected in the bulbs.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Riding Along In An Automobile

We headed north earlier this week on business. It's always fun to get out of town and see how the landscape has changed with the seasons. The view above and below are deceiving - that's the view out the car window to the east and unseen, the big blue Pacific Ocean extends to the horizon on the west.

Once we hit the city, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The wind whipped down the canyons created by the tall buildings and kept us cool.

Sadly, many of the old city buildings are vacant and close to disrepair.

Thousands and thousands of tomato plants grow right along the freeway all the way to the edge of the beach. If you buy a California tomato, it might have been grown right here!

We always breathe a sigh of relief to be home. That's a view above of the lagoon and ocean on our town's northern border.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thomas Waits

Out the living room window on a warm spring afternoon, Thomas, the cat who visits, hunkered down patiently behind the maidenhair ferns, nasturtiums, sweet alyssum and campanulas. When a bird alights for a bath, he'll spring into action. Going on six years old now, his age hasn't slowed him down yet and he manages to catch his share of birds, mice and gophers.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

American Country Stores ~ #7 In A Series

In February, 1937, Russell Lee and his camera were in Hovey, Indiana, recording everyday life for the Office Of War Information under the auspices of FDR's New Deal jobs plan. This picture shows Buchanan's General Store, still open after a flood that prompted the owner to move his furniture onto the store's roof.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Heading To The Beach

One of my favorite things is to catch a ride to the beach with my daughter and watch her surf. It makes me thankful that she makes the most of every day and appreciates that life is a gift.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Harbinger Of Summer

When fuchsias are blooming on the patio, summer can't be far behind.

The type above and below is called "Miss California". The plants are covered with buds ready to burst into bloom.