Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thomas In The Shade

Thomas found himself a nice shady spot on the front porch, just outside the front door and midway to the bird bath.

After a cat nap, he stretched big and readied himself for some undivided attention.

The bowls of catnip we grow for him on the patio have attracted several other neighborhood cats. Although they each have their own particular charms, not one can hold a candle to Thomas.

It's almost 6 years he's been stopping by, and he's still our favorite visitor by far.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chicago Rail Yards

One year after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, our war effort had kicked into high gear and the rail yards of Chicago were instrumental in moving men and material. Above, two workers at the roundhouse at the 40th Street shop. These photographs were made in December, 1942.

Jack Delano was a photographer working for the Farm Services Administration, documenting daily life in the United States through photography. Most all of the pictures were black and white - these are a few of the color images. Above, rail cars line up at the coaling station for coal, sand and water.

The caption to this photograph reads in part: "John L. Walter, conductor at Proviso yard of the C&NWRR. Mr. Walter has been employed on the railroad for 45 years, 32 of them as conductor. The red nose and cheeks are due to the below zero weather outside. Chicago, Ill".

Above, a welder repairs a locomotive, shown below at the 40th Street shop.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

American Old West Saloons - #3 In a Series

In Gothic, Colorado, in 1920, Ben H. Jorgensen stood in front of his property. The building did triple duty as town hall, saloon, and Gothic Town Improvement Company.

Photo courtesy of the Denver Public Library.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Open Wide

One of our local lensmen captured this shot of a kingbird and a dragonfly. You can see more of Chris Mayne's beautiful avian photography here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Canned Red Tomatoes

Three cowboys took a break from their chores under the shade of a tree and shared canned tomatoes, somewhere in Texas in 1906.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Great Depression In Color

When the Farm Services Administration dispatched photographers during the Great Depression, it was under the auspices of FDR's make work program, the Work Progress Administration. Most of the photographs of that era were made in black and white, with only a handful in color.

These two were made by Jack Delano in September, 1941, at a Rutland, Vermont county fair. Above, a sideshow barker quenches his thirst, while below, comely performers rest between shows. The one on the left looks remarkably like Fran Liebowitz.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

360 Degrees Of Sunset

There was so much color in the sky at sunset, it was hard to chose which direction to photograph. So here's a picture of each direction, taken from my driveway. Above, looking east. Below, due south.

Below is looking north.

And last but definitely not least, looking west.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Autumn In The Air

Summer is drawing to close already, with lots of indicators in the garden. The euphorbia, above is waiting patiently to set some buds, while the day lily, below, is going to keep blooming most of the year.

The nasturtium, below, is forcing itself between the house and the fence. It's a vigorous vine that will grow along the ground or tumble up and over a fence, dropping seeds almost every inch of the way that need no extra encouragement to sprout.

The ginkgo tree, below is already turning autumn yellow, early this year. What that means, weatherwise, is anyone's guess.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

American Old West Saloons - #2 In a Series

In Taylor, Texas, in 1900, the favored gathering spot and watering hole was J.H. Mares Saloon.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Visitor

Yesterday, in the early morning sunlight, this butterfly paused to rest on the trumpet vine that grows along the arbor.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Along The Seashore

Nowadays, Venice Beach generally conjures up images of body builders and skateboarders. But back in 1907, Venice's Abbott Kinney Pier housed a large auditorium, Ship Cafe, shaped like a ship and a popular dance hall.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Color Purple

In addition to fiery reds, yellows and oranges, purple is a predominant color in my garden this year. Above, the perennial asters are blooming earlier than usual and are holding their own in the summer heat.

Cransebill, above, is another hardy perennial that blooms year round and reseeds profusely.

Sweet alyssum is an old fashioned favorite. The purple doesn't bloom as abundantly as the white, but it adds soft clouds of deep color in the flower border.

The tree mallow, above, looks similar to a hibiscus, but is more delicate and finely marked.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

California's Channel Islands

Located off the coast of Southern California, the Channel Islands of California form an archipelago that extends 160 miles along the Santa Barbara Channel. There are eight islands in the chain: San Clemente, Santa Catalina, San Nicolas, Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, Anacapa, and Santa Cruz islands.

Historically, the islands were inhabited in the north by the Chumash and in the south by the Tongva. They were removed in the early 1800s and relocated to missions along the coast.

The islands are part of one of the most abundant biospheres in the world, with many unique species of plants and animals. Island foxes, island night lizards, Channel Island slender salamanders and a unique sub-species of Torrey Pines are amongst the many species that thrive there.

The five northern islands are part of Channel Islands National Park, and, except for Santa Catalina, which has the largest population, the other islands are managed by the federal government and conservation agencies.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The California Coast In 1866

Pictured is the town of Santa Cruz, California in 1866, a village on the coast, almost completely devoid of trees and sparsely populated.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Calendar By Edward Penfield

Edward Penfield was one of the most prolific American art nouveau artists. His graphics were featured on scores of Harper's magazines and countless advertisements. This calendar cover was printed in 1897.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

American Old West Saloons - #1 In a Series

This year and last, we took a look at American country stores and barber shops. Now let's take a closer look saloons.

This circa 1920 photograph is of Stockman's Saloon in Saguache, Colorado. The barkeeps are Rollo Means and Jack Belman. Spittoons are at the ready.

Photo courtesy of the Denver Public Library.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Last Evening in The Garden

Echinacea are blooming in the front yard now, with enough buds set to blossom for at least another month, hopefully into autumn.

Although their nickname is purple coneflower, the petals are more pink than purple. The combination of pink and electric orange is especially striking.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

In The Neighborhood

My daughter joined me for another walk in the neighborhood and we both noted how much the flora have changed in such a short time. Things that were blooming abundantly just a couple weeks ago are spent and autumn is definitely in the air. The grapes, above, are just starting to ripen.

The purple puff is a melaluca blossom. As you might imagine, the bees love it.

At the top of the hill, over the rooftops you just get a peek of the Pacific and the horizon beyond the Norfolk pine tree.

This purple vine is unknown to me. It blooms and drapes like a wisteria, abundant and beautiful. Each cluster is made up of scores of star shaped flowers with orchid-like centers.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Cardiff Kook In Cocktail Attire

They say a little black dress is essential to a well rounded wardrobe. An orange fright wig, maybe not so much.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another Look At The Beach

It never ceases to amaze me how the light can change at the beach. The picture above was taken looking south, while the picture below was taken seconds later, looking northwest. They're almost as different as night and day.

The water is still surprising cold for this time of year, still in the mid 60s.

The youngsters, above, were engrossed in their project, while my daughter, below, waited patiently for me on the jetty.

Monday, August 9, 2010

At The Jetty

My daughter took me along for a walk on the beach one recent evening. We went to the beach that runs north of the jetty that marks the northern border of our town.

Two jetties form an opening for the lagoon that lies to the east. Now that the tides can wash in and out and keep the water from stagnating, what was once a slough is now home to thousands of birds who migrate along our Pacific flyway.

Above is a different type of bird - military helicopters that fly between Camp Pendleton and a Marine airbase south of us. Aircraft of all types are common along our coast.