Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
"The animals are inside the wood -- I go in and find them and bring them out.” Folk artist Wayne Wolfinger was holding a large section of a cutoff tree limb as he spoke these words.
Now 74 years of age,
Perhaps his love of nature also influenced his work when he started ten years ago. He creates his animals in an outdoor area behind his home.
Wayne and his wife lived winters in
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I hadn't seen a swinging bridge from that long ago time until I was riding through Red Lick Valley along beautiful Red Lick Creek last summer. It was difficult to make out as the nearby trees were hiding parts of it with their leaves. but I knew what I was looking at when I blinked a few times.
I was lucky to find several people that knew about the bridge and this is what I found out from them. That the bridge had been there at least fifty years, maybe longer. That it was used to get over the creek when it was flooded to feed the farm animals that were located on the other side of the creek from where the farmer lived. That at one time there were several swinging footbridges along Red Lick Creek but now were gone. That this particular swinging bridge was probably the only one left. A large flood some years ago damaged the bridge and they didn't know if it had been repaired. Builder was unknown. As always, one finds out plenty about an area through local folks.
As I am not an engineer I still will attempt to describe its construction as a layperson. Here is my description. Full length cables, one on each side, run along the bridge's walking platform. The cables are attached to large cylindrical vertical posts that are placed along the side of the bridge intermittently all along its course. The cables have wires leading down to crosswise boards beneath the walking platform. The cable line would be about waist high when walking the wooden planks of the bridge. Ever so many feet along the walking platform would be an "H" structure built out of cylindrical logs. In the above photo the high part of the platform is where it crossed over the "H" structure, the dipping part was only supported by the underneath boards attached by wires to the cable. When you stood back and looked at the whole it appeared to run along like waves.
As when I was young, on this day I would not dare walk on the bridge, especially, as I had been told about its flood damage. However, one can enjoy it by standing on the creek's sloping bank and imagine the times when it provided a way to get across the creek for the farmer to feed his animals. It probably would have been an edgy experience if the creek was on a rampage..
Another swinging footbridge can be viewed at the Arkansas Historic Preservation site, click here.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
FOLK ARTIST-- LOUISANA SAINT FILEWRANT
Source Medalia Art
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
However, the photo above was taken today, the morning after the red sky at night, and it is not sunny and bright. But that is OK. It is gray and foggy yet beautiful. It certainly has a mysterious quality about it. I love the ability to sit at my computer and view nature's changes out my window.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Yet in Kirsville, one can still detect a vibrancy however on a different scale than before. Now, its homes are the heart of the town, while at one time the homes and commercial places worked in tandem providing the essence of the community.
One example of its former commercial buildings is the above wooden structure. I stopped and talked to several locals about the building and their remarks went something like this, , "it's a garage but I really can't say for sure as its been vacant as long as we can remember." So goes it with many structures from about one hundred years ago. What was their original use? What determined their original form?
The building's windows on both the first and second story are boarded. The false facade that if positioned atop the two level building no doubt held a sign announcing the type of business. False facades usually indicate that a building was built around the late 1800s through the early 1900s. The one level open space at the corner of the building could have been used for many activities. However it is barely tall enough to stand under.
When one spots these old buildings in the countryside or in small towns many questions arise and many ideas of use spring to mind. Maybe someday when I am back in Kirksville I will run into a person that will have an answer to what this building's use was originally. But in the mean time, persons out for a drive in the country can view this silvered-wood beauty and entertain thoughts of use and age.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The author, Alys Fowler comes with strong credentials -- trained at the New York Botanical Garden, the Royal Gardens at Kew and is now head gardener at BBC's Gardener's World.
With these credentials one might expect a pretentious gardener but no -- she is as homespun as they get.
Illustrated with scads of photos and 190 pages of text one is pummeled with the how, when and what of gardening anywhere.
What a great idea for a book. So many people live on small urban plots or apartments and have little or no space to grow. Or perhaps live in the suburbs or country and just want to have a small growing space. She can show you how to grow garlic in a pail, chickens and hens in an old brick, or grow heirlooms in a homemade window box. She brings the reader along from plant starts, soil construction, worm bins, composting, transplanting and finding unique places to buy plants. Her focus is on growing plants, not long lists of flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Her emphasis is on putting a growing place together no matter the size and for a reasonable price.
Amy's book is well planned out in presentation, practicallity, excellent photography and unusual gardening ideas. If you want to find some funky ideas or serious ideas, Amy has it all together in her new book.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I found their demeanor a bit edgy. I find the universal dog recognition of a stern "NO" deters them from coming close. Then I sweet talk them while I take the photos for my post, all the while keeping them at a distance with a constant eye on them.
I call my investigative trips for my posts -- field trips. So far, I have been lucky not to have met an overly protective dog. I am careful, believe me.
Anyway, the above gate post was one of a pair that sat on either side of this particular drive opening. It was constructed of painted white stacked limestone and had a large slab of natural limestone as its capstone. The drive continued across acreage to a large new house being built. No sign of an old home. The aged gate posts were surely part of an old homestead. I think the gateposts were all that was left of what was in all probability a historic farm. But I am getting ahead of myself.
I had come to this area to take photos of several gate posts that I had noticed on a previous trip to the area. There are sprinklings of posts in central Kentucky but this area seemed to have an abundance of them. For the most part, many had an aged look.
Before I came back to the area I had done some research on old gate posts in Kentucky and came up with nothing. So, most of what I write about today is purely from my observations and thoughts about their age.
Kirksville is a very small rural town with a farming base. The Kirksville church above was built in 1878. Perhaps the gate posts of this church were from that time-frame? I feel that they are from the 1800s. The motifs on the body (upright part) of the above limestone posts are found on other similar posts around Kirksville. Perhaps a local stone mason had a shop in the area , using this motif to identify the business like today's commercial logos?
I believe that when posts near the road were of the drive type, they led to a farm with acreage. If the posts near the road were of the walkway type then it was for a non-farm homestead. All the old gate posts I discovered abutted the roadway, both drive and walkways types. None were set back far from the road. Many of the old extant posts I discovered did not have structures associated with them: apparently they had disappeared from the landscape. Now they stood alone.
Leaving the Kirksville area, I thought that some historic preservation student could do some great research in this area on these old gateposts.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Sunday, January 3, 2010
As for my gardening pursuits today, I now encourage mother nature to grow her wild plants while I disturb only enough of her ground to grow an organic mini-garden. It provides a bit of vegetables and flowers for me during the growing season.
I still have many of my old seed catalogs stored away in a large box. Recently I unpacked them to enjoy during this chilly, wintry January. As I browsed their pages, I became aware that they "spoke" a history of our home gardens. They were teaching me the social and technological gardening history of a past time period.
To illustrate my point of "teaching,"I will use the 1926 D. M. Ferry Seed Annual (read catalog) pictured at the top of this post. In fact all the photos in this post were taken from this one catalog. Following is what I learned about Ferry's adventures of growing a business that emphasized home gardens.
In 1926 the D. M. Ferry Seed Company was located in Detroit, Michigan. Under the Ferry name they eventually expanded to include an 850 acre track of experimental gardens in Rochester, Michigan. The experimental gardens provided jobs to hundreds, most of them were female gardener positions. Ferry built housing for his employees at this Rochester site which, at the time, was located in a very rural area.
Litho Company, Detroit Michigan. Hmm, who were these folks? I searched the net and found out they were one of the largest lithography businesses in the United States during this period. And what gorgeous lithographs they produced. Visit, I Like Boring Things," to view a parade of Calvert's beautiful historic lithographs. For the history of the Calvert Company click here.
Eventually Ferry merged with the Morse seed company and became the Ferry-Morse Seed Company. Today the company is located in Fulton, Kentucky.
Overall, my Ferry catalog taught me the following: history of a seed and agricultural business, early plant research gardens, introductions of new plant varieties, catalogs as art, early garden styles and graphic art technologies. Granted I had to conduct additional research for some of these categories but the catalog was the initial "seed" planted in my mind that led me down this fascinating path. A path that continues to provide more information about old seed companies and seed catalogs.
Friday, January 1, 2010
It's located along Berea's historic merchant block and across the street from the well known Berea College. Berea is a small town yet is is a magnet for folks that seek out arts and crafts. On any given day one finds visitors strolling the block looking in the interesting shops. Inside or sitting outside, BC&T draws young students, visitors, retirees, and all the ages in between.
Here is a a free spirited musician playing out his soul at one of the outside tables in front of BC&T. In the warmer months there is a roomy outside back area that provides seating in a beautiful container garden landscape.
The owner, Adam Walker, is a "hands on" type of owner. Here he is painting the back area by the back entrance. He uses 100% zero VOC paints. In fact, although the coffee house has been around for awhile it continuously follows updated sustainable practices. Click here to view all the sustainable practices that have occurred.
The idea of having a "sit up to" counter is a popular place for customers. I have noticed some "regulars" only use the counter for eating and having a cup of coffee rather than sit at the tables. All the coffee that is sold is fair trade organic. In back of the counter area are large chalk boards that serve as menus. No need to waste paper with individual menus.
Counters are convenient for bantering amongst the customers as well as the wait staff.
Keeping local community in mind, a bulletin board with local events is located toward the back.
I have been in many coffee houses in many states and I would rank this as representing the true essence of a coffee house as it was intended to be when they first began in the U.S. Starbucks is at the bottom of my list and a place in Oregon called the Beanery is at the top. Click here to read an article about Starbucks that underscores the reason they are at the bottom of my list. I put BC&T along side Oregon's Beanery as a top notch community coffee house.
Berea Coffee and Tea website