.

.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

TRADITIONAL SONG OF NEW YEARS -- AULD LANG SYNE

Time counts down toward New Years Eve and the stroke of midnight
Traditionally, the song Auld Lang Syne is sung by party-goers when the clock strikes 12 midnight on New Years eve. The title words of this song roughly mean, long, long ago. Wrote in the 1700s, it became a traditional folk song in Scotland and eventually spread to many countries including the United States. 


The song contains a beautiful sentiment of friendship.


The YouTube below has a wonderful male vocalist singing Auld Lang Syne. He is not identified on the YouTube site. But nonetheless, he has a crystal clear voice and sings with his heart. The video carries the song's words against a black screen.  It only lasts five minutes but it probably will stir some emotions of times long, long ago.

HAPPY 2011 TO ALL!


adddendum: Lallofah of Mehitable Days Blog has identified the 
vocal artist as Dougie MacLean from his album Tribute. 


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

BUDDING YOUNG FOLK ARTIST


NANA'S HOUSE -- FOLK ART PAINTING BY WHITNEY

My family has  been interested in folk art for several years. Not only for its aesthetic, naive beauty but also for the stories sometimes associated with them.

Last summer my youngest daughter and twelve year old granddaughter came for a visit. Twelve year old Whitney had a light in her mind that she wanted to, "fire up." while she visited. 

She asked her mother if she could buy some acrylic paints and canvas boards at our local art store. We had no idea what she was up too. She sat at the kitchen table with her newly bought paints and tried her hand at folk art. She sat for many hours silently working on the paintings. When through she presented two paintings to me for my folk art collection. I love them.

SELF PORTRAIT BY FOLK ARTIST WHITNEY 

I thought she came up with some nice examples of folk art. Believe me, they are now displayed in a very visual part of my home. They now reside among some old Kentucky crocks on one of my vintage benches. The whole montage fits well together. 

WHITNEY
Children sometimes begin their interest in folk art from what they see parents or relatives constructing or collecting. Much folk art is imagined, made, and loved without words . . .  it will have gathered into itself something of its creator's freedom (Henry Glassie, 31).  It contains variability and tradition.

Some folk art constructions  include; woman's handwork (quilting, weaving, etc.)  sometimes passed down to daughters -- hand woven basketry often  made by parents as well as sons and daughters  --  carving skills from father's hands to hands of sons and daughters -- this is but a small sample. Folk art is a widely diverse dimension. Not always passed down through families but sometimes expressed through the spontaneous freedom of the mind.


For Whitney I hope that this is a beginning for a future interest in folk art.


SOURCE:
The Spirit of Folk Art by Henry Glassie 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND -- SUNDAY SIMPLICITIES

MY OLD BARN BEING SHOWERED WITH SNOW FLAKES

SAL INVESTIGATING SMELLS AT THE PASTURE GATE 

OLD LIL WALKING WITH ME SLOWLY -- LOVING THE SNOW

OAK LEAVES WITH A PATCHWORK OF SNOW

Thursday, December 23, 2010

HOLIDAY POSTCARD GREETINGS AND COMPUTER GREETINGS TO ALL




I don't know who Fannie Scovel was but I thought she resembled my great- grandmother when I found this postcard years ago. It's an early photographic card with a printed holiday wish and a comment, "with my flowers." Obviously an important added sentiment by Fannie.

In this new age of computers and blogs I wish all citizens of the world the opportunity to live in peace and love with understanding and kindness.

-- barbara

AN ARTISAN MARKETPLACE

 FULL BODIED, HUMAN SIZED, SAINT NICK ARTWORK
Yesterday I visited the rather new Kentucky Artisan Center that is located a couple minutes off Interstate 75 an artery connecting  states between Michigan and Florida.   The Center, run by the state of Kentucky,  seems to serve highway travelers in several ways. It has a fine restaurant, restrooms, lots of benches and seating both indoors and outside and a marketplace for Kentucky made goods. One can find artwork, crafts, books, and gourmet food all with ties to the state and for sale.
 
CONTEMPORARY FOLK LIZARD SCULPTURE
Art work and crafts dominate the marketplace. Many beautiful and unusual pieces can be found -- all contemporary and for sale.  

The items cover a broad spectrum, some reflecting the early forms of Kentuckian folk design, while some others, the newly evolved Kentucky arts and crafts, are dynamic and fit well with the old folk forms.

WOVEN RUGS -- THROW RAG RUG TYPE
I took a few photos of pieces that I thought were good examples of the contemporary art work.

FULL BODIED DOG, FOLK ARTWORK

Books by many Kentucky authors such as Barbara Kingsolver or Wendell Berry line the shelves on one wall. I perused them and found a few that I was unfamiliar with. I wrote them down and will order them through my local library.

THE CENTER 'S WING WITH AN INTERPRETIVE APPEARANCE OF EARLY KENTUCKY STONE HOUSES
Overall it was a nice break to visit the Center and stroll through the for sale items made in Kentucky. It was a refreshing exposure to locally made and the idea of  local economies. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

WINTER ID -- POISON IVY OR VIRGINIA CREEPER?


TOP OF EIGHT FOOT TALL TWISTING VINE
POISON IVY OR VIRGINIA CREEPER?


Winter changes the looks of plants. At least I think so. 


I was out walking a trail a few days ago and noticed what I thought was a large poison ivy plant. Hmm, the more I examined the eight foot twisting vine the more confused I got. See the whole plant and sections of it throughout this post except for the bottom photo 


If you are one that likes to walk trails in the woods and fields in the winter you might want to be aware of poison ivy -- it can cause allergic reactions year round. It grows throughout the United States. If you brush against the vine with your clothes the rash-causing oil will be picked up and will require washing to get rid of it. Also, you should be aware not to cut any of its lovely curving twigs for winter bouquets from its woody  vine.

But how is one to know if the plant is poison ivy when observed in the winter for there is another that looks similar -- Virginia creeper.



FROM ITS FLOURISHING HAIR-DO TYPE TOP TO ITS SOIL BASED VINE
THIS 8 FOOT VINE HUGS AN OLD FENCE POST.
IS IT POISON IVY OR VIRGINIA CREEPER?
Poison Ivy contains a chemical oil that causes a rash and irritation that can be quite unpleasant. Not all people are sensitive to the ivy’s oil but may develop an allergic reaction at any age.

Birds love the white berries that grow in small clusters along the vine in late summer. They provide nourishment for flickers, sapsuckers, pheasants, and quail to name a few. But no white berries are to be found in the winter. Nor its leaves of three, let it be clusters. To humans the whole plant is toxic. 


LARGE PLANT VINE SECTION
LARGE PLANT VINE SECTION

LARGE PLANT VINE SECTION
BOTTOM VINE SECTION

Another climbing woody vine that grows similar to poison ivy is Virginia creeper. Both plants  have aerial roots protruding all along their woody stems and they both have woody shrub- like vines. 

Virginia creeper also provides fruit, small blue berries, to a host of animals such as eastern bluebirds, cardinals, Leopard moths, deer, skunk and many more birds and mammals. The berries are found in late autumn. The berries are very toxic to humans. 


Both Virginia creeper and poison ivy grow in close proximity to each other and sometimes twine up the same post or tree.

So given the similarities between the two, how does one ID poison ivy from Virginia creeper in the winter? With their leaves gone and the berries off the poison ivy – what are the identifying traits that distinguish them from each other?

TWIGGY SMALL SHRUB CLOSE TO LARGE UNIDENTIFIED PLANT -- BELIEVE BERRIES OF VIRGINIA CREEPER?

Near the large unidentified plant was a smaller upright twiggy plant with a few blue berries still on it. Could this be  Virginia creeper? Was the large plant I was trying to identify also Virginia creeper? 

I know that there are lots of naturalists or plant people out there that probably could help me out in identifying this large twisting vine. Perhaps even provide tips for others needing to identify poison ivy along winter trails. 

Does anyone have any clues? Please comment with any information or suggestions – I surly would appreciate it. 


In the meantime I will steer clear of this beautiful twisting vine until summer when its leaves sprout. Then I can count its leaves. Leaves of three, let it be, is an old saying about poison ivy -- meaning count the leaves in its cluster -- if five its Virginia creeper --  if three, stay clear!


Addendum -- January 5, 2011
I am adding a link about winter poison ivy HERE. It is from OUTSIDE MY WINDOW -- A Bird Blog with Kate St John. She discusses the ivy is ways that I thought were a great supplement to this post. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

SANTA HELPER FOLK CARVING

SANTA HELPER CARVING
Although I swear that this is the jolly guy, Santa Claus, -- the carver, Frederick Hyatt named his carving Santa Helper. Perhaps, by the fact that this figure was smoking a pipe -- it made him ineligible for being Santa Claus.

SANTA HELPER AND PIPE

This whimsical carving is a robust-full figured carving approximately 8 inches tall. It was not only carved by Frederick Hyatt, it was painted by him in its red, white, and black Santa colors.

SANTA HELPER AND ELF LIKE SHOES
It is all one piece from the bottom platform to the tip-top of his hat. The wood being basswood.

FULL BACK VIEW
Mr. Hyatt was a folk carver and artist that went fairly unnoticed during his life time. He lived meagerly in his old age and was bound by a wheelchair. He lived in an old trailer in what he referred to as a trailer park consisting of about twenty trailers. This park was located in an urban setting. I knew him for a short time and then lost track of him.

CARVING MARKS DETAIL
Below is the bottom of the platform where he signed his signature and address in Lansing, Michigan. His title of the piece runs up the side. 





I thought this little Santa expressed Hyatt's joy for Christmas. It exemplifies the idea that life is what you, alone, make of it. May your holiday be a pleasant one.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

HOLIDAY SPIRIT OF THE OLD RED ROCKER

OLD RED ROCKER

One Christmas eve, when I was a child, as I laid in bed listening for the sounds of Santa on the roof I overheard the the voices of my parents discussing a gift that I was to receive from Santa. It was a time when folks were still feeling the repercussions of the depression and WWII. Money was beginning to flow again in the economy yet people were still in the non-spending mode. 


The gift they were discussing was a hand-me-down cradle that was last used by my older sister. My father had just refinished it and put a chime on the rocker so that it played a tune when you rocked it. It was a lovely doll cradle by the time he had it all redone. I loved it when I saw it under the tree the next morning -- even though I knew it was a hand-me-down and not from Santa. I played along with the idea of Santa bringing it. 


OLD CLOTH TAPE SEAT AND LOTS OF WEAR MARKS


I had the cradle for many years. -- somewhere along my path of life I lost it. That  cradle had taught me many things about family and living according to ones values


STABILIZING WIRE


It taught me that my father, with love and kindness for his daughter, took the time to redo the cradle and add music to it. Also, it taught me the meaning of the phrase -- waste not, want not. My parents had to make do with what they had -- they didn't extend their tight budget to more than they had in their pocket. 

OLD REPAIR TO ONE OF THE ROCKERS
One day, later in life, I bought a child's worn old red rocking chair. It reminded me of the lessons I had learned from my cradle --  the  chair obviously had been used by several generations. There was evidence that the rocker had several problems at one time and that someone had lovingly fixed them.


The previous owners had  made  a seat with cloth tape, probably because the original splint seat had worn through. Also, one of the rockers had broken at some point and had been repaired in excellent fashion. Apparently, through use, the little rocker had become shaky --  so someone corrected the wobbling chair by repairing it with tightly twisted wire. All these repairs gave the rocker many leases on its long life. 

So when I remember my childhood cradle during the holiday season, I now look at the little red chair and know that it represents family, love, caring and reuse -- my idea of what the holiday season should be about.

Friday, December 10, 2010

BACKCOUNTRY BASKETBALL


Attach a hoop to an old barn and gather your friends for a backcountry basketball game. City kids have nice urban cement courts but country  kids use a barn to hang their hoop and the grass up against the barn for their court

The  Playing Field

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

FOLK ART -- CARVED CIGAR STORE INDIAN


CARVED INDIAN, BY FREDRICK HYATT, MICHIGAN, BASSWOOD, 26.5" HEIGHT, ONE PIECE, 1985
In 1985, by coincidence, I learned about this elderly man that was an unknown folk artist. He was disabled and lived rather modestly in an old trailer in an urban setting. He worked in several mediums but his wood carvings were his favorite.


SIDEVIEW
I was able to buy several carvings of women and men, painted and full bodied, about eight inches tall. Then he asked me if I would be interested in a tall Indian carving. The Indian carving was a small replicate of a full-sized cigar store Indian that once could be found displayed outside of tobacco stores. The full-sized cigar store Indian was popular in the early to mid-twentieth century in the U. S. and perhaps before and also on the continent.

The notion was that since tobacco was introduced by Native Americans an interpreted facsimile would be used in selling tobacco products. Therefore, the rather unlikely representation of an American Indian was born. Although we are aware that such figures as the cigar store Indian were carved with a "western eye" and therefore are not representative of true American Indian culture. But these Indian carvings were part of the American culture of the time even with this misrepresentation of the native culture. Such is culture -- you have a ying and yang relationship. I did buy the carving.


CIGAR AND HAND DETAIL
This all happened 24 years ago. I was younger and not as fully into folk art as I am today. I eventually sold the small fugures for practically pennies and then gave the Indian to my son.


HEADDRESS DETAIL
Today, I realize that I should have found out the history of this amiable folk carver named Fredrick Hyatt. So many questions I could have asked! Opportunity missed.

Post Photos: Folkways Notebook

Sunday, December 5, 2010

UNADULTERATED OLD HOUSE IN SMALL TOWN

OLD ONE CAR GARAGE WITH NO TRESPASSING SIGN

A house in a very small town caught my  eye as I was driving down its main street. I instantly knew I wanted to find out more  about this place. I swung around and stopped in front of the house and noticed a sign attached to the  garage.  Sign said: NO TRESPASSING. Whoa, this stopped me dead in my tracks of going up to the door to introduce myself . I happened over to a nearby house and they told me the house was vacant --  and its owner was a lady in her eighties that was now living in a nursing home. 




FRONT OF THE HOUSE PORCH
With these few facts in hand I decided that I could take photos of the house from the street while searching  for clues about the the owner.

Initially, what attracted me to stop was the vernacular form of the house. But now I saw something else. -- it was the sitting porch standing as it probably stood when the elderly woman lived there. 

So, now I was looking at both the early architecture of the place and the front sitting porch. 


Based on the architecture, I put a date on the house as that of the early 1800s, It had not been restored, only preserved. It was an authentic example of a vernacular Federal/Greek Revival house.

So many questions swirled in my head:
--How long had she lived in the house?
--Was this a family home that had passed through several generations?
--Did she know who built the house or the garage or any of the outbuildings on the property?.
--Was it a large house because large families had lived in it?
Many other questions passed through my mind -- too many to write down here. 


OLD PORCH CHAIRS


Architecture aside, I turned to the sitting porch to seach for clues about the owner. It contained a little bit of interpretive material. 


The woman of eighty plus apparently liked plants as she had several planters sitting on the edge of the porch with remnants of former plants.


She had some old metal chairs that appeared to be there for socializing.

OLD PORCH PLANT STANDS

Some old vintage plant stands stood empty on part of the porch. A chicken figure, that perhaps was a planter, sat on top of one of the stands. 


Together the architecture along with the materials on her porch seemed to tell me that over the years she made do with what she had. The house along with the porch artifacts  remained "as is" over the years.  "As is" meaning no changes. 

As an example of the remaining  "as is"  of the house architecture was the original weather-board siding, a few old outbuildings, old tin roof, original six over six  window panes (also called lights), column pilasters on the porch, and a fan light over the front door. 

My conclusion about the elderly lady was that she liked to socialize, loved plants, and liked things to remain as they were.

SIDE YARD WITH OUTBUILDINGS ON TOWN LOT
The over-all ambiance of the property gives one the ability to glance at a "real" historic setting -- not one that has been adulterated with the clean and sterile look of many museums.  The overall place is in context to its landscape -- a small town in Kentucky.

Its like an archaeological dig -- trying to interpret fragments into a viable story. Humans invariably leave debris when they have lived somewhere for any length of time.  The interpretation may not be entirely accurate but is usually fairly close to reality.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

HELP THE NATURAL WORLD OF THE GULF BY A PHONE CALL



Following is from the  Nature Blog Network:
Congress comes back this week for the short lame-duck session. They failed to pass a oil spill bill before the election, and if they don’t do it during lame duck, it’s not likely to happen next year, or the year after, which would mean that they failed to address the biggest marine oil disaster in our history. Dwell on that.
They will have done nothing to hold BP legally accountable for the environmental destruction they’ve wrought. Nothing for the ecosystems. Nothing for the threatened and endangered species. Nothing for those of us who care about them.
During the 2010 lame-duck congressional session, the U.S. Senate should pass legislation dedicating Deepwater Horizon disaster Clean Water Act (CWA) penalties to environmental restoration of the Gulf Coast. Without Senate action, billions of penalty dollars will likely disappear into the federal treasury and never reach the Gulf Coast. But clearly, this money should be used for environmental restoration in the region that was most directly affected by the oil disaster.
The point of this whole post is therefore this: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. We need to make that wheel squeak like heck.
We as bloggers have the ability to spread the word in a way that didn’t exist 21 years ago, when the Exxon Valdez ran aground. Don’t let the Gulf become another Valdez disaster – don’t let BP get away with it the way Exxon did. Contact your senator, your local papers, whomever else might make a difference. And spread the word: on your blog, on Facebook, on Twitter.
The Nature Blog Network is leading a Blogging for the Gulf campaign to raise awareness and encourage action on the subject.

I encourage you to CONTACT your SENATOR to VOICE your stand on this -- barbara

Thursday, December 2, 2010

NATURE'S DRINKING CUPS FOR THE LITTLE WILD CRITTERS


The stub of a decaying tree limb has become a basin for catching rain water
Nature always provides surprises to a walker along a trail. Recently, a few days after a rain, I moseyed down a  trail close to my home and observed something I felt was a bit different. This was what could be considered miniature watering holes or as I call them -- nature's drinking cups


Above is a decayed limb that has a basin-like cavity at the top of its stub. When we have rain it fills and remains for several days


Close up of the decayed limb's drinking cup
Here is a close up photo of the tree's drinking cup. As you can observe, clear fresh water is caught in the decayed basin. I imagine that birds and insects love these small places.

Boulder with a natural basin providing a drinking cup that fills after a rain

Another basin like drinking cup. This one is in the hollow of a large boulder. I thought that the two examples of drinking cups displays the ingenious way that nature takes care of its little wild critters. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

BEAUTIFUL IN AGING

Vernacular Romanesque Revival Arched window with dental molding over door on old bank
Found in Kirksville, Madison County, Kentucky
Unoccupied building with original exterior. 
Old architecture is beautiful in aging. John Ruskin (1819-1900), English art critic and social thinker gave his thoughts to this idea. He thought age was the most important aspect of historic preservation. He had a deep respect for old buildings in general:

"For, indeed, the greatest glory of a building is not in its stones, not in its gold. Its glory is in its Age, and in that deep sense of voicefulness, of stern watching, of mysterious sympathy, nay, even of approval or condemnation, which we feel in walls that have long been washed by the passing waves of humanity."

The photo above is an example of Romanesque Revival (1870-1900) architecture only on a vernacular scale. Ruskin's influence helped popularize this style. 

The above and below photos, of the old small Kirksville  bank building, at one time served the locals but now stands empty. The building borrowed some Romanesque features to dress up a rather plain facade. It stands untouched by restoration.

Restoration is insensitive renovation of historic buildings. Preservation seeks to conserve and protect them. To paraphrase Ruskin's words that advocates preservation, where one can feel . . . in the walls . . . the passing waves of humanity. Only when you preserve not restore will you have beauty in aging. 



Old Kirksville bank with some Romanesque windows and doors that reflect strength. 
Boarded windows and a locked door reflect its emptiness..