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Friday, April 29, 2011

CRIMSON CLOVER AND CRIMSON AND CLOVER

A CRIMSON COLORED FARMER'S FIELD 
A friend had tipped me off about the beautiful crimson clover field that you see in the photo above. She told me it was lovely and I just might want to take a ride past the field. She also told me to take some scissors and a container so I could clip a small bouquet for home.


The field belongs to a farmer and is usually all green with various interesting weeds but this spring the field turned to a blanket of deep red crimson clover. 

CLOSE UP OF CLOVER IN THE FARMERS FIELD
Of course we know why farmer's plant clover in the fall to bloom in the spring. But usually the clover is either small blooms of white or pinkish purple. Seeing the large crimson clover blooms is breath taking when planted in a whole field.  The clover protects the land from erosion, nourishes the soil, provides winter cover for small animals, and in the spring lots of clover for the busy bees. 

MY BEAUTIFUL HOME BOUQUET
Of course I forgot to take a container and scissors to the field. I took my photos and thought how I would have loved to clip some of the clover. Then I remembered a few things. I had an empty large coffee cup in my car and a large knife in the back of my cab. I looked around the ground and spotted some large water puddles left from all the rain we have had lately. I was all set. I cut my clover, filled the cup half way with rain water, and filled the cup with the fresh blooms. Off I went. At home I placed the blooms in an old crock and sat down with a cup of coffee and thought about the fun one can have over such simple acts as being with crimson clover.



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ON THE ROAD AGAIN -- PAINTED TURTLES??

SMALL TURTLE
OK.  I give up. I am not an expert on turtles and therefore can not truly identify the two turtles on this post. I believe they are painted turtles but not completely sure. 

I met up with them on the road. I almost hit the smaller of the two as it was attempting to crawl across a fairly busy road. The larger one was poised to follow the smaller one across the road.  Their destination unknown to me. But, I sure didn't want them to get hit by cars whizzing along at about fifty miles an hour. 



LARGE TURTLE WITH HEAD LOOKING AROUND

I stopped my truck on the side of the road and walked to the middle of the highway and picked up the small one, about six inches long,  and carried it to the field near the road. Then I went back and picked up the larger one, about ten to twelve inches long and put him next to the small one that now resided in the field. I felt they were buddies of some sort and probably frightened by my handling --  being together might calm them? 



SMALL AND LARGE TURTLES AFTER RESCUE

I just happened to have my camera with me strapped in a case around my shoulder. I whipped out my camera and started taking a few shots. The larger one started to crawl away from the highway much to my relief. In reality he might have been trying to get away from me? 

The photos didn't turn out that well but perhaps someone out there can ID them for me?



SMALL TURTLE


I do know a few general facts about turtles. One, is that they are in trouble because of habitat loss. Two, that crossing roads results in road kills which then results in large declines in local turtle populations. If one scrolls down to the end of this post there is more infomation on turtle decline.

One issue bothers me. Why so people take native turtle species and turn them into pets. As pets their life span is short. Once captive they will always need to be captive as  returning them to the wild spreads disease leading to turtle deaths. Even if you think your pet turtle is healthy there is a good chance they will spread a disease to the native population if released. 


UNDERSIDE OF SMALL TURTLE
The two turtles were fairly similar in identification marks. The one difference was the head of the large turtle was dark with barely visable streaks while the smaller one has green and creamy colors. Perhaps the difference could be age -- something like losing the vibrant color as one ages? I read someplace that painted turtles live to about fifty years old in the wild. 

So if you want to save a turtle's life you can do one imporatnt simple thing. Remove it from the road if you spot one crossing (if it's a snapping turtle push it gently with your foot -- don't pick it up). Carry it to the side where it was headed. Mother nature will love you for this little action. 

INFORMATION SOURCES



Sunday, April 24, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

WEATHERED HOMESTEAD, CHRISTINA'S WORLD, AND MOZART

WEATHERED FARM HOMESTEAD, ROCKCASTLE COUNTY, KENTUCKY
I spotted this farm homestead from a narrow country road that threaded itself through a lush sparsely populated countryside.  The homestead was perched on a grassy knoll with an old house that had seen better days. A few outbuildings  appeared in better shape than the house. An  exception was a small sagging outbuilding, a log structure, that might have been a corn crib at one time. It was the only log structure on the acreage. A fine weathered barn with a small wing attachment along with an equipment shed appeared vacant, as did all the buildings.A small family cemetery was tucked away in a wooded area. The property as a whole seemed adrift in a distant memory. A lonely memory.


The vacant farm before me reminded me of a particular painting, Christina's World, by artist Andrew Wyeth. It is a sensitive painting of a woman named Christina who is shown crawling up a grassy hill toward a weathered old house. It characterizes a lonely feeling as does the appearance of my above  Rockcastle homestead.  


As you can see in the following Wyeth painting it also has a desolate feeling as does my Rockcastle County photo -- the difference being  my photo shows no human life while Wyeth's has Christina. 


Christina's World a painting by artist Andrew Wyeth, 1948
Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Wikipedia

Surely, you have seen old homesteads sitting in this solitary emptiness. The air thick with spirit. 

I thought I should leave on an upbeat note after all this lonely talk. Here is a  touch of Mozart -- a rather  "pumped-up" classic. I think you'll enjoy the two minutes and fifty-two seconds of his great music. 


Friday, April 15, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

VICTORIAN PORCH LATTICE WORK

DOUBLE PORCH  -- LATTICE WORK 


LATTICE:  A lattice or lattice work is a criss-crossed or interlaced arrangement of laths or pattern made by such an arrangement. Wiki Definition.

Today, lattice can be bought at such stores as Lowes or Home Depot. Their lattice is thin pieces of wood that bend easily. It is not stout construction like the historic lattice you see on the porch above


This porch belongs to a home in Richmond, Kentucky that was built in the late eighteen hundreds or early nineteen hundreds. The porch is interesting from the aspect it is a double decker. Both have artistically applied lattice. 
   

DOUBLE PORCH -- CLOSE UP

Below are a couple of lattice resources that have been taken from the Old House Journal. This journal has long been a favorite of mine and I highly recommend it for folks with older homes.


When I say older,  I am saying those fifty years old or older. At one time, and probably still is the rule of thumb by the National Trust of Historic Preservation, is that houses fifty years old or older can be considered for historic designation which opens new avenues. 


A great newsletter to receive on vernacular older structures is the Vernacular Architecture Forum.

Overall,  I think lattice and/or gingerbread can be adopted and applied on either old or new houses if done artistically.  If interested in historic housing check out the resources above and for trim-work see below. 

RESOURCES: 

Restoring Porch Lattice Work, Old House Journal, June 1978

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A WORKING GREENHOUSE


STUDENT WORKER'S GLOVES HANGING AROUND 
What does a college do that has a large beautiful old glass and steel greenhouse and lots of young energetic students in the Agriculture and Natural Resource Department? Well in 1871 the college decided to grow vegetables and flowers and make them available for a reasonable cost to the area residents. It was successful and grew to become the farm sales program which exists to this day. The money raised helps fund the department's program. 

FRESH GREENS FOR YOUR GARDEN
Students work in the greenhouse as well as in other parts of the farm program which has grown to include hoop house gardening,  hog farming, bee keeping, growing Shitake mushrooms, outdoor gardening as well as a few other projects.  

SALE IS POPULAR WITH TOWN RESIDENTS
Every spring the students hold a large plant sale in the old greenhouse. The plants are considered first harvest as they are seeded and grown on the grounds of the college. Community support is high for the event and the plants are quickly sold. It's a win-win situation -- the residents get freshly grown plants, mostly organic, and the students raise money to help with the continuation of the program.

PART OF GREENHOUSE WORK AREA
For more info on Berea College's Plant Sale click here

COUNTRY ROADWAY IN BLOOM

NATIVE REDBUD TREES IN FULL BLOOM NEAR WHERE I LIVE

Thursday, April 7, 2011

SIMPLE SOUTHERN WOODEN COUNTRY CHURCH -- A HUNDRED YEARS OLD

OLD VERNACULAR COUNTRY CHURCH
On a soldier blue sky day, I found this intriguing southern wooden church in the area of Paint Lick, Kentucky. And, at the same time a large ferocious dog found me as I opened up my truck door to go have a "look see."  Whoa, I thought and "go home" I shouted at the dog as his bark almost turned into a snarl. I must have some look of authority as the dog backed off and slowly trotted away -- but from a distance he never let me out of his sight. Oh well, I thought, just another day in  my life of finding and taking photos of unique places and people of the folk kind. I headed toward the church but kept an eye on Rover as I walked. 


The church was apparently deserted from the broken panes in various windows and the lack of worn footpaths around the church.




The church was certainly a simple style and could have been featured in a movie about early settlements. It did have some traits that added a bit of a flair to it. Its front facing gable fell under the Greek Revival influence and its doors and windows were certainly Gothic Revival style. 

Vernacular builders borrow styles from the past -- ones that they are familiar with. Greek Revival was popular in the mid 1800s as well as the Gothic Revival style.The vernacular builder or builders would have been local folks with their own interpretation of what the church should look like. Their pick of 'familiar to them" styles formed the mixture found in the this church's simple look. 

The colored glass panes are considered a "poor man's"  style for church windows as the more "well-to-do"  had stained glass. 

STONE PLATE IN CHURCH FOUNDATION
I noticed that a stone slab had been inserted in the chiseled limestone foundation. It read 1st Baptist Church, W.D. Thompson, Pastor 1901. I believe this stone was placed in the foundation as it was being built and is more than likely the age of the building. 


There was an old white wooden outhouse that belonged to the church sitting nearby. I wanted to take a photo of it but I could see that Rover was getting restless and I thought I had better move on. I filed a note in my mind as I drove away -- that if I ever got back this way to remember to bring Rover a bit of appeasement -- possibly some dog biscuits. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

OLD VERNACULAR ONE-CAR GARAGE



Yesterday, I traveled the main road of route 25, enjoying a beautiful cool day in and around Richmond, Kentucky. As I rode along  in my small truck I came upon this unusual structure that sat down the hill from a lovely old bungalow. The structure almost looked like a country root cellar yet it had a few defining details that spelled out garage.

First was the height and width of the former door opening which was similar to the garages of the Ford roadster era. The former door opening would have been the whole of the now brown board closure. Secondly, there was a cement drive apron leading to the structure from the street. It probably had a dirt apron originally.

The garage was probably built about the same time as the house was -- the early 1900s. It might have been built for an early Ford roadster or similar type car.   Over time, garages like these  became unusable as manufacturers built cars longer in length. No longer could the newer cars fit lengthwise. Many garages  of the old short-length types were converted into other uses.

OLD VERNACULAR ONE-CAR GARAGE 


A closer look at this former garage tells us that its function had changed. No longer a garage, its use became one that needed light (two windows) and only a regular standard door. Many uses could have been part of this evolved building. The hinges are 1930s --40s. I imagine its original use as a garage was only used for a couple decades. 


I thought the garage was unique in that it was partially underground and that it sat so close to the street rather than close to the house. 


Perhaps there is another story to this structure? I'm sure there is a personal story to be told with this unusual building.