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Friday, December 27, 2013

COLD DECEMBER GARDEN


On a recent overcast white-sky day I trod through a cold December garden curious to see if there were any signs of plant life left.  I was looking for some possible photo shots. There was a light fog in the air as well as hints of a light rainy mist. 

It was a small garden, organically grown, and contained soil that was rich and amenable. The first plant I saw was some mysterious greens -- possibly some type of kale? It was definitely a cold crop as it still was growing with its colorful green and purple leaves. I pinched some leaves off to eat and found them tasty.

Its leaves were full of dew which I attempted to capture above. I realized there was still plant life in the garden even though there had been several frosts this December.



Although part of the garden had been recently dug up I managed to find some plants that offered up a variety of textures and colors. This broccoli stem with its decaying sprouts still had a few sprouts that were trying their best to survive.


Found many tomatillios beautifully decaying. All that was left was their lacy husks reflecting its former shape holding its seeds with the promise of next season's life.


Blackened stalks of small sunflowers appeared forlorn. I caught this dewdrop at the end of a dried leaf -- could it be a sunflower teardrop -- saying goodbye to its life in the garden?




Saturday, December 21, 2013

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS . . .



Standing is James, my father. 
His baby brother sits in the highchair. 


. . . and all through the house. 

With James in his knickers and I in my chair
we stood and we sat with greatest of care.
When out on the lawn we heard some prancing
It so moved James that he quickly started dancing.



I'm attempting to move myself into the Christmas mood today by sorting through some of my old Christmas photos while making up the above silly little ditty for this post. The 1916 photo above is of my father, James, when he was about four. The family had just moved to Detroit so his father (my grandfather) could begin working at Henry Ford's manufacturing plant.

This photo was taken about 100 years ago. As I look at it I smile at the small pine tree lacking the traditional electric lights -- a sheet acting as a tree skirt wrapping its base -- the tree's tinsel chain winding past a few large glittery ornaments, and the calendar hanging on the wall along with my great-grandfather's picture. A lone children's book sits under the tree. I wonder if the book was a gift my father received for Christmas? 

I am especially thinking of my father today. He gave me the greatest of gifts  --  kindness and love.

Happy Holidays to all.



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

MY CHRISTMAS STORY -- A PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH SAMPLER PIECE







While living in New Mexico, for a short stint, I spent my Saturday mornings perusing house sales for unique small items. 

One Saturday I ran across an estate sale where the adult children were selling the items their mother had left them. It was a vast collection of fabrics, paintings and sculptures. Really some good stuff.

I never seemed to have hardly a cent to spend on anything frivolous so I was careful to spend wisely at these sales. As I entered this particular house I noticed some unusual fabrics which intrigued me so I set about going through the stacks that were piled on a large table. About half way through I came upon a piece of fabric about 18" X 16". I instantly knew it was a unique piece. I could hardly contain my excitement. I asked the price to one of the children running the sale -- she said how about five dollars?  Of course I couldn't get the five dollars out of my money pouch fast enough. I asked her if she knew where her mother had purchased it and she said that she had no idea.

Well I could hardly wait to get home to get a closer look at what I had bought. Yep, it was embroidered on old linen and the stitching was early -- say about the late 1700s to early 1800s. The figures embroidered on the piece were indicative of Pennsylvania Dutch stitching.

The eight pointed star was a common symbol in Pennsylvania Dutch work as well as the "rigid" flowering trees. This might have been a pattern cloth for young women to learn correct ways to stitch? Not sure.

Anyway, today I call it my Christmas cloth because of the large star in the middle. Also because my maternal ancestors were Pennsylvania Dutch. I never knew them but I can pretend that one of them stitched this lovely piece of cloth. At least at Christmas --  then its back to reality.



Thursday, December 12, 2013

SMALL TOWN ART DECO CINEMA





Once many small towns had cinemas like the one in this photo. This particular one is located in Tigard, Oregon. It is on a very busy street that leads to a major highway just a few blocks down the road. I would not consider saying that the town has a small town ambiance anymore. Growth in Tigard has surrounded this little art deco place. But yet, the original signage seems to be in place -- it looks like the JOY cinema might still be in use in a rather irregular way. The front facade has a tiled design that appears original. I did not cross the street to get closer. I thought my life would be endangered by the traffic if I did. 

Hang in there "JOY."

Monday, December 9, 2013

OLD DOOR ARCADE


At one time doors were not standardized like today's modern ones. Does that tell us something? Perhaps. Maybe it tells us that we have lost some of our uniqueness? These old doors belonged to commercial or public places -- some now vacant --  they hang like artistic ornaments. 



Old screen door to college's outdoor theater.


Old door of early church. KY


Unknown commercial use, Maysville, KY

Unknown commercial use, Mt Vernon, KY


Old bank door, unknown use now, Waco, KY


Old train station door, still in use, Maysville, KY


Old door, Grocery Store, Waco, KY




Sunday, December 1, 2013

OLD KENTUCKY POTTERY



Above is a vintage photo that was featured on a postcard put out by the Kentucky Historical Society a few years back.   It features a bunch  of pottery just outside the door of  Bybee Pottery located in Bybee, Kentucky. I assumed it was a photo of their production on that day long ago? 

This postcard made me curious about Bybee Pottery so I decided to visit the place several months ago when I still lived in Kentucky. When I got there the pottery place was closed up tight and not a sign of life surrounded the exteriorPerhaps I had come on the wrong day?





Above are the buildings I found that day when I visited. All the attached buildings appeared in great shape but they gave off a ghostly feeling of desertion.

The large sign above the door announced "Bybee Pottery founded 1809!" 

I did a little research and found that Bybee Pottery had suspended operation in 2011. I was just two years late in my visit to the place.

Additional research turned up the following information on Wikipedia:


"Bybee Pottery, is a 200-year-old pottery company based in Bybee, a community in Madison County, Kentucky, USA. It was founded in 1809 by Webster Cornelison and members of the same Cornelison family."

Bybee pottery was well known nationwide for their pottery. Once they made just utilitarian pieces but eventually they made decorative pottery items too. Link to an article about the family that has operated this business since its founding.  

Below is an example of just one of the many types of Bybee ware that was made by the company. 





This wonderful company of Americana items is another example of our declining base of local companies in the U.S.

Sorry about that folks