Sunday, February 28, 2010

100 Years Ago In Russia

Another early color photograph from the irrepressible Sergei Prokudin-Gorski, who, at the behest of Czar Nicholas, traveled far and wide in a specially outfitted rail car, documenting the various cultures of the vast Russian Empire in the early years of the 20th century. Here, in 1910, he captured a family in the Bakaly Hills of the Ural Mountains, mining for iron with shovels and horse drawn carts.

Prokudin-Gorski was a pioneer in color photography. His heirs sold his vast collection to our Library of Congress.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Unusual Pictures Of Uncommon People

The extent of this young man's formal education was only a few months of schooling. By the time he was 13, he was selling newspapers and candy on a train that ran between Port Huron and Detroit and by the age of 16, he was working full time as a telegrapher.

He's had a tremendous impact on how we spend our time and how we live our lives. He developed our practical, economical and safe lighting system and invented both the phonograph and motion picture. Thomas Alva Edison changed the way we see things and what we are able to hear.

Friday, February 26, 2010

My Garden As Meal

We had a spot of rain during the night and that set the resident snails on a feeding frenzy. With the lure of tender Dutch iris and daffodil buds, it seemed they'd invited all their friends to stop over for a bite to eat, as well.

If they keep themselves tucked down in the calla leaves, they're welcome to stay. But once they set their sights on my bulbs, they've got to go.

With the field next door knee high in grass, the easiest thing is to toss them over there, where they're guaranteed a soft landing and plenty of something other than my flowers to eat.

A fresh bouquet gathered and arranged.

And one last snail, who'd hitched a ride inside, to be dispatched to the tall grass.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Kitchen Sink

It dawned on me recently that after almost 33 years in this home, more of my waking hours have been spent in this one spot than any other - bathing babies, preparing meals, cleaning paint brushes, washing up after gardening or just doing dishes. So much life has revolved around this kitchen sink. And happily so.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Outrigger Canoes

In 1922, the shoreline of Waikiki. That's the iconic Diamond Head crater in the distance, photographed hundreds of thousands of times by tourists and professional photographers alike. Almost ninety years ago, an unknown photographer captured outrigger canoes, on the beach and silhouetted against the setting sun.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Where Here Is

It's amazing what you can find on the internet. This is an aerial photograph of our town. Those mountains in the distance get snow occasionally and we've had snow on the coast 3 times in the past 50 years. It's a lot greener now with the rain we've had this winter. It doesn't show in the picture, but there are 60 foot sandstone cliffs that run along the edge of the beach for the majority of our coastline.

Monday, February 22, 2010

After The Rain

We had a spot of rain this past weekend - not a lot, but enough to please the flowers. These daisies bloom most of the year, rain or shine.

This little purple blossom is the first of this year's cranesbills. It's a low growing perennial that thrives on neglect. It has a tendency to spread rapidly and engulf other low plants, so it needs to be kept in check with regular trims.

These gazanias are a hardy, easily grown perennial, often used in parkways and shopping centers, as they are relatively trouble free.

Oh so fragrant freesias are blooming like crazy, spilling out of the flower beds and onto the grass and walkway.

My sister gave me a pack of sweet peas last October and they are just starting to bloom. Instead of tying them up this year, we're letting them ramble across the flower beds. They have more buds than other years, which makes me wonder if they prefer growing their own way.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

100 Years Ago In Florida

Looking more like a Currier and Ives print, this is a photograph of a sternwheeler making its way to the dock at Silver Spring, Florida in 1886. The photograph, made by George Baker, shows the railroad station to the left.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Unusual Pictures Of Uncommon People

He was the son of a Czech coal miner, born in Pennsylvania in 1928. A legend in his own lifetime, he created 300 films and was nicknamed "Drella" by his musician friends - who considered him a combination of Dracula and Cinderella.

Shot in the chest by a disgruntled actress in 1968, he slowly recovered, but wore a bandage for the rest of his life, which ended in 1987. He had as big an impact on the art world as anyone in the 20th century. It's hard to imagine what he would look like this year, had he lived to be 83. His image is frozen in our minds' eyes, fright wig and all. The childhood picture is of Andy Warhol.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flowers You Can Count On

Some plants grow more dependably than others, and some plants don't grow at all. The trumpet vine, shown above, grows almost right before your very eyes. This particular vine survived being blown right off the porch and onto the ground and is none the worse for wear. The wind actually seemed to have done it some good, as it cleared away weak branches and a build up of spent leaves.

If you can keep gophers away from your freesia corms, they'll come back stronger year after year. This bud cluster has shown it will be flowering yellow soon.

An old fashioned garden favorite, the dependable calla lily works well at the back of the border and makes a beautiful backdrop for smaller blooming plants. This lily is in the process of unfurling.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Breaking The Sound Barrier

Taken ten years ago, this stunning photograph shows a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet breaking the sound barrier. Sound travels at 768 mph (about 1 mile in 5 seconds). As the fighter jet passes from transonic to supersonic speed, a vapor cone appears as a shock wave causes a drop in pressure around the plane to form water droplets into the form of a cloud. This is also known as Prandtl-Glauert Singulairty.

Photographed off the coast of South Korea, this Hornet was attached to Strike Fighter Squadron One Five One, deployed aboard USS Constellation. It is a U.S. Navy photograph by Ensign John Gay, USN.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On The Streets Of Los Angeles

In 1940, when this picture was made, this adobe building was already almost 100 years old. Built in an area of downtown Los Angeles known then as Sonora Town, the caption on the picture tells us that the Georgian windows and front door were made in New England and delivered by ship in 1850. This home was abandoned in 1936 and became a Mexican cafe shortly thereafter. Sonora Town, located north of the Plaza, was Los Angeles' first Mexican barrio. It was named after Sonora, Mexico, from where so many resident miners and their families had come. The area is probably more recognizable by its current name - Chinatown.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Low Tide And Seawalls

Local bluff top homeowners own the land to the base of the cliffs, so they're allowed to protect their property from erosion with the construction of seawalls. Seawalls have been a hot button topic hereabouts, as many consider them eyesores.

Just how effective they are is open to debate, as they can't stop the wind that erodes the sandstone, nor hold back the subterranean water that always finds its way to the sea.

This person has chosen to build barricades up top and down on the sand both.

Our recent storms have exposed reefs we haven't seen for years and the extreme sand movement has formed some massive sand bars.

The wind was brisk, but it didn't deter this lady from her quest to find seashells.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

St. Valentine's Day

During the Victorian era, L. Prang & Company of Boston was one of the premier lithograph printers in the United States. The advertisement above, printed in 1883 to promote their valentines, shows a young woman with cherubs, tethered as if they were balloons.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Unusual Pictures Of Uncommon People

The young woman, above, feeding the swan, first made the acquaintance of Alexander Graham Bell when her parents asked him to recommend a tutor for her. Thereafter, she and the great inventor maintained a lifelong friendship and when she wrote her autobiography, "The Story Of My Life", she dedicated the book to him.

The teacher he recommended was Annie Sullivan and the young woman above is her student, Helen Keller.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Del Mar Palisades

Near here, the southern end of the town of Del Mar overlooks the Torrey Pines State Reserve, the Pacific Ocean and the wetlands of the Los Penasquitos Lagoon. The Detroit Publishing Company made this photomechanical print in 1904 of an area they called the Del Mar Palisades. These days it's covered with stacked condominiums and houses, all angling for a piece of ocean view.

Here's how it looked 105 years ago.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Way We Were

When we exchanged family photographs at Christmas, my sister gave me this one. She took it of her husband and me when we three lived on the west side of Kauai in 1970. After working various jobs and saving through junior high and high school with the goal of a surf adventure, two days after my 18th birthday, my first stop was Hawaii. We shared a one room studio and back then, our biggest concern was where the waves might be breaking the best on any given day.

On this occasion, we'd just returned from a hot and dusty hike up Waimea Canyon and posed, parched and grumpy, near the suspension bridge, beside Mike's $100 1959 Studebaker, anxious to get out of the Canyon and back to the beach.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Out The Back Door

Even though we have a perfectly fine front door and walkway, most of the household traffic comes and goes in and out the patio door. As we're usually on our way somewhere, it's easy to overlook the little things. Yesterday morning, a tiny speck of red caught my eye - a wee lady bug making its way across a maidenhair fern.

A snow white freesia had grown across my hastily kicked off gardening flip flops and was in full bloom.

A tangle of "Crystal Palace" lobelia had appeared in a wild blue burst.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sugar And Spice

Since her arrival 31 years ago today, this little girl has been making the world a brighter place, one smile at a time. When counting my blessings, she's always at the top of the list.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Remembering French Sailors

Before the advent of radios, televisions and computers, mass communication relied on the printed word and bold graphics. Case in point: this striking World War I French lithographed poster, printed in Paris in 1918 and drawn by artist Jacques Roger Simon. The translation is "Everyone give to the fund for the remembrance of French sailors".

The image is part of a vast collection of posters in the Library of Congress.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Outside Last Evening

It rained most of yesterday, but there was a brief break in the clouds as the sun started to set. The wind was blowing briskly enough to push them quickly across the sky. This western view from the living room window enticed me outside with my camera.

Even on a gray day, Nature's colors still abound. This bougainvillea is tangled up in the orange tree and spills over the neighbor's fence onto our side.

The firewood pile is good and soaked but the wood still burns hot, just slower. We burn a mixture of pine and eucalyptus and whatever we've trimmed in the yard - ginkgo, carrotwood, and ficus benjamina.

This nasturtium is thriving in the rain and has wound itself up in the hose reel, heading up toward the kitchen window.

As the evening light faded, more layers of low rain clouds were moving in from the south.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Seawall

This futuristic looking concrete, steel and wood contraption is a seawall, built at the base of part of the sandstone cliff that runs along our coastline. Despite the best efforts of the homeowners whose homes line the cliff top, Mother Nature's elements - mostly wind and rain - continue to erode the cliff.

You can see more shadow pictures from around the world at Hey Harriet.

Friday, February 5, 2010

What's Growing On

The freesia corms that were planted in October have just set their buds. Another week or two and these will be in full bloom. Freesias are one of the most potent aromatic flowers in the garden.

English lavender is also starting to bloom. The low shrubs are sending up numerous stalks, soon to attract countless honey bees.

Jupiter's beard is a hardy, rapidly spreading, profusely blooming perennial that doesn't disappoint. And it will attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden.

The Spanish lavender is just starting to bloom, as well. It's grayish green foliage is a nice contrast to the various shades of green of other plants.

The narcissus have been blooming strong for two months. This is one bulb that gophers won't eat, so we leave them in the ground to multiple year after year.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Unusual Pictures Of Uncommon People

The son of a glass importer, this young American spent a winter on the Nile when he was 13.

The picture above shows him in his rowing attire at Harvard University.

In the years ahead he became an author, historian, rancher, politician, conservationist and the first American to win a Nobel Peace Prize. He was a colonel in the United States Army and won the Medal of Honor. He died in his sleep at the age of 60.

He is Theodore Roosevelt, who at the age of 40, in 1901, became the 26th President of the United States, the youngest man to ever hold the office.