Monday, August 30, 2010

Perfectly Pretty Painted Lady...

...in downtown Orbisonia, PA; and just a few doors away is the Harvest Moon Farms Gift Shop and Produce Store. What a find! Some of the best produce I've ever had, including a golden watermelon, perfect and honey sweet. All grown on the owner's small farmette nearby, or by local growers or makers.

August 27, 1910....

...why not? Looks the same if only I'd edit out the street-light.

Your Classic Shot...Steam Engine Crossing Old Bridge...

...Hubsy got a series of these. He's very good and I keep encouraging him to start a photo / garden blog of his own!

Another of Hubsy's Rail yard photos...

...at East Broad Top.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

In the Rail Yard at East Broad Top....

...the old turn-table in the yard. What rail buffs love about this venue, aside from the narrow gauge, is the fact that when this rail line was abandoned as a business, it was not dismantled. Antique buildings and equipment are pretty much as they looked during the Civil War. Have no films been shot here? With high PA hills around, it is so atmospheric.

I dottle in doorways! We have another Railroad to Visit...

... so "Let's Roll". We drove through more picturesque countryside under heavy platinum-gold (my fav)skies. (You hear and see the expression "let's roll" quite a bit here in central PA-poignant, this time of year.) We're heading for the East Broad Top narrow gauge railroad, near Orbisonia, PA. Some of the best pictures were taken here, by Hubsy as he wandered about in the rail yard; found a nest of wasps, too, and got stung.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

One last image from Strasburg...

an evocative one garage door at the machine-shop.

Barbb's Own "Star Sighting"!!


...the Museum had an "over-flow" lot: 5-6 acres of old equipment owned but not yet restored. Truth is, by this time, I was "all trained out" for the day. So, I'm lagging behind, beginning to understand all the children who are NOT well-behaved; suddenly I notice a nice looking young man with a lethal-looking macro-lens aimed a couple of inches at the side of an old car. So I decide to go pester him for a while; turns out he's colin winterbottom, who does mysterious, unexpected visions of DC, NY and other cities.
He appreciates corrosion patterns, producing masterful compositions with that powerful lens. I can't wait to see what he does with these lovely shades of red, rose and rust. He was very nice, considering the interruption; what I learned was not to give up: if he hadn't been working on the red car, I may have missed it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

We took a short excursion on the train...


...there was classic Amish scenery, such as this tobacco barn (different from those I've seen in Kentucky) and classic old-fashion play-ground toys. The little kids had no trouble figuring out all the ways to use the teeter-totter.

An "After" Picture...

...once the shop technicians are finished, the engines look great and are able to pull trains full of tourists to experience a taste of a bygone era. We older baby-boomers are just old enough to remember steam powered trains; personally, I remember being about 3 and feeling terribly special because the engine pulling our train would be a "new" diesel powered "streamliner": 1952.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We Took a "Shop Tour"

...inside the machine shop where they take in old, rusty broken carcasses of antique steam engines like this one. After much work, skill and money this old hulk will be restored to youth and shining vitality to huff and puff down the tracks again.

Bringing Back "Leave it to Beaver"...

This was heart-warming and perfect! The boy, perhaps 8 or 9, accompanied the older gent among the exhibits at the Rail Museum; he was very interested, calm and well-behaved as the man guided him around the museum, pointing out details, explaining, etc; inter-generational communication and memory-making at work.

Another look...

...the "newer" artifacts were housed in a "modern" looking section.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The PA Rail Museum...

Who knew? It's huge, with a large train barn full of many relics of the bygone era of transportation. Pennsylvania was such an important rail transport area that it's appropriate to have a grand museum here. Many of the older cars were saved when exhibits were prepared for the 1939 New York World's Fair; otherwise the antiques (pre-1900) would have long rusted in the rain somewhere.

Amish Country in Pennsylvania...

...near the Strasburg Railroad and the PA Railroad Museum. Steam-rail lovers: stay tuned. The Amish grow Tobacco?!

Faces on the Stones...

...as mentioned, many of the rocks' erosion patterns seemed facial. As the light changed, the effect seemed to alter the "expressions". This aspect is eerie and weird.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Large Field of Boulders...

...at Ringing Rocks State Park, PA. Tho my first thought was that it must be a glacial formation, but further research says not. In fact, no one knows how the 7-8 acre field was formed. Some people feel the area is heavily spiritual, as well. You can see why.

Ringing Rocks State Park...

...Upper Black Eddy, Bucks Co. PA. A mysterious field of boulders; when struck with a hammer or another rock, they sound like bell ringing, sort of. Hubsy tried it, so I know. He also tripped among the rocks and got hurt; be careful if you try this. I stayed on the side-lines, but was greatly impressed with the mystery, light patterns and just generally weirdness of the place. As the afternoon wore on--Hubsy tippy-tapping away out there--the light changed and the shadows on the boulders looked like faces changing expression.

Big Skies!

...besides the rolling hills, historic scenes and quaint old buildings, we enjoyed the "Big Sky" look and the interesting clouds.
The visit to Troy to help Amethyst was all business. We "to'd and fro'd" to shops and "hot-spots", we all struggled and strained with furniture moving. The result was excellent--she's all moved in. We dined the last evening at The Plum Blossom, a nice Asian place with great food and decor. Finally, we walked her to her first orientation meeting and soon bid farewell for now. We missed her immediately! But no photos from Troy; too busy

Monday, August 23, 2010

Speaking of "dice": Look at this Mess!

...it was necessary to resort to one of the featureless Indian gaming facilities for breakfast. Oh, Good Grief! I've never been in one of these before and hope I never have to again! (tho I don't begrudge the descendants of the aboriginal people the chance to make some $$$--I just hope it goes to good uses for the long-term benefit of the people) The restaurant was nice and the food was good; the casino was loud and too bright; just a few patrons this early and they all looked dead inside.

Breakfast in Salamanca...

...well, not quite. Near lovely Allegany State Park, where we camped (that's right, we took Amethyst camping: bad parents!)we were unable to find a simple sincere breakfast cafe in Salmanca, NY. Had we been after inexpensive tobacco products, we'd have our choice; pancakes, no dice.... (there were some camera-ready relics, however).

The Lower Tier: Verdant Visions...

...after the tooth-ache dull Tollway across IndiOhPa, east of Erie we switched to I-86 across NY; high green hills sprinkled with old farms and homes. This area was first settled about 1712, the sign said. Goodness, that's more than a century before Illinois was populated by people of European heritage.

Bringing Barbb-back: The Return of the Blog.

Last week, it was time to help Amethyst establish herself in the new home of the newly married pair, in Troy NY. I photograph her car as we head East on the Chicago Skyway Bridge for a few days of moving and fun. We did some Steam-train touring and had some photo-fun over the past week, as well. Please stay tuned.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

An Elegant Do-it-Yourself Project...


...a mosaic birdbath specially crafted as a gift for the Gardener Next Door. This is really pretty! A flower pot forms the base and large pottery saucer is the basin.
The maker of the project used a special skill: while she was teaching for a year in Italy awhile back, she took a class in the art of tiling. I love the colors of the terra cotta and blue glass against the greenery and flowers of the garden. Also, I like the look of the bits of tile--like broken china dishes.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Reading and Listening...

...I have reached a convenient resting place in the novel "King Jesus" written in the mid-1940's by Robert Graves. This is an ancient-world thriller with a plot as controversial as "The Da Vinci Code" with the added attraction of being written by a great English poet. I will pick it up again later.
Meanwhile, I'm listening to "The Constant Princess" by Philippa Gregory (the unabridged Books on Tape version from my public library. It's been too hot around here to walk outside for exercise, but I listen while I am preparing supper. I have also read "The Other Boleyn Girl" by the same author; I liked it well enough to decline the film. This author certainly has an entertaining way with the re-telling of stories of the Tudor Era; I notice she also has books on figures from The War of the Roses and other periods of British history.
There will be another Barbb-jailbreak soon; (no, I'm no under house arrest, it just feels that way). But there will be new photo material soon--sorely needed!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pardon the Crappy Photo...I can explain.


The yard is crowded with birds, mainly house sparrows, as well as the juvenile birds from this summer's class. This bird-like shape is a youthful male Downy Woodpecker with his carefully planned manner of approaching the hanging suet feeder. First, he flies up and lands with a loud scratchy noise on the screen, he hops all over the screen for a minute or so, then stops about eye-level to me as I sit at my desk. He peers in; he turns his not-quite-fledged head to look in with one eye. He repeats on the other side. He looks like an un-made bed, with plummage "on side-ways". Perhaps he is thinking "my Woodpecker Hand-Book said I would find food in the bark of trees: what's this??" He hops around somemore--oh, while keeping a sharp eye out for Uncle MarshHawk!---finally he leaps over, grabs a big beakful of suet n'seeds and flies away. This may be a calorie neutral exercise; it's extremely cute. He does it several times a day.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The "Before" Picture...


...this was a near as the jumpy Marsh Hawk would allow me. He was gathering himelf to take off as I snapped this photo. Northern Harrier is the better term for the bird.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Marsh Hawk takes wing...


...it was perched on a wire by the fenceline. I sneaked up to it with the camera, 'til it would let me come no closer. It left in a loud (for a bird)flourish of flapping wings. I pointed the camera in the general direction of the retreat and got this photo; he's above the crest of the roof just left of center.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Yellow Garden Spider...


...or Black and Yellow Argiope, a female. You may even be able to see the characteristic zig-zag pattern the spider makes in it's web. Found, where else? in the garden this evening.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Why Blog? (Serendipity)



...probably my two favorite photos of random tots in public places: the tiny boy caught in a moment of terror at the approach of the harmless sheep at the petting zoo in Morton Grove, IL at the David Broza concert; second, the baby girl wanting a drink from the statue-child in the Grove shopping center in LA. Moments of movement and emotion frozen forever in the universe of the internet. Both were nearly accidental "catches".


Why Blog? (Sharing: You shoulda seen....)

...for family and friends unable to join us on trips and events. Our kids were not able to attend Piper's memorial, but they can click to enlarge this photo see all the snap shots of her thru the years. Somewhere on the vast internet, this photo will repose forever, so former students and campers may find this. A Virtual Memorial. Naturally, our happiest events can be celebrated, as well.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Why Blog? (Humor!)

...I nearly forgot that one! Anyone who knows Hubsy very well might know he loves mushrooms and is interested in fungi. He has been known to cook up and eat mushrooms he found in the wild (after consultation with his mushroom reference). Me too? Nope-nope-nope! Besides, I don't really care for mushrooms. So, on a bike trip to Davenport, IA we found this colorful specimen...
and no, he didn't eat this one. But he made a funny face.

Why Blog? (Intellectual Again)

....Facilitate Lifetime Learning--this is really important! For example, quite by chance one day last fall, I saw this unusual (to me) spider; had the Nikon close by so I snatched the pic. A peek at the internet revealed it is a Cross Orbweaver or Cross Spider, likely looking for a place to dump a few dozen eggs under my front stoop! But who cares? I like spiders and they are great little insect vacuum-cleaners. (the exception is the Brown Recluse Spider which is venomous). With the Blog always hungry for new material, I had a perfect excuse to learn more about one of the other creatures in my little world.

Why Blog? (Intellectual)

...once in a while, something interesting happens. Like the day, last summer, when this Marsh Hawk's image was caught by me, as it swept across the backyard after some hapless Goldfinch in a sunflower. It missed-but I had a pretty nice action shot. What's the fun of having a good photo of an event if you have no one to share it with?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Why Blog? (Sentimental)

...reminisence: remember how adorable FlowerGirl was when she was just a little sprout? She did not like to be picked up; she would look at you flatly and say "Want down".

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Why Blog? (The Practical Reason)

...These two, The Blonde Guy and L'il Pearl, moved to California a year ago. It would be jolly fun to make this an opportunity to stay in closer contact: they could see the latest at our place this way. I keep Blonde Guy's Blog on my page to make it easier to see what they have been up to.
Our great-grandparents could not have dreamed of so many interesting communication choices.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Coming up on My First Bloggy-anniversary...


...this time last year, we travelled to Rochester, MN for what turned out to be our last earthly visit with Hubsy's sister Piper of Tamahay. She was comfortably enthroned in a regal hospital bed in a single room at St. Mary's Hospital when we spent a wonderful afternoon with her, talking, laughing, watching her enjoy rich macaroni and cheese, gourmet chocolate that we found for her and a huge lo-fat latte from the coffee bar across the street. (She was encouraged to eat rich, processed foods at that time.)

Her decline from that point was, sadly, quite rapid.

During the drive-time on that trip, I was comtemplating "my blog" (when not thinking of dainty foods to tempt my sister-in-law) "Why Blog?", What's my theme?, What's the purpose? Is there a purpose? Do I write? Photographs? Some of both? Who am I to Blog? Who will care? Do I care who cares? How do I start?

My only answer to uncertainties was Action: to just start. First, I reviewed my favorite recent photos from the garden, a primary interest. I picked one, similar to the one above, wrote a shy little comment and hit "Publish Post".


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Perfect for Ruby Tuesday...

...some "bottle brush shaped flowers"; one of the last photos from the CA trip in early May.

The Face of Recovery....

...after a light dinner of a homemade Taco with plenty of vegetables in it, FlowerGirl felt better with a small dish of ice cream. She's not a big eater, so it's not so bad for her to have a little dessert. Her Mother Bakes The Best Cakes In The World.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Face of Dispair....

...after the wonderous job that FlowerGirl did being FlowerGirl at her cousin's recent wedding, as well as her enthusiatic participation in the ballet recital awhile back, I thought it was time to give her something special: it is a Dresden lace china figurine of a curtsying lady dressed in the period of late 1700's. It belonged to my late Mother (her Grandmother, who passed away before FlowerGirl was born.) Her own Mom and Dad will have to put it away 'til she's old enough to take care of it. Well, you can see the expression. She was thinking it would be a hamster--and also noted that she did not have a baby brother or sister.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Haha--another kind of mask

One of our home grown potatoes seemed to smile at me as it was readied for cook pot.