Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The City Chicken

If I can't afford one of those junkyard horses below -- or an Iron Springs Road brontosaurus, maybe a chicken? I kinda like the metal critter above. A real Cortez Street find, that is.

Here's another collectible shop chicken, but certainly not big enough or bright enough for the side yard. I still like the top guy. You don't see many decorative yard chickens; somehow, gallus gallus simply isn't in the same league with Granny Goose in the competition for cute and cozy in the lawn ornament or country kitchen department.

In my walks around the town's alleys, by the way, I've come across the real thing (above.) I presume these birds belong to folks who eat a lot of eggs. And I recall that the sustainable city living chap over on Dameron talked about keeping chickens on a city lot. Legal? Not a matter for the Zoning Gestapo? You can see that I suffer from Big City Think, in which the domestic fowl is definitely a no-no for righteous, status conscious city or suburban dwellers. This is a different world. Here I have laid back friends who live in a settled county enclave on the west end of town; their pet chickens are an amazing collection of specialty breeds, the likes of which I've never seen in my sheltered life. Maybe one of these days I can take a few pictures.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Those Horses Again

Recently I promised to provide more detailed pictures of the junkyard horses one sees around town. At a distance, these beasts are surprisingly realistic looking. Close in is different matter. Above, one of Gene Galazan's sculpts out in front of the Phippen Museum.

Another, on McCormick Street. Now for some closer views:

Here's what it could take to make a head.

Details from the body of the same horse. Parts even include license plates.

This is a close-up of another body.

Yet another view.

This is a horse of a different color.

And the trailing end of the McCormick Street animal.

And tail construction of one of the Grove Street horses. The end.

Monday, February 26, 2007


A week ago, my daughter and her daughter came down for an overnight. I got to see Gdaughter's snazzy new nighty; I'd call it the cat's pajamas, except that it isn't PJs.

The real cat kept his distance from both the Gdaughter, her cat's pajamas and her shoes. That's odd -- usually he smooches shoes.
The next morning the 5-year-old's presence spread throughout the house. Stuffed animals on the futon...

...and the ice cream carton collection, out of its box...

...quickly taking up even more space as it is scattered.

The visit was called short -- time to repack the cartons.

But the little one took time to draw the head of her absolutely most favorite of all animals -- a horse. And taped it to one of the doors, of course, since the fridge is already occupied.

Here's another view of the drawing. She recently spelled her first word the other day -- P-N-Y, pony. I'm sure that H-R-S-E will be next.

Here she is, dressed up to go back to the high country, complete with another stuffed bear and the horsie.

Postscript: a few days later, I was taking pictures in the living room. Max cat spotted the box of ice cream cartons. Ah, a box. Just the thing for a cat to get cozy in. Result: the carton mess was quickly back.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Season's First Crocus

Those are mighty small crocuses, compared to a US two-bit piece. However, the bulbs have been in the ground here for maybe 10-15 years. And it isn't what one would call nourishing soil; no, that is decayed granite, maybe 6-8 inches thick atop a granite base. At least the javelina haven't found that particular set of bulbs. Yet.

At first I thought that the flowers pictured at the top of the page were my first of the season -- but this little clump preceded them by a few days.

But it's the season when all the bulbs that have survived begin to push green leaves up to catch the sun. Here, daffodils.

The iris, too, is making an appearance.

My overgrown miniature yellow rose is greening up.

And something that emerges from a bulb is coming up next to my hardy, evergreen barbatus penstemon; I think it may be one of the pretty little wild tulips. All I can say is WHEE! Spring again. That's the good news.

Now the not-so-good. It's time to start thinking fence. Because, no matter how much I enjoy wildlife, the situation changes when a troupe of javelina declares a section of the yard to be its very own outhouse. The spot is beginning to stink! Right next to my neighbor's yard, of course. I have a problem, folks!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

WPA: the Evolution of an Issue

When your political juices are running especially hot, do consider how time can transform yesterday's contentious issue into today's nostalgia. Collectible, at that. In part, anyhow.
This old WPA sign was displayed in the window of an antique shop on Cortez Street. One more small piece of history for sale. I am old enough to recall my fiery and domineering California grandfather pounding the kitchen table as he expounded about "That Man in the White House" and his shenanigans. The time was the 30s. The Depression.

Today, FDR's Works Progress Administration is a forgotten and perhaps quaint piece of our past. But there are remnants throughout the country, including Prescott. Look for those symbols in older sidewalks -- or remains (above), such as the fragment which I found in the landscaping at the Prescott College Crossroads Center.

Here is a more robust version in a sidewalk still in use after 70 years.

This stamp on the concrete below the Smoki Museum represents a really substantial project. Many unemployed Prescott men were put to work building what was at the time Prescott's Armory on Gurley Street (below.) Today, it's the Grace Sparks Activity Center, named after the lady who spearheaded WPA activity in the area.

The wonderful rock masonry at the Smoki Museum was also part of the project.

We can even wax nostalgic about the well built stone staircase (and a stone-faced curb) that leads up to the Smoki. I wonder if there are any stone masons left who could do this sort of work today.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Pussy Cats Galore!

What can I say. The creators of kitsch and everyday Decorative Stuff love to do cats. They're photogenic and so I have this big collection of cat renditions to display. It's curious -- I'm sure that dogs are more popular, just not as objet d'art.

How about a stained glass cat or two, like these I saw at the Sharlot Hall Museum shop. I'm reminded of one of my favorite characters from the Oz books -- the Glass Cat, a vain and thoughtless creature who was totally transparent.

Some people like cats of this ilk -- fat, furry and very, very self-satisfied. Tain't my preference.

Now this portly, smug cat was owned by a person whose own personality it reflected quite remarkably!

I call this and the next animal Mexicats. I'm not absolutely sure about the upper, but the lower is one of those wildly painted carvings from Oaxaca in a style called Alebrije, meaning imaginary or fantastic. According to an article furnished by The Google,

The carvers are Zapotec Indians who are descendants of the Pre-Columbian Zapotec civilization that reached the height of its development between 200 and 500 AD.

Out of this artistic heritage, an impoverished subsistence farmer named Manuel Jimenez began to carve imaginary creatures in the early 1980's. Fortunately, the outside world discovered and encouraged Jimenez to pursue his art work. The style was quickly adopted by others, and in response to a growing market demand, these woodcarvings have become a family production enterprise with members collaborating and using their combined talents to create these delightful creatures.

These metal cats (above & below), suitable for around the house, were a bitch to photograph, located as they were in a little Whiskey Row shop as crowded with bric-a-brac as a Victorian living room.

Here's a rather scary cat that was sitting in a rocking chair in one of the mural windows over at the high school on Ruth Street.

And this guy I'm really not sure about -- he might be a lap dog. Or a lap cat. On exhibit at one of the arts & crafts fairs at the Square last summer.

Actually, this is another Mexicat who sits in my living room. Though a plaster animal, he's painted in a turista version of the classic Talavera style, which was brought to Mexico from Spain in the 17th century.

Alright, already -- I am finally running out of cats. For closers, a splendid Kliban cartoon on the Miss Kitty T-shirt above and a painting that blends in with the reflected street scene over on Gurley. Sort of a first cousin to the disappearing Cheshire cat.

FYI: Welcome, readers of the Friday Ark and the Carnival of Cats; please feel free to make comments. Anybody who's into cats, dogs or other animal pets in any way should take a look at the listings over at the Ark and at the Carnival, which were kind enough to list this post. There's more feline blogging here if you click on the label below.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Unexpected Pictures

Just another Victorian boarding house, probably awaiting gentrification one of these days. Yes. But. This one was spotted by the adventurous Niece from Memphis back in August while she was visiting. What's so interesting about this old house, aside from its probable future? If you look very, very closely, that window is covered with a poster of Marilyn. Below, I've blown it up so you can see better.

Here's another unexpected picture within a picture. I was over at the N.O.A.H. thrift shop, crowded with all sorts of wonderful Stuff. I spotted the old Chinese bamboo curtain at the changing rooms. Took a picture. And then did a couple of double takes. One needs to get at a good angle to really get the picture -- which appears to be suitable for, maybe, a frontier town Fancy Lady's boudoir. Funny, despite its suggestiveness, the pose is really quite demure, with both bods under cover.

Later Note: I hope that the rather nude figures in the last picture can be seen by everybody, including welcome visitors from the Carnival of Cities.
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