Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ghost lumber

Arizona ghost towns will be featured among the new prints by Rich Charpentier at the Ian Russell Gallery for the 4th Friday Art Walk this coming Friday. Not being a driver -- and not enjoying the energy of younger folk, I have to content myself discovering different ghosts of the past.

One that I became aware of just this week: the yard of a nearby hillside house is held up by these heavy duty railroad timbers. A very big difference from the popular timbers one buys these days at Home Depot or Lowe's: these are actually the Real Thing. If you look closely, you'll see the cutouts for the plates which held the track to the cross pieces, complete to holes where the spikes did their work. The closeup below tells the complete story.

The age of the timbers really shows if you get close. No doubt many home-owners would love to own such well used antique material, but it's likely that not nearly enough tracks have been decommissioned to supply the potential demand.

Another example of what happens to lumber over time. The structure is an old board and batten shed which apparently has never been painted; I was struck by how the knots remained pale as the wood darkened.

Utility poles may age in different ways. The pecky example above suggests woodpeckers -- but where is the evidence of acorns installed in those holes? Quite a different old age from the pole below.

Speaking of Ghosts of the Past: You find everything, well, nearly everything on the Internet. Today's first f'rinstance, MP3s of British pop music from the early 30s, at The Hot-Dance and Vintage Jazz Pages. Not quite my idea of jazz, but it beats rap any day. And if you really want to show our modern ignorance, take the 1895 8th grade exam at Alone on a Limb. One glance and I realized that the Great Dumbing Down was already well underway when I served time in K-6 in the aught-30s! As final look back, I received a comment just this evening on a 2007 post about my granddotter's art work; GD, in the meantime, has moved on to Science Projects!


Warren said...

outstanding wood pictures! I'm always fascinated by the different patterns in wood. Any chance some of those utility pole holes came from shoe spikes that utility pole climbers used to wear a lot?

Kate said...

Love the photos! I always wanted to have a library or reading room in my house that was paneled with old, weathered barn wood.

Granny J said...

warren -- maybe some of the holes -- but t-h-a-t many??? Visualize the line man doing a polka up and down the pole for half an afternoon.

kate -- old barn wood is beautiful, though I fear ir would get terribly dusty here in AZ.

Sandy said...

Loved your wood pictures. My next-door neighbor has had to turn his woodcrafting into bowl-making because there isn't enough demand for his cabinetry work. He told me that the reason the knots stay light is because the wood is so dense around the knot, but in some types of wood, the knot is much darker. It seems to depend on the initial density of the wood, he said.

Lucy said...

I can't get enough of wood pictures like this. Come to think, I always was fascinated by wood patterns and loved to draw them as a child...

Granny J said...

lucy --- that's why I have a folder with far too many pictures of stumps, logs, bark, etc. It makes for an agonizing selection process.

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