Tuesday, March 31, 2009

April Fool's hiatus?

A lot of people are turning their computers off tonight at midnight & not hitting the on button til Thursday, April 2. Meaning a lot of my usual visitors may be avoiding any hint of the April Fools' virus about which warnings abound. Gives me a chance to relax for a day. See ya!.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Fence styles, part 1: rustic

Fences serve many functions in our world. Often to keep people out or critters in (or vice versa). Sometimes, to simply draw a line around one's property. At other times, primarily to please the eye or to support morning glory vines or honeysuckle.

Out in the countryside, a fence is a practical matter. Interesting, the contrast in this set of ranch fences. On the left, the hard lines of pipe and, on the right, the softer contours of uprights cut from nature. Now for today's question from the naif: what is the purpose of those typical tall ranch gate posts with the high cross piece? I've never understood and nobody has ever bothered to explain.

On close examination, this appears to be an image of what's called a Texas gate, made of barbed wire, stiffened with sticks. Once you open it, you merely lay the fence down on the ground, pass through and immediately do the polite thing, which is to reclose the gate. (That can be hard for small people like me, as you have to pull all those heavy wires pretty dang straight to reach across the opening.)

A slick fence that has to be considered rustic, as it's the work of the Forest Service up at Lake Mary. The close-up of an upright (below) includes wild lavender verbena that is common up here in the mountains in mid-summer.

Suddenly we're in the city, where rustic is a style, not a necessity. Less than a mile from the Courthouse, FYI.

This particular fence really caught my eye the first time that I spotted it. The front lot line (above, below) is delineated by a collection of snags, roots, stumps and other interesting tree bones.

I don't know quite how to characterize this fence; however, I suspect the person who wove a miscellany of sticks among the wire had an artistic vision.

To finish this collection, a touch of faux rustique -- the timbers are varnished and that's one expensive lizard enjoying the sun.

Today's Links: First a couple of changes to my blog roll at right. I've added EatStayPlay.com of Chino Valley and changed the name of RV-Boondocker to the Occupation of Independence, on accounta Boonie has settled down in Silver City NM "until the automobile industry tempts me into replacing my aging, full-sized van with one that gets better mileage. Until then I will stay busy living a car-free life as a local wannabee in the Little Pueblo". Steve Lummer describes the community garden that his church members are growing. Quilted Dogs explains about the garment industry's amazing Size Zero, complete with a video of anorexic celebs. NASA has its own youTube site. And finally, the LA Times tells how we nearly lost the earliest images of our exploration of the moon, emphasizing again the problem of yesterday's abandoned tech.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Benefitting the zoo

Quite fitting, the location for this weekend's big yard sale to benefit the Heritage Park Zoo -- at Ruth and Whipple, right across from the Y's park. That is where the weekly swap meet was held when we first moved to the area. (Too bad that flea market went the way of many neat local customs; it was a much more neighborly affair than the formalized swap meet business that currently operates in PV.)

I arrived not only on the last day but the last hour of the sale. The volunteers were striking the set as I left. To top it off, the day was windy (below) and slightly chill.

Nonetheless, all manner of Good Stuff. Books. Blue jeans aplenty. Housewares. Some furniture left.

And, inevitably, exercise equipment that may have been used three or four times before gathering dust for a year (or decade).
Toys, including a train-her-to-the-kitchen plastic extravaganza. Not to mention Barbie, herself. Windblown and in the buff, yet! Tsk, tsk. Whatever happened to that famous wardrobe? At least she wasn't cuddled up with Ken.

The business table...

Plenty of roon for cars. One teen girl arrived on her bicycle.

And the biker who drove up quickly equipped himself for skiing.

There must always be a truly memorable product at a big sale like this one. Here it is: a deep purple plastic hand for your seating comfort. I should have bought a chance -- but I might have won simply because I am already overwhelmed with Stuff.

What happens to the leftovers? Surely nobody wants their castoffs back in the garage, so inasmuch as this sale is for the benefit of the animals at the zoo, the unsold items will be donated to the NOAH thrift shop, which is also for the benefit of animals, just a different set. Fair enough, I'd say.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Notes: Muffler Man, Redoubt, Anonymity

Sorry. I got caught up in combing through my photo file looking for interesting fences, the time passed as it will, and it's much to late to open PhotoShop for a session. So: links and notes.

#1 -- The Courier discovered the missing Muffler Man, whom they are calling Big Johnson. Good details about his history -- plus a picture of the cowboy hat.

#2 -- Inasmuch as the dotter is up in Alaska in the Mt. Redoubt volcano territory, I've been following the eruptions. The Alaska Volcano Observatory has a set of fine photos, the best being the night shots with lightening dancing around the peak and the ash column.

#3 -- A blog controversy has erupted up in that cold, northern territory, too, having to do with anonymous political commentary -- and a local politician outing the offending blogger. The dotter gives one account, incidentally explaining her reasons for blogging anonymously; the blogger tells her story as well. Many of my readers may not agree with the politics of the people involved; on the other hand, having lived in a world (Chicago) where complex local ordinances are designed to make almost any ordinary property-owning citizen a potential law breaker, I can understand the desire to keep one's profile low. (BTW, the federal IRS rules & regulations would appear to be closing in on the Chicago standard, to judge from recent shenanigans in DC.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Signs of our times

No, not "going out of business" or "for lease", not that kind of sign. These are simply signs that appealed to me. #1, above, over at the True Value hardware store. Can I say, "well put"?

Of course, on seeing this sign along Sheldon Thursday morning, my first inclination was to say, "read all about it"! Or perhaps get the digest. Mini details, yet?

Plus the Day's Links: Let's start out with a spring walk through the woods down in Georgia, followed by a visit to a very old Breton church. Next, a nice comparison of natural high desert vs. high desert plus plenty of water. While we are local, LooseEnds alerted me to a new restaurant review blog, Prescott Good Eats, PrescottStyle notes the appearance of the Yavapai chupacabra, and LindaG spins off a third blog, Speaking Out in Freedom .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Maintenance -- not missing!

So friends Patty and Bob were ferrying me down Hillside on the way to the True Value for hose timers (I'm prone to forgetting that the water's on). As we approached Miller Valley, Bob asked Patty to turn around and head back the other way. "Something I want you to see."

We wound up at Brackman's, the paint & body repair shop. And here's what was in one of the bays (above). After I hopped out of the car, trying to get a picture of OUR OWN MUFFLER MAN, this crotch shot (below) was the best I could do, he's so big.

But Prescott people are kind, decent folk who quite happily volunteer to roll huge 20 ft. figures outside so a granny-aged photographer can get a better shot. The head (below).

More of his body (above) and a full length shot (below).

And I got the story: one of his legs was broken when a driver ran into him. He was moved to the body shop for a repair job -- plus shiny new shoes, pants, shirt and skin. His features come next. What an adventure! But I am feeling somewhat abashed, having behaved the other day like Aesop's little boy who shouted "Wolf!"

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!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lightning strikes

Our ponderosa pines grow quite tall, making them prime targets for lightning every summer when the storms arrive. This particular tree out at Granite Basin Lake bears a long scar. No, I've no idea how long ago the strike occurred. If they get enough water, our pines live long despite such injuries.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Heroic figures

Or something like that. Anyhow, tada!

This huge eagle adorns the west side of Cortez Street, down near the old RR station. He's the emblem of the fraternal order of same (Eagles), so much a part of the scenery that usually I'm not aware that he's present in all his predatory glory.

As for Super-Tippy -- I found this picture in my email after I had posted my library pix. I quite like the idea of the library dinosaur as a masked super-heroine, complete with bright R.E.D. cape.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

More signs of spring

A blogger who's been in town only a year or so was wondering just what were the signs of spring here in Prescott. Aside from the usual bulb plants, I thought of early manzanita and yellow jasmine. But there's another sure sign that spring is on its way (or here, as is now the case.) That is the arrival of yard ornaments in popular-priced stores. Today's assortment is from Big Lots, the interesting economy-priced close-out store out by the WallyMart West.

As a prime connoisseur of kitsch, I am fascinated by yard ornaments. For one thing, people tend to be a lot more playful when it comes to outdoor decor, as opposed to what is allowed inside. I still want one of those lions, for example, and I might even let it through the door, but the beast would simply take up too much space! And while size may be a major consideration, I'm sure that most folk would draw the line at allowing all those popular rusty primitives in the house.

But what if they're plastic? "Western" decor items are now being imported from China. The pump and barrel combo below has me a bit confused; likely the cut-outs are to turn the unit into a planter, top and bottom.

Then there are the monsters, squat little fellows all. I believe the guy above is a planter. Would you want to wake up in the middle of the night and see that toothy grin? Nope. Outdoors is a lot safer.

Ditto for the trolls above or the critters below, which appear to have a tropical island origin.

For adding color quickly and cheaply to the garden, there are always whirligigs or plastic flowers on sticks. With the winds we had today, I don't know if a light-weight whirligig would have made it through the day.

Linkage: I just added two new Prescott blogs to the roll at right. Sierry Petes is focused on local outdoor adventures, while Prescott Shooters spells out its subject matter quite directly. Elsewhere: discover wild mustangs in the Utah outback with Kate; study reflections provided by a tall glass tower down in Phoenix imaged by Warren; visit Montezuma's Castle with Catalyst. Grand finale: celebrating the composer's 319th birthday (March 21), a Bach fugue rendered on a Tesla coil.
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