Flea-Market Finds, an extra post for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette

I made a flea-market stop the day before I found real silhouettes at the wildlife refuge. I thought it would be a good spot for a photo scavenger-hunt, so I’m making an extra post this week with my results.

Pony Express Clock silhouette from the Jesse James Antique Mall

Pony Express Clock, complete with silhouette, from the Jesse James Antique Mall

 I still love to look, but even though it’s tempting, photos are my only acquisitions these days. Flea Markets and Antique Malls are also good stops for price-checking and research for what to do with my own stuff. Here’s my photo gallery of ready-made silhouettes from bygone days —  a hundred-year survey courtesy of the Jesse James Antique Mall in St. Joe MO, and W.D. Pickers, just up the road a piece in Platte City.

(If you click through to the website, you can hover over each image, or click on any one to enlarge it)

I’m beginning to think this may be the start of a new pinboard.

Do you have any antique silhouettes?

Related post:

The Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette

Lewis and Clark, Squaw Creek, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette

When I took this silhouette photo I didn’t notice the heron had a companion.  Now I see there’s a turtle too, or is that an artfully contrived bump on a log?

Heron in silhouette, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Heron in silhouette, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge

I nearly always stop by Squaw Creek when I’m visiting in the midwest. By the time I go back in the fall, there’ll be millions of migrating geese and other water fowl. When I went looking for more silhouettes this trip, these two plucky ducks offered themselves.

Ducks in silhouette, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Ducks in silhouette, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge

As for Lewis and Clark, I grew up watching for these signs. Our explorers are pointing north and west, but when it came time for my own private Corps of Discovery, my route lay east, and I never got to follow them. This sign is just down the road a piece from Squaw Creek.

Louis and Clark Trail sign

Lewis and Clark Trail sign — we were looking for Big Lake. It’s just over yonder.

Meanwhile, I haven’t given up on downsizing, I just took a few vacation days. And I did take along some homework…

Care for some light airplane reading?

Stuff - Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

Stuff – Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things


Related articles:

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Nearby wind farming as a threat to wildlife

Working Toward a More Sustainable Yard, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture

Here’s my back yard, all texture no mowing – notice I stayed back far enough so you can’t see the weeds (there are several, but weeds are green too so what’s wrong with that).

Back yard with groundcover and perennials.

Back yard ground cover and perennials — the wide angle shot makes it look bigger than it is.

Ajuga spreading in the back yard.

A better view of the ajuga, aka bugleweed. I like the way the black-eyed susans, phlox, and hellebores plant themselves.

There are some beautiful lawns in my neighborhood, and I know a smooth sward of grass is a lovely contrast with the texture of pine a islands’ flowers, shrubs, and trees, but grass is more than I can manage.

Bob tried to teach me to care for the grass, and after his death I soldiered on for a while in his honor. My heart wasn’t in it though. Fertilizing and watering seemed pointless when I knew I had to reseed twice a year because of the shade, plus it’s scary to read the warnings on the packages of lawn treatment chemicals and see what I’m releasing into the environment for the sake of a lawn that I don’t want to mow anyway. A few years of drought taught me that ground covers live when grass doesn’t, and I decided to just let the ajuga have at it. Here’s the back yard in the spring of 2013, with the ajuga blooming, and here’s my first post about it.

Ajuga blooming in the back yard, spring 2013

Ajuga blooming, April 2013

It’s spread quite a bit since then, though there’s still a patch toward the back where it hasn’t filled in yet. As the growth gets tighter there’s a lot less weeding.

I’m trying to attract more insects and pollinators, so was happy to see these guys wander into my viewfinder when I wanted a close up of the black-eyed susan’s seeds for texture.

An ant and a green bee on rudbeckia.

An ant and a bee meet on a black-eyed susan seed head.

As for the front yard, that’s been a less successful transition to a grass-less state, but I’m not giving up. I’ll keep the tale of the galloping ivy (I didn’t plant that) and the lackluster liriope for another post.

 The only downside to eliminating the grass is that my yard-work doesn’t fit well into what a lawn maintenance companies do, so if I wanted to hire help, it’d be hard to find. Not to mention we’d probably have conflicting opinions on what’s a weed and what’s a wildflower.

So what’ll it be? Grass or ground cover?

Here’s more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture

Bob’s High School Yearbooks, a Blue Stairway, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Zigzag

Too bad the Fay Gold Gallery was closed when we stopped by on Saturday, but it did offer this zigzag staircase. Since the zigzag post is meant to be anything but straightforward, read on for a cameo by teenage Bob and guest star Reddy Kilowatt…

Blue Zigzag stairs at the Fay Gold Gallery

Blue zigzag stairs at the Fay Gold Gallery — are they bright enough?

I’ve been looking for an opportunity to blog about Bob’s high school yearbooks. I found two while unpacking boxes from the basement this summer.  Though tempted to save them, I must practice “letting go”. Following my own advice on how to keep things without actually keeping them, I took photographs of the pages that had pictures of Bob, then started thinking about what to do with the books. First thought: contact the school. That didn’t work out, so I looked for a historical society in Salina KS, the town where he lived. I didn’t find one online, but did notice there’s a State Historical Society in Topeka.

If you’re wondering how this relates to zigzag, check this out –

Bob with the Salina High School Science or Radio Club

Bob’s just to the right of the zigzag. I’m not sure if this is the Radio Club or the Up n’ Atom Science Club.

I emailed the Historical Society to ask if they kept an archive of yearbooks and guess what — here’s their reply:

We have a small collection of these and would be pleased to add these of yours to it.  We have a gap from 1949 to 1966, so you can see how they will fit in.

 I mailed the books, along with a High School newspaper that I found tucked into the binder of one. I didn’t know if they could use the newspaper, but thought I’d take a chance and include it. Here’s the reply:

The yearbooks arrived in fine shape on Wednesday.  As soon as we get them accessioned, they will be ready to go on the shelf.

Thanks also for the single issue of the Salina High News, May 29, 1959.  We do not have many high school newspapers, so initially I was a bit dubious about a single issue.  I checked, though, and found that we have a long, incomplete, run from 1939 to 1967. Sure enough, we were missing the May 29, 1959 issue!

I’m so glad this all worked out. Thanks again for thinking of us. I hope you have great holiday.

I think it’s fitting that the holiday mentioned was Memorial Day here in the U.S. And that little newspaper? There’s zigzag synchronicity in this photo I took before I sent it — here’s  Mr Zigzag himself.

Atom zigzag character in the Salina High News, 1959

Zoom in on this zigzag character…

Reddy Kilowatt was still around in advertisements when I was in grade school. I’d forgotten all about him until I saw this. I wouldn’t mind having one of those pink and iceberg-white transistor radios.

The yearbooks yielded no more zigzags, but here’s another photo of Bob, followed by a few more from the era.

Top scholars at Salina High School

Top scholars. Bob (on the lower right) won a prestigious scholarship to the University of Kansas.

Fab cars on the streets of Salina.

Fab cars on the streets of Salina. At the cinema it’s “The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw” — my heart beat faster for star Kenneth More as Young Jolyon in “The Forsyth Saga” series, still years away when this photo was taken.

Mr Spudnut may still exist... http://spudnutshop.com/

Mr Spudnut may still exist… I think he’s a potato doughnut.

I’m so glad the books have a good home now. Big thanks to the Kansas Historical Society.

Related links:  more on the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Zigzag

… and Mr Spudnut

Now, what to do with my own yearbooks… Do you still have yours?

Farmer’s Markets, Milkweed, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

Nothing says summer like the local farmer’s market — the fruits and vegetables are fresher than the grocery store, there are more organic choices, and you can use your own containers. It’s good for us, good for the farmers, and good for the planet.

Farmers Market

Farmers Market

But humans aren’t the only ones who need to eat in summer. There’s one more thing that defines the season for me. It’s a roadside market for a Monarch caterpillar — a milkweed plant.

Milkweed about to bloom, complete with bug visitor.

Milkweed about to bloom, complete with visiting bug.

Here it is when it’s blooming –

Milkweed flowers.

Milkweed flowers – taken on last summer’s trip “home”.

It’s almost August now, time for the seed pods –

Green milkweed pods.

Green milkweed pods.

If you grew up in the country, like I did, you took these roadside plants for granted.  Once, on an autumn trail ride, I saw an entire tree covered with migrating Monarchs.  Now I wish I could get these butterfly snacks to grow in my backyard. I miss seeing the plants, miss seeing the fall butterfly migration go through, and though I plant as many caterpillar-friendly plants as I can, I don’t get nearly as many takers as I used to.

But on the bright side, it’s summer, and if you’re among the corn-fed (like me) let’s go back to the farmer’s market for one more thing to be thankful for –

Farmers Market Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn — Yum.

Hmm, looking back, I see that, instead of “Summer Lovin'”, maybe I should have saved these photos for a “Summer Eatin'” challenge.  I must have succumbed to writing-while-hungry.

What’s your favorite thing about summer?

More on the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

One Dresser Drawer, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

Who knew that one little dresser drawer could contain so much? A while back, I was searching for a sorting-out job that would be quick, but still give me a sense of accomplishment. I picked this small drawer.

Dresser Drawer Explosion

One dresser drawer – good grief! – see how it exploded all over the place?

I hadn’t looked in this drawer in years. See it? It’s the little one in the middle… “This won’t take long,” I thought. Hah. By the way, this isn’t even all of it.  I took the photo above after hauling a stack of papers to the recycle bin.

This dresser once belonged to my grandmother, so I have some emotional attachment to it. It was in my bedroom when I was growing up. In this house, it’s in a guest bedroom that Bob used to use as a closet.

Dragon Con swag.

“The truth is out there.”

 All this Dragon Con swag tells me that the drawer did get some use since we moved here.

Dresser Drawer - Dragon Con SwagThe Swan Vestas made me smile. I used to collect match boxes (another kind of container) and was thrilled to find some like these in the UK back when I traveled a lot on airline passes. They’re what Sherlock Holmes used, remember? I don’t know if these were mine or Bob’s. The hair clip just above looks like something my grandmother would have used. Could it have come with the dresser?

On the bright side, I did find some useful items: scissors, thread, pencils, stamps, plastic film cannisters made into salt-and-pepper shakers (well maybe not that useful). And this:

Travel Scrabble game

Vintage Travel Scrabble game.

My neighbor back in the 80s had one of these. We used to travel together, and I loved playing scrabble with her. I didn’t know Bob had one. It had never been opened. I almost tore into it as soon as I saw it, then thought, “But wait — would I really use it?” These days people play online. Surprise: I saw there were some vintage sets like this for sale on Amazon, listed mine for $25.00, and two days later someone bought it.

My one small drawer contained a lot of stuff and I spent way too much time looking at it. Most of it got recycled or donated, but somewhere out there someone is (happily, I hope) playing scrabble, and I have four more drawers in this dresser to save for rainy day entertainment.

 Have you exploded a drawer lately?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers


Relics, and (Surprise) the Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

Around here, the real challenge isn’t to find something that qualifies as a relic, but to find something that doesn’t. Any guesses what this is?

3340 DASD - TWA System, 1980-something

Can’t blame it on Bob — I think this relic was mine — *blush*.

It’s 3340 DASD — a direct access storage device — from a long gone airline reservation system. When there was a DASD upgrade back in the late 70s/early 80s, people who worked in the Systems group thought it would be a lark to take some of the old equipment home.  (What were we thinking?)

It’s a little unnerving to think that, capacity-wise, this disk would hold only a few of the images in my iPhoto library.  I don’t remember how many disks it took to house the data base, but it wasn’t all that many. Just think: if you were on a TWA flight back then, your reservation may have been archived in my basement all this time.

Here it is from another angle, so you can see what a little Starship it is. Or rather, not so little by today’s standards. It’s over a foot wide.

3340 DASD from TWA Reservation System

“Hey Scotty, one to beam up…” (dunno what happened to that guy in the red shirt, he was here a minute ago)

But what to do with it? Who would want it? No one. The recycling center wouldn’t take it because it’s a mix of materials.  Dang… it’s a dilemma. Any ideas?

I’m going to think about it while I go watch an episode of Star Trek Voyager on yet another outdated storage device: a DVD (at least I can send the DVD back to Netflix).

Related posts:

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

More on the DASD