I had asked a friend to come with me on my annual pilgrimage to acquire the essential item for a Christmas eve supper, and for that we had headed south. Because there had been a tremendous windstorm the day before, it was slow going as the highway department was blocking traffic to retrieve lost signs. My friend likes to visit these shops to the east of town, so there we were. They do grow all sorts of things, but this one is the crowd-pleasing favorite.
I do know way more than any city person should about tractors, like this 1950’s one. It’s no longer of any use, except as a decorative item (you just can’t get parts).
And what does one do when an ancient tree is no more? Why you just carve an image of the favorite vegetable that’s grown in the area. (Note: most chilis do not wear sunglasses, this is artistic license).
Someone thought that this vintage sewing machine was obsolete (it’s not, I have one, it’s nearly as old as me and it still sews fine), so they turned it into a tractor (obviously too much time on their hands). Or perhaps they couldn’t get parts and couldn’t bear to throw it away, so they turned it into this, another non-functional tractor.
Then it was onward to the Italian market, and the tamale place, and we were both set for the impending holiday.
At the flats I stay at, there is this place. I kept walking past the door, but one day it was open….
Well, as it turned out, it was a semi-secret pub, and was very popular with a sort of trendy young person. It was a facsimile of a speak-easy, those American drinking establishments of prohibition (January 1920 to December 1933). Of course my only knowledge of these sorts of places comes from old gangster movies. (Although my great-aunt Julia was married to a bootlegger and died of the drink).
True to the historicity of such places, one rings the buzzer and a face appears in the little window asking one for the secret code to enter. I said “Howdy” and the Russian at the door said “what is this howdy?” So I said “it’s American for Hello”, which was good enough to get in (I had not booked a table). And inside a small, dimly lit room, lots of young persons were sucking down drinks in this theme boozer.
Note that even the bear is wearing a blindfold, everything that happens in here is a secret.
I was reminded of a time, probably close to fifty years ago, when I had gone to a similar place. Me and my friends were home for Christmas, there were the obligatory family things, and then there was adventure. I was the youngest person in our group, but I had a fake ID so I could tag along. My friend L was older than me, and I thought she was very glamorous. She had grown up in a mansion, gone to private schools, then university and she was living a bohemian life as a street vendor. She wanted to go out and about and I was fool enough to follow her anywhere. She had a privately printed pamphlet listing gay clubs in the area. So, off we went, driving in her parents’ big sedan.
We were looking for this place across the river, in an almost abandoned urban area (it had made the list for most dangerous cities in America, and it’s still on this). Once upon a time it had been a prosperous place, with businesses, stores and jobs, but that time had long passed. And there we were in a cold, dark street, looking for a place without a sign to announce it’s presence, hoping to not be murdered (it was famous for this, after all). Then we found a door, with the requisite little door for the bouncer to scope out potential customers. I can’t imagine what we looked like, but we must have somehow passed muster, or maybe we had to pay money to enter and there we were, at a drag club, possibly the only females in the place.
To say that I was out of my depth is an understatement, but we went in, sat down and ordered drinks. It was a dive, probably last redecorated in the 30’s when it opened. Many of the patrons looked to be military from the nearby Air Force Base. There was a tiny raised area that served as a stage, and that was where the ladies lip synced to popular tunes. We were sitting on the left side and could see into the dressing area, which was just a flimsy curtain covering a small boxy area. It was fascinating watching a rather ordinary looking soldier turn into a prom queen with big hair and a massive sparkly dress. We on the other hand, looked like the young hippies that we were, we always used lots of eye makeup, and I’m sure that we had on jeans and pullovers of some sort. After a performance, she invited the artist to come over for a drink, and of course I don’t remember any of the conversation, I probably said nothing beyond “howdy”. Then it was time to go, and we made it out of this decaying town and back to our own side of the river.
Altogether it was a much more exciting experience than the modern speakeasy, located as it is in a good part of it’s town (possibly this is also the good side of the river there).
I love a drive in the country, it’s something that we sometimes did when I was a child, just to escape the city. And on this day me and my girlfriends were on a mission, and of course this mission involved shopping.
It’s really not that far to go, just drive south to the next city, then follow the river, and there you are among the fields. This was a giant field of pumpkins, across the road from a popular farm store. It’s not really an old-time farm stand, it’s more of big business, so it’s an interesting place to shop.
They had added quite a bit of stuff, since my last visit, like the imported Italian pasta (there were lots of Italians who came to the area to work in the steel mill, and their descendants are still here). There were plenty of baked goods and even tourist souvenirs to be had. And they were roasting green chile in front, so the place smelled great.
As this antique tractor has steel wheels, it is probably from the mid 1920’s or possibly early 1930’s. I’m leaning towards the earlier date, because it has a starter crank instead of an electric starter, and the overall primitiveness of design. (I know way more about tractors than I should).
Here’s another farm store, this one also had a cafe, which was quite good. (sorry, I don’t take pictures of my food anymore).
Quaint old stuff sets the stage for selling locally made products. It’s a guarantee that we’re out of the city.
And why had we gone south? (aside from the obvious need to shop at the farm stands). Oh yeah, I had won a red ribbon (2nd place) at the state fair, so well done me. After a quick ride on a Ferris Wheel, it was back to town.
It was supposed to be a hot and sunny day, perhaps the sort of day for one to stay in near an air conditioner, but it was also the start of a shop hop. (One goes to each of the shops on the list to collect a stamp, and possibly win a prize packet, but mostly it is an excuse to go shopping.) So me and my friends decided that it was a good day to head up to the shops in the north.
And the first shop on the list was in this town, which is named for the large rock formation that looms over the town like the ruins of an ancient fortress.
Later, after we had gone to three shops in the big city (spent money) and had lunch, it was time to turn around and head back home. And there on the horizon, appearing as a small blue bump is the mountain.
There is still areas of open space with farms and ranches between the cities, and now the mountain is more fully in view. (Those are fake storm clouds in the sky, it never did rain).
We’re almost home, and there is the mountain, in all it’s familiar glory.
And what exactly were we shopping for? Why quilting fabric of course, because one can never have too much fabric. These are just small bits because I plan on turning these into more face masks, some for my friends, but mostly for me. Because after all, one can’t wear the same thing day after day.
It was a bit hard to select landscapes, I don’t typically photograph landscapes, although I could easily post 10 pictures of the mountain in all its glory. But, I rooted around in the various photos on my phone and came up with another batch that shows some of the places that I’ve been to, more or less recently.
This spot is along the Savannah River in a city park, I was visiting for a great-niece’s high school graduation. I was drawn to the Spanish moss hanging from the trees. It reminded me of when I lived in the south.
There is a high spot near Dallas, and this is it. (I see why Texans like to come to Colorado and New Mexico to look at mountains, they could really use one here.) Another niece was graduating from college.
I went to college in this town in New Mexico, and this is the oldest church there (started 1706, this building was put up in 1793 after the first one fell down.) It occupies a prime bit of tourist real estate now.
I was at M’s cousin’s house, standing on the front porch when I took this. It looks like it might be Mordor. Is it? Not really, but it is the original village site, they moved over to this side of the road when the railroad came through.
This is my favorite place to visit. That is the dome of St. Paul’s, being gradually hemmed in by all the new construction. 🙁
As a bonus I included this landscape painting (possibly from the Tate) taken because I like both cows and dogs. And it closes out the series with perhaps how a landscape was traditionally viewed (but it still might benefit from a pterodactyl or two). 😉
There are always those calls to post something on Facebook, like four things one has done, states or places one has visited, personal faults and confessions, etc. And like the chain letters of old, one is encouraged to keep it going. So far I have resisted the siren call of these things, but, for some reason (I am bored) I decided to follow the landscape challenge. I did not copy and paste the directions (I am not that much of a sheep, plus I am not sure how to do this ;-). But I did follow the directive to put the picture up, and to not say anything about where or what it was (that bit was easy). So here for your enjoyment are days 1-5.
This was from the very first batch of pictures taken with my latest phone. It is from a rather spectacular local city park.
This is my favorite village in northern New Mexico. I snapped this picture as we (me and M’s cousin) were barreling down the freeway. We weren’t going to stop and visit, so I am amazed that the picture came out at all, as we were going so fast.
I took this in August, 2018 of the old steel mill south of here, and I took the picture to prove that any picture is made better when one adds a pterodactyl.
And it was a perfect post for April Fools Day.
This picture is from last summer. I was at the last rest stop before the New Mexico border. One has to go up and over the pass to reach this next state.
This is an old picture that I think I took with my first digital camera. I was born in this city, just south of the downtown area. I do pre-date the Arch by some years. I was driving around taking pictures and was at the stoplight at 14th and Jefferson by the Federal courthouse.
So now you know, dear reader, the what and where of my landscapes.
I still read the daily newspaper (delivered to my home by mysterious means early each morning). And I was excited to read that the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile was in town. I caught a glimpse of it when I was driving along downtown, but I had an appointment, and couldn’t quite catch up with it. But all was not lost, there it was at the supermarket the next day.
Of course I have seen the previous versions driving down the road in years past, but this was my chance to get up close and personal with one. To see what it was actually made of (custom fiberglass body on a truck chassis). Yes, I do want one.
And here it is, a giant driveable hot dog, perhaps leading the way to the future with its spaceship-like design. It had a pair of drivers who were handing out discount coupons and swag (like the postcard).
This is just one of the many (six) Weinermobiles and it came all the way from Wisconsin.
I don’t care what hot dogs are actually made of, they’re delicious (in moderation).
But not everyone loves them. I guess there is no pleasing some pterodactyls.
You know how much I love shadows and reflections. Shadows are mysterious, what on earth is casting a shadow in that shape. Then there are reflections (unless one is a vampire), with multiple layers, the item in front of one, and simultaneously, what is behind one. It’s just a wonderful juxtaposition.
Sometimes I am not sure why I bother to go out in public. This was a gallery show of contemporary art, which is not usually a favorite. But it was after the holidays, I was bored, and there was booze and a gallery talk, so it was just the thing. This is a picture of doors, the reflections are of the opposite wall and outside.
Here’s the other “not exit”, and this one shows something that was actually in the room. (Later they were playing “not music”, so I left).
This reflection has outside, the entryway, and the gallery talk. As usual the gallery talk was more complicated than the art.
A reflection and a secondary reflection of the main thing, this knotted string piece.
Here’s a bit of art that I found more to my taste, paintings of things, with the artist. All of the lights are outside on the street, which was rather empty as it was a cold night. Oddly enough (to me), this area has begun to attract tourists, and one frequently finds them wandering about, following their phones. I suppose that progress, like art, is in the eye of the beholder
Everyone who was ever a little kid knows how fascinating dinosaurs are. Giants who once ruled the earth, now extinct (maybe) and existing only in imagination, what’s not to like about them? So I spent a day indulging my love of these prehistoric beasts.
The local dinosaur museum does not have any actual dinosaurs, but it does have rather a lot of bones, including my personal favorite pteranodons. (Dear other dinosaurs, yes I love you too).
The museum is located in a mountain town, up the pass, a gateway to tourists seeking the great outdoors.
This dino is much closer to home, in fact, it’s right in my neighborhood. All lit up for the holiday season, I decided that I must pay these dinos a visit.
How serene a scene.
It was a cold night and I was almost alone with the beasts, freely wandering among them.
What’s more adorable than a newly hatched baby dino? I guess my secret is out, these dinos are part of a miniature golf course. And I did get a hole in one, so now I am part of the tribe.
I finally noticed that it is quite close to being Christmas (that ubiquitous music was my first clue) and so I decided that I must drive south to obtain some tamales before it is too late. (If you don’t order them in time, there won’t be any for you). So I called up a friend and asked if she would like to go along, and she said “yes”. And she had other goodies in mind, so off we went.
And what she was in search of was Italian treats. So the first stop was a tiny old-fashioned corner store that has been there since 1921. I know that Dean Martin is an Italian icon, but I did not realize that this was also the case for Bing Crosby and Elvis.
I did stand in the long line to buy a few treats, but they had been sold out of her favorite since 9:00 am. But this was not the only game in town.
So off to the tamale place, only to find that they were sold out. Fortunately, there was another batch steaming away in the kitchen, so we paid for some to be picked up later and then it was off to yet another Italian store.
Eight miles out of town was this family-run farm stand (it’s actually a giant steel barn). It was loaded with everything one needs for a festive feast, freshly made cookies and confections of various sorts, locally produced jams and jellies, frozen ready to bake pies, and much, much more. This was definitely the place to be.
There were the bakers rolling out long strips of dough to make potitca (yes, spellcheck that is how it’s spelled). What is potitca? Well it’s some sort of yeast dough that is traditionally covered with finely chopped walnuts, sugar and cinnamon, then rolled into a spiral and baked. And it is necessary for Christmas! We bought some (and a few other interesting things that they had) and it was back on the road to home. Mission accomplished.