Category Archives: Ephemera

Halloween

Halloween was once my favorite holiday.   Before it became the adult party extravaganza that it is today, it was just a holiday for children to go out and beg for candy.   One could buy sacks of candy and perhaps the odd spider or two.   But now there are lots of things sold for those who like to go mad with decorating.   And I appreciate their spirit, because someone has to do it.   The people who once went all out with wires and flying figures have moved on, but others have accepted the challenge of totally covering their yards with scary stuff.

These folks always have a yard full of carved wooden bears, and the bears wear seasonally appropriate decorations, like these Halloween costumes (I bet that the people give out really good candy too).

I especially love these low-tech homemade displays like this one in my neighborhood.   Well done!

This skeleton appears to be running away from the grinning big pumpkin.

 

Dogs are usually friendly, (at least the dogs I know are.)  I’m not too sure about skele-dog.

Skeletons peeking in the windows are just the worst.  They are a bigger nuisance than having woodpeckers (yes, Ms. Woodpecker I know that you think my house is perfect for you, but I disagree).

More of the same

It’s sometimes hard to say when the subject of a post is done.   And I find myself looking at new things and thinking that they could be a part of a previous post.   So here are some additions,

This lovely candidate for the trees post, serves as a shady bower to protect those persons waiting for the bus.   From the hot New Mexico sun in Santa Fe.

This tree however is a lonely bit of art, positioned on a sidewalk where few travel by foot.   It has metal birds perched on the branches, while a real hawk circles above.

I had promised the previous piece of art that I made to a friend.   But since it did win a ribbon, I found that I could not let it go.   So instead I decided that there was nothing for it but to make another one.   This time I sort of knew what I was doing, and I think that this one has better contrast between the mane and the face.  I whipped out the finished piece the day before my friend’s auction to raise money to help tigers in Thailand.  It wasn’t going to sell for very much, so I bought it back, and now I have two lion quilts.   (And I made a donation to help the tigers too.)

These are some rather unusual birds about town, from right in my neighborhood.   I have no idea what these wild turkeys were thinking as they strolled about, blabbering away in turkey talk.  But they were the first of their kind I had ever seen nearby, looking for place to hide before Thanksgiving no doubt.

Cars

Besides festivals I also like car shows.  And not with just any sort of cars, I love the steel and chrome of vintage cars.   Because back when these cars were manufactured, styling was everything.   And no detail was unimportant, even a detail like hood ornaments (note for young people: almost every car had a bit of chrome on the front of the hood that proclaimed it’s identity).

This one on a vintage Cadillac features a flying person, just to let one know that riding along in this car was almost like flying. (sort of).

For the more literal minded, this one has a stylized bird.

How about one featuring a greyhound, they are known to be quite fast.

But not as fast as a wheeled rocket (a wheeled rocket??).   I’m sure this mash-up of two ideas symbolizes great speed.

This hood ornament was on the oldest car at the show.   I love the way the chrome is an integral part of the hood (bonnet to you Brits).  The hood ornament is not a stylized anything really, just a bit of bling, to help speed you down the road.

Parade

What is a summer celebration without a parade?   (There are lots of parades in our downtown, which the local merchants hate).  Here at the 107th Annual, it was a fine day for the parade, and there was a good turnout of participants.   The parade always starts late because it is hard work herding all these cats people, politicians, beasts and machinery.  Anyone who wants to show up can be in the parade, but politicians have to pay $100 for the privilege.  😉  Heading up the parade as usual was the State Police and the local fire department (they are quite proud that they have a newish truck!).  They were followed by the color guard of old soldiers who had squeezed into the old uniforms.  Next:

The mariachis were the most colorful group in the parade.  I don’t know if they are local, or if they are the sort that turns up at events. The mariachis at Mass just wore plaid shirts, so I don’t think they are the same group.

It is the West, so there must be horses.  And a rodeo queen or two.

This is M’s uncle, riding on a 1950’s John Deere, and coming along on the tractors behind him are cousin-ish relatives on his other tractors in the collection.   (Don’t ask me what he uses the tractors for or why he has them).

This is the son of M’s actual cousin, driving Great-Uncle S’ 1928 truck.  As Uncle S never threw anything away (he did finally buy a new truck in the 1950’s) the truck even has the original manual.

Non-relatives, these are government employees from nearby Fort Union National Monument at the tail end of the parade.   In between were Shriners, school kids, parade marshalls, heavy equipment,  old cars, new cars, a dog, a parade queen, more relatives and miscellaneous marchers.  And a good time was had by all.

Updates

This is a picture of M’s uncle, probably taken by M’s grandma about 85 years ago.   The other being in the photo is Lady, who was a good and faithful dog.   Some of the folks in old photos are hard to identify, but we do remember our dogs.

I not only got juried into Fine Arts at the state fair, but I got first place, which was rather thrilling and unexpected.

I am happy to report that the old truck is still there, rusting away into eternity.   The sky was not as blue as usual because of smoke from far away wildfires.

New Toys

I always have too many books (I did de-accession five books this past week), but one can never have too many toys.   And these are the toys that I mostly acquired in NM this summer.

These are the blinged out Godzillas and dinosaurs.  The Godzillas came from a toy store in  Santa Fe and the large dinos came from the Natural History Museum in ABQ.  The pterodactyl was found in a local art supply store and is my new favorite dino.

I didn’t really have enough time to carefully peruse the purchase of these wind-ups, my parking meter was about to run out!

This lovely hopping eyeball was a gift from an old friend.  Of course he had two, so I got this one to take home with me.  Thanks BooBoo!

These are tiny toys, I got two of each in case I wanted to make earrings out of them, but they are so adorable I think that I shall keep them as is.  And I do love jellyfish (from a distance at least).

The teeny tiny dinosaurs make a nice contrast to the larger ones.   They are very detailed in spite of being miniature.   I expect that They will be lovely to photograph in absurd situations.   And I don’t have to find room for them on an overcrowded bookshelf.

Wildflowers

I had let my tiny front plot of grass become a wilderness, before I finally did something about it.  I mowed about half of it, but I did try to leave all the flowering bits for the bees and this is what’s left.

I have no idea what this is, but it seeded itself next to some Anise (this escaped the beds first and it is everywhere), so I have let it  grow on.

The yellow flowers are unknown, and the purple flowers are escaped from the flowerbeds.

A different one.

The biggest part of the wilderness is made up of oregano.  I expect that I planted a bit of it to use in cooking, but it escaped the boundary and set up shop in the lawn.   The bees love it and perhaps they are making some interesting honey with this somewhere.

And this is the back yard.   These flowers appeared a couple of years ago, and they grow without any assistance from me.

Besides all the wildflowers, I have a small section of tame flowers.   I think I planted other things as well, but due to neglect the main thing that survived was the marigolds.   They will probably seed themselves in the lawn for next year, and the patch of grass will get smaller.  It’s more for the next crop of bees.

Court

It had come time to do my civic duty, and report to the courthouse to potentially serve on a jury.   Fortunately in Colorado it’s one day or one trial, so you don’t have to show up all week like in some places.

So this is the new and improved courthouse, the vintage courthouse can be seen in the reflection.   The table out front had volunteers who were ready to pray with you, in case you had doubts about the efficacy of your attorney.  😉

I was reminded of something Liam said after he spent time drawing another courthouse “The rich get justice, the poor get the law”.

After filling out paperwork designed to elicit our views without actually asking (what does “where were you born or what radio station do you listen to” have any bearing on being a juror?)  we were marched off in line to the courtroom.   Perhaps on seeing our motley crew, the attorneys decided that they had better settle the case and not depend on us for a verdict (I was already in favor of hanging). 😉

So we were free to go having discharged our duty for the year.   There is such a lovely view from the courthouse that I decided to take a few snaps.  (No cameras are allowed in the courtroom).

The view to the north.

The mountain.

The southern mountain.  And notice the empty street.

And because I was already downtown, and had a place to park in the juror’s lot, I walked over to where they were having a major bicycle race.   The streets were blocked off, and these courageous cyclists were racing through our potholed  and pitted roads.  We cheered for them as they whizzed past, then I was off in search of a way out of the blocked streets.

Dogs

Back before the digital age, photographs were not ubiquitous things. One had to compose the scene in the view finder, fiddle with the various camera settings, take the picture, send it off to be developed and hope for the best.  My friend GA had a post recently about a person who collects vintage dog photographs.

http://spitalfieldslife.com/2017/07/09/libby-hall-collector-of-dog-photography-x/

She has selected some of her vast collection of pictures into books, and so I got several of these (I know that I said I wasn’t going to buy any more books, I guess I was lying).

And these books really are quite charming.   Back when photographs were expensive and difficult to make, people went to the trouble to immortalize their dogs, because dogs are important.   As I thought about it I realized that I have jillions of photos of my dogs.   They are mostly of interest to me, but I keep them because they remind me of the love of my dogs.

This was the first dog I had as an adult.  We got him in Louisiana, and he moved with us to North Dakota before coming here.   He was laying in bed when I snapped this picture.

This picture of my next dog hangs on the refrigerator.   I took it here at the house as he was resting on the landing looking cute.   He was sure that his duty was to protect the house, and he did this faithfully.

I paid to have this photo of Miss P taken by a professional photographer, and it hangs in the dining room.  She is wearing her floral collar that we bought for her in Hawaii’i.

This is my tiny vintage dog photo.  It was taken sometime in the 1930’s, and is a bit crumpled with age.   This was Joe, and that is my grandfather holding him.   My mom kept this photograph, and because she liked it I have kept it too.  Because I am the keeper of memories in my family and I remember these dogs.

Village

My friend GA lives in a village that was absorbed by the larger city centuries ago.   Because he loves the village, he is forever fighting the destructive encroachment of the city.   The forces of commerce continually seek to destroy the existing fabric of the village, and replace it with the shining bauble of the moment, while pretending that nothing has really changed.   To find the unchanging (or rather the slow changing), one need only look in a small village, like this one.

I know that I have taken pictures of this very truck for the past two years.  I doubt if the truck is in working order so there it sits, only the light changes.  It is quite near C’s house, built in about 1895 and a mobile home, which was put on the spot 10 years or so ago.

From the front porch one sees the vacant lot (vacant for at least 40 years) and M and N’s house on the right.  The large tree is in the yard where Grandma lived, next to a vacant lot (also vacant for at least 40 years), then a house with a crumbling prostitute’s  shack in the back (probably unused for a century or more) , and some family homes.

The view across to the mesa seems unchanged.

Until you consider the constantly changing effects of the light and sky.   Like Monet with his multiple renditions of the same scene, one could look at this view every day and find something new about it.

Of course one pays for the unchanging nature of this place with inertia.   There is no real estate jackpot to be made in selling the family home (unlike the tourist city that is further south), there are no jobs to be had, travelers do not stop here, there is no nearby market to shop for things (although one can still buy booze and crisps here).  But life goes on in a steady tempo, at least some families will always be here, I hope.