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).

Local Ghosts

I did attempt to visit some of our local ghosts at the end of summer.  The city cemetery was offering a “meet and greet” with the spirits of some locals of note, and this sounded like a good opportunity to get to know them.

Last up on the tour was the founder of the city and his missus.  He was an abolitionist, joined the Union Army and made the rank of General in the American Civil War.  He built a mansion for his missus, but she did not care for the locals altitude and moved to London (a local school is named for her).   He is remembered with a statue of him and his horse that sits in the middle of an intersection to this day.  (His ghost did not address the issue of whether this is a good idea.)

This guy was the second father founder important figure in the  history of our city.  He had come to the area to work as a carpenter.  So he did this sort of thing in the winter, but during the summers he took off and went prospecting in the mountains.   He did find silver,  started a mine and became a multimillionaire.   As he had no descendants he used his money to start a charity that cared for the aged and others, and the foundation he created cares for the disabled to this day.

Captain Edward Sheldon is a lesser known person who ended up living here.   He was also an abolitionist, and was once arrested in Iowa helping escaped slaves get to Canada.   He was tried for his crime, but a sympathetic jury refused to convict him, and the former slaves were able to continue on to Canada.  He latter got the rank of captain in the Civil War, and after the war he moved here.

There were other local ghosts on the tour, but the day was quite hot and I had not had lunch.  So I contented myself with meeting these four ghosts.

I encountered these pioneering spirits when I went to the hardware store.  Their stories are unknown, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves anyway (and perhaps they needed light bulbs too).

Big

There is something fascinating about recreating a familiar object as  a giant sized thing.  You know that I love robots, and a 20 foot tall robot (albeit an unmoving one) is quite a splendid sight.  This robot  has stopped to smell a flower, so it must be a friendly robot.  (Otherwise it might just want  to crush the poetry van in front of it).

Spiders are another matter entirely.   Most people scream at even a tiny harmless spider.   But this giant spider is inert, so I guess it might be safe to sit under it.  (Unless it is drawing electricity from the nearby power line and just waiting for a chance to make a move!)

I love this over sized bird giving one the eyeball.   What does it want?   Some over sized sunflower seeds perhaps?  Or is it planning on making a giant nest before the attack?

I don’t know what’s up with this insect and I’m not sure if it is supposed to be an ant or a termite.   It sort of looks like a mash-up of these species.   But what I started thinking about were eurypterids, giant sea scorpions (12 feet long) that once roamed around in the shallow sea in New Mexico wreaking havoc on smaller species.  One can find their fossils around Socorro as I have.

And at the end one comes to this enormous and mysterious rabbit.  (And you know how I love bunnies).  Is it an alien species?  Did it have anything to do with the creation of this place?  You’ll just have to visit Santa Fe for yourself and reach your own conclusion.

What a Knob

I grew up in old houses.  When I lived with my parents, the newest house had been built in 1920, the rest were from previous eras.   So one thing (out of many) that I am a snob about is doors and door knobs.   The doors must be of solid wood, and the doorknobs must be something nicer than builder grade knobs.   (M was the same way, he replaced all the knobs in our house, just because he didn’t like the existing ones).

A proper knob lets one know that they are entering a proper place.

I had gone out to have a bit of a nosh with some friends, when I noticed the fabulous entrance to this restaurant.

It just makes one want to pull open the door and go on in (because who doesn’t want to grab ahold of a fish?).

Even this common burger joint added a flourish to their entrance.  One doesn’t just want to order from the drive-through, one wants to pull on the spatula to enter.  (Hopefully these are not the sort of spatulas used on one’s food.)

The entrance to this steak house features these lovely cast bronze heads to let one know what is on the menu (and their food is pretty good too.)

This outdoor store (which sells mostly to city people) has an entry way with climbing axes for mountaineering.   It’s an adventure just to go shopping (this is as close to outdoor adventure as I get).

Okay, I will admit that the pictures I just showed you could be more properly categorized as handles if one wanted to get technical about it.   But this picture is undeniably knobby.   And it’s part of the interactive art experience house.   So I’m not the only one who notices the importance of knobs.  😉

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.

Birds about Town 2

The day had started out with me on a mission.  And I had set out with only one mission, to track down the local telephone company office and get a modem from this century for M’s cousin.   Google had led me along a winding path through the city, and there I was.   Only there was no phone company office at the rumored address, only a real estate office that had been there for years.   So as I waited on the phone to talk to someone from the phone company, I noticed these fine feathered fiends friends across the street at an art gallery.   (Santa Fe has so many galleries that they are almost hard to avoid).

I love crows, and apparently so do normal people.

They are somewhat mysterious and sentient.  What exactly are they thinking as they observe us?

Possible harbingers of some dread fate, they are also quite popular subjects of poetry and rhymes.

I’m not quite sure I would like to have this crow looking down on me in my garden (assuming I had a garden).

But this one, which I saw the next day was clearly the best of the lot (but sadly, it is not for sale).   This bird lives in an interactive art experience (a former bowling alley filled with rooms of mysterious stuff that one can wander around in).  And at three feet tall clearly not a bird to be messed with.

Fall

I don’t really have anything to say about these pictures, just that Fall sometimes has glorious days of sunshine and cool weather that makes one feel glad to be alive.

This butterfly was out enjoying the zinnas.

The morning glories are still in bloom, I must have gotten up early by mistake.

This is not a scene from my house (I am an indifferent gardener), I was at M’s cousin’s.   In Santa Fe.

What is more iconic of Fall than a bunch of pumpkins?    Just nature’s reminder to stock up for the long winter ahead.

Horse Art

Horses have wonderfully expressive faces and artists have been trying to capture this since the time people first started painting in caves.   So the best part of my trip to the Cowboy Hall of Fame was the art with horses.

Horses often look like they are just about to say something to you (like the famous Mr. Ed), if only one would stop to listen.

They have their opinions about what the humans are up to, and they mostly are too polite to say.

This statue celebrates the life and career of Khadafy Skoal (named after some dictator or other).   He was originally slated for a career in horse racing when his humans noticed that he did not care for jockeys.   He started his career at age 7 and was named Horse of the Year in 1990, 95 and 96.  (He was very well liked by his fellow horses).  He retired in 2004 and died late in 2013 at age 31.

Much as I liked these other horses I must admit that my favorite horse of all time is Pegasus.   Those wings just give him an unfair advantage over mortal horses.

Touristing in the rain

I have vowed to take a peek at the sorts of things tourists see when they visit here when I get the opportunity.   I had been busy wasting time when I saw that it was free museum day, so off I went into the rain to check out a nearby museum.   The museum is dedicated to professional rodeo cowboys.   It’s not my thing, but I decided to go anyway to see what they are all about.

There is their iconic statue guarding the front, a cowboy riding a kicking horse.   I always thought that the  strap on the back went around the animal’s tender parts, but it is actually around the waist.  The horse is trying to kick it off and if the cowboy goes with it, so much the better to the horse’s way of thinking.  (Horses are not deep thinkers).

The profession (getting paid to do this) of rodeo cowboy only started in the 1920’s, although men did this for fun before that. This magazine cover from 1951 shows one of the first well-known rodeo stars.

Being named rodeo queen is an occasion to get dressed up in a sparkling outfit.  Women compete in barrel racing (riding your horse around an obstacle course of oil drums as fast as your horse can go) and goat roping.

Besides having lots of display cases of saddles, belt buckles and other flotsam and ephemera, there are lots of western themed sculptures, mostly of horses and bulls except for this one.

There is also an outdoor sculpture area, and a catering facility, and a tiny arena for the bulls and horses to perform in when ever.   This is a Hall of Fame, so to have one’s name enshrined here, one has to be voted in from a yearly ballot.  And that applies equally to horses, bulls, and people, although I am not sure how they count the votes of the horses and bulls.

 

Trees

Back in grade school, whenever we had to do a section on poetry, the teacher always picked “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer.  It made no difference what grade we were in, the poem for the poetry unit was always “Trees”.  (And I have no idea why, it was just the way of things).   So here it is, the first line of “Trees”:  ” I think that I shall never see.  A poem as lovely as a tree.”   Obviously Mr. Kilmer was a bit confused by the subject, and he would have been even more confused after a short walk through our downtown.    We do have the usual sorts of trees, but then there are a few special ones.

I love this tree.   It has been downtown for several years and was purchased from the artist after being part of the art in the streets program.   It is made of steel and river rocks.

This tree is more recent, and has these lovely spinning leaves which give it a rather festive air.   I took this snap during a recent street event.

But this is the best tree downtown (or anywhere in the city).   This is part of the newest batch of art on the streets.   This handsome creature is formed from steel wire and looks to have a few river rocks inside.   I do love the local deer, and I hope this one stays and gets to be part of herd.

“Poems are made by fools like me.  But only God can make a tree.”