Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Moving On

For a nicer layout I have gone over to A New Blog Here

If anyone knows the significance of the, maybe bean, seed growing out of the accordion I would love to hear it.  (perhaps its a band).  I donot play either this instrument or the bagpipes but really respect those who can make music with a box of reeds, or a pipes of reeds. 

We have a watering can like that 'cept the handle is broken off,   easier for the pets to drink out of.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I guess that you have been wondering why I have gathered you all here today:
Seems this blog , the oldest that I have done since 2006, is in need of revamping with a better layout and room for bigger graphics. So on it goes, still be here, but newness gone.

As for you cows, grow big, eat well, do not slouch,   and at about 1800 pounds you will be sold for near a dollar a pound "on your hooves" as they say and each then bring in about $1800, of course.   Is it any wonder that there are cows everywhere, even in the deserts' feeding off of burned cactus, here in the US?   We, or I mean you, must feed the fast food machine so that we too can grow big, fat, and sassy.

So I will leave you all here today to be espied upon by any lost soul happening along for some history (including myself).   MOO to you too

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Good Olde Days

The  recent historic past always seems interesting and mysterious to me.  How those people lived, in the sepia and black and white world that I see them in, draws my wonder. Of course they wandered through life-- living, loving, writing, dying as we do.  Subjected to many of the same influences as we, they must have looked upon the past as being as quaint and uninformed, as I do  theirs.  But life was hard then, and then, and then, back through the ages even for those in the higher class or caste.

This photo was taken looking downstream on the Mississippi  from the Eads bridge in St. Louis somewhere between 1880 and 1918, a large segment of time I know but they kept giving these boats the same names after they sank, or burned, or exploded, and it is hard to research one specific boat (the bridge was completed in 1874 and is still in use; and the last Spread Eagle was crushed by ice near New Haven on the Missouri river in 1918 -- near where we live).  It was captained by  William Massey who carried a bullet that was shot when Wild Bill Hickock was killed in Deadwood, South Dakota during the gold rush.   A similar camera angle from the bridge today would show the stainless steel Arch (Gateway to the West) there in St .Louis, without the smoke.

In the 1800's , in the US, these steamboats were very prevalent.  One source states that 700 existed in 1838 and, double that, 1400 in 1851.  But it was treacherous going on the rivers: If the exploding boilers did not destroy a boat, snags in the shallow waters or ice in the freezing waters might.  Of the approximate 7,000 deaths on the boats by 1852, half were caused by explosions of the boilers and two thirds of those occurred as the boat was leaving the landing.  (The water was drained from the boiler while boat was at landing but the fires beneath kept the metal hot.  Upon leaving, sometimes to create a fast exit for the townspeople to be amazed by,  water was flooded to the boilers causing extreme steam for the power exit.  Too extreme in many cases as the townspeople were treated to a spectacular explosion.)
 Samuel Clements' (Mark Twain) 20 year old brother Henry was scalded and later died as a boiler exploded on the boat he was on near Memphis.
Fortunately the (evil) government stepped in in1852 and regulated the private industry of the steamboat and the railroad  by imposing standards for boiler construction and periodic testing.  In 1914 the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) established up to date codes and standards for boiler and pressure vessel construction which are requiredfor nuclear reactor vessels and coal power plants today.

But life was good if the disasters did not interfere:

J. M. White (Packet, 1878-1886)
Description:  BOAT DESCRIPTION: Sidewheel
BUILT: 1878 at Jeffersonville, Indiana; hull built at Howard Ship Yard
FINAL DISPOSITION: Burned at Blue Store Landing, St. Maurice plantation, Point Coupee Parish, Louisiana on December 13, 1886
OWNERS: Greenville and New Orleans Packet Company
OFFICERS & CREW: Captain John W. Tobin (master, 1886); Charles Smith (engineer, 1886); G. Wash Floyd (clerk, 1886)
RIVERS: Mississippi River; Ohio River
OTHER INFORMATION: Ways - 2867; She was a cotton packet. Original price, $103,500. Home port or owner's residence circa 1878, New Orleans. She was named for Captain J.M. White of Cloverport, Kentucky. The J.M. White was the 276th boat built by Howard Ship Yard and the fourth boat that they built for Captain Tobin. Careful selection was made in choosing the timber used in her construction: oak from West Virginia, pine from Pennsylvania and the heavy cylinder timbers, wheelhouse chocks, etc. were from Indiana. She was supposed to be able to carry 10,000 bales of cotton. The cabin was built from August, 1877 to June, 1878 employing ten to forty men. The style of architecture of the cabin was an original idea of Mr. Thomas Bell who planned the cabins for many other boats. Some of the attractive features of the cabin included: stained glass, skylights with busts and statuary in the center of each light, veneered sunk panels laid in rosewood and walnut burl, doors veneered with French burl walnut inlaid with root ash and ebony with panels engraved in gold, an enormous mirror in the ladies' cabin with Gothic frame, gold carvings with panels of ebony relief, bridal chambers paneled in mahogany and satinwood and the other in rosewood and satinwood along with engraving in gold and colors. The main cabin contained seven gold-gilt chandeliers designed exclusively for the White. Dining tables were set with monogrammed silverware and Haviland china. On her maiden trip south, the White towed the partially completed Edward J. Gay. The White never carried her cotton capacity due to poor times and yellow fever. In 1878 she carried her largest load of cotton: 5,067 bales. She ran New Orleans-Vicksburg teamed up with the Robert E. Lee and the Natchez. The cause of the fire which ended her career was gunpowder which was stowed in the boat's magazine in the hold. Several lives were lost but many more were saved due to the efforts of the clerk, G. Wash Floyd. His own life was lost in helping others

Some accounts claim 60  lives lost.  I think I would still take my chances on one of these boats back then.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Light of the Night

"Candlelight does not lift the covers over the one who is lost alone in the past or present;  it lifts the covers of the faces that remain beside you as you sit or lie awake late into the night, witnessing their bodies melting drop by drop.

The candle is the light in liquid shape, is a light inside night, or light weeping, or light wiping its eyes with the edge of a distant star, or light dressed in a nightgown, or night when its desires have awoken . . ."

By Ali Ahmed Said Esber (adonis) translated from Arabic. A contemporary poet, he was born in western Syria in 1930.  Other writings  can be seen here..

Candles have long been lighting the dark of nights: from reeds coated in tallow by the Egyptians, beeswax in the middle ages (which burned cleaner than tallow), boiled bayberries' wax in colonial times, spermaceti wax (crystallized sperm whale oil), to modern paraffin -- with stearic acid added, made from oil and coal shales, to raise the melting point.

Find some sand on the beach of ocean or river and build a fire, preferably at night for nice shadows.
Place paraffin or old candles in a metal coffee can on the fire to melt it (paraffin used to be in every grocery store because the ladies would use it melted to seal the jars of processed food for storage in the cellar. Since the advent of nice self-sealing lids on Ball jars the old method is not used much anymore.)
Take a stick or the wine bottle you brought and poke holes in the sand into which the melted wax is poured. When wax is hardened, remove from the beach.  Wicks can be added later with a drill bit for a hole into which they are placed.
The sand sticks to the wax to make the infamous Sand-Cast Candle (not sold in stores).
We still have one made in the black sand of the western Columbia river north of Portland Oregon:

We were not sure why the sand was dark there but posited that perhaps further upstream near the Columbia River, volcanic action may have taken place previous.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Subterranean Blues

Awhile back I did a post on what is art and received many opinions and definitions , among them:

"Art is what the artist has to express in order to breathe",    "Art is a form of explanation",   "Art is the proper task of life" (Nietzche),     "Anything in nature", and    "A revelatory expression of a supportive  nature that balances human tendency for logical criticism".  I still wonder.   I know what I like:   is an expression which I donot grow tired of..  We have a mixed media painting called "Nest" , by Renee of Hannibal, Missouri (Mark Twain's home town) which hangs above our mantle and has for many years.  I can't explain why I never want to move it elsewhere or replace it.  Seems it belongs there and always will.

This above expression by Mr. Henry Avignon is created, I think, by a process of mechanical oxidation, then photographed.  I seem to always look for a colorful scene as in  the twisty organic colors in this one.  Why does it appeal to me amongst all of his other works?  Dunno
Art can be tricky and make you ask questions maybe never to be answered.

                                                                   "Nest" by Renee

I am tending toward a definition of Art as being :    "an unnecessary work of visual, aural, or written product ,which is  presented to  and considered by others, to express a life".  "Unnecessary"  in the sense that we can live without it.  All we need to actually survive is air, water, food, and shelter.  (But how much richer our lives to be exposed to the work and expression of others.)  And the artists certainly would not consider it unnecessary --- in fact, their definition usually involves a need to express in some form or other, in order  to live!
Why do we write on these blogs to express, when we don't necessarily have to?  Why are there cave paintings in France,  and etchings on rocks in the dry  American southwest from long-gone tribes?

The need to leave a mark seems to be a human urge.