Posts Tagged With: travels

A GLASS MUSEUM AND TO MASSAPOISETT

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A glass couple relaxing in glass chairs in front of a bookcase of glass books is an unusual piece for any museum, but a perfect fit for the new glass museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts Located at 61 Wamsutta St. A bit hard to find,  it shares an entrance with a wonderful antique store and is well worth the time to find it.

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I will parade for you some pieces I found particularly beautiful, and/or unusual like this golden fruit bowl.

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A blue plate.

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A hand-painted pitcher with gold accents.

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A painted vase.

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Clear and colored glass mixed in the same piece.

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A goblet you wouldn’t drink from. So why make it so?  There is something so appealing about seeing light through prisms of cut glass whether colored or clear. All glass lovers will know what I’m talking about.

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I haven’t room nor money to assemble a collection of pieces like these, so I collect pictures of beautiful items.

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And, again, the unusual, a crystal chair with red cushions and arm rests. The makers did it just to prove you could, but it caught the eye of an Eastern buyer and they became popular sellers to wealthy estate owners from India and Asia.

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When this piece was donated to the museum, the owners said it was a fountain but they could never get it to work. The curator here figured it out and you can go to the New Bedford Glass Museum website and see it work.

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Some glass ware was made in the 1800’s with bits of uranium when no one knew of its danger. Here it is contained in a case with black lights showing how it glows. One glass expert explained to us that people in those days when they discovered this glowing property made it into  paint for clock hands. The women who painted the hands would lick the brush because saliva added a sticky quality to the paint, not knowing they got sick and died from the practice as did the glass workers making the glass.

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They own a huge collection of uranium ware, this case plus another.

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They have unusual art pieces like this iridescent glass painting that changes color and hue with the light.

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The same painting now half in shadow by holding a magazine above it.

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Isn’t this glass spider perfect?

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It looks like this glass has been welded together.

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The museum has many glass maker’s tools and shows the process of glass making. The lid above is shown with it’s wooden mold.

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From the wooden mold, a plaster of paris mold is made. A metal mold is made from the plaster before the molten glass can be poured into it.

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This gun is blown glass where it is blown into the mold. These were cheap pieces filled with candy and sealed with paper. I remember miniatures like these filled with candy when I was a kid.

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Of course, most glass made was utilitarian like this light globe.

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And before the light bulb was invented, whale oil lamps lit up the dark.

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Kids played with glass marbles.

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Glass perfume bottles came in many shapes. Donna, Jim and I enjoyed the museum while Bob taught a morning class. If you want to see a slideshow of many more pictures, click the link below:

https://picasaweb.google.com/106530979158681190260/201381GlassMuseumNewBdfrd

After lunch, Bob returned and we all headed out to Massapoisett where Bob’s sons both live and were raised. His oldest son, Danny has a beautiful daughter just graduated from High School and headed off to college.IMG_2447 (Copy)

Marissa was the only one home when we arrived for our visit. She got us each a bottle of water and asked about our travels.

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For an 18 year old, she has done a good bit of traveling herself. She has hiked in the Grand Canyon, she went to France and climbed the Eifel Tower. She has met some famous people and appeared on television. She recently went camping for the first time where it was necessary to sleep on the ground on a tarp with a mattress pad and a sleeping bag. This is her wall of accomplishments. IMG_2451 (Copy)
Her grandparents, Bob and Donna Parker, are very proud of her.

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She excells at competitions that involve the blind. Here she is pictured after winning the Braille contest. She and Helen Keller have a lot of personality in common.

After or visit, Bob gave us a tour of the community of Massapoisett where he lived for many years.IMG_2457 (Copy)

This is his son’s boat. He loves the water, the area, the boats, clamming, fishing. In fact, when he lived and taught school here, he volunteered as a shellfish warden. He loved the job because he was often rewarded with a bucket of quahogs. IMG_2458 (Copy)

Like Murphys, it has a major hotel.

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Years ago, people built their summer cabins here.

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Now those cabins are being replaced by million-dollar mansions.

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Bob took us to see all of his old haunts and then we had dinner at the Chowder House.

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A perfect day with lovely weather much appreciated as I type and look at pouring rain through my window this morning.

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FALLEN ROBOT

Guys like my robot. Their mechanical curiosity immediately pops up at first site of it, and they check out his movable arms and legs, and head; his spark plug toes; radio tube eyes. They act like teenagers looking under the hood of their first car. (It helps to know he is made of car parts.)  One piece comes from a 1947 Plymouth, the artist told me.

Rust has caught up with my robot and I tried to move him inside, out of the weather until I could attend to the problem. Unfortunately, the weld on his foot gave way and down he came, his head came undone and rolled to the side. Oh, no!  Some rusty looking oil spilled out of his “crank case” and there he lay. Now, where is one of those handy car guys when you need him?  No putting off the job. I got out the steel wool and sandpaper, bought some aluminum paint and went to work. Not a job I wanted to do just now, but the robot needs this  fix.

Several hours yesterday morning, I managed to get two legs finished on one side only. Hmm! This is going to be a long process I can see. I’m enthused. He looks much better. Now, to find a handy welder kind of guy to put him back together before I leave.

I spent the afternoon with an old quilting buddy, Kendra North.  We didn’t quilt, we talked about the quilts we haven’t finished yet, our high school reunion experiences and had lunch instead. I am so fortunate to have so many talented friends.  Kendra, a cancer survivor,  can saddle a horse, shoe a donkey, weed eat her acreage, stave off the coyotes with her rifle, tutor her grandchildren, build a chicken coop, make gorgeous quilts, and keep her ancient Volkswagen running.  She doesn’t weld.

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ARMED ENCAMPMENT

Last night, shots rang out and I knew the feral pig hunters were actively patrolling. The picture above is a skinny pig compared to the pictures my neighbor, Gary Gonzalez  got of five pigs invading his yard July 4th.  Sunday night,  one of my Hanging Tree neighbors in a golf cart-like vehicle, with a powerful strobe light and a cross bow,  was cruising the road flashing the woods looking for pigs.  I’d planned to take a cool evening walk  Monday night and thought better of it. Not only because of the hunters but because Gerry Baumgartner, another Hanging Tree neighbor reported he had been visited by a bear twice in the last two weeks and the neighbor above him has had three visits from two different bears. Both have armed themselves with canned horns.  Its beginning to feel like an armed encampment here.

Bears and pigs are related and their meat tastes similar. I know that for a fact since I once butchered a bear for my brother who hunted and killed a bear in neighboring Tuolumne County when he was only 18 years old.  Bears and feral pigs compete for the same food. Both can be aggressive and can and will attack humans if cornered or threatened, though that rarely happens.  In the 1980’s I encountered feral pigs in Wilseyville and Railroad Flat, the upper, mountainous western part of Calaveras County. I’ve lived in Murphys since 1978 and have never seen a bear within two miles of my place, nor have I seen feral pigs. I find it somewhat disturbing to realize that the bear population and feral pigs are wandering into new territory. It makes me wonder what shift in the environmental balance caused them to hunger out of their range? From past experience, it is usually human activity that upsets the balance. In any case, one neighbor was feeling very sympathetic to the feral pigs being hunted and considered setting out corn for them.  It seemed to be the right time to get educated about feral pigs and the damage they do. I looked at a couple of sources but Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has the most thorough information on feral pigs and I copied my pictures from them:

http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/wildlife/PUBL/wlnotebook/Pig.htm

There are approximately four million feral pigs in the United States. Fact:  more people are killed by pigs than sharks. Domestic pigs were originally brought here from Spain and allowed to propagate in the wilds of California. Russian razorbacks and pigs from Germany were brought to New Hampshire, the Carolinas and California in the early 1900’s. They are ferocious fighters, can produce two or more litters per year and live for 25 years. They’ve become a serious problem in 23 states.

Mountain lions, bobcats and bears will feed on young pigs but the adult pigs are voracious predators. President Roosevelt once watched a pig dismember a jaguar.

” They especially relish acorns as well as hickory and beech nuts in the autumn. At other times of the year they eat forbs, grasses, leaves, berries and other fruits, roots and tubers, corn and other agricultural crops, insects, crayfish, frogs, salamanders, snakes, mice, eggs of ground-nesting birds, young rabbits, fawns and young livestock, such as lambs, calves, kids. They can also kill larger livestock that are weak from illness or injury. When fresh meat is not available, feral pigs will also readily scavenge carrion.”

They destroy wetland habitat, muddying the waters, breaking down the banks of rivers, destroy aquatic plants and have been known to corner larger prey and hunt as a group, breaking  legs and getting an animal on the ground. Their powerful bite can snap a kneecap or crush a peach pit with equal ease. They have been known to gnaw down a small tree and trample bushes in the wild. In domestic gardens and landscaped areas the damage is formidable. So, I say to my neighbor, don’t feel sorry for these invaders and let us support our hunters. In Wisconsin, they can be taken at anytime. In California, hunters need a pig tag, unless you are defending your property or livestock.  I’m told they are  better tasting than what we buy at the store. Luau time.

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LIMBAUGH AND ARE BECK-DISTORTIONISTS

I just got a message from the League Of Conservation Voters about a new bill in congress to repeal the mandate for efficient light bulbs enacted with a lot of bi-partisan support in 2007. It seems Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck have been ridiculing them on their shows, and, in the process, distorting the truth about these new bulbs. That, then translated into a bill by a friendly congressman. It always amazes me when congress people listen to rumor and crap and disregard solid science when they make decisions. Kind of makes you wonder if candidates shouldn’t have to pass the citizens test given to immigrants before they run for office.

Truth be told, I didn’t like the new bulbs either, at first, because I’d purchased several of them at a high price only to have them fail. You can return, them, yes, but who keeps the receipt? What bulb did you buy where? I began keeping the cardboard backing and attaching the receipt to it and writing where those particular bulbs were inserted. All for naught. In the end, most of the bulbs work just fine and last a long time. And, the cost has come down, down, down. In fact, in Arizona second-hand stores (where Jim and I always look first for anything we need in the motorhome), the bulbs are subsidized by the state to encourage their use.

But all this talk of bulbs made me kind of reflect and chuckle because while working in the Bay Area at the Santa Rita Jail in the 1950’s, I was told about a light bulb still burning in the Livermore fire department that was over 50 years old. I eventually went to look at it and indeed the story was true. Just for kicks, I went into my search engine and asked for the longest burning light bulb, and sure enough, it’s still going. Here is what wikipedia has to say:

The world’s longest lasting light bulb is the Centennial Light located at 4550 East Avenue, Livermore, California. It is maintained by the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department. The fire department claims that the bulb is at least 109 years old and has only been turned off a handful of times. The bulb has been noted by The Guinness Book of World Records, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, and General Electric as being the world’s longest-lasting light bulb.
There are some other long-lasting light bulb stories on the wikipedia site if you want to check them out at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longest-lasting_light_bulbs

The other reason I didn’t like the new bulbs is they didn’t fit into my lamps and my light fixture globes didn’t fit over the new bulbs. Bare, they are just plain ugly. But, I’ve dined at some pretty fancy restaurants and seen those same ugly bare bulbs and figured if they can do it. I can do it. And, they are going to transpose the  lighting fixture industry which translates into more jobs. The real benefit, as I see it, and the reason that the bill won’t pass, is because businesses that watch their bottom line already realize the cost savings of these new bulbs. They’ve already made a $12 billion dollar annual savings in this country alone. So, while Beck and Limbaugh claim the new standards are part of a “nanny state” governance, the reality is the bulb technology is getting much better because of the law and we (or our children’s children) may someday be reading about a rare thousand-year light bulb.

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INDIAN BASKETS

Baskets have amazing functional qualities. At one time I collected them and hung them all over my kitchen.  I’ve kept some useable baskets that I cherish, but for the most part they were decorative.  American Indians made them strong and serviceable.  And, while they were at it, they decorated them.

Walnut shell dice filled with pitch and abalone shell were tossed on the game tray above. The game depended on whether the shell landed with rounded side up or down.

Large burden baskets were capable of carrying heavy loads like firewood, pine cones or corn cobs.A hat to keep the sun out of your eyes is simply an upside down basket.

  If the weave was tight enough, the basket could hold water. It swelled and kept the water in and the owner cool on a hot day. Woven mats kept your seat on a stone softer; kept your food from touching the blanket used for a “table” cloth.

And the baby carrier had a built-in cap to keep the sun off  the baby’s head and out of its eyes. I’m in awe of how clever these resourceful people were. If you’d like to see the other pictures I took of the basket collection at Maryhill, click the link below:

https://picasaweb.google.com/106530979158681190260/MHIndianBaskets#

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YAQUINA HEAD LIGHTHOUSE

Interesting that this small town of Newport  has the tallest remaining lighthouse,  and the smallest remaining lighthouse in Oregon. Yaquina Head Lighthouse is  the tallest, at ninety-three feet, and 114 steps. In fact, if you put a dollar in the tank at the top, you get a pin declaring you survived the climb. The keepers had to be in good shape after working this lighthouse carrying oil cans up those stairs to the lense. This lense is one of the first Fresnel lenses and did not rotate.

The small building next to the lighthouse is the oil house. The keeper’s residences were removed over a period of years when no longer needed.

The oil supply containers remain from the old days. Imagine hauling oil up this steep rocky point with just ruts for a road in the 1800’s. Its not easily accessible even today. It requires a 12 minute walk to get there on a nicely provided even surface. The point is 162 feet above sea level.

The keepers desk remains as well. The keepers were instructed to record everything about them, whether it was windy, raining, foggy, sunny,  the temperature changes and times, ships seen, ships lights seen,  but also such  mundane things as debris on the beach. If there were lightening strikes, an inspection or a ship smashed on the rocks, things got exciting. The logs were kept partly to alleviate boredom. Keepers were provided  a boxed library to encourage them to read and better their education.

Waiting in line to get up to the top, I recognized this woman I know from my neighboring town of Sonora. She is Dr. Ralph Retherford’s secretary, my own family practice physician. What are the odds?

Below the lighthouse the beach is rugged, rocky and attractive to seabirds that feast on the mussels at low tide. The tide pools are available for sightseeing by traversing eighty-six well built, safe steps to the bottom of the hill. Walking across the volcanic cobblestones that make up most of this beach was a bit challenging for those in good physical shape.

The cobblestones were formed when lava hit the cold ocean and made instant stone droplets of all sizes. The tide pools had fat, green sea anenomes some round and some oblong. Kelp strands unfamiliar to me and starfish.

It would have been nice to pick up some mussels for dinner but no harvesting was allowed. Instead, we had lunch in town around the once famous Nye Beach resort area. Lot of neat shops and galleries to look through.

The BLM handles Yaquina Lighthouse site with an excellent interpretive center. Maintaining an old quarry on the grounds for tide pool viewing for people with disabilities is another unique feature of this particular park, which surrounds the working lighthouse. Of course, the lighthouse is only valuable to fishing boats and pleasure craft and people like us who love to dip back in time. If you find yourself near Newport, don’t miss it.

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