Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gateway Arch

I wish for a New Year that brings you 
and all the world's people safety and peace.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mark Twain School

Another of my tile finds, this time on the Mark Twain School on the far North side of the city. It is an Ittner school, now abandoned. Blow it up for best effect. I promise to post everything in the way of architecture and ornamentation that I have, which is considerable, on St. Louis Mosaic, my second blog, as soon as I get a block of time. 
I now have a third blog, Merry@Syracuse, as we have moved back to Syracuse NY, in my old home region. Expect lots of pictures of snow in the next while over there. We got twelve and a half inches 
in the past 24 hours.   

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Shaw's Garden

To celebrate and amuse us during the holiday weeks the Garden creates a flower and train show, this year commemorating the Garden's 150th Anniversary. Someone created models of all the buildings, and Henry Shaw is everywhere.  Miniature staff are involved in lots of interesting activities.  Be sure to scroll down to find out what happened to a hapless Climatron gardener.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Gateway Arch with Snow

We got a bit of snow, so I hurried to the Arch.  Scroll down to see other scenery from up top.

Top and center...see the legs of the Arch and the covered entrances.  The black lines are the snow brush machine tracks.

The Old Courthouse looks like a model.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Original Cardinals

Claudia                      Ernesto

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Always curious...always ready to go out.
We had a snow storm at midday yesterday 
after the temperature dropped by 15 degrees between 5 and 7am.  
The storm came at us from the south, 
right up the Mississippi valley in a giant cyclone 
carrying cold air in from the northwest 
and picking up moisture from the Gulf.  

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Thank you, Robert Indiana.
His iconic LOVE design was first published as a Christmas card in 1964. 
The sculptures came a little later.
We were in New Orleans last Christmas and found this with great delight 
at the sculpture garden adjoining the New Orleans Museum of Art.  
It was a balmy day. 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Season's Greetings

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

City Garden

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

St. Louis Zoo

There's a rock at the entrance to the zoo....

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gateway Arch on Winter Solstice

After I bring Ed to work, returning home I am treated to a scene which includes the Arch directly ahead.

Lately darkness prevails, giving the Arch a one dimensional look.  It is not lighted by the National Park Service at this hour, though it shines with the reflected light of downtown streetlights and the slowly awakening hotels and offices.

The morning I took this, a few days ago, a break in the clouds showed that the sun would be coming along, though the break soon closed.

So it is with today, the darkest day of the year. Just after midnight, the light began, incrementally, to return.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gateway Arch Park

We chose an overcast day to go to brunch in the Millenium Hotel tower. There are irregular shaped pools to the north and south of the Arch, hidden especially in summer by leaves and the valley which contains each.

One of the wondrous things about this region is the presence of bald cypress trees, which I have always equated with Florida.  I will miss them.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bald Eagle

This was our first bald eagle when we started to look for them last year soon after we arrived in St. Louis.  Near Columbia Bottom we walked way out, half way across the river bed on sand flats because the Mississippi was so low, when we spotted this bird just taking it easy.
We felt very fortunate to be able to watch this one for over a half an hour.  Ed writes about bald eagles on his blog, St. Louis Sojourn, today.
Many villages and towns have Eagle Days during January: great fun on a chilly winter day.  

Friday, December 18, 2009

Soulard Tiles

This stunning mural is right on Russell St. in Soulard.  Made of extremely irregularly shaped pieces of terra cotta, some details don't make it to adjacent tiles such as the left cow's legs.  No matter.  It is still a magnificent picture. 

Below is the entire tableau. Click to enlarge them to good effect.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Budweiser Clydesdale

Budweiser keeps a large group of Clydesdales at Grant's Farm here in St. Louis, mares with foals in the spring, large groups of geldings from which to choose for the famous 8-hitch teams, and probably a stallion or two.

There are always a couple of horses at the brewery near the river, in a paddock outside the Busch family's historic and architecturally beautiful stable.  The family lived in an adjacent house at this site, gone now, and also at the farm which is now Grant's Farm.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Butterfly House

West of town, the Missouri Botanical Garden's Butterfly House is a very cool place. Actually it is at constant shirt-sleeve temperature, and at any given time there are 1500 butterflies fluttering in the air, resting, or eating.  They arrive as chrysalises from butterfly farms all over the world and are released when they have completely metamorphosed into butterflies.  Just sorry it took us so long to go there.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

St. Louis Zoo

At the entrance to the Flight Cage at the St. Louis Zoo is a long mural showing cypress swamp animals in great and subtile detail and shading, using tile shards.  The colors are lovely.  The mural has all the feeling one finds at Corkscrew Swamp or the Everglades in Florida.

Monday, December 14, 2009

St. Louis Zoo

Sunday, December 13, 2009

St. Louis Zoo

The flight cage at the St. Louis Zoo was built by the Smithsonian Institution for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, the 1904 world's fair. Slated to be taken to Washington at the close of the fair, the people of St. Louis worked to keep it. They have a strong history for getting and keeping public spaces. 
The flight cage became the first exhibit of a new zoo after the close of the fair. 
The present exhibit is a cypress swamp and is a lovely, quiet, contemplative outpost at the Zoo. There are beautiful tile pictures of birds in swamplands at the entrance of the Flight Cage, which I will feature in another post. 

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Joli at Forest Park

JDo, one very happy dog!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Forest Park

I posted a picture of us in a peddle boat on a warmish day here on Post-Dispatch Lake just three weeks ago. Some difference. St. Louis Art Museum, one of the few remaining structures built for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, is on the hill in the background.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shaw Reserve


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Shortest Afternoon of the Season is Past!

By the astronomic numbers, yesterday afternoon was the shortest afternoon.

Starting today, the afternoons begin, ever so slowly, to regain light.  By mid-January you can already see the difference as you go home from work or milk the cows.  This is illustrated here:

Go to the last section, Other Phenomena, for an explanation.

Sorry, the mornings continue to lose light until early January.

The shortest day is but an average of mornings and afternoons. Analemma is the answer. A Farmer's Almanac will reveal the numbers.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Shaw's Garden

Monday, December 7, 2009

Gateway Arch Reflection

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Syracuse Preview

The State Tower Building excites the eye and the imagination. Notice the three levels of ever-lighter bricks at your eye travels upward.

Fancy and Groucho, Syracuse's pair of peregrine falcons, successfully raise a brood every spring at the top of this urban cliff. USA Datanet, major tenant of the building, helps support the annual project including a live cam which is well worth bookmarking:

Fancy starts investigating the box by late March and lays around 4 eggs by early April. As they incubate Groucho plays a major role, and they both feed and teach the eyeses to fly and hunt.  It is an exciting time in the skies over Syracuse.

Kodak in Rochester plays a similar role for their pair, and their watchers. 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Syracuse Preview

Proposed in 1808 to connect the Hudson River to the Great Lakes, the Erie Canal wasn't completed until 1825, nearly two decades after Lewis and Clark completed Voyage of Discovery.  Thomas Jefferson thought the canal couldn't be built. Long before the Gateway Arch, the Erie Canal was called Gateway to the West.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Syracuse Preview

The Syracuse zoo cannot hope to hold a candle to the St. Louis Zoo, 
and I will miss the StL zoo. Still, the Syracuse zoo has a wonderful 
collection of cold climate mammals who really come to life 
in the winter, including caribou, reindeer, markhors, 
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, red pandas, snow leopards, 
wolves both gray and red, Eurasian lynx, Amur tigers, 
and Humboldt penguins.
Very few people appreciate the nature of this strong collection 
of cold weather animals.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Syracuse Preview

The height of Art Deco design, 
the Syracuse landmark Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. building 
was completed in 1932 in the middle of the Depression. 
Melvin L. King of Syracuse was the architect, 
with consulting architects Bley & Lyman of Buffalo.  
Today it is the regional headquarters of National Grid. 
After a huge renovation in the 1980s, the lights were all brought back to life, 
so that now the tower lights give us infinite possibilities for color combinations 
using helium-filled tubes, and the colors can be set to rotate on timers. 
It is still as wondrous a building as it was when it was built.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Orangeville PA

Ed's grandmother, his father's mother, Pearl Delong, came from Orangeville.  We uncovered and scanned some photos from there earlier this year.  The terrain is distinctive. 

Last week on my most recent drive to Syracuse NY, getting our house ready for our return at the end of December, I went east by way of I 80 from Akron to I 81 in NE PA, passing by Orangeville.  A very short side trip brought me to this little town that time seems to have forgotten. With five hundred residents and the median age at over is a quiet place. I found the cemetery and a Delong stone, that of Pearl's uncle.  

Next summer during the trip to Ed's college reunion at Bucknell we will visit Orangeville, right on the way, and see what else we can discover at the cemetery and at the local library. Maybe we will find the family homestead. We have a photo.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dogon in Mali, West Africa

These photos were taken in the region of the Dogon in Mali, West Africa. This structure is where men go to resolve disputes. The disputants along with other important men of the village sit or crouch beneath the tall and heavy crisscrossed layers of wood, and no one leaves until the disagreement is resolved.  This may take minutes, hours or days.  

I actually have been to Timbuktu and back! In 1977 out of the sky the impossibly amazing opportunity fell to me to travel with a group of 10 others in two Land Rovers (owned by three of the party and stored in Marsailles since another trip 2 years previously to Johannesburg) across a significant stretch of Arab Africa from Algiers south across the Sahara into West Africa in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, returning back across the Sahara to the Mediterranean through Tunisia. Three months we were on the road, and no two moments were the same. 

I learned quickly that if I wanted a photograph I had to take it immediately.  There were no second chances. Every day, every minute, was utterly astounding and totally outside my experience. As a bonus, my sister and her husband were in Burkina Faso doing graduate work, and we got to spend a couple of days with them in Ouagadougou, which was fun.

The first of every month is Theme Day at City Daily Photo.  This month's theme is Waiting.
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants