Monday, December 31, 2007

Another Great Blue Heron

Yes, this is as far as I can figure a Great Blue Heron. I'm not sure why he has different plumage than the heron I posted Saturday, maybe he's just older. Not a perfect picture, the focus is off a bit, I think it was the wind in his hair. He was hanging out on Snow Goose Pool on Assateague Island, VA with some ducks.
Have a happy and safe New Years Eve this evening, and tomorrow, I promise, no shorebirds.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Great Egret

This is a Great Egret, taken while he was catching lunch in Swan Pool along the beach road on Assateague Island, VA. He would bob down and come up with a small fish everytime, I must have taken 4 or 5 pictures of him doing this. As I mentioned with yesterday's post, if you click on the picture it gets bigger and better.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Great Blue Heron

Taken near Black Duck Pool on Assateague Island, VA. As with all the pictures here on the Outskirts of Suburbia if you click on them they get bigger. This is the picture you should try it out on.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Resolution Fire Company

This is the old engine house of the Resolution Fire Company and is located at 16 East Main Street in Newville, PA. (Route 641 half a block east of Route 533, north side). You'll need to picture for yourself a bell tower on top and double swinging doors on the first floor (you can see the different brickwork on the first floor). This building was built in 1857, I've gone past it for years and until recently I didn't know the past life of Helen B. Wagner's Beauty Salon. Newville's second fire engine, "The Resolution", purchased in York, PA in 1848 was housed here and used until 1896. The engine is now housed at the present fire station of the Friendship Hose Company #1, their website can be found here, read more on their history page.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

One For My Daughter (PG XL)

Yes, it's been a while so I'll tell you about my weekend at the beach. This is the Shining Star Gift Shop on Taylor Street in Chincoteague, "Not Your Ordinary Gift Shop". They were closed so I can not verify their claim to fame. This painting is by a local artist named Dawn Tarr, we have seen her work around town before. She had painted the sign for the Luna Seas Restaurant on Maddox Street, we took pictures of that sign on our first trip in 1999. The next time we went back there was two Chinese guys painting it white so they could stencil the #1 Chinese Restaurant over it, I thought my daughter was going to cry. The old #1 didn't last long there, actually, I don't think the building is there anymore. Ms. Tarr also did some smaller things downtown and years ago my daughter bought a large clam shell with a mermaid on it at one of the gift shops.
Yes, I realized it was Wednesday after I had already posted the cardinal. This week I've been screwed up on what day it is. It'll take a couple weeks yet 'til I get straight.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cardinal Rule

These are from a Christmas afternoon walk. The female turned out to be more elusive. I need to work on my patience.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My Christmas Card to the Blog-O-Sphere

Merry Christmas. This is my Christmas card for this year. Not for everyone but for those who would know and appreciate it. This is the W Mountain overlooking Johnny Meyers Lake in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area of the White River National Forest in Colorado. Another place I have known intimately. To the upper left along the W is Mile Long Meadow, moving to the right and through the Chute, following the trail down is where I lost the trail back in ninety-eight. I wasn't lost, you know, just fearsome confused for a moment or two. Back on the trail now and drop over towards the lake and you can overlook an open bench above the lake. I was watching this area in 2000 when a voice in my head told me, "Look to your right." I stared for a few seconds until I made out the shape of a mountain lion that had crept up to within a hundred feet. I slowly bent over and grabbed my camera but the big kitty realized he had made a mistake and ran off. Back on the trail again and you'll pass through Marley's Meadow. Go slow, most guys have walked right up on elk in this meadow. Continue down past the old trappers cabin that Johnny Meyers himself had built and then you'll walk on into camp. Can you smell the wood stove? I hope someone has supper started cause I'm getting hungry.

Wait a minute this is suppose to be a Christmas post. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. God bless us everyone.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas, Chincoteague

OK, OK, OK, I'll try to quit bringing up the second annual Christmas-at-the-beach thing. But not until after this post. Yes, I'm still playing catch up with my posts, but this too will fix itself soon. These pictures are from downtown Chincoteague Island, VA. The first two are along Main Street, the first is from up near the Misty statue and was taken mid-afternoon. The second is from in front of the Purple Pony T-Shirt place and was taken after dark. The third is some of the decorations they have out in the park with the drawbridge in the background. In ideal circumstances there would have been a beautiful sunset just beyond the bridge but not this weekend. (Check it out here). I took a lot more picture this weekend but I'll start to space them out a little more now. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Eve Eve

OK ,I'm actually back from our whirlwind 2 day second annual Christmas-at-the-beach vacation. After yesterday's sunrise the clouds moved in and the sunset was non-existent. This mornings sunrise was happening somewhere above the rain and wind, so the camera spent most of the morning with a plastic bag tied around it. We of course got soaked to the bone. It was, however, a good shelling day. My daughter was intent on finding a conch shell, she hit a point when the rain and ocean spray was getting pretty bad that she was walking past other good shells focused on conch, conch, conch. Well she succeeded, I think she got 2 or 3 good ones, later we'll get the bags out and see if we got anything good. We had started this morning heading south along the hook around Tom's Cove but soon hit a point where the water between the ocean and Tom's Cove was ankle deep. We turned around.
These pictures are from Saturday. We drove around the Wildlife Loop that circles Snow Goose Pool and in addition the the hundreds, maybe thousands of snow geese we saw, we found ponies. This is, in the recent years of going to Chincoteague and Assateague, the closest we've gotten to the ponies. Oh, we see them every time, but we never get close enough for these kind of pictures. They continued to eat, paying us no mind. There were also maybe half a dozen ponies over towards Swan Pool, I got some good group pictures there.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm at the Beach, Please Call Back Later.

Just a little late with this one, but if I coulda posted this is what I woulda posted. Yes, I was on my second annual Christmas-at-the-beach vacation. We drove down Friday afternoon and this is what Saturday morning looked like. What I thought was an unspectacular sunrise turned out to be the last time I saw the sun near the horizon all weekend. So in retrospect these aren't that bad.
As usual we were on the beach before sunrise, the biggest difference this morning was high tide. Combine that with an offshore storm system and the water levels were higher than I've ever seen them. We hit a point on our walk where the dunes were 6-8 feet high and the waves were crashing into them - we called it a day. Not much found. Temps were in the low fifties but the wind off the surf cut through my sweatshirt. But hey, I'm at the beach three days before Christmas in a sweatshirt, I don't think I have the right to complain.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Morning 1979

Christmas morning 1979 there was a gift under the tree from my older brother, it was my first fire helmet. It was a used leather New Yorker, painted green. In those days junior members wore green helmets so they could be recognized as a junior. Juniors were not allowed to do a lot of tasks such as packing up and going into fires or climbing ladders. The only problem was that I would not become a member for almost six more weeks. But still this was a step towards a soon to be passion. My brother had joined almost three years earlier and Dad joined soon after that and for months leading up to February 1980, I anxiously counted the days until I could be one of the guys.
Around mid-morning the gifts were all opened and everyone was messing around with their new gifts when the monitor sounded for a barn fire. My brother, Dad and I all jumped and headed for the door. At the door I ran into trouble - Mom, standing arms crossed and head shaking. I put the helmet down and grabbed my 110 camera and jumped into Dad's truck. Once on the scene a must have taken a whole roll of film. I was in awe of the power and destruction I was witnessing, I was also in awe of the firefighters, how well they worked together, how they all seemed to know what to do without being told. I don't remember anymore when we left or whether we went home or back to the firehouse, but I do remember Christmas morning 1979. And if I didn't say it then, I'll say it now, "Thank You big brother." (That's him in the lower right hand corner of the picture.)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Is That You...Santa Claus?

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why... Cause up on the house top, click-click-click... and hurry down the chimney tonight.
Who wears boots and a suit of red?... . And the blue and silver candles, that would just have matched the hair on grandma's wig... but then teacher says a hippo is a vegetarian.
In the meadow we can build a snowman, and pretend that he's a circus clown... So he said, "Let's run and we'll have some fun now before I melt away."... Dancing and prancing in Jingle Bell Square, in the frosty air.
Glad tiding we bring to you and your kin... Glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia!... Fast away the old year passes. Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Eternal Debate (PG XXXIX)

Here I go again, stretching the limits of the Painted Gentleman definition. This week we visit the Pepsi plant in Newville, PA. Apparently not everyone in town passed the Pepsi Challenge.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

TGI Christmas

I may have said a few weeks back that it was that time of year, well really it is this time of year. I have a lot to say about this subject but I hear a snickerdoodle calling my name.
Now, wipe the drool off your screen and go get your own.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ice, Ice Baby

Like a lot of you we got hit Saturday night with ice. Personally, I'd rather have a foot of snow than and quarter inch of ice. And then yesterday, with all the ice already, we got rain, lots of rain. I paced the house like a lunatic and by late afternoon I could see the sun start to come out. So with everyone in the house either asleep or just lazy, I got out. I drove to a couple spots I thought would be good and as always I ended up somewhere I never considered. I got more than just cold wet feet , I got some cool pictures. There may even be another Ice post. But the sun was fickle and a bunch of the pictures I took where just almost, you know what I mean.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Is That a Pickle on your Tree?...

Yes, there is a pickle on my Christmas tree. I don't know where I first heard about the Christmas pickle, but when I found this blown glass pickle, I knew I had to buy it for my tree. Legend has it that the kid who finds the hidden pickle get a special present and has good fortune throughout the coming year. We hang the pickle in an inconspicuous place, somewhere where a quick look would not see it, but once found it catches you eye every time. I like how Christmas is a time for tradition, no matter how strange. And how you can create your own traditions and make the holiday uniquely your own. Maybe tomorrow we'll cover the feats of strength around the Festivous Pole, stay tuned.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Chincoteague Christmas Eve

Two more pictures from last Christmas Eve. The first is Black Duck Pool to your left when you cross Asseteague going towards the beach, this is the area across the Beach Road from where you can normally see the ponies. The second is sunrise on the beach, taken on a seashell walk. I can't wait to get back with the new camera and see what I can capture.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Vigilant Brotherhood

Probably two years ago I started looking around to see just how many other "Vigilant" fire departments there were. At lunch I would Google and started keeping track. I found old Vigilants in Philly, Pittsburgh, Staten Island, LA and even one in San Francisco during the gold rush. Others in Jersey, at least 5 on Long Island, Maryland, South Carolina, Louisiana and some nearby. I have patches from 9 stations and have been to 4 taking pictures. I have two lists one at home and one at work, I should combine them. The one here at home has 23 Vigilant departments at one time or another.
These pictures are from York, PA. I didn't find much online about the Vigilants in York other than they were founded in 1781 and used a steer as a mascot. There is a historical book put out in 1981 for the 200th anniversary, I should buy it.
This is Station 2 of the York City Fire and Rescue Services on West Market Street. Built in 1974 it houses Engines 2 and 4, Truck B, Service 45 and the Platoon Commanders.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My First Dam Blogpost

This is what is known as Mixell's Dam, located on Center Road, outside of Newville, PA, just north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I was playing around this morning with the flowing water trying to get the flow to blur. Some turned out OK, but some blurred so much they look like ice or snow. Maybe I was too close or it was flowing too swiftly around the dam breach, I'm not sure, I'll keep experimenting. The dam diverted water from Doubling Gap Run to a grist mill. (See another picture of a dam, upstream, on Doubling Gap Run in this post) The water was used to turn the grindstones and in some cases the head race was a long run to get the proper fall at the mill. Beyond the mill the tail race would return the water to the stream.
The last picture is what is left of Scouller's Mill, obviously the dam is no longer needed.
"I went to the dam to get some dam water, the dam man said I couldn't have any dam water, so I told the dam man to keep his dam water!"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Twelve Twelve Painted Gentleman XXXVIII

This weeks Painted Gentleman, number 38, goes back to the roots of Painted Gentleman: Chewing Mail Pouch Tobacco. This barn is located on Route 56, 3 miles northwest of Interstate 99, just south of Fishertown. My apologies for the quality and distance at which this was taken, Route 56 and the intersection that this barn sits at was under some major construction (my cropping barely cut out the construction barrier) and I'm sure I broke a law or two by pulling over to take this and then hurry along. I'll do better next time, I promise.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cliff Dwellers

These are the Manitou Cliff Dwellings off of Route 24 (west of I-25) outside of Colorado Springs. By no means the size of the more publicized cliff dwellings, these do show you how the Anasazi (Ancient Ones) lived more than 700 years ago. The first picture is the beautiful entrance with one of their large kokopellis and the second picture is from the upper side looking down towards where the Native American dancers put on a demonstration later. Remember this post?
One of the nice things about this place was that the kids could run around, climb and touch, getting a feel, if only for a moment, of what life may have been like back then. Check out their website.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

A wreath made out of wine corks. Gotta wonder how the were able to keep it round after all that vino.
This was at the Lakewood Vineyards in Watkins Glen, NY. Those guys were crack-ups.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Building That Wasn't Really There

This is the old Watt and Shand building on Penn Square in downtown Lancaster. Watt and Shand used to be a department store, back when all good department stores were downtown. In 1995 the were bought out by Bon-Ton and this building has been sitting here waiting since. Penn Square Partners bought the building and are "renovating it" to be the new Marriott Lancaster at Penn Square. By renovating they have completely gutted it to the point that only the outer shell is all that still stands. It was odd to see this 3 story shell standing there held up by this heavy duty scaffolding.

The overcast mid-day back light was really messing with me on these pictures, these are some of the better ones.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Snowy Pine Stars

I thought these looked cool without the snow. I think you could be looking at my Christmas card for next year. Of course I'll be in Colorado again before next Christmas.