How Old Were You When You Started Driving?

#noblopomo Day 12, WordPress Photo Challenge: Tiny

Most men started driving when they were tiny.

Maybe women do too, but in my world cars were a way to get somewhere, not the destination. Not in my husband’s world. Cars were the destination.

A few of my husband's tiny cars
A few of my husband’s tiny cars. In the background he poses with Chip Foose when his big car won an award, and he won the door prize. Wahoo! 

In Woodlake kids drive tiny cars on the street one day a year. The Kiwanis Club hosts a Soap Box Derby during Rodeo Week in May.

A tiny car for a tiny person to drive.
A tiny car for a tiny person to drive.

Kiwanis checkers insist that drivers are 8 years old, but we know that some tiny racers have slipped by with their parents’ permission.

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A crowd gathers to watch the tiny drivers race. Even the golf cart looks big in comparison.

Runners race chase the tiny cars as they speed.
Runners chase walk after the tiny cars as they are pulled to the starting line.

How it works first time up:

Hold on for dear life!
Hold on for dear life!
  • Kids and parents check in.
  • A Kiwanian asks for the child’s driver’s license, and the kids stare back without a smile. Parents grin sometimes.
  • Elementary teachers and parents conflict over verify their grade level.
  • The child puts on their safety helmet.
  • They trudge up the ramp and step into the car.
  • The Kiwanis pusher holds the car until the race begins.

So Far So Good!

Tiny drivers hang on!
Tiny drivers hang on!

Gravity does the rest of the work.

Go! Go! Go!
Go! Go! Go!

The kids soon learn that one car goes faster. They do not get to choose which car they drive.

The next time they race, they are brave. The race lasts about an hour depending on how many kids show up.

Let's do this!
Let’s do this!

The Kiwanismotto is “Serving the Children of the World.” This is one of many fun ways that Kiwanis of Woodlake serves the children of our community.

Other activities include:

  • Toys for Joy – making sure that all children have a present for Christmas.
  • Dictionaries for all third graders. (Kiwanis and Rotary)
  • Special Olympics Bowl-A-Thon
  • Miracle Mile of Quarters – to raise money for the Children’s Hospital
  • HOBY Conference Scholarships
  • College Scholarships
  • Outdoor Environmental Education Scholarships
  • and much more

If you would like to help us or join Kiwanis, please contact me tchistorygal@gmail.com.

Kiwanis is a tiny club in a tiny town of ranchers, farmers and farm workers. At last count I think there were 19 members working tons of volunteer hours each month.

If you would like to help Kiwanis to spread the word about what they do for the community of Woodlake, CA, please share this post with your friends and groups.

For more thoughts about tiny, click here.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

Documenting Chaos Like an Expert

Delaware First Catholic Church #2 #NaBloPoMo Day 5 #chaos #dailyphotochallenge

Our real discoveries come from chaos, from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

Can Discoveries, Even Order Come From This Chaos?

When I think of the best documentaries of chaos, I think American Pickers and some of the hoarders they visit. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of hoarders. The closest I can come to chaos is the old church in Delaware that begs for restoration.

Save the Old Barn
Save the Old Barn

There is so much work here to create order from chaos. I wonder whether the organization raising money for restoration will ever reconstruct order from chaos. In order to document this building, I journeyed beyond the road, even ventured past the caution barricade and the quick snapshot. I used my Canon XTi Rebel and not my iPhone. The zoom lens creates higher quality photos than the iPhone.

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With every passing day the chaos increases due to weather eroding the mortar that holds the structure together. If nothing happens to make the repairs, soon there will be nothing left standing. The weather is not the only force that erodes. Humans have already done their part in the building’s demise. They might continue the demolition work they started.

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During the week I spent in Delaware in September, the weather treated the chaotic church kindly. The clouds threatened, but they did nothing but add charm to the old building. I captured these shots during the golden hour before sunset.

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This scene looks like broken Humpty Dumpty to me, only it is the wall not the good old egg. To make it more menacing and artistic I could have darkened it and added filters, but I chose to document only and not become artistic.

What are some of your chaotic moments? Please share!

Related Post

Delaware First Catholic Church #1

Local Woodlake: Constructing a Beautiful Future

WordPress Photo Challenge: Local #blogboost

These beautification projects taking place in the City of Woodlake over the past two years have amazed and thrilled long-time residents. First, the city put in new sidewalks on Valencia, then constructed a round-about.

The Woodlake Plaza is the newest ribbon cutting in town.

Ribbon Cutting ceremony at the Woodlake Plaza
Ribbon Cutting ceremony at the Woodlake Plaza

The Woodlake Plaza sign went up early on Valencia Boulevard, Woodlake’s main downtown street, alerting the town that changes were coming.

Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum opening in February 2016 across from proposed PlazaBy February that building had been razed. Construction began in shortly after that.

April 2016 construction
April 2016 construction

Work on the Plaza began in about April, or at least that was when I started taking pictures to document the work.

April 2016 construction
April 2016 construction

 

The winter of 2015-2016 was a particularly rainy year, so that slowed progress from time to time both on the round-about and the plaza. By August rain no longer plagued the project.

August 2016 sidewalks are in
August 2016 sidewalks are in place in front of the Plaza

August 2016August 2016

Woodlake event planners can now count on a well-shaded area to host many large community gatherings. Sidewalks and grassy areas are a vast improvement over weeds and puddles which preceded the plaza.

Woodlake Plaza
Woodlake Plaza October 1, 2016, at the ribbon cutting

The last major overhaul of this magnitude was in 1961 when the 1911 Brick Block, just one block away from the current plaza, came down.

Demolition in 1961
Demolition in 1961
Woodlake Plaza entrance on Magnolia
the Woodlake Plaza entrance on Magnolia

Ernie Garcia remembers skating at this location before 1940. Then the Lions built a building which became a community center used by Kiwanis, and the Seniors. In December 2015 the Toys for Joy program held a gift-shopping activity at the Lions Club building where parents could come in and shop for a nominal charge to find gifts for their children ages pre-school through high-school.

Lions Club Building on Magnolia
Lions Club Building on Magnolia in December 2015

The building held many fond memories for those who met there regularly. Kiwanis struggled for a while to find another place as large to host its weekly meetings. But Kiwanians support growth and change and look forward to the new Community Center coming soon.

Lions Club Building on Magnolia
Lions Club Building on Magnolia

From September 23 to 25 Woodlake celebrated its 75 anniversary of being incorporated while the high school celebrated 100 years of existence. The City of Woodlake wanted to have the Plaza project completed by that event but the actual ribbon cutting took place on October 1, 2016.

Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum, opened February 2016
Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum opened February 2016

The plaza looks across to the new Woodlake Museum, which opened in February, and Miller Brown Park. Soon there will be a library next to the plaza making Magnolia Street the one stop location for researching about Woodlake. Next to the museum is a walk-through park with murals depicting the western lifestyle in Woodlake painted on existing buildings.

Woodlake Plaza
Woodlake Plaza

This tiny park provides a walk through to the main street through Woodlake, Valencia Boulevard. New street lights unify the look of the town.

Mural next to Woodlake Plaza
Mural next to Woodlake Plaza

In a town the size of Woodlake, about 7,000 residents, new construction attracts everyone’s attention. The people are so proud to see how these new additions have made the city more attractive. Visitors make positive comments as they stop by on their way to see the giant Sequoias at the National Park.

Rodeo Queen
Rodeo Queen

What’s new in your local area?

Check out the weekly photo challenge for more local ideas.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

 

Brandywine, What Better Name for a Relaxing River?

Winding Through History on the Brandywine

#blogboost #Delaware trip

WordPress Photo Challenge H2O

Everything in Delaware winds. Driving from the airport in Philadelphia, I turned off the freeway onto a state road and headed towards Hockessin, DE. It felt like I had entered a land of make-believe.

Even state highways were paths through a deep, mysterious forest. And water showed up at almost every bend.

The day after I arrived, mom’s cousin Hal suggested a drive to the historic district of Wilmington. He knows I love historic buildings and babbling streams. This spot along the Brandywine was the perfect stop.

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You can never say corner in Delaware, it seems. Points are obliterated in curves, drown in the gurgling streams. How could this pastoral scene be part of the 9-11 Battle in 1777?

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Mr. Dylan Duck stands on his rocky lookout over the Brandywine surveying his family activities. Donovan and Dana Duck discovered something fishy in the Brandywine.

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The twenty-mile lower stem of Brandywine Creek winds lazily around the historic district of Wilmington, DE. Maybe Dylan’s ancestors watched for Redcoats.

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Possibly Dylan’s ancestral family watched Peter Minuit who founded New Sweden in 1638 along the Delaware River and inland to the Brandywine. He died in a hurricane on his return trip, but his colony remained. I can imagine the Swedes lounging with their feet dangling in the stream sipping a mug of home brew on a beautiful September day after harvesting crops all day.

Gossip Along the Brandywine in 1644

Overheard by Dylan Duck I

“This here is mighty fine wine, you’ve made, Peter.”

It’s not wine. It’s brandy, Beatus. Made from this gurgling stream right here. It’s the water that makes it tasty.”

Brandy? Wine? Whatever. It is delicious. ” Abram added.

“Sounds like a good name for this river to me, Brandywine,” Beatus said.

Don’t tell that old Swede, who built the grain mill, Andreas Brainwende. He thinks this stream is his, and we should call it the Brainwend River after him,” Peter said.

Brainwend, Brandywine, his hearing’s so bad, he won’t know the difference.

“You got the water in just the right place, didn’t you, Peter?” Abram said.

Yeah, a couple miles from here the creek pours into the Christina River,” Peter told them. “Ah the beautiful Christina, named after our queen. She’s a spoiler.”

“Yeah, she looks sweet, but looks are deceiving, so I hear.”

“Shhh, you two! Someone might be overhear you. You don’t want to mess with our governor!”

“I’m talking about that brakish water two miles yonder at the confluence of the two rivers. Christina’s waters would make a brandy that even you wouldn’t drink, Abram,” Beatus said

“You don’t think much of my tasting skills, Beatus?”

“Not so much.”

“OK, fellows, better finish it up here before you get us in trouble. The wives will wonder where we are.”

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Hey, Marsha,” Hal called interrupting my reverie. “Haven’t you seen ducks before? What are you doing?”

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What looks like placid waters now, once powered grist and gunpowder mills. Mills fueled the industrial era before the onset of steam-powered machinery. The DuPonts made their fortunes here. Ah, this was the place to learn history.

Ah, this was the place to learn history.

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I could see that it was no wonder why many nineteenth century builders used stone to construct Wilmington buildings along the Brandywine. Mmmm, I wanted to put my toes in the cool water and feed the ducks, sip some wine and…

“Marsha,” Hal called again. “What is so interesting down there? Come up here. I want to show you something about this old post office building.

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How do you ignore a 91-year-old retired engineer who was tired of Dylan and Donovan, the dark-feathered ducks, and wanted me to move on to something more mathematical? More than likely he wanted to go home and eat, my stomach reminded me that it was getting late.

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“Did you notice the way the sun is casting a shadow on this stairway of Breck’s Mill?”

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Hal scores again – something I would not have noticed without him.

The shadows had crept up on me as time swirled dreamily down the stream. But the sun was dipping in the sky. Strawberry-rhubarb pie in the fridge was beckoning us to come back to the 21st century and go home for dinner.

What wonderful, lazy afternoons do you remember sitting by a gentle stream, or lovely lake, waterfall, or even a water fountain?

Does water make your mind wander, too?

Catch more water pictures here.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

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Leaves Make Me Nostalgic

WordPress photo challenge: nostalgia

#blogboost
Google defines nostalgia as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.”
synonyms: reminiscence, remembrance, recollection
Crape Myrtle tree
Crape Myrtle trees

When I was about age 10, my dad began to enjoy my presence. He loved to take pictures, so on Saturdays, he loaded up his equipment and me, his best view finder, into the old Buick in search of a perfect scenic spot. I loved his pictures of fall leaves. The love of fall colors makes me nostalgic and brings me joy.

Fall Grape Leaves
Fall Grape Leaves

We do not get the magnificent colors in all trees that Indiana does, but we still have some gorgeous fall plants. Several years ago on my own impromptu photo shoot, I found a grape field so beautiful I had to pull over, jump out of my car, and take pictures.

Fall grape leaves in December, 2012
Fall grape leaves in December 2012

Hoosiers tout many varieties of maple trees but the foothill community of Woodlake, CA in Tulare County honors the humble white oak or valley oak.

California White Oak
California White or Valley Oak

Wikipedia has a list of various kinds of oaks along with where they are found which I found helpful in trying to figure out which kind of oak this is.  Google lists images of oaks by type.

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variety unknown to me

It takes hours to compare leaves to pictures to figure out what kinds of trees and plants we see along the roads. I never appreciated people who can spout off names like that until I started writing my blog. I don’t think this is an oak tree because the bark is too smooth. Kiwanis supports the blue signs we see along the highways in our areas that names the crop next to the highway. But most places do not have signs.

Elderwood, CA in December
Elderwood, CA in December

While I think this is pretty, it cannot compare to the eastern parts of the United States for color and brilliance. However, in the east, the mountains do not pop up over the tops of the trees. In Hockessin, Delaware even if the mountains were there, you wouldn’t be able to see them because forests line nearly every street and obscure everything but the nearest leaves.

Walnut tree
Walnut tree

When my first husband and I moved to California, we lived in the middle of a walnut grove. My understanding is that growers grafted English walnut trees to the hardy black walnut trees then painted the trunks to keep the bugs out.

walnut tree
walnut tree

Even though I did not like to eat walnuts, I loved gathering them after the shakers harvested the main crop. The ants and I got the rest of them. The ants did not like what I did next. But it served them right for biting me one day when I gathered walnuts by making a hammock of my t-shirt. I baked the walnuts in their shells at 250 degrees for an hour or so to cure them. My friends loved their presents. The ants – not so much!

back to the grapes
back to the grapes

I caught this vagrant red beauty leaving the nest and fluttering down to create the soft carpet below the vine for the winter.

For more nostalgic moments, click here.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016