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!

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Delaware First Catholic Church #1

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

WP Photo Challenge: Edge

#Delaware trip #Winterthur Gardens#1

Hi, I’m Marsha, sitting on the edge of my seat at the edge of the Enchanted Woods at Winterthur Gardens near Hockessin, DE.

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I asked Cousin Hal to snap a picture of me. He got 139 bursts of me. Too many hehehe! Not a bad picture for someone who is nearly blind. 

More than one of the du Pont boys who owned DuPont Chemical Company, where my mother’s cousin Hal worked, loved gardens. We were so glad he did as we meandered the broad path around the gardens for about three hours. Yes, we were lost at times. This map did not help. 🙂

winterthur-map

Winterthur’s 1,000 acres encompass rolling hills, streams, meadows, and forests. Founder Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969) developed an appreciation of nature as a boy that served as the basis for his life’s work in the garden.”

Off the edge of the pathway at a middle point in the 1,000 acres of Winterthur was an Enchanted Woods.

 

Do you dare to cross the troll bridge?
Do you dare to cross the troll bridge?

Come on chickens. We crossed the troll bridge into the Enchanted Woods. First, let me introduce you to Hal. As some of you already know he’s 91. In his day he engineered hard plastics like you would find in car engines. Although now he is at the losing edge of blindness, he walked three hours guiding me through the gardens at Winterthur. (The blind leading the blind at times)

As we entered the Woods Hal could not resist the first hands-on activity for us kids.

I felt like a kid here. At one edge was a fairy ring. Hal told me not to get too close. But, Hal is blind. What does he know, right?  Who can resist advice like that?

Along the edge of the path was Fairy Ring.
Nothing happened. Did I dare?

I was clearly standing on the edge. What would you do with a sign like that? You can’t read it either, can you? hahaha

Uh oh!
NEVER STEP INSIDE A FAIRY RING! Uh oh!

Soon I was covered in a mist that spread through the gardens. Everyone passing by knew I had disobeyed the sign. I hoped these were good fairies.

What happened here. Did the fairies cut down the trees? Maybe the trolls did it.
What happened here. Did the fairies cut down the trees? Maybe the trolls did it.

Here are a few more pictures of the fairy ring. These giant concrete mushrooms trapped several gleeful young children. We could hear laughter and see mist filtering through the trees as we walked around.

Like magic the mist started.
Like magic, the mist started.
Watch out!
Watch out!
Whew! I escaped unharmed.
Whew! I escaped unharmed, but those little spirits chased me for a while.

Lucky for me I run fast! 🙂 That’s it for now. More later.

Did you enjoy your short tour? Did I keep you on the edge of your seat?

For more edgy stories click below.

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

How I Framed Hal and Manny

#WP Photo Challenge Frame

I’m on my way on Thursday to visit Philadelphia and Delaware to see my mother’s only cousin, Hal. He’s 91 now, and he’s planning our trip to Harper’s Ferry. He’s also anxious that I bring Manny. Hmmmm?

Treed Hal2r

Last time I was there I framed him along with Manny. It wasn’t Manny’s fault he likes to climb trees and Hal had to hold him up to keep him from falling out. Hal acted like he did not object to being framed.

Do you think he wants revenge?

Old Swede Hal1r

Framed again! hahaha, Hal.

Oops, I’d better be careful. He may be older than I am, but he’s a lot bigger – and degrees smarter, but that’s another story.

Since I’m leaving my neck of the woods, I’d love to meet any East Coast friends – who are willing to come somewhere near DE or PA. Any bloggers in the neighborhood? I’d love to meet you.

A friend of mine also told me I need to look up Ben Franklin in Philly while I’m there. Last time I looked up an old relative, Robert Morris. I was too late, He was buried at Christ’s Church. The tour guides let me ring the sister to the liberty bell, though. Very cool.

If you know me, you know I love museums, so I’m sure there are a few of those around.

I’m flying into Philadelphia on September 1st.

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

 

How Many Ways Can You Find to Look-up?

Thank you for this challenge, WordPress. I see now why I am not a world famous photographer. Ninety-nine percent of my photos are taken straight on. Some of them point slightly up or down, but by and large, I stand and shoot. I’m a straight shooter.

“Could you look up a balance for me?” I asked a Bank manager in Palm Springs while I visited in that city.

Let me look that up for you.
This amazing bank manager in Palm Springs spent five hours looking up and researching where two credit card swipe machines could have disappeared after we mailed them back to San Francisco. She did not know us, but solved our problems with her look-up!

“OK, I cheated a little. Forgive me. Scardy Kitty, quit looking up at me like that!”

“Meeedoooooowwwwwwnnnnnnnn”

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"
“You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!”

“Yes, you are down. I couldn’t resist, Scardy. When I was busy texting and not driving, I looked up nearly jumped out of the car trying to get a picture of this fellow.”

Going to Hoover Dam
Going to Hoover Dam. This fellow clearly had been looking up in the trees.

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“You are not improving, Marsha. That’s still not up.” Scardy whined at me in the background as I typed.

How’s this? A ceiling. Is that better?

At Taliesin West in Sedona, AZ Frank Lloyd Wright used canvas for the roof. He did not have glass in the windows.
At Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ Frank Lloyd Wright used canvas for the roof. He did not have glass in the windows.

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“That’s more like it. I could sit in that window and chase birds if they flew in.”

“You’re dreaming now, Scardy. How would you even get up to those windows? They are high!”

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“Look up, Marsha, I’d jump on that chair, and up I’d go!”

Dream Chair looking up
Dream Chair looking up

“You’re going to use up one of your nine lives trying to jump on that chair, Scardy. Three Rivers artist Martha Windmann designed that chair.”

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“Very funny. It’s just a picture anyway. Look up over there. What is that thing? I see you in it!”

“That’s another piece of artwork, Scardy, made of phones and tablets. I found that in the San Jose Museum of Art in September of 2015.”

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Exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Art in September, 2015.

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“My head is spinning. I can’t keep looking up much longer.”

“Take a break, go walk that railing up there. The exercise will do you good, and you can look down from up there.”

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“Wait until you see this building sized praying mantis, Scardy! You won’t be complaining about the bugs around our house any more, Scardy.”

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Looking up outside Container Park in Las Vegas you can’t miss this huge recycled metal praying mantis. In the evening, instead of stars, tourists dodge the blasting flames out of its antennae at random moments. Kirk Jellum designed  this animated bug which consumes about 50 gallons of propane each night.

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“Help, get me out of here. I want to get back to looking straight ahead.”

“You got me started with your snide remarks about my definitions of ‘looking up.'”

Tiger display at the office of Ed Micham
Looking up at a cheetah display.

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“I like cheetahs, could we get one?”

“You would have to look up to it, respect its authority. Are you sure you want another cat telling you what to do?”

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“Let me think about that. Good try, BTW, Marsha. I caught that when you tried to sneak in another definition for look up. Not funny.

Wow, what’s this? I never thought you get a picture of a UFO, Marsha.”
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"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“Marsha, where are you? Marsha?”

“Marsh………!”

 

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Thanks for looking up my blog. I hope you enjoyed my take on this week’s theme.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

More about Taliesin West.

Did I miss any definitions of “look up?

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