Wednesday, April 21, 2021

FREAK OF NATURE

I have other photos to show from Ste. Genevieve but this is worth an interruption. It snowed here most of Tuesday afternoon. Our average latest frost is about two weeks ago. Being in the middle of things we get buffeted by air masses moving east from the Rockies, south from the Canadian plains and north from the Gulf of Mexico. This shot was taken from my front porch yesterday. I wonder what the tulips and dogwood will look like by today.             

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

LIGHT AND DARK

Dogwood tree blooming in the sun and tombstones in the shadows at the town cemetery in Ste. Genevieve.               

Monday, April 19, 2021

OPINION

Found beside a small house in Ste. Genevieve. It was  on a corner, with a charming, quirky garden that had an invitation to take a look. This could be seen as a stereotype of small town Missouri. However, the area has unionized mines and plants that make calcium products out of the abundant limestone. We passed a number  of Biden Harris signs.

The second picture location was off to the right of the top frame. Note the last numeral on the sign in the foreground.


        

Sunday, April 18, 2021

AIN'T IT THE TRUTH

There are signposts at several intersections in Ste. Genevieve marking the way to points of interest. Given the shopping bag symbol, I assume that there is a store off to the left with the name written on the top sign. I didn't see the place and I have no guess what they sell, but I bet the name wasn't ironic when it was opened. It works the same on this side of the Atlantic.                 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

THOUSANDS OF BEES!

We stayed in a B and B in an historic house in Ste. Genevieve. At breakfast Thursday morning the owner noticed this in a blooming red bud tree in the yard. He told us that it was a bee swarm, something I'd never heard of. We learned something. This is part of the reproduction cycle of honey bees. It happens in the spring, when a single colony splits into two or more new colonies. I am quite bee-phobic so I got out the telephoto lens to take this. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swarming_(honey_bee)

This was just inside a fence by the sidewalk and the owner was concerned about neighbors who might be more curious than informed, The local bee person was summoned. He had a box scented with lavender, of all things, which attracts the insects, and used a smoke stick to nudge them off the tree into the target. When we returned in the late afternoon they were gone.

 By the way, we liked the B and B and recommend it. https://www.hertichhouse.com/             

Friday, April 16, 2021

IN THE VINEYARDS

I mentioned yesterday that there are a number of wineries in this part of Missouri. The product is not of a quality that is distributed widely but it may be improving. One of them, Chaumette, https://chaumette.com/, has some homes on the site amidst beautiful rolling countryside. There are facilities for fancy, expensive weddings. (Since Wednesday was our anniversary, we were reminiscing about how utterly cheap our wedding was. We put it on ourselves and couldn't afford a wedding cake so someone put the plastic bride and groom figures in a McDonald's cheeseburger  and  we fed each other a piece of that.) 

Chaumette has an excellent restaurant overlooking the countryside, perfectly beautiful in spring. There is a large dining porch. Since it was a bit chilly and windy, the place had clear plastic sheeting hung on the outside. That's how we met this chap.        

Thursday, April 15, 2021

STL DPB A LITTLE OUT OF TOWN - STE. GENEVIEVE, MISSOURI


So our brief anniversary getaway is to Ste. Genevieve, a little over an hour south of our home. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ste._Genevieve,_Missouri . You can see how it promotes itself and it's true that it was the first permanent white settlement in our state. There are a number of historic homes and museums we will poke around in today (although hours are quite limited by the pandemic). This side of the Mississippi River is an area of rolling hills with several wineries. I don't have a good word to say for any Missouri wine I've ever tasted but we're having lunch at a vineyard with very nice restaurant.           

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

VERY HOT WATER

There is a steam loop under downtown St. Louis. What's a steam loop? The first electric generating station here was built along the Mississippi for the 1904 World’s Fair. As the city's needs grew and more power plants were built, the old one was put to a limited use. It created vast amounts of steam that was circulated through the city center in heavy pipes. These branched off into many buildings to provide heat in the days of radiators and, in some cases, to power electricity generating turbines for a particular location. I can't imagine that it is very widely used these days but it still exists. You don't want to open this manhole cover and have a peek.  

 

Today is Mrs C. and my 47th (gasp!) anniversary and we're off for a little getaway to someplace interesting. Pictures to follow soon.


                   

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

BOARD OF ED

A block or so west of the building in yesterday's post is another that has been preserved. Obviously, it was formerly the headquarters of the St. Louis Board of Education. The terra cotta decoration isn't nearly as elaborate but it is still handsome.       

Monday, April 12, 2021

FADED GLORY

A few days ago I posted a picture of an old downtown building. A poster covered one of the vacant ground floor windows that said "Where Will St. Louis Take You Next?" I said I would come back to the building itself and then got distracted by the opening of the baseball season.

The place is called the Railway Exchange Building. It makes me think of a bunch of rich guys in top hats like in the Monopoly game literally exchanging railroads. It occupies an entire block and is vacant. Our biggest department store, Famous Barr, was there, along with the headquarters of The May Company, a major national retailer. Big downtown stores withered, Macy's sucked up everything and then closed the place. It's been empty for some time.

But the terra cotta facade is a wonder. If there is no use for the building itself the decoration should go in a museum. It is fairly well preserved and I don't want us to lose it.                

Sunday, April 11, 2021

RED MEANS GO


Kiener Plaza is named after Harry Kiener, a St. Louisan who was a U.S. track star at the 1904 Olympics. (Which was held here. We used to be somebody.) Most people don't know that the model was a rabbinical student who was an acquaintance of the Lithuanian-Jewish sculptor. The plaza was completely redone four or five years ago, this statue being the only carry-over. The lights are now LEDs that change colors for occasions like a Cardinals game.               

Saturday, April 10, 2021

THE RED ARMY

The crowd waits to enter the baseball stadium, gathered around the statue of Stan Musial. He has been deified as The Greatest Cardinal of Them All. The statue has been criticized for its misshapen proportions. The fans don't care. It's an object of veneration.         

Friday, April 9, 2021

PLAY BALL

Change of plan. Yesterday was the home opening game for our baseball team, the much-loved Cardinals. I needed some exercise and took a walk from my office to the stadium and back, trolling for images. I was not disappointed.

Although the team only sold tickets for one-quarter of the seats, there was a big crowd in the plaza and entertainment area opposite the stadium (with maybe one in ten  wearing masks). These two old fans were dressed for the occasion. Love the shoes. And by the way, the home town heroes won so all is well. For today.         

Thursday, April 8, 2021

ENOUGH OF PARADISE

That's all for now of the delights of the botanical garden. Back out on the streets. St. Louis elected a new mayor this week, Tishaura Jones, the first black woman to hold the office. She is currently the city treasurer. Jones is known for progressive views but has made some enemies and there have been whiffs of favoritism in the way she has run her current office. Although I work in the city proper I don't live there so I didn't vote in this election and don't know every detail of its politics. We wish her success and good fortune. Heaven knows this place can use it. 

The event made the international edition on the British journal, The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/07/tishaura-jones-st-louis-first-black-female-mayor . Note the statistics about population loss. In 1950 the city itself, which is geographically hemmed in, had about 900,000 people. It's now 330,000 in a metro area of 2.6 million. We have some of the worst suburban sprawl in the country.

There will be something tomorrow about the building in this photo.                  

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

MEMORIES OF KYOTO

Mrs. C and I are unabashed Nipponophiles. We've been there three times but the last visit was a dozen years ago. We are making long-range plans to return about this time next year.

This scene from our local Japanese garden reminds me some of of a famous walkway in Kyoto. It is along a little channelized stream, lined with cherry trees in front of traditional wooden buildings. It's an unforgettable experience.        

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

IT JUST MAKES YOU FEEL THAT WAY

Throw out your arms and breathe deeply. Feel the warmth (if a little too much too early).

I was looking around for poems about spring for this post and found surprisingly little appropriate. The links kept circling back to the words of a dour native St. Louisan who insisted that "April is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain." No wonder he spent most of his adult life in dank England. We will revel in our days like this.           

Monday, April 5, 2021

YELLOW MAGNOLIA

We have plenty of magnolia trees in our neighborhood, now starting to pass their peak. I think of them as white or pink, sometimes mixed in lush groves. A few of them in our botanical garden are yellow, something I have not seen elsewhere. The centers of the flowers are fascinating. I haven't needed to tell a pistil from a stamen since 10th grade biology class but something interesting is going in here. Maybe one of our more botanically inclined friends can explain the structure.            

Sunday, April 4, 2021

I DUNNO. MUTANT, MAYBE.

I make no claim to being a nature or floral photographer. My attention runs more toward the urban and ironic. Still, whatever these are in the botanical garden got my attention and a daily photo blog has a hungry mouth to feed. Somehow they don't look real, in the sense that the colors came from the earth rather than Photoshop. But what I saw is what you get.

What may we see in our gardens as genetic editing technology progresses even further? It's worth reading up some on CRISPR-Cas9 techniques if it's new to you. O brave new world
That has such people in't!
Shakespeare,
The Tempest Act 5, scene 1       

Saturday, April 3, 2021

DROOPY

Spring in the botanical garden. I have no idea what this is. Being a kid from the concrete jungle my knowledge of gardening is vanishingly small. This flower looks inside out or upside down, maybe to make it easier for bees to get to the business end of it.                    

Friday, April 2, 2021

SAKURA

Our botanical garden has a large, gorgeous Japanese area. It's cherry blossom time, sakura in Japanese. They were out in their glory this week although most of the other trees were just beginning to bud. It was cloudy on the day we went and I may have to look again in sunshine.

Today's climate change note: Mrs. C  and I are planning a trip to Japan for this time next year, hoping for the same kind of scenery. We've been there before but it's been a long time. Our memory was that the sakura were in full bloom about a week into April. The Japanese have kept records of cherry blossom time for 1,200 years. A news item this week noted that the peak in Kyoto was March 25, the earliest in 12 centuries. We should time our trip accordingly.