Friday, April 30, 2021


Now this looks more like origami, although I suppose it would have to be made of many pieces of paper glued together. Does that fit the definition? The pose makes me think of those stunt planes that appear to fly on their side for a bit. Neither an aircraft or a goose could maintain lift more than momentarily like this but it looks cool.  


Thursday, April 29, 2021


Not all of the pieces in the Origami In The Garden show appear to relate to the Japanese art of paper folding. Paper has a limited ability to curve. If I were to walk up to this with no context and someone asked me what it made me think of, I'd say some kind of segmented succulent plant with a moth draped in a sheet escaping from the top. 

The blue placard on the right says the name is Emerging Peace. Um, maybe more like a winged insect dressed as a ghost for Halloween, but that's just me. The tulips are nice.                  

Wednesday, April 28, 2021


Okay, get it? If you don't, well, I'm not going to be the one to tell you. This has nothing to do with origami but it's cute.          

Tuesday, April 27, 2021


Back to Origami In The Garden. The garden's website says that this is an explicit reference to pegasus. If it were red it would be a reference to Mobil Oil. I'll take Greek myth over petrochemicals any day.                

Monday, April 26, 2021


There is more to see from the Origami In The Garden show but we haven't had a Monday visit with the kid in a while. We took her to the zoo on Saturday to see an new attraction with the rather silly name of Dinoraurus. (They had to make up an odd title to trademark it.) There are life-size models of many species that move to some extent and, well, roar. Children love it. One of them with fanciful colors serves as a seat for young dino jockeys.          

Sunday, April 25, 2021


Another stack of cranes, this one in the rose garden, which is far from prime time. The balance and rhythm make me think of the stabiles of Alexander Calder. The arch in the back can be interesting but isn't fully dressed yet. I hope the garden puts it back up soon for the warm months - usually there is an exquisite sunburst by Dale Chihuly.              

Saturday, April 24, 2021


This was taken inside the Climatron, the geodesic dome seen in yesterday's post. To me, part of the charm of origami is its lightness, its ethereal quality.  Sheets of steel, even thin ones, make it hard to - how to say it? - suspend disbelief and imagine these objects in flight. Maybe I'm asking too much and should enjoy their grace in this man-made jungle.            

Friday, April 23, 2021


Our large botanical garden has lots of festivals and special events to draw in the public. The new display is called Origami In The Garden. The Japanese art of paper folding is expanded on a large scale, using metal as its material. This is a tower of gradually smaller cranes.

It's nice but not spectacular, which the publicity led me to expect. Part of the wow of origami is you made that out of paper? Anyone with the tools and training can weld  sheets of steel. Still, it is attractive amidst the spring foliage.                    

Thursday, April 22, 2021



I mentioned the other day that this state produces some wine. Based on experience before last week, I would have avoided putting a glass of the stuff to my lips. While in Ste. Genevieve we tried some white and red from Chaumette Vineyards, pictured here. Not bad. I probably wouldn't go out of my way to look for it at the supermarket but I wouldn't turn it away.                 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021


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


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

Monday, April 19, 2021


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


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


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.

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.             

Friday, April 16, 2021


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,, 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


So our brief anniversary getaway is to Ste. Genevieve, a little over an hour south of our home.,_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


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


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


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


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 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


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


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. . 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


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


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


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 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!
The Tempest Act 5, scene 1       

Saturday, April 3, 2021


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


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.