Threatened Chimney Swifts Make Nests in Old Places

A threatened bird, the chimney swift, only stops flying to land on vertical perches inside hollow trees, chimneys of old buildings, abandoned wells, grain silos, air shafts, barns, sheds and derelict houses.

The population is threatened due to habitat loss. Interesting as so much of their habitat has adapted to live alongside people. There are many animals living in urban environments but I hadn’t heard of the chimney swifts before.

Apples and Sweet Peas (2007)

Apples and Sweet Peas Window 1321616077 Apples and Sweet Peas Side View 1322507724 Apples and Sweet Peas Machinery 1322509914 Apples and Sweet Peas Front View 1322511380 Apples and Sweet Peas Broken Front 1321615039 Apples and Sweet Peas Barn at Front 1322504404 Apples and Sweet Peas Barn 1321618541 Apples and Sweet Peas Back View with Apples and Shed 1321618263 Apples and Sweet Peas Back 1321617921 Apples and Sweet Peas Apples 1322506632 Apples and Sweet Peas 1322512548 Apples and Sweet Peas 1322512246 Apples and Sweet Peas 1322511992 Apples and Sweet Peas 1322510820 Apples and Sweet Peas 1322508550 Apples and Sweet Peas 1322508056 Apples and Sweet Peas 1322505032 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321620759 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321620179 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321619667 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321619331 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321616653 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321616345 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321615531 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321615263 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321614687 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321614409 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321613115An old brother and sister lived at this house until they died. No family were left to carry on with it.

The fields were being used by a neighbour, rented or bought the land (I forget which now). He stopped along the road when he saw me taking photos. Was concerned about what I was doing. But, happy to tell me the story of the place after we talked to him. At the end of the conversation he suggested we pick all the apples we wanted from the trees at the back of the house. He even invited us to come back again and pick more.

I did go back a few times to this house. I met more of the family on another occasion. Later we dug up wild garlic and daffodil bulbs which grew in the long grass. Most of the daffodils came up (three years later) in our own front yard.

 

Where the Wild Things Are: Death and Dying

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, May, 16, 2004.

My Dad is quite likely going to die soon, any day now. Don’t worry about sending sympathy, condolences or anything of that sort. You don’t know him. For me it’s a lot more personal.

People think the dying become almost holy. As if, while dying, they change and become a better person all of a sudden. You can’t talk badly about them, you must visit them and you should really, really hold their hand.

Well, my Dad was not a nice, happy, friendly Dad. His dying hasn’t changed that. I don’t want to hold his hand. I don’t want to go in and see him now that he is becoming a pile of meat rather than a human being. Sure, I can stick my hand inside a turkey each Thanksgiving and pull out the little bag of goodies. That doesn’t mean I want to do the same sort of ghoulish thing with my Dad. So, I am visiting him (second time will be today after work) but I am not going to touch him.

What do you believe about death? That gets tested each time someone close to us (physically or emotionally) dies. I still believe in reincarnation. I still believe the body becomes about as useful as roadkill once the person inside is gone. I still think the best body disposal method is compost in the family garden rather than taking up space in a graveyard plot. I’d much rather have my remains sucked up by worms and trees than rotting away in an expensive box.

Am I grossing you out? Am I being too blunt? Do you not want to think about death in such a practical way? Too bad. Death is part of life. There is no getting away from it. Death is always there, waiting at the end. That, I very strongly believe.

I’m not afraid of death. I’m just in no hurry to get there. I’d miss too many things. Every ordinary day, new inventions and ideas, seeing the tulips each Spring and so on.

Anyway, my Dad wants to be cremated. It looks like he will soon have his wish. I don’t think I will miss him. But I’m doing my best to be a good daughter now, in these last days. Not for him, not for myself especially, but for my brother and sisters who seem to expect something grand and dramatic and perfect. As if now that he is about to kick off forever we should honour him for the things he did right.

Foraging 2.0: Grafting Fruit-Bearing Branches To Neutered City Trees

Foraging 2.0: Grafting Fruit-Bearing Branches To Neutered City Trees: SFist.

This is interesting to me because we gathered apples from abandoned farms and along the roadside from trees which were pretty forgotten. These apples would be heritage seeds and possibly types of apples no longer grown commercially. Yet they were often a stronger or better type of apple, resistant to bugs and disease. But unpopular for some other reason.

The idea grafting branches never occurred to me. It would give you the chance to have apples much sooner than growing a new tree from seed. Also, a lot of trees grown from seed just don’t make it. Grafting would have a better chance for success, though need more time to keep the tree from going back to it’s roots, literally.

More About Storybook Houses

Storybook Houses in Wikipedia.

A Storybook House refers to an architectural style popularized in the 1920s in England and America.

The storybook style is a nod toward Hollywood design technically called Provincial Revivalism and more commonly called Fairy Tale or Hansel and Gretel. A primary example can be found in the 1927 Montclair, Oakland firehouse, and in a more traditional English cottage-style in the 1930 Montclair branch library. Idora Park in north Oakland, California is a four square block storybook architecture development begun in 1927 on the grounds of the old amusement park.

The primary architects that worked in this style are: Harry Oliver, W.R. Yelland, W.W. Dixon and Carr Jones among many other local architects.
Oliver is noted for his Spadena House in Beverly Hills, and the Tam O’Shanter Inn in Los Feliz (Los Angeles).

Yelland is noted for his (Thornburg) Normandy Village and Tupper & Reed Music Store, both located in Berkeley, California. Yelland designed homes in Oakland, Piedmont, Berkeley, San Leandro, Hayward, Woodland, Modesto, Clarksburg, Sacramento, Kensington and San Francisco, California.

W.W. Dixon noted for his work with developer R.C. Hillen in creating the Dixon & Hillen catalog of homes. Dixon is noted for Stonehenge & Stoneleigh villages in Alameda as well as Picardy Drive in Oakland, California.

Carr Jones is noted for the (il Posinto Restaurant) post office in Lafayette, California. He designed and built one-of-a-kind homes in Oakland, Berkeley and Piedmont, California.

Resources:

Storybookers: A fan site for the storybook homes. Best source for information.

Storybook Homes – Homes designed in the storybook theme by Samuel and Tina Hackwell. See their group on Flickr: Storybook Homes and Gardens.

Salon: Ticky-Tacky Houses from ‘The Painter of Light’. – The links to the village sites are not working, at least not tonight.

Hendrick’s Architecture: Fun Architecture: The Storybook Style in Disneyland

Hendrick’s Architecture: Storybook Style: Hansel and Gretel Cottage

Flickr: Houses as in Fairytales International photos.
Flickr: Storybook Ranch Houses – Ranch homes from the postwar era – that are classified as Storybook Ranch houses. Ranches with Hansel & Gretel bric-a-brac.
Flickr: Storybook Suburban Architecture – The houses with a mid-century ranch structure, but adorned in quaintness and Olde Worlde pastiche.
Flickr: Whimsical Architecture
Flickr: Cottage in the Woods
Flickr: Arquitectura Fantastica Mundial
Flickr: Fantasy Vintage Home – Illustrations.

Screen captures from Fiddlers Green, a well done post about storybook houses.

From Storybookers:

COMMON FEATURES OF STORYBOOK ARCHITECTURE

Some of the terms used below are a bit technical; an illustrated glossary of terms related to storybook architecture will be added to this page in the near future.

CONSTRUCTION: Predominately stucco (often roughly troweled), frequently with half-timbering (often curved); use of rubble stone, crazed brick, and clinker brick are common; all-stone, all-brick, and all-wood construction are sometimes used. Turrets with conical roofs are a common feature, as are faux dovecotes.

WALLS: Often sloped or curving; almost never square or rectangular; wing walls are not uncommon.

ROOFLINES: Always curved in some way—swaybacked, sagged, concave, undulating or sharply pointed; never flat and seemingly never of the straight- and equal-sided triangular form; gables are usually jerkinhead or very sharply pointed; eaves are often rolled; use of catslides is common.

ROOFING MATERIALS: Most often wooden shingles, wooden shakes, or slate laid down in a seawave or other intentionally irregular pattern; though the original materials have frequently been replaced over time, the irregular pattern is sometimes imitated in the more modern material.

DOORS: Round-topped or batten (occasionally both), often with a peek-a-boo; doors are frequently set in an arched doorway lined with stone; when turret is present, the building’s front door typically opens into this.

WINDOWS: Sometimes wood-framed but often steel-framed (presumably to more closely resemble medieval windows); on older homes, the glass (unless replaced) is leaded or wavy; figural insets of stained glass are not uncommon.

CHIMNEYS: Chimneys are seldom regular in appearance; most feature a combination of stucco and seemingly haphazardly-placed stone or brick.

IRONWORK: Wrought iron door hinges, handles, knockers, and locksets are common, as are other wrought iron embellishments.

OTHER: Most storybook structures are fairly small, though many make use of deceptive perspective to trick the eye into perceiving them as being larger than they really are; larger storybooks are often constructed to appear as though built up gradually over time, one addition at a time. All (or nearly all) are based upon a fanciful interpretation of medieval European homes; a number of the true masterworks have been artificially and intentionally aged, lending them the appearance of structures built centuries in the past.

LOCATION: As befits their faux-rural heritage, many storybook homes are surrounded by trees and shrubbery; as most were constructed in the 1920s and 1930s, the greenery can conceal these structures from the casual observer.

Red and White House in the Trees



This is an abandoned house in Scarborough. On Kingston Road, near Markham Road, as far as I remember. It was all painted red and white. I remember seeing this house before when it was something, I don’t remember what it was though: car lot, restaurant or something else. But it was red and white then too, many years ago. Now it is abandoned but the city is saving the trees on the property. More photos on the Ontario Rural Ruins blog.

Rural Exploration: Private House Exposed



This house would have been one of those houses you can’t really see behind a tall hedge of thick pine trees. It had a ‘Private” sign in the front, along with the rabbits for sale. This house will be gone soon, all it’s pine trees have been taken down. It must have had a fire inside – I could see the scorch marks on an upstairs window. It is certainly not being lived in. Kind of like an abandoned bee hive.