Saturday, 23 March 2013

A black labrador at the bus stop

I was waiting for the bus at the bus stop. Then suddenly, like out of nowhere, came this black labrador. He stared at me for a few seconds, standing in the middle of the road, after which he disappeared as quickly as he had arrived.

A nice looking dog, with a beautiful shining coat.

Friday, 22 March 2013

A waxwing and a cat

Tonight the waxwing, which I saw for the first time a couple of days ago, returned. A nice looking bird!

Hopefully the waxwing got enough to eat for the night, because he was soon scared away by this local cat. However, the sleepy and well fed cat was no serious threat. He probably thought that he had to do the chase exercise just because he was a cat.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

On the birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach

“The aim and final reason of all music should be none else but the glory of God and refreshing the soul. Where this is not observed there will be no music, but only a devilish hubbub.” 
― Johann Sebastian Bach

Today is the birthday of Johan Sebastian Bach, arguably the greatest of all composers. He was born in  Eisenach on 21 March in 1685 as the eight child in his family. 

Have mercy, my God,

for the sake of my tears!

See here, before you

heart and eyes weep bitterly.

Have mercy, my God.

The Yellowhammer and Beethoven

This afternoon I saw the first Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) in my garden. Nice name for a colorful bird. 

Not many people know that the Yellowhammer plays an important role in Beethoven's fifth symphony:
Beethoven admitted he got the idea for the first four notes of his 5th symphony from the yellowhammer's call. The bird prefaces the last, lower, note with 5 or more notes - instead of Beethoven's three - and occasionally sings the last note higher than the others.

It would have been nice to hear the Yellowhammer perform, but he probably waits for a little warmer spring weather before he turns on the music. But he gave me a good reason to listen to the fifth! 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Blackbirds and tree sparrows in my garden

Blackbirds and tree sparrows are among the most frequent visitors in my garden still this time of the year. They seem to appreciate the free food service, as the cold winter weather continues.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Views from may balcony (9): The first Northern lapwing this spring

The Northern lapwing is one of the harbingers of spring. This afternoon I photographed this one searching for something to eat on the lawn. Hopefully the arrival of this nice bird will bring the chilly winter weather to an end!


Last Saturday another seldom seen visitor, a waxwing, enjoyed the apples in the garden, primarily meant for the local blackirds.

Manhattan skyscrapers in the early 1920s

In the early 1920 skyscrapers dominated the Manhattan skyline. Below is a selection of the early skyscrapers and a couple of other photos from New York from that time:

The Bank Trust building, with the Singer tower in the background.

The Equitable Building at 120 Broadway. 15.000 people were working in the 37 floor building in the 1920s. 

The 34 floor Municipal building.

Hotel Pennsylvania. It had 2200 rooms in the early 1920s.

The New York Times building.

Metropolitan Life Tower.
Pennsylvania station.


Monday, 18 March 2013

Manhattan just before the skyscrapers

This is how Manhattan looked just before the arrival of the skyscrapers. (1880s drawing by Bertault, based on a lithograph by Currier and Yves).

The church boats of lake Siljan

Dalarna - particularly the lake Siljan region - in central Sweden is famous for the church boats.
Since the road network was very poor in the 19th and early 20th centuries, people had to use boats in order to get to their local church.  Around the year 1850, Leksand had about 60 church boats of the type shown on these photographs. The biggest boats had up to 12 pairs of oars. 

Church boat on lake Siljan in the 1890s.

Sunday morning in Leksand in the late 19th century.

Another "spring" day ...

Just another chilly day in March ...

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Oranges in San Bernardino

Orange trees in San Bernardino in the early 1920s.

The first orange trees were brought to the San Bernardino valley in California in 1857. In the early 1920s there were already a few more of them .....

The National Orange Show website has this information about the history of oranges in the valley:

According to Ingersoll’s Century Annals of San Bernardino County, Anson Van Leuven brought the first orange trees, six in number, to San Bernardino Valley from San Gabriel Valley in 1857. In 1869, Lewis F. Cram was given the opportunity to buy 500 trees, but opted to purchase only enough rootstock to plant 1 ¾ acres. By 1887, he showed a net profit of $1,757 on this meager planting, over $1,100 net per acre–a good fortune in those days. In 1873, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sent California’s two original orange trees to Eliza Tibbets. The tree’s seemingly endless oranges won awards at major expositions for their superior quality and taste. Ms. Tibbets soon had a booming business selling buds from her celebrated stock. By 1910, one year before the National Orange Show began, at least 100,000 acres in California were planted with the progeny of her trees and California navel orange sales had reached $200 million.

The economic importance of the oranges has been considerable for the area:

 For example, the 7,511 orange trees in 1872 had grown to 1,347,911 by 1900; the 15,000 boxes of oranges shipped in 1881 stood at 1,562,108 boxes by 1902-03; and the cash value of the orange crop had grown from $2,450 in 1860 to $1,634,783 in 1900. This introduction provided the setting and circumstances for the genesis of the National Orange Show, which has taken place every year since its inception in 1911, with the exception of four years during World War II.