ROSY MANCHAUG – By Marilyn Armstrong

Rosy Manchaug


Although we usually photograph the dam in Manchaug, the area is known for it’s rather large and deep pond and an annual rubber duck race held there.

From the pond come a lot of streams, not all of which have names. They don’t run long distances, either … which is perhaps why they don’t have names.

Impressionist and bi-tonal Manchaug dam

This dam is near a mill. All the dams are near a mill because that’s why the dams were built — to power the mills. I don’t know what the mill is being used for now. Probably some kind of industrial space. The old stone mills were built very well and may well last nearly forever.

But the area also has some apocryphal history, that a Native chief was drowned in that stream having fallen from the pond above it. It’s a long drop and the stream isn’t very deep, so I can’t imagine many people would survive the fall.

Antique Manchaug

When we first found the dam — actually, it was Kaitlin and me who found it the first time. We were wandering around looking for something to photograph when I heard the rushing water. Not every dam is beautiful to photograph, but Manchaug is different. It’s not part of the Blackstone River … just a narrow neck of the pond formed into a dam that drops straight down to a stream.

The stone mill

Right next to the stream, there’s a pre-school — directly between the old stone mill and the stream. Until recently, they didn’t even have a fence to keep the little ones from falling into the water.

The Pre-School – Photo: Garry Armstrong

While I understand New Englanders tend to be pretty tough, a pre-school, dam and a rapidly running river seemed a bit extreme. I’m glad they built a fence.

Processing

Essentially I’ve been using monochrome formatting to get the pink tones into these pictures. Although black and white is the “typical” format for monochrome, it is by no means the only one.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Marilyn is pink, too

You’ll find many formats some of which use many colors and others based on two primary colors, as well as bi-tonal formats that use a wide range of colors.

Our software gives us hugely increased access to filters and processing techniques. We can create antique-style photographs using pastel tones. We create “damaged photographs” and pictures that look as if they were created on glass plates or made with silver.

Pink is one of the more difficult colors to find, but by golly, I found it!

ROSY ROCKS AT MANCHAUG – By Marilyn Armstrong

Rosy Rocks by the Dam at Manchaug


Garry and I have no sense of direction. Manchaug used to be a town, but it didn’t have enough income to keep itself going, so it parceled itself out to Douglas and Sutton. Maybe Uxbridge too, but I’m not sure about that.

Thing is, the river that runs through Manchaug which is one of the many tributaries of the Blackstone and is part of the valley’s watershed, but most of it is a big pond … and the pond is located in Douglas.

We tried to find it today, but even though we followed the sign and we could hear the water, we couldn’t find it. It was in the woods somewhere, hiding. It isn’t the place we usually go when we shoot pictures of the dam anyway.

After driving around for a while, Garry said he was pretty sure he’d seen a sign on 146 that said “Manchaug.”

I said, “sure, why not? We aren’t accomplishing much driving around in circles in Douglas.”

So we got back on 146 and sure enough, there was a sign for the Sutton version of Manchaug, but once you got off 146, there were no signs at all. I said I thought it had mentioned Whitins Road, so why didn’t we just stay on Whitins Road and maybe the dam would appear?

We found it and the little Manchaug Post Office, a personal favorite of mine because how many post offices have hand-painted signs, right?

We took pictures of the dam, pictures of the pond, pictures of each other and the classic shot of each of us taking pictures of the other.

Slightly mauve rocks at the base of the dam in Manchaug

I got into an obsessive mode with the water falling on and flowing over the rocks at the base of the dam, so I figured one of them was going to have to be pink. Because there was a lot of water rolling over the dam … the most water I’ve ever seen in that small river. The rain has come this year.

Garry wanted to know where I’d seen pink rocks and I tried to explain the whole square pink picture thing to him, but he lost me somewhere around square and pink. I think I got a nice mauve motif going on this one.

The rocks at the base of the dam in Manchaug in slightly blushing pink. Most importantly, we actually found the place! Yes, we found it!

And that was our day. How was yours?

SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME – By Marilyn Armstrong

What Sleeping Beauty said


At some point in her young life, Kaitlin acquired a pair of Pepto-Bismol pink Sleeping Beauty lamps for her bedroom.  For some reason, she never cared for them … but I did. I don’t have room for two end tables, so I use one of them, but have a second in reserve, just in case.

Not only are they pure Disney, but they glow in the days and say “Someday my prince will come.” It’s a little unnerving, honestly, but today I realized that there’s nothing pinker than a Disney Sleeping Beauty bedside lamp. It is totally pink.

MEET PINK CISSY FROM MADAME ALEXANDER – By Marilyn Armstrong

Pink Cissy – Madame Alexander


This is Cissy by Madame Alexander.

The dress is an original, designed and sewn by a talented woman who wanted the outfit to look just like one her mother wore to church in the 1950s. The dress under the coat perfectly matches the coat, scarf, and hat.

Meet Miss Cissy by Madame Alexander. She is wearing a homemade outfit cut from an old dress I found at the Salvation Army and sewn by an exceptionally talented seamstress.

She is an original Cissy except for her wig which is not right. Usually, you can buy replacement wigs for old dolls who wear wigs, but not for Cissy. Nothing was available anywhere. I could not find an appropriate replacement wig for her, so she is wearing a wig that at least fits her head, but is absolutely the wrong style.

Otherwise, she’s one of the original fashion dolls and quite a beauty. Also, most definitely pink.

PICTURES INCLUDING A “Q” – SQUIRRELS AND ANTIQUES

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter Q – Simply needs to have the letter Q


What would I do without squirrels and antiques? In this case, I would be lost! The moment I realized I had pictures of squirrels — in my case, stuffed dog toy squirrels — and a lot of antique whatevers, I knew I was “home free,” so to speak. Welcome to my Q world!

An antique airplane

Gibbs with squirrel – soon to be a non-squirrel

Bonnie protecting the squirrel from other marauders — but she is the worst of them!

Friend’s don’t let friends bat ninth! Garry wearing Evil Squirrel’s best Tee Shirt!

And finally, antiques, from an airplane to a cookie jar and an iron doorstop. Old, older, oldest!

ODDBALLS: PLATES AND DISHES

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: April 23, 2017


Last week during the “Pease” section of the black & white challenge, I got into plates. Antique plates from Japan and China. Decorative plates from Maine and locally. So this week, we have PLATES.

Holiday plates

Qing dish, early 19th century

1800s Japanese porcelain plate

Famille Rose plate, mid 19th century

Modern plates from Maine (note the blueberries) and Mexico

Modern Chinese porcelain

TRANSFORMED TRACTOR

WEEKLY WORDPRESS PHOTO CHALLENGE – REPURPOSE


We hadn’t been living here a week when I spotted the line of old farm tractors. Some of them had “For Sale” signs on them. Everyone has a weakness and mine is for old machinery. I love it. In another community, they’d probably already have been consigned to the junkyard, crushed for the metal content.

“Wow,” I said to Garry. “Wouldn’t that be cool? Kids could climb on it. We could build a garden around it.” And then, we went home.

A month later, on our tenth anniversary in September, a flatbed trailer backed down our driveway. It delivered my 1924 Fordson Tractor.  We gave it a Model-A Ford steering wheel, an old license plate — though with its seized engine, it wasn’t going anywhere under its own power — and a new seat. After Owen built the garden with the rocks repurposed from the wall in the woods which repurposed from them just being big rocks in a field that was not full of trees, the tractor moved next to the garden wall. It has a new life as garden decor. A Japanese maple tree is growing directly in front of it and there’s no way to extract the tractor, so as long as we are here to protect it, the tractor will have a home on our land.

Some people have asked us why we have that piece of junk in the garden. What can I tell them? How many women are lucky enough to have a husband who’d buy his wife an antique tractor for their 10th anniversary? What a guy!

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2017

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2017

INDOOR ODDBALLS

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2016 Week 39


It’s a cold, gray, damp day. Raining. Sometimes just drizzling, sometime fairly heavily. It’s also raining north, south, east and west of here and it certainly is dark enough outside. It almost looks like night.

A painted chocolate pot, a 45-year-old music box in the dining room.

A painted chocolate pot, a 45-year-old music box in the dining room.

Rain is supposed to continue through the weekend. So, I guess it’s not surprisingly I’m shooting inside. Fortunately, though I sometimes forget, I have quite a lot of interesting “stuff” here.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee are salt & pepper shakers. No, I don't know which is which.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee are salt & pepper shakers. No, I don’t know which is which.

Antiques, dolls, and just miscellaneous things that I’ve found here and there or gotten as gifts. All of it badly needs dusting!

Three very old (Song or Tang) Chinese astrological figures, one old English floral plate, and a small Chinese 19th century ginger jar. The ginger jar might be older, but it's old enough. I just like it.

Three very old (Song or Tang) Chinese astrological figures, one old English floral plate, and a small Chinese 19th century ginger jar. The ginger jar might be older, but it’s old enough. I just like it.

Not going out today, no sirree. It’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow and Sunday, but then again, it’s supposed to be raining today, too. If Garry feels better tomorrow and the sun makes even an attempt to peek through the clouds, I’ll go hunting for autumn leaves. So far, at least from where I sit, there’s no evidence of anything except a little bit of brown and yellow.

My odd array of kitchen utensils

My odd array of kitchen utensils

cob-banner-oddball

LOVE ME, LOVE MY TRACTOR

You may have noticed the old tractor in the middle of the garden. When we were trying to sell the house some years ago, a couple of potential buyers commented how they’d have to have it towed away. I put a mental black mark next to their names because I love that tractor. If you don’t appreciate the tractor, you won’t like my house (they didn’t)

72-Tractor-29Jun_13It’s a rusty 1928 Fordson. Not a rare vintage; it was common farm equipment in its day. I loved it the moment I saw it, sitting on a lawn up the road a piece. I wanted it. I knew it didn’t run and never would, but for me it was the perfect garden accessory.

Some people put flamingos in their garden. Deer. Ducks. Around Halloween, anything goes and for Christmas — well — we’ve all seen the lengths to which some people will go.

One family just up the road from here has a crèche, a wishing well, several gnomes and a lighthouse almost large enough to use as a real lighthouse, except it’s hollow plastic. I believe they also have several types of small animals tucked in between the other statuary et al. It’s a very busy garden and half the size of ours. Only careful landscaping has allowed them to fit quite so much garden bric-à-brac in so small a space.

And this stuff’s not cheap. If you’ve ever gone and priced garden statuary, a nicely done piece — cement not plastic — can cost you as much as remodeling your kitchen. Well, almost as much. Okay, about half the price.

The tractor wasn’t cheap. It was (is) a real tractor, not some phony doodad. Someone farmed using that piece of machinery. It was, in its day, a serious investment. So I don’t understand why someone would think a fake lighthouse looks cool while yearning for a bigger bogus wishing well, but find our antique tractor odd. Maybe they’d like it better if we’d bought it at Walmart?

tractor with daffodils

Garry bought it for me as a tenth anniversary gift. Now that is a husband who gets his wife. He knew to whom he is married. And that’s why we are still married and likely to remain so forever (or as close to forever as we may).

As we approach our 25th anniversary — now a mere 10 weeks distant — I love my tractor more than ever. It has stood the test of time. In another 13-1/2 years, it will have its hundredth birthday. In its second life, during the past 15 years we have planted around it and vines have grown over it. It is as much a part of the garden as the earth on which it stands.

Love me, love my tractor.

IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

Work of Art

“Art” isn’t just paintings and sculptures, it can be anything in which we find beauty and meaning — even food. Show us a thing, place, or person that’s a work of art to you.


This antique carved carousel lion is art to me. Beautiful carving, wonderful expression … and a child — or grownup — can sit on his back and ride him while the music plays. Before we had a name for it, this was interactive art!

Carousel Lion 81

HAN DYNASTY POT (206 BC–220 AD)

Cee’s Black & White Challenge: 50 Years or Older

This Han dynasty pot is approximately 2000 years old, give or take a century or so. It’s in remarkably good condition for its age, probably because it was buried for most of its life. I have two of these, almost a matched set, but the other is in the care of my best friend. I think this qualifies as more than 50 years old.

Han Pot Ca. 206 BC–220 AD

Han Pot Ca. 206 BC–220 AD

PAPER BIRCH

aldrich riverbank

The river runs along the road on which we live. It’s a tributary of the bigger Blackstone. I think of it as my river. This is where the birch trees arch over the water. People come to fish here. Herons, too. There’s even a spot from which you can launch a small boat, maybe a canoe. Peaceful.

A few of my favorite things …

Collecting is a beautiful disease. It’s insidious and there’s no known cure. You get a thing. You love it. You get another thing … similar, but not the same. One day, you look around and you have a collection.

Chinese antique porcelain and Asian sacred art grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go. There is something so awesome — awe-inspiring — about holding something made thousands of years ago and now lives on your fireplace mantel. Imagine all the people who have touched it, whose lives this pot has touched, whose prayers this Buddha has heard. It’s living history.

Thus, when I had to reduce the collection, I didn’t sell anything. I split the collection and gave more than half my favorite pieces to my friends, people who I knew would treasure it as I did. How much was it worth? A lot, maybe. Or not so much. I don’t know. It was beyond price to me. Money is transitory but these precious, fragile, beautiful pieces need to be protected and saved from harm. They needed to be kept safe, not sold as decorations.

So much of the world’s great art has been casually destroyed by governments and individuals with no reverence for art or history. If I can save one Han pot, one Qianlong vase, one Tibetan Buddha … I’ve done something of value.

I no longer collect, but I continue to preserve and protect.