Category: Who Is

Maytag Matilda – A Horse From Every Angle

The Photo Challenge this week is to look at a subject from different angles. I’ve chosen a Horse sculpture that stands in Plaza Fountainside, Fountain Hills, Arizona.

This horse, a mare, is called Maytag Maltilda. She weighs  5,000 lbs, stands 9 feet tall and  is 11 feet long. The fabrication artist is Dixie Jewett. In her workshop in Dayton, Oregon, Dixie pieces together bits of metal and garage sale finds to create one of a kind masterpieces.

To see Maytag Matilda at her best, click on one of the photos to open a slideshow. To close the slideshow, press your ES-Ca-pay button (or the tiny ‘X’ on the top left of the screen).

People respond to her work, Jewett feels, not only because the sculptures look so amazingly lifelike and animated, but also because “they can identify with all the little bits. They’ve got stuff like that at home.” She vividly remembers the reactions of one couple. “The wife was amazed by how realistic and alive the horse looked. Meanwhile, her husband was up close to it and said, ‘Wow! A ’57 Chevy headlight!’”
– Norman Kolpas, Dixie Jewett – Horse Sense, Southwest Art –

The story of Dixie Jewett’s life is interesting, though difficult to piece together. The Southwest Art story referenced above is the most complete rendition of this remarkable woman’s life, but is a scant one page. I hope someone writes a more complete biography some day, because it isn’t often that an Alaskan Bush Pilot/renowned welding artist is a woman!

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: From Every Angle

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The Woman Who Patented the Zigzag Stitch

Do you have a sewing machine? What is the first brand name that pops into your mind when you think about the zigzag stitch? If you said Singer – that company developed a commercial zigzag machine in 1892.

The first patent on a zigzag stitch machine, however, was many years before that. Helen Augusta Blanchard filed a patent in 1873.  Patent  #141,987 describes the ‘Improvement in Sewing Machines’ as:

The present invention relates to certain new and useful improvements in sewing-machines, having for their principal object the forming of an overstitch that may be adapted to either fine or coarse work. These improvements also consist in a device, arranged and operated as will be duly described, for varying the depth of the stitch, so as to be used for fine or coarse work, and of a device for disconnecting the operation of my improvements to allow the ordinary working of the machine for its customary sewing.

She applied for another Patent in 1874, #152721, which she said was ‘akin’ to her first patent.  Helen’s patents were for working machines. The model for the machine in her first patent is in the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.

Helen was born in Portland, Maine in 1840. She was a prolific inventor who patented 27 other inventions in her lifetime, including a surgical needle (in 1894). The biography of this remarkable women is found in the book “Mothers and Daughters of Invention: Notes for a Revised History of Technology” by Autumn Stanley.

 I see that the path of progress has never taken a straight line, but has always been a zigzag course amid the conflicting forces of right and wrong, truth and error, justice and injustice, cruelty and mercy.
– Kelly Miller –

Here is the link to how other photographers interpreted this Photo Challenge: The Daily Post – Zigzag

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Not Your Average Ukulele Players

Uke can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you just might find uke get what you need!
– uke4ia –

After this past week of destruction and immense sadness, I was ready for something uplifting. The Ukuleles were perfect – made me cry another bucket load, but for a different reason.

Here is the link to The Ukulele Orchestra of  Great Britain and to their DVD – Anarchy in the Ukulele.

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Who is the Artist of Toonaday Cartoons


For many years I subscribed to Ron Leishman’s  Toonaday Digital Clipart. I have used many of  Ron’s toons in my blog posts,  as you can see in the following gallery. Ron is  a fellow Canadian and Albertan (Alberta is a Province in Canada).  Though I have never met him, I have traded emails with him on several occasions, and he has generously created several toons that I requested.

I sometimes combine several of his toons to illustrate my story and that makes me appreciate the immense variety of topics he has covered!

I didn’t appreciate how hard it is to draw until I tried to do it myself. It is one thing to be able to say, “Of course I know the difference between a pirate and a fire hydrant.”  It is quite a different thing to remember enough detail about each to draw them well.

Which one is your favourite?

SLIDESHOW: Click on any photo to open a slide show. Press your ‘es-ca-pay’ button to close the slide show.

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Bev Doolittles’s Pictures Inside Pictures

Life is like a jigsaw puzzle but you don’t have the picture on the front of the box to know what it’s supposed to look like. Sometimes, you’re not even sure if you have all of the pieces.
– A Whack on the Side of the Head –

I finished a jigsaw puzzle while I was at the cabin last week. It was a difficult one, partly because the picture on the box was very small. Then there was all that sky, water, rocks and grass!

750 pieces and I was examining each one closely, looking for a certain shape or ever so slight colour variations. I was looking at the little picture, but wasn’t seeing the big one.

Even when the puzzle was done, I saw sky, water, rocks and grass – and a rider on a horse and some teepees – oh, and a rainbow.

jigsaw puzzle

Then I looked at it through the lens of the camera. Goodness, this is a picture of a wolf head! A very big wolf head. I sure didn’t see that coming.

The thing is, I should have known there would be a picture in a picture. The puzzle is from a piece of art by Bev Doolittle, and she is well known for the ways she uses context, design and pattern to hide images.

Every closed eye is not sleeping, and every open eye is not seeing.
– Bill Cosby –

I’m not the only one who sometimes misses the obvious, right? RIGHT?

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Who was Al Capp and What is a Shmoo

Sun and shadow slice across the kitchen wall. The pillar above the sink is decorated with a figure called a Shmoo. Below it is a set of moose measuring spoons.

The Shmoo was a fictional animal created by Al Capp (not Andy Capp!) in 1948 for his classic comic strip, Li’l Abner. The Shmoo required no food itself, but was a perfect source of food for humans. It was a prolific breeder, so there were always enough of them to go around.  Shmoos didn’t need any care. They dropped dead with just a glance from anyone who was hungry. In addition to being food, they could become just about any other product a person wanted.

Can you imagine the fate of mankind in a world where everything is free and readily available? Can you imagine the fate of the Shmoo?

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In Flanders Fields – Canadians in World War One

Canadians in WWI, 1914 to 1918

When Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914, Canada, as a member of the British Empire, was automatically at war. Canada’s troops were called the Canadian Corps and they fought on the Western Front in trenches that stretched from the Belgium coast, through France, to the frontiers of Switzerland. 65,000 Canadian military personnel lost their lives when they ventured beyond the trenches and into No Man’s Land. One of those men was my Grandfather’s brother, Henry William.

It is said Henry joined the military because a woman approached him on the street and presented him with a White Feather, signifying she thought he was a coward. He was only 17 years old, too young to enlist, but he wasn’t about to be called a coward.  He lied about his age, and signed his Attestation Papers for the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force on September 8, 1915.

252-Victor and Henry WWI

Victor and Henry William

Henry arrived on the front in France on March 26, 1916. He was wounded in  June and again in September of that year. His next encounter with the enemy was his last. He was reported missing after action on The Somme on October 4, 1916. His body was never found, making him one of just over 20,000 Canadian soldiers with no known grave.

My Grandfather, Victor fought in France too. Only two weeks after Henry was killed, Victor was wounded in the face and neck. One eye was removed, and he was sent home,  forever scarred by the memories of life in the trenches.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McRae, December 8, 1915

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A Poet’s Eye

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
– Mary Elizabeth Frye (1905-2004) –

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Antelope Street Photography – Our Group

There are Four Generations of photographers in our family and that translates into a broad spectrum of experience and interest. Our family uses digital cameras almost exclusively, but we still have one member who shoots black and white film, and does her own developing and printing.

The busiest season for photographs is summer time and our common meeting ground is The Cabin on Antelope Street – which is why I named our group of shutterbugs the Antelope Street Photography. This was a purely selfish action on my part. All but a few of the photos in this blog are mine, but on the rare occasion when I borrow a photo from one of the family members, I just use the ©Antelope Street Photography label rather than identifying an individual photographer. (Our family sends digital images to one another regularly… isn’t sharing why we all take pictures!?!)

I’d like to introduce you to a few of the other photographers.

old houseThe Car Guy takes a lot of pictures of Cars, but he and his dad are also enthusiastic about old buildings.

Calgary skylineMacDad has been taking pictures for about 65 years. Early in his career he worked in a photo finishing shop. He has a lot of slides that he took of places in and around our province, and he often uses these when he puts together photo displays on behalf of the Pioneer Group. This is a photo of downtown Calgary on a winter day.

Eldest Daughter lives at the coast, so her photos are often of things she sees at the seashore. This photo was taken on Vancouver Island.

Middle Daughter is our film photographer, and she has a dark room in the basement of the Red House. She is a people person, and her favourite models are children. This one captures the Wild Child in a stationary position, a rare event.

If you saw a man drowning and you could either save him or photograph the event…what kind of film would you use?
– Author Unknown –

close up candy color

Youngest Daughter often takes pictures of things most of us wouldn’t think about photographing! This plate of candy is one lovely example.

The Car Guy’s Sister is a wonderful photographer and she is passing along her skills to her youngest son. She is my  inspiration when it comes to looking at flowers in close up mode!

The fourth generation of photographers are my grand children, and maybe by the end of the summer I’ll have a few of their photos to show you life through the eyes of children!

This last image is mine – some nice clouds that I don’t have a story for. I’m not sure what animal the cloud looks like, but whatever it was it was poised to swoop down on us all with rain or hail and gusty winds!

The quickest way to make money at photography is to sell your camera.
– Author Unknown –

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Some Canadian Artists and Craftsmen

In order of descending stardom – here are some excellent Canadian Artists and Craftsmen:

For Better or For Worse
There are a few comic strips I have followed regularly for years and years. Some people turn to Self-Help Books for advice – I’ve always looked to the Funnies. One of these is For Better or Worse by Canadian Lynn Johnston. The strip started in 1979, and Lynn used the unusual format of letting her characters age. I haven’t checked in with this comic for a few years, so was surprised to discover that Lynn has gone into semi-retirement. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised – she is a bit older than I am… She does have a website and it keeps the characters and story lines alive for a new generation to enjoy. I was saddened by the news that Lynn, and her real life husband Rod, have divorced. When a marriage survives all those years of raising children, it should have a happy ever after, yes?

Yarn Harlot
One blog that I follow is called the Yarn Harlot. The writer, Stephanie Pearl McPhee, is a rather famous Canadian knitter, and writer of books about knitting. She wrote a post about adding heels to knitted tube socks. While I am not likely to ever knit a pair of socks, I liked the thought that I could knit a tube, and then add bumps to it afterwards. I’ve knitted mitts, and adding a thumb in the right spot was hard. It would have been much easier to knit a tube, then add the thumb where my thumb actually wanted one…

Travel Photographer
A Canadian Photographer by the name of Ken Kaminesky has some amazing photographs on his blog. While some artists paint so realistically that their work looks like photos, Ken’s photos look like an artist painted them. They are all wonderful.

One Deer, Two Deer, Three Deer…

The Deer put on quite a show while the Granddaughter (Wild Child) was here visiting. Thirty-six of them marched back and forth behind our yard, staying just far enough away to render the paint ball gun ineffective. Not that the Car Guy would have shown the Wild Child how to use the Paint Gun. She has a wicked throwing arm – she doesn’t need another tool in her arsenal when it comes to keeping her brother and cousins in line.

Wild Child, a song by Enya, paints a very pleasant picture of how you can interpret the term.

Post 110


Forming Opinions in “Idiot America”


There is no better way to spark debate than to question a person’s beliefs and opinions. These grow from what we see, hear, experience, read and think about.  Charles P. Pierce is convinced that carefully thought out opinions, those derived from science and logic, are being trampled by a zealous, poorly informed opposition. He presents his reasons for thinking this in his book, Idiot America – How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free.  Pierce believes that this vocal opposition  springs from ideas that in the past wouldn’t get any further than a soapbox on the corner of a city street.  But today,  Pierce thinks these ideas are able to gather a large following because “Idiot America” believes:

– Any theory is valid if it sells books, soaks up ratings, or otherwise moves units.

– Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it.

– Anything can be true if someone says it loudly enough.

Pierce presents a significant number of examples of  what he defines as gullibility in both the public’s perception of events, and in decision making by politicians. A few of the issues his book addresses: the Creation-Evolution debate, Artificial Life Support, The War on Terror and Climate Change.

In a 2014 post in Esquire, Mr. Pierce continues to discuss Climate Change. He is passionately anti-anyone who doesn’t believe as he does.

The political viability of climate change denial gets more preposterous by the day, which is not to say that it doesn’t remain effective. We are gradually coming to a consensus of denial in which we see the effects of climate change as a series of random phenomena, to be studied individually, but never to be linked effectively enough to require national action.

Ironically, he doesn’t discuss the fact that it is the Climate Change supporters, and their fear mongering claims of random phenomena, that fuel the fire of climate change denial.

If you believe that the Dinosaurs lived peacefully with humans, and that all living things arrived on the earth about 6000 years ago, you might not like this book. If you are a fan of Rush Limbaugh you also may not like this book. At the very least, however, you should read the book and then peer inside your head to see what you base your opinions on.

Post 82

The Genealogy Hobby and my English Ancestors

chart genealogy

The cat sitting at the keyboard of the computer explains to the cat watching: “So far I’ve discovered I was in a litter of eight and my mother’s name was Fluffy.
– Contributed by Shirley O. to Cockney Ancestor #89 –

Genealogy can be an addictive hobby. I started tracing my family tree when we moved to England for a few years. Most of my grandparents came from England, so it was a wonderful opportunity to not only discover my roots, but see where those roots had been planted.

I can’t count how many times I took the train into London so that I could visit the various archives for information. On week-ends, my spousal unit and I would go sightseeing – often planning our destination so I could visit at least one cemetery on my research list. On one such trip, we visited the seaside town where my grandfathers family had been tradesmen. We saw the little old houses they would have lived in. We walked the streets that they would have walked.  We had lunch, and a pint, in a pub they would have frequented. It was just the best research day ever!

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