Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A hat to withstand the winds

Thanks to a catalogue from the Duluth Trading Company, I learned that Stormy Kromer caps are still being made, and in these United States. By Duluth, they're billed as "flexible fit," meaning small, medium/large, and so forth, and Duluth does not appear to offer the exact sizing of days gone by. Bean's, however, does seem to offer the traditional sizes, as does the Stormy Kromer site selling direct. This headgear, along with greenies from Johnson Woolen Mills, is a traditional part of the winter wardrobe of those who work outdoors in severe cold weather. I've never seen anyone who looks at his best in these items when the band is pulled down, but that's beside the point. Duluth also offers serious suspender buttons, strong enough for the serious suspenders required to hold up the weight of those Johnson greenies. I don't know how is is that Stormy Kromer Mercantile, manufacturer of the cap with the pull-down band, and Kromer Cap, maker of traditional railway engineer's caps, including the popular polka-dot version, are two separate enterprises. The site for the Kromer Cap outfit boasts that it's over a century old and produces union-made hats in the United States. Kromer Cap is now apparently a part of Mutual Industries, or Mutual Industries North. Johnson Woolen Mills now has an on-line presence. Woolen fabric suitable for braided rugs is still available and, along with its own products, Johnson now offers the old-style inexpensive felt crusher hat.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Please let me down"

According to an on-line search, the suppliant on the teeter-totter no longer seems to call upon Mister Mustard, but upon Charlie Brown, Farmer Brown, or Mrs. Brown. "Mister Mustard, Mister Mustard, please let me down" was for those times when a heavier kid kept a lighter-weight one up in the air on a teeter-totter and then demanded a reward for bringing the one aloft back down to terra firma, with no promises that the descent wouldn't be an abrupt one. A homemade teeter-totter (and we didn't use the world see-saw, although we knew from the nursery rhyme that they're one and the same) can take you very high indeed. There were those among the grown-ups who were fond of saying, "Let that be a lesson to you." Here, a possible lesson might be to be sure before you ride together that you know who's on the other end of the tilt-board and that you can trust that person to let you down and to let you down gently.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Note found in a library book

"I don't know when it will happen again. I can't believe you missed it." There's an initial beneath, but I'm not sure what it is (perhaps a "V"?). This is written on the sort of stationery item that salespeople of pharmaceuticals give away free to medical people, and promotes AstraZeneca and Crestor. I found this within the pages of Dreaming in Chinese, borrowed from the library. I'll always wonder about the "it" mentioned twice.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A patriotic image

This is an emblem from within "His Service Record." The paper is wavy and blotchy. The streaming ribbon or banner in the eagle's beak contains no motto. The graphic is on the very first page and serves as a sort of frontispiece. This image is part of the intermittent scan-o-rama series.

Friday, October 22, 2010

"His Service Record"

This is letterpress work on textured paper that has turned a bit yellow. Depicted are symbols representing the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Army Air Corps, along with a tank, a ship, and airborne planes. "This Book is published for the purpose of being filled in by a relative or friend of a man who is serving his country. When it has been completed, it will serve as a record of his experiences and observations during the war which the United States of America entered on December 8th, 1941." On the same page is this notice:
Copyright 1942
The Hickory Publishing Co, Inc.
141 East 25th St., New York, N. Y.

Some of the borders and emblems within seem to be from nineteenth-century steel engravings. This entry is part of the scan-o-rama series. Other such entries have been about shipping locomotives to the front in the Great War, boys in dresses (one and two), a Victorian family portrait, sheet music from the Great War, and the Pershing punitive expedition.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


The paler blue morning glories, very pentagonal in shape and with "spokes" of a darker blue, are growing on a tomato tower set in a terra cotta pot along the Disco Highway (also known as part of the paved driveway). The second image depicts Bright Lights cosmos, along with Heavenly Blue morning glories. In the mix, although not prominent in this photograph, are zinnias, hyacinth beans, Turk's caps, and lantanas. The Bright Lights are bent from the weight of clingy dolichos and morning glories, but these cosmos are ten feet tall.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Newcomers in the pleasure grounds

Leaves of paperwhite narcissi emerged overnight, visible from the catio. These are from the contents of pot of bulbs forced indoors and unceremoniously dumped outdoors years ago. Apart from anemone leaves, now visible everywhere, including in spots where the squirrels moved them, these are the first signs of "spring" flowers. The appearances of these leaves are true signs of the season. All spider lilies and schoolhouse lilies are finished blooming, and they're all shooting up leaves, also. A wonderful surprise is a bloom on one of the old Jackson & Perkins unnamed "experimental" roses. J&P used to offer packages of these mystery varieties at a very low price. This one hasn't bloomed for years. It has no scent, but the flower is a light peachy pink with tinges of buttery yellow. It's pretty as a bud and through all its phases, including being fully open. There are no two years ever the same here at el Mirador.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Judging by the cover

These packages show a sense of humor. Each is for a different "masque" and displays instructions in English, French, and Spanish. Someone bought them for me at H-E-B because they're eye-catching and funny. The sales slip didn't accompany them. The company is called Montagne Jeunesse, and the home page shows many products in these little packets (chocolate mud masque, apricot scrub, passion peel-off, sauna masque, etc). All the ones pertaining to the visage are similar to the two depicted here. Here's another page displaying some of these products, complete with fruit- and mud-adorned faces. Montagne Jeunesse appears to be located in Swansea, Wales. Whatever the benefits of the products within, the packets themselves are worth a fair amount in entertainment value.

Friday, October 08, 2010


Day before yesterday brought us what's probably the last flower stalk from the oxblood lilies. Spider lilies (lycoris radiata) continue to bloom in unlikely places, giving us the best show in years. Already the first leaves are appearing in places where the spider lilies did not flower this year. The torenia and nasturtium in pots are blooming for the first time this fall. We've even seen five blossoms on the passion vine. Both kinds of hyacinth bean (the ones with dull green seedpods and the ones with shiny crimson pods) are coming into their own, to the point where the grounds smell of the flowers in quite an overpowering and nearly unpleasant way. Pink oxalis and purple heart are giving us flowers again after the heat. Turk's cap and lantana are still covered with flowers. At least a dozen kinds of morning glory are flowering very well, although some passer-by found it necessary to pull up the wild sunflowers that had been supporting three different types of morning glory, so that those vines are now dead. Four o'clocks are blooming prolifically, including the lone plant with white blossoms. We're seeing some white-flowering cypress vines, now, along with the red ones. Chile plants are flowering now. So is one tithonia, along with a few milkweeds in pots. The cosmos that have grown to be ten feet tall without flowering now have buds, and one of them has opened, giving us one lone orange-gold flower, although there will be more. Zinnias are flowering, and not just pink ones, for a change. Lovers of salads have nearly consumed the first batches of lettuces sown in pots. Some creature has also developed an appetite for basil leaves. Fennel is greeting the season by shooting forth new feathery leaves.