Saturday, October 24, 2009

More Philly Pictures

Tara and I did not spend much time in Philly on Thursday away from the Magic Garden, but I did snap a few other pictures.
I love doors, and there are some great doors on the row homes in the city.

One day I am going to take a mural tour in the city. These works of art are amazing and all over Philadelphia.

This guy was dancing like no one was watching, even though there were people all around.. but I guess no one, but ME was watching! Not the best, I shot it through the windshield from a distance away!

Fire trucks and the city, they seem to go hand in hand. The guys on this truck were in Superfresh buying lunch.

We stopped in Whole Foods - something about that store wants me to eat healthier!
Beautiful red snapper

but we had flounder for dinner. (This one to be exact!)

Pretty flowers

Billy Penn on the top of City Hall... the back side

A hazy view of the skyline (shot at 55 mph on I-95)

I shared this on my other blog, as my favorite shot of the week... I just love it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Philadelphia's Magic Garden

Philadelphia's Magic Garden is located at 1020-1022 South Streeet, Philadelphia, PA

Today, Tara and I joined several teachers, students and parents from Commonwealth Connections Academy, the virtual school Tara is attending, on a visit to Philadelphia's Magic Garden.

I was not familiar with PMG, all I knew of it was what I read on the website, and I was intrigued, and I made the decision that Tara and I would be attending this field trip! I'm always ready to explore new places and an opportunity to get out with my camera!

What started as man using his art to beautify a run down neighborhood, has turned into a non profit organization to preserve and promote his works. The community came together to purchase the property when the owner decided to sell in the mid 90s.

I don't have the words to describe the visual and tactile experiences of the day! Wall, floors and ceilings covered in beautiful mosaics made with mostly found or recycled materials. Pieces of mirror throughout the designs brought life to the space. Reflecting those who were visiting as well as other parts of the gallery. There were designs within designs. Some things you need to look at close up, while others you had to step back to see the big picture, like using a macro lens and then a wide angle lens.

Here is a slideshow with all the photos I took today. While I took photos, and I am happy with them, they REALLY do not do the artwork justice.

After we visited two floors of the gallary, we headed to the gardens outside. What started out years ago as a trash filled lot is now a work of artistic genius, turning neighborhood "trash" into artistic treasures. Colored bottles reflected the sun breaking through the morning clouds. Bike tires, broken or unwanted china and pottery, toys, and so much more were embedded in these lot sized masterpiece.

The art work of Isaiah Zagar does not stop at the walls of the gallery, you will find his mosaics at over 55 mosaics around the city, as well as other states and even Mexico. Isaiah is 70 years old. This is the artist riding by us on the street. (edited to add - I'm just looking at this picture again and noticing that he is colored coordinated with the rusts and blues in the mosaic behind him!)

He portrays himself in his art as having 4 arms. He is a gifted artist, seemingly obsessed with his work. I think I would love to spend a day inside his head to see how it works.

There was an award winning documentary recently shown on HBO - "In A Dream" created by Isaiah's son. I have not seen this but will be seeking it out. I want to learn more about this man, his life and his family!

On 9/11 Isaiah was working on a mural in another neighborhood when he heard the news of the planes hitting the twin towers. He rushed back to the studio to see how everyone was doing, he then created this piece as a remembrance. He shows the 4 planes attacking the world, not just NY, DC and PA, because he felt it was an attack against the world, not just the US.

Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, became incorporated as a nonprofit organization with the intention of preserving and promoting Zagar's works at the site of the Magic Gardens and throughout the South Street region.

I could continue on and on about what we saw today,however, I was so totally overwhelmed visually by what I saw today, I can't seem to be succinct enough in my words to make sense! While this was school field trip, and Tara did enjoy the day, I was certainly more emotionally moved than she!

I have a list of his works throughout the city, I may try to scan it and link it to this post in case anyone would be interested in exploring the streets of Philadelphia. I have been wanting to go in search of the painted murals that Phila. is known for, and now I have something else!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In Search of Snow

I am the WORLD's BEST MOM, or at least the craziest one! I will do just about anything to make my daughter happy.

This week's quest, FINDING SNOW.

You might recall, we lived in Florida from June 2003 until this past June, missing out on the winters of 03, 04, 05, 06, 07 and 08. Tara had not seen real snow since February 2003! When she heard that there was going to be snow in the state of PA on Thursday, she could think of nothing else It did not matter that the snow would be at least an hour away.

She tried her best to talk me into driving in search of snow on Friday, but to that I did so NO! I did however agree to take her on Saturday, after all, what else would we do on a rainy "Nor'Easter" Saturday?

I was not sure where to head, but someone mentioned they heard Tobyhanna State Park had snow, so that is where our course was set! (C is home, B is Tobyhanna State Park, approx 90 miles from home)
It was rainy and about 49 degrees when we got on the turnpike. It was raining quite hard, but as we headed north, the foliage colors were getting brighter and better even through the rain.

We headed through the Lehigh Tunnel, and not too much later, the temperature was dropping closer and closer to 32! I noticed that the raindrops were getting "thicker" and suddenly, just after we noticed the temperature was 32, it was SNOWING. Tara was so excited.

Now it's hard to take pictures of the snow while you are driving, but there is one here.

We continued on and once we exited the turnpike, we stopped at McDs so Tara could get out, feel the snow and take a "bio" break. Not to self, Crocs are not good shoes for the snow. They are the only "closed" toed shoes I have (my sneakers hurt my toes, I need to find a different pair!)

Snow Smile!

The sign for the park

Footprints in the Snow

Picnic anyone?

Swinging in the Snow

If the sun would have been out (and the snow wasn't hitting the lens) this would have been a gorgeous view!
On the way home the sun actually started to come out. Those "smudges" in the photo are actually low lying clouds.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

26th Annual Merrymead Harvest Days

Last weekend Tara and I took you on a quick visit to Freddy Hill Farm and their Fall Fest. This week, we stopped by Merrymead Farm to see what their Harvest Days had to offer this year. Both of these local farms offer fun every weekend in October, so our initial visits have been to just get a feel for what there is to do! Tara wanted to wait to do the hayride with her cousins. They have games and such too, but we didn't go that far into the crowd!

Saturday again started off as a gloomy dreary day, but by mid afternoon it was a great day to be outside. Quite breezy, but I think that makes it seem all that much more like autumn.

Charlotte is visiting Merrymead this fall, she has spun her web over the pen of Harley the Hog. (Harley was sleeping as usual, so I didn't bother him for a photo!)

Then we spotted this witch who seemed to have had a little bit of an accident - OUCH.

This caterpiller was hanging out too. Perhaps this is Eric Carle's Hungry Caterpillar. It is so much fun to see what they can do with pumpkins.

The Great Pumpkin made famous by Charlie Brown is alive and well at Merrymead. (Since it is Fire Prevention Week, the Worcester Fire Company was there, that flag is hanging from the ladder of one of the trucks.)

Merrymead boasts a 5 acre corn maze (at $10 per person), I can get lost perfectly fine without paying $10. Tara wants to go through the maze.. hopefully her cousin Tyler will go with her!
They also have a smaller maze for those younger kids and directionally challenged! I'm hoping these are not folks that got lost in years past!

Pumpty Dumpty is Humpty's cousin, let's hope he stays put!

If he falls he will fall right into the folks serving up popcorn, cookies and yummy apples with caramel!

They have a great pumpkin corral, very popular for taking photos of kiddos as well as purchasing pumpkins! Tara was embarrassed when I asked a cute couple with an adorable baby if they wanted a family photo. We bought a pumpkin that was just a few ounces shy of 20 pounds... at .49 cents/lb! I totally forgot to take a picture of it!
Tara in the Pumpkin Corral - Oct 1997

Tara in the Pumpkin Corral - Oct 2009 (Her eyes are squinty.... I need a do over when we go back!)

I just love fall.... so many things to do!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Green Lane Reservoir Park, Green Lane, PA

After a busy week with school work, and some not so nice weather days, Tara and I took an afternoon drive on Friday to get out of the house. I was not sure where we were going at first, and then I remembered Green Lane Park, and decided it would be the perfect spot for some fresh air and to check out how the fall foliage was coming along! I have to admit I was not in the best frame of mind most of the day, but just a few short minutes in this beautiful peaceful spot, turned my frown right around!

We were not disappointed.

Green Lane Park offers fishing, boating, picnicking, horseback riding trails, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, family camping, equestrian camping, tennis, playgrounds, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and ice fishing. In addition there is the Nature Center with environmental classes. The park consists of over 3400 acres and three bodies of water totaling 870 acres

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Freddy Hill Farm - Run for the Oreos

It's the first weekend in October, and what does that mean? Freddy Hill Fun Fest has begun! Really it doesn't get much more exciting than this, now does it? What? You have not CLUE what I am talking about? Let me tell you!

Two of our local farms in addition to dairy stores, and other attractions that bring families to their farms throughout the year, each have Fall Festivals. We got a late start to the day, so we decided to only visit one! It was also a tad bit warmer than we liked, and the ground a wee bit wet from the rain this week, so we decided to check things out and make another visit including a hay ride to the pumpkin patch another weekend!

Tara was not too happy about this, but in all my piles of pictures, I have at least one other year of her behind the scarecrow!

We decided to go into the corn maze. I was 'afraid' we would not find our way out!

At one point, I thought the only way out was UP! LOL. It was very muddy, and my flip flops kept getting stuck in the mud!

We found our way out just in time for the most fun of the day... it doesn't get much more exciting than this...

The Run for the Oreos - PIG RACE! Woo hoo! I bet you didn't do ANYTHING this exciting this weekend!
Since we were lost in the corn maze, we almost missed the race, so the only spot open along the course was at the finish. I figured I would get photos if there was a photo finish!
Heat one... they are off!

Piggy Number Three was the winner! I forget it's name. See that white bucket? It is full of oreos! Today, though they didn't seem too interested. The was the third race of the day, and the beginning of racing season!

A little smack talk at the finish line!

Race #2

Arnold... the winner! Look at the blur, he's moving so fast!

We will be heading back to Freddy Hill, hopefully when the ground has tried a bit, and the weather is a wee bit cooler!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

O & F Farms. Blue Bell, PA

"October's the month
When the smallest breeze
Gives us a shower
Of autumn leaves.
Bonfires and pumpkins
Leaves sailing down-
October is red
And golden and brown."
- Can Teach Songs

Tara and I made a quick trip to the mall today, on the way I noticed white pumpkins at a road side stand, and I actually remembered by the time we were driving home that I had wanted to stop. Nature's bounty, the perfect photo op for a wonderful fall day, with a chill in the air.
A hint of color change!

Pumpkins galore!

Unique hues

Technicolor carpet of mums

Colorful kernels!

White pumpkins?