Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
This picture was taken in 1910, and shows the oil fields in Taft California. If you click on the image, you will get a better look at the details. This really looks like the classic old Western boom town. I wonder if Taft ever became a real city, or just died away after the oil boom.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
This picture is from 1944, and shows drilling rigs on California's coastline. I am not sure what part of California, but maybe someone familiar with the state could speculate from the terrain. I would have to say things have changed a lot since 1944.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Today's picture was taken in the Seminole Oil Field in Oklahoma in 1939. It shows another shot of roughnecks "making a connection". You can see the top of the old piece of drill stem sticking up from the round disk, which his the rotary platform. This is the long drill string that goes way down in the ground. You can see drilling mud flowing out of the top of the drill string. The roughnecks are adding another 30 foot section of drill stem to the string. I mentioned yesterday that large tongs are used to tighten the bottom of the new piece of drill stem into the top of the drill string going down into the well. It would take too long to screw the new piece in this way . . . the tongs are just used to tighten it the last few inches. To get the stem screwed in most of the way, a cable or chain is "thrown" around the new drill stem to make it wrap around a make a coil, as seen in the picture above, The other end of the cable is connected to a motor, and the driller activates the motor to pull the cable. This screws the drill stem into the drill string. You can see the roughneck holds the opposite end of the cable. This is very dangerous, as there is a tendency for his hand to be pulled into the drill stem. This is one of the common ways roughnecks lose fingers.
Drilling is a lot safer now than it was back in the day, but it is still a very dangerous job . . . probably among the most dangerous jobs in the world. You can see that there are many ways to lose fingers. Besides the cable pulling a hand into the wrapped coil, when the new drill stem is placed onto the drill string, it is lifted by the Kelly, which is controlled by the driller. If a roughneck puts his fingers under the drill stem to try and help get it aligned with the drill string, and the driller then drops it into position, the roughnecks fingers are cut off. Also, all types of ways to get the fingers smashed in the big tongs. There is a lot going on overhead. One roughneck is the "derrick man" and he works up on top of the rig, helping to get the drill stem aligned from the top side. He is about three to five stories up, and has all types of tools. It is easy for something to get dropped from his work area down onto the roughnecks below. In addition, rigs use a lot of very high pressure air, which is routed around in large high pressure hoses. The hoses are lined with steel windings. These hoses degrade from the inside out, and eventually they fail, and blow up, throwing shrapnel worse than a hand grenade. Another way people get hurt of killed is with the chains and cables running from the driller's motors to the drill stem. When not in use, the chains and cables lay on the rig floor. When the driller activates them, they pop up into the air very quickly. If a roughneck is walking along the rig floor and is stepping over a chain or cable when the driller pops it, it comes up and can literally split a roughneck in two. There are a lot of high voltage lines running around to lights and equipment, so electrocution is a big risk. Then, when you are drilling, there is always a chance of drilling into a gas pocket, and then natural gas comes out of the top of the drill string when making a connection. This is easily ignited, causing a blowout. Modern rigs have blowout preventers, but they do not always work.
So, working on a rig is dangerous business. Someone asked yesterday if I was a petroleum engineer . . . no, I am an electrical engineer, but I worked on oil rigs in the summers when going through college.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Today's picture was taken in 1944, and shows roughnecks "making a connection" on a rotary drilling rig in Southwest Oklahoma. Notice that two of the roughnecks are not wearing hard hats. The pipe coming out the rig floor is the drill stem. Each stem is about 30 feet long. So, after drilling each 30 feet, they have to lift the entire drill string, and put another section of pipe on. The large implements connected to the drill stem are the tongs. They are like enormous pipe wrenches. The end of the tongs are connected by chains to a motor. The "driller" operates the motor to pull the chains. The roughnecks keep the tongs on the drill stem. The driller and roughneck work the tongs together to either loosen or tighten the drill stem. It takes about 30 minutes to drill 30 feet, and so this operation has to be done a couple times an hour. When making a connection, there are lots of heavy objects moving around under a lot of force, and the roughnecks are right in the middle of it. As you can imagine, a very dangerous job.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Welcome to Wildcatter week here at OPOD. We will look at pictures from the early days of the oil industry. The picture above shows the oil boom in Burkburnett, Texas in 1919. The picture was taken 8 months after oil was discovered. It reminds me of the movie, There Will Be Blood. That is the type of movie I usually really like, but I did not like that particular movie. It could have been a real good movie, but the story was not that great. Also, I did not like the part where he beat the guy with the bowling pin.
I made lots of progress on the greenhouse this last week, but it does not show that much in the picture. I got the end walls built, and the aluminum glazing put on. The glazing is the aluminum channels connected to the arches, which will hold the polycarbonate cover in place. I have been working out there 10 hours a day, and it has been over 100 degrees every day. It is really a very hard job. I would say that it is just almost impossible to build this thing. There are errors in the construction manual, and errors in the blueprints. Then you get confused if what you are seeing is an error in the plans, or if you just don't understand the plans. Anyway, the good news is that they have a person that knows how to build it, and you can email him with questions, and he usually responds within an hour or so. So, slowly but surely I am getting it done.
I have four more pieces of glazing to connect, and then I should be pretty close to putting the polycarbonate cover on. That will be the moment of truth, as all the dimension have to be precise in order for the polycarbonate sheets to fit properly. I have been very careful, and hope they fit.
Also, I am happy to announce that Handsome Jack and Miss Kitty had two baby peacocks. Handsome is turning out to be a veritable paterfamilias. They ended up with two baby peacocks. There were four eggs. The first egg hatched, but that little guy died in the first our. I am not sure what happened. Then one egg was a dud, and then two hatched healthy babies . . . Elvira and Jumping Jack Flash. I can already see that Jumping Jack Flash is going to be a fine peacock when he grows up. We got them in the peacock palace to protect them for the first month or so.
So, this summer Handsome and Lovie had two babies, Handsome and Elly May had three babies, and Handsome and Miss Kitty had two. That gives us 7 new peacocks, and a total of 13 all together.
Friday, July 23, 2010
This picture was taken in 1913. There is not much information on the picture, but the caption claims that the bridge is the highest single piling trestle in the world.
I have enjoyed reading your train travel stories this week in the comments. Sounds like a lot of people have had good experiences, and a lot have had some bad experiences.
I did have a chance once to ride one of those super fast bullet trains. It was in England, and I was going from London to another city (oops, forgot where I was going, but remember the train ride). I enjoyed the ride but it took a little while to get used to it. The train travels at close to 200 miles per hour. When you are sitting there, things at eye level a few feet from the railroad track whiz by you, at you get a feeling like something is going to hit you. The ride was smooth, but you had to get used to the things whizzing by so close. Overall though, the best train ride I ever took was the original narrow gauge train from Durango to Silverton. If you have never done that you need to find a way to fit it in one day.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
This picture was taken in 1938, and shows two streamlined locomotives. What a site these trains must have been, if you were used to the old style locomotives.
One of the problems with train travel is that the trains start and stop too much, and you lose about 30 minutes every time the train stops. I think they should go to a system where there is one train car (motorized) at a station that people get on. When the real train goes by, the one car train starts up, catches the main train, connects to it, and then the people on the one car train transfer to the main train. Then the little one disconnects and goes back to the station. Would work the same way in reverse when someone wants to get off. This way, the main train could travel non-stop, and still people could get on and off at each station. No one listens to me though.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Today's picture was taken in 1942, and shows a locomotive that was part of the Santa Fe Railroad line. The picture was taken in Chicago, Illinois.
Interesting comments yesterday . . . it sounds like some people have had pleasant experiences with Amtrak, and some have not. Our experience in going from NM to California was a nightmare. First problem was that when we checked our luggage, they said we could not have any liquids in the luggage, and toothpaste and shaving cream were considered liquids. So, they want to go through the luggage, and made us throw out toiletries. Then, we had purchased reserved seats in order to ensure the three of us could sit together. When we got on the train, and showed our tickets, we were told to "find a seat". There were not three seats together, and they said that adjacent seating was subject to availability, and adjacent seats were not available. So, the extra we paid for reserved seating was a scam . . . we would have gotten then same thing purchasing a regular ticket. Then, a lot of the people on the train appeared to be sort of indigent type people. During the night this drunk guy was stumbling up and down the aisle, and then he fell into our seats. Overall, a very bad experience.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Today's picture was taken in 1943, and shows a diesel "Streamliner" locomotive. It was taken at the train station in Albuquerque, NM. I live in Albuquerque for 20 years, and the train station is still there. Once my wife and I thought it would be fun to ride the train, so we took it from Albuquerque to California for a vacation. Turned out to not be a fun ride. The Amtrak experience is not a good one. The Amtrak employees are very rude, and it was a lot like taking a greyhound bus somewhere.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Good morning to you all! Today's picture shows a Santa Fe Railroad diesel freight locomotive. It is being washed in the roundhouse in Argentine, Kansas. I always liked trains, and like some of the vintage trains you can ride in different places in the country. Two of the best are the Combres and Toltec narrow gauge, and the Durango and Silverton narrow gauge. If you ever get the chance, it is well worth the effort to take these rides.
I made reasonable progress on the greenhouse yesterday. I am putting in the pipes that go between the arches. This is a slow and hard job. It requires you to drill lots of holes for the bracket each place one of the bars crosses one of the arches. It is hard to drill the holes, because you have two steel pipes, and the bit wants to jump off the pipe. I have two more pipes that have to be put on, and then I start connecting the aluminum strips that have the slots for the plexiglass cover to go into. Hopefully I will get this thing finished this summer.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Good Sunday morning to you all. This morning we are going to look at a picture of an old locomotive. The picture was taken in 1942, and shows a locomotive from the Chicago and Northwest Railroad. I love old trains, and especially like the Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge ride you can take in Northern New Mexico.
Wow, this greenhouse project is turning out to be a really difficult project. Definitely the hardest thing I have ever tried to build. Yesterday we got the main arches erected. They are made of steel and are very heavy. They were hard to get aligned properly with the pipes cemented in the ground. It was an all day job, but we got it done. The next step is to get the purlins installed which run the lenght of the greenhouse.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Good Thursday morning to you all! Today's picture was taken in 1942, and shows a major advance in domestic engineering . . . the electrified clothes wringer. The clothes wringer made washing much easier. The tub down below has an electric agitator, meaning a scrub board was no longer needed. The tub was still connected to the sink for water. After the clothes were agitated and rinsed, they were run through the wringer to get most of the water out. Then they were put out on the line to dry. When I was growing up in the 60's, our neighbor was still using a washer like this. It was out on her front porch in the shade, and connected to a garden hose. It is my understanding that many a child was injured by getting their hand caught in the wringer.
I am happy to announce great progress has been made on project Hydroponic Greenhouse in the two days since out last Domestic Update. On Tuesday the plumbers came and installed all the pipes and lines in the pad. They had a nice little excavator that got the work done in short order. They got the job done, and then the plumber asked if there was anything else we wanted done while he was there. Well, I have been trying to get the circle in front of my house cleaned up so I can mow it. It is very rough land, and had lots of cactus, roots and scrub brush. My mom really likes to work, so she comes up every day, and we have been working all summer on getting the circle cleared out. Well, we had it in pretty good shape but had about 10 cedar stumps we just could not dig out. Also, there was a big uneven spot about 2 foot high and about 15 feet across. We had been trying to level it for the last month with a grubbing hoe. Well, we asked if he would take the excavator and try and clean up those trouble spots for us. He pulled up the stumps, filled in the holes, and then he leveled off the high spot, and made a nice big pile of loose dirt for us. He did this in about 15 minutes. It would have taken us the rest of the summer to do by hand. So, we tip our hat to Tracy for getting this all cleaned up for us.
With the plumbing done, we were ready to move forward on the greenhouse. We first had to add a vapor barrier to the top of the pad. This is like a huge sheet of plastic that had to be stapled to the concrete forms. This was a hard job, because it was a windy day, and the vapor barrier was like a big parachute, that kept catching the wind. We finally got it down, and then the next step was to install the sub-slab insulating board. We got this done, and then installed the insulation around the edges of the concrete forms as well. Then yesterday, the concrete men showed up, and put the first level of rebar down. Then we put in the tubing for the radiant floor heat. This was a hard job too, because the tubing is very stiff, and did not want to go where you wanted it. We finally got it down, and tied to the rebar.
The light blue material is the insulating board. The blue tanks are the nutrient tanks for the hydroponic systems. You can see the white tubing for the radiant floor heat. We pretty much got it where it needed to be. The little box in the upper right is the manifold for the radiant heat.
With this all done, we were ready to pour the foundation slab.
The concrete truck showed up about 1:00 yesterday, and the concrete men had everything ready to go.
This picture shows the concrete being poured. This was a tedious job for the concrete men, as they had to step between the radiant floor tubes, and not step on them.
With the concrete poured, the concrete men then went to work getting everything smooth and level. It takes about 3 hours to get the concrete all spread properly, and then the finish nice and smooth. You can see the tops of the nutrient tanks came out just above the concrete floor, as they were supposed to.
So, the foundation is now finished, and I can get started on getting the greenhouse assembled. With the progress made the last two days, I am once again hopeful I can get this finished this summer.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Today's picture was taken in 1900, and shows a woman doing the wash in a wash tub with a scrub board. This would have to be a hard job. I would think that it would be very hard on your hands.
When I was growing up, my mom did the laundry. When I went to college, I had to do laundry myself. I did not like it, and was not very good at it. I would really overload the washing machine. I mean, I would fill it all the way to the top, and stuff the clothes in. Problem was that with the washer overloaded, it did not do a good job rinsing the soap out. After I finished school, and got a job, I would take the clothes to the laundromat. One day when I was in there doing the washing, the owners saw me overstuffing the machines. Come to find out, the owners were my next door neighbors in the apartment I was living in. They told me that I was overstuffing the machines, and told me that was not a good idea. Well, in the end they said that if I would just drop my clothes at there door in the morning, and leave the quarters for the machines in the basket, they would bring them in and wash and dry them for me. They would then drop the cleaned clothes at my apartment after work. They did a real nice job, and would hang the shirts on hangers, and fold everything nicely. That was a pretty good deal that I stumbled into, and it went on as long as I lived there. Then, once I got married, Mrs. PJM did the laundry. I would say that Mrs. PJM and I do about the same amount of domestic work. I take care of the outside stuff, and she takes care of the inside stuff. I do all the mowing, and taking care of the chickens and peacocks, and she takes care of the house cleaning and the dogs. So, I would say it is a pretty even split in the work.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Even back in the days before washing machines, some were fortunate enough to have commercial laundries do their washing and drying. The picture above was taken in the early 1900's, and shows a laundry service that used dog teams to pick up and deliver laundry. The picture was taken in Alaska.
I suggested yesterday that the three biggest quality of life improvements of the last 150 years were indoor plumbing, refrigeration, and automated washer/dryers. Merideth suggested that electricity should be in the top three. I did not include electricity in the top three because the top three can actually all be done without electricity. First, indoor plumbing will work with a windmill. In the old days lots of people had indoor plumbing, and no electricity. The windmill would pump water into a tank that was elevated. Gravity would feed the water into the house. While the pressure was not as much as we enjoy today, toilets would flush, baths and showers worked, and the sink had water. While most of our refrigerators work today on electricity, there are wonderful refrigerators that work on natural gas or propane. There are no moving parts, and the cooling cycle is driven by a flame, which creates the pressures necessary to drive the cooling cycle. In electric refrigerators, the cycle is driven by pressures created by a compressor. Similarly, in the early days there were washers which were driven by small gas motors. Even if we go further down the list, you can have lighting from lanterns that is not that bad. So, even without electricity you can have indoor plumbing, refrigeration, and washer/dryer. While electricity was a big advance, if you want to include it as a "Top Three", which of the existing "Top Three" would you push off the list?
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Today's picture is from 1942, and shows women washing clothes in wash tubs with wash boards. The tubs were in a community wash center in Pinedale California. One wonders how long it would take to do laundry this way . . . I would have to think that it would be an all day job. When you look at this chore, you really appreciate the modern convenience of a washing machine and dryer. If you look at all the progress that has been made in technology over the last 150 years, I wonder what advances really had the biggest impact on quality of life. I would have to say three of the biggest would be indoor toilets/showers, refrigeration, and washer/dryers. If you have those three things, life really is a whole lot easier. On indoor plumbing . . . I really like being clean, and being able to jump in the shower every day is a very big deal (as is being able to go potty without having to put your shoes on and light a lantern). Similarly, life is a lot easier when you can keep food fresh in a refrigerator. Can you imagine trying to deal with milk without a modern refrigerator? And, as we see this week, washer/dryers are a huge time saver. So, if I simply had refrigeration, indoor plumbing, and a washer/dryer, I could be pretty comfortable.
We finally got a break from the 14 straight days of rain, and I was able to make progress on the greenhouse. The concrete men showed up, and we got the ground stakes concreted in.
The greenhouse structure is all built connected to the ground stakes, so if I got them in the right place, the assembly of the greenhouse should be easy. The next thing is, I need the plumbers to come and dig the trenches in the pad for the plumbing. Then, I can put in the sub-floor insulation board. Then the concrete people will come back, and put in the first level of rebar. Then, I run the radiant heat tubing around, zip-typing it to the first level of rebar. Then the concrete people come back, put the next level of rebar down, and then we should be ready to pour the slab. Once the slab is poured, then the assembly of the greenhouse can begin. It is a little frustrating how much work there is before you even get to assembling the structure.
Now, the plumbers actually did come out yesterday to dig the trenches in the pad for the plumbing. However, I decided that while they were out here, I would get them to go ahead and dig a trench over to Chickie Town, and bring a water line and electric line over to the Chicken Coup. That way I could provide a little heat for the chickies in winter time. Also, when the days are short, the chickens lay much fewer eggs. If you turn a light on in the coop before sunrise in the winter, the chickens will keep laying eggs all winter. Also, the water line will let me make a little water system for them, so I don't have to keep going out and filling their water dish.
Unfortunately, they got about 20 feet of the trench dug, and the rock I live on broke the back end off the trencher. You see, many men have tried to trench through my rock, and many men have failed. The bad thing is that since the trencher broke, they were unable to do the primary mission, which was to get the trenches done in the pad for the greenhouse. They say they will come back tomorrow with a rock saw, and make the trench with the large riding rock saw.
So, progress has been made, but we have hit a few snags.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Today's picture was taken in 1937, and shows a woman doing laundry in a migrant worker camp. The picture was taken in the Imperial Valley in California. The woman most likely worked all day in the fields, and then still did domestic chores. Pictures like this remind us of how good we have it today.
Well, we had a lively discussion yesterday about stay-at-home moms. I appreciate all the comments and discussion.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Welcome to Laundry Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at people doing their wash over the last hundred or so years. The picture is from 1900, and shows a family doing laundry the really old fashioned way . . . using wash tubs and wash boards. When I was growing up in the 60's, we would visit Mexico, and you would see people still doing the wash this way. Near where I lived, some people still had the old outdoor washing machines that had the hand wringers on them, but still they were a step up from this.
OK, I am going to be politically incorrect here, and most likely get the ire up of a lot of visitors, but I think the downfall of our society began when women went into the workforce instead of managing the home. Now, before you get too bristled up, understand why I say this. I think women make excellent if not superior employees, and are smart, efficient, and capable workers. I just think that the most important job in society is rearing up the next generation. Since this is the most important job, we should put our best people on it. When families began to have both parents work, and outsourced the raising of kids to daycare or sitters, an important element of family life was lost, and, well, a lot of the kids started turning out really rotten. The thing that I see happening is that parents try to compensate for the lack of time they have to spend with the kids by spoiling them by buying them anything they want, and having low expectations for them.
I feel that I am very lucky in that when we had our daughter, Mrs. PJM decided to leave the workforce, and manage the home. She was a wonderful mother, we had a happy home, and Mrs. PJM had time to do all types of volunteer work in the community. I, on the other hand, put way to much time in at work. I really wanted to be famous, and had dome some work that started getting a lot of attention. I can remember once even they did a five minute story on the ABC Evening News with Peter Jennings on some work that I had done. They interviewed me, and showed the new technology that I had developed. I was pretty full of myself, and was enjoying all the attention from being on National TV. Well, the next Sunday as we were going to church, Mrs. PJM was dropping our daughter off at the nursery, and I had walked on to get us a seat. As I was walking down the hall, this woman ran up to me and said, "Didn't I see you . . .". Well, I thought she was going to say, "Didn't I see you on the ABC Evening News with Peter Jennings last week?" But, that is not what she said, she said, "Didn't I see you with Mrs. PJM? She is my son's Awana leader, and he loves her so much. When he gets home she is all he talks about. He will remember her for the rest of his life." Well, it was at this point I realized how much more important what my wife was doing than what I was doing. No one ever remembers who did this great thing or that great thing, a few years down the road. But, we all remember someone who helped us, taught us, or were kind to us as children. I think if we all invested more in our own children, and other children around us, we would be happier, our children would grow up better, and Society would return to what it once was.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
We wrap up Domestic Activities week with this picture of a woman by a clothes line from the great depression. I have learned this week that women do not necessarily look back on these activities as the good old days. Mabelline went so far as to say that I do not understand women. Well, if that is the case, I should probably share my plans with you and ask for your advice. Mrs. PJM has a birthday coming up, and I am planning on getting her a clothes line. You see, clothes feel much better, and they have a special smell when dried in the sun. I am thinking a fancy, sturdy outdoor clothes line will be just the thing to up my standing as a Peach of a Husband.
Mabelline also went so far as to suggest that perhaps I should get together with Buddy, the guy that drilled the holes for me, and work on trying to solve the Gulf Oil spill, instead of trying to understand women. Well, I had Buddy back out to discuss additional holes for Mrs. PJM's special birthday clothes line, and we decided to take Mabelline's challenge, and solve the Gulf clean up problem. Here is what we came up with. Simply require BP to buy spilled oil from ANYONE who brings it in. Require them to buy the spilled oil that people pick up for $500 a barrel. Can you imagine how that would spur the economy? Every Redneck in the south would go to the gulf, and start cleaning up oil. The first thing that would happen is all the KOA campgrounds within 150 miles of the coast would be filled as the Rednecks move their trailers in. Soon, there would be no more room in the trailer parks, and so some would have to start staying in hotels. This would not be a problem, as since they would have plenty of money from the oil they are selling BP. Also, they are not picky eaters and would have no problem eating seafood possibly tainted with oil and chemical dispersants. This would re-energize the shrimping and fishing industries in the area.
I think a guy with a shovel should be able to collect at least 2 barrels a day. Of course, the rednecks would quickly start rigging up contraptions to allow them to collect/skim more oil. This would further stimulate the economy as the hardware stores would be selling out of things like bailing wire, duct tape, PVC piping, lawnmower engines and so forth.
I think a guy with a shovel should be able to collect at least 2 barrels a day. Of course, the rednecks would quickly start rigging up contraptions to allow them to collect/skim more oil. This would further stimulate the economy as the hardware stores would be selling out of things like bailing wire, duct tape, PVC piping, lawnmower engines and so forth.
Now you might criticize my plan by saying some of the Rednecks would start cheating by selling BP all that old motor oil they have in their garages. Sure, that might happen, but I say that is the risk that a company takes when they cut corners, and create the worst environmental nightmare in history.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
OK, the women have spoken, and for the most part, do not have fond memories of washing dishes in the sink. So, lets see if I can do better today. This picture was taken in 1912, and shows a mother kissing her baby. Hopefully you will have more pleasant memories of caring for your babies, but I can not be sure, as I thought you would have pleasant memories of washing dishes with your mother.
Well, I am sure you saw the big announcement yesterday that Elly May's babies hatched. They are a fine bunch of pea-chickies, and are all up and about.
I also finally made some real progress on the greenhouse. The guy was able to come out and get the holes drilled for the grounding stakes.
You can see Buddy getting his truck set up to drill the holes. I needed 18 holes, each 1 foot across and 3 foot deep. I live on a rock, so it takes pretty heft equipment to get holes that deep.
It pretty much took all day to get the holes drilled. Now, the next step is to get the grounding stakes concreted in the holes, and then the foundation can be poured. The concrete guy is having the rebar and other material delivered here today, so hopefully we will finally start making some progress.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Today's picture was taken in 1942 in Bantam, Connecticut. The picture shows a mother and daughter washing dishes in the sink. Automatic dishwashers have been a huge time saver, but I can not help but think that something has been lost. I believe that there was something special about mothers and daughters spending time together each day, even if that time together was simply washing dishes. I wonder how many women today have special memories of time with their mothers washing dishes.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Domestic Activity week continues here at OPOD. Today's picture was taken in 1939 near Gees Bend, Alabama, and shows a woman churning butter on her porch. I wonder how many of you have ever churned butter? It is actually pretty easy to make butter. If you buy a carton of pure cream, and if you shake it up real good, you can see the butter start forming. The churns were convenient for making larger amounts. Today, it is cheaper to buy butter than it is to buy cream, and then make butter. If you have a milk cow, then things change. You skim the milk fat off the milk, and make butter out of the skimmed cream.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Last week someone suggested we have a week of Domestic Activities, so here we go. Today's picture was taken in 1908, and shows a woman ironing with a new GE electric iron. An electric iron was a pretty big deal, compared to having to heat an iron on a hot wood stove.
OK, we did not have a correct answer in yesterday's mystery person contest, so I am the winner. OK, We have not had a correct answer, so I am the winner. The lady in the picture was Isma Martin, a confidence/con lady from the late 1800's and early 1900's. The picture was from her police file. She had many scams, but one of her favorites was to ride into town on a bicycle, and then claim to be a representative of a bicycle company. She would take deposits and payments for bicycle orders, and guess what . . . She never delivered any bicycles. So, I am off to my victory breakfast. We will be going to our place on the South Concho River, about a mile from our house, and will be enjoying a big country breakfast.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
OK, last week you all accused me of putting up an easy contest so it would be over quickly, so I could go work on the greenhouse. Well, it is raining today, so I have ALL day. You will rue the day you complained about an easy contest. Today, you will all be defeated, and I will finally be able to have a victory breakfast in the morning. Let the Contest Begin!
Friday, July 2, 2010
We finish Market Week with this picture from the Weatherford Farmer's Market. The picture was taken in 1939. It looks like at this market, people sold from the back of their truck. I look for Farmer's Markets to make a bigger come back. The food is much better right out of the field, and it is a nicer shopping experience.
OK, project greenhouse has pretty much been on hold this week. I am waiting to get the holes drilled for the ground stakes. It takes a big drilling truck, and the operator can't dig if it is raining, due to lightening risks. Well, it has rained all week. Living in dry West Texas, it almost never rains . . . until I try to build something. When we built out house, it was the rainiest summer on record. Perhaps the farmers should pay me to build things . . . would guarantee them rain. I have pretty much done all I can until the holes get drilled. I have pretty much assembled all the heating and cooling components in the garage, so, I sit and wait for clear weather.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
This picture was taken in 1939, and shows a group of men at a Farmer's Market. You can see that someone has brought a calf to sell. It looks small enough that it could be butchered at home. Also note that everyone in the picture is very trim.
OK, I think it is important that we understand the nomenclature, so for your viewing pleasure, I present my "grubbing hoe" below. You notice that one side has a flat, sharp head. This is used to get up things like prickly pear. Prickly Pear has a big heavy root, and you need to get the root up, you you have to use this end to grub down so you can pull the whole mess out.
Notice that the other end has a sharp point, or pick. The pick is used to pry rocks out of the ground. You hit the ground with it right next to the rock, and then pry the rock out. Notice the ground around the grubbing hoe does not have any prickly pear or big rocks. This is in the circle in front of our house. It was covered with cactus, lots of big rocks, algarita bushes, and tassajia. This summer I have been working to clear all this mess out from in front of the house. With the nice rains the last few days, the native buffalo and mesquite grass should come in quiet nicely, and make the circle look good. I don't plan on watering it, but as it rains, it will green up.