Monday, September 28, 2015

the 366-day photo challenge, week eight

Just recently, I realized that I had given the photography challenge the wrong name. I had been calling it the 365-day photography challenge. I managed to forget that 2016 is a leap year. So... the 366-day photography challenge is the name from now on.

Mums are definitely a sign of early autumn.

These vivid warm colors are associated with autumn.

On Monday, September 21st, I went to interview Tom Thompson for an article for an article about agriculture in Grand Island. He is a chicken farmer and he keeps about 80 chickens on his farm. In the past, he has also kept several pigs. His chickens are free range chickens and they can be seen running around the grounds of the farm and the yard of the house.

Tom and Wendy's property has been farmland for many years, since the mid-19th century. It was owned for many years by various members of the Long family, a family that has lived in Grand Island for many generations. Later, it was owned by the Kaegebein family. One member of the Kaegebein family, Carl, who became the owner in the early 1940s (his parents had been the previous owners), was a chicken farmer who kept 10,000 chickens on the premises. He invented an egg handling device in 1959 and that device was patented in 1961. He sold the property in 1969. The owner after him maintained a horse farm. He maintained show horses.

Tom also grows corn in his back pasture. He calls his farm "Thompson and Son" and he says that his son will want to take over the farm when the time is right.
On Tuesday morning, I went to Zumba. Here I am in my Zumba costume. Zumba is a very fun way to get exercise. If you're like me and you get bored working out on machines, I would recommend Zumba. If you like Zumba but you want an even more vigorous dance workout, you could try hip hop. I took a hip hop class in 2008, and I can tell you that it is a good deal of fun.


After Zumba, I found out that a nearby house was being demolished. This house caught on fire on April. It was a fire that started in the basement and moved rapidly through the house. The house had been sold and the seller and his family were set to move out on the very day of the fire. That family has since moved to their new house. 


The things that make up a life are just things after a disaster like a fire.



The house once had a lovely garden. A pair of dogs could often be seen playing in the yard. After the fire, the weeds took over and the sound of yapping little dogs was heard no more. 

On Tuesday evening, I went to tap dance class. I am learning about when to set down my heel and when to set down my toe. I'm learning about brush and stomp and combination steps.
On Wednesday, September 23rd, I went to Bryce and Robin Shipman's farmhouse for a meeting of Grand Island farmers. Allen Young from the Erie County Soil and Water district came to explain to the farmers how they could become part of one of Erie County's agricultural districts. The farmers were also told about the benefits of becoming members of the New York State farm bureau. There are a number of farmers on Grand Island. There are beekeepers and a cattle farmer and others. Bryce and Lynn, shown above, are sharing a laugh, as well as a delicious dessert, made by Robin Shipman.

Here are some of the canned goods, prepared by Robin Shipman. She is also a beekeeper and she has jars of honey available for sale.

Here is a table of delicious foods.
On Thursday, September 24th, after I finished writing my two articles for the Island Dispatch (the story about the installation of the playground at Kaegebein Elementary School and the story about Grand Island agriculture), I went with Diane Evans to the climate justice rally in downtown Buffalo. I wrote a reflection on the rally on this blog. Just click the next time I say "here": here
Here are a few more images of the Niagara Square and downtown Buffalo.

Saint Joseph's Cathedral.

Niagara Square, across the street from City Hall.

This is the obelisk for President William McKinley, who was assassinated in Buffalo during the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. He was shot by an anarchist in front of the Temple of Music. He died a few days later, quite possibly the result of botched surgery. After McKinley died, Theodore Roosevelt became president. He was sworn in at a building in Buffalo. That building is now known as the "Theodore Roosevelt site."



There are gorgeous flowers in Niagara Square. They are cared for by the Erie County Master Gardeners.
On Friday, I saw this lovely flower in the neighbor's yard. These flowers have been blooming for a month.

Here is a closeup view of the flower.

Typical mushrooms found on the ground. Look but do not taste. I like foraging for food but, not being an expert in distinguishing edible mushrooms from poisonous toadstools, I confine my foraging for mushrooms to the supermarket.


Tea and double chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven.

Zoe looks for a comfortable place on the windowsill, a good place to watch birds and squirrels from the safety of the indoors.

Zoe is very happy being an indoors cat. She is not a mouser. Generally, she ignores the mice, preferring to let the humans remove the mice from the house.


On Saturday, September 26th, I took a walk to the cemetery to visit my dad. I walked along the Niagara River. Here is an interesting historical marker that I found. In the 1820s, Mordechai Noah, a newspaper publisher from New York, got the idea that the world's Jewish population needed a homeland, where they would not be oppressed. The Erie Canal had just recently opened and, with that, there was access to much of New York State, from Albany to Buffalo.

Noah decided to buy a portion of Grand Island. He wanted to buy the whole island but he did not have enough money. That was where the Jewish homeland was to be established. He had a dedication ceremony in downtown Buffalo because no one, including Noah, could be transported to Grand Island. A cornerstone was made. That cornerstone is now in the Erie County History Museum, in Buffalo.

Apparently, Noah was better with ideas than with follow through because he was unable to come up with the funding to buy the island. He did try to get the Grand Rabbi of Paris to charge a tax to the world's Jewish population but the Grand Rabbi was not interested.

And so, the story ends there. The land was later sold to others, including Lewis F. Allen, who established Allenton Farms on the southern tip of Grand Island. 

I watch the bees fly around the flowers.



This is a lovely, very pale pumpkin.

Here is a view of the Niagara River. The other side of the river is Tonawanda, New York.

Here is a house in construction.

A sunflower points itself directly at the sun on a bright, warm day.

Here is one of the autumn and Halloween decorations that are starting to go up.

My sister planted mums at my dad's grave. It was a good journey to get to this place. I noticed the man at work in the cemetery and the spider on the tombstone and the squirrels running around, as well as the birds flying above and walking on the ground. These are all signs of life in a place dedicated to remembering and honoring the dead. I spent some time sitting with my dad in this cemetery, which is a beautiful, peaceful space not too far from the river. Healing is slow but it is happening.

My dad, who was an economist, liked to see economic development so he might have liked the new house construction.


Here is a pumpkin display. Halloween is coming next month!


Here is a lovely display of sunflowers along the river.



On Sunday, September 27th, at church, I was very surprised by all of the birthday greetings and by the lovely birthday cake. Amy and I share a birthday. We were both born on September 27th. I am 14 hours older than Amy. I was born in Syracuse, and Amy was born in Niagara Falls.

Thank you to everyone in Saint Martin in the Fields church in Grand Island for making my birthday so special.

In the afternoon, I went to my sister's house for a birthday dinner. This is Angel. She is a very vocal cat, like Zoe. Unlike Zoe, Angel is a very efficient mouser.




I took pictures of the empty space where a house once stood. The house burned down and then was demolished. There is now nothing but a driveway and a mound of soil.






See the next episode next week.
Same time, same time, same channel... or, in TV-ese: Same bat time, same bat channel.

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