Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Miscellaneous: Fire at Notre Dame de Paris

Tragedy in Paris, at the cathedral, but it sounds like the bulk of the structure is unharmed and the damaged portions can be rebuilt. Here's to the hope that that is true.

Shown is "Notre Dame, Paris—Grim Guardian" circa 1930, by Warren R. Laity, my grandfather. Silver-gelatin print. Image size: 9 x 13 inches. My grandfather was a photographer beginning to get an international reputation just as he tragically died of complications during minor surgery at the age of 46, in 1936. We have about 60 of his exhibition prints, mostly of European architectural subjects, as that was his specialty. Many of them are plastered on the back with exhibition stickers from all over Europe and the US. This image has exhibition stickers on the reverse from New York and Budapest.

He taught art history at a women's college in NJ that later became part of Rutgers. On his summers off, he did classes on transatlantic cruise liners to pay his way to Europe for research. He also spent a couple of summers (1922 and 1923) traveling around Europe by motorcycle and photographing while writing articles for the Harley-Davidson magazine.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Miscellaneous: Goobye Milo (April 14, 2019)

Luck seemed to be with us yesterday when a swarm of bees obligingly moved into one of our empty bee hives. Today, luck abandoned us. I was awakened by a phone call from animal control--our cat Milo, hit by a car. Apparently paralyzed from the waist down and with severe internal injuries, he didn't make it. Very hard to put an animal down. Doesn't seem right to have a life or death decision over another creature, but the vet said he wouldn't make it through the day.

He was half-feral, would never stay at home, often seemed ungrateful, and he was sometimes cantakerous, but I will miss him. He was a handsome dark tabby with a broken tail, a rescue cat from the pound who, when he did come home and hang out with us, had a funny way of rolling around on the sun-warmed concrete of the driveway, showing his belly as if he wanted it stroked. Attempt to pet him there, and he'd usually try to bite. But I'll miss him.

We dug him a grand, flower-filled grave in a quiet place in the garden. I'll miss him.

Milo, in happier days, sleeping on the warm hood of one of our cars

Miscellaneous: Swarm moves in (April 13, 2019)

The last few days, a number of bees had been checking out one of our two empty beehives in the back garden. I was hoping it might be a scouting party for a swarm looking for a new home. And yesterday the air was full of bees and a large clump quickly formed on the alighting board in front of one of the hives.

We haven't had bees for two seasons. It will be nice to have bees again. I hope they become established and find their new home comfortable. Right now they seem to be cleaning things up, pushing dead earwigs and other debris out the front door. A new hive start has gotten so expensive now (I've heard as much as about $180), that a free swarm is a real gift. When I started keeping bees, in 2001, a hive start cost about $35.

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