Philly on a Fall Day

Halloween is over. The Phillies won’t be going to the World Series. We have reset our clocks. This means the Fall season is upon us. I don’t think a lot of people really liked the paintings of dead rats that I posted last week, but I always suspected there was a reason that I never had a future as a highly-paid blogger and influencer. No matter.

One of my favorite activities is walking through the different neighborhoods of Philadelphia. This week was the ideal time for it. As always, I take pictures on the way.

Swann Fountain. I always thought it was called Swann Fountain because of the Swans. Come to find out, that’s Alexander S. Calder’s pun. The fountain is a memorial to Dr. Wilson Cary Swann, founder of the Philadelphia Fountain Society. Those Calders were full of jokes. Read this about Alexander Milne Calder’s joke on Philadelphia from the top of City Hall.

Speaking of City Hall,

Here’s a shot of City Hall Tower from inside the courtyard. Billy Penn is up there making mischief, but you can’t see him in this shot.

And here’s a picture of City Hall Courtyard with a repainted compass and map of the original City of Philadelphia in the center.

Here’s the recently-installed I Heart Philly sign in Love Park. The heart was originally bare. Now, it’s covered with stickers of flags from around the world along with messages from people who have stopped by.

And what would a visit to Philadelphia be without stopping at the Love Statue? Except there’s something fishy about the above photograph. You probably can’t tell what unless you’re from Philadelphia. Maybe even then you can’t.

Here’s another shot which reveals the answer. The Love Statue sits at the start of the Parkway looking northwest towards the Philadelphia Museum of art. The picture that shows it with Philadelphia City Hall in the background has been flipped around. Which is why you should remember that things aren’t always what they seem.

Bob’s Garden. Again!

While I am busy playing with my Silhouette Portrait 3, and finding ways to use it with polymer clay and in the pottery studio, my neighbor Bob has made some changes to his urban garden, and more flowers are blooming! How do you identify flowers if you don’t know anything? Try a Google image search. You can upload pictures right from your phone, tablet or computer.

The Allium flowers have opened!

Touch Me Nots

Canna Lilly

The turtle might live in a cage, but his spirit runs free.

Bob’s Garden Spring 2022

My neighbor Bob is at it again. He’s been planting and tending a big container garden up and down our South Philadelphia street for many years, and he’s gearing up for Spring and Summer, 2022. He gets his plants from all over and doesn’t know what a lot of them are until they come up. Others, like the lily pads, he brings back year after year. I made an attempt to identify the plants this year and had a little success. But this is just the beginning. He’ll be planting more as the months go on, creating a wonderful urban oasis in the midst of asphalt and the steamy sidewalks of a South Philly summer.

Lilly pads

Purple pansy

I think this is a Clementine tree

Princess flower

Garden pansies

Gardenia

Areca palm

Corpse flower. This one is pollinated by flies and it STINKS when it’s in full bloom

Allium flower

I couldn’t identify the three remaining plants, although Google tried to tell me that the one below was grapes. I don’t know much, but I know these are definitely not grapes!

I thought this might be a chlamydia until a friend informed me that that was the name of a sexually transmitted disease and not a flower.

I am dying to see what this one looks like when it blooms. Maybe it is some kind of tulip.

If you’d like to see pictures of the garden in years gone by, press here.

Make Like a Tree

It’s wintertime and although I know it’s supposed to be cold, I wish it wasn’t so dark. It was bright and sunny last October when a friend and I took a walk in Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, enjoyed a guided tour, and learned about the trees that populate the grounds. I’ve always loved trees.

I took copious notes on my phone about all the different kinds of trees we saw. But when I got home, I discovered that my app had not saved a single word. I did manage to identify the trees I saw and if you click on each picture here, the tree name will pop up.

Now I am fully aware of of how to spell Ginkgo. But if you click on the images to see the captions, you will notice that the word Ginkgo is misspelled. I chose not to correct it. The gremlins at WordPress already lost this post once before, and I don’t want to risk losing it again by futzing around with it. After all, blogging is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby for me and not an ordeal that makes me want to tear my hair out. Let sleeping Ginkgos lie.

Bartram’s Garden is home to the oldest Ginkgo tree in the United States, planted by the Bartram brothers in 1785. Read more about it here. If you want a complete list of trees and plants at Bartram’s Garden, press here. For a video history of Bartram’s Garden, press here. If you would like to visit, which I heartily recommend, press here.

Happy New Year!

Boris and his best pal Sweety the Stuffed Cat (who apparently thinks it’s someone’s birthday-he’s always ready for a celebration) wish you all a Happy New Year filled with snacks and scritches, and most of all, love. Can’t have too much of that.

Happy Holidays From My Neighborhood

Happy holidays from South Philadelphia! Things have been a bit unwieldy around the house since Boris published his little Christmas story, How the Tabby Got Its “M.” He’s walking around with his tail in the air, and expects us to wait on him hand and foot. Like we don’t do that already, right?

Thinking that I need an excuse to build my character, I have decided to sort out and organize the mishmash of files that have become more unruly with every computer upgrade. They go back more years than I’d like to count, to the days when the Internet had no pictures and some people with dial phones accessed on-line bulletin boards with gizmos from Radio Shack (not what we called it) that emulated touch tones.

But not everything new is an improvement. That’s why I love my neighborhood, especially during the holidays. Besides the abundance of Italian delicacies, the Ninth Street Market and surrounding neighborhood is packed with Asian groceries, Mexican groceries and food purveyors from all over the place. Buying from local on-the-street vendors, bakeries, butcher shops and so forth must be what food shopping was like in years past before everything got sorted and shrink wrapped. I realize that big food is likely here to stay and some of it does make its way into the market. The vendors are in business and they have to make a living. Still, I feel so lucky to have such a treasure within walking distance.

The market’s been around for a long time. Take a look at some older pictures here.

Looking for Inspiration

I must confess that I am feeling particularly uninspired as of late. I’ve been making ceramic mugs in the pottery studio and decorating them with underglaze, but even this seems forced.

The Penn Archeology and Anthropology Museum has been a great source of inspiration for me in the past. Flea Markets are a great source of inspiration, too. If those don’t work for you, the Huffington Post offers a few suggestions to stoke your creativity. I find that the best thing for me is to take a long walk and to try to look at things differently.

So last week, I revisited a Philadelphia neighborhood I lived in years ago which happened to be hosting a vintage flea market on a beautiful fall day. Even if the walk didn’t open the inspiration floodgates, I figured that at least I would get some exercise since I walked to Powelton Village and back from my South Philadelphia neighborhood. And got to look at Center City Philadelphia architecture from the west rather than my usual eastern view. Architecture can be another source of inspiration.

I’m not feeling inspired yet, but when I do, you’ll be the first to know.

A Visit to Elfreth’s Alley

Years ago, I met a woman who, for a time, owned a house in Philadelphia’s Elfreth’s Alley. She liked the house she lived in but said she never got used to total strangers peering in her front windows and knocking on her door at all hours.

As the nation’s oldest, continuously occupied residential street, Elfreth’s Alley is a tourist attraction. Not a manufactured tourist attraction. Elfreth’s Alley, located in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia is the real deal. The people who live there are not historical reenactors, and the houses are privately owned, not part of the National Park Service. I’ve always wanted to explore Elfreth’s Alley more closely, (I pass by it on the way to The Clay Studio), but I am reluctant to go snapping pictures of people’s houses without an invitation. And then the invitation came. A flea market of antiques and crafts to support the Elfreth’s Alley museum, complete with guided tours.

I was pressed for time that day and didn’t have a lot of time to stick around, but I did manage to take a lot of pictures.

Plenty to do after you’ve been to Elfreth’s Alley

A Walk to Northern Liberties from South Philadelphia

One of the best ways to see Philadelphia is to walk it. Here are some pictures I took on a stroll to Northern Liberties from my own neighborhood in South Philadelphia.