Friday, August 31, 2012

Beauty and the Beast at Zoro Garden

The California Pacific International Exposition of 1935 was held in San Diego's Balboa Park.
Zoro Garden, built as a nudist colony for the fair, is a sunken area in the park slightly out of sight from the main road.
Why was there a nudist colony at a 1935 fair is a mystery to me?
Today, it is a beautiful butterfly and insect garden where I could walk into without hesitation.

I spied this monarch butterfly frolicking amongst the flowers.

This moth exposed itself between the leaves.

The beetle covers himself modestly in the pedals.

A bench carved into the stone wall is a convenient place to sit for lunch or lie down to sunbathe.

- Karen

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Pedal Power

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- Karen

Sunday, August 26, 2012

USS Midway Museum

During my trip to San Diego, I also visited the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum.
First put into service in 1945, it was the largest warship for a decade after its launch. It has been deployed around the world and decommissioned several times for upgrades. Two of her final missions included participating in Operation Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait and evacuating military personnel and families in the Philippines after the eruption of the Mt. Pinatubo volcano, both in 1991.
In June 2004, she was opened as a museum.
In this picture is its flight deck with the tall tower as the carrier's bridge.

On the flight deck at over 4 acres in length, you can also see various jets like the Hornet, Tomcat, Phantom, ...etc.
Not to be missed if you are a aircraft-enthusiast.

At the stern is the Fantail Cafe where you can rest and enjoy your lunch.

On the hangar deck, is more planes, a gift shop, and various other exhibits.

If you think you are a hotshot pilot, you can pay an extra $15 on this simulator to try to land your jet on this aircraft carrier.

During operations, this mess hall can serve 13,000 meals a day. A single's day consumption can include 1,000 loaves of bread, 5,000 pounds of vegetables, 4,500 pounds of meat, ...etc.

This is the area where the soldiers will sit to eat their meals. It looks small, but since people work different shifts, I imagine this place is open 24 hours a day.
Senior officers have their own mess hall in another area.

In the Sick Bay, there are different medical facilities including this operating room.
The mannequins look so real that you think they are really performing surgery as you pass by.

It is a city within itself including a post office.
I can't imagine the incoming or outgoing mail moving around too quickly due to the remote locations the carrier have been deployed to.

There is even a tool shop where they can make their own equipment since it's not easy to go to your neighborhood store when something is broken in the middle of the ocean.

- Karen

Friday, August 24, 2012

Petco Park

I spent the last few days in San Diego close to the local baseball park and I decided to take a stroll in the area.
No game was being played there on the day I visited, but parts of it was open to the public like this vantage point.
During game day, I imagine you can stand here and watch a game for free.

I like how they decided to convert the back of this old building to be part of the stadium. Actually, the building was declared a historic landmark in 1978 and could not be torn down.

This is the big sign outside so there is no mistake where you are.

If you are a baseball fan, you will know the name of Tony Gwynn. He played his entire 20 year major league baseball career (1982 to 2001) with the San Diego Padres. He won many awards as a hitter and had a lifetime batting average of .338
This 9-1/2 ft. (2.9m) bronze statue located next to the ballpark was dedicated to him in 2007.

Even the street next to the park is named after him plus the stadium's address is 19 Tony Gwynn Drive to honor his jersey number.

- Karen

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Antiques

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- Karen

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum

Continuing with my previous post about the New Almaden historic district, this is the entrance to Casa Grande, or Big House in Spanish. Built in 1854, it was the living quarters to the different New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Company's superintendents that came and went throughout the years.
The property was purchased by the county in 1997 and it was recently renovated and this is what it looks like today as a museum.

An old painting of what the house looked like back in its heyday hangs inside. The Casa Grande had 27 rooms; the basement had a kitchen, dumbwaiter, servant quarters, food storage and a large vault for depositing liquid mercury.

Volunteers decorated this drawing room inside the house with antiques shipped in from around the country and some even belonged to their grandmothers.
What is a drawing room? I wasn't sure either. Derived from a 16th century term, "withdrawing room", it is a room where visiting guests are withdrawn to a more private area of the house to be entertained by the owners.

This is the front parlor where the owners display their possessions and show off their social status similar to what we call a living room today.

Further inside the museum are the collection of old photographs and women's clothing back in the days.

This display shows how a mine worker poured mercury into iron flasks. Each one is then weighed to meet exact specifications.

Here is a picture the local school kids taken by the community's doctor who was also a photography hobbyist.
I wonder how long it took to get everyone's attention. And, how did that boy sit up on that scrawny tree?

The mining company went bankrupt in 1912 and closed its doors. This house went through a series of functions including a tourist resort called Club Almaden where the sign still stands today.

Below the sign, visitors are greeted with an arm.
Richard Bertram "Bert" Barrett, son of a miner, lost his arm during a hunting accident at the age of 13. The law at the time required all severed limbs to be buried so his arm was buried at the Hacienda Cemetery not far from the mine; however, when Barrett passed away, he was interred at a different cemetery.

Further up the road are old mining equipment that was once used at the mine.

The website describes this display as: "This simulated mine tunnel was dubbed the Tobar Adit, honoring the Tobar family. Artist Gilian Altieri painted the figure of the tommyknocker. The Cornish miners believed that tommyknockers were small dwarf-like creatures who lived in the mines and made strange knocking noises. They played pranks on the miners, but also warned them of cave-ins by knocking on the walls of the mines."

Mercury warning by the stream that flows through the area.
At the museum, we were informed that mine workers were monitored for the exposure to mercury. Surprisingly, two or three generations of mining families that lived and worked there did not experience any mercury-related illnesses.

- Karen

Friday, August 17, 2012

New Almaden Cottages

Down a small stretch of road in New Almaden are 25 homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Where is New Alamaden? It is a small quiet community next to the thriving city of San Jose in California.
This area is not new although its name suggests that it is. In the 1800's quicksilver also known as mercury was discovered here and this location became one of the most valuable quicksilver mining operations in the world. It was promptly named after the quicksilver mines in Almaden, Spain; thus, this business became known as the New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Company.
Around this time was the big California gold rush and although I don't know exactly how it works, mercury when mixed with gold forms together to become a solid so to make it harder for any small specks of gold to slip through. It is then heated up where the mercury vaporizes and the gold remains. Unfortunately, back then, no one knew about the hazards of mercury.

Most of the original residents of these homes were employees of the mine.
This home was built between 1848 to 1850 was the residence to George Carson who was the mine company's bookkeeper, postmaster, and telegraph operator. He held all these positions until his death in 1903.

This home belonged to Robert Bulmore, the last manager of the Quicksilver Mining Company where he started as the company's cashier. Many of the photographs of New Almaden in the late 19th century were taken by him.

The plaque in front of this house reads "Built by Barron, Forbes & Company in the late 1840's, this cottage is one of several houses with a brick basement. Theodore S. Shaw, a schoolteacher and Justice of the Peace also lived here, as well as Fred P. Hauck, Sr., who served as treasurer of the New Almaden Company from 1915-1930. The brick sidewalk was constructed so that children could walk to the hacienda school. without muddying their shoes.

The plaque outside this house reads "The 1866 rent records show that "Whispering Wind", house No. 11, was a boarding house. Frank and Laura Bohlman, livery stable operators, rented the home in 1880. Oral history suggests the building housed the sheriff's office and jail, where local drunks sobered up in the back room. Once sober, they climbed out the window and returned to work. The site also included a blacksmith shop and barn.

Note: It was not explained to me, but I suspect all these cottages are currently occupied by residents as they do not look empty or abandoned.

- Karen

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Moving Day

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- Karen

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Emma Prusch Farm Park

The once working 87 acre Prusch Farm in San Jose, California was bestowed to the city in 1962. Today, the farm is made into a public park so everyone can use it for recreation and learn about farming.
This Big Red Barn as it is called was built in 1983 and is used to raise animals later to be judged and auctioned at local county fairs.

This is how it looks like inside. It was very empty except for some chickens and few very large pigs like the one below.

It was very hot outside, but this one was too busy napping to care.

At the edge of the park is this public art structure called "Monument to the Last Barn" created by Gloria Bornstein.
The structure is designed to hold meetings, weddings, and or just a shelter from the weather.

The park has a small animal farm where you can feed and pet the animals.

A garden where people from the community can come volunteer to plant fruits & vegetables and learn about eating healthy.

From the distance, one would have thought this was a barn, but in reality, it is a Multicultural Arts Center where the public can rent to hold events.

The chickens roam free in the park and they are everywhere.

The turkeys are not so lucky and are locked up in a cage, but somehow this one escaped and ended up on the roof.

- Karen