Thursday, May 31, 2012

Johann Strauss

Meet Johann.  He has been living in our front garden for about 15 years, and is truly the most low-maintenance member of the family (although, if he could speak, I'm sure he'd ask for more attention).  The minimal care he receives includes an occassional hit of E.B. Stone all-purpose plant food, a rare trim, and spotty watering.  In exchange, he provides us with very nice blooms at least once a year.  Poor Johann.  Receiving so little, yet still giving so much.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spider Park

When I first moved to Sierra Madre about twenty years ago, many people that I knew referred to Memorial Park as Spider Park.  More than 50 violin spiders were found in five buildings at Sierra Madre Memorial Park in 1969, and those buildings were subsequently torn down.  I only recently remembered that the park used to be referred to in that way, as it seems that it is now only called Memorial Park.  Funny how time can erase, or at least dim, memories.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Ross House

Mrs. R.E. Ross came to Sierra Madre in 1884.  At that time, she purchased twenty acres of land south of what was then known as Central Avenue (now Sierra Madre Boulevard).  This house was originally located on Central, but after Mrs. Ross donated property and money for the building of the Sierra Madre Public Library, her home was moved to this new location, just south of Central.  Also, not far from this house is a cul-de-sac called Ross Place.  I would guess this isn't a coincidence?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Something for Everyone

The Mt. Wilson Trail Race is over for another year.  300 runners ran 4.3 miles up to Orchard Camp (with a 2100 ft. elevation gain), on a trail that is about three-feet wide in most places.  Then they turned around and ran back to the center of town.  The number of people there to watch the race was staggering.  It seemed like the whole town was there, and then some.  In addition to the race for grownups, there is a one-mile fun run for kids three and up.  See how they look so small?  That's because they had to run waaaaay up Baldwin and back down to the finish line.  Impressive, huh? 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mt. Wilson Trail Race

Another Fabulous Leonora Moss Window Display

The sold-out Mt. Wilson Trail Race is today, and I will be there!  Not running, of course; I will leave that to the experts.  But I will be at the Start/Finish Line, doing an amazing job of clapping and cheering.  Good Luck to all the runners!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Burritos, Rice, and Everything Nice

This is Taco Fiesta and, although I somehow get confused and call it Fiesta Taco fairly often, there is nothing confusing about the fact that Sierra Madre loves this place!  I recently heard about a privately-owned restaurant near where I work that is closing down, and when I thought about how well this little place is doing, it warmed the cockles of my heart.  (What are cockles anyway, and did I even spell that right?) 

The previous owner was more of a cock-a-doodle-doo place (think elderly gentleman from Kentucky) and by the end, you'd be lucky to see three people in there.  Apparently we were ready for a change because at 7:10 last night, as I drove away after taking this picture, I quickly counted 15 people inside (while obeying all safety laws, of course).  It seems that Taco Fiesta's only problems may be with capacity laws.  A very nice problem, indeed...

p.s.  I looked it up.  Cockles are chambers of a kiln or, as in this case, the chambers of your heart "warming" through pleasant emotions...  OR, for Choice B, from the Latin cochleae cordis, or cochlea ("snail") referring to the shape of the ventricles.  Either way, we are talking the chambers of the heart, and the warming thereof.  Another of life's mysteries solved, through the magic that we call The Internet!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Nice to Meet You!

There is a house in town with some of the most whimsical garden ornamentation I have ever seen.  Each time you pass by, it seems there is something new to be looked at and remarked upon.  But I think this particular one may have required a more thorough interaction, rather than just a look.  Is it there to greet us, or to protect us from what lies beneath?  Or did someone just leave it sitting there, to be used again when they came back from answering the telephone?  No matter.  It makes me happy every time I see it, and if (as I suspect) making people happy was any part of the goal - Success! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fletcher House

This lovely home is known as the Fletcher House, built in 1890 by Dr. H.C. Fletcher, who was from New York.  While it has had many residents over the years, the second occupants of the house, the Henszey family, had a son named Thomas, who married Julia Carter, the daughter of N.C. Carter, our city's founder.  The fourth owners of the house were another doctor's family, the Rusts, and they divided the property, selling the home-site as a separate parcel in 1906. 

On an interesting side-note, after reading what I could about the house in the Sierra Madre Vistas, I Googled "Fletcher House, Sierra Madre."  As we all know this can yield mixed, and often disappointing, results.  This time, however, I found quite an interesting nugget of information, in the form of a 1986 article from the L.A. Times.  The article advertised a Sierra Madre Community Nursery School-sponsored Vintage Home Tour, and listed the Fletcher House as being one of five houses on the tour.  Then, it briefly mentioned that the house was "supposedly haunted by a child ghost."  That's all it said.  Oh boy!  I am intrigued (but way too chicken to follow up very thoroughly...).  Anyone know this story??

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Unknown Boy Scout

This monument is in Memorial Park, which is quite accurately named.  There are several memorials dotting, especially, the southwest corner of the park.  This one faces Sierra Madre Boulevard, and has a plaque on the front, stating the following:

Dedicated to the Unknown Boy Scout
In Honor of All Boy Scouts of Sierra Madre
Past and Present Who Served in World War II
February 13, 1948

It's a smallish memorial, compared to the others, but I'd have to say it packs a wallop.

Monday, May 21, 2012

E. Waldo Ward

The E. Waldo Ward property is the last remaining "ranch" from the original days of Sierra Madre.  E. Waldo Ward Sr. came to California in the 1880's.  He was a representative for a New York importer of groceres.  At that time he could see a market for local produce, and bought 10 acres of orange grove from Mr. Carter.  He began growing oranges and manufacturing marmalade.  His company was established in 1891, according to their website.  In 1901, he built a fruit packing barn, and imported two Seville orange trees, to begin working on oranges specifically for marmalade. 

Mr. Ward married in 1900, while living in San Francisco, where his son, E. Waldo Ward, Jr., was born.  He built his home on the Sierra Madre property in 1903, and moved there with his family.  He began selling his own marmalade products to his customers in 1918, and his Ward's Marmalades were sold worldwide.  The Southern Pacific and Santa Fe diners used them, and they were packaged under many different labels.

E. Waldo Ward, Jr., joined the family business in 1926, and E. Waldo Ward passed away in 1941. Today, the E. Waldo Ward Canning Factory is a part of the business, employing 10-15 people. The company is now run by Richard Ward (son of E. Waldo Ward, Jr.) and his son Jeff, the 3rd and 4th generation of Wards to run the company.

If you have not had the opportunity to stop by the store that is located on the property (at the end of the driveway to the west of the house), you should try to make the time to do it one day soon.  You will not be sorry.  In addition to the original marmalade, with a beautiful vintage label, they have many different products and gift baskets in their inventory.

Source: Sierra Madre Vistas, Published in 1976 by the Sierra Madre Historical Society

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I took this picture last week.  Although the Ascension Church is beautiful, and worthy of many of its own posts, the more exciting thing about this photo is that the Jacarandas are coming!  See it on the right side??  I've been seeing them start to bloom all over town this last week, and I'm very excited. 

When I first moved to Sierra Madre, my (then) boyfriend (now husband) lived in the canyon, and I lived in the southern part of the city.  We spent many hours walking back and forth to each other's houses that summer, and the site of the Jacarandas in bloom always brings back happy memories.  They are also a welcome sight as you get off of the freeway in the evening, heading back into town after a hard day at the office (how very 1950's of me...). 

So, bring it on Summer - we are ready.  Let the Most Wonderful Time of the Year begin!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Engine 41

This is Engine 41, one of several vehicles in the Sierra Madre Fire Department fleet.  In addition to full-time employees, our Fire Department has a large number of volunteer firefighters, who give of their time to keep our community safe.  As we were out walking last night, E41 was being taken back into the fire station.  A small crowd gathered to watch as the truck backed in.  As a side note, the Sierra Madre Vistas (published by Historical Society in 1976) shows a picture of the "new" Fire and Police Facility, which was dedicated on May 8, 1976.  In that photo were the two palm trees seen in this photo, as well as the tree to the right. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Oak Crest

Oak Crest Drive is directly next door to Bailey Canyon Park.  While the portion that is seen in this picture doesn't look too steep, I can assure you that this street has kicked the you-know-what of many a recreational walker in its time.  As you walk up the street, thinking that you are reaching the top, it turns and continues to climb.  Then, it repeats the entire sequence.  By the time you reach the top, you are feeling pretty impressed with yourself for your studly achievement. (What? Only Me? Oh...) 

Recently, we happened to walk up this street as the sun was starting to set, and I noticed that you could see a steeple from the Monastery directly across from the top of Oak Crest.  Very, very beautiful, and well worth the suffering!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day Job? What Day Job?

Yesterday morning, I noticed that my Little Editor was sitting on my desk.  He was ready to go.  "Lets Blog," his happy little (well, Big) tail was saying.  I tried to explain that I have this thing called a Day Job, and they expect me to show up there approximately five days per week.  I went on to tell him that I would simply love to sit around all day, blogging, shopping, reading celebrity gossip fine literature, cruising FaceBook, etc.  All the quality computer-time activities we enjoy together, as Crazy Cat Lady and Cat.  But this pesky Day Job thing continues to get in the way. 

At some point, Spencer must have realized that he was due at his own Day Job, and he dove down from the desk, ran across to the window, and jumped up on his window perch to watch lizards and ensure that none of them gets in the house (like that one time...).  We all have responsibilities, you know?   

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Make a Wish

This is the Charles Petersen Memorial Well.  It is located in Mount Wilson Trail Park, and was dedicated in 1986 "to all Sierra Madre Historical Society Members and Supporters."

The park is fairly small, but has a nice playground, along with picnic tables and a good amount of grass for lounging, especially after coming down from a hike on nearby Mount Wilson Trail.  I just recently realized that this park has a formal name, having only ever heard it referred to as Turtle Park, so named for the fun turtle in the play area.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Three Short Blasts

Our city has a unique Emergency Warning signal.  After a brief "conversation" (via the coment section of another post) with Petrea from Pasadena Daily Photo, about the location and purpose of the siren, I took a closer look while walking past the other day. 

This sign says that the siren goes off daily, at 5:00.  In my memory, it always went off at exactly twelve-noon, but I haven't heard it for quite some time.  When I was in college, and studying, the siren would often help to remind me to stop goofing around and stay on track.

Don't let the leafyy, serene atmosphere in this photo fool you.  When that thing goes off it will scare the dickens out of you, causing you to jump, by some estimates, 100 to 150 feet.  In any case, I'm very glad to know it's there! (But I'm going continue to practice my jumping skills - just in case...)

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Peaceful Moment

Walking along in the Upper Canyon one day, enjoying a nice visit, my friend and I came across this statue. How's this for a nice way to stop and recharge, for the briefest of peaceful moments??

Happy Monday!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

This year, I had an early Mother's Day celebration with my mom, my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law - Tea at  The Four Seasons Tea Room.  As usual, everything was wonderful, including the not-pictured scones.  Rosa Jaime, the owner, makes sure that each guest feels welcome, even on a crazy-busy weekend such as this.  So, if you are a mom, have a mom, or know a mom that you love (or even like), Happy Mother's Day! Enjoy the day.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Walking About

Two roads diverged in a town,
and we - we walked them both.
And that made all the difference!!

(Apologies to Robert Frost...)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Coming Attractions

This sign in Kersting Court is advertising that Family Movie Fridays are back, and will start at 7:45 tonight.  There are three movie nights this year.  The next two are on May 25th and June 8th, and they are all Free. (This is one of my very favorite words...).  Attendees are welcome to purchase food from local merchants, or bring their own food, along with chairs and blankets. 

So, speaking of Kersting Court, did you know that there was a Mr. Kersting? C.S. Kersting was the president of Sierra Madre's first financial institution, the First National Bank at Sierra Madre, which was organized by local citizens in 1907.  The bank was located first within a group of frame buildings owned by Kersting, and later in the enlarged Kersting Block (part of which is seen in the background of this photo).  From what I can tell, at that point the bank was in the location where the Chase Bank is now.  How about that?

Thanks for reading, folks, and Enjoy the Show!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

School of Thought

Out walking last evening I came across this small sign at the southwest end of the Sierra Madre Elementary School campus.  As we continued walking east, we discovered several more, similar signs.  When we reached the corner of Auburn and Highland, there was a Really Big sign that said "Sierra Madre School Water Conservation and Education Project - Conserve, Preserve & Restore." 

The sign explained that the project was made possible by a grant from the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, along with "significant contributions" from: Sierra Madre School parents, teachers and administrators; Pasadena Unified School District; the City of Sierra Madre; the Theodore Payne Foundation; and Skanska and Marina Landscape, Inc.  That is a seriously impressive list! 

According to the very informative sign, some of the project's highlights include (among other things) a water efficient irrigation system, California native vegetation, a demonstration garden, educational curriculum for students, and a preserved turf for educational, recreational, and community purposes. 

In addition, there was a cute little character on the sign, called H2Owl.  Who can resist a little fun while being educated about, and participating in, saving the planet - I know I can't.  High Five, Sierra Madre El!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

And The People Rejoiced

Our beautiful sun has presented itself for more than one day in a row.  The townspeople celebrated heartily last evening, by running up and down the steeper streets of the village.  Well, 40 or 50 of the younger, thinner ones did.  Some of the rest of us just trudged along on our walks, and tried not to get run over by all that exuberance.  Personally, I was just happy to have the strength to get my camera out in time to catch this crooked, blurry photo of the last few of them, before they sprinted off over the hill and into the sunset.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Annual Art Fair

This last weekend brought a lot of community activities to town.  There was a Pancake Breakfast at the Fire Station and a carnival in Sierra Vista Park.  Also, Sierra Madre's Annual Art Fair, sponsored by the Friends of the Sierra Madre Public Library, celebrated its 50th Anniversary this weekend, in Memorial Park.  But somehow, I wasn't able to make it to any of those things this year.  I couldn't quite find the time.  Sure, the Art Fair was a full two days long, and I only live a half-mile away from the park, but you know, some weekends are just like that...

Anywho, I thought I'd share a photo of a piece of art I purchased at the Art Fair a few years ago, from the spectacular Djibril N'Doye.  Djibril is originally from Senegal, and is now a local artist here in Sierra Madre (lucky for us!). 

This piece is called "Yetal."  Since I work with children in my "Day Job" (you know, when I'm not lurking around town taking pictures), I like to look at Yetal each morning when I leave for work.  It always puts me in the right frame of mind.  Although my photo doesn't do the piece justice,  you get the idea.  Amazing - both the art and the artist. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Singing Into the Week

I don't sing because I'm happy;
I'm happy because I sing. 
~William James

Happy Monday!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Child's Play

I love this statue.  My friend and I pass it often when we are out walking, and I finally took my zoom-y camera and snapped a photo.  Sierra Madre has a lot of kids, and a lot of dogs.  (In fact, I don't know if there are numbers on such things, but I'm sure we are way up there in Dogs Per Capita).  Summer's coming, kids.  Get ready for some serious playing!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Flowers, And The Mountains That Watch Over Them

I'm not sure what kind of flower this is.  Any experts out there to tell me?  Each year, when we go to Sequoia, I read all about the flowers there, and tromp about trying to locate and identify them.  Yet I come home and don't know a thing about the flowers in my own local mountains.  Shameful, without a doubt...  These flowers reminded me of a quote by Jim Carrey. Yes, that Jim Carrey!  (I think...)

Flowers don't worry about how they're going to bloom. 
They just open up and turn toward the light,
and that makes them beautiful. 
~~Jim Carrey

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Bell Tower

Kersting Court, located at the corner of Baldwin Avenue and Sierra Madre Boulevard, is part of the 2.32 acres donated to the city by N.C. Carter, to house Sierra Madre's second school building.  It was designated as an historic site in 1972, and is often the hub of local activities.  Kersting Court is the home of the town's original school bell.

The historic school bell (constructed in Cincinnati in approximately 1872) called Sierra Madre's children to school from 1884 until the 1939 earthquake.  It was considered too costly to make the bell tower at the present Sierra Madre Elementary earthquake-proof, and in 1961, just prior to the school district's unification with neighboring Pasadena School System, the school board donated the bell to the Sierra Madre Historical Society. 

The Bell Tower was designed by architect (and SM Historical Society Member) Harlan Pederson, to reflect the Spanish architecture of California, as well as that of the present Sierra Madre Elementary School.  The tower was constructed with citizen funds, along with donations of time, labor, and materials by citizens, merchants and the city.  It was dedicated on October 27, 1974. 

Source: Sierra Madre Historical Preservation Society

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sierra Madre Farmer's Market

Our city's own small-but-fabulous Farmer's Market operates from 3:00 'til 7:00 every Wednesday, right next to Memorial Park.  Ahhhhmazing fruits and veggies abound, along with bread, hummus, pies - they have it all. 

Hey - See that strawberry?  Right in the middle??  The giant, bright red, juicy-looking one?  Yeah, that one!  I just ate it, along with a few of its brothers.  It was every bit as good as you might think. 

I will be back next week.  Will you be there, too?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April Showers Bring May...

That isn't quite how I remember it, but
that seems to have been the case for yesterday. 
Okay, who stole the mountains again???

Here's hoping for a brighter day today!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Theme Day: Bakeries

Members of the City Daily Photo Blog Community are invited to enter a photo in each month's Theme Day.  The May theme is "Bakeries."  Although it may seem that privately-owned bakeries are rare, I, an astute observer of all things bakery, have found that there are quite a few of them around (especially if you like cupcakes). 

The Wildflour Bakery - I love the name as much as the frosting on the cupcake I bought today - has been hiding in plain sight, on Sierra Madre Boulevard at Lima, for about ten years.  In addition to baked goods, they have soup, sandwiches, and salads too.  I also bought a delicious cookie today, strictly for the sake of the blog, of course. 

"Bakeries" Theme Day - Just another of the many little ways that blogging is improving my life.